Submitted by scott on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 09:53

Left  For the Amazon – New Orleans & Change of Plans – Bixby’s Influence

Official  Cub Pilot – Learning the Big Muddy

1857 –  Sometime during his stay in Keokuk Clemens saw Henry Clay Dean (1822-1887), eccentric philosopher who inspired Twain’s 1905  “The War Prayer.” In Ch. 57 of LM, Twain described Dean:

  Keokuk, a long time  ago, was an occasional loafing-place of that erratic genius, Henry Clay Dean. I  believe I never saw him but once; but he was much talked about when I lived  there. This is what was said of him:

He began life poor and  without education. But he educated himself—on the curbstones of Keokuk. He would sit down on a curbstone with his book, careless or unconscious of the  clatter of commerce and the tramp of the passing crowds, and bury himself in  his studies by the hour, never changing his position except to draw in his  knees now and then to let a dray pass unobstructed; and when his book was  finished, its contents, however abstruse, had been burned into his memory, and  were his permanent possession. In this way he acquired a vast hoard of all  sorts of learning, and had it pigeonholed in his head where he could put his  intellectual hand on it whenever it was wanted. [Note: see also  Rasmussen 107-8].
 

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Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.