Vol 1 Section 0041

Billiards Tourney & Canada with Osgood – History Pegs up the Driveway

 Life on the Mississippi Published – Elmira Summer & Huck Finn

Collaboration with Howells – Cable’s Visit to Hartford – Matthew Arnold’s Visit


1883 – Sometime during the year Sam inscribed Historical View of the Literature of the South of Europe by Sismondi (1881) to Livy L. Clemens / from SLC / Hartford 1883 [MTP]. Sam inscribed in a Rollo Book for Jean “Little-girl-left-the-gate-open-book” Jean 1883-4 [MTP]. Sam sent a copy of Punch, Brothers, Punch! And other Sketches (1878) with ALS to James R. Osgood asking for “50 or 100 heliotypes like those of the Howell children” [MTP].

Sam wrote sometime during the year to Charles Webster, suggesting he get a:

…general agency for subscription books of a Boston or Phila house….so as to get & keep together a corps of canvassers to use on our own books, later [MTP].

John Henton Carter’s interview of May 12, 1882 was published in Rollingpin’s Humorous Illustrated Annual for 1883. Sam was quoted about his books, the new suspender he was inventing, complaints about his image as a mere humorist, and his ability as a steamboat pilot [Budd, “Interviews” 3]. Note: this piece may have run first in the St. Louis Times sometime during May 1882.

At this time, Sam owned over 150,000 shares of stock in 23 companies [MTNJ 2: 491].

An undated page in MTP’s 1883 financial file in Sam’s handwriting:


Beecher 6,000

Lib. Lit. 8,000

Sheridan 1,400

Leo 9,880

Crawford 1,041

Hancock 100

Total 25, 241

Sometime during the year (and possibly earlier), Sam registered “Mark Twain” as a trademark in the U.S. Patent office [Twainian, Apr. 1945, p3. Oliver R. Barrett]. Note: This from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website:

The Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program began in 1871 when federal statute (35 USC 12) first provided for the distribution of printed patents to libraries for use by the public. During the Program’s early years, twenty-two libraries, mostly public and all but several located east of the Mississippi River, elected to participate.”

Note: Since the Chicago case against Belford & Clarke (arguing violation of trademark) went against Sam on January 8, 1883, it seems likely that any formal registration of trademark was prior to 1883.

January – Sam bought 200 shares on margin of Oregon & Transcontinental Co. stock, worth about $15,000 [MTNJ 3: 29n50]. Sometime during the first three months of the year, Sam declined an invitation of some sort offered by George Willard Benson, Christian author. “I have a house full of sick people,” Sam explained [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote that Osgood had sent a statement showing Sam’s credit balance of $5,261.59 for P&P and The Stolen White Elephant. “I am getting ready for a heavy run on the new book and hope to show results” (LM) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back, “My balance at Osgood’s $5000. Jan ‘83”

January 1 Monday In Hartford, Sam inscribed a copy of The Stolen White Elephant for Miss Laura Taft: To/ Miss Laura Taft / With the kindest regards of / The Author. / Hartford, New Year’s 1883 [McBride 83].

Sam also inscribed P&P to Susan L. Warner: “Mrs. C.D. Warner, mit herzlicksten guten Wunchen des Neujahreszeit, be the grammar & spelling of it good or bad. S.L. Clemens. Hartford, Jan. 1, 1883” [MTP].

Molly & Orion Clemens finished their Dec. 31, 1882 letter to Sam and Livy [MTP].

January 3 WednesdayJames R. Osgood wrote from Boston asking about “premiums offered” for canvassers of LM [MTP].

Dean Sage wrote from NYC with a plan to sell two stocks; he also asked for an autograph for “an interesting young lady. “Can you send it to me appended to some ambiguous (not too much so) sentiment” [MTP].

C.H. McHenry wrote from Nashville, Tenn. asking for a letter written by Mark Twain [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O hell!”

January 3 Wednesday ca. On or about this day, Sam received a letter from James R. Osgood & Co. asking for instructions to give to canvassers about premiums for LM sales. Sam forwarded the letter with a note to Charles Webster.

“Charley, if there are any instructions to be given, you may give them—I will not interest myself in anything connected with this wretched God-damned book. S L C

 “If you know of no other instructions, you can write them & tell them I say invent instructions of their own” [MTBus 207]. Note: MTP’s latest transcription assigns Jan. 5? 1883 to this letter.

January 4 ThursdayGeorge W. Waters wrote from Elmira: “The sketches reached me safely— / Your suggestion of the ‘burning Ship in mid ocean’ appeals to me at once—because I am charmed by the ocean, and exceedingly fond of Color…Should I be fortunate and produce a picture which would be as ‘painted Music’ to you I should be most happy indeed” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dank but Keitven [?] / Longfellow’s Calendar / Waters artist”

January 5 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person:

“If you would be kindly spoken of, die. There is no other way. / But don’t hurry” [MTP].

January 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Osgood & Co., with directions for sets of plates, dies and printed copies of LM. Sam was anxious for success:

“We must sell 100,000 copies of the book in 12 months, and shan’t want him complaining that we are the parties in fault if the sale falls short of it.”

Sam also relied heavily on Livy’s editorial and censorship eye:

“In proof-reading I shall cause you no delay—but I don’t answer for Mrs. Clemens, who has not edited the book yet, and will of course not let a line of the proof go from here till she has read it and possibly damned it. But she says she will put aside everything else, and give her entire time to the proofs” [MTLTP 161].

Worden & Co. sent a statement with a Dec. 31 balance of $24,680.68 [MTP].


January 8 Monday – A short article ran in the New York Times on Jan. 9 about Sam losing a Chicago lawsuit (Circuit Court, N.D. Illinois) on this day, based on trademark infringement. Sam was represented by Thomas W. Clark, while Belford & Clarke by Hutchinson & Partridge.



CHICAGO, Jan. 9. – Some time since Samuel L. Clemens brought suit in the United States Court against Belford, Clarke & Co., publishers, to restrain them from republishing his works. It appeared in evidence that the books republished were not copyrighted, but Clemens claimed his pseudonym of “Mark Twain” as a trade-mark. The court in its decision yesterday held that noms de plume could not be construed as trade-marks and that his failure to copyright left his works open to republication by any one.

Oliver R. Barrett referred to this case as Clemens v. Belford, Clarke & Co., 14 Federal Reporter 728 (1883).

“In that case, Clemens in his Bill of Complaint alleged that Belford, Clark[e] & Co., had, since 1880, published ‘Sketches by Mark Twain;’ that many or most of the sketches ‘in one form or another are substantially like sketches published prior to the year 1880’ by Clemens; that he had been greatly injured and his property in the said nom de plume or trademark of ‘Mark Twain’ as a commercial designation of authorship had been ‘deteriorated and lessened in value.’ Wherefore Clemens prays damages and profits and a writ of injunction restraining the further publication of said work and that the said ‘plates of such book be demasked and destroyed.’

“In a rather lengthy opinion, the court, relying on the fact that the sketches were not claimed to be protected by copyright [not in earlier newspaper printings] held that Clemens could not interfere with the publication of the book, and that he had no exclusive right to use nom de plume of Mark Twain ‘assumed by him;’ that his right to the use of a nom de plume ‘was no better or higher’ than he had in his ‘Christian or baptismal name;’ that ‘no pseudonym, however ingenious, novel, or quaint, can give an author any more right than he would have under his own name.’” [Twainian, Apr. 1945, p3]. Note: I have also reviewed the four-page decision (cite as: 14 F. 728) on Westlaw.com.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Arthur Gilman (unidentified).

If total unfitness for such service were a qualification, I could smile at competition….I am putting an octavo to press, & have never suffered so much nor so long with the having this kind of a child before. Let me recommend you to drop a line to Rev. Francis Goodwin, a man with abundant cash, leisure, scholarship, literary taste, lofty aims, & enthusiasms, & first-class business talent, inherited direct from his late father, founder & President of the Connecticut Mutual. If he says no, I can hunt you up a smaller man [MTP]. Note: Goodwin was a cousin of J.P. Morgan.

Jane Clemens wrote from Keokuk to family. She’d been ill and told of Dr. Bancroft saying it was nerves, giving her pellets to put in water & drink when the clock strikes every hour [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, that two more years of hard study lay before them. Also about the weather and progress with his work [MTP].

G.L. Spillman and W.H. Weller as Students of the “Awful German Language” wrote from Danville, Ind. to offer Sam a long German word, as Clemens had said in TA that he wanted to exchange same [MTP].

January 9 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable wrote a postcard from N. Orleans asking if there was a 2nd volume by a man named Stuart in the books he’d sent. “Made a speech last night—50 minutes—audience made no complaint” [MTP].

January 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edmund C. Stedman (1833-1908) American poet, critic, and essayist, Hartford born. He studied two years at Yale; became a New York journalist on the Tribune and World, as Civil War field correspondent. He later studied law and was for a time private secretary to Attorney General Bates at Washington. He was also a member of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street from 1865-1900. He was one of the first chosen for membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1904. Sam extended an invitiation to the Jan. 22 Monday Evening Club at his house at 7:30. Charles Dudley Warner was to present an essay about modern fiction. Sam offered to meet Stedman at the station should he be able to come [MTP].

William Bock wrote again from Brooklyn to ask for a letter from Clemens for his infant son [MTP].

January 11 ThursdayCharles J. Langdon wrote on the bottom of a stockholders meeting result for the Susquehanna and S.W. R.R. Co. and calls for stock subscriptions: “Dear Saml / I will pay these calls as they fall due from your funds here if you will authorize me to do so…$3000 is due. Please advise” [MTP]. Sam wrote on the note: “You are hereby authorized to take the $3,000 from my funds in J. Langdon & Co’s hand”

January 12 Friday – With others named below, Sam signed a menu at Young’s Hotel, Boston. This gathering, not formerly reported, was likely a celebration of James R. Osgood’s publishing of P&P and The Stolen White Elephant. The names on the back of the menu are: James R. Osgood, SL Clemens, Wm. S. Draper, Chas. Fairchild, C.H. Colburn (publisher), G. Osgood, Eben Sumner Draper (1858-1914) Governor of Mass., A.V.S. Anthony (engraver), R.H. Ticknor, and Geo. A. Draper (1855-1923) textile industrialist [Cowan’s Auctions, Dec. 6-7, 2007 Item 919]. Note: It is not known which day Sam went to Boston and returned. Thanks to JoDee Benussi.

Robert A. Stigler wrote from Lexington, Miss. Asking for a list of his books and prices [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Puppy”

Edmund C. Stedman wrote from NYC to Clemens, accepting his “hearty invitation, subject to a telegraphic revoke on Saturday—the 20th inst.” [MTP].

Francis Wayland wrote from N. Haven asking if Sam had a copy of a book he’d reviewed in the Atlantic Monthly of June 1877: Sketches in Palestine (in verse) by Rev. Edward Payson Hammond with portrait [MTP]. Note: Sam’s copy, according to Gribben, was heavily annotated. The writer of the 1877 review identified his home as Ponkapog, Mass., the home of Thomas Bailey Aldrich. So, did Twain write the review? The style doesn’t seem to fit Sam’s of 1877 (See entries for June 1877, June 6, 1877, and Oct. 27, 1879)

January 14 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a long letter to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt about art that Karl was working on; about ideas on the movement of a planned statue of Paul Revere; and of Susan Warner’s desire for Karl’s bas-relief portrait of her husband which Sam wanted to give her but Livy would not.

I am in a state of mental and bodily stupefaction from my long siege of work; but I have life enough in me to send a vast deal of love to both of you & to the coming small guest [their expected baby]. And if I ever prayed, I should pray now for patience, courage, & good fortune for Josephine [Hattie] till the end of her trial come happily. The prayers of them that pray not, avail not; but their good wishes may; & these I offer with all my heart. SLC / (Ordered by Mrs Clemens to put the same sentiment into an unshocking form. Ah, but how?) [MTP].

January 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about being overcharged on a bill for work on the alarm system at the Farmington Ave. house. Sam added that he liked Webster’s “circular,” which was probably for LM, scheduled to be published in May [MTBus 208].

Sam also wrote to George W. Cable: 

I have just finished my book [LM] at last, & was about to return the volumes you so kindly lent me…I am a little short-handed, in the executive department, the coachman’s family being down with scarlet fever…two of our children are pretty sick, too—& 2½ weeks ago my secretary went home with scarlet fever…My life is a trifle too busy these days [MTP].

Sam also responded to Charles Langdon’s note on a notice for calls in the stock of the Susquehanna and South Western Railroad Co. Sam authorized his brother-in-law to take the $3,000 in funds from his interest in the Langdon Co. [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to James R. Osgood about LM preparation.

“There will be 20 to 25,000 more words than necessary; so the scissors can be freely used. The whole family sick, here” [MTLTP 162].

Sam also included a note of explanation sent with a book to Francis Wayland.

“Mine is a badly mutilated copy (on account of cuttings for that review) but it’s a million times better than none, or Shakespeare…” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Miss Jenny Sharples of Lancashire, England of his birth date:

“I do wish it had been a hundred years earlier or thirty years later—either would answer” [MTP].

January 18 ThursdayGeorge W. Cable wrote a postcard from N. Orleans: “Never mind the book. I have it. I found it last night where I have found a great many books—to wit, in my bookcase” [MTP].

January 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam had read all the proofs for LM and Livy had read nearly all of them. Sam related the family’s ills and Susy’s false alarm for scarlet fever. Sam wrote of Stedman being a guest for the following night [MTP].

Donald M. Grant, a Brit in Chumparun, India, wrote a fan letter to tell Clemens “how even in this remote corner of the world your books are known and enjoyed” [MTP]. Note: see Grant’s earlier letter of Mar. 21, 1882 from Ireland, describing himself as an “embryo doctor.”

January 21 Sunday ca. – Shortly after Jan. 21 Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood. Sam wrote vertically down the pages and pasted an engraving of him in the grave at the top.

“Osgood Knock this picture out. The madam’s orders are peremptory. She says the chapter is plenty dreadful without it” [MTP].

January 22 MondaySam hosted the Monday Evening Club at his house at 7:30. Charles Dudley Warner presented an essay about modern fiction. Edmund C. Stedman had accepted Sam’s invitation of Jan. 10 and came to Hartford, staying the night at the Clemens’ home [Jan. 21 to Osgood, MTP].

From Hartford Sam inscribed P&P to Edmund C. Stedman: To Edmund C. Stedman, with the kindest regards of the author. Hartford Jan. 22, 1883” [MTP].

St. Paul (Minn.) Roller Mill Co. per S.S. Eaton & W.H. Lightner sent a printed First Annual Report, Articles of Incorp. & By-laws [MTP].

January 23 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Louise A. Howland, wife of his old Nevada mining buddy, Robert M. Howland. Evidently the Howlands had been in New York and Sam apologized for being laid up with rheumatism.

Luckily the scare is over. Clara’s membranous croup is not that; Susie’s scarlet fever is not scarlet fever…So I’ve lost my chance at old Robert, for which I am mighty sorry; but as soon as I get around again I’ve got to go to New York with Madam on shopping & business; & so we hope to at least get a glimpse of you & the children [MTP].

January 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote an aphorism to an unidentified person: None genuine without this signature on the label: Yours Truly, SL Clemens Mark Twain Jan. 24, 1883” [Profiles in History, eBay item 230401504958, Nov. 19, 2009]. Note: Sam used this one several times, including Jan. 26, 1885.

Phillip Robinson wrote from Wisconsin “after a struggle with” his “better nature” sent Sam some sort of writing (the writing is quite illegible) [MTP].

 January 25 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt, beginning the letter this day and finishing it on Feb. 6.

Sam also wrote to (Henry) Clinton Parkhurst, a soldier, correspondent and writer from LeClaire, Iowa. At the age of fifteen he enlisted with the 16th Iowa Infantry.. He was a captive for seven months in the Confederate prison at Andersonville. After the war he returned to LeClaire and worked as a correspondent for the Davenport Democrat. He later went west, settling in San Francisco where he worked with various newspapers. Sam may have met him there. Parkhurst also worked for papers in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois and wrote poetry and fiction. Some of his literary works were published, but many were not, a fact which he attributed to personal failure and injustices of publishers and fellow writers. He occasionally used the pen name Clinton Rollins. Sam gave him the benefit of his lessons about copyright:

“No, if my ten years of effort have taught me any valuable lesson, it is to consider all time given to trying to get our copyright laws put into proper shape, wasted. From that line of endeavor, I have retired permanently” [MTP].

Sam saw more promise in pursuing plagiarism as a trademark violation:

“I have won two trade-mark suits & lost a third. I will not believe that the U.S. Supreme Court will decide against me until I have tried.”

Charles Webster wrote that he’d “not closed with Newman yet.” Also he’d seen Mr. De Forest at Tiffany’s who “promised to send one of the carved boards right away, the price is $20” MTP].

January 26 FridayEdmund C. Stedman wrote from NYC.

      My two days’ journey in Connecticut, and the winter idyl of twenty-four hours in your beautiful home [Jan. 22], seem already like an aurora borealis—or like a fire-light dream, & about the only cheerful dream I’ve had this season.

      —After telling Mrs. Clemens & yourself how much I enjoyed it, & thanking you for making me so instantly & constantly at home, I must hasten to set myself “right upon the record.” I now have read “The Prince & the Pauper”—and at a sitting, for no one who once dips into it will or can read it otherwise.

 [MTP]. Note: he sent a copy of the “English (& eclectic) edition of verse,” which Gribben identifies as Lyrics and Idylls, with Other Poems (1879) [660].

January 27 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about details of remodeling work at the Farmington house [MTBus 209].

January 29 MondayOrion Clemens wrote, Orion stories enclosed [MTP].

January 30 TuesdayJohn Russell Young wrote from Wash. DC to relate his trip to Japan and a visit with Edward House, “jaunty, cheerful, wise and gracious as usual.” He talked of politics: “Arthur seems to be an exceptional president—safe, conservative and patriotic…Gen. Grant writes the people are tired of paying war taxes in time of peace,—an explanation that is new” [MTP].

February – Sam inscribed The Stolen White Elephant to William M. Clemens [MTP].

Sam wrote to Francis Hopkinson Smith, returning his coat and apologizing for the used handkerchief he left in the pocket [MTP].

February 2 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood asking for proofs of LM and a chapter (52) containing the convict’s letter to Twichell [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote with his needed expenses for Feb. He was “anxious to finish Mr. Warner’s Medallion” [MTP].

Hartford Sanitary per R.W. Farmer wrote to announce the annual stockholders meeting Wed. Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. for election of directors [MTP].

February 5 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells:

“I haven’t anything to write, except all hands well. But I thought I’d send you this, to show you that we are making progress. The children’s governess required them to set down the names of such celebrities as they could recall. You have here the results” [MTHL 1: 422]. Note: Sam enclosed a list of famous people from his older daughters; Susy was eleven, Clara nine. The lists may be found in the citation on note 1. They both included “Papa” in the list of famous men.

Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: “We do not know how happy your two letters made us—we have read them exactly ten times since they came.” She wrote of Karl’s statute of Mercury and some work in bas relief she was doing [MTP].

George P. Lathrop wrote from NYC: “Hutton, Gilder & I—ably assisted by Brander Matthews—are getting up a breakfast for Barnay, the German tragedian. / I have just been to see Barrett about it, & he consents…to preside. He will doubtless speak to you about it to-night, if he has a chance…If it should be on Friday, could you not stay over?” [MTP]. Note: Ludwig Barnay (1842-1924).

February 6 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to C.L. Fleck thanking him for the honor from the “Philo Society” (unidentified) [MTP].

Sam finished the letter of Jan. 25 to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt. Sam ordered a letter of credit for the Gerhardts to continue his patronage of their training in Paris [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Edmund C. Stedman, responding to his letter of Jan. 26 sending a copy of his Lyrics and Idylls, with Other Poems (1879) in exchange for a complimentary copy of P&P. Sam thanked him for his “brief visit” which he said “was an event; & a strongly marked one” and added that he’d been ill,

“But if I couldn’t write, I have been able to read; & so I have enjoyed your poems, & with sincerest pleasure. And I found old friends among them—particularly among the war poems” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, again praising their two “sweet” letters rec’d. He wrote that he would send the “reduced” copy of Mercury, the original being in Naples [MTP].

February 7 WednesdayChristian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote hoping to soon receive proofs of LM from Chatto—he could pay Chatto or Twain direct, as Sam pleased. Seeing that they had not yet published all of Sam’s works in their Continental Edition, he sent a list of those they had [MTP].

February 8 ThursdayMary A. Riley wrote to Sam, with the news that her late brother, John Henry Riley (d. Sept. 1872) wished Sam to have some opal studs. Her other brother had hoped Clemens would come to Phila. where he might give the studs; could she mail them? [MTP]. Note: she waited 11 years!

February 10 Saturday – At about 8 PM, Sam went to the Hartford home of ex-Governor Marshall Jewell, three times governor, minister to Russia, and also Postmaster General in the Grant Administration. Sam stopped by to “beguile an idle hour for him with a yarn or two,” but was “received at the door with whispers, and the information that he was dying.” Jewell “died that night two hours after” Sam left. He wrote about the event to Howells on Mar.1 [MTHL 1: 427-8].

