Vol 1 Section 0034
The Nation’s Centennial Year
1601 – Started on Huck Finn – Ah Sin & Bret Harte – West Point – Tom Sawyer Praised Skeleton Stories – Conway as Agent – John Marshall & Henry Disinterred – Sam on Stage Centennial in Philly – Advice to American Publishing Co. – Hayes & Torchlight Parades Political Speeches – Tauchnitz – Belford Pirates – Readings in New England
Jabberwock Auctioneer – Crazy Isabella
1876 – Sometime during the year, Sam and Livy founded the Saturday Morning Club, a group of sixteen to twenty young Hartford ladies. They met and read essays and discussed various subjects. Sam, the only male member, often asked his well-known male friends to speak before the group [Willis 105]. Sam listed Boyesen, Harte, Fields, Charles Dudley Warner and himself as past speakers to the Club, and he had also asked Bayard Taylor (1825-1878) [MTLE 2: 11].
Asylum Hill Church, Hartford, Conn. – Sometime during the year, Sam gave a reading from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [Schmidt]. Note: the church had 186 pews, seating 930 people [Strong 49].
Though the date is unknown, Sam first visited the U.S. Military Academy at West Point during 1876. Cadet Oberlin M. Carter (USMA 1880) claimed Sam visited West Point at least three times between 1876 and 1880. Carter also reported visiting the Clemens’ residence in Hartford [Leon 36].
January – Possibly this month Sam wrote from Hartford to Isaac H. Bromley, who had originated the popular expression, “Punch, brothers! Punch with care!” To Sam’s consternation, the line was often attributed to him. He advised Bromley,
“The next time you write anything like that for God’s sake sign your name to it…” [MTLE 1: 27].
Sam wrote a story (“Punch Brothers! Punch with Care,” which later became “Literary Nightmare” ) based on the narrator, Mark Twain, seeing a catchy jingle in the morning newspaper. Like a virus, the jingle damaged Mark’s memory until it passed into the head of his friend the Reverend during a walk. The friend returns to Twain in a frantic state, his life upset by the jingle. Twain solves the problem by taking the Reverend to some university students, where the jingle-virus passes into their heads. See Feb. 1876.
Conductor, when you
receive a fare,
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare,
A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare,
A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare,
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
Punch brothers! Punch
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
January 1 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote a postcard to William Dean Howells, asking to write a few articles for the Atlantic in a “new & popular low-comedy vein”—and Sam wrote “SCOFULOUS HUMOR” inside of a box [MTLE 1: 28]. Sam’s postcard suggestion for “Scrofulous Humor” and a pasting of a newspaper clipping is revealed by the following ad, which is typical of many that ran for this product in the Hartford Courant (27 times in 1875) and other papers. Use of a standard advertising phrase with double meaning, using the old physiology definition of “humor.”
Webster’s on Scrofula: “A disorder of a tuberculosis nature”; Scrofulous: “pertaining to or affected with scrofula”; 2nd meaning (which both men undoubtedly were aware of): “morally tainted.”
Sam also had cards printed up, pink against a black background with a facsimile of his Mark Twain signature underneath “1876 A HAPPY NEW YEAR” next to a jumping frog sketch by Thomas Nast [MTLE 1: 29].
January 2 Sunday – In New York, Bret Harte wrote to Sam about the dramatization of Gabriel Conroy. John T. Raymond had not agreed to Harte’s terms for the play, and another actor had pocketed Harte’s first play without performing it:
I have been such a tremendous fool in disposing of my first play as I did—that I feel wary. To think that Stuart Robson has it in his pocket while he is quietly drawing a good salary from his manager for not playing it…is exasperating.
Try and make Bliss do something for me. You can if you choose make him think it is the proper and in the end the profitable thing—certainly it is no risk to him [Duckett 98].
Lilly Warner stopped in at the Clemens’ home and the next day (Jan. 3) wrote her husband, George:
Mr. Clemens is still miserable—wasn’t dressed yesterday [Jan.2] when I ran in at noon. I really think it might run into some serious trouble.” The next day, however, she reported he was “better & out again” [MTPO]. Note: Sam often stayed in bed to read and write and smoke. Perhaps his state of dress fooled Lilly.
January 4 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, thanking him for a copy of the Jumping Frog book sent after not hearing from Sam for awhile. “The more I think over your boy-book [The Adventures of Tom Sawyer] the more I like it.” Was it true that Sam was going to Europe in the spring? [MTHL 1: 118].
Moncure Conway wrote a postcard to ask Sam if he’d express Conway’s overshoes to Boston [MTP].
January 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Francis D. Clark, secretary for the Associated Pioneers of the Territorial Days of California, to decline an invitation to their first annual meeting and banquet. Sam was not well enough, he wrote, to come, and his illness had put “his work back to such a degree” that he’d have to stay home for some time to catch up [MTLE 1: 30]. Note: Sam suffered from dysentery as noted in his bad pun to Twichell, Dec. 29 or 30.
Sam also wrote another postcard to Moncure Conway in care of James T. Fields in Boston, answering his of Jan. 4 and agreeing to allow Conway to be his agent in England for publication of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by a company of Conway’s choice. The two had evidently discussed having the book published in England prior to Bliss publishing it in the U.S. Sam invited Conway back to Hartford before Conway sailed [MTLE 1: 31].
Sam also dictated a letter through an unidentified stenographer to William Wright (Dan De Quille), who wrote Sam on Nov. 21 to ask if he’d seen Bliss on the matter of Wright’s book, The Big Bonanza. Sam wrote about Bliss’ “slow ways” and advised Wright to keep on him about publication dates. True Williams was nearly finished with the Tom Sawyer drawings, and he’d told Sam that he was going to draw for Wright’s book next. Sam also wrote about Joe Goodman, Steve and Billy Gillis and advised Wright to retire to California “and be content to be comfortable.”
“If I had Joe Goodman’s money and his brains I don’t think I would fool away the one and rack the other running an evening paper—or any other kind. But I suppose it is hard to get over old habits” [MTLE 1: 32].
Moncure Conway wrote from Boston of his plans to be in Hartford for three lecture dates, Jan 18, 22 and 23, with possibly others in nearby cities like New Haven.
We will talk over the book when we meet in the intervals of b-ll-r-ds. By the way, we think b — ds a good Sunday pastime in London — especially holy (perhaps because our tables have holes) — but I suppose that at Farmington we should make the old Puritan gods turn over in their graves by the click of anything that did not give pain [MTPO].
January 9 Sunday – William Wright (Dan De Quille) wrote to Sam. In part:
Dear Mark.— I am utterly in the dark in regard to what is being done in Hartford. I wrote to Mr Bliss last Sunday and requested him to let me know how he is getting on. I sent him three prefaces, but don’t know that any one among them is worth a cent. However, he may be able to make one out of the three. I have also thought it might be well enough to have a dedication in it, so inclose one [MTP].
January 11 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss on an accounting of monies owed, including his debt of a loan to Charles Dudley Warner [MTLE 1: 34]. Note: See list of those who had received books from Sam in the notes online for this letter at MTPO. It includes the fourteen books he sent sister Pamela for the WCTU reading room in Fredonia.
Sam also wrote to Howells, responding to his Jan. 4 letter and saying he hadn’t forgot about him, but had been sick “four weeks on a stretch.” He wrote that he’d sent for a “short-hand writer & dictated answers to a bushel or so of letters that had been accumulating.” Sam had been working on an Atlantic article, which he planned to read to the Monday Evening Club at his house on Jan. 24.The article was “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut,” and Sam hoped it would generate much discussion at the club. Sam asked Howells and his wife to visit Saturday Jan. 22 and stay over for the Monday Evening Club. Sam also wrote that his Sketches book had sold 20,000 copies [MTLE 1: 35].
January 12 Wednesday – Moncure Conway wrote a postcard from Concord, Mass: “Thanks!! / I shall arrive in Hartford by train leaving New York at 10 a.m. on the 18th & come straight / M.D. Conway” [MTP].
January 13 Thursday – Miss C.C. Ranstead for the New York Infant Asylum wrote to ask Sam for a testimonial for Maria McLaughlin who had been a wet-nurse for one of the Clemens children. “She represents herself as a deserted wife and is here waiting for her confinement. / A paper of fine-cut tobacco was found in her pocket and a bottle of liquor in [word torn away]. The managers of this institution are ready to dismiss her, but I begged them to wait a little” [MTP]. Note See Mar. 16, 1875 entry for Twain’s humorous account of Maria.
January 16 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, sorry to hear he’d been sick. He declined an invitation from Sam for him and the wife to visit; Howells had company coming and was behind the eight ball on finishing “Private Theatricals,” a serialized article for the Atlantic. He added:
“I’m glad to hear that the Sketches have done so well. Get Bliss to hurry out Tom Sawyer. That boy is going to make a prodigious hit” [MTHL 1: 121].
January 17 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. He wanted a piece of William F. Gill’s hide this time, and told Osgood to pay the lawyers and go after him in court. Sam would go it alone if he had to, and wanted from Gill at least:
“$1,000—& a written confession from Gill that he is a liar and a thief—& a promise to take my article & name out of his book at once…Sue for $1,000 to $10,000 damages, & permanent injunction” [MTLE 1: 37].
In this letter Sam refers to a book that might prove as evidence of Gill’s transgression; he directs Osgood to “Keep the book you mention & don’t mislay it.” In MTP’s “Explanatory Notes” to this letter, the unspecified book, “if not a Copy of Burlesque, has not been identified.” For the record: Burlesque (1875), along with Travesty (1875) was reissued by Gill under the title Half-Hours with the Humorists; Or, Treasure-Trove. Both books available online at Google Books. See p. 177-84 for “An Encounter with an Interviewer” by Mark Twain.
Moncure Conway wrote a postcard from NY: “Unless there should be a bluff trip slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip I shall be with you tomorrow by the train leaving here at 10 a.m.” [MTP].
Sam’s check # 21 was made payable to Mrs. Fairbanks for ten dollars, as a donation for the bazaar for the city of Cleveland, Ohio [The Twainian, July-Aug. 1949 p1].
January 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, answering his Jan. 16 letter:
Thanks, & ever so many, for the good opinion on Tom Sawyer. Williams has made about 200 rattling pictures for it—some of them very dainty. Poor devil, what a genius he has, & how he does murder it with rum. He takes a book of mine, & without suggestion from anybody builds no end of pictures just from his reading of it.
Truman “True” Williams did the drawings for several of Sam’s books, and contributed 159 drawings for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [Powers, MT A Life 383]. Sam pointed out a line that got past the censorship of Livy and Howells: “and they comb me all to hell.” The word was changed to “thunder” [MTLE 1: 12].
Moncure Conway arrived in Hartford to pick up a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer manuscript to carry to England for publication there [Norton, Writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 30]. Conway had also received three lecture dates in Hartford and wanted to stay with the Clemenses, at least part of the time. He wrote Sam from Boston on Jan. 5 of the lecture dates and in anticipation of billiards at the Clemens home. From the recently added 1876 annotations on MTPO:
Sponsored by Hartford’s Unitarian Society, Conway lectured at Allyn Hall on “Demonology, or the Natural History of the Devil,” “Science and Religion in England,” and “Oriental Religions; Their Origin and Progress” on 18, 22, and 23 January, respectively, staying with the Clemenses while he was in Hartford. The book Clemens wanted Conway to offer to an English publisher was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the American edition of which was in production at the American Publishing Company in Hartford. For Conway’s own gloss of “Dissenters’ trouble,” see L6, 600–1. The famous diary that Samuel Pepys (1633–1703) began keeping in shorthand in 1659 was first deciphered and published in part in 1825 (Hartford Courant: “Amusements,” 17 Jan 76, 2; “The Devil: Mr. Conway’s Lecture on Demonology,” 19 Jan 76, 1, 4; “Mr. Conway’s Lectures,” 24 Jan 76, 1; L6, 585–86; Pepys 1825).
Sam’s article “Recollections of a Storm at Sea” ran in the Cleveland Bazaar Record [Camfield, Bibliog.; The Twainian, July-Aug. 1949 p1].
Sam’s letter of Jan. 5, declining to attend the 28th anniversary of the discovery of gold in California was read aloud. The Associated Pioneers met at the Sturtevant House in New York. John A. Sutter could not attend, but Joaquin Miller was the “honored guest” [Jan. 5 to Clark MTPO].
George F. Leavis for the Dartmouth College Smoker’s Club wrote to inform Clemens of his honorary membership and enclosed a journal (not in file) “devoted to the interests of smokers” [MTP].
January 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Jerome B. Stillson, former correspondent for the New York World, who had written from Denver, where he was now in the real estate business, asking Sam for an autograph. In 1877 Stillson would move back to New York and join the staff of the New York Herald, where he stayed until his death in 1880 [MTLE 1: 14].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam:
“There is one chance in a thousand that I may run down alone on Saturday afternoon; Mrs. Howells is quite out of the question, and I’d rather come some time soon when you haven’t your Club” [MTHL 1: 124]. Note: Howells did not visit on Jan. 22, as he was still hoping to come in his Jan. 27 letter.
January 20 Thursday – Clemens wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person:
I have examined the wonderful watch made by M. Matile, & indeed it comes nearer to being a human being than any piece of mechanism I ever saw before. In fact, it knows considerably more than the average voter. It knows the movements of the moon & keeps exact record of them; it tells the days of the week, the date of the month & month of the year, & will do this perpetually; it tells the hour of the day & the minute & the second, & even splits the seconds into fifths & marks the divisions by “stop” hands; having two stop hands, it can take accurate care of two race horses that start, not together, but one after the other; it is a repeater, wherein the voter is suggested again, & musically chimes the hour, the quarter, the half, the three-quarter, & also the minutes that have passed of an uncompleted quarter-hour—so that a blind man can tell the time of day by it to the exact minute.
Such is this extraordinary watch. It ciphers to admiration; I should think one could add another wheel & make it read & write; still another & make it talk; & I think one might take out several of the wheels that are already in it & it would still be a more intelligent citizen than some that help to govern the country. On the whole I think it is entitled to vote—that is if its sex is the right kind [MTP]. Note: this had been under 1877 with a ? This ran in the Middletown, Conn. Constitution for Jan. 31, 1877, which likely led the earlier surmise it was 1877.
January 21 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam.
Keokuk, January 21, 1876.
My Dear Brother:—
Are you willing to lend me five hundred dollars a year for two years, while I try to get into the practice of law?
P. S. I can succeed [MTPO].
January 22 Saturday – Sam’s article “A Literary Nightmare” ran in the Hartford Courant on page one:
Will the reader please to cast his eye over the following verses, and see if he can discover anything harmful in them? [Courant.com]. (See Jan? entry for verse)
January 24 Monday – Sam read his newly drafted story, “Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut” to the Monday Evening Club at his home. This was his third presentation to the club [Monday Evening Club] Twichell remembered the story as “serious in its intent though vastly funny and splendidly, brilliantly read.” The tale was a surreal and dark treatment that questioned the origin and function of the conscience. It appeared in the June 1876 Atlantic Monthly [Wilson 101]. Kaplan suggests that the story was a way for Sam “to express concern with multiplicity and remorse, with inner conflicts as well as conflicts with the community” . Note: readers can work up a sweat viewing this story anticipating Freudian terms of ego, superego, id, sin, guilt and liberation. (See entry for Mar. 13; also notes for this letter online at MTPO for a list of the current members of the Monday Evening Club.)
Sam also repeated his invitation for Howells to come for a short visit. This note does not survive [marktwainproject.com, notes for Jan. 18 to Howells].
Moncure Conway ended his stay in Hartford. He would sail to England on Mar. 11 taking the Tom Sawyer MS in search of an English publisher.
Moncure Conway wrote a postcard from NY to ask Sam to forward any letters for him to C.S. Annuel, Columbus, Ohio [MTP].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote from Louisville, Ky., “unable to raise the means to go to England…It may be that I shall have to abandon this Earldom” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From the Earl of Durham”
January 25 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, again about the legal matter of watching William Gill, who had made a habit of plagiarizing and exploiting authors. Sam’s intention was to sue Gill for trademark infringement for using the name “Mark Twain,” a rather novel legal strategy at that time. But Gill had removed Sam’s nom de plume from his book, leaving the article in, which thwarted Sam’s suit. Sam offered his opinion of lawyers:
The more I see of lawyers, the more I despise them. They seem to be natural, born, cowards, & on top of that they are God damned idiots. I suppose our law firm are above average; & yet it would be base flattery to say that their heads contain any thing more valuable than can be found in a new tripe [MTLE 1: 15]. Note: The MTP’s “Explanatory Notes” for this letter corrects Sam’s conclusion: “1 Ultimately Gill did not make good on his promise to remove Clemens’s pen name from Burlesque (see 17 Jan 76 to Osgood, n. 1, and L6, 511–12). The lawyer who had made the ineffectual compromise has not been identified.”
Charles Carroll Hubbard (1832-1898), Mayor of Middletown, Conn. wrote to Sam:
Dear Sir / I have taken the liberty to forward you by mail, a little book, not as a sample, nor for review exactly, but to do as you please with. I do, however, desire to say a word on business. I have spent several winters in Florida, and have seen the tourist and native elements in all their phases, and am confirmed in the opinion that the pen that produced the “Innocents Abroad” should write up Florida. It is the richest field now open to such a pen, and the harvest is ripe for the sickle,—or thereabouts.
What I would like to propose is, to be brief, that you take a tour down there this winter—3 or 4 weeks will do if you do not wish to stay longer—and write a book on Florida, and I should like to assist and take a certain share in the sale of the book. There is plenty of material and a large market, and the assistance I could give would be to furnish information of incidents and localities to be put into shape by you. You will very naturally think this proposition presumptuous, but I simply wish to say that I am willing to take the risk of the sale of the book for my remuneration, and have no doubt of a satisfactory adjustment of what that share should be. I can give you plenty of crude material. I would undertake the publishing of the book, or have it published by any house you choose.
I am not a literary man, as you see, but could be of assistance in the way indicated.
It is a good thing. Messrs. Burr Bros. of the Hartford Times, and especially Mr. Frank L. Burr, can tell you all about me.
Will you be kind enough to answer; and if you should entertain the subject I can come to Hartford at any time to see you farther about it. Would like to come anyway, but do not wish to bore you uselessly. If you wish to go to Florida, and are willing to go by water, and can go within say a fortnight (just in time for the heighth of the season) I could furnish you with a ticket from N.Y. to Palatka & return, free; but I have no doubt you could go by either route on the same terms, if you chose. An early answer will greatly oblige / Yours very truly / C.C. Hubbard / Middletown, Conn. [MTP]. Note: Alfred E. Burr and Frank L. Burr were co-owners and editors of the Hartford Courant. Clemens was in Florida twice: see Jan. 6, 1867 in Key West, and Mar. 15-18, 1902 (Vol. III). No reply by Clemens is extant. The few collaborations Sam engaged in did not go smoothly: the play Ah Sin with Bret Harte, and GA with Charles Dudley Warner.
January 26 Wednesday – M.M.B. wrote to Sam, clippings enclosed: “A friend sends me the inclosed slip-cut from ‘The Tennessean Observer,’ published at Fernandina, Florida. I thought you could appreciate it is an illustration that truth is stranger than fiction” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “ ‘Tenneseean’ Journalism”
January 27 Thursday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, still unable to come down for a quick visit on Saturday, but he was “getting the better” of his “literary misery.” Howells reported praise of Sam’s article in the Feb. Atlantic, “Literary Nightmare” :
The day the number came out, I dined at Ernest Longfellow’s [artist, son of the poet (1845-1921)], and before I got into the parlor, I heard him and Tom Appleton [(1812-1884) brother-in-law of Henry W. Longfellow] urging each other to punch with care. They said the Longfellow ladies all had it by heart, and last night at the Fieldses they told me that Boston was simply devastated by it [MTHL 1: 124-5].
A.R. Stover wrote to Sam asking for his conception of the character of Scotty in Buck Fanshaw’s Funeral—in writing [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From a Boston ass”. Twain usually resented such questions into his craft.
January 28 Friday – Sam wrote a post card from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who had been “captured” and confessed his love for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam was “delighted!” so much so that he felt healthy again, after being “in the doctor’s hands for 2 months…” [MTLE 1: 16].
Sam also wrote a short note to Miss Higgins (unknown). Sam added a PS:
“Will you kindly make my peace with Mr. J. Lawrence Kearny, & tell him I have truly repented & now take nothing but sack-cloth & ashes for dinner?” [MTLE 1: 17]. Note: James Lawrence Kearny, journalist and author (1846-1921). Sam “repented” from the “Punch, brothers! Punch” jingle quoted in his article “A Literary Nightmare,” in the Feb. 1876 Atlantic.
Sam also wrote a one-liner to an unidentified person: “I repent me in sack cloth & ashes?” [MTLE 1: 19].
Sam also wrote to William Wright (Dan De Quille), telling him to “keep his shirt on” about The Big Bonanza coming out. Dan had written Sam asking if he knew when the book would be out.
“Bliss never yet came within 4 months of getting a book out at the time he said he would. On the Innocents he overstepped his word & his contract 13 months—& I suffered questioning all that time” [MTLE 1: 18].
January 29 Saturday – Sam’s notes in Hyppolyte Taine’s The Ancient Regime (1876) state that he finished reading the book on this day [Slotta 32]. This was a major sourcebook for both P&P and CY (See also Sept. 10 entry).
A.R. Stover wrote to explain that “the information asked for in my last was for one about to read the piece before the public” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From that same Boston ass”. See Jan. 27.
January 31 Monday – Frank Fuller wrote from NYC to Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Ex-gov of Utah Territory”—a joke about Fuller being acting Governor for a day.
February – William Dean Howells published a review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in the Atlantic. Howells gave Sam high praise for the boy-mind presentation “with a fidelity to circumstance which loses no charm by being realistic in the highest degree.” Howells called The Adventures of Tom Sawyer a book “full of entertaining character, and of the greatest artistic sincerity.” The only thing off about the review was the unintended timing, caused by the long delay in the book’s publication. A nine-month gap between Howells’ review and U.S. publication allowed demand to grow that could only be satisfied by the purchase of Canadian knock-offs.
“Literary Nightmare” or “Punch, Brothers, Punch” ran in the February issue of the Atlantic [Camfield, bibliog.]. It also ran in the Hartford Courant on Jan. 22; see entry.
February 2 Wednesday – Sam inscribed a copy of Franz Ahn’s (1796-1865) Ahn’s First German Book (1873): “S.L. Clemens, Hartford, Feb. 2, ’76” [Gribben 13].
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Camden, N.J.
My Dear Samuel / “A blue trip slip for a six cent fare”—you see I have caught the infection. The last Atlantic brought it into our family and since then it has spread throughout the house.
Mollie and I are trying to get away from it, but the little demon follows us. We go up and down the streets of Philadelphia in the cars, ringing the changes on that persistent doggerel which will not let go its hold upon our brains.
We are going to New-York on Friday for a week or two.
Are you coming there during that time? I have n’t whispered it aloud, but I have had the thought that perhaps (if I was assured that you were all well and at home without company) we would slip off to Hartford for a day or a night. I am not sure until I reach New-York that I can carry out this little plot, but I had rather have the day in your house than the two weeks in New-York. Write to me if I should find you & Livy at home in case I found the little expedition practicable. Address me in care of “Charles M. Fairbanks—Office of The World—Park Row N.Y.” I shall be at the Brevoort some of the time, but am to make several visits from there.
I write this morning from Cousin Hattie (Mason) Pancoast’s where I have been spending the night.
We are just setting off for Philadelphia and I only stop now to send love and kisses to the household and to write myself as always
Your loving Mother Fairbanks
P. S. I must add that Mollie is rejoicing to-day in her first long black silk. She is going out to dine. Can you realize that she has come to the years of actual young ladyhood? In my eyes she is a very dainty little pattern [MTPO].
February 3 Thursday – Joe Twichell wrote from Hartford.
Dear Mark, / I have just refused to ask you to lecture or read in a case in which I would have hardly refused anything I could do but that. Mrs. G. F. Davis of Washington St, representing the Orphan Asylum now caught in a pecuniary crisis, is the party I turned away, not without regret and, I confess, considerable compunction. But I have sworn not to let my personal relations to you be utilized in that way. I had to do it in self defense, and in decency.
BUT, if this most excellent lady gets at you through any other channel, I advise you to grant her at least an audience. I almost wish I had excepted orphans when I made my vow.
There is no trick in this note i.e. I did not tell Mrs Davis I would write it.
I shall be vastly grieved to miss dear Howells’ visit if he is here over Monday. I am going out of town.
To Father Hawley’s funeral, now, with a sorrowful heart. How glad you must be, how very glad to think of the comfort you gave him. To-day it is worth to you ten thousand times more than all the trouble it cost.
