The American Claimant

By Mark Twain

Page 0

...THE AMERICAN CLAIMANT

by Mark Twain

1892






CONTENTS



CHAPTER I.

The Earl of Rossmore vs. the American Claimant--Viscount Berkeley
proposes to...

Page 1

...money, no dinner" for Mr. Brady--"How
did you come to mount that hat?"--A glimpse of (the...

Page 2

...of the Democrat
"How do you do?"
"Both were so paralyzed with joy."
...

Page 3

...be in the way;
where it will not interrupt the flow of the narrative. And it...

Page 4

...equally
respectful dissent from the positions and arguments offered. The father
walks the floor as he talks,...

Page 5

...put in his claim--by letter--letter still in existence--and
died before the uncle in-possession found time--or maybe
inclination--to--answer....

Page 6

...and
hurt; but he answered with dignity:

"I have. I say it without shame--I feel none. And...

Page 7

...please."

"Yes, this time I will. For the sake of the cat:"



14,042 SIXTEENTH. STREET, WASHINGTON, May...

Page 8

...My arguments
and his aunt's persuasions have failed; let us see what America can
do for us....

Page 9

...scattered over
the vast-country at points where neither cities nor populations exist
to-day. One of these cities,...

Page 10

...and I've seen a good deal of this world.
Come--where have you disappeared to all these...

Page 11

...again. There was no help for it, so I had to stoop a
little--we all reach...

Page 12

...of St. James all
the way down to Consul to a guano rock in the Strait...

Page 13

...fix that. I'll rush the thing through, I'll
get you organized in no time."

"Will you, Colonel?--it's...

Page 14

...other way.
When I call him a failure, I mean to the world he's a failure;...

Page 15

...you see those old wrecks are here yet."

"But don't they do your housework?"

"Laws! The idea....

Page 16

...office!
laws goodness, you know what that would be like. Why, they'd come from
the ends of...

Page 17

...the
hospitable Sellerses would listen to no excuses; their house must be his
home during the session....

Page 18

...shall see marvels.
Washington, within three days--ten at the outside--you shall see me call
the dead of...

Page 19

...in
it--millions."

"Billions in it--billions; that's what you mean. Why, look here; the
thing is so close at...

Page 20

...Cherokee country I
mean. Robbed the bank in Tahlequah."

"Do they have banks in Tahlequah?"

"Yes--a bank, anyway....

Page 21

...rabbit before it's caught?"

Then the matter was dropped, for the time being, and all went...

Page 22

...the Lady Gwendolen and
instruct her to--"

"What Lady Gwendolen?"

"Our poor daughter, who, alas!--"

"Sally Sellers? Mulberry Sellers,...

Page 23

...that she must come home and let on to go into seclusion and
mourn for those...

Page 24

...neighborhood,
with plenty of ragged children and indolent dogs to spare for a point
of interest like...

Page 25

...be a letter. It was handed in at that moment, and was
received by the mother...

Page 26

...in the
menagerie putting on airs because its head ancestor was a pterodactyl.

But the ger-reatest triumph...

Page 27

...were the prettiest and the daintiest he
had ever looked upon, and the most exquisitely contrived...

Page 28

...fair creature was of a rare type, and may
well excuse a moment of our time...

Page 29

...great accommodation to us, and one
which we--which we--which we--wh--well, which we should sincerely
appreciate--"

"That's it--and most...

Page 30

...officiating as chief mourner himself. But he drew the
line at hatchments.

Our friends in Washington watched...

Page 31

...not sooner not
later wait till I come." The friends cogitated over the note profoundly.
Presently the...

Page 32

...You go and stand on the corner and wait;
I'll prospect the hotel."

The earl drifted here...

Page 33

...pushing
attentions upon him. They lack English servility, it is true--but they
could acquire it, with practice....

Page 34

...women and youth, massed
in a ruddy light. Must he go down in his spectral night...

Page 35

...for
sustenance while he seeks work. He sends out for the morning paper,
next, and proceeds to...

Page 36

...one of the halls of the hotel
in his underclothing and apparently out of his head...

Page 37

...the wall; set his eye
upon the rear door and waited; touched it again and waited;...

Page 38

...sometimes master and mistress of the household.
These two are mighty good and loving and faithful...

Page 39

...ignoble thoughts and ignoble acts
thereafter impossible to her forever.

"Have they found the body, Rossmore?" asked...

Page 40

...pretty precarious kind of a reputation I should think."

"Not with her. No, anything but that....

Page 41

...carried them home to consult as to the best manner of
forwarding them to England, and...

Page 42

...one basket; it would be three times so with
three. Well, it stands to reason that...

Page 43

...my daughter. Remember, you are young and elastic, but he is old.
To send him the...

Page 44

...one monument--it is admirably conceived. It does you honor,
Major Hawkins, it has relieved me of...

Page 45

...to another bank and drew upon the first bank for the $500 by
check. The money...

