England to Home Again – Sketches No. 1 Flop – Orion the Chicken-Rancher
Colonel Sellers Stars on Broadway – Clara “Bay” Clemens Born – Elmira Summer
Dream House Built – Fredonia Visit – Hike to Boston with Twichell
“Old Times on the Mississippi” – Atlantic Monthly Breakthrough
Typewriter for Genius – Reformed Lecturer
1874 – Chatto & Windus published The Choice Humorous Works of Mark Twain, an authorized version with some corrections by Sam [Camfield, bibliog.]. A version of Sam’s “Jim Wolfe and the Cats” ran in Tom Hood’s Comic Annual for 1874 [Gribben 707].
January – Sam had a formal photograph made by Rogers & Nelson, London [MTP].
January 1 Thursday – Sam wrote after midnight from London To Livy. Sam the romantic waxed eloquent in his love and missing his wife.
“I am wild to see you. So I mean to go away every now & then, just to renew that feeling—but never more than 48 hours.”
At 11:30 AM Sam mentioned the “tremendous procession” of horseguards passing. He added to the note to send Livy an address of Fidele Brooks’ friends in Streatham, the Jacoxes [MTL 6: 1].
Sam also wrote to George H. Fitzgibbon wishing him and his family a successful New Year, and sending regrets he could not dine with him. Sam was booked every day until he left London, Jan. 7. He offered an invitation for Fitz to come visit him and Livy in Hartford [MTL 6: 2].
Sam and George Dolby traveled to Tom Taylor’s as planned. They found only Taylor’s wife at home [MTL 5: 541 & 542n1].
Geer & Pond, Hartford booksellers, billed Sam for the periodical, The Independent, for the period from Nov. 1, 1873 to Jan. 1, 1874 [Gribben 343].
January 2 Friday – Sam wrote from London to Livy. Sam had discovered a new and favorite cocktail. On his last trip over on the City of Chester, the physician on-board introduced a drink that Sam wanted Livy to:
…be sure & remember to have, in the bathroom, when I arrive, a bottled of Scotch whisky, a lemon, some crushed sugar, & a bottle of Angostura bitters. Ever since I have been in London I have taken a wine-glass what is called a cock-tail (made with those ingredients,) before breakfast, before dinner, & just before going to bed.
Sam added that the surgeon had recommended the drink and that his digestion since had been “simply perfect” [MTL 6: 3]. While not the excessive drinking of his Washoe days, Sam was now openly drinking again.
January 3 Saturday – Sam wrote again from London to Livy, this time at 2 AM, but noted it was only 9 PM in Hartford.
I am imagining you in the parlor, & the Modoc gone to bed. You are sitting by the table & the Warners are about to go home in the snow—& then you will go to bed too. Well, I wish I were there with you. Here, Stoddard & I have been talking & keeping a lonely vigil for hours—but I won’t talk of it any more. It is so unsatisfying. I want you—& nobody else. I do love you so [MTL 6: 4].
On this date, give or take a day, Sam also wrote Charles Dudley Warner that he couldn’t get a lecture hall in Ireland on satisfactory dates, so he wouldn’t lecture in Ireland at all. He enclosed a clipping announcing this, which included the preface he’d written on Dec. 11 for the English version of The Gilded Age [MTL 6: 5].
January 4 Sunday – Sam wrote two letters from London to Livy, one in the daytime with “drizzling rain” and the other after a dinner engagement. Sam and Stoddard dined at the Dolby’s and had a “rattling good time.” Sam wrote about two 60-year old, “white-haired gentlemen” who were at the dinner and told the story of how each had rescued the other from poverty at various times in their youth. One was a Prussian; the other French. He related Dolby’s telling of how the two would fight and make up during the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1) [MTL 6: 8].
Two copies of The Gilded Age were placed with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
George Dolby wrote: “My dear Mark Twain / In case I am not fortunate enough to see you this morning I leave this with above particulars as to how you may find my house this Evening— We dine at six o’clock & shall look forward to seeing you and friend Stoddart at that time. / I am always faithfully / George Dolby” [MTPO].
January 5 Monday – Sam spent “a good part of the day browsing through the Royal Academy Exhibition of Sir Edwin Henry Landseer’s” (1802-1873) paintings. He thought the work “wonderfully beautiful!” [MTL 6: 11].
Sam wrote a letter of apology from London to Tom Taylor, successful playwright and adaptor of dozens of works for the stage. Sam had sought advice about putting The Gilded Age on stage. He had repeatedly missed Taylor, the last time calling on Jan. 1 when only Taylor’s wife was at home. Since Sam was leaving London on Jan. 7, he regretted not being able to see Taylor [MTL 6: 10].
Sam wrote a short note to Livy about counting letters and claimed to have “averaged a letter every day” to her since he sailed, which would have totaled about 59 letters. Only 29 from this period are known to survive [MTL 6: 13].
Sam also wrote to Joseph Twichell of Landseer’s hundreds of paintings in “four or five great salons” and his excitement at getting home in 20 days. Sam had read The Gilded Age in book form and said he liked it, but added: “My interest in a book ceases with the printing of it.” Also, he scolded Twichell on one count:
“I knew you would be likely to graduate into an ass if I came away; & so you have—if you have stopped smoking. However, I have a strong faith that it is not too late, yet, & that the judiciously managed influence of a bad example will fetch you back again” [MTL 6: 11].
A bill dated Mar. 24, ’73 was paid this date to Chas. A. Wright, doors, sash, blinds, and moldings, Hartford [MTP].
January 6 Tuesday – Sam wrote a short note of thanks from London to George H. Fitzgibbon, introducing John McComb of the Alta California [MTL 6: 14].
Sam also sent a note to Routledge & Sons ordering a copy of The Gilded Age be sent to John Russell Young, to whom Sam then wrote a short note on this day or the next at midnight.
“I forgot the name of the hotel where we have just dined…but I drank a glass of water just before I left, & that is fatal to memory, you know” [MTL 6: 15].
January 7 or 8 Thursday – Sam left London for Leicester [MTL 6: 16n1].
January 8 Thursday – Sam gave his “Roughing It” lecture in Leicester, England at Temperance Hall [MTPO]. Note: This lecture is given as “Sandwich Islands” and a reading of “Jumping Frog” story by MTL 6: 16n1.
January 9 Friday – Sam dictated through Stoddard to John Murray Moore (1844-1914), advising him of his plans for lunch the next day but that he would be back in his room by 3:30 PM. Moore was a physician, and his business with Sam is unknown. In the evening Sam gave his “Roughing It” lecture in Liverpool, England [MTPO].
Bill paid to Mansury & Smith, carriage mfr. $23.15 for repairs [MTP].
After the lecture Sam gave Stoddard a page of pictorial notes for the “Roughing It” lecture. Along the margin Sam wrote,
“We’re done with this, Charles, forever! Mark Twain, Liverpool, Jan. 9, 1874, 10:30 P.M.” [Lorch 151].
January 10 Saturday – Sam had lunch aboard the Java, which left that day for New York. Sam’s host is not known. That evening, Sam gave the “Sandwich Islands” lecture and read the “Jumping Frog” story in Liverpool, England [Schmidt; MTL 6: 15-16n1, 20n1].
January 11 Sunday – George MacDonald wrote “a thousand thanks for your book. I did not mean to beg for one, and I hope you will not think so.” He was reading it now, likely GA, and said that he was “delighted with the courage & honesty” though he didn’t feel “the action quick enough” [MTP].
January 12 Monday – Sam wrote from Liverpool to Frank Finlay that he’d had full houses in Liverpool and “a jolly good time with them.” Sam wanted to send a “God be with you!” note to Finlay in the “midst of hustle & bustle of getting ready for an early start in the morning” [MTL 6: 19].
Bill paid in Hartford to O.S. Kelsey plumber and gasfitter and dealer in hot air furnaces, for work on furnace, piping, etc. Work done Sept. 27, Oct. 18, Nov. 14, 1873, Jan. 8, 1874. $16.36 [MTP].
January 13 Tuesday – Sam sent a dispatch to Livy that he was boarding the Parthia for home. Livy reported the contents of the note to Mollie Clemens and remarked that this was five days earlier than he’d expected to sail, probably due to his inability to secure lecture dates in Ireland. The Parthia left Liverpool [MTL 6: 20].
January 13 to 26 Monday – Little is known about the voyage and Sam’s activities, but in a letter of Feb. 13 to William E. Baille, he mentioned Samuel Morrin from Montreal and Rev. R. Dunn who was traveling to California [MTL 6: 30n1]. Note: see Feb. 13 to Baille.
January 15 Thursday – The New York Daily Graphic, p. 4, ran “Mark Twain’s Trails in London,” about his lectures there and a reprint of his humorous letter to the London Post [Tenney 6].
January 25 Sunday – Sam gave an autograph to William E. Baille on Parthia letterhead. On Feb. 13 Sam responded to an invitation by Baille and mentioned other passengers [MTL 6: 30n2].
January 26 Monday – The Parthia arrived in Boston [MTL 6: 20n1]. Evidently, nothing whatsoever happened on the voyage. One thing is certain, however—Sam smoked many cigars, made a few friends and did not get seasick. He may have stopped by James Redpath’s home or office upon his arrival to discuss those last lecture dates Sam intended to make. Sam spent the night in Boston.
January 27 Tuesday – Sam reached Hartford, Livy, baby Susy, and home. Livy put the stops to Sam’s plans to immediately lecture in New York and Boston (or so Sam claimed) [MTL 6: 21].
Sam also wrote to James Redpath, who pressed Sam for lecture commitments upon his return from England. Sam had telegraphed Redpath and followed it up with a letter of explanation. Sam withdrew the offer he’d made from London on Dec. 17 and repeated the line he’d sent to Livy: “There isn’t money enough in America to hire me to leave you for one day” [MTP, drop-in letters; MTL 6: 21].
January 27–April 15 Wednesday – During this period Sam answered the letter from his mother that read “kill Susy for me”—“kill,” rather than “kiss.” Figuring her son would know what she meant, and not one to look over or revise a letter, Jane sent the letter. Annie Moffett recalled Sam’s hilarious answer:
“I said to Livy, ‘it is a hard thing to ask of loving parents, but Ma is getting old and her slightest whim must be our law’; so I called in Downey and Livy and I held the child with the tears streaming down our faces while he sawed her head off” [MTBus 16; MTL 6: 22].
January 28 Wednesday – Geer & Pond, Hartford booksellers, billed Sam for five additional copies of the periodical, The Independent [Gribben 343].
January 31 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller in New York City. Sam wanted the Fullers to visit, as he was “entirely idle, & shall remain so for two weeks & possibly three.” Sam offered “a week’s glorification & general jollity…& we’ll have a royal good time telling lies & smoking” [MTL 6: 22-3]. Sam would have simply picked up the telephone, but Don Ameche hadn’t invented it yet.
February – The first edition of The Humorist carried an article about Mark Twain with the famous picture of him riding a jumping frog and a reprint of “The Jumping Frog” story [eBay item 370253114643 Sept. 9, 2009].
February 1 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James Redpath. Apologetically, Sam expressed shame at breaking agreements with Redpath, and agreed to lecture in Boston, “Roughing It” and “Sandwich Islands” on consecutive nights. To square things, Sam offered Redpath 15% of the gross, or half net, whatever he desired [MTL 6: 24].
February 4 Wednesday – Sam responded from Hartford to a letter from Emeline Beach, a fellow passenger on the Quaker City excursion with her father Moses Beach. Sam’s letter to the young woman he had previously flirted with was very proper and formal. He informed her of the death of Dr. George B. Birch (1822?-1873/4), who Sam credited along with William F. Church for standing by him when he was “dangerously ill in Damascus” [MTL 6: 24].
Sam also wrote to his brother Orion, who struggled on in New York at two dollars a day for the Evening Post. Sam’s offer of a pension for Orion was refused and the family generally felt it an unwelcome boasting to make such an offer. In this note, Sam was more conciliatory.
“God knows yours is hard luck, & one is bound to respect & honor the way in which you bear up under it & refuse to surrender. I thought you were heedless & listless; that you were content to drift with the tide & never try to do anything. I am glad indeed, & greatly relieved to know that this is not so” [MTL 6: 26].
Sam often wrote several letters in one day. He also wrote thanks to Samuel S. Cox, a Democrat congressman from New York who had probably praised The Gilded Age.
“Our new house is progressing steadily—hope to sleep you & eat you under its roof when it is finished, next autumn” [MTL 6: 29].
One journalist described the new house, on the summit of Farmington Avenue as:
“…a small brick-kiln gone crazy, the outside ginger breaded with woodwork, as a baker sugar-ornaments the top and sides of a fruit loaf. Of the several tall brick chimneys, no two are alike, and a good strong gale would be apt to topple them” [MTL 6: 29-30n3].
Jane Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy:
“My dear Children. / your letter came to us yesterday we were glad to hear from you all. Sam my dear son you are going to write to Orion If you are going to give him advice that is good, all right. Kind words will always do good. Orion troubles me very much but I cannot speak a short word to him, at any time. / I love to see brothers live and love each other and look over faults.” She thanked for the picture. Her hand troubled her: “I cannot write much”[MTP].
February 5 to 12 Thursday – No letters have been found for this period. MTL 6: 30n1 explains this may be due to Sam’s expressed desire on Jan. 31 (made to Frank Fuller) that he was “entirely idle” and planned to “remain so for two weeks & possibly three.”
February 12 Thursday – Dr. John Brown wrote:
My dear friend—I have been all too long in thanking you for the 3 goodly volumes, so full of good sense & good feeling & good fun & good knowledge of men & things—I am quite surprised at the fulness of meaning in them—as contrasted with most modern books—I wish I had a month of a desert, comfortable island, with them & the Bible—& milk & fruit & eggs & “the delicious juices of meats & fishes”—& a dog & a barrel of ripe Bass—then I would steadily eat through your 3 vols—I was rash in abusing the wood cuts—some are very full of power & beauty—& some excruciatingly Comic—You are happy with the wifie & the Megalopis & your segar & idleness—& home—Be thankful, every night you lie down on your bed, for having that wife & child—A Dr Stearns Dr to a retreat for the Insane, near Hartford—called on me today—I am to see him again & will send out a haggis & a pair of bagpipes & a stick of brimstone as emblematical of Scotland—He knew about that dear boy of yours—We are all fairly well—We Liberals, have got terribly licked & Russell is bemoaning himself—but, as John Bright says “ah well! the great ship may roll from side to side, but it moves on”—The Cause of truth & freedom & goodness & knowledge & temperance & brotherly kindness & Charity, is God’s Cause & therefore will win, at any odds—Your old friends here often speak of you—we are thinking of having a Mark Twain Club, & practicing the Wondrous Whistle—as a ticket of membership—
I am going to publish a new Vol of Odds & Ends, & mean to have an essay called “Megalopis—her father & mother & nurse & self—a study”—
Goodbye, my dear friends, bless you—& don’t forget, your old friend—&—
Ever Affly, / JB. [MTPO]. Note: Sam had sent IA, RI, and GA the previous Nov.
Rufus Hatch (1832–1893), vice president and managing director of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, wrote and asked if copies of Clemens’s books might be provided for the 35 libraries of the company’s ships [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 19 to Bliss.
Edgar Wakeman wrote to Clemens:
I write to say that all my friends in Cal. and Else where, Says that you must write my Life, and make a Book out of it that will Bring me in a Considerable, they all say that in your Hands it will be a good thing, and I write you this letter to tell you not to take Hold of any other Book until you have done with mine, the Public are anxious now about the Island World and I propose to End with the most authentic account of all the Isles in the Pacific their Products, Climat Soil, looks manners and Custom of the Natives and where Situated I will have the manuscript all Copyed in Plain good Hand writing, So you Can read it, it will be in a Book, from the Original. I have not tryed to alter it. I have left that for you to do, and will be at Staten Island by 1st of may if you must see me, and I think it woul[d] be a good Idea, for me to have about 10 days with you. Just write me, at Lapaz, Lower Cal, if you are free, to take Hold of this matter, and you are of all I know, the most Proper person, it will amount to a good thing, and as you take an interest in me, and as you are well acquainted with the History of Cal. and the Sandwich Islands, I felt that you are the only One who Can Do me Justice in this matter it in your Hands will be all that Mary wants, and in others Hands, it may be a miserable failure. Now Say that you will take Hold of it and I am a happy man, tis a Business transaction and you Can make your own terms. I want you and your way to write my life So I Shall Die Contented. I shall await an answer with much anxiety I will State that Mrs. Brocks, the wife of Mr Brocks with whomb I am now Staying, is an Excellent writer both in Prose and Poetry, and She has read the manuscript through several Times, and tells [me] to make no alterations, but Place it before you Just as it is, that it is full of the most remarkable incidents thrilling adventures both on the Sea and Land She Ever heard of. I will State here that they are naked Truths, and when Clothed by your able and incomparable Pen, in Such Brilliant Robes that the readers will be unable to Judge the difference between facts and fiction, it will have a Big Sale. I Remain yours with Respect. / E. Wakeman [MTPO].
February 13 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William E. Baille, a passenger on the Parthia with Sam in January. He’d received a note from fellow passengers: Samuel Morrin who was “home & happy, in Montreal”; and thought that Rev. Mr. Dunn should be in California by this time. Baille evidently invited Sam to lecture somewhere in Canada [MTL 6: 30-1].
Sam also wrote to Charles Kingsley, canon of Westminster, inviting him to stay in Hartford on Kingsley’s American and Canadian lecture tour [MTL 6: 32n1].
Sam also wrote to Louise Chandler Moulton, who had favorably reviewed RI in her New York Tribune literary column. Sam sent a picture of “Modoc” (Susy) with her mass of curly hair [MTL 6: 33].
Sam wrote a short note to James Redpath asking him to be at the Wilkie Collins dinner [MTP].
February? 14 Saturday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to his sister Pamela Moffett. Sam returned the schoolgirl essay that either Annie or Pamela had written as a schoolgirl [MTL 6: 36].
February 16 Monday – Sam gave a dinner speech at the Wilkie Collins Dinner, at the St. James Hotel in Boston. The Boston Evening Transcript: Feb. 17, 1874:
Mark Twain gave a brief description of his reception in England, saying that he was very successful in the object of his visit there, which was to teach people good morals, and to introduce some of the improvements of the present century [Schmidt].
Sam wrote to Elisha Bliss:
Please mail or send in your own way, a cloth copy of Innocents Abroad to
Shenandoah Co, Va;
& charge to my ac/ Yrs / Mark.
Collins was about to return to England after an American lecture tour. In attendance was a cast of great literary lights: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892), Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894), Thomas W. Higginson (1823-1911). Josiah Quincy (1829-1910), Edwin Percy Whipple (1819-1886), and John Townsend Trowbridge (1827-1916). Also Vice President Henry Wilson (1812-1875). William F. Gill (1844-1917), a Boston publisher, organized the dinner [MTL 6: 32n3]. Sam stayed in Boston overnight, in order to make these two public appearances.
February 17 Tuesday – In the afternoon, Sam and Rev. Charles Kingsley were “unexpected speakers” at a dinner for the Massachusetts Press Association [MTL 6: 34n1]. Later that evening in the Tremont Temple in Boston, Sam introduced Kingsley, who lectured about Westminster Abbey [Sam’s remarks are published in Fatout, MT Speaking 83]. (Mis-identified and misdated by Fatout as taking place in Salem, Mass. on Feb. 14) [Schmidt].
February 18 Wednesday – Sam probably returned to Hartford on this day [MTL 6: 36n1]. He wrote from Hartford to Osborn H. Oldroyd, a Lincoln-items collector who established a museum in the Lincoln home in Springfield in 1883. Oldroyd was a steward at a lunatic asylum and had requested Sam’s autograph. Sam answered, and, though it was clear Oldroyd was not an inmate, but a steward, Sam wrote:
“I believe you are wickedly & unjustly confined there (that is, if they are rigorous with you,) for portions of your letter to me are quite rational; & I am satisfied that if you were put under mild & judicious treatment, you would get over it” [MTL 6: 37].
February 19 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss. Sam enclosed the Feb. 12 from Rufus Hatch, vice president of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, requesting 35 copies of Sam’s books to use on their steamship line. Sam’s facetious reply included:
Friend Bliss: / Through being my publisher you have become a man of grace, & honest withal. Now here is your chance to disseminate wholesome literature, visit a far country, & dispose of a troublesome relative of mine, all at the same time.
Therefore, I propose that you stock those 35 marine libraries with nice copies of my books; also that you make a jolly summer voyage to San Francisco as my proxy, in one of the choice vessels of the line; & likewise that you see that my poor old excellent but imperishable aunt Rachel is shipped westward in the slowest & rottenest craft Mr. Hatch can furnish, even if he has to charter one from some other company; & finally, that you personally superintend the embalming of my aunt—for that, you understand, is the main thing. If she should not be in a condition for embalming, at the end of the voyage, you must sue & compel the company to fulfill the contract. (But mind, I don’t want her sent back here, even embalmed—she has been embalmed before, but it wouldn’t hold) [MTL 6: 38; MTPO].
February 20 Friday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a short note to James Redpath about the arrival of Charles Kingsley and his daughter, Rose Georgiana Kinglsey (b. 1845).
“Dear Redpath: / Mr & Miss Kingsley are coming to visit us as soon as lecturing will permit. Tell me how soon they can come. We want them” [MTP, drop-in letters].
February 23 Monday – Sam sent two short notes from Hartford to James Redpath about “floating” the fact that Sam had refused an offer of $25,000 for 30 lectures, as a way of puffing the upcoming Boston lecture [MTL 6: 43].
Sam also sent a note by way of Patrick McAleer (1846-1906) to the staff of Roberts Opera House in Hartford requesting two tickets for the Vokes family comedy show for Wednesday, Feb. 25 and three tickets for the Theodore Thomas concert for Friday, Feb. 27 [MTL 6: 44; See note 1 in source].
Sam also wrote to the Superintendent of the American Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb in Hartford, requesting that “young Wheeler” not always stay for dinner. It’s not known why James Wheeler, deaf from scarlet fever as a child, would stop by and always stay for dinner. But Sam didn’t like it [MTL 6: 45].
J.C. Kojema wrote on Hartford Courant notepaper to ask Sam for a referral as a teacher [MTP].
February 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks. Sam and Livy had been renting the Hooker house while their new home was being built. They planned on taking occupancy in the new house after returning from Elmira in the fall. Sam asked Mary to come the middle of March instead of going to Philadelphia, since their plans were to leave for Elmira “the 15th or 16th of April.” (Mrs. Fairbanks did travel east with her son, Charley, and visited the Clemens family just before they left.) Sam wrote that he was “writing two admirable books,” probably the English book which he abandoned and the other, continued work on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He was also writing a play, the version of Hamlet with a commentator, which he also gave up on. On top of these several projects, Sam was “preparing several volumes of my sketches for publication, & am writing new sketches to add to them.” After collecting these in a pamphlet, “Mark Twain’s Sketches. Number One,” was withdrawn in the spring. The better collection was issued as Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old (1875) [MTL 6: 46].
