Hartford & Elmira – Investments: Kaolatype, Paige – Tile Club – A Tramp Abroad
Jane Lampton Clemens (Jean) born – “Wattie” – Boston Getaway
Frederick Douglass Speech – Grant Speaks in Hartford
Elisha Bliss Dead – Political Speeches for Garfield – Slote & Sneider
Grant Saves Chinese Mission – 1880 Income $250,000
1880 – Sam began using more facsimile correspondence cards of his handwriting to decline lecture invitations [MTLE 5: 6]
A piece of sheet music titled, “The Mark Twain Waltz,” composed for piano, was published in Milwaukee, Wisc., by Wm. Rohlfing & Co. “The following melodies having been composed while smoking one of your celebrated MARK TWAIN CIGARS. Allow me to dedicate the same to you, X.Y.Z”. [The Twainian, Feb 1940 p7; image online at the Library of Congress].
Sometime during the year, Lilly Gillette Foote (1860-1932) became governess for the Clemens children. She came to Nook Farm to live with relatives; her cousin was Lilly Warner (Mrs. George Warner); Foote’s sister lived with the Charles Dudley Warners. Lilly was responsible for the children’s formal education [Salsbury 127-8].
Possibly during 1880, Sam wrote this question to the Murphy O’Mulligan Club:
“We know there is Unrestricted Suffrage, we think there is a Hell: but the question is, which do we PREFER?” [MTLE 5: 1].
In another note to an unidentified person, Sam called this the “Murphy O’Mulligan New York Sixth Ward Democratic Club,” and wrote that the sentiment he’d sent “was declined for some reason…”[MTLE 5: 3].
Another probable 1880 is the letter Sam wrote to George Alfred Townsend:
“I read it more than half through the first evening, picking out the plums, such as ‘The Big Idiot,’ & greatly enjoyed the entertainment” [MTLE 5: 2]
George Alfred Townsend was a famous Civil War journalist for the New York Herald, New York World, and later a ghostwriter for the New York Times. He was also a prolific poet and novelist. The book Sam offered feedback on was Tales of the Chesapeake (1880), which has a chapter titled “The Big Idiot.” Tales was a collection of poems and stories about Delaware and the Maryland shore. (Available online at: http://www.gutenberg.org/).
Sam inscribed the first volume in Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776-1788). “S.L. Clemens / Hartford 1880” [MTP].
Another possible 1880 entry is an envelope only addressed to Franklin Gray Whitmore (1846-1926) of 116 Main Street, Hartford [MTLE 5: 4].
This extract from an online site by Gribben sheds light on Whitmore, but suggests the business relationship may have been much later:
“By at least 1887 he [Sam] had also begun to employ Franklin G. Whitmore (1846–1926), a Hartford real estate and insurance agent, to take care of everything from magazine subscriptions to the sale of the Hartford house in 1903.” [Editorial emphasis]. <http://www.compedit.com/mark_twain,_business.htm>
Powers calls Whitmore “an old Hartford billiards-playing pal” [MT A Life 506] and details Whitmore’s advice later on the Paige typesetter.
Kaplan lays Sam’s first stock purchase in the Paige machine at the feet of Dwight Buell, Hartford jeweler, who “cornered Clemens in the billiard room, describing a typesetting machine that was being built at the Colt arms factory, and persuaded him to buy two thousand dollars’ worth of stock” . See MTA 1: 70 for Sam’s account of how his greatest investment loss began.
Sometime during 1880 Sam gave a reading at Decorative Art Society, at the home of Mrs. Samuel Colt in Hartford. (See Jan. 13, 1881 entry.)
Gribben conjectures that Sam began an undated manuscript during 1880, “The Walt Whitman Controversy,” which argued that Whitman’s poetry was innocuous compared to Rabelais . As to the “Walt Whitman Controversy,” which Gribben states was begun sometime this year, Ed Folsom and Jerome Loving’s article in the Virginia Quarterly Review, “The Walt Whitman Controversy,” gives 1882. Robert Hirst also dated this as 1882. It may simply be that Sam began the piece in 1880 and did not finish it until 1882. [http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2007/spring/folsom-loving-whitman/].
Budd lists “A Cat Tale” as being written this year; not published during Sam’s lifetime [“Collected”, 1019]. Note: first appeared in Concerning Cats: Two Tales of Mark Twain (1959). A version was printed in 1962 in Letters from the Earth, ed. Bernard DeVoto. See insert, which Clemens drew as an illustration for the story.
January – Sam was reading Robert Green Ingersoll’s Ghosts and Other Lectures, which the writer had sent him in Dec. 1879. Sam used an incident from Ingersoll’s book in The Prince and the Pauper about a woman and her nine-year-old daughter “selling their souls to the Devil” and “raising a storm by pulling off their stockings” [Schwartz 187].
Sam inscribed Memoirs of Madame de Remusat, 1802-1808 (1880) for his library [Gribben 574].
January 1-7? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Dawson about being interrupted from attending “at the honors of the 26th.” This is the same “stranger” whose invites Sam had expressed frustration with late in 1879. Sam intended to “attack one position of that poet [Burns]—though not in an irreverent way.” Man wasn’t made to mourn, Sam said, and ended his letter abruptly with talk of his interruption [MTLE 5: 7]. Note: this was dated Jan. 24, but by then Sam and Livy were in Elmira, so Sam must have post-dated it to send right before the event of Jan. 26.
January 7 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother, Jane Clemens, who had not been well. This was a serious, comforting letter. He wrote that Livy had “been running down & getting weak, in consequence of overwork in re-arranging the house.” Sam planned to take Livy to Elmira to let Livy’s mother nurse her back to health. They would leave the next day, and leave the children behind with the staff, hoping to return in two weeks [MTLE 5: 8].
January 8 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.
Am waiting for Patrick to come with the carriage—Mrs. Clemens & I are starting (without the children!) to stay indefinitely in Elmira. The wear & tear of settling the house broke her down, & she has been growing weaker & weaker for a fortnight. All that time—in fact ever since I saw you—I have been fighting a life-&-death battle with this infernal book & hoping to get done some day. I required 300 pages of MS, & I have written near 600 since I saw you—& tore it all up except 288. This I was about to tear up yesterday & begin again, when Mrs. Perkins came up to the billiard room & said, “You will never get any woman to do the thing necessary to save her life by mere persuasion; you see you have wasted your words for 3 weeks; it is time to use force; she must have a change; take her home & leave the children here” [MTLE 5: 9].
Sam also wrote a short note to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, advising of their removal to Elmira [MTLE 5: 10].
Sam and Livy left Hartford for Elmira. (See Jan. 7 entry).
January 9 Friday – William Hooker Gillette (1853-1937) was back in Hartford in a play he’d written, which Andrews calls “miserable” . The play was “The Professor” and Gillette lost all the money that Sam had lent him [257n56]. Though by 1880 it was no longer considered shameful to attend the theater in Hartford, Joe Twichell retained reservations about acting and faith mixing. From his journal:
“We shall see how the experiment of yoking religious principle with life on the stage works” [Andrews 99; Yale, copy at MTP].
January 13 Tuesday – William Mackay Laffan (1848-1909) wrote to invite Sam to dine with the NYC Tile Club on the 24th, at 3.30 in the studio of Mr. Chase, 51 West 10th. Laffan had tiny handwriting [MTP].
January 15 Thursday – William Mackay Laffan wrote again to ask Sam if he’d not just attend but “participate” in the Tile Club dinner on the 24th [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote the date, place & time on the env.
January 18 Sunday – Robert Green Ingersoll, whom Sam had met at the Chicago banquet of Nov. 14, 1879, wrote to Sam about attendance at a festival for Robert Burns:
My Dear Clemens, I never agreed to attend the Burns festival. Dawson wrote me that you were to be there, and that was the principal inducement held out for me to be on hand. I love Burns, but I hate to see a lot of common d—d Presbyterian Scotch pretending that they appreciate that great and tender soul….The truth is, Scotland was unworthy of Robert Burns….If you are, after all, going to the festival telegraph me. I shall be at Brockport, N.Y. on the 19th, and at Albion on the 20th [MTBus 141].
January 19 Monday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to Moncure Conway. He acknowledged receipt of funds from Chatto. “Dod-rot the new book—as John the Baptist would say—it hangs along drearily.”
Sam had proofread to the middle of A Tramp Abroad. Sales by subscription were big, and so popular was the name Mark Twain that Sam figured he’d be “twelve or fifteen thousand dollars better off” though he noted he didn’t have the money yet. Evidently, Conway included news of their new home they named “Inglewood,” and Sam hoped to visit when they traveled again. He told of Livy’s slow recovery and their need to stay perhaps another fortnight. Sam ended with a note that Elmira would be the site for the “Adam monument” [MTLE 5: 12].
January 24 Saturday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to Howells. Sam asked if he went to the Tile Club dinner in New York.
Notes: The Tile Club was founded in 1877, at the behest of a British architect, Edward Wimbridge, who suggested painting on 8 x 8 inch ceramic tiles (as a reaction to the decorative craze which cut into their painting sales). Twelve artists and writers joined more for the fellowship, exchange of ideas, and conviviality of like-minded souls than for tile painting, as the media in which the artists actually worked was not limited. The club met until about 1887. The original members included the illustrator, Edwin Abbey (present at the Stomach Club in Paris, where Sam read his piece on Onanism), and the painters, J. Alden Weir and Winslow Homer.
Over time, about 30 men joined the Club but the core group usually stayed at about a dozen members. Later members included the architect, Stanford White the sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (also in Paris at Millet’s wedding with Sam); the painters, William Merritt Chase (1849-1916), John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902), Elihu Vedder, Francis Millet, the painter and photographer, Napoleon Sarony (1821-1896), and the Japanese art director, Heromichi Shugio. There were also four honorary musician members. The Club met on Wednesdays, usually near the Tenth Street Studio Building, where they critiqued each other’s work. They also had dinner parties in each other’s studios with musical accompaniment from their honorary members, went on sketching excursions to the seaside and countryside, or visited art museums. A collegial group, the artists and writers collaborated on writing and illustrating their own Tile Club publications as well as on articles published in Harper’s Weekly, Scribner’s or Century magazines. Their final publication was A Book of the Tile Club in 1886 which described the easy camaraderie of the Club and included anecdotes about members.
For more on the Tile Club and their famous outings, see Mahonri Sharp Young’s essay, “The Tile Club Revisited,” American Art Journal Vol. 2, No. 2 (Autumn, 1970) p. 81-91. Young claims the artists often threw tiles at each other, and broke up shortly after the 1886 book—the rumored cause was Hopkinson Smith’s personality [or, perhaps too many tiles found their mark].
Sam ended the letter with:
“We reach Hartford next Saturday—leave here Tuesday & take 2 days to go to New York, & stay there a day or two” [MTLE 5: 13].
January 25 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his sister, Pamela Moffett. He told of their plans to return to Hartford, and of his mother-in-law’s stomach ache.
…Susie Crane stepped into the closet where the district-telegraph machine is, to call the doctor, but made a mistake & called the fire-department! In two minutes the yard & adjacent streets were swarming with shouting men & shrieking steam fire engines. None of us knew what it meant, as Sue did not know she had made any mistake. It was the biggest audience that a stomach ache ever called together in this State, I judge [MTLE 5: 14].
January 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to an unidentified female: “Well, my dear, I won’t forget you if you don’t forget me. That is fair” [MTLE 5: 15].
January 29 Thursday – Mary Keily in Lancaster, Penn. Insane asylum, finished a letter to Sam begun on Jan. 27, asking again for $5 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From lunatic”. Note: Mary’s several letters in the files are extremely long, rambling and non-sensical. For the most part they have not been quoted in this volume out of respect for the mentally disturbed.
February – Sam wrote to Frank Fuller, responding to a proposal (not extant).
That has a very pleasant sound, my boy. Go you ahead & do as you have proposed to do. We will make the said assignments. Old Bowers has been haunting Dan Slote, (121 Wm. st.,) every day, lately. I told Dan I will never see him, & to tell him to go to you for the talk which he desired to have [MTPO]. Note: H.C. Bowers. See June 11, 1877 and Feb. 24, 1880 for more on what Bowers was up to. When it came to Fuller, a variety of investments were usually involved.
Clemens purchased four-fifths of the stock in the Kaolatype Engraving Co. and became president. The cost, $20,000. See AMT 2: 489.
February 3 Tuesday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam of health of the wives, a sketch sent by Sam and a recent event: “That Tile Club Dinner, I’m told, was great affair: darkies in fezes and yataghans waiting on the guests, and narghiles ad libitum” [MTHL 1: 289].
February 4 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank and Elizabeth (“Lil”) Millet, congratulating them on the birth of their first child. “The Clemenses congratulate you heartily, notwithstanding their irritating disappointment—they were hoping it was going to be triplets” [MTLE 5: 17].
February 6 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, enclosing a picture of their house made by Dan Slote’s engraving process. Sam denied the rumor that he “coveted a seat in Congress.” Livy was “an invalid again in a small way”; the girls were “well & hearty” [MTLE 5: 18].
Rev. Thomas A. Davis wrote to Clemens. In part:
Dear Sir / It is well known among the colored People throughout the country that you have always spoken a word of kindness for them[.] A few weeks ago I called upon you to secure if—Possible your cooperation with other men of Standing in the work of missions which we as a religious denominations are engage in thoughout New-England States we have 24 places called mission fields. they afford religious instruction to our race, for in many places where there is but few or not more than a half dozen persons the access to white churches is easy and Desirable But if there be more than this number they are Timid—and the most of them will imagine thay are not wanting now. Sir the uneducated State of our people and there peculiar religious notions warrant us to secure places of worship, of our own, for the present. Again our People could not get all that they might demand in white Churches more especially where there rented pews—
Under this Plane truth regarding my race, we call upon Christian friends and all others of the Amarican People throughout good Old New-England to help us bear this burden [MTP]. Note: Davis went on to claim the state Governor and “a large number of your Influenchel Citizens.” Clemens sent this letter on to the Governor the following day to confirm his recommendation of Davis. See entries. File note: “See SLC to Charles B. Andrews, 7 February 1880 & Andrews to SLC 11 February 1880”.
“Colonel” Alexander Curran Walker wrote from McBean, Ga. to Clemens unable to “conceive that Mark Twain can edit a republican paper” [MTP]. Note: see also Aug. 23, 1870 from Walker. Sam wrote on the env., “From an ass”.
February 7 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles B. Andrews (1836-1902), Governor of Conn. Sam enclosed the Feb. 6 letter from “Rev. Mr. Davis” that mentioned the Governor; Sam wished to verify the Governor’s recommendation [MTLE 5: 19]. Note: See Feb. 11 reply from Andrews.
Sam also wrote to Orion.
“Glass received, all right. Been waiting to see whether Livy would be well enough to have a visit. Things look well; so if you & Mollie could come right along, now, & stay with us a few days or a week, you could then go back & finish your visit at Fredonia” [MTLE 5: 20].
Sam wrote to the Papyrus Club declining an invitation to dinner [MTLE 5: 21]. Aldrich and Howells were members of John Boyle O’Reilly’s Papyrus Club in Boston, the “headquarters of Bohemia” in that city in the early 1870s. The club was composed mostly of literary men and journalists. Sam would give a speech there Feb. 24, 1881.
February 9 Monday – R.P. Sawyers wrote from St. Louis to ask Sam about the claim made in RI that the govt. paid $50,000 “as a royalty” for the perforating machine for postage stamps; he’d also read the govt. lost five million a year from people washing and reusing stamps. Could Sam verify these claims? [MTP]. Note: a self-addressed (no stamp) env. is in the file, suggesting Sam did not reply.
February 10 Tuesday – William Gedney Bunce wrote to advise Sam that “Your picture starts today”—evidently a picture ordered [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Wm Gedney Bunch, Artist”.
February 11 Wednesday – Charles B. Andrews replied to Sam’s inquiry and forward of Thomas A. Davis’ letter. Andrews answered that he did not know Davis [MTP]. See Feb. 6 from Davis and Feb. 7 from Sam.
Ellen (Mary) Keily (ca.1816-1901), resident of the Lancaster, Penn. county alms house and insane asylum, began a rambling, sometimes incoherent letter to Clemens that she finished on Feb. 12. In part:
Dear Mark. / I sit down to write to you once more.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, this is the third time I have written to you, and dont know whether you have received any or not. … I must tell you first Dear Mark, the substance of the first and second. The first I wrote some seven years ago and nailed it on the court house door. In said letter I beged of you to send me five dollars to use it in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
And in my second letter I asked you to send me five dollars to buy a turkey and other eatables to make up a Plain dinner that I would cook, myself. Now Please dont laught sir. Although I am from the starving country, I don’t want to eat myself God forgive me for laughing over this. Mark, I told you in my last letter that I want to cook a Plain dinner and invite the Rev. Bishop Shanna, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, the Rev. Father Hickey and the Rev. Doctor Green Wald, to take dinner together. … So Mr Twain, I want you if you have no objection to head the table and carve the Turkey [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From my lunatic. (Sent her the $5 Feb. 21/80.)”
February 12 Thursday – Ellen (Mary) Keily finished her Feb. 11 to Sam.
Feb. 12th. It is now about 3 o.clock in the after noon, and I hear shooting which brings my mind Easter Monday sixty five I heard the sound of a cannot at four o.clock in the morning and my brain was that far gone that I felt if I heard the sound the third time I couldn’t live and I said oh stop that. … Now Mark, I am scribbling too much. I wish some Person, would take my case in hand and give me chance to Prove that I did see Jesus not for my own good but for the benefit of the People. Ah Mark, how different the People would live if they did see the sad face of Jesus, in sixty five when the North and South were in their glory acting the fool, or how different the People would live if they did see the Picture of Jesus, taken along with the Picture of Abraham Lincoln, in the manner in which both did appear in St. Louis in sixty five & Mark, how the little room I am writing this in brings to my mind the room Jesus did appear 12th of January 1868. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From my lunatic. (Sent her the $5 / Feb. 21/80.)”; see Sam’s Feb. 21 reply. Keily sent Sam more letters, twelve survive. This was the only one found so far that he answered.
February 14 Saturday – C.S. Jackson wrote to thank Sam for his advice [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the youth whom I advised against using a nom de plume.”
February 17 Tuesday – Jesse Madison Leathers wrote from NYC to Sam, unable to visit before the 21st. “This is all the better, as we shall have the pleasure of celebrating the anniversary of the Father of our country together on Monday, the 23d inst” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the Earl”.
February 18 Wednesday – Sam wrote to Frank Fuller, responding to a proposal (not extant).
“That has a very pleasant sound, my boy. Go you ahead & do as you have proposed to do. We will make the said assignments. Old Bowers has been haunting Dan Slote, (121 Wm. st.,) every day, lately. I told Dan I will never see him, & to tell him to go to you for the talk which he desired to have” [MTPO]. Note: See Feb. 24, 1880 for more on what Bowers was up to. When it came to Fuller, a variety of investments were usually involved.
Lawrence Barrett (aft. Feb. 18 to Laffan enclosed) wrote to invite Sam & Livy: “A few Friends are to join with me in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mr J. R. Osgood, at Delmonico’s Feb 28th 7 P. M. The circle will be complete if you will enter therein” [MTPO].
February 20? Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Mackay Laffan. He enclosed an invitation from Lawrence Barrett for the 50th anniversary celebration of J.R. Osgood at Delmonico’s, Feb. 28, 7 PM. Sam wrote “(Private.)/Dear Laffan: /Who is this? Neither Mrs. Clemens nor I can” [MTLE 5: 22]. In Sam’s hand on the reverse side he wrote “Lawrence Barrett / tragedian”. Notes: Laffan was Irish-born, a journalist on the New York Sun and its eventual owner. Budd calls Laffan “a rare mixture of bon vivant, fixer, and sophisticate” [Studies in Am. Humor online – http://www.compedit.com/] A member of the Tile Club (see Jan. 24 entry), Laffan probably met Sam there in Jan. 1880. They became friends.
February 21 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, sending a card for him to mail in case he no longer received the Atlantic Monthly. He had a cold “as heavy as ever” but the children were well. Sam related having a “pleasant dream about Molly last night, but an unpleasant one about myself—I thought I was baptized” [MTLE 5: 23].
Sam also replied with a humorous letter to the Feb. 11 from Ellen (Mary) Keily, enclosing a check for five dollars (not extant), probably a donation for Mary’s idea of getting various clergymen together for a turkey dinner.
Well, Mary, my friend, you must think I am a slow sort of correspondent, & the truth is, I am. You must forgive this fault; it is one which I have never been able to correct. I am a pretty busy person, & a very lazy one; therefore I am apt to let letters lie a long time before I answer them. However, once a year, on or about Washington’s Birthday, I rake together all the unanswered letters & reply to them. I meant to answer the letter you sent me some weeks ago, but waited for Washington’s Birthday to come. Write to me when you feel like it, Mary, but don’t you feel hurt if I keep you waiting till the next Washington’s Birthday for an answer. I do not feel half so much hurried & bothered when I have a year to answer a letter in as I do when people expect an answer right away. I only send money to people once a year, too, & that is on Washington’s Birthday, so you see if I had answered you earlier I could have not sent you the five dollars until now.
Take this check which I enclose, & go to the bank with Mr. Miller, & he will tell the banker you are the person named in it, & will give you the money, or if you choose, you can mail the check (after writing your name on the back of it), to Messrs. George P. Bissell & Co., Hartford, Conn., telling them to send you a postal order, & they will send it by return mail. I think your idea of getting those clergymen together at a dinner table is a very good one. They will have to put up with each other’s society a good long time in heaven, so they may as well begin to get used to it here. Besides, I think, as you do, that their coming together in a friendly spirit will have good influence on other people. I am much obliged to you for asking me to be present & carve the turkey, but I must not go. Always when I carve a turkey I swear a little. (All people do to themselves—but I swear right out. I never could help it, though it has cost me many a pang). I think a person ought not to swear where clergymen are, unless they provoke him. Well, I couldn’t be there, anyway, because I have to stay at home & stick close to my work, else this nation would become so ignorant in a little while that it would break one’s heart to look at it. No, you & I have our separate duties in this world, Mary—your line is to humanize the clergy, & mine is to instruct the public. Let us not interfere with each other’s functions. I have a most kindly sympathy towards you & your work, & perhaps that is a better contribution than mine would be. You say “Pity me”—indeed I do, & that is a true word. I wish I could tell you whether those are genuine visions & inspirations you have written me about, but I cannot be absolutely certain. They seem to me to be just like all the visions & inspirations I have ever heard of, & so I think you may rest assured that yours are as perfect & true & genuine & trustworthy as any that have ever happened in the world. Now let that comfort you, Mary, let that give peace to your troubled spirit, & believe me your friend.
S. L. Clemens, (Mark Twain.) [MTLE 5: 24; MTPO].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam: “All right—April or May will do for that fraternal visit and social confab.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the Earl of Durham”
February 23 Monday – Frank Fuller wrote from NYC to Sam.
“Dear Mark: we shall carry out that plan, & you will get your stock, say $2, for $1 spent. What was spent? About $5,000, I said, Shall I bump it at that? They anticipate big dividends on the whisky still, & are going to make whisky, not sell machines. / See here! Send me the recipe for this food that they are making you endorse. Make your neighbor copy it for me. I’m the food-sharp, not that fellow at ‘Bathurst.’ ” Fuller attached a small clipping that quoted Clemens and read: “Recommended by Massachusetts Board of Health—Infants’ Food. The best in use. Cheap, easily made, equals mothers’ milk. Recipe $1. John Munro, Bathurst Village, N.B. “My twins (born three years apart) are happily past that stage, but I thank you all the same for your receipt, as does also one of our neighbors, who is in a position to take advantage of it.” – MARK TWAIN” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Gov. Fuller, about that foolish & ruinous patent, for steam engine”.
February 24 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller.
Enclosed please find the original draft of recipe for infants’ food.
Yes, it was $5,000 that I inserted in the Bowers experiments, & I’m pretty glad to hear it has been drawing 100 per cent interest—or promises to do that happy thing…let us hope for luck in the forthcoming whisky. Both you & I tried to get the old fool to make the still, in the first place, & leave the steam engine for a later effort, but he wouldn’t [MTLE 5: 26]. Note: see June 11, 1877 entry. These speculations involved a whisky still and a new kind of steam engine; an inventor H.C. Bowers, and Woodruff Iron Works. Fuller promoted such pursuits to Sam’s financial loss. In this case $5,000.
February 26 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. He was “grinding away” on The Prince and the Pauper. He needed to get other things off his mind so challenged Orion to write two books, works that Sam would never have time to do but which he’d thought of years before. Clearly, Sam used a subtle form of psychology on his hapless brother, because the two books he suggested were: “The Autobiography of a Coward,” and “Confessions of a Life that was a Failure.” He likened such a work to Casanova’s Memoires (not yet in English) and Rosseau’s writings. The “Failure” was not to realize he was a failure [MTLE 5: 27-8]. What did Orion realize?
February 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, asking him to return the 1601 manuscript (Or, Conversation As it Was by the Social Fireside, in the time of the Tudors) “& keep no copy of it.” Evidently, Sam had given the risqué sketch to his brother during his and Mollie’s recent visit to Hartford, and later thought better of it. Sam added that they “got the new telephone up—private wire to Western Union telegraph office” [MTLE 5: 29]. Erica Jong, in the Introduction to the Oxford edition of 1601 writes that the piece enabled Sam to “transport himself to a world that existed before the invention of sexual hypocrisy. The Elizabethans were openly bawdy” [xxiv-xxv]. Jong reads 1601 as a “warm up [no pun] for his creative processes.” So much for psychobabble—Sam purely and simply did not trust Orion to keep the manuscript quiet.
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett, that he’d told Orion to…
“…return that thing & keep no copy. Doubtless you were right. It should only be shown to people who are learned enough to appreciate it as a very able piece of literary art.”
Sam enclosed $200. He wrote of his new telephone wire, of an invention that he’d considered, and of Livy “ailing, a trifle” [MTLE 5: 30].
February 29 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam, adding to it on Mar. 1. “We left Fredonia Wednesday, and arrived here Thursday—26 hours from Dunkirk…Yesterday I wrote 20 pages with great satisfaction…We received your welcome letter Friday, and were glad to hear the little ones are well” [MTP].
