Dayton, Ohio -- 4 January 1872|
Livy, old sweetheart,...
Have accepted Warner's friend's invitation -- though I always decline private houses.
No, on second thoughts I don't dare to do it. A lecturer dreads a private house -- Oh, more than he dreads 200 miles of railway travel. I must tear up my letter of acceptance. In spite of yourself you respect their unholy breakfast hours -- you can't help it -- & then you feel drowsy & miserable for two days & you give two audiences a very poor lecture. No, I don't dare go there. I like to be perfectly free -- more than that: perfectly lawless....Hotels are the only proper places for lecturers. When I am ill natured I so enjoy the freedom of a hotel -- where I can ring up a domestic & give him a quarter & then break furniture over him -- then I go to bed calmed & soothed, & sleep as peacefully as a child....
Wooster, Ohio -- 7 January 1872
Livy darling,... I have been figuring. My lecture business, up to the end of January, yields about $10,000 -- & yet, when I preach Jan. 30 it is well I am so close to Hartford, for I would not have money enough to get home on. It has all gone & is going, for those necessaries of life -- debts. Every night the question is, Well, who does this day's earnings belong to? -- & always it goes. I do hate lecturing, & shall try hard to have as little as possible of it to do hereafter....
Lecturing is hateful, but it must come to an end yet, & then I'll see my darling, whom I love, love, love.
Salem, Ohio -- 8 January 1872
Well, slowly this lecturing penance drags toward the end. Heaven knows I shall be glad when I get far away from these country communities of wooden-heads. Whenever I want to go away from New England again, lecturing, please show these letters to me & bring me to my senses. How I do chafe & sweat when I count up the Dutch audiences I have yet to play the fool before.
Wheeling, W.Va. -- 10 January 1872
Livy darling, it was perfectly splendid -- no question about it -- the livest, quickest audience I almost ever saw in my life.
Pittsburgh, Pa. -- 11 January 1872
This was the largest audience ever assembled in Pittsburgh to hear a lecture, some say. Great numbers were turned away -- couldn't get in; stage was jam-full; all the private boxes full -- Seems to me there were three tiers of them.
Kittanning, Pa. -- 12 January 1872
Livy darling, this is a filthy, stupid, hateful Dutch village, like all Pennsylvania -- & I have got to lecture to these leatherheads tonight -- but I shall leave for Pittsburgh at 3 in the morning, & spend Sunday in that black but delightful town.
Harrisburg, Pa. -- 20 January 1872
Had a magnificent time at Lancaster last night. Stormy night, but brilliant, crowded audience. I wrote a new, long clause jammed it into the lecture & talked it off from memory without missing a word -- a mistake would have been ghastly. All these late places insist on my coming back.
Mark Twain's Letters, Volume 5: 1872"-1"873
Edited by Lin Salamo & Harriet Elinor Smith
Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997