Hartford Life – Pirates of Sellers Play – Queer Letters – Beecher Trial –Tom Sawyer
Sketches New & Old – Gondour – De Quille’s Bonanza Book – Dreaming of a River Trip
Drunk Wet Nurse – Baseball, Umbrellas & a Boy’s Body – Chasing Down Gill
Bateman’s Point & Bowling History – Moncure Conway
1875 – Actor John Drew (1853-1927) remembered that Sam first saw him in the 1875 play, The Taming of the Shrew in New York City [Gribben 631]. The exact date has proven elusive.
January – The first of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. Note: this was out in mid-December, 1874 as John Hay’s Dec. 16 to Clemens attests.
January 1 Friday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Ponkapog, Mass. after receiving some 70 pictures of Clemens in 45 envelopes:
Sir: / At 4 P.M. this day, the entire Constabulary force of Ponkapog—consisting of two men and a resolute boy—broke camp on the border of Wampumsoagg Pond, and took up its march in four columns to the scene of action—the Post Office. There they formed in a hollow square, and moved upon the Postmaster. The mail had already arrived, but the post agent refused to deliver it to the force. The truculent official was twice run through a mince-meat machine before he would disclose the place where he had secreted the mail-bag. The mail-bag was then unstitched with the aid of one of Wheeler & Wilson’s sewing-machines, and the contents examined. The bag, as was suspected, contained additional evidence of the dreadful persecution that is going on in our midst. There were found no fewer than 20 (twenty) of those seditious, iniquitous, diabolical and highly objectionable prints, engravings and photographs, which have lately been showered—perhaps hurled would be the better word—upon Mr. Thomas Bailey Aldrich, a respectable and inoffensive citizen of Ponkapog.
The perpetrator of the outrage is known to the police, and they are on his track—in your city. An engraving with a green background, on which was a sprawling yellow figure, leaves us no room to doubt. This figure was at once recognized by several in the crowd as an admirable likeness of one Mark Twain, alias “The Jumping Frog”, a well-known Californian desperado, and formerly the chief of Henry Plumer’s Band of Road Agents in Montana, who has recently been “doing” the public not only in the Northern states of America, but in the realm of Queen Victoria. That he will be speedily arrested and brought to Ponkapog to face his victim, is the hope of every one here. If you could slyly entice him to come into the neighborhood, you would be doing a favor to the community. Would n’t the inducement of regular meals, and fishing through the ice, fetch him? Do something. In the meanwhile the post office is closely watched.
T. Bayleigh, Chief of Police / Ponkapog. / Mass.
Samuel Leghorn Clements, Esq. [MTP]
Robert Watt wrote from Copenhagen, Denmark to wish Clemens a happy new year and to assure him of his popularity in Denmark. He closed with:
If the play you spoke about came out in print—please dont forget me, and if you should—as I hope—give out any new book in the course of the year, you might do me a great favor by sending it.— I thank you very much for the “stereoscopes” you send me; they are standing right in front of me alongside your portrait [MTP]. Note: see May 14, 1874 and July 15-16, 1874.
January 5 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to the H.O. Houghton & Co., owners of the Atlantic Monthly, sending a check for $4 and asking that 1875 editions be sent to his brother, Orion [MTL 6: 338]. Note: Though Sam often scolded Orion for incompetence, he was usually generous and expressed hope for his success. Guilt and duty were not strangers to Sam, and part of his motivation may have rested in that pew. Unfortunately, many of his letters to his mother that might shed more light on family relationships were destroyed.
January 6 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford, again to the H.O. Houghton & Co., thanking them for the present of his subscription to the Atlantic Monthly. He added a PS:
“I appreciate the voluntary compliment of being paid more than better men, but then I am trying to deserve it. This is rare among writers.”
Note: Sam was being paid $20 per page for the “pilot articles,” or about $140 per article, greater than the normal rate. For Sam the money meant far less than the status of appearing in a foremost literary magazine. Again, it was a badge of respectability—Sam wanted to be, and was, far more than a platform humorist and comedy writer. After years of declining circulation and increased competition, Howells snapped up Sam’s writing, for he was widely known and admired [MTL 6: 339].
January 7 Thursday – James T. Fields, past editor of the Atlantic who remained active as a writer and lecturer, visited Sam in Hartford. Later that day Sam sent Fields the “original rough draft” of a poem, “Those Annual Bills,” together with a short note of thanks. Sam revised the poem sometime afterward and included it in Sketches, New and Old, paired with one from Thomas Moore’s “Those Evening Bells”, which it parodied [MTL 6: 342]. Note: Budd in “Collected”, p.1015 incorrectly lists “James M. Fields,” for Jan. 7, 1874. MTL: 6: 342n1 clarifies that Sam misdated the letter with poem included.
January 8 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Louise Chandler Moulton about her article on his “pet detestation,” Rabelais.
“Did you know, I have often had more than half a mind to go over & dig up Rabelais & throw his bones” away? [MTL 6: 343].
James T. Fields wrote to Clemens after his visit of Jan. 7.
My dear Clemens. / Thanks, many and lot, for your parody which so delighted me then, & delights me now. At dinner today I will read it to my Dame, who will rejoice over it with me I know.
How good it is to be home! I am beginning to hate lecturing and will give it up, please God, ere long.
Those dear little people in your nursery left a sweet & rememberable picture in my mind. Ah! if we could always keep them in the nursery, young and unfledged!
Enclosed you will find the amt. for which my carriage-knave took me by the throat on your doorstep.
Cordially Yrs. / James T. Fields [MTPO].
William Dean Howells sent DeForest to Howells Jan. 5 without any note [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From Howells / Enclosing compliment from De Forest the novelist”
January 10 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam, sending proof number two of his pilot series and writing mostly about the hoped-for New Orleans trip, and the possibilities and improbabilities of taking the wives along. Howells included the line:
“Forgive my having led you on to fix a time; I never thought it would come to that, I supposed you would die, or something” [MTL 6: 349n1; MTHL 1: 57-8]. Note: It’s important to remember that both men were humorists. The two men never took the trip together.
January 11 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John T. Raymond after hosting him and Kate Field for lunch (for a description of the lunch by Annie Moffett, See MTL 6: 347n4)
“I am aware that you are going to be welcomed to our town by great audiences, on both nights of your stay here, & I beg to add my hearty welcome also, through this note. I cannot come to the theater on either evening, Raymond, because there is something so touching about your acting that I can’t stand it” [MTL 6: 345].
Notes: In fact, Sam was not satisfied with Raymond’s portrayal of Sellers, and probably could not stand to watch it again [MTL 6: 347n2]. Still, Sam was wise enough not to tinker with success. In the evening Annie Moffett attended the Gilded Age play in Hartford. The famous picture of Sam shaking hands with Raymond in his Sellers outfit was taken this day [McBride 33].
January 12 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam a two-line note that the last installment of “Old Times” was “extraordinarily good” [MTHL 1: 59].
In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells about the proposed trip to New Orleans and Livy’s inability to go. He urged Howells to take his wife along anyway, and invited the Howellses to visit as soon as the furniture arrived for one of his guest rooms [MTL 6: 348]. Howells’ letters to Sam returned jibes with interest.
The Gilded Age play ran for a second successful evening in Hartford. From Joe Twichell’s journal:
Went to hear M.T’s play “The Gilded Age” in the Opera House—the first of my theatre going in Hartford. Mark got me a box, and I invited Burton and Emerson. Burton took Dick along and I, Mrs. T. and we had a pleasant time of it. The audience seeing us supposed that MT was with us in the box, and at the end of one of the acts made a great clamor calling him out, all eyes being bent on us. But M.[ark] was not there at all” [inserted in the journal, from the Hartford Evening Post, a letter from Sam read by Raymond] [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: Nathaniel J. Burton, and Ralph Waldo Emerson
January 13 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James R. Osgood, answering his invitation to a Jan. 20 dinner at the Nautilus Club in Boston. Sam answered:
“Indeed I wish I could go, but the madam has made me promise that I wouldn’t absent myself from home until this epidemical & dreadful membranous croup has quitted the atmosphere hereabouts” [MTL 6: 349].
January 15 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells grateful that he’d liked the third installment of “Old Times,” (his approval was in a Jan. 12 letter). Sam also sent the fourth installment, which ended with what Sam called a “snapper”—a sleepwalking pilot was observed skillfully directing the craft by two other pilots. One pilot remarked: “I never saw anything so gaudy before. And if he can do such gold-leaf, kid-glove, diamond-breastpin piloting when he is sound asleep, what couldn’t he do if he was dead!” [MTL 6: 350-1].
January 16 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John L. Toole, English comedian he met in London in 1872. Through Sam, Toole was welcomed at the Lotos Club dinner on Aug. 6, 1874. Now Toole was appearing at the Roberts Opera House in Hartford. Sam regretted being unable to attend and invited Toole to dine with the family at 5 PM the next evening.
“Dress to suit yourself. You have discovered by this time that we are a loose nation in that matter” [MTL 6: 352].
Sam also wrote a short note to William D. Whitney (1827-1894), an American linguist, philologist and lexicographer, inquiring as to the character of “Mr. Webster” (Charles Luther Webster 1851-1891) who had been “paying serious attention to a young niece of mine, Miss Annie Moffett of Fredonia.” Sam referred to “gossip” about Webster, probably stemming from the fact that he accidentally killed a four-year-old girl when he was nine. Whitney was a professor at Yale, and a relative of Webster through his mother, Maria Whitney Webster (1823-1906) .
January 18 Monday – William D. Whitney responded to Sam’s inquiry of Charles Webster, but Whitney was unaware of Charles and could not give a character reference [MTL 6: 353]. Notes: Charles Webster and Annie Moffett were later married; Webster would be hired as Sam’s publisher. Webster would be stricken with trigeminal neuralgia, often called the “suicide disease” due to excruciating pain, which led to his death in 1891. Mac Donnell has uncovered evidence that his death was a suicide from an overdose of anti-pyrene (today called phenazone) [15-19]. Mac Donnell also includes a survey of suicide in Clemens’ life.
January 19 Tuesday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam. In part…
My dear Clemens / Yours recd I hope I sent you the letter from the man who was going on a lecturing tower!
I have heretofore destroyed a multitude of queer letters but henceforth will save them all for you.
I wonder if you have ever seen my great Hippodrome. If not I really hope you will have a chance to do so during the week or two that it will remain open. I enclose several “orders” to that end.
I’ll not disguise that I have a small axe or hatchet to grind—though if you take hold of it, it would soon swell to an immense tree-chopping implement. But if you dont happen to take to it, understand I shall be quite content—I merely throw out the hint as one “casts his bread upon the waters”—if it dont “return” I’ll be just as well off as if I had not tried for a small harvest.
Your comet article in the Herald last year wherein you had me for an active partner of course added much to my notoriety at home and abroad—now my “axe” is that if you should happen to be in a writing mood and could in your inimitable way hit my travelling Hippodrome so that people could get an idea what is coming next spring & summer, it would help me, but I neither ask nor expect nor desire such a thing unless it so happens that in the way of your literary labors you can make the Hippodrome the subject of a portion of your article. Such an article in Harpers Weekly would be immense and of course proportionately so in any other publication. My object is to reach country readers where my Hippodrome will travel next summer. If you cant bring it into your regular work—I shall be very glad to pay you the same as you would want from any publisher & I’ll have the article inserted in some paper & then mail marked copies of it to every paper in the Union. You cant well get a good idea of Hippodrome without seeing it—but I’ll herein sketch a little about it [MTPO]. Note: Barnum further disclosed his costs and acts. Sam replied on Feb. 3.
January 19 and 25 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Jerome B. Stillson, New York World editor, that Kate Field, now playing opposite John T. Raymond in the role of Laura Hawkins, was an “inveterate sham,” that he had not seen Field’s performance and that she had “considerably improved & strengthened” his complimentary remark since he:
“…uttered it. I do not mind being quoted in full, but I must protest against cutting down of my words which makes me seem to say a very great deal more than I did say, or had any moral right to say” [MTL 6: 354-5]. Note: Sam’s letter was not printed in the World, and Stillson may not have still been with the paper
January 24 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that he “really can’t and mustn’t” leave his work to visit Hartford. From his wife’s tone, Howells understood the trip to New Orleans without Livy along would not be possible. He praised Sam’s “science of piloting,” saying “every word’s interesting” [MTHL 1: 61].
January 26 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, who’d declined a Hartford visit in his letter of Jan. 24 [MTHL 1: 60-1]. Sam continued to wrangle a visit from Howells, who was pressed by duties at the Atlantic, and also stalled on his history of Venice project. Sam had decided to do a book on the piloting material, which eventually became Life on the Mississippi (1883). The seven Atlantic articles would be revised and become chapters 4 through 17. At this point Sam was agreeable to having Bliss publish the book. Sam had not been well:
“I’ve been sick abed several days for the first time in 21 years. How little confirmed invalids appreciate their advantages. I was able to read the English edition of the Grenville Memoirs through without interruption, take my meals in bed, neglect all business without a pang, & smoke 18 cigars a day” [MTL 6: 357].
Sam also wrote to Robert Watt, of Copenhagen, Denmark, responding to Watt’s letter sent through Christen T. Christensen, who had been the Danish consul in New York. Watt had sent letters, press reviews, and Danish translations of Sam’s work. Sam told Watt of the success of the Gilded Age play, and his Atlantic series. His plan at this point was to bring the Mississippi book out by November. Sam enclosed a picture of their new house on Farmington Avenue. “We take as much delight in our new house as we do in our new baby” [MTL 6: 359-60].
On or about this date Sam sent a picture of the new house to Louis Brush, a Hartford print-shop manager who played billiards with Sam [MTL 6: 362].
Julian Guido Troese Zubern wrote to seek a reference from Sam though he was a stranger. Zubern had fled Russia after helping a writer “who had hurt somebody’s feelings in the state” [MTP].
January 27 Wednesday – Sam sent a congratulatory telegram from Hartford to Charley Langdon on the birth of his second child, Jervis, the previous day. Charley was away with his mother at the Windsor Hotel in New York when Ida gave birth to baby Jervis in Elmira.
“Congratulations from all the household but I suggest in the friendliest spirit that a lad who takes advantage of his father so early in life is a party that will bear watching” [MTL 6: 363].
Joe Twichell wrote: “Dear Mark / You see how badly the padre feels, and also what a pleasant humor he is of. We musn’t give up visiting him. His heart is evidently set upon it” [MTP] Note in file: “Father Joseph B. O’Hagan (1826-78) invites Twichell & SLC to visit, in a letter of 26 January 1875 to Twichell. 26 January 1875 was a Tuesday. Twichell could have received it on Wednesday, 27 January and written to SLC. They planned to visit O’Hagan on 1 February 1875 (L6, 367 n.6)”.
Lemuel H. Wilson wrote from Bridgeport to praise IA [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From a stranger”
January 28 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to James Redpath:
Could you quietly jam this item into print somewhere without telling where you got the information?
“Mark Twain is writing a five-act drama, the scene of which is laid partly in San Francisco, & partly in the Nevada silver mines. The chief character in the piece is peculiarly American.”
I have a reason for wanting to set this item afloat [MTP, drop-in letters].
January 29 Friday – Sam wrote to William Dean Howells, the letter unrecovered but enclosure by Charles Warren Stoddard, “Lingering in Venice” survives and may be read at [MTL 6: 630-6].
February – The second of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi ” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly.
February 1 Monday – In Hartford Sam replied to the Dec. 12, 1874 from Charles Warren Stoddard, a long letter from London about his travels and mutual friends. Stoddard wrote travel letters for the San Francisco Chronicle, and was in Rome the previous year.
Dear Charley: /All right about the Tichborne scrap-books; send them along when convenient. I mean to have the Beecher-Tilton trial scrap-booked as a companion. At present I believe I would rather go down in history as the Claimant than as Mr. Beecher. Both men’s fame will outlast yours & mine.
I was very sorry to hear of your fearful accident in Rome. How in the world did it happen? Lady Hardy spoke of it in a letter, but gave no particulars. And tell me—who did Mulford marry? Was she English? Had she money? For when we saw him last he was surely in no condition to marry.
By the way, Bierce is writing some exquisite things for “Fun”—a school-boy’s compositions upon natural history—& they do lay a long way over any body else’s attempts in that line that ever ventured into it. They are just delicious.
I hope you will remember me kindly to your friend (& mine) Rev. John Kreger [sic Kroeger] of Loreto, when you write him. This reminds me that Rev. Jo. Twichell (my pastor) & I are going to Worcester, Mass., to have “a time” with a most jolly & delightful Jesuit priest who was all through the war with Joe. Jo was chaplain of a regiment & I suppose the padre was also. I sent the padre word that I knew all about the Jesuits, from the Sunday school books, & that I was well aware that he wanted to get Jo & me into his den & skin us to make religious parchments out of, after the ancient style of his communion since the days of good Loyola, but that I was willing to chance it & trust to Providence.
I am writing a series of 7-page articles for the Atlantic at $20 a page; but as they do not pay anybody else as much as that for prose, I do not complain, (though at the same time I do swear that I am content.) However the awful respectability of the magazine makes up.
I have cut your delightful article about San Marco out of a New York paper (Joe Twichell saw it & brought it home to me with loud admiration) & sent it to Howells. It is too bad to fool away such literature in a perishable daily journal.
Do remember me kindly to Lady Hardy & all that rare family—my wife & I so often have pleasant talks about them.
Ever Yr friend
Samℓ. L. Clemens
[MTL 6: 363-68; MTPO]. Notes: Clemens was fond of Lady Mary Anne Hardy, husband Sir Thomas Dufus Hardy, and daughter Iza Hardy from his 1873 trip to London. Prentice Mulford (“Dogberry”; 1834-1891); John Kroeger (1826-1878) of Indiana; Joseph B. O’Hagan was Twichell’s wartime friend & clergyman. See source notes for more details.
February 3 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to P.T. Barnum, who Sam probably met in Feb. 1872. Barnum had asked Sam to “puff” his new Hippodrome, and although Sam thought it stupendous and that Barnum had remarkable “pluck,” he wrote that he couldn’t write the article at any price …
“…because it is out of my line; & you know, better than any other man, that success in life depends strictly upon one’s sticking to his line” [MTL 6: 368].
February 6 Saturday – Lewis Griswold wrote from Centerville, Mont. after reading RI:
Mark Twain, / Sir. I have just been reading your “Roughing It,” And I have laught untill the tears run down my cheeks at your confounded Oddities and lies. Beemis’es adventures with his Buffalo bull, fir-instance And Jim Blaines story of the Old ram Oh! get out, its enough to make a monkey laugh—And that land slide case of Hyde and Morgans its bully. But I was sorry that you hadent got a little “tighter” and spun us a good yarn about the “maid of the milky way” or the “man in the moon” Their courtship fir instance. Or a yarn about the “Mermaid and Man”—You could have dovetailed them in somewhere and made it interesting, but never the less you will have his enough to account for any how. God have mercy uppon your soul. But I am afraid Mark you are a poor Reformer you aint good at the stick, witness when you threw away your pipe in the snow drift with poor Bllou and Ollendorff—But you aint alone in that respect. Then I think you are a very little lazey, or else you would have done that days work, and been a “Millionaire” If I were “Cal Higbie” I would curs you as long as I lived.—Mark do you think you would know a “Genuine Mexican Plug” from an American if you were to see one now? Ha, ha, ha. Oh! my buttons, Well Mark, to sume you up all in all, I think you have depicted yourselfe pretty well on page 557—God have mercy on your Soule
Your description of California Life and cenes are good, I am an Old California Tramp myself and can appreciate the “eternal fitness of things” to a nicety—Your Old Friend Claggett is over, in Deer Lodge, Mining and lecturing once in a while, if he dident freese to death last winter.—Now Mark I want you to send me your Autograph and Likeness, that I may have it to say: that I have the Picture of the funniest man and the D——Dest liar in the World— / Lew. Griswold
P.S. I had to swallow two Whales an a young Porpoise to get up Brain material for this effort, and if I don’t get that Picter I shall week and (Whale) for a thousan years / L.G.— / Excuse pencil, had no ink in cabin [MTP]. Note: Clemens was evidently put off by this letter as he wrote on it, “Respectfully declined.”
Hurd & Houghton Co. wrote an offer to Clemens.
Dear Sir: We should like to ask your favorable consideration of a scheme which we have formed, in carrying out which your cooperation would be of great value. We have been struck with the comparatively slight attention paid by American publishers to American fiction. In the various “libraries of select fiction” American authors find small place, and the general style of presentation is rarely such as to attract public notice. We ourselves have published but few novels, except the standard ones, of Dickens & Cooper, but it is our wish, having no entanglements with modern British novelists, to make a specialty of the publication of bright, short American novels, giving them all the prominence which very careful attention to the printing and binding can secure, making them cheap, advertising them widely and securing thus popularity for the several books and all possible reputation as well as profit for the authors.
Pray set down any excessive to our enthusiasm and not to any spirit of brag, and let us ask if we may not count on you for No I in this series? We trust you will give this matter favorable consideration and we should be glad to confer further with you, either personally or by letter. Meanwhile have the kindness to regard our communication as confidential as we wish to perfect our plans before any part of them become public [MTPO]. Note: Sam declined on Feb. 12.
