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    Important Manuscript Pages from "Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians"

    Mark Twain Autograph Manuscript From His Unfinished Sequel to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Two separate pages in pencil on laid paper, 5.5" x 8.75", being pages 192 and 193 of his unfinished novel Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians. Very fine condition with flattened mailing folds. Also included is the original transmittal envelope for these pages with the sender and return address handwritten by Twain's daughter "Clara Clemens/ 611 Boston Blvd W/ Detroit" above a typed "Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)". The letter was posted Registered Mail on November 2, 1932. Clara was the sole heir to her father's estate and, at the time of this mailing, was living in Detroit with her husband, Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Fine, with light soiling.

    Twain's legendary first book about the adventures of Tom Sawyer's friend Huck Finn ends with the words: "...But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before." In the summer of 1884, while still proofreading Huckleberry Finn before publication, Twain sent off for copies of a number of books including Richard Dodge's Plains of the Great West and "several other personal narratives of life & adventure out yonder in the Plains & in the Mountains... especially life among the Indians" as he intended "...to take Huck Finn out there" in the sequel. He used these printed sources as well as his own personal travel experiences with his brother Orion to fashion this tale in which Huck, Tom, and the freed slave Jim head west, full of sentimental and romantic ideas about the Plains Indians. However, the young lads soon learn the hard way that "book Injuns and real Injuns ain't the same" when seemingly friendly Sioux Indians murder a pioneer family, kidnap their daughters, and take Jim prisoner. Huck, Tom, and the older daughter's fiancé, Brace, set out to free their friends.

    After 15,000 words, Twain, for whatever reason, broke the story off in mid-sentence with the plot line not yet resolved. Whether he was waiting for further inspiration or just lost interest in the story, we'll never know. The unfinished book was published first in a 1968 issue of LIFE Magazine and then, a year later, as part of a collection of unpublished and unfinished Twain material. In 2003, author Lee Nelson negotiated with The Mark Twain Foundation and the University of California Press to finish and publish the novel (to mixed reviews).

    Below is an exact transcription of the handwritten text on these two pages. Note his use of "&" instead of the word "and" as well as the various additions and corrections on the second page:

    192
    anywheres. So we kept on, wondering where it could be, because we could see a long ways up the valley. And then all of a sudden we heard people laugh, & not very far off, maybe forty or fifty yards. It come from the river. We went back a hundred yards, and tied the horses amongst the trees, & then back again afoot till we was close to the place, where we heard it before, & slipped in amongst the trees & listened, & heard the voices again, pretty close
    193

    by. Then we crept along on our knees, slow and careful, to the edge of the bank, ["through the bush" inserted here], & there was the camp, a little ways up, & right in the dry bed of the river; two big buffalo-skins lodges ["tents" crossed out], a band of horses tied, & eight men carousing ["& gambling" inserted here] around a fire-- all white men, & the roughest kind, & prime drunk. Brace said they had camped there so ["as to be handy there" crossed out] their camp couldn't be seen easy, but they might as well camped in the open as go & get drunk and make such a

    For comparison, this is the text as it appears in the published version:

    (Chapter 8) ...anywheres. So we kept on, wondering where it could be, because we could see a long ways up the valley. And then all of a sudden we heard people laugh, and not very far off, maybe forty or fifty yards. It come from the river. We went back a hundred yards, and tied the horses amongst the trees, and then back again afoot till we was close to the place, where we heard it before, and slipped in amongst the trees and listened, and heard the voices again, pretty close by. Then we crept along on our knees, slow and careful, to the edge of the bank, through the bush, and there was the camp, a little ways up, and right in the dry bed of the river; two big buffalo-skins lodges, a band of horses tied, and eight men carousing and gambling around a fire all white men, and the roughest kind, and prime drunk. Brace said they had camped there so their camp couldn't be seen easy, but they might as well camped in the open as go and get drunk and make such a...

    The occasion of manuscript pages from a Samuel Clemens book coming to market is a rare one indeed. When it's an unpublished sequel to what some refer to as the first Great American Novel, it becomes even more attractive. Don't let this wonderful opportunity pass you by.




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    February, 2008
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