Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
Bloodgood H. Cutter to
Samuel L. Clemens
29 March 1884 • Washington, D.C.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41834)
Full size in new window
Little Neck, Long Island March 29th 1884
Long Island Farmer. To his Friend and Pilgrim Brother Samuel L. Clemens, Esq
Friends, suggest in each ones behalf
To write, and ask your Autograph
To refuse that, I will not do,
After the long voyage had with you
That was a memorable time
You wrote in Prose, I wrote in Rhyme
To describe the wonders of each place
And the queer customs of each race
That is in my memory yet
For while I live not that forget.
I often think of that affair
And the many that were with us there
As your friends think it for the best
I ask your Autograph with the rest
Hoping you will it to me send
Twill please and cheer your dear old Friend
Bloodgood H Cutter
▮ Copy-text: The Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Bloodgood Haviland Cutter (1817–1906)
Bloodgood Cutter was a farmer and poet from Long Island. At the outset of the Quaker City voyage, Clemens described Cutter in his notebook as “fifty years old, & small of his age. He dresses in homespun, & is a simple minded, honest, old-fashioned farmer, with a strange proclivity for writing rhymes. He writes them on all possible subjects, & gets them printed on slips of paper, with his portrait at the head. These he will give to any man that comes along, whether he has anything against him or not” (N&J1, p. 344). Cutter considered himself the poet laureate of the excursion, leading Clemens to call him the “Poet Lariat” in Innocents Abroad, adopting Francis Eugene Andrews’s mispronunciation. In 1880 he called him a “mildewed idiot. His friends call him a lunatic—but that is pretty fulsome flattery; one cannot become a lunatic without first having brains” (30 April 1880 to Perkins, on MTPO); 31 March and 1 April 1869 to Fairbanks, L2, p. 185). In 1886 Cutter self-published a collection of his poems entitled The Long Island Farmer's Poems. His poems were never celebrated, yet he was a successful farmer: at his death his estate was worth $900,000.