Chasing after Stage Plays – Cable & Mumps – Lobbying for International Copyright Canvassing Huck – Duncan’s Lawsuit – April Fools! – Poor Doc Taft
Tuscaloosa Pirates – Rah for Cleveland!
Twins of Genius Hit the Road – The Children’s P&P Play
1884 – An interesting inscription by Sam made sometime during the year, place unknown:
“Some people can smoke to excess. Let them beware. There are others who cannot smoke to excess because there isn’t time enough in a day which contains 24 hours” [MTP].
In 1884-5 Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “Happy Memories of the Dental Chair” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].
From Hartford, Sam replied to an unidentified man:
“Dear Sir: / In reply I am obliged to say that I have quitted the platform permanently. With thanks for the compliment of your invitation I am / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].
Sam also wrote from an unknown place to another unidentified man:
“Just enclose this letter to him, with a line of your own, if you like. I don’t want any correspondence myself.
“Cable proposes to try the subscription method, & I have hogged him away from the A P Co, who applied to him. Bliss knows I choused him out of Cable. / SLC” [MTP].
Orion wrote from Keokuk on a Sunday in 1884: “I enclose MS. and samples of my work on the paper. / I presume reporting night meetings will fall regularly into my line of duty.” He added a few details on Monday, and Monday noon [MTP].
Henri (Willy) Gauthier-Villars published Mark Twain, the first book-length study of Mark Twain [Description of item for sale by Mac Donnell Rare Books 4/2/2010]. Note: see March 28 from Villars and Apr. 22 MT to Aldrich.
Knut Hamsun published “Mark Twain” in Ny Illustreret Tidende Christiana (translated in 2003): Tenney: “Finds America materialistic and unintellectual, the literature lacking richness or a national character. MT is a favorite with Hamsun, who likes the western view in RI; he preferred it to IA, ‘marred by …their polemic, absurdly underdeveloped philosophy, and weak power of reflection.’ Hamsun heard MT on the platform: ‘Twain’s speeches are entertaining but have absolutely no content. You sit there in suspense, waiting for the introduction to end and the lecture to begin, until Twain suddenly makes his bow—and leaves. You look at the clock: an hour and twenty minutes. What can this mean? It means, my dear, that Mark Twain is a genuine public lecturer’ ” [Bibliography Number 6, Mark Twain Journal Spring/Fall 2012 50: 1 & 2, p.51]. Note: this reaction was undoubtedly based on the old assumption that a lecture was instructive, rather than entertaining.
January – As early as this month and as late as Dec. 1887, Sam inscribed the back side of his photograph to Mrs. Pemberton-Hinks: “Quarrels begun with roses breed no bloodshed! / Sincerely Yours / S. L. Clemens / Mark Twain / To / Mrs. Pemberton-Hinks. / Hartford, Saturday [illegible chars.] (It is a most damaged & piratical looking picture, & nothing can excuse it but the fact that it is the only one left on the place SLC)” [MTP].
Sam re-read “the second volume of Pepys” [Jan. 14 to House]. After immersing himself in Sandwich Islands material, He began a book about Bill Ragsdale, a half-caste interpreter who contracted leprosy and exiled himself to the leper colony on Molokai [Emerson 160].
January 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He wanted to nail down a producer and actor for the new play he’d written with Howells, “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist.” He also had written a dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer he wished to have produced.
“If the book business interferes with the dramatic business, drop the former—for it doesn’t pay salt; & I want the latter rushed. …
“I have been talking with Barrett, & he thinks it will be a mistake on Raymond’s part if he lets this play go to somebody else, & a mistake on my part at the same time.”
Sam directed Webster to offer John T. Raymond license to act in the play for $400 per week; he also suggested Jimmy Lewis or Nat Goodwin if Raymond refused to pay that much. Note: in that day, actors preferred to license or pay for a play; they could then keep receipts over and above the amount paid, sometimes with additional royalties due.
“Now I want to come down & see somebody play, the minute you can name me a man” [MTBus 230-1].
Orion Clemens wrote about different folks, one of whom was “damned impudent.” He PS’d: “Thank God you and Charlie keep sending the hundred dollars to me and the fifty to Ma. I hope the same does not inconvenience you or Livy.” He continued to work on the history segments [MTP].
Herbert H. Winslow wrote from Keokuk asking for “a few lines” for a literary paper he planned to start [MTP].
January 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles R. Deacon, secretary of the Clover Club of Philadelphia. He had been invited to a dinner on Jan. 17, but “business & social complications” made him regretfully decline [MTP]. Note: The Clover Club was a dancing club formed in 1881. It was famous for its distinguished guests and for its humorous way of entertaining them.
January 4 Friday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Hartford to James N. Kimball, giving him “liberty to use that chapter about the Empress” [MTP]. Note: Could this have been the Mormon leader? Doubtful. The chapter about the Empress from A Tramp Abroad.
Charles Dudley Warner sent a large printed bill “Copyright” by George P. Lathrop. “How does this strike you?/ C.D.W.” [MTP].
In the evening from 7 to 10, the Ladies of Benevolent Society of the Asylum Hill Congregational Church held a reception for Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Twichell. From Twichell’s journal, it is obvious that the congregation gathered to help the Twichells out of a spot, perhaps financial, or personal:
“A charming time we had at this reception. Almost all our people came to greet us and we were filled with a new sense of the delightfulness of the pastoral relation, also of its sacredness and high privilege especially (i.e. as regards delightfulness) in such circumstances as ours” [Yale, copy at MTP].
January 5 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam on business: he hurried the Sunday Mercury people for information of plays played by an unnamed actor; enclosed check for $1,081.50 royalties from Am. Pub. Co. [MTP].
January 5 and 6 Sunday – The gathering of fifty or so of the Clemens’ Hartford friends took place over this weekend, but the Howellses could not come due to their son John’s scarlet fever [MTHL 2: 465n2].
January 7 Monday – Livy sent out invitations from her and Sam to John Day and Alice Hooker Day, requesting the pleasure of their: “…company to meet Mr. & Mrs. T.B. Aldrich on Wednesday evening, Jan 9th at 8 o’clock” [MTP].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. His son, John Howells, had a touch of scarlet fever.
“The bare suggestion of scarlet fever in the family makes me shudder; I believe I would almost rather have Osgood publish a book for me” [MTHL 2: 460].
Sam was still trying to find a producer for their play, “Colonel Sellers as a Scientist.” He also had been working on a book about Bill Ragsdale, interpreter to the Hawaiian Parliament, who Sam had met on his 1866 trip to the islands. Sam decided later not to publish the book. Only a seventeen-page fragment of the book survives.
My billiard table is stacked up with books relating to the Sandwich Islands; the walls are upholstered with scraps of paper penciled with notes drawn from them. I have saturated myself with knowledge of that unimaginably beautiful land & that most strange & fascinating people. And I have begun a story. Its hidden motive will illustrate a but-little considered fact in human nature: that the religious folly you are born in you will die in…[460-1].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster.
“Am Pub check for $1081.32 received. I see they’ve sold 4,500 old books in the past 3 months. I wish to God Osgood could sell half as many new ones.
I suppose we shall find that Raymond has not lost his right to that old play” [MTBus 232].
James Sutherland wrote from Montreal to Sam, advising he’d sent a souvenir from Montreal through Boston, from “the young fellow who had the honor –which he so much appreciated –of dining with you, in company of Mr. Geo Iles at the Windsor Hotel here in May last” [MTP]. Note: the souvenir is not identified, but was for Sam’s girls.
January 9 Wednesday – The Clemenses entertained the Aldriches in the evening. Livy sent out invitations a few days before (see Jan. 7 entry). The Aldriches stayed with Sam and Livy for a few days (see Jan. 14 to House) [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote after hearing “what the trouble was” on the “2d night in Louisville” and offered some sort of confusing explanation [MTP].
Howells wrote about plays and the improving condition of his son John [MTP]. (See Jan. 18 entry for reply.)
Charles Webster wrote some paragraphs about meeting with John T. Raymond on the proposed play arrangements; Howells’ grape shears invention; Bliss and old book royalties; Osgood’s mistakes & the need to hold the price of LM high; Fred Hall’s absence due to the death of his father [MTP].
January 11 Friday – Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy with news and clippings of the Manet Exposition. “All is not smooth sailing here for any art student” [MTP].
Charles Webster to Sam: “I send you the book you want by this days mail. I was unable to get you a bound copy so I send it in sheets” [MTP]. Note: book not specified.
January 12 Saturday – Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam [MTP].
January 14 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. Sam advised, there was “no course …left you for Koto’s protection but the marriage,” given the “precarious” nature of House’s health. Evidently his “adopted” Japanese daughter was in a family way and he sought Sam’s advice. He also asked Sam to suggest reading material and Sam gave this summary of his current reading:
In English, the middle portion of the Bread Winners; all of Clarissa Harlowe; the closing chapters of Pamela; the third volume of Saint-Simon; the fourth volume of Evelyn; the second volume of Pepys; the second volume of The Autobiography of a Whore; the third volume of Geike’s Hours with the Bible; & in German, the second volume of Schiller (the poems, I mean), the third volume of the Thirty-Years’ War; & the concluding chapters of Das Geheimniss der Alten Mamsell; in French, the tenth volume of Saint-Simon, and the fifth volume of Casanova. There—if none of this happy variety strikes you, you must be dam hard to please. I’m not a good person to apply to, because I seldom or never read anything that is new; & never read anything through, be it new or old [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Joe Goodman (the letter has been lost) [MTP Goodman to Sam, Jan. 22, 1884].
James R. Osgood wrote to Sam: “Unless I am prevented by rheumatism (which at writing seems only too possible) I shall be at your house on Wednesday 16th inst. on arrival of the 9 a.m. train” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person:
“Stephen—nothing became of Stephen; at least nothing had yet become of him up to a recent date. Stephen still lives; & his other name is Strother Wiley P.O. address, St. Louis; & if you wish to be beguiled, you have a chance” [MTP]. (See Feb. 13, 1875 entry for more on Strother Nimrod Wiley.)
January 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote to Kingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co., Kingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co. letter not extant but referenced in Smith’s Feb. 23 reply.
January 16 Wednesday – Charles Webster wrote business: royalty check enclosed $773.20; letter from John T. Raymond asking him to call this afternoon [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Scrapbooks 6 mos ending 1883 — $773.”
January 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, still apologetic.
My Dear Osgood— / I have thought, and thought; and as a result, I wish to accept the kind offer which you made yesterday, if you are willing to let me. I hope you can and will stop on your way up. I am not well content with myself over yesterday’s talk, yet I do assure that I never meant to be unjust toward you in a single word or thought./ Truly Yours/ S.L. Clemens [MTLTP 166]. Note: It’s not clear what Osgood had offered, but note 1 of the cited source says it “probably involves the removal of JRO [Osgood] from the subscription selling” of Sam’s books. Sam probably owed money on the production costs of LM; Osgood may have offered settlement.
Sam also wrote a one-liner to Charles Webster that he’d received a “Slote check for $773…” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam of business: bindings ordered on LM and confusion surrounding a stopping of 10,000 books bound [MTP].
Worden & Co. wrote to Sam of a $2,000 margin call. O.T. had slid to 23 & ½ [MTP]. Note: he would finally sell out May 19 at $12; see entry.
January 18 Friday – Sam replied from Hartford to the Jan. 9 from Howells about writing plays. Henry Nash Smith observes that Howells became as stage-struck as Sam during this period, though he often insisted he preferred writing novels. Nash adds that Howells translated or adapted or wrote thirty-six dramas, including a musical comedy [MTHL 2: 463n2].
“Raymond still biting. Shall hear more, very soon.
Charley W. stupidly forgot I told him to contract for the scissors [grape shears that Howell’s father invented]. He will now attend to this” [MTHL 2: 464].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about seeing Marshall Mallory, who lusted after the Sellers as Scientist play. Howells would not show him the play:
“He now wishes you to tell him simply your terms for either or both plays, and said it might be worth his while to try to meet them” [MTHL 2: 464-5].
James R. Osgood wrote to Sam, unable to get away until the next afternoon or to come to Hartford; Webster had gone to Cleveland [MTP].
January 19 Saturday – Phillip Shirley, a fellow passenger of Sam’s on his spring, 1868 return voyage to New York, submitted two of Sam’s poems to The Wasp, a short-lived San Francisco publication. The verses ran on this day [The Twainian, July-Aug. 1946, p.3-4]. Camfield lists these as “Ye Equinoctial Storm,” and “Tragic Tidings” [bibliog.].
Worden & Co. wrote to Sam. the $2,000 received [MTP].
January 20 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam replied to the Jan. 18 of Howells, of the Mallory brothers nearly begging for details about the Sellers play or the “romantic and picturesque play” (about Bill Ragsdale and leprosy). Howells wrote that Marshall Mallory wished Sam would “tell him simply your terms for either or both plays, and said it might be worth his while to try to meet them.” Sam responded that the Sellers play wasn’t a Madison Square piece.
“Let the Madison Square nibble—by the time they work themselves up to a fair rate of remuneration we can have a play ready for them” [MTHL 2: 465].
Sam also offered caution about Johnny Howells’ scarlet fever, and advised keeping Johnny in bed an extra six weeks. He reminded Howells of his man Patrick’s child and the loss of hearing possible from scarlet fever.
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster:
“You can come up here, Monday or Tuesday & make contract with Am Pub Co for Huck Finn, & then go on to Boston & reach an understanding about the N.Y. office. I shall put off the Library of Humor, & publish Finn first” [MTP]. Note: Of course, Sam would end up self-publishing Huckleberry Finn under Webster & Co.
Stephen C. Massett (“Jeems Pipes”) wrote to Sam: “I am coming next week—will you be in your Inn?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “The old humbug”; playbill enclosed in file.
The Hartford Assessor’s Office wrote to Sam, only the top of the letter survives [MTP].
January 22 Tuesday – In California, Joe Goodman telegraphed, then wrote a long letter to Sam, pleading for a piece for his new publication, The San Franciscan.
Dear Mark— / Your disfavor of the 30th net[?] and 14th inst. Came today. It was the first setback to my hopes that I have encountered since our scheme was afoot. I had counted so confidently upon our catching the inspiration of our old Washoe days and coming to the fore. The slogan has raised the remnants of the old clan on this coast, and they are gathering enthusiastically. Daggett’s first contribution came from the Hawaiian Islands today; Fitch responds from Arizona, and sends the watchword on to his wife at Denver; Goodwin hails from Salt Lake, Sam Davis from Carson, awhile Dan de Quille wafts us a greeting from the old home nest on the Comstock; –
“You alone break from the race and
You alone sink to the rear and the slaves!”
It mustn’t be, Sam; we want no lost leader in arms; and such it would be if you fold yourself in silence. I don’t care that your effort be super-excellent, or excellent, or even good; that rests between you and your God; but I do want your name to complete the goodly fellowship of the Table Round.
Joe also related that John McComb was the new warden of the State Prison at Folsom and passed on McComb’s suggestion for topics for Sam:
He laughed in his old quiet, hearty way, and said: “Tell him to write the story of his fencing and boxing experiences at Chauvel’s gymnasium in Virginia; or, if he like better, the history of his attempt to learn Spanish in this city.” I hadn’t time to ask explanation of the second proposition; you may recall it, however. McCrellish, you know, is dead. Woodworth busted, and the Alta is now a Democratic railroad organ. Note: Woodworth was probably Joseph Woodworth, who led the rush into Washoe after the Comstock silver strike [Mack 22]. Frederick MacCrellish was a proprietor of the Alta in 1867 [MTL 1: 17n1].
Goodman was a fair writer in his day. Now excited and confident about the opportunities of a new newspaper he prophesied success in great style:
We shall hit square from the shoulder at everybody and every thing that deserves to be hit; and if we can only make it as attractive as it will be aggressive there will be no more question of its success than there would of that of a show comprising John L. Sullivan and the Jersey Lily [MTP].
Joe also inquired again after Clara Spaulding: “My heart was full fain for her long years after I last saw her…” and warned Sam about “the clutches of that succubus—Kitty Barstow,” who Joe called a “natural-born beggar.” Note: she begged Sam out of a few hundred.
January 24 Thursday – Edward L. Burlingame of Charles Scribner Co. wrote to ask Sam for Edward H. House’s address in Japan [MTP].
January 27 Sunday – George W. Cable, visiting the Clemens home while on a reading tour, came down ill, probably with a case of the mumps, though Webster describes the illness as measles . Kaplan describes it as a “fever and racking pains in his lower jaw” . Sam hired a private nurse to care for his guest. The nurse and all three Clemens girls came down with the mumps . Cable was nursed back to health but would be laid up at Sam’s until Feb. 15, preventing Sam from getting together with Howells to collaborate on plays [MTNJ 3: 47n107].
January 28 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, again about the proposed play, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Webster was trying to find an actor to play the role of Tom, and Sam had definite (and rather inflexible) ideas about the money angles.
“No, the actor must play Tom Sawyer till it is down to where it pays him only an average of $300 or $400 a month clear & above expenses, for a whole season. It’s important” [MTBus 233].
Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond three times about Cable being sick and unable to give a reading [MTP]. Cable wrote his wife that it was just “little attack of neuralgia in that part of my face I make my living by, in short, my lower jaw—the part that wags, and the doctor, in order to make short work of it, has ordered me to keep my bed for twenty-four hours” [Turner, MT & GWC 25].
January 29 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to John Chalmers Blair (1848-1910?), of Huntingdon, Penn. “Your packets are an unspeakable convenience. They make authorship a pastime.” [MTP]. Note: In 1879 Blair started a tablet factory, which grew to a worldwide business, so Sam’s compliment probably had to do with writing tablets. Blair’s wife would name a hospital after him in 1911, which still operates.
Sam also sent a note to Charles Webster, asking him to search for a “small 31-page pamphlet” by Samuel Watson Royston, titled, The Enemy Conquered, a Love Triumphant [MTP]. Note: See Apr. 22, 1884 entry for Twichell’s surprise on this publication.
Cable was still suffering what he thought was “neuralgia of the jaw,” and wrote his wife that he hoped he’d be well enough to “be on the platform tomorrow night” [Turner, MT & GWC 26].
Julian Magnus wrote from NYC to ask about dramatization rights to TS [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the note: “Mental Telegraphy.” And “I was finishing the fourth & last act of my drama of Tom Sawyer yesterday, Jan. 29, while he was writing this letter. / SLC”
January 30 Wednesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Louise Cable: “Your husband will be out of bed by tomorrow S.L. Clemens” [Turner, MT & GWC 28].
He also telegraphed James B. Pond twice in Cable’s behalf that he would be unable to read the following night [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.
“Only a line, to say how glad I am, for dear Mollie’s sake—yes, & for yours; for you can’t be as indifferent to the thing as you seem. That’s all—I shall be cool & distant till you stop this dam nonsense of shirking Hartford every 3 months & then rushing home to apologize for it.”
Sam mentioned that Cable “has been sick in the house several days”; He answered Mary’s question about the Bill Ragsdale, Sandwich Island novel with:
“The novel? Yes, it’s serious; the scene is laid in the Sandwich Islands 65 years ago [before missionaries]; that is, the first part—second part is a number of years later” [MTP]. Note: Emerson reports that “Very little survives of what he wrote that January, only a few pages of description, although he had referred to it as finished. Nothing more was said about the manuscript” .
Jeannette L. Gilder of The Critic wrote to ask Sam’s opinion whether he believed in “cash down” or a % from Publishers to Authors for their books. The letter was a pre-printed form with name & signature added [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “D—d impudence”
January 31 Thursday – Sam continued to entertain George W. Cable, down with a case of the mumps, and recovering slowly. Drugged with quinine, Cable had to dictate letters to his wife through either Livy or Lilly Warner. Cable told of enjoying Sam’s company and the:
“…funny stories he tells the little Jean. Jean has a magnificent mental digestion, she must have a tiger in every story; and no tiger seems to her to be really worth the money unless he’s in a jungle” [Turner, MT & GWC 28].
Worden & Co. sent a statement [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “$4000 short”
February 1 Friday – Sam took Livy to a play, Robert M. Bird’s The Gladiator in Robert’s Opera House in Hartford. Marshall Mallory pestered Sam about producing a play, but Sam put him off.
Livy wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable about her husband’s condition.
February 2 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Dean Howells. George W. Cable was at Sam’s house and down with the mumps. Sam expected Cable to get well in a “couple of weeks.” He related Mallory’s contact the night before at the play. Before Sam would make a decision about doing business with the Mallory brothers on the new Sellers play, he needed:
“…to see Mallory’s proposed actor play before talking any business about the farce,—so there is no sort of use in reading the MS to Mallory yet” [MTHL 2: 467].
Sam also telegraphed James B. Pond again in Cable’s behalf that he’d had “a bad night great suffering in his head the highest fever he has had yet and is weak this morning” [MTP].
Charles Warner came and Sam discussed “the copyright plan of campaign,” about HF, no doubt [Feb. 4 to Hutton, MTP].
Elton Fulmer for Nebraska State University wrote to ask questions for an oration he was to deliver on “The American Humorists and their productions” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “A curiosity of cheek”
Edgar W. Howe for Atchison (Kansas) Globe wrote to send his book, mentioned next in Sam’s note, hoping that Sam would read it, being a Mo. story [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered / Howe, author of ‘The Story of a Country Town.’” Clemens and Howells both would offer a testimonial for this book.
February 3 Sunday – Sam wrote a one liner to Charles Webster, asking for his pen or “a carefully-selected one like it” [MTBus 233].
Sam also wrote a note to James B. Pond in Cable’s behalf, following up on his telegram of Feb. 2:
“He is in no danger, but I do not believe he will be out of bed for several weeks yet. I am sure he will not stand on a platform again this season” [MTP].
Sam went to the Asylum Hill Congregational Church:
“I attended divine service…to leg for Cable; & carried the copyright matter along in my mind, so as to have something to keep my spiritual bowels open in the event of a constipated discourse. By chance, Mr. Twichell’s text was the simple & beautiful words with which the Sermon on the Mount begins: ‘Gentlemen, business is business’ ” [Feb. 4 letter to Laurence Hutton, MTP].
Sam claimed Joe’s sermon was his inspiration—that what was needed in Washington was a “permanent committee of one or two faithful hard workers” who would lobby until they had the votes for a forceful copyright law.
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy with more of their goings on. Karl was now cutting marble [MTP].
February 4 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton about a campaign for a new copyright law he’d discussed with Warner on Feb. 2 and thought about since (see Feb. 3 entry). At the end of the letter, which was a plan to pass the Dorsheimer bill, Sam listed those he felt would contribute to his plan, including: John Hay at $100 a month, Clarence King, the Longfellow heirs, Doctor Holland’s heirs and President Garfield’s [MTP]. Note: Congressman Dorsheimer brought an international copyright bill in the House that failed to get a hearing. A similar bill, the Hawley bill was introduced in the Senate but also fell to the same fate. Neither bill made provision for printing foreign copyright books in the U.S. Paper-makers, type-founders, compositors, printers, binders, and a few publishers lobbied quietly against the bills.
Sam telegraphed James B. Pond that Cable was “very much better” [MTP].
Sam gave a reading of “Southern Literature” at the Hartford Monday Evening Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 656]. This was his eighth presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, more about the Sellers-Raymond-Mallory brothers developments. He’d allowed Mallory to take the play to New York and get a final answer of its sale by Feb. 6 [MTHL 2: 467].
William Preston Harrison, age 14, wrote from Chicago to Clemens.
Dr. Sir, / I had just finished one of your stories and was thinking about it as I was walking down the street the other day.
All at once I was disturbed from my reverie by hearing a man say “that you deliberately murdered your grandmother in cold blood.” This I could not believe and though I am only a boy I knocked the man who thus accused you, down. Was I not right?
Please answer & tell me. / Yours respectfully / W.P. Harrison [MTP].
Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Too thin,” which reveals he doubted the veracity of this letter. Sometimes autograph and letter seekers pretended to be children in order to secure a valuable keepsake. William was the son of Chicago mayor Carter Harrison Sr. (1825-1893) who was later assassinated. Chicago hasn’t changed much. William got out of Chicago in 1918 and became an art patron and museum art director.
**James R. Osgood Wrote to Sam:
I have received your telegram as follows: “Charley is equipped with full authority and also with the amplest possible instructions.” I take this to be an answer to my letter of Feb 2d, and I shall accordingly write to Webster covering a copy of the telegram and advise him that we shall await his further communications.
Is it proper to say that I did not gather from Mr Webster in our interview on Saturday that he was armed with the authority and instructions which you mention. If I had, I should have not have troubled you with that letter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “I did not answer this bit of stupidity”
February 5 Tuesday – Livy telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond: “Mr Cable is improving and feels much better today” [MTP].
Livy also wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable about her husband’s improvement [MTP]. Note: Since Livy took up the daily task of telegraphing Pond and writing Louise Cable on this day, it’s probable that Sam’s quick trip to New York was also this day. Sam was back in Hartford on Feb. 6 to telegraph Pond.
Sam went to New York City and saw Nat Goodwin (1857-1919) in a play [MTBus 234]. (See Feb. 8 entry). Note: The Brooklyn Eagle advertised Goodwin in “Those Bells” this evening at Colonel Sinn’s Park Theater [Feb. 5, p 3 “Amusements To-Night”].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: a talk with Marshall Mallory and Howells; Osgood’s letter [MTP].
February 6 Wednesday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to James B. Pond:
“Medicines are about discarded food has taken their place further telegraphing not worth while” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Milicent W. Shinn (See Oct. 27, 1882 entry):
Private. Ah, if I could only be there! I would delight in revealing the dark history of Bret Harte’s treatment of me when I contributed & he was editor [Overland]. But I couldn’t do it in a letter, you know. It would be out of place; & besides, it would look as if I held the present Overland responsible for the crimes of the one which is departed & gone.
Livy again wrote from Hartford to Louise Cable [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: a pen sent; agreement made with Prang & Co.; talks with Marshall Mallory about a new play [MTP].
Marie Josephine Williams wrote to Sam asking for help publishing her poems [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Poetess who wants an editor (euphemism for introducer to the public)”
February 7 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss:
“By the middle of next lecture season Mr. Cable’s name will be a household word in this country. He has in his hands a couple of literary bonanzas which I think ought to be published in no way but by subscription…”
Sam urged Bliss to talk to Cable, even though the literary bonanzas were not “completely ready for the press” [MTP].
February 8 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to contact Jimmy Lewis and then Nat Goodwin about producing the new Sellers play [MTHL 2: 469n2]. Sam had reached the end of his patience with Marshall Mallory.
The thing I had in my mind, when I went to see Nat Goodwin play, was, to offer him the play at one-third of the profits, & we keep the two-thirds. You perceive that the ingenious [Marshall] Mallory has been sent the same idea from on high—for what sufficient service, I would like to know? For risking the amount of capital necessary to start the piece on the boards? I don’t need his help there—neither do I need any of his peculiar book-keeping.
Hang Mallory. Drop him [MTBus 234].
February 9 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells and marked the latter “Private & Confidential.” Howells wrote on Feb. 4 that he’d shown the Sellers play to Marshall Mallory before receiving Sam’s advice to make him wait. Though Sam easily dismissed Mallory’s offer of thirds of the profits to Mallory, the actor, and the writers, Sam’s focus was elsewhere—his relationship with Osgood. Sam was increasingly dissatisfied with Osgood’s efforts to sell LM.
If you still have the Library of Humor in your possession, keep it there, until I tell you otherwise. I will explain when I see you.
Osgood & I have not quarreled, but I think we are pretty completely dissatisfied with each other; & if we are destined to fall out, I will not deliver that book into his hands until the clause in the contract which requires me to pay two-thirds of all losses shall be stricken out. I think that if he were given the copyright on the Bible, his gang are stupid enough to publish it in such a way as to lose money on it [MTHL 2: 468].
Sam also sent $8,000 check to Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers, note not extant but referred to in H&F’s Feb. 11 acknowledgment.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: talk with Jimmy Lewis, actor under Augustin Daly; PS “I will see Goodwin at once” [MTP].
February 10 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, again about Marshall Mallory. Sam seems to have cooled off some from the angry tone of his Feb. 8 letter to Webster.
You may drop a note to Mr. Mallory & say I don’t think the Sellers play would be sufficiently profitable to any of us with the gains divided into thirds. And say to him, likewise I am now writing a new play by myself (while Howells & I are kept asunder by Cable’s illness,) & that if I finish it to my liking maybe we can strike up some terms for it which will be mutually satisfactory. It is a 4-act play, & two acts are nearly done. I think I can finish it in a couple of weeks, but of course I can’t tell for sure. I’m kind of boiling with it, & so it gets on paper pretty fast [MTBus 234].
Samuel Webster, Charles Webster’s son, in Mark Twain Business Man, succinctly expresses the difficulties Sam had placed his father in about stage plays:
“I don’t quite know how the play business was run in those days, and I don’t believe Uncle Sam knew either. He seems to want to begin with the actors before he has a producer, and he has an idea that the producer is going to offer a good price for a play he’s never seen, and he’s not going to let him read it until he gets his terms, and then if he wants to make anything out of it Uncle Sam will tell him where he gets off” [MTBus 235].
George W. Cable had improved, and wrote his wife:
I have seen some friends today who dropped in from church, telling what a fine sermon Mr. Twichell had just preached. First, Mrs. Chas Dudley Warner & then Mr. George Warner. Mrs. Clemens, too, came into my room & Dr. Davis, my physician…
After my dinner I returned to the library & had a long chat with Mark Twain. Now he has gone out with the children for a walk, Mrs. Clemens is upstairs, my nurse lies fast asleep on the lounge just beside me, & all is still. I look out upon the snowy prospect & think of home.
Clemens has finished the play he was writing when I fell ill and has commenced a new work. He is in splendid working trim. I seem to have made great way in the hearts of these dear good people. Clemens, specially, seems to warm to me more & more [Turner, MT & GWC 30]. Note: The plays Sam was working on during this period were Colonel Sellers as a Scientist, and on dramatizations of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and P&P.
Joe Goodman wrote thanking Sam; the “Carson Fossil-Footprints” article arrived in California on Feb. 6. Joe loved the piece:
God bless you for the article!…You evidently do not know how good it is. I never saw anything from your pen that had more broad-gauge fun in it—and with never an intermission from beginning to end. McEwan and Flynn—who make some pretensions to humor—read it separately, and both laughed till they became hysterical.
Joe told Sam of two changes (he called “liberties”) he was making to the MS—placing Sam’s name at the head of it, and spelling out Daggett’s name instead of using initials:
“Daggett has become a public character, and likes to see his name in print in any connection that will give it currency. …I trust you do not grudge him assistance.”
