Paris Balloon Ride, Horse Races, French Morality & Fires all Summer
Onanism at the Stomach Club – Crowded by Visitors
Dirty Brussells, Antwerp & Dinner on the Admiral’s Flagship
Rotterdam, Amsterdam & London – Orion Excommunicated
Spurgeon Preaches, Great Darwin Seen – Gallia for Home – Howells Sleepeth
Writing Tramp – Grant “Fetched up”– Patriotic Frenzy – Ingersoll, Freethinker
Lavish Colt “Blowout” – Holmes’ 70th Redemption
January – Sam wrote a long, newsy letter sometime during the month from Munich, Germany to an unidentified person. He was working on A Tramp Abroad and mentioned that a big octavo book, “requires a long pull and an almighty steady one.” Sam missed New England weather:
“I ache for a good honest all day, all night snowstorm, with a wind-up gale of 150 miles an hour and 35 degrees below zero. That is the only kind of weather that is fit and right for January” [MTLE 4: 1].
In his Jan. 26 letter to Twichell, Sam wrote of telling “the yarn about the Limburger cheese & the box of guns, too” to the American Artists Club in Munich, and also to guests at their house [MTLE 4: 9]. Fatout identifies this story as first published for part of “Some Rambling Notes,” in The Stolen White Elephant (1882), and later appearing as “The Invalid’s Story,” In Defense of Harriet Shelley and Other Essays (1892) [Fatout, MT Speaking 124].
Sam inscribed a copy of Hans Hendrick’s (1834-1889) Memoirs of Hans Hendrik, The Arctic Traveller (1878): “S.L. Clemens / Munich, Bavaria, / January, 1879. / A very valuable book / —& unique” [Gribben 307].
Sam referred in his notebook to Freidrich Max Muller (1823-1900) as an eminent philologist, who, along with Prof. William D. Whitney and James H. Trumbull responded only with ”offensive answers or silence” to Sam’s inquiries [MTNJ 2: 266].
January 4 Saturday – Sam’s notebook:
Went to Grossen Kirschof & saw 15 or 20 dead [Southern Cemetery of Munich]
[Edward Meigs] Smith took me to 3 antiquarian shops—my pet detestation—& examined 3 brass beer mugs (crippled) & 5 ancient & hideously ugly & elaborately figured & ornamented (noseless) Nuremberg earthen ware ones. Price, brass, from 250 to 650 M each—the others from 550 to 1100 marks each. I wouldn’t have such rubbish in the house. I do hate this antiquarian rot, sham, humbug; cannot keep my temper in such a place—& never voluntarily enter one [MTNJ 2: 256].
January 5 Sunday – Susan & Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam and Livy, expressing that they missed them and urging them to come home—all in a nearly illegible hand [MTP].
January 12 Sunday – The Clemenses loved to entertain, something expected of many Nook Farm residents. According to Twichell’s journal, a dinner was given at Sam’s for Louis Fréchette, poet laureate of Canada:
“M.T. never was so funny as this time. The perfect art of a certain kind of story telling will die with him. No one beside can ever equal him, I am sure” [Andrews 92].
January 13 Monday – Sam had an unwelcome American visitor who, in effect, was a beggar. The visit, along with a Jan. 4 article from the Hartford Courant, led Sam to write a long letter to the Courant editor on the problem of beggars [MTNJ 2: 260]. (See Feb. 2 entry.)
January 14 Tuesday – The Clemenses saw a Munich production of François Adrien Boieldieu’s La dame blanche, a popular light opera, partly based on Sir Walter Scott’s novels The Monastery and Guy Mannering. Sam noted: “Not noise, but music” [MTNJ 2: 261].
January 17 Friday – William Roling Romoli wrote from his gallery in Florence, Italy to advise that the “two frames you ordered of me the 26th October 1878 are now quite ready to deliver to my Expeditioners…to forward to Liverpool according to the directions you left me” [MTP].
January 19 Sunday – Livy and Sam wrote from Munich to Olivia Lewis Langdon. Livy wrote of her homesickness, of spending too much money in Italy, of buying furniture in Florence and of the children. Sam wrote:
I have written 900 pages of manuscript on my book, therefore it is half-done; Livy & Clara have learned half of the German language together, so they are half done; the children have learned how to speak German, drink beer, & break the Sabbath like the natives, so they are half done. We are all a half-way lot, like the rest of the world, but we are progressing toward the great goal, Completion, Perfection,—which has also another name, the Unattainable [MTLE 4: 1].
January 21 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Munich to Howells. He praised Howells’ The Lady of Aroostook., and made this observation:
If your literature has not struck perfection now we are not able to see what is lacking. It is all such truth—truth to the life; everywhere your pen falls it leaves a photograph. I did imagine that everything had been said about life at sea that could be said….Possibly you will not be a fully accepted classic until you have been dead a hundred years,—it is the fate of the Shakespeares & of all genuine prophets,—but then your books will be as common as Bibles, I believe. You ain’t a weed, but an oak; you ain’t a summer-house, but a cathedral. In that day I shall still be in the Cyclopedias, too,—thus: “Mark Twain; history & occupation unknown—but he was personally acquainted with Howells” [MTLE 4: 4; see also MTHL 1: 247n1].
In his notebook, Sam wrote that the only man who might be well remembered a hundred years hence was Henry M. Stanley, the explorer/journalist [MTNJ 2: 304]. He wanted Howells to hang on to a play they’d begun together, one that included Orion as a character. Sam wrote they thought they “were going to lose our little Clara yesterday, but the danger is gone, to-day, apparently.” The family planned on remaining in Munich till the middle of March [MTLE 4: 5].
Sam’s article “The Recent Great French Duel” ran in the Hartford Courant, page one [Courant.com]. It also ran in the February issue of the Atlantic Monthly [Wells 22].
January 23 Thursday – Sam wrote from Munich to Joe Twichell. He had lost the address for Frank and Elisha Bliss, so asked Joe to communicate with them about the delays in his book. He didn’t want to “attempt any more prophesies as to the date of completion of the book.” Sam had found his lost notebook, and worked daily when no one in the family was sick. He calculated that he’d torn up 400 pages and had about 900 that he liked, so was half done. Sam had drawn a few sketches he wanted to include in the book but it gave him “the belly-ache to look at them” [MTLE 4: 6]. Sam noted writing the letter to Frank Bliss at the same time Bliss was writing him, another example of what he called “mental telegraphy” [MTNJ 2: 273].
January 25 Saturday – Sam’s notebook:
The mother of the King, 55 or 60, was out walking in the street, to-day, a maid of honor walking beside her, the two talking zealously, 2 vast footmen in blue liveries walking behind them—everybody, who came along, either in the street or on the sidewalk, took off hats & bowed—little boys, gentlemen, ladies, soldiers, cabmen—everybody—& the queen saw every bow & bowed in return, & still kept her end of the conversation [MTNJ 2: 263].
January, after 25th– Sam’s notebook carries an entry noting the number of words in newspapers:
A column of an average city paper in America contains from 1800 to 2500 words. Can’t average the whole contents because so many sizes; but Times usually contains about 200,000 words in its reading matter. Have counted the reading matter in Munchener Tages-Anzeiger of Jan 25, ’79 & find it is just 1900 words altogether [MTNJ 2: 262].
January 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Munich to Joe Twichell after receiving his letter at breakfast (evidently there was Sunday mail delivery in Germany). Sam wrote of not being able to sleep the night before. So he dressed in the dark and then crawled around trying to find a missing sock.
I believed I could find that sock in silence if the night lasted long enough. So I started again & softly pawed all over the place,—& sure enough at the end of half an hour I laid my hand on the missing article. I rose joyfully up & butted the wash-bowl & pitcher off the stand & simply raised —— so to speak. Livy screamed, then said, “Who is that?” what is the matter?” I said “There ain’t anything the matter—I’m hunting for my sock.” She said, “Are you hunting for it with a club?”
Sam went into the parlor and wrote up the sock adventure. Sam also wrote that they must return to Switzerland some day [MTLE 4: 7-10].
January 30 Thursday – Sam wrote from Munich to Howells. He received a letter from Howells in the morning and discovered the two articles (possible chapters for his current book) he’d sent had not been lost in transit. Sam couldn’t write the “sharp satires on European life” that Howells had mentioned, for he wasn’t in a “calm, judicial good-humor” mood he felt was required.
…whereas I hate travel, & I hate hotels, & I hate the opera, & I hate the Old Masters—in truth I don’t ever seem to be in a good enough humor with ANYthing to satirize it; no, I want to stand up before it and curse it, & foam at the mouth,—or take a club & pound it to rags & pulp. I have got in two or three chapters about Wagner’s Operas, & managed to do it without showing temper…[MTLE 4: 13].
February – Sam’s article “The Recent Great French Duel” ran in the February issue of the Atlantic Monthly [Wells 22]. It also ran in the Hartford Courant, Jan. 21, page one [Courant.com]. Sam read Arthur Sedgwick’s article “International Copyright by Judicial Decision,” and Richard Grant White’s article “London Streets” in the Feb. issue of the Atlantic. The former subject was always of great interest to Sam; the latter praised London for its lack of shop signs, beggars and streets named with numbers. Sam wrote in his notebook:
“England gives us copyright in books, we give her copyright or rather absolute protection in plays” [MTNJ 2: 270-1; Gribben 619, 762].
February 2 Sunday – Sam wrote from Munich to the Editor of the Hartford Courant, enclosing a Jan. 11 article of that paper that he’d just received. The article was about tramps who had been jailed in Hartford. Sam was gratified that Hartford had “at last ceased to be the Tramp’s heaven.” He wrote of the positive Munich experience with beggars after giving them work and denying handouts.
For the past two months, Sam wrote, he’d walked daily “through a densely populated part of the city, yet” he had “never once been accosted by a beggar.” He hadn’t once seen a beggar. But his landlord, Madame B., as he called her, had received over 450 tramps in that time! Hartford has had 250 Madame B’s, Sam concluded, and that was the problem. Sam then told of a humorous story of a Frenchman coming to see Mrs. B. for a handout [MTLE 4:14-18]. The letter was not mailed [MTNJ 2: 260n92].
Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells and told a cute story about eavesdropping on his daughter’s introduction to a visiting little girl who bragged [MTLE 4:19].
Livy inscribed a copy of Paul von Heyse’s (1830-1914) 3 volume In Paradiese. Roman in Sieben Buchern (1876): “Saml. L. Clemens / Feb. 2nd 1879 / Munich / Bavaria”; also inscribed identically were 3 volumes of Heyse’s Kinder der Wel, and Gottfried Keller’s 3 volume Die Leute vol Seldwyla [Gribben 312; 365].
February 7 Friday – William Roling Romoli wrote from his gallery in Florence to note receipt of Sam’s payment of 235 Lire for the gilt Florentine carved frames, and had sent them away as per directions. He did not send the glass for “Three Fates of Michelangelo” since the frames had a long way to go [MTP].
February 9 Sunday – Sam wrote from Munich to Frank Bliss of progress on the book, even though he was still tearing up some of it. He sent Frank an address in Paris where they might go at any time; they planned to return to Elmira next August; to Hartford in October [MTLE 4: 20].
Sam also wrote to Orion, enclosing a draft for $25 on his Hartford bank. Orion was going to lecture attacking the rising tide of Darwinism. Sam cautioned Orion what to tell reporters when they asked him: “I have not one single word of any sort to say about Sam or Sam’s matters.” Sam asked him to be steadfast in that because he could not “abide those newspaper references” about him and his matters. He wrote that it was one reason he had stopped writing friends & relatives so much. Sam’s frankness on the question was perhaps more pointed for Orion than it would have been for Mary Fairbanks and others, but he wanted his private letters to be private.
Orion was planning to travel so Sam knew he might be approached, even hounded. Sam then proceeded to lecture his older brother about spending, “idiotic vanities” like a church pew and the like—basically, living within his means. He also increased his monthly donation to Orion eight dollars to $50. Sam closed by emphasizing he had not “written ill-naturedly or with an unkind feeling” [MTLE 4: 22].
Sam also wrote to Howells and enclosed the letter from Orion. In his answer to Orion, Sam wrote he’d done nine pages, but Livy had “shut down on it, & said it was cruel, & made me send the money & simply wish his lectures success.” Sam often felt the need to share Orion’s ineptitude with Howells.
Observe Orion’s career—that is, a little of it:
He has belonged to as many as five different religious denominations; last March he withdrew from deaconship in a Congregational Church & the superintendency of its Sunday School, in a speech in which he said that for many months (it runs in my mind that he said 13 years,) he had been a confirmed infidel, & so felt it to be his duty to retire from the flock.
Sam also expounded on Orion’s fickle voting habits, his schemes for writing, his offense at a New York Evening Post foreman swearing at him; his grand plans for a chicken farm; his debts and prepayment of interest; his conviction that he could be a successful lawyer; his idea of lecturing as “Mark Twain’s brother”; his copying Jules Verne; and his “vain, proud fool” of a wife.
If Orion ever goes to hell, he will be likely to say, “I don’t think this place is much of an invention.” And if she [Mollie Clemens] ever goes to heaven, she will be likely to say, “I am disappointed; I did not think so many would be saved” [MTLE 4: 23-6].
February 13 Thursday – Elisha Bliss wrote to Sam. “Occasionally I hear from you through some friend of yours. You seem to have been skipping about like a grass-hopper in haying time.” Bliss had conferred with Perkins about Sam’s business interests. He was unclear as to which book Sam agreed would take the place of the Riley book on diamond mining, this to fulfill his agreement. The sale of Twain’s book through autumn was “quite large” [MTP].
February 17 Monday – Sam obtained a Letter of Credit from Drexel, Morgan & Co. for £2,000 [MTP].
February 18 Tuesday – Bissell & Co. replied to Sam’s Jan. 29 request for a letter of credit as obtained above on Feb. 17 [MTP].
February 19 Wednesday – Christian Tauchnitz wrote from Leipzig to thank Sam for his “kind lines of Jan 20” and for the two volumes of the “Routledge edition.” He wished to republish IA [MTP].
February 21 Friday – Sam wrote to Christian Tauchnitz, letter not extant but mentioned in Tauchnitz’s Mar. 1 reply.
February 23 Sunday – Sam wrote at 1:30 PM on a snowy day from Munich to Olivia Lewis Langdon. After describing the snowstorm, Sam wrote that he’d finally picked all ten tunes for his $400 music box. Samuel E. Moffett had been with them for a week or more and Sam Clemens said the “manly boy” had “won the esteem, admiration & affection of the tribe.” His nephew had a:
“…capacious mind; & to his great & varied accumulation of knowledge he has added wisdom—& that is rare for a lad of 18.”Note: Moffett would stay several months to study German.
Sam sent thanks to Charley Langdon for taking care of Livy’s interest in the coal company and approved of his investing in 4% government bonds. Sam revealed their travel plans:
“We are packing. Our plan is to leave for Paris next Thursday at 6.40 AM, arriving at Strasburg at 5.30PM & going on to Paris the next day…We send a power of love to you all—& thank goodness it doesn’t have to go through the custom house. They would charge duty on it, & break it all to pieces in the bargain” [MTLE 4: 29-30].
February 23–25 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Munich to his mother, and sister, Pamela Moffett. He praised the Baroness Freundenberg (1822-1905) (who would board his nephew) and the character of Samuel Moffett, and said he was sorry they’d have to say their goodbyes soon [MTLE 4: 31].
February 24 Monday – Sam wrote from Munich a short note to Joe Twichell after receiving his letter. Sam wrote how he discovered the trick to sharpening a razor. They were leaving Thursday. Send mail to Monroe & Co., Bankers in Paris [MTLE 4: 31].
February 27 Thursday – The Clemens family left Munich by rail for Paris, France. Sam had planned to leave at 6:40 AM and travel to Strasburg (at that time in Germany) by 5:30 PM and spend the night there, continuing on to Paris on Feb. 28 [MTLE 4: 29]. Sam noted “Feb 27, at Strasburg” in his notebook [2: 292].
February 28 Friday – The Clemens family arrived in Paris with five trunks and took rooms at the Grand Hotel St. James in the rue Saint-Honoré, where they stayed until Mar. 4 [MTNJ 2: 292n7].
From Sam’s notebook:
Feb. 29/79—Arrived at Paris at 5 P.M.
In ungraciousness of stranger to stranger we are exactly like the French—mannerless.
The cabman of Paris is exactly like the Irish hackman of New York—mannerless.
O how cold, & raw & unwarmable it was!
Sam had been reading Tom Jones by Henry Fielding and thought it “disgusting” [MTNJ 2: 292-4].
March – Sam’s article “The Great Revolution in Pitcairn” ran in the March issue of the Atlantic Monthly [Wells 22].
March 1 Saturday – Christian Tauchnitz wrote from Leipzig to Sam.
“I am most obliged for your kind lines of Feby 21 and for the very nice preface. / Hoping that you are now safely arrived in Paris through snow and ice—for we are living here like in Siberia—I have the pleasure of enclosing the 300 Marks in a draft at sight on (Mefers.) Credit Lyonnaise at frances 375…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Funny letter”.
March 2 Sunday – From Livy’s pen:
Mr. Clemens and I went to call this afternoon on Mr. Millet, the young lady that he is to marry and her mother and sister—we had a perfectly charming time. I liked the young lady that he is to marry very much indeed and he is just as lovable as ever—his house is so very artistic and his studio was filled with interesting things that he had brought from the East with him…it was such an interesting visit—he has been doing such fine work lately—it was altogether a most restful visit—Paris and the world seemed brighter and happier after we came away from there. They are to be married the eleventh of this month—Mr. Clemens is to be one of the witnesses to sign the marriage paper—and then we both go to the wedding breakfast—they sail that same day for England—Mr. Millet takes some of his pictures for exhibition in London, he has a studio and will work there for two months….Mr. Clemens is to have his studio to work in—so he will get to work again next Wednesday—he will be nearly and I hope, quite through his book in that time [Salsbury 97].