Sam inscribed The Stolen White Elephant to Margaret Warner [MTP].

In Florence, Italy, Howells wrote to Sam:

I have n’t written you because I’ve been ashamed to do so. Our two months in Florence have been the most ridiculous time that ever even half-witted people passed. We have spent them in chasing round after people for whom we cared nothing, and being chased by them. My story isn’t finished yet, and what part of it is done bears the fatal marks of haste and distraction [MTHL 1: 425]. Note: Howell’s current work, A Woman’s Reason had begun running serially in February’s Century Magazine.

February 12 Monday – “American Humorist. Mark Twain” New York: Funk & Wagnalls, by H.R. Haweis was a biography and criticism which argued that though Sam built a reputation as a humorist, he should be taken seriously; emphasized his travel writings [eBay Antique Book Central, Sept. 28, 2009, Item 400075870148]. Note: in the Sept. 1998 issue of Firsts 8.9 p.45, Mac Donnell writes: “Issued separately in wrappers and also bound in cloth by the publisher with others in the series. Haweis was known as a ‘radical curate’ and was friends with many American authors. Exactly one month later [see Mar. 12, 1883] a reprint of this work was issued by John Alden of New York, also in wrappers and in cloth. This is apparently the first separately issued biography of Twain.”


Lockwood De Forest for Tiffany & De Forest billed Sam for $69.00 for 1 carved molding and 7 narrrow brass tiles, Jan. 24 and 30 respectively. A note with the bill: “I am very glad that they have proved what you want & hope that they will look nicely” [MTP].


J.E. Ferguson wrote from Wash. DC, clipping enclosed of a poem, “The Bartender” and a sketch (not in file) “Ferguson, The Martyr” based upon Ferguson the guides in IA. He hoped Sam would reply [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back, “Literary Ass”

February 13 TuesdayBessie Stone wrote from Auburndale, Mass. concerned about Sam’s soul: “I expect that the Lord Jesus will knock at the door of your heart this week (Rev. 3, 20), and please let Him in” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D— fool”; Rev. 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

February 14 Wednesday – Ex-Governor Marshall Jewell’s funeral was held at 11 AM. The body was then on view at Asylum Hill Congregational Church at 2:30 PM with “public exercises.” It is likely that Sam attended one or both of these services [N.Y. Times for Feb. 13, 1883 p.2]. (See Feb. 10 entry, letter to Howells of Mar. 1.) Also, from Twichell’s journal:

“Died our parishioner and friend for many years, Hon. Marshall Jewell. I was ill of a severe cold, so ill as to be confined to the house for the first time in years, and was not able to attend the funeral, which was held in our church. Parker and Gen. Hawley make up the addresses” [Yale, copy at MTP].

February 15 Thursday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond informing him that George W. Cable was leaving for New York within the half-hour [MTP].

Andrew Chatto wrote but the letter is illegible. Made out one reference to publishing LM [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote asking Sam to return his autobiography MS. He wanted “to destroy all but about 100 pages. / I have taken a notion that the stupidity of my writings may have arisen from my spending too much time on them” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “More damned lunacy ’83 Feb”; When one reads all of Orion’s letters, it becomes understandable why Sam often lost patience with his brother.

February 16 FridayGeorge MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy: “I am ashamed of my delay in answering your welcome letter, and acknowledging the excellent portrait which I am very pleased to have. But it is so difficult to write letters when one can only by a strain get through the days work of writing other kinds of things.” He asked if Sam would collaborate on a book he was writing by adding “a little bit here & there” [MTP].

February 18 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a scorching letter to J.W. Bouton:

      Draw & be damned. I subscribed for your Portfolio one year & no more. I paid for it. Since then you have thrust it upon me & persecuted me with it at your own risk & in defiance of my several protests.

      You’ll “draw” on me! The hell you will! Messrs. Slote & Co. “refer” you to me. No!—why you can’t be in earnest. If they refer you to me, of course it must be all right. Dear me, why didn’t you get the peanut man on the corner to add HIS authority.

      Well, what a marvelous sort of publisher you must be, sure enough! You ought to write a book, & call it “How to Combine the Methods of the Highwayman & the Publisher Successfully.”

      I kiss you, Sweetheart!—Goodbye, good-bye—ta-ta!——ta-ta!

Dearest, I am / Truly Yours / S L Clemens [MTP; Mark Twain’s Helpful Hints for Good Living: A Handbook for the Damned Human Race (2004) p. 45]. Note: See Feb. 22 entry. In the latter source this was published under “An Unwanted Magazine Subscription,” which says it all. the Magazine was The Portfolio, An Artistic Periodical (London). In his Dec. 30, 1882 to Charles L. Webster, Sam explained he subscribed for one year but never subscribed again and “..have done my best to keep them from throwing away that excellent work on me….I wish you would explain the case to Mr. Bouton and have the periodical stopped before bloodshed [MTBus 206 cited by Gribben 555].

Frank M. Daulton wrote from Gainesville, Ark. He had a little house with 20 acres in the suburbs, “and about a shirt-tail full of type and an old army press…and making a totally good living.” He had plans for new equipment and an improved newspaper. He asked what happened to Orion and gave his love to Sam’s mother, if she was living [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Frank Daulton / ‘Old fellow printer’ in Hannibal”

February 19 Monday – Sam read a paper titled, “What is Happiness?” to the Monday Evening Club in Hartford. This was his seventh presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club]. An early question in his notebook: “Is anybody or any action ever unselfish? (Good theme for Club Essay)” [MTNJ 2: 498n214]. Sam would further develop his scrutiny on human motivation in What Is Man?

William Hamersley wrote from Hartford about the difficulties of getting a contract with James W. Paige for the typesetter [MTP].

February 22 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Charles Webster. Sam’s ex-attorney, Charles Perkins, had made an offer to reorganize the Kaolatype Company, and Sam wanted Webster to investigate whether to “knock the thing in the head.” More said about the alarm system, the batteries, the quitting bells, the alarm clock. Also Sam was concerned about a subscription for the magazine The Portfolio, An Artistic Periodical, London, to J.W. Bouton, editor (see Gribben 555-6) that either he or Slote might have paid for. He advised Webster that he and Osgood:

“…will be down about the First of March, and then I propose to go and see Slote and Company” [MTBus 209-10].

Sam also wrote to Orion, who had been having mental problems when writing about religion, and had some far out ideas on the subject, including the idea that Jesus taught sexual abstinence as a condition for gaining heaven. Orion wrote that he would put his ideas into a lecture, as suggested by Dr. George of the Keokuk Constitution. Orion’s letter angered Sam, and he responded:

“Your Dr. George is a fool…your lecture would destroy you, and me too. Try to guard yourself jealously against two things—lecturing and writing; for you cannot achieve even a respectable mediocrity in either” [Fanning 202].

Sam enclosed an oath for Orion to sign to refrain from any literary work, lecturing or asking Sam’s advice for the remainder of 1883 and all of 1884.

“…and abide by it—then we shall have peace. You are as good and kind as you can be, but you have no more this-worldly faculty than a babe” [202].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, sending bio. information on a “Form for Literary damned Societies that discuss you & your works” [MTP].

Sam also sent a saying from “On the Decay of the Art of Lying” to another unidentified person:

“The man who speaks an injurious truth lest his soul be not saved if he do otherwise, should reflect that that sort of a soul is not strictly worth saving” [MTP]. Note: In The Stolen White Elephant.

February 25 SundayKarl and Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy, the letter from Drexel with money rec’d. “Many thanks for the new letter…I shall telegraph you when the little stranger arrives….Josie has a most excellent nurse who does everything for us so that I don’t have any worry and am losing no time” [MTP].

February 26 MondayChatto & Windus wrote [MTP]. (envelope only survives)

February 27 Tuesday ­– Orion signed the pledge to Sam and returned it with an apology (see Feb.22 entry). “I will now turn my attention to law” [MTP; Fanning 202].

February 28 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus to ratify an agreement between Chatto and Herr J.H. Schufthas Boghandel of Copenhagen, Denmark, giving him the right to translate LM into Swedish [MTP].

Sam attended a lecture by John Lawson Stoddard who pioneered in giving travelogue lectures using the stereopticon. Sam wrote of the lecture to Howells on Mar. 1:

I attended one of the astonishingly popular lectures of an idiot by the name of Stoddard, who exhibits interesting stereopticon pictures and then knocks the interest all out of them with his chuckleheaded comments upon them. But all the world go there to look and listen, and are apparently well satisfied. And they ought to be fully satisfied, if the lecturer would only keep still, or die in the first act [MTHL 1: 426].

Mar. 31 statement from Worden & Co., New York, (stock brokers) shows Sam’s balance this day of $3,997.08 [MTP].

March – Sam inscribed a note “To Miss Julie / With regards & kindest remembrances of / Mark Twain / (Known to the police as S.L. Clemens.) / Hartford Mch 1883I” [MTP]. No further identification is given.

Lawrence Barrett wrote a short note to Sam: “Hutton tells me you will meet the ‘Kinsmen’ Monday Eve—Pray arrange also to be with me at the [Ludwig] Barnay Breakfast—It will bolster me up—in my first appearance as President” [MTP].

Sam gave a speech at The Kinsmen Club, New York City. According to Paul Fatout,

“The Kinsmen was a club without dues, clubhouse, officers or bylaws, its only purpose being good fellowship and good times—perhaps not a club at all. It was instigated by Lawrence Barrett, the name suggested by Laurence Hutton (1843-1904) to symbolize practitioners of kindred arts who made up the membership…Mark Twain attended as the guest of Hutton in 1883. Other Kinsmen, American and British, were William Mackay Laffan, [William Dean] Howells [in Europe at this time], F[rank] D. Millet, [T. B.] Aldrich, , Edwin A. Abbey, Anthony Hope, Edwin Booth, [Brander] Matthews (1852-1929), Joseph Jefferson, [Augustus] Saint-Gaudens, [Arthur Wing] Pinero, Bram Stoker, Forbes Robertson, John Singer Sargent, Henry Irving, Julian Hawthorne, Andrew Lang, and Edmund Gosse. See Hutton, Talks in a Library: 326-28; Matthews, The Tocsin of Revolt: 255.” [Editorial emphasis]

Note: A search of a five year period in the New York Times shows no mention of a Kinsmen Club, which suggests these men met privately and informally. Brander Matthews’ 1917 book, in These Many Years, reveals the genesis and development of the club: Dining at the Florence House in New York on Apr. 3, 1882, the group of Abbey, Barrett, Hutton, Millet, and Laffan decided to call themselves the Kinsmen Club; they met again at Hutton’s in Mar. 1883 for only second time, adding Bunner, Osgood, Elihu Vedder, and Samuel Clemens; their third meeting was in London during the summer of 1883; in 1887 a “misunderstanding” occurred and the club never met again [232-3].

March 1 Thursday ­– In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Howells, who wrote on Feb. 10 from Florence, Italy, frustrated at not being able to write much, spending the prior two months there “chasing round after people for whom we cared nothing, and being chased by them” [MTHL 1: 425]. Howells hadn’t finished A Woman’s Reason, nor had the “put pen to paper on the play,” Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. Sam sympathized:

We got ourselves ground up in that same mill, once, in London, and another time in Paris. It is a kind of fore taste of hell. There is no way to avoid it except by the method which you have now chosen. One must live secretly and cut himself utterly off from the human race, or life in Europe becomes an unbearable burden and work an impossibility [426].

Sam was feeling liberated after finishing Life on the Mississippi. This period came before an extremely productive output during the summer.

I have been an utterly free person for a month or two; and I do not believe I ever so greatly appreciated and enjoyed and realized the absence of the chains of slavery as I do this time….Of course the highest pleasure to be got out of freedom, and the having nothing to do is labor. Therefore I labor. But I take my time about it. I work one hour or four as happens to suit my mind, and quit when I please. And so these are days of entire enjoyment [427].

Sam asked the Howellses to visit the Gerhardts if they got to Paris. He also remarked on the shocking number of deaths due to pneumonia for the winter season [428].

Sam also wrote to Christian B. Tauchnitz. Sam provided questions about The Jumping Frog book and disclosed buying and breaking up the plates for the book, then using parts of it for his Mark Twain Sketches book. He also asked to buy back issues bound for Tauchnitz’s Fliegende Blütter [MTP].

Sam left Hartford and went to New York City. There he played billiards with friends for two hours,

“…got to bed at 10, slept 8 solid hours, & got up as fine as a fiddle…” [Mar. 2 to Livy, MTP].

George B. Smith, Jr. wrote Sam from the National Soldiers Home in Togus, Maine, thanking him for $10 sent to his wife [MTP]. Note: this is not George Smith the publisher.

March 2 Friday – Sam wrote from New York to Livy, excited about the possibility of staying over until Monday and seeing Vignaux, the greatest billiard man that ever lived” in a private exhibition. It would be “an event memorable for a lifetime,” and Sam was “perishing to see it.” He would let her know [MTP]. Note: Maurice Vignaux (1846-1916).

March 3 Saturday – The New York Times under “PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE” p.5 reported:

Samuel L. Clemens, of Hartford, and James R. Osgood, of Boston, are at the Victoria House 

The Brooklyn Eagle, on page 7 under “EVENTS IN BROOKLYN” / Summary of the Week’s Local News

The trial of Captain C.C. Duncan’s suit for $100,000 against the New York Times was begun in the Supreme Court.

March 5 Monday At the opening of the Guelph Club for billiards in New York, Sam introduced the great French billiards player, Maurice Vignaux and several other players, including George F. Slosson, Joseph Dion, and William Sexton, for an exhibition warm up match anticipating a large tournament in Chicago later in the month [N.Y. Times Mar. 6 p.5]. The Washington Post of Mar. 6, in a story datelined New York, Mar. 5, p.1 titled “Vignaux Beats Sexton Easily” reported the players were introduced, among whom were a number of noted lawyers and billiardists, by Mark Twain in a humorous speech [Schmidt]. The Times article does not mention Sam’s presence.

John Bellows (1831-1902) wrote from London to ask “where Mark Twain is” and offering to send a copy of his book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Author of the admirable little French-English Dictionary” which Clemens found useful in his 1878/79 trip abroad.

Frank M. Daulton wrote “rejoiced to hear from you, your mother and Orion and to know they are still in the land of the living. Parmelia [Pamela] was just blooming into womanhood and I was a bashful boy then, and consequently never got very well acquainted” [MTP].

March 7 Wednesday – According to the Brooklyn Eagle, p. 7, “Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) testified in the libel suit of Captain C.C. Duncan against the New York Times.” Since Sam’s letter of Mar. 9 to Cable referred to a Mar. 8 meeting with Charles Dudley Warner in Hartford, it’s likely that Sam returned from New York either on the evening of Mar. 7 after the billiards match, or the next day.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy of the arrival of “little Olivia” who was born this evening [MTP].

Roswell Smith wrote from NYC on The Century Co. notepaper: “I send you a note just received from Mr Cable, which is in response to mine as to the Hartford lecture project. / I want him here on the 26th of March to speak on Prison Reform before the Congregational Club if it will not interfere with your plans” [MTP].

March 714? Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Benjamin H. Ticknor directing him to make a few changes on the foundry proof pages of LM. “It ain’t any matter about the 50,000 already printed—no importance” [MTP].

March 8 Thursday – In the evening after receiving a letter from Roswell Smith, editor and president of Century Magazine, Sam and Charles Dudley Warner discussed how to set up a trial lecture for George W. Cable in Hartford [Mar. 9 to Cable, MTP].

March 9 Friday Sam wrote from Hartford responding to English writer George MacDonald’s letter suggesting a collaborative scheme for protecting against literary piracy. If Sam would write a few short paragraphs for MacDonald’s forthcoming novel then both writers’ names would guarantee copyrights in both countries. Sam politely offered the idea would make sense only if each could do half; but he had no time for such a team effort. He again promised to send a copy of LM when it came out [Lindskoog 28]. Note: This was the second or third time MacDonald sought to collaborate with Sam.

Sam also a short wrote to Charles Webster about J.W. Bouton and the Portfolio matter (see Feb. 22 entry). He also wrote about the house remodel. Sam asked how long Dion Boucicault (1820?-1890) the Anglo-Irish dramatist would be in New York and what was his address? Horace (Harry) Wall might tell Webster, Sam added.

In Mark Twain Businessman, Samuel Webster (son of Charles) notes the mention of Dion Boucicault is significant due to Sam’s desire to write another play [212].

Sam also wrote of big plans to George W. Cable, from a discussion the night before with Warner:

Our idea is thus: That we secure a nice little hall here—Unity Hall—& trot you out before an appreciative little audience—not for pecuniary profit for you, & yet not at any expense to you—but simply for the attainment of these important objects, viz:

      1. That you may try your lecture;

      2. That you may try your lecture-wings;

      3. That you may have the right sort of newspaper attention; and

      4. That the total result shall be a valuable advertisement.


Sam suggested a title for the lecture and needed a date at least two weeks off they could work around a few days either way, in case the halls were already spoken for. “Give us a date,” he wrote, “Then Warner & I will sail in!” [MTP].

Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond in Baltimore, adding a postscript to the day’s letter for George W. Cable—select a date later than Mar. 26 to give him and Warner enough planning time to promote the trial lecture [MTP].

Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote a short note from Boston: “Don’t you want to write two or three Atlantic pages for the Club about Wiggins? You could make it immensely funny” [MTP].

John Michels wrote from NYC thanking him for his note declining to be involved in a new newspaper. He wrote that Robert Underwood Johnson would be the manager and find some capital. “Would you give your name as Editor of the paper and send something weekly if 25 per cent of the profits are guaranteed to you…” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Proposition / Decline”

March 10 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, making a formal announcement from a list of leading Hartford citizens, which included Sam and Charles Dudley Warner, Joseph R. Hawley, J. Hammond Trumbull, Richard D. Hubbard (1818-1884), Austin C. Dunham, Edwin Pond Parker, James B. Patterson, William B. Franklin, Joseph H. Twichell, Henry C. Robinson, William Hamersley, A.E. Burt, Edwin E. Johnson, N. Shipman [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote: “It’s very, very good of you and the rest to take all this trouble for me, and you must consider me in your hands. I will lecture on ‘Creole Women’ and on such a date as you may choose round about Apl 3.” [MTP: George W. Cable: the Northampton Years, Butcher 1959 Columbia, p. 12].

Bothwell Graham wrote from Rome, Ga. Sam’s note explains [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Permission refused. / School teacher wants to perform dramatization of Tom Sawyer”

March 11 Sunday – An article ran in the New York Times p.4 about Sam’s father.



Communication to the St. Louis Republican.

In 1843 at Hannibal, Mo., John Marshal Clemens, the father of Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain,) filled the ancient and honorable office known as Justice of the Peace. He was a stern unbending man of splendid common-sense, and was, indeed, the autocrat of the little dingy room on Bird street, where he held his court, meted out justice and general satisfaction to litigants, commanded peace, and preserved order as best he could in the village. This room fairly indicated the rustic simplicity of the people and the frugal and careful manner in which Judge Clemens lived and transacted business. Its furniture consisted of a dry goods box, which served the double purpose of a desk for the Judge and table for the lawyers, three or four rude stools, and a puncheon bench for the jury. And here on court days, when the Judge climbed upon his three-legged stool, rapped on the box with his knuckles and demanded “Silence in the court,” it was fully expected that silence would reign supreme. As a general thing the “rough and ready” characters who had lounged in to see the “wheels of justice” move bowed submissively to the mandates of the Judge and observed the utmost respect for “his Honor.” Allen B. McDonald, an overbearing, turbulent, and quarrelsome man, was an exception, and many a time he had violated the rules and been rebuked by the court.

March 12 Monday – “Mark Twain” by H.R. Haweis, in the Elzevir Library, was a biography and criticism which argued though Sam built a reputation as a humorist, he should be taken seriously; emphasized his travel writings [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p170]. See also Feb. 12.

March 13 TuesdayWilliam H. Gillette wrote of expenses with the play The Professor and being unable to repay Sam the $3000, hoping he’d be “a little easy on time payments.” The play was making money, but comedy-farces didn’t play for more than three seasons [MTP].

Jane Lampton Clemens wrote to the Clemens family about attending a fun party the night before. She added a note on the 16th[MTP].

March 14 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam typed a letter to Benjamin H. Ticknor about a telegram he’d sent on the cut he wanted replaced in LM. Put in any sort of picture, even if it didn’t connect with the text and make sure it wasn’t funny, Sam wrote. A landscape would do, Sam thought and:

“…the reader can put in such idle time as he may have in trying to arrive at the connection…” [MTP].

March 16 FridayJane Lampton Clemens added to her letter of Mar. 13. “Now the weather is good and I wish to come to your house, if it suits you. I can do as you said pay Orion’s way there & home again” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answer”

W.G. Watson wrote to ask if he could see Sam “on very important business (to me) for about 15 minutes” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Watson the tramp”

March 17 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, at the time in Baltimore for a reading, confirming details on the planned “trial lecture” for Cable.

You are to lecture here the 3d of April, on “Creole Women,” in Unity Hall. So that’s all arranged. Formal invitation, duly signed by prominent citizens, [See Mar. 10 entry] will be presently sent you. Advertising will shortly begin. Preliminary “paragraphing” will begin now. Stir up Roswell Smith, [See Mar. 8 entry] please, & have him gather his clan & make preparation [MTP].

