More Publishing Struggles – Library of Humor – Blizzard of ’88
“Don’t Wear your Arctics in the White House”– Congressional Hearings Int’l Copyright
Theo’s Stroke – Grace King – Webster Bought out for $12,000
1888 – Sometime during this year an old fellow-printer from the spring of 1853 in St. Louis, Anthony Kennedy, wrote to Sam with some sort of invitation that Sam felt would “get me in trouble with No. 6” — a reference to a Webster & Co. Contract. Sam declined, and told Kennedy:
Now you get some other firebrand to tie to your tail when you go through the Philistine’s corn; this one’s busy. I am thirty-seven  years older and seven hundred years wiser…[MTP]. Note: See also MTL 1: 2-3; 5n4 for more on Kennedy.
Also undated beyond this year was one note to Frederick J. Hall, Sam’s man at Webster & Co. The note asked Hall to get the right contract for Webster & Co., “made among us from the beginning” and meet at “half-past five. I will be there” [MTP].
Frank McAlpine, in Our Album of Authors: A Cyclopedia of Popular Literary People, p.84-88 wrote a conventional biography of Mark Twain: “Without a doubt, he is the most popular of living humorists. His language is pure and elevated, except when it is necessary to use the language of classes to represent certain characters. The world is bound to laugh as long as Mark Twain lives, or as long as his works are kept in print” [Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 182].
Books published by Charles L. Webster & Co. In 1888.
Beecher, William, and Samuel Scoville, A Biography of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher
Burton, Rev. Nathaniel J., Yale Lectures on Preaching and Other Writings
Daggett, Rollin Mallory, The Legends and Myths of Hawaii
Mark Twain’s Library of Humor
Sheridan, General, Personal Memoirs of P. H. Sheridan, General, United States Army
Van Nortwick, William H., Yanks and Johnnies; or, Laugh and Grow Fat
January – Die Meisterschaft, a 3-act bilingual play Sam wrote in 1886-7 for family entertainment ran with a few changes in Century Magazine [MTNJ 3: 333n95].
Sam’s answer to Brander Matthews’ article in the September 1887 New Princeton Review ran in the January issue of the magazine and was titled, “American Authors and British Pirates” [Budd, Collected 1: 1022]. Gribben calls it a “querulous, antagonistic reply to Matthew’s article” . The article included a letter to Matthews, in response to his Sept. 1887 piece, “An Open Letter to Close a Correspondence” in the same publication. Neider calls the “tone of his article, its sauciness and its rich style” worthy of preserving [MT Life as I Find It 219n]. For example, addressing Matthews’ arguments, Sam criticized American authors who didn’t take the time and effort to copyright their works in England, yet complained about being pirated:
In your dozen pages you mention a great many injured American authors, and a great many pirated American books. Now here is a thing which is the exact truth about all of those books and all of those authors: such of the books as were issued before England allowed us copyright, suffered piracy without help; and at the very same time, five times as many English books suffered piracy without help on our side of the water. The one fact offsets the other; and the honors are easy — the rascalities, I mean. But, such of those American books as were issued after England allowed us copyright, and yet suffered piracy, suffered it by their authors’ own fault, not England’s nor anybody else’s. Their injuries are of their own creation, and they have no shadow of right to set up a single whimper. Why, I used to furnish a sick child in West Hartford with gratis milk; do you know, that cub’s mother wasn’t satisfied, but wanted me to come over there and warm it? I may be out in my calculations, but I don’t believe England is going to warm the milk for this nursery over here [223; also in Budd’s Collected 1: 927].
The Brooklyn Eagle, p.7 “MAGAZINES AND BOOKS” reported on The New Princeton Review for January:
“American Authors and British Pirates” is a racy correspondence between Mark Twain and Brander Matthews, which, however, does not clear up or advance much the practical arrangement of the copyright question, about which it is written.
Though the article’s arguments centered on international copyright, also noteworthy is Sam’s evolution of thought regarding the Negro and slavery. In Mark Twain: Social Philosopher Budd quotes Sam’s reference to past abuses of slaves in the work:
…we used to own our brother human beings, and used to buy them and sell them, lash them, thrash them, break their piteous hearts — and we ought to be ashamed of ourselves .
The Hartford Lawn Club receipted Sam for $25 for a year’s dues, signed by Lucius F. Robinson, Treasurer [MTP].
January 1 Sunday – In Hartford a first issue of the first edition of Mark Twain’s Library of Humor, Illustrated by Edward Windsor Kemble, was signed, “Mark Twain, Hartford, Jan. 1, 1888.” This edition contained the first appearance of “Warm Hair” by Sam, but his name was erased from the heading of the sketch in later editions, as if he was not the author. Inserted in this edition was a facsimile of the “Compiler’s Apology”:
Those selections in this book which are from my own works, were made by my two assistant-compilers, not by me. This is why there are not more. Mark Twain.
The work that took many years was an anthology of humorous short stories, legends, anecdotes and poems by the following writers: William L. Alden, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, James M. Bailey, Ambrose Bierce, Josh Billings, Hans Breitmann, Robert J. Burdette, William Allen Butler, George W. Cable, Samuel S. Cox, Frederick W. Cozzens, George William Curtis, Sam P. Davis, Mary Mapes Dodge, Q. K. Philander Doesticks, Eugene Field, Jason T. Fields, Lucretia P. Hale, George W. Harris, Joel Chandler Harris (Uncle Remus), John Hay, Bret Harte, Johnson J. Hooper, Marietta Holley (Josiah Allen’s Wife), Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Dean Howells, Washington Irving, Richard Malcolm Johnston, George T. Lanigan, Charles G. Leland, James Russell Lowell, Joseph C. Neal, Robert H. Newell, Bill Nye, John Phoenix, Mrs. Frances Lee Pratt, Henry W. Shaw, Edmund C. Stedman, Frederic W. Shelton, Seba Smith, Frank R. Stockton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mortimer N. Thompson, W. Tappan Thompson, James T. Trowbridge, Artemus Ward, Charles Dudley Warner, Katherine Kent Childs Walker, and twenty stories by Mark Twain. It was not a big seller.
Celestia Smith wrote from Houstonia, Mo. asking Sam for “a helping hand” [MTP].
J.G. Rathbun & Co., Hartford Pharmacist’s bill for January $59.63, paid Jan 4, 1888:
For goods: Oct 6 1887: Geysers .30; Oct 13: 200 cigars 8.00, geyser .05; Oct 15 Geyser .20 Oct 29 200 cigars 8.00 – total 16.25
Nov 4 Ground el? .20 Nov. 5 Ammonia .20 Medicine boat .35
Nov 10 Ammonia .35 Home Remedy 1.15 200 Cigars 8.00 – 9.50
Nov 16 Soda Mint Tablets .40; Nov 19 Castor Oil, Nov 23 Brandy 3.00
Nov 24 Recipe .20 Hops .30 Nov 26 toboggan Thermometer .50 total 1.00
Dec 5 Mustard leaves .30, Dec 8 alcohol tbt .75 Dec 12 [illegible] .60 –total 1.65
Dec 16 Chloride .05; Dec 17 200 cigars 8.00 Ponds ext 1.50 – total 9.55
Dec 19 Flax seed .30 Dec 23 Salts .10 Dec 27 200 cigars 8.00 –total 8.40
Dec 28 200 Cigars 8.00 Parejoric .10 Dec 29 Vaseline .25 Salpetre .08 total 8.43 [MTP].
Miss M.E. Riordon, Dress-Making Rooms, Hartford, bill for $22.59 for “pink dress and tan dress made” $22.59 [MTP].
Park & Tilford, Teas and Fancy Groceries, N.Y. billed $26.75: “Dec 13 87 Oolong tea, 1 doz pens, 3 pack vanilla & chocolate; [misc illegible] Dec. 16 ½ doz F. Asparagus 8.25”; Paid Jan 12, 1888 [MTP].
January 2 Monday – London Pall Mall Gazette, p.4 ran a paragraph about the recent exchange between Sam and Brander Matthews over copyright. Items from London writers often lend a different perspective on events in Sam’s life.
The copyright controversy, hitherto a dull affair, has at last been amply enlivened. Mark Twain has rushed into the fray, demolishing, or thinking to demolish, Mr. Brander Matthew’s article in the New Princeton Review on the sins of English publishers. “I read your article to the cat,” says Clemens — “well, I never saw a cat carry on so.” And again, “Don’t you know that as long as you’ve got a goiter that you have to trundle around on a wheelbarrow you can’t divert attention from it by throwing bricks at a man that’s got a wart on the back of his ear?” Mark Twain’s contention is that so long as England is generous enough to allow a cast-iron copyright to any one who takes a trip to Canada at the date of publication the American author has only himself to blame if he fails to profit by this generosity. Mr. Matthews retorts that Mr. Clemens who is rich, and lives at Hartford, may find no hardship in an arrangement which bears heavily on an author who is poor and lives in Florida. Besides, this generous law does not protect matter which appears in periodicals, and, as a matter of fact, leaves room in many other ways for gross injustices. Finally, Mr. Matthews asserts that his whole object was to show that all the right is not on the side of England and all the wrong on the side of America — an assumption which English writers are certainly too apt to make.
Augustin Daly for Daly’s Theatre sent the following invitation:
Mr. Augustin Daly will be very much pleased to have Mr. S. L. Clemens meet Mr. Booth, Mr. Barrett, and Mr. Palmer and a few friends at lunch on Friday next, January 6th (at one o’clock in Delmonico’s), to discuss the formation of a new club which it is thought will claim your interest. R.S.V.P. [MTB 866]. Note: this became the Players Club.
Joseph G. Lane, Wholesale Grocer & Commission Merchant, Hartford, billed $26.69 for Oct. 14, Nov. 9, 29 purchases for “Sherry, Claret, Sx Dry, Bask Chauip” [?]; Paid Jan. 10 [MTP].
Pamela Moffett wrote from Oakland, Calif. Thanking Sam for the Christmas money sent. She gave her son Samuel $10 and he bought a book of etchings with it, which his wife “Mamie” was delighted with. She’d sent some “trifles” to the children which she hoped they got [MTP].
January 3 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly:
Schon gut! I’ll be there [MTP].
From Sam’s notebook: Bal., Jan 3/88 — 13,293.28 [MTNJ 3: 362].
Stocks and./or bonds were returned to Charles J. Langdon for the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. [Apr. 3, 1891 to Kelly]. See also July 11, 1889.
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam enclosing $200 dividend from the Beech Creek R.R. bonds. Sam wrote on the envelope, “W. please acknowledge $200 SLC” [MTP].
A registry receipt was sent to Charles J. Langdon for letter No. 56 [MTP].
January 4 Wednesday – L.W. Gage wrote a jumbled postcard to Sam asking for his “best book in publication for good sound reading” [MTP].
Webster & Co. Per Arthur H. Wright enclosed three letters to and from Chatto & Windus regarding the forthcoming Library of Humor [MTP].
January 5 Thursday – Charles J. Langdon wrote a note that the Cone Bonds had been received and a check was enclosed, no amount given [MTP].
January 6 Friday – The Players Club was founded at 1.P.M. in the Red Room at Delmonico’s, New York City. Fatout writes that Sam gave a speech, but this was more of adding comments to the others, all speaking informally from their chairs after the lunch.
Prime movers were Edwin Booth and Augustin Daly. Among charter members gathered at Delmonico’s were Mark Twain, Joseph Jefferson (sent a telegram), A.M. (Albert Marshall) Palmer, Eugene Tompkins (sent a letter), James Lewis, Harry Edwards, John A. Lane (“unable to attend but sent approval of all that was done”), Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Joseph F. Daly, William Bispham, Lawrence Barrett, John Drew, Laurence Hutton, Brander Matthews, Stephen H. Olin, and General William Tecumseh Sherman. The Times review of the meeting gave the inspiration for the club as the Garrick Club of London [Fatout, MT Speaking 657; New York Times, Jan.8, 1888, p.9 “AN IMPORTANT NEW CLUB”]. Note: See Feb. 9 entry for the incorporation of “The Players”; facsimile page of signatures on Sam’s Menu card for the date next to MTB 866.
Augustus P. Chamberlaine wrote from Concord, Mass. With Happy New Year wishes and asked if Sam knew Miss F. C. Baylor, the author of “On Both Sides,” an English story. “You must read her book, pub? By Lippincott, Philadelphia 1887 — Even you will roar!” [MTP].
January 7 Saturday – Sam was still in New York part of the day. He went to the Webster office and found “only Hall there” [Jan. 8 to Chatto]. He directed Hall to send casts of the illustrations for Library of Humor to Chatto & Windus, and to send “advance sheets” when they were available. He then returned to Hartford.
From Sam’s notebook: 12860.48 Jan 7 [MTNJ 3: 362].
Webster & Co. Per Arthur H. Wright wrote enclosing Am. Pub. Co.’s check for $809.62 [MTP].
January 8 Sunday – Back in Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto, and informed him of the progress of Library of Humor, after discovering that Chatto had answered him about interest in the book. Chatto had sent a reply to Webster & Co. Sam declined to take up some offer from a “Mr. Christmas,” which may have had something to do with the recent English tax assessment (“…some day we’ll measure our strength with the Imperial Government & see what comes of it.”) Sam added that he planned to be back in New York “6 days hence” (Jan. 14) and that he’d follow up on Webster & Co.’s handling of the Library of Humor simultane.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore asking him to be at the house before his Browning Club met on Wednesday a.m. (Jan. 11) with the Webster & Co. Contract. He also wrote crosswise on the end of the letter and asked if Whitmore had received the “Century” check he’d mailed from New York.
I guess there is a new complication [MTP].
An entry in Sam’s notebook “Go to some publisher & get the facts,” together with the footnote 3: 362n201, explain that Sam wrote three unpublished articles refuting Brander Matthews’ position on international copyright. From one of these articles, a surviving last MS page was auctioned on Nov. 28, 2007. This fragment was double signed by Sam and Mark Twain and dated Hartford, Jan. 8, 1888. It reads:
…they are always “previously published in England” & I do wonder if the gentle tribe of magazine publishers do really go to Canada every month and root around there a day or two in order to make sure that [line]
Sam then drew a line across the page and wrote,
Drop all this out of the article — also page 15; these points are not involved in the dispute. SLC [www.liveauctioneers.com/item/4584242 ; Nov. 28, 2007].
George M. Young wrote from Boston to Sam, who wrote on the envelope “From a damned stranger.” Young wrote he’d been at the Tremont Temple when Sam introduced Henry M. Stanley. [MTP].
January 9 Monday – The Players Club sent Sam a formal notification of his election to the club (he was a charter member and present at the Jan. 6 first meeting). A bill was enclosed for a $100 initiation fee and semiannual dues payable on or before Nov. 1, 1888. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Won’t pay it,” and evidently got the fees reduced, as he was receipted for half the amounts asked on Nov. 13 [MTNJ 3: 429n73].
Sydney M. Dickens wrote to Sam sending a photo of her father with apologies for not sending it sooner [MTP]. Note: Sydney was the granddaughter of the late Charles Dickens, daughter of Charles Culliford Boz Dickens.
January 10 Tuesday – A bill to Young’s Hotel in Boston for room #30-1 for $16.40 for one day shows Sam made a short trip to the city. The room was $10; Restaurant 0.65; Fires 0.75 and cash $5 [MTP]. The purpose of the trip was not determined.
January 11 Wednesday – Sam returned to Hartford.
Frederick J. Collier wrote from Hudson, N.Y. to Sam. Collier had become owner of a huge (5’x4’) painting of Samson and Delilah originally purchased by Dr. Edward Andrews on the Quaker City excursion. Did Sam recollect the painting or the purchase — where the doctor bought it? [MTP]. See Jan. 16 for Sam’s humorous reply.
Augustin Daly for Daly’s Theatre wrote to Sam, “will you sign both these papers of [illegible word] & return them to me” [MTP].
January 12 Thursday –
Sam paid $6 to The Century Club, Louise R. Matson, Treasurer.
A receipt: Mrs Clemens to Eugene Meyer 102. E 54th St, N.Y. “Piano lessons to Miss Susi and Cara from beg 87 the 15th until Jan 88 –12” [MTP]. Note: these lessons cost $30 per month.
January 13 Friday – Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam (enclosed in S.R. Peale Jan 31) about the Clearfield Bonds. Langdon wrote on Peale’s letter that he did not need to answer it; he would sell [MTP].
January 14 Saturday
January 15 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Robert M. Howland, his old mining buddy from Nevada days. Sam’s last mention of Howland was to Calvin Higbie on Dec. 16, 1886. He’d run into Howland in New York, and Sam felt him prosperous enough to recommend that Higbie seek financial help from him. Howland may still have been in the east, and interested in speculation.
My Dear Robert —
A thing has occurred to me. It is this. It is just possible that the Philadelphia Company are waiting till they can improve their invention up to a point that will meet all requirements of their great English & other contracts. If the inference is correct, why couldn’t they save time by striking up a trade with us? — for our machine will doubtless fill that bill without any waiting [MTP].
Sam’s further reference to a machine that “prints the message at every station on the line,” suggests this may be the telegraph apparatus of Paige’s that he’d acquired, not the typesetter. Just what Howland’s interest in it was is obscure. (See index & entries for “Paige electric telegraphic apparatus,” MTDBD I.)
January 16 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto again, on the status of the Library of Humor. The illustrations were being made for Chatto & Windus and would be forwarded soon. A chapter in the book about Colonel Sellers was from The Gilded Age and since Routledge held the English copyright, Sam told Chatto to “Knock it out,” and “Examine for other contraband matter,” though he knew of none [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Frederick J. Collier of Hudson, N.Y., answering his Jan. 11 letter.
…I did not call Andrews “the Doctor.” He was a quack, not a doctor. I cannot conceive of his buying a picture of any kind; he had no taste, no brains, no education; he must have been born in a sty & reared in a sewer. I am well satisfied he never saw the day when he could tell an oil painting from a horse-blanket [MTP]. Note: Dr. Edward Andrews of Albany, N.Y.was on the Quaker City.
Sam also wrote a one-line correspondence card to William M. Knox of Belfast, Ireland to “Keep the contract!” [MTP]. Note: Knox of Belfast was active in the Fabian Society (1892-5), a British intellectual movement dedicated to gradual socialism. The import of Sam’s note is not clear.
Sam’s notebook keeping track of Webster & Co. Bank balances: about $10,000 [MTNJ 3: 368].
John Brusnahan for New York Herald wrote to Sam with bad news — the Tribune had received 23 new Mergenthalers to replace the old machines, and in the limited time Brusnahan inspected them, they “worked without interruption” [MTP].
Charles T. Root for Root & Tinker, Tribune Building, N.Y. wrote to Sam suggesting he write about “the floating spore, the winged germ, the efficient microbe and the industrious bacillus.” Sam wrote on the letter, prophetically, “Yes, one of these days” [MTP]. Note: in 1905 Sam would undertake writing the piece, “Three Thousand Years Among the Microbes,” not published in full until 1967.
Charles Webster wrote to Sam (on Grant to Webster & Co, Jan. 16) that the Grant family objected to their accounting practices. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Mrs. Grant threatens suit” [MTP].
January 17 Tuesday – Richard R. Bowker for Publishers’ Weekly wrote asking Sam for an after dinner address on the tariff, Jan. 29 at the Reform Club at Delmonico’s. “Declined,” Sam noted [MTP].
William Dean Howells wrote to Sam or Charles H. Clark (not in MTHL) “I have made a brief note for the Library of Humor.” This scrap of blue paper in Howells’ hand with a brief bio is in the file [MTP].
January 18 Wednesday
January 19 Thursday – Orion Clemens began a nine-page letter to Sam he finished Jan. 20. Ma had suffered a stroke but was better. He was to have dinner today with Whitford and Hall at the Keokuk House, successor to the Patterson House; other family goings on and his work on history research [MTP]. Note: Whitford and Hall were in Keokuk relative to the R.T. Root lawsuit. See entries on R.T. Root.
January 20 Friday – Charles Webster wrote to Sam (Webster & Co. To Grant Jan.19 enclosed).
Dear Uncle Sam: / I got provoked and sent the enclosed letter to Fred Grant. It is a pretty hard letter but it is all true and states our case exactly. I hope this will bring him to his senses; if it does not he may go right along & sue[.] We are ready.
The letter to Grant is four pages, single space typed, answering Grant’s of Jan. 11 and 16, which objected to inclusion of some costs in calculating royalties; it points out the huge royalty checks paid, Webster’s ruined health “through his efforts,” attorney fees spent to collect Grant’s 70%. Webster & Co. did not wish arbitration: “The laws of our country, which General Grant fought nobly to sustain, are sufficient, and we are willing to abide by them” [MTP].
Montreal Club per Raymond Binmore sent invite to a dinner Feb. 11. “Can’t go” Sam noted [MTP].
F.L. Yoakum for Academy of Science of Texas wrote asking Sam for “some kind of specimen of Natural History,” “marked by your own hand.” Sam wrote on the letter, “Natural ‘science’ specimens! Some D__d quack” [MTP].
Orion Clemens finished a letter began Jan. 19, see that entry [MTP].
January 21 Saturday – Sam’s notebook on Webster & Co. Bank balance: Jan 21 — 9,798. Sam also wrote:
Mr. Crane bought four drawing room for 11 a.m. They sold him 4 for 9 a.m. Mr. Halstead redeemed ($1 apiece) C’s 2, but Clara already had hers. She took the 11 am & found her tickets no good. These tickets were sold for a train which was already gone [MTNJ 3: 368].
William Mackay Laffan for the N.Y. Sun wrote, “Saturday, 28th 3.40 p.m. from Jersey City, to Baltimore to spend Sunday at WT. Walters’…Likewise great environment of terrapin and ducks. /Now don’t fail and wire me on Monday a.m. your entire complicity” [MTP].
Mary B. Cheney wrote from South Manchester, Conn. thanking Sam for the “timely notice of Browning changes” (reading group). She enclosed the constitution of the Art Society — could she put his name down as a member? [MTP].
January 22 Sunday – Sam responded to Orion Clemens’ letter of Jan. 19-20:
It is an infinite pity that poor old Ma must drag her tired life out in so much needless suffering. Give her our love.
Sam also advised his brother not to write for newspapers, as it was “mere bother” and “does not pay.” He saw a false light ahead for the Paige typesetter, which he thought would,
…be finished & exhibiting its powers or lack of them April 1st. Then my expenses on it will suddenly shrink to $300 a week & I shall be glad [MTP].
Frederick Edwards wrote from Woodbury, N.J. asking if Sam might “direct” him to “any book or matter now published” which he could find “the many good things you have written” to aid him in the preparation of “a small book” of quotations of American Humorists he was preparing [MTP].
January 23 Monday – Wales R. McCormick wrote from Quincy, Ill. to Sam, thanking him for the $100 sent. “Your kind and welcome letter was rec’d in due time and I must say when I opened it and read the contents I had to give down and cry like a child.” He asked for a photo [MTP]. Note: Wales was a fellow apprentice for Joseph P. Ament’s Missouri Courier in Hannibal during the 1840s. See Vol. I, June.
January 24 Tuesday – Lilly G. Warner wrote to Sam resigning her position as secretary of the Browning class [MTP].
January 25 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook on Webster & Co. Bank balance: Jan 25 — 10,352. Sam also wrote two paragraphs on the N.Y. Tribune’s printing and use of typesetters. [MTNJ 3: 368].
January 26 Thursday
January 27 Friday – Andrew Chatto wrote Sam a reminder of “the steps necessary to be taken to secure copyright in Great Britain, Canada, & the US” for Library of Humor. Other contract matters were discussed [MTNJ 3: 372, 375n242].
January 28 Saturday – From Sam’s notebook, another Webster & Co. Bank balance: Jan. 28 — 9,538.76 [MTNJ 3: 372].
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam (Galsway to Langdon Jan. 25 enclosed) asking him to “execute enclosed satisfaction of Mtg. Before notary public” [MTP].
January 29 Sunday – Edward Mott wrote on N.Y. Sun stationery about a possible book of his sketches from his columns in the Sun titled, “Old Settler.” Mott asked to discuss it with Sam [MTP].
January 30 Monday – Sam’s notebook carried a half-page of calculations of N.Y. Tribune output and production using the Mergenthaler Linotype machines [MTNJ 3: 371].
January 31 Tuesday – S.R. Peale wrote to Sam offering to purchase his bonds of the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. Sam would forward this letter to his brother-in-law, Charles J. Langdon, asking what answer he should make, and received the answer not to make any; Charles would sell [MTP].
February – In Hartford Sam enclosed S.R. Peale’s Jan. 31 letter to Charles J. Langdon, and asked him to return it to him and let him know what answer he should make to the request [MTP].
General Philip H. Sheridan delivered the manuscript of his memoirs to Webster & Co. Soon thereafter he wanted to revise it further, and sent for it, spending much of the spring working on it Sheridan’s work was set to issue Dec. 1, 1888 [New York Times, May 29, 1888 p.1 “THE GENERAL’S MEMOIRS.”].
Karl Gerhardt wrote to Sam (photo of statue — Nathan Hale? — enclosed) [MTP].
February 1 Wednesday – Crown Point Iron Co. Sent a financial statement to Sam [MTP].
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry, and Vegetables billed $73.95, for “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail) paid Feb. 4
Robbins Brothers, Manufacturers and Dealers in Furniture of Every Description billed $7.50 for “Repairing cabinet & 2 chairs & hanging door at house”; paid Feb. 4 [MTP].
February 2 Thursday – A.F. Kelly wrote for the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co. that “The papers executed by you were duly received.” Payment would be sent [MTP].
February 3 Friday – W.H. Babcock for Southern New England Telephone Co. Returned Sam’s check for $85 and pointed out the bill was for 85¢ [MTP].
February 4 Saturday – Sam had long been outspoken in support of international copyright legislation. The lack of protection for foreign writers caused several problems, and not simply to the writers. First, the spread of writing without royalties paid created a competitive disadvantage for domestic writers. Second, increased demand abroad for American writers led to increased piracy there. Third, American readers were hindered from full development of their national literature. Fourth, American booksellers were hurt financially. Last, the situation created a great deal of injustice to many “second-list” writers who did not have the wherewithal to travel to establish English copyright, etc. Past efforts and bills in Congress had failed to pass. The American Publishers’ Copyright League and other copyright groups were beginning to stir up public opinion for Congress to act. The New York Times, page 2 ran the case for the Copyright League, with this appeal to the public:
We appeal, therefore, to all members of the book trade and to all readers of books, to co-operate in the efforts now being made to secure from Congress an international copyright law. We invite them to associate themselves with one or the other of the copyright leagues, and we urge them also to write in behalf of the measure to their respective Senators and Representatives. We ask, further, that they will aid in securing signatures to the memorials in behalf of international copyright which will shortly be placed in the bookstores for the purpose, and that they will do what may be in their power to develop and to bring to bear an enlightened public opinion on the subject.
John W. Spencer of McKinney, Texas, wrote to Sam, asking charity for Miss Eleanor (Aunt Nelly) Lampton. Sam wrote crosswise in the margin and sent the letter to Franklin. G. Whitmore:
I will not even read this sort of letter just now. For the present you must do the reading — & the answering too. [MTP].
February 5 Sunday
February 6 Monday
February 7 Tuesday – C. Blanchard for The Conquerer (Binghamton, N.Y.) wrote asking Sam for an article and enclosing two issues of the publication. Sam wrote, “Editor of amateur paper asks for an article” [MTP].
February 8 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook carries another entry of typesetting statistics, but additionally added wages to the picture:
Courant wages now, are 40 cents. Case Lockwood, 34 cents — mainly because book work is pretty nearly always leaded [MTNJ 3: 372]. Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co., Hartford printers and binders.
Mrs. C.D. VanVechtin wrote from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Sam on behalf of 50 women members hoping for a letter from him [MTP].
February 9 Thursday – Charles Webster reported an out-of-court settlement with Hubbard Brothers of Philadelphia, who had failed to pay for copies of Grant’s Memoirs. The settlement was for $25,000 in cash and property against a claim of $32,000 [MTNJ 3: 287n204].
The New York Times, Feb.10, “Theatrical Gossip” p.8 ran a blurb about this day’s incorporation of “The Players”:
Articles of incorporation were filed yesterday [Feb. 9] of a club to be known as “The Players,” Augustin Daly, Edwin Booth, Lawrence Barrett, A.M. Palmer, Brander Matthews, Harry Edwards, Lawrence [Laurence] Hutton, Judge Joseph F. Daly, William Bispham, Samuel L. Clemens, Gen. William T. Sherman, Joseph Jefferson, John Drew, John A. Lane, and Stephen H. Olin being the incorporators. The objects of the club, as described at length in THE TIMES recently, are “the promotion of social intercourse between the representative members of the dramatic profession and of the kindred professions, literature, painting, sculpture, and music and their patrons, the creation of a library relating especially to the history of the American stage, and the preservation of pictures, bills of plays, photographs, and curiosities connected with such history.” [Note: See Jan 6 for founding ].
Note: Edwin Booth, along with producer Augustin Daly, was a prime mover and founder of the Players Club. He purchased a brownstone on Grammercy Park and had it redecorated by architect Stanford White (1853-1906) to give the club a clubhouse. The club’s bylaws suggested help for performers on the ragged edge, but the club was more given to helping the elite members. Sam came to use the location as a second home while in New York [A. Hoffman 344-5]. Note: White was the most prominent architect of the Gilded Age; he was shot and killed while attending a performance at Madison Square Garden, leading to a “trial of the century,” sensationalized by William Randolph Hearst’s newspapers. The case inspired the movie Ragtime.
Henry Kuh wrote from Chicago to Sam enclosing a bill of a play by Kuh’s Company, Meisterschaft by Mark Twain for Sat. Feb. 4, 1888. Kuh trusted “we did not infringe on your copyright, especially as the performance was given for a charitable purpose.” No charity is specified [MTP].
February 10 Friday – Willard B. Roberts of Sinker & Roberts Investments wrote to Sam about a prospectus that he’d sent the previous fall for the formation of a natural gas company on 60,000 acres in Western Penn. Sam referred this to Whitmore on Feb. 20 [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: Feb. 10 — ¼ of Trib to-day is handwork [MTNJ 3: 374].
J.M. Ives in N.Y. wrote Sam a funny tale “after a conversation on the train the other day” [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote and clipped a short anecdote for Sam, one to make him think of the speech he was preparing [MTP].
February 11 Saturday
February 12 Sunday
February 13 Monday – From Sam’s notebook, referring to this day:
Feb. 16, 1888. On the 13th we at last got Webster to retire from business, from all authority, & from the city, till April 1, 1889, & try to get back his health. How long he has been a lunatic I do not know; but several facts suggest that it began in the summer or very early in the fall of ’85, — while the 1st vol of the Grant Memoirs was in preparation & the vast canvass [MTNJ 3: 374].
February 14 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto, letting him know the electros for illustrations of Library of Humor had been shipped, and that galley-proofs would now begin shipping to him as well. He’d received the contract for the book from Chatto & Windus, and would sign it and return it as soon as he knew a publication date, which at that point was speculative, but would “most likely be April 25th” [MTP].
David Ross Locke (Petroleum Vesuvius Nasby) (1833-1888), journalist, humorist and political commentator died. He created the Nasby character during the Civil War in support of the Union. Lincoln loved to quote from the “Nasby Letters.” In 1869 after Sam lectured in Toledo, Ohio, Nasby’s hometown at the time, he wrote Livy realizing how important it was to be compared favorably with Nasby (see Jan. 20, 1869 and many other entries in MTDBD I ).
Edward H. House, in Hartford sent a letter by hand to Sam, returning the Morte d’ Arthur with thanks for his “long keeping of it.” He wrote, “I am going to ask Morse to stop here over night, as he swishes through from Boston to N.Y., or back.” Hirst’s note in the file credits Lin Salamo with identifying Morse as Edward Sylvester Morse (1838-1925), “a zoologist who had spent time in Japan and doubtless knew House there” [MTP]. Note: Gribben p.488: Sam owned a copy of Morse’s Japanese Homes and Their Surroundings (1886).
February 15 Wednesday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam at the Murray Hill Hotel in N.Y. that he’d “just returned from your house, no letters of any importance.” The bulk of the letter deals with Paige matters. [MTP]. Note: Sam was in Hartford on Feb. 14, and so may have gone to N.Y. since.
February 16 Thursday – Sam’s notebook entry on Webster’s “forced” retirement (see Feb. 13 entry).
Eugene Meyer , N.Y., receipted $30 piano lessons from Jan 19th until Feb 16th [MTP].
February 17 Friday – Joseph Summers wrote from Epsom, England asking Sam if he might use a few lines in his book. Sam wrote, “I will answer this” on the envelope [MTP].
February 18 Saturday – A.B. James wrote from Pilot Rock, Ore. Asking for Sam’s autograph [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a letter from Gen. Sheridan and also Hall’s letter acknowledging Sheridan’s letter. Hall suggested the matter might be settled by allowing Scribner to publish “one or two artcles from the General’s book in the magazine.” [MTP]. Note: the “matter” to be settled was who was to publish what of Sheridan’s forthcoming book.
February 19 Sunday
February 20 Monday – In Hartford Sam referred the Feb. 10 letter from Willard B. Roberts to Franklin G. Whitmore, asking him to inform Roberts that he would have to put off any investment for “many months yet” [MTP].
February 21 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook carries a notice of a Kinsmen Club meeting at the New York home of Laurence Hutton, 229 W. 34th, on this day at 4 p.m. [MTNJ 3: 375]. Note: It is not known if Sam attended. Right above this entry is a note to write Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), who was to publish a book with the Century Co. Sam likely wanted to make a pitch for Webster & Co.
February 22 Wednesday – Mrs. B.F. Colburn wrote from Norwood, Mass. Asking Sam for a sketch of his life to use for the Ladies of the Universalist Church. “No,” Sam wrote on the envelope [MTP].
February 23 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Henry Edwards (Harry), actor. Sam’s note was a response to some invitation (lost) by Edwards to join a “movement.” Sam expressed the difficulty of declining.