About this date, Sam sent a note to an unidentified person about a play he was working on (likely the Hamlet burlesque) [MTL 6: 51].
Sam and Livy probably went to see the Vokes family perform The Belles of the Kitchen, a comedy at the Roberts Opera House in Hartford (See Feb. 23 entry) [MTL 6: 44n1]
February? 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Will Bowen, childhood friend and fellow steamboat pilot. Bowen was an insurance agent in St. Louis. Sam invited him to visit after the family returned from Elmira for the summer.
“If you’ll drop in on us for a week or so next fall or winter, we’ll play billiards up stairs all day & euchre down stairs all night, & have a general good time. Will you?” [MTL 6: 50]. Note: Will had recently lost his wife.
February 27 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells about a mix-up in lecture dates for Boston, and Howells’ arrival in Hartford with Boston publisher James R. Osgood at the invitation from Sam’s neighbor and collaborator, Charles Dudley Warner. “I am in a sweat, & Warner is in another.” The visit was deferred for a week [MTL 6: 52].
Sam and Livy probably attended the “Unrivalled Orchestra,” conducted by Theodore Thomas. Sam sent for three tickets for this performance at the Roberts Opera House on Feb. 23. It is not known who accompanied them [MTL 6:44n1].
February 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edinburgh physician, John Brown, saying he was “delighted” with Brown’s commendations of The Gilded Age. Brown had written thanking Sam for the gift copies of his three books. Sam cites the sale of 40,000 copies of the book in the two months since publication and compared it favorably to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the same benchmark he used to compare sales of Innocents Abroad. The Gilded Age did not sell well in England, however, and the panic of 1873 held down sales of all subscription books in the U.S. Further, critics saw the book as “uneven” and lacking. The play would be much more successful. The title of the book stuck as the label for the period [MTL 6: 53].
Sam also wrote a note to James Redpath. Sam asked to have a room secured at the Parker House, Boston for Thursday, Mar. 5, and informed if his talk would be Friday and what his subject would be [MTL 6: 58].
March – Sometime this month Rosina Hay (1852?-1926), the German nursemaid, was hired. She would stay with the family for many years, and accompanied them on their trip to Europe in 1879 [MTNJ 2: 365n33]. Salsbury writes, “She was a Lutheran, had a lovely sense of humor and an easy, cordial laugh. She had good sense and great courage” . Rosina would work for the Clemens family until she left to be married on Aug. 16, 1883 [AMT 2: 568].
March 2 Monday – In Cambridge, Mass. Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote:
“My dear Mr Clemens. / Howells and Sothern are to lunch with me at my house in Cambridge on Friday the 6th at one (1) o’clock. The whole thing will be a failure if you can not be on the ground at that hour. Will you come? / Yours faithfully, / T. B. Aldrich” [MTPO]. Note: answered Mar. 3. Edward Askew Sothern (1826-1881), English comedian who played the part of Lord Dundreary in Tom Taylor’s Our American Cousin.
March 3 Tuesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to William Dean Howells to complete arrangements for Howells to visit. Embellishing the old saw about a bird in the hand, Sam wrote:
“All right come down with me Friday the superior value of birds in the hand over those that still sport in joyous freedom amid the leafy depths of their native woodland is so universally recognized that I cannot feel necessitated to enlarge upon it to one of the first minds of the age at three cents a word by telegraph” [MTL 6: 59].
Sam also answered the Mar. 2 from Thomas Bailey Aldrich about lunch in Boston on Mar. 6 and returning to Hartford in time for dinner with Howells and Warner:
“My Dear Mr. Aldrich: / Howells is to dine with Warner & me in Hartford that day & date so I naturally infer that a body can lunch with you & Mr. Sothern at 1 & still catch the 3 PM train for this town—therefore, if my inference is correct, I shall be more than glad, I shall be proud to tackle your sustenance on that occasion” [MTP, drop-in letters].
Note: When specified “George Warner,” referring to C.D. Warner’s brother, George Henry Warner (1833-1919); in context, “Warner” alone means Charles Dudley Warner.
Sam also telegraphed Redpath asking him why he didn’t congratulate him since he didn’t expect to “Stand on a lecture Platform again after thursday night” [MTL 6: 60].
March 4 Wednesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to William Dean Howells, suggesting they return to Hartford the day after the lecture, Friday, Mar. 6. Sam actually returned alone that day; Howells, Osgood, Aldrich and wife came on Mar. 7 [MTL 6: 61, 62n1].
March 5 Thursday – Sam gave the “Roughing It” lecture in Horticultural Hall, Boston [MTPO].
March 6 Friday – Sam returned alone to Hartford, perhaps after luncheon at the Aldrich home. Of the lecture, The Boston Globe:
Said Mr. Clemens, in his usual confidential style: “It is customary on these occasions to have a prominent citizen to introduce the speaker. I like this custom, and so I got Thomas Bailey Aldrich to promise to do this. But, at the last minute, he tells me that he thinks he would better not attempt it, and I know you’ll excuse him; I will. He might not be complimentary; he’s known me a good while.”
The Boston Herald:
The speaker was in excellent humor last evening, as also were his hearers, who came to laugh and be merry, and so they were from the opening to the closing syllable of the discourse. The lecture itself was an extravaganza, or an exceedingly humorous narration of what the speaker did or did not experience in the three years’ sojourn in Nevada…it was the style of the delivery which produced the climax [MTL 6: 60n3].
March 7 Saturday – Howells, Osgood, and the Aldriches left Boston on the train to Springfield, Mass., where Sam and Warner met and accompanied the group to Hartford. Howells and Osgood stayed with the Warners, while the Aldriches stayed with Sam and Livy [MTL 6: 62n1-2].
March 8 to 10 Tuesday – The visit of Howells, Osgood and the Aldriches lasted until Mar. 10.
March 9 Monday – Sam inscribed a photograph of himself to Lillian W. Aldrich (Mrs. Thomas Bailey Aldrich): “With regards not to be expressed in their full strength because of the overlooking eye of T.B” [MTL 6: 64]. See insert photo.
In Hartford, Sam also wrote an impatient note to Elisha Bliss asking him to send a copy of Roughing It to a humorist friend, Benjamin P. Shillaber, of Chelsea, Mass. [MTL 6: 64].
March 10 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a short note to Mr. McElroy, who had inquired if Sam would ever return to Albany to lecture as he did on Jan. 10 1870. Sam recalled the “festive lunch” but offered that he had “no present idea or intention of ever standing on a lecture platform again” [MTL 6: 65].
March 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss about publishing details and Charles Dudley Warner [MTL 6: 65].
March 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the editor of the London Standard. In explaining the phenomenon of non-violent prayer-ins at liquor shops by respectable females in the U.S., Sam forthrightly raised the cause of women’s suffrage, reflecting an evolution in his thought from 1867, when he said, “I never want to see women voting, and gabbling about politics, and electioneering. There is something revolting in the thought.” Of course, Sam “married women’s rights” from a family of progressive thinkers. Now he wrote:
I dearly want the women to be raised to the political altitude of the negro, the imported savage, & the pardoned thief, & allowed to vote. It is our last chance, I think…Both the great parties have failed. I wish we might have a woman’s party now, & see how that would work. I feel persuaded that in extending the suffrage to women this country could lose absolutely nothing & might gain a great deal [MTL 6: 66].
The London Standard published the letter as “The Temperance Insurrection,” on Mar. 26.
March 13 Friday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to James Redpath, asking what hour Charles Kingsley would arrive for his two-day visit to Hartford from his last lecture stop, Troy New York [MTL 6: 73].
March 14 Saturday – Charles Kingsley, canon of Westminster, and unmarried elder daughter, Rose Georgiana, visited the Clemens family. Kingsley had come to America on a lecture tour [MTL 6: 32n1]. Note: Kingsley returned to England exhausted from the American tour, and died the next year, 1875.
March 15 and 16 Monday – Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, best known for his 1869, The Story of a Bad Boy, a sort of forerunner to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam read the book but claimed not to have been influenced by it and did not like the prose style [Rasmussen 7]. Aldrich had visited earlier in the month and had sought Sam’s help on his current work, Prudence Palfrey. After several pages of suggestions, Sam wrote the next day (Mar. 16) of premature labor pains for Livy, who was not due with their second daughter, Clara, for three months. Aldrich had offered to “buy a brewery” to get Sam to visit him in Boston. The trip had to be postponed, and the Clemens family would leave sooner than intended for Elmira [MTL 6: 74].
March 18 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. Captain Edgar “Ned” Wakeman had written to Sam asking him to write the story of Wakeman’s life. Sam’s response has been lost, but he wrote his brother:
“I have written him that you will edit his book & help him share the profits, & I will write the introduction & find a publisher” [MTL 6: 82].
Note: Wakeman died in 1875. Sam did not write the introduction and Orion did not edit the book, The Log of an Ancient Mariner was published in 1878 by Wakeman’s daughter [MTL 6: 82; Rasmussen 502].
Dr. John Brown wrote to Sam.
My dear friend—Pleasant it is to get your letters—you write to me just as you write to the public, & what is better, to the public as you write to me—this perfect naturalness—so rare—you have—It is good in you to write & keep up the line of life & affection between us—it is one of my best pleasures & I trust it will never fail—You are wonderful buyers, you Americans 40,000 in two months & £3,000 of plunder—Here nobody buys books they read them from Clubs &c—with you, not only are you better educated men caring for reading—but you are richer & every house has its own library— I don’t know what literature will come to with us—I suppose it will burn out, as we ourselves are fated to do—Yes, my dear friend I know you bless God for the wifie & the “bairn”—& they doubtless bless the same Almighty for you—I wish you had known my John’s mother—I got Darley’s “Margaret” all safe & surely I acknowledged it at once? it is full of genius—has both the vision & the faculty—& is the best bit of American art I have seen—it is constantly out & greatly admired—The story I am going to read in a month, at some country inn—along with your books. I’ll take nothing else—except the old book—I sent a splendid Collie from Blair Atholl to Prof. Forsyth at West Point—a black & tan of the first water—he is called Cheviot—if you are near that nursery of your warriors, ask for him—The Judge is in great force & our Club is brewing—the whistle is the Sine Quâ Non, the respective households of the members are made hideous by our old whistling—I hit upon it now & then—most excruciatingly—
I have got through the winter fairly—we are all well—John came in from the New Club Ball at 4 this morning
Barclay & his cordial wife are off to Rome with “The Innocents”—I hear poor accounts of Motley—I knew Sumner, a little—a big rather than a great man—but honest & incorruptible & high hearted—but without an[y] spark of humour—& with a very strong sense of himself—Write to me again, & give & take our loves— / Yrs & her’s ever Affly / J. Brown [MTPO]. Notes from source: “The ‘Judge’ was Brown’s friend Alexander Nicolson (1827–93), a sheriff substitute (an undersheriff who hears cases) and also a lawyer, writer, and scholar of Gaelic and Greek. Clemens met him and the others mentioned here—George Barclay, Brown’s son, John (Jock), and Brown’s younger brother, William—in Scotland in 1873.”
March 19 Thursday – Susy Clemens’ second birthday. See insert age 2-3.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Ainsworth R. Spofford, the Librarian of Congress. Sam wanted to publish a pamphlet (Mark Twain’s Sketches. Number One) and copyright both the contents and the engraved design on the cover. Would one copyright suffice? [MTL 6: 85].
March 20 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells to advise him of a house for sale near where the new house was being built. Sam wanted Howells or Aldrich to move to Hartford. The reply is not known, but neither man moved [MTL 6: 85].
Sam also wrote to Frank Fuller about making money from buying and publishing a manuscript:
Dear Frank: / Why shouldn’t you & I buy that Granger man’s book & publish it through the American Publishing Co. here? That is to say, if it will make 500 or 600 pp. 8 vo,) give him $2,000 or $3,000 for his book, or else give him 5 or 6 per cent royalty & then we could charge the Pub. Co. 8 or 10 per cent royalty. We could sell between 50,000 & 100,000 copies at $3.50 apiece
We send warm regards to yourself & Mrs. Fuller. Mrs. Clemens has been ill for a week, but is about the room again. / Ys Ever / Mark [MTP, drop-in letters].
March 23 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Jerome B. Stillson (1841-1880), managing editor of the New York World and a native of Buffalo. Sam had written “ a rather lengthy review of that unfortunate & sadly ridiculous book of Miss Cecilia Cleveland’s about Chappaqua.” (The Story of a Summer; Or, Journal Leaves from Chappaqua.) Sam wanted his negative review published anonymously, probably because the publisher for Cecilia Cleveland’s book was the same George W. Carleton who had so brusquely rejected The Jumping Frog book. Stillson did not print Sam’s review, but the Boston Evening Transcript as well as Warner in the Hartford Courant, expressed a similar view. Sam expressed in his review that whoever persuaded Cleveland to publish was to blame more than the authoress [MTL 6: 87]. Note: Whenever Sam was slighted, his memory was long and his blood rarely cooled.
Sam wrote a book dealer for a list of books, asking if there was a discount for authors, he was “willing to take advantage of it”; if not, he didn’t want to “create a damaging precedent” [MTL 6: 88].
The Hartford Times said Sam’s house going up on Farmington Avenue was “one of the oddest looking buildings in the State ever designed for a dwelling, if not the whole country” [Andrews 81].
March 24 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, telling him to “send along the proofs” for Aldrich’s book, Prudence Palfrey. Sam would also help Aldrich get the book published by Elisha P. Bliss—what’s more, Sam’s strategy was to approach Bliss with the manuscript, and ask if he could pay a ten per cent royalty or should Sam go to a “hated rival”? Sam mused that he might try “printing my own next book,” probably still suspicious of Bliss’ accounting. Sam drew sketches in the letter and inserted sub-titles [MTL 6: 89].
March 25 Wednesday – Sam again wrote from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, clarifying prior advice on a revised section of Aldrich’s book [MTL 6: 94].
March 26 Thursday – The London Standard ran Sam’s letter, “The Temperance Insurrection” [MTL 6: 66].
March 27 Friday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to James Redpath.
“Dear Redpath: / If you’ve got that old Postmaster monologue by you, please send it to me—I want to revise & publish it in the Atlantic Monthly, & see if I like it upon re-reading” [MTP, drop-in letters].
March 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William S. Andrews, a fellow lecturer and member of the Lotos Club. Andrews asked Sam’s help with his lecture, but Sam declined, being “buried up to my eyes in work & that work is standing still; for my wife is ill & has been for some little time.” Sam hoped they might meet briefly as they passed through NY on the way to Elmira just as soon as Livy was able to travel [MTL 6: 96].
Sam also wrote to Meriwether Jeff Thompson, an ex-Confederate general known as the “Missouri Swamp Fox.” Thompson appeared in Chapters 16-17 of The Gilded Age and sent Sam a long letter about persons living and dead. Sam and Thompson may have met between mid-Feb.1857, when Sam began his pilot apprenticeship and Feb. 13, 1859. Warner met Thompson in 1853-4 while working as a surveyor for the railroad [MTL 6: 96-100].
Spring of 1874 – Sam’s pamphlet of ten sketches, Mark Twain’s Sketches. Number One, was ready but was withdrawn before distribution [MTL 6: 49n6].
April 3 Friday – Sam paid an Apr. 1 bill of $2.45 from Geer & Pond, Hartford booksellers for a subscription of Littell’s Living Age for the period Dec. 6, 1873 to Mar. 21, 1874 [Gribben].
April 4 Saturday – C. Gleim wrote to Sam [MTP]. (See Apr. 9-12 entry)
April 6 Monday – David Gray wrote from Buffalo, NY. In part:
My Dear Friend Mark: / I can’t remember anything of last winter’s happening that did me quite so much good as your splendid letter to me from London. It gave me a better measure than I had had of the bigness of your heart,—as to which I shall never doubt again but that it will be capacious enough to contain a corner for your old Buffalo friend, no matter how many better people may crowd in past him. I really cherished a vague idea that ere this I should have been able to run down to New York & see you either there or in Hartford. But there is no let up for me & I have to content myself tracking your shining footsteps in the newspapers [MTPO]. Note: reply on Apr. 18.
April 7 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Annie F. Fuller (1840?-1906), 2nd wife of Frank Fuller:
My Dear Mrs. Fuller:
Since Frank left I have been too busy with home matters to attend to any business. Mrs. Clemens’ frail health is the cause. So I have left the matter of the “Granger” book alone till Frank shall return. If it is a good thing it will keep—but if it were the best thing in the world I would have to let it alone until his return, anyway.
The Modoc is well & hearty & joins us in warm regards & best wishes for you & Frank [MTL 6: 101]. Notes: Mary F. Fuller, Frank’s first wife, died in 1870; “Granger” book unidentified; see Mar. 20.
April 8 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus, English publishers who had taken over John Camden Hotten’s company upon his death. Responding to a request for a blurb to promote Ambrose Bierce’s new book, Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California by Dod Grile; Sam had known Bierce in San Francisco in the 1860s. Sam wrote:
“Bierce has written some admirable things—fugitive pieces—but none of them are among the “Nuggets.” There is humor in Dod Grile, but for every laugh that is in his book there are five blushes, ten shudders & a vomit. The laugh is too expensive” [MTL 6: 102].
April 9 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Jerome B. Stillson, editor of the New York World, asking him to save all the exchanged newspapers that carried the lie that he paid for a dinner to be given in his own honor.
“In confidence, I am bringing a libel suit & I want these papers as evidence. Don’t mention it” [MTL 6: 102].
Winthrop Turney (ca. 1864-1905) wrote: “Dear Sir / Please send me your autograph and greatly oblige your young friend /Winthrop Turney” [MTP]. Note: Hand drawn large letter “T”s on the stationery & env., led Twain to write: “A Curiosity (The initial.) (A boy who manufactures his own).” Turney committed suicide in 1905.
April 9–12? Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister, Pamela Moffett, enclosing an Apr. 4 letter from C. Gleim in Rock Island, Ill. Gleim was evidently a family friend. Sam wrote that “Livy is tolerable & the Modoc is well. We leave for Elmira next Wednesday” [MTP, drop-in letters].
April 10 Friday – Mollie Clemens arrived in Hartford remaining at least through Apr. 11. She came to ask Sam to help her and Orion buy a farm in Keokuk. Sam was still deciding by Apr. 23, when Mollie wrote an attorney to seek clear title on a property near Keokuk, owned by her father, William Stotts [MTPO notes in Apr. 23 to Orion]. Sam offered them the alternative of an outright pension with interest on $8,000.
Sam wrote a short note from the railway post office in Hartford to Orion, who was working at the New York Evening Post, a paper which Sam thought had carried the libelous item about him paying for his own tribute dinner. Sam wanted a copy of that paper, not the article cut out, and he wanted Orion to keep the secret of a libel suit. Sam was waiting for Mollie, who had taken the train to Hartford seeking financial assistance from Sam to buy a farm in Keokuk [MTL 6: 103].
Sam also wrote two letters to James Redpath on the same issue, this time about the item appearing in the Boston Evening Transcript.
Dear Red, /There is an item going around like this:
Yours ever, [no signature; MTP drop-in letters].
Sam replied on Farmington Ave. stationery to the Apr. 9 from Winthrop Turney:
“Dear Sir: Your very pleasant letter has just arrived this morning, & I hasten to comply with a request which is a high compliment to me, since it is proof that your friendly interest has survived both the reading of my books & the listening to my lectures” [eBay item 370295829353 Nov. 24, 2009].
April 11 Saturday – Sam wrote again to James Redpath asking for advice—should he sue for libel or print a paragraph denying the lie, “& word it so that it will travel.” Whatever advice Redpath gave, Sam did not file suit [MTL 6: 105].
Jane Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy asking for donated books for the WCTU in Fredonia [Gribben 576]. (See Dec. 9 entry.)
April 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Editor of the Hartford Courant. Joseph R. Hawley was the top editor, but he was in Washington, so Charles Dudley Warner was in charge. Sam enclosed the small article denying the supper lie, probably written by Warner, and then went on to explain that he’d discovered that names had been switched, probably as a joke. “Where I was born they always hang a man who can’t take a joke” [MTL 6: 106]. Note: Sam took the joke, but one gets the sense he didn’t like taking jokes on himself.
April 14 Tuesday – Sam inscribed a book (unidentified) of Twichell’s that he’d borrowed and then loaned to Elisabeth (Lilly) Warner [MTL 6: 107].
Sam’s letter to the Courant ran on page two as “Mark Twain’s Banquet” [Courant.com].
April 15 Wednesday – Sam and Livy left Hartford for Elmira, stopping in New York where they stayed two nights at the new Windsor Hotel. There they met Mary Mason Fairbanks and her son Charley [MTL 6: 109n2].
An inch of rain fell on New York City [NOAA.gov].
April 15 or 16 Thursday – The Clemenses and the Fairbankses had dinner with Dan Slote and Clara and John M. Hay [MTL 6: 109n2].
April 17 Friday – Sam and Livy continued on to Mrs. Langdon’s in Elmira, where they stayed until May 5 and then moved to Quarry Farm with Susan and Theodore Crane [MTL 6: 47n1].
April 18 Saturday – Sam replied from Elmira to David Gray of the Buffalo Courier. Sam extended an invitation for the Grays to visit them at Quarry Farm in a few weeks. Sam mentioned the “Mark Twain dinner” joke, and that he’d “swallowed the joke without any difficulty” [MTL 6: 108].
April 23 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion. Letters flew back and forth (many lost) about Orion and Mollie buying a farm in Keokuk, Mollie’s hometown. For Orion it would be “a sort of gloomy exile,” but he knew “Mollie would be happy there” [MTL 6: 110].
April 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the editor of the Dubuque (Iowa) Herald about an imposter posing as “Charles Clemmens, agent for Mark Twain,” and a brother who had been selling tickets to non-existent lectures by Mark Twain.
“I hope that the full rigor of the law will be meted out to this small villain. He professes to be my brother. If he is, it is a pity he does not know how to spell the family name” [MTL 6: 116].
April 25 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Edgar “Ned” Wakeman. Sam repeated that he could not take on Wakeman’s book and would not put his name to a book that someone else had written, but he did refer Wakeman to Elisha Bliss, warning that Eastern publishers rarely took on a book from an unknown man, and when they did the royalties were low [MTL 6: 119].
Mollie Clemens wrote:
Your[s] of the 23rd is just received. Orion is not here, but I opened it & read it.
Dear Sam you are a noble, generous glorious man—and all of your actions toward us manifests christian charity.
I regret exceedingly that Ma has written to you in opposition to our going West. She is quite mistaken in thinking I would not want to go to the old place again. . . .
