FROM MARK TWAIN'S RESEARCH LIBRARY, SIGNED BY TWAIN AND WITH HIS ANNOTATIONS ON THE FINAL PAGE, EXTENSIVELY USED BY HIM WHILE WRITING THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER AND A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR'S COURT
(TWAIN, Mark) TAINE, Hippolyte. The Ancient Regime. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1876. Octavo, original green cloth. Housed in a custom half polished calf clamshell box. $25,000.
Mark Twain's signed copy of Hippolyte Taine's The Ancient Regime, signed "Saml. L. Clemens, Hartford 1876" on the front flyleaf and annotated by him on the final text leaf, "Finished Jan 29th" and beneath that note, "Finished Sept. 10th," indicating that he read the book twice. With the bookplate prepared by Anderson Auction Company in 1911 stating "This book is from the Library of Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)" signed by Twain's literary executor and biographer Albert Bigelow Paine.
Twain scholar Sherwood Cummings wrote of this book, "[Twain] not only referred to it during the next decade in his notebooks and correspondence, but borrowed liberally from it for material and incidents in both The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee
." Moreover Twain scholar Stephen Railton (Professor at the University of Virginia) writes in his endnotes to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (New York, Barnes & Noble Classics, 2005): "As Hank implies here and more explicitly on page 256, 'le droit du siegneur' (the privilege of the lord) was to have sex with an untitled woman on her wedding night before her husband. The list of aristocratic abuses here is derived from matieral Twain originally found in Hippolyte Adolphe Taine's The Ancient Regime… which was also a source for several other passages in the novel" (Endnote 13).
Incidents, Customs and Social Structures Sourced by Mark Twain in The Ancient Regime and Appearing in The Prince and the Pauper
Ancient Regime: Book Second, Chapter I, page 86: "Formerly, in the early times of feudalism, in the companionship and simplicity of the camp and the castle, the nobles served the king with their own hands, one providing for his house, another bringing a dish to his table, another disrobing him at night, and another looking after his falcons and horses."
Chapter I, page 106: "Two pages remove his slippers; the Grand Master of the Wardrobe draws off his nightshirt by the right arm, and the first valet of the wardrobe by the left arms, and both of them hand it to an officer of the wardrobe, whilst a valet of the wardrobe fetches the shirt wrapped up in white taffeta."
From The Prince and the Pauper, in Chapter 6: "Next the tired captive [the pauper 'King'] sat down and was going to take off his buskins, but another… went down upon his knees and took the office from him."
In Chapter 7: "…Tom resignedly underwent the ordeal of being dressed for dinner. He found himself as finely clothed as before, but everything was different, everything changed, from his ruff to his stockings."
In Chapter 14: "The weighty business of dressing began, and one courtier after another knelt and paid his court and offered to the little king his condolences upon his heavy loss, while the dressing proceeded. In the beginning, a shirt was taken up by the Chief Equerry in Waiting, who passed it to the First Lord of the Buckhounds, who passed it to the Second Gentleman of the Bedchamber, who passed it to the Head Ranger of Windsor Forest, who passed it to the Third Groom of the Stole, who passed it to the Chancellor Royal of the Duchy of Lancaster, who passed it to the Master of the Wardrobe… who passed it to the First Lord of the Bedchamber, who took what was left of it and put it on Tom. Poor little wondering chap, it reminded him of passing buckets at a fire."
In Ancient Regime, Book Second, Chapter II: "There are three sections of table service… in all 383 officers of the table and 103 waiters at an expense of 2,177,771 livres."
From The Prince and the Pauper, in Chapter 7: "He was presently conducted with much state to a spacious and ornate apartment, where a table was already set for one… The room was half filled with noble servitors… Tom had 384 servants besides these, but they were not all in that room…"
In Ancient Regime, Book Second, Chapter II, Part VI [footnote]: "M. de Conzie is surprised at four o'clock in the morning by a rival, an officer in the guards. 'Make no noise,' said he to him, 'my coat which is like yours will be brought to me and I will make a queue so that we shall be on the same footing.'"
