Mark Twain: A Biography, by Albert Bigelow Paine

Appendix H

Announcement for Lecture of July 2, 1868

(See Chapter lxvi)

THE PUBLIC TO MARK TWAIN-CORRESPONDENCE

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th.

MR. MARK TWAIN— DEAR SIR — Hearing that you are about to sail for New York in the P. M. S. S. Company’s steamer of the 6th July, to publish a book, and learning with the deepest concern that you propose to read a chapter or two of that book in public before you go, we take this method of expressing our cordial desire that you will not. We beg and implore you do not. There is a limit to human endurance.

We are your personal friends. We have your welfare at heart. We desire to see you prosper. And it is upon these accounts, and upon these only, that we urge you to desist from the new atrocity you contemplate. Yours truly,

60 names including: Bret Harte, Maj.-Gen. Ord, Maj.-Gen. Halleck, The Orphan Asylum, and various Benevolent Societies, Citizens on Foot and Horseback, and 1500 in the Steerage.

(REPLY)

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th

TO THE 1,500 AND OTHERS — It seems to me that your course is entirely unprecedented. Heretofore, when lecturers, singers, actors, and other frauds have said they were about to leave town, you have always been the very first people to come out in a card beseeching them to hold on for just one night more, and inflict just one more performance on the public, but as soon as I want to take a farewell benefit you come after me, with a card signed by the whole community and the board of aldermen, praying me not to do it. But it isn’t of any use. You cannot move me from my fell purpose. I will torment the people if I want to. I have a better right to do it than these strange lecturers and orators that come here from abroad. It only costs the public a dollar apiece, and if they can’t stand it what do they stay here for? Am I to go away and let them have peace and quiet for a year and a half, and then come back and only lecture them twice? What do you take me for?

No, gentlemen, ask of me anything else and I will do it cheerfully; but do not ask me not to afflict the people. I wish to tell them all I know about VENICE. I wish to tell them about the City of the Sea — that most venerable, most brilliant, and proudest Republic the world has ever seen. I wish to hint at what it achieved in twelve hundred years, and what it lost in two hundred. I wish to furnish a deal of pleasant information, somewhat highly spiced, but still palatable, digestible, and eminently fitted for the intellectual stomach. My last lecture was not as fine as I thought it was, but I have submitted this discourse to several able critics, and they have pronounced it good. Now, therefore, why should I withhold it?

Let me talk only just this once, and I will sail positively on the 6th of July, and stay away until I return from China — two years.

Yours truly, MARK TWAIN.

(FURTHER REMONSTRANCE)

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th.

MR. MARK TWAIN — Learning with profound regret that you have concluded to postpone your departure until the 6th July, and learning also, with unspeakable grief, that you propose to read from your forthcoming book, or lecture again before you go, at the New Mercantile Library, we hasten to beg of you that you will not do it. Curb this spirit of lawless violence, and emigrate at once. Have the vessel’s bill for your passage sent to us. We will pay it.

Your friends, Pacific Board of Brokers [and other financial and social institutions]

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th.

MR. MARK TWAIN— DEAR SIR — Will you start now, without any unnecessary delay?

Yours truly, Proprietors of the Alta, Bulletin, Times, Call, Examiner [and other San Francisco publications] .

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th.

MR. MARK TWAIN— DEAR SIR — Do not delay your departure. You can come back and lecture another time. In the language of the worldly — you can “cut and come again.”

Your friends, THE CLERGY.

SAN FRANCISCO, June 3oth.

MR. MARK TWAIN— DEAR SIR — You had better go.

Yours, THE CHIEF OF POLICE.

(REPLY)

SAN FRANCISCO, June 30th.

GENTLEMEN — Restrain your emotions; you observe that they cannot avail. Read:

NEW MERCANTILE LIBRARY
Bush Street

Thursday Evening, July 2, 1868
One Night Only

FAREWELL LECTURE
of
MARK TWAIN
Subject:
The Oldest of the Republics
VENICE
PAST AND PRESENT

Box-Office open Wednesday and Thursday
No extra charge for reserved seats

ADMISSION . . . . . . .  . . . . ONE DOLLAR Doors open at 7 Orgies to commence at 8 P. M.

The public displays and ceremonies projected to give fitting eclat to this occasion have been unavoidably delayed until the 4th. The lecture will be delivered certainly on the 2d, and the event will be celebrated two days afterward by a discharge of artillery on the 4th, a procession of citizens, the reading of the Declaration of Independence, and by a gorgeous display of fireworks from Russian Hill in the evening, which I have ordered at my sole expense, the cost amounting to eighty thousand dollars.

AT NEW MERCANTILE LIBRARY Bush Street Thursday Evening, July 2, 1868

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 20:05