I utterly hate myself for having been so meek, & wavering, so afraid so cowardly about taking responsibility, all my life. I seem to have had no moral courage.
Here lately I have been trying to overcome this weakness, and I shall overcome it all, with the help of the Almighty One. I know it is not Christian to be weak and I shall be strong.
I had on that weakness in a measure while in Hartford and did not go into any kind of enthusiasm; but I foolishly attributed it to being so fatigued by my twenty miles ride on Saturday: then too Sam I thought it was too bad to ask you to spend so much money for us, when you had no assurance in the world that you would ever get it all back. I wanted the property bought in you[r] name, and any improvements we might add would be yours if we never paid for it; and took it off your hands.
I have in my heart believed we could meet the payments of the interest, and pay you interest, after the second year at the furthest. But I only had my hope to go upon, and therefore kept up the idea that you were to have the deed to you, and if you had the deed, then you pay all for it, and us pay you interest as soon as we could; or rent, whichever it might be called. . . .
Your words were truth & wisdom when you said one could not afford to use up their lifes blood for no more than Orion is doing or getting now, no matter how agreeable it may be at the present.
It is not strange that Orion should fear for you to take such a risk for us, when every thing he undertakes fails: and he lives the most dreadful life of fear; when he has a situation at any thing, he is in that everlasting state of fear fear FEAR. Of course with the same interests at stake I have more or less of the fear too. Last night as we talked about getting into the country what work we would do in the day time what books read at night, and had plenty of pleasant anticipations I said “then you will not be afraid of losing that situation will you.” He said no it would be like a new existance to him.
Another letter came from Ma yesterday just full of the nice times we would have in a country home. But she still thought I would not want to go back to the old place.
I take it that your offer is made in great kindness, and hope you will accept my refusal in the same spirit.
Not a single kindness, from you & dear sweet Livy, but is remembered & treasured, with all the gratitude I can feel, but never express; but while God gives me health & strength, and what reason I have, I cannot accept any assistance from you, that I have not the utmost faith, that you will at least receive dollar for dollar; and in the way you offer there is not even a shadow of hope for you to get it back.
We sent yesterday, letters about the Iowa property. You will have decided about that, before this reaches you. I wish you would look to your own interest a little, in whatever you decide upon in the matter.
I am so sorry we are such a trouble to you—but; help us get a farm—my faith is strong, and I would go into it, with earnestness and love, and a determination to give it a fair five years trial, at the least.
Of course pa praises his place, the location, the fruit and improvements. I yearn for indipendance.
Love to all / Affectionately / M. E. C. [MTPO].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam.
My Dear Brother:— / I gratefully thank you for the kind offer in your letter received to-day; but it is too generous for me to accept.
As you desire me to write freely, I will say that several days ago I took two pages of the manuscript I sent you yesterday to a book publisher, to see if he would want anything on that plan. He was out of the city, and would not return till to-day or Monday or Tuesday, when he was to go away again for three or four weeks. As it is now, I shall not probably revisit him sooner than the expiration of the latter period, if at all. If I had seen him then and he had encouraged me to proceed, my preference of preferences would have been to work on at the Post, as I am now doing, from 9:30 till 2:10, for three or six months or a year, if the exploration of the vast subject should necessitate so long a time, using my afternoons and evenings in visiting the Astor and Cooper Institute free libraries, or reading books at home from the Mercantile library, searching through geology, books of travel, and any other books I could find with facts bearing on my theories, making rough notes and writing them up formally, in mornings, &c., as rapidly and as well as practicable—brandishing as free a quill as ever any goose struck a horse’s heels with: this would be my idea of elysium, if I felt that the work I was doing was not going to be still-born. Now you can judge whether a book continued in the strain I sent you is likely to be a waste of time. If you think time so devoted would not be thrown away,—
However, I suppose it is not worth while to talk any more about that. My next preference would be the Keokuk place, if we could get through the first year. My plan would be to work on the garden and chicken business during the day and refresh my memory in law at night, so that in two or three years, by the time we got the garden and poultry arrangement so it would pay to hire work done, I could be well enough up in the law to take an office in town, and go down mornings and return evenings. I could not become at this late time of life a distinguished lawyer, but I might make a comfortable living with it and the garden and the poultry and the house free of rent.
Mollie requests me to say that she has not thought of failure in the farming enterprise. She has, I may add on my own motion, been sanguine and elated with the prospect of independence, and a beautiful home by the Mississippi, the canal and the railroad, and with the hope of getting me out of the printing office.
The combined law, garden and poultry project could be tried in and near New York or Hartford as well as in and near Keokuk; or it might be that editorial work could be substituted on an evening paper for law.
I am very sorry, indeed, to have taken up so much of your thought, which might be better employed on higher, or at least less depressing and worrying subjects.
Affectionately, / Your Brother, / Orion.
P. S. Going to Keokuk would be a sort of gloomy exile for me; bu[t] Mollie would be happy there; and she is right in saying I do not support her; and that she had rather do the managing there….[MTPO].
John M. Hay wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens / That affair of the Windsor Hotel will be a grief to me forever. Mrs. Hay never received Mrs. Fairbanks’ letter and so we did not understand your note to mean anything positive. I learned by accident however that you were there and so posted up to find you, and you were not. Charlie F. came in to see me and said the letter had been directed to West 25th and we live [at] 111 East 25th St.
I shall simply never get over it. I was crazy to see something of the two ladies, and you know what is my private opinion of all the time I dont spend with you. / Yours faithfully / John Hay [MTPO].
April 27 Monday – Sam wrote from Quarry Farm, Elmira to Dr. John Brown that the family was well, and they were in Elmira to spend the summer, though a snowstorm hit day before. Elmira grew hot in the summer, Sam wrote, so they moved to “the top of a hill 6 or 700 feet high, about 2 or 3 miles from here—it never gets hot up there” [MTL 6: 121].
Orion Clemens wrote again to Sam.
My Dear Brother:— /I talked to you as I did I suppose from sheer habit of gloomy foreboding. I was afraid we would get out there without a dollar to work with, and I would have to go to St. Louis and go into a printing office, and leave Mollie to run the farm by herself, and perhaps I could not even get work, while here I was already getting ten dollars per week. So I was ready to decline going for the same reason I left Hannibal—because I was afraid I could not stay. But Mollie has inspired me with her faith and hope. It begins to creep into my mind that your desire to rid me of some of my discontents weighs more with you than the consideration of the money needed. The offer to devote perpetually the interest on eight thousand dollars, where it would be likely never to return, if we were abject enough to accept, satisfies me that you will not feel it a heavy cross to part with the needed funds for the Keokuk place, even if it was never to go back to you. But Mollie feels sanguine that we can pay you principal and interest all you advance in five years. I shall go intending to work faithfully, and believing I shall be more cheerful with out-door employment. We do not think that we shall need from you the first year more than the fifteen hundred dollars you told me you thought you could spare. The property will be in your name, and with our improvements will doubtless be worth all that and the remaining sums of principal and interest as set down in the account we sent you. It is true this sums up, (as spread over five years), near four thousand dollars, but I am the more emboldened to think this will not frighten you, from the fact that you were willing to buy for us a place near Hartford to cost without other expenses, four thousand dollars. I have but one preference for that—it would be a home near you. I gave weight to that when I left to go to Rutland; but not enough. Yet who can see where a path through the future would have led, only from seeing the beginning? Before I left, the cloudy obscurity was beginning to draw over my mind that drove me from Rutland, that has neutralized my forces so often, that seems so independent of circumstances, and that yet, I hope, will not come again to haunt me in the open air. So, if it please you, we will go to Keokuk. Love to all. / Affectionately,/ Your brother, / Orion [MTPO].
April 30 Thursday – Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam. In part:
Dear Mark / The enclosed came via Kojema—if that is the way to spell the Damio’s name. Ned House wanted him to say to me that he, House, preserves and sends to San Francisco the associated Press despatches concerning Japan, that we may know they are trustworthy, and right in contradicting the sensational stories. I see by the San Francisco papers that The Gilded Age has been dramatized and is to be put on the stage, at once, of the California Theater. I think one Dinsmore [sic Gilbert B. Densmore], editor of a Sunday paper, dramatized it. The story is mainly that of Laura—leaving out the political parts that would create a row.
The transplanter don’t seem to have considered it necessary to consult the authors. Probably don’t know that we have a letter [of] copyright stowed away. Let us see if the thing comes to any thing, and if it is worth while to interfere [MTPO].
April, late or May, early – Sam sent Orion a check for $700 and another for $200 in order to take Mollie to Keokuk and run a chicken ranch. Supposedly, the buildings on the farm would bring in $40 per month. Orion’s reply shortly after, is lost [MTL 6: 144n1].
May, early – Joe Goodman, then living in San Francisco, attended a play, an adaptation of The Gilded Age, by Gilbert B. Densmore (sometimes misidentified as G.S. Densmore). Joe sent Sam a clipping on the production [Walker, Phillip 185].
May 1 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William A. Seaver, a writer for Harper’s (he wrote the “Editor’s Drawer” for the monthly magazine). Sam sent a page from a sketch published without authorization by J.B. Brown of the Galena (Illinois) Gazette. Sam asked Seaver –“can’t you get it into your Drawer & shame the thief?” Sam also asked if Seaver and John Hay would visit him in Hartford next winter [MTL 6: 123].
May 2 Saturday – Bill paid to Hartford Ice Company 5,750lbs. $23 [MTP]. Judging from earlier bills, the Clemens family went through this amount of ice every six months or so.
An $5,000 insurance policy was written to the Atlas Ins. Co., Hartford, for a term of one month, on the “brick dwelling in process of erection on Farmington Ave.” [MTP].
May 4 Monday – In Elmira, Sam took Livy to see the stage play of “Rip Van Winkle.” This was Dion Boucicault’s play starring the comic actor Joseph Jefferson (1829-1905) put on at the Elmira Opera House [MTL 6: 127, 129n3].
May 5 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Dudley Warner. Joe Goodman had sent an article from the San Francisco Chronicle about Gilbert B. Densmore, critic and editor of the Golden Era, producing an unauthorized play from The Gilded Age. Densmore left out all of Warner’s characters and sections of the work, and wrote the play as a comedy around Colonel Sellers. Sam suggested to Warner that they sign over rights to each other’s characters and that he would then buy the play from “Densmore” and either rewrite it or burn it and write a play of his own.
“I know Mr. D. mighty well & he shan’t run any play on MY brains. He is the chap who finished Bret Harte’s story for him without Bret’s asking it.”
Sam also wrote that they were packing trunks to remove to Quarry Farm today [MTL 6: 126-7].
May 6–29 Friday – At some time during this period, Sam wrote from Elmira to Jerome B. Stillson, editor of the New York World, enclosing a column from the Hartford Courant. The Courant article noted the revival of the “famous Fisher claims,” whereby a family had continually bilked the U.S. government with claims of farm damage during the 1813-14 war against the Creek Indians. Sam called the Fishers “insatiable blood-suckers,” who had tried to bribe him. Sam wrote the full story of the Fishers for the 1870 Galaxy magazine. He wrote the story again [MTL 6: 131].
May 7 Thursday – Sam wrote to the Librarian of Congress, Ainsworth R. Spofford, enclosing the $1 copyright fee and design cover for Mark Twain’s Sketches. No. One [MTL 6: 135].
May 8 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles E. Perkins. The language in part of the letter suggests that Sam was working on “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” probably inspired by his recent letters with Ned Wakeman. Sam began the story in 1868 and worked on it intermittently until its publication in Harper’s and in book form in 1907. Sam declined to loan the horse and carriage to Perkins, explaining their sentimental value to Livy. He also discussed plans to widen the sidewalk on Farmington Avenue, from four feet to six, and enclosed a note he’d sent to Hartford city authorities:
“And why make a six-foot walk all the way to the bridge? …traffic was very great—but there is no longer such pressing need, for one of the school children who used to go along there is sick, & the other one has moved away” [MTL 6: 137-9].
Sam also wrote a short letter to Edward T. Potter, architect on the new house, with details that Livy wanted in the butler’s pantry [MTL 6: 140].
Smith, Robertson & Fassett, Elmira Law offices, wrote to Sam enclosing May 1 letter Sheriff’s Office, Dubuque, Iowa, Wilson to Smith, et al : “Enclosed find letter from City atty…with our answer. It seems a man who falsely presented himself as Mark Twain’s agent had his whereabouts known.” What did Sam want done with him? [MTP].
May 9 Saturday – Sam was issued Copyright No. 6347E on the contents of No. One sketches. Reginald T. Sperry of Hartford had designed the cover [MTL 6: 137n1].
May 10 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens. Sam confided the dilemma of helping Orion and Mollie rent a chicken farm in Keokuk while at the same time giving them:
“…a lot of advice which none but children ought to need, but which THEY richly need & which will make Mollie rip & tear, no doubt.”
Sam’s advice was to live like simple chicken farmers, to eschew fine dress and sell the fine Hartford furniture and not try to be “hifalutin fine folks.” Sam expressed the wish that his mother would be their creditor, not himself [MTL 6: 141].
Sam also wrote to Orion, who must have complained of Sam’s tone when sending the $900 earlier in the month or at the end of April. Sam was upset that the Dubuque swindler had been let go; that The Gilded Age had been used in an unauthorized play in San Francisco; and that his pamphlets (Mark Twain Sketches. No. One) had been delayed. He offered those as reasons for his “venom” to Orion and then wrote:
I hope you & Mollie will thrive where you are going—& I hardly see how you can help it. Forty dollars a month from the houses on that farm is a living, in itself. So I hope the change is going to be a change to prosperity & contentment—for you are aging & it is high time to give over dreaming & buckle down to the simplicities & the realities of life [MTL 6: 143].
Note: After investing $4,000 to have the pamphlets printed, Sam discovered that his contract with Bliss forbade him from publishing anything except through the American Publishing Co. Sam sadly told the printer, Louis Brush, to destroy the 100,000 pamphlets. Brush came up with the idea of selling advertising for the back of the pamphlet and then giving them away, which salvaged Sam’s investment [MTL 6: 144n5].
Sam also wrote William Dean Howells about Orion’s connection to the Tennessee Land and his parallel character in The Gilded Age. Sam enclosed Orion’s reply to his letter with checks totaling $900 [MTL 6: 145]. Note: Sam often expressed disgust with Orion’s incompetence and lack of promise, yet family duty pressed him to keep trying, though his tone with Orion seemed that of an irritated father.
Sam also wrote to Frederick W. Haddon (1839-1906), the editor of the Melbourne, Australia Argus, who was visiting in New York. Haddon had written Sam during his stay in America, complimenting him and suggesting Sam serializing a book in the Argus. Sam declined, although he said he was engaged in a book (probably TS) but “in such a leisurely way” that he didn’t think it would be done within a year [MTL 6: 147].
Sam set aside the unfinished Tom Sawyer manuscript and began writing his own adaptation of The Gilded Age play, which he’d purchased back from Gilbert B. Densmore. Sam wrote three drafts and completed it as five-acts in about 60 days [Powers, MT A Life 352].
May 11 Monday – Benjamin P. Shillaber wrote to Sam: “There was a conundrum among politicians—After Grant, what? I am in a position where I must adopt something similar relative to publishing my book—After publishing, what?” He sought Sam’s advice about a publisher, since Shillaber owned the plates [MTP].
May 14 Thursday – Robert Watt (1837-1894), world traveler, journalist, and author wrote to Sam.
Dear Sir, / As a curiosity I take the liberty to send you a danish Edition of your admirable sketches. Some two years ago I visited America, and brought several of your books home with me, and (as a well known author here) I at once commenced a translation. I have had the greatest pleasure in doing so. The papers have spoken in the very highest terms of your extraordinary genius, and my Editor has asked for more volumes marked with the name Mark Twain—already so popular in Denmark.
I am only sorry that there is no literary convention in existence here between America and Denmark, and that I am not able to offer you anything but my most sincere thanks and admiration. In the volume I shall forward to you through the danish consulate in New York you will find some notes on yourself and your works, some choice sketches, and extracts from “the innocents at home”. All the papers have especially spoken of “Buck Fanshaws burial” as something “unique”
I should be most happy to have a few lines from you, together with a photograph, and ask you only not to laugh too much of my bad English; I write Danish better, and am perfectly able to understand and appreciate everything in English
Before I translated you, I have with great success introduced Edgar Poe and Bret Harte to the danish public, and am preparing an Edition of Thackeray.
Your (far off)
friend & admirer / Robert Watt [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply July 15-16, and others.
May, mid – Sam wrote to the matinee idol actor, Lawrence Barrett (1838-1891), offering him the role of Colonel Mulberry Sellers in his Gilded Age play. He also solicited Barrett’s opinion of actors Frank Mayo and John T. Raymond (John O’Brien 1836-1887), who had appeared in Densmore’s San Francisco version [MTL 6: 148]. Raymond eventually starred in Sam’s play.
May 16 Saturday – Sam purchased Francois Pierre Guizot’s (1787-1874) A Popular History of France from Estes & Lauriat of Boston. The work was sent in segments and totaled $10 [Gribben 282].
May 18 Monday – Sam boarded a train for New York. He arrived at 9 PM and stayed one night at the Astor House. He may have wanted to meet with the matinee idol Lawrence Barrett, who checked into the hotel the day before. John T. Raymond was also in New York, staying at the New York Hotel close by the Astor. Sam may have made contact with Raymond, but did not see Barrett, as Barrett’s letter of May 25 reflects [MTL 6: 148-9].
Two-tenths of an inch of rain fell on NYC [NOAA.gov].
May 19 Tuesday – Sam returned to Elmira in the morning [MTL 6: 149 letter to Seaver].
May 20 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William A. Seaver, editor of Harper’s. Sam apologized for not stopping by on his one-day foray to New York, but would run through New York on the way to Hartford “by & by” and “then I propose to assemble where there be refreshments, & tackle you” [MTL 6: 149-50].
May 21 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira for a certificate of copyright from Ainsworth R. Spofford, librarian of Congress. Sam enclosed fractional paper currency for fifty cents [MTL 6: 150].
May 22 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss. Sam had been trying to expedite a book between Edward H. House in Japan and Bliss. Sam asked for a copy of Bliss’ last letter about the Japan book for Sam to send to House. Sam also requested sales figures for his three books for the purpose of a biographical sketch for either Appleton’s or Routledge. Innocents Abroad: 110,843; Roughing It: 85,699; The Gilded Age: 47,553 [MTL 6: 152-3].
From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “By cash brot over May 22 By dft on NY 5000.00” [Berg Collection, NYPL].
May 23 Saturday – Sam’s cashbook: “To po Potter Architect [Edward T. Potter] 500.00” [Berg, NYPL].
May 25 Monday – Lawrence Barrett, well known actor, wrote responding to Sam’s mid-May request (not extant) for his offer to play the role of Col. Sellers, or to recommend someone. Barrett, who had met Sam years before in San Francisco, recommended John T. Raymond for the role [MTL 6: 148]. Note: see full text of Bartett’s letter in source; it’s undetermined just when Clemens and Barrett met in S.F.
May 28 Thursday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Garvie 2500.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: William Garvie and son Robert Garvie were plumbers, John Garvie was the general contractor building the house.
May 31 Sunday – Sam’s article on the Fisher family claims were published in the New York World [MTL 6: 134n1].
June or August – Mrs. E. H. Bonner (b. 1842: Loreta Janeta Velazquez) wrote. During the Civil War she disguised herself as a Confederate officer. She’d written an account of her adventures, in hopes of publishing [MTP]. Note: See Oct. 9 to Henry Watterson.
June 1 Monday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Downie 270.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: possibly coachman Downey, fired on June 10.
June 1–8 Monday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens about Orion’s latest with his in-laws.
This is Orion’s latest. Old father Stotts seems to have been a trifle sharp in his transactions. But the whole gang of them are pretty low-down stock. A body might as well marry into a gipsy camp as among such a scurvy lot as these.
We are up here on top of the hill, & the weather is a mixture of winter & summer, with the former predominating as yet.
Livy is first-rate, & Susie is strong, hearty, brimming with activity, & brown as an Indian with constant exposure to sun & wind.
We send love to you all.
Sam [MTPO, drop-in letters].
June 3 Wednesday – From Charles E. Perkins ’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Insurance 50 + 10 60” [Berg collection, NYPL].
Mitchell, Vance & Co. wrote from NYC to advertise their “large stock” of gas fixtures [MTP].
June 6 Saturday – Case & Rathbun wrote to Sam: “Your telegram duly rec’d, also to-day, order for shirts [half dozen] with slight changes, and order for 200 cigars which we send to-day by express” [MTP].
June 6–8Monday – Sam wrote a note from Elmira to Scribner, Welford and Armstrong for the purchase of William Harris Rule’s two-volume History of the Inquisition, and Whitaker’s reference catalogue, with listings of 50,000 books [MTL 6: 154].
June 8 Monday – At 7 AM, Livy gave birth to Clara Langdon Clemens, their second daughter, named after Livy’s friend, Clara Spaulding. The baby weighed nearly eight pounds, “which is colossal for Livy,” Sam wrote on June 10 to Orion and Mollie [MTL 6: 155].
From Charles E. Perkins ’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Fox & Co. [Hartford Grocers] 48.02” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: Fox billed by the month, so this bill was for purchases prior to leaving for Elmira.
June 9 Tuesday – Sam paid a June 5 bill of $8.40 from Scribner, Welford & Armstrong of New York for William Harris Rule’s two-volume work, History of the Inquisition from Its Establishment in the Twelfth Century to Its Extinction in the Nineteenth [Gribben 593].
E. Christinet wrote from France to encourage Sam to have his works published there, as other than Longfellow and Poe, there were no “original American literature” translations in France [MTP].
June 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion and Mollie. He told them of Clara’s birth; Livy was doing “amazingly well—is cheerful, happy, grateful & strong.” Sam wrote of firing his coachman, Downey, and hiring Patrick McAleer, who was “straight” (sober) because his wife kept him so. Sam received a letter from Mollie this day, as he had a few times from Orion in Keokuk. Those letters were lost, but detailed life on Stotts farm (Mollie’s father’s farm), their continued desire to buy and not rent, and other farm matters [MTL 6: 155-6].
“The Modoc is as brown as an Indian, because she is seldom or never in the house, but is tramping around outside in the sun & wind, all day.”
June 10–15 Monday – Sam wrote a business letter from Elmira to James Redpath, and included one line about baby Clara, “seven and three-quarters pounds” [MTL 6: 157].
June 11 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the Twichells.
“The baby is here & is the great American Giantess—weighing 7¾ pounds, & all solid meat….It is an admirable child, though, & has intellect. It puts its fingers against its brow & thinks.”
