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known. All this was original; it was Mark later work, “A Yankee at King Arthur's Twain.
Court,” was extravagant and grotesque About this time, I think it was,-say in enough to satisfy the most exacting of his the latter part of 1867 or the first of 1868, – admirers. Mark Twain published his first book, "The During the summer of that year, while Jumping Frog of Calaveras." In later years, Clemens was in the Eastern States, there the question as to the originality of that cele- came to us a statement, through the medium brated tale has provoked much controversy of the Associated Press, that he was preparamong authors and antiquarians. It was ing for publication his letters which had been then a classic of the mining-camps, rehearsed printed in the “ Alta California.” The proaround camp-fires and in convivial gather- prietors of that newspaper were wroth. ings, very much as the Homeric legends and They regarded the letters as their private the sagas of the Norseland were told to property. Had they not bought and paid for thrilled listeners. But, so far as I am aware, them? Could they have been written if they it had never been printed, although a learned had not furnished the money to pay the expundit has found in Greek literature the penses of the writer? And although up to seminal principle of the story. As soon as that moment there had been no thought of "The Jumping Frog” made its appearance making in San Francisco a book of Mark in a printed book, there were many claimants Twain's letters from abroad, the proprietors for the credit of its invention. One of these of the “Alta California" began at once their was Samuel Seabough, the editor of a news- preparations to get out a cheap paper-covpaper published in San Joaquin County; and ered edition of those contributions. An adhe honestly believed that he was the origi- vance notice in the press despatches sent nator of a legend that, as we now know, is from California was regarded as a sort of older than the art of printing, but which was answer to the alleged challenge of Mark given the immortality of print by the man Twain and his publishers. This sent the perwho is now generally credited with its actual plexed author hurrying back to San Franauthorship.
cisco in quest of an ascertainment of his real In July, 1868, a literary magazine, the rights in his own letters. Amicable counsels “Overland Monthly,” was first published in prevailed. The cheap San Francisco edition San Francisco. Bret Harte was the editor of the book was abandoned, and Mark Twain of this new and audacious publication in the was allowed to take possession of his unvery materialistic city of the Golden Gate; doubted copyright, and his book of letters, and as he did not think himself quite equal entitled “The Innocents Abroad,” was pubto the requirements of the work, William lished in the latter part of that year-1868. C. Bartlett (of the "Evening Bulletin ") Bret Harte has continued to work the rich and I were conscripted from our respective vein which he uncovered in California. With desks to act as assistants and advisers. I re- loyalty to his first ideals, he has again and member very well the disappointment with again returned to the scenery, traditions, which we read Mark Twain's contribution to and human characteristics of California's the first number of the new magazine. It earliest days. Mark Twain's stay in the was entitled “By Rail through France," and Golden State was briefer than Harte's, and did not show a gleam of that humor which foreign travel has opened to him new fields had given him so much vogue through his for the employment of his genius. He has newspaper letters. Subsequent numbers of laid under contribution all history, all tradithe magazine showed fruits of his literary tion, all human experience. If he occasionindustry, but it was not until the October ally harks back to Nevada and California, it number appeared that he delighted his read- is only to give us a casual glimpse into a ers with a goodly show of his genius. Cer- career that has been crowded full of adventainly that paper, “A Medieval Romance," ture, study, and close observation of men which may have suggested the lines of his and manners.
FROM THE “LONDON TIMES” OF 1904.
BY MARK TWAIN.
Even his financial supporter regarded it
merely as a curious and interesting toy. Correspondence of the “London Times."