Charles Reade wrote from London about combining in England to protect the rights of authors [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Chas. Reade the novelist”
February 4 Friday – Sam wrote to Cashier of the First National Bank, Hartford, asking for a New York draft of $1,500 payable to William Wright (Dan De Quille) and to charge his “Personal” account. The bank’s cashier at this time was Charles S. Gillette [MTPO]. (See Feb. 8 entry.)
February 7 Monday – William Wright (Dan De Quille) wrote to Sam, increasingly impatient with Bliss for taking his time publishing The Big Bonanza:
Make Bliss understand that the sooner that book is out the better for us all. I get more confounded letters about it than a few and lots from fellows that want to “work the thing,” you know. Regards to Mrs. Clemens and the Blisses. I hear from Joe almost every week. I am posting Mrs. G. a little on stocks. There is not likely to be any big rise before April. If it goes much beyond that there will be no big market till late next fall; you see the big grain crop will soon be calling for the money [MTPO].
February 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Wright (Dan De Quille), sending him $1,500 to invest in:
“California or Con. Virginia at such time as John Mackey thinks is best, & when he says sell, sell, whether at a loss or a profit, without waiting to swap knives” [California and Consolidated Virginia were Comstock silver mine stocks]
A. Hoffman writes that Sam anticipated Dan’s book being a success and advanced him this money . Sam told Dan to get good advice, and if John Mackey (Mackay) wouldn’t offer it, not to “buy on time, but only buy what you can pay cash down for.” Sam wrote he’d invested all the money he had “a month ago, in Illinois” (a Comstock silver mine.) He also hadn’t been able to catch Bliss at home in Dan’s behalf, but offered that the engravings were no doubt holding things up on Dan’s book [MTLE 1: 20]. Mackey was the silver baron of the Comstock Lode in Virginia City.
James R. Osgood wrote from Boston: “My dear Clemens / Certainly—you shall have the 20% discount. We shall render you a bill once a month but you can pay when you like. I have given such orders, and you may now fling your postals recklessly. / Songs of our Youth will go today” [MTP]. Note: Songs of our Youth, by Mrs. Dina Maria Craik (Muloch) (1826-1887); a collection of songs & poems. Gribben lists others by Craik inscribed to Livy as a girl.
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam: “I have chosen the 28th for our visit to West Point and written to Andy Hammond accordingly….What do you mean about one of Patrick’s children? Do you mean that it has scarlet fever?” [MTP].
Mary Mapes Dodge wrote to Sam from St. Nicholas editorial rooms, NYC.
My dear Mr Clemens— / It was a delight to see your name at the end of a letter in new handwriting the other day, for I very much wish an article from you for our magazine—a Mark Twain article—but I fear that this particular MS. can’t be made available for St. Nicholas—The idea is a good one, but the skeleton story you give, though just as full of fun as can be, & capital for grown-ups, is not one that I like to ask the children to fill out—The absurdity & humor of the thing would not be recognized by them—but they would set to work by hundreds to write a bloody & sensational novellette that would out-do the dime novels—They would spend days & days upon it, concentrating their young minds upon dreadful details of & feel that they were doing a great & serious work for St. Nicholas. As I know by experience, they would take the idea literally, quite overlooking the comico-burlesque undercurrent—and we should be really putting a premium upon the producing of just such stuff in the way of child-reading as we are straining every nerve to suppress & crowd out of existence—I write my idea plainly because I believe you’ll see its force and understand me—
BUT, we must have something from you! I look upon this kind offer as a sort of lien—Can’t you tell the boys of some supposed personal experience in the manly sports—yachting, boating, skating, ball playing, firing at a mark—pic-nic-ing—private theatricals & high tragedy—horsemanship—breaking a colt or anything that has fun in it? St Nicholas has girl and boy readers of from 8 yrs to 18—We try to give them good & refined reading & to put in all the fun we can—Should you send a paper for the young folk I need not say that we can carry out your ideas in regard to illustration—Wouldn’t there be good material in “A Boys Vacation,” supposed to be your personal experience in trying to enjoy to the utmost a month’s or a week’s holiday in the summer under difficulties? It could be anywhere from 1 page to five in length We could illustrate it with humorous pictures & put it in our August number. In that case the Mss should be at hand by middle of March or April—
You see I’m not willing to let you go, now that you have walked into my parlor—With thanks for your remembrance and “a lively sense of favors to come,” I am / Yours Truly Mary Mapes Dodge [MTPO].
Francis Wayland wrote to ask Sam “what Saturday Evening in March you would prefer for your lecture to our Kent Club?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Lt. Gov. Wayland”
February 9 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mollie Fairbanks, daughter of Mary Mason Fairbanks. Sam idealized girlhood, as his later treatment of “Angel Fish” would show. Mollie had just had her “coming out” to society party, and Sam reflected:
I wanted you to remain always just as you were when I saw you last, the dearest bud of maidenhood in all the land. I feel about it as we feel about our youngest child, “the Bay;” every time she discontinues a mispronounciation, & enters upon the correct form of pronouncing that word, never to retreat from it again, & never again to charm our ears with the music that was in the old lame sound of it, we feel that something that was precious has gone from us to return no more; a subtle, elusive, but nevertheless real sense of loss…Now you see, my Mollie is lost to me, my darling old pet & playfellow is gone, my little dainty maid has passed from under my caressing hands, & in her place they have put that stately & reserve-compelling creation, a Woman!
Sam asked what sorts of things Mollie was reading, and recommended “an old book by” Thomas Fuller, title forgotten, which Sam said contained what he called “pemmican sentences,” that is, sentences that boil “an elaborate thought down & compresses it in to a single crisp & meaty sentence,” something that Sam was adept at in his writing [MTLE 1: 21]. Note: Lamb’s essay “Specimens from the Writings of Fuller, the Church Historian,” originally published in the Reflector in 1811, extracts Thomas Fuller’s History of the Worthies of England, which appeared in 1662 [MTPO].
Moncure Conway wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens, /I have been for some days haunted by paragraphs in the papers saying that Mark Twain is about to take a blue trip ship—alas, what am I writing, that you mean to go to England, to “lecture in London in May and June,” etc. Is there real substance in this rumour?
—Have you not an influential acquaintance in Elmira, New York, who would find it convenient in passing the imposing and imposturing rooms of the Young Men’s Christian Association and find out whether they really do mean to defraud me out of the $25 which they owe me? The contract was to lecture for $125; it is not denied; but they said they had embarrassments, and being one to three I could not get out of them more than $100. They are now coming the dodge of not answering letters. If they do not pay I shall certainly sue them if only to publish their meanness.
Heartiness to Mrs Clemens & the young ones. / Ever yours / M D Conway
This will reach you on Sat., and if you will write then or next day to me, care of Rev. Jno F. Effinger St Paul, Minn, I shall get it. If you write on Monday or Tuesday address Care Rev Robt Collyer 500 La Salle Chicago [MTPO].
February 10 Thursday – Marvin Henry Bovee wrote to Sam, flyer enclosed, once again (see Bovee’s Apr. 7, 1875) appealing for a visit and contribution by Clemens to the cause of ending capital punishment. Sam wrote on the letter, “From that inextinguishable dead beat who has infested legislatures for 20 years trying to put an end to capital punishment” [MTP].
Eighteen year old Isabella Bowman wrote from Williamsport to Clemens, begging for $5 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “No Answer”
Mrs. Charles F. Deihm wrote to “Frank Clements” asking for a writing sample for her paper [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Not Answered”
February 13 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, calling his letter only a “Postscript” to the one he’d sent Mollie Fairbanks.
I’m always writing you in spirit—ain’t that enough? I write all my other letters by hand (& brain) of an amanuensis—but yours I think out myself though I do not set them down on paper. I have wholly lost the habit of letter-writing, & you know I never did have it in a largely developed way. My correspondence grew upon me to such an extent that it stopped all of my labor, nearly, & so was destructive to our bread & butter. I have been emancipated, for a good while, but I am soon to lose my private secretary, now, & don’t know what I shall do, for there are few people whom Livy will allow in the house [MTLE 1: 24].
Sam invited Mary and her daughter to visit in April or May, before the Clemens family made their “June exodus,” referring to their plans to reside in Elmira at Quarry Farm.
February 15 Tuesday – Edward Hastings for the National Soldier’s Home wrote from Elizabeth City, Va. to ask Sam for copies of his books. Sam complied, asking Bliss on Feb. 17 [MTP].
February 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss asking that copies of his four books plus, Everybody’s Friend, Life Amongst the Modocs (by Joaquin Miller), My Captivity Amongst the Sioux (by Fanny Kelly), Beyond the Mississippi (by Richardson), The Secret Service: The Field Dungeon, and the Escape (by Richardson) be sent to Edward Hastings, librarian at the National Soldier’s Home in Elizabeth City County, Virginia [MTLE 1: 25]. Gribben adds Albert Deane Richardson’s The Secret Service, the Field, the Dungeon, and the Escape .
Sam also wrote to Edward Hastings, confirming his gift of books being sent.
Twichell, who had been in Brooklyn attending a grand council of ministers who were pondering a final verdict on Henry Ward Beecher’s guilt, rushed home with Edwin Pond Parker (1836-1925) pastor of the Second Church of Christ, Hartford, upon hearing of the passing of Horace Bushnell. Bushnell had been pastor of the North Congregational church in Hartford for many years until 1859, when due to extended poor health he resigned his pastorate. Thereafter he held no appointed office, but was a prolific author and occasionally preached. Bushnell was instrumental in the installation of Twichell as pastor when the Asylum Hill Congregational Church was built [Andrews 41].
February 18 Friday – William A. Seaver wrote : “Fine Old Man:— / The March No. of the Drawer opens with your ‘Riley – Newspaper Correspondent.’ It tickled me awfully. / When are you coming to York?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Old Seaver of Harpers Weekly”
February 19 Saturday – Joe Twichell wrote : “Dear Mark, / Home last night at midnight. / Here is a letter from Kojima. The news concerning House (if it be news) concerns you or his friend. / as for Kojima…we shall have yet to consider…raising the means of keeping him here till he is through college. Love to Livy. I suppose I shall see you Sunday eve” [MTP]. Note: Noriyuji Kojima, along with Kakichi Mitsukuri, Japanese students brought to America by Edward “Ned” House and put under Twichell’s care [Courtney 182].
February 20 Sunday – Edward Hastings for the National Soldier’s Home wrote to thank Sam for books rec’d [MTP].
February 21 Monday – Charles W. Stayner wrote to Sam enclosing papers that announced his new lecture “American Humor,” in which he included “a biographical sketch” of Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “No Answer”
February 22 Tuesday – Moncure Conway wrote from Cincinnati, Ohio:
My dear Clemens, / Having just come from the great Fancy-Martha-Washington-Costume-Centennial ball at the Opera House, wherewith the Queen City is tonight doing homage to G. W. and the Eagle,—I sit down simply to put in an envelope the enclosed letter received by my wife from Chatto & Windus, & forwarded by her to me. If there be anything further that pressing time suggests shd be done before we meet (on March 9th a.m.) you had better write to me to care of W P Conway Esq Fredericksburg Virginia.
I shall leave Fredericksburg in time to give a lecture in Hartford on March 8. That night I shall have to pass with the Cornwalls, but next morning I propose, if you will allow me, to come to your house
I sail on the 11th
Remember me heartily to your wife. / Ever yours / M D Conway [MTPO].
February 23 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Marx Etting (1833-1890), accepting his invitation of Feb. 19 to attend the Congress of Authors at Independence Hall, Phila. on July 2. Sam wrote he would bring “a brief biographical Sketch of Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia” [MTLE 1: 26].
February 25 Friday – Sam’s uncle John Adams Quarles, once a prominent and well-to-do man of Monroe County, Missouri, died a poor man [The Twainian, March 1942 p5].
Mary Mapes Dodge wrote from NYC asking for a piece of writing [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Mrs. M.M. Dodge Editor St Nicholas”
February 26 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway, answering his Feb. 22 and confirming Conway’s visit for Mar. 9. Conway had finished a fall and winter lecture tour on “London,” [MTL 6: 600n1] and would leave for England on Mar. 11 to make a deal with a publisher for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam was “entirely recovered” from his bout with dysentery, though Susy had “a tilt with diphtheria.” Sam had also gone to bat for Conway on a lecture pay dispute with the Elmira YMCA [MTLE 1: 27].
February 28 Monday – George Barclay wrote from Edinburgh to inform Sam of the “precarious” nature of Dr. John Brown’s health. It was doubtful the good doctor could ever resume practice [MTP].
March – Harper’s Monthly printed “The First Century of the Republic,” by Edwin P. Whipple. This article described popular humorists like Artemus Ward, John Phoenix, and Mark Twain, who was said to be:
“the most widely popular of this class of humorists, is a man of wide experience, keen intellect, and literary culture. The serious portions of his writings indicate that he could win a reputation in literature even if he had not been blessed with a humorous faculty inexhaustible in resource” [Tenney 8].
March 3 Friday – Francis Wayland wrote to Sam to pin down which evening he would “bask in your smile”—either March 22nd or 29th [MTP].
March 4 Saturday – Mary Mapes Dodge wrote to Sam: “People who do promise are so very uncertain that I eagerly pin my faith upon a man who doesn’t promise. Don’t promise—but please do write me a midsummer story for the boys” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Mrs. M.E. Dodge, editor St Nicholas”
March 5 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, declining Livy’s invitation for a visit [MTHL 1: 126].
March 6 Monday – Sam went to the American Publishing Co. to see Elisha Bliss and check on De Quille’s The Big Bonanza, and no doubt on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer as well. Bliss showed Sam a lot of the pictures that were going into De Quille’s book and told him that the compositors were ready to go to work. Sam may have learned at this point that the book could not be published by summer [MTLE 1: 28].
Sam telegraphed Howells, okaying a visit accompanied by his son John Howells (1868-1959) [MTHL 1: 126n1].
March 7 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Wright (Dan De Quille), beating him up some for waiting Mackey’s advice while the “California” stock rose from 81 to 92 dollars a share. Sam insisted Dan telegraph him; that he liked “that sort of expense, for it saves money.”
Sam had been to see Elisha Bliss the day before. He noted seeing a lot of Dan’s sketches “floating around in the newspapers,” and complimented him on “not wasting words.” Sam ended with “Lovely spring weather here” [MTLE 1: 28].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, announcing his telegram received, and that he and his son expected to leave Boston at 3 o’clock Saturday, reaching Hartford at 7 [MTHL 1: 126]. Note: This source shows this note as Mar. 6 or 7; the MTP online listing shows it as Mar. 6 and 7, less likely for a two-line note.
March 10 Friday – T.J. Mackay wrote from Boston to Sam. He was a stranger asking where he might find more of Twain’s stories, having given a public reading of “The Beef Contract” [MTP].
March 11 Saturday – William Dean Howells and son John Howells arrived at the Clemenses for an overnight stay [MTHL 1: 127n1].
Moncure Conway sailed for England with Tom Sawyer MS in hand [Norton 31].
William A. Seaver wrote to Sam:
Fiend! / You probably remember Gilman: he was one of our dinner friends at the feed to the Bishops. His wife is one of the best men I know in New York—full of fun and feeling, —and anxious to do something for the country. My advice is that you conciliate her. She’s a power. Don’t make an ass of yourself by refusing. Mrs. Gen. Cullum, whos name is signed to the “circ.” Is a granddaughter of Alick Hamilton (You remember Alick? Sec. of Treas under Wash.) Hope you’ll come ‘cause then I can have a shot at you. / Truly yours, / Aristophanes Bird [MTP]. Note: General George Washington Cullum (1809-1892). He married the widow of General Hallock.
Edward Cenley wrote from Cincinnati to Sam, relating the Eschol Sellers controversy and wishing “to get at the facts in…the matter” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From an ass”. Again, this label was the one Sam often gave to those inquiring into the inside story of his works or characters. He clearly thought such inquiries were impudent and intrusive, no one’s business but his own.
March 12 Sunday – The Clemenses entertained William Dean Howells and son John. In a letter to his father, Howells described his son’s reaction to the Clemens’ home:
I took John with me, and as his mother had prepared his mind for the splendors of the Twain mansion, he came to everything with the most exalted fairy-palace expectations. He found some red soap in the bathroom. “Why, they’ve even got their soap painted!” says he; and the next morning [Mar. 12] when he found the black serving-man getting ready for breakfast, he came and woke me. “Better get up, papa. The slave is setting the table.” I suppose he thought Clemens could have that darkey’s head off whenever he liked. He was delightful through the whole visit [MTHL 1: 127n2].
March 13 Monday – Back home in Cambridge Howells wrote thanking Sam for the visit [MTHL 1: 127].
Sam, still in Hartford, sent Howells his surreal sketch, “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut.” The dark story of a dwarf-conscience reflected Sam’s fixation with conscience and guilt. Sam had read the sketch at the Monday Evening Club On Jan. 24 [Wilson 101]. Sam told Howells to “correct it mercilessly.” Howells published the piece in the June edition of the Atlantic Monthly [MTLE 1: 29; Powers, MT A Life 386-7].
March 15 Wednesday ca. – Around this time Sam began a “skeleton story”—a novelette he called A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage, which remained unpublished until the Atlantic re-discovered it and ran it in their July/Aug. issue of 2001!
March 16 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Richard McCloud, attorney and president of the Hartford Knights of St. Patrick. (See Mar. 17 entry, as well as notes on this letter at MTPO on the political machinations alluded to.)
George Vaughan (whom Clemens had called “a fraud”) wrote a postcard to “Arthur Clemens (Mark Twain)”:
Do not suppose I have forgotten you, or your past conduct toward me. It is being daily demonstrated that—not the ragged & the poor—but the rich & influential are the genuine rascals. You took advantage of a poor but honest man, & like a genuine coward dealt him a blow through a disreputable Journal, which absolutely refused to allow the assailed a chance to reply. I find you are not by any means considered a Gentleman even in Conn. & there is a glimmering of the ludicrous in the fact that you thought I was an ignorant man, easily scared. You are a liar a Coward & a rascal, & as such I will leave your conduct to its sure reward. / George Vaughan [MTL 6: 570n9]. Note: see Oct. 7, 11, 19, 25 of 1875 on Vaughan.
**Mrs. Jennie Cheever Wilmot wrote from Adrian, Mich, having “contemplated a drama” and wanting his opinion of the idea [MTP].
March 17 Friday – Sam’s letter of Mar. 16 to Richard McCloud was read aloud at the Hartford Knights of St. Patrick’s third annual banquet. It also ran Mar. 18 in the Hartford Courant and was in the New York Times on Mar. 19.
DEAR SIR: I am very sorry that I cannot be with the Knights of St. Patrick tomorrow evening. In this Centennial year we ought all to find a peculiar pleasure in doing honor to the memory of a man whose good name has endured through fourteen centuries. We ought to find pleasure in it for the reason that at this time we naturally have a fellow-feeling for such a man. He wrought a great work in his day. He found Ireland a prosperous republic, and looked about him to see if he might find some useful thing to turn his hand to. He observed that the President of that republic was in the habit of sheltering his great officials from deserved punishment, so he lifted up his staff and smote him, and he died. He found that the Secretary of War had been so unbecomingly economical as to have laid up $12,000 a year out of a salary of $8,000, and he killed him. He found that the Secretary of the Interior always prayed over every separate and distinct barrel of salt beef that was intended for the unconverted savage, and then kept that beef himself, so he killed him also. He found that the Secretary of the Navy knew more about handling suspicious claims than he did about handling a ship, and he at once made an end of him. He found that a very foul Private Secretary had been engineered through a sham trial, so he destroyed him. He discovered that the congress which pretended to prodigious virtue was very anxious to investigate an ambassador who had dishonored the country abroad, but was equally anxious to prevent the appointment of any spotless man to a similar post; that this Congress had no God but party, no system of morals but party policy; no vision but a bat’s vision, and no reason or excuse for existing anyhow. Therefore he massacred that Congress to the last man.
When he finished his great work he said, in his figuratively way, “Lo, I have destroyed all the reptiles in Ireland.”
St. Patrick had no politics; his sympathies lay with the right — that was politics enough. When he came across a reptile he forgot to inquire whether he was a Democrat or a Republican, but simply exalted his staff and “let him have it.” Honored be his name — I wish we had him here to trim us up for the Centennial. But that cannot be. His staff, which was the symbol of real, not sham, reform is idle. However, we still have with us the symbol of Truth — George Washington’s little hatchet — for I know they’ve buried it [MTLE 1: 30-31].
Sam also wrote to James Redpath wanting to give his “Roughing It” lecture in New York sometime in the next three weeks, pretty short notice for a New York talk. Sam preferred Chickering Hall. He did not mention Dr. John Brown by name, but the money from the lecture was meant for him, so that he might retire. Sam wrote he was to give the lecture “next Wednesday” (Mar.22) in New Haven [MTLE 1: 32].
March 18 Saturday – James B. Adams wrote from St. Marys, Wyo. to Sam asking for writerly advice—which publications are best to start with? [MTP].
March 18? Saturday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to James T. Fields regarding his upcoming Hartford lecture [MTPO].
March 19 Sunday – Susy Clemens’ fourth birthday. Sometime during this next year, Sam wrote in The Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay, by Trevelyan: “Susie’s aphorism (age 4) ‘How easy it is to break things.’ Her first remark in the morning sitting up in bed” [Slotta 35].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss. He was still unaware that Bliss had fallen significantly behind schedule on publishing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, due to the many other books he was putting out, including De Quille’s. Sam asked if it would rush Bliss to canvass sales in mid-April. He was concerned about whether or not to delay Howells’ Atlantic review, which ended up being published many months in advance of the book’s availability. The book did come out until year’s end, which played a large role in Sam’s ultimate decision to publish his own books [MTLE 1: 33]. Note: the delay also afforded Belford to push pirated editions into the U.S.
March 20 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles D. Scully, who wrote Sam a month earlier. Sam had misplaced the letter, more than once. He made a mock-apology for “turning that article upon an unoffending people” and thanked Scully for a reading-circle naming their society after him. Which article Sam meant isn’t clear, nor is the identity of Scully, beyond being the member or leader of some reading-circle of Mark Twain fans.
“It was not the kind of compliment which that article of mine usually produced—just the reverse. If I had taken all the tar & feathers that were offered me, I would be a rich man, now, & able to retire” [MTLE 1: 34].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells sent a postcard to Sam saying he had the proof of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but needed the title of the book in a hurry—he was writing a review [MTHL 1: 127].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam, letter from Buck to Barnum enclosed. “I shall send you a small package of queer letters this week.” He wrote of the circus goings-on and enclosed flyers [MTP].
James T. Fields wrote from Boston, Mass. to Sam.
My dear Clemens. / On Wednesday, I hear, the subscriber is to speak a lecture in your city. Your welcome missive is just here telling me I am to stop at your mansion of Hospitalities on that occasion. Thank you, sir. I will. My time to leave here is in the 10 A M. train that day, arriving in Hartford about ½ past one, & I will proceed to “Mark Twain’s House” at once. We read your Saint Patrick letter at our Breakfast table this morning, & we all agreed that no such hitting of nails on heads had been printed for a long time. / always yours, / James T. Fields [MTPO].
March 22 Wednesday – Sam gave the “Roughing It in the Silver Regions” lecture, and “brilliantly inaugurated” the 1876 season of Kent Club lectures at Yale University. Tickets were “entirely by invitation” and “the Law School lecture room” was “filled to its utmost capacity by a delighted audience” [New Haven Morning Journal and Courier Mar. 22 and 23 p2 “Entertainments”].
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 $63,360 [MTPO notes with Oct.16, 1876 to Perkins]. (See prior year’s assessment Mar. 30, 1875.)
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam, letter from Rev. Powers to Barnum enclosed. Barnum had lent the last bunch of queer letters to the pastor who would then forward them to Sam, as Powers wished to use them for an article for the press, withholding names, dates or locations [MTP].
March 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who had just left his home for a visit. Sam ended the letter saying he was to lecture three times in New York “for a benevolent object next week,” and hoped “to go to [Thomas] Nast with Charlie [Langdon]” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Maurice Weidenthal, secretary of the Davenport Club of Cleveland. Sam was complimented to accept a membership in the Club. Weidenthal became a leading Cleveland journalist. On May 8 Weidenthal wrote confirming Sam “was unanimously elected honorary member” [MTPO].
Moncure Conway telegraphed and also wrote a long letter about selling TS there, including this excerpt:
I have had two long sessions with the Routledges, father and son; found them very much opposed to publishing on 10 per cent commission, but finally willing to undertake it in a spirit that did not impress me as enthusiastic enough. I am disinclined to let them have Tom Sawyer. I read the MS of the book on shipboard and feel persuaded that it is the best thing you have done. With an earnest man to take hold of it I feel sure that there is money in it, if not millions. The cave scenes are written with the highest dramatic force. I don’t think it would be doing justice to call it a boy’s book, and think it had better be left [to] people to form their own conclusions whether it is for young or old. I have had several hours interview with Chatto (of the firm Chatto & Windus) and they are so anxious to get the book, so plainly determined to make it their leading card, that I have resolved that they are the men for our work. Routledge’s ten per cent on the book if sold for five shillings would leave us for each copy 2s7d; Chatto’s ditto leaves us 2s9d. Chatto offers proportionally more on the 2s6d edition. So it seems to me plain which should be selected. There are several other things which incline me to Chatto,—mainly, that I have freedom to examine all of his books & printers accounts. [MTPO].
