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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

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Charles G. Whiting to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Springfield, Mass.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41983)

The Republican

Established in 1824, by Samuel Bowles.

Daily. Sunday. Weekly.

Springfield, Mass. Mar 31 188 4

Mr Samuel L. Clemens

Dear Sir

If you can spend time to let me know whether you really had any ^traditional^ grounds for your pretty story of Edward Sixth's interchange of identity with a boy of the slums, I should be glad to hear^have^ a line from you.[1] I have maintained that you invented the whole thing.[2]

Yours Truly

Charles G. Whiting


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Samuel L. Clemens, Esq | Hartford | Conn [return address:] The Republican, | Springfield, Mass. [postmarked:] springfield mass. apr 1 7 am 1884 [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Whiting

Explanatory Notes

1. In the Sun interview, Clemens cites this sort of pretext for winning a reply from an author as "too thin." [back]
2. See the review of The Prince and the Pauper (“Current Literature,” Springfield Republican 19 December 1881, 5), which may well be the work of Whiting, who was the literary editor of the Republican at the time. The reviewer notes: “The plot has an originality in the midst of familiar stage devices, which makes the book a work of genius.” [back]

Textual Commentary

Copy-text:MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).

Persons Mentioned

Charles G. Whiting  (1842–1922)

Charles Goodrich Whiting had a long association, beginning in 1868, with the Springfield Republican as a writer (and, after 1874, as literary editor) of bucolic essays and poems in his Sunday column “The Saunterer.” He was elected to the Authors Club of New York in 1888. Cable's first reading of his 1883 tour was in Springfield, and a very favorable review, possibly written by Whiting, appeared in the Republican on 22 November.