Page 46

...in any country was the propagating of national feeling
and pride in the national name--the keeping...

Page 47

...by all odds the
most valuable of all its qualities. "For its mission--overlooked by Mr.
Arnold--is to...

Page 48

...to reverence
them; and now, as a natural result, to reverence them is second nature.
In order...

Page 49

...vast; but that the material progress has been
immeasurably vaster, I think you will concede. Now...

Page 50

...is done by 500 girls; that of the 400,000
reapers, binders, etc., is done by 4,000...

Page 51

...that won him respect--when his back was not turned--but
it couldn't get a clerkship for him....

Page 52

...all sleep on the roof when it don't rain. They get out there the
minute it's...

Page 53

...he knew he had to get to
work or starve. Well, he'd been to college, you...

Page 54

...and said:

"How do you do?"

Then she marched to the one washstand in the room, tilted...

Page 55

...released the pillow and said:

"Why, they are all equal. Where's any difference in rank?"

"If you...

Page 56

...hat, and
he had a chipped and cracked white wash-bowl in his hand. The girl came
and...

Page 57

...of men was not yet a reality to him,
it was only a theory; the mind...

Page 58

...it's
all wrong, it's all wrong and ought to be abolished, I should say."

The mention of...

Page 59

...in this
fashion; Tracy's training had not fitted him to enjoy this hilarious
zoological clamor and enthusiasm....

Page 60

...but the
milk and sugar supply was not left at the discretion of the boarders,
but was...

Page 61

...had been a rock in the sea and the words and the laughter
veritable waters. He...

Page 62

...all are free and
equal, if men are free and equal anywhere in the earth, therefore...

Page 63

...to wait for the next one. They waited a while; then
it occurred to Washington that...

Page 64

...in the way people look at him and feel
about him."

"Is that so! Is it so?"

Barrow...

Page 65

...not used to familiarity, and can't take to it
right off; I find that out. These...

Page 66

...said, "it's sometimes difficult--in fact, very
difficult. But you can try, and of course it will...

Page 67

...of that small ill-defined sort that you can't quite
put your finger on, and it was...

Page 68

...the English swallow a good deal better than other people."

"What is it they swallow best?"

"Oh,...

Page 69

...up in liberal fashion from all the neighborhood around.
Finally, Allen had to be helped up....

Page 70

...he had borrowed a little more liberally from that
stranger's store. He found it impossible to...

Page 71

...I couldn't go home,
at--at--least I shouldn't want to go home." After a reflective pause:
"Well, maybe--perhaps--it...

Page 72

...do this. He had acquired the boy's
admiration and deferential respect, and he wasn't willing to...

Page 73

...the time, his thoughts had been faraway from these things,
and in the visions of his...

Page 74

...there were a lord or the son of a lord here, I would like
to reason...

Page 75

...effective
with most people.

"What is it you object to in Tompkins's speech, Barrow?"

"Oh, the leaving out...

Page 76

...he had a chance to scoop an earldom he wouldn't do it. Tracy,
don't put this...

Page 77

...extirpation possible, then I should be a rascal to do
otherwise than help in the attempt."

"I...

Page 78

...it, that his bearing had stiffened, over night, and
that his chin had lifted itself a...

Page 79

...at boiling point by this time. He turned upon Tracy:

"Answer up now--when are you going...

Page 80

...his pappy to send it."

"You step out and get that cablegram, Barrow; his majesty's a...

Page 81

...there till one by one they
dropped their eyes, vanquished and embarrassed. Then he tore open...

Page 82

...get Tracy to entertain the idea of breakfast.
He at first said he would never eat...

Page 83

...see you're not past
amusement."

The pictures were fearful, as to color, and atrocious as to drawing
and...

Page 84

...hear them coming, now. We'll draw
them out on their art, if you like."

The artists arrived...

Page 85

...to speak--proves that the picture's our work, and I was
afraid if we left it out...

Page 86

...he does pile it on pretty loud; but they all like it, you
know--fact is, it's...

Page 87

...mind about that; let's not talk of it. It was a
mistake; you see that yourself."

"Yes--it...

Page 88

...to ask. Later still they merely shook their heads
impatiently as soon as he came in...

Page 89

...whose accessories had failed to satisfy.
Under his hand, on that and succeeding days, artillery disappeared...

Page 90

...the situation
narrows us down to this: our feeling has its source in the money-loss
involved. Come--isn't...

Page 91

...cent unless you swear at
them--so the mate that can do the best job of swearing...

Page 92

...say, it will load
itself up with any sounds that are made within six feet of...

Page 93

...cost a cent. You put in a good
inferior article of plumbing,--such as you find everywhere--and...

Page 94

...it. I don't need to
ask you to keep it to yourself, because you'll see that...

Page 95

...where there
is twenty-five times more manhood, pluck, true heroism, unselfishness,
devotion to high and noble ideals,...

Page 96

...you see?--a vacant throne in an
empty land! It can be done, and by God I...

