Twins of Genius

Twins of Genius

Twins of Genius

Twins of Genius

Excerpt

In the spring of 1881 George W. Cable took his wife, a sickly woman, and their four little girls out of the steaming heat of New Orleans and established them for the summer at Franconia, in the White Mountains. Within two years' time Cable had shot from almost complete obscurity full into the public eye as the best of southern writers of fiction and as possibly the most promising of the younger American novelists.

Cable had knocked at the editorial doors of northern magazines since 1872, assisted at first by the young journalist Edward King, who had been sent into the but recently Confederate states by Scribner's Monthly to collect information for articles later printed as The Great South. Cable's "'Sieur George," published in 1873, was followed by additional short stories and by two books: Old Creole Days (1879), collected tales; and The Grandissimes (1880), a novel. Madame Delphine, a novelette, appeared in Scribner's Monthly for May, June, and July, 1881, and was published as a separate volume almost immediately.

Before returning from New Hampshire to New Orleans to work that long summer on his "History and Present Condition of New Orleans" for inclusion in the report of the Tenth Census, Cable improved "the greatest holiday" of his life by visiting in Springfield, Newport, Hartford, and New York. He had been to the North twice before, in the summers of 1875 and 1880, but this third visit was a kind of triumphal progress during which he cemented a friendship with Richard Watson Gilder and met John Hay, St. Gaudens, Charles Dudley Warner and his brother George, Harriet Beecher Stowe, William Dean Howells, and a host of other celebrities.

When he reached Hartford for a week end with the Warners, these new friends "telegraphed at once to Mr. Clemens (Mark Twain) to come up -- from somewhere beyond New . . .

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