Three Fires – Redecorated Dream House – Branford Vacation – G.W. Cable – Visit Ma
New Business Manager –Prince and the Pauper – Sam Wears Sherman’s Coat
Another West Point Visit – Sneider’s Swindle & Slote’s Brass – Strip of Land Added
Largesse for the Gerhardts – Montreal & Quebec – Plans for a River Return
1881 – “Etiquette” was written sometime during the year but remained unpublished during Sam’s lifetime [Budd, “Collected” 1019]. See March entry.
January – “Contributors’ Club” items in the Atlantic Monthly were usually unsigned. Sam’s untitled piece on Tauchnitz ran in this month’s issue [Camfield, bibliog.].
January 1 Saturday – Sam and Livy struggled with sick children. On Jan. 9 Sam wrote his mother that Susy had been:
“…taken sick, & Livy removed her to our room & tended her two or three days & nights. New Years’ morning she was well again; but Bay was taken alarmingly ill that night—threatened with membranous croup” [MTBus 149].
Bills/receipts/statements from Hartford merchants:
Sam paid for the Daily Courant, period Oct. 1, 1880 to Jan. 1, 1881. James G. Wells, china & glassware, billed $2.19 (items illegible); Smith, Northam & Robinson billed $25.75 for feed, meal & oats purchased Oct. 28, Nov. 29, Dec. 14, 27 , paid Jan. 7; Farmington Creamery $11.97 for Feb. 27, Mar. 6, 12, 19, 26, Apr. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 —Sam wrote on this bill:
“Here is this same old bill again – this time the price of the March butter is advanced 5 cents a pound”
Tracy & Co. , hardware, billed $4.22 for purchases May 26, June 19, 23, July 9, 15, Oct. 25, Dec. 29: shovel, twine, scoop, scythe stone, cord, etc., paid Jan. 8; G.F. Heublein & Bro., “wine and liquor merchant” 80 cents for 1 doz. Lager, paid Jan. 7; Robbins Brothers, “Mfg. Furniture in every description” $16.93 for Sept. 6 work at house 2 days, carpet tacks, thread, pole; Russell $10.04 for 10 deliveries 4 doz. eggs each: Oct. 14, 22, 29, Nov. 6, 19, 27, Dec. 2, 9, 18, 24; West Hartford Ice & Pressed Brick Co. , $50.57 for Oct. and Dec. deliveries totaling 5,910 lbs, paid Jan. 6; Brockett’s Old Store, “gent’s furnishing goods” $66.70 for drawers, shirts, suspenders, collars, bows, paid Jan. 7 [all MTP 1881 financial file].
More bills/receipts/statements from Hartford merchants:
E. Habenstein, “ornamental confectioner and fancy baker” $25.65 for Oct. 16, Nov. 10, Dec. 1, 10 purchases: fancy farm ice cream, roman punch, Whitman’s candies, french fruit, maccaroons, fancy cakes: paid Jan. 10. S.L. Hart, carriage builder, $73.54 for July 21, Aug. 7, 9, 31, Dec. 3, 7, 11, 18, 20, various repairs and paint, paid Jan. 27; Fox & Co. grocers, $62.83 “amount of bill to date, pass book: paid Jan. 8; G.W. Fuller & Son $28 for carriage?; William A. Garvey, plumber $14.70 work on plumbing, furnace; William H. Bulkeley, dry goods $232.52 for long list of clothing items from Oct. through Dec. 1880 [MTP 1881 financial file].
Wm. P. Woolley, livery $10.75 for: Oct. 19 use of hack, Oct. 26 and Nov. 2 hack from opera, Nov. 10, 23, 27 1 hour each; Dec. 1 to & from party; Dec. 6 2&1/4 home. Sam wrote on bill:
“but you haven’t receipted it, Mr. Woolley. SLC enclosed a check for $10.75”
The Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. billed $3.78 for messages sent Dec. 3, 16, 18 to N.Y. Dec. 18 to Boston; Dec. 9 to Buffalo; Dec. 29, 30 to Elmira.
Brown & Gross, booksellers billed $49.65 for long list of playing cards, printing and books, including:
· Common Sense in the Household: A Manual of Practical Housewifery (1880)
· Elizabeth Henriette Witt’s Monsieur Guizot in Private Life (1881)
· Winegar Albion Tourgée’s Bricks without Straw, A Novel (1880)
· Isa Craig Knox’s The Little Folks’ History of England [Gribben 695; 780; 707; 386].
· Also paid for were Sam’s two purchases of Malory’s The Boy’s King Arthur on Nov. 18 and Dec. 13 of 1880 . Bill paid Jan. 17 [Also, MTP 1881 financial file].
Haynes & Simmons, “fine boots, shoes & rubbers” $17.05 for Oct. 25, 30, Dec. 1, 16, 21: Soles, trimmings, arctics, boots; D.H. Buell jeweler, for “Eng pin Mrs Perkins; Rep eye glasses on Oct. 11; Nov 6 key; Nov 18 mounting mosaic pin $16; plating, comb, pin: Nov 19 replating ice pitcher; Dec. 7 pin $12 Dec. 18 1 pr buttons”; Wm. Roberts, harnesses, saddles, etc., $2.75 for “Dec. 24 buckle in reins, Dec. 28 1 set chime sleigh bells”; J.G. Rathbun & Co., druggists & chemists, $81.43 for purchases Oct. 1, 2, 5, 11, Nov. 1, 10, 22, 25, Dec. 8, 9, 23, 28: salad oil, alcohol, 1 qt Calif brandy, 6 thermometers, 1 qt bourbon, vaseline, 6 large bottles sea water, 200 cigars, 2 doz sponges, turpentine, 400 cigars, etc.; J.B. Stone, “stationery, blank books, papers, twine” $36.40 for May 1, Oct. 5, Nov. 11, Dec. 14, 18 purchases: Paper, paper dolls, sleds, etc. paid Jan. 19; Dr. C.A. Taft for professional services from July 1, 1880 to Jan. 1, 1881; D.S. Brooks & Son $7.48 for misc. pots & pans purchased Oct. 15, 27, Nov. 8, paid Jan. 7; [MTP 1881 financial file].
Last, Linus T. Fenn, “Mfgr. & dealer in furniture, bedding” etc. $217.03 List of 21 line items, most expense $75 for “secretary to order with French plate in door”; items purchased on Oct. 2, 8, 11, 20, 26, Nov. 8, Dec. 2, 4, 21, 31—paid Jan. 8 [MTP 1881 financial file].
January 2 Sunday – A fire started in Sam and Livy’s bedroom from a hot croup-kettle and spread to Clara Clemens’ crib and canopy. Rosa, the German nursemaid, “snatched Bay from the midst of the flames, just in time to save her life.” Sam and Rosa threw the burning bedclothes out the window. Sam wrote that “it looked, for awhile, as if the house must go” [MTBus 149]. In his Oct. 3, 1906 A.D. Clemens related that the Polish wet-nurse should have been there but was not: Julia Koshloshky. See also Harnsberger, p. 28-9.
January 2? Sunday – Sometime during the month Sam wrote from Hartford to William P. Woolley returning his bill with a note that Woolley hadn’t receipted him for his enclosed check for $10.75, payment in full for services on Oct. 19, Nov 2, 10, 23, 27, Dec. 1 and 6, 1880. Woolley operated a livery stable at 108 Main St. in Hartford.
January 2 to 4 Tuesday – Clara Clemens (Bay) remained “dangerously ill.” Sam and Livy “kept two croup-kettles going, both night & day, filling the room with steam; but Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 4) the membrane yielded & dissolved, & our fears were at an end” [MTBus 149].
January 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Moncure Conway.
My Dear Conway: / Your head is right, on the International Copyright. The thing to do is to get something—one can always build to that, but a body can’t build to nothing. We must not expect to perfect any great measure at the first dash.
I have torn the title-page out of my “Legends” for Miss Simcox, so that she can send to the publisher at Mayence & get the book. I picked up my copy in Heidelberg, & I prize it above pearls & diamonds.
Our small Clara has been dangerously ill for a day or two, & we are all worn out with watching; but she seems to be out of danger, now. Excuse brevity, in the circumstances. With hearty New Year greetings to you & your family, I am
S. L. Clemens [MTPO].
Joseph Howard wrote a begging letter from Christchurch NZ to Clemens; also asking for help with publication [MTP].
** W. R. Busenbark & O.S. Ford of Chicago sent a printed form requesting an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “The d—d bilks” [MTP].
January 3–7 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Linus T. Fenn, Hartford furniture dealer. Sam wrote on Fenn’s bill correcting a mistake for purchases made Oct. 2, 8, 11 and 20 last for rockers, child’s chairs, mattress, mirror, basket and towel rack [MTP].
January 4 Tuesday – The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry).
January 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote to James R. Osgood:
My Dear Osgood— / All right—shall expect you Friday.
Would have written you sooner, but one of the children has been lying very close to the grave ever since New Years’ night, & was not declared out of danger till yesterday evening. / Truly Yours, / S.L. Clemens [ABE Books, Between the Covers-Rare Books, Inc. 6/11/2010]. Note: Clara Clemens was ill for several days, following Susie’s illness. See Jan. 3 to Conway.
The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Elmira on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry). Another bill from American Union Telegraph Co. for 86 cents shows a message sent to Elmira [MTP].
January 6 Thursday – The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Elmira on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry). The Feb. 1 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Elmira on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry).
William H. Thompson for Hubbard Bros., book publishers, Phila. wrote to ask Sam to edit some work sent (nearly illegible) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Genus of the Fireside / Nerve & Impudence” SASE remains unused in file.
January 7 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Bagby the famous Southern humorist, who had written on Dec. 20 with some sort of invitation. Sam was too busy to accept.
“They say that time is money; it must be so, seeing it is so difficult to get, in any sufficient quantity” [MTP].
Sam paid an undated bill from Hawley, Goodrich & Co., Hartford, $7 total for: Nov. 3, 1880 N.Y. & Boston newspapers, messenger boy; Dec. 25, 1880 two tickets to Salvini $4 (see Dec. 30, 1880 entry); Subscription to Courant from Oct. 1, 1880 to Jan. 1, 1881 [MTP].
Will M. Clemens wrote from Pittsburgh to Sam, sure that Clemens thought him a bore but he’d answered all his letters and he thanked him for it. He stated he wasn’t an orphan, but would be 21 on the 16th. After a long drawn out story about his youth and education, Will asked, would Sam “accept him into his household?” to be his secretary [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Shucks!”
January 8 Saturday – Clara Clemens developed symptoms of pneumonia; the doctor was called [MTBus 149].
January 9 Sunday – Clara Clemens was much better in the morning after “good nursing & dosing.” Sam wrote from Hartford to his mother, Jane Clemens. Another fire began in Jean’s crib in the nursery, started when a spark flew through the fire-screen while Julia (Sam’s personal barber) was in Susy’s room making up a bed.
“The bedclothes, the lace canopy, & even the pillow were blazing, at the time, & the poor little chap got a slight burn on the cheek, & some of the hair was singed from the top of her head.”
Sam and Rosa again threw the bedding out the window, again burning their hands. Sam asked if his mother would send the letter to Orion [MTBus 150].
Sam wrote to Olivia Lewis Langdon, relating again the tale of the fire and Bay’s illness [MTP].
Andrew Goodrich Hammond (Beaut) wrote to invite Sam to be West Point’s “honored guest” the evening of Feb. 19th; he’d written Twichell asking him to join them as well [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a U.S. Cadet / Hammond”
January 10 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Pamela Moffett, thanking her for books that her son Sam Moffett had sent. Then he explained he was sending 75 dollars monthly to Orion, “as long as he lives & I prosper.” His largesse was the result of discovering that Elisha Bliss had cheated him out of a “great deal of money.” If he’d listened to Orion’s claims about Bliss, Sam acknowledged he’d “be better off…by a hundred thousand dollars.” So, the monthly money…
…is not my money he is receiving, but his own—& fairly & honestly earned. He needn’t blush to receive it. If I had listened to him long ago, I could have been giving him the income from $50,000 without missing it, all this time. However, I have swept away his past indebtedness. He owes no man a cent—at least he owes me nothing [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Winsted, Conn. enclosing a programme of their entertainment for Wednesday Jan. 12, and giving him train directions. She invited him to bring Twichell [MTP].
January 12 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to President-elect, James A. Garfield to “speak a word for” Frederick Douglass, who had been appointed U.S. Marshal of Washington in 1877.
So I am writing this as a simple citizen—I am not drawing on my fund of influence at all. A simple citizen may express a desire, with all propriety, in the matter of a recommendation to office; & so I beg permission to hope that you will retain Mr. Douglas[s] in his present office of Marshal of Washington….He is a personal friend of mine, but that is nothing to the point—his history would move me to say these things, without that. And to feel them too. With great respect, I am, General, Truly Yours/ S.L. Clemens [MTP].
George Gebbie wrote to Sam concerning the “Encyclopedia of Humor” project [MTP].
Jane Lampton Clemens wrote from Fredonia (misspellings intact):
This letter is such a task I am so tired [written at the top it seems an afterthought].
Dear Children. / I have grieved until I am sick & all the medecin will not help me. my trouble is my only two sons are not like brothers. I know I used my best to raise my children right many nights I lie awake most of the night & how I feel next day. O my dear Sam I fear you have more to answer for than you think. When you banished your brother I consented but when I saw him my heart sunk it is no better now. I have grieved over it ever since. When I was out there friends told me they never felt so sorry for a man as they did for him his wife told me secretly she thought, he would loose his mind. Now his mind is not right. We have been very particular not to let it be known there is any thing betwen the brothers but brotherly love. It is so mortelying to a mother. But I have reason to think it is known here in some families. There is a pain in the side of my head which prevents me from writing with out a wet cloth on my head. My dear Sam dont say light things about your brother it grieves your mother. I have to stop. I don’t know any thing that would give me more pleasure than to see my only two sons have a brothery like brothers should have. my dear son if I remember right you told me something about writing something to keep him from troubling you my dear son I never was so happy as when I could write something to make my sister happy. Now my dear son write to him & tell him to finish his book & send it to you and you will take it to Boston & have it publeshed don’t send It. take it yourself he will doit but he will not listen even to his mother. That is a plain proof to me that his mind is not right. Both write when you feel like it. you know I dont say any thing about his mind any where but to Mela.
I don’t wish you or Livy to say any thing about it to any one. Neither Annie nor Charlie. Love to the children. Livy I know you will say nothing about it. When my children were small I was fritting over them, an old uncle came in he called me Jan never mind Jean he said they are tramping on your toes now bind they will be on your heart. O how true. / Love to all [MTP].
January 12 and 13 Thursday – Sam was advertised as part of the entertainment at this two-day Hartford event. (See insert.)
January 13 Thursday – The Hartford Courant ran a news article on page two, “The Decorative Art Society” which listed the group’s activities of 1880. Included were three benefit entertainments to replenish the treasury. One of these was a reading by Clemens at the home of Mrs. Samuel Colt in Hartford. [MTHL 1: 346]. Note: this article does not specify what Sam read.
January 14 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, enclosing George Gebbie’s Jan. 12 letter, which offered to come to Hartford “on the business we have already mooted”—that is, what became the Library of Humor.
Now if you are still a mind to tackle this Cyclopedia with me, drop me a line right away—for I have put Gebbie off two or three days on purpose to give myself time to hear from you. I still like the idea of going into this thing, as much as ever; & I hope you do, also. …
On 3 different days, last week, Bay, & the baby, & the house, came within the half of a hair’s breadth of being burned up! Stirring adventures enough for one small week, ain’t it? Yrs Ever Mark [MTHL 1: 346].
January 16 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Will Clemens (William Montgomery Clemens 1860-1931); no relation, so Sam claimed in 1908—see Nov. 18, 1879 entry), enclosing a note to Will’s unidentified friend who evidently sought advice as to how to live life. Sam answered:
My Dear Boy:—How can I advise another man wisely, out of such a capital as a life filled with mistakes? Advise him how to avoid the like? No—for opportunities to make the same mistakes do not happen to any two men. Your own experiences may possibly teach you, but another man’s can’t. I do not know anything for a person to do but just peg along, doing the things that offer, and regretting them the next day. It is my way, and everybody’s [Clemens, W. 20].
Mollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, replying to Sam’s letter to Jane Clemens of Jan. 9.
“Poor little Jean! Lying helplessly at the edge of the valley of the shadow of death, wrapped in flames and with only four seconds left! And alone!…and Bay, with the breath of death in her face three times in two weeks! … / Ma sent me Sam’s letter. I shall take good care of it. …Mollie is nearly sick. Several inches of snow have fallen to-day, and I must go and clean it off.” Mollie wrote about the horror of fire and the Clemens baby’s near death by fire. She hated the cold winters so thought it would be good if they all might go to Florida next winter [MTP].
Mary Fairbanks wrote to Sam that she thought he’d write for the holidays but hadn’t. She wanted to know about baby Jean. She wrote of her son Charlie, “still grinding away on The World and has proven himself a good journalist” [MTP].
January 17 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, “glad to co-operate” in “Gebbie’s Cyclopaedia” (which became Library of Humor) project. He was “heartily in for it” at the price of $5,000 on terms acceptable to Sam. Howells also mentioned “Two cases of measles,” and “an attack of two publishers,” which referred to James R. Osgood in conflict with Henry O. Houghton after the latter had bought out Osgood. The two disagreed on who would control Howells’ works [MTHL 1: 347].
January 19 Wednesday – The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to Loman? on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry).
James Wells Champney wrote to Clemens.
Your note this morning was handed me just as I was in the midst of our engrossing lecture on “Bones”: I set my lovely skeleton on one side, broke the seal, read the card and scribbled an answer in a most informal way. I was very sorry not to be able to have granted the hour’s interview but my days at Hartford, as Miss Perkins will tell you are crowded with duties from 9 A.M. until I take the 3.48 train. I expect to spend next Tuesday night at Mr. Chas. Perkins and perhaps it will not then be too late to see you… [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Champney, artist”
Jane Gray Swisshelm wrote from Chicago to Clemens, basically a fan letter and apology for enclosed clipping, in which her publisher Jansen, M’Clurg & Co. of Chicago quoted Sam’s praise (no date) of Half a Century (1880) by Swisshelm [MTP; Gribben 681 (mistakenly as 1880)].
January 20 Thursday – The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to So. Man. (South Manchester, Conn.) on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry).
January 21 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam had cut the “Whipping-boy’s Story” from P&P and:
“Added over 130 new pages of MS to the prince’s adventures in the rural districts. The number of pages, before, was 734—the number is 870, now—fully as bulky a book as Tom Sawyer, I think. The book is finished, but I expect to add some more pages when I make a final revision—doubtless next week” [MTP]. Note: Sam was talking MS pages, not printed pages. The final book came to 411 pages compared to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer at 275 [Oxford edition facsimile count].
Thomas and Anna Fitch wrote to Sam, that if he would be in NY before they “return west (about Feb 1) we would both like ever so much to see you and have you shake us” [MTP].
January 22 Saturday – Wm. T. Bassett, hairdresser, billed Sam $24.50 for “Dec. 23 up to Jan. 22 for shaving and haircutting, plus 1 lather brush, 1 sponge” [MTP].
Frederick Douglass wrote from Washington to Sam. “Mr Charles J. Langdon has sent me your kind and characteristic note to Genl Garfield in my behalf. Please accept my sincere thanks for your good word” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Fred. Douglas the famous colored orator, formerly a slave—now Marshall of Washington & desirous of retaining the office”.
January 23 Sunday – Andrew Goodrich Hammond wrote to Sam (“Cadet Hammond”) to fix certain the date of his visit at Feb. 21 [MTP].
January 23 Sunday ca. – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. He wrote this letter after examining a royalty statement from American Publishing Co. through Dec. 31, 1880. “The thoroughness of the…inventory suggests that it was undertaken shortly after EB’s death as the management passed into new hands … That concern is not going to bust, I reckon. They have sold 4,000 copies of my old books in the 3 months ending Dec. 31” [MTLTP 131, 132n1]
January 24 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who he wished to visit and judge the finished manuscript of P&P—(or was it another?)
P.S. (to the letter which is in my head & which I have not time to get out.) You come here & see us, when you arrive east, & we will talk. I hate writing——however, that has become a platitude in my mouth [MTP]. Note: Everett Emerson claims this letter as Jan. 24 1884—which, when compared to Sam’s subsequent letter to Mary of Jan. 30, 1884, seems to be correct, and would refer to Sam’s never published Sandwich Islands book about Bill Ragsdale, who Frear calls “half-Hawaiian, and now almost legendary…longtime interpreter in the legislature.” Sam wrote the story some 18 years after Hawaii but did not publish it, hoping Wm. Dean Howells would block it into a play [26-27 & n.12].
Sam also wrote on an autograph form (with the heading THE AUTOGRAPHIC ILLINOIS STATE TESTMONIAL TO MRS. PRESIDENT HAYES) to Lucy Webb Hayes (1831-1889), the first lady to be called the “first lady.”
Phineas T. Barnum wrote from Bridgeport, enclosing N.Y. Sun clipping of Jan. 23, “Letters that Barnum Gets”. Barnum was recuperating from some injury and would need “another month at least to get about.” He sent the article showing all the various strange letters he rec’d, called “queer letters” by Clemens [MTP].
E.L. Hall wrote from Phila. to Clemens with a tale of reading Sam’s story about the dog chasing the coyote, then having a similar experience chasing a train & falling. Was Clemens the cause? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Nonsense”
January 24, 26, 31 – On Jan. 31 Sam paid a Jan. 26 bill for $5 from the Daniel Appleton & Co. of New York for the North American Review subscription [Gribben 509], and $4.50 for Popular Science Monthly subscription . He’d paid “Club rates” of $5 cash on these two items [MTP].
January 25 Tuesday – Leo C. Evans wrote to Sam, clipping enclosed from Brooklyn Union Jan. 22, which claimed Evans called on Twain who talked of the “Obelisk” in reality being an “incomplete chimney”. Evans asked the address of Burdette’s manager. (Sam wrote on the env: “From a damned idiot”) [MTP]. See also Apr. 21, 1880 from Evans.
January 26 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Dan Slote, who evidently had passed some Kaolatype business by Sam that he felt was too small for his consideration:
“I had made up my mind to put all K business on you; but in this one instance I’ll make a remark: to wit, Chicago is a mighty important place, & we must look sharp & not give it away…don’t submit picayune trades to me….Just make the trades yourself, Dan—I started in to be a Figure-Head President & that’s what I am” [MTP].
Sam paid a bill for $5 from the Daniel Appleton & Co. of New York for the North American Review subscription [Gribben 509]. The Jan. 31 bill from Western Union shows a telegram sent to New York on this date, recipient unspecified (see that entry).
Charles Gunther wrote to Sam begging for help in pursuing his profession in drawing [MTP]. Note: “Gave him $3.50. Had my doubts though….”
January 27 Thursday – The Connecticut Humane Society receipted Sam $5 as “active member”; Sam paid Geeley’s Wardrobe $6.50 for suit purchased on Dec. 27 [MTP].
Worden & Co., New York stockbroker, telegraphed Sam: “Sold one hundred Western Union eighty two” [MTP].
January 28 Friday – A.H. Hubbard for Hubbard Bros., Phila. wrote to Clemens, also hearing he was going to seek a new publisher and wanted to become his [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t”.
J.R. Jones for National Publishing Co., Phila. wrote to Clemens, hearing he’d “severed” his connection with his old publisher, and offered to publish “a first class work for you” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t”.
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam that Monday, Feb. 21 would “do for West Point” [MTP]. Note: previously misdated as Feb. 21.
January 29 Saturday – Stephen C. Massett wrote from NYC to Sam, enclosing a play bill for his performance in Kimberley, S. Africa. After relating missing Sam at the Brunswick in London, Massett recalled: “What changed! Since Geo. E. Barnes introduce me to you in the “Call” office in 1868!” [MTP]. Sam wrote on the env., “Poor old Jeems Pipes of Pipesville”; Sam replied on Jan. 31.
January 29? Saturday – This is the probable date that Mrs. Karl Gerhardt (“Hattie” for Harriet or “Josie” for Josephine, her middle name) (1863-1909) came to see Sam to enlist his aid in evaluating her husband’s statue and art work [MTLP 397]. (See Feb. 21 entry.)
George Gebbie wrote from Phila. to advise he would be in NY on Monday next, and would like to meet him. He would also send samples of his publication prior to a meeting [MTP].
January 30 Sunday – Based on Saturday Jan. 29 being “three weeks” prior, and from Sam’s account to Howells of Feb. 21, this is the day Charles Warner came to dinner at the Clemens’ home and urged Sam to help Hattie Gerhardt (b. 1863) [MTLP 397].
January 31 Monday – Sam and his servant Patrick McAleer went to the Gerhardt apartment on “the second story of a little wooden house.” Sam inspected a statue of a young woman nude to the waist holding up a towel, “the expression attempted being a modified scare—she was interrupted when about to enter the bath.” (The work was titled “Startled Bather.”) It then became evident that the young wife Hattie Gerhardt had been the model for the statue. Sam was impressed that she had “no trace of self-consciousness” about the fact. 26-year-old Karl Gerhardt (1853-1940) then arrived.
“A slender young fellow with a marvelous head and a noble eye—and he was as simple and natural, and as beautiful in spirit as his wife was” [MTLP 398]. Note: a photograph of the statue at MTP reveals that Hattie was indeed well-endowed.
Sam paid a bill for $4.50 from the Daniel Appleton & Co., of New York for Popular Science Monthly subscription [Gribben 554].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Annie E. Lucas, evidently of Sydney, Australia, who had requested “one small scrap of Scenery” for her album, along with Sam’s autograph. Sam wrote a two-page, gracious and witty letter. About the scenery he replied:
“Indeed I will—& no stale scenery either. I will go to the window & get it fresh—to wit…”
This was followed by a description of the snowy stable roof, “wind blowing out yonder” and “miles of white hills & plains & leafless, shivery limbs.” Sam threw in a couple of plumber jokes (“Whenever you catch a plumber, you just make a back-log of him”). In answer to her urging to come to Sydney, Sam wrote
…there’s a new baby down stairs….Little chaps like that, can’t be comfortable on long journeys, you know [MTP].
Sam also responded to a Jan. 29 letter from Stephen C. Massett, English-born actor, author, composer and old-time humorist who gave San Francisco its first theatrical performance in 1849. As a young reporter on the Morning Call, Sam promoted Massett’s monologues, with his oblivious bumpkin persona, “Jeems Pipes.” Massett is best known for his autobiographical work by the same name (see Sept. 2, 1869 entry):
“Glad to hear from you—shall be glad to see you, too. Come up—the latch string hangs outside the door—& drop me a line to say what day & train you select. I’ll try to meet you at the train; but if I am prevented, just take a hack & name my nom de plume…” [MTP]. Note: Massett wrote again on Feb. 8.
Western Union Telegraph Co. Billed Sam $7.01 for January messages sent: Jan. 1, 26 to N.Y., Jan. 4, 5, 6 to Elmira; Jan. 19, 20 to Loman? So. Man. [MTP].
Susan Lee Warner (Mrs. Charles Dudley Warner) wrote a postcard from Hartford. “Could you possibly take Mr. Champney to the Gerhardt’s Tuesday evening, between 8 & 9 oclk. I suppose he will be at the Perkins (C.E.) I went to G.’s yesterday, & find him anxious for criticism not daring to go on further without advice, in the evening he is sure to be at home. / —Excuse my troubling you, but I hear you are as much interested as we” [MTP].
Franklyn H. Mortimer for Victorian Review Publishing Co., Melbourne, wrote to Clemens. He was in receipt of Sam’s Jan. 9th note. Mortimer asked for some writing from Twain [MTP].
February – Sam inscribed a copy of John Marshall’s (1818-1891) Anatomy for Artists (1878) to Karl Gerhardt, dating the inscription [Gribben 453].
Florence Finch’s (later Kelly) article, “Two American Humorists” ran in The Family Defender Magazine, p. 76-8. Finch compared Mark Twain with Artemus Ward:
The two who have done the most to make our humor national, and who are regarded as most distinctively American, are Mark Twain and Artemus Ward. Bitwean the humor of these two men there is often much similarity as well as sharp contrast. A vein of sarcasm runs through the writings of each, which in Twain’s takes a sharp, cynical turn, but in Ward’s is disguised by his hearty good nature. Ward is always genial, jolly, unsuspecting, unsophisticated. Twain is frequently morose, usually cynical, but always funny.
Linus T. Fenn, Hartford “Mfg. & dealer in furniture, bedding,” etc., billed Sam $24.28 for repairing cradle, mattress, new tick on small feather bed; paid Apr. 16 [MTP].
February 1Tuesday – Livy and Clara Spaulding went to the Gerhardts; they fell in love with the young couple and invited them to dinner a few nights later [MTLP 399].
Sam wrote from Hartford to L.C. Orvis of the Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co., who had written, “Dear Sir,— Am sorry this bill [for $0.43] is not larger will try & do better next time if you will assist! “ Sam responded that he would try [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. He couldn’t go to New York to sign the P&P contracts, so he advised Osgood of Perkins’ suggestion for Osgood to “draw up duplicates & run down here & sign, & lug off the MS…” which Sam finished “once more to-day” [MTP]. Evidently the Clemens children were not well.
Sam also wrote to James Hammond Trumbull, about a detail or two in the P&P book [MTP]. Trumbull was the Hartford scholar who wrote chapter epigraphs for The Gilded Age. Gribben notes that Sam “based events in chapters 15, 23, and 27 of P&P on facts he obtained from Trumbull’s True Blue Laws…” .
American Union Telegraph Co. billed Sam 86 cents for a message sent Jan. 5 to Elmira; Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. billed 43 cents for a message to Elmira [MTP]. Perhaps Sam wanted to see which company could get it there faster?
Fox & Co. Hartford grocers, billed $56. 78 for “amt of bill to date pass book” for January; paid Feb. 2; J.P. Newton, “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed $5.24 for fish, oysters & lobster purchased on Jan. 5, 12, 14, 21, 26, 28; paid Feb. 3 [MTP].
Augustus P. Chamberlaine wrote to Sam, enclosed with Sam to Pamela Feb. 3. He provided an address south of Santa Barbara for “young Moffett” to visit, some 75 miles south [MTP].
February 2 Wednesday – William Dean Howells ended his twelve-year run with Atlantic Monthly. Thomas Bailey Aldrich succeeded him. Henry Oscar Houghton gained control of the Atlantic. Howells would sign a contract with Sam’s new publisher, James R. Osgood, Howells to produce one novel a year plus shorter pieces for $7,500 annually. Howells was working on several plays and was about to finish The Lady of Aroostook. His daughter Winny, age seventeen, suffered a nervous breakdown a few months before. Sam sympathized and offered psychological support [Powers, MT A Life 450; MTHL 1: 347n1]. Note: According to Goodman and Dawson, the “official” date of Howells’ resignation was on his birthday, Mar. 1, 1881 .
February 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister Pamela Moffett, enclosing a letter from Augustus P. Chamberlaine, which recommended a California adviser for Samuel Moffett on his trip west, one Charles Hoar. Sam wrote “We are thriving here…” [MTP].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Charles Perkins asking him to “cast your eye over this & see if it is all right”; Sam wondered if all of Perkins’ suggestions had been adopted in the contract with Osgood [MTP].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
J.E. Ray wrote from Asheville, NC to send a tobacco sample, “manufactured by myself,” and enclosing an advertising postcard [MTP].