March 4 Tuesday – The Clemens family moved to the Normandy Hotel on Rue de l’Echelle. In his letter of Mar. 6, Sam related, “Tauchnitz bought of me the right to put the Innocents Abroad in his series, day before yesterday” [MTLE 4: 36]. Verlag Bernard Tauchnitz imprinted many popular authors, and by law at that time did not have to pay Sam a royalty, but did.
March 6 Thursday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel in Paris to Elisha Bliss after receiving his letter. The “old dead” contract signed years before about the Riley book was not canceled and Sam wanted the matter resolved. Bliss reported that the subscription sales for the new book (A Tramp Abroad) were going well, and Sam was gratified since the family’s expenses in Paris were “something perfectly gaudy.” Sam also wrote:
“…six days hence an artist a mile from here on top of the hill of Montmartre will yield up his studio to me until my book shall be finished—& on that day I will buckle in on my book again” [MTLE 4: 34]. Note: The artist in question was Francis Davis Millet, who was getting married on Mar. 11(See entry).
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who evidently had recently related difficulties her husband faced. Sam apologized for not writing. He had written from Munich to his “Fredonia mother & began a letter to” his “Elmira mother,” but had only “got the steam going for an intended letter to” Mary. He expected to “work six days in the week here, uninterruptedly for the next 2 or 2½ months.” Sam told Mary about discovering in Munich he was only a third done with the book instead of half, and of spending his last Sunday there for a holiday, writing 60 pages of letters. He encouraged Mary’s son Charley to compete in the illustrations for the new book, and to send them directly to Bliss. Sam wrote his children “glibly” spoke German, and of the high price of wood ($5 a basket) and of his guests for the evening:
“We’re expecting Frank D. Millet, a very dear young artist friend of ours here, every moment, to dinner, with the lovely girl he is to marry next Tuesday—with I & 3 friends as witnesses, & Livy & Clara S. & I & 6 or 8 more will eat the wedding breakfast in his studio” [MTLE 4: 37].
Christian Tauchnitz wrote to Sam. “I shall of course, agree with your wishes,” putting IA in two volumes so as not to compete with the Routledge edition, also in two [MTP].
March 8 Saturday – Caroline Dahlweiner wrote from France, proud that Clemens had been in her house. “I received your kind letter and thank you very much…I am so sorry that you do not find so comfortable in the Hotel as you hopped” [MTP]. Her spelling.
Sam wrote to Christian Tauchnitz, letter not extant but mentioned in Tauchnitz’s Mar. 12 reply.
March 10 Monday – Orion Clemens received the formal notice that he had been excommunicated from the Presbyterian church for publicly espousing what they considered heresy. He’d been called before the church elders on Mar. 8 to answer the charges [Fanning 176-7]. Orion repeated his lecture, “Man the Architect of Our Religion” on May 19 but had a sparse audience .
March 11 Tuesday – Sam stood up at Francis Davis Millet’s wedding to Elizabeth (“Lil”) Greeley Merrill in Montmartre, an art colony in Paris. Also in attendance was Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), artist and good friend of Millet [The Twainian, June 1939 quoting from The Reminiscences of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1913)]. Note: Augustus later designed some of the most beautiful U.S. coins ever made.
In a Dec. 7, 1893 letter to Sam, Francis Davis Millet referred to the time in Paris Sam stood up for him at his wedding and the wedding breakfast, revealing that he’d not been at the breakfast: “…as I have a telegram…and can’t be here myself you’ll have to speak for me as you did at the wedding breakfast” [MTP].
Millet had painted Sam’s portrait in 1876 and was “adopted” by the Clemens family at that time. Now 33 years old, and living in Paris since Jan. 1877, he had a studio in Montmartre that would become a hideout for Sam and Livy when they felt too much pressure of visitors. Since the end of May, 1877 Millet was a war correspondent (Russo-Turkish War) for the New York Herald and the London Daily News. He also served as special artist for the London Graphic. After the wedding the newlyweds traveled to London where Millet had a first showing at The Royal Academy [Weinberg 4-5]. (See Mar. 3 by Livy). Sam and Livy went to Millet’s wedding breakfast (this may have been on Mar. 12).
March 12 Wednesday – Livy wrote on Mar. 2 and 3 that Sam would gain occupancy of Millet’s studio on this day.
Christian Tauchnitz wrote to Sam. “In accordance with your kind lines of March 8, I have much pleasure in handing you enclosed the additional M. 200—in a draft at sight of Frs. 250” [MTP].
March 16 Sunday – Bill and receipt from Munroe & Co., Paris for Normandy Hotel5,285 Francs [MTP].
March 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel, Paris to Edward F. Noyes (1832-1890) accepting an invitation for President Grevy’s reception on Thursday evening. Sam mentioned Moncure Conway, who was in Paris at the time [MTLE 4: 39]. Note: Noyes lost a leg in the Civil War and was promoted to brigadier general. Sam used the “General” title in addressing him. Noyes was governor of Ohio in 1871 and served as Rutherford B. Hayes’ Minister to France from 1877–81, a patronage reward for his strong support of his fellow Buckeye soldier during Hayes’ presidential campaign. (See Apr. 30 entry for notation on Noyes’ dinner with Clemens.)
March 19 Wednesday – Susy Clemens’ seventh birthday.
March 21 and March 22 Saturday – Sam was working hard most evenings on A Tramp Abroad. But on Mardigras at 10 PM Sam went with Moncure Conway and General Edward Noyes to a reception for Jules Grévy, the newly elected president of France. They looked in on some fancy balls. Robert R. Hitt, first secretary of the American legation at Paris, drove Sam and Conway in a carriage to the New Opera House at 11:30 PM. They “waited outside till the doors opened at midnight” and once inside were in a “vaste horde of maskers.”
Sam’s notebook lists guests at Grevy’s reception: Leon Gambetta, president of the Chamber of Deputies; Prince Chlodwic of Hohenlohe-Schillings-fürst, German ambassador to France; and William H. Waddington, the French minister of foreign affairs, along with “the brother of Grevy’s mistress.”
“At 1 a.m. left the Opera & went to a mask ball at the American circus, to another at the Tivoli—to the Opera till 4 a.m. then saw wind-up dance at another mask ball & got home at 5 or 5.30” [MTNJ 2: 299-300].
March 23 Sunday – Valentine Besarel, and John Harris sent a “Triplicate Invoice of Goods Despatched” Liverpool to NYC for furniture [MTP]. Note: this letter was not concluded until Apr. 10.
March 24 Monday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel, Paris to Andrew Chatto, making a “special request” for “that box of first-class quill-nibs which I asked you for some time ago.” He also asked for a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [MTLE 4: 40]. Sam was not well enough to go out, suffering again from dysentery .
March 25 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Paris to famous American artist, George Peter Alexander Healy (1813-1894), who did masterpiece portraits of Lincoln, Buchanan, Tyler and other great Americans. Healy had called on the Clemenses but they were out visiting at the time. Evidently Healy was interested in doing a portrait of Twain.
I’ve thought the portrait matter all over, & I see that it won’t do for me to attempt it. I take all my Saturdays & Sundays to rest in, when I am at work, & I shall have to continue that custom here in order to keep myself in working trim. As I do my resting in bed, it wouldn’t be a good position for the portrait of a professedly live man [MTLE 4: 41].
Mary Catlin in Hartford sent Clemens her signature on a souvenir folder 1829-1879 with the tune Auld Lang Syne [MTP].
George Peter Alexander Healy wrote from Paris to Clemens, after missing them at home the day before. Could Sam spare an hour the next day? “I will try to make a fine work from your hand in three sittings of two hours each” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Healy / artist”.
March 26 Wednesday – Gustavo Sarfatti sent Sam a bill of lading for goods shipped [MTP].
Frank Bliss wrote to Clemens about taking his time with a MS. “It is beginning to be noised about that I am to publish your book.” Frank wanted it kept quiet [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”.
March 26? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Paris to his sister, Pamela Moffett. Sam wrote he’d heard that her son, Samuel Moffett was leaving the good Baroness Freundenberg in Munich and coming to Paris about a month hence. Sam judged that his nephew wouldn’t have a better opportunity to learn the German language than from the Baroness, who had written that Sam Moffett liked to read the language but not write it, and that he had made “great progress” in four weeks. Uncle Sam counseled:
“To speak it, & write it, & never read it, is the right course, to read it is more an injury than a benefit” [MTLE 4: 42].
March 28 Friday – Sam’s notebook:
Went to see pictures rushed into Palais d’ Industrie end of afternoon—last chance to see them in. Stair ways crowded—street full of vans & the vans full of pictures. Every time a poor picture came in, everybody groaned. Perfect howl went up, sometimes when particularly poor one came—it was snatched & passed from hand to hand. Picture of wood-sawing—everybody made a sound like sawing. Picture of St Jerome & skull—lot of students followed it weeping on each other’s shoulders. Was a row last year, so it was announced that this year only people bearing pictures would be admitted—so there came 50 students, each carrying a 10-cent chromo very carefully. —There were acres of pictures. Any artist may send two or three but not more. I think they said 2 was the limit. A jury of the first artists of France (elected by exhibitors) will examine these 6 or 7000 pictures between now & May 11, & retain about 2000 & reject the rest. They can tell a good picture or a bad one at a single glance—these are at once set aside & the real work begins, the culling the best from among those that lie somewhere between the perfectly good & the perfectly bad. And a tough job it is.—An artist can’t vote for the jury till he has exhibited more than twice…sometimes a fine picture is applauded [MTNJ 2: 304-5].
—-Dined with the Earl of Dunraven. D.D. Home (pronounced Hume,) the spiritualist miracle-worker, was present. An Austrian prince Wrede, brother of the great diplomatist, came in—a fascinating man, simple-hearted, unpretending, & a fine mind—more than 6 feet high & exceedingly handsome—about 30 yrs old. Home is 45, but looks 35. Resembles me in the face. He is a very fine fellow & makes warm & everlasting friendships with all sorts of people .
March 30 Sunday – Sam and Livy (and Susy per her father) wrote from Paris to Olivia Lewis Langdon.
Things go along just the same, mother dear. There is no change. I still catch cold & am pestered with rheumatism, & as a consequence my work lags & drags & mostly stands still. Livy has pains in the back of her neck, & the old ones in her spine, but she keeps up her studies & other activities with spirit. The children have French colds which can’t be told from German ones by people ignorant of the language. Rosa has a horrible cold. Clara Spaulding has the twin to it. She studies hard & has got into the new language so deeply now that the French can’t understand her French & we can’t understand her English.
Sam and daughter Clara wrote to Jane Lampton Clemens and Pamela A. Moffett, this a similar letter written to Olivia Lewis Langdon the same day. Clara’s letter is noteworthy:
Well, that I’ve got a dress, & a new one, & is silk & got gold buttons, & that I’m bigger’n thicker’n I was before, & that I got a great big doll, & that t’isn’t broken yet; & that I got a horse, & its broken; the car came off it, & that its car is broken, & that I know how to take it (the ear) out; & two legs is broken, & his tail is come out.
I had a hard pinch in my finger: that I was looking in the looking-glass door & Rosa closed the looking glass; & sometimes Susie plays with my things & I get a-fighting at her. That’s all, now, that I can write.
And that all my names is Clara Lewis O’Day Botheker McAleer McLachlin Bay Clemens. (Her wet-nurses) [MTPO].
Sam then dictated for Susy about playing ball and “bind man’s puff”; and the elevator boy and Queen Victoria being in the city. Livy added the rest of the letter, about Clara Spaulding having lunch with the artist, William Gedney Bunce (1840-1916), cousin of Edward (Ned) Bunce of Hartford; and about her dislike of Mr. Healy (who seemed like “one of Dickens characters a kind of made up man”) and his “most uninteresting” wife and daughters serving tea so bad she couldn’t drink it [MTLE 4: 43-4].
March 31 Monday – Clemens gave a reading which included “The Invalid’s Story,” for the Stanley Club Dinner, Paris, France [MTPO].
April – Sam wrote in his notebook:
“Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, & wishes he was certain” [MTNJ 2: 305].
Right below this entry, Sam wrote:
“White, now of Berlin—Yes, G is a d—d old nepot!”
This refers to an anecdote told by Andrew Dickson White, who succeeded Bayard Taylor as U.S. minister to Germany. Sam wrote Apr. 15 his approval of White’s appointment to Howells . Note: Sam’s private views of religion and established churches were frankly sacrilegious, even though he made efforts to keep such views from tarnishing his image.
Francis D. Millet wrote to Sam on a Thursday describing his day, his hectic social life and giving his schedule [MTP].
April 1 Tuesday – Elisha Bliss wrote to Sam after receiving his letter. He’d discussed copyright matters with Sam’s attorney, Charles E. Perkins. His handwriting degraded some here. There was some confusion about TS being a book to fulfill the Riley contract [MTP].
April 2 Wednesday – The Rose Library, a semi-monthly containing a “complete novel by the best Authors,” ran The Adventures of Tom Sawyer [Alan C. Fox Rare Books, Item 133. no date].
April 6 Sunday – John Hanlon wrote from Paris to Sam. “I am busy writing out the interesting interview of this afternoon, which you will have at the earliest possible moment. / I take the liberty of giving you some further details about the new paper the Boulevard, to be published immediately.” He enclosed the frontispiece, and advised he was going to publish Sam’s biography if he’d supply a few details [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the reverse of the printed frontispiece, “Letter from that thief John Hanlon”
April 7 Monday – Valentine Besarel wrote to Sam about goods shipped and reminded of amounts due. He’d rec’d Sam’s of Mar. 30 [MTP].
April 10 Thursday – Valentine Besarel, and John Harris wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: this letter began Mar. 23.
April 12 Saturday – Sam’s notebook:
Paris—While writing an “interview” for Mr. Richard Whiteing, representative of the N.Y. World, I was about to say something about International Copyright, when it occurred to me that a trade-mark case decided in my favor by Judge Lawrence in New York (about 1873) really established international copyright with need of new legislation. I altered the interview to that complexion. I make this note while waiting to see what the upshot will be [MTNJ 2: 307]. Note: Richard Whiteing (1840-1928).
Samuel Troll, Fils, Manufactory Of Musical Boxes wrote from Geneva. “I am happy to say your Box is completed & to my satisfaction; a telling but mellow tone, & all the airs have been arranged in accordance with your Inst[ructions].” Where and when he might forward it? [MTP].
April 13 Sunday – From Livy to her mother:
“Susy grows sweet and womanly all the time and Clara is the same rowdy as ever—sweet tempered, but very hard to make any impression on” [Salsbury 101].
April 14 Monday – Leon Mead, contributor to Harper’s Weekly, called on Sam as he was leaving for business in the “neighborhood of the Triumphas Arch.” They walked “to the rue de Rivoli and the Champs Elysee half way to the Arch” and talked about Howells and his “disappointment in the matter of the Pacific excursion” [MTLE 4: 48]. Note: Leon Mead was to call on Sam again in the evening. In 1902 Mead published Word-Coinage, after soliciting Sam and many others about word and phrases they might have coined. For an interesting treatment of words and phrases Sam coined or gave currency to, see “The Background of Mark Twain’s Vocabulary,” American Speech, Vol. 22, No.2 (Apr. 1947), p88-98.
April 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from the Hotel Normandy in Paris to Frank Bliss. Dysentery and rheumatism had laid Sam up “four-fifths of” his “six weeks’ residence in Paris in bed.” Sam wrote about being interviewed by the “World” representative (probably New York World), who told him that he “may have possibly solved the problem of International Copyright.” Sam wanted Frank’s father Elisha Bliss to sell of all but five or ten shares of Sam’s stock in American Publishing Co. [MTLE 4: 48].
Sam also wrote to Howells:
Have just got Livy L. Clemens & Miss Spaulding off to the Opera in charge of an old friend—(for I cannot stand anything that is in the nature of an Opera)—& here I find a letter from Susie Warner to Mrs. Clemens—I open it & my goodness, how she raves over the exquisiteness of Belmont; & the wonderful view; & Mrs. Howells’s brilliancy, & her deadly accuracy in the matter of detecting & driving the bulls-eye of a sham; & the attractiveness of the children; & your own “sweetness” (why, do they call you that?—that is what they generally call me); & the indescribably good time which she & Charley had; & my old pipe dressed up in ribbons & holding a candle, & making an unique & graceful ornament of itself…
Sam threw a few more arrows in Bret Harte’s direction but had read his new book of sketches, including “An Heiress of Red Dog,” and admitted that he’d seen “decided brightness on every page of it” though he also criticized it thoroughly. He also suggested getting up “a plot for a ‘skeleton novelette’…” which he’d tried before without success or enthusiasm from other writers [MTLE 4: 48-50].
Sam also wrote to Valentine Besarel, letter not extant but referred to in Besarel’s Apr. 22 reply.
Sam also wrote a short note to Samuel Troll, asking him to ship the “large box to Cunard S.S. Co,…marked like the music box…” to Liverpool [MTLE 4: 51].
John Harris U.S. Consul, sent “Certificate of the value of Currency” the value of the “Lira of Italy being taken at dollars 0.1930” [MTP].
April 19 Saturday – Dr. John Brown wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland to Sam, remembering Susy and the earlier happy visit [MTP].
April 22 Tuesday – Valentine Besarel wrote to Sam. “I have been favored with your letter of the 15th inst, by which I perceive , that you have not yet receive, from Mrs Harris the invoice that I had sent to you. Inclosed you will find a copy of it” [MTP].
April 24 Thursday – Samuel Troll, Fils wrote from Geneva to detail a 2,000 franc invoice for Sam’s music box [MTP].
April 25 Friday – Sam wrote from the Hotel Normandy in Paris to Andrew Chatto.
“While we wait for Mr. Girdlestone’s book, can’t you send me immediately, Mr Whymper’s book? It contains his ascent of the Matterhorn (about 1865,) when young Lord Douglas & a guide or two lost their lives. I don’t know who published it” [MTLE 4: 52]. Note: Arthur Gilbert Girdlestone: The High Alps Without Guides, etc. (1870); see Gribben 262.
