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Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

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Charles Dudley Warner to Samuel L. Clemens
1 April 1884 • Hartford, Conn.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41997)

Hartford, April 1 1884

My Dear Mark,

I suppose you are bothered to death for your autograph, but I cannot resist the pleading of a little girl who wants it ever so much.[1] She has been reading Prince and Pauper, in fact I may say she is reading it and nothing else, night and day and over and over again, and I sympathise with her I confess in finding it always charming, and more clever than she knows.[2]

Yours Ever

Chas. Dudley Warner


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S. L. Clemens Esq | Farmington Ave. | City. [postmarked:] hartford conn. apr 2 84 3 pm

Explanatory Notes

1. Possibly a reference to his niece, Margaret Warner (1872–1931), to whom Clemens had inscribed a copy of The Prince and the Pauper on 10 February 1883. She was a close friend of the three Clemens girls. In March 1886 they presented an amateur production of a dramatic version of The Prince and the Pauper. [back]
2. Cable appended the following note to Warner's circular inviting him to participate in the joke: “I send also 20 extra circulars for you to mail to members of your Monday Club and other friends of Saint Mark in Hartford. I have mailed to no other person in Hartford except Mr. Twichell and your brother's wife [Mrs. George Warner]” (George W. Cable to Charles Dudley Warner, 27 March 1884, MS in NN-BGC). [back]

Textual Commentary

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

Persons Mentioned

Charles Dudley Warner  (1829–1900)

Essayist and novelist Charles Dudley Warner was one of Clemens's neighbors at Nook Farm in Hartford, and coauthor of The Gilded Age (1873). In the 1860s he was an editor of the Hartford Press, and then of the Hartford Courant, when the two papers merged. He joined the staff of Harper's Magazine in 1884 and was responsible for "The Editor's Drawer" feature until 1892, when he took on "The Editor's Study."

Joseph H. Twichell  (1838–1918)

Pastor of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford, Joseph Hopkins Twichell was one of Clemens's closest friends and advisors for some forty years. Twichell was often Clemens's traveling companion, joining him in Bermuda in 1877 (and again in 1907), and in Germany in 1878, while Clemens was working in fits and starts on A Tramp Abroad.