Submitted by Scott Holmes on Sat, 12/14/2019 - 15:42

On board the train, Feb. 18 ' 85.
This is a most superb winter morning—snow up to the fence-tops splendid sunshine, no wind, white smoke floating up in lazy columns from the scattered log houses, the distances vague & soft in a haze that is lightly tinted with blue. A beautiful French Canadian girl came along, a minute ago at a station, clothed in a picturesque short dress made of heavy white blanket with the red & blue striped of the blanket running around the lower half of the skirt, the body trimmed with blue, a broad blue belt, deerskin moccasins, a blue-&-red tuque on her head— a most picturesque & captivating spectacle. The youth with her was in a blanket-costume, also, adorned with strong bright colors; had tight blanket pants on, broad blue belt & tuque & moccasins. Doubtless they had been snoeshoeing, as these are snowshoing costumes.

The official U.S. publication date for Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. Note: other dates are sometimes given, for example, Budd in MT “Collected” gives Feb. 16 [978]. In the first month the book sold 42,000 copies [Willis 161]. By the year 2000, the book had sold perhaps twenty million copies and approximately 60 foreign editions [162]. Ozias Pond finally left Milwaukee and returned to New York [Cardwell 53]. En route from Ottowa to Montreal, Sam began a letter to Livy, to which he added a P.S. on Feb. 19 in Montreal. Sam stayed at the Windsor Hotel. “On board the train, Feb. 18/85. / This is a most superb winter morning—snow up to the fence-tops splendid sunshine, no wind, white smoke floating up in lazy columns from the scattered log houses, the distances vague & soft in a haze that is lightly tinted with blue” [MTP].

The Athenænum Club, a literary society of high rank, held a reception for the reading troupe at the Windsor from 4:30 to 6:00. Some 200 leading citizens, mostly ladies, were there to meet Sam and George. A long list of attendees was printed in the Feb. 19 Herald and Daily Commercial Gazette along with a notice for the next evening’s performance [Cardwell 62].

"Probably not since the immortal Charles Dickens delighted the English speaking people of the old and new world with readings from his own works has there been an event in which the public take such an interest as the present reading tour of the S. L. Clemens and Geo. W. Cable. The Queen's hall last night was thronged with an appreciative and expectant audience. There is only one Mark Twain in the world who can write such genuine fun. Those who saw the performance last evening may come to the conclusion that there is only one who can really be a true exponent of that fun, and that man is Mark Twain himself. Nearly as much can be said for the distinguished novelist, Mr. Cable. There are a great many writers in the world—more than those whose works will ever be read—but few writers can appear before an audience and electrify and delight it by readings from the works of their own pen. Mr. Cable can do this, and in a manner which cannot be rivalled."

Tuque Bleue Snowshoe Club

“Husky young club members seized Clemens, Cable, and the huge major [Pond] and tossed them repeatedly to the ceiling. Each of the visitors made speeches, Cable sang “Pov’ Piti Momzel Zizi,” club members sang a snowshoe song, and, finally, all joined in “God Save the Queen” [Cardwell 63].

The Brockville (Canada) Evening Recorder, p.1: “Mark Twain’s Wicked Moments.” A reporter wrote down some of Sam’s dinner-table conversation [Scharnhorst, Interviews 86].

Thursday, February 19, 1885: 

Sam’s P.S. to his Feb. 18 to Livy, simply added that he’d “talked here in Montreal last night.” Before the reading Sam wrote another letter to Livy, enclosing the itinerary for the tour for February. Livy had referred twice to an invitation sent Sam but he’d not heard of nor seen of one for “the Union for Home Work ladies.” If they wanted him to speak, he hoped it would be set for “some time in the first fortnight of March, so that” he would “still be fresh & not have to use a book” [MTP].

Cable wrote home that he received Dr. Louis Fréchette at 3 PM [Turner, MT & GWC 112].

"Mark Twain and George W. Cable gave another entertainment last evening in the Queen's hall, which was, if possible, even more crowded than on the preceding night."

Charles C. DeZouche (1830-1896) wrote from Montreal: “Your ‘Tragical tale of a Fishwife’ [in “The Awful German Language” in A Tramp Abroad] last night reminded me that I, too, tried to learn German. It was years ago, and when I had crept in, about up to my ankles, I discovered words which looked badly, sounded badly, and almost smelled badly.” He included a poem with such words and then asked for Sam’s autograph [MTP]