Sam liberally borrowed illustrations and paraphrased from Edward Whymper’s book, Scrambles Amongst the Alps, for chapter 41 of A Tramp Abroad. (For an interesting analysis of the two books, see Beverly David’s “Tragedy and Travesty, etc.” Mark Twain Journal, Vol 27.1, Spring 1989.)
Spring – Though Sam hated the dismal weather, he enjoyed congenial company in Paris. Besides Frank Millet and his new bride Lil, Thomas Bailey Aldrich was in the city, and dinner parties included Hjalmar Boyesen and wife, and the artists Sam had met in Italy, Mr. and Mrs. Chamberlaine. Others came to call: Turgenieff (Turgenev), Baron Tauchnitz (who had published Innocents and paid royalties though not required to by law), Richard Whiteing and other young American artists as well [MTB 643]. Other visitors from home also stopped by [MTNJ 2: 487n188].
The American consul to Paris at this time was Lucius Fairchild (1831-1896), a Civil War veteran who lost an arm at Gettysburg, and a former governor of Wisconsin (1866-1872). Afterward, he was the consult at Liverpool for six years, then at Paris for a two-year stint. Sam met Fairchild at this time. The two would maintain a long friendship. Fairchild left diary entries that included times with Sam [Rees 8].
One evening Sam gave a talk, “Some Thoughts on the Science of Onanism” (masturbation) at the Stomach Club in Paris. The master illustrator Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) was at this meeting, as was Charles Edward Dubois, American painter [MTNJ 2: 350n107]. The talk was not published in Sam’s lifetime. Fatout describes the Club as “an unpublicized group that relished the belly laughs of bawdy humor…. [that a few of Sam’s] notebook entries imply that he was more than once a guest at these sub rosa sessions, one item observing that the funniest things are the forbidden ones” [MT Speaking 125].
April 30 Wednesday – From Lucius Fairchild’s diary:
“Genl Noyes dinner. Accepted. Sarah & us. Ministers Stoughton & Maynard, Job Stevenson, Mark Twain present” [Rees 8]
May 3 Saturday – One of the greatest attractions of the 1878 Paris Exposition was Henry Giffard’s captive balloon in the Tuileries of Paris. Lucius Fairchild invited the Clemens family to go up in the balloon. Sam wrote and declined due to a previous engagement.
O, dear, we should like it of all things,—it commends itself to us both as just the excursion to make—but unhappily there is a breakfast engagement in the way, for 12.30 tomorrow in Paris. So we can only thank you cordially for offering us this pleasant opportunity & dam the fates for robbing us of it. (That word is not profane, as you will observe by the spelling) …Mrs. Clemens objects to that word—but she has no poetic feeling [MTLE 4: 53].
Sam would get another invite and go aloft on June 23. See entry.
May 4 Sunday – Sam and Livy enjoyed a breakfast invitation at 12:30 with unknown party or parties [MTLE 4: 53].
May 5 Monday – Valentine Besarel sent a receipt to Sam for 2,246 Lire [MTP].
May 6 Tuesday – Joe Twichell wrote to Clemens “on this sweetest May morning…I greet you. I have no news to tell, but you are in my thoughts.” Joe warned against being fooled by rum and repeated that he was to teach at Cornell next week [MTP]. Note: clipping enclosed from the Hartford Times ca. late April, 1879, “Julia Smith’s Wedding Reception.” Twichell attached a sheet above the article and wrote, “Read this—the whole of it. It is full of dainty bits. It is Miss Frances Ellen Burr’s work, and Charley W. says that it is a masterpiece of reporting…”
Ivan Turgenev wrote to Clemens: He could not meet him this evening so asked if he’d “allow me to come to morrow instead of to day. –In the mean time I beg you to accept the books I send you herewith” [MTP]. Note: see Gribben p. 719; he does not identify the books Turgenev sent.
May 7 Wednesday – From Sam’s notebook:
“I wish this eternal winter would come to an end. Snow flakes fell to-day, & also about a week ago. Have had rain almost without intermission for 2 months & one week. Have had a fire every day since Sept. 10, & have now just lighted one” [MTNJ 2: 308].
May 8 Thursday – Sam’s notebook:
“Called on Tourgènieff [Turgenev] with Boyesen & had cup of tea out of his Samovar” [MTNJ 2: 308].
May 10 Saturday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel in Paris to Frank Bliss.
I am making good progress, & hope to have the book done before the end of July. Now as to illustrations. I remember your father telling me the artist’s work & engraver’s work for Innocents Abroad cost $7,000. Of course we can knock down a deal of that expense, now, by using the new photo-processes. I’ve got an artist, here, to my mind,—young Walter F. Brown; you have seen pictures of his occasionally in St. Nicholas & Harper’s Weekly.
Sam asked for $1,100 in gold and he would have the plates made in Paris; He sent a detailed list. Walter F. Brown had engraved a few of the pictures for Edward Whymper’s book [MTLE 4: 54-6].
May 11 Sunday – The New York World published Sam’s “interview” with Richard Whiteing, (1840-1928), English author and correspondent for the World. Sam discussed copyright laws and British society [MTNJ 2: 307n31;Scharnhorst, Interviews 14-16] (see Apr. 12 entry).
May 12 Monday – Sam wrote from Paris to Robert M. Hooper:
…previous engagement debars us the pleasure of accepting Mr. & Mrs. Heuston’s kind invitation, but we shall hold the 17th open, so as not to miss the entertainment at your house.
I’m as sorry as you are that you were not on the Tribune, because toward the last I began to get my hand in, & if you had been there I would have won all of your money & part of your clothes [MTLE 4: 57].
Hooper, evidently a card player, was also the U.S. vice-consul-general to Paris; his wife, Lucy Hamilton Hooper was a correspondent for several newspapers, a poet and author.
From Sam’s notebook:
“Tourgènieff called & spent evening. Brought me one of his books. Gave him Tom Sawyer” [MTNJ 2: 309].
Noah Brooks (1830-1903), editor and biographer of Lincoln, wrote to Sam.
My dear Clemens: / I suppose I am partly at fault for the neglect to give you a fair understanding of your relation to the Lotos Club. When you went away, you said you wanted to resign. I dissuaded you, and told you that you could be put on half dues during your absence. This was done, and you have since been charged at the rate of $5 per quarter for part of the time, and $6.25 for the rest of the time, the dues having been meanwhile raised from $40 to $50 per year, for resident members. You will see that it would be impossible for anybody to give in your verbal resignation, even if you had authorized him. But you did not authorize me; on the other hand, you have been put on half dues, as you and I certainly did agree should be done. I ought to have explained this at length, when you wrote, on a former occasion, but I overlooked it in the multiplicity of things which I have on hand.
Now, then—you owe $41.25 dues to July 1, 1879, and are charged with annual dues at the rate of $25. I don’t want you to resign; and I am partly to blame for your misunderstanding and I will do in the premises whatever you say is right.
With regards to Mrs. Clemens / Yours ever… [MTP].
May 13 Tuesday – Livy wrote from Paris to her mother:
“We live in such a perfect whirl of people these days, that it seems utterly impossible to do anything, I wish that I had put down the names of the people that have been here for the last two months, but I think every day, well this will be the last we shant have as many again” [MTNJ 2: 288].
May 14 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Paris to his nephew, Samuel Moffett, confiding that he and Livy were “fleeing from these deluges of company” by using the work room (studio) Sam rented from Millet [MTLE 4: 58].
An unsigned interview by the Paris correspondent of the New York World was used in the Hartford Courant’s article, “Mark Twain on England,” by Hanley Southington. Sam commented that what can be satirized in England can also be found nearer home [Tenney 8; Courant.com].
May 15 Thursday – In Paris, Sam answered Mary Mason Fairbanks’ letter requesting a loan of $2,000. Sam sent her $1,000 and referred her to Charles Langdon for the rest. Sam confessed that having Mary’s son Charley send pictures directly to the American Publishing Co was a mistake. “It never occurred to me to remark that they should be sent here—to me, drawn on paper, not on the wood” [MTLE 4: 59].
May 17 Saturday – From Lucius Fairchild’s diary: “At home—Called on Mark Twain & walked on the Boulevard” [Rees 8].
Sam wrote from Paris to Richard Whiteing. He thanked him for writing something complimentary about him and for “saving me from those people—I had been feeling a little uneasy about them” (unidentified) [MTLE 4: 59].
May 20-25 Sunday – Sam wrote (for publication) to the editor of the New York Evening Post. His letter was printed on June 9 as “Mark Twain, a Presidential Candidate” [MTLE 4: 62]. (See June 9 entry for excerpt, and also in Budd, “Collected”.)
May 23 Friday – Bill and receipt from Munroe & Co., Paris, for stay at the Normandy Hotel, £12.4.1 London [MTP].
Christian Tauchnitz wrote to Sam: “Many thanks for your kind lines. I will certainly write to Mr. Aldrich. / The books of Mr. Howells did not yet reach me, I therefore directed a line to him” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”; file note: “See SLC to Tauchnitz 25 may 1879, SLC to Aldrich, 25 May 1879”
May 25 Sunday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel in Paris to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who had left Paris for home a few days before. The Clemens family “felt an awful vacancy here when the Aldriches left,” Sam wrote. He also passed on Tauchnitz’s promise to write Aldrich about including Aldrich’s book of sketches in his series. Sam figured six more weeks of work and he’d have enough to complete his book (A Tramp Abroad) [MTLE 4: 64].
Le Figaro, the largest daily newspaper in France, published Sam’s burlesque account of the Gambetta-Fourton Duel [MTLE 4: 64].
Sam also wrote to Christian Bernhard Tauchnitz, thanking him for books sent and glad that Tauchnitz had written Aldrich and Howells. “I greatly want to see their books in the Series,” he wrote [MTLE 4: 65].
May 28 Wednesday – From Sam’s notebook: “This is one of the coldest days of this most damnable & interminable winter” [MTNJ 2: 311].
May 29 Thursday – Sam wrote from the Normandy Hotel in Paris to Andrew Chatto, asking him to send a copy of Roughing It to Ivan Turgenev [MTLE 4: 66].
Sam also wrote to Jane Clemens and Pamela Moffett about the progress on his book, and of moving to the quiet side of the house to escape street noises, and of Samuel Moffett’s visit:
…every night, & we have a vast love & admiration of him…Sam spends all his time in the Herald reading rooms, but we don’t grumble at that; he has a level head & can be trusted to know what is best for himself; & he has a purpose: a cleanly-defined purpose is sheet-anchor, main-stay, everything. A boy who has that is all right.
We are to arrive at Condover Hall, Mr Cholmondeley’s country seat, in England, July 28, to stay a week—so we probably leave Paris a week earlier & loaf through Holland.
About Orion’s excommunication, Sam wrote:
It is funny to see them Excommunicating Orion—they’d better have saved themselves the trouble & Mollie the distress—he’ll be a deacon in that same church next year—& a deacon in some other church a year after. I judge Orion wrote a pretty good lecture….But he’d better look out how he prances around with that lecture—some of the godly will hang him [MTLE 4: 67-8].
Sam also wrote a rather tender letter about the matter to Orion:
My Dear Bro— / Never mind the Excommunication. If you made a square deal & told your honest thought in the lecture, I wouldn’t care a damn what people say. People won’t approve, anyway, no matter what a body says. Your heresy won’t damn anybody that doesn’t deserve it, perhaps…I judge you wrote a good lecture. I am bound to say you showed a deal of moral courage to deliver it. And your honesty in what you preach is not open to doubt, while I think the same cannot be said of Beecher and Talmage. We send love to you & Mollie. We leave here in a month. Yr Bro Sam [MTLE 4: 69].
Frank Bliss wrote to Sam decrying the lack of copyright law between countries, and discussed the Riley book matter, about which Perkins and Elisha Bliss had discussed. “Father says he can’t fairly release you from any contract & there is no necessity that he should. The contract for a book exists in the Riley Contract for all books except “Tom Sawyer”… [MTP].
May 30 Friday – From Lucius Fairchild’s diary: “Dinner at Home…Mark Twain,…Mrs. Clemens, Miss Spaulding, Mrs. Dean, Miss Stevens –& ourselves” [Rees 8].
Frank Bliss wrote to Sam, mentioning the letter he’d written the day before and a dispatch he’d also sent. “I could not give the direct reply ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as you suggested because neither of these seemed to fit the case.” He then addressed the idea of having the process work on his current book done in England, as Sam had suggested [MTP].
June – From Sam’s notebook:
“Presbyterian Young clergyman who sat among catholic worshippers & examined Baedecker’s map—said he forgot himself. These acts of brutality make religion pleasant and give people confidence in it, because they see how it builds up the humanities in the devotee” [MTNJ 2: 314].
From Livy’s pen we learn that Miss Mary Dunham of Hartford…
“…stopped here with us for two days on her way to Switzerland where she was to join her cousins…It was so delightful to have a visit with her it was like a bit of Hartford—She is so lovely…” [Salsbury 105].
June 1 Sunday – From Sam’s notebook:
Still this vindictive winter continues. Had a raw, cold rain to-day; to-night we sit around a rousing wood fire [MTNJ 2: 312].
Drove to Nanterre (about an hour from Paris) & saw the Rosiere crowned. The last year’s Rosiere led the procession (the sweetest face in France,) the new Rosiere, (with a pretty maid of honor in blue sash) followed—then came a double file of wee girls, then bigger ones, all in white & blue—future Rosieres? The band banged, the trumpets blared, the strong choir sang, the packed church watched the crowing & enthroning of the Rosiere—then the ex-Rosiere took of her crown & wore it on her arm the rest of the time. The new R is an orphan & supports 3 brothers taking in washing. She gets 300 fr now—& 200 by & by, or if she marries, gets wedding apparel in place of it. It once prevailed all around France; but one marked effect of the leveling work of a republic is to destroy aristocratic exclusiveness by making everybody aristocrats [MTNJ 2: 313].
Sam wrote to Ph. Zimmerman requesting shipment of the table he’d had made. His letter not extant but referred to in Zimmerman’s June 9 reply.
June 5 Thursday – Sam wrote a short note from Paris to the J. Langdon Co., advising them of his drawing £200 on a letter of credit that day.
“March—April—May—3 months & $4,000 gone, in Paris—but we have had considerable to eat for it, & a basket or so of wood to burn” [MTLE 4: 70].
Bill and receipt from Munroe & Co, Paris for Normandy Hotel [MTP].
June 8 Sunday – Clara Clemens’ fifth birthday.
From Sam’s notebook:
“We went with Clara & Gen. Fairchild to the Grand Prix & saw Nubienne win the $20,000 given half by City Govt & ½ by RR’s –12 horses in that race” [MTNJ 2: 315].
June 9 Monday – Sam’s article, “Mark Twain, a Presidential Candidate” ran in the New York Evening Post, and was reprinted in several newspapers [Camfield, bibliog.].
I have pretty much made up my mind to run for president. What the country wants is a candidate who can not be injured by investigation of his past history, so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before. If you know the worst about a candidate, to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated. Now I am going to enter the field with an open record. I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have done, and if any Congressional committee is disposed to prowl around my biography in the hope of discovering any dark and deadly deed that I have secreted, why—let it prowl.
In the first place I admit that I treed a rheumatic grandfather of mine in the winter of 1850. He was old and inexpert in climbing trees, but with the heartless brutality that is characteristic of me, I ran him out of the front door in his night-shirt, at the point of a shotgun, and caused him to bowl up a maple tree, where he remained all night, while I emptied shot into his legs. I did this because he snored. I will do it again if I ever have another grandfather. I am as inhuman now as I was in 1850. I candidly acknowledge that I ran away at the battle of Gettysburg. My friends have tried to smooth over this fact by asserting that I did so for the purpose of imitating Washington, who went into the woods at Valley Forge for the purpose of saying his prayers. It was a miserable subterfuge. I struck out in a straight line for the Tropic of Cancer because I was scared. I wanted my country saved, but I preferred to have somebody else save it. I entertain that preference yet. If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon’s mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home. My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.
My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get.
The rumor that I buried a dead aunt under my grapevine was correct. The vine needed fertilizing, my aunt had to be buried, and I dedicated her to this high purpose. Does that unfit me for the Presidency? The Constitution of our country does not say so. No other citizen was ever considered unworthy of this office because he enriched his grapevines with his dead relatives. Why should I be selected as the first victim of an absurd prejudice?
I admit also that I am not a friend of the poor man. I regard the poor man, in his present condition, as so much wasted raw material. Cut up and properly canned, he might be made useful to fatten the natives of the cannibal islands and to improve our export trade with that region. I shall recommend legislation upon the subject in my first message. My campaign cry will be: “Desiccate the poor workingman; stuff him into sausages”
These are about the worst parts of my record. On them I come before the country. If my country don’t want me, I will go back again. But I recommend myself as a safe man—a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last [Budd, “Collected” 725-6].
Ph. Zimmerman wrote from Heidelberg confirming receipt of Sam’s June 1 request, and that he had forwarded his order to Cunard Steamship Co. for 204 pound table and carved works [MTP].
June 10 Tuesday – Sam wrote two notes from Paris to Frank Bliss on contract and illustration matters for the new book, TA [MTLE 4: 71-2].
Sam also wrote to Charles E. Perkins, letter not extant but referred to in Perkins’ June 26 reply.
Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell, writing “gossip” while a woman in the next room stopped coughing.
We are mighty hungry—we want to get home & get something to eat. I can’t quite make out how Americans live on this flat infernal European food several years at a time without a run home now & then to fill in with something wholesome & satisfying [MTLE 4: 74].
June 11 Wednesday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Ponkapog, Mass. to advise he received Sam’s note just before a letter from Tauchnitz, offering to add Aldrich’s book Marjorie Daw to his series. He thanked Sam “heartily.” He expressed what a “charming time” they’d had in Paris with the Clemenses [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “unpublished, I believe / From T.B. Aldrich”
Hjalmar Boyesen wrote a long letter to Clemens, about a harrowing accident on board a ship with a Norwegian brig being cut in two [MTP].
