While there is scant evidence that Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) ever visited Pfaff's bar (only one source suggests tha
Twain discusses a claim from a "Professor Van Dyke, of Princeton," that his "Jumping Frog" story was acutally thousands of years old and based on a Greek tale. To discuss this, Twain presents several versions of the "Jumping Frog" story. Twain also discuses the publication of the "Jumping Frog" in the Saturday Press and gives himself the "honor and credit" of "killing" the paper.
Twain claims that Artemus Ward gave Clapp the Jumping Frog story as a "present," and "Clapp put it in his Saturday Press, and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise" (450).
Twain claims that "Clapp put it [the Jumping Frog story] in his Saturday Press, and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise. At least the paper died with that issue, and none but envious people have ever tried to rob me the honor and credit of killing it. The 'Jumping Frog' was the first piece of writing of mine that spread itself through the newspapers and brought me into public notice. Consequently, the Saturday Press was a cocoon and I the worm in it; also, I was the gray-colored literary moth which its death set free. The similie has been used before" (450).
Twain recounts how "Professor Van Dyke, of Princeton" sought to show him that the "Jumping Frog" story was thousands of years old (446). Twain concedes that the story the "professor" sent him is the same as his own, "in every essential. It is not strung out as I have strung it out, but it is all there" Twain gives several reasons why this is both "curious" and "interesting" (447). Twain then presents both the Greek and Californian stories for the "reader's examination" (448-50). Twain also presents his re-translations of the story from the French back to English (451-53).
Twain claims "I used to tell the story of the Jumping Frog in San Francisco, and presently Artemus Ward came along and wanted it to help fill out a little book which he was about to publish; so I wrote it out and sent it to his publisher, Carleton; but Carleton thought the book had enough matter in it, so he gave the story to Henry Clapp as a present, and Clapp put it in his Saturday Press, and it killed that paper with a suddenness that was beyond praise" (450).
The Vault at Pfaff's
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015