Page 97

...don't know who you are. I only suppose--but no doubt
correctly--that you are the gentleman whose...

Page 98

...what you can do before we--"

"Cheerfully, cheerfully. I will copy one of these marvels."

Water-color materials--relics...

Page 99

...is nothing but a damned ancestor!"

He rose and walked the floor in great excitement.

Hawkins said...

Page 100

...with joy again.
"It's the very thing. What a brain you have got! And will he...

Page 101

...has committed all of a million. But call it
only a thousand to be perfectly safe;...

Page 102

...to
date, Colonel?"

"I wish I knew, but I don't. I am clear knocked out by this...

Page 103

...but it's off a point or two, sure; off enough to explain this mess
of perplexities,...

Page 104

...a good job as far as I've got with it. He's solid. Solid and going
to...

Page 105

...artist to
stay to dinner. He had to decline, because he wanted to live, now--that
is, now...

Page 106

...over again,
and see if he had arrived. And when she was in her work-parlor it...

Page 107

...reduce it several years by putting
a bright-colored flower in his button-hole. I have often noticed...

Page 108

...was overdone and quite too frantically sober and
hysterically calm to deceive.

The painter had his share...

Page 109

...on it. This touched the young
fellow's sympathetic nature, and at the same time gave him...

Page 110

...have I unwittingly offended in some way?"

"Oh, no indeed, no indeed. Far from it. But...

Page 111

...Some time you will be going home; and if you wouldn't
mind taking them along--"

"Who? I?"

"Yes--certainly....

Page 112

...character, Mr. Tracy--one
of the rarest and most engaging characters the world has produced.
You'll find him...

Page 113

...subject according to his size, and just
stand back and watch him think! Why you can...

Page 114

...then, not Tracy's but her father's voice again.

"He's gone," she said to herself despairingly, and...

Page 115

...work which he said was
pressing. The idolaters were the width of the room apart; and...

Page 116

...her as I love my own, and now--oh, poor thing, poor
thing, I cannot bear it!--she's...

Page 117

...him out of his depression. But at last he
took a turn that arrested Hawkins's attention.

"I'm...

Page 118

...was a pause; his intellect was
struggling to comprehend; presently it did manage to catch the...

Page 119

...you loved
only me, and find you didn't love me when the deception was swept away;
so...

Page 120

...which has
healed my sick brain and restored my sanity!--I could make oath that no
earl's son...

Page 121

...was not himself; and in that case all compliments and affection
lavished there were wasted, and...

Page 122

...she said her objections to
aristocracy had their limitations? Ah, he is after that earldom, that
gilded...

Page 123

...filled him
with a grim and snarly satisfaction; but the rest of it brought a snort
or...

Page 124

...the sun and human
companionship forever. He didn't suspect that his careless words were
being weighed, and...

Page 125

...gray head an earl's coronet,
tilted just a wee bit to one side in a most...

Page 126

...only my love that is at
fault, and you know I love you, love you with...

Page 127

...honest labor and honorable poverty, that
I was terrified--that is, I was afraid--of--of--well, you know how...

Page 128

...and humble on
equal terms, earning with my own hands the bread I ate, and rising...

Page 129

...quivering, and now
she broke down. Through her sobbings her words broke from time to time.

"Oh,...

Page 130

...that he hadn't any father, because
this had such a bad effect on the patient, and...

Page 131

...and bless the earth,
and who will bother with it or show any interest in it?--and...

Page 132

...know he wouldn't
intentionally do anything to make you ashamed for the world; you know he
was...

Page 133

...impostor and die, doubtless she must submit; but might
she not lay her whole case before...

Page 134

...entirely satisfied with him and wouldn't care for his not
being an earl's son,--that being an...

Page 135

...can't bear it. Was the father a lunatic?"

"No, that is not charged."

"I am glad of...

Page 136

...did you
get all this hearsay evidence?"

"Sally, it isn't hearsay evidence. That is the serious part...

Page 137

...that. That's neither here nor there.
Will you bring him to me?"

"I'll do it. When?--"

"Oh, dear,...

Page 138

...wouldn't care.

He hardly knew how he got to the Towers, or when. He knew and...

Page 139

...answer
me without a flinch. Isn't Doctor Snodgrass your father, and isn't
Zylobalsamum your brother," [here Hawkins...

Page 140

...gentleman and
the young girl was still going blithely on, but it presently drew to a
close,...

Page 141

...Sellerses.

Rossmore Towers saw great times and late hours during the succeeding
week. The two earls were...

Page 142

...could not take
Siberia. This would become known, and my credit would suffer.

Recently my private hours...

Page 143

...and supply a good business article
of climate to the great empires at special rates, together...

Page 144

...low, misty confusion of gables and chimneys, spread a pall of dead,
leprous blue, suffused with...

Page 145

...wild and rampant. It was whipping
up the sandy coating of the plain in every direction....