Joe had followed Sam’s career from afar and was prescient about the disposition of HF:
I see by the papers that you are going to write a sequel to “Tom Sawyer” at last. I’ve often wondered why you didn’t do it—it was such a good subject, and so ready to hand. You’re at your best in recalling to your readers recollections of their boyhood, and you left Tom and Huck just at the most interesting period of their lives. I suppose you will let Huck drift West, augment himself, and become a Sagebrush Statesman or hero [MTP].
February 11 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam. He’d sent the “Library of Humor” to Osgood for his evaluation. Howells would be happy to complete his work on the volume and “have it off” his hands. He reported that Mallory had offered only a “widow’s third” of the take from the Sellers as Scientist play, so he felt they should wait for Raymond, “till he has worn out his present success.” He also told of a dream he had which he’d “laid the foundations in a potato salad full of onion” [MTHL 2: 469].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam about their baby, “Olive” (Olivia) being sick all week; more about his work [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote they’d rec’d Sam’s of Feb. 9 with $8,000 check [MTP].
February 12 Tuesday – George W. Cable was well enough for Sam to discharge the private nurse he’d ordered for him [MTHL 2: 471]. Sam telegraphed James B. Pond: “…nothing but the impossible can prevent his being ready for the platform four or five days hence” [MTP].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton on the copyright legislation strategy. Evidently, Hutton had made a stronger case for a different approach, but still one that would require contributors. “You see what Geo. Lathrop says. All right, then, I put up $100 with you & withdraw my proposed plan” [MTP].
February 13 Wednesday – Sam and Cable breakfasted together and spent four hours talking in Sam’s library. It was the first idle day in four weeks, in which time Sam wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer play and made progress on a dramatization of P&P, neither of which he was able to sell [MTHL 2: 471].
Cable wrote to his wife that Sam was “ferocious & funny” when talking of publishers, and that he played the piano “& sang a German song—one that Longfellow has translated—‘O, hemlock tree, O hemlock tree, How faithful are thy branches.’” Cable sang a tenor part “not trying to use the words.”
Then back to our talk and out to the library where Mark proposed a little literary scheme for him & 1 or 3 or 4 others; & when Mrs. Clemens came in at 1 P.M we were still talking…
Mrs. Clemens is reading aloud to Mark & the children. Howard Pyle’s beautiful new version of Robin Hood . Mark enjoys it hugely; they have come to the death of Robin & will soon be at the end [Turner, MT & GWC 31-2]. Note: the “little literary scheme” was a book to be written jointly.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells. He discussed Mallory brothers and Nat Goodwin and noted “Concerning a play, it seems to take longer to hear from New York than from California.” As for Osgood, there was still the matter of the ”Library of Humor,” which Howells answered on Feb. 11 that he’d given to Osgood by Sam’s direction. No matter, Sam responded, Howells had done the work for him, not Osgood.
You have not delivered it to him for PUBLICATION—nobody can do that but me.
But if the work is really FINISHED, don’t take a bit of trouble about it; leave it where it is. It is its own & my protection: it is not usable, for I have not delivered it to him.
But this is all splenetic talk & nonsense, anyway. I have made a contract with him, & will fulfill it or go to hell [470-1].
Sam also wrote to Edgar W. Howe, editor and publisher, author, philosopher and noted “Sage of Potato Hill,” (1853-1937). In 1877, Howe established the Atchison (Kansas) Daily Globe. For nearly half a century, the paper was one of the most widely quoted publications in the country. Sam and Cable had read Howe’s first novel, The Story of a Country Town (1882). Sam praised the book, offered constructive criticism, and expressed a wish that Howe would visit [MTP].
February 14 Thursday – William L. Hughes for A. Hennuyer wrote from Paris that Hennuyer was about to print his translation of TS; he wanted Sam’s “sanction” for TS & also HF; forwarded a copy of Helen’s Babies, a humorous novel by John Habberton (1876) which he said was in the style that the TS would be published [MTP].
February, latter half – Sam made two short trips to New York City during the last half of Feb. He wrote in his notebook to see “Dr. Knapp” and Augustin Daly [MTNJ 3: 46n105]. Sam’s letter of Feb. 18 to Howells states that he “just got home from New York, quite handsomely fagged out” [MTHL 2: 475]. This refers to the trip he made with Cable on Feb. 15 to 18 that follows.
February 15 Friday – George W. Cable and Sam went to New York City [Turner, MT & GWC 33; MTNJ 3: 47n107].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying he’d received Sam’s two letters about Nat Goodwin, who was being considered for the new Sellers play:
I confess that it would be extremely distasteful to me to have my name connected in any way with Goodwin’s. I was willing to consent if he went about under the wing of a respectable hen like the Madison Square management; but I cannot stand the thought of him “on his own hook.” His name has been connected with low flung burlesques, and his family appear before the public habitually in nothing but stockings; at Montreal I saw him in a play so indecent that I was obliged to leave the theatre with Mrs. Howells [MTHL 2: 472].
February 16 Saturday – Sam and George W. Cable dined at the Union League Club with Clarence C. Buel, assistant editor of Century Magazine. They then took a carriage to see General Grant, who was asleep and did not see them. Sam intended to return to Grant’s on Monday, Feb. 18, about a show for relief of the Ohio River floods. The plan included Cable and Henry Ward Beecher providing the entertainment at the Academy of Music in New York City [Turner, MT & GWC 33-4]. Note: Beecher was unavailable.
Sam’s article, “The Carson Fossil-Footprints” ran in The San Franciscan [Camfield, bibliog.]. See Goodman’s Jan. 22, 1884 entry.
James B. Pond and George W. Cable wrote two separate letters in the same enclosure; Pond related that he met “the young man” (Cable) at the depot and that “he ate a tremendous dinner.” Cable sent blessings in a PS [MTP]. Note: Sam later would object to Cable skimping food on his own dime but gorging on others.
February 17 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Augustin Daly. Would Daly consider producing Sam’s dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer? [MTNJ 3: 46n106]. Sam may have left in the evening for New York.
Edgar W. Howe editor of the Atchison (Kansas) Globe wrote long, responding to Sam’s remarks about Howe’s book, The Story of a Country Town [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From the New Author”
February 18 Monday – Sam arrived home from a quick trip to New York City, perhaps staying the night of Feb. 17 there [MTHL 2: 475]. He may have returned to talk to General Grant before leaving the city (see Feb. 16 entry).
He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, enclosing Howells’ Feb.15 letter. Sam directed Webster how to deal with Nat Goodwin:
You need not show the play to Goodwin. Simply tell him Howells objects to changing Sellers name; that Howells has thought the thing over & arrived at the conclusion that it could do no real good to change the name, for the character would remain Sellers. Say I disagree with Howells, but I bow to the decision of course, for he may be right; & is entitled to have his objection respected by me, anyway. …
I have written Howells a letter which will probably make him inextinguishably ashamed of his letter; & of the infantile objection which he makes to Goodwin; & of the preposterous idea that the Mallorys can make a thing or a man respectable where our names couldn’t [MTBus 236].
Sam then wrote to Howells on the matter.
You will not be able to see the force of your objection, if you will look it straight in the face.
It amounts to this: If an actor plays the piece (under our) backed by our names alone, his reputation for indecency will soil us, smirch us.—But if he plays it so, additionally backed by the Mallorys names, that will make everything respectable; we suffer no smirch, because the name of the Mallorys is our protection.
Now the facts are, that you & I are respectable men, & quite well known to be so; whereas, from the Atlantic to the Pacific the Mallorys are just as well known to be thieves & ghouls, cheats & liars [MTHL 2: 473-4].
George W. Cable wrote to Sam, wondering “what has become of Ambulina”—he couldn’t find it anywhere [MTP]. Note: Vic Fischer of the MTP offers: Ambulinia (sometimes called “Ambulina”) is a character in The Enemy Conquered, by Samuel Watson Royston, who Clemens renames “G. Ragsdale McClintock” in his satirical review of the book, “A Cure for the Blues.”
H.B. Vandiver wrote from Weaverville, NC to Sam: “I want you to give me all your works, will you?” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “‘Nicodemus Dodge’ Another Southern beggar”
February 19 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton. He was unable to go to Washington to help with the copyright legislation lobby “but Warner is already there, for a few days, staying with Hawley.” Sam recommended Hutton write Howells, who Sam felt was “the man to go for Hay—pre-eminently.” Sam begged being too busy to write Howells [MTP].
Sometime later this day or the next, Sam and Susy Clemens went to Brooklyn with Twichell.
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, backing off somewhat over the issue of using Nat Goodwin in the new Sellers play. Goodwin had wanted to change the name of Sellers in the play; Howells had seen no sense in that but now was amenable. The fates seemed to be against the two playwrights, or, as Howells put it:
“We seem to be in the hands of Providence—and Raymond, who are probably strong enough to beat us. Why not have Webster let Raymond know that when he has failed with his new piece we are open to propositions?” [MTHL 2: 476].
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam, interested in seeing his play [TS] and do it if suitable [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer bankers & brokers wrote to Sam [MTP].
February 21 Thursday – From Twichell’s journal:
“Thursday M.T. and his Susy, also the artists Miss [Candace] Wheeler and her daughter Dora, dined at D.S’s [Dean Sage] and passed the night—a very pleasant party indeed” [Yale, copy at MTP].
George W. Cable wrote from Hotel Lafayette, Phila. to Sam that he’d found “Ambulina” [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 18 entry.
February 21 Thursday ca. – On Hotel Brunswick stationery, Clemens wrote: “Dear Mr. Daly—Introducing Mr. Webster. / Mark Twain” [MTP].
February 22 Friday – Sam and party moved from Brooklyn to New York. From Twichell’s journal:
“Friday, after a charming morning in Brooklyn (M.T. sang Negro ‘spirituals’ at the piano, deliciously) we went to N.Y. and put up at the Gilsey House” [Yale, copy at MTP].
February 23 Saturday – Kingsland Smith, of St. Paul Roller Mill Co. wrote to Sam that he’d been forced to postpone his visit; he’d rec’d Sam’s “kind note” of Jan. 15; they’d agented their flour in Hartford and sold a car load of it; it was 18 below zero there [MTP]. Note: Sam’s of Jan. 15 not extant.
February 24 Sunday – Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy; their baby Olive was better after someone volunteered to pay for a nurse and going out of the city to find good air; he gave a sheet of expenses [MTP].
February 25 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Josiah H. Gilbert, permitting use of up to 600 words from his “Babies” speech [MTP]. Note: Gilbert may have been the editor of Three Thousand Selected Quotations from Brilliant Writers (1904).
February 26 Tuesday – Howells responded to Sam’s letter of Feb. 18 that he was “down in the dust at the notion” that he’d made Sam “take a journey to New York and back for nothing….” Sam answered:
“Ah, what the reader puts into a letter, that is what said reader finds in it! There couldn’t have been any irascibility in my letter, for the reason that there wasn’t any in me” [MTHL 2: 476].
Sam reported on dramatic royalties he’d found, and said that Mallory had the new Sellers play but Sam had “no faith in his being able to find the right man for it.” He asked if Howells had blocked out the Sandwich Island play (about Ragsdale) .
Sam wrote his regrets to John McK. McCarthy of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, a group founded in Philadelphia in 1771 for relief of Irish emigrants. He would be unable to join them for the Mar. 17 celebration [MTP]. Note: Sam often disparaged the Irish.
On or just after this day, Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond on a Feb. 26 note from Charles Fairchild “Many thanks for the information about the Bad-Boy play—& love to you & Cable [MTP]. Fairchild’s note was about the whereabouts of Cable.
February 27 Wednesday – Augustin Daly turned down Sam’s dramatization of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Daly wrote “I fear that Tom Sawyer would not make a success at my theatre.” He disagreed with Sam that grown ups could play the part of children [MTP]. Webster claims that Sam “seems to have dropped playwrighting at this point” [236-7].
William Dean Howells stopped off briefly for a visit with Sam in Hartford on the way to meet his father in New York. Howells left New York and returned home to Boston on Mar. 1. In New York Howells interviewed Mallory, probably with Webster [MTHL 2: 477, n1-2].
In Hartford, as Sam was finishing a letter to Edward House, Howells arrived. Sam thanked House for a photo of Koto, and related Cable’s sickness and that he’d just gone away.
“Why, man, he made 280 times more fuss over his little pains than you did over your big ones. Lord, if I dared to laugh as I want to laugh—but Mrs. Clemens would kill me” [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Winstead, Conn. advising she’d sent a book of “dialect” stories to Cable at the Clemens home; seeing how he was no longer there would Sam hold the book until she came for it? [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: written to Osgood asking for statement on LM; mixing of ad costs, etc. which were not to be included in statement as Osgood & Co. was to pay for all those [MTP].
February 28 Thursday – Sam wrote to Ainsworth R. Spofford, Librarian of Congress, enclosing $1 fee and asking that the synopsis of his play for “The Prince & Pauper, a romance in 4 Acts” be copyrighted [MTP].
February 29 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster with ideas to discount subscription sales if a buyer bought two or more different books [MTBus 239-40]. He’d been writing “original matter” for L. Prang & Co, a big calendar and Christmas card publisher that used color to spur sales. Sam’s arrangement was to receive ten cents for each dollar calendar sold. Simple, yet Sam saw a loophole that might yield him more:
If Prang is going to have but one price for the calendar, & that price a dollar, it is all right—10 cents to me is correct. But don’t you think there ought to be a clause saying that if he should conclude to charge any higher price for any or all of them, my royalty in that case shall be 10 per cent?
It isn’t the amount of extra money involved that is bothering me particularly—it is the dread of a loose, unclear contract. Carefully look into the thing & get it just right [MTBus 240].
Charles Webster sent telegram: “Will you take one third profits from Malory, or on weekly basis what is your limit” [MTP].
Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, sent a statement of Sam’s balance this date of $10,124.58, with a strip showing each day’s balance in Feb. [MTP].
Worden & Co. Sent a statement showing $3,997.08 balance [MTP].
March – Sam inscribed a copy of Edgar Watson Howe’s The Story of a Country Town (1883): “S.L. Clemens, Hartford, March 1884, Sent by the Author” [Gribben 326].
March 1 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam: bulk of letter is about play negotiations with Marshall Mallory, etc. “Your idea about the three books is certainly good. I will write in a day or two about that” [MTP].
March 2 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote after returning home from New York the day before. He recommended waiting for John T. Raymond, though how long he didn’t know. Should the Mallorys be able to secure Nat Goodwin at $350 or $400 a week, Howells felt they’d be “far better in the long run, even money wise, than if we let the play take its chances with an actor and a temporary combination” [MTHL 2: 477].
March 3 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto, enclosing the Feb. 14 from William L. Hughes, translator.
“Here’s another of those fellows. I’ve told him you have full authority and will answer him. Please do. I’m keeping Huck Finn back till next fall. I found I couldn’t publish it in the spring, there wasn’t time enough left for a long enough canvass” [MTP].
From Twichell’s journal:
“Took the five oldest children, with a dozen or so of their friends, on a sleigh ride, in the evening to Farmington” [Yale, copy at MTP]. Note: Unless he was out of town or sick, Sam wouldn’t miss a sleigh ride with Joe and kids right outside his door. Sam was home.
Henry Irving wrote from Wash. DC, a near illegible note about it being a “burning shame” to have visited Hartford and not to have seen Clemens [MTP].
March 3 or 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote “Mch 3 or 4/84” from Hartford to Charles Webster.
I’ve made my head sore over these dramatic calculations this morning, with the final assistance of the manager of the Opera House, & now I have to give it up. It’s too complicated for me, so let Mallory do the proposing, & we will try to answer….call the lowest figure [net] per week $350. And I think that whenever you & Mallory think you have nearly reached an understanding, you’d better run up here & explain it to me. It will save a world of time [MTBus 241].
March 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, complaining of Webster “writing & telegraphing conundrums…which remain unguessed.” Webster had send a play proposal for a play with Marshall Mallory based on a gross percentage of the take. He also wrote of another sick child.
Susie’s turn. She has had 4 of the most hellfiredest days & nights, now, with the mumps—has suffered 13 times more than Cable did (whose pains lasted but 2 days), & yet has not made as much fuss in the 4 days as he used to make in 15 minutes; though she has shed whole barrels of noiseless tears. She staid in our room last night. None of us slept. I think she & her mother spent the night praying. But I didn’t. Yrs Ever [MTHL 2: 478].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, skeptical that 15% of the gross take on the new Sellers play would be roughly equivalent to a third of the profits. Webster had favored a percentage on the gross, especially after Sam had dictated no deal where the Mallorys could “boss the expenses & make them what they please” [MTBus 240]. “What about the Prince & Tom Sawyer?” Sam asked. He was thinking of sending those plays to England and asked for copies of them [MTBus 241].
Sam also wrote to the Gerhardts, who had written of a sick baby. Sam sympathized. He also wrote “We like your plans, & think they are wise & good.” After discussing letters of credit and uncertainties about which letters had reached them, Sam confided that:
“Susie is racked all to pieces with the mumps—left as a legacy by Mr. Cable; Clara & Jean are now through with the infamous disease” [MTP].
March 6 Thursday – Something had changed Sam’s mind on the calendar work for L. Prang & Co.—perhaps Sam’s questioning of the agreement had made Prang reevaluate the deal and offer Sam a way out; or he added to the work needed for the same price. Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster.
“This is the best luck I’ve had in 7 years. Get the Prang contract canceled, right away—don’t let him change his mind. You can’t imagine what a horrible 3-months’ job it would have been. I wouldn’t sign the Prang contract again, though it offered me ninety per cent” [MTBus 242].
Sam also reminded Webster to get the rest of the money that Osgood owed. “Don’t let him bust on us,” Sam wrote .
George H. Warner wrote from New York, evidently answering Sam’s request about viewing some quilts. Warner described three, and wrote, “I will wait for your telegram tomorrow before going to the auction.” He confessed quilts were out of his line, and wondered what the value of Japanese quilts were [MTP].
March 7 Friday – Sam’s notebook: “Friday in the night, March 7, the telephone went out of service” [MTNJ 3: 48].
An article ran on page 7 in the Brooklyn Eagle, headlined Duncan’s continuing libel suit:
He Disclaims the Article Libeling Captain Duncan
The deposition of Mark Twain was read. He deposed that the article represented as being an interview with him did not even remotely approach correctness. Not one single line as printed was uttered by him
In cross examination Mr. Clemens admits that he was informed that Captain Duncan had lodged information against him for criminal trial. He thought Duncan had full authority on the Quaker City, but did not exercise it. [See the rest of the article for Sam’s interesting cross-examination.]
Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton, inviting him to come and spend the night: “Mr. Irving will lunch at our house Thursday March 13 at 2 p.m. Warner & 3 others & 2 or 3 ladies will be present” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam; checks enclosed for interest on Livy’s western loans; mention of the Duncan suit [MTP].
March 8 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: he retrieved the TS play from Daly; hoped P&P would make a splendid play; looking over Osgood’s statement; referred to Whitford; Prang’s letter enclosed. “In regard to canvassing Huck & Tom both at once would you advise having the covers alike?” [MTP].
March 12 Wednesday – Frank H. Fenno wrote from Altay, NY to ask Clemens for a piece for “Fenno’s Favorites” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Fenno’s book”
March 13 Thursday – The gathering with Henry Irving, the British actor, and the Warners and others at the Clemens home took place at 2 P.M. It is not known if Laurence Hutton attended, and Twichell’s journal does not mention him. (See Mar. 7 entry.)
“H[armony] & I dined at M.T.s (at 2 pm) and met there the English actor Mr. Henry Irving. The company sat long at table and there was most pleasant talk. Mr Irving made himself most agreeable though his manner was very quiet and he had no great facility in conversation…I was sorry not to be able to see him on the stage” [Yale, copy at MTP].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells, but made no mention of the gathering.
I have been dead to all interests of this life for 5 days with an unspeakable cold in the head; so I don’t know what’s been going on. I haven’t seen any mention of the Prince & Pauper, but I take said mention to mean that Webster & Mallory have come to a conclusion of some sort or other concerning Col. Sellers, for the reason that Webster was not to let Mallory see the P&P or talk any business about it until the Sellers matter should be disposed of. Webster wanted to come up & report a day or two ago, but I telegraphed him to come tomorrow [MTP].
March 14 Friday – Charles Webster arrived in Hartford and conferred on the agreement reached with Marshall Mallory [Mar. 13 & 15 to Howells].
March 15 Saturday – Sam telegraphed from Hartford to Howells about the new Sellers play. Webster had negotiated with Marshall Mallory on the matter and brought the results to Sam:
“MALLORY IS SICK AND CANNOT TALK BUSINESS BUT HE BADLY WANTS THE THING AND HAS NOT OBJECTED TO THE TERMS REQUIRED SL CLEMENS” [MTHL 2: 479].
March 16 Sunday – Worden & Co. wrote to Clemens a statement of stock purchase [MTP].
William M. Laffan for The New York Sun wrote to introduce Mr. Garrett Serviss, an astronomer, who was to lecture in Hartford next Thursday [MTP].
March 18 Tuesday – James R. Osgood wrote & replied to Sam’s request for $5,000; he’d ordered a detailed accounting to Webster [MTP].
Chatto & Windus wrote from London that they knew William L. Hughes (… “a very decent sort of person and an old correspondent of ours”) and had written him that “authors sanction is worth something and should be paid for.” They suggested if he paid 30p (pounds?) for the French translation of HF then Clemens would not press for payment of TS translation. They were anxious to get some sheets of HF to canvass with [MTP].
March 19 Wednesday – Susy Clemens’ twelfth birthday. Sam gave her a copy of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King and inscribed it: “Susie Clemens / from her father / March 19 ’84” [Gribben 693].
Karl Gerhardt wrote a postcard: “We have 12 days more in which to finish our group, so I will write at the end of that time. Your last letter rcd yesterday, all love to you all” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Osgood’s last statement “at last intelligible”; things there don’t belong; clarified with Osgood that advertising was to be paid by Osgood; other details about Osgood and paying Sam the balance owed; Set of William Cullen Bryant and Sydney Howard Gay’s A Popular History of the United States shipped to Sam [MTP].
March 20 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James R. Osgood, acknowledging receipt of $5,000. Sam matched the amount and “paid off that old endorsement”—probably settling accounts on LM, which Sam had agreed to produce at his cost, with a royalty going to Osgood. He encouraged a prize for subscription sellers who reached 400 sales of LM. Sam was also afflicted:
“Publicly, I’m confined to the house with rheumatism; but under the holy seal of secrecy I reveal to you that it is gout. I suppose this comes of high living when I was a boy—corn-dodgers and catfish. / Yrs Truly SLC” [MTLTP 167].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking him to send him an unbound copy of Bayard Taylor’s translation of Göthe’s Faust. Sam wanted to divide it into 100-page sections to read in bed [MTP].
In Boston, Howells wrote a short note to Sam, asking whether he wanted him to see John T. Raymond again. Sam had had a cold and Howells assumed that it had worsened, which is why he hadn’t answered his last letter [MTHL 2: 480].
March 21 Friday – James R. Osgood wrote (twice) to Clemens: first: sorry for Sam’s affliction, whether gout or rheumatism; “Webster is going through that prize question when he comes. We will send you acceptances when we arrive at the balance.” Second note: Chatto & Windus had written asking progress on HF; “Shall I reply to this, and if so, how?” [MTP].
H.B. Vandiver (“Nick Dodge”) wrote from Weaverville, NC to again pester Clemens to send him all of his books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “fool”
March 22 Saturday – Sam purchased a 4-volume set of William Cullen Bryant and Sydney Howard Gay’s A Popular History of the United States (1876-81) [Gribben 108].
Nicholas Wolff wrote from NYC for autograph and brief sketch of Sam’s life [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Good lord! Impudent auto hunter”
March 23 Sunday – Edgar W. Howe wrote to ask Sam for the addresses of “a dozen or more of the principal book writers” whom Sam esteemed, including Cable, Eggleston, Howells, etc.” [MTP].
March 24 Monday – T.F. Plunkett wrote to Clemens: “You didn’t invite me to your Irving lunch, but I forgive you and would like you to meet Mr & Mrs Florence here 11 pm Thursday, charm & oysters” [MTP].
March 25 Tuesday – Kate D. Barstow wrote from Wash. DC, what is now a very faded letter. She mentions having sent him invitations to Howard College of Medicine’s graduation exercises but received no congrats. Thanked him for his financial support [MTP].
March 26 Wednesday – James R. Osgood wrote to Clemens.
Mr. Webster has shown us my letter of Apl. 5, 1882 proposing the terms of 71/2% for the first 50,000 copies, and agreeing to exempt you from the working expenses of the book….We have therefore agreed with Mr. Webster that we will assume these charges.
The two other items alluded to in his letter, viz. Anthony’s time, and the losses by bad debts are properly chargeable to you both equitably and by understanding. …
As to the losses, you must remember that I told you we could not be responsible for any losses on a 5% commission, to which you acceded. I said we would administer the book to the best of our ability as against loss, and I think that the amount is pretty small considering the magnitude of the transaction [MTP].
March 27 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster objecting to costs charged by someone named Anthony for looking over HF and suggesting illustrations, something he felt the artist should do. He directed Webster to find out how many hours and the rate per hour charged and for what work. Sam added:
“It isn’t worth while for Osgood to write me on isolated details—he can lay all his objections before me at one & the same time, through you when you come back here” [MTBus 246]. Note: Disagreements over costs incurred on the production and sale of LM led Sam to disengage from Osgood and form Webster & Co. as his own publisher. He would later advise the Elmira Herald:
“I am Webster & Co., myself, substantially” [MTLTP 169]. Note: See July 6 entry.
March 28 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edgar W. Howe, who had evidently written for addresses:
“Care of the Century, Union Square, New York” will fetch half of them; “Care of the Atlantic, 4 Park street Boston,” will fetch the other half. [He also added individual addresses for Aldrich, Cable, Uncle Remus (Harris), Col. George E. Waring and Col. T.W. Higginson of Newport, R.I, John Hay, Cleveland, Ohio, Willie Winter, N.Y. Tribune and Edmund C. Stedman, care of the Century] [MTP].
Henri Gauthier-Villars (1859-1931) wrote to convey an episode about late night laughter coming from the room next to his, in the small town of Darmstadt. Upon investigating he discovered his “old friend Will” was reading a book (not specified) signed by Mark Twain.
Since that evening, Sir, I have learned to know you like Willy, I have devoured the handkerchiefs; like Willy I have rolled on my bed, but I have wanted to do more than him, and I tried to explain in some pages that I published why your humor has pleased the French so much, just like your own countrymen, “laughter is the nature of man” [MTP].
Note: Henri is now best known as the first husband to Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (1873-1954), successful French novelist (notably Gigi). Henri published Mark Twain this year; Clemens was aware of the book (see Apr. 22 to Aldrich). Ironically, Henri published over 50 novels under the pseudonym “Willy.” In fact, his mention of “Willy” in this letter may have been a thinly veiled reference to himself and an attempt to publicize his book on Twain. No reply to Henri is extant.
J. Hyatt Smith wrote a fan letter from Brooklyn to Clemens with request for autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “P.S. Good / J. Hyatt Smith”
William Dean Howells wrote to Sam: “Here is the grand result of my negotiation, I always knew that business was my forte. / I simply answered that the terms did not differ from those proposed to Mr. Webster last autumn, and it was useless to submit them to you. / Of course I gave Raymond no points [? Prints] of the play. / Yours ever… [Vassar copy at MTP].
March 29 Saturday – Sam forwarded Howells’ note to Charles Webster, about failure to get John T. Raymond for the new Sellers play. Howells suggested changing Sellers name. Sam replied he would make the changes and wanted Webster to answer Howells.
“I am willing to do anything, I care not WHAT it is. Tell him our talk about Raymond’s proposal” [MTP].
George W. Cable wrote a rather silly letter to “implore you for your autograph” [MTP].
Bloodgood H. Cutter wrote from Little Neck, Long Island, enclosing a pink printed poem about the Bartholdi Statue (base for the Statue of Liberty). He asked for an autograph & recalled the Quaker City voyage [MTP].
Richard Smith Elliot wrote from St. Louis to Clemens, enclosing a printed circular with letters from several men including Gen. Sherman. He was too poor to send Sam his book, Notes Taken in Sixty Years but hoped Sam would buy it and let him know what he thought [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Nonsense”
Lucius Seth Huntington wrote from NYC to Clemens, recalling “one of the most distinguished acts of my life was presiding at the dinner given you in Montreal in 1881.” He asked if he might use photos given of the Clemens girls in a book he was writing of a “lost child” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answer Huntington / Yes”
George P. Lathrop wrote asking for autograph[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Joke from Lathrop”; part of the April Fool’s joke instigated by Cable.
Osgood & Co. wrote to Clemens, letter accompanying check for $2,500 [MTP].
March 30 Sunday – Daniel C. French wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for autograph
Dr. John S. Billings wrote from Wash DC to ask for auto & photo Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Dr. Billings .Apl fool”
Francis D. Millet wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for auto
Gerald Massey wrote from Springfield, Mass. to thank him for his contribution to his “little fund.” He was to lecture there on Wednesday then head to S.F. [MTP].
Effie B. Waring wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for auto; a full set of his books with his name in each.
Dean Sage wrote asking for autograph for a young lady [MTP].
George E. Waring wrote to Clemens [MTP]. April fool request for autograph
March 31 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster, seeking the man who would be hired as the illustrator for Huckleberry Finn, Edward Windsor Kemble (1861-1933). Sam had seen Kemble’s work in Life magazine, at the time an illustrated comic weekly. He especially liked Kemble’s cartoon, “Some Uses for Electricity” [Oxford MT edition of HF, 1996, after-notes by Beverly David & Ray Sapirstein].
“Is that artist’s name Kemble?—I can not recall that man’s name. Is that it?…That is the man I want to try….Osgood has sent me $2500” [MTBus 246].
