Litigating P&P Drama – Slowly Strangled by Paige – Readings for Charity
Copyright Cause – Howells’ Tragedy – Chang Riley & Eng Nye – Theo Crane Dies Baseball Dinner – “Not a man, but a hog” – “No stoppage upon any pretext”
Pinkeyed Censor – Stedman & Beard – Elsie Leslie – Connecticut Yankee Published
1889 – A promotional leaflet, “Ontario Beach, An Open Letter to Mark Twain,” was published by Wynkoop, Hallenbeck & Co. of New York. From a listing in the Sept. 1998 issue of Firsts: The Book Collector’s Magazine:
“Promotional leaflet, accordion folded. This advertising piece prints the purported text of a letter from John Phoenix (the pen name of George H. Derby, a friend of Twain and fellow humorist) to Mark Twain, extolling the virtues of this resort. Derby died in 1861” .
Managing Editor of The Philadelphia Press sent Sam an “Author’s Questionaire,” which was apparently sent only to the top four people in each field of endeavor, Twain being one of the top four authors. The printed form asked: “Press readers will be much interested to have you write out below, as fully or briefly as you please, what (1) circumstances, or (2) personal quality, or gift has chiefly contributed to our success in life.” Sam wrote “1. I have published infrequently, & have burnt more manuscript that I have printed.” To the second question, “Good Humor” [MTP].
Sometime during the year Sam wrote a response-letter to D.B. Ellis that was printed in the Paris (Mo.?) Mercury on Aug. 23:
I should not be able to use the quilt, nor very easily find room for it in our overcrowded house, but I enclose ten dollars to be used in helping to buy it for someone there on the spot who needs it and would be glad to have the comfort of it on cold winter nights [MTP].
In Hartford Sam also wrote to Augustin Daly sometime during the year suggesting a system for reserving seats for them at his theater. Daly often sent tickets or invitations to various performances. Sam was “laid up these days” and so could not attend. He complained they rarely could get free to travel to New York recently and that their schedules were uncertain. He offered a way for Daly to know if they were coming, and to sell their seats otherwise:
Hereafter, consider our seats vacant at noon Tuesdays, if we have not written or telegraphed to keep them open for us [MTP].
In Hartford Sam also wrote to Augustin Daly again on a Sunday, advising that Daly could “have our seats again,” due to the Cranes being there, and Theodore being too ill for them to leave [MTP].
Sam inscribed copies of CY to:
S.J. Kirk: S.J. Kirk / with compts of / The Author / ~ / 1889.
Annie E. Trumbull: To / My Dear Miss Annie Trumbull / with the best wishes of / The Author / ~ / 1889.
F.H. Watts: F.H. Watts / with compts of / The Author / ~ / 1889. [MTP].
Sam also inscribed an unknown book to J.R. Newton: J.R. Newton / with compts of / The Author / ~ / 1889. [MTP].
Sam also inscribed his personal copy of The Works of Robert Burns with a Whittier verse and Hartford, 1899 [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke inscribed a copy of her book, Steadfast – The Story of a Saint and a Sinner (1889) to Sam: “S.L. Clemens with cordial gratitude from one of the Pittsfield ‘Old Women’ R.T.C.” [MTP].
Sam made notes on reviews of “Susy’s Play” [Univ. of Va. Guide to the Papers of MT online].
Joseph R. Hawley wrote sometime during 1889: “I’m very sorry the copyright bill is in a bad way for two reasons. / I really don’t think it is hopeless yet. If you have been told so by some experienced members of the House I’ll give it up but not otherwise.” After an invitation to dinner, Hawley wrote, “Don’t trouble yourself to reply. We’ll just inquire at the Arlington as we drive by,” which denotes Sam was in Washington, D.C. (Jan. 31-Feb. 2?) [MTP]. Note not mailed but sent.
Also during the year, Bradford Merrill, managing editor of the Philadelphia Press, sent Sam a form letter questionnaire polling “as fully or briefly as you please, what (1) circumstances, or (2) personal quality, or gift has chiefly contributed to your success in life.” Sam responded to each question:
[1.] I have published infrequently, & have burnt more manuscript than I have printed.
[2.] Good Humor [MTP].
Andrew Lang’s article, “Western Drolls,” a chapter in Lost Leaders (1889) contained a “conventional description of the man and his works; facing, there is a portrait of MT” [Tenney, ALR supplement to the MT Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 182].
Max O’Rell and Jack Allyn; translated by Madame Paul Blouët: Jonathan and His Continent: Rambles through American Society (1889), p. 113-15:
Mark Twain has amassed a considerable fortune, not — as he says himself — in writing his own books, but in publishing those of other people. If there had been an international copyright between England and America, Mark Twain would have made a considerable fortune without going into business….This man of merriment is, it appears, also a deep student of serious things [MTJ, “Bibliographic Issue 4” 42:1 (Spring 2004) 5-6].
Sam also wrote an unidentified tailor:
I have been forgetting and forgetting until I am in rags. Please make me a colored suit (near Kin but not precisely the same as the last one)… [MTP]. Note: this may have been to Frank M. Wilson & Co, “Tailors and Gent’s Furnishers” in Bridgeport, Conn., where Sam had purchased other suits.
Books published by Charles L. Webster & Co. in 1889.
Conkling, Alfred R., The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling, Orator, Statesman, Advocate
Filippini, Alexander, The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve It
Stedman, Edmund Clarence, A Library of American Literature from the Earliest Settlement to
the Present Time
Twain, Mark, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
January 1 Tuesday – Wallace W. Muzzy wrote from Bristol, Conn. to Sam: “That was a brilliant idea of yours, writing Prof. Smith requesting him to remain at Trinity…” [MTP].
January 2 Wednesday – Sam referred to “last night at dinner” with Elsie Leslie on his Jan. 3 inscription to HF. It’s not known where and who else was at the dinner, but likely Elsie’s mother and perhaps Augustin Daly and other stage personalities.
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam “relieved and grateful” for getting his and “Mr. Warner’s telegram yesterday. It was just as good in both of you as it could be. I had heard that you had decided not to read in public any more except on special occasions, and I was thankful that my own case came within the exceptions.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Johnston’s proposition about the Club” [MTP].
January 3 Thursday – Sam signed a contract giving Abby Sage Richardson permission to stage P&P. Fatout writes:
“Skeptical of success, he [Sam] said that three or four people, himself included, had failed to make a play of the story, and he disapproved of casting one performer in two roles, yet he gave her permission to proceed…. But since the lady proved difficult and [Daniel] Frohman objected to being left out, the contract was cancelled in favor of a new one, signed on May 13” [“MT, Litigant” 30-1]. Note: Richardson had been inspired by seven-year-old Elsie Leslie’s performance in Little Lord Fauntleroy and contacted Clemens at the urging of Frohman.
Sam also signed two presentation copies, half-morocco, of P&P and HF to the child actress, Elsie L. Leslie:
To Elsie with the kindest regards of Mark Twain Jan. 3/89. [P&P].
Dear Elsie: This is the book I told you about last night at dinner. You’ll find that what I said is true: that it is one of the stateliest poems of modern times. Sincerely yours The Author. Jan 3/89. [HF] [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam relating a conversation with Col. Grant about Sam raising the issue of needed national support for the late Gen. Grant in a Hartford speech — and the result was a fund of $250,000 the family now enjoyed. Sam wrote on the envelope,
Well then, I also saved them from signing a contract with the Century Co. which would have robbed them of another quarter of a million cash. Yet they are such grasping & difficult people to deal with that I have told Whitford to turn over the Grant Memoirs to them & ridme of the fret of trying to do business with them. S.L. Clemens [MTP].
January 4 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Malcolm Johnston (sometimes reported as simply Malcom Johnston). Sam addressed him as “Colonel” and thanked him for his “good letter” of Jan. 2. Fatout writes,
“When the wife of Thomas Nelson Page died suddenly, Mark Twain substituted for him in Baltimore. Also on the program was Malcom Johnson, to whom Mark Twain gave all the receipts for the evening” [MT Speaking 658]. (Editorial emphasis.)
Sam said he was “unspeakably sorry for poor Page,” and “in an emergency like this I am cheerfully ready to break all the promises I have made that I would infest the public platform no more.” Sam planned to leave New York for Baltimore about 10 a.m. on Jan. 17, and would telegraph him before leaving (he actually left on Jan. 16). The Baltimore event was a benefit reading to help Page. Sam thought the 110 minutes allotted on the program between he and Johnston should be split about in half with the performance alternating several times between the two [MTP]. See Sam’s follow up Jan. 9.
Sam’s notebook carried an entry probably this day for Baltimore, Thursday, Jan. 17, and the intention to return to New York on Jan. 18 to attend a dinner at Moretti’s Restaurant with William Dean Howells and his literary circle [MTNJ 3: 441n114-5].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that the Grant family had compromised “the old differences” [MTLTP 252n1].
January 5 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a long letter of celebration and explanation to Orion Clemens about the Paige typesetter test at Pratt and Whitney Co.
At 12.20 this afternoon a line of movable types was spaced and justified by machinery, for the first time in history of the world! And I was there to see. It was done automatically — instantly — perfectly. This is indeed the first line of movable types that ever was perfectly spaced and perfectly justified on this earth.
Sam told how a speck of dirt in the type was allowed for by the machine, which fooled them all. Sam wrote that Livy was downstairs celebrating. He gushed,
All the other wonderful inventions of the human brain sink pretty nearly into commonplace contrasted with this awful mechanical miracle. Telephones, telegraphs, locomotives, cotton gins, sewing machines, Babbitt Babbage calculators, Jacquard looms, perfecting presses, Arkwright’s frames — all mere toys, simplicities! The Paige Compositor marches alone and for in the lead of human inventions.
In two or three weeks we shall work the stiffness out of her joints and have her performing as smoothly and softly as human muscles, and then we shall speak out the big secret and let the world come and gaze.
Return me this letter when you have read it. / Sam / ~[MTP].
Sam’s notebook also carries a similar message of success and lists the following individuals present:
J.W. Paige, the inventor; Charles [E.] Davis, Earll, Grohman, Mathematical assistants & mechanical experts. Bates, foreman; and S.L Clemens. This record is made immediately after the prodigious event [MTNJ 3: 441].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green sent Sam an agreement to sign about a loan to “Mr. J.H.” [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam: “Thanky-do Sir for your favor of yesterday. It has given me much strength to my back. / Your arrangement of work is just such as I had made in my mind. But you must take the 60 & I the 50 minutes” [MTP].
Donn Piatt for Belford’s Magazine wrote to Sam asking “what works of prose fiction, you like best.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “No Answer” [MTP].
Players Club sent Sam a printed notice that members were reminded “visitors cannot be admitted to the Club House except by formal invitation of the House Committee.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Drop a line to Palmer” [MTP].
January 6 Sunday – Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy: “You have known Ma in her happiest days tis well you can remember her thus. Now she is eighty-five and half years old and demented.” Mollie asked if they’d “authorize Orion to take enough of Ma’s money that is invested here, to put in a bath room and water closet on Ma’s bed room floor”; more talk of the house they would buy [MTP]
Oliver H. Leigh, an Englishman some two years in N.Y., wrote to Sam asking to see him for help with his literary efforts [MTP].
January 7 Monday – From Sam’s notebook, more about the typesetter:
Monday, Jan. 7 — 4.45 p.m. The first proper name ever set by this new key-board was William Shakspeare. I set it, at the above hour; & I perceive, now that I see the name written, that I either mis-spelled it then or I’ve mis-spelled it now [MTNJ 3: 443].
Kate Dodge for Sewing Soc. In Rock Island, Ill. sent Sam a piece of silk asking him to write his name with pencil on it and return it with $1 for a quilt to help build a new Methodist church there. The silk piece remains in MTP’s file, which denotes Sam’s answer [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that the financial “storm” referred to in the past was in fact “a tornado!” and he wished he could help. He felt sorry for Charley & Annie Webster. In other news he revealed they’d bought and paid for the house today — “everybody says wonderfully cheap—$3,100. We paid $1100 and borrowed $2,000.” He’d done some legal work; Ma suffered from rheumatism; Charley Webster “will sport at Long Branch, take Helen (the maid) by herself to Washington, and make her a $500 Christmas present.” He criticized the lawyers there on the R.T. Root trial [MTP].
January 8 Tuesday – John Brusnahan for N.Y. Herald wrote to thank Sam “for the great and important information” sent. “It is, without doubt, the greatest achievement of the age. The whole civilized world is your oyster now.” Howland was less joyful, “having been disappointed so often” [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam that his “proposal of yesterday is the very thing I wanted. I had intended to give you an hour & twenty minutes.” He’d declined a dinner invitation for the two of them because he’d written Mr. Goddard that they would “repair to the University Club” after the reading [MTP].
Webster & Co. Sent Sam a long detailed letter and financial statement, enclosing contracts and a note from Daniel Whitford “explaining the same.” W.E. Dibble had been paid amounts owed [MTP].
January 9 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Malcolm Johnston and marked the note “private.” He advised of changed plans, to “sneak down to Baltimore on Wednesday, 16th…& go into hiding from all save you.” Sam felt the trip would wear him out and that he’d need a “whole day’s rest.” He wanted to be incommunicado there before Thursday. He ended with,
Let Capt. H.P. Goddard tell you what he wrote to me & what I have answered [MTP].
Note: Henry P. Goddard was active in the Baltimore Insurance Underwriters Association as well as the Baltimore Shakespeare Club. No such letter from Sam or incoming from Goddard is extant.
Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a financial statement (bank balances totaled $17,496.80) and noting that W.E. Dibble had been replaced by Horace Granfield at a lower salary. Dibble would be demoted to canvasser. He had managed the New York General Agency of the Company [MTLTP 252n1; MTP]. (See Feb. 25, Dec. 27, 28, 29 1887, May 19, 1888 for more on Dibble and the controversy between Charles Webster and Fred Hall.)
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam of “news” just received — the “machine seems supernatural. I am amazed. My religion is upset. I had thought only God could construct a thinking machine.” “An old English nurse” had commenced watching Ma [MTP].
Civil Service Reform Assoc. of Maryland sent Sam a printed invitation to a conference Feb. 23. Sam wrote on the envelope, “To be answered” [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam that he found he could give him five more minutes to speak. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Splendid!” [MTP].
January 10 Thursday – Richard Malcolm Johnston answered Sam’s note about arriving in Baltimore incommunicado: “I will meet you at Union Station, take you to my house, and keep you as hid treasure safely from all inquisitions” [MTNJ 3: 443n117].
January 10 Thursday ca. (on or after) † – In Hartford Sam wrote to Webster & Co. that he’d just received their letter of Jan. 9. Sam addressed several business issues in a brief note — he didn’t want to publish a book by a Mr. Thayer; he was agreeable to a proposition of a $5,000 advance to Watson Gill; he recommended enclosing a catalogue in every book, and putting advertisements of their full list of books in the back of all books published, unless Stedman objected (on Library of Am. Lit.) [MTP].
Sam read over the new contract with Frederick Hall as partner. He wrote of it the next day.
January 11 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, happy with the change in partnership.
The substitution of brains for guesswork was accomplished when you took Webster’s place last February, and I see by your letter that the use of brains in place of guesswork is to remain the policy of your administration. I cordially approve, detail by detail, of what you have done, & of what you have planned to do. You & I will never have any trouble.
Sam wrote he’d been busy preparing for the Baltimore benefit reading with Richard Malcolm Johnston, and that he’d talked with Mrs. Custer, who felt “much more contented.” She had been dissatisfied with sales of her book (see Dec. 7, 1888) [MTLTP 252].
Sam also wrote a short paragraph to Richard Malcolm Johnston, thanking him “a thousand times for yours of the 9th.” Sam was glad to have enough time to do his reading and thought,
…a body ought to read right, & never mind about economising time [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam that he was “amused by the letter you sent with your emphatic addendum” [MTP].
Virginia S. Mosby, in Warrenton, Va. “preparing for the press an article on cremation” asked for “a few lines on the subject, for or against the practice” [MTP]. Note: See also Jan. 21 entry on cremation.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, enclosing a statement from Slote & Co. together with a check for $600. Mr Whitford would leave Jan. 12 for Keokuk and the R.T. Root trial; Prof. John Fiske had ordered a set of the LAL, and it was known he was working on a History of the U.S. which they might publish if Sam could use his influence [MTP].
January 12 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall for Webster & Co. wrote to thank Sam for the kind note — his approval gave him “new energy and determination.” A signed contract was enclosed [MTP].
January 13 Sunday
January 14 Monday – William Dean Howells sent a note to Sam that they were “all expecting you at our Moretti dinner, Friday night of this week. Come directly on your return from Baltimore” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (financial statement enclosed, balance: $19,289.31). “Your note with reference to Mr. Orion Clemens received and carefully noted, also note from Mr. Whitmore. Prof. John Fiske’s address is simply Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass.” It was but rumor that Fiske was writing a US History. Sam noted on the envelope to write Fiske [MTP].
January 15 Tuesday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam proposing to sell the rights to the bio of Henry Ward Beecher to Bromfield & Co., “a small but reliable publishing firm” in N.Y. The book had been a loser to about $2,000 and the proposal was to ask that amount [MTP].
January 16 Wednesday – Webster & Co. notified Sam that the stock of several old volumes had been sold to Watson Gill; also, that Gill had included an order for 50 of Mrs. Custer’s book, Tenting on the Plains [MTLTP 252n1,n3]. Hall added, “We have the daily report system running now & so far it works finely. We know precisely where we stand now daily [MTP].
R.P. Salter of the Harlem Southern Auld Lang Syne Soc. wrote to Sam advising the Hotel Brunswick banquet had been changed to a dinner at Moretti’s Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. [MTP].
January 17 Thursday – According to Sam’s Jan. 4 to Johnston, he left New York for Baltimore, Maryland at 10 a.m. He may have left Hartford on an early train, or may have gone there a day or more before. Because Webster & Co. wrote to him on Jan. 16, it’s likely he left Hartford early and continued on to Baltimore. In this evening he gave a reading at the University Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 658; Jan. 4 to Johnston]. Gribben writes,
“Mark Twain planned a benefit reading with Johnston to help ‘poor’ Thomas Nelson Page…Henry P. Goddard — in Harper’s Weekly (1906) — reports authoritatively that Mark Twain turned over to Johnston the $700 that was Twain’s share for their joint reading in Baltimore; Mark Twain had replaced Thomas Nelson Page on the program, and he wished to assist the financially needy Johnston. Goddard was present at a dinner after the reading…when Mark Twain, upon being toasted, ‘paid a loving tribute to Colonel Johnston” . Note: the Washington Post p.1 ran a squib, “Mark Twain and Col. Johnston,” datelined N.Y. on Jan. 12 giving Jan. 16 as the date of the reading, which is probably in error.
Rev. Thomas A. Davis, “a poor minister who is striving to help his race” wrote from Baltimore to Sam asking for “a trifle” in help. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Col’d minister asks aid” [MTP].
Robert Underwood Johnson for Century Magazine wrote to Sam: “Nelson (who you know is agent for the joint copyright committee) writes me from Washington that he & Eggleston need your help with Judge John H. Rogers of Arkansas who is a hard nut to crack, the greatest obstacle we have. Of course you’ll write to him and to any others.” Johnson wanted Sam to go to Washington with him for a vote on the bill on or before Tuesday. Sam wrote, “Answered” on the env. [MTP].
January 18 Friday – London’s Pall Mall Gazette reported:
…the genial humorist who is famous throughout the civilized world as “Mark Twain” is a mechanician of no ordinary kind. For several years he has been engaged in perfecting a type-setting machine of his own invention, and at last his patient toil has been, as he declares, crowned with success [MTNJ 3: 440n112].
If things went as planned, Sam returned to New York and dined with William Dean Howells and his literary circle at Moretti’s Restaurant (see Jan. 4). He may have then returned home or spent one night in the City, returning the next day, Jan. 19. Often there were no trains on Sundays.
George Standring wrote from London to Sam (clipping enclosed of the above Pall Mall article). “Your letter announcing the success of yr. machine arrived yesterday morning, & threw me into an excited state.” Sandring wrote an article based on Sam’s letter and enclosed it [MTP].
January 19 Saturday – Mrs. T.C. Sylvis wrote from Olathe, Kansas to Sam. “I have just received your incomprehensible letter, in reply to mine [not extant], asking you for a souvenir. I am almost heart broken — I cannot believe that you would poke fun at me, by addressing me as ‘my dear baroness.’” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We enclose herewith as requested duplicates of the Daily Report both of the Subscription Department and the Book-keeping Department” [MTP].
January 20 Sunday – The New York Press responded to a question whether Sam was “still writing” the “Funny Side” column, that he was “mostly confined to writing on checks” [Budd, Our MT 84].
Elizabeth K. Boyesen wrote to Sam inviting him to dine with them on his next visit to New York [MTP].
Orion and Mollie Clemens began a letter to Sam and Livy they finished Jan. 21. A water closet was going in the house for Ma
I feel stunned and stupefied at the vastness of our good fortune. This morning I read as much as I could of your letter to Mollie & Ma. She was much affected at the happy future before her and Mollie and me. I told her you sent back the letter about the machine that I might copy it for her. I read it to her again. It is always fresh for her. She wants to see the machine. [MTP].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Livy thanking her for the use of her husband and how charmed everyone was with his reading [MTP].
January 20 Sunday ca. before – Sam’s notebook carries travel plans for his Jan. 21 reading at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., and included a stop at Springfield. The plans do not include an overnight stay.
Leave 4.40 get to Sp.5.42. Leave Spr. 6.15 — get to North 6.55.
Leave here 2 20 — get to S 3.02 — Le Spr 3.15. get there 3.57.
Leave 10.15; / Rech Spr. 11. / Lve. Sprin 11.45; / rch Htfd, — 12.24 [MTNJ 3: 444].
Just under this entry Sam wrote three schools to write for catalogues, for the benefit of Susy and Clara Clemens’ further education. They were: Miss Porter’s, a Farmington Conn. boarding school for girls, Bryn Mawr, where Susy would enroll in Oct. 1890, and Boston University . The girls had been exclusively home-schooled.
