Crane, absent in March, her father wrote:
DEAR SUE,--I received your letter yesterday with a great deal of pleasure, but the letter has gone in pursuit of one S. L. Clemens, who has been giving us a great deal of trouble lately. We cannot have a joy in our family without a feeling, on the part of the little incorrigible in our family, that this wanderer must share it, so, as soon as read, into her pocket and off upstairs goes your letter, and in the next two minutes into the mail, so it is impossible for me now to refer to it, or by reading it over gain an inspiration in writing you. . .
Clemens closed his lecture tour in March, acid went immediately to Elmira. He had lectured between fifty and sixty times, with a return of something more than $8,000, not a bad aggregate for a first season on the circuit. He had planned to make a spring tour to California, but the attraction at Elmira was of a sort that discouraged distant travel. Furthermore, he disliked the platform, then and always. It was always a temptation to him because of its quick and abundant return, but it was none the less distasteful. In a letter of that spring he wrote:
I most cordially hate the lecture field. And after all, I shudder to think I may never get out of it. In all conversation with Gough, and Anna Dickinson, Nasby, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Wendell Phillips, and the other old stagers, I could not observe that they ever expected or hoped to get out of the business. I don't want to get wedded to it as they are.
He declined further engagements on the excuse that he must attend to getting out his book. The revised proofs were coming now, and he and gentle Livy Langdon read them together. He realized presently that with her sensitive nature she had also a keen literary perception. What he lacked in delicacy--and his lack was likely to be large enough in that direction--she detected, and together they pruned it away. She became his editor during those happy courtship days--a position which she held to her death. The world owed a large debt of gratitude to Mark Twain's wife, who from the very beginning--and always, so far as in her strength she was able--inspired him to give only his worthiest to the world, whether in written or spoken word, in counsel or in deed. Those early days of their close companionship, spiritual and mental, were full of revelation to Samuel Clemens, a revelation that continued from day to day, and from year to year, even to the very end.
The letter to Bliss and the proofs were full of suggested changes that would refine and beautify the text. In one of them he settles the question of title, which he says is to be:
THE INNOCENTS ABROAD or THE NEW PILGRIM'S PROGRESS
and we may be sure that it was Olivia Langdon's voice that gave the deciding vote for the newly adopted chief title, which would take any suggestion of irreverence out of the remaining words.
The book was to have been issued in the spring, but during his wanderings proofs had been delayed, and there was now considerable anxiety about it, as the agencies had become impatient for the canvass. At the end of April Clemens wrote: "Your printers are doing well. I will hurry the proofs"; but it was not until the early part of June that the last chapters were revised and returned. Then the big book, at last completed, went to press on an edition of twenty thousand, a large number for any new book, even to-day.
In later years, through some confusion of circumstance, Mark Twain was led to believe that the publication of The Innocents Abroad was long and unnecessarily delayed. But this was manifestly a mistake. The book went to press in June. It was a big book and a large edition. The first copy was delivered July 20 (1869), and four hundred and seventeen bound volumes were shipped that month. Even with the quicker mechanical processes of to-day a month or more is allowed for a large book between the final return of proofs and the date of publication.