Note: Additions and corrections since the first print run in April, 2009. New material and corrections of old material are ongoing. This work is never “finished.” I wish to provide up to date information with each book sold. – D.H. Fears
Spelling correction throughout: – Katharine I. Harrison, not “Katherine.” (applied in this print run.)
March to May, 1886 – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “The Snow-Shovelers” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv]. See also MTNJ 3: 232&n18, 358&n186, 369&n217.
March 4, 1886 addition – Harnsberger writes of an incident with Clara Clemens, determined by events mentioned to be this day:
The girls suffered many discomforts because of their impressibility. Clara had extra-sensory perception. In her fifth year she began to be troubled by the recurring vision of an old woman in a hideous plaid dress. At first, she imagined the woman in a boat with two other women, floating up near the ceiling of her hotel room in London. Later, the woman appeared alone, looking through windows, and making other solitary appearances. For seven years, this apparition persisted, causing distress and fear and sometimes leaving the girl with a sense of impending disaster. …
When Clara complained about the terrifying old woman her mother took her to a doctor, who prescribed “plenty of fresh air and exercise” to dispel her visions.
Later, Clara saw the woman again and felt the premonition of another death. As she sat down to dinner, she said to her parents: “Mrs. Hawley is dying.” Inasmuch as the General Joseph Hawleys were their friends, the Clemenses felt certain they would have heard such news, and they refused to believe Clara’s startling announcement. Three hours later, a messenger delivered tidings of Mrs. Hawley’s sudden death .
Note: Harriet Ward Hawley died at 6:30 p.m. Mar. 3, 1886 in Washington, D.C. [Hartford Courant, Mar. 6, 1886 p.2 “The Funeral at Washington”]. Word of her death probably would not have reached Hartford until the next day, or Mar. 4.
September 28, 1886 addition – Sam wrote to Mrs. Parker (not further identified) dating it only Sept. 28. It may have been 1887, but this year seems more likely, given the load of war books at this time with Webster & Co.
Dear Mr. Parker: / No, I don’t like to read MS books; they make me swear. And I can’t publish a story—or other work—because we are full of military literature for several years yet. / I greet you again with pleasure; you were a good audience all by yourself. / Truly Yours / SL Clemens [Boham’s auction Nov. 23, 2004; sale 13058, Lot 5136].
Note: This may be Mrs. Edwin Pond Parker or, less likely the wife of Prof. Joseph Parker, who spoke in Hartford on Oct. 13, 1887, since Sam had clearly talked with the woman before this letter.
November, 1886 addition – eBay Item number: 110375489327 seen in April, 2009 reveals an excerpt titled, “The Pony Express,” by Mark Twain (listing not in Tenney) in The Empire State Philatelist. A Monthly Magazine for Stamp Collectors, Vol. 2, No. 11 published in NYC by T.C. Watkins & Co. The article is in fact an excerpt from RI, whether authorized or not is unclear.
September, 1887 – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “An Incident” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].
September 11, 1887 addition – “An Incident”
Sunday morning, September 11, 1887, in Elmira, N.Y., I got the largest and gratefulest compliment that was ever paid me. I walked down to State street at 9.30, with the idea of getting shaved. I was strolling along in the middle of Church street, musing, dreaming; I was in a silent Sabbath solitude. Just as I turned into State, I looked up and saw a mighty fire-boy ten or twelve steps in front of me, creeping warily in my direction, with intent eye, and fingering the lock of a gun which was concealed behind him, all but the end of the barrel, which stuck up into view back of his shoulder. My instant thought was, “he is a lunatic out gunning for men, and I cannot escape.” he stopped, bent his body a little, and brought his gun to the front, cocked. There was no time to consider impulses; I acted upon the first one that offered. I walked straight to him, with a beating heart, and asked him to let me look at his weapon. To my joy, he handed it to me without a word. I turned it about, this way and that, praising, examining, asking question after question, to keep his attention diverted from murderous ideas until somebody should come by. He answered right along, and soon I caught a blessed sound: I understood him to say he was out hunting cats. He added, “There they are, yonder;” and turned and pointed. I saw four sorry-looking cats crossing the street in procession some forty steps away. I forgot my own troubles for a moment, to venture a pleas for the cats; but before I could get it out, he interrupted with the remark that those were our “engine-house cats,” and went on to say that they were not afraid of doges or any other creature, and followed him around every morning while he shot their breakfast—English sparrows. He called, “Come Dick!” and Dick came, and so did the rest. Aha!—so far from being a madman, he was saner, you see, than the average of our race; for he had a warm spot in him for cats. When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction. So I dropped the barber-shop scheme, and Hercules and I went promenading up and down the Sunday stillnesses, talking, and watching for sparrows, while the four cats followed in patient procession behind. I made so many intelligent observations about cats, that I grew in the estimation of Hercules, right along—that was plain to see; but at last in an unlucky moment I dimmed and spoiled this effect by letting out the fact that I was a poor shot and had no improvable talent in that line. I saw in a flash the damage I had done myself, and hastened to switch off onto something else and try to get back my lost ground. I praised the gun again, and asked where I could get one like it. The address given was unfamiliar to me but I said,—
“I can manage it, though; for Mr. Langdon or Mr. Crane will know.”