January 21 Monday – Sam gave a reading at Smith College, Northampton, Mass. that included the segments, “Lucerne Girl,” “Tar Baby,” “Andrea del Sarto,” “German Lesson,” “Interviewer,” “Bluejay,” “Baker’s Cat,” and “Golden Arm.” Fatout writes, “Mark Twain admitted to his notebook that this program was too long by at least a half hour”. This reading was one of several Sam gave to support charitable causes; in this case he raised $200.59 for the school’s gymnasium fund [MTNJ 3: 444n120].
Orion and Mollie Clemens finished a letter to Sam and Livy they began on Jan. 20 [MTP].
John S. Farmer, author of a dictionary of “Americanisms” wrote from Surrey, England accusing Sam of writing or causing to be written a “paragraph which appeared in the American papers to the effect that my work was nothing more nor less than a piracy of a projected work by Mr. C.G. Leland.” Was there any truth in this charge? Sam wrote on the envelope, “O, hell!” [MTP].
Frank H. Green for State Normal School, West Chester, Penn. wrote to Sam announcing a Feb. 9 “Aryan Society” meeting devoted “entirely to your writings,” and asked for Sam’s “words of greetings.” Sam wrote on the top of the letter, “Goddamn a man who pays you a compliment & charges you for it. SLC.” Society booklet of bylaws and ribbon enclosed [MTP].
US Cremation Soc., N.Y. Per John Townshend sent Sam a form letter asking his views on cremation [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We paid a note for $5,000 Saturday, another for $5,000 to-day and a $10,000 note is due Wednesday. Mr. Peale owes us about $6500 which is due the 26th of this month” [MTP].
S.B. Phillips a Portland, Maine stenographer writing for Phonographic World, “The leading shorthand monthly” sent a form letter sking for Sam’s thoughts and whether he used pen, typewriter or dictated. Return envelope not used [MTP].
January 22 Tuesday – Webster & Co. wrote Sam two letters; the first typed covering several subjects, which Sam noted on the envelope, “Beecher terms all right, Root compromise ditto, Don’t want that book,” referring to a diary of Lt. Long of the Greeley expedition sent by Richard E. Burton. The second missive from Webster: “We hasten to return the $5,000 note to you. Our Gen’l Agts responded well; this morning’s mail contained nearly $7,000” [MTP].
January 23 Wednesday – Robert Underwood Johnson for Century Magazine wrote to Sam:”All right. We’ll go next week then, say Thursday or Friday. The vote will be moved (to set a day) on Monday Feb. 4” [MTP].
January 24 Thursday – Joseph H. Twichell gave a historical address at a celebration of the 250th anniversary of Connecticut’s first constitution. The Hartford Courant of Jan. 25 called Twichell’s speech “Magnificent.” Sam was not there. See Jan. 25 to Twichell.
In Hartford Sam wrote to an unidentified person, declining to comply with a request.
…my obligations are so pressing that I have no outside time which I may call my own [MTP].
Irving Putnam for G.P. Putnam’s Sons wrote to Sam suggesting after seeing the play Little Lord Fauntleroy that P&P would make a much better play [MTP].
January 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Joe Twichell complimenting him on his speech of the previous evening.
It is a great & admirable performance, & does you infinite credit. It must have cost prodigious labor to prepare it…. Livy buried me under reproaches last night, because I was absent, & she made me feel sorry & ashamed…but I am not sorry now; I could reflect — & leisurely reflect — as I read you this morning, whereas you would have allowed me no time for that…
I have sent a copy to Chauncey Depew. He is orator at the coming Constitutional celebration, & he can’t claim ignorance, now, if he fails to do justice to Connecticut.
I think you have painted Thomas Hooker for all time; it must remain the original, the master-work; all that follow will be merely copies [MTP].
Note: Chauncey Depew (1834-1928), later U.S. senator for N.Y., lawyer, railroad executive, Yale alumnus, best remembered as an orator and raconteur, unsuccessful presidential candidate. Thomas Hooker (1586-1647) was one of the founders of the colony of Connecticut.
Thomas Frazer Reddy, Boston attorney wrote to Sam that he had nearly completed writing a dramatization of P&P and that they both should make some “pecuniary benefit” from it [MTP].
January 26 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam responded to Irving Putnam’s Jan. 24 praise about P&P.
I wrote the story mainly in order that it might be dramatized; but nobody offered to do it; wherefore I went to work at last some years ago, & dramatized it myself: that is, I thought I did, but managers didn’t think so, & so nothing came of it. But lately, several people have proposed to dramatize the book, & I made a contract with one of them, & she is at work at it now [MTP]. Note: the contract was with Abby Sage Richardson. See Dec. 4 & 9, 1888, and Jan. 3, 1889 entries.
Sam also wrote to Thomas Frazer Reddy, letter not extant but referred to in Reddy’s Jan. 28 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to F.P. Browne in Bay City, Mich.,letter not extant but referred to in Browne’s Jan. 30 response [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke (1827-1892) poet and novelist wrote to Sam inviting him to read at the Academy of Music in Pittsfield, Mass. on Mar. 6,
…to assist a really excellent charity, the combined Old Ladies’ Home and Union for Home Work…. There shall be lemons, hot water, and sugar galore; as to the fourth ingredient I am afraid I am not connoisseur enough to promise that I can suit you, but I will do my best [MTNJ 3:448n137].
Webster & Co. wrote Sam an accounting — some $20,000 paid in notes this week, balance totals of $34,705.66 [MTP].
January 27 Sunday
January 28 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to the editor of the London Pall Mall Gazette, a newspaper that often carried articles and notices about Mark Twain. In this case the paper had printed from Sam’s letter to an “English friend” of Sam’s, (George Standring [MTNJ 3: 440n112]) that Mark Twain had invented the typesetting machine.
…I did speak of it as “my” machine, and of course that is what misled him. When I own part of a piece of property I always speak of it as “mine.” This is merely for grandeur. I ignore the other proprietors. On the same principle, I always speak of America as my country. It is a misleading expression. Some think I own it all, others think I invented it [MTP].
Thomas Frazer Reddy wrote to Sam: “Thank you for your kind note of 26th. …If you could give me name & address of party who has agreed to dramatize [P&P] work perhaps we together might be able to produce a creditable play” [MTP].
January 29 Tuesday – H. Billard wrote from N.Y. asking Sam for a contribution for a book to be sold at the American Institute’s Fair Feb. 18 to 26. [MTP].
William (Will) Bowen wrote to Sam on the letterhead of Commercial Ins. Co., S.F. (2 letters enclosed). “Dear Sam, Here is something I found several years ago in Fayetteville, Ark. Possibly you have not seen it — if not, I think you will enjoy it. / I found it in a Scrap Book of Col Van House and had it copied by the ‘offen’ whose letter accompanys.” Sam wrote “Poem on Creator by Russian Poet” on the env. [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam (Jane Clemens to Trabue ca. Jan. 28 enclosed):
My Dear Brother: / I concluded to wait, and see if I had only dreamed that you wrote the letter to me about the strange scene around the machine, and its wonders, and the other letter to Mollie about our future, and if the check came $200 sure enough, then I was awake, and the two letters were not dreams. … / Ma has been making it lively, day and night, for her attendant, for a week, except the last two nights, when she was only up about twice each night. Her cough and rheumatism are better [MTP].
Alexandra Gripenberg wrote to Sam: “How very kind of you to write to me such a long and delightful letter. I published it instantly in one of our papers, of which I sent you a copy. I thought you would like to have it for fun, although you can not read it…you know it is rather rare to have Mark Twain as a contributor to a Finnish paper” [MTP]. Note: Sam had responded to a charge of plagiarism for the one-legged turkey tale; that he stole the idea from Boccacio’s Decameron.
January 30 Wednesday – The major portion of Sam’s Dec 27, 1888 letter about plagiarism to Baroness Gripenberg was translated and ran in the Stockholm, Sweden newspaper, Göteborg Handels-och Sjöfarts-Tidning [Moyne 377].
F.P. Browne for Bay National Bank, Bay City, Mich. wrote to Sam: “Your favor of Jan. 26 is at hand. I think you are safe this time as I find that the sentiment in this Diocese is centering upon Dr.Satterlee of New York.…I am much pleased to have your favorable opinion of Trinity College and the work of its President, and while I can’t conveniently send them the $200,000 this morning, yet possible your word may have some effect” [MTP].
January 31 Thursday – At 10 a.m. in New York, Sam left for Washington joined by Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine [MTNJ 3: 445]. The men aimed to lobby for passage of a copyright bill. Sam also referred to a “prospectus” to take to Washington, probably investment promotion for the typesetter as the prospectus for CY was not completed until Oct. 1889 [n125].
James S. Metcalfe for American Newspaper Publishers’ Association wrote to Sam asking if the Paige typesetter would be exhibited “at our Convention on the 13th proximo?” The Paige machine was not ready and Whitmore estimated another week of work [MTNJ 3: 448n135].
Webster & Co. wrote two letters to Sam, announcing that Bromfield & Co. had bought the old stock of the Beecher biography for $4,000 [MTLTP 252n1].
E. Butler wrote from Muscatine, Iowa to Sam (before this day): “I’m a farmer and I’ve been a thinkin’ how as writin’ ud be easier work” and wanted to know if Sam thought it would pay better! [MTP].
February – Sam’s notebook entry concerns Margaret Wade Deland’s first novel, John Ward, Preacher (1888) about the struggles of a Calvinist minister and his wife who does not share his faith. Sam wrote a criticism similar to that he would use against Jane Austen:
Surely the test of a novel’s characters is that you feel a strong interest in them & their affairs, — the good to be successful, the bad to suffer failure. Well in John Ward, you feel no divided interest, no discriminating interest — you want them all to land in hell together, & right away [MTNJ 3: 446].
February 1 Friday – Sam’s notebook carries a list of names indicating the order in which he planned visits before leaving Washington. Some have addresses (not included below). They are:
Mrs. President Cleveland; Gen. Joseph R. Hawley; Mrs. Ralph Cross Johnson; Mrs. Secretary Whitney; William D. Cabell Sat. Eve. 8.30. 9; Mrs. Hitt ; Mrs George Hearst; Mrs. John Hay; John Hay; Mr. S.G. Ward & Miss Howard; Z.C. Robbins [MTNJ 3: 447].
Dean Sage wrote inviting Sam and Livy for a visit in Albany, N.Y. and telling of an “Electro-matrix type machine” that was being exhibited there. Sage wrote it was thought that the device would win out over
…all other machines — sure. You probably know all about it, its advantages & defects, & I write this merely to let you know, in the remote case of your not already knowing, that there is a possible rival in the field [MTNJ 3: 448n136]. Note: Sam and Livy did make a quick trip to Albany, leaving on Feb. 11.
William Collins Whitney sent Sam an engraved invitation for Friday evening, Feb. 1 from 9 p.m. to 12 [MTP]. Whitney was Sec. Of Navy in Cleveland’s first administration, 1885-9.
Robert Grant for Int’l Copyright Assoc. wrote inviting Sam to read from his writings in Boston some afternoon during the first fortnight in Feb. — a list of other luminaries had been invited [MTP].
February 2 Saturday – Sam gave a speech at Prof. William D. Cabell’s residence on Mass. Ave., Washington, D.C. for the Norwood Ladies’ Literary Association. This was reprinted by Louis J. Budd in “A Rediscovered Mark Twain Speech: New Laws and Old Yarns,” Essays in Arts and Sciences 23 (Oct. 1994): 59-66, and is also contained in a Washington Post article for Feb. 4, 1889, p.2, “‘Mark Twain’s’ Speech.”
For this day, The Washington Post, p.1, ran “Mark Twain in the City”:
Mr. S.L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”) is in town and will remain for a few days. He is to take part in the Norwood Literary Society’s entertainment at Mrs. Cabell’s this evening, in which Dr. Edward Eggleston and others are to participate. Col. Richard Malcom Johnston, the author of the well-known Georgia stories, will also be present.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam with three financial reports — a Daily Report from the Subscription Dept for last week’s work, the same for the Book-keeping Dept., and “Books Sent out in Jan.” [MTP].
February 3 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “All right. I will leave Loisette alone. / We are greatly pleased to learn that there is no abatement of confidence in the machine. / There has been no leak of information here. / Glad to hear Mr. Crane is improving. / We are pleasantly engaged in planning for the new house. We are to get possession on the 15th of this month….” More Ma delusions — she thought at times that Orion was “her deceased Uncle Green Casey” [MTP].
Joseph R. Hawley sent a note from the Arlington House in Wash. D.C. to Sam, also there, not knowing just when the “motion will be made to take up the Copyright Bill.” Hawley directed Sam to give his card or note to the doorkeeper of the Senate so they could get a meal [MTP].
Mary A. Jordan wrote from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. to Sam that they’d been able to send to Mr. Lawrence a check for $200.59 for the gymnasium fund. “If you could hear all the appreciation for your generous kindness…” [MTP]. Note: See Jan 21 entry.
February 4 Monday – In Washington, the House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on a motion to take up the international copyright bill. “A filibuster by opponents of another bill prevented this vote and effectively killed the proposed international copyright legislation” [MTNJ 3: 445n123]. With this development, Sam returned home [446n131].
February 5 Tuesday – H.B. Wetzell of Knoxville, Tenn., wrote to Sam on Wetzell & Co. Timberlands letterhead after hearing from one Mr. Risden who claimed to have played hookey with Sam as a boy in Tennessee — was this true? Sam wrote on the envelope, “Will dictate answer” [MTP]. Note: this man may have confused Orion with Sam.
February 6 Wednesday – The Hartford Alumni of Yale gave an annual banquet. This year’s took place at Foot Guard Hall in Hartford at 6:30 p.m. Sam gave what was “apparently” an impromptu and humorous dinner speech based upon his recent honorary MA degree from the school. He spoke of his recent trip to Washington and support for international copyright legislation. His notebook [MTNJ 3: 456-7&472] carries what may be drafts for this speech. Livy and Susan L. Crane attended the event [445n127]. Fatout includes what he says is “probably one of the discarded texts” in Mark Twain Speaking, p.235-7. MacLauchlin presents what is conjectured as a second discarded text for the banquet, dealing with the teaching of religion at Girard College in Phila., founded to give free primary and secondary education for poor white orphan boys, but with the stricture that no sectarian teaching would be allowed [33-6].
The New York Times ran a notice on page 1, (reprinted from an article in Keokuk, Iowa):
THE JUDGEMENT NOT SATISFIED.
KEOKUK, Iowa, Feb. 5. — Mr. Clemens and Charles L. Webster of the firm of C.L. Webster & Co. of New-York City are fighting for a judgment of $31,000 which they recently obtained here against D.L. Roots of Burlington, and his sureties, Henry Nan and L. Dee. The publishing company furnished a large number of copies of “Grant’s Memoirs,” for which no return was made. Judgment was secured against the defendants in the above amount, but was not satisfied.
Mr. Clemens now charges that Nan and Roots fraudulently transferred their property to evade the judgment. The court is requested to appoint a Receiver to take charge of the affair and make a thorough investigation.
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Pittsfield, Mass. to ask if Sam might come on either the 27th or 28th of this month [MTP].
Mrs. C.C. Hedges wrote from Clinton, Miss. Sam marked it “Unanswered Letters.” A begging letter for $80 [MTP].
Francis Hopkinson Smith wrote from N.Y. to Sam. Smith was disappointed not to find him at home last week when he came to interview him for the Bacheller Newspaper Syndicate — “The public would be glad to know whether you consider marriage a failure — I feel certain that you do not” [MTP].
February 7 Thursday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam they had $12,167.75 on hand with another $7,000 due from agents within the next two weeks [MTP].
February 8 Friday – Thomas Frazer Reddy wrote to Sam asking for “the name & address of the person to whom you gave authority to dramatize & produce the ‘Prince & the Pauper’”[MTNJ 3: 451n149].
Mary C. MacDonald wrote to Sam asking his patience — “the art editors at the Century think me not worth saving — well maybe I am not — but I can not but have faith in myself” prefaced a long sob story and it’s not clear just what more Mary wanted Sam to do, but she wrote Feb. 27 thanking him for $50 [MTP].
February 9 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short paragraph to Alexander Badlam, confirming that it was indeed Nelson Page’s wife who suddenly died, 24 hours after feeling ill. Sam confirmed he’d taken Page’s place and read with Johnston on Jan. 17 [MTP]. Note: Badlam was a former (1863-4) California state legislator and the subject in one of Sam’s letters to the Virginia City Enterprise, “White Man Mighty Onsartain,” Jan. 1866. Badlam would later have a book rejected by Webster & Co. but found a publisher in 1890. See Mar. 8.
Sam gave a reading at the South Baptist Church, Hartford, Kittredge Wheeler, pastor [Fatout, MT Speaking 658; MTNJ 3: 445].
Webster & Co. per Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing yet another report (not in the file). “Nothing has occurred since we saw you, except we have taken Mr. Gill up on his offer, as authorized by your telegram. We have come to no definite conclusion yet on the Grant matter” [MTP].
February 10 Sunday – Livy wrote her mother that they would “make the Sages a little visit, that is we shall stay with them two days” [MTNJ 3: 448n136].
Orlando George wrote to Sam, who labeled it “20 full pages begs…for a novel he has written” [MTP].
February 11 Monday – Sam and Livy went to New York City on this day, and then on to Albany to visit the Dean Sage family the next [MTNJ 3: 448&n136].
Daughter Jean wrote two letters, one to her father and one to her mother. Sam enclosed these to his Feb. 15 letter to Orion [MTP].
February 12 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: Take the limited Tuesday a.m. at 9.50 arrive at Albany 1.10 p.m. [MTNJ 3: 448].
Kittridge Wheeler for South Baptist Church wrote Sam, thanking him for his Feb. 9 reading, and helping “The People’s Lecture Course, with your name, your presence, your influence, your popularity, and your reading…. Your name gave us a prestige — a place to begin and something to begin with” [MTNJ 3: 445n126].
Alexander P. Browne wrote to Sam asking him to take part in an authors’ reading in Boston,
…for the benefit of the copyright cause. Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes and other people prominent in literature have agreed to take part in the reading. The date is still left open in the hope that you will not only agree to come, but will let me know what date you would prefer. It might well be the 1st day of March, being the day following your engagement at Tremont Temple [MTNJ 3: 450n148].
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam: “I was mightily pleased in getting your good letter along with the photographs. So were my wife and daughters.” He thanked Sam for the invite to visit [MTP].
P.J. Thiehoff, Dry Goods Dealer in Hunnewell, Mo. wrote to Sam, who wrote on the envelope, “Orion pay this” (envelope only survives) [MTP].
February 13 Wednesday – Sam and Livy spent the day in Albany with the Dean Sage family.
Mary E. Cary, bed-ridden, wrote a “begging letter” from Brooklyn: “Do you think the enclosed worth any little sum?” [MTP].
Henry Loomis Nelson (1846-1908) wrote from New Rochelle, N.Y. to Sam enclosing his editorial, “Filibustering Run Mad,” which ran in the N.Y. Times on Feb. 14. Nelson asked for a copy of Sam’s speech before Congress. Nelson, an editor, author, and journalist involved in the international copyright movement. His article decried the recent failure of copyright legislation. Nelson would later be editor-in-chief at Harper’s Weekly (1894-8).
Francis Wayland for Yale Law School wrote to Sam that he was sorry not to find him home last Thursday. He wanted to ask Sam to read at the school’s Kent Club some time in the spring [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam pumped with the idea of a book by Alfred R. Conkling, nephew of Roscoe Conkling: The Life and Letters of Roscoe Conkling [MTP; Gribben 157].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam on Pratt & Whitney letterhead: “I have just seen the machine set & justify by power one line of type. It was done perfectly.” He advised waiting for the “N.Y. Committee to witness the working” for at least a week “as the operators, Van & Fred, are not well or hardly at all acquainted with the keyboard” [MTP].
February 14 Thursday – Sam and Livy ended their two-day visit in Albany and returned to New York, staying at the Murray Hill Hotel. Coincidentally the big two-day gathering of the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association was meeting there for the second day. In New York Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. Sam requested that “Brer Whitmo”:
Please mail to Murray Hill at once, any letter that may have come from Mr. Metcalfe about machine exhibition in New York. I am there till Sunday p.m. [MTP] Note: James S. Metcalfe, manager of the American Newspaper Publishers’ Assoc [MTNJ 3: 448n135].
Sam also asked him to send his invitation to the Yale dinner at Delmonico’s for Saturday night, Feb. 16, “if it has come.” This last phrase confirms Sam was already in New York, not Hartford, since if at home he would know if the invitation had come.
In the afternoon the American Newspaper Publishers’ Association toured and inspected various type setting machines and devices, including one stop in Brooklyn and three in New York City. It was the second day of their two-day event. The New York Times on Feb. 15, p.8 ran an article, “MACHINE TYPE SETTERS” about the publishers’ meeting, tour and evening banquet at the Hoffman House. Sam may have attended this event, possibly eyeing competition for the Paige typesetter, which was still in Hartford. His letter of Feb. 26 or Mar. 5 discloses that the Paige machine was on “preliminary” exhibition in Hartford: “we are going to keep the machine running one week longer, & meantime I will get those and other of their sort to come here from New York & Boston.”
A.H. Leypoldt for Publishers’ Weekly wrote advising Sam that the Literary News was going to run a portrait of him done by Miss Dora Wheeler in next month’s issue. He wanted a “little sketch” to go with the picture. “Answered” Sam noted on the env. [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam about Dr. Douglas bugging them monthly to publish his book; about Col. Sheridan being pleased with the progress of his father’s memoirs; and of a MS left: “The Irish Invincible, Revolutionary Reminiscences” by P. Joseph Tynan of the N.Y. World [MTP].
February 15 Friday – Sam and Livy were still in New York at the Murray Hill Hotel [Feb. 14 to Whitmore].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam (two Feb. 11 Jean Clemens letters enclosed) on his new “Attorney at Law” letterhead. He wrote about going to Tennessee on the land matter — he thought there was an effort to have the land “put up at a sheriff’s auction… and thus cut us out.” Also, more delusions of Ma’s [MTP].
