Vol 2 Section 0007


Browning Reader – Too Many Books to Publish – Webster’s Neuralgia is a Pain

English as She is Taught – Soul & Entrails – Beecher Advance, Beecher Dead

Embezzler Nabbed – Question the Queen – Another Troublesome Dinner



1887Sometime early in the year, Sam agreed to take charge of a Wednesday Browning reading circle, made up mostly of ladies. They would meet every week in Sam’s billiard room. (See Mar. 22 to Fairbanks.) Paine writes:

The Browning readings must have begun about this time. Just what kindled Mark Twain’s interest in the poetry of Robert Browning is not remembered, but very likely his earlier associations with the poet had something to do with it. Whatever the beginning, we find him, during the winter of 1886 and 1887, studiously, even violently, interested in Browning’s verses, entertaining a sort of club or class who gathered to hear his rich, sympathetic, and luminous reading of the Parleyings — “With Bernard de Mandeville,” “Daniel Bartoli,” or “Christopher Smart.” Members of the Saturday Morning Club were among his listeners and others — friends of the family. They were rather remarkable gatherings, and no one of that group but always vividly remembered the marvelously clear insight which Mark Twain’s vocal personality gave to those somewhat obscure measures. They did not all of them realize that before reading a poem he studied it line by line, even word by word; dug out its last syllable of meaning, so far as lay within human possibility, and indicated with pencil every shade of emphasis which would help to reveal the poet’s purpose. No student of Browning ever more devoutly persisted in trying to compass a master’s intent — in such poems as “Sordello,” for instance — than Mark Twain. Just what permanent benefit he received from this particular passion it is difficult to know [MTB 846].

Sam inscribed a two-volume The Poetical Works of Shelley to Livy: Livy L. Clemens / Hartford / 1887 [MTP from Butterfield catalog July 16, 1997; See Gribben 640].

Sometime during the year, Sam wrote an apology for Livy’s inability to furnish Miss Collins table “one of it’s [sic] finest & best decorations.” Livy was not well [MTP].

Also this year, Sam wrote “An Adventure in the Remote Seas,” which was printed posthumously as “Which Was the Dream?” (1968) [Camfield, isterin.].  

About this year, Sam also wrote a long letter to an unidentified woman about not having a system for his memory:

But I had no system; — and some sort of rational order of procedures is of course necessary to success in any study. Well, Loisette furnished me with a system. I cannot undertake to say it is the best, or the worst, because I don’t know what the other systems are. What I do know, is, that a trial of the system quickly convinced me that I had a memory; and that all I needed to do, to make it useful, was to pay ATTENTION when I was giving it a thing to keep, and then HAVE CONFIDENCE in it. …


Loisette doesn’t make memories; he furnishes confidence in memories that already exist. Isn’t that valuable? Indeed it is to me [MTP]. Note: Professor Loisette taught a “system of memory” at his Fifth Avenue location in New York. Several times throughout the year he ran ads, using, among others, Mark Twain ‘s recommendation. His real name was Marcus Dwight Larrowe; he had known Sam in Nevada.

Also about this year, Sam wrote a one-liner to the Walt Whitman fund:

What we want to do is make the splendid old soul comfortable [MTP].

Note: Sam contributed at least twice to funds for Whitman; one time for a horse and carriage (See Aug. 6, 1885); the other for a house (See May 28, 1886).

Sarah Knowles Bolton’s Famous American Authors (1887) included a section (pages 365-386), “Mark Twain” [Tenney 16; Gribben, Appendix A 910]. Bolton begins by quoting Critic:

“Within the past-half century, he has done more than any other man to lengthen the lives of his contemporaries by making them merrier.” Thus says the “Critic.” But he has done vastly more than this [365].

Note: this biographical section is remarkable for the ground covered at this early date. Howells is quoted. Sam’s championing of the oppressed Chinese is mentioned. It contains several references to Roughing It, Tom Sawyer, A Tramp Abroad, The Gilded Age, “Old Times on the Mississippi,” as well as synopses of Sam’s careers as riverboat pilot, miner (including the “blind lead” episode), newspaper reporter, lecturer, author, publisher, and inventor.

Routledge’s World Library published an abridged edition of Innocents Abroad [Tenney 16].

Knapp & Co. published an anonymous thumbnail biography, “Life of Mark Twain,” that was inserted in packs of Duke’s Cigarettes. This was one of a series, “Histories of Poor Boys Who Have Become Rich and Other Famous People.” The cited source says this “date is inferred from the fact that the biography describes Twain’s life through October 1886. Duke’s Cigarettes also published a series of biographies on Civil War generals” [“Some New Paths in Twain-Collecting,” Firsts the Book Collector’s Magazine, Sept. 1998, Vol. 8 No. 9 p.46].


Books published by Charles L. Webster & Co. In 1887.


Cox, Samuel Sullivan, Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey

Crawford, General Samuel Wylie, The Genesis of the Civil War: The Story of Sumter,


Custer, Elizabeth, Tenting on the Plains; or, General Custer in Kansas and Texas

Hancock, Almira Russell, Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock

Kalakaua, David, The Legends and Myths of Hawaii: The Fables and Folk-lore of a

Strange People

O’Reilly, Father Bernard, Life of Pope Leo XIII

Caroline B. Le Row wrote two letters, fragments of which are in the MTP along with the note:

“This folder contains portions of 3 different letters to SLC. One is a copy of a letter to an unknown correspondent which was probably enclosed in a letter to SLC. The contents of each letter suggest a date before April 1887, when Clemens published his article about English As She is Taught in the Century. The article subsequently became his introduction to the book.” [Note: this file examined at the MTP in April, 2008 — the letter fragment from the “unknown correspondent” is definitely Le Row’s hand.]

From the first:

It’s all right, my dear Mark Twain. I hated to tease you, and felt altogether to [“]numerons.” I don’t like to “ride a free horse to death,” and particularly object to “crowding the mourners.” But though I could truthfully parody old Adam’s assertion and say “Mr. Dunham tempted me and I did write,” I will refrain and not even assert that I did right. As for your immense generosity in writing the Century article — well, I have no words with which to thank you [MTP].


JanuaryCharles Webster began to suffer from neuralgia during the month. (See Sam’s note: Jan. 15 entry). MTHL intro to Section IX refers to Webster’s affliction:

“…and grew worse during the spring. His illness kept him out of the office most of the time after the beginning of summer and almost constant pain made him irritable” [2: 580].

Budd writes Sam probably wrote “Letter from the Recording Angel” this month. It was not published in Sam’s lifetime, first appearing in 1962 under the title “Letter to the Earth” in Letters from the Earth, DeVoto, ed. [Budd, Collected 1: 1021].  


January 1 Saturday James B. Pond wrote to Sam from the Everett House in N.Y., wishing the Clemens family a happy new year. He asked,

How do you think Grady of Atlanta Constitution would draw ? if he lectured in Hartford. Would you, if you couldn’t help it pay hundred cents to hear him? When are you coming to the village? [MTP]. Note: Henry W. Grady (1850-1889), leader of the “Atlanta Ring.”


January 2 Sunday


January 3 MondayCharles Webster wrote to Sam that Henry Ward Beecher was contemplating a biography:

Beecher seemed to think that it might be a pretty good thing to do, and he also seemed to think that other things being equal, he would rather have us publish it than any one else….I do not love Beecher any more than you do, but I love his money just as well, and I am certain that the book would sell [MTNJ 3: 272n156]. Webster expressed a desire to “switch off War books if we can” [MTLTP 212n1].

Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk and enclosed the history work he’d done so far. “Ma was out with us Saturday to a new-year’s dinner. Her itching is some better” [MTP].






Mrs K S Cook



January 4 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster answering questions about publishing a book by Henry Ward Beecher:

Yes, ½ profits is the right offer to make — his wide reputation entitles him to that — and if anybody wants to offer him more, we withdraw from the competition….If we can’t clear $40,000 for Beecher, at ½-profits, it’ll be the author’s fault, not the publisher’s; that is, it will mean that he isn’t as good a card as we think he is [MTBus 373].

Samuel Webster (son of Charles) writes, “If anything, Mark Twain was a little too much inclined to want to publish what his friends wrote, regardless of profit.”

Harriet G. Brown wrote what Sam labeled a “begging letter” from Manchester, N.H. She did not specify an amount, but only “a little from your abundance” [MTP].


January 5 Wednesday

January 6 Thursday


January 7 Friday Alexander Cargill wrote from N.Y. to Sam. Cargill wanted to send a MS. Sam wrote on the envelope, “From a Mr. Cargill who wants to publish a novel” [MTP].

William Mackay Laffan for NY Sun wrote to Sam enclosing a letter from E.R. Garczyuski of Brooklyn to Sun dated Nov. 12, 1886, which pointed out a “blunder” in Sam’s talk about King Arthur. Laffan wrote on the opposite blank side of this letter:

I have another book of a wholly different breed in my eye and I will converse you about it when you drop in here next. They are hacking away the same as ever in the Tribune [with the typesetter] and don’t seem to progress but talk sassy, anyhow [MTP]. Note: Laffan also wanted to know if Sam had “made anything out of Shuckers.”

George E. Lemon telegraphed Sam that General Logan’s wife was “comparatively destitute after settlement of estate” of her husband, and that $50,000, half of the goal, had been subscribed [MTP].


January 8 Saturday Caroline B. Le Row wrote from Brooklyn having sent by Westcott’s Express the “specimen pages” from her book to Sam for review.

I did not in my last letter express the regret which I felt at being obliged to sacrifice the Dedication, but tried to content myself with feeling that you would buy the Magazine article, be really more identified with it than if it was not so noticed by you [MTP]. Note: her book was to be published anonymously, so she suggested that the Dedication might as well stay in because she did want Sam’s name in it.


January 9 SundayRobert M. Yost wrote from St. Louis to Sam and enclosed Mrs. Yost’s Jan 11 request for a “souvenir” — “Won’t you please send me a scrap of one of your neck ties [?]” Mr. Yost was born in Shelbyville, Mo. and wrote of going back to Hannibal and “shaking hands with the old Florida people who ‘knew Sam Clements,’ as they call you” [MTP].


January 10 MondayWilliam Smith wrote from the Osborne House in Morley, near Leeds, England, having received Trumbull’s volumes of Hartford history from Sam. Smith thanked him profusely and wrote he was sending as set of “Old Yorkshire,” which he said had been out of print for some time and hard to find at twice the original price. Smith also wanted to know where he might find a copy of Mark Twain’s Scrap book [MTP].


January 10 Monday ca.Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon, ended her stay with the Clemens family and left for Elmira. She stayed at least one night at the Gilsey House in New York City, and had a gift shipped back to Livy. On Jan. 13 Livy wrote to thank her for a gift of two dishes sent. Sam likely escorted his mother-in-law to New York and made arrangements for her return trip — see Jan. 14 to Pamela. From that letter it seems likely he spent one night and two days there attending to publishing business [MTP].


January 11 Tuesday – Sam was in New York, having escorted his mother-in-law to the Gilsey House. He did errands and had “such a long talk with Charley” (Webster) that he left things undone.

M.H. Bartlett wrote from Avon, Conn. wanting to borrow $600 with real estate as security [MTP].

Karl Gerhardt wrote asking for a “card of introduction” to Gen. Lucius Fairchild, Commander in Chief of the G.A.R. [MTP]. See June 19, 1887 entry.

January 12 Wednesday – Sam was still in New York, running errands, checking out the new offices of Webster & Co., and visiting with the Websters.

Marie Eberstadt; Auguste Keller and Lili Kalm of Mannheim, Germany, all signed a letter to Sam, praising his books and offering “a few specimens of German construction and grammar which you may not have found in our German books…” [MTP].


January 13 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster, excited about a new book possibility, that of William Thompson Walters, proposed by William Mackay Laffan — a full color art book. Walters was “a Baltimore merchant and railroad and steamship developer,” who had a “vast art collection” [MTNJ 3: 273n157].

IF Mr. W. will put up all of the necessary money (receiving it back out of the first returns,) that book is a greenback-mine. I got delayed & didn’t get down to L’s after my talk with you; so you better arrange a meeting per telephone, & go down & talk with him. This isn’t a “big” thing — it calls for Pond’s word: “colossal.” [MTBus 374].

Samuel Charles Webster identifies “Mr. W” and also “L” in this letter and observes:

“Walters was ready to spend as much as two hundred and fifty thousand dollars on the book. [¶]. …Uncle Sam was completely sold on the idea — perhaps because he was interested in color printing — and called on my mother [Annie Moffett Webster] expressly to get her interested in the project, although she had never attempted to understand anything connected with the publishing business. I asked her why my father didn’t care for the book, and she said that he didn’t think it would pay.” Note: it was not published until 1897, “long after the death of Webster and Mr. Walters, too” [MTBus 374-5; MTLTP 213n1].

Pamela Moffett wrote from N.Y. to her brother Sam, sending two photos of her son, “Sam’s fiancé for your inspection.” Pamela was staying with her daughter Annie Webster and family in the City, and wrote of Charles’ neuralgia attack “in his head” the night before “but relieved it entirely by the application of ice.” Her grandson Willie had been sick with a cold necessitating a visit from the doctor. [MTP].


January 14 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett. This letter confirms the short trip to New York, probably to escort Olivia Lewis Langdon on the first leg of her trip to Elmira.

I had such a long talk with Charley that I failed on some of my (remotely possible) New York errands. I could have staid another day, but concluded I wouldn’t, because I should be going down again, soon. I am hoping that Livy & Jean will go with me; in which case we’ll arrange a visit & make a success of it. My intention this time was to return in the 11 o’clock train, but Charley’s neuralgia (which I did not know about), prevented that.

Sam also remarked on the “new offices” which “were worth missing a train for,” and added a note about the dinner party for the soon-to-be marrieds. Note: Paine writes:

“On the strength of the Grant success Webster had moved into still larger quarters at No.3 East Fifteenth Street, and had a ground floor for a salesroom. The force had become numerous and costly. It was necessary that a book should pay largely to maintain this pretentious establishment” [MTB 3:856].

On Jan. 10, Livy invited Dr. Edward K. Root to dinner to meet Miss Perkins and Mr. Hooker at “half past six o’clock” [MTP; Livy to her mother Jan. 13 identified Miss Perkins as Mary Perkins]. Sam to his sister on Jan. 14 identifies this as a “swell dinner party for a bride & bride-groom.” The good doctor Root has a casebook listed on http://library.uchc.edu/hms/mancol.html for genito-urinary and rectal diseases, 1880-1881. He might have provided some scintillating dinner conversation.

Note: searching Rootsweb found that Sidney Douglass Hooker (1855-1941) married Mary Russell Perkins (1857-1911) in Sackets Harbor, Jefferson, New York, birthplace of Sidney. Mary was the daughter of Sam’s prior attorney and Hartford friend, Charles Enoch Perkins. Sidney was an Episcopal clergyman, a graduate of Trinity College, where Joe Twichell studied. (See also The Descendants of Rev. Thomas Hooker by Edward Hooker p 286, 1909, Rochester N.Y.).

Sam also wrote to Lester Wallack, N.Y. theater owner, declining an invitation to some gathering or show on a Sunday, but as Sam explained, there were no Sunday trains to New York:

…that grace is denied us. I should have to go down on Saturday & return Monday, & I could not venture to spare so large a block of time from my work, since I am more busy & hurried this winter than usual. In New England we keep the Sabbath — by compulsion. This gratifies the clergy, annoys the sinner, & doubtless amuses God [MTP]. Note: years later there was train service on Sundays to N.Y. Nevertheless, Sam did not like to travel on Sundays. Or perhaps Livy didn’t care for him to.

Sam also wrote to Mrs. Robert M. Yost, enclosing a cravat of his, and a story behind it. It seems Sam entered the house one day at noon and Livy, surprised, asked where he’d been. At Harriet Beecher Stowe’s he answered. Livy was distressed that he didn’t wear a cravat. Sam knew from Livy’s manner that he’d made some breach of manners, but thought of a way to fix it.

I went up stairs & wrote a note to Mrs. Stowe of a grave explanatory character, in which I said it was my custom to never go visiting in entirely full dress, lest the effect be too strong upon the person visited; I always went without my cravat; but inasmuch as the person visited might think I had no cravat, it was my custom to send the cravat later, by a trustworthy hand, with a request that after sufficient & satisfying inspection it be returned to me — with a receipt.

Then I put the cravat on a fish-platter, & our colored butler [George Griffin] carried it over to Mrs. Stowe. She examined it, & returned it on the fish-platter, with a grave & at the same time felicitous receipt testifying her conviction of the genuineness of the cravat & the delirious joy the inspection of it had afforded her. As I said a while ago, I pinned the receipt to the cravat & put both away; but years have since elapsed, & meantime some appreciative person has walked off with that note [MTP].

Sam also thanked Mr. Yost for his “pleasant” letter.

Orion Clemens wrote from Keokuk enclosing the “back mortuary reports as far as they can be got,” which evidently, Sam had requested. Dr. Schaffer, whom Sam “spoke complimentarily of” had put Sam on the list for annual reports, and got lists from Paris, Mo. By an exchange agreement [MTP]. Note: Sam wanted to know who was dying in his old stomping grounds.

Karl Gerhardt wrote a short note about Sam’s letter of introduction to Gen. Lucius Fairchild: “What a beautiful letter. That ought to bring an order” [MTP].


January 15 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Brown & Gross, Hartford Bookseller, ordering Thomas Babington Macaulay’s History of England (1869) and John Richard Green’s one-volume version of A Short History of the English People; both books in half-morocco [MTP; Gribben 274 & 437]. See Jan. 20.

Sam also helped Jean Clemens write a thank you note to her cousin, Samuel E. Moffett, now in Berkeley, Calif. [MTP].

Hattie (“Josie”) Gerhardt wrote to Sam & Livy thanking them for the letter of introduction to Gen. Lucius Fairchild. It “was just simply & exquisitely kind” [MTP].

Belle C. Greene (1844- ) wrote from Nashua, N.H. to “Mark Twain”. “This summer I sent to your Hartford home a copy of my humorous sketches — to which my publisher gave the somewhat startling title ‘Adventures of An Old Maid.’” She was not one, she wrote, as “the newspapers might suppose.” Had the book been lost ? She’d heard nothing from Sam. Could he read one chapter, say “The Old Maid Goes to the Dentist” and let her know what he thought? [MTP]. (See Jan. 17.)


January 16 Sunday – The Brooklyn Eagle, p.9 ran an article from a Toledo, Ohio newspaper about a rags to riches in reverse story, and a connection with Sam that has yet to be verified:


A Man Distinguished in War and in Journalism Sentenced as a Tramp

Cincinnati, O., January 15

A special from Toledo to the Times-Star says: “There was incarcerated in the Toledo workhouse to-day a man whose history is a peculiar one. His name is Frank C. Gordon, and he was captured in a saloon while engaged in a drunken disturbance. The name of Frank C. Gordon will stir up the recollection of a great many persons in various large cities where he is remembered as a shining example of a good man gone wrong. Gordon was originally from one of the first families of Boston and during the war distinguished himself by his bravery and daring deeds as captain in a Massachusetts regiment. At the close of the war he went to California and edited the San Jose Mercury, where he got into a dissipated rut. He drifted around the mining camp until he ran across Samuel M. Clemens [sic] (Mark Twain), and through him became associated with some of the leading papers on the Pacific coast. Then he became an actor and did well, finally controlling a theater in Rochester, N.Y. Then his old habits of dissipation returned, and he has run down at the heel sadly within a few years. He became a tramp, and as such will serve a term in a workhouse cell when he might be a leader among men.”

Webster & Co. Telegrammed Sam: “Books were sent off before your note reached us” [MTP].


January 17 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Belle C. Greene of Nashua N.H. about her book.

In my judgment the Sketches are pretty good, but not very good. But mind, now, don’t make the mistake of overvaluing my opinion; for I am the oyster who said (& continues to say) that “Helen’s Babies” was the very worst & most witless book the great & good God Almighty ever permitted to go to press in the world — & behold, it has sold 200,000 copies, & is far from dead yet [MTP].

Note: Greene is listed as “Miss” in the MTP’s file, but her maiden name was Colton; she was a Mrs. who began writing humorous sketches in 1881. A copy of her A New England Conscience (1885), a religious novel, was in Mark Twain’s library [Gribben 275]. A biographical sketch on her may be found in Fifteen Hundred Biographies (1897), when Greene was still kicking.

Capt. Philip M. Price wrote from New York to Sam inquiring about Gen. Grant’s book for Gen. Wesley Merritt, as he had no copy and was reading one from West Point’s library [MTP].


January 18 Tuesday – Sam telegraphed Worden, Webb & Co., N.Y. stockbrokers, with a buy order for 100 shares of WV at $80 [Jan. 19. from Worden].

Charles Webster wrote from the office in N.Y.:

Pond was just in and says Beecher has placed the whole thing absolutely in his hands, both the Life of Christ and the autobiography [MTP]. See also MTLTP 212n1&2.


January 19 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster about the Henry Ward Beecher biography and the status of William Thompson Walters’ art book, which William Mackay Laffan had suggested. Sam wanted to limit an advance to $5,000 for Beecher, and $1,000 to James B. Pond, who was Beecher’s tour manager [MTP]. (See Jan. 13 entry.)

Belle C. Greene wrote again from Nashua, N.H.:

I suspected the “Sketches” were not much, but they were having such a good sale, and so many seem to like them that my confidence in my own judgment began to shake. Now that you confirm me, I am all right again….Your strong language in regard to “Helen’s Babies” was a great relief to my feelings. Thanks [MTP]. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Very good girl.” (See Jan. 15, 17.)

Worden, Webb & Co., N.Y. stockbrokers answered Sam’s telegram of Jan. 18 to buy 100 shares of WV at $80 [MTP].


January 20 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Rev. C.D. Crane (1849- ) of New Castle Maine, who had written asking three questions: what were the best books he might recommend for boys, for girls? And also what Everett Emerson calls the “desert island question” — that is, which books would Sam save if he could only save a few? (Crane’s incoming not extant.) Crane was evidently polling various authors for their choices for the purpose of publishing the results, since Sam wrote again on Jan. 24, making a substitution.

When one is going to choose twelve authors, for better for worse, forsaking fathers & mothers to cling unto them & unto them alone, until death shall them part, there is an awfulness about the responsibility that makes marriage with one mere individual & divorcible woman a sacrament sodden with levity by comparison.

In my list I know I should put Shakspeare; & Browning; & Carlyle (French Revolution only); Sir Thomas Malory (King Authur); Parkman’s Histories (a hundred of them if there were so many); Arabian Nights; Johnson (Boswell’s), because I like to see that complacent old gasometer listen to himself talk; Jowett’s Plato; & “B.B.” (a book which I wrote some years ago, not for publication but just for my own private reading.)

I should be sure of these; & I could add the other three — but I should want to hold the opportunity open a few years, so as to make no mistake [MTP]. [Note: the “B.B.” book is unidentified, but may relate to the Noah’s Ark book as a “Bible” book]. (See Jan. 24 entry.)

Sam also wrote to William H. Gross of Brown & Gross, Hartford bookseller, who had replied to Sam’s Jan. 15 inquiry about two books. Gross had the book by John Richard Green in half-calf and could get the Macaulay also in half-calf from Estes & Lauriat of Boston for $11.50. Sam said okay, “send ‘em along”[MTP].

Sam also wrote, responding to John Russell Young, who was now in New York. Since Young had asked certain business questions, so Sam referred him to “Webster’s end of the concern.” Sam added that Edward H. House, “poor fellow, has had an unusually bad turn lately” [MTP]. Note: Young, who had begun writing for the New York Tribune years before, since 1885 was a correspondent from Europe for the New York Herald. In 1890 President William McKinley would appoint him Librarian of Congress.

Charles Webster wrote from N.Y.,

Pond has been in and finally I have offered him $1000 down and $500 more when B. [Beecher] has delivered the manuscript to the autobiography which is to be written after the “Life of Christ” is finished [MTP]. Note: Also mentioned was a “beautifully bound red tree calf McClellan,” bound by J. Tapley. See Jan. 25 for Sam’s reply.


January 21 FridaySam went to New York with Livy, (or perhaps the day before), judging from his letter to Batcheller on Jan. 25 that reveals his return on Saturday, Jan. 22.


January 22 Saturday – Sam and Livy returned to Hartford, Sam playing whist (probably with Irving Bacheller and others) while Livy rested in the “palace car” [Jan. 25 to Bacheller].

M.H. Bartlett of Avon Conn. wrote enclosing a draft of Whitmore’s after-Jan.22 about the loan with real estate security Bartlett sought for his “tower property.” Whitmore and Sam did not consider Bartlett’s summer house sufficient security for the $1,200 loan proposed. Bartlett would write Whitmore on Feb. 11 that he wasn’t able to give a mortgage on both properties and that he’d found a party who would loan $1,200 on just his summer house [MTP].


January 23 Sunday


January 24 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote again to Rev. C.D. Crane of Newcastle, Maine asking him to:

Dear Sir:

Please leave out the “B.B.” book and all reference to it. This will save me from having to answer the letters of inquiry.

In the place of it I desire to put “Pepys’s Diary” — the condensed edition. Truly Yours / S.L. Clemens [MTP; this letter was for sale on eBay Item #142058901194 on Aug. 17, 2008]. Note: the “B.B.” book may relate to the Noah’s Ark book as a “Bible” book. (See Jan. 20.)

Sam also wrote to William F. Douglas, responding to some sort of competition (now lost).

My dear Sir: it was 1855, if I remember rightly, and the occasion was not a typesetting contest. It was a struggle over a dinner table. The table did not win.

I thank the Union very much for the compliment of their invitation and I should like to help at the present competition, but it wouldn’t be any use. I couldn’t get the prize, unless 600 leaded bourgeois might fetch it [MTP transcript Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Oct. 1929 p.542]. Note: This may have been an invitation from the Union Club of New York.

Sam also wrote a short note to George Iles, American author and Montreal editor about returning stamps that weren’t negotiable at his post office (most likely Canadian; and likely for a piece by Iles that Sam had sent on to Howells for consideration — see Aug. 7). Sam asked him to send coin if he felt he owed “this estate” anything [MTP].

In Egypt, Henry M. Stanley wrote a long and sentimental letter to Sam. Stanley gave no clues or promises of a book for Webster & Co. To publish. Stanley’s flowery language spoke of his recent stay at the Clemens home, his envy for Sam’s situation, and of the dangers ahead for himself:

You know of course that I am bound on a lengthy venture into mid-Africa. It is not without peculiar perils – but since I have elected to face them they are not to be spoken of. The heaven above me, & the blue waters below me have that in them which makes my blood dance in me — I could not be sad if I would — I will not be sad for every home has its own joys, & I am of a temper to enjoy them [MTP]

Andrew Chatto wrote from London. He’d just seen a report of the Governor’s Island reading for what would become CY (Chatto referred to it as The Autobiography of Mr Robert Smith of Camelot). The report “so stimulated” his “appetite for the remainder,” that he wanted to seek “further particulars.” Chatto enclosed two newspaper squibs (written on bottom of one, “Bloomington, Ill.”) about Young’s company performing The Bad Boy at the Pavilion Theater there. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Somebody has stolen Tom Sawyer.”


L..       The “Bad Boy” was given last evening at Pavilion theater by Sam Young’s company to a large audience. The principal characters were all well taken. This “Bad Boy” is not the same as has been played here by Atkinson’s company, but is taken from Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, and has a very strong dramatic plot, with just enough of “Peck’s Bad Boy” sketches to make some of the scenes very funny. Phil Greiner in the title role proved the card of the evening, and little Eva Melville made herself a great favorite…. “Bad Boy” will be given again this evening [No date on clipping; MTP].

 January 25 Tuesday – Under consideration for over a year, Webster & Co. And Adam Badeau finally signed a contract for Badeau’s Grant in Peace. Webster later insisted that some portions revealing the bitter Badeau-Grant disagreement of 1885 be edited to avoid distress to Mrs. Grant, causing Badeau to withdraw from the contract. The book was published in 1887 by S.S. Scranton & Co. Of Hartford [MTNJ 3: 270n146].

In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who was staying with her daughter at the Everett House in New York. Sam’s plans included taking Livy to New York the next evening (Jan. 26) for a dinner and a luncheon but he wasn’t sure she would be well enough. If he didn’t show up, then Mary would understand [MTP; MTMF 259]. Livy wasn’t well enough; she spent a few days in bed with a cold since her last trip to the City [Jan. 27 to Dora Wheeler].

Sam also wrote to Irving Bacheller, who ran the first U.S. newspaper syndicate. He reveals a close call on the train coming back from New York on Jan. 22:

Enclosed please find 2 fares from New York to Hartford. When I told you, in the smoking car, coming out of New York, Saturday 4:30 p.m. that I was “out of soap” [slang for out of money], and that my mileage book was forward in the palace car, I meant to make things right before reaching Hartford, but the whist game employed me to the very last moment, and I had to jump or get carried by. By the time I found my wife and my mileage book you were already gone [MTP].

Sam also wrote to J.F. Tapley, the binder for the McClellan book under publication:

I cannot remember when I have seen so superb a binding as the one which glorified the McClellan you sent me…[MTP].

Arthur Jenkins, chairman of a committee to raise funds for a city hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. wrote to Sam asking for him “to contribute something original. A poem, bit of history, a sketch, dialogue, recipe or fragment of any kind will be thankfully received.” Enclosed, a list of people asked to contribute (now lost). Sam wrote on the envelope, “Disgusting letter — & a reply” [MTP]. Note: Sam didn’t care much for brazen requests of free work from his pen by unknown persons.


January 26 WednesdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam, responding to his request for statistics on the sale of Grant’s Memoirs. Webster wrote that the paper used to make the book, “would make a ribbon…one inch wide which would stretch seven and one third (7 1/3) times around the world” [MTNJ 3: 275n166]. Note: no such ribbon was made.


January 27 ThursdayIn Hartford Sam wrote to Dora Wheeler, answering an inquiry to visit. Livy would like nothing better, Sam answered, but Livy couldn’t.

She came home & fought that cold a day or two, but it laid her by the heels at last. She’s been abed the last few days — & when she goes to bed there’s reason for it, every time.

Says she will be ready to sit the 7th, you to furnish color & a shine to the eye. I tell her you did it for Brer Warner [Charles] & you can do it again [MTP]. Note: Dora was painting portraits of famous authors.


January 28 Friday

January 29 Saturday

January 30 Sunday


January 30 or February 6 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John C. Kinney, editor Hartford Courant, enclosing a speech, likely for the Stationers Board of Trade dinner on Feb. 10.

Here is the speech. Won’t you please rush it into type & send me a proof? [Note: Feb. 6 seems more likely, given the rush order].


January 31 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder, editor Century Magazine. Did he want a “powerful readable short article (about 5,000 words at a rough guess?)”; Would he pay more than “of yore”? And would Gilder “crowd it into the March No.?[MTP]. Sam was working on “English As She Is Taught,” which would appear in the Century in the April issue. “…this article demanded little of Clemens since he merely provided a framework and running commentary for the children’s misstatements and malapropisms sent to him by Caroline B. Le Row, a Brooklyn schoolteacher” [MTNJ 3: 226]. (Editorial emphasis.)

Lockwood De Forest, N.Y. vendor, wrote an estimate of $25 for “3 strips of brass for fireplace perforated according to design left with us…” [MTP].


February – “Clemens became an enthusiastic pupil [of Alphonse Loisette (Marcus Dwight Larrowe)] around February 1887, receiving instruction in person and by mail. He provided an endorsement of the method for Loisette’s advertisements and allowed his name to be used in promotional materials in 1887 until the number of inquiries directed to Hartford became intolerable” [MTNJ 3: 277n176]. It was enough to make a man want to forget.

The Clemenses invited Dora Wheeler to visit. Sam sat for a portrait by her in Dec. 1886 [n175].


February 1 Tuesday


February 1 Tuesday ca. – In Hartford Sam responded to a form letter from Mrs. John M. Holcombe for the Darby and Joan Club of Hartford, which had decided to rename itself the Century Club. Sam wrote across the form, “Dear Mrs. Holcombe. The old Clemenses have joined.” Others named on the form were Mrs. J.M. Taylor, Mrs. William Hamersley, Mrs. George Perkins, Mrs. William Matson, and Mrs. Alfred B. Bull. The group announced it was having “one meeting this season at Seminary Hall” on Feb. 22 [MTP]. Note: Sam’s “old” comment is understandable with the knowledge that “Darby and Joan” with attendant clubs goes back to the early 1700s in England, and usually was intended for older folks and pensioners.

February 2 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner to Bruce Weston Munro in Toronto that he had not received an item Munro had sent, probably the novel Munro had written of sending [MTP]. See Oct. 21, 1881 entry for more on Munro [MTP].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote asking Sam to interpret an enclosed Feb. 1 letter to her from O.M. Dunham, manager of Cassell & Co., N.Y. publisher. Cassell had returned her MS “about the first week in Jany” and now was asking her to resubmit it. Le Row noted, “Inscrutable are the ways of ye Publisher….Today comes this reply which I send to someone brighter than myself for interpretation” [MTP].


February 3 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century Magazine:

Say — please send me a couple of proofs of that truck pretty soon in a few days, won’t you? I’m to read it to our Young Girl’s Club here in the house and b’gosh I haven’t got any copy. I’ll see you at the Publishers and Stationers’ Dinner at the Brunswick the 10th if you’re there which I reckon you will be if you are [MTP]. Note: “that Truck” was “English as She is Taught”.

Sam began a letter to William Smith, English author of Morley: Ancient and Modern, London (1886). He finished it the next day.

Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy of receiving Sam’s letter (check enclosed) and not knowing “how to express thanks aright,” and of receiving a letter from Livy’s mother with a follow-up package by express containing “six lovely cups & saucers.” Ma Clemens was “real well” and had been to the theater twice during the last week, staying up until 1 a.m. without after effects. Mollie had tried the “mind cure” on Ma about her delusions. Mollie also mentioned Sam and Livy’s seventeenth anniversary of the day before; and of Orion’s continued recovery [MTP].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote again, Sam’s letter and a telegram from Century just received. She had “no earthly or unearthly means of knowing whether” Cassell would publish her book. “Do let me send it to your publisher, or I will send it to any publisher you suggest — some one who can comprehend the situation and “hurry up.” Sam wrote on the envelope “Send it to Funk & Wagnalls[MTP].

February 4 Friday – In Hartford Sam finished the letter begun Feb. 3 to William Smith. He’d received Smith’s books and expressed a desire to visit Morley on his next trip to England. Both he and Livy enjoyed the “beautiful and interesting” books by Smith. In return, Sam sent Smith Grant’s Memoirs; he’d compiled an impressive list of statistics for the publishing of Grant’s autobiography to use at the upcoming Stationers’ Dinner, but decided they “would sound like an immense brag & be too loud a contrast to the book’s modesty.” He also ordered a “Mark Twain’s Scrapbook” for Smith, and confessed there wasn’t any uniform set of his books, either in America or England. Although hoping to visit England again soon, the Paige typesetter was holding him back:

Mrs. Clemens has been projecting a journey to England for this family — to begin early in May; but she will have to put that off some months or a year, for I’ve been building love of a machine during the past 11 months, & I can’t finish it before August or September; at least that is the present outlook. I can’t go to England without my machine; one doesn’t go abroad & leave his soul & entrails behind [MTP].

In a letter now lost, William Dean Howells had recently praised Sam’s writing, saying that his family truly enjoyed reading him. Sam responded:

That is the kind of approval to have; it is the sort that goes deep, & gives a deep pleasure, & stays restfully in the memory, & is not marred & modified by suspicion that it is not wholly sincere. The professional critic’s printed praise makes a body feel good, but you are not always sure he didn’t put it in for his own sake, to give his severities a Christly candid air & so make them the more effectively damaging. I will write for your family. I will take their verdict as the verdict of one part of posterity, & the verdict of my family as the verdict of the greater or lesser rest of posterity. My family don’t read me at all. Thus, the future is laid bare before me [MTHL 2: 581-2].

Sam also reassured Howells that sitting for Dora Wheeler would be enjoyable. Wheeler was working on a series of portraits of American writers, and evidently did not do one of Howells (see n2).

February 5 Saturday – In Hartford Sam responded to a Mrs. Thornburgh (identity unknown), saying she wasn’t “troubling him too much,” but that he’d been away from journalism some seventeen years and knew only “two newspaper men in all the east” [MTP]. Her request must have had something to do with journalism. (Her earlier letter is not listed in the MTP’s Incoming file.)


February 6 Sunday – In Hartford Sam accepted an invitation by John M. Holcombe (husband to the woman who had sent the form about Feb. 1 renaming the Darby and Joan Club to the Century Club) to speak briefly. It was “pretty short notice,” Sam wrote but he would be glad to come and “weave a 5-minute discourse out of” the remarks of other speakers [MTP]. Note: No doubt this was the Feb. 22 meeting of the above club, inked into the form; it could not have been the Feb. 8 Yale Alumni Dinner at the Seminary Hall in Hartford, since Sam expected to be in New York on that day. Holcombe was an 1869 Yale graduate [MTNJ 3: 278n177].


February 7 Monday John W. Chapman, an assistant chaplain of the City Missionary Society of New York wrote to Sam of the death of Jesse M. Leathers, the distant relative on Sam’s mother’s side who claimed to be the “rightful earl of Dunham.” Sam had never encouraged the man, but had sent $15 a few weeks before when Leathers, suffering from tuberculosis and alcoholism, wrote asking for $50 to go to a hospital in Kansas [MTNJ 3: 279n184]. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Death of the American Claimant[MTP]. See Sam’s reply, Feb. 12.


