Vol 1 Section 0041

Billiards Tourney & Canada with Osgood – History Pegs up the Driveway

 Life on the Mississippi Published – Elmira Summer & Huck Finn

Collaboration with Howells – Cable’s Visit to Hartford – Matthew Arnold’s Visit


1883 – Sometime during the year Sam inscribed Historical View of the Literature of the South of Europe by Sismondi (1881) to Livy L. Clemens / from SLC / Hartford 1883 [MTP]. Sam inscribed in a Rollo Book for Jean “Little-girl-left-the-gate-open-book” Jean 1883-4 [MTP]. Sam sent a copy of Punch, Brothers, Punch! And other Sketches (1878) with ALS to James R. Osgood asking for “50 or 100 heliotypes like those of the Howell children” [MTP].

Sam wrote sometime during the year to Charles Webster, suggesting he get a:

…general agency for subscription books of a Boston or Phila house….so as to get & keep together a corps of canvassers to use on our own books, later [MTP].

John Henton Carter’s interview of May 12, 1882 was published in Rollingpin’s Humorous Illustrated Annual for 1883. Sam was quoted about his books, the new suspender he was inventing, complaints about his image as a mere humorist, and his ability as a steamboat pilot [Budd, “Interviews” 3]. Note: this piece may have run first in the St. Louis Times sometime during May 1882.

At this time, Sam owned over 150,000 shares of stock in 23 companies [MTNJ 2: 491].

An undated page in MTP’s 1883 financial file in Sam’s handwriting:


Beecher 6,000

Lib. Lit. 8,000

Sheridan 1,400

Leo 9,880

Crawford 1,041

Hancock 100

Total 25, 241

Sometime during the year (and possibly earlier), Sam registered “Mark Twain” as a trademark in the U.S. Patent office [Twainian, Apr. 1945, p3. Oliver R. Barrett]. Note: This from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website:

The Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program began in 1871 when federal statute (35 USC 12) first provided for the distribution of printed patents to libraries for use by the public. During the Program’s early years, twenty-two libraries, mostly public and all but several located east of the Mississippi River, elected to participate.”

Note: Since the Chicago case against Belford & Clarke (arguing violation of trademark) went against Sam on January 8, 1883, it seems likely that any formal registration of trademark was prior to 1883.

January – Sam bought 200 shares on margin of Oregon & Transcontinental Co. stock, worth about $15,000 [MTNJ 3: 29n50]. Sometime during the first three months of the year, Sam declined an invitation of some sort offered by George Willard Benson, Christian author. “I have a house full of sick people,” Sam explained [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote that Osgood had sent a statement showing Sam’s credit balance of $5,261.59 for P&P and The Stolen White Elephant. “I am getting ready for a heavy run on the new book and hope to show results” (LM) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back, “My balance at Osgood’s $5000. Jan ‘83”

January 1 Monday In Hartford, Sam inscribed a copy of The Stolen White Elephant for Miss Laura Taft: To/ Miss Laura Taft / With the kindest regards of / The Author. / Hartford, New Year’s 1883 [McBride 83].

Sam also inscribed P&P to Susan L. Warner: “Mrs. C.D. Warner, mit herzlicksten guten Wunchen des Neujahreszeit, be the grammar & spelling of it good or bad. S.L. Clemens. Hartford, Jan. 1, 1883” [MTP].

Molly & Orion Clemens finished their Dec. 31, 1882 letter to Sam and Livy [MTP].

January 3 WednesdayJames R. Osgood wrote from Boston asking about “premiums offered” for canvassers of LM [MTP].

Dean Sage wrote from NYC with a plan to sell two stocks; he also asked for an autograph for “an interesting young lady. “Can you send it to me appended to some ambiguous (not too much so) sentiment” [MTP].

C.H. McHenry wrote from Nashville, Tenn. asking for a letter written by Mark Twain [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O hell!”

January 3 Wednesday ca. On or about this day, Sam received a letter from James R. Osgood & Co. asking for instructions to give to canvassers about premiums for LM sales. Sam forwarded the letter with a note to Charles Webster.

“Charley, if there are any instructions to be given, you may give them—I will not interest myself in anything connected with this wretched God-damned book. S L C

 “If you know of no other instructions, you can write them & tell them I say invent instructions of their own” [MTBus 207]. Note: MTP’s latest transcription assigns Jan. 5? 1883 to this letter.

January 4 ThursdayGeorge W. Waters wrote from Elmira: “The sketches reached me safely— / Your suggestion of the ‘burning Ship in mid ocean’ appeals to me at once—because I am charmed by the ocean, and exceedingly fond of Color…Should I be fortunate and produce a picture which would be as ‘painted Music’ to you I should be most happy indeed” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dank but Keitven [?] / Longfellow’s Calendar / Waters artist”

January 5 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person:

“If you would be kindly spoken of, die. There is no other way. / But don’t hurry” [MTP].

January 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Osgood & Co., with directions for sets of plates, dies and printed copies of LM. Sam was anxious for success:

“We must sell 100,000 copies of the book in 12 months, and shan’t want him complaining that we are the parties in fault if the sale falls short of it.”

Sam also relied heavily on Livy’s editorial and censorship eye:

“In proof-reading I shall cause you no delay—but I don’t answer for Mrs. Clemens, who has not edited the book yet, and will of course not let a line of the proof go from here till she has read it and possibly damned it. But she says she will put aside everything else, and give her entire time to the proofs” [MTLTP 161].

Worden & Co. sent a statement with a Dec. 31 balance of $24,680.68 [MTP].


January 8 Monday – A short article ran in the New York Times on Jan. 9 about Sam losing a Chicago lawsuit (Circuit Court, N.D. Illinois) on this day, based on trademark infringement. Sam was represented by Thomas W. Clark, while Belford & Clarke by Hutchinson & Partridge.



CHICAGO, Jan. 9. – Some time since Samuel L. Clemens brought suit in the United States Court against Belford, Clarke & Co., publishers, to restrain them from republishing his works. It appeared in evidence that the books republished were not copyrighted, but Clemens claimed his pseudonym of “Mark Twain” as a trade-mark. The court in its decision yesterday held that noms de plume could not be construed as trade-marks and that his failure to copyright left his works open to republication by any one.

Oliver R. Barrett referred to this case as Clemens v. Belford, Clarke & Co., 14 Federal Reporter 728 (1883).

“In that case, Clemens in his Bill of Complaint alleged that Belford, Clark[e] & Co., had, since 1880, published ‘Sketches by Mark Twain;’ that many or most of the sketches ‘in one form or another are substantially like sketches published prior to the year 1880’ by Clemens; that he had been greatly injured and his property in the said nom de plume or trademark of ‘Mark Twain’ as a commercial designation of authorship had been ‘deteriorated and lessened in value.’ Wherefore Clemens prays damages and profits and a writ of injunction restraining the further publication of said work and that the said ‘plates of such book be demasked and destroyed.’

“In a rather lengthy opinion, the court, relying on the fact that the sketches were not claimed to be protected by copyright [not in earlier newspaper printings] held that Clemens could not interfere with the publication of the book, and that he had no exclusive right to use nom de plume of Mark Twain ‘assumed by him;’ that his right to the use of a nom de plume ‘was no better or higher’ than he had in his ‘Christian or baptismal name;’ that ‘no pseudonym, however ingenious, novel, or quaint, can give an author any more right than he would have under his own name.’” [Twainian, Apr. 1945, p3]. Note: I have also reviewed the four-page decision (cite as: 14 F. 728) on Westlaw.com.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Arthur Gilman (unidentified).

If total unfitness for such service were a qualification, I could smile at competition….I am putting an octavo to press, & have never suffered so much nor so long with the having this kind of a child before. Let me recommend you to drop a line to Rev. Francis Goodwin, a man with abundant cash, leisure, scholarship, literary taste, lofty aims, & enthusiasms, & first-class business talent, inherited direct from his late father, founder & President of the Connecticut Mutual. If he says no, I can hunt you up a smaller man [MTP]. Note: Goodwin was a cousin of J.P. Morgan.

Jane Clemens wrote from Keokuk to family. She’d been ill and told of Dr. Bancroft saying it was nerves, giving her pellets to put in water & drink when the clock strikes every hour [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, that two more years of hard study lay before them. Also about the weather and progress with his work [MTP].

G.L. Spillman and W.H. Weller as Students of the “Awful German Language” wrote from Danville, Ind. to offer Sam a long German word, as Clemens had said in TA that he wanted to exchange same [MTP].

January 9 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable wrote a postcard from N. Orleans asking if there was a 2nd volume by a man named Stuart in the books he’d sent. “Made a speech last night—50 minutes—audience made no complaint” [MTP].

January 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edmund C. Stedman (1833-1908) American poet, critic, and essayist, Hartford born. He studied two years at Yale; became a New York journalist on the Tribune and World, as Civil War field correspondent. He later studied law and was for a time private secretary to Attorney General Bates at Washington. He was also a member of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street from 1865-1900. He was one of the first chosen for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1904. Sam extended an invitiation to the Jan. 22 Monday Evening Club at his house at 7:30. Charles Dudley Warner was to present an essay about modern fiction. Sam offered to meet Stedman at the station should he be able to come [MTP].

William Bock wrote again from Brooklyn to ask for a letter from Clemens for his infant son [MTP].

January 11 ThursdayCharles J. Langdon wrote on the bottom of a stockholders meeting result for the Susquehanna and S.W. R.R. Co. and calls for stock subscriptions: “Dear Saml / I will pay these calls as they fall due from your funds here if you will authorize me to do so…$3000 is due. Please advise” [MTP]. Sam wrote on the note: “You are hereby authorized to take the $3,000 from my funds in J. Langdon & Co’s hand”

January 12 Friday – With others named below, Sam signed a menu at Young’s Hotel, Boston. This gathering, not formerly reported, was likely a celebration of James R. Osgood’s publishing of P&P and The Stolen White Elephant. The names on the back of the menu are: James R. Osgood, SL Clemens, Wm. S. Draper, Chas. Fairchild, C.H. Colburn (publisher), G. Osgood, Eben Sumner Draper (1858-1914) Governor of Mass., A.V.S. Anthony (engraver), R.H. Ticknor, and Geo. A. Draper (1855-1923) textile industrialist [Cowan’s Auctions, Dec. 6-7, 2007 Item 919]. Note: It is not known which day Sam went to Boston and returned. Thanks to JoDee Benussi.

Robert A. Stigler wrote from Lexington, Miss. Asking for a list of his books and prices [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Puppy”

Edmund C. Stedman wrote from NYC to Clemens, accepting his “hearty invitation, subject to a telegraphic revoke on Saturday—the 20th inst.” [MTP].

Francis Wayland wrote from N. Haven asking if Sam had a copy of a book he’d reviewed in the Atlantic Monthly of June 1877: Sketches in Palestine (in verse) by Rev. Edward Payson Hammond with portrait [MTP]. Note: Sam’s copy, according to Gribben, was heavily annotated. The writer of the 1877 review identified his home as Ponkapog, Mass., the home of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. So, did Twain write the review? The style doesn’t seem to fit Sam’s of 1877 (See entries for June 1877, June 6, 1877, and Oct. 27, 1879)

January 14 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a long letter to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt about art that Karl was working on; about ideas on the movement of a planned statue of Paul Revere; and of Susan Warner’s desire for Karl’s bas-relief portrait of her husband which Sam wanted to give her but Livy would not.

I am in a state of mental and bodily stupefaction from my long siege of work; but I have life enough in me to send a vast deal of love to both of you & to the coming small guest [their expected baby]. And if I ever prayed, I should pray now for patience, courage, & good fortune for Josephine [Hattie] till the end of her trial come happily. The prayers of them that pray not, avail not; but their good wishes may; & these I offer with all my heart. SLC / (Ordered by Mrs Clemens to put the same sentiment into an unshocking form. Ah, but how?) [MTP].

January 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about being overcharged on a bill for work on the alarm system at the Farmington Ave. house. Sam added that he liked Webster’s “circular,” which was probably for LM, scheduled to be published in May [MTBus 208].

Sam also wrote to George W. Cable: 

I have just finished my book [LM] at last, & was about to return the volumes you so kindly lent me…I am a little short-handed, in the executive department, the coachman’s family being down with scarlet fever…two of our children are pretty sick, too—& 2½ weeks ago my secretary went home with scarlet fever…My life is a trifle too busy these days [MTP].

Sam also responded to Charles Langdon’s note on a notice for calls in the stock of the Susquehanna and South Western Railroad Co. Sam authorized his brother-in-law to take the $3,000 in funds from his interest in the Langdon Co. [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to James R. Osgood about LM preparation.

“There will be 20 to 25,000 more words than necessary; so the scissors can be freely used. The whole family sick, here” [MTLTP 162].

Sam also included a note of explanation sent with a book to Francis Wayland.

“Mine is a badly mutilated copy (on account of cuttings for that review) but it’s a million times better than none, or Shakespeare…” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Miss Jenny Sharples of Lancashire, England of his birth date:

“I do wish it had been a hundred years earlier or thirty years later—either would answer” [MTP].

January 18 ThursdayGeorge W. Cable wrote a postcard from N. Orleans: “Never mind the book. I have it. I found it last night where I have found a great many books—to wit, in my bookcase” [MTP].

January 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam had read all the proofs for LM and Livy had read nearly all of them. Sam related the family’s ills and Susy’s false alarm for scarlet fever. Sam wrote of Stedman being a guest for the following night [MTP].

Donald M. Grant, a Brit in Chumparun, India, wrote a fan letter to tell Clemens “how even in this remote corner of the world your books are known and enjoyed” [MTP]. Note: see Grant’s earlier letter of Mar. 21, 1882 from Ireland, describing himself as an “embryo doctor.”

January 21 Sunday ca. – Shortly after Jan. 21 Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam wrote vertically down the pages and pasted an engraving of him in the grave at the top.

“Osgood Knock this picture out. The madam’s orders are peremptory. She says the chapter is plenty dreadful without it” [MTP].

January 22 MondaySam hosted the Monday Evening Club at his house at 7:30. Charles Dudley Warner presented an essay about modern fiction. Edmund C. Stedman had accepted Sam’s invitation of Jan. 10 and came to Hartford, staying the night at the Clemens’ home [Jan. 21 to Osgood, MTP].

From Hartford Sam inscribed P&P to Edmund C. Stedman: To Edmund C. Stedman, with the kindest regards of the author. Hartford Jan. 22, 1883” [MTP].

St. Paul (Minn.) Roller Mill Co. per S.S. Eaton & W.H. Lightner sent a printed First Annual Report, Articles of Incorp. & By-laws [MTP].

January 23 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Louise A. Howland, wife of his old Nevada mining buddy, Robert M. Howland. Evidently the Howlands had been in New York and Sam apologized for being laid up with rheumatism.

Luckily the scare is over. Clara’s membranous croup is not that; Susie’s scarlet fever is not scarlet fever…So I’ve lost my chance at old Robert, for which I am mighty sorry; but as soon as I get around again I’ve got to go to New York with Madam on shopping & business; & so we hope to at least get a glimpse of you & the children [MTP].

January 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote an aphorism to an unidentified person: None genuine without this signature on the label: Yours Truly, SL Clemens Mark Twain Jan. 24, 1883” [Profiles in History, eBay item 230401504958, Nov. 19, 2009]. Note: Sam used this one several times, including Jan. 26, 1885.

Phillip Robinson wrote from Wisconsin “after a struggle with” his “better nature” sent Sam some sort of writing (the writing is quite illegible) [MTP].

 January 25 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt, beginning the letter this day and finishing it on Feb. 6.

Sam also wrote to (Henry) Clinton Parkhurst, a soldier, correspondent and writer from LeClaire, Iowa. At the age of fifteen he enlisted with the 16th Iowa Infantry.. He was a captive for seven months in the Confederate prison at Andersonville. After the war he returned to LeClaire and worked as a correspondent for the Davenport Democrat. He later went west, settling in San Francisco where he worked with various newspapers. Sam may have met him there. Parkhurst also worked for papers in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois and wrote poetry and fiction. Some of his literary works were published, but many were not, a fact which he attributed to personal failure and injustices of publishers and fellow writers. He occasionally used the pen name Clinton Rollins. Sam gave him the benefit of his lessons about copyright:

“No, if my ten years of effort have taught me any valuable lesson, it is to consider all time given to trying to get our copyright laws put into proper shape, wasted. From that line of endeavor, I have retired permanently” [MTP].

Sam saw more promise in pursuing plagiarism as a trademark violation:

“I have won two trade-mark suits & lost a third. I will not believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide against me until I have tried.”

Charles Webster wrote that he’d “not closed with Newman yet.” Also he’d seen Mr. De Forest at Tiffany’s who “promised to send one of the carved boards right away, the price is $20” MTP].

January 26 FridayEdmund C. Stedman wrote from NYC.

      My two days’ journey in Connecticut, and the winter idyl of twenty-four hours in your beautiful home [Jan. 22], seem already like an aurora borealis—or like a fire-light dream, & about the only cheerful dream I’ve had this season.

      —After telling Mrs. Clemens & yourself how much I enjoyed it, & thanking you for making me so instantly & constantly at home, I must hasten to set myself “right upon the record.” I now have read “The Prince & the Pauper”—and at a sitting, for no one who once dips into it will or can read it otherwise.

 [MTP]. Note: he sent a copy of the “English (& eclectic) edition of verse,” which Gribben identifies as Lyrics and Idylls, with Other Poems (1879) [660].

January 27 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about details of remodeling work at the Farmington house [MTBus 209].

January 29 MondayOrion Clemens wrote, Orion stories enclosed [MTP].

January 30 TuesdayJohn Russell Young wrote from Wash. DC to relate his trip to Japan and a visit with Edward House, “jaunty, cheerful, wise and gracious as usual.” He talked of politics: “Arthur seems to be an exceptional president—safe, conservative and patriotic…Gen. Grant writes the people are tired of paying war taxes in time of peace,—an explanation that is new” [MTP].

February – Sam inscribed The Stolen White Elephant to William M. Clemens [MTP].

Sam wrote to Francis Hopkinson Smith, returning his coat and apologizing for the used handkerchief he left in the pocket [MTP].

February 2 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood asking for proofs of LM and a chapter (52) containing the convict’s letter to Twichell [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote with his needed expenses for Feb. He was “anxious to finish Mr. Warner’s Medallion” [MTP].

Hartford Sanitary per R.W. Farmer wrote to announce the annual stockholders meeting Wed. Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. for election of directors [MTP].

February 5 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells:

“I haven’t anything to write, except all hands well. But I thought I’d send you this, to show you that we are making progress. The children’s governess required them to set down the names of such celebrities as they could recall. You have here the results” [MTHL 1: 422]. Note: Sam enclosed a list of famous people from his older daughters; Susy was eleven, Clara nine. The lists may be found in the citation on note 1. They both included “Papa” in the list of famous men.

Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: “We do not know how happy your two letters made us—we have read them exactly ten times since they came.” She wrote of Karl’s statute of Mercury and some work in bas relief she was doing [MTP].

George P. Lathrop wrote from NYC: “Hutton, Gilder & I—ably assisted by Brander Matthews—are getting up a breakfast for Barnay, the German tragedian. / I have just been to see Barrett about it, & he consents…to preside. He will doubtless speak to you about it to-night, if he has a chance…If it should be on Friday, could you not stay over?” [MTP]. Note: Ludwig Barnay (1842-1924).

February 6 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to C.L. Fleck thanking him for the honor from the “Philo Society” (unidentified) [MTP].

Sam finished the letter of Jan. 25 to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt. Sam ordered a letter of credit for the Gerhardts to continue his patronage of their training in Paris [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Edmund C. Stedman, responding to his letter of Jan. 26 sending a copy of his Lyrics and Idylls, with Other Poems (1879) in exchange for a complimentary copy of P&P. Sam thanked him for his “brief visit” which he said “was an event; & a strongly marked one” and added that he’d been ill,

“But if I couldn’t write, I have been able to read; & so I have enjoyed your poems, & with sincerest pleasure. And I found old friends among them—particularly among the war poems” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, again praising their two “sweet” letters rec’d. He wrote that he would send the “reduced” copy of Mercury, the original being in Naples [MTP].

February 7 WednesdayChristian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote hoping to soon receive proofs of LM from Chatto—he could pay Chatto or Twain direct, as Sam pleased. Seeing that they had not yet published all of Sam’s works in their Continental Edition, he sent a list of those they had [MTP].

February 8 ThursdayMary A. Riley wrote to Sam, with the news that her late brother, John Henry Riley (d. Sept. 1872) wished Sam to have some opal studs. Her other brother had hoped Clemens would come to Phila. where he might give the studs; could she mail them? [MTP]. Note: she waited 11 years!

February 10 Saturday – At about 8 PM, Sam went to the Hartford home of ex-Governor Marshall Jewell, three times governor, minister to Russia, and also Postmaster General in the Grant Administration. Sam stopped by to “beguile an idle hour for him with a yarn or two,” but was “received at the door with whispers, and the information that he was dying.” Jewell “died that night two hours after” Sam left. He wrote about the event to Howells on Mar.1 [MTHL 1: 427-8].

Sam inscribed The Stolen White Elephant to Margaret Warner [MTP].

In Florence, Italy, Howells wrote to Sam:

I have n’t written you because I’ve been ashamed to do so. Our two months in Florence have been the most ridiculous time that ever even half-witted people passed. We have spent them in chasing round after people for whom we cared nothing, and being chased by them. My story isn’t finished yet, and what part of it is done bears the fatal marks of haste and distraction [MTHL 1: 425]. Note: Howell’s current work, A Woman’s Reason had begun running serially in February’s Century Magazine.

February 12 Monday – “American Humorist. Mark Twain” New York: Funk & Wagnalls, by H.R. Haweis was a biography and criticism which argued that though Sam built a reputation as a humorist, he should be taken seriously; emphasized his travel writings [eBay Antique Book Central, Sept. 28, 2009, Item 400075870148]. Note: in the Sept. 1998 issue of Firsts 8.9 p.45, Mac Donnell writes: “Issued separately in wrappers and also bound in cloth by the publisher with others in the series. Haweis was known as a ‘radical curate’ and was friends with many American authors. Exactly one month later [see Mar. 12, 1883] a reprint of this work was issued by John Alden of New York, also in wrappers and in cloth. This is apparently the first separately issued biography of Twain.”


Lockwood De Forest for Tiffany & De Forest billed Sam for $69.00 for 1 carved molding and 7 narrrow brass tiles, Jan. 24 and 30 respectively. A note with the bill: “I am very glad that they have proved what you want & hope that they will look nicely” [MTP].


J.E. Ferguson wrote from Wash. DC, clipping enclosed of a poem, “The Bartender” and a sketch (not in file) “Ferguson, The Martyr” based upon Ferguson the guides in IA. He hoped Sam would reply [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back, “Literary Ass”

February 13 TuesdayBessie Stone wrote from Auburndale, Mass. concerned about Sam’s soul: “I expect that the Lord Jesus will knock at the door of your heart this week (Rev. 3, 20), and please let Him in” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D— fool”; Rev. 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

February 14 Wednesday – Ex-Governor Marshall Jewell’s funeral was held at 11 AM. The body was then on view at Asylum Hill Congregational Church at 2:30 PM with “public exercises.” It is likely that Sam attended one or both of these services [N.Y. Times for Feb. 13, 1883 p.2]. (See Feb. 10 entry, letter to Howells of Mar. 1.) Also, from Twichell’s journal:

“Died our parishioner and friend for many years, Hon. Marshall Jewell. I was ill of a severe cold, so ill as to be confined to the house for the first time in years, and was not able to attend the funeral, which was held in our church. Parker and Gen. Hawley make up the addresses” [Yale, copy at MTP].

February 15 Thursday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond informing him that George W. Cable was leaving for New York within the half-hour [MTP].

Andrew Chatto wrote but the letter is illegible. Made out one reference to publishing LM [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote asking Sam to return his autobiography MS. He wanted “to destroy all but about 100 pages. / I have taken a notion that the stupidity of my writings may have arisen from my spending too much time on them” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “More damned lunacy ’83 Feb”; When one reads all of Orion’s letters, it becomes understandable why Sam often lost patience with his brother.

February 16 FridayGeorge MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy: “I am ashamed of my delay in answering your welcome letter, and acknowledging the excellent portrait which I am very pleased to have. But it is so difficult to write letters when one can only by a strain get through the days work of writing other kinds of things.” He asked if Sam would collaborate on a book he was writing by adding “a little bit here & there” [MTP].

February 18 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a scorching letter to J.W. Bouton:

      Draw & be damned. I subscribed for your Portfolio one year & no more. I paid for it. Since then you have thrust it upon me & persecuted me with it at your own risk & in defiance of my several protests.

      You’ll “draw” on me! The hell you will! Messrs. Slote & Co. “refer” you to me. No!—why you can’t be in earnest. If they refer you to me, of course it must be all right. Dear me, why didn’t you get the peanut man on the corner to add HIS authority.

      Well, what a marvelous sort of publisher you must be, sure enough! You ought to write a book, & call it “How to Combine the Methods of the Highwayman & the Publisher Successfully.”

      I kiss you, Sweetheart!—Goodbye, good-bye—ta-ta!——ta-ta!

Dearest, I am / Truly Yours / S L Clemens [MTP; Mark Twain’s Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race (2004) p. 45]. Note: See Feb. 22 entry. In the latter source this was published under “An Unwanted Magazine Subscription,” which says it all. the Magazine was The Portfolio, An Artistic Periodical (London). In his Dec. 30, 1882 to Charles L. Webster, Sam explained he subscribed for one year but never subscribed again and “..have done my best to keep them from throwing away that excellent work on me….I wish you would explain the case to Mr. Bouton and have the periodical stopped before bloodshed [MTBus 206 cited by Gribben 555].

Frank M. Daulton wrote from Gainesville, Ark. He had a little house with 20 acres in the suburbs, “and about a shirt-tail full of type and an old army press…and making a totally good living.” He had plans for new equipment and an improved newspaper. He asked what happened to Orion and gave his love to Sam’s mother, if she was living [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Frank Daulton / ‘Old fellow printer’ in Hannibal”

February 19 Monday – Sam read a paper titled, “What is Happiness?” to the Monday Evening Club in Hartford. This was his seventh presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club]. An early question in his notebook: “Is anybody or any action ever unselfish? (Good theme for Club Essay)” [MTNJ 2: 498n214]. Sam would further develop his scrutiny on human motivation in What Is Man?

William Hamersley wrote from Hartford about the difficulties of getting a contract with James W. Paige for the typesetter [MTP].

February 22 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Charles Webster. Sam’s ex-attorney, Charles Perkins, had made an offer to reorganize the Kaolatype Company, and Sam wanted Webster to investigate whether to “knock the thing in the head.” More said about the alarm system, the batteries, the quitting bells, the alarm clock. Also Sam was concerned about a subscription for the magazine The Portfolio, An Artistic Periodical, London, to J.W. Bouton, editor (see Gribben 555-6) that either he or Slote might have paid for. He advised Webster that he and Osgood:

“…will be down about the First of March, and then I propose to go and see Slote and Company” [MTBus 209-10].

Sam also wrote to Orion, who had been having mental problems when writing about religion, and had some far out ideas on the subject, including the idea that Jesus taught sexual abstinence as a condition for gaining heaven. Orion wrote that he would put his ideas into a lecture, as suggested by Dr. George of the Keokuk Constitution. Orion’s letter angered Sam, and he responded:

“Your Dr. George is a fool…your lecture would destroy you, and me too. Try to guard yourself jealously against two things—lecturing and writing; for you cannot achieve even a respectable mediocrity in either” [Fanning 202].

Sam enclosed an oath for Orion to sign to refrain from any literary work, lecturing or asking Sam’s advice for the remainder of 1883 and all of 1884.

“…and abide by it—then we shall have peace. You are as good and kind as you can be, but you have no more this-worldly faculty than a babe” [202].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, sending bio. information on a “Form for Literary damned Societies that discuss you & your works” [MTP].

Sam also sent a saying from “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” to another unidentified person:

“The man who speaks an injurious truth lest his soul be not saved if he do otherwise, should reflect that that sort of a soul is not strictly worth saving” [MTP]. Note: In The Stolen White Elephant.

February 25 SundayKarl and Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, the letter from Drexel with money rec’d. “Many thanks for the new letter…I shall telegraph you when the little stranger arrives….Josie has a most excellent nurse who does everything for us so that I don’t have any worry and am losing no time” [MTP].

February 26 MondayChatto & Windus wrote [MTP]. (envelope only survives)

February 27 Tuesday ­– Orion signed the pledge to Sam and returned it with an apology (see Feb.22 entry). “I will now turn my attention to law” [MTP; Fanning 202].

February 28 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus to ratify an agreement between Chatto and Herr J.H. Schufthas Boghandel of Copenhagen, Denmark, giving him the right to translate LM into Swedish [MTP].

Sam attended a lecture by John Lawson Stoddard who pioneered in giving travelogue lectures using the stereopticon. Sam wrote of the lecture to Howells on Mar. 1:

I attended one of the astonishingly popular lectures of an idiot by the name of Stoddard, who exhibits interesting stereopticon pictures and then knocks the interest all out of them with his chuckleheaded comments upon them. But all the world go there to look and listen, and are apparently well satisfied. And they ought to be fully satisfied, if the lecturer would only keep still, or die in the first act [MTHL 1: 426].

Mar. 31 statement from Worden & Co., New York, (stock brokers) shows Sam’s balance this day of $3,997.08 [MTP].

March – Sam inscribed a note “To Miss Julie / With regards & kindest remembrances of / Mark Twain / (Known to the police as S.L. Clemens.) / Hartford Mch 1883I” [MTP]. No further identification is given.

Lawrence Barrett wrote a short note to Sam: “Hutton tells me you will meet the ‘Kinsmen’ Monday Eve—Pray arrange also to be with me at the [Ludwig] Barnay Breakfast—It will bolster me up—in my first appearance as President” [MTP].

Sam gave a speech at The Kinsmen Club, New York City. According to Paul Fatout,

“The Kinsmen was a club without dues, clubhouse, officers or bylaws, its only purpose being good fellowship and good times—perhaps not a club at all. It was instigated by Lawrence Barrett, the name suggested by Laurence Hutton (1843-1904) to symbolize practitioners of kindred arts who made up the membership…Mark Twain attended as the guest of Hutton in 1883. Other Kinsmen, American and British, were William Mackay Laffan, [William Dean] Howells [in Europe at this time], F[rank] D. Millet, [T. B.] Aldrich, , Edwin A. Abbey, Anthony Hope, Edwin Booth, [Brander] Matthews (1852-1929), Joseph Jefferson, [Augustus] Saint-Gaudens, [Arthur Wing] Pinero, Bram Stoker, Forbes Robertson, John Singer Sargent, Henry Irving, Julian Hawthorne, Andrew Lang, and Edmund Gosse. See Hutton, Talks in a Library: 326-28; Matthews, The Tocsin of Revolt: 255.” [Editorial emphasis]

Note: A search of a five year period in the New York Times shows no mention of a Kinsmen Club, which suggests these men met privately and informally. Brander Matthews’ 1917 book, in These Many Years, reveals the genesis and development of the club: Dining at the Florence House in New York on Apr. 3, 1882, the group of Abbey, Barrett, Hutton, Millet, and Laffan decided to call themselves the Kinsmen Club; they met again at Hutton’s in Mar. 1883 for only second time, adding Bunner, Osgood, Elihu Vedder, and Samuel Clemens; their third meeting was in London during the summer of 1883; in 1887 a “misunderstanding” occurred and the club never met again [232-3].

March 1 Thursday ­– In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Howells, who wrote on Feb. 10 from Florence, Italy, frustrated at not being able to write much, spending the prior two months there “chasing round after people for whom we cared nothing, and being chased by them” [MTHL 1: 425]. Howells hadn’t finished A Woman’s Reason, nor had the “put pen to paper on the play,” Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. Sam sympathized:

We got ourselves ground up in that same mill, once, in London, and another time in Paris. It is a kind of fore taste of hell. There is no way to avoid it except by the method which you have now chosen. One must live secretly and cut himself utterly off from the human race, or life in Europe becomes an unbearable burden and work an impossibility [426].

Sam was feeling liberated after finishing Life on the Mississippi. This period came before an extremely productive output during the summer.

I have been an utterly free person for a month or two; and I do not believe I ever so greatly appreciated and enjoyed and realized the absence of the chains of slavery as I do this time….Of course the highest pleasure to be got out of freedom, and the having nothing to do is labor. Therefore I labor. But I take my time about it. I work one hour or four as happens to suit my mind, and quit when I please. And so these are days of entire enjoyment [427].

Sam asked the Howellses to visit the Gerhardts if they got to Paris. He also remarked on the shocking number of deaths due to pneumonia for the winter season [428].

Sam also wrote to Christian B. Tauchnitz. Sam provided questions about The Jumping Frog book and disclosed buying and breaking up the plates for the book, then using parts of it for his Mark Twain Sketches book. He also asked to buy back issues bound for Tauchnitz’s Fliegende Blütter [MTP].

Sam left Hartford and went to New York City. There he played billiards with friends for two hours,

“…got to bed at 10, slept 8 solid hours, & got up as fine as a fiddle…” [Mar. 2 to Livy, MTP].

George B. Smith, Jr. wrote Sam from the National Soldiers Home in Togus, Maine, thanking him for $10 sent to his wife [MTP]. Note: this is not George Smith the publisher.

March 2 Friday – Sam wrote from New York to Livy, excited about the possibility of staying over until Monday and seeing Vignaux, the greatest billiard man that ever lived” in a private exhibition. It would be “an event memorable for a lifetime,” and Sam was “perishing to see it.” He would let her know [MTP]. Note: Maurice Vignaux (1846-1916).

March 3 Saturday – The New York Times under “PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE” p.5 reported:

Samuel L. Clemens, of Hartford, and James R. Osgood, of Boston, are at the Victoria House 

The Brooklyn Eagle, on page 7 under “EVENTS IN BROOKLYN” / Summary of the Week’s Local News

The trial of Captain C.C. Duncan’s suit for $100,000 against the New York Times was begun in the Supreme Court.

March 5 Monday At the opening of the Guelph Club for billiards in New York, Sam introduced the great French billiards player, Maurice Vignaux and several other players, including George F. Slosson, Joseph Dion, and William Sexton, for an exhibition warm up match anticipating a large tournament in Chicago later in the month [N.Y. Times Mar. 6 p.5]. The Washington Post of Mar. 6, in a story datelined New York, Mar. 5, p.1 titled “Vignaux Beats Sexton Easily” reported the players were introduced, among whom were a number of noted lawyers and billiardists, by Mark Twain in a humorous speech [Schmidt]. The Times article does not mention Sam’s presence.

John Bellows (1831-1902) wrote from London to ask “where Mark Twain is” and offering to send a copy of his book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Author of the admirable little French-English Dictionary” which Clemens found useful in his 1878/79 trip abroad.

Frank M. Daulton wrote “rejoiced to hear from you, your mother and Orion and to know they are still in the land of the living. Parmelia [Pamela] was just blooming into womanhood and I was a bashful boy then, and consequently never got very well acquainted” [MTP].

March 7 Wednesday – According to the Brooklyn Eagle, p. 7, “Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) testified in the libel suit of Captain C.C. Duncan against the New York Times.” Since Sam’s letter of Mar. 9 to Cable referred to a Mar. 8 meeting with Charles Dudley Warner in Hartford, it’s likely that Sam returned from New York either on the evening of Mar. 7 after the billiards match, or the next day.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy of the arrival of “little Olivia” who was born this evening [MTP].

Roswell Smith wrote from NYC on The Century Co. notepaper: “I send you a note just received from Mr Cable, which is in response to mine as to the Hartford lecture project. / I want him here on the 26th of March to speak on Prison Reform before the Congregational Club if it will not interfere with your plans” [MTP].

March 714? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Benjamin H. Ticknor directing him to make a few changes on the foundry proof pages of LM. “It ain’t any matter about the 50,000 already printed—no importance” [MTP].

March 8 Thursday – In the evening after receiving a letter from Roswell Smith, editor and president of Century Magazine, Sam and Charles Dudley Warner discussed how to set up a trial lecture for George W. Cable in Hartford [Mar. 9 to Cable, MTP].

March 9 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford responding to English writer George MacDonald’s letter suggesting a collaborative scheme for protecting against literary piracy. If Sam would write a few short paragraphs for MacDonald’s forthcoming novel then both writers’ names would guarantee copyrights in both countries. Sam politely offered the idea would make sense only if each could do half; but he had no time for such a team effort. He again promised to send a copy of LM when it came out [Lindskoog 28]. Note: This was the second or third time MacDonald sought to collaborate with Sam.

Sam also a short wrote to Charles Webster about J.W. Bouton and the Portfolio matter (see Feb. 22 entry). He also wrote about the house remodel. Sam asked how long Dion Boucicault (1820?-1890) the Anglo-Irish dramatist would be in New York and what was his address? Horace (Harry) Wall might tell Webster, Sam added.

In Mark Twain Businessman, Samuel Webster (son of Charles) notes the mention of Dion Boucicault is significant due to Sam’s desire to write another play [212].

Sam also wrote of big plans to George W. Cable, from a discussion the night before with Warner:

Our idea is thus: That we secure a nice little hall here—Unity Hall—& trot you out before an appreciative little audience—not for pecuniary profit for you, & yet not at any expense to you—but simply for the attainment of these important objects, viz:

      1. That you may try your lecture;

      2. That you may try your lecture-wings;

      3. That you may have the right sort of newspaper attention; and

      4. That the total result shall be a valuable advertisement.


Sam suggested a title for the lecture and needed a date at least two weeks off they could work around a few days either way, in case the halls were already spoken for. “Give us a date,” he wrote, “Then Warner & I will sail in!” [MTP].

Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond in Baltimore, adding a postscript to the day’s letter for George W. Cable—select a date later than Mar. 26 to give him and Warner enough planning time to promote the trial lecture [MTP].

Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote a short note from Boston: “Don’t you want to write two or three Atlantic pages for the Club about Wiggins? You could make it immensely funny” [MTP].

John Michels wrote from NYC thanking him for his note declining to be involved in a new newspaper. He wrote that Robert Underwood Johnson would be the manager and find some capital. “Would you give your name as Editor of the paper and send something weekly if 25 per cent of the profits are guaranteed to you…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Proposition / Decline”

March 10 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, making a formal announcement from a list of leading Hartford citizens, which included Sam and Charles Dudley Warner, Joseph R. Hawley, J. Hammond Trumbull, Richard D. Hubbard (1818-1884), Austin C. Dunham, Edwin Pond Parker, James B. Patterson, William B. Franklin, Joseph H. Twichell, Henry C. Robinson, William Hamersley, A.E. Burt, Edwin E. Johnson, N. Shipman [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote: “It’s very, very good of you and the rest to take all this trouble for me, and you must consider me in your hands. I will lecture on ‘Creole Women’ and on such a date as you may choose round about Apl 3.” [MTP: George W. Cable: the Northampton Years, Butcher 1959 Columbia, p. 12].

Bothwell Graham wrote from Rome, Ga. Sam’s note explains [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Permission refused. / School teacher wants to perform dramatization of Tom Sawyer”

March 11 Sunday – An article ran in the New York Times p.4 about Sam’s father.



Communication to the St. Louis Republican.

In 1843 at Hannibal, Mo., John Marshal Clemens, the father of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain,) filled the ancient and honorable office known as Justice of the Peace. He was a stern unbending man of splendid common-sense, and was, indeed, the autocrat of the little dingy room on Bird street, where he held his court, meted out justice and general satisfaction to litigants, commanded peace, and preserved order as best he could in the village. This room fairly indicated the rustic simplicity of the people and the frugal and careful manner in which Judge Clemens lived and transacted business. Its furniture consisted of a dry goods box, which served the double purpose of a desk for the Judge and table for the lawyers, three or four rude stools, and a puncheon bench for the jury. And here on court days, when the Judge climbed upon his three-legged stool, rapped on the box with his knuckles and demanded “Silence in the court,” it was fully expected that silence would reign supreme. As a general thing the “rough and ready” characters who had lounged in to see the “wheels of justice” move bowed submissively to the mandates of the Judge and observed the utmost respect for “his Honor.” Allen B. McDonald, an overbearing, turbulent, and quarrelsome man, was an exception, and many a time he had violated the rules and been rebuked by the court.

March 12 Monday – “Mark Twain” by H.R. Haweis, in the Elzevir Library, was a biography and criticism which argued though Sam built a reputation as a humorist, he should be taken seriously; emphasized his travel writings [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p170]. See also Feb. 12.

March 13 TuesdayWilliam H. Gillette wrote of expenses with the play The Professor and being unable to repay Sam the $3000, hoping he’d be “a little easy on time payments.” The play was making money, but comedy-farces didn’t play for more than three seasons [MTP].

Jane Lampton Clemens wrote to the Clemens family about attending a fun party the night before. She added a note on the 16th[MTP].

March 14 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam typed a letter to Benjamin H. Ticknor about a telegram he’d sent on the cut he wanted replaced in LM. Put in any sort of picture, even if it didn’t connect with the text and make sure it wasn’t funny, Sam wrote. A landscape would do, Sam thought and:

“…the reader can put in such idle time as he may have in trying to arrive at the connection…” [MTP].

March 16 FridayJane Lampton Clemens added to her letter of Mar. 13. “Now the weather is good and I wish to come to your house, if it suits you. I can do as you said pay Orion’s way there & home again” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answer”

W.G. Watson wrote to ask if he could see Sam “on very important business (to me) for about 15 minutes” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Watson the tramp”

March 17 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, at the time in Baltimore for a reading, confirming details on the planned “trial lecture” for Cable.

You are to lecture here the 3d of April, on “Creole Women,” in Unity Hall. So that’s all arranged. Formal invitation, duly signed by prominent citizens, [See Mar. 10 entry] will be presently sent you. Advertising will shortly begin. Preliminary “paragraphing” will begin now. Stir up Roswell Smith, [See Mar. 8 entry] please, & have him gather his clan & make preparation [MTP].

Sam also mentioned that an idea struck him while getting out of bed; he asked Cable not to make any more lecture dates until they’d spoken. The “idea” may very well have been the joint lecture tour which took off later in the year.