Indeed, he was so convinced of this that he CHICAGO, April 1, 1904. had actually postponed its use by the genRESUME by cable-telephone eral world to the end of the dying century where I left off yesterday. by granting a two years' exclusive lease of For many hours, now, this it to a syndicate, whose intent was to exploit vast city-along with the rest it at the Paris World's Fair. of the globe, of course-has When we entered the smoking-room we talked of nothing but the found Lieutenant Clayton and Szczepanik
extraordinary episode men- engaged in a warm talk over the telelectrotioned in my last report. In accordance scope in the German tongue. Clayton was with your instructions, I will now trace the saying: romance from its beginnings down to the “Well, you know my opinion of it, anyculmination of yesterday-or to-day; call it way!” and he brought his fist down with which you like. By an odd chance, I was a emphasis upon the table. personal actor in a part of this drama my And I do not value it,” retorted the young self. The opening scene plays in Vienna. inventor, with provoking calmness of tone Date, one o'clock in the morning, March 31, and manner. 1898. I had spent the evening at a social Clayton turned to Mr. K., and said: entertainment. About midnight I went “ I cannot see why you are wasting money away, in company with the military attachés on this toy. In my opinion, the day will never of the British, Italian, and American em- come when it will do a farthing's worth of bassies, to finish with a late smoke. This real service for any human being.” function had been appointed to take place "That may be; yes, that may be; still, I in the house of Lieutenant Hillyer, the third have put the money in it, and am content. I attaché mentioned in the above list. When think, myself, that it is only a toy; but we arrived there we found several visitors Szczepanik claims more for it, and I know in the room: young Szczepanik;' Mr. K., his him well enough to believe that he can see financial backer; Mr. W., the latter's secre- farther than I can-either with his telelectary; and Lieutenant Clayton of the United troscope or without it." States army. War was at that time threat The soft answer did not cool Clayton ening between Spain and our country, and down; it seemed only to irritate him the Lieutenant Clayton had been sent to Europe more; and he repeated and emphasized his on military business. I was well acquainted conviction that the invention would never do with young Szczepanik and his two friends, any man a farthing's worth of real service. and I knew Mr. Clayton slightly. I had met He even made it a “brass” farthing, this him at West Point years before, when he time. Then he laid an English farthing on was a cadet. It was when General Merritt the table, and added: was superintendent. He had the reputation "Take that, Mr. K., and put it away; and of being an able officer, and also of being if ever the telelectroscope does any man an quick-tempered and plain-spoken.
actual service,-mind, a real service, - please This smoking-party had been gathered mail it to me as a reminder, and I will take together partly for business. This business back what I have been saying. Will you?" was to consider the availability of the tel “I will ”; and Mr. K. put the coin in his electroscope for military service. It sounds pocket. oddly enough now, but it is nevertheless true Mr. Clayton now turned toward Szczethat at that time the invention was not taken panik, and began with a taunt-a taunt seriously by any one except its inventor. which did not reach a finish; Szczepanik in
1 Pronounced (approximately) Zepannik. terrupted it with a hardy retort, and followed
this with a blow. There was a brisk fight for in the beginning of the present year, and the a moment or two; then the attachés separated execution-day postponed to March 31. the men.
The governor's situation has been emThe scene now changes to Chicago. Time, barrassing, from the day of the condemnathe autumn of 1901. As soon as the Paris tion, because of the fact that Clayton's wife contract released the telelectroscope, it was is the governor's niece. The marriage took delivered to public use, and was soon con- place in 1899, when Clayton was thirty-four nected with the telephonic systems of the and the girl twenty-three, and has been a whole world. The improved “limitless-dis- happy one. There is one child, a little girl tance” telephone was presently introduced, three years old. Pity for the poor mother and the daily doings of the globe made visi- and child kept the mouths of grumblers ble to everybody, and audibly discussable, closed at first; but this could not last fortoo, by witnesses separated by any number ever,-for in America politics has a hand in of leagues.
everything, -and by and by the governor's By and by Szczepanik arrived in Chicago. political opponents began to call attention to Clayton (now captain) was serving in that his delay in allowing the law to take its military department at the time. The two course. These hints have grown more and men resumed the Viennese quarrel of 1898. more frequent of late, and more and more On three different occasions they quarreled, pronounced. As a natural result, his own and were separated by witnesses. Then came party grew nervous. Its leaders began to an interval of two months, during which time visit Springfield and hold long private conSzczepanik was not seen by any of his ferences with him. He was now between two friends, and it was at first supposed that he fires. On the one hand, his niece was implorhad gone off on a sight-seeing tour and ing him to pardon her husband; on the other would soon be heard from. But no; no word were the leaders, insisting that he stand to came from him. Then it was supposed that his plain duty as chief magistrate of the he had returned to Europe. Still, time drifted State, and place no further bar to Clayton's on, and he was not heard from. Nobody was execution. Duty won in the struggle, and troubled, for he was like most inventors and the governor gave his word that he would other kinds of poets, and went and came in not again respite the condemned man. This a capricious way, and often without notice. was two weeks ago. Mrs. Clayton now said:
Now comes the tragedy. On the 29th of “Now that you have given your word, my December, in a dark and unused compart- last hope is gone, for I know you will never ment of the cellar under Captain Clayton's go back from it. But you have done the best house, a corpse was discovered by one of you could for John, and I have no reproaches Clayton's maid-servants. It was easily iden- for you. You love him, and you love me, and tified as Szczepanik's. The man had died by we both know that if you could honorably violence. Clayton was arrested, indicted, and save him, you would do it. I will go to him brought to trial, charged with this murder. now, and be what help I can to him, and get The evidence against him was perfect in what comfort I may out of the few days that every detail
, and absolutely unassailable. are left to us before the night comes which Clayton admitted this himself. He said that will have no end for me in life. You will be a reasonable man could not examine this with me that day? You will not let me bear testimony with a dispassionate mind and not it alone?” be convinced by it; yet the man would be in “I will take you to him myself, poor child, error, nevertheless. Clayton swore that he and I will be near you to the last.” did not commit the murder, and that he had By the governor's command, Clayton was had nothing to do with it.