February, late–March, early – The earliest copies of the first edition of A Tramp Abroad came from the bindery [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
March – From Livy’s diary:
“George brought them [the children] a beautiful great maltese cat, about a year old that his wife raised—it is a splendid creature and is getting wonted already” [Salsbury 117].
George Stronach performed misc. house repairs and chair repairs, billing $7.80 and dating it simply “March.” The bill was marked paid on May 15 [MTP].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam; not found at MTP though catalogued as UCLC 40741.
March 1 Monday – Orion finished his Feb. 29 to Sam. “Yours of the 26th just received…‘The Autobiography of a Coward’ will be commenced within an hour and the first chapter sent to you within a week. The writing will be according to your suggestions. / I congratulate you on your invention. / I am glad you are going to finish Prince and Pauper” [MTP].
March 3 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss about particulars in the publishing of A Tramp Abroad [MTLE 5: 31].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “What is the process in your patent? I have been looking again at the pictures you gave us. They are very pretty. Can you send us a circular? Is it engraving that your application of the invention will supercede? Is there any way about it that I could make money—selling patent rights, or otherwise?” He also asked if Sam would mark his criticisms on his MS & return. He advised not to let any of the family see his MS, and that he hadn’t shown a line to Mollie [MTP].
Rev. Dr. Charles E. Tisdall wrote to Sam, flyer enclosed soliciting funds for Mr. C.W. Granby [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “This is a man of perfectly indestructible cheek.” Another paragraph is half torn away & begins with “I made the acquaintance”.
March 5 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion agreeing to look at Orion’s manuscript. He answered questions about Kaolatype patent, rights, etc. He ended the short letter by saying he’d:
“…added 114 pages to Prince & Pauper. I thought that might almost complete it, but it doesn’t bring it to the middle, I judge” [MTLE 5: 32].
Sam also wrote to Howells in Belmont, Mass.
I reckon you are dead again, but no matter, I will heave a line at the corpse. I have really nothing to say, though, except that Mrs. C. & I are going to spend a week secretly in a Boston hotel, by & by, & hope you & Mrs. Howells will not be sorry to hear it—for, upon the honor of a man & a scribe, we shall not be incensed if you do nothing more than drop in & say howdy-do, for we know what it is to be busy & have a wife whose health requires peace, & rest from social taxing.
Sam was glad that the “troublesome book” (Tramp) was at last out of his sight, even if Belford threatened to “glut the market at half-a-dollar within ten days after” issue. 25,000 orders had been received, a start Sam considered “not very satisfactory” [MTLE 5: 33].
March 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles H. Clark (John Quill or Max Adeler) of the Hartford Courant, denying he hadn’t ever killed any Indians, nor had Dan De Quille. Such a rumor had been “gotten up by the Indians” he wrote.
“Years ago, I was accused of loading an Indian up with beans lubricated with nitro-glycerin & sending him in an ox wagon over a stumpy road. This was impossible, on its face, for no one would risk oxen in that way” [MTLE 5: 34].
Rev. Dr. J.C. Eccleston (b. 1837) wrote from Stapleton, NY to Sam. “I am indebted to the enterprise of my young friend—Mr. Edward D. Appleton of Trinity College for the honour of your name to the public letter—inviting me to deliver my illustrated lecture ‘Westminster Abbey’ in Hartford next Monday evening” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dr Eccleston.”
Dr. C.C. Moore wrote to Sam, 7 clippings of testimonials enclosed. Moore sent “a sample of Moore’s Throat & Lung Lozenges,” a remedy for colds [MTP].
March 8 Monday – Sam inscribed this date and his signature in a copy of Sketches, New and Old to an unidentified person [MTLE 5: 35].
R.P. Sawyers wrote to Sam. “I wrote to you from St Louis Mo 9th Feb last—but have nothing from you in reply you would oblige me greatly if you would answer that letter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Damn Mr. Sawyers / Mch 8/80 / Circular”; enclosed “Advantages of Savings of R.P. Sawyers” about “effectually canceling Postage and Revenue Stamps.”
March 8 or 15 Monday – Sam wrote a short letter from Hartford to sister Pamela Moffett, having received her check for $25 for some unspecified items, probably from his European stay. He said he hadn’t received an invitation to lecture from a certain gentleman in Louisville, but “declined one from there to-day (from a Mr. Norton,) which came through [Miss] Tip Saunders.” Sam’s mother was now doing well [MTLE 5: 36]. (For the genealogy on Tip Saunders see Oct. 19, 1876 entry.)
March 9 Tuesday – C.E. Goodspeed wrote from Newton Centre, Mass. to ask for an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Auto fiend / 1880 / Cheek”
Sam wrote to W.A. May in Scranton Pa. Letter not extant but referred to in May’s Mar. 11 reply.
March 10 Wednesday – Sam and Livy went to the theater to see William Dean Howells’ play, Yorick’s Love, by a leading Spanish author, Estebanez, with Lawrence Barrett. Sam loved it and wrote: “The language beautiful, the passion so fine, the plot so ingenious, the whole thing so stirring, so charming, so pathetic.” It was “the language of the Prince & the Pauper,” he wrote Howells on Mar. 11, including a favorable review from the Hartford Courant. Sam invited the Howellses to visit before he and Livy went to Boston in April [MTLE 5: 37-40].
March 11 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, sharing the plot of Prince and the Pauper, and noting:
“Imagine this fact—I have even fascinated Mrs. Clemens with this yarn for youth. My stuff generally gets considerable damning with faint praise out of her, but this time it is all the other way. She is becoming the horse-leech’s daughter & my mill doesn’t grind fast enough to suit her. This is no mean triumph, my dear sir” [MTLE 5: 37]. Note: Sam’s two daughters were now nearly eight and six, the perfect ages to enjoy such a tale and act as clear-eyed mini-critics.
Sam also wrote to his nephew, Samuel Moffett, now in Atlanta planning to go to Washington. Sam enclosed a couple of notes for Moffett to use, but couldn’t think of anyone in Washington for him to “knock around with,” noting “everything is changed since my time there” [MTLE 5: 41]. He wrote to Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, in Moffett’s behalf, saying his nephew “would like to burrow a little into our grand literary storehouse” .
W.A. May wrote from Scranton, Pa. to Sam.
Your letter with its unexpected accompaniment was received today. It created a great deal of pleasurable excitement amongst us, and we heartily appreciate your interest. There was the inevitable alloy with it however—we would not have an article from you written for us. Good as your money is your words are better and we seek after the best.
Were I not afraid of Mr. Charles Dudley Warner, I would write to him for an article. Thanking you very sincerely for your kindly interest and donation, and begging the favor of sending you copies of The Cartridge Box when issued, I am… [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Edition of Cartridge Box / 1880”; Sam’s to May is not extant.
March 13 Saturday – Two copies of A Tramp Abroad were placed with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
March 14 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person about responses to distressed nation appeals.
“…it is only when she [a nation] asks for bread, that creed & party are forgotten & the whole world rises to respond” [MTLE 5: 43].
March 15 Monday – Sam wrote to Christian Tauchnitz in Leipzig, Germany; the letter not extant but mentioned in Tauchnitz’s May 3 reply.
March 16 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a long inscription to Twichell in a copy of A Tramp Abroad, marking various pages where things happened, pointing out how imagination had “preposterously expanded” some things.
“We had a mighty good time, Joe, & the 6 weeks I would dearly like to repeat, any time—but the rest of the 14 months, never. With love, Yours, Mark” [MTLE 5: 45].
David Watt Bowser (b.1868?) wrote to Sam, enclosing a composition he’d written for school on Mark Twain. He added a PS bombshell for Twain: “I forgot to tell you that our principal used to know you when you were a little boy and she was a little girl, but I expect you have forgotten her, it was so long ago” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A Boy’s Composition. / Answered / Mch 20, 1880”; Bowser’s teacher was none other than Sam’s old sweetheart, Laura Hawkins Dake.
March 18 Thursday – Emma J. Stafford wrote to Sam asking for a letter for their church “Evening with Mark Twain” as they’d done with several other famous men [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No. A heavy curse fall on the particular devil who invented this most offensive form of persecution. / SLC”
March 19 Friday – Susy Clemens’ eighth birthday.
Sam’s Mar. 19 letter to Texas schoolboy, David Watt Bowser, includes the sentence, “I wrote all day yesterday…on the fifteenth chapter of a story for boys entitled ‘The Little Prince & the Little Pauper,’ —laid in the time of Edward VI of England…” [MTP].
March 20 Saturday – This was the approximate issue date for A Tramp Abroad. Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss. Sam liked the look of the book, but noted that both Roughing It and Gilded Age sold “nearly double as many copies, in this length of time, so I imagine the Canadians have been working us heavy harm.” He was also glad the newspapers hadn’t knocked the book. Sam confirmed receipt of a check for $977.23, noting the old books were decreasing in sales. He closed with a discussion of Bliss joining the Kaolatype investment of which he owned a four-fifths interest with Charles Perkins and Dan Slote [MTLE 5: 46].
Sam also answered a letter from a Texas schoolboy, David Watt Bowser, who signed his letter “Wattie.” The boy was fulfilling a school assignment and wrote to Sam, who may never have answered without what Powers calls “the thunderclap of a postcript”:
“O! I forgot to tell you that our principal used to know you, when you were a little boy and she was a little girl, but I expect you have forgotten her, it was so long ago.”
The teacher was Laura Wright Dake, Sam’s first love (well, one of them at least). Sam wrote a long response, answering the boy’s questions, then added:
No indeed, I have not forgotten your principal at all. She was a very little girl, with a very large spirit, a long memory, a wise head, a great appetite for books, a good mental digestion, with grave ways, & inclined to introspection—an unusual girl. How long ago it was! Another flight backward like this, & I shall begin to realize that I am cheating the cemetery [MTLE 5: 47-50]. Powers writes that Sam and Wattie exchanged ten letters over the next few months [MT A Life 440].
Orion Clemens wrote one page to Sam asking him to return his MS. “If you have not read it, please don’t.” Also, “The diagram in the Atlantic gives you a good seat at the banquet, flanked by ladies” [MTP].
March 21 Sunday – An unknown boy wrote from Chicago to Sam; only the envelope survives [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A Boy’s Request”
March 22 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about the “charm and the solid delightfulness” of A Tramp Abroad.
Well, you are a blessing. You ought to believe in God’s goodness, since he has bestowed upon the world such a delightful genius as yours to lighten its troubles [MTHL 1: 293].
William Haskell Simpson (1858-1933) wrote on Univ. of Kansas Chancellor’s Office, Lawrence, Kansas letterhead.
Dear Sir: / The “Sticks”—an organization that meets once a fortnight to discuss American authors—have placed your name upon the list for the 19th of April. We would be pleased to hear from you in any manner that you see fit. Were it not that modesty forbids I would ask whether it is true that you never went to a circus, nor fell in love with some other fellows girl, nor played “hookey,” nor wrote poetry. Delicacy also forbids my asking whether the rumor that you are investing your surplus funds in raising a new species of tadpole for the Boston market, is a true one or not.
I enclose a stamp for reply, partly because Postmaster General Keys clerk recommends it and partly because it is a good custom; one handed down from antiquity. / Respectfully … [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “And a curse on him.” Sam often thought such inquiries to be impertinent and had a general dislike of such “literary” groups. His curse, however, did not take, as Simpson became a big shot with the Santa Fe Railroad.
Kate W. Fay, “One of Miss Porter’s scholars” wrote from Farmington, Conn. asking for Mark Twain’s autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Funny”
Mary Keily finished her Mar. 16 to Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From my friend the lunatic”
March 23 Tuesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, clipping enclosed from the Keokuk Gate City from Mar. 23 about a gold strike in Silver Cliff, Colo. The Bible For Learners publishers had turned down Orion’s article; he wrote of his search for work with a loan from Ma; his desire to start a newspaper, or working for several newspapers around the country, but his eyes were dim and his motions “something of the snail order” and his struggles with writing, which “fails when I am not interested” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Orion’s plans & dreams / Always the same …childish projects, the same vacillations / 1880”.
March 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, thanking him for his complementary letter of Mar. 22. Howells’ letter and Sam’s response:
I have been feebly trying to give the Atlantic readers some notion of the charm and the solid delightfulness of your book [See May, 1880 entry]; and now I must tell you privately what a joy it has been to Mrs. Howells and me. Since I have read it, I feel sorry for I shall not be able to read it again for a week, and in what else shall I lose myself so wholly? Mrs. Howells declares it the wittiest book she has ever read, and I say there is sense enough in it for ten books. That is the idea which my review will try to fracture the average numbskull with. Well, you are a blessing. You ought to believe in God’s goodness, since he has bestowed upon the world such a delightful genius as yours to lighten its troubles.
Love from both of us to Mrs. Clemens. We wish we could come to see you, but we are many promises deep to the Warners, and our first visit must be to them. We shall hope for you here by mid-April. Yours ever W.D. Howells [MTHL 1: 293].
[Sam’s response:] My Dear Howells—
“Your & Mrs. Howell’s praises have been the greatest uplifting I ever had…a check for untold cash could not have made our hearts sing as your letter has done.”
Sam suggested the “debt” to the Warners was too old to collect; that the Howellses should visit them when they’re sick, in order to travel on and see the Clemens family [MTLE 5: 52].
Sam also sent Howells’ letter of Mar. 22 to Joe Twichell, asking him to return it .
C.P. Sullivan wrote from Line Creek S.C. sending his MS and asking for Sam’s help in the form of editing, etc. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Man with a book.”
March 25 Thursday – Sam’s letter to Mary Keily of Feb. 21 ran in the Towanda Pennsylvania Reporter, page one [MTLE 5: 24]. Note: why it was published is not clear, except that Mark Twain was now so famous and well known, that nearly any letter from him made news.
Joe Twichell wrote to thank Sam for showing him Howells’ letter about A Tramp Abroad. “I have a considerable modesty about the book, because it was so much mine (so I have been pleased to view it) i.e., I was so personally involved in it.” He was pleased about Howells’ approval of it. “Next week Friday night (Apr. 2nd) I want you at the chapel. Do you hear? / Mine ever aff.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Howells’s letter about ‘A Tramp Abroad’”
March 26 Friday – David Watt Bowser wrote from Dallas to thank Sam for answering his letter. Laura Hawkins Dake, his teacher, was “so glad that you are such a famous man, and that you remember her so kindly, for she remembers you as the best friend of her youth” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “I turned to my other truck because as soon as I sent the MS. I concluded it was a failure. / Yes. I have Ma’s word for it that Pa really pitched me out to the floor, as stated. / I will send you homor-pathetic daily instalments of MS. Is it too much to ask you to pencil suggestions and return MS. every day?” [MTP]. Note: Orion’s autobiography.
March 27 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto after receiving his message that he’d not received the final batch of copy for Tramp. Evidently, Elisha Bliss had dropped the ball on coordinating materials and cabling the date of publication to Chatto. Sam responded that they had issued the book a week before, and that he would hurry Chatto’s note to Bliss as it was too late to telephone [MTLE 5: 54]. Sam was forever spurring and prodding Bliss to make schedules and to coordinate materials to “simultane.”
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “No, Bliss has not obeyed your order to send the book [TA]—blast him!….Your Koalatype works wonderfully. We have the copy you sent on our center-table” [MTP].
Ella L. Cretass and Nancy A. Kelly “Nice spinsters” wrote from Coldwater, Mich. to send Sam an Easter card (“Now is Christ Risen”) and to compliment him on RI [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A fraud, I guess”. Does this reflect Sam’s secret opinion of Christ’s resurrection, or of the spinsters?
Mary Keily wrote from the Asylum in Lancaster Penn, but did not finish/mail the long rambling letter until Apr. 14 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The lunatic Mary Keily / clipping”; no clipping in file.
March 30 Tuesday – William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
“Thanks for your Club Contribution. It’s good, and powerfully true but you wont be allowed to get your adverbs wrong in this magazine. John is reading Tom Sawyer, and [illegible].” Note: see MS notes in source. [MTHL 2: 880, 890].
Edson Q. Beebe wrote from Montrose, Penn. to ask Sam his opinion of boys [MTP].
Lyman Abbott for the Christian Union wrote to ask Sam for 1,500 words for 25$ [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The immortal cheek of it! Christian Union offers 2500 for art.”
March 31 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway about the mix-up and mess between Elisha Bliss and Andrew Chatto over engravings for TA. Sam asked Conway to intercede and clear things up [MTLE 5: 56].
Charles E. Chapin wrote a postcard to advise Sam of new rates for Hartford Ice Co. [MTP].
April – Sam, in Hartford, inscribed a copy of A Tramp Abroad to Clara L. Spaulding [MTLE 5: 57].
April? – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Frank Fuller.
“Does the whisky mill need a new man who knows how to boss men? I know the right man, in case a boss should be wanted—diligent, honest and plucky, never drinks, but can be taught” [MTLE 5: 58]. Note: “New man” identity unknown. The whisky still was an invention of H.C. Bowers that Clemens had invested in.
April 1 Thursday – Sam and Livy wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells. Sam wrote a laundry list of Orion’s attempts at finding an editorial position, placing his manuscript which was an attack on Christianity, his ideas to travel to Colorado and speculate on silver mines, to set up a New York correspondence bureau—all these things being only half the list Sam received. Livy added thanks for the review of Tramp (which would appear in the May Atlantic), and expressed their desire to see the Howells for a visit in Hartford [MTLE 5: 60].
On or about this day Sam wrote another letter to David Watt Bowser (“Wattie”), enclosing a note from Howells for the boy’s autograph collection .
April 2 Friday – In his letter of Apr. 4 to Orion, Sam wrote:
“I read before a large audience here, Friday night, but not until all the newspaper men had sworn that they would say not a single word about it, either before or after the performance” [MTLE 5: 65].
Sam gave a reading, likely from his new book, A Tramp Abroad. He referred to this reading, given at Twichell’s church in his Apr. 23 letter to Boyesen. (See Apr. 23 entry.)
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam. “I am very sorry I did anything to interrupt you in your work. I have stopped on my writing, not from anger, for it was not reasonable to ask you to direct your mind every day from your work.” He thought his writing was dull, “a fatal fault”. Orion asked for $1,500 to go to Silver Cliff, Colo. with Charley Higham who offered to show him mining. He’d also asked Ma for $50 to go to Chicago to find work [MTP].
April 2? Friday – Sam wrote invitations to the Monday Evening Club announcing a meeting at his home for Apr. 5, adding the subject, “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” [MTLE 5: 62].
April 3 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Melville E. Stone (1848-1929), founder of the first penny newspaper in Chicago, the Chicago Daily News. Evidently Stone inquired about a controversy between a “Mr. Wakeman” and “the Club”—(probably the Press Club of Chicago). Sam offered five corrections to an article, which ran about the Army Reunion [MTLE 5: 63].
Rev. Cyril F. Knight (b. 1831) wrote on St. James Rectory, Lancaster, Penn. notepaper. “We heard of you not long ago through “Mary the Banner Woman”, & the kind letter wh’ came to her. / Mary is a character! “A leetle off” as you Yankees say—like most of the members of the Monday Club” [MTP]. File Note: “Knight was a member of Monday Evening Club 1872-91”; reference is to Mary Keily, patient at the Lancaster Insane Asylum. Knight was an Episcopal minister who tended to the needs of some of the patients.
Ella L. Cretors and Nancy Adelia Kelly wrote from Coldwater, Mich. to wheedle a picture of Mark Twain, and respond to his earlier reply that he didn’t have any left [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Impudent / Two school marms want his picture / 1880”.
April 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, expressing some distress:
Please don’t put anything on exhibition that can even remotely suggest me or my affairs or belongings. How could you conceive of such an idea? God knows my privacy is sufficiently invaded without the family helping in the hellish trade. Keep the cursed portraits at home—keep everything at home that hints at me in any possible way [MTLE 5: 65]. Sam briefly mentioned giving a reading the prior Friday night in Hartford.
April 5 Monday – Sam held the Monday Evening Club in his home and gave a reading “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” [MTLE 5: 62]. This was Sam’s fifth presentation to the club since being elected as a member in 1873 [Monday Evening Club]. There are several references to Francis Parkman’s works, including:
“The principle of truth may itself be carried into an absurdity, [and] The saying is old that truth should not be spoken at all times; and those whom a sick conscience worries into habitual violation of the maxim are imbeciles and nuisances” [Gribben 527]. Sam met Parkman in Dec. 1879 at the breakfast honoring Holmes [MTNJ 2: 359n11].
Edgar L. Wakeman wrote to Sam having rec’d his “favor of the 3rd” and apologized for some item appearing about Twain [MTP]. Note: this is not Edgar M. Wakeman; this Edgar L. was the Chicago correspondent for the Louisville Courier-Journal, and the financial secretary for the Press Club of Chicago. Sam wrote on the env., “Edgar L. Wakeman / 1880 / apology &c”; Wakeman may have answered Twain’s Apr. 3 to Melville Stone.
April 6 Tuesday – James Redpath wrote from NYC to Sam, having just returned home. When would Sam be strong enough to “endure a preferential interview?” [MTP].
William A. Talcott wrote to ask Sam if he would participate in “The Round Table,” a discussion group of English and American literature of some six years in NYC. He enclosed a program [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Another of those fiends. / 1880 / Wants something”.
April 7 Wednesday – Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen wrote from Ithaca, NY to thank Sam for sending TA. “It has occupied me steadily luring the last three days & I have laughed until my voice is husky.” His wife was also reading it and laughing. He sent news of their new baby and their resolve to move to NYC [MTP].
April 8 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles H. Phelps, editor of the Californian, in San Francisco. Sam inquired about a quote in the April issue of the magazine. Who was the “album-owner,” he asked. Was it “Charley Stoddard?” [MTLE 5: 66].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person he addressed as “My Dear ‘Jo’— ” saying he’d ordered the Tramp book to be sent and to “Give old Bob my love” . Note: Sam often wrote Joe as “Jo.”; Possibly this was to Joe Goodman, referring to Robert Howland.
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam, promising not to put anything on exhibition as they knew how he felt about privacy. The book TA had come and he praised it. He was still struggling with his writing [MTP].
James Redpath wrote to Sam (only the envelope survives) [MTP]. Note: likely a follow up to his Apr. 6 asking for an interview.
Laura M. Griffing wrote from Rochester, NY to send Sam a copy of his Chicago “Babies” speech, edited into poetry [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O the devil!”
April 10 Saturday – The Chicago Tribune was among the first to review A Tramp Abroad:
Mark Twain has finished another book. As he has been silent for some time possibly the book also finished him….A Tramp Abroad, while interesting reading, and in parts exhibiting much of the humor which gave fame to its author in The Innocents Abroad, is inferior to the latter in some of the qualifications which made that book so unusually successful (“Literature” p9) [Budd, Reviews 183].
April 11 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother, and sister. He and Livy were taking Rosa and the children on a week’s “rest & change of aggravations” to Boston the next day.
“Orion’s head is as full of projects as ever, but there is one merciful provision—he will never stick to one of them long enough to injure himself” [MTLE 5: 68].
Sam also inscribed a leather copy of A Tramp Abroad to Harriet E. Whitmore (Mrs. Franklin G. Whitmore) “To Mrs. F.G. Whitmore / With kindest regards of / The Author. / Hartford, April 11 1880” (see entry, begin 1880) [MTLE 5: 69; McBride 61].
John T. Lewis wrote to Sam (after Apr. 12 to Howells enclosed).
Mr Samual L Clemens, honerd Sir i receved a coppy of your splended work ef tramp Abroad whitch i suppose to be a gift from your ever bountyful hand
for witch i am at a loss for words to exprss my gratefulness
but i will say that i except it as a grate treasure from noble generous heart and benevolent hand
for wich pleas to except my most humble an sinceier thanks for it and the past unmerited presants you have kindly gave me
my best wishes for your worthy self and family hopeing that you are all well and enjoying the fullest blesings life can a ford
most respectfully yours,
John. T. Lewis
we are all quite well [MTPO].
April 12? Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, including a note from John T. Lewis, the “sable hero” of the runaway carriage incident. Sam sent it as an addition to the story [MTLE 5: 70].
About this date (given as a “fortnight ago” on Apr. 29—see entry), Sam purchased an additional 25 foot strip of property to their southern boundary, and the “very next day, just within the bounds of that strip…struck a spring of cold, sweet, limpid & abundant water” [MTLE 5: 90].
April 12 or 13 Tuesday – The Clemens family with nursemaid Rosa left Hartford and traveled to Boston to stay a week. On Apr. 13 Sam inscribed a copy of A Tramp Abroad for Mrs. Lilly G. Warner with Hartford and the date. Sam wrote his family on Sunday that he was leaving the next day (Apr. 12), however, so they may have been delayed a day or Sam may have postdated the inscription [MTLE 5: 71].
April 13 Tuesday – Frederick J. Boesse (1844-1914) wrote from Americus, Ga. to criticize TA, and Sam’s “blunders” in German, as well as to criticize American habits [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a Jewish swine.” Paine later wrote under this “Amen. / A.B.P.”; Boesse was the head of F.J. Bosse & Co, NYC importers of jeweler’s materials. He was born in Germany and lived in Brooklyn for 50 years [NY Times obit Sept. 19, 1914)].
April 13 to 19 Monday – Sam and Livy enjoyed a getaway to Boston, where they spent “a day and night with” the Howellses (Howells’ Apr. 17 letter to his father) [MTHL 1: 301n3]. The two couples visited James T. Fields and wife, where they enjoyed a performance by Norwegian violinist and composer Ole Bull (Bornemann) (1810-1880), who was living with his wife at J.R. Lowell’s home in Cambridge Mass. Bull was considered one of the greatest violin virtuosos of his time, a soloist of international repute.
“…if Ole Bull had been born without arms, what a rank he would have taken among poets—because it is in him, & if he couldn’t violin it out, he would talk it out, since of course it would have to come out” [MTLE 5: 72; MTHL 1: 299-300].
April 14 Wednesday – Mary Keily finished her Mar. 27 letter to Sam [MTP].