March 25 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway, now his official agent for literary works in England. Sam had just received Conway’s telegram from England. Conway asked for electrotypes of the pictures True Williams made for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam replied they were delayed till the first of May and advised Conway “to at once get a CHEAP edition (without pictures) printed & bound & be ready to issue with that the moment I telegraph you our positive date of publication” [MTLE 1: 36].
March 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Wright (Dan De Quille). He gave Dan some advice on selling stock and his plans to lecture in New York:
….If you sell at a loss, jam the remnant into stocks again & sail on, O ship of State, sail on, sail on! You needn’t take the trouble to ask me, when you think it best to sell, but just bang away.
I go to New York an hour from now, to lecture 4 afternoons on my own hook & on my own risk & expense. Be gone a week. Can’t see Bliss till I get back, but have just written him to send you written authority & price of books [Walker 37].
Note: Sam’s note about lecturing four afternoons on his own hook would suggest that Redpath was not able to set up lectures on such short notice. Nevertheless, Sam’s Mar. 24 letter to Fairbanks stated he would lecture three times in New York. Sam did lecture from Mar. 28 to 31 on his “own hook,” and on short notice, and made little from the effort, or so Annie Fields wrote in her diary on Apr. 6 [MTPO notes with Mar. 16 to Redpath; New York Times Mar. 26, p7 “Amusements – Brief Mention”].
Mar. 27 NYC temperatures ranged from 35-42 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
March 28 Tuesday – In the afternoon, Sam gave the “Roughing It” lecture at Chickering Hall in New York, to raise money for Dr. John Brown of Scotland [MTPO notes with Mar. 16 to Redpath; New York Times Mar. 26, p7 “Amusements – Brief Mention”].
Heavy rains flooded parts of Hartford. (See Sam’s Apr. 5 & 6 letters to the Courant.) NYC temperatures ranged from 51-31 degrees F. with 0.35 inches of rain [NOAA.gov].
March 29 Wednesday – In the afternoon, Sam gave the “Roughing It” lecture at Chickering Hall in New York, to raise money for Dr. John Brown of Scotland [MTPO notes with Mar. 16 to Redpath; New York Times Mar. 26, p7 “Amusements – Brief Mention”].
NYC temperatures ranged from 52-35 degrees F. with 0.22 inches of rain [NOAA.gov].
March 30 Thursday – Sam gave a lecture titled, “Roughing It in the Land of the Big Bonanza” at the Academy of Music, in Brooklyn, New York [Brooklyn Eagle, Mar. 31, 1876, p3]. The newspaper stated the lecture was at 1:30 PM and the audience was small. Agent Redpath came out before Twain appeared and asked the audience to move closer to the better seats in the parquette.
Later that night, Sam spoke at the New York Press Club, probably giving the “Roughing It” lecture again [New York Times, Mar.31, 1876, p6 “New York Press Club Reception”].
NYC temperatures ranged from 33-39 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
March 31 Friday – In the afternoon, Sam gave the “Roughing It” lecture at Chickering Hall in New York, to raise money for Dr. John Brown of Scotland [MTPO notes with Mar. 16 to Redpath; New York Times Mar. 26, p7 “Amusements – Brief Mention”].
NYC temperatures ranged from 46-33 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
April – Matthew Freke Turner wrote “Artemus Ward and the Humourists of America,” for New Quarterly Magazine. Turner didn’t care much for Sam, thought he and Harte deserved public criticism; that Sam’s was a “low humor, ridiculing sacred things, forced, long-winded, tedious in his parodies,” [Tenney 7].
Robert Underwood Johnson (1853-1937) wrote a tongue-in-cheek review of Mark Twain’s Adhesive Scrap-Book for the April issue of Scribner’s Monthly [Tenney 8].
April 2 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote a short note to Sam, sending a song (now unidentified) from Francis Boott (1813-1904), written “in a key suitable for your voice” [MTHL 1: 128]. Note: Boott composed at times under the pseudonym “Telford.”
April 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells about his proposed Atlantic review of Tom Sawyer:
“It is a splendid notice, & will embolden weak-kneed journalistic admirers to speak out, & will modify or shut up the unfriendly. To ‘fear God & dread the Sunday school’ exactly describes that old feeling which I use to have but I couldn’t have formulated it.”
Sam praised the illustrations for the book, “considerably above the American average,” he wrote. He closed by saying that Livy had returned from New York with “dreadful sore throat, & bones racked with rheumatism. She keeps her bed” [MTLE 1: 38].
Note: MTHL 1: 128n2 claims Sam enclosed a note of thanks to Francis Boott for the song (see Apr. 2 entry) in his Apr. 3 letter to Howells, also Apr. 15 from Boott.
April 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person, answering that he did not know Charles Webb’s date of birth [MTLE 1: 39].
April 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote to the editor of the Hartford Courant about heavy rains and a bad road, which had “disappeared.” The letter ran the next day.
A shocking state of affairs exists in that part of our beautiful city where Niles street used to be. This street is now no more. For some weeks past it has been gradually sinking. Here & there large openings appeared. Gutter stones disappeared, hitching posts unearthed floated in the mire. About a week ago the road became impassable, & since that time the residents not being able to get fresh meat & groceries, have subsisted on codfish, ham, & such salt victuals as they might have had on hand. Some are now out of the necessities of life, & unless a way is found to reach them soon, dreadful results are to be feared. During the great rain on Tuesday matters grew much worse, & Tuesday night the street disappeared entirely. Nothing now remains but a broad muddy canal. It is feared that the houses will soon begin to crumble & fall in also. Many accidents are said to have occurred. On Saturday last a charcoal man attempted to go to No. 31. When within a few rods of his destination he disappeared, horse, wagon & all. His basket floated ashore near Gillette street. On Sunday morning a newsboy attempted to cross the street near the school house, the ground gave way & he would have been lost had it not been for a hitching post floating close by. On Monday the orange man was lost; horse & wagon disappeared entirely. Fragments of wagon, baskets, barrels, &c., indicate that many more accidents may have occurred. The scene of horror may be reached from Gillette or Sigourney streets.
I am yours very truly, A Resident out of Coal.
April 6 Thursday – Annie A. Fields (Mrs. James T. Fields; 1834-1915) wrote in her diary of a visit by her and her husband to Hartford and of Sam:
He was very interesting and told James the whole story of his life….He described the hunger of his childhood for books, how the Fortunes of Nigel [by Sir Walter Scott] was one of the first stories which came to him while he was learning to be a pilot on a Mississippi boat. He hid himself with it behind a barrel, where he was found by the Master, who read him a lecture upon the ruinous effects of reading [Gribben 615].
Sam wrote a 2nd letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant about Niles Street sinking. It ran on Apr. 7.
April 7 Friday – Sam’s second letter to the Courant editor:
Your Niles street correspondent of yesterday gave you but a part of our calamities. The losses of life & limb & of property, by the sinking of Niles street, & the subsequent drownings in the canal that has taken its place, in whose now placid waters school children sail back & forth with plumb & line, trying in vain to sound its depths, are only equal to the destruction of human life that is going on there from another source. On the north side of the street, in a lot donated by a deceased friend to one of our religious societies, is a lake, beautiful to behold—to the passer by—but its waters—why the Dead sea is nothing to it. A horse stable on one side of it furnishes a part of the material that goes to make up the death-dealing odors that exhale from it, & that with a liberality characteristic of all religious institutions, are distributed gratuitously to the nostrils of those that live near by. Moreover, the water itself is also generously furnished to the nearest neighbors, being supplied to them in their very cellars, where morning, noon & night they can enjoy the luxury of a foot-bath as they go to & return from their furnaces, or go after coal. You will not be surprised then to learn that for every death occasioned, as you were told, by the collapse of the street, another has occurred from excessive indulgence either in the bath or in exhaling the vapors from the lake, nor that the physicians in this part of the town, worn out with constant labors to keep alive the few that remain in the street, are now collapsing themselves. One of two things is therefore inevitable—either we must have less of the lake or a new supply of physicians. And will you, as our strength is failing & we cannot go out to hunt them up, say this to the health commissioners. / A Sufferer.
“Laugh” wrote from Branford, Conn. to praise Mark Twain books but to ask “why have you given up the Lecturing Field. You have never I think given Canadians a chance to see & hear you” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Anonymous”
April 8 Saturday – Sam received a letter from Moncure Conway, which asked if Sam preferred to invest funds and take a percentage of the profits from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer or go with a normal royalty payment. Clemens answered with a telegram and followed with a letter the next day [MTLE 1: 40].
April 9 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway answering Conway’s letter. Conway had negotiated with Chatto & Windus, the firm taken over by Andrew Chatto after John Camden Hotten’s death in 1873. W.E. Windus was a poet and a junior partner [Rasmussen 67]. Sam sought Livy’s advice and gave her answer to Conway:
“Take the royalty; it simplifies everything; removes all risk; requires no outlay of capital; makes the labor easy for Mr. Conway; a gain of 25 per cent profit is hardly worth the trouble & risk of publishing on your own account” [Sam, quoting Livy].
Sam was beginning to understand the delays that his book would suffer, but was still optimistic that it might be out four weeks after Howells’ Atlantic review one week hence. He talked up the review and also agreed to giving Conway a five per cent commission on sales.
“We all shake hands with you-all across the briny” [MTLE 1: 40-1].
April 11 Tuesday – Frank Bliss wrote to Sam, with statement showing $1,196.96 “paid to your credit”
Dr Clemens / I enclose statement of copyright to 1st Apl—if all correct will hand you ch for same when you come in send it to you if you prefer—
Father says that he had an estimate all ready for the electros of “Tom Sawyer”, but as you changed the size it involves making a new estimate all through, & he is fearful that reducing the size so much, of many of the cuts, will interfere with their printing nicely, he is making inquiries about it however & will report the result in about two days / Yrs Truly / F E Bliss [MTPO].
Moncure Conway wrote again to Sam about the publishing of TS in England.
Dear Clemens, / I take it that my letter made that clear which my telegram did not—namely that we needed the pictures only & not letter press; and so am living in the hope that the plates of the pictures will have started about last Friday or Sat. & be here by the 20th. We all consider here that the cheap edition coming first would ruin the costly one, & the latter must come out first. But as the pictures cannot (unless you came to a different conclusion from your letter of 25th March) reach us before the 20th, we cannot get the book out here in time for you to publish it May 1st. So please delay, and I will telegraph you a date thus: “sixth” or “seventh” &c which will mean the date in May of publication here. You shd issue at least 24 hours later (a difference for which there may be technical reasons[).]
With warm remembrances to Mrs Clemens & no time to say more / Ever yours / M D Conway
Nothing could be gained by using your type plates over here [MTPO].
April 12 Wednesday – Sam wrote a postcard from Hartford to Bliss. He’d received Bliss’ statement but not the check. Sam also wanted the price estimates on the “Full set, of full plates, full size” for those cuts that would go “into that English size without cutting. Please hurry it up” [MTLE 1: 42].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam asking what he should change on an enclosure (not in file) [MTP].
April 14 Friday – O.C. Greene wrote from Duluth, Minn. to relate a story found in the diary of a late friend in 1864—an old pepperbox and the head of a buffalo strung dangling from an old tree somewhere 10 miles west of the South Platte. Greene felt this did “justice to the aspersed reputation of Mr. Bemis” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Old ‘pepper-box’ and “Man claims to have found it among Buffalo bones.” The old pepperbox was a revolver; one was fired in the courtroom of John Marshall Clemens forcing him to gavel on the head of the chief offender.
April 15 Saturday – Ainsworth R. Spofford confirmed copyright for Mark Twain’s Sketches New & Old entered July 21, 1875.
Francis Boott wrote from Cambridge, Mass apologizing for not sooner answering Sam’s note of Apr. 3, which reached him through Howells. “I was glad to learn that the little trifle I sent had given pleasure…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Boott Composer”
April 16 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway. Evidently Bliss had given it to Sam straight about progress on the pictures, for Sam told Conway:
Just as I feared, Tom Sawyer is not yet ready to issue. Would not be ready for 2 weeks or longer, yet. Therefore the spring trade is lost beyond redemption. Consequently I have told Bliss to issue in the autumn & make a Boy’s Holiday Book of it.
Sam furnished the prices for the full set of plates at $2 per page, a total of about $600. Sam advised Conway to get the May Atlantic when it hit London; that he might be able to use Howells’ review of the book in his marketing [MTLE 1: 43].
William Wright (Dan De Quille) wrote to Sam about advising Bliss that he’d sent “a picture of Old Comstock” and others to Clemens. He added other details about his book in progress, and also told of “Joe” arriving there on May 5. “They say he is worth at least $1,000,000. It seems he lost nothing in stocks. Mr. Coker, our book-keeper came up from San Francisco today…and he says Joe is ‘rich, very rich’ ” [MTP].
April 17 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to John L. RoBards, now an attorney in Hannibal, responding to an old offer to move the coffins of his brother Henry and his father, John Marshall Clemens, from the Old Baptist Cemetery, a mile and a half from Hannibal, to the newer Mount Olivet Cemetery, southwest of town, which RoBards had founded. Sam sent RoBards $100 for the service:
If Henry & my father feel as I would feel under their circumstances, they want no prominent or expensive lot, or luxurious entertainment in the new cemetery. As for the monument—well, if you remember my father, you are aware that he would rise up & demolish it the first night. He was a modest man & would not be able to sleep under a monument.
RoBards was one of the Marion Rangers, the Confederate rag-tags that marched around the Hannibal countryside when the Civil War began. In his letter, Sam expressed a desire to get back to Hannibal and even to give a lecture there for the benefit of the cemetery [MTLE 1: 44].
Sam also sent a note asking Bliss to forward the copyright requirement of sending two copies to the Library of Congress, Ainsworth R. Spofford librarian to secure the copyright [MTLE 1: 45].
Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, telegraphed to answer Sam: “No the first publication in England is essential to Copyright there but previous entry here will secure you in the United States” [MTPO].
April 18 Tuesday – The Hartford Courant announced:
The “Loan of a Lover,” one of the plays to be performed by amateurs at Dramatic Hall on the 25th inst., has been in part rewritten by Mr. Clemens, who takes the character of Peter. The quaint simplicity of the honest Dutch farmer is well preserved, and at the same time the character is enlarged and enriched by unconscious witticisms; a great deal of humor is introduced in Mr. Clemens’s own style. The actors are all musical, and the songs which intersperse the play, are a strikingly interesting feature. [Note: Loan of a Lover was an old melodrama first performed as early as 1847].
Moncure Conway wrote a postcard to Sam; “Just recd. yr. telegram announcing delay on yr. side until Fall. All right. We shall come out here just so soon as we can get hold of the electroes of pictures which we are anxiously expecting…Shall notify you when pictures arrive—Everybody here frantic with curiosity, and threatening a mob if there be any delay.—Conway” [MTP].
Adam Miller & Co. Toronto, wrote to Sam, mentioning his letter of Feb. 5 (not extant) and offering to distribute his books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Answered NO”
April 19 Wednesday – Lemuel H. Wilson wrote to Sam, thanking him again for the picture rec’d a year before and enclosing sample “articles” which he’d just acquired the patent on [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Lot of toilet articles named for me!”
April 22 Saturday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Howells.
“You’ll see per enclosed slip that I appear for the first time on the stage [in a play] next Wednesday. You & Mrs. H. come down & you shall skip in free” [MTLE 1: 46]. Note: the play, The Loan of a Lover, on Wednesday, 26 April, and Thursday, 27 April.
From Lilly Warner’s diary:
“Susy Clemens was taken with diptheria, this morning—but does not seem very sick…she has had several touches of it” [Salsbury 53].
April 24 Monday – Sam wrote to Orion and Mollie Clemens, sending a check for three months.
“Livy is only about customarily well—that is to say, in rather indifferent strength. As I don’t enjoy letter writing there being such an awful lot of it to do, I will try to make up with a photograph” [MTPO].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person who had sent him and Livy wedding invitations.
“I wish to be cordially remembered to your father & mother, whom I knew a good while before you were born—a fact which reminds me that I am not as young as I am in the habit of imagining myself to be” [MTLE 1: 47].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote a short note to Sam, letter to H.O. Houghton from Frank Moore Apr. 21 enclosed. Moore, editor of Record of the Year, a short-lived New York publication by G.W. Carleton & Co., had wished to print one of Sam’s Atlantic articles [MTHL 1: 131].
James T. Fields wrote a brief note: “Dear C. / Wouldn’t I like to, but I cant do it. Lecture engagements here choke up Wedy. & Thursday” [MTPO]. Note: source notes reveal this was reply: “Clemens had sent two invitations (both unrecovered) to Annie and James T. Fields to attend either of the performances of The Loan of a Lover, on Wednesday, 26 April, or Thursday, 27 April. The first probably was a telegram on Monday, 24 April, which Fields answered with a postcard not mailed until 25 April.”
John L. RoBards wrote from Hannibal Mo.
Friend Clemens, / I drop you a brief note to say, that, “Mark twain,” has a heart, as well as a head, & to add that I am just in receipt of yours of the 17th inst inclosing to me a check on the Nat’l Butcher & Drover Bank for One Hundred dollars to be applied touching your Fathers & Brother’s graves. The matter shall receive prompt & kind attention and when consumated I will write you again in detail with statement of expenditure— In the meanwhile accept my hearty good wishes / very Truly Yours— / J. L RoBards [MTPO].
April 24? Monday – Sam wrote to Mrs. Sidney J. Cowen, president of the Union for Home Work, declining to continue acting in the play beyond two performances, even for charity [MTPO].
On or about this day Sam also wrote to Mary B. (Mollie) Shoot (Florence Wood). Only a fragment of the letter survives. This from MTPO notes for the letter:
“Mary B. (Mollie) Shoot (1863?–1954), who had a long career as a character actress under the stage name Florence Wood, ‘made her debut in the Augustine [sic] Daly Stock Company. She came to the troupe with a letter of introduction from Mark Twain, a neighbor and friend of her family in Hannibal, Mo., where she was born’ (‘Mrs. Felix Morris, A Former Actress,’ New York Times, 19 Apr 1954, 23; see also Inds, 347–48).”
April 25 Tuesday – From the Hartford Courant, page two:
Mark Twain’s new book, “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” is ready to issue, but the publication has been put off for the present in order that copyright may be secured in England by simultaneous publication there and here. The English edition has suffered unavoidable delay. [Note: On Apr. 27 the Boston Globe ran the identical article, without credit to the Courant (“Table Gossip,” p3)].
James T. Fields wrote from Boston, a note to “Dear Peter” that he would be coming down [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Fields—coming down to see my debut as Peter Spyk n the ‘Loan of a Lover.’ ”
Edward Hastings for the National Soldier’s Home, Elizabeth, Va. wrote “The frank cordiality and sincerity of your letter to me, dated February 17, assures me that you will not deem me presumptuous in asking you to gratify the eager expectations of our men to read your new book ‘Tom Sawyer’ ” [MTP].
April 26 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George Bentley, London publisher of the Temple Bar, who had asked for sketches when Sam met him with Joaquin Miller. Sam sent a sketch, “Carnival of Crime” that missed the deadline for the May issue of the Atlantic [MTLE 1: 48].
Sam also wrote to Howells, thanking him for “the place of honor” in the May’s Atlantic review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam confessed that he’d learned the electrotypes would not be done for a month, and, worse, that no canvassing had been done:
“Because a subscription harvest is before publication, (not after, when people have discovered how bad one’s book is).”
Sam asked Howells’ forgiveness if he’d done the Atlantic wrong but it was “the best laid schemes of mice & men, &c.” Sam and Livy planned on traveling to Boston to see Anna Dickinson debut there May 8.
Also, Howells appeared to be the middleman for the use of Sam’s “Literary Nightmare” in one of Carleton’s magazines. Sam’s response showed he was consistent in his dislike for those who had abused him:
As to that “Literary Nightmare” proposition, I’m obliged to withhold consent, for what seems a good reason—to-wit: a single page of horse-car poetry is all that the average reader can stand, without nausea; now, to stake together all of it that has been written, & then add to it my article would be to enrage & disgust each & every reader & win the deathless enmity of the lot.
Even if that reason were insufficient, there would still be a sufficient reason left, in the fact that Mr. Carleton seems to be the publisher of the magazine in which it is proposed to publish this horse-car matter. Carleton insulted me in Feb, 1867; & so when the day arrives that sees me doing him a civility, I shall feel that I am ready for Paradise, since my list of possible & impossible forgivenesses will then be complete [MTHL 1: 131-3].
Sam played his first part in a play at Dramatic Hall, Hartford, in the role of Peter Spuyk (Spyk) in James Robinson Planche’s play, Loan of a Lover. Miss Helen Smith played the part of Gertrude. [MTL 6: 10n1; MTB 570].
Sam’s letters from this period claim he “rewrote” the part. William Webster Ellsworth (1855-1936), whose future wife was Miss Smith, was in the audience and wrote this about Sam’s extemporaneous lines:
…our star [Sam Clemens] developed, early in the performance, a propensity to go on with his talk after the other person’s cue came. He would put in lines, which, while very funny to those on the other side of the footlights, were decidedly embarrassing to his fellow actors. At one point I remember he began to tell the audience about the tin roof which he had just put on an ell of his new house and rambled on for a while, ending up that particular gag by asking Gertrude [the future wife], very much to her embarrassment, if she had ever put a tin roof on her house [Ellsworth 223].
The Hartford Courant for Apr. 27, page 2 under “Amateur Theatricals” reviewed the play favorably:
It may safely be said that there has never been given in Hartford a more thoroughly satisfactory amateur entertainment than that last evening at the Dramatic hall. It was in every way a success… The whole entertainment was heartily enjoyed throughout. The audience was as large as the hall could hold, and was select and enthusiastically appreciative.
A hack was used this day from E.C. Wheaton, livery. Bill of $3 dated Sept. 1, paid Sept. 12 [MTP].
Edmund Routledge wrote from London: “A Canadian Publisher is offering for sale in this country stereo. plates of a new book by you of 160 pages post 8vo size, wh. seems to be your papers on Pilot Life…that appeared in the Atlantic Monthly. My firm has declined to republish them through the Canadian publisher, and will be glad to hear from you if such publication is authorized by you…if it is, whether or not you will treat with George Routledge and Sons for their republication” [MTP].
Samuel A. Bowen wrote from St. Louis: “Frend [sic] Sam / I wrote you one letter since I saw you in St. Louis. And asked you for twenty doll $20. which you sent to Wm. and I caught the Dickens from him for asking you for money. … Now I want and if you can send me $15 or $20 and can pay you in May about the 12th…Do Not Send to the Care of William” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Keep this precious letter from a precious liar”
April 27 Thursday – The play of Apr. 26 was repeated. James T. Fields and wife came from Boston to see Sam play the slow Dutchman, Peter Spuyk in Loan of a Lover [Clemens to Howells, Apr. 26]. The Fieldses went straight from the train station to the theater. From Annie A. Fields’ diary:
It was a pretty play, and the girl’s part, Gertrude, was well done by Miss Helen Smith; but Mr. Clemens’s part was a creation. I see no reason why, if he chose to adopt the profession of actor, he should not be as successful as [Joseph] Jefferson in whatever he might conclude to undertake. It is really amazing to see what a man of genius can do besides what is usually considered his legitimate sphere [Salsbury 50].
After the play the Fieldses, Sam and William J. Hamersley (1838-1920) went to the Hartford Club for a late supper. The Fieldses stayed at the Clemens’ home from Apr. 27 to 29. It was after midnight when they arrived. Livy was waiting up for them. More from Mrs. Fields:
He believed his wife would have retired, as she is very delicate in health; but there she was, expecting us, with a pretty supper-table laid. When her husband discovered this, he fell down on his knees in mock desire for forgiveness. His mind was so full of the play, and with the poor figure he felt he had made in it, that he had entirely forgotten all her directions and injunctions. She is very small, sweet-looking, simple finished creature, charming in her ways and evidently deeply beloved by him….
Although we had already eaten supper, the gentlemen took a glass of lager beer to keep Mrs. Clemens company while she ate a bit of bread after her long anxiety and waiting [Salsbury 50].
Moncure Conway wrote from London to relate reading the fence whitewashing scene in TS to an enthusiastic crowd. “They laughed till eyes streamed—floors were pounded—and such a gust of cheers was raised to fill the sails (& I hope sales) of that book…” He added a P.S. that “Chatto was charmed and says no book could have a better send-off, he is getting it out as quick as may be” [MTP].