This is a singularly difficult letter to write, brief as it is. It — no, it is impossible to word it just right — that is, have in it no ungracious suggestion, but make it wholly odorless in that regard [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Brusnahan of the N.Y. Herald, letter not extant but referred to in Brusnahan’s Feb. 24 [MTP].
February 24 Friday – John Brusnahan of the N.Y. Herald wrote to Sam that he’d received his letter of Feb. 23 and “read with great satisfaction. It is a pleasure to feel that the end is near at hand at last.” He also reported he had not been allowed to examine the Tribune machines (Mergenthalers), so concluded they would “not stand much scrutiny” [MTP].
February 25 Saturday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d finished the research for Wm. II (for the memory game). He’d sent cousin Eleanor Lampton five dollars. Ma was “so restless” that he “concluded to take her to every kind of show that comes….Ma frequently sees the apparitions of the friends of her youth, and she longs to behold again the house of Aunt Ann, and to reside once more in Columbia” [MTP].
Funk & Wagnalls wrote to Sam asking for his “views as to the daily paper needed?” F&W was planning on starting a daily in N.Y.C. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Haven’t any” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (handwritten financial statement enclosed; bank balances totaled $14,394.34). “We are putting new men daily on your ‘Library of Humor’, and they are doing well. One agent took eleven orders in about 2 hours, down town.” W.E. Dibble vouched for a Mr. Shupe, who wanted passage back to Colorado to be the book’s agent there — Hall asked Sam’s opinion. At the bottom Hall wrote on the typed letter, “P.S. I have received three good seats No’s. 31, 33 & 35 M. Orchestra” [MTP].
Dr. Nathan Mayer wrote from Hartford to Sam enclosing extracts from his play that he “had the good taste not to read,” during their recent conversation [MTP].
February 26 Sunday – Henry Edwards wrote from “The Lambs” in N.Y. to thank Sam for his note and for its frankness. Edwards understood “thoroughly”; that Sam had good reason for what he did. [MTP].
February 27 Monday – Sam gave a reading at the Hartford Public High School, probably for the Rev. Leopold Simonson’s class. The content of Sam’s reading or remarks is not known [MTNJ 3: 377].
February 28 Tuesday
February 29 Wednesday
March – About this month, Sam wrote a one-sentence letter to Stilson Hutchins (1838-1912), best known as the founder of the Washington Post, introducing:
Paige and Davis, who desire to see the type-setter at work, per my conversation with you [MTP] Note: possibly the typesetter then in evaluation at the Post.
Kinsmen Club sent Sam their printed rules adopted by the English section and Am. section [MTP].
Philadelphia Press sent Sam a form letter asking for the names of ten authors who, in his opinion, were “among the leading storywriters and poets in the US. Sam wrote “Unanswered letters” [MTP].
Maplecroft Dairy, William R. Hurd proprietor, Hartford billed $16.40: “Jany 14 Butter; Feby 14th Butter; 28th ‘Song View’ Butter; 8 expresses”: paid Mar. 5 [MTP].
March 1 Thursday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam thanking for his monthly $155 check. He was “anxious to hear about the machine.” Ma was having more delusions — now about Aunt Patsy Quarles who had been dead “30 or 40 years” [MTP].
March 2 Friday
March 3 Saturday – Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam: “At last the man Jackway has paid the mortgage for which you signed satisfaction some time ago.” Enclosed a draft for $2,090.33. Katy Leary’s sister died on Mar. 2; Katy arrived this morning [MTP]. Note: this was the mortgage Livy held on an Elmira property.
March 4 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder about the up-coming Washington hearings on international copyright legislation, and on the authors reception given by President Cleveland on Mar. 19. Sam wanted to take Livy but Mother Nature would intervene.
I am trying to get Mrs. Clemens to take a few days holiday from house-keeping & go down to Washington with me & be there Saturday the 16th. She says she will go that far “to see Mrs. President” & with alacrity, too, but these are the only terms. Now then, if there is to be a kind of reception of the authors on Saturday by the President, & if the wives can go along, & if Mrs. Cleveland will be present, that will meet this emergency first rate.
Sam then asked Gilder to lie for him and write saying that all of that would be going on, ostensibly to show Livy in order to convince her to go with him! [MTP].
March 5 Monday – Samuel E. Dawson, Sam’s Canadian publisher in Montreal, wrote to Sam of his “long commitment to international copyright and his long service to American authors.” Dawson felt he had not received credit for his efforts and enclosed copies of his lecture on copyright he’d sent to Roswell Smith of the Century. Dawson wanted Sam to discuss the matter with Richard Watson Gilder of the Century in order to receive the recognition Dawson felt due, which wouldn’t hurt his publishing business any [MTNJ 3: 377n251].
U.S. Senate (unsigned) sent a notice to Sam that the Committee on Patents would have a hearing on the subject of International Copyright Mar. 9 at 10 a.m. [MTP].
H.E. Harrington for Mutual Life Ins. Co. wrote soliciting a policy to Sam [MTP].
Olympe Dupuy wrote from Nashville, Tenn. “I was so glad when I read your little sketch telling me Abelards first name, I had wanted to know it so long…it was Peter…I felt so sorry for you having printed it George W.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Geo. W. Abelard” [MTP].
March 6 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam inscribed a copy of P&P for Emma Lane: To Miss Emma Lane, with the kind regards of Mark Twain. Hartford, March 6, 1888 [MTP].
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that they’d received the contract from Chatto & Windus, together with their letter. They’d asked about LAL, though those books had not been mentioned, as far as Hall knew; he’d do nothing until he heard from Sam [MTP].
Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam about President Cleveland receiving authors, with or without Mrs. Cleveland, at the upcoming gathering in Washington. “Mrs Clemens will go, I am sure. Tell her she must” [MTP].
Vashti D. Garwood wrote from Bethlehem, Penn. asking for money for a children’s home [MTP].
Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) died. Best known for the novel Little Women, Alcott was also active in the suffrage movement during her last years. She is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Concord, Mass.
March 7 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto, enclosing one of the contracts signed for Library of Humor, but withholding one that pertained to Canada. Sam promised to have one drawn up which would work “up yonder” and noted in the left margin, “It was found that the contract would not answer — in fact, would defeat itself.” Sam gave Apr. 20 as the London publishing date, and asked that Chatto instruct Samuel E. Dawson in Canada to publish Apr. 21; and announced they would publish in the U.S. on Apr. 23.
Sam also wrote to John M. Holcombe, thanking him for a basket of roses sent by “the Association” — “just the basket itself overpays me,” Sam wrote [MTP] Note: Holcombe, a Yale ’69 grad, was an officer in Yale’s Alumni Association. He became president of that group in 1889. The flowers were likely given in thanks for Sam’s several readings at Yale.
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam:
I’m going to give Mr. Irving & Miss Terry a parting supper after the play on Monday night March 26th at Delmonico’s — and I shall be very glad if you will come. Indeed I’ll be lost if you don’t [MTNJ 3: 377n254]. Note: Sam wrote “yes” on the envelope, but the dinner was delayed and did not take place until April 27, 1888.
March 8 Thursday – Joseph B. Gilder for The Critic Co. sent Sam a typed letter asking for “yes or no” about Horace’s idea that “the writer should not be affected by his own pathetic senses” [MTP].
Alfred E. Burr wrote on Hartford Times letterhead to Sam, “begging” for support of the “Good Will Club” which provided entertainment for boys and needed a larger hall [MTP].
L.. Loisette for Loisettian School wrote to Sam that his “request” was “law & gospel to me & shall be carried out forthwith — already I have ordered your name out of all advertisements” [MTP]. Note: Sam had to answer all sorts of questions from strangers after his name was placed in these ads.
March 9 Friday – Since the blizzard of the century hit in the evening of Mar. 11, and Sunday trains were rare or non-existent, Sam went to New York City on Mar. 10 to take care of business, the plan being for Olivia to join him in time to be in Washington on Mar. 16. (See Mar. 4 to Gilder, Mar. 16 to Livy.) In his Mar. 16 to Livy, Sam blamed a “dinner party at Dana’s” for being stuck in New York. That engagement may have brought Sam to the City earlier than business would have necessitated, or prevented him from returning home before traveling to Washington.
March 10 Saturday – Sam left Hartford for New York City [MTNJ 3: 379].
March 11 Sunday – In New York Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder, again about the up-coming hearings and the trip to Washington.
I’m ashamed to have put you to all that trouble for nothing. As I was very anxious to get the best quarters I could for Mrs. Clemens, I set several schemes to work, & the result is, I have secured a first rate parlor bedroom & bath room (connecting,) at the Arlington.
In the evening Sam went to a dinner honoring English actor Henry Irving at Charles A. Dana’s (N.Y. Sun). Irving and his troupe were appearing at the Star Theatre [MTNJ 3: 379, 376n246]. Sam would regret going to this dinner instead of returning to Hartford.
March 11 Sunday through March 14 Wednesday –
The Blizzard of 1888
The Blizzard of 1888 hit the northeastern United States with a fierce intensity that etched itself into people’s memories. An unrelenting fury of heavy snows, bitter cold, and high winds pounded the region from Washington, D.C., to the Canadian border in a storm that lasted for three days in mid-March. The storm took people by surprise, and many were unprepared for the resulting isolation and destruction. Snow was measured in Connecticut between twenty and fifty inches, but high winds caused snowdrifts up to twenty feet in several areas. In one twenty-four hour period, thirty-one inches of snow fell in New Haven with forty-five inches as the total by the end of the storm. Railroad service was halted, businesses had to shut down, and citizens of the state were imprisoned in their homes while the storm raged. It took days for many to dig themselves out. Over 400 people across the east coast died in the storm, and damage was estimated at $20 million. http://www.cthistoryonline.org
TIMES · TUESDAY
IN A BLIZZARD’S GRASP.
The worst storm the city has ever known.
Business travel completely suspended.
New York helpless in a tornado of wind and snow which paralyzed all industry, isolated the city from the rest of the country, caused many accidents and great discomfort, and exposed it to many dangers.
The storm of wind and rain, which began to sweep over this city and the neighborhood on Sunday evening, gathered force as the night progressed. The temperature began to fall albeit and snow descended in succession and the wind be-came boisterous. Before daylight dawned yesterday a remarkable storm, the most annoying and detrimental in its results that the city has ever witnessed, was in full progress
Editor’s Personal Aside: In 1963 I had occasion to listen to my soon-to-be wife’s grandfather, A. Dill, then in his 90s, and a longtime resident of Connecticut, tell about the Great Blizzard of ’88. Snow to the rooftops, all commerce halted, people stranded for days. He told the story many times, so well I always felt chilled hearing it – DHF –
Henry Reeve wrote from St. Lucia, West Indies to Sam with a bad poem enclosed [MTP].
L.. Loisette for Loisettian School wrote to Sam that the time was short to change every advertisement (to remove Sam’s name) but that he “hoped to succeed before the limit arrives,” implying that Sam had imposed a time limit to do so [MTP].
Hattie J. Gerhardt wrote to Sam asking for employment for the son of a friend [MTP].
March 12 Monday – In New York, Sam signed an agreement with William Mackay Laffan, exchanging 1/200th interests in the Paige typesetter and “a certain invention for quadruplexing cablegrams.” Laffan was to raise money for both projects [MTHL 2: 246n4; MTNJ 3: 340n121].
Jesse R. Grant wrote on Webster & Co. notepad to Sam anxious to see him in N.Y. or Hartford [MTP].
March 13 Tuesday – In New York, Sam wrote a letter of introduction for Hattie J. Gerhardt to Franklin G. Whitmore. She was seeking some sort of employment for her husband Karl.
I have no way to employ him about the machine, and in the publishing house he would be of no value without special training for the business [MTP].
March 14 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook:
Murray Hill Hotel, New York., March 14, ’88. I came down here from Hartford, Saturday the 10th, — to dinner to Henry Irving at Charles A. Dana’s Sunday evening, & the memorable blizzard has snow-bound me here ever since. Not a train here from Hartford since early Monday morning. Mrs. Clemens was to come down to-day, & we were going to Washington to-morrow. Of course she will not come till everything is smoothe again. I can’t get a telegram nor a telephone to her nor she a message to me. A Boston friend is better off: he cabled Boston through London, & got an answer back promptly over the same long road [MTNJ 3:379].
Just under the above notebook entry while snowbound, Sam listed several authors, some with opinions of their prose styles or characters/stories that exemplified a particular style:
R.M. Johnson, Uncle Remus, Cable, Howells, Clarence King, (Harte, artificial) Stowe (Sam Lawson) Grant (simple) Hardy, (Haggard, hideous) Stephenson (Kidnapped), Uncle Tom (earlier, & dialect bad) / Howells (truth). / Pilgrim’s Prog. Scott. Defoe (tone) / Derby (Doesticks) .
Henry W. Cleveland wrote from Louisville, Ky. to Sam: “I have before me a letter of Ex.President Jefferson Davis, of the 10th, in which he mentions a letter of your’s, objecting to joint authorship. There is no objection to be made on that line, as it is not contemplated” [MTP].
March 15 Thursday – Sam was still in New York City; Livy had still not arrived.
March 16 Friday – Snowbound by the blizzard, at New York’s Murray Hill Hotel, Sam wrote to Livy. Due to the storm she had not been able to join him for the trip to Washington. He’d come to New York early to attend a dinner party at Charles A. Dana’s, editor of the New York Sun. In this letter home, Sam blamed that engagement for being stuck in New York:
Blast that basted dinner party at Dana’s! But for that, I — ah, well, I’m tired; tired calling myself names. Why, I could have been at home all this time. Whereas, here I have been Crusoing on a desert hotel — out of wife, out of children, out of linen, out of cigars, out of every blamed thing in the word that I’ve any use for. Great Scott!! [LLMT 249-51].
It had been two days since the blizzard, and still no Livy. Sam’s letter mentioned trying to get “one more word” to her, “by long-distance telephone or somehow,” and that prior attempts during the storm had failed. His plan had been to wait for her until Monday, Mar. 19, but Sam decided to give her up.
So I will go to Washington this afternoon in the special car with the rest of the menagerie, & be rested-up & fresh for Mrs. Hawley’s dinner to-morrow night [MTP].
Sam then went to Washington, D.C., a six-hour trip by train. Sam checked into the Arlington Hotel, T.E. Roessle, manager [MTNJ 3: 381n271].
Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam advising him he had a “very kind letter from the President” (Cleveland) confirming a White House reception for authors after the readings [MTP].
March 17 Saturday – In Washington, D.C. Sam, with others gave a reading at the Soldiers’ Home [Fatout, MT Speaking 658]. (Note that the following news accounts report on the Authors’ readings at the Congregational Church this day; also, Sam’s notebook gives Friday (Mar. 23) for Soldiers’ Home.)
His choice of readings is not known. The Boston Globe of Mar. 18, p.1 reported that Mrs. Grover Cleveland was at the reading, and that Richard Watson Gilder, Dr. Edward Eggleston, J. Whitcomb Riley, Colonel Thomas W. Knox, and William Dean Howells read. The Hartford Courant of Mar. 19, p.1 “The National Capital” reported that Sam took Charles Dudley Warner’s place due to his delay by the blizzard. This article quotes Sam’s remarks about escaping a duel.
Richard Watson Gilder wrote to his wife: “After the reading I took by appointment a small party to ‘tea’ at the White House with Mrs. Cleveland and Mrs. Lamont. I introduced Mark Twain, Riley, and the Huttons to the President” [MTP copy: Letters of Richard Watson Gilder (1916)].
The Brooklyn Eagle, Mar. 18, 1888 p.9 reported on the Washington goings-on:
IN AID OF INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHTS.
L.. — — —
The First of a Series of Authors’ Readings in Washington.
WASHINGTON, D.C., March 17
The first of the authors’ readings in aid of international copyright was given this afternoon in the Congregational Church in the presence of one of the most distinguished gatherings seen in Washington this season. Mrs. Cleveland occupied a pew in company with Mrs. Lamont and Miss Willard. She has taken a deep interest in the project and expects to attend the second reading on Monday evening in company with the President. Colonel John Hay, Mr. George Bancroft, Senator and Mrs. Chace, Senator and Mrs. Morrill, Mrs. Hearst and other well known people were present. The readers were Mark Twain, R. W. Gilder, Dr. Edward Eggleston, J. Whitcomb Riley, Colonel Thomas Knox and W.D. Howells. Mr. E.C. Stedman introduced them and made a short address on the subject of international copyright. To-night Mrs. Senator Hearst gives a reception in honor of the authors. On Monday afternoon they will be entertained by Colonel John Hay and on Monday night they will be received at the White House by the President and Mrs. Cleveland. [Note: Fatout reports the reading of this date as at the Soldier’s Home, and the Mar. 19 at the Congregational Church. Someone is in error]. (See Mar. 19 entry.)
Charles Webster was billed for a complete uniform of the Knight of the Order of Pius.
“…coat of bleu stuff lined of silk with revolts & neck of scarlet stuff embroidered with fine gold, fine gilded buttons with the coat of arms of the Pope. Pants of fine white cashemir with bands of find gold. Epaulettes of fine gold in granes with a star embroidered with silver. Sword-holder of white stuff, little sword with gilded hilt with mother of pearl, dragon of fine gold, pointed hat embroidered with gold & little flakes with cocarde of the Pope. Rosette & mostrine included for the black dress. 675 / Boxes of zinc & wood 25/ 700 Francs” [MTBus 388].
Thomas Bailey Aldrich sent a card to Sam, that if he came to Boston to “join the Theatricals on the 21st inst.,” to please remember he could stay with them [MTP].
March 18 Sunday – Grover Cleveland’s birthday. In a June 5, 1888 letter to Mrs. Cleveland (Frances F. Cleveland) Sam told of this day in Washington:
On a day last March, several authors sat at breakfast at the Arlington hotel. One proposed that we sign a round-robin to the President, couched in proper terms of compliment & courtesy — for it was his birth-day — & accompany it with a bouquet. Then a question arose: might it not be properer to write the note to his wife, & so convey our message to the President though her? The colored waiter had been showing signs of distress all this while; & now he broke ground — to this effect:
“Gentlemen, if you let me mix in, I kin settle dat, kase I’s a ole han’ in dese-yer-gov’ment marters. Now concernin’er dat letter, dey’s etiquette for dat. (No K-sound in that ‘etiquette.’) Yassir, dey’s etiquette for it, an’ you want to go mighty slow an’ don’t make no mistake. Dish-yer’s de rule — de rule of de etiquette: you can’t write no letters to de President wife, an’ you can’t bust no compliments at her — in de fust pusson, you understan’. When you’s a communicatin’ wid de President hisseff, ur whe’r you’s a communicatin’ wid his wife, de rule is, you got to jus’ jumble an’ jumble it arrun’ widout isteri-on which un un you’s arter in partickler; an jis’ , take’n mush-up de compliments all in ‘mongst de words, so’s you knows dey’s dar, but nobody else don’t know it an’ dey don’t stick out nowhers. Yassir, dat’s de way, an’ de onliest way for to write to de White House folks — it relive um fum embarisment.” [MTP].
Sam’s longtime friend, David Gray of Buffalo, editor of the Buffalo Courier (1859-1882) died.
Walton Harrison wrote from Meridian, Miss. Asking Sam to “carefully criticize” his humorous articles which had been laughed at by editors, not readers [MTP].
March 19 Monday – Susy Clemens’ sixteenth birthday.
In Washington, D.C. at the Congregational Church, Sam joined the Authors’ Reading in the cause of international copyright [Fatout, MT Speaking 658]. Edmund Clarence Stedman presided. The Washington Post, Mar. 20 p.3. “Local Intelligence” reported that he read, “Encounter with an Interviewer.” (This piece, a self-interview, first appeared in Lotos Leaves in the fall of 1874, and in 1878 collected in Punch, Brothers, Punch! It was thereafter sometimes included in Sam’s platform performances.)
In his Autobiography, Sam recollected the event:
At the reading in Washington in the spring of ’88 there was a crowd of readers. They all came overloaded, as usual. Thomas Nelson Page read forty minutes by the watch, and he was no further down than the middle of the list. We were all due at the White House at half past nine. The President and Mrs. Cleveland were present, and at half past ten they had to go away — the President to attend to some official business which had been arranged to be considered after our White House reception, it being supposed by Mr. Cleveland, who was inexperienced in Authors’ Readings, that our reception at the White House would be over by half past eleven, whereas if he had known as much about Authors’ Readings as he knew about other kinds of statesmanship, he would have known that we were not likely to get through before time for early breakfast [MTA 2: 151].
Also on the program were Thomas Nelson Page, Richard Malcolm Johnston, H. C. Bunner, Frank R. Stockton, Charles Dudley Warner, James Whitcomb Riley, Edward Eggleston, Hjalmar Boyesen, and Thomas W. Knox. Fatout reports Sam got to the White House too late to see the President [MT Speaking 658]. Sam’s Autobiography [2: 152-4] tells the story of a White House reception and Sam handing Mrs. Cleveland a card Livy had put in his pocket, for her to sign. The card merely read, “He did not.” After some cajoling, she signed the card, thereupon Sam handed her Livy’s note, “Don’t wear your arctics in the White House.” If this scene did take place, it happened on another evening, at another reception. (See Mar. 22 to Frances F. Cleveland. Also N.Y. Times article of Mar. 24 reporting Sam still at Washington hearings, so there would have been time for another reception.) Note: MTNJ 3:503n74 gives this as the date Sam first met Mrs. Cleveland, the former Frances Folsom. Robert Underwood Johnson’s Remembered Yesterdays p.263-4 gives an account of the occasion. ‡ – See addenda for Livy’s arrival.
Andrew Chatto wrote to Sam (enclosed in Chatto to Dawson Mar. 19) about publishing Mark Twain’s Library of Humor [MTP].
F.A. McKay, Late with Union Adams, N.Y. billed $42 and paid: “12 dress shirts 3.50 ea 42.00; Made & forwarded by Adams Ex. Co. last week by request of Mr. Union Adams” [MTP].
March 20 Tuesday – A. Loisette wrote to Sam that he’d been successful in changing his advertisements as Sam had requested [MTP].
March 21 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook also reveals a probable appointment with Senator Thomas Meade Bowen, of Colorado to discuss the international copyright bill then in Congress; also the name of Adair Wilson at “Wednesday, 2 p.m.,” which would have had to be this day. Wilson had been on the staff of the Virginia City, Nevada Union during Sam’s Enterprise days and was a Colorado state senator from 1886 to 1890 [MTNJ 3: 380n267-8]. Note: These two are written together, as the appointment was likely to see both Colorado senators at the same time.
March 22 Thursday – In Washington D.C., Sam wrote Frances F. Cleveland (Mrs. Grover Cleveland). Sam didn’t know the proper protocol about leaving cards when calling. He offered “homage” to the President and “sincere appreciation” for Mrs. Cleveland’s hospitality [MTP].
Sam’s notebook lists a “Miss Clymer, Thursday, 4 p.m.” and also a dinner with Secretary of the Navy, William Collins Whitney (1841-1904).
March 23 Friday – In Washington, Sam gave a speech on international copyright before the House Judiciary Committee. [Washington Post Mar. 24, 1888, p.4, “The Copyright Hearing” paraphrased the speech.]
The New York World ran an “interview” on page 4, “The Insolence of Office”:
Washington, March 2[?] — Mark Twain, having survived participation in the authors’ readings, is now playing Rip Van Winkle in revisiting the places in Washington of which he was a habitué twenty years ago. In fact, more than twenty years have passed since Mark, then with little reputation and less money, was eking out a living as the special correspondent of some Pacific coast papers while writing his book Innocents Abroad, which was to make him famous and start him on the road to riches. After several passages with the doorkeepers of the House Mark is of opinion that “the insolence of office” is as rife now as it was in his time, to say nothing of Shakespeare’s. Presenting his card to one of the officials, the height of whose ambition is to be mistaken for Congressmen, Mark asked that it be sent to Sunset Cox. The doorkeeper disdained to look at the card which he had, as if afraid of contamination, but viewed the humble humorist from head to foot and sized him up for “the country jay” that Mark’s drawl and dialect suggested.
“You can’t see Mr. Cox.”
“Because he is busy.”
“How do you know? Is he making a speech?”
“Naw, but he can’t see you.”
“Well, how can I get in the press gallery?”
“Are you a reporter?”
“No, but I used to be a mighty good one when I lived in Virginia City.”
“Well, if you ain’t one now you can’t get in”; and he pushed Mark aside to be polite to a gentle female lobbyist whose card went in to her member fast enough. Finally the humorist passed the pickets of the press gallery. After he had asked in vain for the dead and gone correspondents who had been his chums Colonel Mann recognized him and gave him The World man’s seat in the front row, whence he had a fine view of the statesmen of the present generation wrangling over the labor bills. Mark says he will soon publish a compilation of other people’s humorous writings and is also engaged upon an original work which he hopes to finish some time next summer.
Having “swapped lies” for a while with the correspondents Mark tried the floor again. This time he was recognized, and Mr. Cox not only went out to see him, but took him on the floor and made him acquainted with all of the Congressional celebrities from Reed of Maine to Martin of Texas. He kept the crowd of members around him laughing until the gavel of the Speaker came to the rescue of order. He says the levee that he had reminds him very much of those he used to see on the Mississippi in the days when he was piloting [Scharnhorst, Interviews 95-6].
Sam’s notebook carries the entry: Friday afternoon, Soldiers’ Home. [Note: Fatout reports a reading at the Soldiers’ Home for Mar. 17. Did Sam give two there?]
Friday, dinner, 7.30 — Mr. Hitt [MTNJ 3: 381&n270] Note: probably Congressman Robert R. Hitt, Republican from Illinois. Sam met Hitt in Paris in 1879, when Hitt was first secretary of the U.S. legation there. See Mar. 21-22, 1879 MTDBD I for a Mardigras event with Hitt.
Sam paid a hotel bill for one week’s lodging and misc., $110.20 at The Arlington: 2 days room @ 8.50, 17.00; 5 days room @16, 80.00, fires 5.00, baggage .50, Laundry .40, rep Glasses .25, Express .40, Telegrams .65, Messenger 1.00, Cash 5.00 [MTNJ 3: 381n271; MTP].
March 24 Saturday – Sam was still in Washington. His notebook carries names of people to see and errands to complete while in the Capitol: Mrs. Ralph Cross Johnson wife of the lawyer and prominent art patron; he visited Colonel Alexander Bliss at 9:30 one of these evenings. Bliss was the son of Mrs. George Bancroft by her previous husband. Sam visited George Bancroft (1800-1891), then 87 years young.
Also on Sam’s list was Mrs. Lucius Tuckerman, granddaughter of Oliver Wolcott, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Lucius Tuckerman was an iron manufacturer.
Leave cards at Tuckerman’s in afternoon Thursday [MTNJ 3: 381].
Written in for this date at 8:30 p.m. was “Mrs. Kaufman,” probably wife of Samuel Hay Kauffmann, one of the owners of the Washington Evening Star and member of the Washington Literary Society. A reference to this “literary club” includes General Adolphus Washington Greely, arctic explorer, author, and scientist. Greely helped found the National Geographic Society this year and was a regular contributor to its pages.
March 25 Sunday – Sam was still in Washington D.C..
March 26 Monday – Sam paid his second hotel bill of $78.85 at the Arlington House, which included 2 & ¾ days’ room and services, and railroad tickets: “2 ¾ days @ 16, 44.00; fires 3.00, cash 5.00, Laundry .60, RR tickets 25.40, Messenger .85” [MTP; MTNJ 3:381n271]. He left Washington for New York City and Hartford [380n262]. ‡ See addenda for corrected date of Terry-Irving Farewell banquet.
In the evening Sam spoke at the Supper for Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, telling the “Moses Who?” story and talking about international copyright. According to Paul Fatout, Augustin Daly was host on this occasion and invited General Sherman, Chauncey M. Depew, Matthews, General Porter, William Winter, James Whitcomb Riley, Rose Eytinge, Lester Wallack, Ada Rehan, Effie Shannon, and Lilian Russell [MT Speaking 658 incorrectly reports this as Apr. 27; See N.Y. Times Mar. 28, 1888 article in Addenda].
‡ – See Addenda
March 27 Tuesday
March 28 Wednesday – Charles M. Underhill wrote from Buffalo to Sam about publishing the poems of the late David Gray; news of the Gray family was given [MTP]. Note: Gray a longtime friend.
March 29 Thursday
March 30 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his nephew, Samuel Moffett in San Francisco. He had misread a letter from Moffett, thinking that Moffett was coming to find a job on a newspaper in New York. Sam thus wrote a paragraph and then crossed it out when he realized it was “McDowell” who was coming. Sam revealed his knowledge of several men who Moffett evidently had asked of:
I haven’t seen young Mr. Hearst yet, but I saw a good deal of his father & mother the other day, & if he is like them it would take gaudy wages to hire me to leave him & go to any editorial slave-owner I am acquainted with in New York. I knew McDowell’s father quite well, & shall be glad to know the son. And I shall be glad to welcome Mr. Reaser & his wife too [MTP].
Notes: Sam remembered Dr. John McDowell in his “Villagers of 1840-3”; in 1877 or 8 Sam wrote in his notebook: John McDowell: “Ich habe einander Niger gelickt!” (“I have licked another nigger!”), probably remembering some escapade of McDowell’s [MTNJ 2: 67n53]. Wecter writes of John and his father, Dr. E.D. McDowell, the eccentric who kept the cadaver of his fourteen-year-old daughter in a copper cylinder full of alcohol in Simm’s Cave, which then became McDowell’s Cave in Hannibal.
“Incidentally, Dr. McDowell, had a son, John, also a physician, whom his father treated so harshly as to drive him away from home. The young man took up with Mark’s uncle, Dr. James A.H. Lampton, who in 1849 had married a ‘loud and vulgar beauty’ named Ella Hunter, and soon opened a meager practice in St. Louis” [160-1]. Note: See 1890 entry for Wecter’s mistake re: Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell..
“Young Mr. Hearst” was William Randolph Hearst (1863-1951), who became the publisher of the San Francisco Examiner, a paper his father, George Hearst (1820-1891), received as payment for a gambling debt. George married Phoebe Apperson in 1862, 22 years her senior. George Hearst hit the Washoe country early and invested in the Ophir mine, leaving with one of the first fortunes made there in 1860 [Mack 35]. George was also one of the passengers on the famous Hank Monk-Horace Greeley ride and benefactor of the gold watch given to Monk in honor of that wild ride. Of course, Sam used that story, and used that story! In prose and on the platform, although somewhat modified [Mack, 72]. Mr. and Mrs Reaser are not identified.
Caroline B. Le Row wrote to Sam with gratitude for his past help and to send the good news that she’d just finished an 800 page book MS with the title How To Shoot, which Cassell’s Co. expressed “their willingness to read.” Every chapter had specimens of “English as she is caught — or thought” [MTP].
Sam sent Charles Underhill a note (not extant) and a check to help with the publishing of the late David Gray’s poetry. Letter referred to in Underhill’s Apr. 2 [MTP]. Note: Underhill was a longtime salesman for J. Langdon & Co.
Sam also wrote to his other nephew, William L. Webster, son of Charles and Annie Moffett Webster, now a nine-year-old philatelist.
I’ll keep a sharp lookout, & whenever a stamp comes along that promises to be of any value to you, I’ll send it, & if it shouldn’t be worth anything, you can throw it away or put it in the missionary box, for the heathen.
Sam was reminded of “a squaw who liked bright colors” at a time when the first revenue stamps arrived at a post office and grocery store. Before the post office knew it, the female,
…pasted eight hundred dollars’ worth of them onto her naked body…If you could but add her to your collection! [MTP].
March 31 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to William Dean Howells, enclosing his speech “Knights of Labor — The New Dynasty” which he’d given at the Monday Evening Club back on Mar. 22, 1886. This letter is evidently a response to one sent by Howells and now lost, which included “Anarchist” pamphlets, probably William M. Salter’s Cure for Anarchy, and possibly John C. Kimball’s “clemency sermon,” which compared the hanging of the Haymarket anarchists to the crucifixion of Christ.
W.D. and Elinor Howells had moved without daughter Winny (who was at a sanatorium at Dansville, N.Y.) to New York City, taking a four-room apartment in one of the vast “caravan series…so common in New York, — ten stories high, and housing six hundred people” on West 9th Street [Goodman & Dawson 292]. Howells was deeply invested in the Haymarket case; arguably radicalized by it. Sam expressed the dilemma of mechanization to labor:
The thing which has made Labor great & powerful is labor-saving machinery — & nothing else in the world could have done it. It has been Labor’s savior, benefactor; but Labor doesn’t know it, & would ignorantly crucify it. But that is human, & natural. Every great invention takes a livelihood away from 50,000 men — & within ten years creates a livelihood for half a million. But you can’t make Labor appreciate that…[MTHL 2: 597 & notes].
Ellery S. Ayer wrote from Boston collecting “items for a book” he would call The National Album, or, Favorite Mottos of Emminent Men and Women of Our Times. He sought Sam’s words. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Make no reply” [MTP].
April – J.G. Rathbun & Co. Hartford Pharmacists billed $51.10 for goods from Jan-Mar; paid Apr. 4:
Jan 2, plasters .45, Rotten Stone .15 tot 60; Jan 11 200 cigars 8.00, Jan 13 Ground eleiu? .20; Flax seed .25 tot 8.45; Jan 23 alcohol &c .45 Jan 30 200 cigars
Feb 8 Recipe for horse 1.15, Feb 13 cigars 4.00, Oil cedar &c tot 5.55
Feb 18 Ether .15 ½ glue alcohol & jug 1.50 tot 1.65
Feb 23 1qt Horse Medicine 2.00 Sperm Oil .35 Recipe .30 tot 2.65
Feb 27 200 Cigars 8.00 Flax seed, castor oil, &c .85 tot 8.85
Mch 5 Toothbrushes .70 Mch 7 Cream & soap 1.75 tot 2.45
Mch 8 sponges 1.00 Brush .40 10th Pond’s ext. .80 tot 2.20
Mch 16 Bottle isterine 1.00 Mch 17 Flax Seed .35 tot 1.35
Mch 22 200 cigars 8.00 Mch 23 New Eup rum, &c tot 8.40
Mch 27 [illegible] .50
April 1 Sunday – Sam allowed a line about Lorenz Reich’s wine from a Dec. 2, 1882 letter to be quoted in a New York Times article, p.5, “A HOTEL OF HOMES,” about The Cambridge Hotel, which was novel due to its “modern apartment” accommodations.
