It was published in the "Drawer" of Harper's Magazine, December, 1887, and is now included in the uniform edition of his works under the title of, "A Petition to the Queen of England."
From the following letter, written at the end of the year, we gather that the type-setter costs were beginning to make a difference in the Clemens economies.
To Mrs. Moffett, in Fredonia:
HARTFORD, Dec. 18, '87. DEAR PAMELA,--will you take this $15 and buy some candy or some other trifle for yourself and Sam and his wife to remember that we remember you, by?
If we weren't a little crowded this year by the typesetter, I'd send a check large enough to buy a family Bible or some other useful thing like that. However we go on and on, but the type-setter goes on forever--at $3,000 a month; which is much more satisfactory than was the case the first seventeen months, when the bill only averaged $2,000, and promised to take a thousand years. We'll be through, now, in 3 or 4 months, I reckon, and then the strain will let up and we can breathe freely once more, whether success ensues or failure.
Even with a type-setter on hand we ought not to be in the least scrimped- but it would take a long letter to explain why and who is to blame.
All the family send love to all of you and best Christmas wishes for your prosperity. Affectionately, SAM.
LETTERS,1888. A YALE DEGREE. WORK ON "THE YANKEE." ON INTERVIEWING, ETC.
Mark Twain received his first college degree when he was made Master of Arts by Yale, in June, 1888. Editor of the Courant, Charles H. Clarke, was selected to notify him of his new title. Clarke was an old friend to whom Clemens could write familiarly.
To Charles H. Clarke, in Hartford:
ELMIRA, July 2, '88. MY DEAR CHARLES,--Thanks for your thanks, and for your initiation intentions. I shall be ready for you. I feel mighty proud of that degree; in fact, I could squeeze the truth a little closer and say vain of it. And why shouldn't I be?--I am the only literary animal of my particular subspecies who has ever been given a degree by any College in any age of the world, as far as I know. Sincerely Yours S. L. Clemens M. A.
Reply: Charles H. Clarke to S. L Clemens:
MY DEAR FRIEND, You are "the only literary animal of your particular subspecies" in existence and you've no cause for humility in the fact. Yale has done herself at least as much credit as she has done you, and "Don't you forget it." C. H. C.
With the exception of his brief return to the river in 1882. Mark Twain had been twenty-seven years away from pilots and piloting. Nevertheless, he always kept a tender place in his heart for the old times and for old river comrades. Major "Jack" Downing had been a Mississippi pilot of early days, but had long since retired from the river to a comfortable life ashore, in an Ohio town. Clemens had not heard from him for years when a letter came which invited the following answer.
To Major "Jack" Downing, in Middleport Ohio:
ELMIRA, N. Y.[no month] 1888. DEAR MAJOR,--And has it come to this that the dead rise up and speak? For I supposed that you were dead, it has been so long since I heard your name.
And how young you've grown! I was a mere boy when I knew you on the river, where you had been piloting for 35 years, and now you are only a year and a half older than I am! I mean to go to Hot Springs myself and get 30 or 40 years knocked off my age. It's manifestly the place that Ponce de Leon was striking for, but the poor fellow lost the trail.
Possibly I may see you, for I shall be in St.