Mark Twain's Last Day in New York Before Leaving on the "Quaker City," Spent Drinking With Writers

June 8, 1867

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Mark Twain's Last Day in New York Before Leaving on the "Quaker City," Spent Drinking With Writers
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 1686

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      Background

      The night before Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) made his woozy way up the gangplank of the “Quaker City” to join the first organized pleasure party ever assembled for a transatlantic voyage, and so meet the 65 American pilgrims whom he would, along with himself, soon immortalize - he indulged in an nine-hour bender with chums and colleagues. Here is the record of that happy night.
       
      He went to dinner at 3 p.m. with “Miles O’Riley” (the Irish newspaperman Charles Graham Halpine) and John Russell Young, the managing editor of the Tribune. He drank wine, and then dined from 6 to 9 p.m. with John Murphy (the New York business agent for the Alte California), and
       
      drank several breeds of wine there, naturally enough; dined again from 9 till 12 at Mr. Slote’s, (my shipmate’s,) whom the same God made that made Jno Murphy—& mind you I say that such men as they are, are almighty scarce—you can shut your eyes & go forth at random in a strange land & pick out a son of a bitch a great deal easier;—drank much wine there, too… Now I feel good—I feel d—d good—& I could write a good correspondence—can, anyway, as soon as I get out of this most dismal town. You’ll see. Got an offer to-day for 3-months course of lectures next winter—$100 a night & no bother & no expense. How’s that?


      Autograph Letter Signed (“Mark”), 2 pages, recto and verso, octavo, New York City, New York, June 8, 1867. To John McComb.
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      New York June 8. 
      2 A.M. 

      Dear John --

      D -- n it I have intended all along to write you the night before sailing, but here it is within 12 hours of leaving & I have not been to bed or packed my trunk yet.  But I went to dinner at 3 P.M with “Private Miles O’Riley” & Jno Russell Young, Managing Editor of the Tribune (I am going to write for that -- I find the Weekly has 200,000 circulation) -- drank wine; dined from 6 to 9 at Jno Murphy’s (God made him, you know, & Mrs M. too,) -- drank several breeds of wine there, natu-

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      rally enough; dined again from 9 till 12 at Mr. Slote’s, (my shipmate’s,) whom the same God made that made Jno Murphy -- & mind you I say that such men as they are, are almighty scarce -- you can shut your eyes & go forth at random in a strange land & pick out a son of a bitch a great deal [text is crossed out] easier; -- drank much wine there, too.  So I am only just getting over it now.  Mr MacCrellish & I are to take Christmas dinner at Jno Murphy’s. 

      Now I feel good -- I feel d--d good -- & I could write a good correspondence -- can, anyway, as soon as I get out of this most dismal town.  You’ll see. Got an offer to-day for 3-months course of lectures next winter -- $100 a night & no bother & no expense.  How’s that? 

      John, I’ll write from Paris. God be with you

      Yrs fraternaly [sic]

      MARK.