These subscribed to George W. Cable’s “April Fools” joke (see Apr. 1 entry), writing to Clemens: Lillian W. Aldrich; Thomas Bailey Aldrich; William S. Andrews; Charles Y. Beach; Moses S. Beach; Henry Ward Beecher; William Constantine Beecher; Hjalmar Boyesen; Noah Brooks; Clarence C. Buel; Henry C. Bunner; William Carey; Robert J. Collier; Charles C. Duncan; Austin C. Dunham; Frank J. Eakins; George Cary Eggleston; Charles S. Fairchild; Mary Fiske; Charles Frohman (1860-1915); Daniel Frohman; R.S. Gifford; Jeannette L. Gilder; John E. Gowers; Julian Hawthorne; John M. Hay; Andrew Hendman; Joseph Howard; Joseph Hutton; Laurence Hutton; Henry Irving; Robert U. Johnson; Clara L. Kellogg; Jane E. Kellogg; Horatio C. King; John C. Kinney; Thomas Wallace Knox; Charles M. Leoser; D.G. MacNeill; Brander Matthews; Elizabeth M. Millet; Henry L. Pierce; T.F. Plunkett; James B. Pond; Nella B. Pond; Ozias W. Pond; Quixote de la Mancha; Rossiter Worthington Raymond; H. Robinson; Napoleon Sarony; Horace E. Scudder; Wesley Sisson; Francis Hopkinson Smith; Edmund C. Stedman; Ellen Terry; Charles Watrous; Charles G. Whiting; Della Young [MTP]. Note: many of these letters were outrageous requests for autographs, letters, pieces of writing, appearances, and the like. They are not included here due to space restrictions.
Statement from Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, shows Sam’s balance $10,176.89; interest pd this date $52.31; balance Mar. 1 $10,124.58 [MTP].
April – On an unknown date in April, Sam telegraphed Howells that Webster had gone to Providence to make John T. Raymond another offer to take the new Sellers play [MTHL 2: 482]. The communications between Sam, Howells, Webster, and Raymond took place over several months. More certain success rested with Raymond, who’d been successful as Sellers in the past. It was considered by Howells to change the Sellers name and to secure another actor.
April ca. – Sam wrote on a Monday to Charles Webster about his planned stage play of TS.
I want Louis Aldrich to play Tom Sawyer’s part, & Parsloe to play Huck Finn.
How does that strike you? I think it would be a strong team—& have all the boys & girls played by grown people [MTBus 232].
April 1 Tuesday – George W. Cable, in a stunt “to pay off his debt of gratitude for his recent entertainment in the Clemens’s home,” [MTB 768-70] arranged for 150 friends of Sam’s to write him on April Fool’s Day requesting his autograph. The MTP has a copy of the formal flyer Cable had printed, sent to “150 persons of the literary and journalistic guild, in Boston, Hartford, Springfield, New York, Brooklyn, Washington and other cities.” Some of those who responded requested quite specific needs for poetry, original sentiment, chapters copied from his books, etc. Powers observes:
“Clemens, notoriously thin-skinned about jokes at his expense, elected to be amused, and the friendship [with Cable] solidified” [MT, A Life 485]. (See Mar. 31 and below for list.)
Twichell wrote about the joke:
“This amiable ‘April Fool’ proved very successful. A large number of letters and some telegrams came from the literary folk and many of them were of charming wit. M.T. was pleased with the joke, and well he might be, for it was a great compliment” [Yale, Copy at MTP].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Andrew Chatto about securing Canadian copyright and sending “early sheets” of Huck Finn. “…we shall have this book in type & printed, many months before we issue it” [MTP].
More of Cable’s “April Fools” joke wrote to Sam: J.W. Beach; Stephen Fiske; Henry P. Gray (telegram); Celeste A. Hendricks; Charles de Kay; Sara T. Kennedy; E.K. Lockwood; Helena Modjesky; G.W. Sheldon for New York Commercial Advertising (telegram); Ellen D. Stedman; Virginia Waring; Charles Dudley Warner [MTP].
April 3 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: enclosed Am. Exchange stock; Hooper, artist for Life and the Graphic, “a very cheap man” so he gave him 2 chapters on trial to illustrate; Edward W. Kemble quoted $1200; offered to bring drawings up Mon or Tues to see who they would hire [MTP].
April 5 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Gerhardts, advising when they return to America, to make some connection with Augustus Saint-Gaudens or John Quincy Adams Ward [MTP].
Sam’s letter to Karl Gerhardt was sold at auction by Sotheby’s on June 19, 2003, and this addition expands the short explanation at the MTP:
A lengthy letter in which Clemens gives the artist advice:
So the long letter which I wrote at the time the new letter of credit went, never reached you, & I must write it over again. It’s hard luck, for you know letter-writing & tooth-ache rank together in my affections. The new letter finishes the stipulated sum, & so I wanted you to so plan that half of it would be left for you to get home on, in case you decided to come home. If I may advise, I would strongly advise that you now write A. St. Gaudens & V.Q.A. Ward, & ask them if they can give you employment in New York. If they can & will, that is a certainty; it is sure bread & butter I have talked with Warner, & the above is what he suggested. He said it was the course which Ward followed when he returned from his European studies: he worked in a New York sculptor’s studio for wages until he became able to set up for himself. Warner says there is a world of work in this country of a modest sort soldier-monuments, portrait busts, &c humble work, maybe, but affording plenty of bread & butter; & that for this reason New York is probably a better field than Paris for a beginner. [Y]ou must not take [this] as anything weightier than a suggestion. You ought, & must, do the thing which shall seem wisest & best to you. Keep us informed of your movements & purposes, & always let us know when we can help you in any way. I am broken in upon by an irritating telephonic message from Meriden which has taken the last rag of patience out of me & raised my temper to feverheat; & so I need not try to finish my letter. Imagine all I would say that is loving & kind & pleasant, & believe that you will still fall short of the affectionate regard in which I hold you. [Sotheby’s Lot 57].
The New York Critic reported the April Fool’s joke of 150 notables writing for Sam’s autograph [Tenney 13].
Henry G. Carleton wrote on Life note paper: “I know you are in need of something soothing and emollient….I send you the accompanying copy of my great humorous work” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: he asked him to write to Howells, whom he suspected thought Sam was offended at him; trouble obtaining Bayard Taylor’s translation of Goethe’s Faust: more on hiring an illustrator—did Sam want him to run up with specimens Tuesday? [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam and Livy: more about his work which he hoped to send photos of, and of still being torn about going to Florence to study, which meant he’d have to leave Josie & the baby behind [MTP].
April 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, telling him to “come up & bring the pictures.” He also directed that a cloth P&P and a cloth LM be sent to Mrs. Olmsted’s Southern school or charity [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Sam: “Your failure to reply to my urgent telegraphic request for your autograph I can only account for by my forgetting to enclose a postage stamp.” He pasted in a used stamp from Persia! [MTP].
April 7 Monday – Celeste A. Hendricks wrote from Boston, thanking Sam for his of Apr. 3. “I talked with Mr. Marshall about it and he advised me to go and see you and state my case. / As soon as I have read before critics and managers—I hope to write you again” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “This fool again”
Gracie Stearnes wrote from Burlington, Ia. to ask for an autograph on a piece of Sam’s clothing! This for a quilt she was making [MTP]. Note: The letter may have been a spoof April Fool’s sent late, or a ruse, as the hand is quite fine for an 8 year old girl.
April 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells.
“It took my breath away, & I haven’t recovered it yet, entirely—I mean the generosity of your proposal to read the proofs of Huck Finn” [MTP].
This offer may have been made in a letter to Webster now lost. Powers claims Howells had used the wrong word, “proofs” when he offered to read the Huck Finn manuscript, not meaning “galley proofs” but a typewritten version of Sam’s copy [MT A Life 483]. Nevertheless, Howells did the work.
Sam also reported that Webster had ironed out a contract with the Lowentraut Co. in Newark for production of 60 dozen pairs of the grape-shears invented by Howells’ father (by year’s end Howells had not sold a dozen pairs). Though burdened by “the dam gout & …too much insulted by it & annoyed by it to write” Sam wrote that he was better, and that he was “loafing—loafing all the time—& enjoying it” [MTHL 2: 482-3¬es].
April 10 Thursday – Sam wrote from New York City to Thomas Bailey Aldrich about being unable to come to Boston until Thursday next, due to a dinner invitation for Wednesday (Apr. 16), but would plan on being at the Aldrich home about 4 PM on that day [MTP]. Sam purchased a copy of Faust. A Tragedy, translated by Bayard Taylor (1879) [Gribben 264].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about reading his Huck Finn proofs:
It is all perfectly true about the generosity, unless I am going to read your proofs from one of the shabby motives which I always find at the bottom of my soul if I examine. But now, it seems as if I were glad of the notion of being of use to you; and I shall have the pleasure of admiring a piece of work I like under the microscope [MTHL 2: 484]. Note: this suggests Howells read a draft of the book previously, perhaps on his short stop at Sam’s on Feb. 27.
Hubbard & Farmer per Babcock wrote to advise they’d purchased 200 shares of stock totaling $17,225 [MTP].
April 12 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, in a rather scolding tone:
“The book is to be issued when a big edition has been sold—& not before…Now write it up somewhere, & keep it in mind; & let us consider that question settled, and done with…Write it up, & don’t forget it any more” [MTBus 248].
Sam sent the Huck Finn manuscript and wrote, “Let Kemble rush—time is already growing short.” He warned that Osgood had:
“fooled away no end of time on his canvassing book, & then got out one that was eminently calculated to destroy the sale (for LM)” . Note: Canvassing books were pre-publication mock-ups of the finished book, with some illustrations and excerpts, used by subscription salesmen.
April 14 Monday – Sam gave a reading of an unfinished paper to be completed by each member at the Hartford Monday Evening Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 656].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster about issuing HF, repeating his mantra that “we don’t issue till we have made a big sale,” 40,000 copies sold before publication. Canvass early, “drive it with all your might” and aim for Dec. 10 or 15 for the Christmas market [MTLTP 173]. Note: Sam still planned on publishing “1002d Arabian Night,” but anonymously, and in a cheap, “15 or 20 cent form” . Sam’s adamant stance on subscription sales was based on a faulty understanding of Bliss’ practices.
Sam also wrote a short note to George P. Lathrop of the Kinsmen Club (see Mar. 1883 entry):
“Nothing in the world would suit the undersigned better, but alas it may not be, as I am a guest in Boston on said date. With love to the Kinsmen & their illustrious guest, Truly Yours, S.L. Clemens” [MTP].
H.B. Vandiver wrote from Weaverville, NC to Sam having read of Cable’s April fool’s joke. He too wanted an autograph. He admitted to being 18 and “something of a ‘galoot’” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Read this some time or other”—not relating to anything in the letter but perhaps the letter itself.
April 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Henry G. Carleton (unidentified). Evidently Carleton had sent Sam a story for evaluation.
“In my opinion isn’t mainly a ‘humorous work’ at all…it is a fine & stately & beautiful tragedy” [MTP].
Sam also wrote a paragraph to his mother, Jane Clemens:
“…there was nothing new to report…though Jean is still in the doctor’s hands—though nothing serious. [They would go to Elmira] a little before the middle of June [and] shall go to-morrow & do a couple more [days shopping] in Boston” [MTP].
Sam also wrote a short note to Charles Webster to send the Chicago Press Club “a full set of my several books” [MTP].
George W. Cable wrote to Clemens:
“Dear Saint Mark: / I have submitted our project of one story five times told by 5 authors, to Roswell Smith & Gilder & they are charmed with the scheme & have taken it up. Don’t let it out. You will hear from them. I passed through Hartford yesterday, and longed to stop—knowing how badly you want to see me” [MTP].
April 16 Wednesday – In his letter to Aldrich of Apr. 10, Sam cited a dinner engagement with that he and Livy could not get out of for this evening, where they were to “meet some strangers who will be unmeetable later.”
Sam wrote a one-liner to Charles Webster: “Find out where Parsloe is, & drop a line & tell him I’ve got a play to show him which may possibly suit him & Louis Aldrich” [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Clemens about Cable and his idea for the five stories told by five authors. He suggested Clemens, Cable, Howells, Aldrich, Henry James, Joel Chandler Harris, Eggleston, Constance F. Woolson, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Maurice Thompson, Saxe Holme—this group, six to be chosen and if declines others asked. He added Frank R. Stockton in a PS [MTP].
April 17 Thursday – Sam and Livy were scheduled to travel to Boston on this day and be entertained at the Aldrich home (see Apr. 10 entry). They may have gone on Apr. 16 as Sam wrote to his mother, Jane Clemens, on Apr.15. See Apr. 22 for Twichell’s journal entry for Apr. 17.
Hubbard & Farmer per Way wrote advise of selling 100 shares of St. Paul at 86 & 1/8 [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: about finding actors; starting Kemble with the drawings; details of printing HF; cover design questions to be decided, color, etc. [MTP].
April 17 to April 19 Saturday – Sam and Livy spent “a day or two in Boston” [Apr. 20 letter to Howe].
April 18 Friday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: rec’d MS all right (HF?); unable to find Parsloe or Aldrich; Osgood was there, Howells the next day [MTP].
April 19 Saturday – Lucius Seth Huntington wrote to Clemens, more about her book of the lost child. She asked for a letter from him to any press people, and she’d send him advance sheets [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Let press people alone / troublesome Huntington”
April 20 Sunday – Back home in Hartford, Sam wrote to Edgar W. Howe, reporting that Howells was “drunk with admiration of your book,” The Story of a Country Town (1883).
“As T.B. Aldrich was present during one whole evening [on the recent trip to Boston], & had to listen to so much talk about a book which he has not seen, he naturally got pretty well filled up with curiosity” [MTP].
Note: Evidently, Howe had sent Howells the book thinking he was still the editor of the Atlantic, but not realizing that Aldrich had taken that post. Send him a book, directed Sam. At one time, The Story was listed as one of America’s top ten novels, yet was rejected by several publishers. Howe finally printed the first edition in his shop.
In a short article on page 10 of the Brooklyn Eagle, George W. Cable revealed the genesis for the April Fool’s day autograph joke he recently played on Sam:
CABLE NEWS FOR MARK TWAIN
“The autograph joke came into my head last February, when I was sick at Mark Twain’s house. Mark and I used to open our budget of letters together at breakfast. We had a good many. Nearly every morning Mark would slug out, ‘Say, George, here’s an autograph hunter,’ and a moment later I would echo his remark, as I found a correspondent asking for my sign manual. From this time the idea of the joke may have sprung. My most enthusiastic ally was the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, who loves a practical joke better than his dinner.”
“Will Mark Twain get even with you?”
“If he lives he will.”—Interview with George W. Cable.
April 21 Monday – George E. Waring wrote to ask Sam to send him a copy of “Ambulina” [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 18 entry on Ambulina.
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: enclosed letter (not specified); agreement with Osgood for rent; several drawings—should he send them? Raubs trial and their subpoena as a witness; Howells was there—was he to have carte blanche in making changes? suggested “omit that old Mississippi matter” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Old Raft matter. / answered / About Howells – Huck Finn”
April 22 Tuesday – From Hartford Sam replied to Charles Webster’s Apr. 21. He wanted the raft chapter, which was used in LM, “left wholly out” of HF. He badgered Webster about getting official pledges, called “acceptances” out of Osgood for money owed. He wanted pictures for HF sent “by batches of half a dozen or more,”; he wanted “Howells to have carte blanche in making corrections”; and lastly, that a proposed book by Howells wait till after Huck Finn was out, because “thanks to Mr. Osgood, spare cash is main scarce” [MTBus 250].
Sam also wrote to Thomas Aldrich that he’d “never had a more enjoyable visit” than his recent to Boston and stay at the Aldrich home. Sam wrote that Mrs. Aldrich had offered “right & true hospitality, which permits slippers, & general laxity, & unspeakable comfort.” Clemens also wrote:
Look you, sirrah, Mrs. Clemens left that French ‘Mark Twain’ up stairs in the bedroom, at last, instead of packing it. Will you kindly be so good as to put it in a trunk & tie it up & ship it down to me by Adams’ Express, charges paid? (I enclose) That’s a good boy. I will say something fine about you to the Frenchman. I will say it in French [MTP]. Note: Sam signed this letter: S.L.C.M.T. “The Frenchman” was Henri (Willy) Gauthier-Villars, publisher of Mark Twain this year.
The Hartford Courant, page 2 with editorial articles, ran an article, “Mark Twain’s Search for a Rare Book,” which Twichell called “a substantially correct statement of facts” concerning Sam’s search for The Enemy Conquered, a Love Triumphant, by a young Southern writer, Samuel Watson Royston (1845).
The “book” was a 31-page pamphlet with a most melodramatic story, and on Jan. 29 Sam asked Webster to find him a copy. Sam thought it so rare as to be unavailable, and must have mentioned his frustration to Twichell. Remembering a friend who owned a bookstore, Twichell made inquiries and found a huge pile of the work about to be destroyed. He bought six of the pamphlets and on his next visit to Sam’s (on Apr. 17) casually asked what he would pay for a copy. Sam was reported to have answered, “Any amount! It cannot be had.” Joe then presented six copies and dropped the idea that he could easily obtain a hundred more if desired [Twichell’s journal, Apr. 17 entry, Yale, copy at MTP].
April 24 Thursday – Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Clemens with Mrs. Burnett’s suggestion about the story project (5 tales from 5 authors) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “My skeleton novelettes”
April 25 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster. He planned to go to New York City “next Tuesday” (Apr. 29) and stay at the Brunswick Hotel. He wanted Webster to either meet him there or at Laurence Hutton’s in the evening. Sam enclosed 300 shares of Oregon Trans-Continental stock, which he eventually took a huge loss on. Sam bought it at 73 and it was now worth only 15 or 16.
Dean Sage bought it for me a year ago, just as I had sworn off permanently from stocks (speculative ones.) It went up to 98—he was very sick at the time, & so gave no orders to sell, & so I got caught.
Ask Sage if he can help you to any points. If he can’t, go ahead & keep it or sell it, just as you please. I am perfectly indifferent as to what figure you sell at, or how long you keep it. I’ve had enough, & don’t wish to ever look at a stock report again [MTBus 250-1].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens with an announcement of his work at a salon. “We are all well and hope you have not lost all of your faith in us?” Announcement enclosed (in French) with two of Karl’s work written in, one in marble [MTP].
Edgar W. Howe sent Clemens a printed flyer with Howells’ and Twain’s recommendations of his book. See insert [MTP].
April 26 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: office stationery printed; would hold the drawings for him to see on Tuesday; Howells suggestion to print a book “about the adventures of a young country boy in Boston” in the fall; paper costs; Osgood money; office rent contract; Raubs trial postponed [MTP].
April 27 Sunday – Roswell Smith wrote to Clemens about a farm house in Simsbury, Conn. for Cable to rent at $350 per year [MTP].
April 27 to May 4 Sunday – In his May 4 letter to the Gerhardts, Sam wrote:
“…Twichell & I have been breaking our necks & bones all the past 7 days trying to learn to ride the bicycle—but we have acquired the art, now, & shan’t break anything more” [MTP]. (See May 4 entry.)
Sam wrote to Edward H. House about his bicycle experiences and considered sending the article to the New York Sun [MTNJ 3: 55n123]. (See May 23 to, for the continued struggle with bicycles.)
Note: Fatout reports a speech to the Banquet of Wheelmen in Springfield, Mass., as “September 16 or 17, 1884,” but Sam was in Elmira with a sick wife on those days; no evidence was found of a trip to Springfield that fall. In the short speech, which may never have been given, Sam cited May 10 as the day he mounted “a bicycle for the first time “of the present year” . His May 4 letter to Gerhardt puts it at least two weeks earlier, so it may be that Sam wrote the piece late in the year and did not recall the exact date.
April 28 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Charles Webster, directing him to call at Laurence Hutton’s “Wednesday morning, & walk up to the station with me….Remind me to give you all of Huck Finn that Howells has revised for the artist & printer” [MTBus 251].
Sam presented an unfinished paper to the Monday Evening Club; the idea being for each member to complete the paper as he thought best. This was Sam’s ninth presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club].
On or after this day Sam wrote to Josephine Beemer per Frederick J. Hall. The woman was looking for “Wan Lee the Pagan,” a story she thought Sam wrote, but it was one of Bret Harte’s [MTP].
Sam purchased Edmund William Gosse’s Thomas Gray from the English Men of Letters Series [Gribben 269].
Sam left for New York City and stayed at the Brunswick Hotel [MTBus 251].
Josephine Beemer wrote to ask where she might find his story, “Wan Lee the Pagan” [MTP]. Note: this was Bret Harte’s tale.
George MacDonald wrote from Bordighera, Italy to ask: “Would it be of any use to attempt a lecture in Hartford in the month of October?” [MTP].
April 29 Tuesday – Sam gave a speech at a breakfast for Edwin Booth in New York City [Fatout, MT Speaking 656]. He likely spent the night at Laurence Hutton’s house, for he’d directed Webster to meet him there at 9 AM the next morning [MTBus 251].
April 30 Wednesday – Sam wrote two notes to Charles Webster (possibly the planned meeting for this day did not take place). He wanted to retrieve the P&P dramatization from Marshall Mallory and didn’t “want any nonsense out of that man” [MTBus 251]. His second note directed a sale of “that stock at 20” [MTP].
Sam inscribed Mark Twain’s (Burlesque) Autobiography to Laurence Hutton: “This space reserved for a sentiment, when one shall occur to the undersigned / Truly Yours S.L. Clemens— Apl. 30/84” [MTP].
Statement from Hubbard & Farmer, bankers & brokers, shows Sam’s balance: “$27,490.24; int 88.35; activity apr 12, 15, 21; on hand 200 St. Paul; 200 Mo Pac” [MTP].
May 1 Thursday – Sam and Charles Webster executed “some kind of informal agreement concerning the publication of Huckleberry Finn” [MTLTP 169]. Sam would be his own publisher, through Webster. The Charles L. Webster & Co. was created as a new subscription publishing house during May [Emerson 153].
May 3 Saturday – Hubbard & Farmer per Way bankers & brokers advised stock purchases [MTP].
May 4 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to the Gerhardts in Paris, France. Sam disclosed the family wouldn’t be traveling to Europe this year—pleading poverty.
We have made but few investments in the last few years which have not turned out badly. Our losses during the past three years have been prodigious.
Sam sent their love with the Twichells who would “sail for Europe June 14 (Julia doesn’t go)”. The rest of the letter is praise for the Gerhardt’s artwork, especially a work called “The Echo” [MTP]. Note: this “Echo” may have been Hattie’s painting, but Karl Gerhardt did a statuette by the same name which was placed on exhibition at Vorce’s in Hartford [Courant Feb. 7, 1885 p.1].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about the P&P play, which Howells thought was “not more than half long enough,” needing more “fill in from the book with more life and incident.” He offered to show it to the Boston Museum Theatre people, but was convinced he knew what their answer would be [MTHL 2: 485].
May 5 Monday ca. – In his Autobiography, Sam gives “about the 5th of May” as the date “the crash came and several Grant families found themselves absolutely penniless” from the fraud of “a brisk young man by the name of Ferdinand Ward” [MTA 1: 29-30]. This event would greatly affect Sam’s life.
Worden & Co. wrote to Sam on his account [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote about business: Marshall Mallory appointment; play sent to Howells; John T. Raymond written to; Sample cover for HF sent; Chatto sent acceptance of terms on HF [MTP].
May 6 Tuesday – Howells had received and read Sam’s dramatization of P&P and wrote on May 4 that it was “altogether too thin and slight.” He felt Sam needed to fill in more from the book and that overall it was too short, and “the parlance is not sufficiently ‘early English’.” Sam replied:
“Well, then, some day I’ll try to remedy the play, but I’d rather take a dose of medicine. I am greatly obliged to you for reading it & telling me” [MTHL 2: 486].
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Parish B. Johnson, probably from his Nevada days.
My Dear Warrior— / I remember when you went away soldiering—as Captain, I think—& I also remember the mountain-mahogany beef & the cobblestone biscuits, & a number of the boarders. But a charitable Deity, overlooking services shirked, & other sins, has permitted me to forget the rest of the belongings of that boarding house & our sojourn in it…The life out there had its pleasant side, but it was the side that was outside Mrs. Doyle’s hashery [MTP]. Note: There is a record of Parish B. Johnson resigning as a 2nd lieutenant from the army on Dec. 20, 1863, as well as a member by that name in the Washington State 1st Biennial Legislature at Walla Walla (Ed: the town so well liked it was named twice) in 1867.
Sam also wrote a short note to Roswell Smith, editor and owner of Century: “I hunted up the house, along with my wife and we liked it immensely…I’ll retire to my den & my repose again” [MTP]. Note: the house in question was for George W. Cable to rent in Simsbury, Conn.
May 7 Wednesday – Sam had received and approved of the cover for HF. He wrote from Hartford to Webster of his approval, with one detail: “the boy’s mouth is a trifle more Irishy than necessary.” Edward W. Kemble had been chosen as the artist for the book and had to rework many illustrations from such objections [MTLTP 174]. As always, Webster handled the details and the dirty work.
May 8 Thursday – Charles A. Dana for The New York Sun wrote: “There is no use talking. I don’t see any way but for you to write me two or three short stories not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece. As for pay I will agree that you shall have more than you ever got and you can print them in a book as much as you like afterwards” and “I have got Henry James and Bret Harte, and I must have you” [MTP].
May 9 Friday – Lorenz Rohr (1846-1902) editor of the Kansas Freie Presse wrote to Sam, sending him a translation of the song, “Lorelei” [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on May 12. He wrote on the env., “Another Lorelei ass.”
May 10 Saturday – Sam had not forgotten the new Sellers play. He wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster enclosing a May 10 letter from Howells about an actor Frank Daniel. Howells had seen Daniel in a Boston play, The Rag Baby, by Charles Hoyt. John T. Raymond had not come around, and his continued success in another play left him uninterested. Note: though Sam dated this May 10, so had Howells, from Boston. It’s possible that either man misdated his letter, so this letter may have been written May 11.
“If you have had no correspondence with Raymond, Charley, maybe it would be well for you to write Howells & suggest that he have a talk with this manager about the Sellers play.” Note: Webster received a letter from Raymond dated May 11 from Denver, Colo. refusing Webster’s May 5 offer for the new Sellers play. There wasn’t enough money in it for him [MTBus 253].
May 11 Sunday – Sam responded from Hartford to an unidentified person, that he could not “remember having ever been on a school committee in Virginia City…” nor did he “remember knowing a man in Virginia City named Freeborn.” Sam did know a man by that name in San Francisco and figured he’d be “quite sixty years old, now, if alive” [MTP].
Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy (Mollie added to this on May 12). Orion talked of an article in Science Monthly, which ascribed good health to sleeping in “careful ventilation.” Ma read the article and was doing well with that advice. Molly wrote that Orion was living on bread & water and that “Ma eats more than she has for years—without it hurting her” [MTP].
George P. Wallihan wrote to Clemens on Minneapolis notepaper asking for “some memento” for their library [MTP].
May 11 Sunday, after – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Bliss, enclosing a request from George P. Wallihan (May 11) of the Minneapolis Press Club for books to supply their library. Sam directed Bliss (on Wallinhan’s letter) to “send him, in cloth, such of my books as you have published…” [MTP].
May 12 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to Charles Webster. “Parsloe and Aldrich are not in Europe, they are playing in the West. I’m beginning to look for you here, now” [MTBus 254].
Sam also wrote to Howells, congratulating him on the acceptance of his sale of an opera to the “Bijou Theatre people” announced in a letter of May 10. Sam asked Howells to approach “that manager about running Sellers” [MTHL 2: 487].
Sam also wrote to Charles A. Dana, editor/owner of the New York Sun, who wrote on May 8 asking for “two or three short pieces not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece” [MTHL 2: 490]. Sam replied:
“I am busy writing up my recent experiences on a bicycle, now, but when I finish that I will sit down & take a solid think & see if it is in me to write a short story of an acceptable sort….I want to write it” [MTHL 2: 490-1n1]. Note: Sam would ask Howells on June 1 how much the Sun paid.
Sam also replied to the May 9 of Lorenz Rohr. Born in Bavaria, Rohr emigrated to the U.S. in 1869. He translated French and German plays for Augustin Daly, and some standard American poems into German, including works by Longfellow and Lowell. Sam wrote this about the difficulty translating lyrics from “Lorelei.”
“The translators all approach it, but they all fail, in one place or another….There is a subtle something about the Lorelei which is intangible as air, & as elusive as a fragrance; & no translator has quite captured that, & in my belief no translator ever will. It is the soul of the thing, the poetry” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: his travel plans to come see Clemens; pictures brought; paper costs [MTP].
May 13 Tuesday – Mary Keily finished her Jan. 23 letter [MTP].
May 14 Wednesday – Edgar W. Howe for Atchison Globe wrote to Clemens: He’d sent Aldrich a book and all those on the list Sam furnished. He was working on another book, this one not as much a history as the first [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens: “I have had a talk with Mr. Roswell Smith about the house for Mr Cable. He & I think it would be best for you to take charge of the affair. I am willing to pay my share…” [MTP].
May 15 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond about Roswell Smith’s proposal:
Roswell has got up a Hartford-Cable-Lecture; & he put the Hartford end of it in my hands, & described how he was going to put the New York end of it through, himself. Do you remember how he carried out his contract? I do—& don’t you doubt it. And now Roswell would put another project in my hands! Why, it almost makes me smile.
Sam rejected Smith’s idea of taking up support for George W. Cable without first asking him, and wasn’t even sure Smith was serious. Sam suggested “…another candidate for Hartford lecture-honors—George McDonald.”
Frederick J. Hall sent a telegram to Clemens: “Received the following from Worden & Co. Please send us check for 2500 additional margin” [MTP].
May 16 Friday – Sam sent to an unidentified person: “Very Truly Yours / S.L. Clemens / Mark Twain / Hartford May 16/84” [MTP].
Charles E. Wilson wrote to Sam, enclosing a newsletter/flyer and an invitation. Wilson was president of a Boston club, the Amateur Journalist’s Club. He invited Sam to the “Grand Reunion and Ratification Meeting” on May 17. Sam wrote on the envelope:
“Amateur Journalists / One of the Chief 19th Century Absurdities” [MTP]. Note: this is not the same man Sam wrote to in 1855.
Worden & Co. wrote advising sale of stock [MTP].
May 17 Saturday – Sam telegraphed Charles Langdon: “Can I see you in New York tomorrow evening answer C.L. Clemens [sic]” [MTP]. Note: this found with Langdon’s May 21, 1884 answer in Langdon’s letter of 22 May 1885!
Milicent W. Shinn for Overland Monthly wrote to Clemens about a planned dinner for Mr. Scott that would have to be put off until fall, and also some of Harte’s irregularities: “Yes, I have heard many things from many men of Mr Harte’s editorial peculiarities” [MTP].
Worden & Co., wrote to Clemens, financial statement enclosed, $5,062.50 balance [MTP].
May 19 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, telling him he’d sold the Oregon & Transcontinental stock at 12 dollars; asking him for a copy of Rubayat by Omar Khayam published by Osgood, and that Osgood was about to sail for Europe, so “get everything squared up before he leaves” [MTP].