April 17 Saturday – The Saturday Review ran a long, mixed critique of TA, finding praise and fault [Budd, Reviews 183-6].
Pamela Moffett wrote to Sam (postmarked Apr. 17), complimenting him on TA; noting that “Ma can’t read as it made her head hurt and they couldn’t read to her since she was hard of hearing.” Also, “Charley has had the clock fever,” buying and restoring old clocks to sell. Did Sam recall the clock at the Quarles farm? [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to his brother. “I send MS. by express to-day. I would be glad if you could soon find leisure to read and return with comments. I will send more next Saturday.” They’d read 190 pages in TA and thought it “very interesting” and that it would “take well among the Germans” [MTP].
Frederick Alexander Stokes (1857-1939) wrote thanks for Sam’s help on his book College Tramps: A Narrative of the Adventures of a Party of Yale Students during a Summer Vacation in Europe (1880). Neither Stokes’ initial request, mentioned below, or Twain’s reply, are extant.
Mr. S.L. Clemens, / Dear Sir. / It is possible that you may remember that you received, some time ago, a letter requesting your advice upon the subject of publishing a little book to be entitled “College Tramps.” You were so condescending as to notice the request, and to write quite a lengthy letter in return; but, before the kind advice contained in it could be acted upon, it had already been placed in the publishers’ hands, and has since been published. You have, doubtless, ere this, discovered that there is such a thing existing in this world as ingratitude; and I fear that you will consider yourself as having met with another instance of the same in my inflicting upon you, in return for your kindness and courtesy, a copy of my first-born, “College Tramps.” It has thus far met with an amount of success not yet great enough to enable me to decide that the literary world is my oyster, and that I must open it with my pen; but, for the present, I consider this book as but a fresh-water clam opened by the wayside. It has however made me very desirous of entering one of the New York publishing houses, and I am going to storm them soon. With many thanks for your kindness, and hoping that you may find time and inclination for the perusal of a few pages of the accompanying crude literary effort, I remain / Respectfully yours… [MTP]. Note: Sam did not often reply to requests for literary or publishing efforts, but was selective. Stokes is not in Gribben.
Juliet A.L. Toppan wrote from Chicago on Illinois Industrial School For Girls, to ask Clemens “for one or more of your works with autograph” for their grand Bazaar [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Good gracious! / Not answered”
April 18 Sunday – Ola A. Smith (b. ca. 1854) wrote from Haverhill, Mass:
Mr. Clemens, / Gracious Sir;–
You are rich. To lose $10.00 would not make you miserable.
I am poor. To gain $10.00 would not make me miserable.
Please send me $10.00 (ten dollars). / Very respectfully yours / Ola A. Smith [MTP]. Note: Sam received all sorts of begging letters, from pithy to verbose. He ignored most of these. This letter bore a drawing of a young boy peering into a butterfly net while butterflies few over him. Smith was from a family of artists. Sam wrote on the env., “O my !”
E.A. Whiting, Hartford billed Sam $2 for some arborvitae trees; bill marked paid [MTP].
April 19 and 20 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to William Dean Howells.
I have just “wrotened” this stuff to-day—as Bay [Clara] says—may-be you may need it to fill up with.
We had a most elegant good time in Boston, & Mrs. Clemens has two imperishable topics, now, the museum of andirons which she collected, & your dinner. It is hard to tell which she admires the most. Sometimes she leans one way, & sometimes the other; but I lean pretty steadily toward the dinner, because I can appreciate that, whereas I am no prophet in andirons.
Well what a good time we had at old Mr. Fields’s. And what lovable people the Bulls are—both of them. Did you notice her dress?—what a piece of perfection that ws.—And what a master-hand she is with a piano. And if Ole Bull had been born without arms, what a rank he would have taken among the poets—because it is in him, & if he couldn’t violin it out, he would talk it out, since of course it would have to come out [MTHL 1: 299-301]. Note: whatever “stuff” Sam wrote it was suppressed by Livy; James T. Fields’ home; Ole Bull, Norwegian composer and violinist.
April 20 Tuesday – Sam and Livy purchased a brass fender from C. McCarthy of Boston for $15, showing that they did not leave Boston earlier. The item was billed to Sam on May 13 and paid on May 17 [MTP]. Note: Invoicing and payment were often made long after purchase. Afterward the Clemenses returned home to Hartford.
Sam wrote from Hartford to the Press Club of Chicago that he had “reformed & quitted the lecture field permanently.” He sent “the boys” his new book, TA [MTLE 5: 74].
Sam began an angry letter to Moncure Conway about Chatto & Windus, enclosing them a separate letter. Sam finished the letter the next day [MTLE 5: 75].
My Dear Conway, I started to write the enclosed to Chatto & Windus, but I saw I was too angry, & so it would be better for you to convey to them in inoffensive language that I am not in the publishing business, & that as long as you are in London & Bliss in Hartford I will have nothing whatever to do with electros, dates of issue, or any other matter of that sort. Jesus Christ, how mad I am! This man is forever ignoring Bliss & writing me about electros & matters strictly within Bliss’s province [MTLE 5: 75].
William A. Seaver wrote from NY to Clemens.
My charming old Ruffian:– / I’m going to Yurup in two or three weeks, and unless you send me your Tramp, which purports to be inaccessible to anyone but subscribers, I shall positively be without any intellectual hash, cod, or anything else lovely and nourishing. It would be a great and good thing if I could steal a few sweet jokes from it for the Drawer.
Ain’t you coming down here within a couple of weeks? I would cherfully spend the price of a tramp in salooning you at the Union or Lotos,—and never shed a tear. / Essentially Yours, / Wm. A. Seaver [MTPO].
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk: “The Atlantic came yesterday. It is the finest criticism that has done you justice.” He enclosed a letter from T.T. Woodruff of the Trinidad, Colo. Enterprise and Chronicle, offering the paper for sale at $750 [MTP].
April 21 Wednesday – Sam finished the letter to Moncure Conway. Sam enclosed Howells’ review of TA. Elisha Bliss was too ill to work so Sam dealt with his son, Frank Bliss, and took it upon himself to order the electros for Chatto, and then wrote Conway [MTLE 5: 75-7].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Elisha Bliss. William Seaver had written asking if he could get a copy of TA for review. Seaver wanted to “saloon” Sam “at the Union or Lotos” should Sam come to New York. Would Bliss please send Seaver a copy of the book? [MTLE 5: 80].
Sam also wrote to his mother and sister, probably in response to a letter asking for news of the family. Sam didn’t know of any news except the “very pleasant week in Boston” and the andirons they “laid in a stock.” He enclosed a toy truck for “Annie’s babies” [MTLE 5: 81].
Sam also wrote to Howells, thanking him for the good time they enjoyed at dinner while in Boston. Sam wrote of missing the Fairchilds on their visit and of Joe Twichell visiting the evening of Apr. 20 [MTLE 5: 73]. Note: MTHL 1: 299 puts this letter as Apr. 19-20; the purchase of the brass fender in Boston shows the Clemenses were there as late as Apr. 20, however, so that Twichell’s visit must have been in the evening of the day they returned to Hartford.
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam (long envelope only survives) [MTP].
Leo C. Evans (New York humorist) wrote to Sam, clipping enclosed from the Kokomo Tribune of Apr. 17. “I sent you some time ago a reply to your speech on the New England weather. I do not know whether or not you ever received it. Please acknowledge enclosure…” The article was “Society for the Propagation of Truth” and was about a society supposedly formed by Twain, Eli Perkins, Josh Billings, Nasby and Max Adeler [MTP].
April 22 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller. He talked of a “vaporizer” investment (“Mr. Furbish’s stimulant”). “About a fortnight hence,” Sam planned to “run down to Washington for a few days, on a sort of copyright-law project.” Would Frank like to go with him? [MTLE 5: 82].
Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells, sending a piece to consider for the “Contributors’ Club” of the Atlantic. The piece as revealed by Howells’ answer of Apr. 25, was “Conversation by Telephone” [MTLE 5: 84; MTHL 1: 303]. (See entry.)
William H. Gillette wrote from Cincinnati to give the results of their season and to ask if Sam knew any man who might make a good agent “with a name and reputation” [MTP].
April 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Hjalmar Boyesen. He thanked Boyesen for “those pleasant praises” of A Tramp Abroad, and expressed surprise that the first quarter sales were going “as great as that of any previous book of mine.” Sam told of giving a reading at Twichell’s church. He’d planned to use his older books until letters from Howells and Boyesen arrived on the same day praising Tramp, so that he changed the reading to that work. Boyesen had been teaching German at Cornell since 1874 and left the school this year. He would teach at Columbia for fourteen years beginning in 1881.
Well, it is a great pity to lose you out of the educational department of the country, but at the same time I can’t see how a man who can write can ever reconcile himself to busying himself with anything else. There is a fascination about writing, even for my waste-basket, which is bread & meat & almost whisky to me—& I know it is the same with all our craft [MTLE 5: 84].
Sam also wrote to Howells again about the “Telephone” article, requesting an extra proof to send to Chatto, should Howells want the piece [MTLE 5: 85].
April 24 Saturday – Sam received an “unillustrated edition” of A Tramp Abroad from Chatto & Windus. He wrote the next day that it was “very handsome, & the proofs were well read” [MTLE 5: 86].
Walter L. Milliken wrote from Boston to ask for Mark Twain’s autograph [MTP].
April 25 Sunday – Howells answered Sam’s letter and submission of Apr. 22:
“My dear Clemens, I sent the Conversation by Telephone to the printers at once, with orders to set it and send you proofs instantly. It is one of the best things you have done and we both think it shows great skill in the treatment of female character. It’s delicious” [MTHL 1: 303].
Howells wrote the piece would go in the July issue of the Atlantic; it was in the June, 1880 issue [Wells 23; Cornell University’s Making of America website].
Sam then responded to a note from Chatto & Windus about the mix-up with the illustrations for TA. Bliss had not received letters from Chatto, so the process had been stalled. Sam advised that he’d told Bliss (Frank) to “go right to work on making pictures” for Chatto “& inform…by cable” [MTLE 5: 86].
Also, on or about this day, Sam wrote to Orion about the autobiography Orion was writing [MTLE 5: 87].
April 26 Monday – Sam gave a reading “at a private house” of “A Telephonic Conversation” in Hartford. (See Apr. 23 entry) [MTLE 5: 85; MTPO]. The piece ran in the June 1880 issue of the Atlantic [Budd, “Collected” 1018].
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam, offering to “skip aboard the train and run up to Hartford whenever it meets your convenience to telegraph or write me” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Rightful Earl”.
April 27 Tuesday – Evelyn S. Allen, “plain cook” wrote from Buffalo, NY.
Dear Mr Twain / I’ve read right along for two days & nearly reached the Appendix ‘till I came, (at 4.30 P.M.) to “; dusted with fragrant pepper;” So I just put a hairpin in the book for a minute, while I ask you where you get yours, the pepper I mean. I broil my steak on a gridiron, its better than frying on a griddle, stew the mushrooms separately & pour over. The archipelagoe’d be just as geographically delineated & taste better. / Please answer about the pepper … [MTP].
April 28 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Lucius Fairchild, congratulating him on being named U.S. minister to Spain [Rees 8; MTLE 5: 88]. Sam related missing a visit with Fairchild’s brother Charles in Boston during their recent weeklong stay there. Sam enclosed a photograph of himself and recalled the “good times we had that day at St. Cloud & what a lively gang of young people we were!” during the balloon ride. Sam recalled Paris:
“Paris the cold, Paris the drizzly, Paris the rainy, Paris the Damnable. More than a hundred years ago, somebody asked Quin, ‘Did you ever see such a winter in all your life before?’ ‘Yes,’ said he, ‘last summer.’ I judge he spent his summer in Paris” .
Charles H. Phelps wrote to Sam, asking for some “real history” in his life [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Again——O my!—& from an editor, too. / Answered, no”
April 29 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells about sending a copy of the proposed Atlantic piece “A Telephonic Conversation” to an English magazine. Sam enclosed a copy “enveloped & stamped for transmission at the proper time”. Publication of an article first in America and soon after in England would cover copyright considerations. Sam wrote about the fortunate discovery of a spring struck on the strip of land they had added to their property “a fortnight” before, which allowed a new water supply in place of the damaged spring they’d been using [MTLE 5: 90].
William A. Seaver wrote to Sam. “When my wife opened the package from Hartford addressed to Mrs. H. Seaver,” and found it was your book, and bore the legend: ‘From Purity to Pity,’ she said she knew there could be no doubt but that the volume was intended for her, because all the Pity that there is in the family is concentrated in her.” He encouraged Sam to come to NY [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Old Seaver, editor ‘Harper’s Drawer.’”
April 30 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Miss Mary Russell Perkins, confirming the identity of the “poet lariat,” a label first heard in his Nevada days, but which he later applied to Bloodgood H. Cutter (1817-1906), a passenger on the Quaker City excursion, because Dr. Edward Andrews “distorted the phrase ‘Poet Laureate’ into Poet Lariat” [MTNJ 1: 334n77]:
Yes, it is the same mildewed idiot. His friends call him a lunatic—but that is pretty fulsome flattery; one cannot become a lunatic without first having brains. Yes, he is the “Poet Lariat” [MTLE 5: 91].
From Sam’s notebook on the Quaker City:
He is 50 years old, & small for his age. He dresses in homespun, & is a simple-minded, honest, old-fashioned farmer, with a strange proclivity for writing rhymes. He writes them on all possible subjects, & gets them printed on slips of paper, with his portrait at the head. These he will give to any man that comes along, whether he has anything against him or not [MTNJ 1: 334].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, praising the piece on John T. Lewis:
“I don’t think I told you how very good I found that letter of your black hero’s. Isnt the incident old enough to let you let me Club it? And this letter of his—it’s beautiful” [MTHL 1: 305].
May – William Dean Howells ran a very favorable review of A Tramp Abroad in the May issue of the Atlantic Monthly. Also, Sam’s “Speech at the Holmes Breakfast” ran in a supplement.
His opinions are no longer the opinions of the Western American newly amused and disgusted at the European difference, but the Western American’s impressions on being a second time confronted with the things he has had time to think over. This is the serious undercurrent of the book… [Wells 23].
During May, Sam ordered 100 “Rosa Concha” cigars for $12 from James Lidgerwood & Co., a New York outfit specializing in imported delicacies. In spite of Sam’s outspoken preference for cheap cigars, Sam apparently liked these at a price not cheap for the times [MTNJ 2: 373n56].
May 1 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus. Sam reaffirmed that he left the business end of publishing to others, to Bliss and his lawyer. He sadly explained how if he’d ordered the electrotypes in the beginning he couldn’t recall it. The TS bungle allowed Canadian pirates to bring out a cheap version two months ahead of the U.S. version and flood the market, costing Sam “ten thousand dollars” [MTLE 5: 93].
The Hartford Courant on page five, ran an excerpt from TA, “Mark Twain on German.”
Brown, Thomson & Co., dry goods, Hartford, billed for 56 yards of cotton, paid May 8 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Moncure Conway, who was planning to return from England. George Warner was lecturing out of town, and Sam was going to talk with him upon his return as he supposed he needed “the information that is in the lectures, too.” The family would be in Elmira when Conway’s ship arrived, but “no matter, we shall be in Hartford by the time the lecture-season opens.” Sam still didn’t know where the fault laid with the lack of coordination between Bliss and Chatto [MTLE 5: 94].
Sam also wrote to Rollin M. Daggett (see Jan. 24, 1878 entry for bio info.) about a copyright bill before Congress.
I want to go to Washington, but it ain’t any use, business-wise, for Congress won’t bother with anything but President-making….You just get that letter from Blaine, & cast your eye over it, & try to arrive at a realizing sense of what a silly & son-of-a-bitch of a law the present law against book-piracy is. I believe it was framed by an idiot, & passed by a Congress of muttonheads.
Now you come up here—that is the thing to do. I, also have Scotch whisky, certain lemons, & hot water, & struggle with the same every night [MTLE 5: 95].
May 2 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam inscribed a copy of A Tramp Abroad to Robert Howland: “With the affectionate remembrances of his ancient friend” [MTLE 5: 96].
May 3 Monday – Christian Tauchnitz wrote from Leipzig. “Many thanks for your kind lines of March 15 and for the proofs of ‘The Tramps Abroad’ ” for which he agreed to pay 700 Marks [MTP].
Chatto & Windus wrote from London. In part:
“Dear Sir / We are on tenterhooks of anxiety for fear of a threatened unauthorised reprint of your ‘Tramp Abroad’ at a shilling, which we shall be powerless to oppose; but by keeping a bold front we hope to scare off intruders and so escape the danger” [MTPO].
Rollin M. Daggett wrote from the US House of Representatives: “Dear Mark: / I now know about what you are driving at. Now, you and other book fiends draw up such an amendment to section 4964 as you think you want, and the country will stand, and I will introduce it. This is the advice of the Librarian. Blaine is too busy to attend to anything but his fences / Ever yours…[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Daggett / Copyright”
Jesse M. Leathers wrote to suggest his visit might happen on May 11 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The Earl”
May 4 Tuesday – Charles Howard Young wrote from Hartford, Mercier to Young Apr. 4 enclosed from Paris, thanking Sam for his autograph [MTP].
Moncure Conway wrote to Sam. After referring to some back and forth about letters between himself, Chatto and Bliss, he wrote: “Your book is making an excellent impression here and I am in hope its account of dueling in Germany will raise a first class controversy and agitation” [MTP]. File note: “Conway refers to Chatto & Windus, 20 Apr. 1880, enclosed with SLC to Conway 20-21 April 1880.”
The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry).
May 5 Wednesday – Sam was invoiced $16.10 by the Put-In-Bay Island Wine Co., in Ohio for a half-barrel (24 & ½ gallons) of red wine. This company advertised N. American native varieties on their invoices: Catawba, Delaware, Norton’s Virginia, Ives, and Concord Grapes. Bill marked paid. Sam had this shipped to Cleveland, probably for the Fairbanks family [MTP].
The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see entry).
Edward J. Wyman wrote from Chicago to ask Sam for a note encouraging a young lady who was successfully gaining subscribers for his book, a lady he described as “of much refinement and beauty.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Excuse me from answering”.
May 6 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, helping him with his “autobiography.” Sam added “…the elder Bliss has heart disease badly, & henceforth his life hangs upon a thread” [MTLE 5: 97].
Sam began a letter to William Dean Howells he finished May 7. Sam was planning to go to Washington for a few days to speak to Congressmen about a new copyright law. His trip meant he would miss Howells’ trip to Hartford. Sam wanted to “astonish” Howells with a recent chapter of Orion’s book. He wrote a litany of recent ills:
Brisk times here. Saturday, [May 1] these things happened: Our neighbor Chas. Smith was stricken with heart disease, & came near joining the majority; my publisher, Bliss, ditto ditto; a neighbor’s child died; neighbor Whitmore’s sixth child added to his five other cases of measles; neighbor Niles sent for, & responded; Susie Warner down, abed; Mrs. George Warner threatened with death during several hours; her son Frank, whilst imitating the marvels in Barnum’s circus bills, thrown from his aged horse & brought home insensible; Warner’s friend Max Yortzburgh, shot in the back by a locomotive & broken into 32 distinct pieces & his life threatened; & Mrs. Clemens, after writing all these cheerful things to Clara Spaulding, taken at midnight, & if the doctor had not been pretty prompt the contemplated Clemens would have called before his apartments were ready. / However, everybody is all right, now, except Yortzburg, & he is mending—that is, he is being mended [MTLE 5: 90]. Sam also related a story of letting Abner the cat out of the conservatory. Livy suggested perhaps he needed Howells there to help him avoid such blunders. Or, so Sam claimed.
Jesse Madison Leathers wrote to Sam (Leathers to Whitney Apr. 26 enclosed) . “Your card canceling engagement is just received. I am indeed pained to learn of your wife’s prolonged illness…” he then begged for $300 for medical treatment for his 3 daughters [MTP].
May 7 Friday – Sam finished the May 6 letter to Howells. He’d had a telephone call from Warner that Howells could not come to Hartford due to his own trip to Washington, and Sam told him that he was “doing the right thing; when one is short for time, he should be free to alter arrangements with friends, without prejudice or cussedness” –language he claimed, humorously, that Livy used (he often ascribed his language to Livy). Sam had given up the trip to Washington, as he had a “letter from a Congressman this morning” (probably Daggett (see May 1 entry) dissuading him. Sam ask Howells to offer his “most sincere & respectful approval to the President” [MTLE 5: 99].
D.S. Brooks & Sons, Hartford dealer in “hot air furnaces, cooking ranges, stoves and tin ware, low down grates and Marbelized slate mantles,” invoiced Sam $4 for a soup digester; paid July 7 [MTP].
Plimpton Mfg. Co., Hartford paper dealer invoiced Sam $12 for envelopes, blue cloth, to order; payment May 8 [MTP].
May 8 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss, denying ever having offered a free book to a man named Wood. “The book to Watson is all right. Wood is apparently a bloody fool” [MTLE 5: 100].
Thomas H. Murray wrote from McKinney, Tex. to Sam
Sam’l L. Clements, / Dear Sir: I remember a young man, (and often have I thought of him,) bearing your honored name. I met him at Warsaw, Mo., before the war, “fighting for his Wright’s.” I was then chief clerk of the Missouri Legislature—he, a sailor on the Father of Waters. We met at Judge Wright’s: he, courting Laura; I, eating Brandy peaches with the Mother.
“Art thou the man?” If yes, then I rejoice that my boy-hood friend has kept his light burning on top of the bushel-measure, and mankind have had pleasure thereat.
I was 44 years old last Sunday, May 2. That’s a long road to travel, but it has, I must say, been a pleasant one to me. But enough, just now. Laura lives at Dallas, near me. (32 miles.)
Excuse me for intruding on your busy presence,—but I have often threatened to myself the pleasure of making this inquiry, and have now so done. / Respectfully… [MTP;MTL 1: 114n7]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Warsaw, Mo.”
May 9 Sunday – Orion wrote from Keokuk, announcing he obtained a position as local news editor on the Keokuk Gate City. He would earn $13 a week to $15 if his work proved satisfactory, and hoped he might get to where he would not need Sam to send any more money. He would still work on his autobiography and send what he could every Monday [MTP].
May 10 Monday – Sam bought a copy of Sir Gibbie, by his British friend, George MacDonald [Gribben 442]. Lindskoog compares Sir Gibbie and Huckleberry Finn, identifying twenty plot elements in common . Sam also purchased Jane Austen’s (1831-1894) Mrs. Beauchamp Brown (1880) from the same bookseller, J.R. Barlow of Hartford for $1.00. He paid the bill on July 5 [Gribben 35].
May 12 Wednesday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Orion, who landed an editor position at the Keokuk Gate City newspaper (see May 14 entry). Sam encouraged him in that direction, probably feeling the book would never be publishable, advising him to: “Drop the book & give your entire mind to the newspaper. Concentrate—concentrate. One thing at a time” [MTLE 5: 101].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “I am much obliged to you for the suggestions and comments accompanying the last two batches of MS., and will heed them. I am sorry for Bliss, and would like to have him know that I feel for him now both sympathy and friendship…” [MTP]. File note: “Seems to reply to SLC to anon, 6 May 1880—at least the comment about Bliss does.”
Paid to Madame Fogarty, New York clothier, $100 [MTP].
May 13 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas H. Murray, responding to his May 8 letter. Murray had written about Sam courting Laura Wright. Sam did not mention Laura Wright. He told a story about being approached by an old man in Germany, who claimed he’d once saved Sam and Thomas’ lives on a runaway stage over a precipice. The geezer hit Sam up for ten dollars, which he paid, probably amused. Sam asked Thomas, did he recall any such event? [MTLE 5: 102].
C. McCarthy of Boston, “antiques, furniture & porcelain,” invoiced Sam $15 for a brass fender, paid May 17 [MTP].
Pamela Moffett and Jane Clemens wrote from Fredonia to Sam and Livy. Jane confided advice she’d given Orion about working until July or August then coming to Fredonia and rooming with them in a leave of absence for a few weeks, so he might “avail himself of all the reminiscences ma and the rest of us could furnish him.” This for Orion’s autobiography [MTP].
May 14 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother and sister. He related the advice he’d given to Orion. No holiday planning, Sam further advised, otherwise the Gate City might prefer his “successor” [MTLE 5: 103].
The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry).
James C. Young, atty. wrote from Dayton, O. to Sam. Young was b. in 1837 near Hannibal and wondered if Sam was the “Mr. Clemens” who often visited his father about newspaper matters. He also disclosed he was raised by James A.H. Lampton of St. Louis who was a relative of his wife’s and of Sam’s. He as also a great fan of Mark Twain books [MTP].
May 15 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edwin Pond Parker (1836-1925). Parker became Pastor of the Second Church of Christ, Hartford, in Jan. 1860. He was Chief Editor of the Book of Praise (Congregational, 1874) and wrote hymns and poetry. Sam wrote that he’d been “taken suddenly sick” and since the doctor considered it serious, Sam had considered donating $150, “but thanks to a kind Providence am wholly out of danger this morning, & recovering quite fast.” Sam complimented the Rev. Parker on a “fine poem in your column today” [MTLE 5: 104].
“Mark Twain on Plagiarism” ran in Leisure Hour, and quotes Sam’s account of unconsciously borrowing a dedication from Oliver Wendell Holmes [Tenney 9].
Wellington & Burrage, Boston, invoiced Sam $88.00 for “old Spanish screen, 68 tiles and panels”; dates of purchase and payment not listed [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam with a scheme to bid on the Hannibal Courier at the May 22 auction. He would send more auto. MS. the next day [MTP].
May 16 Sunday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote from Branford, Conn. to explain about a box sent a few days before—some sort of food to be “broiled over a slow fire” [MTP].
May 17 Monday – The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York on this day, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry) [MTP].
May 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, enclosing certain bylaws for a club he wanted to start, the “Modest Club,” which only required modesty to be a member. He was the only member so far, and would Howells like to join? He suggested others for members:
“Hay, Warner, Twichell, Aldrich, Osgood, Fields, Higginson, & a few more—together with Mrs. Howells, Mrs. Clemens, & certain others of the sex…I have long felt that there ought to be an organized gang of our kind” [MTLE 5: 105].