Sam then described what became a famous structure, now at Elmira College:
“Susie Crane has built the loveliest study for me, you ever saw. It is octagonal, with a peaked roof, each octagon filled with spacious window, & it sits perched in complete isolation at top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley & city & retreating ranges of distant blue hills.”
Sam would do his best work in what he called his “cosy nest” [MTL 6: 157-8]. Willis describes Sam’s use of the octagonal study at Quarry Farm (designed by Elmira architect, Alfred H. Thorp):
“For over twenty creative summers his schedule … rarely varied. After breakfast, Clemens left the hubbub of the Crane house, strolled across the lawn, and climbed up the steps to his sanctuary. He labored steadily all day, not stopping for lunch, and rejoined the others for dinner. Each evening he read to his family audience his day’s work. It was forbidden to disturb Mark Twain during the day. Samuel Clemens could summon or be summoned only by blowing a horn” [Willis 90-1].
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote to Sam (clippings enclosed from the Cleveland Herald, articles by Charles Mason Fairbanks). “I take the name ‘Modoc’ in my arms—I kiss it. I embrace the dashing mother—and you, and the little princess…Whom do you think I have in tow today? None other than the vehement, ardent, good feeling Col. Denney….I took him to see the Severances” [MTP].
Summer – Paine notes Sam and Theodore Crane’s favorite books enjoyed on the lawn of Quarry Farm during summers.
“At other times he found comfort in the society of Theodore Crane. These two were always fond of each other, and they often read together the books in which they were mutually interested. They had portable-hammock arrangements, which they places side by side on the lawn, and read and discussed through summer afternoons. The Mutineers of the Bounty was one of the books they liked best…Pepy’s Diary, Two Years Before the Mast, and a book on the Andes were reliable favorites. Mark Twain read not so many books, but read a few books often. Those named were among the literature he asked for each year of his return to Quarry Farm. Without them, the farm and the summer would not be the same” [MTB 510-11].
During the summer Sam first read British Author William Edward Hartpole Lecky, and his History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne. Gribben lists volume I signed, “T.W. Crane/1874 New York” . Baetzhold traces Lecky’s influence in Tom Sawyer as well as Huck Finn and places Sam’s first reading of Lecky as “probably during the summer of 1874” [MT & John Bull 54]. This is likely, given the above inscriptions as Crane’s dates of acquisition, and given the other notable books they shared this summer. Paine writes that the two men “read Lecky avidly and discussed it in original and unorthodox ways” during this summer at Quarry Farm [MTB 511]. Sam would be greatly influenced by Lecky’s later A History of England in the Eighteenth Century (1887-1890) in eight volumes (see Gribben 400-403).
June 11 Thursday – Alfred H. Thorp, Elmira architect, was the man who designed the now famous octagonal study at Quarry Farm, by assignment from Sue Crane. Together with Edward Tuckerman Potter he also designed the Clemens’ Hartford house [NY Times, Dec. 7, 1901, p.BR4].
June 12 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Will Bowen about plans for the new house. Only a fragment survives [Hornberger, 33].
June 13 Saturday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Garvie 1200.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: likely John Garvie. See other listings for Garvie.
June 14 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy. Letter enclosed in June 18 from Mollie Clemens—both congratulating them on the birth of a daughter [MTP].
June 15 Monday – Sam wrote the good news from Elmira to Dr. John Brown:
“We call the new Megatherium (mate to the Megalopis) Clara of course” [MTL 6: 159].
Sam also wrote to Charles Dudley Warner of the baby, Susy, and Livy. Sam also had loaned Warner $2,000 and wrote he was “depending” on him for the repayment and from Bliss for at least that much more in royalties. Sam cited his “heavy purchase for cash,” probably the house construction costs [MTL 6: 161].
June 15 ca. – In the unpublished “Children’s Record” Sam kept about his girls, he wrote of an incident when Clara (“Bay”) was one week old:
When the Bay was a week old her adventures began. She was asleep on a pillow in a rocking chair in the parlor at Quarry Farm. I had forgotten her presence—if I knew it. I wound up a mechanical toy wagon and set it loose on the floor; I saw it was going to collide with the rocking chair, so I kicked the rocking chair across the house. The Bay lit on the floor with a thump, her head within two inches of the iron fender of the grate, but with the pillow undermost. So she came within three inches of an obituary [Harnsberger 16].
June 16 Tuesday – Sam wrote to the editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser about misdirected mail from England. Letters from Dr. John Brown had been addressed to him in “Hartford, State of New York, US” and returned to Scotland; another to, “Hartford, Near Boston, New York, US of A.” This one did reach him. Sam wanted to know:
“Now why should a Boston postal clerk have more brains than a New York one? Is the salary higher?” [MTL 6: 162-3].
June 17 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, responding to a letter with a sample of coal Orion had found. Sam had shown the sample to Theodore Crane, who was a partner in J. Langdon & Co. Crane wasn’t impressed and Sam gave his brother good advice [MTL 6: 164]. Sam was resigned to Orion being “bound to find a butterfly to chase.”
June 18 Thursday – Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, and enclosed Orion’s June 14 [MTP].
June 20 Saturday – Edmund Routledge wrote from London to Sam having just rec’d and read of Mark Twain’s Sketches. Number One. He was sorry Sam might forfeit copyright in England on these and talked of buying cuts from the book [MTP].
June 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William Dean Howells. Sam sent compliments on Howells’ third novel, A Foregone Conclusion, which appeared in the July Atlantic Monthly.
“The new baby is a gaudy thing & the mother is already sitting up” [MTL 6: 165].
June 23 Tuesday – Sam’s “A Postal Case” was published in the Boston Daily Advertiser [MTL 6: 163n4].
Anna E. Dickinson wrote to Sam
Dear Mr. Clemmens, [sic]—I hope you are so well & happy that to tax yourself in behalf of some one, who has no earthly claim on you, will seem no very serious matter.
I am to go abroad soon, next month I hope, to be absent at least a year, & I shall be glad indeed to be brought to the acquaintance of any one on the other side who is fortunate enough to be your friend, or to whom you may care to present me.
Are you so afflicted by heat, & humors as to cry “shoo!” Don’t do it, but write me the letters instead,—& I hope,—not that you will ever want a kindness,—but that if you ever do, I may be able to serve you.
Is it allowable to ask what you are busy about?—I am slowly simmering over a book, which must be done soon, & being done I hope will meet Bliss’s approbation, & so that of the public.—I have written Charley Perkins concerning it, & if all goes well, will be in Hartford,—no, I don’t know that, but at least as near as New-York before I sail.
I wish I knew what your opinion of my document would be.
I hope Livy is as bright as this June day, & that the sun shines on you both,—& am always
faithfully your friend
Anna E. Dickinson [MTP]. Note: Clemens replied on June 28.
June 23–28 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira during this period to John Brown, announcing Anna Dickinson’s pending trip to England and Europe, and updating sales and royalty figures on The Gilded Age. The letter is lost [MTL 6: 204n2].
June 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote to an unidentified person that the “Mark Twain” nom de plume was one used by Captain Isaiah Sellers, and that Sam used it after Sellers died [MTL 6: 166]. Note: The trouble with that explanation is that Sellers died a year later (1864) than Sam adopted the name, and that no record can be found where Sellers ever used the handle for his river news as Sam claimed. The bar tale about two drinks on the tab seems to fit better, but that explanation wouldn’t fly to respectability, which Sam craved, married into, and protected. See 1863 entries for more theories.
June 25 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the editor of the New York Evening Post. Sam denied he was writing a book on English manners and customs [MTL 6: 167]. Sam’s reception in England was so overwhelmingly classy and positive, that he no doubt found it impossible to poke fun at the English. Maybe he simply hadn’t stuck around long enough.
June 26 Friday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “By cash brot over June 26 By dft on NY 5000.00; To po Garvie 2500.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: drawing from New York bank and paying part to William and/or Robert Garvie in Hartford on construction costs.
Edward T. Flynn for the New York Herald wrote to suggest a lecture tour in July and August [MTP].
June 26? Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Will Bowen, who planned to visit. Sam responded that he and Livy had accepted invitations to visit in Buffalo and Fredonia, and possibly Cleveland, soon, so gave Will directions to the Elmira house and said that he’d be there to the end of July [MTL 6: 168].
June 28 Sunday – Sam replied from Elmira to the June 23 of Anna E. Dickinson, who was going abroad and had asked for letters of introduction to his friends. Sam sent introductory letters off to Frank Finlay, editor Northern Whig, Belfast; Dr. John Brown, Edinburgh, Rev. George MacDonald, London; and Sir Thomas & Lady Hardy, London. Sam noted: “(No lummoxes among these.)” Sam listed a few others that Anna should try to meet [MTL 6: 169].
Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens: / In gathering up my traps to night—we move from this place for good to-morrow—I came across a half-finished letter to you, begun weeks ago. Something, I don’t know what, interrupted me, and I was n’t able to get back to you again.
I have been laid up these eight or ten days with a fever, and have given myself a great deal of trouble wonderin how things were going with you. I actually lay awake the better part of two nights going over all the details of our visit at your house, and dreading to hear some sad news from you. See what a fever will do to the most level brain!
To day Howells dined with us, and told us about the boy. Somehow it lifted a weight from my mind. Your wife seemed so delicate, and that sickness is so hard to bear. I congratu[l]ate you and her with all my heart. My wife would add her say, only she has gone to bed with a sick-headache, the duties of moving having tired her out.—
Did the book reach you all right? I did n’t send you the revise of the Montana chapter, for I had n’t the face to impose any more on your kindness. I need not tell you how deeply I appreciate the trouble you took in the matter. Sometime when you are caught in a net, I’ll come and gnaw at the meshes and let you [out,] as the mouse did the lion in the fable. With the warmest thoughts of you & yours, / Your Friend / T. B. Aldrich [MTPO]. Note: Sam replied on July 8.
In Elmira on June 29, Livy wrote to Sam after he left for a quick trip to Hartford to inspect the progress on their new house. Livy’s letter seems to pinpoint the day before, June 28, as the date that Aunty Cord told her tale of woe which was to become “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It,” (Atlantic Monthly, Nov. 1874). What follows is after Livy’s signature, and the segment that puts Cord’s telling of her story to Sunday, June 28, 1874:
Evening— / Allie and Theodore have come and had their tea and now we are sitting much as we did last night I am sitting inside the window, Sue & Allie outside but darling I do miss you as night comes Allie sits just where you did when Aunty Cord was telling us of her son but I didn’t hold her hand as I did yours, oh how I love you, & long for your return when you are absent. / Livy [MTPO].
June 29 Monday – Sam left for a quick trip to Hartford, primarily to inspect the progress of the new house. He first went to New York City, where he stayed at the St. Nicholas Hotel for two and possibly three nights before traveling on to Hartford. Sam probably spent time with John Hay and William A. Seaver, whom he’d promised to visit. Also in New York was William Ritenour Denny, who Sam knew from the Quaker City excursion [MTL 6: 170-1]. Nearly half an inch of rain fell on NYC [NOAA.gov].
Livy wrote from Elmira to her husband:
We have been having a terrible thunder storm and severe very high wind—Sue says it was the hardest storm that she has seen here since one when she and Father spent a night here more than four years ago, you see it came as soon as you went away. Sue came and brought her lunch in from the dining room Rossa came bringing Susie from the nursery—
Sara Coleridge says in writing to her husband of one of their children “Don’t fancy that children will listen to lectures either in learning or morality. Punish a child for hurting his sister and he will draw the inference that it is wrong, without a lecture sermon on brotherly affection” and more that I would like to quote but will wait and read it to you—
Susie has been a good girl today and had no tantrum, but I shall be truly thankful when I get strong and get her settled at home
Don’t forget to have Rossa’s brother shave you if you get time so that you may tell him how well she does—
I love you and shall be truly glad when you return— Pick up all the gossip that you can to retail to me and remember it—
Allie has not come yet but I suppose she will in the course of an hour as it is past five—
I shall direct this care Mr Warner fearing the postman may not deliver it—
With deepest love
Allie and Theodore have come and had their tea and now we are sitting much as we did last night I am sitting inside the window, Sue & Allie outside but darling I do miss you as night comes Allie sits just where you did when Aunty Cord was telling us of her son but I don’t hold her hand as I did yours, oh how I love you, & long for your return when you are away absent / Livy [MTPO]. Note: Allie = Alice Spaulding; Rossa’s brother = Rosina Hay’s brother, William E. Hay, hairdresser. Livy was likely quoting Sara Coleridge (1802-1852).
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote (illustration enclosed by her son: drawing of the two Clemens girls, titled “The New ‘Modoc’ ”). She told of a visit by John Hay & wife, and thought it possible they might meet the Clemenses there in August [MTP].
June 30 Tuesday – In Newport, Vermont, on the way to get his father settled as American consul at Quebec, William Dean Howells wrote between connections to Sam:
“It was immensely kind of you to pause in your blissful consciousness of that new little girl of yours [Clara Clemens b. June 8] and acknowledge that my trivial story existed [A Foregone Conclusion]. Thank Mrs. Clemens for me, and tell [her] how glad I am that she has another girl—boys wear out their clothes so fast…”[MTHL 1: 18].
June 30–July 1 Wednesday – Sam was in New York City. On one of these days he took the train to Hartford [MTL 6: 170-1].
July 1 Wednesday – Livy wrote to her husband of the domestic scene at Quarry Farm.
Did you send the money for our gas bill to Mary Burton? If you see her will you tell her that we shall probably not want the carriage for Susie—
Susie’s bowels were so bad yesterday that I sent for remedies to Mrs. Wales. She is better today— She is sweet and lovely in here with me but is naughty and full of cry with Rossa. I think she feels today the exhaustion caused by her trouble even more than yesterday. She lay in Sue’s lap and rocked for an unusually long time today— How I do love our babies and how I do desire to have wisdom given me for their guidance— There is much in this life of Sara Coleridge that is suggestive on this subject—
Little Clara slept better than usual last night, the milk of Magnesia seems to make her food digest much better—
We all miss you and have strong hope that Sat. will return you to us— I wish that we need never be seperated again even for a night—
Give my love to all the dear friends—
I wish you would tell Margaret that she may can some sour cherries for pies—about ten or twelve cans—
Good bye my darling—
Your Livy [MTPO].
Anna E. Dickinson replied to Sam’s of June 28.
Dear Mr. Clemens,—If I sit up through a whole month of Sundays, & labor over the letter, I will perhaps, have it ground into me that you possess two “m’s”
I know how to spell your name, as well as I know how to spell my own but will probably spread it, on the very envelope in which this is sent,—so make sure of putting it down once, correctly.
If you were, not in your own shoes, but my shoes, & were, while sitting in them, writing a book for Bliss, how many pages would you put into it for instance,—& what price of book make it?
You are good as gold to have written me all those letters,—pray heaven, the people may not have forgotten all about me before I send them my card!—I ought to have told you that I reverse the ordinary process:—go to the Continent first, & make no stay in England till my return,—if you want to send me a line to those people, to give them as a reminder when I do appear,—would it, or wouldn’t it be well?
And if you take the extra trouble,—that is if it is necessary,—couldn’t you give me some errand to run, or something to do for you while you are here, & I am away?
I hope you are well, & happy.—Give my dear love to Livy, & Mrs. Langdon, & the whole household of faith,—& know me to be always
Anna E. Dickinson [MTP].
July 1 to July 4 Saturday– Sam was in Hartford and left on July 4. He registered at the St. Nicholas Hotel in New York on July 4. While in Hartford, Sam probably visited the American Publishing Co.. He also visited the Hartford Accident Insurance Co., a startup to rival Travelers Insurance Co. The new company had begun selling stock on June 15. The major investor in the company was Nevada Senator John P. Jones (1829-1912), a rich mine owner. Jones had offered to guarantee losses on stock purchased by Sam’s old friend, Joe Goodman. Joe passed the opportunity to Sam who subscribed for $50,000 of stock with 25 per cent immediately due. Sam did not attend a June 20 meeting to organize stockholders, but along with George B. Lester, formerly with Travelers, Sam was elected to a nine-man board of directors. The company lasted eighteen months [MTL 6: 171-2].
July 2 or 3 Friday – Sam wrote a note on the front flyleaf of The Gilded Age, which he presented to William Seaver: “To friend Seaver / from / Mark / Hartford, July ’74 / Some of my errors in this book would have been simply outrageous, but Warner criticised them faithfully & so I re-wrote 200 pages of my MS & cooled the absurdities down to a reasonable temperature. / S.L.C.” [MTL 6: 172].
July 3 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Livy. He rhapsodized about the new house, how the house and barn seem to have grown up “out of the ground…part & parcel of Nature’s handiwork.” So far Livy had spent $47,000 through Perkins, for the building of the unique home [MTL 6: 173].
From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Insurance 60” [Berg collection, NYPL].
Theodore W. Crane wrote from Elmira.
Dear Mr Clemens
Livy is quite nervous about the children and about your being away—was quite low spirited yesterday—and I thought if you could get through in time to come here on Monday night’s Express, arriving here Tuesday morning, and surprise her, it would do her good.
Nothing serious the matter—The children are doing well /Yours Truly / T W Crane [MTPO].
July 4 Saturday – Appleton’s Journal ran “Mark Twain,” an article, mostly biographical, by George T. Ferris (1840-1916). Sam’s humor was described as “so genial, so charged with rich and unctuous [sic] humor, that we forget the lack of finesse and delicacy in its breadth and strength” [Tenney 6].
July 6 Monday – Sam’s article, in the form of an advertisement, “A Curious Pleasure Excursion” appeared in the New York Herald. Sam announced he had leased a passing comet and would prepare staterooms in the tail of the comet. “No dogs allowed on board.” The article jabbed several notorious politicians and was widely reprinted [MTL 6: 192n3]. Note: perhaps Sam also wanted to generate publicity for his play on political corruption.
From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Mansury & Smith [Carriage mfr. & repairs] 76.00” [Berg collection, NYPL].
George William Blunt (1802-1878) wrote to respond to Clemens’ “A Curious Pleasure Excursion” in this day’s N.Y. Herald.
Dear Sir / I have read with great interest your having leased the comet and would be delighted if you would employ me as the navigator.
Of my qualifications in that capacity I can speak as I swore to them a few months since on a cross examination permitted by a young judge Daly by a lawyer who know all about me.
You do not permit me then to say that I am not a therometrical navigator I am a practical one I read the proof sheets of Bowditch’s Navigator more than thirty times and there is not a problem or logarithim in the book but what has been knocked into my head by my father who was a printer before I was ten years of age
I have been a sailor and a nautical surveyor understand the use of instruments and can work any problem in navigation I will agree to keep the position of the comet and lay it down accurately on the chart
I have opposed the polar expeditions for the last forty years as an unnecessary exposure of life without adequate results as your expedition is entirely practical I should like to go
If Mayor Havemeyer could be induced to go as chaplain it would add much to the pious part of the excursion / Respect / Geo W Blunt [MTP]. Note: Blunt’s father, Edmund M. Blunt (1770-1860) was a recognized authority on navigation. George was clearly niggardly with his periods. NY Mayor William Frederick Havemeyer (1804-1874) had but a few months to live.
July 7 Tuesday – In the morning Sam returned to Elmira [MTL 6: 176n1, 183n1]. Sam’s position on the board of directors to the Hartford Accident Insurance Co. was confirmed [MTL 6: 172].
Jane Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy.
My dear children
We received the dispatch a month ago to morrow. Not hearing any more we were not certain you were alive. But I spent the 4th at Mr McKinstry’s with Mrs Gray of Buffalo and she told me you were going to make a visit to Buffalo and Fredonia before you go home. We were all delighted to hear it. Mela and I spent yesterday with Mrs Gray at Lewis Mcs his wife is related to Mrs Gray We are waiting for Mr Gray to come this week when they will all spend a day with us
Mela sends love and wishes you to let us know when you are ready to come so she can keep the girl at home I want to see the children very much especially Susa. My love to all the family. Livy I hope you are well.
if Annie & Sammie were in they would have something to say [MTP].
Frank Fuller wrote:
My Dear Mark:— / I got back and hastened to the St. Nicholas to see you. I did not wish to take passage on the Comet, but I did desire to talk with you on several topics. The noble clerk told me you had left for Elmira. Thither, therefore, I send this.
I came loaded down with the First Mortgage Bonds of a railroad in which I am interested. The company have empowered me to sell them, and think they should bring 85%. The total amt. is $300,000.
I will enclose you a slip cut from the Salt Lake Herald of June 16. The article is a good one and tells the truth. I wrote it.
…. [omitted financial details here] …
I wanted to see you to tell you how you could make a pretty sum by aiding me to place the entire lot in Hartford or anywhere else. I have had an idea, all along, that I would give Hartford a chance to buy them.
I ask the closest investigation into the matter of the cost of the road, its condition, present earnings & prospects. If desired by intending purchasers, the Co. will pay the expenses of a man to go out and examine. If all is not exactly as I represent, then it is no sale.
Will you be in N.Y. soon again? I desire to talk this bond business over with you. If I go to Hartford about it, I should like to go this week. If I could see you I incline to the opinion that you would be tempted to go with me. If needed, I believe the principal stock-holders would join in a personal guarantee that the stipulations of the bond shd be carried out. This would render the bond as strong as any in the market, as the stock is owned by some very wealthy men. I will send you a copy of the bond if you think it would interest you.
I trust you are well and happy and that all is well with Mrs. Clemens and the dear little “Modoc.”
Mrs. Fuller begs to be kindly remembered to you all and hopes to hear good accounts of Mrs. Clemens.
When you come to N.Y. tell us about it in advance and do not wander off to any hotel, but come straight to us. We will be charmed to see you & yours at all times. / Sincerely your friend. /Frank Fuller [MTPO].
July 8 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam replied to the June 28 of Thomas Bailey Aldrich about the family’s health, revisions he’d made on Aldrich’s book, Howell’s father, William Cooper Howells (1807-1894) (Sam mistakenly wrote “son”) being appointed consul at Quebec, and his hope to take possession of the new house in September, with hope that the Howellses and the Aldriches could help them christen the place [MTL 6: 178].
From Charles E. Perkins ’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Caswell Brothers [Hartford Meat Market] 31.18; Garvie 500.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: Bills were not always sent timely—the meat bill would have been for early May, prior to the move to Elmira, about half of a normal month’s bill.
July 8–10 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Anna Dickinson, responding to her July 1 letter, which asked how many pages and what price she should put on a book to be published with Bliss. Sam offered specifics. Dickinson had been seeking advice and help from Warner and Charles Perkins for many months. Anna had been a close friend of the Langdon family for years, based on her abolitionist crusade that had brought her fame during the Civil War. She had once written that Sam was a “vulgar boor,” but evidently he’d grown on her [MTL 6: 180].