May 20 Tuesday – Willard C. Gompf for Connecticut Fire Ins. Co. wrote to Clemens, “yours of the 19th inst. is at hand. Of course we are sorry that you do not ‘talk’ now,” and they invited him to their meeting of writers to talk [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “answered”
May 21 Wednesday – Charles Langdon replied in NYC to Sam’s May 17 telegram: “Your message of the seventeenth to C.J. Kingdon has just accidentally fallen into my hands. I shall be here tomorrow. Start for home Saturday” [MTP]. Note: the name errors were ascribed to the telegram being sent by telephone.
May 22 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens twice. First note enclosed John T. Raymond’s answer; Howells’ success in placing the play in Boston; how many cloth books should he contract? And how many in sheets? Second note: Crown Point trip & stock; working to settle with Osgood; paper costs; advised not to invest in stocks but in mortgages: “with all this scare here in N.Y. some one is going to get pinched” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Close with Raymond. / Bind how many books?” Second note on env., “Price for paper—6 87/100 per lb binding 20 to 70.”
May 23 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House. Commenting on an old controversy about who wrote a book Bread-Winners, Sam remarked:
Gott im Himmel! I would delight to live in Japan; for my idea of heaven itself is a place where all the issues are dead ones, & no man, not even the angels, cares a damn.
There is a live issue here, but it will be no longer alive by the time this reaches Japan. It is this: whether Twichell & I will beat the bicycle, or whether the bicycle will beat us. We have fought the creature a couple of weeks, now, & we have honorable wounds to show for it. This morning we traveled a couple of miles, mainly up hill, —& made it derned uncomfortable for the wagons; for they could never tell just which way we were proposing to steer—& neither could we.
Sam further remarked that he was presently “catless & forlorn” [MTP].
Sam also wrote a list for Charles Webster: take Raymond’s offer; congratulations on the paper bargain struck for Huck Finn; his relief that all was wrapped up with Osgood before he sailed; Order 30,000 copies of Huck Finn printed & bound; get a contract with good terms on subsequent printings up to 5,000 each; begin the canvass early to have the desired 40,000 orders by Dec. 5, which would allow publication by Dec. 15; last, did he get the sketches not included in White Elephant from Osgood? [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: 17 drawings by Edward W. Kemble sent by express [MTP].
May 24 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford, the last extant business letter to James R. Osgood. He’d received the sketches left out of The Stolen White Elephant. Though business had ended between the two men with Sam forming his own publishing company with Charles Webster, friendly relations continued, as evidenced by the sharing of Sam’s off-color story, 1601.
“I have mailed you a 1601; but mind, if it is for a lady you are to assume the authorship of it yourself.
I have invented a new game of billiards, and I want you to stop over with us, next time you are passing Hartford, and try it on. It is meaner than cushion caroms—a good deal meaner. Truly Yours, /S.L. Clemens” [MTLTP 168].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster.
“Some of the pictures are good, but none of them are very very good. The faces are generally ugly, & wrenched into over-expression amounting sometimes to distortion…. The pictures will do—they will just barely do—& that is the best I can say for them” [MTBus 255]. Note: Many of the pictures were redrawn.
Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells:
Good land, have you seen the “poems” of that South Carolina idiot, “Belton O’Neall Townsend, A B. & Attorney at Law?” —& above all, the dedication of them to you?
If you did write him what he says you did, you richly deserve hanging; & if you didn’t, he deserves hanging.—But he deserves hanging any-way & in any & all cases—no, boiling, gutting, brazing in a mortar—no, no, there is no death that can meet his case. Now think of this literary louse dedicating his garbage to you, & quoting encouraging compliments from you & poor dead Longfellow. Let us hope there is a hell, for this poets sake, who carries his bowels in his skull, & when they operate works the discharge into rhyme & prints it.
Ah, if he had only dedicated this diarrhea to Aldrich, I could just howl with delight; but the joke is lost on you—just about wasted. Ys Ever Mark [MTHL 2: 488]. Note: Howells responded on May 26.
May 26 Monday – In Boston, Howells responded to Sam’s May 24 letter and called Belton O’Neall Townsend “That incredible wretch” and his poetry “trash.” Howells had printed some good prose articles by Townsend in 1877 and 1878 [MTHL 2: 489].
Arthur B. Deming wrote from Kirtland, Ohio about “discovering” laws of heredity in the Bible [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Rot”
Miss E.T. Morgan wrote from Northville, Tenn. thanking him for the set of books he sent their school library and asking him to lecture there [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Damm!”
May 27 Tuesday – Sam wrote for Livy to Isabella B. Hooker. “I write in Livy’s place because I am idle for the moment & she is very busy.” Isabella had asked the Clemenses in a May 3 letter to support her suffrage program, and had solicited other Nook Farm support. She wrote:
“I will ask you to help me pay expenses of other speakers from New York & Boston & the hall—all which I have assumed in order to make the sessions free” [Andrews 261n72; Note: year is questioned]
Sam responded that he’d conferred with Livy and offered $50 a year toward her salary [MTP].
A statement dated Sept. 2, 1884 by Charles Webster shows Sam purchased a copy of “Rubayat” for 67¢ on this day.
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens, against the idea that he would work for St. Gaudens or Ward, as they would not allow him to compete with them: “I am willing and glad to start in a small way, but I must be independent, or it’s the end of my career” [MTP].
William H. Gillette wrote to Clemens with his opinion that P&P made into a play would take some work and “rearranging” and also the insertion of “some slight ‘romance’ better be worked in if possible”[MTP].
May 28 Wednesday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, sending paper dolls and “a few colored pictures” for the Clemens girls made by his daughter Mildred (Pilla) Howells (1872-1966) [MTHL 2: 490].
Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens advised of purchase 200 shs of Union Pacific @ 39 ¼ [MTP].
Edward W. Bok wrote from Brooklyn to ask Clemens to give “a few words” at his society—the Young Men’s Philomathean Society [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “From that accursed Bok”
May 29 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: 20,000 cloth books binding ordered, a splendid bargain at 17.5¢ each with Robert Rutter; cost estimates for new book; Kemble’s pictures [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pub details for Huck”
Bissell & Co. wrote to advise sale of 50 shares of Adams Express at 128 [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy about the statue of a horse he was working on [MTP].
May 31 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, praising the contracts for paper and printing he’d made on Huckleberry Finn. “If we had had such on those other books I would have come out a good deal better.” Sam felt the project of the cheap book (1002d Arabian Night) had been delayed too long, and gave Webster “one solid day” to “catch that American News manager,” probably an agent who would sell/distribute the work. Sam had an article about how to ride a bicycle that he’d send to the New York Sun if the cheap book didn’t come off [MTBus 258].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: American News people wouldn’t commit to taking certain number of HF until they’d seen the book; would advise further [MTP].
Bissell & Co. wrote advice they’d sold 50 shares Adams Express @128 [MTP].
May, after – Sam gave a short speech for the Banquet of Wheelmen, Springfield, Mass., (reported by Fatout in error as conjecturally Sept. 16 or 17). The speech may be found in Mark Twain Speaking, p.181, and concerns Sam’s first experience with the bicycle as being “on the 10th of May, of the present year…” It is noted, however, that Sam wrote of a week of bicycle accidents on May 4 to Gerhardt. Robert Hirst said that Fatout never visited the MTP; this may account for several of his errors I discovered [D.F., ed.]
June 1 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells asking how much the New York Sun and other papers paid him for a story. Charles Dana, editor/owner of the Sun, wrote on May 8 asking for “two or three short pieces not exceeding ten or twenty thousand words apiece” [MTHL 2: 490].
June 2 Monday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam about selling one of his plays to Richard A. Dana of the New York Sun. He also mentioned Edgar W. Howe’s novel, The Story of a Country Town, which he and Sam had praised. Howe was the editor of the Atchison Globe. Howells wrote “an open letter” about the novel to the Century Magazine, and mentioned Thomas Sergeant Perry, a long time friend, and a close friend of Henry & William James (1842-1910) [MTHL 2: 491-2].
June 3 Tuesday – Annie M. Barnes for Acanthus Magazine wrote to Sam; a begging letter asking his autograph on a blank check so she might fund her printing office [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “This offers me beggar again”
Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Clemens & Livy, two photos enclosed.
We are so nicely here now in the family of an ancient Prof.—I can not exactly saying boarding because we are more at home: and every morning from 6 to 8—French lessons & as Mr. Grit is quite severe, I hope to make great progress. Just now I am trying to commit to memory the first book of “Telemaque” and also have three French exercises to write besides verbs. … Baby is growing very fast and has eight little teeth and tries to outdo the children in talking—we are quite delighted with our two dozen photographs which Maison Hautecour sent us free—Karl agrees with you that the little “Eve” is not idealized quite enough but if he has an offer liberal enough to allow him to cut in Marble he will remedy all that [MTP]. Note: The Adventures of Telemachus is a didactic French novel by Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai. It was published anonymously in 1699 and reissued in 1717 by his family.
June 4 Wednesday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam: Mr. Williams, Gen. Mgr of American News (book agent) wanted to see a HF dummy before committing to a number to sell [MTP].
June 6 Friday – In the afternoon, Sam played billiards with Sam Dunham, Franklin Whitmore, Henry Robinson, Charles Perkins, and Edward Bunce, while George Griffin, the butler, received telephone updates and announced ballots from the Chicago Republican convention. In mid-afternoon, James G. Blaine won the nomination on the fourth ballot. Connecticut’s twelve delegates cast their votes for favorite son, Joseph R. Hawley [NY Times p.1, June 7, 1884]. Note: The convention’s selection stimulated an interesting discussion in Sam’s billiard room. See MTA 15-18 for a full account.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, that he’d given up on the bicycle article, not liking what he’d written; he needed to get to Quarry Farm and get busy on his “regular work.” Don’t give Dana of the N.Y. Sun any indication that he’d write something for the paper, and please get the drawing room car on the Lackawanna train for June 18 [MTP].
June 7 or 14 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to their ailing family doctor, Cincinnatus A. Taft, offering for him to be carried on a water bed to their home to escape the “cannon, the brass bands & shouting, & the other noisy harassments of Buckingham Day.” The family was leaving on June 17 but would “gladly & cheerfully” stay if “our staying can be also of service” [MTP].
June 8 Sunday – Clara Clemens’ tenth birthday.
Sam wrote in German to Edward K. Root. Translated by Sotheby’s:
Dear Doctor: The next meeting will be taking place here on Thursday at eight o’clock. This evening we have made a change ?? the lecture consists only of 1_ pages of Schiller’s ‘Der Verbrecher aüs verbornen Ehne,’ and did not start at the beginning, but with the 7th paragraph of the story where one reads the following: ‘Christian Wolf Warder owner of a restaurant ? [Sotheby’s auction June 19, 2003, Lot 134].
Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster—no, he wanted a:
“…special sleeping car—dern the drawing room car…leaving Hoboken the morning of Wednesday the 18th …Provide a comfortable chair for Livy, Charley—she doesn’t like the sleeping-car seats” [MTP].
June 10 Tuesday – Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote to suggest Sam write 16 or 18 thousand words, which would allow them to divide it into two parts; or two stories [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Wants 2 stories or 18000 words”
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: where to buy the Harden Hand Grenade fire extinguisher; inability to find Pond in; special RR car for Sam; Seen Mr. Dana; failed so far to get list of books Sam wanted: got note from Osgood for $6,884.65 of four months, which Bissell could discount; PS: Pond was in Poughkeepsie [MTP].
June 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, shipping back Kemble’s pictures for Huck Finn. After modifications, Sam thought, “this batch of pictures is most rattling good,” and only wanted one removed—“the lecherous old rascal kissing the girl at the campmeeting.” Sam didn’t want any pictures of the campmeeting—“The subject won’t bear illustrating” [MTP].
Mettie Curry wrote from Carson City, Nev. “I am in great trouble and appeal to you for aid—I want ‘Tom Sawyer’ very much, indeed, I do not think I can live much longer without him, and am too poor to buy him. Will you send me a copy” [MTP]. Note: see ca. June 12 entry.
June 12 Thursday ca. – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, inserting a note from Mettie Curry of Carson City, Nevada, pleading poverty and asking for a copy of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Sam directed him to write her a note saying Sam had instructed him to send the book [MTP]. Note: This is probably Abraham Curry’s widow. Curry—“Old Curry, Abe Curry, Old Abe Curry”—was an instrumental leader in the formation of Nevada. He died in 1879. (See Mack, p.352 for a story of Mrs. Curry’s objection to Sam’s lecture tall tale of camels bearing snow in the Holy Land.)
June 12 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Charles Webster, saying he wanted “some of those hand-grenades. Say about 1 dozen for the stable, &c.” and a list of the other rooms. “I reckon that’s enough, ain’t it?” [MTP]. Note: The Hayword Hand Grenades were sealed bottles of water in a rack, to be thrown at a fire.
June 13 Friday – Hugo Erichsen in Detroit, Mich. sent a printed form asking what was Sam’s method of authorship [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “O, hell!”; Sam resisted any explanation of how he wrote, of the motivations of characters, and the like. He did not like to share such introspections or methods and felt they were unwarranted intrusions of his privacy.
June 17 Tuesday – The Clemens family’s annual trek to Elmira and Quarry Farm began. They left Hartford and traveled to New York City, where they spent the night [MTNJ 3: 55n124].
June 18 Wednesday – The Clemens family had escaped Hartford just in time. June 18 in Hartford was Buckingham Day, a local civic celebration for Union veterans. From the Hartford Courant:
If the weather is pleasant to-day there will be a great crowd of people in Hartford. The railroad companies have made arrangements to transport as many passengers as came here on Battle Flag Day in 1870. It has been thought, however, that the attendance would not be as large as on that day; but later reports indicate that the rush will be quite as great.
The Clemens family left New York by way of the Christopher Street Ferry to Hoboken, New Jersey, where they took a special car on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad for the ten-hour trip to Elmira. This was their usual routine each summer [MTNJ 3: 55-5n124].
June 22 Sunday – Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy about shipping a statuette [MTP].
June 23 Monday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam, c/o Crane in Elmira: possible postal fine of $50 for sending the prospectus with the words “sheep, half calf, & half morocco, written on the sample bindings”; billed Osgood another $225 for advertising he charged, and a bill for $600 for paper as well; $4,000 needed to buy paper soon—send $6,000 [MTP].
June 24 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles H. Clark of the Courant. The Clemenses were watching the papers closely but had seen nothing about Doctor Cincinnatus Taft—how was he doing? Sam didn’t want to burden the Taft family by writing [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, advising him to sue Osgood if he didn’t “pay that $825 instantly…before he gets out of the country. Better tell him I have so instructed you. I enclose check for the $6,719.45” [MTP].
June 25 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, correcting a drawing of Kemble’s:
“…on the pilot house of that steamboat-wreck he artist has put TEXAS—having been misled by some of Huck’s remarks about the boat’s ‘texas’—a thing which is part of every boat. ….that particular boat’s name was Walter Scott, I think” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Sam: Rec’d Sam’s check for $6,719.45; ad from NY World enclosed of June 23—what should they do about it? (ad from Frank Coker News Co., Talladega, Ala. selling cheap copies of Twain’s works) [MTP].
June 26 Thursday – Homeopathic Doctor Cincinnatus A. Taft died in Hartford at the age of 64. Four decades before he’d been diagnosed with “one lung gone” and given six months to live by two of the best physicians in the country. Taft’s autopsy revealed that his lungs were both perfect, but that he died from a stomach ailment [N.Y. Times, “THE DOCTORS MISTAKEN” June 30 p1].
On or just after this date, Sam wrote a letter from Elmira to Charles Webster, enclosing Webster’s June 25 letter and warning about The Frank Coker News Co. of Talladega, Ala. advertisement in the New York World of cheap paperback books for seven of Sam’s books.
“If the American Pub will immediately bring suit & smash these pirates, all right; but otherwise I know what I will do. Notify Bliss that I expect him to protect & defend my copyrights (all that his Co has anything to do with) promptly & thoroughly” [MTP].
June 27 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, asking if it were “wholly convenient” he’d like to be paid $2,000 on account for his Library of Humor work [MTHL 2: 492].
June 28 Saturday – In Elmira, Sam responded to Howells’ request of June 27 for payment of $2,000 on the work he’d done on the Library of Humor. Faced with mounting costs on the production of HF, the first book of Webster & Co., Sam begged off. Besides the financial pinch, Sam was in no mood to be generous.
“My days are given up to cursings—both loud & deep—for I am reading the H. Finn proofs. They don’t make a very great mistakes, but those that do occur are of a nature to make a man curse his teeth loose” [MTHL 2: 493].
Orion Clemens wrote to thank Sam for the $150 in checks; “All pretty well” He wanted a new picture of the family [MTP].
July ca. – Sam sent a letter of condolence to Ellen C. Taft (Mrs. Cincinnatus A. Taft) on the recent passing of her husband, the Clemens’ family doctor. Evidently Mrs. Taft and her daughter were leaving the area [MTP].
July 1 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, wanting to know how much was paid for the elder Mr. Howells on his grape-scissor invention; and reminding him that after Huck Finn was published he wanted him to “go to work & publish one or two of the historical games”; to watch out for the Canadian pirates—Sam had been told by Bliss that they sometimes hung with pressmen and paid for advance sheets; Sam concluded that “Kemble’s pictures are mighty good, now” [MTP].
July 2 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking about illustrations not returned with the 1002d Arabian Night tale [MTP]. Note: The 131 pictures, called “grotesque drawings of his own composition” [MTS&B 88] were lost and have never been recovered.
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying it was all right about the $2,000 payment, that now he had money, but when he asked he was buying a house and his railroad stock had fallen thirteen points. About Sam’s struggles with the HF proofs he wrote:
“Why need you read the Huck Finn proofs? I went over the printed copy so carefully that a good office reading was all that was necessary. If I’d supposed they [Webster & Co] were going to send them to you I would have read them again myself” [MTHL 2: 495].
Ellen C. Taft, now a widow, wrote to Sam upset about the New York Times article on her late husband:
We as a family have had our feelings so hurt by an article in the Times, purporting to be a kindly notice of Dr Taft, that I want you, who knew, loved and appreciated him to write something which will be as pleasant to us to read as the one I allude to was unpleasant. You knew his tender gentle ways in a sick room, the courage he gave his patients to live, as well as the skill that supported the courage, the blessed cleanliness of his person, and of his attire—How the little children loved him, and how he returned this love. All these traits give so much…Isn’t it strange that the world goes on just the same and he out of it—where? [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens that Cable made no answer to his proposition and suggested John Henry Riley who was very popular in Indianapolis [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Suggests Riley. Told him I would have nobody but Cable—or the thing was ‘off’”
Hugo Erichsen in Detroit, Mich. again sent the same printed request to Clemens & wrote “PS please answer soon” [MTP]. Note: sent before on June 13.
Charles Webster wrote business matters to Clemens [MTP].
July 2–10 Thursday – Sam wrote in his July 10 letter to the widow Taft, that he’d been:
“…almost daily in the dentist’s hands during the past seven or eight days” [see July 10, July 18 entries].
July 3 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond, that he’d only “hitch teams” on the lecture circuit with George W. Cable, “So don’t throw out any feelers toward Riley or make any propositions to him” [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens: “I will answer all the letters you will forward. Everybody says ‘Mark Twain’ would do better alone, or he would be the one everybody wants to hear. So why not nerve up & go at it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Have already told him no / will not go alone”
** Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote: “What is the prospect? When do you think we can get it?” [MTP]. Note: “it” unspecified.
July 4 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote Sam that Webster had advised him that John T. Raymond accepted their terms for the new Sellers play. Webster had asked if Raymond could read the play, and Howells wanted to confirm it met with Sam’s approval. Sam answered affirmatively the next day [MTHL 2: 495].
July 5 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to unidentified persons, who evidently had asked about the cheap (50 cent) paperbacks being advertised by the Coker Co.
“Dear Sirs—They are pirates—& unusually frank & bold, it seems to me. We are after them with a legal gun-boat” [MTP].
Sam wrote twice to Charles Webster:
Keep an eye out, & see if the ad. of the Alabama pirates disappears from the newspapers. If it doesn’t disappear pretty soon, I will try to take my copyrights away from the Am. Co.
Yes, let Raymond see copy of the play. When you come to make contract with him, try to leave as few loopholes as possible, or he will be a big annoyance to you…He will report to you, not me [MTP].
Weed Sewing Machine Co. (manufacturer of sewing machines & bicycles) Hartford wrote to Clemens: “We express your bicycle to-day, addressed as your request” [MTP].
July 6 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking that Richard Irving Dodge’s book (he thought he’d only written one) be sent, though Sam couldn’t recall the exact title. (See Gribben 196-7.)
“I want several other PERSONAL narratives of life & adventure out yonder on the Plains & in the Mountains, if you can run across them—especially life among the Indians. Send me what you can find. I mean to take Huck out there” [MTP]. Note: Shortly after this date, during July, Sam began work on a 228 page manuscript “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians.” He abandoned the work, probably in mid-August [Camfield, bibliog.].
James B. Pond wrote “I have a post from Cable. He will be here Tuesday.” He proposed a scheme [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No”
July 7 Monday – Richard Garvey (1843-1931) wrote on Missouri Wheel Co. letterhead, St. Louis:
Saml. L. Clemens Esq / Friend “Mark”
When yourself and a Companion left the “Quaker City” at Naples in July 67 and came to Rome you there met a young American who roomed at the Via Babuino #68 (Pincion Hill) it was his pleasure to show you some points of the Eternal City.
After exactly 17 years he now addresses you first to Congratulate you on your continued success and next to greet you as a brother wheelman.
By todays express I send one of our patent Duryea Saddles try it and if found worthy give us a few lines on it. / Yours Truly / Richard Garvey [MTP]. Note: “brother wheelman” refers to Clemens recent struggles learning to ride a bicycle; Garvey was Captain of the Missouri Bicycle Club. Clemens was in Rome from July 27 to Aug. 1, 1867.
July 8 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond. He was impatient to contract with Cable, who didn’t jump at $350 per week. Sam didn’t want to consider others; evidently, Pond had suggested Thomas Nast:
“O damnation, I would rather pay Cable $450 a week & his expenses than pay Nast $300. I don’t enjoy roosting around & waiting.”
Sam wanted a final answer by July 15, and if it took a day longer, he’d “have made other arrangements” [MTP].
In Elmira Sam wrote to Mr. H. Speight (this may be Harry Speight 1855-1915).
No, it was at the Plow inn Ottenhöfen … a girl of about 18, the landlord’s daughter. There was nothing German about her form or features .. These were American decidedly–but she was German, born & bred. After several months of uninterrupted German uncomeliness, she was to me superhumanly beautiful …
[Note: TA pages 213 (Oxford facsimile ed.): “We took our meal of fried trout one day at the Plow Inn in a very pretty village (Ottenhöfen)” and p.489: “And I remember that the only native match to her I saw in all Europe was the young daughter of the landlord of a village inn in the Black Forest. Why don’t more people in Europe marry and keep hotel?”. ABE books Bookseller: Sophie Dupre ABA ILAB Calne, WIL, United Kingdom; Inventory # SD31792; accessed April 29, 2009].
Charles A. Dana for the New York Sun wrote to invite Sam to Long Island next Saturday afternoon, “and pass the sabbath there under my roof? The billiard table is good, the light beautiful, and the society first rate” [MTP].
July 9 Wednesday – James B. Pond wrote to Clemens about what he thought it would take to get Cable on the lecture circuit with Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Tell him yes, offer him $450 a week & expenses”
W. Schmidt wrote from Phila. a letter all in German [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “German letter / Answer it”
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: he never saw the 1002 tale, Osgood must have it; gave Raymond a copy of the play to read; the TS play was sent to Sam in Hartford, Howells didn’t have it; Dodge’s book and Buffalo Bill’s book sent; enclosed Bliss’ check for old books sold [MTP].
July 10 Thursday – Sam wrote a one-liner from Elmira to James B. Pond:
“Yes, offer Cable $450 a week & expenses—but be sure & let me know the result by the 16th” [MTP].
Sam wrote from Elmira to Ellen C. Taft, widow of Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft about the New York Times article of June 30 that focused on her husband’s autopsy (See June 26 entry). Mrs. Taft wrote Sam on July 2, upset about the article, but did not send it. Sam asked for it and reflected on the “certain beautiful traits” of her husband. He added:
“…I do not wish to seem to be defending Dr. Taft; for to Hartford people that would be like defending light, & warmth, & water…. I have been a long time answering; but you will understand the delay when I explain that I have been almost daily in the dentist’s hands during the past seven or eight days. It has unfitted me for everything” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote the Courant on July 18. See entry.
Sam also wrote five notes to Charles Webster—the first one congratulating Charles and Annie on the birth of their son, his grand-nephew, Samuel Charles Webster, born on July 8, 1884. The second note was a follow up to the book Sam wanted by Colonel Dodge—Charles had sent Our Wild Indians, but Sam wanted Dodge’s first book, but couldn’t recall the name (The Plains of the Great West and Their Inhabitants –see Gribben, 197) [MTP]. One way to angle for a raise is to name the baby after the boss.
The third note was a question/reminder to “draw the Osgood money out of Bissell’s bank & transfer it to” Webster’s bank in New York [MTP].
The fourth note was a list of short notes that Bliss’s check had been received; he didn’t want the “Texas Siftings” book; “Give our love to Annie & the baby”; a package had arrived that he hoped was Buffalo Bill’s book [MTP].
The fifth missive was a bit longer—a letter about Karl Gerhardt sending a statue to Hartford that was to be exhibited in New York and then placed in the Clemens home. Evidently Gerhardt had written that he’d sent the statue to Hartford.
“Now when you get a chance will you just go to work & collar that little statue & stop it from getting to Hartford? Just hang on to it till 6 east 23d street is ready to take it & exhibit it. I could swear my teeth loose over this d——d idiocy [PS] We don’t want it till autumn” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: “I send you by mail today 11 galleys of proof”; should they take on a book from Hubbard Bros.—Blaine and Logan? [MTP].
July 11 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, acknowledging receipt of a check from American Publishing Co., but still waiting for one from Slote & Co. Keeping Webster hopping on a plethora of details and projects, Sam added:
As you have a couple of dull months, now, suppose you tackle my soon-to-be portable calendar, & heave your surplus energies into it [MTP].
George W. Cable wrote from Simsbury, Conn. to bless Sam for recommending “this place. We have been here two days now and are quite delighted” [MTP].
Jane Clemens wrote from Keokuk to Sam & family about the pictures received. “Where Jean is by her self she is the best looking one of all”; she offered critiques on each picture [MTP].
July 12 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens that Annie & the baby were doing well; he had to have the invoice & bill of lading on the statuette in order to get it out of customs [MTP].
July 12–August 14 Thursday – Sometime during this stretch, Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster bout the dwindling profits on the scrapbooks with Slote & Co.
“Won’t Koch & Co buy the Slote two-third interest? They ought to get it for next to nothing; then I would buy my one-third interest.”
Evidently, Webster had received the note of July 10 about Gerhardt’s statue and had trouble locating the gallery where it was to be exhibited, because Sam responded:
“As to the statuette, you know it is to go to the Art Exhibition I told you of, in 23d st. That’s all I know. 6 E 23d st., Madison Square South. It opens September 1” [MTP]. Note: July 12–Aug. 14 is chosen here over July 10–Aug. 14 as in the MTP designation.
July 13 Sunday – Sam wrote two notes from Elmira to Charles Webster. The first was a directive to find a man in New York City, Ellis or Alison, recommended by Twain’s neighbor Newton Case, who would fix their Hartford furnace. The second note was a directive to support his recommendations for projects with his reasons.
“…a mere blind conundrum, without either recommendations or reasons, is a sort of thing which I don’t want the bother of trying to answer” [MTP].
July 14 Monday – After much searching Charles Webster purchased Richard Irving Dodge’s Our Wild Indians, and Life on the Plains for Clemens, who used these books for information of Indian depravity in writing “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians.” The total cost was $3.84 [Gribben 197].
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens that Cable had accepted Sam’s offer of $450 a week plus expenses during dinner with him at Simsbury. “I suppose you will want the route about 20 or 24 weeks, with two weeks for holidays” [MTP].
July 15 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, who wrote on July 2 and July 4. Howells had obtained the money elsewhere and told Sam to forget he’d asked. In the latter letter Howells wrote that he’d been notified by Webster that John T. Raymond had accepted their terms on the new Sellers play. Howells wasn’t certain he should let Raymond see the play. Sam responded:
I meant to write you that I told Webster to let Raymond see the play, but I have fooled around & neglected it. This fooling around has been done in the dental chair. I go down every other day & have one or two teeth gouged out & stuffed. I have been in the dental chair ten days, a couple of hours a day; & shall be there 3 days this week & I suppose as many more next week. The dentist is a bright man, & gouges & digs & saws & rasps & hammers, & keeps up a steady stream of entertaining talk, all the time, like his professional ancestor the barber; & so these have been very pleasant relaxations to me, & I shall be rather sorry to see them come to an end. They have been a vast improvement to me, too—an education; I can stand the most exquisite pain, now, without outward manifestation; & indeed without any very real discomfort. The Indian has fallen in my estimation; he is no better than you or me—he is merely a product of education. I have picked up a lot of good dental stuff, & I wish I had the time & energy to write it up. / On my off days I work at a new story (Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer among the Indians 40 or 50 years ago) [MTHL 2: 495-6].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond. George W. Cable had agreed verbally to terms for a reading tour under Pond’s management. Sam didn’t want to be bothered by people writing him about the tour.
“I mean to forward the letters to you unanswered & depend on you to answer them. Is that satisfactory?” [MTP].
Sam then wrote to Charles Webster, directing him to draw up his contract with Pond. The readings were to begin after November 4, election day, and continue through February, with ten days off for the holidays. Pond would be paid $450 per week and expenses; Pond would accompany them or send his brother, furnish a treasurer, attend to all details that would come “under the head of business,” be “boss & head-ringmaster,” and “make the journeys as short & easy as circumstances will allow,” and receive “10 per cent of the profits of the raid for his services.” Several other details were listed, among which was the arrangement of the tour so that Sam could be in Canada December 18 to 20, in order to copyright Huckleberry Finn there, if the book was ready—of course, once more, Sam reminded Webster that this would depend on 40,000 orders; if that number hadn’t been reached then the tour would “be so arranged as to throw” him “into Canada 3 days again, 4 or 5 weeks later” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens about receiving letters from competing firms anxious to get HF. Bancroft & Co. in San Francisco wanted it badly but they hadn’t sold many books in the prior year, only 2,825. An unnamed firm claimed they were much better. He’d given up the Blaine book as it would interfere with the canvassing of HF. He liked the idea of “Huck among the Indians” [MTP].