Sam also mentioned that an idea struck him while getting out of bed; he asked Cable not to make any more lecture dates until they’d spoken. The “idea” may very well have been the joint lecture tour which took off later in the year.

Samuel E. Wells wrote from Albany to ask permission to use three of Sam’s sketches in his new book on elocutions: “How I Edited an Agricultural paper,” “Jim Wolf and the Cats” and the “Speech at the Scottish Banquet in London” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Gave him my consent to use the 3 sketches named / SLC”

March 18 SundayJoe Goodman wrote to Sam.

Dear Mark—Here is your “Hamlet Brother,” roughly blocked out. I thought you would never get about it in earnest and did it to amuse myself. The arrangement, you will see, is an improvement upon the original, and the introduction of the new character clears up much that is obscure in “Hamlet” as it now stands. I am not a funny man and have only put words into Bill’s mouth provisionally. You will have to re-write his part throughout.… I was speaking to Barrett once about your idea and he thought it would be a sort of sacrilege. That might be the opinion of the goody-goodies who are howling about the “Passion Play” (the most impressive presentation of Christianity ever witnessed); but you and I know such talk is all fudge. Anything is legitimate sport and game—and especially Shakespeare, who cribbed right and left, and ridiculed nearly everybody and everything by turns [MTP]. Note: Sam’s 1873 idea of adding a humorous character to Hamlet had percolated in Joe’s brain and he continued to encourage Sam by showing him the possibilities. It may be that Sam feared Lawrence Barrett’s sort of reaction. Edwin Booth, however, thought the idea had value (see Nov. 3, 1873 entry).

March 19 MondaySusy Clemens’ eleventh birthday.

Sam and Livy took a morning train for New York for business and shopping. They probably arrived too late for Sam to attend a breakfast at Delmonico’s for Herr Ludwig Barnay, distinguished German actor. Barnay completed a successful tour of the U.S. in 1882. Osgood was in attendance, as well as Whitelaw Reid, Lawrence Barrett, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Francis D. Millet, and John T. Raymond, who offered a few humorous words in honor of Barnay. The group of about 50 broke up at 5 PM, so it’s possible Sam made a late appearance [N.Y. Times, Mar. 20, 1883 p.8 “Herr Barnay Among Friends”]. According to “PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE” in the N.Y. Times the following day, Sam stayed at the Brunswick Hotel [p.8].

March 20 Tuesday – In New York City, Sam and Livy took Charles and Annie Webster and attended a special matinee performance of Herr Barnay at the Thalia Theater, “to which only members of the profession were invited.”



The house was crowded, and it was not an easy matter to push one’s way along the aisles. Lawrence Barrett and his family occupied the box on the first tier to the right of the stage, and in the box opposite were Lester Wallack and a party of friends. Mrs. Gilbert, of Daly’s Theatre, was in a box on the second tier and the opposite box was occupied by Frank Mayo, Lawrence Hutton and several friends. Among the other actors and well-known people present were Samuel F. [sic] Clemens, John Gilbert, Osmond Tearle, Rose Coghlan, Georgie Cayvan, Agnes Ethel, Sara Jewett, J. H. Ryley, Louise Pallin, Brander Matthews, George Parsons Lathrop, Julian Hawthorne, John Drew, Daniel Frohman, and Frank Murtha. The first character in which Herr Barnay appeared was as Raoul Girard, in the one-act farce, “From the Opera Comique,” the lover of Juliette Santeniss—Miss Wolff. The next representation was King Lear [N.Y. Times Mar. 21, 1883 p 8].

(The opera was referred to in Mar. 23 and Mar. 31 letters to Charles Webster)

George W. Cable wrote from Baltimore: “This community is trying to waltz me off my feet or else I would have had somewhere & somehow a chance to write you a genteel letter. / I have yours of Saturday & one earlier, kindly inviting me…to sojourn within the borders of your tabernacle. Many thanks, Mr. & Mrs. George Warner, however, have rented me…” [MTP].

March 21 Wednesday – Sam and Livy continued their New York stay, for both business and shopping pleasure. Sam and Livy also visited with Augustus Saint-Gaudens on this trip [Mar. 26 to Gerhardt, MTP].

Marshall H. Mallory for Churchman Weekly wrote about negotiating with Howells for a play before he left for Europe “Just before sailing he wrote that the matter was left with you…” What terms and when would the play be ready? [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Not Answered” then crossed out the “Not”

March 22 Thursday – They arrived back in Hartford in the evening. Charles Dudley Warner “dropped in” after they arrived home and suggested that George W. Cable give the same reading in Hartford he successfully gave in Baltimore, instead of the planned lecture on “Creole Women.” Sam felt it would be “safer” to give a reading that had proven successful elsewhere [Mar. 23 to Cable, MTP].

In an article in Life, then a humor magazine, a cartoon figure of Mark Twain (by Kendrick) as an alchemist went with a brief, inaccurate biographical sketch:

…He was born on Plymouth Rock, April 1st, 1728…As an archeologist, however, he has won most renown, and his collection of Pompeiian, Sanscrit, Egyptian, and early Greek jokes, now in possession of Osgood & Co., of Boston, is considered the most complete in the world….He is short, florid and very corpulent, and is a rapid and brilliant speaker [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Spring 1982 p5]. See insert

William L. Alden for Harper & Bros. Wrote that he’d be unhappy without a submission from Sam for his next “Editor’s Drawer” [MTP]. A note in the file gives this the probable date and says Alden was given the feature after William A. Seaver’s death on Jan 7.

March 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing a letter of interest in the Paige typesetter.

“So I thought that if you and [William] Payton should run up here together and examine the machine, it would help these people to remember the terms upon which they can be applied to those New York men for capital” [MTBus 212].

Sam telegraphed George W. Cable about the planned lecture or reading at Unity Hall—a request to change the date to Apr. 4 and a suggestion to give the same reading that was successful in Baltimore. After sending the telegram, Sam then received and read a letter from Cable. He then typed a response, repeating the content of his telegram and adding:


Karl Gerhardt wrote, that Josie was walking the room and the baby was “doing splendidly”. He stopped paying out extra money for models in order to meet his budget [MTP].

J.B. Loewenthal wrote from Chicago asking for an autograph [MTP].

March 25 Sunday – In the Mar. 26 letter to the Gerhardts, Sam referred to this morning as Livy passing “the danger point” in her recent illness [MTP].

The following classified ad ran on page 5 of the Brooklyn Eagle:


March 26 Monday – Sam sent a telegram from Hartford to George W. Cable, verifying the upcoming lecture date as Apr. 4 on “Creole Women” while working in the Baltimore reading. Sam added that Livy was “out of danger” [MTP].

Sam also typed a letter to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt, welcoming their new baby, Olivia Gerhardt. Sam applauded Karl’s finishing seventh in a field of 60 in an art competition. Sam explained that the American Exchange in Europe would be able to handle the medallions that the Gerhardts wanted to ship to Hartford, “or an elephant or a dwelling house or anything you please” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote on several issues after receiving Sam’s of Mar. 23: He would “attend to all such letters as you speak of and let them down light” as they only wanted autographs. He enclosed a bill for opera expenses; an article on billiards; he’d found a man to fix Sam’s music box and enclosed his card; and strategy about the Paige typesetter, which Hamersley wrote was “perfected” [MTP].

March 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to George W. Cable, who had written asking if a particular engagement would interfere with the planned trip and reading in Hartford. Sam telegraphed that it would not, but advised him to:

“…require a stipulated sum cash in advance otherwise that pair of thieves will rob you in spite of the very devil they are shameless scoundrels & I know what I am talking about and am responsible for it” [MTP]. Note: Sam did not specify who these certain “scoundrels” were or where Cable was to perform, but may have been referring to the Mallory brothers in New York.

March 30 Friday – Sam’s letter to the editor ran on page two of the Hartford Courant under the headline “George W. Cable”:

Of the evening of the fourth of April the gifted southerner whose name appears above, will deliver at Unity Hall, in Hartford, a lecture upon “Creole Women,” sauced with illustrative readings from “The Grandissimes” and other of his books [Courant.com].

March 31 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Charles Webster, conveying Livy’s apologies for not saying a proper goodbye to Annie after the opera in New York. Sam wrote that the “type setter company are going to have a meeting next week, April 4th. I shall try to be present at it, but as that is going to be a particularly busy day with me I may possibly fail.” This was the date Sam and Warner had set for Cable to give his “Creole Women” reading at Unity Hall in Hartford. Sam also inquired of Kate Lampton, another cousin who was seeking employment copying or typing. Would Charley ask Mr. Whitford?


A statement from Worden & Co., New York, (stock brokers) shows a balance of $4,017.72; shows balance Feb. 28 $3,997.08; paid interest this day $20.64 [MTP].

Christian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote to thank him for his “kind letter and for the copies of ‘Sketches’ and ‘The Gilded Age’ which came safely..” He’d arranged with Chatto to pay £85 for LM [MTP].

April – Sam wrote a maxim on stationery of the Alpha Literary Society, Greenville Ill. to an unidentified person: It is easier—& nearly always more judicious—to tell seven lies than make one explanation…” [MTP]. Note similarity with Apr. 3 to Bellows.

April 1 SundayMollie and Orion Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy. Orion thanked Sam for the German books sent. They’d written to Kate Lampton to visit when it turned warmer and that Ma would send her tickets both ways. Sorry to hear of Livy’s “danger” but were glad she was better. Mollie urged them to visit [MTP].

April 2 MondayGeorge W. Cable arrived in Hartford at noon and stayed with Charles Dudley Warner. From Cable’s letter to his wife:

      Charles D. Warner met me at the door just leaving for New York. He will be back to my lecture on Wednesday. His wife is at the piano practicing for a little afternoon musicale appointed for tomorrow at this house.

      I have been over to see Clemens. Found him sick or nearly so, lying down at least with a cold. He promises to be up tonight, when some of us expect to attend the meeting of the Monday club. Mr. Twichell came in while I was there, looking for me. All ask kindly after you. Mrs. George Warner is as sweet [as] ever…Mrs. Clemens is sick abed with quinsy, but out of all danger & today greatly improved [Turner, MT & GWC 12-13].

April 3 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote an aphorism to John Bellows in Gloucester, England: “I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation” [Sotheby’s catalog at MTP].

From George W. Cable’s letter to his wife:

Dear old Mark Twain sends kindest word to all of you, beginning, of course, with Nellie.

      We have had a beautiful day today. I ventured over to M.T.’s house without my overcoat & felt comfortable; but on starting away from his house he cried out at the idea of no overcoat.

      I said, “The air is full of a soft, warm glow.”

      “Soft, warm glow! It’s full of the devil!—the devil of pneumonia! That’s what it’s full of!” and so I had to wear one of his overcoats back to Warner’s.

      Here’s another characteristic speech: “Yes, sir, my poor wife must get sick, & have a pulse that ran up to—150 in the shade!”

      He began to d—n Roswell Smith (whom he likes very well, I believe). I said I don’t allow my friends to abuse each other. “Yes, that’s all right; I know it. That’s the reason I forbear as I do. You see how mild my abuse is compared to what it would be if you were not here.”

      He strode up & down the room holding his headachy forehead & brandishing his arms, scolding over the various miscarriages of our schemes concerning the reading.

      I said, “I didn’t come over here to torment you before your time.” He answered—

      “Oh, you’re not tormenting me; only give me room to swear!” But he did not swear—much [Bickle 96].

George MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy, thanking him for his refusal to collaborate and seeing it “in its true light—as at least more than doubtful.” He reflected a sincere faith in God [MTP].

George B. Smith, Jr. wrote from the National Soldier’s Home in Togus, Me. Unfortunately the letter has faded to the point of being nearly unreadable [MTP].

April 4 Wednesday – Sam sponsored and introduced George W. Cable in a program of readings at Unity Hall in Hartford. To ensure a good response, Sam encouraged well-known literary types from New York and Boston to attend [Fatout, MT Speaking 176-7]. In his Apr. 6 letter to New Orleans artist Frances A. Cox, Sam wrote “George W. partially defeated himself night before last by not making a good selection of reading matter…” [MTP]. (See Apr. 5 and Apr. 6 entries.)

Cable read from “Old Creole Days” and his novel The Grandissimes. He wrote to his wife on Apr. 5:

“Poor, dear old Mark Twain! I could see that his wide experience recognized the fact & that he was not satisfied” [Turner, MT & GWC 15].

The Hartford Courant, Apr. 5 p2, reported on Cable’s reading:

When Mr. Cable came forward, and was received with hearty applause, the audience saw a slight, almost boyish figure, with a face of singular purity and refinement, black, laughing eyes, black hair, and a forehead high and fair and indicating thought and seriousness….so absolutely simple that we hesitate to apply the word dramatic to it, and yet the effect was dramatic, as the intense interest with which his sketching was followed by the audience attested.

After the readings there was a “lively supper at the Hartford Club,” including Howells, Twichell, Aldrich, Gilder, and O’Reilly. Fatout: “Of this late party Cable remarked upon an ‘abundance of innocent fun. There were a hundred good things said that I suppose I’ll never remember.’ See Hutton, Talks in a Library: 416-18” [MT Speaking 655].

Cable gave Sam copies of Old Creole Days (1879), The Grandissimes. A Story of Creole Life (1880) , and Madame Dephine (1881); and inscribed them: “To S. L. Clemens. Yours truly, G. W. Cable, Hartford, Apl 4, 1883” [Gribben 123].

Charles Ethan Porter wrote from Paris to Sam & Livy—a begging letter for funds [MTP]. Note: Porter was the black artist that Sam had helped before.

Jenny Sharples wrote from Lancashire, England, sending a handkerchief she’d embroidered for him, to thank him for the autographed letter sent some time before [MTP].

April 5 Thursday – Sam introduced George W. Cable to the Saturday Morning Club, Hartford, at the home of Charles Perkins. Cable read “Posson Jones.” Richard Watson Gilder was among the guests [Bickle 97; Turner, MT & GWC 16-17]. Note: In this and a few other cases Sam’s young girls’ club met on days other than Saturday to accommodate speakers.

From the club reading, which Sam was elated with, they took a carriage to a lunch in Cable’s honor at the Hartford Club. That evening Cable wrote his wife Lucy of the gathering:

“It was the maddest, merriest three hours—the wittiest uproar that ever I heard in my life. It beat the Boston dinner of last fall and was without the grossness which hurt my ear there” [Turner, MT & GWC 18].

Sam handed Cable John C. Kinney’s “little check for” $125 for his Unity Hall reading of Apr. 4. Kinney was an editor on the Courant [19].

April 6 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frances A. Cox. Sam thanked her again for the portrait of “Mammy” –“the lovely & lovable black face, heart of gold in ebony casket.” Sam also wrote that this reading was:

“…a splendid triumph. [Cable] read Parson Jones, & carried his house by storm. He will read that & some other good selections to-night [Apr. 6] before a company at Charles Warner’s & will score another triumph, & go forth from Hartford with banners flying & drums beating, an acknowledged conqueror” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood. Sam told of Cable’s “rattling victory” at the young girls’ club—“They have made it the talk of Hartford.” Sam was “uneasy & bothered” about Livy’s weakened condition since her bout with tonsillitis [MTP].

Clemens also sent a telegram to Francis Hopkinson Smith, in N.Y.C.


“Lovinge Greeting to ye tillers and I wolde surely come but that sundry of my tribe do languish under the hand of the medicine man [.] fill high the Vedder. SL Clemens”[Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Elihu Vedder Papers, Reel 518 Frame 1566].


Notes: Sam was unable to attend a dinner given by the Tile Club for Elihu Vedder, who was to sail the next week to Rome. The New York Times reported the Apr. 6 dinner on Apr. 7, and quoted Sam’s telegram in “A Dinner to Elihu Vedder.” On May 7, 1884, just over a year later, the Tile Club gave an exhibition of “a remarkable collection of pictures just completed by Mr. Elihu Vedder,” after what had been reported as a mysterious disappearance by Vedder. The 50-some pictures were to be illustrations for a large volume edition of the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayam, published by Houghton Mifflin & Co. [The Literary World May 17, 1884, p.170].

Sam also wrote to George E. Waring Jr. Sam blundered by inviting Waring to visit the family in Elmira at Quarry Farm in the summer, since “it takes every bed in the house to hold our gang.” The solution was to have him stay with Mrs. Langdon in town and Sam would “fetch” him “up, mornings & tote” him” back evenings, & insure …a perfectly lovely time…Will you forgive the blunderer?” Sam again raved about Cable’s talks [MTP].

Cable attended church services with the Bartletts and “heard a few tolerably good remarks from Dr. Parker & then some of the rambling stuff from a rev’d friend of his.” He stopped by Sam’s and gave him a letter from Mary Bartlett (Susy’s piano teacher [MTNJ 2: 397n141]). After putting up with a pun from Sam (a rather rare thing for which Sam abjectly “groveled”), Cable wrote his wife of the day’s events [Turner, MT & GWC 19].

In the evening Cable gave a private reading for the Warners and their guests, 55 in all. Sam stayed home with a sick Livy, but “others of the household” attended, likely the older girls and/or servants [20].

A check for $99.50 from J.C. Kinney to Sam, drawn on Hartford Trust Co., endorsed “pay to the order of Geo. W. Cable, esq” signed by each [MTP]. Note: John C. Kinney was an editor on the Hartford Courant.

April 7 Saturday – Sam’s carriage took George W. Cable to the depot so he could catch a train to Newport. Livy was too ill to accompany them [Turner, MT & GWC 20-1].

Charles Webster wrote enclosing a check for the last three months on old books. “Bliss won’t send me a price list or circular I have repeatedly requested him to do so…He says he will not supply me with books….What was your arrangement about ordering books from him?” [MTP].

April 8 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam’s mother was now living with Orion and Mollie Clemens in Keokuk by this time. Pamela Moffett was traveling in California but would return to Fredonia. Annie Webster was packing up her house there for the move to New York. Sam advised Charley not to be out of New York for more than 48 hours [MTBus 211].

“Your presence in New York is worth that of a dozen Marshes or other subordinates at this most important time.”

The Fredonia Censor ran an item on May 9, 1883 that “George N. Marsh has come from New York after an absence of seven months,” so perhaps the job of packing and closing the Webster house in Fredonia was delayed somewhat.

Sam then wrote about the Paige meeting (Sam consistently misspelled it as “Page”):

At the T.S. [type setter] meeting there were about 60 stockholders. They conferred full powers on the Directors to raise capital, &c. Pa[i]ge was brought to book—that is, made to stand up & distinctly say he knew the machine to be now flawless. A capital of $1,000,000 was proposed to be raised. I get these details from Whitmore, who was present [211].

April 9 MondayCharles Webster wrote: “Your smallest wish shall be gratified, no matter how much it discommodes me. I did not think for a moment that I was deserting my post here or I would not have entertained the idea…” He disputed Sam’s numbers on older books published by Bliss, as he had the binders statements in front of him—he listed years and numbers bound. He was enthusiastic about the sale of LM [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No. of various books of Bliss”

April 10 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Matt H. Hewins, about the cushions on his billiard table. “They seem to act first rate when we threaten to change them,” Sam observed [MTP].

April 11 Wednesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Mrs. Rollins (unidentified further):

Ah, but I’m not afraid of you, after seeing how kindly your pen is…I couldn’t be as gentle as you are over those French phrases. to my mind, the woman who says “mille fois” when it is her privilege to say “shucks!” & the man who says it when it is his privilege to say “damnation!” or some other word that’s got some sand in it, is a thoroughly despicable person, & I would tear him out of a book in a minute & make a fire with him [MTP].

Sam also wrote to John Bellows in Gloucester, England (see Apr. 24, May 17 entry) responding a note sent to Webster & Co. of an offer to receive a copy of Bellows’ French-English dictionary.


“…for Mrs. Clemens will not allow me to keep hers in my study, & somebody long ago stole my own copy — our pastor, I think; who was probably beguiled by its pious aspect….”

Asked by Bellows and other authorities to ignore the terms “nom de plume” and “nom de guerre,” Sam replied:

“I think you do — can’t go to the bedroom to look, because then I should have to explain why I am sitting up enjoying myself so late to-night; & I would rather tell seven lies than make one explanation” [www.liveauctioneers.com/sothebys/item/98374; July 8, 2004]. Note: Bellows’ work was Dictionary for the Pocket: French and English, English and French (1873) [Gribben 58]. See Bellows’ of Apr. 24.


April 12 ThursdayJames R. Osgood wrote that they didn’t need to start the 8th for Chicago. “Clark seemed to think about 10 days necessary in the other case, but I guess if we leave here the morning of the 9th it will be time. You come here Tuesday the 8th and dine with me and will start Wed. a.m. We can return the following Monday or Tuesday. / Glad you like the book” [MTP].

April 13 FridayFunk & Wagnalls wrote an offer to publish Sam’s 80,000 word MS to be included in a series of 12 books by representative American authors [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Not Answered”

April 14 SaturdayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy including an accounting page of March expenses [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote estimating 3,000 LM books would be sold by June 1. Another rundown of numbers of old books sold. Orion had written that there was no general agent in Keokuk [MTP].