Samuel E. Wells wrote from Albany to ask permission to use three of Sam’s sketches in his new book on elocutions: “How I Edited an Agricultural paper,” “Jim Wolf and the Cats” and the “Speech at the Scottish Banquet in London” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Gave him my consent to use the 3 sketches named / SLC”

March 18 SundayJoe Goodman wrote to Sam.

Dear Mark—Here is your “Hamlet Brother,” roughly blocked out. I thought you would never get about it in earnest and did it to amuse myself. The arrangement, you will see, is an improvement upon the original, and the introduction of the new character clears up much that is obscure in “Hamlet” as it now stands. I am not a funny man and have only put words into Bill’s mouth provisionally. You will have to re-write his part throughout.… I was speaking to Barrett once about your idea and he thought it would be a sort of sacrilege. That might be the opinion of the goody-goodies who are howling about the “Passion Play” (the most impressive presentation of Christianity ever witnessed); but you and I know such talk is all fudge. Anything is legitimate sport and game—and especially Shakespeare, who cribbed right and left, and ridiculed nearly everybody and everything by turns [MTP]. Note: Sam’s 1873 idea of adding a humorous character to Hamlet had percolated in Joe’s brain and he continued to encourage Sam by showing him the possibilities. It may be that Sam feared Lawrence Barrett’s sort of reaction. Edwin Booth, however, thought the idea had value (see Nov. 3, 1873 entry).

March 19 MondaySusy Clemens’ eleventh birthday.

Sam and Livy took a morning train for New York for business and shopping. They probably arrived too late for Sam to attend a breakfast at Delmonico’s for Herr Ludwig Barnay, distinguished German actor. Barnay completed a successful tour of the U.S. in 1882. Osgood was in attendance, as well as Whitelaw Reid, Lawrence Barrett, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Francis D. Millet, and John T. Raymond, who offered a few humorous words in honor of Barnay. The group of about 50 broke up at 5 PM, so it’s possible Sam made a late appearance [N.Y. Times, Mar. 20, 1883 p.8 “Herr Barnay Among Friends”]. According to “PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE” in the N.Y. Times the following day, Sam stayed at the Brunswick Hotel [p.8].

March 20 Tuesday – In New York City, Sam and Livy took Charles and Annie Webster and attended a special matinee performance of Herr Barnay at the Thalia Theater, “to which only members of the profession were invited.”



The house was crowded, and it was not an easy matter to push one’s way along the aisles. Lawrence Barrett and his family occupied the box on the first tier to the right of the stage, and in the box opposite were Lester Wallack and a party of friends. Mrs. Gilbert, of Daly’s Theatre, was in a box on the second tier and the opposite box was occupied by Frank Mayo, Lawrence Hutton and several friends. Among the other actors and well-known people present were Samuel F. [sic] Clemens, John Gilbert, Osmond Tearle, Rose Coghlan, Georgie Cayvan, Agnes Ethel, Sara Jewett, J. H. Ryley, Louise Pallin, Brander Matthews, George Parsons Lathrop, Julian Hawthorne, John Drew, Daniel Frohman, and Frank Murtha. The first character in which Herr Barnay appeared was as Raoul Girard, in the one-act farce, “From the Opera Comique,” the lover of Juliette Santeniss—Miss Wolff. The next representation was King Lear [N.Y. Times Mar. 21, 1883 p 8].

(The opera was referred to in Mar. 23 and Mar. 31 letters to Charles Webster)

George W. Cable wrote from Baltimore: “This community is trying to waltz me off my feet or else I would have had somewhere & somehow a chance to write you a genteel letter. / I have yours of Saturday & one earlier, kindly inviting me…to sojourn within the borders of your tabernacle. Many thanks, Mr. & Mrs. George Warner, however, have rented me…” [MTP].

March 21 Wednesday – Sam and Livy continued their New York stay, for both business and shopping pleasure. Sam and Livy also visited with Augustus Saint-Gaudens on this trip [Mar. 26 to Gerhardt, MTP].

Marshall H. Mallory for Churchman Weekly wrote about negotiating with Howells for a play before he left for Europe “Just before sailing he wrote that the matter was left with you…” What terms and when would the play be ready? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Not Answered” then crossed out the “Not”

March 22 Thursday – They arrived back in Hartford in the evening. Charles Dudley Warner “dropped in” after they arrived home and suggested that George W. Cable give the same reading in Hartford he successfully gave in Baltimore, instead of the planned lecture on “Creole Women.” Sam felt it would be “safer” to give a reading that had proven successful elsewhere [Mar. 23 to Cable, MTP].

In an article in Life, then a humor magazine, a cartoon figure of Mark Twain (by Kendrick) as an alchemist went with a brief, inaccurate biographical sketch:

…He was born on Plymouth Rock, April 1st, 1728…As an archeologist, however, he has won most renown, and his collection of Pompeiian, Sanscrit, Egyptian, and early Greek jokes, now in possession of Osgood & Co., of Boston, is considered the most complete in the world….He is short, florid and very corpulent, and is a rapid and brilliant speaker [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Spring 1982 p5]. See insert

William L. Alden for Harper & Bros. Wrote that he’d be unhappy without a submission from Sam for his next “Editor’s Drawer” [MTP]. A note in the file gives this the probable date and says Alden was given the feature after William A. Seaver’s death on Jan 7.

March 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing a letter of interest in the Paige typesetter.

“So I thought that if you and [William] Payton should run up here together and examine the machine, it would help these people to remember the terms upon which they can be applied to those New York men for capital” [MTBus 212].

Sam telegraphed George W. Cable about the planned lecture or reading at Unity Hall—a request to change the date to Apr. 4 and a suggestion to give the same reading that was successful in Baltimore. After sending the telegram, Sam then received and read a letter from Cable. He then typed a response, repeating the content of his telegram and adding:


Karl Gerhardt wrote, that Josie was walking the room and the baby was “doing splendidly”. He stopped paying out extra money for models in order to meet his budget [MTP].

J.B. Loewenthal wrote from Chicago asking for an autograph [MTP].

March 25 Sunday – In the Mar. 26 letter to the Gerhardts, Sam referred to this morning as Livy passing “the danger point” in her recent illness [MTP].

The following classified ad ran on page 5 of the Brooklyn Eagle:


March 26 Monday – Sam sent a telegram from Hartford to George W. Cable, verifying the upcoming lecture date as Apr. 4 on “Creole Women” while working in the Baltimore reading. Sam added that Livy was “out of danger” [MTP].

Sam also typed a letter to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt, welcoming their new baby, Olivia Gerhardt. Sam applauded Karl’s finishing seventh in a field of 60 in an art competition. Sam explained that the American Exchange in Europe would be able to handle the medallions that the Gerhardts wanted to ship to Hartford, “or an elephant or a dwelling house or anything you please” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote on several issues after receiving Sam’s of Mar. 23: He would “attend to all such letters as you speak of and let them down light” as they only wanted autographs. He enclosed a bill for opera expenses; an article on billiards; he’d found a man to fix Sam’s music box and enclosed his card; and strategy about the Paige typesetter, which Hamersley wrote was “perfected” [MTP].

March 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, who had written asking if a particular engagement would interfere with the planned trip and reading in Hartford. Sam telegraphed that it would not, but advised him to:

“…require a stipulated sum cash in advance otherwise that pair of thieves will rob you in spite of the very devil they are shameless scoundrels & I know what I am talking about and am responsible for it” [MTP]. Note: Sam did not specify who these certain “scoundrels” were or where Cable was to perform, but may have been referring to the Mallory brothers in New York.

March 30 Friday – Sam’s letter to the editor ran on page two of the Hartford Courant under the headline “George W. Cable”:

Of the evening of the fourth of April the gifted southerner whose name appears above, will deliver at Unity Hall, in Hartford, a lecture upon “Creole Women,” sauced with illustrative readings from “The Grandissimes” and other of his books [Courant.com].

March 31 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Charles Webster, conveying Livy’s apologies for not saying a proper goodbye to Annie after the opera in New York. Sam wrote that the “type setter company are going to have a meeting next week, April 4th. I shall try to be present at it, but as that is going to be a particularly busy day with me I may possibly fail.” This was the date Sam and Warner had set for Cable to give his “Creole Women” reading at Unity Hall in Hartford. Sam also inquired of Kate Lampton, another cousin who was seeking employment copying or typing. Would Charley ask Mr. Whitford?


A statement from Worden & Co., New York, (stock brokers) shows a balance of $4,017.72; shows balance Feb. 28 $3,997.08; paid interest this day $20.64 [MTP].

Christian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote to thank him for his “kind letter and for the copies of ‘Sketches’ and ‘The Gilded Age’ which came safely..” He’d arranged with Chatto to pay £85 for LM [MTP].

April – Sam wrote a maxim on stationery of the Alpha Literary Society, Greenville Ill. to an unidentified person: It is easier—& nearly always more judicious—to tell seven lies than make one explanation…” [MTP]. Note similarity with Apr. 3 to Bellows.

April 1 SundayMollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy. Orion thanked Sam for the German books sent. They’d written to Kate Lampton to visit when it turned warmer and that Ma would send her tickets both ways. Sorry to hear of Livy’s “danger” but were glad she was better. Mollie urged them to visit [MTP].

April 2 MondayGeorge W. Cable arrived in Hartford at noon and stayed with Charles Dudley Warner. From Cable’s letter to his wife:

      Charles D. Warner met me at the door just leaving for New York. He will be back to my lecture on Wednesday. His wife is at the piano practicing for a little afternoon musicale appointed for tomorrow at this house.

      I have been over to see Clemens. Found him sick or nearly so, lying down at least with a cold. He promises to be up tonight, when some of us expect to attend the meeting of the Monday club. Mr. Twichell came in while I was there, looking for me. All ask kindly after you. Mrs. George Warner is as sweet [as] ever…Mrs. Clemens is sick abed with quinsy, but out of all danger & today greatly improved [Turner, MT & GWC 12-13].

April 3 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote an aphorism to John Bellows in Gloucester, England: “I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation” [Sotheby’s catalog at MTP].

From George W. Cable’s letter to his wife:

Dear old Mark Twain sends kindest word to all of you, beginning, of course, with Nellie.

      We have had a beautiful day today. I ventured over to M.T.’s house without my overcoat & felt comfortable; but on starting away from his house he cried out at the idea of no overcoat.

      I said, “The air is full of a soft, warm glow.”

      “Soft, warm glow! It’s full of the devil!—the devil of pneumonia! That’s what it’s full of!” and so I had to wear one of his overcoats back to Warner’s.

      Here’s another characteristic speech: “Yes, sir, my poor wife must get sick, & have a pulse that ran up to—150 in the shade!”

      He began to d—n Roswell Smith (whom he likes very well, I believe). I said I don’t allow my friends to abuse each other. “Yes, that’s all right; I know it. That’s the reason I forbear as I do. You see how mild my abuse is compared to what it would be if you were not here.”

      He strode up & down the room holding his headachy forehead & brandishing his arms, scolding over the various miscarriages of our schemes concerning the reading.

      I said, “I didn’t come over here to torment you before your time.” He answered—

      “Oh, you’re not tormenting me; only give me room to swear!” But he did not swear—much [Bickle 96].

George MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy, thanking him for his refusal to collaborate and seeing it “in its true light—as at least more than doubtful.” He reflected a sincere faith in God [MTP].

George B. Smith, Jr. wrote from the National Soldier’s Home in Togus, Me. Unfortunately the letter has faded to the point of being nearly unreadable [MTP].

April 4 Wednesday – Sam sponsored and introduced George W. Cable in a program of readings at Unity Hall in Hartford. To ensure a good response, Sam encouraged well-known literary types from New York and Boston to attend [Fatout, MT Speaking 176-7]. In his Apr. 6 letter to New Orleans artist Frances A. Cox, Sam wrote “George W. partially defeated himself night before last by not making a good selection of reading matter…” [MTP]. (See Apr. 5 and Apr. 6 entries.)

Cable read from “Old Creole Days” and his novel The Grandissimes. He wrote to his wife on Apr. 5:

“Poor, dear old Mark Twain! I could see that his wide experience recognized the fact & that he was not satisfied” [Turner, MT & GWC 15].

The Hartford Courant, Apr. 5 p2, reported on Cable’s reading:

When Mr. Cable came forward, and was received with hearty applause, the audience saw a slight, almost boyish figure, with a face of singular purity and refinement, black, laughing eyes, black hair, and a forehead high and fair and indicating thought and seriousness….so absolutely simple that we hesitate to apply the word dramatic to it, and yet the effect was dramatic, as the intense interest with which his sketching was followed by the audience attested.

After the readings there was a “lively supper at the Hartford Club,” including Howells, Twichell, Aldrich, Gilder, and O’Reilly. Fatout: “Of this late party Cable remarked upon an ‘abundance of innocent fun. There were a hundred good things said that I suppose I’ll never remember.’ See Hutton, Talks in a Library: 416-18” [MT Speaking 655].

Cable gave Sam copies of Old Creole Days (1879), The Grandissimes. A Story of Creole Life (1880) , and Madame Dephine (1881); and inscribed them: “To S. L. Clemens. Yours truly, G. W. Cable, Hartford, Apl 4, 1883” [Gribben 123].

Charles Ethan Porter wrote from Paris to Sam & Livy—a begging letter for funds [MTP]. Note: Porter was the black artist that Sam had helped before.

Jenny Sharples wrote from Lancashire, England, sending a handkerchief she’d embroidered for him, to thank him for the autographed letter sent some time before [MTP].

April 5 Thursday – Sam introduced George W. Cable to the Saturday Morning Club, Hartford, at the home of Charles Perkins. Cable read “Posson Jones.” Richard Watson Gilder was among the guests [Bickle 97; Turner, MT & GWC 16-17]. Note: In this and a few other cases Sam’s young girls’ club met on days other than Saturday to accommodate speakers.

From the club reading, which Sam was elated with, they took a carriage to a lunch in Cable’s honor at the Hartford Club. That evening Cable wrote his wife Lucy of the gathering:

“It was the maddest, merriest three hours—the wittiest uproar that ever I heard in my life. It beat the Boston dinner of last fall and was without the grossness which hurt my ear there” [Turner, MT & GWC 18].

Sam handed Cable John C. Kinney’s “little check for” $125 for his Unity Hall reading of Apr. 4. Kinney was an editor on the Courant [19].

April 6 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frances A. Cox. Sam thanked her again for the portrait of “Mammy” –“the lovely & lovable black face, heart of gold in ebony casket.” Sam also wrote that this reading was:

“…a splendid triumph. [Cable] read Parson Jones, & carried his house by storm. He will read that & some other good selections to-night [Apr. 6] before a company at Charles Warner’s & will score another triumph, & go forth from Hartford with banners flying & drums beating, an acknowledged conqueror” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. Sam told of Cable’s “rattling victory” at the young girls’ club—“They have made it the talk of Hartford.” Sam was “uneasy & bothered” about Livy’s weakened condition since her bout with tonsillitis [MTP].

Clemens also sent a telegram to Francis Hopkinson Smith, in N.Y.C.


“Lovinge Greeting to ye tillers and I wolde surely come but that sundry of my tribe do languish under the hand of the medicine man [.] fill high the Vedder. SL Clemens”[Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Elihu Vedder Papers, Reel 518 Frame 1566].


Notes: Sam was unable to attend a dinner given by the Tile Club for Elihu Vedder, who was to sail the next week to Rome. The New York Times reported the Apr. 6 dinner on Apr. 7, and quoted Sam’s telegram in “A Dinner to Elihu Vedder.” On May 7, 1884, just over a year later, the Tile Club gave an exhibition of “a remarkable collection of pictures just completed by Mr. Elihu Vedder,” after what had been reported as a mysterious disappearance by Vedder. The 50-some pictures were to be illustrations for a large volume edition of the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayam, published by Houghton Mifflin & Co. [The Literary World May 17, 1884, p.170].

Sam also wrote to George E. Waring Jr. Sam blundered by inviting Waring to visit the family in Elmira at Quarry Farm in the summer, since “it takes every bed in the house to hold our gang.” The solution was to have him stay with Mrs. Langdon in town and Sam would “fetch” him “up, mornings & tote” him” back evenings, & insure …a perfectly lovely time…Will you forgive the blunderer?” Sam again raved about Cable’s talks [MTP].

Cable attended church services with the Bartletts and “heard a few tolerably good remarks from Dr. Parker & then some of the rambling stuff from a rev’d friend of his.” He stopped by Sam’s and gave him a letter from Mary Bartlett (Susy’s piano teacher [MTNJ 2: 397n141]). After putting up with a pun from Sam (a rather rare thing for which Sam abjectly “groveled”), Cable wrote his wife of the day’s events [Turner, MT & GWC 19].

In the evening Cable gave a private reading for the Warners and their guests, 55 in all. Sam stayed home with a sick Livy, but “others of the household” attended, likely the older girls and/or servants [20].

A check for $99.50 from J.C. Kinney to Sam, drawn on Hartford Trust Co., endorsed “pay to the order of Geo. W. Cable, esq” signed by each [MTP]. Note: John C. Kinney was an editor on the Hartford Courant.

April 7 Saturday – Sam’s carriage took George W. Cable to the depot so he could catch a train to Newport. Livy was too ill to accompany them [Turner, MT & GWC 20-1].

Charles Webster wrote enclosing a check for the last three months on old books. “Bliss won’t send me a price list or circular I have repeatedly requested him to do so…He says he will not supply me with books….What was your arrangement about ordering books from him?” [MTP].

April 8 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam’s mother was now living with Orion and Mollie Clemens in Keokuk by this time. Pamela Moffett was traveling in California but would return to Fredonia. Annie Webster was packing up her house there for the move to New York. Sam advised Charley not to be out of New York for more than 48 hours [MTBus 211].

“Your presence in New York is worth that of a dozen Marshes or other subordinates at this most important time.”

The Fredonia Censor ran an item on May 9, 1883 that “George N. Marsh has come from New York after an absence of seven months,” so perhaps the job of packing and closing the Webster house in Fredonia was delayed somewhat.

Sam then wrote about the Paige meeting (Sam consistently misspelled it as “Page”):

At the T.S. [type setter] meeting there were about 60 stockholders. They conferred full powers on the Directors to raise capital, &c. Pa[i]ge was brought to book—that is, made to stand up & distinctly say he knew the machine to be now flawless. A capital of $1,000,000 was proposed to be raised. I get these details from Whitmore, who was present [211].

April 9 MondayCharles Webster wrote: “Your smallest wish shall be gratified, no matter how much it discommodes me. I did not think for a moment that I was deserting my post here or I would not have entertained the idea…” He disputed Sam’s numbers on older books published by Bliss, as he had the binders statements in front of him—he listed years and numbers bound. He was enthusiastic about the sale of LM [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No. of various books of Bliss”

April 10 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Matt H. Hewins, about the cushions on his billiard table. “They seem to act first rate when we threaten to change them,” Sam observed [MTP].

April 11 Wednesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Mrs. Rollins (unidentified further):

Ah, but I’m not afraid of you, after seeing how kindly your pen is…I couldn’t be as gentle as you are over those French phrases. to my mind, the woman who says “mille fois” when it is her privilege to say “shucks!” & the man who says it when it is his privilege to say “damnation!” or some other word that’s got some sand in it, is a thoroughly despicable person, & I would tear him out of a book in a minute & make a fire with him [MTP].

Sam also wrote to John Bellows in Gloucester, England (see Apr. 24, May 17 entry) responding a note sent to Webster & Co. of an offer to receive a copy of Bellows’ French-English dictionary.


“…for Mrs. Clemens will not allow me to keep hers in my study, & somebody long ago stole my own copy — our pastor, I think; who was probably beguiled by its pious aspect….”

Asked by Bellows and other authorities to ignore the terms “nom de plume” and “nom de guerre,” Sam replied:

“I think you do — can’t go to the bedroom to look, because then I should have to explain why I am sitting up enjoying myself so late to-night; & I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation” [www.liveauctioneers.com/sothebys/item/98374; July 8, 2004]. Note: Bellows’ work was Dictionary for the Pocket: French and English, English and French (1873) [Gribben 58]. See Bellows’ of Apr. 24.


April 12 ThursdayJames R. Osgood wrote that they didn’t need to start the 8th for Chicago. “Clark seemed to think about 10 days necessary in the other case, but I guess if we leave here the morning of the 9th it will be time. You come here Tuesday the 8th and dine with me and will start Wed. a.m. We can return the following Monday or Tuesday. / Glad you like the book” [MTP].

April 13 FridayFunk & Wagnalls wrote an offer to publish Sam’s 80,000 word MS to be included in a series of 12 books by representative American authors [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Not Answered”

April 14 SaturdayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy including an accounting page of March expenses [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote estimating 3,000 LM books would be sold by June 1. Another rundown of numbers of old books sold. Orion had written that there was no general agent in Keokuk [MTP].

April 16 Monday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to George W. Cable. Livy was not getting better and didn’t eat much so couldn’t get stronger. Sam intended to have her “travel on a mattress” to Elmira and “see if her mother can nurse her back to health.” Again Sam cautioned George to require money in advance from “those thieves” (probably the Mallory brothers) for a performance Cable had agreed to:

“They will leave a loop-hole in the writing through which their small souls can creep.

I shall be at the Author’s Club and the Salvini Banquet in case Mrs. Clemens is well enough to spare me—a doubtful outlook” [MTP]. Note: Sam didn’t make either, due to Livy’s poor health.

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, reminding him to send the money to Keokuk each month. He also noted that Ralph Gillette was the man to deal with for insurance on the house. Livy was sitting up “a good deal these days, but “ Sam did “not think her progress toward health amounts to much” [MTP].

The first meeting of the American Copyright League was held at Brander Matthews home on East 18th Street in New York. Matthews writes:

“The first of the authors to arrive was Henry James, whom I had then the pleasure of meeting for the first time. The second meeting took place a little later at Hutton’s; and in a few weeks we had collected adherents all over the country. We organized for a long campaign, resolved not to quit until we had accomplished our purpose; in fact…it was more than eight years before we could rejoice over the passage of the first act recognizing the obligation of the American people toward the foreign men of letters who were amusing and enlightening us. Our ultimate victory was due largely to the zeal and the tact of our successive secretaries, George Parsons Lathrop, Henry Loomis Nelson, and Robert Underwood Johnson.

“We chose a strong and energetic executive committee, and James Russell Lowell accepted the presidency, contributing the quatrain which we adopted as our motto:

“In vain we call old notions fudge,

    And bend our conscience to our dealing;

The ten commandments will not budge

    And stealing will continue stealing” [These Many Years 225].


Note: Sam did not attend this first meeting, but his sympathies certainly rested with such efforts, and his interests were directly affected.

F.B. Goddard wrote about an invention by “Mr. R. T. Sperry an artist formerly of Hartford …called the Lintograph” for lithography. Sperry had recommended W.C. Hutchings who then milked Goddard for $150 and said Clemens had promised $500—he was either “mentally astray” or a con man. “We venture to ask if such was the fact if you did lend him the money” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “About Hutchings”; Reginald T. Sperry.

James R. Osgood wrote: “Tell me now art going to N.Y. on the 25th for the Authors Club and the Salvini dinner on 26th? Hutton expects you, and I am going. Let me know…telegraph me.” He also reassured Clemens that the new book “is in the hands of most competent and experienced agents all round…” [MTP].

April 17 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to James R. Osgood. A dispute had arisen between Charles Webster, Sam and Osgood. Sam held to the belief as almost a maxim, that the big sale took place before issue, not after. Though once true for subscription books, it no longer was certain. Webster wrote on Apr. 9 that his inspection of American Publishing Co.’s statements revealed that the reverse had been the case. H.N. Hinckley confirmed this idea, due to agents being unable to canvass without the book in hand. Still, Sam stuck to his guns.

“Nevertheless I am right. The big sale is always before issue—after issue, the agents immediately load up the bookstores and canvassing ceases….The orders that come in after the ISSUE of a subscription book don’t amount to a damn—just write that up amongst your moral maxims; for it is truer than nearly anything in the Bible” [MTLTP 162-3]. Note: Osgood replied on Apr. 18.

April 18 WednesdayJames R. Osgood replied to Sam’s Apr. 17: “Perhaps you are correct: but I don’t quite believe it. The sequel will show” [163]. Sam did give way a bit, allowing Osgood and Webster to do as they preferred on The Stolen White Elephant [MTP].

April 20 FridayEdward Jump, one-time favorite caricaturist of San Francisco, and possibly Sam’s roommate there for a time [Taper xxv], committed suicide. Note: See Schmidt’s site: for a Chicago Daily Tribune article: http://www.twainquotes.com/edjump.html . Robert Hirst of the MTP did not know where Taper got the idea from that Clemens had roomed with Jump, and no evidence was found.

April 21 Saturday – From Lilly Warner’s pen: “Livy is doing well now, under a nurse’s care, and the sweet soft air of these good days” [Salsbury 164].

April 22 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton, advising that he would not be able to stay with him Apr. 25 and attend the Salvini banquet on Apr. 27 due to Livy’s condition.

“We have a professional nurse, but I am the main nurse, & most not leave the deck until I can be better spared than at present. Mrs. Clemens is gathering strength, & is steadily improving—sits up some, now—but needs & requires constant looking after. It is the slowest improvement I ever saw” [MTP].

From Lilly Warner’s pen:

Daisy [her daughter, Margaret] is as well as a kitten—and as happy—now out walking with her “Clicky Clemens” [Clara]

Livy is better and better—and the Gerhardt baby, over in Paris, a month old, is named Olivia for her [Salsbury 164].

In Venice, Italy, Howells wrote to Sam about the Mallory brothers of Madison Square Theatre and the negotiations under way for their play, Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. Howells was sickened by the “rags and dirt” of Venice and guessed he hadn’t begun to “see the misery of it when I lived here.” He told of a woman who carried two books around, the Bible and Roughing It [MTHL 1: 430].

April 23 MondayJames R. Osgood wrote: “I have your gloomy communication [not extant], and will respond to your invitation to stop over and brace you up. I will leave here either to-morrow (Tuesday) afternoon by 4.30 train and pass the night with you, or else I will go by 8.30 a.m. train Wednesday morning and arrive at 12.25 and stop over one train. Will telegraph you to-morrow which I will do” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote, having rec’d various contracts Sam signed from the American Publishing Co. He mentions possible troublesome clauses in a couple of the books, but nowhere did he see that books were to be sold by subscription [MTP].

April 24 Tuesday – Sam and Livy wrote from Hartford to Charles Langdon of sickness, gaining strength, Olivia Lewis Langdon’s improved health, and Hartford’s “death-list” which had “reached the startling & disgraceful figure of 89” [MTP].

Sam also typed a letter to Whom it May Concern for Harry M. Clarke, recommending him as a type-writer copyist based on his work on LM. Sam was thoroughly impressed with revising copy done on the typewriter:


Sam also typed a letter to Charles Webster. Sam would soon send a letter from Ella Lampton containing a suggestion, probably about securing work for her daughter Kate, who wanted copy work. Livy was “improving all the time but is still confined to her bed” [MTP].

John Bellows wrote from Gloucester, England, replying to Sam’s of Apr. 11. He noted that the letter exceeded the “return after 10 days” on the envelope, for by that point “the mail steamer was 100 miles short of Queenstown!” He then wrote: “I send a copy of the dictionary by this mail, and am mortified to have failed in neatly shipping in NOM de PLUME and NOM de GUERRE under N.” He also enclosed The Life of John Roberts: (a Gloucestershire Farmer of the Time of Charles II) by Daniel Roberts, which he called “a quaint little book that will interest thee” [MTP].

Laurence Hutton wrote another nearly illegible note from NYC, sorry that Sam wasn’t coming [MTP].

April 25 WednesdayJames R. Osgood arrived at Sam’s [Apr. 24 to Webster].

April 28 SaturdayJames R. Osgood wrote (envelope only survives) [MTP].

April 29 SundayHattie J. Gerhardt wrote a short note to Sam & Livy, concerned about Livy’s illness. She added, “…one thing I know will make you happy—every one says Karl has made a decided jump in his art & he is received in the salon & I am happy” [MTP].

May – Sam inscribed LM to Edwin P. Parker: With kindest regards of Mark Twain” [MTP].

May 1 Tuesday – Sam began a letter from Hartford to Karl & Hattie (“Josie”) Gerhardt, that he finished May 3. Sam questioned Josie about her remark that Charles Ethan Porter had “gone to the dogs,” a remark he said for which “she gave no details.” Porter, a Negro, was to be forgiven sins more than a white person, he said, which says a lot about Sam’s evolution on race matters:

At the same time I must remember, and you must also remember, that on every sin which a colored man commits, the just white man must make a considerable discount, because of the colored man’s antecedents. The heirs of slavery cannot with any sort of justice, be required to be as clear and straight and upright as the heirs of ancient freedom, and besides, whenever a colored man commits an unright action, upon his head is the guilt of only about one tenth of it, and upon your heads and mine and the rest of the white race lies fairly and justly the other nine tenths of the guilt. So, when you have told me all there is to tell about Porter, I shall doubtless judge his case charitably enough [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short reminder to Charles Webster to write his Aunt Ella Lampton. “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HER?[MTP].

Sam also wrote to Jenny Sharples, thanking her for an embroidered handkerchief sent.

“I shall not degraded this handkerchief to common uses; I shall take it out only on occasions that be worthy of it; it shall be kept sacred to tears of sorrow shed for lost friends, & tears of joy shed for the destruction of enemies. And for one other occasion—to wave you a welcome when you come to America!” [MTP].

May 3 Thursday – Sam finished the letter of May 1 to the Gerhardts. He confessed that Livy was “not well enough yet, to write, but will be, soon….” He’d received the bronze portraits from Karl and thought the one of him was “very fine.” He didn’t think Warner’s was a good likeness, but excused it because “the artist needs the living model, not the dead & flat photograph” [MTP].

Isabella Beecher Hooker wrote about going to some function with them to save $3, and not realizing Livy was so “feeble” [MTP].

May 7 Monday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, gently accusing her of not “caring any great deal about us or our sufferings” since she’d made several trips east without stopping by then retiring “stealthily west again without ever coming near us.” Livy had suffered through a bout of diphtheria, then quinsy (inflamed tonsils) and “several minor things,” and was now emaciated.

“I could shave with her shoulder blades; she has no more flesh than one of those old-fashioned hoop-skirts.”

Sam related Susy’s expressed disappointment at the recovery of two of Patrick Aleer’s children from scarlet fever, since she’d looked forward to “the experience of a funeral.”

“It would be worth your while to come here and study Susie. As a general thing her speeches sound about forty-five years old, and are prodigiously entertaining; but Clara is a perfectly natural child, with nothing remarkable about her; and the same may be said about Jean” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, on details and plans: He paid the music-box bill this day; reminded Webster to have “that watch company’s note transferred to John Arnot”; and another reminder with address to write his Aunt Ella Lampton. Sam announced his trip to Boston and Canada the next day [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to the Gerhardts that Livy was sending a box of baby clothes for them with Mrs. Langdon’s medallion in it that they should have cast in bronze [MTP]. Note: Gerhardt made several medallions with images of people, likely in terra cotta.

Christian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote about including Sketches in their Continental Ed. Thanking Sam for his Apr. 16. He asked for a good photo of Clemens [MTP].

May 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Boston to Livy.

“Livy Darling, I grew so uneasy, before I reached Boston, that I determined to go back home unless I got news that you were better. I have just received your answering telegram, & am greatly relieved” [Note: Livy’s telegram to Boston suggests Sam spent at least one night there].

Sam learned from Osgood that they need not stay in Canada beyond May 14, and hoped to return by way of New York to see “one evening of the great billiard match & still get to Hartford as soon as if we came home by the old regular route” [MTP].

May 916 Wednesday – Sam made a flying trip to Montreal during this period to protect copyright of Life on the Mississippi [LLMT 215]. In his May 18 letter to Howells, Sam wrote “When I was in Montreal three or four days ago…” would put the date there a bit later than the May 14 date which Osgood had estimated. It’s not known if Sam returned by way of New York, or how long he stayed in Boston. No N.Y. Times notices of his being in the city for this period were found.

May 10 ThursdayGeorge MacDonald wrote from Bordigera, Italy, once again urging Sam to join him in writing a novel [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Your Ph. Is very lovely. 2 plays & 3 books. & the whole summer engaged. Can’t forecast the future with all these (& other proposed) books (& Hamlet) in my head.”

May 12 SaturdayLife on the Mississippi was published in England by Chatto & Windus [MTHL 1: 433n2]. Prior publication in the Empire was necessary to secure copyright there.

May 13 Sunday – In an unknown place (probably Ottawa or Montreal) Sam inscribed LM to an unidentified person [MTP].

John Irwin wrote a begging letter from Berkshire, Ohio as he couldn’t afford Sam’s latest book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No Answer”; Sam rarely complied with such requests, unless he knew the person.

May 15 Tuesday – Robert Hirst gives this as the date the “earliest copies of the first edition [LM] were published” [“A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. The first review, this from the Hartford Courant, p.1:

Mark Twain’s new book Life on the Mississippi is just out, a handsome volume of 625 pages and over 300 illustrations. It is one of his best and most entertaining works, and likely to be one of his most successful. It is full of the genius of its author, who is equally at home in serious descriptions, in entertaining anecdotes, and in the clever sketching of queer characters. The whole book is pervaded by his quaint and irresistible humor, and is eminently readable throughout [Budd, Reviews 235].

May 17 Thursday Life on the Mississippi was issued by the James R. Osgood & Co. (Two copies were deposited with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress). Sales before issue barely reached 30,000, a number that enraged Sam [Powers, MT A Life 469; Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. Note: under old subscription models, it was thought 40,000 sales before release was a good result.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster again about Kate Lampton. Ella Lampton had written again for her daughter Kate, and Sam enclosed her letter. He also asked if Webster would confirm good seats for him and Osgood for the following week:

I found complimentary tickets here from the Collender Co., for the opening billiard night, when I got back from Canada, and for which I was very much obliged. At present, Osgood and I propose to go down Sunday night [May 20], and be present at the matches of the afternoons and evenings of Monday and Tuesday [May 21-2]. Therefore if you should happen in there, you might ask the Collender Company to bear us in mind and not let the good seats get away [MTBus 214].  

Sam wrote from Hartford to American Publishing Co. asking them to “Please send A Tramp Abroad to John Bellows, Gloucester, England” [MTP]. John Bellows (1831-1902), a printer by trade, was later called the “Father of Gloucester Archeology” being the first to identify the walls there as of Roman origin. He introduced the first steam-press in the area, invented a cylindrical calculator, and wrote the first French-English dictionary without first knowing French. (This is a trick you should not try at home.)

Sam also wrote one line to Miss M.J. Remann, probably an autograph-seeker. “Very heavy press of work is my excuse for this brutal brevity. Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].

May 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, who wrote from Venice, Italy on Apr. 22 about negotiations with Marshall Mallory for the Colonel Sellers as a Scientist play.

I have just sent your note to the godly Mallory, and said that we would leave the matter just as it stands, not only until your return but until the play shall be completed. Said I did not wish to bind myself to write a play. Next October you will come here and roost with me, and we will lock ourselves up from all the world and put the great American comedy through. If we ever come to deal with those people, we shall not do it in person, but through the ablest legal talent that New York can furnish; and if they get ahead of us they will have to rise early [MTHL 1: 431]. Note: The Mallory brothers, George and Marshall, had cheated one James Morrison Steele MacKaye, actor, manager, and author out of royalties on a play which continued to pay them for many years (See MTHL 1: 412n2; also 432n1).

Louis Fréchette wrote a note all in French with mourning border; he mentioned Union Square Theatre on June 4, likely a reading of his [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No answer”

May 19 Saturday – Sam wrote two drafts of a telegram to be sent from Hartford to John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (Marquis of Lorne; 1845-1914), apologizing for his delay after receiving a confused message second hand by telephone. After a:

“…long delay it has come to me correctly & lucidly in manuscript form & I hasten to accept your lordship’s kind invitation & say I shall do myself the honor to report in Ottawa” [MTP].

The Chicago Tribune, p. 9, “Mark Twain Produces Another Compound of Fiction, Humor, and Fact,” concluded LM was “one of the best, if not the best, this writer has given to the public” [Budd, Reviews 235].

Samuel E. Dawson (telegram on behalf of Lord Lorne) wrote “Governor General wants you to be his guest at meeting of Royal Society try and go.” He also sent a letter about the event and advised he’d sent the Gov. “your book with autograph” [MTP].

George P. Lathrop wrote from NYC about his wife’s plans to go to Europe foreclosing them from visiting Hartford. He PS’d that he was reading LM “with great satisfaction” [MTP].

May 20 Sunday Sam and James R. Osgood traveled from Hartford to New York City to watch Collender’s great billiard tournament at Tammany Hall [MTBus 214].

Lafcadio Hearn of the New Orleans Times-Democrat, reviewing LM, concluded,

Notwithstanding its lively spirit of fun, the volume is a more serious creation by far than The Innocents Abroad; and in some respects seems to us the most solid book that Mark Twain has written [Budd, Reviews 237].

Samuel E. Dawson (telegram on behalf of Lord Lorne) “Ceremony of Knighthood on twenty fourth you should see try and arrive at Ottawa in evening of twenty third at latest if you cant come earlier reply to Lord Lorne direct” [MTP].

George E. Waring wrote from Newport, RI, planning a visit in July to Elmira and thanking him for “the chaste and graphic sketch” (1601?) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Waring / Good—don’t forget the visit / Stir up that tobacco man. & after 10th send it to Elmira”

May 21 Monday Sam and James R. Osgood enjoyed the first two days of the Collender’s billiard tournament at Tammany Hall. The contests continued for some eleven days, with Maurice Daly the final winner [N.Y. Times, “Prizes for Billiard Experts” May 30, 1883 p.3].

Osgood telegraphed: “Missed you at the station and went back to Springfield on the train expressly to meet you can’t go to Canada hope you will enjoy it” [MTP].

Samuel E. Dawson telegraphed: “No apology needed I will see you in passing, newspapers here announce your visit” [MTP].

May 22 Tuesday – After watching more of the billiards tournament, Sam left for Canada, reaching Montreal at 8:30 in the evening. He wrote from Montreal to Livy about a mix-up in the trains that caused him and Osgood to be on different trains [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote he was unable to make the Saturday Morning Club reunion. The day before he’d rec’d two copies of LM and the “family are devouring it.” He’d had an offer from Sidney Drake of Hartford to publish his book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the top, “Was in Canada when this came.” And across the letter, “Don’t know Drake” and “Mrs C. improving” and “love to you all”

May 23 Wednesday Sam got up at 6:30 AM and went to Samuel E. Dawson’s (his Canadian publisher) house to borrow his “best black frock coat” to “wear it at luncheons in Ottawa”. Then Sam took an 8:30 AM train to Ottawa, arriving at noon [May 22 letter to Livy].

Sam was guest of the Governor-General of Canada, Marquis of Lorne and wife Princess Louise who was Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter. Princess Louise signed his notebook during his stay [MTNJ 3: 18].

Sam gave a private reading in Rideau Hall, Ottawa [MTPO].

Sam also gave a speech, “On Adam” for the Royal Literary and Scientific Society, in Ottawa, Canada [Fatout, MT Speaking 178-180]. Note: this may be the same “private reading” as above.

Sam wrote at 8 P.M. to Livy.

“Livy my dear, fun isn’t any name for it! I wish I had come a day sooner, as I was invited to do. Reached here at noon today & it is now toward 8 p.m., the dinner hour—so I will stop scribbling & dress…” [MTP].

May 24 Thursday – Sam wrote from Government House, Ottawa to Livy, about how well he got along with Princess Louise and how he’d tried hard not to commit any social blunders [LLMT 215-6].

Jane Clemens wrote, “We are watching every day for Robert Creel to die. You remember Sam, his mother & mine were sisters.” More details about Creel sinking [MTP]. Note: Creel would have been Sam’s great uncle. There’s a pacel of early letters to Creel from various persons at the MTP.

Princess Louise sent engraved invitations for dinner on Thursday the 24th of May at 8 pm [MTP].

May 27 Sunday – The Governor General and Princess Louise went to church, while Sam played billiards with Lord Frederick Hervey. After lunch Sam played “a few games of billiards” with Miss Hervey

…then his Excellency, Miss MacNeil, & I, & three dogs, took a five-mile walk through the woods & by the river, getting back at 6 p.m.; then all hands, including the Princess, played lawn tennis until nearly 8, & delayed dinner a good deal. I did not play very well; still I believe I could learn something of the trick of that game if I should stick to it a few days longer. The princess asked me to read, in the evening, & of course I did. After a smoke, the day ended, at 12.30 a.m., —an hour earlier than usual, everybody being pretty well tuckered out.. [May 28 to Livy, MTP].

Sam gave a reading at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Canada, likely the one requested by Princess Louise above.

May 28 Monday – Sam wrote two letters from Ottawa to Livy: His plans to leave had been repeatedly delayed since Saturday. A raft trip down some rapids planned for three or four o’clock that day were scrapped due to a storm; Sam expected to leave at 4:30.

I was provided with only 3 white neckties, & they were rather shabby ones, too. They are shabbier, now. My dress coat has a big moth hole between the shoulders; but I have blacked the white lining with ink, & I suppose it hardly ever shows; in fact, the wise Princess said—but dear me it is luncheon time. How swiftly the time does fly! [LLMT 216].

Sam’s second letter to Livy disclosed he was leaving for Montreal, where he would spend the night, then take a morning train for home. “I thought I would write this final note because maybe it will beat me home” [MTP].

Sam left on a train for Montreal, where he stayed at the Windsor Hotel.

Sam wrote from Montreal to Samuel E. Dawson, returning the coat with his many thanks.

“To say I had a delightful visit at the Government House is putting it tamely—very tamely, indeed” [MTP].

Sam inscribed A Tramp Abroad for Sir Francis De Winton: “How simple & easy the bovve diagrams look, until they have been explained / Sincerely Yours/ S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / To / Colonel De Winton / May 28, 1883” [MTP]. Note: De Winton (1835-1901) was a friend of the Marquis of Lorne who later was appointed by King Leopold to take Sir Henry Stanley’s place in the Congo. He was a recognized authority of central Africa.

Joseph R. Hawley wrote an invitation for Sam to meet Prof. Willard Fiske this evening at 6:30 [MTP].

