The Dan Slote of this letter is, of course, his old Quaker City shipmate, who was engaged in the blank-book business, the firm being Slote & Woodman, located at 119 and 121 William Street, New York.
LETTERS 1872-73. MARK TWAIN IN ENGLAND. LONDON HONORS. ACQUAINTANCE WITH DR. JOHN BROWN. A LECTURE TRIUMPH. "THE GILDED AGE"
Clemens did, in fact, sail for England on the given date, and was lavishly received there. All literary London joined in giving him a good time. He had not as yet been received seriously by the older American men of letters, but England made no question as to his title to first rank. Already, too, they classified him as of the human type of Lincoln, and reveled in him without stint. Howells writes: "In England, rank, fashion, and culture rejoiced in him. Lord Mayors, Lord Chief justices, and magnates of many kinds were his hosts."
He was treated so well and enjoyed it all so much that he could not write a book--the kind of book he had planned. One could not poke fun at a country or a people that had welcomed him with open arms. He made plenty of notes, at first, but presently gave up the book idea and devoted himself altogether to having a good time.
He had one grievance--a publisher by the name of Hotten, a sort of literary harpy, of which there were a great number in those days of defective copyright, not merely content with pilfering his early work, had reprinted, under the name of Mark Twain, the work of a mixed assortment of other humorists, an offensive volume bearing the title, Screamers and Eye-openers, by Mark Twain.
They besieged him to lecture in London, and promised him overflowing houses. Artemus Ward, during his last days, had earned London by storm with his platform humor, and they promised Mark Twain even greater success. For some reason, however, he did not welcome the idea; perhaps there was too much gaiety. To Mrs. Clemens he wrote:
LONDON, Sep. 15, 1872. Livy, darling, everybody says lecture-lecture-lecture--but I have not the least idea of doing it--certainly not at present. Mr. Dolby, who took Dickens to America, is coming to talk business to me tomorrow, though I have sent him word once before, that I can't be hired to talk here, because I have no time to spare.
There is too much sociability--I do not get along fast enough with work. Tomorrow I lunch with Mr. Toole and a Member of Parliament--Toole is the most able Comedian of the day. And then I am done for a while. On Tuesday I mean to hang a card to my keybox, inscribed--"Gone out of the City for a week"--and then I shall go to work and work hard. One can't be caught in a hive of 4,000,000 people, like this.