SAN F., Dec. 4, 1866. MY DEAR FOLKS,--I have written to Annie and Sammy and Katie some time ago--also, to the balance of you.
I called on Rev. Dr. Wadsworth last night with the City College man, but he wasn't at home. I was sorry, because I wanted to make his acquaintance. I am thick as thieves with the Rev. Stebbings, and I am laying for the Rev. Scudder and the Rev. Dr. Stone. I am running on preachers, now, altogether. I find them gay. Stebbings is a regular brick. I am taking letters of introduction to Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Tyng, and other eminent parsons in the east. Whenever anybody offers me a letter to a preacher, now I snaffle it on the spot. I shall make Rev. Dr. Bellows trot out the fast nags of the cloth for me when I get to New York. Bellows is an able, upright and eloquent man--a man of imperial intellect and matchless power--he is Christian in the truest sense of the term and is unquestionably a brick....
Gen. Drum has arrived in Philadelphia and established his head-quarters there, as Adjutant Genl. to Maj. Gen. Meade. Col. Leonard has received a letter from him in which he offers me a complimentary benefit if I will come there. I am much obliged, really, but I am afraid I shan't lecture much in the States.
The China Mail Steamer is getting ready and everybody says I am throwing away a fortune in not going in her. I firmly believe it myself.
I sail for the States in the Opposition steamer of the 5th inst., positively and without reserve. My room is already secured for me, and is the choicest in the ship. I know all the officers.
Yrs. Affy MARK.
We get no hint of his plans, and perhaps he had none. If his purpose was to lecture in the East, he was in no hurry to begin. Arriving in New York, after an adventurous voyage, he met a number of old Californians--men who believed in him--and urged him to lecture. He also received offers of newspaper engagements, and from Charles Henry Webb, who had published the Californian, which Bret Harte had edited, came the proposal to collect his published sketches, including the jumping Frog story, in book form. Webb himself was in New York, and offered the sketches to several publishers, including Canton, who had once refused the Frog story by omitting it from Artemus Ward's book. It seems curious that Canton should make a second mistake and refuse it again, but publishers were wary in those days, and even the newspaper success of the Frog story did not tempt him to venture it as the title tale of a book. Webb finally declared he would publish the book himself, and Clemens, after a few weeks of New York, joined his mother and family in St. Louis and gave himself up to a considerable period of visiting, lecturing meantime in both Hannibal and Keokuk.
Fate had great matters in preparation for him. The Quaker City Mediterranean excursion, the first great ocean picnic, was announced that spring, and Mark Twain realized that it offered a possible opportunity for him to see something of the world. He wrote at once to the proprietors of the Alta-California and proposed that they send him as their correspondent. To his delight his proposition was accepted, the Alta agreeing to the twelve hundred dollars passage money, and twenty dollars each for letters.