February 6 or 7 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam sent the first of five telegrams to attorneys Frank Tilford & A. Hagan about an announced, unauthorized Gilded Age play about to be performed in Salt Lake City. Willie Gill was to play the part of Col. Sellers. The writer of the adaptation was unknown. Sam claimed that there had been three piracies of his play. The U.S. Marshall canceled the show with a writ of injunction on Feb. 8 [MTL 6: 371-3].
Around Feb. 6, Sam sent $20 to Will Bowen for his brother Sam Bowen, who had asked for a loan [MTL 6: 423n1].
“M.T and I went down, by previous appointment, to Morgan St. Mission S.S. School and made a short talk apiece. Mark was very happy in his speech, and I was very happy to have him there” [Yale 54]. Note: the Mission was “Father” David Hawley’s headquarters. Bush claims Twichell and Twain often spoke there .
February 8 Monday – In Hartford, Sam telegraphed that he’d sent $1,000 to President DuRell of the Salt Lake City National Bank to furnish bonds in a legal action to stop unauthorized production of the Gilded Age play there [MTL 6: 373].
Sam also telegraphed Tilford & Hagan three times. First, Sam was sending instructions to his Hartford counsel, Charles Perkins. Second, Sam would make “no compromise with thieves on any terms,” – a reply to a suggestion by Gill that the play be allowed to go on one night with a division of receipts. Sam won the case in court and the play was stopped. Willie Gill objected strongly to being called a “thief” and pointed out that Sam owed a great deal of Colonel Sellers’ character to Wilkins Micawber by Dickens and that Gill was ignorant of the 1870 law which gave the novelist exclusive right to dramatize it [MTL 6: 374-5].
Sam also wrote to Samuel S. Cox, Democrat congressman from New York, about the legal length of copyright. He enclosed a ironic petition, which concluded that since the right of real property was perpetual but the right of literary property was limited to 42 years, that all property should thus be limited to 42 years [MTL 6: 376-7].
February 10 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells. Sam wrote that he’d sent the fifth article in the Atlantic series that day. He also urged Howells, who’d been meeting resistance from his wife, to “try hard, on the 15th, to say you will go to New Orleans.” Sam admitted not having much confidence in his insight as a literary critic, and Howells’ positive reviews of Stoddard’s articles for the Atlantic conflicted with Sam’s opinion.
I didn’t enjoy his gush, but I thought a lot of his similes were ever so vivid & good….But it’s just my luck; every time I go into convulsions of admiration over a picture & want to buy it right away before I’ve lost the chance, some wretch who really understands art comes along & damns it. But I don’t mind. I would rather have my ignorance than another man’s knowledge, because I have got so much more of it [MTL 6: 378].
February 12 Friday – In Hartford Sam replied to the Feb. 6 from to Hurd & Houghton Co. Sam didn’t see much money in the proposal of this publisher to bring forth a few good American novels “making them cheap, advertising them widely and securing thus popularity…” Houghton wished to make Sam the first author in the series [MTL 6: 379-80].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, Howells’ publisher. Sam wrote the story of Bliss pulling out an old contract after Sam had put together his sketches book and informed Bliss that Osgood would get the book. After some negotiations, Sam got a raise in royalty to 10% on sales over 50,000 copies, and so then wrote Osgood of what had happened. He pressed Osgood to come along on the New Orleans trip.
“But in any case, don’t you want to take a pleasure trip about that time? [March] I wish you would go. Think of the gaudy times you & Howells & I would have on such a bender!” [MTL 6: 380-1].
Osgood replied that it would “be more possible for a rich man (like you) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for me to leave home in March or April” [MTL 6: 383].
February 12–28 Sunday – Some time within this period, Sam wrote from Hartford to Bliss, asking him to write to William F. Gill, Boston publisher who’d acquired a copyright on Lotos Leaves, which contained a story by Sam that he wanted for his Sketches book.
Sam also wrote a short note from Hartford to Bliss asking him to hunt up the “horrible translation” of the Jumping Frog story from French that Sam had sent him, as he wanted to include it in his Sketches volume. Sam may have written this note any time from Feb. 12 to Mar. 31 [MTL 6: 384].
February 12–20 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John Hay inviting him along on the planned Mississippi trip [MTL 6: 404n3].
February 13? Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Strother Nimrod Wiley (1815-1899), a famous pilot on the Mississippi during the 1850s. Wiley had read an excerpt from Sam’s Atlantic articles, reprinted in the St. Louis Times for Jan. 24, and recognized himself as “Mr. W——” in the second article. Wiley wrote to Sam who sent the letter on to Howells, and answered Wiley that he planned to be back in St. Louis on his New Orleans trip to look at the old river once more [MTL 6: 385].
Note: Wiley was one of the most colorful steamboat pilots Sam had known. He appears in Chapters 8, 14, and 17 of LM. He was a great and colorful storyteller and could play the fiddle. He had the unparalleled respect of fellow pilots; he became the first president of the St. Louis and New Orleans Pilots’ Assoc. in 1857. See Edgar Branch’s article in the Mark Twain Journal, Fall 1986, titled “A Proposed Calendar of Samuel Clemens’s Steamboats 15 April 1857 to 8 May 1861, with Commentary.”
February 14? Sunday – Sam wrote to Elinor (1837-1910) and William Dean Howells, thanking Elinor for sending family pictures. Sam liked the “good old human domestic spirit” that pervaded the photograph. Livy was in bed, commanded there by the family doctor, probably Cincinnatus A. Taft. Sam told of writing anecdotes about Strother Wiley (see Feb. 13?) and then receiving a letter from him, which he now forwarded to Howells [MTL 6: 385-7].
February 15 Monday – Sam gave his second presentation for the Hartford Monday Evening Club on “Universal Suffrage.” For a portion of the text see MTB p.541 [Monday Evening Club; Fatout, MT Speaking 651].
Maj. General John Gibbon (1827-1896) wrote from Ft. Shaw, Montana to praise GA as “amusing and interesting, but exceedingly instructive” [MTP].
Robert Watt wrote from Copenhagen, Denmark.
My dear Mr Clemens! / I received your kind, interesting and long letter of the 26st January a few days ago, and thank you very much. It is realy very amiable on your part to write at such a length considering how very much you have got to do, and how sick and tired you sometimes must be of pen and ink.
Jorgensen got your letter and called on me to let me read it, to him you enclosed a photograph of your new town house—so I had got none, but now, since you also send me one, I shan’t quarrel with him. What a fine place it must be! and I shan’t very easily give up the hope of having the pleasure of calling on you there, to have a chat under the trees. I am always travelling about, but it will be more difficult to get Mr Jorgensen across; still he thanks you very much for your kind proposal, and I am sure I am not less grateful myself. Allow me to congratulate you to the new baby!— How many now?— Have you been married for several years?— Yes! There is lots of questions I should wish to put, if I was not afraid of bothering you. But à propos. Is there not a real good biography of you to be had? Of course I can learn very much concerning your life from your books, but still I should like to have the other thing too; and might put it together with your portrait in the new danish edition of your works. Jorgensen tells me that the two volumes of Mark Twain “soon will be sold entirely out, and I shall then commence a good and elegant edition of Selected works” in at least 5 volumes, commencing with “Roughing it” or perhaps “Old times on the Mississippi”—and “to be continued”. I thank you beforehand for the last named book; I have already enjoyed the two first chapters as Mr Christensen in New York at once sent me “The Atlantic”; he knows I am watching everything that flows from your pen to swallow it on the spot. The other day too, I happened to get hold of the illustrated edition of your “Roughing it” dedicated to Mr Higbie (American Publishing Co) I got it from a countryman who had been 23 years away from Denmark and who had spent several years in Nevada, where he still holds property. The book amused me very much, and so it did to get a talk with him, particularly because he had often seen you in Virginia City when you lived there. … [MTPO]. Note: answered on Mar. 8.
February 16 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote with finality: “I can’t manage the trip [to New Orleans] this winter” [MTHL 1: 66].
Sam spotted an article in the New York Times in which a loophole had been claimed in a copyright case for a play. Worried about the three attempts at unauthorized production of his Gilded Age play, Sam, in Hartford, wrote to Ainsworth R. Spofford, librarian of Congress, and asked him to confirm whether the article was “correct or erroneous.” Sam enclosed the clipping [MTL 6: 387]. Note: Copyright law was still rather new, but in Boucicault v. Hart the Supreme Court ruled in June 1875 that even without statutory copyright on an unpublished play, the author still retained control of it under common law. Sam fought for the rights of writers during his entire lifetime.
James R. Osgood replied to the Feb. 12 from Clemens.
My dear Clemens: / Your letter of 12th inst. is received to-day. Though it grieves me, it yet pleases me. I am pleased to have been the unconscious cause of benefitting a fellow-creature—such an experience being a rare one for a publisher! And I confess to some degree of delight in finding signs of weakness in so accomplished a business-man and successful gambler as yourself: I wouldn’t have believed that you could make such a contract, or having made, forget it! But age will tell.
Seriously I am more sorry than I can tell to lose the book, particularly as I came so near getting it. But to show you that I bear no malice, I hereby invite you to that Nautilus Club dinner which was postponed from Jan 20th on account of Underwood’s illness. It will come off on Wednesday February 24th. Will you come? It will be Aldrich’s last public appearance before crossing the Atlantic. Let me know as soon as you can.
I should delight in that Mississippi trip, but it would be more possible for a rich man (like you) to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for me to leave home in March or April. But Howells must go—he needs a vacation and he would get such a lot of material. / Yours truly / J. R. Osgood [MTPO].
Mrs. Clara St. John wrote from NYC to ask for a Mark Twain photo & autograph [MTP].
February 18 Thursday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam, unsure if he’d answered Sam’s last letter. He sent a “queer batch of letters” [MTP].
February 19 Friday – From Hartford Sam answered P.T. Barnum’s letter of Feb. 18. Barnum had saved and forwarded batches of “queer letters,” unusual letters received from people seeking fame and fortune with the circus.
“It is an admirable lot of letters….Headless mice, four-legged hens, human-handed sacred bulls, ‘professional’ Gypsies…school-teachers who can’t spell—it is a perfect feast of queer literature!” [MTL 6: 389]. Note: in Sam’s day, queer meant odd.
February 20 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells. Sam could not go to Boston; he’d “have to give up the river trip, too.” Howells had written that he could not take the long-planned New Orleans trip. Sam would finish a few more river sketches for the Atlantic and then start on another book for Bliss, then make the river trip “or drop it indefinitely.” Sam discovered that his mother-in-law could not stay with Livy as he’d planned, due to pressing improvements on the Langdon house. Still, Sam looked forward to a March visit by the Howellses [MTL 6: 390].
Sam wrote to James R. Osgood that his Boston trip and dinner at the Nautilus Club was:
“…knocked in the head. It would take so long to explain why, that I’ll not attempt it, but only send regrets, do some private cussing, & wish the dinner party a happy time & Aldrich & family godsend & a glorious tour.”
The Aldriches were sailing to Europe on Mar. 24. They returned in October [MTL 6: 391-2].
Hurd & Houghton, Riverside Press, Boston wrote to Sam: “We had only your esteemed favor of the 12th, but are unwilling to regard it as closing the correspondence between us….We should be glad if we could see you the next time you come to Boston.” They proposed a small novel from him [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Novels”
February 21 Sunday – Sam wrote to Joseph H. Sprague and Others, to accept a lecture in the name of “Father” David Hawley, with all benefits going to Hawley’s charity work [MTL 6: 392-3]. Twichell recorded in his journal that “he wrote the letter of response in my study, Sunday PM Feb 21st” [Yale, copy at MTP].
February 23 Tuesday – The Hartford Courant published Sam’s letter to Joseph H. Sprague and Others, “Bread for Father Hawley’s Flock” [MTL 6: 392-3].
February 24 Wednesday – Twichell performed a marriage ceremony for Yung Wing (1828-1912) of the Hartford Chinese Educational Mission and Miss Mary Kellogg. No mention is made of Sam in Joe’s journal or notes, but he may have attended the controversial event, even though it was followed by a teetotal reception; certainly Joe and Sam must have discussed the marriage, since the engagement was a year long and other pastors had refused to marry the two [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: Mary was the sister of Dr. E.W. Kellogg.
Charles W. Stoddard wrote from Venice, Italy to Sam.
Dear Mark / Your letter makes me feel more comfortable and I’m ever so much obliged for it. Here goes for an answer to each of your questions as they appear in order.
I was riding a blind horse across the Campagna at midnight last May. My friends were jogging on ahead of me; suddenly my horse went off the edge of a low bridge and I went with him. We struck together among ugly stones and rubbish, righted immediately, but my left arm was fractured just below the elbow and the joint suffered a double dislocation.
For three months I believe I was in Hell! As it is I haven’t got further than purgatory; I shall probably never regain the use of the arm; it is as stiff as a pump handle and even now is sometimes painful. I thought of the Langham-days while I was lying on my back in Rome with my arm buried alive in plaster of paris.
II Did I never tell you of a pretty little English girl who was a friend of Joaquin Miller and who lived down in Museum St at our old lodgings? She was very pretty and seemed to be a milliner, though she was most of the time at home. We were good friends and often dined together and had long talks about Joaquin and Mulford and Olive Harper; by the way Harper wrote her up in some paper and called her “Josie”—that is her name. She wasn’t very proud but she was poor enough to make up for it; well, Mulford has married her and they are living somewhere in New England, I think, Sag Harbor perhaps.
III I’ve sent your message to Father Kroeger and he thinks you are such a bully fellow; you’d like him immensely; if you were to drop in on him at the Papal Palace in Loretto, he would give you some very good community wine (purer than is to be had out of the church, you know) and a bad cigar: Isn’t the Italian tobacco market seedy, though?
IV I hope you had a tearing time with the Jesuit Father. As a class they are the most genial fellows in the world. They are men of the world—with a reserve!
V I’m so glad you liked my letter on San Marco: Do you know Mark I would like to make a selection from my letters when this course is run, and get the same into a big subscription book with the hope of clearing a little out of them.
Would their chance be any poorer than that of our friends, whose book of Humor which is supposed to be found on every table at this moment?—I mean Webbs of cours[e]! Can you advise me on this matter? I want to work my way home by India, China etc—this will take money and the money has not yet made its appearance but perhaps it will. With best love for you, dear Mark, and for Mrs Clemens and the Modox
Ever your friend / C. W. Stoddard. / P. S.
I forgot to say in the right place that mene while I must return to England and see more of it: I dont want to go home yet, would you advise me to?
I havent heard a word from Dolby since I left London. Hope he is alive and well. I have seen but the first of your articles in the Atlantic and I though[t] of the old times when we used to sit up over the fire in the corner room and you drew such graphic off hand pictures of the Mississip’—by Jove! I wish they could be written just as you told them, voice and all. How is your book on England growing? I congratulate you heartily on your great dramatic success! Do it again. Love to Raymond when you see him!
again as always yours, / C.W.S. [MTPO].
February 25 Thursday – Clinton Rice, attorney wrote from Wash. DC. Illness in his family had prevented a call on Clemens during his last stop there. His object was to remind him of Sam’s request in 1870 to correspond with Orion about the price of the Tennessee Land. After spending time and money to find a purchaser, he’d rec’d a letter from Orion that a purchaser had been found, so even though the owed amount of $11.70 was small, he thought he should be paid by a millionaire [MTP]. (See Mar. 1 entry.)
February 26 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Warren Choate & Co., that had asked to purchase the rights to the Jumping Frog story. Sam replied that he was “on the point of issuing it in book form through my publishers here, along with all my sketches complete” [MTL 6: 394].
Sam also wrote to William A. Seaver who had offered to report the results of Sam’s upcoming charity lecture.
“As this is honestly the last lecture I ever expect to deliver, I would like to see it corral as much cash as possible” [MTL 6: 395].
February 27 Saturday – Dr. John Brown wrote from Edinburgh. Much of the two-sided note is written over and illegible but he thanked Sam & Livy for two letters, photo and offered the “Megalopolis” twenty five kisses [MTP].
February 28 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam:
“Your giving up that river-trip has been such a blow to me that I have not been able to write until now. Mrs. Howells and I expect to appear at Hartford on Thursday, March 11, to afflict you briefly” [MTHL 1: 67].
February, late – John Gibbon wrote to Sam in late Feb., exact date missing, complimentary of the stage play of GA [MTP]. Note: General John Gibbon in Montana.
March – The 3rd of 7 installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” ran in the Atlantic Monthly.
March 1 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note to Elisha Bliss that he’d “put off the Mississippi River trip till June” and that he’d write a new book in the meantime. He also sent a “private commendation” on the Gilded Age play to Bliss, noting that John T. Raymond was “stirring up a new sort of comment upon the novel” [MTL 6: 395]. Raymond’s portrayal did not fully satisfy Sam.
Sam also wrote to Orion and enclosed a check to pay Clinton Rice, an attorney hired by Orion in 1870 to find a buyer for the Tennessee Land. Rice had incurred expenses in the grand total of $11.70 and four years later was asking for his money. Sam hoped that the Tennessee Land was “now in hell,” didn’t “care a cent whether his demand is just or not,” and just wanted it “paid” [MTL 6: 396]. Note: One wonders if Orion didn’t sometimes, at least subconsciously, keep the land pot stirring as a way to aggravate his successful brother. The check was sold on eBay, June, 2009. It is check #52 drawn on the First National Bank of Hartford to Clinton Rice for $12 [eBay # 120435892109]. Sam rounded up the amount owed of $11.70.
Sam also wrote to John Gibbon, the military commander of Montana district, who’d sent compliments on reading The Gilded Age. Sam replied
“I naturally value [private commendations] more than I do the opinions of the mass of newspaper men…”
Not all the newspaper comment was positive when the book first came out [MTL 6: 398-9].
Sam was in a letter-writing mood. He also wrote to Howells who had written suggesting he and his wife could visit on Mar. 11. “All dates suit,” Sam replied [MTL 6: 400].
March 2 Tuesday – Nearly a foot of snow fell on Hartford, bringing the town to a halt and causing train delays to Boston and Albany.
Sam wrote to Howells, enclosing a favorable critique of ministers that Joe Twichell had clipped from a newspaper. Sam wrote that when Twichell heard Howells would be coming on Mar. 11 for a stay, he changed his schedule and canceled an exchange of pulpits with a New Jersey preacher.
“Howells, didn’t I tell you that this Jo Twichell couldn’t be kept out?” [MTL 6: 401].
March 5 Friday – Sam gave his promised “Roughing It” lecture for “Father” David Hawley in the Hartford Opera House. Livy, Joe and Harmony Twichell were in Sam’s private box. Sam wrote of it the next day to William Seaver [MTL 6: 402]. Joe’s journal:
“The subject was ‘Nevada’—a pretty fair performance for a lecture, but not at all equal to what he commonly does in private talk” [MTP: Yale 63; MTL 6: 403]. Note: this was the second and last lecture Clemens gave in support of Hawley’s work for Hartford’s poor; see Jan. 28 and 31, 1873 entries.
March 6 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to William Seaver that the lecture had “snugly filled every seat” and gained $1,233 for the cause. “Thus gratifyingly endeth the earthly lecturing career of yours truly.” John Hay had not answered Sam’s letter, written sometime between Feb. 12 and Feb. 20, so Sam ended the letter to Seaver with “Is John Hay living? Love to him” [MTL 6: 402-3]. The Hartford Courant reported:
No lecture that we have ever heard has been more provocative of mirth. The audience were kept the whole evening in genuine and wholesome laughter…The lecture is without doubt the best Mr. Clemens has yet delivered in this city.
Clemens also wrote thanks to E.R. Hoar, Ralph Waldo Emerson and George Heywood. Transcript, Proceedings of the Centennial Celebration of Concord Fight. April 19, 1875 [MTP].
March 8 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Theodore F. Seward (1835-1902), current musical director for the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University. Sam requested that the group sing “John Brown’s Body,” a song he’d heard a “volcanic eruption of applause” for while in England in the summer of 1873. In the evening Sam and Livy attended the performance at the Hartford Opera House. Sam wrote that it would be his fifth time hearing the singers [MTL 6: 406].
Sam also wrote to Robert Watt of Copenhagen, Denmark, who had replied to Sam’s letter of Jan. 26. Watt mentioned the lack of a good biography of Sam.
I haven’t any biographical facts—gave them all to Routledge, who put them in “Men of the Time.” There’s nothing else that I would like to see in print until I am dead—& then I shan’t be reading much of the time. I could find more enjoyment in other ways where I hope to go hereafter; & if I should make a mistake & get to the other place, printed matter wouldn’t stand the climate there [MTL 6: 408-9]. Note: Sam enclosed an acknowledgement from “Father” David Hawley for the monies raised by Sam’s lecture.
“Mark Twain on Copyright” ran on page 2 of the Hartford Courant [Courant.com].
March 11 Thursday – William and Elinor Howells arrived at Sam and Livy’s at noon for a two-day stay. It was the first meeting of the wives. Livy invited “Mr and Mrs Perkins, and Mammie [dau. Mary Russell Perkins, age 18]—Mr and Mrs Twichell, and Mr and Mrs G. Warner” for dinner [MTL 6: 411-2].