April 16 Monday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to George W. Cable. Livy was not getting better and didn’t eat much so couldn’t get stronger. Sam intended to have her “travel on a mattress” to Elmira and “see if her mother can nurse her back to health.” Again Sam cautioned George to require money in advance from “those thieves” (probably the Mallory brothers) for a performance Cable had agreed to:

“They will leave a loop-hole in the writing through which their small souls can creep.

I shall be at the Author’s Club and the Salvini Banquet in case Mrs. Clemens is well enough to spare me—a doubtful outlook” [MTP]. Note: Sam didn’t make either, due to Livy’s poor health.

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, reminding him to send the money to Keokuk each month. He also noted that Ralph Gillette was the man to deal with for insurance on the house. Livy was sitting up “a good deal these days, but “ Sam did “not think her progress toward health amounts to much” [MTP].

The first meeting of the American Copyright League was held at Brander Matthews home on East 18th Street in New York. Matthews writes:

“The first of the authors to arrive was Henry James, whom I had then the pleasure of meeting for the first time. The second meeting took place a little later at Hutton’s; and in a few weeks we had collected adherents all over the country. We organized for a long campaign, resolved not to quit until we had accomplished our purpose; in fact…it was more than eight years before we could rejoice over the passage of the first act recognizing the obligation of the American people toward the foreign men of letters who were amusing and enlightening us. Our ultimate victory was due largely to the zeal and the tact of our successive secretaries, George Parsons Lathrop, Henry Loomis Nelson, and Robert Underwood Johnson.

“We chose a strong and energetic executive committee, and James Russell Lowell accepted the presidency, contributing the quatrain which we adopted as our motto:

“In vain we call old notions fudge,

    And bend our conscience to our dealing;

The ten commandments will not budge

    And stealing will continue stealing” [These Many Years 225].


Note: Sam did not attend this first meeting, but his sympathies certainly rested with such efforts, and his interests were directly affected.

F.B. Goddard wrote about an invention by “Mr. R. T. Sperry an artist formerly of Hartford …called the Lintograph” for lithography. Sperry had recommended W.C. Hutchings who then milked Goddard for $150 and said Clemens had promised $500—he was either “mentally astray” or a con man. “We venture to ask if such was the fact if you did lend him the money” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “About Hutchings”; Reginald T. Sperry.

James R. Osgood wrote: “Tell me now art going to N.Y. on the 25th for the Authors Club and the Salvini dinner on 26th? Hutton expects you, and I am going. Let me know…telegraph me.” He also reassured Clemens that the new book “is in the hands of most competent and experienced agents all round…” [MTP].

April 17 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to James R. Osgood. A dispute had arisen between Charles Webster, Sam and Osgood. Sam held to the belief as almost a maxim, that the big sale took place before issue, not after. Though once true for subscription books, it no longer was certain. Webster wrote on Apr. 9 that his inspection of American Publishing Co.’s statements revealed that the reverse had been the case. H.N. Hinckley confirmed this idea, due to agents being unable to canvass without the book in hand. Still, Sam stuck to his guns.

“Nevertheless I am right. The big sale is always before issue—after issue, the agents immediately load up the bookstores and canvassing ceases….The orders that come in after the ISSUE of a subscription book don’t amount to a damn—just write that up amongst your moral maxims; for it is truer than nearly anything in the Bible” [MTLTP 162-3]. Note: Osgood replied on Apr. 18.

April 18 WednesdayJames R. Osgood replied to Sam’s Apr. 17: “Perhaps you are correct: but I don’t quite believe it. The sequel will show” [163]. Sam did give way a bit, allowing Osgood and Webster to do as they preferred on The Stolen White Elephant [MTP].

April 20 FridayEdward Jump, one-time favorite caricaturist of San Francisco, and possibly Sam’s roommate there for a time [Taper xxv], committed suicide. Note: See Schmidt’s site: for a Chicago Daily Tribune article: http://www.twainquotes.com/edjump.html . Robert Hirst of the MTP did not know where Taper got the idea from that Clemens had roomed with Jump, and no evidence was found.

April 21 Saturday – From Lilly Warner’s pen: “Livy is doing well now, under a nurse’s care, and the sweet soft air of these good days” [Salsbury 164].

April 22 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton, advising that he would not be able to stay with him Apr. 25 and attend the Salvini banquet on Apr. 27 due to Livy’s condition.

“We have a professional nurse, but I am the main nurse, & most not leave the deck until I can be better spared than at present. Mrs. Clemens is gathering strength, & is steadily improving—sits up some, now—but needs & requires constant looking after. It is the slowest improvement I ever saw” [MTP].

From Lilly Warner’s pen:

Daisy [her daughter, Margaret] is as well as a kitten—and as happy—now out walking with her “Clicky Clemens” [Clara]

Livy is better and better—and the Gerhardt baby, over in Paris, a month old, is named Olivia for her [Salsbury 164].

In Venice, Italy, Howells wrote to Sam about the Mallory brothers of Madison Square Theatre and the negotiations under way for their play, Colonel Sellers as a Scientist. Howells was sickened by the “rags and dirt” of Venice and guessed he hadn’t begun to “see the misery of it when I lived here.” He told of a woman who carried two books around, the Bible and Roughing It [MTHL 1: 430].

April 23 MondayJames R. Osgood wrote: “I have your gloomy communication [not extant], and will respond to your invitation to stop over and brace you up. I will leave here either to-morrow (Tuesday) afternoon by 4.30 train and pass the night with you, or else I will go by 8.30 a.m. train Wednesday morning and arrive at 12.25 and stop over one train. Will telegraph you to-morrow which I will do” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote, having rec’d various contracts Sam signed from the American Publishing Co. He mentions possible troublesome clauses in a couple of the books, but nowhere did he see that books were to be sold by subscription [MTP].

April 24 Tuesday – Sam and Livy wrote from Hartford to Charles Langdon of sickness, gaining strength, Olivia Lewis Langdon’s improved health, and Hartford’s “death-list” which had “reached the startling & disgraceful figure of 89” [MTP].

Sam also typed a letter to Whom it May Concern for Harry M. Clarke, recommending him as a type-writer copyist based on his work on LM. Sam was thoroughly impressed with revising copy done on the typewriter:


Sam also typed a letter to Charles Webster. Sam would soon send a letter from Ella Lampton containing a suggestion, probably about securing work for her daughter Kate, who wanted copy work. Livy was “improving all the time but is still confined to her bed” [MTP].

John Bellows wrote from Gloucester, England, replying to Sam’s of Apr. 11. He noted that the letter exceeded the “return after 10 days” on the envelope, for by that point “the mail steamer was 100 miles short of Queenstown!” He then wrote: “I send a copy of the dictionary by this mail, and am mortified to have failed in neatly shipping in NOM de PLUME and NOM de GUERRE under N.” He also enclosed The Life of John Roberts: (a Gloucestershire Farmer of the Time of Charles II) by Daniel Roberts, which he called “a quaint little book that will interest thee” [MTP].

Laurence Hutton wrote another nearly illegible note from NYC, sorry that Sam wasn’t coming [MTP].

April 25 WednesdayJames R. Osgood arrived at Sam’s [Apr. 24 to Webster].

April 28 SaturdayJames R. Osgood wrote (envelope only survives) [MTP].

April 29 SundayHattie J. Gerhardt wrote a short note to Sam & Livy, concerned about Livy’s illness. She added, “…one thing I know will make you happy—every one says Karl has made a decided jump in his art & he is received in the salon & I am happy” [MTP].

May – Sam inscribed LM to Edwin P. Parker: With kindest regards of Mark Twain” [MTP].

May 1 Tuesday – Sam began a letter from Hartford to Karl & Hattie (“Josie”) Gerhardt, that he finished May 3. Sam questioned Josie about her remark that Charles Ethan Porter had “gone to the dogs,” a remark he said for which “she gave no details.” Porter, a Negro, was to be forgiven sins more than a white person, he said, which says a lot about Sam’s evolution on race matters:

At the same time I must remember, and you must also remember, that on every sin which a colored man commits, the just white man must make a considerable discount, because of the colored man’s antecedents. The heirs of slavery cannot with any sort of justice, be required to be as clear and straight and upright as the heirs of ancient freedom, and besides, whenever a colored man commits an unright action, upon his head is the guilt of only about one tenth of it, and upon your heads and mine and the rest of the white race lies fairly and justly the other nine tenths of the guilt. So, when you have told me all there is to tell about Porter, I shall doubtless judge his case charitably enough [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short reminder to Charles Webster to write his Aunt Ella Lampton. “WHAT DID YOU SAY TO HER?[MTP].

Sam also wrote to Jenny Sharples, thanking her for an embroidered handkerchief sent.

“I shall not degraded this handkerchief to common uses; I shall take it out only on occasions that be worthy of it; it shall be kept sacred to tears of sorrow shed for lost friends, & tears of joy shed for the destruction of enemies. And for one other occasion—to wave you a welcome when you come to America!” [MTP].

May 3 Thursday – Sam finished the letter of May 1 to the Gerhardts. He confessed that Livy was “not well enough yet, to write, but will be, soon….” He’d received the bronze portraits from Karl and thought the one of him was “very fine.” He didn’t think Warner’s was a good likeness, but excused it because “the artist needs the living model, not the dead & flat photograph” [MTP].

Isabella Beecher Hooker wrote about going to some function with them to save $3, and not realizing Livy was so “feeble” [MTP].

May 7 Monday – In Hartford, Sam typed a letter to Mary Mason Fairbanks, gently accusing her of not “caring any great deal about us or our sufferings” since she’d made several trips east without stopping by then retiring “stealthily west again without ever coming near us.” Livy had suffered through a bout of diphtheria, then quinsy (inflamed tonsils) and “several minor things,” and was now emaciated.

“I could shave with her shoulder blades; she has no more flesh than one of those old-fashioned hoop-skirts.”

Sam related Susy’s expressed disappointment at the recovery of two of Patrick Aleer’s children from scarlet fever, since she’d looked forward to “the experience of a funeral.”

“It would be worth your while to come here and study Susie. As a general thing her speeches sound about forty-five years old, and are prodigiously entertaining; but Clara is a perfectly natural child, with nothing remarkable about her; and the same may be said about Jean” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, on details and plans: He paid the music-box bill this day; reminded Webster to have “that watch company’s note transferred to John Arnot”; and another reminder with address to write his Aunt Ella Lampton. Sam announced his trip to Boston and Canada the next day [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to the Gerhardts that Livy was sending a box of baby clothes for them with Mrs. Langdon’s medallion in it that they should have cast in bronze [MTP]. Note: Gerhardt made several medallions with images of people, likely in terra cotta.

Christian Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote about including Sketches in their Continental Ed. Thanking Sam for his Apr. 16. He asked for a good photo of Clemens [MTP].

May 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Boston to Livy.

“Livy Darling, I grew so uneasy, before I reached Boston, that I determined to go back home unless I got news that you were better. I have just received your answering telegram, & am greatly relieved” [Note: Livy’s telegram to Boston suggests Sam spent at least one night there].

Sam learned from Osgood that they need not stay in Canada beyond May 14, and hoped to return by way of New York to see “one evening of the great billiard match & still get to Hartford as soon as if we came home by the old regular route” [MTP].

May 916 Wednesday – Sam made a flying trip to Montreal during this period to protect copyright of Life on the Mississippi [LLMT 215]. In his May 18 letter to Howells, Sam wrote “When I was in Montreal three or four days ago…” would put the date there a bit later than the May 14 date which Osgood had estimated. It’s not known if Sam returned by way of New York, or how long he stayed in Boston. No N.Y. Times notices of his being in the city for this period were found.

May 10 ThursdayGeorge MacDonald wrote from Bordigera, Italy, once again urging Sam to join him in writing a novel [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Your Ph. Is very lovely. 2 plays & 3 books. & the whole summer engaged. Can’t forecast the future with all these (& other proposed) books (& Hamlet) in my head.”

May 12 SaturdayLife on the Mississippi was published in England by Chatto & Windus [MTHL 1: 433n2]. Prior publication in the Empire was necessary to secure copyright there.

May 13 Sunday – In an unknown place (probably Ottawa or Montreal) Sam inscribed LM to an unidentified person [MTP].

John Irwin wrote a begging letter from Berkshire, Ohio as he couldn’t afford Sam’s latest book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No Answer”; Sam rarely complied with such requests, unless he knew the person.

May 15 Tuesday – Robert Hirst gives this as the date the “earliest copies of the first edition [LM] were published” [“A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. The first review, this from the Hartford Courant, p.1:

Mark Twain’s new book Life on the Mississippi is just out, a handsome volume of 625 pages and over 300 illustrations. It is one of his best and most entertaining works, and likely to be one of his most successful. It is full of the genius of its author, who is equally at home in serious descriptions, in entertaining anecdotes, and in the clever sketching of queer characters. The whole book is pervaded by his quaint and irresistible humor, and is eminently readable throughout [Budd, Reviews 235].

May 17 Thursday Life on the Mississippi was issued by the James R. Osgood & Co. (Two copies were deposited with the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress). Sales before issue barely reached 30,000, a number that enraged Sam [Powers, MT A Life 469; Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996]. Note: under old subscription models, it was thought 40,000 sales before release was a good result.

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster again about Kate Lampton. Ella Lampton had written again for her daughter Kate, and Sam enclosed her letter. He also asked if Webster would confirm good seats for him and Osgood for the following week:

I found complimentary tickets here from the Collender Co., for the opening billiard night, when I got back from Canada, and for which I was very much obliged. At present, Osgood and I propose to go down Sunday night [May 20], and be present at the matches of the afternoons and evenings of Monday and Tuesday [May 21-2]. Therefore if you should happen in there, you might ask the Collender Company to bear us in mind and not let the good seats get away [MTBus 214].  

Sam wrote from Hartford to American Publishing Co. asking them to “Please send A Tramp Abroad to John Bellows, Gloucester, England” [MTP]. John Bellows (1831-1902), a printer by trade, was later called the “Father of Gloucester Archeology” being the first to identify the walls there as of Roman origin. He introduced the first steam-press in the area, invented a cylindrical calculator, and wrote the first French-English dictionary without first knowing French. (This is a trick you should not try at home.)

Sam also wrote one line to Miss M.J. Remann, probably an autograph-seeker. “Very heavy press of work is my excuse for this brutal brevity. Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].

May 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, who wrote from Venice, Italy on Apr. 22 about negotiations with Marshall Mallory for the Colonel Sellers as a Scientist play.

I have just sent your note to the godly Mallory, and said that we would leave the matter just as it stands, not only until your return but until the play shall be completed. Said I did not wish to bind myself to write a play. Next October you will come here and roost with me, and we will lock ourselves up from all the world and put the great American comedy through. If we ever come to deal with those people, we shall not do it in person, but through the ablest legal talent that New York can furnish; and if they get ahead of us they will have to rise early [MTHL 1: 431]. Note: The Mallory brothers, George and Marshall, had cheated one James Morrison Steele MacKaye, actor, manager, and author out of royalties on a play which continued to pay them for many years (See MTHL 1: 412n2; also 432n1).

Louis Fréchette wrote a note all in French with mourning border; he mentioned Union Square Theatre on June 4, likely a reading of his [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No answer”

May 19 Saturday – Sam wrote two drafts of a telegram to be sent from Hartford to John Douglas Sutherland Campbell (Marquis of Lorne; 1845-1914), apologizing for his delay after receiving a confused message second hand by telephone. After a:

“…long delay it has come to me correctly & lucidly in manuscript form & I hasten to accept your lordship’s kind invitation & say I shall do myself the honor to report in Ottawa” [MTP].

The Chicago Tribune, p. 9, “Mark Twain Produces Another Compound of Fiction, Humor, and Fact,” concluded LM was “one of the best, if not the best, this writer has given to the public” [Budd, Reviews 235].

Samuel E. Dawson (telegram on behalf of Lord Lorne) wrote “Governor General wants you to be his guest at meeting of Royal Society try and go.” He also sent a letter about the event and advised he’d sent the Gov. “your book with autograph” [MTP].

George P. Lathrop wrote from NYC about his wife’s plans to go to Europe foreclosing them from visiting Hartford. He PS’d that he was reading LM “with great satisfaction” [MTP].

May 20 Sunday Sam and James R. Osgood traveled from Hartford to New York City to watch Collender’s great billiard tournament at Tammany Hall [MTBus 214].

Lafcadio Hearn of the New Orleans Times-Democrat, reviewing LM, concluded,

Notwithstanding its lively spirit of fun, the volume is a more serious creation by far than The Innocents Abroad; and in some respects seems to us the most solid book that Mark Twain has written [Budd, Reviews 237].

Samuel E. Dawson (telegram on behalf of Lord Lorne) “Ceremony of Knighthood on twenty fourth you should see try and arrive at Ottawa in evening of twenty third at latest if you cant come earlier reply to Lord Lorne direct” [MTP].

George E. Waring wrote from Newport, RI, planning a visit in July to Elmira and thanking him for “the chaste and graphic sketch” (1601?) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Waring / Good—don’t forget the visit / Stir up that tobacco man. & after 10th send it to Elmira”

May 21 Monday Sam and James R. Osgood enjoyed the first two days of the Collender’s billiard tournament at Tammany Hall. The contests continued for some eleven days, with Maurice Daly the final winner [N.Y. Times, “Prizes for Billiard Experts” May 30, 1883 p.3].

Osgood telegraphed: “Missed you at the station and went back to Springfield on the train expressly to meet you can’t go to Canada hope you will enjoy it” [MTP].

Samuel E. Dawson telegraphed: “No apology needed I will see you in passing, newspapers here announce your visit” [MTP].

May 22 Tuesday – After watching more of the billiards tournament, Sam left for Canada, reaching Montreal at 8:30 in the evening. He wrote from Montreal to Livy about a mix-up in the trains that caused him and Osgood to be on different trains [MTP].

George W. Cable wrote he was unable to make the Saturday Morning Club reunion. The day before he’d rec’d two copies of LM and the “family are devouring it.” He’d had an offer from Sidney Drake of Hartford to publish his book [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the top, “Was in Canada when this came.” And across the letter, “Don’t know Drake” and “Mrs C. improving” and “love to you all”

May 23 Wednesday Sam got up at 6:30 AM and went to Samuel E. Dawson’s (his Canadian publisher) house to borrow his “best black frock coat” to “wear it at luncheons in Ottawa”. Then Sam took an 8:30 AM train to Ottawa, arriving at noon [May 22 letter to Livy].

Sam was guest of the Governor-General of Canada, Marquis of Lorne and wife Princess Louise who was Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter. Princess Louise signed his notebook during his stay [MTNJ 3: 18].

Sam gave a private reading in Rideau Hall, Ottawa [MTPO].

Sam also gave a speech, “On Adam” for the Royal Literary and Scientific Society, in Ottawa, Canada [Fatout, MT Speaking 178-180]. Note: this may be the same “private reading” as above.

Sam wrote at 8 P.M. to Livy.

“Livy my dear, fun isn’t any name for it! I wish I had come a day sooner, as I was invited to do. Reached here at noon today & it is now toward 8 p.m., the dinner hour—so I will stop scribbling & dress…” [MTP].

May 24 Thursday – Sam wrote from Government House, Ottawa to Livy, about how well he got along with Princess Louise and how he’d tried hard not to commit any social blunders [LLMT 215-6].

Jane Clemens wrote, “We are watching every day for Robert Creel to die. You remember Sam, his mother & mine were sisters.” More details about Creel sinking [MTP]. Note: Creel would have been Sam’s great uncle. There’s a pacel of early letters to Creel from various persons at the MTP.

Princess Louise sent engraved invitations for dinner on Thursday the 24th of May at 8 pm [MTP].

May 27 Sunday – The Governor General and Princess Louise went to church, while Sam played billiards with Lord Frederick Hervey. After lunch Sam played “a few games of billiards” with Miss Hervey

…then his Excellency, Miss MacNeil, & I, & three dogs, took a five-mile walk through the woods & by the river, getting back at 6 p.m.; then all hands, including the Princess, played lawn tennis until nearly 8, & delayed dinner a good deal. I did not play very well; still I believe I could learn something of the trick of that game if I should stick to it a few days longer. The princess asked me to read, in the evening, & of course I did. After a smoke, the day ended, at 12.30 a.m., —an hour earlier than usual, everybody being pretty well tuckered out.. [May 28 to Livy, MTP].

Sam gave a reading at Rideau Hall, Ottawa, Canada, likely the one requested by Princess Louise above.

May 28 Monday – Sam wrote two letters from Ottawa to Livy: His plans to leave had been repeatedly delayed since Saturday. A raft trip down some rapids planned for three or four o’clock that day were scrapped due to a storm; Sam expected to leave at 4:30.

I was provided with only 3 white neckties, & they were rather shabby ones, too. They are shabbier, now. My dress coat has a big moth hole between the shoulders; but I have blacked the white lining with ink, & I suppose it hardly ever shows; in fact, the wise Princess said—but dear me it is luncheon time. How swiftly the time does fly! [LLMT 216].

Sam’s second letter to Livy disclosed he was leaving for Montreal, where he would spend the night, then take a morning train for home. “I thought I would write this final note because maybe it will beat me home” [MTP].

Sam left on a train for Montreal, where he stayed at the Windsor Hotel.

Sam wrote from Montreal to Samuel E. Dawson, returning the coat with his many thanks.

