He was a noble, unorthodox teacher. Samuel Clemens at the time of his marriage already strongly admired him, and had espoused his cause in an article signed "S'cat!" in the Elmira Advertiser, when he (Beecher) had been assailed by the more orthodox Elmira clergy. For the "S'cat" article see Appendix I, at the end of last volume.]
It was the next afternoon when they set out for Buffalo, accompanied by the bride's parents, the groom's relatives, the Beechers, and perhaps one or two others of that happy company. It was nine o'clock at night when they arrived, and found Mr. Slee waiting at the station with sleighs to convey the party to the "boarding-house" he had selected. They drove and drove, and the sleigh containing the bride and groom got behind and apparently was bound nowhere in particular, which disturbed the groom a good deal, for he thought it proper that they should arrive first, to receive their guests. He commented on Slee's poor judgment in selecting a house that was so hard to find, and when at length they turned into fashionable Delaware Avenue, and stopped before one of the most attractive places in the neighborhood, he was beset with fear concerning the richness of the locality.
They were on the steps when the doors 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 things, the apparent ownership and completeness of possession.
At last the 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 even then he could not grasp it; not at first, not until 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 then; 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!"
They went in to supper then, and by and by the guests were gone and the young wedded pair were alone.
Patrick McAleer, the young coachman, who would grow old in their employ, and Ellen, the cook, came in for their morning orders, and were full of Irish delight at the inexperience and novelty of it all. Then they were gone, and only the lovers in their new house and their new happiness remained.
And so it was they entered the enchanted land.
AS TO DESTINY
If any reader has followed these chapters thus far, he may have wondered, even if vaguely, at the seeming fatality of events. Mark Twain had but to review his own life for justification of his doctrine of inevitability --an unbroken and immutable sequence of cause and effect from the beginning. Once he said:
"When the first living atom found itself afloat on the great Laurentian sea the first act of that first atom led to the second act of that first atom, and so on down through the succeeding ages of all life, until, if the steps could be traced, it would be shown that the first act of that first atom has led inevitably to the act of my standing here in my dressing-gown at this instant talking to you."
It seemed the clearest presentment ever offered in the matter of predestined circumstance--predestined from the instant when that primal atom felt the vital thrill. Mark Twain's early life, however imperfectly recorded, exemplifies this postulate. If through the years still ahead of us the course of destiny seems less clearly defined, it is only because thronging events make the threads less easy to trace. The web becomes richer, the pattern more intricate and confusing, but the line of fate neither breaks nor falters, to the end.