July 16 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond, asking for the tour prospectus to be sent so he might add a paragraph. His P.S. reminder—he would not read in Elmira or Hartford—no objections to other places [MTP].
July 17 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.
July 18 Friday – Sam wrote from Elmira to the editor of the Hartford Courant in tribute to Dr. Cincinnatus A. Taft.
Outwardly—if one may apply the term to a man—he was beautiful; a stately figure, faultlessly clothed, an intellectual face, white hair & the long white beard of a sage, an eye that could be severe but preferred to be kind, a carriage & bearing full of courteous grace & dignity. And the inner man was companion to the outer; for his heart was firm & strong, but it was also compassionate, & freighted with human sympathies. [MTP].
July 21 Monday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, enclosing a draft of a contract with Pond, who had not yet seen it. He announced the baby boy’s name was Samuel Charles Webster [MTP].
July 22 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who had drafted a contract with Pond and advised Sam, who more clearly defined Pond’s expenses to be “food, lodging & transportation.”
“If he should become unmanageable & go to thrashing people, I should not want to have to pay his daily police court expenses. And it will be like him to do that.” Otherwise, Sam offered that “this contract sounds right.” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: proofs sent; history game worked on [MTP].
July 23 Wednesday – Augustus Saint-Gaudens wrote to Clemens about Gerhardt, who had been in to see him. He didn’t want to hire him as an assistant since that never seemed to work out. He thought Gerhardt was a good sculptor based on the works shown but didn’t think it fair for him to evaluate him. He advised him to do the bust of Twain and also the medallion [MTP]. See insert of Twain’s bust by Gerhardt.
Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens his 19th recd, “the note in a/c as requested & hld the stock named as collateral” [MTP].
July 24 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking if a small change in the title page to Huck Finn might still be possible. Sam wanted it to say “Time, forty to fifty years ago,” rather than simply “Time, forty years ago.” If printing had started, “let it go” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s change appears on the facsimile Oxford copy.
Sam also wrote to Charles Erskine Scott Wood, who had asked for a letter of introduction, which Sam enclosed “with great pleasure.” As for news from West Point, Sam confessed:
“I tried to get to West Point in June but made a failure of it; so I can’t tell you any news from there. But I’ve brought a bicycle here to this mountain-top, & if you wait a while, that can be made to furnish you some” [MTP].
July 25 Friday – James B. Pond issued a circular announcing the joint appearance of Mr. Sam’l L. Clemens and George W. Cable “in a unique series of literary Entertainments” [MTNJ 3: 60n143]. See Lorch, p 166-7 for the entire text.
July 26 Saturday – Jean Clemens’ fourth birthday.
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: statuette safe at his office; conferred with Pond who didn’t think a treasurer was needed, but an advance agent was; he referred Pond to Sam on the question; would alter the title page as Sam requested; he hadn’t forgotten the furnace or the game; please return proofs [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “return the pages”
July 27 Sunday – James B. Pond from Everett House wrote that he thought the tour should run through March or to mid-April, which was only 14 weeks when there should be 20. “Everybody says our show is going to pull like the Devil. If you know how that is—hot! HOT!! HOT!!! HOT!!!!” [MTP].
July 28 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to James B. Pond. The circular looked good but Sam made a few corrections to the proof. It was best not to mention there would be new material, as Sam wanted to “draw just on our names alone.” Pond was evidently lobbying for a longer tour; Sam’s answer:
“Goodness knows I would gladly run 20 weeks, & I did my best to persuade the madam, but did not succeed. So that idea is killed. She almost said I might read again next year if I didn’t read too long this time, so I thought I better not press the matter too far” [MTP].
July 30 Wednesday – Orion Clemens wrote to wish Sam would send him photos like he’d sent Ma. He was still working 4 hours a day on the history research [MTP].
August 1 Friday – A.H. Kelland wrote from N. Haven to Clemens sending him an article similar to the one she once wrote on the death of the Democrat party (not in file) [MTP].
George C. Blanchard wrote from Fairfield Conn.—an oblique begging letter [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “from a fraud”
August 2 Saturday – Charles Eliot Norton wrote from Ashfield to invite Sam to their annual dinner, between the 17th and 26th of this month, whatever suited him; bring the wife, the children, his home was “elastic” [MTP].
August 5 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to an unidentified person.
“I apologize for this rag of paper, & explain that I am cruising in strange waters, where paper is scarce. (Paper is always scarce in strange waters—& even in the other kind)” [MTP].
Percy Aylmer wrote from Durham, England to ask Clemens if he’d consent to having them publish a book entirely of his quotations that an unspecified young lady had compiled [MTP].
August 6 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Eliot Norton declining an invitation to the annual dinner for the arts in Ashfield Mass., pleading age and rheumatism for “so long a journey in the heats of summer.”
Some day, I hope, you will change your dinner-hour to winter; then I am likely to be close by & idle; also hungry. …
P.S. I seem to enlarge upon my work as if it were something important. Indeed it is not; but I do it, just as if it were—that’s the heroism of the thing [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, sending more proof pages [MTP].
August 7 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells.
I have no doubt I am doing a most criminal thing & outrageous thing—for I am sending you these infernal Huck Finn proofs—but the very last vestige of my patience has gone to the devil, & I cannot bear the sight of another slip of them. My hair turns white with rage, at the sight of the mere outside of the package; & this time I didn’t even try to glance inside it, but re-enveloped it at once, & directed it to you. Now you’re not to read it unless you really don’t mind it—you’re only to re-ship it to Webster & tell him, from me, to read the remnant of the book himself, & send no more slips to me, under any circumstances. Will you? / Blackguard me if you want to—I deserve it.
Sam also told of Dr. Rachel Brooks Gleason of the Elmira Water Cure visiting in the evening with Miss Ella Wolcott, a friend of the Langdons, who quoted one of the invalids from the Water Cure. The quote put Howells, Henry James, Walt Whitman, Swinburne, and Shakespeare at the same level—“when you’ve read one, you’ve read ‘em all!” [MTHL 2: 497-8].
Karl Gerhardt was at Quarry Farm sculpting a bust of Sam [MTP]. Note: see picture insert earlier.
Sam also wrote a note to Charles Webster that he’d “miscalculated” his fortitude. “I can’t read any more proof.” Sam let Webster know that he’d sent the proofs on to Howells, who might return them to Webster to read, and if so, Sam would take them again and get his “profanity together & tackle it” [MTP].
George Gebbie wrote to Clemens, relating the history of the humor book and enclosing a prospectus for his The Library of Wit and Humor, which he sent Sam by express [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “No Answer / wants to use his name in Library Wit & H. Also refers to prop of 4 years ago”
Bissell & Co. per George H. Burt wrote to advise that Am. Express paid dividends in Sept [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Explaining Am Ex dividend”
August 8 Friday – William F. Cody for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show wrote to Clemens [MTP].
Stephen C. Massett wrote from the Catskills, about Mrs. Sheffield, mother of Mrs. Bartholomew, “with whom you used to board & lodge on 16th street in 1869!” She was in NYC and would like to see Clemens [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Tiresome Jeems / No answer”
August 9 Saturday – The Critic ran an article, “The Lounger,” unsigned, which noted the tact with which James B. Pond announced the upcoming lecture season, giving Mark Twain and George W. Cable billings which would cause neither to feel slighted [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p170].
Frank E. Bliss wrote to Clemens, surprised to hear that Coker has put out the ad for cheap books of Clemens. Bliss had conferred with their attorney [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pirates”
August 10 Sunday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam:
If I had written half as good a book as Huck Finn, I shouldn’t ask anything better than to read the proofs; even as it is I don’t. So send them on; they will always find me somewhere. I’m here in town for the present; but I’m going to Kennebunkport where the family are on Tuesday, and then to Campobello, N.B. Back to Boston the last of the month. / I see the circus has been finally reduced to Cable and you. That is right. The public wants to hear both of you; but I should have been a drag [MTHL 2: 499].
The New York Times ran a short paragraph at the end of “The Theatrical World,” p.3:
An engagement in New York has been arranged for Mr. Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) and Mr. George Cable, who will give combination entertainments next season. Mr. Cable and Mr. Clemens will read from their own works, and Mr. Cable will sing Creole songs. For the relief of many anxious inquirers it may be stated that neither of the gentlemen will dance, although the advantages of winding up the show with a walk-around and break-down have been repeatedly suggested to them.
“Unless you bring suit at once to enjoin these pirates, I must sue for the annulling of my contracts with you, upon the ground that you make no sufficient efforts to protect my copyrights from infringement” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster about some of the proofs being a “disgraceful mess” [MTP].
Hugo Erichsen sent the form a third time to ask about Clemens’ writing methods. This time he included a handwritten note asking why Sam didn’t answer [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: going to Hartford to see about the furnace problem; hadn’t heard from Howells; wanted to hurry printers on HF as he couldn’t make contracts with agents until book was at binders [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “furnace”
August 13 Wednesday – Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens trying to reconcile his account [MTP].
August 14 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster—more about the Huck Finn proofs “If all the proofs had been as well read as the first 2 or 3 chapters were, I should not have needed to see the revises at all. On the contrary it was the worst & silliest proof-reading I have ever seen. It was never read by copy at all—not a single galley of it.” He added that the game had only a year to file patent; see Oct. 9 entry [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: galleys returned from Howells; furnace diagnosed needing a new boiler, costs, etc. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Furnace to cost $750”
August 15 Friday – Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens that the Am. Express in Europe would look up his dividend and advise [MTP].
August 16 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, who evidently had advised that the furnace improvements in the Hartford house could be done for $750. Sam approved, but dictated that no workmen need to go up into the house from the cellar [MTP].
August 19 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, asking for a copy of the Sellers as a Scientist play. Ask Howells or look in the:
“…safe in the billiards room. There must be a copy somewhere. I’m going to elaborate it into a novel. /Gerhardt is completing a most excellent bust of me.”
August 21 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, advising him to get letters of introduction from “Warner; he knows everybody in Washington…” [MTP].
August 22 Friday – William M. Laffan for the New York Sun wrote to advise Clemens: “I put her into type and I think her highly amusing and seasonable. She’s on the Boss’s proofs and, I take it, is going in on Sunday” (in the file a copy typeset of “Hunting for H——” unsigned) [MTP].
August 23 Saturday – James B. Pond wrote from Cottage City, Mass. The circular “brings hundreds of inquiries. All my letters are about Clemens & Cable” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens, pasting Coker’s ad for Twain’s books at the top. He’d written to Howells about “that play” and “drawn a contract with the furnace man and he has gone to work.” He felt that something must be done about Coker’s ad, which appeared in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper of this day [MTP].
August 24 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to George Iles, Montreal editor:
“I am on the warpath next winter, with George W. Cable—that is to say, on the platform. Therefore I dasn’t accept your & the Snowshoe Club’s kind invitation, for I shan’t know for some time, yet, whether my route is going to carry me through Montreal during the Carnival or not…” [MTP].
A sketch titled “Hunting for H——” ran on page 2 of the New York Sun. Budd makes a strong case for this being Sam’s article in “Who Wants to Go to Hell? An Unsigned Sketch by Mark Twain?” William Mackay Laffan had written to Sam on Aug. 22 about the article “going in on Sunday” [Studies in Am. Humor online; Camfield, bibliog.].
Augustus Saint-Gaudens wrote to Clemens; letter not found at MTP but catalogued as UCLC 42231.
August 30 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: “It seems impossible to make any arrangement whereby the other Gen. Agts. Can sell ‘Huck Finn’ and ‘Tom Sawyer’ together, at a reduced price…” [MTP].
August 31 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, thanking him “ever so much for reading that batch of the proof.” Sam regretted that he’d not be able to attend the first night of Howells’ opera A Sea-Change in November, due to his readings with Cable that were to begin “about Nov. 5” [MTP; MTHL 2: 500n6]. Howells wrote on Aug. 10 inviting Sam and Livy [MTHL 2: 499]. Sam had plenty to say about current national politics:
This presidential campaign is too delicious for anything. To see grown men, apparently in their right mind, seriously arguing against a bachelor’s fitness for President [Cleveland] because he has had private intercourse with a consenting widow! Those grown men know what the bachelor’s other alternative was—& tacitly they seem to prefer that to the widow. Isn’t human nature the most consummate sham & lie that was ever invented? Isn’t man a creature to be ashamed of in pretty much all his aspects? Is he really fit for anything but to be stood up on the street corner as a convenience for dogs? Man, “know thyself”—& then thou wilt despise thyself, to a dead moral certainty. Take three good specimens—Hawley, Warner, & Charley Clark. Even I do not loathe Blaine more than they do; yet Hawley is howling for Blaine, Warner & Clark are eating their daily crow in the paper for him, & all three will vote for him. O Stultification, where is thy sting, O slave where is thy hickory! [MTP]. (See Sept. 4 entry for Howells’ reply.) Sam also told of the ruin of Gerhardt’s bust of him, but his fresh start in three days of making an even better copy.
September 1 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. Frank Bliss had offered terms too difficult for Sam’s plan of offering a discount for a paired sale of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, so Sam commented that the “question appears to answer itself.” The Frank Coker News Co. of Talledega, Ala. had been running ads for Mark Twain books in Frank Leslie’s Newspaper—Sam asked Webster to “send me pirate ads which are calculated to enrage me.” All the bothersome details had robbed Sam of any productive writing time.
This is the first summer which I have lost. I haven’t a paragraph to show for my 3-months’ working-season. But there was no help for it—been in the doctor’s [& dentist’s] hands the greater part of the time….We shall reach our hotel the evening of Sept. 16. And thenceforward we can meet when there is business to be discussed—it is the only good way….Do not imagine from anything in this, that I misappreciate you. No, I am at loggerheads with myself [MTLTP 179]. See Sept. 16 to Twichell for purpose at the doctor’s.
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, advising the family’s plan was to reach their hotel in New York “the night of the 16th & remain 2 or 3 days” [MTP].
Frank E. Bliss wrote to Clemens, after being absent found Twain’s letter of Aug. 26 about suing the Coker Co. Bliss explained they would have to prove “the defendant knew that our books were copyrighted” and so begged off; they’d tried to serve notice but Talledega was out of the way and not an easy thing to find a competent lawyer to serve them [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote twice to Clemens: shouldn’t they copyright the new book? Agents appointed for HF; furnace work under way; he finally caught John T. Raymond at 10 pm [MTP].
Worden & Co. Sent statement of a/c Aug. 31 bal $13,693.70 [MTP].
September 2 Tuesday – Charles Webster wrote twice to Clemens [MTP]. (financial statements enclosed) [MTP].
September 3 Wednesday – Susy and Clara Clemens were accosted by a “drunken ruffian” down the road from Quarry Farm. The man “drew a revolver” on them but they managed to escape. See Sam’s Sept. 7 & Sept. 15 to Howells [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: about Howells and the Col. Sellers play, scene changes, final speech, etc [MTP].
J. Chester for Lincoln University wrote to thank Clemens for his of Aug. 25 with check, $150 [MTP].
September 4 Thursday – William Dean Howells responded to Sam’s letter of Aug. 31 about the candidacies of Blaine and Cleveland. He did not share Sam’s perspective.
I shall vote for Blaine. I do not believe he is guilty of the things they accuse him of; and I know they are not proved against him.
As for Cleveland, his private life may be no worse than that of most men, but as an enemy of the contemptible, hypocritical, lopsided morality which says “a woman shall suffer all the shame of unchastity and a man none,[”] I want to see him destroyed politically by his past. The men who defend him would take their wives to the White House if he were President, but if he married his concubine—“made her an honest woman”—they would not go near him!
I can’t stand that.
Besides I don’t like his hangman-face. It looks dull and brutal [MTHL 2: 503].
September 5 Friday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to Charles Webster about the furnace bill. He also directed Webster not to go away “without first completing my contract with Pond” [MTP].
Sam then wrote a longer letter to Webster about stock sales, and not being able to re-write the new Sellers play even though Raymond’s suggestions were good [MTP].
September 6 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Am. Exchange stock issue resolved—error in the London office & Sam would get his full dividend; he had no copy of the Seller’s play & Howells had only an “imperfect copy”; should he draw up a contract with Raymond? [MTP].
Jeannette L. Gilder for The Critic wrote to ask Clemens to contribute for their series of sketches—could they send someone to interview him? [MTP].
September 7 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Howells, upset about a:
“…drunken ruffian who has been a trouble to our neighboring farmers for a couple of years & who drew a revolver on Susie & Clara last Wednesday when they were down the road a piece & without a protector” [MTP].
September 8 Monday – Sam wrote a short note from Elmira to George Iles, the Canadian editor.
“You have my best thanks; & when Pond has fixed my dates I will drop you a line; & shall hope that they fall as you have suggested” [MTP].
Sam also wrote two notes to Charles Webster. The first enclosed a photograph of the Gerhardt bust of Clemens—Sam wanted the image to be a frontispiece for Huck Finn and credit given to Gerhardt. It might require Webster going to Boston to contract for a heliotype of the photograph from the Heliotype Printing Co. The second, shorter note sent news of a stock Sam had sold at a profit and a check for $5,000 [MTP]. Note: the picture of Gerhardt’s bust of Sam was included in the first edition of Huck Finn.
Bissell & Co. wrote to Clemens, enclosing letter of Mr. Gilleg in reply to their inquiry of Sam’s dividend [MTP].
Buffalo Bill Cody wrote and enclosed three tickets to his wild west show: “I would be pleased to see you at one of the entertainments of the Wild West” [MTP].
September 9 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster, sending what he thought looked like a bill for “more hellfired statuary.” Gerhardt had “just gone to Philadelphia. I wish it was in hell. / If this is a bill, step in there & pay it. It looks like a bill” [MTP]. Gerhardt had made the trip to cast the bust in bronze (Sept. 16 to Twichell).
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to acknowledge Sam’s check for $5,000 [MTP].
September 10 Wednesday – Sam wrote Buffalo Bill Cody: “I have now seen your Wild West show two days in succession, and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It brought back vividly the breezy, wild life of the great plains, and the Rocky Mountains and stirred me like a war song” [MTP].
George W. Cable wrote to Clemens that he was leaving for Saratoga where he would read there the following day. On Friday he would return to Simsbury ready to meet Sam & Livy. “We shall greet you with a hurrah” [MTP].
September 11 Thursday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, advising him to let some unspecified matter “wait till another time.” Livy was “sick, & we may be here 10 or 12 days yet” [MTP]. Note: the matter to wait might have been Gerhardt’s bill, which upset Clemens on Sept. 9.
A. Edwards, Hartford billed and receipted Sam $25 for “Pasturing 1 pr. Horses 10 weeks at $2.50 pr week” [MTP].
September 12 Friday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam having finished Sellers final speech, though he wasn’t “proud of it.” Some bad news about his opera, the manager had fallen and died getting on his yacht and Howells didn’t “know whether it will go on or not” [MTHL 2: 505]. Note: the opera was A Sea-Change and was finally performed in 1929, nine years after Howells’ death, by the BBC.
Chatto & Windus wrote to Clemens anxious for early proof sheets of HF; they enclosed draft for £356 on his English editions [MTP].
September 13 Saturday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster.
“The bust was made in Elmira & is just finished. The photos were taken here & I have the negatives myself. But do nothing in the matter unless you find advantage for us in it. —I thought it would advantage the book” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote twice on various business matters [MTP].
September 14 Sunday – James B. Pond wrote to Clemens [MTP].
September 15 Monday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Charles Webster. John T. Raymond had backed out of doing the new Sellers play. The heliotype was acceptable to Sam at a cost of two cents each. Livy had been:
“…sick—is sick—& will not be able to travel for a week or ten days yet. Keep the Sellers play in your safe until I am done with the platform—then I will send for it & turn it into a novel” [MTP].
Sam also answered Howells’ “bad luck” letter of Sept. 12:
Well, isn’t the devil in the luck? Raymond backs out at last—I wish to thunder you hadn’t had the trouble of writing the speech for nothing. Then your manager had to go & get killed. That is your share of the ill luck. Mrs. Clemens has fallen sick, & our return home is frustrated, just as we were nearly ready to start. And that miscreant who drew the revolver escaped from the jailor & has got away into Pennsylvania. That is my share [MTP].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, saying “Never mind about the play. We had fun writing it, anyway” [MTHL 2: 507].
E.M. Ormsby wrote from Springfield, Mass. to demand an autograph [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Some ass or other”
September 16 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Joe Twichell, who evidently had written recently.
On the contrary, the summer has been lost time to me. I spent several weeks in the dental chair, coming down the hill every day for the purpose; then I made a daily trip during several more weeks to a doctor to be treated for catarrh & have my palate burnt off. The remnant of the season I wasted in ineffectual efforts to work. I haven’t a paragraph to show for my summer.
Sam had brought a bicycle with him to Quarry Farm but had little luck with it due to all the hills. Livy wouldn’t be ready to travel for at least a week. Sam told of Gerhardt and ruining the bust when casting was attempted in plaster; that Gerhardt had gone to Philadelphia to cast it in bronze. Sam was glad Joe and family were home again and that the Clemens “tribe” would be there soon [MTP].
September 16? Tuesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Henry C. Robinson, attorney and one of his Friday Evening Club billiard cronies in Hartford.
“P.S. I spoke too soon, Brer Robinson. Mrs. Clemens has been sick & won’t be strong enough to travel for a week or ten days, yet. So I’ll have to appoint another & later billiard-meeting” [MTP; www.historyforsale.com #42883]. Note: Sam signed this “Elmira, Monday 16th” so date is uncertain.
September 17 Wednesday – Sam wrote two letters to Howells. Even though Howells wrote on Sept. 15 and had not commented on Sam’s opinion of Blaine and Cleveland, Sam didn’t let the subject go.
Somehow I can’t seem to rest quiet under the idea of your voting for Blaine. I believe you said something about the country & the party. Certainly allegiance to these is well; but as certainly a man’s first duty is to his own conscience & honor—the party & the country come second to that, & never first. I don’t ask you to vote at all—I only urge you to not soil yourself by voting for Blaine. When you wrote before, you were able to say the charges against him were not proven. But you know now that they are proven, & it seems to me that bars you & all other honest & honorable men (who are independently situated) from voting for him [MTP].
The second letter involved Livy, and something she told Sam that was worth repeating:
…A drop letter came to me asking me to lecture here for a Church debt. I began to rage over the exceedingly cool wording of the request, when Mrs. Clemens said “I think I know that church; & if so, this preacher is a colored man—he doesn’t know how to write a polished letter—how should he?”
My manner changed so suddenly & so radically that Mrs. C. said: “I will give you a motto, & it will be useful to you if you will adopt it: Consider every man colored till he is proven white.”
It is dern good, I think [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: bust photo for HF: Western loans [MTP].
September 19 Friday – The contract with James Pond for the readings tour with George Cable was signed. The tour was to run from Nov. 5, 1884 through the end of Feb. 1885 [MTNJ 3: 60n143]. Sam wrote a list of possible readings in his notebook before this date.
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Pond contract signed; bust photo for HF, other misc. [MTP].
September 20 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to James B. Pond.
“I & the family will arrive at the Brunswick on Tuesday evening. I will talk to you about the lithograph & learn the proposed size & style of it. This is necessary for Mrs. Clemens is dead opposed to it; & if she remains so, that’ll end it.”
Sam hoped to make his reading choices as soon as he reached Hartford, which he hoped would be a week from this day. Livy’s illness had delayed him one week, he explained [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified man:
“The album has gone to Hartford, I judge, where I have not been for 4 months, but where I shall doubtless be, a week or ten days hence. / Very Truly, SL Clemens” [2007 October Grand Format Rare Books & Manuscripts Auction #675 Lot 30310; Oct 24, 2007]. http://historical.ha.com/
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking for an unbound copy of HF to be waiting for him in Hartford, as he wished to choose excerpts to read on the tour [MTP].
September 21 Sunday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt, giving permission for him to “go ahead & put the medallion-children in marble” for an exhibition. Sam expected to reach New York City on Thursday evening, Sept. 25 and Hartford on Friday, Sept. 26 [MTP]. Note: Sam was still in Elmira on Wednesday, Sept. 24, and the family probably left that day for New York. See Sept. 26 notes.
September 23 Tuesday – An envelope only survives from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt [MTP].
The Clemens family (without Sam) left Quarry Farm for New York City [MTNJ 3: 57n128]. They stayed at the Brunswick Hotel. Sam stayed behind a day and then went to Philadelphia incognito (see Sept. 24 entry).
September 24 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Elmira to Karl Gerhardt in Philadelphia:
“Dear K—Call at the Lafayette Hotel [in Philadelphia] at 9 SHARP, day after to-morrow (Friday) morning, & ask for J. B. Smith. That will be me. Keep my real name quiet. If nothing happens, I shall be there—otherwise I will send you some letters of introduction.”
Sam lectured him about sending original copies of letters with instructions to “preserve this” or “Return this,” etc. “Don’t ever do that again—send me a COPY of the thing…” [MTP].
On or just before this day Sam wrote to Charles Webster. He’d waited “a couple of days” for a special ink to come from the Heliotype Co. in Boston to be used on the bust page for Huck Finn, but it hadn’t come.
“—so now the signatures must wait till I get back from Philadelphia Saturday morning. I reach there to-morrow evening & shall stop at the Lafayette Hotel under the name ‘J.B. Smith,’ if you should want to communicate with me to-morrow night or Friday” [MTP]. Note: Just why Sam’s presence in Philadelphia for the bronze casting of Gerhardt’s bust was necessary, or why Sam wanted to travel incognito, is unknown. Sam’s letter of Sept. 26 to Pond suggests Sam hoped to have met Cable there for a photo of the two of them to be made, but that it wasn’t the primary aim of the trip.
September 25 Thursday – Sam left Elmira on this day, two days after his family left for New York, and traveled to Philadelphia (see letter to Webster, Sept. 24). He stopped briefly at the Brunswick Hotel in New York to check on the family. See Sept. 26 notes.
Wallace Muzzy sent another crank letter and signed it “Muzio Clemens” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Lunatic”
September 26 Friday – Sam wrote from New York to James B. Pond.
Cable didn’t come. However, I wasn’t expecting him or depending on him. But it wasn’t any matter, for Gerhardt doesn’t need a picture of me, & if he does he can get it at Falk’s, who has made a large one in profile. All he will need, now, is a suitable picture of Cable. I want the things to be made by Gerhardt—it will advertise him. Give G.W. my love, & tell him he didn’t disappoint me, I wasn’t looking for him.
Sam specified the programs for the tour should be printed on cards, not paper, which would rattle during the performance. Note: Sam’s letter of Sept. 21, 1884 to Karl Gerhardt is collected in its entirety in the Lilly Library’s “Mark Twain: Selections from the Collection of Nick Karanovich” (1991, p.19 #29; Sotheby’s auction June 19, 2003 Lot 45.): “We all reach Hotel Brunswick, New York, Thursday, & Hartford Friday evening” (editorial emphasis).
Note: This letter prior reported from the MTP TS as “Tuesday” in error. This correction makes the stop at the Brunswick in the Sept. 25 entry definite. It also removes the “?” from the Sept. 26 entry as to the place of the letter to Pond. One correction or additional piece of information can affect multiple entries.
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Clemens, relating talks with Mr. Childs about the Peter Cooper Monument in NY; other contacts made [MTP].
William F. Barrett for Psychical Research Society wrote from Montreal to advise he’d sent a complete set of their proceedings [MTP].
September 27 Saturday – Sam wrote on a Hotel Brunswick postcard from New York City to Karl Gerhardt.
“My Dear K—I may want a clay medallion of Cable & myself made from a photograph by Sarony. Drop a line to Maj. J. B. Pond, Everett House, New York City & ask him if you had better run up here & get his ideas as to size, style, &c. I talked with him. He is my agent. He is out of town but returns in a day or two” [MTP].
September 28 Sunday – The Clemens family arrived back in Hartford either this day or the day before. Sam wrote from Hartford to Karl Gerhardt, reminding him to:
“…thank Mr. Childs & Mr. Gowen cordially for me for the kindnesses which they have shown you. I shall be in Philadelphia within a month or two, & shall go to them & make my personal acknowledgments” [MTP].
**William Mackay Laffan wrote from NYC, back from a Canada vacation and feeling good about beating Osgood at billiards; he offered Sam a challenge [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Laffan / answered him”
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens, having reassured Cable that Sam did not have hard feelings over waiting an hour for him; he asked if Sam had any notions about programs for the tour [MTP].
September, late–October, early – The earliest copies of the first edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were printed, though official publication did not take place until Feb. 18, 1885 [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
October – Sam copied (in German) the last six stanzas of Moritz Ernest Arndt’s (1769-1860) song, “Das Lied vom Feldmarschall” (1813) into his notebook [Gribben 27].
October, a Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, asking for a “list of our appointments & dates as far as you have got” for Livy. Sam wanted the list “immediately.” Her “acceptance or declination of an invitation to spend several days in Boston is depending on it” [MTP].
On a day in October, Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking him to “Look into that hand-grenade thing” to see if it was worth a speculation. “It is going to do an enormous business some day” [MTP]. Note: the Hayword Hand Grenades were a rack of small bottles of sealed water, to be thrown into a fire.
October 2 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, asking him to visit in Hartford with George W. Cable, “either at my house or his, a day or two later” [MTP].
October 3 Friday – At one time Sam was instructing Charles Webster to telegraph important information; now he wrote from Hartford telling him “to use the telegraph less freely…it is not twice in 5 years that a W.U. telegram beats a letter between N.Y. & Hartford” [MTP]. Sam wrote another short note to Webster on or about this date about having a rubber stamp made that would cross out the “Osgood & Co.” on envelopes he had and print Webster’s address [MTP].
October 4 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to William Fletcher Barrett of the Journal of Society for Psychical Research.
I should be very glad indeed to be made a Member of the Society….; for Thought-transference, as you call it, or mental telegraphy as I have been in the habit of calling it, has been a very strong interest with me for the past nine or ten years. I have grown so accustomed to considering that all my powerful impulses come to me from somebody else, that I often feel like a mere amanuensis when I sit down to write a letter under the coercion of a strong impulse…[MTP].
October 6 Monday – Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: positive reactions to the mockup book of HF; details of the agents and pay [MTP].
October 9 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Mervyn Drake, identity not known. Sam wrote six and a half lines in German and then recalled a Professor Ihne, who, with his wife and daughter, called on Sam and Livy on May 26, 1878 in Germany (See MTNJ 2: 89n85). Ihne was the author of several works on Roman history. Note: corrected name & date by Hirst email, May 17, 2007.
