But the incident could do him no harm; the diners regarded it as one of his jokes, and enjoyed him all the more for it.
He was ready to go home by November, but by no means had he had enough of England. He really had some thought of returning there permanently. In a letter to Mrs. Crane, at Quarry Farm, he wrote:
"If you and Theodore will come over in the Spring with Livy and me, and spend the summer you will see a country that is so beautiful that you will be obliged to believe in Fairyland..... and Theodore can browse with me among dusty old dens that look now as they looked five hundred years ago; and puzzle over books in the British Museum that were made before Christ was born; and in the customs of their public dinners, and the ceremonies of every official act, and the dresses of a thousand dignitaries, trace the speech and manners of all the centuries that have dragged their lagging decades over England since the Heptarchy fell asunder. I would a good deal rather live here if I could get the rest of you over."
In a letter home, to his mother and sister, we get a further picture of his enjoyment.
To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett:
LONDON, Nov. 6, 1872. MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,--I have been so everlasting busy that I couldn't write--and moreover I have been so unceasingly lazy that I couldn't have written anyhow. I came here to take notes for a book, but I haven't done much but attend dinners and make speeches. But have had a jolly good time and I do hate to go away from these English folks; they make a stranger feel entirely at home--and they laugh so easily that it is a comfort to make after-dinner speeches here. I have made hundreds of friends; and last night in the crush of the opening of the New Guild-hall Library and Museum, I was surprised to meet a familiar face every few steps. Nearly 4,000 people, of both sexes, came and went during the evening, so I had a good opportunity to make a great many new acquaintances.
Livy is willing to come here with me next April and stay several months --so I am going home next Tuesday. I would sail on Saturday, but that is the day of the Lord Mayor's annual grand state dinner, when they say 900 of the great men of the city sit down to table, a great many of them in their fine official and court paraphernalia, so I must not miss it. However, I may yet change my mind and sail Saturday. I am looking at a fine Magic lantern which will cost a deal of money, and if I buy it Sammy may come and learn to make the gas and work the machinery, and paint pictures for it on glass. I mean to give exhibitions for charitable purposes in Hartford, and charge a dollar a head. In a hurry, Ys affly SAM.
He sailed November 12th on the Batavia, arriving in New York two weeks later. There had been a presidential election in his absence. General Grant had defeated Horace Greeley, a result, in some measure at least, attributed to the amusing and powerful pictures of the cartoonist, Thomas Nast. Mark Twain admired Greeley's talents, but he regarded him as poorly qualified for the nation's chief executive. He wrote:
To Th. Nast, in Morristown, N. J.:
HARTFORD, Nov. 1872. Nast, you more than any other man have won a prodigious victory for Grant--I mean, rather, for civilization and progress. Those pictures were simply marvelous, and if any man in the land has a right to hold his head up and be honestly proud of his share in this year's vast events that man is unquestionably yourself. We all do sincerely honor you, and are proud of you. MARK TWAIN.
Perhaps Mark Twain was too busy at this time to write letters. His success in England had made him more than ever popular in America, and he could by no means keep up with the demands on him.