H.B. Langdon wrote from Hartford, objecting to Sam using the word “damned” in the play The Loan of a Lover, which was to be repeated tonight [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply Apr. 28
April 28 Friday – The Fieldses, guests at the Clemens’ home, spent most of the day with Sam and Livy. Susy was ill again, with a touch of diphtheria. From Annie Fields’ diary:
Their two beautiful baby girls came to pass an hour with us after breakfast—exquisite, affectionate children, the very fountain of joy to their interesting parents.
When I did get to the drawing room, however, I found Mr. Clemens alone. He greeted me apparently as cheerfully as ever, and it was not until some moments had passed that he told me they had a very sick child upstairs. From that instant I saw, especially after his wife came in, that they could think of nothing else. They were half-distracted with anxiety. Their messenger could not find the doctor, which made matters worse. However, the little girl did not really seem very sick, so I could not help thinking they were unnecessarily excited. The effect on them, however, was just as bad as if the child were really very ill.
The messenger was hardly dispatched the second time before Jamie [James Fields] and Mrs. Clemens began to talk of our getting away in the next train, whereat he (Mr. C.) said to his wife, “Why didn’t you tell me of that?” etc., etc. …He was always bringing blood to his wife’s face by his bad behavior, and here this morning had said such things about that carriage! [Salsbury 51-3].
Sam wrote from Hartford to William B. Franklin (1823-1903), enclosing a letter from H.B. Langdon (no relation to his wife’s family) objecting to Sam’s use of the word “damned” in the play, The Loan of a Lover. Franklin, a Civil War general in the Union Army, had since been general manager of the Colt Firearms Manufacturing Company and vice president of a Hartford insurance company.
Dear General: —They say that this pilgrim (who is a stranger to me,) works for you in your insurance Company. Do you know him? Is he in earnest?—or is he merely ill-bred enough to venture upon facetious impertinences with people who have not the humiliation of his acquaintance, under the delusion that he is conveying a gratification? This mess of pious “rot” was handed to Dr. Wainwright early yesterday evening with the earnest request that I should read it before going on the stage—a request which I didn’t comply with, I being too wise for that [MTLE 1: 51]. Note: Dr. W.A.M. Wainwright.
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, thanking him for pictures sent. “Never mind about Tom Sawyer,” Howells said, referring to Sam’s upset about the review long preceding the issuance of the book. “I rather like the fun of the thing; besides I know I shall do you an injury some day, and I want a grievance to square accounts with” [MTHL 1: 134].
April 29 Saturday – The Fieldses ended their visit with the Clemens family. Sam wrote in the morning from Hartford to Isaac White, a Hartford photographer and sculptor, about ordering photographs that White had taken of the Clemens family (two survive). Sam was waiting for “relatives” to leave Tuesday [MTLE 1: 53; MTPO & notes].
Charles Casey for The Mark Twain Club wrote from Carlow, Ireland.
My Dear Sir / Subscribed you have resumé (necessarily “cut down”) of the Meeting called to receive your letter of 17th inst / Comment by me is unnecessary— / By you—is a favour to be desired / faithfully yours / Charles Casey [MTPO].
May – “Mark Twain and the Cats” ran in the May issue of the women’s magazine, The Globe. A New Musical Journal, Vol. V. No. 5, New York: Charles A. Atkinson & Co. p. 101-24. The article included an engraving of Sam and one of three cats [eBay June 6, 2009, # 200347763614].
Howells’ review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer appeared in the May edition of the Atlantic Monthly [MTLE 1: 43]. Sam wrote a glowing “Introductory” for Dan De Quille’s The Big Bonanza [Berkove 14].
Sometime this month in Hartford Clemens inscribed his photo to Alice E. Kingsbury. “See vague portrait of the father in right hand corner. I was behind the curtain holding the Children’s heads & not purposing to be a part of the group” [MTP].
May 1 Monday – The Hartford Courant ran this notice on page two:
Mr. Isaac White
made some fine portraits of Mark Twain last week, cabinet size, which he has for sale at his place of business, 15 Pratt street.
Note: “Cabinet”—“a popular sized professional portrait, with mount measuring 6⅝ in. by 4¼ in. Copies of two of White’s portraits of Clemens survive, with the sealskin coat he purchased in Buffalo in Sept. 1871.
May 2 Tuesday – Augustin Daly wrote from NYC: “Why don’t you come down here & play ‘Peter Spyk’ some Saturday night for one of my ‘Benefit’ occasions. / Would you— Will you—?—” [MTPO].
Moncure Conway wrote a postcard from Boston to Clemens about the release of TS.
April 18.— Just recd yr telegram announcing delay on yr side until Fall. All right. We shall come out here just so soon as we can get hold of the electroes of pictures which we are anxiously expecting. They wd naturally have been sent after my first long letter to you.— I am consulting people that know to find if any way is discoverable for protecting that other thing (Sellers), & shall let you know.— I am reading yr proof with care.— Good argument drawn up in black and white adapted to all prospects & contingencies. We shall do our best.— Shall notify you when pictures arrive.— Everybody here frantic with curiosity, and threatening a mob if there be any delay.— Conway [MTPO].
May 4 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam replied to the May 2 from Augustin Daly, playwright and theatre promoter. Daly had invited Sam to play Peter Spyk in a New York production. Sam answered that he was modest enough to serve a decent apprenticeship before trying Broadway. By changing the language and the character of Peter Spyk, Sam felt that he’d succeeded in the role but knew he wasn’t ready to put his reputation on the line in one of Daly’s productions [MTLE 1: 54].
Sam also wrote to Howells that Susy’s recent danger with diphtheria would keep Livy at home for the May 8 debut of Anna Dickinson in Boston, but that he would come, and hopefully Twichell would come with him. Sam asked if Howells and wife would like to invite the Aldriches. Sam closed with:
“Hang that Anna Dickinson, a body never can depend upon her debuts! She has made five or six false starts already. If she fails to debut this time, I will never bet on her again” [MTLE 1: 55-6].
William B. Franklin replied to the Apr. 28 from Clemens.
My dear Clemens / I learn from enquiry at the office of the Natl Insurance Co, that the author of the production of Apl. 27 is a clerk in that office, a very methodical one, who takes great pains to have papers exactly right, has a queer use of language, is a great Sunday School, Warburton Chapel man, but the Secy of the Company, who gives me the information, told me that he had no notion that he would inject his views into people as his letter shows that he will. His father is or was a clergyman, and further about him I cannot learn. The Secy above mentioned said that he would deliver him a lecture. My theory of the letter is this. Mr H. B. Langdon heard you say in the piece that your conduct in reference to Gertrude convinced you that you were the prize jackass. Now that remark excited Mr. Langdon’s jealousy, and he wrote you that letter to convince you that he is entitled to that prize, not you. If that was his object, I do not know that he has attained his point so far as convincing you is concerned, but he has certainly achieved a success in convincing me.
It is queer how people may be surrounded by first class fools, and only find them out accidentally after a long time, as in this case.
I think Mrs Clemens only endorses this man’s bosh because she with a womans intuition & mercy first saw what a goose the man was, and then pitied him. I confess that I am effeminate enough myself to be sorry for him. / Truly your friend / W B. Franklin [MTPO].
May 5 Friday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Moncure Conway (answering his May 2 postcard) about Bliss sending The Adventures of Tom Sawyer pictures to Chatto by the end of May. Sam enclosed the new picture of the children and told of Susy’s brush with death from diphtheria. Sam closed with the news that James T. Fields would drop by for a visit before his evening lecture [MTLE 1: 57].
Fields lectured in Hartford’s Seminary Hall on “Literary and Artistic Life in London Twenty-Five Years Ago.” The May 6 page two the Hartford Courant reported:
At the close of the lecture an informal reception was held in the south hall. Mr. Samuel L. Clemens made one of his happy speeches
William Dean Howells wrote from Cambridge, Mass. that he’d meet Clemens and Twichell at Parker House at 5 o’clock on May 7. He wasn’t sure the wife would be well enough. He added he didn’t ask “A” (Aldrich) to the dinner [MTHL 1: 137].
George Barclay wrote from Edinburgh to reassure Sam that now Dr. Brown “was all right again” [MTP].
May 6 Saturday – Moncure Conway wrote from London, England that TS was close to publication there: “The last revise of the last proof of ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, By Mark Twain’, passed out of my hands three days ago and it cannot be long before that hero walks into my study in a dress neat enough to excite the Huckleberrian disgust” [MTP].
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam: “My invitation was seriously & earnestly meant—and I am ready to repeat it whenever you are willing to let me. Not for one night but for many” [MTP]. Note: for Sam to play the role of Peter Spyk.
May 7 Sunday – Sam traveled to Boston along with Joe Twichell; Livy stayed home to nurse Susy, who was recovering from “about the savagest assault of diphtheria a child ever did recover from” [MTHL 1: 117; 133; 136]. They probably met at the Parker House as planned and enjoyed dinner.
May 8 Monday – Sam invited the Howellses and the Aldriches to join the Clemenses and Joe Twichell to share his box for Anna Dickinson’s “disastrous performance” of A Crown of Thorns, or Ann Boyleyn in Boston [MTHL 1: 134]. Neither Livy nor Twichell made the trip, the latter canceling due to arriving house guests, Dean and Sarah Sage. It is not known if the other wives attended [MTPO].
Howells wrote Augustin Daly the day after: “It was sorrowfully bad, the acting, and the heaps of cut flowers for the funeral only made the gloom heavier” [137n1]. Note: Reviews were bad in Boston, mixed in N.Y.
Maurice Weidenthal for the Davenport Club, Cleveland, Ohio wrote to honor Clemens with membership in their club, and to ask for a photograph [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote: “Dean and Sarah [Sage] are coming tomorrow and to our house. As they will arrive quite early …(coming by boat) and as Sarah is sick, and as Harmony is in such a plight, I must give up going to Boston with you” [MTP].
May 9 Tuesday – No further Boston activities were found.
Mary (Mollie) B. Shoot (stage name: Florence Wood) wrote from NYC, enclosing a playbill for her upcoming appearance there. She’d noticed Sam’s recent stage role:
I saw in the “Herald” that you were a grand success as “Peter Spyk”. Pray accept my congratulations (though it is late in the day to offer them.)
I suppose you will be adopting the stage for a profession ere long?
I trust Mrs Clemens has recovered from her attack of “all the different kinds of ralgias”. … [MTPO]. Note: she also asked for a photo of Twain, who had written her but the letter is not extant.
Joe Twichell wrote, embarrassed by being handed a MS. by Dean Sage to read. Having no expertise in such matters he asked Twain to read “the thing through when you have a chance—today or tomorrow—so that you can tell me when I call what I’d better do” [MTP].
May 10 Wednesday – Sam returned home at midday [Twichell to Sam May 8; Lilly Warner to George Warner May 9 and 10; cited MTPO].
Sam wrote to E.B. Hewes, warden at the Conn. State Prison at Wethersfield, inquiring about one Ira Gladding, whom he’d been encouraged to underwrite with a second chance. Sam’s letter is not extant but referred to by Hewe’s reply of May 12. See Hewe’s reply and also A.H. Mead’s request of May 12 and reply of May 15.
May 11 Thursday – James R. Osgood wrote, having missed Sam when he was in Boston on Monday. He’d just read Sam’s “conscience article” [Carnival of Crime; see May 16] and, like everything he wrote, seemed to be the best. “Why don’t you let me put some of your short articles into our Vest Pocket Series? It would do us both good” His “object” was to invite for an excursion by rail where they “can play euchre all night Friday!” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on top of the letter, “Request granted for Vest Pocket Series”
I.J. Montgomery wrote from St. Louis; a begging letter for $500 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From a distant relative who is always boring for help. He is also a relative of ‘Col. Sellers’ (otherwise James Lampton)”.
May 12 Friday – Reginald Cholmondeley wrote on the S.S. Argo. “When you come to England next year I wish you would be kind enough to bring me a collection of live North American birds & you had better on your arrival come on straight to me in March or April” [MTP]. Note: evidently Reginald was serious; see July 2 letter.
E.B. Hewes Warden, Conn. State Prison, Wethersfield, wrote: “Yours of the 10th inst is at hand in regard to Ira Gladding he is a discharged the 2nd inst. He has been confined in this prison four different times and we regard him as a man that will steal or defraud people before he will work” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Prisoner Ira Gladding”
A.H. Mead wrote for The Prisoners Friends’ Corp., Hartford, a letter of recommendation for Ira Gladding, who wanted to go west to Cleveland, Ohio, and asked if Sam would buy him a ticket [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Ira Gladding case / a jail-bird”
May 12 and 14 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells about his “Shaker article.” Sam praised it. In 1880 one of Howell’s best novels, The Undiscovered Country, contrasted false spiritualists with the genuine faith of the Shakers. Sam gleefully caught Howells in a “bit of bad English construction!”
Sam also wrote that Dean Sage had been visiting Twichell and left a sketch which Livy and he had enjoyed. Sage wrote mainly hunting and fishing articles. Sam forwarded the sketch to Howells, praising Sage’s narrative-writing abilities and comparing them to Thoreau. Sam ended with: “After 30 days I go to Elmira, 1,000,000 miles from New York” [MTLE 1: 58-9].
May 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Casey in Ireland. Casey was the supposed president of the “Mark Twain Club” of Pollerton Castle, Carlow, in Ireland. Casey had even sent detailed “official proceedings.” Sam saw through Casey’s “club” and guessed that he was the only member. In Sam’s hand on one of Casey’s envelopes: “from an unknown idiot in Ireland.” Years later, a man in Sydney, Australia introduced himself as the president of the Mark Twain Club and admitted to being the only member.
“Either way will satisfy me, for I propose to come over next year & drink with the Club, in any case—& I can’t lose a glass, even if you be the Club all by yourself, because in that case I should insist upon drinking with all the imaginary member” [MTLE 1: 60]. Note: see Fall 1993 Mark Twain Journal volume 31 p. 28-30 for a discussion of “Mr. Blank” and the Mark Twain Club.
Sam also wrote to Howells (Gribben gives this date; MTHL gives this or May 8) about Dean Sage’s writing:
“He has an artlessness, an absence of self-consciousness, a ditto of striving after effect, & a pauseless canter, that make the reader forget the writer & become himself the actor in the adventures” [MTHL 1: 138].
A.G. Chester wrote from Chicago to urge Sam to lecture there [MTP].
A.H. Mead wrote again for The Prisoners Friends’ Corp., Hartford, to say Sam’s letter had been rec’d and to inform him that Ira Gladding had been re-arrested for stealing boots [MTP].
May 16 Tuesday – Sam sent a postcard from Hartford to Elisha Bliss, asking if the pictures were ready to ship and giving Moncure Conway’s London address. Sam received a postal card reply, sometime shortly thereafter as mentioned in his next letter to Conway [MTLE 1: 61-62].
The front page of the New York Evening Post of May 16, 1876:
The Atlantic Monthly.
Under the title “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut,” Mark Twain tells, in the first article in the Atlantic Monthly for June, of a personal interview he had not long ago with his conscience. The article is notable chiefly because it shows a decided advance upon Mr. Clemens’s part as a literary artist. Mark Twain has never been a mere fun maker. In the midst of his most exaggeratedly humorous outbursts he has often grown serious for a moment, with a seriousness which indicated deep earnestness as well as profound convictions; and even when he has “stuck to his text” and continued a consistent humorist to the end, his humor has always carried with it at least a suggestion of a deeper purpose than its apparent one. Occasionally, too, Mr. Clemens has written with scarcely any thought of making his readers smile, and with a distinct purpose to do a bit of genuine literary art work, as he did, for example, in the sketch of a negro woman’s life story which he printed about a year ago. In the present paper the purpose is both more manifest and more fully attained, and if readers will forget that its author has been in the habit of saying and writing amusing things, they cannot well help discovering here an unexpected power upon his part to write something better worth remembering than any of his amusingly extravagant stories ever were. The task he has set himself is not an easy one by any means. His conscience, dwarfed and deformed by his indulgence in what he once regarded as sins, appears in bodily shape, and in the conversation which follows it was by no means easy to preserve the verisimilitude, while regarding the conscience as a distinct, personal existence, independent in every thing of its possessor. It is greatly to Mr. Clemens’s credit as a literary artist that he has in the main succeeded in this singularly difficult task, and if we might have been spared the outbreak of the old demon of wild exaggeration which marks and mars the end of the article, his triumph would have been complete. As it is, we have a new Mark Twain who promises to be even better than the old one.
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to advise he’d sent Sam admission to his show last year which Sam could not use, so enclosed more tickets. Barnum & wife would be in Hartford until Thursday night at their friends, the David Clarke family. “If you come to the show Wednesday P.M. we shall see you” [MTP]. Note: Barnum tried repeatedly to visit or to get Clemens to visit him; engagements of either usually precluded meeting.
May 17 Wednesday – Eighteen-year-old Charles S. Babcock wrote from Cambridge, Mass:
Mr. Clemens / Dear Sir, / I am going to make bold to ask of you a great favor. I wish to publish a small sheet, say, about 16×22 inches—divided into four pages of three columns each.
And I wish your permission to use the title (Mark Twain) as editor. I want you to furnish such matter as would in your own opinion, be suitable, for such a paper, as I wish to have this filled with your fun and sentiment. I, shall, if you oblige me, sell them at Philadelphia, this summer, and I assure you that everything shall be conducted in such a manner as you would agree to. There shall be no advertisements in the paper—but all space shall be filled with reading matter. Paragraphs can be selected from other Authors, which will lessen your labors, somewhat. The matter need not of necessity, all be fresh, but of course you will use your own judgment in that matter.
I am aware that in presuming to ask such a favor of you, since your time must be so completely occupied that I am rather audacious, and perhaps, impertinent. But if you can possibly find it in your power to grant me the request—I shall consider it a great—and lasting favor, for which you will have my sincere thanks.
I will allow you what remuneration you consider just and right, either paying you a certain sum at the start or allowing you a percentage on the sales—
If you think it best and necessary I will come to Hartford to see you, about the plan. I hope and trust that you will grant me this favor, and greatly oblige, / Your Obedient Servant / Charles S. Babcock [MTP]. Note: Babcock was the son of John Martin Luther Babcock (1822-1894), publisher of The New Age, which aimed at social reforms. The younger Babcock wrote again on May 22 after Clemens had replied by postcard (not extant). Charles made the mistake of pressing his request in his next letter. See entry.
May 18 Thursday – A.H. Mead wrote from New Haven to say he was going to “let the law take its course in Gladding’s case.” He theorized that Ira Gladding had intercepted Sam’s letter and took the money [MTP].
May 20 Saturday – A.H. Mead wrote for The Prisoners Friends’ Corp., Hartford, to Sam.
Yours received. All is clear to me now. On Friday 12 I sent Gladding to you with that letter. He came to me immediately and reported that he did not see you that you had gone to New York, but he left the letter for you. All that sometime he had your letter to me and the $5 in his pocket. Your letter entitled “Later – Thursday,” was written later on Friday after Gladding’s visit and the sending of the $5, for the envelope enclosing it—I have and it is postmarked 12th which was Friday—you wrote both letters the same day, posted the last to me and it was stamped in the P.O the same day …that Gladding has been guilty of breach of trust in opening the letter and of stealing in taking the money and of lying to me is all clear [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Gladding – Hammersley & Mead”
May 22 Monday – Charles S. Babcock wrote again (see his of May 17), pressing his request for to use Mark Twain’s name in a publication [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “This is the Orion style of ass.” No record of a publication by young Babcock was found. See May 17 from Babcock.
May 23 Tuesday – William Hamersley wrote to Sam: “Gladding’s case will not come up for trial before July—possibly not till August…the court may give him 15 or 20 years…” [MTP].
May 27 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway who had written Sam of an early publication date by Chatto of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam asked for prospective newspaper reviews from England and mentioned a postal card he’d received from Bliss over a week ago. Sam asked for two or three early copies of the book. In a teasing barb to Conway, Sam ended by saying the family would:
“…take up summer quarters at Elmira, N.Y. It is not in order that we may be under the protecting wings of a Young Men’s Christian Association, but merely that we may roost on the summit of the neighboring range of highlands & be safe from the heats of the season” [MTLE 1: 62]. Note: Moncure had been involved with a dispute over lecture payment from the Elmira YMCA.
Genen I. Pietz wrote to Sam [MTP].
May 29 Monday – Miss Ave Nick wrote from Chicago to Sam, clipping enclosed. She asked for an autographed photo of Twain. The clippings were unusual events around the various states [MTP].
May 31 Wednesday – Sam gave a reading at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church [Andrews 50]. Also, Twichell’s parish scrapbook, described by Messent, contains a notice of “Concert and Readings by the Park Church Quintette and ‘Mark Twain’ at the chapel of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church,” scheduled for this day . Note: the church had 186 pews, seating 930 people [Strong 49].
On or about this day Sam sent a proposed introductory page for The Big Bonanza to Elisha Bliss, with a one-line note asking of it would do [MTPO].
June – Sam’s sketch, “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut”” ran in the June issue of the Atlantic [Wells 22].
June 1 Thursday – Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland, Ohio to Sam.
My Dear Samuel / Can’t you and Livy come over to our house this fine morning, and bring the children? It is very funny to me, how much you have all been in my mind of late—how I have wanted your companionship—have really longed for you, and yet some mysterious grip (slow fires I think) has held my hand from writing. I believe I brought home with me your disorder, for through these many weeks I have had not mind or force enough to indite a letter. I tried to take up my pen after reading the June Atlantic, to tell you how you pleased me. Do you realize how you have improved? How time and study and conscience have developed the fineness of your nature? I just sit back in my complacence complacence & mentally pat you on the head——not that your well-doing is for me or my approval but because I knew it would be as it is, and I am pleased with my own sagacity. Your late article has some most delicate, metaphysical touches and I never was so sure of your having a live conscience, as since you have proclaimed its death.
I see by the papers that Mark Twain will be at the Centennial the 15th. Do you come from thence to Elmira and when will you come to Cleveland? Mollie is away for a week. If she were here she would join me in urging your early coming. If there is one thing more than another that stirs her it is the mention of a Clemens. I think she loves you to-day with the same intensity that she did in the years gone by when you held her and her kitten in your arms. The honest worship of child or woman is precious.
Now send me a letter real soon. Don’t break things to do it, nor banish Livy to her bed-room. What are the latest bon-mots of Susie & Clara? I have loving thoughts of you all— / Mother Fairbanks [MTPO].
June 1? Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford, sending Bliss a proposed INTRODUCTORY to Dan De Quille’s The Big Bonanza. It ran as proposed [MTLE 1: 63].
June 3 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks that he had decided to “remain away from the Centennial [in Philadelphia] altogether, for an interruption of my work is disastrous to it.”
Sam had received copies of the Cleveland Herald and read about the death of George A. Benedict, partner to Abel Fairbanks on the Herald. Sam waxed philosophical:
What a curious thing life is. We delve away, through years of hardship, wasting toil, despondency; then comes a little butterfly season of wealth, ease, & clustering honors. Presto! the wife dies, a daughter marries a spendthrift villain, the heir & hope of the house commits suicide, the laurels fade & fall away. Grand result of a hard-fought, successful career & a blameless life: Piles of money, tottering age, & a broken heart [MTLE 1: 64].
June 4 Sunday – Information Wanted and Other Sketches by Mark Twain was published by George Routledge and Sons, London during the year. [Johnson 41-2]. Note: He gives June 4, 1876 as the earliest presentation copy found.
June 7 Wednesday – Eugene Holby wrote from Springfield to invite Sam to lecture there [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “NO”
June 8 Thursday – Clara Clemens’ second birthday.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank M. Etting, asking what responsibilities authors would have at the Philadelphia Centennial celebrations. Sam had written a sketch of Francis Lightfoot Lee to bring there the first week of July [MTLE 1: 66]. Note: on June 3, Sam wrote Mrs. Fairbanks that he planned to stay home for the Centennial. He often changed his mind, even more than once, about attending events.
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam about his summer plans, and various submissions to the Atlantic. He asked at the end of the letter, “What about your novel? Or is it two of them? If it’s two, why can’t you let us print one in The Atlantic next year?” [MTHL 1: 141]. Note: In his Aug. 9 letter, Sam wrote he put away his “double-barreled novel” a month before, and began Huckleberry Finn (see n.4).
Dr. John Brown wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland.
My dear friends—far too good & forgiving— I have got the photos of the two, my one & the new one— We are delighted with them & Mrs Barclay hungers for a copy— She has the historical photo of small Susie in its ormoulu frame on her mantel piece to astonish & bewitch & charm all beholders— Why have I never all this long time written one word of thanks & love? I cannot tell—except that I am unworthy of all your regard & constancy & that I have been & am in a strange—wild, miserable state of mind—so that they whom I care most for, suffer most from my indifference & misery—this is no excuse— I hope you are both well— I am sure you are happy— John is well—& his [illegible word] I hope flourishing & he is good & steady & sensible & fortunately very different in much from me.