A.X. Parker wrote to Sam on U.S. House of Representatives letterhead (clipping enclosed): “When you were here I expressed my belief that a peculiar opposition existed to the Copyright bill in Springfield localities. The enclosed slip….is a droll corroboration [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that no invitation to Yale had come yet; he forwarded several invitations which may need answering. The machine was “setting & justifying type to a hair,” but there were “several small matters to fix” before it should exhibited [MTP].
President Grover Cleveland wrote to Sam and sent a book (unspecified). The letter is not extant but mentioned in Sam’s Feb. 20 to Cleveland [MTP].
February 16 Saturday – The Clemenses attended a matinee performance of Wagner’s opera, Tannhäuser at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York [MTNJ 3: 449n138]. Sam may have attended a Yale alumni dinner at Delmonico’s in the evening [Feb. 14 to Whitmore].
Henry Loomis Nelson wrote to thank Sam. On Feb.13 he asked for a copy of Sam’s speech before Congress, and evidently Sam had sent it. Nelson’s letter is mostly illegible but he does mention Twichell and Thomas Hooker [MTP].
February 17 Sunday – Sam and Livy returned home to Hartford [Feb. 14 to Whitmore; MTNJ 3: 449n138].
February 18 Monday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that sales of Mrs. Custer’s book, Tenting on the Plains had improved [MTLTP 252n3]. Hall felt they’d have to sell about 3,000 sets of the LAL in order to pay for the manufacture of the whole eleven volumes [MTP].
Thomas W. Knox for Lotos Club wrote to Sam: “I want to see you very particularly, if possible, between now and 3 p.m. on Wednesday next. It’s not to lend or borrow so don’t button your pocket-book & say you’re out” [MTP].
George Standring wrote to Sam (clipping enclosed Feb. 16 Pall Mall Gazette, “A Letter From Mark Twain”):
Your very kindly & generous letter lifted a load from my mind. I sent your enclosure to the editor of the P.M.G. without any alteration (I sh’d regard it as sacrilege to meddle with your work), & added a few notes of my own based on your letter to me. I enclose you the slip… [MTP].
February 19 Tuesday – Thomas W. Knox wrote to Sam (enclosed in Webster & Co.’s Feb. 19) and repeating his Feb. 18 letter about wanting to see him [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Yesterday turned out to be a red letter day. More orders came in after you left. We thought you would be glad to know that we sold in all 1053 volumes yesterday, amounting at the discount price to $1537.60” [MTP].
February 20 Wednesday – International copyright legislation again failed in Congress. In Hartford, Sam sent his thanks to President Grover Cleveland for his support in the effort. Sam responded to Cleveland’s letter of Feb. 15.
The book, & your good favor of the 15th inst., have this moment arrived; & although a most worthy cause has failed once more we who are interested have one large consolation: that the country has at last had a President who appreciated its importance and did everything that in him lay to forward it…[MTP].
Sam also wrote to Benjamin P. Shillaber who had printed Sam’s early sketch, “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter” (see May 1, 1852 entry). Evidently Shillaber had written (not extant) promoting a book for Webster & Co. to publish. Sam begged off, saying that he would,
…lay the matter of publication before my firm — it isn’t a thing which I can decide. With great affection, I am — Sincerely Yours / SL Clemens [MTP].
Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished Feb. 21.
I received a dispatch to-day from that Tennessee lawyer, saying the business will be attended to. I was fixing to start for Tennessee myself; but I think now it will not be necessary. I send him now a motion to drop Will Moffett and Henry from the record and calling his attention to the importance of proving up the full value of our interest… [MTP].
Maud Hume wrote from Leipzig, Germany to Sam: “It may interest you to know that your laughable and excellent play — the Meisterschaft was given here with great success. We read it at home with much pleasure and amusement, and it seemed strange to be giving such thoroughly American piece in this very German city.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Answer this, & ask Gilder for that paper” [MTP].
February 21 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner to Richard Watson Gilder of the Century, declining an invitation due to “an engagement away up North on that date” [MTP].
Orion Clemens finished his letter began Feb. 20 [MTP].
February 22 Friday – Thomas W. Knox for Lotos Club wrote to Sam that the matter he’d been trying to see Sam about was to urge him to accept the Club presidency for the coming year [MTP].
February 23 Saturday – Dana Estes, acting as secretary for the International Copyright Association, Boston, wrote Sam urging him to appear at the Mar. 7 benefit at the Boston Museum for the copyright cause. Estes declared, “your co-operation is deemed absolutely essential to the success of the Reading” [MTP].
Carrie A. Cooke wrote from Hunnewell’s Point, Maine to Sam, thanking him for a book just received and hoping he might “have some copying that you want done…in return for this pleasure” [MTP].
H.R. Hayden in behalf of the Raymond Library Co. of E. Hartford wrote on Underwriter Printing letterhead to Sam, inviting him to attend with Mr. Warner, a dinner on Mar. 4 or 5. Hayden was the trustee of John T. Raymond’s will. Sam wrote “Answered” on the envelope [MTP].
Lewis P. Ward, an old roommate of Sam’s, wrote from S.F. on Olympic Club letterhead to Sam
Yours of November last came to hand in due course of time, and you cannot appreciate the amount of satisfaction and pleasure it gave me until you read my story… [After being told by a friend that Sam] has achieved wealth and greatness and it has made him dignified and cold [Ward pointed out that Sam’s] kind letter dispelled all thoughts of the kind and proved to me that you were the same whole-souled, good fellow that you were when I last saw you 24 years ago. …. / Of course you read all about Townsend in the Union Printer. Steve is still in Nevada. Jim Gillis was here a few days ago, and he is looking better than ever [MTP]. Sam wrote on the envelope, “From ‘Little Ward’ / Answered”
February 24 Sunday – In Hartford Sam responded to Feb. 18 & 19 letters from Thomas W. Knox, saying that if the office of Building Inspector for Hartford was offered it would be the only office he would take, but,
…not any other office that is namable, not even a kingship…I do thank you, each and every one, but I couldn’t dream of accepting, old friend [MTP].
Sam notified Dana Estes of the International Copyright Assoc. that he would speak at the Mar. 7 Authors’ Readings in Boston if he were given second or third spot on the speakers list [MTNJ 3: 452n153].
G.W. Lynch, an advisor to Elsie Leslie’s mother, wrote to Sam asking if he’d sold the rights to P&P or would he sell the rights for a play with the child actress, Elsie Leslie. He’d been requested by Mrs. Leslie to ask and approached by “a local manager” who wanted the mother to sign an agreement for her daughter in a play for the next season. Lynch added,
I would like Elsie to have an interest or own the next play herself as she [is] getting very little out of Lord Fauntleroy and is drawing packed houses to the theatre [MTNJ 3: 454n156].
Note: Abby Sage Richardson was expressing difficulties in meeting the terms of her Jan. 3, 1889 contract with Sam. Daniel Frohman was managing the production. Sam summarized the conditions of their contract in his notebook [3: 453], the first of which was to secure Elsie Leslie in the dual lead roles. His notes following the summary show he would give Richardson until Mar. 10 to complete the conditions.
Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy all about Ma, and of Orion’s toothache, [MTP].
February 25 Monday – In New York City, Sam gave a dinner speech for Trinity College Alumni, “The College President.” Hartford Daily Courant published Sam’s remarks (Feb. 26, 1889, p.3.) The speech was in honor of Twain’s friend Dr. George Williamson Smith, a clergyman and President of Trinity College in Hartford. See MTNJ 3: 452n151.
Frank Vincent, Jr. wrote to Sam asking him to recommend his appointment with the President or either of the N.Y. Senators, to the legation in Japan [MTP].
H.L. Dyer for New York Times wrote to Sam that it would be impossible for Mr. Jones or his son to visit Hartford the next day — “just now the new building takes constant watching. We shall be obliged to wait until your machine is in exhibition it our city” [MTP].
John H. Barnett wrote from Peekskill, N.Y. to Sam: “I wrote you last summer from St. John’s hospital, Brooklyn; perhaps you were not at home; or mislaid or tore up…It seems as if you could not have forgotten me. I even remember calling (& spending an whole afternoon most pleasantly) in regard to your writing a play for Miss Katie Putnam…” Sam wrote “Unanswered letters” on the env. [MTP].
John Elderkin wrote to Sam having heard that Mr. Reid could not again accept the presidency of the Lotos Club; that Sam had been the “unanimous choice of the nominating committee.” He hoped that Sam would accept, that “there is not a man in the United States so suited for the office…” Sam wrote on the env., “From good old Elderkin. Answered” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (Barrow & Co. Accountants to Webster Feb. 20 enclosed): “Your favor received. There is one point about which we had not heard from you…Roscoe Conking’s book…would like to know how you feel in reference to it…” More financial reports were enclosed and the Barrow letter showed small overpayments made to W.E. Dibble and to the Grant account [MTP].
February 26 Tuesday – After Edward H. House objected to P&P being dramatized by Abby Sage Richardson, Sam wrote him:
I gather the idea from your letter that you would have undertaken the dramatization of that book. Well, that would have been joyful news to me about the middle of December, when I gladly took the first offer that came and made a contract. I remembered that you started once to map out the framework for me to fill in, and I suggested to this lady that possibly you would collaborate with her, but she thought she could do the work alone. However, I never thought of such a thing as your being willing to undertake the dramatization itself — I mean the whole thing. I will look in when I come down [Fatout, “MT Litigant” 36-7] Note: House had been a near-invalid. The case would play out in the courts and also in the newspapers.
Elizabeth Keene Boyesen again pressed the matter of Sam coming for dinner:
Will you give us the pleasure of your company at dinner Thursday March 14th at half after seven o’clock? Howells and a few other congenial spirits will also be with us [MTP]
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “The news from the machine is magnificent…it will bring the Tribune and Herald down to a cent a copy and books will be mostly profit.” [MTP].
William Esnorthy wrote a postcard from Waterville, Ohio asking Sam for a “sample copy of your magazine with cromo to see what they are as I am a book agent” [MTP].
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Pittsfield, Mass to Sam: “it is the sixth we expect you here; too well I know it! For it is also Ash Wednesday…. Will you like or dislike to see some gentlemen after the reading? If you don’t want to see them just say “No” on a postal card.” “Tell her No,” Sam wrote on the env. [MTP].
Anna Hoit Bumstead wrote from Atlanta to Sam reminding him of his annual gift to Mrs. Ware and her children. Sam wrote on the letter, “Please send her $25, Brer W. & apologize for delay — say I have been absent SLC” [MTP].
H.R. Hayden wrote to Sam on Underwriter Printing letterhead for the Raymond Library: “Yours of 24th inst. at hand. I do not feel I have a right to decline a contribution of books for the Raymond Library. At the same time we would much rather have you and buy your books…the date has been postponed until March 19.” Sam wrote on the letter, “Set of my books such as W&Co issue. & Grant” [MTP].
February 26 or March 5 Tuesday – † In Hartford Sam wrote to Susan L. Crane. The letter sandwiched the recent Paige typesetter exhibition in New York with pleas to Susan to bring Theodore back to Hartford.
Oh, come along home again! It broke my heart to see Theodore this morning, he looked so exhausted, so depressed, so indifferent to life. Come! — say you will [MTP].
February 27 Wednesday – At 3 p.m. Sam gave a dinner speech at the Wadsworth Athenaeum in Hartford for the Hartford Art Society. Unfortunately, the program, which closed at 5 p.m., was not recorded [MTNJ 3: 447n133]. Note: this has been erroneously reported as the Athenaeum Club in Boston.
Harriet D. Andrews for the Hartford Art Society wrote Sam her thanks for his “great kindness. … The barren treasury is one hundred and seventy dollars richer than before, which delights all hearts” [n133].
Dana Estes for Int’l Copyright Assoc. wrote Sam agreeing to the condition that he be given the second or third reading. He enclosed a railroad timetable and suggestions for the best trains to take [MTNJ 3: 452n153].
Mary C. MacDonald wrote her thanks to Sam and would return the $50 to him just as soon as she could [MTP].
February 28 Thursday – Sam gave a short speech introducing poet James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) and humorist Edgar Wilson “Bill” Nye (1850-1896) at the Tremont Temple in Boston. The pair toured together in 1886 and 1889. Nye founded the Laramie, Wyoming Boomerang in 1881. Fatout writes,
“When James Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye gave a program of readings in Boston, Major Pond, their manager, induced Mark Twain, on rather short notice, to introduce the pair. His unannounced appearance on the stage provoked a great waving of handkerchiefs and a tumult of applause and cheering, the organist doing his bit by sounding off fortissimo” [MT Speaking 238].
After likening Riley and Nye to the famous Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, Sam offered the final paragraph of introduction:
I beseech for these visitors a fair field, a single-minded, one-eyed umpire, and a score bulletin barren of goose eggs if they earn it — and I judge they will and hope they will. Mr. James Whitcomb Chang Riley will now go to bat .
The Boston Daily Globe, Mar. 1, 1889, p.5 “Nye — Riley, With Mark Twain to Act as Middleman” described Mark Twain as:
…a frowsy-headed, round-shouldered man, as gray as a rat, yet still vigorous in spite of his years, [who] tottered on to the platform [followed by] two ambiguous-looking orphans in dress suits and goldbowed spectacles.
From Budd’s update: “For a highly similar but not identical version see Frank Wilson Nye, Bill Nye: His Own Life Story (1926), p.229-31. J. B. Pond hired a stenographer to take down Sam’s speech.”
James B. Pond was the manager for the team of Riley and Nye, and later claimed that Sam’s appearance at this event was by chance [MTB 876-7] but an entry in Sam’s notebook shows that he planned the introduction well in advance [MTNJ 3: 445n124]. Paine quotes one of Pond’s later published letters:
Mark’s presence was a surprise to the audience, and when they recognized him the demonstration was tremendous. The audience rose in a body, and men and women shouted at the very top of their voices. Handkerchiefs waved, the organist even opened every forte key and pedal in the great organ, and the noise went on unabated for minutes. It took some time for the crowd to get down to listening, but when they did subside, as Mark stepped to the front, the silence was as impressive as the noise had been [MTB 876].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d received the $200 monthly check — he placed $45 to Ma’s credit, and sent $10 to Puss. More delusional goings on with Ma; “the doctor has just come and is giving her electricity” [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote from Albany, N.Y. to Sam: “Yours of the 28th received & I am delighted to hear of the [illegible word] of your machine.” Sage planned on going to Hartford with a Mr. Parsons: “He says he will go & we propose to leave here on Tuesday afternoon of next week at 2:30 reaching Hartford if connection is made at Springfield at 7.10. I can look at the machine in the morning & go to N.Y. the first train afternoon & Parsons will return here.” Should he go to Sam’s house or Joe’s? What should he do with Parsons on reaching Hartford? [MTP]. Note: since Sage’s letter and Sam’s note referred to were both Feb. 28, it is assumed that Sam sent a telegram, not extant, to Sage.
Alexander Badlam wrote from S.F. regretting being unable to see Sam to talk over “publication matters” on his recent trip. He had heard of the death of Mrs. Thomas Nelson Page and remembered “a delightful trip” with the Pages, she “the fairest and brightest of our party.” When was Sam coming out to show his family “the scenes of your early triumphs?” Sam wrote on the back “Wire” [MTP].
Elizabeth Keene Boyesen (Mrs. Hjalmar Boyesen) wrote a note of apology for putting her “foot in it” and for “rudeness not intended” — some issue about him being out to dine and her assuming Livy was not home [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor enclosing the Grant contract received, also order for sending goods to Mr. Hayden.” They had not heard from him about the proposed Conkling book [MTP].
March – Daniel Carter Beard illustrated a story called “Wu Chih Tien, the Celestial Princess” in the March issue of Cosmopolitan. Sam saw the issue and became interested in hiring Beard to illustrate CY [MTLTP 254n1]. Sam also noted negatively the story, “Over the Cossack Steppes,” by David Ker, calling it “flatulence” [Gribben 160; MTNJ 3: 457].
From Sam’s notebook:
I want Mr. R — [Henry C. Robinson] to take a 1-100th & D [Samuel G. Dunham] half as much. To others I will part with twice as much & get it back from P [Paige]. This will enable me to make all first payment & then collect from R or the Trust Co on the vouchers — they will represent not money to be paid out but money which has BEEN paid out [3: 458]. Note: In a list made in late 1887 Sam had Robinson and Dunham down for $10,000 and $3,000; now he wanted them to invest $25,000 and $12,500 [n168].
March 1 Friday – Due to the “St. Botolph [Club] reception, after the Authors’ Readings” the night before, Sam was forced to stay over, though he’d planned to return afterward [To Nye & Riley Mar. 4] Likely then he returned home from Boston on this day. His return may have been in the evening for he did not answer a waiting letter from Edward House until the following day, Mar. 2.
March 2 Saturday – William Dean Howells’ daughter Winifred Howells died after taking emergency treatments from Dr. S. Weir Mitchell at his clinic in Philadelphia. The treatments involved force-feeding and forced exercise for what was then seen as a catch-all category of female frailty called “neurasthenia.” At one point the young woman sank to 59 lbs. The immediate cause of death at the country retreat in Merchantville, was given as heart failure. It is now known that the combination of exercise and a diet of fatty foods can put tremendous strain on the heart in severely underweight people [Goodman and Dawson 295]. Thus ended a burden carried by William and Elinor for several years, yet Howells never truly recovered from the blow. It was sorrow that he would share with Sam, who lost Susy Clemens to meningitis a few years later.
He wrote to Edward H. House, answering a letter he found waiting (not extant).
There is no time to lose. If I have heedlessly, ignorantly, forgetfully, gone & made a contract which I had no right to make, it is a serious thing & I must move in the matter without loss of time. Send me the evidence at once; & send me copy of any & all writings, notes, letters, that throw light upon the thing [MTP].
Note: House had discovered that Abby Sage Richardson was producing P&P on the stage and wrote objecting, thinking he’d been given what amounted to a contract to do the same. Sam’s immediate reaction to House’s objection says that he did totally discount House’s claims, as he would later do. The conflict would wind up in the courts and cause a permanent rift between longtime friends.
Sam also wrote to Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe, explaining why the Paige typesetter “preliminary” exhibition had been stopped.
bottom reason…is this: the young man who came here from
a New York paper, struck the keys, (Me simultaneously, which would spell
eM) looked at the result, shook his wise head & remarked, “Ah, it
transposes letters!” And with that verdict hanging from the hair on his teeth,
he took his departure to report.
This machine has imperfections; we tell everybody so; we point them out; & we say: “This is not a public exhibition; we shall have a public exhibition in New York 2 or 3 months hence, & we shall then claim perfection…
We take the machine apart to-day; & when it goes together again, weeks hence, it shall be without flaw, & then I will ask for Mr. Boss again & the Herald’s representative.
O thank you once more for that good time in the Algonquin palace… [MTP].
Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe wrote Sam. Taylor was interested in the Paige typesetter. He’d received notice that an exhibition of the machine was canceled. He wrote:
I am expecting to see you next Thursday evening at Young’s after the Authors’ reading. The dinner party will be informal and you will not necessarily be required to wear a dress suit, but can go right from the plow [MTNJ 3: 457n164]. Note: Young’s Hotel was one of Boston’s finest dining spots.
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam sending the autographed pictures of Miss Ada Rehan promised [MTP].
R.S. Grant wrote to Sam:
Blame Wm Laffan for this seeming intrusion, and then from your forgiving by dining with me on Thursday Eve’g next…to meet Col. Chas Francis Adams and a few friends [MTP].
Note: Charles Francis Adams, Jr. (1835-1915) served as a colonel in the Civil War; great-grandson of President John Adams.
William Mackay Laffan wrote a note on the back of this letter:
If you accept this you will have a good time and meet some mighty good chaps. / I don’t know why you import to your letter of this a.m. the tone you do. Our men came back full of the machine. Rodwell said he had no doubt the battering of the type could be overcome and would be and that waw the only out he saw. As to the World chap I haven’t heard. Anyhow all those people know my views and are impressed by them to the degree we desire. Come along down here [MTP].
Henry O. Houghton wrote to Sam that he had his “kind invitation to examine a typesetting machine in Hartford on Tuesday or Wednesday.” Houghton begged off but promised to see it “at an early day” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a statement for “Books sent out during February, 1889” totaling 6,991, of which the two Sheridan volumes each sold over 1,600 books; Feb. had been “a short & dull month” [MTP].
March 3 Sunday – Frank Fuller wrote to Sam’s recent note (now lost, but referred to in notebook entry) announcing he would stop by on his next trip to New York. Fuller wrote, “All right, old boy! Come on, next time or the time after, only come, & no indefinite postponements.” Fuller invited Sam to opening night of a Charles Barnard comedy, The County Fair on Mar. 5. Since Sam had booked a reading in Pittsfield, Mass on May 6, so it’s unlikely he went with Fuller to this production [MTNJ 3: 452n152].
In Hartford Sam wrote to Elizabeth Keene Boyesen (Mrs. Hjalmar Boyesen) in New York, declining an invitation and taking a friendly dig at Howells, who, “other wise blemishless, goes & dines where his wife has never been invited!” [MTP]. Note: Howells had “discovered” Boyesen and was to be at a Mar. 14 dinner.
March 4 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Edgar W. “Bill” Nye and James W. Riley about the Feb. 28 event where he introduced them:
The St. Botolph reception, after the Authors’ Readings in Boston Thursday knocks in the head what slender chance there was for me to reach home that night, & I am very sorry — yes, exceedingly sorry, in truth; for I could have been of service to you; I could have hidden you away from all the bores & other persecutors…[MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, sending “an old statement of your book account, dating back to April 1885, which was forwarded us to-day by Mr. Webster.” Also a note enclosed from the Mt. Morris Bank and a PS to “Please look over our new catalogue & see how you like it” [MTP].
March 5 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a one-liner to Frank Fuller on his prior promise (see Mar. 3) to stop on his next trip to New York City. He couldn’t do it on the next trip because of appointments, but he would the trip after [MTP].
Franklin File wrote asking Sam for a story of 10,000 words “for duplication in ten of the very best daily journals of the country. He gave Charles A. Dana’s name as reference. Sam wrote, “Brer W. Politely inform him that I am unable to undertake it” [MTP].