Twichell’s journal: “A most delightful evening with some of the best people in the world” [Yale 66, copy at MTP].
March 12 Friday – In the morning, Joe Twichell brought his children to meet the Howellses. In the evening, the gang went to see Charles Perkins and family on Woodland Street (which joined with Farmington Avenue near the Clemens house) [MTL 6: 411-2].
Twichell’s journal: “…the children behaved well” [Yale 66, copy at MTP].
March 13 Saturday – The Howellses departed at noon [MTL 6: 411-2]. Joe Twichell dropped in on Sam, hoping the Howellses were still there [MTL 6: 415].
March 14 Sunday – In Hartford, Livy and Sam wrote to Olivia Lewis Langdon. Livy wrote a page or two and Sam added a few short lines about wishing that Howells had seen the silver set for baby Clara. Each of their children received such a set from Grandmother Langdon [MTL 6: 411-12].
March 15 Monday – William Dean Howells wrote a short note:
My dear Clemens: /Your own feelings will give you no clew to our enjoyment of the little visit we made you. There never was anything more unalloyed in the way of pleasure—I was even spared the pang of bidding the ladies goodbye.
I’m sorry you’re not coming up to the Aldrich lunch, to which I found myself invited.— Don’t say anything to anybody about the Longfellow book till you hear from me.
Yours ever, / W. D. Howells [MTPO]. Note: Aldrich was leaving for Europe so the lunch was a sendoff. Sam replied on Mar. 16.
John M. Hay wrote to Sam.
Dear Clemens / After thinking about it an hour or so I believe I did not answer your letter about going down the river. If I did I can tell you now why I did not accept. She is three days old and a voice beyond any sane price….
The ladies of the house discern in her the rudiments of great beauty. I am old and my vision is impaired.
She is well and hearty. So is her mother. Of the two the mother is the handsomer and makes less row.
Give my compliments to Mrs. Clemens.
Yours sincerely / John Hay [MTPO].
Mr. Saml Clemens / Dear Sir:
A few young people in town are about forming a literary club, and as we cannot decide upon a name, it was proposed that I should write to you and ask your advice.
The object of the club is improvement combined with pleasure.
At our meetings we have an entertainment about an hour long, consisting of declamations, readings, music, &c., and then the rest of the evening is spent in social amusements.
Several names have been proposed, but we cannot find an appropriate one.
If you will help us out, provided it does not inconvenience you too much, we shall feel greatly indebted to you. / Very truly yours, / S.P. Moorhouse / Sec. [MTP]. Note: for some reason, Clemens thought this request over the line: he wrote on the letter: “This is the worst piece of cheek of all.”
John Gibbon wrote again Sam in mid-March, exact date missing, but file says this is a reply to Clemens’ Mar. 1. Only bottom half of two torn pages are in file. What is there is complimentary of the stage play of GA [MTP].
March 16 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, responding to William’s Mar. 15 note of thanks for the visit. Sam related Livy’s remark that “Nothing could have been added to that visit to make it more charming, except days.”
Sam discovered that baby Clara’s wet nurse, Maria McLaughlin (her fifth and last), had raided his beer closet and “drank 200 bottles of the 252…. My beer will be respected,” Sam wrote, “now, I hope, for I do not wish to resort to bloodshed.” In later years Sam described Maria McLaughlin with his muscular pen:
No. 5 was apparently Irish, with a powerful strain of Egyptian in her….She stood six feet in her stockings, she was perfect in form & contour, raven-haired, dark as an Indian, stately, carrying her head like an empress, she had the martial port & stride of a grenadier, & the pluck & strength of a battalion of them. In professional capacity the cow was a poor thing compared to her, & not even the pump was qualified to take on airs where she was. She was as independent as the flag, she was indifferent to morals & principles, she disdained company, & marched in a procession by herself. She was as healthy as iron, she had the appetite of a crocodile, the stomach of a cellar, & the digestion of a quartz-mill. Scorning the adamantine law that a wet-nurse must partake of delicate things only, she devoured anything & everything she could get her hands on, shoveling into her person fiendish combinations of fresh pork, lemon pie, boiled cabbage, ice cream, green apples, pickled tripe, raw turnips, & washing the cargo down with freshets of coffee, tea, brandy, whisky, turpentine, kerosene—anything that was liquid; she smoked pipes, cigars, cigarettes, she whooped like a Pawnee & swore like a demon; & then she would go up stairs loaded as described & perfectly delight the baby with a boquet which ought to have killed it at thirty yards, but which only made it happy & fat & contented & boozy. No child but this one ever had such grand & wholesome service. The giantess raided my tobacco & cigar department every day; no drinkable thing was safe from her if you turned your back a moment [MTL 6: 415-6n6].
March 17 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Warren Stoddard, the day after receiving a reply to his letter of Feb. 1. Stoddard dislocated and broken his left arm in a riding accident. Sam answered that he’d never before been:
“…bodily hurt…But I had 8 cousins in one family [Lamptons] every devil of whom had enjoyed from one to two broken arms before reaching puberty. Think of it!”
Sam also asked what had become of Prentice Mulford (“Dogberry”) [MTL 6: 417-8].
Sam wrote a $15 check to John Watson [MTP].
Miss Clara Marshall wrote from Shreveport, La. to ask Sam’s help publishing [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Wants a literary contract”
March 18 Thursday – Sam had a large maple cut down in the yard, “five steps from the house,” thinking it was dead. He wrote in a letter to David Gray ten days later that only one limb was dead and that he found “himself keeping away from the windows on that side because that stump is such a reproach…” [MTL 6: 429].
James Martin wrote from Boston to ask Sam if he would send a letter puffing their typewriters (Densmore, Yost & Co.). [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “About the Type-Writer. / New invention. I bought one six months ago. Never had heard of it before. Refused to let my name be used because it would breed correspondence from idle, question-asking people. S.L.C.”
Royal Hill Milleson (1849-1936) wrote from Indianapolis, Ind. to ask, “will you please become a kind patron to a young man, and send him to the Art School at Munich for a season?” [MTP]. Note: no answer to the letter exists and it is assumed Clemens ignored the request. Milleson’s career led him through journalism, studying art in Chicago, illustration and then painting, in which he earned some success as a landscape painter. He was the author of The Artist’s Point of View (1912), which contains a brief mention of Mark Twain.
March 19 Friday – Susy Clemens’ third birthday; in a letter to her mother, Livy told of the presents that Susy shared with her baby sister “Bay” (Clara): dolls, candy, a silver setting, a gold ring, silver thimble, a Bible from the servants, and from her father a Noah’s ark with 200 wooden animals [Willis 97].
Sam replied to the Mar. 18 from James Martin, and typed a letter to Densmore, Yost & Co., typewriter manufacturer of his machine:
GENTLEMEN,—Please do not use my name in any way. Please do not even divulge the fact that I own a machine. I have entirely stopped using the TYPE-WRITER, for the reason that I could never write a letter with it to anybody without receiving a request by return mail that I would not only describe the machine, but state what progress I had made in the use of it, etc., etc. I don’t like to write letters, and so I don’t want people to know I own this curiosity-breeding little joker. Yours truly, SAML. L. CLEMENS [MTL 6: 419].
Sam also wrote to Charley Langdon about the morning family fun and Susy’s gifts, which included:
“a ranting mob of Sunday-clad dolls from Livy & Annie [Moffett], & a Noah’s Ark from me containing 200 wooden animals such as only a human being could create & only God call by name without referring to the passenger list” [MTL 6: 420-1].
March 20 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his old childhood friend, Will Bowen, who returned the $20 check Sam sent on or about Feb. 6 for Sam Bowen. Will felt his brother would never repay the loan. Sam insisted that it was for Sam Bowen to say whether or not he needed the check and to accept or return it. So Sam asked Will simply to give it to his brother and explain. Sam Bowen ultimately cashed the check, then claimed later to have repaid it and asked for another loan. Clemens noted on the envelope: “Keep this precious letter from a precious liar.” Sam was still talking about a river trip, though having put it off for the present. He asked Will to verify a few steamboat speed records he gave, wanting this information for his Atlantic series of pilot articles [MTL 6: 422-3].
Charles Casey for The Mark Twain Club, Carlow, Ireland wrote to inquire of Sam the meaning of this from IA: “The women of Syria are so sinfully ugly that they cannot smile after 10 o’c on Saturday night without breaking the Sabbath” [MTP].
March 22 Monday – Reginald Cholmondeley wrote from Funchal, Madiera.
I am sorry that you cannot come. I hear what you say of Bret Harte, but I think you are quite right to tell me & have not sent an invite by any one else. … I think your house looks charming in the photo. / I have been on the West Coast of Africa collecting live birds & plants & returned here on the 17th & hope to be at home by April the 24th. My opinion certainly is that if I had two properties the West Coast of Africa or Hell, that I should conclude to lease the West Coast & live in Hell. Kind regards to Mrs. Clemens & Susie… [MTP].
Mike M. Brannan (“Doc Adams” Georgia Press, agent) wrote from Hartford enclosing a playbill and ticket for the Clemens family to the “Katie Putnam Comedy Company” (still in file, so never used). [MTP].
March 23 Tuesday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens / Yours recd. It is a shame I have wasted so much good stuff for your collection. I hope at a proper time you will publish many of the letters. They will form almost a new page in the volume of human nature.” He testified he and his wife were “delighted” with Twain’s books. “You must not creep and crawl and sweat out of giving us at least a week’s visit with your wife when the weather is warmer” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Concerning the ‘B’ letters”
March 24 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elisha Bliss, recommending Bliss write Dan De Quille (William Wright) about a possible book on the story of the Comstock Lode. Sam claimed:
“The first big compliment I ever received was that I was ‘almost worthy to write in the same column with Dan de Quille’ ” [MTL 6: 424-5].
Sam then wrote to Dan De Quille about his efforts with Bliss, and how to reply about royalties and the process once Bliss queried.
“If you should write a book will you come & stay in my house while you read your proofs, Dan?” [MTL 6: 425-6].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote “a thousand thanks” to Sam for books that arrived this day [MTP].
March 26 Friday – “The most notable feature of the furniture” for Sam’s study arrived, “& the place looked almost complete.” Sam planned on moving his “inkstand permanently into a corner of the billiard room,” as the noise from the nursery in the room adjoining his study made it difficult to write [MTL 6: 430 letter to Gray]. Note: He did his best writing in quiet surroundings, which is why he did most of the writing for HF at Quarry Farm, not at the Hartford house, as the tour guides there would have you believe.
March 27 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Orion, who again had asked that his brother buy the farm that he and Mollie lived in. Sam declined, suggesting “Mr. Stotts sell Mollie a life interest in the place for an annual sum…”. Responding to Orion’s switching political allegiance to the democrats, Sam wrote:
If you will let me make a suggestion, it is this: the present era of incredible rottenness is not democratic, it is not republican, it is national. This nation is not reflected in Charles Sumner, but in Henry Ward Beecher, Benjamin Butler, Whitelaw Reid, Wm. M. Tweed. Politics are not going to cure moral ulcers like these, nor the decaying body they fester upon.
Notes: Sam’s inclusion of Reid with those tainted with scandal reflected personal hard feelings from Reid’s refusal to allow Edward House to write a Gilded Age book review for the New York Tribune. Charles Sumner, highly revered senator from Massachusetts during 1851-1874; Beecher was involved in an adultery scandal and trial for alienation of affection; Butler and Tweed were corrupt political bosses [MTL 6: 427-8].
March 28 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to David Gray, his old friend and editor from Buffalo Courier, sorry that the Grays had been forced to sell their home due to financial difficulties. He related the visit of the Howellses and asked David to come visit in the spring. Sam had to move his writing desk into a bedroom to escape the nursery noise next to his study, and said that he’d started a novel (unidentified) the day before but would complete his “other books” first (Sketches, New and Old; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer) [MTL 6: 429-30].
Sam also wrote to Dean Sage (1841-1902), a Brooklyn writer, sportsman, and contributor to the Atlantic and the Nation, among other magazines, as well as a Yale classmate of Twichell’s. Sam and Twichell had planned to visit Sage and wife in mid-April.
March 29 Monday – In the morning Sam received a letter from William Wright (Dan De Quille), and recognized the handwriting on the envelope, knowing before opening that it sought advice about a “book concerning the Comstock lead…” He telegraphed advice on dealing with publishers. “Make bargains of no kind until you get my letters” [MTL 6: 432].
Sam also replied to Wright, beginning a letter he completed on Apr. 4. Sam wanted the book for the American Publishing Co., of which he was now a major stockholder. Sam advised to “nail a man’s interest with Chapter 1, & never let up on him for an instant…” He urged Dan to get money from Joe Goodman or telegraph him for some, so that he might travel to Hartford and work on the book under Sam’s tutelage, and bring Goodman along too, if he’d come [MTL 6: 433-441]. Sam was clearly enthused about the idea, and wrote about the process as an idyllic mix of luxury, play, and interesting work. As the publisher Sam would advance money as Dan needed it.
Will Bowen wrote from St. Louis, returning a check Sam had sent for Sam Bowen. Will didn’t think his younger brother would replay the loan.
Dear Sam / Your letter 20th to hand this A M—having just returned from Jeff City where I have been for past week securing legislation of gen’l insurance interest.
Confound the check I wish it had stayed lost. I have told you about Sam and the value of his promises. You say “tender it to him” which you will understand, removes my Agency in the matter, and the Twenty Dollars from you, I fear.
I am sorry you put me here, but as I have tried to save you, and you still insist, I obey orders hoping I may be agreeably disappointed at the end of the month.
J M White run was in 1844 3 dys 23 hours 30 min to St Louis Eclipse in 1853 3 dys 21 hours to Louisville
R E Lee (not Genl) 3 dys 19 hours 20 min to St Louis, in 1870 The river was very high at each start but meeting a fall on way up.
Those river articles are delightful, especially that last one, giving the details of a Pilot’s duties and the very many things he must know. Sam I fear you are losing Capital by not making a “Roughing it” of your river life—it would sell well for its facts and be a splendid field for your fancy, to spread out over.
I take it that “Bixby” is the “Mr P” in your mind while writing these.
Dont fear my mentioning “contents to people.” Make such enquiries as I may be able to answer, relying on me for “ mum”—which I am better at, than formerly!
I am sorry you did not take that trip down the river—you told me of a proposed journey in Feb and I guessed that would be the route
You did not venture to name it, I therefore said nothing but would not have been surprised to hear of you in this vicinity at any time
I am glad to hear from you—write more—nobody likes to hear from you, as well as I.!
If my course with this check dont please you say so at once. Im worried about it—but have not the time to consider it as fully as I would like before acting 20 Dolls wont hurt either of us so here goes, in obedience to you.! Good bye Sam, with love to your wife & babies ?
Yours ever / Will [MTPO].
March 30 Tuesday – Hartford taxes on real estate, insurance stock, bank stock, money loaned at interest and merchandise were due by Nov. 1, with the assessed valuation made public the following March. Sam’s valuation was published on this day at $84,450 (Courant, p1) [MTPO Notes with Oct.16, 1876 to Perkins].
S.S. Russel wrote to Sam asking to see him on “a matter of business” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Wants God knows what. / Declined”
March 31 Wednesday – F.W. Mortimer wrote from Boston to Sam, mentioning the GA play with John T. Raymond, and others [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Wants a play written. / Couldn’t”
April – 4th of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly.
April 1 Thursday – Twichell got a letter from a man who wished him to perform a marriage ceremony at the U.S. Hotel, but concluded it was April Fools joke: from his journal:
“I had suspected the trick, but on mentioning the matter to M.T. and showing him the letter, he declared his conviction that the writer was sincere and even went as far as to offer me $8 for my fee. How I wish I had taken him up” [Yale 76, copy at MTP].
Sam wrote a $31.08 check to Hastings & Baldwin [MTP].
April 2 Friday – Sam wrote a $9.08 check to D.R. Woodford, coal and hay dealer in Hartford [MTP].
Ladislaus William Madarasz (1854-1900) wrote from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to Sam:
Dear Sir: As I am about to take a trip to Europe, where I expect to remain some two years, and will be a correspondent for a paper; I have taken the liberty of writing to you, as to whether you would object, to my using “Col. Sellers,” for an assumed name; and, also, if you could give me some advice, as you have “gone through the mill,” (excuse the expression,) and perhaps discovered some ideas, that would help one who has had but little experience. I have written before Debating Societies, (Essays) and all have been well received. Have read quite a number of Books on Travels, and, am only 20 years of age. Speak the German, Spanish, (or rather Mexican not a pure Spanish) Hungarian, (native language) and can read French but can not converse, but it would require but a very short time to acquire it in Paris. / Hoping this has not inconvenienced you any, / I beg, leave to remain / Your Most O’b’t servant / … / P.S. I took the name Col. Sellers from your “Gilded Age,” a splendid book, have read your “Roughing It,” will read “Innocence abroad” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter “Wants to use “Col. Sellers” as a nom de plume.” Sam gave permission and Madarasz wrote again to thank him on April 7.
April 5 Monday – Sam and Twichell’s friend, Joseph Hawley lost in his bid for Congress. Joe’s journal:
“Election. A black, disgraceful day by reason of the defeat of Gen. Jos. R. Hawley for Congress in this district. He ran a long way ahead of his ticket here in Hartford—a good many—about all of the better sort of democrats voting for him” [Yale 79]
Albert Jacob Sellers sent Clemens a printed autograph request, enclosing duplicate cards for the signature. Sellers wrote in hand a PS: “Please accept the accompanying p’c of Music with my compliments. A great amount of sport at my expense have you been the occasion of; but I forgive you, since there’s “millions in it” (Col. Sellers maxim from GA) [MTP]. Note: Sellers was a real Colonel, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery at Gettysburg. Since the cards are no longer with the letter, it is assumed Sam signed and returned them. The music is not extant.
April 6 Tuesday – Marshall Jewell, ex-governor of Conn. wrote to Sam:
My Dear Sir: / I have seen the Secretary of the Navy about your boy [Samuel Moffett], and he said it was all right, and that his name was on the list, and that the appointment should be made—or at least I understood him to say as much.
He requested me to leave a note with him as a reminder, which I did, and have no doubt everything will be done as you wish it. / Very truly, … [MTP]. Note: Clemens was actively trying to secure an appointment to the Naval Academy for his nephew. It was not given.
Edward T. Potter wrote from Jacksonville, Fla. to Clemens about details on the new house—awnings, mantelpiece, stairs, etc.[MTP].
April 7 Wednesday – Sam gave another “Roughing It” benefit lecture, this time for the Connecticut Retreat for the Insane, Washington Street in Hartford. He used a sheet of drawn icons as his notes [See MTL 6: 405]. Twichell was in attendance and thought Sam’s “Nevada” lecture was given “with great success” [Yale 80].
Marvin Henry Bovee (1827-1888) wrote to Sam:
My dear Mark: / You will look at the signature, and wonder who the audacious man is that addresses you as though he were an old friend. Well, I am an old friend, and you cant help yourself, though you never saw me.
But you will see me, Mark, as this is the year of jubilee with me and I am around among the people.
During the past twenty years, I have delivered over 600 public lectures in the different states of the Union upon the “improper use of hemp,” —otherwise called Capital punishment. And the capital part of the punishment was, that for six hundred lectures, I received—the applause of the people, and that is more than many lecturers can do.
But then I made it lively for the hangman. Those professional neck-breakists have “gone from our gaze” in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, where they are forbidden to separate the “spinal column” of any individual unless the twelve men “good and true” (good as putty usually, and true to their stupidity) shall unanimously recommend the separation of soul and body. The good work goes on. But I am calling upon my brother lecturers with vigorous good nature. I pass the hat, I’ve got a large one. Hundred dollar bills changed, if requested—into twenties and all put in the hat. Geo. William Curtis sends $25. Frothingham won’t be outdone by Curtis and sends his cheque for $25.
Mark: you need n’t send any thing. I had rather call and receive it. I can’t help it if I do love you. You shouldn’t be so attractive. But I have a little prejudice against you after all. When you were abroad, report has it that you played “old Sledge” on the “grave of Adam” and euchred the Pope at Rome by “dealing Jacks off the bottom of the pack” the same as we do in the West.
But I’ll call and see you the latter part of the week. Ever thine, / Marvin H. Bovee.
I lecture in Boston the early part of next week [MTP].
Note: Bovee was a Wisconsin farmer who served one term as a democrat in the Wisconsin senate, where he was central to abolishing capital punishment. He then went on a nationwide crusade to abolish the death penalty and wrote at least two books on the subject. Wisconsin Historical Society page calls him “a gifted orator.” See also his note to Sam of Feb. 10, 1876. Sam wrote on this letter, “From some bore who wants to destroy the death penalty—with an eye to his own future, doubtless.” Clemens could spot ego a mile away, and was equally scornful of sham and those who tooted their own horn. Mentioned are: George William Curtis (1824-1892) and Rev. Octavius Brooks Frothingham (1822-1899), lecturers of the time. “Old Sledge” was a card game, also called “Seven-up.”