February 4 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, who wrote on Jan. 17 that he was “heartily in for” the “Encyclopedia of Humor” project, if he could gain from $3-5,000 for his work, preferably the higher amount as it was “somehow more attractive to the imagination.” Sam wrote:
Sir Gebbie was to be here to-day, but has telegraphed & postponed till next Friday. If ever I make a contract with this dallying Scot, it will be drawn almighty tight, as sure as he is born. Yrs Ever Mark. P.S. Oh, yes, if I can’t make a contract with him that will enable me to pay you $5,000, you can rest most assured that there won’t be any contract made. S L C [MTHL 1: 347-8].
Sam also wrote to Edward House saying he liked “the articles ever so much” (unidentified) and encouraged him to submit them to Osgood for publication. Sam expected “Ned” and daughter Aoki Koto:
“…tomorrow, next day, Saturday & Monday—shall look for you & hope for you—but lord, you are such a disappointing lot, who knows!” [MTP]. Note: House was single, but had adopted Koto, a brilliant young student of his, who was contemplating suicide after a failed marriage [Huffman 17].
Sam also wrote to Pamela Moffett, trying to arrange for the daughter of Ella Lampton to visit with Annie Moffett for a week, and felt that Pamela might make the offer without Ella being offended. He didn’t wish for Ella to visit, just her daughter. Sam thought it natural, however, that the daughter might have inherited her mother’s dislike of him [MTP].
H.O. Griswold, Hartford merchant, billed Sam $27.30 for Jan. 25 delivery of hickory wood and 22 bushels of potatoes; paid [MTP].
Pamela Moffett wrote with a detailed accounting of money she’d spent for their mother’s benefit [MTP]. Note: Pamela’s of Feb. 7 noted two letters rec’d from Sam, neither extant, but likely a reply to this.
February 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, announcing that Livy had informed him he was “going to the Papyrus orgie.”
“A remark of that sort, emanating from that quarter, has this resemblance to the moving of the precious question: it is not debatable” [MTP].
February 7 Monday – Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
Pamela Moffett wrote to Sam, noting she’d rec’d two letters from him on Feb. 6, and thanked him and Mr. Chamberlaine for their interest in Sammy Moffett, who was in Calif. She told of more friction with Ella Lampton—Orion was charmed by her but Mollie not so much. Ma sent her love… [MTP].
February 8 Tuesday – William A. Wood, atty. in Kingston, Mo. wrote to Sam, again pestering him for a copy of IA which Wood claimed had been promised. It would seem this time Sam never opened the letter, and someone later (Paine?) did so [MTP].
Stephen C. Massett (Jeems Pipes) wrote to Sam clippings pasted on the one page note on NY Hotel notepaper. “Thanks for your kind invitation—will wire you when I come. “Show” went off splendidly—inclose programme”. One clipping quoted Robert J. Burdette’s remarks about Hartford, the other, “A Lecturer’s Remarkable Success” told of a last minute substitute for Twain “in a certain Eastern town” who thought the stand-in was Twain and so came prepared to laugh; they roared with laughter at every serious thing he said—except he was a temperance man who finally got disgusted and left [MTP].
February 9 Wednesday – Sam and James R. Osgood signed a contract for the publication of The Prince and the Pauper [MTNJ 2: 382n76].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
February 11 Friday – George Gebbie failed to make his postponed Hartford appointment with Sam, who concluded not to deal with him again (see Feb. 15 entry to Howells) [MTHL 1: 350n1].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
Pollie B. Morgan wrote a postcard from Miss. to thank Sam “for the name & check” but she was afraid she’d not be able to publish her book, having no backers. An indirect hint for help? [MTP].
February 12 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood pressing him to work out a contract with George Gebbie, a Philadelphia subscription publisher who had approached Sam to edit an encyclopedia of American humor. Sam had cooled on the project, especially after Gebbie had postponed a Feb. 4 appointment and failed to show on Feb. 11. Sam called the project a “big, stupid, laborious piece of work” [MTNJ 2: 356; MTLTP 132-3]. (See July 14–17, 1880 entry.)
On the back of his photograph (by Warren’s Portraits of Boston), Sam inscribed “kindest regards” to Koto, Ned’s adopted Japanese daughter with the date [MTP]. Edward House and Koto arrived for a visit sometime between Feb. 5 and this day. (See Feb. 4 entry).
February 13 Sunday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam. After resigning as Atlantic editor, Howells now announced an agreement with Osgood for a weekly salary enough to afford him full time for writing. His daughter, Winny, was better, and was in Boston with the wife [MTHL 1: 348-9].
Robert J. Burdette wrote from Clyde, Ohio to Sam about his missed lecturers, wanderings, obstacles, etc. He added, “We were all pleased, clear down to the baby, that you should take time to write me, as you did. I can only account for it from what I know of your irrepressible mania for writing letters, any how” [MTP].
February 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, who wrote on Feb. 13. He was through dealing with George Gebbie, since the man had not shown for his Feb. 11 appointment; Sam would only deal with him through Osgood. He commiserated about Winny Howells’ condition, and expressed he was “Mighty glad you are out of that cussed mill, that gilded slavery,” meaning Howells’ Atlantic editorialship, which he resigned Feb. 2. Howells’ regular salary was enough to write novels for a living. Sam announced he would come to Boston on Feb. 23 [MTHL 1: 348-50].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam, who wrote on it to Joe Twichell as below [MTP].
February 15 or 16 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Twichell:
“Dear Joe—All right, I’ll do your lecture-humbug for you the 25th. Keep it quiet, you know; no printer’s ink. The way we did it before was right / Yrs Ever (in dreadful haste—just leaving for New York—both of us—couple of days. I told Howells send you the pen—did he?” [MTP].
Sam wrote the note on one from Charles Warner that referred to the “same such lecture humbug as Joe gets up in his [church].” Sam was in haste leaving for New York with Livy for a “couple of days.”
February 15–18 Friday – Sometime between these dates, Sam and Livy spent a “couple of days” in New York City, but were back in Hartford by Feb. 19. (See Feb. 15 or 16 entry, & Feb. 19).
T.W. Alexander billed Sam $28.05 for 1,870 lbs of hay @ 30 per ton; paid [MTP].
February 16 Wednesday – Joe Twichell wrote to Sam:
“Dear Mark, Will you read for us—and for me in particular—in the Chapel next week Friday evening, Feb 25th? It will be for you a preparation for West Point, and for our good folks a service that will be much appreciated” [Messent 387]. Note: See Feb. 15 or 16 entry—Messent puts this as Feb. 16, 1881 but also footnotes it as “undated letter to Twain.” Since MTP lists Sam’s reply as Feb. 15 or 16, Sam’s response precedes Twichell’s letter. Both the request and the response could have been on Feb. 16.
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
February 17 Thursday – Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
Bissell & Co. wrote to Sam, receipting him for 500 shares of Am. Exchange in Europe, enclosing the certificate [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Receipt for paid-up stock in American Exchange Europe. $5,000”
Mary Keily wrote Sam another “lunatic” letter from the Lancaster, Pa. Insane asylum. Not much sense to be relayed here but she was still sorrowful that she “was in the land of the living” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the lunatic”
February 17–March 16 Wednesday – Sometime between these dates Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister Pamela Moffett, sending Samuel Moffett’s Berkeley, California address. He noted that Sam lost the letter Clemens had sent, and had responded, “don’t ever send me anything you value” [MTP]. Note: If Sam and Livy spent a few days in New York shortly after Feb. 15 or 16, it’s likely this letter wasn’t sent as early as Feb. 17. This letter was “Embedded text in Pamela A. Moffett to Orion and Mollie Clemens, 19 March 1881.”
February 18 Friday – Joe Twichell wrote from Hartford to Sam. “All right, and I’m a thousand times obliged to you. Stevens (the Committee on Entertainment) says I had better not advertise you on Sunday, or that makes it next to impossible to keep it out of the papers. I’ll speak of it at the Monday Evening meeting. But there’ll be folks enough there, no fear of that. Governor Bigelow is going to be invited, for one. / We are all well now… [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Twichell & Warner”. Hobart B. Bigelow (1834-1891), 50th Governor of Conn.
February 19 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. He’d read rumors in the newspapers that Howells, no longer editor of the Atlantic, might be “going to Switzerland as our Minister.” He added:
“I hope it is true. Winny’s health is getting mighty bad & that country would build her up” [MTHL 1: 350n2].
Sam began a letter to Dan Slote that he finished Feb. 21. He wanted “that little sixty-dollar safe” they’d talked about. He also wanted good seats at the billiard exhibition:
“You get hold of the billiard bosses & pull strong for reserved seats; say you & I are lame & near-sighted.”
Sam had also been told of “Sneider’s last success” with brass plates, which would ultimately prove a swindle. Sam wanted to “sheathe our library walls & ceilings with the elegant brass plates” [MTP].
John Russell Young of the New York Herald wrote to Sam about a letter of Gen. Garfield’s that Gen. Grant showed him, recommending the appointment of Edward House to be Counsel General to Yokohama, Japan:
“He also, I might add, recommended me to be minister. So we were talking over the matter here. I thought it might interest you. I will write House about it.
“But keep the news confidential until we see what will come” [MTP]. Note: the letter bore a mourning border.
Smith’s Horse Shoeing House, Hartford, billed Sam $12 for toeing and sharpening done on Nov. 29, Dec. 8, 28, Jan. 19; marked paid; Hartford & Connecticut R.R. billed 50 cents for “1 box shipped”; William T. Bassett, hairdresser billed $25.50 for “Jan. 24 up to Feb. 19 for shaving & haircutting”; paid [MTP].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
February 21 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, describing at length the account of Hattie Gerhardt coming to their home, the trips to their apartment, and the ultimate decision to send them to Paris, where Karl would take lessons in his art. Sam agreed to support the Gerhardts for three years. “They will sail a week or ten days from now,” Sam wrote. The arrangement was at Livy’s urging, and it was to be kept private. Before undertaking such a pledge, Sam sought the advice of James Wells Champney (1843-1943), a skilled portrait artist, and John Quincy Adams Ward (1830-1910), sculptor and president of the National Academy of Design [MTHL 1: 350-5]. Sam also suggested that Karl Gerhardt stop and see Augustus Saint-Gaudens at his New York Studio, which Gerhardt did before departing for Europe on Mar. 5 [MTNJ 2: 358n4].
In his Autobiography, Sam clarified his motives for helping the Gerhardts:
…my connection with Gerhardt had very little sentiment in it, from my side of the house; and no romance. I took hold of his case, in the first place, solely because I had become convinced that he had it in him to become a very capable sculptor. I was not adopting a child, I was not adding a member to the family, I was merely taking upon myself a common duty—the duty of helping a man who was not able to help himself [MTA 1: 58-9].
Sam finished the letter to Dan Slote he’d begun Feb. 19.
Sam also replied to the Feb. 19 from John Russell Young.
It was mighty pleasant news, & I am glad you told it to me. Now I think Japan is going to have a chance—as good a one as we can give her through our representatives….I think it is lovely, the way General Grant conceives an idea & then sails right in & carries it out, on the spot, instead of fooling around, as the average man would. And very lovely, too, is his courteous way of listening to all sorts of people’s projects & never once laying his hand on his shot-gun [MTP].
February 22 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Hattie Gerhardt sending enclosed sheets for Karl Gerhardt to sign and return to Sam for use in sending a letter of credit for the Gerhardts at European banks. Sam wrote that he was going to Boston the next day and return Friday [MTP].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
February 23 Wednesday – Sam traveled to Boston [MTHL 1: 350, 360n3].
Robert J. Burdette wrote from Syracuse, NY., stuck in a snowstorm and unable to lecture this night in Union Springs, “where ever it is to night.” He felt Twain had “abandoned the rostrum too soon,” as this was the “boss” winter. “I am going up town to hear the Jubilee Singers”. After his signature he drew a humorous sketch of a train buried by snow.
February 24 Thursday – Sam gave a dinner speech at the Papyrus Club Dinner, Revere House, Boston, for the annual “Ladies’ Day” [Fatout, MT Speaking 148-50]. The speech was a funny account about no vacancies on a sleeping-car. Sam was given a sleeping car berth when a colored porter recognized him as a famous man. The only problem was, the porter thought Sam was “Jennul McClellan.”
Sam wrote from Boston to Dan Slote remarking on the beauty of a brass plate received, but asking about the colors. He confirmed he’d come to New York on Feb. 26 and again asked him to get reserved seats for the billiard match, if possible [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote from Hartford to Sam & Livy. “Your kind invitation just recd. We are delighted in accepting, We shall have the statue completed Saturday night. Mr. Warner thought that we had better go to N.Y. Monday—our trunks are packed, and Sunday I hope will be a day of rest…[MTP]. Long file note under the TS identifies this as “probably” a dinner invite for Friday, 25 Feb. The life sized statue, called “Startled Bather” was modeled after his wife, nicknamed “Josie.” The well-endowed shape of Mrs. Gerhardt certainly startled Clemens.
February 25 Friday – Sam gave a reading at Twichell’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church, Hartford. He wrote of this reading in his Feb. 27 letter to Howells:
“…the thing that went best of all was Uncle Remus’s Tar Baby” [MTLP 394-5].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Charles Perkins asking if he had “Mills’s agreement for Colorado.” This was a contract for Kaolatype work. Sam requested a copy [MTP].
Worden & Co. telegraphed Sam: “ Bought for your account one hundred Mo Pac Ninety six and three quarters” [MTP]. Note: Missouri Pacific at 96 & 3/4.
February 25–27 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl Gerhardt about a book and the “Probable Expenses” the Gerhardts would face in traveling to Paris, France; Sam estimated $62.30 [MTP].
February 26 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward F. Noyes (U.S. Minister to France), asking for a U.S. passport for Karl Gerhardt, as a “kindness” to himself, Charles Dudley Warner and Quincy Ward, the sculptor [MTP].
Sam also wrote a letter of introduction for Karl Gerhardt to Any U.S. Representative or Other Friend of Mine [MTP].
Western Union bill of Feb. 28 shows a message sent to New York, recipient unspecified.
John M. Hay wrote “horribly busy” from Wash. D.C. to Sam: “I have your letter of the 14th. I share your regard for House, and think the easiest way to get your views before Gen. Garfield will be to give him your letter, a testimonial of which any many might be proud. There is no question of Clarence King—he would not take it” [MTP].
February 27 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.
MY DEAR HOWELLS,—I go to West Point with Twichell tomorrow, but shall be back Tuesday or Wednesday; & then just as soon thereafter as you & Mrs. Howells & Winny can come you will find us ready & most glad to see you—& the longer you can stay the gladder we shall be. I am not going to have a thing to do, but you shall work if you want to. On the evening of March 10th, I am going to read to the colored folk in the African Church here (no whites admitted except such as I bring with me,) & a choir of colored folk will sing Jubilee songs. I count on a good time, & shall hope to have you folks there, & Livy. I read in Twichell’s chapel Friday night & had a most rattling high time—but the thing that went best of all was Uncle Remus’s Tar Baby—I mean to try that on my dusky audience. They’ve all heard that tale from childhood—at least the older members have.
I arrived home in time to make a most noble blunder—invited Charley Warner here (in Livy’s name) to dinner with the Gerhardts, & told him Livy had invited his wife by letter & by word of mouth also. I don’t know where I got these impressions, but I came home feeling as one does who realizes that he has done a neat thing for once & left no flaws or loop-holes. Well, Livy said she had never told me to invite Charley & she hadn’t dreamed of inviting Susy, & moreover there wasn’t any dinner, but just one lean duck. But Susy Warner’s intuitions were correct—so she choked off Charley, & staid home herself —we waited dinner an hour & you ought to have seen that duck when he was done drying in the oven. (The G.’s tea here tonight & leave for New York & Europe tomorrow.) MARK. [MTLP 394-5; MTHL 1: 355-7].
According to Joe Goodman’s Mar. 9, 1881 letter, Sam wrote him on this day. Evidently the letter is lost [MTP]. See Mar. 9 entry for Joe’s reply.
Sam gave one of his specially-made notebooks, to Karl Gerhardt, and inscribed the endpaper:
“This note-book is conveyed to friend Gerhardt by the hand of its inventor, the same being / S.L. Clemens / Hartford, Feb. 27, 1881. / Mem. –When you have filled a page, tear off the projecting corner — then you can always find your place instantly. This economizes time & temper. / S.L.C.”
[www.liveauctioneers.com/sothebys/item/165577; sale Jun. 19, 2003].
February 28 Monday – Through the efforts of Cadet Andrew G. “Beaut” Hammond, Hartford neighbor and member of Twichell’s congregation, Sam visited West Point with Twichell. Sam gave readings: “Clarence and Eugene,” “How I Escaped Being Killed in a Duel,” and “Cure for Stammering” [Leon 35-50; MTLP 394]. Twichell noted the event in his journal; he gave an address in the ceremonies, given by the literary society of the U.S. Military Academy:
“We reached W.P. via N.Y. at 6 o’clock pm. Dined hastily at the officers mess and repaired to the Cadets Mess Hall where the entertainment was held…. M.T. read to them in the course of the evening, as much as an hour and a half, and produced extreme delight” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Livy wrote from Hartford to Elinor Howells, “delighted” that the Howellses were planning to visit soon.
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed $7.27 for telegrams sent Feb. 3, 7, 9, 11, 15, 16, 17, 19, 22, 26, 28 all to New York [MTP]. Note: one sent this day, recipient unspecified.
J.P. Newton, Hartford, “meat, poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed $3.90 for oyster, halibut and other fish purchased Feb. 2, 4, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25; paid Mar. 4 [MTP].
New England Granite Works of Hartford billed Sam $29 for “Making cast of statue for Carl [Karl] Gerhardt; cartages”; paid [MTP].
Augustus Saint-Gaudens wrote from NYC to Sam.
My dear Mr Clemens / I couldn’t help it—I won’t do it again—Don’t be angry with me—I do remember I was to pay you a visit and I haven’t, and I should have written you sooner and I haven’t—But I give up ever …seeing anyone any more…Mrs Gaudens wants me to thank both Mrs. Clemens and yourself sincerely for your kind invitation…but it is out of the question, we are in the throes of trying to settle down here… [MTP]. Note: After his intro, Augustus drew a sketch of Twain with a sword aimed at Augustus, kneeling and crying.
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Brooklyn to ask Sam for a story [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t do it”
March – Sometime during the month Sam revived a burlesque etiquette manual he’d begun in 1879. Howells encouraged him to finish it. After nearly 100 pages, Sam abandoned the work [MTNJ 2: 398n145].
March, first half – Charles Webster, husband to niece Annie Moffett Webster, called on Sam at the Farmington Avenue house. Webster was then a delegate of the Independent Watch Co. of Fredonia, owned by the Howard brothers, searching for investors. Sam had not purchased stock by Mar. 16 (see entry) [Powers, MT A Life 451].
March 1 Tuesday – Sam and Twichell were still at West Point. From Twichell’s journal:
The next forenoon we spent several hours, under Gen. Howard’s kind conduct, in looking over the institution, and were impressed most favorably with every thing from the mathematical instruction to the equestrian exercise.
In the afternoon we attended awhile a court martial before which a cadet was on trial, and passed a half hour with “Andy” and his friends in the barracks, very pleasantly. In the evening we dined again with the officers, who treated us with great courtesy, and attended a reception by the Colonel (Sarcelle?) commanding the Cadets and his wife [Yale, copy at MTP].
This is the official date of William Dean Howells’ resignation from the Atlantic, after making a contract with James R. Osgood & Co. for a fixed salary of $7,500 for one serialized novel per year, on which he would retain copyright and give up royalties on the first 10,000 copies sold. This put his annual salary at about $10,000. Howells had not had an increase in his $5,000 salary from Houghton in the past eight years. The change allowed him freedom to travel and write where he pleased [Goodman and Dawson 212-3]. (See Feb. 2 entry.)
Fred. Kingsley, Hartford, “meats, fish, poultry & vegetables” billed $47.79 “amt bill for pass book”; Fox & Co., “fine groceries, teas, wines & segars” billed $69.18 for “Mdse as per pass book” [MTP].
Woman’s Aid Society of Hartford receipted Livy $5 for year ending Mar. 1, 1882 [MTP].
March 1 Tuesday ca. – On or about Mar. 1 – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister, Pamela Moffett about the Howard brothers issuing stock (see March, first half entry) [MTP].
Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date (see entry for others).
March 2 Wednesday – In the evening, Sam and Twichell returned home from West Point [MTP letter Mar. 3 to Anthony]. Twichell’s journal notes Sam and Joe “returned home charmed with our visit…” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Goertz Bros. “Sole agents for Lion Brewery,” Hartford, billed $7.90 for 10 & ½ doz. of pilsner beer @ .75; paid [MTP].
Augustus Saint-Gaudens wrote to advise Sam that he’d seen Gerhardt last evening and given him advice for his studio in Paris, and also referred him to Mrs. Montayne Flagg in Paris and Francis Davis Millet in NY [MTP].
Charles E.S. Wood wrote from West Point to send Sam some Academy publications. “…I know you will extract much profit from this literature without my assistance. / The men would be very glad to add your photograph—at your convenience—to the ‘Visitors Album’ ” [MTP].
March 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to A.V.S. Anthony (1835-1906), Osgood’s design director who was also an engraver.
“I don’t know what the size of the new work [P&P] will be. I suggest that it be the size & shape of ‘Sketches, Old & New’—I think Osgood approves” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Howells.
Did you get my letter telling of the blunder I made about dinner & the Warners—& asking you & Mrs. Howells & Winny to come as soon as you can & stay as long as you can spare time for? I ask because Mrs. Clemens says she kept it back from the mail to have a lot of slanders upon her knocked out of it, & she thinks it was then mislaid & lost. Ys Ever Mark [MTHL 1: 357]. Note: Evidently, Livy was the mail censor of at least some of Sam’s letters, or so he claimed.
March 4 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, enclosing a letter from Jesse M. Leathers, a distant relative of Sam’s on his mother’s side who claimed to be the “rightful earl of Durham.” Sam thought Leathers was a great source for literary grist:
Now here is my little game: I won’t have this tramp under my roof, nor on my hands; yet at the same time he is a perfectly stunning literary bonanza, & must be dug up & put on the market. You must get his entire biography out of him, & have it ready for Osgood’s new magazine [never published]. Even if it ain’t worth printing you must have it, anyway, & use it one of these days in one of your stories or in a play [MTHL 1: 358-9].
The Gerhardts sailed for Paris to study five years on Sam’s nickel [MTP letter Mar. 5 to Fairbanks].
Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date (see entry for others).
Karl & Hattie Josephine Gerhardt wrote separate notes from NYC to Sam and Livy. Hattie’s: “I love you—I love you—I love you, I love you. And, well all I can say is we will make you very, very proud of us. I will try and write you a long letter…when we reach Paris” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Mrs. Gerhardt sailing day, Mch 5, 1881”
March 5 Saturday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam and declined to follow up on Leathers’ story.
I should think the American earl’s autobiography would be delightful; but I dread to have him put in possession of my name as that of one having anything to do with his MS. While he lived, I don’t see how I could use his history; and that kind of man survives everybody. Really, it seems to me that I can’t do anything about it; and if I can’t, I suppose you want your letters back [MTHL 1: 359].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks. Mary had tried to enlist Sam’s help in obtaining the position of personal secretary to President Garfield for her son Charles Fairbanks. Sam didn’t like the idea, being the sort of position which was usually given to a personal friend of a president. He thought it a dead end:
Why, it is simply burying a man for four years!—burying him fathoms deep in obscurity & insignificance. For four years Mr. Rodgers has sat yonder in Hayes’s ante-room, like a footman, taking visitors’ cards & deciding whether they might go in at once or must cool their heels & wait their turn (he decided the latter in my case, once dang him,) & what is he now? Who knows him?—what is he good for?—& how much has his long & very peculiar service advanced him? It sums up about as follows: 000,000,000 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person. He requested copies of The Schoolmaster’s Trial by Alice Perry, Scribner & Sons (1881), and History of Modern Europe, by Charles Alan Fyffe (1845-1892), Henry Holt & Co. (1881) [MTP]. Note: The latter book is in Gribben p. 249.
George Stronach, Hartford billed 75 cents for “repair lock kitchen door”; paid May 28; Hartford & Connecticut R.R. sold Sam “1 iron safe” for $5.94 [MTP].
Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date (see entry for others).
March 7 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Howells, in a Mar. 5 letter, passed along a suggestion from Mrs. Charles Fairchild, that Sam should write a burlesque book of etiquette. Howells made the case in language which he knew would appeal to Sam:
“Such a book—150 or 200 pp. 18mo—put into the trade would go like wildfire. Think what a chance to satirize the greed, solemn selfishness and cruel dullness of society! It’s a wonderful opportunity, and you were made for it” [MTHL 1: 359].
Sam must have agreed because he asked Osgood:
“First and foremost—yes, send me a collection of etiquette books; Mrs. Fairchild’s idea is a mighty good one, I think” [MTLTP 133]. Note: About 70 pages of the manuscript for such a book survive; the book never completed. These include topics “At a Funeral” and “At a Fire.” There is also a discussion of how playing cards might be used to show delicate sentiments during courtship.
On his distant cousin, Jesse Leathers, Sam wrote:
Now here’s my American “rightful Earl of Durham,” a sort of second or third cousin of mine. If you approve my suggestion, send him $10 on account, and charge said $10 to me, of course—but after that, you and him for it. If he writes you anything worth printing you’ll probably take it and pay something for it—otherwise you’ll drop him.—I think he’ll write you a gassy, extravagant, idiotic book that will be delicious reading, for I’ve read some of his rot; and it is just the sort of windy stuff which a Kentucky tramp who has been choused out of an English earldom would write. By George I believe this ass will write a serious book which would make a cast-iron dog laugh [MTLTP 133-4].
Wallace W. Muzzy (1846-1915) wrote from Bristol, Conn. to Sam, one of six nonsensical letters he wrote to Clemens under different names. He wrote them all under his own letterhead, however, a “dealer in staple groceries, candy, tobacco, stationery, &c.” These letters may have held some puzzle, though Sam did not comment on the possibility.
S.L. Clemens, / A skillful pilot, once, you were, but see how an honest tale shall make you blush. You gave the beef contract to that clerk; I am his attorney. We mistrusted you were the scalper of Makinzie, and have been shadowing you ever since, and now you have endorsed—(Do try—ON ME.=Deuteronomy)—Reka’s $1,000,000,—my have 500,000—and you pull hemp, with Kingshorn, the State street paper firm, also, have a little acct against you. Dear Friend, be there peace between us. It was simply a question in chemistry, or algebra, but it vexes me; perhaps you would be kind enough to dissolve the puzzle=Ko1Fo2O3Ť+AgH4NO, FE2O3 Ť +4Ag
Ever your friend / W.W. Muzzy
[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “The idiots seem to be uncommonly thick…” See others from Muzzy under names: “E.U. Reka” Apr. 6, 1881; “W. Wilkins Micawber” Sept. 24, 1883; “Muzio Clemens” Sept. 25, 1884; and “W.W.M—y” Jan. 1, 1889.
March 8 Tuesday – Saloman & DeLeeuw, Hartford tobacco dealers, billed Sam $2.50 for corn cob pipes and Blackwell’s Durham tobacco; marked paid [MTP].
March 9 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to A.V.S. Anthony.
“Please let the artist always picture the Prince & Tom Canty as lads of 13 or 14 years old. I knew I was making them too wise & knowing for their real age, so I studiously avoided mentioning any dates which would remind the reader that they were under 10 years old” [MTP].
Joe Goodman answered Sam’s Feb. 27letter. Joe was now in Fresno, trying to grow grapes. After relating details to jog Sam’s memory about one Ned Fairman—Falstaff’s visit to Shallow, Clements’ Inn, Jennie Tyler’s, Charley Thorne—all of the “drinking days” of San Francisco, Joe disclosed his current endeavor:
I got busted in San Francisco—dead broke. Mackay (who owns half of the Enterprise) offered to buy the other half and give it to me; but I saw no profit in it,—Virginia City will soon be as desolate a place as Baalbec,—and, besides, my health was too poor to undertake literary work; so I borrowed $4,000 from Mackay and have started in to vine-growing in this region. I don’t know how it will turn out—and don’t care much. …
Joe also wrote of old friends:
Denis McCarthy has been the proprietor of the Virginia Evening Chronicle for six or seven years, and has done well with it…Denis is one of the truest and best men I ever met.
Steve Gillis, I fear, is sort of going to the dogs. He has two children living—his wife died five or six years ago. Two years ago he could have cleared up $60,000 or $80,000 out of Sierra Nevada; but he neglected the opportunity and is penniless now. Moreover I hear he has taken to drink, and has had the delerium tremens once or twice. He was on the Enterprise last I heard.
Dan de Quille grows venerable on the Enterprise. He went to the dogs once, but one of his daughters—one of the most charming women I ever met—came out and redeemed him, and watches over him like a guardian angel…
Jerry Driscoll, you know…died five or six years ago. He was worth about half a million, but felt himself a beggar.
[Charles A.V.?] Putnam is still on the Enterprise, aged and addicted to Bourbon, and vowing vengeance to everyone, but showing gentleness to all.
Frank Mayo—God bless him as one of the few true men in the world—was on the coast a year ago. He told me of your meeting in London, etc.
I am extra lonely just now. We can get no suitable servant, and Mrs. Goodman has gone to San Francisco in search of one [MTP].
March 9? Wednesday – Sam telegraphed Dan Slote, seeking “Beck’s opinion of the Twain-Snyder [Sneider] plates.” Was the usefulness of the brass-plate invention doubtful? Reference to this telegram is found in Sam’s Mar. 16 letter to Dan [MTBus 151]. Beck was a wallpaper manufacturer and a potential customer for Kaolatype cylinders [MTNJ 2: 391n115].
March 9 or 10 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, sending a paragraph citing a “rumor” that Osgood & Co. contemplated “the issue of a Cyclopedia of Humor, with Mark Twain or W.D. Howells (& possibly both,) to do the compiling & editing.” Sam asked Osgood to see if the paragraph was acceptable to Howells. Sam felt it best not to ask Howells directly [MTP].
March 10 Thursday – Sam gave a reading at the “African Church” (A.M.E. Zion Church, Pearl St., Hfd.) in Hartford. He included Uncle Remus’s “Tar Baby” (see Feb. 27 entry to Howells). Paine on Sam’s interactions with black folks:
“Clemens would go out of his way any time to grant favor to the colored race. His childhood associations were partly accountable for this, but he also felt that the white man owed the negro a debt for generations of enforced bondage. He would lecture any time in a colored church, when he would as likely as not refuse point-blank to speak for a white congregation. Once, in Elmira, he received a request, poorly and none too politely phrased, to speak for one of the churches. He was annoyed and about to send a brief refusal, when Mrs. Clemens, who was present, said”:
“I think I know that church, and if so this preacher is a colored man; he does not know how to write a polished letter—how should he?” Her husband’s manner changed so suddenly that she added:
“I will give you a motto, and it will be useful to you if you will adopt it: Consider every man colored until he is proved white” [MTLP 394].
