November 30


A white suit, big cigar, and pugnacious restlessness were Twain's stocks-in-trade. His stogie habit, he claimed under control, he "never smoked more than one cigar at a time." His witty podium personality always assured him of big crowds at his well-paid lectures. This well-loved humorist and author of such classics as Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn didn't start out like a ball of fire. A preemie, he was born into an unhappy marriage in a small Mississippi river town of a rejecting father and dominant mother who worried about his frequent colds. He didn't like school, left it at age 11 to embark on his wide travels and varied jobs as printer, steamboat pilot, and journalist in the Wild West. After marriage to heiress Olivia Langdon at age 34, he settled down to a lifelong happy marriage and prosperous literary career in New England. His biggest writing successes, however, made use of boyhood memories of life along the Mississippi.


He was always recognizable by his bow-tie, big cigar, and pugnacious growl. He smoked up to 16 of the stogies a day. His brilliant oratory helped England's World War II Prime Minister to turn the tide of British resolve and courage in their "finest hour." His way with words also led to well-paid lecture tours, one arranged by Mark Twain in the U.S.A. A seven-month baby, he was born into an unhappy marriage at the ancestral Blenheim Palace of a rejecting father and heiress mother. He suffered from frequent colds, didn't like school, was called "the naughtiest boy in England" by one teacher. He became a soldier, then a journalist reporting wars, traveling to India and South Africa. He returned to England to enter politics, then at age 33, settled down to a lifelong happy marriage with the blue-blooded Clementine Hozier. He wrote much about the past, including the exploits of his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough.

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