Ladislaus W. Madarasz wrote thanks for Clemens giving permission for him to use “Col. Sellers” as a pen name [MTP]. Note: see the writer’s letter of Apr. 2. Sam’s permission letter is not extant.
Charles H. Webb wrote to Sam from Brooklyn, NY.
Dear Mark,— / I don’t know whether or not I’ve ever done any favor for you, but, if I have, do one for me!
Help me out of having a disgusting legal row with Bliss. (My fondness for fight has vanished since I married a peaceable little woman) [MTPO]. Note: Sam replied on Apr. 8.
April 8 Thursday – Sam responded to a letter from Charles Henry Webb, the man who published his Jumping Frog book. Webb was in a disagreement with Elisha Bliss over a verbal agreement that was not even “definite” verbal. Sam advised him to learn from it and move on, that there was no legal case. On the envelope to Webb’s letter he noted the irony:
“The whirligig of time brings round its revenges.” He swindled me on a verbal publishing contract on my first book (Sketches), (8 years ago) & now he has got caught himself & appeals to me for help. I have advised him to do as I did—make the best of a bad bargain & be wiser next time.
Livy had been ill for a week. Sam wrote it was diphtheria [MTL 6: 441-3n1].
April 10 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elisha Bliss about Edward House’s book on Japan’s incursion into Formosa (House had published it in Tokyo in 1875). Sam called the affair a “small & entirely uninteresting riot out there,” uninteresting to Americans, and told Bliss he’d suggested a better type of book to write. He also told Bliss to keep William F. Gill’s letter of refusal for Sam to use the story he’d done for Lotos Leaves. “That ‘whirligig of time’ will bring round another revenge by & by I suspect” [MTL 6: 444-5]. Note: Once burned, Sam would never lay himself open to abuse of his work by the offending party.
April 11 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note to John S.H. Fogg (1826-1896), polio victim and collector of signatures and photographs of famous people. Sam wrote the only good likeness of him had appeared in the London Graphic and later in Appleton’s Journal [see MTL 6: 447].
April 12 Monday – Bridges W. Smith wrote from Atlanta to Clemens:
Mr. Clemens— / Dear Sir —
As this letterhead will tell you, I am on the ragged edge of sending a book of nonsense to the nonsense reading public. Being my first, with only a few years reputation as a humorous writer to back it, it needs all the stimulus possible. I want the people to see that I am known to the literary world, and my object in writing to you is simply to give me a few words—no matter how indefinite or irrelevant to the matter in hand—with your name (Mark Twain) attached. Thus, a few scratches of your pen will cost you nothing and will help me a great deal. For instance, you might say “It ought to sell” or something similar—You see my object—
I am a journeyman printer with a small salary, and I am striving to make a reputation as a humorous writer that will give me a position more congenial and more remunerative than keeping my nose in the space-box.
For years I have written articles for the “fun of the thing” and I now want to reap the harvest, if harvest there be.
If you could spare the time, give me a letter, and if you have a good word for me, oblige me by writing it. / Yours truly and sincerely… [MTP]. Note: throughout his lifetime, Clemens received literally hundreds of such letters, many pleading for “a few words.” He ignored most, convinced he should not write to strangers who would likely sell his squibs and autographs. Smith (1848-1930) was a Confederate veteran and Macon, Georgia Telegraph and Messenger editor for many years. His later column in that newspaper often mentioned Twain.
April 13 Tuesday – Sam and Joe Twichell went to Brooklyn to stay at the home of Dean Sage. On the Hartford to New Haven leg to NYC:
“Prof. Marsh of Y.C. [Yale College] was by chance our company, and entertained us rarely by some account of his late Bone Hunting Expedition to the Bad lands and of similar previous experiences” [Yale, Twichell’s diaries 87, copy at MTP]. Note: Othniel Charles Marsh (1831-1899) was the chair of Yale’s paleontology department, the first to hold such a position.
Nine-tenths of an inch of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
April 14 Wednesday – In Brooklyn, Sam and Twichell sat in on a session of the Henry Ward Beecher trial. Dean’s father, Henry W. Sage, had been a trustee of Beecher’s church for nearly 20 years and employed Beecher’s son in his lumber business. Dean Sage came at noon and the trio lunched at some club, then all three went back to watch the trial. Sam met the judge in the trial but wouldn’t take the seat on the bench offered to him [MTL 6: 446-8]. Joe’s journal: “Mr. Shank of the New York Tribune” saw MT and JT come in and took them to seats “in the very centre of the court…just under the judges desk” [Yale, copy at MTP].
0.11 inches of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam, hoping that when the Clemenses came “up to attend the Lexington Centennial,” they might “come to our house.” Howells wrote he had just telegraphed for Sam’s sixth installment of “Old Times,” which was to run in the June issue of Atlantic. The Howellses had just returned from a trip to Bethlehem, Penn. [MTHL 1: 72].
April 15 Thursday – The New York Sun, “Ragged Edge in Earnest,” reported on Sam attending the Beecher trial of the previous day:
Mark Twain shambled in loose of coat and joints and got a seat near the plaintiff’s table. He closely resembled Mr. Moulton, and was mistaken by many for that much-watched attendant.
“This was a good joke on M.T. who has been greatly disappointed in Moulton’s appearance and disliked his looks exceedingly.” Note: Francis D. Moulton, Attorney for Tilton. Francis Moulton was a principal witness at Henry Ward Beecher’s trial for adultery with Elizabeth Tilton, a married parishioner. Moulton was a go-between for Beecher and Mr. Tilton during the four years between the time the charges were brought and the trial. As Mr. Tilton’s agent, Moulton received large sums of money from Beecher, who later denied it was blackmail.
Sam, Joe Twichell, Dean Sage, John Hay, and William Seaver went to lunch at Delmonico’s in New York [MTL 6: 449]. That evening Sam and Joe returned to Hartford. “On the way back we fell in with Prof. Fisher and had much talk about the Beecher case” [Yale, Twichell’s diaries 87].
Waiting at home for Sam was a letter and telegram from Howells, asking the Clemenses to come visit for the Lexington Centennial; the telegram requested the 6th installment of the Atlantic articles [MTL 6: 449].
April 16 Friday – Sam was in NYC, where 0.17 inch of rain fell on the NYC area [NOAA.gov].
April 17 Saturday – Sam left for Cambridge, Mass. without Livy to visit William and Elinor Howells [MTL 6: 449]. Livy wrote on Apr. 23 to Elinor Howells that her wet-nurse got drunk when Livy was away, which explained her absence [MTL 6: 451n2]. Note: Livy had been ill recently.
April 18 Sunday – Sam wrote from Cambridge to Livy and enclosed a poem from 11-year-old Winny Howells. Sam & Joe’s trip to Concord for the Apr. 19 centennial celebration was thwarted by packed trains. Sam had a bad case of indigestion, so the pair returned home and tried unsuccessfully to con Elinor Howells that the trip had been a success [MTL 6: 449].
Joe Twichell wrote from Hartford to advise he would not be in Concord the next day nor in Cambridge on Tuesday due to his return by early train for funerals for a Chinese boy and for “Old Mr. Root, A.C. Dunham’s father-in-law” He added a P.S. “Livy as in church today looking—oh my! Beautifully!! [MTP].
April 18 or 20 Tuesday – Sam met with John T. Raymond on one of these days [MTL 6: 475n2].
April 19 through May 1 Saturday – The Gilded Age play was performed at Boston’s Globe Theater, John T. Raymond in the lead role as Colonel Mayberry Sellers of Hawkeye, Missouri. Howells attended on May 1 [MTL 6: 475n2].
April 20 Tuesday – Sam returned home to Hartford.
April 21 Wednesday – Sam wrote a $23.00 check to F. Bubser [MTP].
April 22 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Dean Sage to thank him for the visit and to explain why his thanks were somewhat delayed. “Howells & I fooled around all day & never got to the Centennial at all, though we made forty idiotic attempts to accomplish it” [MTL 6: 452].
Howells sent Sam the proof of the 6th installment of “Old Times,” asking if he could return it quickly, “for we’re getting short for time.” Howells also wrote, “You left your fur cap, which I propose to keep as a hostage” [MTHL 1: 73].
April 23 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks who chided him for not writing. Sam gave it back in spades for her not visiting when she was “3 or 4 hours” by train from them. Sam was still talking about a Mississippi River trip, now he hoped in May or June, and then he’d “try to stop a night in Cleveland en route.” He told of going to Boston to see the Concord Centennial but not seeing it; and the Beecher trial. Sam also bragged of the children [MTL 6: 454-5].
Sam also wrote to Howells, relating Twichell’s travels to the Concord Centennial. Sam felt “spring laziness” about writing and so was putting it off. He invited the Howellses to come up next Saturday, since they’d said they could visit “nearly any Saturday” [MTL 6: 457].
April 24 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells about an actor, Daniel H. Harkins, who had dropped by to ask Sam to write up a play that Harkins had thought up over the past few years. Sam thought the play a good idea but referred him to Howells [MTL 6: 458-9].
April 25 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Jane Clemens and sister Pamela Moffett. Sam had received the announcement from his niece, Annie Moffett of an engagement to Charles Webster. Sam had also received a letter from his mother urging him to encourage Orion.
I can’t “encourage” Orion. Nobody can do that, conscientiously, for the reason that before one’s letter has time to reach him he is off on some new wild-goose chase. Would you encourage in literature a man who, the older he grows the worse he writes? Would you encourage Orion in the glaring insanity of studying law? If he were packed & crammed full of law, it would be worthless lumber to him, for his is such a capricious & ill-regulated mind that he would apply the principles of the law with no more judgment than a child of ten years. I know what I am saying. I laid one of the plainest & simplest of legal questions before Orion once, & the helpless & hopeless mess he made of it was absolutely astonishing. Nothing aggravates me so much as to have Orion mention law or literature.
Sam also wrote that Livy had diphtheria but was well again, and that the “Bay” (Clara) had one tooth, and that Susy was “hoarse a good part of the time—but the sooner she gets used to it the sooner she will like it” [MTL 6: 459-61].
April 25 or 26 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, who had written about an ex riverboat pilot, William Lyman Fawcett’s article, “The Pillars of Hercules” in the Atlantic Monthly for Jan. 1874.
“Good for Fawcett! …All the boys [riverboat pilots] had brains, & plenty of them—but they mostly lacked education & the literary faculty” [MTL 6: 463].
April 26 Monday – Sam wrote to Louis J. Jennings (1836-1893), editor of the New York Times [MTL 6: 464]. Sam included an article he wrote entitled, “Proposed Shakespearean Memorial.” The article encouraged American subscription to the memorial. Charles Edward Flower (1830-1892), a wealthy brewer of Stratford, England, had proposed the memorial and was probably the “English friend” Sam referred to. The article was published on Apr. 29 [Fatout, MT Speaks 93-7].
Charles Chamberlain, Jr., Secretary for the NY Sunday Times, wrote, having rec’d Sam’s of Apr. 23to Mr. Welles (not extant), and acknowledged his donation for Mr. Frunde [MTP]. Note: possibly Gideon Welles (1802-1878), had been in Lincoln’s cabinet.
April 27 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that he needed to “get fairly launched” in his story, “Private Theatricals,” before visiting Hartford again. And of the squelched trip to New Orleans:
—Now, Clemens, it really hurts me, since you seemed to wish me so much to go with you to New Orleans, to say that I can’t. It would be the ruin of my summer’s work, and though I think something literary might come of it for me, I haven’t the courage to borrow any more of the future, when I’m already in debt to it. You are very good, and I’m touched and flattered that you want my company so much as to be willing to pay vastly more for it than it’s worth [MTHL 1: 79].
N.F. Livingston wrote to Sam, praising GA [MTP].
April 28 Wednesday – Josiah G. Holland (1819-1881) for Scribner’s Monthly wrote from NYC:
My dear Sir:— / I wish to put Hartford into a series of articles on American cities which have already been commenced in “Scribner.” I can use such pictures as I need from the Colt memorial volume, and make the rest. Can you write the article, or, rather, will you write it? If so, please let me know what buildings and scenes ought to be represented, so that I may send up a man to look after the matter. It is not often that a writer is invited into our magazine, with his place of residence. But a jewel in its appropriate setting is so much more desirable! Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience, and, if the service I ask of you seems impracticable, tell me who the next best man is. / Yours very Truly / J. G. Holland [MTPO]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Dr. J. G. Holland, (‘Timothy Titcomb’) poet & editor of Scribner’s Monthly.” He replied the next day.
April 29 Thursday – Sam’s article, “Proposed Shakespearean Memorial,” was published in the New York Times [Fatout, MT Speaks 93].
In Hartford Sam replied to the Apr. 28 of Josiah G. Holland, who had asked Sam to write an article for a series for the American cities (on Hartford) in Scribner’s Monthly. Holland was a founder of Scribner’s. Sam’s answer was clear enough:
“There is probably not another man in Connecticut who is so besottedly ignorant of Hartford as I am. I have lived here 3 or 4 years (in the fringe of the city) & I only go to town when it is necessary to abuse my publisher” [MTL 6: 470]. Note from source: “Clemens was not favorably disposed toward Holland: in 1872 he had written a scathing rebuttal—which he never published—to Holland’s attacks on platform humorists.”
Sam also wrote to Dan De Quille having received Dan’s letter outlining proposed book projects on the history of the Comstock Lode. “Hang it man, you don’t want a pamphlet—you want a book—600 pages 8-vo, illustrated.” Sam pointed out there was no money in a pamphlet. Joe Goodman has advised Dan to write a pamphlet as “a quicker, easier, and surer thing than Sam proposes” [MTL 6: 472].
Josiah G. Holland for Scribner’s Monthly wrote again NYC. “Dear Sir:—/ I am really very sorry about Mrs. Twichell because he likes fishing; but of course I didn’t know about it and can’t help it now. I have a note from Yung Wing which says that the article is not correct. I presume Bowen did not state his mistakes from Mrs Twichell, or did he? I’m sure I don’t know. I shall write to Bowen. He had already furnished us an article on the Chinese at North Adams… [MTP]. Note: at the top of the letter Holland wrote, “I wrote you yesterday on another business.”
Thomas B.A. David (b.1836) wrote from Pittsburgh to Sam:
Dear Sir— / I am very much indebted to you, in round numbers I should say about $50,000, and I wish I could pay you—It all comes of “Old times on the Mississippi”—I had traveled some on the western waters, and the same propensity that always lifted me to the top of a stage coach, carried me to the Pilot house; and I have been renewing my youth in your papers—
It will be no compliment to you to say that your reproduction of those scenes and characters is simply wonderful, but it may be when I tell you that I am laboring hard to convince my wife that it is not pure and unadulterated fiction—Wooing her was easy work in comparison— / Very Respy yours… [MTP]. Note: Note: Sam wrote on the env. “About River Sketches.” Sam’s account of his River days ran under this title serialized in the Atlantic Monthly from January to June. David, for eight years preceding the war, had been manager of the telegraph office at Wheeling, Va. During 1877 David conducted a series of tests on Edison’s and Bell’s telephones to determine their effectiveness. Letters between the men survive at Rutgers.
May – The fifth of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” ran in the Atlantic Monthly.
“American Humor, Part II,” by the Hon. Samuel S. Cox ran in Harper’s Monthly. The article comments briefly on Sam’s lamentations at Adam’s tomb: “This is the humorous sublime! It is the lachrymosely comic magnificent! This is only equaled by the HEATHEN CHINEE of Bret Harte” [Tenney, 1980 Supplement, American Literary Realism, Autumn, 1980 p169-70].
May 1 Saturday – Sam had received De Quille’s second letter and answered from Hartford in a short paragraph—Dan had enough material for two books, Sam said. Come to Hartford and write one of them [MTL 6: 473].
May 4 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam, enclosing C.J. Dean’s letter to him. Dean was Howells’ “dear old Uncle Alec…palsied for fifteen years,” who was enjoying the serialized “Old Times on the Mississippi” articles in the Atlantic [MTHL 1: 80].
May 6 Thursday – The Gilded Age play performed an encore “before a good-sized audience” in Hartford, where it had two good productions on Jan. 11 & 12 [Cook 13]. According to Andrews, Sam was instrumental in breaking down the taboos against attending stage productions in Hartford .
May 7 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, who had written two letters, one praising the Gilded Age play. Howells said he had “done some shouting” over Raymond’s portrayal of Col. Sellers at the May 1 performance at Boston’s Globe Theater. Sam wasn’t going to push the issue but felt that Raymond wasn’t able to portray the “finer points in Sellers’s character.” Sam also wrote that to criticize Raymond openly would make him look “ungracious,” since the play was a big hit [MTL 6: 473]. From Twichell’s journal about William H. Gillette (1853-1937), we see that acting had been a questionable, even sinful activity:
“He had the strongest predilection to the stage and yielded to what he felt was his ‘call’ … He seems a right true and manly Christian youth and I pray God he may prove that the pursuits of an actor may not be inconsistent with the Christian profession” [Yale 96-7].
May 8 Saturday – Fanny Frazer wrote from Lexington, Ky. to give an account of quoting Mark Twain in the company of pastors about Joshua pushing the Canaanites out of the Holy Land. Her remarks were met with “derisive smiles” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “A simply-worded, well-written letter.”
May 9 Sunday – Livy wrote from Hartford to her mother: “Mr. Clemens is reading aloud in ‘Plato’s Dialogues’—so if I write incoherently you must excuse it.” Sam’s library included the four-volume 1873 edition [Gribben 549].
May 10 Monday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that “It’s ‘most time—quite time—for your seventh number: send what you’ve got; I know it’s good” [“Old Times,” the last installment] [MTHL 1: 82].
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote to Sam.
“Is the Kennard House a good Hotel?” Is that question intended to disparage my house? Ohio has but one Hotel suited to your needs, and that is five miles out of Cleveland on the Lake Shore. If you were coming to canvass the entire state I should insist upon your getting back here to sleep at night. Neither can you get through Cleveland in one night— It is a long city—has grown since you were here. The Mississippi will wait for you, and Livy is a dear, good, reasonable woman, and if she lets you come at all, would prefer to have you take proper rest here at this Wayside Inn. If only she would come with you, and stay while you went on to the scenes of your “former greatness,” I should be the happiest of mothers. I am unreconciled to your not coming to us this summer, like a patriarch, with your herds and flocks and little ones. Oh I should so enjoy you all!—and I would be the loveliest grandmother Susie and Clara ever saw. [in margin: Do say you’ll come & see us this summer. We all want you—all of you—It is nothing to move a caravan now-a-days.] If you could write in the inspiring atmosphere of Elmira mountain, what could you not do here in our “Sunset pavilion,” or under our whispering pines? I am in a sort of ecstacy this morning for the hand of enchantment has touched everything with a new beauty. Last night there was a heavy rain and this morning the sun is laughing through every rain-drop— Diamonds and Emeralds hang from every limb and leaf—the cherry trees have burst into flower and look like huge bridal bouquets in all this wildwood of evergreens—the willows and the alders and the silver poplar make a sort of lace-work of pale green and grey between my eyes and the farther evergreens—and beyond, the lake goes sailing by in a sheet of peacock green—and still beyond is the grey line of sky which always seems to me the threshold of the undiscovered country— Mr. Fairbanks is in N. Y. or Philadelphia— We go east on the slightest pretext of business because we have two nice children there. Mollie writes to me in her letter of Saturday, to get “English Statesmen” & “English Radical Leaders”— She has enjoyed them so much & knows I will. Think of it!—in my heart she still nestles like the little Red Riding hood of the Nursery Rhymes— She is a simple little maid yet in looks & manners. I cannot bear to have you forget her. It just occurs to me— Is Mr. Twichell coming to General Assembly? I wish he would. I am to have four delegates— Press him to come and bring you as layman, I’ll certify to your being qualified and I’ll give you my best rooms.
Don’t burden your conscience now by neglecting to write to me. Face the undertaking as one of your duties. It is a shame for you not to let me hear of you all, at least once a month, because among all your mothers no one holds you and yours more tenderly than I— / Mary M. Fairbanks / [MTPO].
Sister Mary F. Clare wrote from Kerry, Ireland, enclosing flyers “home for destitute Irish girls” and begging for a donation [MTP].
May 12 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, saying he’d “send along” the altered proof of No.7, the last of his Atlantic series, “Old Times on the Mississippi.” He complimented Howells’ review of the Gilded Age play and expressed some bitterness at Raymond, who’d written him asking for the rest of the season’s profits, a few week’s worth. Raymond then sent a telegram on this day and Sam answered he would lend Raymond money but not give him profits [MTL 6: 477-9].
“His letter would make a dog blush. But I guess there is some villainy under it somewhere” [MTL 6: 478].
That evening Sam took place in a spelling match and festival at Twichell’s Asylum Hill Church in Hartford. Sam and Joe were on opposing teams. Sam introduced the match with a speech about the “orthological solemnities” [Fatout, MT Speaking 94-6]. Sam and Livy furnished the first prize for the match: “Guizot’s exquisitely illustrated History of France, 900 wood engravings, 40 fine steel engravings, published by Estes & Lauriat, Boston, in 50 monthly parts,” The “London Art Journal, Appleton, American publisher, in monthly parts,” and “A Nosegay, daintily painted upon slate, on a finely polished surface, the invention and handiwork of a New England Lady” [Hartford Courant, May 13, 1875 p2; also in Andrews 50, and MTL 6: 659-63].
