Mark Twain in the West: An Exhibition
A 'Call' to Literature

Corresponding for the Sacramento Union

Samuel Clemens’s notebook describing his return to San Francisco in early August 1866 after his months in the Sandwich Islands as a correspondent for the Sacramento Union. He copied the passage from his “journal” letter to his mother before he sent it:

In my journal I find:

The calm is no more. There are 3 vessels in sight. It is so cheering sociable to have them hovering about in this limitless world of waters. It is sunny and pleasant, but blowing hard. Every rag about the ship is spread to the breeze & she is speeding over the sea like a bird. There is a large brig right astern of us with all her canvas set & chasing us at her very best. She came up fast while the winds were light, but now it is hard to tell whether she gains or not. We can see the people on her forecastle with the glass. The race is very exciting. She is to the setting sun—looks sharply cut & black as coal against a background of fire & floating on a sea of blood.

Further along:

Aug 13—San Francisco—Home again. No—not home again—in prison again—and all the wild sense of freedom gone. The city seems so cramped, & so dreary with toil & care & business anxiety. God help me. I wish I were at sea again!

University of California, Berkeley Mark Twain Papers and Project Maps Roughing It and Comments on Bret Harte Retracing Clemens's Steps Corresponding for the Sacramento Union Jackass Hill days in Clemens's Autobiography Sam Clemens in San Francisco, 1868 Stage fright and success Maguire's Academy of Music Mark Twain's first lecture 'Baker's Blue-Jay Yarn' 'I have had a 'call' to literature' A 'Call' to Literature California Gold Country San Francisco Correspondent Writing for the Enterprise Mining in Nevada Territory Exhibit Home Introduction and Chronology