Sam also wrote a short to Frank Fuller, who missed meeting with Sam at the St. Nicholas Hotel a few days before. Sam answered that he’d just been to Hartford and couldn’t go again until September. Fuller was into selling railroad bonds and wanted to either confer with Sam about selling them in Hartford and/or stick him with a few [MTL 6: 182].
July 11 Saturday – Sam replied to the July 7 from his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens.
The new baby’s name is Clara. We had an anxious & sleepless time during some five months before she was born, trying to decide upon a name for her. We finally chose the name Henry, & were at peace. Till she was born. Then of course we had the same old suffering all over again. (In truth, Susie was named Henry before she was born) [MTL 6: 184].
Notes: Susy Clemens, unable to say “baby,” called Clara “Bay”—the nickname stuck. Sam wrote of the “wonders which the architect & the landscape gardener” had performed on the new house. He was “making up” for being “idle a year, by compulsion,” and had written “157 pages of literature & 25 letters.” During this period Sam worked on the stage play script of The Gilded Age, and also continued writing Tom Sawyer. Only three or four of the 25 letters Sam claimed from this period now exist.
Sam had referred Howells to Charles P. Pope, a theatrical producer, in the matter of translating Ippolito Tito d’Aste’s play Sanson [MTHL 1: 19].
William Dean Howells wrote to Clemens:
My dear Clemens: / Your letter and telegraph came to our mosquitory bower whilst I was away in Canada, and I failed to see Mr. Pope here. But Thursday I ran down to Boston to call on him, and I’ve arranged to translate the play for him. As it is owing to your kindness that I’m thus placed in relations with the stage—a long-coveted opportunity—I may tell you the terms on which I make the version. He pays me $400 outright on acceptance of my version, and $100 additional when the play has run fifty nights; and $1. a night thereafter as long as it runs. When my translation is done, I’m to tell him, and he will send his check for $400 to you, and I’ll submit my Ms to him. If he likes it, you send me the check, if he don’t you return it to him.
You perceive this isn’t hard on Mr. Pope. The terms were my own—he would have given me $500 down, but I didn’t think he ought to buy a pig in a poke, and I felt that I ought to take some risk of a failure. I liked Mr. Pope very much, and I should be glad of his acquaintance, even if there were no money in it. As it is, imagine my gratitude to you!
My regards to all your family. / Yours ever / W. D. Howells [MTHL 1: 19; MTPO]. Note: Charles P. Pope, theatrical producer and actor whom Sam had referred to WDH.
July 13 Monday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Taxes for 1874 634.30” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: these are likely “town and city” and school taxes on the value of the Hartford house under construction.
July 14 Tuesday – From Charles E. Perkins ’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Mrs. [Samuel] Colt Interest 560.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Evidently, Sam had borrowed money from the wealthy widow Colt.
July 15 Wednesday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “By cash brot over July 15 By dft on NY 2500.00” [Berg collection, NYPL].
July 15 and 16 Thursday – Sam replied from Elmira to the May 14 of Robert Watt, journalist and author, thanking him for sending a Danish edition of a selection of Sam’s sketches and the Buck Fanshaw story in Roughing It, Ch. 47. The Danes recognized British copyright and these were printed through the authorization of Routledge in London. Sam mentioned that he had just finished “writing a five-act drama for an American comedian” (Colonel Sellers. A Drama in Five Acts). He enclosed some stereopticon photos (see Watt’s further reply Jan 4, 1875) [MTL 6: 188].
July 16 Thursday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to his 1854 St. Louis roommate, Jacob H. Burrough.
My Dear Jake:
Have just received two papers from your town. Are the Misses Ida & Emma Burroughs any kin to you? And who is Dean?—my old mud clerk comrade?
My boy, don’t you ever come East? I wish you would stop in on us next winter. (We are house-building & shant be well settled till the middle of the fall.)
Why don’t you die?—Are you going to live forever? You must be about 80 or 90 now.
Yrs Ever, / Saml L. Clemens
We lived in the same house with Disraeli a couple of months in London—it kept reminding me of how you used to admire his earlier novels [MTP drop-in letters].
Note: Jake was only eight years older than Sam; wife Mary b. 1837; Daughters R. Ida b. 1859, Emma Doane b. 1862, sons Frank E. (1865-1903), George b. 1867.
From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Garvie 2000.00” [Berg collection, NYPL].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote from Bridgeport, Conn. “a thousand thanks” to Sam “for taking me into partnership,” and wished he could thank him in person [MTP].
July 17 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Joseph J. Albright, an iron manufacturer in Scranton, Penn. His son, John Joseph Albright (1848-1931) was connected by marriage to the Langdon family (he married the former Harriet Langdon (1847-1895), Livy’s first cousin. Sam’s “certificate” entitled Joseph to first class passage, round trip, on the comet (See July 6 entry.)
“I am cheerfully furnishing complimentary tickets to all the hard-coal people (for the round trip,) because my wife owns in a soft-coal mine & she wants to get rid of the opposition” [MTL 6: 191].
Sam also wrote to Thomas B. Pugh, manager of the Star Lecture Course in Philadelphia who had solicited Sam to lecture again there. Sam’s reply:
“I would like mighty well to stand before one of your big audiences again, & sound the humorous war whoop, but alas, I have taken a long farewell of the platform! I am a lecturer no longer” [MTP, drop-in letters].
Anna E. Dickinson wrote to Sam
Dear Mr. Clemens, don’t be too busy to read how I have sprinkled ashes on my head at having supposed those people would forget what you wrote them.——and “40 pages”—too!
You are a brick! which, being translated means that you are a gentleman—and a friend worth having—and I appreciate you.
Please give my love to the whole blessed household & know me to be
Anna E Dickinson [MTP].
July 18 Saturday – Dr. John Brown replied to the June 15 letter informing him of Clara’s birth, and also to a non-extant from Clemens introducing Anna Dickinson and also updating sales numbers for GA:
My Dear friend— We will rejoice to welcome your heroic little “Friend”— I know her well—in spirit— It is good you are all doing so well— Tell Mater Pulchra that she must have an annual photographing of the children for me— That is indeed an amazing hawl of money—I read it to my publisher—Douglas—& he held up his hands—speechless— We are in our usual here. John is away in the Highlands walking across the wild hills, all by himself— Barclay & his brood are on the Banks of the Tummel—playing themselves—& eating cherries—& drinking milk— I hope to get away by & by— I send you some rough lines by a friend of yours— Curious as being the first made by a man of 63—& which, like the first playing on the fiddle, are more interesting to him probably than pleasing to others— ’Lizabeth is good Mrs Barclay—“John” you know. All happiness to you Four! & a kiss to my Susie— Ys ever / J.B. [MTPO].
July 20 Monday – The Library of Congress granted Sam copyright No. 9490E for Dramatic Compositions, which was The Gilded Age as a stage play [MTL 6: 190n4].
Charles P. Pope wrote to Sam that he’d met Howells and came to terms with him; that he liked him [MTL 6: 195n5].
John Lester Wallack (in the theatrical world known only as Lester Wallack) wrote to answer Sam’s question about John L. Toole. He sailed from Liverpool on July 16 [MTP].
July 21 Tuesday –Mary Margaret Field wrote from Woodstock, Vt. with a long “sob story” asking for a “loan” of $100 from Clemens [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply of July 29, which may not have been sent.
July 22 Wednesday – James Hammond Trumbull wrote to Sam about the “dream” feature of Sam’s play of Col. Sellers. The noted philologist talked of Sanskrit and Hawaiian legends of dreams [MTP].
July 22? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William Dean Howells, responding to his July 11 letter about a translation of Ippolito Tito d’Aste’s play, Sanson. Howells had shared Charles P. Pope’s offer for the translating with Sam and asked his opinion. (Pope was a theatrical producer.) Sam answered he would have asked $100 more for the down payment with other terms acceptable. Sam relayed that he’d just received a note from Pope, who was “charmed…& delighted with the prospect of a translation to his liking” Sam also discussed his five-act drama entitled “Colonel Sellers” and John T. Raymond as the Colonel [MTL 6: 193; MTHL 1: 19-21].
July 28 Tuesday – The New York World reported, “Mark Twain has just leased his last literary production, a five-act drama which he has just finished, called ‘Colonel Sellers,’ to John J. Raymond” [MTL 6: 185n4].
July 29 Wednesday – Photographer Elisha M. Van Aken (1828-1904) arrived at the Quarry Farm and was mentioned in Sam’s letter to Orion: “…& it is a faultless, cloudless day, & he will have good success no doubt.” Van Aken had set up a studio in Elmira in 1873. See also Sept. 2, 1874 when he presented his bill for various photographs [MTL 6: 196-7 & n2].
Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion. After relating a short visit by Ed Brownell, “one of the best boys in Keokuk in my day, & one of the smartest,” Sam disclosed feeding problems with the new baby Clara:
Two or three times the baby has threatened to wink out like a snuffed candle, at 5 minutes notice; & each time the trouble was laid to prepared food, & the same discarded & a wet nurse employed—& each time the wet nurse went dry or something happened. —We have fled to wet nurses four times & to-day we are after two others down town. Livy is about worn out; the present wet nurse is pumped out; & my profanity is played out—for it no longer brings healing & satisfaction to the soul. Our love to Mollie [MTL 6: 196].
Sam also wrote to Mary M. Field, a poor writer who had sent Sam a pretty effective sob story; she also asked for a $100 loan. (This draft was probably not sent, as no reply has been found.)
Madam: Your distress would move the heart of a statue. Indeed it would move the entire statue if it were on rollers….Nothing in the world between you & starvation but a lucrative literary situation, a few diamonds & things, & three thousand seven hundred dollars worth of town property. How you must suffer. I do not know that there is any relief for misery like this. Suicide has been recommended by some authors….if it shall carry its lesson sharply home to you by leading you to reflect upon what sort of heroine you would make for one of your own Christmas stories, making an agonizing appeal to a stranger with $3,700 in your pocket—I shall not then regret writing this letter to you for nothing when I could sell it to a magazine for two or three hundred dollars [MTL 6: 197].
Sam also wrote on or about this day to Joseph Twichell.
“We must have a nurse that has a native faculty for soothing little people. We must have one that breathes ether from her nostrils & oozes chloral hydrate from every pore. We must have one who is worthy to stand in the pulpit” [MTL 6: 201-2]. Sam added more comment on the Beecher scandal.
July 30 Thursday – S. Robert, Jr. wrote to sell fancy furnishings, having heard of the Hartford house the Clemenses were building. He used Mrs. Samuel Colt as reference [MTP].
July 31 Friday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote from Bridgeport to thank Sam for his “favor of Monday. I have destroyed bushels of curious begging letters. Hereafter they will all be saved for you. I am off for Canada—return about 6th of August” [MTP]
John William DeForest (1826-1906) novelist, wrote, introducing himself and suggesting publishing a “conjoint volume by subscription” as he had some 30 or 40 short stories which had appeared in magazines [MTP]. Note: see Gribben, p.182.
August 1–3 Monday – In Elmira, Sam wrote a short note to Anna Dickinson, enclosing John Brown’s reply to Sam’s letter introducing Anna [MTL 6: 203]. Note: Anna replied on Aug. 4, below.
August 3 Monday – From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “By cash brot over Aug 3 By dft on NY 5000.00” [Berg collection, NYPL].
August 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Gilbert Densmore about the stage play Colonel Sellers that Densmore had put on without authorization. Sam eventually purchased the play for $200 and sent another $200 when Sam’s revision became successful. This letter is lost, but referred to by a letter from Densmore [MTL 6: 205].
Anna E. Dickinson wrote to Sam:
Dear Mr. Clemens,—I have been guilty of State’s Prison offense, I know,—but if you will promise not to prosecute this time I promise never to do so,—never no more.
“A safe promise”—I hear you sniff, as you survey your stripped letter,—“if she is bent on stealing the coats of her friends I will send her no more such, dressed or undressed.”
For the present I hold the envelop “subject to orders.”
Can you give me the secret of how to make people read two words when there are but one?—In that case I shall have my book more than done without further effort,—nobody finds even the most stupid of books as tiresome to read through as to write through, thank God, or there would be an end of the “Trade.”
When is it your play does appear?—& is it that upon which you have been so busy this summer?— Mind I am not howling for “confidences” though I suppose no “investigating com’e.” are to sit upon you & your doings,—but I am enormously interested in this Play.— If it is to prance before I go away I want to see it and ’rah! for the author on its first night.
I hope all goes well with you & yours.— My love to the household.—
Anna E Dickinson [MTP].
August 5–7 Friday – Some time between these dates, Sam and Livy traveled the 180 miles to Fredonia to visit Jane Clemens and the Moffetts. They left Susy and Clara in the care of the Cranes [MTL 6: 205].
August 6 Thursday – The Lotos Club held a dinner to welcome John L. Toole, English comic actor. Sam did not attend but sent a letter that was read, entitled “Dinner to Mr. Toole” [MTL 5: 506n4].
August 8 Saturday – Sam and Livy continued on to Buffalo where they stayed with David Gray and family [MTL 6: 205].
In Morristown, New Jersey, Bret Harte wrote to Sam. After enumerating various payments he’d received for stories and articles in the New York Times, and telling Sam “you ought to get more, as you are much more valuable to a newspaper than I am,” Harte was amused by perceptions of his so-called wealth:
Of course this is all confidential. You will continue to inform people that I habitually turn out my $50 page per day and that it is my usual custom to eat from gold plate with a butler in a white cravat before me. That you have always deplored my extravagant prices, and that only personal friendship kept you from doing my work at one third the price in the interests of literature.
Raymond tells me you have dramatized your last book and that its good. I never thought of you in that way. I dare say you will get before the spotlight before I do—but the stage is large and there is audience for us both. Wherefore go on, my dear boy, and conquer. No will applaud louder than myself—among the claque [Duckett 95].
From Charles E. Perkins’ cash book, Sam’s account: “To po Mr. Potter 400.00” [Berg collection, NYPL]. Note: Edward T. Potter, architect for the Farmington Ave. house.
Augustin Daly wrote:
My dear Mr. Clemmens, [sic]
I see that you are entering the dramatic field. Don’t you feel like doing something for my company & my theatre. I think I could put you on the road to a good thing—if you are inclined to talk the matter over with me.
Drop me a line if you will, & say where you will meet me. If you will come to the theatre, I am in town every day in the mornings.
Augustin Daly [MTP]. Note: Sam replied Aug. 14.
August 10 Monday – J.J. Winthrop wrote from Phila. to criticize Sam for GA:
I have read it
through—& what have you done? Instead of a choice slander on English
manners & their infernal “I beg your pardon” &c, it is an unjust libel
on the fairest government on which the sun ever shone (which is not saying too
much) And who in heavens name is your “colleague” Some——who no one ever heard
of whose name has been made illustrious by coupling it with yours,—& to
what purpose To ruin your brilliant reputation There are in the book 3
good articles—for these I give you credit. There are 997 wretched
infernal stupid idiotic ones for which I give the poor
The rest of the book was manufactured by a carpenter—or a chinee or worse.— /
Respectfully your … [MTP]. Note: the writer’s fantods came from
Clemens’ satirization of American political excesses.
August 12 Wednesday – Sam and Livy stopped about half way home at Canandaigua, New York, where they were guests of a coal merchant, H. Gridley and wife. They may have stayed one or two nights [MTL 6: 205].
August 13 Thursday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to invite Sam “down here Saturday next” for a clam bake. “Am getting quite a stack of queer letters for you” [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote from Franklin Park, N.J.: “Day after tomorrow, at 12 o’clock, noon, I sail, God willing, for the land of Incas and—guano, Peru. You have doubtless heard of it before now. I am going with Yung Wing on Celestial business, and expect to be absent two months, the journey by way of the Isthmus….I write just to say good-bye and God bless you” [MTP].
August 14 Friday – The Clemenses were back in Elmira with their children, the Langdons and the Cranes. Livy was exhausted by the trip, still not fully recovered from the birth of Clara [MTL 6: 205].
Sam replied to the Aug. 8 of Augustin Daly, playwright and drama critic who managed his own company and a new theater at 28th Street near Broadway in New York. Daly had offered to produce The Gilded Age on stage. Sam dodged the offer in this letter, claiming he was “debarred by a book contract,” though nothing in his contracts with Bliss forbade stage plays [MTL 6: 206].
August 15 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother and sister. Sam had been rude to a banker friend of the family while in Fredonia and so wrote apologies. The details of the incident which pricked Sam’s conscience are unknown [MTL 6: 207].
H. Torrey wrote from NYC to Sam having rec’d his note in Phila. He asked for help with a book idea [MTP].
August 21 Friday – Frank Fuller wrote to air a scheme for penny postcards and to congratulate Sam on the birth of Clara, news he’d learned from a recent visit with the Twichells. “Do not dare to come to N.Y. without letting me know” [MTP]. Note: Sam declined the scheme in a letter not extant.
August 22 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William Dean Howells, extolling Howells’ latest novel, A Foregone Conclusion, the third installment having appeared in the Sept. issue of Atlantic Monthly. Livy’s condition made it necessary to stay in Elmira a bit longer than planned. Sam thought another month [MTL 6: 209].
Joe Twichell wrote to announce that Captain Wakeman was aboard the S.S. Colon approaching Aspinwall. Joe had a conversation with the old Captain. “He hadn’t said ten words before I tasted richness…I was never more entertained in my life” [MTP].
August 23 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his sister, Pamela Moffett. Pamela was hoping Sam might help her obtain a nomination for her son, Samuel Moffett, to the U.S. Naval Academy. Sam advised her not to try for an appointment from St. Louis where she had formerly lived, but from a Congressman of her present district, Walter Loomis Sessions. (She was a resident of Fredonia, New York at this time.) Sam wanted to help but was “perplexed” [MTL 6: 210].
August 26 Wednesday – Gilbert B. Densmore wrote to Clemens. In part:
Dear Sir: I suspect from the tenor of your letter of Aug 4 that you attribute to me or my agency certain notices that have appeared in different papers about the “Gilded Age”. I wish to state therefore explicitly that I did not in any way prompt or suggest a single notice that has appeared either in New York, San Francisco or elsewhere. As every one here knew that I had dramatised the book, I told those who inquired that you had purchased my work and would write a drama yourself, using such portions of mine as you might like to incorporate into yours. I have also said what in affect I wrote to you, that I was thoroughly satisfied with the arrangement. As you say the feature of the play is yours. I don’t recollect that I originated anything for Col Sellers to say unless it might be some commonplace to make connection between scenes. The character is distinctly yours and the arrangement of incidents become yours by purchase, and I never have nor ever shall put forward any claim to having had a hand in the work
Allow me now to make a suggestion. Your name will ensure a play a fair hearing. Your works abound in materials for plays which only needs to be put into dramatic form. I propose therefore with your consent to write or construct a drama, using your materials as far as possible, which I will submit to you. If you like to touch it up, add points of humor or satire, or make any improvements that may suggest themselves, and make it a joint production, with a division of profits, I shall be pleased to have you do so. The suggestion is entirely selfish on my part, and I should not have made it but for an intimation in your previous letter that but for certain reasons, you would have announced the “Gilded Age” as a joint production. Of course if the drama when finished does not seem to possess the elements of success we will call it so much dead work. If you should think well of this idea, would you put me in the way to get such of your writings as are not published in book form? Perhaps also you could suggest some one or two story characters that could be worked into dramatic heroes. I can construct a plot, put in minor people, and weave together after the fashion of the draught of the “Gilded Age.” Please write and tell me what you think of it. Col. Lawrence wishes to be remembered also Mr Foard and Mr Kendall.
G. B. Densmore [MTPO].
August 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William W. Belknap (1829-1890), who had been secretary of war since 1869, in behalf of his nephew, Samuel Moffett, in gaining entrance to the Naval Academy.
“From my experience I should say that there is a sufficiently large proportion of leatherheads in the Navy, now, & what I want to do is increase the proportion of officers with brains….The lad’s head eats up his body, but he has no disease. He ought to pass medical examination” [MTL 6: 211-12]. Note: Sam asked Belknap to see if the Secretary of the Navy, George Robeson, might be able to make an appointment.
Sam also wrote a short note to Orion, telling him that Orion’s check for $9 had been received, but the interest on the $900 loaned was “inaccurate” (too much). Livy had suffered from the trip to Fredonia even though Sam had tried to break it up into smaller trips. Livy was improving some and Sam thought they would finally move to Hartford and into the new house in ten days [MTL 6: 214].
August 29 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Emma Parish, acknowledged by Sam to be a cousin, although she is not listed in family genealogies. He offered that his mother was 71, an “enthusiast on genealogy” and living in Fredonia, & “pretty strong yet,” Sam said. “I would not know where to rake up a relative for breakfast if I were starving.” Emma was a student and native of Salem, Virginia. He suggested an exchange of family photographs. A prior letter to Emma has been lost [MTL 6: 214].
August 31 Monday – The opening night of the stage play of The Gilded Age; or, Colonel Sellers took place at the Opera House in Rochester, New York. Sam was expected to attend. Although no outbreak has since been documented, Sam telegraphed from Elmira to John T. Raymond, actor playing Sellers, that “we are threatened with scarlet fever, & I fear to leave my family.” The reviews were mixed, with several praising the play but suggesting changes [MTL 6: 215-7].
American Publishing Co. per Elisha Bliss sent notice of a Directors’ meeting Sept. 1, 7:30 pm [MTP].
September Virginia S. Patterson (Mrs. Robert Patterson) wrote from Bellefountain, Ohio, wanting Sam’s opinion of two or three articles she wrote. A few weeks later she wrote again having heard nothing back, even though she realized he must be “besieged” by such requests [MTP].
September 1 Tuesday – Louis John Jennings (1836-1893) editor of the New York Times (1869-76) wrote apologies to Clemens for the misunderstanding. Sam had thought Jennings had turned down an offered piece and accused him of “overcharging” by asking $250. “I honestly thought that the article you were kind enough to offer to use was not worth to us $250—and as a matter of business I though it best to tell you frankly. But I am far from thinking that you ‘overcharge’ for your work…” [MTP]. Note: this letter is in reply to one not extant.
September 2 Wednesday – William Dean Howells wrote to Sam:
My dear Clemens: / I telegraphed you last night to send on your manuscript, which I’d like very much to see. Your letter came just as I was packing up to come home, and I had not strength of mind enough to answer it, though it may not appear to a man of more active intellect a very heavy job to say yes or no.
As soon as I get the ms., I’ll read it. I’m extremely sorry to hear of Mrs. Clemens’s relapse. Please give her my regards, and believe both of you that I was proud as Punch to hear that you liked my story. I shall yet make immortality bitter to the divine Walters—as the French would call the Waverley man.
I sent Pope his tragedy last Saturday, and I hope he’ll like it. I really made it hard work for myself, and I think earned my money. / Yours ever / W. D. Howells [MTPO]. Note: Howells’ telegram is not extant. Charles P. Pope; see July 22?