Here are the spelling teams listed:
The Rev. Dr. Burton
Miss M. Bartlett
Charles H. Clark
Miss Julia Burbank
J S Tryon
Charles E Perkins
Miss Lucy Smith
W. I. Fletcher
J S Tryon Sen[ior]
Note: William I. Fletcher (b. 1844) listed as asst. librarian; John S. Ives dry-goods merchant; Abel S. Clark teacher; Samuel F. Jones, attorney (or Samuel F. Jones Jr., law student); Robert Buell, stock broker. Elisha Carpenter (1824-1897) State Supreme Court judge. Theodore Lyman and Miss Kate Burbank were referees.
Sam also wrote Edward T. Potter, architect, concerning house details; letter not extant but referred to in Potter’s of May 13.
John T. Raymond sent a telegram from Utica, N.Y. asking for a $1,500 loan until Oct. at one per cent a month, and that the money be sent to Elmira [MTP; MTL 6: 479].
May 13 Thursday – Sam sent John T. Raymond $1,500 at seven per cent interest. John’s approach may have been brazen, but Sam generously offered a lower rate and made the loan [MTL 6: 479].
Sam and Joe Twichell went to New Haven to shop and to visit Othniel Charles Marsh “America’s first professor of paleontology, holding that chair at Yale from 1866 until his death [in 1899].” Sam and Joe “talked Evolution” and returned to Hartford by train. They ran into Elisha Bliss on the return trip, who gave a “full and funny account of all he had suffered from Bret Harte” in publishing Gabriel Conroy [MTL 6: 483-4n3].
Edward T. Potter wrote to Sam having rec’d his May 12 (not extant). More details about the new house: fireplace slabs, blinds, landscaping, etc.[MTP].
John Raymond sent a telegram: “What answer to my letter am anxious to know so as to make my arrangements have you heard from Gillette / JT Raymond” [MTP]. Note: file says MAY 12 but that telegram asked for the loan.
May 14 Friday – Rebecca Gibbons Beach (Mrs. John Sheldon Beach; 1823-1893) wrote to Sam:
Dear Sir /Altho’ I have not the honor of yr acquaintance, I, take the liberty of remonstrating against yr refusal to contribute to the “Spirit of 76.”
You sent me word that you are called upon “every day” for similar purposes. I reply that you cannot be aware of the nature of this application—for you have never been so called upon and never will be again. In fact you are called upon thus but Once in a hundred years!
I know not if Conn. be yr native state—(it is not mine)—yet being yr adopted home you should be as jealous of its honor and credit as if you were the ‘child of the soil.’ It is to this sentiment that our Journal must appeal, and I ask you to remember that it can be sustained only by the free will offerings of our literary and scientific men. If all these were to follow yr example—where wd the paper be. (I omit, from politeness, the adjective ‘selfish’ which I was going to put in before example!)
Of course you are busy!—what literary man is not?—If you were not busy you wd not be asked to write for this Journal.
I think, however, that you magnify the favor asked of you, and the time & labor it wd involve. There are to be but 12 numbers of the S of 76, and but two will be issued this summer. Then it will be regularly sent out from Feb to May 76, and the remaining numbers in July and Oct of that year.
If you cannot find 10 min for each number then do us the favor of finding it for the first number (June 1st) and afterward give us what you can, and allow me to put yr name upon the list of contributors.
Trusting that you will consent and give me a favorable answer—I am / Very respy / Mrs. John S. Beach [MTP]. Note: she listed six men “already secured,” most with Yale connections. Clemens didn’t take well this sort of upbraiding, especially by a female. He wrote on the letter, “From a coarse, impertinent woman with a patriotic mission.” No evidence has been found for this publication. Her earlier request and Clemens’ earlier decline are not extant.
Louise Stone wrote from Hartford to thank Clemens for a painting she won at the spelling bee [MTP].
May 15 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to George Cumming, a Western Union Telegraph operator who had written an article in the Telegrapher, a union publication. George observed how ancient jokes are, tracing one back to the Greeks. Sam had read the article and it had made him think.
“It never occurred to me before, but I would give something to know what they are going to do with the petrified people at the general resurrection. It seems to me I would polish them” [MTL 6: 480].
Will Bowen telegrammed from St. Louis: “Eighteen fourty four J.M. White three days six hours forty four minutes in fifty two Eclipse three six four Same A.L. Shotwell three three forty Same reindeer three twelve forty five sixty nine dexter three six twenty” [MTP]. See MTL 6: 424.
H.W. Bergen sent dates of Raymond’s appearances for May 14 in Auburn, 15th in Elmira, 21st in New Brunswick, with amounts rec’d at Auburn and N.B. [MTP].
Nathaniel J. Burton wrote a postcard from Hartford that he would not be at the Club on Monday as he was “compelled to be out of the city” [MTP].
May 18 Tuesday – Sam and Joe Twichell were on the way to a baseball game between the “Hartfords” and the “Bostons” (Hartford Dark Blues and the Boston Red Stockings) when they met Elisha Bliss and Bret Harte on their way to look at a house for Harte to rent [MTL 6: 483n3]. At the baseball game, Sam’s umbrella was stolen, leading him to write an announcement to the Hartford Courant that “a small boy walked off with an English-made brown silk UMBRELLA.” Sam offered a reward of $5 for the return of the umbrella and added, “I do not want the boy (in an active state) but will pay two hundred dollars for his remains.” The notice was reprinted in the New York World, and paraphrased in Harper’s Weekly for June 19. A rumor even went around that someone had left a dead boy on Sam’s property [MTL 6: 481-2]. Sam may have been further irritated that Boston won the game, 10-5. Other events of the day are noted in Twichell’s journal:
Attended the theological anniversary at New Haven. M.T. went down with me and I spent considerable time (about the whole afternoon, in fact) with him. First we went carriage shopping and then to Prof. Marsh’s museum where he showed us bones and talked evolution as long as we could stay. ‘Twas very entertaining indeed. / Returning home by the midnight train I fell in with Elisha Bliss, who gave me a full and funny account of all he had suffered, as publisher from Bret Harte in the process of getting out of him a book he had contracted to write [Yale, copy at MTP].
May 19 Wednesday – Back in Hartford, Twichell came by Sam’s house and met Bret Harte. Twichell wrote in his journal he “…was a little disappointed in his looks” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Benjamin B. Bunker of Bricksburgh, New Jersey wrote to thank Sam for his letter and pictures. He then discussed $500 and asked if Mark could “go it” on his “own hook” within 2 or 3 weeks, then the Lord be praised. He then asked when Orion would be done with the Tennessee Land [MTP].
May 20 Thursday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam, praising the seventh and last installment of “Old Times”: “This is capital—I shall hate to have you stop!” [MTHL 1: 84].
William James Lampton (1851?-1917) wrote from St. Louis.
Dear Sir / Honors like misfortunes never come singly, and I am another star (?) to add to your crown of glory—I am your cousin—at least, Jas Lampton Esq of this city says so, and I’m sure, Jas may be relied upon in matters genealogic. I am from Kentucky, and have lived west of the Mississippi about a year and a half & have known Cousin James since 3 weeks ago. I am book-keeper for the firm whose name stands at the head of this sheet, and the longer I keep books the more I feel that I have missed my calling and that “newspaper man” was inscribed upon the package of dust from which I was evolved. I’ve tried to get on some paper here, as reporter but have no influential acquaintances among the editors; when I heard that you were of like blood with myself I thought, “try again,” and your influence might be gained in my favor, with some of your publishing friends. I’m young & healthy, and not afraid of the disagreeable duties incidental to a first appearance as quill driver; besides my education & reading give me some confidence in the less unpleasant portions of the work. Don’t think because I ante this that I’m impecunious, dead broke short of money or friends, & seeking to curry favor or funds for it is not so, but from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh & I’d like to hear from you. East, West, North, South, any-where; daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly anything.
I am very &c Yours / —W. J. Lampton—
[MTPO]. (See May 22 entry.) Note: William James Lampton, grandson of James Lampton (1787–1865), one of Jane Clemens’s seven paternal uncles. He was therefore Clemens’s second cousin.
May 21 Friday – F.B. C. “a young man” (no fuller name given) wrote from Hartford begging for $125. “Please don’t blame me for wishing to conceal my name” [MTP].
Fred McIntosh wrote from Phila. to ask who “Gilderoy” was in Ch. 25 of IA [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Bid for autograph letter. ‘Too thin.’ ”
Joe Twichell wrote (May 18 letter Dean Sage to Twichell enclosed). “Here is a letter from Dean Sage. What do you say? Harmony is ailing and if she keeps it up I can’t leave home next week of course.” If Tom Beecher was at Sam’s house would he ask him to preach for Joe Sunday morning. “By the way won’t his visit interfere with your trial going? My love to Livy…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “About closing speeches in the Great Beecher Scandal Trial.”
May 22 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells about deletions of songs and a proper ending to the Atlantic articles.
“There is a world of river stuff to write about, but I find it won’t cut up into chapters, worth a cent. It needs to run right along, with no breaks but imaginary ones” [MTL 6: 482].
Also, about this day, Sam replied to the May 20 from William J. Lampton, Sam’s second cousin and grandson of James A.H. Lampton, one of Jane Lampton Clemens’ seven paternal uncles. William had written Sam for advice to break into the journalism field. Sam replied that William should serve an apprenticeship for nothing & when he was worth wages, he would get them. Lampton later accepted a position with the Louisville Courier-Journal, the same paper edited by Sam’s other cousin (second, by marriage), Henry Watterson [MTL 6: 484-5]. Note: it may be Sam made the recommendation to Watterson.
H.W. Bergen wrote with Raymond’s appearances: May 14 Auburn, 15 Elmira, 21 N.B. as before [MTP].
Daniel H. Harkins wrote from Wilmington, De. Having rec’d Sam’s letter. Harkins had been on the move but would gladly call on Howells, evidently a request Sam made, on the first leisure day Harkins would have on his return home [MTP].
May 23 Sunday – The St. Louis Republican reprinted Sam’s remarks before the May 12 spelling match at Asylum Hill Congregational Church [Tenney 7].
May 24 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to P.T. Barnum, to thank him for another batch of “queer letters.” Sam had heard that Barnum was in the Hartford Library, but when he got there he discovered a man named Bernard was there. “I ought to have killed him, but as it was Sunday I let him go” [MTL 6: 486].
Sam wrote a $100 check to Patrick McAleer, family coachman, designating it as “house money” [MTP].
May 25 Tuesday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to James Redpath:
TK Beecher is splendid in the pulpit—splendid is the word but I have never seen him on the platform at all—never have heard him lecture.
Our people all like his lecturing, but you ask me for my opinion, & individually, & so I have to confess ignorance [MTP, drop-in letters].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam that he would “drop in on” him someday, “but of course not till you have been here, which I hope will be soon.” He sent another package of queer letters [MTP].
May 25? Tuesday – On or about this date, Thomas K. Beecher, still pastor of the Elmira church where the Langdons attended, arrived for a week’s visit and to exchange pulpits with Twichell [MTL 6: 487].
May 27 Thursday – Joaquin Miller visited Sam and Livy in Hartford. Miller had traveled in the East after a trip abroad, and stopped in Hartford on the way from Boston to New York. Dan De Quille (William Wright) also arrived in Hartford and took a room at the Union Hall Hotel [Powers, MT A Life 377]. That evening, Miller, Thomas K. Beecher, and De Quille shared dinner with the Clemens family [MTL 6: 488]. On or about this day, Sam took Miller and De Quille to Elisha Bliss’ Hartford office. De Quille came to an agreement with Bliss to publish the book that became well known as The Big Bonanza [Powers, MT A Life 377].
May 28 Friday – Joaquin Miller may have stayed a day or two at Sam’s, but wrote John Hay on this day that he was with Clemens but would be at the Windsor Hotel in New York that evening.
May 30 Sunday – Thomas K. Beecher gave two sermons at Twichell’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church, and wrote a letter to his wife Julia on Sam’s typewriter [MTL 6: 487].
Sister M. Juliana wrote from Providence, R.I. to thank him for the autograph [MTP].
Edward T. Potter wrote more new house details: ombra furniture, chairs, stools, marble floors, hammock, etc. [MTP]. Note: Sam hated this sort of detail but Potter kept sending it to him likely because Livy was ailing.
May 31 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to William F. Gill, telling him not to announce Mark Twain as a future contributor to Gill’s “Treasure Trove” series. Sam demanded that Gill give notice in writing that future offerings would not include Sam’s sketches. It was Gill who had “burnt” Sam by denial to use “Encounter with an Interviewer,” as sketch which had appeared in Lotos Leaves [MTL 6: 488-9].
June – The sixth of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” ran in the Atlantic Monthly. Also, the “Drama” editor of that magazine praised the stage version of Gilded Age, especially complimenting John T. Raymond in the role of Colonel Mayberry Sellers [Wells 22].
June 2 Wednesday – Thomas K. Beecher ended his visit at the Clemens’ home. De Quille stayed on to work on what became The Big Bonanza; he would send occasional letters to the Virginia City Enterprise, describing eastern cities, his three-day New York stay, and his cross-country trip in a Pullman car [MTL 6: 488].
Sam wrote a $96.75 check to Caswell Bros., Hartford Meat market [MTP].
June 4 Friday – Phineas T. Barnum invited the Clemenses to spend the 5th of July with them to celebrate his 45th birthday. He added: “P.S. The ‘queer letters’ are accumulating” [MTP]. Note: Clemens had asked several people to save strange letters sent to them.
June 7 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Cornelius R. Agnew, a New York specialist of the eye and ear, in behalf of a neighbor, Nell Kinearney. Sam mentioned Dr. Starr and Dr. Bowen on the case [MTL 6: 490].
Sam also wrote a short note to Phineas T. Barnum, declining an invitation to visit Barnum’s summer home in Bridgeport, Conn., where Barnum had been elected as mayor. Sam and Livy had plans to spend the summer in Newport, R. I. [MTL 6: 491-2].
Sam also wrote to Howells about coming to Hartford for a visit and about the last segment of the Atlantic articles [MTL 6: 492].
George Taylor wrote from Salt Lake City to enlist Sam in an effort to publish “a text book for humorists” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “No!”
June 8 Tuesday – Clara Clemens’ first birthday. In Hartford Sam wrote to William F. Gill, warning him again against printing “a single line” of his in one of Gill’s books [MTL 6: 494-5].
June 9 Wednesday – Bill paid to Amos Larned & Co. for $2.50 [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, having arrived in St. Charles, Mo. from Louisville the night before.
…. The Ford matter is in such a confused tangle that it is a pleasure to work with it. This reminded me that you said love of the work itself was the thing. As I really like to work with law matters I have decided if you are willing, to endeavor to push myself into the practice of law in Keokuk…to open a law office there. …
I spoke to Hauser on the cars yesterday about an editorial situation on the Globe-Democrat, and he invited me to call and see him today. I thought I would tell him if I called that I merely wish to know the chances in case of a contingency, and then wait till I hear from you. I expect to be in Keokuk by Friday afternoon—start down to St. Louis in about 3 1/2 hours—next train. I am not going to spend my money on this land here….
It looks like startling impudence to expect you to help me into the practice of law when you and the other heirs [to the Tennessee Land] have lost so much in the very direction that a lawyer’s talent if he had any should have been specially available. If you think so maybe you would let me go back on the Hartford Post if I can get there, and perhaps help me to get a thousand dollars interest with a prospect for more if I show that I have maked up enough to work mentally, and take bodily exercise sufficient to keep me from paralysis with the blues. …
I left Ma well, but far more anxious to see me settled than to have me bother with Tennessee land. She feels safe in you, and is willing to let troubles cease to trouble.
Uncle Saunders is the same cheerful, smiling man as of old.
Aunt Polly is as good as ever was made, and so is dear good Aunt Pamela, a maiden of 57.
Tip (Xantippe) is an artist, and teaches painting. A picture of Simon Kenton by her is in the Kentucky library. She has painted life size from a photograph an excellent likeness of yourself.
[MTP]. Note: Orion told of other relatives & then related a long tale about Xantippe (“Tip”) Saunders fighting off attackers with a dull knife some dozen years before.
June 10 Thursday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells sent Sam a postcard saying he would take the three o’clock train on Saturday and was sorry that he must come alone [MTHL 1: 87].
June 12 Saturday – In the late afternoon, William Dean Howells arrived in Hartford for a visit. Joe Twichell joined the pair in the evening. Howells later wrote to his father that he’d done “a month’s worth of laughing” at Clemens’ house [MTL 6: 497n1]. Howells read parts of Tom Sawyer, offering to run it in a serial in the Atlantic.
June 13 Sunday – Sam and Howells attended the Asylum Hill Church and took in Twichell’s sermon. Afterwards the trio walked to Sam’s and had dinner. Twichell was impressed with Howells, who departed this day or the next morning for his Boston home [MTL 6: 497]. From Twichell’s journal:
M.T. & W.D.H. walked home from church with me, and subsequently I went to Mark’s and dined with them—just for love. Upon leaving H.[owells] followed me to the door and we had on the threshold quite a talk on religious subjects and I was sorry we couldn’t have more. He seemed very humble and earnest, and very loveable [Yale, copy at MTP].
June 14 Monday – William Dean Howells likely ended the visit with Sam and returned to Cambridge this a.m. It’s possible he may have left late the night before, but this a.m. seems more likely. Judging from Sam’s of June 21 to Howells, a train was missed causing Sam to recall their misadventures on “Lexington Centennial Day” (see Apr. 18, 1875 to Livy) [MTP].
June 21 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to an unidentified Mr. Gwynn, inviting him to “come up & play billiards the first evening you are in town” [MTL 6: 496].
In a letter from Lilly Gillette Warner (1838-1915) to her husband George H. Warner, she mentioned that Livy had recently suffered a miscarriage [MTL 6: 498n4].
Sam wrote to the editor of the Hartford Courant about a copyright infringement matter:
Sir: A respectable Boston publisher informs me that one Greer has offered to sell to him & to one or more Hartford publishing firms certain literary rubbish of mine which the said Greer fancies is unprotected. This paragraph is to inform all interested parties that all of my rubbish is amply protected. Neither Mr. Greer nor anyone else is authorized to trade in it / Respectfully / Mark Twain [MTP, drop-in letters].
Sam also wrote to an unknown “respectable Boston publisher” about Greer:
Gentlemen: / I thank you very much for exposing this man Greer’s projects to me. He is a common thief. He is the same chap who gets up the notorious black-mailing biographies of leather-headed nobodies. All of my stuff is amply protected, & none of it for sale—as Mr. Greer shall find to his serious cost the first time he closes a trade for any of it.
I am exposing this filthy thief in to-morrow’s Courant. If he will only carry out his word & call upon me he shall need assistance to get off the premises again.
Saml. L. Clemens
[Susan Jaffe Tane Collection online, Cornell University]. Note: Frederick H. Greer (Sketches of Men of Progress 1870-1) of the “notorious blackmailing biographies” was also a passenger on the 1867 Quaker City excursion, though Sam either did not make the connection at this time or thought it unimportant. In his Jan. 7, 1870 letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, Sam identified his character “Blucher” in IA as Greer (though some scholars have judged Blucher to be a composite character). Thanks to JoDee Benussi.
Clemens also wrote to William Dean Howells, who had visited Sam on June 12 and stayed until late June 13 or early June 14.
My Dear Howells: / O, the visit was just jolly! It couldn’t be improved on. And after the reputation we gained on Lexington Centennial Day it would have been a pity to become commonplace again by catching trains & being on time like the general scum of the earth. Since the walk to Boston Twichell & I invariably descend in the public estimation when discovered in a vehicle of any kind.
Thank you ever so much for the praises you give the story. I am going to take into serious consideration all you have said, & then make up my mind by & by. Since there is no plot to the thing, it is likely to follow its own drift, & so is as likely to drift into manhood as anywhere—I won’t interpose. If I only had the Mississippi book written, I would surely venture this story in the Atlantic. But I’ll see—I’ll think the whole thing over.
I don’t think Bliss wants that type-writer, because he don’t send for it. I’ll sell it to you for the twelve dollars I’ve got to pay him for his saddle—or I’ll gladly send it to you for nothing if you choose (for, plainly to be honest, I think $12 is too much for it.) Anyway, I’ll send it. Mrs. Clemens is sick abed & likely to remain so some days, poor thing. I’m just going to her, now.
Yrs Ever [MTP]. Note: during his visit, Howells read some of the nearly finished MS of TS and offered to serialize it in the Atlantic Monthly.
June 22 Tuesday – Sam purchased a set of his books from Elisha Bliss for Dr. Cornelius R. Agnew, the New York eye & ear specialist [MTL 6: 498n1]. Note: Sam had paid for the doctor to consult with his neighbor on an eye problem. (See June 7, 23 entry.)
June 23 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Dr. Cornelius R. Agnew that he’d shipped the books. After Agnew came up and examined Nell Kinearney’s eyes, Sam was the one to break the news that nothing could be done [MTL 6: 498].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells sent Sam a postcard:
“Please send the machine [typewriter], and if I cannot afford to receive it for nothing, I will pay the extortionate sum you name. W.D.H.” [MTHL 1: 88].