May 29 Tuesday – Sam took an early morning train from Montreal bound for Hartford. If the train was on time, he arrived at about 8 or 8:30 PM [May 28 to Livy].

May 30 Wednesday – The New York Times ran a short piece, page one, on Sam’s efforts to secure Canadian copyright:


OTTAWA, May 29. – For several days past Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) has been a guest at the Government House. He has succeeded in securing a Canadian copyright for his last work, “Life on the Mississippi.” His failure to secure Canadian copyright last year for his “Prince and Pauper” probably led him to take another course this time, which would be more likely to secure him the protection he desired. In the first instance, he brought out his new work in England, which entitled him to British copyright. This only gave him partial protection in the British colonies, as any foreign publisher could introduce his work in Canada by paying him a royalty of 12 ½ per cent. on the value of each volume. Not satisfied with this, and being determined that his works should be copyrighted in Canada, he transferred his work to the English publisher, Andrew Chatto, of London, who applied for and was granted Dominion copyright on May 15.

JuneOsgood & Co. published The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English, by Pedro Carolino, with an introduction by Mark Twain, written a year before. Paine calls it “an absurd little volume” [MTLP 1: 431]. (See June 4 entry.)

Sam inscribed Pedro Carolino’s The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English (Sam wrote the introduction to this reissue) in Hartford to Laura Dunham: “To Miss Laura Dunham from hers sincerely, The American Sponsor of the Book. Hartford, June 1883 [MTP]. Sam also inscribed another copy of this work to Laura Taft: “Miss Laura Taft / With the kindest / regards of / The Author / Hartford / June ’83.” [McBride 416].

Note: Miss Dunham may have been related to the old Hartford family. A Miss Mary Dunham visited Sam in Paris in the spring of 1879. Samuel C. Dunham was listed as a member of Sam’s Friday Evening Club for Feb. 3, 1882; and the aged A.C. Dunham (Austin Dunham) is mentioned in Andrews, p. 112 as well as being on the Mar. 10, 1883 list of Hartford citizens who formally requested George W. Cable to speak in the city.

June 1 Friday – The New York Times reported on p.4 under “GENERAL NOTES” the following:

An Ottowa telegram says that although Mark Twain has obtained a Canadian copyright for his new book, “Life on the Mississippi,” the same difficulty as regards residency which arose when he last applied for a Canadian copyright will likely crop up again. A few weeks’ stay in Canada, even at Rideau Hall, it is suggested, will hardly constitute a permanent residence in the Dominion within the meaning of the Copyright act.

June 2 SaturdayF.J. Permenter sent a printed poem, “Maud Muller’s Answer to Mr. Whittier The Poet” [MTP].

June 4 Monday – Upon his return from Canada, Sam saw Pedro Carolino’s book with his introduction and felt it would be a nice gesture to send it to Princess Louise. He also wrote from Hartford to Sir Francis De Winton in Ottawa:

 I very much want to send a little book to her Royal Highness—the famous Portuguese phrase book; but I do not know the etiquette of the matter, and I would not wittingly infringe any rule of propriety. It is a book which I perfectly well know will amuse her “some at most” if she has not seen it before, and will still amuse her “some at least,” even if she has inspected it a hundred times already….P.S. Although the introduction dates a year back, the book is only just now issued. A good long delay [MTLP 432].

Sam also typed a letter to George W. Cable, saying the “girls were mightily delighted with your telegram.” Sam felt he finally had secured a Canadian copyright. Cable may have asked his advise on securing a publisher. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Sam answered:


Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who evidently achieved some honor in Sam’s behalf.

It was lovely in you to do it, & I most highly appreciate the feeling that prompted you; but I am an interested Judge & jury, & cannot sit upon my own case. In my heart I should question my verdict, whichever way I gave it….A merely reasonable good looking girl who is told she is beautiful does not like to consent that she is, & yet would not willingly confess that she isn’t, to the complimented. There is no middle ground: she must move a change a venue.

Sam confided that Livy was “still as thin as a rail,” but that they planned to leave on June 14 for Elmira for the summer [MTP]. Livy was well enough to inscribe Peter Henderson’s Practical Horticulture (1874) to the Clemens’ gardener, Daniel Maloy [MTP; Gribben 307].

John Douglas Campbell (Lord Lorne) wrote, “glad you arrived safely home.” He added, “I like to hear of Mrs. Stowe still enjoying her recollections of old days with my people in England” [MTP].

June 6 WednesdayJohn Bellows wrote from Gloucester, England, thanking for LM and TA, and offering his opinions about British history [MTP].

June 7 Thursday – Sam gave a reading at the Decorative Art Society, home of Mrs. Franklin Whitmore, Farmington Avenue, Hartford. According to the Hartford Courant, June 8 p.2, “City Briefs,” there were a series of readings from Sam’s writings to about 150 members and friends.

Karl Gerhardt wrote from Paris France, relating that Howells had dropped by when he wasn’t home, “catching ‘Josie’ in her potatoe paring.” He added plans for his continued study and art [MTP].

June 8 Friday Clara Clemens ninth birthday. Sam noted amusement at Clara’s efforts to understand his penciled comment on the flyleaf of John Abbott’s (1805-1877) Daniel Boone: A poor slovenly book; a mess of sappy drivel & bad grammar” [Gribben 4].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to hurry and rent him and his family a special hotel car to Elmira for Friday, June 15.

“We go Thursday from here, & Friday from New York unless death or desperate illness interfere” [MTBus 214].

Arthur Collins wrote from Ottawa, pleased about Sam’s visit there and hoping to run down to Hartford in the fall [MTP].

June 9 Saturday – Sam’s Thursday reading for the Decorative Art Society noted a spot in the New York Times, p.4 under “GENERAL NOTES.”

June 10 Sunday An interview dated June 9 ran on page 1 of the New York Times: “MR. MARK TWAIN EXCITED ON SEEING THE NAME OF CAPT. C.C. DUNCAN IN PRINT”.

With his strawberries and cream before him and his NEW-YORK TIMES in his hand, Mark Twain sat upon the portico of his handsome home this morning and made merry. He had chanced upon an item concerning an old acquaintance, Capt. C.C. Duncan, New-York’s Shipping Commissioner and the father of three illustrious young men whose powers of absorbing the funds of the United States Government are, as far as is now known, illimitable. “Well, well, well! So the old man’s in hot water,” says the author of “Roughing It” and “Tom Sawyer,” with a mock expression of pity on his face as he pushed aside his strawberries. “Poor devil! I should think that after a while he’d conclude to put a little genius into his rascality, and try to hoodwink the public as his little game of robbery goes on. It don’t become a scoundrel to be an ass. The combination always makes a mix of things, and if Duncan will persist in his wicked ways somebody ought to have a guardian appointed for him…

The “interview” caused a furor; Duncan threatened suit; Sam, denied “all but 20 words” of it; the rest he called the “reporter’s own invention.”

June 1014 Thursday – Sometime between these dates Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Webster about the Duncan article in the Times.


June 11 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto, releasing them from “any legal expenses incurred on account of the within…” [MTP]. Note: enclosure not described.

June 12 TuesdayHenry Allaway wrote from New Haven, clipping enclosed from the NY Evening Telegram of June 11 about Capt. Charles C. Duncan planning to take “legal action” for remarks Sam reportedly said to the NY Times. Allaway asked if he might come to Hartford and “allow me to bore you once more in getting the point for a gossipy article about your career?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The Interviewer”

June 13 WednesdaySusy and Clara Clemens wrote to Mr. Francis Parsons in Elmira that they would “be happy to see” him “Tuesday afternoon” June 26 “From 4 until 8.” The note does not appear to be in a child’s hand, although Susy was twelve [MTP].

June 14 Thursday The Clemens family left Hartford and arrived in New York [MTBus 214].

Worden & Co. Wrote having rec’d his of June 13 and enclosing a memo of the sale of 100 shares MoPac and orders from Dean Sage to sell the remaining 200 shares [MTP]. Note: Sage acted as Sam’s stock broker from NY.

June 1425 Monday – Sam wrote from (Hartford if June 14, New York if June 14 or 15; Elmira if after June 15) to the Gerhardts, advising them of sending a single letter of credit for $1,000 instead of “the final installment of the stipulated $4,500,” along with a caution for them to complete their plans carefully. Evidently the Clemenses raised the limit of their support from $3,000 to $4,500.

“We want you both to write us just as often as you can, & thus keep the bridge strong & firm between your hearts & ours,—don’t let it fall to decay & leave the affections without a highway to cross on. Tell us all your affairs, circumstances, prospects, purposes, hopes, fears, achievements” [MTP].

June 15 Friday The Clemens family left New York City and traveled by special sleeping car to Elmira [MTBus 214].

Twichell noted in his journal, “our eighth child and fourth son was b. about 11 AM” [Yale, copy at MTP]. The boy was named Joseph Hooker Twichell.

Joe Twichell wrote to Livy with news of #8—a son—Joseph Hooker Twichell [MTP].

June 16 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote about business: Bliss, sales of old books, etc. [MTP].


June 17 Sunday – Under the headline “ENGLISH BADLY FLAYED” The New York Times, p.10 ran an article about Sam’s introduction to The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English by J. Osgood & Co.


Mr. Clemens says rightly that it was prepared “in serious good faith and deep earnestness” by one who “believed he knew something of the English language and could impart his knowledge to others.”…Mr Clemens inclines to confer upon it the seal of immortality, and it would be a dull and ill-natured person who refused to grant him good reasons for the claim.


Karl Gerhardt wrote “Mr. Mead did not positively advise me to come to Italy” and thinking if he stayed in Paris he needed to do some work that would impress his American friends. They enjoyed Sam’s new book, LM [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No baby summer / Italy August”; Possibly Leon Mead.


June 18 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Sam anticipated a suit about the “strawberries interview” about Duncan, and directed Charley not to say anything to George Jones  (1811-1891), one of the founders of the New York Times.

“There is not a sentence in the interview that ever issued from my mouth. There are two or three parts of sentences, but no complete one. As a rule the interviewer has invented both the ideas & the language” [MTBus 215].

Sam also wrote to Charles E. West, declining an invitation to the 70th birthday celebration for Henry Ward Beecher [MTP].

Henry C. Robinson wrote, clippings enclosed, “The Life of Man” by Robert J. Burdette in Phila. Times. Henry thought there were “some good phrases in it” that might interest Sam. He wished they might have a game of billiards [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: Duncan’s suit [MTP].


June 19 TuesdayNoah Brooks wrote that he’d been subpoenaed on behalf of the prosecution in Duncan’s suit, but that he knew nothing. “I wish you could get the case removed from Brooklyn. That is a bad place for you; Duncan will have things fixed to suit him” [MTP].

Richard L. Ogden wrote from NYC to promote some bonds from California. Ogden claimed to have five volumes of the old Californian. He asked Sam to introduce him to the right gentlemen. He referred to a pamphlet not in the file & enclosed a forecast schedule of earnings [MTP].


June 20 Wednesday Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster about Duncan’s threatened lawsuit:

All right. Tell Mr. Whitford [Sam’s new lawyer] about Duncan’s proposed suit. Tell him also that if I can be allowed to testify on my own behalf, I will go on the stand & point out each and every word in the printed interview that was actually uttered by me, & will show that 20 words will cover the whole; & I will swear that all the rest was the interviewer’s own—invented it himself. Then if Whitford lets Duncan know this, possibly he will drop his prosecution of me & strengthen his Times suit by summoning me as a witness against the Times—a chance I should not be sorry to have [MTBus 216]. Note: In Mar. 1884 a Brooklyn jury awarded Duncan twelve cents damages against the Times.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: hearing of lawyers preparing papers to serve Sam in the Duncan lawsuit [MTP].

June 22 Friday – The likely day Sam traveled from Elmira to New York City (see June 23 entry).


June 23 Saturday – The New York Times reported that Sam was staying at the Hotel Brunswick [“PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE,” p8]. When Sam went to the City after June 20 and how long he stayed has not yet been pinned down, but newspaper reports in the Times generally fell a day later than his first night’s stay, which would make his arrival in the city Friday, June 22.


June 26 TuesdayDaniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote, not recommending stock in a vineyard scheme for the Barton Vineyard Assoc. [MTP].


June 27 WednesdayBissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote, “If present appearance are correct you are overdrawn $1662.73 we will send the usual statement the 1st prox” [MTP].

Richard L. Ogden finished his June 26 letter [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: “Mr. Ogden & a Mrs. Rogers came to my office & laid that vineyard scheme before me & the next day they came again & I had Mr. Whitford come up & talk with them. I presume he will give you his conclusions” and then offered his, that he was “afraid of this” [MTP].

Government House, Ottawa wrote to Sam; not found at MTP [Vassar].

June 28 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who evidently had passed the idea of travel to California to invest in vineyards. Joe Goodman was involved in vineyards but he isn’t mentioned in this letter, although Samuel Webster writes that Goodman may have inspired the interest in vineyards [217]. Sam answered that no way should Webster go to “all that trouble for a thousand vineyards…The idea of you going to California to find a way for me to invest $10,000—even if you went at Ogden’s expense—doesn’t strike me favorably, of course.” Sam needed Webster where he was [MTBus 216].

Charles Webster wrote (Whitford to Webster June 27 enclosed) about business matters: the Barnard vineyard scheme, Sam’s popularity in Australia & the need for a book agent there [MTP].


June 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.

“All right. I will wait till Duncan goes for me individually before I bother. I guess he will not see his way to tackling me at all if Whitford gives his lawyer a hint of what my defense would be.”

Sam refused to talk business about a vineyard proposition before the matter was transacted—Webster was his business manager and Sam refused to write letters or consult about such matters. Sam was working on Huckleberry Finn again and wanted no distractions [MTBus 216-7].

Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote about conferring with counsel for the NY Times in the Duncan suit [MTP].


June 30 SaturdayWorden & Co. Sent a statement with a balance for June 30 of $13,852.47 [MTP].


July – Sam invented the English history game with pegs up the Quarry Farm driveway for different years from 1066. He then made the commercial board game and involved Charles Webster.


This was also a period of continuous outpouring of productivity in Sam’s writing, especially on the HF manuscript. Howells returned from a year in Europe and collaborated with Sam on several stage play projects. The next eighteen months were quite productive for both men.

July 1 Sunday – Dr. Titus Munson Coan (1836-1921) of The Bureau of Revision, wrote that he’d sent “the circulars as you kindly request” [MTP].


July 1 Sunday ca. – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles A. Collin. Sam was upset that his name was “frequently forged” by person’s putting his name on their paragraphs in newspapers, or vice versa. Collins was with the Langdon Co., probably an attorney, for Sam asked, “Have I no protection under the law?…If I have, I wish to apply it in this case” [MTP].


July 1 – 19? – Sometime during this period Clemens wrote twice from Elmira to Henry (Harry) M. Clarke: 1st of 2:


      Put no space on either side of a dash (1860–1861,) / OR hyphen: (cross-hall)

      Always put a good honest unequivocal space after a period. Never jam it thus: (1860.1861.) Put it thus / 1860.  1861.

      Underscore for italics with a pencil or pen. The machine’s underscoring is execrable.

      The rest of the work is perfect.  / S.L.C.

      When you err & put an insufficient space after a period, correct it with a pencil or pen, thus: 1860.1861.  1860. □1861.[MTP].  

2nd of 2:

Dear Mr. Clark—

Clearly the type-writing is far superior to manuscript, for printers’ use. If you can get hold of the new machine, which has both capital & small letters, it will be still better, though this change is not essential. The work is beautifully done.

Paging at the top is sufficient. Pay no attention to my paging [numbers].

See next page for some suggestions [MTP]. Note: Sam then included four details dealing with spacing, punctuation, and indents.

July 2 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt. He was hard at work on Huck:

“We have been here on the hill a week or more & I am deep in my work & grinding out manuscript by the acrestick to it the whole day long, allowing myself only time to scratch off two or three brief letters after they yell for me to come down to supper” [MTP].


July 5 Thursday – “An American on American Humour” appeared in the St. James Gazette. Thomas Sergeant Perrys article reported Sam’s humor as “representative of a democratic, serious, ironic quality in American national character, reacting against Europe, though not independently and perhaps not in hostility” [Tenney 12].


July 6 Friday – Charles A. Collins in Elmira wrote a long legal opinion to Sam’s questions, which were pasted to p. 1 of Collins’ letter. See ca. July 1 entry.

July 7 SaturdayJohn H. Garth wrote from Hannibal “thoroughly ashamed of myself for my neglect in not acknowledging long ago the receipt of your new book…” [MTP].

July 8 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote of the “great interest” taken in him by Dr. Augustus F. Beard of the American chapel, a brother of “the artist Beard of New York animal painter I think.” More expense accounts sent and thoughts of going to Florence to study [MTP]. Note: because such a sojourn in Florence would require him to leave wife and child in Paris, Gerhardt struggled with it for some time. Beard had been pastor of Plymouth Church, Syracuse, NY.


July 9 Monday – An unsigned favorable review to LM ran on page 3 of the New York Times.

Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun, wrote to Sam on a mysterious opportunity. The letter implies a recent answer by Sam to an invitation to come to New York to confer with Dana:

Dear Mr Clemens:

I’m sorry you can’t come sooner; but don’t make any new contracts in the mean time.

I think I can put you in the way of making more money out of your brains than you have ever made.

Yours Truly C.A. Dana [MTP]. Note: see reply of July 11.


July 10 Tuesday – Aboard the S.S. Parisian on his way home, Howells wrote to Sam, reporting on their visit to the Gerhardts in Paris. He described their living quarters as “primitive and simple as all Chicopee, and virtuous poverty spoke from every appointment of the place.” Howells observed that Karl Gerhardt seemed “a little worn with overwork,” suggesting he might learn while resting in Italy [MTHL 1: 434].

Howells also told of meeting Thomas Hardy, the novelist. Michael Millgate, in Thomas Hardy, His Career as a Novelist puts this date as June 25, 1883 at the Savile Club dinner for Sir Edmund Gosse [198]. Millgate also writes,

“During the evening Howells told the story of Mark Twain’s disastrous speech at the Whittier dinner, and Hardy responded with praise of Life on the Mississippi; and admiration of Mark Twain as more than ‘merely a great humorist.’” Note: Howells letter above does not disclose his discussing the Whittier speech.

Jane Clemens wrote to the Clemenses: “Dear children / All sizes & ages”. She talked of activities, old friends who visited, and as old people often do, talked about many others. “Orion lets nothing pass for my comfort & accommodation” [MTP].

S.H. Kent wrote from Westfield, NY asking how to copyright in Canada for a book of poems [MTP].

July 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Samuel E. Dawson, his Canadian publisher, thanking him again for his visit to Rideau Hall and apologizing for being “miraculously, dull, stupid, silent, & unentertaining…” He praised his hosts and confided that “When anybody wants Canadian-copyright information,” he never wasted ink and paper on him but “cut him off with a curt ‘Go to Mr. Dawson’” [MTP].

Sam also replied to the July 9 of Charles A. Dana:

Dear Mr. Dana— / I am whacking at an unfinished book, & may not go to New York till the end of summer; but when I do go I will be sure to call unless we should happen to make too close a connection with the Hartford train, an accident not very likely to happen. / Yours Sincerely / S.L. Clemens [MTP; Morgan Library Online exhib 10/20/2010].

Sam also wrote to Henry C. Robinson, attorney and one of his Friday Evening Club billiard cronies.

      I hope you’ll make the [Hartford] Engineering Co. take care of that note of mine July 26th [unidentified further].

      I wish I could be there to assist at that 500-point game. But as you were four-fifths out at last accounts, I suppose the conflict is over before this.

      Mrs. Clemens is still a skeleton, but is freighting up at the rate of an ounce a day…[MTP].

Hartford Engineering wrote that “On July 25th there matures at the U.S. Bank one of our notes for $10000# bearing your indorsement. Inclosed we beg to hand you a renewal” [MTP].

July 12 ThursdayEdward H. House wrote “a dreary letter” of failing under the curse of gout for the past 10 months, and of Koto’s seizures, which explained their infrequent letters [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Give [word torn away] account of the Reid interview / Hist game”


July 14 Saturday Sam wrote to the Hartford Engineering Co.,  letter not extant, but referred to in the Co.’s July 17 reply.

An old letter of Sam’s, written July 6 1859, appeared in the Arkansaw Traveler. See July 6, 1859 entry) [MTL 1: 91-2, n2].

Charles A. Dana wrote: “I’m sorry you can’t come sooner; but don’t make any new contracts in the mean time. / I think I can put you in the way of making more money out of your brains than you have ever made” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters, clipping enclosed, “Another Swindler In Custody” about one Noel Winters who had posed as book agent for Osgood & Co. [MTP].

July 15 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: more about their progress & expenses [MTP].

July 16 MondaySamuel E. Dawson wrote “to assist any of your friends about copyright” [MTP].

July 17 TuesdayHartford Engineering Co.  wrote having rec’d his of the 14th and asking again if he would renew his endorsement on the $10,000 bond [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t do it”

Joe Twichell wrote, having read Sam was “getting up from an attack of rheumatism and malaria…how sick have you been?” He told of a gathering where the ex-president Hayes asked about Twain and also about himself [MTP].


July 18 Wednesday – Sam measured off the winding driveway up to Quarry Farm, and began a game.

“…after three and a half weeks of “booming along” on his two mismatched books, Clemens had a premonition of overwork, quite for the day, and, characteristically, gave himself over to something altogether different but also, as he found it in his high mood, equally absorbing. On this idyllic summer day, with Susy, Clara, and Jean by his side, he measured off with a yardstick 817 feet…Then, using as markers pegs which he whittled and drove himself, he measured out on the scale of one foot per year all the reigns of the English rulers from William the Conqueror on” [Kaplan 252; July 20 to Twichell].


Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote expecting “an order for your examination” in the Duncan suit [MTP].


July 19 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun. Dana wrote Sam on July 9 and 14.

All right, I’m a candidate, & shall keep myself open to conviction & swag…our tribe will be returning home in September, & then I will look in on you as we pass through. The three summer months being my chief working time, I slave it without losing a day while we are here. I have written one small book, & am far along in a bigger one [HF]—& shall finish if I don’t run around any [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell about the driveway peg game, which took him all day to put in place:


“The reason it took me eight hours was because of little J’s interrupting assistance, I had to measure from the Conquest to the end of Henry VI, three times over…” [Kaplan 252].

July 20 Friday – In Elmira, Sam wrote  to Joe Twichell, telling more about the pegs-in-the-driveway memory game. Twichell indiscreetly allowed the letter to appear in the Hartford Courant for July 24, much to Sam’s consternation. To compound the error, the letter was printed with two errors [MTNJ 3: 28n47]. It also ran in the July 26 edition of the New York Times, p 3.

Sam also wrote to Howells, who wrote July 10 en route home on the SS Parisian, and was now back in Boston. Howells’ letter was mostly an account of a visit in Paris with the Gerhardts (see MTHL 1: 433-4).

We are desperately glad you & your gang are home again—may you never travel again, till you go aloft or alow. Charley Clark has gone to the other side for a run—will be back in August. He had been sick, & needed the trip very much.

Mrs. Clemens had a lot & wasting spell of sickness last spring, & is still proportioned like the tongs, but she is pulling up, now, & by & by will get some cushions on her, I reckon. I hope so, anyway—it’s been like sleeping with a bed full of baskets. The children are booming, & my health is ridiculous, it’s so robust, notwithstanding the newspaper misreports.

I haven’t piled up MS so in years as I have done since we came here to the farm three weeks & a half ago. Why, it’s like old times, to step straight into the study, damp from the breakfast table, & sail right in & sail right on, the whole day long, without thought of running short of stuff or words. I wrote 4000 words to-day & I touch 3000 & upwards pretty often, & don’t fall below 2600 on any working day. And when I get fagged out, I lie abed a couple of days & read & smoke, & then go it again for 6 or 7 days. I have finished one small book [probably “1002d Arabian Night” which Howells didn’t care for] & am away along in a big one [HF] that I half-finished two or three years ago. I expect to complete it in a month or six weeks or two months more. It’s a kind of companion to Tom Sawyer [MTHL 1: 435].

Sam also related the creation of the memory game with the driveway pegs. The family planned to stay in Elmira “till Sept. 10; then maybe a week at Indian Neck [near Branford, Conn.] for some sea air. Then home.”

A fragment of a letter exists that Sam sent about this date to the Gerhardts:

“Jean is just over a solid attack of diptheria, & is all right again. Mrs. Clemens is fleshing up steadily—is as fat as the tongs, now” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: “We two are chuck full of work. I feel as though I must carry out some of my schemes this summer” [MTP]. Note: because of Sam & Livy’s financial support, the Gerhardts wrote regularly.


July 21 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, Mollie and Jane Clemens, relating his current “booming” productivity at writing HF, and his new passion, the English history game, which began with pegs up the driveway in Elmira and was translated into an indoor board game:



DEAR MA & ORION & MOLLIE,—I don’t know that I have anything new to report, except that Livy is still gaining, & all the rest of us flourishing. I haven’t had such booming working-days for many years. I am piling up manuscript in a really astonishing way. I believe I shall complete, in two months, a book which I have been fooling over for 7 years. This summer it is no more trouble to me to write than it is to lie. 


Day before yesterday I felt slightly warned to knock off work for one day. So I did it, & took the open air. Then I struck an idea for the instruction of the children, & went to work & carried it out. It took me all day. I measured off 817 feet of the road-way in our farm grounds, with a foot-rule, & then divided it up among the English reigns, from the Conqueror down to 1883, allowing one foot to the year. I whittled out a basket of little pegs & drove one in the ground at the beginning of each reign, & gave it that King’s name—thus:


[Sam drew a snake-like drawing beginning at year 1066 & ending at 1135 with some King’s names]

& in bed, last night, I invented a way to play it indoors—in a far more voluminous way, as to multiplicity of dates & events—on a cribbage board.

Hello, supper’s ready./ Love to all. / Good bye./SAML [MTLP 434-5].

Paine adds:

Orion Clemens would naturally get excited over the idea of the game and its commercial possibilities. Not more so than his brother, however, who presently employed him to arrange a quantity of historical data which the game was to teach. For a season, indeed, interest in the game became a sort of midsummer madness which pervaded the two households, at Keokuk and at Quarry Farm. Howells wrote his approval of the idea of “learning history by the running foot,” which was a pun, even if unintentional, for in its out-door form it was a game of speed as well as knowledge.


William B. Franklin for Colt’s Mfg. wrote asking for a copy for Gen. Wilson of “Mark Twain’s book printed for private circulation. I understand that it is ‘rich racy & rare’”—Likely 1601 [MTP]. 


Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green  wrote having rec’d Sam’s reply. Whitford thought Sam would have to be examined in the Duncan suit about the 23rd of August [MTP]. 


July 22 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Mr. Krueger: 

Dear Mr. Kreuger— / I enclose it; & if it ain’t the thing, give me the points & I’ll do it over again; for we want you to go Cornell, & hope you will. The Sages are there, temporarily—till they go to heaven where they belong—& there are other good & great folks there.

On or about this date Sam also sent a letter of Twichell’s to Jane, Orion and Mollie Clemens. Twichell had given up Sam’s letter about his driveway peg game to Charles Clark on the Courant, and Sam was in an unforgiving mood.

“I send this to beg that at least you folks will avoid this damned fool’s example. I shall never thoroughly like him again” [MTP].

Joe Twichell wrote the letter that Sam wrote the above note on. “Your letter has just come and is most welcome for the good news it brings of our health…I’m going to let Charley print part of it,—that part about English History—and am going to do so before you will have time to prevent me; so don’t fret a minute” [MTP]. Note: This breach of privacy angered Sam.

July 23 Monday – In Elmira, Sam drafted a “confidential” reply to friend and journalist Noah Brooks June 19 letter. Brooks, of the New York Times, had been subpoenaed in the Duncan libel suit, and assumed that Sam would be anxious for the Times to win the suit. Sam’s reply may not have been sent, but revealed his defection to Duncan’s camp as the best defense of being named in the suit [MTNJ 3: 58n135].

July 24 Tuesday – The Hartford Courant ran an account of Sam’s history-memory game from information supplied by Twichell, much to Sam’s consternation. Howells noted the article in his letter of Aug. 12 [MTHL 1: 437 & n2].

Joe Twichell wrote a postcard: “The History Game makes a mighty nice little piece in this Morning’s Courant. But, some smarty in the office changed Richard Cromwell into Oliver and probably thinks he ought to be thanked for it—the ignoramous” [MTP].

George E. Waring per Virginia Waring, his wife wrote from Newport, R.I. explaining he’d been slow in answering because he’d been in Dubuque. Evidently Waring replied to Sam’s “programme” of camping out [MTP].

July 26 ThursdayJean Clemens third birthday.

Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster in New York City. Sam asked him to run up to Elmira “about Monday or Monday night” and lend him his head “for a couple of hours” [MTBus 218]. It was only a ten-hour trip, after all. Sam wanted to discuss the new memory game as a commercial product, and get Webster to begin the marketing.

Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote more details of the Duncan suit against the Times [MTP].

July 26 Thursday ca. – About this day in Elmira, Sam wrote a laundry list to Webster about the history game, dealings with Frank Bliss, and his having “telegraphed O. to cancel Cincin note” [MTP]. Note: “O” was likely Osgood.

July 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer, best known for fiction dealing with Mid-Western farmers. Born in Wisconsin, Garland would move to Boston in 1884. Evidently he’d asked Sam for a free story.

“G’way, Leionidas! You ought to know better. I don’t give ‘em away, I sell ‘em. It’s my grub; it’s the only way I’ve got, to earn a dishonest living” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a two-liner to Kingsland Smith, of the St. Paul Roller Mill Co., asking where the July dividend was and if he’d sent it. Sam owned stock in the company [MTP].

July 31 TuesdayCharles A. Dana wrote, “It is a shame that Krackowiser should bother you in such a case. He is a crank, however, and his function appears to be to bother somebody. I have known him these many years and have employed him sometimes as a reporter” [MTP]. Note: Dana of the NY Sun.

Charles Webster wrote, “I’ve had a smash up on the road yesterday, fortunately no one was hurt but we were going at full speed and six cars were thrown off by a misplaced switch….I go & take a weeks vacation. I have worked hard & need it, but I shall take but a week…” More about business matters: insurance and the history game [MTP].

August – Sometime during August, Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to Charles Webster about someone holding a fifth interest at thirty thousand dollars—“That’s a more valuable game than I realized,” he wrote [MTP]. (Unidentified game.)

Parson Adams wrote from Ft. Dodge, Iowa, enclosing a clipping from the Ft. Dodge Messenger, “A letter to Mark Twain” proposing to send him “a car load of Eureka Spring water” [MTP]. File note: “Evidently alludes to 1 Aug 83 to the Magnetic Rock Spring Company, published in the Colfax (Iowa) Clipper of 11 Aug 83”

August 1 Wednesday – Two days after Sam wanted Charles Webster to “run up” to Elmira, he wrote again to Webster.

The implements of the game, & way to play it—are the patentable features & the only patentable features, ain’t they?…So, just go ahead and take out patents, for US, Canada & England [MTBus 218-19].

Sam also wrote to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt, advising them to stay in Europe if possible, after they completed their studies there.

Then you can pick & choose for then you can make a living anywhere. And all that time, you are in an inspiring, life-giving art atmosphere—& that, in itself, is a continuous education; whereas the art atmosphere of America is thin, deteriorating & depressing, I should say. I imagine that it must be as dreary for an artist to live in America as it would be for a humorist to live in England [MTP].

Sam also wrote a spoof letter from Elmira to the Magnetic Rock Spring Co. quoting the many ailments the company’s advertising pamphlet claimed cures for. After asking that a barrel of the water be shipped to him, Sam continued,

Also, please instruct me as to dose—for adult. Also, what do you put with it? I mean, what do you put with it to divert your mind that you are taking medicine? Will it go with temperance beverages! I mean, soda water, lemonade, panada, milk, whisky, and such things. I am thus strict because I am a Grandson of Temperance, my father having been a Son of Temperance. Temperance is deeply imbedded in our family. It is for this reason that I ask, and repeat, will it go with temperance beverages?—will it go with the moistures I have mentioned? If with whisky, what portion of the water is best, combined with what disproportion of whisky?—for an adult, as remarked before. Yours, in alert expectancy. Mark Twain. P.S. The order is genuine, anyway. The rest of the screed—now that I come to read it over—appears to wander from the point, in places [MTP].

August 3 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster about the history game. Never mind applying for a patent just yet, Sam advised. He’d written to Munn & Co., sending the $25 fee and asked them to search the records to see “whether my game-idea is old or new, patentable or unpatentable” [MTP].

August 4 SaturdayGeorge E. Waring wrote from Wash. DC with plans to go to Elmira [MTP].

August 6 MondayWebb T. Dart for Magnetic Rock Spring Co. wrote they were shipping this day a case of carbonized water, if drank cold would “certainly find relief from any disease” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote a statement of expenses for July [MTP].

August 10 FridayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: History game, insurance, Barton vineyard scheme (that Joe Goodman claimed a “put up job to make money” using the poorest land [MTP].

August 12 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, advising he’d given a letter of introduction in order to “launch a lord” at Sam. The candidate was 30-year-old William Hillier Onslow, whom Howells had met on his homeward voyage, and who seemed “to know a lot of artists and literary men,” and who expressed a liking for the works of Mark Twain. The Howellses had rented a house at 4 Louisburg Square in Boston, and extended an invitation to Sam and Livy to visit [MTHL 1: 436-7].

August 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Ellen C. Taft, wife of the family doctor, Cincinnatus Taft who had been ill.

To my poor mind the first of holy callings is the physician’s; & he should walk before the Pope, & Cardinal, & all the priestly tribe, for he heals all that fall in his way, not merely the chance sufferer here & there who is willing to say, first, “Good Galilean, I subscribe to the conditions.” And to my mind, first of all the good physicians is our good physician; & to him I & mine send homage & greeting…[MTP].

Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy about Ma’s dementia [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pathetic  – Ma’s visions”

August 16 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, Jane Clemens. He expected to be in Elmira until mid-September. Livy remained poorly and “improves so slowly.” Rosina Hay, their German nursemaid had left their employ, replaced by a new girl who only spoke German:

Rosa went away to-day—to get married. She has been with us eleven years; & I believe this is the first time she has been away from us a day in that time. All the children are mourning for her—but poor Jean thinks she is coming back, & nobody undeceives her. Jean looks just like you, most of the time, & like me when the devil is in her. Also when she walks. She is a great old comfort & satisfaction. / I can’t remember to drink the Rock Spring water, ma. They bring it to the room, mornings, but I forget to drink it [MTP]. Note: Rosina Hay married Horace K. Terwilliger in Elmira’s Park Church on Sept. 4.

Sam also wrote from Hartford to Mollie Clemens after receiving news that his mother was acting somewhat senile and delusional.

      It is distressing. It is as pathetic as it can be, the way Ma’s infirmities affect her. May I never be old with ruined faculties!

      I have written Ma, as you see. It will be many a long month, I fear, before Livy’s health & the heavy requirements of her family & housekeeping will make it safe for her to add to her freightage of care. There has been no time since last spring when it would have done to invite Ma.

Sam also asked about some aspect of the game that Orion or Mollie was perfecting for him, relating to William the Conqueror [MTP; MTBus 223].

William Swinton wrote, clipping enclosed from the Pall Mall Gazette:

“Yet Mark Twain has shown, in parts of ‘Tom Sawyer,’ that he can construct a splendid sensational plot, and it is to be wished that he would ‘cease his fuming’ and develop his genius in this direction.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Swinton starts a mag & wants story by M.T.”

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: Sam’s examination in the Duncan suit to be Aug. 22; Webster to be in Elmira on the 21st; Osgood and book agents [MTP].

August 18 Saturday – Sam and Livy spent the evening with Mrs. Langdon in celebration of her 73rd birthday the next day [Aug. 19 letter to Olivia Lewis Langdon, MTP].

August 19 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Olivia Lewis Langdon on her birthday, thanking her for the hospitality of the previous evening and for her gift, the rauchen-geschirr (ashtray?) [MTP].

George E. Waring wrote, “Swear at me, if you will. I deserve it. But I can’t help it.” He had to be in Buffalo and couldn’t leave before the next night. He had wanted to visit him in Elmira [MTP].

August 22 Wednesday – Sam appeared as a witness, ironically for Captain C.C. Duncan, in his $100,000 libel suit against the New York Times [MTNJ 3: 25n41].

Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells. Clemens had just completed perhaps the most productive period of his writing career. With HF drafted and “1002d Arabian Night” completed, he wrote:

How odd it seems, to sit down to write a letter with the feeling that you’ve got time to do it. But I’m done work, for this season, & so have got time. I’ve done two seasons’ work in one, & haven’t anything left to do, now, but revise. I’ve written eight or nine hundred MS pages in such a brief space of time that I mustn’t name the number of days; I shouldn’t believe it myself, & (therefore) of course couldn’t expect you to. I used to restrict myself to 4 & 5 hours a day & 5 days in the week; but this time I’ve wrought from breakfast till 5.15 p.m. six days in the week; & once or twice I smouched a Sunday when the boss wasn’t looking. Nothing is half so good as literature hooked on Sunday on the sly [MTHL 1: 438].

It is instructive to note what a large number of projects Sam was involved with during 1883, everything from finishing his masterpiece, HF, along with perhaps one of his worst burlesques, “1002d”, as well as a variety of business and investment schemes. He wrote: “I must speculate in something, such being my nature” [439].

Sam also telegraphed Charles D. Clarke, editor of the Bath (Maine) Independent. Evidently Duncan was after that paper as well.

“Clark Editor / Bath Maine / Your telegram much garbled in transmission. Did not say to Times Reporter any portion interview published. Have no copy. Suit pending against Times” [MTP]. Note: Sam also identified opposing lawyers and said he hadn’t been served.

Charles D. Clarke for Bath Independent (Maine) wrote asking if Sam could offer him hints in his own libel suit by Duncan [MTP]. Note: See Aug. 23 & 24 entries.

August 23 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

“I am told, Aug. 23, 9AM, that the Times lawyer proposed to Duncan that if he would let them off they would prove I said it all” [MTNJ 3: 24] Note: Evidently, the Times attempted to deflect blame to Sam. (See Aug. 22 entry.)

Sam’s article “Historical Peg Driving,” ran in Mastery—an Illustrated Weekly Magazine of Useful Pastimes for Young People, p. 248 [Budd’s list furnished by Thomas Tenney citing Baetzhold].

Charles D. Clarke telegraphed: “Grand jury just in reported no bill” [MTP].

August 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Sam wanted Webster to “Pitch into Mills’s business & square it up.” He spoke highly of Mills, not identified further.

Sam also reported on Duncan’s lawsuits:

“I have a telegram from Bath, Maine,—the grand jury threw out the bill, to that editor’s vast comfort. Duncan went for a criminal indictment, in that case.”

The Brooklyn Eagle reported on page 2:

Mark Twain gave his testimony at Elmira yesterday before a commission appointed to take evidence in the suit for libel brought by Captain C.C. Duncan against the New York Times. From the report forwarded by telegraph it appears that the distinguished humorist is disinclined to acknowledge a great many things attributed to him in the Times’ interview, which is the basis of the action. Captain Duncan seeks to ascertain whether the offensive passages truly represent what Twain said, or are the production of the reporter’s imagination. His refusal to confess the paternity of some first class examples of withering sarcasm and gall provoking vituperation cannot but cast a gloom over the large community of his admirers.

Jane Clemens wrote replying to Sam’s of Aug. 16, sorry that Livy had been “so sick” and confessing she also had been ill. “I would like to see Jean when she looks like me, but I can’t wish to see her when she looks like her father” [MTP].

Henry Heath, attorney, wrote from NYC to explain Capt. Duncan’s love of jokes but hatred of malicious attacks, and the distortions of the press on these matters [MTP].

August 27 MondayOrion Clemens wrote a short note: “Just deposited William the Conqueror in the American Express Office Herr Bob Ogdon charged me 90 cents a page, and will allow me 30 cents a thousand for setting it up” [MTP].

August 28 TuesdayWorden & Co. sent statement to July 31 and asked for $1,800 on margin call [MTP].

August 29 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, complimenting on part of the board game he completed, probably the William the Conqueror segment Sam asked about in his Aug. 16 letter to Mollie Clemens.

“You can go on with other reigns, now, but you needn’t print any more till I tell you. Send the printing bill when you please” [MTP].

Return I. Holcombe wrote from Palmyra, Mo., trying to get something for the book he was writing— a good history of Marion County [MTP].

August 30 ThursdayWilliam C. Hutchings wrote from Brooklyn, where he took his dying wife after doctors in Hartford recommended taking her home. He PS’d an enclosed clipping from the NY World, but it’s not in the file [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The German Critic’s opinion”—may refer to the missing clipping contents.

William Swinton wrote from NYC, disappointed that since Sam’s reply was marked “Private” he couldn’t publish it, and asked again for a story [MTP].

August 31 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, reporting that “Orion has done his work first rate” on the history board game. Sam diagrammed the game and detailed its layout, directing Charles and Annie to experiment with it [MTP].

September 1 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Andrew Chatto.

I’ve just finished writing a book; & modesty compels me to say it’s a rattling good one, too—“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” (Tom Sawyer’s comrade.)

Osgood & I leave for Canada the 26th of November, arriving in Montreal the same evening, where I shall remain a couple of weeks, on copyright bent [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood.

Welcome home, & drink hearty! …

I’ve finished “1,002” (Arabian Nights Tale,) & likewise “The Adventures of Huck Finn;” had written 50,000 words on it before; & this summer it took 70,000 to complete it. We expect to spend Sept. 13, 14, & 15 at the Brunswick, New York—don’t forget it if you are down [MTP] Note: “Finished” was not exactly true. Sam would spend another six months in Hartford revising the book, and would not let loose of it until mid-April, 1884 [Powers, MT A Life 477].

W.C. Bower wrote from Union Springs, Ala. A begging letter for funds to complete a half-finished church [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A race of beggars / No Answer”

Dean Sage wrote investment advice and was “glad to see favorable notice given your last book” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: plates that Slote must have kept; Sam’s testimony; cancellation of Forshee & Co. book agency [MTP].