From The Prince and the Pauper, in Chapter 3: "The little Prince of Wales was garlanded with Tom's fluttering odds and ends, and the little Prince of Pauperdom was tricked out in the gaudy plumage of royalty. The two went and stood side by side before the great mirror, and lo, a miracle: there did not seem to have been any change made!" See Endnote 9 in the Barnes & Noble Classics edition: "It is through exchanging their clothes that King Edward and Tom Canty, in The Prince and the Pauper, switch places. Twain comes back to this motif again in Pudd'nhead Wilson in which a slave mother dresses her son in her master's baby's clothes, and vice versa, and so switches their identities."
Incidents, Customs and Social Structures Sourced by Mark Twain in The Ancient Regime and Appearing in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
In Ancient Regime, Book One, Chapter I: "Le droit du Siegneur" (Privilege of the Lord) is discussed at length.
From A Connecticut Yankee, Chapter XIII: Reference is made to le droit du seigneur in Twain's phrase, "if the freeman's daughter." Chapter XVII: Twain actually uses the term "Ancient Regime" in describing lax court morals. Chapter XVIII: "Twain makes a more explicit reference to le droit du seigneur, which was the 'privilege of the lord' to have sex with an untitled woman on her wedding night, before her husband. The list of aristocratic abuses here is derived from material Twain originally found in Hippolyte Taine's The Ancient Regime, which was also the source for several other passages in the novel." See note 13 in the Barnes & Noble Classics edition of A Connecticut Yankee. The Introduction and notes are written by Stephen Railton, professor of American Literature at the University of Virginia. Chapter XXV: "It reminded of something I had read [in Hippolyte Taine's The Ancient Regime.']" See Professor Railton's footnote.
From Ancient Regime, Book Second, Chapter II, Part VI [footnote]: "M. de Conzie is surprised at four o'clock in the morning by a rival, an officer in the guards. 'Make no noise,' said he to him, 'my coat which is like yours will be brought to me and I will make a queue so that we shall be on the same footing.'"
In A Connecticut Yankee, Chapter VI: "'They are not meet,' the king broke in. 'Fetch raiment of another sort; clothe him like a prince!'" Similar use of the motif of changing clothes to change identity as found in The Prince and the Pauper (see above).
From Ancient Regime, Book Four, Chapter III: Exaggeration: "High-sounding and vague language is interposed between the mind and objects around it… never… have men lost the purport of outward things… Never has their disturbed reason rendered them more tranquil concerning real danger and created more alarm at imaginary danger… I saw… at the barrier Saint-Victor, sculptured on one of the pillars—would you believe it?—an enormous lion's head, with jaws open vomiting forth chains as a menace to those who passed it… the orator himself imitates the roar of the lion… I found only a small buckler suspended as an ornament by a little chain… like door knockers or as water-cocks."
In A Connecticut Yankee, Chapter XVI: "If knights errant were to be believed, not all castles were desirable places to seek hospitality in. As a matter of fact, knights errant were not persons to be believed—that is, measured by modern standards of veracity; yet measured by the standards of their own time, and scaled accordingly, you got the truth. It was very simple: you discounted a statement ninety-seven percent; the rest was fact."
From Ancient Regime, Book First, Chapter III: Concerning the scarcity of newspapers: "'In the best cafe in town, where I found near twenty tables set for company, but as for a newspaper I might as well have demanded an elephant.' Between Strasbourg and Besancon there is not a gazette."
In A Connecticut Yankee, Chapter XXVI: "One greater than kings had arrived—the newsboy. But I was the only person in all that throng who knew the meaning of this mighty birth, and what this imperial magician was come into the world to do… It was good Arkansas journalism, but this was not Arkansas…" This is the first American edition of Taine's history, translated by John Durand, originally appearing in France under the title L'Ancien Régime. Estate bookplate of Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), indicating that this volume was sold in February, 1911 at Anderson Auction Company, signed by Twain literary executor Albert Bigelow Paine, with an ink annotation indicating that it was sold to William Duncan Cheney of San Francisco.
Light dampstain to the final few leaves, wear to spine ends, inner paper hinges tender, binding sound, a very good copy. Scarce and most desirable, a working volume from Twain's research library, instrumental in the writing of two of his all-time favorite works.