I mortally hate that society there, and I don't doubt they hired me. I once gave them a packed house free of charge, and they never even had the common politeness to thank me. They left me to shift for myself, too, a la Bret Harte at Harvard. Get me rid of Buffalo! Otherwise I'll have no recourse left but to get sick the day I lecture there. I can get sick easy enough, by the simple process of saying the word--well never mind what word--I am not going to lecture there. Yours, MARK.
BUFFALO, Sept. 26, 1871. DEAR REDPATH,--We have thought it all over and decided that we can't possibly talk after Feb. 2.
We shall take up our residence in Hartford 6 days from now Yours MARK.
LETTERS 1871-72. REMOVAL TO HARTFORD. A LECTURE TOUR. "ROUGHING IT." FIRST LETTER TO HOWELLS
The house they had taken in Hartford was the Hooker property on Forest Street, a handsome place in a distinctly literary neighborhood. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dudley Warner, and other well-known writers were within easy walking distance; Twichell was perhaps half a mile away.
It was the proper environment for Mark Twain. He settled his little family there, and was presently at Redpath's office in Boston, which was a congenial place, as we have seen before. He did not fail to return to the company of Nasby, Josh Billings, and those others of Redpath's "attractions" as long and as often as distance would permit. Bret Harte, who by this time had won fame, was also in Boston now, and frequently, with Howells, Aldrich, and Mark Twain, gathered in some quiet restaurant corner for a luncheon that lasted through a dim winter afternoon--a period of anecdote, reminiscence, and mirth. They were all young then, and laughed easily. Howells, has written of one such luncheon given by Ralph Keeler, a young Californian--a gathering at which James T. Fields was present "Nothing remains to me of the happy time but a sense of idle and aimless and joyful talk-play, beginning and ending nowhere, of eager laughter, of countless good stories from Fields, of a heat-lightning shimmer of wit from Aldrich, of an occasional concentration of our joint mockeries upon our host, who took it gladly."
But a lecture circuit cannot be restricted to the radius of Boston. Clemens was presently writing to Redpath from Washington and points farther west.
To James Redpath, in Boston:
WASHINGTON, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1871. DEAR RED,--I have come square out, thrown "Reminiscences" overboard, and taken "Artemus Ward, Humorist," for my subject. Wrote it here on Friday and Saturday, and read it from MS last night to an enormous house. It suits me and I'll never deliver the nasty, nauseous "Reminiscences" any more. Yours, MARK.
The Artemus Ward lecture lasted eleven days, then he wrote:
To Redpath and Fall, in Boston:
BUFFALO DEPOT, Dec. 8, 1871. REDPATH & FALL, BOSTON,--Notify all hands that from this time I shall talk nothing but selections from my forthcoming book "Roughing It." Tried it last night. Suits me tip-top. SAM'L L. CLEMENS.
The Roughing It chapters proved a success, and continued in high favor through the rest of the season.
To James Redpath, in Boston:
LOGANSPORT, IND. Jan. 2, 1872. FRIEND REDPATH,--Had a splendid time with a splendid audience in Indianapolis last night--a perfectly jammed house, just as I have had all the time out here. I like the new lecture but I hate the "Artemus Ward" talk and won't talk it any more.