I had the pleasure and privilege of delivering a chat on `The History of
Mark Twain Collecting, 1885-2005' at Quarry Farm in October, and as a token
of my gratitude for the hospitality of Barbara Snedecor, Mark Woodhouse,
Nick the caretaker,and the staff at Elmira College I printed up 100 copies
of a modest keepsake having to do with Quarry Farm.
In the summer of 1895, just before Twain left Elmira to begin the first leg
of his world lecture tour, he sat around at Quarry Farm sipping whiskey and
suffering from what he thought was a boil. Dr Franklin Darby happened to go
out to Quarry Farm to make a social call on his friend and discovered that
what Twain thought was a boil was in fact a carbuncle (the first of several
he would experience during his lecture tour). Darby later (ca. 1920) wrote
out an account of his visit and quoting Twain's slightly amusing remark
when told what it was. The keepsake consists of a facsimile of Darby's
handwritten account, an illustration, and a brief preface by yours truly.
Half the keepsakes were handed out in Elmira and a handful were mailed to
friends. Eleven are left, and the first eleven Forum folks who email me with
some message like "send me a carbuncle" will be sent one of these last
copies gratis. This thing is destined to become a fabled rarity and highyl
sought Twain collector's item. Or not.
Kevin Mac Donnell