February 8 Tuesday – Sam went to New York City, where he stayed from Feb. 8 to 11 at the Victoria Hotel. He took care of business while in the City and spoke at the Stationers Board of Trade dinner on Feb. 10 [MTNJ 3: 278n180].


February 9 Wednesday – Sam was in New York, staying at the Victoria Hotel. At 10:45 P.M. he finished writing and memorizing his speech for the Stationers Dinner [Feb. 10 to Livy].

February 10 Thursday – In New York at 2 P.M., Sam wrote to Livy:

…I have memorized 71 lines in a day & kept them in an absolutely exact state during 8 hours of sleep.

I have had a lecture to-day, & shall attend to some business duties the rest of the afternoon. I love you, dearest [MTP].

Sam visited the Websters’ where his sister Pamela was visiting. On Feb. 17, Thursday, Pamela wrote to her son Samuel Moffett, then in California, about Sam’s visit on this day and his memory classes:

Your Uncle Sam came to see us last week Thursday [Feb. 10]. He had been in the city two or three days taking lessons in the art of cultivating the memory. Thought the system was good, and founded on philosophical principles, but was not at liberty to tell what it was. Clara Spaulding’s husband [John Barry Stanchfield], who is a lawyer, and at present Mayor of Elmira, was one of his fellow students [Tenney transcription of Moffett Papers at MTP].

At 7 P.M., Sam attended the Stationers Board of Trade Dinner, at the Hotel Brunswick, [Fatout, MT Speaking 216-18; N.Y. Times, Feb. 10, 1887 p.3]. Fatout points out that Sam possibly considered “an appearance at a dinner of the board was good for business,” and that though feigning surprise at being asked to speak, Sam was “well prepared and thoroughly rehearsed.”

I am here in the character of author and publisher, but I think I will let that rest. Oh, I can tell you a great deal about publishing, but I don’t think I will. I am rather too fresh yet. I am at the honest stage now, but after a while, when I graduate and grow rich, I will tell you all about it.

Education is so common that an education is within the grasp of everyone, and if he does not want to pay for it, why here is the state ready to pay for it for him. But sometimes I want to inquire what an education is. I remember myself, and all of you old fellows probably remember the same of yourselves, that when I went to school I was told than an adjective is an adverb and it must be governed by the third person singular, and all that sort of thing — and when I got out of school I straightway forgot all about it. In my combined character of publisher and author I receive a great many manuscripts from people who say they want a candid opinion whether that is good literature or not. That is all a lie; what they want is a compliment. But as to this matter of education, the first thing that strikes you is how much teaching has really been done and how much worthless cramming. You have all seen a little book called English as She is Spoke. Now, in my capacity of publisher I recently received a manuscript from a teacher [Caroline Le Row] which embodied a number of answers given by her pupils to questions propounded. These answers show that the children had nothing but the sound to go by; the sense was perfectly empty. Here are some of their answers to words they were asked to define: auriferous — pertaining to an orifice; ammonia — the food of the gods; equestrian — one who asks questions; parasite — a kind of umbrella; ipecac — a man who likes a good dinner. And here is the definition of an ancient word honored by a great party: Republican — a sinner mentioned in the Bible. …Here, too, is a sample of a boy’s composition on girls, which, I must say, I rather like:

“Girls are very stuckup and dignified in their manner and behaveyour. They think more of dress than anything and like to play with dowls and rags. They cry if they see a cow in a far distance and are afraid of guns. They stay at home all the time and go to church every Sunday. They are al-ways sick. They are al-ways funy and making fun of boys hands and they say how dirty. They cant play marbles. I pity them poor things. They make fun of boys and then turn round and love them. I don’t beleave they ever killed a cat or anything. They look out every nite and say, ‘Oh, a’nt the moon lovely!’ Thir is one thing I have not told and that his they al-ways know their lessons bettern boys.”

The next day, the New York Times wrote up the dinner on page 5.




The big banquet hall of the Hotel Brunswick was sedately gay last night on the occasion of the twelfth annual dinner of the Stationers’ Board of Trade. H.B. Barnes presided, and some of those over whom he presided were Gen. Stewart L. Woodford, J Seaver Page, Commisioner Charles N. Taintor, Byron Weston, George L. Pease, Samuel L. Clemens, Charles C. Beaman, W.J. Martin, the Rev. Lyman Abbott, E.J. Horseman, John A. Walker, Edward Todd, W.D.L. Barnes, John V. Koch, H.E. Pratt, William B. Boorum, T.E. Smith, Henry C. Bainbridge, and D. Pritchard

Charles Hopkins Clark for the Hartford Courant wrote to Sam:

We all missed you at the Club. You are down for the next essay at Mr. Goodwin’s Feb. 21st — one day ahead of George Washington [MTP]. Note: he also included a drawing and a plan for draining some of the local areas to avert the threat of malaria. Rev. Francis Goodwin was a longtime member of the Monday Evening Club [Andrews 103].

Robert Underwood Johnson for Century Magazine wrote and enclosed an article that showed they were “squinting toward the War Book,” and would Sam review the proofs once more?

Would there be any objection to putting you in the pillory of the footnote? Some humorists don’t like fun but I credit you with being above the defects of the profesh! [MTP].


February 11 Friday – Sam returned to Hartford [MTNJ 3: 278n180].

William Carey, editor for Century Magazine wrote to Sam enclosing Caroline Le Row’s Feb. 11 to Robert Underwood Johnson. Le Row’s note informed them of changes she’d made in the proofs. Carey wrote, “As you suggested we forwarded a proof of “English as she is Taught” to Miss Le row, with the enclosed result.” If Sam wanted further changes, it would have to be done on the plates [MTP].


February 12 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Rev. John W. Chapman, who wrote on Feb. 7 of Jesse Madison Leathers death.

I never saw Leathers, but was acquainted with him through a forced correspondence.

He was a distant relative of mine, and I was early warned by Watterson of the Louisville Courier-Journal (another sort-of-kind-of relative) that whereas Leathers was a good-hearted and well-meaning fellow, he was a visionary and a nuisance. Therefore I resisted all of L’s many attempts at personal contact with me — even down to his latest attempt a few weeks ago [MTP].

Note: both Leathers and Watterson were related on Sam’s mother’s side — Watterson a second cousin by marriage. For more on Leathers, see MTL 6: 546n1. Among other information, it lays to “family legend” that Leathers’ great grandfather, Samuel Lampton (1750-1835) was the brother of William Lampton (1724-1790), Sam’s great grandfather, which, if true, would make Sam and Jesse third cousins. A. Hoffman writes Sam was “uncomfortably responsible” for Leathers’ remains [338], but nothing in the letters suggests this; no other evidence was found.

Sam wrote to William Dean Howells of Leathers’ death. Sam thought the name “Jesse M. Leathers” was a good one for the story or play.

The American Claimant, poor fellow, is just dead of consumption, in the hospital on Blackwell’s Island [MTP].

Pamela Moffett wrote from N.Y.

I received yours of Feb. 6th. Sam and Annie both seem to take it for granted that my home is still to be with him. I hesitated about returning this spring on account of the expense, but S. seems anxious for me to come and as it is uncertain when he will be ready to come east I have concluded it would be better to go now [MTP].

Checks Sam wrote this day:

Check #





Rev C A Brockmeier




Mr Falk




The Sun


N.Y. newspaper


Note: Most of Sam’s canceled checks have been lost. For 1887, however, beginning with these three, there is a nearly complete numbered run for the entire year, all drawn on Bissell & Co. Bank, Hartford. Printed on these checks is “Household Account” [MTP].


February 13 Sunday – William Dean Howells wrote to Sam and enclosed a proof for his “Editor’s Study” for the May issue of Harper’s as to why the public cared for Mark Twain’s books “in prodigious degree” — “under every fantastic disguise they are honest and true.” Howells also touched upon an old issue:

Say: if I could get a publisher to take that Library of Humor off your hands, what would you ask for it? You know the work is almost wholly Clark’s and mine; and it would appear under my name, if I could get the pub. It grinds me all the time to think you should have paid me $2600 for work that you don’t expect to use [MTHL 2: 583-4]. (See May entry.)

Caroline B. Le Row wrote thanking Sam for having the Century article proofs sent to her, but her publisher, Dunham of Cassell & Co. Had learned of a hitch in including the article in her book — the magazine denied anyone to republish the material for six months. She asked if he might write another, “with more ‘Twain’ and less teaching in it” — an idea of Dunham’s [MTP]. Note: many teachers felt slighted by the article and Le Row’s book.


February 14 Monday William Dean Howells wrote again to Sam.

That invention of casting brass was to have been applied to wall-paper printing, wasn’t it, if the castings could be made free of air-holes? What was the technical phrase for this elimination of air-holes? I want to use this invention in my story [April Hopes (1888)]. — I’ve just read your speech to the publishers. Mrs. Howells thought with me that it was delicious, but accused you of inventing that boy’s comp. [composition on girls] Did you?

Leathers’s departure leaves us free to use his name? I will look over that play again [MTHL 2: 584]. Note: the play was Colonel Sellers as Scientist, which became The American Claimant.

Charles Webster wrote to Sam about negotiations for the Beecher book. It was to include Beecher’s Life of Christ, those plates turned over to Webster & Co., and would have appeared with the autobiography. Beecher had shown a synopsis of the work, which Webster reported was,

…a story of his “inner life”…. Detail and minutia of his life at every stage, as a child, youth, young man, just entering the service of Christ, and minister [MTLTP 212n1].

Major James B. Pond was the go-between in these negotiations, and asked for an advance of $5,000 for Beecher and $4,000 for himself. Pond claimed that “some parties” had “placed a check of not very small dimensions upon his [Beecher’s] desk” [MTLTP 213n2]. Note: In the end the advance was paid to Beecher, but Pond accepted $1,000 with a $500 additional bonus to be paid upon delivery of the manuscript

Orion Clemens began a letter he finished on Feb. 15.

This afternoon an editor of the Democrat of this city asked me if he could get a photograph and biography of Ma, of extended length, for the St. Louis Globe, if he should write it. As your reputation is the cause of this idea, I thought it prefer to give you an opportunity of objecting to it’s [sic] being written at all…[MTP].

John W. Chapman had just received Sam’s Feb. 12 asking for information about Leathers. Chapman related a full account of his four months of contact with Leathers, and his desire to raise money to go west [MTP].

J.F. Swords wrote from Hartford to Sam that one share, par value $100, was being reserved for him in the new Hartford Amusement Association. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Base-ball. No.” [MTP].


February 15 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John W. Chapman. In his letter of Feb. 12, Sam asked Chapman to tell him what he knew about Jesse Leathers.  Chapman answered on Feb. 14.

I thank you very much for your letter; it quite disposes of my doubts. I see that I was right in surmising that such a man could not be set upon his feet and made useful to himself and the world. I had some troublesome misgivings that possibly this judgement was too hasty and sweeping….I did not want to write a biography of him; I merely wanted to make a magazine sketch of his life, his general career to be merely touched upon and made the landscape out of which should rise into the clouds the monumental dream of his life…his generation-long struggle to “get his own” and seat himself in the British House of Lords as the “rightful” Earl of Durham! [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to Andrew Chatto, about the opening chapter he’d sent previously, probably of CY. He’d go to work on it next summer and then submit it first to Chatto among all foreign publishers.

Sam also wrote a longer letter to William Dean Howells, answering his letters of Feb. 13 and 14. Sam wrote of Webster telling him that he proposed to publish the Library of Humor in a year or a year and a half, but Sam wrote Webster (see below in this entry) of Howells’ offer to buy the rights to the book and arrange its publication under his own name. Sam also recalled being swindled in the brass-casting scheme by the use of arson just when demonstrations were to be given. As for the boy’s composition on “Girls,” he wrote:

No, I believe the boy’s composition to be genuine. I have only a woman’s word for it [Caroline Le Row], but most of the facts of life rest only on some one’s word — including the facts of the Scriptures, & the Arabian Nights & all that kind of book.

The Slip you sent me from the May Study has delighted Mrs. Clemens & me to the marrow. To think that thing might be possible to many; but to be brave enough to say it is possible to you only, I certainly believe. The longer I live, the clearer I perceive how unmatchable, how unapproachable a compliment one pays when he says of a man “he has the courage (to utter) his convictions.” — Haven’t you had reviewers talk Alps to you, & then print potato hills? [MTHL 2: 586]. Sam added a P.S. that they shouldn’t use Leathers’ name, due to his leaving three daughters behind.

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster about Howells’ offer to publish the Library of Humor.

I do not quite like the idea, unless I am otherwise running the risk of letting the book get too old before publication. I have a mind to tell him I can answer him better a year or two hence. How does that strike you?

Webster’s Feb. 14 letter had just arrived, and had to do with the proposed Henry Ward Beecher book.

If he writes the book in that way, & leaves in just enough piousness, it will sell (hoping it may be 2 volumes), 200,000 of vol 1, & 125,000 of vol 2: profit $350,000. If but one volume, it will sell 275,000 [MTP].

Sam also had Franklin G. Whitmore write for him to J.F. Swords, that he’d received his letter of Feb. 14 but no, he did not wish to have his name on the subscription list for the new Hartford Amusement Association, nor did he authorize anyone to do so [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Dora Wheeler about mixed up dates for a visit and a sitting. Would she send a new batch of dates right away? [MTP].

Orion Clemens finished his Feb. 14 letter. Ma Clemens was upset about Pamela “saying Ma ought to send a bridal present worth $25 or $50 to Sam [Moffett], and that Annie said so too.” Orion didn’t like to take that much from his mother’s funds. “She is now writing a letter to Pamela that will lift her hair” [MTP].

Charles A. Jewell, president of the Hartford YMCA wrote asking Sam to “look into our rooms & gymnasium & see what we have there & are doing for young men. If you feel inclined to help us out on our finances, I should be much pleased” [MTP].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote that her publisher would be “perfectly satisfied with a report of your speech of Feb. 10th” in addition to her book, not as part of it. She offered two more student funnies since going to press:

“Lord Byron was the son of a profligate and a lioness.”

“Macbeth was greatly terrified at seeing the ghost of Bancroft”

(The textbook does say that Lord B’s mother had “the temper of a lioness.”) [MTP].

Joe Twichell wrote from Hartford to Sam about Sam Jones, “a very live brother and preacher” who “delightfully mixes wit and sense in this extract enclosed” [lost]. Joe also decried the attempt to sully William Tecumseh Shermans reputation by the dredging up of “his provisional arrangement with Johnston way back in 1864” [MTP]. Note: it was unusual for Joe to write Sam while both were in Hartford, so it may be that Joe was leaving town.

Check #



[ Notes]


The Authors Club




H.L. Hoyt




Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




Mrs Wm L Matson




February 16 Wednesday


February 17 Thursday – George J. Magee for Clearfield Bituminous Coal in Corning N.Y. sent Sam a form-letter offer to buy stock to cover expenses of the purchase of said company. Sam wrote “No” on the envelope [MTP].

J.F. Swords wrote acknowledging a letter from Sam’s attorney Whitmore relating to Sam’s signature for one share in the Hartford Amusement Assoc., which was on their document [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote, “The Beecher book is sound and no mistake. I shall be mighty glad to get out of “Civil War.” Indian fighting will be a gradual emancipation….” He also felt:

…it would never do to publish [the Library of Humor] out of our house, as you are a partner it would look as though we had a row or as though you doubted the ability of your own house….The book cannot get too old, it will always sell….We must harvest in B.’s auto before he dies and Sheridan’s book too as neither are in good health [MTP].


February 18 Friday

February 19 Saturday

February 20 Sunday


February 21 MondayIn Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner to Ingersoll Lockwood.

Upon reflection, I am convinced that my size would render me too conspicuous for comfort [MTP].

Alphonse Loisette wrote to Sam from “The Loisettian School of Physiological Memory” enclosing his third “lesson.” Loisette mentioned he’d “just heard from Mr. Stanchfield. He says he has inspired the formation of two classes” [MTP]. Note: John B. Stanchfield.

February 22 Tuesday


February 23 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam’s sister Pamela arrived from California for a six-day visit.

Paine writes of Sam’s Browning Class, which met every Wednesday during this period (see 1887 begin):

“Once, at a class-meeting, after finishing ‘Easter Day,’ he made a remark which the class requested him to ‘write down.’ It is recorded on the fly-leaf of Dramatis Personæ as follows:”

On the flyleaf of his copy of Browning’s Dramatis Personæ, Sam wrote :

One’s glimpses & confusions, as one reads Browning, remind me of looking through a telescope (the small sort which you must move with your hand, not clock-work). You toil across dark spaces which are (to your lens) empty; but every now & then a splendor of stars & suns bursts upon you and fills the whole field with flame. Feb. 23, 1887 [MTB 847]. Note: Paine observes that the passion for this class waned and it “was succeeded by, or perhaps it blended with” a German class.

Sam wrote to Henry (Harry) Edwards (see Jan. 20, 1886 entry), once again begging off an invitation to a show of Edwards, explaining that his sister had arrived for a visit:

The only thing that could have come in the way to prevent my being with the Lambs Sunday Evening, has happened: my sister has arrived to-day from California for a six-day visit; & as we are not likely to meet again this side of the crematory, it is naturally my desire to be with her all I can. [MTP].

Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam & Livy, mainly about the bridal money for Samuel Moffett’s present. Orion: “Your letter of 18th received, and the ‘verdict’ will be complied with.” Mollie: “I despise the ‘bridle [bridal] present’ business and ignore it — except in families. There it need not be abused. In families it should be ‘tokens of affection’ –not taxes.” Ma wasn’t as well as she had been [MTP].

Check #





Mr Eugene Meyer


Piano lessons


February 24 Thursday William H. Gillette wrote enclosing a $1,000 check which he said “is to go into the ancient acct ‘Professor’” [MTP]. Note: Sam gave William his start on the stage by funding the play of that name.


February 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note to Charles Webster, asking him to come to Hartford and join Pamela Moffett (visiting) and his wife Annie Moffett Webster for “rest & recreation” from his neuralgia [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam: “Mr. Stedman has been to me and explained the character and scope of the work.” This was the eleven-volume Library of American Literature, edited by Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson. Stedman was a poet and essayist of some note; Hutchinson the literary journalist for the New York Tribune. Sam did not exercise editorial control over this work. W.E. Dibble of Cincinnati had made plates for five of the volumes at this time. Webster would later become instrumental in hiring Dibble, Webster’s last major act with the firm [MTLTP 214n1].

Oggel writes of the nature, depth and importance of the LAL:

The resulting eleven-volume work was monumental: over 6,150 pages, almost 2,700 selections by more than 1,200 authors. Clemens (not yet [called] Mark Twain) was represented by three selections — the “Jumping Frog” story, and excerpts from The Prince and the Pauper and Huckleberry Finn — extending to seventeen pages in the ninth volume, covering 1881-1888…. The encyclopedic comprehensiveness of these volumes was stunning: ballads, folklore, oratory (Frederick Douglass and John C. Calhoun), Noted Sayings, platform lectures (Anna Dickinson), Civil War songs, Negro hymns and songs, personal narratives (Andrew Carnegie). Though it was enormously expensive to produce, draining the resources of Clemens’s publishing company, it sold well and was well reviewed. Its importance for writers of school texts and literary histories, including the landmark Cambridge History of American Literature (1917-21), lasted more than half a century [50-1].

February 26 Saturday– Sam presented a paper to the Monday Evening Club titled “Machine Culture.” This was Sam’s eleventh presentation to the Club since his election in 1873 [Monday Evening Club].

An interview with Sam ran in the Bismark Daily Tribune:




Grant’s Book — Success in the Publishing Business — Autobiographical. The day the copyright people came to Washington to talk before one of the committees I sat down for a few minutes at a table with Mark Twain, and I asked him if it was true that Mrs. Grant had received $250,000 from the memoirs of her husband. Said he, “It is not due her for about a month, but she will get more than that.”“Good,” said Senator Hawley. Said I: “Mr. Clemens, you are as great a publisher as you were an author. Sir Walter Scott failed as a publisher, but you make money.” “Yes,” said Mark Twain, “I own nine-tenths of the capital in the publishing-house which has issued Grant’s book. It has a remarkable sale. But I received not long ago $52,000 for my profits on one of my own books, ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ the last book I produced.” Said I: “I understood you to say that there was no money in books except the pleasure of writing them.” “Oh, no,” said Clemens; “I did not say that. I said that the only way to make a successful book was to write it with no other avarice than the pleasure of doing it, and then it might be a great success; whereas, if written for money it generally fails.” I looked at Mark Twain with a mild interest. Eighteen years ago I first met him in this city, before he was married, when he was writing a few letters to the newspapers for $25 apiece. He had just returned from his trip to Europe and foreign lands, and boarded in a plain house in Washington, and was embarrassed to get possession of the letters which he had published, which his newspaper employers had copyrighted and were indisposed to give him. He got the letters at last and issued his book, and he met about the same time his wife. He is now gray, but hale-looking, but can be quite entertaining when he desires. While we were talking John P. Jones passed through the room, the Nevada senator. “I must see Jones,” said Clemens, “for he and I were old chums out in Nevada when he was superintendent of a mine there, and had not come to greatness.” Something was said about the monument to Gen. Grant, and a statue of him. Mark Twain remarked: “There could have been no statue made of Gen. Grant except within the last five or six years of his life. His face had not assumed the lines and the fullness of expression until after 1880. Then you began to see a portrait there, signs of experience, tones of expression and the effects of the world and great events upon a man.” Note: George Alfred Townsend (1841-1914) was a journalist who wrote under the byline of “Gath.”


Charles Webster wrote to Sam that a “splendid letter” from Cardinal Simeoni was there and could be used in the salesman’s prospectus of Pope Leo XIII’s biography [MTLTP 215n3].


February 27 Sunday

February 28 Monday


March 1 TuesdayIn Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster. Sam liked the book by Edmund C. Stedman, but didn’t “think very well of it.” This was the multi-volume Library of American Literature, which Webster was committed to and Sam later thought helped sink the firm. Sam wanted to discuss that book and two others he did think should be published when Charles came up to join his wife visiting her mother, Pamela Moffett. He was also impressed with the salesman’s presentation copy of Pope Leo XIII’s biography:

The Pope’s canvassing-book would sell a Choctaw Bible, it is so handsome [MTLTP 214]. Note: Sam was unhindered by the foolishness of “political correctness”; as a result, his meaning was usually clear.

George A. Fay, attorney wrote from Meridian, Conn. to Sam about the 60 bronze busts of Gen.Grant contracted “two years ago” by Wm. N. Woodruff, still not paid for [MTP]. See Nov. 20, 1884 entry, vol. I.


 Check #



[ Notes ]


Miss Fanny C. Hesse




Patrick McAleer




Mssrs J.S. Conover




D.F. Healy




Karl Gerhardt




John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer




March 2 Wednesday – Assuming Pamela Moffett’s six-day visit at the Clemens home did not extend, she would have left by this day.

James J. Lampton (1817-1887), the inspiration for the fictional Colonel Sellers, died after a short bout with pneumonia. Lampton died at his home near the Gratiot Station of the Frisco Railroad in St. Louis. Without a burial plot and with no money, James (and in 1895 his wife Elizabeth) were planted in the John B. and Thomas J. Slaughter lot at Bellfontaine Cemetery. In 1905 they would be disinterred and moved to St. Peter’s Cemetery in St. Louis [Lampton, MTJ (Fall 1989) p37].

J.M. Shaffer wrote from Keokuk thanking Sam for his letter (not extant). “I mail you with my monthly report, a clipping [not extant] about Dean. It was written by my friend Judge C.F. Dan’s” [MTP]. Note: neither Dean nor the judge are further identified.

March 3 Thursday


Check #





Wm D Kelly




March 4 Friday – In Hartford Sam responded to an unidentified man about Professor Loisette’s memory system, probably one of many questions he was pestered with after allowing his name to be used in Loisette’s advertisements (see 1887 beginning entry).


March 5 SaturdayTheodore and Susan L. Crane arrived at the Clemens home for a visit [Livy to her mother, Mar. 3, MTP].


March 6 Sunday


March 7 Monday – The Monday Evening Club met at the Clemens home [Livy to her mother, Mar. 3, MTP].

H.M. Olmstead, Treas. Of Crown Point Iron Co., N.Y. sent a printed form letter of a “Preambleand Resolution” adopted at their Mar. 2 meeting [MTP].


March 8 TuesdayHenry Ward Beecher died of a cerebral hemorrhage at 9 A.M. after only a few hours struggle. He was 73. His family would, in time, repay Webster & Co. The $5,000 advance for his autobiography [Powers, MT A Life 514]. A great controversy arose in Chicago over “the failure of the Congregational ministers to adopt unanimously the resolution to send a telegram of condolence to Mrs. Beecher at their meeting yesterday” [New York Times, Mar. 9, 1887 p.3 “Bigotry at the Grave”]. Note: The Tilton scandal and trial, it seems, was indelible.


Sam wrote checks:


Check #



[ Notes]


Hartford City Gas & Light Co




Mr Henry B Lewis


Livery, Hacks


Mr S.P. Griswold




Mssrs. Tiffany & Co


N.Y. Jeweler


Mr Porter Whiton


Builder; R.E.


Mssrs Arnold Constable & Co


NY Dry Goods


Mssrs McCarty & Cleary




Western Union Telegraph Co




Mr Wm. F. Hurd


Crockery, China


Mssrs. Fox & Co




March 9 Wednesday – The New York newspapers, including the Times (“THE GREAT PASTOR DEAD”) and the Brooklyn Eagle (“THE CITY’S LOSS”), ran front-page headlines of Beecher’s death.


March 10 Thursday – The New York Tribune editorial of this date, “How Juries are Obtained in This Town,” evoked a spot in Sam’s notebook:

“The man who says that he cannot form an unbiased opinion on any given set of facts, simply shows the shallow quality of his mind.” — N.Y. Trib. — On Jury System. (Be he deep or shallow, he cannot form an unbiased opinion upon “any set of facts” involving a party or a religion. This makes his ability to form a valuable opinion on any question doubtful [ )] [MTNJ 3: 282].

J. Harrison Mills wrote from N.Y. to Sam that “Many kind memories of you in old times makes a formal letter seem unnatural.” He rejoiced whenever he heard about Sam; no favor was asked for [MTP]. Note: Mills is not identified, though a Charley Mills was one of the band of Marion Rangers.

Sarah Knowles Bolton wrote from Cleveland, Ohio asking for a cabinet photo [MTP].

March 11 FridayFrank M. Scott, cashier and bookkeeper for Webster & Co., was arrested for embezzling $20,000. He had been siphoning off funds each month since his hire in July 1885. From the N.Y. Times of Mar. 13, 1887, p.2 (See Mar. 18 entry for more details.)




The people of Roseville, a suburb of Newark, were thrown into amazement yesterday over the arrest of Frank M. Scott, who lies in the Essex County Jail, charged with embezzling $20,000 from the publishing firm of Charles L. Webster & Co., of this city. …[¶] A week or so ago he was taken ill. Webster & Co. thought his accounts would stand scrutiny. Such examination as they could give led them to employ James T. Anyon, an expert accountant, to go over Scott’s books. He reported falsification of accounts and a deficiency of $20,238.81. …[¶]

On Friday Scott came out of his house for the first time in several days to go with his wife and look at the new house he is building. The detectives arrested him on a capias [legal writ] from Supreme Court Commissioner Romaine. … His wife has full faith in his innocence. Scott says he came honestly by every dollar he has spent in two years, and can prove it. People who shake their heads over his arrest express the deepest sympathy for his wife and their three bright children.

Augustin Daly wrote to Sam inviting him to his Fifth Ave. Theatre for the 100th performance of Taming of the Shrew on Apr. 13 [MTNJ 3: 282n192].


March 12 SaturdayHenry Ward Beecher was laid to rest at the Greenwood Cemetery after a simple funeral, as per his wishes [Brooklyn Eagle, p.6 “Ashes to Ashes”]. Sam did not attend.

Sarah Orne Jewett for Longfellow Memorial Committee wrote from Boston inviting him to read at the Mar. 31 Authors’ Reading in the afternoon [MTP].


March 13 Sunday – In Hartford Livy wrote to Mary Emily Mantz (1863-1940), betrothed of Samuel Moffett, now in San Francisco (they married on Apr. 13, 1887). His mother, Pamela Moffett, had undoubtedly filled in the Clemenses on Samuel’s love life on her recent visit [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “worried yesterday over the news that a cashier had stolen forty thousand dollars from your firm” [MTP].

John Henry Boner wrote to Sam asking if he remembered him and soliciting help. “I must find a corner somewhere,” he pleaded, “I have an invalid wife, and really am quite embarrassed.” [MTP].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote from Brooklyn to Sam after receiving money for her book English As She Is Taught, “How good you are, dear Mark Twain!” [MTP].


March 14 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles E. Deuel (1864-1932), a student at Trinity College in Hartford (he would become a pastor in Wyoming, Idaho, Chicago and Santa Barbara, Calif.) Deuel had some project and wished help from Sam.

Won’t you kindly drop in at my house when you have a spare moment, & give me an idea of about what is required of me?…I am not averse from the undertaking, if I find it is within the scope of my pretensions [MTP].

Note: for a thumbnail on Deuel, see http://www.idahohistory.net/Reference%20Series/0852.pdf


Sam also responded to a Mar. 12 invitation from Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909), prolific American author and native of South Berwick, Maine. (See Mar. 31 entry.)

Alas! I dine & read in New Haven that evening — Kent Club of Yale College [MTP].

Note: the date of his New Haven reading was Mar.31, also the day for the Longfellow Memorial readings. Jewett and Annie Fields were coordinators of the Boston event, and scheduled Sam an afternoon reading early enough to allow him to be back in New Haven by 7 P.M. (See Mar. 17 to Jewett and Apr. 1 to Fields.)

Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell who spoke of Henry Ward Beecher at the Asylum Hill Congregational church. Andrews writes, “Immediately after reading his paper on Monday morning, Mark wrote his friend” [52].


It is a noble sermon, & I am glad I did not hear it. The mere reading it moved me more than I like to be moved — or, rather would like to be moved in public. It is great & fine; & worthy of its majestic subject. You struck twelve.

What a pity — that so insignificant a matter as the chastity or unchastity of Elizabeth Tilton could clip the locks of this Samson & make him as other men, in the estimation of a nation of Lilliputians creeping & climbing about his shoe-soles [52].

Orion Clemens wrote Sam a follow up on the embezzlement — “Ed Brownell tells me that according to the Chicago Tribune’s report it was $20,000,” and speculated on how Scott made the theft [MTP].

Bissell & Co. Per George H. Burt wrote to Sam that they had credited his account $965.72 from Chatto & Windus’ note for £200 [MTP]. Note: this was “annotated” by Jean Clemens’ scribbles.

Check #





Mrs Charles Dudley Warner



March 15 Tuesday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam:

I wish to acquaint you with Mr. Wilson Barrett, to whom we all took such a liking when he was here. I wish you might see him as Hamlet; but if not, he is very good as Wilson Barrett [MTHL 2: 588]. Note: Barrett was an English actor who toured the U.S. several times between 1886 and 1897.

In Hartford Sam sent a one-line response to Augustin Daly’s invitation of Mar. 11 for the 100th performance of Taming of the Shrew at Daly’s Fifth Avenue Theatre and a midnight supper on the stage on Apr. 13:

Good. Count me in [MTP].

Sam also responded to Bruce W. Munro, the young Toronto writer who had sent his novel.

It is of no use — I give it up; I can’t get the time to read anything of so great length as a novel. I have begun your book three or four times; but in each case have been interrupted & broken up….I have no liking for novels or stories — none in the world; & so, whenever I read one — which is not oftener than once in two years, & even in these rare cases I seldom read beyond the middle of the book — my distaste for the vehicle always taints my judgement of the literature itself…[MTP].

To Munro’s argument that since Sam had written stories he must like to read them, he replied:

Quite true: but the fact that an Indian likes to scalp people is no evidence that he likes to be scalped.


Sam also had Franklin G. Whitmore write a letter for him to Charles Webster about letters Webster had sent and matters of copyright infringement [MTP]. Note: It is noteworthy that Sam would place Whitmore between himself and Webster at this juncture, perhaps reflecting Sam’s increasing antagonism toward Webster.

March 16 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam responded to his brother’s letters of Mar. 13 and 14. Orion had evidently expressed concern about reading about the embezzler, Frank M. Scott at Webster & Co.,

arrested on Mar. 11.

Nobody is crippled — to hurt.

Of course the cashier’s theft vexes me; but that is all; it is a momentary annoyance….There is so much else to talk about in this live house & this live epoch of the world, that Susie & Clara did not know there had been a robbery, until yesterday, when one of the Warners spoke to them about it.

Sam decried the “real financial discomfort” — the loss of the unwritten Henry Ward Beecher autobiography, which he saw as a $100,000 hit [MTP].

Sarah O. Jewett for Longfellow Memorial Committee wrote to Sam, to persuade forgoing his reading at Yale’s Kent Club and come to the Mar. 31 reading at the Boston Museum at 2 p.m. [MTP].

March 17 Thursday – In Hartford Sam responded to an invitation by Annie A. Fields to stay with her during his planned Boston visit, to read “English As She Is Taught” at the Longfellow Memorial on Mar. 31. He accepted but warned of “timorous” misgivings:

I suspect I’m a smoky & uncomfortable guest for civilized folk [MTP]. Note: Sam usually did not like to stay in private homes, preferring the freedom of hotels; this may be an excuse.

Sam then wrote to Sarah Orne Jewett that the conflict between reading in Boston and New Haven on the same day might be fixed if she would give him “the very first reading in the programme,” so he might then take the 3 p.m. train, arriving in New Haven by 7 p.m. If that was agreeable, Sam would read “English As She Is Taught” [MTP].

Note: Sam may or may not have known at this point of the “Boston marriage” of Annie and Sarah O. Jewett.

Sam also wrote to Richard Watson Gilder, asking for a couple of proofs of “English As She Is Taught” to use in the Boston and New Haven readings on Mar. 31. Sam took liberties to read the article, which would appear on Apr. 1 in the Century Magazine, but he felt Gilder wouldn’t mind. By implication Gilder had granted the request for the Yale Kent Club reading.

There isn’t time to ask your permission for the brief Boston Museum reading, but you would grant it anyhow, for Brer Longfellow’s sake; & the Boston brethren are very urgent. Holmes, Lowell, Howells & Aldrich are in the list of readers [MTP].

Sam went to New York City, where he gave a speech/toast/talk at the informal Kinsmen Club (See Mar. 1883 entry for the history and makeup of this group, which did not meet after this year.) The content of Sam’s remarks are not known.

Desirous to the point of being desperate, the young Canadian handicapped writer Bruce W. Munro wrote “just once more” to Sam:

I hardly expected that you would wade through my book — that would be asking too much. But can you not do me the kindness to say that my book would prove interesting to those who care for that sort of literature — or something to that effect. A word of praise from you would help me wonderfully just now. Your reputation is too impregnably established here to be jeopardized by the mere act of indorsing a hundred such books as mine. …

      I am very much pleased with your letter, although there are but few crumbs of comfort in it for me.

Munro added a PS citing Luke 18:5 as a “precident” for his persistence (KJV: “Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.”) He then asked if he was not “harder to shake off than two or three widows of Bible times?” and that having been a book agent he knew something of human nature [MTP].


March 18 Friday – A week after Frank M. Scott was arrested for embezzling from Webster & Co., the New York Times carried a full account:


L..      — — — —



Frank M. Scott, who is in the Essex County Jail, at Newark, N.J., charged with the embezzlement of a large amount of money from the publishing firm of Charles L. Webster & Co. Of this city, has confessed his guilt. Edward C. Harris, his lawyer, told him that is he was guilty he had better make a clean breast of his wrongdoing, as, if he were tried and convicted, despite his assertion of innocence it would be apt to go hard with him. Scott thought the matter over, and on Tuesday sent for his friend, ex-Alderman H.V.D. Schenck, and Mr. Harris, to whom he made a full confession.

At Scott’s request Mr. Harris came to New York and told Charles L. Webster the story. Scott said he made the confession in order to enable the firm to discover the actual amount of its loss. He promised that he would turn over to Webster & Co. All the property possessed by himself and his wife as soon as possible. On Wednesday the expert accountant who has been employed to go over the books, accompanied by Mr. Webster and Mr. Hall, saw Scott in the jail and remained with him for several hours.

Scott agreed to go over the books with the accountant and point out the false entries which he made. Mr. Webster said yesterday that Scott had confessed that his stealings would amount to about $25,000. He was employed by the firm in July 1885, having previously been with Haney & Co., of Newark, and in the first month he stole $100. The next month he stole $600, the third month $500, and in November he took $500 more. He concealed these thefts by false entries and incorrect footings. He said that he took the money to pay some old debts which he had contracted while in Newark, because his creditors were “nagging the life out of him,” and that he intended to make the money good ultimately. He kept on stealing, however, and covering up the thefts by false entries until an assistant bookkeeper was employed by the firm. Then he stopped doctoring the books and began taking money from C.O.D. orders and from cash in the safe. These thefts he concealed by making out false balance sheets. One footing of $15,574 in the cash book which was discovered to be wrong by the accountant, he said was made to cover his stealings up to that time. Another of $5,400 could not be traced because the cash book is missing, but Scott admitted that this entry was made to cover additional stealings. [¶] …When asked what he had done with the money Scott said that he had lost some of it in speculations.

After Scott had told his story, Mr. Webster says, he offered to make restitution as far as he could, and figured up the resources of himself and his wife at $9,000, the greater part of which belonged to his wife. At a forced sale this property would not bring much more than $3,000.

