Mark Twain
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Mark Twain Mark Twain

                           Mark Twain (1835-1910)

                                        Pseudonym of Samual langhorn Clemens

Early life

      Susy, Mark Twains daughter began the biography of her father when she
was fourteen years old. She begins in this way:
      We are a very happy family. We consists of papa,  Mama,  Jean,  Clara
and me
      Its a Papa I am wrihting  about.
      Papa has beautiful gray hair, not any too thick or any too  long,  but
just right, kind  blue eyes and  a  small  moustache.  In  short  he  is  an
extraordinary fine-looking man. He  is  a  very  funny  one.  He  does  tell
perfectly  delightful stories. Clara and I used to sit  on each arm  of  his
chair and listen while he told us stories.
      And that, in 1885, was the family of Mark Twain, whose real  name  was
Samual langhorn Clemens.
      Sam was born in a very small town  called  Florida  in  Missouri.  The
village contained a hundred people and Sam increased the  population  by  1
per cent.
      Most of the houses were of logs. Beyond and  beyond,  shining  in  the
sun, the Mississippi roled to the distant sea.
      The beside this river, Samual Clemens grew into his  boyhood.  He  saw
negrous chained like animals for transportation to richer slave  markets  to
the South. Sams father owned slaves. For a girl of fifteen he  paid  twelwe
dollars; for a woman of  twenty-five  he paid twenty-five  dollars;  for  a
strong negro woman of forty   he paid forty dollars.  All  the  negroes  of
his own age were good friends of Sam. The  young  boy  has  always  remember
these sad things. Better things he remembered  also.  He   remembered  below
the village woods a heavenly place where he played with the boys.
      When he was four Sams familly moved to Hannibal. Their  in  1849  his
father died. Before the funeral Sam promised to his mother to  be  a  better
boy, to go to work, and care for her.

His first job

      Sam soon had to live school and take a part time job as  delivery  and
errand boy for Hannibals newspaper; serving at  times  as  grocers  clerk,
blacksmiths helper and booksellers assistant.
      Always hungry, poor Sam filched onions and potatoes from  the  cellar,
cooking them over the printing-office stove.
      Sam decided he had had enough of such an  unhappy  life  and  went  to
work, as a skilled printer of fifteen, for his brother Orion  who  managed
a newspaper in Hannibal.
      Here Sam began his career writing humorous scetches,  published  in  a
comic weekly.
      One night Sam was reading the diary of an  Amazon  explorer.  He  read
about painted Indians shoting their poisoned arrows at tigers,  of  coloured
parrots and agile monkeys dancing in the high trees. Sam was  enchanted.  He
made up his mind to go to the head-waters of the  Amazon  and  collect  coco
from coco bushes and make a fortune.
      Here is what Sam learned about the coco  leaves:  The  leaf  of  this
plant is to the Indian of Peru what tobacco is to our  laboring  classes  is
to the South.
      From the night on the Amazon fever burnt in  Sam.  But  poor  Sam  was
      One winter day Sam was walking down the  street.  A  strong  wind  was
blowing. Suddenly a small paper whirling on the pavement caught his eye.  He
picked it up. It was a fifty dollar bancnote( What  a  wonderful  piece  of
luck, he thoght.
      Sam gave an advertisment about his find  and  waited.  As  nobody  was
looking for it, the boy left after some days for Amazon, with fifty  dollars
in his pocket.
      He bought a ticket to new Orleans. The streamer Paul Jones took him to
the country of coco leaves.
      At New Orleans Sam asked about ships leaving to Para, the mouth of the
Amazon, only to learn that no ships was expected to sail for that part.
      He had but ten dollars left. The dream of macking s fortune was over(

Pilot on Mississippi

      One  of the pilot of the Paul Jones made a pilot out of Sam.  It   was
in April 1857 that he started his four years of life on  the  Mississippi  
his pilot days.
      For seven month Sam trained a cub pilot. The training went on and  on.
All signs of the sky were very important to him; at night  and  in  fog  new
dangers came: cool bargers, floating logs...
      Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me, it was  play  
delightful play, adventures play  and I loved it.
      Sam listened to the Mississippi  leadmans call:
      M-a-r-k three( M-a-r-k twain(
      On the twenty-third birthday he got a pilots license,  and  took  the
name of Mark Twain.
      Sam was happy, and life was beautiful. He played the piano, sang songs
of the river; he was gay and everybody liked him.
      It was as  pilot that Mark Twain learned to know human nature  of  the
world round him.
      When in 1861 the ivil War broke  out  steamboating  ceased  and  Mark
Twain was left without work.