Sam also wrote to Franklin Whitmore in Branford, Conn., thanking him for some sort of wild game he’d sent. Livy was evidently down again, as Sam wrote,
“She is sitting up three hours a day, now, but is not allowed to quit her room yet—& won’t be, for some days longer” [MTLE 5: 107].
Frank E. Bliss, treasurer of American Publishing Co. wrote a check drawn on the First Nastional Bank, Hartford, for $536.27 for royalties of A Tramp Abroad. [Check for sale on eBay, Oct. 3, 2007, Item 280159464667].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam with the bad news he didn’t “give satisfaction as local editor,” but that if they needed an asst. editor he could do that better. A headache prevented him from working on his autobiography [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Orion loses a situation”
A.G. Newman, NY mfr. Of burglar alarms, wrote it would cost $35 to have Sam’s alarm “Rearranged and a clock attachment added thereunto” [MTP].
William Wood, atty. wrote from Kingston, Mo. that he had never rec’d IA as promised and Bliss replied he had no order from Sam to send the book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Not opened”; Wood wrote several times about a so-called promise and evidently when Sam saw another letter from him he did not open.
May 19 Wednesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “My Dear Brother: — / Mollie is agitated by my loss of place, and anxious to go away from where we have been subjected to so much humiliation. If you felt willing to extend to me the same aid as here I would like to go to some city where the chances of getting an editorial situation would be multiplied…” Mollie had no faith in his autobiography—would it be published? [MTP].
May 20 Thursday – Sam rented a hack from Wm. P. Woolley, Hartford livery, to ride to the circus. The Grand London Circus, then played in Hartford. It’s not known if the whole family went or just Sam and the children, but Livy was seven months pregnant, so likely she stayed home (see Oct. 17 for livery bill details). The Hartford Courant reviewed the circus May 21, page 2, and reported:
The opening performance in the afternoon [May 20] tested the capacity of the tents to their utmost, and when the horses pranced in for the opening cavalcade not a seat was to be had…the baby elephant was, of course, the center of attraction, but the cages of animals, plump fine-conditioned beasts, also held their knots of observers….The equestrian exercises were at times thrilling, Charles W. Fish’s bareback riding sharing the plaudits with Madame Cordona’s four-horse trick act with Linda Jeal’s pretty riding terminating with her leaps through rings of flame. Note: Can you picture Sam with 8-year-old Susy and nearly 6-year-old Clara being wowed? See http://www.circushistory.org/History/PTB1881.htm
Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss. A letter of May 3 had arrived from Chatto & Windus objecting to the $450 charged for the electrotypes for A Tramp Abroad. Sam enclosed their letter to Bliss:
“Evidently this should have been written to the Am. Pub. Co., Frank, & not to me. How could I have had an ‘understanding’ about what the Co. would charge for electros, when I could by no possibility know?” [MTLE 5: 108].
Sam also wrote to Moncure Conway, again about the electrotype cuts. He’d made Bliss cable the price of the cuts just so Chatto could stop the process if not satisfied. “Now at this late day he writes & complains of the price,” Sam wrote. He couldn’t dictate to Bliss what to charge; had no “understanding” with Chatto.
“However, it seems to me I am writing a dam sight of letters on other folks’s business—so I’ll stop, & get a fan” [MTLE 5: 110].
Sam sent an inscription for E.S. Bowen to Charles Langdon, using a page from TA [MTLE 5: 111].
Park & Tilford billed Sam for “2 doz Glen Whisky” total $28 [MTP].
May 21 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Fanny C. Hesse, his former secretary, sending “Livy’s & mother’s annual $10 fee for S.” Sam related Livy’s confinement to her room and his need to send payment. [MTLE 5: 112].
Sam also responded to an unidentified person’s request for an autograph .
May 23 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about the “Modest Club,” his stay in Washington and the effort for international copyright protections.
The only reason I have for not joining the Modest Club is that I am too modest: that is, I am afraid that I am not modest enough….Mrs. Howells applauded the notion of the Club from the very first. She said she knew one thing: that she was modest enough, any way….I have sent your letter and the rules to Hay. But I doubt his modesty…[MTHL 1: 310].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “I know Voorhies and Wallace—both of this city—the latter a geologist, who went there for some company; the former struck it rich. His partner is Charlie Higham, ex-auctioneer of Keokuk—brother of your old friend Dick. By the way, did you ever hear that Dick Higham was shot through the middle of the forehead at Donelson?” [MTP]. Note: see mid-July entry 1855 for Clemens’ recollection of Dick Higham.
May 24 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Congressman Rollin M. Daggett, outlining what steps of punishment a copyright law should take. If not both imprisonment and a fine, the fine ought to be doubled. Ignorance should not be a shield. Sam cited several writers who had been robbed by Canadian publishers, including five editions of Howells’ Lady of the Aroostook. “Now old man, let’s see if Congress will listen to the wail of the distressed” [MTLE 5: 115].
Sam wrote an I.O.U. to George H. Warner, borrowing $900.00 at six percent interest [MTP]. Note: Clemens was not in any financial difficulty at this time so it seems strange that he borrowed 900, but Perkins reported on July 31 that he’d paid Warner back.
Invoiced by Arnold, Constable & Co., New York $8.25 for blankets; paid May 27. The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry).
Hills Archimedean Lawn Mower Co., Hartford billed $1.75 for repair of mower; paid May 26 [MTP].
In the evening Sam attended an amateur performance of the play, The Field of the Cloth of Gold, the last by students from Trinity College. He purchased one ticket earlier in the day, as well as one to a May 28 production of a comic opera, Fatinitza. Evidently Livy was not up to attending either. Hawley, Goodrich & Co. of Hartford charged Sam for the stage extravaganza; the bill was paid Oct. 4 [MTP; Hartford Courant ad May 24, 1880 p.1].
May 25 Tuesday – City of Hartford, John E. Higgins town clerk, receipted Sam $2.15 for dog license for “male dog name Jifi [?]” [MTP].
The Hartford Courant ran a short advertisement for Fatinitza, tickets to be sold May 27 for the comic opera to be performed May 28. See Sam’s purchase of one ticket on May 27 for the May 28 performance.
M.E. Harmon wrote from Oshkosh, Wis. to Sam, clipping of his poem “The Lorley” enclosed. He’d read Sam’s rendering of Die Lorelei in TA [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O dreadful!”
May 26 Wednesday – Invoiced by James Lidgerwood & Co., fine groceries, New York, 200 Concha cigars $21.70; Bill paid May 29 [MTP]. Sam would have had credit at this and other N.Y. establishments. W.H. Daggett billed Sam $2 to put awnings up; paid May 28 [MTP]. The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry).
Osborn H. Oldroyd wrote from Springfield, Ill. to ask if Sam would write his “sentiments” about Lincoln on the enclosed sheet bearing Lincoln’s likeness on one side and the tomb on the other [MTP].
David Watt Bowser wrote from Dallas to Sam with the good news that he’d won the gold medal he’d been after for some time; in mental arithmetic. He was trying for awards in composition and general excellence [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “a boy’s letter”
May 26? Wednesday – William Dean Howells’s letter of May 23 reached Sam on or about this day. Howells reported that on his visit to Washington he conferred with President Hayes about copyright issues. Hayes responded that his administration would support a joint proposal of authors and publishers. Howells wrote he would ask Harper & Brothers to sponsor a plan giving Englishmen copyright if they had American publishers and vice versa [MTHL 2: 310].
May 27 Thursday – Sam purchased one ticket for a local production of the operetta Fatinitza [MTP receipt from Goodrich & Hawley in 1880 financial file] by Camillo Wälzel (1829-1895), Genée Richard Franz, with music by Franz von Suppé. The first American production took place at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York City on Apr. 14, 1879 and starred Jennie Winston [Gribben 741]. Note: A New York Times advertisement of Apr. 13, 1879 shows Apr. 21 as the opening date. Tickets for the Hartford production went on sale on this date; Sam attended the Hartford one-night performance on May 28 (see entry).
The May 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see May 31 entry).
May 28 Friday – Sam attended the operetta Fatinitza at the Hartford Opera House, put on by the Boston Ideal Opera Company. It was a one-night performance unconnected with the New York production cited by Gribben above, as the tickets were not sold until May 27 (the day Sam purchased one), and no further performance is mentioned [Hartford Courant, May 25, 1880 p.2]. From a short review of May 29, page 1, the same paper:
That sterling combination, the Boston Ideal Opera company, repeated Suppe’s opera of “Fatinitza” at the opera house last evening before one of the largest and most fashionable audiences of the season. That the opera was presented by this company is all that need be said as to the merits of its production. Applause was bestowed again and again for popular numbers, and cordial responses were given. Miss Phillips, Miss Beebe, Messrs. Frothingham, Barnabee and Fessenden were excellent throughout. The company may well come here again; Hartford will patronize such a combination, and patronize it liberally.
May 29 Saturday – From Twichell’s journal:
“M.T. and I go on a walk to the Tower—the first of the season. A splendid day and lots of talk” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Sam paid Frank M. Wilson & Co., Bridgeport Conn., Tailors and Gents Furnishers, $120.50 for two suits, vest and alterations; He purchased what appears as “flannels” on a bill this date from Arnold, Constable, New York, which was paid June 2 [MTP].
Thomas Farrell billed Sam $7.50 for three hanging baskets on May 27; 50 mixed plants May 28; and three more baskets May 29 when the bill was paid [MTP].
May 30 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Julia Jones Beecher (Mrs. Thomas K. Beecher 1826-1905), about her “jabberwocks” (creative arrangements of roots, flowers and other natural items into images of creatures.) Sam agreed to be the auctioneer for the June 5 auction at the Grand Bazar for Union Home Work. [MTLE 5: 116; Eastman 61]. “I have arranged your jabberwocks, and other devils, in procession according to number and rank.”
The Boston Daily Globe ran an article “The Telephone / Mark Twain’s Reflections on the Great Invention. How it Seems to Hear Only One End of a Conversation”—this was a reprint of Sam’s June, 1880 Atlantic Monthly article, “A Telephonic Conversation.”
I consider that a conversation by telephone when you are simply sitting by and not taking any part in that conversation—is one of the solemnest curiosities of this modern life. Yesterday I was writing a deep article a sublime philosophical subject while such a conversation was going on in the room. I notice that someone can always write best when somebody is talking through a telephone close by.
May 31 Monday – Western Union Telegraph Co. of Hartford billed Sam by the month. For May, the following: May 1 for delivery; May 4, 5, 14, 17, 27, 31 to New York; May 24, 26 to Elmira. Bills contain number of words written for each message sent, but did not specify the recipient [MTP]. Note: perhaps none of these telegrams has survived or can be identified. The Elmira messages were most likely either to the Langdons or the Cranes. Sam was sent an additional $4.20 bill for April and May telegrams [MTP].
J.P. Newton, Hartford merchant in “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed $4.78 for purchases made Apr. 23, 30, May 5, 6, 7, 14, 21, 25, 28 for fish, lobster, crabs; paid June 2 [MTP]. This amount would hardly buy a guppy today.
June The Atlantic Monthly, “Contributors’ Club” ran Sam’s unsigned reply to a letter from “A Boston Girl,” criticizing his grammar [Wells 23]. (See Aug. 9 entry to Howells.) Also in this issue Sam’s “A Telephonic Conversation.” .
June 1 Tuesday – Sam wrote to Orion in Keokuk. Only the envelope survives [MTLE 5: 118].
Hartford merchants billed Sam: Wm. Roberts, dealer in harnesses and saddles, billed Sam $4.50 for horse blankets; paid June 2. Patrick Burke, horse-shoer, billed for May 26 and May 31 for four new shoes each time; paid. Fox & Co., “fine groceries, teas, wines & segars,” billed monthly statement $51.59; paid June 3. Seyms & Co. $ 4.90 for butter delivered May 7 and 21 [all MTP, 1880 financial file].
June 1–11 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Saturday Morning Club, accepting an invitation for June 12 [MTLE 5: 119].
June 2 Wednesday – Fred. Kingsley, Hartford dealer in “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed a monthly statement for $62.56; paid June 4 [MTP].
June 3 Thursday – G.S. Whiting, Hartford hardware, cutlery, guns, billed $6.50 for one wringer [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “deeply touched by the generosity of yourself and Livy…Mollie …is grateful and happy.” He discussed aspects of his autobiography, including his excommunication from the church, and affirmed his desire to work. He wasn’t tired of Keokuk but had friends in Chicago and St. Louis [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The Swearing Child” which may relate to one of the persons Orion recalled.
Edwin Booth wrote from the Hotel Brunswick, NYC to ask Sam for “a line on Twain” for his wife’s autograph book [Vassar; copy MTP].
June 4 Friday – Sam paid a $4.37 bill to Solomon & DeLeeuw, Hartford tobacco dealers for two dozen corn cob pipes and tobacco [MTP]. Was Sam really smoking this many corn cob pipes? They do burn out after a time; he may have been passing them to friends at such gatherings as his Friday Evening Club.
“A Boy’s Adventure,” which Sam and Howells referred to as the “whipping boy story,” ran in the number four issue of the Hartford Bazar Budget (Paine called this “a little special-edition sheet printed in Hartford” [MTB 719].
Note: only 100 copies were printed: www.libraries.wvu.edu/exhibits/twain/boys/index.htm). This piece was in the original manuscript of P&P, but Sam removed it upon the advice of Howells, who did not find it amusing and felt it did not fit the tone of the book. Some scholars have argued Sam should not have removed it, and have pointed to its thematic connection to the rest of the work. The June 5 Hartford Courant, in reporting on the last day of the four-day Bazar commented on this work:
Number four of the Bazar Budget proved fully up to the average excellence of the former numbers. It contained a poem “Without a Word,” by Francis Louise Bushnell; “A Boy’s Adventure,” by Mark Twain, in his peculiar style; “A Jewell of Inconsistency,” a war reminiscence, by the Rev. Joseph H. Twichell; an instructive New York letter on bric-a-brac and art stories, and an interesting short sketch of “Hartford, Old and New,” by the Rev. N.J. Burton. The number is full of news and gossip about the bazaar…
June 5 Saturday – Sam acted as auctioneer for the Grand Bazar for Union for Home Work, Hartford. The Hartford Daily Courant of June 7, 1880, p2, in a story titled “The Bazar,” reported:
Mr. George G. Sill acted in the capacity of auctioneer at the south end of the hall and Mr. Samuel L. Clemens at the north. The latter gentleman, after successfully disposing of a number of articles in Booth J, generously offered to dispose of the booth itself and all the people in it, including himself, but as no satisfactory offers were made, the lot was withdrawn. The audience remained to a somewhat later hour than usual on account of the auctions, although the band was dismissed early in the evening so as not to interfere with the anticipated brisk bidding.
Moses S. Beach wrote to Sam.
Friend Clemens; / Compulsion to read your telephonic reverie has prompted the remark that, with my experience during the last few weeks, you would possible have given an inside as well as an outside view of the indescribable. But before I go into that subject let me say what comes uppermost, now and here.
You have been to Alexandria and Arcadia, to Bagdad and Burpaw—pootah—all over the world in fact but this little paper house, with its breezy verandah, which tempts other men has given you no shelter. Now I want you to shine the light of your—cigar—on it; and Emma who overhears my thought, as she lies in her hammock by my side, shouts “yes, and we all want him to bring his charming wife too—they would like it, I am sure.” And from her strolling place out in the woods I am quite sure I hear the echo of my wife’s “Amen” [MTP]. Beach then told a story of his brother’s experience with the telephone. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Beach. / Answered”.
June 7 Monday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “It will remind you of the fable of the mountain and the mouse, when I tell you I have worked hard all week on my book. Edgar A. Poe said he wrote the last verse of the Raven first, and that books should be written backwards…Tell me what you think? This doesn’t look like writing for money, does it? / Love to all” [MTP].
June 8 Tuesday – Clara Clemens’ sixth birthday.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Moses S. Beach, who had sent Sam an unnamed “text” and an invitation to visit. Sam thanked him and “Miss Emma” (Emma Beach) but since they were about to start to Elmira for “a long summer vacation” they couldn’t accept [MTLE 5: 120].
Sylvester Baxter (1850-1927) visited and stayed at the Clemens home for at least one night on or before this date to interview Sam. Baxter was on the editorial staffs of several newspapers and magazines, and author of several books. Howells sent him. (See June 9 entry.)
June 9 Wednesday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to William Dean Howells. The first was about the visit of Sylvester Baxter (“Mr. B.”) who stayed at Sam’s a day or two (Sam wrote “during 24 hours”) to gather information for an interview (see June 8 entry).
“A kind-hearted, well-meaning corpse was this Boston young man, but lawsy bless me, horribly dull company. Now old man, unless you have great confidence in Mr.B.s judgment, you ought to make him submit his article to you before he prints it” [MTLE 5: 121].
The second letter dealt again with Orion’s autobiographical manuscript. Sam thought the result was “killingly entertaining; in parts absolutely delicious.” Sam was going to send Howells a hundred pages of the manuscript to consider at ordinary rates and print anonymously [MTLE 5: 122].
June 10 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his old editor friend in Buffalo, David Gray. Sam feared negative newspaper reviews of A Tramp Abroad might limit sales, as he had his other books. So, he sent Tramp to only Gray and Howells, knowing that if they didn’t care for it he would receive kind silence. Instead they praised it, so Sam was thankful. Sales were now at 50,000—more, Sam claimed, than any previous book sales for the same length of time.
He wrote that the family would arrive in Elmira for the summer “next Wednesday evening [June 16] (via New York–Erie road.)” Livy would be confined until mid-July. After that time Sam hoped the Grays would visit Quarry Farm [MTLE 5: 123].
Howells wrote to Sylvester Baxter, having received Sam’s letter of June 9, and asked if he might see what Baxter had written about Warner and Clemens before it went into print. “They are particularly sensitive, and as you went from me to them, I am anxious to know what report you give” [MTHL 2: 311-12].
Also, on or about this date, Sam wrote again to Howells, suggesting that Orion’s manuscript might be “culled & reduced 50 per cent” to be “worth printing.” Sam added that they would leave for Elmira on June 15 .
Francis Kenney, Hartford roofer, billed Sam for work done, pots, pails, misc for: Oct. 14, 23, Nov 25, 29 1879; Apr. 17, May 29, 1880; paid June 10 [MTP].
June 11 Friday – Sam wrote two pages from Hartford to Mary M. Booth (Mrs. Edwin Booth) in response to her request for his autograph:
I think yours is likely to be a unique autograph book, my dear Mrs. Booth, because it will mainly contain people’s very best Sunday-go-to-meeting hands. I imagine so, for this reason: Without previous thought, & making up one’s mind to it, one can’t snatch up a pen & slash away at such a snowy, vast & sumptuous sheet as this, with his unthinking every-day dash & freedom. No, he will be under a kind of drawing-room constraint which will make him anxious to write nicely, & will also make him leave out his customary blots, erasures, interlineations, & such other things as go to make up his ordinary autograph—his work-day autograph, his Tom-Dick-&-Harry autograph, so to speak.
But I am taking “previous thought;” I have consequently got my powers under control; consequently, also, I am writing in my work-a-day hand, with my every-day pen.—Otherwise this handsome page would have tricked me into doing my very carefulest & nicest—with a brand-new pen—thus:
With great Respect I remain
Yours Very Truly
Samuel L. Clemens,
—instead of dashing the thing off in my loose & reckless every-day style —thus:
Hartford, June 11, 1880.
[MTLE 5: 125; “Leaves from the Autograph Album of Mrs. Edwin Booth,” The Golden Magazine 10.57 (September 1929): 39-42]. Note: Sam gave a thinner and careful autograph in the first instance.
June 12 Saturday – Howells wrote from Boston to Sam about Sylvester Baxter’s interview of Sam. He acknowledged receipt of Orion’s manuscript, as well as Sam’s sketch, “Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale,” which Howells thought “wunderbar” [MTHL 1: 314].
Sam met with the young ladies of the Saturday Morning Club.
June 14 Monday – Howells wrote from Boston to Sam about Orion’s autobiographical manuscript.
…the writer’s soul is laid too bare: it is shocking. I can’t risk the paper in the Atlantic; and if you print it anywhere, I hope you wont let your love of the naked truth prevent you from striking out some of the most intimate passages. Don’t let any one else even see those passages about the autopsy [of John Marshall Clemens]. The light on your father’s character is most pathetic [MTHL 1: 315].
Fanning supposes that Howell’s reaction was based on the revelation of syphilis contracted by John Marshall Clemens, possibly revealed in the post-mortem examination, probably by Dr. Orville Grant [12-16]. In 1903 Sam wrote in his notebook, “1847. Witnessed post mortem of my uncle through the keyhole,” yet no uncle died that year.
Saloman & DeLeeuw, Hartford dealers in tobacco, invoiced Sam for two dozen corn cob pipes & tobacco; paid June 15 [MTP]. Fox & Co., Hartford grocers $14.69, “Amt of bill to date pass book”; paid [MTP].
June 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Franklin Whitmore in Branford, Conn.
Your letter is come, & we thank you heartily for that alluring invitation, but we are leaving to-day for New York; & we leave New York tomorrow morning at 9.15, in a special sleeping-car, which I hired & have caused to be attached to the train because Mrs. Clemens needs to lie down a good deal, & the children need to spread around for comfort’s sake on so long a trip. We reach Elmira at half past 6 p.m. [MTLE 5: 127]. Note: Sam first used such “hotel cars” in 1876.
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Howells after receiving his letter of June 12, which conveyed the judgment that Sylvester Baxter’s article on Sam was “a most blameless and pretty account…with appreciation which he got out of my review [of Tramp]” [MTHL 2: 316].
“The family are assembling at the front door for immediate flight to Elmira. Your letter just received. Well, I’m mighty glad the grave Baxter didn’t ‘give me away.’ I breathe freer, now” [MTLE 5: 126].
Sam added that Patrick McAleer on his staff would send Howells “four little roots” to plant against a wall. He also professed that James A. Garfield (1831-1881) “suits me thoroughly & exactly” and preferred him to “Grant(’s friends)” . The family left Hartford for Elmira, by way of New York to spend the summer.
In the evening in New York, Sam and Livy went to Madison Square Theater, where they saw James Morrison Steele Mackaye’s play Hazel Kirke. Sam admired Miss Georgia Cayvan’s (1858-1906) acting. Sam noted that the play had succeeded elsewhere [MTLE 5: 129]. Note: Sam did write two days after about seeing “one act at Madison Square [Theatre]” and did discuss the chances of William Gillette’s play, The Professor, but it was not the play he and Livy saw on this night [N.Y. Times, June 15, 1880 “Amusements This Evening,” p.4]. Gillette’s play opened on June 1, 1881. The actress Sam misspelled as “Miss Cavan” was Georgia Cayvan. In his Nov. 20, 1906 A.D. Sam recalled knowing Cayvan in the 1870s—see Oct. 14, 1876 entry.
Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam:
I send some more truck. It is an attempt at improving by re-writing the bosh you have in hand, which please burn. / Give our love to the “sex” as I see she is called in the Atlantic—also to the children. I hope Livy is much better. Do you still suffer with the sciatica? / Judge McCrary’s wife says you had better not come within her jurisdiction, as she thinks you deserve prosecution and imprisonment for life in the penitentiary. She has nearly killed herself and children with laughing over A Tramp Abroad [MTP].
June 16 Wednesday – After spending the night in New York City, the Clemens family left in their special “sleeping-car” for Elmira. It was a ten-hour trip. Sam’s letter of the previous day gave planned departure and arrival times of 9:15 AM and 6:30 PM [MTLE 5: 127]. They initially stayed at the Langdon home, as was their custom .
An article titled “Mark Twain, speaking of a new mosquito-netting….” Ran in Puck, p. 275 [Budd’s list furnished by Thomas Tenney and citing Baetzhold].
June 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Warren Stoddard, who evidently had asked if Sam’s inquiry about where an article appeared meant that he was angry.
“Now what the hell should I get mad about? Am I become an ass in mine old age? Don’t talk such nonsense. I had a curiosity to know whose album it was—not a solitary damn did I care else about the matter” [MTLE 5: 128].
Sam added: “Lord, but I would like to see San Francisco once more!” (Of course, he never did.)
Sam also wrote to Susan Warner and Lilly Warner about the ease of having “an entire car to ourselves.” He told of the play they’d seen the night they arrived in New York (Hazel Kirke–see June 15 entry) and also speculated about the good chances of William Hooker Gillette’s (1853-1937) play, The Professor [MTLE 5: 129]. The play opened June 1, 1881 and had a run of 151 performances in New York. Gillette’s theatrical career started in 1874 when Sam loaned him $3,000 and arranged for him to have a small part in the 1875 Hartford production of Colonel Sellers [MTNJ 2: 380n72]. See June 26, 1881 letter to the Gerhardts. Note: William Gillette was Francis Gillette’s youngest son; he became one of America’s great actors.
June 18 Friday – Howells sent Sam a copy of his book, The Undiscovered Country (1880) inscribed: “S.L. Clemens / with ever so much affection, / W. D. Howells. / Belmont, / June 18, 1880” [Gribben 336].
June 19 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Miss Simon, who evidently requested an autograph [MTLE 5: 130].
June 20 Sunday – Sylvester Baxter’s profile article of Sam Clemens ran on p. 10 of the Boston Herald. The piece only mentioned Charles Dudley Warner in passing, and focused on Sam’s writing habits, his home surroundings and biography, with a few comments on his main works [MTHL 2: 314n1].
From Boston, Howells wrote a short note to Sam about meeting Captain Mouland, late of the Batavia. “He thinks you’re mad at him. Going to quit the water and take to milk—cow farm in Colorado.” Howells thought Sam’s sketch, “Mrs. McWilliams and the Lightning,” was “uncommon good” [MTHL 1: 317].
June 22 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, asking him not to send any more of his manuscript until he’d finished. Evidently Orion had sworn to complete the book, even though Sam had advised him to concentrate on his new job at the Keokuk Gate City (see May 12 entry). Sam wrote the family was well and would go to Quarry Farm “in a week or two” [MTLE 5: 131].