That the wine cellar is well stocked, it is only necessary to say that the proprietor of the “Cambridge” is Lorenz Reich, the importer of Tokayer Ausbruch and other famous Hungarian wines. The following letter speaks volumes for the virtues of Mr. Reich’s famous Tokayer Ausbruch:
[seventeen celebrities then wax eloquent about the wine, including Sam].
It heals the worn mind as well as the wasted body. S.L. CLEMENS (MARK TWAIN.)
[Note: See Dec. 2, 1882 to Reich.]
Robert Garvie, Hartford plumber, sent a large, ledger page of a bill dated Apr. 1 to Sam for labor and materials: Jan, 9, 19, 26; Feb 2, 7, 10, 15, 17; Mar 8, 16 17, 21; total $63.46; marked paid Apr. 10 [MTP].
L.. Loisette for Loisettian School wrote to Sam (Dauchy & Co. to Loisette Mar. 31 enclosed) “I think the thing is done & well done. I have myself caused substitutes omitting your name in all ads that I arranged & Dauchy & Co. has attended to all which were inserted by them…” [MTP].
L.. Marwick Jr. & Co., Apothecaries, Hartford, billed $7.45 for prior year purchases: “Sept 24 ½ doz Scotch Whiskey; Oct 6 3 doz wax Vistus 1.20; Oct 24 Rx 60 476 0.75”; Paid May 28, 1888 [MTP].
April 2 Monday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they’d been notified by Gen. Sheridan that his book was now “all revised, and that he will send the manuscript…very shortly.” Maps included [MTP].
Edward B. Hooker wrote to Sam thanking him for efforts on behalf of his engraver friend, Mr. Bass, who had “secured a position in Boston, so that for the present at least he is not in want” [MTP].
Charles M. Underhill wrote to Sam that he’d received his letter of Mar. 30 and the check, which he’d hand to Josephus Nelson Larned, for the purpose of publishing the late David Gray’s poetry [MTP].
Henry M. Alden for Harper & Brothers sent Sam a $100 check which they’d overlooked doing on acceptance of Sam’s article, “Petition to the Queen” [MTP].
Dr. J.N. Farrar, N.Y. wrote to Sam enclosing a bill and a promise not to charge extra for follow up examinations of “Miss Clara” to make certain the straightening “goes right” [MTP].
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford, billed $93.67: “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid Apr. 5 [MTP].
April 3 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam having received his letter (date not given). “We will write to Mr. Chatto at once, and note what you say about the Beecher and Custer books.” They’d been holding back the latter so as not to interfere with Sam’s book [MTP].
Henry C. Robinson wrote a barely legible note to Sam: “Col. Greene thinks that his mis conduct is explained without involving him in any thing…” [MTP]. Note: the matter is obscure.
April 4 Wednesday
April 5 Thursday – In Hartford Sam telegraphed Augustin Daly, asking,
Send 3 tickets to murray hill hotel for tomorrow night I will pay at the door [MTP]. Note: it’s conjectural who the third ticket was for, perhaps Susy.
William Dean Howells was in New York City and wrote to Sam. Perhaps he did not know of the Clemens family’s arrival in the City the next day, because it isn’t mentioned in his letter. Howells remarked on Sam’s two essays about Labor, which he thought,
…about the best thing yet said on the subject; but it is strange you can’t get a single newspaper to face the facts of the situation. Here the fools are now all shouting because the Knights of Labor have revenged themselves on the Engineers, and the C. B. & Q. strike is a failure…. No man could safely make himself heard in behalf of the strikers any more than for the anarchists [MTHL 2: 599].
Howells then refers to the Rev. John C. Kimball, asking if Sam had seen the man yet. Kimball, pastor of the First Unitarian Congregational Society of Hartford gave a “clemency sermon” in support of the Haymarket anarchists, which resulted in a defeated motion to eject him from his pulpit. For more on Howells remark of the failed strike of workers on the Philadelphia & Reading RR, see MTHL 2: 600n1 top.
April 6 Friday – Sam, Livy, and perhaps Susy, went to New York and checked into the Murray Hill Hotel. At 8:15 they went to Daly’s Theatre and saw a performance of Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring Miss Ada Rehan, James Lewis, Miss Virginia Dreher, and John Drew. It was the next to last performance of the season for this play, the 78th. It opened on Jan. 31 [To Daly Apr. 5; N.Y. Times, Jan. 22, Apr. 3, 6, 8 “Amusements”].
Dr. J.N. Farrar wrote wrote a note and receipt for $400 to straighten Clara’s teeth [MTP].
April 7 Saturday – The Clemens family likely returned home to Hartford from New York, as trains were few and none on Sundays during this period. Sam must have answered Howell’s Apr. 5 letter, either this day or the next, based on Howells next letter of Apr. 9. In his response to the Apr. 5 letter, Sam informed Howells of seeing Lorettus S. Metcalf (1837-1920) founder and first editor of the New York Forum, and confided that Metcalf wanted him to write an article on British criticism of America (See Howells to Sam, Apr. 9).
April 8 Sunday – Blanche W. Howard wrote from Stuttgart, Germany: “You have recently given my sister a glass of punch at some hospitable house in Washington. She was delighted, and wrote me at once with enthusiasm which I share.” [MTP].
April 9 Monday – Still in New York, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
My Dear Clemens —
Don’t you go and turn Mr. Metcalf out of doors as soon as he begins to talk article to you; but you listen, and seriously. I’ve told him (what he knew) that you’ve the best head in America for a dead-in-earnest thing, that shall smile and hurt awfully [MTHL 2: 600].
From Sam’s notebook: Now after 6 wks apprenticeship, Fred Whitmore has set 40-odd-000 in 7 hours [MTNJ 3: 382&n274]. Note: Will and Fred, sons of Franklin G. Whitmore, were sometimes employed as Paige typesetter operators.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, the monthly $155 check received. “I sent you correspondence this morning about your law case here. If it fails to reach you, let me know” [MTP]. Note: the lawsuit in Keokuk was brought by Webster & Co. against R.T. Root & Co., a book agent.
April 10 Tuesday – Lorettus S. Metcalf telegraphed Sam with news of Matthew Arnold’s “Civilization in the United States,” originally published in London’s Nineteenth Century for April:
Article appeared in last nights Evening Post We are not quite so barbarous it seems as Sir Leffel [Lepel] Griffin declared But the need is no less great for a paper on English criticism The time is ripe for it [MTHL 2: 600n1]. (See also Howells to Clemens Apr. 9.; and rest of n1)
Note: Metcalf’s telegram presupposes a discussion with Sam of Matthew Arnold’s article. Sam’s notebook entry even holds a title for a proposed book answering Arnold: “English Criticism on America. Letters to an English Friend” [MTNJ 3: 391].
A.C. Armstrong for New Princeton Review wrote to Sam, asking about “the progress of the article which you kindly promised for our pages We trust that it is well in hand, or at least quite planned, and that before long we shall have the pleasure of receiving your manuscript.” Sam wrote “Great Scott!” on the envelope and had to withdraw the offer the next day, the promise having slipped his mind, even though he’d written a paragraph on a possible topic in his notebook [MTNJ 3: 343n134].
April 11 Wednesday – Sam wrote to A.C. Armstrong for the New Princeton Review withdrawing from the forgotten promise to write an article [MTNJ 3: 343n134].
Susan L. Crane wrote concerned about Livy’s health and wanting to come take care of her [MTP].
M.P. Handy wrote to Sam (Pierce College of Business, Phila. To Handy Apr. 6 enclosed) seeking his speech at the school’s commencement [MTP].
Lorettus S. Metcalf for Forum Magazine telegraphed again to Sam: “Evening Post of Monday containing Arnold’s article was mailed immedy on my return home I will send another copy for heavens sake don’t think of any less of interest” [MTP].
April 12 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister-in-law, Susan L. Crane that she would be “so welcome!” Livy was ailing again with a bad throat and head; Sam too had “a most infernal cold in the head” [MTP].
A.C. Armstrong for New Princeton Review wrote to Sam, “We are at a loss to understand your complaint in your favor of April 11th. Especially in view of the absence of Professor Sloane, with whom the arrangements for your article in our January number were made. We should be obliged for fuller information” [MTP]. Note: Sam withdrew a prior promise to submit a piece.
The Lotos Club, N.Y. receipted Sam for $7.50 dues; signed by S.A. Lee
H. O’Neill & Co., Importers and dealers in fine millinery, lace, trimmings, N.Y. billed & receipted $4.05 for “1 Parasol 3.50; COD Adams Express [MTP].
April 13 Friday – In Hartford Sam responded to Lorettus S. Metcalf, editor of Forum Magazine.
When I left you I found that Mrs. Clemens’s attack was diptheria — & that she was perilously ill. That stopped the Arnold-article on the spot, of course…. This afternoon one of the children has gone to bed ailing. These are not good times in which to write magazine articles [MTP].
Note: Sam likely saw Metcalf in New York on Apr. 7, since his office was at 253 Fifth Ave. Sam added that there was only one detail he especially wanted to answer in Matthew Arnold’s article,
& I mean to answer that one in so friendly a way that it may even be called affectionate — loving — sloppy [MTP].
Note: Metcalf would resign from Forum in 1891 after fifteen years; he had built the circulation to about 20,000.
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to Sam about this day that he “should have written a great while ago to the author of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ — a book which I have read four times, and am quite ready to begin again tomorrow.” After two anecdotes, Stevenson confided he was “leaving my Patmos, and shall be from Thursday next for about a week in the St Stephens Hotel, East 11th Street, N.Y. (pray keep the address secret — I cannot see many people)” [MTP].
April 14 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, “sorry indeed to hear of the sickness in your family.” Hall wrote that Webster would be in Fredonia when the book was published and had volunteered to run over to Canada and register “on the other side” [MTP].
April 15 Sunday – Matthew Arnold died while running to catch a tram in Liverpool. He was 65.
In Hartford Sam began a letter to Robert Louis Stevenson, which he would finish on Apr. 17, in response to Stevenson’s Apr. 13 letter.
How fortunate! — I mean, that I shall have a chance to see you, after all. When my wife was taken down with a savage attack of diphtheria six days ago I knew she could not be strong again for two or three weeks; so I gave up my trip to Canada (where I was hoping to see you) …[MTP].
Sam’s notebook entry in mid-April to “Telegraph Charley Lang” suggests he may have sent word about Livy’s diphtheria and quinsy (tonsillitis) to her brother, Charles Langdon [MTNJ 3: 382n276].
April 16 Monday – Louise M. Madden wrote from Chicago for Sam’s autograph [MTP].
L.. Loisette for Loisettian School wrote to Sam that he was going to “reply to the unmemorial blackguards who beginning a few years ago with slight misrepresentation have advanced from my silence & forebearance to lies pure & simple” [MTP].
Lorettus S. Metcalf for Forum Magazine wrote to Sam that he would keep his “pages open all this month so as to be able to put the article into the June number” and “As a Yankee I am more pleased than I can tell you that this good work is to be done at last” [MTP]. Note: referring to Sam’s answer to Arnold.
April 17 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam finished his Apr. 15 letter to Robert Louis Stevenson. Livy was better (Sam likened her to a battered ship “slowly undergoing repairs”), and would be out of her sick room in about a week he thought.
…if all continues to go well; & then I will run down & see you — timing myself to get within the dates you name for your stay at the St. Stephens, — 19th to 26th — see you & thank you for writing Kidnapped & Treasure Island, & for liking Huckleberry. Those two books! — how we bathed in them, last summer, & refreshed our spirits. [Note: Stevenson had written Apr. 13 he would be in New York].
Sam remarked on the death of Matthew Arnold:
I am glad he passed away before he knew that his article was judged by this heedless press here before it was read…before he knew that his kind intent had been misconstrued & basely received [MTP].
April 18 Wednesday
April 19 Thursday – In Hartford Sam responded to a letter from his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon (not extant, but from Sam’s letter, about Apr. 12), mostly about Livy, who was “getting steadily along & regaining her health by sure degrees.” Livy missed the late Dr. Cincinnatus Taft, but was “thoroughly satisfied” with the current physician, Dr. E.W. Kellogg, and wanted “no substitute for him, nor accept of any.” Sam was involved in more copyright matters and would soon make another trip for the Library of Humor’s release:
…I was so perplexed & fretted with a Canadian copyright matter the past five or six days, that I just simply forgot to write you, & that is the fact; & right now & here I make apology & sue for pardon. I go to Montreal to-night, & get back again in 48 hours; & I shall be glad enough to end the bothersome cabling London & telegraphing New York & Canada. I have wished the book [Library of Humor] was in Jerico a good many times [MTP].
Note: In Sam’s Mar. 7 to Chatto, he’d given Apr. 21 as the Canadian release date for L of H.
Sam also wrote to Candace Wheeler, explaining why they wouldn’t be able to spend another getaway in the Catskills (near Mt. Onteora, N.Y. — See Aug. 25, 1885 entry & others in Vol. I). He wanted to get Livy to Quarry Farm as soon as she was well enough and let her “fetch up her strength” there the entire summer [MTP].
Sam left Hartford for Montreal.
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam on publishing matters, including plates to their Canadian publisher, Samuel E. Dawson. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Don’t want those other books. Get right to work on the Genl” [MTP].
April 20 Friday – London publication date for Mark Twain’s Library of Humor [Mar. 7 to Chatto; MTNJ 3: 376n248]. Sam was in Montreal.
Andrew Chatto wrote to Sam that they had “just completed the formal publication of your Library of American Humor by the sale of a few early copies” [MTP].
April 21 Saturday – This was the intended Canadian publication date for Mark Twain’s Library of Humor, published by Dawson Brothers of Montreal, but it was held up by a shipment error of the printer’s plates [Mar. 7 to Chatto; MTNJ 3: 376n248]. Sam returned home to Hartford from Montreal.
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote Sam about the shipment error, expressing relief that “no harm has been done” because he had “four copies of the book ready to make publication with [US] at any time,” thus he would hold off until the Canadian edition was issued [n248].
Edward H. House wrote to Sam, wanting to visit but being kept in by the “pestiferous rain.” Koto would “look in upon you” tomorrow morning and House would follow [MTP].
Abner G. Heizerton wrote from Atchison, Kansas to Sam, suggesting Sam write a humorous sketch that Abner would send out under his own name to see if the reaction of editors would vary. “This is perhaps an exhibition of more gall than you have met for some time” [MTP].
Francis Hopkinson Smith wrote from N.Y. to Sam not to “make any mistake about that dinner of [illegible word] Soc…Each guest has a menu onto which is an original watercolor of some member of the society.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “All right — I’ll go. Give me the date” [MTP].
April 22 Sunday
April 23 Monday – Intended U.S. publication date for Mark Twain’s Library of Humor [Mar. 7 to Chatto].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote a note to Sam that his “favor received and contents noted. Will you kindly let me know when you will be here?” Hall had to move on Apr. 26-27 [MTP].
L.H. Hallock pastor of Williston Church, wrote from Portland, Maine asking Sam for “a few lines” on “National Reforms; Were you Dictator, which would demand your first attention?” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Unusual request for ‘a few words’ from a Preacher” [MTP].
April 24 Tuesday – Francis Hopkinson Smith sent Sam a humorous and clever way of announcing the date of the Water Color Dinner, May 3 — An oversized “Bondsmen’s Oath” certificate with official “seal” and Hopkinson’s signature testified to the ticket as his property [MTP]. See Apr. 27.
April 25 Wednesday
April 26 Thursday
April 27 Friday – Sam may have gone for a short ride with Livy in the morning (see Apr. 28 to Crane). He then went to New York alone, Livy still too weak to travel. This is the likely day he met with Robert Louis Stevenson in Washington Square. Stevenson remembered in his Apr. 16, 1893 letter to Sam,
…that very pleasant afternoon we spent together in Washington Square among the nursemaids like a couple of characters out of a story by Henry James [MTNJ 3: 301n5].
Sam also remembered the meeting favorably. This from an April, 1904 Autobiographical dictation:
But it was on a bench in Washington Square that I saw the most of Louis Stevenson. It was an outing that lasted an hour or more and was very pleasant and sociable. I had come with him from his house, where I had been paying my respects to his family. His business in the square was to absorb the sunshine. He was most scantily furnished with flesh, his clothes seemed to fall into hollows as if there might be nothing inside but the frame for a sculptor’s statue. His long face and lank hair and dark complexion and musing and melancholy expression seemed to fit these details justly and harmoniously, and the altogether of it seemed especially planned to gather the rags of your observation and focalize them upon Stevenson’s special distinction and commanding feature, his splendid eyes. They burned with a smoldering rich fire under the penthouse of his brows, and they made him beautiful [MTA 1: 246-7].
Note: Sam’s reference to paying his respects to Stevenson’s family does not necessarily conflict with Stevenson’s stay at St. Stephen’s Hotel on East 11th Street from Apr. 19 to 26 as Sam confirmed in his Apr. 15 & 17 to Stevenson, and entered in his notebook [3: 301]. Sam’s trip to Montreal from Apr. 19 to 21 would have precluded meeting earlier.
Paine also writes of their meeting, saying “Stevenson had orders to sit in the sunshine.” Sam’s “hour or more” became “during the few days of their association,” but was undoubtedly the former [MTB 3: 859].
Francis Hopkinson Smith sent a follow-up postcard: Hotel Brunswick 7 P.M. May 3, 1888 [MTP].
‡ See Addenda for corrected date of farewell supper for Irving and Terry to Mar. 26, 1888 plus private letter of General William Tecumseh Sherman.
April 28 Saturday – Likely Sam made a trip to Hartford to check on Livy, then returned to New York (since he wrote to Susan L. Crane from Hartford on this day and spoke at the Edwin Booth breakfast on Apr. 29). To Susan:
Dear Aunt Sue, the trout arrived in perfect condition. They furnished Livy 3 unsurpassable meals, & the rest of the family shoved in & took a chance too….
She drove out, yesterday morning, 20 minutes, & came back a trifle tired; will repeat this a.m., at 11 — it’s a most lovely summer day! …. I left my card at your door, but I suppose you & Theo were at the ball match [MTP].
Note: The Cranes were visiting Hartford [See Sam to Crane Apr. 12] and not staying at the Clemenses due to Livy’s health. The baseball reference may have been this article in the Courant of Apr. 27, p.1.
TRINITY COLLEGE NOTES
Hartford’s first ball game this season was played yesterday afternoon on the Ward street grounds, between Trinity and St. John’s college of Fordham, N. Y. The day was all that a lover of the game could desire, and the grounds were in fine condition. The game was a close and exciting one throughout and deserved a much larger crowd…
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (statement enclosed of bank balances totaling $7,658.52). Hall was sorry he missed seeing Sam when he was in N.Y.; He wasn’t satisfied with the progress of sales on The Library of Humor [MTP].
April 29 Sunday – In New York, Sam spoke at a breakfast for Edwin Booth. Henry Irving was host at this gathering of Kinsmen Club. Charles Dudley Warner, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Whitelaw Reid, Lester Wallack, and William Winter attended [Fatout, MT Speaking 658].
April 30 Monday – Annie M. Webster wrote on a small slip to Sam that she had received enclosed Mollie Clemens to Annie Webster Apr. 29 letter the day before and thought part might interest him [MTP].
May 1 Tuesday – Edward H. House wrote to Sam
Dear Mark: Here is the N.A.R. and I thank you for the opportunity of looking at it. Is it not an amazing thing to see how the brightest and clearest intellects become suddenly clouded and obscured when they take up defense of the conventional Christian system? If it were not for the signature, you might believe that Gladstone’s essay was written by a student in the lower classes of an orthodox seminary [MTP]. Note: the essay House referred to in this month’s issue: “Colonel Ingersoll on Christianity” by W. E. Gladstone. NAR 146.378 (May 1888): 481-508.
Lloyd Osbourne wrote from N.Y. to Sam for Robert Louis Stevenson, who had received Sam’s note but had already made other arrangements. They were headed to Long Branch, N.J. to “a little inn” [MTP].
Inscribed to Sam: Sir William Smith (1813-1893), The Registers of Topcliffe and Morley in the W.R. of the County of York. (1888): For S. Clemens, Esq./ with the Editor’s kind regards / May Day, 1888 [Gribben 651].
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford billed $102.99, “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid May 5, 1888 [MTP].
May 2 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elmira photographer Elisha M. Van Aken asking him to send two pictures “Wide Awake” and “Fast Asleep” to Miss Winnie Dawson, in care of Dawson Brothers, Montreal. Sam added the note:
It was a pity you sent a picture to St. Nicholas; they love me there as other people love disease & death [MTP]. Note: St. Nicholas was a magazine for children, edited by Mary Mapes Dodge; “Wide Awake” and “Fast Asleep” were two pictures, four adult cats in each, on a wicker chair..
In the evening, two tramps asked for food at the Clemens home; they were later suspected of burglary at three homes, including the Clemens home (see article, May 3).
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they’d received his letter from Chatto and complete sheets of the book (Library of Humor) had been mailed to Chatto. “We are pleased to report last month’s cash sales were larger than any month we have had since the Grant Memoirs.” Agents were “bitter” about the trade getting books [MTP].
May 3 Thursday – In the wee hours burglars entered the Clemens Farmington St. home and made off with a few misc. articles. In his autobiographical dictation some twenty years later, Sam mistakenly remembered this event as “about two o’clock one black and dreary March morning,” and related a humorous conversation with Livy in the upstairs bedroom while the thief rummaged the house [MTA 78]. The May 4, 1888 issue of the Hartford Courant places this date in “Burglars Again Operate,” p.8, and includes reports of theft of Aaron Kenny’s and Major E.V. Preston’s nearby homes (not included):
BURGLARS AGAIN OPERATE
— — — —
THREE HILL RESIDENCES ENTERED
— — — —
A Large Amount of Property Stolen —
Mark Twain Among the Victims.
Mr. S.L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”) failed to find his dress shoes yesterday morning [May 3] when he was dressing for a journey. Investigation showed that two overcoats, a silk umbrella, and other portable property had vanished. An open window at the south end of the house, outside of which stood a packing-box, indicated the manner in which the thieves had effected an entrance.
…Following is an inventory of the property taken, as reported to the police: — …
From Mark Twain, two overcoats, a silk umbrella, a pair of dress shoes, 4 napkin rings, an ivory paper cutter and a pair of silver tongs. The amount of valuable bric-a-brac, etc., left behind here is simply astounding, and seems to indicate that the marauders were but poor appraisers of the value of articles.
… Tracks found in the soft earth in the vicinity prove that there were two of the thieves, and that they both had feet rather above the average size. …
It is reported that during the last two or three days two tramps have loitered around the scene of the burglaries and that they made application for food at Mr. Clemens’s Wednesday evening.
Sam’s account of the event from MTA 78-9:
It [burglar alarm] let fly about two o’clock one black and dreary March [May] morning, and I turned out promptly, because I knew that it was not fooling, this time. The bathroom door was on my side of the bed. I stepped in there, turned up the gas, looked at the annunciator, turned off the alarm — so far as the door indicated was concerned — thus stopping the racket. Then I came back to bed.
Mrs. Clemens said, “What was it?”
I said, “It was the cellar door.”
She said, “Was it a burglar, do you think?”
“Yes,” I said, “of course it was. Do you suppose it was a Sunday-school superintendent?”
She said, “What do you suppose he wants?”
I said: “I suppose he wants jewelry, but he is not acquainted with the house and he thinks it is in the cellar. I don’t like to disappoint a burglar whom I am not acquainted with and who has done me no harm, but if he had had common sagacity enough to inquire, I could have told him we kept nothing down there but coal and vegetables. Still, it may be that he is acquainted with this place and that what he really wants is coal and vegetables. On the whole, I think it is vegetables he is after.”
She said, “Are you going down to see?”
“No,” I said; “I could not be of any assistance. Let him select for himself.”
Then she said, “But suppose he comes up to the ground floor!”
I said: “That’s all right. We shall know it the minute he opens a door on that floor. It will set off the alarm.”
Just then the terrific buzzing broke out again. I said: “He has arrived. I told you he would. I know all about burglars and their ways. They are systematic people.”
I went into the bathroom to see if I was right, and I was. I shut off the dining-room and stopped the buzzing and came back to bed. My wife said:
“What do you suppose he is after now?”
I said: “I think he has got all the vegetables he wants and is coming up for napkin rings and odds and ends for the wife and the children. They all have families — burglars have — and they are always thoughtful of them…
We went to sleep, and at a quarter before eight in the morning I was out, and hurrying, for I was to take the 8:29 train for New York. I found the gas burning brightly — full head — all over the first floor. My new overcoat was gone; my old umbrella was gone; my new patent-leather shoes, which I had never worn, were gone. The large window which opened into the ombra at the rear of the house was standing wide. I passed out through it and tracked him without difficulty, because he had blazed his progress with imitation-silver napkin rings and my umbrella, and various other things which he had disapproved of; and I went back in triumph and proved to my wife that he was a disappointed burglar. I had suspected he would be, from the start, and from his not coming up to our floor to get human beings.
Note: from the Courant article and this account it is clear that Sam either embroidered the account or confused it with another occasion. He did not go to New York the next morning, for example, but the items he relates match the newspaper accounts. Thanks to Wayne Gannaway for pointing me to the Courant article, and for his article in The Mark Twain Annual, 2007 No. 5, p.27-41
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, sorry to hear through Mrs. Langdon to Mollie that Livy had been very sick. Orion offered advice on Webster & Co.’s lawsuit [MTP].
Eugene Meyer, N.Y. Piano teacher, receipted $60 for “piano lessons from Feb 23rd until May the 3rd” [MTP].
May 4 Friday – In Hartford Sam began a short note to Annie Eliot Trumbull, mostly in German, that he finished the next day, May 5. Annie was the daughter of James Hammond and Sarah Trumbull.
In a happy mood I agree with the suggestion regarding the Saturday Morning Club. Cuss such a language, you can never tell whether you’ve said what you wanted to say or not. Next Saturday, May 5, isn’t that so? Mrs. Clemens offers her house and cordially invites the members of the club…Subject: English Criticism of America [MTP]. Note: Thanks to Holger Kersten for the translation.
May 5 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam asking if it was too late to do anything about the William Thompson Walters art book. He also enclosed “a letter and also two chapters from a manuscript by Maj. Gen. O.O. Howard” — possibly Howard’s My Life and Experiences published by A.D. Worthington of Hartford in about 1907 [MTHL 2: 246n1&5].
Sam finished the note to Annie Eliot Trumbull, begun the day before, May 4. More German and one parenthetical, “Asks ‘em to meet here, you know” [MTP]. Note: it’s not clear if the meeting was to be the same day Sam sent Annie this note or sometime later.
Sam’s notebook: Sat., May 5, ’88, the World had 185 compositors at work. It would take 37 machines to supply their place [MTNJ 3: 385].
May 6 Sunday – Miss Winifred G. Dawson wrote from St. Jerome, Canada that she “was very glad to hear from father that” Sam had not forgotten his “old time young friend” (Age 16). She asked for pictures of his cats and wrote about hers [MTP]. Note: Samuel E. Dawson was the young lady’s father.
May 7 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, principally about the Walters art collection book and the possible 700 to 800 thousand profit for a book “infinitely grander and finer than any ever issued in any country in the world.” Sam figured the book would sell 600 in American and 600 in Europe at $1,000 a copy. William Mackay Laffan was to be the sole canvasser, making $100 per sale.
Sam liked the General Oliver O. Howard book idea “pretty well,” and wanted Hall to write Sam as if Sam were Howard, making him a formal proposition [MTLTP 245]. Webster & Co. did not publish the book .
Note: No outgoing letters from Sam are extant from this date until a telegram on May 21.
May 8 Tuesday – Francis Hopkinson Smith wrote to Sam that it was “delicious to know” he was “all light” with a “copper lining” after a recent feast [MTP].
May 9 Wednesday – John Roddye wrote to ask Sam’s help to get his 950-line poem published [MTP].
May 10 Thursday – Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam, enclosing a draft for $3,649.85 [MTP].
M.N. Mallison, a journalist, wrote from Brooklyn asking to see Sam; he was going to London in June and wanted “a little advise concerning persons and things in London” [MTP].
May 11 Friday – L.H. Hallock of Portland, Maine wrote a follow up hoping to “receive a word from you touching ‘National Reforms’ for our Congregational Club” [MTP].
May 12 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
“I have made the corrections in the letter to General Howard, and it will go forward to-day” [MTHL 2: 246n6]. Hall also informed: “The ‘Library of American Literature,’ ten volumes, is going well…. I think this book is going to pan out big eventually, as the results attained so far have come without any particular pushing” [MTNJ 3: 361]. Note: The sales of this work were always disappointing, not offsetting the costs.
Orion Clemens and Jane Clemens wrote to Sam and family. Orion mentioned the Keokuk lawsuit Webster had against R.T. Root, and information he’d mailed to Fred Hall to be given to Whitford. Letters from Jean and Clara were admired; Ma wrote a nonsensical note. [MTP].
May 13 Sunday – Zadel Barnes Gustafson wrote from N.Y. to Sam asking to borrow $5,000 [MTP].
May 14 Monday – Sam’s notebook: 4143, Wm Bryan & sons May 14. — $80.20 [MTNJ 3: 385].
Miss Winifred G. Dawson wrote from Montreal to thank Sam for the picture of his cats [MTP].
Webster & Co., per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that Dr. Wallace Wood, author of The Hundred Greatest Men had been by with an idea for a series of greatest lawyers, theologians, etc. [MTP].
May 15 Tuesday – Hartford doctor Nathan Mayer wrote to thank Sam. “May Mrs. Clemens be much benefited and strengthened” [MTP].
Andrew Chatto wrote to Sam: “I have replied to Herr von Kirschbaum of Posen, whose letter you sent me informing him on your behalf that we would give him authority to translate” P&P “into German for the small sum of £15” [MTP].
May 16 Wednesday – John Habberton (1842-1921), for 20 years the literary and dramatic critic for the N.Y. Herald, and author of the Sam-detested Helen’s Babies (1876), wrote to Sam offering a 100,000 word war book, “with scarcely a sign of a battle in it, but full of life and incidents over which the old boys of both armies chat most” [MTNJ 3: 390n308]. Sam, no doubt prejudiced by Habberton’s earlier work, declined. Habberton was well known under the pseudonym, “Smelfungus,” one that Sam may have agreed with. (See Gribben 283-4 for a summary of Sam’s statements about Habberton’s works.)
May 17 Thursday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor received, also the watch. We will pay the Burton bill, the bill for composition and electrotyping on the Burton book, and also send you invoice for the watch. We have forwarded a copy of ‘The Library of Humor’.” Other finances were discussed [MTP]. Note: Richard E. Burton.
May 18 Friday – Charles R. Brown for American Magazine wrote asking Sam his views on the passage of the “Chase International Copy-right Bill” [MTP].
Helen M. Dove wrote a begging letter to Sam asking him not to consider her a beggar! [MTP].
E.J. Hamersley wrote to Sam; most of it is illegible [MTP].
Webster & Co., per Arthur H. Wright wrote a note of the $5,694.05 bank balances to Sam [MTP].
May 19 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote Sam a long letter about “certain glaring defects in the organization of our Subscription Department.” He objected to the manners and appearance of W.E. Dibble, hired by Webster, and urged he be replaced. With Webster gone, Hall felt he could not give much time to the subscription department. Both Sam and Hall were conscious of the connection in the public mind of Sheridan’s Memoirs with Grant’s Memoirs. “The way we handle [Sheridan’s book] will either increase the good reputation made on the ‘Grant Memoirs’ or destroy it,” Hall wrote, adding that the public was tiring of “war-literature,” which made it imperative to produce a quality product [MTNJ 3: 388n297&298]. Note: Dibble remained manager through the end of the year.
Zadel Barnes Gustafson wrote to Sam having put off her departure, reminding of his May 13 [MTP].
May 20 Sunday – The New York Times, p.10, “Held to Contract,” announced a judgment of $2,382.10 against Charles L. Webster & Co in favor of the Joseph J. Little & Co., printers at 10 Astor-place.
The suit grew out of a contract which the defendants made with the plaintiffs to print the memoirs [Grant] for them. They afterward took away a portion of the printing from them and claimed that they had a right to do it, under the peculiar wording of the contract, which was drawn by the lawyers…. In their opinion the Justices of the General Term say, in substance, that Webster & Co. tried to be too cute and sharp and, as is often the case, cut themselves; that they had a contract drawn which they thought they could interpret according to the exigencies of the case, but that the court does not countenance things of that kind.
The Brooklyn Eagle, p.4 also reported on the case, and named Mark Twain:
WEBSTER & CO. MUST PAY.
— — — —
The Printers of Grant’s Memoirs Awarded Damages
Webster & Co. of which Mark Twain is a member, publishers of Grant’s Memoirs, awarded the printing contract to Little & Co., who were to print 50,000 copies and repeat the order as often as required. They struck off the first 50,000 copies, and Webster & Co. then took the matter out of their hands. Little & Co. protested, but the publishers contended that the contract permitted them to do as they had done. The printers then began suit for the reformation of the contract and $2,000 damages for breach of contract. They were awarded judgment.
The judgment was for $1,950 plus interest from April 1, 1886 and costs. Webster & Co.’s appeal was denied [MTNJ 3: 587n51]. Note: The reason Webster gave subsequent print orders to other firms was to expedite production. Evidently, Joseph J. Little & Co. was too little, and too slow. The initial contract was made in April, 1885.
May 21 Monday – A tribute to the impresario Lester Wallack had been in the planning for some time (See New York Times Apr. 29, p.2 “The Wallack Benefit”), and Sam would have been well aware of it. He probably left Hartford in the morning.
Later in the day, at the Murray Hill Hotel in New York, Sam telegraphed Thomas A. Edison.
