This was enraging. Mark Twain had his own ideas as to how far a joke might be carried without violence, and this was a good way beyond the limits. He denounced the Enquirer's statement as a "pitiful, deliberate falsehood," in his anger falling into the old-time phrasing of newspaper editorial abuse. He offered to bet them a thousand dollars in cash that they could not prove their assertions, and asked pointedly, in conclusion: "Will they swallow that falsehood ignominiously, or will they send an agent to the Galaxy office? I think the Cincinnati Enquirer must be edited by children." He promised that if they did not accept his financial proposition he would expose them in the next issue.

The incident closed there. He was prevented, by illness in his household, from contributing to the next issue, and the second issue following was his final "Memoranda" installment. So the matter perished and was forgotten. It was his last editorial hoax. Perhaps he concluded that hoaxes in any form were dangerous playthings; they were too likely to go off at the wrong end.

It was with the April number (1871) that he concluded his relations with the Galaxy. In a brief valedictory he gave his reasons:

I have now written for the Galaxy a year. For the last eight months, with hardly an interval, I have had for my fellows and comrades, night and day, doctors and watchers of the sick! During these eight months death has taken two members of my home circle and malignantly threatened two others. All this I have experienced, yet all the time have been under contract to furnish "humorous" matter, once a month, for this magazine. I am speaking the exact truth in the above details. Please to put yourself in my place and contemplate the grisly grotesqueness of the situation. I think that some of the "humor" I have written during this period could have been injected into a funeral sermon without disturbing the solemnity of the occasion.

The "Memoranda" will cease permanently with this issue of the magazine. To be a pirate on a low salary, and with no share in the profits of the business, used to be my idea of an uncomfortable occupation, but I have other views now. To be a monthly humorist in a cheerless time is drearier.

Without doubt he felt a glad relief in being rid of this recurrent, imperative demand. He wrote to Orion that he had told the Galaxy people he would not write another article, long or short, for less than $500, and preferred not to do it at all.

The Galaxy department and the work on the Express were Mark Twain's farewell to journalism; for the "Memoranda" was essentially journalistic, almost as much so, and as liberally, as his old-time Enterprise position. Apparently he wrote with absolute freedom, unhampered by editorial policy or restriction. The result was not always pleasant, and it was not always refined. We may be certain that it was because of Mrs. Clemens's heavy burdens that year, and her consequent inability to exert a beneficent censorship, that more than one--more than a dozen--of the "Memoranda" contributions were permitted to see the light of print.

As a whole, the literary result of Mark Twain's Buffalo period does not reach the high standard of The Innocents Abroad. It was a retrogression --in some measure a return to his earlier form. It had been done under pressure, under heavy stress of mind, as he said. Also there was another reason; neither the subject treated nor the environment of labor had afforded that lofty inspiration which glorified every step of the Quaker City journey. Buffalo was a progressive city--a beautiful city, as American cities go--but it was hardly an inspiring city for literature, and a dull, dingy newspaper office was far, very far, from the pleasant decks of the Quaker City, the camp-fires of Syria, the blue sky and sea of the Medit&ranean.



The third book published by Mark Twain was not the Western book he was preparing for Bliss.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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