One young fellow makes $18 for a few weeks, and gets on a grand "bender" and spends every cent of it.
How do you like "free soil"?--I would like amazingly to see a good old-fashioned negro. My love to all.
Truly your brother, SAM
In the letter to Pamela he is clearly homesick.
"I only want to return to avoid night work, which is injuring my eyes," is the excuse, but in the next sentence he complains of the scarcity of letters from home and those "not written as they should be." "One only has to leave home to learn how to write interesting letters to an absent friend," he says, and in conclusion, "I don't like our present prospect for cold weather at all."
He had been gone half a year, and the first attack of home-longing, for a boy of his age, was due. The novelty of things had worn off; it was coming on winter; changes had taken place among his home people and friends; the life he had known best and longest was going on and he had no part in it. Leaning over his case, he sometimes hummed:
"An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain."
He weathered the attack and stuck it out for more than half a year longer. In January, when the days were dark and he grew depressed, he made a trip to Washington to see the sights of the capital. His stay was comparatively brief, and he did not work there. He returned to Philadelphia, working for a time on the Ledger and North American. Finally he went back to New York. There are no letters of this period. His second experience in New York appears not to have been recorded, and in later years was only vaguely remembered. It was late in the summer of 1854 when he finally set out on his return to the West. His 'Wanderjahr' had lasted nearly fifteen months.
He went directly to St. Louis, sitting up three days and nights in a smoking-car to make the journey. He was worn out when he arrived, but stopped there only a few hours to see Pamela. It was his mother he was anxious for. He took the Keokuk Packet that night, and, flinging himself on his berth, slept the clock three times around, scarcely rousing or turning over, only waking at last at Muscatine. For a long time that missing day confused his calculations.
When he reached Orion's house the family sat at breakfast. He came in carrying a gun. They had not been expecting him, and there was a general outcry, and a rush in his direction. He warded them off, holding the butt of the gun in front of him.
"You wouldn't let me buy a gun," he said, "so I bought one myself, and I am going to use it, now, in self-defense."
"You, Sam! You, Sam!" cried Jane Clemens. "Behave yourself," for she was wary of a gun.
Then he had had his joke and gave himself into his mother's arms.
Orion wished his brother to remain with him in the Muscatine office, but the young man declared he must go to St. Louis and earn some money before he would be able to afford that luxury: He returned to his place on the St. Louis Evening News, where he remained until late winter or early spring of the following year.
He lived at this time with a Pavey family, probably one of the Hannibal Paveys, rooming with a youth named Frank E. Burrough, a journeyman chair- maker with a taste for Dickens, Thackeray, Scott, and Disraeli. Burrough had really a fine literary appreciation for his years, and the boys were comrades and close friends. Twenty-two years later Mark Twain exchanged with Burrough some impressions of himself at that earlier time. Clemens wrote:
MY DEAR BURROUGH,--As you describe me I can picture myself as I was 22 years ago. The portrait is correct. You think I have grown some; upon my word there was room for it. You have described a callow fool, a self-sufficient ass, a mere human tumble-bug, stern in air, heaving at his bit of dung, imagining that he is remodeling the world and is entirely capable of doing it right.... That is what I was at 19-20.