My sister is oldering a bit—but full of devotedness & affectionate activity My daughter & her little April & her huge Captain are well— The good Barclays are well & often speak of you & Judge Nicolson always asks for “Mark” & his ——eyed wife—
If I can I’ll write soon & longer— Try to forgive your old friend who is in some things better than he knows himself— With much regard Yrs (both) & the two’s / ever Affecty J.B. [MTPO].
J.A. Durkee wrote from NYC to enlist Sam to “lend your influence and pen” to the opening of a new two-penny morning paper similar, but in opposition to, the NY Sun. Durkee claimed to be the “Dry Goods” man in Keokuk from 1854 to 1866 and knew Orion [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From an ass”.
R.E. Haliburton wrote from Prescott, Ontario. What’s legible thanks for “information you favored me with” and copyright in Canada references [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Son of ‘Sam Slick’ ”
June 9 Friday – Chatto & Windus, London issued the English edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a full six months ahead of the U.S. release [MTPO Notes with Nov. 2, 1876 to Conway].
Sam wrote a short note “To Whom It May Concern” introducing his mother, Jane Clemens, and his sister Pamela Moffett, who would be traveling [MTLE 1: 67].
June 10 Saturday – Sam must have heard from John RoBards, the boyhood friend he’d contracted to move his brother and father’s remains to the newer cemetery. He wrote from Hartford to RoBards, thanking him and asking to send any left over money to his mother in Fredonia, New York [MTLE 1: 68].
Duckett gives this as the date the English version of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was ready .
June 13 Tuesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote a postcard to Sam. Howells was going to Philadelphia on July 3, so he couldn’t attend the Congress of Authors there on July 1. Did Sam get the long letter he’d written that week? “We go into the country this week: Shirley Village, Mass.” [MTHL 1:141].
Ira C. Cartwright for the Davenport Club, Cleveland, Ohio wrote belated thanks for two pictures of Clemens [MTP].
June 14 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to “Miss Harriet” responding to an autograph request. Even in a knock-off line, Sam could be hilariously brilliant:
“I am a long time answering your letter, my dear Miss Harriet, but then you must remember that it is an equally long time since I received it—so that makes us even, & nobody to blame on either side” [MTLE 1: 69].
Sam also sent a check and note to his Hartford attorney, Charles E. Perkins; letter not extant but referred to in the acknowledgment of June 17. See entry.
Gilbert Holland Stewart, Sr. (1847-1912) attorney in Columbus, Ohio wrote:
Sir: / I trust you will pardon an entire stranger for intruding upon your attention but I cannot send you the enclosed paper without an explanation.
I am the fortunate possessor of a copy of your book called “Roughing It” in my library; and having within a year moved into a new neighborhood, have had the privilege of loaning the most of my books to my neighbors. Among others I loaned “Roughing It” and in due course of time it was returned. I may here state that I am living in a portion of the city which is mostly inhabited by Quakers. Last Sunday was the first time I had looked at the book since it had been returned, and I opened it to the find upon the fly leaf the enclosed commentary upon the book. Knowing that as an author you would appreciate honest criticism upon your writings I tore out the fly leave and take the liberty of herewith presenting it to you. The names signed to it are those of the principal Quakers in my neighborhood, who are doubtless very much concerned for my welfare, since reading “those lies.” Again hoping that you will pardon me for thus addressing you / I remain / Yours / Gilbert H. Stewart
P.S. Supposing that up to this time the fly leaf is mine you have my full permission to print it in any future edition of “Roughing It” among the recommendations [MTP]. Note: the fly leaf: “Columbus Marek. 30th. 1876 Dear Lord deliver the reader of this work from sining against thee and reading those lies writen in this Book / Samuel Jones /Joseph Miller / John Watson / Samuel Williams / William Fagg”. The date of Mar. 30 and the names all written in the same hand suggest an April Fool’s joke—which Stewart seems oblivious to.
June, before the 15th – Sam wrote from Hartford to James Hammond Trumbull, enclosing Frank Etting’s reply to Sam’s questions about the Centennial event in Philadelphia. Etting had urged Sam and Trumbull to come; that there would be 150 authors and that not every one could read every piece but many would read part. Trumbull had provided the multilingual chapter epigraphs for The Gilded Age. Sam thought now he should go and hoped Trumbull would also [MTLE 1: 71]. Note: this source questions the date as June 20 from Hartford; the family had left for Elmira on June 15, so either the date or the place is in error.
June 15 Thursday – The Clemens family left Hartford for Elmira, where they would spend the summer [Sam to Fairbanks, June 3]. They stopped in New York and stayed at the St. James Hotel a day or more, as was their custom [N.Y. Times, June 16, 1876 p3 “Arrivals at the Hotels”].
June 16 Friday – George Bentley wrote from London, England
Dear Sir / I enclose a cheque … with many thanks.
Your article came very late, & only by displacing one, & making a slight curtailment of the commencement could I get it in time. You will therefore forgive this curtailment It is a quaint article & I shall hope to hear from you again, especially when gd fun runs riot with you.
Yours very truly / & obliged / George Bentley [MTPO]. Note from source: Bentley had responded to Clemens’s 26 April submission of Atlantic Monthly proofs of “The Facts Concerning the Recent Carnival of Crime in Connecticut.”
June 16-17 Saturday – The Clemens family left New York for the ten-hour train ride to Elmira. They stayed with the Langdons until June 29 [The Twainian, Nov-Dec.1956 p.3, June 2, 1911 letter from Susan Crane to Paine].
June 17 Saturday – Moncure Conway’s review of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer ran in the London Examiner:
…Mark Twain is pre-eminent in our time. Every movement of boy, beetle, and poodle, is described not merely with precision, but with a subtle sense of meaning in every movement. Everything is alive, and every face physiognomical. From a novel so replete with good things, and one so full of significance, as it brings before us what we can feel is the real spirit of home life in the far West, there is no possibility of obtaining extracts which will convey to the reader any idea of the purport of the book. The scenes and characters cannot be really seen apart from their grouping and environment. The book will no doubt be a great favourite with boys, for whom it must in good part have been intended; but next to boys we should say that it might be most prized by philosophers and poets. The interior life, the everyday experiences, of a small village on the confines of civilisation and in the direction of its advance, may appear, antecedently, to supply but thin material for a romance; but still it is at just that same little pioneer point that humanity is growing with the greatest freedom, and unfolding some of its unprescribed tendencies. We can, indeed, hardly imagine a more felicitous task for a man of genius to have accomplished than to have seized the salient, picturesque, droll, and at the same time most significant features of human life, as he has himself lived it and witnessed it, in a region where it is continually modified in relation to new circumstances. The chief fault of the story is its brevity, and it will, we doubt not, be widely and thoroughly enjoyed by young and old for its fun and its philosophy [Railton].
Charles E. Perkins, Sam’s Hartford attorney, wrote to acknowledge Sam’s note of the 14th and the $3,000 check on the First National Bank. He sent the check “on to Burnham & al as requested” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “$3000 invested”.
June 18 Sunday – Frank M. Etting wrote from Philadelphia to Sam.
Dear Sir / I have been so overwhelmed by the details of our celebration of 7th June & of 2d July as to be unable to attend to the duty of correspondence at all— You must therefore make due allowance for my delay in replying to your favor of 8th inst—
I do hope that you will carry out your intention of coming to Phila with others of your “guild” for 1st July—You will ’ere this have recd I presume the official cards— A large part of the sentiment is dependent upon the personal presence of the men specially fitted for the purpose & who have prepared a stone to build up a cenotaph of letters to the Founders of the Republic in the very chamber which gave birth to the republic—
Your own relationship to our revolutionary sires is nearer than to Adam & you will not need to come so far—in the former case either to deplore their loss or to give (as it is hoped we may thus do) renewed vitality to the real principles for which they struggled— Yes two thirds of the authors antiquaries c[o]unted have accepted & I expect them to be present—about 150 in number—thus while the sketches cannot be read entire each may be expected to say a few words in laying his biographical sketch upon the table upon which the Decn of Indce was signed— Saturday the 1st has been selected to celebrate the 2d, the several days following—as well—will be variously celebrated publicly & socially— My list of authors has been put into requisition to enable them to participate in every event or celebration of interest— Tell Mr Trumbull he must come too—we cannot spare either of you— / very truly yours— / Frank M. Etting / [MTPO].
June 20 Tuesday – Sam wrote to James Hammond Trumbull on Etting’s June 18 letter: “I think I’ll go, Trumbull, & I hope you will stick to your intention of going, too” [MTPO].
June 21 Wednesday – Frank Soulé wrote from San Francisco to ask Clemens’ help in publishing his poem in 5 cantos, nearly 4,000 lines; he complained of working at the Alta where he was just a “machine not well oiled” and being unable to make a living after 17 years in SF [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Frank Soule Poet”. See Sept. 3, 1880 to Howells for more on Soulé.
June 22 Thursday – Sam and Livy wrote from Elmira to John Brown in Scotland. Sam made efforts to cheer Brown up, to urge him to travel and visit, and to bring others with him. Livy wrote hope for Brown’s health to improve and gave news of her children.
“The children are grown fat and hearty feeding chickens & ducks twice a day, and are keenly alive to all the farm interests. / Mr. J.T. Fields was with us with his wife a short time ago and you may be sure we talked most affectionately of you…”[MTLE 1: 72-3].
Sam also wrote to his mother and sister:
I got the tribe here all safe, Ma, & only lost my temper once—for 2 minutes[.] I found they had provided a very nice parlor, bath-room & one bedroom for us—so I was as mad as possible till another bedroom was added.
We are at Mother’s yet—shan’t go to the farm for a week or more. I celebrated your birthday by going to church the day before, Ma. I mean to go again on your next birthday. This is much better than making presents, I guess [MTPO].
June 24 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Elisha Bliss. He was ready for the proofs to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but would be “better ready a week or ten days hence.” Sam suggested that American Publishing Co. could show better profits if it tried to do less, print fewer books (meaning more of his as well):
“If the directors will cut the business down two-thirds, & the expenses one half, I think it will be an advantage to all concerned, & I feel persuaded that I shall sell more books” [MTLE 1: 74].
After writing Bliss, Sam wrote a formal proposal to the Board of Directors of the American Publishing Co., asking why the company had not done better and suggesting retrenchment with an eye to a better bottom line. Sam was open about his “selfish interest”:
Tom Sawyer is a new line of writing for me, & I would like to have every possible advantage in favor of that venture. When it issues, I would like to have a clear field, & the whole energies of the company put upon it; & not only this, but I would like the canvassers to distinctly understand that no new book will issue till Tom Sawyer had run 6, or even 9 months. In that case we should all be better off.
Sam wanted only a “fair hearing and a wise verdict” from the board, but had come to some conclusions which would lead him to self-publishing in the future [MTLE 1: 76]. From MTPO a list of the Directors:
“In addition to Clemens and Elisha and Frank Bliss, the directors of the American Publishing Company at this time were: Newton Case [1807-1890], president of Case, [James] Lockwood and [L.] Brainard Company, printers and blank-book manufacturers; Sidney L. Clark, secretary of the Weed Sewing Machine Company; Sidney Drake [1811-1898], of Drake and [James G.] Parsons, bookbinders; and James S. Tryon, of [William E.] Baker and Tryon, insurance agents.” See also AMT 2: 486 for more on Drake; 488 for more on Newton Case.
Sam also wrote to William S. Stokley (1823-1902), mayor of Philadelphia, accepting an invitation to be at Independence Hall on July 1 [MTLE 1: 77].
James H. Trumbull wrote from Hartford.
Dear Clemens: / I have backed out of not going, and wrote Col. Etting, the other day, to count me in. I have n’t yet so much as a rough ashlar to shape into my contribution to his “cenotaph,”—but today & tomorrow I intend to dig up my old revolutionary friend Col. Dyer and see if I can make him presentable. / Yours, / J. H. Trumbull [MTPO]. Note: Frank M. Etting.
June 26 Monday – The Cincinnati Commercial printed Moncure Conway’s “London Letter,” which contained several quotations, extracts and bits of plot summary for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. It also contained the entire fence-painting scene. From this publication many other newspapers picked up the article. Sam liked this method of publicity, of giving the public teasers before the book was issued [MTPO, notes on Sam’s July 24 to Conway].
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk, several pages of detail about the Daily Evening Constitution paper being up for sale for $5,000 with half down. Would Sam telegraph him if he was disposed to help him buy the paper? Orion was sure there was enough in it to live on [MTP].
William J. Lampton wrote from St. Louis, expecting to take in the Centennial in the east and wanted to visit [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Declined to suffer the affliction of his visit”
June 28 Wednesday – Orion Clemens wrote more plans about buying the newspaper; he proposed going partnership with one Reese [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Proposition to buy the ‘Constitution’ ”
Charles E. Perkins wrote Clemens, enclosing the Hartford town tax bill for schools. Due: $1,277.41. the receipt dated July 3 is in the file for check made to John Franey. Also, “Some of Mrs Clemens coupons on Western bond investments are due July 1st what shall I do with them?” [MTP].
June 29 Thursday – The Clemens family arrived at Quarry Farm [The Twainian, Nov-Dec. 1956 p3, June 2, 1911 letter from Susan Crane to Paine].
June 29? Thursday – Sam wrote a note from Elmira to his Hartford banker, George P. Bissell, forwarding a property tax statement and asking that a check be made for the amount ($1,277.41) and for both to be sent to Charles Perkins, his attorney and financial agent [MTLE 1: 78].
June 30 Friday – Sam left Elmira and traveled to Philadelphia for the Centennial event, Congress of Authors.
July 1 Saturday – Sam gave a reading of his sketch “Francis Lightfoot Lee of Virginia” at the Congress of Authors, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania [Schmidt; Etting’s letter of June 18 forwarded by Sam to Trumbull]. Sam was impressed by the West Point Cadets who also participated in the Centennial Exhibition [MTNJ 2: 126n24]. Lorch says Sam received $300 for a fifteen minute reading given in the “midst of a concert” .
Sam paid school and city taxes to the City of Hartford for $1,277.41 [MTP].
Sam and Livy’s neighbors, Susan and Charles Dudley Warner, returned from 21 months in Europe and the Near East [MTPO].
G. Robertson wrote from Hartford to ask about “Poi prepared from the Taro plant” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Bid for Autograph letter. / Too thin”
Frank Bliss sent a statement of Sam’s account Apr 1 to July 1, total to his credit $759.69 [MTP].
July 2 Sunday – In a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks on Sept. 14, Sam wrote that he “staid nearly a whole day” in Philadelphia, which means he traveled back to Elmira through the night, arriving early in the morning of July 2 [MTLE 1: 79, 110].
Reginald Cholmondeley wrote to Sam, strangely addressing him as “Sir William.” He wrote details of his aviary and how to feed various birds. Had Clemens requested such information? No. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “This contained a list of 205 species of American birds (from 4 to 10 of each species) for me to gather up & bring over to England with me! I returned the list, as it might be valuable. The price to be paid for each bird was set opposite its name. S.L.C.”
July 3 Monday – Charles E. Perkins wrote to Sam: “Yours of the 1st inst is recd with check for taxes. I enclose tax bill receipted—also check for my half yearly charge of $150…The check for coupons for Mrs Clemens a/c is $404.25 and is deposited…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Tax receipt for July ’76 / Recpt for Perkins to July ‘76”
July 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Moncure Conway, worried that the book and newspaper notice Conway had sent were lost. Communication with Bliss had become difficult at this point, with Sam having to ask Conway if the pictures from Bliss had arrived. They were needed for the English publication of TS. “I can’t find out from him,” Sam complained. Sam was also concerned by extracts of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer which “keep appearing in the N.Y. Evening Post—don’t know where they get them.” Sam ended by nixing the idea of printing a cheap edition in the U.S. “Our money lies wholly in the high-priced edition.” Canadian pirates would cut deeply into his sales [MTLE 1: 79].
Sam inscribed a copy of Horse-Car Poetry. Republished from the New Monthly Magazine “Record of the Year.” (1876): “A Centennial gift—from my beloved nephew, W. H. Marsh, July 4th 1876” [Gribben 324]. Note: Charles Langdon had a cousin named Edward L. Marsh. W.H. may have been related. This magazine contained Sam’s jingle, “Punch, Brothers, Punch!”
July 4-6 Thursday – Sometime during this period Sam traveled to Hartford, probably by way of New York. Explanatory notes on MTPO for the July 6 to Bentley read:
“Clemens was in Hartford to inquire at the American Publishing Company about the shipping of the Tom Sawyer illustrations to Moncure Conway and about the delay in the typesetting of the American edition of the book. Bliss did not have first proofs ready for him until 18 July (see 22 July 76 to Bliss, n. 1).”
July 6 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a short note of thanks to George Bentley of the Temple Bar in London, for money received for an article sent on Apr. 26 [MTLE 1: 80]. Note: It’s not known when Sam left Hartford and returned to Elmira, though Bliss wrote him on July 18.
July 18 Tuesday – Elisha Bliss wrote from Hartford to Sam.
Friend Clemens— / Two weeks sickness this hot weather has nearly used me up, but I am out again; I should have replied to you before had I been able to do it! Your proofs have also been delayed on a/c of my indisposition—
I send you by mail to night 2 chapters proofs, & original copy, which please return as soon as convenient, be sure & return copy with proofs.— Shall send 2 chapters more tomorrow, & so on & put it through rapidly— You may look for proofs rapidly—
Your duplicate cuts went to England next day after you was in the office.
And now as respects the company business you mention— I would say, I shall certainly offer no personal objection or use any personal influence to prevent the adoption of any plan deemed proper by the other directors— I do not know as you knew are aware of the condition of the Co or not, you have never been present at any of the meetings & have never asked for information of me—
I am not ashamed to show my business up, for the past 10, or the past single year— It will compare well with anyone else’ business, be it who it may. Still I think it might be even better & I thought so last spring & I therefore preferred to give up my seat to some one more capable & also less costly— I urged this plan upon the Co. By this means the expenses can be cut down no doubt.
I will be pleased to lay any proposition you have to make before the directors[.] I am sorry you found it necessary to talk against my management outside of our board as I have several times heard you have— Even the poor drunken Williams—comes & boastingly taunts me with what you tell him—while another of my help gets letters from N.Y. stating what he says you told there— For myself I care nothing, but it seems poor policy to injure the stock this way, & our stock is too valuable to be made to suffer. As long as I stay in the Co. I will do my best for it & its authors as I have done—but when dissatisfaction arises, my usefulness here is over! Other Avenues are open to me & I rather desire to tread them, as this business has its vexations & annoyances, & I hardly care to endure them much longer. The business can be cut down, & with a cheaper man at the helm, expenses can be made low, & possibly larger profits made. The experiment can be tried & I will most cheerfully assist with all my might—
The 2 chapters sent of proofs, I think you will find tolerably correct.
My orders are as I received them from you to follow copy, exactly, & I hope it has been done—
What time do you wish Tom Sawyer to appear. We will bring him out when you say. Let us know.
Hope you are not in as warm a place as it is here— Thermometer 97. / Truly— / E Bliss Jr [MTPO].
July 20 Thursday – Elisha Bliss wrote enclosing proofs of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [MTP].
Henry H. Halterman wrote from Jackson, Ohio asking for a $500 loan [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “$500 wanted.”
Frank Bliss wrote that he didn’t send the check because he “fancied” Sam would want the money deposited in the bank there as he’d sometimes done. “I enclose bill of items chg’d to you since Apl 1. 13.31 which deducted from the amt of copyright 759.69 leaves 746.38 for which I enclose check” [MTP]. Note: the amounts charged for books Sam gave: Apr. 10: books to NY Press Club 4.95; Apr 18 Books (Sketches) to Lib Congress 3.12; Apr. 19 Books to Erie RR Temperance Assoc. 3.60; June 5 books to W.W. West 1.64.
July 21 Friday – The American Publishing Co.’s edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was copyrighted by title page this day, even though it wasn’t offered for sale until Dec. 1876 [Duckett 106, citing Blanck].
J.W. Langdon wrote from NYC to solicit writing for his autograph album… “something original” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Unutterable cheek”
July 22 Saturday – In Elmira, Sam wrote a long conciliatory letter he marked PRIVATE to Elisha Bliss. In a July 20 letter Bliss answered Sam’s concerns and sent a few more chapters of proofs of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Bliss also had been sick, and objected to some of Sam’s suggestions. Sam’s wrote that his suggestions about shrinking the company were just that, and:
“With the suggestion I stop. My duty as a director & stockholder ends there. I shall not lose any sleep about it one way or the other.”
Sam suggested $500 rewards for the two canvassers who sold the most copies of Sawyer, hoping the sales could be done in September and October, with an issue date of Nov. 1. Sam added that he had a business proposition for Bliss “individually,” meaning outside of the company, and that he would discuss it with him in the fall when he returned to Hartford. Sam also wisely noted that many of the things they needed to discuss were better not to write about. He praised the chapter proofs as “nice clean proof” [MTLE 1: 82].
Sam also wrote to the editors of the New York Evening Post, no doubt intended for publication, about the irony of costs connected with postage due letters being sent to the Dead Letter Office [MTLE 1: 83].
July 23 Sunday – The Philadelphia Sunday Republic published part of the fence-whitewashing episode of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [The Twainian, Mar. 1944 p.4].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote from Hartford to Sam, sorry he hadn’t been able to get to Phila. soon enough to see him. He’d read TS “and greatly enjoyed” it. Much of his small scrawl is illegible [MTP].
July 24 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Moncure Conway. He’d discovered where The Adventures of Tom Sawyer excerpts in the newspapers were originating from—Moncure’s marketing letters to a Cincinnati paper. Sam wrote that Charles Dudley Warner had just arrived back from a trip to Europe and had told Sam he’d read and greatly enjoyed it and that Conway was reading it to his congregation on Sundays! Sam inquired about rates paid to actors because he was “on terms with Raymond again” and wanted to arrange an English tour for him. Sam asked about getting Tom Sawyer dramatized in a stage play, for which he would pay Conway fifty pounds, and suggested possible promoters for it. Sam wrote that the Sellers play had cleared him $23,000 for the season [MTLE 1: 85-7].
Walter F. Brown wrote from Paris, France:
My dear Mr Clemens— / I have just received your check for £92.16.0 for which many thanks. I enclose receipted account in full. You may depend on me to see Mr. St. Gaudens probably today. / I will send the remaining drawings very shortly. With compliments of the ladies, I am yours truly… P.S. The three faulty drawings will be duly corrected [MTP]. Note: Brown was an artist who supplied Clemens with artwork for some of his books; see May 10, 1879 to Bliss.
July 25 Tuesday – Sam’s article “The Secret Out” ran in the NY Evening Post [Camfield, bibliog.].
Montgomery Schuyler (1843-1914) of the NY World, wrote to Sam, enclosing a World galley proof reprinting his July 22 letter from the Evening Post. On it Schuyler wrote: “I don’t see why, when you have a grievance, you shouldn’t make it known thro’ these ponderous columns—What’s the Evening Post to you, or you to the Evening Post? When you have a post office trouble why go to the Post office—Come weep on this bosom—Who ran to puff you when you wrote a play” [MTPO]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Squib about P.M. General’s Removal”
July 26 Wednesday – The Hartford Courant printed “The Boy, the Beetle and the Dog. A Sketch from Mark Twain’s ‘Tom Sawyer,’ in Press.” This was taken from chapter 5 and was independent of Conway’s “London Letter” first sent to the Cincinnati Commercial (See June 26 entry.) It was reprinted Aug. 28 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [MTPO notes on July 24 to Conway].
July 27 Thursday – Sam wrote to Charles E. Perkins, sending $3,000 to be invested for Livy. This letter not extant but referred to in the July 31 acknowledgment from Perkins.
July 29 Saturday – Abraham Reeves Jackson wrote from Chicago, transcript of July 22 Evening Post editorial enclosed. Jackson passed on a letter from J.H. Dowling who wanted Sam to lecture there [MTP].
July 29 Saturday ca. – On or shortly before this day, the Belford Brothers of Toronto published an unauthorized edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, based on the English edition, published June 9. The Belford edition was initially priced at $2.25, and later as a $1.00 hardback or a $.75 paperback. [MTPO Notes with Nov. 2, 1876 to Conway].
July 30 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Montgomery Schuyler, journalist and architectural critic for the New York World, answering his letter of July 25. Sam had done a squib for the World but burned it, and would write another “in coming months.” No doubt he was responding to a request for an article [MTLE 1: 88].
July 31 Monday – Charles E. Perkins wrote to Sam acknowledging his of the 27th with the $3,000 to be invested for Livy. He complained of “infernal hot weather” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “The 21st Thousand invested.”
July 31-August 7 Monday – Sam and Bliss wrote proof notes for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [MTPO].
