1868 Toast To Woman: By Mark Twain

To Woman: An Irregular Toast

This toast, delivered 11 January 1868 to a banquet room full of journalists, was one of MT's first great public successes in the east. Below is the text, as published in the paper the next day and widely reprinted across the country in the following weeks, preceded by part of the story of MT's own mixed feelings about the address

The Star's transcript is a good one, but the paper left out two of MT's most risque jokes -- their places are marked in the text at left with asterisks, and can be accessed by clicking on the (*). MT was initially delighted with both his live performance and the subsequent publicity: he sent copies of this article to his "own mother!" and to the Alta California. Soon, however, he became anxious about how well the performance would play with the genteel audiences he was trying to adapt his persona to. That audience was, at this point, epitomized by Mrs. Mary Fairbanks, the slightly older wife of a Cleveland publisher whom MT met on the Quaker City tour and was soon calling "Mother." To her he wrote on January 24:

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