In addition, both Sinnett and evans in their letters to Clemens make brief mention that an Adelaide family named Darwent might have been involved. The Adelaide based ship owner Joseph Darwent was associated with trans-Tasman shipping throughout the period ( 23 ). George Train's interest in shipping and trade is indeed likely to have brought him into social contact with an entrepreneur such as Joseph Darwent, even if it was in the early 1850s. It is difficult to comprehend how the citizens of Adelaide could have confused george. Train, who visited Australia in the early 1850s, with Mark Twain who rose to international prominence in the late 1860s at the earliest. However as Clemens himself reported, even American officials were known to confuse "Twain" for "Train". With hindsight, however, it would be imprudent to judge the naivety of Adelaide's residents too harshly. The men's similar-sounding names, leanings toward humour, reputation for original thinking and influential connections with California might conceivably have evolved into an urban myth.
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It is well documented, however, that by the late 1860s Samuel Clemens knew enough about george. Train to dislike him presentation intensely. In a letter to the new York Tribune published Clemens described Train as an "insufferable fool." In another published 27 February 1868 in the virginia city territorial Enterprise, he referred to him as a "great Fenian Female suffrage Ass" ( 19 ). If there was any doubt about his attitude to Train, Clemens characterised. Train as a "distinguished jail-bird" prone to lying in his letter to Olivia langdon ( 20 ). Ironically, in may 1876, Twain claimed to have been refused an audience with the. President after being mistaken for george Francis Train while visiting the White house ( 21 ). George Francis Train There were several unusual features of george Train's controversial life that might help us to understand this apparent confusion. Percy sinnett noted in one of his letters that he had heard reports of Mark Twain being confined to a mental hospital. George Train's increasingly quixotic behaviour in the 1870s resulted, at one point, in him using insanity as a legal defense against a charge of obscenity ( 22 ). Despite Train's considerable achievements in commerce, his controversial stands for Irish independence and increasing eccentricity landed him in trouble with authorities, attracting unflattering and enduring print coverage around the world.
Sinnett might have had more to say about these allegations but legs he died in July 1882, aged twenty-two ( 17 ). Exactly why Twain later told readers and journalists that Melbourne held the answer to his riddle is a mystery. If there was some literary advantage to linking the story to melbourne, the benefit seems negligible. Did Twain know more than he cared to admit? His remark to sinnett: "That is all I wanted to say about the matter certainly invites us to suspect he knew more ( 18 ). Mark Twain or george Francis Train The mark Twain Project archive at Berkeley holds one of the letters Herbert evans, a gentleman mentioned in Percy sinnett's letter, penned to Twain from Adelaide on evans suggested that much of the misunderstanding about Twain being in Adelaide. If there was a direct link between george Francis Train and Percy sinnett's reports of impostors, the intervening span of nearly thirty years presents a daunting historical hurdle.
Percy presumed (correctly, as it would now appear) that this. Evans was one of the supermarket three "gentlemen" Twain had mentioned in his 1881 note to the australian people. Sinnett also mentioned that another of his acquaintances claimed to have met the "real" Mark Twain. This unnamed person had allegedly obtained a personally autographed copy of one of Twain's works, in Adelaide, presumably sometime before may 1881: One or two of them had however, seen a letter received from yourself, sometime since, by. Evans (a gentlemen who i know by name though not personally) of this city and whom I suppose, is one of the "three" you mention. A week or two after I wrote to you, i read an essay on shredder "American Humour" at a society to which I belong. The strangest part of the business, tho was that at the following meeting of the society, a fellow member - a son of a member of our Legislative council - told me that he thought I was right. He said either that his father remembered seeing you or that a friend of his well remembered seeing you in Adelaide (I forget which now) and that this person had a presentation copy of your works from yourself. This seemed pretty conclusive, and I did not know what to think till your letter arrived and set all doubt at rest ( 16 ).
