224 F. Street, Washington,
January 8, 1868.
MY DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,
And so the old Major has been there, has he? I would like mighty well to see him. I was a sort of benefactor to him once. I helped to snatch him out when he was about to ride into a Mohammedan Mosque in that queer old Moorish town of Tangier, in Africa. If he had got in, the Moors would have knocked his venerable old head off, for his temerity.
I have just arrived from New York-been there ever since Christmas staying at the house of Dan Slote my Quaker City room-mate, and having a splendid time. Charley Langdon, Jack Van Nostrand, Dan and I, (all Quaker City night-hawks,) had a blow-out at Dan's' house and a lively talk over old times. We went through the Holy Land together, and I just laughed till my sides ached, at some of our reminiscences. It was the unholiest gang that ever cavorted through Palestine, but those are the best boys in the world. We needed Moulton badly. I started to make calls, New Year's Day, but I anchored for the day at the first house I came to--Charlie Langdon's sister was there (beautiful girl,) and Miss Alice Hooker, another beautiful girl, a niece of Henry Ward Beecher's. We sent the old folks home early, with instructions not to send the carriage till midnight, and then I just staid there and worried the life out of those girls. I am going to spend a few days with the Langdon's in Elmira, New York, as soon as I get time, and a few days at Mrs. Hooker's in Hartford, Conn., shortly.
Henry Ward Beecher sent for me last Sunday to come over and dine (he lives in Brooklyn, you know,) and I went. Harriet Beecher Stowe was there, and Mrs. and Miss Beecher, Mrs. Hooker and my old Quaker City favorite, Emma Beach.
We had a very gay time, if it was Sunday. I expect I told more lies than I have told before in a month.
I went back by invitation, after the evening service, and finished the blow-out, and then staid all night at Mr. Beach's. Henry Ward is a brick.
I found out at 10 o'clock, last night, that I was to lecture tomorrow evening and so you must be aware that I have been working like sin all night to get a lecture written. I have finished it, I call it "Frozen Truth." It is a little top-heavy, though, because there is more truth in the title than there is in the lecture.
But thunder, I mustn't sit here writing all day, with so much business before me.
Good by, and kind regards to all.
SAM L. CLEMENS.
[When in New York in January of 1868, Twain attended one of the Charles Dickens dramatic readings at Steinway Hall. He was a correspondent with the Alta California newspaper in San Francisco and he wrote this review of the evening. Twain, young , robust, and proud; Dickens, old, ailing, and proud. Both competing for the lecture limelight. See the previous letter posted here at Postman's Horn, December 26, from Dickens in New York. (Pepys)]
-from Mark Twain's Letters: 1867-1875 edited by Albert Bigelow Paine.