August – Sometime during the month at Quarry Farm, Sam began “A Record of the Small Foolishnesses of Susie & ‘Bay’ Clemens (Infants)”. The document would grow for nine years [MTNJ 2: 365n32]. (See July 1880 entry.)
“Political Views of a Humorist” ran in the New York Herald. In it Sam wrote of Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886) as “a pure man, a proved statesman” [Gribben 8]. Adams was a past Congressman from Mass. (1859-61), and minister to England (1861-68); the grandson of John Adams, son of John Quincy Adams.
August 1 Tuesday – In Elmira, Sam sent a post card to the American Publishing Co. requesting two cloth copies of Charles Dudley Warner’s book, Mummies or Moslems [MTLE 1: 89; Aug. 8 to Bliss].
Sam also wrote a short response to Lewis Jacob Cist (1818-1885), Cincinnati banker, poet and collector of autographs and portraits. Sam didn’t recall:
“…ever writing anything for the St. Louis Republican; & I used the nom de plume first in Nevada Territory” [MTLE 1: 90].
Sam also wrote to Moncure Conway after just receiving his letter. Chatto got the electrotypes but had already gone to press with an edition, and didn’t like Bliss’ price. Chatto or Conway had asked Sam to get Bliss to lower his price but Sam answered that Bliss had no motivation to do so. Sam was clearly stressed by the coordination and machinations of the book between Bliss, Conway and Chatto. Sam called this a “triangle” and suggested that Chatto simply send the electros back to Bliss and let Bliss use them, or charge them to Sam’s account.
Sam loved Quarry Farm’s idyllic setting and encouraged Conway to bring the wife and visit.
“We are in the air, overhanging the valley 700 feet, & my study is 100 yards from the house. This is not my vacation, mind you—I take that in winter. I am booming along with my new book [Huckleberry Finn]—have written 1/3 of it & shall finish it in 6 working weeks” [MTLE 1: 91]
Note: Sam would not finish the book until 1883. After the first 16 chapters, Sam put the book away until 1879. Between 1879 and 1880 Sam wrote Chapters 17 and 18; between 1880 and 1883, Chapters 19-21. In 1883 he wrote the last chapters [Blair, MT and Huck Finn 199].
Sam read chapter 8 in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer proofs [MTLE 1: 92].
August 2 Wednesday – Thomas C. Noble, Jr. wrote from Cumberland Centre, Maine to offer his services as an “old and experienced hand” of a playwright who would “be most happy to give…all the instruction” he needed. He’d been a teacher, and added, “If you do not answer me I shall write you twice a day for the next three months” [MTP]. Note: any answer is not extant.
August 4 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks urging her to visit. He claimed his “pet book, which lies at home one-third done & never more to be touched…Destroyed by a vacation,” so that he could not leave Quarry Farm to visit anyone since he was “tearing along on a new book” and that each time Livy took a trip down the hill it laid her up for two days [MTLE 1: 93].
August 5 Saturday – In Townsend Harbor, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam. After some playful recriminations about sending a long letter and receiving back only a postcard, Howells told of their vacation, his writing, and his beginning of the life of Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) for the campaign. He also asked about Sam’s “double-barrel novel” and would he sell it to the Atlantic for next year? [MTHL 1: 142].
Hugh F. McDermott for Tilden & Hendricks Club, Jersey City wrote to invite Sam to the “raising of a banner on Wednesday evening, Aug. 16” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Flag-raising. Declined”
August 6 or 7 Monday – Sam responded from Elmira to a request by Hugh F. McDermott that he attend a flag raising for political candidates Samuel J. Tilden (1814-1886) and Thomas A. Hendricks (1819-1885) at a Jersey City, New Jersey club. Sam and Howells were Republicans, and Sam confessed for the first time in his life he was interested in the outcome of the 1876 election, announcing his support for Rutherford B. Hayes. His answer to the Tilden Club:
“You have asked me for some political counsel or advice: In view of Mr. Tilden’s Civil War record my advice is not to raise the flag” [MTLE 1: 94]. Note: during the war, Tilden opposed several of the Lincoln Administration’s war measures.
Charles Reade wrote from London (Aug. 6) acknowledging Sam’s plot. “It is full of brains” though he didn’t think it would work on the stage [MTP]. Note: just which work was suggested is not clear, but likely TS.
August 7 Monday – Elisha Bliss wrote proof notes on TS to Sam: “Richardson made more trouble over every page than you do in a whole book. Your model MS is my standard to gauge others by, & must not be much better & cant be really” [MTP].
August 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Bliss. Sam had received a response from Bliss to his last letter and denied making propositions to Dustin, Gilman & Co. or any other publisher. Sam agreed to make The Adventures of Tom Sawyer a holiday book. Sam also wanted Howells’ Atlantic review to be put into the prospectus that went to editors. Sam enclosed an English notice of the Chatto & Windus publication [MTLE 1: 95-6].
In the evening, Sam started “a record of our children’s sayings,” and wrote Susie’s inability, with a certain pair of shoes on, to think of God [Aug. 9 to Howells]. Sam later titled these notes, “A Record of the Small Foolishnesses of Susie & ‘Bay’ Clemens (Infants)” and continued to log them through June 7, 1885. Note: Sam often wrote these cute sayings in his notebook as well.
August 9 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to William Dean Howells after receiving his letter. Sam mentioned the Tilden club invitation and his answer, Susy’s larger shoes (which she used as an excuse not to be able to pray), the idyllic setting of Quarry Farm and this noteworthy item:
“I have written 400 pages on it—therefore it is very nearly half done. It is Huck Finn’s Autobiography. I like it only tolerably well, as far as I have got, & may possibly pigeon-hole or burn the MS when it is done” [MTLE 1: 98]. Thank God Sam didn’t burn it, but pigeonhole it he did, not to be completed until 1883 and printed first in England in 1884, in the U.S. in 1885. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered Sam’s masterpiece.
August 10 Thursday – Helen M. Chapin (Mrs. Thomas E. Chapin) wrote from Newton Centre, Mass. “Please do me the favor to accept the contents of a box which I send by the same mail, with the hope that they will amuse you. They are four ‘Illuminated Silhouettes’ …If you will hold them between your eye and the light you will be able to see through them, and perhaps read a moral lesson!” [MTP]. Note: sent to Hartford, not Elmira.
Moncure Conway wrote from Ostend, Belgium.
My dear Mark, / Your letter [Elmira July 24] has followed me over here, & alas, finds me in a condition of profound ignorance as to the gains which Toole and Sothern make per week. And this is not the worst of it: the only persons in London to whom I could write about it are absent. So unless I can cudgel my brains into performing a miracle I fear you will not get your telegram. However, as you will know that before this reaches you I say no more about it.
I have written immediately to H. J. Byron, & if he is at home shall hear from him immediately. I shall do my best.
I have given William Black the novelist a letter of introduction to you. You will get any amount of information from him. He is a charming fellow.
That letter of mine in the Cincinnati Commercial about Tom Sawyer was not so shrewd as it seems. It was written under the full impression that the book would be in many American hands before it could appear in the West. But the other day I found a part of my letter with an extract from Tom in a Paris newspaper! But what is to keep it out of the American press? I confess to having felt somewhat guilty when your revelations & marvels came, but it never occurred to me that my letter was responsible for all the floating extracts. Nor do I quite believe it yet, for I think I saw an extract in a Western paper which I never sent over. However, as the benevolent robber said, ‘I hope Monsieur feels grateful to me for not taking his life.’ And another robber said “Sir, allow me to relieve you of this your purse, for this forest is infested with highwaymen, and it will be impossible for you to retain it.” / Ever yours / M D Conway / I shall be at home by Aug. 26 [MTPO].
August 11 Friday – George W. Smalley wrote from Watertown, Mass. having just rec’d Sam’s telegram forwarded from NYC. They hadn’t made plans yet but hoped they might accept his “friendly and kind invitation” though Mrs. S. had been “very ill with bronchitis & fever.” They’d been out of the country [MTP].
David Gray wrote from Buffalo.
My Dear Mark: / I will make for your shanty, if nothing occurs to prevent, a week from tonight, & arrange things so I can spend Saturday & Sunday with you. Got back last Saturday & expect my family to stay the month out at Block Island. Hope you & yours are getting safely through the heated term. Will telegraph you on what train I shall get away / Ever Yours / David Gray [MTPO].
August 12 Saturday – Bill paid to D.S. Brooks & Sons, Hartford dealer in “hot air furnaces, cooking ranges, stoves and tin ware, low down grates and Marbelized slate mantles” $9.65 [MTP].
August 13 Sunday – Louis E. Cooke of The Martino Troupe wrote from Buffalo to send Twain a circular for Yankee Robinson’s lecture tour—could he be induced to write a lecture for him? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From an ass about ‘Yankee Robinson’ .”
August 14 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Eustace D. Conway, Moncure’s seventeen-year-old son, who evidently had been working for his father and attempting to interest a play promoter named Taylor in producing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer on the stage. Sam agreed, as the story stood it was not dramatizable and explained:
“…but by turning & twisting some of the incidents, discarding others & adding new ones, that sort of difficulty is overcome by these ingenious dramatists. But I haven’t the head to do it…I hope Mr. Byron can & will do the play” [MTLE 1: 100]. Note: H.J. Byron was Sam’s first choice; he is mentioned in Conway’s Aug.10. The episodic structure of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer perhaps made it difficult to dramatize.
August 16 Wednesday –James H. Dowland wrote from Chicago, “adding a few words” to Dr. Jackson’s letter about Dowland’s lecture. “He has handed me your reply, and I thank you cordially for the encouragement contained in it.” He asked Sam to give him “a helping hand toward success,” as he’d done with Raymond [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Ass”
Gertrude Kellogg wrote from Brooklyn asking Sam to “say a good word” to the chairman of the Lecture Assoc. of Hartford for her. She enclosed a flyer praising her recitations [MTP].
August 18 Friday – Ross R. Winans wrote to Sam; evidently Winans was at Newport when Sam and Livy vacationed there in 1875 and had been witnessed to Sam’s bowling prowess on an impossibly warped single lane with Higginson.
[on Union League Club stationery, Madison ave & 26th St., N.Y.]
My Dear Mr. Clemens,
I received your letter enclosing the photographs of your babies & handed them over to my sister. She was delighted with them & desired me to thank you.
We miss you very much at Newport this summer. We have not so much as entered that bowling alley yet. I doubt very much whether your champion score has been beaten by anyone. From your description I should think you have lit up on a very pleasant summer residence [MTP]. Note: Winans was the son of Thomas DeKay Winans, and grandson of Ross Winan. See Aug 24, 1875 entry.
August 19 & 20 Sunday – David Gray from Buffalo visited with Sam and Livy [MTLE 1: 105, 101-2; MTPO notes Aug. 4 to Fairbanks].
August 20 Sunday – From Townsend Harbor, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, mostly about family matters and fun. He began by asking, however:
“Why don’t you come out with a letter, or speech, or something, for Hayes? I honestly believe that there isn’t another man in the country who could help him so much as you. Do think the matter seriously over” [MTHL 1: 146].
August 21 Monday – Valentine Hammann, secretary of the Executive Committee for the New York Press Club wrote to Sam, inviting Sam to join 200 other members of the Club [MTP]. Note: Sam accepted but his letter confirming has been lost [MTPO notes with Sept. 11 – Oct. 15 to Bladen].
Christian Bernard Tauchnitz (1816-1895) wrote to Sam, c/o Bret Harte, who enclosed it in his Sept. 5 to Clemens.
Mr Sam. Clemens / gott lenke ihn / My dear Sir,
I hope my last lines of March 29 reached you safely and also the payment.
Being desirous to include also the name of your friend Mr. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) in my series, I take the liberty, not knowing his address, to ask you whether you would have the great kindness, to communicate my wish to Mr. Clemens. I think I might begin with his last book “Tom Sawyer,” which would just fill one of my volumes.
I hope, these lines may find you quite well. Pardon me the liberty I have taken.
Believe me always / Yours faithfully / Tauchnitz / Leipzig / Aug 21, 76 [MTP].
August 22 Tuesday – J.M. Drill wrote from Baltimore. Redpath had offered him an evening of Twain on Nov. 21 but “times are so dreadfully hard” that he couldn’t pay the $300 asked [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “No Answer”
August 23 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, who had encouraged Sam to speak or write in support of Hayes in the coming election. Sam realized he’d have to do it in a:
“…natural, justifiable & unlugged way; & shall not then do anything unless I’ve got it all digested & worded just right. In which case I might do some good—in any other I should do harm. When a humorist ventures upon the grave concerns of life he must do his job better than another man or he works harm to his cause” [MTLE 1: 101].
Sam wrote that both the girls were developing whooping cough and that it was getting cold at Quarry Farm and “we want to get away homeward Sept. 5.” Besides working on Huckleberry Finn and preparing to write Prince and the Pauper, Sam wrote only one sketch during the summer, “The Canvasser’s Tale,” which he enclosed in this letter, under the title “The Echo That Didn’t Answer.” It ran in the December Atlantic. Sam planned to read it in Boston on Nov.13 or 14. He asked Howells to send him 3 proofs if he wanted to use it, and he’d send one to the Temple Bar in London. Sam added a note what was probably his most shocking tale: “1601: Conversation, as it was the Social Fireside, in the Time of the Tudors,” or simply 1601. The piece would have been considered pornographic in those days.
“When we exchange visits I’ll show you an unfinished sketch of Elizabeth’s time which shook David Gray’s system up pretty exhaustively” [MTLE 1: 101-2].
August 25 Friday – Will Bowen wrote to Sam. In part:
Dear Sam / It has been a long time since I have heard from you, and I believe mine, was the last letter, but that is a small matter, since in these seriously dull times, the ordinary, little matters do not get their customary attention. When I wrote you last, the old world was wheeling along very smoothly with me, and my business prospects were very flattering, but I regret to confess that such is not now, the case.
I was to have been married this month that they might have a Home and I, a companion, but then circumstances force a delay of that now. Sister Mary is in trouble with her property in Hannibal & needs my assistance, and a thousand things are depressing me. I feel that a letter from my old time friend would be a sweet morsel and when you have the leisure I hope you will recall some of the old feeling, that distance & time & other duties have perhaps dimmed a little & write me a word or two. We have both been through the mill before, “Hard up,” but we were younger then. Hopes were stronger, and the days brighter. I cannot feel that I have come to the end of my happy life—yet strange things overtake men nowadays & mayhap I have. I shall continue the struggle though—bearing along my good name & a brave heart with willing hands.
I am glad that fortune smiles with you—but more so, that you have forced her, so to do.
My Mother & family often speak of you—they are quite well—I believe I told you of Elizas death, in the Asylum.
Where is your Mother & Sister? I hope the good wife & babies are well as also yourself. Sam is here doing nothing
Write me, Sam when you have time. I shall be glad to hear from you ever. Tell me something of the new Book & when we will see it / Yours ever … [MTPO].
August 26 Saturday – The following ran in the New York Herald:
“History has tried hard to teach us that we can’t have good government under politicians. Now, to go and stick one at the very head of the government couldn’t be wise.”
August 28 Monday – Bret Harte’s play, Two Men of Sandy Bar, premiered at the Union Square Theatre in New York. The character of Hop Sing, a California Chinaman, played by Charles T. Parsloe, was used as the centerpiece of Sam and Bret’s Ah Sin [Walker, Phillip 187].
The New York Herald ran a “planned interview” with Sam, where he gave his reasons for supporting Hayes for the presidency. The article ran on page 3 and was titled, “Political Views of a Humorist / Interview with Mark Twain in his Mountain Studio in Chemung—Remarkable Declarations” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 4-7].
Helen M. Chapin (Mrs. Thomas E. Chapin) wrote from Boston to Sam, not knowing that he was in Elmira; she’d sent her box of silhouettes to Hartford [MTP]. See Aug 10.
August 31 Thursday – Sam replied from Elmira to the Aug. 25 from his childhood friend and fellow pilot, Will Bowen. Sam had just read a letter of sentiment tinged with self-pity from his old friend, and let Will have it with a “humble 15-cent dose of salts,” comparing Will’s pie-in-the-sky dreams with those of his brother Orion’s:
It is the strangest, the most incomprehensible thing to me, that you are still 16, while I have aged to 41. What is the secret of your eternal youth? —not that I want to try it; far from it—I only ask out of curiosity. I can see by your manner of speech, that for more than twenty years you have stood dead still in the midst of the dreaminess, the melancholy, the romance, the heroics, of sweet but sappy sixteen. Man, do you know that this is simply mental & moral masturbation? It belongs eminently to the period usually devoted to physical masturbation, & should be left there & outgrown [MTLE 1: 104].
September – Sometime during the month, Sam set aside the manuscript he called “Huck Finn’s Autobiography” after completing about one third of the story. He received so many inquiries about a sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, that he had a response form letter printed [MTLE 2: .iv]. Note: He would not complete HF until 1883.
September 1 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his niece, Annie Moffett Webster. Sam explained why he could not visit Buffalo, and that they would soon be traveling to Hartford and New York, putting off their planned trip to Fredonia. He recommended a gas stove over a coal for his mother, then added that Livy was “utterly & bitterly opposed to the gas stove. She says it is not a fire, but the mere chilly pretense of one. She says you must buy one of those beautiful [tile Stoves].” Livy supplied the words “tile Stoves” [MTLE 1: 105].
September 2 Saturday – Sherrard Clemens (1820-1880) wrote to Sam, clippings enclosed.
Dear Sir: / I regret, very deeply, to see, that you have announced your adhesion to that inflated bladder, from the bowels of Sarah Burchard, Rutherford Burchard Hayes. You come, with myself, from Gregory Clemens, the regicide, who voted for the death of Charles and who was beheaded, disembolled, and drawn in a hurdle. It is good, for us, to have an ancestor, who escaped the ignominy of being hung. But, I would rather have, such an ancestor, than adhere, to such a pitiful ninnyhammer, as Hayes, who is the mere, representative, of wall street brokers, three ball men, Lombardy Jews, European Sioux, class legislation, special privileges to the few, and denial of equality of taxation, to the many—the most convenient pimp, of the bondholders and office holders, about 150 thousand people, against over 40.000.000.
If you have any more opinions for newspaper scalpers, it might be well, for your literary reputation, if you, should keep them to yourself, unless you desire to be considered a “Political Innocent Abroad.” / Your relative, in nubibus, / Sherrard Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From a Fool”
September 4 Monday – Helen M. Chapin wrote to Sam: “You have made me very happy by enjoying my small joke” [MTP]. Note: see Aug 10, 28 from Helen.
September 5 Tuesday – The Clemens family left Quarry Farm for Hartford by way of New York City [The Twainian, Nov-Dec. 1956 p.3, June 2, 1911 letter from Susan Crane to Paine].
In New York, Bret Harte wrote to Sam, enclosing the Aug. 21 note from Baron Christian B. Tauchnitz offering to take Sam’s work into his European series, beginning with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
[Harte:] I have received the enclosed note to-day. / The Baron is a good fellow. Considering the fact that we have no copyright on the Continent, and that he could steal but wont, and that his editions are the perfection of letter press, and that to be on his list is a kind of guarantee to the English reading people there I’d advise you to accept his offer. He will send you from £50 to £100 according to the size of the book—as a gratuity. Of course his books are contraband in England, it doesn’t interfere with your rights there [Duckett 99].
Harte asked again about Bliss, who had promised to bring out Gabriel Conroy by Sept. 1, yet Harte had heard nothing. “You are a stockholder in the Concern. Shore him up,” Harte wrote.
September 6 Wednesday – The Clemenses registered at the St. James Hotel in New York, where they spent the next few days, arriving back in Hartford on Sept. 11 [MTPO Notes with Sept. 1 to Moffett from the N.Y. Herald and the N.Y. Tribune].
NYC temperatures ranged from 73-52 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
September 7-11 Monday – In either New York or Hartford sometime during this period, Sam wrote a short note to Bret Harte, after taking in Harte’s play, Two Men of Sandy Bar at the Union Square Theatre in New York. Harte had sold the play to actor Stuart Robson for $3,000 plus $50 for each performance during its first season, a price Harte came to regret [MTPO].
“I saw your piece last night, my dear Bret, for the first time, & did not laugh once, for the simple reason that you have sold that piece for a sum you should have received for three months’ performance of it.”
Sept. 7 NYC temperatures ranged from 65-62 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
September 8 Friday – The Clemenses were still in New York.
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam. He’d received and would print “The Canvasser’s Tale,” about a man who collects echoes. Howells suffered from dysentery after returning home from Townsend Harbor, but finished the campaign bio for Hayes in twenty-two days. Once again Howells asked Sam, “Do you intend to speak or write any politics? I hope you do…” [MTHL 1: 149]. Note: Howells’ hasty bio of Rutherford B. Hayes sold fewer than 3,000 copies [n3].
NYC temperatures ranged from 74-62; 0.06 inches of rain fell [NOAA.gov].
September 9 Saturday – NYC temperatures ranged from 72-61 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
September 10 Sunday – The Clemenses were still in New York. Sam’s notes in Hyppolyte Taine’s The Ancient Regime (1876) state that he finished reading the book on this day, a second reading during the year [Slotta 32]. This was a major sourcebook for both P&P and CY (See also Jan. 29 entry).
NYC temperatures ranged from 66-77 degrees F. with no rain [NOAA.gov].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, forwarding a story that his sister, Anne Thomas Howells, had sent. “See if you can make something of it,” he wrote. Howells agreed that they “must try the Blindfold Novelettes for next year,” that is, stories made from segments done by various authors [MTHL 1: 149].
September 11 Monday – The Clemens family returned home to Hartford [Sept 14 to Fairbanks]. The train trip from Elmira to Hartford took ten hours, and always exhausted Livy. On this trip Sam first hired a sleeping car, which gave the family privacy and lessened the stress for Livy. Their German nursemaid, Rosina Hay, was able to keep the girls occupied and Sam wasn’t bothered by other passengers’ talk and autograph requests. Sam promised that the luxury of a private car would be a permanent one for the family [Willis 103].
September 11 or 18 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Daniel Slote, his old Quaker City excursion buddy, proposing that Dan’s firm of Slote, Woodman & Co. publish his Scrap Book invention.
You see by the above paragraph [describing the Scrap Book] that it is a sound moral work, & this will commend it to editors & clergymen, & in fact to all right feeling people. If you want testimonials I can get them, & of the best sort, & from the best people. One of the most refined & cultivated young ladies in Hartford (daughter of a clergyman) told me herself, with grateful tears standing in her eyes, that since she began using my Scrap Book she has not sworn a single oath [MTLE 1: 108]. Note: Webster Woodman (b. ca 1828) ; Daniel Slote.
September 11-15 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford during this time to Charles H. Bladen (1841-1899), member of the New York Press Club. Sam had received a notice that he’d been elected a member of the club and was invited to their Fall Reception. Sam expressed regret that he would not be able to attend [MTLE 1: 107]. Note: Bladen was a vet of the Civil War and on the NY Times staff from 1870 to 1885.
September 12 Tuesday – Paid, a Sept. 1 bill for a hack used Apr. 26 from E.C. Wheaton, livery, $3 [MTP].
September 12 or 13 Wednesday – Sam made a quick trip to New York City, where he saw Bret Harte who handed him a letter from Christian Bernard Tauchnitz about including one of Sam’s book in Tauchnitz’s series. (See Sept.14 letter) [MTLE 1: 114]. Notes: Tauchnitz was a Leipzig printer from an old German family of publishers. He founded the Library of British and American Authors, a reprint series familiar to anglophone travelers on the continent of Europe. This series consisted of inexpensive, paperbound editions, anticipating modern mass-market paperbacks. Started in 1841, the series eventually ran to over 5,000 volumes.
September 14 Thursday – Sam wrote a note from Hartford to Elisha Bliss reminding him to put a dedication to Livy in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [MTLE 1: 109].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, explaining why they could not travel to Cleveland. Livy was frail, and Sam claimed she was still not over the trip to Fredonia and Canandaigua from two years before. And it seemed that both children were never well at the same time. So Sam did the hard sell for the Fairbanks family to come to Hartford for a visit [MTLE 1: 110].
Sam also wrote to Howells, explaining that details in the sketch, “The Canvasser’s Tale,” or “The Echo That Didn’t Answer,” came from his travels to Italy in 1867. Sam suggested a sarcastic small book about Tilden in the upcoming presidential election (Sam was a Hayes man) and then observed:
“It seems odd to find myself interested in an election. I never was before. And I can’t seem to get over my repugnance to reading or thinking about politics, yet. But in truth I care little about any party’s politics—the man behind it is the important thing” [MTLE 1: 112].
Sam remarked on articles in Atlantic, and a play Howells was working on. He also said he was enjoying Howells’ biography of Rutherford B. Hayes, which had just been released by Hurd & Houghton; it sold fewer than 3,000 copies [MTHL 1: 149].