June 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam replied to Howells about the typewriter that Howells wanted to borrow. Sam had traded the machine to Bliss for “a twelve-dollar saddle worth $25.”
“…the machine is at Bliss’s, grimly pursuing its appointed mission, slowly & implacably rotting away another man’s chance for salvation” [MTL 6: 499].
June 26 Saturday – Rev. Dr. Charles E. Tisdall (1820-1905), Chancellor of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. wrote to Sam. He asked Sam to procure the autographs of Bret Harte, Charlotte Saunders Cushman (1816–1876) actress, and Joseph Jefferson. He added he had Twain’s and Oliver Wendell Holmes’ signatures, and mentioned meeting Twain in London “when poor Bellew gave a dinner in honor of your coming to England…” [MTPO]. Note: John Chippendall Montesquieu Bellew (1823–1874), noted orator, died the year before which likely explains Tisdall’s use of “poor” for him.
June 28 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Pamela Moffett. Only part of the letter exists. Sam wrote that Livy had been sick for a week but now was up and around again and that they would go to Newport, R.I., for August and part of September, taking the kids and two nurses. Baby Clara’s finger got caught in the baby carriage and the tip nearly cut off, but the doctor sewed it on [MTL 6: 501].
June 29 Tuesday – Jack Van Nostrand, Quaker City friend, wrote from Manitou, Colo.
Do you know Sam, I think next to the Bible, the “Innocents Abroad” has been in America, more universally read than any other book ever published. It don’t make any difference where I go, and I am always particular not to say any thing about it; people are always sure to find out that I am the “Jack” of the Innocents, and from that time forth…I have to spin more yarns and get off more stories than is expected of any old salt…the trip to me looking back at it through seven years of time was a grand success [MTMF xviii].
June 30 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Dr. Cornelius Agnew, asking if a summer at the seaside for Nell Kinearney would be a good thing. Nell was a neighbor with the diseased eye that doctors had recommended removing [MTL 6: 502]. Note: The Clemenses may have paid some of the medical expenses for the operation done in the fall.
July – Sam inscribed a copy of Queen Mary, A Drama. Author’s Edition (1875): “Saml. L. Clemens, Hartford, July, 1875” [Gribben 695].
July 2 Friday – In Hartford Clemens wrote a check to the Evening Post Association for $4; a subscription [JG Autographs eBay item # 370952848214; February 2014].
July 3 Saturday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam not to “waste it on a boy”—that is, his “chief work,” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which Howells thought should be carried on into Tom’s adult years [MTHL 1: 90]. Note: even Howells got it wrong now and then.
July 5 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells that he’d finished The Adventures of Tom Sawyer but “didn’t take the chap beyond boyhood,” a development that Howells had recommended. Sam doubted that any magazine could pay him enough to publish the book, and used figures Harte had received from Scribner’s for comparison.
“You see I take a vile, mercenary view of things—but then my household expenses are something almost ghastly.”
Also, Sam had won an ally in James R. Osgood to legally challenge William F. Gill’s unauthorized use of names [MTL 6: 503-4]. Note: AMT 2: 552 also gives this as the finish date for TS.
July 6 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mr. Gerard (unknown), referring him to Edward T. Potter Sam’s architect, for pictures and drawings on his Farmington Avenue home [MTL 6: 506].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam a short letter about submissions for the Atlantic, a music item, and his sympathies for “poor little Susy,” who evidently was ill [MTHL 1: 94].
July 8 Thursday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam that he’d be unable to visit. Sam’s invitation, probably written on July 6-7, has been lost. The Howellses were going to the country at Shirley Village, Mass. and wouldn’t be home from Aug. 1 till Oct. 1 [MTHL 1: 94].
July 13 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Bret Harte asking for his autograph for a collector friend he’d met in London, Charles E. Tisdall, Chancellor of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin. Sam wrote Tisdall was “a mighty good fellow—for a Christian” [MTL 6: 507-8].
Sam also wrote to Howells. He offered half of the first $6,000 profits from a stage play of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer that Howells might write. Sam had his “eye upon two young girls who can play ‘Tom’ & ‘Huck’.” Howells wisely declined, both from lack of time and understanding that only Sam could write such a play and do it justice [MTL 6: 509]. Note: see July 19 entry for Howells’ answer.
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood about William F. Gill using his name either on the cover or the inside of his announced “Treasure-Trove” series. Gill had also used some of Osgood’s writers without permission. Sam claimed that the use of “Mark Twain” without permission was trademark violation, a claim he’d first made in 1873 [MTL 6: 511].
July 14 Wednesday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to George E. Waring, Jr. (1833-1898), whom he may have met at the Dec. 15, 1874 Atlantic Monthly contributors’ dinner. Waring had called at Sam’s home, but Sam was away. Sam wrote that he and family would be at Bateman’s Point, Newport, Rhode Island on July 31, and hoped to see Waring there [MTL 6: 512].
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett, about money sent to their mother and Sam’s lack of a current steady income. He added:
My Dear Sister:
Livy is getting along tolerably well; Susie is well; the baby’s finger is healing first rate.
We are glad to know that Annie & Ma & Sammy are having such satisfactory holidays. If Ma had said “send $100” I would send it; but as she says “$50 or 100,” I take advantage & split the difference; therefore please send her the enclosed draft for $75—& tell her to draw again when she wants money. I shall have no income till the end of August, & now am simply paying out money & taking none in. However, if our household expenses do not exceed $50 a day I shall go through all right without having to borrow.
With love to all. / Yr Bro—
Sam. / [MTP, drop-in letters].
July 16? Friday – Sam sent the title page of Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old to Elisha Bliss, and asked him to print and mail the page to Washington for copyright [MTL 6: 513]. Duckett gives July 21 as the copyright date .
July 19 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary F. Foster, sending copies of his books for a library project [MTL 6: 514].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote Sam and declined to collaborate on writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as a play:
“But I couldn’t do it, and if I could, it wouldn’t be a favor to dramatize your story. In fact I don’t see how anybody can do that but yourself” [MTHL 1: 96].
Sam wrote check #173 to N.W. Hunter for $171.05 drawn on the First National Bank of Hartford [www.liveauctioneers.com].
July 20 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James R. Osgood on the William F. Gill matter, that stopping legal action now was perhaps the best result they might obtain. Still,
“It seems a shame that a thief can go on & print 2000 copies of stolen goods & escape punishment through the weakness of the law” [MTL 6: 514].
July 21 Wednesday –Sam submitted a synopsis of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Drama to the Library of Congress for copyright. Norton concludes that since the synopsis includes all of what would make up the published book that the “essential work had been done ten months earlier” [Writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 21].
July 23 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Pamela Moffett. Sam had utter disdain for the temperance activists, who he said blamed the maker of rum and not the drinker of it.
One could with as much sense say that God is the personage who should shoulder the blame for the sin that is in the world (& suffer punishment) because He made sin attractive….There is no estimating the harm that a few Goughs in temperance & a few Beechers in religion are able to do. Both causes would be much better off if both these persons had died in infancy….I hate the very name of total abstinence. I have taught Livy at last to drink a bottle of beer every night; & all in good time I shall teach the children to do the same. If it is wrong, then, (as the Arabs say,) “On my head be it!” [MTL 6: 515].
Sam also wrote James R. Osgood again about allowing Gill to sell the 2,000 books of the “Treasure-Trove” series already printed, enclosing a card Sam suggested be shown to Gill & Co. by his attorney [MTL 6: 516-8].
July 26 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Orion, enclosing $82 requested as a loan. Orion was sending monthly detailed accounts of his chicken farm income and expenses and borrowing another $100 each time. Sam eyeballed a $25 expense for the rental of a pew in church and made a point of “principle” in this reply. “You might as well borrow money to sport diamonds with,” Sam admonished [MTL 6: 519].
July 29? Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James Redpath who had sent “customary annual lecture temptations!” Sam still did not want to lecture—at any price.
“All last winter I sat at home drunk with joy over every storm that howled along, because I knew that some dog of a lecturer was out in it” [MTL 6: 520-1].
July 31 Saturday – The Clemens family left Hartford to vacation at Bateman’s Point near Newport, Rhode Island. They stayed at Ridge Road and Castle Hill Avenue in an old farm on the well-used resort. Dan De Quille, who had been staying in the Union Hall Hotel in Hartford and writing his book with Sam’s help, also accompanied the family and stayed a week. He then returned to the same hotel in Hartford, where Sam wrote him from Newport on Aug. 31 [MTL 6: 530]. Sam referred to Newport as:
“…that breeding place—that stud farm, so to speak—of aristocracy; aristocracy of the American type; that auction mart where the English nobilities come to trade hereditary titles for American girls and cash” [Neider 295].
August – The last of seven installments of “Old Times on the Mississippi” appeared in the Atlantic Monthly.
Sam inscribed a copy of Augustus John Hare’s Walks in Rome (1874): Saml. L. Clemens, Bateman’s Point, Newport, R.I, Aug., 1875. [Gribben 293].
August 2 Monday – Sam’s letter of July 29? to Redpath found its way into the Boston Herald, appearing on Monday, Aug. 2 [MTL 6: 530].
August 3 Tuesday – Sam’s short piece “Mark Twain to Stay at Home” ran in the Hartford Courant [Courant.com].
Clara L. Kellogg (1842-1916) wrote from Clarehurst, Hudson River. “I am truly obliged to you, Mr. Clemens, for giving me the desired information. / Through your kindness I am now in possession of two photographs of your charming house” [MTP].
August 9 Monday – Dan De Quille wrote to the Enterprise that Bateman’s point had water on three sides and was foggy and breezy. Sam “is very indolent and after reading about a thousand pages [MS pages] said it was all right—he did not want to read any more” [MTL 6: 521]. Dan left sometime between this day and Aug. 12; he took a steamboat trip to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket [531n1].
August 12 Thursday – Sam and Livy attended a lecture on natural history given by Alexander Agassiz. They’d been invited by pastor and writer Thomas Wentworth Higginson [MTL 6: 522].
Thomas W. Higginson wrote to invite Sam and Livy to the Town and Country function on Saturday [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Col. Higginson”
August, mid – Sam gave a picnic speech at Castle Hill Town and Country Club, Newport, R.I. [Roche 23-27].
August 16 Monday – In Shirley Village, Mass., William Dean Howells sent Sam proofs on “The Curious Republic of Gondour,” which would run anonymously in the Oct. Atlantic Monthly [MTL 6: 523]. “I like Gondour greatly, and wish we could keep your name,” Howells wrote, “Send me some more accounts of the same country” [MTHL 1: 97].
Note: The sketch parallels some of Sam’s later writings, and was a serious, if ironic proposal that the more propertied and educated should have more votes than the masses—a somewhat English and aristocratic idea, which he felt best not to risk his reputation on. There are also similarities to Connecticut Yankee [Rasmussen 103]. Sam’s experiences in England no doubt led to some of this thinking, but it was wise to leave this piece unsigned, even though Howells wanted it signed.
Sam wrote from Newport to sister Pamela Moffett. He sent congratulations to Annie Moffett and Charles Webb, who had set a date of Sept. 28 to be wed. Sam wrote that he and Livy were “miserably homesick” but would stay in Newport until Sept. 8 or 10 [MTL 6: 524].
Sam also wrote a one-liner to James R. Osgood, enclosing an advertisement of William F. Gill’s “Treasure Trove” series that still included the name Mark Twain. The agreement reached with Osgood’s attorneys stated that Gill could sell 2,000 copies already printed, but could not advertise Sam’s alter-ego name [MTL 6: 524-5].
August 18 Wednesday – David Gray wrote from Buffalo to call Sam “a perfect unadulterated saint,” referring to his recent letters as “long, kind & welcome.” He found Twain’s Mississippi Sketches “delicious.” A long and friendly letter [MTP].
August 20 Friday – Julia Ward Howe invited Sam and Livy to a “Blue Tea,” where guests brought a few lines of verse or a paragraph of prose [MTL 6: 522].
August 23 Monday – Sam gave a reading from his sketches at the Bellevue Dramatic Club, Opera House, Newport. He was a great hit. Sam read: “How I Edited an Agriculture Paper” and from Roughing It. The reading was written up in the Providence Journal on Aug. 26. De Quille returned to Hartford and wrote about the reading to the Enterprise, even though he was not in attendance [MTL 6: 531n; Roche 25].
John T. Raymond wrote two notes to Sam, itemizing the take and shares for various performances in several cities with the following letter:
My dear Clemens— / The first week is over & the business has been very good, in spite of the excessive heat. I will try & meet your desires as regards your money: Mr Bergen delivered the message contained in your telegram this morning[.] To save expense I have done away with an agent for this ensuing season, all his work devolves upon me together with Stage Management. I have closed for 46 weeks[.] My motive in saying this [is] to submit a proposition to take the usual agents percentage of our receipts for the time & labor in negotiating the engagements for next season[.] That is business. You are saved Messrs Daly & Glens expenses & it is but fair that I should have some extra recompense
Understand me I dont make it as a demand, but merely submit it for your consideration having five percent as a figure that I dont think you in justice can object to.
The piece is beautifully done here. I engaged Mrs Raymond for Laura[.] She has made an unqualified hit & has added wonderfully to its success. Come & see the play if you can spare the time.
Jno T. Raymond /
[MTPO]. Note: Sam’s telegram is not extant.
August 24 Tuesday – Thomas W. Higginson wrote inviting the Clemenses to a reading he was giving from his old journals “describing Newport society during the Revolution, especially while the French officers” were there [MTL 6: 522].
During their Newport stay Sam and Higginson used an old bowling alley. In 1907 Sam recalled the fun:
It was a single alley, and it was estimated that it had been out of repair for sixty years….The surface of that alley consisted of a rolling stretch of elevations and depressions, and neither of us could by any art known to us persuade a ball to stay on the alley until it should accomplish something….We examined the alley, noted and located a lot of its peculiarities, and little by little we learned how to deliver a ball in such a way that it would travel home and knock down a pin or two [MTL 6: 522]. Note: This was not the first time Sam played tenpins. See The Twainian, Mar-Apr 1956, p. 3-4 for an account of a game between Sam and Steve Gillis sometime during their San Francisco days.
Sam wrote to his brother Orion:
My Dear Bro: / Please write this lady & remind her that you are the person she should appeal to, & not me; & do try to make her comprehend that my hands are entirely full with efforts to assist people who have done me favors in bygone days. / Yr Bro / Sam [MTP Drop-in letters].
August 24 or 25? Wednesday – Sam had received the Aug. 23 from John T. Raymond asking for five percent agent fee, since he’d foregone using an agent for the upcoming season. Raymond has also used his wife for the part of Laura, and claimed she had made an “unqualified hit,” inviting Sam to come see the play.
Since Raymond was taking it upon himself to contract theater rental and supporting cast, Sam wrote from Newport to his attorney, Charles E. Perkins, enclosing the play bookings for the upcoming season and asking if it would be better to have copies of all of Raymond’s contracts. Sam was leery of being “Blissed.”
Sam also telegraphed H.W. Bergen, his agent, to forward all of Raymond’s contracts [MTL 6: 525-8]. Sam had hired Bergen once the Gilded Age play toured the country. Duckett explains Bergen’s duties:
“When the play went on tour, he [Sam] hired an agent to follow the company, count the gate receipts, and see to it that the author’s share was duly paid. The agent was to report every day by postcard the amount of Twain’s half of the intake, and when these cards arrived at the Hartford house at dinnertime, Mark read aloud the figures and pranced around the table waving the cards in triumph” .
August 26 Thursday – H.W. Bergen showed Sam’s telegraph request to John T. Raymond, who was angry about Sam requesting copies of the contracts made for staffing and theater rental, angry enough to fire off a caustic paragraph to Sam, who was questioning the high expenses [MTL 6: 528]. Sam was still making money off the play, and probably didn’t want to kill the goose, even to the extent of Raymond making off with more than half the profits. Raymond’s note:
Dr Sir / Mr Bergen showed me your telegrams this evening[.] To say they made me angry is to put a mild form to it and if you had been here I would have expressed to you personally my opinion of one whose dealings through life must have been of a very singular kind to cause him to suspect mankind as you do— I have delivered to Mr Bergen my ultimatum & also sent a postscript to his letter[.] My contract [illegible word] is simple enough to understand by any right meaning man & if you express any doubt again I will enforce my rights / Jno. T. Raymond [MTPO].
August 27 Friday – Sam wrote from Newport, R.I. to Elisha Bliss, asking for an “official statement of the royalties you have paid me upon Canadian sales of my 3 books.” The only book Bliss was authorized to sell in Canada was Innocents Abroad, and his books did not distinguish those from books sold in the U.S. For the others, only Routledge had Imperial copyright, a fact Sam should have known. Bliss had denied permission for a Canadian firm to issue a cheaper edition of Sketches, New & Old [MTL 6: 529].
August 31 Tuesday – In Newport, R.I. Sam sent a postcard to Dan De Quille, who was back at the Union Hall Hotel in Hartford working on his book. The Clemens family would be back home “about 7th or 8th” Sam wrote [MTL 6: 530].
September 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Newport to Richard M. Milnes (Lord Houghton), who Sam had met in England in June 1873. Houghton was at Niagara Falls on a four-month tour of Canada, and the Eastern and Midwestern U.S. with his son. Sam hoped Houghton would be able to visit him at Hartford after Sept. 8 [MTL 6: 531].
September 8 Wednesday – The Clemens family returned home to Hartford, as reported by the Hartford Courant the next day [MTL 6: 532n2].
At least three newspapers reviewed Sketches, New and Old prior to the first copies being received from the bindery on Sept. 25. These papers, the Hartford Times, Hartford Courant, and the New York Tribune, were likely fed proofs or knew which sketches would be published. Here are remarks from each paper respectively:
Here we have fun alive…..The “Jumping Frog” is rehabilitated, and done up in a new and very droll shape…It is a beautiful volume—full of fine illustrations, and printed on thick calendared paper. Mr. Bliss, the agent, will soon be around with it, and we shall all want this book, if no other (Sept. 8 “Mark Twain’s Sketches,” p.2 )
It will be a better antidote for dyspepsia than the drug story can furnish (Sept. 9: “Mark Twain’s Sketches,” p.2 )
“Mark Twain” is to be honored by a complete edition of his sketches, new and old. It will be issued in a subscription volume of the usual size, but with more noteworthy illustrations and better typography than in the common subscription volumes. The American Publishing Co, Hartford, announce the volume as “the ‘Big Bonanza’ of the literary world” (Sept. 21 “Literary Notes” p.6) [Budd, Reviews 149-50].
September 11 Saturday – In Chesterfield, N.H., Howells wrote, again complimenting Sam on his “Gondour” piece, saying it moved “that eminent political economist,” Mrs. Howells. He also wrote:
“In comment on Charles Reade’s letters (I wish the man wasn’t such a gas-bag), don’t you wish to air your notions of copyright in the Atlantic?” [MTHL 1: 97-8]. Note: Reade had sent thirteen letters to the London Pall Mall Gazette opining on international copyright issues.
September 12 Sunday – Richard M. Milnes (Lord Houghton) wrote from St. Louis: “I recvd to-day your kind note to Niagara & hasten to thank you for it. I go to-night to Cincinnati & expect to arrive in New York about the 24th. …I fear therefore that I have no chance of being able to bring my son to see you.” He remarked about St. Louis being more like a European manufacturing city [MTP]. Note: his handwriting is abysmal, but some brave soul has transcribed it, likely through supernatural means.
September 13 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to the Staff of the Hartford Courant asking for his paper delivery to be changed from Newport to Hartford [MTL 6: 532].
Sam also wrote to W.D. McJilton, a clerk in the Dept. of the Interior, whom he’d met on vacation in Rhode Island. In jest, McJilton had forwarded a letter from S.W. Clements asking for an increase in a government pension, as he could not wear an artificial leg. Sam responded:
My Dear Mr. McJilton: / I have examined my legs & find that no part of Mr. C’.s communication fits me except the closing remark—to wit: “i never could war an artificial leg.” Evidently I am not the man. Therefore please give the pension to the other fellow—if you can find out where he lives [MTL 6: 532-3].
September 14 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells about copyright issues. Howells had written about the letters by Charles Reade on the subject printed by the New York Tribune. Sam calculated more might get done with a petition personally carried to Congress. The first copies of Sketches, New and Old were soon to arrive, and Sam related he’d told Bliss to send a copy to Howells before anyone else. Sam noted that he’d:
“destroyed a mass of Sketches, & now heartily wish I had destroyed some more of them—but it is too late to grieve now” [MTL 6: 534].
September 16 Thursday – William H. Barttell wrote from Yonkers, NY that he was making good on the promise he’d made to Sam at Bateman’s and was sending a “little work” on Modern English literature [MTP]. Note: the work is unidentified.
September 17 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Dan De Quille, still at the Union Hall Hotel nearby. Sam liked collecting “queer letters.” He asked Dan to:
“…write Fair, Mackey & O’Brien [Comstock Lode Millionaires], & ask them if they won’t save all the begging letters that come to them & send them to me from time to time” [MTL 6: 535]. Note: John William Mackey (Mackay) (1831-1902).
