Dolby announced him to appear at the Queen's Concert Rooms, Hanover Square, for the week of October 13-18, his lecture to be the old Sandwich Islands talk that seven years before had brought him his first success. The great hall, the largest in London, was thronged at each appearance, and the papers declared that Mark Twain had no more than "whetted the public appetite" for his humor. Three days later, October 1873, Clemens, with his little party, sailed for home. Half-way across the ocean he wrote the friend they had left in Scotland:
To Dr. John Brown, in Edinburgh:
MID-ATLANTIC, Oct. 30, 1873. OUR DEAR FRIEND THE DOCTOR,--We have plowed a long way over the sea, and there's twenty-two hundred miles of restless water between us, now, besides the railway stretch. And yet you are so present with us, so close to us that a span and a whisper would bridge the distance.
The first three days were stormy, and wife, child, maid, and Miss Spaulding were all sea-sick 25 hours out of the 24, and I was sorry I ever started. However, it has been smooth, and balmy, and sunny and altogether lovely for a day or two now, and at night there is a broad luminous highway stretching over the sea to the moon, over which the spirits of the sea are traveling up and down all through the secret night and having a genuine good time, I make no doubt.
Today they discovered a "collie" on board! I find (as per advertisement which I sent you) that they won't carry dogs in these ships at any price. This one has been concealed up to this time. Now his owner has to pay L10 or heave him overboard. Fortunately the doggie is a performing doggie and the money will be paid. So after all it was just as well you didn't intrust your collie to us.
A poor little child died at midnight and was buried at dawn this morning --sheeted and shotted, and sunk in the middle of the lonely ocean in water three thousand fathoms deep. Pity the poor mother. With our love. S. L. CLEMENS.
Mark Twain was back in London, lecturing again at the Queen's Concert Rooms, after barely a month's absence. Charles Warren Stoddard, whom he had known in California, shared his apartment at the Langham, and acted as his secretary--a very necessary office, for he was besieged by callers and bombarded with letters.
He remained in London two months, lecturing steadily at Hanover Square to full houses. It is unlikely that there is any other platform record to match it. One letter of this period has been preserved. It is written to Twichell, near the end of his engagement.
To Rev. J. H. Twichell, in Hartford:
LONDON, Jan. 5 1874. MY DEAR OLD JOE,--I knew you would be likely to graduate into an ass if I came away; and so you have--if you have stopped smoking. However, I have a strong faith that it is not too late, yet, and that the judiciously managed influence of a bad example will fetch you back again.
I wish you had written me some news--Livy tells me precious little. She mainly writes to hurry me home and to tell me how much she respects me: but she's generally pretty slow on news. I had a letter from her along with yours, today, but she didn't tell me the book is out. However, it's all right. I hope to be home 20 days from today, and then I'll see her, and that will make up for a whole year's dearth of news. I am right down grateful that she is looking strong and "lovelier than ever." I only wish I could see her look her level best, once--I think it would be a vision.
I have just spent a good part of this day browsing through the Royal Academy Exhibition of Landseer's paintings. They fill four or five great salons, and must number a good many hundreds. This is the only opportunity ever to see them, because the finest of them belong to the queen and she keeps them in her private apartments.