The Gilded Age; A Tale of Today (Hartford,1873) was a collaborative effort by Clemens and his friend and neighbor Charles Dudley Warner to write a contemporary novel satirizing American society and politics. "With their main plots staked out, Clemens and Warner began working like tunnel crews boring from opposite sides of the mountain ... Clemens wrote the first eleven chapters at white heat ... In general, as he [Clemens] like to say, he contributed the fact and Warner the fiction (Kaplan, Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, pp. 160–161). The present manuscript is a particularly important early chapter in which the main character, the promoter Colonel Sellers (modelled after Clemens's cousin), enthusiastically describes various get-rich quick schemes to the the gullible Washington Hawkins.
The manuscript was originally numbered "9" on the first page; this was altered first to "7" and finally to "8"; it was originally paginated 241 to 274, then renumbered201 to 234. Deletions include two sentences on page 204, a passage on page 225, and several words each on about a dozen pages. The name of the character Washington Hawkins is altered in every instance from "Frank" to "Washington."
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