Put-In-Bay Island Wine Co., Ohio billed Sam $15.80 for ½ bbl, 24 gallons red wine; paid Mar. 21 [MTP].
March 11 Friday – Frank M. Wilson & Co. “Tailors and Gent’s Furnishers,” Bridgeport, Conn. billed Sam $96.00 for “2 Eng silk lined Sack suits” [MTP].
March 12 Saturday – R.P. Kenyon & Co., New York, billed $4 to Sam for “1 silk hat for coachman del to McLear” (Patrick McAleer); paid Mar. 18 [MTP].
Mary Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland, “just home,” and found his letter waiting, which had “not miffed” her “in the least.” She’d spent “Thursday night and Friday in Elmira, and you and Livy’s ears must have burned…for we talked of you till my throat failed me” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From ‘Mother’ Fairbanks / About 1881 / Imp”
A.V.S. Anthony wrote from Boston to send two drawings, “Off at Court,” and “Canty & the Priest.” He felt Tom was a bit young perhaps [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Prince & Pauper / First 2 pictures / Anthony”
Charles E.S. Wood wrote to Clemens printed enclosure re: court martial of Cadet Private Victor P. Richardson enclosure. His sin was allowing members of his section to talk in ranks. “When your request to know the result of the Cadet trial was received the order was not published. / The next day I left for Baltimore…” The Cadet was dismissed from the service, then the verdict was reversed and he was returned to duty [MTP].
March 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Ulysses S. Grant, to thank him for his influence in saving the Chinese Educational Mission in Hartford, a work close to the heart of Joe Twichell, and underway since 1872. Several Chinese students in the mission had been ordered home to China, due to “bureaucratic squabbling and a growth of anti-Western sentiment.” (See Dec. 24, 1880 entry.)
This achievement of yours is a most strange thing to contemplate. Without exaggeration of phrase or fact, it can be said that from No. 81 in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, you, an unofficial citizen of this republic, have changed the procedure of an empire on the other side of the globe. The Viceroy of China was in a minority in his Government, as concerns this matter; but it is plain that you and he together constitute a majority [Stark 36].
Saloman & DeLeeuw, Hartford tobacco dealers, billed Sam $6.50 for 12 doz. corn cob pipes; marked paid. Why did Sam need so many?; A.J. Hopkins, Hartford, billed $3 for “dentistry 2 horses”; paid [MTP]. The Mar. 22 bill from Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. shows a telegram sent to Boston on this date, recipient unspecified (see entry). Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to Elmira on this date, recipient unspecified (see entry).
March 16 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister, Pamela Moffett.
To-day we bought Mr. Chamberlain’s [Franklin Chamberlin (1821-1896) Hartford attorney] greenhouse & 100 feet of land adjoining our east line (to stop Mr. C. from building a dwelling house there); we have also set architect & builder to work to tear down our kitchen & build a bigger one; & at the same time the decorators will decorate the walls & ceilings of our whole lower floor.
Now also I am putting up a building in New York for my brass-casting works (Twain-Sneider patent.)—These things, taken together, require quite a generous pile of money—added to which, high-priced artists & engravers are already at work on my new book (which I am going to issue at my sole & heavy expense & take all the profit myself—if any.) Wherefore, much as I like the watch-making scheme, I’ve got to stay out of it, for the reason that the enterprises above mentioned are going to call for the most of our ready money [MTBus 150-51].
Powers lists the costs for the above plans: walls and ceilings, metal leaf designed by Tiffany & Co., $5,000; rebuilding and twenty-foot extension of the kitchen, $4,000; additional strip of land, $12,000; production costs for The Prince and the Pauper, $10,000 [MT A Life 448-50]. Not itemized was the New York building, which was never built. Webster [MTBus] adds that Sam “got into the ‘watch-making scheme’ eventually, either by taking over his sister’s stock or by buying some himself. It was a Fredonia enterprise and the stock was sold all around the town” . Powers claims Sam purchased $5,000 worth of stock in the watch investment .
Sam also wrote to Dan Slote, relating how his purchase of Chamberlin’s land strip depended on the progress with the brass-stamping process. Dan had sent impressions made from the process and they arrived while the family was at breakfast. “Well, the land is mine, now, & he has gone down town to draw up the deed!” [MTBus 151].
Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date, recipient unspecified (see entry for others).
R.R. Morris, pastor & Eldred E. Asher, President & Vincent E. Davis, Secy. wrote to acknowledge Sam’s gift of $78 “towards the liquidation of he debt of the $2500, due our church,” and to thank him for “your estimable and valuable service rendered us on last Thursday evening at our place of worship” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “ “African church” / Mch 16/81 / A.M.E. Zion Ch / Pearl St., Hfd.”
March 17 Thursday – Wm. Hudner, Hartford merchant billed Sam $22 for Mar. 17; May $27, June $29.70 for undecipherable purchases [MTP].
Thomas A. Davis pastor (& cousin of R.R. Morris above) wrote from Trenton to ask Clemens for a donation of $125 [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote from Paris, Hotel De Saxe to Sam and Livy. They’d arrived at 5 p.m. and were staying in this hotel as recommended by Mrs. Millet. The voyage was tedious as the sea was violent and they could not go on deck for the first seven days [MTP].
March 18 Friday – A.J. Glazier, Hartford “real estate and loan agent” receipted Sam $150 “on purch of lot from chamberlain” [MTP].
March 19 Saturday – Susy Clemens’ ninth birthday.
Wm. T. Bassett, hairdresser, billed Sam $20 “From Feb. 1 up to Mar. 19 shaving & haircuts” [MTP].
March 21 Monday – The New York Times reported under “Literary Notes” on page 3:
—It is rumored that James R. Osgood & Co. have engaged Mark Twain to prepare a “Cyclopedia of Humor”
Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date (see entry for others).
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy with news of finding suitable rooms to occupy on Apr. 9, and of entering the art school in another week [MTP].
March 22 Tuesday – N.Y., New Haven & Hartford R.R. billed Sam $2.31 for “transporting ½ bbl wine”; paid; Atlantic & Pacific Telegraph Co. billed $1.22 for telegrams: Mar. 15 to Boston, Mar. 22 to N.Y. [MTP].
March 23 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the American Publishing Co., asking that his “several books” be sent to “Joseph T. Goodman, Fresno City, Cal.” [MTP].
March 24 Thursday – William Bryan, Jr., proprietor wrote from Branford, Conn. with details on rooms at the Montowese House [MTP].
March 26 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood on sales figures and press releases for Tramp [MTLTP 135].
Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote from Paris to Sam and Livy. She’d started four letters but felt they were “so badly written” that she would not send them. She’d read their letters over and cried, so homesick she was. She suggested they send their pictures which might help. She mentioned the rough weather on the voyage. It had taken Karl a long time to find out about the Beaux Arts School and who he’d be studying under, but next week would find him hard at work [MTP].
March 27 Sunday – Conard J. Warren wrote a begging letter for a distressed lady from Washington DC. Sam noted, “Never heard of him before” on the env. [MTP].
March 28 Monday – N. Nott of Hartford billed Sam $11.40 for 146 feet of wood, paid [MTP]. Western Union bill for Mar. 31 shows a telegram to New York on this date (see entry for others).
March 30 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood thanking him for books sent and requesting another. About Jesse Leathers’ manuscript:
Howells don’t seem to have no taste. The Earl’s literary excrement charmed me like Fanny Hill. I just wallowed in it. I do not think you ought to publish it yourself, but I do think you ought to use your influence with Aldrich. —But you never will. You are as dainty and effeminate as Howells; so I know perfectly well that you will simply urinate on the Earl’s MS and send it back to him without other comment. It is what Howells used to do with poems of sentiment when I sent him any. Truly Yrs S L Clemens [MTLTP 136].
March 31 Thursday – In Hartford Sam, soured on the brass-engraving process, wrote two letters to Dan Slote:
I hope that before April is over we shall see palpable & demonstrable (not theoretic & imaginative) reasons for going on; but my hopes are not high—they have had a heavy jolt. I feel pretty sore & humiliated when I think over the history of the past few months. The book I was at work on & intended to rush through in two months’ time [Huck Finn], is standing still. One can’t write a book unless he can banish perplexities & put his whole mind on it. However, that “goes without saying,” as they say the French say [MTBus 152].
Powers declares that “Slote really was a ‘sinner’” who fleeced Sam. If so, Sam was not yet aware of it as he wrote Dan that “we must get up our pluck, Dan—but let it be on the basis of demonstrated fact, this time” . The culprit in Sam’s mind at this time was Charles Sneider (see May 6 entry).
Sam’s second letter is a short paragraph about Slote paying $100 for a memorandum book that Sam had invented, “a full $100 more than it was worth.” Sam could document use of it with dates and by the witness of “an Episcopal Clergyman located on the Continent” so that “Whoever ventures to work under this American patent will need to move with some caution” [MTP].
A.D. Vorce & Co. “picture & looking glass frames, oil paintings” etc., Hartford billed Sam $132.50 for Mar. 10 purchase of (9) etchings, 1 brown tea pot; Mar. 25 cloisonné jar, vase; paid Apr. 2; J.P. Newton, “meat poultry, game, fish & vegetables” billed $7.93 for beef, fish, oysters purchased Mar. 2, 4, 8, 11, 16, 18, 23, 25, 30; paid Apr. 2 [MTP].
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed Sam $5.04 for “12 msgs deliv by phone in Feb”; and March telegrams on Mar. 1, 4, 5, 16, 21, 28 to N.Y.; Mar. 15 to Elmira; paid [MTP].
April – Before Apr. 29, Sam hired his niece’s husband, Charles Luther Webster to take over dealings in the Kaolatype and brass ventures. Webster was 29, a civil engineer and real estate man in Fredonia. Sam realized he couldn’t see to the business details of his investments and give his writing the focus needed. (See Apr. 29 entry.) Webster worked at 104 Fulton Street in New York [MTBus 157]. Within a week of hire, Webster detected evidence of fraud by Slote and Sneider [Powers, MT A Life 452].
April 1 Friday – Bills/Receipts/Statements from Hartford merchants:
Sykes & Newton, chemists and druggists, $5 for Jan. 3 purchase, paid Apr. 9; Fox & Co., “fine groceries, teas, wines & segars” $57.04 “to Mdse as per pass book”, paid Apr. 9; Seyms & Co., $1.75 “one bot v oil” on Mar. 17, paid Apr. 5; Connecticut Telephone Co., $25 “extra extension bell” Mar. 1 to Apr. 1 rental, service April to July 1; Western Union Telegraph Co. $2 for April (messages not specified), paid May 4; William H. Bulkeley, dry goods $178.87 for two pages of items purchased Jan. 5 to Mar. 31; Haynes & Simmons, “fine boots, shoes & rubbers” $19.95 for misc. heels, dressings, repairs Feb. 3, 14, 16, Mar. 14, paid Apr. 2; H.O. Griswold $4 for “1 bbl apples, 3 bushels apples”; J.G. Rathbun & Co., druggists & chemists $63.23, for long list of items, including 500 cigars for $22.50, bunion plasters, rat exterminator, Pond’s extract, deutine, etc., paid Apr. 9; Wm. Roberts, harnesses, saddles, etc. $2.90 misc. parts, paid Apr. 5; Fred. Kingsley, “meats, fish, poultry & vegetables” $50.04 “bill rendered by passbook”; Smith, Northam & Robinson, feedstore $28.37 for meal, shorts?, hay, oats Jan. 27, Feb. 5, Mar. 2, paid Apr. 5 [MTP].
Ulysses S. Grant wrote two letters from Galvesgton, Texas to Sam. In the first he enclosed a note to show Yung Wing (not in file) to be forwarded to Li Hung Chang. He apologized for not reading Sam’s letter when it came; if he had read it he would have “arranged a meeting.” In his 2nd letter, Grant wrote the Chinese “have nothing to fear from the United States in the way of interference in their home affairs.” He explained how the US would treat Eastern countries differently than Europeans [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From Gn. Grant. / 2 letters on the vast Chinese business”
Jesse M. Leathers wrote from NYC that Osgood had refused his 12,000 word MS, an autobiography [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s Mar. 4 to Howells. MTHL 358 also Sam to Osgood Mar 30.
April 2 Saturday – Sam purchased “one Singer Sewing Machine #3321714” from Singer Manufacturing Co., Hartford, for $40 [MTP].
James R. Osgood wrote from Boston to Sam about “a letter from [H.N.] Hinckely, [sic Hinckley] the Chicago man, and have replied to him that ‘a Handbook of Etiquette’ would be a trade-book, that the ‘Cyclopedia of Humor’ would not be published for a considerable time—(by the way, have you heard from Gebbie yet?)” [MTP]. See Apr. 4.
April 4 Monday – Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram sent this date to New York, recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
H.N. Hinckley, Chicago publisher, wrote to Clemens, alerting him to a man selling reprints of Canadian pirated books of Mark Twain. Hinckley enclosed “an advert. [not in file] that has appeared in several of the Western Weeklies during the past two weeks.” He’d talked to Mr. Sprague and discovered a lot of piracy was going on from Canada due to a loophole in the law. “If your attorney can see any way of stopping the business here [I] should be pleased to cooperate with him” [MTP]. File note: “See James, TL to SLC 15 Apr 1881 40755 this letter attached to James.” See insert. G.H. Sprague advertising “A $3.50 book for 50c: Mark Twain’s Tramp Abroad, Innocents Abroad, etc.”
Saloman & De Leeuw, Hartford tobacconists wrote to advise Clemens they’d rec’d 300 of Seiderberg’s Key West cigars, which they now offered at $7.30 per 100 [MTP].
April 4 to 7 Thursday – Sam and Joe Twichell took a trip to Brooklyn to visit “dear Sage” [Dean Sage]. Twichell noted in his journal that he’d “Caught a bad cold…” [Yale, copy at MTP].
April 6 Wednesday – Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram this date to and from Ft. Hamilton (Brooklyn), recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
Edward Duffy wrote from Utica, NY to ask Clemens’ advice for a little book describing the country home of Horatio Seymour (1810-1886), twice Governor of NY and loser in the 1868 election of Grant [MTP].
Wallace W. Muzzy, Bristol, Conn. grocer wrote another puzzling crank letter to Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ans”; File note: “See also Muzzy to SLC 7 March 1881.”
April 7 Thursday – Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram sent this date to New York, recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
E. Muchall wrote to Clemens asking for “a few lines” from him. Muchall wrote for a religious paper in NY but the “remuneration is so small I do not care to waste my time” [MTP].
Charles L. Webster wrote from NYC to advise that he’d gone to the county court house and got a list of creditors with residence amounts, etc. “I have not seen Slote.” He also wrote of wood cuts obtained and of sand at Providence that was finer than the Windsor Locks sand. He as at the Astor House, “where can I find you?” [MTP]. Note: the sand was likely for the Kaolatype process.
April 8 Friday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Frank Bliss, the first receipting a royalty check for $630.56 for the sale of “old books” which Sam felt was “Very good, indeed, in spite of the weather.” The second note asked for a cloth Tramp book to be sent to H. L. Joachimsen [MTP]. Note: Joachimsen had sent several district census figures to Orion back in July 1863 and in 1899 would be a prosecuting attorney in San Francisco.
Sam also wrote to the US Post Office Department, Wash. D.C. letter not extant but referred to in a reply by Thomas L. James, Postmaster General on Apr. 15. Sam enclosed Hinckley’s letter and clippings. See entry.
John Russell Young wrote from NYC to Sam having rec’d a letter from Gen. Grant in Galveston. “He was about to sail.—He will undoubtedly write you on the Li matter.—I do not want to write Li [Hung Chang] until I see the General’s letter as it is important that the [illegible word] shall be in time” [MTP]. Note: Chinese mission students.
Sam also replied to John Russell Young, “The General [Grant] was up to time, with military promptness.” Sam had rushed Grant’s letter to Yung Wing (about saving Hartford’s Chinese Mission) and requested Wing send a copy to Young. “(Damn such a pen as this)” [MTP].
West Hartford Ice & Pressed Brick Co. billed Sam $16.95 for Jan. 2,100 lbs, Feb. 2,205 lbs, Mar. 2,475 lbs: total 6,780 lbs @ 25 cents per [MTP].
April 9 Saturday – Yung Wing wrote from Wash. D.C. having rec’d Grant’s letter to Li Hung Chang and two letters from Grant to Clemens. He had forwarded copies to John Russell Young and to Edward House [MTP].
April 10 Sunday – Karl Gerhardt wrote from Paris to Sam and Livy about his entrance into and positive experience in the Ecole des Beaux Arts [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote from Fresno to Clemens.
“Dear Mark—/ A cartload of packages came, the other day, which I supposed were public documents, but Mrs. Goodman discovered them to be a complete set of your works. … I could have wept for exceeding joy had not years of disuse rendered my tear-ducts somewhat callous….I know of no terms in which I could satisfactorily thank you.” He thought TA was ‘a capital work”. He rec’d a letter 3 days ago from Sam with pictures of the children—“what a lovely group they are!” [MTP].
Mary Keily finished her Apr. 9 letter to Sam; as before, incoherent from the Lancaster Insane Asylum [MTP].
April 11 Monday – Sam began a letter (in Hartford) to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt which he completed Apr. 19.
Next time you start four letters to us, Mrs. G., let them come along—never mind about their being badly written—they’ll find plenty of company in our mail. And then one must remember that the badder a body writes a letter the more naturalness & absence of artifice there’ll be in it—& these are by odds the most valuable virtues a letter can have. It will be worth a ton of diamonds to you to treasure up that little fact, Madam, & not forget it [MTP].
Mary Mason Fairbanks wrote from Cleveland to Sam about her daughter Mollie headed for NY and possibly a visit to the Clemenses. Mollie was a bit shy but she advised Sam to break right through that and “make her one of the family”; to give her to Susy and Clara [MTP].
April 12 Tuesday – A.G. Newman, burglar alarms, NYC wrote to Sam. “Referring to enclosed Statements of a/c would say that with your permission I propose drawing on you for the Amt $222.46 on the 22nd inst., when I trust you will find it convenient and agreeable to honor the same, and greatly oblige” [MTP].
April 13 Wednesday – Laura C. Redden Searing (1839-1923; pseudonym: “Howard Glyndon”) wrote from Sherwood, NY to ask Sam for coaching about subscription publishing [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Howard Glyndon Poetess”; not in Gribben.
April 14 Thursday – Emma E. Brewster wrote a postcard from Kingston, NY to ask Clemens how he pronounced his name, Clē–mens or Clĕm-ens? [MTP].
Jane Grey Swisshelm wrote from Hyde Park, Illinois to thank Sam for pictures sent, and to relate her difficulties in sitting 20 times in hope of a good portrait for a frontispiece in her book [MTP].
April 15 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss. Sam had lost Hinckley’s address and asked Bliss to:
“…drop Hinckley a line & say the Postmaster General has responded favorably…therefore he can notify that fellow to retire from the pirate-book trade” [MTP]. See insert.
Sam also wrote a short note to A.G. Newman agreeing to a date that he would help Newman “advertise your burglar alarm” [MTP]. Note: this was drafted on the back of Solomon’s Apr. 4 note.
Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram sent this date to New York, recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
Thomas L. James (1831-1916) Postmaster General wrote from Wash. D.C. to reply to Sam’s of Apr. 8, not extant, Hinckley Apr. 4 enclosed to return.
Dear Sir: / I duly received your favor of the 8th inst. with its enclosure, respecting the transmission through our mails of Canadian re-prints of American books, published in that country in violation of copyrights granted by the United States, and in reply would say, that having referred to the Assistant Attorney General for this Department the question whether such re-prints of American books are entitled to circulation in the mails of the United States, that officer has advised me that under the provision of the Act of March 3, 1879, Sec. 15, 20 Statutes, page 359, a publication which violates any copyright granted by the United States is non-mailable.
I have accordingly made an order amending the regulations of this Department by including in the classification of unmailable matter “any publication which violates any copyright…” [MTP]. Note: enclosed clipping in the 15 Apr letter file announces an order by the postmaster general “declaring all publications issued in violation of copyrights granted by the United States unmailable matter”—see insert:
April 16 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mollie Fairbanks, asking for the date of her visit and the train she’d be on so he might be at the station to meet her [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Laura C. Redden Searing, who wrote on Apr. 13, seeking advice on subscription book-selling. Sam advised:
“…to take a royalty—not less than 5 per cent of retail price of the book—& of course as much more as the publisher will pay. / When books are sold outright to publishers, somebody always gets hurt. It is not usually the publisher” [MTP].
Wm. T. Bassett, hairdresser, billed $20 for shaving & haircutting from “Mar. 21 up to Apr. 16” [MTP].
April 17 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about Osgood and questions of the contemplated Library of Humor, about being pressed to finish his novel, A Modern Instance, being serialized in the Century Magazine; and about another proposed work for Sam, an etiquette book [MTHL 1: 361-2].
April 18 Monday – Charles Webster wrote from Fredonia that it would take him until Saturday to “arrange his affairs,” then he could stay longer when he came. He related judgments about Slote’s employee, Robb, “who was a good designer & engraver and understands his business.” He also related experiments with Kaolatype, using an iron plate and a glass plate. He was getting familiar with Sam’s various business interests, so he might take them over [MTP].
April 19 Tuesday – Sam completed the Apr. 11 letter to the Gerhardts by adding a paragraph about Livy being too busy to add to his letter [MTP].
Howells wrote from Boston to Sam on Apr. 17. Howells had talked to Osgood, who told him that he and Clemens were “about to strike a bargain” on the Library of Humor. Howells had agreed while visiting Sam, but now felt he couldn’t give it more than an hour a day, since he was working on his novel, A Modern Instance, which would run serialized in Century Magazine beginning in December.
“Why don’t you go on with the Etiquette Book, and let the L. of H. [Library of Humor] rest awhile? I don’t want to give it up; but I don’t want to begin it till the way is clearer to me” [MTHL 1: 360-2].
Sam responded from Hartford on Apr. 19:
“Good idea! That is exactly what we will do: “leave the time blank.” That is sensible; I wonder you ever thought of it. If you were not married, I should believe you did think of it. Anyway, it is sound, it is wisdom.” Note: Sam eventually hired Charles Hopkins Clark, managing editor of the Hartford Courant, to help Howells with the Library of Humor, which wasn’t published until 1888 and wasn’t a commercial success [MTHL 1: 364n1top].
H.N. Hinckley, Chicago publisher wrote to Sam about the Canadian reprint piracies. Sam’s report of the Postmaster General’s ruling “seems to have been favorably received.” He enclosed a handwritten copy of the order in case he’d not seen it [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The new pirate P.O. regulation”
April 21 Thursday – Clement T. Rice wrote from Brooklyn to ask Sam for his endorsement to be used in securing a position in the customs house [MTP].
April 22 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Francis Augustus Teall (1822-1894). Francis was one of the most distinguished proofreaders of his time. He was associated with Appleton Publishing House. He had charge of the Proof Department of their Encyclopedia. He was Assistant Editor of the Century Dictionary published in 1889. Sam confirmed a paragraph listing and dating the titles of six of his prior books, and added he had “a book in press, but it wouldn’t be out till November” [MTP].
Sam paid a bill dated Apr. 21 to F.W. Christern, New York importer of foreign books, for Wilhelm Scherer’s Volkslieder and Christoph von Schmid’s Genovefa and an unidentified work Weihnacht Abend (Christmas Eve) [Gribben 605, 607, 754].
April 23 Saturday – Wm. Hudton, Hartford billed $31.05 for 2,300 lbs., “hay & weighing” [MTP].
Karl & Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote from Paris to Sam and Livy with details of their expenses since arriving in France. Hattie was taking French lessons, and Karl was hard at work on his art school projects [MTP].
April 26 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.
“All right. The reasons why Kaolatype hasn’t paid, seem to be very simple. But I think you will make it pay. You will remember I gave Sneider a week’s grace—let his wages cease with that” [MTP].
Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram sent this date to New York, recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
Charles Webster wrote from the Astor House, NYC to Sam. He hadn’t yet found a boarding house but would “in a day or two.” As to the Kaolatype business, “Sneider has been booming away casting plates & pulling the wool over Slote’s eyes magnificently. He telegraphed S. Today, ‘I have just made several splendid plates.’ Slote hasn’t seen one of the operations but Sneider was going to get affidavits. As soon as I can find Sneider I will stop this farce” [MTP]. Note: Sneider and Slote had been engaged in a fraud.
April 27 Wednesday – Hartford and New York Steamboat Co. billed $1.50 for “1 box plants from Elmira; Apr. 25 from NY, Lake Eire & Western RR” [MTP].
Western Union Telegraph Co. bill of Apr. 30 shows telegram sent this date to Brooklyn, recipient not specified (see that entry for others).
April 28 Thursday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to the A.V.S. Anthony, that he would:
“…hand that book to Osgood, when he comes, & he can take it to Boston; if it is too bulky, I guess we’ll tear out that particular fac-simile & let him take that” [MTP].
April 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.
This is to confirm to you the complete authority over Kaolatype & its concerns already vested in you. You will take entire control of the property & employes of the Company; you will hire whom you please, discharge whom you please; all moneys received & disbursed must pass through your hands, & you will be held responsible. No money of the Company is to be paid out in any circumstances without your distinct authority [MTBus 152].
Sam also wrote to John Russell Young extolling the virtues of a certain typesetting machine:
“They have been building it & improving it & tinkering at it for several years at Colt’s factory, & have finally got it right. I never saw such an inspired bugger of a machine…A man who owns a newspaper can’t look at this creature unmoved” [MTP]. Note: Sam would be “moved” out of $200,000.
April 30 Saturday – Mrs. Gilbert of Hartford billed $54 for “36 lessons in German from Mar. 21 to May 1”; paid [MTP]. Note: Four different Mrs. Gilbert’s are listed in the 1875 City Directory.
Western Union Telegraph Co. billed $4.33 for telegrams sent Apr. 4, 7, 15, 26 to N.Y., Apr. 27 to Brooklyn; Apr. 6 to and from Ft. Hamilton; J.P. Newton, “meat poultry, game, fish & vegetables” Hartford, billed $11.32 for various fish and seafood, paid May 3 [MTP].
Martha G. Gray (Mrs. David Gray) wrote to Sam, relating the receipt of P&P back on Jan. 1, and her guess that “the great and good David” had still not acknowledged it. Martha had been too busy to write before now as she had a baby girl on Jan. 23. She asked Sam to write a letter “commending the enterprise” of a school paper for the daughter of her friend [MTP]. Note: Livy wrote on the env., “Answered”
April 30 Saturday ca. – Charles Webster went to Hartford and spent the night at the Clemens home [MTP; May 2 letter from Sam to his mother].
May 1 Sunday – Sam wrote three letters from Hartford to Webster, explaining that he considered the $5,000 loan to Slote, three days before Slote, Woodman & Co. failed, to be a debt of honor, and that “Slote should have antedated the firm’s note to the beginning of 1878 so that Clemens could get full payment of the debt” [MTNJ 2: 392-3n119; MTP].
Matt H. Hewins, Hartford, billed Sam $39 for set of billiard balls, repaired cues [MTP].
May 2 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster:
“Let Dan furnish money to pay bills with, just as long as he will” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens , and sister, Pamela Moffett, that there was “nothing new to report.” He noted that “Charley Webster was here a day or two ago, & staid the night.” Sam related plans to go to the shore near New Haven (at Indian Neck) about June 1 and then on to Quarry Farm around Aug. 1. They hoped to take the baby to visit them then [MTP].
Board of Water Commissioners, Hartford, billed Sam $24 for Nov. 1, 1880 to May 1, 1881 at $48 per annum; Goerz Bros., “Sole agents for Lion Brewery” billed Sam $9.25 for “12 doz and 4 bottles of pilsner beer”; paid; Fox & Co., fine groceries, billed $63.16 “to Mdse as per pass book” paid May 9; Seyms & Co. billed $3.50 for Apr. 5, 14: “1 bot v oil”; paid [MTP].
May 3 Tuesday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Hartford to Charles Webster, asking if there wasn’t a payment to be made on the Watch stock before May 10 [MTP].
May 4 Wednesday – Charles Webster wrote a postcard sized note to Sam that his letters came daily but he had been too busy to answer them. “I have a good deal to tell you & will try to write tomorrow. I saw Sneider yesterday, he refuses to show me the experiment.” He also made Slote pay up [MTP].
May 5 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens that Dan Slote was “either a knave or a fool” and that he was in cahoots with Sneider to “bleed” Clemens [MTNJ 2: 353]. Note: replied May 6.
Emerson O. Stevens (1865-1900) Wrote from Cleveland, Ohio
Mr. Twain,—Dear Sir:
Perhaps you will excuse me for writing you, when I tell you that for the last three years, although unknown to myself, you have been one of my physicians. A physician certainly ought not take offense at hearing from one of his patients.
For the last three years I have been confined to the house with paralysis of the lower limbs, nearly two years of the time having been unable to walk. Now that I am somewhat better, I wish to thank you for the pleasure which your writings have given me. I firmly believe that the good solid laughs I have had over them, have done me more good than all the medicine I have taken. And if it be a comfort to know that you have helped a boy pass three dreary years of illness, may that comfort be yours. / Respectfully yours, / Emerson O. Stevens [MTP]. Note: Steven would become an English professor at Adelbert College in Cleveland.
May 5 or 12? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mary Mason Fairbanks, informing her that he’d just returned from “shipping Mollie northward.” Mollie’s visit was about one week, judging from this letter and Sam’s Apr. 16 letter. Sam said that, as the French say, “it goes without saying” that Mollie had been a good girl.
“Mr. Whitmore was here the other night, & he & Livy & Mollie & I had a game of logomachy [a word combination game]—however none of these people beat” [MTP].
May 6 Friday – Sam had initially hired Charles Webster to take charge of the Kaolatype investment, but he soon became a general business manager. Samuel Webster writes: “Mark Twain started at once to unload instructions, plans, and bright ideas onto his new helper. After several letters dealing with the reorganization of Kaolatype and schemes for getting back some of the money loaned to Slote we find Uncle Sam busy with plans for sending that young genius Sneider to jail” [MTBus 153].
In Hartford Sam replied to the May 5 from Webster:
All right—am mailing that letter to Slote. For our lawyer’s information, I will state that in it I propose to “arrest Sneider on a charge of obtaining money under false pretenses,” & ask Slote if he is willing to bear one half the expenses of the suit. —adding, that he ought really to bear a larger proportion than that, because if he had stood to his part of the agreement & run the business himself, instead of taking Sneider’s word for everything, the transparent swindle would have been detected long ago & the outlay stopped.
Sam claimed that Sneider took the $5,000 and $150 a month with a lie that he’d invented a new process, when in actuality he’d only worked by “old methods—& at the same time not succeeding with them” [MTBus 153-4]. Samuel Charles Webster, Charles Webster’s son, makes the point in Mark Twain Businessman that his father had been in charge but one week and already Sam was starting a lawsuit .
Sam also wrote again to Laura C. Redden Searing, who’d followed up her first note with a host of questions about working with a publisher, on a similar book to Sam’s Cyclopedia of Humor. Sam advised her to begin at ten per cent royalty (on the retail price), and then see if the publisher counter-offers.
