May 27 Friday June, early – By this time Sam was in St. Louis to find his way in the world. Paine writes he took a night boat to St. Louis. Sam likely stayed with his sister Pamela and found work as a typesetter. He vowed never to let a place trap him again.
Sam never truly left Hannibal—he carried it in his heart and memory and poured it out into The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Hannibal in those pages would become a universal boyhood home, an icon like the man himself. Sam would visit again in 1882 to gather material for Life on the Mississippi, and the last time in 1902. In many ways Sam Clemens would always be the boy of Hannibal—his wife Livy would call him “youth.”
“White town drowsing in the sunshine of a summers morning…the great Mississippi, the majestic, the magnificent Mississippi, rolling its mile-wide tide along, shining in the sun…”
Summer – St. Louis in the summer of 1853 was a burgeoning city of 100,000 souls, the largest city of the West. The city offered Western freedom together with many of the luxuries and affectations of the East. For a young man from Hannibal, such a city must have been dazzling. Sam had kept plans secret from his family, to work in St. Louis long enough to make fare to New York City. Sam had read stories about the World’s Fair there, The Crystal Palace Fair, and he’d included them in his Journal column. He probably stayed with the Moffetts and set type for the St. Louis Evening News.