In Elmira Sam replied to Howells, who telegraphed earlier in the day to send a manuscript for the Atlantic Monthly. In late June or early July on one of Sam’s visits to New York, he related the story of Mary Ann “Auntie” Cord (1798-1888), a former slave who was the Crane’s cook at Quarry Farm, to John Hay and William Seaver. Cord had lost her husband and seven children when the family was broken up for sale around 1852. Some thirteen years later her eldest son, Henry, was found and reunited with his mother. Mary Ann told Sam the story of her slavery, separation and reunion. Upon John Hay’s urging, Sam wrote up the story and submitted it along with the “Fable for Old Boys & Girls” to Howells at the Atlantic Monthly. “Fable” was rejected but “A True Story, Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It,” appeared in the Nov. 1874 issue. This was Sam’s first appearance in the highly respected literary magazine [MTL 6: 217-220]. Note: At this time, Sam thought more highly of “Fable” than he did for “True Story.”
Elisha M. Van Aken presented his bill to Sam for photographs taken on July 29. The bill, for $31.45 was paid on Sept. 3, and was for 120 “Stereo Views,” 7 “Imperial” views, 12 Imperial “Cards of child [Susy],” and 12 “Card de Visites” of a child. See MTL 6: 226n6. Sam sent some of the photographs to Dr. John Brown in Scotland .
September 3 Thursday – Frank Fuller wrote to Sam, still lobbying for his penny postcard scheme:
My Dear Mark:—
It is evident now for what you were made. It was to take the inflation out of conceited inventors. You see, though, what this smart Aleck says.
Now, though I have not seen the unpracticable creature since yours came, I believe [with] a little money and a large quantity of that sweet talk which you could use so well were you here, and which I believe I can hire a certain Brooklyn party to employ, we can control this thing, and I am still inclined to the opinion that it is the best little device I have met. I imagine you and I are smart enough to make it pay, if there is anything in it. But I will write you in a day or two, of another matter which has money in it, sure, and I want you to help me make it & then help me spend it.
Yrs ever, … [MTP].
September 4 Friday – Sam and Livy wrote from Elmira to John Brown. Sam wrote of working on the manuscript that would become The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, writing on average 50 pages a day. Soon afterward, Sam’s “well dried up” and he put aside the manuscript after burning a chapter he didn’t like [Powers, MT A Life 354]. Sam had not answered Brown’s July letter, so felt the need to explain.
Day after tomorrow I go to a neighboring city [Buffalo] to see a five-act drama of mine brought out, & suggest amendments in it, & would about as soon spend a night in the Spanish Inquisition as sit there & be tortured with all the adverse criticisms I can contrive to imagine the audience is indulging in. But whether the play be successful or not, I hope I shall never feel obliged to see it performed a second time. My interest in my work dies a sudden & violent death when the work is done [MTL 6: 221]. Note: Clemens was in Buffalo on Sept. 7 to see the week-long tryout for the Gilded Age play at the Academy of Music.
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett about her son, his nephew, Sammy Moffett. The letter is rather harsh, but provides an interesting take on Sam’s estimation of book-larnin’ vs. real world experience. Sam was concerned about his nephew’s over-reliance on study, his mental health, and his eyesight.
Only a line—to warn you that at eighteen Sammy will be not more than 3 removes from an idiot, provided his mother goes on with her trust as she is now. It is strong language but true. It is a common saying that smart boys turn out fools at maturity—but they wouldn’t if their parents’ vanity did not sit weakly by & see them destroying their brains without the power to deny themselves the daily glory of the child’s prodigies & triumphs, & save a great intellect to the world by sternly putting the shackles on it & keeping it within bounds. At thirty, with firm and wise care, Sammy’s ought to be the brightest rising name in America—& if he should be blind & an imbecile to boot, at that age, don’t lay it to him, for he will not be to blame.
In school yet! For shame, to so wantonly trifle with so imperial an intellect! No creature can be such a traitor to a child as its own mother—no love so disastrous as a mother’s indulgence.
You need to comprehend that yours is no common trust. It is not the ordinary hulk of clay & stupidity that you are put in keeping of—& so not to be cared for in the ordinary way. You are placed in charge of a future great philosopher, statesman, or general, & by the Lord you are playing with it!—amusing yourself with its feats & its inspirations! You fall away below a just appreciation of the work that is given into your hands. God knows it is never the smart boys’ fault they are [dolts] at maturity,—but their own parents’, & a pity & a shame it is. Poor John Garth!—gifted like a God—& his parents & teachers reduced him to mediocrity & below it in eighteen years—at least below it in some respects.
Now don’t destroy this letter but keep it—& at 30, when he is a very one-horse doctor or lawyer in a very one-horse village, & of no sort of consequence in the world & doomed never to be, read this letter over again & confess that I was a prophet—or bequeath it to him & let him read it himself.
If you will put that boy on a farm where there is not a single book, & where they will keep him out of doors & work him just enough & play him just enough to build up a strong constitution for him—& then turn him loose on the books again 2 or 3 years from now, he will add an illustrious name to his country’s honored men—but just at present he is pointing as straight at the asylum for idiots as the needle points to the pole.
Old Mr. Morse (the grape man) is the person to put him with, I judge.
The baby flourishes. Livy progressing slowly. Love to all.
P. S. For months Livy & I have talked constantly of a farm life for Sammy & consequent salvation from the infernal books that are sucking at his life and his intellect. Pay his board, so that he can play whenever he chooses & they can’t force him to work. [MTP, drop-in letters]. See Sept. 9 to Pamela.
September 5 Saturday – Sam wrote a note of thanks from Elmira to William W. Belknap in the matter of Sam’s nephew, Samuel Moffett, attempting to gain an appointment to the Naval Academy [MTL 6: 227].
September 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frank Fuller, responding to two letters. Sam declined to invest in Fuller’s investment opportunities, due to the high cost of Sam’s new house [MTL 6: 228].
September 7 Monday – Sam traveled to Buffalo and in the evening was at the Academy of Music for the opening of the Gilded Age play. At the close of act four, Sam was called to the front of the private box and asked to say a few words. His short message was advice not to attend your own play on opening night. Sam seemed overcome by it all, but received an ovation. The critics in Buffalo gave Sam more of the same he’d received in Rochester—good, but needs amending. The Buffalo Courier, where Sam’s friend David Gray worked, called Raymond’s acting “a master-piece.” The play itself “is not quite complete” [MTL 6: 225n3].
September 8 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that “A True Story” was to be published in the Atlantic; he thought it “extremely good” [MTHL 1: 24].
September 9 Wednesday – Pamela Moffett would have had time to answer Sam’s rather harsh Sept. 4 letter about her son, Sammy Moffett. From Elmira, Sam offered salve and explained his thinking, though he remained critical of “giddy mothers & unwise teachers.”
Dear Sister: / Do not take my letter too much to heart. I couldn’t be otherwise than warm on the subject, for it does seem so prodigiously important. I don’t want to be unkind. But Sammy’s brain must be rested—& thoroughly rested, too. It must not be frittered away, overstrained, destroyed & lost to his generation & his country.
I was glad indeed to hear of Mr. Tucker—I remember him well, & especially his sermons. They were usually 65 pages long. I always counted them, & whenever he “rung in” an extra one there was one member of his congregation that cordially resented it. But I liked him.
We are getting along well. The picture is pretty good.
P.S. Pamela, just reflect, for a moment, that Webster, Grant, & nearly all the other great men, were dull & slow, in boyhood—it was all that saved them from overtaxing & destruction by parents & teachers— over-indulgence. But just think! What became of the bright boys, the brilliant intellects that headed their classes? Gone!—destroyed—over-indulged—ruined—lost to the world—lost to unborn generations of men!
Gone down to the grave, unknown & unhonored, & left their high places to be filled by men infinitely their inferiors—such as the Grants and the Websters. I tell you we don’t know what real splendid, magnificent greatness is—we kill it, persecute it [,] harry it into idiotcy or mediocrity before it can mature. Think of the mighty names you giddy mothers & unwise teachers have robbed the world of! [MTP, drop-in letters]. Note: Tucker is likely Rev. Howard Tucker, who had been head of the Keokuk Library association in the 1860s.
September 10 Thursday – Sam and Livy, together with Clara Spaulding, left Elmira for New York City for a ten-day stay. They checked into the Hoffman House, one of the most elegant hotels in the city, two blocks from the Park Theatre where Sam planned to direct rehearsals for the Sept. 16 opening of the Gilded Age play [Powers, MT A Life 358].
September 12 Saturday – Sam wrote from New York to Dr. Rachel B. Gleason, proprietor of the Elmira Water Cure who had consulted with Livy about her condition. Gleason gave treatments for profuse menstruation, which Livy evidently suffered from. Sam asked if Gleason would “write & tell a reliable lady physician here to come to the hotel & administer” Gleason’s treatments [MTL 6: 231].
During their New York stay, Sam and Livy shopped for carpets and furniture for the new house. Sam also “drilled” the actors two to four hours each day in rehearsals for the Sept.16 opener [MTL 6: 230; MTL 6: 238 to Orion].
September 16 Wednesday – The Gilded Age; Colonel Sellers Play opened at the Park Theatre, New York City with John T. Raymond in the leading role of Col. Mulberry Sellers, a part which he had already played in Densmore’s adaptation. The play was a popular success and would achieve a remarkable run of 119 New York performances [Walker, Phillip 186]. (Powers claims 115 nights [MT A Life 360].) Sam gave a curtain speech confessing he had written two endings, to be performed in rotation. Sam couldn’t decide which he liked best [Fatout, MT Speaking 87-89; Schmidt].
One point two inches of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
September 17 Thursday – Andrew Carpenter Wheeler of the New York World published a lengthy criticism of the Gilded Age play in his “Amusements” column. While not unrestrained praise, the play was certainly a hit and the criticism positive [MTL 6: 643 for text of review]. The New York Herald wrote:
“The Gilded Age” fills a void in drama of purely American life that has long been felt, and its great success at its first representation should encourage the author to turn his talents in this direction again [MTL 6: 235n2].
3.3 inches of rain drenched the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
In Cambridge, Mass., William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam that “This little story delights me more and more: I wish you had about forty of ‘em!” [MTHL 1: 25]. “A True Story.”
September 18 Friday – Sam telegraphed thanks to Jerome B. Stillson, editor of the New York World, for the positive review of his play by Andrew Carpenter Wheeler (Nym Crinkle). Sam was gratified the review was “done up so thoroughly & handsomely,” and would have come by but he was leaving the City the next day and had “been rushed to death with shopping” [MTL 6: 232].
Nearly 4 inches of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
September 19 Saturday – The Clemens family left New York for their new home in Hartford. The next day Sam wrote to Howells, saying they were occupying “part of the new house. Goodness knows when we’ll get in the rest of it—full of workmen yet” [MTL 6: 233].
The family occupied the second floor of the three-story home; the main floor was not yet complete. It would be the happiest and longest stay of their residences. Powers gives Sept. 21 as the possession date of the new house . Willis also gives this date . See Willis [92-6] for a good description of the details of the house at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford. According to Andrews, within three years Sam had purchased $21,000 worth of furniture in the house which cost $70,000 on five acres of land worth $31,000 .
0.31 inches of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
John H. Hewitt wrote from Baltimore “asking privilege of using language of Gilded Age in a drama” – by Twain on env. [MTP].
** David R. Locke (Nasby) wrote from NYC. “As I didn’t go to the Lotus till last night I did not get…enclosed tickets in time to make use of them. / Will you be good enough to send me at my office a couple of seats say for Tuesday night or Monday. Monday will be better” [MTP].
September 20 Sunday – In Hartford Sam replied to the Sept. 17 of William Dean Howells, who wrote, “This little story delights me more and more: I wish you had about forty of ‘em!” [MTHL 1:25]. Sam then asked him to send the proofs to “A True Story” to Hartford (they’d been sent to Elmira) so he might revise especially the “negro talk,”—“I amend dialect stuff by talking & talking it til lit sounds right….” Sam also mentioned the new house and that the Warners were shortly going “to the devil for a year,” by which he meant travel. Sam also told Howells to thank Aldrich for digging up more Langdon ancestors of Livy’s in a piece he’d written about Portsmouth, New Hampshire [MTL 6: 233-4].
Sam also wrote another letter to his “dear cousin,” Emma Parish. He talked of the house being full of workmen and the hammering hardly stopping and of taking “up quarters on the second story, sleeping in a guest room, eating in a nursery & using my study for a parlor.” Sam sent a picture of Susy and could not find one of Livy, the “luggage is still in such confusion” [MTL 6: 237].
September 21 Monday – The New York Daily Graphic ran a cartoon of Twain as a frog even though it was for the opening of the play, The Gilded Age (renamed Colonel Sellers); see insert.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, repeating the state of the house and making do in various rooms upstairs. “…the play went through without a hitch on the very first night,” Sam wrote. He also noted that “Gen. Belknap is helping me splendidly to get Sammy appointed to the Naval Academy” [MTL 6: 238]. Note: For all of Sam’s work and influence, Samuel Moffett never went to the Naval Academy, but studied at the University of California at Berkeley, and received BA, AM and PhD degrees from Columbia. Afterward he became a respected journalist. William W. Belknap (1829-1890) Secretary of War under Grant, and the only former cabinet secretary to be impeached. His crime was taking kickbacks.
Sam also telegraphed his sister, Pamela Moffett on Sammy’s appointment, which he felt was a done deal:
“I have pleasant letters from Secretary of war & Secy. of Navy—Sammy can begin his studies he will be appointed next year” [MTP, drop-in letters].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks about the new house, and seeing her son Charley in New York. Significantly, Sam did not mention the Gilded Age play [MTL 6: 239].
Dr. John Brown replied to the Sept. 4 from Clemens, sent with photos:
My dear Friend
“They are good, & I told you so at once, didn’t I?” said I to myself when I got your plump letter & all the photos—I have been often thinking of you for it is now more than a year since I first saw the little woman in that stately bed—Thanks for all you write—& for the photos. Susie is still lovely—but growing I can see—You, in your Sanctum, are capital—I see the cigar in the left hand! & the pen ready to write when the big brain tells it—Thanks for telling me so much—
Let me know how the play went off & don’t ruin yourself with gorgeous furniture! We are all much as usual. I was for 14 days with the Barclays in the Highlands. John is there climbing mountains—My sister is at home—We are getting a new carpet for the drawing room—the present one being worn to the bone. I am drudging away at Doctoring, but meditating a new set of spare hours. Whats to be the name of the new book? How is Miss Hossack? get a large photo of Mater Pulchra—with her hair, au naturel, & a similar sized one of Mark himself looking ferociously [the rest of the letter is missing] [MTPO].
September 23 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Robert Shelton Mackenzie, Irish novelist and since 1857 the literary and drama critic for the Philadelphia Press. Sam thanked Mackenzie on his “Correct idea of Col. Sellers,” and discussed the nature of the Sellers character, “drawn from life, not imagination—I ate the turnip dinner with him, years ago…” [MTL 6: 240].
September 24 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Gov. William W. Belknap, about strategy to obtain an appointment to the Naval Academy for Samuel Moffett. They would try to gain the appointment through Keokuk, Iowa, even though Samuel had never lived there [MTL 6: 244].
On or about this day Livy and Sam wrote a letter to Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon. Sam was harried:
Livy appoints me to finish this; but how can a headless man perform an intelligent function? I have been bullyragged all day by the builder, by his foreman, by the architect, by the tapestry devil who is to upholster the furniture, by the idiot who is putting down the carpets, by the scoundrel who is setting up the billiard-table (& has left the balls in New York,) by the wildcat who is sodding the ground & finishing the driveway (after the sun went down), by a book agent, whose body is in the back yard & the coroner notified. Just think of this thing going on the whole day long, & I a man who loathes details with all his heart! [MTL 6: 244-5].
September 25 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Seaver, answering his note of Sept. 17.
“I knew you’d be glad the play was commended, & I hope that before this you & John Hay have been there & wept….Remember that darkey yarn I told you & Hay? Well, it has gone to the “Atlantic” & so you boys can’t gobble it, you see” [MTL 6: 245-6].
On or about this day Sam also wrote to James Redpath:
“Your offer of $30,000 to lecture fifty nights does not tempt me. I have run about the world long enough. I mean to live & die at home, now, if I starve at it. I love you, but I cannot lecture any more” [MTL 6: 246].
September 26 Saturday – John E. Owens wrote from Boston to ask for production rights to a play in New Orleans for GA [MTP].
September 28 Monday – President Grant attended a performance of the Gilded Age play at the Park Theatre in New York. Grant laughed and applauded with the crowd throughout the play, and personally congratulated Raymond back stage [MTL 6: 248]. The play ran 115 nights in New York and netted Sam $10,000 in its first quarter, and around $70,000 during his lifetime [Powers, MT A Life 360]. Walker claims the play ran 119 performances .
To William C. Brownell, City Editor of the New York World, Sam confided:
“…it isn’t a good play. It’s a bad play, a damned bad play. I couldn’t write a good play. But it has a good character, and that character is the best I can do” [Walker, Phillip 186].
September 29 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Frank Fuller, who evidently had written trying to engage Sam in a stage production. Sam replied:
My Dear Frank:
Many thanks for your letter & enclosures. If I had the time I would hurl myself in the drama, wholesale. But I must go on with my book. I do not know whether I could fit Mr. & Mrs. Barney Williams with characters or not, but I still think I could fit Bijou—though I must not be thinking about dramas, with this big book on my shoulders.
I have written & asked Raymond to cross my name off the Mark Smith Benefit list, because I shall find it so difficult to leave home.
Look here. You go & see McCullough about that piece. That is what I was going to do, but was so driven I couldn’t. I mean [to] go & see him & make a trade on the merits of the piece, for you see I think I wouldn’t want my name associated with it as being the redresser of a character thrown in to make by-play while the scenes are shifted. See? But there’s meat in that play.
We swap affections with you.
I enclose the P. M. I see I have been trying to turn it into a magazine article again, which I had forgotten [MTP Drop-in letters].
G.W. Rogers, wood carver wrote from London to Sam, hoping “by this time” he’d rec’d two works of art from him, and presented a bill for £42.7.6 [MTP].
September 30 Wednesday – William Dean Howells wrote from Cambridge, Mass. Sam asking for “some such as that colored” story “for our Jan’y number.” He congratulated Sam on President Grant’s enjoyment of the Col. Sellers character in the Gilded Age play; and said they’d enjoyed Charles & Susan Warner’s visit before they left for Europe [MTHL 1: 32].
October – Sam inscribed a copy of John Campbell’s (1779-1861) Lives of the Lord Chancellors and Keepers of the Great Seal (1874) [Gribben 126].
October 3 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells about possible submissions for the Atlantic. Howells had written seeking “some such story as that colored one” for the January issue. Sam replied:
“…the house is still full of carpenters. So we’ll give it up. These carpenters are here for time & eternity; I am satisfied of that. I kill them when I get opportunities, but the builder goes & gets more.”
Sam also wrote that the Warners were “about to leave & we are in grief.” The good friends and neighbors sailed on Oct. 8 for Europe and would not return until July 1, 1876. Howells had mentioned, “even President Grant recognized the excellence of the Sellers character in your play” [MTL 6: 247-8].
October 5 Monday – From Twichell’s diaries:
“Reached home after vacation and a trip of 7 weeks to Peru and the W. Coast of South America (with Yung Wing) M.T. met me at the depot” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Note: Joseph Twichell was active in the Hartford Chinese Educational Mission. He would lecture several times on Peru and South America. Dr. E.W. Kellogg accompanied Joe and Yung Wing. The purpose of the trip was to check on living conditions of Chinese coolies in that country. (Joe did not go there with dreams of a coca fortune.) Conditions were bad, which prompted Joe upon his return to give many talks without pay on the situation, and to champion Chinese students at the Hartford educational mission.
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam a short note asking for Stoddard’s address. He added, “Are you going to give me another of those little stories?” meaning, like “A True Story” [MTHL 1: 32].
October 7 Wednesday – Sam’s neighbor and to-be literary collaborator, Charles Dudley Warner and family, left for a year abroad. Twichell notes in his diary the date and that “A.C.O & Mary D. went with them” [Yale, copy at MTP]. Parties are unidentified.
Owen S. McKinney wrote to Sam asking about a woman whom Clemens called “a fraud”:
Dear Sir:—Please inform me if you knew a lady in California during your sojourn in that State by the name of Mrs. E. H. Bonner, alias “Hary Buford.” From the prominence given the lady by the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Mobile Register, and from other facts which came to my knowledge, in a few brief hours of an acquaintance recently formed with her, she is certainly a very great impostor or a remarkable woman. She gave your name as reference… [MTP]. Note: see other entries on Mrs. E. H. Bonner (b. Loreta Janeta Velazquez).
October 8 Thursday – Clemens wrote to William Dean Howells, the letter unrecovered but an enclosure about the Olympic Theatre survives and may be read at [MTL 6: 627-30].
October 9 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Louis J. Jennings, editor of the New York Times. Sam was “much more complimented than distressed” at someone imitating him and sending a letter purported to be his sent to the Greenwich Street Grammar School [MTL 6: 249].
Sam also wrote to Henry Watterson, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal, a friend and second cousin by marriage, about linking his name as a collaborator on a book with a Mrs. E.H. Bonner (b. Loreta Janeta Velazquez), a woman who had disguised herself as a Confederate officer (see June or Aug. entry).
My Dear Mr. Watterson:
I guess this is a woman who wrote me twice, some months ago, asking me to join her in dishing up an account of her adventures as a spy during the war. I declined twice, & tried to find a man to do the work for her—that is I recommended J. S. Bowman of San Francisco—& heard from her no more. She gave my friend Gen. M. Jeff Thompson as one of her references, but I can’t remember that he ever answered my letter about her.
Of course if you have not only talked about her, & have not spoken of her as being a partner of mine in—literary or otherwise—you will not need to print this note of communication of mine. But if you have hitched our names together in any way I wish you would either print my screed or drop me a line & tell me what I had better say in its place. You see I am wholly in the dark as to what it is you & the Register have said. Now I do not want the public defrauded in my name except when I do it myself—& not then, when I know it.
With remembrances & best wishes—
S. L. Clemens [MTL 6: 250].
October 12 Monday – For Sam’s speech at the Hartford Insurance banquet, see Oct. 15 entry. (Fatout gives this date [MT Speaking 89]; MTP’s Inventory Binder #1 states Fatout’s date in error).