September 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, directing him to “mail the enclosed to the Altmans—that large dry goods concern on Sixth ave…” Sam didn’t know the full name or address. [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote, “delighted” Sam was pleased with his history game research, glad that Livy was better and that Mollie suffered “pain relentlessly” [MTP].

William Swinton wrote from NYC, glad that Sam was coming and he could meet him face to face. He decried Sam putting “that story going into the fire!” and chastened him not to do that any more [MTP].

September 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, enclosing a Aug. 29 request from Return I. Holcombe for information to compile a history of Marion County, Mo. The letter mentioned John Marshall Clemens jury service that sent “three Illinois abolitionists” to the penitentiary for twelve years for stealing slaves (see Sept. 1838 entry). Sam wrote that Orion ought to answer the man as he was equipped for it [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Return I. Holcombe, explaining he didn’t have the facts but that his brother did. Of his brother Sam said, “He had 22 years’ acquaintanceship with my father, but my own knowledge of him amounted to little more than an introduction.” Sam wanted to subscribe to Holcombe’s book when it was completed [MTP].

September 4 Tuesday ca. – Sam wrote from Elmira to Melville E. Stone, founder of the Chicago Daily News. Sam was asked his opinion of the Arthur administration:

“I am but one in the 55,000,000; still, in the opinion of this one-fifty-five-millionth of the country’s population, it would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s administration. But don’t decide till you hear from the rest” [MTP].

September, a Thursday (6th, 13th, 20th or 27th) – Sam wrote from either Elmira or Hartford to Charles Webster.

The board is excellent, now.


As soon as shall seem wise, come up & we will continue with Bliss for the new book. We will keep pretty quiet about it for the present—Bliss will see the advantage of that, himself. We shall need almost all the time between now & Jan. 7 to print canvassing books, circulars, &c., & I’d like the canvassing to actually begin near that date, so that the book could issue May 25, or May 20 [MTBus 221-2].

Though Sam’s focus had been on the English history board game, he was now moving toward the publishing of HF. Disappointed in Osgood’s sales of LM, Sam considered returning to Frank Bliss for the book, but eventually self-published through Webster.

September 6 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: Osgood’s arrival Sept. 13; Douglas Brothers agency cancelled for putting books into the trade MTP].

September 8 SaturdayJoe Twichell wrote from Franconia, N.H., hoping Sam had cooled from his anger about Twichell publishing information about the history game. He described their vacation in N.H. [MTP].

September 9 Sunday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to Charles Webster: “Will see you at hotel Brunswick 9 or ½ past, a.m.., Wednesday. SLC” [MTP]. Note: Evidently things were delayed a day.

September 12 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster:

“Dear Charley, We shall arrive, tired out, at hotel Brunswick 8.30 tomorrow evening.—Should like to see you five minutes that evening—not before 9, & not after 9.15. After which I will go to bed. Send up card & I will come down stairs. Yrs truly / S L C” [MTBus 219].

Sam inscribed a card to Miss Milly: “To Miss Milly—/ With the best wishes & kindest remembrances of / Truly Yours / S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / Sept. 12/83 [MTP].

Charles A. Collin in Elmira, Langdon & Co. wrote another legal opinion, this time about the Clemens vs. Belford suit. Theodore Crane had acted as a go between, forwarding Sam’s questions to Collin [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A legal opinion upon a class of newspaper forgeries”

September 13 Thursday – The Clemens family’s summer stay in Elmira came to an end, as did the most productive season in Sam’s literary career. They traveled to Hartford by way of New York, stopping at the Brunswick Hotel on Fifth Avenue [MTBus 219; MTNJ 3: 27n46]. Sam’s notebook contains a list entitled “People to see in N.Y.” and includes Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun; William Swinton, journalist and editor of Swinton’s Story-Teller; Dean Sage (about the Oregon & Transcontinental stock he’d recommended that Sam bought on margin); Daniel Whitford of the New York law firm Alexander & Green; and Noah Brooks of the New York Times. These latter two individuals were key contacts in Duncan’s lawsuit against the Times [MTNJ 3: 58&notes].

William H. Gillette wrote, “If Mallory calls or writes to you, stand on him. I am having no end of trouble—may have to go for him yet. As I had a specific contract—which he cannot evade—for payment of no. 2 Royalty” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Will not consider an proposition from Mallory till he satisfies Gillette”

September 14 or 15 Saturday – Given the number of people Sam needed to see in New York, the family may have stayed two nights in the city; or one, as was usual, before continuing to Hartford.

September 17 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Return I. Holcombe.

“I know of only one steel portrait. It is owned by the American Publishing Co….I enclose the only good photograph I can find” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam offering critical advice of “1002d Arabian Night” that it was second-rate, “and all the way it skirts a certain kind of fun which you can’t afford to indulge in” [MTHL 1: 442].

September 18 TuesdayEdward Greey (1835-1888) wrote from NYC, appreciative that his “daughter received Sam’s amusing note, which she has placed among her treasures.” Greey sent a bottle of sake and some wine [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Author of a lot of Japanese books”; Also a dealer in Japanese art, and an unusual author who ended things with a bullet.

W. D. Howells wrote:

      Osgood gave me your MS. [“1002d Arabian Night”] to read last night, and I understood from him that you wanted my opinion of it. The opening passages are the funniest you have ever done; but when I got into the story itself, it seemed to me that I was made a fellow-sufferer with the Sultan from Sheherazades’s prolixity. The effect was that of a play in which the audience is surprised along with the characters by some turn in the plot. I don’t mean to say that there were not extremely killing things in it; but on the whole it was not your best or your second-best; and all the way it skirts a certain kind of fun which you can’t afford to indulge in: it’s a little too broad, as well as exquisitely ludicrous, at times.

      You’re such an impartial critic of your own work that I feel doubly brutal, and as if I were taking a mean advantage of your magnanimity when I fail to like something of yours. But I fail so seldom that I have some heart to forgive myself. At any rate I feel bound to say that I think this burlesque falls short of being amusing. Very likely, if you gave it to the public, it might be a great success; there is not telling how these things may go, and I am but one poor, fallible friend of yours [MTHL I: 441-2]. Note: see interesting notes in source. The effect of Howells’ and Livy’s Victorian sensibilities on Sam’s writing has been debated, whether for good or ill. Some critics say they toned down his muscular, Western-bred writing; others say they helped.

September 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Mallory brothers, George S. and Marshall H. Mallory.

You have a contract with Mr. Will Gillette; & I am aware that you are trying (as usual with you) to sneak out of the performance of its conditions. I am personally interested in the matter; therefore I suggest to you couple of piety-mouthing, hypocritical thieves & liars that you change your customary policy this time” [MTP].

September 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, inviting the Howellses to visit: “Right away—to-morrow, next day, any day you please” [MTHL 1: 443].

Edward Greey wrote another short note about Miss Barbara (daughter?) being concerned about his last letter to Clemens [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters, wanting to cheer Sam up by the news that one of his lady agents sold 22 books in NYC yesterday, which he thought pointed to a good sale in the fall [MTP].

September 21 FridayCharles Webster wrote: suggested that Orion “get those 800 events together, 1 event for each year” in the history game [MTP].

September 22 Saturday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Charles Webster. One was about the game under development, and a table (secretary) Charles had helped Livy buy that had not arrived, and an order for 300 envelopes with “return to SLC.” Samuel Webster writes that Livy and Charles shared a love of antiques and enjoyed shopping in New York antique shops and auctions [MTBus 221].

September 24 Monday – From Sam’s notebook: “Sept. 24, ’83, ordered Worden & co, 48 Wall st, to buy 100 Or Trans at 40.” Note: From MTNJ 3: 29n50:

“Around January 1883 Clemens bought on margin 200 shares of stock worth about fifteen thousand dollars in the Oregon & Transcontinental Company. In the next few months Clemens watched the stock go to a high of about ninety-eight dollars a share and then begin to drop. When Clemens bought another 100 shares in the railroad company, shortly after the date of this entry, he evidently expected the stock to rally, but it continued its disastrous decline and in May 1884 Clemens finally liquidated his 300 shares for twelve dollars a share.”

W. Wilkins Micawber, “nee Dewter Onerme (sp?) wrote Sam what appears to be a crank letter from someone deep inside an insane asylum (name is a Dickens character). It was written from Forestville, Conn. and was nonsensical with Nasby-like spelling. Sam wrote on the envelope: “damfool” [MTP]. 

Return I. Holcombe wrote from Palmyra, Mo. thanking him for the photo, but wanting a plate and asking Sam to request one be sent from Am. Pub Co. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D—n this ever-lasting man”

September 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. Sam had hired his brother to supply lists of dates for English kings for the memory board game.

My Dear Bro – Kings rec’d. Quite satisfactory. Send balance soon as you can.

O, yes!—go right along with the former labor the minute you get the skeletons done—but don’t print till I say.

The news from Ma is first rate. All well here & send love. Sam [MTP].


Charles H. Botsford for The Manhattan wrote asking writing for their Christmas issue [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”


Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote: “Many thanks for your valuable suggestion. We will try it on” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “I proposed that he publish the death-rate of the whole country over a week in the Sun”

September 29 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to “get that play out of your safe—‘Colonel Sellers as a Scientist’—& express it to me” [MTHL 1: 444]. Sam was now ready to respond to the Mallory brothers interest in the play.

September 30 Sunday – In Boston, ready to travel to Virginia to see his father, W.D. Howells wrote a short note to Sam, advising he wouldn’t be able to stop in Hartford on the way down, but hoped to stop on the way home [MTHL 1: 443].

October – “American Literary Portraits / Mark Twain” ran in the Oct. issue of The Ideal Monthly Magazine, p.8-10. Not everyone was enamored of Sam:

“To him there is nothing sacred….At times he is so coarse he is not fit for polite society…has nothing, absolutely nothing, to redeem his coarseness, his irreverence, his want of refinement” [Tenney, MTJ, Spring 2004 p4].

October 1 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. He complained that Twichell’s publication of his letter:

“…broke up some quite extensive plans of mine, & squandered & rendered useless the material out of which I had meant to build an illustrated small book—but that was the smallest part of the plan which he ruined” [MTHL 1: 440n4].

October 3 or 4 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, sending new ideas to add to the history game and instructions for a new board—two boards with felt in between [MTBus 222].

October 4 Thursday – Sam, in Hartford, wrote congratulations to A.V.S. Anthony, Osgood’s design manager, whose daughter was getting married. Sam sent his regrets at being unable to attend the ceremony [MTP].

Jane Clemens wrote of writing a letter the previous day she had to throw away as it was to the wrong folks. For Jane a rather long letter of all her goings on, including this: “There is an elm tree in Judge Mores yard, the limbs reach across our yard. I can reach them with my hands from my window up stairs. I pulled a leaf off one day. I told Orion to look & see what was in it. There was a nest something like a silkworm. The spider had a black head & large black eyes” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ma’s strange spider”; File note: “see Orion to SLC 23 October 1883”

Worden & Co. Sent a statement of account through Sept. 30 [MTP].

October 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, reminding him to send the $80 secretary for Livy’s coming birthday [MTBus 222].

Sam wrote and signed a check to Fox & Co. for $121.47 [Heritage Bookshop Catalogue 130, p. 90 item 458].

Worden & Co. Wrote receipt of Sam’s $2,350 of Oct. 5 to the margin call [MTP].

October 8 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Miller & Bingham & Elder Manufacturing Co.

“I will explain that the shirt I wear is not a patented article, but I invented it myself, for the public benefit of lazy men. It & its collar open in the back, & the collar & the cuffs are not detachable. No buttons anywhere about it except a couple at the back of the neck. This saves much profanity” [MTP].

Arthur Collins wrote from Ottawa: “Alas! It cannot be, though I would of all things like to come & see you” [MTP].

October 9 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote about a personal matter—a desk for Livy [MTP].

October 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam had received and approved of game details Webster suggested. Sam wrote to go ahead and have the game put in type. Orion’s follow through upset Sam.

“—and mind, don’t send me first-proof; & don’t send me first revise, either. Send me the second-revise….Save me what profanity you can. Orion’s MS is infernal….Make a new board, Charley, with all improvements to date, & send it to me” [MTBus 222].

October 12 Friday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam, advising,

“As soon as I mentioned our plan for a play, Mrs. Howells nobly declared that she would do anything for money, and that I might go to you when I liked” [MTHL 1: 444].

October 13 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He wrote more on the progress of the history board game, and advised that “Livy’s little table which you & she bought has not arrived yet, & is a week overdue.” He also wanted more envelopes with “return to SLC” printed on them [MTP].

October 14 Sunday – Paine relates an 1883 meeting at Sam’s home with Protap Chunder Mozoomdar, brought to meet Mark Twain by Rev. Dr. Edwin P. Parker [MTB 758-9]. Mozoomdar, “a Hindoo Christian prelate of high rank,” spoke at the Congregational Church in Hartford on this day, and in his book Sketches of a Tour Round the World (1884), Mozoomdar puts the date of an invite to Clemens’ neighbor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, after his service. Since Stowe was Sam’s next door neighbor, the meeting Paine writes of is likely this day.

Jane Clemens and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & family. At the end of Jane’s note, more about the strange spiders, Mollie wrote that Ma had “caught cold the other day and suffered severely with her neck, but is getting over it” [MTP].

October 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Orion’s “skeletons” for the board game had arrived, though he’d been sick. He sent them on to Webster. Sam noted a check received from American Publishing Co. and that they’d “sold as many old books in the last 3 months as Osgood has new ones.” Also, the secretary for Livy had arrived [MTBus 223].

Sam also wrote to Howells, who wrote Oct. 12 that he could come to Hartford in “about ten days” to collaborate on “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist” play. Elinor Howells would come a bit later [MTHL 1: 444].

My Dear Howells —

      Your letter must have reached here Saturday, but I didn’t run across it till this minute—it lay under the newspaper mail.

      Good—then I will expect you at the time specified, & Mrs. Howells at the time which she has selected; & ye will both be welcome.

      As to the apportionment of spoil, it would in most any play but this, be half & half, naturally & of course; but in this case I will smouch two-thirds if the reasons & arguments which I shall lay before you shall convince & wholly satisfy you; but if they shouldn’t, the apportionment will then be equal division of the swag, & no cussing…. Ys Ever Mark [444-5].

 Sam felt he deserved a larger share of the royalties for having creating the Sellers character. Howells was negotiating with the Mallory brothers for production of the play, and had recently returned from a visit with his father, who had moved to Virginia. Most often they dealt with Marshall Mallory.

Richard Watson Gilder wrote: “the Century thinks it about time that you should contribute something to its classic pages.” He suggested a piece of an old fool arguing against int’l copyright [MTP].

Worden & Co. (telegram): “Please remit us fifteen hundred dollars O T closed forty two shall we buy one hundred at forty as ordered” [MTP]. Note: Oregon Transcontinental.

October, second half – Sam may have spent some time in New York, where the Thatcher, Primrose and West’s Minstrels performed through Nov. 3 or 4 [N.Y. Times, Oct. 30, 1883 p.5]. Sam copied the words to “There is a happy land” in his notebook and in autobiographical dictation of Nov. 30 1906 recalled,

“I heard Billy Rice sing it in the negro minstrel show, and I brought it home and sang it—with great spirit—for the elevation of the household. The children admired it to the limit, and made me sing it with burdensome frequency. To their minds it was superior to the Battle Hymn of the Republic” [Gribben 794]. Note: Billy Rice played with West’s Minstrels in New York City in Feb. and Oct. of 1883. Sam did not go to New York in Feb. He may have caught the minstrel show in another city at another time.

October 16 Tuesday ca. – Sam typed a letter in Hartford to Howells:


October 17 WednesdayHowells responded to Sam’s Oct. 15 letter, agreeing that Sam’s terms were “good and just.” He added that Colonel Sellers had “a great play in him yet” [MTHL 1: 446].

Worden & Co. Receipted Sam for $1,500 sent Oct. 15 and a memo of 100 shs O.T. at 40 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Sent $3000, which protects the 300 shs till it falls to 30”; Worden’s Oct. 18 references Sam’s Oct. 17, so this was sent this day.”              

October 17November 8 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.

“Charley, your proof-reader is an idiot; & not only an idiot, but blind; & not only blind but partly dead” [MTP]. Note: on the other side of the note, a line that compositor Hoefer isn’t a compositor but a “3-weeks apprentice.”

October 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He thought the game board was “excellent” and suggested “one possible improvement” dealing with the dates of several reigns. He directed a “few copies” to be printed, “25 is plenty—& keep several for you & Annie to experiment with.” Sam was waiting for the right timing to “contract with Bliss for the new book” [MTP].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote advise of stock purchased totaling $28,050 [MTP].

Worden & Co. Wrote receipting $3,000 from Sam’s Oct. 17 [MTP].

October 19 FridaySam wrote to Worden & Co., stockbrokers; note not extant; referred to in Oct. 23.

October 23 TuesdayChatto & Windus wrote to Clemens with statement of account and book sales, royalties of £904.7.11 [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote all about the history game research he was working on [MTP].

** Worden & Co. wrote receipt of Sam’s Oct. 19 order to buy 100 shs O.T. @ 25 [MTP].

October 25 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: canvassing of books; business now good; suggestion to leave 14,000 books bound for the trade [MTP].

October 28 Sunday – Sam wrote Orion, letter not extant but referred to in Orion’s Nov. 1 reply.

Nine year old Florence Dean Cope (1873-1951) wrote from Columbus, Ohio to praise TS and ask if Twain would “write a book of his manhood….All of our family would enjoy a book of Tom’s manhood and whether he turned out robber or not at all” and “I think Tom is just perfect. I am getting very tired so I must stop here” [MTP]. Note: Florence’s mother, Ione Cope (1845-1923) was first cousin to Wm. Dean Howells. Her father, Alexis Cope (1841-1918) was a successful attorney.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy about a sketch they’d sent that was returned, and hopes they weren’t discouraged with Karl’s “slow progress” [MTP].

October 29 MondayBissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote they’d received Sam’s acceptances made by Osgood & Co. for $20,000, and had credited his account for that amount [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “$20,000 acceptances”

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Proof sheets on English History sent; negotiations for 10,000 LM with Watson Gill [MTP].

October 30 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: contract signed with Watson Gill “to act as my agent in the trade” [MTP].

October 31 WednesdayHubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement with Nov. 1 balance of $22,949.11 [MTP].

November 1 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam of his plans to come for a visit on Nov. 3 [MTHL 1: 447].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having rec’d his Oct. 28th. Ma went to a 90 year old’s party and they were all well. He worked 4 hrs a day on the Kings [MTP].

Charles A. Dana for The New York Sun wrote to Clemens, unable to get the information of death rates of various prominent towns [MTP]. Note: Sam had suggested they publish these figures.

November 2 FridayMargaret Meestenmacher wrote from St. Louis to ask Sam & Livy for funds to help her church. Evidently she’d known the Langdons [MTP].

November 3 Saturday – After receiving Howells Nov. 1 letter about coming to Hartford, Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Howells for him to “Come Wednesday” [MTHL 1: 447]. Sam expected “an important telegram” the same day (from Howells? Or, possibly from Raymond or Webster) but it did not arrive (see Nov. 7 entry).

Orion wrote: “Ma is well. She says tell you that she says you must write properly to these people; you are inclined to be too abrupt; be civil to them.” He was sorry Sam was not well [MTP]. Note: these people were relatives.

November 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, further explaining his telegram of the previous day:

“…Mrs. Clemens has a menagerie on her hands from now till Tuesday Evening—the preparation & achievement of a big lunch party of old ladies to meet her mother.”

Sam had not been able to come to terms with John T. Raymond for a part in the new play, and had instructed Webster to find another actor. Sam had a plan up his sleeve [MTHL 1: 447-8]. He called again at the telegraph office expecting a telegram, but it was not there (see Nov. 7 entry).

Orion Clemens finished Nov. 3 letter [MTP].

November 5 Monday – The missing telegram from Howells turned up at the telegraph office (see Nov. 7 entry).

Kate D. Barstow wrote what is now a letter too faded to read. Likely another request for funds for activities beyond her medical training, because Sam wrote on the env., “No” [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote more about the history research; he added, “Ma had a little spell Saturday, but is well now. Mollie is not very well” [MTP]. Note: inevitably Orion included news of health and weather and his schemes.

November 7 Wednesday – This article ran in the Hartford Times (and Nov. 9 in the New York Times, p4, below), documenting the missing telegram:


From the Hartford (Conn.) Times, Nov. 7

On Saturday last Mr. S.L. Clemens (Mark Twain) expected an important telegram. He called for it several times at the telegraph office on Saturday and also on Sunday, but received the answer each time that it had not come. On Monday morning the missing dispatch turned up, It having been mislaid in the office on Saturday. Mr. Clemens now contemplates a suit for damages against the telegraph company.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: proofs sent of English History & other game board items with costs [MTP].

November 7 through 11 SundayHowells arrived in Hartford and collaborated with Sam on the new Sellers play. Howells telegraphed his father, William Cooper Howells, on Nov. 11: “I have been here some days with Clemens, who is expecting his nephew to report upon the scissors business very shortly…I think Clemens means to take hold of it…” [MTHL 1: 448n1]. Note: William Cooper had invented a new type of grape shears. Sam eventually guaranteed him against any loss in the manufacturing and selling of the product. Webster contracted with a Newark toolmaker who produced sixty dozen pairs of the shears. Webster advertised them for a period of time, but this was likely another losing investment for Sam [438n3].

November 8 ThursdayFrancis Hopkinson Smith for Pedestal Fund Exhibition wrote about his plan to read “that letter” to a group, “ if it don’t send every mother’s son of them home with a sore back, I’m a Dutchman” [MTP].

November 11 Sunday – The New York Times ran this article:


The editor of the Boston Musical Record a few weeks ago wrote Mr. Samuel L. Clemens for his opinion on an international copyright law, and this was the reply: “I am 47 years old, and therefore shall not live long enough to see international copyright established; neither will my children live long enough; yet, for the sake of my (possible) remote descendants, I feel a languid interest in the subject. Yes—to answer your question squarely—I am in favor of an international copyright law. So was my great grandfather—it was in 1847 that he made his struggle in this great work—and it is my hope and prayer that as long as my stock shall last the transmitted voice of that old man will still go ringing down the centuries, stirring the international heart in the interest of the eternal cause for which he struggled and died. I favor the treaty which was proposed four or five years ago and is still being considered by our State department. I also favor engraving it on brass. It is on paper now. There is no lasting quality about paper” [Fatout, MT Speaks 133].

Joe Twichell wrote: “The best I can do about West Point is to say that I will go with you to be there Dec. 8th, if I can” [MTP].

November 12 Monday – In Hartford, Sam typed a note to Andrew Chatto, acknowledging receipt of “904 pounds, 7 shillings and 11 pence.” He expected to talk contracts on the new book (HF?) in about a month, and accepted their word on pricing their edition of TA [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Edward “Ned” House, saying the note was a PS to his last letter, that the “Pastilles” he’d had sent from Japan weren’t good until they discovered, after looking the word up in the dictionary, that when they “exploited them on a shovel of hot coals,” they experienced “vastly more satisfactory results” [MTP].

November 13 TuesdayWestern Union per W.C. Hamstone, J.H. Lounsbury wrote in response to a report in the NY Times that a telegram had been lost/delayed. He claimed from reports he’d rec’d that “our service was properly performed,” the telegram phoned to his residence at about 4 pm Nov. 3, the date it was sent from Boston by Howells [MTP].

November 14 Wednesday – In the evening Sam and Livy and Howells attended a Hartford reception for Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), who was to lecture in Hartford the next day. Arnold had lectured in Boston on Nov. 7 and would repeat the talk there on Nov. 17. The reception was given by the David Clarks [MTHL 1: 449n2]. Howells introduced Sam to Arnold and they had a conversation [Powers, MT A Life 480]. Camfield writes Arnold was “best known and reviled in the nineteenth-century United States for his stinging criticism of American culture” [36].

Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person that he’d had “nothing to do with getting that item into print,” so was “in no way responsible for its statements….” Still, Sam thought “the vital fact which they seem to convey is true.” The rest of the letter is lost [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy with the news he’d be sending a bust he’d made with Dr. Beard of the American Chapel, who was going to America and probably to Hartford [MTP].

November 15 Thursday – In the afternoon, the Clemenses held a tea for Matthew Arnold in their Hartford home [LeMaster 36]. Arnold gave his “Numbers” lecture after the tea. He also visited the Clemens home in the evening. Sam did not disclose to Howells what the two talked about [Powers, MT A Life 480]. From Twichell’s journal:

H.[armony] & I went to M.T’s in the P.M. to meet Matthew Arnold, his wife and daughter, at tea,—a great pleasure. Mr. and Mrs. Arnold read for me a before illegible note of Dean Stanley’s which Dr. Allen gave me in London last year. The Arnolds, all three, made a most favorable impression of themselves socially. Mr. Arnold, in particular, was a gentler, more sympathetic person than his writings would lead some people to expect [Yale, copy at MTP].

George W. Cable wrote to Clemens, wanting “to stop in Hartford Tuesday for a day & night to see you & yours & the Warners, et als. Can I do it?” He was to read in Springfield the next day [MTP].

November 1617 Saturday – Sam, Livy and William Dean Howells went to Boston sometime during this period. Matthew Arnold lectured there on Nov. 17 [MTHL 1: 449n2].

November 17 Saturday – A pink 3×5 receipt to Sam, printed “Stock Account” for a check of $5,000 is in the 1883 MTP financial file.

William Dean Howells wrote: “When I supposed you were coming to us I engaged to take you out to Cambridge this (Saturday) evening to see my play at a friend’s done by children. If you can go, come to 4 Louisburg Square by a quarter to eight, and let me know, anyway”[MTP]. (not in MTHL)

November 18 Sunday – Sam was in Boston and accompanied the Howellses in a social call upon the Aldriches Sam returned to Hartford directly from the Aldriches, after the Howellses left. Howells wrote him on Nov. 19 about being “half dead …from eating & laughing yesterday” [MTHL 1: 448, 450n3].

Edwin Booth, Matthew Arnold, Charles Dudley Warner, and Oliver Wendell Holmes filled out the lunch party at the Aldriches. Booth wrote that day to William Bispham that “the feast was royal…I both listened and ate my fill” [Edwin Booth: Recollections by His Daughter, Edwina (1894)]. Thanks to JoDee Benussi.

Western Union per J.H. Lounsbury wrote more about the “lost” telegram being sent by phone to a female voice at the Clemens residence [MTP]. Note: even then, telegrams were phoned if possible.

November 19 Monday – Back in Hartford, Sam telegraphed Howells. He and Livy repeated an invitation for the Howellses to visit. Sam had not received a letter from Howells written the same day expressing that he couldn’t return to Hartford for a solid week, but would come “two weeks from to-day” (Dec. 3) [MTHL 1: 449-50].

“I have told thirty lies and am not out of the Woods yet; S L Clemens” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote (typed) to Sam: he couldn’t see clear to come for at least two weeks to work on revisions of the Sellers as a Scientist play. He was “actually brain-weary,” and George W. Cable was coming to Boston to read on Nov. 26 and he felt he should be there; also Matthew Arnold [MTHL 1: 448-9].

November 20 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable arrived for a visit. He went with the Clemenses and the Warners to a reception. Cable wrote his wife the next day that he’d “Talked my head off; but don’t worry, there wasn’t anything in it.” At the Clemens home, Cable read for “Mark T., his sweet wife, her mother, & Clara and her sister. They were pleased…” [Turner, MT & GWC 23].

Cable signed and dated a copy of his book for Clemens, The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life (1880) [Butterfield auction catalog, July 16, 1997, p.23 Item 2669].

In Boston, Howells wrote Sam that his telegram came just after posting his letter, and that Sam had forgotten to enclosed newspaper clippings mentioned in his last letter [MTHL 1: 451].

November 21 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.

“Good—& all right. Within an hour I shall be deep in an old piece of work which always interests me, any time of the year that I take it up. So I will go down into that, & not appear at the surface again till the Howellses arrive here the 3d of December” [MTHL 1: 451].

Sam included more ideas on the Sellers as a Scientist play. He complimented Howells on the new typewriter he was using to write letters. He announced that George W. Cable was “stopping with us over night” and that he’d been training for public speaking and reading. The writing Sam referred to was possibly the Sandwich Islands story about Bill Ragsdale, a half-caste interpreter he had met on his Hawaii trip [MTHL 1: 451-2]. Emerson writes Sam began the book in Jan. 1884; it “was to be a serious work” [160]. (See Jan. 30 to Fairbanks.)

Cable left for Springfield, Mass., where in the evening he gave a private reading to a group of about 20 ladies [Bickle 108]. Note: Cable then continued on to Boston where he was the guest of several gatherings and gave readings at Chickering Hall, which held, by his estimate, about 460 persons. In Boston, Cable met all the notables (see Bickle, p 110-111).

November 26 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing information he’d been sent about an investment. If it was “safe” he asked Webster to let him know [MTP].

November 27 Tuesday Livy’s 38th birthday.

November 29 ThursdayDora Knowlton “a stranger to you” and an actress, wrote from NYC to ask if he’d allow her to dramatize P&P [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t / P&P”

November 30 Friday Sam’s 48th birthday. He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam and Howells had written a new play, American Claimant, and though Sam didn’t really want to hire John T. Raymond again, he realized the benefit of doing so. Yet, he did not fully trust Raymond.

Dear Charley—Now that you have made your opening, let Raymond do the rest. That is to say, you & Whitford sit still, & let R. come there—don’t you go to him….I wish to God he would not take it….Why do I offer him the piece at all? 1. For these reasons: He plays that character well; there are not thirty actors in the country who can do it better; & 2. He has a sort of sentimental right to be offered the piece—though no moral or legal or other kind of right…I decline to have any correspondence with R. myself, in any way [MTBus 228].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a monthly statement [MTP].

December 1 Saturday ca. – About this day, Sam also wrote to the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, a group raising money for the base of the Statue of Liberty [MTP]. The letter ran in the Dec. 3 edition of the New York Times (see Dec. 3 entry).

December 3 MondayHowells wrote to explain his inability to leave for Hartford—his sister, Annie Howells Fréchette was coming with her two little children. He offered a few more ideas for the Sellers play and expressed hope that Raymond would agree to play the part. He told of Cable’s lectures at Chickering Hall in Boston on Nov. 26 and 28 and holding a “blow out” for him [MTHL 1: 452-4].

December 4 Tuesday – Sam’s letter which argued for changing the under-construction Statue of Liberty into one for Adam ran on page 2 of the New York Times [Budd, “Collected” 1020].



Mark Twain was asked to contribute to the album of artists’ sketches and autograph letters, to be raffled for at the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition, and this is his response, which accompanied his contribution: You know my weakness for Adam, and you know how I have struggled to get him a monument and failed. Now, it seems to me, here is my chance.

What do we care for a statue of liberty when we’ve got the thing itself in its wildest sublimity? What you want of a monument is to keep you in mind of something you haven’t got—something you’ve lost. Very well; we haven’t lost liberty; we’ve lost Adam.…what have we done for Adam? Nothing. What has Adam done for us? Everything. He gave us life, he gave us death, he gave us heaven, he gave us hell [MTNJ 3: 13].

Note: The article was in response to a call for letters and sketches by artists and writers to be raffled to raise money to build a pedestal for the statue.

Sam played a character from a Dickens novel scene, “Leo Hunter” at the Union for Home Work, Authors’ Carnival, Hartford. The Hartford Courant, for Dec. 5, 1883, p.2, ran an article titled “The Authors’ Carnival”:

The second event of the evening was the presentation on the large stage of a scene from Charles Dickens’ “Leo Hunter.” It introduced a number of clever ladies and gentlemen who not only acted their parts, but lent to it the dialogue. The principals, Miss Hamersley and Mr. Prentice, were roundly applauded, and when Mark Twain came on the stage as a character in the scene, plaudits rang from one end of the enormous hall to the other. This scene alone was enough to compensate one for the expense of the entire evening’s entertainment.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: grape shears, an invention of Howells’ father [MTP].

December 8 SaturdayJoe Goodman wrote Sam, praising LM. and offering other news:

I have not written you…since I received “Life on the Mississippi.” It is one of the most thoroughly entertaining and satisfactory works you have ever published. I was undecided at first which portion suited me best, the older or newer; but a review of it determined I’m in favor of the latter. Those recollections and impressions upon revisiting your old house are inimitable. The revival of boyish emotions is one of your strongest suits. That is what makes “Tom Sawyer” so toothsome. Dickens is the only other writer that brings back our boyhood to us as naturally and vividly.

In one of your letters you [word torn away] John McCullough’s visit to your house and of his delightful fine family. It is too bad that so good a fellow and so hearty a swearer should meet an early doom; but I am informed he is hopelessly afflicted with softening of the brain. Women, women, women [MTP].

Joe added a paragraph about Rollin Daggett, who was healthy and happy and married again, and with two literary projects, one a history of Hawaii. Even though Joe was “still frigging away at the vineyard,” he was planning to return to “newspapering for a time” [MTP].

James R. Osgood wrote:

Mr. Webster has delivered me your message, which I must confess astonishes me, I cannot believe that on reflection you will confirm the attitude in which he represents you to stand at present. / We are deeply conscious of having done everything which anybody could have done for this book….If it is a failure it is not due to lack of intelligent, conscientious and energetic effort on our part [MTP]. Note: Sam was quite disappointed with book sales.

December 10 MondayChatto & Windus wrote thanking him for Osgood’s memorandum on LM. Much of the letter is smeared and illegible [MTP].

December 13 ThursdayKarl Gerhardt wrote; only the envelope survives [MTP].

December 14 Friday – In Hartford, Sam inscribed 1601, Conversation As It Was By the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors to George Iles (1852-1942), American author and editor in Montreal. “Dear Iles— I beg a thousand pardons, but I had forgotten all about it. / . Truly Yours / S L C. / Dec 14/83” [MTP].

Livy invited the Aldriches and the Howellses for the weekend of Jan. 5 to meet some fifty of their Hartford friends and contacts [MTHL 2: 465n2].

December 15 SaturdayWorden & Co. wrote requesting $2,500 as “additional margin” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Sent $3000 Dec. 18”

M.U. wrote from Hartford urging Clemens “to turn away from your vanities, and seek with all earnestness the Lord God of Hosts” [MTP] Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Religious fanatic / Self-righteous Rot”

December 17 Monday – Sam took a train for Boston, where he spent a day or two with Howells [MTHL 1: 454n2]. In his Dec. 19 letter to Webster,

“I went to Boston, but I had no ‘business’ to talk, & didn’t talk any” [MTBus 229].

December 18 Tuesday – Clemens sent $3,000 to Worden & Co.; letter not extant; referenced in Dec. notes on Worden’s letter.

December 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Charles Webster. The first enclosed $271 and asked him to go to George Jones (editor of the N.Y. Times) and ask for the same amount and tell him that it’s an interview and that Sam wants to “build a magazine article & get that money back without any trouble.” Samuel Webster calls this mystery “intriguing.” Sam’s second letter may explain:

“Dear Charley—It occurs to me that you could have got that information in 24 hours by paying the Sunday Mercury’s dramatic Editor $10 to furnish it to you on a piece of paper. Do it, & let’s hurry along. Yrs SLC” [MTBus 239]

Sam wanted to know how many times John T. Raymond had performed in the play Colonel Sellers. Sam also disclosed he’d taken a social trip to Boston.

Sam also wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, and to Orion and Mollie Clemens:

“We would like you to drink $10 worth of whisky apiece in honor of Christmas, & I enclose the money” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Jervis Langdon II (1875-1952) inscribing and sending a copy of Howard Pyle’s 1883 The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, etc. Sam wrote:

“I have always regretted that I did not belong to Robin Hood’s gang” [Gribben 564].

Sam also wrote to Pamela and Samuel Moffett, wishing them a:

“Merry Xmas…love & no news—which, according to the proverb—is good news” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person:

“I am very sorry I cannot take a hand in trying to select the right & best motto, but I am much too pressed for time” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells sent Sam a postcard having seen William Warren (1812-1888), a celebrated comic actor. In light of John T. Raymond’s refusals, Sam and Howells were searching for another actor to play Col. Sellers in their new play. Warren, Howells said, had only a “slight acquaintance” with William Jermyn Florence (1831-1891) another comedian who specialized in dialect impressions. Why not telegraph? Howells asked [MTHL 1: 454].

Worden & Co. receipted Sam $3,000 sent Dec. 18 [MTP].

December 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about a gift Livy was purchasing for her mother [MTBus 230].

Sam also wrote to Howells with the idea to write “a tragedy” together for the new Sellers play and enclosed a scene based on Thomas Carlyle’s Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches.

The enclosed is not fancy, it is history—except that the little girl was a passing stranger & not kin to any of the parties.

I read the incident in Carlyle’s Cromwell a year ago & made a note in my notebook; stumbled on the note to-day, & wrote up the closing scene of a possible tragedy to see how it might work.

If we made this Colonel a grand fellow, & gave him a wife to suit—hey? It’s right in the big historical times—war,—Cromwell in big, picturesque power, & all that. Come—let’s do this tragedy, & do it well [MTHL 2: 455].

Sam also wrote to Laurence Hutton:

I enclose a small Xmas present ($15) for you. Spend it judiciously for whisky & in other pious ways, & always be thankful that you have friends about you like me, who will never see you come to want [MTNJ 3: 41n89].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters : his long hours lately, Christmas gifts for Livy; expected information from the Sunday Mercury [MTP].

December 21 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, offering a rare apology for his remarks. Evidently, he had questioned Osgood’s integrity. Powers points out that sales of LM “languished at 30,000 copies” [MT A Life, 469]. In a letter now lost, Sam accused Osgood of mismanaging the book. Osgood was “astonished” and defended himself; he’d written on Dec. 8 that if the sales were a failure, it was not due to “lack of intelligent, conscientious and energetic effort on our part” [470]. Sam then offered his apology:

No, I shall not do or wittingly say anything to interrupt our friendly relations. I am sorry I made that remark, since it hurts you; but it was not new matter—it had been conveyed, before, through Webster. And I said to Webster distinctly, “I will not have ill blood with Osgood, nor any but honest speech, plain but without bitterness—State my case,—leave the rest to Osgood and me” [MTLTP 164].

Sam recommended they get together and talk the matter out, that “writings do not successfully interpret the feeling of the writer” [165]. Sam was extremely disappointed and felt both P&P and LM had been publishing failures.

I am peculiarly situated. The Prince and Pauper and the Mississippi are the only books of mine which have ever failed. The first failure was not unbearable—but this second one is so nearly so that it is not a calming subject for me to talk upon…I have never for a moment doubted that you did the very best you knew how—it is impossible to doubt that—but there were things about the publishing of my books which you did not understand. You understand them now, but it is I who have paid the costs of the apprenticeship [MTLTP 164-5].

December 23 SundayOrion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Clemens & Livy: who was Ben? Christmas presents & wishes [MTP]. Note: “Ben” was a nickname for Clara.

December 24 MondayAnnie M. Barnes for Atlanta Acanthus wrote asking what he’d like to do for their juvenile publication enterprise [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Beggary”

 December 25 TuesdayChristmas – In Hartford, Sam, acting for Susy and Clara Clemens inscribed a book? to Margaret Warner [MTP].

Sam inscribed a copy of Howard Pyle’s Yankee Doodle, An Old Friend in a New Dress (1881) to daughter Jean Clemens:” Merry Christmas / to the Only Jean / from Papa / 1884” [Gribben 565].

Charles Dudley Warner inscribed a copy of his book, A Roundabout Journey (1884) to Livy: “Mrs. Livy Clemens / With the affectionate regards/of Chas. Dudley Warner / Dec 25 1883 [Gribben 746].

December 26 Wednesday – Sam also telegraphed from Hartford to Charles Webster: “Get up here before new years any day will do” [MTP].

U.M. wrote (no further name given) [MTP].

December 27 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.

Dear Charley—We will lie low until Raymond has played his new piece in New York, & if it is not a promising success, we will go for him again, with a modified proposition. Lawrence Barret[t] strongly urges this, & gives good reason for it.

Meantime, hurry up that Sunday Mercury business, as apart of the preparation. Livy was delighted with the andirons. Merry Xmas to you all. P.S. Return me the MS of the play of “Col. Sellers” if you have it. SLC [MTBus 230].


In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam that he’d seen another actor for Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, well-known Henry E. Dixey (1859-1943). Did Sam wish Howells to See Dixey’s play? What had Sam learned from William Jermyn Florence? [MTHL 2: 459-60]. Note: Dixey, in the title role of Adonis, about a statue that came to life, became the top matinee idol of his time.


Charles Webster wrote about business matters: information they wanted from the Sunday Mercury of plays played by an unnamed actor; a bill in the Duncan suit matter; stock investments [MTP].


December 30 Sunday Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement with $18,144.61 balance [MTP].


December 31 MondayWorden & Co. sent all 1882-83 monthly statements [MTP].






Vol 1 Section 0042

Chasing after Stage Plays – Cable & Mumps – Lobbying for International Copyright Canvassing Huck – Duncan’s Lawsuit – April Fools! – Poor Doc Taft

 Tuscaloosa Pirates – Rah for Cleveland!

Twins of Genius Hit the Road – The Children’s P&P Play


1884 – An interesting inscription by Sam made sometime during the year, place unknown:

“Some people can smoke to excess. Let them beware. There are others who cannot smoke to excess because there isn’t time enough in a day which contains 24 hours” [MTP].

In 1884-5 Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “Happy Memories of the Dental Chair” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].

From Hartford, Sam replied to an unidentified man:

“Dear Sir: / In reply I am obliged to say that I have quitted the platform permanently. With thanks for the compliment of your invitation I am / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].

Sam also wrote from an unknown place to another unidentified man:

“Just enclose this letter to him, with a line of your own, if you like. I don’t want any correspondence myself.

      “Cable proposes to try the subscription method, & I have hogged him away from the A P Co, who applied to him. Bliss knows I choused him out of Cable. / SLC” [MTP].


Orion wrote from Keokuk on a Sunday in 1884: “I enclose MS. and samples of my work on the paper. / I presume reporting night meetings will fall regularly into my line of duty.” He added a few details on Monday, and Monday noon [MTP].


Henri (Willy) Gauthier-Villars published Mark Twain, the first book-length study of Mark Twain [Description of item for sale by Mac Donnell Rare Books 4/2/2010]. Note: see March 28 from Villars and Apr. 22 MT to Aldrich.