June 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Paris to Elizabeth S. Stevens, probably a fan, who asked if Sam had any poetry he might send. “My pen is bad, my ink is pale, / But my affection for you will / never fail / Yours/ S.L. Clemens” [MTLE 4: 75].
Frank Bliss wrote to Sam. “I enclose new proofs of two of the pictures which you sent over, the other two have not come yet, the Matterhorn picture I had made to nearly the size of the book page.” He added other details of pictures and cuts [MTP]. Note: for TA.
June 13 Friday – In Paris, France Sam wrote a short note of suggestion to Frank Bliss about the pictures for the new book [MTLE 4: 76].
Sam also wrote an autograph card to reply to the May 12 from friend and journalist Noah Brooks: “All right, my dear Brooks; just have it copied for me & send bills for the same & I’ll be very much obliged. / Ys Ever, / Mark” [MTPO: “Recent Changes,” Jan. 20, 2009: Quill and Brush catalog 174, Dec. 18, 2007, Item 41432].
June 14 Saturday – Sam wrote a short note from Paris to Frank Bliss, this time about the reduction of pictures sent [MTLE 4: 77].
Sam also wrote Lucius Fairchild about tickets for the upcoming balloon trip:
I preferred to draw the line for Sabbath-outrages at horse-racing. I imagined a conversation like this—& it made me shudder.
St. Peter. How did you come?
You & I. By balloon, your Reverence.
St. Peter. When did you leave?
I know my weakness; I should be sure to say, “Early Saturday morning, your Reverence.” Then the verdict would be fatal: “Guilty of ballooning on the Sabbath—in questionable company—& then lying about it” [MTLE 4: 78].
June 15 Sunday – Sam wrote from Paris to Frank Bliss. “I think I wouldn’t use the picture which represents me lying on my back drinking from a bottle” [MTLE 4: 79].
June 17 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Paris to Frank Bliss.
“Please ‘process’ that waiter with the bottle, & a few other of the pictures & send proofs for Brown to judge by” [MTLE 4: 80].
Sam also wrote to his brother-in-law, Charles Langdon, encouraging him to come to Paris. Evidently, Charley wrote he could not come. Sam added that their “present plan is to leave her for London in the first fortnight of July…” [MTLE 4: 81].
June 23 Monday – From Lucius Fairchild’s diary:
“Up in the balloon with Mark Twain – Mrs. Twain, Miss Spaulding & Guilwoodford” [Rees 8].
Mr. & Mrs. Fairchild were also in the balloon, which could accommodate 38 people [MTJ&N 2: 315n50]. See also May 3 entry.
In a letter of April 28, 1880 to Fairchild, Sam referred to the balloon ride at St. Cloud. Did Sam think of “that lunatic” Jules Verne while he was aloft? [MTLE 5: 88].
June 24 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Paris to an unidentified person saying that “engagements” prevented “his attendance at a reunion” [MTLE 4: 82].
June 26 Thursday – Francis D. Millet wrote on the yacht Sea Belle to Clemens about past good intentions by himself and Lily to write. They were on a “lark” for two weeks as there’d been “too many dinners and late hours.” He praised the yacht and the crew, and discussed their travel plans [MTP].
Charles E. Perkins wrote to Clemens: “My dear Sir—Your favor of the 10th inst is received and in conformity therewith I have had the Am Pub Co. indorse on all the contracts with you that your part thereof has been performed. & July 1st when they render their a/c – I will settle the $2000 matter. We are all well and looking forward with pleasure to your coming back in the fall…” [MTP].
Sterne, Hudson & Straus per Simon Sterne wrote to Sam and Slote, Woodman & Co. [MTP].
June 27 Friday – Frank Bliss wrote to Sam, more details on pictures for the book.
My dear Clemens / I was unable to send you any money last week, as funds which I expected in did not come, $300 came along a day or two since & I enclose a draft for that amt. … / Browns package of 35 drawings just arrived this a.m. all safe; will have them right in the works. … / Perkins was in to see Father a day or two ago & I believe they fixed up everything all O.K. Mr. Drake was inquiring the other day how long it took for a letter to go to Paris & an answer to get back, he is getting anxious I guess. The Annual Meeting of the A. P. Co comes off again the 3rd Wednesday in July. I intended to have sent a “proxy” in my last letter so you could send it back here & let me represent your stock at the meeting….I guess I’ll enclose a proxy in this letter & if you have no objections to the idea & start it right back to me perhaps it will get here in time…. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Enclosing $300”. Bliss also expressed the desire for the pictures to avoid any “deformities” for humor, such as Max Adeler, Josh Billings, etc. used. He added, “one of the charms of ‘Innocents’ pictures was that people could see how MT looked in an awkward situation & acted. I take it that the subjects of these pictures are people that you have seen &c have a few of your own mishaps depicted to make variety…”
June 28 Saturday – Lucius Fairchild’s diary: “engaged to Mark Twain” [Rees 8]
Bill and receipt from Munroe & Co, Paris for Normandy Hotel, 5,025 francs [MTP].
July – Sometime during July Sam wrote from an unknown place to Charles Perkins, his attorney and financial advisor, asking him to “pile in some securities at Bissell’s—enough to run us till we return home, Oct. 25th ” [MTLE 4: 84]. He wrote in his notebook “Get copy of L’Assomoir [sic] illustrated— ” [MTNJ 2: 326] referring to Emile Zola’s L’Assommoir (187?) [Gribben 796].
July 1–9 Wednesday – Between these dates Sam wrote from Paris sending a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to Lucius Fairchild, inscribed: ”Read this book, General Fairchild, & learn how to be a good boy” [MTLE 4: 83].
July 8 Tuesday – The Clemenses hired Joseph Verey at $2 per day to be their courier from “Paris through Holland to London.” Sam wrote in his notebook that Verey’s wages “to begin July 8” [MTNJ 2: 327]. Verey was the “young Polander” who “spoke eight languages and seemed to be equally at home in all of them; he was very shrewd, bright, and punctual” [A Tramp Abroad, ch 32].
July 10 Thursday – The Clemens family left Paris at 7:20 AM for Brussels, which Sam called “a dirty, beautiful (architecturally), interesting town” [MTNJ 2: 328].
July 10 to 12 Saturday – The Clemens family spent two days in Brussels, then left in the afternoon of July 12 [MTNJ 2: 328]. Sam’s notebook:
“In Brussels Cathedral heard the most majestic organ music & men’s voices, ever listened to. Never have heard anything that rose to the sublimity of those sounds” .
July 12 Saturday – In the afternoon, the Clemens family went to Antwerp [MTNJ 2: 328].
July 13 Sunday – In the morning, Sam and the ladies attended high mass at the Cathedral of Antwerp. “There is nothing solemn or impressive about this exasperating mummery. Rubens masterpiece, the Ascent of the Cross—Christ seems to be an acrobat” [MTNJ 2: 328-9].
In the evening Sam dined on the flagship Trenton with U.S. consul John H. Stewart and some officers of the Trenton and the Alliance, under the command of Vice-Admiral Stephen Clegg Rowan (1808-1890) hero of the Mexican and Civil Wars .
July 14 Monday – Sam took the family aboard the Trenton and breakfasted.
“Admiral Rowan arrived during the meal. I smoked on the Admiral’s side of the deck, not knowing it was sacred by naval etiquette” [MTNJ 2: 328].
The Clemens family traveled on to Rotterdam. They stayed at the Victoria Hotel. Sam liked the middle-class Dutch girls, thought them “very pretty & fresh & amiable & intelligent” and wished “they would come over to us instead of Irish” [MTNJ 2: 329].
July 15 Tuesday – The Clemens family left Rotterdam in the afternoon and went to Amsterdam, where they took rooms at the Hotel Doelen. From Sam’s notebook:
“Went to Museum & saw Rembrandt’s Night Watch & his portraits of some burghers, or burglars, have forgotten which. A Gaye’s tribe of 72 Americans arrived” [MTNJ 2: 330]. Note: Gay & Son were tour directors headquartered in London. They employed Joseph N. Verey, the Clemenses’ new courier.
July 16 Wednesday – The Clemens family saw the sights in Amsterdam.
July 17 and 18 Friday – The Clemens family left Amsterdam in the afternoon and went to The Hague, “stopping off 2 or 3 hours at Harlaam & visiting farm house, dairy, & beautiful country seat.”
Livy wrote about the farm to her mother on July 20, mentioning young Fraulein Korthals:
“She was a wholesome hearty girl of fifteen. She rolled the children in the hay, talked German with them, English with us, Dutch with the dairy woman and also spoke French and a little Italian” [MTNJ 2: 330n73].
Sam also was enthralled by the country and did more art gazing:
Drove through Blumen-something [Bloemendaal] & saw lovely country seats.
No wonder Wm III pined for Holland, the country is so green & lovely, & quiet & pastoral & homelike. Boats sailing through the prairies, & fat cows & quaint windmills everywhere
At the Hague visited Museum & saw Rembrandt’s School of Anatomy & [Paul] Potter’s The Young bull (flies visible under the hairs.) This is absolute nature—in some other pictures too close a copy of nature is called a fault.
Drove out to a country palace were Motley used to visit long at a time with the royal family.
Good portrait of him there. Also some frescos which can’t be told from stone, high–reliefs, across the room. Drove there through the noblest woods I ever saw. [MTNJ 2: 331].
July 19 Saturday – The Clemens family left The Hague at 6 PM For Flushing. In the late evening they crossed the channel by night boat (see July 20 entry). [MTNJ 2: 331, 333].
July 20 Sunday – The Clemens family arrived in London in the morning. Sam wrote in his notebook that the family arrived in London at 8 AM; that it was rainy and cold. They stayed at the Brunswick House Hotel, Hanover Square. “Have had a rousing big cannel-coal fire blazing away in the grate all day. A remarkable summer, truly.” Sam added notes to send the “girl near Haarlem” [Fraulein Korthals] a book, and to “Ask Chatto what terms he gives for new book;” and about Harte’s copyright on Ah Sin play “to be turned over” to him. He then wrote a list of things to do and get. To do:
“Ask if Conway’s in town…Am engaged to dine (but not on set days,) till go to Condover. Go tailor shop…Bank. Write Dr Jno Brown. Note to Bierstadt (Langham). Go to Conway’s [To get:] Cigars. Whiskey. Umbrella” [MTNJ 2: 333-4]. Note: Albert Bierstadt (1830-1902).
Livy wrote to her mother:
“Doesn’t that address sound (or look) as if we were nearing home? We reached here this morning having crossed the channel in the night” [MTNJ 2: 289].
July 24 Thursday – Walter F. Brown, illustrator, wrote from Paris. “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…P.S. the three faulty drawings will be duly corrected” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Walter F. Brown receipts in full—about $700”.
July 26 Saturday – Sam met Lewis Carroll, who later wrote in his diary, “Met Mr. Clemens (Mark Twain), with whom I was pleased and interested” [Green 382]. Paine incorrectly indicates the meeting was in 1873, and uses Sam’s 1906 Autobiography for the recollection of the meeting:
We met a great many other interesting people, among them Lewis Carroll, author of the immortal Alice— but he was only interesting to look at, for he was the stillest and shyest full-grown man I have ever met except “Uncle Remus.” Doctor MacDonald and several other lively talkers were present, and the talk went briskly along for a couple of hours, but Carroll sat still all the while except that now and then he answered a question. His answers were brief. I do not remember that he elaborated any of them [MTA 2: 232]. Note: Paine incorrectly puts the family’s arrival London at July 29 instead of July 20, which led him to believe the meeting with Lewis Carroll took place in 1873. MTNJ corrects this date by Livy’s letter to her mother of July 20, which verifies the July 26 meeting noted in Carroll’s diary as correct.
July 28 Monday – The Clemens family traveled just over 70 miles to spend a week in Condover Hall, in North Shropshire on the west English coast. Paine: “For more than two years they had had an invitation from Reginald Cholmondeley to pay him another visit” [MTB 646]. From Sam’s notebook:
…went to Condover Hall, near Shrewsbury, to visit Mr. Reginald Cholmondeley. Present, visitors: Hon. Mr. Egerton, & Hon. Miss Egerton; Col. Cholmondeley, young Tom Cholmondeley (heir to Condover Hall) Mr. & Mrs. Drummond & two children; Millais the artist, wife & 2 daughters & one remarkable son aged 13 (Jack); 2 Misses Wade, etc, etc. [MTNJ 2: 336].
August – Sam’s notebook entry “New Pepys Diary,” shows he was reading Samuel Pepys’ Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, Esq., in 6 volumes (1875-79) [Gribben 539]. Paine writes that “Pepys’ Diary was one of the few books that [Sam] read regularly every year or two” [MTLP 489]. Sam jotted “Our Old Nobility” from articles in the Echo by Howard Evans which attacked hereditary aristocracy and also criticized the Church of England [Gribben 224]. Such books were grist for Sam’s creation of Connecticut Yankee.
August 1 Friday – Duckett cites Walter Blair’s Mark Twain & Huck Finn, p.114 for a notebook entry not found in MTNJ 2. Sam’s chief criticism of Bret Harte’s fiction at the time was that it “aroused in the ‘upper classes’ too much sympathy for ‘whore’ and ‘burglars.’ ” Blair cites Notebook #14, 18, MTP: “Harte’s saintly wh’s and self-sacrificing sons of b’s” [Duckett 191].
August 3 Sunday – The Clemens family ended their visit at Condover Hall and went to Oxford, arriving at about 6 PM. There they sent the children on to Brunswick House Hotel, London with Rosa and were shown the colleges by Edward Wyndham [MTNJ 2: 337&n93].
August 4 Monday – Sam and Livy traveled on to London.
August 6 Wednesday – Sam inscribed a copy of the National Gallery of London’s A Complete Illustrated Catalogue (1879): “S.L. Clemens / London, Aug. 6 ’79” [Gribben 417].
Clemens also inscribed a copy of Mark Twain. The Choice Humorous Works of Mark Twain (London 1878) to Edward Wyndham: “To Mr. Edward Wyndham. With pleasant recollections of a memorable day in Oxford. Truly yours, Mark Twain. London, Aug. 6/79” [The Autograph 1.1 (Nov. 1911): 16].
August 10 Sunday – Sam’s notebook:
“We still have to have fires every few days—had one to-night. We have had fires almost all the time, in Rome, Munich, Paris, Belgium, Holland, Condover Hall & London, from the 1st of last September (Florence) till the present time—nearly 12 months” [MTNJ 2: 337].
August 13 Wednesday – Henry Lee inscribed a copy of his book, The Octopus (1875) “To / Saml. L. Clemens / from his friend / The Author. / Henry Lee / Augt 13th 1879” [MTP].
August 14 Thursday – Sam went to the Royal Aquarium “with Rosa, J[ohn] & the ch[ildren]” and made notes of what he’d paid John the courier.
August 15 Friday – Bill paid to M. Fentum, wood turner and carver £5.12.6 for misc. [illegible items] [MTP].
August 17 Sunday – From Sam’s notebook about hearing the great Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892):
Raw & cold, & a drenching rain. Went over to the Tabernacle & heard Mr. Spurgeon. House ¾ full—say 3000 people. 1st hour, lacking 1 minute, taken up with two prayers, two ugly hymns, & Scripture-reading. Sermon ¾ of an hour long. A fluent talk. Good sonorous voice. Topic treated in the unpleasant old fashion—man a mighty bad child, God working at him in forty ways & having a world of trouble about him.
A wooden-faced congregation—just the sort to see no incongruity in the Majesty of Heaven stooping to beg & plead & sentimentalize over such, & see in their salvation an important matter [MTNJ 2: 338].
August 18 Monday – “Left London at 10.30 AM for Windermere—changed cars all day. Too much variety” [MTNJ 2: 339].
August 19 Tuesday – From Sam’s notebook:
Went up Windermere Lake in the steamer.—Talked with the great Darwin [MTNJ 2: 339]. Note: Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882). Windermere is over 80 miles north of Liverpool; Condover some 70 miles south of Liverpool.
Sam wrote in the morning from Windermere, England to Andrew Chatto, asking a favor. He’d seen an etching, and possibly Clara Spaulding had admired it, in a picture-shop next to the Haymarket Theatre by James Abbot McNeil Whistler (1834-1903), of a view from his window on the Thames in Chelsea. Sam asked if Chatto would purchase it and send it to Clara at the Washington Hotel in Liverpool by the day after next. Sam added that their ship would sail Saturday morning [MTLE 4: 85].
August 21 Thursday – The Clemens party arrived in Liverpool. An hour later, Sam wrote from the Washington Hotel to Dr. John Brown, a letter of apologies for not being able to make the trip to Edinburgh to see him.
“It is a great disappointment, for we wanted to show you how much ‘Megalopis’ has grown, (she is 7 now) & what a fine creature her sister (aged 5) is, & how prettily they both speak German. There are six persons in my party, & they are as difficult to cart around as nearly any other menagerie would be” [MTLE 4: 86].
August 22 Friday – The Clemens family moved from the Washington Hotel to another, unknown Liverpool hotel, as referenced by his Aug. 21 letter to Brown [MTLE 4: 86].
D. & C. Mac Iver, Liverpool, sent Clemens six portage receipts for good shipped on the S.S. Gallia, totaling £451 [MTP].
August 23 Saturday – The Clemens family sailed from Liverpool on the S.S.Gallia, bound for New York. Sam noted “about 9 PM brilliant moon, a calm sea, & a magnificent lunar rainbow.” He noted the last time he’d seen one was in California [MTNJ 2: 340].
August 23 to September 2 Tuesday – The Clemens family was en route to New York on the S.S.Gallia. Sam’s noted the Colorado miner on board who hated Englishmen and wouldn’t pass things to them at the table; a dead passenger packed in ice in a hanging lifeboat and unknowing passengers singing and laughing under it as the melting ice dripped on them; a sailor who had an apoplectic fit and nearly fell from the rigging; and an announcement of Aug. 28 in Nation about an appointment of Henry Hurlbert to study European educational systems [MTNJ 2: 340-1].
