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By Peter Krass

The company adventures of mark twain, continual speculator and entrepreneur.

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I find them gay. Stebbings is a regular brick. I am taking letters of introduction to Henry Ward Beecher, Rev. Dr. Tyng, and other eminent parsons in the east. 21 Although Clemens arrived in New York on January 12, 1867, his debut as a lecturer did not occur until that spring, when he was booked for an engagement at the Peter Cooper Institute. It was a high-profile venue that sat 3,000, but he feared an empty house because he wasn’t sure New Yorkers knew of him and his Sandwich Islands adventures.

In fact, as a newspaperman, Clemens made more money on wildcat mines by cashing in on these opportunities than he had in his mining days. Still very much attuned to the ore business, Clemens was a frequent patron of saloons, networking with the wildcatters— and drinking his share of whiskey. ) He closely monitored production of the various claims—more than $20 million of ore would be removed from the area’s Comstock load—and he reported on the latest scams du jour. One favorite swindle was to “salt” a wildcat claim, which involved the owner buying rich ore from another vein, then dumping a portion of it in his worthless shaft, and keeping some to show as evidence of what he had supposedly mined so far.

No paper in the United States can afford to pay me what my place on the “Enterprise” is worth. If I were not naturally a lazy, idle, good-for-nothing vagabond, I could make it pay me $20,000 a year. But I don’t suppose I shall ever be any account. I lead an easy life, though, and I don’t care a cent whether school keeps or not. While working for the Enterprise, on February 3, 1863, he first used his nom du plume, Mark Twain, a term lifted from his riverboat days. 7 Whatever psychological analysis may be applied to his adoption of a pseudonym, there was a certain marketing brilliance involved.

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