He has done a thing for me which I wouldn't even have done for myself. If he will only stay dead now I will call the account square, and drop the grudge i bear him ( 14 ). Although short-lived, percy sinnett's literary aspirations were genuine. His German-born father, Frederick sinnett (1830-1866 had been a respected Australian newspaper editor and Percy hoped to follow in his father's footsteps. Twain's reply from Hartford encouraged Sinnett who wrote another equally long reply to Twain within a few months. In his second letter, sinnett conceded it would have been all but impossible for an Adelaide-based Sam Clemens to have been the "real" Mark Twain. He also mentioned, however, that some of his friends had seen what they considered to be a genuine letter from Twain to another Adelaide resident named evans ( 15 ).
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Both the Observer and the new York times published Twain's reply to sinnett (along with a specific request for the note to be published which Twain had addressed to the "people of Australia." During the present year I have received letters from three gentlemen. By these letters it appears that the persons who knew me there knew me intimately - not for a day, but for weeks and even months. And apparently i was not confined booklet to one place, but was scattered all around over the country. Also, apparently, i was very respectable; at least I suppose so, from the character of the company i seem to have kept - government officials, ladies of good position, editors of newspapers, etc. It is very plain, then, that someone has been in Australia who did me the honor to impersonate me and call himself by my name.
Now, if this man paid his debts and conducted himself in an orderly and respectable way, i suppose i have no very great cause of complaint against him; and yet i am not able to believe that a man can falsely assume another man's name. I suspect that, specious as this stranger seems to have been, he was at bottom a rascal, and a pretty shabby business sort of rascal at that. That is all I wanted to say about the matter. There are signs that I have an audience among the people of Australia. I want their good opinion; therefore i thought I would speak up, and say that if that adventurer was guilty of any misconduct there, i hope the resulting obloquy will be reserved for him, and not leveled at me, since i am not to blame. Today's mail brings a letter to a member of my family from an old English friend of ours, dated "government house, sydney, may 29 in which the writer is shocked to hear of my "sudden death." Now, that suggests that that aforementioned impostor has even. This generosity disarms.
Twain's reply to the allegation was inspired by a 900-word query from Sinnett, an ambitious 21-year-old Adelaide draftsman and part-time writer. Sinnett had written to Twain in may 1881: This evening I was at a neighbour's house where i met a mrs Darwent. I do not know whether you remember the name out of the thousands which must throng in your memory even if you have the "peerless" one required of a pilot by the fickle mississippi. Mrs Darwent was a very kind friend to my father Frederick sinnett and Mrs Darwent tonight told me that you were a friend of both, and that you lodged in the same place as my father many years ago in Adelaide. This was in "tavistock place" in Rundle Street ( 12 ).
A self-described "literary aspirant sinnett had endured ill-health for much of his life. A far as can be ascertained, however, his ailments were physical and not mental. He had several reasons for writing to Twain, as revealed in the passages he devoted to his private circumstances: Since i read your first book, through, "The Innocents Abroad" which I got when I was about 12 years old, you have been an intimate friend. to what extent I have enjoyed and appreciated them you can only judge from my having the temerity to write this letter. ever since i can remember, i have cherished the hope that I might some day tread in his Frederick sinnett's footsteps and become a writer; but I have had a hard struggle and see no prospect of anything else than a hard struggle for. I would not have presumed to write to you but that I heard you were at one time a personal friend of my father's, and one other reason which is that I would rather possess Mark Twain's friendship and advice than that of any other.
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When Twain included the impostor story in fte, long-time readers of the new York times or Adelaide Observer might have recalled that much of the tale had been aired publicly as early as 1881. There was, however, one crucial difference. In fte, mark Twain emphatically linked the tale to melbourne ( 9 ). This focus on Melbourne is curious because it directly contradicts information he received and released publicly in 1881. Adelaide and Sydney were the two locations mentioned reviews in the original impostor story. An October 1881 report in the Adelaide Observer appeared nearly two months before a nearly identical version of the same story was re-published as an abbreviated exchange item in the new York times ( 10 ). Neither item mentioned the city of Melbourne ( 11 ). The Adelaide Observer's lengthy preamble, written by newspaper reporter Percy sinnett under the pseudonym "Per se and the item's brief introduction in the new York times both reported that Twain's impostor allegation write owed its origins to rumours emanating from either Sydney or Adelaide.