Louise C. Moulton wrote from Pomfret, Conn.:
Dear Mr. Clemens—
I have asked my publishers to send you “Some Women’s Hearts,” in the hope that you may flatter me by sometime idling away a half hour over it. In this, I had an especial object. I wanted you to see the kind of stories I write, and then I wanted to beg a favor of you—this. Will you tell me whether you think it would be possible for me to get the publishers of “The Gilded Age” to undertake, on their usual terms, the publication of a collection of similar tales for me? I could make the collection as large as they pleased. I could include two or three stories as long as the first one in “Some Women’s Hearts,” and no end of shorter ones. It seems to me it might be a book agents could sell to advantage—but about that you could judge so much better than I.
The real truth is I want very much to make some money; and the returns of ordinary publishing are so slow.
If I could have the bliss of being published by Bliss, and making a fortune, don’t you see, how highly delighted I should be? After this last effort, never say I’m not a poet.
Will you forgive me for boring you with this letter of inquiry, for which my only excuse is an instinctive and unfaltering faith in your kindness?
How is that bonny baby whose picture I have—& how is her Mamma? I am, if you will allow me,
Very Cordially Yours—
Louise Chandler Moulton [MTP].
Sam’s article “Mark Twain’s Cold,” ran on page two of the Hartford Courant [Courant.com].
October 14 Wednesday – Hartford: Sam replied to the Oct. 13 of Louise Chandler Moulton, writer and family friend who hoped that Bliss might publish a collection of her stories.
“Your dainty volume came last night & Mrs. Clemens read ‘Brains’ to me while I smoked—& I was glad she read instead of I, because I was so touched my voice would have done me treachery, & I find it necessary to be manly & ferocious in order to maintain a proper discipline in the family” [MTL 6: 256]. Note: Moulton’s book: Some Women’s Hearts (1874).
October 15 Thursday – Sam represented the Hartford Accident Insurance Co. at a fancy dinner of the Hartford insurance industry for Cornelius Walford at the Allyn House in Hartford. He gave a humorous speech on accident insurance. The speech was included in Sketches, New and Old (1875).
A city whose fame as an insurance center has extended to all lands and given us the name of being a quadruple band of brothers working sweetly hand in hand—the Colt’s Arms Company making the destruction of our race easy and convenient, our life insurance citizens paying for the victims when they pass away, Mr. Batterson perpetuating their memory with his stately monuments, and our fire insurance companies taking care of their hereafter [MTL 6: 172]. Note James Goodwin Batterson (1823-1901), owner of the New England Granite Works and founder in 1863 of Travelers Insurance Co.
Edward T. Potter wrote house details to Sam: “I found the memoranda I promised for Mrs. Clemens. Some of the points may seem trivial & others of doubtful desirability but all go to make up the ensemble. I should like to know when the stairbuilder gets the work up he has in hand, so I may see him at the house before he is quite finished” He added a few more detailed items with cost [MTP].
October 17 Saturday – Sam’s droll article, “Magdalen Tower” ran in The Shotover Papers (or Echoes from Oxford). The remarkable 145-foot tower at Magdalen College in Oxford had been one of the side-track subjects included in his Sandwich Islands lecture given in London during late 1873. The editors of the Papers requested that Sam write something about the tower for their publication.
“He had just gone out when a well-dressed young gentleman came in with a kind of hop like a cockchafer on a hot shovel. His head was shaped like a hazel nut, and he had a foolish undergraduate look and an eyeglass in his eye. He bowed gently like a tame giraffe…” [The Twainian, Jan. 1943 p4-5].
(See Sept.29–Oct. 3, 1872 entry for Sam’s first visit to Magdalen College). Note: this publication wasn’t found in any bibliographies.
October 18? Sunday – Livy and Sam wrote from Hartford to Olivia Lewis Langdon. Twichell came by for Sam to go walking, and both Livy and Sam wrote of it. Sam took Susy in “her little carriage.” He wrote in the afternoon, after his walk while Livy was resting. “The customary Sunday assemblage of strangers is gathered together in the grounds discussing the house” [MTL 6: 259].
Also probably on this day, Livy and Sam wrote to Susan Crane. After a paragraph from Livy, Sam wrote:
Twichell came up here with me to luncheon after services, & I went back home with him & took Susie along in her little carriage. We have just got home again, middle of the afternoon & Livy has gone to rest & left the west balcony to me.
Susie is developing. Nine tenths of the time she is unimaginable sweetness & the other tenth she is a raging tempest, an unappeasable fury. Livy thinks the other baby [Clara] is going to be all gentleness. It does look like it. Susie now has a grace & beauty she never had before [MTP drop-in letters].
October 21 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss about Mrs. Moulton’s proposed book of stories and her availability at Pomfret, Conn. Sam sent best wishes for Harte’s book, Gabriel Conroy, and his hope that they could make the play run 200 nights in New York [MTL 6: 260].
From Twichell’s journal:
Called on M.T. He had just come in from making a farewell call on Mr Stowe ( who was about? Setting out for Florida for the winter and discovered that he had had no cravat on.[ )] He did up a cravat in a sheet of paper, wrote a note saying “herewith receive a call from the rest of M T?” and sent the cravat by a reward over to Mrs. Stowe.
She immediately replied in a very witty note, telling Mark that he had discovered a great principle (“I knew I had principle about me somewhere” interpolated Mark, as he read the note aloud) viz the principle of making calls by installment and asking whether in extremis a man might not send his hat, coat, and boots and be otherwise excused [Yale, copy at MTP].
October 24 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote two letters to William Dean Howells. The men were developing a playful and intimate association through letters and mutual admiration. In the first letter Sam repeated that he’d hoped to write something for Howells’ January edition of the Atlantic, (as requested in Howells’ Sept. 30 letter) but that the “state of weary & endless confusion” (the house still being finished all around them) proved that his “head won’t ‘go’.” In the second letter, two hours later, Sam had a thunderbolt of an idea, which came to him on a walk with Joe Twichell.
…I got to telling him about old Mississippi days of steamboating glory & grandeur as I saw them (during 5 years) from the pilot house. He said “What a virgin subject to hurl into a magazine!” I hadn’t thought of that before. Would you like a series of papers to run through 3 months or 6 or 9? ——or about 4 months, say? [MTL 6: 262-3].
What came from this idea?—“Old Times on the Mississippi” in seven installments in the Atlantic, Jan. through June and Aug. 1875, later to become Life on the Mississippi (1883).
G.W. Rogers sent a receipt for £21 from London [MTP].
October 26 Monday – The New York Daily Graphic ran this cartoon of Mark Twain: see insert.
October 27 Tuesday – In the evening, Sam and Twichell took a long walk [Twichell journals, Yale].
October 29 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly, who tried to enlist Sam in writing a play. Sam dumped it off onto William Dean Howells, who was thinking of dramatizing his current novel, A Foregone Conclusion [MTL 6: 263].
Sam also wrote an answer to Howells reply to previous letters and promised to begin work the next day on the first article in the piloting series for the Atlantic [MTL 6: 266].
October 30 Friday – Sam began work on the first article, which became “Old Times on the Mississippi” [MTL 6: 256 to Howells].
October 31 Saturday – Twichell pasted a New York Times article in his diary that mentioned his trip to Peru and his upcoming lecture on the topic, as well as Sam’s lecture “last winter” which raised money for the poor (Father David Hawley) [Yale, copy at MTP].
Owen S. McKinney wrote from Palatine, W. Va. to thank Sam. In part:
She is one of the most intelligent as well as one of the “cheekiest” women I ever saw. The Courier-Journal published a lengthy article setting forth her claims to respectability and her exploits during the war, which paper she had in her possession. The Mobile Register also published a column of her exploits. The publication of those articles seemed to indicate the truthfulness of her claim to be connected with you in the publication of the book. She said she knew you personally in California. She is an impostor of no ordinary rank. I shall send you the extract from the Register in a few days, as I saw it was copied in the Pittsburgh Dispatch and Wheeling Standard, and I will get one of the papers containing it.
November – Sam reached a literary peak of sorts, when his article, “A True Story – Repeated Word for Word as I Heard It,” appeared in the “high brow” Atlantic Monthly. Sue Crane’s Negro cook—Auntie Cord—told Sam her experiences as a slave. After repeating the story to John Hay, William Seaver, and perhaps others, Sam had been encouraged to write and submit it [Wilson 267].
“An Encounter with an Interviewer” first ran in the Lotos Club’s anthology, Lotos Leaves [MTL 5: 436n4; MTL 6: 219n2].
November 1 Sunday – On this day or the day before, Sam went to New York and took rooms at the New York Hotel. His business in the city is unknown [MTL 6: 266n2].
November 2 Monday – On the “Taxable List of Samuel Clemens of Hartford for 1874” signed by Sam, he wrote the value of his Farmington Avenue home at $30,000; 1 horse $150; 1 cow $100; Coaches, Carriages & wagons $250; Clocks, Watches, Time Pieces, Jewelry $1,200; Piano Fortes $200; Household Furniture $1,500; Libraries exceeding $50, $100. He declared 200 shares of Hartford Accident Ins. Co. stock at $10,000; Bonds $9,000; Money at interest $30,000; Money on hand $2,000 and lastly:
The form asked for “Dogs, number and kind.” Clemens wrote: “male, spotted, worthless” [MTP].
Dr. John Brown wrote to Sam on the back of a circular of poetry, praising “A True Story” about Aunt Rachel [MTP].
November 3 Tuesday – Sam was back in Hartford, and wrote to the editor of the Hartford Evening Post, H.T. Sperry. The paper had printed an article “The Drama of the Gilded Age,” which Sam wrote was an erroneous history of the play. Sam corrected the record and the suggestion that he had misused Gilbert Densmore [MTL 6: 267-73].
In response to gossip about Sam adopting Densmore’s version of the play, John T. Raymond, possibly at Sam’s urging, sent a letter to the New York Sun, which ran this day. The letter agreed that Densmore’s work was excellent, but that the production in New York “was entirely the work of Mr. Samuel L. Clemens” [Duckett, p. 120-1, quoting William Winter’s The Life of David Belasco]. Duckett asserts that “The controversy about how much of the play The Gilded Age was written by Mark Twain has never been settled” . Note: William Winter (1836-1917).
Sam Holt wrote from NYC touched by “A True Story” [MTP]. Note: Clemens wrote on the env. “Old Slave Story”
November 4 Wednesday – Congressional elections saw Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives. At this time Hartford and Sam were staunch Republicans.
Augustin Daly wrote Sam thanks for the referral for play collaboration to Howells, who wanted to dramatize A Foregone Conclusion [MTP].
November 5 Thursday – Sam referred to an unidentified correspondent who sought his biography to “Allibone’s Dictionary of Authors” [Gribben 21].
November 6 Friday – From Twichell’s diaries:
“Went on another walk to the Tower with M.T. Lots of pleasant talk. Never thought even to allude to the great democratic victory” [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: Talcott’s Tower, a wooden structure about five miles outside of Hartford.
November 8? Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Henry Watterson a second cousin by marriage, explaining that Colonel Mulberry Sellers was a study of a certain mutual kinsman and that Sam had drawn him from life and not imagination [MTL 6: 273].
November 9 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James Redpath announcing Twichell’s plan to walk with Sam to Boston in 24 hours (or more), a distance of over 100 miles. “We shall telegraph Young’s hotel for rooms for Saturday night, in order to allow for a low average of pedestrianism” [MTL 6: 275].
November 10 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Francis D. Finlay, of Belfast, Ireland. Sam and Livy had dined with Finlay on their last trip.
“Now one of these days you must come over here. Never mind the sea. Come over in winter, on skates. We are in our new house—& so are the carpenters—but we shall get the latter out, by & by, even if we have to import an epidemic to do it.”
Sam had read an article in the Nov. 2 Hartford Times about the cremation of Lady Katherine Dilke. Cremation was a rather new and controversial procedure, and the narration included gross details, which weren’t even possible for observers to note. Sam was taken back by the process and noted, “I wouldn’t have obeyed her dying injunctions” [MTL 6: 276].
Sam also wrote to Emma Parish, purportedly a cousin. Sam mentioned Henry Watterson, who’d written to say his mother was a Lampton. Sam’s mother was a Kentucky Lampton.
“And to think that only six short months ago I hadn’t a relative in the world to borrow money from. Truly the goodness of God is beyond understanding” [MTL 6: 277].
November 12 Thursday – A half-hour later than planned, Sam and Twichell set off at 8:30 AM to walk the 100 miles to Boston. Two and one-half hours later, Sam wrote from Vernon, Conn. to Livy.
“The day is simply gorgeous—perfectly matchless. And the talk! Our jaws have wagged ceaselessly, & every now & then our laughter does wake up the old woods” [MTL 6: 277-8].
Sam wrote from Grant’s Hotel in Ashford, Conn. to Livy again, using envelopes she’d prepared for him. It was here that Sam wrote in his notebook of the “funniest scene I ever saw was when my poor parson struck up a talk with the hostler…” who let fly with profanities.
“We got here at 7—an hour or more after dark. Westford is 2 miles further on. Our last 3 or four miles found my knee-joints aching fit to give me the lock-jaw” [MTL 6: 278].
Henry Watterson wrote: “Dear Clemens, / What have you been doing to this woman / H.W.” enclosing a letter to the Courier from Mrs. E.H. Bonner. Sam wrote on the env., “Female fraud”; See earlier on Bonner. Here is her protest to Watterson’s Courier-Journal:
Gentleman / I have before me an Article published in the Constitution purporting to be a Letter Published in the Columns of the Courier Journal last winter, from Mark Twain, denying any knowledge of my history, the Constitution claim they clipped it from your paper. I therefore ask you to Produce Said Letter, as I am in Posession of Several Letters from Mark Twain denying the writing said Letters, to your Paper. As to his writing my Book, he had nothing to do with it. Now in justice, I either wish you to forward to my Publisher the Letter from Sam. Clemens or Mark Twain. Or correct the statement you have made. My marriage name is Mrs. E. H. Bonner, and Velazquez is my fathers name, which I have chose for the Title of my Book, now in Prep. the Woman in Battle, let me hear from you at Your Earliest [MTPO].
November 13 Friday – Sam wrote from New Boston, Conn. to Livy.
Livy darling, it is bitter cold weather. We got up at half past 5 this morning, took breakfast & cleared out just as the dawn was breaking. It was a magnificent morning; the woods were white with frost, & our hands wouldn’t keep warm—nor ourselves either….We shall take the train & be in Boston at 7 this evening.
Sam had grown too lame to continue on foot, and Twichell wrote in his diary that Sam had not slept at all due to the tea he’d had that night. The pair walked another six miles to North Ashford and stopped at another inn. After trying to nap, at noon they allowed the host, Mr. Brooks, to take them in a buggy ten miles to the train at New Boston.
Sam wrote from New Boston to William Dean Howells that they’d arrive by rail at about 7 PM [MTL 6: 280].
Sam also wrote to Redpath that they’d “made 35 miles in less than five days. This demonstrates the thing can be done Shall now finish by rail. Did you have any bets on us?” [MTL 6: 281].
Sam and Twichell arrived in Boston and stayed at Young’s Hotel, one of Boston’s best small hotels. Howells sent a telegram to Sam at Young’s: “You and Twichell come right out to 37 Concord Avenue Cambridge near the observatory party waiting for you” [MTHL 1: 36].
In the evening they attended a lecture given by actor, James Morrison Steele MacKaye and the party thrown by William Dean Howells. They met Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter Rose, a daughter of Longfellow’s, the philosopher John Fiske, and Larkin Goldsmith Mead (1835-1910) and Marietta Di Benvenuti Mead (Mrs. Larkin Mead). Larkin was a sculptor and Elinor Mead Howells’ brother. William Dean Howells later wrote, “I never saw a more used-up, hungrier man, than Clemens. It was something fearful to see him eat escalloped oysters.” Sam didn’t get back to the hotel until 1 AM [MTL 6: 281n1, 282n1; Powers, MT A Life 363].
Edward H. House wrote from Yedo, Japan to Sam, opening with stories of letters gone astray sent to his friends in NY. So, it wasn’t surprising he hadn’t heard back from Clemens, and had a note from last August from him which didn’t mention his letters. He owed Clemens some £61 borrowed in England, and offered to make “some purchases here as you intimate” though the “money is ready…at any time you will go or send for it to Mr. Child (John)…Wall Street, N.Y.” He inquired about a book proposal about Formosa he’d made to Bliss, but hadn’t heard [MTP].
November 14 Saturday – Sam wrote from Boston to Livy about the “royal time at Howells’ last night.” He enclosed a hanky for the “Modoc” (he wrote “hakky,” as Susy pronounced it).
In the evening Sam and Twichell entertained at a dinner for the Howellses, Aldrich, Osgood, and Larkin G. Mead (1819?-1878), sculptor. Sam called upon Twichell to say the blessing. Sam was interviewed at the door during dinner and an article on “His Recent Walking Feat” appeared in the Boston Times on Nov. 16 [MTL 6: 282]. Twichell’s Journal notes that Joe enjoyed the gathering “to the full. Heard lots of bright good talk” [Yale, copy at MTP].
November 14 or 16 Monday – Sam sat for a photograph at George Kendall Warren’s studio and purchased a large number of the prints. He used them to give to fans as late as 1883 [MTL 6: 303n1]. He also purchased his first typewriter for $125, a machine that used a foot-pedal for carriage returns, could only print in upper case, but utilized a QWERTY keyboard. Sam wrote his first letter with the machine on Dec. 9 to Orion. Sam recalled in 1907 being with Nasby and buying it after seeing it in a window [MTL 6: 309].
The Boston Evening Journal, on page 2, ran details of Sam and Twichell’s walking tour: “Mark Twain as a Pedestrian.” Also, either the Hartford Times or the Boston Times ran “Mark Twain / His Recent Walking Feat” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 2-4].
November 15 Sunday – Sam rested at the hotel while Twichell walked the nine miles to Newton Highlands and preached a sermon, then spent the night with Rev. S.H. Dana, a local pastor [MTL 6: 284n2].
November 16 Monday – Twichell returned to Boston and with Sam and Frederick B. Allen, a Boston friend of Twichell’s. They attended an 11 AM meeting of the Radical Club. Walter Allen of the Boston Daily Advertiser probably invited the men [MTL 6: 284n3].
The Radical Club was an informal group of Unitarian and Transcendental ministers and laymen, and they met at the home of Rev. John T. Sargent. It was founded in the spring of 1867 to encourage larger liberty in matters of religious expression. On this occasion, Edward S. Morse (1838-1925), a professor of zoology and comparative anatomy at Bowdoin College, gave a talk on evolution. Twichell recorded Sam’s reactions after leaving the lecture early:
As we passed out, Mr. A. joined the party, and while the rest of us were chatting briskly about the incidents of the meeting, Mr. Clemens was silent until we got up into Beacon Street, when he spoke out in a serious way, saying, as nearly as I can recall his language: “Well, that was an extraordinary meeting! How that chap did draw on the blackboard! I never saw anything like that. I’m sorry we had to come away, for I was mightily interested in the talk going on, and wanted to say something myself. When Mrs. Sargent asked me if I would speak, I didn’t want to do it at all, but I thought it wouldn’t be polite to decline. I didn’t care much about evolution, but when they struck the doctrine of metempsychosis, I got interested. That doctrine accounts for me: I knew there was something the matter, but never knew what it was before. It’s the passing off on a man of an old, damaged, second-hand soul that makes all the trouble” [Sketches and Reminiscences of the Radical Club, by Mrs. J. T. Sargent, James R. Osgood & Co., 1880, p186-7]. Note: metempsychosis is a Greek term for transmigration of the soul; reincarnation.
Afterwards, Sam and Twichell arrived late and lunched at Howells’ at 2 PM. Later in the afternoon the three men called on Professor James Russell Lowell, visiting a half hour, mostly talking about the Beecher scandal. Sam and Twichell went back to Howells’ and left there at 6 PM. They then looked in at Harvard Memorial Hall and returned to Boston, taking the 9 PM train to Hartford [MTL 6: 284n3].
November 17 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, apologizing again for being late for lunch the day before, and relating that Livy:
“…gets upon the verge of swearing & goes tearing around in an unseemly fury when I enlarge upon the delightful time we had in Boston & she not there to have her share” [MTL 6: 285].
From Twichell’s journal:
“Returned by the midnight train last night from Boston wither I had set out last Thursday morning with M.T. on our celebrated walk. We left our house in his carriage at about 8[?] O’clock, rode through the E. Hartford bridge, and there took to our feet—I carrying a little boy and he a basket of lunch” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Joe included an itinerary listed by one “ancient stage driver” A.H. Perrin, through Mr N. H. Andrews. [Yale, copy at MTP]. Andrews paraphrases Joe: Sam “told a Boston reporter that his lameness was like walking on stilts—as if he had wooden legs with pains in them” [257 n47].
On or about this day Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens , that “Livy is tolerable, the rest of us well.” He included a note from Henry Watterson, a Lampton second cousin by marriage.
November 18 Wednesday – From Twichell’s journal:
“Lectured at Insane Asylum to the patients on my So American travels. M.T. went with me to study the audience” [Yale, copy at MTP].
November 19 or 20 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to cousin Emma Parish.
“Susie? Susie resembles us both. She has her mother’s personal comeliness & her father’s sweetness of disposition. When she gets in a fury & breaks furniture, that is a merit all her own—not inherited—at least only in a general way. I break a good deal of furniture, but it is only to see how it is made” [MTL 6: 268]. Note: Sam is not totally in jest here; Susy suffered (or the family did) from temper tantrums.
November 20 Friday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Howells. The first is an interesting fantasy, set in Boston (called Limerick) in the future, Nov. 16. 1935:
My air-ship was delayed by a collision with a fellow from China loaded with the usual cargo of jabbering, copper-colored missionaries, & so I was nearly an hour on my journey. But by the goodness of God thirteen of the missionaries were crippled & several killed, so I was content to lose the time. I love to lose time, anyway, because it brings soothing reminiscences of the creeping railroad days of old, now lost to us forever [MTL 6: 290].
November 23 Monday – Howells wrote to Sam and responded to his Nov. 20 letter that his wife was “simply absurd” about the “Limerick” letter and he wished to keep it. About the “pilot days” installment, Howells said it was “capital—it almost made the water in our ice-pitcher muddy as I read it.” Howells opted not to “meddle with it much in the way of suggestion,” which was high praise [MTL 6: 294].
Walter Lennox wrote from Brooklyn, NY to ask if Clemens would write him “a strong comedy part” as he had for his friend, John T. Raymond [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Walter Lennox / Comedian”
November 24 Tuesday – William Dean Howells wrote again to Sam, adding, “The only thing I’m doubtful of is the night watchman’s story” (in the first installment of “Old Times on the Mississippi”). “…seems made-up, on your part” [MTHL 1: 43].
November 25 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, responding to the editor’s “amendment” to his “pilot days” installment sent on Nov. 24 [MTHL 1: 43-4]. Sam, reading over the proofs, objected to the poor hyphenating done at the ends of lines. He also felt he shouldn’t appear in print too often. “…newspapers soon get to lying in wait for me to blackguard me. You think it over & you will see that it will doubtless be better for all of us that I don’t infuriate the “critics” too frequently” [MTL 6: 296].