Sam also wrote to Christian Bernard Tauchnitz. He pointed out the delay in the U.S. edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but supposed from the letter that Tauchnitz possessed an English version. Sam confirmed that save for the dedication to Livy, which he’d forgotten to add in the English edition, the U.S. edition would be without alteration. Sam complimented Tauchnitz on his recognition of the author’s “moral right” to his books [MTLE 1: 114]. Note: Sam claimed to have met Bret Harte in New York on his last trip, but Harte had enclosed Tauchnitz’s letter in one of his own [MTPO Notes].
September 15 Friday – William A. Seaver wrote from NYC.
My dear old man:— / Usually there is a great breeze amongst the snobs of N.Y. who do the briny in yachts, on the occasion of the Annual Yacht race of the N.Y.Y.C. on the third Tuesday of Sept. I am and have been since the 24th of July, a jolly tar, living on board the yacht Petrel avec my wife, and generally one or two gosling girls or tough old matrons as guests. Next Tuesday I shall take the hel-lum, and have invited Judge Brady, Bret Harte, Bromley and Brooks to come and see me do it. Should you have any business in N.Y. on that day, or could make any nefarious pretext to get away from the horrors of home, come down to me. I have bunks on board adapted to any beam, and can make you as jolly as an old sand-boy. / I think the idea has merit. / Yours, / Wm. A. Seaver [MTPO].
“Slang, Slander & Co.” wrote a postcard from Manchester, England to ask:
Do you think that any people, ancient or modern (except the noble Greeks, to whom the Yankees resemble in so many respects) ever accomplished such feats in true art, literature and all higher pursuits of the human mind, which distinguish man from the beast of the field (I forgot: cocktail drinking, chewing and spitting) than the North Americans? / Would you not undertake to read a lecture on his subject to your countrymen in order to make fools wiser and knaves better? [MTP].
September 16 Saturday – Sam declined another invitation, the Sept. 15 from William A. Seaver, who wrote the “Editor’s Drawer” and the “Personal” column for Harper’s. Seaver was “one of the New York boys.”
“My Dear Boy, I can’t. You know me; you know I travel with none but the salt of the earth—never with old salts of the sea, like you. Besides, these parties drink, whom you mention. Therefore there might not be enough for me” [MTLE 1: 115].
Wendell Phillips wrote to Sam: “I ventured to open Smalley telegram from yourself (16 Sept). / In reply am sorry to say I cannot send it to him as I do not know where he is…he shall have your message the moment I happen to reach him” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Wendell Phillips the Orator Sept 76”. Phillips (1811-1884), Boston native, abolitionist, orator and advocate for American Indians.
September 20 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Warren Stoddard, his personal secretary on the first trip to England. Stoddard had written to ask if Sam or his publisher could publish a book of his. Sam advised Stoddard to write to him or Howells and say he wanted a consulship somewhere. Sam reasoned that Hayes would win the election, and since Mrs. Howells was a cousin of Hayes, there might be a connection to use with an “early application.” Where did Stoddard prefer a consulship? [MTLE 1: 116]. Note: Stoddard never received such a post.
Sam also sent a letter and contracts (both now lost) for the Colonel Sellers play to John T. Raymond, who answered on Sept. 25 (see entry) [MTPO Notes with Oct. 27 to Raymond].
September 21 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, promoting Charles Warren Stoddard for a consulship, something Sam expressed was the only thing the man was good for. Sam knew that Hayes would win because of Orion’s “desertion” of the Republican Party. Orion’s choice made:
“…Mr. Tilden’s coming defeat so inflexibly & implacably & absolutely certain. I can always tell which party’s funeral is appointed if I can find out how my brother has made up his mind to vote. For some inscrutable reason God never allows him to vote right” [MTLE 1: 117].
September 22 Friday – In Pepperell, Mass., Howells wrote, agreeing to Sam’s idea of promoting Stoddard, adding, “C.W.S. shall be inspector of consulates. He’s in too good repair for a resident consul. Epilepsy or softening of the brain is requisite: a game arm will not do.” (Stoddard had badly broken his arm falling from a horse in Feb. 1875.) Howells wrote he had a “long letter to write you from Cambridge” [MTHL 1: 155].
September 22? Friday – About this date Sam wrote to Gertrude Kellogg, the actress who won acclaim as Laura Hawkins in the original New York production of Sam’s Gilded Age play, or Colonel Sellers. Sam evidently advised her about dealing with Major Pond of the Boston Lyceum Bureau, since she wrote on Sept. 24 and agreed that his “ideas of moderate prices, to start with,” were right [MTPO].
September 24 Sunday – Gertrude Kellogg wrote to thank Sam for his help “in speaking a good word for me to the Bureau people in Boston, as I have heard you did” [MTPO]. Notes from source: Kellogg had won critical praise in 1874 as Laura Hawkins in the original New York production of Clemens’s Gilded Age play, Colonel Sellers and was returning to the stage.
September 25 Monday – Henry W. Shaw (Josh Billings) wrote a note from NYC. He advised sending Sam one of his books: Josh Billings: His Works, Complete. If Sam should “be seized with a longing to say something tender” then Shaw would be very much pleased. In the book he wrote this inscription:
“To my very good friend Mark Twain, from his very good friend, Josh Billings, with the affection of the author. New York Sept. 25, 1876” [Gribben 639]. Note: illustrated by Thomas Nast.
John T. Raymond wrote to Sam answering his (now lost) letter of Sept. 20 and enclosing contracts. Raymond suggested a clause inserted to limit his liability in case of suits against unauthorized performances of the Colonel Sellers play. Raymond suggested the language of such a clause [MTPO Notes with Oct. 27 to Raymond].
September 27 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John and Alice Hooker Day that he and Livy would be happy to see them on “Friday evening from 7 till 11” [MTLE 1: 119]. Note: Sam & Livy had attended the 1869 Hooker-Day wedding in New York. This note from MTPO:
“This invitation to the Days is the only one known to survive of those sent to an undetermined number of Hartford friends. Susan Warner, wife of Charles Dudley Warner, helped Olivia Clemens write some of the others. Another neighbor, Lilly Warner, informed her husband, George, who was away on business, that the occasion was the Clemenses’ ‘big long talked of party’ and that it ‘went off well.’ Unable to attend herself, she went over beforehand on Friday, 29 September, ‘to see the house’ and the following day described the decorations: ‘No hot-house flowers—except on the sup. table (billiard room.) but wreaths & masses of wild things—clematis maple branches—golden rod— It was a dream of delight’ (Lilly Warner to George Warner, 26 Sept 76, 30 Sept 76, both in CU-MARK).”
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond (1838-1903), who had bought out James Redpath’s Lyceum Bureau the year before. Evidently Sam had agreed to lecture in unspecified “southern engagements,” and had asked his attorney (Perkins) to “work & buy a compromise” out of them. Sam wanted Pond to gain him a release from the engagements if the compromise failed [MTLE 1: 120]. Notes with MTPO state that Perkins advised Sam to exclude this part of the East due to “legal entanglements with an old Baltimore adversary” (Henry C. Lockwood over that old vest-strap patent dispute).
September 29 Friday – In the evening, Sam and Livy entertained Hartford friends in their “big, long talked of party,” that “went off well.” (See Sept. 27 entry.)
Peter Henderson, Seedsman and Florist, New York City receipted $2.50 [MTP].
An unauthorized production of “Mark Twain’s Gilded Age” was performed at the Opera House, Warsaw, Indiana, by the married couple James A. Lord and Louie Lord as Sellers and Laura Hawkins [MTPO Notes with Oct. 27 to Raymond].
September 30 Saturday – Following a noisy torchlight parade with a band and Civil War veteran marchers, Sam gave his first political speech. He spoke for Rutherford B. Hayes at Allyn Hall in Hartford. Though the city was Republican, there was some mud-slinging by supporters of Tilden. Years later Sam would call the vote manipulation in the close election “one of the Republican party’s most cold-blooded swindles.” Sam’s remarks were short, explaining why literary men were lining up behind Hayes. He also put in a plug for General Joseph R. Hawley, who was running for Congress. Sam joked that Hawley had achieved something “incredible”—that is, raising:
“…as high as $121,000 gate money at the Centennial in a single day—and never stole a cent of it!” [Fatout, MT Speaking 97-9, with text of speech].
October – The German edition of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in Leipzig by F.W. Grunow [Norton, Writing The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 90].
October 2 Monday – The Hartford Evening Post ran Sam’s speech of Sept. 30 on page two, “Just Before the Battle.”
Ladies and Gentlemen:—I feel very greatly honored in being chosen to preside at this meeting. This employment is new to me. I never have taken any part in a political canvass before, except to vote. The tribe of which I am the humblest member—the literary tribe—is one which is not given to bothering about politics; but there are times when the strangest departures are justifiable—and such a season, I take it, is the present canvass. Some one asked me the other day, why it was that nearly all the people who write books and magazines had lately come to the front and proclaimed their political preference, since such a thing had probably never occurred before in America; and why it was that almost all of this strange, new band of volunteers marched under the banner of Hayes and Wheeler. I think these people have come to the front mainly because they think they see at last a chance to make this government a good government; because they think they see a chance to institute an honest and sensible system of civil service, which shall so amply prove its worth and worthiness that no succeeding president can ever venture to put his foot upon it. Our present civil system, born of General Jackson and the democratic party, is so idiotic, so contemptible, so grotesque, that it would make the very savages of Dahomey jeer and the very god of solemnity laugh.
We will not hire a blacksmith who never lifted a sledge; we will not hire a school teacher who does not know the alphabet; we will not have a man about us in our business life—in any walk of it, low or high—unless he has served an apprenticeship, and can prove that he is capable of doing the work he offers to do; we even require a plumber to know something (Laughter, and a pause by the speaker) about his business (More laughter); that he shall at least know which side of a gas pipe is the inside (Shouts); but when you come to our civil service we serenely fill great numbers of our minor public offices with ignoramuses; we put the vast business of a custom house in the hands of a flathead who does not know a bill of lading from a transit of Venus (laughter and a pause)—never having heard of either of them before (laughter); under a treasury appointment we pour out oceans of money, and accompanying statistics, through the hands and brain of an ignorant villager who never before could wrestle with a two-weeks’ wash-bill without getting thrown. (Laughter.) Under our consular system we send creatures all over the world who speak no language but their own, and even when it comes to that go wading all their days through the blood of murdered tenses, and flourishing the scalps of mutilated parts of speech. When forced to it we order home a foreign ambassador who is frescoed all over with—with—indiscreetnesses, but we immediately send one in his place whose moral ceiling has a perceptible shady tint to it. And then he brays when we supposed he was going to roar.
We carefully train and educate our naval officers and military men, and we ripen and perfect their capacities through long service and experience, and keep hold of these excellent servants through a just system of promotion. This is exactly what we hope to do with our civil service under Mr. Hayes. (Applause.) We hope and expect to sever that service as utterly from politics as is the naval and military service. And we hope to make it as respectable, too. We hope to make worth and capacity the sole requirements in the civil service, in place of the amount of party dirty work the candidate has done.
By the time General Hawley has finished his speech I think you will know why we, in this matter, put our trust in Hayes, in preference to any other man.
I am not going to say anything about our candidates for state offices, because you know them, honor them, and will vote for them. But General Hawley (applause) being comparatively a stranger, I will say a single word in commendation of him, and it will furnish one of the many reasons why I am going to vote for him for Congress. I ask you to look seriously and thoughtfully at just one almost incredible fact. General Hawley in his official capacity as President of the Centennial commission, has done one thing which you may not have heard commented on, and yet it is one of the most astounding performances of this decade—an act almost impossible, perhaps, to any other public officer in this nation. General Hawley has taken as high as a hundred and twenty-one thousand dollars gate-money at the Centennial in a single day—(Pause and applause)—and never stole a cent of it! (Laughter and loud cheers.)
October 4 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam responded with a short note to William Seaver’s request for a miscellaneous article, probably for Harper’s. Sam wrote, “I can’t, old man—am too busy” [MTLE 1: 122]. Sam began collaborating with Bret Harte for a stage play, Ah Sin [MTLE 1: 124].
October 5 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short letter to his attorney, Charles E. Perkins, enclosing a piece of plagiarism that was:
“…made up of paragraphs taken bodily from my various books, & idiotically strung together upon the thin thread of a silly love tale.” Should Sam go to the expense of an injunction? [MTLE 1: 123].
October 7 Saturday – Bill paid to Paul Thompson for straw, etc. delivered Sept. 30. $14.60 [MTP].
October 8 Sunday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam. He liked the idea of the “blind novelettes,” (see Oct. 12 entry) and his owners were “crazy over it,” though he saw difficulties in persuading people to write them. He confessed the failure of the bio he’d done on Hayes, and “bills continue to come in with unabated fierceness.” He also praised Sam’s Sept. 30 speech, which he felt was “civil service reform in a nutshell” [MTHL 1: 155-6].
October 10 Tuesday – Sam completed the plot for his contribution to Ah Sin, a collaboration with Bret Harte for a stage play [MTLE 1: 124].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote a short note to Sam, asking for “at least a spitting your spite at somebody or something” for the “Contributors’ Club,” a new feature of pieces published anonymously [MTHL 1: 156]. Note: Howells added this feature as a way to prop up declining circulation of Atlantic. The feature was fun for contributors and readers alike, who would guess who wrote the articles.
October 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, covering a lot of ground. First, Sam didn’t think he’d be able to do anything for the January Atlantic issue. He’d spent the whole day “clearing off a fortnight’s accumulating correspondence,” and would take it out on Howells. Sam wrote about the collaboration with Bret Harte in writing a play. He was to contribute the character of Scotty Briggs from Buck Fanshaw’s funeral in Roughing It, and Harte was to put in a Chinaman from his Sandy Bar play, which was adapted by Harte from one of his short stories, “Mrs. Thompson’s Prodigal.” Sandy Bar was “neither an artistic nor a commercial success,” [Walker, Phillip 187] but a minor character, Charles T. Parsloe, in the role of Hop Sing, a California Chinaman, was the bright spot in the play. Harte was then encouraged to write a play around Parsloe and Hop Sing, which became Ah Sin, the stage play.
Sam wrote he’d just finished his plot contribution, working “8 or 9 hours a day” for six days, “& [it] has nearly killed me.” Sam asked Howells to have the words, “Ah Sin, a Drama” printed in the middle of a note-paper page and send it to him to use in the copyright application. Sam didn’t want anyone to know the play was being written.
The rest of the letter dealt with giving a song away that Sam had evidently composed; the servants and how he’d taught his man George to lie to unwelcome visitors; and his condolences that Howell’s biography of Hayes wasn’t selling well. Sam asked for three proofs of his December article, “The Canvasser’s Tale” [MTLE 1: 126].
Sam also wrote a one-liner to James B. Pond; he seemed to “be in a tolerable fair way to compromise with that Baltimore man,” but wasn’t sure yet [MTLE 1: 127].
Arthur Cooper wrote from London to Sam, re: Clews, Habicht & Co. “I beg to inform you that, acting under the Authority of your proxy dated 3rd August 1876, I have this day paid Mr. A. Lidington the sums of £31.15.3 and £9.10.7 respectively, on £254.2.3 amount of your admitted proof in this matter.” [MTP].
October 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells about his “blind novelette” idea. His scheme was to write a plot of his own design and hand it out to other noted writers, each writing his own version of the story. Howells would publish all of the versions in the Atlantic. The other writers resisted the idea, and Sam concluded that they were intimidated to follow his lead. Sam suggested anonymously presenting a story to them, repeating the suggestion made by Charles Dudley Warner that the story came from an estate. Sam suggested others to start the ball rolling:
Won’t Mr. Holmes? Won’t Henry James? Won’t Mr. Lowell, & some more of the big literary fish? If we could ring in one or two towering names beside your own, we wouldn’t have to beg the lesser fry very hard. Holmes, Howells, Harte, James, Aldrich, Warner, Trobridge, Twain—now there’s a good & godly gang—team, I mean—everything’s a team, now.
If we fail to connect, here, I’ll start it anonymously in Temple Bar & see if I can’t get the English Authors to do it up handsomely. It would make a stunning book to sell on railway trains [MTLE 1: 128]. Note: James Russell Lowell, Oliver Wendell Holmes.
October 14 Saturday – Twichell’s journal:
“Walked to Farmington and back with M.T. and C.D.W. [Mark Twain and Charles Dudley Warner] —a most delightful day. The delicious grapes at Mrs Whitmore’s, lunched at Mr. Gray’s and called on Miss Mary Perkins at Miss Porter’s school” [Yale, copy at MTP].
This entry of Twichell’s fits the day Sam went to hear Georgia Cayvan speak, though Twichell does not mention her. In his Nov. 20, 1906 A.D. Sam recalled Miss Cayvan after reading of her death:
I knew Georgia Cayvan thirty years ago. She was so young then, and so innocent and ignorant. that life was a joy to her. She did not need to say so in words; it beamed from her eyes and expressed itself—almost shouted itself—in her attitudes, her carriage, the tones of her voice, and in all her movements. It was a refreshment to a jaded spirit to look at her. She was a handsome creature….She was just starting in life; just making tentative beginnings toward earning her bread. She had taken lessons in the Delsarte elocution methods, and was seeking pupils, with the idea of teaching that art. She came to our house in Hartford every day, during a month or two, and her class came there to learn. Presently she tried her hand as a public reader. Once, when she was to read to the young ladies in Miss Porter’s celebrated school in Farmington, eight miles back in the country, I went out there and heard her. She was not yet familiar enough with the arbitrary Delsarte gestures to make them seem easy and natural, and so they were rather machine-like, and marred her performance; but her voice and her personality saved the day and won the praises of the house [AMT 2: 278, 581]. Note: Georgia Cayvan had a meteoric career on stage (1887-1894) and died of syphilis. Miss Sarah Porter’s boarding school for girls in Farmington, Conn., established in 1843. Sarah Porter (1813-1900); today the school has been called the top US boarding school for girls.
October 16 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note to his attorney, Charles E. Perkins about the preparation of a list of taxable items for the Hartford tax assessors [MTLE 1: 129].
October 17 Tuesday ca. – Xantippe (“Tip”) Saunders wrote to Sam (not extant) but referred to by Sam in his Oct. 19 reply [Oct. 19 to Saunders].
October 18 Wednesday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam about “putting the Atlantic people up to a little enterprise,” –the publication of “one-number stories from the Atlantic” [MTHL 1: 161].
October 19 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his cousin Mary Ann Pamelia Xantippe “Tip” Saunders (1838-1922), who was born in Kentucky and studied art in New York. She was the first listing for “artist” in the 1874 Louisville phone book, and later ran an art school there. Tip had written asking to visit. Tip was the daughter of Ann Hancock Saunders, half-sister of John Marshall Clemens. Sam replied they would very much like her to come, but that he was:
“…getting ready for a brief reading-tour which begins Nov. 10 & ends Nov. 23, & so I couldn’t see as much of you as I would like to, until after the latter date…can you come next Wednesday or Thursday?”
Sam offered to meet her at the Hartford train depot, white handkerchief tied around one of his arms.
“…when you step from the train, don’t hesitate to put yourself in charge of the first man you meet who bears that sign” [MTLE 1: 130].
Note: The name “Pamela” is found as “Pamelia” or “Parmelia,” perhaps accounting for accent-spellings or dialect. Sam’s sister Pamela was named “Pamelia” but was always referred to as Pamela.
Pamelia (Goggin) Clemens (1775-1844) was married first to Samuel Clemens (d. 1805) and, after his death, to Simon Hancock of Adair County, Kentucky. Her son by her first marriage, John Marshall Clemens (1798-1847), was the father of American author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain). Her children by her second marriage were: Ann Hill Hancock, Mary G. Hancock, Pamelia G. Hancock, and a son whose name is unknown. Ann Hill Hancock married William H. Saunders of England; they had a daughter, Mary Ann Pamela Xantippe (Tippy) and a son, James Saunders.
When Ann died (ca. 1841) William Saunders married her sister, Mary G. Hancock. Mary Hancock Saunders is said to be the inspiration for her nephew Mark Twain’s “Aunt Polly” in The Adventures of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. <http://oasis.harvard.edu:10080/oasis/deliver/~hou00117>
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person:
The book has come & I promise myself much pleasure in reading it. So I offer you my thanks in advance.
I was going to see Mrs. [Mary] Shoot & Miss Mollie [Shoot] when I was last in N Y, but the business I was on kept me clear up to train time. Can’t write to Daly; I don’t know him well enough; but I had talked with him once, & shall sieze the first opportunity to do it again [MTLE 1: 131]. Note: Mollie’s mother was Mary J. Shoot (b. 1822), dealer in millinery items in Hannibal, at this time living with her daughter Mollie in NYC.
October 20 Friday – Sam sent his attorney, Charles E. Perkins, a postcard advising him of the receipt of “the Philadelphia checks for $1000 & $514” [MTLE 1: 132].
October 22 Sunday – The NY Sun, p. 4, ran what Budd calls “A comic, spurious interview” with Sam titled, “Mark Twain / An Extract from a Private Letter to a Gentleman of This City” [Interviews 1].
October 23 Monday – Sam had received the printed page back from Howells, naming the Ah Sin drama, himself and Bret Harte and the year—for copyright. He wrote to A. Spofford, Librarian of Congress for copyright application. The letter was stamped COPYRIGHT OCT 25 1876 [MTLE 1: 133].
October 25 Wednesday – Sam answered a letter from an unidentified woman (perhaps Miss Wood) who had been in Memphis to help the injured and dying from the Pennsylvania boiler explosion that killed Sam’s brother Henry. Sam could not recall the person and answered that he didn’t like to think about that week in Memphis for the horror of it. He remembered and was forever thankful for the help that the city gave to his brother and to the victims of the tragedy.
What I do remember, without the least trouble in the world, is, that when those sixty scalded & mutilated people were thrown upon her hands, Memphis came forward with a perfectly lavish outpouring of money & sympathy, & that this did not fail & die out, but lasted through to the end.
Do you remember how the physicians worked?—& the students—the ladies—& everybody? I do. If the rest of my wretched memory was taken away, I should still remember that. And I remember the names (& vaguely the faces) of the friends with whom I lodged, & two who watched with me—& you may well believe that I remember Dr. Peyton. What a magnificent man he was! What healing it was just to look at him & hear his voice! [MTLE 1: 134].
Sam added that he planned a trip down the river for the spring of 1878 and hoped to see the woman again, possibly as his guest in Hartford, to “break bread & eat salt with me.”
October 26 Thursday – Sam wrote to William Cullen Bryant. This is another letter soliciting feedback on one George Vaughan, a Virginia writer who authored Progressive Religious and Social Poems (see Oct. 25, 1875 to the editor of the Hartford Courant). Vaughan professed to be engaged in establishing a normal school for colored people in Virginia and that many prominent people, Bryant among them, had contributed to his fund. Sam discovered that Vaughan’s claim of Secretary of State Blaine was bogus and began a letter writing campaign to expose the fraud.
“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 decoy than his feeble ‘endorsements.’ / Very Truly Yrs / Saml L. Clemens (Mark Twain)” [eBay item 280342636289; May 6, 2009].
Frank Fuller wrote to Sam, enclosing a NY Herald clipping from Sat. Oct. 21, “A Petroleum Plot” which is what Twain wrote on the env. Fuller was into some scheme involving a new kind of still [MTP].
October 27 Friday – Sam dictated a letter from Hartford to John T. Raymond, who was in Toronto, Canada and who evidently had made objections to terms in their agreement to continue in his role of Col. Sellers in the play Gilded Age, which was eventually called Colonel Sellers. Sam wrote that he had supposed they might meet but he was going to Europe “for a year or two” with his family in April. Sam agreed to “Leave the Laura clause out & trust it to your honesty,” and to prosecute no more than five cases of piracy of the play during the next three years, provided such cases were east of the western boundary of Missouri. Litigating cases in the far west was too expensive, Sam said, and not worth the trouble anyway. Sam felt these conditions would remove Raymond’s objections. Sam had his attorney, Charles E. Perkins, copy the letter [MTLE 1: 135].
October 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Ellen D. Conway, Moncure’s wife, apologizing for thinking he had answered her letter of two months before, but discovering that he had not. Ellen’s letter concerned the electrotypes, cost and disposition of which Sam had offered to absorb. Since the Clemens family would be sailing for England in April, Sam offered to ship the plates back then, with no hard feelings toward Andrew Chatto, who hadn’t liked what Elisha Bliss charged and had not used them [MTLE 1: 136].
November 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Jacob H. Burrough, Sam’s St. Louis roommate at the Pavey’s in 1854, who had written about Will Bowen being remarried. Burrough had recently traveled through New York, and his letter to Sam recalled a young Sam Clemens. Sam responded:
As you describe me I can picture myself as I was, 22 years ago. The portrait is correct. You think I have grown some; upon my word there was room for it. You have described a callow fool, a self-sufficient ass, a mere human tumble-bug, stern in the air, heaving at his bit of dung & imagining he is re-modeling the world & is entirely capable of doing it right….That is what I was at 19-20 [MTB: 103].