Hercules came to a sudden stop; ordered arms; leaned on his gun, and began to inspect me with a face all kindled with interest. He said:
“Do you live up on the East Hill with Mr. Crane, summers?”
“No! But is—is it you?”
I said yes, and he broke all out into welcoming smiles, and put out his hand and said heartily:
“Well, here I’ve been poking round and round with you and never once—Look here, when a man’s done what you’ve done, he don’t need to give a damn whether he can shoot or not!”
What an immense compliment it was!—that “Is it you?” No need to mention names—there aren’t two of you in the world! It was as if he had said, “In my heedlessness I took you for a child’s toy-balloon drifting past my face—and Great Scott, it’s the moon!”
A consciously exaggerated compliment is an offence; but no amount of exaggeration can hurt a compliment if the payer of it doesn’t know he is exaggerating. In fact, if he can superbly seem unconscious, he may depend upon it that even that will answer. There is the instance of that minister of Napoleon’s who arrived late at the council board at a time when six kings were idling around Paris waiting for a chance to solicit concessions and relaxings of one sort or another. The emperor’s brow darkened and he delivered a thunder-blast at the procrastinating minister; who replied with apparently unstudied simplicity—
“Sire, at any other court I had not been late. I hurried as I could, by my way was obstructed by the concourse of tributary kings!”
The brow of the master of the world unclouded. I know how good he felt.
Note: SLC’s previously unpublished piece, “An Incident,” is now collected in Who is Mark Twain? (2009), pp. 165-8. As per Robert Hirst this snatch “of pure autobiography” (p. xvii) is dated as “September 1887” (p. xxvi). But specifically it is identified as Sept. 11.
March 19, 1888 addition – Livy arrived in Washington, D.C. accompanied by Charles Dudley Warner and wife [Boewe 20: Washington Post, Mar. 20, 1888 Society page]. Note: It is not known whether she also attended the Mar. 26 Terry/Irving farewell banquet.
March 26, 1888 addition/correction – The farewell banquet for Ellen Terry and Henry Irving which Fatout mistakenly reported as Apr. 27, was this date [NY Times, Mar. 28, 1888 p.4 “Mr Daly’s Irving Supper”].
From a private letter (Apr. 7, 1888) of General William Tecumseh Shermanor sale by Grey Parrot Gallery on AbeBooks.com (April 2009), on the Delmonico banquet for Henry Irving and Ellen Terry:
I continue in my accustomed life at the 5th Avenue Hotel, dining out almost nightly…Daly gave Irving & Terry a superb banquet at Delmonicos the eve of their departure, and after the preliminaries turned the command over to me. We kept it up till 5 am, Ada Rehan my right neighbor, Irving on my left—the tablewas round, accommodating about 80 guests, with a mass of flowers arranged in a grand star, the English & American flags mrking the points—besides the special guests we had the usual stand-bys Chauncey Depew, Horace Porter, Mark Twain, Wallack, Lewis, Dan Dougherty &c &c. Your imagination must fill up the picture.
June to September, 1888 addition – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “The American Press” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv].