March 6 Wednesday – Sam took a 12:05 p.m. train to Springfield, Mass. and then continued on to Pittsfield, where he got there shortly after 4 p.m. [MTNJ 3: 455]. He wrote in his notebook, probably on the train:
Toward the end of Feb. ’89, I offered Charley Langdon a one-hundredth interest in the U.S. business of the Paige Compositor for $25,000, or a lesser share at the same rate; same offer to Theodore Crane. Mr. Crane declined. Charley declined also, but thought maybe his mother or his wife might conclude to invest. I said I would keep the offer open till March 10th. It is now March 6 . Note: none of those mentioned became investors.
Sam gave a reading or made remarks at the Wednesday Morning Club, Pittsfield, at the invitation of Rose Terry Cooke (see Jan. 26 from Cooke). Like most of the other engagements for this period, it was an event held for charity.
Webster & Co., (Alexander & Green to Webster Mar. 5 enclosed) notified Sam that the “assignment of judgment” against R.T. Root, the Iowa book agent who defaulted on payments for Grant’s Memoirs, would soon be ready to sign [MTNJ 3: 460].
In other legal snags, the New York Times, “City and Suburban News,” p.3 reported on a lawsuit brought against Webster & Co.:
Gen. Adam Badeau is suing Charles L. Webster & Co., the publishers, for damages because they did not publish his book, “Grant in Peace.” His complaint is not explicit enough to suit Alexander & Green, counsel for Webster & Co., and they have made a motion to compel the furnishing of a bill of particulars. Judge Lawrence, in Supreme Court Chambers, yesterday allowed the argument of the motion to be adjourned for one week.
James B. Pond wrote from N.Y. asking if Sam’s ears ever burned — “Nye & Riley are both so enthusiastic over you that they are hard to suppress….I am so tied down with work that I could not get to Boston. I sent 4 tickets to you for to-morrow evening & will be glad to supply you with as many as you like” [MTP].
March 7 Thursday – In Boston, Mass. Sam participated in an afternoon Authors’ Readings for the cause of international copyright. Alexander P. Browne had invited him on Feb. 12, allowing him to name his own date, and Dana Estes had followed up on Feb. 23. Since Sam was due to speak in Pittsfield on Mar. 6, the following day made things more convenient. Sam’s reading was titled “New England Weather,” reported in the Boston Daily Globe, March 8, p.4 “Protect Brains.” (Sam gave this same talk on Dec. 22, 1876 for the New England Society of New York.) Also on the program were Oliver Wendell Holmes, Charles Dudley Warner, Julia Ward Howe, Richard Malcolm Johnston, F. Hopkinson Smith, John Boyle O’Reilly, George Washington Cable, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. (See also Fatout, MT Speaking 100-3.)
After the Authors’ Readings, Sam went to Young’s Hotel, where he dined with Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe, and associates (see Mar. 2). Ending the Mar. 8 Globe article:
AUTHORS AT THE ST. BOTOLPH
Devotees of the Hub’s Patron Saint Meet Famous Men.
The members of the St. Botolph Club tendered a reception at their elegant clubhouse on Newbury street, last evening [Mar. 7], to the gentlemen who participated in the “Authors’ Reading” at the Boston Museum, in the afternoon. Members of the club were invited to meet informally the distinguished guests. “The Autocrat,” than whom no one is better known. Samuel L. Clemens, the only Mark Twain, Charles Dudley Warner, George W. Cable, F. Hopkinson Smith and Richard Malcom Johnston, were the gentlemen in whose honor the reception was held. After they had met the members of the club, a toothsome collation was provided by the steward.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. We enclose herewith the form requested and think it is a very good idea, we have also sent for the ‘Scrap Book’ and will follow out your suggestions carefully in the future.” Detail on the proposed Conkling book was offered [MTP].
March 8 Friday – Sam likely returned to Hartford the day after the banquet at Young’s Hotel in Boston. Sam’s notebook:
Offered Badlam a one-hundredth interest in the American business for $25,000 provided he takes me up before Apl. 15; also offered him the same share (this offer begins June 15) provided he takes me up before July 15.)
Hearst, Walters [MTNJ 3: 460&n177-8].
See Feb. 9 for more on Badlam. No correspondence between Sam and Badlam on the Paige typesetter survives; Sam was no doubt aiming to approach William Thompson Walters (of the art book matter) and the wealthy California senator, George Hearst (father of William Randolph Hearst) to invest in the typesetter [n178].
Ellen T. Johnson wrote to Sam changing the date of his reading from Apr. 2 to Apr. 1 [MTP].
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam apologizing for his “abrupt departure last night,” for stomach trouble. When next in Boston could Sam spare an afternoon or evening? [MTP].
March 9 Saturday – Sam inscribed a copy of HF to an unidentified person: Truly Yours S.L. Clemens Mark Twain. March 9/89. [MTP]. Sam’s notebook:
Mar 9/89. / No more experiments. Definite work alone left to do.
4 months, sure, that is July 10.
No new devices — or inventions.
J.W. Paige showed me to-day (March 9, 1889,) a steel punch g, & a brass type g made with it. He completed these things this morning. This is the first brass type ever made for composition no doubt.
I want [S]age to take 12,500 now, & 12,500 conditioned upon the result of July 10.
And I want Staunchfield [John Stanchfield married Clara Spaulding] to come to the Murray Hill about Mch 15. Will write him [MTNJ 3: 460-1].
Here it is March 9, & the first condition of Mrs. Richardson’s contract unfulfilled .
Note: Sam also wrote possible readings for his Apr. 2 reading at Miss Hamersley’s, but had not yet received Ellen T. Johnson’s Mar. 8 letter changing the date to Apr. 1. ; Abby Sage Richardson’s contract called first for her to procure the acting services of the child actress, Elsie Leslie for the dual role in P&P.
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam inviting him to come to “a rousing Banquet” to honor Edwin Booth to be given Saturday, Mar. 30 at Delmonico’s in New York. Booth won plaudits by purchasing, refurbishing, and donating the house at 16 Grammercy Park to the Players Club for their headquarters [MTNJ 3: 464].
March 10 Sunday – This was the day of deadlines — first for Abby Sage Richardson to come up with written proof she had procured Elsie Leslie for her P&P dramatization; second for Charley Langdon, his wife and his mother to agree to invest in the Paige typesetter. No one made this deadline.
Edmund C. Stedman wrote to Sam recommending C.C. Cox to take Sam’s photograph for use in Library of American Literature. Sam made an entry in his notebook to tell Stedman about photographs already taken by Dora Wheeler’s friend, Teddy Hewitt [MTNJ 3: 464n195].
Orion Clemens began a letter he finished on Mar. 11 (Gate City clippings enclosed, “The Gate’s Young Folks — “Short articles by Public School Pupils”; and a report of a murder-suicide in Kansas City). Orion thought the children’s articles would “entertain” Sam. “The bricklayers have commenced; also the plumber. The carpenters (two) and a paper-hanger ought to be here tomorrow” [MTP].
Lady Mary Labouchère sent Sam her calling card with a note, “Children’s Fairy Play…Thursday March 10th 4 o’clock” at the Villa Cristina, Montughi, Florence, Italy [MTP].
March 11 Monday – Sam’s notebook discloses a new offer made to Abby Sage Richardson, one she did not accept, but one which was similar to that made with Gilbert B. Densmore for stage rights to GA.
Made this proposition to Mrs. Richardson to-day: That in lieu of the present contract, she dramatise the Prince & Pauper for me; I to pay her $500 upon delivery of the MS to me, June 1 or July 1, be her work good or bad. If the play succeeds, I to pay her another $500 (this to be the first $500 received by me as profits. After that, I to pay her $5 every time the piece is played. / She will answer Thursday [MTNJ 3: 463].
Orion Clemens finished a letter he began on Mar. 11. He reported a paranoid letter from Puss; she was “indignant that Thiehoff should have written; writes to me that he made his bill bigger than it was; …commands me to send no more money to Thiehoff” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote: “We enclose herewith some more voting blanks. We received this morning your vote on the Conkling book and have written Alfred Conkling in regard to it.” Local agent sales had been averaging 140 a day. Nearly $9,000 paid out this month, including $4,200 to Webster [MTP].
March 12 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Annie A. Fields, widow of James T. Fields, in Boston who was involved in a “Boston marriage” with Sarah Orne Jewett. Sam had been invited to a dinner with the two ladies, but did not receive the invitation. Charles Dudley Warner, who was their other guest, told Sam, who sent apologies and explanations:
I had made two big railway journeys, & lain awake the entire night between them; & by consequence I was sound asleep the whole time I was in the [Boston] Museum, though letting on to being awake [MTP].
William H. Gillette wrote to Sam offering to arbitrate the complexities surrounding the P&P dramatization, involving Daniel Whitford, Sam’s attorney; Abby Sage Richardson, who had not lived up to her contract yet remained intractable; Daniel Frohman, the impresario and stage manager; and representatives for the child actress, Elsie Leslie. Gillette was responding to Sam’s telegram (not extant) [MTNJ 3: 464n194].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam advising him that Edmund C. Stedman had requested a higher royalty (five percent from three) on Library of American Literature for himself and Ellen M. Hutchinson [MTNJ 3: 464n195].
Bissell & Co. wrote to Sam: “We credit your a/c $1,455.24…Chatto & Windus £300.00” [MTP].
March 13 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly, announcing that “the tribe” was about to “march New Yorkwards Friday for a couple of days.” He asked that four tickets (with bill) for Taming of the Shrew might be sent to the Murray Hill Hotel, the current favorite hotel due to its proximity to the rail station. Sam asked that the children might be “within 5 rows of the fiddlery” [MTP].
Augustin Daly wrote to Sam that his tickets would be delivered to the M.H.H. (Murray Hill Hotel) when he arrived [MTP]. Note: Daly needed a better quill.
March 14 Thursday – Abby Sage Richardson turned down Sam’s Mar. 11 offer [MTNJ 3: 463n192].
R. Dorney for Daly’s Theater wrote to Sam that he’d been directed “to send you 4 front seats for Saturday night next” [MTP]. Dorney used Daly’s same bad pen.
Augustus P. Chamberlaine wrote from Switzerland to Sam: “When we used to pass the ‘Normandie’ last summer we always had a glance at your windows and a pleasant thought of your merry party — so long ago!, and now as we are on the point of going to Italy and Greece we often speak of you all and wonder if ever again we shall fall in with such charming people.” He also wrote of their European travels [MTP].
March 15 Friday – Sam and his “tribe” went “New Yorkwards” checking into the Murray Hill Hotel.
March 16 Saturday – In the evening they took in Taming of the Shrew at Daly’s Theater, which proceeded at 8:15 p.m. [Dorney to SLC Mar. 14].
March 17 Sunday – The Clemenses likely returned to Hartford.
March 18 Monday – J.W. Curtiss for Spaulding Reception Committee (for Party of Representative American Ball Players) wrote to Sam inviting him to the Testimonial Banquet and to respond to a toast at Delmonico’s, Apr. 8, 1889. (Clipping enclosed, “The Sandwich Islands – Mark Twain’s Description of the Late King and ‘Prince Bill.’” — credit given to the N.Y. Tribune) [MTP].
Charles Ritch Johnson (1862- ) wrote from Bowerston, Ohio to Sam, preparing to “write up a book” of sketches “of all the well known very funny writers” since 1860”; he asked for a contribution from Sam and enclosed two clipping of his bio. Sam wrote “unanswered letters” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote Sam that since they’d already gone over the enclosed on his N.Y. visit (financial report? Not in file) “no explanation is necessary.” They averaged 122 books per day for the week [MTP].
March 19 Tuesday – Susy Clemens’ seventeenth birthday.
In Hartford, Sam wrote a long letter of explanation to Edward H. House about contracting P&P for the stage with Abby Sage Richardson. Here in part:
I was not at home when your letter of a few days ago arrived [not extant]: it followed me, but has not yet over taken me; so I get its substance at second — hand.
My delay in answering the preceeding letter arose from the fact that an immediate reply did not seem necessary, & I have been very busy. The case is quite plain, quite simple: I have lately made a contract for the dramatization of the Prince & Pauper. I must live up to it unless there is an earlier contract in existence. If you have one, send me a copy of it, so that I can take measures to undo my illegal action, & I will at once proceed in the matter.
Sam then recited his memory on the matter of encouraging House to dramatize the story, but thought it would be a sketching out of the plot for him to fill in, and claimed that House had “gradually abandoned the matter & ceased to speak of it.” Sam recalled the sketch House had done on the first act, but nothing more.
From that day to this, if the play has ever been referred to by you, I have no recollection of it….I supposed I had a full right to make that late contract, & I made it. If you have a previous one, I beg you to send me a copy, & I will come as near setting things exactly right as possible [MTP].
A.V.S. Anthony wrote from Boston to Sam having rec’d a note from Webster & Co. asking for the address of the illustrator for P&P, and also that another book by Mark Twain was “imminent.”He didn’t know if Webster was aware of his “ability as a book-maker so thought it might not be out of place to drop this line to you” [MTP].
Fred D. Owen wrote to Sam that he’d noticed some damage to his property by Sam’s cattle “passing to and fro over the steep bank of the bridge.” Sam wrote “I’ll leave this up to you Brer W. SLC” [MTP].
March 20 Wednesday – Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam recorded his progress along the margin on p.81: “Finished here March 20/89 I declare! What time it is!” [Gribben 105]. (See Mar. 27 for next notation.)
An unidentified person (signed, “A Bostonian”) wrote to Sam asking for an autograph [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “The enclosed letter speaks for itself. We have written Mr. Anthony that we would refer the matter to you…” (Anthony to Webster & Co. Mar. 20 enclosed, which provided the addresses of John H. Harley and F.T. Merrill, and offered his book-making services) [MTP].
March 21 Thursday – L.P. di Cesnola for Metro. Museum of Art wrote that Sam had been nominated as an “annual member” [MTP].
Hamlin Garland wrote from Jamaica Plain, Boston to Sam: “When Whitcomb Riley was here he wanted me to meet you and it would have been brought about to my great pleasure had you not been delayed in reaching the city but his name and the name of Mr. Howells will no doubt put me on proper footing with you.” Garland wanted Sam to “glance over my subjects for lectures on American literature and see how you like ‘em.” Flyers enclosed. Sam wrote, “Please tell him gone away to finish a book, & left no address. SLC” [MTP].
March 22 Friday – Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam: “Our next Fellowcraft dinner is Wednesday, April 10th? I am after you again…” Sam noted, “Tell him I can’t” on the env. [MTP].
March 23 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Hamlin Garland (1860-1940), American poet, novelist and short story writer, best known for his portrayals of Midwestern farmers. Sam did not have the time to give “the subject” Garland spoke of in his Mar. 21 letter “the proper thought so as to venture the least advice.” Sam hoped “in the near future we may run across each other; and talk the matter over” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Abraham G. Mills (1844-1929), the fourth president of the National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (1883-4), and is best known for heading the “Mills Commission” which credited Civil War General Abner Doubleday with the invention of baseball. Evidently it was up to Mills to introduce Mark Twain at the Apr. 8 dinner to be held at Delmonico’s in honor of the baseball players who played an exhibition match in the shadow of the pyramids in 1888. Sam instructed him on an easy way to make the introduction:
…you will say all you choose to say; then, as a wind-up, I beg you to close with these words or their equivalent: “Mr. Mark Twain (not Clemens, for my private name embarrasses me when used in public) you have been in the Sandwich Islands — rise & talk.” [MTP]. Note: was it embarrassment or did Sam merely wish to continually promote his “stage persona”? See Apr. 8 entry.
Sam also inscribed a photograph from IA to C.W. Whiting. “Mark Twain” is written over S.L. Clemens, diagonally [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam that Daniel Frohman had arranged a meeting at the Lyceum Theatre on Monday at 11; Whitford would report to Sam afterward [MTP]. Note: Frohman owed Sam a share of the profits from the P&P play by Abbey Sage Richardson.
March 24 Sunday – Livy wrote to her mother:
It is a wonderful day…. Clara and I have been to church. Susy staid at home, she has not been feeling quite well, having had quite a sore throat….
Of course the children are full of their lessons and very busy with their studying. I feel very unsettled about what I shall do with them, nothing in the way of a school seems to be exactly what I want.
I think Susy and Clara are both doing very well with their music this year [Salsbury 258].
March 25 Monday – Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green forwarded the draft of a new contract for the dramatization of P&P. The new agreement included Daniel Frohman as well as Abby Sage Richardson, and gave Sam and Abby half-shares of a sliding scale of receipts. Whitford offered that it was impossible “to make a more advantageous agreement.” The new contract was in force on May 13 [MTNJ 3: 466].
Abraham G. Mills wrote to Sam, finalizing his Apr. 8 appearance and asking where he’d be staying in New York. [to Mills Mar. 27].
Annie Brown (Brace to Brown Mar. 23 enclosed) wrote to Sam asking him to read at her New York City home on Apr. 13 to benefit the Society of Collegiate Alumnae, which was “interested in establishing a society for the lower Class of working women in the city” [MTNJ 3: 468n211].
H.J. Hynes wrote to Sam (enclosed in Whitford Mar. 28) [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, enclosing another weekly report. “We have quite a list of orders were parties have refused to take the book, saying they were too poor…or making other excuses” [MTP].
March 26 Tuesday
March 27 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Abraham G. Mills about his upcoming stay in New York and speech at the Baseball event at Delmonico’s. Sam answered that he would stay at the Murray Hill Hotel and so would
…my friend & neighbor, Rev. J.H. Twichell, chaplain to that Banquet. Just pay one of these hotel bills; Twichell’s, for instance. I know ways to beat him out of it before he gets home [MTP].
Mch 27/89. Wrote Laffan, offering 5 one-hundredths (one ninth of my ownership in American business, or one-eighteenth of the whole) at $100,000 cash (less $10,000 commission to him) payable upon view of the machine in Hartford — purchaser to be satisfied, or no trade. Or, one, or two, or three of the 5 at $25,000 cash each, payable as above, & commission 10 per cent [3: 468].
Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam recorded his progress along the margin on p.101: “stopped here Mch 27” [Gribben 105]. (See Mar. 20, Apr. 4)
Richard W. Gilder wrote that the Fellowcraft dinner was changed to Apr. 16 [MTP].
March 28 Thursday – Annie Brown wrote to Sam acknowledging his positive response to give a reading at her home in New York on Apr. 13 [MTNJ 3: 468n211].
Mch. 28/89. Told Paige of my talk with Hamersley, & he expressed his hearty willingness to let us raise the capital by selling the English patents for $10,000,000 — either outright, or we to retain 4/10 of the English stock [3: 468].
L.P. di Cesnola for Metro. Museum of Art wrote of Sam’s election as a member [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam of Daniel Frohman’s intransigence in sharing profits from the play written by Abby Sage Richardson [MTP].
C.D. Holmes wrote a postcard from Fargo, N.D. to Sam to see an article about Stonewall Jackson’s famous campaign of 1862 beginning in the Mar. 14 issue of the National Tribune, Washington [MTP].
March 29 Friday – In Hartford, Sam and each member of the family including the youngest, Jean Clemens, inscribed an album to their German governess, Marie Koerner, who was leaving their employ. Sam wrote:
You leave a great many behind you, here, Marie, who will always rejoice to know you prosper & sorrow to know the world does not go well with you; & of these I am one. S.L. Clemens. Hartford, Mch 29/89. [MTP].
Augustin Daly sent Sam an engraved invitation to “supper to be given at Delmonico’s on Saturday evening , March 30th, 1889 at half past eleven o’clock, in honor of Mr. Edwin Booth” [MTP].
Orion Clemens and Jane Clemens wrote to Sam. Orion: “I was much alarmed about ma last night. She suffered greatly. I was afraid the rheumatism was going to her brain. The doctor thinks it is only in the muscles of the neck and back of the head.” Ma: “My Dear Son:— I am not very well. Last night my head seemed as if it would come off when Orion raised me up” [MTP].
C.D. Holmes wrote a follow-up postcard to his of the previous day: “I intended to say yesterday that I think you would be amused at the antics Jackson cuts before Capeheart gets through with him” [MTP].
Robert G. Ingersoll, N.Y. lawyer wrote to Sam stating the case of Edward H. House on the matter of the dramatization of P&P which had been given to Abbey Sage Richardson. Ingersoll “would take no action” without first calling Sam’s “attention to the facts claimed” [MTP]. Note: this is not Robert Green Ingersoll, lecturer whom Sam shared much belief about religion with and whom he met only once.
Dr. M.M. Johnson, Hartford wrote to Sam: “Your favor asking for an appointment at my office is at hand. I can see you at 2-30 p.m. Tuesday April 2nd” [MTP].
March 30 Saturday – At supper party for Edwin Booth, held at Delmonico’s in New York, Sam gave a speech called “The Long Clam.” The New York Times, p.4 reported the event on Apr. 1. Many of Sam’s friends, associates and acquaintances attended.
THE BOOTH SUPPER
The table set in the great hall at Delmonico’s on Saturday night for the supper party given by Augustin Daly and Albert M. Palmer in honor of Edwin Booth was in the form of a star. At each of the five arms were seats for 15 gentlemen. At the apex of the northern arm sat Mr. Booth, between Mr. Daly and Mr. Palmer. Near them were Gen. Sherman, Lawrence Barrett, Gen. Horace Porter, W.J. Florence, Constant Coquelin, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Horace Howard Furness, wisest and most amiable of Shakespearean scholars; George H. Boker, the Philadelphia poet; L. Clark Davis, ex-Judge Charles P. Daly, Parke Godwin, and S. L. Clemens. Among the actors present, besides those already named, were John Gilbert, John A. Lane, Ben G. Rogers, George Clarke, John Drew, Louis Massen, James Lewis, Herbert Kelcey, E.M. Holland, Alexander Salvini, Jean Coquelin, Edward Harrigan, Walden Ramsey, and Harry Edwards. Chauncey M. Depew, Edmund Charles Stedman, Frank Millet, J.S. Hartley, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Laurence Hutton, George Parsons Lathrop, Brander Matthews, John Foord, Dr. A. Ruppaner, Stephen H. Olin, Richard Watson Gilder, Daniel Frohman, Edgar Fawcett, Edmund C. Stanton, Arthur F. Bowers, Judge Joseph F. Daly, Marshall P. Wilder, P.T. Barlow, and A. Durand were also numbered in the 75.