“I am trying to persuade my wife to say we shall pack up our household tribe & spend next summer at the Schloss Hotel and then I will furnish you some picturesque samples of German if you are there” [MTP].
Twain also signed a letter with 20 other leading men of Hartford to invite Lt. Mason L. Shufetde, U.S. Navy, in view of his “secret visit to Madagascar,” to lecture in Hartford. M.G. Bulkeley, Hartford mayor, headed the list, which included J. Hammond Trumbull, Joe Twichell, and Edwin P. Parker [ABE Books, Stodolski, Inc. Autographs 9/27/2010].
The Hartford Courant ran a front-page notice on Karl Gerhardt’s bust of Sam:
The bust of Mr. S. L. Clemens, which Mr. Karl Gerhardt modeled at Elmira last summer and which has just been put in breeze in Philadelphia, can now be seen at the gallery of Mr. Vorce. Mr. Gerhardt, who belongs in Hartford, has been for four years a student of sculpture in Paris…
Patent Engraving Co, New York sent Sam card & diagram “Game apparatus; filed this day [patent #] 324,535 ; with a quote of 1.75 to make game board [MTP, 1884 financial file].
October 10 Friday – Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to propose Sam let him run “half or three quarters” of HF “with a whole lot of pictures” since the book wouldn’t be out for a month or two; he admitted this was against Sam’s rule but felt it would help the book’s sales [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Serial”
October 10 or 11 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Richard Watson Gilder, chief editor of the Century Magazine. He had received a telegram from Gilder about HF excerpt submission. Sam asked, “do you mean lump price $400—or $30 a page?” [MTP].
October 11 Saturday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to James B. Pond, extolling Gerhardt’s medallion of him and George W. Cable. Sam verified that the reading tour would resume on Dec. 29 [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote “Your telegram here has received & I have ordered the Dec. no. closed up without delay. Four numbers is what we would like to have” and “do you mean lump price $400—or $30 a page?” [MTP].
October 13 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Caroline M. Hewins, of the Hartford Library, asking her to “kindly allow the privileges of the Library to the bearer, Mr. Karl Gerhardt…” [MTP]. Note: Hewins was a prolific writer authoring the first popular bibliography of quality books for children; she is considered one of the great pioneers in library science, and today a scholarship fund bears her name.
George W. Cable wrote to Clemens, “delighted with the proof sheets I have read.” He especially liked (for reading) “Jim’s account of his investments winding up with the 10 cents ‘give to de po’” [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote that Sam’s “long letter was at hand. We’ll drop the idea of a serial…perhaps you’ll live up to the idea, yet; with another book” [MTP].
October 14 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Richard Watson Gilder about the selection of Huck Finn for the Century that Gilder chose.
“I have tried to put the explanation of the situation into Huck’s mouth but didn’t succeed to my satisfaction. Will the note do, which I enclose? Alter, emend, shorten it or lengthen it to suit yourself—if any of these shall seem necessary—but in some way preserve the fact that the thing is from an unpublished book…” [MTP].
Karl Gerhardt wrote from Hartford to Clemens that “the bust must go tomorrow, in order to enter the exposition, so perhaps it will be best for me to take it personally” [MTP].
October 14 and 15 and 16 Thursday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas W. Russell, a director of the Connecticut Fire Insurance Co., declining an invitation (probably to speak at the Mugwump political rally on Oct. 20. Sam held back the note for two days, hoping to be able to accept, and reminded Russell to be sure an include Twichell’s name on his list [MTP]. Note: Sam did speak at the rally.
During this week Sam wrote Howells and included a note that Clara Clemens was ill [MTLH 2: 510n1]
October 15 Wednesday – Sam wrote a short note from Hartford to James B. Pond: no, he wouldn’t read in Elmira; “Thank George W. for the suggestion about ‘lendin to de po’.”; Gerhardt was in New York for a few days [MTP].
October 16 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam.
Osgood has asked me to let him see the copy of the Library of Humor, and is waiting for me to get it a little more in shape. You can’t suffer any disadvantage in any event from his looking it over…I am glad that there is a reasonable hope of our having Mrs. Clemens here with you when you come to read in November. I’m sorry to hear that poor Ben [Clara] is under the weather [MTHL 2: 510].
October 17 Friday – In Hartford, Sam responded to Howells’ Oct. 16 letter:
Yes, give Osgood the MS—I haven’t the least objection. I am about half glad that Laffan beat him at billiards the other day, because he promised to stop over here & play with me, & didn’t do it.
By George, the refreshment & rest there is in a change of air & scenery once in a while! I am to preside at a Mugwump meeting Monday night. / Yrs Ever / Mark [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder for Century Magazine wrote again about the excerpt of HF to run in the magazine, and suggested $30 per page would be fairer than a flat $400. “I enclose the first page which we have sent to press. Have only omitted the poem, and a few cuss words—about the fog.—” [MTP].
Louis M. Passmore wrote to Clemens for his autograph [MTP].
October 18 Saturday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Frank Fuller:
I changed publishers once—and just as sure as death and taxes I never will again.
‘Rah for Cleveland! [MTP].
Critic ran an unsigned article about Gerhardt’s bust of Sam, “Mark Twain in Bronze,” which included a description of the work by Charles Dudley Warner [Tenney].
October 19 Sunday – William F. Barrett for Psychical Research Society wrote to thank Clemens for his “interesting and characteristic letter” [MTP].
October 20 Monday – Sam spoke at a Mugwump Rally, Allyn Hall, Hartford, introducing Carl Schurz, the main speaker. His remarks as Chairman are published in Fatout’s Mark Twain Speaking, p.186-7. Thomas W. Russell, a director of the Connecticut Fire Insurance Co. introduced Sam [MTNJ 2: 74n26]. Note: James G. Blaine never explained how he became rich with little visible means of support, so that the cloud of corruption remained on him. “Mugwumps” were Republicans who favored Grover Cleveland, the Democrat candidate.
Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens that they’d written the American News Co. in Alabama about the ads for Sam’s books. Frank Bliss responded that “he had taken action through a local attorney in Alabama to stop the sale and thought it effectually stopped” and that Fred Hall had sent them a “decoy letter” asking for P&P and IA and enclosed Coker’s reply (not in file) [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “See Bliss about this tomorrow”
October 20? Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Howells after reading the first two chapters of The Rise of Silas Lapham, serialized in the Nov. issue of the Century. Sam asked for a copy of the new Sellers play so he might “get some truck out for the plat-form readings.” Of Lapham, Sam wrote:
“I was glad & more than glad to meet young Hubbard again, & I prodigiously like the Colonel; the story starts most acceptably” [MTP].
October 22 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Henry L. Pierce (1825-1896), Boston industrialist, past Massachusetts Representative to Congress, and twice mayor of Boston—also friend of the Aldriches. Sam lobbied for Pierce’s support to put a “Mr. Edmunds” on the ticket as an Independent for the Presidency, an action Sam felt:
“…would work absolutely certain defeat to Blaine & save the country’s honor” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond that he’d selected for one-night readings, “King Sollermun” and “Can’t Learn.” He signed off again with “’Rah for Cleveland” [MTP]. Note: Clemens would consistently admire and praise Cleveland throughout his life.
October 23 Thursday – In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam, advising he would send the new Sellers play to Osgood by express that day. He diplomatically told Sam that there wasn’t room for Sam’s “fellow-reader” [Cable] should Sam and Livy come to visit. Howells also felt that Silas Lapham wouldn’t sell well until the presidential campaign was over. On the Englishman Henry Irving returning to America and playing to half houses:
“What a mistake for him to come back, poor fellow. But one of those constant Englishmen could never understand our fickleness in celebrities. Genius we stick to, but he hasn’t got that” [MTHL 2: 512].
B. Schuehaffer wrote to Clemens about supporting Cleveland for Mugwumps [MTP].
Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens, more on efforts to stop Frank Coker Co. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Alex & Green / Ala pirate / Sent $100”
October 24 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond that he’d decided to substitute an enclosed program for the one he’d sent, “All but 5 minutes of it is bran-new—never been played or published.” He asked for Cable’s “2-night program” so he might see how his would coordinate [MTP].
Alexander & Green wrote to twice Clemens, two letters enclosed, one from Bliss and their reply. They related that Clemens told them to do whatever was necessary to “prosecute the Coker Co.” They’d rec’d Sam’s of the 24th (not extant) authorizing action [MTP].
October 25 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook:
Oct. 25. To be attended to tomorrow:
Furnace doesn’t heat enough.
Sell cow if she is going dry.
We not to keep 3 cows.
D. is a failure; can’t raise turnips & roses.
Fix damp place in library shelves.
See Barnard of the Committee [Note: Henry Barnard was a member of the committee to choose a sculptor for the Nathan Hale statue in the state capitol building in Hartford. See MTNJ 2:75n29]
Ask C [Cable] to send me a full ticket [a complete list of his readings].
Patrick, milk & alarm.
Das Bank Theilen verkaufen [Sell the bank shares].
Hotel in New Haven. [No doubt a reminder to ask Pond which hotel they might meet in].
George W. Cable wrote to Clemens:
Dear Friend: / Pond and I have talked and thought much over the programme. Enclosed please find the embodiment of our conclusions. We both think that more alternation than this would weaken and break the effect. The time here comprised is the same as originally decided on — 2 hours. My memoranda make it so on the margin. The first and second numbers suffice to give the audience a sense that both stars are “present or accounted for” and the 3d and 4th give each a fair swing at their attention & interest without interruption.
One item in the programme shows a suggestion which I beg to offer. It is a substitute, almost literally from your test, for the phrase “Can’t learn a nigger to argue.” When we consider that the programme is advertised & becomes cold-blooded newspaper reading I think we should avoid any risk of appearing—even to the most thin-skinned and supersensitive and hypercritical patrons and misses—the faintest bit gross. In the text, whether on the printed page or in the readers utterances the phrase is absolutely without a hint of grossness; but alone on a published programme, it invites discreditable conjectures of what the context may be, from that portion of our public who cannot live without aromatic vinegar. I hope you’ll pardon the liberty I take, and restore the original phrase if you think I’m entirely mistaken.
Wouldn’t you say “carriages at ten”—People like to know; especially when the carriages are sleighs.
I am sending duplicate program to Pond. Please let him have your verdict as soon as convenient. I shall be in N. York with him Monday. “King Sollermun” is enough by itself to immortalize its author. I read it privately to Waring, his wife and her sister, after midnight of Thursday and I thought they would laugh themselves sick. … [MTP].
October 26 Sunday – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond, directing him never to print a program “till a day or two before it is to be used.” Sam knew that practice and change on the circuit would most likely be necessary. He recommended they “get up a third program” (instead of using two and alternating), “& practice it on the small towns too, before we strike Boston” [MTP].
Edgar W. Howe for Atchison Globe wrote to relate remarks B. Mcauley made bout Twain at a dinner; he “was overjoyed” to receive a letter from Howells [MTP].
October 27 Monday, after – Sam wrote from Hartford to James B. Pond—a longer letter with details of the upcoming tour, including Gerhardt plaques [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Clemens, not having heard a word concerning the programme. “Mr. Cable wrote you about it, sending the division of the time” [MTP].
October 28 Tuesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Neil Burgess (1846-1910), a popular comedy actor who specialized in playing roles of elderly women. His greatest success was Widow Bedott in 1879. Burgess had evidently invited Sam to a performance or a social engagement, but Sam had to decline [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, suggesting a meeting; all that could be done by correspondence had been done.
I got Cable’s note yesterday, & do immensely approve of the change he suggests in the distribution of the stage-work. Let us stick to that plan—each to read a very short piece first; then Cable to bunch the rest of his rime together; & afterward I follow him & bunch all my remaining time together, & so close the performance [MTP].
Neil Burgess (1815-1910), comedian, wrote from Hartford, enclosing tickets for this evening [MTP].
October 29 Wednesday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Thomas Bailey Aldrich, whose invitation arrived this day for Sam to stay with him when he read in Boston. Howells had asked first, but Sam hoped to see them both. Politics and a candidate of independent status for president was good for a comment; Sam thanked him for “Mr. Pierce’s speech” [MTP].
Louis M. Passmore wrote from NYC, a second request for autograph [MTP]. Note: unused SASE in file
October 30 Thursday – Sam wrote to J.M. Stevenson for Illustrated Christian Weekly, letter not extant but referred to in the Nov. 1 reply from Stevenson.
Joseph Stein for Mark Twain Literary Union, NYC wrote to announce the formation of their group, 32 including 12 ladies. He asked Sam for “a few words” [MTP].
Samuel S. McClure (1857-1949) for Wheelman Magazine wrote: “I am making arrangements with a large number of newspapers for the simultaneous publication of stories of leading American authors.” Of course, he wanted to include something from Clemens [MTP].
October 31 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Edward House, who evidently had reminded Sam of a promise made that Sam could not recall. House hadn’t been specific. Sam wanted to “run to Japan” but felt it was not possible. He told of his upcoming four month platform tour, wishing he hadn’t promised but it was too late “to cry about it.”
Four days hence I shall have the pleasure of casting a vote against Mr. Blaine; shall vote the entire democratic ticket, from President down to town constable. All the republicans of this section are & have for years been bitter against Blaine; but they are party-slaves & nearly all will vote for him—including all the clergy but two—Twichell & one other. Lord, the amount of buzzard these shabby people are gorging, these days! [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, accepting a meeting in New Haven for Wednesday, then thinking Pond meant Monday—what hotel should he meet Pond and George Warner? [MTP].
Sam also wrote two letters to Charles Webster. He’d heard rumors that the American Exchange in Europe was shaky. Would Webster “inquire about this & if” true advise and he would sell out his $10,000 holdings? Furnace brushes had not arrived as promised. Gerhardt was “making a beautiful statue of Nathan Hale.”
“I read in New Haven Nov. 5, & shall read in New York about Nov. 17. You can get a list of all my appointments from Pond, so that you can keep tract [sic] of me. Get from him also either my hotel in each town or the name of the hall” [MTP].
Enclosed in the second letter was a list of people who had projects which were possibly good investments. Sam gave Webster the authority to “look into their project, make a contract with them if you like the look of it.” Sam had three months left to refuse half-interest in a patent for a device to keep children from kicking clothes off or rolling out of bed.
“We use it all the time, now, on three beds, & it works all right. But I have invented a more expensive & convenient one, & presently when I see you we will talk about it. Mine is not easily infringed; but any man can make the other thing for himself” [MTP].
Alexander & Green attorneys wrote to Clemens (Bliss to A&G enclosed), explaining that Anthony Comstock had been sent to Alabama to try to buy Twain books [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Ala pirates”; Bliss didn’t wish to sue over possible obscenities by Coker but only if they were selling a lot of Twain’s books.
October, Late – Sam gave another political speech “Turncoats” at a Mugwump Rally, Hartford:
Why are we called turncoats? Because we have changed our opinion. Change it about what? About the greatness and righteousness of the principles of the Republican party? No, that is not changed. We believe in those principles yet; no one doubts this. What, then, is it that we have changed our opinions about? Why, about Mr. Blaine. That is the whole change. There is no other. Decidedly, we have done that, and do by no means wish to deny it [Fatout, Mark Twain Speaking, p.182-4].
November? – A short speech may have been delivered titled, “Mock Oration on the Dead Partisan,” at some private gathering this month. If given, it would have followed the election of Nov. 4 [Fatout, MT Speaking 188-9]. Note: Budd observes, “May never have been delivered” [“Collected” 1021].
November 1 Saturday – J.M. Stevenson for Illustrated Christian Weekly wrote to Clemens: “In response to your courteous note of Oct. 30th anent ‘A True Story’ published in J.C.W.[?] Oct 25th I hasten to say that we supposed it was true…so could not have touched it” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Loose editing”
November 3 Monday – Sam may have gone to New Haven, as implied in his Oct. 31 letter to Pond, to discuss the upcoming reading tour with Pond and perhaps George Warner.
In the evening, Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion. The family admired a colored picture of Jane Clemens and couldn’t decide whether it was a photograph, or a pastille, or water-color.
“We agree upon one point only: that it is admirable work, with the details most delicately & pains-takingly wrought out. What is it?” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Miss Corinne Howells (relation to Wm. Dean Howells?). about the late Thomas Carlyle’s writing.
“But he is an angel now. If of the one other-world, he is already educated; if of the other, his education is mainly before him” [MTP].
November 4 Tuesday – Election Day. Sam, a Mugwump, voted for the narrow winner, Grover Cleveland, the first democrat elected president since before the Civil War. Note: for a scholarly treatment of the Mugwumps, see Gerald McFarland’s “The New York Mugwumps of 1884: A Profile” in Political Science Quarterly (Mar., 1963) p 40-58. In MTA, Sam remembered the pact he, Twichell and Rev. Francis Goodwin made to vote for Cleveland. This was before the Australian system of secret balloting, so that everyone knew who a person voted for. Sam wrote that the vote for Cleveland nearly cost Twichell his congregation. (See MTA 2: 21-25.) Note: Was this story Sam’s imagination? Strong writes,
“As it actually happened it is not so interesting a story as Twain later made it by inventing the tale of Twichell’s almost losing his church because of the statement in the paper and because his Republican parishioners would not put up with his declaration that he was not going to vote a straight ticket. But this was Twain’s imagination at work. The only actual adverse reaction was one letter in the ‘Letters from the People’ column in the Courant regretting that a minister should express a political opinion instead of sticking to his theological concerns!” .
Sam also wrote to Charles Erskine Scott Wood (1852-1944) (a man who needed four names to be recognized), after James G. Blaine failed by 28 votes in his bid for the Republican nomination for President. The text is not available, but the paraphrase is that the letter was “full of explosive and obscene matter…bitter with rage against the corruption in Lincoln’s once great party” [MTPO; was 14 June 1876 MTLE 1: 70]. Blaine’s opponents chanted: “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the State of Maine!”
November 5, 1884 to February 28, 1885 – Mark Twain and George Washington Cable went on a grand tour,” Twins of Genius” tour, with over 100 engagements, managed by James B. Pond. Sam read and delivered passages from numerous works including Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Celebrated Jumping Frog, and others. Cable read from Dr. Sevier and sang Creole songs.
Luckily both men wrote their wives almost daily, and most of those letters have survived.
Note: Basic tour stops and information taken from four sources: Cardwell Twins; Lorch Trouble; Fatout Circuit, and Railton’s site: http://etext.virginia.edu/railton/huckfinn/hftourhp.html
November 5 Wednesday – During the day, Sam wrote from Hartford to Chatto & Windus, thanking them for a royalties check for £356.
“I think the country spewed up the filthy Blaine yesterday. At least such is our hope & belief this morning. Webster is in California or Oregon establishing general agencies, so I’ve no book news. I take the platform to-night, after an eight or ten years’ absence…This trip’s my last—forever & ever” [MTP].
In the evening Sam and Cable gave a reading at the Opera House, New Haven, Conn. Livy was in the “large and refined audience,” according to Cardwell . Cable wrote to his wife that the performance had been “an emphatic success.” After the reading Dr. Francis Bacon and wife gave a tea for the performers and friends [Turner, MT & GWC 50-1].
Walter Besant for Incorporated Society Authors wrote to bestow honorary membership [MTP].
November 6 Thursday – The “Twins of Genius Tour” continued with a reading at Music Hall, Orange, N.J. Clemens included: “A Telephonic Conversation,” “Col. Sellers in a New Role,” “ A Dazzling Achievement,” “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” “A Ghost Story,” and “A Sure Cure” [MTPO].
On Nov. 7, Cable wrote to his wife, “Had a great success in Orange last night.”
November 7 Friday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Gilmore’s Opera House, Springfield, Mass. Lilly Warner and Livy accompanied Sam to Springfield, but did not continue with him on the tour. Clemens included: “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “Col. Sellers in a New Role,” “A Trying Situation,” and “A Ghost Story,” [MTPO].
Cable reported that the performance was “against terrible odds—brass music & fire-works in front of the hall, vast crowds blocking the streets and cannon firing directly in the rear of the house” [Turner, MT & GWC 51; Nov. 12 to Livy, MTP].
November 8 Saturday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Blackstone Hall, Providence, Rhode Island. Cable’s Nov. 9 to Lucy:
Yesterday’s double duty did not hurt me at all. I never did my work before so brilliantly. You will be proud when I tell you that Mark & I seem to divide the honors as nearly even as two men well could. Mark seems greatly pleased with my work, as I am with his. As I came off the platform yesterday afternoon followed by a tremendous clatter of applause & he met me in the door as he was going to take my vacated place he exclaimed, “superb! superb!” Even Pond, sitting back at the rear of the house, applauded — first time he has ever done it. One lady — when I read “Mary’s Night Ride,” quite lost herself and wrung her hands hysterically [Turner, MT & GWC 51-2].
November 9 Sunday – In Providence, R.I. Sam wrote to Charles Webster, advising that Pond would “presently begin to render his weekly-or-whatever-it-is account to you, accompanied by money.” Sam wanted these funds untouched and if Webster needed money to apply for it and Sam would draw on Elmira or Hartford banks. Gilder of the Century was “profoundly indebted” to Sam for recommending Kemble as an artist. The magazine would use Kemble “to illustrate a long article of Cable’s” [MTP].
November 10 Monday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Town Hall, Melrose, Mass. Cardwell says “The polishing of the readings begun in New Haven was continued in other small towns, including …Melrose” . Extra seats had to be brought in for the large crowd. The next day the Boston Morning Journal reported at length on the performance, describing Twain’s humor as “purely American” .
November 11 Tuesday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Huntington Hall, Lowell, Mass. Clemens included “Toast to Babies,” and “Encounter with an Interviewer” [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Boston to James B. Pond, sending revised programs for two New York nights, and enclosing a letter from Orion in Keokuk, Iowa. Jan. 13 was one of the open dates there; Sam hoped he might read in Hannibal, Mo. on Jan. 12 and the next night in Keokuk. He advised Pond not to “sell the show” in Hannibal but to write to Sam’s old schoolmate, John H. Garth and he’d put Pond in touch with the right people. Sam wished to give all of his Hannibal proceeds to “some charity of the town” [MTP].
November 12 Wednesday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Rumford Hall, Waltham, Mass. [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Lowell, Mass. to Livy:
Livy Darling, only a word, to say I have not heard from you since I left you stricken & lonely in the forever accursed town of Springfield—the only town where we have suffered a defeat. I have not heard from you, & it has depressed me all day. It is now midnight, & has been a hard day. Good night my love. Sam [MTP].
Interview: The Boston Herald, p.4, under “Notes” printed Sam’s “comic remarks …as a way of generating free publicity.” Sam joked about the longish nature of joint readings.
November 13 Thursday – Here was the first big test in a big city—Boston. Pond placed advertisements in the Evening Transcript several days in advance, starting with Nov. 8. He presented the reading as part of the lyceum lecture series. The focus of these ads became the standard for the tour—“Twain is a comedian; Cable a master of humor and pathos” [Cardwell 17].
Sam and Cable read in Boston’s Music Hall. Cable sang Creole songs and read selections from his novel, Dr. Sevier; Sam read passages from Huck Finn and “narrated his struggles with the German language and its unreasonable genders. He also described an incident in Tramp Abroad and threw in examples of “odd humor” [MTHL 2: 513n1]. The audience “applauded frequently.”
Howells was in the audience and wrote Sam the next day that he’d never enjoyed him more.
Montreal Snow Shoe Club per H.S. Tibbs wrote bestow membership on Sam [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Answered”
November 14 Friday – Boston papers reviewed the performance of the previous evening—The Transcript, the Globe, the Journal, and the Post. The Globe compared Cable to Dickens and praised Twain for his struggle with the German language, his trying conversation with the young lady in the hotel dining room at Lucerne, and his ghost story. On balance, all reviews were positive, although the Post called Cable “amateurish in his manner,” but praised him for his singing of Creole songs [Cardwell 18]. Cable wrote home:
We had a great time last night. Twenty-two hundred people applauding, laughing & encoring, In Music Hall. This morning Clemens & I go out to make a call or two. Tonight we read in Brockton. Tomorrow afternoon & night in Chickering Hall. Our show is a great success.
It isn’t easy to write as Mark Twain is singing “We shall walk through the Valley” [Turner, MT & GWC 59.]
Turner writes of “slack attendance” at the evening reading in Brockton, Mass. and also of the following afternoon in Boston . The Boston Journal ran an account of Sam’s comic remarks to reporters as a way of generating free publicity [Budd, “Interviews” 3].
In Boston, Howells wrote to Sam:
Three of us went to hear you read last night and I think I never enjoyed you more. You were as much yourself before those thousands as if you stood by my chimney-corner grinding away to the household your absence bereaves here. You are a great artist, and you do this public thing so wonderfully well that I don’t see how you could ever bear to give it up. I thought the bits from Huck Finn told the best—at least I enjoyed them the most. That is a mighty good book, and I should like to hear you read it all [MTHL 2: 513].
November 15 Saturday – The Boston Daily Advertiser touted George W. Cable as a southern gentleman, Sam as a Connecticut resident—adding the Civil War reconciliation aspect, a “literary bridging of the bloody chasm” and a “rostrum of rapproachment of Louisiana and Connecticut” [Lorch 164].
Sam and Cable gave a matinee reading in Boston [Turner, MT & GWC 59].
Sam wrote from Boston to Orion, asking him not to telegram about open dates, that it wasted his money.
I placed the matter in my agent’s hands two days ago; & there I leave all such things. We have but 2 dates open in January—that is, we had 2 open; but it is quite possible that the N.Y. agency has filled them before this. We have no engagements on the river except St. Louis—not a single hall or theatre to be had, upon a convenient date, in any town from St. Louis to St. Paul [MTP].
Sam also wrote from Boston to James B. Pond. There’d been too many empty seats at Brockton and at the matinee reading in Boston.
“Louder advertising is absolutely necessary. We must have, in every town & city, one of two or half a dozen vast red posters with the single line, MARK TWAIN—CABLE . . .” [MTP].
November 16 Sunday – Cardwell says Sam was in Providence, R.I. on this day, and Cable “presumably had one or two days at home in Simsbury” . Sam must have continued on to Hartford, because he wrote from there to James B. Pond, setting the program for the first night in New York to be the standard: “There will not be a single change made in it for a month to come—it will always be our one-night & first-night program.” Changes were given for the matinée program [MTP].
The Boston Herald ran an article, “Mark Twain and the Police / The Humorist’s Experience in a Boston Station House.” Budd says “Not quite an interview but contains long statement from SLC about his treatment at police station after helping to prevent a suicide” [“Interviews” 3].
November 17 Monday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Plainfield, N.J. [MTPO]. He did not read in Elmira as planned.
Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion, who evidently had sent him some poetry and a check. The check was acknowledged and Sam added this about Orion’s poetry:
Your poetry is all right, only the man whose attention could be diverted by the sun, while dimmed to a farthing candle by the insupportable splendor of the visible face of God, would certainly be a curious duck.
Livy is getting along only tolerably, but the children are in matchless health [MTP].
Sam and Cable traveled to New York. The Times reported Sam staying at the Everett House [Nov. 18, 1884 “Personal Intelligence,” p2]
Dean Sage wrote from Brooklyn to invite Clemens to stay with him Saturday since Sam & Cable were to perform there that night [MTP].
November 18 Tuesday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Chickering Hall, New York City. Cardwell calls the houses “well-filled” and that Pond ran the same advertisements leading up to the three New York performances . Included: “King Sollermun,” “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” and “A Ghost Story” [MTPO].
William Smart (1853-1915) wrote on the S.S. Umbria on his way back to his Glascow, Scotland home after hearing Sam’s NYC reading. He bemoaned the fact that Sam had never spoken in Scotland (though he did visit there in July-Aug. 1873) [MTP].
November 19 Wednesday – Sam and Cable gave two readings in Chickering Hall, New York City. From The New York Times, Nov. 19, 1884:
GENIUS AND VERSATILITY.
MR. CABLE EXHIBITS BOTH AND MARK TWAIN SOMETHING ELSE.
A numerous and enthusiastic audience assembled at Chickering Hall last evening to listen to readings from the writings of Mr. Samuel L. Clemens — who prefers to be known as “Mark Twain” — Mr. George W. Cable. The gentlemen who read were the gentlemen who had written. The management, in its newspaper advertisements, spoke of the entertainment as a “combination of genius and versatility,” but neglected to say which of the gentlemen had the genius and which the versatility. Some of those who were present last evening may have felt justified in coming to the conclusion that Mr. Cable represented both these elements, while Mr. Clemens was simply man, after the fashion of that famous hunting animal one-half of which was pure Irish setter and the other half “just plain dog.” Mr. Cable was humorous, pathetic, weird, grotesque, tender, and melodramatic by turns, while Mr. Clemens confined his efforts to the ridicule of such ridiculous matters as aged colored gentlemen, the German language, and himself.
It became evident early in the evening that the gentleman who conceived the plan of bringing these two readers together had a marvelous faculty for grasping the sublimest possibilities of contrast. The audience appeared, however, to enjoy the sensation of dropping abruptly downward from such delightful people as Narcisse, Ristofalo, and Kate Riley to such earthy creatures as Huckleberry Finn.
The first selection was from “Dr. Sevier,” the interesting scene in which Narcisse thinks he can “baw that fifty dolla’ “ himself. Then Mr. Clemens recited a selection from “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which will be continued in Mr. Clemens’s next book. Mr. Cable followed with the scene from Dr. Sevier,” in which Kate Riley yields her hand so eagerly to Ristofalo. The audience appeared to enjoy hugely the Italian’s complacent “Da’s all right.” Mr. Clemens then read his “Tragic Tale of a Fishwife,” which continued some remarkable linguistic contortions produced by adapting the German genders to the English language. Mr. Clemens was recalled after this effort and ladled out another section of the “Huckleberry Finn” advance sheets.
Then Mr. Cable read “A Sound of Drums,” from “Dr. Sevier.” This masterly bit of word painting was recited with fine elocutionary art, and held the audience spellbound to the close, when a burst of enthusiastic applause recalled Mr. Cable to the stage and compelled him to sing one of the old Confederate war songs that he learned by the camp fire. Mr. Clemens recited “A Trying Situation,” one of those peculiar productions which attributes to its author much idiocy, and suggests the thought that it was written in the hope that it would make men deem the writer a very different kind of man. Mr. Cable’s last selection from “Dr. Sevier” was “Mary’s Night Ride,” in which weirdness, tenderness, and melodramatic force were joined with a rare skill that evoked hearty and continued applause.
Mr. Clemens concluded the entertainment with “A Ghost Story,” which had no merit beyond the reader’s suggestion that it was a queer story to tell children at bedtime. This afternoon the same programme will be given, and this evening this combination of contrasts will present a fresh batch of readings.