“To say I had a delightful visit at the Government House is putting it tamely—very tamely, indeed” [MTP].

Sam inscribed A Tramp Abroad for Sir Francis De Winton: “How simple & easy the bovve diagrams look, until they have been explained / Sincerely Yours/ S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / To / Colonel De Winton / May 28, 1883” [MTP]. Note: De Winton (1835-1901) was a friend of the Marquis of Lorne who later was appointed by King Leopold to take Sir Henry Stanley’s place in the Congo. He was a recognized authority of central Africa.

Joseph R. Hawley wrote an invitation for Sam to meet Prof. Willard Fiske this evening at 6:30 [MTP].

May 29 Tuesday – Sam took an early morning train from Montreal bound for Hartford. If the train was on time, he arrived at about 8 or 8:30 PM [May 28 to Livy].

May 30 Wednesday – The New York Times ran a short piece, page one, on Sam’s efforts to secure Canadian copyright:


OTTAWA, May 29. – For several days past Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) has been a guest at the Government House. He has succeeded in securing a Canadian copyright for his last work, “Life on the Mississippi.” His failure to secure Canadian copyright last year for his “Prince and Pauper” probably led him to take another course this time, which would be more likely to secure him the protection he desired. In the first instance, he brought out his new work in England, which entitled him to British copyright. This only gave him partial protection in the British colonies, as any foreign publisher could introduce his work in Canada by paying him a royalty of 12 ½ per cent. on the value of each volume. Not satisfied with this, and being determined that his works should be copyrighted in Canada, he transferred his work to the English publisher, Andrew Chatto, of London, who applied for and was granted Dominion copyright on May 15.

JuneOsgood & Co. published The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English, by Pedro Carolino, with an introduction by Mark Twain, written a year before. Paine calls it “an absurd little volume” [MTLP 1: 431]. (See June 4 entry.)

Sam inscribed Pedro Carolino’s The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English (Sam wrote the introduction to this reissue) in Hartford to Laura Dunham: “To Miss Laura Dunham from hers sincerely, The American Sponsor of the Book. Hartford, June 1883 [MTP]. Sam also inscribed another copy of this work to Laura Taft: “Miss Laura Taft / With the kindest / regards of / The Author / Hartford / June ’83.” [McBride 416].

Note: Miss Dunham may have been related to the old Hartford family. A Miss Mary Dunham visited Sam in Paris in the spring of 1879. Samuel C. Dunham was listed as a member of Sam’s Friday Evening Club for Feb. 3, 1882; and the aged A.C. Dunham (Austin Dunham) is mentioned in Andrews, p. 112 as well as being on the Mar. 10, 1883 list of Hartford citizens who formally requested George W. Cable to speak in the city.

June 1 Friday – The New York Times reported on p.4 under “GENERAL NOTES” the following:

An Ottowa telegram says that although Mark Twain has obtained a Canadian copyright for his new book, “Life on the Mississippi,” the same difficulty as regards residency which arose when he last applied for a Canadian copyright will likely crop up again. A few weeks’ stay in Canada, even at Rideau Hall, it is suggested, will hardly constitute a permanent residence in the Dominion within the meaning of the Copyright act.

June 2 SaturdayF.J. Permenter sent a printed poem, “Maud Muller’s Answer to Mr. Whittier The Poet” [MTP].

June 4 Monday – Upon his return from Canada, Sam saw Pedro Carolino’s book with his introduction and felt it would be a nice gesture to send it to Princess Louise. He also wrote from Hartford to Sir Francis De Winton in Ottawa:

 I very much want to send a little book to her Royal Highness—the famous Portuguese phrase book; but I do not know the etiquette of the matter, and I would not wittingly infringe any rule of propriety. It is a book which I perfectly well know will amuse her “some at most” if she has not seen it before, and will still amuse her “some at least,” even if she has inspected it a hundred times already….P.S. Although the introduction dates a year back, the book is only just now issued. A good long delay [MTLP 432].

Sam also typed a letter to George W. Cable, saying the “girls were mightily delighted with your telegram.” Sam felt he finally had secured a Canadian copyright. Cable may have asked his advise on securing a publisher. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Sam answered:


Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who evidently achieved some honor in Sam’s behalf.

It was lovely in you to do it, & I most highly appreciate the feeling that prompted you; but I am an interested Judge & jury, & cannot sit upon my own case. In my heart I should question my verdict, whichever way I gave it….A merely reasonable good looking girl who is told she is beautiful does not like to consent that she is, & yet would not willingly confess that she isn’t, to the complimented. There is no middle ground: she must move a change a venue.

Sam confided that Livy was “still as thin as a rail,” but that they planned to leave on June 14 for Elmira for the summer [MTP]. Livy was well enough to inscribe Peter Henderson’s Practical Horticulture (1874) to the Clemens’ gardener, Daniel Maloy [MTP; Gribben 307].

John Douglas Campbell (Lord Lorne) wrote, “glad you arrived safely home.” He added, “I like to hear of Mrs. Stowe still enjoying her recollections of old days with my people in England” [MTP].

June 6 WednesdayJohn Bellows wrote from Gloucester, England, thanking for LM and TA, and offering his opinions about British history [MTP].

June 7 Thursday – Sam gave a reading at the Decorative Art Society, home of Mrs. Franklin Whitmore, Farmington Avenue, Hartford. According to the Hartford Courant, June 8 p.2, “City Briefs,” there were a series of readings from Sam’s writings to about 150 members and friends.

Karl Gerhardt wrote from Paris France, relating that Howells had dropped by when he wasn’t home, “catching ‘Josie’ in her potatoe paring.” He added plans for his continued study and art [MTP].

June 8 Friday Clara Clemens ninth birthday. Sam noted amusement at Clara’s efforts to understand his penciled comment on the flyleaf of John Abbott’s (1805-1877) Daniel Boone: A poor slovenly book; a mess of sappy drivel & bad grammar” [Gribben 4].

Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to hurry and rent him and his family a special hotel car to Elmira for Friday, June 15.

“We go Thursday from here, & Friday from New York unless death or desperate illness interfere” [MTBus 214].

Arthur Collins wrote from Ottawa, pleased about Sam’s visit there and hoping to run down to Hartford in the fall [MTP].

June 9 Saturday – Sam’s Thursday reading for the Decorative Art Society noted a spot in the New York Times, p.4 under “GENERAL NOTES.”

June 10 Sunday An interview dated June 9 ran on page 1 of the New York Times: “MR. MARK TWAIN EXCITED ON SEEING THE NAME OF CAPT. C.C. DUNCAN IN PRINT”.

With his strawberries and cream before him and his NEW-YORK TIMES in his hand, Mark Twain sat upon the portico of his handsome home this morning and made merry. He had chanced upon an item concerning an old acquaintance, Capt. C.C. Duncan, New-York’s Shipping Commissioner and the father of three illustrious young men whose powers of absorbing the funds of the United States Government are, as far as is now known, illimitable. “Well, well, well! So the old man’s in hot water,” says the author of “Roughing It” and “Tom Sawyer,” with a mock expression of pity on his face as he pushed aside his strawberries. “Poor devil! I should think that after a while he’d conclude to put a little genius into his rascality, and try to hoodwink the public as his little game of robbery goes on. It don’t become a scoundrel to be an ass. The combination always makes a mix of things, and if Duncan will persist in his wicked ways somebody ought to have a guardian appointed for him…

The “interview” caused a furor; Duncan threatened suit; Sam, denied “all but 20 words” of it; the rest he called the “reporter’s own invention.”

June 1014 Thursday – Sometime between these dates Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Webster about the Duncan article in the Times.


June 11 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto, releasing them from “any legal expenses incurred on account of the within…” [MTP]. Note: enclosure not described.

June 12 TuesdayHenry Allaway wrote from New Haven, clipping enclosed from the NY Evening Telegram of June 11 about Capt. Charles C. Duncan planning to take “legal action” for remarks Sam reportedly said to the NY Times. Allaway asked if he might come to Hartford and “allow me to bore you once more in getting the point for a gossipy article about your career?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The Interviewer”

June 13 WednesdaySusy and Clara Clemens wrote to Mr. Francis Parsons in Elmira that they would “be happy to see” him “Tuesday afternoon” June 26 “From 4 until 8.” The note does not appear to be in a child’s hand, although Susy was twelve [MTP].

June 14 Thursday The Clemens family left Hartford and arrived in New York [MTBus 214].

Worden & Co. Wrote having rec’d his of June 13 and enclosing a memo of the sale of 100 shares MoPac and orders from Dean Sage to sell the remaining 200 shares [MTP]. Note: Sage acted as Sam’s stock broker from NY.

June 1425 Monday – Sam wrote from (Hartford if June 14, New York if June 14 or 15; Elmira if after June 15) to the Gerhardts, advising them of sending a single letter of credit for $1,000 instead of “the final installment of the stipulated $4,500,” along with a caution for them to complete their plans carefully. Evidently the Clemenses raised the limit of their support from $3,000 to $4,500.

“We want you both to write us just as often as you can, & thus keep the bridge strong & firm between your hearts & ours,—don’t let it fall to decay & leave the affections without a highway to cross on. Tell us all your affairs, circumstances, prospects, purposes, hopes, fears, achievements” [MTP].

June 15 Friday The Clemens family left New York City and traveled by special sleeping car to Elmira [MTBus 214].

Twichell noted in his journal, “our eighth child and fourth son was b. about 11 AM” [Yale, copy at MTP]. The boy was named Joseph Hooker Twichell.

Joe Twichell wrote to Livy with news of #8—a son—Joseph Hooker Twichell [MTP].

June 16 SaturdayCharles Webster wrote about business: Bliss, sales of old books, etc. [MTP].


June 17 Sunday – Under the headline “ENGLISH BADLY FLAYED” The New York Times, p.10 ran an article about Sam’s introduction to The New Guide of the Conversation in Portuguese and English by J. Osgood & Co.


Mr. Clemens says rightly that it was prepared “in serious good faith and deep earnestness” by one who “believed he knew something of the English language and could impart his knowledge to others.”…Mr Clemens inclines to confer upon it the seal of immortality, and it would be a dull and ill-natured person who refused to grant him good reasons for the claim.


Karl Gerhardt wrote “Mr. Mead did not positively advise me to come to Italy” and thinking if he stayed in Paris he needed to do some work that would impress his American friends. They enjoyed Sam’s new book, LM [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No baby summer / Italy August”; Possibly Leon Mead.


June 18 Monday Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Sam anticipated a suit about the “strawberries interview” about Duncan, and directed Charley not to say anything to George Jones  (1811-1891), one of the founders of the New York Times.

“There is not a sentence in the interview that ever issued from my mouth. There are two or three parts of sentences, but no complete one. As a rule the interviewer has invented both the ideas & the language” [MTBus 215].

Sam also wrote to Charles E. West, declining an invitation to the 70th birthday celebration for Henry Ward Beecher [MTP].

Henry C. Robinson wrote, clippings enclosed, “The Life of Man” by Robert J. Burdette in Phila. Times. Henry thought there were “some good phrases in it” that might interest Sam. He wished they might have a game of billiards [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: Duncan’s suit [MTP].


June 19 TuesdayNoah Brooks wrote that he’d been subpoenaed on behalf of the prosecution in Duncan’s suit, but that he knew nothing. “I wish you could get the case removed from Brooklyn. That is a bad place for you; Duncan will have things fixed to suit him” [MTP].

Richard L. Ogden wrote from NYC to promote some bonds from California. Ogden claimed to have five volumes of the old Californian. He asked Sam to introduce him to the right gentlemen. He referred to a pamphlet not in the file & enclosed a forecast schedule of earnings [MTP].


June 20 Wednesday Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster about Duncan’s threatened lawsuit:

All right. Tell Mr. Whitford [Sam’s new lawyer] about Duncan’s proposed suit. Tell him also that if I can be allowed to testify on my own behalf, I will go on the stand & point out each and every word in the printed interview that was actually uttered by me, & will show that 20 words will cover the whole; & I will swear that all the rest was the interviewer’s own—invented it himself. Then if Whitford lets Duncan know this, possibly he will drop his prosecution of me & strengthen his Times suit by summoning me as a witness against the Times—a chance I should not be sorry to have [MTBus 216]. Note: In Mar. 1884 a Brooklyn jury awarded Duncan twelve cents damages against the Times.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: hearing of lawyers preparing papers to serve Sam in the Duncan lawsuit [MTP].

June 22 Friday – The likely day Sam traveled from Elmira to New York City (see June 23 entry).


June 23 Saturday – The New York Times reported that Sam was staying at the Hotel Brunswick [“PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE,” p8]. When Sam went to the City after June 20 and how long he stayed has not yet been pinned down, but newspaper reports in the Times generally fell a day later than his first night’s stay, which would make his arrival in the city Friday, June 22.


June 26 TuesdayDaniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote, not recommending stock in a vineyard scheme for the Barton Vineyard Assoc. [MTP].


June 27 WednesdayBissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote, “If present appearance are correct you are overdrawn $1662.73 we will send the usual statement the 1st prox” [MTP].

Richard L. Ogden finished his June 26 letter [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: “Mr. Ogden & a Mrs. Rogers came to my office & laid that vineyard scheme before me & the next day they came again & I had Mr. Whitford come up & talk with them. I presume he will give you his conclusions” and then offered his, that he was “afraid of this” [MTP].

Government House, Ottawa wrote to Sam; not found at MTP [Vassar].

June 28 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who evidently had passed the idea of travel to California to invest in vineyards. Joe Goodman was involved in vineyards but he isn’t mentioned in this letter, although Samuel Webster writes that Goodman may have inspired the interest in vineyards [217]. Sam answered that no way should Webster go to “all that trouble for a thousand vineyards…The idea of you going to California to find a way for me to invest $10,000—even if you went at Ogden’s expense—doesn’t strike me favorably, of course.” Sam needed Webster where he was [MTBus 216].

Charles Webster wrote (Whitford to Webster June 27 enclosed) about business matters: the Barnard vineyard scheme, Sam’s popularity in Australia & the need for a book agent there [MTP].


June 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.

“All right. I will wait till Duncan goes for me individually before I bother. I guess he will not see his way to tackling me at all if Whitford gives his lawyer a hint of what my defense would be.”

Sam refused to talk business about a vineyard proposition before the matter was transacted—Webster was his business manager and Sam refused to write letters or consult about such matters. Sam was working on Huckleberry Finn again and wanted no distractions [MTBus 216-7].

Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote about conferring with counsel for the NY Times in the Duncan suit [MTP].


June 30 SaturdayWorden & Co. Sent a statement with a balance for June 30 of $13,852.47 [MTP].


July – Sam invented the English history game with pegs up the Quarry Farm driveway for different years from 1066. He then made the commercial board game and involved Charles Webster.


This was also a period of continuous outpouring of productivity in Sam’s writing, especially on the HF manuscript. Howells returned from a year in Europe and collaborated with Sam on several stage play projects. The next eighteen months were quite productive for both men.

July 1 Sunday – Dr. Titus Munson Coan (1836-1921) of The Bureau of Revision, wrote that he’d sent “the circulars as you kindly request” [MTP].


July 1 Sunday ca. – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles A. Collin. Sam was upset that his name was “frequently forged” by person’s putting his name on their paragraphs in newspapers, or vice versa. Collins was with the Langdon Co., probably an attorney, for Sam asked, “Have I no protection under the law?…If I have, I wish to apply it in this case” [MTP].


July 1 – 19? – Sometime during this period Clemens wrote twice from Elmira to Henry (Harry) M. Clarke: 1st of 2:


      Put no space on either side of a dash (1860–1861,) / OR hyphen: (cross-hall)

      Always put a good honest unequivocal space after a period. Never jam it thus: (1860.1861.) Put it thus / 1860.  1861.

      Underscore for italics with a pencil or pen. The machine’s underscoring is execrable.

      The rest of the work is perfect.  / S.L.C.

      When you err & put an insufficient space after a period, correct it with a pencil or pen, thus: 1860.1861.  1860. □1861.[MTP].  

2nd of 2:

Dear Mr. Clark—

Clearly the type-writing is far superior to manuscript, for printers’ use. If you can get hold of the new machine, which has both capital & small letters, it will be still better, though this change is not essential. The work is beautifully done.

Paging at the top is sufficient. Pay no attention to my paging [numbers].

See next page for some suggestions [MTP]. Note: Sam then included four details dealing with spacing, punctuation, and indents.

July 2 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl & Hattie Gerhardt. He was hard at work on Huck:

“We have been here on the hill a week or more & I am deep in my work & grinding out manuscript by the acrestick to it the whole day long, allowing myself only time to scratch off two or three brief letters after they yell for me to come down to supper” [MTP].


July 5 Thursday – “An American on American Humour” appeared in the St. James Gazette. Thomas Sergeant Perrys article reported Sam’s humor as “representative of a democratic, serious, ironic quality in American national character, reacting against Europe, though not independently and perhaps not in hostility” [Tenney 12].


July 6 Friday – Charles A. Collins in Elmira wrote a long legal opinion to Sam’s questions, which were pasted to p. 1 of Collins’ letter. See ca. July 1 entry.

July 7 SaturdayJohn H. Garth wrote from Hannibal “thoroughly ashamed of myself for my neglect in not acknowledging long ago the receipt of your new book…” [MTP].

July 8 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote of the “great interest” taken in him by Dr. Augustus F. Beard of the American chapel, a brother of “the artist Beard of New York animal painter I think.” More expense accounts sent and thoughts of going to Florence to study [MTP]. Note: because such a sojourn in Florence would require him to leave wife and child in Paris, Gerhardt struggled with it for some time. Beard had been pastor of Plymouth Church, Syracuse, NY.


July 9 Monday – An unsigned favorable review to LM ran on page 3 of the New York Times.

Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun, wrote to Sam on a mysterious opportunity. The letter implies a recent answer by Sam to an invitation to come to New York to confer with Dana:

Dear Mr Clemens:

I’m sorry you can’t come sooner; but don’t make any new contracts in the mean time.

I think I can put you in the way of making more money out of your brains than you have ever made.

Yours Truly C.A. Dana [MTP]. Note: see reply of July 11.


July 10 Tuesday – Aboard the S.S. Parisian on his way home, Howells wrote to Sam, reporting on their visit to the Gerhardts in Paris. He described their living quarters as “primitive and simple as all Chicopee, and virtuous poverty spoke from every appointment of the place.” Howells observed that Karl Gerhardt seemed “a little worn with overwork,” suggesting he might learn while resting in Italy [MTHL 1: 434].

Howells also told of meeting Thomas Hardy, the novelist. Michael Millgate, in Thomas Hardy, His Career as a Novelist puts this date as June 25, 1883 at the Savile Club dinner for Sir Edmund Gosse [198]. Millgate also writes,

“During the evening Howells told the story of Mark Twain’s disastrous speech at the Whittier dinner, and Hardy responded with praise of Life on the Mississippi; and admiration of Mark Twain as more than ‘merely a great humorist.’” Note: Howells letter above does not disclose his discussing the Whittier speech.

Jane Clemens wrote to the Clemenses: “Dear children / All sizes & ages”. She talked of activities, old friends who visited, and as old people often do, talked about many others. “Orion lets nothing pass for my comfort & accommodation” [MTP].

S.H. Kent wrote from Westfield, NY asking how to copyright in Canada for a book of poems [MTP].

July 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Samuel E. Dawson, his Canadian publisher, thanking him again for his visit to Rideau Hall and apologizing for being “miraculously, dull, stupid, silent, & unentertaining…” He praised his hosts and confided that “When anybody wants Canadian-copyright information,” he never wasted ink and paper on him but “cut him off with a curt ‘Go to Mr. Dawson’” [MTP].

Sam also replied to the July 9 of Charles A. Dana:

Dear Mr. Dana— / I am whacking at an unfinished book, & may not go to New York till the end of summer; but when I do go I will be sure to call unless we should happen to make too close a connection with the Hartford train, an accident not very likely to happen. / Yours Sincerely / S.L. Clemens [MTP; Morgan Library Online exhib 10/20/2010].

Sam also wrote to Henry C. Robinson, attorney and one of his Friday Evening Club billiard cronies.

      I hope you’ll make the [Hartford] Engineering Co. take care of that note of mine July 26th [unidentified further].

      I wish I could be there to assist at that 500-point game. But as you were four-fifths out at last accounts, I suppose the conflict is over before this.

      Mrs. Clemens is still a skeleton, but is freighting up at the rate of an ounce a day…[MTP].

Hartford Engineering wrote that “On July 25th there matures at the U.S. Bank one of our notes for $10000# bearing your indorsement. Inclosed we beg to hand you a renewal” [MTP].

July 12 ThursdayEdward H. House wrote “a dreary letter” of failing under the curse of gout for the past 10 months, and of Koto’s seizures, which explained their infrequent letters [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Give [word torn away] account of the Reid interview / Hist game”


July 14 Saturday Sam wrote to the Hartford Engineering Co.,  letter not extant, but referred to in the Co.’s July 17 reply.

An old letter of Sam’s, written July 6 1859, appeared in the Arkansaw Traveler. See July 6, 1859 entry) [MTL 1: 91-2, n2].