November 27 Friday – Livy’s 29th birthday.
Phineas T. Barnum wrote from Bridgeport to advise he would send what begging letters he had laid aside, though he felt “some will be of no use to you probably” [MTP].
November 29 Sunday – Sam’s sketch, “Sociable Jimmy,” written from his letter home in 1872 was printed in the New York Times [MTL 5: 20n6; Fatout, MT Speaks 88]. An excerpt:
We ain’t got no cats heah, ‘bout dis hotel. Bill he don’t like ‘em. He can’t stan’ a cat no way. Ef he was to ketch one he’d slam it outen de winder in a minute. Yes he would. Bill’s down on cats. So is de gals—waiter gals. When dey ketches a cat bummin’ aroun’ heah, dey jis’ scoops him—’deed dey do. Dey snake him into de cistern—dey’s been cats drownded in dat water dat’s in yo’ pitcher. I seed a cat in dere yistiddy—all swelled up like a pudd’n. I bet you dem gals done dat. Ma says if dey was to drownd a cat for her, de fust one of ‘em she ketched she’d jam her into de cistern ‘long wid de cat. Ma wouldn’t do dat, I don’t reckon, but ‘deed an’ double, she said she would. I can’t kill a chicken—well, I kin wring its neck off, cuz dat don’t make ‘em no sufferin’ scacely; but I can’t take and chop dey heads off, like some people kin. It makes me feel so—so—well, I kin see dat chicken nights so’s I can’t sleep [Railton].
On or about this day – In Hartford, Livy and Sam wrote to Charles J. Langdon, Livy’s brother. Livy thanked him for the gift he sent for her 29th birthday on Nov. 27. Sam wrote of giving Theodore Crane “the rudiments” of billiards. The Cranes had been visiting just over two weeks [MTL 6: 297-8].
Sam also wrote to James Redpath. Sam’s idea of a Mississippi River trip for the purpose of gathering and reminding for materials for a book had been in his head since at least Mar. 1866. He suggested a few lectures in New York, Cleveland, Louisville, St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans while making such a trip. Sam hoped he might be able to finish drafting Tom Sawyer by May 1. (He did not complete the draft until July 1875, and did not make the river trip until the spring of 1882, and without lecturing.) Redpath’s reply has been lost [MTL 6: 298-9].
November 30 Monday – Sam’s 39th birthday. Livy presented Sam with a copy of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s The Hanging of the Crane (1875), signing her name and the date and Sam’s name [Butterfield auction catalog, July 16, 1997, p. 25 item # 2680].
December – Sam inscribed the half of each title page on four volumes of The Dialogues of Plato:
“For Livy Clemens / 1874. /S. L. CI.I” [Gribben 549].
He also inscribed A Child’s Poems, by Lucy Catlin (1872) “Saml. L. Clemens, Hartford, Dec. 1874” .
December 1 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Miss Street, daughter of James Street, in 1861 agent for the Overland Telegraph Company in Salt Lake City. Street met Sam and Orion on their trip to Nevada. Sam also renewed the acquaintance in San Francisco, and Street is portrayed in Chapters 12 and 14 of Roughing It [MTL 6: 299]. Sam responded to a request, most likely for his autograph.
December 2 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, sending a new photograph of himself [MTL 6: 300]. Note: see insert photo.
December 2? Wednesday – Sam sent a photograph (see insert) to Jahu Dewitt Miller [MTP].
Note: source offers the following: “Miller (1857–1911), born in Cross River, New York, was the son of a farmer. At age fourteen he entered the Washington County Seminary in Fort Edward, New York, graduating from it while still a teenager. He then became a member of the seminary’s faculty as well as its librarian. Already a local lecturer and a rare-book collector by the age of seventeen, he later became a well-known speaker on the lyceum circuit and built a large book collection. The letter he sent, requesting a photograph, is not known to survive, nor has any evidence been found that Clemens was acquainted with him.” See also Nov. 24, 1879 from Miller.
December 3 Thursday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that “The fotograf is a wonderful success, and Mrs. Howells and I are exultantly grateful. We’ve got it framed to match Warner’s, and it turns its eagle-eye away from me towards Boston, on my study mantel-piece” [MTHL 1: 46].
In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, disliking the title “Old Times on the Mississippi,” which he felt was “too pretentious, too broad & general,” and seemed to “command me to deliver a Second Book of Revelation to the world.” He wanted to get the word “pilot” or “piloting” into the title somehow. The title stayed the same but descriptive subtitles were added beginning with the second installment [MTL 6: 303].
December 4 Friday – Estes & Lauriat of Boston receipted Sam for two copies of Summer Sketches, unidentified book, one of which was sent to Joe Twichell. The bill was dated Dec. 2 [Gribben 678]. Howells inscribed a copy of his novel, A Foregone Conclusion, to Livy with this date [Gribben 329].
In Cambridge, Mass., William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam about the title of “Old Times on the Mississippi,” which Sam didn’t much care for [MTHL 1: 48].
December 5 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to an unidentified person, that “Cannibalism in the Cars” had never been published in America, and directed the person to Routledge editions [MTL 6: 305].
December 8 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to William Dean Howells, about work on the “pilot articles.”
“I could wind up with No. 4, but there are some things more, which I am powerfully moved to write. Which is natural enough, since I am a person who would quit authorizing in a minute to go piloting, if the madam would stand it. I would rather sink a steamboat than eat, any time” [MTL 6: 305-6].
December 9 Wednesday – In Hartford, using a typewriter he’d purchased in Boston with the help of Petroleum Nasby (David Locke), Sam typed from Hartford to Orion. The typewriter cost Sam $125 and could only print upper case letters. The typewriter reminded Sam of Robert Buchanan of the Hannibal Journal, where Buchanan used to “set up articles at the case without previously putting them in the form of manuscript.” Sam admired such “marvelous intellectual capacity.” In 1907 Sam recalled his purchase and use of the typewriter, mistakenly remembering that it was in 1871 and that The Adventures of Tom Sawyer must have been the first book he used it for. But it was purchased in 1874, either Nov. 14 or 16, during his Boston visit with Twichell and Life on the Mississippi in 1882 was the first novel a typewriter was used on, though a different machine than this [MTL 6: 309].
Sam also typed a letter to William Dean Howells:
YOU NEEDNT ANSWER THIS; I AM ONLY PRACTICIING TO GET THREE | ANOTHER SLIP-UP THERE.| ONLY PRACTICING TO GET THE HANG OF THE THING. I NOTICE I MISS FIRE & GET IN A GOOD MANY UNNECESSARY LETTERS & PUNCTUATION MARKS. I AM SIMPLY USING YOU FOR A TARGET TO BANG AT. BLAME ME MY CATS BUT THIS THING REQUIRES GENIUS IN ORDER TO WORK IT JUST RIGHT [MTL 6: 311].
Howells responded that when Sam got tired of the machine, to loan it to him.
The Fredonia Censor ran an article about Sam donating sixteen volumes for the WCTU reading room in that city. Among these was Abby Richardson’s Pebbles and Pearls for the Young Folks (1868) [Gribben 576], and Junius Henry Brown’s Sights and Sensations in Europe (1871) . Note: most of the books Sam contributed were from American Publishing Co.
December 10 Thursday – Bret Harte gave a lecture in Farwell Hall, Chicago, titled “American Humor.” Though briefly treating Mark Twain, Harte offered praise:
“To-day, among our latest American humorists, such as Josh Billings, The ‘Danbury Newsman,’ and Orpheus C. Kerr, Mark Twain stands alone as the most original humorist that America has produced. He alone is inimitable” [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1981 p162].
December 11 Friday – In Cambridge, Mass., William Dean Howells wrote:
“Don’t you dare to refuse that invitation to the Atlantic dinner for Tuesday evening. For fear you mayn’t have got it, I’ll just say that it was from the publishers, and asked you to meet Emerson, Aldrich, and all ‘those boys’ at the Parker House at 6 o’clock, Tuesday, Dec. 14. Come! ” [MTHL 1: 51].
In Hartford Sam wrote to H.O. Houghton & Co., accepting the invitation to the Atlantic Monthly contributors’ dinner on Dec. 15.
He also wrote to Howells, advising him that he’d be at the dinner on Dec. 15 and that his wife would not come because her mother would arrive that day. Livy had been helping Sam edit the Atlantic pilot articles [MTL 6: 313].
Robert Green Ingersoll wrote from Washington, D.C. to send Clemens “a correct copy of the speech” and “a couple of other pieces.” He professed admiration for Twain [Vassar].
December 12 Saturday – Charles Warren Stoddard wrote from Venice of his travels, preceded by this paragraph:
The day I left you in Liverpool I took the ferry for New Brighton, and saw you go out to sea with a strange mingling of pleasure and regret: you had been longing so for home that I rejoiced when I saw you actually on your way; but my life had to begin all over again. It seems to me that I am always doing that sort of thing; I get just so far and then somebody or something rubs it all out [MTPO]. Note: Sam answered on Feb. 1, 1875. The late Tom Tenney often insisted Stoddard was homosexual. If so, Clemens didn’t seem to mind.
December 13 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells suggesting Howells employ some ruse with his wife in order to:
…stay all night at the Parker House & tell lies & have an improving time, & take breakfast with me in the morning. I will have a good room for you & a fire. Can’t you tell her it always makes you sick to go home late at night, or something like that? That sort of thing rouses Mrs Clemens’s sympathies, easily; the only trouble is to keep them up [MTL 6: 315].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote from Cairo, Egypt to Sam:
“Your note followed me here. I sympathize with you in your unfinished house, but I would rather fit out three houses and fill them with furniture and children than to fit out one abatement. We have been here at work at it for over a week, and ought to embark tomorrow…but we shall go to the Pyramids instead” [MTP]. Note: “abatement” likely a calculation of duties on goods purchased.
December 14 Monday – In Hartford Sam typed a letter to Howells about Livy catching him in the use of profanity mentioned in Howell’s letter of Dec. 11.
“…nothing but almost inspired lying got me out of this scrape with my scalp. Does your wife give you rats, like this, when you go a little one-sided?” [MTL 6: 316].
Miss E.Y. Hancock wrote from Quincy, Ill. to ask if her MS had been sent to Sam [MTP].
December 15 Tuesday – Sam traveled to Boston to attend the dinner at the Parker House, hosted by the Atlantic Monthly for its contributors. About 30 contributors were present. Howells was toastmaster. Guests included: Henry Oscar Houghton, Melancthon M. Hurd, Horace E. Scudder, and George Harrison Mifflin (all business associates of Houghton). Contributors included: Aldrich, Oliver Wendell Holmes, George Cary Eggleston, and Henry James (1843-1916) [For a further list see MTL 6: 318]. Sam spoke twice. The text is not available, but the next day The Boston Evening Transcript, called Sam’s speech one of the brightest of the evening, and summarized his remarks:
…once when sailing on the blue Mediterranean … he tried to give the impression that he was a poet. He said no one believed him, and after repeated protestations he rashly laid a wager of ten to one that he could get a poem printed in the Atlantic. The poem was forwarded from Gibraltar, the bet was ten dollars to a hundred, which accounts, Mark said, for the fact that he had only three dollars in his pocket when he reached here. A subsequent anecdote related by him and Mr. Osgood jointly, proved that Mark was more at home in a game called “euchre” than in poetry, and Mr. Osgood assured the company that it was not a safe practice to play cards with Mark Twain [Schmidt: See Arthur Gilman, “Atlantic Dinners and Diners,” Atlantic Monthly 100, no. 5 (November 1907) 646-67; MTL 6: 317].
Howells, Aldrich and Sam stayed up talking until 2 AM.
December 16 Wednesday – John M. Hay wrote after reading the first installment of “Old Times on the Mississippi” in the Atlantic.
Dear Clemens, / I have just read with delight your article in the Atlantic. It is perfect—no more nor less. I don’t see how you do it. I knew all that, every word of it—passed as much time on the levee as you ever did, knew the same crowd and saw the same scenes—but I could not have remembered one word of it. You have the two greatest gifts of the writer, memory and imagination. I congratulate you.
F.E. Mead wrote from NYC to ask if he’d send her one of the “Satin Programmes” from the 100th performance of GA (on Dec. 23) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “This one beggeth a Satin Programme”; see program MTL 6: 684-87.
December 16? Wednesday – Sam returned to Hartford. He wrote to Simon Gratz, member of the Philadelphia board of education, declining (it is thought) to participate in the Jan. 28 commencement at the Philadelphia Academy of Music [MTL 6: 321].
December 17 Thursday – Sam had brought back from Howells an inscribed copy of A Foregone Conclusion as a gift for Joseph Twichell. Sam presented the book to Joe. In the evening Sam and Joe went to a benefit concert at the Roberts Opera House for the Hartford Young Men’s Institute. They listened to the Yale Glee Club. Twichell graduated from Yale in 1859 [MTL 6: 325n2]. Joe called the Glee Club “a real feast” [Twichell’s journals, Yale].
December 18 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich. After complimenting Aldrich on “Cloth of Gold,” a book of poetry, Sam talked of ice-skating:
“I’ve been skating around the place all day with some girls, with Mrs. Clemens in the window to do the applause. There would be a power of fun in skating if you could do it with somebody else’s muscles” [MTL 6: 321].
Sam also wrote to Howells about a planned trip he and Howells might take to New Orleans. Sam feared his No.3 pilot article had been tossed in the fire by Susy. Sam also included some light-hearted talk about his gift from Howells and Aldrich of two neckties, and included a quote from John Hay praising him for having “the two greatest gifts of the writer, memory & imagination” [MTL 6: 324-5].
December 19 Saturday – In Cambridge, Mass., William Dean Howells wrote Sam:
“Mrs. Howells…is saying that I ought not to go to New Orleans without her. I suppose it will end by our looking at N.O. on the map; but I don’t give it up yet, and don’t you. We will keep this project alive if [it] takes all winter” [MTHL 1: 56].
December 21 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, who’d written on Dec. 19 that Sam’s “No. 3” (installment of “Old Times”) was “safe among the dead-heads in my drawer, so you can dismiss all fears but those of publication.” The two argued over $3 to pay for Aldrich’s room and board at the Parker House; Howells enclosing the money and claiming Aldrich was his guest, Sam insisting it was he who had reserved the rooms. “…we’ll leave for N.O. , Feb. 15. That is the idea” [MTL 6: 326-7].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Thomas B. Pugh, manager of the Star Course of lectures in Philadelphia. Sam declined to lecture, even for $2,000, which he calculated it would cost him to interrupt his writing. Sam was working on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [MTL 6: 327].
December 22 Tuesday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Ponkapog, Mass.
My dear Clemens: / When I subscribed to The Weekly Photograph I had some doubts as to whether I should get the numbers regularly[.] The police, you know, have a way of swooping down on that kind of publication. The other day they gobbled up an entire edition of The Life in New York. I trust that the Life of Hartford (or any other place he happens to be in) will not come to grief that way. . . . It is a good portrait. Looks like a man who has just thrown off an Epic in twelve books, for relaxation. I was glad to get the picture of where you live. It is apparently a comfortable little shanty. Cosy, and all that sort of thing. But you ought to see my Mansion at Ponkapog. It could n’t have cost less than $1500. to build. And then the land. Land at Ponkapog brings $25 per acre; but then real estate has gone up everywhere. The soil here is so light that it would go up of itself, if you let it alone. They have to put manure on it to keep it down. The house is furnished in a style of Oriental splendor. Straw-matting everywhere—even in the servants’ rooms, straw-matting. It’s as common with us as Turkey rugs and Wilton carpets in the homes of the poor. Of course you can’t have these things, but you are content. I like to see a man living within his means—and content.
That day after I left you, or you left me, or we left each other—I don’t know how to state the sorrowful occurrence correctly—I went and hunted up old Howells and carried him off with me to my suburban Palace. He wandered from room to room bewildered by the fluted pillars (on the beds!) and the gorgeous architecture of the coal bins. We wished for you, but that goes without saying. Howells got to laughing in the early part of the evening, did n’t let up at all, carried him off to bed at ½ past 11, still laughing—the same old laugh he had started at 7 o’clock. I woke up two or three times somewhere near daybreak, and he was a-going it!—My friend, you can afford to say that I didn’t make a three-ply donkey of myself at that dinner—you, who are bubbling over with after-dinner happinesses like a perpetual thermal spring. But I did. I had never made a speech. It was understood that I was not to be called upon, and when that cheerful old death’s head at the other end of the table sung out my name, “I wished I was dead”,—like Henry Ward Beecher. But I can make a speech, and a devilish good one, when there is n’t anybody around. I wish I had been prepared[.] I had two or three personal enemies at that festive board, old John Brown Sanborn, and that fellow Perrywinkle, who looks like a fugitive tape-worm—the cream-colored chap who got up in sections to reply to a toast and got all tangled in his inability. But this can’t interest you. If I were abusing some of your foes you’d take some interest in it.—I wish I had known that Mr Twichell cared for any of those verses; I would have liked to send him the book by your hands. I will yet, if you think it would please him. A man sent me a volume of poems the other day and I’ve been longing ever since to brain the author. I wouldn’t like to generate such a desire in your excellent friend, to whom my remembrances.
Mrs T B, who, I regret to say, is having a dreadful cold, sends her love to your wife. You need n’t try to get any of it away from her. We hope that you found the little one entirely well when you reached home, and were filled with regret that you did [not] stay over and spend the night with your faithful friends, the marquise and marquis of Ponkapog. / Yours always / T. B. Aldrich [MTPO].
Robert (last name torn away) sent a begging letter having been on the street 2 days and “at my very last extreme…half famished” [MTP].
December 22 or 23 Wednesday – Sam went to New York for the 100th performance of the Gilded Age play. He registered at the Hoffman House. Livy was probably along on the trip. Also in New York, and staying at the Windsor Hotel, were Olivia Lewis Langdon, and Theodore and Susan Crane.
0.11 of an inch of rain fell on the NYC area on Dec. 22 [NOAA.gov].
December 23 Wednesday – At the 100th performance of the Gilded Age play, Park Theatre, New York City, Sam gave a curtain speech, as advertised [published in Mark Twain Speaking, p.92-3. also see the New York Times reprint from Dec. 24, and MTL 6: 329].
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I thank you for this call, for it gives me an opportunity to testify my appreciation of the vast compliment which the Metropolis has paid to Mr. Raymond and me in approving of our efforts to the very substantial extent of filling this house for us a hundred nights in succession. After such praise as this from the first city in the land it would be useless for me to try to pretend that we are not feeling a good deal “set up,” so I shall not pretend anything of the kind. We feel a good deal vainer than anybody would want to confess [Laughter] I learned through the newspapers that I was to make a speech here tonight, and so I went hard to work, as I always do, to try and do the very best I possibly could on this occasion. I was determined to do it; I went at it faithfully, but when I came to look critically into this matter I found that I shouldered a pretty heavy contract [Laughter] I found I shouldered a very heavy contract because there is only one topic that is proper to be discussed on this platform at this time, and that is this play and these actors and all the success which this play has met. Very well, that is an excellent subject — for somebody else [Laughter] It is right for an outsider or for somebody not connected with the concern, but for me, the dramatist, to praise these actors of mine, to praise this play of mine, and this success of ours — that would not come gracefully from me. There would be a little egotism in it. Neither can I criticise and abuse the actors, for I don’t want to. I could abuse the play, but I have better judgment, [laughter and applause] and I cannot praise these actors of mine right here in their hearing and before their faces, for that would make anybody with flesh and blood unhappy, and, indeed, to praise them would be like praising the members of my own family and glorifying the lady who does our washing [Laughter] And the more I think of this matter, the more I see the difficulty of the position, until I find myself in a condition I once before experienced [Mr. Twain here recited from his published work, ROUGHING IT, the sketch “A Genuine Mexican Plug,” in a spirit of dry humor which convulsed the audience with laughter. The incident referred tow as his unhappy experience with a Mexican horse, in which he came to grief] Through that adventure, he continued, through the misfortune I lost the faculty of speech; for twenty-four hours I was absolutely speechless, and this is the second time that that has occurred [Applause].
December 24 Thursday – Sam was still in New York. He called on the Hawaiian King David Kalakaua, who had arrived Dec. 23 for sightseeing. Sam first met him in the islands in April 1866. Later in the day the Clemens party took the train to Hartford for Christmas celebrations [MTL 6: 331].
December 25 Friday – Christmas – Annie Moffett arrived in the morning for a visit. She stayed several months. Susy said several times, “Santa Claus was good to Susy” [MTL 6: 332].
Sam gave Livy a 4-volume set of The Dialogues of Plato for a Christmas gift [MTL 6: 481n2].
December 26 Saturday – In the evening, the Joe and Harmony Twichell, George Henry Warner (1833-1919), John Hooker, and Olivia Lewis Langdon came to the Clemens home and celebrated the holiday [MTL 6: 332].
December 27 Sunday – In Hartford, Livy wrote to Mollie Clemens and Sam added a PS that he’d just received Orion’s letter, “…in which he says he is ordering the Atlantic. Has he already ordered it?” Livy enclosed a picture of herself [MTL 6: 332].
December 28 Monday – Sam typed a note from Hartford to James Redpath.
NO, THANKS! MY DISLIKE OF THE PLATFORM HAS GROWN TO SUCH PROPORTIONS THAT I BELIEVE I AM AT LAST ONE OF THOSE IMPOSSIBILITIES WHICH NASBY DENIES THE EXISTENCE OF – – – A REFORMED LECTURER.
Sam was replying to a request to lecture once in New York at the conclusion of his play. He was “surprised” that he was growing proficient on the use of the typewriter and could “write about as fast with this machine as I can with a pen, & make more mistakes, too” [MTL 6: 333].
December 29 Tuesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Hawaiian King David Kalakaua, sending his regrets that he could not be at the Gilded Age play that evening, when the King would attend. He invited Kalakaua to lunch with him at Hartford on Thursday, but the King said prior engagement commitments prevented him from accepting [MTL 6: 334].
December 31 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, fronting the letter with a self-portrait in black ink [see MTL 6: 336]. Sam and Aldrich went back and forth with jokes and photographs (Sam later claimed he “sent him 45 envelops of all possible sizes, containing an aggregate of near seventy differing pictures of myself, house & family.”
“…it is no use to send any more letters here. The post-office at this point is to be blown up.” Then he planted a seed that was to prove damaging to Sam in his famous Whittier dinner speech of 1877: “R.W.E., H.W.L., O.W.H and other conspirators in masks, have been seen flitting about the town for several days passed.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were the masked conspirators that would be imitated by tramps in Sam’s later debacle for Whittier’s birthday) [MTL 6: 336-7].