"Cleveland, July 15, 1895."
"At the Stillman with 'Mark Twain,' his wife, and their daughter Clara. 'Mark' looks badly fatigued. "We have very comfortable quarters here. 'Mark' went immediately to bed on our arrival. He is nervous and weak. Reporters from all the morning and evening papers called and interviewed him. It seemed like old times again, and 'Mark' enjoyed it.
"The young men called at 3 p.m. and paid me the fee for the lecture, which took place in Music Hall. There were 4,200 people present, at prices ranging from 25 cents to $1. It was nine o'clock before the crowd could get in and 'Mark ' begin. As he hobbled upon the stage, there was a grand ovation of cheers and applause, which continued for some time. Then he began to speak, and before he could finish a sentence the applause broke out again. So it went on for over an hour on a mid-July night, with the mercury trying to climb out of the top of the thermometer. 'Mark Twain' kept that vast throng in convulsions.
"Cleveland, Tuesday, July 16th.
" Ninety degrees in the shade at 7:30 a.m. Good notices of 'Mark Twain's' lecture appear in all the papers. 'Mark ' spent all day in bed until five o'clock, while I spent the day in writing to all correspondents ahead. If Sault Ste. Marie, the next engagement, turns out as well in proportion as this place, our tour is a success. 'Mark ' and family were invited out to dinner with some old friends and companions of the Quaker City tour. He returned very nervous and much dis tressed. We discover a remarkable woman in Mrs. Clemens. There's a good time in store for us all.
There were a couple of hundred little boys behind me on the stage, on a lofty tier of benches which made them the most conspicuous object in the house. And there was nobody to watch them or keep them quiet. Why, with their scufflings and horse-play and noise, it was just a menagerie. Besides, a concert of amateurs had been smuggled into the program (to precede me,) and their families and friends (say ten per cent of the audience) kept encoring them and they always responded. So it was 20 minutes to 9 before I got on the platform in front of those 2,600 people who had paid a dollar apiece for a chance to go to hell in this fashion. I got started magnificently, but inside of half an hour the scuffling boys had the audience's maddened attention & I saw it was a gone case; so I skipped a third of my program and quit. The newspapers are kind, but between you & me it was a defeat. There ain't going to be any more concerts at my lectures. I care nothing for this defeat, because it was not my fault. My first half hour showed that I had the house, and I could have kept it if I hadn't been so handicapped.
P.S. I find that there were five hundred boys behind me, two-thirds as many as Randall's Island, and that they flowed past my back in clattering shoals, some leaving the house, others returning for more skylarking! [July 16 to Rogers].
(Fears, pg 1013)