“One more item for your private information: If your publisher pays you 10 per cent—say 35 cents per copy—he will still clear about 75 cents a copy himself. Ask me further, if you wish to—I will tell you whatever I can” [MTP]. See Apr. 16 entry.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: “I have found as I expected that Raub’s accounts are short” involving bills strung out to the Kaolatype effort. “I have no confidence in Raub’s honesty but we had better keep him until we can fill his place” [MTP].
May 7 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster. His opinion of Slote had, by this time, gone completely dark.
Dear Charley— / The fact that we are into Dan near $900, reconciles me to the other things. He must never have a cent of that while he lives.
Come up here Monday—we can get through our talk before 6 P.M.—I leave then, for South Manchester [Conn.] to be gone till midnight.—or, come Tuesday, if you prefer.
While you are here you must buy my scrapbook patent of me. Do not forget this.
I enclose $500—mainly to pay superannuated bills with, maybe.
You must run across McLaughlin, some time, & have a talk with him. He can tell some things, I guess [MTBus 155].
Note: South Manchester was where the Cheney brothers founded their silk mill; it was also the site of many paper mills. Sam’s business might have been with either, but after business hours would suggest the business was personal.
Sam also wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, discussing desired payment on some sort of magazine article. “…any rate you can beguile these people out of, above $20 a page, will be entirely satisfactory to me.” This was the page rate Howells gave Sam for the first story accepted in the Atlantic Monthly. Sam added,
“Now you said you wanted a letter of mine to frame. All right—just hang this one up; for it ain’t a screed exhibiting a man’s literary gait that you want for such a purpose, but a screed which will exhibit his moral lay-out” [MTP].
James Ahern, “practical plumber and gas fitter” Hartford, billed Sam $36.67 for long list of plumbing work, paid this date, no date on bill [MTP]. Note: Ahern often billed for work done many weeks or months before.
May 9 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt. After going on about how he liked the way they kept their finances, Sam admitted, “I am not as business-like, myself, as I ought to be—consequently I peculiarly detest the like thing in others.” Sam told of plans to go to the “Sound-side near New Haven about June 1st” and his hope that Paris would not be as “wintry & hideous as it was at this time in ‘79” [MTP].
It is not known if Sam went to South Manchester, Conn. as he wrote Webster on May 7, or what his business was there (see note in May 7 entry.)
Sam also telegraphed Herbert M. Laurence in Venice, Italy asking, “WHAT IS EARLIEST DATE YOU CAN BEGIN DECORATING OUR HOUSE” [MTP].
May 10 Tuesday – Arnold, Constable & Co., NYC billed Sam $4.50 for “3 caps”, paid May 13 [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote from Albany. “I received your telegram & letter on my return from Ithaca—I am very glad you did so well. I found out today that my ‘Pard’ in New York sold us out at so my profits are $550 instead of $2500 as they should have been.” He heard about Iron Mountain incomes, and “might buy some when he went to NY next week” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dean Sage on investments”
May 11 Wednesday – James R. Osgood wrote from Boston to Clemens. “I sold the story to Scribner for $400 with the understanding that if it should exceed 13 1/3 pages you should be paid for such excess at the rate of $30 per page [MTP]. Note: written on the env., “Osgood sells M.T. story to Scribners / A Curious Incident?”
Charles Webster wrote from NYC on Kaolatype Engraving Co. Letterhead to Clemens.
“Dear Uncle Sam /Dan rushed up to see me as soon as I returned., he is nearly wild with fright. He says for ‘God’s sake! What a position this puts me in’ ‘What will the folks think I have been doing.’ ‘This will be the ruin of me’ &c. It is the first time he has been in the K office” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Keep this handy.”
May 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, thanking him for some service performed (unidentified):
“Old man, you performed gorgeously. You would make a good highwayman. Yes, sir, for the sake of your character (& mine) I will be very mum to those people.”
Sam also confided his barber had “invented a beverage, one pint of which will unfailingly kill or cure the rheumatic subject…” after taking it for one week. Osgood had the ailment, and Sam wrote he had “its brother-in-law” lumbago [MTP].
Annie E. Lucas wrote from Sandalwood, Australia to relate how Sam’s letter excited their small township. She signed “your ever thankful little friend” [MTP].
May 13 Friday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam. “At last Slote is thoroughly convinced that Sneider has been swindling you.” He detailed how Sneider had done the deed, and said “Dan is furious,” that he “could not uphold any one in cheating Sam & he had hard work to restrain himself &c.” Webster also touched on several other business matters [MTP].
May 14 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam was still hot on the heels of Dan Slote and Sneider.
“Yes, it will doubtful be well to finish with Sneider & then tackle Dan. In order to force Sneider, though, you may find it necessary to hint to Dan that if S.’s case comes into court Dan will probably be proceeded against as a party to the swindle. Dan hopes to get out by simply dropping S. & leaving us to force him to terms” [MTBus 155].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam. “We have had that talk with Alexander & Green. Slote has told them enough to convict Sneider if it is true, and I have no doubt it is. …Alexander & Green propose to haul him [Sneider] up before Judge Patterson under a charge of getting money under false pretenses” [MTP].
May 16 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.
“Yes, if we snatch Sneider up before the court he will weaken & be glad to sign the documents & get out.
Warn Mr. Beck against him, first time you get a chance.” Sam asked what $3,000 worth of “plant” amounted to that he’d paid Dan Slote for. He sent a check for $400 he “…got for a magazine article. This, like stock speculations, is money got for nothing, so to speak. Send Perkins the Co.’s note for it” [MTBus 156].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, thanking him for a $400 check and concluding that since he’d survived, the lumbago medicine (see May 12 letter) “is all right” [MTP].
Wm. T. Bassett, hairdresser, billed Sam $25.50 “from shaving apr 18 to may 14, 1881” [MTP].
May 18 Wednesday – Charles Webster reported to Sam:
“The bubble has burst. Sneider has confessed…that the whole thing was a swindle from the beginning….Sneider says he’s going to commit suicide” [MTNJ 2: 393n120]. Note: Sam’s loss on Kaolatype would eventually be some $50,000 [Powers, MT A Life 452].
Livy wrote to Harriet E. Whitmore, asking her and her husband to spend Saturday evening (May 21) to meet her brother and his wife [MTP].
Sam transferred 200 shares of stock to Frank Bliss (probably Am. Pub. Co. stock) [ViU].
May 19 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster. He wanted an accounting of old bills paid. After they were done with Sneider, he told Webster to get their attorney’s view how to proceed against Slote. Sam also felt the American Publishing Co. was “getting mighty feeble” and talked of plans to dump his stock. There were problems in England, too:
“I reckon this is ‘my year.’ As nearly as I can make it out, my London publisher has succeeded (by conniving with my London agent [Conway]) in gouging me out of $19,000 on my recent book.”
Sam added he didn’t want to see Talbot (unidentified) in Boston or elsewhere. When the contract was ready he would sign it, but wanted “no interviews” [MTBus 156-7].
C.S. Griswold billed Sam $4 for “64 ft of wood” [MTP].
Charles Webster sent a telegram: “Sneider has signed the release & assigned patents to you”; and also wrote the same to Sam, adding, “…so we are through with him. He at our request acknowledged before the notary that the whole thing was a fraud. … Slote was seen by Rand, after the matter was settled, in a saloon drinking with Sneider. Truly I have “fell among the Philistines” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “After the settlement the two thieves retire to a saloon & take a glass together”
May 20 Friday – Sam sent two telegrams from Hartford to Webster about Dan’s Slote’s punishment:
FIRST TELEGRAM 11:30 A.M. …I PREFER THEY [LAWYERS] MAKE DEMANDS UPON HIM THOUGH I WILL DO SO IF THEY SO ADVISE [MTP].
SECOND TELEGRAM: 12:59 PM: FRAUD NO. TWO MUST GIVE UP ALL HIS STOCK, HE MUST REPAY EVERY DOLLAR, WHICH THE LATE SWINDLE COST, INCLUDING LEGAL EXPENSES ALSO PART OF THE OUTLAY ON THE FORMER SWINDLE, AND HIS FIRM MUST GIVE THEIR NOTE FOR THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS WITH INTEREST FROM EIGHTEEN SEVENTY EIGHT THAT MONEY BEING OBTAINED BY FRAUDFUL REPRESENTATIONS, WHICH I SEND FOR YOU I WILL SHOW YOU WHY I THINK THESE DEMANDS WILL BE CONCEDED [MTBus 157].
A contract between Clemens and Osgood for “Mark Twain’s Cyclopedia of Humor” was dated this day (See May 30 entry). Sam was to receive 70 percent of the profits beyond manufacturing costs. If there were losses, he agreed to pay 70 percent of those [MTLTP 137n1].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam, “Enclosed please find a rough account of receipts & expenditures since I have been in charge as you request” [MTP].
May 21 Saturday – Livy had invited the Whitmores for the evening to meet her brother, Charles Langdon, and his wife, Ida Clark Langdon, who were visiting from Elmira [MTP see May 18 entry].
Percy F. Sinnett wrote from Norwood-Adelaide, Australia to Sam because his father (d.1866) had been Sam’s friend and because he wanted to write, though ill. Fan letter [MTP]. File note: “see SLC to Sinnett, 24 July 1881, SLC to Austr. Public 24 July 1881; Sinnett to SLC 25 Oct 1881.”
May 23 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Osgood & Co. He ordered two novels, Green Hand (1879) by George Cupples, and Sailor’s Sweetheart (1880) by William Clark Russell [MTNJ 2: 395n131; Gribben 168, 596]. Sam sent a check for $160.76 for past books ordered. Osgood had set up an account for such purchases [MTLTP 136-7].
May 24 Tuesday – Sam’s May 19 transfer of 200 shares of stock to Frank Bliss (probably Am. Pub. Co. stock) was completed [ViU].
Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy that she’d received and kissed many times their photographs. Josie was very homesick [MTP].
May 26 Thursday – G.H. Olmstead, Jr., Hartford, billed Sam $8 for “1 16in daisy; [?] by old mower” [MTP].
May 27 Friday – Haynes & Simmons, “fine boots, shoes & rubbers” billed $8 for goods (illegible); paid [MTP].
Miss E.T. Morgan wrote from Knoxville, Tenn. to thank Sam for the $25 he gave to Mrs. Olmstead for her. (This letter was enclosed in Mrs. J. Olmstead’s June 1; see entry) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a damn fool in Tennessee —OLMSteads”
May 28 Saturday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, still trying to figure out how to make a living. His arm had swollen painfully so could not go to Chicago to set type. Could Sam “risk $200” for him to go to Colorado to check out that mining possibility? [MTP]. Note: begs the question: if he couldn’t set type how could he mine?
May 30 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam forwarded notes he’d made a week or two before, one of which suggested Slote had used his money to pay Kaolatype debts incurred before Sam purchased stock [MTBus 158].
Sam also wrote to Frank Bliss about profits on Tramp Abroad. Sam was to receive quarterly ten-percent royalties, with annual accounting adjusting to half the profits. Sam expected to be paid half the profits by July 1 [MTLTP 138].
Sam also wrote to Karl Gerhardt. “A friendly letter mentioning St. Gaudens’ statue of Farragut” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood:
I signed the contract and sent it [for the “Mark Twain Cyclopedia of Humor”]. And again, now, that clause about sharing losses comes troubling me. For although such a thing is exceedingly unlikely, there might be a loss instead of a profit—and I would have to pay my proportion of that loss and $6,200 besides! (the money which I stand pledged to pay to Howells and Clark whether the book pays or not.) Come, old man, add a codicil specifying that the $6,200 shall stand as a cash payment on my proportion of the loss. No, I won’t require this—couldn’t if I wanted to!—but I submit it for consideration and prayer [MTLTP 137].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, an assortment of business matters, and a direction to “Collect from Herald and former publishers of Galaxy” for monies Sam felt were still owed. He added:
“We go to the Montowese House, Branford, Conn. next Saturday June 4” [MTP].
May 31 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster advising him on the stock price of American Bank Note Co. Howells had informed Sam that a broker named Shepard could get the stock cheaper than Bissell, the Hartford broker Sam usually dealt with. Sam authorized Webster to buy $1000 worth. Samuel Webster observes: “Apparently Mark Twain’s only reason for choosing this investment was to get a little printing business” [MTBus 159].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified woman about the ”notorious Diamond-King hoax” saying he had “never told a ‘magnificent lie’ that cost anybody pain or a postage stamp” [MTP]. Note: The diamond hoax of 1872 was caused by two men salting diamonds in a Wyoming mine field and gathered such investors as Horace Greeley and Charles Tiffany before it was exposed by Clarence King, a U.S. Government geologist.
June – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster advising him that Woodman, Dan Slote’s former partner, might be someone valuable to consult on scrapbook matters [MTP].
Sam inscribed: “S.L. Clemens, Hartford, June, 1881” on the flyleaf of Charles Anthon’s (1797-1867) Classical Dictionary (1880), which treated Greek and Roman literature and history [Gribben 25].
Sam wrote a doggerel parody of Thomas Haynes Bayly’s old poem and song, “Gaily the Troubadour,” which Sam had heard in his Hannibal days. The work celebrated Osgood’s departure for a European holiday. Part of the original lyrics followed by Sam’s parody:
Gaily the Troubadour / Touch’d his guitar, ‘ When he was hastening / Home from the war.
Gaily the Osgoodar / Smoked his cigar, / When he was contempla- / Ting his depar
June 1 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to J.S. Wood replying to a request for some unidentified materials. “…my slips will arrive ‘the day after the Fair’ ” [MTP]. This may possibly be John Seymour Wood (1853-1934), Author.
Orion Clemens wrote to his brother that he now had 1776 MS. pages on his autobiography [MTP].
Mrs. John Olmstead wrote from Boston to Clemens:
“The enclosed letter, from my friend Miss Morgan, came yesterday in my regular weekly communication from her, and I presume you will be happy to make the acquaintance of such an earnest, and successful worker among the hitherto neglected & needy ones. / Respectfully Yours, Mrs. J. Olmstead” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “From a dam fool in Tennessee”.
Miss E.T. Morgan’s letter of May 27 inclosed in Olmstead’s; in part:
Dear Sir, Your nom de plume is more of a household word than your veritable name, and if I use it as your address because it is pleasantly familiar, and also find it necessary to append the dignifying letters I.S. (Imperial Satirist), don’t allow your brilliant imagination and love of fun to construe them into something doubtful or derogatory. Many thanks for the twenty five dollars you gave Mrs. Olmstead for me; but your native South ought to be able to get a much larger donation at your hand. Tennessee disputes Missouri’s claim as your birth place, and if this state is right, then surely she is entitled to whatever aid her distinguished son can give her toward the civilization and elevation of her other children…. [MTP] Note: Morgan thought he should send $500 at least, or come to Knoxville and give two lectures to aid the children there.
June 2 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam, a summary of business activities: the Independent Watch Co. stock, Kaolatype, and the Scrap Book and how to recover what Slote had taken [MTP].
June 3 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the A.V.S. Anthony, asking him to buy “100 of the choicest cigars in Boston, for [Osgood] to fight the Atlantic voyage with….” [MTP]. Osgood was taking a trip abroad.
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, agreeing with his calculation and conclusion that P&P should be given to Chatto & Windus on “the same basis”—evidently as Osgood’s agreement for the book. Sam added that “Warner is having it rough. Malaria chills & fever” [MTP].
June 4 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion that “Everything is packed & the house is ready for the decorators.” They would leave in an hour for Branford, planning to stay through July, then to Elmira till mid-September. Sam used a West Point invitation envelope which had just arrived to send Orion a picture of baby Jean [MTP].
The Clemens family left Hartford for the summer to the Montowese House, Branford, Conn. [MTBus 158; MTNJ 2: 396n135].
A.V.S. Anthony of Osgood’s office wrote to Clemens that he’d selected a cigar priced at $13 (likely per 100), the “Zarquelas” [MTP].
John H. Carter (“Commodore Rollingpin”) wrote from St. Louis to ask if he might use one of Clemens’ sketches in his annual almanac [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From ‘Commodore Rollingpin’, a far Western ‘funny man’ ”
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens that there was “no where near $3000 worth of stock in the Kaolatype works”[MTP].
June 5 Sunday – Sam wrote from Branford, Conn. to Webster, confirming his legal actions taken (“…you did right to sue the quack”). Sam concluded that Slote had paid him only about a third ($1,800 or $2,000 per year) of what he should have received on the scrapbook invention [MTBus 160].
June 7 Tuesday – Sam left the family in Branford, Conn. and went back to the Hartford house, which was being decorated for some sort of event. Sam wrote to Livy at 8:45 P.M. that he’d helped Mr. Beals to string flags of countries around the balconies, and nixed a giant arch that bore “letters as big as your head” spelling out “The Home of Mark Twain.” Katy Leary made up a bed for Sam on the study divan [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam (only the envelope from Paris survives), but the Gerhardts sent regular letters, at least weekly, on the progress of their art work and family [MTP].
June 8 Wednesday – Clara Clemens’ seventh birthday.
Sam gave a speech at the Army of the Potomac Banquet, Allyn House, Hartford: “The Benefit of Judicious Training” was the toast that Sam responded to [Fatout, MT Speaking 151-4]. West Point was the example Sam gave as the basis for his advice:
“All I know about military matters I got from the gentlemen at West Point, and to them belongs the credit” [Leon 148].
June 9 Thursday – Sam went with a party by train to West Point for graduation festivities, otherwise known as “June Week.” The group included Joseph Twichell, General Sherman, Secretary of War Robert Lincoln (son of Abraham Lincoln) and a dozen others. On the way to the Point, Sam and Sherman engaged in some fun “whistle-stop” speeches, with Sam putting on Sherman’s uniform and speaking from the caboose platform until someone recognized him and the joke was up. They made several stops with Sam “warming up” the crowd followed by a speech from Sherman and sometimes Lincoln. The party arrived at 6 PM at Dutchess Junction on the Hudson River above West Point. From the Junction a special steamer brought them downstream to the military academy’s South Dock. They were welcomed there by General Oliver O. Howard and staff.
Later in the evening Sam attended the alumni dinner in Schofield Hall with 61 graduates, including two ex-Confederate generals, “Fighting Joe” Wheeler (USMA 1859) and Milo T. Polk (USMA 1852). Sam did not speak on this trip [Leon 54-5].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam about an offer of $1,000 from Slote and his American Kaolatype stock to settle the dispute over what was owed on the Scrap Book sales [MTP].
June 10 Friday – Sam attended the West Point graduation exercises for the class of 1881. He sat on the dais with the other dignitaries, even though he had no speaking role. General Christopher C. Augur gave the graduation address. There were other speakers as well, including Dr. Samuel Spahr Laws (1824-1921) president of the University of Missouri, Robert Lincoln, and General Sherman [Leon 55]. During Sam’s four previous visits to the Point, he had gotten to know many in the class of 1881. He entertained them at their One Hundredth Night celebration (Feb. 28, 1881) and talked informally to small groups in the barracks. For Clemens their graduation was a high point.
June 11 Saturday – Sam said goodbye to his West Point friends and returned to Hartford.
At Hartford Sam wrote to John Henton Carter (“Commodore Rollingpin”) of St. Louis, giving him permission to use “any published sketch of mine you choose,” but Sam added that he couldn’t “furnish anything new,” being “limited by existing contracts” [MTP].
June 11 or 12 Sunday – Sam returned to his family in Branford, Conn. He was there by Monday, June 13, when he and Livy traveled to Hartford to meet George W. Cable [Bickle 69].
June 12 Sunday – Clemens wrote to Dwight H. Buell asking if he might buy stock in the typesetter early. This letter not extant but referred to in Buell’s June 14 reply.
June 13 Monday – Sam and Livy traveled to Hartford and met George W. Cable, as testified by Cable’s June 14 letter to his wife:
I think my last line was Sat’y morning. After writing I went to the office of J.R. Osgood & Co. & made the acquaintance of Mr. Osgood’s brother, E.L. Osgood & of the two Messrs. Ticknor. Then I went & bade my dear Col. Fairchild goodbye (as I had already done Howells & Col. F.’s sister, Mrs. Dean), and so on the cars and away for Hartford.
I went to see Charles Dudley Warner. Found him, his brother George & Mrs. George Warner. It is hard to realize now that I have known these kind, gentle, hearty friends only four days. They telegraphed at once to Mr. Clemens (Mark Twain) to come up—from somewhere beyond New Haven [Branford]. On Monday they came—taking the first train that started after their rec’t of telegram. We doubted its reaching them & I was out inspecting the insane asylum & then seeing the marvelous beauties of the state-house (inside & outside). Both Mr. & Mrs. Clemens came, Mrs. Clemens “inviting herself,” as she said.
And so I met Mark Twain. We all lunched together & “Mark” & Mr. Warner were ever so funny. But soon the Clemenses had to bid us good-bye & return to the cars & to New Haven. I will tell you all about it some day, from the hearty meeting to the pleasant but regretful parting. George Warner took me out again in the afternoon, driving in & out of the beautiful town.
In the evening I dined with them. Met Charles Dudley Warner, Rev. Jos. Twichell, Rev. Ed. Parker, Mr & Mrs. Geo. Warner & Gen’l Hawley. A brilliant company [Bickle 69]. Note: MTNJ 2: 396n137 gives only “mid-June” for the first meeting of Cable and Twain. This letter clearly gives June 13.
Charles E.S. Wood wrote to advise Sam he was mailing a shirt which he thought Twichell had left during a recent visit to West Point (Col. R.C. Morgan to Wood of June 9 enclosed) [MTP]. Note: Morgan was the brother of Confederate General John Hunt Morgan (1825-1864).
June 14 Tuesday – Dwight H. Buell, Hartford jeweler, wrote to Sam, noting his request of June 12 (not extant) to pay for the typesetter stock in advance [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Consent to my paying Type-Setter stock in advance”
June 16 Thursday – Sam wrote a short note from Branford, Conn. to Frank Bliss requesting unbound copies of each of his books to be delivered to Charles Clark of the Hartford Courant [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Osgood & Co. asking to honor all of Charles Clark’s orders for books in the preparation of the Library of Humor. Sam labeled Clark as the “main pile-driver of the three who have contracted to compile” the work [MTP].
June 18 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam: “By giving one more turn to the screw we have succeeded in getting $2200 out of Slote instead of $2000”: two notes for $1,200 and $1,000 signed by Alonzo Slote, Dan’s brother (d. 1901). Release enclosed for Sam to sign [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Slote Released.”
June 20 Monday – Sam wrote from Branford, Conn. to Charles Webster about the Kaolatype stock. There was evidently still hope the process would prove productive and profitable:
“The day that Kaolatype arrives at a point where it pays its own expenses, you are to have $900 of its stock. Meantime, I wish to give you $100 of its stock, now, anyhow, & make you Vice President & Treasurer—also Manager” [MTBus 160].
June 21 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Branford, Conn. to Charles Webster in New York, asking Charley or Annie to go to Tiffany’s and have a silver chatelaine-watch expressed to him with Livy’s initials engraved on it [MTBus 161].
June 22 Wednesday – Charles Webster replied to Sam’s June 21: he’d been sick but had ordered the chatelaine watch Sam wanted from Tiffany’s [MTP].
June 23 Thursday – Laura C. Redden Searing wrote from Sherwood, NY to thank Sam for his publishing advice [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “An authoress.”
June 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Branford to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt. Things were going well for the two families. Sam referred to another protégé he’d helped launch career efforts.
Your letter was full of interest, & gave us great pleasure. We want to hear all about the progress of both of you—the one toward success in the competitions mentioned, & the other toward the use of colors. We’ll hope for good luck for you, since this seems to be a favorable year for young aspirants,—Mr. Gillette, for instance. You remember I confided to you a state secret (about our helping him to get his play started on the western boards, which resulted in his presently becoming manager of the Madison Square Theatre.) Well, his play was put on the stage at the Madison Square the first of this month, & achieved a handsome success. The papers say it will have a long & popular run. A play which he previously wrote with Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett is now loudly called for by several New York managers. So we consider that Gillette’s pecuniary future is safe [MTP]. Note: Burnett (1849-1924). William Gillette’s successful play referred to was The Professor, which enjoyed a long run. Sam first saw the play on June 15, 1880 (see entry). The financial help was in the form of a $3,000 loan made in 1874-5; Sam’s patronage may well have included additional help since.
June 27 Monday – Charles E.S. Wood wrote from West Point to Sam that Col. R.C. Morgan “writes vols. of thanks (on a half note) for ‘1601’”. Wood was planning on a visit to Hartford [MTP].
June 28 Tuesday – The New York Sun, ran a comic interview on p.2 titled, “The Lookout of the World / Mark Twain’s Preparations for a Possible Encounter with a Comet” [Schmidt].
June 29 Wednesday – Charles E. Perkins wrote a summary of the directors’ meeting for Kaolatype Engraving Co. at which Sam is listed as attending this day. It was voted that Webster would be VP & treasurer, authorized for all financials [MTP].
July – During the Branford vacation, Sam wrote a description of a game he called “Tenpins in verse.” He kept scores of Susy and Clara Clemens in his notebook [MTNJ 2: 398].
July 2 Saturday – James A. Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau at 9:30 AM., less than four months after his term began. Garfield would linger through the rest of the summer and die on Sept. 19 1881.
Sam wrote from Branford to Osgood & Co. asking him not to buy more of “Brer Talmage” and asking for the proofs of the pictures completed for his book, probably P&P [MTP].
Sam also wrote a one-liner to Charles Perkins on an unidentified matter:
“I thought that this ridiculous attempt at a swindle was given up, some 3 or 4 years ago. Didn’t you understand it so?” [MTP].
July 4 Monday – Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy on their artistic progress, enclosing a commendation for Karl Gerhardt, in French, from a professor [MTP].
July 5 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Branford, “P.S. But never at any time” and drew a partial bar of music with a bass clef (or f-clef) and a G-note, to an unidentified person [MTP]. The note may have been an inside joke between Sam and the recipient.
Charles Webster wrote from Providence, R.I. to request $500 from Sam for expenses [MTP].
July 8 Friday – Howells wrote to Clemens: “Guiteau’s shot knocked the breath out of me, or I should have written sooner to boast that thanks in your absence I saw the boat race in all its glory—altogether a most beautiful and exciting thing” [MTP]. (Not in MTHL) This could have been the July 1 Regatta between Yale and Harvard.
H. Peet Penosbscott, M.D. wrote to tell Clemens about a cure he’d worked on for several years for Elephantiasis Cranium. He didn’t ask anything of Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a lunatic”
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens of Scrap Book matters: “what I call a splendid success at Providence” [MTP].
July 9 Saturday – Sam wrote from the Montowese House, Branford, Conn. to Charles Webster:
“So it appears that the scrap book sales have fallen off one half in the past six months; —i.e., from 50,000 copies a year to 28,000. I return to you Slote’s ck, for use in the K[oalatype] eng. Co business. Send Perkins a note for it” [MTBus 161].
July 10 Sunday – Sam wrote a short note from Branford to Charles Webster possibly about Kaolatype castings. Sam thought they looked good, and suggested having prints made from them in “two colors, & if the thing turns out a success, show the result to Koch’s people” [MTP]. Note: refers to Peter Koch of Koch & Co., New York printers referred to in Mar. 31 letter to Daniel Slote and Apr. 26 letter to Webster.
July 11 Monday – From Twichell’s journal:
“Another trip with our three oldest, — this time to Branford, on the invitation of our most kind friends, M.T. and wife with whom we had a charming visit (at their expense) at the Montowese House” [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: see Twichell’s July 13 for some of the activities on this visit.
July 12 Tuesday – The visit with Joe and Harmony Twichell and their three oldest children continued for a second day [Twichell’s journal, Yale]. Note: Edward Carrington Twichell b. 1867; Julia Curtis Twichell b. 9 Jan. 1869; Susan Lee Twichell b. 1871
July 13 Wednesday – Joe Twichell wrote to Sam.
Dear Mark: / We got home all right, and found Harmony and the small fry well. / Now we desire to waft back on formal, deliberate, and most hearty thanks for the hospitality that will always add sweetness to the memory of our golden little excursion. …
With no end of love to all and every one of you—yours aff—but before I close, remember us to the delightful Whitmores. I shall long remember with satisfaction that wicked, wicked evening in my room.
I know that I was very dull and unprofitable company yesterday and Monday, but the fact is I have got below the point of spontaneity for this year…I love you to-day as well as ever.
But, my sakes, how lame my arm is. I can hardly write. Likewise my back and side and legs—all from those blessed ten pins. [MTP].
July 13–July 16 Saturday – Sometime during the week William Dean Howells came to Branford and “spent a day” with Sam, most likely after the Twichell’s visit [MTHL 1: 364].
July 15 Friday – Clemens wrote to C.F. Cobb, letter not extant but referred to in Cobb’s July 18 reply.
July 17 Sunday – Sam wrote from Branford, Conn. to George W. Cable. Sam mentioned Howells “spent a day with me last week” and that he was “still in the mind to go to New Orleans with me in November for the Mississippi trip…” [MTHL 1: 364].
Clemens also inscribed his photo for Mrs. Embury. “To Mrs. Embry, / With the kindest regards of her friend & fellow-summer-boarder, / S.L. Clemens / (‘Mark Twain’) / Montowese House / July 17, 1881.” [MTP].
Karl & Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy about studies and competing for a medal [MTP].
July 17?–31 Sunday – Sam wrote sometime during this period to Joel Chandler Harris (1848-1908), expressing his admiration for “Uncle Remus,” and proposing that Harris visit him in Hartford at some early date. Sam wanted to discuss Negro fables, in particular a “ghost story” [MTP].
July 18 Monday – A copy in Charles Webster’s hand of Sam’s notice to the American Publishing Co. exists, giving Webster “full control of my interests…is amply empowered to act for me in all matters appertaining thereto. S.L. Clemens” [MTBus 161].
C.F. Cobb wrote from Wash. DC to Sam: “Ten thousand thanks for your kind letter of July 15 [not extant]. / I can’t imagine how such a report started. If there be no offense and no offender and no offended, it resembles, very strongly, a footless stocking without a leg” [MTP].
July 19 Tuesday – C.F. Cobb wrote to Sam with a follow-up explanation how a rumor might have been started in Hartford when she visited looking for him, that she wanted to interview him. Sam was in Branford, Conn. [MTP].
July 20 Wednesday – Herbert M. Laurence wrote from London to Clemens, having rec’d his letter of July 2 asking if he’d undertake decorating Sam’s house, but he was afraid his return in the fall would be too late for him to do so [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Lawrence, artist / 1881”
Charles Eliot Norton wrote from Ashfield, Mass. to ask Clemens to speak at their annual breakfast [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Prof. Norton”
July 21 Thursday – Herbert Evans wrote from Adelaide, S. Austr. to Clemens, thanking with pleasure Sam’s of Apr. 23. Anecdotes and wishing Clemens long life; a fan letter [MTP].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote from N.H. to Clemens: “The enclosed letter about Anna Dickinson is piteous and explains itself. I cannot do any thing up here, but if I were in Hartford I could I think raise the sum she needs at once. I am ready to chip in to the extent of my means. Do you feel like doing any thing?” [MTP]. Note: letter 27 July in the file from Dickinson to Livy, thanking her profusely shows Clemens did chip in.
