Autograph notes by Mark Twain, 1 page (8 1/4 x 5 1/4 in.; 210 x 135 mm), [no place, ca. 1883], 17 distinct entries separated by horizontal rules, totaling approximately 120 words, a few entries lightly identified in pencil by an unknown hand as referring to Roughing It or Life on the Mississippi, one entry identified by Clemens as referencing Old Time on the Mississippi, verso with a penciled list of German vocabulary words in an unknown hand; short tear at right margin.
Calvin Bullock (sale, Christie's, 19 December 1986, lot 49)
Notes for a reading or lecture. This somewhat eclectic series of notes was most likely prepared by Clemens as he planned a public reading. There are only three minor emendations and the topics are too scattered for it to have been a draft of an original work. The notes include "7 years medicine. Afraid I wouldn't live? No, afraid you would."; "Saw a man jump from Steamboat & drown." "Lem Gray—(O.T.M.) grand Chain 'Good-God!' (The Hayseed from Wiscon)"; "When Aleck Scott blew up, made stood with pistol, over life-boat."; "Sam Brown killed. Danced with woman"; "Farmer Pete & 6-fingers"; "Asleep at the wheel, foot of Wolf island."; "The romance of Aunt Polly's life—Dr. Greer."
Lem Gray was the pilot of the Mississippi steamboat Gold Dust. Clemens was his passenger in April 1882, and he let the former pilot take the wheel occasionally, "and leave me there to dream that the years had not slipped away; that there had been no war, no mining days, no literary adventures; that I was still a pilot, happy and care-free as I had been twenty years before" (quoted in Paine). Gray and the Gold Dust were lost in an explosion near Hickman, Kentucky, on 7 August 1882, which Clemens describes in chapter 37 of Life on the Mississippi. One of Clemens's few corrections also involves his piloting experience. In the winter of 1858-59 he served aboard the steamboat Aleck Scott. When referring to her in the present notes he began to call her the "Walter" Scott—undoubtedly because the Scots author was much on his mind, having been thoroughly excoriated in Life on the Mississippi.
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