Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Arrival of a New Century
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In Mark Twain and the Colonel, Philip McFarland tells the story of the rich years of American history between 1890 and 1910 through the fully engaged involvement of two of its most vital participants.
The narrative unfolds in six sections, each focusing on a different aspect of the United States of the early twentieth century that continues to matter to this day: America as an imperialist nation, America as a continental nation, America as a racial nation, America as a corporate nation, America at home, and America striving for peace.
In this short span of years, the America of the late nineteenth century will move substantially closer to the America we know today, thanks in part to the influence and actions of Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt, two of the most influential figures of the age.
to his friend Twichell, sleeping some, “is mostly very gay, not very often depressed; spends all day on the porch, sleeps there a part of the night, makes excursions in carriage and in wheel-chair; and, in the matter of superintending everything and everybody, has resumed business at the old stand.” August arrived; and the monkeys in Colombia (as an angry President Roosevelt referred to Colombians privately) rejected the treaty agreed on earlier with the United States, which would have allowed a
years vivid to the last as the supreme happiness of her life. Books and articles have been written that present Miss Lyon as devotedly loyal to Mark Twain, who, by the end, shamefully, woefully abused her. Books have also been written that portray her in darker hues. For Clara grew convinced that her father’s secretary was a schemer, angling to wed the great Mark Twain or, failing that, to squeeze whatever she could out of her privileged relationship. The slick Frank Ashcroft, co-holder of
offered to pay for the journey west if the elder Clemens, always in financial need, would let him come along as the secretary’s secretary. Thus on a Saturday morning in July 1861, at St. Joseph, Missouri, the two boarded a stagecoach at the start of a 1,700-mile journey across unsettled America to the Nevada territorial capital of Carson City. Sam was jubilant. This perpetual adolescent loved the gypsy-like leaving behind of responsibilities, the confronting of new adventures, new people, with no
Clara: “We are such a congenial family. It seems to me no one ever understands us as we understand each other. We do belong together,” not separated by thousands of miles as at present. And this, one more specimen: “England looms before me in the future,” Susy wrote, “beautiful and golden and alluring. When the time comes to start toward her, I will throw up up my hat!” “Do have a nice winter,” Clara for her part was urging her older sister, her Pigg, her Pea, her Sweet Pea, “and get your health
This was an era of stereopticons and hand-pushed carpet sweepers—these final years in the long reign of Queen Victoria—of bicycling and coal-fired kitchen ranges and cuspidors not yet entirely decorative, of ice-cream parlors and wooden Indians in front of tobacco shops, of parades and bunting that festooned a last great age of oratory, and of streets still most often gaslit at nighttime, the marvel of electric lights only just coming widely in. A few statistics, for acclimatization to a world