Submitted by Scott Holmes on Sat, 12/14/2019 - 15:45

En route from Montreal to New York City Sam wrote to Livy. He’d sent a toboggan for the children but cautioned, “They better not try to use it till I come.” He wrote just as the train left the Lake Champlain area. 

On train, Feb. 20 ' 85.
Ah, my darling, if you could only be along, to-day! Never, never never was such a marvelous winter journey! For an hour or two we have been skirting Lake Champlain, & the landscape is too divinely beautiful for language to describe. You look miles & miles out over the frozen snow–white floor of the Lake, with the dazzling sun upon it, & huge blanket–shadows of the clouds gliding over it, & here & yonder a black speck on the remote level, & away on the far further shore a dim & dreamy range of mountains rises gradually up & disappears in a ragged, low-hanging leaden curtain of clouds. We have left the Lake, now, & are among rolling farms, clothed to the fence-tops with the blindingest white snow, & on every hand in the distance rise rugged mountains mottled with dark forest–patched & frothy fields of snow, all softened & enriched with a purple haze— & then the mountain–summits! they are as vague & spectal, away up there in the sky, as if you saw them through a veil of summer rain.

The Montreal Evening Star, p3: “Movements of Clemens and Cable.” A reporter was nearby when Sam chatted and toboganned with the college girls [Scharnhorst, Interviews 53-6]. (See Feb. 14 entry.) In the evening, Sam and Cable gave a reading in Town Hall, Saratoga, New York. Fatout reveals that “the Town Hall was so cold that the audience wrapped in ulsters and capes” [Circuit 228]. Clemens included: “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” and “A Ghost Story” [MTPO].

"As to Mark Twain, it is needless to say that he carried the house by storm with his dry, infectious and irresistible humor. There is more in most of Twain's jests and humorous turns than in those of many humorists, in that they are almost all reinforced by auxilliary [sic] or sub-jokes, an annex, as it were to each joke, so that you hardly catch the report of one and begin to enjoy it when, like an echo, or a reverberation, or rather, like a repeating rifle, along come other jokes following close on the heels of their file leaders, (our metaphor is a little mixed) and each one apparently healthier and heartier than its predecessor. He will string more wit, and jokes, and humor, and fun on a single climacteric sentence than any one that we know of. And what a style the man has. It inspires confidence in the absolute unreliability of what he is going to say, the moment he appears on the platform and gravely takes you in with his severely sober but twinkling glance. He makes you the confidant of his villainies and his trials in a way that you cannot resist, and when the cold-blooded wretch has compromised you, he has you at his mercy and you can't get away, and he knows it. The first thing he did last night was to gain the sympathy of his dupes by reciting to them his struggles with German genders. Then he gave the details and disasters of a “little game” that he attempted to practice on an unprotected female in Switzerland; and then he recounted his experience in Nevada as a “fighting editor,” which must have made some of the Saratoga fighters burn with jealousy as he displayed the bloodthirsty traits in his editorial character. The entertainment was concluded with a blood-curdling ghost story which fairly startled his audience out of their seats."

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