The arms of the star radiated from a circular mass of roses, and flowers in rich profusion were banked in the middle of each of the five branches of the table. A band was stationed in the balcony. The supper began at midnight.
Sam’s speech may be found in Fatout, MT Speaking 241-3.
March 31 Sunday – With the Booth Supper beginning at midnight, Sam thus spoke afterward. Augustin Daly read a letter from George William Curtis, who could not attend. Stephen H. Olin then made what the Times called the “ablest and most eloquent speech of the evening” about Edwin Booth. Chauncey Depew spoke, saying the “theatrical profession provided more amusement for the world than his own profession, speaking as a railroad man.” Sam then gave his humorous speech about not being able to make a speech due to digesting a “Long Clam.” Others followed in a celebration which undoubtedly lasted till the wee hours [NY Times, Apr. 1, p.4 “The Booth Supper”]. In his Apr. 3 letter to his mother Sam wrote,
…was up all night at a supper…with a man about 70 at my left elbow, & one about 74 at my other one — General Sherman & Judge Daly, wonderful veterans [MTP]. Note: Judge Joseph Daly, brother of Augustin Daly.
April – St. Nicholas Club, N.Y. sent Sam an engraved invitation and ticket to the May 1 Centenary celebration of Washington’s inauguration [MTP]. Note: Sam would not attend.
April 1 Monday –Sam returned to Hartford in time to give a reading at “Lib” Hamersley’s, including “Encounter with an Interviewer,” “The Skinned Man,” selections from HF and the Jumping Frog [MTNJ 3: 446; Fatout, MT Speaking 659]. Note: This reading was originally scheduled for Apr. 2 but was changed by Ellen T. Johnson in her Mar. 8 letter. Sam later noted to send thanks for the roses he was given for this event [MTNJ 3: 469n217].
Cassell & Co. wrote to Sam: “We have had a MSS submitted which purports to be your life and is written by Mr. Will M. Clemens of Garranza, Cal. The book seems to be a very fair one and we might be disposed to consider its publication, but before doing so we should like to know if this work was written with your sanction and approval” — otherwise they’d nix it. Sam wrote “answered” on the env. [MTP]. Note: See Nov. 18, 1879 for more on Will Clemens and his book, ultimately published in 1913.
Charles Noel Flagg wrote in Hartford to Sam after hearing him read “this afternoon at the Misses Hamersley’s.” Flagg liked the reading, and mentioned the Cocquelin brothers, who “made me think that their name was synonymous with real comedy” [MTP]. See Apr. 3 on Flagg.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam with weekly reports, a check for $2,000 and a N.Y. World receipt showing the inserted ad “as directed.” Sales averaged 102 books per day [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam having just returned from a “long conference with Mr. Frohman,” discussing the question of foreign rights for the P&P play. He’d also written to the attorney Ingersoll about the tangle of disputes between Frohman, Richardson, House and Sam on the P&P dramatization [MTP].
April 2 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam went to see physician Marcus M. Johnson [MTNJ 3: 469n215].
He also wrote to his N.Y. attorney at Alexander & Green, Daniel Whitford, letter not extant but referred to in Whitford’s Apr. 4.
April 3 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles Noel Flagg (1848–1916) noted portrait artist, thanking him for compliments sent. Flagg painted Sam’s portrait when Sam was 55 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to his mother, Jane Lampton Clemens, who had written with Orion on Mar. 29. He was glad that Orion’s PS reported Jane was doing better; he reported that they “very frequently go to New York, & rest — up on the Opera & the theatre & gadding around till we can neither sleep nor stand.” Sam also told of the all night supper for Edwin Booth of Mar. 30-31:
I go to one more dinner, Apl. 8, & then I am done, for this season, & shall hide at home & dissipate no more. We had a good many men at that supper the other night whom I had not met for five, seven, ten years — & meantime how it has been snowing on them! Mr. Boucicault’s fringe has become white floss silk — yes, & he is more the image of Shakespeare than ever, if possible. Age is creeping into this world — I notice that. Livy, & Susie & Jean (who is learning to fiddle) & I all send a world of love to you [MTP].
In the evening, Sam likely went to the Hartford Foot Guard Armory to hear the Boston Symphony Concert. The date and event are listed in his notebook [3: 466&n201].
Rose Terry Cooke wrote from Pittsfield to Sam: “Your umbrella will leave here by the first express”[MTP]. See Mar. 6 for Sam’s stay in Pittsfield.
April 4 Thursday – In Hartford Sam responded to Abraham G. Mills’ letter agreeing that Mills should read Carter’s letter and then introduce him at the baseball dinner on Apr. 8. Sam reminded him, not to address him as Clemens. “I am Mark Twain in public — never Clemens.” He also asked that Mills not send a carriage for him and Twichell unless it was raining, as they “always walk when the weather will allow it” [MTP].
Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam recorded his progress along the margin on p.196: “Stopped here Apl. 4/89” [Gribben 105]. (See Mar. 27, Apr. 24)
Abraham G. Mills wrote to Sam (transcript of Carter to Curtiss Apr. 2 enclosed). “I send for your confidential information copy of a letter just rec’d from the Hawaiian Minister. If entirely agreeable to you…the toast will read ‘The Grand Tour … the Sandwich Islands.’…then I will read his letter & afterwards introduce you in the manner already agreed upon.” Sam wrote on the env., “Answered. About a baseball dinner to Spaulding” [MTP]. See Apr. 8 on the baseball dinner.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam: “I have your letter of the 2nd I have sent the enclosure to Mr Frohman and asked him at what time on Tuesday next we can meet you — in reference to the dual character [in P&P] I think he is disposed to be fair and do whatever is best for the play and to make it a financial success.” Whitford didn’t think Daniel Frohman was affected by expense. He advised Sam not to communicate with Edward House without notifying the law firm [MTP].
April 5 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Augustin Daly feeling he owed him and the actress Miss Rehan, who was the idol of his girls.
I have written wonderful books, which have revolutionized politics & religion in the world; & you might think that that is why my children hold my person to be sacred, but it isn’t so: it is because I know Miss Rehan & Mr. Drew personally [MTP]. Note: Ada Rehan and John Drew were notables on the N.Y. stage.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (financial statement enclosed showing 7,750 books sent out for March): “Will you please let us know if you will be here on the 30th. prox. to view the parade, and if so about how many guests you will bring with you.” Sam wrote on the env., “shall not attend the Centennial / Maybe Joe will” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam (Frohman to Whitford Apr. 4 encl., suggesting he send Sam a box seat for Tuesday night and they could meet between the acts). “A man from Mr Ingersoll’s office called yesterday. He said that he had never seen the letters which you had written to Mr. Ingersoll. He then went on to say that Mr House had spent three years in preparation dramatizing this play…I told him …that the idea that you had given up your book to Mr. House to do as he liked with it was not for a moment to be believed” [MTP]. Note: Robert Ingersoll was House’s attorney.
April 6 Saturday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam (O’Reilly to Hall Mar. 27 encl.) referring O’Reilly’s suggestion that the later events of the Pope’s life should be included in a new edition, since if the Pope died, it would not take advantage of the “excitement incident” to it [MTP]. Note: among his recent achievements, the Pope founded the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
April 7 Sunday
April 8 Monday – Sam and Livy (judging from Sam’s Apr. 15 to Susan L. Crane) went to New York and stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel. In the evening, Sam gave a speech at the “Baseball Dinner,” Delmonico’s in New York, which he titled, “The Grand Tour-1. The Sandwich Islands.” Fatout writes:
A.G. Spalding, president of the Chicago National League Club, financed the first American baseball invasion of the Old World, a globe-circling tour of two teams, the All-Americans and the Chicagos, from October 1888 to April 1889. When they returned to New York, a banquet feted promoter and players for most of a boisterous night. Theodore Roosevelt was there, Charles B. Dillingham, A.C. “Pop” Anson, F.D. Millet, De Wolf Hopper, and several hundred other buoyant gentlemen. “The dinner,” said the New York Herald next day, “was served in nine innings, of course, and the waiters had evidently been trained to make all the champagne bases.” Speakers were seated in positions corresponding to those of a baseball team: Chauncey Depew, pitcher; Judge Henry M. Howland, catcher; and so forth. Mark Twain, shortstop, was introduced as a native of the Sandwich Islands [MT Speaking 244]. (Editorial emphasis.)
Baseball is the very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, booming nineteenth century!
The rest of Sam’s speech may be read in Fatout and also in the Boston Daily Globe, Apr. 9, 1889 p.1 “DEPEW’S CURVES”.
Before he left Hartford, Sam wrote to Clarence Winthrop Bowen (1852-1935), one of the founders of the American Historical Association, (formed on Jan. 4, 1889) accepting “with pleasure the kind invitation of the Committee on the Centennial Celebration” [MTP]. Note: The three-day event (Apr. 29 to May 1) celebrating 100 years since George Washington took the oath of office, Apr. 30, 1789 in New York City included naval and military parades, and a banquet at the Metropolitan Opera House on Apr. 30. Sam would view the main parade from the windows of the Webster & Co. offices. On Apr. 28 Sam would write another one-liner to Bowen that he was unable to come.
Orion and Mollie Clemens started a letter to Sam and Livy they finished on Apr. 10. Orion wrote more about the typesetter; and concern for Sam’s health [MTP].
April 9 Tuesday – Sam gave another private reading, probably in New York. His notebook selections included, “Encounter with an Interviewer,” “The Skinned Man,” selections from HF and the Jumping Frog, and all of the Lucerne girl tale about a stranger acting as if she knew him [MTNJ 3: 446]. Livy was disappointed being unable to visit Theodore and Susan L. Crane, who evidently had left the city [Sam to Crane, Apr. 15]. The Clemenses returned home to Hartford either this day or the next.
Bissell & Co. Bank wrote to Sam: “We credit your account with $1,312 …Chatto note for £270 12/2” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, financial report enclosed (not extant). $800 more collected [MTP].
April 10 Wednesday – In Hartford, Sam responded to an unidentified person he addressed as “My Dear Cousins.”
I suppose you have got it a little wrong, & that you are cousin to my niece Mrs. Annie Moffett Webster, of Fredonia, N.Y. My wife’s former name was Langdon, & she doesn’t seem to have any relatives outside of the State of New York [MTP].
Sam also wrote a paragraph to Walter Williams responding to an invitation to speak at the University of Missouri. Williams was founder of the journalism school there. He wanted Sam and Henry Watterson (Sam’s second cousin by marriage and editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal) to make a joint appearance. Sam’s famous reply in declining the invitation shows he’d picked up a thing or two in a prior visit to Edison’s laboratory in New Jersey.
…while Watterson, by himself, is a useless carbon loop, & I, by myself, am a useless wire, we are an electric light when we combine [MTP].
Orion and Mollie Clemens finished a letter to Sam and Livy they started on Apr. 10: Orion was “now satisfied about the machine” and would wait “with hope and without fear.” His cold was better; he’d received a letter from Daniel Whitford saying he wanted him to go to Burlington (Iowa) if a letter to that effect came Monday or Tuesday. Mollie: “I am so glad you will remember Ma as Ma. We shall have to think of her as being changed as Mrs. Stowe is changed. Truly Ma’s case is most pitiable. The Dr comes every day” [MTP]. Note: Whitford was actively pursuing the lawsuit against R.T. Root Co.
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam about James G. Batterson of Hartford who had been in to see him the past week relative to typesetters. Whitford recommended Sam call upon Batterson and ask him to look at the Paige typesetter (as a possible investor) [MTP]. Note: James G. Batterson, founder and president of the Travelers Ins. Co. of Hartford and president of the New England Granite Works
April 11 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam responded to an unidentified man who evidently asked what effect the Paige typesetter would have on the costs of composition. Sam’s reply shows how high the expectations for the machine were:
The machine was finished (in the rough, so to speak,) six weeks ago, & performed all its functions perfectly. We are now removing temporary devices from it & substituting permanent ones — a tedious job, but necessary. I require that it be done thoroughly, let the cost in delay be what it may. To succeed, a type-setting machine must be blemishless; it is a severe requirement, but we shall meet it.
I answer your closing question affirmatively: it will reduce the price of composition to one-sixth of what it is now [MTP]. Note: While Paige and Sam struggled for a “perfect” machine, the Mergenthaler, Thorne and others were working in the field, however imperfectly, and being improved on the job.
Webster & Co. wrote a note to Sam: “Your favors received. We have sent the Electrotype to Mess. Hubbard Bros. And have written the gentleman regarding his new form of Cash Book…” [MTP]. Note: Webster & Co. had sued Hubbard Bros. of Phila. years before: See June 14, 1887, Feb. 9, 1888, July 8, 1888
April 12 Friday – Sam and Livy went to New York and stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel [Apr.15 to Crane]. He gave a reading there the next day at Miss Brown’s.
Sam’s notebook: [check] # 4830. Apl. 12. $40. — 2,000 miles [3: 470].
Abraham G. Mills wrote to Sam about the Apr. 8 baseball banquet, observing, “you never made an address in your life that has made you so many new friends.” He regretted his duties prevented him from showing more attention to Sam and Joe Twichell [MTP].
John E. Mangan for Artist Printer sent Sam a circular about a planned newspaper. “Can you benefit mankind at large by some of your experience?” Sam wrote “Please decline with the usual excuse” [MTP].
April 13 Saturday – Sam gave a reading at Miss Annie Brown’s in New York City. He included “True Story,” and “Uncle Remus” [Fatout, MT Speaking 659]. This reading was to benefit the Society of Collegiate Alumnae, working to help lower class working women in the city [MTNJ 3: 468n211]. It was one of several charity readings Sam gave during this year.
Alice Jones wrote from N.Y. about Andrew Carnegie, her letter to the President and his answer, and a bust of Pitt? And a “great banquet” for “Peace lovers” on the 17th. [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam about being called on by Mr. Andersen of Howland and Heiderson, “very respectable lawyers of his city,” on behalf of Edward House. Old ground gone over about Frohman’s position of simply wanting a successful play, Sam’s defense, etc. [MTP].
April 14 Sunday
April 15 Monday – In Hartford, Sam wrote his thanks to Abraham G. Mills for the “good time!” he and Twichell had at the Baseball Dinner on Apr. 8. He apologized for “sliding out without a thank-you or a world of good-night to you” but they didn’t want to interrupt him so asked a Mr. Lynch to do the honors for them [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Susan L. Crane. Livy was ailing again, this time from pinkeye; she was under the care of Hartford physician William T. Bacon, who Sam said, “forbids her to read or write.” She and Sam had missed seeing the Cranes in New York on the previous Saturday, and Sam said “she took it hard.” The bulk of his letter described Jean’s written handiwork on the envelope and the reason for her expression:
I send you the envelop, as well as Jean’s letter, because of the remarks all over the back of it — repetitions of the fact that Mr. & Mrs. Clemens had gone to New York; that is, I send the envelop because all that idle scribbling made it so picturesque & Jeanish. But it turns out that it wasn’t idle scribbling, after all — it had a purpose. Livy was up, a minute ago to kiss Jean a final good — night, & said to her:
“Jean, why did you scribble all that on the back of your envelop about our having gone to New York?”
“Because that hotel sent my other letter back, Mamma.”
So you see, it was a double letter: the inside for Livy, the outside for those mullet-heads of the Murray Hill [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We are all rather ashamed of this weeks report. However our collections have been good as you will see, also we have taken many orders on L.A.L.” [MTP].
April 16 Tuesday – Dora Wheeler wrote to Sam about the photographs her friend Teddy Hewitt had made of him. “Teddy says he will make over any plates you want to you.” Hewitt turned all his negatives over to C.C. Cox, the photographer who Stedman had hired to work on the Library of American Literature [MTNJ 3: 470n222].
Frederick J. Hall reported “The two copies of your new book are now finished” (typescripts) [MTP; MTNJ 3: 395; MTLTP 253n1].
April 17 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon, in poor health but coming for a visit. Sam told her of Livy’s needed rest for pinkeye and being under the care of Dr. William T. Bacon. Sam wrote of the “good season” and the “blackbirds in full bloom…Summer threatens to break on us now, any day & make everything beautiful.” He also advised her to bring her “other dress along,” for a “grand charity ball” at Mrs. Samuel Colt’s on May 7 for the Union for Home Work [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam. The parade of the Centennial of Washington’s Inaugural would pass by the building and tickets would be required. Hall would mail “entrance tickets to Mr. Warner and Rev. Dr. Twichell and also send Mr. Wetmore [Whitmore] two tickets as requested”; the R.T. Root matter was settled, and after paying Mrs. Grant her share, the firm netted but $2,000 on the $30,000 debt [MTP].
April 18 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a letter about how to remove tattoos to the editor of the New York Sun. The letter ran in the Apr. 21 issue — see entry.
Benton Coontz wrote to Sam on Missouri General Assembly letterhead. “Dear Sam / Enclosed find clipping which may interest you, and call up old times. I still live at the old town and am connected with the state senate at present…” (clipping enclosed from the Hannibal Journal with reminiscences of Hedrick Smith, Hannibal resident form 1845-1851; Smith was about five years older than Sam) [MTP].
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam: “There is considerable activity about here now on the Mergenthaler Machine. / Mr. Holmes & I are quite anxious to know when we can see yours” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam who had requested copies of contracts for his works — none were found, save one with Charles F. Winch to dramatize TS, which had expired. Miss Hutchinson, literary editor of the Tribune had been asking if she could make mention of Sam’s “new book” [MTP].
April 19 Friday – Nathan Haskell Dole for Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., Boston photographer wrote to Sam: “Mr. Crowell has had the executioner place your head upon the block, the cross-cut did its work and I have the honor of sending you a proof of your own decapitation with the hope that it will merit your approval.” Sam wrote on the env., “Answer when the picture comes” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam (Frohman to Whitford Apr. 18 encl.): I enclose herewith a letter which I received his morning from Mr. Frohman (which reads):
I had a chat with Mr. House yesterday. He does not think his version of the play will suit Elsie Leslie or any child. However, I got him a box for the Broadway Theatre to see the child’s performance next week. Then I shall see what decision he comes to [MTP].
April 20 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam answered Samuel Moffett’s letter to Livy. The Moffetts were planning a trip east from San Francisco, and wanted to visit.
We are glad you are coming, & both of you will be welcome. I judge you will fetch along here just right to fit our dates. We shall begin to tear up the house, June 4, for the summer flight [to Elmira]; & we hope you can spend the preceding 7 days with us, arriving here May 28th [MTP]. Note. Pamela Moffett at this time was also on the West Coast, so “both of you” may have included Moffett’s wife or his mother.
Sam also wrote to Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe, letter not extant but referred to in Taylor’s Apr. 22 [MTP].
Lem Y. Ball wrote from Warren, Penn. to Sam on George Ball Clothier letterhead, asking for their carnival, “an autographic letter containing a short article from some of your writings” [MTP].
April 21 Sunday – The New York Sun ran Sam’s letter of Apr. 18:
To the Editor of The Sun — Sir: I find the following suggestive derelict wandering about the ocean of journalism:
“I’d give a thousand dollars,” said a well-to-do New Yorker the other day, “to have that mark removed,” and he held out a well shaped and well-eared forehand, on the back of which, between the thumb and first finger, was tattooed a big blue anchor. “When I was a little fool at school, with my head full of stories of adventure, my highest ambition was to go to sea. An old sailor who lived in the village tattooed about a dozen of us on the sly, and I remember the lies I told my mother, as I kept my hand done up in a rag, pretending I had cut it, till the sore healed. Then she gave me such a thrashing as broke up my plan, fortunately, to have a fine red and blue heart done on the back of the other. The disfigurement has caused me no end of annoyance since and has cost me considerable money for gloves, which I always wear, winter and summer, though I detest them in warm weather. But a man can’t wear gloves at the table, and often at restaurants I catch people staring at my hand and I wonder if they think I have served my term in the fo’castle of some oyster scow or lumber schooner.”
A tattoo mark is easily removed. May I drop into personal history? When I was a small boy I had my share of warts. I tried in turn the three hundred and sixty-eight ways of removing them, but without results; indeed, I seemed to get wartier and wartier right along. But at last somebody revealed to me the three hundred and sixty-ninth way, and I tried it. Thus: I drove a needle down into the basement of the wart; then held the other end of the needle in the flame of a candle some little time; the needle became red hot throughout its length, and proceeded to cook the wart. Presently I drew the needle out; if it had white atoms like nits sticking about its point, that wart was done; if the point was clear, I drove it in again and cooked till I got those white things. They were the roots of the wart. Twenty-four hours later the wart would become soft and flabby, and I removed it with a single wipe of my hand. Where it had been was a smooth surface now, which quickly healed, and left no scar. Within two days I was wartless, and have so remained unto this day.
Well, a long time afterward, when I was sixteen years old, a sailor tattooed an anchor and rope on the back of my left hand with India ink. The color was a deep, dark blue, and extravagantly conspicuous. I was proud of it for awhile, but by the time I had worn it nine years I was tired of it and ashamed of it. I could find nobody who could tell how to get rid of it; but at least my wart experience of near half a generation before occurred to me, and I got me several needles and a candle straightway. I drove the needles along just under the surface of the skin and tolerably close together, and made them include the whole tattoo mark; then I fired up on them and cooked that device thoroughly. Next day I wiped the device off with my hand. The place quickly healed, and left no scar. A faint bluish tinge remained, and I was minded to begin again and cook that out; but as it was hardly detectable, and not noticeable, it did not seem worth the fuel, and so I left it there, and there it is yet, though I suppose I am the only member of my tribe that knows it.
I was in London a good many years ago, when the Tichborne Claimant’s case was being tried, and a batch of learned experts testified that an India ink tattoo mark could not be removed; but I was not asked to testify, and so those people don’t know any better to this day. Let the “well-to-do New Yorker” fetch me some needles and a candle, and name his bet. I will take him up. MARK TWAIN.
HARTFORD, April 18.
[Note: Thanks to detective work done by Frank C. Willson in the June 1945 The Twainian, and Gary Scharnhorst in American Notes & Queries (17:3) 2004, 41-3 this article, from a partial clipping in a scrapbook, was found and authenticated as Sam’s].