now allowed every indulgence he might ask As your readers will remember, he was for which could interest his mind and soften condemned to death. He had numerous and the hardships of his imprisonment. His wife powerful friends, and they worked hard to and child spent the days with him; I was his save him, for none of them doubted the truth companion by night. He was removed from of his assertion. I did what little I could to the narrow cell which he had occupied durhelp, for I had long since become a close ing such a dreary stretch of time, and given friend of his, and thought I knew that it was the chief warden's roomy and comfortable not in his character to inveigle an enemy quarters. His mind was always busy with into a corner and assassinate him. During the catastrophe of his life, and with the 1902 and 1903 he was several times reprieved slaughtered inventor, and he now took the by the governor; he was reprieved once more fancy that he would like to have the telelec
troscope and divert his mind with it. He had dying down into moanings and wailings his wish. The connection was made with the about the eaves and angles; now and then a international telephone-station, and day by gnashing and lashing rush of sleet along the day, and night by night, he called up one window-panes; and always the muffled and corner of the globe after another, and looked uncanny hammering of the gallows-builders upon its life, and studied its strange sights, in the courtyard. After an age of this, anand spoke with its people, and realized that other sound-far off, and coming smothered by grace of this marvelous instrument he was and faint through the riot of the tempestalmost as free as the birds of the air, al- a bell tolling twelve! Another age, and it though a prisoner under locks and bars. He tolled again. By and by, again. A dreary, seldom spoke, and I never interrupted him long interval after this, then the spectral when he was absorbed in this amusement. I sound floated to us once more-one, two, sat in his parlor and read and smoked, and three; and this time we caught our breath: the nights were very quiet and reposefully sixty minutes of life left! sociable, and I found them pleasant. Now Clayton rose, and stood by the window, and then I would hear him say, “Give me and looked up into the black sky, and lisYedo"; next, “Give me Hong-Kong"; next, tened to the thrashing sleet and the piping “Give me Melbourne.” And I smoked on, and wind; then he said: “That a dying man's read in comfort, while he wandered about the last of earth should be--this!” After a remote under-world, where the sun was shin- little he said: “I must see the sun againing in the sky, and the people were at their the sun!” and the next moment he was fedaily work. Sometimes the talk that came verishly calling: “China! Give me China from those far regions through the micro- Peking!” phone attachment interested me, and I I was strangely stirred, and said to myself: listened.
“To think that it is a mere human being who Yesterday- I keep calling it yesterday, does this unimaginable miracle-turns winwhich is quite natural, for certain reasons ter into summer, night into day, storm into the instrument remained unused, and that, calm, gives the freedom of the great globe also, was natural, for it was the eve of the to a prisoner in his cell, and the sun in his execution-day. It was spent in tears and naked splendor to a man dying in Egyptian lamentations and farewells. The governor darkness!” and the wife and child remained until a I was listening. quarter past eleven at night, and the scenes “What light! what brilliancy! what radiI witnessed were pitiful to see. The execu- ance! ... This is Peking?” tion was to take place at four in the morning. “Yes." A little after eleven a sound of hammering "The time?” broke out upon the still night, and there was “Mid-afternoon." a glare of light, and the child cried out, "What is the great crowd for, and in “What is that, papa?” and ran to the win- such gorgeous costumes? What masses and dow before she could be stopped, and clapped masses of rich color and barbaric magnifiher small hands, and said: “Oh, come and see, cence! And how they flash and glow and mama-such a pretty thing they are mak- burn in the flooding sunlight! What is the ing!” The mother knew--and fainted. It occasion of it all?” was the gallows!