September 11, 1888 addition – Sam’s Browning reading was given at the home of Clara Spaulding Stanchfield (Mrs. John B. Stanchfield). Sharlow found a review of the reading in a society column for Saturday Tidings (Elmira) of Sept. 15, 1888:
One of the most delightful entertainments that possibly could be given is marked to the credit of Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Stanchfield by the many people who were invited to their home on Main street last Tuesday evening [Sept. 11]. Readings by Mr. Samuel L. Clemens was the announcement which assured the guests of an evening of still greater enjoyment than the conversations with friends and conventional forms of entertainment which a clever and charming hostess can make so attractive. Probably no one who knows Mr. Clemens by sight ever passes him on the street without nudging his companion, if he has one, or whispering to himself, if he is alone, “There is Mark Twain.”
Great is the fascination that noted men possess for common humanity, which is individualized only once in ten years by the census takers, and if Mark Twain is fascinating on the street words fail to describe the delight of hearing him read in a parlor. His interpretation of Tuesday evening would have thoroughly discouraged the poet, for Mr. Clemens demonstrated the fact that Browning could be understood without Prof. Corson’s aid. In selections from “Uncle Remus” Mr. Clemens’ negro dialect is so perfect that the darkness may be felt, and his display of dramatic ability leads “Pierre” to wonder why he does not “create the title role” in the play which he is said to be writing…. The informal reception before and after the readings was an opportunity for animated conversation, and the partaking of ices and cakes. The entire entertainment was one which cannot soon be forgotten by Mrs. Stanchfield’s guests. Mr. Clemens’ daughters, Misses Susan and Clara, were both present at Mrs. Stanchfield’s, and as a matter of passing interest it might be pardonable to state that Miss Clara is named for Mrs. Stanchfield who has been, since girlhood, the intimate friend of Mrs. Clemens. / Pierre. [Sharlow, “Mark Twain Reads Browning Again: A Discovery in the Langdon-Crane Family Library at Quarry Farm” Mark Twain Journal 28:2 (Fall 1990) p.24-29].
November 4, 1888 addition – In Hartford, Sam wrote to Marcel Schwob on a monographed card.
My Dear Sir: / You seem to think me the author of the original of this singularly unpleasant production. But I assure you [that] you have been deceived. I do commit crimes but they are not of this grade. / Very Truly Yours SL Clemens [Sotheby’s auction; June 19, 2003; sale 7915, Lot 64].
January 9, 1889 addition – In Sam’s letter to Johnston this date, he referred to a letter he wrote to Henry Perkins Goddard (1842-1916). Zon gives us an excerpt of this “not as yet cataloged” letter in which Sam remarks:
“There I must be on my good behavior and try to be entertaining, but at your club I can smoke in peace and say to you men, ‘Talk, hang you! I’ll listen’” .
August 15 to 31, 1889 – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: [“Professor Mahaffy on Equality”] [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiv]. Note: the title was assigned by the MTP.
December 3, 1889 addition – The gentleman Sam and Bowen were writing about was W.D. Meares of Christchurch, N.Z. See Will Bowen’s answer Dec. 10.
February 2, 1890 correction – The poem Sam wrote Elsie Leslie that she later put with this date, the same as for the inscription in CY, was actually written on Mar. 5, 1890, so must have been sent later [MTP Fragment DV 152].
March 5, 1890 addition – Sam wrote “Ode to Elsie Leslie” on this date [MTP Fragments DV 152].
June 18 or June 24, 1890 addition – Sam headed this letter to Mrs. John P. Jones (Senator): “At the Factory / Hartford / Wednesday p.m.” These dates are calculated.
My Dear Mrs. Jones:
I tried to go through form Washington to Hartford at one stretch because we had guests at home & it didn’t seem fair to leave Mrs. Clemens without a lieutenant; so I took the 9:40 a.m. train—& botched the whole business; for I missed the Hartford train by 10 minutes & had to stay over in New York.