August 28 Thursday – Sam’s entry in his notebook objected to a long title in the Nation—what he called “compounding-disease” [MTNJ 2: 341].
September 1 Monday – Sam, en route on the S.S.Gallia, dictated an inscription and signed a book for an unidentified person. The book: The New Republic by William H. Mallock (1878). The inscription is pure Twain:
“THE NEW REPUBLIC, a book which treats of light things seriously, of serious things, lightly; of all things wittily,—which destroys without remaking, suggests without satisfying, inquires without answering, stops without ending” [MTLE 4: 88].
September 2 Tuesday – The Cunard liner S.S.Gallia steamed into New York. Fatout:
“At Quarantine on September 2, 1879, reporters swarmed aboard and crowded around him in the main saloon. They observed that he had aged somewhat, his hair having become gray, but that the drawl was unchanged….Newsmen fired many questions, although Mark Twain, as usual in his encounters with the press, did not need much priming to keep him talking” [Fatout, Mark Twain Speaks 118]. Journalists from the New York Times and the New York Sun were among those on board.
Powers gives Sept. 3 as the date the Clemens family arrived in New York: “They brought twenty-two freight packages—not counting the crockery, carved furniture, and other goods they’d shipped to America” [MT A Life 426]. Sam was the last passenger to clear customs, at 8 PM [MTLE 4: 89]. Livy was expecting. The press was quite interested in Sam’s return:
The New York Herald, on page 4, ran an article where Sam discussed his ideas about the British aristocracy [Scharnhorst, Interviews 28].
The New York World, on page 1, ran “Mr. Twain Again with Us / A Wonderful Book in His Luggage and Much Wonderful Sea-Lore in His Head” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 29-31].
The New York Sun ran “Mark Twain Back Again / Freely Expresses His Opinion about Various Things / His Views on the English Language, the Danger of the Elevated Railroads, Prunes as a Sea-Going Diet, and Lord Dunraven” on page one [Scharnhorst, Interviews 22-24].
The New York Times ran “Mark Twain Home Again / What He Says about the New Book He Has Written” page 8. [Scharnhorst, Interviews 25-27].
Fatout in Mark Twain Speaks [118-22] offers a composite of these last two interviews:
On Bayard Taylor:
“He got out at Plymouth, and I never saw him again. While he was at Berlin I corresponded with him, and we made an appointment to meet in the fall. His death was a great surprise to me.”
On Murat Halstead (boarding late from a party and not packing properly)—did Sam loan him any clothes?
“He could not get into mine; and, besides, I didn’t have any more than I wanted for myself.”
How far have you got in Ollendorf? (A method of learning languages without a teacher):
“Oh, I don’t speak German. It’s enough that I’ve endured the agony of learning to read it.”
Sam confessed his book from the trip was only half done. He was anxious to ride on the new elevated trains, and told a tale about Dan Slote being grazed by a woman who fell to her death from washing windows. He had good things to say about the Cunard line and the improved food. A Times reporter asked whether a cocktail left standing on the shelf at night would be there in the morning. Sam answered that the ship was hardly steady enough for that. He ended the interview with good things to say about Lord Dunraven.
September 3 Wednesday – After spending one night in New York, the Clemens family took the train for the ten-hour trip to Elmira. As was their habit, they took a hotel car.
September 4 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Dan Slote, asking that a scrapbook be sent to Welch (unknown, perhaps a passenger on the voyage). Sam made no mention of the failure of Slote’s company, but evidently Dan was still handling the scrapbooks as Sam had approved [MTLE 4: 89].
September 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frank Bliss. Sam sent the manuscript of A Tramp Abroad and asked when Bliss would be done with it as he was planning to visit his mother, and sister in Fredonia and wanted to know if he should wait to go or go soon. He asked that Frank telegraph him [MTLE 4: 90].
September 8 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to Mary H. Beale, who evidently was seeking employment. “…my correspondence is not voluminous enough to make a short-hand amanuensis necessary, & in my other work I am obliged to use the pen myself” [MTLE 4: 91].
Sam also wrote to Frank Bliss, who had been trying to break away from his father’s American Publishing Co. and had been encouraged by Sam. Now it seemed Frank was unable to do this, so Sam wanted to make it clear that if he returned to American Publishing “they shall not canvas any books but mine between this present date & a date 9 months after the actual publication & issue of my forthcoming book.” Sam was gradually taking more and more control of the publishing end of the business. Sam added that the manuscript he’d sent was not finished, but that he’d finish it in Elmira. He mentioned the violation of contract on Innocents Abroad, putting it off a “whole year…in order to run in two new books.” He added after his signature: “This letter is not dictated by malice, but only in the interest of ‘business’ ” [MTLE 4: 92].
Sam also wrote to the Hartford Flag Committee and E.S. Cleveland, sending them $25 for the “good cause” they represented.
“There is nothing nobler than for religion to support patriotism; & nothing wiser than for both to uphold & encourage domestic economy—therefore I subtract this sum from the pew rent” [MTLE 4: 93].
At “about noon” [MTNJ 2: 342] Sam also wrote a short note to William Dean Howells.
“Are you dead—or only sleepeth?” [MTLE 4: 94]
Susan & Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam and Livy in Elmira, thanking Livy for her dress and asking when they would come to Hartford, among other things. Charles added one small paragraph [MTP].
September 9 Tuesday – In Boston, Howells wrote answering Clemens’ “sleepeth?” note:
Sleepeth is the matter—the sleep of a torpid conscience. I will feign that I didn’t know where to write you; but I love you and all yours, and I am tremendously glad that you are at home again. When and where shall we meet? I want to see you and talk with you. Have you come home with your pockets full of Atlanticable papers? How about the two books? [MTHL 1: 268].
Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Perkins, telling him to “Keep the key, till we come.” Sam may have sent a key or simply told Perkins to hang on to one he had [MTLE 4: 95].
September 10 Wednesday – Sam and Livy made a quick trip to Fredonia to visit Sam’s mother, and sister Pamela Moffett. They left the children at Quarry Farm with the Cranes. (Referenced by Sam’s letter to Pamela of Sept. 15) [MTLE 4: 98]. Susan Crane gave the exact date in a June 14, 1911 letter to Paine [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p4]. They stopped in Buffalo and called on David Gray, who wasn’t home [Sept. 13 from Gray].
September 11 Thursday – Sam’s article “Battle Flag Day” ran in the Hartford Courant [Camfield, bibliog.].
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam and Livy.
Mollie being sick cannot write today; but she joins me in welcoming you home; in congratulations on your health and the enjoyment of your trip; and on the fact that Sam’s book is going to be the best he has ever issued.” He also thanked Sam for the “liberality and punctuality of your remittances. At the same time I feel inexpressibly mean and empty, and anxious to get out of this fix.” He was sending more MS. and hoped he could make a living from it. “After receiving your prohibitory letter I stopped talking or thinking of lecturing here or elsewhere…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “1879 / Orion sends a sample in MS”
September 12 Friday – Charles E. Perkins wrote to Sam, complimenting them on their safe arrival, and advising that his “mizzen needs painting.” Did they wish anything done in the way of carpets or furniture before they arrived in Hartford? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”
September 13 Saturday – David Gray wrote to Sam. “Imagine my disappointment & mortification, on getting home yesterday from Syracuse, to find your telegraph, & that I had missed you!…Did you ever write ‘The Prince & the Pauper’? How often that story has haunted me!” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Refers to ‘Prince & Pauper’ / David Gray / Answered /1879”
September 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to George S. Gilman, publisher, evidently responding to his inquiry about Sam’s connection with American Publishing Co.: “Under certain (not difficult nor unreasonable) conditions, I am to remain with the old Co., I believe” [MTLE 4: 96].
Sam also wrote to Howells, who had responded Sept. 9 to Sam’s “Are you dead—or only sleepeth?” note asking about “the two books.”( A Tramp Abroad and The Stolen White Elephant). Sam answered:
When & where? Here on the farm would be an elegant place to meet, but of course you cannot come so far. So we will say Hartford or Belmont, about the beginning of November. The date of our return to Hartford is uncertain, but will be three or four weeks hence, I judge. I hope to finish my book here before migrating. / I think maybe I’ve got some Atlanticable stuff in my head, but there’s not in MS I believe.
Sam also suggested again doing a play together, and the desirability of Orion as a character.
I see Orion on the state, always gentle, always melancholy, always changing his politics & religion, & trying to reform the world, always inventing something, & losing a limb by a new kind of explosion at the end of each of the four acts [MTLE 4: 97].
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett:
I have no check-book here—at least I can’t find it. I will tell Charley Langdon to send you a draft for $175—$100 of it to buy the lot with…
The lot was near Van Buren Point, a Lake Erie resort area near Fredonia. Sam wanted to build a cottage there sometime in the future.
We had a charming visit with you all, & achieved a higher opinion than ever of Charley, & his energy, capacity & industry. But mind I tell you, in all affection, Sam had better look out or he’ll be another Orion. This may be a false alarm & I hope it is—but isn’t it really time Sam was getting at something? He has got a mighty good head—he ought by all means to go into the law with that young Woodford. They would make a success of it, sure.
I was going to write a few lines to Ma, but this is the sixteenth letter I have written since I sat down, & I am getting tired. Besides, there’s a pile to answer [MTLE 4: 98].
Burt Tempest “a young authoress” wrote from Phila. to Sam, having just finished a novel, which she had tried to find a publisher for. Would Sam help or advise her? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A curiosity—for humility, insolence, ignorance, vanity, self-sufficiency, sham, humbug, & general loathsomeness. But the mixed metaphors—oh, they are sublime!”
September 16 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frank Bliss, asking if the “Moses” wood-cut by Walter Brown had been received [MTLE 4: 100].
Miss H.R. Fitch wrote from New London, Conn. “Mr Clemens, / I feel much complimented by your courteous response to my letter, and evident willingness to comply with my request.” Enclosed is a clipping “Breaking the Will” (newspaper unknown), which concerned Captain Jim Smith’s will, Mr. Thomas Fitch “one of those who are particularly interested in proving the old ruler non compos.” She asked Sam for an affidavit to be used in the trial on Sept. 23 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The Admiral’s Will / 1879”. The Cap’n made 5 wills: 1850, 1873, 1874, 1875, and 1877. In the 1850 he made the children of Thomas Fitch, his sister’s husband, his heirs.
September 17 Wednesday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam about possible visits ahead. Howells was sensitive about “helping to put your brother [Orion] into drama,” as Sam had repeatedly suggested. He offered, “the alien hand might inflict an incurable hurt to his tender heart.” Howells also mentioned seeing George Waring, who had recently seen Sam, thus bringing “us very near” [MTHL 1: 270].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, Orion stories enclosed. “Ma has written me of your and her consultation. I shall be very glad to stride forth in search of work, if my writing fails. I enclose my preface, and will forward my introduction and the first chapter to-morrow or next day. If I can write a book, that might be 28 years of protection against paralysis and other incidents of humanity” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Orion’s preface to religious book / 1879”; Preface in file.
September 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to David Gray, old friend and editor in Buffalo. On Sept. 10 Sam and family had gone through Buffalo on their latest trip to Fredonia, but Gray wasn’t home, so missed a visit. Sam pointed out that the Clemenses were owed a visit anyway, counting “several visits & two or three attempts.” He wrote of writing Prince and the Pauper, which to him was a joy that offset the labors of A Tramp Abroad. Sam stopped about half way through and wrote “I shall take it up again with a powerful interest if I ever get another chance” [MTLE 4: 101].
September 23 Tuesday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to the editors of the Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Mass.) to decline an invitation for a supper and social meeting by the journalists. He went a long way around to enlighten the editors on the meaning of “circumstances over which I have no control” [MTLE 4: 101].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.
We have been to Fredonia; we have finished our visit here in the valley with Mother Langdon; today we depart with bag & baggage to the serene hill-top. Consequently, this is a busy day. Livy is viewing designed & instructing the artist who is making ready to fresco the Hartford house, Rosa is packing trunks, & I am bracing myself for the serious work of answering some thirty letters. During some hours, now, I shall be steadily declining—I always decline, & keep on declining, on these correspondence-clearing occasions. I have to decline to lecture; & to furnish autographic “sentiments;” & to write articles for periodicals; & to read & give a “candid opinion” upon manuscripts submitted by strangers—& so on, & so on.
Sam praised her son’s drawing but added: “Talent is useless without training…” [MTLE 4: 104].
Sam and family moved from the Langdon home to Quarry Farm.
Gustavo Sarfatti receipted Clemens for shipping “One Case glasses” [MTP].
Richard Whiteing wrote from Paris to Clemens enclosing a letter from Mr. de Mussy about payment made. “I have been to Russia since I saw you, on business connected with the forthcoming life of Peter the Great in Scribner’s Magazine. Consul Schuyler is writing it, & I am superintending the illustrations” [MTP].
September 26 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Ainsworth Spofford, librarian of Congress for a copyright for A Tramp Abroad [MTLE 4: 105].
September 29 Monday – John Wentworth Sanborn wrote to Clemens, thanking him for help in getting “unstuck” with the Scrap Book [MTP]. Note: letter exists in Sanborn’s 1920 book, Distinguished Authors Whom I have known, etc; See Jan. 24, 1878 from Sanborn.
Rev. Nathaniel J. Burton wrote from Hartford to Clemens recommending a “colored man” to take the place of George Griffin [MTP].
October 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to John W. Sanborn, Indian culture expert. He complimented Sanborn on his “little book” which contained Indian ideas of creation, heaven and what Sam called the “odd coincidence” of immaculate conception [MTLE 4: 107] The book was likely Legends, customs and social life of the Seneca Indians, of western New York, by John Wentworth Sanborn, (“O-yo-ga-weh,”) (Clear Sky.) 1878.
Carl Jensen, customs officer in Stubbekjobing, Denmark, wrote asking, in tortured syntax, for “two words” or an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Preserve this remarkable letter.”
On or about this day Sam also wrote to Howells, sending him a piece for possible publication (unidentified) [MTLE 4: 108].
October 2 Thursday – Sam wrote from Quarry Farm to Joe Twichell, who had recommended a Negro cook for the Clemens family. George Griffin was back in their employ, Sam wrote. Could Harmony Twichell recommend the candidate as a good cook? “Never mind her morals, is she a good cook?” Sam liked his new book (A Tramp Abroad) after much revision and cutting. “I cannot see that it lacks anything but information.”
Sam also wrote to Orion, letter not extant but referred to in Orion’s Oct. 6 reply.
A fire started on the hillside below the farm, and Sam gathered up his manuscripts, tied strings around them and “prepared for a speedy desertion,” but the fire was soon put out. Sam invited Joe to visit [MTLE 4: 110].
October 3 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “The Fierce Yazoos” doggerel that he’d sent to several newspapers enclosed. He was again in financial straits and turned around about how to proceed [MTP].
October 6 Monday – In Toronto, Canada, Howells wrote to Sam. Howells was on a “very nice trip” to see his father.
Next week we are going on for a day at John Hay’s. Hay is deep in politics, and will probably go to Congress next year. I wish we could stop at Elmira, but we must go home the other way. We left the chicks at Belmont, and we’re in a hurry to get back to ‘em [MTHL 1: 272].
Orion Clemens wrote to thank Sam for his “kind letter of Octo. 2…I had squared off my rent account, and taken down my attorney’s sign. It is well enough. It was only creaking and catching no flies. I shall write at home, and use the rent money to pay installments on some books I wish to buy.” He added after his signature, “I am grateful to you for continuing to send me the cheques. One for fifty dollars came Saturday. Mr. Perkins had been sending them so they arrive before the 1st; and when the 1st came without the cheque, with my usual sanguine hopefulness, I never expected to see it or another” [MTP].
October 9 Thursday – Sam had received Howells’ letter of Sept. 17, which called writing about Orion by “an alien hand” as heartless. Howells planned on traveling “northward and westward…either the first of October or the first of November” [MTHL 1: 270]. Sam responded that he’d intended to mark the religious squib “Private,” but forgot to. He then wrote a litany of Orion’s schemes and intentions he’d received in the past month.
Sam wanted to go to Chicago with Howells and John Hay to a reunion of the
…great Commanders of the Western army Corps on the 9th of next month. My sluggish soul needs a fierce upstirring, & if it would not get it when Grant enters the meeting place I must doubtless “lay” for the final resurrection.
Sam disclosed their plans to leave Quarry Farm for New York Oct. 21 and reach Hartford Oct. 24or 25. He encouraged the Howellses to visit [MTLE 4: 111].
October 10 Friday – Susan Crane gave this as the date the Clemens family left Quarry Farm. If so, they must have stayed with the Langdons in Elmira until Oct. 21 [Susan Crane to Paine, June 14, 1911, The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p.4].
October 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Frederick Schweppe, an Elmira decorator, a draft for $250 [MTLE 4: 113]. Livy had engaged Schweppe to redo the walls and ceilings in the Hartford, Farmington Avenue house [Willis 129].
October 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Pierre D. Peltier, declining an invite to dine with the Gate City Guard of Atlanta, Georgia, invited by the Putnam Phalanx, a Hartford military company. Fatout [MT Speaks 122] points out: “In postwar years, when sectional feelings ran high and oppressive reconstruction engendered bitter animosities, Sam preached on the theme of amity between North and South.” Sam requested that the food he did not eat be “distributed among the public charities of our several States and Territories…” [MTLE 4: 114].
October 15 Wednesday – C.H. Brainard wrote from Boston to Sam, enclosing a photo of a bust of Whittier by Preston Powers, Florence, Italy. Brainard solicited Sam for a contribution to place the bust (cost $900) in the Boston Public Library [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Whittier photo”.
October 16 Thursday – Sam was drafted as a speaker for a Republican Meeting in Elmira to introduce General Joseph R. Hawley, at that time a Connecticut congressman [Fatout, MT Speaking 128]. The Elmira Daily Advertiser reported on the 8 o’clock speech, including emendations for applause, laugher and interruption, as when Sam insisted Hawley had “been president of the convention that nominated Abraham Lincoln.” Hawley corrected Sam that it was Grant, not Lincoln. Sam insisted it was Lincoln. The Advertiser:
We report him just as he said it, but the type founders do not make characters that can drawl and intone on paper [Jerome & Wisbey 75].
