’Twas a pretty one for you to undertake. I don’t know

Please find enclosed and acknowledge receipt of--$20.00 In haste SAM L. CLEMENS

’Twas a pretty one for you to undertake. I don’t know

It should be said, perhaps, that when he became pilot Jane Clemens had released her son from his pledge in the matter of cards and liquor. This license did not upset him, however. He cared very little for either of these dissipations. His one great indulgence was tobacco, a matter upon which he was presently to receive some grave counsel. He reports it in his next letter, a sufficiently interesting document. The clairvoyant of this visit was Madame Caprell, famous in her day. Clemens had been urged to consult her, and one idle afternoon concluded to make the experiment. The letter reporting the matter to his brother is fragmentary, and is the last remaining to us of the piloting period.

’Twas a pretty one for you to undertake. I don’t know

Fragment of a letter to Orion Clemens, in Keokuk, Iowa:

’Twas a pretty one for you to undertake. I don’t know

NEW ORLEANS February 6, 1862. .....She's a very pleasant little lady--rather pretty--about 28,--say 5 feet 2 and one quarter--would weigh 116--has black eyes and hair--is polite and intelligent--used good language, and talks much faster than I do.

She invited me into the little back parlor, closed the door; and we were alone. We sat down facing each other. Then she asked my age. Then she put her hands before her eyes a moment, and commenced talking as if she had a good deal to say and not much time to say it in. Something after this style:

MADAME. Yours is a watery planet; you gain your livelihood on the water; but you should have been a lawyer--there is where your talents lie: you might have distinguished yourself as an orator, or as an editor; you have written a great deal; you write well--but you are rather out of practice; no matter--you will be in practice some day; you have a superb constitution, and as excellent health as any man in the world; you have great powers of endurance; in your profession your strength holds out against the longest sieges, without flagging; still, the upper part of your lungs, the top of them is slightly affected--you must take care of yourself; you do not drink, but you use entirely too much tobacco; and you must stop it; mind, not moderate, but stop the use of it totally; then I can almost promise you 86 when you will surely die; otherwise look out for 28, 31, 34, 47, and 65; be careful--for you are not of a long- lived race, that is on your father's side; you are the only healthy member of your family, and the only one in it who has anything like the certainty of attaining to a great age--so, stop using tobacco, and be careful of yourself..... In some respects you take after your father, but you are much more like your mother, who belongs to the long-lived, energetic side of the house.... You never brought all your energies to bear upon any subject but what you accomplished it--for instance, you are self-made, self-educated.

S. L. C. Which proves nothing.

MADAME. Don't interrupt. When you sought your present occupation you found a thousand obstacles in the way--obstacles unknown--not even suspected by any save you and me, since you keep such matters to yourself--but you fought your way, and hid the long struggle under a mask of cheerfulness, which saved your friends anxiety on your account. To do all this requires all the qualities I have named.

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