Knut Hamsun published “Mark Twain” in Ny Illustreret Tidende Christiana (translated in 2003): Tenney: “Finds America materialistic and unintellectual, the literature lacking richness or a national character. MT is a favorite with Hamsun, who likes the western view in RI; he preferred it to IA, ‘marred by …their polemic, absurdly underdeveloped philosophy, and weak power of reflection.’ Hamsun heard MT on the platform: ‘Twain’s speeches are entertaining but have absolutely no content. You sit there in suspense, waiting for the introduction to end and the lecture to begin, until Twain suddenly makes his bow—and leaves. You look at the clock: an hour and twenty minutes. What can this mean? It means, my dear, that Mark Twain is a genuine public lecturer’ ” [Bibliography Number 6, Mark Twain Journal Spring/Fall 2012 50: 1 & 2, p.51]. Note: this reaction was undoubtedly based on the old assumption that a lecture was instructive, rather than entertaining.


January – As early as this month and as late as Dec. 1887, Sam inscribed the back side of his photograph to Mrs. Pemberton-Hinks: “Quarrels begun with roses breed no bloodshed! / Sincerely Yours / S. L. Clemens / Mark Twain / To / Mrs. Pemberton-Hinks. / Hartford, Saturday [illegible chars.] (It is a most damaged & piratical looking picture, & nothing can excuse it but the fact that it is the only one left on the place SLC)” [MTP].

Sam re-read “the second volume of Pepys[Jan. 14 to House]. After immersing himself in Sandwich Islands material, He began a book about Bill Ragsdale, a half-caste interpreter who contracted leprosy and exiled himself to the leper colony on Molokai [Emerson 160].

January 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He wanted to nail down a producer and actor for the new play he’d written with Howells, “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist.” He also had written a dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer he wished to have produced.

“If the book business interferes with the dramatic business, drop the former—for it doesn’t pay salt; & I want the latter rushed. …

“I have been talking with Barrett, & he thinks it will be a mistake on Raymond’s part if he lets this play go to somebody else, & a mistake on my part at the same time.”

Sam directed Webster to offer John T. Raymond license to act in the play for $400 per week; he also suggested Jimmy Lewis or Nat Goodwin if Raymond refused to pay that much. Note: in that day, actors preferred to license or pay for a play; they could then keep receipts over and above the amount paid, sometimes with additional royalties due.

“Now I want to come down & see somebody play, the minute you can name me a man” [MTBus 230-1].

Orion Clemens wrote about different folks, one of whom was “damned impudent.” He PS’d: “Thank God you and Charlie keep sending the hundred dollars to me and the fifty to Ma. I hope the same does not inconvenience you or Livy.” He continued to work on the history segments [MTP].

Herbert H. Winslow wrote from Keokuk asking for “a few lines” for a literary paper he planned to start [MTP].

January 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles R. Deacon, secretary of the Clover Club of Philadelphia. He had been invited to a dinner on Jan. 17, but “business & social complications” made him regretfully decline [MTP]. Note: The Clover Club was a dancing club formed in 1881. It was famous for its distinguished guests and for its humorous way of entertaining them.

January 4 Friday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Hartford to James N. Kimball, giving him “liberty to use that chapter about the Empress” [MTP]. Note: Could this have been the Mormon leader? Doubtful. The chapter about the Empress from A Tramp Abroad.

Charles Dudley Warner sent a large printed bill “Copyright” by George P. Lathrop. “How does this strike you?/ C.D.W.” [MTP].

In the evening from 7 to 10, the Ladies of Benevolent Society of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church held a reception for Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Twichell. From Twichell’s journal, it is obvious that the congregation gathered to help the Twichells out of a spot, perhaps financial, or personal:

“A charming time we had at this reception. Almost all our people came to greet us and we were filled with a new sense of the delightfulness of the pastoral relation, also of its sacredness and high privilege especially (i.e. as regards delightfulness) in such circumstances as ours” [Yale, copy at MTP].

January 5 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam on business: he hurried the Sunday Mercury people for information of plays played by an unnamed actor; enclosed check for $1,081.50 royalties from Am. Pub. Co. [MTP].

January 5 and 6 Sunday – The gathering of fifty or so of the Clemens’ Hartford friends took place over this weekend, but the Howellses could not come due to their son John’s scarlet fever [MTHL 2: 465n2].

January 7 MondayLivy sent out invitations from her and Sam to John Day and Alice Hooker Day, requesting the pleasure of their: “…company to meet Mr. & Mrs. T.B. Aldrich on Wednesday evening, Jan 9th at 8 o’clock” [MTP].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. His son, John Howells, had a touch of scarlet fever.

“The bare suggestion of scarlet fever in the family makes me shudder; I believe I would almost rather have Osgood publish a book for me” [MTHL 2: 460].

Sam was still trying to find a producer for their play, “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist.” He also had been working on a book about Bill Ragsdale, interpreter to the Hawaiian Parliament, who Sam had met on his 1866 trip to the islands. Sam decided later not to publish the book. Only a seventeen-page fragment of the book survives.

My billiard table is stacked up with books relating to the Sandwich Islands; the walls are upholstered with scraps of paper penciled with notes drawn from them. I have saturated myself with knowledge of that unimaginably beautiful land & that most strange & fascinating people. And I have begun a story. Its hidden motive will illustrate a but-little considered fact in human nature: that the religious folly you are born in you will die in…[460-1].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster.

“Am Pub check for $1081.32 received. I see they’ve sold 4,500 old books in the past 3 months. I wish to God Osgood could sell half as many new ones.

I suppose we shall find that Raymond has not lost his right to that old play” [MTBus 232].

James Sutherland wrote from Montreal to Sam, advising he’d sent a souvenir from Montreal through Boston, from “the young fellow who had the honor –which he so much appreciated –of dining with you, in company of Mr. Geo Iles at the Windsor Hotel here in May last” [MTP]. Note: the souvenir is not identified, but was for Sam’s girls.

January 9 Wednesday – The Clemenses entertained the Aldriches in the evening. Livy sent out invitations a few days before (see Jan. 7 entry). The Aldriches stayed with Sam and Livy for a few days (see Jan. 14 to House) [MTP].

James B. Pond wrote after hearing “what the trouble was” on the “2d night in Louisville” and offered some sort of confusing explanation [MTP].

Howells wrote about plays and the improving condition of his son John [MTP]. (See Jan. 18 entry for reply.)

Charles Webster wrote some paragraphs about meeting with John T. Raymond on the proposed play arrangements; Howells’ grape shears invention; Bliss and old book royalties; Osgood’s mistakes & the need to hold the price of LM high; Fred Hall’s absence due to the death of his father [MTP].

January 11 FridayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy with news and clippings of the Manet Exposition. “All is not smooth sailing here for any art student” [MTP].

Charles Webster to Sam: “I send you the book you want by this days mail. I was unable to get you a bound copy so I send it in sheets” [MTP]. Note: book not specified.

January 12 SaturdayCharles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam [MTP].

January 14 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. Sam advised, there was “no course …left you for Koto’s protection but the marriage,” given the “precarious” nature of House’s health. Evidently his “adopted” Japanese daughter was in a family way and he sought Sam’s advice. He also asked Sam to suggest reading material and Sam gave this summary of his current reading:

In English, the middle portion of the Bread Winners; all of Clarissa Harlowe; the closing chapters of Pamela; the third volume of Saint-Simon; the fourth volume of Evelyn; the second volume of Pepys; the second volume of The Autobiography of a Whore; the third volume of Geike’s Hours with the Bible; & in German, the second volume of Schiller (the poems, I mean), the third volume of the Thirty-Years’ War; & the concluding chapters of Das Geheimniss der Alten Mamsell; in French, the tenth volume of Saint-Simon, and the fifth volume of Casanova. There—if none of this happy variety strikes you, you must be dam hard to please. I’m not a good person to apply to, because I seldom or never read anything that is new; & never read anything through, be it new or old [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Joe Goodman (the letter has been lost) [MTP Goodman to Sam, Jan. 22, 1884].

James R. Osgood wrote to Sam: “Unless I am prevented by rheumatism (which at writing seems only too possible) I shall be at your house on Wednesday 16th inst. on arrival of the 9 a.m. train” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person:

“Stephen—nothing became of Stephen; at least nothing had yet become of him up to a recent date. Stephen still lives; & his other name is Strother Wiley P.O. address, St. Louis; & if you wish to be beguiled, you have a chance” [MTP]. (See Feb. 13, 1875 entry for more on Strother Nimrod Wiley.)

January 15 TuesdaySam wrote to Kingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co., Kingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co. letter not extant but referenced in Smith’s Feb. 23 reply.

January 16 WednesdayCharles Webster wrote business: royalty check enclosed $773.20; letter from John T. Raymond asking him to call this afternoon [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Scrapbooks 6 mos ending 1883 — $773.”

January 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, still apologetic.

My Dear Osgood— / I have thought, and thought; and as a result, I wish to accept the kind offer which you made yesterday, if you are willing to let me. I hope you can and will stop on your way up. I am not well content with myself over yesterday’s talk, yet I do assure that I never meant to be unjust toward you in a single word or thought./ Truly Yours/ S.L. Clemens [MTLTP 166]. Note: It’s not clear what Osgood had offered, but note 1 of the cited source says it “probably involves the removal of JRO [Osgood] from the subscription selling” of Sam’s books. Sam probably owed money on the production costs of LM; Osgood may have offered settlement.

Sam also wrote a one-liner to Charles Webster that he’d received a “Slote check for $773…” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam of business: bindings ordered on LM and confusion surrounding a stopping of 10,000 books bound [MTP].

Worden & Co. wrote to Sam of a $2,000 margin call. O.T. had slid to 23 & ½ [MTP]. Note: he would finally sell out May 19 at $12; see entry.

January 18 Friday – Sam replied from Hartford to the Jan. 9 from Howells about writing plays. Henry Nash Smith observes that Howells became as stage-struck as Sam during this period, though he often insisted he preferred writing novels. Nash adds that Howells translated or adapted or wrote thirty-six dramas, including a musical comedy [MTHL 2: 463n2].

“Raymond still biting. Shall hear more, very soon.

Charley W. stupidly forgot I told him to contract for the scissors [grape shears that Howell’s father invented]. He will now attend to this” [MTHL 2: 464].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about seeing Marshall Mallory, who lusted after the Sellers as Scientist play. Howells would not show him the play:

“He now wishes you to tell him simply your terms for either or both plays, and said it might be worth his while to try to meet them” [MTHL 2: 464-5].

James R. Osgood wrote to Sam, unable to get away until the next afternoon or to come to Hartford; Webster had gone to Cleveland [MTP].

January 19 SaturdayPhillip Shirley, a fellow passenger of Sam’s on his spring, 1868 return voyage to New York, submitted two of Sam’s poems to The Wasp, a short-lived San Francisco publication. The verses ran on this day [The Twainian, July-Aug. 1946, p.3-4]. Camfield lists these as “Ye Equinoctial Storm,” and “Tragic Tidings” [bibliog.].

Worden & Co. wrote to Sam. the $2,000 received [MTP].

January 20 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam replied to the Jan. 18 of Howells, of the Mallory brothers nearly begging for details about the Sellers play or the “romantic and picturesque play” (about Bill Ragsdale and leprosy). Howells wrote that Marshall Mallory wished Sam would “tell him simply your terms for either or both plays, and said it might be worth his while to try to meet them.” Sam responded that the Sellers play wasn’t a Madison Square piece.

“Let the Madison Square nibble—by the time they work themselves up to a fair rate of remuneration we can have a play ready for them” [MTHL 2: 465].

Sam also offered caution about Johnny Howells scarlet fever, and advised keeping Johnny in bed an extra six weeks. He reminded Howells of his man Patrick’s child and the loss of hearing possible from scarlet fever.

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster:

“You can come up here, Monday or Tuesday & make contract with Am Pub Co for Huck Finn, & then go on to Boston & reach an understanding about the N.Y. office. I shall put off the Library of Humor, & publish Finn first” [MTP]. Note: Of course, Sam would end up self-publishing Huckleberry Finn under Webster & Co. 

Stephen C. Massett (“Jeems Pipes”) wrote to Sam: “I am coming next week—will you be in your Inn?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The old humbug”; playbill enclosed in file.

The Hartford Assessor’s Office wrote to Sam, only the top of the letter survives [MTP].

January 22 Tuesday – In California, Joe Goodman telegraphed, then wrote a long letter to Sam, pleading for a piece for his new publication, The San Franciscan.

Dear Mark— / Your disfavor of the 30th net[?] and 14th inst. Came today. It was the first setback to my hopes that I have encountered since our scheme was afoot. I had counted so confidently upon our catching the inspiration of our old Washoe days and coming to the fore. The slogan has raised the remnants of the old clan on this coast, and they are gathering enthusiastically. Daggett’s first contribution came from the Hawaiian Islands today; Fitch responds from Arizona, and sends the watchword on to his wife at Denver; Goodwin hails from Salt Lake, Sam Davis from Carson, awhile Dan de Quille wafts us a greeting from the old home nest on the Comstock;

“You alone break from the race and

the freemen;

You alone sink to the rear and the slaves!”

It mustn’t be, Sam; we want no lost leader in arms; and such it would be if you fold yourself in silence. I don’t care that your effort be super-excellent, or excellent, or even good; that rests between you and your God; but I do want your name to complete the goodly fellowship of the Table Round.

Joe also related that John McComb was the new warden of the State Prison at Folsom and passed on McComb’s suggestion for topics for Sam:

He laughed in his old quiet, hearty way, and said: “Tell him to write the story of his fencing and boxing experiences at Chauvel’s gymnasium in Virginia; or, if he like better, the history of his attempt to learn Spanish in this city.” I hadn’t time to ask explanation of the second proposition; you may recall it, however. McCrellish, you know, is dead. Woodworth busted, and the Alta is now a Democratic railroad organ. Note: Woodworth was probably Joseph Woodworth, who led the rush into Washoe after the Comstock silver strike [Mack 22]. Frederick MacCrellish was a proprietor of the Alta in 1867 [MTL 1: 17n1].

Goodman was a fair writer in his day. Now excited and confident about the opportunities of a new newspaper he prophesied success in great style:

We shall hit square from the shoulder at everybody and every thing that deserves to be hit; and if we can only make it as attractive as it will be aggressive there will be no more question of its success than there would of that of a show comprising John L. Sullivan and the Jersey Lily [MTP].

Joe also inquired again after Clara Spaulding: “My heart was full fain for her long years after I last saw her…” and warned Sam about “the clutches of that succubus—Kitty Barstow,” who Joe called a “natural-born beggar.” Note: she begged Sam out of a few hundred.

January 24 ThursdayEdward L. Burlingame of Charles Scribner Co. wrote to ask Sam for Edward H. House’s address in Japan [MTP].

January 27 SundayGeorge W. Cable, visiting the Clemens home while on a reading tour, came down ill, probably with a case of the mumps, though Webster describes the illness as measles [234]. Kaplan describes it as a “fever and racking pains in his lower jaw” [254]. Sam hired a private nurse to care for his guest. The nurse and all three Clemens girls came down with the mumps [254]. Cable was nursed back to health but would be laid up at Sam’s until Feb. 15, preventing Sam from getting together with Howells to collaborate on plays [MTNJ 3: 47n107].

January 28 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, again about the proposed play, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Webster was trying to find an actor to play the role of Tom, and Sam had definite (and rather inflexible) ideas about the money angles.

“No, the actor must play Tom Sawyer till it is down to where it pays him only an average of $300 or $400 a month clear & above expenses, for a whole season. It’s important” [MTBus 233].

Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond three times about Cable being sick and unable to give a reading [MTP]. Cable wrote his wife that it was just “little attack of neuralgia in that part of my face I make my living by, in short, my lower jaw—the part that wags, and the doctor, in order to make short work of it, has ordered me to keep my bed for twenty-four hours” [Turner, MT & GWC 25].

January 29 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to John Chalmers Blair (1848-1910?), of Huntingdon, Penn. “Your packets are an unspeakable convenience. They make authorship a pastime.” [MTP]. Note: In 1879 Blair started a tablet factory, which grew to a worldwide business, so Sam’s compliment probably had to do with writing tablets. Blair’s wife would name a hospital after him in 1911, which still operates.

Sam also sent a note to Charles Webster, asking him to search for a “small 31-page pamphlet” by Samuel Watson Royston, titled, The Enemy Conquered, a Love Triumphant [MTP]. Note: See Apr. 22, 1884 entry for Twichell’s surprise on this publication.

Cable was still suffering what he thought was “neuralgia of the jaw,” and wrote his wife that he hoped he’d be well enough to “be on the platform tomorrow night” [Turner, MT & GWC 26].

Julian Magnus wrote from NYC to ask about dramatization rights to TS [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the note: “Mental Telegraphy.” And “I was finishing the fourth & last act of my drama of Tom Sawyer yesterday, Jan. 29, while he was writing this letter. / SLC”

January 30 Wednesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Louise Cable: “Your husband will be out of bed by tomorrow S.L. Clemens” [Turner, MT & GWC 28].

He also telegraphed James B. Pond twice in Cable’s behalf that he would be unable to read the following night [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.

“Only a line, to say how glad I am, for dear Mollie’s sake—yes, & for yours; for you can’t be as indifferent to the thing as you seem. That’s all—I shall be cool & distant till you stop this dam nonsense of shirking Hartford every 3 months & then rushing home to apologize for it.”

Sam mentioned that Cable “has been sick in the house several days”; He answered Mary’s question about the Bill Ragsdale, Sandwich Island novel with:

“The novel? Yes, it’s serious; the scene is laid in the Sandwich Islands 65 years ago [before missionaries]; that is, the first part—second part is a number of years later” [MTP]. Note: Emerson reports that “Very little survives of what he wrote that January, only a few pages of description, although he had referred to it as finished. Nothing more was said about the manuscript” [160].

Jeannette L. Gilder of The Critic wrote to ask Sam’s opinion whether he believed in “cash down” or a % from Publishers to Authors for their books. The letter was a pre-printed form with name & signature added [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D—d impudence”

January 31 Thursday – Sam continued to entertain George W. Cable, down with a case of the mumps, and recovering slowly. Drugged with quinine, Cable had to dictate letters to his wife through either Livy or Lilly Warner. Cable told of enjoying Sam’s company and the:

“…funny stories he tells the little Jean. Jean has a magnificent mental digestion, she must have a tiger in every story; and no tiger seems to her to be really worth the money unless he’s in a jungle” [Turner, MT & GWC 28].

Worden & Co. sent a statement [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “$4000 short”

February 1 Friday – Sam took Livy to a play, Robert M. Bird’s The Gladiator in Robert’s Opera House in Hartford. Marshall Mallory pestered Sam about producing a play, but Sam put him off.

Livy wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable about her husband’s condition.

February 2 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells. George W. Cable was at Sam’s house and down with the mumps. Sam expected Cable to get well in a “couple of weeks.” He related Mallory’s contact the night before at the play. Before Sam would make a decision about doing business with the Mallory brothers on the new Sellers play, he needed:

“…to see Mallory’s proposed actor play before talking any business about the farce,—so there is no sort of use in reading the MS to Mallory yet” [MTHL 2: 467].

Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond again in Cable’s behalf that he’d had “a bad night great suffering in his head the highest fever he has had yet and is weak this morning” [MTP].

Charles Warner came and Sam discussed “the copyright plan of campaign,” about HF, no doubt [Feb. 4 to Hutton, MTP].

Elton Fulmer for Nebraska State University wrote to ask questions for an oration he was to deliver on “The American Humorists and their productions” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A curiosity of cheek”

Edgar W. Howe for Atchison (Kansas) Globe wrote to send his book, mentioned next in Sam’s note, hoping that Sam would read it, being a Mo. story [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered / Howe, author of ‘The Story of a Country Town.’” Clemens and Howells both would offer a testimonial for this book.

February 3 Sunday – Sam wrote a one liner to Charles Webster, asking for his pen or “a carefully-selected one like it” [MTBus 233].

Sam also wrote a note to James B. Pond in Cable’s behalf, following up on his telegram of Feb. 2:

“He is in no danger, but I do not believe he will be out of bed for several weeks yet. I am sure he will not stand on a platform again this season” [MTP].

Sam went to the Asylum Hill Congregational Church:

“I attended divine service…to leg for Cable; & carried the copyright matter along in my mind, so as to have something to keep my spiritual bowels open in the event of a constipated discourse. By chance, Mr. Twichell’s text was the simple & beautiful words with which the Sermon on the Mount begins: ‘Gentlemen, business is business’ ” [Feb. 4 letter to Laurence Hutton, MTP].

Sam claimed Joe’s sermon was his inspiration—that what was needed in Washington was a “permanent committee of one or two faithful hard workers” who would lobby until they had the votes for a forceful copyright law.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy with more of their goings on. Karl was now cutting marble [MTP].

February 4 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton about a campaign for a new copyright law he’d discussed with Warner on Feb. 2 and thought about since (see Feb. 3 entry). At the end of the letter, which was a plan to pass the Dorsheimer bill, Sam listed those he felt would contribute to his plan, including: John Hay at $100 a month, Clarence King, the Longfellow heirs, Doctor Holland’s heirs and President Garfield’s [MTP]. Note: Congressman Dorsheimer brought an international copyright bill in the House that failed to get a hearing. A similar bill, the Hawley bill was introduced in the Senate but also fell to the same fate. Neither bill made provision for printing foreign copyright books in the U.S. Paper-makers, type-founders, compositors, printers, binders, and a few publishers lobbied quietly against the bills.

Sam telegraphed James B. Pond that Cable was “very much better” [MTP].

Sam gave a reading of “Southern Literature” at the Hartford Monday Evening Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 656]. This was his eighth presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, more about the Sellers-Raymond-Mallory brothers developments. He’d allowed Mallory to take the play to New York and get a final answer of its sale by Feb. 6 [MTHL 2: 467].

William Preston Harrison, age 14, wrote from Chicago to Clemens.

Dr. Sir, / I had just finished one of your stories and was thinking about it as I was walking down the street the other day.

      All at once I was disturbed from my reverie by hearing a man say “that you deliberately murdered your grandmother in cold blood.” This I could not believe and though I am only a boy I knocked the man who thus accused you, down. Was I not right?

      Please answer & tell me. / Yours respectfully / W.P. Harrison [MTP].


Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Too thin,” which reveals he doubted the veracity of this letter. Sometimes autograph and letter seekers pretended to be children in order to secure a valuable keepsake. William was the son of Chicago mayor Carter Harrison Sr. (1825-1893) who was later assassinated. Chicago hasn’t changed much. William got out of Chicago in 1918 and became an art patron and museum art director.

**James R. Osgood Wrote to Sam:

      I have received your telegram as follows: “Charley is equipped with full authority and also with the amplest possible instructions.” I take this to be an answer to my letter of Feb 2d, and I shall accordingly write to Webster covering a copy of the telegram and advise him that we shall await his further communications.

      Is it proper to say that I did not gather from Mr Webster in our interview on Saturday that he was armed with the authority and instructions which you mention. If I had, I should have not have troubled you with that letter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “I did not answer this bit of stupidity”

February 5 TuesdayLivy telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond: “Mr Cable is improving and feels much better today” [MTP].

Livy also wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable about her husband’s improvement [MTP]. Note: Since Livy took up the daily task of telegraphing Pond and writing Louise Cable on this day, it’s probable that Sam’s quick trip to New York was also this day. Sam was back in Hartford on Feb. 6 to telegraph Pond.

Sam went to New York City and saw Nat Goodwin (1857-1919) in a play [MTBus 234]. (See Feb. 8 entry). Note: The Brooklyn Eagle advertised Goodwin in “Those Bells” this evening at Colonel Sinn’s Park Theater [Feb. 5, p 3 “Amusements To-Night”].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: a talk with Marshall Mallory and Howells; Osgood’s letter [MTP].

February 6 Wednesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond:

“Medicines are about discarded food has taken their place further telegraphing not worth while” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Milicent W. Shinn (See Oct. 27, 1882 entry):

Private. Ah, if I could only be there! I would delight in revealing the dark history of Bret Harte’s treatment of me when I contributed & he was editor [Overland]. But I couldn’t do it in a letter, you know. It would be out of place; & besides, it would look as if I held the present Overland responsible for the crimes of the one which is departed & gone.

Livy again wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: a pen sent; agreement made with Prang & Co.; talks with Marshall Mallory about a new play [MTP].

Marie Josephine Williams wrote to Sam asking for help publishing her poems [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Poetess who wants an editor (euphemism for introducer to the public)”

February 7 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss:

“By the middle of next lecture season Mr. Cable’s name will be a household word in this country. He has in his hands a couple of literary bonanzas which I think ought to be published in no way but by subscription…”

Sam urged Bliss to talk to Cable, even though the literary bonanzas were not “completely ready for the press” [MTP].

February 8 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to contact Jimmy Lewis and then Nat Goodwin about producing the new Sellers play [MTHL 2: 469n2]. Sam had reached the end of his patience with Marshall Mallory.

The thing I had in my mind, when I went to see Nat Goodwin play, was, to offer him the play at one-third of the profits, & we keep the two-thirds. You perceive that the ingenious [Marshall] Mallory has been sent the same idea from on high—for what sufficient service, I would like to know? For risking the amount of capital necessary to start the piece on the boards? I don’t need his help there—neither do I need any of his peculiar book-keeping.

Hang Mallory. Drop him [MTBus 234].

February 9 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells and marked the latter “Private & Confidential.” Howells wrote on Feb. 4 that he’d shown the Sellers play to Marshall Mallory before receiving Sam’s advice to make him wait. Though Sam easily dismissed Mallory’s offer of thirds of the profits to Mallory, the actor, and the writers, Sam’s focus was elsewhere—his relationship with Osgood. Sam was increasingly dissatisfied with Osgood’s efforts to sell LM.

      If you still have the Library of Humor in your possession, keep it there, until I tell you otherwise. I will explain when I see you.

      Osgood & I have not quarreled, but I think we are pretty completely dissatisfied with each other; & if we are destined to fall out, I will not deliver that book into his hands until the clause in the contract which requires me to pay two-thirds of all losses shall be stricken out. I think that if he were given the copyright on the Bible, his gang are stupid enough to publish it in such a way as to lose money on it [MTHL 2: 468].

Sam also sent $8,000 check to Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers, note not extant but referred to in H&F’s Feb. 11 acknowledgment.

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: talk with Jimmy Lewis, actor under Augustin Daly; PS “I will see Goodwin at once” [MTP].

February 10 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, again about Marshall Mallory. Sam seems to have cooled off some from the angry tone of his Feb. 8 letter to Webster.

You may drop a note to Mr. Mallory & say I don’t think the Sellers play would be sufficiently profitable to any of us with the gains divided into thirds. And say to him, likewise I am now writing a new play by myself (while Howells & I are kept asunder by Cable’s illness,) & that if I finish it to my liking maybe we can strike up some terms for it which will be mutually satisfactory. It is a 4-act play, & two acts are nearly done. I think I can finish it in a couple of weeks, but of course I can’t tell for sure. I’m kind of boiling with it, & so it gets on paper pretty fast [MTBus 234].

Samuel Webster, Charles Webster’s son, in Mark Twain Business Man, succinctly expresses the difficulties Sam had placed his father in about stage plays:

“I don’t quite know how the play business was run in those days, and I don’t believe Uncle Sam knew either. He seems to want to begin with the actors before he has a producer, and he has an idea that the producer is going to offer a good price for a play he’s never seen, and he’s not going to let him read it until he gets his terms, and then if he wants to make anything out of it Uncle Sam will tell him where he gets off” [MTBus 235].

George W. Cable had improved, and wrote his wife:

      I have seen some friends today who dropped in from church, telling what a fine sermon Mr. Twichell had just preached. First, Mrs. Chas Dudley Warner & then Mr. George Warner. Mrs. Clemens, too, came into my room & Dr. Davis, my physician…

      After my dinner I returned to the library & had a long chat with Mark Twain. Now he has gone out with the children for a walk, Mrs. Clemens is upstairs, my nurse lies fast asleep on the lounge just beside me, & all is still. I look out upon the snowy prospect & think of home.

      Clemens has finished the play he was writing when I fell ill and has commenced a new work. He is in splendid working trim. I seem to have made great way in the hearts of these dear good people. Clemens, specially, seems to warm to me more & more [Turner, MT & GWC 30]. Note: The plays Sam was working on during this period were Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, and on dramatizations of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and P&P.

Joe Goodman wrote thanking Sam; the “Carson Fossil-Footprints” article arrived in California on Feb. 6. Joe loved the piece:

God bless you for the article!…You evidently do not know how good it is. I never saw anything from your pen that had more broad-gauge fun in it—and with never an intermission from beginning to end. McEwan and Flynn—who make some pretensions to humor—read it separately, and both laughed till they became hysterical.

Joe told Sam of two changes (he called “liberties”) he was making to the MS—placing Sam’s name at the head of it, and spelling out Daggett’s name instead of using initials:

“Daggett has become a public character, and likes to see his name in print in any connection that will give it currency. …I trust you do not grudge him assistance.”

Joe had followed Sam’s career from afar and was prescient about the disposition of HF:

I see by the papers that you are going to write a sequel to “Tom Sawyer” at last. I’ve often wondered why you didn’t do it—it was such a good subject, and so ready to hand. You’re at your best in recalling to your readers recollections of their boyhood, and you left Tom and Huck just at the most interesting period of their lives. I suppose you will let Huck drift West, augment himself, and become a Sagebrush Statesman or hero [MTP].

February 11 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam. He’d sent the “Library of Humor” to Osgood for his evaluation. Howells would be happy to complete his work on the volume and “have it off” his hands. He reported that Mallory had offered only a “widow’s third” of the take from the Sellers as Scientist play, so he felt they should wait for Raymond, “till he has worn out his present success.” He also told of a dream he had which he’d “laid the foundations in a potato salad full of onion” [MTHL 2: 469].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam about their baby, “Olive” (Olivia) being sick all week; more about his work [MTP].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote they’d rec’d Sam’s of Feb. 9 with $8,000 check [MTP].

February 12 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable was well enough for Sam to discharge the private nurse he’d ordered for him [MTHL 2: 471]. Sam telegraphed James B. Pond: …nothing but the impossible can prevent his being ready for the platform four or five days hence” [MTP].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton on the copyright legislation strategy. Evidently, Hutton had made a stronger case for a different approach, but still one that would require contributors. “You see what Geo. Lathrop says. All right, then, I put up $100 with you & withdraw my proposed plan” [MTP].

February 13 Wednesday Sam and Cable breakfasted together and spent four hours talking in Sam’s library. It was the first idle day in four weeks, in which time Sam wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer play and made progress on a dramatization of P&P, neither of which he was able to sell [MTHL 2: 471].

Cable wrote to his wife that Sam was “ferocious & funny” when talking of publishers, and that he played the piano “& sang a German song—one that Longfellow has translated—‘O, hemlock tree, O hemlock tree, How faithful are thy branches.’” Cable sang a tenor part “not trying to use the words.”

      Then back to our talk and out to the library where Mark proposed a little literary scheme for him & 1 or 3 or 4 others; & when Mrs. Clemens came in at 1 P.M we were still talking…

      Mrs. Clemens is reading aloud to Mark & the children. Howard Pyle’s beautiful new version of Robin Hood [1883]. Mark enjoys it hugely; they have come to the death of Robin & will soon be at the end [Turner, MT & GWC 31-2]. Note: the “little literary scheme” was a book to be written jointly.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. He discussed Mallory brothers and Nat Goodwin and noted “Concerning a play, it seems to take longer to hear from New York than from California.” As for Osgood, there was still the matter of the ”Library of Humor,” which Howells answered on Feb. 11 that he’d given to Osgood by Sam’s direction. No matter, Sam responded, Howells had done the work for him, not Osgood.

      You have not delivered it to him for PUBLICATION—nobody can do that but me.

      But if the work is really FINISHED, don’t take a bit of trouble about it; leave it where it is. It is its own & my protection: it is not usable, for I have not delivered it to him.

      But this is all splenetic talk & nonsense, anyway. I have made a contract with him, & will fulfill it or go to hell [470-1].

Sam also wrote to Edgar W. Howe, editor and publisher, author, philosopher and noted “Sage of Potato Hill,” (1853-1937). In 1877, Howe established the Atchison (Kansas) Daily Globe. For nearly half a century, the paper was one of the most widely quoted publications in the country. Sam and Cable had read Howe’s first novel, The Story of a Country Town (1882). Sam praised the book, offered constructive criticism, and expressed a wish that Howe would visit [MTP].

February 14 ThursdayWilliam L. Hughes for A. Hennuyer wrote from Paris that Hennuyer was about to print his translation of TS; he wanted Sam’s “sanction” for TS & also HF; forwarded a copy of Helen’s Babies, a humorous novel by John Habberton (1876) which he said was in the style that the TS would be published [MTP].

February, latter half – Sam made two short trips to New York City during the last half of Feb. He wrote in his notebook to see “Dr. Knapp” and Augustin Daly [MTNJ 3: 46n105]. Sam’s letter of Feb. 18 to Howells states that he “just got home from New York, quite handsomely fagged out” [MTHL 2: 475]. This refers to the trip he made with Cable on Feb. 15 to 18 that follows.

February 15 FridayGeorge W. Cable and Sam went to New York City [Turner, MT & GWC 33; MTNJ 3: 47n107].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying he’d received Sam’s two letters about Nat Goodwin, who was being considered for the new Sellers play:

I confess that it would be extremely distasteful to me to have my name connected in any way with Goodwin’s. I was willing to consent if he went about under the wing of a respectable hen like the Madison Square management; but I cannot stand the thought of him “on his own hook.” His name has been connected with low flung burlesques, and his family appear before the public habitually in nothing but stockings; at Montreal I saw him in a play so indecent that I was obliged to leave the theatre with Mrs. Howells [MTHL 2: 472].

February 16 Saturday – Sam and George W. Cable dined at the Union League Club with Clarence C. Buel, assistant editor of Century Magazine. They then took a carriage to see General Grant, who was asleep and did not see them. Sam intended to return to Grant’s on Monday, Feb. 18, about a show for relief of the Ohio River floods. The plan included Cable and Henry Ward Beecher providing the entertainment at the Academy of Music in New York City [Turner, MT & GWC 33-4]. Note: Beecher was unavailable.

Sam’s article, “The Carson Fossil-Footprints” ran in The San Franciscan [Camfield, bibliog.]. See Goodman’s Jan. 22, 1884 entry.

James B. Pond and George W. Cable wrote two separate letters in the same enclosure; Pond related that he met “the young man” (Cable) at the depot and that “he ate a tremendous dinner.” Cable sent blessings in a PS [MTP]. Note: Sam later would object to Cable skimping food on his own dime but gorging on others.

February 17 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Augustin Daly. Would Daly consider producing Sam’s dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? [MTNJ 3: 46n106]. Sam may have left in the evening for New York.

Edgar W. Howe editor of the Atchison (Kansas) Globe wrote long, responding to Sam’s remarks about Howe’s book, The Story of a Country Town [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the New Author”

February 18 Monday – Sam arrived home from a quick trip to New York City, perhaps staying the night of Feb. 17 there [MTHL 2: 475]. He may have returned to talk to General Grant before leaving the city (see Feb. 16 entry).

He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing Howells’ Feb.15 letter. Sam directed Webster how to deal with Nat Goodwin:

      You need not show the play to Goodwin. Simply tell him Howells objects to changing Sellers name; that Howells has thought the thing over & arrived at the conclusion that it could do no real good to change the name, for the character would remain Sellers. Say I disagree with Howells, but I bow to the decision of course, for he may be right; & is entitled to have his objection respected by me, anyway. 

      I have written Howells a letter which will probably make him inextinguishably ashamed of his letter; & of the infantile objection which he makes to Goodwin; & of the preposterous idea that the Mallorys can make a thing or a man respectable where our names couldn’t [MTBus 236].

Sam then wrote to Howells on the matter.

      You will not be able to see the force of your objection, if you will look it straight in the face.

      It amounts to this: If an actor plays the piece (under our) backed by our names alone, his reputation for indecency will soil us, smirch us.—But if he plays it so, additionally backed by the Mallorys names, that will make everything respectable; we suffer no smirch, because the name of the Mallorys is our protection.

      Now the facts are, that you & I are respectable men, & quite well known to be so; whereas, from the Atlantic to the Pacific the Mallorys are just as well known to be thieves & ghouls, cheats & liars [MTHL 2: 473-4].

George W. Cable wrote to Sam, wondering “what has become of Ambulina”—he couldn’t find it anywhere [MTP]. Note: Vic Fischer of the MTP offers: Ambulinia (sometimes called “Ambulina”) is a character in The Enemy Conquered, by Samuel Watson Royston, who Clemens renames “G. Ragsdale McClintock” in his satirical review of the book, “A Cure for the Blues.”

H.B. Vandiver wrote from Weaverville, NC to Sam: “I want you to give me all your works, will you?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “‘Nicodemus Dodge’ Another Southern beggar”

February 19 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton. He was unable to go to Washington to help with the copyright legislation lobby “but Warner is already there, for a few days, staying with Hawley.” Sam recommended Hutton write Howells, who Sam felt was “the man to go for Hay—pre-eminently.” Sam begged being too busy to write Howells [MTP].

Sometime later this day or the next, Sam and Susy Clemens went to Brooklyn with Twichell.

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, backing off somewhat over the issue of using Nat Goodwin in the new Sellers play. Goodwin had wanted to change the name of Sellers in the play; Howells had seen no sense in that but now was amenable. The fates seemed to be against the two playwrights, or, as Howells put it:

“We seem to be in the hands of Providence—and Raymond, who are probably strong enough to beat us. Why not have Webster let Raymond know that when he has failed with his new piece we are open to propositions?” [MTHL 2: 476].

Augustin Daly wrote to Sam, interested in seeing his play [TS] and do it if suitable [MTP].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to Sam [MTP].

February 21 Thursday – From Twichell’s journal:

“Thursday M.T. and his Susy, also the artists Miss [Candace] Wheeler and her daughter Dora, dined at D.S’s [Dean Sage] and passed the night—a very pleasant party indeed” [Yale, copy at MTP].

George W. Cable wrote from Hotel Lafayette, Phila. to Sam that he’d found “Ambulina” [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 18 entry.

February 21 Thursday ca. – On Hotel Brunswick stationery, Clemens wrote: “Dear Mr. Daly—Introducing Mr. Webster. / Mark Twain” [MTP].

February 22 Friday – Sam and party moved from Brooklyn to New York. From Twichell’s journal:

“Friday, after a charming morning in Brooklyn (M.T. sang Negro ‘spirituals’ at the piano, deliciously) we went to N.Y. and put up at the Gilsey House” [Yale, copy at MTP].

February 23 SaturdayKingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co. wrote to Sam that he’d been forced to postpone his visit; he’d rec’d Sam’s “kind note” of Jan. 15; they’d agented their flour in Hartford and sold a car load of it; it was 18 below zero there [MTP]. Note: Sam’s of Jan. 15 not extant.

February 24 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy; their baby Olive was better after someone volunteered to pay for a nurse and going out of the city to find good air; he gave a sheet of expenses [MTP].

February 25 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Josiah H. Gilbert, permitting use of up to 600 words from his “Babies” speech [MTP]. Note: Gilbert may have been the editor of Three Thousand Selected Quotations from Brilliant Writers (1904).

February 26 TuesdayHowells responded to Sam’s letter of Feb. 18 that he was “down in the dust at the notion” that he’d made Sam “take a journey to New York and back for nothing….” Sam answered:

“Ah, what the reader puts into a letter, that is what said reader finds in it! There couldn’t have been any irascibility in my letter, for the reason that there wasn’t any in me” [MTHL 2: 476].

Sam reported on dramatic royalties he’d found, and said that Mallory had the new Sellers play but Sam had “no faith in his being able to find the right man for it.” He asked if Howells had blocked out the Sandwich Island play (about Ragsdale) [476].

Sam wrote his regrets to John McK. McCarthy of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, a group founded in Philadelphia in 1771 for relief of Irish emigrants. He would be unable to join them for the Mar. 17 celebration [MTP]. Note: Sam often disparaged the Irish.

On or just after this day, Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond on a Feb. 26 note from Charles Fairchild “Many thanks for the information about the Bad-Boy play—& love to you & Cable [MTP]. Fairchild’s note was about the whereabouts of Cable.

February 27 WednesdayAugustin Daly turned down Sam’s dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Daly wrote “I fear that Tom Sawyer would not make a success at my theatre.” He disagreed with Sam that grown ups could play the part of children [MTP]. Webster claims that Sam “seems to have dropped playwrighting at this point” [236-7].

William Dean Howells stopped off briefly for a visit with Sam in Hartford on the way to meet his father in New York. Howells left New York and returned home to Boston on Mar. 1. In New York Howells interviewed Mallory, probably with Webster [MTHL 2: 477, n1-2].

In Hartford, as Sam was finishing a letter to Edward House, Howells arrived. Sam thanked House for a photo of Koto, and related Cable’s sickness and that he’d just gone away.

“Why, man, he made 280 times more fuss over his little pains than you did over your big ones. Lord, if I dared to laugh as I want to laugh—but Mrs. Clemens would kill me” [MTP].

Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Winstead, Conn. advising she’d sent a book of “dialect” stories to Cable at the Clemens home; seeing how he was no longer there would Sam hold the book until she came for it? [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: written to Osgood asking for statement on LM; mixing of ad costs, etc. which were not to be included in statement as Osgood & Co. was to pay for all those [MTP].

February 28 Thursday – Sam wrote to Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, enclosing $1 fee and asking that the synopsis of his play for “The Prince & Pauper, a romance in 4 Acts” be copyrighted [MTP].

February 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster with ideas to discount subscription sales if a buyer bought two or more different books [MTBus 239-40]. He’d been writing “original matter” for L. Prang & Co, a big calendar and Christmas card publisher that used color to spur sales. Sam’s arrangement was to receive ten cents for each dollar calendar sold. Simple, yet Sam saw a loophole that might yield him more:

      If Prang is going to have but one price for the calendar, & that price a dollar, it is all right—10 cents to me is correct. But don’t you think there ought to be a clause saying that if he should conclude to charge any higher price for any or all of them, my royalty in that case shall be 10 per cent?