It was on this night that Sam, recalled in his 1906 autobiography, overheard a conversation that would greatly affect his life:
I had been lecturing in Chickering Hall and was walking homeward. It was a rainy night and but few people were about. In the midst of a black gulf between lamps, two dim figures stepped out of a doorway and moved along in front of me. I heard one of them say, “Do you know General Grant has actually determined to write his memoirs and publish them? He has said so today, in so many words.” That was all I heard—just those words—and I thought it great good luck that I was permitted to overhear them [Kaplan 261].
November 20 Thursday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Newburgh, New York.
Sam wrote a letter marked “Confidential” from Hartford to William N. Woodruff, Hartford machinist and contractor, about the Nathan Hale statue competition for the Conn. State Capitol [MTP]. Gerhardt won the competition in Mar. 1885 [Perry 168; Schmidt]. (See MTNJ 3:179n6 for more about Woodruff.)
An advertisement began in the Youth’s Companion for subscription agents for Huckleberry Finn. The ads ran Nov. 20, 27 and Dec. 11, 1884, and carried the line: AGENTS: “Splendid Terms. Canvassing Books Ready,” together with Charles L. Webster & Co.’s New York address. The canvassing books used by salesmen to pitch sales carried the famous obscene defacement of page 283, since Webster did not detect the obscenity until November 28, 1884, eight full days later. He then informed the New York Tribune and the New York Herald about the defacement [The Twainian, Mar-Apr 1946, p.1-3]. See Nov. 29 entry for the Herald article.
Sam called on General Grant at his New York City home on East 66th Street to offer to publish Grant’s memoirs. When he left, “he was convinced that the general would give Charles L. Webster & Co. the rights to publish his memoirs” [Perry 115]. (See Nov. 23 to Susy with mention of this visit.) Grant discussed Sam’s offer with his children and Adam Badeau, then wrote to close friend and advisor George W. Childs to help him evaluate the situation .
The New York World ran an article “Mark Twain as a Lecturer / How He Feels When He Gets on the Stage before an Audience,” p. 5. Sam explained “how he watches, gauges, and adjusts to the reactions of audiences” [Budd, “Interviews” 3].
Robert J. Burdette wrote to Clemens, sorry that a lecture engagement called him to Saratoga just as Clemens & Cable were to arrive in Philadelphia [MTP].
November 21 Friday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Association Hall in Philadelphia. Included: “King Sollermun,” “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” and “A Ghost Story” [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Philadelphia to Livy:
“Livy darling, a most noble big audience, & a most prodigious good time.
We are to be here again Wednesday afternoon & evening, 26th —the day before thanksgiving.
I must straight to bed, for we rise at 6 in the morning, & talk twice in Brooklyn tomorrow” [MTP].
An article on page 4 of the Brooklyn Eagle, “Authors as Elocutionists,” raved about the “Twins of Genius” technique of “combining literature with the Lyceum.” The article said the “form of entertainment that Mr. Clemens and Mr. Cable are engaged in…” was original and effective, and that “The public is greatly the gainer by this novelty.”
George Cable wrote on the back of his Philadelphia program to his wife, Lucy:
“Mark is on the platform, there goes a roar of applause! We have a superb audience—both in numbers & quality—& we are beating ourselves. Mark says as he passes me on the retiring room steps ‘Old boy, you’re doing nobly’ ” [Turner, MT & GWC 60].
November 22 Saturday – Sam and Cable left Philadelphia and traveled to Brooklyn, where they gave two performances at the Academy of Music. The Brooklyn Eagle called it “The Literary Event of the Season” [p.5]. Henry Ward Beecher and Dean Sage and wife were in the audience. A Miss Copelin from St. Louis sent Sam a note and he went to see her. She was the daughter of a young girl he once knew. Miss Copelin was 21 and her mother was only fifteen when Sam knew her. “It made things seem a long time ago, & also made me feel very old & useless” [Nov. 23 to Clara Clemens, MTP].
The performance finished at 10 PM. Sage came behind the curtain afterward. Cardwell points out that Beecher was “a friend and patron of Cable’s,” as well as one of Pond’s main lecturing stars .
The reviews of the readings the next day were extremely positive [Eagle, Nov. 23, 1884 p.12].
November 23 Sunday – Sam and Cable left New York early on their way to Washington, D.C. [Turner, MT & GWC 60].
Sam mentioned in his Nov. 21 letter to Livy that he enjoyed letters from his daughters. He answered and wrote from New York to Clara Clemens (“Ben”).
I enjoy your letters ever so much, & am exceedingly thankful to get them, for I like to hear all about Flash & the cats & all the rest of the family. Now comes a little secret. If a little birth-day present comes to mamma about Wednesday, you can tell you don’t know for certain who sent it. And if it doesn’t come, you can write & tell me so, privately [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Susy Clemens.
Susie dear, I don’t know how to sufficiently thank you or Ben for writing me such good letters & so faithfully. And I want to thank you both for making Jean say things to be sent to me, too. I called at Gen. Grant’s the other morning [Nov. 20], & when I saw all his swords, & medals, & collections of beautiful & rare things from Japan & China, I was so sorry I hadn’t made Mamma go with me. And Mrs. Grant was sorry, too, & made me promise that I would bring Mamma there to luncheon, some time. Gen. Lew Wallace was there—he has an article in this month’s Century about the great Victory of Fort Donelson—& when I told him Mamma was at the reading the other night & was sorry I didn’t make her acquainted with the author of Ben Hur, he was very sorry I was so heedless myself [MTP]. Note: Lewis (Lew) Wallace (1827-1905).
Sam also wrote after midnight of Nov. 22 to Livy of the grueling campaign, the big meals he was eating, the Brooklyn talks, and the “welcome letters” from his “dear sweet children” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, directing him to go to Mr. Green at Tiffany’s and order a diamond ring for Livy and have it sent on Nov. 25 for her birthday on Nov. 27 [MTP].
Eugenie Alexander wrote from Berlin, Germany having read A Tramp Abroad, and being told Clemens had never visited those countries. She asked that he “fulfill the wish of a young lady” and confirm [MTP]. Note: on the env., Sam wrote “Bid for autograph.”
November 24 Monday – Thomas Nast invited Sam to spend time with him since Sam and Cable were to lecture in Morristown, New Jersey on Thanksgiving eve.
“Or, if you cannot spend so much time here we can give you a substantial tea at six or seven. Do you require reinforcing after the lecture is over? That was always my hungry time” [MTP].
In the evening, Sam and Cable gave a reading in Congregational Church, Washington, D.C. Included: “King Sollermun,” “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” “A Trying Situation,” “Col. Sellers in a New Role,” “Encounter with an Interviewer” and “A Ghost Story” [MTPO].
Afterward Cable wrote to his wife Lucy:
A crowded house that went off like gunpowder the moment it was touched; a delicious audience. The brightest, quickest, most responsive that we have yet stood before….When I arrived in town the local manager told me he had between 12 and 15 requests for me to sing Zizi. The audience encored it; but I gave them “Mary’s Night Ride” & then they encored that, & I sang Aurore. How I love to read the Night Ride; but it is a good half-day’s work crowded into seven minutes… [Turner, MT & GWC 61].
Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Livy:
Splendid times, Livy dear! A Congregational church packed with people—$750 in the house. The most responsive audience you ever saw. We did make them shout, from the first word to the last. I say “we,” for the honors were exactly equal—as they pretty much always are, now. I worked the ghost story right, this time, & made them jump out of their skins.
Sam wrote of playing billiards with Robert Allen, his “vast supper at 10.40 this evening” and thanked the children for their letters [MTP].
Sam also wrote to George Iles, that it was:
“…no use—all our efforts have failed, & we can’t get to Montreal this year” [MTP].
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall sent Clemens a statement of a/c [MTP].
November 25 Tuesday – In the evening, Sam and Cable gave a second reading in Congregational Church, Washington, D.C. The Washington Post printed a very positive review of the previous night, and announced that President Grant would attend the reading this night.
“Mark Twain,” for it does not seem natural to call him Mr. Clemens, first recited from the advance sheets of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” This classic was an account of King Sollymun, his wives, wealth and wisdom. It was down in the Mississippi Valley. Huck Finn, a white boy who was maltreated by the old man, ran away with Nigger Jim from the plantation and camped out in the woods. Their conversation was about kings. Jim wasn’t familiar with kings. The only kings he knew anything about were the four kings in a pack of cards. Then Huck told what he knew about kings in general and “Sollymun” in particular. To his youthful mind they were persons who got $1000 per month, went to war occasionally, but “as a general thing they hung around a harem.” Jim was disposed to question “Sollymun’s” wisdom in cutting the disputed child in two. In vain Huck told him he did not understand the case. “It was all on ‘count of his raising,” said Jim. “He had about five million children. Take a man with two or three. Is he gwine to be wasteful of children like dat?” [Railton]
Note: Nowhere in Huck Finn does Sam refer to Jim as “Nigger Jim.” When did this label start? Ernest Hemingway is often blamed for this, but the above review shows, even before Huck Finn was published in the U.S., that some referred to Jim as “Nigger Jim.”
After this performance, Cable discovered three visitors in his dressing room waiting to congratulate him—President Chester A. Arthur, a daughter of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen (Arthur’s Secretary of State) and another unidentified lady. After a time Frederick Douglass came in. Cable was ecstatic about the significance of a meeting between a “runaway slave” and the President; Cable wrote of the meeting to his wife Lucy [Cardwell 22]. (See Nov. 26 entry.)
The Washington Post ran an article on “The rambling narrative style of Twain, Riley, and Artemus Ward” being the pose of “innocence victimized by the world, flesh, and the devil” [Tenney 13].
Andrew Chatto wrote to thank Clemens for his letter of Nov. 5; he fixed Dec. 10 for the publication date of HF in England and had written that to Webster; he advised following the same plan of Canadian copyright used for LM; Moncure Conway had asked for an early copy of HF which would be sent [MTP].
Charles B. Norton for Am. Exhibition in London wrote to ask Clemens if they might add his name to a list of “representative Americans” used for the programme in London in 1886 [MTP].
November 26 Wednesday – Sam and Cable left Washington for Philadelphia, where they gave a reading in Association Hall. In the evening, they gave a reading in Morristown, New Jersey and spent the night at the home of Thomas Nast, just before Nast began his own tour. The cartoonist arranged for them a quiet supper…Oysters on the shell were served at the little repast, and Mr. Clemens expressed his delight at the quality thereof and at Nast’s urging ate five plates full, after which he asked for an apple. Sam and George were to leave early the next morning, and Mrs. Nast agreed to see that they were up in time. When she woke she found the men still asleep and every clock in the house stopped. Sam said, “Wal, those clocks are all overworked, anyway. They will feel much better for a night’s rest” [Paine, Nast 511-12].
The first copy of HF was bound with a tipped-in dedication that was later removed in favor of the current one. This page, apparently on the same paper as MS2, survives tipped into a copy of the first American edition in which Webster wrote: “This copy of ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ was bound by J.F. Tapley Nov 26th 1884, and is the first copy ever bound.”
Note: This same item, book with page tipped in was sold at Christies [sale 51, item 1388] on 9 June 2004, price realized $265,100. Here is the deleted page:
To the Once Boys & Girls
who comraded with me in the morning of time &
the youth of antiquity, in the village of
this book is inscribed, with affection for
themselves, respect for their virtues, &
reverence for their honorable gray hairs.
“It was probably sometime during these months [from Sept 1883 to mid-April 1884] that he wrote a dedication for the book and added it (in holographic manuscript) to his assembled typescript — although he ultimately deleted it before publication” [MTP].
George Cable wrote from Philadelphia to his wife, Lucy:
I wrote you last in Wash’n. I didn’t tell you that I met Fred. Douglass. He came into the retiring room & was there when the President was there. They met as acquaintances. Think of it! A runaway slave!
Mark is on the stage reading (reciting) his “Desperate Encounter with an Interviewer,” and the roars of laughter fall as regularly as a surf. I think it’s a great thing to be able to hold my own with so wonderful a platform figure [Turner, MT & GWC 62].
November 27 Thursday – Livy’s 39th birthday.
Sam and George W. Cable left the Nast home in Morristown, New Jersey on Thanksgiving morning [Paine, Nast 512]. Once again, Sam was away from home on a family member’s birthday. Willis describes Livy’s Hartford life at the time:
“Occupied with the house, children, paying the bills, taking care of her husband’s correspondence, she wrote him, ‘I love you but I can only send you this line today there are so many things waiting to be done.’ German lessons continued as part of the daily routine of the Clemens household. Susie was memorizing and reciting Tennyson, as Clara was doing with Aesop’s fables. With Livy’s further encouragement, Clara began violin lessons in addition to the piano” .
The New York World ran an article about the defacement of a Huck Finn illustration, which created an obscenity and delayed production. The unsigned article was titled, “Mark Twain in a Dilema [sic]—a Victim of a Joke He Thinks the Most Unkindest Cut of All” [Tenney 13]. Note: Several other papers ran articles about this also, including the New York Tribune and the New York Herald on Nov. 29.
The Philadelphia Press, p. 3, ran “Mark Twain and the President / The Humorist Reads before That Official and Thinks That He Impressed Him” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 52-3].
November 28 Friday – Sam wrote on board the train from Washington to Livy [MTP]:
We dined & stayed all night with Tom Nast & family, & had a most noble good time. I occupied his eldest daughter’s room—Miss Julia Nast, aged about 20—the most remarkable room I was ever in—a curious & inexhaustible museum. Not an inch of the four walls could be seen—all hidden under pictures, photographs, etchings, photographs, Christmas cards, menus, fans, statuettes, trinkets & knick-knacks in all metals—little brackets everywhere, with all imaginable dainty & pretty things massed upon them & hanging from them—the most astounding variety of inexpensive & interesting trifles that was ever huddled together upon four walls in this world .
Sam and Cable gave a reading in Academy of Music, Baltimore, Maryland. While Sam was on stage, George Cable wrote his wife, Lucy:
“I am again in the retiring room. Mark is making the house roar as only a Southern audience can. It is an immense house too, although the rain has poured all day long” [Turner, MT & GWC 63].
Charles Webster caught an obscene defacement on page 283 of Huck Finn after 250 copies had gone out. He blew the whistle and contacted the press (see Nov. 29 entry, also Nov 20.)
November 29 Saturday – Sam and Cable gave a second reading in Academy of Music, Baltimore, Md. From the Baltimore Morning Herald of this day:
The announcement that Mark Twain and George W. Cable would give readings from their works filled the lecture room of the Academy last night. Applause broke out when a short, slender figure, clad in evening dress, advanced with a dainty tread to the front of the stage and bowed to the audience. The figure was that of Mr. Cable. His hair is dark and his eyes gleam now with humor and now with pathos.
He wears a full beard and long, well-twisted mustachios that droop on either side and form a complete semi-circle. His feet and hands are small and the latter he uses with all the grace and delicacy of a woman. Mr. Cable’s voice is pitched in a high but musical key. His modulation possesses a charm which suggests the rippling of a stream. It rises and falls with almost every word.
With the exception of the Creole songs which Mr. Cable sang, all his readings were from his “Dr. Sevier.” To say the least, they were delightful, and were heartily appreciated by the audience.
Mark Twain no sooner put his head outside the flies than the audience began to laugh as well as applaud. There was something indescribably droll about the very look of the man.
He, too, wore the conventional swallow tail. He came forward with a lazy air. It was as much as he seemed able to do to drag one foot after another. His dark, iron-grey hair was brushed back. He has a heavy brownish moustache. As he walks he stoops slightly. He never smiles. When he says anything that creates laughter, he simply pauses, throws his head a little on one side and peers sleepily out of the corner of his eye.
His favorite use of his hands is either to scratch the back of his head or with the outside of his thumb to rub his half-closed eyes. The program of last evening will be repeated at 2 P. M. to-day. An entirely new program will be produced to-night at 8 o’clock [Railton].
Sam also submitted to an “interview” by the Baltimore American. (See Fatout, Mark Twain Speaks for Himself, p137.)
Sam wrote from Baltimore to Livy
“Livy darling, Judge Turner has been in—however, I believe you do not know him. Ross Winans has just gone. He came to invite me to dinner to-morrow, but we dine with President Gilman of Johns Hopkins University, or President Hopkins of John Gilman’s University, darned if I remember which” [MTP]. See Nov. 30 for more on Gilman.
Sam had seen Thomas Winans’ “palace” years before (see Apr. 26, 1877 entry), and was fascinated with the technological features of the home. “Winans married one of the Whistler girls…” Sam explained. He was about to receive Richard Malcom Johnston, author of Dukesborough Tales (Gribben includes this book in Sam’s library, p357¸ claiming it is “widely believed to have influenced the drunk’s bareback riding act that so astonishes Huckleberry Finn in chapter 21”) but had refused an invite from “That dam Goddard” (unidentified). Sam had telegraphed an acceptance of an invitation from Mrs. Dean Sage, of Brooklyn. He thanked Livy and the children for pictures and letters: “The pictures are an immense company to me” [MTP].
The New York Tribune and the New York Herald ran articles about the tampering with page 253 of Huck Finn which created an obscenity (Giving Uncle Silas a penis—well, that is, one that showed.) This from the Herald:
MARK TWAIN’S ALTERED BOOK
Mr. Charles L. Webster, nephew of Mark Twain, yesterday offered a reward of $500 for the apprehension and conviction of the person who so altered an engraving in “Huckleberry Finn” as to make it obnoxious. Mr. Webster said yesterday: “The book was examined before the final printing by W.D. Howells, Mr. Clemens, the proofreader and myself. Nothing improper was discovered. On page 283 was a small illustration with the subscription, ‘What (sic) do you reckon it is?’ By the punch of an awl or graver, the illustrations became an immoral one. But 250 copies left the office, I believe, before the mistake was discovered.
Had the first edition been run off, our loss would have been $25,000. Had the mistake not been discovered, Mr. Clemens’s credit for decency and morality would have been destroyed.” Mr. Webster thought that the culprit would soon be discovered. He believed no malice or bribery existed, and absolved the American Publishing Co. from any connection with the act [The Twainian, Mar-Apr 1946, p2].
Note: Sam may have prompted Webster to make the aspersion against his late publisher. At the time Sam was in a bitter legal battle to regain his copyrights or to force Am. Pub. Co. to go after the Alabama pirates, The Coker Co. (See Nov. 20 entry.)
The Baltimore American, p.4, printed “Mark Twain’s Ideas.” Sam complained about traveling, and discussed audience psychology and Americanisms of speech [Scharnhorst, Interviews 53-6].
November 30 Sunday – Sam’s 49th birthday. Johann Schiller’s The Fight with the Dragon, a Romance, was inscribed: “Saml. L. Clemens, Nov. 30th, 1884” [Gribben 606]. Note: Perhaps a birthday gift.
Sam and Cable dined with Daniel Coit Gilman (1831-1908), first president of Johns Hopkins University [Turner, MT & GWC 63].
This was a travel day for the “Twins of Genius,” as they went from Baltimore to Adams, Mass. Sam may have gone home to Hartford briefly, as he took a ride north with Livy and the children the next day to Simsbury, Conn., where George W. Cable then resided.
December – Sam telegraphed Charles Webster. The place and day are unknown. “Plucky lawyers are scarce in Hartford,” Sam wrote, but recommended Charles S. Cole if Webster needed a lawyer to go after the American Publishing Co., to sue for copyright in light of the piracy of The Frank Coker News Co. of Talladega, Ala. (See June 26 entry.)
Sam thought of describing a battle between “Prince de Joinville’s Middle Age Crusaders” and “a modern army” with modern weapons [Gribben 142]. Note: this anticipated CY.
The December Century ran an excerpt of Huck Finn: The Grangerford-Shepherdson Feud [Camfield, bibliog.]. The same magazine also ran the first of three small (approx. 3” x 4”) display ads, announcing MARK TWAIN’S NEW WORK, with Kemble’s picture of Huck Finn doffing straw hat, “sold only by subscription, agents wanted, Chas. Webster” etc. The same ads also ran in the Jan. and Feb. 1885 Century [MTP, 1884-5 financial files].
December, early – George W. Childs, friend and advisor to General Grant had decided that Sam’s offer to Grant was the best available [Perry 117]. Webster was to work out the contract for Grant’s book. He offered either a 20 per cent royalty on sales or 70 per cent of the net profits beyond the cost of production . Alexander & Green, Sam’s New York law firm, together with Clarence Seward, Grant’s attorney and son of Lincoln’s secretary of state, drew up the contract [MTA 1: 41].
December 1 Monday – The Clemens family drove north a few hours to Simsbury, Conn., where Cable resided. Sam and Cable may have caught a conveyance there to Adams, Mass., on the western side of the state.
Sam wrote at 6:30 PM from Adams, Mass. to Livy, that he’d enjoyed the few hours ride to Simsbury with her and the children. His hoarseness had disappeared, he hadn’t had a nap and hoped Livy could cheer her mother up about Charles Langdon, who was in poor health [MTP].
In the evening, Sam and Cable gave a reading in Town Hall Adams, Mass. [MTPO].
December 2 Tuesday – Sam and Cable arrived at Albany, New York at noon. Governor and President-elect Cleveland requested an audience. Writing to Livy the next day about the meeting:
…we had a quite jolly & pleasant brief chat with the President-elect. He remembered me easily, have seen me often in Buffalo, but I didn’t remember him, of course, & I didn’t say I did. He had to meet the electors at a banquet in the evening, & expressed great regret that that must debar him from coming to the lecture; so I said if he would take my place on the platform I would run the banquet for him; but he said that that would only be a one-sided affair, because the lecture audience would be so disappointed. Then I sat down on four electrical bells at once (as the cats used to do at the farm,) & summoned four pages whom nobody had any use for [Note: See MTA 2: 165-6 for another account].
We were all over the Capitol, which is a palace, & got acquainted with a lot of the State officers; then to the Senate chamber & saw the beginning of the solemn ceremony of the casting of the electoral vote of the State of New York for President of the U.S. [MTP].
Later, Sam and Cable gave a reading to “an enormous audience” in Music Hall, Troy, New York. From the Troy Daily Times the following day:
The unique entertainment given by Mark Twain and George W. Cable at Music Hall last evening was attended by an audience which filled nearly every seat on the floor and in the galleries. Mr. Cable has taken his place among the best American novelists and has created a unique and striking original style of story. There was much curiosity, therefore, to see the author of the Creole tales which have won such remarkable popularity with the reading public of late years. Mr. Cable is not a handsome man, but his face and head show an active intellect and a vivid imagination. His recitations, which were all taken from his strongest work, “Dr. Sevier,” were delivered in a striking and pleasing though not artistic manner. His singing of Creole songs was warmly applauded. Mark Twain, though laboring under a severe cold, managed to make himself heard by the large audience, which showed a disposition to laugh whether he spoke or was silent. There was nothing remarkably witty in his remarks, but his manner and the humorous expression of his mouth and eyes would create laughter if he should read an act of congress to an audience. Altogether, the entertainment was pleasing, not only from its novelty, but from the originality of the men who conducted it. It did not drag, and the audience as it retired at 10:45 o’clock was by no means weary of listening to the pathos and humor of Cable and the laughable remarks of Mark Twain. A literary entertainment is a success if the auditors remain in their places to the end. Few, if any, left the hall last evening till they were startled from their seats by the sudden ending of Mark Twain’s ghost story [Railton].
December 3 Wednesday – George W. Cable wrote en route between Albany and Ithaca to his wife, Lucy:
We had 1400 hearers at Troy. Mark was half sick with a cold—hoarse and weak-voiced, and compared with Balt/o & Wash/n the evening’s success was feeble; but the audience thought it was great. Mary’s Night Ride had to go without an encore at last. But it wasn’t my fault and it was the hit of the evening. The Ghost Story (Mark’s) fell almost flat by reason of persons (2 or 3) rising in the audience just at the critical moment. It was outrageous & I don’t wonder M.T. came off the platform angry. . . . We were given a nice little supper & got to bed at the neat hour of two o’clock, with Mark at peace under the influence of our solemn pledge to each other henceforth to stop our reading and poke unmerciful fun at any one who dares to rise in the audience while we are speaking. It is our only defense against this double imposition on the audience and us [Turner, MT & GWC 64-5].
Sam and Cable gave a reading in Wilgus Opera House, Ithaca, New York. The pair visited Henry Sage, once a partner of the late Jervis Langdon [Turner, MT & GWC 65]. Note: father of Dean Sage.
Sam wrote from Albany, New York to Livy, about meeting President-elect Grover Cleveland, their tour of the New York State Capitol, and the “enormous audience” at Troy.
“I met young Smith of Elmira, & got all the news about the Arnots—very sad news it is” [MTP].
J.H. Usay for Durham Co., Chicago wrote to relate having his copy of RI rebound; the title page was missing and the book was bound and lettered “Mormon History” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Pleasant note”
December 4 Thursday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Grand Opera House, Syracuse, NY [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Syracuse, New York to Thomas Nast, thanking him for the Nast family’s recent hospitality in Morristown, N.J.
“…do all your praying now, for a time is coming when you will have to go railroading & platforming, & then you will find you cannot pray any more because you will have only just time to swear enough” [MTP].
December 5 Friday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Opera House, Utica, NY [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Utica, New York to Susy Clemens.
“Susie, my dear, I have been intending to write you & Ben for a long time, but have been too busy. Nach meinen vorlesung in Ithika…” [etc. the rest in German; MTP].
December 6 Saturday – Sam and Cable rose at 4:30 A.M. and took the train to Rochester, New York, arriving at 10 A.M. They gave a 2 PM matinee reading in Rochester at the Academy of Music for a small, but “appreciative to a degree” audience, who fought a downpour to hear the two men. The evening performance was to “a large house and great fun.” Cable wrote his wife that neither of them had ever done so well [Turner, MT & GWC 66].
At Cable’s urging [Cardwell 26] Sam purchased Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, and began writing notes for what would become, five years later, A Connecticut Yankee [Cardwell 54].
Sam wrote two letters from Rochester to Livy. He’d promised to write twice to make up for days when his schedule prevented writing. The first included:
“Been railroading since 4 oclock this morning. My hoarseness seems to be entirely gone, at last, & I feel fresh & splendid. But we got to talk here twice, to-day, & so I am going at once to bed & snatch a couple of hours’ sleep. I have acquired the blessed faculty of sleeping in the day time, in spite of clatter & racket.”
Sam felt the trip was a “great thing” for his health, but was sorry it was a hardship for Livy.
“Curse the matines! I have ordered that this be the last one for the present” [MTP].
In the second note, Sam noted that it had rained hard all day and spoke at a matinee performance.
“The houses were good but not crowded, & we made them shout. I wore that coat for the first time—& the last. It will go back to you by express. I shall never wear anything but evening dress again. I will not defer to fashion to the destruction of my comfort” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to remind Clemens that he “must be in Canada on Wednesday Dec. 10th” he gave directions [MTP].
N.C. Crane wrote from Mount Hope, NY to ask Clemens for his autograph [MTP].
December 7 Sunday – Sam wrote two more letters from Rochester to Livy. In the first note, Sam admitted being homesick on a “sour, bleak, windy day…with trifling flurries of snow.” He’d stayed in bed all day reading and smoking. Except for the weather the houses would have been overflowing.
The second note in the afternoon was a P.S. describing a “violent & absurd” performance of his “first sample of the Salvation Army” [MTP].
Cable wrote home that the hotel put Sam and him “on different floors, instead of adjoining rooms as usual. I am told the papers say he was to have enjoyed the hospitality of a club, The Elks, this evening” [Turner, MT & GWC 66].
December 8 Monday – Sam and Cable arrived in Toronto, Canada at 4:30 P.M. on the Great Western train from Niagara Falls [Roberts 19]. In Toronto, Rose Publishing Co. applied to Sam to buy the Canadian rights to publish Huck Finn [Dec. 10 to Webster, MTP]. Ozias Pond was not the tour’s manager until after New Year’s day, but came with the pair. They all stated at the Rossin House, Toronto’s first luxury hotel.
In the evening Sam and Cable gave a reading in Horticulture Gardens Pavilion, a 2,500 seat hall only six years old. The next day the Toronto papers, The Telegram, The Globe, The World, and The Mail were unanimous in pronouncing the reading a success. Tickets were 50 cents, reserved seats 25 cents extra. [Roberts 21].
As he sometimes did, George W. Cable wrote his wife Lucy while waiting for his turn on stage:
Such a time as we are having! Such roars of British applause. I never heard anything like it out of N. Orleans. . . . We are in a big glass Horticultural Hall with people so far away at the bottom of the audience that their features can hardly be discerned. . . .
When I go back upon the platform again (in a moment) I have to sing my 2 or 3 Creole songs. I always shrink from this, the only thing I do shrink from; though it’s always encored [Turner, MT & GWC 67].
Sam wrote at midnight from Toronto to Livy, listing the items he ate for his “hearty breakfast at 9 this morning.” He also ate a large lunch at 1 PM on the “hotel car.” He’d also just finished a late “supper of beefsteak &c.” Sam told of the night’s performance:
“To-night a noble hall to talk in, & an audience befitting it. Both of us had a gorgeously good time. I saw ladies swabbing their eyes freely & undisguisedly after Cable’s ‘Night Ride.’ He did it well” [MTP].
The Rochester Herald, p. 8, printed “Mark Twain Encountered,” Sam’s comments on the Cogswell Fountain in Rochester; his partnership with Cable; the architecture of his Hartford house [Budd, “Interviews” 3-4; Scharnhorst, Interviews 57-9].
Mrs. B.W. Hall wrote to Clemens wondering if he was the son of “Old Judge Clemens.” She told of her days in Florida, Mo. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Get Agric Editor” and “Preserve this characteristic Southern letter”
December 9 Tuesday – Sam and Cable were driven around Toronto to see the sights, which included the University of Toronto. They visited the studio of painter Andrew Dickson Patterson (1854-1930) famous a year later for his portrait of Canada’s first prime minister, John A. Macdonald (1815-1891).
Sam wrote from Toronto, Canada to Livy:
Livy darling, guess who I stumbled on in the hotel car yesterday, with cheery countenance & healthy appetite? Frank Hall the exile. He said he was going to Chicago.
We have been all over town, to-day, in the crisp cold air, but I read too long, after going to bed,—read past the sleepy point—& so I have lost my afternoon nap. However, I’m getting a bath ready, & shall go from that to the platform & be all right, no doubt [MTP].
Sam enclosed a short article about the power of a half dozen schoolgirls to brighten up Sphinx-like people on a railroad car. “These be the heavenly bodies in the firmament of our home & life,” Sam wrote across the article.