“I wouldn’t touch a single thing that belongs to his wife,” Mr. Webster said to the reporter, speaking with strong feeling. “I am not that kind of man. She is an innocent victim, and I pity her from the bottom of my heart. He then picked up a glass paper weight in which were set the photographs of two bright-looking, handsome children and said: “Those are Scott’s children. He had a happy home and I don’t see how he could blast it so. I haven’t the slightest pity for him. He robbed us in a cold-blooded way and if he had remained with us two years longer he would have swallowed up every cent of the capital invested in our business. My duty to the business community will compel me to punish the man, but for the sake of his wife and children I will go before the Judge and plead for mercy.” Mr. Webster said that he did not expect to get a cent of the lost money back.

If Sam saw this article, it’s not hard to surmise how he took Webster’s stance.

Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote that Sam was “welcome to the sheets — for reading — & I have sent them.” Could Sam send his letter to a young man about eating a whale? [MTP].

Annie A. Fields wrote offering “hospitality as I can offer during the time you are in Boston” [MTP].

G.D.S. at Webster & Co. Sent a note: “We knew of the matter referred to in the accompanying letter [not in file] at the time and it is all right.” Sam wrote on the envelope,“The only line received from CLW & Co on [illegible word] this whole affair” [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs. Hunting & Hammond




Mssrs. A. Marwick Jr & Co




F.G. Whitmore




March 19 SaturdaySusy Clemens’ fifteenth birthday. Sam inscribed two of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s books (under pseudonym “Christopher Crowfield”): The Chimney Corner, and Oldtown Folks to: Susie Clemens, Mch. 19, 1887 [Gribben 670]. Daisy Warner wrote her father about Susy’s birthday party:

Susy Clemens was fifteen years old yesterday and she had a lovely part. The two Twichell girls, Mary and Hattie Foote, Cousin Lilly, Ward Foote, Hattie Whitmore, and Fannie Freese, and Lucy Drake, and I were all there to supper. Mrs. Clemens had her beautiful big, round dinner table, and at each place was a lovely bunch of beautiful roses. Three or four at each place, and we all put them on. And, also, at each place was a lovely little glass dish of candy, tied around with pretty ribbons, and a little Japanese card with our name on it, on the top of the dish. In the middle of the table, was a kind of pyramid of nasturtiums and then there were other vases, of roses. And those tall silver candles were on the table too, and the whole thing was SO LOVELY. I wish that you could have seen it. We had soup, then turkey, and with it some little potato-cakes and jelly — Then salad, and then straw-berries and ice-cream, and cakes (lady-fingers etc.) and then the big birthdaycake was brought on, with fifteen lighted candles. It was VERY pretty. Of course we all had some of it; and then we had fruit and candy. After supper we danced and had charades and Mr. Clemens read some “Uncle Remus” to us, and Mama and Frank, and Aunt Lottie, came in after supper. And altogether we had a DELIGHTFUL time [Salsbury 240].

In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster, enclosing George Warner’s recommendation of J. Henry Barton for the vacant cashier-bookkeeper position at Webster & Co. Sam wrote on the bottom of Warner’s letter:

Charley, this is an absolutely honest man, at any rate, & Charley Langdon, in whose employ he is, at Peale, Pa., can tell you the rest — for I don’t know [MTP].

George H. Warner wrote: “been through the embezzlement question myself, and feel qualified to send you sympathy.” He recommended J. Henry Barton of Peale, Penn. to examine the books. Sam likely forwarded this to Charles Webster, for he wrote on the bottom of Warner’s letter, “Charley, this is an absolutely honest man,at any rate, & Charley Langdon, in whose employ he is, at Peale, Pa., can tell you the rest — for I don’t know / SLC” [MTP].


March 20 SundayThe New York Times, p.9 ran a short article, “MARK TWAIN’S MEMORY,”touting Professor Loisette’s “system of memory,” and quoting Sam’s letter (See the beginning of this year.)


March 21 Monday – In Hartford Sam responded to a neighbor’s note, Charles E. Thompson, that he would “report at the Armory at 8 tomorrow evening.” He also gave Thompson permission for his son to tie up his boat on the creek at the rear of Sam’s property.

…& if he will speak to my coachman, he will provide a place for his oars in our stable, if he would like that [MTP]. Note: The Armory event is unknown.

The New York Times p.5 reprinted a short article from the London Pall Mall Gazette:


From the Pall Mall Gazette

Until some aggrieved author assassinates the President of the United States so long will the brains of the English author be stolen and served up as chap plats by the pirate publishers of America. Messrs. Chatto and Windus publish some of Bret Harte’s books, Artemus Ward’s, and Mark Twain’s. As might be expected, there is little sale for Artemus. Bret Harte is popular, but Mark Twain makes a really handsome income by his books, which are, of course, copyright. Messrs. Chatto and Windus are Mr. Clement’s [sic] English publishers. His books, I should say, are 11 in number, published at prices varying from 7s.6d. to 2s. The following are the payments made to him in royalties: £1,281, £1,522, £610, £904, £356, £979, £471, £70, £162, £398, £960; total, £7,713, or an annual income of over £1,000. Verbum sap.

Sue Crane wrote to Sam: “Sour Mash wishes me to write you that she rejoices in four of the most beautiful kittens that were ever created” [MTP]. Note: Sour Mash was a Quarry Farm favorite of Sam’s.

A.T. Saunders wrote from Akron, Ohio asking if “The Legend of the Castles” told in TA (appendix E) “is in fact a stock legend or a fiction of your own?” If it was his own could she use it for an operatic libretto? Duly credited of course [MTP].

Rev. William J. Tilley wrote from Brandon, Vt. Sending Sam a complimentary copy of his book (unspecified) [MTP].


March 22 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, now in London, England. Sam’s was an obvious response to her (not extant) letter. He mentioned problems about Mary’s daughter Alice living anywhere but Cleveland and possible separation or divorce, no doubt heavy concerns for Mary.

It is a most pitiable case; hard for you, & hard for Alice too. But don’t you see? — Alice cannot go anywhere but Cleveland to live

Sam also showed enthusiasm about his every-Wednesday Browning Class.

It meets in my billiard room every Wednesday morning, & one lady comes 9 miles & another one 36 to attend it. I study & prepare 30 or 40 pages of new matter for each sitting — along with a modest small lecture, usually — & then re-read poems called for by the class. I suppose I have read Rabbi Ben Ezra & Up in a Villa a couple of dozen times, & Abt Vogler, Caliban in Setebos, & some others nearly as often….Prof. Corson is coming to give us a reading [MTP]. Note: It’s not set just when the Browning Classes began or how long they lasted, but this letter implies they were of many months standing at this point. Prof. Hiram Corson (1828-1911) of Cornell, author of An Introduction to the Study of Robert Browning’s Poetry (1886). Gribben thinks Sam may have read Corson’s recently published book [160].

About this day, Sam and Livy sent a calling card of congratulations to “Miss Manse” (Mary Emily Mantz) on her engagement to Samuel Moffett. This was likely part of the package Sam refers to in his letter to Moffett of this day. Sam sent “Many congratulations!” on his nephew’s engagement. [MTP; MTMF 260-1]. They would marry on Apr. 13, 1887.

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “glad that you don’t mind a little thing like $25,000” (embezzlement); Ma went to a ladies’ church society this afternoon; Postals noted from Pamela, N.Y. to Calif. [MTP].

Sarah Knowles Bolton wrote from Cleveland, Ohio thanking Sam for his photograph and hoping that his publishing house would “take up the life of Beecher” [MTP].

Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam, “Many thanks for the whale story” — when and where was it published prior, he asked [MTP]. See Mar. 18 entry.


Arthur L. Shipman wrote to Sam having seen notices in the papers that Sam would be in the Boston Authors’ Reading on Mar. 31 — had Sam forgotten his Kent Club date at Yale? Sam wrote on the envelope, “Arthur Shipman. Write him at once [MTP]. Note: Sam planned to do both and did both.


March 23 Wednesday

Check #





Mr. F.R. Pierson




Mssrs Aitkin Son & Co




March 24 ThursdayFranklin G. Whitmore wrote a letter for Sam to Charles Webster. The formal, business-like letter was essentially Sam’s agreement to the course Webster intended to pursue in recovering assets from the embezzler, Frank M. Scott [MTP]. Note: Powers writes, “Clemens castigated his nephew for advocating leniency on the thief out of consideration to Scott’s wife and three children,” [MT A Life, 514] yet this letter shows the course of action was Webster’s idea which Sam agreed to. Likewise Sam’s letter of Mar. 28 establishes Sam’s agreement with Webster’s recommendations. In fact, no letter from this period from Sam to Webster shows any major disagreement on prosecuting Scott.

The Scott affair stimulated another biographer to come to an even more startling conclusion, that Webster and Daniel Whitford colluded with Scott to line their own pockets. This from A. Hoffman:

Nearly 20 percent of the general agents for the Grant book had defaulted on their payments, with accounts in excess of $80,000; more than a year later Charley had taken no steps to reclaim the money. When Sam demanded an accounting, Charley replied he could make none because Scott had destroyed the books. Why was his nephew-in-law so recalcitrant? It is probable that Webster, with the help of Daniel Whitford, colluded with the general agents through the bookkeeper [Scott] for his own benefit. It is also possible that the other two thirds of Scott’s embezzled funds had already made their way into his cohorts’ accounts. Sam suspected, but did not know, the range of Webster’s betrayal [339].

This view ignores the fact that it was during Scott’s illness that Webster (and possibly Whitford) took it up to scrutinize Scott’s books and blew the whistle on falsifications through the hiring of an expert (see Mar. 11 account). If Webster and Whitford had been co-conspirators, why then would they help to expose the theft?

John H. Suter for Union Veterans Assoc. of Maryland sent Sam an invitation for the 22nd annual banquet on Apr. 8 in Baltimore — “come and be one of the boys” [MTP]. Note: Sam went; see Apr. 8.


March 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam responded to a letter from Mrs. Jenny S. Boardman, once Jenny Stevens, daughter of “the old jeweler of Hannibal, & sister of Ed, John & Dick” [Apr. 2 to Pamela]. Jenny had written about the idyllic Mississippi riverboat days.

You have spirited me back to a vanished world & the companionship of phantoms. But how dear they are, & how beautiful they seem!…I have seemed like some banished Adam who is revisiting his half-forgotten Paradise & wondering how the arid outside world could ever have seemed green & fair to him [MTP].

Note: Pettit quotes this last segment juxtaposed with an 1881 notebook entry of disillusionment: “…a solemn, depressing, pathetic spectacle” of the South. [65]. See also Wecter, p.63. Ed Stevens was part of Sam’s brief Confederate “service.”

Charles Webster wrote to Sam about the Frank M. Scott embezzlement. He hoped to recover “in the neighborhood of $6,000” from the liquidation of Scott’s assets, including a house under construction in Roseville, N.J.

I feel that he should at least be sent to States Prison for as much as five years….I think it would be a miscarriage of justice if he was sentenced to a shorter term; …five years would sufficiently punish him, as it would dis-franchise him and hold him up as an example to others [MTNJ 3: 283-4n194].

Annie A. Fields wrote, glad Sam could come on Wednesday, and urging him to bring Livy — the drafts were good in their fireplace and “we are not afraid of smoke!” [MTP].

Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam that they’d sent one set of proofs for “English As She Is Taught” on Mar. 23 and another out Mar. 24 — telegraph if not received [MTP].


March 26 Saturday – Sam inscribed a copy of P&P to Harriet Beecher Stowe:

To Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe / with the reverence & admiration / of / The Author, / self-appointed instructor of the public / under the name of / Mark Twain / Hartford, March 26, 1887 [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam about offers from “Sir Roger” Tichborne for his autobiography; and Paul Boynton “of amphibious fame, who proposes to write a book of his adventures” [MTLTP 219n3]. See Gribben p.81.


March 27 SundayRobert U. Johnson for Century Magazine sent Sam proofs of “The Private History of A Campaign That Failed” for him to correct and return [MTP]. Note: essay written in 1885.  

James Russell Lowell responded to a proposal of some sort by Sam that “it would ask for a great deal of hard work, more, I fear than I should be willing to undertake now.” He hoped to see Sam at the Authors’ Reading on Mar. 31 [MTP]. Note: Lowell’s hand was teeny-tiny.

Charles L. Webster wrote a list of proposed items for a new contract to Sam; A copy of Sam’s “Answer to the proposition,” another list, is in the file; neither appear to be letters, simply notes [MTP].


March 27 Sunday ca. – In Hartford on or about this day Sam wrote a list headed “Answer to the proposition” to Charles Webster. These were concerned with the drafting of a new contract between Webster and Sam. By this time, Sam’s trust in Webster had waned somewhat. Webster wanted Sam to retain $100,000 in the company, so that if business took a downturn (and the Paige typesetter devoured more of Sam’s capital) Webster & Co. Would survive. Sam insisted in having:

A desk in the office for my agent & free access to the books, balance sheets, & every detail of the business….When I put $50,000, it will be in a new concern entitled SL Clemens & Co. — that or “The Mark Twain Pub. Co.” [MTP].


March 28 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note to Richard Watson Gilder, asking again for the proofs of “English As She Is Taught” — Rush! Sam wrote, as he needed them on Mar. 31 [MTP].

Sam also wrote, per Franklin G. Whitmore to Charles Webster about evaluating possible books to publish. He thought Paul Boynton’s book “of rather questionable value.” (Powers writes that Sam rejected Boynton’s memoir in spite of his offer to swim 100 miles at sea on the day of publication [MT A Life 518] ).

I think this would be a good plan to get an epitomized public opinion of the Tichborne book; and in fact on all books. The opinion of an expert is not particularly valuable for our market is not made up of experts, but of other sorts. The Tichborne story written as it ought to be written is worth more than a good many Boynton books, but we must see the manuscript before giving an answer.

On the matter of the embezzler, Whitmore wrote:

Mr. Clemens agrees with you in regard to the Scott matter — 5 years in States Prison at least — if you can bring it about. Also take the house & complete it, & when completed sell it.

Sam also noted he’d received James Russell Lowell’s Mar. 27 letter in the morning; he would discuss “that proposition” with Sam at the Boston authors’ readings on Mar. 31 [MTP]. (See June 10, 1873 entry on the Tichborne case.)

Sam also telegraphed Charles Webster on the matter of obtaining the Edmund Stedman plates from another publisher. He advised Webster to let Stedman “arrange the trade himself” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to Webster about the Scott matter. If a detective were put on the case it might be found that Scott hadn’t spent all the money. Sam thought he may have hidden the original greenbacks away and the effort was worth trying to retrieve such monies [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote acknowledging receipt of $155 check; he told of James Lampton’s death (Col. Sellers), and a connection with some Lamptons in Texas [MTP].


Check #





Mr L Thurn




Mssrs Hawley Goodrich & Co




Madame Fogarty




March 29 Tuesday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam:

It has just dawned on me that you may be coming to Boston to-morrow — the day before the circus. In that case we all want you to put up here! / Telegraph![MTHL 2: 588-9;MTP].

Ellen Louise Chandler Moulton wrote from Boston that since Sam was going to be in the Authors’ Reading on Thursday and might stay over Friday; if so, would he please visit? She would have a “large number of pleasant people, among them Miss Eastlake, who is commended to me by London friends” [MTP]. Note: Moulton (1835-1908), Boston literary correspondent of the New York Tribune. A Miss Eastlake appeared in a London play by Mr. G.R. Sims, The Golden Ladder [The Dramatic Year (1887-88) Edward Fuller, ed. (1888)]. Gribben, p.644 lists a book for George Robert Sims (1847-1922), published by Webster & Co. (1891).

Rev. William J. Tilley wrote from Brandon Vt., thanking Sam for his “charming (and characteristic) note.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Autograph” [MTP]. Note: Tilley had sent copy of his book Mar. 21.


March 30 Wednesday – Sam either went to Boston as planned in his Mar. 17 to Fields, or left early the next morning. An entry in his notebook implies he wanted to take Susy, but as his Apr. 1 to Annie Fields shows, she was too ill to go.

Charles Webster wrote Sam, outlining a possible Henry Ward Beecher biography written by Beecher’s son, William C. Beecher, and wife, “compiled from his notes and papers.” Webster thought they might get the book, stressing it would “be the only book coming from the family” offering 40% of the profits. He requested Sam’s answer by telegram.

George W. Littleton wrote a begging letter with clipping (not in file) to be returned [MTP].


March 31 ThursdaySam read “English As She Is Taught” for the Longfellow Memorial, Boston, Mass. Charles E. Norton (1827-1908) presided, and Sam was the third to read, as he recalled 20 years later in an interview [N.Y. Times, Feb. 24, 1907 p.4]. The following Boston Globe article, however, puts him first. The program began at 2 P.M. and he barely made his 4 P.M. train to New Haven. Authors who read included W.D. Howells, Julia Ward Howe, Edward Everett Hale, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas W. Higginson (1823-1911), George W. Curtis, Prof. Charles Eliot Norton, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and James Russell Lowell. In 1910 Howells recalled the event:

He was a great figure, and the principle figure, at one of the first of the now worn-out Authors’ Readings, which was held in the Boston Museum to aid a Longfellow memorial. It was the late George Parsons Lathrop…who imagined the reading, but when it came to a price for seats I can always claim the glory of fixing it at five dollars. The price if not the occasion proved irresistible, and the museum was packed from the floor to the topmost gallery. Norton presided, and when it came Clemens’s turn to read he introduced him with such exquisite praises as he best knew how to give, but before he closed he fell a prey to one of those lapses of tact which are the peculiar peril of people of the greatest tact. He was reminded of Darwin’s delight in Mark Twain, and how when he came from his long day’s exhausting study, and sank into bed at midnight, he took up a volume of Mark Twain, whose books he always kept on a table beside him, and whatever had been his tormenting problem, or excess of toil, he felt secure of a good night’s rest from it. A sort of blank ensued which Clemens filled in the only possible way. He said he should always be glad that he had contributed to the repose of that great man, whom science owed so much, and then without waiting for the joy in every breast to burst forth, he began to read. It was curious to watch his triumph with the house. His carefully studied effects would reach the first rows in the orchestra first, and ripple in laughter back to the standees against the wall, and then with a fine resurgence come again to the rear orchestra seats, and so rise from gallery to gallery till it fell back, a cataract of applause from the topmost rows of seats. He was such a isterine speaker that he knew all the stops of that simple instrument man, and there is no doubt that these results were accurately intended from his unerring knowledge. He was the most consummate public performer I ever saw, and it was an incomparable pleasure to hear him lecture [MMT 50-1].

Note: George Parsons Lathrop (1851-1898), freelance writer, journalist, active in the Copyright League. Lathrop married Nathaniel Hawthorne’s daughter Rose and was the author of A Study of Hawthorne (1876), and editor of twelve volumes of Hawthorne’s works (1883).

The Boston Daily Globe, p.6 Apr. 1, 1887 ran a full article on the readings, “Boston Museum Full to the Doors,” with a sub headline, “Mark Twain’s Bright Sayings Create Merriment.”

The man who sat at the left of Mr. Howells and doubled himself up like a jack-knife, and then put himself in shape again, is not a bashful man by any means, though he acts awkwardly and seems to be ready to faint away the moment he comes before an audience. He is Innocents-Abroad-Roughing-It-Gilded-Age-Tom-Sawyer-Huckleberry-Finn-Mark-Twain Samuel L. Clemens, who

Makes Such Funny Jokes

that not only do other people laugh at them, but he laughs at them himself, and grows fat on home-made humor. He pulled his long moustache and ran his fingers through his shaggy hair, like a boy who expects to get whipped as soon as his teacher comes around to his place.

Introducing Mark Twain.

Shortly after the curtain rose, Professor Charles Eliot Norton stepped to the front of the stage amidst a warm welcome of applause, and said:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN — We are met here today to do honor to the memory of the most widely loved poet that ever lived. His poetry made all who read it his friends.…

      And first comes one who has added to the innocent gayety of nations, who has made even Connecticut relax her rigid gravity, who has laughter and merriment for his attendant squires, and whose shield, like Mrs. Fizziwig’s visage, is “one vast, substantial smile.”

      Ah! What a gift is this! To lighten weary hours, and to may gay ones gayer. Mark Twain’s syrup to exhilarate the dull and to quiet the restless. “Children cry for it.” We are all children. Come, Mr. Clemens, and give us a taste of your precious, patent champagne-mandragora (Applause.)

Clemens then took a train to New Haven in time to read the piece again at Yale’s Kent Club at 8 P.M. He stayed the night in New Haven. [Mar. 17 to Jewett; Apr.1 to Fields].

L.P. Lewis wrote from Yorkshire, England asking Sam’s “aid for a bazaar to be held the beginning of June” to raise funds to restore their “ancient but very shabby church” [MTP].


Spring – Profits on Grant’s Memoirs: Sam, $93,481.34; Webster $25,942.37; Mrs. Grant $394,459.53 [MTNJ 3: 316n47].


April – “English As She Is Taught” was published in the April issue of Century Magazine. Sam had included the schoolboy’s composition from the piece, “On Girls” in his Feb. 10 talk before the Stationers’ Board of Trade on Governor’s Island [MTNJ 3: 278n179]. He also read part of the article at Boston and New Haven on Mar. 31.


April 1 Friday – A new contract between Charles Webster, Samuel L. Clemens and Frederick J. Hall was dated April 1, 1887. It called for the following: Sam would keep $75,000 in the firm; Webster’s salary would be increased to $3,800, an increase of $800; Hall was given the annual salary of $2,000 and also one-twentieth of the net profits, with Sam and Webster dividing the remaining profits, two-thirds and one-third [MTLTP 230n2].

Sam arrived back in Hartford at 9 A.M. He wrote Annie A. Fields about his trip back through New Haven, and about Susy’s illness.  

…Mrs. Clemens was watching Susie’s pulse hammering along at 1180; but not aware of the grisly fact that her temperature was 102 (four degrees more means death, I believe. The doctor kept the temperature to himself till this morning — Susie is considerably better, now: but her mother looks older than I feel [MTP].

Sam wrote on the margin of Webster’s Mar. 30 letter about the family writing a biography of the late Henry Ward Beecher:

Telegraphed: “I approve the book & the terms. Close the contract.” (Apl. 1, 87.)

Sam delivered a speech at the Third Annual Gymnasium Exhibition of Trinity College , Hartford.


Over a thousand years ago J. Milton, a poet born in two places, one of which was Milk street, Boston, author of “Lady of the Lake, in his Life on the Ocean Wave” said ‘He who has not gymnastics in himself is fit for treason, stratagem and spoils.’ The indirect effect of the athletic atmosphere of Trinity is seen in the president and faculty who since the erection of the gymnasium have greatly increased in stature; the direct influence is shown by the young men themselves. The necessity of physical development needs no argument to-day and hardly an explanation. The moral effects I feel inclined to dwell upon. The time will soon come when the moral character of a man will be judged from his physical development. However, let me warn you against the danger of letting up or stopping altogether. I once had a bookkeeper who, taking up gymnastics actively, at once began to bud and blossom all over and extend in various directions; he relaxed his exertions and at length stopped his exercise, and in fourteen months lost sixteen pounds and stole $30,000. Let all take warning from this and keep up your physical development [Hartford Courant, Apr. 2, 1887, p.3.]


Note: The embezzler Frank M. Scott, former bookkeeper of Webster & Co. Must have been on Sam’s mind when he gave this talk for the Trinity College gymnasium exhibition. Scott had also served as the treasurer of the Roseville Athletic Club. The arrest gained much publicity in the NY Times. Due to missing cash books the exact amount of the loss was never determined, and figures from $20,000 to $30,000 are referred to.


Sam wrote to John Henry Boner, letter not extant but referred to in Boner’s May 1 [MTP].

Sam wrote to Arthur L. Shipman. Only the envelope survives [MTP].


Charles Webster wrote a one-liner asking if Sam got his letter regarding Beecher’s life? [MTP].


Check #





Mr Eugene Meyer


Piano Lesson


Mssrs Smith, Northam & Co


Flour, Feed, Grain


S.P. Griswold




Mssrs. A.D. Vorce & Co


Paintings, frames


Mssrs O.D. Woodruff




Mssrs McCarty & Cleary




The Hartford Club




Mssrs J.G. Rathbun & co




Wm Simmons & Co


Boots & Shoes


Mr Karl Gerhardt




John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer




F.G. Whitmore




April 2 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett, now in San Francisco, awaiting the wedding of her son, Samuel Moffett on Apr. 13 to Mary Emily Mantz. Clemens informed her about the letter from “Mrs. Boardman, was Jenny Stevens, daughter of the old jeweler of Hannibal, & sister of Ed, John & Dick.” He’d answered Jenny’s first letter but didn’t care to answer her second, as he couldn’t “afford a correspondence…”

The family are all in the doctor’s hands but me, but nobody seriously ill. When I say the family I include the servants & the horses [MTP].


Sam also wrote to a young correspondent, who in 1910 would become editor of the Grants Pass, Oregon Observer. Most interesting is Sam’s view of plagiarism and the frequent charges of it.

Dear Sir: / It didn’t come, and like as not I shouldn’t ever get time to look at it, anyway; but let me correct you in one thing — I mean soothe you with one fact: a considerable part of every book is an unconscious plagiarism of some previous book. There is no sin about it. If there were, and it were of the deadly sort, it would eventually be necessary to restrict hell to authors — and then to enlarge it. / Truly yours [MTP].

Abbie L. Ely, a teacher in Mt. Vernon, N.Y. wrote praising “English As She Is Taught,” and asking him, “tell me truly, didn’t you compose some of those mistakes yourself?” She pointed out some aspects she felt had to come from an “adult mind” [MTP].


April 3 Sunday


April 4 Monday – Webster & Co., wrote to Sam about a proposed book on Mexico written by a lady (unnamed) who “has spent a great many years there and lived among the people. Whitmore to Webster & Co. Apr. 4 enclosed, conveyed Sam’s opinion that if they could get the book for a very low royalty, 2&1/2 to 3% they may close the contract [MTP].

Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote from Baltimore; he had nineteen essays printed in The Southern Review, and in The Catholic World, and wanted to get them published in book form [MTP].

Grace W. Trout wrote from Maquoketa, Iowa, a sort of a begging letter: could Sam use his influence to get her sister into the lecture field? Sam wrote on the env., “Write her & see if it be possible” [MTP].

Telegram from Charles Webster: “Will take several days to make statement of two years business probably ready latter part of this week” [MTP].

Check #





Patrick McAleer




Gilbert G. Moseley, sec’y




Wm. H Bulkeley & Co


Dry Goods


J.P. Haynes


Tea & Grocers


Park & Tilford




Dr. M.J. Black




Western Union Telegraph




Asylum Hill Congregational Soc.




Robert Garvie




Geo. A. Frink


Horse dealer


Fox & Co




James L. Whitman




Mssrs B. Altman


Dry Goods

April 5 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam responded to the Apr. 4 letter from Richard Malcom Johnston (1822-1898), Georgia educator, lawyer and author of Dukesborough Tales (1883). Johnston was a “dialect humorist.” Sam would include a story from Dukesborough Tales, “The Expensive Treat of Colonel Mosels Grice” in Mark Twain’s Library of Humor (1888). Gribben writes that this story “is widely believed to have influenced the drunk’s bareback riding act that so astonishes Huck Finn in chapter 21” [357]. Johnston was looking for a publisher; Sam explained they were overloaded with books and that for subscription sales to be done properly, no more than two books a year should be published. Sam added,

I thank you for your note. It is pleasant to my eye to see your handwriting [MTP].


On or shortly after this date, Franklin G. Whitmore wrote for Sam to Charles Webster about a book on Mexico. If the book could be obtained for “a very low royalty; 2 ½ to 3 p cent.” Sam approved closing the contract [MTP].

April 6 Wednesday


April 7 ThursdayIn Hartford Sam replied to Grace W. Trout’s Apr. 7 inquiry about her sister lecturing without experience.

It is an idea which many people have had, but it is of no value. I have seen it tried, many & many a time. I have seen a lady lecturer urged upon the public in a lavishly complimentary document signed by Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes & some others of supreme celebrity, but — there was nothing in her, & she failed. … There is an unwritten law about human successes, & your sister must bow to that law, she must submit to its requirements. In brief, this law is:

L..       No occupation without an apprenticeship;

2. No pay to the apprentice.

Sam suggested Grace’s sister learn her trade in two years apprentice, accepting only $10 a week plus expenses, and putting such an offer to Major James B. Pond.

Try it, & do not be afraid. It is the fair & right thing. If she wins, she will win squarely & righteously, & never have to blush [MTP].

Sam left Hartford for a Union Veterans Assoc. of Maryland Banquet in Baltimore.

Mrs. C.M.R. Gorton (Ida Glenwood) a blind writer in Fenton, Mich. typed a letter to Sam and enclosed a flyer on her book, The Fatal Secret, which she asked him to buy and read [MTP].

April 8 Friday – Sam spoke at the Union Veterans Association of Maryland Banquet, Hotel Rennert, Baltimore, Maryland – “An Author’s Soldiering” Published in Mark Twain Speaking, p.219-21. Fatout’s introduction (italics are his):

Harking back to his brief service as an irregular Confederate soldier, Mark Twain produced a variant for Union Veterans of Maryland. In this version, as in others, fiction no doubt played a prominent role. It is worth noting, however, that at a time when bitterness engendered by the war was still rampant, he could be very much in earnest as he preached the gospel of peace and reconciliation.

When your secretary invited me to this reunion of the Union Veterans of Maryland, he requested me to come prepared to clear up a matter which he said had long been a subject of dispute and bad blood in war circles in this country — to wit, the true dimensions of my military services in the Civil War, and the effect which they had upon the general result. I recognize the importance of this thing to history, and I have come prepared. Here are the details. I was in the Civil War two weeks. …when I look about me and contemplate these sublime results, I feel, deep down in my heart, that I acted for the best when I took my shoulder out from under the Confederacy and let it come down.

Charles Webster wrote to Sam objecting to having to deal with, “my partner in business through the intervention of an agent,” meaning Frederick J. Hall. Webster characterized their relationship as “strained,” and felt Sam was “neglecting to come to the office and talk matters over with me and be intelligently informed…” He hoped to see Sam during the next week [MTP].


April 9 Saturday – Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam enclosing a draft for $2,448.56 from Livy’s account; he added that Sam’s telegram (not extant) about Susy being better was very welcome [MTP].

D.J. Tapley (per Whitmore to Tapley Apr. 18 enclosed) wrote to Sam asking the price of the Kaolatype patent. Whitmore answered $3,000 [MTP].


April 10 Sunday – The Brooklyn Eagle, on Apr. 11, 1887 page 4, ran a notice of the Apr. 10 passing of John T. Raymond. See also the N.Y. Times, Apr. 11, p.1 “COLONEL SELLERS IS DEAD”.

“There’s Millions in It”

Born in Buffalo, April 5, 1836, and dying in a hotel in Evansville, Ind., on yesterday morning, John T. Raymond, comedian, in the thirty-four years on the stage of the fifty-one which he lived on the earth played many parts. But all of them save one were either not done well enough to create a reputation for him or were better done by others. The one which he created or which revealed himself was called Mulberry Sellers, and was in part based on a book of farce written by Mark Twain and Charles D. Warner and entitled “The Gilded Age.” The speculating Southwesterner, who had infinite hope, spirit, device and mendacity, was a character which the man enacted to the life, and which he made a part of the imagination and of the speech of the people. Raymond’s characterizations before that had been conventional. His roles after that were pale reflections of Sellers. His personality was one which made “the profession” his friends and the public indulgent toward his weaknesses. He suffered from the principle which lessens the sense of obligation in those who trade is simulation. He exhibited a welcoming side to the temptations of the boards. He had the variety of domestic experience customary with the average thespian; but he made Colonel Sellers as well remembered a cause of laughter as Lord Dundreary, Bardwell, Slote and Toodles are. He lived to amuse and he effected that purpose of his life. He will be recollected kindly by a public which could, from one view point, better have spared many a better man.


And in the New York Times, p.5, an announcement by Webster & Co.


In view of what has been said about various lives of Henry Ward Beecher, the publishing firm of Charles L. Webster & Co. announce to-day that they will publish a biography which will be written by William C. Beecher, the son, Samuel Scovil, the son-in-law, and Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, his widow. The letters, papers, and notes collected and prepared by Mr. Beecher before his death for the purpose of writing his autobiography for the firm will be used as the basis for the work. The firm say[s] that this will be the only life of Mr. Beecher in which his widow and family will have any interest.

Sam telegraphed Charles Webster, responding probably to his letter of Apr. 8

…I will come down in a day or two as soon as I have finished blocking out a novel begun last night [MTLTP 215].

From Sam’s notebook of Apr. 12 for this day:

Day before yesterday I encountered Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe on the sidewalk, & she took both of my hands in hers, & said with a strong fervency that surprised the moisture into my eyes, “I am reading your Prince & Pauper for the fourth time, & I know it’s the best book for young folk that was ever written” [MTNJ 3: 287]. See May 23 entry.

April 11 Monday – Alfred P. Burbank wrote Sam, once again interested in a possible production of Colonel Sellers as a Scientist (The American Claimant). With the recent death of John T. Raymond Burbank felt there was an opportunity for him to take on the popular character [MTHL 2: 591n2]. From this footnote in the cited text:

“Clemens evidently referred Burbank to Howells, who wrote Burbank on 16 April: ‘I’ve done nothing to the play since I saw you; and I don’t know when I could revise it. I’m going to send it to Mr. Clemens, and he may decide about it’ ” [See Apr. 25 entry].

Bissell & Co. Sent notice that Sam’s account had been credited #1,312.57 from collection of Chatto & Windus’ £271.16.9 draft [MTP].


April 12 TuesdayAs reported by the Brooklyn Eagle of Apr. 13, 1887 p.5, Sam and Webster & Co. finally won a court case:


Mark Twain and His Partner Recover

Some Heavy Amounts.


Charles L. Webster and Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), trading as Charles L. Webster & Co., yesterday won three cases before Judge Fell.

The plaintiffs are publishers of the “Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant,” and they brought suit against Hubbard Brothers, who were their selling agents for Pennsylvania, Delaware and the southern part of New Jersey, to recover $31,781.97, which, it is claimed, defendants have in their possession, being proceeds of the sale of General Grant’s book. Verdict for plaintiffs, $31,799.25.

Charles L. Webster & Co. Vs. J.M. Stoddart & Co. An action to recover a balance of $12,624.21 due on a consignment of books. The defense was that the suit was premature, as the time for payment had not yet arrived. Verdict for plaintiffs $13, 200.75.

Charles L. Webster & Co. vs. Samuel Long and J.M. Stoddart, Jr. An action against the sureities of J.M. Stoddart & Co. for the amount in the above case. Verdict for plaintiff $13, 200.75

William Dean Howells wrote to Sam (only the envelope survives) [MTP].

Check #





Wm. B. Smith




The New England Telephone Co




Mr. J. S. Quin


R.R. Agent


April 13 Wednesday – Sam and Livy went to New York, where they attended the 100th performance of Taming of the Shrew, starring John Drew and Ada Rehan (1860-1916), at Daly’s Fifth Avenue Theatre. William Tecumseh Sherman served as toastmaster for a midnight dinner on stage, and introduced Sam who gave a supper speech, a recollection of his difficulty a few years before in getting into the theater and past a door guard to see Augustin Daly. The talk is published in Fatout’s Mark Twain Speaking, p.222-4. From Fatout’s introduction:


To celebrate the first successful American run of a Shakespearean comedy, Augustin Daly gave a midnight supper on the state for the two stars of the cast….A gay company assembled around a huge circular table, twenty-eight feet in diameter: H.H. Furness, Rose Eytinge, General Horace Porter, Elihu Vedder, Bronson Howard, May Irwin, Wilson Barrett, Otis Skinner, Lester Wallack, Laurence Hutton, William Winter, and others. General Sherman, toastmaster, introduced Mark Twain as the chief humorist and philosopher of his time. See Daly, The Life of Augustin Daly: 431-35; also The Shrew’s Centenary, A Reminiscence of the 13th of April by One of the Invited (New York, 1887).

Note: also see John Drew’s My Years on the Stage p.75 (1921).

Samuel Erasmus Moffett married Mary Emily Mantz in California. They would have two children, Anita Moffett (1891-1952) and Francis Clemens Moffett (1895-1927), Sam’s grandnephew and grandniece [MTL 1: 383].

J.F. Cornish, publisher wrote to Sam. He was a “master at Christs Hospital, London” and collected “queer answers.” He noticed that the Century article, “English As She Is Taught” was strikingly “similar” and in one or two cases identical to his article which had appeared in Cornhill, “Boys Blunders” for June, 1886. Sam would forward the letter to Caroline B. Le Row, who had furnished much of Sam’s material:

Please return this to me — & with it a letter to me which I can send to him, answering his question. You can leave off your name, (or you can sign it & I will ask him to keep secret, whichever you please. Please say you would like to see both of his articles.

Sam added,

Think of corresponding with a Master of the Blue-Coat School! It sweeps a body back to Edward VI’s time [MTP].


The London Pall Mall Gazette, p.14 ran the full text of “English As She Is Taught.”

April 14 Thursday – On this the 22nd anniversary of the assassination of President Lincoln, Walt Whitman gave a lecture at Madison Square Garden, including a reading of his most popular poem, “O Captain! My Captain!” (which he sometimes regretted writing.) Sam was there.

“The theater was barely a quarter full, but this was a flattering turnout nonetheless. In the audience …was James Russell Lowell, sharing a box with Professor Charles Eliot Norton of Harvard…. Also in the audience were John Hay, former private secretary to Lincoln, and future secretary of state; the popular fiction writers Frank R. Stockton, Edward Eggleston, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Mary Mapes Dodge; the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens; Jose Marti, the Cuban writer and revolutionist; Daniel Coit Gilman, president of Johns Hopkins University; Mark Twain; and Andrew Carnegie, who subscribed $350 for his box” [Kaplan, Whitman 29]. (Editorial emphasis on names.)

