All I do know or feel is that I am wild with impatience to move-- move--move! Curse the endless delays! They always kill me--they make me neglect every duty, and then I have a conscience that tears me like a wild beast. I wish I never had to stop anywhere a month. I do more mean things the moment I get a chance to fold my hands and sit down than ever I get forgiveness for.
Yes, we are to meet at Mr. Beach's next Thursday night, and I suppose we shall have to be gotten up regardless of expense, in swallow-tails, white kids and everything 'en regle'.
I am resigned to Rev. Mr. Hutchinson's or anybody else's supervision. I don't mind it. I am fixed. I have got a splendid, immoral, tobacco-smoking, wine-drinking, godless roommate who is as good and true and right-minded a man as ever lived--a man whose blameless conduct and example will always be an eloquent sermon to all who shall come within their influence. But send on the professional preachers--there are none I like better to converse with; if they're not narrowminded and bigoted they make good companions.
The "splendid immoral room-mate" was Dan Slote--"Dan," of The Innocents, a lovable character--all as set down. Samuel Clemens wrote one more letter to his mother and sister--a conscience-stricken, pessimistic letter of good-by written the night before sailing. Referring to the Alta letters he says:
I think they are the stupidest letters ever written from New York. Corresponding has been a perfect drag ever since I got to the States. If it continues abroad, I don't know what the Tribune and Alta folk will think.
He remembers Orion, who had been officially eliminated when Nevada had received statehood.
I often wonder if his law business is going satisfactorily. I wish I had gone to Washington in the winter instead of going West. I could have gouged an office out of Bill Stewart for him, and that would have atoned for the loss of my home visit. But I am so worthless that it seems to me I never do anything or accomplish anything that lingers in my mind as a pleasant memory. My mind is stored full of unworthy conduct toward Orion and toward you all, and an accusing conscience gives me peace only in excitement and restless moving from place to place. If I could only say I had done one thing for any of you that entitled me to your good opinions (I say nothing of your love, for I am sure of that, no matter how unworthy of it I may make myself--from Orion down, you have always given me that; all the days of my life, when God Almighty knows I have seldom deserved it), I believe I could go home and stay there-- and I know I would care little for the world's praise or blame. There is no satisfaction in the world's praise anyhow, and it has no worth to me save in the way of business. I tried to gather up its compliments to send you, but the work was distasteful and I dropped it.
You observe that under a cheerful exterior I have got a spirit that is angry with me and gives me freely its contempt. I can get away from that at sea, and be tranquil and satisfied; and so, with my parting love and benediction for Orion and all of you, I say good-by and God bless you all-and welcome the wind that wafts a weary soul to the sunny lands of the Mediterranean!
Yrs. forever, SAM
THE INNOCENTS AT SEA
HOLY LAND PLEASURE EXCURSION
Steamer: Quaker City.
Captain C. C. Duncan.
Left New York at 2 P.m., June 8, 1867.
Rough weather--anchored within the harbor to lay all night.
That first note recorded an event momentous in Mark Twain's career--an event of supreme importance; if we concede that any link in a chain regardless of size is of more importance than any other link. Undoubtedly it remains the most conspicuous event, as the world views it now, in retrospect.