Brisbane courier which mistakenly proclaimed Mark Twain was en-route from London for his first Australian visit ( 6 ). The first artistic impressions of Twain's likeness started appearing in the australian press in April 1873 ( 7 ). However, in the 1870s, when newspapers and mail from America routinely took several weeks to traverse the pacific and press photography was still new, few members of the australasian public would have recognized Mark Twain in the flesh. It was an environment ripe for exploitation; a continuing ambiguity which, to some extent, Twain himself helped to promulgate. In 1889 he recalled in a letter to his friend, will Bowen, that for years he had told friends and strangers alike that he intended to "go maslow out lecture in Australia" ( 8 ). Regardless of where the, brisbane courier got its information, news of Twain's impending visit was likely to have spread among his many appreciative readers in the colonies. If anyone had the talent and desire to impersonate mark Twain, a window of opportunity opened for them during the australian summer of late 1873. Before writing fte, and well before visiting Australia in 1895, Twain had remarked both publicly and privately that he believed the "rascal" who impersonated him in the Antipodes had died there in the late 1870s or early 1880s.
have answered ( 4 ). Twain's biographer, Albert Bigelow paine wrote that the person described. Fte had been "very persistent" - the combination of "two pleasant characters in one story, with elaborations" ( 5 ). Most would agree twain blended two real-life stories into one for his yarn. The following exploration makes no attempt to decipher the second half of Twain's impostor tale; the material he included regarding his interactions with the notorious "Mark Twain Club" of Corrigan Castle. This study however, explores the notion that the first half of Twain's riddle is based on the actions of a real person, someone whose activities and identity were - in contrast to Twain's assertions. Fte - possibly known or suspected by him, well before his arrival in Australia on 15 September 1895. Early news Reports and Denials, one factor that almost certainly acted as a catalyst for the impostor mystery was a november 1873 newspaper report in the.
What unfolds is the revelation that, in the early 1880s, Olivia clemens received a condolence note from a friend who believed her husband Mark Twain had died on tour in Australia. In chapter 25, Twain offers an explanation for this mistaken assertion with a story involving two characters he calls. The tale exhibits some of yardage the hallmarks of fiction but its real-life background quickly leads us to something more complex than anything the reader might reasonably expect for a simple anecdote of "false personation" ( 2 ). Distilling "facts" from, fte is notoriously difficult and Twain's skill at embellishing such accounts only adds to the challenge. Until now, few scholars have taken the impostor story seriously ( 3 ). Yet if the yarn is fundamentally true, it stands to challenge our understanding of Twain's relationship with colonial Australasia, an area that encompasses Australia, new zealand and their neighboring islands. Moreover it raises questions about the motivations, identity, actions and relationship of Twain to the man (or men) alleged to have impersonated him in the late 1870s. It is also noteworthy that, given the historical timing of these events, any act of impersonation is likely to have been of Mark Twain, the nascent California writer, and not the emerging platform humorist. In the remote vastness of colonial Australasia, it would have been far easier (both socially and logistically) to occasionally impersonate an American writer than to present an extended series of fraudulent lectures.
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Mark Twain's Mysterious Melbourne maverick, home,"tions. Newspaper Articles, special features, links, search, special feature. By ron Hohenhaus 2012, the riddle, one mystery woven into the narrative of Mark Twain's 1897 travel book. Following the Equator (henceforth referred to as, fTE ) is the author's suggestion that a mark Twain impostor operated successfully but undetected across about Australia in the late 1870s ( 1 ). Twain devoted about 1500 words to the story, slipping it between travel yarns as if it were simply another digression. Readers are introduced to the tale in chapter 15 with the memorable line: "For many years I had had a mystery in stock. Melbourne, and only melbourne, could unriddle it for.".