The midnight supper at Daly’s Theatre, ran through the wee hours. Actor John Drew, in My Years on the Stage (1922) quotes the New York Herald (Apr. 15) about the event:

Mr. Augustin Daly’s supper, given to his company and a few invited guests on the stage of his theatre yesterday morning, was a remarkable event in several ways. It commemorated the one-hundredth night of a Shakespearian revival of more than usual splendor and it brought together many remarkable men.

The company sat down at one-half past twelve [Apr. 14] and rose at five in the morning. A great circular table occupied the entire stage. Its center was a mass of tulips and roses. Around its outer edge sat forty participants. Think of a supper at which General Sherman acted as toastmaster, at which Horace Potter made an unusually clever speech, Mark Twain told a story, Bronson Howard and Wilson Barrett spoke, at which Miss Ada Rehan made a neat and charming response when her name was called, at which the ever young Lester Wallack commended in the heartiest way the brother manager whose guest he was, at which Willie Winter read a poem of home manufacture. Imagine all this and add to it countless witty stories that were told around the board, think of the wine glasses that clicked, think of the champagne that bubbled, think of the pretty women, think of the weird surroundings (the dark cave-like auditorium and the brilliantly lighted stage).

April 15 Friday


April 16 Saturday – Jackson P. Singleberry, editor and proprietor of the Horse Head county Boom wrote to Sam, the humorous letter cajoling a contribution from Twain being in The Arkansas Traveler of this date [MTP]. Note: This looks suspiciously like a spoof.

April 17 SundayIn Hartford Sam telegraphed Augustin Daly that he would be there [MTP]. Just where he did not say.

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster. Even after Webster’s “demands” of Apr. 1, Sam was happy with the way things were going:

Good — it is all good news. Everything is on the pleasantest possible basis, now, & is going to stay so. I blame myself for not looking in on you oftener in the past — that would have prevented all trouble. I mean to stand my duty better now.

Sam pledged to “run down every little while,” except for the summer months when the family would be in Elmira. Note: If Charles’ negotiations for a new contract had caused antagonisms, Sam’s letter certainly did not show it.

Wesley Merritt for West Point Military Academy wrote to Sam.

Dear Mr. Clemens:

I hope you have not forgotten your promises to visit us this Spring. Now is the time. We hope for Spring and the artillery drill which was another important specification in your visit is at its full. I want to express to you that you will favor us with a visit bringing Mrs. Clemens with you, say Thursday the 21st or the 28th and remain over until the following Monday. Of course you must lecture on the Saturday evening of your stay and you must be here Thursday and Friday to see the dress drills. In other words we can’t have drill on Saturday and can’t have a lecture on any other evening than Saturday. Mrs. Merritt will write Mrs. Clemens seconding this invitation. I hope to hear from you that you will come. Also, won’t Dr. Twichell come? He will have a warm welcome and be cared for by friends here. Everybody, including the Cadets, is wild to have you here again.

Hoping to hear from you favorably, I am with Great Respect / Very Truly Yours / W. Merritt [Leon 236].

The San Francisco Morning Call ran an article, “Mark Twain,” by George E. Barnes, the man who hired and fired Sam for that paper in 1864 [Tenney 16]. Through excerpts quoted by Fatout (MT in VC) one can see that Barnes took a contrarian position regarding some aspects of Clemens. Barnes claimed that Sam “had not the faculty of winning friendships,” [46] and that his conversation “was not brilliant, nor even interesting” because “he rarely gave tongue to the bright things that were evolved in his brain under the inspiring influence of time and congenial fellowship.” Sam and Artemus Ward “kept the ‘happy thoughts’ in his brain till he could print them with profit, and this is the reason that, with both, conversation became nearly a lost art” [126].


April 18 MondaySam went to New York, where he wrote a brief note to Edmund W. Gosse (1849-1928), English poet, author and critic, who evidently had requested a photograph. Gosse at this time was an important critic of sculpture, writing for the Saturday Review. Sam owned a copy of Gosse’s Thomas Gray, English Men of Letters Series (1882), which was purchased Apr. 28, 1884:

I have none by me, either here or at home in Hartford, (whither I am at this moment bound)…the best & the latest one was made by Sarony of this city, but I keep neglecting to order any [MTP].

As this note explains, Sam returned to Hartford soon after.

Back in Hartford, Sam wrote through Franklin G. Whitmore to D.J. Tapley, the binder who Webster & Co. Was presently using. This was an answer to Tapley’s questions about the price for the rights to the Kaolatype Patent, “exclusive of local rights already sold is ($3,000.00)”[MTP].

J.W. Barnes wrote from San Leandro, Calif. To Sam. Barnes claimed to have built the hotel at Gold Hill and claimed Sam left there in 1863 owing him $20. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Must be a lie. I have never left a hotel bill unpaid in my life SLC” [MTP].  


April 19 Tuesday – Sam wrote to Rev. John Davis of the Trinity Rectory, Hannibal, Mo., enclosing a form letter he’d written six weeks prior explaining his experience with the Loisette memory “system.” Sam was still sold on the method, and among the remarks he added to the form letter was this:

I find that memorizing by it is not only swift, but a peculiarly enticing & agreeable intellectual exercise — & one can’t say that about any other method. Moreover — & I discovered this myself — for a weary-headed & physically fagged-out man to memorize 250 words by this system is as good as a bath; as good as a bath & a sleep combined. It clears-up the head, it banishes the body fatigue.

Sam gave his “warmest regards” to old Hannibal friends, the Garth’s, and added that John L. RoBards “deserved a lashing, but it should have come from an enemy, not a friend,” in reference to “that ‘d’UnLap’ cruelty into that ‘Century’ article’” [MTP]. For Garth, see Nov. 4, 1868 entry.

Sam wrote a draft payable to Miss Susan Corey for 500 Francs ($100) on the American Exchange in Paris, France, signed by George P. Bissell [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs Goodwin Brothers




Mssrs Geo. P. Bissell & Co




J. Whitmore



April 20 Wednesday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam:

Can you tell me whether the Mutual Publishing Co. of Hartford still exists? Do you happen to remember any good account of the earth-quake and tidal wave in South America in 1868? Also any story of a good Blizzard and good Cyclone? [MTHL 2: 590]. Note: Howells was collaborating with Thomas S. Perry on the Library of Universal Adventure by Sea and Land, published by Harpers in 1888. See footnote 1 in the MTHL source cited above.


April 21 Thursday – Charles Webster wrote that he now thought the amount due Mrs.Grant would turn out to be about $33,000 instead of $38,000; Fred Grant “seems disposed not to allow legal expenses,” but Webster argued those were clearly an “expense of publication”; McClellan was selling well and the Pope’s book was “picking up”; he would write when the 2-year accounting was ready [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs H.L. Hoyt & Co




Mr Paul Hansell, Treas



April 22 Friday In Hartford “laid up, for a day or two,” Sam answered Webster’s Apr. 21 note.

You asked Fred Grant, before the contract was three months old, & he agreed that legal expenses should be a charge upon all concerned. [¶] You told me this. The amount is small, but we must stick to our position [MTP].

Pamela Moffett wrote from Oakland, Calif. To Sam and Livy of the “beautiful wedding” of her son, Samuel E. Moffet and Mary Emily Mantz [MTP].


April 23 Saturday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam of the disposition of the Frank M. Scott embezzlement case, and of liquidation of old stock.

Scott was sentenced by Judge Gildersleeve to six years at hard labor in Sing Sing States Prison yesterday.

I have sold the whole batch of the Mississippi’s over 9,000, for more than cost, a splendid sale and mighty glad to get rid of them as I needed the room [MTLTP 216n3]. Note: the source adds: “The reference is to the remaindered stock purchased from JRO [James R. Osgood] and sold to Watson Gill.”

Note: late in 1890 Sam petitioned Governor David Bennett Hill (1843-1910) to pardon Scott.

April 24 Sunday – The Brooklyn Eagle ran a long article on page 6, “COMMON SCHOOL LORE – Vouched for by Twain, But Probably Edited by Spirits.” In response to “English As She Is Taught,” the paper asked, “Is it a Juvenile or an Adult Joke Book?”

The common schools have been atrociously attacked and vilified by somebody, by themselves in the persons of teachers or pupils, or both, or by the spirits. Messrs. Cassell & Co. Publish a book called “English as She is Taught,” which is a curious compilation of “answers to examination questions in our public schools.” Some of the malapropisms, if they can be so called, when they so far distance Mrs. Malaprop in ingenuity as well as inaccuracy, almost make one doubt Mark Twain’s — not Mr. Clemens’ — word when he says in the Century that they have not been tampered with or doctored. But as Mr. Twain in the book is quoted to the former effect, and has the compiler’s own explicit confirmation of the absolute originality of these absurdities in the poor young minds which were reduced to them by the cramming policy, we shall have to give in.

Note: Sam relied solely upon the word of Caroline B. Le Row for the authenticity of the answers. [Feb. 15 to Howells; on or after Apr. 13 to Le Row].

April 25 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly, who had sent him “a beautiful book” — probably the “book printed from the prompter’s copy of the play, [Taming of the Shrew] adorned by photogravures of Miss, Rehan, Drew, and the supper scene in the last act” [N.Y. Times, Apr. 14, 1887 p.5 “Shakespeare at Daly’s”]. Sam wanted to be remembered to the actors Miss Ada Rehan and Mrs. William Gilbert and Miss Virginia Dreher (1858?–1898) who were at the Apr. 13-14 midnight dinner at Daly’s Theatre.

I’ll bring my wife in a few days if you’ll give us first-class parquet seats at author’s per centage off [MTP].

Sam also answered Howells’ letter of Apr. 20. He confided he’d been “laid up.” The Mutual Publishing Co. Howells asked about was “buried in the stomach of” the American Publishing Co. Sam wasn’t any help on referring Howells to “adequate descriptions of a blizzard. Or of a cyclone, either” and advised him to look in the Boston newspaper files. Sam also noted he’d received the play Colonel Sellers as a Scientist (The American Claimant) and thanked him for sending it. [MTP]. Note: this from MTHL 2: 591n2:

“When Clemens received the MS of the play from Howells he forwarded it to Burbank in New York with the suggestion that Burbank consult Edward H. House about revision of it. (House, it will be recalled, had had experience both in New York and in London as a theatrical manager and producer.) House was encouraging: he considered the piece ‘well worth trying’ (Burbank to SLC, New York, 10 May 1887).”

Sam also wrote a short note to James B. Pond, once again swearing he would “never hoof a platform again.” Sam agreed to “entertain Max & his wife — & possibly Dickens too.” Note: Charles Dickens died in 1870; this was his son Charles Culliford Boz Dickens (1837-1896), who Pond was bringing to the U.S. for a reading tour of his father’s works. Sam would invite this Dickens to visit on Nov. 10. See MTNJ 3: 341n125. Max and wife are not further identified.

Sam also wrote to an unidentified man that he would “very well like to,” but his contracts prevented him [MTP]. Note: no doubt a request was made for Sam to contribute a piece of writing.

Sam also wrote a short letter to Charles Webster, asking for two copies of P&P to be bound in tree calf, and for one to be marked in gilt letters, “H.B. Stowe,” and the other “M. Warner, [Margaret or “Daisy”] & send both to me.”

The other day Mrs. Stowe said “I am reading your Prince & Pauper for the fourth time, & I know it’s the best book for young people that was ever written!” [MTLTP 216].

Note: Sam wrote diagonally in the top left corner: “Six years well earned!” (relating to Scott’s sentence) [n3].

Charles Webster wrote on or about this day to Sam that he had convinced the accounting expert to delay his Kansas City trip to produce the two-year statement they required. He reported profit on the McClellan book at $32,000, mostly “not collected but just coming due and all good.” [MTP].

William H. Gillette wrote to Sam and enclosed $1,000 to repay his $3,000 debt, Sam’s 1874 “investment” in Gillette’s start on stage; Gillette asked what “would be a fair thing as to interest”? [MTP].


April 26 Tuesday – Charles Webster wrote asking his “Uncle Sam” to “be a little patient in regard to that statement,” (two-year) which he wrote was a “long, laborious task” [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs Marks Brothers




Edwin L Turnbull



April 27 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam telegraphed Augustin Daly to send the two tickets to the Murray Hill Hotel, New York, for the next night’s performance [MTP].

In the evening Sam gave a dinner speech at Hartford’s Central Hall for the Army and Navy Club of Conn. [Fatout, MT Speaking 225-7]. It was an opportunity to rebut Matthew Arnold, who had criticized Grant for some of his expressions and grammar in Personal Memoirs. Fatout’s intro to the speech, which Budd and others label “General Grant’s Grammar”:

“An Army and Navy Club banquet, held on the birthday of General Grant, extolled the former commander of the Union armies while charitably dwelling with less fervor upon his abilities as president. Captain V.B. Chamberlain, chairman, cited statistics on Grant’s Memoirs, a best-seller put out in 1886 by Mark Twain’s publishing company: 44,350 square yards of cloth in bindings, enough gold in lettering to make $15,446.47 if coined, 276 barrels of binder paste and 302,310 reams of paper used, and 19.5 miles of shelf space needed for the whole edition. Mark Twain’s belligerent speech, drubbing the British critic, Matthew Arnold, struck the right note of outraged patriotism. The Courant remarked next day: ‘Mr. Clemens was interrupted with applause after every sentence, and it was sometime after he had finished before order was restored.’ ”

The Boston Daily Globe, Apr. 28, p.2 under “General Grant’s Grammar” covered the event:

HARTFORD, Conn., April 27. — The meetings of the Army and Navy Club are always largely attended, and the ninth annual reunion and banquet in this city tonight was no exception to the rule. The annual meeting has usually been held in June, but a change was made this year, and General Grant’s birthday was selected. The club has a membership of nearly 300, and includes Governor Lounsbury, State Treasurer Warner, Senator Hawley, Judges Torrance and Fenn, Generals Franklin, Chamberlain, Harland, Birge, Blakeslee, and many others. The chief address on the memory of General Grant was made by Rev. M.B. Riddle, formerly a chaplain to the service. Following him the toastmaster, Hon. V.R. Chamberlain, introduced Mr. S.L. Clemens by referring to the Grant Memoirs. Mr. Clemens, who was heartily received, spoke as follows: [see Fatout, taken from the Hartford Courant]

Rachel Burton wrote to Sam, “Alas for the fatuous [illegible word] we call fame!,” and signed it “Yours under the shadow of your great loss….” Sam wrote on the envelope, “An offensive letter from Mrs. (Rev.) Burton, who may not have intended to be offensive” [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he was working “four hours a day on the Kings,” the research he was doing for Mark Twain’s Memory Game. He had over 100 pages of “legal cap” written and wanted to send “a few of the opening pages” He thanked Sam for having “been so kind” Sam wrote on the envelope, “lost but $30,000. Don’t send MS.”[MTP].)

Caroline B. Le Row wrote from Brooklyn to Sam, sending him a copy of “a little book which you may perhaps have heard of,” (English As She Is Taught). The publisher, J.F. Cornish, had promised she might have “all I wanted” but she’d only received “a few.” Though she’d heard rumors that she would be dismissed from her teaching position, she put her name to the book, and feared a “bloody war” from the “hostile minded.” She revealed that Sam did not want to be known as the author, that it “would spoil its usefulness,” in other words, people wouldn’t take it seriously [MTP].

April 28 Thursday – Sam and Livy went to New York, where they checked into the Murray Hill Hotel. In the evening they used the tickets sent there by Augustin Daly, to attend a theater performance. It was farewell week for Taming of the Shrew at Daly’s Theater. Either Daly obtained tickets to another show or Livy and Sam wished to see Shrew again (they’d attended on Apr. 13).

Rev. Thomas A. Davis wrote from Baltimore to Sam asking for a $10 contribution, since he’d so generously donated three books each of IA and RI as prizes “a few years ago” to the Colored Schools of New Brunswick, N.J. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Rev. Davis the beggar” [MTP].

Maggie M. Kellip wrote a begging letter from Westminster, MD to Sam. “No Answer” [MTP].

Henry C. Robinson wrote complimenting Sam on the speech he gave Apr. 27 to the Army & Navy Club in defense of Grant’s English [MTP].


April 29 Friday The New York Times reported on p.4, under “Personal Intelligence” that Samuel L. Clemens was at the Murray Hill Hotel. By the time this report appeared, Sam and Livy were probably on their way or already at West Point, where they “observed an artillery drill with General Sherman, his younger brother John Sherman, and Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, the inventor of the machine gun that bears his name” [Leon 73]. (Editorial emphasis.)

Edwin L. Turnbull wrote from Baltimore thanking Sam, who then wrote on the envelope, “From a boy to whom I sent a ten-year subscription to his 30-cent newspaper” [MTP].

April 30 Saturday – Sam and Livy were at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York. In the afternoon Sam accompanied a reviewing party to review the corps of cadets, and forgot to throw away his cigar before taking his place in the staff line. In the evening Sam gave his promised lecture. From Leon:

The Army and Navy Journal of 23 May 1887 published an account of the reading in a dispatch from the academy dated 5 May: “On Saturday evening the cadet mess hall was thrown open for the first time since it has received its new and handsome decorations. Exclamations of surprise and pleasure greeted these changes, which are certainly fine. An unusually large and brilliant audience welcomed with a storm of applause the arrival of Mark Twain”….Having learned that the cadets regarded Professor Postlethwaite with great affection and that he had a sense of humor, Mark Twain once again used the chaplain as an obliging stage prop:

He entered the room with Professor Postlethwaite and was escorted to the platform. The reading this time was on the article that appeared in the April “Century” “English as She is Taught” — which aroused simply roars of laughter, but the cream of the fun was in the remark, “There were donkeys in the Theological Seminary” [sic] and his immediately turning round to explain to the chaplain that nothing personal was intended, was so indescribably funny that the audience continued to laugh and applaud for fully five minutes [73-4].

Jerusalem Smyth wrote from New South Wales that Sam had amused him with his books for 20 years — the note is scribbled front and back with various addresses and sayings, “if you are broke put a dog on me anywhere in Australia” [MTP].

Mrs. L. Pet Anderson, a medium, wrote a thank you letter “channeling” Gen. Grant to Sam [MTP].

May – Correspondence between Clemens and Howells substantially lessened during the year. Sam’s preoccupation with all aspects of business and several speaking engagements, together with Howells’ new duties for “The Editor’s Study” in Harper’s Monthly, and his increasing activism in such matters as the Haymarket fiasco may explain this change. In the May issue of Harper’s, Howells continued championing Tolstoi (a rather controversial stance for that day), and prefaced mention of Twain’s popularity and the need for realism in literature. Here is a segment, which may be easily applied to our times [LXXIV p.987]:

Of subordinate fiction, of the sort which neither informs nor nourishes, a correspondent writes us, in sad conviction of the fact that the great mass of those who can read and write seem to ask for nothing better: “Do you think our novel-reading public cares much for any masterpiece? It appears to me that the ordinary or uncultivated mind revolts from anything much higher than itself. Here is another lofty stair to climb; here is a new dialect of thought, and even of language, to struggle with; here is somebody insulting us by speaking a foreign tongue.” There is suggestion in this, and truth enough for serious pause; and yet we think that it hardly does justice to the power of the ordinary mind to appreciate the best. Much of the best fails of due recognition, but enough of the best gets it to make us hopeful that when literature comes close to life, even ordinary minds will feel and know its charm. We think that our humorists, in the fame of the greatest, whose pseudonym is at this moment as well known, in America at least, as the name of Shakespeare. We need not blink any of his shortcomings in recognizing that his books are masterpieces of humor; they are so, and yet our public does care for them in prodigious degree, and it cares for them because incomparably more and better than any other American books they express a familiar and almost universal quality of the American mind, they faithfully portray a phase of American life, which they reflect in its vast kindliness and good-will, its shrewdness and its generosity, its informality, which is not formlessness; under every fantastic disguise they are honest and true. That is all we ask of fiction — sense and truth; we cannot prophesy that every novel which has them will have the success of The Innocents Abroad or of Roughing It, but we believe recognition wide and full will await it. Let fiction cease to lie about life; let it portray men and women as they are, actuated by the motives and the passions in the measure we all know; let it leave off painting dolls and working them by springs and wires; let it show the different interests in their true proportions; let it forbear to preach pride and revenge, folly and insanity, egotism and prejudice, but frankly own these for what they are, in whatever figures and occasions they appear; let it not put on fine literary airs; let it speak the dialect, the language, that most Americans know — the language of unaffected people everywhere — and we believe that even its masterpieces will find a response in all readers.


The Clemens girls owned many if not all of the Rollo books by Jacob Abbott. Sam’s notebook entry ascribed to May 1887 by Gribben [5]:

Write a Rollo with Jonas in it who is sodden with piety & self-righteousness [MTNJ 3: 293].


May 1 SundayJohn Henry Boner wrote to Sam, thanking him for his “kind letter of April the 1st”; Boner had found employement as a proofreader with Theodore L. De Vinne, printer to the Century Co., and Edmund Stedman  “made me feel his house my home.” Sam wrote on the env., “Boner the Southern poet” [MTP].

Check #





Patrick McAleer




John O’Neil



May 2 MondayOrion Clemens wrote a note to Sam that his $155 check was received [MTP].


Check #





Mssrs McCarty & Cleary




Mr J.S. Chase, Secy




Mr. James L. Whitman




Hartford Silver Plate Co




May 3 Tuesday

Check #





Western Union Telegraph Co




Mr Charles Burghorst 




May 4 WednesdayVaughn E. Wyman wrote from Perry, Ohio asking how Sam got his pen name, and did he know of Miss Edith Thomas’ works; Wyman had a high regard for Poe’s works but did not think “him equal to Mr. Howells.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Dam fool. No Answer” [MTP]. Note: Edith Matilda Thomas (1854-1925).


May 5 Thursday – In Hartford Sam answered Orion’s Apr. 27 and/or May 2 letter. He told his brother to “just peg along” on the research on English kings for the memory game. Orion was recovering from swallowing ammonia water thought to be cold medicine. Sam asked him not to send MS — there was too much company and he always had “a raft of things to do,” so that he would “naturally shirk everything that will stand shirking.” Sam confided, “that thief” (Frank M. Scott) got less than $30,000 but due to two destroyed cashbooks, they couldn’t pinpoint the exact loss. He added that Livy was “a little tuckered out & not altogether well” from their trip to West Point, so that he thanked Mollie Clemens for her letter to Livy. About the girls, Sam wrote:

Susie enters the High School to-day, & Clara next year. Both passed their examinations successfully; but poor Julia Twichell has now failed for the second time [MTP].

Sam also wrote a short note to Edward H. House, congratulating him on his writing about Japan. A visit by House and Koto was in the works, because Sam wrote:

We’re warming up the climate for you, & shoving out the leaves; you’ll find everything shouting when you get here [MTP].

Check #





Union Adams Agent




Fox & Co




Eugene Meyer


Piano Lesson


J.P. Haynes




Patrick McAleer




May 6 FridayEdward H. House wrote to Sam about his upcoming visit [May 7 to House]. Note: This is another case of a letter to Sam being assigned the same date as his response, this time from New York to Hartford and return. Thus House’s letter dated May 7 in MTP’s Incoming, has been re-labeled as May 6. Still, House’s letter may have been May 7, and Sam may have mis-dated his letter May 7 when it really was May 8. Either way, there likely was at least a day between the two missives.


May 7 Saturday – In Hartford Sam again wrote to Edward H. House, acknowledging that House could ship his wheelchair by Adams Express and as to the trunks, he and Koto should “do whatever will be most satisfactory & convenient…”

I’m to be away the 17th & back the 18th — that is, if you arrive on the 16th; but if you are to arrive on the 17th, I will cancel my engagement & remain at home.

Sam explained that the engagement had been changed twice anyway and a letter “this morning changes it to the 17th,” so that he felt absolved “in advance from any sense of sin in case I fail to connect” [MTP].

Note: A letter from House is claimed for this date in a N.Y. Times article of Jan. 27, 1890, “Mark Twain Hauled Up,” about House’s lawsuit. Letters were used by House to establish that a verbal contract existed for him to dramatize the play, and that Sam had no right to sign a subsequent contract with Abby Sage Richardson. No such letter is in the MTP files, only a print of the Times report, nor are the “several letters” from House about the play claimed for April, 1887. In fact none are listed. Did Sam destroy them or did House invent them or — are they simply lost? From this article for the May 7 House letter:

A few nights ago the complete scheme of the play developed with an effectiveness that I had not expected to arrive at so soon. There mere writing of the scenes and acts ought not now to occupy a great deal of time. But it may take a mighty long time to find the right person to fill the double part…. I would rather have it put off two or three years than let it be intrusted to incompetent hands…. I can’t tell you, my dear Mark, what a comforting thing it is to have this piece of good fortune in prospect. It takes a load of care away from me, as you can well imagine.

George Standring, London printer and publisher, wrote Sam to say he was sending a copy of his book, The People’s History of the English Aristocracy (1887) [Gribben 656; MTP].


May 8 SundayJoseph Jefferson, actor, offered his autobiography for Sam to publish at Webster & Co. [MTNJ 3: 289n213]. See Sam to Webster, May 28. Jefferson’s book would be published in 1890 and reprinted several times by the Century Co.

Orion Clemens wrote that he’d received Sam’s letter of May 5; Orion wrote of local matters [MTP].


May 9 Monday – In Hartford Sam received the Library of Humor from William Dean Howells and wrote to him:

You spoke of writing an introduction to the L. of H. [Library of Humor]. All right, I wish you would. I think of putting the book in the printers’ hands about a month hence. I’d like the introduction, first-rate, whether you can sign it or not. [MTHL 2: 592-3; MTNJ 3: 295n233].

Sam then wrote to Charles Webster that he’d received the Library of Humor from Howells and would “presently get it ready for press.” His letter reveals his schedule:

I expect Ned House to arrive here (on his back with gout,) the 16th (Monday), & then I shall go to New York the next day. All my dates between now & then are pretty compactly filled up [MTP].

Check #









Mssrs Hunting & Hammond




Mssrs Harris Brothers




Mssrs Seidler & May


Cabinet Furniture


J.B. Wooley, Agt




Mr. S.P. Griswold




Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




The Hartford Club



May 10 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner response to a query or request from James B. Pond, one that makes for an interesting quotation:

O’ b’gosh I can’t. I hate writing. / Ever Thine — Mark.

Sam’s notebook entry: May 10, ’87. Charley reports Livy’s balance at J L & Co’s a trifle under $55,000. $3,847.14 subject to draft at any time [MTNJ 3: 288] Note: Charles J. Langdon & Co.

Miss M. Gross wrote from N.Y. to Sam asking for a loan of “very little money” [MTP].

Alfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam after coming from a “long interview with Mr. House. What a charming and accomplished gentleman he is!” House had made “several pregnant suggestions” about what to do with the third act of the “old Sellers play.” Burbank shared his plans for the play [MTP].


May 11 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster:

Joe Jefferson has written his Autobiography! You see, by George we’ve got to keep places open for great books; they spring up in the most unexpected places. [¶] I will read for “literary quality,” & then take it down to you on the 18th, to be read for pecuniary quality…[MTP].


Sam also wrote a rather revealing letter to Jeannette L. Gilder, founder of Critic, about his writing habits and books written:

It is my habit to keep four or five books in process of erection all the time, & every summer add a few courses of brick to two or three of them; but I cannot forecast which of the two or three it is going to be….Do you care for trifles of information? Well then, “Tom Sawyer” & “The Prince & the Pauper” were each on the stocks two or three years, & “Old Times on the Mississippi” eight. One of my unfinished books has been on the stocks sixteen years; another, seventeen. This latter book could have been finished in a day, at any time during the past five years. But as in the first of these two narratives, all the action takes place in Noah’s ark, & as in the other the action takes place in heaven, there seemed to be no hurry….I have written & completed only eleven books, whereas with half the labor that a journalist does I could have written sixty in that time [MTP].


May 12 ThursdayWilliam L. Alden from the U.S. Consulate in Rome, wrote to Sam offering an autobiography of Garibaldi “of 89 chapters, and 693 pages of MS” [MTLTP 218n1 (top)].

Check #





Mssrs Wm Wander & Son


Pianos & Tuning

May 13 Friday – In Auburndale, Mass. at Lee’s Hotel, Howells answered Sam’s May 9 letter.

I will write the introduction, and perhaps the Harpers will let me sign it. But I should prefer to do it after I’d seen some proof of the book, for that thing’s got cold in my mind now. Save some of the beginning for four or five or six pp., and I’ll have it ready [MTHL 2: 593].

Check #





Mssrs Cassell & co




Miss Lizzie Sluyter for “Kitchen Garden”



May 14 SaturdayJ.E. Jenks of the Boston Herald, Washington office, wrote asking for Sam’s photo and autograph for a collector in his office [MTP].


May 15 Sunday – The Brooklyn Eagle, p.7, “Books & Magazines” included a paragraph on Sam’s latest readings:

Mark Twain is working “English as She is Taught” for all it is worth. He has been reading in public from it in Boston, the first instance, probably, of a joke book put to such a use, unless Artemus Ward and Josh Billings were before him.


May 16 MondayEdward H. House and his adopted daughter Koto arrived at the Clemens residence for a visit. House would house-sit the Farmington house while the Clemens family took their annual trek to Quarry Farm, where Sam would continue working on CY while House worked on the dramatization of P&P as encouraged by Sam [A. Hoffman 340].

Sam also wrote another, shorter note (than his May 14 letter) to Jeannette L. Gilder of the Critic that the family would spend the summer in the “same old place — the remote farm called ‘Rest-&-be-Thankful’” and that he had “not as yet mapped out any work” [MTP].

Sam and Livy placed their two eldest daughters, Susy and Clara Clemens, in the local high school. Up until this time they had been home-schooled [May 17 to Finlay].

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Rev. Charles Stowe



May 17 Tuesday – Sam had received word from Frank D. Finlay (1838?-1917), which included the news that Finlay’s sons (Frank D. Finlay Jr. and Russell Finlay) were in the military. Sam met Finlay in Belfast, Ireland in 1873, and the two became fast friends (See MTDBD 1: several entries). Sam responded and wrote about a possible business trip to England next fall.

Last week Mrs. Clemens discussed & completed (apparently) a project for spending the summer in Europe, & I came right up to the billiard room & began my part of the preparations. Two hours later I found I had had my labor for my pains: she had concluded not to go. That’s just as usual. I may have to go over on business next fall, but I rather doubt it [MTP].

Joseph Jefferson wrote to Sam sending a MS by express [MTP].

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Mrs. Anna H. Bumstead



counter chk




May 18 Wednesday – Sam had planned to go to New York City [May 11 to Webster] and take Joe Jefferson’s MS for Webster to evaluate. No mention of a trip was made, although one week later, May 25, Sam wrote to Webster about the satisfaction of Webster’s visit, which likely was arranged when Sam could not get away (see May 25 entry).


May 19 Thursday

May 20 Friday


May 21 Saturday – Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century Magazine. He’d read three letters written in response to “English As She Is Taught” and suggested Gilder publish a supplement to the article in the Sept. or Oct. issue, including the letters in question.

One or two that lack sense are saved by a still valuabler quality: they abuse me. [¶] I could heave in a line or two of comment here & there between the letters, & you could generalize the entire School business in an editorial [MTP] Note: this letter is listed from “Unknown Place” — Sam went to New York on May 18 and may have still been in the city.

Caroline B. Le Row wrote to Sam, apologizing for her friend, Miss Merritt, using her and Sam’s name in some way. Also, she hoped Sam would “win the lawsuit” [MTP].


May 22 Sunday


May 23 Monday – From Sam’s notebook:  

Mrs. Stowe came on the Ombre & said “I am reading the Prince & Pauper for the sixth time.” She asked about such matters & I referred to Perkin Warbeck & Lambert Simnel.

She was already losing her mind [MTNJ 3: 290].


May 24 TuesdayWilliam M. May wrote from New York asking Sam’s aid in collecting $240 owed him by Karl Gerhardt for the marble portrait he’d done of Henry Ward Beecher; May quoted Gerhardt’s Mar. 19, 1886 response that Sam was responsible for the debt since he directed its creation [MTP].

Charles L. Webster wrote to Sam enclosing a copy of their recent contract [MTP].

Check #





Patrick McAleer



May 25 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster.

The new contract has arrived. Livy & I got more business-satisfaction & comprehension out of your visit than any amount of working through third parties could have furnished.

Sam again assured Webster that all was settled and satisfactory, and that he would do “everything…to keep it so” [MTP]. Note: if lingering resentment survived the contract agreement and Webster’s visit to Hartford, Sam’s letters do not show it.

Miss Katie L. Corbett wrote from England asking Sam to “please do” write a history of England, “thinking it would be …delicious…if you wrote it, and made a few variations of corse [sic]” [MTP].

Check #





Mrs. Elizabeth Hyde, Treas



May 26 Thursday


May 27 Friday – In Findlay, Ohio, his old stomping grounds, William Dean Howells wrote Sam all about the recent discovery there of natural gas.

They are going to have a Natural Gas Jubilee in this wonderful place on the 8 th or 9 th of June, and they are going to ask you, of course. I think if you will come you will enjoy a No.11 astonishment, and it will fit you comfortably. The wildest dreams of Col. Sellers are here for the commonplaces of everyday experience. I wish I could blow off a gas-well in this note, for then you would have some notion of what a gas well is. But I can’t, and so you had better come, and see what thirteen of them all going at once, are [MTHL 2: 593-4].


May 28 Saturday – In Hartford Sam responded to a request from Sylvester Baxter of the Boston Herald and chipped in $50 to a fund to help Walt Whitman build a summer cottage. Sam gave to a similar collection taken in Aug. 1885 to buy Whitman a horse and buggy (see Aug. 6, 1885 entry) [MTNJ 3: 269n140].

You did not mention any particular sum; so I enclose $50, with the request that if you should have to issue another call before you accomplish your object, you be not diffident about extending it to me.

Sam didn’t want sums mentioned about, because “these things get into print.”

I went over to Warner’s; his desire is as strong as anybody’s, but the calls upon his purse are very numerous, — & so also, as I personally know, are his pecuniary responses — & he prefers to wait & hope that the required amount will be made up without him: if not, he will come in. I confess to you that I advised him to wait for a less loved object; I said there couldn’t & wouldn’t be any lack of people ready & willing to build a cottage for Walt Whitman [MTP].

Note: on the back of the envelope several names and amounts were written, including $15 from Howells, $25 from O’Reilly and $300 from Francis Tiffany. Sylvester Baxter interviewed Sam in 1880.

Sam also responded to William L. Alden (1837-1908), U.S. Consul General in Rome, who wrote May 12. President Cleveland had appointed Alden in 1885; prior to that he was on the editorial staff of the New York Times for eleven years. He was an author and a humorist. Alden had inquired about Webster & Co. Publishing his autobiography. Sam wrote his thanks for “giving us a first chance” and referred the matter to Webster [MTP]. Note: Webster answered on June 1.

Sam also wrote to Orion Clemens, with an enclosure about “the system,” probably Loisette’s memory system for a Mrs. Howell.

…the system is a fascinating & profitable recreation for a persistent student, but not worth meddling with by an indolent & unpersistent person [MTP] Note: was Sam expressing a conviction about Mrs. Howell or about Orion, or was he simply conveying what was required?


Sam also inscribed a copy of P&P for Margaret (Daisy) Warner: To / Margaret Warner / With the love of her friend / The Author. / Hartford, May 28, 1887. [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster about possible books to go after for publication: William L. Alden’s book would not sell more than 30,000, he felt, so that one-third of the profits was a fair offer; Garibaldi was “stale enough already,” so instead of contracting for his book in 1892 when it would be even more stale, try for next year. Joe Jefferson’s MS was “delightful reading”:

I think forty per cent of the profits is a fair offer to make him — the book to contain about 175,000 words, estimating 5 letters to a word. I shall bring his MS to New York presently, or if he needs it I will bring it down on any day required [MTLTP 217].


Check #





Karl Gerhardt




John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer




Mr. John B Garvie




Sylvester Baxter



May 29 SundayOrion Clemens wrote to Sam (began letter finished May 30):

Ma fell down the last step or two …with a jar, producing a commotion; but seems not to have veen much hurt. She gets more “off.” / It is nearly midnight. My skin disease forbids sleep. I am utilizing the time by reading Thierey’s Norman Conquest, and making memorandums [MTP].

May 30 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote a paragraph to an unidentified woman:

Dear Madam: I could not approve or consent. It has been tried many times; I have tried it myself. Very Truly yours [MTP].

Orion Clemens finished his May 29 letter to Sam.

I guess one main reason for my pokiness about the kings is my habit of copying from each book considerably, because it has to be returned to the library before I can get another…./ Ma’s cough remains bad. / She wanted to know the other day if I was Orion, and who were my brothers? She remembered that Sam was Mark Twain, but thought there were more brothers [MTP].


May 31 TuesdaySylvester Baxter for Boston Herald wrote to Sam: “Yours received with enclosure. Thanks for your splendid letter. If all had your spirit there would indeed be no difficulty…The old man was touched. It is pathetic.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Reply to a contribution to Walt Whitman [MTP].

Check #





Connecticut Trust & Safe Deposit




Francis H. Loss Jr.




Mssrs P. Berry & Sons




Mr. W. L. Tomlinson


Lawn mowers

June 1 WednesdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam about W.L. Alden’s offer of a Garibaldi autobiography. He thought it impossible to gain a copyright on such works:

I think we had better let foreign publications alone until we get international copyright [MTLTP 218n1 (top)].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that Ma’s cough was better; that his memory was that of an ox — memorizing two lines of a poem he could not recall the next day; he was glad to get “the book” [MTP].


