To Jane Clemens her son wrote: "She is a little body, but she hasn't her peer in Christendom."

XXX.

THE NEW BOOK AND A WEDDING

Clemens closed his lecture tour in March with a profit of something more than eight thousand dollars. He had intended to make a spring tour of California, but went to Elmira instead. The revised proofs of his book were coming now, and he and gentle Livy Langdon read them together. Samuel Clemens realized presently that the girl he had chosen had a delicate literary judgment. She became all at once his editor, a position she held until her death. Her refining influence had much to do with Mark Twain's success, then and later, and the world owes her a debt of gratitude. Through that first pleasant summer these two worked at the proofs and planned for their future, and were very happy indeed.

It was about the end of July when the big book appeared at last, and its success was startling. Nothing like it had ever been known before. Mark Twain's name seemed suddenly to be on every tongue--his book in everybody's hands. From one end of the country to the other, readers were hailing him as the greatest humorist and descriptive writer of modern times. By the first of the year more than thirty thousand volumes had been sold. It was a book of travel; its lowest price was three and a half dollars; the record has not been equaled since. In England also large editions had been issued, and translations into foreign languages were under way. It was and is a great book, because it is a human book-- a book written straight from the heart.

If Mark Twain had not been famous before, he was so now. Indeed, it is doubtful if any other American author was so widely known and read as the author of "The Innocents Abroad" during that first half-year after its publication.

Yet for some reason he still did not regard himself as a literary man. He was a journalist, and began to look about for a paper which he could buy-his idea being to establish a business and a home. Through Mr. Langdon's assistance, he finally obtained an interest in the "Buffalo Express," and the end of the year 1869 found him established as its associate editor, though still lecturing here and there, because his wedding-day was near at hand and there must be no lack of funds.

It was the 2d of February, 1870, that Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon were married. A few days before, he sat down one night and wrote to Jim Gillis, away out in the Tuolumne Hills, and told him of all his good fortune, recalling their days at Angel's Camp, and the absurd frog story, which he said had been the beginning of his happiness. In the five years since then he had traveled a long way, but he had not forgotten.

On the morning of his wedding-day Mark Twain received from his publisher a check for four thousand dollars, his profit from three months' sales of the book, a handsome sum.

The wedding was mainly a family affair. Twichell and his wife came over from Hartford--Twichell to assist Thomas K. Beecher in performing the ceremony. Jane Clemens could not come, nor Orion and his wife; but Pamela, a widow now, and her daughter Annie, grown to a young lady, arrived from St. Louis. Not more than one hundred guests gathered in the stately Langdon parlors that in future would hold so much history for Samuel Clemens and Olivia Langdon--so much of the story of life and death that thus made its beginning there. Then, at seven in the evening, they were married, and the bride danced with her father, and the Rev. Thomas Beecher declared she wore the longest gloves he had ever seen.

It was the next afternoon that the wedding-party set out for Buffalo. Through a Mr. Slee, an agent of Mr. Langdon's, Clemens had engaged, as he supposed, a boarding-house, quiet and unpretentious, for he meant to start his married life modestly. Jervis Langdon had a plan of his own for his daughter, but Clemens had received no inkling of it, and had full faith in the letter which Slee had written, saying that a choice and inexpensive boarding-house had been secured.

The Boys Life of Mark Twain Page 60

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