October 17 Friday – Sam’s article “Our Georgia Visitors” ran in the Hartford Courant [Camfield, bibliog.].
C. Jensen, custom officer wrote from Stubbekøbing, Denmark to ask for an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Preserve this remarkable letter”; though English is clearly not the writer’s first language, nothing explains Twain’s envelope comment.
October 21 Tuesday – The Clemens family left Elmira and Quarry Farm and went to New York, staying a day or two before leaving for Hartford [MTLE 4: 111]. Note: Susan Crane in a 1911 letter to Paine gave the date the Clemens family left Quarry Farm as Oct. 10, but several letters from Elmira by Sam after that date show they stayed with the Langdons in town from Oct. 10 to 21, as they often did upon arriving or before leaving the area [The Twainian, Nov.-Dec.1956 p4].
October 21 to 24 Friday – The Clemens family spent these days in New York.
October 23 Thursday – G.E. Hutchingson, Newspaper Advertising Agent wrote Sam a note of recommendation for Jesse M. Leathers [MTP].
October 24 Friday – After a seventeen month absence, the Clemens family returned home to Hartford and their Farmington Avenue house [MTLE 4: 111, 115]. From Twichell’s journal:
“Dear Mark Twain and his family are home again. We called on them in the evening. It seems only yesterday that we parted in Switzerland” [Yale, copy at MTP].
In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, inviting him to the Holmes breakfast on Dec. 3. Also:
We got home last Saturday, and though we had a glorious time in Cleveland and elsewhere, we were glad to get home. John Hay lives in superb style, and a lovely house, and the only thing in which I had the better of him was your letter which came there. “Why don’t somebody write me such letters?” he sang out [MTHL 1: 276].
October 25 Saturday – Richard Stanley Tuthill (1841-1920) wrote from Chicago, on The Illinois Club notepaper to invite Sam to the annual meeting of the Army of Tennessee Nov. 12-13. Would Sam agree to be on the program? [MTP]. Note: he did agree and gave the famous “Babies” speech.
October 27 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George Baker, the merchant who had sold Sam the music box in Geneva Switzerland. The wrong box arrived, damaged. He’d wanted the one shown to him that only used violin sounds and vox humana tones; what arrived had drums and bells and “tinklings.” The damage was slight and repairable. Sam “suffered a grievous disappointment” and asked to ship the box back and get the right one in return. Who would pay duties on the right box? [MTLE 4: 115-6].
Sam also wrote to Howells, agreeing to come to Belmont “a day or two before the 3d (if Mrs. Clemens will permit), & stay a day or two after it anyway.” Sam mentioned John Hay, General Hawley, and David Gray. He complimented Orion on a “readable book” he was writing about religion under an assumed name. He ended with “Warner says your new book is your best yet, according to Mrs. Howells’s judgment” [MTLE 4: 117]. Note: the “new book” was most likely The Lady of the Aroostook (1879).
Sam also wrote to Robert Howland in San Francisco, an old Carson City friend from his mining days, who had sent Sam pictures of his children. “They are the sweetest little rascals!” Sam wrote. Sam added they were planning to come to San Francisco “some time next year” [MTLE 4: 118]. But, of course, Sam never returned.
Sam also wrote (he often wrote dozens of letters at one sitting) to Albert J. Scott, a correspondent from an unnamed newspaper [Eppard 430] who evidently inquired as to Sam’s first publications. Sam answered that he “began to write for a local public in the fall of 1862—& for the general American public in 1865 or ‘66 (‘Jumping Frog’ &c).” He also listed, “3. I wrote the review of the poet Hammond’s works. An admirable singer” [!?] [MTLE 4: 119].
The review was an unsigned satirical treatment in the Contributors’ Club of the Atlantic Monthly for June 1877 of Rev. Edward Payson Hammond’s (1831-1910) Sketches of Palestine. Eppard calls this work “a curious mixture of piety and travel sketch cast into verse” . Although Sam’s review was untitled in the text of the magazine, in the semi-annual index it was listed as “An Overrated Book”  Eppard cites Alan Gribben’s “review of the lame literary productions which attracted Mark Twain’s attention” Among these was Sketches of Palestine, “…apparently one of Clemens’s favorites, for, according to Gribben, his copy of the book bears prolific annotations…uniformly derisive” . Eppard considers Sam’s “playful” review to be a parody of “the kind of critical essay which was regularly appearing in the Contributors’ Club” . In the review the writer reveals he was a resident of Ponkapog, Mass., home of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. So, did Twain really write this? The writing style suggests not. See entries for June 6, 1877 and Jan. 12, 1883.)
Sam wrote checks drawn on George P. Bissell & Co, Bankers, Hartford, to Mr. James H. Breslin totaling $166.51 [MTP].
October 27–30 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, with advice any good writer needs. Sam liked the manuscript his brother had sent about religion. He penciled thoughts and suggestions in the work and said:
And put the bread & butter idea clear out of your head. Write your treatise for the love of it, not for what it will bring. The bread & butter thought is simply fatal to literary work. Write with the idea that you are on a salary, that the salary is secure & that you need not bother about it; consider & remember that Livy & I never bother about it, Perkins don’t bother about it, nobody bothers about it. Therefore why should you? [MTLE 4: 120].
Sam added that he would be at the Grant banquet & festivities in Chicago on Nov. 12 and 13, and “would run over to Keokuk but shall have to rush home immediately” to finish proof-reading A Tramp Abroad .
October 28 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William E. Strong (1808-1895), who invited him to speak at the Army Reunion in Chicago. The invite was sent to Elmira, and so was received late. Sam declined the invitation, at least initially.
“I wanted to see the General [Grant] again, anyway, and renew the acquaintance. He would remember me, because I was the person who did not ask him for an office” [MTLE 4: 121].
October 29 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to L.T. Adams, enclosing the draft of a letter he’d written to George Baker, regarding the music-box shipment from Geneva, Switzerland [MTLE 4: 122].
Sam received a letter from Colonel Richard Stanley Tuthill, chairman of the banquet committee, about his attendance at the Chigago Army Reunion . The letter caused Sam to reevaluate his invitation—the idea of using the “Babies” speech instead of the toast to “Women” intrigued him after “working out a few notes.” Sam telegraphed Colonel Tuttle and General Strong to accept the Banquet invitation for Nov. 13 .
Sam wrote checks drawn on George P. Bissell & Co., Bankers, Hartford, to Mssrs. Arnold, Constable Co., $37.15; Adams Express, $50.55; and to himself $100 [MTP].
October 30 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Joseph Blackburn Jones. Sam related his decline of the invitation to the Army Reunion in Chicago, the letter from Colonel Tuttle and his desire to give a different toast to Grant. He had telegraphed Colonel Tuttle again. Sam was waffling about coming—the distance, the weather, the time it would involve, etc. [MTLE 4: 123].
October 31 Friday – Sam wrote a check drawn on George P. Bissell & Co., Bankers, Hartford, to Water Commissioner, $22.50 [MTP].
November – Sam sent a correspondence card to an unidentified person with this maxim, altering “the great & good Franklin”:
November to December 15, 1879 – Clemens wrote to unidentified. Cue: “I consider it slander…”; not found at MTP though catalogued as UCCL 13217.
November 1 Saturday – Sam wrote a check drawn on George P. Bissell & Co, Bankers, Hartford, to Patrick McAleer, the family coachman, for $52.45 [MTP].
November 4 Tuesday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Ponkapog to Sam.
I am a broken down old man, who from week to week puts off doing the thing that lies nearest his heart. In this imbecile fashion I have neglected to tell you how glad I am to have you on this side of the water—when I am not on the other. I always like to have you within interruption distance. I never enjoyed anything more in my life than I did the way I broke in on your working mood at Paris in that jolly street of the ladder [here Sam writes “(rue de l’Echelle. /SLC)”] When you get deep in another book, let me know… [Aldrich then invited Sam to visit; MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Preserve”
November 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to U.D. at the W.K. Carson Co., Baltimore, Maryland. U.D. had evidently asked for a biographical sketch. Sam referred him to the listing in Men of the Time, by Routledge, or Allibone’s Dictionary of Authors [MTLE 4: 125].
Sam also wrote to his old guide, Joseph Very, letter not extant but referred to in Verey’s Dec. 16 reply.
Sam also wrote to James W. McDaniel of Hannibal, boyhood friend, congratulating him on some 25th anniversary [MTLE 4: 126]. “Jimmy McDaniel, Sam’s own age, was envied because his father kept the candy store…‘He was the first human being to whom I ever told a humorous story’ ” [Wecter 142].
November 6 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Hjalmar Boyesen of Ithaca, New York. Boyesen and family had been in Paris at the same time as the Clemens family. Sam listed the letters he had written Boyesen after being informed by a “fine young fellow” named Bacon that he hadn’t answered Boyesen’s letters. Sam wrote that their “unpacking room looks like a furniture hospital” [MTLE 4: 127].
Sam also wrote again, two notes, to William E. Strong, organizer of the Army Reunion in Chicago, accepting, “with great pleasure” the invitation to speak at the reunion banquet. Sam wrote he had “secured a room…at the Palmer house, & shall arrive there next Monday morning” [MTLE 4: 129].
November 7 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich. After some playful prose and jabbing at Aldrich, Sam wrote of the impending trip to Chicago:
I jumped into that Chicago business without sufficient reflection, & now that formidable winter-trip is before me & has to be taken; moreover, I have to start tomorrow, in order to be ahead of the prodigious railway crowds. Charley Clark is just from there & says the hotels & boarding houses have already received 50,000 more applications than they can possibly accommodate. Yes, it’s a good deal of a journey, but I would rather make two like it than miss the excitement there’s going to be, there [MTLE 4: 130].
Sam also sent a note to Charles Perkins enclosing a copy of the contract with Frank Bliss, transferring to the American Publishing Co. [MTLE 4: 133].
Sam also wrote to Joseph Blackburn Jones, of his engaging a room at Chicago’s Palmer House and his “8 or 9 o’clock” arrival the following Monday. “You drop in & see me.” Sam insisted on speaking sixth or seventh on the program, regardless of printing already made.
“Darn it, I want to have a good time; & how can I have a good time if I have to sit there two or three hours in the family way with my Babies & not knowing whether I’m going to miscarry or not?” [MTLE 4: 132]. [Meaning, his “Babies” toast.]
November 8 Saturday – Sam left Hartford with George Warner, both bound for Chicago [MTLE 4: 130]. He stopped in New York, where Dan Slote told him that the scrapbook business was “booming—can’t fill the orders” .
November 9 Sunday – Sam wrote en route (“In a hotel-car, 300 miles west of Philadelphia, 11.30 Sunday morning”) from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, to Livy. He would telegraph her from Pittsburgh, he wrote. He liked the sleeping car and his breakfast, and hoped she had slept well, but was afraid she didn’t. “You must have Emily Perkins or some other quiet body with you.” George wrote on the note: “He is a jolly travelling companion” [MTLE 4: 134].
Dr. John Brown wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland to apologize for not thanking Sam at Liverpool on Aug. 21. He had just read “Membranous Croup” with relish, and wished the Clemenses enjoyable holidays [MTP].
November 10 Monday – Sam and George Warner arrived in Chicago and took rooms at the Palmer House [MTLE 4: 129]. The pair:
…walked over 76 miles…round about the town, inspecting the outsides of beautiful & costly dwellings, the water-works machinery, the street-decorations for the Grant reception, & so forth, & had a good time. He [George] went west last night [Nov 10], & I went to three beautiful theatres with a lot of newspaper men; staid but a few minutes at two of them, but saw a whole act at the third. It was the first act of Pinafore, admirably done by children—little children, like ours….I was home & in bed at 10 o’clock. Drank 11 gallons of Appolinaris water & 1 glass of lager during the evening; drank one Scotch whisky in bed, read 2 hours, & went to sleep without needing the other punch [MTLE 4: 135] (From letter to Livy of Nov 11).
November 11 Tuesday – Sam wrote two letters from the Palmer House in Chicago to Livy. The first letter recounted activities of the prior day (Nov. 10). The second letter told of meeting…
“…an elderly German gentleman named Raster, who said his wife owed her life to me—hurt in the Chicago fire & lay menaced with death a long time, but the Innocents Abroad kept her mind in a cheerful attitude.”
Sam visited the woman for a “cordial fifteen-minute visit” with “a pipe & a bottle of Rhein wine.” Then he was driven to Dr. A. Reeves Jackson’s and had an hour visit with Mrs. Jackson.
As Sam walked down Michigan Avenue, a “soldierly looking young gentleman” offered his hand, the son of Ulysses S. Grant, Colonel Frederick Dent Grant (1850-1912) Sam accompanied Fred to his home and met his family.
His wife is very gentle & intelligent & pretty, & they have a cunning little girl nearly as big as Bay but only 3 years old. They wanted me to come in & spend an evening, after the banquet, with them & Gen. Grant after this grand pow-wow is over, but I said I was going home Friday. Then they asked me to come Friday afternoon, when they & the General will receive a few friends, & I said I would. Col. Grant said he & Gen. Sherman used the Innocents Abroad as their guide book when they were on their travels.
I stepped in next door & took Dr Jackson to the hotel & we played billiards from 7 till 11.30 PM & then went to a beer mill to meet some twenty Chicago journalists—talked, sang songs & made speeches till 6 o’clock this morning. Nobody got in the least degree “under the influence,” & we had a pleasant time. Read a while in bed, slept till 11, shaved, went to breakfast at noon, & by mistake got into the servants’ hall. However, I remained there & breakfasted with twenty or thirty male & female servants, though I had a table to myself [MTLE 4: 136-7].
Fred Grant secured Sam a ticket to join him and fifteen others on a canopied structure covered with flags and bunting in front of the hotel, where General Grant would stand and review the procession. After meeting Grant on the platform, being joined by General Sherman, and listening to the cheers of the crowd below, Sam borrowed General Deems’ overcoat until 5:45 PM, after which he borrowed General Willard’s overcoat.
“I have a seat on the stage at Haverley’s Theatre, to-night, where the Army of the Tennessee will receive Gen. Grant, & where Gen. Sherman will make a speech. At midnight I am to attend a meeting of the Owl Club” [MTLE 4: 137].
November 12 Wednesday – Sam was on the stage at Haverly’s Theatre in Chicago. Fatout’s description of the scene where Sam offered impromptu remarks:
“A reunion of the Army of Tennessee in Chicago was a two-day outpouring of patriotic frenzy: clamourous bands, roaring cheers, dazzling gold braid, and thousands of Union veterans marching down Michigan Avenue. Mark Twain, the quasi-Confederate, was a favored visitor. For the meeting at Haverly’s Theater, attended by an overflow audience of two thousand, the stage was set to represent a fort at Vicksburg. Mark Twain had a prominent place on the stage, along with two or three dozen Union generals and political bigwigs. When the house shouted for a speech from him, somebody yelled, ‘Tell us about Adam!’ Caught off guard for once, he responded briefly”
“‘I never was happy, never could make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it,’ Sam said” [Fatout, MT Speaking, 130].
After the meeting, Sam wrote Livy that he:
“…only staid at the Owl Club till 3 this morning & drank little or nothing. Went to sleep without whisky” [MTLE 4: 140].
November 13 Thursday – Sam delivered a “snapper” in his speech, “The Babies” (See Fatout, MT Speaking 131-3) for the Army of the Tennessee Reunion Banquet, Palmer House, Chicago, Illinois—the snapper that finally broke Grant’s cast-iron expression into waves of laughter. For Sam it was a complete and devastating triumphal victory, as high as the debacle on Whittier’s birthday had been low. In a letter written at 5 AM the next morning (Nov. 14), Sam called it “the memorable night of my life.” [MTLE 4: 141] He did not qualify the judgment with anything like “beside our wedding night.”
A reception was held at McVicker’s theater for many distinguished guests. There Sam met Melville E. Stone of the Chicago Daily News and Franc B. Wilkie of the Chicago Times [The Twainian, Mar. 1945 p.1].
Sam also met and spent time with Robert Green Ingersoll during banquet and festivities for the U.S. Grant tribute; this was the only time the two men met [Austin, MT Encyc. 395].
Dr. A. Reeves Jackson of the Quaker City excursion and several other journalists later gathered at Wilkie’s home for breakfast, possibly on Nov. 13 [MTNJ 2: 357 citing Chicago Times of Nov. 15]. An entry in Sam’s notebook for 1880 reminded to send two books to Wilkie. Sometime during the evening Sam asked why they did not have a press club for Chicago newsmen as they did in New York. From that question the Press Club of Chicago was born, though Sam did not directly support the effort beyond inspiration and encouragement from afar [The Twainian, Mar. 1945 p.1].
The Atlantic Monthly sent an invitation to the 70th birthday reception and breakfast of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Dec. 3 at 12 at the Hotel Brunswick, Boston. The printed calligraphied invite featured a large oval picture of Holmes [MTP].
November 14 Friday – In Chicago, Sam wrote from the Palmer House to Livy at 5 AM.
“I heard four speeches which I can never forget. One by Emory Storrs, one by Gen. Vilas (O, wasn’t it wonderful!) one by Gen. Logan (mighty stirring), one by somebody whose name escapes me, & one by that splendid old soul, Col. Bob Ingersoll” [MTLE 4: 141]. Note: Emory Storrs (1834-1885), well known lawyer, orator and republican politician of Chicago. William Freeman Villas (1840-1908), Democrat, at this time Postmaster General under Cleveland; US Senator from Wisconsin 1891-7. General John A. Logan (1826-1886), an unsuccessful candidate for Vice President with James G. Blaine in 1884. As the 3rd Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, he is regarded as the most important figure to make Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) an official holiday.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “I send you to-day 58 pages by express…Once settled down again, I will commence in a week or so thereafter to continue sending you periodical batches of MSS.” What did Sam think of Orion reading some of the MS to a temperance society there? [MTP].