Mabelle B. Biggart, “Elocutionist and Dramatic Reader in West High School,” Cleveland, Ohio, wrote to Sam asking for “something about yourself for a brief sketch.” Biggart was a friend of Annie Webster. Sam wrote on the envelope, “I will answer her” [MTP].
Sarah C. Waters wrote Sam a rather gushing thank you for his talk on Hawaii at the Apr. 8 baseball banquet [MTP].
April 22 Monday – Anna Hoit Bumstead wrote from Atlanta thanking Sam for his $25 check [MTP]. Note: Sam sent an annual check for this amount to the widow Ware and her children.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam. The Centennial of Washington’s Inaugural was killing some business but the cookbook was selling well. He enclosed clippings from the Sunday N.Y. World, “A Book Canvasser’s Woes,” which he characterized as “a sensational stringing together of lies and misrepresentations. The person who signs it is mythical” [MTP]. Note: The article purported to be by a dissatisfied agent of Webster & Co.
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam: “I have your letter of the 20th [not extant] and am glad you answered my inquiry so fully.” Favorable reports had created a stir in Boston over the Mergenthaler Linotype. “We had no intention of ordering any, but we agreed to wait and see yours” [MTP].
Dora Wheeler wrote from N.Y. to Sam: “Teddy Hewitt was in yesterday & he tells me [C.C.] Cox has all the negatives of your photographs & that he has given him orders to make you duplicate negatives of any or all that you may order [MTP]. Note: Teddy Hewitt was an amateur photographer friend of Dora’s.
April 23 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. I would have gotten rid of Mrs. Crowley easily and quickly except that she was brought to the office personally by Col. Grant, who asked me to give her matter consideration. I knew of course we did not want the book.” Hall presumed that Col Grant’s remark of Sam having the deciding vote was what put the lady “on his scent” [MTP].
Gertrude A. Mahorney wrote to Sam, billing herself as “the first graduate of African descent” from Butler University in 1887. She outlined all the countries she wanted to travel to and suggested Sam be the publisher for a book she would write from it all. Sam wrote “Curiosity” on the envelope [MTP].
April 24 Wednesday – Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam noted his progress along the margin on p.207: “Begin here Apl. 24/89” [Gribben 105]. (See Apr. 4)
April 25 Thursday – Jennie A. Eustace from Elmira wrote from N.Y.C. asking Sam “to write a part in this new play which shall fit me — me and only me. And then I want you to insist on Mr. Frohman engaging me to play it” [MTP].
H.H. Kelsey, Graham Taylor, and J.B. Pierce wrote a postcard from Hartford to Sam asking for the return of a “subscription list” sent on Apr. 9. Sam wrote on the card, “Haven’t got it” [MTP].
H.S. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam, having opened an agency for authors. Sam wrote “No answer” on the env., as he did most solicitations [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, glad he was of the same mind about the World article, as was Whitford. “We have sent the book to Mr. Hewett as requested. Are pleased to know that the copying was so well done. We have written to Mr. [C.C.] Cox the photographer asking him to send us a set of the negatives Mr. Stedman will go over them and the one he selects we will order a dozen photographs of…” [MTP]. Note: the sending of books to Teddy Hewett suggests they were the price of his photographs of Mark Twain. See Wheeler’s Apr. 22.
April 26 Friday – A. Bourne wrote a note to Sam decrying the same N.Y. World article, “A Book Canvasser’s Woes” (enclosed) “This outrageous twisting of fact…” Sam wrote on the env., “No, we can’t kill lies by denying their truth” [MTP].
Republican Club of New York sent Sam an engraved admission card to the club for a period of Apr. 26 to May 6, 1889 [MTP].
April 27 Saturday – Thomas S. Fox for Albany Evening Union wrote to Sam. Fox wanted to use the Kaolatype process “in a small local way,” not in the country at large [MTP]. Note: Whitmore had given him a $3,000 price to use the process in the U.S.
William Dean Howells wrote: “I’m not sure that Cassell sends us all his books; any way I’ve not seen Miss Trumbull’s. I shall certainly send it with every prepossession” [MTP]. Note: Annie’s book was probably An Hour’s Promise (1889) pub. by Cassell [Gribben 715].
April 28 Sunday – In Hartford, Sam sent regrets to Clarence W. Bowen, advising that “At the last moment I find myself obliged to remain at home,” and gave up his seat at the banquet for the Centennial Celebration in New York of Washington’s taking the oath of office [MTP]. See Apr. 8.
April 29 Monday – C.B. Baker wrote from Oakland, Nebr. to Sam:
Oh Mark! What an old selfish fraud you are! That “World” article was inspired by a provoked public. How you led [illegible word] that poor actor write his own play! Col. Sellers. John Raymond was one of a thousand victims. I am another. I took four of your books to a 2d hand book store yesterday. I see the people at last are “going for you” [MTP]. Note: obviously either a put-on or not a fan
April 30 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam gave his signature this date to an unidentified person [MTP].
May – In Hartford, Sam finished CY this month [Kaplan 293]. He also penned two paragraphs as a stock answer to editors as to the status of the Paige typesetter.
…we are hoping, & also expecting, that the Paige Compositor will be finished by the 15th of July. It will use moveable type, of the ordinary sort. By the manipulation of one person it will set type, & at the same time will automatically distribute, accurately space, and perfectly justify the lines.
…it will set several times as many ems as any other machine…it will perfect for the press more than twice as much matter as any other machine, whether that machine uses movable types or makes castings [MTP].
Whitmore wrote that his son Fred had stopped working on the typesetter until some new devices were to be attached. Also that he’d paid some bills; he hoped Sam’s lumbago was “all gone” [MTP].
May 1 Wednesday – Nineteen-year-old Therese Reichenberger wrote to thank Sam for his gracious answer to her prior letter. Sam reminded himself to “write her by & by” on the first page of her letter, and added a listing in his notebook of her Frankfurt address [MTNJ 3: 486&n16].
Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam noted his progress along the margin on p.225: “Begin here May 1/89” [Gribben 105]. (See Apr. 24, May 15)
May 2 Thursday – Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam [MTP]. “I do not think the reformation of the agreement with Mrs. Richardson should be delayed longer. I therefore enclose it to you. Do examine it carefully and if there is anything you wish explained bold it and let me know…. I judge from the tone of Mr. Frohman’s letter which I sent you that he was unable to make anything out of what Mr. House had written” [MTP].
May 3 Friday – Thomas S. Fox for Albany Evening Union wrote to Sam inquiring about using the Kaolatype process [MTP].
Jeannette L. Gilder for The Critic wrote to Sam wishing to know “the truth of the case” about the P&P play with Elsie Leslie. She’d received a note from Edward House that he had signed a contract with you about the play. Who had the rights? [MTP].
May 4 Saturday – Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote a short note advising Sam, enclosing a copy of Frohman’s May 3 having to do with who might act in the P&P lead role. Frohman believed it could not be played by someone over the age of 15. [MTP].
May 5 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “I wrote to the Texas ‘cub’ the same day I received your letter. I said what you suggested, on your behalf, and added some personal recollections of his grandparents, whom I remembered. I wrote kindly.” He added family goings on and hope for the typesetter [MTP].
May 6 Monday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam summarizing current business income and outlays. “The enclosed report explains itself.” No report is with the letter in the file [MTP].
May 7 Tuesday – Sam and Livy attended a Charity Ball, Union for House Work, at the Hartford Foot Guard Armory [MTNJ 3: 468n212]. Sam was on the reception committee, joined by the Governor and other big wigs. The charity supported “reading rooms for boys and girls, a day-nursery, sewing and cooking schools, a clothing-club, lending library,” and affordable tenement houses [438n101].
Ozias W. Pond wrote to Sam that “if you have a few thousand dollars to invest” he recommended the Kissel Fire Brick Co. , which he had “the honor to be secretary and treasurer of” [MTP]. Note: Ozias, brother of James B. Pond, had been manager on Sam’s tour with Cable.
May 8 Wednesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a two-sentence note to the editor of The Critic:
One dramatic version of the Prince & Pauper will be put upon the state in the autumn, but not two [MTP].
Note: The editor at this time was Jeannette Leonard Gilder and Joseph Benson Gilder, siblings of the Century’s Richard Watson Gilder.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that he’d read a typed copy of CY. Hall expressed being “nervous” about his “ability to properly place” CY “on the market and give it the circulation it deserves.” Hall had not handled publication of one of Sam’s books before this [MTNJ 3: 478; MTLTP 253n1].
May 9 Thursday – Sam’s notebook carries an entry about the defeat this day in England’s House of Lords, a bill legalizing marriage between a widower and his deceased wife’s sister. Sam concluded:
Without the Established Church the bill would have had a majority [MTNJ 3: 487].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d received the check for $200 the day before. He expected sister Pamela that evening; they’d moved and were “nearly settled.” He asked what book Sam was writing, and passed on that the Chicago Daily Inter Ocean “says it is the adventures of a modern Yankee among the Knights of the 12th Century” [MTP].
Sam wrote to Thomas S. Fox for Albany Evening Union answering his inquiry about the Kaolatype process; they did not wish to sell local or state rights for the use of the process. Sam’s letter is not extant but is referred to in Fox’s of May 18 [MTP].
May 10 Friday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. Sister Pamela had arrived and he wrote:
We made a confidant of her, after pledging her to secrecy. Afterward your letter of the 7th came. It was just as Pamela was starting for the hack, which had driven to the door. She was made acquainted with the contents of your letter and its printed enclosure…promising to keep silence, and especially by …agreeing to say nothing about the machine… [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote from Albany, N.Y. to Sam. Sage and Parsons wanted to see the machine working before investing
I received your letter yesterday & waited until I could see Parsons this morning before answering. / I am glad to learn that your machine is so near successful completion & hope that in its results it will justify not only the type, but your faith & perseverance in working at it so long & expensively. / Now as to your offer…to offer your friends $50,000 to $100000 of the stock in a capitalization of $3000000 [MTP].
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam (Lawson to Taylor May 8 encl.). “I have to ask your pardon for so long delay in answering your inquiry of the 20th ult.” The letter answered issues relating to the Typographical Union and the acceptance of typesetters [MTP].
May 11 Saturday – In Hartford, Sam read for the Saturday Morning Club, which included “Isaac Muleykeh,” “King Arthur,” “Interviewer,” and “Christening” [Fatout, MT Speaking 659]. The club met at 10:30 a.m. [MTNJ 3: 472]. Budd calls this last item, “The Christening Yarn” [Collected 1: 938].
Edward P. Clark for N.Y. Evening Post wrote to Sam (printed matter re: “Philip H. Welch, The Humorist”; and “The Welch Memorial Fund” copied from the N.Y. Eve. Post, Apr. 2, 1889 encl.). Clark solicited funds and Sam wrote on the envelope, “Sent $25 / Philip Welch Fund” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charles H. Taylor of the Boston Globe seeking expense details for their typesetter. His letter is not extant but is referred to in Taylor’s reply of May 13. Sam wanted to know the metal and gas expenses for the competitor to the Paige typesetter [MTP].
May 12 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Horatio C. King wishing he “could be there when you celebrate in Orange, but unfortunately I shall be far away at that time.” King had invited Sam to a New Jersey event for the Society of the Army of the Potomac [MTP].
May 13 Monday – A new contract was signed between Sam and Abby Sage Richardson, this time including Daniel Frohman, for the dramatization of P&P. (See Mar. 25) Fatout writes:
This agreement, which made Frohman party of the third part, gave Mrs. Richardson the right to dramatize for one-half the royalties, required her to complete the play by October 1, and to submit it to Mark Twain and Frohman for their approval. Frohman, given exclusive right to produce the play for five years, agreed to stage at least 75 performances a year with Elsie Leslie in the title roles. A significant section on claims by any other person asserting his right to dramatize made the parties of the first and second part liable for damages or legal charges to the extent of one thousand dollars [“MT, Litigant” 31]. Note: Edward House would bring suit; his claim, if proven, would make Sam and Richardson liable.
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam. “I have your polite letter of the 11th. / As I understand the matter, the Providence Journal has simply ordered the machines and has not received them yet, so that they would not be very good authority on the gas or the type metal expenses.” Taylor advised he’d written to “Mr. Lawson of the Chicago Daily News,” for the answers [MTP].
May 14 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam asking clarification if he was to “speak to Mr. Stedman with reference to reading” Sam’s new book, CY [MTP].
May 15 Wednesday – Sam made a 7:45 p.m. dinner speech at Jarvis Hall, Trinity College, Hartford for the Ology Club [Fatout, MT Speaking 659]. His notebook entry of “Explosions” under this event notice suggests he may have spoken on the New York City problem of subway explosions caused by gas leaks [MTNJ 3: 473n233]. Note: Sam again listed the time and date of the event [3: 486], however the source states, “there is no record of Clemens’ attendance at this meeting of the ‘Ology Cub’,” which casts some doubt upon the matter.
Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam noted his progress along the margin on p.249: “Begin here May15 ‘89” [Gribben 105]. (See May 1, May 22.)
Edmund C. Stedman wrote to Sam about reading his “forthcoming book” (CY) [MTP].
May 16 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote a letter of introduction for his nephew, Samuel Moffett, to Henry M. Alden, of Harper & Brothers. Moffett at this time was an editor on the San Francisco Examiner and was soon to visit. Sam added, “it may be that he can furnish you some magazine of value” [MTP].
Sam also wrote a similar letter for Moffett to Richard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine, and asked him to “introduce him to the other good & useful people, Buell & Johnson for instance.” Note: Robert Underwood Johnson and Clarence Clough Buel were editors for the Century’s “Battles and Leaders of the Civil War” series (1888).
If you need any Pacific Coast or other kind of articles, you can talk business; otherwise you can talk weather. In any case, get acquainted; each of you is worth the effort [MTP].
Sam also wrote to his nephew, Samuel E. Moffett, who evidently had responded favorably to the date named for a visit:
Good — we shall look for you at the appointed time — say May 28th…. I enclose letters to Gilder, Cummings, & Alden (Editor of Harper’s Monthly.)… Your aunt Livy’s eyes are better, but not usable yet. With love to you & Mary. SLC [MTP].
Sam also wrote a note to Dora Wheeler for Livy. Apologizing for being Livy’s amanuensis “(who can write better than she can),” Sam verified dates of a visit from Dora and her mother, Candace Wheeler, plus one other guest:
Mrs. Clemens…hopes you can come May 22d, & remain till the 27th… And she cordially invites Mr. Keith to come up Saturday the 25th & stay over Sunday, & begs you to extend the invitation to him for her [MTP].
May 17 Friday – Alfred Waters wrote from Auckland, NZ to Sam seeking an autograph [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about a proposed book by “the wife of ‘Lannigan’ who wrote so many ballads and fables some of which, you will remember are quoted in ‘Library of Humor’. / There certainly would be no sale for a book, such as she proposes, by subscription; there might be a demand for a cheap trade book…” Hall had said nothing definite to Stedman about reading Sam’s CY manuscript [MTP]. Note: probably George T. Lanigan.
May 18 Saturday – In Hartford Sam answered the May 11 letter from Edward P. Clark for N.Y. Evening Post, apologizing for the week delay.
Enclosed please find $25. I owe you a thousand apologies for my unpromptness in answering; but during the past ten days I have been in one of those whirlwinds of activity… [MTP]. Note: it was Sam’s habit to answer most mail he intended to answer promptly.
Sam also wrote to Edmund C. Stedman, thanking him for his efforts with the Library of American Literature and adding a note about his pictures to be used in the series:
I have tried to get Mrs. Clemens to give up that photograph, but she happens to think it the best one, too, & so — well, they’re all alike. The women, I mean [MTP].
Thomas S. Fox for Albany Evening Union wrote to Sam: “Yours of May 9th at hand in which you informed me that the Kaolatype Co did not care to sell any rights ‘local or state’ — did this mean they would sell rights for the US? If so, Fox wanted an interview [MTP].
May 19 Sunday – The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.20, printed an interview, “Mark Twain Chatty: He Tells of His Former Life as a Reporter.” The interview is datelined May 17, but refers to Sam’s February trip to Washington.
Washington, D.C., May 17 — I met Mark Twain the other day wandering around the Capitol and looking at pictures 50 years old as if they were new, and inspecting with the interest of a rustic stranger the vivid bronze doors whose Columbian glories had bleared his eyeballs more than two decades before. He strayed into the press gallery, threw back his gray overcoat, adjusted his gold spectacles on his nose, and looked around.
“A good deal changed, he said, glancing at the life-size photographs of Whitelaw Reid and younger editors which now decorate the walls, “and it seems a hundred years ago.”
I asked when he was here.
“I had a seat in the press gallery,” he meditated, “le’s see — in 1867 — and now I suppose all the veterans are gone — all the newspaper fellows who were here when I was, Reid and Horace White and Ramsdell and Adams and Townsend.”
“The ones you name happen to all be gone,” I admitted….
“I roomed in a house which also sheltered George Alfred Townsend, Ramsdell, George Adams and Riley of the San Francisco Alta. I represented the Virginia (Nev.) Enterprise. Also, I was private secretary to Senator Stewart, but a capabler man did the work. A little later that winter William Swinton and I housed together. Swinton invented the idea — at least it was new to me — of manifolding correspondence. I mean of sending duplicates of a letter to various widely separated newspapers. We projected an extensive business, but for some reason or other we took it out in dreaming — never really tried it.” Here Mark walked into the gallery and looked down at the vacant senatorial seats.
“I was here last,” he went on, “in 1868. I had been on that lark to the Mediterranean and had written a few letters to the San Francisco Alta that had been copied past all calculation and to my utter astonishment, a publisher wanted a book. I came back here to write it.
“Why, I was offered an office in that ancient time by the California senators — minister to China. Think of that! It wasn’t a time when they hunted around for competent people. No, only one qualification was required: You must please Andy Johnson and the Senate. Nearly anybody could please one of them, but to please both — well, it took an angel to do that. However, I declined to try for the prize. I hadn’t anything against the Chinese, and besides, we couldn’t spare any angels then.”
“A pretty good place to write,” I remarked as we took seats.
“Some things,” he said, “but an awfully bad place for a newspaper man to write a book as the publisher demanded. I tried it hard, but my chum was a storyteller, and both he and the stove smoked incessantly. And as we were located handy for the boys to run in, the room was always full of the boys who leaned back in my chairs, put their feet complacent on my manuscript, and smoked till I could not breathe.”
“Is that the way you wrote Innocents Abroad?” I asked.
“No; that is the way I didn’t write it. My publisher prodded me for copy which I couldn’t produce till at last I arose and kicked Washington behind me and ran off to San Francisco. There I got elbow room and quiet” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 96].
Notes: Horace White (1834-1916) of the Chicago Tribune; Hiram J. Ramsdell, correspondent; George W. Adams (1838-1886), Washington correspondent for the New York World; George Alfred Townsend, aka Gath (1841-1914). It is interesting to contrast Sam’s embellished recollections with the historical record — in this case why he left Washington for San Francisco, which was to obtain release of copyright claimed by the Alta. Budd gives this date for the interview with the New York Herald, p.19 [“Interviews” 7].
May 20 Monday – Edward P. Clark for N.Y. Evening Post wrote acknowledging Sam’s his letter of the 18th and check for $25 toward the Welch Memorial Fund [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote to Sam that he and Parsons would go and inspect the typesetter and if satisfactory would buy some stock in it. He also reported meeting Francis Hopkinson Smith Saturday night [MTP].
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam (clippings on the Mergenthaler Linotype & W.N. Haldeman to Taylor May 17 encl.). “I enclose a letter from the Courier-Journal showing their experience with the type setting machine, also, for fear you may not see it, an article from the N.Y.Tribune of yesterday on the subject” [MTP]. Note: See May 13, 20, 21 for expense specifics Sam was after.
May 21 Tuesday – At the Hotel Vendome in Boston, William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam, enclosing a letter from Thomas S. Perry, who had taught at Harvard and was a regular reviewer of French and German books for the Atlantic under Howells. Perry’s letter related his and his wife’s time traveling through Italy and enjoying Innocents Abroad. Perry expressed his desire to write a serious article on Mark Twain. The Howellses, after the loss of their daughter Winny, were spending the summer in a Cambridge suburb, their grief magnified by the autopsy revelation that her problems were not psychological, as he’d supposed, but organic.
We are just going into summer quarters near by; with my address always in Harper’s c/o. We shall be just beyond Cambridge, not far from Winny’s grave, beside which I stretched myself the other day, and experienced what anguish a man can live through [MTHL 2: 603]. See n3 of this source for more on Winny’s treatment and death.
Frederick J. Hall (Chatto & Windus to Webster May 6 encl.) wrote to Sam answering his request for a reduced monthly allowance of $1,000. In late March Sam had requested twice that amount monthly. Hall responded:
As you know the dull season is upon us…and while I hope to make this dull season a very much better one than it has been heretofore, it is hardly possible to do much more than enough business to keep the office going, so I think it would be well for you, if you could, not to count on getting any money from us until Fall, as it might embarrass us somewhat [MTNJ 3: 464n196].
Charles H. Taylor for Boston Globe wrote to Sam enclosing letter from Victor F. Lawson, publisher of the Chicago Daily News to Taylor, May 18. Lawson estimated gas expense at 23 cents per day for an 8 & ½ hour day and cost of metal per day at not over five cents. Sam had inquired of Taylor for these expenses [MTP].
May 22 Wednesday – Sam gave a reading at Hartford’s Unity Hall, part of a benefit for the Talcott Street Church (“colored”), which was raising money for an organ. Sam included, “Skinned Man,” “Mate and Governor Gardiner,” “Whistling,” and “Interviewer” [Fatout, MT Speaking 659; MTNJ 3: 473].
From Sam’s notebook: May 22/89, I read to the colored people “An Essay on the Decay of the Art of Lying” (first time in public) which went exceedingly well — unexpectedly so. Also read “The Duel” [3: 489].
This was the date that Dora Wheeler and her mother Candace Wheeler were to arrive for a five day visit (see May 16).