Charles A. Dana wrote: “I’m sorry you can’t come sooner; but don’t make any new contracts in the mean time. / I think I can put you in the way of making more money out of your brains than you have ever made” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters, clipping enclosed, “Another Swindler In Custody” about one Noel Winters who had posed as book agent for Osgood & Co. [MTP].

July 15 SundayKarl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: more about their progress & expenses [MTP].

July 16 MondaySamuel E. Dawson wrote “to assist any of your friends about copyright” [MTP].

July 17 TuesdayHartford Engineering Co.  wrote having rec’d his of the 14th and asking again if he would renew his endorsement on the $10,000 bond [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t do it”

Joe Twichell wrote, having read Sam was “getting up from an attack of rheumatism and malaria…how sick have you been?” He told of a gathering where the ex-president Hayes asked about Twain and also about himself [MTP].


July 18 Wednesday – Sam measured off the winding driveway up to Quarry Farm, and began a game.

“…after three and a half weeks of “booming along” on his two mismatched books, Clemens had a premonition of overwork, quite for the day, and, characteristically, gave himself over to something altogether different but also, as he found it in his high mood, equally absorbing. On this idyllic summer day, with Susy, Clara, and Jean by his side, he measured off with a yardstick 817 feet…Then, using as markers pegs which he whittled and drove himself, he measured out on the scale of one foot per year all the reigns of the English rulers from William the Conqueror on” [Kaplan 252; July 20 to Twichell].


Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote expecting “an order for your examination” in the Duncan suit [MTP].


July 19 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun. Dana wrote Sam on July 9 and 14.

All right, I’m a candidate, & shall keep myself open to conviction & swag…our tribe will be returning home in September, & then I will look in on you as we pass through. The three summer months being my chief working time, I slave it without losing a day while we are here. I have written one small book, & am far along in a bigger one [HF]—& shall finish if I don’t run around any [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell about the driveway peg game, which took him all day to put in place:


“The reason it took me eight hours was because of little J’s interrupting assistance, I had to measure from the Conquest to the end of Henry VI, three times over…” [Kaplan 252].

July 20 Friday – In Elmira, Sam wrote  to Joe Twichell, telling more about the pegs-in-the-driveway memory game. Twichell indiscreetly allowed the letter to appear in the Hartford Courant for July 24, much to Sam’s consternation. To compound the error, the letter was printed with two errors [MTNJ 3: 28n47]. It also ran in the July 26 edition of the New York Times, p 3.

Sam also wrote to Howells, who wrote July 10 en route home on the SS Parisian, and was now back in Boston. Howells’ letter was mostly an account of a visit in Paris with the Gerhardts (see MTHL 1: 433-4).

We are desperately glad you & your gang are home again—may you never travel again, till you go aloft or alow. Charley Clark has gone to the other side for a run—will be back in August. He had been sick, & needed the trip very much.

Mrs. Clemens had a lot & wasting spell of sickness last spring, & is still proportioned like the tongs, but she is pulling up, now, & by & by will get some cushions on her, I reckon. I hope so, anyway—it’s been like sleeping with a bed full of baskets. The children are booming, & my health is ridiculous, it’s so robust, notwithstanding the newspaper misreports.

I haven’t piled up MS so in years as I have done since we came here to the farm three weeks & a half ago. Why, it’s like old times, to step straight into the study, damp from the breakfast table, & sail right in & sail right on, the whole day long, without thought of running short of stuff or words. I wrote 4000 words to-day & I touch 3000 & upwards pretty often, & don’t fall below 2600 on any working day. And when I get fagged out, I lie abed a couple of days & read & smoke, & then go it again for 6 or 7 days. I have finished one small book [probably “1002d Arabian Night” which Howells didn’t care for] & am away along in a big one [HF] that I half-finished two or three years ago. I expect to complete it in a month or six weeks or two months more. It’s a kind of companion to Tom Sawyer [MTHL 1: 435].

Sam also related the creation of the memory game with the driveway pegs. The family planned to stay in Elmira “till Sept. 10; then maybe a week at Indian Neck [near Branford, Conn.] for some sea air. Then home.”

A fragment of a letter exists that Sam sent about this date to the Gerhardts:

“Jean is just over a solid attack of diptheria, & is all right again. Mrs. Clemens is fleshing up steadily—is as fat as the tongs, now” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy: “We two are chuck full of work. I feel as though I must carry out some of my schemes this summer” [MTP]. Note: because of Sam & Livy’s financial support, the Gerhardts wrote regularly.


July 21 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, Mollie and Jane Clemens, relating his current “booming” productivity at writing HF, and his new passion, the English history game, which began with pegs up the driveway in Elmira and was translated into an indoor board game:



DEAR MA & ORION & MOLLIE,—I don’t know that I have anything new to report, except that Livy is still gaining, & all the rest of us flourishing. I haven’t had such booming working-days for many years. I am piling up manuscript in a really astonishing way. I believe I shall complete, in two months, a book which I have been fooling over for 7 years. This summer it is no more trouble to me to write than it is to lie. 


Day before yesterday I felt slightly warned to knock off work for one day. So I did it, & took the open air. Then I struck an idea for the instruction of the children, & went to work & carried it out. It took me all day. I measured off 817 feet of the road-way in our farm grounds, with a foot-rule, & then divided it up among the English reigns, from the Conqueror down to 1883, allowing one foot to the year. I whittled out a basket of little pegs & drove one in the ground at the beginning of each reign, & gave it that King’s name—thus:


[Sam drew a snake-like drawing beginning at year 1066 & ending at 1135 with some King’s names]

& in bed, last night, I invented a way to play it indoors—in a far more voluminous way, as to multiplicity of dates & events—on a cribbage board.

Hello, supper’s ready./ Love to all. / Good bye./SAML [MTLP 434-5].

Paine adds:

Orion Clemens would naturally get excited over the idea of the game and its commercial possibilities. Not more so than his brother, however, who presently employed him to arrange a quantity of historical data which the game was to teach. For a season, indeed, interest in the game became a sort of midsummer madness which pervaded the two households, at Keokuk and at Quarry Farm. Howells wrote his approval of the idea of “learning history by the running foot,” which was a pun, even if unintentional, for in its out-door form it was a game of speed as well as knowledge.


William B. Franklin for Colt’s Mfg. wrote asking for a copy for Gen. Wilson of “Mark Twain’s book printed for private circulation. I understand that it is ‘rich racy & rare’”—Likely 1601 [MTP]. 


Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green  wrote having rec’d Sam’s reply. Whitford thought Sam would have to be examined in the Duncan suit about the 23rd of August [MTP]. 


July 22 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Mr. Krueger: 

Dear Mr. Kreuger— / I enclose it; & if it ain’t the thing, give me the points & I’ll do it over again; for we want you to go Cornell, & hope you will. The Sages are there, temporarily—till they go to heaven where they belong—& there are other good & great folks there.

On or about this date Sam also sent a letter of Twichell’s to Jane, Orion and Mollie Clemens. Twichell had given up Sam’s letter about his driveway peg game to Charles Clark on the Courant, and Sam was in an unforgiving mood.

“I send this to beg that at least you folks will avoid this damned fool’s example. I shall never thoroughly like him again” [MTP].

Joe Twichell wrote the letter that Sam wrote the above note on. “Your letter has just come and is most welcome for the good news it brings of our health…I’m going to let Charley print part of it,—that part about English History—and am going to do so before you will have time to prevent me; so don’t fret a minute” [MTP]. Note: This breach of privacy angered Sam.

July 23 Monday – In Elmira, Sam drafted a “confidential” reply to friend and journalist Noah Brooks June 19 letter. Brooks, of the New York Times, had been subpoenaed in the Duncan libel suit, and assumed that Sam would be anxious for the Times to win the suit. Sam’s reply may not have been sent, but revealed his defection to Duncan’s camp as the best defense of being named in the suit [MTNJ 3: 58n135].

July 24 Tuesday – The Hartford Courant ran an account of Sam’s history-memory game from information supplied by Twichell, much to Sam’s consternation. Howells noted the article in his letter of Aug. 12 [MTHL 1: 437 & n2].

Joe Twichell wrote a postcard: “The History Game makes a mighty nice little piece in this Morning’s Courant. But, some smarty in the office changed Richard Cromwell into Oliver and probably thinks he ought to be thanked for it—the ignoramous” [MTP].

George E. Waring per Virginia Waring, his wife wrote from Newport, R.I. explaining he’d been slow in answering because he’d been in Dubuque. Evidently Waring replied to Sam’s “programme” of camping out [MTP].

July 26 ThursdayJean Clemens third birthday.

Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster in New York City. Sam asked him to run up to Elmira “about Monday or Monday night” and lend him his head “for a couple of hours” [MTBus 218]. It was only a ten-hour trip, after all. Sam wanted to discuss the new memory game as a commercial product, and get Webster to begin the marketing.

Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote more details of the Duncan suit against the Times [MTP].

July 26 Thursday ca. – About this day in Elmira, Sam wrote a laundry list to Webster about the history game, dealings with Frank Bliss, and his having “telegraphed O. to cancel Cincin note” [MTP]. Note: “O” was likely Osgood.

July 28 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Hamlin Garland (1860-1940) novelist, poet, essayist and short story writer, best known for fiction dealing with Mid-Western farmers. Born in Wisconsin, Garland would move to Boston in 1884. Evidently he’d asked Sam for a free story.

“G’way, Leionidas! You ought to know better. I don’t give ‘em away, I sell ‘em. It’s my grub; it’s the only way I’ve got, to earn a dishonest living” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a two-liner to Kingsland Smith, of the St. Paul Roller Mill Co., asking where the July dividend was and if he’d sent it. Sam owned stock in the company [MTP].

July 31 TuesdayCharles A. Dana wrote, “It is a shame that Krackowiser should bother you in such a case. He is a crank, however, and his function appears to be to bother somebody. I have known him these many years and have employed him sometimes as a reporter” [MTP]. Note: Dana of the NY Sun.

Charles Webster wrote, “I’ve had a smash up on the road yesterday, fortunately no one was hurt but we were going at full speed and six cars were thrown off by a misplaced switch….I go & take a weeks vacation. I have worked hard & need it, but I shall take but a week…” More about business matters: insurance and the history game [MTP].

August – Sometime during August, Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to Charles Webster about someone holding a fifth interest at thirty thousand dollars—“That’s a more valuable game than I realized,” he wrote [MTP]. (Unidentified game.)

Parson Adams wrote from Ft. Dodge, Iowa, enclosing a clipping from the Ft. Dodge Messenger, “A letter to Mark Twain” proposing to send him “a car load of Eureka Spring water” [MTP]. File note: “Evidently alludes to 1 Aug 83 to the Magnetic Rock Spring Company, published in the Colfax (Iowa) Clipper of 11 Aug 83”

August 1 Wednesday – Two days after Sam wanted Charles Webster to “run up” to Elmira, he wrote again to Webster.

The implements of the game, & way to play it—are the patentable features & the only patentable features, ain’t they?…So, just go ahead and take out patents, for US, Canada & England [MTBus 218-19].

Sam also wrote to Karl and Hattie Gerhardt, advising them to stay in Europe if possible, after they completed their studies there.

Then you can pick & choose for then you can make a living anywhere. And all that time, you are in an inspiring, life-giving art atmosphere—& that, in itself, is a continuous education; whereas the art atmosphere of America is thin, deteriorating & depressing, I should say. I imagine that it must be as dreary for an artist to live in America as it would be for a humorist to live in England [MTP].

Sam also wrote a spoof letter from Elmira to the Magnetic Rock Spring Co. quoting the many ailments the company’s advertising pamphlet claimed cures for. After asking that a barrel of the water be shipped to him, Sam continued,

Also, please instruct me as to dose—for adult. Also, what do you put with it? I mean, what do you put with it to divert your mind that you are taking medicine? Will it go with temperance beverages! I mean, soda water, lemonade, panada, milk, whisky, and such things. I am thus strict because I am a Grandson of Temperance, my father having been a Son of Temperance. Temperance is deeply imbedded in our family. It is for this reason that I ask, and repeat, will it go with temperance beverages?—will it go with the moistures I have mentioned? If with whisky, what portion of the water is best, combined with what disproportion of whisky?—for an adult, as remarked before. Yours, in alert expectancy. Mark Twain. P.S. The order is genuine, anyway. The rest of the screed—now that I come to read it over—appears to wander from the point, in places [MTP].

August 3 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster about the history game. Never mind applying for a patent just yet, Sam advised. He’d written to Munn & Co., sending the $25 fee and asked them to search the records to see “whether my game-idea is old or new, patentable or unpatentable” [MTP].

August 4 SaturdayGeorge E. Waring wrote from Wash. DC with plans to go to Elmira [MTP].

August 6 MondayWebb T. Dart for Magnetic Rock Spring Co. wrote they were shipping this day a case of carbonized water, if drank cold would “certainly find relief from any disease” [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote a statement of expenses for July [MTP].

August 10 FridayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: History game, insurance, Barton vineyard scheme (that Joe Goodman claimed a “put up job to make money” using the poorest land [MTP].

August 12 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, advising he’d given a letter of introduction in order to “launch a lord” at Sam. The candidate was 30-year-old William Hillier Onslow, whom Howells had met on his homeward voyage, and who seemed “to know a lot of artists and literary men,” and who expressed a liking for the works of Mark Twain. The Howellses had rented a house at 4 Louisburg Square in Boston, and extended an invitation to Sam and Livy to visit [MTHL 1: 436-7].

August 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Ellen C. Taft, wife of the family doctor, Cincinnatus Taft who had been ill.

To my poor mind the first of holy callings is the physician’s; & he should walk before the Pope, & Cardinal, & all the priestly tribe, for he heals all that fall in his way, not merely the chance sufferer here & there who is willing to say, first, “Good Galilean, I subscribe to the conditions.” And to my mind, first of all the good physicians is our good physician; & to him I & mine send homage & greeting…[MTP].

Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy about Ma’s dementia [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pathetic  – Ma’s visions”

August 16 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to his mother, Jane Clemens. He expected to be in Elmira until mid-September. Livy remained poorly and “improves so slowly.” Rosina Hay, their German nursemaid had left their employ, replaced by a new girl who only spoke German:

Rosa went away to-day—to get married. She has been with us eleven years; & I believe this is the first time she has been away from us a day in that time. All the children are mourning for her—but poor Jean thinks she is coming back, & nobody undeceives her. Jean looks just like you, most of the time, & like me when the devil is in her. Also when she walks. She is a great old comfort & satisfaction. / I can’t remember to drink the Rock Spring water, ma. They bring it to the room, mornings, but I forget to drink it [MTP]. Note: Rosina Hay married Horace K. Terwilliger in Elmira’s Park Church on Sept. 4.

Sam also wrote from Hartford to Mollie Clemens after receiving news that his mother was acting somewhat senile and delusional.

      It is distressing. It is as pathetic as it can be, the way Ma’s infirmities affect her. May I never be old with ruined faculties!

      I have written Ma, as you see. It will be many a long month, I fear, before Livy’s health & the heavy requirements of her family & housekeeping will make it safe for her to add to her freightage of care. There has been no time since last spring when it would have done to invite Ma.

Sam also asked about some aspect of the game that Orion or Mollie was perfecting for him, relating to William the Conqueror [MTP; MTBus 223].

William Swinton wrote, clipping enclosed from the Pall Mall Gazette:

“Yet Mark Twain has shown, in parts of ‘Tom Sawyer,’ that he can construct a splendid sensational plot, and it is to be wished that he would ‘cease his fuming’ and develop his genius in this direction.” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Swinton starts a mag & wants story by M.T.”

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: Sam’s examination in the Duncan suit to be Aug. 22; Webster to be in Elmira on the 21st; Osgood and book agents [MTP].

August 18 Saturday – Sam and Livy spent the evening with Mrs. Langdon in celebration of her 73rd birthday the next day [Aug. 19 letter to Olivia Lewis Langdon, MTP].

August 19 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Olivia Lewis Langdon on her birthday, thanking her for the hospitality of the previous evening and for her gift, the rauchen-geschirr (ashtray?) [MTP].

George E. Waring wrote, “Swear at me, if you will. I deserve it. But I can’t help it.” He had to be in Buffalo and couldn’t leave before the next night. He had wanted to visit him in Elmira [MTP].

August 22 Wednesday – Sam appeared as a witness, ironically for Captain C.C. Duncan, in his $100,000 libel suit against the New York Times [MTNJ 3: 25n41].

Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells. Clemens had just completed perhaps the most productive period of his writing career. With HF drafted and “1002d Arabian Night” completed, he wrote:

How odd it seems, to sit down to write a letter with the feeling that you’ve got time to do it. But I’m done work, for this season, & so have got time. I’ve done two seasons’ work in one, & haven’t anything left to do, now, but revise. I’ve written eight or nine hundred MS pages in such a brief space of time that I mustn’t name the number of days; I shouldn’t believe it myself, & (therefore) of course couldn’t expect you to. I used to restrict myself to 4 & 5 hours a day & 5 days in the week; but this time I’ve wrought from breakfast till 5.15 p.m. six days in the week; & once or twice I smouched a Sunday when the boss wasn’t looking. Nothing is half so good as literature hooked on Sunday on the sly [MTHL 1: 438].

It is instructive to note what a large number of projects Sam was involved with during 1883, everything from finishing his masterpiece, HF, along with perhaps one of his worst burlesques, “1002d”, as well as a variety of business and investment schemes. He wrote: “I must speculate in something, such being my nature” [439].

Sam also telegraphed Charles D. Clarke, editor of the Bath (Maine) Independent. Evidently Duncan was after that paper as well.

“Clark Editor / Bath Maine / Your telegram much garbled in transmission. Did not say to Times Reporter any portion interview published. Have no copy. Suit pending against Times” [MTP]. Note: Sam also identified opposing lawyers and said he hadn’t been served.

Charles D. Clarke for Bath Independent (Maine) wrote asking if Sam could offer him hints in his own libel suit by Duncan [MTP]. Note: See Aug. 23 & 24 entries.

August 23 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

“I am told, Aug. 23, 9AM, that the Times lawyer proposed to Duncan that if he would let them off they would prove I said it all” [MTNJ 3: 24] Note: Evidently, the Times attempted to deflect blame to Sam. (See Aug. 22 entry.)

Sam’s article “Historical Peg Driving,” ran in Mastery—an Illustrated Weekly Magazine of Useful Pastimes for Young People, p. 248 [Budd’s list furnished by Thomas Tenney citing Baetzhold].

Charles D. Clarke telegraphed: “Grand jury just in reported no bill” [MTP].

August 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Sam wanted Webster to “Pitch into Mills’s business & square it up.” He spoke highly of Mills, not identified further.

Sam also reported on Duncan’s lawsuits:

“I have a telegram from Bath, Maine,—the grand jury threw out the bill, to that editor’s vast comfort. Duncan went for a criminal indictment, in that case.”

The Brooklyn Eagle reported on page 2:

Mark Twain gave his testimony at Elmira yesterday before a commission appointed to take evidence in the suit for libel brought by Captain C.C. Duncan against the New York Times. From the report forwarded by telegraph it appears that the distinguished humorist is disinclined to acknowledge a great many things attributed to him in the Times’ interview, which is the basis of the action. Captain Duncan seeks to ascertain whether the offensive passages truly represent what Twain said, or are the production of the reporter’s imagination. His refusal to confess the paternity of some first class examples of withering sarcasm and gall provoking vituperation cannot but cast a gloom over the large community of his admirers.

Jane Clemens wrote replying to Sam’s of Aug. 16, sorry that Livy had been “so sick” and confessing she also had been ill. “I would like to see Jean when she looks like me, but I can’t wish to see her when she looks like her father” [MTP].

Henry Heath, attorney, wrote from NYC to explain Capt. Duncan’s love of jokes but hatred of malicious attacks, and the distortions of the press on these matters [MTP].

August 27 MondayOrion Clemens wrote a short note: “Just deposited William the Conqueror in the American Express Office Herr Bob Ogdon charged me 90 cents a page, and will allow me 30 cents a thousand for setting it up” [MTP].

August 28 TuesdayWorden & Co. sent statement to July 31 and asked for $1,800 on margin call [MTP].

August 29 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, complimenting on part of the board game he completed, probably the William the Conqueror segment Sam asked about in his Aug. 16 letter to Mollie Clemens.

“You can go on with other reigns, now, but you needn’t print any more till I tell you. Send the printing bill when you please” [MTP].

Return I. Holcombe wrote from Palmyra, Mo., trying to get something for the book he was writing— a good history of Marion County [MTP].

August 30 ThursdayWilliam C. Hutchings wrote from Brooklyn, where he took his dying wife after doctors in Hartford recommended taking her home. He PS’d an enclosed clipping from the NY World, but it’s not in the file [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The German Critic’s opinion”—may refer to the missing clipping contents.

William Swinton wrote from NYC, disappointed that since Sam’s reply was marked “Private” he couldn’t publish it, and asked again for a story [MTP].

August 31 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, reporting that “Orion has done his work first rate” on the history board game. Sam diagrammed the game and detailed its layout, directing Charles and Annie to experiment with it [MTP].

September 1 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Andrew Chatto.

I’ve just finished writing a book; & modesty compels me to say it’s a rattling good one, too—“Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” (Tom Sawyer’s comrade.)

