The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, are one of the most famous books anyone knows in history.
However, it seemed like only a few people knew who wrote those books, and if you are one of them, Samuel Langhorne Clemens is the person behind the masterpiece.
Clemens is most known by his pen name Mark Twain, and he is an American author, humorist, businessman, publisher, and lecturer. He was even hailed as “the father of American literature” by William Faulkner and praised by people as “the greatest humorist the United States has produced.”
Aside from his passion for novels or writings in general, Twain also has another thing he loves, and that is cigars. This may be attested to by his close friend, author William Dean Howells, who revealed in the book “My Mark Twain” acquired by Cigar Aficionado, how much the author enjoys smoking cigars.
“As he walked of course he talked, and of course he smoked. Whenever he had been a few days with us, the whole house had to be aired, for he smoked all over it from breakfast to bedtime.”
He always went to bed with a cigar in his mouth, and sometimes, mindful of my fire insurance, I went up and took it away, still burning, after he had fallen asleep. I do not know how much a man may smoke and live, but apparently he smoked as much as a man could, for he smoked incessantly.”
Twain loved cigars so much that he thought about giving them up, but he was unsuccessful. After that, he promised to smoke one cigar every day.
I pledged myself to smoke but one cigar a day. I kept the cigar waiting until bedtime; then, I had a luxurious time with it. But desire persecuted me every day and all day long. I found myself hunting for larger cigars; within the month, my cigar had grown to such proportions that I could have used it as a crutch.”
He did, however, make an effort to give up smoking once he wed his wife Olivia in 1870 since she did not like cigar smoking. It was also the time when he received a commission to write his second novel, “Roughing It.”
This was a real challenge because, according to Justin Kaplan, the humorist smoked the most when writing and said, “He came almost to a full stop as a writer that year.”
Twain also remembers that event, stating, “I was three weeks writing six chapters then I gave up the fight, resumed my three hundred cigars [a month], burned the six chapters, and wrote the book in three months, without any bother or difficulty.”
“I ordinarily smoke fifteen cigars during my five hours’ labor, and if my interest reaches the enthusiastic point, I smoke more. I smoke with all my might.”
Any cigar will do for Mark Twain, except a Havana.
As a matter of fact, Mark Twain is not the kind of person who’s picky when it comes to the cigars he will smoke. It was said that Twain likes to smoke Cuban cigars; however, he also claimed that almost any cigar would do—a Havana cigar is the exception.
With that being said, he would smoke cheap cigars despite receiving many boxes of costly cigars as gifts; he saved the pricey ones for guests and smoked the cheap ones himself.
Furthermore, in his 1890s article Concerning Tobacco, he stated, “No one can tell me what is a good cigar—for me.”
“I am the only judge. People who claim to know say that I smoke the worst cigars in the world. They bring their own cigars when they come to my house. They betray an unmanly terror when I offer them a cigar; they tell lies and hurry away to meet engagements which they have not made when they are threatened with the hospitalities of my box.”
Twain lived to be 74 years old and was reputedly in good health up until that time, but two years before his death in 1910, he experienced angina. Kaplan also wrote, “[Twain] said it was ‘tobacco heart’ and he tried to cut down his cigars from forty to four a day.”
It is clear why Twain enjoyed smoking cigars so much that he even referred to them as “the best of all inspirations.” He even had several wonderful cigar quotes, the most famous of which is this one: “If there are no cigars in Heaven, I shall not go.”