Writer again

      So he went back at his old  trade as a writer for newspaper, writing a
humorist scetches.
      Now he was in Nevada with his brother Orion who was the new  secretary
of Nevada Territory. Sam, as eager as any for a fast fortune decided  to  go
to the newly discovered Esmeralda mines to find his own mine.
      He had expected to  see  silver  lying  loose  upon  the  ground.  The
dissapointed was bitter. Weeks of winter went by, and Sams provisions  were
      Sam was twenty-six. A year of looking for silver had  brought  him  no
fortune  he found none.  He  lived  like  twenty  thousand  other  men.  He
observed them and wrote about them.
      In 1863 Sam invited to Virginia City to work  as  a  reporter  on  the
Territorial Enterprise, a daily paper.
      At the time when Sam arrived in Virginia City,  there was no town like
it in America. It was fantastically rich. Money burnt in every pocket.  Most
of the people in the town  were  miners.  Every  man  carried  a  gun  or  a
revolver. There were often street fights.
      Sam, with miners beard, uncut hair, a blue  woolen  shirt  on  and  a
revolver at his belt which he couldnt manage, learned his new job.  He  had
to fill two collumns a day with local news.
      He wrote about the big mines,  about  the  desperados  fighting  among
themselves, about murders which were commited at all hours of  the  day  and
night. Some of the desperadors were arrested, but never punished.  They  had
a law of their own. Sams news became very popular.
      One day the editor-in-chief  of  the  Enterprise  went  for  a  weeks
holiday and Sam had to take his place. He had  no  intention  of   provoking
the owner of a rival paper but as dueling became  very  fashionable  in  the
Territory  of  Nevada  the  editor,  Mr.  Laird  ,  took  advantage  of  the
oppotunity an insisted on a duel.
      Sam was known as a hopeless ahot.
      At four oclock in the morning of the appointed  dueling  day,  Steve,
Sams friend, took him a mile from town and taught him to fire a revolver.
      Take all the risk getting murder but dont run any risk of  murdering
him. Aim at his legs. Aim below the knee; kripple him, but  leave  the  rest
of him to his mother.
      Poor Sam was shooting at a barn door but he couldnt hit it.
      Now  just at this moment a little bird, no bigger than a sparrow, flew
along about thirty yards away. Steve whipped out his revolver ande shot  its
head off. They ran down to pick up the bird and just  then,  Mr.  Laird  and
his second came and saw the bird with its head shot off. Laird lost  colour,
and asked about who had done it. Steve spoke up, and said quit  calmly  that
Clemens did it.
      So Laird and his second said good morning and went home. Laird sent  a
note decklning to fight a duel with Sam. Thanks to the  liittle  bird  Sam;s
life was saved.

The rambler

      Sam was twenty-nine, and had  earned  his  own  living  since  he  was
twelve. He had been a printer, a pilot, a miner, and a newspaper man.
      At just this time, the  Pacific  Steamboat  Company  began  a  regular
passenger service between sun Francisco and Honolulu.  Sam  took  the  trip,
paying for it with letters as a  special  correspondent  of  the  Sacramento
      Now he would travel arround the world,  and  he  would  write  of  the
places he saw  and the people he meet.
      He rode horseback  two  hundred  miles  over  the  island  of  Hawaii,
throught the coffee, sugar and orange region of Kona.
      Sam had found the work which suited him best: he could ramble as  much
as he liked, and write funny letters to many newspapers to make the  readers
laugh till their sides ached.