      It isn’t the amount of extra money involved that is bothering me particularly—it is the dread of a loose, unclear contract. Carefully look into the thing & get it just right [MTBus 240].

Charles Webster sent telegram: “Will you take one third profits from Malory, or on weekly basis what is your limit” [MTP].

Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, sent a statement of Sam’s balance this date of $10,124.58, with a strip showing each day’s balance in Feb. [MTP].

Worden & Co. Sent a statement showing $3,997.08 balance [MTP].


March Sam inscribed a copy of Edgar Watson Howe’s The Story of a Country Town (1883): S.L. Clemens, Hartford, March 1884, Sent by the Author [Gribben 326].


March 1 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam: bulk of letter is about play negotiations with Marshall Mallory, etc. “Your idea about the three books is certainly good. I will write in a day or two about that” [MTP].

March 2 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote after returning home from New York the day before. He recommended waiting for John T. Raymond, though how long he didn’t know. Should the Mallorys be able to secure Nat Goodwin at $350 or $400 a week, Howells felt they’d be “far better in the long run, even money wise, than if we let the play take its chances with an actor and a temporary combination” [MTHL 2: 477].

March 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto, enclosing the Feb. 14 from William L. Hughes, translator.

“Here’s another of those fellows. I’ve told him you have full authority and will answer him. Please do. I’m keeping Huck Finn back till next fall. I found I couldn’t publish it in the spring, there wasn’t time enough left for a long enough canvass” [MTP].

From Twichell’s journal:

“Took the five oldest children, with a dozen or so of their friends, on a sleigh ride, in the evening to Farmington” [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: Unless he was out of town or sick, Sam wouldn’t miss a sleigh ride with Joe and kids right outside his door. Sam was home.

Henry Irving wrote from Wash. DC, a near illegible note about it being a “burning shame” to have visited Hartford and not to have seen Clemens [MTP].

March 3 or 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote “Mch 3 or 4/84” from Hartford to Charles Webster.

I’ve made my head sore over these dramatic calculations this morning, with the final assistance of the manager of the Opera House, & now I have to give it up. It’s too complicated for me, so let Mallory do the proposing, & we will try to answer….call the lowest figure [net] per week $350. And I think that whenever you & Mallory think you have nearly reached an understanding, you’d better run up here & explain it to me. It will save a world of time [MTBus 241].

March 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, complaining of Webster “writing & telegraphing conundrums…which remain unguessed.” Webster had send a play proposal for a play with Marshall Mallory based on a gross percentage of the take. He also wrote of another sick child.

Susie’s turn. She has had 4 of the most hellfiredest days & nights, now, with the mumps—has suffered 13 times more than Cable did (whose pains lasted but 2 days), & yet has not made as much fuss in the 4 days as he used to make in 15 minutes; though she has shed whole barrels of noiseless tears. She staid in our room last night. None of us slept. I think she & her mother spent the night praying. But I didn’t. Yrs Ever [MTHL 2: 478].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, skeptical that 15% of the gross take on the new Sellers play would be roughly equivalent to a third of the profits. Webster had favored a percentage on the gross, especially after Sam had dictated no deal where the Mallorys could “boss the expenses & make them what they please” [MTBus 240]. “What about the Prince & Tom Sawyer?” Sam asked. He was thinking of sending those plays to England and asked for copies of them [MTBus 241].

Sam also wrote to the Gerhardts, who had written of a sick baby. Sam sympathized. He also wrote “We like your plans, & think they are wise & good.” After discussing letters of credit and uncertainties about which letters had reached them, Sam confided that:

“Susie is racked all to pieces with the mumps—left as a legacy by Mr. Cable; Clara & Jean are now through with the infamous disease” [MTP].

March 6 Thursday – Something had changed Sam’s mind on the calendar work for L. Prang & Co.—perhaps Sam’s questioning of the agreement had made Prang reevaluate the deal and offer Sam a way out; or he added to the work needed for the same price. Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.

“This is the best luck I’ve had in 7 years. Get the Prang contract canceled, right away—don’t let him change his mind. You can’t imagine what a horrible 3-months’ job it would have been. I wouldn’t sign the Prang contract again, though it offered me ninety per cent” [MTBus 242].

Sam also reminded Webster to get the rest of the money that Osgood owed. “Don’t let him bust on us,” Sam wrote [242].

George H. Warner wrote from New York, evidently answering Sam’s request about viewing some quilts. Warner described three, and wrote, “I will wait for your telegram tomorrow before going to the auction.” He confessed quilts were out of his line, and wondered what the value of Japanese quilts were [MTP].

March 7 Friday – Sam’s notebook: “Friday in the night, March 7, the telephone went out of service” [MTNJ 3: 48].

An article ran on page 7 in the Brooklyn Eagle, headlined Duncan’s continuing libel suit:


He Disclaims the Article Libeling Captain Duncan

The deposition of Mark Twain was read. He deposed that the article represented as being an interview with him did not even remotely approach correctness. Not one single line as printed was uttered by him

In cross examination Mr. Clemens admits that he was informed that Captain Duncan had lodged information against him for criminal trial. He thought Duncan had full authority on the Quaker City, but did not exercise it. [See the rest of the article for Sam’s interesting cross-examination.]

Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton, inviting him to come and spend the night: “Mr. Irving will lunch at our house Thursday March 13 at 2 p.m. Warner & 3 others & 2 or 3 ladies will be present” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam; checks enclosed for interest on Livy’s western loans; mention of the Duncan suit [MTP].

March 8 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: he retrieved the TS play from Daly; hoped P&P would make a splendid play; looking over Osgood’s statement; referred to Whitford; Prang’s letter enclosed. “In regard to canvassing Huck & Tom both at once would you advise having the covers alike?” [MTP].

March 12 WednesdayFrank H. Fenno wrote from Altay, NY to ask Clemens for a piece for “Fenno’s Favorites” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Fenno’s book”

March 13 Thursday – The gathering with Henry Irving, the British actor, and the Warners and others at the Clemens home took place at 2 P.M. It is not known if Laurence Hutton attended, and Twichell’s journal does not mention him. (See Mar. 7 entry.)

“H[armony] & I dined at M.T.s (at 2 pm) and met there the English actor Mr. Henry Irving. The company sat long at table and there was most pleasant talk. Mr Irving made himself most agreeable though his manner was very quiet and he had no great facility in conversation…I was sorry not to be able to see him on the stage” [Yale, copy at MTP].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, but made no mention of the gathering.

I have been dead to all interests of this life for 5 days with an unspeakable cold in the head; so I don’t know what’s been going on. I haven’t seen any mention of the Prince & Pauper, but I take said mention to mean that Webster & Mallory have come to a conclusion of some sort or other concerning Col. Sellers, for the reason that Webster was not to let Mallory see the P&P or talk any business about it until the Sellers matter should be disposed of. Webster wanted to come up & report a day or two ago, but I telegraphed him to come tomorrow [MTP].

Andrew W. Hendman wrote from Big Island, Nova Scotia, sending some papers & asking if they were worth anything; was one really satirical, he asked [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Cheek”

March 14 FridayCharles Webster arrived in Hartford and conferred on the agreement reached with Marshall Mallory [Mar. 13 & 15 to Howells].

March 15 Saturday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Howells about the new Sellers play. Webster had negotiated with Marshall Mallory on the matter and brought the results to Sam:


March 16 SundayWorden & Co. wrote to Clemens a statement of stock purchase [MTP].

William M. Laffan for The New York Sun wrote to introduce Mr. Garrett Serviss, an astronomer, who was to lecture in Hartford next Thursday [MTP].

March 18 TuesdayJames R. Osgood wrote & replied to Sam’s request for $5,000; he’d ordered a detailed accounting to Webster [MTP].

Chatto & Windus wrote from London that they knew William L. Hughes (… “a very decent sort of person and an old correspondent of ours”) and had written him that “authors sanction is worth something and should be paid for.” They suggested if he paid 30p (pounds?) for the French translation of HF then Clemens would not press for payment of TS translation. They were anxious to get some sheets of HF to canvass with [MTP].

March 19 WednesdaySusy Clemens’ twelfth birthday. Sam gave her a copy of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and inscribed it: “Susie Clemens / from her father / March 19 ’84” [Gribben 693].

Karl Gerhardt wrote a postcard: “We have 12 days more in which to finish our group, so I will write at the end of that time. Your last letter rcd yesterday, all love to you all” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Osgood’s last statement “at last intelligible”; things there don’t belong; clarified with Osgood that advertising was to be paid by Osgood; other details about Osgood and paying Sam the balance owed; Set of William Cullen Bryant and Sydney Howard Gay’s A Popular History of the United States shipped to Sam [MTP].

March 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, acknowledging receipt of $5,000. Sam matched the amount and “paid off that old endorsement”—probably settling accounts on LM, which Sam had agreed to produce at his cost, with a royalty going to Osgood. He encouraged a prize for subscription sellers who reached 400 sales of LM. Sam was also afflicted:

“Publicly, I’m confined to the house with rheumatism; but under the holy seal of secrecy I reveal to you that it is gout. I suppose this comes of high living when I was a boy—corn-dodgers and catfish. / Yrs Truly SLC” [MTLTP 167].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking him to send him an unbound copy of Bayard Taylor’s translation of Göthe’s Faust. Sam wanted to divide it into 100-page sections to read in bed [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote a short note to Sam, asking whether he wanted him to see John T. Raymond again. Sam had had a cold and Howells assumed that it had worsened, which is why he hadn’t answered his last letter [MTHL 2: 480].

March 21 FridayJames R. Osgood wrote (twice) to Clemens: first: sorry for Sam’s affliction, whether gout or rheumatism; “Webster is going through that prize question when he comes. We will send you acceptances when we arrive at the balance.” Second note: Chatto & Windus had written asking progress on HF; “Shall I reply to this, and if so, how?” [MTP]. 

H.B. Vandiver (“Nick Dodge”) wrote from Weaverville, NC to again pester Clemens to send him all of his books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “fool”

March 22 Saturday – Sam purchased a 4-volume set of William Cullen Bryant and Sydney Howard Gay’s A Popular History of the United States (1876-81) [Gribben 108].

Nicholas Wolff wrote from NYC for autograph and brief sketch of Sam’s life [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Good lord! Impudent auto hunter”

March 23 SundayEdgar W. Howe wrote to ask Sam for the addresses of “a dozen or more of the principal book writers” whom Sam esteemed, including Cable, Eggleston, Howells, etc.” [MTP].

March 24 MondayT.F. Plunkett wrote to Clemens: “You didn’t invite me to your Irving lunch, but I forgive you and would like you to meet Mr & Mrs Florence here 11 pm Thursday, charm & oysters” [MTP].

March 25 TuesdayKate D. Barstow wrote from Wash. DC, what is now a very faded letter. She mentions having sent him invitations to Howard College of Medicine’s graduation exercises but received no congrats. Thanked him for his financial support [MTP].

March 26 WednesdayJames R. Osgood wrote to Clemens.

      Mr. Webster has shown us my letter of Apl. 5, 1882 proposing the terms of 71/2% for the first 50,000 copies, and agreeing to exempt you from the working expenses of the book….We have therefore agreed with Mr. Webster that we will assume these charges.

      The two other items alluded to in his letter, viz. Anthony’s time, and the losses by bad debts are properly chargeable to you both equitably and by understanding. …

      As to the losses, you must remember that I told you we could not be responsible for any losses on a 5% commission, to which you acceded. I said we would administer the book to the best of our ability as against loss, and I think that the amount is pretty small considering the magnitude of the transaction [MTP].

March 27 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster objecting to costs charged by someone named Anthony for looking over HF and suggesting illustrations, something he felt the artist should do. He directed Webster to find out how many hours and the rate per hour charged and for what work. Sam added:

“It isn’t worth while for Osgood to write me on isolated details—he can lay all his objections before me at one & the same time, through you when you come back here” [MTBus 246]. Note: Disagreements over costs incurred on the production and sale of LM led Sam to disengage from Osgood and form Webster & Co. as his own publisher. He would later advise the Elmira Herald:

“I am Webster & Co., myself, substantially” [MTLTP 169]. Note: See July 6 entry.

March 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edgar W. Howe, who had evidently written for addresses:

“Care of the Century, Union Square, New York” will fetch half of them; “Care of the Atlantic, 4 Park street Boston,” will fetch the other half. [He also added individual addresses for Aldrich, Cable, Uncle Remus (Harris), Col. George E. Waring and Col. T.W. Higginson of Newport, R.I, John Hay, Cleveland, Ohio, Willie Winter, N.Y. Tribune and Edmund C. Stedman, care of the Century] [MTP].

Henri Gauthier-Villars  (1859-1931) wrote to convey an episode about late night laughter coming from the room next to his, in the small town of Darmstadt. Upon investigating he discovered his “old friend Will” was reading a book (not specified) signed by Mark Twain.

Since that evening, Sir, I have learned to know you like Willy, I have devoured the handkerchiefs; like Willy I have rolled on my bed, but I have wanted to do more than him, and I tried to explain in some pages that I published why your humor has pleased the French so much, just like your own countrymen, “laughter is the nature of man” [MTP].

Note: Henri is now best known as the first husband to Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), successful French novelist (notably Gigi). Henri published Mark Twain this year; Clemens was aware of the book (see Apr. 22 to Aldrich). Ironically, Henri published over 50 novels under the pseudonym “Willy.” In fact, his mention of “Willy” in this letter may have been a thinly veiled reference to himself and an attempt to publicize his book on Twain. No reply to Henri is extant.

J. Hyatt Smith wrote a fan letter from Brooklyn to Clemens with request for autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “P.S. Good / J. Hyatt Smith”

William Dean Howells wrote to Sam: “Here is the grand result of my negotiation, I always knew that business was my forte. / I simply answered that the terms did not differ from those proposed to Mr. Webster last autumn, and it was useless to submit them to you. / Of course I gave Raymond no points [? Prints] of the play. / Yours ever… [Vassar copy at MTP].

March 29 Saturday – Sam forwarded Howells note to Charles Webster, about failure to get John T. Raymond for the new Sellers play. Howells suggested changing Sellers name. Sam replied he would make the changes and wanted Webster to answer Howells.

“I am willing to do anything, I care not WHAT it is. Tell him our talk about Raymond’s proposal” [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote a rather silly letter to “implore you for your autograph” [MTP].

Bloodgood H. Cutter wrote from Little Neck, Long Island, enclosing a pink printed poem about the Bartholdi Statue (base for the Statue of Liberty). He asked for an autograph & recalled the Quaker City voyage [MTP].

Richard Smith Elliot wrote from St. Louis to Clemens, enclosing a printed circular with letters from several men including Gen. Sherman. He was too poor to send Sam his book, Notes Taken in Sixty Years but hoped Sam would buy it and let him know what he thought [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Nonsense”

Lucius Seth Huntington wrote from NYC to Clemens, recalling “one of the most distinguished acts of my life was presiding at the dinner given you in Montreal in 1881.” He asked if he might use photos given of the Clemens girls in a book he was writing of a “lost child” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answer Huntington / Yes”

George P. Lathrop wrote asking for autograph[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Joke from Lathrop”; part of the April Fool’s joke instigated by Cable.

Osgood & Co. wrote to Clemens, letter accompanying check for $2,500 [MTP].

March 30 SundayDaniel C. French wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for autograph

Dr. John S. Billings wrote from Wash DC to ask for auto & photo Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dr. Billings .Apl fool”

Francis D. Millet wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for auto

Gerald Massey wrote from Springfield, Mass. to thank him for his contribution to his “little fund.” He was to lecture there on Wednesday then head to S.F. [MTP].

Effie B. Waring wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for auto; a full set of his books with his name in each.

Dean Sage wrote asking for autograph for a young lady [MTP].

George E. Waring wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for autograph

March 31 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster, seeking the man who would be hired as the illustrator for Huckleberry Finn, Edward Windsor Kemble (1861-1933). Sam had seen Kemble’s work in Life magazine, at the time an illustrated comic weekly. He especially liked Kemble’s cartoon, “Some Uses for Electricity” [Oxford MT edition of HF, 1996, after-notes by Beverly David & Ray Sapirstein].

“Is that artist’s name Kemble?—I can not recall that man’s name. Is that it?…That is the man I want to try….Osgood has sent me $2500” [MTBus 246].

These subscribed to George W. Cable’s “April Fools” joke (see Apr. 1 entry), writing to Clemens: Lillian W. Aldrich; Thomas Bailey Aldrich; William S. Andrews; Charles Y. Beach; Moses S. Beach; Henry Ward Beecher; William Constantine Beecher; Hjalmar Boyesen; Noah Brooks; Clarence C. Buel; Henry C. Bunner; William Carey; Robert J. Collier; Charles C. Duncan; Austin C. Dunham; Frank J. Eakins; George Cary Eggleston; Charles S. Fairchild; Mary Fiske; Charles Frohman (1860-1915); Daniel Frohman; R.S. Gifford; Jeannette L. Gilder; John E. Gowers; Julian Hawthorne; John M. Hay; Andrew Hendman; Joseph Howard; Joseph Hutton; Laurence Hutton; Henry Irving; Robert U. Johnson; Clara L. Kellogg; Jane E. Kellogg; Horatio C. King; John C. Kinney; Thomas Wallace Knox; Charles M. Leoser; D.G. MacNeill; Brander Matthews; Elizabeth M. Millet; Henry L. Pierce; T.F. Plunkett; James B. Pond; Nella B. Pond; Ozias W. Pond; Quixote de la Mancha; Rossiter Worthington Raymond; H. Robinson; Napoleon Sarony; Horace E. Scudder; Wesley Sisson; Francis Hopkinson Smith; Edmund C. Stedman; Ellen Terry; Charles Watrous; Charles G. Whiting; Della Young [MTP]. Note: many of these letters were outrageous requests for autographs, letters, pieces of writing, appearances, and the like. They are not included here due to space restrictions.

Statement from Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, shows Sam’s balance $10,176.89; interest pd this date $52.31; balance Mar. 1 $10,124.58 [MTP].

April – On an unknown date in April, Sam telegraphed Howells that Webster had gone to Providence to make John T. Raymond another offer to take the new Sellers play [MTHL 2: 482]. The communications between Sam, Howells, Webster, and Raymond took place over several months. More certain success rested with Raymond, who’d been successful as Sellers in the past. It was considered by Howells to change the Sellers name and to secure another actor.

April ca. – Sam wrote on a Monday to Charles Webster about his planned stage play of TS.

      I want Louis Aldrich to play Tom Sawyer’s part, & Parsloe to play Huck Finn.

      How does that strike you? I think it would be a strong team—& have all the boys & girls played by grown people [MTBus 232].

April 1 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable, in a stunt “to pay off his debt of gratitude for his recent entertainment in the Clemens’s home,” [MTB 768-70] arranged for 150 friends of Sam’s to write him on April Fool’s Day requesting his autograph. The MTP has a copy of the formal flyer Cable had printed, sent to “150 persons of the literary and journalistic guild, in Boston, Hartford, Springfield, New York, Brooklyn, Washington and other cities.” Some of those who responded requested quite specific needs for poetry, original sentiment, chapters copied from his books, etc. Powers observes:

“Clemens, notoriously thin-skinned about jokes at his expense, elected to be amused, and the friendship [with Cable] solidified” [MT, A Life 485]. (See Mar. 31 and below for list.)

Twichell wrote about the joke:

“This amiable ‘April Fool’ proved very successful. A large number of letters and some telegrams came from the literary folk and many of them were of charming wit. M.T. was pleased with the joke, and well he might be, for it was a great compliment” [Yale, Copy at MTP].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto about securing Canadian copyright and sending “early sheets” of Huck Finn. “…we shall have this book in type & printed, many months before we issue it” [MTP].

More of Cable’s “April Fools” joke wrote to Sam: J.W. Beach; Stephen Fiske; Henry P. Gray (telegram); Celeste A. Hendricks; Charles de Kay; Sara T. Kennedy; E.K. Lockwood; Helena Modjesky; G.W. Sheldon for New York Commercial Advertising (telegram); Ellen D. Stedman; Virginia Waring; Charles Dudley Warner [MTP].

April 3 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: enclosed Am. Exchange stock; Hooper, artist for Life and the Graphic, “a very cheap man” so he gave him 2 chapters on trial to illustrate; Edward W. Kemble quoted $1200; offered to bring drawings up Mon or Tues to see who they would hire [MTP].

April 5 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Gerhardts, advising when they return to America, to make some connection with Augustus Saint-Gaudens or John Quincy Adams Ward [MTP].

Sam’s letter to Karl Gerhardt was sold at auction by Sotheby’s on June 19, 2003, and this addition expands the short explanation at the MTP:

A lengthy letter in which Clemens gives the artist advice:

So the long letter which I wrote at the time the new letter of credit went, never reached you, & I must write it over again. It’s hard luck, for you know letter-writing & tooth-ache rank together in my affections. The new letter finishes the stipulated sum, & so I wanted you to so plan that half of it would be left for you to get home on, in case you decided to come home. If I may advise, I would strongly advise that you now write A. St. Gaudens & V.Q.A. Ward, & ask them if they can give you employment in New York. If they can & will, that is a certainty; it is sure bread & butter I have talked with Warner, & the above is what he suggested. He said it was the course which Ward followed when he returned from his European studies: he worked in a New York sculptor’s studio for wages until he became able to set up for himself. Warner says there is a world of work in this country of a modest sort soldier-monuments, portrait busts, &c humble work, maybe, but affording plenty of bread & butter; & that for this reason New York is probably a better field than Paris for a beginner. [Y]ou must not take [this] as anything weightier than a suggestion. You ought, & must, do the thing which shall seem wisest & best to you. Keep us informed of your movements & purposes, & always let us know when we can help you in any way. I am broken in upon by an irritating telephonic message from Meriden which has taken the last rag of patience out of me & raised my temper to feverheat; & so I need not try to finish my letter. Imagine all I would say that is loving & kind & pleasant, & believe that you will still fall short of the affectionate regard in which I hold you. [Sotheby’s Lot 57].

The New York Critic reported the April Fool’s joke of 150 notables writing for Sam’s autograph [Tenney 13].

Henry G. Carleton wrote on Life note paper: “I know you are in need of something soothing and emollient….I send you the accompanying copy of my great humorous work” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: he asked him to write to Howells, whom he suspected thought Sam was offended at him; trouble obtaining Bayard Taylor’s translation of Goethe’s Faust: more on hiring an illustrator—did Sam want him to run up with specimens Tuesday? [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy: more about his work which he hoped to send photos of, and of still being torn about going to Florence to study, which meant he’d have to leave Josie & the baby behind [MTP].

April 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, telling him to “come up & bring the pictures.” He also directed that a cloth P&P and a cloth LM be sent to Mrs. Olmsted’s Southern school or charity [MTP].

Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Sam: “Your failure to reply to my urgent telegraphic request for your autograph I can only account for by my forgetting to enclose a postage stamp.” He pasted in a used stamp from Persia! [MTP].

April 7 MondayCeleste A. Hendricks wrote from Boston, thanking Sam for his of Apr. 3. “I talked with Mr. Marshall about it and he advised me to go and see you and state my case. / As soon as I have read before critics and managers—I hope to write you again” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “This fool again”

Gracie Stearnes wrote from Burlington, Ia. to ask for an autograph on a piece of Sam’s clothing! This for a quilt she was making [MTP]. Note: The letter may have been a spoof April Fool’s sent late, or a ruse, as the hand is quite fine for an 8 year old girl.

April 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.

“It took my breath away, & I haven’t recovered it yet, entirely—I mean the generosity of your proposal to read the proofs of Huck Finn” [MTP].

This offer may have been made in a letter to Webster now lost. Powers claims Howells had used the wrong word, “proofs” when he offered to read the Huck Finn manuscript, not meaning “galley proofs” but a typewritten version of Sam’s copy [MT A Life 483]. Nevertheless, Howells did the work.

Sam also reported that Webster had ironed out a contract with the Lowentraut Co. in Newark for production of 60 dozen pairs of the grape-shears invented by Howells’ father (by year’s end Howells had not sold a dozen pairs). Though burdened by “the dam gout & …too much insulted by it & annoyed by it to write” Sam wrote that he was better, and that he was “loafing—loafing all the time—& enjoying it” [MTHL 2: 482-3&notes].

April 10 Thursday – Sam wrote from New York City to Thomas Bailey Aldrich about being unable to come to Boston until Thursday next, due to a dinner invitation for Wednesday (Apr. 16), but would plan on being at the Aldrich home about 4 PM on that day [MTP]. Sam purchased a copy of Faust. A Tragedy, translated by Bayard Taylor (1879) [Gribben 264].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about reading his Huck Finn proofs:

It is all perfectly true about the generosity, unless I am going to read your proofs from one of the shabby motives which I always find at the bottom of my soul if I examine. But now, it seems as if I were glad of the notion of being of use to you; and I shall have the pleasure of admiring a piece of work I like under the microscope [MTHL 2: 484]. Note: this suggests Howells read a draft of the book previously, perhaps on his short stop at Sam’s on Feb. 27.

Hubbard & Farmer per Babcock wrote to advise they’d purchased 200 shares of stock totaling $17,225 [MTP].

April 12 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, in a rather scolding tone:

“The book is to be issued when a big edition has been sold—& not before…Now write it up somewhere, & keep it in mind; & let us consider that question settled, and done with…Write it up, & don’t forget it any more” [MTBus 248].

Sam sent the Huck Finn manuscript and wrote, “Let Kemble rush—time is already growing short.” He warned that Osgood had:

“fooled away no end of time on his canvassing book, & then got out one that was eminently calculated to destroy the sale (for LM)” [248]. Note: Canvassing books were pre-publication mock-ups of the finished book, with some illustrations and excerpts, used by subscription salesmen.

April 14 Monday – Sam gave a reading of an unfinished paper to be completed by each member at the Hartford Monday Evening Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 656].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about issuing HF, repeating his mantra that “we don’t issue till we have made a big sale,” 40,000 copies sold before publication. Canvass early, “drive it with all your might” and aim for Dec. 10 or 15 for the Christmas market [MTLTP 173]. Note: Sam still planned on publishing “1002d Arabian Night,” but anonymously, and in a cheap, “15 or 20 cent form” [174]. Sam’s adamant stance on subscription sales was based on a faulty understanding of Bliss’ practices.

Sam also wrote a short note to George P. Lathrop of the Kinsmen Club (see Mar. 1883 entry):

“Nothing in the world would suit the undersigned better, but alas it may not be, as I am a guest in Boston on said date. With love to the Kinsmen & their illustrious guest, Truly Yours, S.L. Clemens” [MTP].

H.B. Vandiver wrote from Weaverville, NC to Sam having read of Cable’s April fool’s joke. He too wanted an autograph. He admitted to being 18 and “something of a ‘galoot’” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Read this some time or other”—not relating to anything in the letter but perhaps the letter itself.

April 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Henry G. Carleton (unidentified). Evidently Carleton had sent Sam a story for evaluation.

“In my opinion isn’t mainly a ‘humorous work’ at all…it is a fine & stately & beautiful tragedy” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a paragraph to his mother, Jane Clemens: 

“…there was nothing new to report…though Jean is still in the doctor’s hands—though nothing serious. [They would go to Elmira] a little before the middle of June [and] shall go to-morrow & do a couple more [days shopping] in Boston” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to Charles Webster to send the Chicago Press Club “a full set of my several books” [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote to Clemens:

“Dear Saint Mark: / I have submitted our project of one story five times told by 5 authors, to Roswell Smith & Gilder & they are charmed with the scheme & have taken it up. Don’t let it out. You will hear from them. I passed through Hartford yesterday, and longed to stop—knowing how badly you want to see me” [MTP].

April 16 Wednesday – In his letter to Aldrich of Apr. 10, Sam cited a dinner engagement with that he and Livy could not get out of for this evening, where they were to “meet some strangers who will be unmeetable later.”

Sam wrote a one-liner to Charles Webster: “Find out where Parsloe is, & drop a line & tell him I’ve got a play to show him which may possibly suit him & Louis Aldrich” [MTP].

Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Clemens about Cable and his idea for the five stories told by five authors. He suggested Clemens, Cable, Howells, Aldrich, Henry James, Joel Chandler Harris, Eggleston, Constance F. Woolson, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Maurice Thompson, Saxe Holme—this group, six to be chosen and if declines others asked. He added Frank R. Stockton in a PS [MTP].

April 17 Thursday – Sam and Livy were scheduled to travel to Boston on this day and be entertained at the Aldrich home (see Apr. 10 entry). They may have gone on Apr. 16 as Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, on Apr.15. See Apr. 22 for Twichell’s journal entry for Apr. 17.

Hubbard & Farmer per Way wrote advise of selling 100 shares of St. Paul at 86 & 1/8 [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: about finding actors; starting Kemble with the drawings; details of printing HF; cover design questions to be decided, color, etc. [MTP].

April 17 to April 19 Saturday – Sam and Livy spent “a day or two in Boston[Apr. 20 letter to Howe].

April 18 FridayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: rec’d MS all right (HF?); unable to find Parsloe or Aldrich; Osgood was there, Howells the next day [MTP].

April 19 SaturdayLucius Seth Huntington wrote to Clemens, more about her book of the lost child. She asked for a letter from him to any press people, and she’d send him advance sheets [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Let press people alone / troublesome Huntington”

April 20 Sunday – Back home in Hartford, Sam wrote to Edgar W. Howe, reporting that Howells was “drunk with admiration of your book,” The Story of a Country Town (1883).

“As T.B. Aldrich was present during one whole evening [on the recent trip to Boston], & had to listen to so much talk about a book which he has not seen, he naturally got pretty well filled up with curiosity” [MTP].

Note: Evidently, Howe had sent Howells the book thinking he was still the editor of the Atlantic, but not realizing that Aldrich had taken that post. Send him a book, directed Sam. At one time, The Story was listed as one of America’s top ten novels, yet was rejected by several publishers. Howe finally printed the first edition in his shop.

In a short article on page 10 of the Brooklyn Eagle, George W. Cable revealed the genesis for the April Fool’s day autograph joke he recently played on Sam:


“The autograph joke came into my head last February, when I was sick at Mark Twain’s house. Mark and I used to open our budget of letters together at breakfast. We had a good many. Nearly every morning Mark would slug out, ‘Say, George, here’s an autograph hunter,’ and a moment later I would echo his remark, as I found a correspondent asking for my sign manual. From this time the idea of the joke may have sprung. My most enthusiastic ally was the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who loves a practical joke better than his dinner.”

“Will Mark Twain get even with you?”

“If he lives he will.”—Interview with George W. Cable.

April 21 MondayGeorge E. Waring wrote to ask Sam to send him a copy of “Ambulina” [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 18 entry on Ambulina.

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: enclosed letter (not specified); agreement with Osgood for rent; several drawings—should he send them? Raubs trial and their subpoena as a witness; Howells was there—was he to have carte blanche in making changes? suggested “omit that old Mississippi matter” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Old Raft matter. / answered / About Howells – Huck Finn”

April 22 Tuesday – From Hartford Sam replied to Charles Webster’s Apr. 21. He wanted the raft chapter, which was used in LM, “left wholly out” of HF. He badgered Webster about getting official pledges, called “acceptances” out of Osgood for money owed. He wanted pictures for HF sent “by batches of half a dozen or more,”; he wanted “Howells to have carte blanche in making corrections”; and lastly, that a proposed book by Howells wait till after Huck Finn was out, because “thanks to Mr. Osgood, spare cash is main scarce” [MTBus 250].

Sam also wrote to Thomas Aldrich that he’d “never had a more enjoyable visit” than his recent to Boston and stay at the Aldrich home. Sam wrote that Mrs. Aldrich had offered “right & true hospitality, which permits slippers, & general laxity, & unspeakable comfort.” Clemens also wrote:

Look you, sirrah, Mrs. Clemens left that French ‘Mark Twain’ up stairs in the bedroom, at last, instead of packing it. Will you kindly be so good as to put it in a trunk & tie it up & ship it down to me by Adams’ Express, charges paid? (I enclose) That’s a good boy. I will say something fine about you to the Frenchman. I will say it in French [MTP]. Note: Sam signed this letter: S.L.C.M.T. “The Frenchman” was Henri (Willy) Gauthier-Villars, publisher of Mark Twain this year.

The Hartford Courant, page 2 with editorial articles, ran an article, “Mark Twain’s Search for a Rare Book,” which Twichell called “a substantially correct statement of facts” concerning Sam’s search for The Enemy Conquered, a Love Triumphant, by a young Southern writer, Samuel Watson Royston (1845).

The “book” was a 31-page pamphlet with a most melodramatic story, and on Jan. 29 Sam asked Webster to find him a copy. Sam thought it so rare as to be unavailable, and must have mentioned his frustration to Twichell. Remembering a friend who owned a bookstore, Twichell made inquiries and found a huge pile of the work about to be destroyed. He bought six of the pamphlets and on his next visit to Sam’s (on Apr. 17) casually asked what he would pay for a copy. Sam was reported to have answered, “Any amount! It cannot be had.” Joe then presented six copies and dropped the idea that he could easily obtain a hundred more if desired [Twichell’s journal, Apr. 17 entry, Yale, copy at MTP].

April 24 ThursdayRichard Watson Gilder wrote to Clemens with Mrs. Burnett’s suggestion about the story project (5 tales from 5 authors) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “My skeleton novelettes”

April 25 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He planned to go to New York City “next Tuesday” (Apr. 29) and stay at the Brunswick Hotel. He wanted Webster to either meet him there or at Laurence Hutton’s in the evening. Sam enclosed 300 shares of Oregon Trans-Continental stock, which he eventually took a huge loss on. Sam bought it at 73 and it was now worth only 15 or 16.

      Dean Sage bought it for me a year ago, just as I had sworn off permanently from stocks (speculative ones.) It went up to 98—he was very sick at the time, & so gave no orders to sell, & so I got caught.

      Ask Sage if he can help you to any points. If he can’t, go ahead & keep it or sell it, just as you please. I am perfectly indifferent as to what figure you sell at, or how long you keep it. I’ve had enough, & don’t wish to ever look at a stock report again [MTBus 250-1].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens with an announcement of his work at a salon. “We are all well and hope you have not lost all of your faith in us?” Announcement enclosed (in French) with two of Karl’s work written in, one in marble [MTP].

Edgar W. Howe sent Clemens a printed flyer with Howells’ and Twain’s recommendations of his book. See insert [MTP].

April 26 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: office stationery printed; would hold the drawings for him to see on Tuesday; Howells suggestion to print a book “about the adventures of a young country boy in Boston” in the fall; paper costs; Osgood money; office rent contract; Raubs trial postponed [MTP].

April 27 SundayRoswell Smith wrote to Clemens about a farm house in Simsbury, Conn. for Cable to rent at $350 per year [MTP].

April 27 to May 4 Sunday – In his May 4 letter to the Gerhardts, Sam wrote:

“…Twichell & I have been breaking our necks & bones all the past 7 days trying to learn to ride the bicycle—but we have acquired the art, now, & shan’t break anything more” [MTP]. (See May 4 entry.)

Sam wrote to Edward H. House about his bicycle experiences and considered sending the article to the New York Sun [MTNJ 3: 55n123]. (See May 23 to, for the continued struggle with bicycles.)

Note: Fatout reports a speech to the Banquet of Wheelmen in Springfield, Mass., as “September 16 or 17, 1884,” but Sam was in Elmira with a sick wife on those days; no evidence was found of a trip to Springfield that fall. In the short speech, which may never have been given, Sam cited May 10 as the day he mounted “a bicycle for the first time “of the present year” [181]. His May 4 letter to Gerhardt puts it at least two weeks earlier, so it may be that Sam wrote the piece late in the year and did not recall the exact date.

April 28 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to call at Laurence Hutton’s “Wednesday morning, & walk up to the station with me….Remind me to give you all of Huck Finn that Howells has revised for the artist & printer” [MTBus 251].

Sam presented an unfinished paper to the Monday Evening Club; the idea being for each member to complete the paper as he thought best. This was Sam’s ninth presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club].

On or after this day Sam wrote to Josephine Beemer per Frederick J. Hall. The woman was looking for “Wan Lee the Pagan,” a story she thought Sam wrote, but it was one of Bret Harte’s [MTP].

Sam purchased Edmund William Gosse’s Thomas Gray from the English Men of Letters Series [Gribben 269].

Sam left for New York City and stayed at the Brunswick Hotel [MTBus 251].

Josephine Beemer wrote to ask where she might find his story, “Wan Lee the Pagan” [MTP]. Note: this was Bret Harte’s tale.

George MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy to ask: “Would it be of any use to attempt a lecture in Hartford in the month of October?” [MTP].

April 29 Tuesday Sam gave a speech at a breakfast for Edwin Booth in New York City [Fatout, MT Speaking 656]. He likely spent the night at Laurence Hutton’s house, for he’d directed Webster to meet him there at 9 AM the next morning [MTBus 251].

April 30 Wednesday – Sam wrote two notes to Charles Webster (possibly the planned meeting for this day did not take place). He wanted to retrieve the P&P dramatization from Marshall Mallory and didn’t “want any nonsense out of that man” [MTBus 251]. His second note directed a sale of “that stock at 20” [MTP].

 Sam inscribed Mark Twain’s (Burlesque) Autobiography to Laurence Hutton: “This space reserved for a sentiment, when one shall occur to the undersigned / Truly Yours S.L. Clemens— Apl. 30/84” [MTP].

Statement from Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, shows Sam’s balance: “$27,490.24; int 88.35; activity apr 12, 15, 21; on hand 200 St. Paul; 200 Mo Pac” [MTP].

May 1 Thursday – Sam and Charles Webster executed “some kind of informal agreement concerning the publication of Huckleberry Finn[MTLTP 169]. Sam would be his own publisher, through Webster. The Charles L. Webster & Co. was created as a new subscription publishing house during May [Emerson 153].

May 3 SaturdayHubbard & Farmer per Way bankers & brokers advised stock purchases [MTP].

May 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Gerhardts in Paris, France. Sam disclosed the family wouldn’t be traveling to Europe this year—pleading poverty.

We have made but few investments in the last few years which have not turned out badly. Our losses during the past three years have been prodigious.

Sam sent their love with the Twichells who would “sail for Europe June 14 (Julia doesn’t go)”. The rest of the letter is praise for the Gerhardt’s artwork, especially a work called “The Echo” [MTP]. Note: this “Echo” may have been Hattie’s painting, but Karl Gerhardt did a statuette by the same name which was placed on exhibition at Vorce’s in Hartford [Courant Feb. 7, 1885 p.1].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about the P&P play, which Howells thought was “not more than half long enough,” needing more “fill in from the book with more life and incident.” He offered to show it to the Boston Museum Theatre people, but was convinced he knew what their answer would be [MTHL 2: 485].

May 5 Monday ca. – In his Autobiography, Sam gives “about the 5th of May” as the date “the crash came and several Grant families found themselves absolutely penniless” from the fraud of “a brisk young man by the name of Ferdinand Ward” [MTA 1: 29-30]. This event would greatly affect Sam’s life.

Worden & Co. wrote to Sam on his account [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business: Marshall Mallory appointment; play sent to Howells; John T. Raymond written to; Sample cover for HF sent; Chatto sent acceptance of terms on HF [MTP].

May 6 TuesdayHowells had received and read Sam’s dramatization of P&P and wrote on May 4 that it was “altogether too thin and slight.” He felt Sam needed to fill in more from the book and that overall it was too short, and “the parlance is not sufficiently ‘early English’.” Sam replied:

“Well, then, some day I’ll try to remedy the play, but I’d rather take a dose of medicine. I am greatly obliged to you for reading it & telling me” [MTHL 2: 486].

Sam also wrote from Hartford to Parish B. Johnson, probably from his Nevada days.

My Dear Warrior— / I remember when you went away soldiering—as Captain, I think—& I also remember the mountain-mahogany beef & the cobblestone biscuits, & a number of the boarders. But a charitable Deity, overlooking services shirked, & other sins, has permitted me to forget the rest of the belongings of that boarding house & our sojourn in it…The life out there had its pleasant side, but it was the side that was outside Mrs. Doyle’s hashery [MTP]. Note: There is a record of Parish B. Johnson resigning as a 2nd lieutenant from the army on Dec. 20, 1863, as well as a member by that name in the Washington State 1st Biennial Legislature at Walla Walla (Ed: the town so well liked it was named twice) in 1867.

Sam also wrote a short note to Roswell Smith, editor and owner of Century: “I hunted up the house, along with my wife and we liked it immensely…I’ll retire to my den & my repose again” [MTP]. Note: the house in question was for George W. Cable to rent in Simsbury, Conn.

May 7 Wednesday – Sam had received and approved of the cover for HF. He wrote from Hartford to Webster of his approval, with one detail: “the boy’s mouth is a trifle more Irishy than necessary.” Edward W. Kemble had been chosen as the artist for the book and had to rework many illustrations from such objections [MTLTP 174]. As always, Webster handled the details and the dirty work.

May 8 ThursdayCharles A. Dana for The New York Sun wrote: “There is no use talking. I don’t see any way but for you to write me two or three short stories not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece. As for pay I will agree that you shall have more than you ever got and you can print them in a book as much as you like afterwards” and “I have got Henry James and Bret Harte, and I must have you” [MTP].

May 9 FridayLorenz Rohr (1846-1902) editor of the Kansas Freie Presse wrote to Sam, sending him a translation of the song, “Lorelei” [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on May 12. He wrote on the env., “Another Lorelei ass.”

May 10 Saturday – Sam had not forgotten the new Sellers play. He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster enclosing a May 10 letter from Howells about an actor Frank Daniel. Howells had seen Daniel in a Boston play, The Rag Baby, by Charles Hoyt. John T. Raymond had not come around, and his continued success in another play left him uninterested. Note: though Sam dated this May 10, so had Howells, from Boston. It’s possible that either man misdated his letter, so this letter may have been written May 11.

“If you have had no correspondence with Raymond, Charley, maybe it would be well for you to write Howells & suggest that he have a talk with this manager about the Sellers play.” Note: Webster received a letter from Raymond dated May 11 from Denver, Colo. refusing Webster’s May 5 offer for the new Sellers play. There wasn’t enough money in it for him [MTBus 253].