June 23 Wednesday – Charles Perkins wrote from Hartford explaining the contract for quarterly payments on Tramp Abroad to Sam, which called for an annual adjustment to half of the profits [MTLTP 138n1; MTP].
Sam wrote to James C. Thomson in Manchester, England, letter not extant but referred to in Thomson’s July 4 reply.
June 25 Friday – Harriet W. Hawley (Mrs. Joseph R. Hawley) wrote to Sam (letter now so faded as nearly illegible), petition enclosed for the support of a monument to Adam. Signatures plus a typed list of signers in the file [MTP].
June 26 Saturday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. “All right. I will finish my MS. and then send it to you in one batch. I am glad you are still at work—I suppose on the Last Prince. I should be very sorry to interfere…Mollie’s agent sold 19 Tramps in two days, last week, and 12 since. She pays her 30 p.ct. to make her active” [MTP]. Note: Mollie Clemens was acting as if she were an agent; no documentation found that would say authorized agent.
Tiffany & Co. wrote to Sam. We enclose designs for your approval. In 3 colors of gold as No. 1, the price will be $13, or same in enamel $16 & No. 2 $22 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Their contract for the Badges”; these were for the Saturday Morning Club; see July 14 from Tiffany & Co.
E. Metzger wrote from Stuttgart Germany to ask Sam’s consent to translate TA into German; she got his address from Baron Tauchnitz [MTP].
June 29 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Dan Slote, sending the last thousand dollars of three pledged to invest in the Kaolatype process [MTLE 5: 132].
June 30 Wednesday – Frank Bliss of the American Publishing Co. made out a check to Sam for $10,000. Endorsed by Sam and Charles E. Perkins for deposit [MTP].
July–August – Sam’s manuscript, “A Record of the Small Foolishnesses of Susie & ‘Bay’ Clemens” was added to especially in these months. “No mama I did not miss you—I had Aunt Sue & Rosa & Papa—& Papa read to me—no I did not miss you” [MTNJ 2: 365].
In July, Sam entered “Bierce’s Fables” into his notebook [2: 366], referring to Ambrose Bierce’s Fables of Zambri the Parsee, humorous sketches in the English journal Fun from July 1872 to Mar. 1873. Six fables would be included in Mark Twain’s Library of Humor in 1888 [Gribben 69].
Sam’s notebook: a list of humorists for the projected “Library of Humor,” including Max Adeler (Charles Heber Clark), Simon Suggs, Bill Arp, Prentice Mulford, and others [MTNJ 2: 361].
July 1–18 Sunday – Sam wrote sometime between these dates from Elmira to Charles Eliot Norton (1827–1908). Norton was an American educator, writer, and editor who founded the Nation (1865). Sam declined an invitation to some event for the arts and sciences. He wrote,
“…just about the middle of August (if we have luck) I shall be called upon to take upon myself the office of superintending a wet nurse, or of preparing condensed milk for a nursing-bottle” [MTLE 5: 133].
Livy was due to deliver in mid-August.
July 1 Thursday – Sam listed book sales from July 1, 1879 to July 1 1880 in his notebook:
Innocents Abroad 3,182 – Roughing It 2,466 – Gilded Age 1,700 – Tom Sawyer 3,186 – Sketches – 1,518 – Tramp Abroad from March 1, 1880 to July 1, same year – 47, 563 [MTNJ 2: 428]. Note: Items listed down the page, not as shown.
Bills/receipts/invoices from Hartford merchants:
William H. Bulkeley, dry goods, $148.81 for Clemens purchases on: Apr. 9, 22, 26, 28, 31, June 4, 10, 11, 12; sent a corrected bill forwarding $148.81 adding purchases June 12, 14 for gloves, hose, misc. paid July 7; Seyms & Co. $2.55 for butter on June 4, paid July 7; John D. Fisk & Co., boots & shoes, $2.05 for child’s goods on Feb. 25; McNary & Co., importing chemists & druggists, for Apr. 11, ½ doz. Champagne $14, Henry’s magnesia $1.25, paid Oct. 4; J.G. Rathbun & Co., druggists & chemists, $21.55 for purchases Apr. 3, 9, 15, 23, May 5, 21, June 7, 10, 14: various salad oils, camphor, bottles & corks, linseed oil, ammonia, oxalic acid, etc., paid July 7; James Ahern, “practical plumber and gas fitter” $6.97 for Mar. 23, 29, May 20, June 1, 3; paid July 7; Dr. C.A. Taft $64 for professional services from Jan. 1, 1880 to July 1, 1880; Fred B. Edwards, “drugs, medicines, fancy goods” $1.50 for camphor & castor oil, paid July 7; Haynes & Simmons, “fine boots, shoes & rubbers” $18.55 for May 5, June 1, 10, 11, 12, 23 — Sam wrote across bill:
“Gentlemen: you have made a mistake. This bill is paid but is not receipted. Yrs truly, SL Clemens”
D.H. Buell, jeweler $13.90, Apr. 2 “gong in clock $8.50, one 8 day clock $5.00; repl. pins, brush .40” paid; Note: Dwight Buell is the man said to have initially interested Sam in the Paige typesetter. Ellen F. Hammond, MD for professional services Dec. 1879 to July 1, 1880 [MTP].
July 2? Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Haynes & Simmons, boot and shoe merchants, about a paid bill not receipted for [MTLE 5: 134].
July 4 Sunday – James C. Thomson wrote from Manchester, England. He wanted “a few hints” with his “production” and thanked Sam for prior reply of June 23 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Drat this bore”; Sam’s of June 23 not extant.
July 5 Monday – Sam paid an undated bill of $1.20 to J.R. Barlow, books, stationer, magazines for “May 10 to Mrs. Brown (no name series); 1 Sir Gibbie”; paid.
July 6 Tuesday – Sam paid an I.O.U. to George H. Warner for $900.00 borrowed on May 24, at six percent interest; paid $906.00 [MTP]. A bill from a Parisian merchant, A. Dusuzeau of 380 [francs?] for a Mar. 9 purchase of goods [illegible – MTP].
The Lotos Club in New York receipted Sam for dues, $6.25 [MTP].
July 10 Saturday – Sam ordered 100 Cortina Mora R. Chic cigars from James Lidgerwood & Co., fine groceries, New York; bill paid Aug. 11 [MTP].
July 13 Tuesday – Sam wrote to his attorney, Charles E. Perkins; the letter not extant but referred to in Perkins’ July 14 reply.
Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) painter/illustrator wrote from NY to Sam that he was leaving the country and would return in two years. He sent a package containing a “silver comic mask. Hang it on your watch chain and think of me” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Vedder the artist”
July 14 Wednesday – Sam purchased books from Estes & Lauriat of Boston, including James Freeman Clarke’s Memorial and Biographical Sketches (1878), and Sara Coleridge’s Memoirs and Letters (1874) [Gribben 145; 153]. A bill in MTP shows a total of $50.55 for a list of 21 books.
Charles E. Perkins wrote to Sam “Yours of 13th inst recd—I should think the investments you mention would be first rate…I got $4000 more from Bliss today and deposited it at G.P.B.” [Bissel’s] [MTP].
Tiffany & Co. wrote to Sam. “We have your list of 18 names—numbered consecutively as far as 9, and commencing again at 11, omitting No. 10. If you wish 19 pins please let us know the name for it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “About badges”; for the Saturday Morning Club young ladies; see Sept. 1.
Frank Fuller wrote to Sam from NY on his healthfood co. letterhead. “Yes sir! The paragraph especially marked by you, sounds exactly like old Bowers’ talk of a few years ago. The machine is on the identical plan of one which a man down town was anxious to make after the … cast iron edifice of the Woodruff concern was condemned by the undersigned as having…only a magnified copy of the Brooklyn thing.” He added hope that Twain would finish the Prince & the Pauper [MTP].
Willard Fiske (1831-1904), librarian and scholar, sent engraved invitations to his son’s wedding in Berlin [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Marriage of Prof. William Fisk & Miss Jenny McGraw” 13th or 14th?. See also AMT 2: 477 on Fiske.
George Gebbie wrote to Sam with plans to publish a Library of Humor [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Proposition for Cyclopedia of Humor”
July 14–17 Saturday – Sam telegraphed from Elmira to George Gebbie. Paraphrased: “Gebbie’s answer to mine in which I said I might possibly entertain his proposition next January, 1881” [MTLE 5: 135].
Note: Gebbie was a subscription book publisher in Philadelphia who’d written Sam proposing an anthology of American humor, with Sam as the editor. Sam liked the idea and would involve Howells [Powers, MT A Life 445]. The outcome became Mark Twain’s Library of Humor (1888) edited by Samuel Clemens, William Dean Howells, and Charles Hopkins Clark (1848-1926) , managing editor of the Hartford Courant.
July 15 Thursday – The Hartford Courant, on page one, ran an excerpt from Sam’s sketch, “Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale” from the August issue of the Atlantic Monthly.
The new Atlantic contains the tale of Edward Mills and George Benton by Mark Twain, which is as clever a satire on the sentimentality over crime as that sort of gush has ever received.
Sam purchased Frank M. Wilson & Co., Bridgeport, Conn. tailors and Gents Furnishers $15.00 each for two white linen suits, bill paid on July 20.
A. Homann wrote from Hamburg to offer to translate TA [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Translator / Tramp /1880”
Edwin Herbert Walcott (1846-1913) wrote from Natick, Mass.
Mr Clemens / Dear Sir / Have just read your “Edward Mills & Geo Benton” in Augst Atlantic. I am a church member, a deacon, ex-S.S. Supt., ex-Y.M.C.A. Prest &c &c(!) but I want to thank you for the story, all the same. It is capital, perfect. You have builded better than you knew. I only wish it might have been written by a man “inside the fold,” with a little different motive than a desire to get off a good joke, but whatever the motive the story is true, my only fear is that the officers & members of the “Prisoners Friend Society” will not read it. I am a hearty & sincere believer in the church, its work & above all its Master & only regret that there should be facts in existence to sustain such a “Tale” but it is a success. / Yrs. E.H. Walcott [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “About ‘Mills & Benton – a Tale.’”
July 16 Friday – John Milton Hay wrote to thank Sam for TA and also for 1601 [MTP]. A reply is not extant.
July 17 Saturday – Sam paid $5.62 for Young’s History from Estes & Lauriat, booksellers, Boston [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote a folksy fun letter to Sam about being left alone when his wife and children went off to the Adirondacks; about Dean Sage’s latest adventures, fishing and camping; and gave a hooray for Willard Fiske, whose son was recently married [MTP].
George Gebbie wrote to Sam, informing that he was sailing for Europe on the Scythia Wednesday and would return in Oct. He asked that his plans be kept confidential and also mentioned he was an old friend of James R. Osgood [MTP]. Note: Gebbie also started a 2nd letter from Phila. that he finished on July 19.
July 18 Sunday – Howells wrote from Boston, chiding Clemens for not writing and urging him to visit Charles Eliot Norton at his summer home in Ashfield, Mass.
“Better do so. Warner is going, and so are Winny and I; and Curtis will be there. We shall have a famous time, and you will enjoy yourself, and make every body else happy. I hope Mrs. Clemens is well—I know you are” [MTHL 1: 317].
July 19 Monday – Clemens wrote from Quarry Farm, Elmira to Joe Twichell.
Dear old Joe:
We have been up here 10 days, now, & I have been on the sick list pretty much all that time, with lumbago. Mrs. Gleason was here a few days ago & told us your sisters were at the Cure, but neither Livy nor I have fairly been in condition to go down there since then. I have spent part of my time in bed; but yesterday evening Livy & I determined to get to the Cure this morning—but there’s another failure: I’m bedridden again—a decided case of rheumatism; I shall not be out again for some days I guess. We have twice sent verbal messages to Olive, begging her to waive ceremony & run up here, but she don’t waive worth a cent. It is cold & stormy to-day; but Livy & Sue will go to the Cure as soon as the weather moderates.
Have just finished the Scholar of the 12th Cent. & am delighted with the amusing & pathetic story. Suppose Giraldus had been politic; he might have reached the primacy; then imagine poor Henry II saddled with the second Beckett! I wish I could read the original; those marvels charm me—such as the spring running with milk, the man breached like a bull, & that soldier’s immaculate conception of a calf. I will remail the pamphlet to you to-day or to-morrow.
I am writing with a stylographic pen. It takes a royal amount of cussing to make the thing go, the first few days or weeks; but by that time the dullest ass gets the hang of the thing, & after that no enrichments of expression are required & said ass finds the stylographic a genuine God’s blessing. I carry one in each breeches pocket, & both loaded. I’d give you one of them if I had you where I could teach you how to use it—not otherwise; for the average ass flings the thing out of the window in disgust, the second day, believing it hath no virtue nor merit of any sort, whereas the lack lieth in himself, God of his mercy damn him.
I have writ one or two magazine articles & about 100 pages on one of my books, since we left Hartford—been idle the rest of the time.
“1601” is on its travels again; John Hay has been handing it around, in Washington, & took it out & left it in Cleveland, the other day, in the hands of an antiquary who will memorize it & then return it.
(I hear the mellow German tongue out yonder: “Clara, where art thou?” “Here above. We wait for thee, Susie.”
It seems to me our tongue lost a good deal when the gentle thee & thou departed out of it.)
Tom Beecher & family are up in the woods at Jim Beecher’s; Mrs. Langdon is at Avon Springs; Charley Langdon, with his family, is at Waukesha, Wisconsin, suffering horribly with dyspepsia. This household is well & flourishing, except me. I think we are growing doubtful about the son & heir. Sometimes we say, “He cometh not at all, & is a delusion & a fraud;” at other times we be dimly hopeful, & say, “Mayhap this is not so; peradventure he cometh by slow freight.”
Well, old man, we all send a power of love to you & Harmony & the kids—& I am
Frank Fuller wrote a postcard from NYC to Sam:
No, Mark the White people are not the ones to ferret out the mystery of the Perkins affair because they have the thing only for the one, special purpose for which they were organized. All other rights reserved. But, it occurs to me right here that I’ll tell them of this new phase, & offer that concern the reserved rights if they’ll fight it through. It certainly does look as if they were using our device & doing wonders with it. I’ll try Mr. White on the subject. / yours…” [MTP]. Note: this likely has to do with the Bowers’ inventions.
George Gebbie finished his July 17 to Sam. “Thanks for your telegram and especially for the possible enterprise indicated…as I am a stranger to you I would suggest that you make reference to any of the Boston, Phila or New York publishers… [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Gebbie’s answer to mine in which I said I might possibly entertain his proposition next January, 1881”
July 20 Tuesday – Sam paid a bill to Estes & Lauriat of Boston for 21 books in all, including $3.85 for a three-volume set of Plutarch’s Lives, Marie Sevigne’s Letters of (1878) [Gribben 550, 621-2] three volumes of “Popular Fiction,” two volumes of Adolphe Taine’s History of English Literature (1871); Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queen and Epithalamion; Amicis’ Studies of Paris; The Fables of Aesop; Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, which Sam had read as a boy and again in 1869; an eleven-volume set of Thackeray’s Lectures (1868); James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson [554, 684, 679, 697, 78].
Sam paid Frank M. Wilson & Co., Bridgeport, Conn. tailors and Gents Furnishers $15.00 each for two white linen suits, billed on July 15 [MTP]. Note: Clemens wore white in season long before he adopted it for winter wear in 1906.
July 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his sister, Pamela Moffett. Sam had lumbago (general lower back pain). Evidently a clergyman named Adams had done something outside the bounds of his church rules and Sam offered that the man would be “worsted in his fight” [MTLE 5: 136].
Sam made a $75 loan to Patrick Francis of Bloomfield Conn., who made his “X” mark on the agreement [MTP, 1880 financial file].
July 24 Saturday – Sophie Degen billed Sam $36.00 for June and July daily milk? Deliveries. Bill marked paid [MTP].
July 26 Monday – Livy gave birth to a seven pound baby girl. They named her Jane Lampton Clemens, after Sam’s mother, but from the first she was called Jean. She was the last child Sam and Livy would have. The delivery was without complications; Livy began to recover in a few days [Powers, MT A Life 444]. Sam wrote to Howells about the new baby:
“I have been up all night helping to receive Miss Clemens, who arrived perfectly sound but with no more baggage than I had when I was on the river” [MTLE 5: 137].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam about progress on his autobiography and of his relief that a letter from Sam was not bad news about Livy, since Mollie had experienced a foreboding dream [MTP].
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote to Sam. After a long and folksy letter, she added she liked TA and “felt at home in Heidelberg,” but pressed him to write another book in a “wholly different style” [MTP].
July 27 Tuesday – Sam paid a July 17 bill from Estes & Lauriat, Boston publishers and book dealers for a five-volume set of Young Folks’ History of England (1879?) [Gribben 793].
Pamela Moffett wrote to Sam.
My dear Brother: / We all send warmest congratulations to you & Livy:—hope Mother and child will continue to do well. Dear Livy we have all felt so anxious about her. Ma was quite ill for two or three days…She and Sam and I are rusticating at Van Buren. Charley came out yesterday and brought your telegram.” She added a page or more about church conflicts there [MTP]. Note: Van Buren on Lake Erie.
Hartford City Guard per William C. Barber sent an engraved sheet informing him of honorary membership [MTP].
July 28 Wednesday – Helen Buckingham Mathews (“H.B. Mathers”) wrote to Sam, so “delighted” with TA that she asked if he might “see your way to giving us poor Britishers a mouthful at a time, say in a series of papers or letters …over a few months?” [Vassar]. Note: Mathews (Mathers) was an author in her own right.
July 28 or 29 Thursday – Sam wrote for baby Jean Clemens to his mother Jane Clemens and signed it “Lovingly your grand-daughter and / Name child / Jane Clemens” [MTLE 5: 138].
July 29 Thursday – Susan L. Warner (Mrs. Charles Dudley Warner) (1831?-1921) sent congratulations on the birth of Jean [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Mrs. Warner re Jean’s birth”.
Roger Marvin Griswold, M.D. (1852-1935) wrote from North Manchester, Conn.
Samuel L. Clements [sic], / Hartford, Conn, / Dear Sir:
I wish to tender you my sincere thanks for your article in the last Atlantic, “Edward Mills & George Benton.” the article should be printed for distribution in every temperance, benevolent, and church organization in the land. / Very Truly Yrs, / R.M. Griswold [MTP]. Note: Griswold held a medical practice in New England for half a century and contributed many articles to medical journals.
July 30 Friday – Mary Keily wrote from the Lancaster Insane Asylum, Penn. “I have written to you at one time by the influence of the stars & now I am writing to you by the influence of the thunder.” Another very long, rambling, often incoherent letter from “the lunatic” as Twain called her [MTP].
July 31 Saturday – Charles E. Perkins wrote an accounting of Sam’s bank account having deposited $18,392.12 from American Publishing Co. and $386.66 from interest. He paid out $906 to Geo. Warner’s note & interest, 619.54 to Taxes for city town & school; church debt subscription 101.50; Insurance on home 234.25; Mrs. Jane Clemens $50 and Orion $50, for total outgoing of $2,961.29 [MTP].
August – Sam’s sketch, “Edward Mills and George Benton: A Tale” ran in the August issue of the Atlantic Monthly [Wells 23]. Wilson calls this “a humorless moral tale that satirizes several aspects of nineteenth-century American culture” . $50 check from Houghton, Mifflin & Co. dated Aug. 2 and deposited Aug. 6 for this article is in the MTP, 1880 financial file.
August 1 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells asking him to locate a book at a Boston store for him. He added a short paragraph on the new baby’s progress, saying they’d hoped for twins [MTLE 5: 139].
Sam also wrote to Frank E. Bliss, forwarding a letter and enclosures intended for the American Publishing Co.
“The article headed ‘Stupendous Sell’ is not badly done; but the rest of his matter grows monotonous before one gets through — no breaks in it — too guide-booky — don’t seem to be any episodes” [MTPO]. Note: the letter is a fragment, recently added to the Project. The author of the forwarded letter is not identified.
August 2 Monday – Jane Clemens wrote from Van Buren to baby Jean.
“My dear little grand child. / I received your letter & rejoice to hear such good news from you. If you are small now I think you must be as large as your papa was at your age. But good judges could not say much about papa’s beauty at that age. Your grandma is very sorry to hear your mamma has been so sick – hope she is better …Your grandma feels very happy over her namesake if it is very small” [MTP]. Note: Jane also wrote a short note to Sam & Livy about her health and the stay at Van Buren, a small resort on Lake Erie.
August 3 Tuesday – What Fishkin calls “noisy hoopla that engulfed Elmira” was the arrival and speech of Frederick Douglass. “The event drew delegations from virtually every city and town within a hundred miles. Sixty-three guns were fired at 11 A.M. Well before the parade began, the ‘excitement reached the white folks, and the streets were thronged with expectant people.’” At least four bands provided music. The parade route went around the Langdon home. Even if Sam were up on Quarry Farm, he would have heard the commotion [Lighting Out 95-6].
August 5 Thursday – Lucy Adams Perkins wrote to Sam with congratulations and concern for Livy. She related their house being burgled “again…at the same parlor window.” A policeman heard the window slide and came to find the burglar in the parlor; he fired a shot at him as he fled into the bushes, but missed him [MTP].
August 6 Friday – Lilly G. Warner wrote to Sam, thanking him for his letter from baby Jean, and very concerned after hearing Livy was worse [MTP].
August 7 Saturday – Robert Thornton Lowery (1859-1921) wrote from Petreola, Ontario to Sam:
“Dear Sir,—What will you charge to write me a lecture. One that will take about 1 1/4 hours to deliver it. Humorous and stirring, but not too pathetic. An early answer will very much oblige…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ass.” Although he received dozens, perhaps hundreds, of written requests to lecture, this is the only letter found which requested Clemens to write a lecture for another humorist. “Colonel” Lowery wrote on Western subjects and was favorably compared to Twain. He would later edit British Columbia newspapers.
August 9 Monday – Sam wrote to the editors of the River Record about articles they’d referred to which he intended to publish in book form after visiting the Mississippi again. These would become Life on the Mississippi. Sam realized that since he’d left the river, new boats had come and gone. “Yours is a very good paper,” he wrote, “but it makes a person baldheaded to read it” [MTLE 5: 140].
Sam also wrote to Howells [MTLE 5: 141], thanking him for the hair-restorer sent by Elinor Howells to Livy, whose naturally fine hair had thinned during pregnancy [Willis 134]. “The baby was born well fixed on top,” Sam added. He’d decided it wasn’t bad to be copied by papers like the New York Times.
..it keeps a body more alive & known to the broad & general public, for the Atlantic goes to only (dam that ‘Boston Girl’) the select high few….I never really expected you to print that article [“Boston Girl” in the June issue of Atlantic ]; so when I came to, after you accepted it, I said to myself, “All right, if he wants all the pious people after his scalp, let him go ahead—it will be a spectacle not without interest.”…By-the-way, these praiseful letters have usually come from strong church members—think of that!—& they take me to be one—think also of that! Blame it, they are the very people I expected to make skip around & cuss [MTLE 5: 141].
Sam added that the girls adored the new baby, that he’d written some 60 pages of “burlesque foreign travel,” and that Bliss had sent him a check for the first quarter sales of A Tramp Abroad—“nearly $19,000–very good” .
August 11 Wednesday – John Milton Hay wrote from Wash. D.C. “I sent you my speech the other day. / Please let me know where you are at this moment. I have something to send you which ought to go into your own lily-white hands. Yours…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Col. John Hay, author of the ‘Pike County Ballads.” See Gribben p. 303 listing this work as 1871.
W.E. Landers wrote to Sam, asking if a clipping enclosed was true: “Ere Mark Twain: ‘Y mae hogiau drwg yn bur chwanog i edrych yn debyg i’w mamau ac ymddwyn yn debyg i’w tadau’ ”[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Welsh”; Google translation: “The bad guys are pretty chwanog to look the same and behave like their mothers and fathers.”
August 12 Thursday – Moncure Conway wrote from Easton, Pa. to Sam. “Love and greeting to you and your dear lady!” he asked where Sam was as they would be in Newport and Boston next week, then sail for Liverpool Nov. 27 [MTP].
August 14 and 15 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Dr. John Brown. The butler, Sam’s “black George” had taken a card from Dr. Stearns, who was on his way to Scotland, and forgotten to tell Sam. Sam wrote of new baby Jean Clemens and of his hope to “cross the ocean on purpose to show” Brown the baby if they were “well two years hence.” Susy was “a wise & slender maid of 8 & upwards, now, is very good & lovely, & an able student of the dreadful German tongue.” Sam added a note on the sales of Tramp, and on a:
…new plan for international copyright—that of deftly turning the flank of Congress & achieving the thing through the Department of State, in the form of a treaty with foreign powers.
He added a note about the Stylographic pen, that carried its own supply of ink [MTLE 5: 143].
On Aug. 15 Sam added that Livy objected to him not mentioning Clara:
“(aged 6 ½ —or 5 ½, I forget which) & her many & unusual gifts mental & physical; but I said I left the child out purposely; because you did not know her. Then I was commanded to put her in—which I have done” [MTLE 5: 144].
About this weekend, Sam received a letter from Moncure Conway dated Aug. 12. Sam wrote Conway’s temporary address in his notebook. Conway was visiting his sister, who had married Francis A. Marsh, professor of philology at LaFayette College in Easton, Penn. [MTNJ 2: 358n8].
August 15 Sunday – Mollie & Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy. Mollie wrote about attending Judge Joseph Montgomery Casey’s silver wedding anniversary. Orion didn’t go due to the expense. Orion wrote on the letter a paragraph about writing the 454th page of his auto MS. [MTP].
August 16 Monday – John M. Hay wrote from Wash. D.C. “Here is the Meisterstück. It got into such appreciative hands among the Campfire Club that it was read into rags…it is returned with thanks and laud [1601?]. I would I might see you one day. But I have no hopes until after 4th March week, when I quit the livery of office. / I congratulate you on your new baby” [MTP].
August 17 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Moncure Conway that the new baby was “3 weeks old, & neither she nor her mother is able to sit up yet.” Sam wasn’t certain of the date the family would return to Hartford but it would be “several weeks before” Conway sailed, and they could coordinate dates for the Conways to visit [MTLE 5: 145].
