In a letter to Orion-- whom he seems to have forgiven with absence--written October 26th, he incloses a gold dollar to buy her a handkerchief, and "to serve as a specimen of the kind of stuff we are paid with in Philadelphia." Further along he adds:
Unlike New York, I like this Philadelphia amazingly, and the people in it. There is only one thing that gets my "dander" up--and that is the hands are always encouraging me: telling me "it's no use to get discouraged--no use to be downhearted, for there is more work here than you can do!" "Downhearted," the devil! I have not had a particle of such a feeling since I left Hannibal, more than four months ago. I fancy they'll have to wait some time till they see me downhearted or afraid of starving while I have strength to work and am in a city of 400,000 inhabitants. When I was in Hannibal, before I had scarcely stepped out of the town limits, nothing could have convinced me that I would starve as soon as I got a little way from home.
He mentions the grave of Franklin in Christ Churchyard with its inscription "Benjamin and Deborah Franklin," and one is sharply reminded of the similarity between the early careers of Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Clemens. Each learned the printer's trade; each worked in his brother's printing-office and wrote for the paper; each left quietly and went to New York, and from New York to Philadelphia, as a journeyman printer; each in due season became a world figure, many-sided, human, and of incredible popularity.
The foregoing letter ends with a long description of a trip made on the Fairmount stage. It is a good, vivid description--impressions of a fresh, sensitive mind, set down with little effort at fine writing; a letter to convey literal rather than literary enjoyment. The Wire Bridge, Fairmount Park and Reservoir, new buildings--all these passed in review. A fine residence about completed impressed him:
It was built entirely of great blocks of red granite. The pillars in front were all finished but one. These pillars were beautiful, ornamental fluted columns, considerably larger than a hogshead at the base, and about as high as Clapinger's second-story front windows . . . . To see some of them finished and standing, and then the huge blocks lying about, looks so massy, and carries one, in imagination, to the ruined piles of ancient Babylon. I despise the infernal bogus brick columns plastered over with mortar. Marble is the cheapest building-stone about Philadelphia.
There is a flavor of the 'Innocents' about it; then a little further along:
I saw small steamboats, with their signs up--"For Wissahickon and Manayunk 25 cents." Geo. Lippard, in his Legends of Washington and his Generals, has rendered the Wissahickon sacred in my eyes, and I shall make that trip, as well as one to Germantown, soon . . . .
There is one fine custom observed in Phila. A gentleman is always expected to hand up a lady's money for her. Yesterday I sat in the front end of the bus, directly under the driver's box--a lady sat opposite me. She handed me her money, which was right. But, Lord! a St. Louis lady would think herself ruined if she should be so familiar with a stranger. In St. Louis a man will sit in the front end of the stage, and see a lady stagger from the far end to pay her fare.
There are two more letters from Philadelphia: one of November, 28th, to Orion, who by this time had bought a paper in Muscatine, Iowa, and located the family there; and one to Pamela dated December 5th. Evidently Orion had realized that his brother might be of value as a contributor, for the latter says:
I will try to write for the paper occasionally, but I fear my letters will be very uninteresting, for this incessant night work dulls one's ideas amazingly.... I believe I am the only person in the Inquirer office that does not drink.