July 24 Sunday – Sam wrote from Branford, Conn. to the Australian public, a letter which was printed in the Adelaide Observer on Oct. 15. After discussing that someone had been “scattered all over Australia pretending to be him,” Sam informed Australians that he’d never been in any part of the country and that he suspected the man to be “a pretty shabby sort of rascal.” He closed with:
Today’s mail brings a letter…from an old English friend of ours, dated “Government House, Sydney, May 29,” in which the writer is shocked to hear of my “sudden death.” Now, that suggests that that aforementioned imposter has even gone the length of dying for me. This generosity disarms me. He has done a thing for me which I wouldn’t even have done for myself. If he will stay dead now I will call the account square, and drop the grudge I bear him.
Note: The letter was later published in the Springfield Republican and the New York Times (Dec. 8) as AUTHORITATIVE CONTRADICTION [Fatout, MT Speaks 129].
Sam also wrote to Reginald Cholmondeley who wrote on May 29 while visiting Sydney, Australia, to inform him that the imposter there, who’d been posing as Mark Twain for years, had died.
It is odd that a letter containing the news of my own death should give me pleasure & a lively sense of relief—yet these were the effects produced by this one: pleasure in the recognition of the fact that I still possess a friendship which I so greatly value, & a sense of relief in the conviction that a fraud who has been passing under my name during some years in New South Wales & neighboring regions is at last disposed of & out of the way…I was beginning to get tired of him & his performances [MTP].
Sam also replied to Joseph G. Hickman who wrote on Jan. 20 (not extant) informing Sam of the “Florida Literary Association,” in his Missouri birthplace. Sam lost his letter and must have recalled it, for he sent a donation of $25 and ordered a copy of each of his past books for the group. He also inserted a page of a weekly New York journal, Good Literature, which he claimed was “devoted to advertising some astonishingly cheap books” [MTP]. Note: this letter was printed in the Monroe County (Missouri) Appeal on Aug. 12. See Hickman’s earlier letter of Jan. 20, 1878.
Sam also wrote to Charles Eliot Norton agreeing to come, probably to another event for the arts and sciences that he’d declined a year before, what now was a regular mid-summer Academy Dinner in Ashfield, Mass. “Any date between now & the 10th September will suit me” [MTP]. Note: Norton was the founder of The Nation and Prof. of poetry at Harvard.
Sam also wrote to Percy Frederick Sinnett, enclosing a card (“A Word of Explanation”) for him to print with a denial that he’d ever been in Australia. Sam also enclosed Cholmondeley’s May 29 letter [MTP].
“If he [the imposter] will only stay dead, now, I will call the account square, & drop the grudge I bear him.”
July 26 Tuesday – Jean Clemens’ first birthday.
Hubbard & Farmer brokers wrote they’d purchased 100 shares of Omaha at 39 & 1/4 [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote he could not come up this week. “Would next Monday do?” [MTP].
July 27 Wednesday – On or about this day Sam wrote to Charles Webster with Kaolatype business and a request to ask the William H. Jackson & Co. about “offensive odors sent out by the gas-logs…when they are burning” [MTP]. Charley handled all sorts of professional, business and personal matters for the Clemens family.
July 29 Friday – Sam sent a correspondence card from Branford, Conn. to G. Brandford Dudman of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, saying that he had “quitted the platform permanently” but thanked him for the compliment of an invitation [MTP].
July 30 Saturday – Sam received proofs of 150 of the engravings for P&P [MTP letter July 31 to Gerhardt].
Charles E. Norton wrote to Sam: “The village rejoices at the news of your coming; the people are reckless of the consequences. The day fixed for the festival is August 25th”. He gave directions [MTP].
July 31 Sunday – Sam wrote from Branford to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt, encouraging the couple to “climb along & enjoy” the “upgrade” of life, while “the morning is fair & the landscape gracious before you” [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement of acct., $24,159.81 credit [MTP].
Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam that he was sending him an agent, Mr. Lester’s sister [MTP].
August – Sam followed with interest the debate in the August issue of North American Review between Jeremiah S. Black and Robert Green Ingersoll, titled “The Christian Religion.” Ingersoll held views Sam admired privately, but was unable to proclaim publicly. Sam wrote to Ingersoll:
“I have been well entertained by your theological article in the magazine, and Judge Black’s ludicrous ‘reply’ to it” [Schwartz 185].
August 1 Monday – Sam wrote from Branford to Benjamin H. Ticknor, partner along with his brother Thomas Ticknor in J. Osgood & Co.
“We go hence to Elmira, N.Y., three days from now, and that will be my address for the following six weeks.”
Sam ordered pictures Ticknor had sent be printed on fine India paper for a special edition of P&P he would give to Susy Clemens, Koto House, and Winny Howells. These illustrations ultimately became a limited special edition of the book itself; 8 copies? [MTLTP 138-9].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam of his progress on the autobiography. They all had colds [MTP].
August 2 Tuesday – Sam wrote to Herbert M. Laurence in Venice, letter not extant but referred to in Laurence’s Aug. 26 reply.
August 4 Thursday – The Clemens family left the Montowese House in Branford, Conn. headed to Elmira with a stop in Hartford to do a few errands [MTNJ 2: 396n135]. Likely the day the Clemens family went to New York City. As was their custom, they probably stayed the night in a good hotel and continued on to Elmira the next day.
Joel Chandler Harris wrote from Atlanta to Sam
My Dear Mr. Clemens:— / You have pinned a proud feather in Uncle Remus’s cap. I do not know what higher honor he could desire than to appear before the Hartford public arm-in-arm with Mark Twain. Everybody has been kind to the old man, but you have been kindest of all. I am perfectly well aware that my book has no basis of literary art to stand upon; I know it is the matter and not the manner that has attracted public attention and won the consideration of people of taste at the North…
The ghost story you spoke of is new to me, and if I dared to trouble you I would ask you to send me the outlines so that I might verify it here. I do not remember to have heard it, but I do not by any means depend upon my own memory in matters of this kind. It is easy to get a story from a negro by giving him a sympathetic cue, but without this it is a hopeless task. If you have the story in manuscript, I would be very grateful to you for a sight of it; if not, I will try and find it here in some shape or other.
While I am writing, I may as well use the gimlet vigorously.—I have a number of fables ready to be written up, but I don’t want to push the public to the wall by printing them in magazines without intermission. I must ask your advice. Would it be better to print the new fables in a volume by themselves, or would it be better to bring out a revised edition of Uncle Remus, adding the new matter and issuing the volume as a subscription book? I am puzzled and bothered about it [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply of Aug. 10.
August 5 Friday – Based on Sam’s telegram of Aug. 6, this is the likely day for the 10-hour train trip from New York to Elmira, this time taking an extra two hours.
August 6 Saturday – Sam telegraphed from Elmira to Franklin Whitmore.
“BROKE AN AXLE EIGHT HOURS FROM NEW YORK AND TWENTY FIVE MILES FROM HOME LAY STILL & ROASTED TWO HOURS REACHED HOME AT NINE, PM EVERYBODY IS BRIGHT AND WELL TODAY” [MTP].
August 7 Sunday – Livy wrote from Elmira to Hattie Gerhardt, and Sam added “God be wi’ ye!” at the end. The letter was about their “long and very tiresome trip from the sea side” to Quarry Farm; of baby Jean and her preference for her father; and admonitions for Karl Gerhardt not to work too hard; and an inquiry if they’d seen Mrs. Warner, who evidently was visiting the Continent [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy shocked by the news and hopes for Garfield’s recovery. He enclosed a list of expenses [MTP].
August 8 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Franklin Whitmore. He complained of lumbago from “Carrying Jean up & down in the car, on that red-hot 12 hour trip.” He told of Jean’s whimpering and of Susy and Clara’s stoicism during the ordeal.
Poor Susie was so worn out that I couldn’t even entertain her by showing her the ties had been torn & smashed by the broken axle…I tried to gaudify the interest of my topic by explaining to her that we all came within less than three-quarters if a hair’s-breadth of going to smash & destruction, but she only responded, with indifference, “But as long as we didn’t, papa, what does it amount to?—let us get in the car again” [MTP].
Miss Landsmaunin wrote a fan letter in German from Bremen, Germany to Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “An American girl who wants to display her crude German.” A note in the MTP file disputes that the girl was an American and also that her German was crude.
August 9 Tuesday – Marie A. Brown wrote from Chicago to Sam: “Your advice to authors—to publish themselves and to give a commission to instead of receiving it from publishers—is invaluable, and I long to follow it.” She asked his further advice about her six historical novels from the Swedish [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A Curiosity”
August 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Joel Chandler Harris in Atlanta, who wrote Sam on Aug. 4 [MTLP 401].
MY DEAR MR. HARRIS,—You can argue yourself into the delusion that the principle of life is in the stories themselves & not in their setting; but you will save labor by stopping with that solitary convert, for he is the only intelligent one you will bag. In reality the stories are only alligator pears—one merely eats them for the sake of the salad-dressing. Uncle Remus is most deftly drawn, & is a lovable & delightful creation; he, & the little boy, & their relations with each other, are high & fine literature, & worthy to live, for their own sakes; & certainly the stories are not to be credited with them. But enough of this; I seem to be proving to the man that made the multiplication table that twice one are two.
Sam related his boyhood experience at Quarles Farm:
Old Uncle Dan’l, a slave of my uncle’s’ aged 60, used to tell us children yarns every night by the kitchen fire (no other light;) & the last yarn demanded, every night, was this one. By this time there was but a ghastly blaze or two flickering about the back-log. We would huddle close about the old man, & begin to shudder with the first familiar words; & under the spell of his impressive delivery we always fell a prey to that climax at the end when the rigid black shape in the twilight sprang at us with a shout.
When you come to glance at the tale you will recollect it—it is as common & familiar as the Tar Baby. Work up the atmosphere with your customary skill & it will “go” in print.
Lumbago seems to make a body garrulous—but you’ll forgive it. Truly yours S. L. CLEMENS [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Robert Green Ingersoll. A friend of Ingersoll’s named Stewart had sent Sam a volume of poetry earlier in the year for his evaluation. Sam responded to Ingersoll that he had no comment on the work, but that he was “well entertained” by Ingersoll’s theological article and exchange with Judge Black:
Further than to thank him for his courtesy in sending his book. I am not bold enough to express an opinion about it, for I never read poetry, & a criticism from me would be a thing which I should laugh at, myself …But I do read prose & am not perplexed for opinions concerning it; & you may imagine I have been well entertained by your theological article…& Judge Black’s ludicrous “reply” to it…Judge Black is not a fool; therefore it must amuse him to the marrow to see his fatuous nonsense & coarse bluster received with bland respect by the whole respectable world [MTP].
August 11 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Benjamin H. Ticknor, enclosing a check for $850.26 for publishing costs, probably for P&P and its circular. Ticknor had requested sales points for a circular and Sam replied that he wasn’t the best man to give them, that he should “leave it alone ten days & then get the points from Osgood & Anthony, & a suggestion or two from Howells…” [MTP]. (See Aug.14.)
Lara M. Gallandet wrote a short note to Clemens: “Your loving friend / Lara M. Gallandet / Indiana / Mich”. In the four corners in tiny hand: “Its going to rain!”; “codfish”; “Eyebrows”; “Short-stories” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote of several business matters, including an offer from “the French gentleman.” Webster thought a tight contract might be drawn with him (not further identified) [MTP].
August 12 Friday – Sam wrote twice from Elmira to Charles Webster. The longest letter asked him to negotiate with the remodelers William & Robert Garvie and James Ahern on work in progress at the Farmington Avenue house, principally a remodel of the kitchen. Sam gave quite a long laundry list of things to check, recheck, prove and consider.
“Scan that mason’s bill sharply, for that mason is an infernal thief, I’m afraid. He is a prominent politician” [MTBus 163-5].
The second letter only survives partially, and directs Webster to “Make any contract you please” with “the French gentleman…the tighter the better…” Sam wanted to “limit his ownership of the”—and this is where the fragment ends [MTP]. Who was the “French gentleman”? What did he own?
Sam also wrote to Howells:
“Say— I am going to Ashfield, Mass. Aug 25th. Tell me—what does a body have to do there? Talk? And if so, who are the audience? 1. Is it a school? 2. If so, is it male, or female, or both? 3. Boys & girls? or bigger bucks & fillies? Are you going? In a hurry, Yrs Ever Mark” [MTHL 1: 364]. Note: “In 1879 Charles Eliot Norton had begun sponsoring an annual midsummer Academy Dinner at Ashfield, Mass., where he had long maintained his summer home. Each year Norton invited some celebrated friend or acquaintance to speak…” [364n1].
Sam also wrote to Franklin Whitmore. After relating illnesses just past for baby Jean and himself, plus a “crick in the neck” for Livy, the sale of their old carriage for $300 and his disregard of advice to buy more stock in Oregon & Transcontinental, Sam boasted that he’d been “playing many games of billiards with former antagonists of mine—took them into camp, every one.” Sam, the cat lover, also told of losing and then finding a “splendid cat”:
That cat of ours went down to town—3 miles, through the woods, in the night,—& attended a colored-people’s church-festival where she didn’t even know the deacons—was gone 48 hours, & marched home again this morning. Now think of that! That cat is not for sale. Talented cat. Religious cat…and no color-prejudices, either [MTP].
August 13 Saturday – A.W. Johnson wrote from Salisbury, Mo. to tell Clemens of his wife’s connections to Florida, Mo. and of his love of Sam’s books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a fellow native’s husband”
Mark Twain Club per Phil Hannagan sent a voluminous paper, “Twain Club Papers No 1” to Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Introduced by that lunatic Irishman of Carlow Castle”
August 14 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Benjamin H. Ticknor about the advertising circular for P&P, and the illustrations he’d chosen for a run of 20 special books. Frank T. Merrill was the principal illustrator of the book and Sam wrote:
“Merrill probably thinks he originated his exquisite boys himself, but I was ahead of him there!—in these pictures they look and dress exactly as I used to see them in my mind two years ago. It is a vast pleasure to see them cast in the flesh, so to speak—they were of but perishable dream-stuff before” [MTLTP 140].
August 15 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Benjamin H. Ticknor, agreeing with Ticknor’s processing an engraving cut down to the required reduction. Sam would wait for Chapter 1 of P&P to evaluate the book fully illustrated consecutively [MTP].
Sam received a letter dated Aug. 15 from Major John B. Downing (1834-1914) of Middleport, Ohio, who had been a pilot on the Mississippi. Downing related a story about how Sam got his nom de plume; he wanted Sam to confirm it.
“Known as Major Jack Downing and sometimes “Alligator Jack,” Downing was born in Rutland, Meigs County, Ohio. He was a pilot for twenty-seven years on the Mississippi. Downing, an accomplished violinist, toured with a minstrel company when the Civil War disrupted river traffic. Norwegian violinist ‘Ole Bull’ (Bornemann Bull) claimed Downing was the best amateur violinist he had ever heard.”
Downing wrote that Bart Bowen had recalled a version of how Sam got the name Mark Twain, one that varied from Paine’s biography [MTNJ 2: 398n144].
August 16 Tuesday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam:
Your Ashfield audience will be the farmer-folks of the region, quiet and dull on top, but full of grit and fun; they’re fond of speaking, and rather cultivated, but not spoiled. They know you, like a book, and you can trust all your points to them. Their life is one of deadly solitude and suffocating frugality; but they are smart. They will stand lots of human nature from you [MTHL 1: 365].
August 16–22 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Benjamin H. Ticknor, on proof-reading minutiae for P&P. He wanted the printers to follow the copy strictly, in preparing proofs, because he was having to focus too much on punctuation and capitalization which they’d changed. Like many writers, Sam revised with an eye to specifics:
“What I want to read proof for is for literary lapses & infelicities (those I’ll mark every time; so, in these chapters where I have had to turn my whole attention to restoring my punctuation, I do not consider that I have legitimately read proof at all” [MTP].
August 17 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Evidently Webster had recommending closing up the Kaolatype business, but Sam poured good money after bad.
You wish to know when I shall “close up?” When the business pays me $5,000 a year clear profit. Not before. The brass alone shall pay me more than that, before I am done with it….
Yes, it will cost some money to make it pay—but it shall pay. I shall retain the privilege of complaining over the money-drain; a privilege which I seldom exercise, whereas any other man would abuse it [MTBus 165].
Orion Clemens wrote to his brother that he’d finished his autobiography at 2,346 MS. pages. He asked for any letters to Livy or Sam that he might want to send [MTP].
J.J. Doyle wrote from the San Jose, Calif. jail to Clemens, enclosing an essay for July the 4th he’d written in the San Jose Daily Mercury. He was writing asking for aid for Jerome Settle, who he claimed was the son of Caroline Clemens, sister to John Marshall Clemens; no such Settle is listed in genealogy charts [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Mention of the humbug Earl of Durham (T.P. Leathers.)” The man’s name was Jesse M. Leathers.
Joe Twichell wrote to Clemens, but the “dark mood in Washington” (Garfield) took his desire to write away. He “was sending a periodical containing an article by our friend Lt. Wood” [MTP].
August 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Franklin Whitmore who had spent some vacation time with the Clemenses at Branford, Conn. earlier in the summer. Sam squared accounts with Whitmore on his share of the meals. He also enclosed a:
…letter received from Mr. Watrous some time ago. Show it to Mr. Bennett & others—or tell them about it—& ask them to keep a strict eye on that conductor, & report him the very first time they catch him in an impoliteness to anybody. If they don’t want the disagreeable office of reporting him, ask them to give the facts to me, & I will gladly do the reporting.
Sam ended with a bit about news of Garfield’s failing “makes us all apprehensive & gloomy-spirited” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Howells, who wrote on Aug. 16 that the Ashfield, Mass. audience would be:
…farmer-folks of the region, quiet and dull on top, but full of grit and fun; they’re fond of speaking, and rather cultivated, but not spoiled. They know you, like a book and you can trust all your points to them…You speak at a cold public dinner in the Town Hall.—I can’t go: we are a hospital: our dear girl has to lie abed now all the time—rest cure. I wrote you at Montowese [Branford, Conn.] on Friday. How I wish you could give us a day whilst you’re on this side of the mountain [MTHL 1: 365-6].
Sam’s letter sent sympathy for Winny Howells, the seventeen-year-old daughter who had suffered a nervous breakdown. Sam also rued the critical state of President Garfield, who was shot and would die in September. If Garfield died, Sam wrote, he could not go to Ashfield or “enjoy a festival of any sort…” .
Zo Swisshelm (Jane Swisshelm’s daughter) wrote to Sam unable to find a good picture of her mother that Sam had asked for, but they all looked cross. She did enclose one, however [MTP].
August 18? Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to John B. Downing (“Alligator Jack”) (See Aug. 15).
“Dear Major: And has it come to this that the dead rise up & speak? For I supposed that you were dead, it has been so long since I heard your name.”
Sam mentioned another old pilot, Grant Marsh; he hoped to see Downing when he made a trip up the Mississippi the following year; once again, Sam clung to the story that he’d stolen his nom de plume from Isaiah Sellers [MTP].
Sam also wrote from Elmira to John Esten Cooke (1830-1886) American novelist best known for his books about his home state, Virginia, including two on Robert E. Lee. Sam would have said his writing style was high-falootin’. The first two pages of the letter are lost, but the third discusses subscription publishing, with an interesting highlight about Sam’s attitude toward Osgood:
All subscription houses in America are “equipped” alike; for they all use the same canvassers—but they differ in that some of the houses (in Philadelphia, for instance,) use some energy & some money.
Osgood is organizing a subscription department, & will make his first experiment with a book of mine this fall [P&P] I shall have one advantage, there, for if he fails to sell my book he will at least not swindle me [MTP].
August 19 Friday – Charles Eliot Norton wrote to Clemens, hoping they would see him before Wednesday, and asking what day he might expect him for the festival [MTP].
John Esten Cooke wrote from Boyce, Va. to thank Clemens for info on Hartford publishing houses, but there wasn’t much to encourage publishing there. Cooke was likely a book agent for he stated that they would do well with Sam’s latest book [MTP].
August 21 Sunday – Karl & Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy that “everything with us goes along about the same.” She also wrote of working on a child’s bust (Jean Clemens?) and asked if she should “have a photo taken of it while it was clay so that alteration can be made?” [MTP].
August 22 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James R. Osgood. Sam was planning a trip to Boston.
“All right—but before you order a room for me at the Vendôme, I wish you’d ask Howells if Mrs. Howells didn’t mean to let me come to her house in case Mrs. Clemens couldn’t ”[MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote a notice they’d bought 100 Denver & Rio Grande at 85 for his account [MTP].
Sam wrote to Hubbard & Farmer, the letter not extant but referred to in H&F’s reply of Aug. 24.
August 23 Tuesday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to Charles Webster, saying he was returning the “tile patterns….They do not happen to be the right ones.” Wasn’t there a “great bound book—a multitude of designs to select from”? [MTP].
Sam also telegrammed & wrote to Charles Eliot Norton that he had “finished loading myself up with my speech” and had “ordered a sleeping-section for Albany in to-night’s train.” However, bad news about Garfield’s condition caused Sam to cancel the trip and speech at Ashfield, because he shuddered at the thought of his humorous talk appearing in newspapers full of “black bars of mourning” [MTHL 1: 367n2]. Sam did leave on his business trip to Hartford and Boston, however, as planned. The telegram is not extant but referred to in Norton’s reply of Aug. 24.
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood who had just returned home from abroad. After welcoming him back, Sam got to the point about chapters six and seven in P&P:
“I don’t want to see any more until this godamed idiotic punctuating & capitalizing has been swept away & my own restored. I didn’t see this chapter until I had already read Chap. VII—which latter mess of God-forever-God damned lunacy has turned my hair white with rage. Sweetly, sweetly / Yours/ Mark” [MTP].
Sam left Elmira in the evening, spent some time on the train with John Slee (Jervis Langdon’s old business manager), and slept in the cars [Aug. 25 & 30 letters to Livy, Norton].
August 24 Wednesday – Sam reached “Albany early in the morning, Hartford at noon; Boston at 6 p.m.” (See Aug. 30, Norton). He stayed in Boston and Belmont until Aug. 26, and possibly a day or two more. [MTHL 1: 371n5].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote from Branford, Conn. to Clemens, advising Sam on various bills and memos Sam had sent for him to review [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to Clemens: “Your favor of the 22nd inst. rec’d…enclosure as stated for which we cr. Your a/c $3000” [MTP].
Charles Eliot Norton wrote to Clemens that he’d rec’d Sam’s telegram the night before. He expressed disappointment at Sam’s inability to come to their dinner, due to Garfield’s perilous condition [MTP].
August 25 Thursday – Sam wrote in the morning from Boston to Livy about his trip from Elmira.
“I never saw Mr. Slee any more after I went to bed at midnight in the cars. I found, next morning, in Albany, that I could catch the Springfield train by rushing; so I rushed—in a hack—& was the last passenger that joined it.” Sam told of seeing a working man who’d taken the wrong train so Sam paid his fare back on a 2-day ticket.
On this day or the next, Sam visited Charles Fairchild (1838-1910) (see Sept. 3 entry to Howells).
Sam also wrote to Chatto & Windus, accepting the royalties they’d offered in a July 15 letter over those of Routledge & Sons.
Mr. Osgood showed me your account on sales of “Tramp” to July 1st, & he said you had given it to Conway for transmission. Conway has forgotten to send it, I suppose. But that is no matter, inasmuch as we have it; if the notes had accompanied the statement, I should feel it best to have Conway killed, on account of the delay; but as they were not then due, he has not committed a capital offense [MTP].
Livy wrote to Charles Webster about details on the remodel of the Farmington Avenue house. She was still in Branford, Conn. [MTBus 166]. Webster was running two businesses and trying to coordinate details on the Clemens home, all while in New York. A very busy man.
Orion wrote more about pages of his autobiography and revisions of it [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens about Yung Wing’s note that he heard “officially from China” and that they were considering adopting “the American system” (unspecified). He also wrote of James Ahern’s estimate of $273 was preceded by a bill this day for $491.77, and “he hasn’t finished yet. If we don’t stop it will cost as much as Chamberlain’s whole house” [MTP].
August 26 Friday – Sam telegraphed from Boston to Charles Webster (“at residence of S.L. Clemens”), probably about the mason and plumber, William & Robert Garvie and James Ahern. Sam wrote on Aug. 12 about problems with the kitchen remodel.
“STOP THE NONSENSE SHORT OFF MAKE CONTRACTS OR TURN THEM OUT” [MTP]. Note: A contract with this date between Webster, Sam, and Ahern the plumber is on file at MTP, which would conclude that Webster did in fact “stop the “nonsense.”
Herbert M. Laurence wrote from Venice, Italy to Clemens. “Upon arriving here yesterday, I found your note of Aug. 2 awaiting me. As I hardly know what the character of your proposed work is it would be difficult for me to specially recommend any one” [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote to Clemens that “Alex Holley is abroad” and “I don’t suppose you can wait to hear from him about the stock, if, indeed he could tell you under the circumstances.” More on the gloomy news from Wash. DC about Garfield, news that took two days to reach him [MTP]. Note: Alexander Lyman Holley (1832-1882) was the foremost steel engineer of his time.
Orion Clemens finished his Aug. 25 letter [MTP].
August 27 to 29 Monday – Sam was possibly in Boston past Aug. 26 a day or two, but by Aug. 30 was back in Elmira [MTHL 1: 371n5]. In an Aug. 31 letter to the Gerhardts, Sam referred to seeing Augustus Saint-Gaudens “two or three days ago” on the train, which would set his return to Aug. 28 or 29 [MTP].
August 30 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Eliot Norton. He related his decision not to honor his engagement in Ashfield at Norton’s Annual Dinner, due to President Garfield’s critical and hopeless condition; Livy’s objection to Sam not going to Ashfield but going to Boston for business; Sam’s trip by rail, and the “dreadful news” about Garfield worsening on Friday, Aug. 26.
“I was inexpressibly glad that I had held to my purpose & broken my engagement. Howells & I often spoke of it as we moved along the streets breaking our hearts over these ghastly bulletin boards & watching the domes & pinnacles for that dreaded sign, the flag at half-mast” [MTP].
August 31 Wednesday – The Clemens family waited in Elmira for most of the work to be completed on their Hartford house. Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, about locating Herbert M. Laurence a New York decorator; about a request to secure four acting copies of Hamlet from Samuel French on Nassau Street; and advised to keep back a day’s wages for the workmen. Several more pages of details were included about the Kaolatype business [MTBus 167].
Sam was working on a burlesque Hamlet which involved an additional character, “Basil Stockmar,” who was trying to sell subscription books. Howells actually liked the idea [Powers, MT A Life 453]. Note: Joe Goodman liked this idea so much he “blocked out” such a work to show Sam the possibilities—see Mar. 18, 1883 entry.
Sam also wrote from Elmira to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt, congratulating them on winning an art competition called the “Concours”; Sam showed their last letter to Augustus Saint-Gaudens while traveling from Boston to Elmira. Saint-Gaudens was spending “the coming ten days in Hartford,” Sam wrote. He mentioned hanging “with bated breath upon the bulletins from Washington” about President Garfield’s condition. Sam also enclosed a new letter of £100 credit for his young protégé, and a half page of advice about worrying for the future:
Every time one wastes a thought on the future he misses a trick in the present. …
However, I wouldn’t talk so feelingly on this subject, but for one circumstance: I have never taken thought about my future, & it has always come out about right; but my brother has devoted all of the 56 years of his life to trying to fix up his future satisfactorily. Well, now, don’t you know, by the time he gets it fixed up just right, there won’t be any of it left? Lord bless you, he is the very worst failure that ever lived. Brim full of talent, too [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Edward R. Faxon, offering Karl Gerhardt’s Paris address; letter not extant but referred to on Faxon’s snarky reply of Sept. 11.
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement of Sam’s acct. with a Sept. 1 balance credit of $28,825.77 [MTP].
September – Based on Aug. 31 entry evidence, Sam probably wrote the Hamlet burlesque during this month.
September 2 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, sending a design for the back & side of P&P. “Take perfect care of it, & don’t let it get injured.” Sam wanted a Kaolatype cast of it [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam that Garvie had refused to make a contract, telling him “how honest he was,” etc. Webster threatened to use another contractor, which brought Garvie around. Several details of work needed on the house [MTP]. Note: which of the three Garvie’s is not specified, though John Garvie was a general contractor.
September 2? Friday – Sam telegraphed from New York City per Charles Webster to Herbert M. Laurence, a decorator in the city, asking what was the earliest date he could begin decorating their house [MTP]. Note: also seen as “Lawrence.”
September 3 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells:
What I call my mind, has been in a state of fierce irruption during three successive days. The consequence is, I am on my back, burnt out, devastated, & merely smoldering. …
Take it all around, it was a pretty fat visit that I made to Boston & Belmont. Among other things, that visit cast in my way an idea toward perfecting an invention of mine; it gave me the right character for my Hamlet; the incident for my “mental telegraphy;” chapter on international etiquette; mighty nice dog; a staving good time at your house & Fairchild’s—yes, & the great day of mourning, in Boston, that memorable Friday, when one could almost feel the heart of the nation beat [MTHL 1: 370]. Note: Sam once tried to add a character to the play, and then tore up the MS. The “memorable Friday” (Aug. 26) was one that brought news of Garfield’s hopeless condition. The Howells family had connections with the fellow Ohioan.
Sam also wrote to Franklin Whitmore, confessing that he was “in bed, exhausted by six days’ work done in three.” Sam wanted advice on whether to sell or hold his “Omaha pf & Omaha common” stock [MTP].
September 4 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote two letters to Charles Webster, responding to his letter of Sept. 2. Webster had written that the upper part of the house was finished if the hearths were not changed. Sam responded that yes, the hearths must be changed. “I have written to N.Y. for specimens of tiles to be sent to us here.” Sam had written to the firm of Wm. H. Jackson & Co. [MTNJ 2: 401n 155]. Sam was arguing about the overall cost of the project, and wanted to use the estimates of his architect, Alfred H. Thorp, as leverage against William & Robert Garvie.
“If Thorp’s estimate for future work is lower than Garvie’s, make Garvie come down. And make him reduce his previous bills about down to Thorp’s estimate—& if he won’t, he must wait till I come to Hartford (& then he can wait still longer, & sue me)” [MTP]. Note: Thorp designed the octagonal study for Quarry Farm, where much of Huck Finn was written. See NY Times Dec. 7, 1901 p. BR4.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam, more details of improvements on the Farmington Ave. home [MTP].
September 5 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Josiah G. Holland of Scribner’s, inquiring if he might “simultane” an article he’d sold them to an Australian magazine in Melbourne [MTP]. Note: Holland died on Oct. 12, just five weeks after Sam’s letter.
Sam also wrote to Howells about a subject they dealt with often during the decade—collaborating on a play, variously called “Orme’s Motor,” “The Steam Generator,” Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, and finally The American Claimant. Sam suggested a play with Sellers being 75, “with that fool of a Lafayette Hawkins (age 50) still sticking to him & believing in him, & calling him ‘my lord’.” Sam added that he’d “made $70,000 out of that devil [John T. Raymond] with that other play [The Gilded Age] [MTHL 1: 372-3].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam about showing brass plates to Mr. Marsh of Koch Sons & Co., who was impressed. He thought they ought to buy more Kaolatype stock [MTP]. Note: George N. Marsh.