Osgood & I leave for Canada the 26th of November, arriving in Montreal the same evening, where I shall remain a couple of weeks, on copyright bent [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood.

Welcome home, & drink hearty! …

I’ve finished “1,002” (Arabian Nights Tale,) & likewise “The Adventures of Huck Finn;” had written 50,000 words on it before; & this summer it took 70,000 to complete it. We expect to spend Sept. 13, 14, & 15 at the Brunswick, New York—don’t forget it if you are down [MTP] Note: “Finished” was not exactly true. Sam would spend another six months in Hartford revising the book, and would not let loose of it until mid-April, 1884 [Powers, MT A Life 477].

W.C. Bower wrote from Union Springs, Ala. A begging letter for funds to complete a half-finished church [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A race of beggars / No Answer”

Dean Sage wrote investment advice and was “glad to see favorable notice given your last book” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: plates that Slote must have kept; Sam’s testimony; cancellation of Forshee & Co. book agency [MTP].

September 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, directing him to “mail the enclosed to the Altmans—that large dry goods concern on Sixth ave…” Sam didn’t know the full name or address. [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote, “delighted” Sam was pleased with his history game research, glad that Livy was better and that Mollie suffered “pain relentlessly” [MTP].

William Swinton wrote from NYC, glad that Sam was coming and he could meet him face to face. He decried Sam putting “that story going into the fire!” and chastened him not to do that any more [MTP].

September 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Orion, enclosing a Aug. 29 request from Return I. Holcombe for information to compile a history of Marion County, Mo. The letter mentioned John Marshall Clemens jury service that sent “three Illinois abolitionists” to the penitentiary for twelve years for stealing slaves (see Sept. 1838 entry). Sam wrote that Orion ought to answer the man as he was equipped for it [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Return I. Holcombe, explaining he didn’t have the facts but that his brother did. Of his brother Sam said, “He had 22 years’ acquaintanceship with my father, but my own knowledge of him amounted to little more than an introduction.” Sam wanted to subscribe to Holcombe’s book when it was completed [MTP].

September 4 Tuesday ca. – Sam wrote from Elmira to Melville E. Stone, founder of the Chicago Daily News. Sam was asked his opinion of the Arthur administration:

“I am but one in the 55,000,000; still, in the opinion of this one-fifty-five-millionth of the country’s population, it would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s administration. But don’t decide till you hear from the rest” [MTP].

September, a Thursday (6th, 13th, 20th or 27th) – Sam wrote from either Elmira or Hartford to Charles Webster.

The board is excellent, now.


As soon as shall seem wise, come up & we will continue with Bliss for the new book. We will keep pretty quiet about it for the present—Bliss will see the advantage of that, himself. We shall need almost all the time between now & Jan. 7 to print canvassing books, circulars, &c., & I’d like the canvassing to actually begin near that date, so that the book could issue May 25, or May 20 [MTBus 221-2].

Though Sam’s focus had been on the English history board game, he was now moving toward the publishing of HF. Disappointed in Osgood’s sales of LM, Sam considered returning to Frank Bliss for the book, but eventually self-published through Webster.

September 6 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: Osgood’s arrival Sept. 13; Douglas Brothers agency cancelled for putting books into the trade MTP].

September 8 SaturdayJoe Twichell wrote from Franconia, N.H., hoping Sam had cooled from his anger about Twichell publishing information about the history game. He described their vacation in N.H. [MTP].

September 9 Sunday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to Charles Webster: “Will see you at hotel Brunswick 9 or ½ past, a.m.., Wednesday. SLC” [MTP]. Note: Evidently things were delayed a day.

September 12 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster:

“Dear Charley, We shall arrive, tired out, at hotel Brunswick 8.30 tomorrow evening.—Should like to see you five minutes that evening—not before 9, & not after 9.15. After which I will go to bed. Send up card & I will come down stairs. Yrs truly / S L C” [MTBus 219].

Sam inscribed a card to Miss Milly: “To Miss Milly—/ With the best wishes & kindest remembrances of / Truly Yours / S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / Sept. 12/83 [MTP].

Charles A. Collin in Elmira, Langdon & Co. wrote another legal opinion, this time about the Clemens vs. Belford suit. Theodore Crane had acted as a go between, forwarding Sam’s questions to Collin [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A legal opinion upon a class of newspaper forgeries”

September 13 Thursday – The Clemens family’s summer stay in Elmira came to an end, as did the most productive season in Sam’s literary career. They traveled to Hartford by way of New York, stopping at the Brunswick Hotel on Fifth Avenue [MTBus 219; MTNJ 3: 27n46]. Sam’s notebook contains a list entitled “People to see in N.Y.” and includes Charles A. Dana, editor of the New York Sun; William Swinton, journalist and editor of Swinton’s Story-Teller; Dean Sage (about the Oregon & Transcontinental stock he’d recommended that Sam bought on margin); Daniel Whitford of the New York law firm Alexander & Green; and Noah Brooks of the New York Times. These latter two individuals were key contacts in Duncan’s lawsuit against the Times [MTNJ 3: 58&notes].

William H. Gillette wrote, “If Mallory calls or writes to you, stand on him. I am having no end of trouble—may have to go for him yet. As I had a specific contract—which he cannot evade—for payment of no. 2 Royalty” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Will not consider an proposition from Mallory till he satisfies Gillette”

September 14 or 15 Saturday – Given the number of people Sam needed to see in New York, the family may have stayed two nights in the city; or one, as was usual, before continuing to Hartford.

September 17 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Return I. Holcombe.

“I know of only one steel portrait. It is owned by the American Publishing Co….I enclose the only good photograph I can find” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam offering critical advice of “1002d Arabian Night” that it was second-rate, “and all the way it skirts a certain kind of fun which you can’t afford to indulge in” [MTHL 1: 442].

September 18 TuesdayEdward Greey (1835-1888) wrote from NYC, appreciative that his “daughter received Sam’s amusing note, which she has placed among her treasures.” Greey sent a bottle of sake and some wine [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Author of a lot of Japanese books”; Also a dealer in Japanese art, and an unusual author who ended things with a bullet.

W. D. Howells wrote:

      Osgood gave me your MS. [“1002d Arabian Night”] to read last night, and I understood from him that you wanted my opinion of it. The opening passages are the funniest you have ever done; but when I got into the story itself, it seemed to me that I was made a fellow-sufferer with the Sultan from Sheherazades’s prolixity. The effect was that of a play in which the audience is surprised along with the characters by some turn in the plot. I don’t mean to say that there were not extremely killing things in it; but on the whole it was not your best or your second-best; and all the way it skirts a certain kind of fun which you can’t afford to indulge in: it’s a little too broad, as well as exquisitely ludicrous, at times.

      You’re such an impartial critic of your own work that I feel doubly brutal, and as if I were taking a mean advantage of your magnanimity when I fail to like something of yours. But I fail so seldom that I have some heart to forgive myself. At any rate I feel bound to say that I think this burlesque falls short of being amusing. Very likely, if you gave it to the public, it might be a great success; there is not telling how these things may go, and I am but one poor, fallible friend of yours [MTHL I: 441-2]. Note: see interesting notes in source. The effect of Howells’ and Livy’s Victorian sensibilities on Sam’s writing has been debated, whether for good or ill. Some critics say they toned down his muscular, Western-bred writing; others say they helped.

September 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Mallory brothers, George S. and Marshall H. Mallory.

You have a contract with Mr. Will Gillette; & I am aware that you are trying (as usual with you) to sneak out of the performance of its conditions. I am personally interested in the matter; therefore I suggest to you couple of piety-mouthing, hypocritical thieves & liars that you change your customary policy this time” [MTP].

September 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, inviting the Howellses to visit: “Right away—to-morrow, next day, any day you please” [MTHL 1: 443].

Edward Greey wrote another short note about Miss Barbara (daughter?) being concerned about his last letter to Clemens [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters, wanting to cheer Sam up by the news that one of his lady agents sold 22 books in NYC yesterday, which he thought pointed to a good sale in the fall [MTP].

September 21 FridayCharles Webster wrote: suggested that Orion “get those 800 events together, 1 event for each year” in the history game [MTP].

September 22 Saturday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Charles Webster. One was about the game under development, and a table (secretary) Charles had helped Livy buy that had not arrived, and an order for 300 envelopes with “return to SLC.” Samuel Webster writes that Livy and Charles shared a love of antiques and enjoyed shopping in New York antique shops and auctions [MTBus 221].

September 24 Monday – From Sam’s notebook: “Sept. 24, ’83, ordered Worden & co, 48 Wall st, to buy 100 Or Trans at 40.” Note: From MTNJ 3: 29n50:

“Around January 1883 Clemens bought on margin 200 shares of stock worth about fifteen thousand dollars in the Oregon & Transcontinental Company. In the next few months Clemens watched the stock go to a high of about ninety-eight dollars a share and then begin to drop. When Clemens bought another 100 shares in the railroad company, shortly after the date of this entry, he evidently expected the stock to rally, but it continued its disastrous decline and in May 1884 Clemens finally liquidated his 300 shares for twelve dollars a share.”

W. Wilkins Micawber, “nee Dewter Onerme (sp?) wrote Sam what appears to be a crank letter from someone deep inside an insane asylum (name is a Dickens character). It was written from Forestville, Conn. and was nonsensical with Nasby-like spelling. Sam wrote on the envelope: “damfool” [MTP]. 

Return I. Holcombe wrote from Palmyra, Mo. thanking him for the photo, but wanting a plate and asking Sam to request one be sent from Am. Pub Co. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D—n this ever-lasting man”

September 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. Sam had hired his brother to supply lists of dates for English kings for the memory board game.

My Dear Bro – Kings rec’d. Quite satisfactory. Send balance soon as you can.

O, yes!—go right along with the former labor the minute you get the skeletons done—but don’t print till I say.

The news from Ma is first rate. All well here & send love. Sam [MTP].


Charles H. Botsford for The Manhattan wrote asking writing for their Christmas issue [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”


Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote: “Many thanks for your valuable suggestion. We will try it on” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “I proposed that he publish the death-rate of the whole country over a week in the Sun”

September 29 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to “get that play out of your safe—‘Colonel Sellers as a Scientist’—& express it to me” [MTHL 1: 444]. Sam was now ready to respond to the Mallory brothers interest in the play.

September 30 Sunday – In Boston, ready to travel to Virginia to see his father, W.D. Howells wrote a short note to Sam, advising he wouldn’t be able to stop in Hartford on the way down, but hoped to stop on the way home [MTHL 1: 443].

October – “American Literary Portraits / Mark Twain” ran in the Oct. issue of The Ideal Monthly Magazine, p.8-10. Not everyone was enamored of Sam:

“To him there is nothing sacred….At times he is so coarse he is not fit for polite society…has nothing, absolutely nothing, to redeem his coarseness, his irreverence, his want of refinement” [Tenney, MTJ, Spring 2004 p4].

October 1 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. He complained that Twichell’s publication of his letter:

“…broke up some quite extensive plans of mine, & squandered & rendered useless the material out of which I had meant to build an illustrated small book—but that was the smallest part of the plan which he ruined” [MTHL 1: 440n4].

October 3 or 4 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, sending new ideas to add to the history game and instructions for a new board—two boards with felt in between [MTBus 222].

October 4 Thursday – Sam, in Hartford, wrote congratulations to A.V.S. Anthony, Osgood’s design manager, whose daughter was getting married. Sam sent his regrets at being unable to attend the ceremony [MTP].

Jane Clemens wrote of writing a letter the previous day she had to throw away as it was to the wrong folks. For Jane a rather long letter of all her goings on, including this: “There is an elm tree in Judge Mores yard, the limbs reach across our yard. I can reach them with my hands from my window up stairs. I pulled a leaf off one day. I told Orion to look & see what was in it. There was a nest something like a silkworm. The spider had a black head & large black eyes” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ma’s strange spider”; File note: “see Orion to SLC 23 October 1883”

Worden & Co. Sent a statement of account through Sept. 30 [MTP].

October 6 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, reminding him to send the $80 secretary for Livy’s coming birthday [MTBus 222].

Sam wrote and signed a check to Fox & Co. for $121.47 [Heritage Bookshop Catalogue 130, p. 90 item 458].

Worden & Co. Wrote receipt of Sam’s $2,350 of Oct. 5 to the margin call [MTP].

October 8 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Miller & Bingham & Elder Manufacturing Co.

“I will explain that the shirt I wear is not a patented article, but I invented it myself, for the public benefit of lazy men. It & its collar open in the back, & the collar & the cuffs are not detachable. No buttons anywhere about it except a couple at the back of the neck. This saves much profanity” [MTP].

Arthur Collins wrote from Ottawa: “Alas! It cannot be, though I would of all things like to come & see you” [MTP].

October 9 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote about a personal matter—a desk for Livy [MTP].

October 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam had received and approved of game details Webster suggested. Sam wrote to go ahead and have the game put in type. Orion’s follow through upset Sam.

“—and mind, don’t send me first-proof; & don’t send me first revise, either. Send me the second-revise….Save me what profanity you can. Orion’s MS is infernal….Make a new board, Charley, with all improvements to date, & send it to me” [MTBus 222].

October 12 Friday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam, advising,

“As soon as I mentioned our plan for a play, Mrs. Howells nobly declared that she would do anything for money, and that I might go to you when I liked” [MTHL 1: 444].

October 13 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He wrote more on the progress of the history board game, and advised that “Livy’s little table which you & she bought has not arrived yet, & is a week overdue.” He also wanted more envelopes with “return to SLC” printed on them [MTP].

October 14 Sunday – Paine relates an 1883 meeting at Sam’s home with Protap Chunder Mozoomdar, brought to meet Mark Twain by Rev. Dr. Edwin P. Parker [MTB 758-9]. Mozoomdar, “a Hindoo Christian prelate of high rank,” spoke at the Congregational Church in Hartford on this day, and in his book Sketches of a Tour Round the World (1884), Mozoomdar puts the date of an invite to Clemens’ neighbor, Harriet Beecher Stowe, after his service. Since Stowe was Sam’s next door neighbor, the meeting Paine writes of is likely this day.

Jane Clemens and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & family. At the end of Jane’s note, more about the strange spiders, Mollie wrote that Ma had “caught cold the other day and suffered severely with her neck, but is getting over it” [MTP].

October 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Orion’s “skeletons” for the board game had arrived, though he’d been sick. He sent them on to Webster. Sam noted a check received from American Publishing Co. and that they’d “sold as many old books in the last 3 months as Osgood has new ones.” Also, the secretary for Livy had arrived [MTBus 223].

Sam also wrote to Howells, who wrote Oct. 12 that he could come to Hartford in “about ten days” to collaborate on “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist” play. Elinor Howells would come a bit later [MTHL 1: 444].

My Dear Howells —

      Your letter must have reached here Saturday, but I didn’t run across it till this minute—it lay under the newspaper mail.

      Good—then I will expect you at the time specified, & Mrs. Howells at the time which she has selected; & ye will both be welcome.

      As to the apportionment of spoil, it would in most any play but this, be half & half, naturally & of course; but in this case I will smouch two-thirds if the reasons & arguments which I shall lay before you shall convince & wholly satisfy you; but if they shouldn’t, the apportionment will then be equal division of the swag, & no cussing…. Ys Ever Mark [444-5].

 Sam felt he deserved a larger share of the royalties for having creating the Sellers character. Howells was negotiating with the Mallory brothers for production of the play, and had recently returned from a visit with his father, who had moved to Virginia. Most often they dealt with Marshall Mallory.

Richard Watson Gilder wrote: “the Century thinks it about time that you should contribute something to its classic pages.” He suggested a piece of an old fool arguing against int’l copyright [MTP].

Worden & Co. (telegram): “Please remit us fifteen hundred dollars O T closed forty two shall we buy one hundred at forty as ordered” [MTP]. Note: Oregon Transcontinental.

October, second half – Sam may have spent some time in New York, where the Thatcher, Primrose and West’s Minstrels performed through Nov. 3 or 4 [N.Y. Times, Oct. 30, 1883 p.5]. Sam copied the words to “There is a happy land” in his notebook and in autobiographical dictation of Nov. 30 1906 recalled,

“I heard Billy Rice sing it in the negro minstrel show, and I brought it home and sang it—with great spirit—for the elevation of the household. The children admired it to the limit, and made me sing it with burdensome frequency. To their minds it was superior to the Battle Hymn of the Republic” [Gribben 794]. Note: Billy Rice played with West’s Minstrels in New York City in Feb. and Oct. of 1883. Sam did not go to New York in Feb. He may have caught the minstrel show in another city at another time.

October 16 Tuesday ca. – Sam typed a letter in Hartford to Howells:


October 17 WednesdayHowells responded to Sam’s Oct. 15 letter, agreeing that Sam’s terms were “good and just.” He added that Colonel Sellers had “a great play in him yet” [MTHL 1: 446].

Worden & Co. Receipted Sam for $1,500 sent Oct. 15 and a memo of 100 shs O.T. at 40 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Sent $3000, which protects the 300 shs till it falls to 30”; Worden’s Oct. 18 references Sam’s Oct. 17, so this was sent this day.”              

October 17November 8 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.

“Charley, your proof-reader is an idiot; & not only an idiot, but blind; & not only blind but partly dead” [MTP]. Note: on the other side of the note, a line that compositor Hoefer isn’t a compositor but a “3-weeks apprentice.”

October 18 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He thought the game board was “excellent” and suggested “one possible improvement” dealing with the dates of several reigns. He directed a “few copies” to be printed, “25 is plenty—& keep several for you & Annie to experiment with.” Sam was waiting for the right timing to “contract with Bliss for the new book” [MTP].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote advise of stock purchased totaling $28,050 [MTP].

Worden & Co. Wrote receipting $3,000 from Sam’s Oct. 17 [MTP].

October 19 FridaySam wrote to Worden & Co., stockbrokers; note not extant; referred to in Oct. 23.

October 23 TuesdayChatto & Windus wrote to Clemens with statement of account and book sales, royalties of £904.7.11 [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote all about the history game research he was working on [MTP].

** Worden & Co. wrote receipt of Sam’s Oct. 19 order to buy 100 shs O.T. @ 25 [MTP].

October 25 ThursdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: canvassing of books; business now good; suggestion to leave 14,000 books bound for the trade [MTP].

October 28 Sunday – Sam wrote Orion, letter not extant but referred to in Orion’s Nov. 1 reply.

Nine year old Florence Dean Cope (1873-1951) wrote from Columbus, Ohio to praise TS and ask if Twain would “write a book of his manhood….All of our family would enjoy a book of Tom’s manhood and whether he turned out robber or not at all” and “I think Tom is just perfect. I am getting very tired so I must stop here” [MTP]. Note: Florence’s mother, Ione Cope (1845-1923) was first cousin to Wm. Dean Howells. Her father, Alexis Cope (1841-1918) was a successful attorney.

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy about a sketch they’d sent that was returned, and hopes they weren’t discouraged with Karl’s “slow progress” [MTP].

October 29 MondayBissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote they’d received Sam’s acceptances made by Osgood & Co. for $20,000, and had credited his account for that amount [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “$20,000 acceptances”

Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Proof sheets on English History sent; negotiations for 10,000 LM with Watson Gill [MTP].

October 30 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote about business matters: contract signed with Watson Gill “to act as my agent in the trade” [MTP].

October 31 WednesdayHubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement with Nov. 1 balance of $22,949.11 [MTP].

November 1 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam of his plans to come for a visit on Nov. 3 [MTHL 1: 447].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having rec’d his Oct. 28th. Ma went to a 90 year old’s party and they were all well. He worked 4 hrs a day on the Kings [MTP].

Charles A. Dana for The New York Sun wrote to Clemens, unable to get the information of death rates of various prominent towns [MTP]. Note: Sam had suggested they publish these figures.

November 2 FridayMargaret Meestenmacher wrote from St. Louis to ask Sam & Livy for funds to help her church. Evidently she’d known the Langdons [MTP].

November 3 Saturday – After receiving Howells Nov. 1 letter about coming to Hartford, Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Howells for him to “Come Wednesday” [MTHL 1: 447]. Sam expected “an important telegram” the same day (from Howells? Or, possibly from Raymond or Webster) but it did not arrive (see Nov. 7 entry).

Orion wrote: “Ma is well. She says tell you that she says you must write properly to these people; you are inclined to be too abrupt; be civil to them.” He was sorry Sam was not well [MTP]. Note: these people were relatives.

November 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, further explaining his telegram of the previous day:

“…Mrs. Clemens has a menagerie on her hands from now till Tuesday Evening—the preparation & achievement of a big lunch party of old ladies to meet her mother.”

Sam had not been able to come to terms with John T. Raymond for a part in the new play, and had instructed Webster to find another actor. Sam had a plan up his sleeve [MTHL 1: 447-8]. He called again at the telegraph office expecting a telegram, but it was not there (see Nov. 7 entry).

Orion Clemens finished Nov. 3 letter [MTP].

November 5 Monday – The missing telegram from Howells turned up at the telegraph office (see Nov. 7 entry).

Kate D. Barstow wrote what is now a letter too faded to read. Likely another request for funds for activities beyond her medical training, because Sam wrote on the env., “No” [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote more about the history research; he added, “Ma had a little spell Saturday, but is well now. Mollie is not very well” [MTP]. Note: inevitably Orion included news of health and weather and his schemes.