Can you appoint an hour for tomorrow when I may run over & see the phonograph answer paid [MTP]. Note: Sam’s May 25 to Edison explains Sam’s telegram. No letters from Sam are extant after May 7 to this date. Sam probably went to New York on this day.
In the evening Sam almost certainly went to the Metropolitan Opera House for the festivities. Here is part of the report form the New York Times of May 22, p.1, though only the actors (Booth, Jefferson, Florence, Gilbert, Modjesksa) and Wallack were mentioned by name.
THE WALLACK TESTIMONIAL
A MEMORABLE THEATRICAL
THE METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE COMPLETELY JAMMED BY A BRILLIANT AND ENTHUSIASTIC AUDIENCE — A SPLENDID PERFORMANCE OF “HAMLET” — MR. WALLACK’S SPEECH.
The tribute to Lester Wallack has been paid. The distinguished actor and manager knows now, if he never knew before, that the people of New York hold him high in their esteem. They told him so last night in unmistakable terms when the great performance of “Hamlet,” for which preparations have been making for many months, was given in the big Metropolitan Opera House. The vast auditorium was jammed; crowds of persons craned their necks and peeped over the shoulders of others at all the openings in the fort like wall that shuts in the parquette. High up, over the boxes, in the dress circle and balcony hundreds of people were standing behind thousands who had been lucky enough to secure seats. In this great multitude and in every part of the theatre were people that every one knows. The boxes were filled with familiar faces. In the orchestra stalls, turn which way you would, your eyes would rest upon the features of some person distinguished in art or literature or commerce or one of the learned professions. In the dress circle and balcony, and even up in the gallery of the gods, the crowd was composed of well-dressed folks, and included many prominent persons.
Society of Cumberland Army, Chicago sent Sam an invitation to their meeting Sept. 19 and 20 next and “suggest to us the topic upon which you will speak” [MTP].
Middleton & Brother, Watches, Diamonds, Jewelry, N.Y. billed & receipted $12.50 for “1 Silver Lepine” [MTP].
May 22 Tuesday – Sam made a brief stop at the Edison Phonograph Company on Dey Street in New York, but did not find Edison in. He “spent an hour & a half with the phonograph on Dey street, with vast satisfaction” [May 21 and 25 to Edison]. Sam badly wanted to obtain a phonograph to dictate his writing (see May 25).
William H. Thompson for Equitable Life Society wrote: “I sat by your side at a dinner given by our mutual friend Cholmondeley of Condover Hall, England. The dinner was given him at the Windsor Hotel, New York in 1887 after his arrival on the Steam Ship Britannic under my command” [MTP].
May 23 Wednesday – Zadel Barnes Gustafson wrote her third letter to Sam that she was sailing May 26 for England and hoped for a response to her prior pleas for help. Sam wrote, “God damn this tedious woman” on the envelope [MTP].
George C. Thomas wrote to thank Sam for his letter and the return of his MS, and especially for pointing out “some serious faults” in his composition [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that he’d “just received notice from Alexander & Green that the R.T. Root trial may be tried the 25th of next month, and they want me out there for a witness” [MTP].
Pamela Moffett wrote to Sam concerned about Livy being “dangerously ill.” She enclosed a sample of her son Samuel’s editorial writing; they both wanted to see the Pope’s book [MTP].
Christian B. Tauchnitz, Jr. wrote to Sam having received the Library of Humor from Chatto; some parts would need to be omitted for use in their Continental lines, “in consideration of the political and social views in this country” [MTP].
May 24 Thursday – Thomas A. Edison telegrahed Sam at the Murray Hill about his May 21 telegram.
Will be glad to see you this afternoon or any time to-morrow convenient to yourself. Am here all the time [MTNJ 3: 386n289; MTP]. Note in citation: “Clemens had already returned to Hartford, however, and did not see Edison until the following month.”
May 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Thomas A. Edison. His letter illuminates his telegram of May 21 and his quick visit to Edison’s on May 22.
Dear Sir: I had only part of a day at my disposal, but I shall try again, soon, & shall hope to find you on deck & still open to invasion. However, I accomplished part of my mission, anyway: I spent an hour & a half with the phonograph in Dey street, with vast satisfaction.
I had had the hope that if I could see you I might possibly get my hands on a couple of phonographs immediately, instead of having to wait my turn. Then all summer long I could use one of them in Elmira, N.Y., & express the wax cylinders to my helper in Hartford [Whitmore] to be put into the phonograph here & the contents transferred to paper by type-writer.
Sam confided that his case was “pretty urgent,” that he needed two phonographs (Dictaphones), one to “load up” now and another when they left for Elmira in mid-June [MTP]. Note: See June 5.
Sam also wrote to family friend Candace Wheeler, turning down another invitation to her Catskills retreat near Mt. Onteora, N.Y.
Lord bless you I’d like to, but I dasn’t, & couldn’t. There is betwixt this & the end of next September no day that belongeth unto me. And as for Mrs. Clemens, if her remnant of strength holds out to get her to Elmira the middle of June, I am pretty sure she will be glad to lie down & rest the balance of the summer. The more I see of diphtheria the less I think of it as a spring recreation [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We have notified Mr. Whitford to have the case put over. Your check for $12.50 is received, also a request to send two copies of the ‘Library of Humor’ to Mr. Howells, care of Harper Bros. This has been done…” (Sheridan’s note to Webster quoted, about being ill) [MTP].
May 26 Saturday – Cordelia Welsh Foote wrote from Cincinnati to thank Sam for the personal letter he sent she read in her performance. The Cincinnati Enquirer gave it favorable review [MTP].
Webster & Co., per Arthur H. Wright wrote to Sam (balance statement for $5,973.93); “We rec’d the proceeds of a $10,000 note but paid Gen. Sheridan a like amt.” [MTP].
May 27 Sunday – Joe Twichell’s 50th birthday was brightened by the presentation of the deed to his house by the Asylum Hill Congregational Church, which had collected some $10,000 for the purchase and improvement of the house [Strong 94]. The following night a reception was held that Sam attended.
May 28 Monday – Sam attended a reception honoring Joseph Hopkins Twichell’s 50th birthday. After Mr. Allen (possibly Frederick B. Allen, Joe’s Boston friend) spoke of the world’s progress during Joe’s 50 years, Sam spoke. The Hartford Courant covered the event in an article of May 29:
MR. TWICHELL’S BIRTHDAY
THE GIFT OF A HOME Last Evening’s Anniversary — Exercises at the Asylum Hill Congregational Church — The Addresses The Presentation Address The next Speaker was Dr. E. M. Gallaudet
The Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, Pastor of the Asylum Hill Congregational church, was tendered a reception by his people last evening [May 28], the occasion being in recognition of Mr. Twichell‘s fiftieth birthday. The event possessed peculiar interest in view of the gift to Mr. Twichell the day before by his parish toners of the house which he has so long [resided in]. …
Mr. S.L. Clemens, who followed, said that he supposed he had been called partly because he was a considerable portion of the congregation. He stood as evidence of what Mr. Twichell had been able to construct. He was glad to learn from the first speaker, Mr. Allen, that Mr. Twichell was largely accountable for the progress the world has made during the past 50 years. Until he had spoken he had never realized that the telegraph and the telephone and all those things were due to the influence of this man — the handsomest man that ever lived. We all feel alike, continued Mr. Clemens, about the limitless degree of affection expressed in the paper read by Mr. Morris and hope it will be kept up so long as Mr. Twichell continues to do so well. Mr. Clemens then related an absurd incident which had occurred in Switzerland, showing how great an influence Mr. Twichell had exerted upon him during their sojourn in that country, and closed by reading the following poem, which, he said, reminded him so strongly of his pastor: Days of my youth, Ye have glided away; …
Sam also wrote to John Habberton for the N.Y. Herald, letter not extant; referred to in Habberton’s May 30 letter [MTP].
Orion Clemens thanked Sam for the monthly $155 check; Ma had been calling for her sister Patsy (Quarles) who had been dead 35 years. “I think by some curious trick of nature scenes of 70 years ago are presented to her mind as recent” [MTP].
May 29 Tuesday – The New York Times, p.1, ran a preview announcement of General Philip H. Sheridan’s Memoirs.
THE GENERAL’S MEMOIRS
The last important work of Gen. Sheridan has been the preparation of memoirs of his life, which are to be published in the Fall by Charles L. Webster & Co. of this city. This work was suggested to Gen. Sheridan some time ago, and his friends were very anxious that he should tell in his own way the incidents of a busy life in the field, as well as to give an authentic account of the various battles in which he was engaged…. from a simple sketch of his life…the book has grown and widened in its compass until now two volumes of about 500 pages each are in the hands of printers. …
Gen. Sheridan has been very careful in his preparation of the book. The manuscript was delivered to the publishers last February, but the General was not satisfied with it…. During the Spring he has carefully revised it, and only recently sent it back to Charles L. Webster & Co…. It was originally intended not to issue it till Dec. 1, but should Gen. Sheridan die the publication will be hastened.
Joe Twichell wrote to “Dear old Mark”:
I find myself this morning wanting to tell you how thankful to you I am and we are for the part you bore in our reception last night. / I appreciate that it must have seemed, on some accounts, rather rough on you to be asked to appear on such occasion. And had I been consulted about it — which I was not — I would have spared you….
I never heard you read anything better than you read the verses with which you closed — which is saying a great deal [MTP]. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Dear old Joe!”
Mary Duncan wrote from Chattanooga, Tenn. to Sam asking help to publish an autobiography of a slave. Sam wrote, “Brer W. will dictate an answer. SLC” on the envelope [MTP].
May 30 Wednesday – John Habberton for the N.Y. Herald wrote to Sam, thanking him for his “kind note of 28th inst.,” and asking if Webster & Co. could handle his “screed” [MTP].
The Hartford Courant, p.8 under “Sheridan’s Memoirs” ran “An Interesting Interview” with Mark Twain.
A reporter for THE COURANT found Mark Twain at his home in this city, and asked him about General Sheridan and his relations with him. Mr. Clemens (Mark Twain) said he had known the gentleman for twenty years or more, having first met him in Washington at a reception at General Grant’s before the latter was elected president. Their personal acquaintance, however, had been mainly a matter of later years. It appears now that Mark Twain’s publishing house of Charles L. Webster 7 Co. is to stand in the same relation to Sheridan as to Grant…[the reporter asked if it was true what ran in the Critic that Gen. Sheridan had written an autobiography and if Sam could discuss it.]
Mark Twain—Mr. Webster and I called on General Sheridan at his office in the war department a couple of years ago, and made a contract with him for his autobiography, upon terms satisfactory to both parties. This was not long after we published the second volume of General Grant’s “Personal Memoirs.” General Sheridan was as reluctant to try the untried field of authorship as had been General Grant before him; but the desire to secure a comfortable provision for their families prevailed with both. [Not in Scharnhorst.]
May 31 Thursday
June – Beginning this month, Arthur H. Wright would send Sam extensive reports of Webster & Co.’s finances. Wright had been hired as a cashier. Some shift in responsibilities since Fred Hall’s May 19 “glaring deficiencies” letter is evident by Wright’s reports [MTNJ 3: 388n297].
June 1 Friday – Joe Twichell wrote to Sam (Dr. Wilson of the Smithsonian to Twichell May 26 enclosed). “That prehistoric man romance in Puck, I wouldn’t have missed seeing for a good deal. Much obliged to you for for it. How bright it is!” Dr. Wilson’s letter invited both men to the museum [MTP].
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford, billed $99.02, “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail) [MTP].
June 2 Saturday – Sam’s notebook entry lists check # 4145 for $6 to the Norwood House, a New York apartment built in 1847.
Mary Fairchild (age 23) daughter of General Lucius Fairchild wrote to Sam enclosing a program, and a clipping about the production of his play Die Meisterschaft by the German Conversation Club of Madison, Wisc.
In a college town such as Madison your play has been more than appreciated. Its points have been fully understood and every new sally of the different characters into German was greeted with shouts of laughter. Indeed the play was such a success that we are planning to repeat it for the benefit of a Benevolent Society [Rees 9;MTP]. Note: Sam responded on Oct. 1, 1888, which suggests Mary’s letter may have been left in Hartford for the summer, or was lost for a time, as Sam usually answered chosen letters promptly.
The New York Dramatic Mirror reviewed Kitty Rhoades’ performance in Reading, Penn. of an unauthorized Tom Sawyer play. Sam had withheld permission to Rhoades’ agent, W.R. Ward in his Sept. 8, 1887 letter.
Miss Rhoades as Tom Sawyer was a favorite and was frequently called before the curtain.
Note: Norton writes,
“That knowledge of such use of the material could have escaped Twain’s attention is difficult to believe, but nothing indicates he knew anything about these presentations; or, if he knew, that he did anything about them. Neither did he know about several more adaptations by others” .
H.S. Pratt & Co., Chilson’s Celebrated Cone Furnaces, Hartford, billed & receipted for “4 tin boxes .55, 2.20” [MTP].
June 3 Sunday
June 4 Monday – Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that business was “picking up,” though a good many books went out West, where net 60 days was the rule, i.e., cash flow problem [MTP].
June 5 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to President Cleveland’s wife, Frances F. Cleveland. An excerpt of Sam’s letter relating to Cleveland’s birthday, Mar. 18, when Sam was in Washington, may be seen in that entry [MTP].
Sam also wrote a short note to General Lucius Fairchild:
Although I can’t be there, on that memorable occasion, my spirit will be there, & my heart along with it [MTP]. Note: See Fairchild’s June 2 on his play Die Meisterschaft.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam proposing that the Sheridan books sell for
$3.00 a volume, $6.00 a set [since it] will make a scant 500 pages to each volume, and the volumes will probably be a trifle thinner than the “Grant.”… You will remember that we had a great many complaints about the price of the Grant book, and…all whom I have talked with advise lessening the price of the Sheridan…. The difference to us is very slight as the 50cts. extra on each volume goes principally to the General Agent and the canvasser [MTNJ 3:388n299]. Note: the price was set at these levels.
Thomas A. Edison per A.O. Tate wrote to Sam: “In reference to your letter under date 25th ult., I am at present conducting experiments in connection with Phonograph cylinders for mailing purposes. Just as soon as these are completed I will see that you are supplied with a couple of Phonographs” [MTP].
June 6 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam responded to Andrew Chatto that “everything proposed” by Christian (Baron) Tauchnitz was “satisfactory” [MTP]. No doubt this had to do with publishing Sam’s Library of Humor in Europe.
It’s not clear where Livy was at this time (New York?), because Sam, in Hartford, telegraphed her:
When you see House tell him to save that remark about publishers it may come good yet [MTP].
Ezra T. Gilliland for Edison Phonograph wrote to Sam:
Changes in the form of the phonograph have delayed the issue of these machines…. You will receive an instrument from among the first ones that are put out…. Our efforts to deliver it promptly will not be diminished by the knowledge of the fact that one of “Mark Twain’s” books is dependent upon it [MTNJ 3: 386n292]. Note: Sam’s plan was to dictate part or all of CY on the phonograph, then have the dictation typed. See July 27 from Chatto.
Henry W. Grady for Atlanta Constitution wrote asking Sam to come to Atlanta to lecture, and noting he’d never done so; he enclosed a copy of the paper; he wanted Sam “very badly” [MTP].
June 7 Thursday – Charles Scribner for Scribner’s & Sons wrote to Sam (enclosed in Webster & Co. June 8) seeking an interview about the General Sheridan book [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing Scribner’s letter (above) and advising that R.T. Root had offered $8,000 to settle the $30,000 debt; “Our lawyer’s advice is not to accept this.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Scribner’s letter — to be answered. Root compromise — do your own way” [MTP].
June 8 Friday – Clara Clemens’ fourteenth birthday.
Sam’s notebook entries: Murray Hill telegraph the Delavan for me [and] check # 4146 — Delavan House, June 8 — $2.25. [MTNJ 3: 391n309]. Note: The Delevan was an Albany hotel; Sam sent a check to hold a room but it’s not known if he traveled to Albany. No evidence of such a trip was found.
June 9 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Nellie Bunce (1853-1922) (daughter of Edward M. Bunce). Sam complimented Nellie’s singing [MTP]. Note: On Oct. 24 of this year Nellie would marry Archibald Ashley Welsh and found the Hartford School of Music, later called the Conservatory of Music. Edward (Ned) Bunce was a longtime friend and Friday Evening billiards player. He had a long career with the Phoenix National Bank.
Sam also wrote to Charles Scribner, letter not extant but referred to in Scribner’s June 13 letter [MTP].
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Kindly regard this letter as a little confidential, as I should be very sorry to hurt Mr. Whitmore’s feelings in any way, as I know he is doing everything for the best; but he writes this morning that he has given an agent the ‘Library of Literature’ to canvass, and that he has given him the run of the whole State. You of course know that on a new book a roving commission is fatal, not only to the book, but to the agent.” Hall had written Whitmore. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Too much territory for one man” [MTP].
William Bispham for The Players Club wrote to Sam (form letter and return card for dues) [MTP].
The Hartford Library Association receipted Sam for membership dues $25 from June 15, 1888 to June 15, 1889 [MTP].
June 10 Sunday – Sam and Livy met the Finnish Baroness Alexandra Gripenberg (1857-1913) at 8 p.m. at the Hartford home of George Warner. She was a leader in the temperance and suffrage movements. The Baroness came to America as a delegate to the meeting of the International Council of Women inM Washington on Mar. 26. She arrived in Hartford on June 7 to visit her friend, Isabella Beecher Hooker. Sam and Livy were at the Warners when Alexandra arrived. Sam told a story about a Negro cook who cooked a goose and gave a leg to his sweetheart. After being questioned by his master, the cook claimed the goose was born with only one leg. Later in the evening Sam sang Negro songs. After the party Sam sent an autographed picture sent by a servant to the Baroness [Moyne 370-2]. In 1894 Sam wrote that the Baroness had asked him to “tell her a story in our negro dialect” .
The Baroness “was immediately impressed by Mark Twain’s tanned and weather-beaten appearance and by the dense clouds of tobacco smoke which enveloped him. His facial features were sharp and fine…Twains’ face was that of a typical prospector, full of countless small and large wrinkles and furrows. His hair was thick, curly, grayish; his penetrating eyes were deep-set; his gestures were abrupt but at the same time slow. His clothes fitted him indifferently as though they knew that their wearer did not care how they looked on him. A brilliant red silk kerchief dangled round his neck in a peculiar manner [Salsbury 241].
June 11 Monday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about the Iowa lawsuit against R.T. Root, a general book agent who had not made required payment for Grant’s Memoirs. Hall recommended, “if we can get fifteen, or even twelve thousand dollars, it is best to accept it.” No settlement was made, however, and the court case continued until Jan. 1889, when Webster & Co. won a judgment of $31,433.33. Webster & Co. had to settle for $9,000 due to Root’s lack of assets, and only realized $2,000 after paying the Grant family their share [MTNJ 3: 390n306]. For all the trouble, not much more than attorney fees were realized.
June 12 Tuesday
June 13 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook entry:
Cheney’s, Wed. June 13. Train leaves here 5.10 & returns at 10.10 [MTNJ 3: 391].
Charles Scribner for Scribner’s & Sons wrote to Sam, responding to his letter of June 9, that he would call on him at 2 p.m. on June 21 about the Sheridan book [MTP].
June 14 Thursday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that the prospectus for Sheridan’s Personal Memoirs would be ready this afternoon. The book was scheduled for release in the winter of 1888 [MTNJ 3: 387n295].
June 15 Friday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about progress on Philip Sheridan’s Memoirs, and “the importance of getting a short manuscript preface from the General,” who was dying at the time. The preface written was dated Aug. 2, 1888 but the first draft was done in Washington on May 13, and revised on Aug. 3. Philip Sheridan died on Aug. 5, 1888 [MTNJ 3: 303].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. also sent Sam a copy of the Sheridan prospectus [MTNJ 3: 389], and a statement of bank balance after paying the bindery bill of $5,604.31 [MTP].
June 16 Saturday – Budd reports that the “short-lived, now scarce Literature: An Illustrated Weekly Magazine” ran a biographical sketch by Charles Hopkins Clark “respected political editor of the Hartford Courant,” “Samuel Langhorne Clemens,” followed by reprintings of four other Mark Twain items. Clark’s glowing article announced that Sam “has taken a leading place in literature, in society, and in business in America.” Budd points out that Clark exaggerated “his climb by grossly lowering the starting level” to age 12 [Our MT 83 and 250n6].
G.S. Fellows for Washington High School, Washington, D.C. wrote to Sam: “As your testimonial to the value of the Loisette Memory System brought him more pupils here in Washington (myself among the number) than all the rest of his recommendations together, you will perhaps pardon me for asking your reasons for its withdrawal” — was it a lack of confidence in the man or the system or both? [MTP].
Joseph D. Carnegie wrote a barely legible letter to Sam, who noted, “Theological Crank” [MTP].
June 17 Sunday – Livy wrote to Grace King (in a letter not sent until Aug. 7 from Elmira):
Mr. Clemens and I are sitting on the Ombra this hot Sunday afternoon…. I have just finished Monsieur Motte, … a copy of which Mr. Warner gave me. It is simply charming — every line in the book delighted me. I have never before read the last two sketches in the book. Of course now I read it right through together. I don’t believe you can know how fine it all is [Gribben 372].
June 18 Monday – W.W. Bierce on Memphis Gas & Light letterhead wrote to Sam (Bierce to Charter Oak Co. June 18 enclosed): “I like you! But I’m damned if I like everybody in Hartford.” Bierce had inquired around about the defunct Charter Oak Insurance Co and brought his complaint to Mark Twain [MTP].
Chatto & Windus wrote to Sam, advising they’d accepted Tauchnitz’s offer of £40 “for a selection of about one third of” the Library of American Humor [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Mollie undertook to write to you, but she could not. She bade me mail the printed slips, and to say to you that nobody can tell how thankful she is for your kindness that enabled her father to pass his last days in comfort.” Sam’s last $100 for her father’s care arrived the day of the funeral, and Orion argued to use it to pay the $90 in funeral expenses. Orion also wrote about the Memory Game, making a pamphlet to go with it on the kings’ history [MTP].
June 19 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to O.E. Dunlap of Niagara Falls, N.Y., who evidently notified him of someone impersonating him on a lecture platform.
I always hear of these frauds a day or so too late.
Sam wanted to hear about someone impersonating him 24 hours ahead of time for a change [MTP]. Note: Dunlap was an editor who would assemble books on the history of Niagara Falls.
Frederick Allison Tupper for Arms Academy, Shelburne Falls, Mass. wrote to Sam for financial support to increase their endowment, since Sam was “a direct descendant of Titus Flavius Clemens” [MTP].
H.E. Patten, Dye and Carpet Beating Works, Hartford, billed & paid $3.25: “Mar 20 cleaning child’s rm & steam blkt 1.25; Apr 2 Cleaning 12 Muslin Curtains 2.00” [MTP].
June 20 Wednesday
June 21 Thursday – Sam’s notebook suggests a planned New York meeting between himself and Charles Scribner at the Murray Hill Hotel at 2 p.m. [MTNJ 3: 392]. Scribner demanded compensation for a book contract from Philip H. Sheridan that was unfulfilled. James B. Pond had represented Sheridan in the matter. Late in June, Webster & Co. offered $5,000 to Scribner out of the profits of the book, half from the General’s share. Additionally they would allow excerpts from the book to run in Scribner’s Magazine. The devil was in the details of which parts of the book that would be used in the magazine, ones that would not devalue the book. Acceptable entries were included in the Nov. 1888 issue, and in return, Scribner released all rights to a book [MTNJ 3: 387n294].
June 22 Friday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “I called at the hotel about 9 o’clock this morning, and found you had gone out. I went yesterday to Alexander & Green and saw Mr. Alexander personally, together with Mr. Whitford. They both advised strongly against my going to Washington now, though they said I probably would have to go in a few days…” General Sheridan was not in good shape, and it wasn’t wise to bother him “with such matters”; best to write him (Hall enclosed a copy of his letter to the General about Scribner’s investment of $5,000 in a Sheridan book) [MTP].
Meyrowitz Brothers, Opticians, N.Y. billed $5 for “2 pr eye Glasses 2.50 ea”; Paid July 6 [MTP].
June 23 Saturday – The Brooklyn Eagle, p.3 under “Notes” ran a squib about a bio of Mark Twain
Literature, John B. Alden, has a portrait of Mark Twain, with much matter about him and about the popular and the democratic in literary art.
June 24 Sunday
June 25 Monday – Joe Twichell notified Sam as the Clemenses were preparing to leave for Quarry Farm that “the Corporation of the Yale University, now in session, have just decreed you the honorary degree of Master of Arts (M.A.)” [MTNJ 3: 299].
Soon after, the Clemens family left Hartford for New York and Elmira. Livy’s tenuous health and slow recovery from diphtheria and quinsy (tonsillitis) would have likely meant no more than an over night stay or two in New York.
Chatto & Windus wrote to Sam about a “mistake” of being billed by Webster & Co. for plates on the Library of Humor supplied to Dawson & Co. in Montreal. Sam wrote “Hellfire!” on the envelope [MTP].
June 26 Tuesday – In New York City Sam wrote to Timothy Dwight (1828-1916), president of Yale.
To be made a master of arts by your venerable college is an event of large size to me, & a distinction which gratifies me quite as much as if I deserved it. To be noticed in this way by the university would be pleasing to me at any time, but it is peculiarly so at this juncture. The late Matthew Arnold rather sharply rebuked the guild of American “funny men” in his latest literary delivery, & therefore you honorable recognition of us is peculiarly forcible & timely.
Sam felt the calling of a true humorist was,
…the deriding of shams, the exposure of pretentious falsities, the laughing of stupid superstitions out of existence; & that whoso is engaged in this sort of warfare is the natural enemy of royalties, nobilities, privileges & all kindred swindles, & the natural friend of human rights & human liberties [Fatout, MT Speaks 141-2].
Sam apologized for not being able to make the dinner of the following evening, June 27, for the ceremony (he was on the way with Livy and the children to Elmira for the summer). The letter was reprinted in the Hartford Courant of June 29, p.5. Note: A. Hoffman writes that the degree was “awarded …at the instigation of alumnus Joe Twichell” . Camfield writes that the 1888 degree “was proposed and supported by Joseph Twichell, who was an active alumnus” [Oxford Companion 265].
June 27 Wednesday – The Clemens family probably left New York for Elmira this day. Yale University conferred an honorary Master of Arts degree upon Samuel Langhorne Clemens. Sam could not go to New Haven for the dinner and ceremony.
The New York Times, June 28, 1888, editorial article 7, p.4 ran notice of Sam’s honorary degree, among others.
Several noteworthy honorary degrees were conferred at yesterday’s Commencements…. Yale’s honorary A.M.’s are headed by Mark Twain. He is certainly a master of a good many arts, as his business and humoristic successes show. Mark Twain, A.M., has a queer sound, but the owner of the title can be relied upon to work it up, after due reflection, into new material for humor.
June 28 Thursday – In Elmira Sam walked to the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. (Charles Langdon’s new firm name) and wrote a letter to Joe Twichell on their letterhead.
Dear Joe: How they waste their privileges — the women. That is a thought which swam through my mind as I was walking down here a moment ago. It was born of a perplexity: how in the nation to excuse myself from a blow-out in New York with something better than the tiresome old “circumstances-over-which-I have-no-control” sort — something with a whang of actuality about it, something which nobody could absolutely know was an invention. They — the women — why, their noble chance is wholly wasted on them; they never in any case use it. But land! Suppose we had it. We would play it 31 days in the month & 365 in the year….
“January 1. Gentlemen: I am sorry to be obliged to say that my monthlies having come upon me last night, etc.” …. Jan. 4. Mr. Chairman — Dear Sir: I am expecting to be unwell upon the date named, etc.” Jan. 5 Mrs. President — Dear Madam: I should have been quite able to accept, ordinarily, & would of course do so with pleasure, but unhappily I have gone over my time, & so am obliged to decline since I cannot now foretell when I shall be taken unwell,” etc — Jan. 6 Gentlemen: I regret to say that I have been a little irregular for some time, & my monthly period having now come upon me before due, I find myself obliged to telegraph this withdrawal…Jan. 7. My Dear Young Ladies: to my inexpressible regret I am flowing again…. [paragraph breaks omitted].
Sam also thanked Joe and enjoyed “greatly…being a Master of Arts.” He ended the letter with:
I send my love to you all. But I shall not tell Livy I have written, because she would want to know what it was I wrote [MTP].
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
We enclose herewith two notices with reference to the Sheridan book, which appeared in the “Times” and “Tribune”, also a little notice with reference to yourself which is in most of the morning papers. The Scribner matter is going to go through all right. Mr. Burlingame has to come to the office and look over the manuscript and make several selections, out of which we shall say what we can let him have [MTP].
June 29 Friday – Sam’s notebook records check #:
4147. June 29. Mme H.M Abry — $462.50 [MTNJ 3: 392&n317]. Note: Many checks and bills in this range were for Livy’s outfits.
Charles H. Clark wrote on Hartford Courant letterhead to Sam: “Please accept my most sincere thanks for your acceptance of the Yale degree Hon. M.A. We are all delighted to have you one of us and I shall attempt to initiate you at our first meeting” [MTP].
Edgar L. Wakeman, journalist, wrote from Havana, Cuba to Sam, sending him articles of his two years of travel and study “in that unfortunate island,” which summarized “a few of the intolerable barbarities of Spanish misrule,” with “countless reasons why American governmental action should promptly suppress those burning wrongs on American soil” [MTP]. Note: Wakeman’s materials may have set Sam’s initial opinion about Cuba and his initial support of the war. Wakeman’s card enclosed listed 15 newspapers he was “Special Contributor to.” Wakeman founded the Current, a weekly Chicago periodical (1883-1885).
June 30 Saturday – Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam of the bank balances total, $5,242.76 [MTP].
Meyrowitz Brothers, Opticians, N.Y. billed $1 for “1 Burgess spray atomizer” paid July 6 [MTP].
July – Henry C. Robinson wrote to Sam (enclosed in Orion July 9) [MTP].
J.G. Rathbun & Co. Pharmacists, Hartford billed $103.05 paid July 10:
Apl 2 toothbrushes .70 soap .55 El? Bark .20
Apl 4 Friedrichshall .30 Apl 9 200 cigars 8.00 Oiled silk .125 tot 9.55
Apl 10 carbolic acid, chlorides, 1/2 alcohol, &c 2.55
Apl 12 1/2 doz Friedrichshall 1.75 alcohol 1.75 [illegible .25] total 3.25
Apl 13 Platt’s chlorides .50 Apl 14 Flax seed .20 . Total .70
Apl 18 Flaxseed & alum .25 Apl 19 Flask 1.25 Vichy .10 tot 1.60
Apl 21 ext malt .35 Apl 23 Sulphur .15 Apl 25 Throat brush .20
Apl 30 Recipe & ointment .65
May 1 1/2 alcohol 1.25 glycerin .30 Flaxseed .25 tot 1.80
May 4 200 cigars 8.00 May 8 Pond’s ext 1.50 Alcohol &c 1.50 total 11.00
May 16 200 cigars 8.00 May 17 Corn shields, Vichy &c .70 tot 8.70
May 24 Vichy .10 May 28 200 cigars 8.00 May 30 Vichy .05 tot 8.15
Jun 4 5 lb camphor 1.75 Insect Powder Beuquill .25 tot 5.00
Jun 5 Vichy.05 Sponges & soap 1.00, Jun 13 [illegible] .20 total 1.25
Jun 15 Vichy .05 1000 cigars 40.00 Express to Elmira .80 tot 40.85
Jun 16 vichy .05 Jun 18 vichy .05 Jun 23 100 cigars to Nyk 4.00 total 4.10
Jun 26 5lb camphor .175
Mar 27 200 WB Chest [?] [MTP]
July 1 Sunday – James L. Cowles for the Reform Club (New Haven) wrote to Sam, inviting him to join the newly formed tariff club. Sam, as one of…
…the mugwumps of 1884 [should join in support of Cleveland’s tariff policies]. We shall need a great deal of money and shall be compelled to perform an immense amount of labor to insure success but we shall succeed [MTNJ 3: 392n318]. Note: See July 9 entry for check Sam sent in support.
J.J. Poole & Co, Anthracite and Bituminous Coal, Hartford, billed $7 for “Mar 27 200 WB Chest [?]”; Paid July 10 [MTP].
Eugene Meyer, N.Y. Piano lessons, receipted $30 for “piano lessons until July 1, 88” [MTP].
July 2 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Charles H. Clark, associate on the Library of Humor and editor of the Hartford Courant, thanking him for his “initiation intentions” about his recent honorary masters degree.
I am the only literary animal of my particular sub-species who has ever been given a degree by any College in any age of the world, as far as I know [MTP].
Sam also wrote a laundry-list type letter to his brother, Orion Clemens, who evidently had read of Sam’s honorary degree.
Of course I ought to have gone to New Haven — unquestionably; but I was so situated that it was next to impossible. I could not have got back to New York the same night.
Sam also sent advice for Orion to humor their mother in her faulty dreams of playing with cousins long dead; not to send a manuscript as he was “burying” himself in his book (CY), and of the Paige typesetter, which Orion had obviously asked about:
I hear nothing from the machine — & that means it isn’t finished. If it should manage somehow to finish itself by the first of August, that would answer particularly well. It could then work a month or six weeks in Hartford, privately, & get itself all smoothed down & thoroughly adjusted, & go thence to New York just in time to find New York at home again & ready for business [MTP].
Charles H. Clark responded to Sam’s July 2.
My Dear Friend, — You are the “only literary animal of your particular subspecies” in existence, and you’ve no cause for humility in the fact. Yale has done herself at least as much credit as she has done you, and “don’t you forget it.” C.H.C. [MTB 868].
Note: these letters bear the same postmark date, which was more likely in inter-city mail than it was between cities, although Robert Hirst of the MTP assured me that it was possible between Boston and Hartford, or Hartford and New York.
