When, about nine o'clock that night, the party reached Buffalo, they found Mr. Slee waiting at the station. There was snow, and sleighs had been ordered. Soon after starting, the sleigh of the bride and groom fell behind and drove about rather aimlessly, apparently going nowhere in particular. This disturbed the groom, who thought they should arrive first and receive their guests. He criticized Slee for selecting a house that was so hard to find, and when they turned at last into Delaware Avenue, Buffalo's finest street, and stopped before a handsome house, he was troubled concerning the richness of the locality.

They were on the steps when the door opened and a perfect fairyland of lights and decoration was revealed within. The friends who had gone ahead came out with greetings to lead in the bride and groom. Servants hurried forward to take bags and wraps. They were ushered inside; they were led through beautiful rooms, all newly appointed and garnished. The bridegroom was dazed, unable to understand the meaning of it all--the completeness of their possession. At last his young wife put her hand upon his arm.

"Don't you understand, Youth?" she said--that was always her name for him. "Don't you understand? It is ours, all ours--everything--a gift from father."

But still he could not quite grasp it, and Mr. Langdon brought a little box and, opening it, handed them the deeds.

Nobody quite remembers what was the first remark that Samuel Clemens made, but either then or a little later he said:

"Mr. Langdon, whenever you are in Buffalo, if it's twice a year, come right here. Bring your bag and stay overnight if you want to. It sha'n't cost you a cent."

XXXI.

MARK TWAIN IN BUFFALO

Mark Twain remained less than two years in Buffalo--a period of much affliction.

In the beginning, prospects could hardly have been brighter. His beautiful home seemed perfect. At the office he found work to his hand, and enjoyed it. His co-editor, J. W. Larned, who sat across the table from him, used to tell later how Mark enjoyed his work as he went along-- the humor of it--frequently laughing as some new absurdity came into his mind. He was not very regular in his arrivals, but he worked long hours and turned in a vast amount of "copy"--skits, sketches, editorials, and comments of a varied sort. Not all of it was humorous; he would stop work any time on an amusing sketch to attack some abuse or denounce an injustice, and he did it in scorching words that made offenders pause. Once, when two practical jokers had sent in a marriage notice of persons not even contemplating matrimony, he wrote:

"This deceit has been practised maliciously by a couple of men whose small souls will escape through their pores some day if they do not varnish their hides."

In May he considerably increased his income by undertaking a department called "Memoranda" for the new "Galaxy" magazine. The outlook was now so promising that to his lecture agent, James Redpath, he wrote:

"DEAR RED: I'm not going to lecture any more forever. I've got things ciphered down to a fraction now. I know just about what it will cost to live, and I can make the money without lecturing. Therefore, old man, count me out."

And in a second letter:

"I guess I'm out of the field permanently. Have got a lovely wife, a lovely house bewitchingly furnished, a lovely carriage, and a coachman whose style and dignity are simply awe-inspiring, nothing less; and I'm making more money than necessary, by considerable, and therefore why crucify myself nightly on the platform! The subscriber will have to be excused, for the present season, at least."

The little household on Delaware Avenue was indeed a happy place during those early months. Neither Clemens nor his wife in those days cared much for society, preferring the comfort of their own home. Once when a new family moved into a house across the way they postponed calling until they felt ashamed.

The Boys Life of Mark Twain Page 61

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