I have to thank you for a most delightful day—though Mr. Goodman speaks of our invasion as a “call” in his modest Pacific Coast way. And once he called it a visit; where any honest jury would call it — visitation. However, what I am…
…Maybe a little vacation will not set her back overmuch in her studies, & I greatly want to show her off before our children…I suppose you do not know that she put on the gloves with Mr. Goodman in the Cryptograph matter after dinner, & scored two points to his one. I have not seen so neat & satisfactory a battle in a long time. / If the Senator…were here now, he would see my machine doing wonders….
[Bonham’s auction June 27, 2006; Sale 14011, lot 3114]. Note: From this letter it’s clear that upon Sam’s return from Washington, he stayed over in N.Y. one night. Likely too he had an engagement to meet Mrs. Jones that he was unable to make. Sam and Goodman left N.Y. from Washington on June 13. After their return Goodman wrote from N.Y. to Sam on June 22. Their return from Washington was then sometime between Monday, June 16 (in which case the above letter was written on June 18), and June 22 (in which case the above letter was written June 24).
June 21, 1890 – Sam and Joe Goodman had returned from their trip to Washington by this date with Joe stopping in N.Y. and Clemens returning to Hartford. See: June 18 or June 24, 1890 addition.
October 12, 1890 addition – In Hartford, Sam answered Miss Alice Kingsbury’s request to lecture:
“I reformed six years ago & I have not infested the platform since. I should’nt know how to read or speak now,” He thanked for her offer of hospitality, and sent “kindest regards” to her parents, and mentioned that “Business has carried me from place to place”, and talked about his daughters (“Susy & Clara were very little folk when you knew them. And Now Susy’s in college! It takes my breath away to think of it…”) [Bonham’s auction June 24, 2008; Sale 16202, Lot 112]. Note: The Kingsbury’s were acquaintances of the Clemenses in Hartford in the 1870s. F.J. Kingsbury was Alice’s father.
July 28, 1891 addition – In Aix-les-Bains, France Sam wrote to Samuel S. McClure:
I want to introduce to you in the way of business Dr. William Wakefield, one of the principal physicians of this place in the hope that you might need his pen, which is a practiced one [Sotheby’s auction June 19, 2003, Sale NO7915, lot 46].
February 26 and 27, 1894 – See addenda for Mar. 3, 1894.
March 3, 1894 addition – The function Sam was to read for has been identified. On Feb. 26 and 27 Sam shared the platform with James Whitcomb Riley and Douglass Sherley. Boewe writes:
Sleet and snow and strong winds hit New York City with such force that the Madison Square Garden Concert Hall was sparsely filled on 26 February, the first night of the advertised Twain-Riley performance. The New York Times reviewer, referring to a Twain who “loitered through several of his back numbers,” gave grudging approval, noting that the audience “was convulsed with determined merriment.” Riley, as usual, was praised for his skill, but Sherley got scant mention. After the Tuesday 27 February performance, to compensate for the bad weather, a third engagement was added, netting Mark Twain another $250 when he appeared with the duo at Chickering Hall on Saturday evening, 3 March. Twain left for Europe the next day, but by then Riley was too ill to move into Twain’s now-vacant room at the Players’ Club [“On Stage and Off with James Whitcomb Riley and Mark Twain,” Traces 7.4 (Fall, 1995: 22-3]. Note: Boewe makes one error here—Sam did not sail on Mar. 4 but on Mar. 7.
May to July, 1895 – Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: [“Frank Fuller and My First New York Lecture”] [Who Is Mark Twain? xxiii]. Note: name of the piece was assigned by the MTP.
July 2, 1895 note: – For an interesting backstory on the “Wager Stones” see “Letters from Clara Stanchfield” in The Twainian 26.3 (May-June 1967 p.1-3), which includes Clara’s letter to Paine of May 28, 1911, recounting her presence at the discussion on immortality between Sam and Mrs. Thomas K. Beecher.
June 28, 1896 & July 1, 1896 correction – Harriet Beecher Stowe died on the latter date, the former reported was “an exaggeration”—apologies offered for this attempt to rush her along.
In the peace of a quiet home, with her two daughters, Eliza and Harriet, her sister, Mrs. Isabella Beecher Hooker, and her devoted nurse, Mrs. Arms, at her bedside, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe passed away yesterday at noon. [Hartford Courant, July 2 1896 “Death of Mrs. Stowe” p.6].
– last Sept. 22, 2009