Frank A. Munsey (1854-1925) for Golden Argosy wrote to Sam, asking should he write “another boys story” could he talk to him about “running it through the Argosy” before it became book form. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer W. Tell him I am away from home indefinitely” [MTP]. Note: this became Argosy in Dec. 1888. It began in 1882, aimed at the “boys adventure” market, and is thought to be the first American pulp magazine.
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford, billed $72.97: “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid Aug. 22 [MTP].
Joseph G. Lane, Wholesale Grocer & Commission Merchant, Hartford, billed $41.67 for:
Jan 3 1 doz Smith’s Ale 1.25; Jany 21 1 Sherry Wine 4.00; 1/2 doz Claret 3.00;
Feby 3 1/2 Scotch Whiskey 6.00; Mar 8 1/2 Dz St. Croix 6.00;
Mar 27 1 doz Lager 1.25; Apl 3 4 dz laguer 5 Apr 25 1/2 doz Scotch Whiskey 6;
May 18 4 doz Lager 5.00; Jun 15 25 bottles Apollinarius 4.17; Paid July 10 [MTP].
July 3 Tuesday – Webster & Co., per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that Mr. Burlingame had been there for Scribner’s, examining the Sheridan manuscript, but had not finished; Rollin M. Daggett had sent “rather a sharp letter” from Vacaville, Calif. complaining about his Hawaii book’s delay [MTP].
H.C. Kirck, “preparing for publication a set of Improved Authors Cards” wrote to Sam asking for statistics — height, weight, eyes, hair, ancestry, etc. [MTP].
July 4 Wednesday – Sam inscribed a copy of P&P to their New York physician, Clarence C. Rice:
To/ Dr. Clarence C. Rice / with the kindest regards of / The Author. / ~ / July 4, 1888.
July 5 Thursday – Beginning this day through Sept. 5, Sam and Theodore Crane engaged in a “summer pastime,” probably cribbage (the MTP has Sam’s cribbage board) or a card game, for which Sam kept notebook scores; this day 36-9 for Sam [MTNJ 3: 475-6].
J.C. Burkholder, Baptist minister, wrote Sam seeking a donation. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Funny little prim Minister who wants church donation” [MTP].
July 6 Friday – Sam 20 and Theo Crane 4 in a contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5) [MTNJ 3: 475].
July 7 Saturday – Franklin B. Dexter for Yale University wrote to Sam enclosing his honorary M.A. degree. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Answer this Yale Secy” [MTP].
Clarence C. Rice wrote to Sam thanking him for the autographed copy of P&P received this evening. Also, would Sam send his atomizer and Rice would “have it put in shape” [MTP].
July 8 Sunday – Ira Bell wrote from Southville, N.Y. asking for $15,000. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Prohibitionist crank” [MTP].
S.A. Heckethorne wrote from Los Angeles to Sam of a “financial proposition” based on an idea he had for publishing houses to realize “a few cool millions.” He wanted Sam’s promise he wouldn’t be “out in the rain” should he disclose his secret [MTP].
Frederick Hall sent Sam two flyers, one a notice for the General Sheridan book — “We are having this published in some of the papers,” and the second a notice to agents from Hubbard Brothers, Phila. — We are having trouble to secure agents on a/c of books of this kind” [MTP].
July 9 Monday – Sam’s notebook check #: 4307 — July 9. Schoenhof, $2.80 [See July 25 entry]. Under this entry for July 9 was dittoed a check #: 4308 for Cowles, secy. 25.00. [MTNJ 3: 392]. Note: James L. Cowles was secretary of a tariff “Reform Club” newly formed in New Haven. See July 1 from Cowles.
Sam 33 and Theo Crane 12 in another contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5) [MTNJ 3: 475].
Ms. E.A. Bazett-Jones wrote from Keokuk to Sam: “Two years ago, I met you on the boat, and afterwards at your brother’s home, and as I shook your hand from the car window when you left Keokuk, I wondered if I should meet you again…” She asked for Sam’s help in building a church in Keokuk [MTP].
Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam (Robinson July enclosed) he finished July 13: things with Ma; questions about the typesetter and what book Sam was working on; congrats from Yale people [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. sent Sam bank balances totals of $2,829.77 with some details of items recently paid [MTP].
July 10 Tuesday
July 11 Wednesday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote Sam:
I ordered 12 Memorandum books of the Plimpton Cy. for you at a cost of $11. This is about as cheap as they can be gotten up & made first class as per your own as sample [MTNJ 3: 390]. Note: Sam’s style of notebook was one he developed. Here the maker was the Plimpton Manufacturing Co., Hartford.
Sam 37 and Theo Crane 11 in another contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5) [MTNJ 3: 475].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam of a “small hitch” in the Sheridan matter — one of the selections Mr. Burlingame (for Scribner’s) made in the MS was unacceptable. The Scribner people were “very persistent” and Hall had to write Sheridan asking him “to telegraph us that under no consideration must we allow the ride to Winchester [segment] to be published.” Other books were touched upon [MTP].
July 12 Thursday – Sam wrote a letter of introduction “To whom it may Concern” for Miss Lilly Gillette Foote, who in 1880 became the Clemens children’s governess. On a separate card Sam wrote that it was a “General letter of introduction for Miss Foote to any known or unknown foreign friends of mine who may have read my books” [MTP]. Note: Though this letter is inscribed and labeled from Hartford, it is not clear whether Sam was actually in Hartford at the time.
July 13 Friday – Probably in Elmira or on the train headed back to Elmira, Sam began a letter to William Kennedy he did not finish until Oct. 31. He may have misplaced it in the meantime, as this was not usual for him to do. The letter is enlightening as to Sam’s thoughts about humor and American humor in particular.
I have a superstition that humor is as much a part of a human being as it is of God himself, who made it, enjoys it, and has exhibited his fondness for it by casting examples and exponents of it in incredible number and infinite variety of form — form whose fantastic animal and vegetable designs relieve with ever-recurring levities the vast gravity of nature, and in whose long procession you find things to charm and content all tastes; the artillery bug and the squid, the insectivorous plant and the jackass, the kitten and the polecat; and along down at the end, among the “citizens in carriages and on foot,” you observe Burdette and the monkey and me.
Sam continued to discuss differences in national humors and why American humor is different —
The more sunshine and the easier the life, the greater the measure of humor will rise to the top.
The thing called American humor is misnamed; it has no patent, it is not peculiar, it is mere human humor, with the pressure lifted off, its chains broken, its spirit set free. Only once, in the world’s history, have we seen a nation enjoying these several things all at the same time: a bright sky, a general freedom from the depressing bread-and-meat cares of life, and every man entitled to hold his head as high as his neighbor’s. The result is the only example in history of human humor not in a state of arrested development [MTP].
Sam 14 and Theo Crane 13 in another contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5) [MTNJ 3: 475].
Charles Ethan Davis wrote of progress on the typesetter (enclosed in Whitmore July 13) [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore (Davis ca. July 13 enclosed) wrote that he’d asked Charles Davis to discuss the progress of the typesetter [MTP].
July 14 Saturday – Sam 30 and Theo Crane 15 in another contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5). There are ten more entries under this contest, dated only July with ditto marks, but no days, then a long column of scores, but none dated till Sept. 5 [MTNJ 3: 475].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. sent Sam a very low bank balances total: $1,422.14. Sam wrote on the envelope:
Observe this. 2 ½ years ago when we hadn’t the slightest use for money, Webster insisted on keeping $100,000 in bank right along, to “keep us strong.” And then he went to work & wasted it, squandered it in every idiotic way he could think of. Behold the result. We need $30,000 to build General Sheridan’s 100,000-copy edition, we’ve got $1500! SLC [MTP].
July 15 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto about bills sent to Chatto and to Dawson & Brothers in Montreal, which Webster & Co. sent (See July 15 to Webster & Co.) Next up was General Phil Sheridan’s book.
I don’t think they’ll send you or Dawson those bills any more; but if they should please forward them to me again. These stupidities make a body long for blood.
Next, we shall be applying to you & Dawson to help us through on Canadian copyright for General Sheridan’s book…. I thought likely you would take Tauchnitz’s offer; & I hoped you would [MTP].
Sam then wrote to Webster & Co. about the bills and other matters. He was most concerned with Sheridan’s book, and thought losing Canadian copyright would cost the firm $30,000 or more. He was glad to receive Arthur Wright’s letter and report and noted the low bank balances, agreeing with the suggestion to borrow if needed. Sam recommended they tell General Miles they were full, that if they couldn’t sell the Custer book, they couldn’t “sell any smaller reputation’s book,” though he would “yield” if they thought otherwise. Sam felt particularly strong about Scribner’s & Sons persistence in asking for “Winchester,” an excerpt from Sheridan’s book.
Their persistence about Winchester is not pleasant; it is about as cheeky as it would be if we were girls and had promised them something — supposing they meant kisses — and they come and try to collect our maidenheads [MTLTP 247-8].
Sam also wrote a two-liner to Rev. John J. McCook (1843-1927) in Niantic Conn. at the time, but from a longtime Hartford family on Main Street. After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford in 1863, McCook was a chaplain in the Union army, a member of the “Fighting McCooks” from Ohio who had fifteen members fight in the Union cause. After the war he became a lawyer and theologian.
That paper is delicious. I do not often find literature that will bear reading twice, but this does [MTP].
Note: This on McCook and family from the Hog River Journal’s website:
“The McCooks led an active, cosmopolitan life. The Reverend John James McCook (as he became) served for 60 years as volunteer rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in East Hartford. He was a member of the Trinity College faculty and was outspoken in public affairs. His indignation over inefficiency in caring for the homeless led to years of work studying the problem and photographing the indigent, an achievement now regarded as seminal in the field. The family, especially John McCook, traveled widely, including a Europe tour in 1874. Many years later, during a nine-month trip around the world (1907-1908) in the company of one of his daughters, John acquired the notable collection of Japanese armor. The McCooks also collected important paintings by artists such as William R. Wheeler and Albert Bierstadt.”
Given McCook’s outspokenness and crusade for the indigent, it’s likely the “delicious” paper took aim at government or officials in some way. Sam naturally related to such jousting.
The Brooklyn Eagle, p.7 noted:
Mark Twain has forced his way by his wit into the ancient literary degree of Master of Arts, which Yale College has recently conferred upon him.
On the back of a blank invoice from Clearfield Bituminous Coal Co., Elmira a handwritten statement of “Int of Platt notes on 5000$ = 72.40 / on 1192.49$ 29.81 total 102.21 ck dated July 15, 1888” [MTP].
July 16 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore about ordering “12 memorandum books when 4 would answer,” (See July 11 from Whitmore) and enclosed a check he’d received from American Publishing Co. Sam wrote on the envelope:
Ask the Am. Pub. To send no more checks to New York; — send them to me. Those people there never seem to know what to do with them. SLC [MTP].
July 17 Tuesday – Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam a summary of affairs at the office: the Scribner matter “still hangs fire.” The Library of Humor was selling poorly. The LAL increased their faith daily. The finances required borrowing for a 25,000 edition of Sheridan’s book. Hall felt they had “passed through the crucial period” [MTP].
July 18 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam answered a 10:30 a.m. telegram from Franklin G. Whitmore:
Shall I put in a remonstrance against moving the electric light now nearly opposite you to a point about one hundred & thirty feet east on Farmington Ave. at the head of Forest St [MTP].
with one of his own:
Yes Protest in my name by all means [MTP].
Louis Pendleton, “a struggling young scribbler” wrote from N.Y. with “designs” on Sam, trying to “stir” Sam’s curiosity about reading his book. On the envelope Sam: “Young author. Wrote him.” [MTP].
July 18 Wednesday, ca. on or after – Sam sent a letter from Frank E. Bliss to Franklin G. Whitmore back to Whitmore with the remark:
Did this check pass through your hands to the bank? I think it did.
Bliss was still making checks payable to “C. L. Webster Atty. or S.L. Clemens” [MTP].
The Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. of Hartford sent a collect telegram to S.L. Clemens, Elmira for 0.78. sender/contents unknown [MTP] See Nov. 1 bill for others during this period.
July 19 Thursday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, enclosing a letter meant for newspaper publication. The letter is a humorous and scathing sort aimed at the city of Hartford for moving an electric lamp and post on Forest Street. A few of the more cutting excerpts:
For fifteen years, in spite of my prayers & tears, you persistently kept a gas lamp exactly half way between my gates, so that I couldn’t find either of them after dark; & then furnished such execrable gas that I had to hang a danger-signal on the lamp-post to keep teams from running into it, nights. Now I suppose your present idea is, to leave us a little more in the dark out our way, so that you can have another light to stick in front of the granite shell of the Catholic Cathedral. Or maybe you want to add it to the Park lights, so that strangers can see the open sewer you maintain there, & so be able to understand why the death-rate of Hartford has sometimes struck 28 in the thousand in the shortest month of the year….
And what curious inspirations you have had sometimes. You changed the course of the river at the bridge beyond my house without giving me any warning, & then left me to defend my land at my own cost from the resulting injury. Also, you turned a sewer into the same shallow little stream at that bridge, to drain a mile of street; & I am not able to imagine any other incredible thing that you wouldn’t do if you thought you detected “economy” in it somewhere. In the summertime that little stream — & also the little Park river down in the middle of town — contain little or nothing but mildly diluted sewage; & this creeping mess bakes & steams & rots in the August sun till it smells like — well, like West Hartford reservoir-water in the spring-time, when the pipes begin to deliver tadpoles & we stay home Sundays to dive for dead eels in our bath-tubs. If I had my way, no city government should ever own stock in the cemeteries. And what is your police department worth, except as a political-machine? For ten years Hartford has been a burglars’ paradise. House-breaking is the most thrifty of all our industries, & the only one which you seem to coddle & protect; the only one which you take a brotherly interest in & don’t try to banish to Bridgeport. …
Don’t mind us — out our way; we possess but one vote apiece, & no rights which you are in any way bound to respect. Please take our lonesome electric light & put it where you please. Put it down town by old Daniel’s dam, where you can count the catch of dead cats & forecast the rise of real estate in the cemeteries. Yours, in indestructible affection, S.L.C., Farmington Ave.
Sam directed to take the letter to the Hartford Courant, and if they wouldn’t print it “without an alteration” or apologizing for it in an editorial, take it to the Hartford Times; and if that failed, take it to William Mackay Laffan and ask to print it in the New York Sun, complaining he couldn’t get a hearing in Hartford [MTP]. Sam’s “bill of complaints was not published” [MTNJ 3: 404].
July 20 Friday –Inscribed book sent to Sam: George W. Altemus’ Our Stories, by the School Children of the State of New Jersey (1888): Mark Twain: Best Wishes of Geo. W. Altemus, Jr. 7/20/88 [Gribben 520].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam of a somewhat improved bank balances total: $2,656.76 [MTP].
July 21 Saturday
July 22 Sunday
July 23 Monday
July 24 Tuesday – K.A. Jones wrote from Halifax, Nova Scotia asking Sam to “honor…with a contribution from your pen” a piece for the School of Art & Design’s “World fair.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “No, I won’t” [MTP].
R.B. Westbrook wrote from Pascoag, R.I. to Sam, having rec’d his letter addressed to him at Phila. “I have just written the G.B Lippincotte Company of Philadelphia to send you by mail on my account, one copy of Girard’s Will and Girard College Theology [MTP].
July 25 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam wrote a one-liner to Franklin G. Whitmore he wished copied and sent to William J. Bok, 23 Park Row, New York.
No — no, I would not consent to that [MTP].
Sam also ordered from Carl Schoenhof, Boston book importer, several volumes of the Collection Schick: Novellen, Humoresken and Skizzen in 23 vols. (Chicago: Louis Schick, 1884-8), a paperback German anthology, as well as Deutsche Grammatik fur Amerikaner, by Carla Wenckebach and Josepha Schrakamp (1887) [MTNJ 3: 391] Note: the letter for this order was not found (see July 28 from Schoenhof).
Sam’s notebook: [Chk #] 4310 Carl Schoenhof, July 25. books, $3.20 [3: 477]. Note: A Boston book importer and publisher (see July 28).
July 26 Thursday – Jean Clemens’ eighth birthday. Livy inscribed Robert Niedergesass’ book (in German) Kinderstubengeschichten (1887) [Gribben 508].
July 27 Friday – Andrew Chatto wrote to Sam, encouraging his “experiment” of dictating CY to a phonograph.
I hope you will soon tell the story of Smith of Camelot to Edisons phonograph & let us have it [MTNJ 3: 386n292].
July 28 Saturday – Carl Schoenhof, Boston book importer, wrote a postcard to Sam that his order of July 25 “has reached me and will be attended to in a few days” [MTNJ 3: 391n313]. Sam wrote on the card, “Hasn’t come yet (Sept. 23)” [MTP]. (See Sept. 23.)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam of yesterday’s receipt of his monthly check for $155. “Ma took a fancy for a $4.50 rocking chair, and I got it for her, yesterday. I had casters (4) put on. She can keep up with it. She can roll it around the room easily. She is much pleased” [MTP].
July 29 Sunday
July 30 Monday – Sam canceled an order for two phonographs with the North American Phonograph Co., a competitor of Edison; the company was unable to fill the order. It was not until 1891 that Sam would use a phonograph to dictate a book, The American Claimant, though ultimately he was not happy with the results [MTNJ 3: 386n292; MTHL 2: 641].
Sam enclosed the original of his letter to the N. Am. Phonograph Co. in a note to Franklin G. Whitmore, to send it on and “keep an exact copy where you can put your hand on it any moment” [MTP].
July 31 Tuesday – Herbert S. Philbrick, a boy from Liberty, Maine, wrote to “Huck”:
I like your book and you and Tom Sawyer and Jim. I think you are very plucky and know how to get out of scrapes awful well. I should like to know if you have ever heard any thing of the king and the duke since they were riding by (fence) rail…I wish you would write another book and tell us if Aunt Sally ‘civilized’ you. How old are you? I am thirteen [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (Beecher to Webster & Co. July 30 enclosed): The Beecher matter; the Scribner impasse; a note from Peale & Co. (agents); sales “slacked up a good deal” on the Sheridan book [MTP].
August – John J. Astorhouse for Phoenix National Bank sent Sam a draft for “nineteen cents & one mill.” No letter or explanation is in the file [MTP].
August early, before 7th – In Elmira Sam wrote to Brown & Gross, Hartford booksellers, inserting a prospectus for James Elliot Cabot’s A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson (1887), asking them to get him the book [MTP]. Note: On Aug. 7 Livy wrote to Grace King that she was reading this work, so that Sam’s undated note to Brown & Gross had to be prior by at least a few days [Gribben 124].
August 1 Wednesday – “Genius and Talent” ran in Fortnightly Review, p.240-55. Brief reference to Mark Twain as a leader among the Western American humorists, approached only by Artemus Ward, Josh Billings, and Orpheus Kerr [Tenney 16].
H.E. Patten, Dye and Carpet Beating Works, Hartford billed $8.31: June 15, 19, 20 single & double blankets & cleaning; gloves; Paid Aug. 10 [MTP].
August 2 Thursday – Sylvester Bissell, Hartford builder, wrote to Sam that “Your cows got in my garden last night and made havoc of my early corn.” Whitmore wrote on the note that he’d paid Bissell $3 “on the spot” [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. sent Sam bank balances totaling $2,071.38 [MTP].
August 3 Friday – Sam’s notebook:
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam c/o Theo. Crane. The Scribner matter about use of Sheridan’s excerpts was settled; they waived their rights to a second article upon payment of $600 cash [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he had this day paid James W. Paige and Charles Davis $2,048.19 for July expenses [MTP].
#] 4311, Dr. C C Rice, Aug. 3,
TW Crane ditto, $100 (4312) [3: 477].
Note: Dr. Clarence C. Rice, for doctoring Sam, Livy and Susy [n241].
August 4 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Louis Pendleton, a young unknown Georgia writer who had sent him a true story for his opinion.
MY DEAR SIR, — I found your letter an hour ago among some others which had lain forgotten a couple of weeks, and I at once stole time enough to read Ariadne. Stole is the right word, for the summer “Vacation” is the only chance I get for work; so, no minute subtracted from work is borrowed, it is stolen. But this time I do not repent. As a rule, people don’t send me books which I can thank them for, and so I say nothing — which looks uncourteous. But I thank you. Ariadne is a beautiful and satisfying story; and true, too — which is the best part of a story; or indeed of any other thing. Even liars have to admit that, if they are intelligent liars; I mean in their private [the word conscientious written but erased] intervals. (I struck that word out because a man’s private thought can never be a lie; what he thinks, is to him the truth, always; what he speaks — but these be platitudes.)
If you want me to pick some flaws — very well — but I do it unwillingly. I notice one thing — which one may notice also in my books, and in all books whether written by man or God: trifling carelessness of statement or Expression. If I think that you meant that she took the lizard from the water which she had drawn from the well, it is evidence — it is almost proof — that your words were not as clear as they should have been. True, it is only a trifling thing; but so is mist on a mirror. I would have hung the pail on Ariadne’s arm. You did not deceive me when you said that she carried it under her arm, for I knew she didn’t; still it was not your right to mar my enjoyment of the graceful picture. If the pail had been a portfolio, I wouldn’t be making these remarks. The engraver of a fine picture revises, and revises, and revises — and then revises, and revises, and revises; and then repeats. And always the charm of that picture grows, under his hand. It was good enough before — told its story, and was beautiful. True: and a lovely girl is lovely, with freckles; but she isn’t at her level best with them.
This is not hypercriticism; you have had training enough to know that.
So much concerning exactness of statement. In that other not-small matter — selection of the exact single word — you are hard to catch. Still, I should hold that Mrs. Walker considered that there was no occasion for concealment; that “motive” implied a deeper mental search than she expended on the matter; that it doesn’t reflect the attitude of her mind with precision. Is this hypercriticism? I shan’t dispute it. I only say, that if Mrs. Walker didn’t go so far as to have a motive, I had to suggest that when a word is so near the right one that a body can’t quite tell whether it is or isn’t, it’s good politics to strike it out and go for the Thesaurus. That’s all. Motive may stand; but you have allowed a snake to scream, and I will not concede that that was the best word.
I do not apologize for saying these things, for they are not said in the speck-hunting spirit, but in the spirit of want-to-help-if-I-can. They would be useful to me if said to me once a month, they may be useful to you, said once.
I save the other stories for my real vacation — which is nine months long, to my sorrow. I thank you again. / Truly Yours / S. L. CLEMENS [MTLP 497].
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, but only the envelope survives [MTP].
The Plimpton Manufacturing Co., Book and Job printing, Hartford, billed $11 for “12 Special Memo Books”; Paid Aug. 10 [MTP]. Note: these were made to Sam’s specifications.
August 5 Sunday – Philip H. Sheridan died. He was only five feet five inches, which gave him the nickname, “Little Phil,” though through high living he did not stay little. Thin as a youth, he blossomed to over 200 lbs. after the war, and suffered from a series of heart attacks, the final one claiming him this day. His burial at Arlington, the ceremony there helped to shape the reputation of Arlington Cemetery as a national place of honor.
In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore that he’d received his last letter. More funds were needed for the Paige typesetter, which still wasn’t finished. Sam authorized Whitmore to “look over our small batch of securities, and either “spout them” or borrow on them “for the eternal machine.”
Is there any — even a dim — prospect that the machine will be finished this year? [MTP].
August 6 Monday – Louis Pendleton, young Philadelphia writer wrote thanking Sam for his letter of Aug. 4. “It makes me feel that my literary venture has not been a failure after all.” [MTP]. A “Screaming snake” — sam objected to Pendleton’s use of the term in his piece.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam explaining the delay in issuing Sheridan’s book. Sam wrote, “Sheridan dead” on the envelope [MTP].
August 7 Tuesday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d deposited the Am. Pub. Co.’s check for Sam’s royalties with Bissell’s Bank. Sept. 22 was the deadline for paying Pratt & Whitney; Charles Davis couldn’t say just when the typesetter would be finished [MTP].
J.O. Ashenhurst wrote to Sam (enclosed in Webster & Co. Sept 18) [MTP].
August 8 Wednesday – The New York Times, p 4 ran a notice to the editor from Charles L. Webster & Co., dated Aug. 7.
To the Editor of the New-York Times:
In your valuable paper of the 7th you state that the Sheridan memoirs will probably be published in September. The memoirs are now being sold through subscription canvassing agents, who exhibit selections from them by means of a prospectus, but the actual date of publication is fixed for Dec. 1, such date having been agreed upon with Gen. Sheridan some time before his death. We desire to have this definite statement appear, as parties are offering to the public as the work of Gen. Sheridan spurious books, cheaply prepared, and of no value. In many cases the fraud is not detected. The profit to these people is perhaps not very great, but serious injury is caused to the sale of the memoirs and Gen. Sheridan’s children deprived, in a measure, of their means of support. CHARLES L. WEBSTER & CO.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. We are very glad you approve of what we have done so far. We note what you say about the title-page, and will speak to Colonel Sheridan about it. Duplicate sets of plates are being made for the Canadian edition. We have written Chatto, as you suggested.” Hall was planning on making the trip to register in Canada for copyright there; the above Times notice was enclosed [MTP].
August 9 Thursday
August 10 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to John White Alexander (1856-1915), artist and one-time illustrator for Harper’s Weekly. Although little-known today, he once ranked as a premier American painter of women, portraying leisure class women in interior settings. During his career he was a member of both the Munich and Vienna Secession, associated with Art Noveau style. He would move to Paris in 1889 for three years, where he began to work with the Symbolists as well as painting portraits of literary greats like Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Joseph Jefferson, Parker Godwin, John Burroughs, Alphonse Daudet, Auguste Rodin, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, and Robert Louis Stevenson [New York Times, June 2, 1915 p.13]. See also “Art and the Feminine Muse: Women in Interiors by John White Alexander” by Julie Anne Springer, Woman’s Art Journal, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Autumn, 1985 – Winter, 1986), p.1-8.
I am with you in the sense of relief, & satisfaction in it. We could have defied those people, no doubt, but to do it would have been questionable wisdom, as long as they wanted to compromise.
I enclose the required detail, & pronounce it authentic [MTP]. Note: The subject of this letter was not discovered.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, advising that since no money would be coming in from Sheridan’s book (he thought they’d publish it in Sept., so evidently had not seen the notice Webster & Co. put in the N.Y. Times about publishing Dec. 1) so advised Whitmore to borrow against securities, specifically St. Paul Roller Mills, and Medlicott.
b’George, I wonder if the machine is really going to be finished some time or other, after all [MTP].
August 11 Saturday – Mary C. MacDonald wrote to Richard M. Johnston of the Century Co., who passed it on to Sam — her point is as unclear as her handwriting, but she was soliciting her artwork [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co.: Bank balances total: $2,244.13 [MTP].
August 12 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote to the three editors of the Century Magazine: Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence C. Buel, addressing it to “whichever Hellion is in command.” Evidently Mary Duncan had been pestering him about her manuscript and Sam claimed he’d written her “about thirty-five times” about the needs of an “honest autobiography or journal of an intelligent slave girl.” (See also Aug. 14.)
I have told her that there is not enough of the MS by a good deal more than a damsight for a subscription book, & so I cannot use it; & have cursed her & told her that if she would send the dam thing to you for inspection it would be as safe as in the hands of Providence. But it don’t do no good, goddammer. Now will you? [MTP]. Note: Sam made such an offer to perhaps benefit Mary Duncan, a poor, sick Tennessee woman.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore; only the envelope survives, postmarked this date [MTP].
August 13 Monday – Sam wrote check # 4313 to Theodore Crane for $30, likely part payment for summer expenses. For some reason he entered this in his notebook in May 1889.
August 14 Tuesday – Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine wrote Sam, asking to use segments of Gen. Sheridan’s Personal Memoirs in the book version of the Century’s “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” series. In turn, Johnson offered to consider “autobiography of a slave” which had been offered to Sam by Mary Duncan, a poor sick Tennessee woman [MTNJ 3: 387n296]. (See also Aug. 12 and 24 for at least two propositions Sam made for the Sheridan excerpt.)
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: his letter was “at hand and contents noted.” Enclosed a draft of a letter to Lathrop (not in file) to “let him down as easily as possible.” Credit had been established at the Mt. Morris Bank for up to $30,000, with Daniel Whitford’s help. A draft for $5,000 required Sam’s signature, as the bank required “to have two-name paper” [MTP].
W.H. Whelan wrote from S.F. on O’Brien & Co. (dry goods) stationery. Having tramped all over the country with his “pen for a bank,” he proposed writing a book on the various folk ways he’d seen [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam: “Yours received. I have made no inquiries as yet concerning the tax values of the different properties you mentioned…this morning but will do so.” Sam’s stock values were listed; the typesetter was scheduled to be completed within one month [MTP].
August 15 Wednesday – Grace E. King wrote to Sam: “What a pleasure your letter gave me!” [MTP]. Note: unfortunately, reading Grace’s handwriting is not a pleasure.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that the U.S. Bank directors “are disposed to let you have the money $15,000, but the president, Mr Enders has asked me if you had some collaterals that are a little more available.” Whitmore discussed the value and dividends of Sam’s various stocks; and also asked if he could raise the $3,000 needed for the machine’s expenses for the first of September [MTP]. Note: Thomas O. Enders, bank president.
August 16 Thursday
August 17 Friday
August 18 Saturday
August 19 Sunday – Olivia Lewis Langdon’s 78th birthday. Sam and Livy left a calling card (probably with their gift), and Jean Clemens inscribed Mark Twain’s Library of Humor: To / Grandmamma / with the love / of / Jean Clemens / 19th August 1888. [MTP]. Likely other gifts from Clara and Susy did not involve writing or were lost.
August 20 Monday – Sam wrote to Joseph Hall for Hartford Public High School ostensibly to ask if one of his daughters might take two languages at the same time. His letter not extant but is referred to in Joseph Hall’s Aug. 24 response [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: [Chk #] 4317 Aug 20 Twichell, $135 [3: 477].
Mary C. MacDonald wrote a longish letter from Arch Spring, Penn. for Sam’s help [MTP].
Carl Schoenhof sent a postcard from Boston that he did not have the original edition of a book (illegible title) in stock, nor could it be found in all the bookstores in N.Y. He had ordered a copy from Germany [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he was “obliged to see a good many people and get the best price I can for the different stocks.” He told of offers received so far on each [MTP].
August 21 Tuesday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that “business has picked up marvelously. We shall be surprised if we do not sell considerable oer 100,000 sets of the Sheridan” [MTP].
Dr. Clarence C. Rice, N.Y., receipted $105: “115 E. 18th St; for professional services rendered; Mrs Clemens 40; Mr Clemens 30; Miss Susie 35” [MTP] Note: unusual office hours 9 a.m. till noon & 5 p.m till 6 p.m. This allowed for 18 holes in the afternoon.
August 22 Wednesday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote Sam of progress selling his stocks and bonds. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Yes, it is all right” [MTP].
August 23 Thursday
August 24 Friday – In Elmira Livy and Sam wrote a short letter to Mrs. David Billings of Elmira, with Sam inserting and finishing her first sentence and she finishing his next to last. Livy thought there was a similarity between the two handwritings [MTP]. Note: The envelope was marked “Mrs. Daniel Billings.”
Sam also wrote to Richard Watson Gilder.
If you still harbor the due & proper sense of obligation to me for discovering Kemble for you, suppose you just pay up by hiring Miss Mary C. MacDonald for a few months to do general utility work for you in her line of art, on a salary not heavy buy of size fair for one who is on trial. I have not answered Johnson’s letter yet, but you can tell him that if he & Hall have not reached an agreement here is his opportunity: make me this trial of this artist, & he shall have that chapter out of General Sheridan’s book…[MTP]. Note: Sam was willing to forego his share of the profit on a sale of the excerpt.
Sam’s notebook: [Chk #] 4318, Aug. 24 MacDonald $30 [3: 477]. Note: “Mary C. MacDonald, a struggling artist whose career Clemens had tried to advance” [n241]. (See p.387, note 296 in MTNJ 3.)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that the N.Y. Mutual Life Ins. Co.had paid Mollie $1,075.51 on an endowment policy he bought 20 years before. He also had stock in the Keokuk Loan and Building Assoc.; he could borrow $1,700 on to build a larger room with a water closet. If they didn’t build on they would move to a better house and would decide within a week. Ma was still delusional [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. Glad to know that you approve of our plan. We now have 25,000 sets of the book under way [Sheridan], and 25,000 more printing. Mr. Peale, of Chicago, was just in here, and we asked him what he thought a reasonable estimate for the sale of the book. He is a rather conservative man, but said he was certain it would exceed 100,000 sets” [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote Sam the bank balances total: $2,807.88 [MTP].
Joseph Hall for Hartford Public High School replied to Sam’s Aug. 20 inquiry that “while we do not allow beginners to take two languages,” he saw no reason why Sam’s daughter could not “take Latin, French, and Algebra next term,” since she’d already had some Latin [MTP].
H.B.G. Starkweather, a 21 year old from Brownville, N.Y. wrote to Sam asking for “a few points” that would aid him in his desire to become an elocutionist and lecturer [MTP].
August 25 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, responding to his letter of Aug. 22. One particular stock had been in the hands of Henry C. Robinson, who had procured it for Sam originally. Sam directed Whitmore to sell the rest. He planned to go to Chicago for the Sept. 19-20 annual reunion of the Army of the Cumberland, and wrote that in his “16 working-days left” he hoped to add “another 120,000 words to” CY. He also hoped to have the book finished by the end of October and publish it a year later [MTP]. Note: Sam’s plans were not to be realized.
August 26 Sunday
August 27 Monday – Sam wrote to Orion Clemens evidently suggesting they wait to build on to the house. Sam’s letter is not extant but referred to in Orion’s Aug. 31 response [MTP].
August 28 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote a one-liner to Franklin G. Whitmore asking him to send “3 boxes of cigars” [MTP]. Evidently, Sam preferred cigars from Hartford.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d deposited $4,100 into the US Bank for him on the sale of 100 shares of Medlicott [MTP].