September 18 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells about the petition to lengthen copyrights. Sam wanted the country to make a stand to European thieves with “Thou shalt not steal.”
“If we only had some God in the country’s laws, instead of being in such a sweat to get Him into the Constitution, it would be better all around.”
Sam also wrote of possibly lecturing in Boston and New York to help out James Redpath, who’d been put in a tight spot by the withdrawal of Henry Ward Beecher and Thomas Nast [MTL 6: 536-9].
Sam sent an autograph-letter to an unidentified person, likely an autograph seeker.
“Will you please excuse the delay? / Yrs Truly / Samℓ. L. Clemens /Mark Twain” [eBay Nov. 6, 2008 item 360096514257].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam: “Your recd. I am off 5 Oct to give 3 lectures down east—have again 10th & 11th but visit David Clarke in Hartford 12th Oct for a day with my wife—if I can get away…we shall call for 5 minutes at your house” [MTP].
September 21 Tuesday – From Prospect House in Chesterfield, N.H., Howells wrote to Sam, saying he would be welcome at his house “in November, or any other month of the year.” After announcing his plans to travel on to Quebec to see his father, Howells wrote:
“Then, please the pigs, I shall stick to Cambridge for one while. I can’t tell you how sick I am of enjoying myself—that’s what it is called” [MTHL 1: 102].
September 22 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James Redpath, explaining why lecturing would cost him money and interrupt his book (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer).
“I never HAVE lectured without losing a great deal of money by it (no matter what the fee,) & so you can understand my reluctance to meddle with fire that has burnt me so often. And, besides I absolutely loathe lecturing, for its own sake!” [MTL 6: 540].
September 22 and 27 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells that he wasn’t going to lecture this year. Sam wrote about seeing the first copy of Sketches, and ordering out “an entirely gratuitous addition by Mr. Bliss,” an extract from “Hospital Days” (which Sam did not write). Sam had Bliss send Howells early sheets on the book [MTL 6: 541-2]. Note: this editor’s copy has the listing in the table of contents, but not on p. 299.)
September 24 Friday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote two letters to Sam. The first informed that they had changed the date of their Hartford visit to the 29th, and that “the tribe of Barnum will number 6.” The second: “Yours recd—since I mailed a letter to David Clarke for you. We are to be in Hartford Wednesday next as that letter will inform you” [MTP].
September 25 Saturday – The first 100 copies of Sketches, New and Old arrived at the publishers from the bindery [MTL 6: 535n2].
September 26 Sunday – Sam saw the first copy of Sketches, New and Old [MTL 6: 541].
September 27 Monday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote, repeating his aim to bring his daughters to meet them for only 10 minutes on the 29th [MTP].
Jesse Madison Leathers (1846-1887), third cousin of Sam’s, wrote from Louisville, Ky.
Dear Sir:——I am here on a visit to the Lampton family, of which you are a member. My object is to bring about concert of action in referrence to this English, or Lampton Estate due us in England. What do you think of it—can we recover the estate, or is it a mith? Col Henry Waterson, Editor of the “Courier Journal” tells me that he is one of the heirs, or that he is a descendent of the Lamptons through his Mother. Answer at your convenience. / Yours Truly. / Jesse M. Leathers.
P. S. It seems that the Lampton family, from the accounts of the descendents, produced a Monroe, a Madison and a Jefferson, in the good old days, and now that it has produced a “Mark Twain” and a Henry Waterson it certainly has claims to a Nobility of mind & Brain that the titled families of England might be proud of. / J. M. Leathers.
P. S. This morning I received a letter from a first cousin of yours, living at San Luis Obispo, California. His name is Jerome Settle, and he state[s] that his Mother Caroline is a sister to your Mother, and that his Father is living at Glasgow, Ky.
You may have noticed an article going the rounds, of the Press, coppied from the Owensboro Ky. Monitor, relative to the Lambton Family and their relation to the Earl of Durham of England. / Jesse M. Leathers.
P. S. I am a great grandson of Samuel Lambton of Culpeper Co. Va., while you are a great grandson of his Brother Wm Lampton / [MTPO]. Note: Leathers’ delusions of grandeur were the basis for American Claimant [MTNJ 2: 49-51]. His revelation here would make him Clemens’ 3rd cousin.
September 28 Sunday – Charles L. Webster married Annie Moffett in Fredonia by Rev. A.L. Benton.
September 29 Wednesday – The Hartford Courant published a letter from Sam wrote (probably on Sept. 27) about a man who had knocked on his door with documents of petition “so conspicuously dirty that it would be only fair & right to tax them as real estate.” The documents claimed that other Hartford notables had contributed to the “professor…a late candidate for the legislature,” for the purpose of establishing “a school in a southern state…” Sam thought the man a fraud and sent him on his way, then wrote the letter to the Courant [MTL 6: 543]. The article ran under the title “Information Wanted” [Courant.com]
October – Sam’s unsigned sketch, “The Curious Republic of Gondour,” attacked suffrage and suggested weighted votes based on property and education. The piece ran in the October Atlantic Monthly. Sam sometimes preferred his more serious pieces to be published anonymously, so that readers would not suspect hidden humor connected with his trademark name, Mark Twain.
October 2 Saturday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam that conflicts wouldn’t allow Sam’s visit the next Saturday [MTP].
October 5 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Jesse Madison Leathers, a distant relative who had inquired about the feasibility of claiming part of the English Durham estate. Citing the cost that the Tichborne claimants spent unsuccessfully, and the 600 plus years the present heirs had held the lands, Sam wrote “It would be too much like taking Gibraltar with blank cartridges” [MTL 6: 545-6].
Sam also wrote a letter to an unidentified person to raise funds for the Massachusetts Infant Asylum’s December fair. The letter was used to make a book of autographs valued in excess of one thousand dollars, and was reprinted in several newspapers. Sam agreed:
“…to be one of a thousand citizens who shall agree to contribute two or more of their children to this enterprise” [MTL 6: 549].
Reginald Cholmondeley wrote from Shrewsbury, England to ask if the Clemens family might visit him the week of Aug. 2, 1876 [MTP].
October 6 Wednesday – Sam and Livy attended “Our Big Wedding,” the marriage of Governor Jewell’s daughter Josephine to Arthur M. Dodge of New York. Joe Twichell pasted a clipping by that title from the Hartford Courant into his journal. The wedding was at Asylum Hill Congregational [Yale 126]. Andrews gives details:
“The wedding…was an elaborate ceremony that exemplifies the social level of a class richer than the residents of Nook Farm. The Asylum Hill Church was like a hothouse—filled with a trainload of the most exotic flowers procurable in New York. The costumes, of fabrics gathered all round the world by the Cheneys (silk manufacturers), were richly elegant. Mrs. Jewell wore a robe of velvet the color of crushed strawberries and trimmed with wide Venetian point lace. Her ornaments were plain diamonds; her headdress, white and garnet feathers. The bride’s dress was of very heavy white silk. The Jewell mansion, decorated for the reception with festoons of smilax, and the grounds, lighted with innumerable Japanese lanterns, were thronged by such crowds that it was hard for the Courant reporters to see the costumes of their guests, though they noted glimpses of long trains, velvet fluting, much silk, and many diamonds. The bridal cake was topped by a pyramidal superstructure two feet high; the wedding presents were insured for $10,000; the bride and groom left for New York on a special train. All the Nook Farm group, Mark and Livy included, were present at this most brilliant social event of the year. President Grant sent his regrets” .
October 7 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John C. Underwood. Sam identified the “professor” who’d fraudulently solicited funds for a “southern school” as George Vaughan, and asked Underwood to endorse him. Unfortunately, Underwood, a district court judge, was deceased, as was another on Vaughan’s list he showed to Sam [MTL 6: 550].
Sam telegraphed P.T. Barnum suggesting a visit on Oct. 11 after Barnum had desired to postpone a planned visit on Oct. 9 [MTL 6: 555].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote “many thanks for your telegram” but he had to go to Boston Tuesday [MTP].
Samuel R. Glenn wrote “Herald Office” at the top of the page and not postmarking this until Oct. 20. “I send the enclosed [not in file] for a double purpose, to wit, first, for the reason that it may not have come athwart your boughs in your suburban retreat, and secondly to let you know that I am still an occupant of these lowlands of the Heavenly Kingdom. / With kindest regards to Mrs. C…” [MTP].
October 8 Friday – Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam: “I recd your telegram yesterday & write you that even one day would be beter than nothing. I hoped you would come early next Monday…” [MTP].
October 9 Saturday – James G. Blaine (1830-1893) replied to Clemens, who had written asking Blaine to verity his endorsement of George Vaughn (“a fraud”)
Jubes renovare infandum dolorem / O Clementia!!
After the late cruel war was over Washington was for several years the resort of those suffering patriots from the South who through all Rebel persecutions had been true to the Union—and the number was so great that the wonder often was where the Richmond Government found soldiers enough to fill its armies—of these Union heroes & devotees was Vaughan—He appeared there about 1868 or 1869—He had fled from oppression in the land of his birth only to find still more gr[i]evous tyranny in the land of his adoption. He looked as though he had been at once the victim of kingly vengeance & the object of concentrated Rebel malignity. His mug was like that of Oliver Twist and he evoked your pity even if its first of kin, contempt, went along with it—He obtained some very small place in one of the Departments & held it I think for a year or two. He fastened on me as his last hope & continually brought me notes of commendation, letters of introduction & rewards of merit. But he never insulted me with a reference to his being a candidate for anything. He uses that card only with green people in the country for in Washington candidate[s] go for nothing. It’s only the chaps that are elected that count.
The idea finally occurred to Vaughan that a good way to be avenged at once on all his enemies, to make Queen Victoria & Jeff Davis both feel bad at the same time would be to have a commiss[ion] as bearer of dispatches to England—As carry[ing] a mail bag across the Atlantic on a Cunar[d] steamer seemed a cheap & convenient way of exhibiting triumph over the dead Confeder[acy] & hurling defiance at England at the same time[.] I gave Vaughan a letter to the Sec’y of State—though I had no idea that I wrote quite so gushingly as the quotations you send me imply. But it is quite possible that seeing Vaughan before me the impersonation of fidelity to the Union & honest hatred of the Britishers I was carried beyond the bounds of discretion & indulged in some eccentricities of speech—But alas! my real convictions are that Vaughan in all his pitiful poverty belongs to that innumerable caravan of deadbeats whose headquarters are in Washington—It does my very soul good to know that Hartford is getting its share—Your evident impatience under the affliction, your lack of sympathy & compassion for the harmless swindler show how ill fitted you would be for the stern duties of a Representative in Congress—And if the advent of Vaughan teaches you Hartford saints no other lesson, let it deeply impress on your minds a newer, keener, fresher, appreciation of the trials & the troubles, the beggars, the bores, the swindlers, and the scalawags wherewith the average c Congressman is evermore afflicted—
Excuse my brief note— If I had time I would give you a full account of Vaughan [MTPO]. Note: Sam’s letter is not extant. Blaine’s intro Latin phrase = “O Queen, you ask me to recall unspeakable sorrow.”
October 10–31 Sunday 1875? – Sam wrote a short note to Samuel H. Church about twins “born at the same time but of different mothers” [MTL 6: 551].
October 11 Monday – In Hartford Sam replied to the Oct. 9 from James G. Blaine about the fraud, George Vaughan. Sam was now impassioned; the fact that Vaughan had written a “marvelously foul & scurrilous letter to the Courant in reply” set Sam off [MTL 6: 552].
Dr. John Brown wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland:
My dear Mrs Clemens. You must indeed wonder at my silence— I got your kind note & the photo of the newcomer—& I ought at once to have thanked you for both—but I was ill in mind—hopeless—heartless & I tried to write to you cheerfully as I ought—but could not—neither can I now—my mind has lost all caring for anything or any one & it is a dreadful thing to say—My sister & John are well—but it is sad for them to live with me— I fight against it—but feebly—& I must not say more—as the very expressing it is wrong— I am happy that you & the triumphant Mark are well—& my darling & the little one—
You & the good hub. have still some heart I am sure & you will not give up your old friend—even though he behaves heartlessly to you—
I hope the new house is finished & pleases you both— Tell Mr. Clemens that the gigantic Sheriff is well & writing papers on his beloved Skye[.] Though I was not well when you were at Veitch’s, I wish from my heart I was half as well now— Are you careful of your self—& getting stronger & not less comely & is Megalopis as wonderful as ever? I feel such a longing at this moment to see & hear you all[.] My best regards & affection such as they are to you & to the father & children[.] John & my sister send their love / Ever yrs & his truly & much / J. B.
Is that good nurse still with you? She is more ladylike in mind & body than many ladies—is Clara queer & wistful & commanding like my Susie—whom I see every day on the drawing room mantel piece & you too— That large one of you is in my study—it is not so good as you—& I have the inevitable Mark eyeing the universe in that historical group of Moffat[.] Ah me— You cannot know the misery of looking back on a wasted life— God bless you & all yours, with his peace & blessedness— / Your old & broken friend—J. B. / Kiss Susie for me & make her kiss Clara for me—& Mark may kiss you— [MTPO].
Sam and Livy left the children with nursemaids and went to “Waldemere,” P.T. Barnum’s estate in Bridgeport, Conn.. Since Barnum had a commitment to lecture in Boston on the evening of Oct. 12, the Clemens family stayed only one night. Barnum was lecturing for Redpath’s Lyceum Bureau [MTL 6: 555-7].
Sam inscribed a copy of IA: To Mrs. P.T. Barnum / from / Your Friend / Saml L. Clemens / Mark Twain / Oct 1875 [www.liveauctioneers.com/sothebys/item/589972; Dec. 11, 2006]. Note: Nancy Fish Barnum. This was the only day Sam could have given IA to Mrs. Barnum, so it is moved from Oct. listings to Oct. 11.
October 12 Tuesday – Sam and Livy continued on to New York, staying at the St. James Hotel [MTL 6: 555-7]. They spent the next few days shopping .
October 13 Wednesday – Bill paid to Arnold, Constable Co., of New York, importers of silks, linens, etc. for $177.50 [MTP].
October 16 Saturday – Sam and Livy returned home to Hartford [MTL 6: 555-7].
October 17 Sunday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens: / I hope you have been behaving yourself wisely and not too well during these past six months, while I have been fraternizing with your old boon companions in Italy, the St. Sebastians,—“a werry nice little family”, as Sam Weller would say, “with a good many werry nice points in ’em.” I trust you and the little ones—which include Mrs Clemens, to whom we send our love—are flourishing. How, when, and where shall you be seen in the flesh by / Your faithful friend, / ’Ebare Gordong, /de la Ville de Ponkapog, / Amerique? / I enclose you the petal of a flower plucked from Mike St. Sebastian’s grave. I know it will draw tears from your eyes [MTPO].
October 18 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Moncure D. Conway, who was on a four-month lecture tour of the Eastern and Midwestern United States. Sam asked that if Moncure received this letter, would he promise to run up to Hartford and stay with them a few days? [MTL 6: 557].
Sam also wrote to Richard M. Milnes (Lord Houghton) who had been visiting in New York and staying at the Brevoort House. Sam learned of Houghton’s presence in the city, Friday Oct. 15, but was delayed until it was too late to visit. Evidently Sam did not attend the Saturday breakfast at the Century Club, where Houghton and Moncure and other authors, publishers and artists met [MTL 6: 558].
October 19 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells who had sent him a review of Sketches. (Strangely, both Howells letter and Sam’s reply are given this date.) Howells wrote that reviewing a collection of stories was like “noticing a library.” Sam thought it was “a superb notice.” He talked of Livy planning a visit to Cambridge to see the Howells.
“I want her to get started, now, before children’s diseases get fashionable again, because they always play such hob with visiting arrangements” [MTL 6: 560].
Sam also wrote to the staff of the Hartford Courant, asking for any letters the paper might have received regarding “the fraud Geo. Vaughan” [MTL 6: 561].
William Dean Howells wrote enclosing news clippings mentioning “The Curious Republic of Gondour”:
The poor fellow who wrote this notice thinks I had better show it to you before I put it in type. He says he’s afraid it’s awful rot; but he hopes you may look mercifully on it. Please return it to me (with objections) at once. You can imagine the difficulty of noticing a book of short sketches; it’s like noticing a library.
I spoke to Longfellow about the international copyright petition. He will gladly sign it—if it doesn’t entail any cares upon him. I’ll see Lowell soon.
How much will Bliss take for your type-writer now? [MTHL 1: 106].
October 20 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam replied to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who wrote Oct. 17 after returning with his wife from a trip abroad. Sam and Thomas teased each other in their letters about Howells, dinner with Osgood; and a flower petal that was really an onion Aldrich had “plucked from Mike St. Sebastian’s grave” (relating to ch. 23 of IA, where Sam had written as part of his attack on the “old masters”); and a bit about St. Sebastian being recognizable by “his body…shot through and through with arrows” [MTL 6: 561-3].
October 21 Thursday – Phineas T. Barnum, wrote, clipping enclosed of a glowing review of Barnum’s show in the Boston Globe of Oct. 13.
My dear Clemens / We are glad to get your letter with the assurance that you have all got home safely although tired out. Hope & believe you’ll find the gas stove just the thing. It worked famously in London.
Your visit here was all too short—no chance to see our surroundings—. Better luck next time.
My Nancy & I will be right glad to visit you for a day when opportunity offers. We are busy till New Years.
We start next Monday for Kansas City & Omaha & then wend our way back—lecturing at our leisure. . . .
We hope that the little glimpse you got of Waldemere life will tempt you & your wife to try it again with babies, nurses & as much retinue as you like to bring.
Your big envelope of queer letters keeps swelling.
With kindest regards to Mrs Clemens and sweet sister Susie I am as ever / Truly yours / P. T. Barnum [MTPO].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote from Louisville, Ky. “Your favor of the 5 inst. is at hand. While I take the same view of this ‘Durham Estate’ and the limited chance of the American heirs to recover it…yet I think it is worth looking into.” He also speculated about the Lambton who first came to Virginia [MTP].
October 23 Saturday – Clemens inscribed a copy of Sketches New & Old to Thomas Nast [MS, inscription, NN-BGC (New York Public Library, Albert A. and Henry W. Berg Collection, New York, N.Y.)].
October 25 Monday – Sam’s second letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant regarding George Vaughan was published under the headline “Information from Professor A.B.” Sam may have written the letter on Oct. 22. No “endorser” for Vaughan had been found, and Sam used Vaughan’s letters against him in this article [MTL 6: 563]. See Sept. 29 entry.
October 25–28 Thursday – Livy and Sam wrote from Hartford to Dr. John Brown, answering his letter with news about the babies and Sam’s new book, but mostly urging Brown to travel to the U.S. for a visit and to bring his son Jock Brown [MTL 6: 570].
October 25–November 7 Sunday – Sometime between these dates Sam wrote from Hartford to John. W. Stancliff, a marine painter with a studio in Hartford. On Nov. 8 the Women’s Centennial Association of Hartford held an exhibition of loaned art and antiques. Sam and Livy loaned four paintings. Sam’s letter describing prints in a book made by a young lady in London was printed in the Hartford Courant [MTL 6: 573-4].
October 26 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Jane T. Bigelow who had requested an autograph but Sam forgot and had to be reminded. Jane was the wife of John Bigelow (1817-1911), a prominent journalist, author, and diplomat.
“…business drove the matter clear out of my otherwise empty head, where it was reposing companionless in the midst of a vast & howling solitude” [MTL 6: 574].
Clemens also wrote to William Cullen Bryant. “Honored Sir: / If it is not asking too much, will you kindly inform me if you did ever meet this person?—& if you authorized him to use your name? The names in his list are a far more efficient diary than his feeble ‘endorsements’ ” [MTP]. Note: Clemens was trying to verify the claims of George Vaughan, who had given Bryant and others as testimonials.
A devastating fire swept through the business district of Virginia City, also destroying the office of the Enterprise. From Alfred Doten’s journal:
“…by special invitation, the entire Enterprise force, printers, editors and all came to Gold Hill News office, were furnished all facilities, and the Enterprise was published next morning, as usual—never lost an issue” [Clark 2222]. (See Oct. 27 entry)
October 27 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles E. Flower, who was building a Shakespeare Memorial in England. America was still suffering from the Panic of 1873, and Sam wrote of business being “utterly prostrate…money is distressingly scarce.” Sam enclosed his picture for Edward Fordham Flower, Charles’ father [MTL 6: 575].
Sam also wrote to Howells that he was persuading Livy to accompany him to visit Cambridge, and that Lucy Perkins, neighbor and wife of Sam’s lawyer, would look in on the children daily [MTL 6: 576].
The Virginia City Enterprise ran the story on the fire of Oct. 26:
VIRGINIA CITY IN RUINS.
A Fearful and Uncontrollable Conflagration—The Heart of the City Swept Away—Several Thousand Persons Homeless—The Immediate Loss Probably About $7,000,000—Consolidated Virginia Hoisting Works and Mill, the Ophir Works and the New California Stamp Mill Destroyed—But Little Property Saved Anywhere in the City.