September 6 Tuesday – Sam telegraphed from Elmira to Charles Webster that the terms were satisfactory for a contract Webster was to frame to “suit” himself. Sam added that he would send money this day [MTP]. Note: the nature of the contract is not specified, but may have been with Garvie; see Webster’s of Sept. 9 to Clemens.
September 7 Wednesday – Sam wrote a twelve-page letter from Elmira to Charles Webster, “mostly detailed and intricate instructions” on Kaolatype. The final message was:
“My experience with Slote teaches me that this sort of letter should be destroyed. Therefore, read this till you are sure of its several points, then burn it” [MTBus 168].
Samuel Webster writes that Sam was “anxious to make Kaolatype cuts for use in The Prince and the Pauper” .
Sam also telegraphed Webster, who was in Hartford:
“RENEW THE ENGLISH PATENT WHEN YOU RETURN TO NEW YORK” [MTP]
September 8 Thursday – Felix N. Gerson wrote from Phila. to Sam, enclosing “an English version of Heine’s poem ‘The Lorelei,’ which I undertook to translate after perusing your ‘Tramp Abroad’” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A poor translation”; the poem enclosed from the Sept. 2 North American.
September 9 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. He’d just received a telegram from the printers—Prince and the Pauper would be finished on Monday, Sept. 12. Sam asked Webster to take the engravings (for the cover) himself to Boston, call on Osgood and take him to “that fancy foundry…in that portion of Boston called Chelsea.” Osgood was to take charge of the casting and finishing so that Charley could return home to New York.
…Let them keep on casting & recasting till they get it right. Pay what they require.
2. Now a chief reason why I want you to go, is, that you may talk with that foundry & see if they will do other jobs for us, & expeditiously.
3. And another reason is, if they can’t make this casting, & do it right away, I want you to rush off to Providence with it & make them hurry it up & express it to Osgood.
It is of vast importance that no time be lost—for it might delay the issue of my canvassers’ copies, & cost me several thousand dollars….Start along, now—either Monday or Monday night [MTBus 169].
Sam also wrote to Benjamin H. Ticknor about the cover design and casting for P&P. Sam hoped the cover might be cast using the Kaolatype process with brass [MTLTP 140].
P.H. Bagenal wrote from Newport R.I. to ask Clemens for an interview [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens that he’d “closed” with Garvie for $6,860 including “the carvings, veranda painting & everything about the house.” More details. Also about Slote, patents, etc. [MTP].
Elizabeth (Lily) M. Millet (Mrs. Francis Millet) wrote from Boston to advise Sam that Frank was “cruising along the Maine coast” and she wasn’t sure when he’d be home. Had Clemens rec’d a letter when their son was born, some 8 weeks ago? She’d had no reply [MTP].
September 10 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Franklin Whitmore acknowledging receipt of his telegram on the matter of selling stock; he would follow Whitmore’s lead. Sam affected a cockney accent:
“It as been orrible weather ere, otter then we’ve ever seen it before on the summit of this hill. But we shan’t complain, as long as it isn’t killing the President” [Note: Garfield died Sept. 19].
He also telegrammed & wrote to his brokers, Hubbard & Farmer, letter not extant but referred to in H&F’s Sept. 13 reply.
Charles Webster wrote twice to Sam, enclosing a clipping “Patent Laws of England” from the NY Telegram. He’d been fixing up his office so would need more funds. A page or two on Kaolatype. He’d rec’d Sam’s of the 7th [MTP].
September 11 Sunday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam:
“That is a famous idea about the Hamlet, and I should like ever so much to see your play when it’s done. Of course, you’ll put it on the stage, and I prophesy a great triumph for it.”
Howells also wrote about Sam’s “very generous willingness” to pay in advance for his “Library of Humor” work. Daughter Winny was still “trying the rest cure” [MTHL 1: 373].
Edward R. Faxon wrote a short note from Hartford. “Yours of the 31st Aug received. I know Mr. Gerhardt’s French address perfectly well without the information from you” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the damfool is Secy of Gerhardt’s K. of H.”; Note in file: “Edward R. Faxon was an officer of the Pioneer Lodge, No. 315, Knights of Honor, Hartford”; “See SLC to the Gerhardts, 31 Aug 1881”
September 12 Monday – Sam went alone to pay his mother, Jane Clemens, and sister, Pamela Moffett, a visit in Fredonia. Livy could not coordinate a nursemaid for the trip. After four hours he stopped in Rochester to rest and spent the night [Sept. 18 Fairbanks letter].
Charles Webster wrote from Boston to Sam about brass plates and his plan to meet Osgood the next day [MTP].
September 13 Tuesday – Sam left Rochester at 10 A.M. and got to Fredonia at 3 PM. While there he checked up on one of his investments. From the Fredonia Censor, Sept. 21, 1881:
Samuel L. Clemens, of Hartford, paid his mother and sister, Mrs. Moffett, a little visit last week. He called at the Independent Watch Company’s factory, and was much pleased with the officers, workmen and works. The company will have one watch movement named the “Mark Twain” in honor of this distinguished stockholder.
W.B. Gwyn attorney, wrote from Asheville, NC to Clemens, enclosing some sketches he hoped Sam could use to frame a book around [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back, “From a North Carolinian idiot.”
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to Clemens having rec’d his letter & telegram of Sept. 10 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Will obey instructions to sell when W. does”
September 14 Wednesday – Jane Augspurg wrote from Hartford to ask Sam if she might translate some of his works into German [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From a translator”
September 15 Thursday – When Sam left Fredonia his mother accompanied him the three miles to the station at Dunkirk, then returned home. Sam waited at Dunkirk until 3 A.M. for a train to take him the 45 miles to Buffalo, where he stayed overnight at David Gray’s [Sept. 18, 19 letters to Fairbanks, Jane Clemens].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam that he “at last got the furnace men started.” Also that Osgood liked the plates [MTP].
September 16 Friday – Sam left Buffalo and reached Elmira in the evening [Sept. 18 Fairbanks letter].
September 17 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.
All right. I am glad you staid in Boston to look after the castings yourself. I hope you will accomplish your second plate to-day, so that you won’t have to be in Boston next Wednesday; for we shall be at the Gilsey House Wednesday morning, & remain a day or two for Mrs. Clemens to do some shopping before proceeding to Hartford [MTP]. Note: It had become the routine for the family to stop a day or more in New York when traveling from Elmira to Hartford or vice versa.
September 18 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Mary Mason Fairbanks. After relating his trip to Fredonia and back, Sam’s fatigue led him to declare, “I am an old man at 45—older than some men are at 80.” He urged Mary to visit them in Hartford, that he didn’t think he could stand a trip to “that remote region” (Cleveland) where she lived. He expected to be able to send her a copy of P&P by Dec. 1.
We shall leave here for Hartford day after tomorrow, unless the weather is very hot. We have rebuilt our kitchen & doubled its size; we have torn out the reception room & made the main hall larger by that much; we have carried the driveway off to the right, past the greenhouse, & it now enters the avenue a hundred feet east of where it did before; & we have lowered that ground & brought the house up into view [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to thank Sam and Livy for the letter of credit, and to tell of their progress [MTP].
September 18? Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster and Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). Sam enclosed a letter to Tiffany that Webster was to mail upon Sam’s telegram. Sam’s letter to Tiffany requested “a moment on business” upon arriving in New York [MTP]. Note: Herbert M. Laurence, New York decorator, had recommended Tiffany. (See Oct. 24 entry.)
September 19 Monday – James A. Garfield lost his long struggle. He was the second U.S. President to be assassinated. Chester A. Arthur would be sworn in as the new President on Sept. 20.
Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, that it “took me two days to get rested again” from the trip to Fredonia, the return trip through Buffalo, and home. He was glad Livy and the children had not been along, but:
“…by & by they will finish that new road, & the time-tables will improve, & then Livy & the children will come with me” [MTP].
Samuel Webster writes that years later, anybody who Sam disliked he claimed came from Dunkirk; this due to a three and a half hour wait there once at the train station [MTBus 170].
Sam also wrote to Thomas Aldrich enclosing an article about “one of the most horrible episodes” Sam had ever read about. “I thought I would cut it out & send it to you for the C. Club.” [MTP]. Most probably this would have been the Correspondent’s Club. The “episode” is unidentified.
Sam also wrote a spoof on a Ralph Waldo Emerson aphorism above his fireplace (The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it) to an unidentified person:
“Mr. Emerson would say, ‘The curse of a house is the mumps who frequent it—especially if they is malarious’ ” [MTP].
September 20 Tuesday – The Clemens family left Elmira and traveled overnight to New York. (See Sept. 17 to Webster).
September 21 Wednesday – The Clemens family checked into the Gilsey House (see Sept. 17 to Webster). They spent “a day or two” in New York. Their stay was spent looking after the Kaolatype business and arranging for the redecoration of the Farmington Avenue house, which had been under renovation since March [MTNJ 2: 399n148].
New York weather: 73 to 62 degrees F. No precipitation [NOAA.gov].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to advise they’d sold 100 Omaha at $108 [MTP].
September 22–23 Friday – The Clemens family returned to Hartford, where they found the house in disarray:
We are in our carpetless & dismantled home living like a gang of tramps on the second floor, the rest of the house in the hands of mechanics & decorators. We have pulled down the kitchen & rebuilt it, adding twenty feet to it, & have lowered the ground in front of the greenhouse, & also carried the driveway a hundred feet further to the east [MTNJ 2: 399n148]. (Oct. 9 letter to Hattie Gerhardt)
September 23 Friday – Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote again to Sam and Livy about details of their artwork and their life in Paris [MTP].
Charles Webster to Sam: “I delay writing to Nealy for fear of stirring up Joyce & Goff it seems to me on reflection that we want to buy them out on K. & English patent before we seem to enlarge by employing Nealy.” Two pages on Kaolatype details [MTP].
September 24 Saturday – Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to advise selling 100 shares of Omaha Common at $45 [MTP].
September 28 Wednesday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich for Atlantic Monthly wrote to Sam: “I have just rec’d a telegram message from that girl in Chattanooga. She says it was a shame to inflict the death penalty on [illegible word], as he only outraged her in the ‘second degree.’…Did the typhoon and the maelstrom hit you the other day?” [MTP].
September 29 Thursday – Moncure Conway wrote to Clemens that he had a statement from Chatto & Windus of Sam’s account up to July 1 [MTP].
James R. Osgood wrote to Clemens, clarifying many points on Canadian copyright law and advising it would be necessary for Clemens to go to Canada “four or five days preceding and four or five days following the date of publication” [MTP].
September 30 Friday – Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement showing a credit balance to Oct. 1 of $13,679.32 [MTP].
October – On a Saturday, Sam spoke on “mental telegraphy” as a guest of William D. Whitney, a Yale professor, at Whitney’s home in New Haven. Sam gave his talk at a meeting of the New Haven Saturday Morning Club, a young ladies’ social and cultural group much like Hartford’s. Whitney’s daughter, Marian, was twenty [MTNJ 2: 359n12].
Sam inscribed William Wood’s General Conchology; or, a Description of Shells, etc. to: “Susie Clemens, Oct. 1881/ from Papa” [Gribben 784].
William W. Ellsworth sent calling card only [MTP]. Note: Sec’y of the Century Co., NYC
Bruce Weston Munro wrote to Clemens seeking advice about writing [MTP].
October 1 Saturday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “working steadily on my revising.” He noted Sam was no longer writing for the Atlantic. He was going to subscribe to Scribner’s [MTP].
October 2 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster, mentioning his hope of interesting William W. Ellsworth of Scribner’s in the Kaolatype engraving process. Ellsworth was “the nephew of the business manager & chief owner of Scribner’s” and would become head manager of the Century magazine in 1882 [MTNJ 2: 358n5; MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, who wrote on Sept. 29 of a plan to gain legal control over Canadian publication of P&P, so as to avoid the kind of piracy that he’d experienced with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam asked if all he needed was a bill of sale to transfer the rights to Chatto. He might “run up to Boston Thursday of this or early next week” [MTLTP 142].
October 2? Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to W.H. Lentz of the Volcano House in Hawaii, answering that he was not the writer of a piece called “Dream,” although it had been supposed so there for many years. (See Nov. 22, 1881 entry.) Sam’s letter concluded:
“Therefore observe you this, and keep it in mind; none genuine without the signature on the bottle. Yours truly, Mark Twain” [MTP]. Note: Phila. patent medicine king, Thomas W. Dyott likely the first to use this slogan, later used by Jim Beam bourbon.
October 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, announcing they had all reached home and were living in a couple of rooms while the workmen finished remodeling.
“O never revamp a house! Leave it just as it was, & then you can economise in profanity” [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: entries for amounts due, deposits made with his banker, Bissell & Co. [MTNJ 2: 401].
October 5 Wednesday – Sam was well acquainted with frustration from contractors. In his notebook:
“Sent Patrick for Ahern 10 days ago.— He didn’t come. Sent for him yesterday by Dr Hooker, to mend up a hot water leak & other things. He didn’t come. Sent for Robt. Garvie this morning, the necessity being pressing. He came, & did the work” [MTNJ 2: 401-2].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam that he’d seen a “brass man” Mr. Hoe who said he could make better plates for Sam’s book than those Webster had made [MTP].
October 6 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elisabeth Fairchild, wife of Charles Fairchild, neighbors of the Howellses in Belmont, Mass. A dog of Sam’s had been killed, perhaps chasing a carriage or a horse. The dog was named Rab, after Dr. John Brown’s famous book. Another “pup of Rab’s exact breed” was wanted.
“No, indeed, poor Rab was an expense to nobody…His soul is stainless, both of the crime and the intent. The three servants who only had to feed & pet Rab, were inconsolable over his loss; none but the coachman & the gardener desired his departure. It was these whom he kept busy dragging him away from vehicles” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: “All right. I will see Munn & Co about that brass business. I have written to Rants [?] to have those specimen sheets finished up at once” [MTP].
October 7 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus. He acknowledged payment of £874.16.9 from Moncure Conway, for which he sent thanks. This amount was for A Tramp Abroad royalties [MTNJ 2: 401n157]. Sam added:
I told my nephew, C.L. Webster, to write & ask you if you wanted duplicates of the brass stamps which are to be used in printing the covers of the “P.& P.” But you need not answer him, for I perceive the time is too short, now. The suggestion was only born of personal vanity, since these stamps were made by a process of my own invention, whose merits are cheapness & celerity of production [MTNJ 2: 401n154].
Sam also wrote to Stephen C. Massett:
Am sorry, but the latch string is hauled in for repairs. The house is in the hands of the carpenters & decorators for the season, & no visitors received but the butcher & the grocer.
In regards to a squib someone had given Massett, thinking Sam had written it, he replied:
I think you must have known at a glance that the writer of that silly & witless production carries on his shoulders a gourd full of rotten oysters in place of brains [MTP]. Note: see Massett’s Oct. 9 reply.
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster with advice about testing some new base of Webster’s in use with brass and clay castings. Sam wrote that he also telegraphed Webster, “to Fredonia, to-day, to pay Dean $1100 or $1200 if you want to, & that will fetch him” [MTP]. (Dean is not further identified.)
October 8 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, seeking another visit from him and his daughter Koto, as long as he could get rid of the plumbers, carpenters and decorators by the first of November [MTP].
Sam’s Oct. 2? letter to W.H. Lentz was paraphrased and quoted in the Honolulu Saturday Press [MTP].
October 9 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt (see also Sept. 22-23 entry).
While in Paris, Mrs. Warner was kept constantly at the bedside of the late Mrs. Fiske, so doubtless she got no opportunity to go to you. Mr. Warner left here 2 or 3 days ago, & is about sailing, now, for Europe. He will be in Paris, presently, & will hunt you up. We have received the two large drawings from Mrs. G.’s pencil, & we note enormous progress over her early efforts here in Hartford. If she keeps up this gait, in advancement, she will surprise & gratify us all. I have not seen St. Gaudens since I last wrote. We arrived here from Elmira a week ago; & meantime he has finished up his Hartford work & gone. But I shall run across him by & by [MTP].
Stephen C. Massett wrote to Sam: “You wrong me! I cut that ‘squib’ out of a country paper—headed just as I inserted it—I, thinking it—as did many others, very funny—sufficiently so to pass around, with all the honors!—so the only harm done is—that I see—a difference of opinion, about the fun, or wit of it…” [MTP].
October 10 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, again about getting “Dean” and about designs for P&P [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Oct. 9 of Stephen C. Massett, with an apology for his last note (see Oct. 7 letter).
“Now one of my pet aversions is the pun. I cannot abide a pun. I thought you would know me well enough by this time, to know that a couple of stickfuls of matter containing a half a dozen puns, was (by that sign) not mine, even if my name was signed to it” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood: “Forgot to say I expressed the original MS [P&P] to you some time ago from Elmira.” Two other letters to Osgood are listed for this date from an American Art Association catalog sale in 1925, one about brass-casting. [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy about his progress in sculpting and the difficulties in finding “a petite apartment which cost no more and in several ways is much better for the winter” [MTP].
October 11 Tuesday – Thomas Fitch wrote from Tombstone, Ariz. to Sam: “The republication of the enclosed by a Bodic [?] paper has so flattered my vanity as to make me think it possible it might survive the ocean of arbitrary eloquence with which the land has been deluged, & find presentation in the columns of some eastern paper.” He asked Sam to send a clipping should he see same [MTP]. Note in file: “See SLC to John C. Kenney, 25 Oct. 1881. SLC may have sent Fitch’s clipping on to Kinney, who reprinted it in the Courant of 25 Oct 1881.”
October 12 Wednesday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote to Sam, sending some pages of P&P with his questions inserted while reading the work for review. He found a few things he felt seemed “rather strong milk for babes—more like milk-punch in fact.” He’d noted about twenty words that he felt didn’t fit the work; he didn’t care for the ballad Miles Hendon sang (the same one Sam sang on his honeymoon train trip to Buffalo) and the words “devil,” “hick” (for person) and “basting” (for beating) [MTHL 1: 375].
Stephen C. Massett wrote to Sam: “All right my boy! Nuf sed—shake! How stoopid I was, in my ignorantz I thought you was the first punster of the age!” [MTP]. See Oct. 7, 9, 10.
October 13 Thursday – In Belmont, Mass., Howells wrote a follow up of his Oct. 12. He hoped Sam wouldn’t think he was “meddling,” but marked some passages of P&P that he didn’t “think are fit to go into a book for boys,” that the picture Sam created “doesn’t gain strength” from them [MTHL 1: 376].
October 14 Friday – Sam and Joe Twichell walked out to Talcott’s Tower, a wooden structure about five miles outside of Hartford. Sam related their talk in a letter to Howells the next day:
[Twichell] mentioned that a Yale scientist believes we shall contrive a way to communicate with the people in other planets by & by—(by my system of Mental Telegraphy, maybe.) No other way will be possible, because only thoughts could be transmitted—not language, since neither of us could understand the other. As for myself, I have no difficulty in believing that our newspapers will by & by contain news, not 24 hours old, from Jupiter et al—mainly astronomical corrections & weather indications; with now & then a sarcastic fling at the only true religion [MTHL 1: 376-7].
W.B. Gwyn wrote to Sam asking for publication advice [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Referred him to the publishers—my opinion no value”
October 15 Saturday – Sam’s July 24 letter to the Australian public, ran in the Adelaide Observer (see July 24 entry).
Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Orion, that “his entire day” had:
…gone to the devil with answering letters…send us another sack of those big hickory nuts, like those that came a year or so ago [MTP]
Sam also wrote to Howells, answering his Oct. 12 and 13 about pages of the P&P manuscript Howells was editing, and his suggestions to change certain words. Sam replied:
Slash away, with entire freedom; & the more you slash, the better I shall like it & the more I shall be cordially obliged to you. Alter any and everything you choose—don’t hesitate. …
I am hard at work on Capt. Ned Wakeman’s adventures in heaven—merely for the love of it; for laws bless you, it can’t ever be published. At least not unless I trim it like everything & then father it on some good man—say Osgood. This is my purpose at present [MTHL 1: 376]. Note: The story eventually was published as “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” in Harper’s Magazine in Dec. 1907 and Jan. 1908.
Sam also wrote a short note to Osgood & Co. about the dies and die-sinkers. He added, “Irving for $13.34 is satisfactory—send her along” [MTP]. Note: Works of Washington Irving, 12 vols. [Gribben 346-7].
Charles Webster wrote from Fredonia to Sam of his father’s illness, of a lack of any vacation, and of his busy schedule [MTP].
October 16 Sunday – Kate (Kitty) D. Barstow (Mrs. William H. Barstow) wrote from Washington to Sam, who had not heard from her since she “suddenly disappeared from our sky” back in 1870, owing $157.40 for unpaid copies of IA. At that time Sam recommended her to Bliss as an agent for the sale of his books; ultimately he had to reimburse Bliss. Kitty’s letter was an apology and a general sob story about having five children and four living, from ages 2 ½ to 17 ½; about Will being out of work, after being charged with a crime (unspecified) and waiting 20 months for a trial, etc. He had been with the Census Bureau under General Walker (Francis A. Walker 1840-1897) for the past two years. Her current letter led to another plea for help to complete medical school; she promised to repay him when she practiced. She was:
“…studying medicine at Howard University—have just entered—and it will take me three years, as they will not give me credit for my two years of private study…”
Of her husband:
“His heart was so nearly broken by the disgrace of being indicted and tried for a crime—that it almost unmanned him and I often was put to my wits end for ways and means to keep our family together—Every atom of jewelry I sold to help along…” [MTP]. Note: See Oct. 19 entry, and Joe Goodman’s warning about Kitty, Jan. 22, 1884.
October 17 Monday – Hartford Probate Court sent Sam a printed announcement postcard on the estate of John S. Ives [MTP].
October 18 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. All of Sam’s prior investment losses in inventions would pale next to the Paige typesetter debacle, which he wrote about:
Mr. Wm. Hammersley, [Hamersley] our City Attorney, will call on you at your Engraving office, at 10 o’clock Thursday morning.
He & I are stockholders in the Pa[i]ge Type-Setting Machine. The company wants to let a contract to somebody with $300,000 in his pocket, who can clear $2,000,000 on said contract in four or five years. I said Mr. Whitford, or you & Mr. Whitford between you, could probably find such a man (or men) if it could be made pecuniarily worth your while to do it. Mr. Hammersley will explain the matter to you; & then perhaps both of you had better step over & explain it to Mr. Whitford [MTP]. Note: Daniel Whitford (b. 1840) was a Fredonia lawyer, now with the prestigious New York firm of Alexander & Green [MTBus 171-2; A. Hoffman 298].
October 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood about illustrations for P&P, which had been delayed. Sam thought the canvassing book was “mighty handsome” [MTP].
He also wrote a letter and sent a telegram to Kate D. Barstow, answering her letter of Oct. 16 [MTP]. He later wrote on the letter “Telegraphed her I would do what she had asked.” Note: See Oct. 20 entry and also Joe Goodman’s warning to Sam about “that succubus—Kitty Barstow”, Jan. 22, 1884. Sam one check for $25, and agreed to support her with like amounts through her schooling (see Oct. 29 entry.) It is not known if Kate ever paid Twain back. Likely she’d borrowed or attempted to from Goodman, but the cause of his estrangement is not known.
Orion wrote: “We received yours of 15th to-day.” The height of the river precluded him from finding the big hickory nuts Sam wanted. He asked for Jean’s photograph. They were all well. He wrote of their father’s writing of 60 years ago, and copied a letter for his auto. He finished the letter the next day [MTP].
October 20 Thursday – Sam and William J. Hamersley traveled to New York and met with Charles Webster at his engraving office [MTBus 171].
In Washington, Kate D. Barstow wrote again to Sam. This rather long and faded letter is on a large fold out stiff paper. She thanked Sam profusely, then referred to monies she would need for her books and dissecting equipment for studying medicine…her faith in teachers…her “love” for Joe Goodman who never answered her letters…and reminiscences:
The telegram reached me yesterday making me very happy—the letter came today. It will be useless for me to attempt to thank you. …
It seems fully a “million of years” since we used to chat together in the old International—Joe often the subject of our talk! Bless him! May he be happy if not prosperous!
Note: Kitty confessed naming a son after Joe Goodman! In itself this may not be unusual, but given her continued “devotion” and Joe’s abhorrence, there seems to have been some fire and much smoke between them. Was Joe jilted, tempted? Kitty also wrote of her Will having to wait 20 months for a trial but did not give the details, save he was innocent. She gained her medical degree in 1884 [See MTL 4: 78 notes, other entries to Sam].
Orion Clemens finished his Oct. 19 letter [MTP].
October 21 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House about P&P and the delay of his planned visit due to the “unholy decorators” and House’s attack of gout.
“I am mighty glad your first judgment of the book still holds good. The approval of competent minds is the main thing; I strongly want the book to achieve that; that it should sell well is a very much less important matter” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. He informed his publisher about Ned House’s discovery of an error in P&P—that is, Sam “made Miles Hendon a Baronet, some sixty years before Baronets were invented.” Sam suggested Osgood “jam in that little note at the bottom of the page” to explain the error [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Osgood & Co.: Please send me “Elizabeth, or the Exile[s] of Siberia” [MTP]. Note: 1872 by Madame Sophie Ristaud Cottin (1770-1807), French writer. Not in Gribben.
Sam “lost the bulk of” his sleep on this night [Oct. 24 letter to Whitney, MTP].
Sam also wrote to Bruce Weston Munro, a 21-year-old writer in Ontario, Canada, who had sought his advice about writing.
I do not see how any but a colossal genius can write a readable prose-book before he is 30 years old. Such books have been written, but never by any but gigantic geniuses—like those Bronte sisters, for instance. And yet even they were enabled to do it only because they had a capital of experience to draw from which was nearly as prodigious as their genius [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote from NYC to Sam. More about plates and the engravings for the new book, and putting Mr. Marsh to work [MTP]. Note: George N. Marsh.
October 22 Saturday – Sam was the guest of the William D. Whitney family in New Haven, Conn., where he spoke on “mental telegraphy” at a meeting of that city’s Saturday Morning Club, a young ladies’ social and cultural group similar to Hartford’s chapter. Sam’s notebook has an entry for Marian P. Whitney, William’s 20-year-old daughter, at 246 Church St., Oct. 22, 12 to 1 PM [MTNJ 2: 359 & n12]. (See also Oct. 24 letter to Whitney.) He returned to Hartford in the evening, bringing flowers Marian gave him.
October 24 Monday – Sam contracted with the Tiffany & Co. “For the sum of Five Thousand dollars” to cover the ceilings and walls of their library with metal leaf [MTNJ 2: 399-400n149].
Sam wrote to Edward House thanking him profusely for a suggested solution for the baronet error in P&P [MTP].
Sam also wrote two letters to James R. Osgood:
Here is an article which I have been three years in the building [“Mental Telegraphy”]. Scribner’s folks have asked for an article, and I was going to send them this; but I reflected, and this is the result: this must go into the North American Review, else every ass of a reader will believe I invented these things, instead of experiencing them [MTLTP 142].
The article was rejected by the Review, perhaps anticipated by Sam, because he wrote the back up choice would be Century Magazine (published by Scribner’s). The second letter to Osgood enclosed House’s letter about the fix for the baronet error. Sam asked Osgood to cable Chatto about the fix [MTP].
Sam also wrote thanks to William D. Whitney for the recent hospitality shown him on Oct. 22 in New Haven. He also apologized for evidently dozing off after the luncheon:
…for being so stupid, so lifeless, from the close of the luncheon onward. It was just one of those things which couldn’t be helped: I had lost the bulk of my sleep the night before—an accident I was not used to; I had gorged like an anaconda, at luncheon—& the accident of a good appetite was another novelty: the criminal result was, that I was ostensibly dead, only, whereas I ought to have been so in reality, & served me right.
Sam also thanked Whitney’s daughter Marian for the flowers, which Sam “got home all right & kept …in the ice-box over night” with good results [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote to Clemens:
“So long a time has slipped by since your favor from the Elmira farm was written that I judge you must be back in Hartford again: hence shall direct there. It was singular that I should have been thinking of your ‘Hamlet’ scheme just before your letter came. I still believe it would make an immense hit if you chanced to get the brother sandwiched in happily. I spoke to Barrett about the design once. Though struck by the novelty and ludicrousness of the idea, he appeared to think it would be an unwarrantable desecration. That is twaddle. I hold much of the opinion of Shakespeare that Byron expressed to Moore—that he is a d—d humbug. He himself was always ridiculing other playwrights, and it is only fair that some one should retaliate upon him.”
Joe also wrote he was anxious to read P&P. He noted Sam should “insist upon your Hartford publishers having a better proof-reader. I found a good many errors in your books, mostly typographical fortunately, but inexcusable in a first-class printing establishment. Dan’s ‘Big Bonanza’ was the worst butchered book I ever saw. There is one error running persistently throughout your works that I can’t account for unless you insist upon it—that is, spelling champagne champaign. Where do you find the authority for it?”
He didn’t know if he might “every try to do any writing again” since his health was bad; he could “scarcely move or breathe from rheumatism in his spine and chest” [MTP]. Note: on the top of the letter Sam wrote, “My ‘Hamlet’ had not been mentioned for years. SLC. I but happened to mention it in the letter he refers to.”
Louis Comfort Tiffany wrote to Clemens with an estimate of $5,000 to “decorate certain rooms in your dwelling in Hartford” [MTP].
October 25 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.
Hammersley said the foreman of the Herald composing rooms was here last Saturday to examine the machine [Paige typesetter]; was satisfied with it, & said he should advise the Herald to order $150,000 worth (30 machines.) (More than necessary, I should think, for 30 of them would do the work of 150 men.)
However, my object now in writing, is to say, if you should carry Hammersley’s project through, telegraph me when it is actually done, for I shall want to scrape up some money & buy another block of this stock, here, if I can get it. I reckon it will take about a hundred thousand machines to supply the world, & I judge the world has got to buy them—it can’t well be helped.
At this point Sam’s investment in the Paige typesetter was only $5,000, and would eventually be $300,000—a loss [MTBus 172-3].
Sam also wrote to John C. Kinney, evidently an editor on the Hartford Courant. Sam wrote he was “mighty glad you got in those paragraphs, & paid Fitch’s speech so handsome a compliment editorially…” Sam asked, “…won’t you please telephone me, so that I can order a copy or so” of Howells’ review of P&P written “for the N.Y. Tribune at John Hay’s request” ? [MTP]. Note: Sam’s home telephone was directly wired to the Courant office.
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. He was still bothered by the Miles Herndon baronet mistake and suggested the wording of a cable for Chatto & Windus. Sam noted,
“English critics are more likely to discover such a flaw than ours” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person declining an invitation to attend a Board of Trade convention, probably in St. Louis. Sam apologized but was:
“…putting a book through the press, & this sort of work requires not merely daily but hourly attention; so that if I were even invited to attend my own funeral I simply couldn’t go; they would have to play a dummy on the mourners & hold on with the monument indefinitely” [MTP].