August 29 Wednesday – Mary C. MacDonald wrote to Sam with her heart full of thanks for his letter; she would write to Mr. Riley at once and to the Century Co. and send them his letter [MTP]. Note: Mary had written several times seeking aid in placing her art.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d sold 100 shares Am. Bank Note Co. and altogether had raised $8,065.50; remaining to be sold, 100 shares ea. Of St. Paul Roller Mill, Crown Point, Burr Index [MTP].
August 30 Thursday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore:
Put no more into motor now [MTP].
Note: This was the justifying motor Paige had been developing for the typesetter.
Envelope only survives from a letter to Orion Clemens [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam thanking for the montly $155 check. Ma was sick and having strange dreams; doctor called twice. “We are anxious to hear about the machine” [MTP].
August 31 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, “Your very kind leter of the 27th received. We will postpone building in accordance with your suggestion.” Since the typesetter must be causing great anxiety, Orion volunteered “a week or two of investigation.” Ma had rallied and actually walked five blocks yesterday evening; she was “losing” things in her room and asked for locks to bar thieves [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (clipping enclosed). “First, the general outlook of the business continues well and grows more favorable every day; Cox, Custer and your book continue to pick up,” though the LAL was “going slowly now,” due to the canvassers taking up the Sheridan book. Hall enclosed clippings from the N.Y. World and the N.Y. Commercial Advertiser announcing Sheridan’s memoirs [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. sent Sam bank balance report totaling: $1,793.84 [MTP].
August late or September early – Baroness Alexandra Gripenberg wrote to Sam asking for a letter of introduction to the Century magazine, so she might give a personal interview on her work before leaving the country [Moyne 373]. See Sept. 15 entry for Sam’s reply.
September – Sam referred to Blackstone’s Commentaries in his notebook:
Book 4, ch 27, Blackstone. Read it.
The chapter was “Of Trials and Convictions” which deals with ways of determining guilt and innocence [MTNJ 3: 423&n51; Gribben 73].
September 1 Saturday – Sam’s notebook:
“Why, Jean what have you got on such thin clothes for?”
“Mamma, I saw the sun signed (signified) a hot day.”
Sept 1/88 [3: 420].
Also, check numbers:
4314 Geo. Elmendorf Sept. 1 $48.75
4319 Patrick [McAleer], Sept. 1 $100
4320 John Sept 1 $120 [3: 477].
Park & Tilford, N.Y. Grocers, billed $1.35 for “Aug 16 1 doz. Bohemian Beer”; Paid Sept. 15.
Robbins Brothers, Manufacturers and Dealers in Furniture of Every Description, Hartford, billed $2 for “Aug 21 Repg carved chair”; Paid Oct 4 [MTP].
September 2 Sunday
September 3 Monday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d received his letter with three signed checks but the monthly statement from Paige had not yet come. A bid for Burr Index stock was too low [MTP].
September 4 Tuesday – Chatto & Windus wrote to Sam enclosing account of sales for the year ending July 1. The Library of American Humor had not sold well; drafts enclosed for “6 and 7 months for £300 and £270” [MTP].
Henry Dalby for Montreal Daily & Weekly Star wrote to Sam asking for a short or a long contribution for their Christmas issue, “of course at your own price” [MTP].
Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote Sam that he’d received Sam’s letter about Miss MacDonald and her work was “at hand, I thank you heartily for it” [MTP].
September 5 Wednesday – Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine wrote Sam: “We accept your proposition and I will write details to-morrow” [MTNJ 3: 387n296]. See Aug 24 to Johnson.
In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. Some stocks, evidently, he wrote, were not salable but he was expecting to see what he might get from a sale of Clear Creek securities.
How much money shall we want, to square up with P&W [Pratt & Whitney] if they finish Sept 24? [MTP].
Sam 25 and Theo Crane 15 in another contest, probably cribbage or cards (see July 5). Note: there are nine entries after July 14 dated only with ditto marks for “July”; then 22 more score entries; then an entry dated Sept. 5, the last day before Crane’s stroke. The two men thus played the game nearly every day throughout the summer stay [MTNJ 3: 475].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam about the Century using part of Sheridan’s memoirs [MTP].
September 6 Thursday – At Quarry Farm, Theodore Crane suffered a stroke and was partially paralyzed [Budd, Collected 1: 980; other sources give only month]. He would suffer many ups and downs, treatments in New York and visits to Hartford for the next ten months until his death on July 3, 1889. His condition would greatly affect the Clemens family.
Sam wrote to Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine:
Oh, hang it, I’ve got to withdraw that guaranty of mine, now that Col. Sheridan objects, as Mr. Hall writes me.
Sam was still planning to go to Chicago for the Sept. 19-20 Army reunion banquet [MTP].
He also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore asking if Pratt & Whitney would be done with their work on the Paige typesetter by the assigned date (Sept. 24). How much money did Sam need to have in the bank by then?
I have an offer for all of the Beech stock which I am tempted to take [MTP]. Note: low income from Webster & Co. forced Sam to sell securities in order to finance the typesetter (See Sept. 7.)
Charles J. Langdon wrote from N.Y. on Gilsey House stationery to Sam, that he’d sold ten bonds for him at 83% net. He would credit Livy’s account some $8,300 [MTP].
John B. Marsh of Elmira billed $21.70: “Miss Susy Clemens July 2 for Burrowes Thor. Bass Primer .50; music paper .20 Sept 6 14/20 of term instruction 21.00 recd pmt” [MTP].
September 7 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore that he’d sold the Beech Creek bonds for $8,300 and that he was offered $4,000 for the same company’s stock, “& may possibly take it.”Sam felt that was all the selling they needed for the time being [MTP]. Note: this and his Sept. 6 note to Whitmore show he sold the bonds on either day. He would send the check for the sale on Sept. 10.
Sam was receipted for “1 Copy of Geer’s no. 51, July, 1888 Hartford City Directory, $3.00” [Gribben cites MTP 254].
Robert Underwood Johnson for Century Magazine wrote to Sam: “Why do you not labor with Col. Sheridan? You know that the Cook isn’t going to be inspired and you can convince him. Yours, greatly disappointed” [MTP].
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam that whether Sam accepted Mr. Kelly’s offer for Preferred & Common B.C. stock depended on how bad he needed money. Yes, it was low [MTP].
Arthur G. Stedman for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, enclosing a copy of The Epoch, which reviewed the LAL. Arthur’s father was in Norwich, Conn., resting after a near breakdown [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam the total paid to Paige for Aug. expenses, $1,526.93. Mr. Brainard had purchased Sam’s Burr Index Co. stock — deposited $1,487.50. The Crown Point stock he could not unload; The St. Paul Roller Mill stock would be difficult [MTP].
H.E. Patten, Dye and Carpet Beating Works, Hartford, receipted $3.87 for “Aug 14 Laying 3 carpets”
Hartford Printing Co. publishers of Geer’s City Directory receipted $3: for one copy of no. 51 July, 1888 Hartford city Directory; for 1 page advertisement in” same [MTP].
September 8 Saturday – Sam’s notebook records progress in operating the Paige Typesetter for Fred Whitmore, son of Franklin G. Whitmore: “he set 11,200 in 1 hour” (see Apr. 9, 1888 entry).
The New York Times, p.3 “Army of the Cumberland” ran a short article announcing that Mark Twain would be one of the guests at the banquet in the Grand Pacific Hotel, Chicago, on Sept. 20. A family emergency would prevent Sam from attending.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam about local issues, prohibition, trade, taxes, Maggie Creel marrying “one of the ugliest men you ever saw,” Ma hunting for Aunt Ann, and her complaints of her things being stolen, and all of Mollie’s physical ailments and complaints [MTP]. Note: Orion’s letters were usually potpourri.
September 9 Sunday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that his letter had arrived too late to prevent the sale of more Burr Index Co. stock. “The machine is coming to a close” [MTP].
September 10 Monday – In Elmira Sam sent a one-liner with a PS to Franklin G. Whitmore, enclosing a check for $8,300 and directing Whitmore to “Keep a daily eye on” the typesetter [MTP].
Webster & Co. per Arthur H. Wright wrote to Sam: bank balances total, $1,855.22 [MTP].
H.E. Patten, Dye and Carpet Beating Works, Hartford, billed $2.37 for “laying 2 carpets”; paid Oct 10 [MTP].
September 11 Tuesday – Sometime during the day Sam gave a reading (unknown) at the Elmira Reformatory [Fatout, MT Speaking 658; MTNJ 3: 418n44]. Note: the first Notebook entry shows the Reformatory reading was planned for Sept. 12.
In the evening Sam gave a Browning reading in a “private house to 130 people, the ladies in the majority.” On the next day (Sept. 12) he wrote a lengthy entry in his notebook about readings, ladies vs. gentlemen and the Reformatory reading:
Have made speeches several times at banquets where half were ladies. / Have read & lectured a good many times at matines, where of course ladies were largely in the majority.
In all such cases, failure may be counted upon. In fact, hardly anything can prevent it but a carefully organized claque. Not a half-hearted claque, but a brave one — a claque which will not allow itself to be discouraged.
For several reasons. To begin with, ladies are cowards about expressing their feelings before folk; men become cowards in the presence of ladies. Here then, is what you are to expect: Your first piece goes well — the men forget themselves & applaud. Consequently you go at your second piece with good heart & do it well. This time the applause has an undecided flavor about it: the men have not reasoned that it was the ladies who failed to support them when they applauded before, they have merely noticed that the support was lacking. After that, they are afraid, & a dead silence follows the third reading. You are as exactly equipped now for the fourth piece as if a bucket of cold water had been poured over you. If you are wise, you will now tear your audience all to pieces with a roaring anecdote; then say you are smitten with a killing headache & dismiss them; for no man can read or talk against unresponsiveness. If you try to go on, you will earn unresponsiveness, for you will do your work so poorly as to make unresponsiveness your only just reward.
And so one should make the following his rule, & never depart from it: If ladies are to be present, and a brave, instructed, & well organized claque of a dozen men, all right; if ladies are to be present, & no organized claque, decline with thanks.
The Elmira Reformatory contains 850 convicts, who are there for all manner of crimes. People go there & lecture, read, or make speeches, & come away surprised & delighted. They can’t understand it. They have astonished themselves by the excellence of their own performance. They cannot remember to have ever done so well before. Afterward, they always say that for a splendid audience give them a houseful of convicts, it’s the best audience in the world. They puzzle & puzzle over it & are not able to get away from the apparently established fact that an audience of convicts is the most intelligent & appreciative in the world. Which is all a mistake. The whole secret lies in the absence of ladies. Any 850 men would be just as inspiring, where no dampening female person was in sight, with her heart full of emotion & her determined repression choking it down & keeping the signs of it from showing on the outside. There is more inspiration in an audience of male corpses than in a packed multitude of the livest & brightest women that ever walked [420-22].
E.W. Johnson, “a stranger to you” wrote asking if Sam would “condescend to write me a short drama of a political character — something complimentary to the Republican party and at the expense of the Democrat party?” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Splendid” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (N.Y. Tribune clipping enclosed about the preface of Sheridan’s memoirs). Growing excitement about the election was claimed by agents as an obstacle to sales [MTP].
September 12 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Grace King, thanking her for a “carrot” of the celebrated perique tobacco of Louisiana which her brother had secured from a plantation in Natchitoches:
There is power in that tobacco; it makes the article which I usually smoke seem mighty characterless. I am a robust smoker, & equal to a hundred pipefuls of the ordinary thing in a hundred consecutive quarter-hours; but a single pipeful of this masculine persuader makes me want to go & curl up & take a rest — & I do it. Of course I could modify its enthusiasm by mixing it with the baser sort, but that would be to modify champagne with beer, & no truly righteous person would do that.
Sam added he was glad she was coming for a visit in October [MTP; Salsbury 251-2].
Sam also wrote a letter to George W. Smith that he wound up telegraphing or sending with a telegram on Sept. 14. The letter expressed regret at not having written sooner (about the Chicago reunion banquet and his announced presence and toast),
…we have been watching a case of illness in our household, & so I forgot…I have chosen “The American Press” for my toast…if it is humanely possible, I beg for second place after the Chairman, on the program, I am used to early hours and do not feel brisk after 9 [MTP]. See Sept 14 for telegram canceling due to Theodore Crane’s stroke and illness.
September 13 Thursday – In Elmira even though Theodore Crane had been ill, Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore that he planned to leave on Sept. 18 for the Sept. 20 banquet in Chicago and be back in Elmira on Sept. 22, which he noted was also the date for the payment due to Pratt & Whitney for their work on the Paige typesetter. The other matters he wrote of were misc. bills and his $700 balance still at Bissell’s bank [MTP]. Note: Sam also wanted to see his mother on the trip, but this late schedule was likely caused by delay from Theodore Crane’s illness. (See Sept. 16 to Orion.)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Ed Brownell says the papers say you are to be at the encampment for the army of the Cumberland next Wednesday. I hope you will run down and spend a day with us at least.” [MTP].
September 14 Friday – In Elmira Sam was forced to cancel his appearance at the Chicago banquet. He telegraphed George W. Smith and also sent the letter he’d written on Sept. 12 [MTP]. Fifty-seven year old Theodore Crane had been ill since Sept. 5 [Sept. 15 to Pamela Moffett], and sometime during that period suffered a stroke. A diabetic, Crane was paralyzed on one side [Sept. 16 to Orion]. His survival was in question, but he did not die until July 3, 1889.
Sam wrote to Webster & Co., letter not extant but referred to in their Sept. 17 letter. Evidently Sam requested they put Orion and Pamela Moffett on the “free list” [MTP].
September 15 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Baroness Alexandra Gripenberg:
The “Century” folk & I are in a state of armed neutrality just now, & I might do you but small good if I sent you to them; but Mrs. Clemens suggests an introduction to Mr. Alden, editor of “Harper’s Magazine,” & the idea strikes me as being good — & in fact there is no choice between the two magazines, since they stand equally high; so I enclose a note to Alden [Moyne 373].
Sam also mentioned attending Theodore Crane, who had been partially paralyzed, and gave this as the reason for his delay in answering [Moyne 373n12].
Sam also spoke of Crane in a letter to his sister, Pamela Moffett. He’d ordered Webster & Co. to put her and Orion on the “free list” to get books when issued. He passed on Livy’s request that Samuel Moffett let her know when he and his new wife came to New York so they might visit.
I must jump & run, now, for it is my turn at the sick-bed — Theodore Crane’s, who has been seriously ill for ten days, but is now mending slowly. With the love of all of us to all of you. Sam.
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. reported a bank balances total of $1,767.99 [MTP].
September 16 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Orion Clemens, explaining his changed plans, which originally included five days spent with the family in Keokuk; ultimately he had to cancel the trip.
Of course I could not leave Sue & Livy to take care of him by themselves on this remote hilltop; so I telegraphed Chicago & canceled my engagement.
Give my love to Ma & Mollie & express my disappointment, which is very great.
Livy & the children were to have started home day after tomorrow; but that is all put aside. There is now no prospect of starting soon. We make no calculations at all, except to stay here just as long as may be necessary, no matter how long it is [MTP].
September 17 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto, having received his notes and statement for his English royalties. He was mistaken about the Library of Humor being popular in England, he wrote. “I shan’t meddle any more in that direction.” As for CY, Sam wrote he got a late start on it in Elmira and would try to finish the last third of it by spring [MTP].
Sam also wrote two notes to Franklin G. Whitmore — the first that they might “possibly start home about a week hence.” The main subject of the first note was to encourage Whitmore to have the Paige typesetter insured for $150,000. The second letter sent Chatto’s notes of payments for collection at Bissell’s bank. [MTP]. Sam’s notebook lists these notes as,
Sept. 17 ’88. Sent Chatto’s notes to Bissell, due 27th Feb & 27th March ’89 for £300 & £270.12.2 [MTNJ 3: 423].
Sarah Knowles Bolton wrote from Cleveland, Ohio asking Sam what the usual price paid authors for subscription books. She enclosed flyers on her books and an election flyer for Mr. C.E. Bolton, Republican candidate for the 21st Congressional District [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam they’d received his letter of Sept. 14 and had put Orion and Pamela Moffett on the “free list.” They were “constantly getting letters from Mr. Daggett” as to when the Hawaii Legends book would be issued. He suggested they print 100 to quiet him [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam: “Yours of the 13th inst. rec’d….I slip in every morning at P&W & watch the finishing touches (if they are?) to the machine” [MTP].
George W. Smith for Smith & Pence Law Offices, Chicago wrote that he’d received Sam’s note and message. Smith regretted Sam would not attend and hoped the family sickness would improve [MTP].
September 18 Tuesday – Webster & Co. Sent Sam two letters, from and to a Mr. J.O. Ashenhurst, who wrote like an old school buddy from Cairo, Egypt. “Some unknown friend” Sam noted [MTP].
Park & Tilford, N.Y. Grocers billed & receipted $6.05 for: Oolong 5.40 ; misc charges .25, .40 COD [MTP] Note: the extra charges reflect shipment to Elmira.
September 19 Wednesday – In Elmira Sam wrote a short note to Orion. He’d sent some woman $100 not knowing who she was — perhaps someone Orion knew. Note: see below & also Sept. 26 — this was Ella Trabue Smith, Sam’s second cousin.
Theodore is doing fairly, but not more than that. Sue is rather discouraged today [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: [Chk #] 4315, Sep.19 $100 Mrs.Ellen [Ella] Trabue Smith [3: 477]. (See Sept. 26)
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam of the impracticality of insuring the typesetter for $150,000, doubting any company would do it [MTP].
September 20 Thursday – In Elmira Sam answered Sarah Knowles Bolton’s letter of Sept. 17, saying that subscription books received “various kinds” of royalties, but “not often 10%. Five per cent is good enough” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore sending some sort of typesetter statistics, and liked Whitmore’s suggestion to make one Rogers a watchman for the Paige machine. He advised,
The family will spend from next Monday night till perhaps the following Friday, at the Murray Hill hotel, en route for home [MTP]. Note: dates in N.Y. would then be Sept. 24-28.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, sorry he could not have come — could he visit in the fall? Ma was getting about well [MTP].
Henry W. Cleveland wrote to Sam on the office of Louisville Mayor letterhead: Since the Beecher book was stillborn, would he consider Entranced, his “Romance of Natural Religion” or The Life and Times of Jefferson Davis, which “he will not write unless I go there and do it for him.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “A Reverend d__d tramp” [MTP].
September 21 Friday – Sam’s notebook: [Chk #] 4322, Sep.21 $100 — JL & Co. [3: 477].
Kingsland Smith for St. Paul Roller Mill Co. wrote to Sam that he’d received his Sept. 1 letter asking to sell his 100 shares of stock, but his “means were so tied up” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote that for some reason they hadn’t received Sam’s former letter about Beecher’s “Life of Christ” — “We will take steps at once and see what arrangements we can make about getting back the $5,000 and giving up the work.” Hall explained the timeframe on Daggett’s Hawaiian Legends book, having stalled for over a year. The book was all set up and plates had been made — why not print 500 or so and bind just a few? [MTP].
September 22 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore and confirmed that the family would “start for New York Monday afternoon.” He was sending home a hat trunk that would get to Hartford before they did and since there was nothing in it but Livy’s things, it could remain unopened [MTP].
John H. Burnett wrote a sort of a “begging letter” from St. John’s Hospital in Brooklyn to Sam, recalling “a very pleasant afternoon & taking dinner with” the Clemenses “years ago.” Now he had no place to sleep and was crippled from an attack of apoplexy. [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam at the Murray Hill Hotel; Hall proposed going to Cleveland, Chicago and perhaps St. Louis, returning through Cincinnati and Philadelphia to “stir up the General Agents there” [MTP].
September 23 Sunday – Sam noted on the Boston book importer Carl Schoenhof’s July 28 postcard concerning his order of German anthologies, “Hasn’t come yet (Sept. 23)”
September 24 Monday – The Clemens family left Elmira in the afternoon for the ten-hour train trip to New York City, which would have put them there late in the evening. They checked into the Murray Hill Hotel, where Sam wrote Whitmore on Wednesday (Sept. 22 and Sept. 26 to Whitmore).
Sam’s notebook entry with calculations of amounts owed for their summer stay for check #:
4323. = $662. T.W. Crane. Sept. 24. ’88. / Farm, from June 23 to Sept. 24, 13 weeks & 2 days / 6 persons, $40 per week, $532. / 2 ponies, ($3 per week each) 80 / Washing, 10 weeks at $5 50/ $662.
This is followed by amounts for the staff: William $25; / His wife 12; / Liddy 5 / Oscar 12 / Washerwoman 5 / Mr Rice 5 / Mothers people each 2 / Doyle 6.
Sam also noted:
Moderate but steady walk, & no stops, it is 40 minutes from Farm to D.L.W. / and 1 hour to mother’s house. [D.L.W. = Delaware, Lackawanna & Western RR.]
Wells Fargo takes the ponies through to Hartford from here for $4 each [MTNJ 3: 424]
4324, Sept 24 $44, ponies, Wells Fargo [3: 477]. Note: lined out.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that his letter with the Chatto drafts was “rec’d & deposited at Bissell’s.” $9,454.05 was due Pratt & Whitney [MTP].
September 25 Tuesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. The Library of Humor had come and he knew of no agents for it there — could he help? “It was Ella Trabue, daughter of Polly Paxton, Ma’s favorite cousin and playmate” who with her girls carried off some of Ma’s things [MTP].
September 26 Wednesday – In New York City Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, enclosing a check for $4,004 that he wished put in the U.S. Bank with “the other typesetter ammunition.” Sam’s plans had not changed — he announced they would “reach home Friday afternoon or evening” [MTP].
Ella Trabue Smith, Sam’s second cousin on his mother’s side, wrote to Sam thanking him for the “’nest egg’ from you” ($100) which was to be used to treat her son from malaria. Smith wrote from Eureka Springs, Ark. [MTNJ 3: 477n241]. (See Sept. 19; also Sam to Smith Aug. 30, 1871.)
In Elmira Theodore Crane sent a telegram to Sam, contents unknown [MTP]. See Nov. 1 bill for others this period.
September 27 Thursday – In New York City Sam wrote to an unidentified person to decline an invitation of some kind. The original of the letter is in Portland, Maine, so it’s likely the function was in that region as well [MTP].
Orion Clemens and Jane Clemens wrote to Sam. Monthly $155 check received. He noticed Sam’s bio in the Library of Wit and Humor put Sam’s birthplace at Hannibal; the family arrived in Florida, Mo. in June of 1835. Ma’s letter showed her confusion. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Poor old lady!” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote a short note that Sam’s Nov. 26 telegram was received yesterday, and “the goods will be forwarded to Mrs. Marston as directed” [MTP].
September 28 Friday – In the afternoon or evening (if as intended) the Clemens family finally returned home to Hartford [Sept. 26 to Whitmore].
Not one to let grass grow underfoot, Sam right away wrote two spoof ads to William Mackay Laffan that he wished to run in Laffan’s N.Y. Sun. Sam’s gripes were the same as his letter to the editor of the Courant and the Hartford Times, and ultimately to the Sun — the street lights and the polluted river in the center of Hartford:
Burglars out of employment are invited by the City Government of Hartford to consider the unusual inducements which it offers before completing engagements for the winter. Street lights turned off at 2 a.m. Address MARK TWAIN, Advertising Agent of the C.G.
The City Government of Hartford desire to call the attention of undertakers to the fact that it has been maintaining for many years, at great economy, an open sewer through the centre of the city. Address MARK TWAIN, Ad. Agt. A.G.
Sam hoped to “get up a quarrel & maybe a lawsuit over it.” Sam was also growing cynical about the Paige machine being finished:
Her finish is dated for Oct 21st, but they probably mean some other 21st [MTP].
A.R. Darrow wrote from Buffalo sending Sam his “first publication in book form” — he asked if Sam was “sufficiently interested” that he “write to me criticizing it…” [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Sam asking for a letter he might use in his circular. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Always sings the same tune” [MTP].
September 29 Saturday – R.H. Macy & Co, N.Y., billed & receipted $4.07 for “1 Clock 3.03; 1 Dlvery & all chg” Adams Express, tax [MTP].
September 30 Sunday – In Hartford Sam sent a letter with a funny story to Theodore Crane, obviously intended to cheer him up. The story was told to Sam by the Twichells who had just returned form a vacation in the Adirondacks. Seems the village store keeper did not stock the material Harmony Twichell was after called “turkey red,” and not only did he not stock it, he refused to do so because in the past it had sold out too often! The same storekeeper had quit as postmaster upon discovering he had to keep the post office open every day. Here’s one short enough to include — a story about the Clemens girls:
This morning Jean was kind of carrying on gaily, & Susie said, “Jean try to be quiet, please — aren’t you just a little promiscuous, this morning?
“I will gently remark that I am!”
She’s becoming elaborate in speech, you see. SLC
October 1 Monday – In Hartford this morning Sam began hanging out at Joe Twichell’s house in order to get away from the home fires to continue work on Connecticut Yankee. He was under some pressure to finance the Paige typesetter, and so even though his normal summer writing season was over, he pressed on. [Oct. 5 to Crane].
Sam also answered the June 2 letter from Mary Fairchild, daughter of Lucius Fairchild, in Madison, Wisc. about production of Sam’s play, Die Meisterschaft.
I thank you ever so much for not forgetting to remember to send me the press notice and the quaint program and the pleasant letter which enclosed them.
I am ever so glad to hear of the success of the Meisterschaft. I wrote it for use in our house, — to play with the children; but gave up that project because I should have been obliged to take a chief character and stick to the text; a thing which would have been impossible with my rickety memory.
But last spring we got some young friends together from outside and played it to a hundred guests in our library, and had a perfectly gaudy time [MTP].
Sam wrote that in this last production he played the part of Mr. Stephenson, not memorizing the lines but only the cues, and making up the part as he went along. Sam sent regards to Mary’s father, Lucius.
Under “Literary Notes” p.2, the New York Times announced:
— The sixth volume of Mr. Stedman’s and Miss Hutchinson’s “Library of American Literature” will be issued this season by Charles L. Webster & Co.
Samuel E. Dawson for Dawson & Brothers wrote to Sam that he’d written to Webster about taking on the Sheridan book. The matter could be arranged as long as he didn’t take a loss. He was more careful on this book because he was going out of the retail business on Jan. 1 [MTP].
J.J. Poole & Co, Anthracite and Bituminous Coal, Hartford, billed $360.10 for Aug. 15, 16, 17 deliveries; Paid Oct. 10
J.G. Rathbun & Co., Pharmacists, Hartford billed $35.05 for: July 19, Vaseline .25, July 24 ammonia & Oil cedar .25; Aug 3, Castor Oil .40 Aug 21 Sperm Oil .25; Aug 30 300 Cigars 12.00; Express paid .40, Sept 10 500 Cigars 20.00, Sept 28 Spanish Castille Soap 1.50; Paid Oct. 2
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford, billed $71.92 “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid Oct. 4[MTP].
October 2 Tuesday – Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. — after paying all bills due on the first, bank balances total, $1,290.26 [MTP].
October 3 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his brother Orion about hickory nuts, Theodore Crane, and the Paige typesetter.
Keep a sharp lookout for some particularly bully hickory nuts; & when as usual you send us a bag, send a bag also to T.W. Crane, Elmira. He is getting along pretty fairly….But apprehension concerning him is not at an end…
To-day I pay Pratt & Whitney $10,000. This squares back-indebtedness & everything to date. They began about May or April or March 1886 — along there somewhere, & have always kept from a dozen to two dozen master-hands on the machine.
Love to you both. All well here. And give our love to Ma if she can get the idea [MTP].
Sam also wrote to William D. Foulke (1848-1935) and Elijah W. Halford (1843-1938) of Indianapolis, declining to attend an event in honor of James Whitcomb Riley (“Hoosier Poet”).
I would go if I could, were there even no way but by slow freight; but I am finishing a book begun three years ago; I see land ahead; if I stick to the oar without intermission I shall be at anchor in thirty days; if I stop to moisten my hands I’m gone. So I send Riley half of my heart — & Nye the other half if he is there…[MTP].
Note: Foulke was born in N.Y.C., the son of a Quaker minister. He graduated from the Friends Seminary in 1863 and became a lawyer in 1871, practicing there until 1876, when he moved with his wife to her hometown of Richmond, Indiana where he lived until his death. He was active in the suffrage movement. Halford was managing editor of the Indianapolis Journal; Riley also wrote for this paper, Halford publishing many of his earliest poems. Halford was born in England, and came to America as a child with his parents, settling in Cincinnati. Like Clemens, he rose from a “printer’s devil” to become editor. At this time he had been with the Journal for 25 years, and was also active in Indiana politics. The N.Y. Times, Nov. 22, 1888 described him as “an editorial writer…widely known for his able and incisive political articles, the pungency of his style giving his writings a distinctiveness, leaving no doubt on the reader’s mind as to their authorship.” This article announced his appointment as private secretary to President-elect Benjamin Harrison. He would later become a Lt. Colonel in the army and promote American actions in the Philippines. He died at the ripe old age of 95. See N.Y. Times, Feb. 28, 1938 p.16.
Sam also wrote three notes to Webster & Co., letters not extant but referred to in their letter by Arthur Wright of Oct. 5 [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote from Chicago on Peale & Co. letterhead. He had had some “pretty lively discussions” with some of their agents about not waiting for a book to be close to publication before pushing it. He was getting commitments from agencies Hamilton, Peale, and Beach. He was picking up good ideas from the large offices of Peale & Co. Webster’s condition puzzled Hall, and he stayed a day and a half with him upon his insistence; Hall described his appearance as Jekyl and Hyde when the drug wore off [MTP].
October 4 Thursday – In the evening in Hartford, Sam was working on CY and decided to stay in bed the next morning and rest, though he “couldn’t resist” and so worked Friday as well [Oct. 5 to Crane].
October 5 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Theodore W. Crane.
I am here in Twichell’s house, at work, with the noise of the children & an army of carpenters to help. Of course they don’t help, but neither do they hinder. It’s like a boiler-factory, for racket, and in nailing a wooden ceiling onto the room under me the hammering tickles my feet amazingly sometimes, and jars my table a good deal; but I never am conscious of the racket at all…. I began here Monday morning, and have done eighty pages since…. I want to finish the day the machine finishes, & a week ago the closest calculations for that, indicated Oct. 22 — but experience teaches me that their calculations will misfire, as usual… It’s billiards here to-night. I wish you were here…P.S. — I got it all wrong. It wasn’t the children, it was Marie. She wanted a box of blacking for the children’s shoes. Jean reproved her and said, “Why, Marie, you mustn’t ask for things now. The machine isn’t done” [MTB 874-5].
Webster & Co., per Arthur H. Wright wrote to Sam: “We are in receipt of your three favors of the 3rd inst. in one of which is a note addressed to you from one of our agents to whom you advanced $25.00. Enclosed you will please find check for $25.00.” Hall had written; Dawson Brothers had been offered 40% from the list price of the book (Sheridan) [MTP].
Augustin Daly wrote asking if Sam would attend his opening on Monday. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Declined by telegraph” [MTP].
October 6 Saturday – Sam telegraphed Will Bowen, his old childhood friend.
I want you to come right down and stop-over Sunday with me take a hack at the station and drive straight to my house [MTP]. Note: Bowen did visit — see Sam to Bowen Nov. 4, 1888.
Sam also telegraphed Augustin Daly, saying they would love to accept but that his work kept him at home [MTP]. Note: Daly quite often invited the Clemenses to theater productions. Not only was he a good friend, but Daly probably recognized that when the buzz passed around that Mark Twain would attend the house would be a bit more packed. See Nov. 1 bill; this telegram cost 0.81.
Rev. George Bainton (1847-1925) wrote to Sam, as he did to many other authors, in preparation for a book he would publish in 1890. (The Art of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods of Work, and Advice to Young Beginners, Personally Contributed by Leading Authors of the Day.) Sam would give Bainton plenty to quote from (see Oct. 15). When the book came out the N.Y. Times announced:
An easy way to make an interesting book is the way chosen by Mr. Bainton. Instead of writing it himself, he appealed to nearly two hundred of his eminent contemporaries for assistance. Very good-natured of them and very fortunate for him was it that this distinguished band of authors responded to the appeal with cordiality and to some real purpose. [Aug. 17, 1890 p.11, “Authors and their Art”].
W.B. Benoist for San Francisco Typographical wrote to Sam enclosing a copy of The Union Printer, in which he wrote, “you will doubtless see the names of a few who once worked with you at the case and who are ‘still there’ among the number being L.P. Ward who, in those by-gone days claims to have shared his sumptuous couch with you” [MTP]. Note: Lewis P. Ward: “In 1864 … a compositor for the Alta California and a well known gymnast. For a time he was Clemens’ roommate and often his companion” [Branch, Clemens of the Call 223]. See also Ward’s letter, Feb. 23, 1889.
October 7 Sunday – Will Bowen visited the Clemens home in Hartford. It must have been a short visit — one or two days, because on Nov. 4 Sam wrote to him “I wish you could have stayed longer with us.” [MTP]
Fanny M. Baker wrote from Wardensville, W.Va. having just read IA to send praise of its pages. “May you live long and prosper,” she wrote — a phrase strangely familiar [MTP].
October 8 Monday – Christen Thomsen Christensen, New York manager of the banking firm of Drexel, Morgan & Co. wrote to Sam. Christensen was the former Danish consul in New York. He asked Sam to meet with Henrik Cavling, a Danish journalist who was in the U.S. reporting on the 1888 election [MTNJ 3: 427]. Note: after the death of Anthony Drexel in 1895, Drexel, Morgan & Co. became J.P. Morgan & Co., bankers.
Alexandra Gripenberg wrote a belated thank you from London for Sam’s letter of introduction to Henry Alden. She was delayed in getting into N.Y. and thus did not see Alden [MTP].
October 9 Tuesday – In Hartford Franklin G. Whitmore wrote for Sam to Frank Bliss, sending a receipt for $569.50 and advising that Bliss was correct to send both the statements and checks directly to Sam, not to the Webster & Co. [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Christen Thomsen Christensen, manager of the New York office of Drexel, Morgan & Co., the noted banking firm, answering his Oct. 8 letter. Sam was still working during the days at Joe Twichell’s, a strategy to get more done on his book than he would have at home.