May 11 Sunday – Sam responded from Hartford to an unidentified person, that he could not “remember having ever been on a school committee in Virginia City…” nor did he “remember knowing a man in Virginia City named Freeborn.” Sam did know a man by that name in San Francisco and figured he’d be “quite sixty years old, now, if alive” [MTP].

Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy (Mollie added to this on May 12). Orion talked of an article in Science Monthly, which ascribed good health to sleeping in “careful ventilation.” Ma read the article and was doing well with that advice. Molly wrote that Orion was living on bread & water and that “Ma eats more than she has for years—without it hurting her” [MTP].

George P. Wallihan wrote to Clemens on Minneapolis notepaper asking for “some memento” for their library [MTP].

May 11 Sunday, after – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss, enclosing a request from George P. Wallihan (May 11) of the Minneapolis Press Club for books to supply their library. Sam directed Bliss (on Wallinhan’s letter) to “send him, in cloth, such of my books as you have published…” [MTP]. 

May 12 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Charles Webster. “Parsloe and Aldrich are not in Europe, they are playing in the West. I’m beginning to look for you here, now” [MTBus 254].

Sam also wrote to Howells, congratulating him on the acceptance of his sale of an opera to the “Bijou Theatre people” announced in a letter of May 10. Sam asked Howells to approach “that manager about running Sellers” [MTHL 2: 487].

Sam also wrote to Charles A. Dana, editor/owner of the New York Sun, who wrote on May 8 asking for “two or three short pieces not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece” [MTHL 2: 490]. Sam replied:

“I am busy writing up my recent experiences on a bicycle, now, but when I finish that I will sit down & take a solid think & see if it is in me to write a short story of an acceptable sort….I want to write it” [MTHL 2: 490-1n1]. Note: Sam would ask Howells on June 1 how much the Sun paid.

Sam also replied to the May 9 of Lorenz Rohr. Born in Bavaria, Rohr emigrated to the U.S. in 1869. He translated French and German plays for Augustin Daly, and some standard American poems into German, including works by Longfellow and Lowell. Sam wrote this about the difficulty translating lyrics from “Lorelei.”

“The translators all approach it, but they all fail, in one place or another….There is a subtle something about the Lorelei which is intangible as air, & as elusive as a fragrance; & no translator has quite captured that, & in my belief no translator ever will. It is the soul of the thing, the poetry” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: his travel plans to come see Clemens; pictures brought; paper costs [MTP].

May 13 TuesdayMary Keily finished her Jan. 23 letter [MTP].

May 14 WednesdayEdgar W. Howe for Atchison Globe wrote to Clemens: He’d sent Aldrich a book and all those on the list Sam furnished. He was working on another book, this one not as much a history as the first [MTP].

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens: “I have had a talk with Mr. Roswell Smith about the house for Mr Cable. He & I think it would be best for you to take charge of the affair. I am willing to pay my share…” [MTP].

May 15 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond about Roswell Smith’s proposal:

Roswell has got up a Hartford-Cable-Lecture; & he put the Hartford end of it in my hands, & described how he was going to put the New York end of it through, himself. Do you remember how he carried out his contract? I do—& don’t you doubt it. And now Roswell would put another project in my hands! Why, it almost makes me smile.

Sam rejected Smith’s idea of taking up support for George W. Cable without first asking him, and wasn’t even sure Smith was serious. Sam suggested “…another candidate for Hartford lecture-honors—George McDonald.”

Frederick J. Hall sent a telegram to Clemens: “Received the following from Worden & Co. Please send us check for 2500 additional margin” [MTP].

May 16 Friday – Sam sent to an unidentified person: Very Truly Yours / S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / Hartford May 16/84” [MTP].

Charles E. Wilson wrote to Sam, enclosing a newsletter/flyer and an invitation. Wilson was president of a Boston club, the Amateur Journalist’s Club. He invited Sam to the “Grand Reunion and Ratification Meeting” on May 17. Sam wrote on the envelope:

“Amateur Journalists / One of the Chief 19th Century Absurdities” [MTP]. Note: this is not the same man Sam wrote to in 1855.

Worden & Co. wrote advising sale of stock [MTP].

May 17 Saturday – Sam telegraphed Charles Langdon: “Can I see you in New York tomorrow evening answer C.L. Clemens [sic]” [MTP]. Note: this found with Langdon’s May 21, 1884 answer in Langdon’s letter of 22 May 1885!

Milicent W. Shinn for Overland Monthly wrote to Clemens about a planned dinner for Mr. Scott that would have to be put off until fall, and also some of Harte’s irregularities: “Yes, I have heard many things from many men of Mr Harte’s editorial peculiarities” [MTP].

Worden & Co., wrote to Clemens, financial statement enclosed, $5,062.50 balance [MTP].

May 19 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, telling him he’d sold the Oregon & Transcontinental stock at 12 dollars; asking him for a copy of Rubayat by Omar Khayam published by Osgood, and that Osgood was about to sail for Europe, so “get everything squared up before he leaves” [MTP].

May 20 TuesdayWillard C. Gompf for Connecticut Fire Ins. Co. wrote to Clemens, “yours of the 19th inst. is at hand. Of course we are sorry that you do not ‘talk’ now,” and they invited him to their meeting of writers to talk [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “answered”

May 21 WednesdayCharles Langdon replied in NYC to Sam’s May 17 telegram: “Your message of the seventeenth to C.J. Kingdon has just accidentally fallen into my hands. I shall be here tomorrow. Start for home Saturday” [MTP]. Note: the name errors were ascribed to the telegram being sent by telephone.

May 22 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens twice. First note enclosed John T. Raymonds answer; Howells’ success in placing the play in Boston; how many cloth books should he contract? And how many in sheets? Second note: Crown Point trip & stock; working to settle with Osgood; paper costs; advised not to invest in stocks but in mortgages: “with all this scare here in N.Y. some one is going to get pinched” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Close with Raymond. / Bind how many books?” Second note on env., “Price for paper—6 87/100 per lb binding 20 to 70.”

May 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. Commenting on an old controversy about who wrote a book Bread-Winners, Sam remarked:

      Gott im Himmel! I would delight to live in Japan; for my idea of heaven itself is a place where all the issues are dead ones, & no man, not even the angels, cares a damn.

      There is a live issue here, but it will be no longer alive by the time this reaches Japan. It is this: whether Twichell & I will beat the bicycle, or whether the bicycle will beat us. We have fought the creature a couple of weeks, now, & we have honorable wounds to show for it. This morning we traveled a couple of miles, mainly up hill, —& made it derned uncomfortable for the wagons; for they could never tell just which way we were proposing to steer—& neither could we.

Sam further remarked that he was presently “catless & forlorn” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a list for Charles Webster: take Raymond’s offer; congratulations on the paper bargain struck for Huck Finn; his relief that all was wrapped up with Osgood before he sailed; Order 30,000 copies of Huck Finn printed & bound; get a contract with good terms on subsequent printings up to 5,000 each; begin the canvass early to have the desired 40,000 orders by Dec. 5, which would allow publication by Dec. 15; last, did he get the sketches not included in White Elephant from Osgood? [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: 17 drawings by Edward W. Kemble sent by express [MTP].

May 24 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford, the last extant business letter to James R. Osgood. He’d received the sketches left out of The Stolen White Elephant. Though business had ended between the two men with Sam forming his own publishing company with Charles Webster, friendly relations continued, as evidenced by the sharing of Sam’s off-color story, 1601.

“I have mailed you a 1601; but mind, if it is for a lady you are to assume the authorship of it yourself.

I have invented a new game of billiards, and I want you to stop over with us, next time you are passing Hartford, and try it on. It is meaner than cushion caroms—a good deal meaner. Truly Yours, /S.L. Clemens” [MTLTP 168].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster.

“Some of the pictures are good, but none of them are very very good. The faces are generally ugly, & wrenched into over-expression amounting sometimes to distortion…. The pictures will do—they will just barely do—& that is the best I can say for them” [MTBus 255]. Note: Many of the pictures were redrawn.

Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells:

      Good land, have you seen the “poems” of that South Carolina idiot, “Belton O’Neall Townsend, A B. & Attorney at Law?” —& above all, the dedication of them to you?

      If you did write him what he says you did, you richly deserve hanging; & if you didn’t, he deserves hanging.—But he deserves hanging any-way & in any & all cases—no, boiling, gutting, brazing in a mortar—no, no, there is no death that can meet his case. Now think of this literary louse dedicating his garbage to you, & quoting encouraging compliments from you & poor dead Longfellow. Let us hope there is a hell, for this poets sake, who carries his bowels in his skull, & when they operate works the discharge into rhyme & prints it.

      Ah, if he had only dedicated this diarrhea to Aldrich, I could just howl with delight; but the joke is lost on you—just about wasted. Ys Ever Mark [MTHL 2: 488]. Note: Howells responded on May 26.

May 26 Monday – In Boston, Howells responded to Sam’s May 24 letter and called Belton O’Neall Townsend “That incredible wretch” and his poetry “trash.” Howells had printed some good prose articles by Townsend in 1877 and 1878 [MTHL 2: 489].

Arthur B. Deming wrote from Kirtland, Ohio about “discovering” laws of heredity in the Bible [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Rot”

Miss E.T. Morgan wrote from Northville, Tenn. thanking him for the set of books he sent their school library and asking him to lecture there [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Damm!”

May 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote for Livy to Isabella B. Hooker. “I write in Livy’s place because I am idle for the moment & she is very busy.” Isabella had asked the Clemenses in a May 3 letter to support her suffrage program, and had solicited other Nook Farm support. She wrote:

“I will ask you to help me pay expenses of other speakers from New York & Boston & the hall—all which I have assumed in order to make the sessions free” [Andrews 261n72; Note: year is questioned]

Sam responded that he’d conferred with Livy and offered $50 a year toward her salary [MTP].

A statement dated Sept. 2, 1884 by Charles Webster shows Sam purchased a copy of “Rubayat” for 67¢ on this day.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens, against the idea that he would work for St. Gaudens or Ward, as they would not allow him to compete with them: “I am willing and glad to start in a small way, but I must be independent, or it’s the end of my career” [MTP].

William H. Gillette wrote to Clemens with his opinion that P&P made into a play would take some work and “rearranging” and also the insertion of “some slight ‘romance’ better be worked in if possible”[MTP].

May 28 Wednesday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, sending paper dolls and “a few colored pictures” for the Clemens girls made by his daughter Mildred (Pilla) Howells (1872-1966) [MTHL 2: 490].

Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens advised of purchase 200 shs of Union Pacific @ 39 ¼ [MTP].

Edward W. Bok wrote from Brooklyn to ask Clemens to give “a few words” at his society—the Young Men’s Philomathean Society [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From that accursed Bok”

May 29 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: 20,000 cloth books binding ordered, a splendid bargain at 17.5¢ each with Robert Rutter; cost estimates for new book; Kemble’s pictures [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pub details for Huck”

Bissell & Co.  wrote to advise sale of 50 shares of Adams Express at 128 [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy about the statue of a horse he was working on [MTP].

May 31 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, praising the contracts for paper and printing he’d made on Huckleberry Finn. “If we had had such on those other books I would have come out a good deal better.” Sam felt the project of the cheap book (1002d Arabian Night) had been delayed too long, and gave Webster “one solid day” to “catch that American News manager,” probably an agent who would sell/distribute the work. Sam had an article about how to ride a bicycle that he’d send to the New York Sun if the cheap book didn’t come off [MTBus 258].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: American News people wouldn’t commit to taking certain number of HF until they’d seen the book; would advise further [MTP].

Bissell & Co. wrote advice they’d sold 50 shares Adams Express @128 [MTP].

May, after – Sam gave a short speech for the Banquet of Wheelmen, Springfield, Mass., (reported by Fatout in error as conjecturally Sept. 16 or 17). The speech may be found in Mark Twain Speaking, p.181, and concerns Sam’s first experience with the bicycle as being “on the 10th of May, of the present year…” It is noted, however, that Sam wrote of a week of bicycle accidents on May 4 to Gerhardt. Robert Hirst said that Fatout never visited the MTP; this may account for several of his errors I discovered [D.F., ed.]

June 1 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells asking how much the New York Sun and other papers paid him for a story. Charles Dana, editor/owner of the Sun, wrote on May 8 asking for “two or three short pieces not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece” [MTHL 2: 490].

June 2 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about selling one of his plays to Richard A. Dana of the New York Sun. He also mentioned Edgar W. Howe’s novel, The Story of a Country Town, which he and Sam had praised. Howe was the editor of the Atchison Globe. Howells wrote “an open letter” about the novel to the Century Magazine, and mentioned Thomas Sergeant Perry, a long time friend, and a close friend of Henry & William James (1842-1910) [MTHL 2: 491-2].

June 3 TuesdayAnnie M. Barnes for Acanthus Magazine wrote to Sam; a begging letter asking his autograph on a blank check so she might fund her printing office [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “This offers me beggar again”

Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy, two photos enclosed.

We are so nicely here now in the family of an ancient Prof.—I can not exactly saying boarding because we are more at home: and every morning from 6 to 8—French lessons & as Mr. Grit is quite severe, I hope to make great progress. Just now I am trying to commit to memory the first book of “Telemaque” and also have three French exercises to write besides verbs. … Baby is growing very fast and has eight little teeth and tries to outdo the children in talking—we are quite delighted with our two dozen photographs which Maison Hautecour sent us free—Karl agrees with you that the little “Eve” is not idealized quite enough but if he has an offer liberal enough to allow him to cut in Marble he will remedy all that [MTP]. Note: The Adventures of Telemachus is a didactic French novel by Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai. It was published anonymously in 1699 and reissued in 1717 by his family.

June 4 WednesdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam: Mr. Williams, Gen. Mgr of American News (book agent) wanted to see a HF dummy before committing to a number to sell [MTP].

June 6 Friday – In the afternoon, Sam played billiards with Sam Dunham, Franklin Whitmore, Henry Robinson, Charles Perkins, and Edward Bunce, while George Griffin, the butler, received telephone updates and announced ballots from the Chicago Republican convention. In mid-afternoon, James G. Blaine won the nomination on the fourth ballot. Connecticut’s twelve delegates cast their votes for favorite son, Joseph R. Hawley [NY Times p.1, June 7, 1884]. Note: The convention’s selection stimulated an interesting discussion in Sam’s billiard room. See MTA 15-18 for a full account.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, that he’d given up on the bicycle article, not liking what he’d written; he needed to get to Quarry Farm and get busy on his “regular work.” Don’t give Dana of the N.Y. Sun any indication that he’d write something for the paper, and please get the drawing room car on the Lackawanna train for June 18 [MTP].

June 7 or 14 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to their ailing family doctor, Cincinnatus A. Taft, offering for him to be carried on a water bed to their home to escape the “cannon, the brass bands & shouting, & the other noisy harassments of Buckingham Day.” The family was leaving on June 17 but would “gladly & cheerfully” stay if “our staying can be also of service” [MTP].

June 8 SundayClara Clemens tenth birthday.

Sam wrote in German to Edward K. Root. Translated by Sotheby’s:

Dear Doctor: The next meeting will be taking place here on Thursday at eight o’clock. This evening we have made a change ?? the lecture consists only of 1_ pages of Schiller’s ‘Der Verbrecher aüs verbornen Ehne,’ and did not start at the beginning, but with the 7th paragraph of the story where one reads the following: ‘Christian Wolf Warder owner of a restaurant ? [Sotheby’s auction June 19, 2003, Lot 134].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster—no, he wanted a:

“…special sleeping car—dern the drawing room car…leaving Hoboken the morning of Wednesday the 18th …Provide a comfortable chair for Livy, Charley—she doesn’t like the sleeping-car seats” [MTP].

June 10 TuesdayCharles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote to suggest Sam write 16 or 18 thousand words, which would allow them to divide it into two parts; or two stories [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Wants 2 stories or 18000 words”

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: where to buy the Harden Hand Grenade fire extinguisher; inability to find Pond in; special RR car for Sam; Seen Mr. Dana; failed so far to get list of books Sam wanted: got note from Osgood for $6,884.65 of four months, which Bissell could discount; PS: Pond was in Poughkeepsie [MTP].

June 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, shipping back Kemble’s pictures for Huck Finn. After modifications, Sam thought, “this batch of pictures is most rattling good,” and only wanted one removed—“the lecherous old rascal kissing the girl at the campmeeting.” Sam didn’t want any pictures of the campmeeting—“The subject won’t bear illustrating” [MTP].

Mettie Curry wrote from Carson City, Nev. “I am in great trouble and appeal to you for aid—I want ‘Tom Sawyer’ very much, indeed, I do not think I can live much longer without him, and am too poor to buy him. Will you send me a copy” [MTP]. Note: see ca. June 12 entry.

June 12 Thursday ca. – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, inserting a note from Mettie Curry of Carson City, Nevada, pleading poverty and asking for a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam directed him to write her a note saying Sam had instructed him to send the book [MTP]. Note: This is probably Abraham Curry’s widow. Curry—“Old Curry, Abe Curry, Old Abe Curry”—was an instrumental leader in the formation of Nevada. He died in 1879. (See Mack, p.352 for a story of Mrs. Curry’s objection to Sam’s lecture tall tale of camels bearing snow in the Holy Land.)

June 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, saying he wanted “some of those hand-grenades. Say about 1 dozen for the stable, &c.” and a list of the other rooms. “I reckon that’s enough, ain’t it?” [MTP]. Note: The Hayword Hand Grenades were sealed bottles of water in a rack, to be thrown at a fire.

June 13 FridayHugo Erichsen in Detroit, Mich. sent a printed form asking what was Sam’s method of authorship [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O, hell!”; Sam resisted any explanation of how he wrote, of the motivations of characters, and the like. He did not like to share such introspections or methods and felt they were unwarranted intrusions of his privacy.

June 17 Tuesday – The Clemens family’s annual trek to Elmira and Quarry Farm began. They left Hartford and traveled to New York City, where they spent the night [MTNJ 3: 55n124].

June 18 Wednesday – The Clemens family had escaped Hartford just in time. June 18 in Hartford was Buckingham Day, a local civic celebration for Union veterans. From the Hartford Courant:

If the weather is pleasant to-day there will be a great crowd of people in Hartford. The railroad companies have made arrangements to transport as many passengers as came here on Battle Flag Day in 1870. It has been thought, however, that the attendance would not be as large as on that day; but later reports indicate that the rush will be quite as great.

The Clemens family left New York by way of the Christopher Street Ferry to Hoboken, New Jersey, where they took a special car on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad for the ten-hour trip to Elmira. This was their usual routine each summer [MTNJ 3: 55-5n124].

June 22 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy about shipping a statuette [MTP].

June 23 MondayCharles Webster wrote to Sam, c/o Crane in Elmira: possible postal fine of $50 for sending the prospectus with the words “sheep, half calf, & half morocco, written on the sample bindings”; billed Osgood another $225 for advertising he charged, and a bill for $600 for paper as well; $4,000 needed to buy paper soon—send $6,000 [MTP].

June 24 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles H. Clark of the Courant. The Clemenses were watching the papers closely but had seen nothing about Doctor Cincinnatus Taft—how was he doing? Sam didn’t want to burden the Taft family by writing [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, advising him to sue Osgood if he didn’t “pay that $825 instantly…before he gets out of the country. Better tell him I have so instructed you. I enclose check for the $6,719.45” [MTP].

June 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, correcting a drawing of Kemble’s:

“…on the pilot house of that steamboat-wreck he artist has put TEXAS—having been misled by some of Huck’s remarks about the boat’s ‘texas’—a thing which is part of every boat. ….that particular boat’s name was Walter Scott, I think” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: Rec’d Sam’s check for $6,719.45; ad from NY World enclosed of June 23—what should they do about it? (ad from Frank Coker News Co., Talladega, Ala. selling cheap copies of Twain’s works) [MTP].

June 26 Thursday – Homeopathic Doctor Cincinnatus A. Taft died in Hartford at the age of 64. Four decades before he’d been diagnosed with “one lung gone” and given six months to live by two of the best physicians in the country. Taft’s autopsy revealed that his lungs were both perfect, but that he died from a stomach ailment [N.Y. Times, “THE DOCTORS MISTAKEN” June 30 p1].

On or just after this date, Sam wrote a letter from Elmira to Charles Webster, enclosing Webster’s June 25 letter and warning about The Frank Coker News Co. of Talladega, Ala. advertisement in the New York World of cheap paperback books for seven of Sam’s books.

“If the American Pub will immediately bring suit & smash these pirates, all right; but otherwise I know what I will do. Notify Bliss that I expect him to protect & defend my copyrights (all that his Co has anything to do with) promptly & thoroughly” [MTP].

June 27 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, asking if it were “wholly convenient” he’d like to be paid $2,000 on account for his Library of Humor work [MTHL 2: 492].

June 28 Saturday – In Elmira, Sam responded to Howellsrequest of June 27 for payment of $2,000 on the work he’d done on the Library of Humor. Faced with mounting costs on the production of HF, the first book of Webster & Co., Sam begged off. Besides the financial pinch, Sam was in no mood to be generous.

My days are given up to cursings—both loud & deep—for I am reading the H. Finn proofs. They don’t make a very great mistakes, but those that do occur are of a nature to make a man curse his teeth loose” [MTHL 2: 493].

Orion Clemens wrote to thank Sam for the $150 in checks; “All pretty well” He wanted a new picture of the family [MTP].

July ca. – Sam sent a letter of condolence to Ellen C. Taft (Mrs. Cincinnatus A. Taft) on the recent passing of her husband, the Clemens’ family doctor. Evidently Mrs. Taft and her daughter were leaving the area [MTP].

July 1 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, wanting to know how much was paid for the elder Mr. Howells on his grape-scissor invention; and reminding him that after Huck Finn was published he wanted him to “go to work & publish one or two of the historical games”; to watch out for the Canadian pirates—Sam had been told by Bliss that they sometimes hung with pressmen and paid for advance sheets; Sam concluded that “Kemble’s pictures are mighty good, now”  [MTP].

July 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking about illustrations not returned with the 1002d Arabian Night tale [MTP]. Note: The 131 pictures, called “grotesque drawings of his own composition” [MTS&B 88] were lost and have never been recovered.

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying it was all right about the $2,000 payment, that now he had money, but when he asked he was buying a house and his railroad stock had fallen thirteen points. About Sam’s struggles with the HF proofs he wrote:

“Why need you read the Huck Finn proofs? I went over the printed copy so carefully that a good office reading was all that was necessary. If I’d supposed they [Webster & Co] were going to send them to you I would have read them again myself” [MTHL 2: 495].

Ellen C. Taft, now a widow, wrote to Sam upset about the New York Times article on her late husband:

We as a family have had our feelings so hurt by an article in the Times, purporting to be a kindly notice of Dr Taft, that I want you, who knew, loved and appreciated him to write something which will be as pleasant to us to read as the one I allude to was unpleasant. You knew his tender gentle ways in a sick room, the courage he gave his patients to live, as well as the skill that supported the courage, the blessed cleanliness of his person, and of his attire—How the little children loved him, and how he returned this love. All these traits give so much…Isn’t it strange that the world goes on just the same and he out of it—where? [MTP].

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens that Cable made no answer to his proposition and suggested John Henry Riley who was very popular in Indianapolis [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Suggests Riley. Told him I would have nobody but Cable—or the thing was ‘off’”

Hugo Erichsen in Detroit, Mich. again sent the same printed request to Clemens & wrote “PS please answer soon” [MTP]. Note: sent before on June 13.

Charles Webster wrote business matters to Clemens [MTP].

July 210 Thursday – Sam wrote in his July 10 letter to the widow Taft, that he’d been:

“…almost daily in the dentist’s hands during the past seven or eight days” [see July 10, July 18 entries].

July 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond, that he’d only “hitch teams” on the lecture circuit with George W. Cable, “So don’t throw out any feelers toward Riley or make any propositions to him” [MTP].

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens: “I will answer all the letters you will forward. Everybody says ‘Mark Twain’ would do better alone, or he would be the one everybody wants to hear. So why not nerve up & go at it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Have already told him no / will not go alone”

** Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote: “What is the prospect? When do you think we can get it?” [MTP]. Note: “it” unspecified.

July 4 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote Sam that Webster had advised him that John T. Raymond accepted their terms for the new Sellers play. Webster had asked if Raymond could read the play, and Howells wanted to confirm it met with Sam’s approval. Sam answered affirmatively the next day [MTHL 2: 495].

July 5 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to unidentified persons, who evidently had asked about the cheap (50 cent) paperbacks being advertised by the Coker Co.

“Dear Sirs—They are pirates—& unusually frank & bold, it seems to me. We are after them with a legal gun-boat” [MTP].

Sam wrote twice to Charles Webster:

Keep an eye out, & see if the ad. of the Alabama pirates disappears from the newspapers. If it doesn’t disappear pretty soon, I will try to take my copyrights away from the Am. Co.


Yes, let Raymond see copy of the play. When you come to make contract with him, try to leave as few loopholes as possible, or he will be a big annoyance to you…He will report to you, not me [MTP].


Weed Sewing Machine Co. (manufacturer of sewing machines & bicycles) Hartford wrote to Clemens: “We express your bicycle to-day, addressed as your request” [MTP].

July 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking that Richard Irving Dodge’s book (he thought he’d only written one) be sent, though Sam couldn’t recall the exact title. (See Gribben 196-7.)

“I want several other PERSONAL narratives of life & adventure out yonder on the Plains & in the Mountains, if you can run across them—especially life among the Indians. Send me what you can find. I mean to take Huck out there” [MTP]. Note: Shortly after this date, during July, Sam began work on a 228 page manuscript “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians.” He abandoned the work, probably in mid-August [Camfield, bibliog.].

James B. Pond wrote “I have a post from Cable. He will be here Tuesday.” He proposed a scheme [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No”

July 7 MondayRichard Garvey (1843-1931) wrote on Missouri Wheel Co. letterhead, St. Louis:

Saml. L. Clemens Esq / Friend “Mark”

      When yourself and a Companion left the “Quaker City” at Naples in July 67 and came to Rome you there met a young American who roomed at the Via Babuino #68 (Pincion Hill) it was his pleasure to show you some points of the Eternal City.

      After exactly 17 years he now addresses you first to Congratulate you on your continued success and next to greet you as a brother wheelman.

      By todays express I send one of our patent Duryea Saddles try it and if found worthy give us a few lines on it. / Yours Truly / Richard Garvey [MTP]. Note: “brother wheelman” refers to Clemens recent struggles learning to ride a bicycle; Garvey was Captain of the Missouri Bicycle Club. Clemens was in Rome from July 27 to Aug. 1, 1867.

July 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond. He was impatient to contract with Cable, who didn’t jump at $350 per week. Sam didn’t want to consider others; evidently, Pond had suggested Thomas Nast:

“O damnation, I would rather pay Cable $450 a week & his expenses than pay Nast $300. I don’t enjoy roosting around & waiting.”


Sam wanted a final answer by July 15, and if it took a day longer, he’d “have made other arrangements” [MTP].


In Elmira Sam wrote to Mr. H. Speight (this may be Harry Speight 1855-1915).

No, it was at the Plow inn Ottenhöfen … a girl of about 18, the landlord’s daughter. There was nothing German about her form or features .. These were American decidedlybut she was German, born & bred. After several months of uninterrupted German uncomeliness, she was to me superhumanly beautiful … 

[Note: TA pages 213 (Oxford facsimile ed.): “We took our meal of fried trout one day at the Plow Inn in a very pretty village (Ottenhöfen)” and p.489: “And I remember that the only native match to her I saw in all Europe was the young daughter of the landlord of a village inn in the Black Forest. Why don’t more people in Europe marry and keep hotel?”. ABE books Bookseller: Sophie Dupre ABA ILAB Calne, WIL, United Kingdom; Inventory # SD31792; accessed April 29, 2009].


Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote to invite Sam to Long Island next Saturday afternoon, “and pass the sabbath there under my roof? The billiard table is good, the light beautiful, and the society first rate” [MTP].

July 9 WednesdayJames B. Pond wrote to Clemens about what he thought it would take to get Cable on the lecture circuit with Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Tell him yes, offer him $450 a week & expenses”

W. Schmidt wrote from Phila. a letter all in German [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “German letter / Answer it”

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: he never saw the 1002 tale, Osgood must have it; gave Raymond a copy of the play to read; the TS play was sent to Sam in Hartford, Howells didn’t have it; Dodge’s book and Buffalo Bill’s book sent; enclosed Bliss’ check for old books sold [MTP].

July 10 Thursday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to James B. Pond:

“Yes, offer Cable $450 a week & expenses—but be sure & let me know the result by the 16th” [MTP].

Sam wrote from Elmira to Ellen C. Taft, widow of Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft about the New York Times article of June 30 that focused on her husband’s autopsy (See June 26 entry). Mrs. Taft wrote Sam on July 2, upset about the article, but did not send it. Sam asked for it and reflected on the “certain beautiful traits” of her husband. He added:

“…I do not wish to seem to be defending Dr. Taft; for to Hartford people that would be like defending light, & warmth, & water…. I have been a long time answering; but you will understand the delay when I explain that I have been almost daily in the dentist’s hands during the past seven or eight days. It has unfitted me for everything” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote the Courant on July 18. See entry.

Sam also wrote five notes to Charles Webster—the first one congratulating Charles and Annie on the birth of their son, his grand-nephew, Samuel Charles Webster, born on July 8, 1884. The second note was a follow up to the book Sam wanted by Colonel Dodge—Charles had sent Our Wild Indians, but Sam wanted Dodge’s first book, but couldn’t recall the name (The Plains of the Great West and Their Inhabitants –see Gribben, 197) [MTP]. One way to angle for a raise is to name the baby after the boss.

The third note was a question/reminder to “draw the Osgood money out of Bissell’s bank & transfer it to” Webster’s bank in New York [MTP].

The fourth note was a list of short notes that Bliss’s check had been received; he didn’t want the “Texas Siftings” book; “Give our love to Annie & the baby”; a package had arrived that he hoped was Buffalo Bill’s book [MTP].

The fifth missive was a bit longer—a letter about Karl Gerhardt sending a statue to Hartford that was to be exhibited in New York and then placed in the Clemens home. Evidently Gerhardt had written that he’d sent the statue to Hartford.

“Now when you get a chance will you just go to work & collar that little statue & stop it from getting to Hartford? Just hang on to it till 6 east 23d street is ready to take it & exhibit it. I could swear my teeth loose over this d——d idiocy [PS] We don’t want it till autumn” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: “I send you by mail today 11 galleys of proof”; should they take on a book from Hubbard Bros.—Blaine and Logan? [MTP].

July 11 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, acknowledging receipt of a check from American Publishing Co., but still waiting for one from Slote & Co. Keeping Webster hopping on a plethora of details and projects, Sam added:

As you have a couple of dull months, now, suppose you tackle my soon-to-be portable calendar, & heave your surplus energies into it [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote from Simsbury, Conn. to bless Sam for recommending “this place. We have been here two days now and are quite delighted” [MTP].

Jane Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam & family about the pictures received. “Where Jean is by her self she is the best looking one of all”; she offered critiques on each picture [MTP].

July 12 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens that Annie & the baby were doing well; he had to have the invoice & bill of lading on the statuette in order to get it out of customs [MTP].

July 12August 14 Thursday – Sometime during this stretch, Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster bout the dwindling profits on the scrapbooks with Slote & Co.

Won’t Koch & Co buy the Slote two-third interest? They ought to get it for next to nothing; then I would buy my one-third interest.”

Evidently, Webster had received the note of July 10 about Gerhardt’s statue and had trouble locating the gallery where it was to be exhibited, because Sam responded:

“As to the statuette, you know it is to go to the Art Exhibition I told you of, in 23d st. That’s all I know. 6 E 23d st., Madison Square South. It opens September 1 [MTP]. Note: July 12Aug. 14 is chosen here over July 10Aug. 14 as in the MTP designation.

July 13 Sunday – Sam wrote two notes from Elmira to Charles Webster. The first was a directive to find a man in New York City, Ellis or Alison, recommended by Twain’s neighbor Newton Case, who would fix their Hartford furnace. The second note was a directive to support his recommendations for projects with his reasons.

“…a mere blind conundrum, without either recommendations or reasons, is a sort of thing which I don’t want the bother of trying to answer” [MTP].

July 14 Monday – After much searching Charles Webster purchased Richard Irving Dodge’s Our Wild Indians, and Life on the Plains for Clemens, who used these books for information of Indian depravity in writing “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians.” The total cost was $3.84 [Gribben 197].

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens that Cable had accepted Sam’s offer of $450 a week plus expenses during dinner with him at Simsbury. “I suppose you will want the route about 20 or 24 weeks, with two weeks for holidays” [MTP].

July 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, who wrote on July 2 and July 4. Howells had obtained the money elsewhere and told Sam to forget he’d asked. In the latter letter Howells wrote that he’d been notified by Webster that John T. Raymond had accepted their terms on the new Sellers play. Howells wasn’t certain he should let Raymond see the play. Sam responded:

I meant to write you that I told Webster to let Raymond see the play, but I have fooled around & neglected it. This fooling around has been done in the dental chair. I go down every other day & have one or two teeth gouged out & stuffed. I have been in the dental chair ten days, a couple of hours a day; & shall be there 3 days this week & I suppose as many more next week. The dentist is a bright man, & gouges & digs & saws & rasps & hammers, & keeps up a steady stream of entertaining talk, all the time, like his professional ancestor the barber; & so these have been very pleasant relaxations to me, & I shall be rather sorry to see them come to an end. They have been a vast improvement to me, too—an education; I can stand the most exquisite pain, now, without outward manifestation; & indeed without any very real discomfort. The Indian has fallen in my estimation; he is no better than you or me—he is merely a product of education. I have picked up a lot of good dental stuff, & I wish I had the time & energy to write it up. / On my off days I work at a new story (Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer among the Indians 40 or 50 years ago) [MTHL 2: 495-6].

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond. George W. Cable had agreed verbally to terms for a reading tour under Pond’s management. Sam didn’t want to be bothered by people writing him about the tour.

“I mean to forward the letters to you unanswered & depend on you to answer them. Is that satisfactory?” [MTP].

Sam then wrote to Charles Webster, directing him to draw up his contract with Pond. The readings were to begin after November 4, election day, and continue through February, with ten days off for the holidays. Pond would be paid $450 per week and expenses; Pond would accompany them or send his brother, furnish a treasurer, attend to all details that would come “under the head of business,” be “boss & head-ringmaster,” and “make the journeys as short & easy as circumstances will allow,” and receive “10 per cent of the profits of the raid for his services.” Several other details were listed, among which was the arrangement of the tour so that Sam could be in Canada December 18 to 20, in order to copyright Huckleberry Finn there, if the book was ready—of course, once more, Sam reminded Webster that this would depend on 40,000 orders; if that number hadn’t been reached then the tour would “be so arranged as to throw” him “into Canada 3 days again, 4 or 5 weeks later” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens about receiving letters from competing firms anxious to get HF. Bancroft & Co. in San Francisco wanted it badly but they hadn’t sold many books in the prior year, only 2,825. An unnamed firm claimed they were much better. He’d given up the Blaine book as it would interfere with the canvassing of HF. He liked the idea of “Huck among the Indians[MTP].

July 16 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond, asking for the tour prospectus to be sent so he might add a paragraph. His P.S. reminder—he would not read in Elmira or Hartford—no objections to other places [MTP].

July 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.

July 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the editor of the Hartford Courant in tribute to Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft.

Outwardly—if one may apply the term to a man—he was beautiful; a stately figure, faultlessly clothed, an intellectual face, white hair & the long white beard of a sage, an eye that could be severe but preferred to be kind, a carriage & bearing full of courteous grace & dignity. And the inner man was companion to the outer; for his heart was firm & strong, but it was also compassionate, & freighted with human sympathies.  [MTP].

July 21 MondayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens, enclosing a draft of a contract with Pond, who had not yet seen it. He announced the baby boy’s name was Samuel Charles Webster [MTP].

July 22 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who had drafted a contract with Pond and advised Sam, who more clearly defined Pond’s expenses to be “food, lodging & transportation.”

“If he should become unmanageable & go to thrashing people, I should not want to have to pay his daily police court expenses. And it will be like him to do that.” Otherwise, Sam offered that “this contract sounds right.” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: proofs sent; history game worked on [MTP].

July 23 WednesdayAugustus Saint-Gaudens wrote to Clemens about Gerhardt, who had been in to see him. He didn’t want to hire him as an assistant since that never seemed to work out. He thought Gerhardt was a good sculptor based on the works shown but didn’t think it fair for him to evaluate him. He advised him to do the bust of Twain and also the medallion [MTP]. See insert of Twain’s bust by Gerhardt.

Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens his 19th recd, “the note in a/c as requested & hld the stock named as collateral” [MTP].

July 24 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking if a small change in the title page to Huck Finn might still be possible. Sam wanted it to say “Time, forty to fifty years ago,” rather than simply “Time, forty years ago.” If printing had started, “let it go” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s change appears on the facsimile Oxford copy.

Sam also wrote to Charles Erskine Scott Wood, who had asked for a letter of introduction, which Sam enclosed “with great pleasure.” As for news from West Point, Sam confessed:

“I tried to get to West Point in June but made a failure of it; so I can’t tell you any news from there. But I’ve brought a bicycle here to this mountain-top, & if you wait a while, that can be made to furnish you some” [MTP].

July 25 FridayJames B. Pond issued a circular announcing the joint appearance of Mr. Sam’l L. Clemens and George W. Cable “in a unique series of literary Entertainments” [MTNJ 3: 60n143]. See Lorch, p 166-7 for the entire text.

July 26 SaturdayJean Clemens fourth birthday.

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: statuette safe at his office; conferred with Pond who didn’t think a treasurer was needed, but an advance agent was; he referred Pond to Sam on the question; would alter the title page as Sam requested; he hadn’t forgotten the furnace or the game; please return proofs [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “return the pages”

July 27 Sunday – James B. Pond from Everett House wrote that he thought the tour should run through March or to mid-April, which was only 14 weeks when there should be 20. “Everybody says our show is going to pull like the Devil. If you know how that is—hot! HOT!! HOT!!! HOT!!!!” [MTP].

July 28 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond. The circular looked good but Sam made a few corrections to the proof. It was best not to mention there would be new material, as Sam wanted to “draw just on our names alone.” Pond was evidently lobbying for a longer tour; Sam’s answer:

“Goodness knows I would gladly run 20 weeks, & I did my best to persuade the madam, but did not succeed. So that idea is killed. She almost said I might read again next year if I didn’t read too long this time, so I thought I better not press the matter too far” [MTP].

July 30 WednesdayOrion Clemens wrote to wish Sam would send him photos like he’d sent Ma. He was still working 4 hours a day on the history research [MTP].

August 1 FridayA.H. Kelland wrote from N. Haven to Clemens sending him an article similar to the one she once wrote on the death of the Democrat party (not in file) [MTP].

George C. Blanchard wrote from Fairfield Conn.—an oblique begging letter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “from a fraud”

August 2 SaturdayCharles Eliot Norton wrote from Ashfield to invite Sam to their annual dinner, between the 17th and 26th of this month, whatever suited him; bring the wife, the children, his home was “elastic” [MTP].

August 5 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to an unidentified person.

“I apologize for this rag of paper, & explain that I am cruising in strange waters, where paper is scarce. (Paper is always scarce in strange waters—& even in the other kind)” [MTP].

Percy Aylmer wrote from Durham, England to ask Clemens if he’d consent to having them publish a book entirely of his quotations that an unspecified young lady had compiled [MTP].

August 6 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Eliot Norton declining an invitation to the annual dinner for the arts in Ashfield Mass., pleading age and rheumatism for “so long a journey in the heats of summer.”

Some day, I hope, you will change your dinner-hour to winter; then I am likely to be close by & idle; also hungry. …

P.S. I seem to enlarge upon my work as if it were something important. Indeed it is not; but I do it, just as if it were—that’s the heroism of the thing [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, sending more proof pages [MTP].

August 7 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells.

I have no doubt I am doing a most criminal thing & outrageous thing—for I am sending you these infernal Huck Finn proofs—but the very last vestige of my patience has gone to the devil, & I cannot bear the sight of another slip of them. My hair turns white with rage, at the sight of the mere outside of the package; & this time I didn’t even try to glance inside it, but re-enveloped it at once, & directed it to you. Now you’re not to read it unless you really don’t mind it—you’re only to re-ship it to Webster & tell him, from me, to read the remnant of the book himself, & send no more slips to me, under any circumstances. Will you? / Blackguard me if you want to—I deserve it.

Sam also told of Dr. Rachel Brooks Gleason of the Elmira Water Cure visiting in the evening with Miss Ella Wolcott, a friend of the Langdons, who quoted one of the invalids from the Water Cure. The quote put Howells, Henry James, Walt Whitman, Swinburne, and Shakespeare at the same level—“when you’ve read one, you’ve read ‘em all!” [MTHL 2: 497-8].

Karl Gerhardt was at Quarry Farm sculpting a bust of Sam [MTP]. Note: see picture insert earlier.

Sam also wrote a note to Charles Webster that he’d “miscalculated” his fortitude. “I can’t read any more proof.” Sam let Webster know that he’d sent the proofs on to Howells, who might return them to Webster to read, and if so, Sam would take them again and get his “profanity together & tackle it” [MTP].

George Gebbie wrote to Clemens, relating the history of the humor book and enclosing a prospectus for his The Library of Wit and Humor, which he sent Sam by express [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No Answer / wants to use his name in Library Wit & H. Also refers to prop of 4 years ago”

Bissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote to advise that Am. Express paid dividends in Sept [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Explaining Am Ex dividend”

August 8 FridayWilliam F. Cody for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show wrote to Clemens [MTP].

Stephen C. Massett wrote from the Catskills, about Mrs. Sheffield, mother of Mrs. Bartholomew, “with whom you used to board & lodge on 16th street in 1869!” She was in NYC and would like to see Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Tiresome Jeems / No answer”

August 9 Saturday – The Critic ran an article, “The Lounger,” unsigned, which noted the tact with which James B. Pond announced the upcoming lecture season, giving Mark Twain and George W. Cable billings which would cause neither to feel slighted [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p170].