Sam also wrote to Elinor Howells, who had written Sam after he’d sent a check for Livy’s hair restorer. Livy was unable to write yet, so Sam wrote about baby Jean and who she looked like (no one could agree); and recommended a doctor for spinal diseases for Elinor. He added another note about the Stylographic pen that carried its own supply of ink—that William Dean should use one [MTLE 5: 147].
August 18 Wednesday – Rose Terry Cooke (1827-1892), poet and prose writer, whose stories Sam admired, wrote from Winsted, Conn.
Horrid man! how did you know the way I behave in a thunderstorm? Have you been secreted in the closet? or lurking on the shed roof? I hope you got thoroughly rained on!—And worst of all is that you made me laugh at myself: my real terrors turned around and grimaced at me: they were sublime, and you have made them ridiculous. Just come out here another year and have four houses within a few rods of you struck, and then see if you’ll write an article of such exasperating levity. I really hate you, but you are funny. How I should love to see you in a real hail and lightning jamboree just for once,—only I should never dare to look on! / I am not Mrs McWilliams, only / Rose Terry Cooke.
P.S. My husband says, “Tell him—‘Bully for you! it’s so, every bit of it.’” but he’s a man, too!
P.P.S. Don’t do so any more please! [MTP]. Note: see also Dec. 10, 1880; Jan. 10, 1880; Feb. 27, 1884; Gribben 158. In his July 4, 1877 to Wm. Dean Howells, Sam wrote of reading all of the Atlantic¸ and that “Mrs. Rose Terry Cooke’s story was a ten-strike. I wish she would write 12 old-time New England tales a year.”
August 19 Thursday – Sam wrote a letter from Elmira for baby Jean Clemens to Olivia Lewis Langdon for grandma’s birthday. He attached a lock of the baby’s hair.
Dear Grandma— / I arrived pretty short, & have not had a chance to make anything yet, over & above a most scanty & inadequate living; so I am not able to send anything to testify my love for you & do homage to your birthday, but a mere lock of my hair—heaven knows I wish it were more, but I am short even in hair [MTLE 5: 148].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam that Miss Lee, his wife’s sister died at his house the morning before, cause of death the bursting of an internal abscess. He also sent congratulations to Livy [MTP].
August 20 Friday – Sophie Degen billed Sam $37.50 for July and Aug. daily milk? deliveries. Bill marked paid [MTP].
August 22 Sunday – Frank Soulé wrote from San Francisco to Sam, enclosed in Howells’ Oct. 31, asking for publishing help with a 200 page vol. of his poetry [MTP].
August 25 Wednesday – Estes & Lauriat of Boston billed Sam $150 for John James Audubon’s The Birds of America from Drawings made in the United States and Their Territories (1860) [Gribben 31]. The bill at MTP shows the plates in 1 volume folio, text in 4 volumes.
Joe Twichell wrote from Keene Valley, NY to Sam, “Aug 23rd, 24th, 25th somewhere along there”. He was sending a California journal and a “male book” which he “carried away from Charley Warner’s on account of its title ‘Adirondack Stories.’ I have found it so interesting that I feel the impulse to pass it on to you.” He didn’t know the author, but thought a tale “John’s Trial” was equal to anything Bret Harte wrote. He’d heard that Livy wasn’t doing well so was concerned [MTP]. Note: Adirondack Stories (1880) by Philander Deming (1829-1915). Not in Gribben.
August 29 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Joe Twichell, about the baby and the family. The “stock-quotation of the Affection Board” was the priority the children put upon family and friends.
“Four weeks ago the children still put Mamma at the head of the list right along, where she had always been. But now: Jean / Mamma / Motley /Fraulein [last two are cats] / Papa.”
Sam wrote of having an abscess in his ear so he stayed in bed and read and smoked and had a good time. He’d been reading Daniel Webster’s Private Correspondence. “—but no more of this,” he wrote,
“…somebody may be reading this letter 80 years hence. And so, my friend (you pitying snob, I mean, who are holding this yellow paper in your hand in 1960,) save yourself the trouble of looking further…”
He added that the little child spoken of “is old & blind, now, & once more toothless; & the rest of us are shadows, these many, many years. Yes, & your time cometh!” [MTLE 5: 150].
August 31 Tuesday – Mary Keily finished her July 30 letter to Sam [MTP].
August 31 and September 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote a seven page letter from Elmira to Edward House. He was working on the final chapters of P&P and figured another week’s work would finish it. He talked at length about the arrival of baby Jean and about Susy and Clara [MTLE 5: 151].
September – Sam wrote a parody of the poem by James Leigh Hunt, “About Ben Adhem”. See Sam’s parody “Abou Ben Butler” [MTNJ 2: 372-3]. Sam’s second of three McWilliams sketches, “Mrs. McWilliams and the Lightning” ran in the September issue of the Atlantic Monthly [Wells 23]. Sam copied in his notebook John Sheffield’s famous quatrain:
Read Homer once, & you can read no more;
For all books else appear so mean, so poor;
Verse will seem prose; but still persist to read,
And Homer will be all the books you need [MTNJ 2: 371].
September 1 Wednesday – Park & Tilford billed Sam for “1 doz Glen Whisky” total $14; Sam ordered nineteen badges from Tiffany & Co. These badges were made for the young women of the Saturday Morning Club, and receipted for on Sept. 17 [MTNJ 2: 371-2n49; MTP].
September 2–16 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Tiffany & Co. in New York, enclosing their Sept. 1 invoice and a draft for $418 for nineteen badges [MTLE 5: 152].
September 3 Friday – Sam wrote a postcard from Quarry Farm, Elmira to T.W.M. Boone of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, thanking him for an honorary membership in their “Young Folks’ Literary Guild” [MTLE 5: 153].
Howells was visiting the West Coast. Sam wrote to him about Frank Soulé, a former co-worker of Sam’s on the San Francisco Morning Call, who had written Sam seeking a publisher for his poetry. Sam liked Soulé, who he said had “that sort of face which is so rare—I mean a face that is always welcome, that makes you happy all through, just to see it.” Sam asked if Howells would request some work from the man and then recommend “Osgood or some publisher…” Sam likened Soulé’s conviction that he was a poet to “Emperor” Norton’s (Joshua A. Norton, ca.1819-1880) conviction that he was an emperor, descended from one of the “English Georges.” Sam saw pathos in both men. Sam also recalled the “degraded ‘Morning Call’ whose mission from hell & politics was to lick the boots of the Irish & throw bold brave mud at the Chinamen” [MTLE 5: 154-7].
September 8 Wednesday – Sam paid $6.60 to A.S. Fitch at 112 Baldwin Street, Elmira for German books [MTP].
September 11 Saturday – In Elmira, Sam sent a telegraph to George Griffin, his butler in Hartford. He directed the telegram to be exchanged with his attorney Charles Perkins for twenty dollars [MTLE 5: 157]. John J. Lawler, Hartford merchant, billed Sam $2.60 for glass pane and the labor to replace [MTP].
Christian Tauchnitz wrote to Sam, with the news that TA was selling so well he was sending an additional royalty of 400 Marks. He asked that Sam send a notice that Tauchnitz was the only authorized publisher of Mark Twain’s works in Europe [MTP].
September 13 Monday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to Harriet Whitmore (Mrs. Franklin Whitmore), responding to her letter about her husband’s recent illness. Frank was better and Sam offered that he would “hurry up Whitmore’s health in the billiard room” when both families returned to Hartford in the fall. He wrote for Livy, who still wasn’t up to writing. The Whitmores were staying in Branford, Conn. [MTLE 5: 158].
Frank Bliss back from a “short absence, wrote congratulations to Clemens. “Father pulls along pretty slowly. Is very much better than he was a month ago.” TA sales were slow. He gave a statement of the book sales to Perkins [MTP].
Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens advising that his last deposit was $60 and the account balance was $5,309.63 [MTP].
Edward H. House wrote from Parker House, Boston to Clemens. He’d be there a week or longer, “…rising from the dead into which Buffalo disappointment plunged me. I shall never go to that town again. It makes me creep to remember Mr David. If ever there was a dead man walking the earth—it is he.” He would give notice when he left Boston and would try to see Sam [MTP]. Note: David Gray had been ill.
September 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the editors of the New York Evening Post. It was a humorous letter about mining gold in water. The letter ran in the newspaper Sept. 16 [MTLE 5: 159]. Note: it was reprinted in the Sept. 20 Hartford Courant, page 1 as “Mark Twain on the Goldsprings.”
Sam finished The Prince and the Pauper. (See Sept. 15 entry.)
L. Conlen billed $63.85 for new driveway work which ran toward Chamberlain property; marked paid Oct., no day [MTP].
F.S. Ryman wrote from Ithaca, NY to Sam, enclosing an essay he wanted help to publish [MTP].
September 15 Wednesday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, who had sent him a copy of his book to read—already read by Sam (The Stillwater Tragedy, serialized in the Atlantic Monthly, Apr.-Sept.1880). He wrote about Livy and the baby Jean, and about finishing a story (Prince and the Pauper) the day before.
“I counted up & found it between sixty & eighty thousand words—about the size of your book. It is for boys & girls—been at work at it several years, off and on” [MTLE 5: 161; See Gribben 17].
Dear Sir: In answer: if I were a political speaker I should be glad enough to assist in this momentous struggle—but I have no strength in that direction.
About the middle of October I may want to make just one little bit of a 15-minute speech at some big gathering in New York, merely to tranquilize the audience & hold them down whilst the real speakers of the evening are getting ready. But it would have to be my only speech during the campaign, & it would not bear repetition—save in print”[MTP]
On or about this day Sam wrote to his attorney, Charles Perkins, trying to resolve a large credit in his bank account with Bissell & Co. .
September 16 Thursday – Sam’s letter to the New York Evening Post, dated Sept. 14, ran in the paper [MTLE 5: 159]. Camfield and Budd list this as “Millions In It” [bibliog.; “Collected” 1019].
September 17 Friday – Charles E. Perkins wrote to Clemens with the Bissell Bank balance and other financial information. Dan Slote had not answered requests for a statement [MTP].
David Gray wrote to Clemens inviting him to come up Tuesday next, as he’d return from a trip to Detroit Monday. Bring Livy and the P&P MS. and they could smoke “a few pipes over it” [MTP]. Note: quite a few folks knew of the P&P being worked.
Harriet Josephine Gerhardt’s bust by Karl Gerhardt was mentioned in an article appearing in the Hartford Evening Post of September 17, 1880. The newspaper noted the bust was on exhibition at Burke’s. See insert.
September 20 Monday – Sam packed a satchel and ordered a place in the sleeper car for by telephone, and prepared to leave the next morning for Buffalo and possibly Fredonia. He would visit family and the David Gray family. Six-year-old Clara came down with a very bad throat and the doctor was called. Sam canceled the trip [MTLE 5: 164].
Charles P. Clemes for The Gilsey House, NYC wrote to Clemens, having rec’d his of Sept 18. He confirmed Sam would have “2 double rooms adjoining with cots &c, &c.” [MTP].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Clemens. “Sue says I ought to write and tell you that every body here has the malaria—some shake, some shiver, some only look blue, but all have more or less fever” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “ours is a city whose health is not good, & grows worse”
September 20–24 Friday – In Elmira, Sam drafted a letter to the editor of the Hartford Courant that was probably not sent. Sam objected to the “bad sewerage & foul & stagnant water courses” in the city which led to a problem of malaria. He suggested the State House fly “a black flag with skull & cross-bones” to “sufficiently advertise this matter & yet be inexpensive” [MTLE 5: 163].
September 21 Tuesday – David Gray wrote to Sam expressing the “wretched disappointment” that Sam’s telegram brought of Sam’s canceled visit over Clara’s illness; and he hoped “nothing serious is referred to in it, & that you plan for coming will only be postponed a little…Come! Come !! Come !!!” [MTP].
September 23 Thursday – In Elmira, Sam wrote to David Gray, about his plans to visit Buffalo being dashed by Clara’s throat inflammation, about Livy’s health and his lumbago, about growing older, and about the wonders of the telephone and telegraph. He’d planned to take his P&P manuscript to discuss it with Gray, who now would have to visit him [MTLE 5: 165].
Sam also wrote to Charles Perkins. He found the items he’d forgot to transfer to his checkbook. (See Sept. 15 entry.) “We leave for New York [City] next Monday” [MTLE 5: 166].
September 24 Friday – Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam. “I really don’t think there is any danger in your coming now…” He felt the trouble with Sam’s petition to the Courant was it would be difficult to say anything (about the malaria) “without causing a row” [MTP]. File note: “SLC’s petition was probably letter to Editor, Courant, between 21 & 24 Sept 1880—about malaria—MTP has incomplete draft”
September 27 Monday – The Clemens family left Quarry Farm and Elmira and took the special “hotel car” for the ten hour ride to New York City, where they stayed three days at the Gilsey House. Invoiced by Arnold, Constable & Co., N.Y., blankets and a shawl, for $7.75 [MTP].
Sam wrote entries in his notebook: “Slote 10AM / St. Gaudens 11 to 12 /Tiffany 12? (telephone them.)” The Tiffany appointment was for the badges he’d ordered for the Hartford Saturday Morning Club. Another notebook entry shows Sam was still trying to find a repairman for the music box damaged in shipment from Geneva, Switzerland in 1878 [MTLE 5: 166; MTNJ 2: 370n48-50].
Henry Wheeler Shaw (Josh Billings) wrote from NYC.
“Beloved Mark. = Please insert the enclosed postal card into the hands of some retinary lecture organisation in your city, and secure for yourself a life policy in the affection of your warm friend / Josh Billings” [MTP]. Note: two cards are in the file, a post card printed with “The Probabilities of Life” & synopsis of the lecture, and a smaller card with a comic illustration and announcement that “Josh lectures in this city to night.” On the back side: “The best medicine I kno of for the rumatism, iz to thank the Lord—that it ain’t the gout. – J.B.” and “Try it.” Inside a semicircle at one corner.
September 28 Tuesday – Elisha Bliss died [MTNJ 2: 353]. Twichell would speak at his funeral; Twichell’s message would be printed in 1882 [MTP].
T.A. Wales, M.D., Elmira billed the Clemens family for 39 visits from July 5 to Sept. 27; bill marked paid [MTP].
Frank Bliss wrote: “I have the sad task of writing you that my Father died this morning after intense suffering of fourteen hours…The funeral is to be Friday at 11 a.m.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Death of my publisher / E. Bliss, Jr.”
September 29 Wednesday – Sam was invoiced by the Gilsey House, New York for $171.80, including rooms, baggage costs, meals, wine & bar, carriages, messages and $25 cash [MTP]. This would suggest the Clemens family left New York for Hartford, but it may have been the day after. Also purchased was a $14 cloak from Arnold, Constable & Co., N.Y., paid Oct. 7 [MTP]. Note: Hotels did not always bill Sam on the day he left, and most often did not specify what dates he stayed, but there are exceptions. He was well known enough to draw cash and to gain credit. Thus, paid dates often reflect when the hotels received payment, not the day Sam left the hotel or sent payment.
September 30 Thursday – The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
Joseph N. Verey wrote from Liverpool that he was “well and prospering” as a guide. He praised Madam Parker and friends, “having traveled …during four months on the Continent” with them. He sent a little souvenir (not in file) for the Clemens children and asked if Sam would be coming over again [MTP].
October – Catherine (Katy) Leary (1856?-1934) was hired as Livy’s personal maid. She stayed with the family until 1910 [MTNJ 2: 396n136].
October 1 Friday – Howells wrote from Boston to Sam.
I was immensely glad to see your hand again, and to get the piece you sent for the [Contributor’s] Club [A paragraph on Tauchnitz paying authors though not required to do so]….I am sorry you could not have come to Ashfield in August, upon Norton’s invitation. We had a good time, and much talk about you. Curtis was there, and we also talked politics….What a great speech that was of Grant’s at Warren [MTHL 1: 328]. Note: Ulysses S. Grant had stressed denial of free speech to Republicans in the fourteen Southern states, etc.
Park & Tilford of New York receipted Sam $5 for tea ordered [MTP]. Note: this is the same company where Sam often bought Glen Whisky. Schwartz Bros. “Toys, games and novelties” $6.43 Sept. 29 1 head [doll], Sept. 30 “1 fishpond game, checkerbd, game authors, birds, scrap pictures.” Schwartz Bros. became F.A.O. Schwartz within a year.
Bills/receipts/invoices from Hartford merchants:
Fox & Co. “fine groceries, teas, wines & segars,” $73.12 “amt. to date pass book”; paid Oct. 2; Samuel Spaulding $50 for “sprinkling Farmington Ave. in front of premesis”; Wm. Roberts, harness, saddles, etc., $3.60 for purchases July 15, Aug. 20, Sept. 11, paid Oct. 8; West Hartford Ice & Pressed Brick Co. $71.02 for Apr.–Sept. ice deliveries totaling 12,285 lbs @ .0057c, paid Oct. 22; Smith, Northam & Robinson, feed store $21.17 for purchases July 10, Aug. 11, Sept. 21, paid Oct. 7; J.G. Rathbun & Co., druggists & chemists $25.60: July 8, 16 160 cigars $4.75; Coppers; 200 cigars $9.50; Aug. 24 200 cigars, Sept. 17—all paid Oct. 6; Fred. B. Edwards, “drugs, medicines, fancy goods” 85c for sponges; William H. Bulkeley, dry goods $10.49 for July 7, 12 ribbons, etc. [all MTP, 1880 financial file].
October 1? Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells. The letter and poem, “Love Song” were possibly not sent, and included an undated note to Susan Crane. “The good gifts of the Giver, / I sum all these in asking thee, / ‘O sweetheart, how’s your liver?” [MTLE 5: 167].
October 2 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller in New York City. Sam recommended Fanny Hesse to Frank’s friends, mentioned the new baby, and thanked him for an invitation but he’d received it just as they were just starting for Hartford [MTLE 5: 169].
Arnold, Constable & Co., New York, invoiced Sam for $371.44, a long list of goods from this importer of silks, linens, shawls, etc. Was Livy in New York shopping? Bill paid Oct. 7 [MTP].
October 4 Monday – Sam paid for the Daily Courant, period Apr. 1, 1880 to Oct. 1, 1880 [Gribben 299].
October 5 Tuesday – Billed from C.G. Gunther’s Sons, New York, for seal and beaver coat and muff, $420.00; paid on Oct. 8 [MTP].
October 6 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. Evidently House had written suggesting he wanted to visit but didn’t have an exact day. Sam told him, “you come when your affairs permit; just choose the time which suits you best,—we are wholly unhampered.” Sam mentioned “those lovely young girls of Perkins’s” and “a crying baby which keeps Mrs. Clemens awake & busy four-fifths of the night” [MTLE 5: 170].
Sam purchased a copy of Bricks Without Straw (1880) by Winegar Albion Tourgée (1838-1904) [Gribben 707].
The Lotos Club in New York receipted Sam for dues, $6.25 [MTP]. Note: a receipt for the same amount on July 6 suggests dues were paid quarterly, or $25 per year. Other receipts were not found at MTP.
October 7 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Christian Bernard Tauchnitz. Sam acknowledged receipt of royalties from Tauchnitz and wrote he wished to “express an author’s distinguished appreciation of a publisher who puts moral rights above legal ones, to his own disadvantage” [MTLE 5: 171].
Purchased from Mme. L. Thurn, New York dealer in children’s furnishings, a blue cashmere dress, $25 [MTP].
October 8 Friday – The Conways were traveling to America from England. Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway. Sam had received a reply to his last letter, but announced:
“Here we are at home, with beds & plates all fixed & ready for Mr. & Mrs. Conway & son; & ourselves anxious to hear that they shall soon be required. Say we may expect you presently—Come, we offer an added inducement: a sight of the new baby” [MTLE 5: 172].
Invoiced from the National Wire Mattress Co., New York $84.55 for bedstand, hair mattress, packing case; bill paid Oct. 12 [MTP].
October 9 Saturday – Sam purchased “1 Eng[lish] Suiting (silk lined)” from Frank M. Wilson & Co., Bridgeport, Conn. tailors and Gents Furnishers $50.00 [MTP].
The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
October 11 Monday – Sam purchased one copy of Samuel Orchart Beeton’s Beeton’s Complete Letter-Writer for Ladies and Gentlemen (1873) [Gribben 57]. He also bought “1 City Directory” from Brown & Gross of Hartford .
Frank Soulé (enclosed in Howells’ Oct. 31) wrote to Clemens that “perhaps now I had better give up my ambition to publish, and consign my poems to the flames as I have sometimes almost sworn to do” [MTP].
Mrs. R.A. Candy wrote from St. Louis, Mich. to ask Clemens the same old questions about his birth and his nom de plume for her society paper [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Wants biographical data for paper – 1880”
October 12 Tuesday – Ordered from Arnold, Constable & Co., New York, gloves and a cap, $8. Bill paid Oct. 15 [MTP]. The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
Moncure Conway wrote from East St. Louis, advising Sam’s letter “overtook us here.” They had been “festivising” in many cities, and had more traveling to do, expecting to be in NY in Nov. “It will be a very great pleasure if we can pass a day, or maybe two, with the new baby—of course I don’t mean to despise his parents, company too. They are worthy people, in their way” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Conway, Care Harper”
October 13 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells about coming to discuss the Grant reception in Hartford on Oct. 16. Sam wanted to see Howells and Edward House [MTLE 5: 173].
The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
October 14 Thursday – Sam took a train to Boston and got a room at the Brunswick Hotel [MTLE 5: 173].
He telegraphed Joe Twichell: “I want you to dine with us saturday half past 5 and meet Col Fred Grant no ceremonies Wear the same shirt you always wear / S.L. Clemens” . Note: See Oct. 16 entry; Telegram in Twichell’s journal.
October 15 Friday – Sam telegraphed at 10 AM from Boston to Howells in Belmont, Mass.:
“I will bet you thirty (30) dollars to ten (10) cents that you wont get this telegram before supper which comes of living out in the woods and the money is up in House’s hands but we start at eleven fifteen 11.15 any way—” [MTLE 5: 175].
Sam and Edward House escorted General Ulysses S. Grant from Boston to Hartford.
October 16 Saturday – Sam gave a speech welcoming General Grant at Hartford’s Bushnell Park. Fatout in Mark Twain Speaking :
To give impetus to a Hartford Republican rally, ex-President Grant appeared in person. Mark Twain was one of a committee on arrangements that met the general in Boston, then escorted him to Hartford. After a great parade of five thousand marchers-bands, military companies, and dignitaries—a luncheon followed and a formal reception, at which Mark Twain delivered a speech of welcome.
The Hartford Welcome to General Grant speech may be found in: [136-8]. From Twichell’s journal:
“In the evening I dined at M. T.’s with Col. Fredk Grant, son of our illustrious guest. My invitation to this dinner came by telegraph and is herewith preserved” [shows telegram] [Yale, copy at MTP].
The N.Y. Tribune ran a front-page article on Oct.17:
GEN. GRANT IN HARTFORD
AN ENTHUSIASTIC WELCOME
SPEECHES BY GENERAL GRANT, GENERAL HAWLEY, “MARK TWAIN,” AND JAMES G. BATTERSON—A PARADE, RECEPTION AND TORCHLIGHT PROCESSION.
General Grant arrived in Hartford from Boston at noon yesterday, and was warmly welcomed in the afternoon at a public meeting, where speeches were made…General Hawley’s few remarks were happily conceived, and Mr. Clemens spoke in a characteristic vein, reminding General Grant that he was in a town the most of which was built of the “revered charter oak.” In the evening there was a grand torchlight procession. General Grant left Hartford for New York at 10:25 last evening. [It’s not known if Sam took part in the procession]
Fox, Brusselars & Co., of Hartford billed Sam $50 “decorating residence as per agreement with JG Rathbun” [MTP]. The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
Edward House telegraphed from Boston to Sam: “With Genl Grants Party / You know one single phrase may start and spread a splendid movement / EH House” [MTP].
October 17 Sunday – Wm. P. Woolley, Hartford livery, billed $9.75 for: May 20 hack to circus; June 10 2 ¼ hrs; June 11 1& ½ hrs; Sept. 30 from cars, express from cars; Oct. 9 use of hack [MTP].
October 18 Monday – Howells wrote from Belmont to Sam about George Gebbie’s attempt at a “Library of Humor,” about seeing Edward House at the Houghton lunch that day, and praised Sam for his speech introducing Grant in Hartford on Oct. 16 [MTHL 1: 330-1].
Sam paid an undated bill from James Ahern, Hartford plumber, for work done July 9 & 16, plus pipes, elbows, etc. $2.50; This bill is filed with others written in late July, early August [MTP]. E.W. Clark & Son, “theoretical and practical roofers” billed $36.62 for roofing done Sept. 13, Oct. 5 through Oct. 8, labor & materials [MTP]. Note: One wonders what a “theoretical” roof is…
October 19 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, enclosing an article quoting Sam’s speech for General Grant. Evidently, Howells was unable to attend [MTLE 5: 176].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, who was visiting Hartford. Sam wrote that Livy and he required Osgood to “bide in this shanty while in Hartford” [MTLE 5: 179]. The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
Thomas Hughes (1822-1896) wrote from Boston to Sam. “Yes—A great deal of our land lies in Fentress County—at present we are only equitable owners of that part of our land however the legal title not having been as yet cleared by the vendors—thanks for your good wishes” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Author of ‘Tom Brown at Rugby.’ Thomas Hughes”; Gribben shows that Twain “conflated the titles of his novels,” by this designation, and that the real title was Tom Brown’s School Days (1857) .
October 20 Wednesday – A bill from Woolley’s Livery Stable for use of a hack on Oct. 19 and 20“from Opera [House]” suggests the Clemenses were still in Hartford late this day [MTP].
October 21 Thursday – Sam and Livy made a quick shopping trip to New York, probably spending one night there and leaving Oct.22.
October 22 Friday – A receipt with this date shows Livy purchased five hats and a pair of stockings from Annie Bailey on W. 12th street in New York City [MTNJ 2: 358n6]. Note: It’s doubtful she would have gone to the city alone, so Sam and Livy probably made a quick trip there between Oct. 19 and this day, since Sam was home on Oct. 23 to receive Sylvester Baxter (see Oct. 23 entry).