I shall be very glad to see any friend of yours, & shall make Mr. Cavling welcome. Just at present I am in strict hiding, a mile from home — during the daytime — finishing a book. But I am at home all the evenings, after half past 6. …if he should happen to prefer Friday evening, which is my billiard night every week, he can take a cue & help me fight the rest [MTP]. Note: Sam received Henrik Cavling in Hartford on Oct. 22 [MTNJ 3: 427n64].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d send a bag of hickory nuts when they came in — one to Hartford and one to Elmira for Theodore Crane, who he was glad to hear was better; he was also glad to hear a good account of the typesetter. “Ma talks often of you. She is fond of doing so whenever strangers interrogate her….she said suppose the machine should fail?” [MTP].
American Publishing Co. receipted Sam for an unspecified amount [Mentioned on page in MTP financial file: Yale, Morse Collection p.8].
October 10 Wednesday – Grace E. King arrived in Hartford for a visit with the Clemens [MTNJ 3: 434n90]. The visit would be interrupted when Sam and Livy went to New York to see Theodore and Susan L. Crane who had likely traveled there for medical treatment for Theo, who’d suffered a stroke. Grace was still there on Election Day, Nov. 6 when she wrote Sarah Ann Miller King of the goings-on in the Clemens home [Bush 41]. (See Nov. 6 entry.) Grace wrote in her notebook about her arrival in Hartford and new impressions of Sam (she did not date this entry but she arrived Oct. 10):
The train I was on reached Hartford after dark. I got off, and soon saw the grey head of Mr Clemens under his slouch hat — rushing to the further end, passing coach after coach, in hasty scrutiny, leaving me farther and farther behind. I took after him — and fortunately succeeded in arresting his attention before he turned off disgusted into the station house. His welcome was warm and sincere. There is good fellowship in his manner that is most pleasant. He is an easy man to get along with socially, in his own house, and with his own family. He is quick to catch your idea — and nice to it, after he catches it. He does not impose his opinions, at least on me he did not — and he listens — at least to me — with attention. His spirits rise easily — his fun is never asleep — at a wink he is alert. When he talks — there is something delightfully unpremeditated in the way he brings in his stories; good or bad, appropriate or inappropriate, egotistical or otherwise. He is not an egotist — but he is always, at any party, the entertainer, I might say, the entertainment. He does not mow from books, but from his own life, his absurd, grotesque Mark Twain mind — takes what the eye brings it — and turns out fun. His fun is so personal; it is autobiographical. He cannot conceal — his frankness is startling. He simply doesn’t care; he cannot stop to apologise or explain, and beg you not to consider him egotistical. And the absence of this uneasiness about the opinion of others, is perhaps the pleasantest trait in his intercourse, for it puts you also at your ease. If you do anything absurd or philistinish — or mean and stingy — he will notice it — and no doubt tell it on you some day when your character is being discussed. But he does not pick at your words, or test your sincerity or get shocked at a breach of etiquette — or sniff a lèse moralité — in you. He takes you at the moment for what you want to be taken. If you make an impression there is a sum-total of your character in his mind somewhere. He treats ladies generally as if they were nice clever boys — like himself. If they need his advice or protection — he treats them as if they were nice, good sort of sisters — without any sentiment, or exaggeration of his services. I should say that Mark Twain had a beautiful heart — a rough, country-beauty of a heart — awkward, shy — and heavily strong. It is grotesque, at times when it might be graceful. It has never been to dancing school. It may be rough — as country beauties have rough hands — but it is a heart — “brut” as the French say — original in its essence and strength. He has the great mind of a great humorist — not the great mind of a philosopher or moralist. He is not critical — not picturesque. If he were he would be a great novelist — but he is not. I cannot suspect such a mind as he has — of limitations. I would rather accuse it of underdevelopment. On the side of reverence there is lacking — and in the region of poetry — there are chords missing. History does not enter willingly into it. He has to face her in [word missing]. Strength always inspires him. He admires Ingersoll. He loves to see Ingersoll knock down his opponents. And yet — there is no man in the world further removed from the coarse athleticism, of Ingersoll. His family is refinement itself — his domestic horizon is bounded on all sides by religion — and sentiment [Bush 39-40 from King’s Notebook].
A Nov. 1 bill from Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. of Hartford shows a 69c telegram this date to Mrs. S.L. Clemens [MTP]. Note: King may have sent this before her arrival.
October 11 Thursday – A Nov. 1 bill from Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. of Hartford shows a 29c telegram, the second this date to Mrs. S.L. Clemens [MTP].
October 12 Friday – Thomas Fitch sent Sam an account in the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat of his speech given in St. Louis this date [MTP]. No letter is with the clipping in the file.
Charles A. Nichols for Nichols & Co., subscription book publishers, Springfield, Mass. wrote to Sam: “We have this day sent by Express (paid) the copy of ‘The History of Springfield” for which we have your order. Please remit $5….” Sam wrote on the page, “Brer, please examine the checkbook — we may have paid this last spring, though I doubt it” [MTP].
October 13 Saturday – J.B. Smiley (Samwell Wilkins) wrote from Kalamazoo, Mich. that he’d just published his second book and was collecting “the comments of the humorists of the country” — he would like to send Sam a set of his “two little volumes” [MTP]. “Curio,” Sam noted on the envelope.
October 14 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote a long letter of complaint to the Hartford City Government, again about electric lights and health concerns over “open sewers.” On Oct. 16, Sam wrote on the letter,
The official health refused to back up the hearsay statistics. Therefore this project was abandoned. SLC.[MTP].
Sam’s notebook entry for Oct. 15 related his actions for this day:
I found, yesterday, that Brer Franklin Chamberlin (who has two skunk-friends on the Street-Board,) had at last succeeded in getting the light moved from the Gillette street corner to the mouth of Forest street, thus leaving our gates smothered in Egyptian darkness. The City government has done me many a mean trick in 16 years, & I stood the strain & kept the peace; but, to frightfully inconvenience me in order to accommodate a rectum like Franklin Chamberlain, was a little too much. So I went down last night [Oct. 14] & contracted for electric light at my own cost, & police protection at my own cost, & took measures to transfer my citizenship to some other town. So, after next June I shall have the satisfaction of paying a (possibly) very large tax every year to some town in which I do not live, & paying not a cent in Hartford any more forever, except on the house & grounds [MTNJ 3: 428].
Note: Franklin Chamberlin (1821-1896) was a Hartford Lawyer, Sam’s neighbor who sold Sam the lot for their Farmington St. house; strained relations existed between Sam and Chamberlin (sometimes wrongly reported as “Chamberlain”).
October 15 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Orion about the typesetter; letter not extant but referred to in Orion’s Oct. 19 [MTP].
Sam also responded to Rev. George Bainton’s Oct. 6 letter. Bainton had asked if Sam used any particular methods in his composition work, and Sam’s answers are instructive and insightful into his thoughts on composition theory.
If I have subjected myself to any training processes — & no doubt I have — it must have been in this unconscious or half-conscious fashion. I think it unlikely that deliberate & consciously methodical training is usual with the craft…
Sam felt that various “bricks” were laid in the mind, such as confusion when confronting a too-long sentence, and speculates what the writer then does:
Unconsciously he accustoms himself to writing short sentences as a rule. At times he may indulge himself with a long one, but he will make sure that there are no folds in it, no vaguenesses, no parenthetical interruptions of its view as a whole; when he is done with it, it won’t be a sea-serpent, with half of its arches under the water, it will be a torchlight procession.
Well, also, he will notice, in the course of time, as his reading goes on, that the difference between the almost-right word & the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning bug & the lightning. After that, of course, that exceedingly important brick, the exact word…. So I seem to have arrived at this: doubtless I have methods, but they begot themselves; in which case I am only their proprietor, not their father [MTP].
Note: This letter first printed in The Art of Authorship: Literary Reminiscences, Methods of Work, and Advice to Young Beginners, Personally Contributed by Leading Authors of the Day. Compiled and Edited by George Bainton. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1890, pp.85-88.
Sam’s notebook entry (Also see Oct. 14 entry):
October 15/88. Special officer Heise goes on duty to-day noon at $2.73 a day, regular policeman’s wages, as he says, & as Mr. Smith told me last night. He will patrol the yard & frontage in uniform from 7 every evening & discourage the tramps — & is to stay until I get up my electric street-lamp. Let go Oct. 27 [MTNJ 3: 427].
Frederick J. Hall had recently consulted with book agents in Cleveland, Chicago, Denver, and St. Louis. He wrote to Sam of perceived changes in the marketplace for war books:
There is one thing this trip has convinced me of viz: war literature of any kind and no matter by whom written is played out. We have got to hustle everlastingly to get rid of 75,000 sets of Sheridan. I had set my mind on 100,000 sets but am forced to lessen this figure. There is not a man today who could write another book on the war and sell 5000 in the whole country [MTNJ 3: 430n78].
Note: Sam’s notebook entry on or about this date speculated on his future with Webster & Co. :
- If my Dec 31 Sher[idan] proves to be unprofitable, demand a reconstruction of contract placing power in my hands where it belongs. Refusal? Go into court .
- Demand dissolution. Go into Court.
Can I be held for debts made beyond the capital? I will buy out or sell out.
Since the spring of ’86 the thing has gone straight downhill toward sure destruction. It must be brought to an end Feb. 1 at all hazards. This is final [430-1].
John H. Morrison in Hartford asked Sam for help to raise a banner on Signoury St. for the Young Democrats of the Second Ward. Sam wrote, “Brer W. Answer him simply Yes. And sign it per W.” [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they had on hand $1,766.09; nothing new; Hall had not returned from his trip west. At the bottom of the typed letter, Wright’s hand: “PS Have just rec’d a telegram from Mr. Hall from St. Louis will be in N.Y. City on Wednesday” [MTP].
October 16 Tuesday – See Oct. 14 for Sam’s disposition of his letter to Hartford City Government.
In Hartford Sam wrote to John C. Kinney, a major in a local “Foot Guard,” and editor of the Hartford Courant. Kenny had invited Sam to the Foot Guard dinner, and Sam took the opportunity to reply by continuing his gripes about moved streetlamps and open sewage in nearby creeks and rivers. The letter appears to have gone back and forth between Clemens and Kinney, all on the same day, so may have been sent by Sam’s servant or a courier.
After a page or two dedicated to the electric-light and tunnel hazards, Sam & Kinney played mail tag:
But there’s another way. Don’t you think you could come out to the tunnel — & fetch the dinner? You can easily find my place if you start before dark. Come; you are soldiers & you won’t be afraid. Fetch the dinner out — do, it isn’t far; I’ve got a lantern; you borrow another one, and we’ll have a good time. Borrow it of the Board. / Yours, in eager expectancy, / Mark Twain.
Foot Guard Headquarters,
Hartford, Oct. 16, 3 p.m.
There are a good many words which I can’t make out. If we send out a detail to take care of the policeman, can’t you come to the dinner & read it yourself? / J.C. Kinney, Major in Command. / Reply.
Dear Kinney —
Certainly. That covers the ground. But pick the men. / M.T. / P.S. And would you be kind enough to order them to stay with the policeman and not wander? There is a river at the end of the tunnel. People & cats get drowned there every night. M.T.
P.P.S. You want to be particular about this. It isn’t a good river to get drowned in. For economy’s sake the city empties a lot of sewers into it, right under our noses. It’s unpleasant, of course — the “bouquet”, I mean — but it saves telegraphing. The hotels in New York never require Hartford people to telegraph for rooms; no, they say, “Open a car window as you come along — that’ll answer.” It’s a hint, you know, that they are aware that the richest city in the world for its size, can’t afford sewers, and uses hog troughs. We get all of New Britain’s sewage, you know; but did you know that we’re going to have West Hartford’s too, right away? And I’ve been told they are going to siphon the Farmington sewage over the hill to us. Some think it isn’t a good idea; still, it saves telegraphing [MTP].
James Porteus, Hartford, receipted $13 for “6 ½ days work at $2.00 per day rec’d pmt” [MTP].
October 17 Wednesday – Orion Clemens wrote three letters this date to Sam, all about a house for sale which he hoped to buy for $3,500 and to ask his opinion [MTP].
October 18 Thursday
October 19 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Yours of 15th just received. I will tell Pamela, and remember for myself. / Your nerves must be super-sensitive under the horrible strain of suspense about the machine. You have been so kind to me that I am sincerely desirous of helping you.” Orion wanted to go to N.Y. to look after Sam’s interests [MTP].
Eaton & Lewis for Thomas A. Edison wrote to Sam asking him the date of his visit to Edison’s laboratory in Orange, N.J. “last summer” for use in a lawsuit they were in [MTP].
Jeannette L. Gilder for Critic sent Sam a printed flyer asking “Do you deem any American poet worthy of this honor” [of being placed with 13 English greats] If so, which one?” [MTP].
A Nov. 1 bill from Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. of Hartford shows a telegram this date to H. Cavling, Brooklyn for 77 cents [MTP].
October 20 Saturday – Henrik Cavling in Brooklyn, wrote a short note to Sam. In French. Holger Kersten has graciously translated: “Perfect, Sir, I will be happy to visit you Monday evening” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that his letters were received and noted. “We will make various notes of matters that we wish to speak to you about when you come down….Mr. Hall contemplates a trip to Boston andpossibly to Washingotn, to stir matters in those places” [MTP].
October 21 Sunday
October 22 Monday – In the evening in Hartford, Sam received Henrik Cavling in Hartford, as requested by Christen Thomsen Christensen of the New York office of Drexel, Morgan & Co. on Oct. 8. Cavling was a Danish journalist in the U.S. covering the 1888 election. Mark Twain’s works were quite popular in Denmark. Christensen, a former Danish consul had written to Sam that Cavling wanted “the honor of shaking you by the hand” and being “face to face with the author, who…has proven a benefactor to civilized mankind, scarcely less appreciated outside of, than in his own country” [MTNJ 3: 427n64].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, advising that “Colonel Sheridan wishes to see Mr. Hall, and he thought of leaving here Wednesday night and going to Washington, returning if possible Thursday night or Friday morning” [MTP].
October 23 Tuesday – Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. sent Sam a biannual financial statement showing a loss of $16,455.66 for the prior six months. The statement also listed the company’s indebtedness to Sam at $72,942.10. Sam’s agreement of Apr. 1, 1887 capped his maximum obligation at $75,000 [MTNJ 3: 429n72].
October 24 Wednesday – Reform Club (New Haven) wrote to Sam (envelope only survives) [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that he’d made an error in his last report [MTP].
A Nov. 1 bill from Postal Telegraph-Cable Co. of Hartford shows a telegram this date to the Murray Hill Hotel for .29 [MTP]. Note: to reserve or notify of Oct. 25 arrival.
October 25 Thursday – Sam and Livy arrived in New York at the Murray Hill Hotel. The Cranes arrived in the city at 9:30 p.m. Afterward, Sam wrote to Grace E. King, who stayed at the Clemens home, judging by Sam’s admonition for her to “hide Jean’s candy till we come — it will save her from sin.” King had arrived at the Clemens’ home on Oct 10. Theodore Crane was consulting doctors in New York; Livy was visiting her sister Susan L. Crane while Sam wrote.
This is to require you to understand that you can’t count-in the time we are absent as a part of your visit. No, we allow nothing for intervals of this sort — they have to be made up. The visit has to be extended to cover them & make full count [MTP].
Note: King’s fall 1888 visit with the Clemenses lasted from Oct. 10 to Nov. 12, 1888; she then stayed three more weeks with the Charles Dudley Warner family [MTNJ 3: 396; 434n90].
October 26 Friday – Edmund C. Stedman wrote a long letter to Sam arguing the value of the Library of American Literature. “You have made no ‘losses’, & will make none,” Stedman stated. “Look elsewhere for the causes of an adverse balance-sheet” [MTNJ 3: 430n 73]. No doubt Sam was biased against the work since it was the pet project of his ex-partner, Charles Webster.
October 27 Saturday – With the completion of a street lamp at Sam’s expense the special officer Heise, also at Sam’s expense at $2.73 per day, was let go [MTNJ 3: 427]. See Oct. 15.
October 28 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote thanks for his monthly $155 check [MTP].
October 29 Monday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam asking for a meeting with Sam and the Webster & Co. attorney, Daniel Whitford to discuss business matters including the status of Charles Webster, scheduled to return to work on Apr. 1, 1889 [MTNJ 3: 430]. Webster’s interest would be purchased for $12,000 (see Dec. 31, 1888).
October 30 Tuesday – Sam gave a speech at a Mugwump political rally, Allyn Hall, Hartford. The speech was reported and summarized in Hartford Courant, October 31, 1888, p.8 “Mugwumps in Council.”
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam arguing for a meeting in N.Y., not in Hartford as Sam evidently asked, for the reason that Daniel Whitford needed to be there [MTP].
October 31 Wednesday – Virgil A. Pinkley for College of Music of Cincinnati wrote to Sam sending a copy of their new work, Essentials of Elocution and Oratory as thanks for permitting him “to choose so freely from your compositions.” Sam wrote, “No Answer” on the envelope [MTP].
November – This month’s issue of Scribner’s Magazine carried excerpts from the Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan, but without the footnote agreed to the previous August, giving Webster & Co. credit for the work. Sam’s notebook:
Scribner gives us no credit. Why? [MTNJ 3: 429n74].
November 1 Thursday – From Sam’s notebook:
Nov. 1, 1888. I have just seen the drawings & description of an electrical machine lately patented by a Mr. Tesla, & sold to the Westinghouse Company, which will revolutionize the whole electric business of the world. It is the most valuable patent since the telephone. The drawings & description show that this is the very machine, in every detail which Paige invented nearly 4 years ago. I furnished $1,000 for the experiments, & was to have half of the invention. We tried a direct current — & failed. We wanted to try an alternating current, but we lacked the apparatus. The $1000 was exhausted, & I would furnish nothing more because I was burdened in the 3 succeeding years with vast expenses on the Paige type-setting machine. Tesla (& Thompson?) tried everything that we tried, as the drawings & descriptions prove; & he tried one more thing — a thing which we had canvassed — the alternating current. That solved the difficulty & achieved success [MTNJ 3: 431]. Note from footnote 79: “Nicholas Tesla invented his first alternating current motor in 1883. On 1 May 1888 he received patents on such a motor. He soon sold his rights to George Westinghouse for one million dollars.”
Shortly after the above entry is Sam’s famous maxim which was to appear in ch. 56 of FE and ch. 13 of PW:
There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can afford it, & when he can’t .
Samuel S. McClure wrote to Sam having learned from Charles A. Dana that Sam had a novel he would “be willing to publish in a syndicate of newspapers.” McClure mentioned Mrs. Burnett, Bret Harte, Rider Haggard, and Frank R. Stockton among writers whose novels he was handling. He wanted to see Sam and negotiate [MTP]. Note: likely, Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924); Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925).
Postal Telegraph-Cable Co., Hartford, billed $4.07 for telegrams sent to and from Sam July 18-Oct 24; Paid Nov. 11 [MTP] See July 18, Sept 26, Oct 6, 10, 11, 19, 24 entries.
Eugene Meyer, N.Y. Piano teacher, receipted $30 for “Piano lessons to Miss Susi and Clara from Oct 5th until Nov 1st recd pmt” [MTP].
E.T. Ryan (handwritten on sm. Tablet paper) receipted $22.88 for: for purchases Sept 27: one gal vinegar .25, 2&1/2 lbs of chickens .63; Oct 4 6lbs of chickens, Oct 9 bushel of apples, 8&1/2 lbs of ducks; Oct 10 8 lbs chickens; Oct 17 8 lbs chickens; Oct 20 13 lbs duck; bushel apples; Oct 24 7lbs chickens; Oct 27 7lbs of duck; Nov 1 6lbls chickens; Nov 3 6lbs duck; Nov 7 5lbs chickens; one barrell of apples; Nov 10 7lbs duck; Nov 15 6lbs chicken; Nov 17 7lbs chicken; Nov 22 7lbs chicken; one gal vinegar; Nov 28 12lbs duck ;one barrell of apples [MTP].
Clarence L. Palmer & Co, dealers in Meats, Poultry and Vegetables, Hartford, billed $119.97 for “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid Nov. 5 [MTP].
Park & Tilford, N.Y. Grocers billed $45.98 for Oct. 6 purchases: Vanilla, Corn, beans, peas , mushrooms, oil, Oolong tea, sardines, 3 boxes chocolates, 1/2 doz C Sherry and others illegible; Paid Nov. 9 [MTP].
November 2 Friday – It’s not clear whether Sam and Livy had been in New York since Oct. 25, but more likely is that they returned to Hartford by Saturday Oct. 27, and that Sam then returned to the City by this day when he wrote a short letter to Edmund C. Stedman. Not quoted from the letter is that Sam returned to Hartford by the 4 p.m. train after visiting the Cranes, who were still in New York. Stedman wrote Sam on Oct. 26, somewhat dissatisfied at Webster & Co.’s handling of the Library of American Literature.
I am disappointed (I was expecting to see you) in losing any chance to discuss the situation, but Mr. Hall assures me that you are not as much dissatisfied now, as you lately (& most justifiably) were. I believe Hall will push things all he can, & that the results will begin to show up pleasantly [MTP].
Edmund C. Stedman wrote the second letter in a week to Sam about The Library of American Literature, which he argued was “the most valuable & substantial property the firm possesses” and that there was “no limit to the profit from it. Thus far, we have scarcely scratched the end of the buying elephant’s nose.” Sam’s notebook outlined a plan to sell the rights to the work to Stedman, who he felt should put up money to go with his exalted opinion of the work, which he did not share [MTNJ 3: 429-30&n75; MTP].
November 3 Saturday – In Hartford Sam received a letter from Will Bowen (evidently lost) just as he was
…starting out of town to attend a wedding, & so my mind was privately busy, all the evening, in the midst of the maelstrom of chat & chaff & laughter, with a sort of reflections which create themselves, examine themselves, & continue themselves, unaffected by surroundings — unaffected, that is, undeterred by the surroundings, but not uninfluenced by them. Here was the near presence of the two supreme events of life: marriage, which is the beginning of life, & death which is the end of it. I found myself seeking chances to shirk into corners where I might think, undisturbed; & the most I got out of my thought, was this: both marriage & death ought to be welcome; the one promises happiness, doubtless the other assures it [Nov. 4 to Bowen].
This was part of Sam’s answer to Bowen’s letter of the following day. It’s not known what out of town wedding Sam attended.
November 4 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Will Bowen, old Hannibal friend, relating his reflections of the previous evening at a wedding. Sam then wished Bowen could have stayed longer, and the next time to bring his wife along. The Bowens had just lost a child and the others were sick. Sam comforted his old friend, touching on the pain of his own loss of a son:
We all feel your deep trouble with you; & we would hope, if we might, but your words deny us that privilege. To die one’s self is a thing that must be easy, & of light consequence; but to lose a part of one’s self — well, we know how deep that pang goes, we who have suffered that disaster, received the wound which cannot heal [MTP].
Sam also wrote a short paragraph to Caroline B. Le Row, who had sent him the school children’s compositions from which he’d written “English As She Is Taught.” Sam thanked her for sending what was,
…entertaining reading — notwithstanding the ever-recurring pang one feels on account of the poor little mishandled devils…[MTP].
November 5 Monday – All was not well at Webster & Co., even after the resignation of Charles Webster. Arthur H. Wright wrote two letters to Sam, one of which was marked “CONFIDENTIAL”:
There are a number of points which it would be well for us to talk about at your earliest convenience, which are of great importance to you and should be investigated at once.
I have been threatened with discharge for having given you information pertaining to the inside workings of this business. They know nothing from me of my conversation with you more than was told them, viz — “That I was closeted with you for several hours” [MTP].
But you quite mistake my attitude. I am not conspiring with you to injure Mr. Hall. I did want to afford you an opportunity — since you seemed very much to desire it — to give me private information of a contraband nature about the business — but I did not consider myself to be conspiring.
Note: Wright did not use the term “conspire” in his letter which offered to show Sam “actual figures’ to support his claims that books were not kept “in a proper manner nor as they are kept in any well managed house.” Sam’s reaction seems to discount Wrights claims, or, like his disdain for his brother’s accusations about Bliss years earlier, they simply reflect Sam’s view of Wright’s tactics. Wright’s letter bears this date; Sam wrote his short remarks at the bottom of Wright’s letter and his note has been assigned this date. This may be a case where his letter was sent a day or so later. †
Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam two letters, described as “a complex and desperate treatise which corrected some oversights in Wright’s statement and predicted a solid future for the company if Clemens approved a new and radical organization of its procedures and personnel.” Hall also answered Sam’s wish to withdraw a portion of his investment in the firm: “Properly managed $30,000 ought to be ample capital to run the business on, unless it should grow to great proportions” [MTNJ 3: 429n72].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam about plans to use a “corps of lady canvassers” for selling the cookbook [MTLTP 252n1].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam (enclosed in Webster & Co. Nov. 8) asking for his signature in the purchase of the last photographs taken of Gen. Grant [MTP]. See Nov. 8
November 6 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to George W. Smith, willing to take on his cause against “those Ohio people” and write a letter for him. Sam had seen “some more of it in the ‘Times’ this evening.”
I can say very strong things when I am warmed up, & I am warmed up now. I can write a letter that will just make those peo — but never mind about details, you turn the whole thing over into my hands, leave this Ohio insurrection to me — I’ll make short work of it [MTP]. Note: The source of the conflict involving Smith was not found.
Grace King was still visiting the Clemenses. In a letter this day to her mother, Sarah Ann Miller King, King commented on the political affiliations of Nook Farm and on Mark Twain’s voting:
Mr. Clemens went off with Mr Warner to vote. He takes the most exquisite delight in voting for Cleveland. Mr Warner, of course votes the straight Rep: — Mr Clemens has just come in. He said that at almost every step he was met by someone offering him a Rep. Ticket — and he told him that was not the kind of ticket he wanted — if they had any for Cleveland he would be much obliged. When he got almost up to the polls, a man stepped up and said “Mr Clemens, you had better let me look at your ticket — there are so many split tickets — and the regular one is the thing for you.” Mr Clemens gave his ticket. The man looked at it and exclaimed: “Why this is the Democratic!” “Yes” said Mr Clemens drawling more than usual: “that’s what I thought it was!”
The Warners are very indignant over Mr Clemens conversion — that is the women part of the family. Mr W, does not say any thing — in his secret heart he wants to do the same; but he has been whipped into line by his wife and Gen. Hawley. There was a grand Republican procession yesterday morning — and a torch light Democratic procession last night. But we were out of all excitement living in this rural forest St. [Bush 41].
Charles Webster wrote from Fredonia to his Uncle Sam, feeling “for the first time in months” like his old self again, and wanting to resume his place at the firm by Apr. 1. He offered several suggestions for “the present management” not wanting “to dictate or seem to interfere.” He was taking “nine doses of antipyrine daily,” which may have led to his demise [MTP]. Note: antipyrine, then used for pain, is toxic in large amounts, and may have hastened the man’s death.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam (mentioned in second to Hall of Nov. 12) [MTP].
November 7 Wednesday
November 8 Thursday – Thomas Sharp, an Army officer, wrote a longish letter to Sam. His brother was the brother in law of Gen. Grant and U.S. Marshall of the District of Columbia, and he thought Sam possibly had met him. He was prompted to write after a re-reading of LM, and sketched his life story, asking only if Sam were in California to look him up [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a letter from Daniel Whitford to him, and Whitford’s Nov. 5 letter to the firm. “I have just had a long talk with Mr. Howe, the photograph man who took the photograph of General Grant sitting in his chair at Mt. McGregor as he appeared writing ‘Memoirs’. …The enclosed letter explains itself. Mr. Howe says he is willing to sell the negative, and all his right, title and interest to the photograph for $300.00, or he will give us the exclusive right to use the photograph in book form…for $200.00.” Hall awaited Sam’s decision [MTP].
November 9 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Malcolm Johnston after hearing that Johnston would be visiting the Charles Warner’s the next Thursday, Nov. 15.
I beg that you will cross the lot to our house on Saturday [Nov. 17] & stay over Sunday [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Henry M. Alden inviting him to dine on Nov. 16 or 17. Sam’s letter is not extant but referred to in Alden’s acceptance on Nov. 12 [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam that he would accept his “polite invitation; he was taking his daughter with him, however, as far as New Haven for a brief visit and it was probable he would return on Sunday evening. Sam wrote on the envelope, “R.M. (Col.) Johnston, author ‘Dukesboro Falls’” [MTP].
November 10 Saturday – Frederick E. Church wrote from Hudson, N.Y. to Sam enclosing a bag of Colima Mexican coffee that Livy complimented when they were guests of the Church’s in June 1887. Church offered to send future orders for “the genuine berry” to a friend in Mexico [MTNJ 3: 489n27; MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam.
I discharged Mr. Wright this morning. At first he appeared to be quite indifferent and hinted at appealing to you. He was evidently very much surprised when I told him that you understood and approved the course I was pursuing. …He left early this afternoon and I thought it might be best to telegraph you of his coming. He said he was going to lay his case before you and have you thoroughly understand it….In reference to Mr. Dibble, I have several ideas which I will submit for your consideration Monday [MTP].
Arthur H. Wright for Webster & Co. wrote his last report to Sam, a bank balances total of $2,706.79. “I am very sorry indeed Mr. Clemens that you should think it necessary to resort to this means of disposing of me, as I have been of great service to you in the past…” [MTP].
George W. Smith, president of Trinity College, Hartford, wrote to thank Sam for his “characteristic letter” upon his taking leave from the school [MTP].
November 11 Sunday
November 12 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote two letters to Frederick J. Hall, the first a confidential treatment about Arthur H. Wright’s recent visit (date not found) to Hartford and their conversation. Sam wasn’t going to advise Hall what to do with Wright, saying only that if Wright was valuable in the subscription department to use him there.
It is not proper for me to influence you, & I won’t. Personally I have only this to say against him — he has been very indiscreet…. I was not harsh with him. At least only at first; after that it was a business-like & rational conversation. I will detail it to you when I go down next week.
Sam may have received Hall’s letter of Nov. 10 after he wrote the first response to Hall. The second to Hall shows why:
I approve, all through. Doubtless Mr. Wright concluded it would not be good politics to come & see me. If so, his conclusion was sound. I am glad he is disposed of. Now, let an expert examine his books. [Note: No letters after Nov. 5 are listed between Sam and Wright.]
Sam added a caution not to allow notice of Sheridan’s book publication “before publication-day, lest the foreign copyrights be crippled; and that he’d received a letter from Daniel Whitford dated election day (Nov. 6) that he proposed “to resume command next April” [MTLTP 249&250]. Note: Whitford was an attorney who Sam relied on for many opinions and legal assistance.
Grace King ended her visit with the Clemens family and began a three-week one with their neighbors, the Charles Dudley Warners [MTNJ 3: 434n90].
Wales R. McCormick wrote from Quincy, Ill. to Sam. Wales had answered Sam’s letter on Jan. 1, 1888 but had not heard back — did Sam receive it? He had written then thanking him for his “kind offer” and also for the draft sent. “I want to make you a present of a large crayon of yourself, and would be pleased to have you send a photo of yourself, and one you like the best” [MTP].
Henry M. Alden for Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam that he’d received his invitation of Nov. 9 and it would give him “the greatest pleasure to avail myself of the hospitality offered by Mrs. Clemens & yourself.” Alden was to be at Mrs. Warner’s on Friday, Nov. 16 where he expected to meet Sam at dinner [MTP].
November 13 Tuesday – Sam was receipted $60 total for fees and dues connected with The Players Club, New York; in advance to May 1, 1889. Note: $20 crossed out and $10 written; signed by William Bispham; one hundred crossed out — so total was 60, or half of the normal dues [MTP; MTNJ 3: 429n73].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam, enclosing an article he’d written for the Nov. 10, Keokuk Gate City . “Settled, at last! To-day my money was paid back ($100) by the [real estate] agent. Trade off. Seller expects to be U.S. Marshall, and thereby save his house. So we shall not buy any house, now. Ma sent the nuts to Mr. Crane, and I informed them they went by your order.” Other local tales and happenings — as Orion’s letters were nearly always a mixed bag [MTP].
November 14 Wednesday
November 15 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly. Grace King had completed a dramatization of her novel, Monsieur Motte, and Sam wanted to bring her to New York the next Tuesday (Nov. 20) to introduce her.
She wants to know whether she has written a play or not, & Mrs. Clemens & I volunteered to go down to New York with her & try to get you to tell her. Will you? And if so, at what hour may we look for you at that hotel? [Murray Hill Hotel] [MTP].
November 16 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short letter of compliment to Grace King on her novella, “Earthlings,” which ran in the November issue of Lippincott’s Magazine. The theme of King in this work and in Monsieur Motte, was that of worthy New Orleaneans and their struggles after the Civil War.
Dear Miss King:
I do suppose you struck twelve on Earthlings. It does not seem possible that you or any one else can overmatch that masterpiece. I cannot find a flaw in the art of it — I mean the art which the intellect put there — nor in the nobler & richer art which the heart put in it. I felt the story, just as if I were living it; whereas with me a story is usually a procession & I am an outsider watching it go by — & always with a dubious, & generally with a perishing interest. If I could have stories like this one to read, my prejudice against stories would die a swift death & I should be grateful [Gribben 371; Bush 41-2].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, having received his letter about Mr. Wright’s dismissal. Hall had not heard back about purchasing the Grant pictures from Mr. Howe. The books had been examined in view of Wright’s dismissal:
The expert finds that the books have been honestly kept, so far as the present investigation goes, but very badly, they are full of clerical mistakes, and are being straightened out rapidly. Mr. Wright is now canvassing for us and will continue to do so for some time. I think he is better in this capacity than any other…but he has prove himself such an unmitigated liar that I don’t feel I could be comfortable with him in this office [MTP].
Clarence C. Rice wrote to Sam: “In regard to Miss Susie’s method of swallowing, I believe it to be a nervous phenomenon not due to disease of the food passage — but reflex — that is due to irritation of some portion of the throat or larynx” [MTP].
