495
495
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 46,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT
495
Clemens, Samuel L.
Estimate
12,00018,000
LOT SOLD. 46,875 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

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New York

Clemens, Samuel L.

Autograph manuscript, 3 pages (8 7/8 x 5 1/2  in.; 225 x 141 mm), written in pencil, numbered at top margins 214–216, approximately 230 words from the uncompleted novel Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians, [1884–1889?]. Accompanied by the original typed letter of transmittal signed by Clemens's daughter ("Clara Clemens Gabrilowitsch"), [Detroit,] 29 October 1932, to Mr. Russell: "I am sending you two [sic] pages of my father's M.S. in his own handwriting, for Mr. Tracey. As they were found among scattered bits of his writing I can not say surely whether they are from 'Tom Sawyer' or 'Huckleberry Finn', nor are they signed, but at least I can vouch for their being in Mark Twain's own handwriting.


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Catalogue Note

The pivotal section from the conclusion of the manuscript of Huck and Tom Among the Indians. In the final chapter of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain had the eponymous narrator reveal his plans for a sequel: "And then Tom he talked along and talked along, and says, let's all three slide out of here one of these nights and get an outfit, and go for howling adventures amongst the Injuns, over in the Territory, for a couple of weeks or two; and I says, all right, that suits me. ..."

Clemens did begin such a sequel, although it was never completed and remained unpublished until 1968. Clemens's biographer, Albert Bigelow Paine, wrote that Clemens started on the narrative in 1889, but Walter Blair, who edited the manuscript for publication, thought it more likely that Clemens began this story in 1884, almost immediately after completing Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The work is based partly on Clemens's personal experience of the West (which he had already explored in Roughing It) and partly on his reading.

Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians ran to more than 240 pages of manuscript, but breaks off after the ninth chapter. The present fragment falls near the end of chapter 9, at a point when Huck and Tom notice a shoe-print and realize that Peggy Mills—who they had told their travelling companion, Brace, they had buried—was alive and an Indian captive (p. 137 in the University of California edition, Hannibal, Huck and Tom):

"... for we could see plain enough it was Peggy's print, & was afraid he would see it himself, or think he did, any minute. His back warn't more than turned before me & Tom had tramped on the print once or twice—just enough to take the clearness out of it. ... Pretty soon we see him over yonder looking at something & we went there, & it was four stakes drove in the ground; & he looks us very straight & steady in the eyes, first me & then Tom, & then me again, till it got pretty sultry; then he says, cold & level, but just as if he'd been asking us a question: 'Well, I believe you. Come along.' ... Tom says: 'Huck, he's so afraid she's still alive, that it's just all he can do to believe that yarn of ours about burying her. And pretty soon, now, like enough, he'll find out she ain't dead, after all. ..."

Clemens was unable to take his narrative beyond this scene, as the scholar Walter Blair explained: "Paine says that 'at the end of Chapter IX Huck and Tom had got themselves into a predicament from which it was impossible to extricate them, and the plot was supended for further inspiration, which apparently never came.' In his notes of the fragment DeVoto defines the predicament—and it was Twain's rather than his characters'. The humorist, always prudish in his writings, had to deal with the fearful signs that Peggy Mills had been staked to the ground and then raped. Twain might have achieved a happy ending, to be sure, by having his characters discover that the stakes had been used for another purpose. ... But even so, Huck would have had to talk less ambiguously about rape than he does in the fragment—and Mark Twain probably decided this was impossible in a novel by him" (Mark Twain's Hannibal, Huck & Tom, ed. Blair, p. 91).

The major portion of the manuscript of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians—218 pages—is preserved in the Detroit Public Library, the gift of Clara Clemens; three other manuscript pages survive at the Mark Twain House and Museum, Hartford. However, 21 pages are missing from the manuscript at Detroit. At least one other of the missing leaves, like the present three, was dispersed as a relic by Clemens's daughter: page 192 of the manuscript was sent to a Robert McNeil of Roanoke and sold by us on 19 June 2008, lot 47. The text of the narrative, however, survives as well in galley proofs set on the Paige typesetting machine, and that text has provided the lacunae in the manuscript. Apart from the expansion of ampersands into the word "and," the published version of this fragment accords exactly with the manuscript.

With the complete manuscript of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn now in the Buffalo Public Library, the present leaf represents a very uncommon opportunity to obtain a Mark Twain manuscript written in the first-person voice of Huckleberry Finn.

THE JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: ARTS & SCIENCES, INCLUDING THE MARK TWAIN COLLECTION

|
New York