In the evening, Sam and Cable gave a second Toronto performance in Horticulture Gardens Pavilion. Both Toronto events were sold out [Roberts 22]. The Toronto Globe ran a 2,000-word article on the Dec. 8 performance, including a near verbatim record of Sam’s conversations between Huck and Jim [Cardwell 27-8].
The Toronto Globe printed “The Genial Mark: An Interview” on page 2. Sam explained why he broke his vow never to lecture again [Scharnhorst, Interviews 59].
Daniel A. Rose for Rose Publishing Co., Toronto wrote to “respectfully enquire if you are in a position to consider an offer for the publishing of your new book in Canada.” He mentioned prior efforts to republish TA and P&P from Sam’s publishers [MTP].
Edward H. House wrote from Tokyo, Japan, enclosing “bits of lace work, which Mrs. Clemens has doubtless been wondering about…” [MTP].
December 10 Wednesday – The Dawson Brothers in Canada and Chatto & Windus in London published Adventures of Huckleberry Finn [Powers, MT A Life 489; Roberts 22].
Sam needed to satisfy the copyright requirement for Canada by staying in the country until the end of the business day, so he stopped in Fort Erie, while Cable and Pond continued on to Buffalo, New York. Sam later caught up with them there and the pair read in Concert Hall [Roberts 22]. Fatout says Sam had to talk above steam pipes banging [Circuit 212]. “A Ghost Story,” “King Sollermun” and “Personal Episodes” [MTPO].
Sam wrote from Fort Erie, Canada to Charles Webster, notifying him about Rose Publishing Co. wishing to buy Canadian rights to Huck Finn. Sam wanted him to send them an answer, provided they hadn’t pirated P&P [MTP].
Andrew Chatto wrote to Clemens that HF had been published [MTP].
William R. Nichols wrote to ask Clemens his views on amateur journalism [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env., “Impudent puppy. / Not answered”
December 11 Thursday – Sam “rushed to David Gray’s…with Cable, arrived at noon” and had to wait for his steak to be re-cooked, and so drank two cups of strong coffee that did not agree with him [Dec. 12 to Livy, MTP].
Sam and Cable gave a second reading in Concert Hall, Buffalo, New York.
The Buffalo Times:
A very large and fashionable audience assembled in Concert Hall last night to hear that prince of humor, Mark Twain (Samuel M. Clemens), and that celebrated novelist, George W. Cable, in their joint readings. They went expecting a treat and they got decidedly more than they bargained for. A more delighted, amused, thoroughly satisfied audience never filled the auditorium of any building in Buffalo. Mark Twain, like old wine, or old friends, seems to improve with age, and his dry, unconscious, apparently spontaneous humor kept the audience in convulsions of laughter. With the exception of his first reading, given in the program below, most of the great humorist’s admirers have heard or read the selections he gave last night, but they are of the kind that never grow “stale, flat or unprofitable” by repetition [Railton].
The Buffalo Express, Sam’s old paper:
“Mark Twain,” as an old resident of Buffalo, felt it necessary to renew former acquaintances. He scanned the audience from beneath those heavy brows and said that he missed many faces that he knew so well here fourteen or fifteen years ago. They had gone, gone to the tomb, to the gallows—or to the White House. All of us must at last go to one or another of these destinations, and he advised his audience to be wise and prepare for them all [Railton].
In the evening he met with the Hartford Club of Buffalo for dinner, but,
“…ate not a bite, & spent 2 of the infernalist weariest hatefulest hours that ever fell to my lot” [Dec. 12 to Livy, MTP].
December 12 Friday – Sam took a train from Buffalo at 12:30 A.M. and arrived at Ann Arbor, Mich. at 10 A.M. Sam wrote from Ann Arbor to Livy:
…went straight to bed, declining President Angel’s [Buffalo University] invitation to dinner & meet ex-President Hayes’s wife & others at 6 this evening. It will be a long time before I sample anybody’s hospitality again. I have been asleep two hours, & shall resume it right off. I find no letters here—hope for some before we get away. I love you sweetheart [MTP].
Sam and Cable gave a reading in University Hall, Ann Arbor [MTPO].
December 13 Saturday – Two copies of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were deposited in the Copyright Office, Library of Congress, though the official publication did not take place until Feb. 18, 1885 [Hirst, “A Note on the Text” Oxford edition, 1996].
Sam wrote from Grand Rapids, Mich. to Livy, that they’d spent the whole day on the train and would rest in bed an hour before his reading. He was homesick again, and ate chestnuts the children had left in his overcoat pockets. Cable visited a Baptist church where he was called on to talk to the Sunday school [Cardwell 29].
Sam and Cable gave a reading in Grand Rapids, Mich. Afterward the two went to Professor and Mrs. Rogers’ reception given to Mrs. Rutherford Hayes (Lucy Ware Hayes), wife of the ex-President. Cable wrote she was “a fine looking woman.” Cable reported they…
“…got away very early & went to the tavern & to supper. A deputation of students waited to see us in the parlor. Rec’d them standing and after some pleasant exchanges parted from them & went to bed…” [Turner, MT & GWC 70].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: “We brought out the book all right and the copyright on Huck Finn is perfect” Good sales were coming in from agents, though the depression hampered [MTP].
December 14 Sunday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Muskegon, Mich. on Dec. 14. Previously reported as Dec. 4. See SLC to Andrew Chatto on Dec. 14, also from Muskegon. Mark Twain Journal misreported the date.
Sam wrote from Muskegon, Mich. to Andrew Chatto, telling him about the good time he was having “on the highway i.e., the platform, giving readings on Huck Finn” and other books. Should he venture over and try it in London in the spring or summer? [MTP]. Note: This letter may have been misdated, because Sam wrote the day before and this day from Grand Rapids, as did Cable.
Sam also wrote short notes in German from the Morton House in Grand Rapids, Mich. to each of his daughters, Clara, Jean, and Susy. He also wrote to Livy, happy that the “thundering hard week” would end at home.
Livy dear, I have just written three German letters to the children, & now I will give the fag-end of my time before train-departure to a word with Mamma. By George these are terrific days of travel!—eight, ten, twelve hours in the cars every day or night, & a talk on the platform at the end. Toledo & Detroit have been interchanged; consequently I leave here at 6 p.m. to-day, reach Jackson toward 10; leave there half past 5 a.m., & get to Toledo during the forenoon. Cable would land in — — - – – – – – in a minute if he were to go a mile on Sunday; consequently he leaves here at 5 to-morrow morning, & is on the road the entire day till night [MTP].
Sam also wrote a two-line note to Charles Webster, asking him to get the Globe edition of Thomas Malory’s “Le Morte D’Arthur” and leave it with James B. Pond for his brother, Ozias W. Pond [MTP].
Sam stayed in Jackson, Michigan, population then about 16,000, and wrote about the hotel and furnishings the next day to Livy. It snowed lightly all day and night [Dec. 15 to Livy].
December 15 Monday – Sam wrote two letters from Toledo, Ohio to Livy. After remarking on the “prettiest furniture” of the hotel the night before in Jackson, Mich., Sam told of his day:
“We got up at 5 & took the train. All the way, in the cars, was a mother with her first child—the proudest & silliest fool I have struck this year. She beat the new brides that one sees on the trains” [MTP].
In his second letter, Sam asked his wife not to make any appointments for him outside the home during the holiday break. Sam wanted to improve his program for second nights in the same city. Livy had made reading choices for him and he wanted to “go to work on them the minute” he got home, and “make another hunt through the books” with her [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, asking how the bedclothes invention happened to tear?
How in the nation can the thing tear, when it has got a couple of coverlets in its grip, & when the elastics give, & won’t let it tear?
You want to experiment more carefully.
“…to be at the Everett House Friday the 19th for a couple of hours. Call at 8 or 8.30 a.m.” [MTP].
Sam and Cable gave a reading in Opera House, Toledo, Ohio. During his turn off stage, George Cable wrote his wife Lucy:
Our experience with such [apathetic] houses is that I lift them a little with my first number, then [MT] lifts them from that stage a little higher, then with my 2/d number I lift them to a third elevation & with his 2/d no. (being the 4th) he gets them into a good strong glow. I am happy to see it is working just so now, after all. If he can get an encore from them on this we shall have them to the end without any trouble.
There! Mark gets the call back twice over. Now we’re all right. It will be encores right through to the end [Turner, MT & GWC 72-3].
December 16 Tuesday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Whitney’s Grand Opera House, Detroit, Michigan. The Detroit Post featured the Toledo visit, observing that Sam’s gait:
…resembled the motion of a tall boy on short stilts, [with] one of the oddest looking faces ever worn by man…his neck swan-like and white, but much thicker than a swan’s [Cardwell 29].
December 17 Wednesday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Case Hall, Cleveland, Ohio [MTPO]. Clemens included: readings from HF, “A Ghost Story,” “Personal Anecdote” [MTPO].
A review of Sam and Cable’s readings ran in the Detroit Post and included the following “interview”:
A “POST” REPORTER DISTURBS TWAIN AND INTERVIEWS CABLE.
Messrs. Clemens and Cable arrived in the city yesterday afternoon and registered at the Russell house. They had not long been in their rooms, 26 and 24, when a POST reporter called to interview the celebrated humorist. Pretty soon the door was opened an inch or two, and the well-known face of the humorist appeared in the opening. The white covering which enveloped his neck and shoulders created a suspicion in the reporter’s mind that the author of “Innocents Abroad” was in his night-shirt, and further investigation disclosed the latter to be the case.
TWAIN VERY SLEEPY.
“Hello. Glad to see you. Can’t ask you in, though, as I’m just going to bed.”
“I will only detain you a few minutes, Mr. Clemens,” apologized the reporter.
“I want to go to sleep. You’d better come around after the lecture. By the way, the POST is a good paper. I read an excellent article on copyright the other day which was taken from your paper.”
“I would like to ask you a few questions regarding your opinions on copyright privileges,” remarked the writer, who began to imagine that he had gained the humorist’s attention at last.
“Ask Mr. Cable. He knows all about copyright. Whatever he says you can put in my mouth and I’ll be responsible,” replied the literary hero with a tremendous yawn.
“But it won’t take you five minutes to answer my questions.”
“Too sleepy. I feel the yearning for slumber here, “and he tapped his forehead. “If I don’t get it now I won’t get it at all. Interview Cable in the meantime, and come around and see me after 10 this evening.” [Denney 24].
Charlotte Fiske Bates (1838-1916) sent Clemens a poem “To ‘Mark Twain’” and a short note, after being read a passage by a sick friend from HF. She referred to the character Emmeline Grangerford, who would write funereal poems before the undertaker arrived, but whose fatal failing was the inability to rhyme “Whistler” [MTP].
December 18 Thursday – Sam and Cable took a Christmas break, this day being a travel day. Sam headed for New York where he spent the night at the Everett House, where he’d asked Webster to call on the morning of Dec. 19 [Dec. 15 to Webster, MTP]. Cable headed to his home in Simsbury, Conn., but stopped in New York where he appeared alone on Dec. 19 at the Y.M.C.A. [Cardwell 31; Turner, MT & GWC 75].
December 19 Friday – Sam, after meeting with Charles Webster, probably headed straight home for Hartford, although no documentation for this date has been found. Upon reaching home, Sam was in store for a surprise.
I returned to Hartford from the far West, reaching home one evening just at dinner time. I was expecting to have a happy and restful season by a hickory fire in the library with the family, but was required to go at once to George Warner’s house, a hundred and fifty yards away, across the grounds. This was a heavy disappointment, and I tried to beg off, but did not succeed. I couldn’t even find out why I must waste this precious evening in a visit to a friend’s house when our own house offered so many and superior advantages. There was a mystery somewhere, but I was not able to get to the bottom of it. So we tramped across in the snow, and I found the Warner drawing-room crowded with seated people. There was a vacancy in the front row, for me—in front of a curtain. At once the curtain was drawn, and before me, properly costumed, was the little maid, Margaret Warner, clothed in Tom Canty’s rags, and beyond an intercepting railing was Susy Clemens, arrayed in the silks and satins of the prince….This lovely surprise was my wife’s work [MTA 1: 59-60].
Jervis Langdon Jr. remembered:
Susy as the Prince, the son of the irascible Henry the Eighth, in that first scene with the Pauper, the son of brutal John Canty, was saying seriously: “Fathers be alike mayhap; mine hath not a doll’s temper,” when someone, I rather think Mr. Charles Dudley Warner, gave an irrepressible giggle, and the whole audience went off into appreciative shouts of laughter. The scene was interrupted, the children were indignant, but Mr. Clemens was highly pleased that the possibility of just such a connection had never struck Mrs. Clemens, who had coached the cast [Salsbury 188].
The family put on the P&P play “a number of times” in their own house to a limit of 84 persons. Sam once took the role of Miles Hendon when Frank Warner “caught a severe cold and could not play it” [Salsbury 189]. Note: Powers mistakenly identifies a March 1, 1885 performance as this pre-Christmas performance . Willis identifies this “surprise play” as pre-Christmas, during Sam’s reading-tour break .
To muddy the water slightly, see Mar. 14, 1885 to James B. Pond, which clearly states the surprise play took place on that date. Of course, it may have been a repeat performance. Or, Sam’s memory in his Autobiography may have been faulty once more.
December 20 Saturday – The Dec. 20, 1884 article by H.B. Stephens, “Mark Twain’s ‘Dorg’,” which ran in Every Other Saturday, is available in The Twainian (July-Aug. 1953) p.3-4, and contains a letter from Sam to Stephens, as well as a reference to a prior incoming letter from Stephens, both letters undated and unlisted by MTP. The article (which seems to have had much input from Mark Twain) plus Sam’s letter with poem, “My Dog Burns” are given here in full:
MARK TWAIN’S “DORG”
In or at his home in Hartford, Connecticut Mark Twain keeps a dog and he says it is the most cur-ious dog he has ever seen. It has a long pedigree and long hair—in this it is not singular as all heirs have long pedigree. It was sired by Jupiter and has been dam’d by everybody—it has therefore become well known and is celebrated. This dog is of the Scotch female race and Mark Twain calls it “Burns” because it is Scotch or looks scotch’d and also because Burns made Scotland. “Burns” wanders around a good deal and often gets into hot water—the consequence being a lot of little “burns”. But it is necessary in describing a dog to give a de-tailed description.
“Burns” is of the terrier type, possesses a shaggy coat of hair which is continually matted and is about as long in body as she is high in stature. Very plucky she is, and has been chronicled in the Hartford press as having on two occasions killed a rat—whether it was the same one or not was not mentioned in the report, but as the item was furnished by Mark himself, it may be accepted as reliable, very re-li-able.
“Burns” has four legs, and Mark Twain is excessively proud of this feature (is a leg a feature) in his dog. He says he has often seen dogs with only three—the fourth always being broken. The ears, (the dog’s not Mark’s) are well shaped and small, and differ from those of Mark in that poor “Burns” cannot use hers in flytime as fans. It must be very earitating.
The chief d’ouevre of “Burns” is her tail. No such tale was ever told—no, that’s not it, no such tail was ever unfold[ed] before to mortal ken. It is longer by several degrees than the dog itself, and is used in various ways. One is to wag the dog. Once started in this it will continue to wag the dog until poor little “Burns” becomes very faint and tired. It is a wonderful tail and Mark Twain has often told me that he has seriously often thought that the only way of stopping this tail from running on in so many numbers was to cut it short. But owing to the unprecedented popular demand this has not as yet been done. An awkward peculiarity pertaining to the dog’s tail is that, owing to its extreme length very few ever see the end of it and when the dog is making a brave attempt to get around a corner, a high wind will catch the tail and over it goes, pell, mell, dog, tail and all. The tail should never have been issued in one volume.
Mark Twain’s dog has one tooth in its head—it is the only toothin thing about “Burns.” Owing to the absence of molars, “Burns” is fed by Mark Himself, every day on prepared diet consisting of articles of a light character—written or prepared by Twain, himself. The result is that “Burns” is a little hairy in her temperament and condition. She is a great favorite with all the children of the village, as it is Mark who never goes out unprotected by his dog, and even strangers and tourists have been known to ejaculate, “Mark, the dog”. We may safely conclude that Mark and “Burns” will go down in history indisolubly connected—an immortal twain.
Adam and Eve’s names are connected with an apple, that of what’s his name, the inventor of the steam engine, with a tea-kettle, and that of Mark Twain with burns. By such trifles—light as air—is our life made up.
The above are a few notes I made some time since in preparation of a life of Mark Twain, a biography to be published in a series of “men of letters” now being placed before the public. Before proceeding much further in my work, I was informed that only “dead author’s lives” were available. I wrote Mark to that effect, and informing him that if he wished to attain the highest pinnacle of fame he should now die and the world would be happy. I received from him the following reply:
I am much pleased at the interest you take in my death, but as it is only to sell my “life” I must say that the interest is not very disinterested. In my present state of health I have no desire to occupy the pinnacle of fame: I never did like pointed attention and prefer to remain on one of the lower stories where I am not so liable to exposure. I have always had the very deepest veneration for you and as you know, would do anything for you in the way of reason. But to die for you is a “leetle onreasonable” and I prefer to live for you and to die for myself. My “Burns” never got well. She is now dead. I send you the following lines.
MY DOG BURNS
No more shall her beauteous form
Be seen in the raging storm.
No more shall her wondrous tail
Dodge the quickly dropping hail.
She lived a quiet harmless life
In Hartford far from madding strife;
Nor waged no War on peaceful rat
Nor battled with wild fierce tom-cat.
No, No, my beloved, dear ‘cause dead
What though thy coat was a brick dust red?
Like a good author, thou wast a trusty friend
And thy tail, like his, red to the very end.
P.S. I am full and very sad.
P.s.s. Blaine came to “Burns” funeral: he is very kind just now.
And this was the last of Mark Twain’s dog.
Edward H. House wrote from Tokyo, Japan to Clemens, with “the best idea in the world….Get yourself made minister to Japan and come and pass four pleasant years here” [MTP].
December 22 Monday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton, congratulating Miss Eleanor Varnum Mitchell, soon to be Mrs. Laurence Hutton.
“And now I am relieved of a
burden which has long been secretly oppressing my heart. Months ago, fully
aware of the relations existing between you & my daughter, I was shocked
& grieved to discover that she had transferred her affections to a
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond. Evidently, newspaper reviews aside, Sam was growing tired of Cable, and had concluded he’d do better without him.
You were right, when you said in the Brunswick hotel last summer that I would draw better all by myself. It is true. I thought Cable would be a novelty, but alas he has been everywhere, & is a novelty nowhere. I wish I could pay him $200 a week to withdraw, & pay the little Russian musician a reasonable sum to take his place. I would do it in a minute. Personally I like Cable immensely; & in his right place he ought to be a good card—but he is not in his right place now.
Sam felt that Cable drew only a “sixteenth part of the house, & he invariably does two-thirds of the reading. I cannot stand that any longer. He may have 35 or 38 minutes on the platform, & no more.” Sam wanted Cable to cut his selections because overall he felt the show was too long. He also felt Cleveland and Detroit were “well worked & advertised” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles Webster with a list of things for him to do; directing him to “Call at the Everett House 10 o’clock next Sunday morning” (Dec. 28); Osgood had not sent a statement in a year and needed “stirring up”; a reminder that Huck Finn would not issue until 40,000 had been sold; another reminder about the American Exchange in Europe—was it still a sound investment or should he sell out? Should he sell Western Union stock? A reminder of his demand to American Publishing Co. to:
“…enjoin those pirates…[The Coker Co.]—Watch the files of the advertising agencies, & see if the ad disappears” [MTP].
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens: Estes & Lauriat matter. “Alexander & Green say they are clearly actionable. What shall I do in the matter? / It seems to me if we let it go, any one can advertise our book, at any price they please in the middle of a canvass & hurt our business” [MTP].
December 23 Tuesday – Sam wrote two letters from Hartford to Charles Webster. Sam enclosed an advertisement by Estes & Lauriat of Boston for “Just ready” copies of HF, reduced from $2.75 to $2.25; Sam was infuriated.
Charley, if this is a lie, let Alexander & Green sue them for damages instantly. And if we have no chance at them in law, tell me at once & I will publish them as thieves & swindlers.
Hadn’t you better send 6 witness[es] to try to buy 3 copies each? Use their testimony. I think you better print the enclosed in fac simile of my handwriting, & put a copy in every canvassers hands [MTP]. Note: Slotta supposes someone working for Webster or the press of J.J. Little may have been “pilfering” copies, since 30,000 copies were already bound then .
The second to Webster was a one liner to sell the Western Union stock at 60 [MTP].
December 24 Wednesday – Edward Zane Carroll Judson (Ned Buntline) wrote to Clemens:
My Dear—Two Fathoms—/ A Merry Christmas / to you—merrier than when / we met in Cal. & Nevada / years—long years ago, / in 67—& 68. / Will you / Kindly tell me the names / of the Subscription / Book Publishers / in your town. I have / a job for some one / of ‘em. / Resp. & Truly / E Z C Judson / “Ned” [MTP].
December 25 Thursday – Christmas – Sam inscribed a copy of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Livy: “To / Livy L. Clemens / with the matured & perfect love of / The Author. / Xmas, 1884” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed a copy of Parts of Speech to Clara Clemens: “Merry Christmas / to / Clara Clemens / 1884. / From Papa” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed a copy of The Chronicle of the Cid, Richard Markham, ed. (1883): “Merry Christmas / to / Clara Clemens / 1884. / From Papa” [Butterfield auction catalog, July 16, 1997, p. 26 item # 2684].
Livy inscribed to Sam, a copy of The Myths of the Rhine, by Xavier Boniface Saintine (1875): “Merry Christmas to Papa / from Susie and ‘Ba’ / 1874” [Butterfield auction catalog, July 16, 1997, p. 28 item # 2690].
James B. Pond wrote to Sam, having rec’d his of Dec. 22. Christmas wishes [MTP].
December 26 Friday – Sam wrote from Hartford to Orion.
I am just starting off again. I ought to have answered you long ago, but am driven to death. We read in Hannibal the day before we read in Keokuk, & in Chicago the day after we are in Keokuk. Of course I shall strike for Keokuk by the first train from Hannibal; & after all shall get but little time with you, considering how far away Chicago is.
…Keep that ghostly face there, if you can, till I come. I want to see it [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Philip H. Sheridan, Union general in the Civil War.
“I beg to introduce you to Mr. C. L. Webster, who may not succeed with the conspiracy which he has in mind, but I very much hope he will ”[MTP]. Note: the “conspiracy” may have had to do with convincing Grant to write his memoirs.
December 27 Saturday – Sam wrote from New York City to Livy, with news about Charles and Ida Langdon, and also the Cranes, who were in the city:
I called & saw Ida, but the children were already abed, I judge, as it was about 9. Charley was gone over the river to meet Ida’s sister, so I did not get a chance at him. Ida said Charley was feeling pretty fine, to-day, & so she herself was in good spirits…I was sorry to have cut my visit short & see so little of her; but I must get up at 7 in the morning. Sue is at the Murray Hill with a heavy sick headache; if I had only known she & Theodore were there I would have stopped as I passed by from the station [MTP].
The Critic, in “The Lounger,” described the reading where George W. Cable did not have Sam there to introduce him; the editor continued that Cable had profited as a story-teller by exposure to Sam [Tenney, Supplement American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p171].
The London Athenæum praised HF:
For some time past Mr. Clemens has been carried away by the ambition of seriousness and fine writing. In Huckleberry Finn he returns to his right mind, and is again the Mark Twain of old time. It is such a book as he, and he only, could have written. It is meant for boys; but there are few men (we should hope) who, once they take it up, will not delight in it [Budd, Reviews 259].
Estes & Lauriat per Dana Estes wrote to Clemens: “Will you please interview our Mr. J.F. Gallier for a few minutes. I feel sure he will show you something which will interest you, and I will guarantee he will go when you tell him to, without the intervention of a big dog, or the use of a shot gun” [MTP].
December 28 Sunday – Sam took the train from New York in the morning and traveled all day. He wrote at 9:30 P.M from Pittsburgh to Livy. Cable had arrived on Dec. 27. Sam asked that a letter he’d left at Hartford from a “Chicago poetess” be sent on to him. He told of an attempt by the railroad to “curtail his liberties” after breaking some rule (possibly smoking). After tangling with the head conductor, who got civil at some point, Sam insisted the man report him, because he was going to “drag it [the rule] in the dirt all day.”
Of course he couldn’t do anything, so he had to leave me alone—to the joy of all the passengers. They said they had often seen the rule applied, but had never seen it resisted before. I wonder if we shall have any liberties left, by & by, if we keep up our American habit of meekly submitting to every imposition that is put upon us [MTP].
Sam also penned a short note to his brother, Orion, that he’d worked out a whole day in Keokuk, and that Pond had changed one of his three days in Chicago to one day in Burlington, the day after he was to read in Keokuk [MTP].
Sam also wrote another letter to Charles Webster. Sam wanted monies put in the name of Livy, in case both he and Webster should die.
“Then you & I can die if we want to, & there will be no complications.”
Sam told of seeing “one of Estes & Lauriat’s chief men on the train” and being told they’d assumed that HF would come out before the holidays, which is why they ran the ad.
“I said we couldn’t help what they ‘supposed,’ & we should have to require them to pay for supposing such injurious things [MTP].
December 29 Monday – Sam and Cable gave a reading in Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Pittsburgh, Pa. Clemens included “Tragic Tale of the Fishwife,” and “Infestation of Phelps’ cabin with snakes and rats” [MTPO].
Later, Sam wrote from Pittsburgh to Livy. Besides adding that he’d “Heard a wonderful banjo-player to-day,” named “Cable—but no kin,” [Dec. 30 to Livy] he wrote of the performance:
Well, mamma, dear, the child is born. To-night I read the new piece—the piece which Clara Spaulding’s impassibility dashed & destroyed months ago—& it’s the biggest card I’ve got in my whole repertoire. I always thought so; It went a-booming; & Cable’s praises are not merely loud, they are boisterous. Says its literary quality is high & fine—& great; its truth to boy nature unchallengeable; its humor constant & delightful….It took me 45 minutes to recite it (didn’t use any notes) & it hadn’t a doubtful place in it, or a silent spot [MTP].
Note: The piece referred to was the episode in Huck Finn where Tom and Huck put snakes in Jim’s cabin and then set him free with “a crowd of farmers after them with guns.” Ironically, this comic ending to the book is often criticized in literary circles.
Not all newspaper reviews were positive. Here’s a snooty one from the Pittsburgh Dispatch:
The whole performance was a hippodrome. Either’s works shine better in books than when read by them. The unbecomingness and the charlatanism of an author’s going around the country reading from the proofs of a book he is about to publish are degrading to literature. How Mr. Clemens could allow himself to do it is past comprehension. Still, viewed in the light of the miserable performance of Mr. Cable, he may feel that he is a benefactor, for his recitals are so much superior to those from “Dr. Sevier.” At best it is very sad to see men who have done clever literary work, “barn-storming” the country with their own works. If the works are good, it is a lowering of the dignity of the authors that is anything but commendable, and if they are not good, to read them in public is almost a crime. It is true Dickens read his works on the platform, but it never added to his fame, and it did lower him in that he became general, common [Dec. 30, 1884].
The Pittsburgh Penny Press on page 4 printed “Mark Twain Gets Shaved / And Talks to a … Reporter at the Same Time” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 60-1].
The Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegraph, page 1: “Talk with Twain / ….His Comments on Authors, Magazines and General Literature” [62-4].
The Pittsburgh Post, p 4: “Mark Twain / …He Gives His Experiences with an Interviewer and Jokes at His Own Expense” [64-5].
December 30 Tuesday – Through his attorney in Boston, George L. Huntress, Sam filed a “bill in equity” (complaint) against Estes and Lauriat booksellers of Boston for advertising Huckleberry Finn at the price of $2.25, below the $2.75 subscription rate [N.Y. Times, Dec. 31, 1884, p3; MTBus 318]. (See Jan. 14, 1885 entry.)
Sam and Cable rode the train all day and gave a reading in Grand Opera House, Dayton, Ohio.
Afterward, Sam wrote from Dayton, Ohio to Livy:
“Livy darling, we got up at 7 this morning & traveled all day, arriving here an hour after dark. I did not feel tired, & do not feel tired now, though I nearly always do feel tired after a reading. However, I suppose I am tired, even if I don’t feel so.”
Sam told again of the wonderful banjo player they’d heard the day before, how George Cable accompanied the banjo-playing Cable (of no kin) on the guitar.
Sometimes it seemed to me it was almost the most inspiring music I ever heard; & his Way Down upon the Swanee River, with soft, fine variations was singularly tender & beautiful. He is self-made, self-taught. I liked his “Golden Slippers” —in fact I enjoyed everything he played, & he must have played forty & fifty pieces in our rooms [MTP].
December 31 Wednesday – George Cable wrote from Dayton, Ohio to his wife Lucy:
“I told you in last night’s letter that we had a good time in Pittsburgh; & so we did. Not the best sort, however. We pleased our audience thoroughly & it was a large & cultivated audience. The newspapers, however, must have taken some grudge against us; for they made offensive reports of the affair” [Turner, MT & GWC 77].
Sam and Cable traveled south and gave a reading in Court House, Paris, Kentucky. This from the Paris Kentuckian on Jan. 3, 1885:
The Twain-Cable entertainment at the Court House on New Year’s night was not in the nature of lectures, but consisted chiefly of recitations. Interspersed with these were anecdotes, Creole songs, incidents of travel, and personal experiences under circumstances of embarrassment, the most perplexing, ludicrous, and convulsively amusing. Humor, at once genuine and refined, is a rare gift. It is better than physic. It dispels gloom, sheds sunshine into the care-worn heart, and like a touch of kindness, “makes the whole world kin.”
The house was handsomely filled, and we never saw a more highly amused, or better pleased audience.
Mark Twain in appearance is a sort of living and moving anecdote. In manner, quaint, easy and unctious; his voice, deep bass and drawling, like an old fashioned country preacher, wearing a benevolent, but solemn countenance, he creates the impression that he would make sinners howl if he got after them in evangelistic style.
Cable is somewhat younger in appearance; is spruce and polished, a fine reader and delineator of character, and a good actor with splendid voice in song. He would be classed by Zack Chandler as one of “them litterary fellers.”
Each, is accomplished in his part, and to be appreciated must be seen.
Note: This newspaper article refers to “New Years’ night” which may be interpreted as Jan. 1 not Dec. 31. However, listings on Railton and Schmidt put this reading to Dec. 31. To complicate matters, Cable’s letter to his wife on Jan. 1 speaks of the “gay time last night” in Hamilton, Ohio.
Charles Webster wrote to Clemens about bank accounts and misc. business matters [MTP].