The carpenters and plumbers were done working on the Clemens house by this day, and the decorators began attacking their work with scaffolds (See letter to House, Oct. 26).
William Dean Howells’ review of P&P, “A Romance by Mark Twain,” ran in the N.Y. Tribune, p.6, and was reprinted in several newspapers.
Kate D. Barstow wrote to Sam:
“Dear Sam / Can you spare me $50.00 now? If not can you spare me $25.00 ?”
She bowed and scraped and begged him not to “possibly depriving yourself or family of a comfort or pleasure”…implying that Sam’s response was less than fully enthusiastic. Kitty referred to his offer to use him to procure her books at a discount…and wrote she would “avail” herself of that in the future [MTP; See Kate’s Oct. 29 entry].
Bruce Weston Munro wrote from Newcastle, Ont. to thank Clemens for his “kind, out-spoken letter. Far from being hurt at so kind & sincere a letter, I am only pleased” [MTP].
Percy F. Sinnett wrote from Adelaide, S. Australia acknowledging Sam’s letter rec’d weeks before. [MTP]. Note: see Sinnet’s May 21; Sam’s July 24 to Sinnett; Sam’s July 24 to the Australian Public; Herbert Evans to Sam of July 21.
October 26 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Evidently, Webster had voiced objections about the Paige typesetter and tried to direct Sam to help in some way about the machine. Sam’s pushed back, claiming the investment was Hamersley’s not his, save for $5,000:
“I don’t need to do anything to protect the $5000 invested in that machine; it is safe, there, & is very much the best investment I have ever had. I want an opportunity to add to it—that is how I feel about it” [MTBus 173].
Sam added that he wanted Whitford’s law firm to scare the publishers of A Tramp Abroad (American Publishing Co.) into releasing copyright back to Sam, since they had no money to fight him with.
“…they have paid 25 per cent too much for the manufacture of the Tramp Abroad, from the beginning—a lost to me of $5,000 & upwards. (My bottom object would be, to frighten them into giving up all my copyrights…” [MTBus 174].
Sam also wrote to Charles Warren Stoddard in the Sandwich Islands [MTLP 404]. Paine: “At the time of this letter, Stoddard had decided that in the warm light and comfort of the Sandwich Islands he could survive on his literary earnings.”
MY DEAR CHARLIE,—A Parthian Arrow [meaning, a parting shot]. Now what have I ever done to you that you should not only slide off to Heaven before you have earned a right to go, but must add the gratuitous villainy of informing me of it?...
The house is full of carpenters & decorators; whereas, what we really need here, is an incendiary. If the house would only burn down, we would pack up the cubs & fly to the isles of the blest, & shut ourselves up in the healing solitudes of the crater of Haleakala & get a good rest; for the mails do not intrude there, nor yet the telephone & the telegraph. & after resting, we would come down the mountain a piece & board with a godly, breech-clouted native, & eat poi & dirt & give thanks to whom all thanks belong, for these privileges, & never house-keep any more.
Maybe you think I am not happy? the very thing that gravels me is that I am. I don't want to be happy when I can't work; I am resolved that hereafter I won't be. What I have always longed for, was the privilege of living forever away up on one of those mountains in the Sandwich Islands overlooking the sea.
Yours ever / MARK.
That magazine article of yours was mighty good: up to your very best I think. I enclose a book review written by Howells [MTLP 404]. Notes: 1) The first sentence Sam’s letter to Charles Warren Stoddard was cut in Paine’s version (MTLP 404). It was: “A Parthian arrow?” (meaning a parting shot) Sam was clearly replying to a note from Stoddard, not extant but shown by Sam’s letter to Howells this same day as a “postal card” [MTHL 1: 378]. 2) The review of Howells that Sam was “delighted with” was unsigned of the forthcoming P&P in the NY Tribune of Oct. 25 (available online in Chronicling America).
Sam also wrote to Howells:
I am delighted with your review, & so is Mrs. Clemens. What you have said, there, will convince anybody that reads it; a body cannot help it. That is the kind of a review to have; the doubtful man; even the prejudiced man, is persuaded, & succumbs. …
What a queer blunder that was, about the baronet. I can’t quite see how I ever made it. There was an opulent abundance of things I didn’t know; & consequently no need to trench upon the vest-pocketful of things I did know, to get material for a blunder [MTHL 1: 377-8].
Sam also wrote to Hjalmar Boyesen thanking him for his book, just arrived, Queen Titania. Sam promised to send him P&P when it was out Dec. 1 and said the family was all well save for baby Jean, who was teething [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Orion answering that he preferred to “keep these old letters myself,” that is, letters written by his father, John Marshall Clemens.
“I wish I had fifty more; & I wish to blazes pa hadn’t had the bad fashion of writing on both sides of the page. But postage was a serious matter in those days.”
He added that P&P would issue in England and Germany shortly before the U.S. on Dec. 1 and He added that “Clara is 45½ inches; Susie 50¾” and enclosed a photo of baby Jean [MTBus 174].
Sam also wrote to Edward House, about the baronet fix on P&P, and a possibly discrepancy in Chatto’s version affecting copyright, something Osgood feared by changing a page.
“The decorators are banging away here. Began yesterday. They’ve got scaffoldings everywhere; but they make no prophecies; can’t be persuaded to. But they are at work in an energetic way, & I think we’ll soon see our way to guessing out a date for our visit” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, confident he could “get the money” for the typesetting machine but “The machine must have merit” [MTP].
Miss Marian P. Whitney wrote from New Haven to Clemens: “Father is so busy now with this meeting of the Oriental Society that, rather than let your letter wait till he can find time to answer it, he has handed it over to me.” She gave an address for Mrs. Edwin A. Walker that Sam had evidently requested [MTP]. William D. Whitney’s daughter.
October 26? Wednesday – Livy started a letter to her sister, Susan Crane, writing a couple of lines about the weather and asking for her to visit. Sam finished it with:
(That is as far as Livy got—a visitor has called her off; & as I have telephoned for a District messenger to come & take these letters to the mail, I’ll not wait for her to finish what she was going to say, but leave you to guess it. I judge she was going to say “seems as if we should regard that as the highest favor Heaven could vouchsafe us.” To which I add, Amen. Lovingly, Sam [ )] [MTP].
October 27 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Charles Webster, asking if he had the “old cut” of a form-card for printing which answered that Sam had “quitted the platform permanently”; Sam wanted 300 printed on white cards like the one he enclosed, monogram not needed [MTP].
Sam wrote twice to James R. Osgood. Both letters deal with P&P’s release and his possible need to go to Toronto to protect Canadian copyright. In this letter Sam expresses satisfaction about the advance reviews of the book:
It seems to me that if we are going to start out with Howells in the Tribune & House in the Atlantic, we go mighty well fixed. Howells’s review pleases me vastly. The praise & the dispraise sound equally candid & sincere; & both are stated so forcibly & backed up by such clear reasoning, that future reviewers will find it difficult to get away from the influence exerted upon their minds by this critique. It is a mint-stamp; it will be hard to rub out [MTP].
Sam’s second letter dealt with the risks of printing in Canada, where sheets might be bought or stolen, with a pirated edition then produced. Sam again noted Howells’ review of P&P… “it will pitch the key for the rest of the American criticisms” [MTLTP 143].
On or about this day, Sam wrote to Kate D. Barstow, enclosing a check for $25 [MTP, referred to in Kate’s Oct. 29]. Note: this allows two days mail from Hartford to Washington.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam, clarifying his previous “obtuse” letter about getting investment money in NYC for the typesetter [MTP].
October 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster. Of course he hadn’t thought Webster was out to “bleed him” and likened his motivation to Livy’s. He simply didn’t want Hamersley’s business added to his. Hamersley, the Hartford City Attorney, was instrumental in bringing the Paige typesetter investment to Sam, and wanted him to take some New York expert to see the machine, but Sam wasn’t going to get embroiled. Yet. He was still focused on the Kaolatype process for brass [MTBus 175].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. “What day are you going to Canada? That’s the day that I’m going. Name it” [MTLTP 144].
Sam also wrote to Katherine K. Walker (Mrs. Edward Ashley Walker); the letter later appeared in the New York Independent, undetermined date and page.
You spoke rather as if you should give up the idea of magazining the Bishop’s mind-telegraphing experiences since I had pre-empted the field; but I beg you to reconsider that impulse & banish it. This isn’t a matter of literature; it is a matter of science, & anybody who can contribute toward the sum of human knowledge concerning it, it is morally encumbent upon the same to do so [MTP].
October 29 Saturday – In Washington, Kate D. Barstow wrote Sam thanks for sending money:
Dear Sam / Letter and check rec’d. Thanks!
If I did not acknowledge receipt of the check for $25 before – permit me to do so now—and pardon the mission. / Shall confine myself strictly to business henceforth.
Yours Gratefully, K.D. Barstow / 622 B St. S.E. [MTP].
Century Magazine wrote to Clemens: “Many thanks for your kind letter. We can wait for the ‘dwelling-paper’ if we must but in the meantime how about the books that keeps it from me? Eh?” [MTP]. Signed only “editor Century,” file note says it doesn’t appear to be any known editor. Sam’s letter referred to is not extant.
Edward W. Bok wrote from Brooklyn, NY mentioning that on March 16 of 1880 he’d sent a request for a “short note” in Sam’s handwriting but had heard nothing. He was now “respectfully” reminding [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Bok, the impossible”; See Feb. 24, 1882 for more on Bok.
Katherine K. Walker (Mrs. Edward Ashley Walker) wrote from New Haven to Clemens. A rather strange letter about publishing and her desire to be in “3 or 4 first-class magazines” [MTP]. See Sam’s Oct. 28.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam with news of a contract signed with the New Orleans Democrat for Kaolatype use. Nothing new in the brass process [MTP].
October 30 Sunday – Orion began a letter he finished on Oct. 31. He was glad Sam liked the papers he sent and was delighted with the photographs Sam sent, the “three children are beautiful…” Other family and acquaintance doings [MTP].
October 31 Monday – In Hartford, Sam wrote again to James R. Osgood, to coordinate when he needed to go to Canada. Osgood had written that the book could be set up in 48 hours there, so was no need to set it up in Boston. Sam could leave the evening or morning of Nov. 27, but since that was Livy’s birthday, he didn’t want to go the day before, as perhaps Osgood had suggested. Sam requested a copy of Voltaire’s “Age of Louis XIV” if Osgood could “scare it up in the English tongue” [MTP].
Sam also wrote again to Katherine K. Walker (Mrs. Edward Ashley Walker), responding to her Oct. 29 letter.
“Come now, please write that article & dispatch it to the magazine, Mine has gone where it won’t appear in print for several months, I judge. So you see yours would be almost certain to come out ahead of mine.” The rest of the letter contained a few of Sam’s thoughts on phrenology [MTP].
Orion Clemens finished his Oct. 30 to Sam [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement Nov. 1 balance of $13,448.94 credit [MTP].
November – The Century Magazine for November ran Sam’s sketch, “A Curious Experience,” later part of The Stolen White Elephant [Camfield, bibliog.].
Sam’s notebook includes mention of Canadian naturalist and geologist Henry George Vennor (1840-1884) [MTNJ 2: 407, 411]. Sam joked about Farquhar Martin Tupper and his bromides .
Sam’s notebook also includes a series of four notes about Francis Parkman’s Pioneers of France in the New World (1874) [Gribben 534]. Also, an inscription: “S.L. Clemens / Hartford, Nov. 1881.” in volume 1 of the 3 volume set of Saint-Simon’s The Memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon on the Reign of Louis XIV, and the Regency (translation 1880?) .
Sam inscribed two volumes of Cotton Mather’s (1663-1728) Magnalia Christi Americana (1820 first Am. edition): “S.L. Clemens / Hartford, Nov. 1881” [Gribben 457].
November 1 Tuesday – Sam wrote to James R. Osgood, offering advice as to how to best use Howells’ review of P&P with canvassing. He also dealt with submitting the “Mental Telegraphy” article to the Century, and details about printing in Canada [MTLTP 145].
Karl & Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote from Paris to thank Sam for the sample engravings from P&P. They’d been delighted to see the Warners. Karl had done a medallion of Charles Dudley Warner in baked clay and sent it to a student he knew at Harvard to express it from there [MTP].
November 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas B. Aldrich about a check received for an article. Sam knew he’d written it since he’d received a check for it; if Aldrich had “any other articles” he didn’t “wish to be responsible for,” Sam wrote, “remember I am here.” Sam announced he would:
“…arrive in Boston about 4 to-morrow afternoon. Let’s dine with Osgood—what do you say? Invite Howells—better telegraph him, perhaps” [MTP].
Sam also telegraphed James R. Osgood that he would “come per New England road, & arrive about 1 PM.” He received a similar telegram from Osgood, which arrived just before he sent his. [MTP]. James R. Osgood had telegraphed: “Why not take New York & New England train leaving at nine & due here at one & have afternoon for consultation?” [MTP]. For Sam, this was another happening he called “mind-telegraphing”
Sam also wrote to Daniel W. Wilder (1832-1911), an early Kansas resident and one of its first historians. Wilder campaigned for Lincoln and was a Kansas delegate to the 1860 Chicago convention.
“I have just received the Herald, for which please accept my thanks. I shall be a resident of Canada, when the book issues there….Pity a book isn’t a machine: because a body could patent it, then, up yonder, & save the time & expense of that wintry journey” [MTP]. Note: Wilder likely reviewed P&P.
Orion Clemens wrote to advise Sam he’d bought 3 pecks of hickory nuts. Molly was ill [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens that he’d seen attorneys Alexander & Green & they had “the matter” (unspecified) under consideration. He then commented on photos of the Clemens girls [MTP].
Edward Bunce wrote a postcard to Clemens: “I read your two notes this p.m. just as I was starting after the festive duck & no, I must decline your gory invitation. Otherwise would be delighted ‘To carve a slice of liver or two’ ” [MTP].
November 3 Thursday – Sam traveled to Boston as planned and conferred with Osgood. He probably dined with Aldrich and Howells in the evening (see Nov. 2 entries). It is not known what day he returned to Hartford.
Harper & Bros., per William L. Alden wrote to solicit submissions from Twain [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote about his efforts to garner investment from NY men for the typesetter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Type-setter”
November 4–6 Sunday – Sam returned to Hartford during this period.
November 5 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam about failed brass castings made by Adams [MTP].
November 6 Sunday ca. – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood on Webster’s Nov. 5 letter about making fine brass casts. Sam admitted:
“The patterns for my book cover were coarse & awkward because they were done in such a hurry” [MTP].
November 7 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt, with a note to Charles Ethan Porter (1847/8-1923), a black painter born in the Hartford area, now famous for his fruit and flower paintings. Sam may have also given Porter financial assistance to get him to Paris and was later concerned about remarks made by Hattie Gerhardt that Porter “had gone to the dogs.” (See May 1 & 3 1883 letter to Gerhardt.)
“It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you a friend of mine, Mr. Charles E. Porter, citizen of Hartford, who comes to Paris to continue his studies in painting…I am satisfied that he is worthy of your & their kind attentions & will prove it by his conduct & his appreciation” [MTP]. Note: Porter was able to enroll the same year in the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and studied from 1881 to 1884, often painting in the countryside. Toward the end of his life, Porter’s fortunes declined and he peddled his paintings door-to-door, trading them for food or flowers to paint. He died in Rockville, Conn.
Christian B. Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote to Sam. His father was “a member of the upper chamber at Dresden,” so was away. He thanked Sam for his letter of Oct. 10. He’d corresponded with Chatto & Windus about P&P and offered Sam £75 to make his edition of it. Would Sam advise? [MTP].
November 8 Tuesday – John W. Sanborn wrote to Sam sending his book, Distinguished Authors Whom I have Known.
I have just finished another book, and I send you a copy because it is a very funny book and I know you can appreciate it. It is intended as the opening up of a royal road to the Latin Language. It is, like your Scrap Book “a great moral work.” Like you, I want to economize the profanity of this country, especially the under-breath curses of the school room. How sweet to labor for the same great end! [MTP]. Note: not in Gribben.
November 9 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to David Gray. He offered belated thanks for the “hospitable entertainment which I enjoyed under your roof” on his last trip to Fredonia and Buffalo. He also expressed desire to send a few copies of P&P to friends but “our lawyer said no, stop right where we were, till day of publication, Dec. 3” so as not to “impair the strength of English & Canadian copyright.” Sam divulged plans to print eight copies of the book entirely on China paper, a suggestion made by Anthony, Osgood’s art director, and to send Gray one of these books [MTP].
William L. Aden for Harper & Bros. wrote a nearly illegible note to Sam, which seems to lobby again for a submission [MTP].
November 11 Friday – In Hartford. Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto answering his note and the English copy of P&P sent. Sam liked the paper and print, but thought the U.S. engravings came “out a little cleaner than yours do.” Sam thanked them for “making that continental arrangement” for him:
“I think you did the right thing to prefer Tauchnitz at £75, instead of a new man—for there is neither wisdom nor fairness in changing publishers except for good & palpable business reasons;—& in this case these were lacking” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Orion, thanking him for the bag of large hickory nuts, and some old documents suspected to be written by their father, John Marshall Clemens.
“Think pa did not write the 1802 one—he was only 3 years old, then” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Henry Hooker & Co., Carriages, letter not extant but referred to in the company’s Nov. 19 reply. Evidently Sam wanted a new carriage.
Sam also wrote to John W. Sanborn to thank him for a book sent Nov. 8.
I have glanced at one page only, thus far, (Page 11), but the way you sail into the Adjective there, warms my heart. I have always wished that somebody would expose the adjective, for it certainly richly deserves it. It is just as you say: the Adjective is a (n) regular, irregular, numeral, cardinal, ordinal, distributive, indeclinable, bloody nuisance…[MTP].
November 12 Saturday – On Nov. 14 Sam’s notebook entry said he’d spoken in bed “in morning of Nov. 12” of Louise Messina (identity not established—see Nov. 14 entry) [MTNJ 2: 402].
November 13 Sunday – Sam’s notebook entry reflects continuing problems from the erratic burglar alarm system. He had to turn the time setting forward twelve hours [MTNJ 2: 402].
November 14 Monday – Sam’s notebook on the alarm system: “It was right in the morning & wrong in the afternoon.”
“Spoke of Louise Messina (in bed in morning Nov. 12) first time in 3 years. Two days later got a letter from Andrew Langdon in Chicago dated 12th, asking indirectly for a contribution of money for her” [MTNJ 2: 402]. Note: Andrew Langdon was a cousin of Livy’s and a prominent Buffalo businessman [402n161].
William L. Aden for Harper & Bros. wrote to Sam: “Now I really believe in the Osgood story; though at first I feared it was a wicked myth. / Thanks for your jolly letter. I will write to Osgood at once. Meanwhile won’t you tell him to send me something?” [MTP].
November 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. “If the brass experiments fail, try copper.” Sam thought that copper or some alloy of copper would “cast perfectly” [MTP].
November 16 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to David “Wattie” Bowser thanking him for “the photographs & the pretty pictures.” Sam promised to reciprocate with a copy of P&P when it issued in December [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Edward House, through Osgood, still trying to coordinate House’s visit. Sam had to go to Canada in ten days and planned to return on Dec. 7. He’d been promised the use of the refurbished library and dining room by Dec. 15, so Sam hoped that House and Koto could visit at that time [MTP].
Sam also wrote to L.P. Hubbard, declining a dinner invitation celebrating the Pilgrims:
Having already accepted an invitation to a dinner in celebration of the 261st anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims, I am forced to decline…And I do it….with some degree of rancor against the Pilgrims because they did not split up & land on different days; for if they knew anything at all, they must have known that they were getting up an anniversary, & that to cramp it rigidly down to a single date would be an inconvenience to people by-&-by [MTP].
Henry Clay Trumbull wrote from Phila. to invite Sam to stay with them [MTP]. See Dec. 15 entry.
November 17 Thursday – Sam gave an introductory speech for Archibald Forbes (1838-1900), Allyn House, Hartford. Forbes was a British war correspondent who wrote several novels after this time. The Courant reported, “Mr. Clemens’s introductory was received with much applause. He said:— ”
Ladies and Gentlemen—It seems peculiarly fitting that a soldier should introduce a soldier to his audience; I exercise this function by this authority, for I who address you am not unacquainted with the grim sublimities of war. I having served, now, during more than two years, as an honorary private in the Connecticut militia, and in that time have dared all that they have dared, suffered all that they have suffered, and fought, bled and died as gallantly as the best of them. Why I was not invited to go to Charleston and Atlanta with my regiment the other day, is a matter which I cannot explain, counting out professional jealousy. I would have gone with a heart stored with the purest and most unselfish motives; and not as some others did, simply to get a new suit of clothes for nothing [Hartford Courant, Nov. 18, 1881 p. 2, “The War Correspondent”].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, all about copper casting and the market for copper-cast patterns in California [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote: “I meant the oldest of the papers I had sent. / Glad you are going to send the photographs.” He never could figure out when, growing up, Sam had become such a good grammarian [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote of a “bad accident this morning our metal pot has broken and so our experiments will be delayed until I can get a new one…if the brass don’t work I will try copper…as you say copper runs in finer lines than brass” [MTP].
Tiffany & Co. per David M. Armstrong wrote advising to have a new mantel made for the dining room, and the woodwork there to be painted [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “About mantel”
November 18 Friday – Charles J. Langdon wrote to advise Sam had a balance of $2,218.76 and Livy had a balance of $20,642.26. “I told George Robinson who called this morning that you were not situated so that you could make the loan—am very sorry that Jean & Susy are under the weather. Mother has improved and is on the road to comfortable health again. We have had three weeks of the most disagreeable weather I ever experienced— In haste…” [MTP].
Benjamin H. Ticknor wrote from Boston to ask if he could print some illustrated extract from P&P for their charity fair program for “old fellow soldiers.” “Perhaps you could give me the permission to quote & couple it with some expression of encouragement in your letter, which I could use in print” [MTP].
November 18 Friday ca. – Sam wrote from Hartford to Webster. Sam had received a letter from Benjamin H. Ticknor (of the Ticknor publishing family) asking for use of a page from P&P and a recommendation for a Fair to raise funds for indigent veterans. Sam enclosed Ticknor’s letter to Webster and advised him that he’d said yes, and that he’d asked Ticknor to send Webster a design of the other articles in the Fair paper. Sam promised that Webster would engrave them at no cost to Ticknor. The Bazaar would open Dec. 7 [MTBus 176].
November 19 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing $500.
“I leave for Canada Nov. 25, & shall be back about Dec. 7. If you should need more money meantime, write your aunt Livy. She will send it.”
Sam needed to go to Canada, so as to claim residency when P&P was released. This would secure copyright there [MTBus 176].
Henry Hooker & Co. wrote from New Haven after receiving Sam’s “valued favor of 11th inst….when you are ready to give details for new carriage we will make estimate on same…” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s not extant.
November 21 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, who evidently had caught a grammar error in one of Sam’s letters. “It is not my instinct to care whether I am or not in a private letter,” he answered [MTBus 177].
Sam gave a reading at the Monday Evening Club at Joe Twichell’s home in Hartford: “Phrenography” (reading bumps on the head) This was Sam’s sixth presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club; Twichell’s journal, Yale].
Sam also wrote to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt complimenting Karl on the medallion he’d sent of Charles Dudley Warner. The George Warners had seen it and raved about the likeness, though Sam thought the bust Gerhardt had done of him was a better likeness. Sam told of another sculptor the Springfield Republican’s Hartford correspondent advertised, “the sexton of Mrs. Colt’s Memorial Church.”
“Jean is pulling through a fortnight’s spell of sickness, which disturbed us some nights & one or two days. She seems to be all right again, nearly; & is mighty spiteful—a good sign” [MTP]
Sam wrote to Edward House. Sam liked House’s review of P&P in the Atlantic “& never once detected a scar from Aldrich’s butcher-knife.” House had written he would not sail before the middle of January; Sam answered, “that makes the visit here next to absolutely certain” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote that Slote had only transferred a third of the patent to Sam and the rest to Joyce & Goff. Also, “I will gladly engrave for Ticknor as that will show what we can do” [MTP].
** Tiffany & Co. wrote asking for $1,000 on work already finished [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the note, “Complied with, Nov. 22”; requests continued for a thousand or so at a time as work progressed.
November 22 Tuesday – Now clearly impatient for success at the Kaolatype-brass casting process, Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Webster.
“PERFECT THE ENGLISH PATENT. MY BRASS PATIENCE IS RUNNING LOW. PUT A HUNDRED MEN ON IT AND TELEGRAPH ME A RESULT OF SOME SORT OR OTHER IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS—S.L. CLEMENS” [MTBus 177].
Sam could demand the impossible. Webster’s answer:
“SO IS MINE. IT’S JUST AS HARD TO REPORT RESULTS YOU CAN’T GET AS TO GET 100 SKILLED MEN IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS” .
Webster also sent a letter to which Sam responded on Nov. 24.
Sam also wrote from Hartford to W.H. Lentz (see Oct. 2? entry):
“I have received the Honolulu paper; & after reading half of that dream, I recognize the fact that I did write it after all. I had totally forgotten it. It is a worthless piece of rubbish. I must have been pretty young then, or sick, or something” [MTP].
Sam wrote a letter mounted on “Old Times on the Mississippi,” a Belford Co. 1876 pirated edition of LM to an unidentified person: “With the wish & hope for a better acquaintanceship…”[MTP].
November 23 Wednesday – Tiffany & Co. wrote acknowledging the thousand dollars sent [MTP].
Charles Webster telegrammed and also wrote to Sam, (Maurice Joyce to Webster Nov 17 enclosed): Telegram: “No definite result in brass other matters look bright Appleton & Harper say they will use it if all right. They are both going to Hartford with me in a few days. See letter” [MTP]. In his letter Webster reassured Sam he was working long hours to get the “brass matter” settled.
November 24 Thursday – Thanksgiving – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He didn’t doubt Charley’s energy or dedication, but did require continual reports on things, including the “daily prospects for brass” in order to keep up the English patent. Not long reports, Sam insisted, but ones to the point. If brass wouldn’t work, try copper. He had a scheme for the two of them to go to England and sell the Kaolatype process and “also sell a hundred or so of those typesetters, if we can get a fair enough commission for it.” Sam added that he was going to Boston the next day and to Montreal Saturday [MTBus 179].
Sam’s notebook entry shows more grief from the alarm system:
“Nov. 24—wrong at 11 AM—black showed, & rang alarm. I have set it right for afternoon—brass shows” [MTNJ 2: 403].
November 25 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Elinor Howells, who evidently wrote that her husband was ill and confined to bed:
“Dear Mrs. Howells— / How you startle me! Can a man so near by, fall sick, & linger along, & approach death, & a body never hear of it?…I supposed Howells went to Toronto the 20th, & that he would fetch around & join Osgood & me in Montreal three or four days from now” [MTHL 1: 379].
Sam left hearth and home and went to Boston where he stayed the night [MTNJ 2: 403n165]. He did not “look in on” Howells, as he’d written “Doubtless visitors would be an incumbrance, now…” [MTHL 1: 379]. The address he wrote to Webster: in care of James R. Osgood, 211 Tremont Street [MTBus 178].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam, “too confounded sensitive for anything.” Webster had not found Dean Sage but didn’t know it was “so important.” Sage often dealt in stocks for and with Clemens, so this explains Sam’s urgency. Webster reported he’d “perfected” the English patent on Kaolatype for 3 or 4 more years. More Kaolatype details [MTP].
November 26 Saturday – Sam left Boston by train for the 200 miles to Montreal, staying at the Windsor Hotel. He arrived at about 9:15 P.M. [MTBus 178; MTNJ 2: 407]. Sam took three history volumes of Francis Parkman to read on the train. On Nov. 28 he asked Livy to send a fourth, The Old Regime in Canada, as he would finish the other three by Nov. 30 [Gribben 534].
From Sam’s notebook:
Before reaching Essex, Met a military friend who turned the big compartment into a smoking room by force—a thing which I had been trying to do by persuasion all day.
20 m from St Albans xd the line & prepared to tell a lot of feeble & unsatisfactory lies to account for the preponderance of cigars & Scotch whisky over clothes & theology in my baggage (2 satchels), but the official merely glanced at the giddy array & offered no objections.
After St. John’s[bury] a nice train boy sold me some photo views, & tried to sell me a pirated Tom Sawyer, but I told him that this very day a mighty fine man recognized me by my portrait & wouldn’t let me pay for my supper—said the author of Tom Sawyer couldn’t pay for anything at his board—& now here are you trying to deplete my store with a pirated edition. He asked my pardon [MTNJ 2: 406-7].
James R. Osgood traveled to Montreal a few days later [MTNJ 2: 404n168].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam, having rec’d his telegram (not extant). Copper would not melt in their furnace so he was starting up on brass again on Monday. He planned on going to Hartford on Friday with gentlemen interested in investing in the typesetter: D. Appleton, Wm. Payton, Gen. McCook, Wm. Hicks and Geo. W. Childs of Phila. plus someone from the NY Times [MTP].
November 27 Sunday – Livy’s 36th birthday.
Sam wrote from the Windsor Hotel in Montreal to Livy. His letter was a mixture of hieroglyphics (like his several lecture notes) and text. Paine’s translation:
Livy Dear, a mouse kept me awake last night till 3 or 4 o’clock—so I am lying abed this morning. I would not give sixpence to be out yonder in the storm, although it is only snow. …
There—that’s for the children—was not sure that they could read writing, especially Jean, who is strangely ignorant in some things [MTLP 407-8].
Sam also wrote a short note to Charles Webster:
Hire a compartment of hell—or, less figuratively speaking, buy or hire the kind of furnace necessary to get up the requisite heat to conquer brass, & let’s conquer it. Then, if the lines won’t run fine enough, how would it do to cast in copper & add a steel face? …You are drumming up the right kind of experts, sure enough. I wish I were going to be there; but I can’t [MTBus 180].
Sam also wrote a short note to Chatto & Windus, notifying them that he was in Canada to enter P&P for copyright [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, clipping enclosed from the Keokuk Constitution announcing P&P. He related going to a Catholic service and scoffing at the priest [MTP].
November 28 Monday – In Montreal, Sam wrote a short note and a long PS to Livy [MTLP 407].
Livy darling, you and Clara [Spaulding] ought to have been at breakfast in the great dining room this morning. English female faces, distinctive English costumes, strange and marvelous English gaits—& yet such honest, honorable, clean-souled countenances, just as these English women almost always have, you know. Right away—
But they've come to take me to the top of Mount Royal, it being a cold, dry, sunny, magnificent day. Going in a sleigh. Yours lovingly, SAML.
He also included a newspaper clipping for Susy and Clara Clemens to read, “’Mark Twain’ in Montreal—A chat with the American Humorist” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood about putting a price on a Canadian run of 275 copies of P&P. He and Osgood were still trying to outsmart the pirates. Sam asked Osgood to telegraph Samuel Dawson, the printer and bookseller they were using in Montreal [MTLTP 146].
From Sam’s notebook:
“Mild yesterday & sifted snow all day. This morning it is mighty cold, with yesterday’s one inch of snow crunching & grinding under the cart wheels in a shrill metallic way.”