Sam’s notebook of this date carries another example of Sam’s idea of “mental telegraphy.” Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon, was visiting:
Mother said, to Livy, “What is the name of the sister of” —
“Yes, Mrs. Erastus Corning.”
I was present. Livy exclaimed that this was genuine mental telegraphy, for no mention had been made of the Cornings [3: 488].
Reading in Volume 1 of The Poetic and Dramatic Works of Robert Browning, Sam noted his progress along the margin on p.207: “Begin here May 22/89” [Gribben 105]. (See May 15)
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam (financial statement encl.). Hall thought they had done “pretty well.” He advised against a cheap edition of P&P. Books sent for Apr. 1889: 5,466 total; Sheridan’s volumes sold best at 752 and 729 copies each [MTP].
May 23 Thursday – Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam, advising that “The contract has been executed by Mrs. Richardson and Mr. Frohman and in accordance with your instructions placed in the office safe” [MTP].
May 24 Friday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a long letter of celebration to Walt Whitman for his impending 70th birthday (May 31). The letter (part of Camden’s Compliment to Walt Whitman: May 31, 1889) reflects Sam’s belief in the fallacy of man’s perfectibility as witnessed by the many inventions and breakthroughs Whitman had witnessed in his life. Wait for another 30 years, Sam wrote and Whitman would see “Man at almost his full stature at last!” [MTP]. Note: Such optimism would fade into bitterness.
Sam also responded to a letter and report (not extant) from Mrs. W.M. Neal of the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs. Sam was impressed with the energy shown by the report.
You have not asked me to offer any books, but I have ventured to order that four or five be sent to you for the Library, — moved thereto solely by goodwill, & hoping that the motive will save the act from offense. I have known the town for more than thirty years [MTP].
Edgar W. “Bill” Nye wrote from N.Y. to Sam, “thinking recently that a burlesque interview could be made quite interesting,” if he could get Sam to “participate in it at our leisure” [MTP].
May 25 Saturday – A.B. Starey for Author’s Club sent a form letter to Sam that “the regular fortnightly meetings of the AUTHORS CLUB have been suspended for Summer recess” [MTP].
F.P. Chapin wrote from N.Y. to Sam that he would be in Hartford on Wednesday to see the Thorne typesetter at the Post Office. “I am told you are interested in a new one, for which orders are claimed, if so will you kindly inform me promptly” [MTP].
May 26 Sunday
May 27 Monday – This was the date planned for Samuel Moffett’s visit (see May 16 to Moffett). It was also the day that Dora and Candace Wheeler and their friend Mr. Keith were to end their stay at the Clemens house.
Kingsland Smith of the St. Paul Roller Mill Co. wrote to ask Sam for his autograph for his sister [MTP].
May 28 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a humorous episode for Susan L. Crane pass on to her husband, Theodore Crane about Joe Twichell, who would always be oblivious when passing acquaintances on the street.
Twice in a week, our Clara had this latter experience with him within the past month. But the second instance was too much for her, and she woke him up…with a reproach. She said: —
“Uncle Joe, why do you always look as if you were just going down into the grave, when you meet a person on the street?”…. Well she has met Twichell three times since then and would swim the Connecticut to avoid meeting him the fourth. As soon as he sights her, no matter how public the place nor how far off she is, he makes a bound into the air, heaves arms and legs into all sorts of frantic gestures of delight, and so comes prancing, skipping and pirouetting for her like a drunken Indian entering heaven [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about an artist named “Battersby” who had dropped in several times soliciting funds “toward the completion of a painting of the ‘Surrender of Lee’” — Hall wanted to save Sam the annoyance of the man and would lay the idea before him [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “We enclose weekly reports. We have been paid over $1700 this week…most of it for Vol VIII L.A.L. We will commence to deliver this Vol next Monday.” Cash balance was over $2,600 [MTP].
Arthur G. Stedman wrote to Sam, unsure he’d been notified that “young Hewitt has promised us a full set of the portraits about June first.” He also related being “of service to Mr. & Mrs. Moffett.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “No Answer needed” [MTP]. Note: Teddy Hewitt, amateur photographer and friend of Dora Wheeler, had taken pictures of Sam at Onteora.
May 29 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook reveals what was probably another quick trip to New York City:
Wed. 29th. Train leaves at 5.10. Diner at 6. Return train at 10 [3: 489].
May 30 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a one-liner to Richard Watson Gilder of Century Magazine:
All right; I’ll tackle it in a month hence, when we shall be out of this turmoil & in the summer nest [MTP]. Note: part, if not most, of the “turmoil” had to do with houseguests — the Wheelers and Mr. Keith left on May 27, the same day Samuel and Mary Moffett were to arrive.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having received $200 check, and “nearly settled” in the new house; “Seems to take an age.” Ma was well; Orion included other misc. family and local matters [MTP].
May 31 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Miss Mary (unknown) declining to “respond in the body.”
I have reached the time of life when one has nothing to do & cannot get any time to do it in; & so I am obliged to stick close at home & seize every opportunity that offers. This does not accomplish anything, but it keeps one’s conscience easy [MTP].
June – While preparing to leave for Elmira, Sam entered in his notebook The Beginnings of New England; or, The Puritan Theocracy by John Fiske (1889) [3: 495; Gribben 232].
June 1 Saturday – An earlier entry in Sam’s notebook gives this as the date for Julia Langdon’s high school graduation. The oldest daughter of Charles Langdon, “Julie” had been chosen valedictorian. Sam and Susy Clemens were invited to attend; Sam wrote, “Best weather. / Bad weather up to 6” [MTNJ 3: 470n221]. Thus he and Susy may have made the trip to Elmira, weather permitting, though no further record of such a trip was found. Salisbury writes, “Clara and Susy apparently felt an intense sense of rivalry with their cousin, Julie Langdon…” .
Part of the system that caused the great Johnstown flood, the Chemung river flooded Elmira causing a great deal of damage. When Kipling visited Sam in August and later wrote his article, “Rudyard Kipling on Mark Twain,” he observed, “The Chemung River flowed generally up and down the town and had just finished flooding a few of the main streets” [Scharnhorst, Interviews 118]. Note: This article concerning Kipling’s Aug. 1889 visit to Elmira is usually cited from the New York Herald on Aug. 17, 1890, but it first ran in two Allahabad, India papers: The Pioneer of Mar. 18, 1890 and The Pioneer Mail of Mar. 19, 1990 [Baetzhold, John Bull 358]. Note: Kipling was on the editorial staff of The Pioneer.
June 2 Sunday
June 3 Monday – Cecil Kingstone wrote to Sam asking if he had any objection or held “any legal power to prevent” him from writing a play based on TA [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam (financial statement encl.) “Which shows a pretty fair month” with books sent out totaling 5,302, Sheridan’s two volumes in the lead with 535 and 543 each [MTP].
Louis Pendleton wrote to Sam sending his new book, In the Wire Grass. He was afraid he would be an annoyance, but referred to Sam’s “kind, encouraging letter last summer” about his “little Georgia Tale, “Ariadne in the Wire-Grass” [MTP].
June 4 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote John C. Kinney, editor of the Courant, declining an invitation as he was “already engaged for the Yale festivities at New Haven for that afternoon & evening” [MTP]. Note: the Yale event was an annual alumni banquet Sam would speak at on June 26, 1889.
Louise D. Sterling wrote from Ontario, Canada sending Sam some prayers, having read that Sam was “now subject to depression.” Sam wrote on the env., “Great Scott!” and also “Religious and poetic” [MTP].
June 5 Wednesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, advising they’d sent the “Cook Book as ordered to Mrs. Moffatt” and laying the matter of a book by Matthew Brady to him for consideration. The book would be “a National Portrait Gallery embracing the Presidents, Judges of the Supreme Court, Cabinet Officers and principal members of the different Senates and Congress, from George Washington down,” and would sell from $15 to $20, bound in morocco [MTP].
Daniel Whitford for Alexander & Green wrote to Sam, returning Cecil Kingstone’s letter, characterizing the communication as “rather cool.” He’d written Kingstone that the works and dramatic rights were copyrighted, not to be used without consent of the author [MTP]. See June 3.
June 6 Thursday
June 7 Friday
June 8 Saturday – Clara Clemens’ fifteenth birthday.
June 9 Sunday
June 10 Monday –The Hartford Courant, p.8 under “City Personals,” reported: “Mr. S.L. Clemens and family leave this week for their summer home in Elmira.”
June 11 Tuesday – In Hartford, Sam wrote a short note to George Washington Cable, who evidently had asked for copies of a pamphlet Sam used to have, Samuel Watson Royston’s short novel, The Enemy Conquered, or Love Triumphant. “They are lost!” Sam responded, “I have searched everywhere & cannot find a vestige of that pamphlet.” He closed “in haste” as they were “just leaving for Elmira” [MTP; Gribben 593; MTNJ 3: 490n29].
It’s likely the Clemens family left for Elmira by way of New York this same day [MTNJ 3: 490n31].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, and enclosed reports (not extant). 686 books sold the prior week. Bok had been by asking about Sam’s new book; Hall told him it would issue about Dec. 10 [MTP].
June 12 Wednesday – The Clemens family usually spent a day or two in New York on their way to Elmira.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam trying to repay him for his kindness by giving him a drawing for “an improved fixture for ringing a door-bell.” He wished they would all come for a visit [MTP]. Note: Orion repeatedly expressed his thanks and desire to repay Sam in some way.
J.N. Farrar wrote to Sam about making an appt. for Clara by moving other patients’ times around, only to have her show up at 1:15 PM “in haste” asking if she could just as well have her teeth filled in Elmira as she had other places to go that day. Farrar didn’t want Sam to mention it to Clara but asked that he direct her to have the teeth filled in Elmira as she “needs it very much” [MTP].
George Standring wrote from London to Sam, enclosing an article from the London Star about “A Revolution in Printing” — the Mergenthaler Linotype now on exhibition in Southampton [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam; the envelope alone survives [MTP].
June 13 Thursday – The Clemens family arrived at Quarry Farm [July 1 to Pamela]. As he later wrote, “death is on the threshold” — Theodore Crane was nearing the end of his life.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about the possibility of a book by Henry M. Stanley, who had been on a two-year mission to Zanzibar to locate and aid Emin Pasha, governor of the Equatorial Province of Egypt. Pasha had retreated in the face of Mahdist insurgents and had urgently sought help from the British government. Stanley’s mission was noteworthy, and Hall remembered that in 1886 he had promised them a book.
[Stanley’s] book is infinitely the largest thing in the wind at present. Would it not be a good idea as soon as his position is located so that a letter would reach him without fail, for you to write him a personal letter reminding him of his partial promise to write a book for us [MTNJ 3: 494n39].
Horace Wall for West End Theatre, N.Y. wrote to Sam inquiring about dramatizing P&P with a little boy he had in mind, thinking that Elsie Leslie was “too weak” for the part [MTP].
June 14 Friday – Henry M. Alden for Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam. Alden had just returned from vacation and had a letter from Mr. Warner about Sam’s article on that “old medical book.” Warner had quoted Sam’s price to be $50 per 800 words, which was fine if they liked the article. He asked Sam to send it [MTP].
June 15 Saturday – In Elmira †, Sam wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore in Hartford, advising that he would have all the money needed on July 1. He instructed that the Bissell bank account be allowed to
a trifle. But if they make any objections let me know & I will
note discounted that falls due July 8, & forward fill up the tank
Sam’s notebook: [chk] #4923. C.J.L. $200 June 15 / Leave $150 with him & bring $50 / Dispose of that mortgage [3: 490-1] Note: Charles J. Langdon
T. Prosser wrote from Auckland NZ enclosing a clipping titled, “Mark Twain’s Boorishness” which criticized him for a supposed line he wrote on a page of a booklet to a 9-year-old boy (not named) who had asked for “a sentiment and an autograph.” Was the case a fabrication? [MTP].
June 16 Sunday – W. Delancey Howe wrote from Cambridge, Mass. Commenting on Sam’s Apr. 1887 article, “English As She Is Taught.” Howe claimed to be the author of the composition “Girls” mentioned in Sam’s article, and was curious how Sam got hold of his composition. Howe wrote he hoped to “call upon you for a recommendation in English for Harvard College” [MTP].
June 17 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Anna Laurens Dawes, a Washington correspondent from Pittsfield Mass. and daughter of Henry L. Dawes, senator of Mass. Sam gave a reading for her young ladies’ club in 1885. (See Mar. 1, 1885, Sept. 23, 1885). Sam thanked Miss Dawes.
It has arrived — I have imbibed it, am drunk with it — the first time for years & years. The “recommendations” are as delightful as the book, & mighty sly & neat [MTP]. Note: The book is not further identified.
June 18 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Henry M. Stanley, anxious to stay in contact for a possible book to publish. Sam was feeling a financial pinch more than ever and he made a friendly plug for Webster & Co.
Goodness only knows where you are at this date, but working courageously toward the end of your amazing trip; according to latest rumors — & may you arrive!….we hope you will give us a chance at your account of this great journey before you close with any other American firm [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: [chk] Otto B. Schlutter., $22.50 June 18. [3: 491]. Note: German teacher to the family.
June 19 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook:
June 19, 1889 [gave] Susie L. Crane a paper agreeing (upon surrender of said paper) to deliver her paid-up stock representing a One Five Hundredth of the whole of the capital stock “of the company which is to be organized to manufacture, & sell or rent Paige Compositors under the (American) patents, so soon as such company shall be formed & begin the issue of stock [”].
After some remarks of F W [Whitmore], concluded to say nothing about his project & let it drop [3: 493].
Frederick J. Hall again wrote to Sam about securing a book from Henry M. Stanley. Hall was willing to go meet Stanley. “I am glad you wrote through Chatto a letter to Stanley and I hope Chatto will realize the importance of getting it into Stanley’s hands at the earliest possible moment.” He suggested Sam telegraph Chatto as well. Hall did go to England but was unsuccessful in gaining American rights to Stanley’s tale of the expedition. In Darkest Africa was published in 1890 in England by Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington; and in the U.S. by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
June 20 Thursday – Henry Fears (1889-1965) was born in Crawford Co. Ark. (without this event, you would not be reading this book. David H. Fears, his grandson.)
O.C. Kingsley wrote on Kingman, Sturtevant & Larrabee, builders of Carriages letterhead, thanking Sam for being “the recipient of many favors, both liquid and otherwise” for the retelling in Kenilworth, England of the narrative of “The Incorporated Company of Mean Men” in RI [MTP].
June 21 Friday
June 21 Friday ca. before – In a letter from Charles Fulton to Edward H. House, Sam was quoted in a letter to Horace Wall, that the dramatic rights for P&P had passed from his control and been registered for production. Sam was quoted as adding, “But not to House; he has no rights or anything in the matter” [MTP].
June 22 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote a short paragraph to Andrew Chatto, asking him to telegraph Henry M. Stanley the letter that Sam had sent Chatto “a day or two ago.” Sam was anxious to tie up Stanley for a book “before Osgood or any other American agent or publisher” got to him [MTP].
G.P. Davis for Travelers Insurance wrote to Sam soliciting funds for the Hartford YMCA [MTP].
June 23 Sunday – In Elmira † Sam wrote a short note to O.C. Kingsley of Kingman, Sturtevant & Larrabee, who had written June 20.
It was all the better to leave off the quotation marks because if you had coupled my name with the story it would have injured me in England, where they believe everything I say [MTP].
June 24 Monday –For Sam to have traveled to New Haven for the Yale Alumni speech of June 26, he would have had to leave Elmira this day or the next.
June 25 Tuesday – Sam’s Notebook:
Offered William Gillette stock at one-2500th for $1000. This offer has also been made heretofore to Dean Sage, Ned Bunce, H.C. Robinson, Mr. Parsons, Charley Langdon, Theodore Crane & George Griffin. I had the hope that they would decline, & they did. The stock is worth either ten times that or it is worth nothing; maybe the latter, though I think otherwise [3: 496].
June 26 Wednesday – Sam spoke at the Yale Alumni Banquet in New Haven, Conn.
Ever since Yale promoted me to a place among its learned honoraries I have felt it a duty to scrutinize things more searchingly than I used to in order to apply my new acquirements to the uses of the university. So I bought a dictionary and resolved to do what I could to help the college along in science and everything I could [MTNJ 3:472n230 quoting the New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courieri for June 27. [See also Hartford Courant of this day, “Yale’s Commencement,” p.1. which stated that “synopsis could do no justice to” his speech]
The New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, of June 27, p.2 reported that Sam:
…gave his opinions and observations upon the progress of medical science and its condition now in contrast to what it used to be [closing with the promise that] as long as he was permitted to appear with the faculty he would take especial pains to pick up all the science he could for the college [MTNJ 3: 473n230].
This is likely the date that Yale University student, F.W. Abell sold subscriptions of William Makepeace Thayer’s Marvels of the New West (1888) on the train to both Chauncey M. Depew and Sam Clemens.
This from Gribben:
“F.W. Abell, a student at Yale University in New Haven, wrote a letter to his employer, the Henry Bill Publishing Company of Norwich, Connecticut, on 1 July 1889: Abell described how he followed Chauncey M. Depew into a railroad car, sold him a copy of Marvels of the New West, and then recognized Clemens nearby.”
I sat on the foot stool before him, took out my prospectus, told him just what the work was, pointed to Chauncey Depew’s name and handed him the pen. He put his name right down. I then asked him to comment on the engravings that I might tell people how pleased he was with the work; but he was trying to drink some wine, and said in his slow, droll way, “you tell people what I thought about it” [Gribben 698-9; ALS in collection of Vandaeles Mabrito, Berkeley, Calif., copy in MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, noting that Mr. Alfred R. Conkling had given an interview in “last night’s Mail and Express,” against their directive not to give any such. Also they noted that Andrew Carnegie was writing his autobiography, and that since his Triumphant Democracy had sold well they thought they might be able to sell six or eight thousand copies of his new work. Also Don Cameron was dying and they might be able to sell five or six thousand copies of an edition of his life in the State of Penn. [MTP]. Note: This would have been Simon Cameron (1799-1889), longtime Pennsylvania politician and senator who served one year as Lincoln’s Secretary of War, and who died this very day. His son was J. Donald Cameron (1833-1918), Secretary of War under Grant.
June 27 Thursday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having received the monthly $200 check. Samuel and Mary Moffett left yesterday and Orion related their conversations. Ma was going to a concert this evening — “seems to be well enough to walk to the opera house. We’ll ride.” He wrote of writing and starting again several times on a religious article [MTP]. Sam likely traveled back to Elmira by this day.
June 28 Friday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
I expect a telegram from Paige to-morrow to say the machine is done. After that, I would like a daily note from you telling me the state of the machine…. Ask Paige to keep the fact that the machine is finished absolutely secret from everybody until I come. I’ve got a scheme which will explain this [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: [chk] #4974. Whitmo, $125, June 28 / #4975. F.G. Warner $9 [3: 491].
Daniel Frohman for Lyceum Theatre wrote a brief note to Whitford that he’d received his letter with enclosure from Sam [MTP]. Note: this is catalogued to SLC. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Preserve it.”
Joseph Hatton wrote to Sam asking for the English rights to the play for P&P “for my daughter Bessie who asked me lately to write get your permission for its dramatization; she would I feel sure make a great success in the part — or both parts” [MTP]. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Preserve it.” See Oct. 12, 1891 entry
James B. Pond wrote to Sam, “Don’t you want to enter into a little enterprise with me for a few Cities, say New York, Boston, and all of the large Cities — fifteen or twenty?” [MTP].
June 29 Saturday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Mary A. Jordan, seeking a “capable governess — one who can prepare Susie for Smith & carry Clara along.” Sam wrote he was sending the note with Miss Hesse (Fanny C. Hesse?), as he did not know Jordan’s address [MTP]. Note: Up until this time the Clemens girls were home-schooled.
Webster & Co. Sam 23 Daily Reports, printed forms with hand-written numbers from the Book-Keeping Department and the Subscription Department for daily activity [MTP]. Note: the MTP has catalogued this as June 17. See Aug. 19 for sample of form.
June 30 Sunday
July 1 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote to his brother Orion Clemens and sent him complaints about Charles Webster, whom he had no more use for:
Read it & forward to Pamela. If she answers, I would rather she should do it under cover to you. I have never hated any creature with a hundred thousandth fraction of the hatred which I bear that human louse, Webster.
Sam also confided that Theodore Crane had been “very close to death three times since we arrived” [MTP]. Note. Crane died two days later.
Sam also wrote to his sister Pamela Moffett explaining that he loved her daughter Annie Webster dearly but called Charles Webster “not a man, but a hog.” Then he wished to drop that subject.
We want you to make a visit when we get back to Hartford; & we should have asked you to come with Sam & Mary, but it could not be…. For we are all growing old, we live wide apart, & we may never have a chance to meet again.
We arrived here at the farm 18 days ago [June 13], & since then have been absorbed & unconscious of the outside world; for death is on the threshold, & many times (this morning, for one) we thought he had entered. Mr. Crane can hardly last many days; he is very weak, & begs pitifully for release. Lovingly Your brother / Sam [MTP].
H.L. Bunce for U.S. Bank wrote to Sam advising him they’d received from J. Langdon & Co., Elmira, a check for $3,000 placed to Sam’s credit [MTP].
July 1-10 Wednesday – In Elmira sometime during this period, Sam wrote a long letter to an unidentified person explaining aspects of the Paige typesetter, and deferred to a demonstration to take place on July 15 [MTP].
July 2 Tuesday – Sam responded to James B. Pond’s letter of June 28 asking him to do more introductions for Edgar W. “Bill” Nye and James Whitcomb Riley during the summer. (Sam introduced the pair on Feb. 28 in Boston.
It is too late, old man. June was the only idle month I was to have for a year, & June just escaped from us. We are in deep trouble here. Mrs. Clemens’s brother-in-law (Mr. Crane) is believed to be dying, after ten months of wearing illness [MTP].
He also wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore, directing him to send in a coupon from Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. for the prior July 1, 1888 that could be collected. He added, “Crane still lingers, but is very low” [MTP].
Sam also started a note to Frederick J. Hall, and referred him to R.B. Birch, an artist Sam felt capable of illustrating CY. He added a PS the next day, July 3 [MTLTP 253].