“ The coronation of our new emperor-the She was carried away to her lodging, poor Czar.” woman, and Clayton and I were alone-alone, “But I thought that that vas to take and thinking, brooding, dreaming. We might place yesterday." have been statues, we sat so motionless and “This is yesterday-to you.”. still. It was a wild night, for winter was come "Certainly it is. But my mind is confused, again for a moment, after the habit of this these days; there are reasons for it. ... Is region in the early spring. The sky was this the beginning of the procession?” starless and black, and a strong wind was “Oh, no; it began to move an hour ago.” blowing from the lake. The silence in the "Is there much more of it still to come?” room was so deep that all outside sounds "Two hours of it. Why do you sigh?” seemed exaggerated by contrast with it. “Because I should like to see it all." These sounds were fitting ones; they harmo “And why can't you?” nized with the situation and the conditions: "I have to go-presently." the boom and thunder of sudden storm-gusts “ You have an engagement?” among the roofs and chimneys, then the After a pause, softly: “Yes.” After an
other pause: “Who are these in the splendid procession! The next moment I was leaning pavilion?”
out of the window, gasping, suffocating, try" The imperial family, and visiting royal- ing to speak, but dumb from the very imties from here and there and yonder in the minence of the necessity of speaking. The earth."
preacher could speak, but I, who had such “And who are those in the adjoining need of wordspavilions to the right and left?”
And may God have mercy upon your soul. “Ambassadors and their families and Amen." suites to the right; unofficial foreigners to The sheriff drew down the black cap, and the left."
laid his hand upon the lever. I got my voice. “ If you will be so good, I—"
“Stop, for God's sake! The man is innoBoom! That distant bell again, tolling cent. Come here and see Szczepanik face to the half-hour faintly through the tempest of face!” wind and sleet. The door opened, and the Hardly three minutes later the governor governor and the mother and child entered had my place at the window, and was saying: -the woman in widow's weeds! She fell “Strike off his bonds and set him free!” upon her husband's breast in a passion of Three minutes later all were in the parlor sobs, and I–I could not stay; I could not again. The reader will imagine the scene; I bear it. I went into the bedchamber, and have no need to describe it. It was a sort of closed the door. I sat there waiting-wait- mad orgy of joy. ing-waiting, and listening to the rattling A messenger carried word to Szczepanik sashes and the blustering of the storm. in the pavilion, and one could see the disAfter what seemed a long, long time, I tressed amazement dawn in his face as he heard a rustle and movement in the parlor, listened to the tale. Then he came to his end and knew that the clergyman and the sheriff of the line, and talked with Clayton and the and the guard were come. There was some governor and the others; and the wife poured low-voiced talking; then a hush; then a out her gratitude upon him for saving her prayer, with a sound of sobbing; presently, husband's life, and in her deep thankfulness footfalls--the departure for the gallows; she kissed him at twelve thousand miles' then the child's happy voice: “Don't cry range. nou, mama, when we've got papa again, and The telelectrophonoscopes of the globe taking him home.”
were put to service now, and for many hours The door closed; they were gone. I was the kings and queens of many realms (with ashamed: I was the only friend of the dying here and there a reporter) talked with Szczeman that had no spirit, no courage. I panik, and praised him; and the few scientific stepped into the room, and said I would be societies which had not already made him an a man and would follow. But we are made honorary member conferred that grace upon as we are made, and we cannot help it. I him. did not go.
How had he come to disappear from among I fidgeted about the room nervously, and us? It was easily explained. He had not presently went to the window, and softly grown used to being a world-famous person, raised it, -drawn by that dread fascination and had been forced to break away from the which the terrible and the awful exert, - and lionizing that was robbing him of all privacy looked down upon the courtyard. By the and repose. So he grew a beard, put on colgarish light of the electric lamps I saw the ored glasses, disguised himself a little in little group of privileged witnesses, the wife other ways, then took a fictitious name, and crying on her uncle's breast, the condemned went off to wander about the earth in peace. man standing on the scaffold with the halter Such is the tale of the drama which around his neck, his arms strapped to his began with an inconsequential quarrel in body, the black cap on his head, the sheriff Vienna in the spring of 1898, and came at his side with his hand on the drop, the near ending as a tragedy in the spring of clergyman in front of him with bare head 1904.
MARK TWAIN. and his book in his hand.
“ I am the resurrection and the life—”
I turned away. I could not listen; I could not look. I did not know whither to go or
Correspondence of the “ London Times." what to do. Mechanically, and without know
CHICAGO, April 5, 1904. ing it, I put my eye to that strange instru-TO-DAY, by a clipper of the Electric Line, ment, and there was Peking and the Czar's and the latter's Electric Railway connec