June 2 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner to Orion on a pre-printed correspondence card which carried the message “Mr. Clemens (Mark Twain) is away for several months, but will answer when he returns.” Sam wrote that he’d told Webster to send Orion the cyclopedia and also wrote him to do so. Evidently, Orion had not received the book, probably necessary for his research into English Kings [MTP].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam (Greening to Orion, June 1 enclosed), of Ma’s money and her desire to buy a $50 folding bed. “She thinks it a ‘very quiet Christmas’”. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Sent $200 with orders to draw for more if needed” [MTP].

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Mme. L Thurn




June 3 Friday


June 4 Saturday – Robert Bush, in “Grace King and Mark Twain” [38], includes a segment from Grace Elizabeth King’s notebook with this date of her first impressions of Sam. This notebook entry date of June 4, however, conflicts with Bush’s conclusion that Sunday, June 5 was the date of their first meeting. Bush does not address this conflict, so we are left to choose. Bush quotes from her June 5 letter, meeting Sam during a walk home from church with Charles Dudley Warner, though a “first meeting” is not explicit in the letter. (Note that the letter does not say Sam was in church, merely walking when Grace and Charles met him while they were walking home from services.) This June 5 letter does correctly put their trip to Frederick E. Church’s in Hudson, N.Y. on Tuesday, which would have been June 7. (This jibes with the citation from MTNJ 3: 293n227.) Either the June 4 notebook entry, therefore, was misdated, or, she first met Sam in Hartford prior to June 5. Regardless, here is the notebook entry, dated June 4, which Bush contrasts with her impressions in the fall of 1888 (see Oct. 10):

“Mark Twain” is a disappointment to the eyes until he begins to talk; then his features explain themselves. The head is not so heavy as massive, the eyes not stupid but introspective — his air and manner, not so much the vulgar carelessness of the ignorant — but the unconscious carelessness of the preoccupied. He is a man of genius — the material not so very rare and unique — as inexhaustible in richness. His wit runs to fat — his humor is fleshy — coarse-grained — but solid and generally wholesome, where the mind has not been too much pampered with delicacies of intellect. He said that in a hundred years from now America would be leading the world — in art, letters, science, and politics. Our population would be so great that we would be the market — the customers of the world’s intellectual commerce. We therefore would set the fashions, regulate the taste — would have an opinion to express, an opinion that would have a cash value, as we would have the money with which to back it. Opinion is the authoritative expression of the new supreme court of art, morals, science. His reasoning followed naturally from the premise and sounded irrefutable — but across it all — there was felt the want of spiritual provision in his argument. Money, or pay in his opinion would call out the best work every where — and money would be the highest reward. He did not consider those who working for a higher aim would disdain the prompt paying American market. He seems to have made a slave of his soul — & condemned it to trudge along with him as he shakes his cap & bells — clipped the wings — and put out the eyes — making it a physical impossibility to see the world above…. [Bush 39, quoting Grace King, “Mark Twain, First Impression,” June 4, 1887 notebook].


Check #





Hartford City Gas & Light Co




Western Union Telegraph Co








Mssrs Fox & Whitmore Co


Frescoing, wallpaper


Mr. H. E. Patten


Dye & Carpet clean


Mssrs McCarty & Cleary




The Hartford Club



June 5 Sunday – Based on her letter to her sister, this is the day Grace Elizabeth King (1852-1932) met Sam Clemens. King was a budding short story writer from New Orleans, whose aristocratic family had been impoverished by the war. She was visiting the Charles Dudley Warners.

Robert Bush writes of King at this time:

“At the age of thirty-five in 1887, Grace King had published only four stories. She had started writing out of opposition to what she considered the biased writings of George W. Cable, whose championing of the Negro and criticism of the Creole had aroused resentment among his New Orleans contemporaries. Her own fiction contains no direct answers to Cable. Rather it portrays the ordinary Creoles and Negroes of the Reconstruction period, the people she herself had observed….Charles Dudley Warner, whom she had met in New Orleans in 1885, was the first to sponsor her and see that ‘Monsieur Motte,’ her first story, found a publisher” [31].

Based on her stance against George W. Cable, she was destined to make a hit with Sam. She also felt close to him as a transplanted Southerner. Sam had known the river as a pilot, Grace as a passenger; Coincidentally, Captain Horace Bixby, Sam’s river mentor, was a friend of the King family. She would become even closer to Livy. From her letter to her sister, Annie Ragan King of this date, and her first impressions of the great Mark Twain — Warner had escorted King to church to hear Dr. Edwin Parker.

Coming home we met Mark Twain — he walked along with us — and of course kept me giggling all the time. He talks just as he writes. He was animadverting on Sunday. “The most horrible, detestable abominable day” that was ever invented. All his life he had been trying to get rid of Sundays. He was so glad to get to Chicago that time on Sunday. Cable went round Psalm singing in three churches & he played billiards till midnight in a saloon winning his agent’s [Pond] money from him. He “pulls” his words just as Bixby says [Horace Bixby, Sam’s pilot teacher] and if you will drawl this ought ending to sample you will get the meaning exactly. His anecdotes are always a little risqué — talking of some conceited person he said that he felt like applying to him what Clapp said of Osgood the preacher “He was waiting for a vacancy in the Trinity to apply for it.” …Tonight we take tea at the Clemens. Tuesday start for the Churches .. [Bush 32-3]. Note: This gives the date for the trip to Frederick E. Church’s mansion in Hudson, New York. (See June 7 entry.)

Notes given by Bush: “George Alfred Clapp (1856-1924, comedian and minstrel known as Lew Dockstader; Jacob Osgood (1777-1844), founder of the Osgoodite movement, an anti-clerical revivalist, pacifist, and faith healer.” A somewhat different account of the first meeting between the Clemenses and King may be found in Salsbury 242-3.

Also based on this letter, King was entertained at the Clemens’ residence this evening. In her notebook at the same time of the letter to her sister, is this observation of Sam, which likely happened this evening, though may have been the next.

I was just called off here to see “Mark Twain.” The Warners who are always in motion soon left me alone with him, and I propped myself back in a big chair with my feet on a stool and gave myself up to the pleasure of listening to him…. His talk drifted all around and talking about affairs in general & black and white affairs in particular, I asked him if he did not think Providence was a darkey. He laughed and said he had made a note of a reflection of his the other day. He pulled out his note book and read me “Could we endure a French savior?” He said he wondered about the question himself. We had had a Jew who had been satisfactory, but fancy a Frenchman saying “Come unto me all ye who are heavy laden” — & then he thought of an Irishman — wouldn’t do at all. And so all through the nations. — He is a powerful intellect without doubt — a genius in disguise of a humorist; in old times he would have been a righteous buffoon….[Bush 33 from Grace King’s Notebook].

Note: Sam’s notebook “French Christ” entry may be found at MTNJ 3: 292 with part of the above.


June 6 Monday

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Mssrs. Aitken Son & Co.




Mssrs B. Altman & co




Mssrs Arnold Constable & Co


Dry Goods


Mr Orion Clemens 




June 7 Tuesday – “The Clemenses, the Charles Dudley Warners, and Grace Elizabeth King boarded a train and traveled to Frederick E. Church’s “Olana,”his imposing mansion near Hudson, New York” [MTNJ 3: 293n227]. (Editorial emphasis.) Church was a painter. Grace King wrote of the trip later that day to May King McDowell, another sister.

Mark Twain sat off and read in a corner of the car. He was rather disgusted because we all exclaimed on entering the car how hot it was & begged to have the windows put up — “If a lot of women were sent to hell, the first thing they would want to do would be to open the windows” he grumbled to CDW…[Bush 33].

 Note: Sam and Grace King met two days prior, on June 5. Her letter to her sister of that day specified a “Tuesday start for the Churches…” [Bush 33].

King went on in her letter to describe the “magnificence of the Moorish Victorian eyrie” [33]; and also of Livy’s dinner dress,

…a picturesque tunic of white crepe with a satin stripe in it, if you can conceive of such a thing, over a heavy ended white silk — trimmed with pearl passementerie. [34]

And of course, Sam dressed up, at least for a time.

Mark started in very correctly in full evening dress — but soon after dinner was over he shuffled in amongst us in slippers with a big pipe in his mouth…. I came through the library after a while to hunt up the others & found Clemens reading some antique book. I showed him the beautiful picture [one of Church’s she’d seen on her way to the library]. Then found the others. We consorted…until 10 oc — when of course the married women proposed retiring…[34].


June 8 WednesdayClara Clemens’ thirteenth birthday. It’s not known if Clara went with her parents for the short stay at Frederick E. Church’s.

Grace King added to her June 7 letter to her sister:

After breakfast, Wednesday —

Have just come in from the loveliest drive imaginable. The first thing after breakfast was to admire the pictures, the armor…& rugs — then there was a whisper that Mr Church was waiting for prayers; so in we marched into a little sitting room where Bibles were placed every where. Mrs Church gave the place the 15th chapter of St John — & read two verses then requested Mr Clemens to follow suit. He evidently had not counted on his personal assistance, & could not find the place — but his wife read & then we all in turn. It was pretty trying — Mrs Warner & Mrs Clemens are so English in their pronunciation & intonation that I felt like a squeaking manikin. However my verses were short and it only came to me twice. Clemens found his place and read along with the rest. Then Mr Church read a prayer. It was a very touching little ceremony and chimed in well with the beautiful surroundings in the house and the scenery outside…[Bush 34].

On June 10, King wrote to her sister, Nina Ansley King about the evening of June 8:

“Joe Twichell” the pastor of the whole crowd came Wednesday evening. A splendid looking man of about forty — genial and warm hearted and sympathetic as a Southerner. He made the party complete and that evening we had a fine time. He told stories, Clemens read Browning, Mrs. W played on the piano [Bush 35].


June 9 Thursday – The last full day at Frederick E. Church’s “Olana” mansion. Sam and Joe Twichell went for a hike. Grace King joined them and wrote about it the next day:

We were at it for about two hours, just meandering through the winding roads up and down the hill, under the grand forest trees, and all around the little lake. When we returned the Osborns were there and we sat on the “ombra” as they call a large square piazza overlooking the river, and talked…. In the evening Mark Twain just let himself out. He is the greatest circus I was ever at. One of his funniest hits was an imitation of the sermon Cable took him to hear in the little Prytania St. Church when he was in N.O.[New Orleans]. More music — more conversation and then a very lingering good night…Mrs Clemens is very prim and precise but an unaffected little woman the very essence of refinement, while her husband is simply a Joaquin Miller…. One can soon discover however, that under his great shock of grey hair lies a very profound vigorous intellect. He is not at all refined, — wore slippers all the time at the Church’s and smokes a pipe, and ate like a corn-field darkey [Bush 35 from Grace King to Nina Ashley King, June 10, 1887]. Note from Bush: “William Henry Osborn (1820-1894) , railroad president, lived at Garrison, N.Y.”; Miller was a friend of the King family during his stay in New Orleans in 1885.

Grace also wrote about Sam telling the story that evening of Orion coming home in the dark and climbing in bed with an old maid aunt assigned to his room.

Henry C. Robinson wrote to Sam having just looked at a circus parade to say he’d never read an article which explained the “genius of the American circus,” and that Sam ought to write it [MTP].


June 10 Friday – Sam and Livy returned to Hartford from their short “vacation” to Frederick E. Church’s mansion near Hudson, New York [MTNJ 3: 293n227].

E.S. Walton of New York, whose enclosed card reads, “Leading Comedian” wrote to Sam:

What arrangements terms can be made — by me — for the production of your play — “The Gilded Age.”( Col. Sellers”), my idea is to produce the same at the popular [illegible] Theatres. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the envelope, “Tell him arrangements have already been made.”


June 11 Saturday – In Hartford Sam responded through Franklin G. Whitmore to E.S. Walton’s June 10 inquiry: Tell him arrangements have already been made” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Frederick E. Church about the recent stay at Church’s mansion.

It was an ideal holiday, in a Garden of Eden without the Garden of Eden’s unprotection from weather [MTP].


June 12 Sunday


June 13 Monday – The date given by Edward H. House in a New York Times article of Jan. 27, 1890, “Mark Twain Hauled Up,” p.5 for House’s reading of his dramatization of P&P to Sam. From the Times:

The visit to Hartford began soon after this and lasted six weeks. June 13, 1887, the whole of Act I., with the position of the actors, the arrangement of stage scenery, and all details were read to Mr. Clemens. Mr. House says that as the reading proceeded, Mr. Clemens expressed his approval in energetic and enthusiastic terms, exclaiming at intervals: “That’s a play.” “I see that on stage.” “I should like to take hold and help.”

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d loaned Puss Quarles $80 to help with the building of her house. Ma was out and about — “at four evening entertainments and a prayer meeting last week, and a lecture last night and expects to attend another to-night — all Congregational church…” [MTP].


June 14 TuesdayCharles Webster wrote to Sam of “$6,500 in cash, and $4,700 in notes” for the Apr. 12 lawsuit award of $13,200 against J.M. Stoddart & Co. who had failed to pay for copies of Grant’s Memoirs. They had argued that they suffered losses based on John Wanamaker’s discount sale of books, a practice they felt Webster & Co. Should have prevented [MTNJ 3: 287n204]. Note: The Hubbard Brothers would settle in Feb. 1888. Webster also wrote,

I have very little time, as I start for the West to-night; therefore, if you can, I would like to have you write to Alden in regard to the book [MTLTP 218n2].

Walt Whitman wrote from Camden, N.J. thanking Sam “for your kindess & generosity to me” [MTP].

C.E. Fredericks wrote from Los Angeles to Sam, asking if HF had ever been dramatized. Sam wrote “No answer” on the envelope [MTP].

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Mssrs C.H. Reade & Co




Mr. Eugene Meyer


Piano Lessons

June 15 WednesdayJoseph Jefferson wrote to Sam asking for his MS and Sam’s opinion [MTP].


June 16 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster. He thought Webster’s settlement with J.M. Stoddart .was “quite fortunate” (see June 14 from Webster). He’d written William L. Alden as Webster requested, declining the Garibaldi autobiography. He advised of their plans to reach New York en route to Elmira about June 21 (they arrived in New York on June 22). Sam also mentioned possible books and enclosed one he felt would work well in about a year. He also informed Webster that he would keep The Man Wonderful in the House Beautiful. An Allegory Teaching the Principles of Physiology and Hygiene, and the Effects of Stimulants and Narcotics (1888), by Chilion Brown Allen and Mary A. Allen [MTLTP 218; On this last book, see Gribben 19].

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Mme. Helen M. Abry




Mr. Michael Egan




Mr. J.P. Haynes




Mssrs C.E. Bishop & Co




Miss C. M. Hewins, Librarian




Mr. D.A. Spear




Mr. S.B. Donchian


Oriental rugs


Fox & Co




Mssrs Tracy Tarbox & Robinson




Mssrs Bill Brothers








June 17 FridayJames W. See of Hamilton, Ohio wrote to Sam desiring to represent and/or manufacture the Mark Twain Scrapbooks in the West [MTP]. A soldier’s monument was dedicated in New Haven — Sam may have been invited and attended, since he had been elected a life member of the Putnam Phalanx, a social and ceremonial military organization [MTNJ 3: 294n230]. Note: Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer. W. please tell him that if he can arrange with Slote & Co, very good; but I am bound by my contract with them. There is no Western manufacturer. SLC”

Thomas O’Hagan wrote from Paisley, Ontario sending Sam a “little volume of poems, entitled, ‘A Gate of Flowers [MTP]. Note: Thomas O’Hagan’s A Gate of Flowers and Other Poems (1887).


June 18 Saturday


June 19 Sunday – On or just after this date, In Hartford, Sam answered James W. See’s June 17 inquiry. There was no Western manufacturer and See should work with Slote & Co. On scrapbook matters, as Sam was bound by his contract [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Edward H. House, who had been staying with the Clemenses and would look after the house when the Clemens family removed to Elmira. (House may have returned first to New York for a brief time.) Sam sent thanks,

…with all my heart. If you have forgiven me, it is all that I desire & that which happened is as dead & buried as if it had never occurred…[MTP paraphrase Swann Galleries, 11 Oct. 1990 item 296]. Note: House would later insult some of Sam’s neighbors, and relations between the two men would become strained.

In the evening, the Clemenses gave a grand dinner for Grace King. Unfortunately, another guest was invited without considering King’s Southern sentiments — General Lucius Fairchild, a Union war hero who had lost the use of one arm. He’d once been Governor of Wisconsin (see listings in MTDBD vol. I). Fairchild had recently denounced President Cleveland’s gesture to return Confederate battle flags to the South. Bush writes of the evening and of King’s reactions in a letter to her sister Nan:

“It was this sensitive subject that he [Fairchild] chose to discuss at the dinner for Grace King. She wore her sister’s best blue silk on that cold, rainy Sunday evening. Protected by the waterproofs and umbrellas, she had been escorted to the Clemenses by their neighbor, Charles Dudley Warner[36].

…abomination and detestation, the man I’ve been railing at like everything for a week — Gen. Fairchild. He is a very good looking, sleek faced one arm rascal. Hypocrite is written all over his face and drops from his tongue whenever he opens his mouth. — The table was beautiful — round with an exquisite cut glass bowl in the centre filled with daisies, ferns and grasses — a bunch of white roses was at each one’s plate. Of course Clemens took me in, [to] Mrs Clemens Gen. Fairchild. The candelabra were of twisted silver, with yellow candles and shades. Olives, salted almonds, and bonbons in curious dishes were on the table and decanters of quaint shape and color held the wine. The soup was “Claire” — the Clairest you ever saw, delicious flavor — sherry. Then fresh salmon, white wine sauce — Apollinaris water — Sweet breads in cream served I vow, in what looked like pomatum pots — with covers…

After coffee — Mr Clark [Charles Hopkins Clark] and Karl Gerhardt the sculptor came in and we had a very gay time. Mr Clemens repeated two of Joe Twichell’s jokes…The guests were all thanking me for “my dinner”…. [36-7].

Caroline E. Coit wrote from Thurville, Ohio asking Sam to settle “a family discussion” — were the particulars of “English As She Is Taught” “bona fide or not?” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Logic — if I lied in the article (to this fool) I may since be expected to tell her the truth privately. There is nothing so subtly ignorant so silly & ignorant & vulgar in ‘Eng’ as in this letter” [MTP].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote from Brooklyn a melodramatic letter full of isteri to Sam about her letter which appeared in this day’s World . “How enthusiastic Prof. Loisette is over the little book! I lunched with him yesterday and enjoyed a long talk with him. ‘It will do as much for education as “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” did for slavery,’ was one of his opinions….I realize that all of its success so far is due to your unexampled generosity. I am grateful” [MTP].


June 20 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to the Tri-State Old Settlers Association, declining an invitation to attend some function.

Dear Sir: — Frankness, candor, truthfulness — these are native to my nature; and so I will not conceal from you the fact that if there is one thing which I am particularly and obstinately prejudiced against, it is travel [MTP].


Sam also wrote to Charles Webster after having written George H. Van Zandt of Philadelphia, who had proposed a historical romance for Webster & Co. To publish. Sam was at least initially interested [MTP; Gribben 724]. (See Sam’s added remark to Van Zandt’s June 21 letter.)

Check #





Patrick McAleer




F.G. Whitmore




Rev. J.H. Twichell



Summer – During this summer the Clemens family enjoyed reading Kidnapped! and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. On Apr. 17, 1888, Sam wrote to Stevenson that they had “bathed in them, last summer, & refreshed our spirits” [MTP].


June 21 TuesdayGeorge H. Van Zandt responded to Sam’s follow up letter on Van Zandt’s proposed historical romance. Van Zandt wanted to revise “one or two of the Chapters” of his book. He also had a book of poetry and a novel he wished to have published, and asked if Carleton & Co. Kept a bookstore. Soon thereafter, Sam would write his response on the top of the letter to Frederick J. Hall, now a partner in Webster & Co.

Abel W. Fairbanks also wrote to Sam. He was trying to prove a claim against the Charter Oak Insurance Co., and asked if Sam could call on the receiver.

The dividend may be small, but my present circumstances are such that “Small favors are thankfully received and large ones grabbed at” [MTP]. Note: Sam answered from Elmira on Abel’s letter to Whitmore June 28.


Grace King paid the Clemenses a short visit, which she wrote of to May King McDowell on June 22. The dinner with Gen. Fairchild had embarrassed Sam and Livy, who’d failed to realize how his discussion of his recent speech (the “palsy” speech) might upset their honored guest.

They were so mortified and distressed at Fairchild’s talk at the dinner Sunday. It was not very pleasant for a Southerner to hear, but of course I did not mind it; seeing what sort of man Fairchild was. Mr Clemens said that he was so mortified and disgusted with himself for not being able to think of something to turn the conversation with; that he did not know what to do — that he felt horrible all the time. Mrs Clemens said she could not go to sleep at night thinking of it, and talked about it until her husband had to tell her for Heaven’s Sake to “let up.” They admire Fairchild immensely and only object to the sentiments being expressed before me. “Blatherskite” I imagine must have been invented to apply to the sort of man the general in chief of the G A R is…[Bush 37].

Note: Bush adds, “Grace King spent much of the summer of 1887 at an inn in Farmington, Connecticut, where she had seclusion to continue writing the local-color fiction with which she was building a reputation” [37].

June 21 Tuesday, after – Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, his note on George H. Van Zandt’s June 21 letter.

Please give him the information he wants about bookstores — & tell him I asked you. He is hinting that he can write us a “Ben Hur” if we want one. You can say what you like — or nothing at all — about that. (His volume of alleged “poems” is mere hogwash) [MTP].


Check #





endorsed to J. Scrugham Quin


RR Agent


Mr. Neil Stalker




F.G. Whitmore




Mssrs Robbins Brothers




Mr. Otto B. Schlutter


German teacher


Mr Thomas McRonald




Miss M.W. Morley




Mr. George Haub


Hartford tailor

June 22 Wednesday – The Clemens family left for Elmira by way of New York City, where they stayed two days [June 20 to Webster]. A June 29 check puts their stay at the Murray Hill Hotel.

Hattie Gerhardt wrote from Chicopee, Mass. to Sam and Livy, sorry she did not have the chance to “say a grand good bye,” but she had been ill [MTP].


June 23 Thursday – The Clemens family was in New York at the Murray Hill Hotel. Sam likely met with Webster on business matters.

Joseph Jefferson wrote from Hohokus, N.J. to Sam that the MS which left Hartford on June 16 just reached him; he’d been to N.Y. twice about it. [MTP]. Note: Joe needed a better pen.


June 24 Friday – The Clemens family continued on to Elmira, staying at the Langdon house until June 28 [June 28 to Whitmore]. This was a ten-hour trip by rail; Sam’s routine was to hire a special “hotel” car from the Erie & Lackawanna Railroad. Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon, was growing frail, and Livy would spend many summer days in town beside her [A. Hoffman 340].

Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, letter not extant but referred to in Whitmore’s June 27 [MTP].


June 25 Saturday – Only the envelope survives, postmarked this date at Hartford to Franklin G. Whitmore [MTP]. Since the Clemens family left Hartford on June 22, this may have been left for the servants to mail.


June 26 Sunday


June 27 MondayWilliam H. Lippincott wrote to Sam asking his advice:

I am a man of about 50 & have lost fortune, family & health — I now desire to begin a life in a new country & wish to know as of Oregon, [illegible] California or the Sandwich Islands, which impressed you as the best place as a residence for one who has no desire to accumulate money, only to make a very moderate living for himself alone, by some out door employment? [MTP]. Note: Sam would get many such letters and answered a few. He sent this one to Franklin G. Whitmore on or shortly after this date (probably from Elmira), writing across the top of the letter:

Brer. W. Please tell I should recommend the Sandwich Islands.

Frederick Hawley for Shakespeare Memorial Library wrote from Stratford On Avon, England to Sam enclosing a printed flyer on the Library. “You have probably heard from Mr. Wm. Winter with reference to the enclosed circular….we shall be grateful for any aid you can give us.” Sam wrote “5 guineas” on the envelope [MTP].

Joe Twichell wrote to Sam, “mighty sorry” Sam couldn’t attend the Yale Alumni Dinner. “Dear old Sherman made a fine characteristic speech of considerable length,” followed by others. “Then the President read your letter, which, let me say, was just right, and was received with decided favor” [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam, “Thine of the 24th just rec’d. I will return the $1200.00 to your account this morning — am glad you are all well & had a pleasant journey” [MTP].


June 28 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, answering Abel W. Fairbanks’ letter and request of June 21.

Please look in on the Receiver & then write old Fairbanks a note & tell him whether his papers are satisfactory or not. [¶] We leave the Valley this afternoon & ascend to the farm [MTP].


Note: this period at Quarry Farm began the major writing at on Connecticut Yankee, which resumed the completed first three chapters, read Nov. 11, 1886 at Governor’s Island in New York harbor. The result was a MS of all but chapter 10, this last being added in 1888. However, Sam wrote to Whitmore on July 6 that a “stubborn attack of dyspepsia” was preventing him from getting started on literary matters.

June 29 Wednesday

Check #





Murray Hill Hotel


New York


Wm B. Smith




Eugene Meyer


Piano Lessons


Meyerowitz Bros


NY Opticians


June 30 Thursday – The Brooklyn Eagle, page 2, ran a paragraph about baseball in Elmira that included a remarkable new role for Sam.

A noteworthy contest is to take place at Elmira, N.Y. on Saturday, on which occasion Mark Twain and the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher are to act as joint umpires in a game played by the old time ball players of Elmira of the two local clubs that made Elmira lively in 1866 and 1867, reorganized almost as they were for this occasion. The players of twenty years ago are not representative business and professional men of Elmira. Governor Hill is to be present. Each club will have an umpire, and Mr. John R. Joslyn will be the referee. Fancy Mark Twain as an umpire with players kicking against his decisions and the Rev. Thomas Beecher striving to preserve “peace and good will to men” in the ranks. (See July 3 entry)

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam, “Telegram and letter rec’d. Expressed two boxes of segars same evening….Telegraphed the segar makers to ship 500 to Htfd immediately” [MTP].

Check #





Mrs. K.S. Cook




Fox & Co




JulyEdward McGlynn, Roman Catholic clergyman and social reformer was ex-communicated for his support of Henry George for Mayor of New York. Webster & Co. Had planned to publish a book by McGlynn but the action by the church killed the market for the book. Such losses led Sam to list McGlynn, Beecher, the Hawaiian King, and Stanley in his notebook, together with, “Let’s insure Lt. Gen. [Sheridan].” A revolution in Hawaii had severely limited Hawaiian king David Kalakau’s power; Henry Ward Beecher died after barely beginning his autobiography, and there were rumors at this time of Henry M. Stanley’s death in Africa [MTNJ 3: 304n19].

July 1 FridayCharles J. Langdon wrote enclosing $200 from the Beech Creek RR bonds [MTP].

Check #





F.G. Whitmore




Patrick McAleer




John O’Neil



July 2 Saturday – In Elmira Sam attended the baseball game but declined to umpire. From the Brooklyn Eagle of July 3, 1887, p 16.


L..       — —

But Mark Twain and Thomas K

Beecher Declined to be Umpires

ELMIRA, N.Y., July 2

Mark Twain and the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher were advertised to umpire an old fashioned game of base ball in this city this afternoon. The Mayor and other representative men of the city played in the game, but neither Clemens nor Beecher acted as umpire. Twain said he could not make a martyr of himself notwithstanding the fact that he would be glad to perish in a good cause, and took a seat by Mr. Beecher in the grandstand. Twain used a big fan in a vigorous manner, and said that he would encourage the players with his presence, but he must refuse to go out in the sun.

Henry Guy Carleton’s “TWAIN AS UMPIRE,” Boston Daily Globe, p.1, July 3, 1887, was a much more complete account the event with three cartoon engravings of the action. According to Carleton, Twain and Beecher did umpire for a while, though the spoof borders on the insane.

ELMIRA, July 2. — I left New York last evening to attend the base ball match here between the Alerts and the Unions, Governor Hill being unable to come, and journeyed up by way of the Delaware & Lackawanna. …

Umpire Mark Twain.

The umpire selected by the Unions was Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, who is so expert as to be able to umpire just as well with his eyes closed as open. This aroused the jealousy of the Alerts, who selected as their umpire John R. Joslyn, who can give decisions by telephone just as well as when on the ground. These appointments gave great satisfaction, but at the last moment Mark Twain arrived from the reformatory and threatened the terrified players that if he were not appointed general umpire at once he would lecture that night and depopulate the county. As no militia were within call, and the local authorities were powerless to interfere, the appointment was made. …

Game Called.

      Game was called at 4.20 p.m. and the Alerts went to bat. Most of them had been alert on a bat the night before to practice.

      The umpires were placed for safe keeping in the judges’ box and the scorers occupied the front rows on the grand stand.

      Mark Twain called time and Mayor Stanchfield delivered the first ball, which cleared the home plate by 11 feet and smote an inoffensive justice of the peace in the ear. Umpires Beecher and Joslyn pronounced it one ball and Mark Twain pronounced it a strike, and laid down the following rules:

Any ball is a strike that passes within eight feet of the plate on either side of it.

To wait for good balls causes delay and public dissatisfaction, and is not going to be allowed on this occasion. The batsmen will strike at everything that comes whether he can reach it or not. In waiting intervals, pecking at the plate with the bat to see if it is there will not be allowed. The batsman is denied all professional affectations; he must stand up straight and attend strictly to business.

These rules were demurred to by Messrs. Beecher and Joslyn, but after a brief conference with Twain under the grand stand, Mr. Beecher came up minus his back hair and Mr. Joslyn appeared without his right ear and with four teeth missing, and both said they agreed entirely with the chief umpire and would retire…

Smart Playing.

Mayor Stanchfield now delivered his second ball, which Denton neatly stopped with the pit of his stomach, was allowed a base by the umpire, and went to first on a stretcher. Mark Twain then issued the following ruling:

      “The pitcher must not wipe the ball on his pants; neither must he keep inspecting it and squirming and twisting it and trying to rub the skin off it with his hands. He must not keep the public waiting while he makes allusory feints at reputable parties on first and second base. All these foolings delay the game and dull the excitement.” ….

      Mark Twain delivered the following decision: “No more than 15 men at a time will be allowed to leave their places to chase a foul or a fly or a bluebottle and prevent the capture of it….” On the second innings Mark Twain umpired again, and allowed the Unions 61 runs on one foul, ruling that they could continue to run until the ball was found. [Note: John Stanchfield, the pitcher mentioned in the article was Clara Spaulding Stanchfields husband. Clara gave birth the following day.]

An agreement with this date exacted support from Sam up to $3,000 for Paige’s dynamo and motor, now in development. Sam was to benefit by a half-share of the profits. Sam, at Whitmore’s counsel, did not sign this contract; another was made on Aug. 16 [MTNJ 3: 338n111].

July 3 SundayLivy Clemens’ longtime friend, Clara Spaulding Stanchfield, gave birth to a baby girl. Livy was in attendance [A. Hoffman 340].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d ordered 1,000 envelopes for $21.80 and would send a few packages when they arrived. Expenses for the Haynes St. office were $1,242.51: typesetter $950.51; Patent $259.50; Motor $32.50, for which he drew a check to James W. Paige; Whitmore also noted he expressed the MS of HF to Josephus Nelson Larned, Librarian at Buffalo [MTP]. Note: the famous “lost half” rediscovered in 1990. Larned was a co-editor with Sam on the Buffalo Express.


July 4 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore asking if he’d framed “that motor-agreement” with Paige. He also informed him of the birth of a healthy, 8 lb. daughter to John and Clara Spaulding Stanchfield the day before [MTP]. Note: With Charles Webster increasingly ailing and out of the office, Sam dealt with Whitmore and Hall on publishing house business.

Quarry Farm was high enough to see any fireworks in town. From Clara Clemens:

Downtown here it was very noisy, but up here it was quiet at least pretty [quiet]. Jean had torpedoes so it wasn’t perfectly [quiet]. We had fireworks in the evening, and it was beautiful to see them in town.

They had 6 fires in the town from firecrackers. I wish they had been in the evening and all at once, and it would have made a fine show [Salsbury 243].


Check #





Dr. E.B. Hooker




Miss M.E. Riordon




Mr. N.G. Hinckley, Collector




E. Habenstein




A.D. Vorce & co


Art & frames


W.G. Simmons & Co.




H & S.B. Ice Co




Robert Garvie




Chas King




Lotos Club




D.S. Brooks & Son




Western Union Telegraph Co








D.H. Buell




Wilson & Rushing




Smith, Northam & Co




Mssrs McCarty & Cleary



July 5 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Linus T. Fenn. Only the envelope survives [MTP]. Note: Fenn was a Hartford merchant, selling furniture and stoves.

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam (Greening to Orion June 26 enclosed), thanking him for the “generous” check received. He wrote of a visit from Charley and Annie Webster and of Ma’s resolve “over and over again” to write to Sam but “the letter is not forthcoming” [MTP].

James W. Paige per Charles Van Schuyver (Paige to Brusnahan July 5 enclosed) wrote to Sam that his “Vanderpoele sketch just received. Mr. Vanderpoele’s motor is not as good as the Sprague motor, and we are bound to beat even that.” The enclosed letter advises Brusnahan that Sam had made himself fully acquainted with the Tribune machine” [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs B. Altman Co


Dry Goods

July 6 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, mostly about trying to set a dollar limit with Paige on the justifying motor. Sam urged diplomacy with Paige. He also complained of an obstacle to his continued fiction efforts:

I am losing time here; can’t seem to get started — on literary work, on account of the stubborn attack of dyspepsia that refuses to yield to treatment or cussing [MTP].

Sam also wrote to John Brusnahan, letter not extant but referred to in Brusnahan’s July 10 [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James W. Paige, letter not extant but referred to in Paige’s July 9 [MTP].

Check #





Dr. Frank B. Darby


Elmira Dentist

July 7 Thursday – In Elmira Sam responded to Margaret A. Bentley of Oakland, Calif., who evidently had written asking if Sam remembered a former riverboat pilot. It was likely, Sam wrote, that if he ever met the man he was a “cub” at the time and etiquette would have prevented the honor of such an introduction [MTP].

Sam also responded to Sarah Knowles Bolton, who wrote a section about Sam in her 1887 book, Famous American Authors, which was one of several in her “famous” series. The article included quotations from his books and a few words from him. Sam touched on five specifics of revision and then offered his praise for her biographical article of him:

You have done it well; so well that I feel quite satisfied with myself [MTP].

Samuel S. Cox wrote to Sam, trying to interest him in publishing “Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey” [MTP].

Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that Samuel S. “Sunset” Cox had offered the firm his book, Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey. Sam wrote on the envelope Sam wrote, “Yes, we want Cox’s book,” and approved a seven or eight percent royalty [MTBus 384; MTLTP 225n3].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam (Larned to Whitmore July 5 enclosed): “Yours with bills & checks for $435.50 recd: Every thing has been attended to. The agreement with Mr. Paige regarding the ‘Motor’ will be duly drawn up before any more money paid him” [MTP].

Check #





Mrs. Chas. D. Warner




Brown & Gross


Hartford bookseller

July 8 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore about bills and orders. Sam was also keeping close notice on the Mergenthaler linotype machine on trial at the N.Y. Tribune:

B’goshmighty the Tribune machine (50 of them) are to be distributed among the chief cities right away, & will take contracts to set type FOR newspapers — they ain’t going to trust that machine in the hands of non-experts, you see [MTP]. Note: Sam touted the Paige machine as one anyone might easily learn to use.

Sam also wrote to Hartford merchant, Linus T. Fenn, furniture and furnaces. Only the envelope survives [MTP].

Sarah Knowles Bolton for Bolton’s Realistic Travels wrote from Cleveland, Ohio, glad Sam changed the MS to his liking, and observing the best thing about Sam was his heart [MTP].

Check #





Mr. Porter Whiton


Builder; R.E.


Mssrs B. Altman Co


Dry Goods

July 9 Saturday – In Elmira Sam answered Samuel S. Cox’s inquiries about publishing:

If I had any doubts as to the readableness of your book it would be in order to send me the MS. — but I haven’t. I should only require to know the amount of matter in it; & you’ve told me that.

Sam wrote that his “firm-contract” with Charles Webster required agreement between him and Webster on taking on a book; Webster was not at home but would be “shortly,” Sam wrote, “& then we will assail you” [MTP]. Note: Cox, Ohio and New York congressman wrote two books, in 1865 and 1885 on legislative history. For two years after 1885, Cox was the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, then elected to Congress from New York. He died in 1889.

Sam then wrote Frederick J. Hall. He didn’t want Ignatius L. Donnelly’s book, which became The Great Cryptogram: Francis Bacon’s Cipher in the So-Called Shakespeare Plays (1888), but did want Samuel Cox’s: “Yes, we certainly want Cox’s book.” Sam wanted to be informed when Webster got home.

Let me know when he comes, & if I am not too deep in the book I am writing [CY], I will come down at once.


Note: Ignatius L. Donnelly (1831-1901), US Congressman, populist, writer, chiefly known today for his theories on Atlantis and Shakespearean authorship.

Sam also wrote Franklin G. Whitmore, sending a revision of the circular he’d written about the Loisette memory system. He also wished for Whitmore to “time Van at the case on ordinary reprint copy.” Charles Van Schuyver was an older compositor and assistant of Paige who claimed he could set 1000 ems an hour on the typesetter, but Sam thought it closer to 700 [MTP]. (See Aug. 8 to Van Schuyver.)

James W. Paige wrote to Sam that he’d received his of July 6, “glad that you requested Brusnahan to try the Tribune machine as it will be the best and quickest way to publish the difference between it and ours.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Paige will draw & sign the motor contract” [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam, about the $3,000 limit to Paige to build a dynamo, as it was Paige’s suggested amount. Frank thought no damage to the present friendly relations with Paige [MTP].