November 7 Wednesday – This article ran in the Hartford Times (and Nov. 9 in the New York Times, p4, below), documenting the missing telegram:


From the Hartford (Conn.) Times, Nov. 7

On Saturday last Mr. S.L. Clemens (Mark Twain) expected an important telegram. He called for it several times at the telegraph office on Saturday and also on Sunday, but received the answer each time that it had not come. On Monday morning the missing dispatch turned up, It having been mislaid in the office on Saturday. Mr. Clemens now contemplates a suit for damages against the telegraph company.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: proofs sent of English History & other game board items with costs [MTP].

November 7 through 11 SundayHowells arrived in Hartford and collaborated with Sam on the new Sellers play. Howells telegraphed his father, William Cooper Howells, on Nov. 11: “I have been here some days with Clemens, who is expecting his nephew to report upon the scissors business very shortly…I think Clemens means to take hold of it…” [MTHL 1: 448n1]. Note: William Cooper had invented a new type of grape shears. Sam eventually guaranteed him against any loss in the manufacturing and selling of the product. Webster contracted with a Newark toolmaker who produced sixty dozen pairs of the shears. Webster advertised them for a period of time, but this was likely another losing investment for Sam [438n3].

November 8 ThursdayFrancis Hopkinson Smith for Pedestal Fund Exhibition wrote about his plan to read “that letter” to a group, “ if it don’t send every mother’s son of them home with a sore back, I’m a Dutchman” [MTP].

November 11 Sunday – The New York Times ran this article:


The editor of the Boston Musical Record a few weeks ago wrote Mr. Samuel L. Clemens for his opinion on an international copyright law, and this was the reply: “I am 47 years old, and therefore shall not live long enough to see international copyright established; neither will my children live long enough; yet, for the sake of my (possible) remote descendants, I feel a languid interest in the subject. Yes—to answer your question squarely—I am in favor of an international copyright law. So was my great grandfather—it was in 1847 that he made his struggle in this great work—and it is my hope and prayer that as long as my stock shall last the transmitted voice of that old man will still go ringing down the centuries, stirring the international heart in the interest of the eternal cause for which he struggled and died. I favor the treaty which was proposed four or five years ago and is still being considered by our State department. I also favor engraving it on brass. It is on paper now. There is no lasting quality about paper” [Fatout, MT Speaks 133].

Joe Twichell wrote: “The best I can do about West Point is to say that I will go with you to be there Dec. 8th, if I can” [MTP].

November 12 Monday – In Hartford, Sam typed a note to Andrew Chatto, acknowledging receipt of “904 pounds, 7 shillings and 11 pence.” He expected to talk contracts on the new book (HF?) in about a month, and accepted their word on pricing their edition of TA [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Edward “Ned” House, saying the note was a PS to his last letter, that the “Pastilles” he’d had sent from Japan weren’t good until they discovered, after looking the word up in the dictionary, that when they “exploited them on a shovel of hot coals,” they experienced “vastly more satisfactory results” [MTP].

November 13 TuesdayWestern Union per W.C. Hamstone, J.H. Lounsbury wrote in response to a report in the NY Times that a telegram had been lost/delayed. He claimed from reports he’d rec’d that “our service was properly performed,” the telegram phoned to his residence at about 4 pm Nov. 3, the date it was sent from Boston by Howells [MTP].

November 14 Wednesday – In the evening Sam and Livy and Howells attended a Hartford reception for Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), who was to lecture in Hartford the next day. Arnold had lectured in Boston on Nov. 7 and would repeat the talk there on Nov. 17. The reception was given by the David Clarks [MTHL 1: 449n2]. Howells introduced Sam to Arnold and they had a conversation [Powers, MT A Life 480]. Camfield writes Arnold was “best known and reviled in the nineteenth-century United States for his stinging criticism of American culture” [36].

Sam wrote from Hartford to an unidentified person that he’d had “nothing to do with getting that item into print,” so was “in no way responsible for its statements….” Still, Sam thought “the vital fact which they seem to convey is true.” The rest of the letter is lost [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy with the news he’d be sending a bust he’d made with Dr. Beard of the American Chapel, who was going to America and probably to Hartford [MTP].

November 15 Thursday – In the afternoon, the Clemenses held a tea for Matthew Arnold in their Hartford home [LeMaster 36]. Arnold gave his “Numbers” lecture after the tea. He also visited the Clemens home in the evening. Sam did not disclose to Howells what the two talked about [Powers, MT A Life 480]. From Twichell’s journal:

H.[armony] & I went to M.T’s in the P.M. to meet Matthew Arnold, his wife and daughter, at tea,—a great pleasure. Mr. and Mrs. Arnold read for me a before illegible note of Dean Stanley’s which Dr. Allen gave me in London last year. The Arnolds, all three, made a most favorable impression of themselves socially. Mr. Arnold, in particular, was a gentler, more sympathetic person than his writings would lead some people to expect [Yale, copy at MTP].

George W. Cable wrote to Clemens, wanting “to stop in Hartford Tuesday for a day & night to see you & yours & the Warners, et als. Can I do it?” He was to read in Springfield the next day [MTP].

November 1617 Saturday – Sam, Livy and William Dean Howells went to Boston sometime during this period. Matthew Arnold lectured there on Nov. 17 [MTHL 1: 449n2].

November 17 Saturday – A pink 3×5 receipt to Sam, printed “Stock Account” for a check of $5,000 is in the 1883 MTP financial file.

William Dean Howells wrote: “When I supposed you were coming to us I engaged to take you out to Cambridge this (Saturday) evening to see my play at a friend’s done by children. If you can go, come to 4 Louisburg Square by a quarter to eight, and let me know, anyway”[MTP]. (not in MTHL)

November 18 Sunday – Sam was in Boston and accompanied the Howellses in a social call upon the Aldriches Sam returned to Hartford directly from the Aldriches, after the Howellses left. Howells wrote him on Nov. 19 about being “half dead …from eating & laughing yesterday” [MTHL 1: 448, 450n3].

Edwin Booth, Matthew Arnold, Charles Dudley Warner, and Oliver Wendell Holmes filled out the lunch party at the Aldriches. Booth wrote that day to William Bispham that “the feast was royal…I both listened and ate my fill” [Edwin Booth: Recollections by His Daughter, Edwina (1894)]. Thanks to JoDee Benussi.

Western Union per J.H. Lounsbury wrote more about the “lost” telegram being sent by phone to a female voice at the Clemens residence [MTP]. Note: even then, telegrams were phoned if possible.

November 19 Monday – Back in Hartford, Sam telegraphed Howells. He and Livy repeated an invitation for the Howellses to visit. Sam had not received a letter from Howells written the same day expressing that he couldn’t return to Hartford for a solid week, but would come “two weeks from to-day” (Dec. 3) [MTHL 1: 449-50].

“I have told thirty lies and am not out of the Woods yet; S L Clemens” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells wrote (typed) to Sam: he couldn’t see clear to come for at least two weeks to work on revisions of the Sellers as a Scientist play. He was “actually brain-weary,” and George W. Cable was coming to Boston to read on Nov. 26 and he felt he should be there; also Matthew Arnold [MTHL 1: 448-9].

November 20 TuesdayGeorge W. Cable arrived for a visit. He went with the Clemenses and the Warners to a reception. Cable wrote his wife the next day that he’d “Talked my head off; but don’t worry, there wasn’t anything in it.” At the Clemens home, Cable read for “Mark T., his sweet wife, her mother, & Clara and her sister. They were pleased…” [Turner, MT & GWC 23].

Cable signed and dated a copy of his book for Clemens, The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life (1880) [Butterfield auction catalog, July 16, 1997, p.23 Item 2669].

In Boston, Howells wrote Sam that his telegram came just after posting his letter, and that Sam had forgotten to enclosed newspaper clippings mentioned in his last letter [MTHL 1: 451].

November 21 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.

“Good—& all right. Within an hour I shall be deep in an old piece of work which always interests me, any time of the year that I take it up. So I will go down into that, & not appear at the surface again till the Howellses arrive here the 3d of December” [MTHL 1: 451].

Sam included more ideas on the Sellers as a Scientist play. He complimented Howells on the new typewriter he was using to write letters. He announced that George W. Cable was “stopping with us over night” and that he’d been training for public speaking and reading. The writing Sam referred to was possibly the Sandwich Islands story about Bill Ragsdale, a half-caste interpreter he had met on his Hawaii trip [MTHL 1: 451-2]. Emerson writes Sam began the book in Jan. 1884; it “was to be a serious work” [160]. (See Jan. 30 to Fairbanks.)

Cable left for Springfield, Mass., where in the evening he gave a private reading to a group of about 20 ladies [Bickle 108]. Note: Cable then continued on to Boston where he was the guest of several gatherings and gave readings at Chickering Hall, which held, by his estimate, about 460 persons. In Boston, Cable met all the notables (see Bickle, p 110-111).

November 26 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing information he’d been sent about an investment. If it was “safe” he asked Webster to let him know [MTP].

November 27 Tuesday Livy’s 38th birthday.

November 29 ThursdayDora Knowlton “a stranger to you” and an actress, wrote from NYC to ask if he’d allow her to dramatize P&P [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Can’t / P&P”

November 30 Friday Sam’s 48th birthday. He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam and Howells had written a new play, American Claimant, and though Sam didn’t really want to hire John T. Raymond again, he realized the benefit of doing so. Yet, he did not fully trust Raymond.

Dear Charley—Now that you have made your opening, let Raymond do the rest. That is to say, you & Whitford sit still, & let R. come there—don’t you go to him….I wish to God he would not take it….Why do I offer him the piece at all? 1. For these reasons: He plays that character well; there are not thirty actors in the country who can do it better; & 2. He has a sort of sentimental right to be offered the piece—though no moral or legal or other kind of right…I decline to have any correspondence with R. myself, in any way [MTBus 228].

Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a monthly statement [MTP].

December 1 Saturday ca. – About this day, Sam also wrote to the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund, a group raising money for the base of the Statue of Liberty [MTP]. The letter ran in the Dec. 3 edition of the New York Times (see Dec. 3 entry).

December 3 MondayHowells wrote to explain his inability to leave for Hartford—his sister, Annie Howells Fréchette was coming with her two little children. He offered a few more ideas for the Sellers play and expressed hope that Raymond would agree to play the part. He told of Cable’s lectures at Chickering Hall in Boston on Nov. 26 and 28 and holding a “blow out” for him [MTHL 1: 452-4].

December 4 Tuesday – Sam’s letter which argued for changing the under-construction Statue of Liberty into one for Adam ran on page 2 of the New York Times [Budd, “Collected” 1020].



Mark Twain was asked to contribute to the album of artists’ sketches and autograph letters, to be raffled for at the Bartholdi Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition, and this is his response, which accompanied his contribution: You know my weakness for Adam, and you know how I have struggled to get him a monument and failed. Now, it seems to me, here is my chance.

What do we care for a statue of liberty when we’ve got the thing itself in its wildest sublimity? What you want of a monument is to keep you in mind of something you haven’t got—something you’ve lost. Very well; we haven’t lost liberty; we’ve lost Adam.…what have we done for Adam? Nothing. What has Adam done for us? Everything. He gave us life, he gave us death, he gave us heaven, he gave us hell [MTNJ 3: 13].

Note: The article was in response to a call for letters and sketches by artists and writers to be raffled to raise money to build a pedestal for the statue.

Sam played a character from a Dickens novel scene, “Leo Hunter” at the Union for Home Work, Authors’ Carnival, Hartford. The Hartford Courant, for Dec. 5, 1883, p.2, ran an article titled “The Authors’ Carnival”:

The second event of the evening was the presentation on the large stage of a scene from Charles Dickens’ “Leo Hunter.” It introduced a number of clever ladies and gentlemen who not only acted their parts, but lent to it the dialogue. The principals, Miss Hamersley and Mr. Prentice, were roundly applauded, and when Mark Twain came on the stage as a character in the scene, plaudits rang from one end of the enormous hall to the other. This scene alone was enough to compensate one for the expense of the entire evening’s entertainment.

Charles Webster wrote about business matters: grape shears, an invention of Howells’ father [MTP].

December 8 SaturdayJoe Goodman wrote Sam, praising LM. and offering other news:

I have not written you…since I received “Life on the Mississippi.” It is one of the most thoroughly entertaining and satisfactory works you have ever published. I was undecided at first which portion suited me best, the older or newer; but a review of it determined I’m in favor of the latter. Those recollections and impressions upon revisiting your old house are inimitable. The revival of boyish emotions is one of your strongest suits. That is what makes “Tom Sawyer” so toothsome. Dickens is the only other writer that brings back our boyhood to us as naturally and vividly.

In one of your letters you [word torn away] John McCullough’s visit to your house and of his delightful fine family. It is too bad that so good a fellow and so hearty a swearer should meet an early doom; but I am informed he is hopelessly afflicted with softening of the brain. Women, women, women [MTP].

Joe added a paragraph about Rollin Daggett, who was healthy and happy and married again, and with two literary projects, one a history of Hawaii. Even though Joe was “still frigging away at the vineyard,” he was planning to return to “newspapering for a time” [MTP].

James R. Osgood wrote:

Mr. Webster has delivered me your message, which I must confess astonishes me, I cannot believe that on reflection you will confirm the attitude in which he represents you to stand at present. / We are deeply conscious of having done everything which anybody could have done for this book….If it is a failure it is not due to lack of intelligent, conscientious and energetic effort on our part [MTP]. Note: Sam was quite disappointed with book sales.

December 10 MondayChatto & Windus wrote thanking him for Osgood’s memorandum on LM. Much of the letter is smeared and illegible [MTP].

December 13 ThursdayKarl Gerhardt wrote; only the envelope survives [MTP].

December 14 Friday – In Hartford, Sam inscribed 1601, Conversation As It Was By the Social Fireside in the Time of the Tudors to George Iles (1852-1942), American author and editor in Montreal. “Dear Iles— I beg a thousand pardons, but I had forgotten all about it. / . Truly Yours / S L C. / Dec 14/83” [MTP].

Livy invited the Aldriches and the Howellses for the weekend of Jan. 5 to meet some fifty of their Hartford friends and contacts [MTHL 2: 465n2].

December 15 SaturdayWorden & Co. wrote requesting $2,500 as “additional margin” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Sent $3000 Dec. 18”

M.U. wrote from Hartford urging Clemens “to turn away from your vanities, and seek with all earnestness the Lord God of Hosts” [MTP] Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Religious fanatic / Self-righteous Rot”

December 17 Monday – Sam took a train for Boston, where he spent a day or two with Howells [MTHL 1: 454n2]. In his Dec. 19 letter to Webster,

“I went to Boston, but I had no ‘business’ to talk, & didn’t talk any” [MTBus 229].

December 18 Tuesday – Clemens sent $3,000 to Worden & Co.; letter not extant; referenced in Dec. notes on Worden’s letter.

December 19 Wednesday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Charles Webster. The first enclosed $271 and asked him to go to George Jones (editor of the N.Y. Times) and ask for the same amount and tell him that it’s an interview and that Sam wants to “build a magazine article & get that money back without any trouble.” Samuel Webster calls this mystery “intriguing.” Sam’s second letter may explain:

“Dear Charley—It occurs to me that you could have got that information in 24 hours by paying the Sunday Mercury’s dramatic Editor $10 to furnish it to you on a piece of paper. Do it, & let’s hurry along. Yrs SLC” [MTBus 239]

Sam wanted to know how many times John T. Raymond had performed in the play Colonel Sellers. Sam also disclosed he’d taken a social trip to Boston.

Sam also wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, and to Orion and Mollie Clemens:

“We would like you to drink $10 worth of whisky apiece in honor of Christmas, & I enclose the money” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Jervis Langdon II (1875-1952) inscribing and sending a copy of Howard Pyle’s 1883 The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, etc. Sam wrote:

“I have always regretted that I did not belong to Robin Hood’s gang” [Gribben 564].

Sam also wrote to Pamela and Samuel Moffett, wishing them a:

“Merry Xmas…love & no news—which, according to the proverb—is good news” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person:

“I am very sorry I cannot take a hand in trying to select the right & best motto, but I am much too pressed for time” [MTP].

In Boston, Howells sent Sam a postcard having seen William Warren (1812-1888), a celebrated comic actor. In light of John T. Raymond’s refusals, Sam and Howells were searching for another actor to play Col. Sellers in their new play. Warren, Howells said, had only a “slight acquaintance” with William Jermyn Florence (1831-1891) another comedian who specialized in dialect impressions. Why not telegraph? Howells asked [MTHL 1: 454].

Worden & Co. receipted Sam $3,000 sent Dec. 18 [MTP].

December 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about a gift Livy was purchasing for her mother [MTBus 230].

Sam also wrote to Howells with the idea to write “a tragedy” together for the new Sellers play and enclosed a scene based on Thomas Carlyle’s Oliver Cromwell’s Letters and Speeches.

The enclosed is not fancy, it is history—except that the little girl was a passing stranger & not kin to any of the parties.

I read the incident in Carlyle’s Cromwell a year ago & made a note in my notebook; stumbled on the note to-day, & wrote up the closing scene of a possible tragedy to see how it might work.

If we made this Colonel a grand fellow, & gave him a wife to suit—hey? It’s right in the big historical times—war,—Cromwell in big, picturesque power, & all that. Come—let’s do this tragedy, & do it well [MTHL 2: 455].

Sam also wrote to Laurence Hutton:

I enclose a small Xmas present ($15) for you. Spend it judiciously for whisky & in other pious ways, & always be thankful that you have friends about you like me, who will never see you come to want [MTNJ 3: 41n89].

Charles Webster wrote about business matters : his long hours lately, Christmas gifts for Livy; expected information from the Sunday Mercury [MTP].

December 21 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, offering a rare apology for his remarks. Evidently, he had questioned Osgood’s integrity. Powers points out that sales of LM “languished at 30,000 copies” [MT A Life, 469]. In a letter now lost, Sam accused Osgood of mismanaging the book. Osgood was “astonished” and defended himself; he’d written on Dec. 8 that if the sales were a failure, it was not due to “lack of intelligent, conscientious and energetic effort on our part” [470]. Sam then offered his apology:

No, I shall not do or wittingly say anything to interrupt our friendly relations. I am sorry I made that remark, since it hurts you; but it was not new matter—it had been conveyed, before, through Webster. And I said to Webster distinctly, “I will not have ill blood with Osgood, nor any but honest speech, plain but without bitterness—State my case,—leave the rest to Osgood and me” [MTLTP 164].

Sam recommended they get together and talk the matter out, that “writings do not successfully interpret the feeling of the writer” [165]. Sam was extremely disappointed and felt both P&P and LM had been publishing failures.

I am peculiarly situated. The Prince and Pauper and the Mississippi are the only books of mine which have ever failed. The first failure was not unbearable—but this second one is so nearly so that it is not a calming subject for me to talk upon…I have never for a moment doubted that you did the very best you knew how—it is impossible to doubt that—but there were things about the publishing of my books which you did not understand. You understand them now, but it is I who have paid the costs of the apprenticeship [MTLTP 164-5].

December 23 SundayOrion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Clemens & Livy: who was Ben? Christmas presents & wishes [MTP]. Note: “Ben” was a nickname for Clara.

December 24 MondayAnnie M. Barnes for Atlanta Acanthus wrote asking what he’d like to do for their juvenile publication enterprise [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Beggary”

 December 25 TuesdayChristmas – In Hartford, Sam, acting for Susy and Clara Clemens inscribed a book? to Margaret Warner [MTP].

Sam inscribed a copy of Howard Pyle’s Yankee Doodle, An Old Friend in a New Dress (1881) to daughter Jean Clemens:” Merry Christmas / to the Only Jean / from Papa / 1884” [Gribben 565].

Charles Dudley Warner inscribed a copy of his book, A Roundabout Journey (1884) to Livy: “Mrs. Livy Clemens / With the affectionate regards/of Chas. Dudley Warner / Dec 25 1883 [Gribben 746].

December 26 Wednesday – Sam also telegraphed from Hartford to Charles Webster: “Get up here before new years any day will do” [MTP].

U.M. wrote (no further name given) [MTP].

December 27 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.

Dear Charley—We will lie low until Raymond has played his new piece in New York, & if it is not a promising success, we will go for him again, with a modified proposition. Lawrence Barret[t] strongly urges this, & gives good reason for it.

Meantime, hurry up that Sunday Mercury business, as apart of the preparation. Livy was delighted with the andirons. Merry Xmas to you all. P.S. Return me the MS of the play of “Col. Sellers” if you have it. SLC [MTBus 230].


In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam that he’d seen another actor for Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, well-known Henry E. Dixey (1859-1943). Did Sam wish Howells to See Dixey’s play? What had Sam learned from William Jermyn Florence? [MTHL 2: 459-60]. Note: Dixey, in the title role of Adonis, about a statue that came to life, became the top matinee idol of his time.


Charles Webster wrote about business matters: information they wanted from the Sunday Mercury of plays played by an unnamed actor; a bill in the Duncan suit matter; stock investments [MTP].


December 30 Sunday Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers sent a statement with $18,144.61 balance [MTP].


December 31 MondayWorden & Co. sent all 1882-83 monthly statements [MTP].