October 23 Saturday – Sylvester Baxter came to visit Sam [MTLE 5: 183], who then wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss, introducing Baxter, the young reporter from the Boston Herald; Baxter had interviewed him recently. Baxter wanted to know “all about the subscription book business” and Sam vowed that Bliss could “speak freely to him, for he will not print anything you do not want exposed” .
The Hartford Courant ran Sam’s plug for the upcoming “Grand Republican Rally” to be held on Oct. 26 [Courant.com].
Arnold, Constable & Co. of New York invoiced Sam for $5.50, the article illegible on the bill, paid Oct. 28. It’s possible that this was purchased before Sam and Livy left the city for home, or was invoiced the following day [MTP].
George Gebbie wrote from Phila. to Sam, heading it “accompany proof of 3 portraits.” “Dear Sir, We are at cross purposes and ‘tis my fault.” He then discussed plates purchased in Glasgow, followed by other plans. He closed with “No! in your Encyclopedia you will readily understand that we could not afford three humorists to a steel” [MTP]. Note: evidently, Sam had suggested a portrait of three humorists already made.
October 24 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, enclosing $25. Sam wrote simply: “Bliss is dead. The aspect of the balance-sheet is enlightening.” He concluded that “Out of the suspicions” Orion had “bred…years ago” he profited an extra $20,000 on Tramp by making better deals. So, out of gratitude he increased Orion’s monthly stipend to $75, the amount he’d get in interest from the sum he’d saved. Sam added that the baby Jean was “very fat & happy” with “three chins.” Sam suffered from another bad head cold [MTLE 5: 182]. Note: this was vindication of a sort for Orion, who had openly accused Elisha Bliss of cooking the books to Sam’s detriment. Some sources claim Elisha kept two sets of books.
Sam also wrote to Howells, enclosing a letter he’d sent to Howells in San Francisco that was returned. The letter was about Frank Soulé’s poetry (see Sept. 3 entry.) Sam added plans for the Humor anthology and his strategy for making a contract with the publisher, “that Encyclopediacal Scotchman” [MTLE 5: 183].
October 25 Monday – Sam wrote instructions from Hartford to Charles Perkins. Orion was now to receive $75 a month, beginning with Nov. [MTLE 5: 184].
Paid to Madame Fogarty, New York $495 for various “costumes.” E.L. Bullock billed $11.50 for work on house [MTP]. Note: Bullock later cleaned chimney.
October 26 Tuesday – Sam gave a political speech at a Republican Rally for James A. Garfield at the Hartford Opera House. The speech and exposition is in Fatout’s Mark Twain Speaking [138-144]. Sam used hieroglyphic notes, which he sent to Howells in a letter of Oct. 28.
Fatout: The Courant of October 27 reported an overflow crowd of fervent Garfield supporters, among whom were a number of Democrats. “It is to be hoped,” the paper observed, that they “reaped some benefit from the political truths they heard.” On the stage were solid citizens and veterans of the Hartford Wide Awake Club of 1860, displaying the transparency they had carried in torchlight processions twenty years before. The Second Ward Garfield Legion glee club entertained the gathering by singing “Garfield and Arthur, the People’s Choice,” “Same Old Crew,” and other numbers. Warner made a speech, the honorable Henry C. Robinson, and Mark Twain, who talked at greater length than usual. The Courant remarked that the audience was “held unbroken to the very close, at 10 o’clock.”
Friends say to me, “What do you mean by this?—you swore off from lecturing, years ago.” Well, that is true; I did reform; and I reformed permanently, too. But this aint a lecture; it is only a speech—nothing but a mere old cut-and-dried impromptu speech—and there’s a great moral difference between a lecture and a speech, I can tell you. For when you deliver a lecture you get good pay, but when you make a speech you don’t get a cent [MT Speaking 138-9].
Woolley’s Livery bill, Jan. 1, 1881 shows use of a hack from opera house this day.
William A. Wood, atty. wrote from Kingston, Mo. to complain it had been some time since Sam promised to send a copy of IA and he wished he would [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Fool”; evidently Sam felt no promise had been made; Wood wrote several times on the issue; finally Clemens stopped opening them.
October 27 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Clara M. Wilson, a girl who had written asking for an autograph with sentiment. “Most of these swell proverbs which we have fed on, morally, all our lives, are brim full of humor…” Sam gave an example: “A lie carries with it its own antidote.”
“There—I don’t know who is the author of it, but it is the most gravely humorous maxim that exists. The humor of it, is, that it is a palpable & impudent lie itself, yet carries no antidote with it, for every goose in Christendom believes it” [MTLE 5: 185].
Sam also wrote to George Gibbie, letter not extant but referred to in Gebbie’s of Oct. 29 which thanked for a portrait sent.
Sam also wrote to C.F. Cobb, letter not extant but referred to in Cobb’s of Oct. 29.
W.H. Daggett, “awning stripes & furniture” billed Sam $2 for “taking down awnings” [MTP].
October 28 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, sending him the hieroglyphic notes of his Oct. 26 political speech. It was his plan to “get the advantage of a bad memory.” Though Sam kept the notes in his pocket, he claimed he didn’t have to refer to them [MTLE 5: 186].
This was probably the evening Sam gave another political speech to the German Republican Meeting, Second ward, Hawley Club room, Hartford. The Courant’s account of the meeting ran the next day, but did not provide the day of the meeting.
Mary Thacher Higginson wrote a small card from West Newton, Mass. asking for his autograph for a Boston fair for the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Children [MTP].
October 29 Friday – The Hartford Courant, in a page two article titled “German Republican Meeting,” reported that President Edmund Maerklein presided at the meeting. Judge Sherman Adams spoke in German; Mr. George H. Woods spoke in English; and “the principal speaker of the evening was Mark Twain, who made a capital speech in German, interspersed with American, which was received with great favor, eliciting frequent demonstrations of approva1.” Sam gave a similar talk at the Anglo-American Club of Students, Heidelberg on July 4, 1878 (See entry).
The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
George Gebbie wrote from Phila. to Clemens having rec’d his of the 27th (not extant). He thanked Sam for his portrait and the “kindly reference to my pet ‘Encyclopedia” of Humor…As regards to the grouping, as I have gone into the trinity business (3 on a plate) I cannot well alter it in the present case but would the genial…Oliver Wendell Holmes suit instead of the ‘disagreable party’?” (unspecified) [MTP].
C.F. Cobb (“Squid”) wrote from Wash. D.C. to thank Clemens for his “note of the 27th” and explaining about several sketches sent. His son died a few months back and one sketch was written that day [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From one whose nom e plume is ‘Squid’ ”.
October 30 Saturday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Frank Fuller in New York City, answering an invitation to speak at another political meeting, this one on Sunday.
“I have no superstitions about sunday myself but I would not preside at a political meeting on sunday for it would be certain to injure the cause you must get a man whose religious reputation is better than mine” [MTLE 5: 188].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Howells about the proposed treaty, which might answer for international copyright protection. Sam was against it because he felt it would only benefit a “dozen American authors a few dollars a year” and that all the “real advantages all go to English authors & Ameican publishers” [MTLE 5: 189].
Board of Water Commissioners, Hartford, billed $34, “from May 1, 1880 to November 1, 1880 @ 48 per annum” [MTP]. The Oct. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Oct. 31 entry).
October 31 Sunday – Howells wrote from Boston to Sam.
I have read your Hartford speech twice; and your memoranda, even, can’t put it out of my mind….I await with curiosity your result with the Scotchman [George Gebbie]. If he does not behave honorably, the question for us to consider will be how we can honorably steal his idea. But if we try to be good, we shall be helped [MTHL 1: 337].
The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., “general printers” Hartford, billed Sam $1.75 for “18 copies biographical sketch” [MTP].
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed for October telegrams: Sept. 30, Oct. 12, 16, 19 to Elmira; Oct. 9, 13, 29, 30 to New York; paid Nov. 6 [MTP].
November – An envelope without contents survives that Sam addressed from Hartford to Cornelia Ward Smith (1831-1897), care of the U.S. consul, Mannheim, Germany. Cornelia was the wife of Edward Meigs Smith (1827-1884), U.S. consul, appointed by President Grant in 1876. Edward was also mayor of Rochester, New York in 1869, and Sam lectured there that year and may have met Edward then, but it’s more likely The Clemenses met the Smiths while in Mannheim [MTLE 5: 191].
Sam’s unsigned “Contributors’ Club” entry in the Atlantic Monthly was on “Obituary Eloquence” [Camfield, bibliog.].
Lieutenant C.L. With wrote to Sam, noting that Mr. Robert Watt was no longer translating. He asked permission to translate [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Translation into Danish”. Letter dated November 1880 but postmarked Apr. 1, 1881.
November 1 Monday – Park & Tilford billed Sam for “2 doz Glen Whisky” total $28. Note: this made 5 dozen year to date. J.P. Newton, Hartford “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed $9.16 for Oct. 5, 6, 8, 15, 16, 20, 22, 27, 29, 30: lobster, salmon, halibut, misc., paid Nov. 6; Fox & Co. $72.92 bill for pass book billed to date (monthly), paid Nov. 6 [MTP].
Thomas K. Beecher wrote to Sam. “Yours as to cruise [?] May—& the Gard. Of Eden [illegible word] Buffalo rec’d / Bucher in Congress is a broader joke than Adam…. With love to Livy & the girls—at least the two that know me. I am yours in peril” [MTP].
November 2 Tuesday – Sam gave a speech for Hartford Republicans at the Hartford Opera House. It was a celebration of the victory of James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur (1839-1886) in the 1880 presidential election. Sam’s speech was title “Funeral Oration Over the Grave of the Democratic Party.” Some in attendance were taken back by Sam’s doleful presentation [Fatout, MT Speaking 146-7].
Woolley’s Livery Stable bill of Jan. 2? Shows use of a hack this day. A short ride, only 25 cents [MTP].
The November bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Boston, and one delivered from San Francisco (parties unknown; see Nov. 30 entry for others). The Dec. 1 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. also shows a telegrams sent to Boston, and San Francisco (parties unknown; see Dec. 1 entry for others).
Cornelia Ward Smith (Mrs. Edward Meigs Smith) wrote from Heidelberg to Sam and family to thank them for the picture of baby Jean and of following Sam’s career [MTP].
November 3 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Herbert E. Hill (1845-1895) of the Middlesex Club in Boston. Sam told of the Hartford celebration of the night before at the “Opera House till midnight” and his “Funeral oration over the deceased Democratic Party.” Hill had sent an invitation to Sam to speak at the club. Sam declined but then wrote he would “think the matter over” [MTLE 5: 193].
The November bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira, recipient unspecified (see Nov. 30 entry).
November 4 Thursday – The text of Sam’s Nov. 2 speech in Hartford was published in the Chicago Tribune [MTNJ 2: 377n63].
Orion Clemens wrote to his brother.
I received your newspaper extract, and your bitter comment on the margin. They will make a good chapter in the autobiography. That great work will be complete about the first of June.
I deeply regret that I did not send you a deed for all the Tennessee land when you had a chance to trade with Mr. Langdon. But I feared you would unconsciously cheat your prospective father-in-law. It seems now that he would have got back all that he paid [MTP].
MacKinnon Pen Co., NYC wrote to Clemens, enclosing a Iridium pointed pen for his use, trusting “that you will find it to give far greater satisfaction than the Stylo”[MTP].
November 5 Friday – The November bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Boston (party unknown, see Dec. 1 entry for others).
Joseph R. Hawley wrote to Sam introducing “Mr. S. Kitson of Rome, a young English artist and sculptor” [MTP]. Note: Samuel James Kitson (1848–1906) was an English born sculptor active in the United States from about 1876 to 1906. His brother, H.H. Kitson was also a sculptor. Samuel became a naturalized US citizen in 1893.
November 6 Saturday – Wm. Wander, pianos in Hartford, billed $200.00 for “Fischer piano style e” paid. Note in MTP 1880 financial file: “Schoolroom piano Christmas present to children.”
The November bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent by Sam to Boston, probably to Howells before leaving Hartford (see Nov. entry).
Sam went to Boston and gave another political speech at the Middlesex Club. He stayed overnight at the Howellses [MTLE 5: 194]. The Hartford Courant of Nov. 9 ran an article about the meeting on page two under “Political Notes.”
At the Middlesex club meeting in Boston, Saturday, Mark Twain brought down the house when he said: “What was the biggest triumph, we elected seven sheriffs out of eight, and that is as it should be, because the criminals and officers ought to be of opposite parties.”
The Hartford Courant of Nov. 13 ran a piece on page one titled “Boston Correspondence”:
Governor Jewell and Mark Twain were here from Hartford, and dined with the Middlesex club. Governor Jewell was cordially received, and his speech was naturally made in the best of spirits. Mark Twain was in a good mood for the most part, though I am inclined to think that on calm reflection he is himself convinced that it would have been as well for him to let Abou Ben Adhem alone. (See Sept. 1880 entry)
November 7 Sunday – Sam spent the day visiting with William Dean Howells and family [MTLE 5: 194].
November 9 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, who had confided what General Grant had thought about some matter. Sam was gratified that he was not offended and didn’t care “sixpence for other people’s opinions.” House accompanied Grant and Sam from Boston to Hartford on Oct. 16 for a Republican rally. Sam wrote that he was expecting a visit from the Houses [MTLE 5: 194].
The November bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to New York (Conway?, see Dec. 1 entry for others).
Sam also wrote to Henry Clay Lukens (Erratic Enrique) (1838-1900), associate editor of the New York Daily News and a member of the New York Press Club, declining an invitation for a reception given to Thurlow Weed (1797-1882) a New York political boss and sometimes editor .
J.B. Thorn wrote from McGraw, Pa. a fan letter to beg a copy of TA with his inscription [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No, Sir.”
November 10 Wednesday – Woolleys’ Livery Stable bill of Jan. 2? Shows use of a hack this day for one hour and $1.50; E.L. Bullock billed $2.50 for “cleaning chimney” [MTP].
November 11 Thursday – J.J. & T. Goodwin, Hartford, billed $28.87 for 2,300 lbs of hay & weighing; paid Mar. 10, 1881 [MTP].
November 12 Friday – Theodore L. Pilger, Hartford merchant for Burlington letter files, billed Sam for ten letter files @ .50 = $5 [MTNJ 2: 377; MTP 1880 financials].
November 13 Saturday – Sam purchased Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery (1880) from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers [Gribben 695]. See Jan. 17, 1881.
The November bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Elmira (party unknown, see Dec. 1 entry for others).
November 14 Sunday – Annie E. Lucas wrote a fan letter from Queensland, Australia to ask Clemens for his autograph (Leod to George Oct. 25 enclosed) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From an Australian girl.”
Archibald Forbes (1838-1900), British war correspondent, wrote from Pembroke, Ontario, recalling their “voyage together from Ostend to Dover behind that great potentate the Shah of Persia.” He was on a lecture tour and wanted to see Sam again and gave his agent’s NY address [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the famous African War Correspondent. Archibald Forbes.” After his retirement Forbes published several books.
Martha G. Gray (Mrs. David Gray) wrote to ask Clemens if he would “look among” his papers and “find some short sketch which we can use in our journal,” one to be sold at their benefit for the Homeopathic Hospital. She related an enjoyable visit from Edward House and Koto [MTP].
November 14? Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister, Pamela Moffett.
I have two stories, & by the verbal agreement they are both going into the same book; but Livy says they’re not, & by George she ought to know. She says they’re going into separate books, & that one of them is going to be elegantly gotten up, even if the elegance of it eats up the publisher’s profits, & mine too. I anticipate that publisher’s melancholy surprise when he calls here Tuesday [MTLE 5: 196].
Of the two stories, one was finished, the other half. The Prince and the Pauper was the finished tale; and of course Huck Finn was the other [MTB 696]. Although he was years away from completing his masterpiece, Sam wrote that there was “two or three months’ work on it yet.” The publisher who visited was James R. Osgood, the man who had helped Charles Dickens with his American tour of 1867 and briefly joined with Oscar Houghton to publish Howells’ The Lady of Aroostook. The two split, with Houghton forming Houghton, Mifflin & Co., while Osgood and his brother Edward Osgood established a new James R. Osgood & Co. [Powers, MT A Life 446].
Sam’s arrangement with Osgood was an unusual one between writer and publisher—Sam would pay costs of producing the book and receive all the profits less seven and one-half percent for Osgood. What’s more, Sam would retain copyright, something Bliss had never agreed to. Powers lists Sam’s 1881 expenses as including $10,000 for The Prince and the Pauper. Livy had some influence in making the final product “elegant” [MT A Life 448-9].
November 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Darwin R. Barker, thanking him for an honorary life membership in the Fredonia Library Association [MTLE 5: 197].
The November bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Philadelphia (party unknown, see Dec. 1 entry for others).
Chatto & Windus wrote to Sam with a royalty check of £1245.07.6 and news of the success of TA. [MTP].
November 16 Tuesday – Clara Spaulding signed Livy’s visitor book [MTP]. Note: the book was not used again until June 7, 1885, when Livy changed it to her diary. She then used it through Nov. 27, 1885 and again neglected it until the stay at Florence, Italy in 1892-3. There are some late entries from Riverdale, New York in 1902 as well.
November 17 Wednesday – Sam responded to a request from the wife of David Gray, Martha “Mattie” G. Gray, sending a sketch for the Buffalo Bazaar Bulletin. Sam wrote that if she would “desert David & come & see us, since he won’t come with you” he would read “The Little Prince & the Little Pauper” (please don’t mention the title—I may publish it in a magazine without any signature appended).” Sam added “The children are well, & Jean is as fat & gross as a goose that is getting ready to be paté de fois gras’d”. The sketch enclosed, “For Struggling Young Poets” ran in the Dec. 10 issue of the Bazaar Bulletin [MTLE 5: 198-200].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood telling him to look in a big library or find a bookseller for copies of his books. Sam had agreed to publish with Osgood, but wanted to keep the information a secret from the American Publishing Co. as long as possible, so as to have access to the books. Osgood may have suggested that Sam have Frank Bliss send him certain books, but Sam felt it might give him away [MTLE 5: 201].
Paid to Mrs. A. Fletcher, New York, $4.84 for “ladies hygienic undergarments” [MTP].
James Noonan, Hartford painter? (listed in 1875 City Directory as blacksmith) $18.11 for work on house, Nov. 9, 10, 13, 15, 16 [MTP].
Mary Mapes Dodge for St. Nicholas wrote to Sam, that although they had a full slate to publish for 1881 and even part of 1882, she’d be happy to see the opening chapters of P&P and go from there [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Mary Mapes Dodge concerning ‘The Prince & the Pauper’ ”; this suggests Clemens inquired of Dodge for the publishing of P&P, perhaps serially. See Nov. 19 entry to Dodge.
November 18 Thursday – Sam was receipted for $3 subscription to the New York Evening Post. The subscription was for the period Nov.16, 1880 to Nov. 16, 1881. It would be one of Sam’s favorite newspapers [Gribben 503].
Sam purchased a copy of Thomas Malory’s (15th Century) The Boy’s King Arthur from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers .
The Hartford Evening Post (semi-weekly) receipted Sam $3 for Nov. 16, 1880 to Nov. 16, 1881 [MTP].
November 19 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905), editor of the children’s St. Nicholas Magazine, explaining that publishing Prince and the Pauper in her magazine would lose “30 or 40,000” sales. Sam added:
“…for Mrs. Clemens & Mrs. Warner have decided that this particular Tale comes under the sort which St. Nicholas ‘must have’—a verdict which makes up for all the dispraise which they have lavished upon some of my other ‘works’ ” [MTP]. Note: Dodge is best known for her novel, Hans Brinker, or, The Silver Skates (1865).
Waldstein Optician of New York invoiced 1 pair eyeglasses to Sam for $15.75. These were likely for Livy [MTP]. Note: Since Clara Spaulding signed Livy’s visitor’s book on Nov. 16, and Sam was in Hartford during this period, it’s possible that Livy and Clara visited New York for a few days. This would also explain the Nov. 17 invoice for ladies’ undergarments.
The November bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified, but this may be from Sam to Livy/Clara (see Nov. 30 entry).
November 20 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam sent an autographed note to an unidentified person: “None genuine without this label on the bottle” [MTLE 5: 203].
Robert Rutledge receipted Sam $80 for lessons from Nov. 6 through Nov. 20; included with the Clemens girls were Julia and Susie Twichell [MTP]. Note: may have been violin and/or music lessons.
A.B. Pitkin wrote a short note from Hartford to Clemens about an investment [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Subscription of $10,000 to H. Engineering Co acknowledged”; Sam subscribed to $14,500 in the Company, which had invented a new type of steam-powered pulleys. See AMT 2: 490 for more.
November 21 Sunday – Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy. Arguments over family spoons with Kate Lampton open the letter, then “No loving parents could have done more kindly or generously than you have done,” helping them financially, then more family nits. She enclosed a clipping poem from Walt Whitman for Livy, “My Picture Gallery” from The American:
In a little house keep
I pictures suspended, it is not a fix’d house,
It is round, it is only a few inches from one side to the other;
Yet behold, it has room for all the shows of the world, all memories!
Here the tableaus of life, and here the groupings of death;
Here, do you know this? this is cicerone himself,
With finger rais’d he points to the prodigal pictures. [MTP].
Martha G. Gray (Mrs. David Gray) wrote to express her thanks for a story Clemens sent, which she felt was “capital—worth its weight in gold!” [MTP]. Note: story unspecified.
November 22 Monday – Sam purchased a copy of Charles Carleton Coffin’s Old Times in the Colonies from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers. Sam paid $2.40 [Gribben 150].
Empire Dyeing and Cleaning Co. of N.Y. charged $1.90 to clean a shawl [MTP]. Note: This may have been left on Livy & Clara’s visit.
N. Robinson of Chic, NYC (a humorous Weekly out Wednesdays) wrote to ask for a contribution from Mark Twain’s pen [MTP].
November 23 Tuesday – Sam drafted a humorous letter to the editor of the New York Evening Post. The letter, if sent, was not published. He wrote of his experience with obtaining a start from Shakespeare’s mulberry tree while in Stratford, England and planting it in Hartford. Sam had read of plans to plant mulberry “slips” (starts) in New York’s Central Park [MTLE 5: 204-6].
Woolley’s Livery Stable bill of Jan. 2? Shows use of a hack this day for one hour and $.50 [MTP].
November 24 Wednesday – Sam purchased a copy of Isa Craig Knox’s (1831-1903) The Little Folks’ History of England from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers. Saloman & DeLeeuw, Hartford dealers in tobacco, billed Sam $2.33 for “2 & 5/12 doz corn cob pipes & 1&1/2 Biker. Durham tob[acco]”; paid [MTP].
The November bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Nov. 30 entry).
November 26 Friday – Sam and Livy had heard from Martha Gray, who had promised to visit Dec. 9 or 10, with or without husband David Gray. Sam and Livy wrote from Hartford to Martha, delighted to anticipate a visit. Sam asked if they were “coming per Erie road, & I’ll go down to Jersey City & meet you” [MTLE 5: 207].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, enclosing a draft letter to President Garfield soliciting an appointment for William Dean Howells as U.S. consul to the Netherlands. Sam wanted the letter revised with additional names, “Longfellow & all the rest to sign” without letting Howells know [MTLE 5: 208].
Dan Slote and a “young German” (identified as “Sneider” in Dec. 16 letter to Slote, was Charles Sneider) who’d been working on a brass engraving process came to visit Sam. They brought “six specimens of moulded brass stamps” and Sam:
“…contracted to pay him $5,000 when he is able to put his patents into my hands & assign me a one-third ownership in them for America & Europe…” [MTLE 5: 209].
November 27 Saturday – Livy’s 35th birthday.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. He confided that he’d made a contract for the “Little Prince” but wanted to keep it mum. Sam also told of his investment in a new process for cutting patterns on brass. He’d hired a “young German” (Charles Sneider) and “had him under wages for 3 months, now, night & day, & at last he has worked the miracle.” It was rough, and subject to improvement, but Sam told his brother about the promise of it [MTLE 5: 209].
Woolley’s Livery Stable bill of Jan. 2? Shows use of a hack this day for one hour and $1.50 [MTP].
Sam also wrote a note in German to Franklin Whitmore about a check for $1,695 [MTLE 5: 211].
November 28 Sunday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Hartford to Fields, Osgood & Co., asking for “Uncle Remus’s Songs & Sayings” [MTLE 5: 212].
November 29 Monday – George Stronach, Hartford, billed Sam $15.42 for windows, sash, keys, drawer casters, misc. work in house. Samuel Collins, Hartford dealer “in all kinds of Flagging stone” billed $23.40 for “234 ft. of curb & gutter” [MTP].
November 30 Tuesday – Sam’s 45th birthday. He wrote a humorous note from Hartford to the editors of Childhood’s Appeal.
Why should I want a “Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children” to prosper, when I have a baby downstairs that kept me awake several hours last night with no pretext for it but a desire to make trouble? This occurs every night, & it embitters me; because I see now how needless it was to put in the other burglar alarm, a costly & complicated contrivance, which cannot be depended upon, because it’s always getting out of order & won’t “go,” whereas, although the baby is always getting out of order too, it can nevertheless be depended on, for the reason that the more it gets out of order, the more it does go [MTLE 5: 213].
Sam also wrote to Franklin Whitmore, who evidently had remembered Sam’s birthday.
“…from this day forth let both of us cease from scoffing at the old; for we be of that lot ourselves, now” [MTLE 5: 214].
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed $10.71 for November telegrams: Nov. 2, 6 to Boston; received from San Francisco Nov. 2; to Elmira Nov. 3; Nov. 19, 24 to New York [MTP].
December – Sam wrote sometime during the month from Hartford to Jane Grey Swisshelm (1815-1884), well-known abolitionist, newspaper editor, lecturer, crusader, feminist, and Civil War nurse. Jane wrote Sam on Jan. 19, 1880 to apologize for her publishers’ use of Sam’s name and praise in advertisements of her autobiography [Gribben 681]. Sam thanked Jane for a book she’d sent (probably Half a Century (1880), one of her two books, the other in 1853).