[For complete article, see: <http://www.territorial-enterprise.com/ruins.htm>].
Richard M. Milnes (Lord Houghton) wrote a short invitation: “Dear Mr Clemens, / I leave N.Y. on Wedy inst. If by chance you are in town, will you kindly breakfast with me on Tuesy the 2d at 9.30” [MTPO]. Note: Sam did breakfast with Milnes on Nov. 2.
October 28 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to H.O. Houghton & Co., thanking them for a proof copy of Longfellow’s portrait [MTL 6: 578].
October 29 Friday – Sam received an invitation from Lord Houghton to breakfast at the Brevoort House in New York on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 9:30. Sam wrote back that he was leaving that day for Boston and would be there until Nov. 1, but would “gladly run down to New York & breakfast with you the next day” [MTL 6: 579]. Sam and Livy went to Cambridge and stayed with the Howellses.
October 29–31 Sunday – Sometime during his Boston visit with Howells, Sam probably met Oliver Wendell Holmes regarding the copyright petition. Sam promised Holmes a copy of Sketches, New and Old, which he sent about Nov. 3 [MTL 6: 580].
October 30 Saturday – Mrs. E. H. Bonner wrote to Sam (envelope only survives) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Mrs. Bonner / The fraud”
October 31 Sunday – Sam and Livy called on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at his Cambridge home, Craigie House. Sam previously met Longfellow at the Feb. 16, 1874 Boston dinner for English author Wilkie Collins [MTL 6: 582n4].
November 1 Monday – Sam and Livy went to New York [MTL 6: 579]. A bill was paid to Farmington Creamery Co. for deliveries the prior month [MTP].
November 2 Tuesday – Sam breakfasted with Lord Houghton at the Brevoort House at 9:30 AM [MTL 6: 579]. That day or the next morning, Sam and Livy returned home to Hartford.
November 3? Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Oliver Wendell Holmes, sending an inscribed cloth copy of Sketches, New and Old. Sam wrote: “The author of this book will take it as a real compliment if Mr Holmes will allow it to lumber one of his shelves” [MTL 6: 580]. Note: Holmes wrote thanks on Nov. 4.
November 4 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells that they’d had a “royal good time” on their visit. Sam related how once back in Hartford, he’d “caught it” from Livy, for several social faux pas, including “personating that drunken Col. James,” (unidentified.) Sam claimed Livy ran into George, the butler, in the hall and took it out on him [MTL 6: 581]. (For a sketch of George Griffin from the 1906 “A Family Sketch,” see MTL 6: 583.)
Oliver W. Holmes wrote his thanks for the copy of Sketches, claiming the old saw about laughing and growing fat had gained him several pounds since he began to read the book [MTL 6: 580].
November 5 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elisha Bliss with several requests. Sam approved of True Williams receiving the manuscript to draw the pictures for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as he had done for Innocents and Sketches, New and Old. Howells had been given a security copy. Sam wanted Dan De Quille’s book “rushed into print by New Year’s, if possible, & give Tom Sawyer the early sprint market.” (The Big Bonanza wasn’t published until July 1876, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer until Dec. 1876.) Sam had received an offer from Routledge for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, which he would turn down in favor of Chatto & Windus, who printed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in June 1876, six months ahead of the U.S. version. Sam also followed up on the “smouched” paragraph from “Hospital Days” which was taken from “Miss Woolsey’s charming book,” and not Sam’s authorship. Sam also wanted the stories not used in Sketches, so as not to lose them.
“Frank [Elisha’s son] said he would send the infernal Type-Writer to Howells. I hope he won’t forget to inflict Howells with it” [MTL 6: 585-6].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, enclosing a clipping (see cited source for text):
“The type-writer came Wednesday night, and is already being to have its effect on me. Of course it doesn’t work: if I can persuade some of the letters to get up against the ribbon they wont get down again without digital assistance….I hope to get at the story [The Adventures of Tom Sawyer] on Sunday” [MTHL 1: 109-10].
November 6 Saturday – William A. Seaver wrote to Sam:
Clemens, dear:— / Are you coming to N.Y. next week? If so make it Wednesday. I’m going to do a little breakfast at the Union Club at 9½ a.m. sharp, on that day, to Frederick Lehmann, who bears to me stationery from Wilkie Collins. It’s not to be a gorge of joints, gin, gush and spout, but simply hash, mackerel, a shrimp, and a feeble cup of go’long tea. The bill of company will be Harte, Hay, Brady, Cox, you, and your little friend the host. / Youll come? / “Thanks!” / Cordially, / Wm. A. Seaver [MTPO].
November 9 Tuesday – Thomas Nast wrote to Sam, complimenting him on Sketches, and in what may or may not have been intentional humor, Nast poked at Clemens by praising the piece inserted by Bliss to fill a rather empty page, a sketch that Sam had not written!
“I think that the short piece ‘from hospital days’ is the best thing it contains, and am so sorry that the publishers will commit the error of leaving it out next time. Yours Truly, Th Nast” [MTP]. Note: later states of the book are without the sketch, although some still list it in the contents.
November 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford a receipt of $355.86 to Routledge & Sons for royalties up to June 30, 1875 for The Gilded Age. The book did not sell well in England [MTL 6: 586n4].
Sam also replied to the Nov. 6 of William A. Seaver. Sam had failed to show at a breakfast at the Union Club in New York, hosted by Seaver that morning, though he was thought to have accepted an invitation of Seaver’s on Nov. 6. Also invited were Bret Harte, John Hay, Brady (unidentified), and Samuel Cox.
“I was careful to let you go on & provide my share of the meal, though, because I knew Hay would need it. The sort of belly he is sporting, these days, can’t be conducted on single rations, my boy” [MTL 6: 588]. Note: John Hay was a very thin man.
November 11 Thursday – Charles M. Gall wrote from Ottawa, flyer enclosed announcing John Blaisdell as imitating Mark Twain. “Some time ago I was in Montreal where I saw a play produced, entitled ‘Mark Twain or the Innocents Abroad’. I do not know whether you have ever heard or seen the play….you would have been highly amused at the broad absurdity of the whole affair” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “About that piratical play”.
November 12 Friday – Sam delivered a “prologue” to the recently formed Hartford Dramatic Association’s presentation of the play Our Best Society, by Irving Browne (1835-1899). Sam’s remarks included the “whistling story” about a stammerer curing himself by whistling; and parts of “Roughing It” lectures. Sam’s remarks took five or six minutes and set the house in a humorous mood [For an account of Sam’s speech from the Hartford Courant, See MTL 6: 590].
November 13 Saturday – James G. Bennett, Jr., owner of the NY Herald, wrote, “My dear Sir, / I understand that you have a copy of the reprint of Mr House’s letters to the N.Y. Herald upon the war between Japan and Formosa. If you would kindly let me have the book I should feel much obliged to you” [MTPO].
November 17 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam replied to James G. Bennett, Jr., owner-editor of the New York Herald, who requested a copy of Edward House’s book on the war between Japan and Formosa (Taiwan). Sam answered he couldn’t let go of the book because House had not so instructed him to do so, but that one George Simmons in New York had a copy, and was known by John Russell Young of the Herald [MTL 6: 591-2].
Thomas Shivers Hubert (1860-1953) wrote from Warrenton, Ga. to Sam:
Dear Sir: / Excuse the liberty I take in writing to you but I must give way to my “whim” and write.
I have read two of your works viz, “Innocents Abroad” and “Roughing It.” I am pleased with both and often have cried while reading it. For instance, In the latter book when yourself & companions were lost in a snow storm and asked each other to meet you in Paradise, I could not refrain from giving vent to my tears. In your quaint style of writing one moment I would be in tears while the next in laughter[.]
Now, Mr. Clemens, I hope you do not think me a “non est” or “non compos mentis” but I must ask you to write to me. Tis true we are unknown to each other yet when I intend making a tour around the world I will pay your expenses to have the felicity derived from you as a companion.
I have not yet finished my college course yet can find sufficient time to devote to you and your letters.
Let me hear from you soon stating I can claim you as a correspondent / Truly yours… [MTP]. Note: Hubert later obtained a degree from Vanderbilt University and became a Baptist minister in several Southern states. Of all the offers and pleas Clemens received, Hubert’s offer to pay Sam’s way on a world trip for his companionship is an unusual one, but given to the idealism of a fifteen-year-old boy.
November 18 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary A. Cord, inscribing his Sketches, New and Old book as a gift. Sam half apologized for the “libelous portrait” of Aunty Cord on p. 202, which portrayed Mary as scowling. Mary was the source of “A True Story,” which ran prior in the Atlantic [MTL 6: 593].
November 21 Sunday – William Wright wrote from Virginia City, Nev. “Dear Mark, —We have had a terrible scorching here but will come out all right in a few months. The Ophir company will resume handling on in three or four days and a few days thereafter the Consolidated Virginia will begin blasting. The works of both companies are larger and better than before the fire.” He added, “Every day men say to me: ‘you wrote your book too soon. You should have had the fire in it’ ” [MTP].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, sending proof sheets of the “Literary Nightmare” article, which Howells wanted to run in the January Atlantic.
“I finished reading Tom Sawyer a week ago, sitting up till one A.M., to get to the end, simply because it was impossible to leave off. It’s altogether the best boy’s story I ever read. It will be an immense success” [MTHL 1: 110].
Louise Rutherford wrote to from Union Springs, Ala. Sam
Sir: / I have written a book and can’t get it published. What, do you suppose, is the cause of my failure? It is a novel—the book I mean—and is sensationally perfect. … How did you manage to get your first work before the public? It is a “dark and bloody mystery” to me; and I would like you to explain. …
Where are Dan and Jack? Are they married? If not, I will send them a valentine if you will tell me where and how to direct, and keep the secret. I don’t want to get up a flirtation. I am not sweet sixteen. I am practical twenty-six; but I like a little innocent fun; and a valentine from this far-a-way place would puzzle them. Moreover, I am sorry for Dan; he’s so awful ugly; and there is a bond of sympathy between Jack and I, on account of that turtle. I found him a fraud, too. Why didn’t you favor (?) the public with a likeness of yourself? My cousin’s baby cries sometimes, and I always make the nurse get Dan’s picture, and show her. It scares her into silence. I often wish I had yours.—
Are you going to the Centennial? Then, come to see us. We are only forty miles from Montgomery. An amusing incident occurred while you were in the latter city; and as it relates to yourself, you might like to hear it; but my letter is already too long.
I shall be glad to have you reply, if not too much trouble. I am quite considerate. I do not want to give any one trouble. / Respectfully / Louise Rutherford. / P.S. Direct in care W.C. Bower, or in care “Bower and Pitts.” [MTP]. Note: Rutherford (b. 1850?) refers to Dan and Jack often mentioned in IA: Dan Slote, and Jack Van Nostrand. See ch 47 where Jack throws clods at a mud turtle for not singing. No doubt Clemens felt the use of Slote’s picture (engraved in IA) to quiet a baby, to be humorous. Clemens was never in Montgomery, so the lady must have confused him with someone else.
November 21–December 6 Monday – Sam wrote a paragraph from Hartford to the Public for inclusion in a charity book for the Hebrew Charity Fair and Mt. Sinai Hospital held in New York’s Hippodrome, Dec. 6 to 22. The book was compiled and valued at two thousand dollars and given as a prize [MTL 6: 593-4].
November 22 Monday – Unidentified “company interfered” with Sam and Livy’s reading of Howells’ “Private Theatricals,” the first part of which appeared in the November Atlantic Monthly [MTL 6: 595-7n6].
November 23 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Howells, answering his Nov. 21 letter, which praised The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Howells had made a few pencil suggestions and corrections, mostly in the first third of the book, and recommended Sam cut the last chapter. Howells, like Sam, grew up in the Midwest, and the book undoubtedly stirred boyhood memories, although Howells’ boyhood was not as idyllic as Sam’s. Howells wished he’d been on that island and loved the treasure hunting, the loss in the cave, etc. Sam responded that Howells opinion was “glorious news,” and agreed that it was a “book for boys, pure & simple,” but one that adults might also enjoy. Sam wrote some revealing lines about his writing:
“In spite of myself, how awkwardly I do jumble words together; & how often I do use three words where one would answer—a thing I am always trying to guard against” [MTL 6: 594].
November 27 Saturday – On Livy’s 30th birthday, Sam wrote her a love letter, although both were home in Hartford.
Let us look forward to the coming anniversaries, with their age & their gray hairs without fear & without depression, trusting & believing that the love we bear each other will be sufficient to make them blessed. So, with abounding affection for you & our babies, I hail this day that brings you the matronly grace & dignity of three decades! [MTL 6: 597].
November 30 Tuesday – Sam’s 40th birthday.
December – Sometime during the month Sam wrote from Hartford to John D. Kinney, his Lake Bigler forest fire buddy.
My Dear Kinney:
Upon receipt of this note the American Publishing Co. will furnish to you a cloth copy of Innocents, Roughing It, & Sketches, charging the same to my account, & will send the books to you or to such address as you may name
Merry Christmas! [MTP, drop-in letters].
December 2 Thursday – William A. Seaver wrote from NYC.
Clemens, dear:— / Whenever I can find the baldest pretence for introducing your name among the “Personals” of the Weekly or Bazar, I do it. You miss a great deal of this good reading, which I’m sorry for.
And this reminds me that you have n’t sent me your last big thing, which I want, with your autograph.
I still think I am yours truly, / Wm. A. Seaver.
I’m satisfied that you are no longer fond of me. You avoid me [MTPO].
** Robert Watt wrote an inscription in the Danish translation of RI and sent it to Clemens: “With the compliments of his Danish translator / Robert Watt / Copenhagen 2d Dcbr 1875” [MTP].
December 5 Sunday – Sam responded to a Dec. 2 tongue-in-cheek note from William A. Seaver asking for a copy of his new Sketches book, and including sentiments of a scorned lover. Sam responded by sending an inscribed copy of Sketches, New and Old: “To the aged & virtuous Wm. A. Seaver with the imperishable love of Mark Twain.” In a separate note Sam put Seaver’s success to the prayers Sam had offered [MTL 6: 598].
December 6 Monday – Robert Watt wrote to thank Sam for “the two splendid copies of your New and Old Sketches” [MTP].
December 7 and 9 Thursday – Sam’s letter to the Hartford Courant, “The Infant Asylum Fair,” was reprinted in the New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Evening Journal, and the Boston Morning Journal [Camfield, bibliog.].
December 9 Thursday – J. Ross Browne died in San Francisco, possibly of appendicitis. He was 54 [Browne 407].
John W. Hart wrote to Sam from State Prison awash in over-the-top prose. It all boils down to what Sam wrote on the envelope [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From the burglar Hart describing the ship.” Hart had sent Sam a model ship made in prison.
December 12 Sunday – Frank D. Finlay wrote from Edinburgh to Sam. “The papers—and they never lie—say that you are coming over in spring. Are you? I shall be so dreadful glad if you are! I am living in Edinburgh until May….I have a spare room , and can put you up: and I have nothing to do, and we could have long ‘cam’ jaws and loaves together” [MTP].
December 15 Wednesday – Moncure Conway wrote from NYC.
My dear Clemens, / I have been doneing my level best to see a day when I could promise myself the great pleasure of visiting you and your wife at Hartford; but only this morning it dawns on me that towards the last of this year—say about 28th–9th, I should be able to stop for a little if you shd be at home. Still I know it is Xmas time, and it may not be convenient, and of course you will let me know if such is the case.
I have had a charming little visit at the Howellses in Cambridge. Said I to them, says I, “Do you know and adore the Clemenses?” Says they “We do!!” Then, says I, Let us embrace! We did. / Ever yours / Moncure D Conway [MTPO].
Reginald Cholmondeley: “They say you cannot come next year but if all be well come first Monday in August 77 / Yours truly” [MTP].
December 16 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Moncure Conway, who had written advising that he’d be able to visit Hartford on Dec. 28-29. Conway had been visiting the Howellses in Cambridge. Sam replied: “Good! Give us both days—can’t you do that?” [MTL 6: 599]. Conway came and stayed four days, leaving on Dec. 31 [MTL 6: 600n2].
December 20 Monday – Twichell noted in his journal: “M.T. being sick with …dysentery” [Yale, copy at MTP].
December 21 Tuesday – Sam gave a reading at Twichell’s Asylum Hill Church, Hartford. The Hartford Courant of Thursday, Dec. 16, 1875, p.1 in an article titled “Christ Church Choir and Mark Twain” reported that Clemens had agreed to give some readings for benevolence on the following Tuesday [MTPO]. (Sam’s letter of Dec. 22 puts this in dispute, so the reading is conjectural.)
Edwin Pond Parker wrote from Hartford to Sam to “most heartily thank” for the book and inscription [MTP]. Note: likely Sketches, New and Old.
December 22 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon, thanking her for her gift of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Sam had been “confined to the house & in the doctor’s clutches for about 3 weeks….” And that this was his first day out to shop and “selected some birds to send you for our Christmas” [MTL 6: 602].
Sam also wrote to sister Pamela Moffett and a separate letter to his mother (letter now lost). Pamela was still trying to win an appointment to the Naval Academy for her son, Samuel Moffett; Sam wrote that he’d tried everybody but the President, “& all to no purpose” [MTL 6: 603].
Fidelia Bridges (1834-1923) wrote from Brooklyn “…will forward by express tomorrow the two water-colors you commissioned me to paint and have framed.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From the water-color artist, Miss Bridges”. Many of Bridges’ paintings can be seen on Artnet.com.
December 23 Thursday – Joe Twichell wrote to Sam: “Andy Hammond (West Point cadet) is coming home Christmas bringing some fellows with him. I have invited him and them to dinner Monday. I don’t know yet that they will come, but if they do I want you to come over—you and Charley Warner—and dine with us also. It will be such a treat to the boys if you can” [MTP].
December 24 Friday – In New York, Bret Harte wrote to Sam, asking a favor—to use his influence with Elisha Bliss to gain an additional $1,000 advance on his book, Gabriel Conroy. Harte reminded Sam of a day when their roles had been reversed, but believed that good times for him were coming.
So I ask you, in the common interest of our trade to help me—and to do the best you can to persuade our common enemy—the publisher to make this advance. You know Bliss better than I do—you are, I think one of his stockholders. You will of course satisfy yourself that the company runs no risk in an advance—but you, as a brother author, will appreciate my anxiety to get the best I can for my work…[Duckett 97].
December 25 Saturday – Christmas – Sam wrote a delightful letter he signed “Santa Claus” to Susy Clemens.
“I had trouble with those letters which you dictated through your mother & the nurses, for I am a foreigner & cannot read English well” [MTL 6: 604].
Sam inscribed a copy of Sketches, New and Old to Lilly Warner (Mrs. George Warner): “A Merry Christmas to Mrs. Lilly Warner With warm regards of Sml L. Clemens Hartford, Dec 25 1875” [McBride36].
December 26 Sunday – John W. Hart wrote from State Prison (“Sarcophogas 14 State Catacomb”) to wish Sam “A most obesely jocund Christmas.” Hart must have swallowed a dictionary, as his prose is a felony [MTP]. Note: Clemens wrote on the env. “From John W. Hart, who made the ship in prison”; a model ship was sent to Clemens.
December 28 Tuesday – Fidelia Bridges sent a receipt for $220 paid for watercolors [MTP].
December 28 to 31 Friday – Moncure Conway arrived for a visit and stayed until Dec. 31. Sam and Conway played billiards (Sam won, 11 games to 4). Sam further entertained his guest by singing “old boatmen’s songs which he heard when on a Mississippi steamboat.” He posed an idea to Conway, who’d been a Southern Minister in the Unitarian church before going to England and meeting Sam there in 1872. “The ease with which I perceive other peoples religion to be folly, makes me suspect that my religion may be folly also.” Conway took a MS of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to England and arranged for Chatto & Windus to publish it. Sam gave Conway an inscribed Sketches book. Conway noted that Sam had a touch of dysentery [MTL 6: 599-601]. Note: Conway left his overshoes; he sent a postcard on Jan. 4 asking Sam to ship them.
December 29 or 30 Thursday – Sam wrote a “Religious conundrum suggested by my present disease” to Twichell: “Question: If a Congress of Presbyterians is a PRESBYtery, what is a Congress of dissenters? Answer: A Dysentery” [MTL 6: 606].
December 30 Thursday – Sam wrote in a gift copy of Sketches, New and Old, for Moncure Conway:
To Friend Conway: / Who will kindly remember that the billiard-odds lay with him, & Victory with his gratified friend & servant, Mark Twain. Hartford, New Year’s 1876 [MTL 6: 607].
John W. Hart wrote from Middleton, Conn. to thank Sam for his “kind letter of Dec. 21…it was quite unexpected.” He thanked him for his interest in his son’s work (likely the ship model sent) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From Hart the prisoner’s father”
December 30 or 31 Friday – Sam wrote a card to Howells, which is now lost. MTP’s online annotation for Jan. 1, 1876 to Howells gives this as “his first known communication with them [Howellses] since 23 November…” [MTPO].
December 31 Friday – Moncure Conway ended his visit with Sam and left for New York, where he was to deliver another lecture [MTL 6: 600-1].