Note: Paine misidentifies this Burrough as Frank E. Burrough, Frank was Jacob’s son, who Sam wrote to in 1900 (see Aug. 7, 1854 entry).
Sam confessed he had scalded Will Bowen in his last letter and had not received a reply, but had done it for Will’s sake, to shake him out of his “sham sentimentality” which gave Sam “the bowel complaint” [MTLE 1: 139].
Sam also sent a correspondence card to Charles J. Langdon, explaining why he had not granted the favor requested; he also extended family greetings. The writing was not Sam’s but the signature was, so Sam no doubt dictated it to a secretary [MTLE 1: 140].
November 2 Thursday – Sam wrote a correspondence card of alarm from Hartford to Moncure Conway:
“Belford Bros., Canadian thieves, are flooding America with a cheap pirated edition of Tom Sawyer. I have just telegraphed Chatto to assign Canadian copyright to me, but I suppose it is too late to do any good. We cannot issue for 6 weeks yet, & by that time Belford will have sold 100,000 over the frontier & killed my book dead.” Sam estimated it might cost him as much as $10,000 and that he would spend that much to “choke off those pirates.” Sam asked, did Chatto give Belford permission to publish? [MTLE 1: 141].
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam: “I really thought election day would be next Wednesday—but find out it is Tuesday—so my wife & self must leave Hartford Tuesday by the 12-25 or 12-54 train. You would have been stuck for two nights if I did not want to vote for Hayes & Wheeler.” [MTP].
November 4 Saturday – Moncure Conway wrote from London to Sam.
You will, dear Clemens, receive by this mail my assignment of that copyright of Tom S which you asked for—both in this country & Canada. It went to my heart to part with copyright in Tom. There seemed to me millions in it. Much goods laid up for many years. Alas—Richness hath wings—Tempus fugit—i.e. Tom flies. I am happy to say that our edition of 2000 has nearly gone & I shall be able to send the wife & bairns a snug Xmas turkey! For a 7s6d edition this is not bad—our illustrated book has yet to come—and in the far distance shoals of railway Toms. Goodbye, Mark. Be happy and you will be virtuous (not however by too much intimacy with Ben Butler)/ Thine / Conway / In the assignment fill up the L in your name—which I ridiculously forgot—if I ever knew [MTPO].
November 5 Sunday – Bret Harte attended services at Twichell’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church. From Twichell’s journal:
“After evening service went over with H. to M.T.’s and had a very pleasant hour with Bret Harte” [Yale 114].
November 6 Monday – Joe Twichell and Charles Warner were walking to the Tower and stopped at Sam’s to see if he’d like to go. From Twichell’s journal:
“…there found Bret Harte and had some little talk with him. I had seen him and been introduced to him before but this was the first time I ever had a chance to taste his personal flavor. Well, I don’t know what I did think of him” [Yale 114]. Note: in 1907 Sam recalled uncertainly that it was Nov. 7 when Harte “suddenly appeared at my house in Hartford and remained there during the following day—election day.” It must have been Nov. 5 or 6.
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland, “tender and tortured” that her recent eastern trip did not include “my little Hartford heaven.” She wrote of her and husband going to the Centennial—a long, folksy, verbose letter [MTP].
November 7 Tuesday – The day Clemens recalled Bret Harte “suddenly” appearing at his house “and remaining there during the following day” [AMT 2: 424]. However, Twichell’s journal shows Sam did not correctly recall the date, since Twichell and Harte visited the Clemenses on Sunday, Nov. 5 (see entry). Clemens also recalled the claim of Harte, that he did not wish to vote on election day as he’d obtain the promise of a consulship from both candidates, Samuel J. Tilden and Rutherford B. Hayes. Sam made light of Harte’s claim and of his character.
November 8 Wednesday – Election day – Sam telegraphed Howells that he’d “love to steal a while away from every cumbering care and while returns come in today lift up my voice & swear” [MTLE 1: 142]. Note: Sam parodied the first verse of a popular hymn by Phoebe Hinsdale Brown (1783-1861), one included in Henry Ward Beecher’s Plymouth Collection of Hymns: “I love to steal, awhile, away / From every cumbering care, / And spend the hours of setting day / In humble, grateful prayer.”
Bill paid $20.25 to Hydel & Cullen, Hartford mfg tin, copper, sheet-iron ware, stoves, gutters, &c. for stove and labor [MTP].
November 9 Thursday – Rutherford B. Hayes won the election and Sam sent Howells a telegram of that old hymn: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow praise him all creatures here below…” etc. [MTLE 1: 143].
November 13 Monday – Sam read “The McWilliamses and the Membranous Croup,” “My Late Senatorial Secretaryship,” and “Encounter With an Interviewer” at the Academy of Music in Brooklyn, New York. Also on the program were Emma Thursby, a well-known operatic soprano, and a group of singers called the Young Apollo Glee Club [Brooklyn Eagle, Nov. 9 & 11, 1876 p1].
November 14 Tuesday – Sam gave a reading at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, for the Star Course of Lectures under Thomas B. Pugh. This reading was similar to his Nov. 13 performance in Brooklyn [MTPO: See advertisements in Philadelphia Public Ledger, Nov. 13 & 14, p1].
November 15 Wednesday – Andrew Chatto wrote from England, likely enclosed in Conway’s of the following day. “The telegram to Belford Bros. that Tom Sawyer is English copyright must strengthen Mark Twain’s hands….But I imagine the serious injury to Twain is their flooding the American market with copies—against this no one can stand so well as Mark Twain himself” [MTP].
November 16 Thursday – Moncure Conway wrote from England, responding to Sam’s Nov. 2 alarm of the Belford piracy of Tom Sawyer. Conway wrote:
“I immediately held a council of war with Chatto, and…I send you the result of our cogitations….We considered it best to telegraph Belford yesterday with these words:—‘Tom Sawyer is English copyright. Chatto’” [MTPO Notes with Nov. 2, 1876 to Conway].
Reginald Cholmondeley wrote that Clemens, Lady Jones and Miss Jones “are positively engaged to home to Condover on the first Monday in August 77 at 4.30 PM” [MTP].
November 18 Saturday – Bill paid to A.K. Talcott for a Nov. 14 purchase, $4.80 [MTP].
November 21 Tuesday – Sam gave a reading at the Music Hall in Boston, similar to his Nov. 13 performance in Brooklyn [Schmidt: See Boston Daily Globe, “The Mark Twain Combination,” November 20, 1876, p.5; Boston Daily Globe, “On the Platform,” November 22, 1876, p.8].
While in Boston, Sam stayed with Howells, who recalled the visits in My Mark Twain:
He would come to stay at the Parker House, in Boston, and take a room, where he would light the gas and leave it burning, after dressing, while he drove out to Cambridge and stayed two or three days with us. Once, I suppose it was after a lecture, he came in evening dress and passed twenty-four hours with us in that guise, wearing an overcoat to hide it when we went for a walk. Sometimes he wore the slippers which he preferred to shoes at home, and if it was muddy, as it was wont to be in Cambridge, he would put a pair of rubbers over them for our rambles. He liked the lawlessness and our delight in allowing it, and he rejoiced in the confession of his hostess, after we had once almost worn ourselves out in our pleasure with the intense talk, with the stories and the laughing, that his coming almost killed her, but it was worth it .
November 22 Wednesday – Sam gave a reading at the Academy of Music in Chelsea, Mass., similar to his Nov. 13 performance in Brooklyn [Schmidt]. Note: MTHL 1: 166n5 lists this lecture as Nov. 23. Also notes with Oct. 19 to Tip Saunders MTPO.
November 24 Friday – Sam gave a reading in Providence, R. I., and then returned home to Hartford. The reading was similar to his Nov. 13 performance in Brooklyn. Sam and Livy entertained Charles and Susan Warner for dinner. Joe and Harmony Twichell dropped by [Schmidt; MTLE 1: 144].
November 25 Saturday – In the evening Sam and Livy dined with Charles and Susan Warner. The Twichells “dropped in” as well. Sam read Winny Howells’ letter and poem, “and they were received with great & honest applause” [Nov. 26 to Howells].
November 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells while the rest of the family went to church, even Fanny Hesse, his personal secretary (Charles Dudley Warner’s sister-in-law). The letter touches a half-dozen topics, from Dean Sage trying to persuade Twichell to travel in Europe with him, to a sideboard Livy wanted, to Sam’s impulse shopping at D.P. Ives & Co., to the entertainment of the prior evening [MTLE 1: 144].
November 27 Monday – Livy’s 31st birthday. Sam gave her a copy of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s (1772-1834) The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1876): “To Livy L. Clemens / Nov. 27, 1876. / From S. L. Clemens” [Gribben 152].
November 28 Tuesday – In London, Moncure Conway wrote to Sam:
“Chatto writes in some anxiety about your new book on the North Pole. I told him you would naturally let him have it. He has done admirably by Tom Sawyer; we shall soon send you the money for 2000…” [MTPO Notes with Dec. 13 to Conway]. Note: the “North Pole” book was a rumor published on Nov. 25 in the London Athenæum .
November 29Wednesday – Sam, upset that he had not received a response from De Quille, wrote from Hartford:
“Please sell me that confounded stock & send me the remains…This makes ten letters I have written you without getting an answer….you only write when you want me to run your darned publisher, Dan” [MTLE 1: 145]. Note: The Big Bonanza book, Sam’s relative success, and Dan’s problems with alcohol and his reactions to Sam’s paternalism over the stocks—all caused a rift between the two that would never be completely healed.
Phineas T. Barnum wrote to Sam, enclosing another “queer letter.” He wrote, “As you are the only ‘travelling gentleman’ whom I know—and as you are fond of literary companions, especially if ‘American by berth’ I would suggest that you consult Mrs Clemens in regard to your engaging my interesting correspondent whose letter I enclose and who must ‘lavish’ her ‘afectons’ somewhere very soon for she is in ‘despare!’ ” [MTP].
November 30 Thursday – Sam’s 41st birthday was also Thanksgiving Day. From Twichell’s journal:
“Called on M.T.’s and found Bret Harte there again (He and M. are writing a play together) and had some talk with him” [Yale 126].
In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam and enclosed Millet’s letter (about painting Sam’s portrait). Howells also challenged Sam to write something better than “Helen’s Babies,” to “write what you said at dinner the other day about it.” Howells added about Sam’s recent visit for his Boston lectures,
Your visit was a perfect ovation for us; we never enjoy anything so much as those visits of yours. The smoke and the Scotch and the late hours almost kill us; but we look each other in the eyes when [you] are gone, and say what a glorious time it was, and air the library, and begin sleeping and dieting, and longing to have you back again [MTHL 1: 165].
December – Sam’s story, “The Canvasser’s Tale,” was published in the December issue of Atlantic Monthly. Wilson calls the story “an extravagant burlesque of human eccentricities that depends upon hyperbole for its comic effect” [Wilson 21; Wells 22].
December 1 Friday – Isabella Beecher Hooker took a friend to see the Clemens’ home. Andrews observes that “the whole neighborhood felt free to show it to those who had not seen it” . Isabella also ran into Bret Harte there, and “felt almost a dislike of him….” She had “an uncomfortable interview” during her visit with Sam that Andrews says “grew in importance as she thought about it, despite her realization that she might be oversensitively magnifying its significance.” From Isabella’s diary:
I joked him about not caring for a pretty lamp shade after he found it so very cheap—& he was vexed and said something about things going round the neighborhood & explained that he had no knowledge or taste himself & so when an established house said a thing was good & charged a good price for it he felt sure that it was worthy of Livy & and that was all he cared for. I said oh that was handsomely said but really as a matter of fact I thought one often paid a high price for a homely article under such circumstances—which he didn’t seem to like & again spoke of being talked about. When I said why it was all a joke as I heard it & retailed it—& one so given to joking as himself musnt mind it etc—but his eyes flashed & he looked really angry… .
December 1 or 2 Saturday – Sam went alone to New York City, where he stayed at the St. James Hotel [MTLE 1: 149]. The nature of his business there is unknown. NYC temperatures ranged from 19-14 degrees F. with no precipitation [NOAA.gov].
December 2 Saturday – In the evening Sam dined with “those leddy-hets till 12, then went to bed” [MTLE 1: 149]. Note: The “leddy-hets” (Clara Clemens’ pronunciation of “leatherheads”) are unidentified.
NYC temperatures ranged from 24-15 degrees F. with no precipitation [NOAA.gov].
December 3 Sunday – Sam wrote from the St. James Hotel in New York to Livy. James R. Osgood visited Sam at his hotel around noon. Mrs. T. B. Aldrich had also called and he would soon return her call. He wrote that he’d “used no whisky or other liquor to sleep on [but] was utterly tired out.” NYC temperatures ranged from 35-24 degrees F. with no precipitation [NOAA.gov].
December 4 Monday – In Cambridge, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, enclosing a letter from Belford Brothers to Howells Nov. 29. The Belfords wanted the right to publish Sam’s future contributions to the Atlantic. “We would be willing to pay liberally for the right to publish them in the magazine, although the law allows us to pirate them.” “What answer?” Howells asked [MTHL 1: 166]. (See Dec. 5 for Sam’s answer.)
NYC temperatures ranged from 35-25 degrees F. with no precipitation [NOAA.gov].
December 5 Tuesday – Sam was back in Hartford. He dictated a letter through Fanny C. Hesse to George Bentley of the London literary magazine, Temple Bar. Sam sent a “charming little love story” by Bret Harte asking that Bentley “pay him whatever was fair for such use of it” [MTLE 1: 150]. Note: the story was “Thankful Blossom: A Romance of the Jerseys, 1779,” and the Temple Bar did not publish it. In his 1904 autobiographical dictations Sam referred to the writing and sale of the story to Charles A. Dana of the New York Sun. See MTPO notes with this letter.
Sam also sent a short letter to Dr. John Brown of Scotland, recommending Dean Sage to call upon them. Sam sent Christmas wishes from the family [MTLE 1: 151].
Sam also sent a post card to Howells, asking if there was another magazine in Toronto or Montreal he could give advanced sheets to, because Belford Brothers: “…the miserable thieves couldn’t buy a sentence from me for any money” [MTLE 1: 152].
December 6 Wednesday – Christian Bernard Tauchnitz wrote from Leipzig, Germany to Sam.
My dear Sir, / In consequence of your kind letter of Sept 14 I have added your “Tom Sawyer” to my series. It filled one of my little volumes. I have printed it from the London edition, in adding the dedication you wished.
I take the liberty of ordering my bankers in London, Messrs Fruhling & Goschen, that the amount of Five Hundred German Mark[s] (Gold) shall be paid to you at Hartford, which please to accept for your authorization.
I shall be happy to send you copies of my edition, if you will kindly name me the number you wish and if you will take the necessary steps at the Custom House of the U.S.
Hoping to see our relations continued I am / Yours very truly / Tauchnitz [MTPO].
December 8 Friday – The release date for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [Camfield, bibliog.]. Hirst gives this as the date “the earliest copies of the first edition came from the bindery” [“A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. Only 23,638 copies were sold the first year, and less than 29,000 by the end of 1879, providing only half the income of The Gilded Age [Emerson 95].
Sam ordered a copy of Albert Deane Richardson’s Beyond the Mississippi (1867) from American Publishing Co. Sam had also ordered a copy of the book in Oct. 1870. It was briefly mentioned in Roughing It. Sam later credited Richardson for advising him on publishing Innocents Abroad. He was billed for the book on Feb. 1, 1877 [Gribben 577].
December 9 Saturday – Moncure Conway wrote to Sam offering followup in the Belford piracy matter for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Belford was doubtful Sam’s copyright was valid in Canada, but Chatto would continue the fight. Legal remedies open to Sam and Chatto would only led to a Pyrrhic victory, since penalties for violation of the 1875 Canadian copyright act were small, and the damage done to U.S. sales of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer were a fait accompli. Therefore, no injunction to restrain Belford’s acts was sought. [MTPO Notes with Nov. 2, 1876 to Conway].
December 11 Monday – Charles Perkins, Sam’s attorney, had advised that John T. Raymond was still waiting for a contract for the next season. Sam asked if Perkins would draw it and let him see it first; also that he had another contract to be drawn and a deed for Perkins to squint at [MTLE 1: 153].
Elisha Bliss wrote to Sam: “The difficulty is that we have to prove that the news dealer knew it was a copyrighted book, to sustain our case. Such has been the construction put upon the law by lawyers. It is hard doing this. Everyone will claim they did not know ….I send Orion some of our notices to serve on any one he has opportunity to…” [MTP].
December 12 Tuesday – William Borden, president of the New England Society in the City of New York, wrote to Sam, confirming his agreement to speak at their annual dinner on Dec. 22, and waiving their normal ten-minute rule: “…for I am quite sure that we cant get too much of the author of Innocents Abroad” [MTPO Notes with Dec. 20 to Perkins].
December 13 Wednesday – Sam dictated a letter in Hartford through Fanny Hesse to Moncure Conway. Sam had discovered that English copyright in Canada needed to be recorded in Canada within 60 days after publication in England. So, his English copyright was worthless in Canada.
Its a mistake, I am not writing any new book. Belford has taken the profits all out of “Tom Sawyer.” We find our copywright law here to be nearly worthless, and if I can make a living out of plays, I shall never write another book. For the present I have placed the three books in mind, in the waste basket, but if I should write one of them, Chatto shall have a say in it.
Sam hoped to see Conway in London in April. Sam closed with:
P.S. Have just written a new play with Bret Harte, which we expect great things from, tho’ of course we may be disappointed [MTLE 1: 154].
December 14Thursday – Sam acted as auctioneer at the Union’s Fair in Hartford.
“The Sale of the Jabberwocks”
The remarkable collection of subterranean creatures, known as the Jabberwocks, now on exhibition at the Union’s fair, are to be sold at auction this evening by Mark Twain as auctioneer. They were found underground and recognized almost by accident, it must have been, at first, but now that their identity is made known, they are evidently what they are. Mr. Clemens will explain the history of the “Beamish Boy Galumping Home,” afford an opportunity to secure the “Momerath Outgrubing,” and the “Slithy Tove upon a Tumtum Tree,” and suggest points in the biography of the “Freemious Bandersnatch,” and so forth. The Mud March Hare and the Mock Turtle that wept to think it was not a real turtle may also be had for a price. — Hartford Courant, December 14, 1876 [Schmidt].
December 15 Friday – Moncure Conway wrote to Sam. In part:
My dear Clemens / A paragraph in the Cin. Commercial says “Mark Twain and Bret Harte are said to be writing a play together.” If ever you write a play again be sure to arrange to have it copyrighted here and brought out on the same night that it is brought out in America. For it was yesterday decided in the Courts against Dion Boucicault that his copyright to the Shaugran in England was worthless because the play was first brought out in America. This decision ends your hope, I fear, of protecting Col. Sellers here—though I do not yet absolutely know whether the English copyright of the Gilded Age could protect it. I am pretty sure not [MTPO].
December 16 Saturday – Bret Harte wrote from New York to Sam about Parsloe showing up for a 10:30 A.M. appointment at 3 P.M. Bret read Parsloe “those portions of the 1st & 2d acts that indicated his role, and he expressed himself satisfied with it, and competent to take it in hand.” Harte was conciliatory, knowing he had ruffled feathers while staying with the Clemens family:
Remember me kindly to your wife, Mrs. Langdon and Miss Hess [Fanny Hesse, Sam’s secretary]. Tell Mrs. Clemens that she must forgive me for my heterodoxy—that until she does I shall wear sackcloth (fashionably cut,) and that I would put ashes on my head but that Nature has anticipated me, and that I feel her gentle protests to my awful opinions all the more remorsefully that I am away; say to Miss Hess she is n’t from Boston, and that I always agreed with her about the infamy of Man; tell Mrs. Langdon I forgive her for liking you so much, and her general disposition to weakly defer to your horrible egotism and stubbornness; and then kiss Susie for me and implor “the Ba” [Clara] on your bended knees, to add me to the Holy Family [Duckett 124-5].
Sam also wrote to Xantippe Saunders, inviting her to visit over the holidays. This note is lost [Notes with Dec. 20 to Perkins MTPO].
December 18 Monday – Xantippe (“Tip”) Saunders wrote and accepted Sam’s invitation to stay with the family over the holidays. She agreed to meet him “at the appointed time & place,” which MTPO (Notes with Dec. 20 to Perkins) says was “probably Grand Central Station, in order to take the 11 A.M. train.” Note: It’s unknown which day Sam met her there, but he went to New York on Dec. 21 and returned Dec. 24, so it’s likely she accompanied him on Dec. 24. She did spend Christmas with the family and stayed about a week [Same source, Notes with Oct. 19 to Saunders].
December 20 Wednesday – Upon receipt of Harte’s Dec. 16 letter about Parsloe’s interest, Sam wrote a postcard from Hartford to his attorney, Charles E. Perkins. Sam was going to New York the next day and return Saturday. He hoped the Charles Parsloe contracts would be ready then and would try to bring Parsloe back to Hartford. Parsloe was a popular actor who would play the part of a Chinese laundryman, Hop Sing [MTLE 1: 155]. Note: television fans of the old Western series, “Bonanza” may recall the name—“Hop Sing,” the cook at the ranch.
December 21 Thursday – This is the day Sam planned on going to New York, where he likely conferred with Parsloe and Harte on the pending contract for Ah Sin (see Dec. 20 entry). NYC temperatures ranged from 19-12 degrees F. with 0.06 inches of precipitation [NOAA.gov].
Bill paid to Adams Express Co. $4.65; lists Pamela Moffett in Fredonia and T.W. Crane in Elmira [MTP]. Probably books or gifts shipped.
December 22 Friday – Sam gave a speech he called, “The Weather” at New England Society‘s Seventy-First Annual Dinner in New York City [Fatout, MT Speaking 100-3]. Budd calls this speech “The Oldest Inhabitant—The Weather of New England” [“Collected” 1017].
NYC temperatures ranged from 31-15 degrees F. with 0.20 inches of precipitation [NOAA.gov].
December 24 Sunday – Sam returned to Hartford, accompanied by Xantippe (Tip) Saunders (see Dec. 18 and 20 entries).
The New York World ran a page two interview with Sam titled, “A Connecticut Carpet-bag.” Sam sidestepped a reporter’s questions in a humorous way [Scharnhorst, Interviews 7-9].
In the evening Sam went to a caroling party at the Twichell home, and presented him with an inscribed copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: “To Joseph H. Twichell / from his true friend / S. L. Clemens/ Christmas 1876” [MTLE 1: 156; MTPO Notes with Dec. 25 to Twichell].
December 25 Monday – Christmas – The Clemens family celebrated Christmas in their Hartford home, with Xantippe (Tip) Saunders as a house guest for a week (see Dec. 18 and 20 entries; Saunders to Sam Dec. 23, 1877).
Moncure Conway wrote to Sam: “ ‘Peace on earth and good will to all’ except the Belfords! / I have received your lugubrious letter in which you rest your belief that it is hopeless to pursue those literary Bashi Bazouks because an English copyright must be registered sixty days before publication, in Canada.” He gave more details on the mess [MTP].
December 27 Wednesday – The Hartford Courant reviewed The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer was published in England last June, and immediately many of the most easily detached and quotable portions of it found their way into the American press, and a wide circulation. The COURANT printed at the time two or three extracts from the book—Tom’s adventure with the beetle in church, a most delightful study…
December 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford per Fanny C. Hesse to Moncure Conway.
“Hart and I have written a play, the chief character in which, is a Chinaman, and we have leased it for life to a man who will play that part. We give him the sole right for the entire world.”
Sam added that he always intended to simultaneously publish a sketch or article in both the Atlantic and in Temple Bar, but had always forgotten to do it, save for one time [MTLE 1: 157].
December 30 Saturday – Sam signed a contract in Hartford for the play Ah Sin. Bret Harte and Charles Thomas Parsloe signed on Jan. 5, 1877 in New York [Duckett 127-8]. The three men were to share equally in the gross profits after deductions for certain expenses, such as printing and agency contracts with stage managers [See Duckett, p 128-9 for the main details].
Xantippe (Tip) Saunders probably left the Clemens home about this day.
December 31 to January 1, 1877 Monday – New Year’s Eve. Sam and Livy attended a party at Isabella Beecher Hooker’s Nook Farm home, packed with neighbors and friends. Reflective of 19th Century obsession with paranormal and spiritual pursuits, plus Isabella’s megalomania, several mediums waited in an upstairs room for the new year to reveal Isabella’s vision, that she was to usher in a new order of government. “Spirits” had told her that she would rule the world. Sam mistook one of the mediums for a coachman. Isabella’s daughter, Alice Hooker Day, was a close friend of Livy’s, and let the secret out about the “queerest looking lot” upstairs trying to conjure up the new order [Willis 107-8]. (See Jan. 1, 1877 entry; also Andrews 59-62 for a fuller account of this bizarre evening.)