Frank E. Bliss wrote to Clemens, surprised to hear that Coker has put out the ad for cheap books of Clemens. Bliss had conferred with their attorney [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pirates”

August 10 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam:

If I had written half as good a book as Huck Finn, I shouldn’t ask anything better than to read the proofs; even as it is I don’t. So send them on; they will always find me somewhere. I’m here in town for the present; but I’m going to Kennebunkport where the family are on Tuesday, and then to Campobello, N.B. Back to Boston the last of the month. / I see the circus has been finally reduced to Cable and you. That is right. The public wants to hear both of you; but I should have been a drag [MTHL 2: 499].

The New York Times ran a short paragraph at the end of “The Theatrical World,” p.3:

An engagement in New York has been arranged for Mr. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Mr. George Cable, who will give combination entertainments next season. Mr. Cable and Mr. Clemens will read from their own works, and Mr. Cable will sing Creole songs. For the relief of many anxious inquirers it may be stated that neither of the gentlemen will dance, although the advantages of winding up the show with a walk-around and break-down have been repeatedly suggested to them.

August 11 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to American Publishing Co., probably about the cheap editions being advertised by The Frank Coker News Co. of Talladega, Ala 

“Unless you bring suit at once to enjoin these pirates, I must sue for the annulling of my contracts with you, upon the ground that you make no sufficient efforts to protect my copyrights from infringement” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster about some of the proofs being a “disgraceful mess” [MTP].

Hugo Erichsen sent the form a third time to ask about Clemens’ writing methods. This time he included a handwritten note asking why Sam didn’t answer [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: going to Hartford to see about the furnace problem; hadn’t heard from Howells; wanted to hurry printers on HF as he couldn’t make contracts with agents until book was at binders [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “furnace”

August 13 WednesdayBissell & Co. wrote to Clemens trying to reconcile his account [MTP].

August 14 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster—more about the Huck Finn proofs “If all the proofs had been as well read as the first 2 or 3 chapters were, I should not have needed to see the revises at all. On the contrary it was the worst & silliest proof-reading I have ever seen. It was never read by copy at all—not a single galley of it.” He added that the game had only a year to file patent; see Oct. 9 entry [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: galleys returned from Howells; furnace diagnosed needing a new boiler, costs, etc. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Furnace to cost $750”

August 15 FridayBissell & Co. wrote to Clemens that the Am. Express in Europe would look up his dividend and advise [MTP].

August 16 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who evidently had advised that the furnace improvements in the Hartford house could be done for $750. Sam approved, but dictated that no workmen need to go up into the house from the cellar [MTP].

August 19 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking for a copy of the Sellers as a Scientist play. Ask Howells or look in the:

“…safe in the billiards room. There must be a copy somewhere. I’m going to elaborate it into a novel. /Gerhardt is completing a most excellent bust of me.”

August 21 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, advising him to get letters of introduction from “Warner; he knows everybody in Washington…” [MTP]. 

August 22 FridayWilliam M. Laffan for the New York Sun wrote to advise Clemens: “I put her into type and I think her highly amusing and seasonable. She’s on the Boss’s proofs and, I take it, is going in on Sunday” (in the file a copy typeset of “Hunting for H——” unsigned) [MTP].

August 23 SaturdayJames B. Pond wrote from Cottage City, Mass. The circular “brings hundreds of inquiries. All my letters are about Clemens & Cable” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, pasting Coker’s ad for Twain’s books at the top. He’d written to Howells about “that play” and “drawn a contract with the furnace man and he has gone to work.” He felt that something must be done about Coker’s ad, which appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of this day [MTP].

August 24 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to George Iles, Montreal editor:

“I am on the warpath next winter, with George W. Cable—that is to say, on the platform. Therefore I dasn’t accept your & the Snowshoe Club’s kind invitation, for I shan’t know for some time, yet, whether my route is going to carry me through Montreal during the Carnival or not…” [MTP].

A sketch titled “Hunting for H——” ran on page 2 of the New York Sun. Budd makes a strong case for this being Sam’s article in “Who Wants to Go to Hell? An Unsigned Sketch by Mark Twain?” William Mackay Laffan had written to Sam on Aug. 22 about the article “going in on Sunday” [Studies in Am. Humor online; Camfield, bibliog.].

Augustus Saint-Gaudens wrote to Clemens; letter not found at MTP but catalogued as UCLC 42231.

August 30 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: “It seems impossible to make any arrangement whereby the other Gen. Agts. Can sell ‘Huck Finn’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’ together, at a reduced price…” [MTP].

August 31 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, thanking him “ever so much for reading that batch of the proof.” Sam regretted that he’d not be able to attend the first night of Howells’ opera A Sea-Change in November, due to his readings with Cable that were to begin “about Nov. 5” [MTP; MTHL 2: 500n6]. Howells wrote on Aug. 10 inviting Sam and Livy [MTHL 2: 499]. Sam had plenty to say about current national politics:

This presidential campaign is too delicious for anything. To see grown men, apparently in their right mind, seriously arguing against a bachelor’s fitness for President [Cleveland] because he has had private intercourse with a consenting widow! Those grown men know what the bachelor’s other alternative was—& tacitly they seem to prefer that to the widow. Isn’t human nature the most consummate sham & lie that was ever invented? Isn’t man a creature to be ashamed of in pretty much all his aspects? Is he really fit for anything but to be stood up on the street corner as a convenience for dogs? Man, “know thyself”—& then thou wilt despise thyself, to a dead moral certainty. Take three good specimens—Hawley, Warner, & Charley Clark. Even I do not loathe Blaine more than they do; yet Hawley is howling for Blaine, Warner & Clark are eating their daily crow in the paper for him, & all three will vote for him. O Stultification, where is thy sting, O slave where is thy hickory! [MTP]. (See Sept. 4 entry for Howells’ reply.) Sam also told of the ruin of Gerhardt’s bust of him, but his fresh start in three days of making an even better copy.

September 1 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Frank Bliss had offered terms too difficult for Sam’s plan of offering a discount for a paired sale of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, so Sam commented that the “question appears to answer itself.” The Frank Coker News Co. of Talledega, Ala. had been running ads for Mark Twain books in Frank Leslie’s Newspaper—Sam asked Webster to “send me pirate ads which are calculated to enrage me.” All the bothersome details had robbed Sam of any productive writing time.

This is the first summer which I have lost. I haven’t a paragraph to show for my 3-months’ working-season. But there was no help for it—been in the doctor’s [& dentist’s] hands the greater part of the time….We shall reach our hotel the evening of Sept. 16. And thenceforward we can meet when there is business to be discussed—it is the only good way….Do not imagine from anything in this, that I misappreciate you. No, I am at loggerheads with myself [MTLTP 179]. See Sept. 16 to Twichell for purpose at the doctor’s.

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, advising the family’s plan was to reach their hotel in New York “the night of the 16th & remain 2 or 3 days” [MTP].

Frank E. Bliss wrote to Clemens, after being absent found Twain’s letter of Aug. 26 about suing the Coker Co. Bliss explained they would have to prove “the defendant knew that our books were copyrighted” and so begged off; they’d tried to serve notice but Talledega was out of the way and not an easy thing to find a competent lawyer to serve them [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote twice to Clemens: shouldn’t they copyright the new book? Agents appointed for HF; furnace work under way; he finally caught John T. Raymond at 10 pm [MTP].

Worden & Co. Sent statement of a/c Aug. 31 bal $13,693.70 [MTP].

September 2 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote twice to Clemens [MTP]. (financial statements enclosed) [MTP].

September 3 WednesdaySusy and Clara Clemens were accosted by a “drunken ruffian” down the road from Quarry Farm. The man “drew a revolver” on them but they managed to escape. See Sam’s Sept. 7 & Sept. 15 to Howells [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: about Howells and the Col. Sellers play, scene changes, final speech, etc [MTP].

J. Chester for Lincoln University wrote to thank Clemens for his of Aug. 25 with check, $150 [MTP].

September 4 ThursdayWilliam Dean Howells responded to Sam’s letter of Aug. 31 about the candidacies of Blaine and Cleveland. He did not share Sam’s perspective.

      I shall vote for Blaine. I do not believe he is guilty of the things they accuse him of; and I know they are not proved against him.

      As for Cleveland, his private life may be no worse than that of most men, but as an enemy of the contemptible, hypocritical, lopsided morality which says “a woman shall suffer all the shame of unchastity and a man none,[”] I want to see him destroyed politically by his past. The men who defend him would take their wives to the White House if he were President, but if he married his concubine—“made her an honest woman”—they would not go near him!

      I can’t stand that.

      Besides I don’t like his hangman-face. It looks dull and brutal [MTHL 2: 503].

September 5 Friday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to Charles Webster about the furnace bill. He also directed Webster not to go away “without first completing my contract with Pond” [MTP].

Sam then wrote a longer letter to Webster about stock sales, and not being able to re-write the new Sellers play even though Raymond’s suggestions were good [MTP].

September 6 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote to Clemens: Am. Exchange stock issue resolved—error in the London office & Sam would get his full dividend; he had no copy of the Seller’s play & Howells had only an “imperfect copy”; should he draw up a contract with Raymond? [MTP].

Jeannette L. Gilder for The Critic wrote to ask Clemens to contribute for their series of sketches—could they send someone to interview him? [MTP].

September 7 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, upset about a:

“…drunken ruffian who has been a trouble to our neighboring farmers for a couple of years & who drew a revolver on Susie & Clara last Wednesday when they were down the road a piece & without a protector” [MTP].

September 8 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to George Iles, the Canadian editor.

“You have my best thanks; & when Pond has fixed my dates I will drop you a line; & shall hope that they fall as you have suggested” [MTP].

Sam also wrote two notes to Charles Webster. The first enclosed a photograph of the Gerhardt bust of Clemens—Sam wanted the image to be a frontispiece for Huck Finn and credit given to Gerhardt. It might require Webster going to Boston to contract for a heliotype of the photograph from the Heliotype Printing Co. The second, shorter note sent news of a stock Sam had sold at a profit and a check for $5,000 [MTP]. Note: the picture of Gerhardt’s bust of Sam was included in the first edition of Huck Finn.

Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens, enclosing letter of Mr. Gilleg in reply to their inquiry of Sam’s dividend [MTP].

Buffalo Bill Cody wrote and enclosed three tickets to his wild west show: “I would be pleased to see you at one of the entertainments of the Wild West” [MTP].

September 9 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, sending what he thought looked like a bill for “more hellfired statuary.” Gerhardt had “just gone to Philadelphia. I wish it was in hell. / If this is a bill, step in there & pay it. It looks like a bill” [MTP]. Gerhardt had made the trip to cast the bust in bronze (Sept. 16 to Twichell).

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to acknowledge Sam’s check for $5,000 [MTP].

September 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote Buffalo Bill Cody: “I have now seen your Wild West show two days in succession, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought back vividly the breezy, wild life of the great plains, and the Rocky Mountains and stirred me like a war song” [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote to Clemens that he was leaving for Saratoga where he would read there the following day. On Friday he would return to Simsbury ready to meet Sam & Livy. “We shall greet you with a hurrah” [MTP].

September 11 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, advising him to let some unspecified matter “wait till another time.” Livy was “sick, & we may be here 10 or 12 days yet” [MTP]. Note: the matter to wait might have been Gerhardt’s bill, which upset Clemens on Sept. 9.

A. Edwards, Hartford billed and receipted Sam $25 for “Pasturing 1 pr. Horses 10 weeks at $2.50 pr week” [MTP].

September 12 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam having finished Sellers final speech, though he wasn’t “proud of it.” Some bad news about his opera, the manager had fallen and died getting on his yacht and Howells didn’t “know whether it will go on or not” [MTHL 2: 505]. Note: the opera was A Sea-Change and was finally performed in 1929, nine years after Howells’ death, by the BBC.

Chatto & Windus wrote to Clemens anxious for early proof sheets of HF; they enclosed draft for £356 on his English editions [MTP].

September 13 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.

“The bust was made in Elmira & is just finished. The photos were taken here & I have the negatives myself. But do nothing in the matter unless you find advantage for us in it. —I thought it would advantage the book” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote twice on various business matters [MTP].

September 14 SundayJames B. Pond wrote to Clemens [MTP].

September 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. John T. Raymond had backed out of doing the new Sellers play. The heliotype was acceptable to Sam at a cost of two cents each. Livy had been:

“…sick—is sick—& will not be able to travel for a week or ten days yet. Keep the Sellers play in your safe until I am done with the platform—then I will send for it & turn it into a novel” [MTP].

Sam also answered Howells“bad luck” letter of Sept. 12:

Well, isn’t the devil in the luck? Raymond backs out at last—I wish to thunder you hadn’t had the trouble of writing the speech for nothing. Then your manager had to go & get killed. That is your share of the ill luck. Mrs. Clemens has fallen sick, & our return home is frustrated, just as we were nearly ready to start. And that miscreant who drew the revolver escaped from the jailor & has got away into Pennsylvania. That is my share [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying “Never mind about the play. We had fun writing it, anyway” [MTHL 2: 507].

E.M. Ormsby wrote from Springfield, Mass. to demand an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Some ass or other”

September 16 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Joe Twichell, who evidently had written recently.

On the contrary, the summer has been lost time to me. I spent several weeks in the dental chair, coming down the hill every day for the purpose; then I made a daily trip during several more weeks to a doctor to be treated for catarrh & have my palate burnt off. The remnant of the season I wasted in ineffectual efforts to work. I haven’t a paragraph to show for my summer.

Sam had brought a bicycle with him to Quarry Farm but had little luck with it due to all the hills. Livy wouldn’t be ready to travel for at least a week. Sam told of Gerhardt and ruining the bust when casting was attempted in plaster; that Gerhardt had gone to Philadelphia to cast it in bronze. Sam was glad Joe and family were home again and that the Clemens “tribe” would be there soon [MTP].

September 16? Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Henry C. Robinson, attorney and one of his Friday Evening Club billiard cronies in Hartford.

“P.S. I spoke too soon, Brer Robinson. Mrs. Clemens has been sick & won’t be strong enough to travel for a week or ten days, yet. So I’ll have to appoint another & later billiard-meeting” [MTP; www.historyforsale.com #42883]. Note: Sam signed this “Elmira, Monday 16th” so date is uncertain.

September 17 Wednesday – Sam wrote two letters to Howells. Even though Howells wrote on Sept. 15 and had not commented on Sam’s opinion of Blaine and Cleveland, Sam didn’t let the subject go.

Somehow I can’t seem to rest quiet under the idea of your voting for Blaine. I believe you said something about the country & the party. Certainly allegiance to these is well; but as certainly a man’s first duty is to his own conscience & honor—the party & the country come second to that, & never first. I don’t ask you to vote at all—I only urge you to not soil yourself by voting for Blaine. When you wrote before, you were able to say the charges against him were not proven. But you know now that they are proven, & it seems to me that bars you & all other honest & honorable men (who are independently situated) from voting for him [MTP].

The second letter involved Livy, and something she told Sam that was worth repeating:

…A drop letter came to me asking me to lecture here for a Church debt. I began to rage over the exceedingly cool wording of the request, when Mrs. Clemens said “I think I know that church; & if so, this preacher is a colored man—he doesn’t know how to write a polished letter—how should he?”

      My manner changed so suddenly & so radically that Mrs. C. said: “I will give you a motto, & it will be useful to you if you will adopt it: Consider every man colored till he is proven white.”

      It is dern good, I think [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: bust photo for HF: Western loans [MTP].

September 19 Friday – The contract with James Pond for the readings tour with George Cable was signed. The tour was to run from Nov. 5, 1884 through the end of Feb. 1885 [MTNJ 3: 60n143]. Sam wrote a list of possible readings in his notebook before this date.

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Pond contract signed; bust photo for HF, other misc. [MTP].

September 20 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to James B. Pond.

“I & the family will arrive at the Brunswick on Tuesday evening. I will talk to you about the lithograph & learn the proposed size & style of it. This is necessary for Mrs. Clemens is dead opposed to it; & if she remains so, that’ll end it.”

Sam hoped to make his reading choices as soon as he reached Hartford, which he hoped would be a week from this day. Livy’s illness had delayed him one week, he explained [MTP].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified man:

“The album has gone to Hartford, I judge, where I have not been for 4 months, but where I shall doubtless be, a week or ten days hence. / Very Truly, SL Clemens” [2007 October Grand Format Rare Books & Manuscripts Auction #675 Lot 30310; Oct 24, 2007]. http://historical.ha.com/

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking for an unbound copy of HF to be waiting for him in Hartford, as he wished to choose excerpts to read on the tour [MTP].

September 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, giving permission for him to “go ahead & put the medallion-children in marble” for an exhibition. Sam expected to reach New York City on Thursday evening, Sept. 25 and Hartford on Friday, Sept. 26 [MTP]. Note: Sam was still in Elmira on Wednesday, Sept. 24, and the family probably left that day for New York. See Sept. 26 notes.

September 23 Tuesday An envelope only survives from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt [MTP].

The Clemens family (without Sam) left Quarry Farm for New York City [MTNJ 3: 57n128]. They stayed at the Brunswick Hotel. Sam stayed behind a day and then went to Philadelphia incognito (see Sept. 24 entry).

September 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt in Philadelphia:

“Dear K—Call at the Lafayette Hotel [in Philadelphia] at 9 SHARP, day after to-morrow (Friday) morning, & ask for J. B. Smith. That will be me. Keep my real name quiet. If nothing happens, I shall be there—otherwise I will send you some letters of introduction.”

Sam lectured him about sending original copies of letters with instructions to “preserve this” or “Return this,” etc. “Don’t ever do that again—send me a COPY of the thing…” [MTP].

On or just before this day Sam wrote to Charles Webster. He’d waited “a couple of days” for a special ink to come from the Heliotype Co. in Boston to be used on the bust page for Huck Finn, but it hadn’t come.

“—so now the signatures must wait till I get back from Philadelphia Saturday morning. I reach there to-morrow evening & shall stop at the Lafayette Hotel under the name ‘J.B. Smith,’ if you should want to communicate with me to-morrow night or Friday” [MTP]. Note: Just why Sam’s presence in Philadelphia for the bronze casting of Gerhardt’s bust was necessary, or why Sam wanted to travel incognito, is unknown. Sam’s letter of Sept. 26 to Pond suggests Sam hoped to have met Cable there for a photo of the two of them to be made, but that it wasn’t the primary aim of the trip.

September 25 Thursday – Sam left Elmira on this day, two days after his family left for New York, and traveled to Philadelphia (see letter to Webster, Sept. 24). He stopped briefly at the Brunswick Hotel in New York to check on the family. See Sept. 26 notes.

Wallace Muzzy sent another crank letter and signed it “Muzio Clemens” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Lunatic”

September 26 Friday – Sam wrote from New York to James B. Pond.

Cable didn’t come. However, I wasn’t expecting him or depending on him. But it wasn’t any matter, for Gerhardt doesn’t need a picture of me, & if he does he can get it at Falk’s, who has made a large one in profile. All he will need, now, is a suitable picture of Cable. I want the things to be made by Gerhardt—it will advertise him. Give G.W. my love, & tell him he didn’t disappoint me, I wasn’t looking for him.

Sam specified the programs for the tour should be printed on cards, not paper, which would rattle during the performance. Note: Sam’s letter of Sept. 21, 1884 to Karl Gerhardt is collected in its entirety in the Lilly Library’s “Mark Twain: Selections from the Collection of Nick Karanovich” (1991, p.19 #29; Sotheby’s auction June 19, 2003 Lot 45.): “We all reach Hotel Brunswick, New York, Thursday, & Hartford Friday evening” (editorial emphasis). 


Note: This letter prior reported from the MTP TS as “Tuesday” in error. This correction makes the stop at the Brunswick in the Sept. 25 entry definite. It also removes the “?” from the Sept. 26 entry as to the place of the letter to Pond. One correction or additional piece of information can affect multiple entries.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens, relating talks with Mr. Childs about the Peter Cooper Monument in NY; other contacts made [MTP].

William F. Barrett for Psychical Research Society wrote from Montreal to advise he’d sent a complete set of their proceedings [MTP].

September 27 Saturday – Sam wrote on a Hotel Brunswick postcard from New York City to Karl Gerhardt.

“My Dear K—I may want a clay medallion of Cable & myself made from a photograph by Sarony. Drop a line to Maj. J. B. Pond, Everett House, New York City & ask him if you had better run up here & get his ideas as to size, style, &c. I talked with him. He is my agent. He is out of town but returns in a day or two” [MTP].

September 28 Sunday – The Clemens family arrived back in Hartford either this day or the day before. Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl Gerhardt, reminding him to:

“…thank Mr. Childs & Mr. Gowen cordially for me for the kindnesses which they have shown you. I shall be in Philadelphia within a month or two, & shall go to them & make my personal acknowledgments” [MTP].

**William Mackay Laffan wrote from NYC, back from a Canada vacation and feeling good about beating Osgood at billiards; he offered Sam a challenge [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Laffan / answered him”

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens, having reassured Cable that Sam did not have hard feelings over waiting an hour for him; he asked if Sam had any notions about programs for the tour [MTP].

September, lateOctober, early – The earliest copies of the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were printed, though official publication did not take place until Feb. 18, 1885 [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].

October – Sam copied (in German) the last six stanzas of Moritz Ernest Arndt’s (1769-1860) song, “Das Lied vom Feldmarschall(1813) into his notebook [Gribben 27].

October, a Sunday Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, asking for a “list of our appointments & dates as far as you have got” for Livy. Sam wanted the list “immediately.” Her “acceptance or declination of an invitation to spend several days in Boston is depending on it” [MTP].

On a day in October, Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking him to “Look into that hand-grenade thing” to see if it was worth a speculation. “It is going to do an enormous business some day” [MTP]. Note: the Hayword Hand Grenades were a rack of small bottles of sealed water, to be thrown into a fire.

October 2 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, asking him to visit in Hartford with George W. Cable, “either at my house or his, a day or two later” [MTP].

October 3 Friday – At one time Sam was instructing Charles Webster to telegraph important information; now he wrote from Hartford telling him “to use the telegraph less freely…it is not twice in 5 years that a W.U. telegram beats a letter between N.Y. & Hartford” [MTP]. Sam wrote another short note to Webster on or about this date about having a rubber stamp made that would cross out the “Osgood & Co.” on envelopes he had and print Webster’s address [MTP].

October 4 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Fletcher Barrett of the Journal of Society for Psychical Research.

I should be very glad indeed to be made a Member of the Society….; for Thought-transference, as you call it, or mental telegraphy as I have been in the habit of calling it, has been a very strong interest with me for the past nine or ten years. I have grown so accustomed to considering that all my powerful impulses come to me from somebody else, that I often feel like a mere amanuensis when I sit down to write a letter under the coercion of a strong impulse…[MTP].

October 6 Monday Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: positive reactions to the mockup book of HF; details of the agents and pay [MTP].

October 9 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mervyn Drake, identity not known. Sam wrote six and a half lines in German and then recalled a Professor Ihne, who, with his wife and daughter, called on Sam and Livy on May 26, 1878 in Germany (See MTNJ 2: 89n85). Ihne was the author of several works on Roman history. Note: corrected name & date by Hirst email, May 17, 2007.

“I am trying to persuade my wife to say we shall pack up our household tribe & spend next summer at the Schloss Hotel and then I will furnish you some picturesque samples of German if you are there” [MTP].

Twain also signed a letter with 20 other leading men of Hartford to invite Lt. Mason L. Shufetde, U.S. Navy, in view of his “secret visit to Madagascar,” to lecture in Hartford. M.G. Bulkeley, Hartford mayor, headed the list, which included J. Hammond Trumbull, Joe Twichell, and Edwin P. Parker [ABE Books, Stodolski, Inc. Autographs 9/27/2010].

The Hartford Courant ran a front-page notice on Karl Gerhardt’s bust of Sam:

The bust of Mr. S. L. Clemens, which Mr. Karl Gerhardt modeled at Elmira last summer and which has just been put in breeze in Philadelphia, can now be seen at the gallery of Mr. Vorce. Mr. Gerhardt, who belongs in Hartford, has been for four years a student of sculpture in Paris…

Patent Engraving Co, New York sent Sam card & diagram “Game apparatus; filed this day [patent #] 324,535 ; with a quote of 1.75 to make game board [MTP, 1884 financial file].

October 10 FridayRichard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to propose Sam let him run “half or three quarters” of HF “with a whole lot of pictures” since the book wouldn’t be out for a month or two; he admitted this was against Sam’s rule but felt it would help the book’s sales [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Serial”

October 10 or 11 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Richard Watson Gilder, chief editor of the Century Magazine. He had received a telegram from Gilder about HF excerpt submission. Sam asked, “do you mean lump price $400—or $30 a page?” [MTP].

October 11 Saturday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to James B. Pond, extolling Gerhardt’s medallion of him and George W. Cable. Sam verified that the reading tour would resume on Dec. 29 [MTP].

Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote “Your telegram here has received & I have ordered the Dec. no. closed up without delay. Four numbers is what we would like to have” and “do you mean lump price $400—or $30 a page?” [MTP].

October 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Caroline M. Hewins, of the Hartford Library, asking her to “kindly allow the privileges of the Library to the bearer, Mr. Karl Gerhardt…” [MTP]. Note: Hewins was a prolific writer authoring the first popular bibliography of quality books for children; she is considered one of the great pioneers in library science, and today a scholarship fund bears her name.

George W. Cable wrote to Clemens, “delighted with the proof sheets I have read.” He especially liked (for reading) “Jim’s account of his investments winding up with the 10 cents ‘give to de po’” [MTP].

Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote that Sam’s “long letter was at hand. We’ll drop the idea of a serial…perhaps you’ll live up to the idea, yet; with another book” [MTP].

October 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Richard Watson Gilder about the selection of Huck Finn for the Century that Gilder chose.

“I have tried to put the explanation of the situation into Huck’s mouth but didn’t succeed to my satisfaction. Will the note do, which I enclose? Alter, emend, shorten it or lengthen it to suit yourself—if any of these shall seem necessary—but in some way preserve the fact that the thing is from an unpublished book…” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote from Hartford to Clemens that “the bust must go tomorrow, in order to enter the exposition, so perhaps it will be best for me to take it personally” [MTP].

October 14 and 15 and 16 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas W. Russell, a director of the Connecticut Fire Insurance Co., declining an invitation (probably to speak at the Mugwump political rally on Oct. 20. Sam held back the note for two days, hoping to be able to accept, and reminded Russell to be sure an include Twichell’s name on his list [MTP]. Note: Sam did speak at the rally.

During this week Sam wrote Howells and included a note that Clara Clemens was ill [MTLH 2: 510n1]

October 15 Wednesday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to James B. Pond: no, he wouldn’t read in Elmira; “Thank George W. for the suggestion about ‘lendin to de po’.”; Gerhardt was in New York for a few days [MTP].

October 16 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam.

Osgood has asked me to let him see the copy of the Library of Humor, and is waiting for me to get it a little more in shape. You can’t suffer any disadvantage in any event from his looking it over…I am glad that there is a reasonable hope of our having Mrs. Clemens here with you when you come to read in November. I’m sorry to hear that poor Ben [Clara] is under the weather [MTHL 2: 510].

October 17 Friday – In Hartford, Sam responded to Howells Oct. 16 letter:

Yes, give Osgood the MS—I haven’t the least objection. I am about half glad that Laffan beat him at billiards the other day, because he promised to stop over here & play with me, & didn’t do it.

By George, the refreshment & rest there is in a change of air & scenery once in a while! I am to preside at a Mugwump meeting Monday night. / Yrs Ever / Mark [MTP].

Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote again about the excerpt of HF to run in the magazine, and suggested $30 per page would be fairer than a flat $400. “I enclose the first page which we have sent to press. Have only omitted the poem, and a few cuss words—about the fog.—” [MTP].

Louis M. Passmore wrote to Clemens for his autograph [MTP].

October 18 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller:

Dear Governor—

I changed publishers once—and just as sure as death and taxes I never will again.

‘Rah for Cleveland! [MTP].

Critic ran an unsigned article about Gerhardt’s bust of Sam, “Mark Twain in Bronze,” which included a description of the work by Charles Dudley Warner [Tenney].

October 19 SundayWilliam F. Barrett for Psychical Research Society wrote to thank Clemens for his “interesting and characteristic letter” [MTP].

October 20 Monday – Sam spoke at a Mugwump Rally, Allyn Hall, Hartford, introducing Carl Schurz, the main speaker. His remarks as Chairman are published in Fatout’s Mark Twain Speaking, p.186-7. Thomas W. Russell, a director of the Connecticut Fire Insurance Co. introduced Sam [MTNJ 2: 74n26]. Note: James G. Blaine never explained how he became rich with little visible means of support, so that the cloud of corruption remained on him. “Mugwumps” were Republicans who favored Grover Cleveland, the Democrat candidate.

Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens that they’d written the American News Co. in Alabama about the ads for Sam’s books. Frank Bliss responded that “he had taken action through a local attorney in Alabama to stop the sale and thought it effectually stopped” and that Fred Hall had sent them a “decoy letter” asking for P&P and IA and enclosed Coker’s reply (not in file) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “See Bliss about this tomorrow”

October 20? Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells after reading the first two chapters of The Rise of Silas Lapham, serialized in the Nov. issue of the Century. Sam asked for a copy of the new Sellers play so he might “get some truck out for the plat-form readings.” Of Lapham, Sam wrote:

“I was glad & more than glad to meet young Hubbard again, & I prodigiously like the Colonel; the story starts most acceptably” [MTP].

October 22 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Henry L. Pierce (1825-1896), Boston industrialist, past Massachusetts Representative to Congress, and twice mayor of Boston—also friend of the Aldriches. Sam lobbied for Pierce’s support to put a “Mr. Edmunds” on the ticket as an Independent for the Presidency, an action Sam felt:

“…would work absolutely certain defeat to Blaine & save the country’s honor” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond that he’d selected for one-night readings, “King Sollermun” and “Can’t Learn.” He signed off again with “’Rah for Cleveland” [MTP]. Note: Clemens would consistently admire and praise Cleveland throughout his life. 

October 23 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, advising he would send the new Sellers play to Osgood by express that day. He diplomatically told Sam that there wasn’t room for Sam’s “fellow-reader” [Cable] should Sam and Livy come to visit. Howells also felt that Silas Lapham wouldn’t sell well until the presidential campaign was over. On the Englishman Henry Irving returning to America and playing to half houses:

“What a mistake for him to come back, poor fellow. But one of those constant Englishmen could never understand our fickleness in celebrities. Genius we stick to, but he hasn’t got that” [MTHL 2: 512].

B. Schuehaffer wrote to Clemens about supporting Cleveland for Mugwumps [MTP].

Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens, more on efforts to stop Frank Coker Co.  [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Alex & Green / Ala pirate / Sent $100”

October 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond that he’d decided to substitute an enclosed program for the one he’d sent, “All but 5 minutes of it is bran-new—never been played or published.” He asked for Cable’s “2-night program” so he might see how his would coordinate [MTP].

Alexander & Green wrote to twice Clemens, two letters enclosed, one from Bliss and their reply. They related that Clemens told them to do whatever was necessary to “prosecute the Coker Co.” They’d rec’d Sam’s of the 24th (not extant) authorizing action [MTP].

October 25 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook:

Oct. 25. To be attended to tomorrow:

Furnace doesn’t heat enough.

Sell cow if she is going dry.

We not to keep 3 cows.

D. is a failure; can’t raise turnips & roses.

Fix damp place in library shelves.

See Barnard of the Committee [Note: Henry Barnard was a member of the committee to choose a sculptor for the Nathan Hale statue in the state capitol building in Hartford. See MTNJ 2:75n29]

Ask C [Cable] to send me a full ticket [a complete list of his readings].

Hair cut.

Patrick, milk & alarm.

Das Bank Theilen verkaufen [Sell the bank shares].

Hotel in New Haven. [No doubt a reminder to ask Pond which hotel they might meet in].


George W. Cable wrote to Clemens:


Dear Friend: / Pond and I have talked and thought much over the programme. Enclosed please find the embodiment of our conclusions. We both think that more alternation than this would weaken and break the effect. The time here comprised is the same as originally decided on — 2 hours. My memoranda make it so on the margin. The first and second numbers suffice to give the audience a sense that both stars are “present or accounted for” and the 3d and 4th give each a fair swing at their attention & interest without interruption.

      One item in the programme shows a suggestion which I beg to offer. It is a substitute, almost literally from your test, for the phrase “Can’t learn a nigger to argue.” When we consider that the programme is advertised & becomes cold-blooded newspaper reading I think we should avoid any risk of appearing—even to the most thin-skinned and supersensitive and hypercritical patrons and misses—the faintest bit gross. In the text, whether on the printed page or in the readers utterances the phrase is absolutely without a hint of grossness; but alone on a published programme, it invites discreditable conjectures of what the context may be, from that portion of our public who cannot live without aromatic vinegar. I hope you’ll pardon the liberty I take, and restore the original phrase if you think I’m entirely mistaken.

      Wouldn’t you say “carriages at ten”—People like to know; especially when the carriages are sleighs.

      I am sending duplicate program to Pond. Please let him have your verdict as soon as convenient. I shall be in N. York with him Monday. “King Sollermun” is enough by itself to immortalize its author. I read it privately to Waring, his wife and her sister, after midnight of Thursday and I thought they would laugh themselves sick. … [MTP].

October 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, directing him never to print a program “till a day or two before it is to be used.” Sam knew that practice and change on the circuit would most likely be necessary. He recommended they “get up a third program” (instead of using two and alternating), “& practice it on the small towns too, before we strike Boston” [MTP].

Edgar W. Howe for Atchison Globe wrote to relate remarks B. Mcauley made bout Twain at a dinner; he “was overjoyed” to receive a letter from Howells [MTP].

October 27 Monday, after – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Ponda longer letter with details of the upcoming tour, including Gerhardt plaques [MTP].

James B. Pond wrote to Clemens, not having heard a word concerning the programme. “Mr. Cable wrote you about it, sending the division of the time” [MTP].

October 28 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Neil Burgess (1846-1910), a popular comedy actor who specialized in playing roles of elderly women. His greatest success was Widow Bedott in 1879. Burgess had evidently invited Sam to a performance or a social engagement, but Sam had to decline [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, suggesting a meeting; all that could be done by correspondence had been done.

I got Cable’s note yesterday, & do immensely approve of the change he suggests in the distribution of the stage-work. Let us stick to that plan—each to read a very short piece first; then Cable to bunch the rest of his rime together; & afterward I follow him & bunch all my remaining time together, & so close the performance [MTP].

Neil Burgess (1815-1910), comedian, wrote from Hartford, enclosing tickets for this evening [MTP].

October 29 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, whose invitation arrived this day for Sam to stay with him when he read in Boston. Howells had asked first, but Sam hoped to see them both. Politics and a candidate of independent status for president was good for a comment; Sam thanked him for “Mr. Pierce’s speech” [MTP].

Louis M. Passmore wrote from NYC, a second request for autograph [MTP]. Note: unused SASE in file

October 30 Thursday – Sam wrote to J.M. Stevenson for Illustrated Christian Weekly, letter not extant but referred to in the Nov. 1 reply from Stevenson.

Joseph Stein for Mark Twain Literary Union, NYC wrote to announce the formation of their group, 32 including 12 ladies. He asked Sam for “a few words” [MTP].

Samuel S. McClure (1857-1949) for Wheelman Magazine wrote: “I am making arrangements with a large number of newspapers for the simultaneous publication of stories of leading American authors.” Of course, he wanted to include something from Clemens [MTP].

October 31 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, who evidently had reminded Sam of a promise made that Sam could not recall. House hadn’t been specific. Sam wanted to “run to Japan” but felt it was not possible. He told of his upcoming four month platform tour, wishing he hadn’t promised but it was too late “to cry about it.”

Four days hence I shall have the pleasure of casting a vote against Mr. Blaine; shall vote the entire democratic ticket, from President down to town constable. All the republicans of this section are & have for years been bitter against Blaine; but they are party-slaves & nearly all will vote for him—including all the clergy but two—Twichell & one other. Lord, the amount of buzzard these shabby people are gorging, these days! [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, accepting a meeting in New Haven for Wednesday, then thinking Pond meant Monday—what hotel should he meet Pond and George Warner? [MTP].

Sam also wrote two letters to Charles Webster. He’d heard rumors that the American Exchange in Europe was shaky. Would Webster “inquire about this & if” true advise and he would sell out his $10,000 holdings? Furnace brushes had not arrived as promised. Gerhardt was “making a beautiful statue of Nathan Hale.”

“I read in New Haven Nov. 5, & shall read in New York about Nov. 17. You can get a list of all my appointments from Pond, so that you can keep tract [sic] of me. Get from him also either my hotel in each town or the name of the hall” [MTP].

Enclosed in the second letter was a list of people who had projects which were possibly good investments. Sam gave Webster the authority to “look into their project, make a contract with them if you like the look of it.” Sam had three months left to refuse half-interest in a patent for a device to keep children from kicking clothes off or rolling out of bed.

“We use it all the time, now, on three beds, & it works all right. But I have invented a more expensive & convenient one, & presently when I see you we will talk about it. Mine is not easily infringed; but any man can make the other thing for himself” [MTP].

Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens (Bliss to A&G enclosed), explaining that Anthony Comstock had been sent to Alabama to try to buy Twain books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ala pirates”; Bliss didn’t wish to sue over possible obscenities by Coker but only if they were selling a lot of Twain’s books.

October, Late – Sam gave another political speech “Turncoats” at a Mugwump Rally, Hartford:

Why are we called turncoats? Because we have changed our opinion. Change it about what? About the greatness and righteousness of the principles of the Republican party? No, that is not changed. We believe in those principles yet; no one doubts this. What, then, is it that we have changed our opinions about? Why, about Mr. Blaine. That is the whole change. There is no other. Decidedly, we have done that, and do by no means wish to deny it [Fatout, Mark Twain Speaking, p.182-4].

November? – A short speech may have been delivered titled, “Mock Oration on the Dead Partisan,” at some private gathering this month. If given, it would have followed the election of Nov. 4 [Fatout, MT Speaking 188-9]. Note: Budd observes, “May never have been delivered” [“Collected” 1021].

November 1 Saturday J.M. Stevenson for Illustrated Christian Weekly wrote to Clemens: “In response to your courteous note of Oct. 30th anent ‘A True Story’ published in J.C.W.[?] Oct 25th I hasten to say that we supposed it was true…so could not have touched it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Loose editing”

November 3 Monday Sam may have gone to New Haven, as implied in his Oct. 31 letter to Pond, to discuss the upcoming reading tour with Pond and perhaps George Warner.

In the evening, Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. The family admired a colored picture of Jane Clemens and couldn’t decide whether it was a photograph, or a pastille, or water-color.

“We agree upon one point only: that it is admirable work, with the details most delicately & pains-takingly wrought out. What is it?” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Miss Corinne Howells (relation to Wm. Dean Howells?). about the late Thomas Carlyle’s writing.

“But he is an angel now. If of the one other-world, he is already educated; if of the other, his education is mainly before him” [MTP].

November 4 Tuesday – Election Day. Sam, a Mugwump, voted for the narrow winner, Grover Cleveland, the first democrat elected president since before the Civil War. Note: for a scholarly treatment of the Mugwumps, see Gerald McFarland’s “The New York Mugwumps of 1884: A Profile” in Political Science Quarterly (Mar., 1963) p 40-58. In MTA, Sam remembered the pact he, Twichell and Rev. Francis Goodwin made to vote for Cleveland. This was before the Australian system of secret balloting, so that everyone knew who a person voted for. Sam wrote that the vote for Cleveland nearly cost Twichell his congregation. (See MTA 2: 21-25.) Note: Was this story Sam’s imagination? Strong writes,

“As it actually happened it is not so interesting a story as Twain later made it by inventing the tale of Twichell’s almost losing his church because of the statement in the paper and because his Republican parishioners would not put up with his declaration that he was not going to vote a straight ticket. But this was Twain’s imagination at work. The only actual adverse reaction was one letter in the ‘Letters from the People’ column in the Courant regretting that a minister should express a political opinion instead of sticking to his theological concerns!” [88].

Sam also wrote to Charles Erskine Scott Wood (1852-1944) (a man who needed four names to be recognized), after James G. Blaine failed by 28 votes in his bid for the Republican nomination for President. The text is not available, but the paraphrase is that the letter was “full of explosive and obscene matter…bitter with rage against the corruption in Lincoln’s once great party” [MTPO; was 14 June 1876 MTLE 1: 70]. Blaine’s opponents chanted: “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the State of Maine!”

November 5, 1884 to February 28, 1885Mark Twain and George Washington Cable went on a grand tour,” Twins of Genius” tour, with over 100 engagements, managed by James B. Pond. Sam read and delivered passages from numerous works including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Celebrated Jumping Frog, and others. Cable read from Dr. Sevier and sang Creole songs.

Luckily both men wrote their wives almost daily, and most of those letters have survived.

Note: Basic tour stops and information taken from four sources: Cardwell Twins; Lorch Trouble; Fatout Circuit, and Railton’s site: http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/huckfinn/hftourhp.html


November 5 Wednesday – During the day, Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus, thanking them for a royalties check for £356.


“I think the country spewed up the filthy Blaine yesterday. At least such is our hope & belief this morning. Webster is in California or Oregon establishing general agencies, so I’ve no book news. I take the platform to-night, after an eight or ten years’ absence…This trip’s my last—forever & ever” [MTP].


In the evening Sam and Cable gave a reading at the Opera House, New Haven, Conn. Livy was in the “large and refined audience,” according to Cardwell [15]. Cable wrote to his wife that the performance had been “an emphatic success.” After the reading Dr. Francis Bacon and wife gave a tea for the performers and friends [Turner, MT & GWC 50-1].


Walter Besant for Incorporated Society Authors wrote to bestow honorary membership [MTP].


November 6 Thursday – The “Twins of Genius Tour” continued with a reading at Music Hall, Orange, N.J. Clemens included: “A Telephonic Conversation,” “Col. Sellers in a New Role,” “ A Dazzling Achievement,” “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” “A Ghost Story,” and “A Sure Cure” [MTPO].


On Nov. 7, Cable wrote to his wife,  “Had a great success in Orange last night.”


November 7 Friday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Gilmore’s Opera House, Springfield, Mass. Lilly Warner and Livy