The friendship with Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) began Nov. 13. Schwartz argues that Sam:
“…greatly admired Robert Ingersoll, whom he…regarded as an evangel of a new gospel—the gospel of free thought…Ingersoll’s philosophy, a form of anticlerical rationalism, can be traced back through Thomas Paine to Voltaire and the French encyclopaedists…Ingersoll led a lecture crusade against Christianity and what he described as the gloomy spirit of Calvinism” .
Sam then wrote about his triumph with the “Babies” speech, which was given last on the program, number fifteen. When he rose to speak after 2 AM, he had to follow “the flattest, insipidest, silliest of all responses to ‘Woman’ that ever a weary multitude listened to.” Sam recounted how he got the audience in his hand and worked them to the snapper, a line about a baby trying to get a toe in the mouth, which was then projected to Grant, some decades before: “And if the child is but the prophesy of the man, there are mighty few will doubt that he succeeded.” Sam thought the “house came down with a crash.” Ulysses S. Grant cracked up.
For two hours & a half, now, I’ve been shaking hands & listening to congratulations. Gen. Sherman said, “Lord bless you, my boy, I don’t know how you do it—it’s a secret that’s beyond me—but it was great—give me your hand again.”
And do you know, Gen. Grant sat through fourteen speeches like a graven image, but I fetched him! I broke him up, utterly! He told me he laughed till the tears came & every bone in his body ached. (And do you know, the biggest part of the success of the speech lay in the fact that the audience saw that for once in his life he had been knocked out of his iron serenity) [MTLE 4: 141-3].
Fatout, in Mark Twain Speaking :
“A letter from A. L. Hardy to Mark Twain, MTP, says that after the reunion banquet at the Palmer House, about fifty men gathered in the underground cafe of Captain Jim Simms on Clark Street. There were sandwiches, wurst, pretzels, beer, ale, Scotch, and a great deal of talk, Mark Twain acting as a sort of chairman at the head of the table. By dawn only seven remained. A note scrawled on the letter by Mark Twain, evidently one of the stayers, says that the Chicago Press Club was founded that night about seven in the morning.”
7 AM: Sam wrote a short letter of his triumph to Orion, along with apologies for not being able to go to Keokuk, “but I must rush home right away” [MTLE 4: 144].
Noon: “Breakfast for Mark Twain”; according to Paul Fatout, the menu, MTP, says that this breakfast was tendered “By a few Chicago journalists,” that the time was 12 noon, and that the bill of fare was: Fruit, Oysters on shell, Broiled Salmon Chateaubriand, with Champignons; French Fried Potatoes, Calves’ Sweetbreads with French Peas, Spanish Omelette, Cutlets of Chicken, cream sauce; Broiled Quail on Toast, French Coffee, Cognac. Undoubtedly there were speeches by Mark Twain and others, but they were not reported [Fatout, MT Speaking 654].
Afternoon: Sam went to Colonel Fred Grant’s home as invited, to meet some friends and talk again with General Grant [MTLE 4: 136].
Evening: Sam boarded a train bound for home .
In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote a short request for Sam to speak before the Young Ladies’ Saturday Morning Club of Boston on Dec. 20 [MTHL 1: 278].
Martin Beem, atty. wrote from Chicago with an invite to meet General and Mrs. Grant on Nov. 14 [MTP]. Note: clearly sent prior to the 14th.
November 14 to 16 Sunday – Sam was en route to Hartford.
November 15 Saturday – The Chicago Times, on page 3, ran an article mainly on Sam’s activities during the Grant reunion.
November 16 Sunday – Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, Orion stories enclosed.
“Every where one goes in the cars, street cars and on the street in the amateur theatrical plays—we hear ‘As Mark Twain says.’ / I was in St Louis three weeks saw a good many of Sam’s old acquaintances, and friends. Zeb Leavenworth and John are dead—their mother has lost her mind and is a miserable looking old creature. Essie Pepper is the widow Goodwin, lives at home. Ellis Pepper is married had one remarkably fine boy that walked at eight months of age, talked plain & had all his teeth—but died at 17 months of age.” Other Peppers were mentioned as well as other folks, who all asked about Sam [MTP].
Eben Pearson Door wrote from Buffalo, NY:
Dear Mr Clemens I have been waiting for you to come home from Europe to write to you for your autograph I am ten years old I have a Colection of stones shells and autographs and I would like yours very much I have just been looking at one of your books I think the pictures are very funny My Grandpa just came home from California and brought me some more Curiosities one of them is a square piece of white stone with a fish petrified on it. and he brought me a lump of salt from the mines I have just got over the measeals I have not been to school for nine days. / PLEASE WRITE SOON / Eben P. Door / 314 Niagara Street / Buffalo New York [MTP]. Note: Eban was from a distinguished New England family, his grandfather was Captain Ebenezer Pearson Dorr (1817-1881), Great Lakes captain and insurance magnate. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A boy’s letter”
November 17 Monday – Sam arrived home at 2:30 A.M. Later in the day he wrote from Hartford to Howells. He hadn’t had much sleep in Chicago and somehow didn’t feel tired, but knew fatigue would come. He waxed eloquent about the Chicago event and especially Robert Green Ingersoll’s speech. “…none but the master can make them get up on their feet,” Sam wrote of Ingersoll, a freethinker whose public pronouncements were close to Sam’s private ones. Sam wrote of Grant’s breaking down with laughter at Sam’s speech, and of the men rising to their feet to sing “Marching through Georgia” with tears streaming down their faces. It was “grand times” Sam reflected. The proofs of his book were stacked up and he wanted to delay a visit so he might make headway on them. He thought at this point that the work he faced would “bar him out of the Holmes breakfast & my visit” to Howells (Dec. 3) [MTLE 4: 146].
November 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William (Will) M. Clemens, a genealogist and distant relative (see note below) who evidently had asked for information for a book he was writing (published 1913 The Clemens Family Chronology, and 1926 American Marriages Before 1699.) Sam responded, “…am afraid that I should not find time to write my own epitaph in case I was suddenly called for,” and wished him well with the book [MTLE 4: 148]. Note: In a 1908 letter to his daughter Clara, Sam called Will M. Clemens “that bogus relative” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to his brother-in-law, Theodore Crane, suggesting a cure for drunkenness for someone named Perry (unknown), recommended by Dr. D’Unger, whom he’d met in Chicago. Sam enclosed a pamphlet on the elixir given to him by the doctor [MTLE 4: 149].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, with apologies and excuses for not stopping on his way to or from Chicago. He added that the main reason he didn’t have the time to stop was that Livy “hardly” slept when he was away. Sam ended with:
“And you tell John & Mrs. John Hay not to venture to Washington without coming up here & seeing how bad a cook a body can get here for only three or four dollars a week. They already have my political support—what they need out of me, now, is a moral lift” [MTLE 4: 150].
Sam also wrote to Frank Fuller, addressed to him at the Windsor Hotel, New York. Sam added a note to Thomas L. James, New York Postmaster, asking if he needed to also include the address of the Windsor, and if this one time the letter might go through as addressed.
Sam had been invited to another “blowout” but did not know if it was worth his time.
“Look into this, Frank, will you? I can’t afford to attend any but the very biggest kind of blow-outs—neither can I afford to miss the biggest kind of blow-outs….Work this secretly—but you know how” [MTLE 4: 151].
Sam also wrote a short note to his sister, Pamela Moffett.
I am such an entire & absolute unbeliever that I have no compunctions as to Orion or any other full grown person; “The Bible for Learners” may cure him or kill him—a body can’t tell which—but I’ve ordered the publishers to send it to him—let’s await the result. You can get the audiphone & send bill to me if Ma wants to try it [MTLE 4: 152]. (The Bible For Learners 1878 was a record of historical biblical events.)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, praising his Chicago speech as “another Ten Strike for the family!” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Orion—after the Chicago speech / 1879”
November 20 Thursday – Charles B. Campbell wrote from Newark, NJ to ask Sam for the late William L. Garrison’s autograph, should Sam have one to spare [MTP].
William W. Kellett wrote from Boston to offer Sam a tardy (by 3 years) thanks for his writing which lifted him while suffering cold in England [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Good letter”
November 21 Friday – “Twain’s Best Joke,” a story purportedly published the first time in this edition of the Hartford Courant, ran on page 2. This was the tale of Sam applauding himself by mistake at the Lord Mayor’s banquet. (See Nov. 9, 1872 entry.)
H.W. Bergen wrote from Newark, NJ to ask for a $400 loan from Sam, since the recent death of his wife and the illness of his child had left him bereft. Bergen was a road agent for Sam [MTP].
November 22 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the editor of the Hartford Courant. After a long harangue against new postal regulations, which required street addresses, Sam concluded:
For many years it has been England’s boast that her postal system is so admirable that you can’t so cripple the direction of a letter that the Post office Department won’t manage some way to find the person the missive is intended for. We could say that too, once. But we have retired a hundred years, within the last two months, & now it is our boast that only the brightest & thoughtfulest & knowingest men’s letters will ever be permitted to reach their destinations, & that those of the mighty majority of the American people,—the heedless, the unthinking, the illiterate,—will be rudely shot by the shortest route to the Dead Letter office & destruction. It seems to me that this new decree is very decidedly un-American. Mark Twain [MTLE 4: 155].
Sam also wrote to Frank Fuller, about the invitation from Andrew H.H. Dawson to some event, the date being up in the air (see Nov. 26 entry). Evidently, Fuller had a new baby boy, and Sam sent congratulations. He concluded:
“I’m just about to start in on another ten thousand dollar venture—a patent. Want to come in?—in case it continues to look good? Slote is to run it” [MTLE 4: 156]. Note: Slote’s patent was likely the new engraving process called Kaolatype, which Sam eventually bought 80 per cent interest in [A. Hoffman 275]. Note: see also AMT 2: 489 for more on Sam’s Kaolatype venture.
Lilly Warner came with her husband George to billiards night, and spent the last half of the evening visiting with Livy. “How lovely their house is now” [Salsbury 113]. Note: Friday night was the usual billiards night but this was sometimes changed to Thursday or Saturday, depending on other events in town. There is mention in these sources of the wives gathering downstairs on such nights.
November 23 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. A Tramp Abroad was:
“…really finished at last—every care is off my mind, everything is out of my way—so I have accepted the invitation to be at the Holmes breakfast” (Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 70th birthday celebration).
Sam asked if he might come and stay on Dec. 2 at Howells’ home for the Dec. 3 breakfast for Holmes [MTLE 4: 157].
Orion and Mollie Clemens began a letter to Sam and Livy, Orion stories enclosed. “I am greatly obliged to you for the 3 volumes of “The Bible for Learners,” which came yesterday…I have read over 40 pages of the first volume consecutively, and glanced over other parts. It is going to be of inestimable value to me, if there is any value in my work” [MTP]. Mollie added to the letter, to Livy, on Nov. 24.
November 24 Monday – Sam sent a postcard from Hartford to James B. Pond, the lecture circuit manager of the Boston Literary Bureau, who evidently had asked if he would lecture for charity. Sam responded he was “busy head over heels, & it’s just a solid impossibility” [MTLE 4: 158].
In the evening Sam and Livy attended a lavish banquet at Armsmear, the Colt Mansion, given by Mrs. Elizabeth H. Jarvis Colt (1826-1905), widow of Samuel Colt (1814-1862), inventor of the revolving-breech pistol [Powers, MT A Life 433]. The party was in honor of the only child’s twenty-first birthday, Caldwell H. Colt. The shindig rivaled the Mayor of London banquet for numbers of guests and elegance. The New York Times of Nov. 24, page five, previewed the party at:
…her elegant mansion on Wethersfield avenue….Over 1,000 invitations have been issued, and it will be the greatest society affair which Hartford has seen in many years.
On Nov. 25, the Times again ran a column on page five about the party.
So great was the demand for carriages that the entire public livery of the city had its hacks in service. Guests began to arrive at 8:30 o’clock, and were coming and going until near mid-night. The house all the while was thronged. There were magnificent floral decorations; the parlor mantels were banked with choice flowers. Festoons were hung from the center chandeliers to different points of the sides of the room, and there were groups of tropical and foliage plants. The large conservatory, filled with tropical plants, was brilliantly illuminated. The tables were elegantly spread…There was fine music by Colt’s Armory Band and Adkins’s Quadrille Orchestra.
Also on Nov. 25, the Hartford Courant called the ball “one of the most brilliant parties which has ever been given in Hartford.” Livy wrote to her mother saying, “I enjoyed it and Mr. Clemens enjoyed it immensely.” Livy described dances in fancy dress costumes to the music of Mother Goose. Moncure Conway was also there. In his notebook, Sam listed the characters and later added the names of those who played the roles [MTNJ 2: 378n66].
Many guests were listed in the Times report, including Charles Dudley Warner, ex-governor Joseph R. Hawley, and General William B. Franklin. Samuel Clemens was not listed in the New York papers. The Colt estate left to young Caldwell Colt was stated at between five and six million dollars.
Jahu DeWitt Miller (1857-1911), journalist, wrote to Sam
My dear Sir / Will you have the goodness to send me as fully as you may be able the history of y’r pseudonym—“Mark Twain.” How it was originated when you first used it, & in what connection on all these points I sh. be exceedingly glad to be informed.
I am preparing a handy book on pseudonyms—to include the history of the more important ones—wh. the Harpers are to publish—and it is extremely desirable th. I have the information for wh. I ask.
With the hope th. I am putting you to no great incovenience / Believe me Dear Sir / to be faithfully: Rev. J. Dewitt Miller. / 34 West —24th St / New York City [MTP]. Note: Clemens wrote on the letter, “From an ass—Not answered.” His note begs the question why such a response to an innocent request? Was it Miller’s approach, his style of abbreviation, did Clemens consider the request impertinent? or did Clemens have some former contact with Miller? See Dec. 2? 1874 entry for more on Miller.
November 25 Tuesday – Sam wrote another postcard from Hartford to James Pond, saying he couldn’t take part in the “20 nights’ Entertainments,” but if he could spare the time he would “willingly do it for $7,000 a night” [MTLE 4: 159].
Sam’s letter of Nov. 22, “Mark Twain on the New Postal Barbarism” ran in the Hartford Courant [MTLE 4: 153; Camfield bibliog.].
In Belmont, Howells sent Sam a postcard, glad he was coming to the Holmes breakfast [MTHL 1: 282].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote from NYC to congratulate Sam on his return and hope that his new book would “excell anything you have yet written,” though he thought IA would never be equaled. Did Sam meet any of the Lambton family while in England? He wanted a “short visit” over the holidays [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the American Earl of Dunham / 1879”
Richard S. Tuthill, atty. wrote from Chicago to Sam, wishing to reimburse him for expenses in coming to Chicago [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Col. Tuthill / 1879 Grant speech”.
November 26 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew H.H. Dawson, declining to come to another banquet and citing the Dec. 3 banquet, and also more time than anticipated on getting his book ready. If Dawson didn’t hear from Sam by Dec. 20, “cross me off & consider that my book as got me ‘in the door’ & I can’t come.” [MTLE 4: 160].
Sam also wrote to Jesse M. Leathers, letter not extant but referred to in Leathers’ Nov. 29 reply.
Sam also wrote to Frank Fuller with the same information he wrote to Dawson. He added that Dan Slote could tell Fuller about the patent, which Sam thought was “not sound & strong” [MTLE 4: 161].
November 27 Thursday – Livy’s 34th birthday – Sam wrote her a love note.
“I love you, my darling, & this my love will increase step by step as tooth by tooth falls out, milestoning my way down to the great mystery & the Sweet Bye & Bye” [MTLE 4: 162].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Howells that he would be leaving Hartford on Dec. 2 with Charles Warner, who would go to “friends in the Highlands.” They would reach “Boston about 6 PM” [MTLE 4: 163]
November 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. Sam knew he would face the Boston Brahmins Longfellow, Emerson, and Holmes, across tables once more, and have a chance to further redeem himself from the Whittier debacle. He asked Howells if he might “be heard among the very earliest…” and wanted Holmes to read what he might say prior to the event, “& strike out whatever you choose.” Sam took no chances this time.
Evidently, Howells had written of his son’s ambition to become an outlaw. Sam responded that this reminded him of “Susie’s newest & very earnest longing—to have crooked teeth & glasses—‘like mamma’,” Sam wrote: “I would like to look into a child’s head, once, & see what its processes are” [MTLE 4: 164].
Hjalmar Boyesen wrote to Sam, noting he had not rec’d a reply from a second letter he’d sent about the arrival of their new baby. He apologized for missing them in Elmira, but the Mrs. had “not really been herself” since the baby was born. He thanked him for “sending me that little item from the Courant” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Boyesen / had a baby, or thought he did / 1879”
November 29 Saturday – Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam after receiving his of Nov. 26 (not extant); he thanked Sam for a Feb. invite. He noted the recent death of the Earl of Durham and considered sending a cable, but thought better since “they do not know us.” He speculated the son would be easier to deal with (Leathers intended to be a claimant of the estate) than the father [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the rightful Earl of Durham. / Tell Warner at the breakfast if he is going to give him proof or MS of [illegible word] he reads at New Haven.”
November 29? Saturday – Sam received a letter from Richard S. Tuthill, notifying him that the Army of Tennessee veterans had voted him a “ ‘Oner’—a sort of prince in disguise—a nobleman who derives his title to nobility directly from Almighty God,” etc., in appreciation for his contributions to their Chicago reunion. Sam embedded a few remarks in the letter and returned it [MTLE 4: 165].
November 30 Sunday – Sam’s 44th birthday. He read a piece called “Plagiarism” to the Saturday Morning Club in Hartford [MTPO].
He also gave a reading at the home of Mrs. Samuel Colt for the Decorative Art Society [MTPO].
He wrote a short note to his sister, Pamela Moffett, who evidently had received thanks from a committee he’d donated books to. Livy was “doing tolerably—only. The children are hearty” [MTLE 4: 167].