Check #





Tiffany & Co


 N.Y. Jeweler


Dr. Geo. C. Jarvis




G.F. Heublein & Brothers



July 10 Sunday – In Elmira and evidently past his bout with dyspepsia, Sam wrote to Mollie Clemens about a perfect day on the idyllic hilltop in his octagonal study at Quarry Farm.

This is a superb Sunday for weather — very cloudy, and the thermometer as low as 65. The city in the valley is purple with shade, as seen from up here at the study. The Cranes are reading and loafing in the canvas-curtained summer-house 50 yards away on a higher (the highest) point; the cats are loafing over at “Ellersbie” which is the children’s estate and the dwelling-house in their own private grounds (by deed from Susie Crane) a hundred yards from the study, amongst the clover and young oaks and willows. Livy is down at the house, but I shall now go and bring her up to the Cranes to help us occupy the lounges and the hammocks — whence a great panorama of distant hill and valley and city is seeable. The children have gone on a lark through the neighboring hills and woods. It is a perfect day indeed [MTP].

Kaplan writes, “Later, at the piano, he sang — “Go Down, Moses,” “Gospel Train,” “Old Folks at Home,” “Die Wacht am Rhein,” “Die Lorelei” — and then he read late into the night [297].

Pamela Moffett wrote to Sam, quoting Annie Webster’s letter that the doctor said Charles Webster needed a year’s rest; that he was in “great danger” and suffered from neuralgia in the head [MTP].

John Brusnahan wrote from the N.Y. Herald office answering Sam’s July 6, that he’d had only 15 or 20 minutes to examine the Tribune’s machine, but it was a one-man machine; speed claimed was 50,000 ems in ten hours, which is what Sam wrote on the envelope [MTP].


July 11 Monday – Sam must have been advised of Webster’s return, for he took the ten-hour trip to New York City, where he wrote Franklin G. Whitmore in Hartford. Sam sent Grant’s Memoirs for James Scrugham Quinn (RR agent) and wanted them given to him “right away before he can buy.” He wrote he was returning to Elmira the next day [MTP] Note: J. Scrugham Quinn was Hartford ticket agent for the N.Y., N. Haven & Hartford RR.

Samuel S. Cox wrote from N.Y. having received Sam’s of July 9, and touched on the revisions needed in his proposed book, Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey [MTP].

James Fraser Gluck, Buffalo attorney wrote thanking Sam for his “kindness in forwarding the first part of MSS. Of ‘Finn’ which Mr. Larned has just rec’d. The whole can now be bound and placed on exhibition” [MTP]. Note: half of the MS was lost until 1996. Josephus N. Larned, Buffalo librarian and former co-editor with Sam on the Buffalo Express.

James W. Paige per Charles Van Schuyver wrote from Hartford to Sam having received his July 8. Paige thought the Tribune people were putting out false notices about their typesetter to “sell what stock they can”[MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam having received “several favors with enclosures…this morning.” Paige was still sick with dysentery, and “every thing is quiet at the Haynes St.” office. Whitmore “just mailed the Beech Creek dividends over. You have 52 shares preferred” [MTP].

Check #





Mrs. Orion Clemens




July 12 Tuesday – Sam returned to Elmira and Quarry Farm [July 11 to Whitmore]. He wrote Frederick J. Hall encouraging him to rush into the canvass for King David Kalakaua’s collection of Hawaiian Legends book, while “this flurry is up” [MTLTP 219]. Note: Sam’s dictum for an optimized subscription method limiting itself to two books a year, seems to have been ignored due to all the wondrous possibilities.

Sam also wrote his sister Pamela Moffett of family matters. He hadn’t been aware of the serious of her son-in-law, Charles Webster’s neuralgia. Sam recommended surgery or complete rest. He was encouraged to hear “such prosperous accounts” of his nephew Samuel Moffett and new wife Mary. Sam wrote of his girls:

It is not all holiday here with Susie & Clara this time. They have to put in some little time every day on their high school studies. Jean thinks she is studying, too, but I don’t know what it is unless it is the horses. She spends the day under their heels in the stalls — & that is but a continuation of her Hartford system of culture [MTP]

Note: Moffett attended the University of California at Berkeley and worked part time on an Oakland newspaper. From 1887-9 he was on the editorial staff of the San Francisco Examiner [MTNJ 3: 301n7]. He would become a well-known magazine writer and editor of Collier’s Weekly.

Sam also sent a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore about a “fix” to Sam’s billiard table and asking about tax statements he hadn’t received, save the West Middle School tax [MTP].

Check #





Mme. Fogarty


N.Y. Dressmaker


July 13 WednesdayFrederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, replying to his July 12 note that it might do to rush the Kalakaua’s Hawaiian legends book into canvass.

…there are a great many drawings and woodcuts under way, so that if you decide to rush the book, it can be done without much trouble. [He also wrote that] the Crawford book is all printed, and will be out probably in a week; and I am just returning to the printer the last galley proofs of the Hancock book [MTLTP 219n1].

Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (enclosed in Hall July 13 above).

Dr. W.A.M. Wainwright of Hartford wrote to Sam having received his letter this afternoon, which evidently asked about the condition of Charles Webster and an operation for a similar malady that Wainwright and Dr. M. Storrs has performed previously. Wainwright gave general, qualified answers [MTP].


July 14 ThursdayJames W. Paige per Charles Van Schuyver wrote to Sam, having received his of July 12. Paige had just consulted with H.W. Beadle, patent lawyer on a patent claim, who said they had “a very effective case…we were the first to employ an auxiliary type-driver” [MTP].

Keokuk Board of Health sent Sam printed vital statistics for the city ending June 30, 1887 [MTP].

Robert J. Burdette wrote from Byrn Mawr, Penn. to Sam gluing a clipping of Dr. William M. Gibson’s death, the man “said to be the doctor Mark Twain writes about in his “Innocents Abroad.” Robert added to the black-bordered card, “Yes, pard; you see he’s dead again — ” and drew a man staring at cemetery headstones above the clipping. Gibson reportedly spent $100,000 on his own monument.

Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, thanking them for their “generous remittances,” that “lifts a larger proportion of my lifes cares from me….” Mollie told more stories of Ma’s senility [MTP].

Check #





Mr. W.M. Clark




July 15 Friday – In Elmira Sam responded to Frederick J. Hall’s question about the Hawaiian King’s book. The prospectus was not ready, so Sam felt the recent publicity didn’t have “enough permanency…to do us any real good,” and that moving up the canvass for the book “might disarrange Mr. Webster’s plans, anyway.” Based on checks reported received by Hall from Slote & Co. And from American Pub. Co., Sam was shocked that his “one blank book outsells my 6 printed ones!” Sam suggested Whitmore might research all the back statements from this latter company and “might be compelled to annul the contracts” and the copyright pass to him. Sam was convinced that a check of only $163 showed “fraud or a mystery.” Again Sam threatened suit [MTLTP 220].

Sam then wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, announcing that the motor Paige was working on had already been invented; Sam had sent the article on them to Paige. About the $163.26 royalty check for three months sales of his six older books, he wrote:

There is an immense nigger in that fence somewhere [MTP]. Note: Sam added a second letter with a PS to deposit the enclosed $48 as well.


Check #





Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




Mr H.G. Carleton


Henry G.


Frederick S. Brown, Collector




July 16 SaturdayJames W. Paige per Charles Van Schuyver wrote to Sam, “Yours of the 15th inst. Just received.” He elaborated on technical aspects of the motor and of the Thorne typesetter [MTP].


July 17 SundayOrion Clemens wrote to Sam (Orion C. Conatser to Orion July 14 enclosed) Orion called him “a Tennessee namesake of mine” and wrote asking what he would offer for the quit claim deed on the land he referred to [MTP].


July 18 Monday – In Elmira Sam sent thanks to an unidentified man for sending him a copy of “The Beecher Memorial,” which he already had. Sam mentioned he had been working on a book for three years that was “nearly half done” [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam about James Paige’s newly developed electro-magnetic motor, thought to be revolutionary, and when perfected “would give us all the money we should need in starting the Type Setter” [MTNJ 3: 338n111].

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam: Charles Webster arrived home last Friday but had not yet returned to the office; Hall sent a check covering the amount of the two checks from Am. Pub. Co. and Slote. The preface for Library of Humor was received. Should he facsimile it? He did not find any selections from Howell’s works. On the envelope, Sam wrote, “Check enclosed. Yes, fac simile it. Send to Clark for selections from Howells” [MTP].

James W. Paige (H.W. Beadle to Paige July 18 enclosed) wrote to Sam “I enclose herewith Mr. Beadle’s note to me which explains its-self, He is to send me copies of the claims tomorrow.” H.W. Beadle, patent atty., reported his “careful examination” of the patent application for the “driver device” and was of the opinion that “there is proper basis in your application, for claims which will cover clearly, and fully, the device used by Mergenthaler” [MTP]. Note: Beadle had written on Jan 11, 1886 relating to existing patents on aspects of the typesetter.

Check #





Sylvester Baxter



Note: Baxter was involved in raising money for the welfare of Walt Whitman; this may have been an additional contribution by Sam.

July 19 TuesdayJames W. Paige wrote to Sam enclosing a copy of additional claims about the “driver device.” He would forward a letter just received from Pratt & Whitney [MTP].


July 20 Wednesday


July 21 Thursday – In Elmira Sam wrote to William (Billy) Gross of Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers:

Whatinthehelldoyoureckonamancando with a History that begins with Volume V? (Lecky’s History of the 18th Century.) Shove along the other 4 volumes and don’t fool around [MTP].

Note: William Lecky’s A History of England in the Eighteenth Century would eventually be eight volumes (1887-90). Sam would credit Lecky in his tentative appendix for CY. See Gribben 400.

Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. He was in the heat of composing new chapters to CY. Kaplan notes Sam was working “seven hours a day on his book…tense and anxious, unable to sleep at night. He sat up late, smoking and thinking” [298]. Sam wrote Whitmore to furnish the necessary funds for Paige to spend on his motor.

Within the past 3 days I have got head over heels in a book & am writing without rest or stop — steam at high pressure. As the book is worth thirty or forty thousand dollars when finished, I can’t afford to stop to read agreements, write letters, or anything else [MTP].

Colonel Fred Grant wrote Webster & Co. Charging that his accountant concluded that the company owed his mother about $104,000 more than she had been paid. On the envelope of his copy of Grant’s letter, Sam wrote, “Fred Grant’s queer letter.” Among other things, Grant questioned the inclusion of large legal fees as “publishing costs” [MTLTP 222n1&4].

James W. Paige wrote to Sam enclosing a letter from Pratt & Whitney and his answer to it dictated by Hamersley. He also enclosed a financial statement “taken from my books.” Paige reported Hamersley’s opinion that they might have to pay additional funds to P&W. The $20,000 “appropriated for the building of the Type Setting Machine has run out,” so stated the P&W letter.

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote two letters to Sam, the first advising of Pratt & Whitney’s position (see Paige’s letter above) that they had fulfilled their contract. The second letter asked Sam to keep Robinson’s name confidential as a source of opinon on the dispute [MTP].


July 22 Friday


July 23 Saturday – In Elmira Sam telegraphed Franklin G. Whitmore that he was on his way to Hartford.

I am coming & shall be glad to meet all of you at my house next Wednesday eve & talk the thing all over have statics and other information ready that can bear upon the matter [MTP].


July 24 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote his mother, Jane Clemens about being away for daughter Jean’s seventh birthday in two days; teaching a new dog to “let the cats alone” and how they’d love to visit but “it’s a long way, & even the dead can’t travel in such weather, without spoiling.” His paragraph about Jean is revealing:

Jean has got a good head, but she is as dull at learning as I was — & am. She can spell — that is, as well as her mother or her aunt Sue — but children are born that far along. She reads German at 7 as well as the other children did at 5, but has no chance at English yet, to speak of. Tolerably good at arithmetic. Her mother has taught her, every day since she was weaned; but she will pass largely into the governess’s hands in the fall. Jean is an expert on animals, at any rate — she has Clara’s gift and interest in that line [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Mollie Clemens, responding to her letter. He had made “mighty progress” with his book but did not want to “divulge the name or subject” of it yet (CY). He wrote of “creations of Ma’s fancy,” — a horse and carriage and “even the iste coachman.” Sam wrote of a necessary business trip the following day:

But I have to lose the present week, in New York & Hartford, on business. If I could buy said week, & remain at work here I could afford to pay $3,000 for it. All send love to you all. Sam [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Charles Webster, but addressing it “Dear CLW & Co:” — possibly because Webster was growing worse from his neuralgia and Sam wasn’t sure he would read the note. He provided George W. Cable’s address, acknowledged receipt of a $641 check from American Publishing Co. And agreed that it was a “good idea to facsimile that Preface to Library of Humor[MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d just received his telegram (see July 23) and did not think it necessary for him to come to Hartford unless of course he wanted to. “The work will go on at P&W I believe…please telegraph me upon receipt of this letter.” Hall thought the expenses for the motor this month would be greater [MTP].


July 25 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to his brother-in-law Charles Langdon for Livy, requesting $1,500 be remitted to Bissell & Co., Hartford bankers, with the check mailed to Franklin G. Whitmore. In the afternoon, Sam left for N.Y.C., and read the fourth volume of Metternich’s memoirs on the train in the evening (a ten-hour trip). He stayed at the St. James Hotel [to Livy July 26]. Note: See Gribben p.465.

Mollie Clemens wrote of the Keokuk hot wave which had “passed by” and of Ma being “real well, but no improvement of memory or hearing,” and that “Orion is better than he was for awhile.” She sent Jean a sachel for her birthday [MTP].

Pamela Moffett wrote from Oakland, Calif. To Sam and Livy by way of Orion: “I do not lay claim to any interest in Tennessee land. I have no objection to giving a quit claim deed to anybody [MTP].

Check #





T.W. Crane




Connecticut safe deposit co




A. Vantine & Co


N.Y. Dept


July 26 TuesdayJean Clemens’ seventh birthday. (See July 24 entry.)

In New York City at the St. James Hotel, Sam wrote to Livy:

Livy darling. I have finished up what I had to do here, & shall start to Hartford at 4.30. Charley [Webster] is a constant sufferer from his neuralgia, but has lately found a doctor who gives him several hours’ relief per day.

Sam also compared General George B. McClellan’s memoirs with those of Metternich’s, which he’d read on the train [LLMT 249]. Note: It’s unclear how long Sam was in Hartford, though he was back in Elmira on Aug. 3. Edward H. House and Koto had been housesitting Sam’s Hartford home; after six weeks, House moved to the George Warners [MTNJ 3: 304]. Sam may have seen to the move and met with Whitmore and others the next day. In a letter to his brother on Sept. 7, Sam mentioned this time as when he “woke up…to find that there was no more system in the office than there is in a nursery without a nurse.”


July 27 Wednesday – Sam’s telegram to Franklin G. Whitmore on July 23 about a meeting at his house “next Wednesday eve [this day]…” to “talk the thing all over have statics and other information ready,” suggests Sam’s research into the Paige typesetter and a meeting, at least informally, of stockholders.

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam; check for $155 received; he discussed his research and writing into English kings [MTP].


July 28 Thursday


July 29 FridayLivy wrote to her sister-in-law, Mollie Clemens that she and Susan L. Crane were reading Charles Kingsley’s His Letters and Memories of His Wife (1877); Sam’s notebook carries a July entry which suggests he was also was reading the book:

The Deity filled with humor. Kingsley. God’s laughter [MTNJ 2: 37; Gribben 372].


July 30 Saturday


July 31 Sunday – In his Aug. 3 to Webster, referring to this day, Sam wrote of the “fun, which was abounding in the Yankee at Arthur’s Court up to three days ago,”. It is probable then, that upon returning to New York from Hartford sometime late in the week, that Sam got a fuller picture of the problems and negative forecast of Webster & Co. He may have returned to Elmira this day or the day before. It may have been a worrisome, ten-hour ride.


August – Sam’s notebook entries for this month carries a list of cryptic calculations for these books to be issued by Webster & Co. With columns of sales numbers and total projected sales as below (years of publication added here):

Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock, by Almira Hancock (1887); 18,000

Tenting on the Plains; or, General Custer in Kansas and Texas, by Elizabeth Custer (1887); 25,000

Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey by Samuel S. Cox (1887); 20,000

A Biography of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher by William C. Beecher and Rev. Samuel Scoville (1888); 15,000

Legends and Myths of Hawaii by King David Kalakaua and Rollin M. Daggett; 20,000

Mark Twain’s Library of Humor (1888); 20,000 or 25,000

Old stock and Beecher’s aborted Life of Christ were also listed [MTNJ 3: 307].

August 1 MondayWebster & Co. Sent Sam a small, handwritten accounting showing a “Cash Book” balance of $31,506.94 [MTP].

Check #





John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer




Telephone Co




D.F. Healy



August 2 Tuesday – The Brooklyn Eagle, page 2, under “PERSONAL MENTION”:

It is said that Mark Twain tries a new hotel every time he comes to New York. This gives greater freshness to his jokes.


Pratt & Whitney Co. wrote to Sam (not extant, but referred to in Sam’s reply to them ca. Aug. 11). See also Sam to Whitmore, Aug. 5 for issues raised by Pratt &Whitney, which argued they’d fulfilled their contract and sent bills with allusions to a lawsuit. Paige’s shop was at Pratt & Whitney Co.


August 3 Wednesday – By this date Sam had returned to Elmira, where he wrote Charles Webster, concluding “our outlook is disturbing,” with the combined income from the Pope’s book and McClellan’s book only paying expenses. They had lost the Grant letters book, and Beecher had died, changing his book from an autobiography to a biography by the family, even if they could come to terms.

Therefore I beg you to put the Library of Humor in the works without waiting for pictures, & push it through, publishing the 15th of December. If somebody’s book must be turned over to the spring, let it be a stranger’s. If the canvassing book can with CERTAINTY be gotten ready & distributed by the 12th or the 15th of September, let me know, for I want relief of mind; the fun, which was abounding in the Yankee at Arthur’s Court up to three days ago, has slumped into funeral seriousness, & this will not do — it will not answer at all. The very title of the book requires fun, & it must be finished. But it can’t be done, I see, while this cloud hangs over the workshop.

I work seven hours a day, & am in such a taut-strung & excitable condition that everything that can worry me, does it; & I get up & spend from 1 o’clock till 3 a.m. pretty regularly every night, thinking — not pleasantly [MTLTP 221-2].

August 4 ThursdayPamela Moffett wrote to thank Sam “very much” for answering her letter and promising “help for Charley” (Webster), who was now in Far Rockaway, N.Y. recovering [MTP].


August 5 Friday – In Elmira Sam reported to Franklin G. Whitmore, “Have made splendid progress on my book this week.” This was a comment added below his signature on a letter containing aspects of the Paige machine, threats of lawsuit, bills sent, disputes about a $20,000 contract being fulfilled to Pratt & Whitney for work on the typesetter, and the like.

Must I send them an answer? If so, you & Paige & Hamersley may frame it & send it to me, & I will forward it to them [MTP].


August 6 Saturday – Sam wrote to Charles R. Brown, letter not extant but referred to in Brown’s Sept. 2 [MTP].


August 7 Sunday


August 8 MondayRichard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine had written Sam (unlisted in MTP’s Incoming file). Sam responded:

Oh, I didn’t know what you meant by “the play.” But it has occurred to me that you mean that 3-act German-English farce, — & so you’ve cost me a day — & I couldn’t spare it, by George! I’ve gone over it & revised…[MTP].

Sam had sent it out for typesetting and offered to send it to Gilder when it arrived. If Gilder liked it, Sam advised having Edward Windsor Kemble (1861-1933) do a few illustrations for it. Kemble had illustrated Huckleberry Finn. Note: Century would publish this work, Meisterschaft: In Three Acts in January 1888. Sam originally wrote it sometime in 1886-7 as entertainment for the family. Gelencser writes:

“Mark Twain humorously criticizes language as a mode of communication and proves that, especially among lovers, language often serves only as an obstacle to true understanding.”


“From the American perspective, Heine’s poem, Meisterschaft, Ollendorf, and the awful German language, which Twain so successfully mocks in this uniquely innovative play, represent the superficiality and restriction of European culture and values” [MT Encyc. 507-8]. Note: in Meisterschaft Sam quoted four lines from Heinrich Heine’s (1797-1856) poem, “Du Bist wie eine Blume!” [Gribben 305].

Sam then wrote to Charles Van Schuyver, compositor, about setting proof for Meisterschaft. Sam added a note to the MS that was stricken on publication in the Century:

There is some tolerably rancid German here & there in this piece. It is attributable to the proof-reader. M.T. [MTP].


August 9 TuesdayTheodore Frelinghuysen Seward wrote to Sam, asking if he might have the “idiot” comment Sam made about Tonic-Sol method being a “rational mode” over the conventional (Staff method), “which was the invention of an idiot.” Sam wrote “NO. SLC” on the letter [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore (Whitney ca. Aug. 9 enclosed) wrote, “Your letter with the Pratt & W’s enclosures rec’d,” and that Paige was down sick under a doctor’s care [MTP].


August 9 Tuesday, after – In Elmira Sam responded with a one-liner to Theodore Frelinghuysen Seward (1835-1902), American musician and teacher. He managed performances of the “Jubilee singers,” and wrote down more than 100 of their plantation melodies during their 1875-6 European tour. Seward wrote and lectured on a new musical notation system he adopted while in London in 1869. He also founded the Brotherhood of Christian Unity, the Don’t Worry Clubs, and the Golden Rule Brotherhood. His book, The Temple Choir, sold more than 100,000 copies (interestingly, not listed in Gribben) [N.Y. Times Sept. 1, 1902 obit]. Sam responded:

I judge the “Tonic-Solfa” notation to be a rational mode of representing music, in place of the prevailing fashion, which was the invention of an idiot [MTP].

Note: for several years there were spirited debates between advocates of the staff system of music notation and the Tonic Sol-fa system, which Seward advocated.


August 10 WednesdayFrederick J. Hall, responding to the obvious depression of Sam’s Aug. 3 letter, wrote encouraging news and a report on the state of the business. Since his return from the West, Charles Webster had been laid up, coming to the office intermittently. Hall reported that the outlook was good with no outstanding debts save profits of Sam’s, which he might elect to withdraw. Further, Hall reported that both the Pope’s book and McClellan’s were selling well, despite the season.

We have sold since April 1st to August 1st 21577 books and prospectuses. It must be borne in mind that these months are hot, unprofitable and considered the dullest of the year [MTNJ 3: 311n33; MTLTP 224n1].

Hall conveyed Charles Webster’s opinion that Mark Twain books were associated with lots of illustrations, and books such as Mark Twain’s Library of Humor, or Connecticut Yankee would have to be liberally and well-illustrated to be successful [MTLTP 225n4].


August 11 Thursday ca. – Sam responded to the issues brought by Pratt & Whitney Co. (see Aug. 5 to Whitmore);

Your esteemed favor of the 2nd inst received; and its contents duly noted. I shall acquaint Mr. Paige concerning the position you have assumed, and I await notice of any action you may take in the future [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the envelope, “Draft of letter to Pratt Whitney The call that sent the $3,175 check,” indicating that in time Sam paid their demands.


August 11 ThursdayCharles Ethan Davis, engineer & designer for Pratt & Whitney, wrote to Sam about drawings for the Paige typesetter 

Work still goes on at P & CW. Co’s: detail drawings will all be in the last of this week or the early part of next; unless some new matter comes in, which I do not know of now & Mr Paige should desire to change from my designs now ready [letter with Aug. 14 to Whitmore, 2nd of 2, MTP].

Fannie Bean a “strugging woman” wrote from Balitmore to Sam asking him to use his influence to find her a publisher. He wrote “No.” on the envelope [MTP].


August 12 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. Sam’s Hartford bank was “running low” and Sam was in a pinch — he couldn’t get funds from Charles Langdon, who had “just sailed for Europe” and so would have to borrow to pay a bill Whitmore sent. He asked that Whitmore send the Beech Creek railroad bonds. The motor that Paige was working on was “costing too much for the present circumstances,” and office expenses mounted. Sam asked,

When will those office expenses cease? Get & give to me a date. They were to cease entirely, Aug. 13 — which is to-morrow [MTP]. Note: Aug. 13 to Whitmore makes it clear that these were office expenses connected with Paige and the typesetter, not Webster & Co.’s.


August 13 Saturday – In Elmira Sam responded to Charles Hopkins Clark, who evidently had asked about the inclusion of some material for the Library of Humor. Sam answered that he would ask Webster, and in the meantime Clark might “rake together an uncopyrighted page or two from Warner & Howells” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, upset about the mounting expenses connected with the Paige typesetter. He’d lent $4,000 to Paige for office expenses — was that amount exhausted already? The addition of a dynamo to the typesetter had delayed the drawings and was not needed for the exhibition machine under construction. Would Whitmore drop into the Paige office every day and ask when office expenses would end?

I got no sleep last night. I suppose this type-setter is going to break this forty-thousand-dollar book up & ruin it ANYway, so you may as well resume your letters to me. Shut off the motor-expense. If I had known — but I ought to have known, long ago, that when Paige thinks a thing will cost $100, that is proof that it will cost $1000.

Good land! The new machine was to cost $8,000; drawings $4,500; patents, $5,000. Total $17,500! That machine is going to cost all of $15,000 yet [MTP].

Arthur H. Wright wrote for Webster & Co. and forwarded a letter from an unspecified lady who wished to reprint excerpts from Grant’s Memoirs. Wright also reported good initial sales for the Hancock book in the first week’s effort [MTLTP 225n1 & 226n3]. Note: Sam answered on Aug. 16.

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d received his letter and he would “attend to the matter of the invitations by answering for you in a manner which I trust will justify your kind confidence.” Ma had been going to Salvation Army meetings and the races with “impartial interest.” [MTP].

Stephen A. Hubbard with the Hartford Courant wrote to Sam, to “give…some account of my stewardship. I divided your telegraphic donation between my two old veterans” [MTP].

Check #





H.E. Patten



August 14 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote two letters to Franklin G. Whitmore. The first letter gave two paragraphs to the motor Paige was adding to the typesetter. The last dealt with the market, and a planned competition:

We’ve got the type-setter market all to ourselves, now, if we could only get the machine finished. Brusnahan has been [at] the Tribune again & examined those machines carefully & at his leisure; & he puts their best capacity at 2,000 ems an hour. If this is a fact which the Tribunists cannot get away from, the Paige machine is wholly without a competitor, & is quite easily worth fifty millions of dollars. I mean there is a market in the world for 5,000 machines now, without regarding the 5,000 that will be salable a very few years later on.

Don’t let Will give up his practice entirely, but freshen himself up two or three half-hours a week on that key-board. We shall have to challenge all machines to a money-forfeit contest, in New York, & Van might lack not only speed but nerve [MTP]. Note: Charles Van Schuyver, often referred to as “Van” in correspondence.


The second letter to Whitmore enclosed Charles Ethan Davis Aug. 11 letter, together with Sam’s concerns about the dynamo (motor), new drawings, a near forced sale of Beech Creek railroad bonds, and the Pratt & Whitney matter.

I’m not worrying about P & W any more; they will get done soon enough: it is those pitiless & everlasting drawings that I am sweating over [MTP].

Sam read over his 350 pages of MS on CY and was pleased it was a “bully book” so far [Aug. 15 to Hall and Webster].

August 15 Monday – In Elmira Sam had received a report from Frederick J. Hall and Charles Webster on the business. Sam replied and thanked them for the information, which he thought clear. He made some conclusions: a book had to sell 30,000 to gain half profits, 20,000 one-third at ten percent royalties. At 15,000 sales it could stand a 7 ½ percent profit, and a book selling only 10,000 would not be profitable under any terms. Sam recommended offering Joe Jefferson eight percent, and if they could do Sunset Cox over he would try him at that figure. Sam was afraid Cox’s book would not sell over 12,000, Joe’s at 20-15,000.

The highest royalty I ever got (while I was green), was 10 per cent.


Sam then turned to the Library of Humor and his “Yankee at Arthur’s Court” book:


Can you name the 15th of January with certainty, for the canvassing-books to be ready & the canvass to begin? And the 1st of April as the day of publication? Now whack me out an answer to these conundrums, Charley, & if yes, you can stir up Mr. Clark as soon as you please, & shove the book into the works.


The present book (I mean the “Yankee at King Arthur’s Court,”) will be finished by the end of the year; I allow myself time enough, because when we leave for Hartford I shall have but 500 pages of MS finished — just 1/3 of the book — & in H. I shall not have the uninterrupted rush that I secure to myself here. But it may never go to press; for it is a 100,000-copy book, if Huck Finn was a 50,000-copy book, & I shall wait until I see at least an 800,000-copy sale ahead before I publish. (You see, I went back and read my 350 pages of MS through, yesterday, & found out that I am making an uncommonly bully book — & am swelled up accordingly) [MTLTP 223-4].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote two letters to Sam. In the first he wrote he’d received Sam’s of Aug 12 and telegraphed him this a.m. that the Beech Creek bonds were in the bank at Elmira; he’d received the draft for $3,175.85 and made deposit in the U.S. Bank. He advised Sam’s balance at Bissell’s bank was about $1,000; he could raise “3 or 4 thousand dollars on your Norfolk & Western R.R. bonds at the bank in case you should need the money quickly.” About two hours later, Whitmore wrote again that he’d just “rec’d” Sam’s “of the 13th,” and would “try to prevent any new idea of Paige’s from taking a money hold on you at Haynes St.” [MTP].

Theodore Frelinghuysen Seward wrote apologies to Sam for “having forced myself upon you as I have done” in the matter of his opinions on the “Tol-Sofa” vs. the Staff system of music. Sam wrote on the envelope, “ I seem to have choked off this bore at last” [MTP].

Check #





Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




A. Marwick Jr & co




August 16 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Charles Webster, closing with the thought that the General Hancock book “does indeed promise well.” Sam believed in giving “any respectable author permission to use extracts” of their books, even as much as a tenth of the entire book. He believed such extracts created good publicity and sales for the books.

It isn’t a newspaper’s review of a book that makes the book sell; it is the extracts copied from the book that does it. To be consistent damned donkeys, Houghton Mifflin ought to forbid the use of extracts in reviews of their books. But I suppose a fool is never consistent [MTLTP 225]. Note: it had been Arthur H. Wright with Webster & Co. Who wrote Aug. 13 asking permission to supply excerpts from Grant’s Memoirs.

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam about the July 2 contract with Paige as yet unsigned. After some negotiations, Paige was to proceed with the invention of the new kind of motor & dynamo at his own expense, but allow Sam to claim a half-share in it by executing the July 2 contract and paying Paige his development expenses should the invention prove successful [MTNJ 3: 338n111].

William Smith, editor of The History and Antiquities of Pudsey (1887) inscribed a copy of the book to Sam: S.L. Clemens, Esq./ with the Editor’s / Sincere / regards / Morley, Aug 16 ’87 [Gribben 570].


August 16 Tuesday ca. – Somewhat after this date, Sam wrote a one-liner to Theodore F. Seward, who had asked if he might use Sam’s “idiot” comment sent on about Aug. 9, then complained when Sam declined permission:

Come — come — take a walk; you disturb the children [MTP]. Note: The PDF file at the MTP ascribes this letter to Unidentified and gives it after 1887.08.15 date, listing also an “author’s draft.” MTLP 2: 474-5 provides some backstory on this affair, and gives this as Sam’s “Mailed Answer,” preceded by Sam’s “Unmailed Answer”:


Dear Sir, — What is the trouble with you? If it is your viscera, you cannot have them taken out and reorganized a moment too soon. I mean, if they are inside. But if you are composed of them, that is another matter. Is it your brain? But it could not be your brain. Possibly it is your skull: you want to look out for that. Some people, when they get an idea, it pries the structure apart. Your system of notation [Tonic Solfa for music scores] has got in there, and couldn’t find room, without a doubt that is what the trouble is. You skull was not made to put ideas in, it was made to throw potatoes at. Yours Truly [MTLP 475].


August 17 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, questioning increasing office expenses for Paige’s office. He noted receipt of a statement from Webster & Co., and questioned whether his agreement with Webster required him to put in more cash at this point. If Whitmore was in doubt, would he ask Henry C. Robinson, attorney? The summer was coming to an end.

We shall all be home one month from to-day. If I can have financial peace until then (which you seem to doubt), I shall be where I can act — without having to stretch my arm half across the continent. [¶] Keep Paige in a good humor — it is the first consideration [MTP].

Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam and advised, “We have written the lady…that she might use the selections in her letter” [MTLTP 225n1], which refers to her use of excerpts from Grant’s Memoirs (see Aug. 13 from Arthur W. Wright, and Aug. 16 Sam to Webster.) It is noted that Sam was having some difficulty at this time obtaining his own permissions to use older material for the Library of Humor, as Hall described responses from Houghton Mifflin over the issue as “very offish” [MTLTP 227n1].


August 18 Thursday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore with miscellaneous business items and questions about Paige office expenses, the motor which had been built for the typesetter, drawings for Pratt & Whitney Co. (which then had six months to complete building the new typesetter) and with questions about payment to them. Sam’s spirits were up:

Land, but it is good to see daylight ahead at last! I feel cheerful again.

Sam added after his signature that they would leave for Hartford Sept. 14, stopping “2 or 3 days” in New York [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs. J. Langdon & Co



August 19 Friday – Filed with the US Patent office: patent # 547,860 to James W. Paige: Machine for Distributing, Setting, and Justifying Type [MTHHR 64n1].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that “The Motor business was settled as you will see by my letter before receiving yours of the 14th inst. & everything is pleasant … relating with Mr. Paige.” He offered other provisions about money Sam would be required to leave in Webster & Co. On the envelope, Sam wrote, “1st Oct. can demand division of profits. Shall then want 1 check & 1 note ($12,000) which will make $75,000 complete” [MTP].


August 20 Saturday


August 21 Sunday – In Lake George, New York, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.

Geo. H. Yewell, the painter, has made a superb etching of the room where Grant died, and Mr. Drexel has written him the enclosed letter about it…. I’ve suggested to Mr. Yewell that C.L. Webster & Co., might like to take hold of it, and sell it by subscription in connection with Grant’s memoirs….If he happens not to be known by you, I can certify his worth and standing. He’s a great friend of Millet’s.

Howells also requested that the Library of Humor proofs be sent so he might write the introduction, and tempted Sam to visit him in Lake George, “the prettiest place in the world” [MTHL 2: 594-5].

Note: George Henry Yewell (1830-1923), famous portrait painter was also vacationing in Lake George; Mr. Drexel is “Probably Anthony J. Drexell (1826-1893) of Philadelphia, an international banker, philanthropist, and collector of paintings” [n2]. Drexel also was a partner of John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) and founder of Drexel University. Francis D. Millet was the long time friend of the Clemenses who did a remarkable portrait of Sam in 1876 (see MTDBD Vol. 1 entries on Millet).


August 22 Monday – In Elmira Sam responded to Howells’ Aug. 21 letter. Webster & Co.’s “hands are abundantly full,” he wrote, but offered to forward Howells’ and Drexel’s letters to Webster (who declined to handle Yewell’s etching).

Paine points out that Sam re-read Thomas Carlyle’s The French Revolution during this summer at Quarry Farm [MTB 848]. Sam marveled at how this read found him changed:

How stunning are the changes which age makes in a man while he sleeps. When I finished Carlyle’s French Revolution in 1871, I was a Girondin; every time I have read it since, I have read it differently — being influenced & changed, little by little, by life & environment (& Taine, & St. Simon): & now I lay the book down once more, & recognize that I am a Sansculotte! — And not a pale, characterless Sansculotte, but a Marat. Carlyle teaches no such gospel: so the change is in me — in my vision of the evidences.

Sam then accused people of pretending that the Bible meant the same to them during their lifetime, something they wouldn’t claim for other books. He compared this to a man going back to look at the house of his childhood, something he did in 1882 and would do again.

…it has always shrunk: there is no instance of such house being (bigger than) as big as the picture in memory & imagination call for. Shrunk how? Why, to its correct dimensions; the house hasn’t altered; this is the first time it has been in focus.

Sam then referred to likewise bringing an author into the proper “focus,” something he acknowledged Howells had done with Tolstoi, and he’d done with Browning. After his signature he wrote that he’d just received Yewell’s etching and agreed it was “all that Mr. Drexel says about it” [MTHL 2: 595-6].

Sam also wrote to William L. Ransom, declining some invitation from “the Committee” [MTP].

Not all was work and business in Sam’s life, even during this hectic year. There was always billiards, and what other greater joy than to swap billiard tables with a good friend? Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore:

Dear Brer Whitmo’ —

Yes, I would like very well to exchange billiard tables for a spell, if it will not too much inconvenience you. It is a kind offer & I greatly appreciate it. So, I would like Hewins to re-cover yours & set it up for me, & move my table to your house [MTP]. Note: Matt H. Hewins, Billiards Saloon owner.

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam about purchasing extracts needed from Houghton & Mifflin for the Library of Humor book. Webster was still unable to come into the office [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam all about Paige issues after having “a long talk with both Mr. Paige & Mr. Davis. I will try to answer the questions as entertained in your last letter dated the 18th inst.: Your two checks & [illegible word] rec’d.” Sam wrote on the envelope that the outside estimate of all costs save Paige’s $3,000 salary was $19,000 [MTP].


August 23 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Charles Webster about Yewell’s etching of the room where Grant died, and its possible inclusion with sales of Grant’s Memoirs. It was up to Webster and he could simply write Howells yes or no. Sam also reminded Webster to send proofs of Library of Humor to Howells.

His introduction will be a valuable addition, whether he signs it or not [MTP].


