Cutting the Cable


  By May, 1885, Cable was used to being attacked in newspapers both North and South for his ideas about "The Freedman," but was shocked by a pair of articles that appeared in the Boston Herald ridiculing his behavior both as a visitor to MT's Hartford house in 1884 and as MT's partner on the lecture tour. MT had never given Cable any reason to doubt that he was enjoying their relations on the tour as much as Cable, though in letters to Livy and others during the last months of the tour he expressed increasing irritation with many of Cable's habits, especially his piety and his parsimony. The exact story behind the Herald attacks isn't known, though it's clear (as Cable noted in his letters to the paper) that the source for them must have been MT himself. What seems to have happened is that MT complained too freely in front of a reporter who knew that Cable's stand against racism had made him controversial and newsworthy, and who perhaps was also glad to have a new way to discredit him.

  Cable quickly wrote to both the newspaper (demanding a retraction) and to his former partner (implicitly asking for MT publically to deny the published reports of his "peculiarities"). The Herald did print a retraction, but MT never made any public statement about this incident, telling Cable in the last of the items below that he was untroubled by the stories. For Cable, MT's public silence in 1885 must have been a strange note on which to end the tour. Ten years later, however, MT wrote Cable to say that "I liked you in spite of your religion . . . And I have always said, & still maintain, that as a railroad-comrade you were perfect."

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