Dear, dear livy

      The Langdons had been a happy family until the day  of  the  accident.
Livy, their daughter, fell on the ice and a partial paralysis followed.  For
two years after the accident, Livy lay in her  bed. She was unable  even  to
sit up.
      Then came a new, famous doctor and said to Livy,
      Now we will sit up my child. Then he added Take a step. Take just a
      Livy stood on her feet, with doctors help.
      It was like a dream for the poor girl!
      And from this day on Livys  health  was  steadily  improwing.  Livys
brother, Carsley Langdon,  had  gone  off  on  a  sea  voyage.  One  of  his
companions was the well-known newspaper  correspondent  who  called  himself
Mark Twain, the author of many scetches that were making him famous.
      The Langdons were spending the Cristmas holiday in 1867  in  New  York
City. Twain was a on this way to his first meeting with Livy.
      Now Livy was twenty-two. She was a small delicate  girl  with  serious
dark eyes and black hair. She was  lovely.
      Sam was introduced to the mother and the father and to the sweet  and
timid and lovely girl. He was head over heels in love with Livy. After  the
first visit he got a standing invitation to the Langdons home in Elmira.
      During the nights he was writing and soon as he was  free,  immedietly
he ran to the Langdons
      Livy and Sam were married on the 2nd of February, 1870. The  next  day
they went to Buffalo where Sam bought a share in newspaper.  Jervis  Langdon
had bought and furnished a new and beautiful house for the young  couple  in
a fashionable street in Buffalo. The rambler finally had to settle-down.
      Sam worked a lot, editing Buffalo Express, writing for  the  New  York
magazines, and collecting material fo a new book Roughing It  the story  of
his Nevada mining and newspaper days. It was published when  he  was  thity-
six. It was a great success.

 Happy years

      The twenty years between 1875 and  1894  were  the  happiest  and  the
wealthiest for Samuel Clemens. He wrote his best  book  in  Hartford,  in  a
wonderful house built  for him and his family.  The  rooms  were  large  and
always gay with company and friends.
      Here was born Clara, and here in June, 1874,  Sam  began  one  of  his
dreatest books  the Adventures of Tom  Sawer    the  book  about   his  own
childhood. In 1880, Mark Twain finished the Prience  and the Pauper. In  the
preface whe writes:
      It may be history, it may be only legend. It may have happend, it may
not have happend: but it could have happend.
      The book is dedicated to: Those good-mannered and  agreeable  chidren
Susy and Clara Clemens.
      Susy writes in his fathers biography: One of the papas latest  books
is the Prience  and the Pauper  and  it  is  the  best  book  he  haas  ever
written. The book is full of lovely, charming ideas. Oh, it is so funny  and
nice! Papa seldom writes a passage without some humor in it.
      The  books  mark  Twain  wrotes  for  chidren,  he  wrote  with  great
      Mark Twain was writing and lecturing. At home he was a loving  father,
playing jokes on his children, telling them stories. To his family  and  old
friends he was always Sam.  His ftiends never used his pen name of   Mark

The tragic end

      When Sam was in England Susy died in Hartford. The last thirteen  days
Susy was very ill. She refused to see a doctor. Then came  a  sudden  change
for the worse. When the doctor came it was  too  late.  The  poor  girl  was
unconscious during three days. The brain fever was raging.
      The last word Susan spoke was Mamma  that was Susys good bye.  She
was twenty four years old. For the parentsit was terrible shock.  The  loved
her dearly. A few days after Susy was buried in  Elmira,  Livy  sailed  with
Clara and Jean, the youngest daughter, for  Endland  and  Italy.  The  never
lived in the Hartford house again.
      When the thirty four annivesary came livy was  very  ill.  Her  heart
soon began to alarm her. She went to bed and Sam was  allowed  to  see  her
five minites a day.
      One day Sam, Clara and Jean came to say her  good night. The found her
silent. Sam bent over her. She was dead.
      She was my life and she is gone; ahe  was  my  riches,  and  I  am  a
      They sailed for home to bury Livy in Elmira, beside Susy. In this  34
days we have made many voyages together, Livy dear, and now  we  are  making
our last.
      In the morning of Cristmas night in 1909, Jean Clemens died.  Ther  in
her bathroom she lay,  the  fair  young  creature.  The  poor  girl  was  an
      I shall never write any more. It was as Sam Clemens said. The  death
of Jean was Mark Twains last work.
      I lost Susy thirteen years ago; I lost her mother  her  incomporable
mother!  five and a half years ago; Clara has gone away to live in  Europe;
and now I have lost Jean. Now poor I am, who was the once rich.
      Now, he was alone and he was ill. Clara annd  her  husbund  came  back
from Europe and they were with their dying father the lust few days.
      Death, the most precious of all gift  he welcomed without fear. Late
in the afternoon on the 21st of April, 1910, Samuel Clemens died at the  age
of seventy-four. At Elmira, next to Livy and Susy and Jean, Sam Clemens  was
buried. For him, the great American Humonist, who had made the world  laugh,
the sad pilgrimage was ended.

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