Thomas B. Kirby, private secretary to the Postmaster General of the U.S. wrote to Sam.
Dear Sir: / Noticing your letter to The HARTFORD COURANT upon the recent order of the Postmaster General, I take the liberty of enclosing a few copies of a tract which the Department has prepared in order to meet such hardened cases as yours. After reading the tract and the enclosed clipping (from the Cincinnati Enquirer), which latter I wish you would return to me as it is the only copy I have, you will see that the “unnecessary labor” of which you complain was really as unnecessary as the complaint, the only utility of which was to add to the already surplus stock of misinformation in the world, and to enable some needy compositors to increase their strings by several thousand, which latter end might have been just as well attained by the use of bogus.
I send you by this mail a copy of the Postal Laws and Regulations to explain the allusions in the tract, and hope you will take the trouble to look into the matter thoroughly. The Department is a unit in regarding the order as the greatest step towards perfecting the postal service that has been taken for years, and its officers are confident that when the public understand it they will sustain it. / Yours Truly, /Thos. B. Kirby [MTPO]. Note: file says, “Printed in New York Times 14 December 1879 & Hartford Courant, 9 Dec. 1879”
December, before the 20th – Livy and Sam had enjoyed the Mother Goose performance at the Colt Party on Nov. 24. Livy wrote of it in her diary on Nov. 30 and soon planned her own such performance using James Elliott’s Mother Goose Set to Music. Sam’s notebook lists Piper’s Son as Mr. Carter; Dame Trot as Anne Trumbull; Emily as Mother Goose; Miss Barnard as Miss Muffett, Mr. Carpenter as Little Boy Blue; Adams & Miss Trobridge as Blue Beard & wife; and others. Moncure Conway wrote on Dec. 20: “Nor shall I forget the Mother Goose Party” [Gribben 219; MTNJ 2: 378; Salsbury 112].
December 1 Monday – From Park & Tilford, New York, a long list of grocery items $136.01 tot, incl 2 dz Glen Whisky for $28 total [MTP].
William A. Seaver wrote from Mt. Vernon, NY to Sam.
Noble young Man:— / A young friend called at my house last evening, just as the bells were gonging for church, and asked me, in a perfectly serious manner, if you were the author of
“Jim Dobbs and the Tom Cats.”
He had bottled beer on the affirmative of that propagicion. I answered in a sloppy, evasive way, that I was not cock sure as to whether Jim was one of your gets, or not. I pumped him as to whether it was St. James-The-Less Dobbs, or whether the brute had a front name of another and more profance character. (I had him there by reason of his unfamiliarity with the Sacred Vol.)
My man is in a family way about this, and if you would pay out a truthful statement of the basement facts, and ship to me as soon as the tide will serve, it will do him tubs of good, and at the same cheer the heart of
Your old, but still staggering friend … [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From old Seaver”.
December 2 Tuesday – Sam left Hartford and traveled to Boston, then on to Howells’ residence in Belmont, Mass. Charles Dudley Warner had lobbied for Sam to attend and accompanied him to Boston, where he then went on to visit friends [MTLE 4: 157].
December 3 Wednesday – In Boston Sam spoke at the Atlantic Monthly Breakfast for Oliver Wendell Holmes’ 70th birthday [Fatout, MT Speaking 134]. This time there was no embarrassment, as Sam delivered a Howells-approved speech. Sam met Francis Parkman (1823-1893) at this breakfast [MTNJ 2: 359n11]. Parkman, an American historian, is best known as the author of The Oregon Trail.
Sam’s speech ran in the Boston Daily Advertiser on Dec. 4 [Camfield, bibliog.]. Another article ran in the Brooklyn Eagle, page 2, describing the Holmes breakfast:
That inexhaustible post prandial speaker, Mr. Samuel L. Clemens, whom it is so hard to think of as having any other name than Mark Twain, well expressed this universal familiarity with Dr. Holmes’ productions when he narrated his unconscious plagiarism of the dedication of his “Innocents Abroad” from one of the Doctor’s early volumes of poems.
December 4 Thursday – Sam probably returned to Hartford late on Dec. 3 or this day. He described the visit as “intolerably short” in a Dec. 9 letter.
December 5 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller, asking if he could get someone up to Hartford right away to fix the music box he’d ordered in Geneva.
Sam confided that he’d backed out of Slote’s speculation because his “lawyer insisted that it was risky” [MTLE 4: 168].
Sam also wrote to the poet, William Winter (1836-1917), complimenting him on a poem he felt was perfect, a “master-work.” [MTLE 4: 169]. Note: The poem that Sam rhapsodized about was, “The Chieftain,” later collected in The Poems of William Winter (1881) [MTP].
December 8 Monday – In Hartford, Sam responded to the Nov. 30 insulting letter from Thomas B. Kirby, private secretary to the Postmaster General, about Sam’s objections to the new postal regulations, which ran in the Hartford Courant. Sam’s hilarious response to Kirby was also sent to the editor of the Courant, and was printed there Dec. 9 [MTLE 4: 170].
Livy wrote to her mother:
It has been a rainy day here, this morning I taught the children for nearly two hours…They are so delightful to teach for they enjoy it so very much…First we have a reading lesson in German…then Geography…then mental arithmetic…in the middle of the lessons somewhere we have bean bags or gymnastics, and one day they sewed a little—I do enjoy my forenoons with them so very much [Salsbury 112].
Frank Fuller wrote from NYC to Sam: “Just came from Paillard’s. [Musical box Co.] He says he can’t possibly send his music box sharp up to you till sometime after New Years as they are all busy with holiday work. He has only one thorough expert, & knows of no other” [MTP]. Note: a card for M.J. Paillard & Co., NYC is in the file.
December 9 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James Cowan (1839-1884), declining to “write something for the ‘Knapsack’ as his time was “so wholly occupied on the closing chapters of a book…” [MTLE 4: 175].
Sam’s response to Thomas B. Kirby ran under the heading “Mark Twain and Postal Matters” in the Hartford Courant [MTLE 4: 170; Camfield, bibliog.].
Sam also wrote to Howells, thanking him for the “intolerably short” time he had at Belmont staying with the Howellses. Sam wrote that his letter to Kirby was in this morning’s Courant. “I make an effort to blast the Post Master General’s private secretary from his lucrative position. I think I’ve rather got him” [MTLE 4: 176]
Sam also wrote to Robert Green Ingersoll asking for a perfect copy of his Chicago speech. Sam had “imperfect copies” and he wanted a good one for his scrapbook. He wrote he was going to read the speech to the Saturday Morning Club, his group of young girls [MTLE 4: 177].
Martin Beem, atty. wrote from Chicago, whole page enclosed from the Chicago Daily Tribune of Dec. 2, which included a speech by Gen. Beem under “Unhappy Ireland.” “My Dear Twain: / Do you know I’m awful glad I met you while here.” He complimented the “Babies” speech [MTP].
William Winter wrote from Staten Island about Holmes and the poem he’d written for the dinner [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Willie Winter / Poet / Holmes Dinner / 1879”
December 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote a short note to Howells, asking to:
“…place this cuss’s name & address alongside Chatto’s, & order ‘simultane’ sheets to be sent to him & Chatto at the same time—when there are any?” Sam wanted to keep his word “for the novelty of it” [MTLE 4: 178].
December 11 Thursday – Robert Green Ingersoll sent Sam a copy of his The Ghosts and Other Lectures (1879) inscribed: “Saml Clemens Esq / from his friend / R.G. Ingersoll / Dec 11, 79” [Gribben 344]. (See Dec. 13 entry). Note: Sam had asked for a good copy of Ingersoll’s recent Chicago speech, and read the speech to the young ladies at the Saturday Morning Club on Dec. 13, so this book must have included the speech.
Dr. I. DeZouche for the Mark Twain Club, Carlow Ireland wrote from Gloversville, NY, enclosing a MS by the secretary, Charles Casey (the only member as it turns out), “expressing a hope that through the instrumentality of your influence it may be disposed of to the benefit of the funds of the society” [MTP].
Thomas B. Kirby replied to Clemens in an “Open Letter to Mark Twain” which appeared in the Dec. 9 Courant and the Dec. 11 Hartford Evening Post—pertaining to Twain’s upset at the post office and Kirby’s reply [MTP].
December 12 Friday – Charles W. Sackville wrote from Wash. D.C. to thank Sam for his “killing” letter to Thomas B. Kirby about the post office mess. He sketched a “monument” of Sam killing Kirby. “…you are his destroyer, but while he shall rot and perish in oblivion, you shall have a monument, erected by a grateful country, before which the Pyramids of Egypt will appear as molehills.” See insert [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Picture of Monument”. Sackville is listed in an 1883 Masonic roster for D.C.
December 13 Saturday – Sam read Robert Green Ingersoll’s Chicago speech to the young ladies at the Saturday Morning Club of Hartford [MTLE 4: 180].
Irving S. Upson wrote from Rutgers College to honor Sam with membership in their Literary Society [MTP].
December 14 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Robert Howland in San Francisco, old friend from Carson City days, thanking him for the pictures and reminding him to “put in an appearance here when you come east” [MTLE 4: 179].
Sam also wrote to Gen. William E. Strong, letter not extant but referred to in Strong’s Dec. 19 reply.
Sam also wrote to Robert Green Ingersoll [MTLE 4: 180], who had sent him copies of his books on religion and philosophy, including Ghosts and Other Lectures [Schwartz 185]. Sam wrote Howells on Nov. 17: “Bob Ingersoll’s speech…will sing through my memory always as the divinest that ever enchanted my ears.” Schwartz writes that Sam “found in Ingersoll’s ‘splendid chapters’ ammunition for his own battle with orthodox Christianity” . Note: This “battle” would remain mostly undercover for many years.
James Redpath wrote from NYC asking if he might do a sketch of his life for the San Francisco Chronicle. “Can you write for me an unbelievable description of your home?” [MTP].
December 15 Monday – William Gray Thomas wrote from Oakland, Calif. to ask Sam if he’d read a novel Thomas had written. Thomas grew up in Florida, Mo., Sam’s birthplace and was known then as “Willie Gray Thomas,” and remembered Sam well. “…you have made such a noise in the world that I could not well help it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back of the letter., “Can’t do it.”
December 16 Tuesday – Joseph N. Verey wrote from London to Sam, answering his of Nov. 5, which he’d rec’d at Florence. Verey was grateful for Sam’s recommendations, as it had made a great difference in being able to support his invalid mother by hiring as a guide [MTP]. Note: Sam’s Nov. 5 to Very not extant.
December 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank B. Earnest (suspected pseudonym of a journalist, probably from the Knoxville Tribune, where this reply was first printed, then reprinted in the New York Times on Jan. 2, 1880.)
Dear Sir: I thank you very much for that pleasant article. Of course, it is not for me to judge between Artemus & myself or trade merits, but when it comes to speaking of matters personal, I am a good witness. Artemus was one of the kindest & gentlest men in the world, & the hold which he took on the Londoners surpasses imagination. To this day one of the first questions which a Londoner asks me is if I knew Artemus Ward; the answer, “yes,” makes that man my friend on the spot. Artemus seems to have been on the warmest terms with thousands of those people. Well, he seems never to have written a harsh thing against anybody — neither have I, for that matter — at least nothing harsh enough for a body to fret about — & I think he never felt bitter toward people. There may have been three or four other people like that in the world at one time or another, but they probably died a good while ago. I think his lecture on the “Babes in the Wood” was the funniest thing I ever listened to. Artemus once said to me gravely, almost sadly, “Clemens, I have done too much fooling, too much trifling; I am going to write something that will live.”
“Well, what, for instance?”
In the same grave way, he said:
It was an admirable surprise; I was just getting ready to cry, he was becoming so pathetic. This has never been in print — you should give it to your friend of the American, for I judge by what he writes on Artemus that he will appreciate it. I think it’s mighty bright — as well for its quiet sarcasm as for its happy suddenness & unexpectedness [MTLE 4: 181].
December 19 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller at the Windsor Hotel in New York. Sam wrote he would drop having the music box fixed until he was “out of this awful press of work.” Elisha Bliss had regained control after his son Frank Bliss had confessed his ambition was beyond his ability. Elisha imposed a 2,600-page count (MS pages) on Sam for A Tramp Abroad, and so the work dragged on [Powers, MT A Life 433]. The Dawson invitation matter was still bugging Sam, as Dawson replied back that he “should give out that.” Sam was coming, “& would shoot me if I made him lie, & so on. So much for ever having anything to do with a stranger” [MTLE 4: 182].
William E. Strong wrote from Chicago to Sam: “Yours of the 14th inst. rec’d. The letter of the 6th Nov. is just what I wanted. I thank you very much for it. There is no letter among my 300 which I prize more highly.” Strong advised he’d sent a box “containing a full set of cards, programmes & printed matter” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Gen. Strong ’79 / Army Tennessee”; Sam’s Dec. 14 not extant but see Nov. 6 for his other to Strong.
December 20 Saturday – John Munro wrote from Bathurst, N. Brunswick to Sam. “I note by the papers that you are troubled with twins and I now enclose you how to raise them successfully this like Mr Toodles…Wishing you the compliments of the season..” [MTP]. File note: see Fuller to SLC 23 Feb 80 & SLC to Fuller 24 80
December 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks. Sam gave the usual excuses and apologies for not writing. Evidently, Mary’s last letter said that her financial crisis was over. Sam blamed “confound speculation, anyway!” Sam was beginning his days by writing and ending it the same way, and had “to be dragged to dinner by the hair” [MTLE 4: 183].
Robert S. Critchell wrote to Sam after sending him some prairie chickens. The letter is not extant but referred to in Sam’s Dec. 26-31 reply. See entry.
December 21 and 23 Tuesday – Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy (Mollie to Livy, Orion to Sam). Orion wrote of his struggles with writing, his gratitude for Sam’s aid, their 25th anniversary, and Christmas wishes [MTP].
December 22 Monday – Andrew H.H. Dawson wrote to Sam, enclosing a printed invitation to a festival and banquet at Delmonico’s on Jan 26, 1880 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “I didn’t answer or go to his banquet. S.L.C.”
Lem. C. Salisbury (“Salty”) wrote from NY to Sam. “Dear Old Friend: / For such I can address you without assuming too much. But after you read this letter you may say, ‘What a cheek!’…” This was a begging letter for a loan of “a few dollars” from a typesetter at the Territorial Enterprise [MTP].
December 23 Tuesday – Sam ordered the Nov. 1879 St. Nicholas: A Magazine for Boys and Girls and a Jan. to Dec. 1880 subscription to Scribner’s Monthly, both from Scribner & Co. of New York [Gribben 599, 619; Receipt at MTP dated Dec. 29].
Richard S. Tuthill wrote after Sam refused to be reimbursed for travel expenses to Chicago. A fan letter praising Sam and his works [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Col. Tuthill, Army of the Tennessee”
December 24 Wednesday – Livy recited “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” for Susy and Clara. Sam, wearing a Santa Claus beard, rushed into the room and told the girls stories about his old times and travels [Powers, MT A Life 433].
James J. Lampton wrote a three-page letter to Sam, postmarked St. Louis, Dec. 26. Lampton invited Sam and his “wee bairns” to the wedding of his daughter, Katie B. Lampton on Dec. 31 at 9PM to Mr. Corey E. Paxon, of St. Louis. Sam wrote on the envelope: “From ‘Col. Sellers’.” Lampton claimed that Katie was the “image of Sam’s mother at that age.” [MTP]. Note: Since the wedding was only five days after the invitation was mailed and but a couple after Sam received the letter, the Clemens family could hardly have put a trip together on that short notice.
December 25 Thursday – Christmas – Susy Clemens received a copy of Alvan Bond’s Young People’s Illustrated Bible History (1878) from her grandmother, Olivia Lewis Langdon [Gribben 77]. Sam received a copy of Moritz Busch’s Bismark in the Franco-German War 1870-1871 from his nephew, Samuel Moffett [Gribben 119].
Sam replied to the Dec. 20 of John Munro, of New Brunswick, Canada. Munro wrote that he’d heard Sam was “troubled with twins,” and enclosed something on how to raise them successfully [http://ead.lib.virginia.edu/]. Sam answered:
“My twins (born three years apart) are happily past that stage, but I thank you all the same for your receipt, as does one of our neighbors, who is in a position to take advantage of it” [MTLE 4: 184]. Note: sold on eBay 310090576701 Oct 2008.
December 26 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his nephew, Samuel Moffett, who was in Atlanta and had sent his uncle “the very book” he had “been wanting & intending to buy, ever since it was published.” (The title of the book is unknown.)
Livy was “by no means well,” Sam wrote [MTLE 4: 185]. Livy, not a strong woman, had been worn down by the travels, supervising every detail of the redecorating, and by her usual festooning of the house with Christmas décor.
December 26-31, 1879 addition – In Hartford Sam replied to the Dec. 21 from Robert S. Critchell:
Dear Sir: / Here’s fun & more of it. I received your letter of Dec. 21. It got here after the chickens did, & as our mutual friend, Robert Law, had been in the habit of sending me a Christmas present of prairie chickens for a great many years I jumped to the conclusion he had done it again, & so I went to the telegraph office & wired him my thanks for your chickens. I want you to see Law & tell him I don’t take back any of the thanks I wired. I want him to add those to the old account, but I want to say to you that those chickens were fine & came just in time for Christmas dinner, & I am glad you got that agency [MTPO: “Recent Changes,” Jan. 20, 2009: Chicago Tribune, May 11, 1902].
December 27 Saturday – Andrew H.H. Dawson wrote from NYC to advise Sam he was glad Sam would attend a dinner he’d been working on but if he didn’t show Dawson would be in “a fix.” The more he wrote the more illegible his hand became [MTP]. See Dec. 22 from Dawson.
December 29 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Robert Howland, trying to arrange a planned visit for “the early part of next week,” because Livy “succumbed this afternoon & took to her bed…” [MTLE 4: 186].
Scribner’s & Sons receipted Sam for subscriptions purchased Dec. 23 (see entry).