Submitted by Scott Holmes on Sat, 12/14/2019 - 13:05

Pittsburgh did not like the show, at least not the reviewers:

"S.L. Clemens, better known as "Mark Twain," and Mr. George W. Cable recited selections from their own writings last night at the Cumberland Presbyterian church. The congregation was large, and there was an air of intellectuality about the people that betokened keen appreciation and accurate comprehension. One thing was noticeable among the listeners: Nearly everyone had a long nose. If those who were there will glance at each other's companion, this exceptional gathering of long and well-shaped noses will be easily discerned. The occasion was supposed to be a humorous one. Long noses indicate serious intelligence. It may be because the entertainment was a church performance, the true character of it was not suspected."

The Pittsburg Dispatch 1884: December 30 Touring with Cable and Huck

Clemens included “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” and “Infestation of Phelps’ cabin with snakes and rats” [MTPO].

Later, Sam wrote from Pittsburgh to Livy. Besides adding that he’d “Heard a wonderful banjo-player to-day,” named “Cable—but no kin,” [Dec. 30 to Livy] he wrote of the performance:

"Well, mamma, dear, the child is born. To-night I read the new piece—the piece which Clara Spaulding’s impassibility dashed & destroyed months ago—& it’s the biggest card I’ve got in my whole repertoire. I always thought so; It went a-booming; & Cable’s praises are not merely loud, they are boisterous. Says its literary quality is high & fine—& great; its truth to boy nature unchallengeable; its humor constant & delightful....It took me 45 minutes to recite it (didn’t use any notes) & it hadn’t a doubtful place in it, or a silent spot" [MTP].


The map of the route may be incorrect as there are many possible routes from New York to Pittsburgh.  The two maps from the Library of Congress are not in agreement in that the New York Central map of 1900 does not contain the Pennsylvania, Reading and Lehigh Valley routes of 1884.  The KML files that I have found so convenient are incomplete - they contain only those routes in existence by 1870.  The subsequent fourteen years saw a great deal of activity in the building of railroads.  Google Earth, the platform I use to create KML files shows current lines.  It is likely that many routes have been re-routed if not eliminated in the last hundred and twenty years.

Sam's letter of 28 December, 1884 to Livy implies he did not change trains on this trip but followed a single railway.  " has been a very nice comfortable easy trip today... We had a hotel car -- and consequently three meals."

I studied a number of routes before I uploaded the current KML file.  These included possible routes from as far south as Philadelphia. The route displayed begins at Port Reading, the Philadelphia and Reading RR.  This parallels the Lehigh Valley RR.  The route goes past Allentown to Jim Thorpe, then known as Mauch Chunk, then west to Sunbury on the east bank of the Susquehanna River.  It turns north to Williamsport and then to Lock Haven, Mahaffey and Punxsutawney, then to Butler and down to Pittsburgh.  Rather than the Butler route, it is possible Sam followed a route along the Allegheny River to Pittsburgh.