Sam observed that the weather predictions of Henry George Vennor, the Canadian naturalist, were pretty accurate. He wrote that it was 4 degrees below zero Monday night and 15 below in Quebec. Sam visited Vennor at his home in Montreal sometime during his stay [MTNJ 2: 407n172, 411].
The Montreal Gazette ran an article on page 3 titled “An Innocent Abroad,” Sam’s comments on his lectures and on lecturing; reminiscences about the legislature in the Sandwich Islands [Budd, “Interviews” 2].
November 29 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Montreal to Livy.
I have …inspected a lot of Catholic churches, French markets, shop windows, &c. But for the shame of it, the indignity to my pride, I would like to be a priest’s slave, & glide in with my basket or my bundle, & duck my head & crook my knee at a painted image, & glide out again with my immortal part refreshed & strengthened for my day’s burdens. But—I am not a priest’s slave, & so it hurts me, hurts me all through, to recognize, by these exhibitions, what poor animals we are, what children, how easily fooled, beguiled, & by what cheap & trivial devices, by what thin & paltry lies [MTNJ 2: 411].
Sam then remarked about the Jesuit missionaries in Canada:
Talk about self-abnegation! Heroism! Fidelity to a cause! It was sublime, it was stupendous. Why what these men did & suffered, in trying to rescue the insulting & atrocious savages from the doom of hell, makes one adore & glorify human nature as exemplified by those priests—yes & despise it at the very same time. In endurance & performance they were gods; in credulity, & in obedience to their ecclesiastical chiefs, they were swine [LLMT 206].
Sam’s library contained a copy of Parkman’s The Jesuits in North American in the Seventeenth Century (1880). Sam annotated on page 256: “What manner of men were these?”
Horace Russell wrote to urge Clemens to reconsider his decline of the dinner for the New England Society [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Judge Russell Superior Court NY”
November 30 Wednesday – Sam’s 46th birthday. Osgood and Sam were guests of Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Dawson, of Dawson Brothers, Sam’s Canadian publisher. Sam wrote Livy on Dec. 1 that the gathering was “A crowd of very nice people there. We staid till 11” [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement of Sam’s account, with a credit balance of $13,516.18 [MTP]. Note: This stock broker firm sent Sam monthly statements of his account.
Sarah Pratt McLean Greene (1856-1935) wrote from Salisbury, Conn. to send Sam a copy of her book, Cape Cod Folks [MTP]. Note: see Gribben p. 275. See Dec. 12 entry.
December – The Prince and the Pauper was published in Germany by Tauchnitz [MTNJ 2: 382n77]. The book was reviewed by Hjalmar Boyesen in the December issue of the Atlantic. The review was titled “Mark Twain’s New Departure.” Boyesen called it “…a tale ingenious in conception, pure and humane in purpose, artistic in method, and, with barely a flaw, refined in execution” [Wells, 23; see Everett Emerson’s Afterword, Oxford Mark Twain, P&P for other reviews of the book].
Also, Sam noted a fictional account of the Mormons by Mrs. Cornelia Paddock, The Fate of Madame La Tour [MTNJ 2: 416;Gribben 521].
Sam inscribed a copy of P&P to Matthew H. Bartlett: “To Mr. M.H. Bartlett, Avon, Conn, with the compliments and regards of the author. Hartford, Dec. 1881.” Also inscribed, “Mark Twain. Jan. 21, 1909” inside the front cover [MTP].
Sam inscribed a copy of P&P to “Mrs. Jane Clemens, / Fredonia, N.Y. / With the best love of her son/ The Author / Hartford, Dec. 1881” [MTP].
Sam’s notebook includes: “Rollo & his Uncle Visit the Hotels. Makes sketch of it” [2: 415]. Note: Livy read Jacob Astor’s “Rollo Series” to the children and this entry suggests Sam was thinking of a burlesque of Astor’s work, which was heavily moralistic.
Moncure Conway wrote a spoof in olde English of a family who stole P&P from each other [MTP].
December 1 Thursday – Date of British copyright secured for The Prince and the Pauper [MTNJ 2: 403n165].
In the evening, Sam wrote from Montreal to Livy. Sam and Osgood had been:
…guests of a clergyman, Rev. Mr. Bray, who gathered a dozen bright men together at a luncheon. I have been made temporary member of a club, but have not been there yet…I won six dollars from Osgood to-day, in a game of billiards, & to-night he won nine dollars of me. I shall have all his money before I get done with him. Take it all around, we are having a pretty good time. I go to bed early & get up early. The fire is made at 7.15; the barber comes in at 8, & we breakfast at 9. The weather has been foggy, muggy, rainy & warm for a couple of days; but it is clearing off now, & if to-morrow is a fair day we go to Quebec in the afternoon & return to Montreal on Monday [MTP].
Louis Fréchette wrote to Clemens. See Sam’s Dec. 4 to Livy for what this letter contained [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote that he’d been so busy with the typesetter matters that he’d had no time to test the brass castings. He was going to Hartford with potential investors in the morning and would return in time to do a brass test [MTP].
December 2 Friday – Sam and James R. Osgood began a three-day excursion a little over a hundred miles to Quebec, arriving at night and staying at the old Russell Hotel (see insert; closed in 1925) [MTNJ 2: 413n181].
Sam wrote from Quebec to Livy at midnight:
“Thus far, I don’t like Quebec. The hotel is infernal. You couldn’t endure these beds. Everything in the hotel is of the date of Champlain, or even of Cartier, & thoroughly worn out. I don’t think any town has much interest to me unless the hotels are good” [413n181].
Sam wrote in his notebook that it was election day in the Dominion [MTNJ 2: 412]. Sam’s original plan was to return to Montreal on Saturday, Dec. 3, but he decided to stay a few days longer when the banquet for him at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal was scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 8 [MTNJ 2: 414n182].
December 3 Saturday – The official U.S. publication date for Prince and the Pauper [Nov 9 letter to David Gray, MTP].
In Canada, from Sam’s notebook: McShane & Stephens were both elected.
Snowing lightly—girls slipping down everywhere, sidewalks so icy. —on their way to school.
This is the foulest hotel in some respects in Am.
So many pretty girls—never were so many in one town before—beauty of girls, & of little children of both sexes so common as to be almost monotonous—but then one has the occasional relief of the other sort—or one can look in the glass [MTNJ 2: 413-4].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam about taking the party of interested investors to Hartford. He added John A. Green of the NY Times to his prior list (see Nov. 26 entry). The group was “highly pleased” with the machine and the tests employed [MTP].
December 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Quebec to Livy [MTLP 409].
Livy darling, I received a letter from Monsieur Fréchette this morning, in which certain citizens of Montreal tendered me a public dinner next Thursday, and by Osgood’s advice I accepted it. I would have accepted anyway, and very cheerfully but for the delay of two days—for I was purposing to go to Boston Tuesday and home Wednesday; whereas, now I go to Boston Friday and home Saturday. I have to go by Boston on account of business.
From Sam’s notebook:
The French went to church in troops & droves, from 8 till 9, this Sunday morning & the English from 10 till 11.
Drove halfway to Falls of Montmorency, then came back & bought a photograph. The wind down on the low ground was mighty cold.
When I look around me & see the humanity virtue & intelligence of your people, I feel that through piracy I have not lived in vain.
The hotel fools landed us at the station 35 minutes before train time—yet the distance was only 3 minutes. We had to put in the time driving around.
Sam and Osgood returned to Montreal.
Clement T. Rice wrote from NYC to ask if Sam might suggest a position for him, since he’d been engaged as a railway insurance agent for 14 years, and was Sam’s sidekick in Va. City. He excused the intrusion but had three daughters to feed. He asked about Orion and Joe Goodman [MTP].
December 6 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Montreal to Livy. He was “pegging away” at a speech for Thursday night, but missed the family:
“I would most powerfully like to see you & the rats. I think of Jean sometimes, too; & to-day I happened to think of the dog. I love you, darling” [MTP].
Jeannette L. Gilder (1849-1916) for The Critic wrote, enclosing “a little communication you may be interested in. Need I say we would be most happy to publish any reply you may care to make.” Enclosed was a letter to the Editor of The Critic from “A Captious Reader” claiming that “A Curious Episode” by Twain was a true story from 1878 told by “an officer of the U.S. Artillery…Did Mr. Twain expect the public to credit this narrative to his clever brain?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Copy of private letter to the Editor”
Joel Chandler Harris wrote:
“I ought to have thanked you long ago for your kindness in reading me the legend of the Golden Arm, and for your generous refusal to regard Uncle Remus from the standpoint of a critic. I have been endeavoring to verify the legend, however, and with that end in view I sent it down into Putnam County. It comes back a little changed. The golden arm has disappeared, and ‘a silver sev’npence wat de folks done gone en put on de ‘oman eyeled fer to keep um shot’ has taken its place. The ‘sev’npence (or seven pence) is stolen and put in a box, where it jumps up and rattles when the woman’s ghost comes….The two stories may be entirely different…” [MTP]. Note: Sam had been trying to discover the origin of the story that Uncle Dan’l told at Quarles farm when Sam was a boy.
Charles Webster wrote more about the typesetter exhibition for the newspaper men. No, the machine was not run long & continuously but was fully inspected in every detail. He was still trying to melt brass, even as he wrote [MTP].
December 7 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Montreal to Livy at midnight. He just finished the speech for the next night but what he’d added that day made it too long, so he went back to what he had the day before and memorized it. He noted that he was “safe because I wind up in French—if one may call it that” [MTP].
December 8 Thursday – Sam wrote from Montreal to James R. Osgood, sending the speech he was to give that evening. Sam would telegraph if for some reason he did not give it, otherwise Osgood was to “insert a portion or all of the speech in the Boston Herald, or elsewhere,—or in the wastebasket.” Sam added that he would leave for Boston at 8.30 the next morning [MTP].
Sam spoke at the Dinner for Mark Twain, Windsor Hotel, Montreal, Canada – [Fatout, MT Speaking 157-60].
There was a very pleasant gathering of gentlemen at the banquet given Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) at the Windsor Hotel, in Montreal, on Thursday evening. The Gazette says of it: “The assembly was essentially a gathering of the devoted admirers of a great genius, who sought in a peculiarly English way to evince their appreciation of his literary peerage. The gathering was thoroughly representative of the intellectual and commercial greatness of Canada.” The chair was occupied by the Hon. Lucius Seth Huntington, who was supported on the right by the guest of the evening and Louis Frechette, and on the left by Consul-General Smith, the Rev. J. F. Stevenson, and Mr. T. White, member of Parliament. After the toasts to the Queen and the President, the latter being responded to by the Consul-General Smith, and a poem in French, composed and read by Mr. Frechette, the Poet Laureate of Canada, the toast in honor of the guest of the evening was presented and was responded to by him…[Schmidt].
Charles Webster wrote, still struggling to get the brass and the plates hot enough. More talk about using copper. He reported a glowing report of the typesetter by William Hicks the NY expert [MTP].
Tiffany & Co. wrote asking for another thousand on work already done in his house [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ck for $1000 sent Dec. 12 ‘81”
December 9 Friday – Sam left Montreal for Hartford at 8:30 AM [Dec. 8 letter to Osgood]. It was a day-long trip by rail.
December 10 Saturday – The New York Times wrote up the Montreal dinner of Dec. 8. Headlines:
MARK TWAIN IN MONTREAL
HIS SPEECH AT THE BANQUET IN HIS HONOR.
AN EXPLANATION HOW HE CAME TO BE IN AN OSTENSIBLY FOREIGN LAND – LOOKING FORWARD TO THE GOOD TIMES COMING WHEN LITERARY PROPERTY WILL BE AS SACRED AT WHISKY
Sam remarked in his speech “This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn’t throw a brick without breaking a church window” [MTNJ 2: 411n177]. He mentioned the Canadian naturalist and geologist Henry George Vennor [Gribben 725].
December 11 Sunday – Joe Goodman wrote to Sam, relating a visit to see Denis E. McCarthy, who’d asked him to go to San Francisco, as he had serious medical problems. Turned out that Denis had improved and the causes of his enlarged heart, etc. were from drinking. He wrote of meeting Senator John P. Jones and of his offers of positions he thought he could get Joe until the vineyard paid [MTP].
December 12 Monday – The official date of publication for P&P. Two copies were placed with the Copyright Office, Library of Congress [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Joel Chandler Harris in Atlanta.
I judge you haven’t received my new book yet—however, you will in a day or two. Meantime you must not take it ill if I drop Osgood a hint about your proposed story of slave life.....
When you come north I wish you would drop me a line and then follow it in person and give me a day or two at our house in Hartford. If you will, I will snatch Osgood down from Boston, and you won’t have to go there at all unless you want to. Please to bear this strictly in mind, and don’t forget it [MTLP 403].
Sam also wrote to Jeannette Leonard Gilder, who, with her brother, Joseph Benson Gilder (siblings of Richard Watson Gilder) founded The Critic, a New York literary magazine earlier in the year. Sam’s letter responded to complaints printed in The Critic of his sketch in November’s issue of Century magazine, “A Curious Experience.” Sam wrote the piece earlier in the year and sold it to the magazine in May. Wilson explains:
“One irate reader complained…that the story struck him as ‘strangely familiar…Did Mr. Twain expect the public to credit this narrative to his clever brain?’…Mark Twain made no claim of originality for this story, for he begins with an acknowledgment that he is simply rehearsing, ‘as nearly as I can recall it’, a true story told him by a major in the U.S. Army” [31-2].
Nothing rankled Sam quite so much as being accused of literary theft. Sam’s letter to The Critic editor spared no edge in its criticism of the printed complaint or in a need to answer it:
Your correspondent is not stupid, I judge, but purely & simply malicious. He knew there was not the shadow of a suggestion, from the beginning to the end of “A Curious Experience,” that the story was an invention; he knew he had no warrant for trying to persuade the public that I had stolen the narrative…/ I have never wronged you in any way, & I think you had no right to print that communication; no right, neither any excuse. As to publicity answering that correspondent, I would as soon think of bandying words in public with any other prostitute [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Joel Chandler Harris. Sam would not always speak highly of Osgood’s publishing and business acumen, but in this letter he gave him high praise.
…you must not take it ill if I drop Osgood a hint about your proposed story of slave life; for the more I deal with him the more I am satisfied that whoever has a book will do the judicious thing to let him have it. He is a fine man every way; he knows his business; & it is less bother to publish a book with him than a pamphlet with another man. Moreover, we know, now, how to get a Canadian copyright—& I doubt if anybody else in America does know [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Sarah Pratt McLean Greene (1856-1935), of Simsbury, Conn., who wrote on Nov. 30 asking if he’d read her latest book, Cape Cod Folks (1881). The New England local-color writer’s first book was a romance set on Cape Cod, treating a schoolteacher’s life in a seafaring community. (See Gribben 275.)
I am just as much obliged to you, all the same, but I have already read it—months ago—& vastly enjoyed & admired it, too; as did also the rest of the family & the visitor within its gates. There was but one regret—that there wasn’t more of it. / I have commanded the Osgood to send you my new book [P&P]; & although I say it myself … you will travel a long way before you run across an abler binding [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood, asking him to send a “bound & unbound copy of the Prince to” Joel Chandler Harris. Sam enclosed Harris’ letter, disclosing his plans to write a story. Sam offered, “If you would like to have it for yourself & Chatto, drop him a line” [MTP]. Note: Osgood would print three of Harris’ books: Uncle Remus; His Songs and Sayings: The Folklore of the Old Plantation (1881); Nights with Uncle Remus (1883); and Mingo, and Other Sketches in Black and White (1884).
Sam also wrote to Charles Perkins asking that he put in a claim on the estate of John S. Ives of Hartford, as Sam “lent Ives $1000 last summer.” [Ives had been on Sam’s spelling match team May 12, 1875.] Sam enclosed a notice from the District of Hartford Probate Court [MTP]. Note: Sam was a fairly good judge of character and didn’t loan money to just anyone: Ives was the proprietor of a dry-goods store on Main Street, and a hero of the Civil War in the 25th Regiment of Connecticut Volunteers. This from an on-line history of the Regiment:
When the “objects of the expedition had been accomplished” (to use the words of General Banks’s order), the regiment returned to Baton Rouge, passing one wet and dreary night in “Camp Misery”—a night which will never be forgotten by any man who was there, nor will any member present forget the noble act of Quartermaster John S. Ives, who, almost dead himself, rode his almost dead horse into Baton Rouge and brought out to the men coffee and sugar, which they managed to prepare over small fires, and which, no doubt, saved many a man his life [http://www.one-barton-family.us/genealogy/ethel/b4620.html].
Robert Davidson Mac Gibbon wrote from Montreal to give Sam “a copy of the anecdote which you honored by your appreciation” [MTP].
December 13 Tuesday – Tiffany & Co. wrote acknowledging receipt of another thousand [MTP].
Murat Halstead for Cincinnati Commercial Gazette wrote a nearly illegible letter, honored here by omitting the few words discerned [MTP].
December 14 Wednesday – Jeannette L. Gilder wrote:
Your letter received today has taught me a lesson. The person who wrote that communication to the Critic is a well known man, a writer & man of position whom I have known for a long time. I foolishly published his card without looking up the article referred to. Had I turned to the pages of the Century Magazine I would have seen at once that you unhesitatingly acknowledged the story as one of the [illegible word]. I do not think the writer of the card was malicious…He has already been taken to task by another correspondent [MTP] Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Gilder’s reply was prompt, and manly” (except Jeannette was hardly a man).
December 15 Thursday – Henry Clay Trumbull for Philadelphia Sunday School wrote: “I am so glad you can come on the 21st. I want a few friends to come in and see you that evening” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote about the typesetter and that he’d seen William Payton on it. There were obstacles and a continuous test had not been made. He would come to Hartford next Wednesday with another group of interested investors and newspaper men [MTP].
Charles W. Stoddard wrote from Honolulu, thanking for the “jolly letter.” He liked it there “very much.” He was now writing editorials and a story a year [MTP]. Note: very difficult handwriting.
December 16 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, who had been ill and unable to attend the Montreal dinner honoring Sam as planned.
MY DEAR HOWELLS,—It was a sharp disappointment—your inability to connect, on the Canadian raid. What a gaudy good time we should have had!
Disappointed, again, when I got back to Boston; for I was promising myself half an hour’s look at you, in Belmont; but your note to Osgood showed that that could not be allowed yet.
One of those drenching days last week, he [Twichell] slopped down town with his cubs, & visited a poor little beggarly shed where were a dwarf, a fat woman, & a giant of honest eight feet, on exhibition behind tawdry show-canvases, but with nobody to exhibit to. The giant had a broom, & was cleaning up & fixing around, diligently. Joe conceived the idea of getting some talk out of him. Now that never would have occurred to me. So he dropped in under the man’s elbow, dogged him patiently around, prodding him with questions & getting irritated snarls in return which would have finished me early—but at last one of Joe’s random shafts drove the centre of that giant’s sympathies somehow, & fetched him. The fountains of his great deep were broken up, & he rained a flood of personal history that was unspeakably entertaining.
And mind you Joe was able to come up here, days afterwards, & reproduce that giant’s picturesque & admirable history. But dern him, he can’t write it—which is all wrong, & not as it should be [MTHL 1: 380-1].
Sarah Pratt McLean Greene wrote from Salisbury, Conn. to thank Sam for his Dec. 12 letter, which gave her “more pleasure” than she cared to tell, and thanked him “in advance for the copy of your new book” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Authoress of ‘Cape Cod Folks’”
December 17 Saturday – Livy wrote to Franklin Whitmore saying her “visit with him the other day was too short” and hoped he would come again “soon, very soon.” It’s uncertain the specific day Whitmore visited, but it may have been while Sam was away. Signed, “Always your loving friend” [MTP].
Francis Kenney wrote to Sam, enclosed in Kenney Aug. 1, 1882 [MTP].
December 18 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the editor of the Springfield Republican regarding the criticism of that paper to his trip to Canada to obtain copyright there. Although his trip to Montreal and Quebec was a social success, the copyright was denied over interpretations of the residency requirement [Fatout, MT Speaks 129]. The Republican charged that Sam’s trip damaged the cause of copyright for other authors. Sam countered that he was simply protecting from the possibility of some piracy:
“Perhaps you do not catch the idea. I will put it in another form; if you were going to stop over night with me I should not expect you to set fire to the place; still, I would step down and get the house insured just the same” .
December 19 Monday – In Cambridge, Mass., where he was staying to be near his doctor, William Dean Howells was recovering from a five-week illness. He wrote to Sam:
I write this from my bed, where I have now been five weeks. Most of the time I have been recovering; so you see how bad I must have been, to begin with. But now I am out of any first-class pain; I have a good appetite, and I am as abusive and peremptory as Guiteau [Garfield’s assassin]. Notice the address: I came down here to be near the doctor [MTHL 1: 382].
Sam attended a meeting of the Monday Evening Club where William J. Hamersley read a paper entitled “The Relative Power of Thought and Action.” Sam wrote in his notebook he should:
Get up a profound metaphysical essay something like Hamersley’s…—only let it be all sounding pretense, meaning nothing—but do level best to fool the Club with it, & get them to conscientiously go floundering through it, honestly trying to refute it [MTNJ 2: 416, and n190].
Charles Webster wrote that “the type setter looks a little brighter, the gentlemen that I wrote you are going with me Tuesday evening and will return Wednesday at 2 P.M. Payton, Hicks, McCook & myself will remain until Wednesday evening to talk over the defect in the machine….I don’t think Slote is using proper diligence in putting out your scrap books” [MTP].
Joel Chandler Harris wrote a short note from Atlanta: “Thanks for the book—for the hint to Mr. Osgood—and for everything else.” He hoped to come up north in the spring. “I propose to write out our two ghost stories in the dialect and put them side by side” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From ‘Uncle Remus’ ”
December 20 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister Pamela Moffett.
Merry Christmas to you all. I enclose $25. Livy & I desire you to Christmasize it for yourself & Ma. We would do it ourselves, but we are at a loss to select.
Charley is here to-night, & is well. All our tribe are well & flourishing. I go to Philadelphia tomorrow—the last banquet I’m going to attend this year, anyway [MTBus 180].
Sam also wrote to Miss Clara Trowbridge (possibly the daughter of John T. Trowbridge, journalist and author, and one of the first editors of St. Nicholas, an illustrated magazine for children), who evidently sought Sam’s biographical information.
“Your note is received just as I am taking the south-bound train—& time & the train wait for no man, you will pardon my almost telegram-ic abruptness & brevity.” Sam enclosed a sketch from “an English biographical cyclopedia” [MTP].
Clemens also inscribed P&P to Nathaniel J. Burton: [MTP].
Sam inscribed P&P to Mary Mason Fairbanks: “With the love of her good & dutiful adopted son / The Author / Hartford, Dec. 20, 1881” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed P&P to Rev. Edwin P. Parker “To: Rev. D.E.P. Parker / With the warmest regards of / The Author / Hartford, Dec. 20, 1881” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed P&P to Clara Spaulding: “To Miss Clara L. Spaulding, Elmira, N.Y. With more than cousinful, & almost unclesome, affection of the Author. Hartford, Dec. 20, 1881” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed a presentation copy of P&P to Charles W. Stoddard: “With the love of The Author. Hartford. Dec. 20, 1881” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed a presentation copy of P&P to Robert J Burdette: “To / Robert J. Burdette, / Burlington Iowa. With the Kindest regards of The Author. Hartford Dec. 20, 1881” [McBride 71].
William Murray (1834-1923) wrote from Hamilton, Ontario to “The Illustrious ‘Mark Twain’”:
If you will allow me the privileges of “the season” to cover what at any other time might well be considered a decided liberty in a stranger and “foreigner,” I will ask you accept the annexed very humble Salutation [poem enclosed praising Twain]….
However much you may have been (innocently) “abroad” on the “domicile” question, you were certainly very much “at home” in your glorious speech delivered at Montreal banquet, so deservedly given in your honor: which speech, moreover, made all Canada more than ever at home with you when devoured with our breakfasts all over the land next morning— / With much respect … [MTP]. Note: Murray took the handle “The Bard of Hamilton,” and sent praising poetry to several public men. The banquet Murray refers to was on Dec. 8, 1881 at the Hotel Windsor in Montreal.
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote acknowledging receipt of $2,000 [MTP].
December 21 Wednesday – Sam left Hartford and traveled to Philadelphia [MTBus 180]. Note: Sam’s Dec. 20 letter to Miss Trowbridge said he left on that day, while his letter of the same date to his sister stated he was going to Philadelphia “tomorrow.”
December 22 Thursday – Sam spoke at the New England Society in Philadelphia. His subject was “Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims” [Fatout, MT Speaking 162-5]. Sam had been invited by Henry Clay Trumbull, a Congregational clergyman, and brother of James Hammond Trumbull, the Hartford scholar who wrote the multi-lingual chapter headings for The Gilded Age. The event celebrated the landing of the Pilgrims [MTNJ 2: 415n187]. Sam may have left right after his speech.
December 23 Friday – Livy wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about shipping Christmas gifts and packages shipped. She added that Sam was gone [MTBus 181]. He returned later this day from Philadelphia since he sent an unidentified person this aphorism: “Never put off till tomorrow what can be done day after tomorrow just as well” [MTP].
December 24 Saturday – A short note “The New England Dinner – Mark Twain’s Regrets” ran on the front page of the Hartford Courant [Courant.com].
Nathaniel J. Burton wrote from Hartford, a heartfelt thanks to Sam for sending his new book [MTP].
December 25 Sunday – Christmas – Sam inscribed P&P books to Clara and Susy Clemens, each reading: “To that good mannered and agreeable child Clara Clemens [or] Susie Clemens this book is affectionately offered by Her Father the Author, Hartford, Xmas, 1881.” The inscriptions were prefaced by notes that the book was “one of six or eight copies that were printed on India paper” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed P&P to Lilly Warner: “To / Mrs. Lilly G. Warner ./ With kindest regards of /The Author / Hartford, Xmas, 1881” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed P&P to Louis Fréchette “To Mr. Louis Frechette, with the high esteem & grateful remembrances of The Author. Hartford, Dec. 25, 1881.” Fréchette was a Canadian poet, journalist and dramatic author, who wrote in French and English. He was likely a Christmas visitor at the Clemens home, as were Livy’s brother and wife, Charles and Ida Langdon [MTP].
Jane Clemens wrote “A happy Christmas” note to Sam and Livy, “little. Jean. two.” She was alone in the house save for “one little cat. All gone to church.” She felt that Sam’s eyes would be opened when he became a Christian (about Orion) [MTP].
December 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, who had evidently written saying that he would arrive for the long-delayed visit on Jan. 2 or 3. Sam hoped that House and daughter Koto could stay until he left for the Mississippi River trip, or about Apr. 15. “We want as much of you as we can get, & at the same time we must not inconvenience you or hamper your plans.” One of Sam’s eight P&P on China paper was waiting for Koto [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote, (Alexander & Green to Webster Dec. 24 enclosed). The letter from the attorneys concluded that the machine was not as represented to Clemens, “complete in all its details and parts and prepared to stand any reasonable test…” Webster advised that “Hicks had modified his statements some” but felt the machine would be made perfect before “capital was raised so as to have a practical test. However he lied to me just the same.” Alexander & Green would not raise the capital before such a test was made [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Now instruct them to go for Pub. Co. as soon as Jan. statement is in.” And, “They retire from the type-setter”
Worden, Webb & Co., NYC acknowledged receipt of $1,500 in Sam’s Dec. 24 for stock [MTP].
December 28 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Rev. Nathaniel J. Burton, longtime member of the Monday Evening Club.
And look here: it wasn’t my idea to send you that ridiculous General-Butler toy; it was Stone’s—he wanted to sell it, I reckon. He said some minister ought to have it, to beguile his mind away, for a moment, from the contemplation of the woes & foolishness & littlenesses of the creeping things he is commissioned by his office to save or damn; & so I said send it to Dr Burton…[MTP].
Sam also wrote to Osgood & Co. ready to file another lawsuit after seeing a “Literary Chit-Chat” column in the Dec. 19 New York Herald. The article claimed,
…those who saw the book in manuscript hastened to assure the world that there was no fun in the book, much to Mr. Clemens’ disgust, who wisely thinks that he is nothing if not funny.
Sylvester Baxter, of the Herald, sends me this. Now please set your detective forces to work and find out who that Hartford correspondent is. I judge he is connected with the Am. Pub. Co. of this city. If so, I can make it valuable, as I shall begin suit against that concern pretty soon, now, (keep this to yourselves), for swindling me. Save this Herald scrap and return it to me. By the middle of January I shall experience a let-up in this protracted out-pour of cash, and shall then waltz into that gang with affectionate enthusiasm. Find me that correspondent [MTLTP 147].
Charles Webster wrote four pages about the typesetter and another paragraph on Kaolatype [MTP].
Edwin Pond Parker wrote from Hartford, to thank for P&P—“it is a noble piece of work” [MTP].
December 29 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, enclosing a review of P&P by Rev. E.P. Parker that ran in the Hartford Courant on Dec. 28. Sam wanted Osgood to consider it for “a new and powerful circular” [MTLTP 148].
Charles and Ida Langdon left the Clemens home after a holiday visit [Dec. 27 Letter to House, MTP].
December 31 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing a photograph of baby Jean that Sam wanted 100 copies of, or at least he wanted a quote for that many. Sam also included another business idea, to “keep on hand a variety of cuts [type-cuts] for mercantile advertisements in country newspapers” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. Never mind my request of Dec. 28, Sam wrote. The Cranes had recommended a gentleman as Sam’s stenographer-companion for his upcoming Mississippi travels—the coal-firm’s young phonographer. “He will not be expensive.” This arrangement did not work out, so that Osgood then chose Roswell H. Phelps (1845–1907), a stenographer for the Continental Life Insurance Co. of Hartford [MTNJ 2: 517].
Sam was still aiming at revenge for supposed swindles by his former publisher.
Have you evidence of the American Pub Co working against us upon which I could found a suit? Am going for them anyway, and might as well have 2 suits as one….My New York lawyer will begin to move in my American Pub. Co. suit early, now. I shall want to show that the Co paid more for paper and binding than they needed to pay; and I shall want you to help me do this, thorough figures obtained from Fairchild and bookbinders. I judge I can get my copyrights out of those fellows; and then they may just as well shut up shop [MTLTP 149]. Note: Securing his copyrights was Sam’s sole aim; he was moving toward control by self-publishing.
Sam also wrote to Phillip A. Rollins, evidently some official connected with the Dec. 22 New England Society affair Sam attended in Philadelphia. Sam thanked him for “a most enjoyable time” there, “& a part of it I owe to you …” Referring to the speech he’d given there, which evidently Rollins was going to have printed in some collection, Sam wrote:
“I haven’t seen that speech in print, yet, & so I don’t know whether it will need correcting or not. However, such things always do get more or less crippled by the compositors…if you will send me the proof of my speech I shall be glad to revise & correct it” [MTP].
E.W. Howe, for the Atchison (Kansas) Globe, wrote:
Mark Twain’s career is nearly at an end. The paragraphists have commenced to pelt him, and they will finish him before they get through. His wit has been watered until it is without flavor [Tenney 10].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement with a cr. balance of $11,582.01 [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote to thank Sam for the gift of P&P [MTP].