LETTERS VOL. 1
LETTERS VOL. 1
His schooling was brief and of a desultory kind. It ended one day in
1847 when his father died and it became necessary that each one should
help somewhat in the domestic crisis. His brother Orion ten years his
senior was already a printer by trade. Pamela his sister; also
considerably older had acquired music and now took a few pupils.
The little boy Sam at twelve was apprenticed to a printer named Ament.
His wages consisted of his board and clothes--"more board than clothes"
as he once remarked to the writer.
He remained with Ament until his brother Orion bought out a small paper
in Hannibal in 1850. The paper in time was moved into a part of the
Clemens home and the two brothers ran it the younger setting most of
the type. A still younger brother Henry entered the office as an
apprentice. The Hannibal journal was no great paper from the beginning
and it did not improve with time. Still it managed to survive--country
papers nearly always manage to survive--year after year bringing in some
sort of return. It was on this paper that young Sam Clemens began his
writings--burlesque as a rule of local characters and conditions--
usually published in his brother's absence; generally resulting in
trouble on his return. Yet they made the paper sell and if Orion had
but realized his brother's talent he might have turned it into capital
In 1853 (he was not yet eighteen) Sam Clemens grew tired of his
limitations and pined for the wider horizon of the world. He gave out to
his family that he was going to St. Louis but he kept on to New York
where a World's Fair was then going on. In New York he found employment
at his trade and during the hot months of 1853 worked in a printing-
office in Cliff Street. By and by he went to Philadelphia where he
worked a brief time; made a trip to Washington and presently set out for
the West again after an absence of more than a year.
Onion meanwhile had established himself at Muscatine Iowa but soon
after removed to Keokuk where the brothers were once more together
till following their trade. Young Sam Clemens remained in Keokuk until
the winter of 1856-57 when he caught a touch of the South-American fever
then prevalent; and decided to go to Brazil. He left Keokuk for
Cincinnati worked that winter in a printing-office there and in April
took the little steamer Paul Jones for New Orleans where he expected
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