Marcel Schwob wrote two notes from Paris, France to Sam. Schwob was evidently a stranger to Sam, but a great fan, who addressed him in one note very familiarly, and apologized in the second note for it. Schwob’s uncle, Leon Abaun, author of Le Capitaine Magon [?] Les Mercenaires, etc. “begs me to tell you what a great pleasure he took in reading” HF, likening Huck to “a modern Sancho Panza” [MTP].
November 17 Saturday – Orion and Mollie Clemens began a letter to Sam & Livy they finished on Nov. 19 (letter enclosed from Dr. J.M. Clemens in Louisville, Ky. & Orion’s Gate City clipping enclosed); Orion reported he’d received books, was reading the Library of Humor, which he was reading part of to Ma. He wrote some details of the house transaction which was not completed; and regrets about the Tennessee Land. Mollie was under a doctor’s care and she must submit to an attendant to help Ma. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Chance to sell the Tennessee Land” [MTP].
November 18 Sunday
November 19 Monday – Orion and Mollie Clemens finished a letter to Sam & Livy they began Nov. 17 (annotated, letter & clipping enclosed);
William H. Wiegel, an old, wounded veteran with six children wrote asking Sam for a loan of $35; he had a $1,500 claim against the government that would be settled. A return envelope was unused [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We are having some little trouble with Mr. Wright. He came to the office, to hand in his orders, as is is now canvassing for us, and seems to think that he still has some authority here…I judge from the way he has been talking that it would be safer to have nothing whatever to do with him.” Hall wanted to talk it over when Sam came in [MTP].
November 20 Tuesday –Grace King wrote to her sister May King McDowell of the excursion to New York with the Clemenses:
We made an early start Tuesday morning; took breakfast at 7:30. I got up four times after daylight, to see if I couldn’t begin to get ready. I never knew a morning so slow in getting to 7 oc. Mr & Mrs Clemens, Clara, Jean, and the German maid [Rosina (Rosa) Hay] were besides myself the party. We got a chair car — and New York is just far enough off from Hartford to have a good long confidential talk; and take a little nap. Mrs C is an easy napper, and availed herself of the opportunity but I was too excited. The Cranes, Mrs Clemens’ sister and brother in law, were expecting us at the “Murray Hill.” … The Clemens like it because it is so near the 42nd St Station — but for the price I am sure one could be better accommodated elsewhere. It is $7.50 a day, for a single person — but $10 — for two rooming together. Fortunately I roomed with Clara. As soon as we had eaten lunch, Mrs Clemens ordered a carriage & we drove to her dressmakers — a Madame Fogarty — 38, East 22d…. Mrs Clemens asked to see her pretty things — and you never in your life beheld a more superb collection of gowns and cloaks. The cheapest dress was about $250….
Mr Clemens was just putting on his coat — to receive Augustin Daly — whose card had just been sent up. The Cranes offered their rooms for the interview — as they are quite handsomely installed there. I seized my Ms — and we all went in a body to the Cranes — I, as you may imagine in a tremor. I was never more surprised in my life — that when a slouchily dressed, thin — most untheatrical looking person was introduced to me as “Mr Daly.” He has a literary look and a very artistic face. While we were all talking Will Gillette — who boards at the Murray Hill — passed by and seeing us all, through the open door, came in. Then I felt very dramatic indeed. Soon every body went away and left me with Mr Daly — and Mr Clemens who was chaperon. I had no difficulty in talking, and managed to remember what I had composed to say; Daly said that he was looking all the time for some one to write for his theatre; that he was tired of it himself — that a dramatic success paid better than any other literary venture — that he hoped I had made one in this — but if I had not, not to be discouraged; he himself had had five plays rejected right straight along, when he first commenced. He would see if “Monsieur Motte” were actable — then if it were adapted to his theatre he would take it; if he could not use it, he would advise me about what to do with it…. When I went to get a string and paper to do the Ms up in — I made Mrs Clemens come back with me — and we had a general good time all together. He [Daly] invited us to the theatre that night, and said he would wait for us at the door. As soon as he was gone, we started off in a carriage to call on the Howells — Mrs Clemens insisted that I should know them. They live on Stuyvesant square, in the third story of a flat. The janitor took our cards up — and reported that they were in; but after we had climbed up to the place we found that the janitor had made a mistake. A very lackadaisical young girl of about sixteen, clad in faded greens, received us, and said “that she was sorry — but nobody was in but herself. Mama was ill in bed. Papa was out shopping for something. Winnie was over in Philadelphia under the charge of Dr Weir Mitchell. Mrs Clemens, who never goes up stairs if she can avoid it, sank in an arm chair perfectly disgusted. Mr Clemens walked around the room, and looked at the pictures. I gazed about me in silence while Miss Mildred Howells went on in her languid voice giving her family news. She is a very pretty girl….
We took a good glass of wine when we got in the hotel again; and laid down until dinner time. Over the dinner, we naturally fell to discussing the episode, and criticising the selfishness of the girl for not running down stairs and explaining herself that no one was in. Mr Clemens, saying how distressed and mortified Howells would be when he heard of it. I raised my eyes and was just going to say “Why there he is now” — when Mrs Clemens saw him. I recognised him of course from his pictures. He sat with us during dinner. I found that he was every thing the Warners & Clemens had described. Unaffected, modest, but perfectly charming in conversation and manners. He and Mr Clemens laugh and talk together like two schoolboys. He was exceedingly pleasant and cordial to me. We went into our rooms after dinner — sent for the children, and until theatre time, were just as sociable and family-like as possible….
The performance at Daly’s was “The Lottery of Love” [footnoted as The Lottery of Life, a comedy by John Brougham] — a regular side splitting comedy. We had Daly’s own stage box — and Daly’s company, most of the time. Mr Clemens of course attracted great attention from the audience, and stage too. We could catch the actors and actresses casting side glances constantly in our direction [Bush 42-4 from Grace’s Nov. 22 letter to her sister May]. Note: Theodore and Susan L. Crane thus remained in New York at the Murray Hill for some weeks, Theo under the care of physicians since his stroke.
November 21 Wednesday – In New York, the Clemens family (less Susy) and Grace King, and also possibly William Dean Howells, spent the morning looking at the paintings of a Russian realist of warfare, Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin (1842-1904). From Grace’s Nov. 22 to her sister May:
Nearly all of yesterday morning I spent looking at the Vereshchagin collection of pictures. As Howells says — “they are Tolstoi in paint…perfectly dreadful, but as real as the toothache.” …I was carried away by the whole thing [Bush 44-5].
November 22 Thursday – The Clemens family returned to Hartford sometime between Nov. 21 and 23, probably this day.
November 23 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Orion, thanking him for hickory nuts sent and announcing he’d ordered the Library of American Literature sent to him and also Samuel Moffett as the Clemens family’s Christmas presents. Orion had failed to purchase a house he and Mollie had wanted, and Sam sent advice:
I am sorry you gave up one house before being sure of another. But I am glad the purchase failed — because I am superstitious. The sailor says, “Don’t change your shirt in a storm” — that is, don’t anticipate; don’t trust the signs that the storm is ceasing — wait till it has ceased.
Sam also included more hopes that the Paige typesetter was “apparently almost done” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified man who had asked for a list of his books. Sam complied, by memory, as “there are not so many of them but that I can recall their names…” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam about who should go to Canada to register the Sheridan book [MTP].
Sometimes the relatively minor things that happen, seemingly randomly, in a person’s life, can mark a turning point. But, even when they don’t they can reflect the mystery of instant fascination, as this brief episode written this day in Sam’s notebook provides:
Nov. 23, ’88. At noon, was coming up a back street; 2 poorly dressed girls, one about 10 the other 12 or 13 years old, were just behind me; was attracted to the musical voice of the elder one, & slowed down my gait to listen; by & by the younger said, “Yonder they are?” “Where?” “Way down the street — don’t you see?” The elder threw back her head & gushed out a liquid “Hoo-oo-oo-ooh!” — the most melodious note that ever issued from human lips, it seemed to me. Nothing has equaled it, in my hearing, but the rich note of the wood-thrush. I resolved to track that child home — & did. She entered a poor frame dwelling next to & north of a frame building that had a sign “Sigourney Tool Company” on its front. Then I followed the younger girl home; at least to a house in John Hooker’s grounds. So I shall be able to find one or the other, by & by. I mean to educate that girl’s voice. She’ll make a stir in the world, sure [MTNJ 3: 434] Note: This is pure, pre-angelfish attraction and sentiment, perhaps caused by an underlying yearning for the idyllic aspects of his youth, and the image of Becky Thatcher and Laura Wright. At least that’s one take on the incident.
November 24 Saturday – Augustin Daly wrote to Sam that he did not find a play in Grace King’s Monsieur Motte [Bush 45].
George W. Green for Am. Copyright League wrote to Sam announcing Sam had been “unanimously elected a member of the council” at their Nov. 12, 1888 meeting [MTP].
November 25 Sunday – Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam “(For Mrs. Clemens)”… “mighty glad” that he went to Hartford, thanking for hospitality from “Happy people…up there in that lovely suburb…” [MTP].
November 26 Monday – Sam took Grace King to visit Smith College in Northhampton, Mass., where he evidently gave a reading. A list in his notebook for Smith included items for his talk/reading: Brer Rabbit, Golden Arm, Whistling story, Christening story, Browning’s Horse-race. In a letter the following day to her sister Nan, King described the trip to the railroad station:
Patrick the coachman, enveloped in furs [resembled] one of Tolstoi’s Russians, with his big cap and shaggy tippet [while] Mr Clemens was all sealskin except the tip end of a very red nose. I thought I would freeze in my seat as the open carriage dashed at full trot through the icy streets [MTNJ 3: 435n92].
Orion Clemens wrote worried about a “storm coming” and asking if Sam’s income might be less?
We have been talking with our agent about two other places. We can pay for either if receipts are going to continue as they have been; but if the machine may carry down so much of your fortune as to cramp you, let us know, and we will go no further in that direction [MTP].
Ms. Jessie M. Good wrote to Sam to answer a question for a contest she was entering with a $500 prize — “What well known poet was called ‘The Cool of the Evening’ and by what famous humorist?” [MTP]. Note: It’s not known if Sam answered, but it was Charles Lamb who first called William Wordsworth this name, which was later attached to Sydney Smith [American Notes and Queries June 1, 1889 p.50].
November 27 Tuesday – Livy’s 43rd birthday – Livy wrote of the day:
I had a very pleasant birthday the children fixed me a very pretty table with flowers and their gifts and we had an exceedingly good time
Sam wrote the following note, perhaps with a gift:
Livy darling, I am grateful — gratefuller than ever before — that you were born, & that your love is mine & our two lives woven & welded together! SLC [LLMT 251].
Webster & Co. per W.E. Dibble wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: This letter was missing from the file at the MTP; Robert Hirst checked again on my last trip there in Feb. 2009.
James H. Weeks, a dentist in Stonington, Conn. wrote asking Sam for “a few thoughts from your pen and a word of encouragement” for their Monday Reading Circle to study American authors [MTP].
November 28 Wednesday – Grace King left Hartford for Baltimore. For the prior three weeks she had been staying with the Charles Dudley Warner family [MTNJ 3: 434n90]. Theodore and Susan L. Crane arrived at the Clemens home for a short stay and to share Thanksgiving celebrations [Livy to Grace King Dec. 4].
The New York Press Club billed Sam $3 for dues to Dec. 1, 1888 [MTP].
November 29 Thursday – Thanksgiving – In Hartford Sam answered the Nov. 26 from Orion, somewhat upset to discover no attendant had been hired for their mother.
Jesus Christ! — It is perilous to write such a man. You can go crazy on less material than anybody that ever lived. What in hell has produced all these maniacal imaginings? You told me you had hired an attendant for ma. Now hire one instantly, & stop this nonsense of wearing Mollie & yourself out trying to do that nursing yourselves.
Sam directed his brother to let him know the cost so he might add it to the monthly checks sent from Webster & Co.
And don’t write me any more damned rot about “storms,” & inability to pay trivial sums of money and — & — hell & damnation! You see I’ve read only the first page of your letter; I wouldn’t read the rest for a million dollars.
Sam added after his signature that he hadn’t lost his temper; not to imagine he was on the way to the poorhouse; or that he was uneasy; or uncomfortable or unhappy, for he never was and at this late day he wasn’t going to learn how to be [MTP]. Note: Orion had the talent of evoking such letters from Sam.
In the evening, the Clemenses and the Cranes had a “good and jolly time,” with Theodore in good spirits [Livy to King Dec. 4]. Livy wrote of the evening:
We had an unusually good and gay Thanksgiving…. Theodore laughed so heartily that I really felt afraid he would overdo himself — but he feels no worse this morning and says he wishes he could have such a gay time every evening [Salsbury 255].
Carl Edler von der Planitz (Mikado) wrote from Dresden, Germany to Sam — in German. Planitz wrote a fan letter in which he mentions that he read Twain’s stories in translation; he also identified himself as a “colleague” who was in the business of writing humorous pieces and was unable to get “Punch, brothers Punch!” out of his head after reading it. He was associated with Simplicissimus, a famous German humor magazine, but he did not seem to have held a prominent position there. He sent two of his “humorous booklets” published under his pen name, “Mikado”: Die Mopsiade (a satire on a military man named “Hans Mops”), and Regiment für die Verheirathung der Offizere (Marriage Rules for Military Officers). [MTP]. Note: Planitz is not in Gribben. Many thanks to Holger Kersten for the translation/summary.
November 30 Friday– Sam’s 52nd Birthday. In Hartford Sam responded to a gift (probably of tickets) from Augustin Daly.
I have always avoided the Moody & Sankey revivals, but this kind is just in my line. Mrs. Clemens & I thank you most sincerely.
Sam also sent a one-liner to James B. Pond:
Dear Pond — She can’t read. Ys Ever / Mark
Sam also wrote a short note to Helen R. Putman of Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., politely declining an invitation sent by Putman for the Philalethean Society (Philaletheis), the school’s literary and dramatic group formed in 1865, which celebrated its anniversary each December [MTP].
Sam also wrote a humorous aphorism to an unidentified person.
He that would win the regard of men, & hath not charity in his heart, he holdeth but deuces and; whereas he that would win the regard of me, & had an heart richly stored with charity, he holdeth a straight flush — & will arrive [MTP].
December – Personal Memoirs of P.H. Sheridan issued this month, with great hopes for sales which were not realized [MTNJ 3: 395].
December 1 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly that the family had company coming Tuesday (Dec. 4) and there was “sickness already in the house” and so regretted being unable to attend the first of “the subscription nights” performance, which implies Sam had purchased or was given seats to several dramas at Daly’s theater for the season.
I write you in order that you may not leave our seats empty & looking like lost teeth in a handsome jaw [MTP].
Sam also wrote to his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon, thanking her for a check she’d sent for his birthday.
…I shall buy something nice & warm with it — whisky, or something like that. …
Livy Sailed by the 43-mile-post looking 26, & is now out tearing around like early youth.
Robbins Brothers, Manufacturers and Dealers in Furniture of Every Description, Hartford, billed $2 for “Nov 9 Repg 2 chairs”; Paid Dec. 6 [MTP].
Fox & Co, fine groceries, teas, wines & segars, Hartford, billed $33.08 for “Amt Bill per pass book” (no detail); Paid Dec. 10 [MTP].
December 2 Sunday – Mrs. Leonard M. Liebling wrote from N.Y. to Sam to settle a bet with her friends — had he published any books of poetry? A pair of gloves was at stake [MTP].
December 3 Monday – The German class met at the Clemens home and Livy wrote, “Mr Clemens did not retire to the billiard room. I think that speaks well for Miss Corey” [Livy to King Dec. 4].
Emily I. Maurer wrote from N.Y. “to settle a discussion,” what was the origin of his name? [MTP].
Murat Halstead for Cincinnati Commercial Gazette wrote to Sam asking for “ten or fifteen words” opinion on a book he proposed, entitled, “The Journeyings of a Journalist” [MTP].
December 4 Tuesday – In Hartford Livy wrote to Grace King, “delighted” in King’s two letters. Livy’s letter reflects the close friendship established between Livy and Sam and King. Livy related Thanksgiving with the Cranes, and Theo’s ups and downs of mood. She also wrote that Annie Webster, Sam’s niece was “now with us and is to be for a few days.” King was now staying with one of her sisters. Sam wrote at the bottom of Livy’s letter:
Livy left me to address the envelop, & suspects no overstepping of my privilege [MTP].
Abby Sage Richardson (1837-1900), historian, literary editor and Shakespearean actress, wrote to Sam asking his permission to dramatize P&P. She wrote that it was “one of the most beautiful stories and most exquisite in treatment of anything I had ever read….I can scarcely hope that an author of your reputation and experience would accept even the assistance of a collaborateur” [MTNJ 3: 435n93].
Fatout gives this date as the opening-night performance of seven-year-old Elsie Leslie Lyde (known professionally as Elsie Leslie) in Little Lord Fauntleroy, and that Richardson was so impressed with the girl’s role that she thought of casting her in a stage version of P&P. Daniel Frohman, theater owner and stock company director, encouraged Richardson to contact Mark Twain [“MT Litigant” 30].
Alexandra Gripenberg wrote from Finland to Sam. She’d sent his story about the “Negro cook who cut off the leg of the roasted goose,” and a writer in Sweden claimed it was stolen from Boccacio’s Decameron, which made her angry. Could he send her “a word or two in answer”? She sent a photograph of herself and asked for his offering a Finnish saying: “also the cats might look at the king” [MTP].
December 5 Wednesday – Mary C. MacDonald sent Sam a drawing of a tombstone in a freshy dug grave: “SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF A HOPE BORN AUG. 26 1888 DIED — ALL AONG [MTP]. Note: evidently the Century and others Sam had referred her to had rejected her artwork.
December 6 Thursday – In Hartford Sam gave a reading from his work-in-progress (CY) at a gathering for Edith Wilder Smith, wife of Wilder Smith, Hartford clergyman active in charity work. He titled the reading, “King Arthur and the Yankee” [Fatout, MT Speaking 658]. Note: Her 1928 obituary in the Courant lists her as Mrs. Charles T. Welles. This, her second husband was active in the Women’s Board of Missions. Sam’s notebook entry relating to this reading:
Read King Arthur & Yank 6th of December? Yes. — 10 a.m. / 129 Washington street — Edith Wilder Smith [MTNJ 3: 434&n91].
Sam also wrote to Olivia Lewis Langdon, attesting that the “Supplementary volumes & Index” to the Britannica “grows upon one,” and would be a “vastly valuable addition” to their library. The books were no doubt a gift from Sam’s mother-in-law. The Cranes were still at the Clemenses; Sam wrote,
We are all well except Theodore, who is doing fairly, & all send love [MTP].
Eugene Meyer, Piano lessons N.Y., receipted $30 for: “piano lessons to Miss Susie and Clara from Nov the 8th to Dec the 6th” ..note address change to 403 Lexington Ave [MTP].
December 7 Friday – Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam about Mrs. Custer’s desire to buy back the rights to Tenting on the Plains and place the book with another publisher. She felt the book was being neglected by Webster & Co. Hall objected to giving in to her, as “It will be noised around that we made a failure of the book” [MTLTP 252-3n1]. Note: Sam would intervene and soothe Mrs. Custer’s concerns; sales improved in the spring. (See Jan. 11, 1889)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “I wish I could gather from your letter more hopes of the machine. I did gather from it that I might buy a house. I made a contract for one…” Mollie was hunting for a person to help with Ma, but it looked difficult to find one [MTP].
December 8 Saturday
December 9 Sunday – Abby Sage Richardson wrote to Sam, thanking him,
…for your very kind letter received yesterday. Since you give me permission I am going to make the attempt [MTNJ 3: 436n93]. Note: See Dec. 4. Sam and Richardson would sign a contract on Jan. 3, 1889 for her to dramatize P&P.
Sam wrote to Webster & Co., letter not extant but subjects explained in Webster & Co.’s Dec. 10 [MTP].
December 10 Monday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they’d written Mrs. Custer about her book and noted “carefully the various orders in yours of the 9th. … We note your suggestion with reference to having a man with a placard. We only know of one instance where this form of advertising was used; when Keenan’s novel “Trajan” was at the height of its popularity Cassell & Co. had a lot of men parading the streets with these placards….We will …get hold of some of these men” [MTP].
December 11 Tuesday
December 12 Wednesday
December 13 Thursday –Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing Dec. 11 Beecher to Webster letter. Negotiations with the Beecher family had taken months; Hall reported that they had returned the $5,000 advance paid before Henry Ward Beecher’s death. In return, Webster & Co. gave back the manuscript of the Life of Christ [MTLTP 252n1].
December 14 Friday – Livy and Sam began a letter to Olivia Lewis Langdon that Sam finished Dec. 19. Livy missed her mother and wished they might be together at Christmastime. Theodore Crane was taking some sort of “electricity” treatments, which left pain in his arm and a discouraged outlook, then shared by Sue Crane. Still, Sam reported that Theo was “doing comfortably well, & is slowly improving” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam about buying out Charles Webster. The situation had “reached a definite point. I will take the 9 A.M. train to-morrow for Hartford, and hope to see both you and Mr. Whetmore [sic]” [MTP].
December 15 Saturday – Abby S. Richardson wrote to Sam: “I regret to seem to be pestering you with letters, but I beg to know two things: 1st Do I understand that in case I make a success of the dramatization of The Prince and Pauper you will “charge me half the resulting…or in other words, share the receipts? 2nd Does this contract prevent any toher person from attempting the dramatization of the book while I am doing the work [?]” [MTP].
December 16 Sunday
December 17 Monday – Sam wrote to Augustin Daly, letter not extant but referred to in Daly’s Dec. 18 to Sam [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, sending “form of contract which has been prepared as near as could be in the language of Mrs. Webster’s propositions. Will you please look it over and return it to me?” [MTP].
December 18 Tuesday – Augustin Daly for Daly’s Theatre wrote to Sam that he’d received his note of the previous day and that he would save “your seats until six each Tuesday”; he invited the Clemenses to have dinner on “whatever Monday you decide to come to town”; Mrs. Daly was in agreement [MTP].
December 19 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam finished the letter that he and Livy began on Dec. 14. Livy was “scouring around all the time, after economical Christmas presents” and,
All are well, here, except Livy & Clara & Susie Clemens & Theodore & me — & we are improving [MTP].
Fritz Vollmer wrote from Leipzig, Germany to Sam. A drama Vollmer had written bore a striking resemblance to one of Sam’s sketches, “The Novel of the Middle Age.” He would not continue work and “be charged with plagiarism,” and so begged Sam “to advertise [advise] me, if you have an objection against the accomplishment of my drama” [MTP].
Fred Hall of Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that he had not heard back about the “form of contract” to buy Webster out, so had telegraphed him this day. At issue was Webster’s demand that the firm “give security against Mr. Webster’s actions when he was a member of the firm” [MTP].
December 20 Thursday – Sam inscribed a copy of The Stolen White Elephant to Joseph Lane.
To / Joseph Lane/ with the regards of / The Author. / ~ / Dec. 20/88.
Note: This may be Joseph Lane (1851-1920), British anarchist and one of the little-known founders of the libertarian socialist movement in Britain, author of An Antistatist, Communist Manifesto (1887). Or, more likely it was Joseph G. Lane, a wealthy Hartford grocer.
Harriet Jones wrote to Sam (Harriet Andrews of Art Soc. of Hartford to Jones Dec. 20 enclosed) to ask Sam to read at a benefit the last week in Jan. or the first week in Feb., 1889 [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, afraid he thought they’d telegraphed him unnecessarily the day before on the Webster buy-out matter, but they’d had “so much trouble with the mails lately.” This morning they’d received back the contract with Sam’s letter of suggestions, which would be “carefully acted upon.” They had not heard back from him on the matter of the Beecher notes and settlement. They had a proposal for a bookfrom ex-Governor (1867-1871) Joshua L. Chamberlain (1828-1914) of Maine, who had written a “History of the Fifth Army-Corps” [MTP]. Note: Chamberlain was a famous Union general who was at Gettysburg and Appomatox; his memoir, The Passing of the Armies was published a year after his death by Putnam & Sons.
December 21 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his old friend Frank Fuller. Sam’s letter is obviously a response to Fuller’s (not extant). Fuller had been influential in getting Sam to invest in several schemes and securities, and it seems from his reply below that Fuller was up to more promoting.
Bless you I’ve been there! And I left $20,000 behind. I wouldn’t take $40,000 cash for that experience. It’s the best investment I’ve ever made. It is divided up in driblets among all the promising stocks of several years ago. I gave all of them a lift & am not going to assist them any more [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Webster & Co., letter not extant but referred to in Webster’s Dec. 22 [MTP].
Erroll Drake wrote from London to Sam: “Sometime ago I sent you a sketch and you wrote to me as ‘Master Erroll.’ I am not a boy but a girl, 14 years old. I am sending you acopy of some verses I composed…” Booklet of six, four-line verses in the file [MTP].
Abby S. Richardson wrote to Sam: “My father who has come from New England to spend the holiday with me is seriously ill which prevents my coming to Hartford at present. The only day I can leave…is Saturday, as I have engagements….” Sam wrote on the env. “Or tell her leave N.Y. at 9 a.m. & she can leave our house at 2.30 pm” [MTP].
Nicoll The Tailor, Hartford, billed $35: “For Suit” [MTP] Note: not marked paid; branches in Boston, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Wash. Pittsburgh, Hartford.
December 22 Saturday – In an agreement signed this day, Frederick J. Hall bought out Charles Webster’s interest in Webster & Co., for $12,000. The agreement would be effective as of Apr. 1, 1889 [MTHL 2: 610n1].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor of the 21st and 22nd received. We will send goods to Mr. Meyer, as ordered. We note what you say about Fredonia. An anxiety of the nature of which you speak is the very best thing that could happen, as it will prevent all delays and quibbling about signing” [MTP]. Note: Neither of Sam’s notes referred to are not extant.
December 23 Sunday
December 24 Monday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam.
I send by Mr. Eugene Rosenquest, a confidential clerk and a thoroughly reliable young gentleman, a copy of documents for the closing up of the Webster matter. I considered that it was safer and better to send these by special messenger than to trust them to the mails. You will probably get this letter to-morrow (Christmas) morning. He takes a train on Christmas night, and will Wednesday come to your house, as early in the morning as convenient, some time between half past nine and ten. If possible we would like to have it signed in time so that he can take the 12:24 from Hartford back to New York. He will bring with him the two agreements between Mr. Webster and myself, signed by both of us and yet to be signed by yourself and Mrs. Clemens, a letter from me explaining these agreements and some few slight changes that Mr. Webster made before signing them. Also, a letter from Mrs. Webster to Mr. Whitford, which accompanied these contracts, and a letter from Mr. Webster to me. I think it is important that you read all these carefully, especially the letter from Mr. Webster to me, and my letter to you. Upon the signing by yourself and Mrs. Clemens of these contracts, the misery will then be over [MTP].
William J. Hamersley wrote from Mexico City to Sam on Int’l. Co. of Mexico letterhead, “sorely disappointed” he would not be present at the typesetter test, which he hoped would “take place this week.” He wanted to be written of the result [MTP].
December 25 Tuesday – Christmas – Sam inscribed a copy of HF to George L. Bill:
To / Mr. George L. Bill / with the compliments of / The Author. / ~ / Dec. 25/88 [MTP].
Livy inscribed a copy of Charles Holder’s Marvels of Animal Life (1885) to her daughter Clara Clemens [Gribben 316].
December 26 Wednesday – In New York City on East 17th Street, William Dean Howells wrote a short paragraph to Sam.
The Moretti club dines the first Friday after New Year’s: Jan. 4, 1889. Will you come? I can give you a bed, and a hearty welcome. We shall dine at 6:30; so get here early enough to warm your feet before that [MTHL 2: 602]. Note: Moretti’s restaurant on 14th Street was a hangout for theatrical and literary sorts. See note1 of source.
December 27 Thursday – Sam had received Baroness Gripenberg’s letter of Nov. 8 from Finland, where she’d had the one-legged goose story published in a Swedish newspaper. A correspondent to the paper had argued that the story was taken from Boccaccio’s Decameron, and accused Mark Twain of plagiarism, which upset the Baroness. Sam’s reply is noteworthy in that it explores his views on originality and plagiarism. Sam wrote that he’d first heard the story from [Francis] Hopkinson Smith, who had not claimed to be the cook and that Sam had not claimed to be the cook. Sam added:
People are always losing sight of this pregnant fact: there is no merit in ninety-nine stories out of a hundred except the merit put into them by the teller’s art; as a rule, nothing about a story is “original,” and entitled to be regarded as private property and valuable, except the art with the teller puts into the telling of it. Is any human being able to tell Boccacio’s story in Boccacio’s words and make anybody believe it was worth telling? Examine it yourself; you will not be able to smile at it. But Hopkinson Smith will transmute that dross into his own golden words, and by the art of his delivery he will make you shout. He puts a new quality into it, a quality of his own, a quality of “originality.” Wherein lies a poet’s claim to “originality?” That he invents his incidents? No. That he was present when the episodes had their birth? No. That he was the first to report them? No. None of these things have any value; he confers upon them the only “originality” that has any value, and that is his way of telling them [Moyne 376].
Sam asked the Baroness if his letter would “do for print?” See Jan 16, 1889 listing for the answer.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “The papers were safely received from Mr. Rosenquest. Mr. Webster has sent us all the papers that he held on hand relating to the firm in any way….The first payment of $1500 was made yesterday,” by drawing against the company and Hall writing a personal check. Also, they’d received notes from the Beechers for the full amount, $5,000 — “They are drawn payable to the firm and endorsed by William C. Beecher and by his brother Col. Beecher. William C. we find is worth about $10,000 and Col. Beecher is very wealthy. We also managed to squeeze interest out of them…” [MTP].
December 28 Friday – Charles D. Poston wrote from Washington, D.C. to Sam on Dept. of Interior, US Geogical Survey letterhead to wish Sam a happy new year “with reminiscences of Salisbury and Ventnor” [MTP]. Note: Ventnor a seaside resort on the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of England; Salisbury large gardens there. On Dec. 28, 1873 Sam made a quick stop there to hunt up a woman. See entry, Vol. I.
December 29 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Will Bowen answering a recent letter (unlisted).
I am exceedingly glad to know that your little people have come through safely & that the shadow has passed. … The children will be glad to get Mrs. Bowen’s Texan flowers & will be on the lookout for them with the interest of their sex in the nearest image which Nature affords of their sex. …. It is possible that my machine will be finished in a few days, now — but we never prophecy any more [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Augustin Daly, thanking him for his “kind invitation” which Livy and he would “take advantage of,” at first opportunity. Sam answered that he’d taken so long to answer (Daly wrote Dec. 18) because he’d expected to go to New York and “answer by word of mouth; but things have constantly interfered” [MTP].
Sam also responded to Frank Fuller, who had sent him a razor strop and asked if Webster & Co. could consider a book.
When I strop I shall always think of you; & that will be three times a week.
We can’t take any more books for a long time yet. We are over-crowded, & must wait till we work the list down [MTP].
Sam’s notebook includes the announcement given to Livy on Dec. 31 and this entry about it:
(Furnished to Van, Dec. 29, to be used as his first “copy.”) [MTNJ 3: 439]. See Dec. 31 for the copy.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that his monthly $155 check rec’d. “Ma had a bad night, last night; sleepless; had me up about once an hour. She coughs a good deal, and so do I, but Mollie beats all with a dire, racking, painful, consumptive cough. She will go out this afternoon hunting an attendant.” Orion wished Sam would tell him about the typesetter; he thanked them for the Christmas presents [MTP].
December 30 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks.
We are hermits, now, & must doubtless remain so the rest of the winter. Theodore Crane has been here a month or two in a precarious state, because of a stroke of paralysis. Sometimes he picks up a little, & then for a day or two it is a cheerful house; after that, he drops back again, & the gloom & the apprehension return.
Sam confessed the situation with Theo was pulling down Susan L. Crane and also Livy; that they needed a good vacation; and that since Mary had no plans to visit, she wasn’t missing anything.
Susie & Clara are big girls, now, & Jean is coming along. Livy’s health is good — for her. We all hold you in loving remembrance, & send you a full invoice of affectionate holiday greetings [MTMF 262-3].
December 31 Monday – Sam printed a notice for Livy:
To Mrs. S.L. Clemens.
Happy New Year! The machine is finished, & this is the first work done on it [MTP]. Note: False hopes are the most intoxicating kind. See also Dec. 29 about this first “copy.”
In Fredonia, N.Y., Charles Webster, after long negotiations, settled on Dec. 22 for $12,000 for his interest in Webster & Co. Webster’s letter this date to Daniel Whitford reflects Webster’s philosophical if someone bitter view:
…Mr. Clemens now complains of a clause (placing all business in my hands) which has appeared in every contract he ever made with me, and reiterated in six contracts; a clause that was his original proposition…. But talk is idle, the matter is now settled, and a bad disagreeable muss is avoided. I will have a chance to get well at least and that’s all I care about at present. I only hope that Fred [Hall] is engaged in some great, or even fairly profitable, enterprise, I don hope Mr. Clemens won’t want him to drop it or neglect it to revive that “patent baby clamp” business, to prevent lively infants from kicking off the bed clothes and catching cold.
Now Dan you may treat this as a strictly private letter for in spite of my knowledge of affairs I wish Fred nothing but success. I hope he will succeed. I have sold out my interest for far less than I believe it to be worth but it is done and that is the end of it. You will hear nothing more from me on the subject. I shall try and regain my health and when that is done I shall go into something else [MTBus 391-2].
The first Founders’ Night of the Players club in New York was held on this date, and evidently Sam elected not to go. At the meeting, Edwin Booth transferred ownership to the Club of a charming old brownstone at 16 Gramercy Park, after he’d hired Stanford White to remodel the house for the club’s use. Booth filled the place with books and pictures and rarities, and took on the entire cost, then transferred the place to the Players Club. Booth would die in the house [MTB 867].
George H. Warner wrote to Sam on Am. Emigrant Co. Letterhead offering a plan to offer a percentage as a way for printers and newspapers to pay for machines [MTP].