Pagan Federation International Pagan Federation International Forum Index Wiccan Rede Magazine

How Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain Rescued Each Other’s For

New topic   Reply to topic Pagan Federation International Forum Index => Off topic
Previous :: Next  
Author Message
ChristopherBlackwell Post number 26330 Posted: 25th May 2020     Subject: How Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain Rescued Each Other’s For
View user's profile
How Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain Rescued Each Other’s Fortunes

A former American president sits on a cottage porch in the Adirondack Mountains, fully wrapped in a blanket. His neck is swollen from throat cancer, making it nearly impossible for him to eat. The 63-year-old Ulysses S. Grant, notepad in hand, is slowly starving to death and is in a desperate race against time to finish the book that will provide financial security for his family. Luckily, Grant has a good friend — another American legend — one who’s in an equally precarious financial position and desperate for his dying compatriot to complete the memoir he’s agreed to help him publish: Mark Twain.

As GRANT, the new three-part miniseries event premiering on Memorial Day at 9/8c on HISTORY reveals, Grant remains a greatly under-appreciated figure from American history despite his daunting résumé. Grant was both a Civil War general who preserved a nation and a reluctant politician who helped stabilize America’s postwar economy and enforce the rights of former slaves. But he also produced one of the most remarkable pieces of writing by any president, or any American, and under the most extreme circumstances — a feat facilitated by an unexpected friendship.
It’s not surprising that Twain would have embellished his proximity to Grant, a fellow Midwesterner whom the young writer greatly admired. But it was not until 1870 when the wide-eyed Twain, freshly off the publication of his first book, got the chance to meet the then-first-term President Grant when he accompanied a Nevada senator to the White House. It was an awkward encounter before the throne of power, even for the quick-witted Twain. “I shook hands and then there was a pause and silence. I couldn’t think of anything to say, ” Twain wrote his wife about meeting the steely Grant. Flustered, Twain finally mumbled, “I seem to be a little embarrassed. Are you? ”

It was but the first clumsy overture in a story that would play out like the plot line of a romantic comedy: a chance encounter that breeds mutual admiration, which blossoms into a growing friendship and mutual understanding, and ultimately inseparability — and financial co-dependence.

Chicago, Illinois, November, 1879

It would take nearly a decade for the two icons to meet again, this time in Chicago. Grant had served two terms as president, steering the nation through the tumultuous period of Reconstruction. In Chicago, a parade and celebratory dinner were to be given in the former president’s honor, and one of the esteemed guests, a speaker at the dinner, was the now celebrated writer Mark Twain.

Twain was eager to see the man he so admired and with whom he had had such an awkward last encounter in Washington. And he did not disappoint. When the Chicago mayor re-introduced Twain to Grant in the VIP parade reviewing stand, Grant smirked and, displaying his remarkable memory, quipped, “Mr. Clemens, I am not embarrassed — are you? ”

At the dinner in Grant’s honor, Twain was the final speaker in a series of interminable after-dinner toasts that had extended well past midnight, and the humorist decided to use his formidable wit to try to break up the usually stone-countenanced general. At one point, in the 19th century version of a Comedy Central roast, Twain irreverently conjured the image of a baby Grant, a headstrong infant determined to suck his own toes. “And if the child is but a prophecy of the man, ” he injected, “there are mighty few who will doubt that he succeeded. ”

It did the trick. “I fetched him! I broke him up, utterly! ” Twain later informed his wife. “I shook him up like dynamite, ” he told a good friend. “He sat there fifteen minutes & laughed and cried like the mortalest of mortals. ”’

--------------------------------------------snip------------------------------------------------ ... 0-05-25%2016:37:44%29&utm_content=Final

Wisdom is what is left after you have done all the dumb stuff
New topic    Reply to topic Pagan Federation International Forum Index => Off topic
Show YouTube films

All times are GMT + 1 hour
  New posts :: Recent posts :: 24 hour digest :: Search

You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum



phpBB 2.0.23 © 2001-2008 phpBB group