“The book sets one in the midst of the scenes it paints & makes him hope, despair & exult by turns, & by turns curse & blaspheme” [MTLE 5: 215].
Sam wrote a note and drew a cat sleeping to an unidentified person, probably a child. “The front end is right, but she jumped up & ran, meantime, & that makes the other end wrong” [MTLE 5: 217].
December 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus, thanking them for checks amounting to $6,000 for sales of A Tramp Abroad. Sam wrote that he was surprised by the “largeness of sale in the United States,” which he said brought the total to $50,000 he would get out of the book for twelve-months sales, from Mar. 1, 1880 [MTLE 5: 218].
Bills/receipts/statements from Hartford merchants:
Woolley’s Livery Stable bill of Jan. 1, 1881 Shows use of a hack this day “to & from Party” $2.50 [MTP]. Fox & Co., grocers $41.58 “Amount of bill to date, pass book”; J.P. Newton, “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” $5.08 for: Nov. 3, 5, 12, 15, 17, 19, 26 fish, mostly bass & salmon; Wm. Roberts, “harness, saddles,” etc. $14.50 for Nov. 10 purchase “1 pr. Blankets, 1 pr. sliding rein holders”; paid Dec.10 [MTP].
Mary L. Bartlett billed/paid $19 for “20 lessons in piano, daughter; 1 Leibert & Stark’s Piano School Book I”[MTP].
Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. billed $7.14 for Nov. telegrams: Nov. 2 to Boston; Nov. 9 to N.Y. (Conway); Nov. 13 to Elmira; Nov. 15 to Philadelphia.
December 2 Thursday – Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam.
We are much obliged for your confidence. We will observe strict secrecy. We are taking special care of your letters. / I am glad you have finished the “Little Prince,” and have made a good contract. I predict for it real popularity. It will bear a wealth of illustrations.” [Orion then congratulates on the Kaolatype, and asks if it had been perfected. He then goes off on a tangent about animals’ brains and abilities to learn words.] “This morning I was in a wholesale grocery store. There I saw the ‘Mulberry’ brand of tobacco, ornamented with a full length likeness of Raymond holding aloft a bottle (or plug?) with the legend, ‘There’s Millions in it,’ while on another side was pasted the similitude of a $5 bill. / In the city clerk’s office this morning they were talking of Tramp and the difficulty of learning German, and of your funeral oration over the Democracy” [MTP].
December 3 Friday – The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to New York (party unknown, see that entry for others).
December 4 Saturday – Bill paid to Connecticut Valley R.R. Co., Hartford $1.22 for transporting “2 cases liquor; 1 box” [MTP]. The December bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Dec. 31 entry).
December 6 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Henry Clay Lukens of the New York Press Club, declining another invitation. Sam wrote he was “booked for that day” [MTLE 5: 219].
Woolley’s Livery Stable bill of Jan. 2? Shows use of a hack this day for two and a quarter hours, $2.75 [MTP].
Dan Slote for Slote, Woodman & Co., wrote to Sam (Knoof to Slote, ca. Dec. 4 enclosed). “Your middle name received have telegraphed it to Alexander & Mason, who required it for all the foreign patents, which will be issued to each of us—Snider [sic Sneider], Clemens & Slote equally in 1/3rds” [MTP]. Note: The fraud Sneider shows this as referring to the Koalatype process.
December 7 Tuesday – C.F. Cobb (“Squid”) wrote to Sam. “The undersigned took the liberty to send you three sketches: Row in a Row, Pulling the Classical Wire, and the hit at a very general musical nuisance.” Cobb described how his father had worked as a clerk for 60 years then died leaving him “a large estate” though Cobb didn’t change his style of living [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From one who signs himself ‘Squid’ ”
December 8 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mollie Clemens. He enclosed either a drawing or a model of a pig. “Fortunately the first attempt succeeded sufficiently well; I doubt if I could blind my eyes again & bring the ears on top of the head after traveling so far from the initial point.” Evidently, Mollie had written that Orion was spending an inordinate amount of time writing. Sam offered:
“…persons are almighty scarce who can write over 5 hours a day & 5 days a week & make literature which is worth anything but to kindle fires with” [MTLE 5: 220]. Also, Sam complimented someone named “Seddie” on her poetry.
Sam also wrote a note to A.M. Edwards, special inspector at the customhouse in Detroit, Michigan, who had notified Sam, probably on the entry of pirated copies of his books from Canada. Sam thanked Edwards and said he’d “communicate with a friend in the Department at Washington” [MTLE 5: 221].
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett. Sam advised her to let her son (Samuel Moffett) travel by boat, or to “put him in girl’s clothes” if she really wanted him to turn back and travel overland across the country. “Jean weighs a ton, & never cries, never is any trouble” [MTLE 5: 215].
Sam found an old notebook (Formerly NB 1, now MTP’s NB 2):
“(Notes made by me when I was learning to be a Mississippi River pilot, in 1856-7.) —
Found this book among some old rubbish today, Dec. 8, 1880. /S.L. Clemens.” [Note: Further down the page in Charles L. Webster’s hand: “This book was found in an old box of rubbish in Chas. L. Webster’s attic at Fredonia”] [MTNJ 1: 45-6].
William H. Bradley & Co., Builders and Dealers in Carriages, New Haven wrote to Sam. “I informed your Coachman when here on Monday that we would write you to day about a six seat sleigh…We will send it to you for $265” [MTP].
G.W. Hazelton wrote from Milwaukee, Wisc. to send Sam a folder of printed poems, inviting his comment [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No Reply”
December 9 Thursday – Sam’s humorous note to Childhood’s Appeal ran in that publication [MTLE 5: 213]. (See Nov. 30 entry.)
Charles Perkins wrote to Sam about Bissell & Co. offering an attractive investment at a “very choice 7” percent for a loan of $5,000 [MTNJ 2: 379n68]. Sam bought in.
The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Buffalo (party unknown, see that entry for others).
December 10 Friday – Sam’s sketch, “For Struggling Young Poets,” dated Nov. 17, 1880 ran in the Dec. 10 issue of the Buffalo Bazaar Bulletin [MTLE 5: 198-200]. It was reprinted in the Buffalo Express on Dec. 11 and in the Hartford Courant in an article titled, “Mark Twain’s Poem” on Dec. 13, p2. Excerpt:
Well, sir, once there was a young fellow who believed he was a poet; but the main difficulty with him was to get anybody else to believe it. Many and many a poet has split on that rock—if it is a rock. Many and many a poet will split on it yet, thank God.
Sam introduced Robert J. Burdette (1844-1914) of the Burlington Hawkeye at the Hartford Opera House. On page one of the Hartford Courant (Dec. 11): “Burdette’s Lecture”:
He was introduced by Mr. Clemens, in a few complimentary words, as one whose wit was without bitterness and whose much quoted paragraphs had a manly and honest ring…he spoke without notes, never inviting applause, and apparently hurrying over some of his wittiest points purposely.
In 1922, Clara B. Burdette, wife of Robert J. Burdette, edited a book titled Robert J. Burdette: His Message, in which Burdette recalled the stay at Sam’s home, probably the night before or after his Dec. 10 lecture at the Hartford Opera House:
“The pleasantest view I had of the city was from the cosy fireside in that wonderful home of Mr. S. L. Clemens, who was my host during my stay in Hartford.
“I think I have never been in a home more beautifully home-like than this palace of the king of humorists” .
December 11 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister, Pamela Moffett, sending $25 for Christmas gifts for “Annie & her family.” Livy was “pretty thoroughly taxed” Sam wrote. “Jean is as fat as a watermelon, & just as sweet & good, & often just as wet” [MTLE 5: 224].
Sam purchased a second copy of Thomas Malory’s The Boy’s King Arthur [Gribben 448]. Note: since a copy was also purchased on Nov. 18, this may have been a Christmas gift.
December 12 Sunday – Mollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy about memories of Susy and Jennie, and joy that baby Jean was flourishing [MTP].
December 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam placed a small order for two books and added,
“I’ve accepted invitation for supper in N.Y. midnight, 20th —they said you & Howells & Aldrich would be there” [MTLE 5: 225].
Sam’s “Letter to the Bazaar Bulletin” for a charity event in Buffalo, was reprinted in the Hartford Courant [Camfield, bibliog.].
Sam purchased a copy of Higginson’s Young Folks’ History of the United States from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers, for $1.20 [Gribben 313]. He also purchased a “one Six Seat Sleigh” from Darrow & Roberts, “Mfg. & dealers in first-class carriages” Hartford, for $325.00 [MTP].
Howells wrote from Boston, offering constructive criticism of P&P. Still, he loved it “immensely”:
“The whole intention, the allegory, is splendid, and powerfully enforced. The subordinate stories, like that of Hendon, are well assimilated and thoroughly interesting” [MTHL 1: 338].
Dean Sage wrote from NYC to Clemens that just before leaving Albany he received “an incoherent sort of a letter from Joe [Twichell] which I gathered he could not come to New York this month, & that he wanted me to persuade him to accompany you down here this month…” [MTP].
Sam answered Sage, but his letter is not extant; referred to in Sage’s of Dec. 16.
Francis Hopkinson Smith wrote to Clemens.
My Dear Mr Clemens / When I was last in Boston our good friend Howells spoke so heartily about you, and your interest in the Tile Club and the Tilers, and I have for so many years had so much stronger interest in you than you ever dreamed of, that I am emboldened by a variety of considerations (which as I proceed you will appreciate) to ask you to join a conspiracy in which I have associated with myself such ruffians as Osgood and Anthony and Howells, and Lawrence Barrett and Aldrich…” He invited Sam to an oyster feed in his studio the night of Dec. 20; Laffan would also be there [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “F. Hopkinson Smith artist”
Charles W. Rhodes (1846-1916), NYC cheese dealer, wrote to Sam after reading several of Twain’s books.
What I want to know is by what rule a fellow can infallibly judge when you are lying and when you are telling the truth. I write this in case you intend to afflict an innocent and unoffending public with any more works. I would suggest the next volume be published with the truth in italics. They usually have small fonts of these in printing offices [MTP]. Note: some readers and academics will remain humorless throughout eternity. Sam wrote on the env., “Ha!—ha! / captured another idiot. SLC”
December 16 Thursday – Sam had received Howells’ letter of Dec. 13 praising “The Two Ps.” [P&P]. Howells liked it “immensely. It begins well, and it ends well” [MTHL 2: 338]. Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood.
“I am mighty glad Howells thinks so well of the book; & I hope to goodness he used his damnifying pencil on the MS, in which case I shall know where to enlarge, knock out, & otherwise amend.”
Osgood had written from Boston that he would go to New York City. Sam responded: “Stop over here one train & I will go down with you & we will do the rest as you have proposed.” Sam also asked Osgood to tell Howells to “fetch along my umbrella if he has not sold it—I mean pawned it” [MTLE 5: 226].
Sam also wrote to Dan Slote, who Sam heard had been sick.
“I shall arrive in New York Monday evening, with Boston friends [Osgood, Aldrich, Twichell], to go to theatre & a Tile Club supper at midnight. Next morning, if you are well, we will have a talk & afterwards look in on Sneider, at his shop.” [MTLE 5: 227]. Also, Sam asked Dan to send him a couple of his largest scrapbooks, as Livy wanted them for “something or other in Susie & Bay’s department.”
Sam purchased a copy of’ Louisa May Alcott’s (1832-1888) Little Women, probably a Christmas gift for the girls [Gribben 14].
The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to New York (party unknown, see that entry for others).
Dean Sage had rec’d Sam’s note the day before and wrote from NYC that he’d be glad to see him there any time he could come. “The 20th you know falls on Monday, so you may get along, I suppose on Saturday unless you remain here after the Tile Club orgy.” He noted that Grant would be at the New England Society of Brooklyn banquet on the 21st and could get Sam and Joe tickets if he wished [MTP].
David Watt Bowser wrote from Dallas with his progress at school studies and hope he might hear from him now and then. His German teacher was Rabbi Bien, who “says he knew you …in Virginia City” [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke (1827-1892), American poet and writer born in West Hartford, Conn. wrote to Clemens. Her most popular works dealt with New England country life, most recently at this time, Happy Dodd (1878). wrote to advise Sam that their entertainment would “come off the twelfth of January.” [MTP].
December 17 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, sending $25 for Christmas gifts for him and Mollie. Livy wouldn’t know what to select, he said, and “this seems the best & simplest way.” He wrote:
“The pig matter is of no consequence—only, I perceive that when one deceives people as often as I have done, there comes a time when he is not believed when he does tell the truth” [MTLE 5: 229].
Sam also replied to the Dec. 16 from Rose Terry Cooke. “Good—I shall be there.” Sam preferred to “read 15 minutes from my ‘works’ to keep the audience quiet while the preparations for the performances are going on…because reading requires no preparation” [MTLE 5: 230]. Note: The event or function may have been for The Decorative Art Society.
December 18 Saturday – Arnold, Constable & Co. of New York invoiced Sam $10 for one cashmere rug [MTP].
The December bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Dec. 31 entry). The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Boston, and two sent to New York (parties unknown, see that entry for others).
Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote to Clemens: “My dear Clemens: / The Despot and I are going to New York on the train that leaves here on Monday at 11 a.m. The Despot says that she hopes you will join us at Hartford. The antique Osgood and the decrepit Fairchild will probably be along. The attenuated Howells declines. / With love to the whole family…” [MTP].
Mary Keily began a letter she finished on Dec. 20.
Ulysses S. Grant sent a telegram from New York: “I will be here on Tuesday” [MTP].
December 19 Sunday – **Ajax from Baltimore wrote an over-the-top crank letter asking for help publishing [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The same old thing. / Man wants to know the royal road, & would like help”
December 20 Monday – Sam traveled with Twichell to New York City, arriving in the evening. They had a midnight oyster supper at the Tile Club, Francis Hopkinson Smith Studio, where Sam first met Francis Hopkinson Smith (1838-1915) [MTNJ 2: 360; AMT 2: 580]. Smith was an engineer and a writer whose hobby was painting. He was the great-grandson of one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Aldrich was also supposed to have been there [MTLE 5: 227]. Howells did not go . In Sam’s letter of Dec. 24 about the dinner: “Smith’s an enjoyable fellow. I liked [Lawrence] Barrett too.” Sam and Joe stayed at the Gilsey House [MTNJ 2: 380n70].
Sam purchased one copy of John D. Champlin’s Young Folks’ Cyclopaedia of Common Things (1879) from Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers; two copies of William Hamilton Gibson’s Pastoral Days; or, Memories of a New England Year (1881); and August Rodney Macdonough’s translation of The Loves of Provence, etc. [Gribben 138; 257; 442].
The December bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York, recipient unspecified (see Dec. 31 entry).
Moncure Conway wrote from England to show what he’d inserted in the Athenaem of Saturday about TA’s “remarkable success…it has reached its eightieth thousand in the United States…Canadian …sold about 20,000.” He liked the chances of getting a copyright law for all three countries [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Winsted, Conn. to Clemens. “My dear Mr Clemens. / Did you think I had such audacity? I had no idea of asking you to make a speech, only to say a few words, perhaps as many as the introductory sentence to the Mc Williams tragedy” [MTP].
Mary Keily finished her Dec.18 letter, enclosing some religious beads [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the lunatic”
December 21 Tuesday – Sam introduced Joe Twichell to General Grant, so he might have a “private talk in the interest of the Chinese Educational Mission here in the U.S.” (Hartford). Saving the mission was a cause close to the heart of Twichell (see Mar.15, 1881 entry). Note: Grant wrote to Li Hung Chang in the Chinese government, arguing that closing the mission would be an error. The Chinese authorities, on the strength of Grant’s recommendation, reinstated the program, at least temporarily [Strong 87].
Sam, as intended, may have gone with Dan Slote to the shop of Charles Sneider to discuss progress on the brass engraving process, but he did not mention this in his letters. He then returned home to Hartford.
The Gilsey House in New York billed $16 for a room and $10 advanced; no payment date on bill. [MTP].
Francis D. Clark wrote one line on a printed postcard announcing the Assoc. Pioneers meeting at Delmonico’s on Jan 18 at 7 p.m.: “Are you engaged for that evening / FDC” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the margin, “Not answered, of course”; evidently Sam did not know Clark.
December 22 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to David Watt Bowser (“Wattie”) in Dallas, Texas, who had written that he’d won a gold medal for his paper. Sam asked Wattie to “remember me kindly to your teacher [Laura Wright Dake]” [MTLE 5: 231].
On or about this day Sam wrote to Edwin Pond Parker, Pastor of the Second Church of Christ, Hartford. Sam asked the clergyman to compose a “certain piece of music” that he’d been imagining all morning; he gave specifics to be incorporated, including the theme, “The Splendor falls on Castle Walls, & snowy summits old in story” [MTLE 5: 232].
Rev. Edwin Pond Parker replied from Hartford to Sam.
Dear Clemens / Your note was very pleasant—and I think I divine your meaning in it. Don’t you know that the “Bugle Song” has been the despair of musicians? Repeatedly they have attempted the task. No one has succeeded.
Have you seen a volume of Tennyson’s songs set to music—published last year? A sumptuous book! Some good things—and a very fair setting of this Bugle Song in it. I wish I could do that which you suggest, but I fear it isn’t in me to do it.
But—I want to do something! Your rank as a writer of humorous things is high enough—but, do you know—Clemens—that it is in you to do some first-class serious or sober work.
Now let me say to you what I have repeatedly said of you—I know no American writer of your generation, who is capable of writing such forcible, sinewy, racy English as you. You are abundantly capable of turning out some work that shall bear the stamp of your individuality plainly enough, and at the same time have a sober character and a solid worth & as permanent value. It might not pay in “shekels”, but it would do you vast honor, and give your friends vast pleasure.
Am I too bold? Pardon me, but I wish I had your opportunity & your genius… [MTP]. Note: the Rev. Parker was not alone in urging Clemens to lift his writing to a more serious vein; Mary Fairbanks had recently done so, and Livy agreed.
The New York Press Club receipted Sam $12 for dues through Dec. 31 [MTP].
A. Wing wrote to Sam: “Our friend Mr. Twichell has just written…to General Grant in behalf of the Chinese Educational Mission, which Mr Wu, the present Commissioner has put on its last legs—& you came out victorious…” [Vassar]. Note: for a good treatment of the Chinese Mission episode, see Courtney, ch. 19.
December 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss to order several books for the Camoēns Library in Portugal as a contribution, in care of the Consul General of Portugal in New York City [MTLE 5: 223].
Sam also wrote to Howells, sorry he wasn’t able to join the Tile Club supper and the meeting the day after with Twichell and Grant. Sam wished the Howellses a Merry Christmas [MTLE 5: 234].
Sam also wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett. He thanked her for the Christmas presents that did “not oppress the receiver with their costliness.” He was glad she “could not find the Mowatt book—I have a special reason for detesting that work.” Sam’s mother was in poor health, and Sam hoped it would improve [MTLE 5: 235]. Note: the Mowatt book is not further identified.
Sam also replied to the Dec. 22 from Edwin Pond Parker, member of the Monday Evening Club, asking him to read The Prince and the Pauper and respond with feedback. Pond’s urging for Sam to write in “a more serious vein” ignored the many social implications in his works to date, and Sam evidently felt there were certainly serious sub-texts in P&P [MTNJ 2: 382n78].
Sam further responded:
“I was wavering between launching a book of the sort you mention, with my name to it, & smuggling it into publicity with my name suppressed. Well, I’ll put my name to it, & let it help me or hurt me as the fates shall direct” [MTLE 5: 236]. Note: Sam was concerned because the book (P&P) was “such a wide departure” from his “accustomed line.”
Mollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and to thank Livy “heartily” for her Christmas gift. Orion hoped Sam & Livy would prize “the quilt for its history”; Christmas wishes from both [MTP].
Ulysses S. Grant wrote from NYC to Sam in support of retaining the Chinese students studying in Hartford. “Li Hung Chang is the most powerful and most influential Chinaman in his country. He professed great friendship for me when I was there, and I have had assurances of the same thing since. I hope, if he is strong enough with his govt. that the discussion to withdraw the Chinese students from this country may be changed” [MTP]. Note: Grant was instrumental in retaining the Chinese Mission students studying in Hartford.
December 25 Saturday – Christmas – Sam purchased two tickets for La Morte Civile (The Civil Death) starring the Italian actor Tommaso Salvini (1829-1915), which played one night, Thursday, Dec. 30 [Hartford Courant, Dec. 27 p2. “This Week’s Entertainments”]. Note: from 1873 to 1889 Salvini made five trips to the U.S.
Sam inscribed a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for: “Clara Clemens from Papa. Christmas, 1880”[MTLE 5: 237].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Olivia Lewis Langdon, sending a gold box for her spectacles .
Sam also wrote to Susan Warner, enclosing a drawing he’d done of the Sphinx and some camels.
“Would you mind explaining to friends that the Sphinx is neither a gorilla nor a Lord Chief Justice of the Queen’s Bench, but only just a simple Sphinx? Merry Christmas!” .
In Sam’s notebook a list of Christmas wages or bonuses for the staff: Patrick [McAleer] $30, George [Griffin] 25, Lizzie 10, Delia the cook 20, Katy Leary 16, and Rosa [Hays] 15 [MTNJ 2: 389n108].
Charles Dudley Warner inscribed a copy of his book In the Wilderness (1881) to Livy [Gribben 745].
December 26 Sunday – Bohun Devereaux wrote to ask Sam’s views on dramatic copyright [MTP].
John Russell Young wrote from Hartford hoping to visit the Clemenses. His home had been Phila. since returning from Europe. House & Koto had “charged” him with “special messages to Mrs. Clemens and yourself” [MTP]. Note: very tiny hand
December 27 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood in reference to a manuscript [MTLE 5: 241].
Sam purchased a suit from Geeley’s Wardrobe, “Mens’ and boy’s clothing,” Hartford, for $6.50; paid Jan. 27, 1881 [MTP]. Note: Henry Geeley is listed as a clothier in the 1875 City Directory.
December 28 Tuesday – William A. Seaver wrote to Clemens. “My precious old bird: — / Haven’t you got a place for bores, loafers and snobs in Hartford called a Club? … I am twisting my wits to get stuff enough together to do a little article on Clubs, and would like to ring in Hartford” [MTP].
Mollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, surprised by the arrival of a box from them the day before. “Mollie immediately put on the dress. It is very beautiful…” He remarked that it was 11 below zero with snow falling. Mollie “tested her mittens…they were exactly what she wanted.” Orion thanked them for shirts they sent him. Mollie added her thanks [MTP].
December 29 Wednesday – Sam declined an invitation from the Press Club of Chicago, writing from Hartford that the “formidable size of the trip in this mid-winter weather” would bar him from attending. He hoped they remembered him as well as he did them [MTLE 5: 242].
Sam also wrote to William Seaver, who had inquired of Sam about the Hartford Club. Sam and Charley Warner were the only respectable people in town who were not members, he answered. William B. Franklin, Gov. Richard Dudley Hubbard (1818-1884), General Joseph R. Hawley, etc. were members; Seaver could inquire of Charley Clark of the Courant staff about the Club. “Sling him a note & God be with you” [MTLE 5: 243].
A. Whiting billed $10.60 for purchases Dec. 23, 24, Jan. 1, 1881 roping, flowers, paid Jan. 1? [MTP].
The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Elmira (party unknown, see that entry for others).
Edwin P. Parker wrote to Clemens that it would give him pleasure to read the MS. described, “and I rejoice in your project. Happy New Year wishes [MTP]. The MS. was P&P. File note: “See SLC to Parker 27 Dec 1880 Nook Farm pp. 191-192.” Andrews writes that more than any other of Sam’s books, P&P was a product of “community collaboration.” Sam’s uncertainty about the book caused him to pass it around among friends.
Gustav Amsinck, Consul General of Portugal, wrote that he’d rec’d Sam’s of Dec. 24 and copies of his 6 books for the library of Lagos [MTP].
December 30 Thursday – Sam and Livy attended the single-night performance of “Morte Civile,” (the Civil Death), starring the famous Italian actor Salvini at the Hartford Opera House. The Hartford Courant, Dec. 31 p. 2 reported on the “emotional tragedy”:
“The support was excellent throughout. There were only eight persons in the play, including Salvini, but all were up to their parts. Next to the star Miss Wilton, as Rosalie, bore off the honors. Unfortunately the house was small.”
The December bill from Western Union shows a telegram to New York, and one to Elmira, recipients unknown (see Dec. 31 entry). The Jan. 1, 1881 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Elmira (party unknown, see that entry for others).
George W. Bagby wrote from Richmond, Va. asking for a likeness and “brief biographical sketches & selections of best pieces. Subscription book…You do the Northern, I do the Southern part” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t”.
Edward House wrote from NYC to Sam, concerned about statements concerning him in a bogus article in the New York Sun (Dec. 28 1880) and from gossip by T.C. Evans, whom House met at Jerome B. Stillson’s funeral—to the idea that Clemens was “subject to protracted spells of melancholy,” and even “in fact deranged, &c &c” [MTP].
December 31 Friday – Hartford merchant bills/receipts/statements:
A.D. Vorce & Co. “picture & looking glass frames, oil paintings” $36.75 for purchases Oct. 12, Nov. 30, Dec. 22; “wire and painting cats, hall frame”; paid Jan. 7, 1881; J.P. Newton, “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” $7.48 for purchases: Nov. 27, Dec. 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29 fish & lobster [MTP].
Farmington Creamery Co. billed $11.54 for Feb. 27, Mar. 6, Apr. butter not charged in bills. Sam wrote: Am getting tired of this old bill—paid it once, long ago jan 3/81 [MTP].
William H. Thomas, Hartford policeman wrote to thank Sam for the “kind [unspecified] present came to hand on the 30th inst the which I thank you for very much…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Policeman”.
The December bill from Western Union shows a telegram to New York, recipient unspecified.
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed Sam for December telegrams: Dec. 4, 18, 20, 30, 31 all to New York: Dec. 30 to Elmira [MTP].
Year End – Powers lists Sam’s income for 1880 as $250,000 [MT A Life 450].