Sam’s letter, which he began June 10 in Hartford was sent to Webster & Co. The rub was between Sam and Houghton & Co over rights of material that was to appear in the Library of Humor.

(This is as far as I got, in a blast at Houghton, Syphillis & Co. designed for publication. But it would not do to print what I was going to say.) [¶]

Let me hear what they want to charge. If they crowd me too hard, I will use the matter without their consent, & let them sue for “exemplary” damages. But I should want this purpose kept private until our book was out.

Sam added that if there were no selections from Howells’ books, they must have Charles Hopkins Clark include some, “at once” [MTLTP 226].

August 24 WednesdayChatto & Windus wrote to Sam forwarding “an official letter from the Inland Revenue Department” assessing an income tax on his English book profits. Sam did not receive this notice until Sept. 19. See that entry for his reply.

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d just received his of “the 21st telling him to sell the bonds mentioned & place proceeds in the U.S. Bank.” Whitmore announced he would “disobey orders” as Sam would not need the money for a month. [MTP].


August 25 ThursdayWebster & Co. Wrote to Sam that “unless we hear from you to the contrary, Mr. Hall will come to Elmira on Tuesday, leaving N.Y. on the 7.55 train Monday” [MTP].


August 26 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, finally getting a good night’s sleep.

I didn’t know I was carrying a load of anxiety, but I suppose I was; for after receiving your letter yesterday evening showing that your & Paige’s estimates went nothing beyond my own, I did not wake at 6 or 7 this morning, as usual, but slept through several interruptions till 11.30 [MTP].

Check #





W.H.H. Daggett




August 27 Saturday – In Elmira Sam answered advice from Franklin G. Whitmore, with a two-line note. Sam wouldn’t sell some bonds as he’d contemplated, and told Whitmore that his “judgment is correct” [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam: “Thurs rec’d: I will attend to the billiard table business today. Mr. Paige has orders from the patent office, photographs or photolithographs of the plates sent him, for the purpose of foreign patents & for your own use — cash $299.50.” Charles E. Davis estimated the costs for the drawings and patents to be $1,125 per month for two or three months [MTP].


August 28 Sunday


August 29 Monday – Sam wrote to an unidentified man, who evidently reported that someone else printed Sam’s words. Yes, those were the same words he’d used in his recent Matthew Arnold speech, but it was “only a phrase — easily made & of no value….I don’t believe the game is worth your powder” [MTP]. Note: this letter is labeled from Hartford, but the Clemens family was yet in Elmira, so either the date is off, or the place, or Sam made another trip to Hartford just two weeks before the family left Quarry Farm for home (less likely).

Sam also wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore.

Only one drawing more to go to P & W! [Pratt & Whitney Co.] Good — get it in, get it in! & then we are all right [MTP].

Edward H. House wrote to Sam — a letter that would be used in his 1890 lawsuit, or at least it was so reported in the N.Y. Times; no letter is in the file at MTP:

This morning I had to satisfaction of seeing the whole five acts completed before me, with the single exception of the closing scene of Act V [N.Y. Times, “Mark Twain Hauled Up” p.5, Jan.27, 1890].


August 30 TuesdayFrederick J. Hall came to Elmira to discuss Webster & Co. Projects with Sam. They agreed upon a schedule of production for future books [MTNJ 3: 311n32].

“Memoranda prepared at that time called for the issuance of the Mark Twain’s Library of Humor prospectus on 1 January 1888 with book publication on 1 March. If this proved impossible, the prospectus was to appear on 15 January and the book itself on 15 March. Profits from the Library of Humor were divided on an equal basis between Clemens and Charles L. Webster & Company” [MTNJ 3: 303n10].


August 31 WednesdayPratt & Whitney’s bill for Paige’s work in August was $1,567.23 [MTNJ 3: 310]. Sam also paid $1,691.82 for miscellaneous related expenses for the month, which included the dynamo development and drawings for the patent application. He also paid Paige his salary of $583.33. The total $3,842.38 [n30].


SeptemberBrander Matthews article “An Open Letter to Close a Correspondence” in the New Princeton Review this month would elicit a response with from Sam in the same publication [Neider, MT As I Find It 217n]. See January, 1888.

Sam’s notebook entry:

Anna Keary novels Jennettte’s Home, Castle Bailey, & others. McMillan / Next Door, by Clara Louise Burnham [MTNJ 3: 316; Gribben 115; NB 27 TS 13].

Note: Sam misspelled a few things — Annie Keary (1825-1879), Castle Daly (1876); Janet’s Home (1882) Macmillan and Co. [Gribben 364]. Clara Louise Burnham (1854-1927), Next Door (1886)

Another entry:

JL & Co. [J. Langdon & Co.] have been paying out money on the new colliery right along for 3 ½ years now (Aug. ’87) & will continue to do it 3 or 4 more [MTNJ 3: 317]. Note: A colliery is a coal mine and its structures.

Sam argues in his notebook (p.325-8) that John Milton was the real author of Pilgrim’s Progress. Gribben writes:

“Twain showed a close knowledge of Bunyan’s work and familiarity with his life (he cites Southey’s biography of Bunyan) in a burlesque “cipher” argument that John Milton actually wrote Pilgrim’s Progress; in the course of his deliberately specious reasoning he suggests an interpretation that seems serious — “The Dream must be read between the lines — then it becomes a grisly & almost Hudibrastic satyre” [112].

September 1 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:

Sept. 1 ’87. Two [books] in a year & a half. Loss upon the one, $32,000; profit on the other, $15,000. Expenses, $30,000. Net loss, $17,000 [MTNJ 3: 310&n31].

Note: Sam had hoped that profits from the Pope’s book and others would fuel investment in the Paige typesetter. Instead, Webster & Co. Bled red ink, though the source notes that three books were issued between March 1886, when volume two of Grant’s Memoirs was published, and September 1887: Samuel W. Crawford’s The Genesis of the Civil War, McClelland’s Own Story, and the Life of Leo XIII.


Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d received his monthly $155 check. He thanked for photographs which arrived and commented on Susy’s beauty. “The faces are all pleasant to look at” [MTP].

Check #





John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer



September 2 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, his man at Webster & Co. He was concerned about deadlines given for the Beecher biography and wanted them telegraphed that they must have the manuscript by Sept. 20.

I was going to telegraph this to you but don’t like that vehicle. If those people cannot be frightened into completing the Beecher book in three weeks, I think the book will not only fail but will so clog our hands as to heavily damage one or two other books [MTLTP 227].

Note: Sam likely wanted to strike the market with the Beecher book while news of his passing was still in the public eye. Some have criticized Sam’s business acumen, but his timing and expertise as a promoter as well as his understanding of the power of the media were excellent.

Charles H. Taylor (1846-1921) for Boston Daily Globe wrote asking Sam for “a passage of prose” [MTP]. Note: Taylor is credited for turning the Globe around in 1873, raising the circulation from 8,000 to 30,000 in three weeks by adding stock quotations, women’s items, and sports articles to the existing mix of political, national and foreign news.

Charles R. Brown for N.Y. Syndicate Bureau wrote to Sam, having received his Aug. 6 letter that his “lack of inclination spoils literary work.” Brown was anxious to have Sam submit [MTP].

Arthur Dudley Vinton wrote to Sam with a letter of introduction from James Redpath. Vinton had collected “a number of ‘funny’ articles” and asked permission to use the name, “Mark Twain’s Cyclopedia” in his work to burlesque encyclopedias [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that his letter with enclosures received (date not given). “The billiard tables have been exchanged & I think you will not regret the expense. I played on your table at my house with Will last eve, & it makes about the same noise, not quite so much.” Paige was well again; Van was away for a week “fixing up the estate” of a dead relative; Charles E. Davis was away [MTP].

Webster & Co., wrote enclosing “copy of memoranda drawn up at Elmira a few days since.” Issues covered were: the omission of many illustrations in the Cox book; the number of pages in the Library of Humor book; Mr. Webster’s improved condition, and a report on 2,521 books sold during Aug. [MTP].


September 2 Friday ca. – On or after this date, In Elmira, Sam answered an invitation from Charles R. Brown. He was “obliged by the press of work to decline” [MTP].

St. Paul Roller Mill Co. sent Sam a pinted audit dated Sept. 12 [MTP]. The faint postmark: Sept. 2.


September 3 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore about a bill received which he perceived was a “mere legal formality” — probably from Pratt & Whitney Co., which was now full speed ahead building the new Paige typesetter. Whitmore should “file it away” [MTP].

Laura C. Redden Searing (Howard Glyndon) wrote to Sam that he would remember her “as your correspondent some years ago on a literary matter.” She asked for a loan [MTP].

W.R. Ward for Kitty Rhoades wrote from Susquehanna, Penn. to Sam asking for the “privilege to try and dramatize our ‘Tom Sawyer’”. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Unmailed letters” [MTP]. Note: Rhoades later starred in stage productions of Tom Sawyer.

Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam that they’d “made a mistake” giving the name of the artist who illustrated Edward House’s article in the Sept. Scribner’s — the artist’s name was J. Foster Barnes [MTP].

Check #





Mssrs. Sypher & Co




September 4 Sunday


September 5 Monday – Sam may have gone to Hartford for a few days because letters of this date and Sept. 7 are marked as such. His last trip back to Hartford included a meeting with Paige and Hamersley and Whitmore, probably on typesetter progress and strategy. He also probably conferred with Charles H. Clark about finishing the Library of Humor, as entered in his notebook [MTNJ 3: 302&n10], and conferred with Whitmore on several domestic duties, as outlined in Whitmore to Sam Sept. 9.

He wrote to Charles Webster about the William Thompson Walters’ art book William Mackay Laffan had suggested (See Jan. 13 entry):

I find a letter here from Laffan, who says “When can Webster talk figures on that Baltimore book?” Laffan speaks of going to Europe shortly; so you need to make an appointment right away & settle the thing…. We very much WANT the book, provided we shan’t have to furnish any of the capital…the other man must build the book [MTP]. Note: The book was not published until 1897 [MTLTP 213n1].

He also wrote to Frederick J. Hall or Charles Webster. Sam felt they should take no additional books on for a year, “except for a 100-ton one.” Specifically, Sam cautioned about taking on “the cook-book” and setting a date for its publication.

General Sheridan occupies all the fall of next year, by himself. The only other choice date for a canvass to begin is Jan 1, ’89 which will have to be left open & free for a possible 100-ton book…[MTLTP 228]

Note: advertisements in the rear of Merry Tales (1892) include The Table by Alessandro Filippini, of Delmonico’s with over 1,500 recipes, as well as cheaper books by Filippini, One Hundred Ways of Cooking Eggs, and One Hundred Recipes for Cooking and Serving Fish [1996 Oxford edition].

Elisha M. Van Aken confessed he had sent photos of Sam’s pet cats to the Art editor of Century Magazine –“If I have done any thing wrong in this, I am willing to be forgiven!” [MTP]. See Sept. 7.

Check #





Tiffany & Co




September 6 Tuesday Alfred P. Burbank telegraphed to Sam: “I am rehearsing the Claimant to appear in Syracuse and Rochester next week three nights each and have drawn on Whittemore [sic] for eight hundred dollars. Is this all right. Wire me care Lotos Club” [MTP].

Franklin G. Whitmore wrote Sam a listing of Aug. expenses totaling $1,691.82 [MTP].

Check #





H.C. Gas Co




H.L. Oliver & Son


Tin roofing, jobbing


Hartford Coal Co




September 7 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elisha M. Van Aken:

 “Dear Sir / You are forgiven!” [MTP]. See Sept. 5 from Van Aken, photographer.

Sam returned to Elmira. Probably on the train, he wrote to his brother Orion Clemens. The relationship between Clemens and Webster had rapidly deteriorated through the spring and summer. Sam’s several notebook entries enumerated claims and accusations against Webster. Part of the friction between the two had to do with Sam’s inability to pull profits out of the company to float the Paige machine, as he was hamstrung by the Apr. 1 “Memorandum of Agreement” outlining the duties and privileges of the three partners. Webster, probably wary of Sam’s headlong grandiose plans for the typesetter, had wrung an agreement from Sam to keep $75,000 capital in Webster & Co. This letter unleashed several indictments against Webster; it’s interesting Sam would share such matters with the brother he often resented.

These are secrets — not to be spoken of, & not to be referred to in letters to me or others. The firm of C. L. Webster & Co. have paid out in cash in the 6 months ending Sept. 1, $105,000 cash, about a third of it unnecessarily; but still we cleared $23,000 in spite of it. After this, things are going to be done on a business-like basis, & the half-year ending Apl. 1, will make a better showing. I woke up 6 weeks ago, to find that there was no more system in the office than there is in a nursery without a nurse. But I have spent a good deal of time there since, & reduced everything to exact order & system — insomuch that even Webster can run it now — & in most particulars he is a mere jackass. I could never interfere before; the former contract was so ingeniously contrived that for two years I have had no more say in the concern than an errand boy; & to ask a question was to invoke contemptuous silence, & to make a suggestion was to have it coolly ignored.

Sam related how Webster had turned away Ignatius L. Donnelly’s Shakespeare book, “had probably never heard of Bacon & didn’t know there was a controversy.” Sam concluded Webster had thrown away $50,000 in that case. “He made the mistake of his life last April” [MTLTP 229-30].

Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam “a long glowing letter” arguing for Alessandro Filippini’s cookbook. He offered that the Delmonico family, “are willing to do anything in their power to forward the sale.” Hall wrote that the cookbook could be a “slow and steady-selling book,” without needing an intensive canvass. [MTLTP 231n1]. The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It (1888). See Gribben 231.

Alfred P. Burbank telegraphed Sam “All right I thought instructions had been left with Mr. Whittemore [sic] I will advance money unless you wire Whittemore to honor draft before Saturday” [MTP]. Burbank also wrote Sam, asking to excuse his unbusinesslike way of doing business; he’d been sick.

Pratt & Whitney Co. per Amos Whitney sent Sam a formal notice that unless their bills for work on the typesetter were paid “on or before Saturday the 10th inst.” They would stop work [MTP].

Charles Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, “pleased to say that Mr. Webster is feeling very much better.” The major portion of the letter is about the cook book by Delmonico’s cook, Alessandro Philippini.  [MTP].

Charles Webster also wrote from Far Rockaway, N.Y. explaining the reason for his “long silence,” his sickness. He invited the Clemenses to “spend a few days with us” on their way back to Hartford [MTP].


September 8 Thursday – In Elmira Sam wrote an answer to Alfred P. Burbank that was labeled “UNMAILED ANSWER.” On Sept. 11 Burbank referred to a telegram received on Sept. 9. Sam wrote a few unmailed answers that reflected a particularly prickly mood. For the other see next letter this date.

Alas & alas & alas, have I gone & harnessed-up with another man who doesn’t know anything about business? [MTP].

Sam also wrote a scathing and sarcastic but also a hilarious “UNMAILED ANSWER” to W.R. Ward, and then sent a short, formal answer on Webster & Co. Letterhead, warning Ward “if you put the piece on the stage, you must take the legal consequences.” Ward wrote on Sept. 3, evidently announcing his intention of dramatizing Tom Sawyer. Sam responded that Ward was “No. 1365” to attempt such a thing, and “That is a book, dear sir, which cannot be dramatized.”

How kind of you to invite me to the funeral. Go to; I have attended a thousand of them. I have seen Tom Sawyer’s remains in all the different kinds of dramatic shrouds there are. You cannot start anything fresh. Are you serious when you propose to pay my expence — if that is the Susquehannian way of spelling it? And can you be aware that I charge a hundred dollars a mile when I travel for pleasure? Do you realize that it is 432 miles to Susquehanna? Would it be handy for you to send me the $43,200 first, so I could be counting it as I come along; because railroading is pretty dreary to a sensitive nature when there’s nothing sordid to buck at for Zeitvertreib [MTP].

Sam also wrote To Frederick J. Hall, concerning the proposed cookbook by Delmonico’s chef, Alessandro Filippini (see Sept. 5 entry).

I think it is the very book we want — though you see you have left me in the dark again as to an essential feature: how many words does it contain? Make him an offer of 5 per cent. If he agrees, close the contract. If he doesn’t, keep at him, & yield a little till you get him.

Sam proposed two different bindings, and told Hall to “Be ready with your facts Wednesday morning, when I look in” [MTLTP 231].

Edward H. House wrote from Hartford to Sam about the Clemenses impending return home. He told of staying with the Yosts and also the Warners; of Koto’s dressing up Daisy Warner in a Oriental costume for House’s birthday surprise. Sam later wrote on the envelope, “Sept. 8, ’87 This shows that he had been intending to go to California [in] October!” On the back panel of the letter, Sam wrote,

Written 10 days after he swears he notified me that the play was done. Apparently he is not insulted by my making no response to his notification, but gushes away as blithely as if being slapped in the face merely adds fire and zest to his affectations [MTP].


September 9 FridayFranklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam in Elmira about completing certain domestic tasks, probably discussed on his Sept. 5 trip to Hartford.

I have attended to the brake on the carriage and have planned it all out for the workmen. I think it will do the business all right. John O’neil has had the Gun & I suppose he has killed a good many sparrows & perhaps eaten a pie or two of them [MTNJ 3: 304n17]. Note: John O’Neil was the Clemens family gardener; Patrick McAleer the coachman.

In Elmira Sam wrote to Charles Webster, acknowledging his illness and sharing their coming departure to New York. (Sam addressed the letter to Far Rockaway, “Somewhere off the port of New York, in New Jersey, or New York, or Staten Island, or Hellgate, or one of those other states around there somewhere. Keep on trying: & from time to time, send for more postage.”)

I hope to get down there for an hour myself, but your aunt Livy must wait; for she is wearing herself totally out, now, in these getting-ready days; & in New York she must make use of every hour at her disposal or she cannot complete the winter-shopping & will have to return again….We did not know you had been seriously ailing until Mr. Hall’s first letter, & did not realize the full extent & severity of it until his visit here…[MTP].

Note: Charles Webster’s son, Samuel writes of his father’s struggles:

“Starting a new publishing house on such an enormous scale, with worries and long hours, had broken his health. He spent the summer of 1887 at Far Rockaway, coming to the office when he could. His neuralgia was terrific. His mother and father came down to visit him and were shocked at his condition. He was very irritable, and the slightest thing would bring an outburst. His mother was often hurt by his irascibility, but the rest of the household understood the situation” [MTBus 387].

Check #





Mssrs Goodwin Bros


Elmwood, Conn. mfgrs

September 10 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to President Grover Cleveland requesting consideration for Mr. E.P. Crane, of Rutherford, N.J.,

certified to me by relatives of mine in whose judgment & truth I have confidence [for] the post of Consul at Stuttyard, which he hears is about to become vacant by resignation [MTP]. Note: This might be a relative of brother-in-law Theodore Crane, or someone his sister Pamela Moffett recommended.

Sam also telegraphed to Franklin G. Whitmore.

These people propose to stop working tomorrow are they bluffing or in Earnest keep me posted….They must be kept at work till I come [MTP] Note: this concerned work on the Paige machine at Pratt & Whitney Co., in Hartford.

Telegraphed to Sam: Franklin G. Whitmore: “Mailed letter yesterday morning the contents will explain situation no trouble I think / F.G. Whitmore”  [MTP].

Check #





JJ Poole & Co


Hartford Coal Dealer

September 11 SundayAlfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam (clipping enclosed on the Claimant play opening at New Brunswick). “I received your kind and thoughtful telegram day before yesterday but did not respond as Mr. Whittmore [sic] had promptly honored my draft [for $800].” Burbank wrote he thought they “had struck pay dirt” with the play [MTP].


September 12 Monday – During the last day in Elmira Sam wrote for himself and Livy to Dora Wheeler, who had invited them to “another charming holiday” in the Catskills (see Aug. 25, 1885 in vol I).

Alas, we dasn’t! — for more than 4,000 reasons; among which are these: that both Mrs. Clemens & I are obliged to stick steadily to Hartford for the next few months, for business reasons — mainly my business fetters, it is true, but they bind us both…. Mrs. Clemens & I are hoping that it will be convenient for you & your mother [Candace Wheeler] to come to us presently — say in the month of November, for instance — & have a visit & portrait sittings & so on…[MTP].

Alfred P. Burbank telegraphed Sam in care of Theodore Crane: “Very satisfactory performance in New Brunswick last Saturday night mailed you long letter yesterday” [MTP].

St. Paul Roller Mill Co. sent Sam a pinted audit with this date [MTP]. The faint postmark: Sept. 2.


September 13 Tuesday – In the morning the Clemens family left Elmira for New York City, where they stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel [to Wheeler Sept. 12]. Before leaving, Sam telegraphed William H. Gillette in New York (see Sept. 15 reply); message not extant.

From Sam’s notebook: Sept.13, in back $21,000, & everything paid for [MTNJ 3: 324].

Caroline B. Le Row wrote to Sam sending him sales figures on the “English” book, her total royalties $294.05 [MTP].


September 14 Wednesday – This is the day Sam wrote Whitmore he’d leave Elmira (see Aug 18), but Sam’s letter of Sept. 8 to Hall confirms he would “look in” at Webster & Co. On this morning, so that the family probably left Elmira the day before.

Alfred P. Burbank telegraphed Sam: “Will you come to Rochester for tomorrow nights performance I want to talk of future disposition of the play” [MTP].

Theodore W. Crane for J. Langdon & Co. Telegraphed Sam at the Murray Hill Hotel, repeating Burbank’s telegram (above) of the same date [MTP].


September 15 ThursdayWilliam H. Gillette, at this time appearing at New York’s Star Theatre in a Civil War drama, Held by the Enemy, wrote to Sam:

Only rec. your telegram on arrival at theatre last night — 8 p.m. — too late to send up. I stationed a man at door who said he knew you — but he did not — for he came back and reported that you had not arrived. Sorry not to have had the pleasure of sending seats for the family [MTNJ 3: 318n53].

Alfred P. Burbank telegraphed Sam: “Telegram just read of being four weeks at Bijou Theatre NY Shall we accept please answer immedy at Syracuse” [MTP].

Sallie Hicks, “the daughter of a poor physician” in Goodman, Miss. wrote asking just a little advice with her writing [MTP].

This is the revised day Sam wrote Whitmore they planned to reach Hartford (see Aug 29).


September 16 Friday – The Clemens family left New York and returned home to Hartford [Sept. 10 telegram to Whitmore].

F.L. Totten wrote from N.Y. to Sam (clipping enclosed of a poem and a sketch of Will Carleton), asking him to send him a list of “all your works with financial results” for a collection of sketches he was writing of prominent men. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Refer him to Chas. Bolton’s book — get his stuff there” [MTP].


September, second half – Upon their return to Hartford, The Clemens family was able to get further acquainted with Grace Elizabeth King (she had been a guest with them at Frederick E. Church at his mansion near Hudson, New York the second week in June). She was staying with the Charles Dudley Warners. A. Hoffman writes,

“The family’s September return to Hartford allowed them to develop a friendship with Grace King, a New Orleans short-story writer favored by Charles Dudley Warner. Sam and Grace shared a dislike for George Washington Cable’s prudish religiosity, and Livy felt a kinship with this literate and patrician woman. With astonishing accuracy, King evaluated life in the household, quickly perceiving the differences between Mark Twain and S. L. Clemens and sensing Sam’s comprehensive genius. She enjoyed his warmth as Sam stretched out on the hearth rug and offered a troubling disquisition on his vision of the coming, dollar-driven American century. ‘He seems to have made a slave to his soul — ,’ she noted, ‘& condemned it to trudge along with him as he shakes his cap & bells’” [342].

From Sam’s notebook:

2 notes. Now in pocket-book. / Chatto’s note £200., due Feb. 27, ’88; & his note for £230.5.10, due March 27, ’88. Both placed in Bissell’s hands for collection about middle of Sept [MTNJ 3: 317]. Note: Sam likely gave these notes to Bissell upon his return to Hartford.

September 17 Saturday – This was the date Sam told Whitmore he’d be back in Hartford (see Aug.17), but the family actually arrived the day before [Sept. 10 telegram to Whitmore].

September 18 SundayAlfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam. Trial performances of Colonel Sellers as a Scientist to small audiences in Rochester and Syracuse had received poor reviews from newspapers there. Still, Burbank was optimistic. He invited Sam to attend a Sept. 23 performance at the Lyceum Theater in New York, “promising elaborate arrangements to keep his attendance secret” [MTNJ 3: 300n1]. Sam sent Franklin G. Whitmore instead. New York critics were not kind and further efforts to stage the play were dropped.

New York Times, Sept 18, 1887, p 2 “Notes of the Week”:

“The American Claimant,” a comic piece, by William Dean Howells and Samuel R. Clemens will be presented at the Lyceum Theatre next Friday afternoon. This play deals with the career of Colonel Mulberry Sellers 10 years after the incidents of “The Gilded Age.” It was announced for production at the Lyceum a year ago last Spring, and the announcement was afterward made that the authors withdrew the play because they were not satisfied with it. It was tried at New-Brunswick, N.J last week. Mr. A.P. Burbank, widely known as a reader and platform humorist, will undertake to act the part of Colonel Sellers. [Note: the Brooklyn Eagle also announced “The New ‘Colonel Sellers’ by Mark Twain” on page 6, “Theaters and Music.”]


Sam wrote a long, detailed letter to Charles Webster about book sales, subscription sales vs. trade sales totals and a “systematic & orderly scheme” he’d devised, which Webster could try “on the cook book.” Sam wanted the scheme to be private, not allowing any clerk to see it and not to “type-writer it. We don’t want to give away a good idea to other publishers.”

Sam’s system would guarantee no losses on any book, and involved stair-stepping royalty percentages based on the first, second, third 10,000 books sold, and beyond: from five per cent up to twelve percent. Plate costs would be recovered prior to royalties kicking in. Sam then provided several examples of trade sales for famous books, from Bret Harte’s The Luck of Roaring Camp, to Aldrich’s The Story of a Bad Boy, to Howells’ A Foregone Conclusion; showing in each case the numbers of books sold in the trade and the resultant royalties earned, then comparing them with sales that could have been made by subscription and royalties thus earned. Sam then wrote about the Library of Humor:

When I first projected the Library of Humor, I placed the sale at my usual figure for a $3.50 book — 60,000 copies in 6 months. I have raised on that, now — to 80,000. That is my bottom estimate. Clark says it is a magnificent book, & nobody can glance into it without buying it, even if he has to sell his shirt. Therefore the canvass must be extended [MTLTP 232-5].

Sam thought the canvass should begin Jan. 1, 1888 and end Mar. 15. On his next trip to New York he wanted to “definitely arrange dates for the succeeding books as well as we possibly can for their advantage.” Note: Sam was now taking over many of the details from the “jackass” Webster. Seldom had he written such a detailed letter to Webster.

September 19 Monday – In Hartford Sam responded to Chatto & Windus’ Aug. 24 notice that the Inland Revenue Department had assessed an income tax on his British book sales profits. Today, Sam might have deducted all costs of trips to England, but then Sam simply asked C&W to pay the tax on all sums paid him as “profits” for the 1885-6 and 1886-7 years. Further, he requested that they withhold and pay such taxes from his earnings in the future. “This is the swiftest & fairest & simplest plan that occurs to me,” he wrote [MTP].

Sam also responded to Andrew Chatto about their statement of Sam’s book sales for the past year.

It’s a quite good result, for an “off year.” We will boost it up, presently — next March (15th). Not with Smith of Camelot [CY], for that won’t be ready for a year yet, but with a 600-page-8vo volume, entitled “Mark Twain’s Library of Humor” [MTP]

Sam also wrote to his brother-in-law, Theodore Crane. He enclosed $30 for the shipping costs of a horse named “Vix” from Elmira to Hartford by U.S. Express Co., and added that the veterinary could find no evidence of mange on Vix.

I pine for Sue; & if I must confess it, I do also pine for Blatherskite & for the rest of that charming family [cats]. I was going to telegraph Sue & Blatherskite from New York, but was afraid it wouldn’t sound right by wire [MTP].

Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam that they’d just received his letter but had not had time to “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest it,” but they would do so “at the earliest possible moment.” The illustrator Edward Windsor Kemble had just left and his understanding with the Century Co. prevented him from working for rival publishing houses — though he was sure if Sam approached Gilder, permission was sure to be given. Hall added a PS that Kemble was willing to draw the illustrations for “an average of $10 per drawing” and since there were 200 it would total $2,000 [MTP].

Check #





T.W. Crane



September 20 TuesdayAlmira Hancock’s Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock was officially published on schedule [From Hall Sept. 21].


September 21 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine about using the artist Edward Windsor Kemble for Library of Humor illustrations.

Consound you, I want my artist. I didn’t GIVE him to you, I only lent him. ‘Course I mean Kemble. I shall telegraph him & tell him to go ahead and make my pictures…[MTP from Am. Art Assoc. catalog, May 7, 1928 Item 144].

Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam for Webster & Co., reporting that the Hancock book “came out yesterday, so that so far there has not been a moment’s delay” [MTNJ 3: 320n60]. (See Sept. 20.) Hall also reported on Samuel S. Cox’s book, Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey:

We calculated that it would cost from $2500 to $3000 to make the plates of this book. We find that so far we have spent $1600.40 on it; fully three-quarters of the work is completed, so that we over-estimated the cost of this book [MTNJ 3: 324n74].

Joseph Warner for Putnam Phalanx wrote an invitation for Sam to attend the annual excursion to Washington, Mount Vernon, and Baltimore Oct. 3 to 8 [MTP].

W.E. Barrows for Hinkley Locomotive Co., Boston wrote to Sam, enclosing a letter (not extant) from a man who could help them build the typesetter [MTP].

George C. Bidwell of Hartford wrote to Sam: “Your very kind note of this date [not extant] is received,” and he would call on Tuesday , Sept. 27 at 11 a.m. [MTP].

Hank A. Wheeler for Weymouth Theatre Royal, London wrote to Sam asking if he had “written any plays and if so had they been acted in this country” Sam wrote on the envelope “Brer W. I will dictate answer SLC” [MTP].

Check #





S.P. Griswold




James L. Whitman




Hunting & Hammond




September 22 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote what is obviously a response to Laurence Hutton, whose recent letter is not extant.

But you ought to know that people begin to lie about their age as soon as they turn 40. Bret Harte was born in 1833. — Look in any cyclopedia & you will find him parading his shabby career in 1838. Last year the papers proclaimed Aldrich as 50. It was a fib then, it is a falsehood now, & next year’s report will reach the stature of a lie. Dear friend, Aldrich was born Nov.11 1827. I remember it as if it were yesterday [MTP]. Note: Sam signed it “Your Kinsmen,” so Hutton’s letter may have had to do with a planned Kinsmen Club event, perhaps a birthday dinner for Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s “50th”?

Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam about commissioning another statue, this one of Henry Clay Work (1832-1884), for the city of Hartford:

The author of “Marching through Georgia” surely deserves a statue and if you should favor me with an order, it not only should be my very best work but you should have it at your own price above actual expenses [MTNJ 3: 335n102]. Note: Work died in Hartford.


Charles H. Clark for Hartford Courant wrote to Sam with the status of several pieces and extracts needed for the Library of Humor book. [MTP].

Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam that they received a letter with some MS from Charles H. Clark on the Library of Humor book; they asked for a table of contents; permissions would now be “very easily done” now that they’d secured copyright from Houghton & Mifflin [MTP].

Check #





Houghton, Mifflin & Co.




Adams Express



Note: The check #3814 to Houghton, Mifflin & Co. Was likely payment or part payment for some of the material Sam had been trying to gain use of for Library of Humor.


September 23 FridaySam and Howells’ play, The American Claimant (Colonel Sellers as a Scientist) was performed with Alfred P. Burbank at the Lyceum Theatre in New York [MTNJ 3: 300n1].

The New York Times of Sept. 24, p.5 delivered the bad news:



Mr. A.P. Burbank, distinguished as a lecture hall humorist, gave an agreeable entertainment at the Lyceum Theatre yesterday afternoon [Sept. 23] before a large party of ladies and gentlemen. The entertainment differed in form somewhat from those hitherto given by Mr. Burbank, for the programme was not made up of selections in prose and verse by several authors, but comprised only one piece by a single author, which involved a more or less coherent story, and was described on the bill as a “farcial comedy.” Mr. Clemens, of Hartford, wrote the piece, so it may be inferred that it is not a play. Mr. Clemens lacks something, may be it is patience, perhaps it is talent, that a playwright should possess. In the course of his long and eventful career he must, through the courtesy of managers, have seen plays acted, but in his own attempts at play-making he has never given evidence that he comprehends the meaning of the word “dramatic.” “The American Claimant,” produced yesterday afternoon, is as much like a play as a school exhibition dialogue…It is impossible for a healthy person to refrain from laughing at Mark Twain’s drollery. He is an original humorist, beyond dispute, but he is not a dramatist. “The American Claimant” has neither plot nor action.


September 24 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister-in-law, Susan L. Crane, thanking her for pictures sent of the cats, and of William (farm hand?) and a horse. Sam also had an idea to improve Quarry Farm life:

When you & Theo come, I will take him down town & discuss an electric light plant for the farm — make your own electricity on the premises; $700 or $1000 for the plant; after that, no expense, no wear-&-tear [MTP].

Romeike & Leavitt, a N.Y. press clippings bureau, wrote to Sam (clipping enclosed) offering to send clippings from leading American newspapers. Sam wrote on the envelope, “No Sir” [MTP].


Check #





B. Altman




Hartford Printing Co




George Slater




Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




Connecticut Safe deposit co




The Worthington Co



September 25 SundayAlfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam asking if he would be in N.Y. this week — “when and where I may see you. If you are not to come here I will run up to Hartford” [MTP].


September 26 MondayFrederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam, forwarding information on three books they’d been approached about publishing: a revision of the Bible from Dr. Philip Schaff, head of the Board of the American Revision of the Bible; William Desmond O’Brien with an encyclopedia of Ireland; and Dr. Chalfant of San Francisco, who had stopped in to show a manuscript of a history of convict life [MTP]. Hall also wrote that the firm rejected the bible revision, and the Ireland book; and also a biography of Dio Lewis by Mrs. Lewis [MTLTP 236n1].

Sam’s notebook carries an entry for a bank balance this day of $18,900 [MTNJ 3: 331].

September 27 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a two-line letter to his sister, Pamela Moffett, now in Oakland, Calif:

I think Sam [Moffett] was right. A body must take his promotion when it offers — it won’t do to wait [MTP].


September 27 Tuesday ca. – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, answering the Sept. 26 from Webster & Co. He wasn’t “greatly incline[d]” about the Ireland encyclopedia and the convict life book, but thought they might “talk over & think about, & carefully consider” the revised Bible, since “There’s no apparent hurry” [MTP].


September 28 Wednesday – Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine, submitting Meisterschaft, a 3-act bilingual play he wrote in 1886-7 for family entertainment to. It ran in Jan. 1888’s issue with a few changes [MTNJ 3: 333n95].

I had a hell of a time reading this proof, which was set up by an Americanized Finn [MTP].

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that Mr. George Frederick Kunz, “the gem expert at Tiffany’s,” was shopping a book on gems, which Hall felt would be costly “to get up” [MTLTP 236n1]. See Sam to Webster & Co. Oct. 17 for Sam’s rejection of this book.

Caroline B. Le Row sent Sam a clipping of her letter to the editor of the Brooklyn Eagle [MTP].


Check #





C.M. Darrow




F.G. Whitmore




P. Berry & Sons




B. Altman




Quin endorsed


RR agent


September 29 ThursdayFrancis Wayland, dean of Yale Law School, wrote to Sam, forwarding a letter of application from Charles W. Johnson. “Wayland asked Clemens, who had already provided two years’ support to another Negro student, ‘to put the writer down for your kind assistance.’” [MTNJ 3: 300n2]. See Oct. 1 entry.

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. Wrote Sam that the firm had rejected Dr. Chalfant’s Life among the Convicts; and a history of the G.A.R. Proposed by General Lucius Fairchild [MTLTP 236n1].

Sam’s notebook carries an entry that the company bank balance was $18,000-odd [MTNJ 3: 331].

Henry M. Alden for Harper & Brothers wrote that they’d sent Sam proofs on the “Petition” (to the Queen), which Alden thought was “a capital thing.” He also inquired about a story Mr. Warner had mentioned on the “Old & Modern Practice,” too long for the Dec. Drawer. Sam wrote on the envelope, “$50 per 800 words. Call it $100” [MTP].


September 30 FridayHenry Drummond (1851-1897), Scottish evangelical writer and lecturer, visited Hartford and spent some time at the Clemens home. Drummond assisted Dwight L. Moody in his evangelical crusades, and came to America at Moody’s request in the spring of 1887 for a Conference of Students which sought to continue a religious movement in America’s colleges like that he began in Edinburgh, Scotland. Drummond had some success at Yale. His book, Natural Law in the Spiritual World (1883) sold 70,000 copies in five years and made him famous. He would publish another popular book, Tropical Africa, in 1888 after making a geological survey of southern Africa. In a letter of Oct. 7 to Lady Aberdeen, Drummond wrote:

I had a delightful day at Hartford last Friday [Sept. 30] after writing you — called on Mark Twain, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, and the widow of Horace Bushnell. I was wishing A — — had been at the Mark Twain interview. He is funnier than any of his books, and, to my surprise, is a most respected citizen, devoted to things aesthetic, and the friend of the poor and struggling [Smith, G., Drummond 380-1].

And in another letter to an unidentified person, Drummond wrote:

I spend half-an-hour with Mark Twain at his own house (Hartford, Connecticut). He turned on the gun at once, and is really a very droll creature. He speaks just like his books. He let off several jokes which would have printed on the spot. He has a reputation for kindness to all who need help [534]. Note: Drummond returned to England on Oct. 29 [382].

