No man ever approved that choice of subject in my hearing, I think.

Give me some comfort. If I am to talk in New York am I going to have a good house? I don't care now to have any appointments cancelled. I'll even "fetch" those Dutch Pennsylvanians with this lecture.

Have paid up $4000 indebtedness. You are the, last on my list. Shall begin to pay you in a few days and then I shall be a free man again. Yours, MARK.

With his debts paid, Clemens was anxious to be getting home. Two weeks following the above he wrote Redpath that he would accept no more engagements at any price, outside of New England, and added, "The fewer engagements I have from this time forth the better I shall be pleased." By the end of February he was back in Hartford, refusing an engagement in Boston, and announcing to Redpath, "If I had another engagement I'd rot before I'd fill it." From which we gather that he was not entirely happy in the lecture field.

As a matter of fact, Mark Twain loathed the continuous travel and nightly drudgery of platform life. He was fond of entertaining, and there were moments of triumph that repaid him for a good deal, but the tyranny of a schedule and timetables was a constant exasperation.

Meantime, Roughing It had appeared and was selling abundantly. Mark Twain, free of debt, and in pleasant circumstances, felt that the outlook was bright. It became even more so when, in March, the second child, a little girl, Susy, was born, with no attending misfortunes. But, then, in the early summer little Langdon died. It was seldom, during all of Mark Twain's life, that he enjoyed more than a brief period of unmixed happiness.

It was in June of that year that Clemens wrote his first letter to William Dean Howells the first of several hundred that would follow in the years to come, and has in it something that is characteristic of nearly all the Clemens-Howells letters--a kind of tender playfulness that answered to something in Howells's make-up, his sense of humor, his wide knowledge of a humanity which he pictured so amusingly to the world.

To William Dean Howells, in Boston:

HARTFORD, June 15, 1872. FRIEND HOWELLS,--Could you tell me how I could get a copy of your portrait as published in Hearth and Home? I hear so much talk about it as being among the finest works of art which have yet appeared in that journal, that I feel a strong desire to see it. Is it suitable for framing? I have written the publishers of H & H time and again, but they say that the demand for the portrait immediately exhausted the edition and now a copy cannot be had, even for the European demand, which has now begun. Bret Harte has been here, and says his family would not be without that portrait for any consideration. He says his children get up in the night and yell for it. I would give anything for a copy of that portrait to put up in my parlor. I have Oliver Wendell Holmes and Bret Harte's, as published in Every Saturday, and of all the swarms that come every day to gaze upon them none go away that are not softened and humbled and made more resigned to the will of God. If I had yours to put up alongside of them, I believe the combination would bring more souls to earnest reflection and ultimate conviction of their lost condition, than any other kind of warning would. Where in the nation can I get that portrait? Here are heaps of people that want it,--that need it. There is my uncle. He wants a copy. He is lying at the point of death. He has been lying at the point of death for two years. He wants a copy--and I want him to have a copy. And I want you to send a copy to the man that shot my dog. I want to see if he is dead to every human instinct.

Now you send me that portrait. I am sending you mine, in this letter; and am glad to do it, for it has been greatly admired.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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