Orion Clemens wrote to Sam on receipt of his monthly $155 check. On the 24th he’d collected $28 for Ma on a mortgage. He wanted to know about the new book and the new play; he had a cold [MTP].


October – about this month Sam telegraphed Alfred P. Burbank:

Dear Sir:

  Go to Sheol.

    Yours Truly.

P.S. No, don’t do it. Go to the other place. My future is uncertain & If the worst comes to the worst, it will be an alleviation to know that it isn’t as bad as it could have been, anyway [MTP].

Sam also wrote Francis Pratt a long complaint about the contract with Pratt & Whitney about lagging work schedules:

The case seems to me to stand thus: When our last tracing went to you on the 17th of September, (for it was the last — the later drawing was but a courtesy, & for the convenience of your workmen, & was endowed with no official life or significance, it being merely second-hand drawings,) the Company was already 3 months behind its contract with us. It has fallen behind every day since then. It has not now two months left in which to furnish the machine, even by the most lenient reading of the contract. It seems to me that the only way to comply with the contract from this out, is to immediately put on all the men & all the machinery that Mr. Bates can make use of, & afterward only increase or diminish the force according to his expressed desire & decision [MTPO].

Early in the month, “several days” prior to Oct. 14, Sam had his palate cut out and the healing was slow [Oct. 14 to Webster & Co.]

The Clemenses also invited Grace King for a weekend. She’d been staying at the inn in Farmington, Conn. [Bush 37]. (See Oct. 7 entry).

Sam’s notebook carries a scheme to:

Dress up some good actors, as … Bunyan characters; take them to a wild gorge & photograph them…. [Sam would then build a] stereopticon panorama of Bunyan’s Pilgrim Progress [which] could be exhibited in all countries at the same time & would clear a fortune in a year. By & by I will do this [MTNJ 3: 334].


October 1 SaturdayFrancis Wayland, dean of Yale Law School wrote to Sam, agreeing with Sam that Charles W. Johnson should “spend the coming year in earning & saving money, so that he might come to us, if he chose, at the end of that time, with money enough in hand to prevent him from being wholly dependent on charity” [MTNJ 3: 300n2]. See Sept. 29 entry.

The Brooklyn Eagle on page 1 ran “ENGLISH AS SHE IS TAUGHT – An Ex-Teacher and a Mother Protests Against the System.” Sam’s piece stirred up some controversy about the failures of the schools and teachers. Some things never change.

A “Cash Statement,” a complete itemized account for Webster & Co. Through Oct. 1, 1887 reflected the firm took in $124,262.50 from Apr. 1886 to Oct. 1887; disbursements of $105,328.10, with profits for the period of $18,934.40 [MTNJ 3: 319n57; MTLTP 237n1]. The same statement listed the cost of production and advertising of Almira Hancock’s Reminiscences of Winfield Scott Hancock at $3,012.79; six other works had cost $7,238.24, but only one, the Biography of Reverend Henry Ward Beecher had bindery expenses at this point. Charles Webster’s pet project, the eleven-volume Library of American Literature edited by Edmund C. Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson had cost $9,692.74 to date [320n60]. Note: Sam later claimed this last work “secured the lingering suicide of Charles L. Webster and Company”[MTE 192].

Alfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam that he didn’t get his telegram until 10:30 p.m. last night and didn’t want to “rout you out of bed” so sent a night message explaining all the rooms at the Lotos were occupied but he could get a Glenham Hotel room next door in his own name; Sam wouldn’t have to register [MTP].

Albert Lawson for the Cincinnati Evening Telegram sent a form letter Sam asking for “a few words…what rules of line of conduct, in your opinion, has been the greatest benefit to you…” [MTP].

Check #





Patrick McAleer




Patrick McAleer




John O’Neil




Aitkin Son & Co



October 2 Sunday – The Brooklyn Eagle ran a short piece on page 15 echoing recent negative reviews of The American Claimant (Colonel Sellers as a Scientist) play.


“Nym Crinkle” [Andrew Carpenter Wheeler] descants in the Mirror to this effect: I ought to chronicle the lightning failure of Mark Twain’s play, “The American Claimant,” although, to tell the truth, it has already been chronicled with an unanimity that “leaves nothing to be desired.” I confess that the manner in which the theater exposed Mark Twain’s absolute emptiness gave me a new respect for the theater. He has been figuring successfully for a long time in literature as a brilliant man. He couldn’t do it on the stage. His attempt to be a playwright reminded me of a comic slugger’s attempt to play Hamlet. Did you ever see a clown spout? Well, you’ve seen a watering cart! Your mere funny man cannot do all things. He can’t conduct a funeral and he can’t make a play. His spots of humor in “The American Claimant” was like an unwashed floor with several small rugs askew on it. It was too bad when you considered Burbank, for there was honest ability, who could have made a better play with his hands tied behind him, trying to carry this popular old buffoon on his back. I never saw mere humor so tiresome, so undramatic, so imbecile. You can’t dramatize a comic almanac. You can make the public swallow any amount of rubbish if you put it on the Elevated news stands, but you put it on the boards for half an hour and see the result. Such hog was as “Peck’s Bad Boy” has to be redeemed by activity and bustle. People have to get round and tumble over each other at least. They don’t even do that in Mark Twain’s drama. It’s a kind of comic elegy, delivered by one man and badly accompanied.


October 3 MondayWilliam Mackay Laffan wrote to Sam about the Dec. 7, 1886 investment in International Telegraph and Cable Co. 

…as to the great cable invention…let me explain to you in person, when I see you next, what a Goddamned humiliating and degrading fizzle it proved to be…and how the first of experts are the cream of asses, and how I am now fully trying to get the money back [MTNJ 3: 262n117].

Laffan also reported what a spokesman for the Mergenthaler Linotype Co. had boasted of in a letter — that their machines were now ready to go and twelve were in the New York Tribune. Laffan also sent Sam a long article from the Albany Journal about a McMillan typesetting machine in use on that newspaper. Laffan also asked when Webster could “talk figures on that Baltimore book” (the art book of William Thompson Walters) [MTNJ 3: 333n96; 337n108&7]. Laffan shared his intention “to go away Pariswards and take a week or two with the French etchers” [339n119].


Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that the firm had rejected a cookbook by Flora Haines Longhead [MTLTP 236n1]. Hall also reported on a late financial statement: “We hoped to send you the full account to-day but our book-keeper says it will not be ready until tomorrow” [MTNJ 3: 31n88].


October 4 Tuesday – Sam wrote a note to Livy on Lotos Club stationery, so was undoubtedly in New York on business (an Oct. 6 check to the Glenham Hotel confirms). He wrote of seeing a Mr. Choate, who had lost a son and now this “infinitely heavier & awfuler disaster.”

Livy darling, the last time I saw Mr. Choate, we rode from Washington to New York together…. I may come home to-morrow — don’t know. But I love you, just the same, just the same [MTP].

Note: This was likely Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917) American lawyer and diplomat. Choate became a gifted and popular after-dinner speaker.

A notebook entry about this time lists Ein Tropfen Gift, a German play by Oscar Blumenthal at New Yorks’ Thalia Theatre, which ran from Oct 3 to Oct. 15, 1887. Sam may have attended the play during this short stay in New York [MTNJ 3: 333n97].

Another notebook entry, this date:

If, in 1891 I find myself not rich enough to carry out my scheme of buying Christopher Columbus’s bones & burying them under the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World, I will give the idea to somebody who is rich enough [MTNJ 3: 334]. (See Aug. 31, 1886 entry.)

Lee Turner of Morristown, N.J. wrote from Damascus, Syria to Sam. They’d heard at the pyramids of Sam’s “marvelous record in climbing the pyramids when you were there in 1868” though there was some dispute among the Arabs” about the course he took [MTP]. Note: Sam was the stuff of legend.    


October 5 Wednesday


October 6 Thursday – Several checks below to N.Y. merchants and the Glenham Hotel suggest that Sam was in the city until this day. He may have escorted Grace King to Hartford.


Check #





A.P. Burbank




Tiffany & Co


N.Y. Jeweler


Matt H. Hewins


Billiard Saloon


James Ahern




The Hartford Club




H.B. Lewis




H.E. Patten




Buckley & Reardon


Teas & Coffee


Glenham Hotel




Horace L. Bundy




Fox & Whitmore




Arnold Constable


N.Y. Importer


Park & Tilford




Western Union




Leonard Morse, Trustee




The Birckett Store




Smith Northam & co




John Patterson & Co




J.G. Rathbun




Hawley Goodrich




M. Cameron




Lotos Club


New York


J.P. Haynes



October 7 FridayGrace King arrived to spend a weekend at the Clemens residence. From one of the guest rooms in the house she wrote her mother, Sarah Ann Miller King, of the visit.

The maid has hung up my dresses and placed all my things for the night on the dressing tables. There are lights lighted every where, and I do feel very much like Beauty did when the Beast left her alone in the palace. The Clemenses are very nice and kind. I wore my white India silk to dinner. The George Warners & the Houses were the other guests [Edward H. and Koto House]…Mr Clemens is of course at his best at table and he just talked along as if he were writing another “Innocents Abroad.” I’ve got over my timidity with him, and so can “talk back” & have lots of fun [Bush 38].

Edward H. House wrote to Sam about three articles and the plagiarism of his work by James King Newton [MTP; MTNJ 3: 335]. Note: See also NJ 3: 332n93.


October 8 Saturday – In Hartford, Grace King’s letter to her mother, written at the Clemens residence, continued:

The country here is all wild about the American board of Missions, which recently had a meeting to determine whether to preach to the savages probation or not. I don’t know whether you have kept up with it or not. Well after a long contest, they decided by a vote of 80, against 53 that there should be no probation after death, & that the ancestors of the savages had to burn, nolens volens. So Clemens came in with the paper this morning with “News! News! Hell’s elected by thirty majority.” The Charles Warners came in to tea. “Mark” got down in his usual position on the rug in front of the fire place & we all had a mighty nice time…[Bush 38].

Check #





C.M. Darrow




October 9 SundayGeorge C. Bidwell wrote from E. Hartford to Sam arguing on behalf of convicts unfairly charged in England. Sam wrote on the envelope, “From that d___d convict” [MTP].


October 10 MondayWebster & Co. Wrote to Sam about the articles to be in the Library of Humor book. They’d also received “a note from Gen. Lucius Fairchild who says that Robert D. Beath…will probably write the history of the G.A.R.” — should they communicate with him? Gen.Crawford’s book status was commented on, plus the gem expert at Tiffany’s possible book, which they felt too expensive to “get up…with a number of delicate plates” [MTP].

Check #









J.O. Wright & Co




Patrick McAleer








October 11 TuesdayAlfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam setting forth an offer of Chandos Fulton to re-write the play for $300 up front and a quarter of the profits [MTP]. Note: evidently, the play as written was not “pay dirt” at all.


October 12 Wednesday

Check #





Michael Egan




Southern NE Telephone




John A. Scolley




Gilbert G. Moseley



October 13 ThursdayNathaniel Judson Burton died of pneumonia. John Hooker, his deacon, was at the bedside. Andrews quotes Twichell, who wrote in his Journal this day,

…a dark, sad day!!…I went at once to his house and found that it was even so. There I met my other brother Dr. [Edwin] Parker. In presence of the astounding fact, which overwhelmed both of us with surprize and distress we found nothing to say, but could only embrace with tears [53; Twichell’s Journal: Yale, copy at MTP].

Coincidentally, the famous English preacher, Dr. Joseph Parker spoke at Hartford’s Unity Hall in the evening (no relation to Dr. Edwin Parker). Bush writes of a reception given for Parker “a few days later” than the Oct. 8 letter from Grace King to her mother, which likely was this evening after the lecture by Parker. The Hartford Courant of Oct.14, p.8, “Clocks and Watches” reported the Oct. 13 event, and described Parker as “a rather large man of massive features, and with much force when he [is] roused by his subject.” Grace King had a somewhat different description of Parker after observing him and Mark Twain interact:

Mr Parker, a fat egotistical man with an animal face, was busy showing off before “Mark Twain,” & Mark Twain who is not nearly so nice as Mr Clemens, was showing off for him. It was a cross firing of anecdotes, some of which I had heard too often to enjoy much….[Bush 38]. Note: King’s observation is interesting in that she perceived the duality of Samuel Clemens and Mark Twain.

Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam that Appleton and Scribner’s had given permission to use various texts for the Library of Humor book [MTP].


October 14 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Webster & Co., addressing the letter to “Dear C L W & Co”:

You may write Uncle Remus, & if he doesn’t consent I will then take him by the hair myself.

You may also write Stockton & if he says no, I will take him by the hair.

Note: These references referred to permissions from Appleton & Co. and Scribner’s & Sons for the use of Joel Chandler Harrisand Frank R. Stockton’s material for Library of Humor.

Sam was “forbidden to travel” after a minor operation:

I had my palate cut out several days ago & it promises never to get well again…[MTLTP 235].


Note: Clarence C. Rice (1853-1935) of New York was the family physician, an eye-ear-nose-throat specialist, and one of the most successful physicians of his time; he performed this surgery for an uncertain cause, perhaps an abscess. In 1993 He would arrange for Sam to meet Henry H. Rogers (they first met sometime in 1891 on Rogers’ yacht: See 1891 entry) ; Rice also was an investor in the Paige typesetter. Dr. Rice [MTNJ 3: 332n92].


Charles E. Gager wrote from Hartford to Sam (clipping enclosed from the Earville, Ill. Advocate) about Sam’s first platform appearance, reported to be in Carson, Nev. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Incorrect” [MTP]. Note: of course, Sam’s first was in S.F.


October 15 Saturday – Sam wrote John Brusnahan, foreman for the New York Herald’s compositors. Sam was able to gain inside information from Brusnahan on the progress of the Mergenthaler Linotype machine in trials at the Herald. Sam confided that the Paige machine was almost complete [MTNJ 3: 344n138].

Webster & Co. Wrote to Sam: “Your favor is at hand. We have written Mr. Stockton and Uncle Remis. We will mail you a copy of the statement Monday without fail”; what about the gem book? [MTP].


October 16 SundayA.E. Thayer wrote from Vienna, sending Sam a long German word [MTP].


October 17 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Webster & Co., “we do not want the book of Gems at any price,” (as proposed by G.F. Kunz, gem expert at Tiffany’s)  He also asked what arrangement had been made on the Baltimore art book proposed by William Thompson Walters) with William Mackay Laffan, adding that Laffan was “going away” [MTLTP 236]. (See Sept. 5 entry.)

Check #





Rodney Dennis



October 18 Tuesday – From Sam’s notebook:

Tuesday, a.m., Oct. 18, 1887, Paige showed me (& Whitmore, North, Earl, & two or three others,) and experiment with his new dynamo & motor, to prove that one of the laws laid down in the electrical books is not a law at all. He thinks it a great discovery that he has thus made; & proposes to apply it in a machine which shall show surprising results.

Notes: Charles R. North was the inventor of the typesetter’s automatic justifier, and became one of the Hartford investors in the typesetter; Charles I. Earll was one of the draftsmen working with Paige.

Charles Webster wrote Sam that the statement would be “along in a day or two”; he’d “failed to see Laffan” after “trying hard to see him, he was out of town now.” Webster was struggling [MTP].


October 19 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Webster & Co., responding to a statement sent.

You may send me $10,000; also the firm’s note or receipt for 12,073.47 to complete the $75,000 capital required by contract [MTLTP 237] Note: evidently there were surplus funds in the company, beyond what Sam had agreed and was obliged to leave in its coffers.

Sam’s notebook entry, “Longstreet — Oct. 19” is interpreted as a probable appointment with James Longstreet, ex-Confederate general, to discuss a possible book with Webster & Co. Longstreet was a West Point cadet with Ulysses S. Grant, and served in the Mexican war with Grant. His article was published in Century’s series, “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” in July 1885, plus others in 1886 and 1887.

Hjalmar Boyesen wrote from Columbia College, N.Y. to introduce J.H. Fisher, an artist [MTP].


October 20 ThursdayJoe Jefferson, well known actor, wrote to Charles Webster that he had contracted for his book to be published elsewhere, due to a long delay by Webster & Co. To make a firm offer [MTNJ 3: 338n113]. This loss added to the growing split between Sam and Webster.


October 21 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Hjalmar Boyesen, inviting him to a dinner with Charles Dudley Warner, Joe Twichell and others [MTP]

Sam also wrote to Count Claes Lewenhaupt, which probably sets the dinner date mentioned above:

Mrs. Clemens & I beg the pleasure of your company at dinner at our house at 6.15 p.m. next Monday [MTP].

Note: Count Claes Lewenhaupt was a First Lieutenant of Hussars in the King of Sweden’s bodyguard, and the eldest son and heir of Count Adam Lewenhaupt of Sjoholm. He was a friend or acquaintance of Boyesen. See Oct. 25 for Boyesen’s thanks.

Charles Webster wrote a “frantic letter” to Sam about interpreting the Oct. 1 statement of the firm and requesting $10,000 plus a note for $12,073.47 “to complete the $75,000 capital required by the contract.” (The new contract of Apr. 1 held Sam’s minimum capital in the firm to that amount.)

You have made a great mistake some way and I fail to see where you got the figures to make it. The paper which you took a few days ago showed only “Receipts” and “Disbursements” but not Assets and Liabilities to Author etc…. On sales for the last six months there is nothing to divide according to the old contract there is as stated before $12919.40.

Webster pleaded that the firm was “so low in cash that I do not dare” pay the full amount but promised to send $5,000 the next week [MTLTP 237n2].

Check #





Mme. Helen M. Abry




Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




The Worthington Co



October 22 Saturday

October 23 Sunday


October 24 Monday – The dinner engagement with Boyesen, Twichell, Charles Dudley Warner, and Count Claes Lewenhaupt at the Clemens home [Oct. 21 to Boyesen, Lewenhaupt].

Check #





F.G. Whitmore




Estes & Lauriat




The Worthington Co



October 25 TuesdayHjalmar Boyesen wrote to Sam thanking him “heartily for your great kindness to my countrymen,” which he & Livy had shown to Claes Lewenhaupt; it would affect Swedish society [MTP].


October 26 Wednesday


October 27 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Webster about a book of the late Nathaniel Judson Burton’s (he died Oct. 13) lectures and sermons that his son, Richard E. Burton had assembled. Sam enclosed a portrait that he wished Webster to find an engraver for who would “make as noble a portrait as his subject was” [MTLTP 237]. Burton (1824-1887) had been pastor of Hartford’s North Church of Christ since 1870. Andrews writes,

“He published nothing substantial, though after his death his son Richard, at Mark Twain’s suggestion, edited his lectures delivered at the Yale Divinity School and a dozen of what Mark called ‘those splendid preachments of his’ taken from the barrel. Mark overruled Charles Webster, his business partner, who probably thought the sermons unsalable, and thus preserved some of his friend’s life work” [42]. (See Oct. 30 entry.)

Though Webster & Co. Did publish the Burton book, it was “manufactured almost entirely in Hartford,” and “apparently sold from Hartford as well,” with Frederick J. Hall shipping paper for the book to the Star Company [MTLTP 238n3].

October 28 Friday – Sam voted yes on the proposition to publish a volume of Nathaniel J. Burton’s sermons at half-profits; Webster voted no on Oct. 30 [MTBus 387]. It’s not clear if Sam went to N.Y. for this vote, but check #3880 (below) to the Glenham Hotel on Monday, Oct 31 suggests he did. If so, he may have spent the weekend in the City, since no Hartford letters from Sam appear from Oct. 28 through Oct. 30.

Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam the good news that Appleton & Co. and Belford and Clarke had granted permissions for use of material in Library of Humor [MTLTP 236n1 top].

Charles Dudley Warner wrote to Sam of the Authors’ Reading at Chickering Hall, Nov. 28 and 29 — “You must come” [MTP].


October 29 SaturdayRichard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam about the “Meisterschaft experiment,” that he was “convinced it wouldn’t do to go before our two million readers with the German ungroomed” [MTP].

Robert Underwood Johnson for Century Magazine wrote to Sam, also conveying the announcement of the Authors’ Reading at Chickering Hall for the Copyright League’s fun. Nov. 28 and 29 [MTP].

B.W. Hawley wrote from Lawrence, Texas asking if Sam had been writing about Hawley’s uncle in RI. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Unmailed letters” [MTP].

Check #





Patrick McAleer



October 30 Sunday – A ballot was taken at Webster & Co. Whether to publish the late Nathaniel J. Burton’s divinity lectures. Charles Webster voted no on this date and Sam voted yes on Oct. 28 [MTBus 387]. There is no mention of a vote breaking the tie, such as from Frederick J. Hall but this may be because Sam had a larger interest in the firm. Either way, the book was accepted and published as, Yale Lectures on Preaching, and Other Writings (1888) [Andrews, 252n37]. Note: Andrews calls this “incident” “amusing.” It also likely represented the continuing power struggle between Sam and Webster, indicative of their deteriorating relationship. Sam proved right on this one as the book was profitable and was republished in 1925 by Macmillan.


October 31 Monday – In Hartford, Sam responded to Robert Underwood Johnson’s invitation for Sam to read. He agreed, provided that the date would be the 29th, not the 28th; and that he would read either second or third on the program [MTP] (See Nov. 28 entry.)

John Brusnahan for New York Herald wrote Sam, answering his Oct. 15 letter. Brusnahan reassured Sam that the Mergenthaler Linotype machines “would not be what is required, for they take up too much room and have too many attachements.” Sam would show this letter to his friend, attorney Henry C. Robinson [MTNJ 3: 344n138]. Note: Unfortunately, Sam never obtained a truly objective comparison of the machines; the Mergenthaler would win the competition.


Check #





Saml Spaulding




Glenham Hotel




Joseph G. Lane


Hartford Grocer


Baltimore & Ohio Tel Co




J.S. Chase



Note: the check to N.Y.’s Glenham Hotel suggests a trip to the City, either overnight or for the weekend.

November 1 Tuesday

Check #





John O’Neil




Patrick McAleer



November 1 Tuesday ca. – About the first of the month, the Clemenses invited Charles Culliford Boz Dickens, son of the late great novelist, and family, to visit them in Hartford on Nov. 10. Dickens was in the U.S. with his wife, Bessie, and daughter, Sydney, giving readings from his father’s works [MTNJ 3: 341n125].

Also around the beginning of November, Sam wrote in his notebook, a secret which is the foundation of much of his best writing, having to do with hoaxes, exaggerations, and the like:

For Princeton Review — to be written in April ’88. If you attempt to create & build a wholly imaginary incident, adventure or situation, you will go astray, & the artificiality of the thing will be detectable. But if you found on a fact in your personal experience, it is an acorn, a root, & every created adornment that grows up out of it & spreads its foliage & blossoms to the sun will seem realities, not inventions. You will not be likely to go astray; your compass of fact is there to keep you on the right course. Mention instances where you think the author was imagining. Others where he built upon a solid & actually lived basis of fact [MTNJ 3: 343].

Note: The commitment to write this article slipped Sam’s mind, and he was forced to withdraw after being notified on Apr. 10, 1888 by A.C. Armstrong, publisher of the Review.


November 2 WednesdayWilliam Mackay Laffan of the N.Y. Sun wrote to Sam that he’d just returned from Boston the night before and could not dine with him on Monday as he’d proposed [MTP].


November 3 Thursday – In New York, Sam left or mailed a short note to Webster & Co. To,

…keep a copy of the within & send the original to Remus Harris. Then you can proceed just as if he had given us his full consent [MTP].

Flora C. Head wrote from Washington College, Tenn., clipping enclosed, to borrow one or two hundred dollars [MTP].


November 4 FridaySamuel S. McClure sent Sam a notice of the Associated Literary Press program for the Anniversary program sketches for the next five weeks. It was not too late for Sam to send a piece. Sam wrote on the envelope, “The 5th time this has come” [MTP].


November 5 SaturdayCharles Culliford Boz Dickens (son of author) accepted the Clemenses offer to visit them with his family in Hartford on Nov. 10 [MTNJ 3: 341n125].

Sam’s notebook: Bal. Nov. 5, 10, 224.41 [MTNJ 3: 345].

William Mackay Laffan for N.Y. Sun wrote to Sam: “I fancy I will come up about Thursday when the place is fumigated after the election. When have you Dickens at your house? I see his is due there — in the papers” [MTP]. Note: the reference is to Charles Dickens’ son, Charles Culliford Boz Dickens.


November 6 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a rather long, laborious, but increasingly humorous apology to Frances F. Cleveland (Mrs. Grover Cleveland). He’d accepted an invitation the night before to a Bridgeport, Conn. function. He then realized (or was told by Livy) that they were giving a dinner party on that date [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Richard Watson Gilder:

“Exhibit A” says “Gretchen is a German servant & consequently her German ought to be correct.” Well, all right, let it be made correct. And make any other corrections & alterations that suggest themselves. One thing seems to be overlooked, ain’t it. That we can’t consistently allow anybody in the piece to talk anything really much resembling German except Gretchen… [MTP; Parke-Bernet Galleries catalogs, 28 April 1958 Item 76]. Note: refers to Sam’s play, Meisterschaft (See Nov. 16 ca.)

Sam’s article “A Petition to the Queen of England” with this date ran in the Dec. issue of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine [Budd, “Collected” 922; MTB 852-4]. The playful piece protested to Queen Victoria an income tax billed in error on his English royalties. Sam’s notebook entry on this piece mentioned Princess Louise (1848-1939, but the final draft did not [MTNJ 3: 329]. (See May 23, 1883 entry; also MTB 3: 852.)

Brander Matthews wrote Sam from N.Y. on mourning-border stationery that he’d done a paper on “The American Authors and British Pirates in the Sept. New Princeton Revew; and the Englishmen don’t like it. Therefore Prof. Sloane wants me to do it again.” Could Sam help with facts or suggestions? [MTP].


November 7 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Hjalmar Boyesen, asking him to thank his “delightful friends” for the “fine photographs” sent. He had their New York address but not Col. Lilliehōōk’s [MTP]. Note: (See Oct. 21 & 24 entries.)


In Rome, Italy, Cardinal Rompolla wrote to Charles Webster bestowing on him from the Pope, Knighthood in the Order of Pius, “appreciating the care you have bestowed upon the publication of the work entitled “The Life of Leo XIII” [MTBus 387-8]. Samuel Webster writes that he found a bill dated Mar. 17, 1888 for a uniform of the Knight of the Order of Pius. (See NY Times article, Dec. 10.)

“I think the uniform may have bothered Uncle Sam, who must have felt that he would have looked even better in it. I know he once said that if the Pope made Webster a knight he ought to have made him an archangel” [388].

November 8 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a short request to Frank B. Darby, his Elmira dentist. Sam wanted a “half dozen bottles of” Darby’s tooth powder [MTP]. The following check to the Glenham Hotel suggests an overnight trip to New York:


Check #





G Luern




H.L. Oliver & Son




Eugene Meyer


Piano Lesson


Western Union




Park & Tilford




Glenham Hotel




Fox & Co




Geo. A. Frink, Treas




Robbins Bros




Hartford Club




John Flynn




C.J. Cleary, Agt




Hills & Smith




P. Berry & Sons




Aitkin Son & Co



November 9 Wednesday


November 10 Thursday

Check #





 Mary Tryon Stone



November 11 Friday – From MTNJ 3: 346n145:

“On 11 November 1887, after one of the most celebrated of American political trials, four of seven condemned anarchists were executed by hanging for their alleged complicity in the 1886 Chicago Haymarket bombing, where seven policemen were killed. Two defendants had their death sentences commuted to life imprisonment and the seventh, Louis Lingg, committed suicide in prison the day before the scheduled execution…. A quarter of a million people lined the route of the funeral procession, and a monument was commissioned for the grave site. Prominent among the mourners was Vassar-educated Nina Van Zandt, the daughter of ‘well-to-do residents of Philadelphia’ (New York World 12, November 1887), who had married defendant August Spies by proxy after a courtroom romance.”

From Sam’s notebook on the affair:

L..       in place of flowers, hymns, proxy-marriages, conversions, scaffold-eloquence, shrine (grave) pilgrimage, (date made a public holiday) — this was the reason they changed hanging to insult, humiliation &c — —  Sense of ridicule is bitterer than death & more feared — met commit suicide daily to escape it. (Lingg.) [346]. Note: for an excellent treatment of Howells’ role in the Haymarket case, See Goodman & Dawson’s bio of Howells, p.276-89.

Sam also entered: Nov. 11, noon, balance of 11,297.21 [348].


November 12 Saturday


November 13 Sunday – Sam wrote to Webster & Co. (again, addressing the letter to “Dear CLW &Co” as he did during this period.) Addressing to the company may have reflected the fact that Charles Webster was often not at the office; if he’d addressed to Frederick J. Hall only, Webster may have taken umbrage.

Sam wanted several books in the works to have headings and sections in the office “Memorandum Book for Constant Reference.” Sam’s list included Webster’s pet project, The Library of American Literature. Also, Mark Twain’s Library of Humor, “Cox’s book” (Samuel S. Cox’s Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey), “Custer’s Book,” (Elizabeth Custer’s, Tenting on the Plains), “The Cook Book,” (A. Filippini’s, The Table).

Sam was particularly concerned about taking out Canadian copyright on Filippini’s cook book, and while doing so to also take out English copyright and sending Chatto & Windus a set of illustrations [MTLTP 239].


November 14 MondaySydney M. Dickens wrote to Sam that he would “not be surprised to learn that she had caught the [autograph] fever,” and wrote that “nothing will cure me but your signature under a photograph” [MTP]. Note: Sydney was the granddaughter of the late Charles Dickens, daughter of Charles Culliford Boz Dickens. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Send photograph.”

Check #





J. Goldwaite



November 15 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Webster & Co. He was still directing pieces in and out of the Library of Humor. Obtaining permission from the American Publishing Co. Was still on the menu, and Sam calculated that it should be asked for “one week before canvass begins,” so as to keep them from rushing “out a rival book ahead of us” [MTP].

Charles Webster wrote to Sam enclosing a deed for the “Roseville, N.J. property, which all of us, as well as our wives, must sign”; he would see Laffan the next afternoon [MTP].

Check #





Glenham Hotel




George Haub


Hartford Tailor


Henry Kennedy




Note: The check to the Glenham suggests an short trip to New York [MTP].


November 16 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks — obviously a response to a letter from her (not extant) to get together while she was in New York. Sam’s letter was addressed c/o Chas. M. Fairbanks [her son] at the New York Sun office.

We haven’t made out to get to New York yet — and that’s no good scheme, anyway: we are always on a rush, there, & no chance to sit down & have a comfortable talk. It will be infinitely better if you can run up here….Mother Langdon is here, & Charley’s Julia [Langdon] will come up Thanksgiving day [Nov. 24] from New York, where she is at school at 715 Fifth Ave [MTP; MTMF 261].

Edward P. Craven wrote from Schooley’s Mountain, N.J. to Sam, thanking him for using his influence on his behalf by communicating with the President [MTP]. Note: the object is not specified.

Check #





James L Whitman




November 16 Wednesday ca. – In Hartford, Sam wrote Richard Watson Gilder about a “conundrum” –should Gretchen’s German in his 3-act play, Meisterschaft, to be published in Century Magazine be corrected or not? [MTP].

November 17 Thursday – On or about this day, Sam and Livy went to New York, no doubt at least in part in response to Mary Mason Fairbanks’ inability to visit Hartford. It was often their custom to go late in the week and return on Saturday, as at least for a period, Sam wrote there were no trains on Sunday.

Florence T. McCray wrote from Hartford to Sam asking for “a few lines” for the City Mission Fair’s small daily (four issues). Sam wrote “No” on the envelope [MTP].

L..       Oppenheimer for The Asylum, N.Y. wrote to Sam asking if he had any “second-hand articles on hand, something that you …would like to introduce anonymously” to test the effect [MTP].

Parker L. Walter for Pittsburgh Chronicle Telegram wrote to Sam asking for an article. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Tell him [I] am 38 fair-articles behind-hand” [MTP].

Check #








counter chk





November 18 Friday – Sam was in New York, at the Webster & Co. Office. From his notebook:

Nov. 18 — 9,689.89

Nov. 18/87. Jesse Grant came in & spoke of an offer he had received to publish his mother’s book — (Gen Grant’s letters &c) elsewhere, & asked if we would object. He said would not do it if we objected. We did object, & said we thought it would [hurt] us & the General’s book. Whereupon he said he would write at once & decline the offer. He sat down & wrote a letter & carried it away with him. Wrote it on plain paper; asked for that saying he did not care that it should be known the letter was written in our office. He asked if it would be any harm to put some of the matter in a magazine. We said it would do harm; I believed the General’s Century articles cost the family $100,000 [MTNJ 3: 350]. Note: Sam felt that the interest in Grant had waned somewhat, and that the book of letters Webster & Co. had once coveted would no longer be a big seller.


November 19 Saturday ­– In New York City, Sam responded to an invite from Bram Stoker (1847-1912) to attend a 2 o’clock performance of Faust at the Star Theater. Stoker, Henry Irving, and Charles E. Howson organized the production, which opened Nov. 7. Having to catch a 4.30 train for Hartford, Sam wondered now near to the hour would a curtain or “some change” occur “that will let us get out without disturbing anybody” [MTP; NY Times, Nov. 1, p.3 “Theatrical Gossip”; Nov. 19, p.7 “Amusements”]. Note: It is not known if Sam and Olivia attended the play. Stoker was later business adviser to Henry Irving, and is best known for Dracula (1897).

Probably still in New York, Sam wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore, asking him to get the “autograph signature” of the late Nathaniel J. Burton “to be engraved under the steel portrait” of the planned book of Burton’s lectures [MTP]. (See Oct. 13, 27 entries).

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), New York poet, died. She is best known for these words, from the 1883 sonnet, “The New Collossus”:

 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

November 20 SundayHoughton, Mifflin & Co. Wrote to Sam, calling his attention to a circular issued by the Treasury Dept. about the importation of books copyrighted in the US [MTP].


November 21 Monday – On or about this day Sam returned to New York, probably on business. He wrote of just returning from the City on Nov. 24, Thanksgiving.

Check #





Meyrowitz Bros


N.Y. Opticians


J.P Griswold



November 22 Tuesday


November 23 Wednesday

Check #





James Quinn


RR Agent

November 24 ThursdayThanksgiving – According to Sam’s Nov. 16 to Fairbanks, Charles J. Langdon’s daughter, Julia Langdon, came up from her New York School for the holiday with the Clemens family.

In Hartford Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton.

I am just home from N.Y. & find Mrs. Hutton’s kind note….I wish I could be at the supper & see Irving & the rest of you, albeit dissipations which begin at 11.30 & end at breakfast are hard upon the chit of 52, I find; however, I couldn’t in present circumstances anyway, because we are having the Hawleys & a lot of people to dinner the 29th….

Sam added that Livy had been sick in bed for a few days “& in the doctor’s hands.” This last statement, together with the one above of “just home from N.Y.” show that after returning from New York on Saturday, Nov. 19, Sam then returned alone to the big City sometime in the Nov. 21–24 period.


November 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks in New York that he planned to leave Hartford Monday, Nov. 28 on the 12:30 p.m. train, then go to his office at 3 East 14th Street, and then to Chickering Hall to give a reading at 2 or 2:15 p.m., depending on the office business. After the lecture he intended to take the 4:30 p.m. train home in order to “meet a business engagement next morning (Nov. 29). Sam thought the reading didn’t start until 2:30 — could she drop by his office at 1:30? They might walk or drive to the lecture together [MTP; MTMF 262]. Note: See Nov. 28 for Sam’s reading.

Clews, Habicht & Co. Sent notice and check to Sam for a dividend of £2.2.4 [MTP].

Chatto & Windus wrote to Sam, “greatly delighted with your letter to the Queen published in the Dec. No. of Harper’s” (seven letters enclosed about the Inland Revenue tax) [MTP].

Check #





W.A.M. Wainwright



November 26 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook, another co. bank balance: — 9060.97 [MTNJ 3: 353].


November 27 SundayLivy’s 42nd birthday.

The New York Times, p.5 ran a short announcement of Sam’s reading for the following day:



Mark Twain’s selection for the Authors’ Readings at Chickering Hall to-morrow will be “The Fatal Anecdote.” As Mr. Cable will not [be] able to read on Monday Mr. Stoddard’s selection, “Prince Hassak’s March,” has been transferred from the programme for Tuesday, when it is expected that Mr. Cable will read from the advance sheets of his novelette “Au Large.” Other readers on Monday will be Edward Eggleston, H.C. Bunner, R.H. Stoddard, and James Whitcomb Riley. On account of pressure for seats it has been determined to issue a limited number of tickets of admittance at $1.


November 28 Monday – Sam and daughter Clara left Hartford on the 12:30 p.m. train for New York. If he acted on his plan written to Fairbanks on Nov. 25, he then went to his office, did a bit of work and went to his reading (perhaps with Mary Mason Fairbanks). He took Clara to be at the dentist, Dr. John Nutting Farrar, for teeth straightening “about or before 2” for the “whole afternoon.” After the dentist appointment, Clara was given the task of walking a short way to Tiffany’s to “get a dozen of those dinner-cards” for the Nov. 29 Hawley dinner party [MTNJ 3: 353].


Sam read a piece, “The Fatal Anecdote”” at Chickering Hall, Author’s Readings, in New York City. Sam’s reading came first after James Russell Lowell’s introductory speech [MTNJ 3: 342n129]. The New York Times ran a long article, “AUTHORS HAVE A MATINEE” on page 5, which listed Sam among 20 or 30 other literary luminaries.


(This was a two day affair: the first day: Edward Eggleston, R.H. Stoddard, Henry Cuyler Bunner, George W. Cable and James Whitcomb Riley; the second day, James Russell Lowell Richard Malcom Johnston]., Charles Dudley Warner