James W. Paige telegraphed Sam a message he longed to hear:
The machine OK; come & see it work. J.W.P. [MTP; MTNJ 3: 498]. Note: second source slightly diff.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam c/o Theo Crane in Elmira, sending a “Books Sold Report for June of 1889,” 5,409 total with Sheridan’s two volumes leading with 570 and 578 [MTP].
July 3 Wednesday – Sam added a PS to his letter of the prior day to Frederick J. Hall:
July 3, 2:30 p.m. Mr. Crane is still alive, but that is all [MTP]. Note: Clara Clemens received the telegram on the telephone.
After Sam wrote this letter, Theodore Crane died [MTNJ 3: 474n236]. His death delayed Sam’s departure to Hartford to see the Paige typesetter. It would be a week or more before he traveled alone to Hartford [498n53].
July 4 Thursday – James W. Housel wrote an appeal to Sam to help secure a pardon for convicted embezzler of Webster & Co., Frank M. Scott. Housel enclosed photographs of Scott’s family and wrote about,
…the Wife & Children depending upon the charity of others, and whose cry is constantly ringing in her weary Ears when is my Pa Pa coming home [MTP] Note: Sam wrote on the envelope “unanswered” and “preserve this sentimental rubbish.”
Richard Malcolm Johnston wrote to Sam about a dream he had mixing him up with George Francis Train [MTP].
July 5 Friday – Frederick J. Hall forwarded a sample illustration from Daniel Carter Beard. Sam had seen Beard’s work in the March issue of Cosmopolitan [MTLTP 254n1].
Frederick Bryant wrote to Sam asking for an autograph [MTP].
James S. Metcalfe for American Newspaper Publishers, N.Y. wrote to Sam wishing to keep informed about the progress of the Paige typesetter and also asking for a submission [MTP].
July 6 Saturday – Thomas Fitch, attorney in Reno, Nevada wrote to Sam enclosing p 3-4 from the Reno Evening Gazette for May 30, 1889, reporting Fitch’s Memorial Day speech; and p.3-4 of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise July 6, 1889 reporting Fitch’s July 4 speech. No letter accompanied the clippings [MTP].
July 7 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, directing him to send all securities for Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. to Charles Langdon in Elmira, as he “has a chance to sell the whole thing out.” Sam added:
It is splendid news from the machine.
I shall arrive Tuesday afternoon [MTP]. Note: the letter was postmarked July 8 and received July 9.
Edmund C. Stedman wrote Sam a “long and enthusiastic” letter about his new book, CY.
My belief is, on the whole, that you have written a great book: in some respect your most original, most imaginative, — certainly the most effective and sustained…You are going at the still existing radical principles or fallacies which made ‘chivalry’ possible once, & servilities & flunkeyism & tyranny possible now [MTHL 2: 609]. Note: remarking that the book was somewhat an “extension” of P&P, Stedman added “ ‘tis very much else besides. The little book was checkers: this is chess” [MTNJ 3: 479].
July 7? Sunday – Sam wrote to Edward W. Bok (1863-1930), editor and columnist for “Bok’s Literary Leaves,” a regular feature of literary chat, about an interview Bok had written on him. (Bok would become editor of the Ladies Home Journal during this year.) In the letter Sam explains why in interviews “men seem to talk like anybody but themselves,” and why most interviews are “pure twaddle, & valueless.” Bok had printed a series of “personality letters” on such figures as Henry Ward Beecher, William Dean Howells, and Rudyard Kipling. Sam urged him to,
…spare the reader & spare me; leave the whole interview out; it is rubbish. I wouldn’t talk in my sleep if I couldn’t talk better than that. If you wish to print anything print this letter; it may have some value [MTP]. Note: the letter ran on July 9 in Bok’s syndicated column. Bok got his start by making contacts for autographs. He would win the Pulitzer in 1920 for best autobiography.
July 8 Monday – Likely on this day Sam left Quarry Farm for New York, where he may have spent the night. He was in Hartford by July 11, and on July 12 wrote he’d left Elmira “a few days ago.” Theodore Crane’s death on July 3 delayed his departure since he received Paige’s telegram on July 2, so this day, the first he might have reasonably traveled, seems likely.
July 9 Tuesday – Sam would have been in New York. He might have left for Hartford this day or either of the next two, but wrote from Hartford on July 11. He probably did not go to Hartford until the latter date, as he wrote Howells on July 13 that he “came on from Elmira a day or two ago.”
July 10 Wednesday – W.P. Hanna wrote from Auckland, NZ to Sam, enclosing a clipping (not extant) which told of a reading in the Wellington Parliament of Sam’s description of the Chamois in TA [MTP].
July 11 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Edmund C. Stedman, referring to his critical read of CY. Paraphrased from Henkels catalogs, Apr. 19, 1912, item 118:
I am as grateful as a man can be for the trouble you have taken & the square way in which you have stated those defects. That is just what I wanted. I will knock them out when I come down. I suppose the faults should mount up into the hundreds, & so you have been most surprisingly lenient [MTP]. Note: Stedman had “pointed out…some needed emendations” in CY. See July 16 to Chatto.
Stocks and/or bonds were returned to Charles J. Langdon for the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corp. [Apr. 3, 1891 to Kelly]. See also Jan. 3, 1888.
July 12 Friday – In Hartford, at the family home, Sam wrote to Livy still in Elmira;
It is lovely & cool & nice & twilighty & still, here in the home after breakfast; & I can see the dog-house down the slope, & past its roof a burnished square or two of river with rich foliage-reflections in it; & this way a little, by the dog-house, is a grassy swale, the half of which is deeply shaded & the other half glares with the sun; & at my right — among some ferns to the right of the tree that has Sue’s old squirrel-boot nailed to it, — is the peaceful picture of Satan & her child, blinking up devout & drowsy, praising God for the weather.
Sam then told of a 22 year old Irish cook of the neighbors dying unaccountably in the night, a somber end to a somber letter [LLMT 251-2]. Note: Satan was a black female cat; her kitten named Sin.
Sam also wrote to Richard Malcolm Johnston who had written on July 4:
I am here for a few days all by myself, & the tribe are on top of the hill near Elmira all by their selves — & both of us find it lonesome. I shall hollers first — & start for Elmira next week.
When I left Elmira a few days ago, Jean was scouring the woodland roads like an Injun — on her horse, bareback. The other two girls were taking 4-hour gallops under guard of the old coachman; everybody was having a good time except Mrs. Clemens, who acquired pink-eye the middle of last February & has had no use of her eyes for these 5 months [MTP].
Evidently Johnston had written of George Francis Train (1829-1904) businessman, author and eccentric, because Sam related hearing “17 or 18 years ago,” when he was lecturing that Mark Twain had been thrown in jail, when actually it was Train who’d been incarcerated in Ireland.
Sam also wrote a short paragraph to George P. Lathrop, the organizer of the Mar. 31, 1887 Longfellow Memorial in Boston where Sam read. Lathrop had written suggesting a proposition for a game he wanted Webster & Co. to publish (see July 17, #1 to Livy). Sam answered that in their new system,
Mr. Hall considers all propositions; after he has arrived at a decision, they are submitted to me, but until that time I have no voice [MTP].
Henry Romeike’s Press Cuttings, Co. wrote soliciting Sam’s business, claiming “1,900 subscribers to whom 29,000 cuttings were mailed last week.” [MTP].
July 13 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his old friend, William Dean Howells about the death of Theodore Crane and the “heart-breaking” atmosphere at Quarry Farm. In Hartford since at least July 11, Sam brooded about the house, empty save for the servants. His letter is one of the few from this period that is not an obvious response, but a request.
I shall be here for ten days yet, & all alone; nobody in the house but the servants. Can’t Mrs. Howells spare you to me? Can’t you come & stay with me? The house is cool & pleasant; your work will not be interrupted; we will keep to ourselves & let the rest of the world do the same; you can have your choice of three bedrooms, & you will find the children’s schoolroom (which was built for my study), the perfection of a retired & silent den for work. There isn’t a fly or a mosquito on the estate. Come — say you will [MTHL 2: 604-5].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d never seen such a good proof by hand as the Paige typesetter made. Orion also wrote he had ideas about how to make a flying machine, something he’d thought about for 30 years. He added after the signature that Sam had not sent any account of the proceedings when he received his degree from Yale [MTP].
July 14 Sunday
July 15 Monday – In Elmira Clara Clemens wrote to her father in Hartford of a new kitten, the growing puppies, their horse rides and her violin teacher, Professor John C. Bostelmann (see Sept 13 to same). Clara called her father “Buf” and obviously inherited her mother’s “original” spelling [MTP].
In the evening Sam spent time with Charles Dudley Warner and family. Margaret (“Daisy”) Warner, Lucy Drake and “another young girl” were among the party and asked about Susy and Clara Clemens [July 15 to Clara].
July 16 Tuesday – † In the evening in Hartford, Sam dined with the Charles Warners and then wrote a “response” not an “answer” to his daughter Clara’s letter of the previous day.
I asked Cousin Susy to play the Seventh Symphony for me, and she done it. Also she played that other deep, rich, noble Beethoven piece — the one where, all along and all along, half a dozen of the bass notes keep rolling back down-stairs a little way — only to the first landing; and get up again and roll down again, and are the darling of the piece and the charm of it [MTP].
He wrote of a horrible train derailment, news received by his neighbors in a letter from Mrs. William D. Cabell. He also wrote of the night before also at the Warners [MTP]. Note: Isa Carrington Cabell of Virginia, a friend of the Warners and guest there in the past winter [MTNJ 3: 498n57]. See Oct. 28-31, 1893 entry for Sam’s opinion of Isa Carrington Cabell, and of Susy Warner’s meek acceptance of her “coarsest tyrannies.”
Sam also wrote to Andrew Chatto:
Your statement and drafts came yesterday, for £364, for which I thank you and endorse your opinion that it’s a very good return for an off year.
I have revised the “Yankee” twice; Stedman has critically read it & pointed out to me some needed emendations: Mrs. Clemens has read it & made me strike out many passages and soften others; I have read chapters of it in public several times where Englishmen were present, & have profited by their suggestions. Next week I shall make a final revision. After that, if it still isn’t blemishless I can’t help it, and ain’t going to try.
…If you can publish it without altering a single word, or omitting one, go ahead. Otherwise, please hand it to J.R. Osgood in time for him to have it published at my expense.
This is important, for the reason that the book was not written for America, it was written for England. So many Englishmen have done their sincerest to teach us something for our betterment, that it seems to me high time that some of us should substantially recognize the good intent by trying to pry up the English nation to a little higher level of manhood in turn [MTP].
Sam also responded to a letter from his daughter Susy Clemens, complimenting her writing. She was reading McCauley’s The History of England from the Accession of James II.
For forty years Macauley’s England has been a fascinator of mine, from the stately opening sentence to the massacre of Glencoe. I am glad you are reading it. And I hope it is aloud, to Mamma [Gribben 437].
This is a very dark and silent cavern, now — this house. The thick foliage and lowered curtains make deep twilight; the little piano is gone and the big one locked. So, sometimes I have a feeling which I don’t exactly know how to describe, but it is made up of revery, and dreariness, and lonesomeness, and is either the malady called homesickness or is a something which is “just contagious” to it [MTP].
July 17 Wednesday – In Cambridge, William Dean Howells responded to Sam’s invitation of July 13. There was a chance he might be able to come for a day, perhaps even the next day. He would telegraph if he could come.
I want to see you and to talk. — My, how sad it all is about the Cranes! I read something in a strange book (The Physical Theory of Another Life) that consoled a little, namely: we saw and felt the Power of Deity in such fulness that we ought to infer the infinite Justice and Goodness which we did not see or feel. — I’ve been working hard this summer, and it will be a real blessing if I can only do a day’s work somewhere else. Yours ever [MTHL 2: 606]. Note: Physical Theory of Another Life by Isaac Taylor (1836).
In Hartford, Sam wrote two letters to Livy. In the first, he explained that the express-package she’d written about was a game from George Parsons Lathrop, whom Sam called a “half-breed” author. Excoriating Lathrop for assuming he could merely send the game to Elmira, Sam wrote:
Until this hour I had never heard a whisper against Lathrop, of any sort; & yet now I am as perfectly satisfied that he opened the Johnstown dam as I am of anything in the world. I love you & Sue. / SLC [MTP].
Sam’s second letter to Livy reveals much of his evolving thought about God, the Bible, and the hereafter, stimulated by Howells’ note of July 17. Sam felt that man had more “goodness over ungoodness” and he saw that in “all the various servants” that he knew, “various merchants, military men, the various Tom-Dick & Harrys of all walks” he had known. Still,
I detest Man, but nevertheless this is true of him. …
I don’t know anything about the hereafter, but I am not afraid of it. The further I get away from the superstitions in which I was born & mistrained, the more the idea of a hereafter commends itself to me & the more I am persuaded I shall find things comfortable when I get there.
Earlier in the day Sam had witnessed the operation of a machine that made envelopes, and he enclosed “a specimen of its work” [MTP].
Daniel Frohman for Lyceum Theatre wrote to Whitford [MTP]. Note: this is catalogued as to SLC.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam. “The enclosed estimate of Ems, Pages &c. of your new book explains itself. It differs materially in some ways from the estimate which you made in pencil on the title page of your book, but I think the enclosed estimate is correct” [MTP].
Thomas R. Lounsbury for Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University wrote a note of introduction to Sam for Dr. N. Knapp, 25 West 24th St., NYC [MTP].
July 18 Thursday – In Cambridge, Howells sent Sam a postcard that he could not leave home. Could Sam “run up Saturday and spend Sunday”? (July 20-21) [MTHL 2: 606].
G.P. Davis wrote from Hartford following up on Sam’s contribution to the YMCA [MTP].
William Mackay Laffan wrote to Sam asking if he would be in N.Y. all day Saturday [MTP].
July 19 Friday – In Richmond, Va., Arthur C. Thornton (1865- ) wrote to Sam, spelling his name wrong. Thornton extended “a true old Virginia welcome” for Sam to visit in his “summer rambles.” Thornton referred to himself as the “forgotten writer of the horrible conglomeration of puns, which” Sam “rec’d some two years since…” Note: He was from an old Virginia family; his comedy book is not further identified.
If it is not asking too much of you, would you mind very much sending me your photograph to hang among my books, above “Innocents”? Give us a chance to show you how we treat our honoured guests in the “old Dominion,” & you will not, I hope, regret it [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam of Daniel Beard’s terms to illustrate CY:
He wants $3,000 for illustrating your book….in all, some two hundred and fifty or sixty illustrations. This is for very careful work, and undoubtedly he will make the drawings at this price very fine. He can make a cheaper grade of drawings for less money, but we told him we would submit these figures to you. We paid Mr. Kemble $2,000 for making two hundred and four drawings, these of course were off-hand sketches [MTLTP 254n1].
Sam would immediately agree, though is letter is not extant. On the back of Hall’s July 19 envelope, written by Franklin Whitmore at Sam’s dictation:
I prefer this time to contract for the very best an artist can do. This time I want pictures, not black-board outlines and charcoal sketches. If Kemble illustrations for my last book were handed to me today, I could understand how tiresome to me that sameness would get to be, when distributed though a whole book, and I would put them promptly in the fire [MTLTP 254n1].
Walter Learned wrote to Sam. “Mr Lathrop, also is at Newport, suggests that I should send this …to you. I presume that Mr. Lathrop will write eloquently on the beauties and secrets of the [illegible word]. If he fails to do so, let me know and I will” [MTP].
July 20 Saturday – Webster & Co. Sent Sam ten Daily Report slips for July 15 to 20 [MTP].
July 20 Saturday ca. † – Sam sent Thornton’s July 19th letter to Franklin G. Whitmore:
Please mail my enclosed letter to him (read it,) & put in one of those heliotype pictures of me. SLC [MTP]. Note: Sam’s letter to Thornton is not extant.
In his Aug. 2 to Orion, Sam wrote of a day in Hartford,
I waited a day (July 20th) to see the machine perform under the new auspices [MTP].
July 21 Sunday – In Cambridge Mass., Howells wrote Sam, “extremely sorry” he’d not been able to come to Hartford for a short visit, but “one trivial thing after another” had interfered.
Besides, we had promised a visit to Mrs. Fields [Annie Fields, widow of James T. Fields] at Manchester — Pilla and I — this week, and I could not make two absences from home so near together. I can see how my wife depends upon me almost momently. I have denied myself a great deal; I would rather see and talk with you than any other man in the world, outside my own blood. Yours ever [MTHL 2: 606-7].
July 21-24 Wednesday – Sometime during this period Sam wrote a short note to Daniel Carter Beard (1850-1941) engineer, author, social reformer, and most importantly, illustrator for CY. After seeing Beard’s work and learning his terms (see July 19 from Hall), Sam gave the green light.
I have aimed to put all the crudeness & vulgarity necessary in the book, & I depend on you for the refinement & scintillating humor for which you are so famous [MTP].
Note: Sam was introduced to Beard’s illustrations in the March issue of Cosmopolitan, when his drawings accompanied a “Chinese Historical Novel,” “Wu Chih Tien, The Celestial Express” [MTNJ 3: 458; MTLTP 254n1].
July 22 Monday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam.
All right. /Of course you are lonesome. / You never told us if the other machines accepted your challenge. / We shall be glad to hear at any time any thing about the machine. / I read your last letter to Ma, and explained to her. She said you always were very quick. / She is suffering today with rheumatism [MTP].
July 23 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about Daniel Beard illustrating CY:
I note what you say about his seeing Mr. Stedman also about the quality of the pictures, that is, to have more or less humor in some of them, but not too much. Will try to give Mr. Beard the correct idea as to just what you wish [MTLTP 254n1].
July 24 Wednesday – Back in Elmira Sam wrote to William Dean Howells, sorry they hadn’t been able to meet while he was in Hartford. Sam suggested a surreptitious meeting:
I expect to go to Hartford again in August & maybe remain till I have to come back here & fetch the family. And, along there in August, some time, you let on that you are going to Mexico, & I will let on that I am going to Spitzbergen, & then under cover of this clever strategem we will glide from the trains at Worcester & have a time [MTHL 2: 607-8].
Sam also wrote a short note to Frederick J. Hall, that he requested be sent on to Daniel Carter Beard, who Sam had chosen to illustrate CY. After some thought, Sam decided that Beard should “obey his own inspiration,” that he wanted “his genius wholly umhampered,” and then Sam wouldn’t “have any fears as to the result” [MTLTP 253].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam again about Beard illustrating CY, and recalled that it took Edward Windsor Kemble “about two months” to illustrate the Library of Humor. He noted that Beard’s drawings would be much more detailed, that Beard and his brother would give all their time to the drawings but thought “even at that rate they say it would be impossible to have the thing completed before the first of November.” Hall suggested ways to hurry the book along, by making the cover stamp first and completing covers “By the time the last illustrations are ready…” Hall aimed at mid to late Nov. for issue [MTLTP 254n1].
July 25 Thursday – William Lindon wrote and sent a manuscript for Sam’s comment. Whitmore responded that Sam had no time to read the MS [MTP].
July 26 Friday – Jean Clemens’ ninth birthday.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam: “I sent you 3 boxes ‘Hoffman’ brand. The others have not as yet arrived. I will forward as soon as they do. I have just come from the factory & left the machine running finely — old Van at the keys.” Paige was better after suffering from “Morbus” and would like his salary by the 10th [MTP]. Note: Cholera Morbus is gastroenteritis.
Robert Underwood Johnson wrote, passing on that Gilder was anxious to have the “promised part of your new book” (CY) “in exchange for the article previously withdrawn” [MTP].
July 27 Saturday – Sam’s article, “Archimedes,” a burlesque against high rents and the “present evils of land monopoly” ran in the New York Standard, under the pseudonym, “Twark Main,” as an Australian writer. This piece turned up in the early 1950’s in a search of microfilm files for the defunct newspaper (1887-1892).
“Give me whereon to stand,” said Archimedes, “and I will move the earth.” The boast was a pretty safe one, for he knew quite well that the standing place was wanting, and always would be wanting. But suppose he had moved the earth, what then? What benefit would it have been to anybody? The job would never have paid working expenses, let alone dividends, and so what was the use of talking about it? From what astronomers tell us, I should reckon the earth moved quite fast enough already, and if there happened to be a few cranks who were dissatisfied with its rate of progress, as far as I am concerned, they might push it along for themselves; I would not move a finger or subscribe a penny piece to assist in anything of the kind. Why such a fellow as Archimedes should be looked upon as a genius I never understood; I never heard that he made a pile, or did anything else worth talking about. As for that last contract he took in hand, it was the worst bungle I ever knew; he undertook to keep the Romans out of Syracuse; he tried first one dodge and then another, but they got in after all, and when it came to fair fighting he was out of it altogether, a common soldier in a very businesslike sort of way settling all his pretensions.
It is evident that he was an overrated man. He was in the habit of making a lot of fuss about his screws and levers, about his knowledge of mechanics was in reality of a very limited character. I have never set up for a genius myself, but I know of a mechanical force more powerful than anything the vaunting engineer of Syracuse ever dreamt of. It is the force of a land monopoly; it is a screw and lever all in one; it will screw the last penny out of a man’s pocket, and bend everything on earth to its own despotic will. Give me the private ownership of land, and will I move the earth? No; but I will do more. I will undertake to make slaves of all the human beings on the face of it. Not chattel slaves exactly, but slaves nevertheless. What an idiot I would be to make chattel slaves of them. I would have to find them salts and senna when they were sick, and whip them to work when they were lazy. No, it is not good enough. Under the system I propose the fools would imagine they were all free….It would be this way, you see: As I owned all the land, they would, of course, have to pay me rent. …[Reprinted in The Twainian, Nov-Dec. 1953 p.2-3 as the Australian Standard; See also Budd, Social Philos 113]. Note: The Twainian evidently did not catch the spoof.
William N. Woodruff for Woodruff’s Keying System Co., Hartford, wrote to Sam, having just returned from Europe where he’d seen a typesetting machine — “the greatest mechanical achievement…in the history of mechanical work.” Woodruff hoped Sam would reap “the reward that such great enterprises are entitled to” [MTP].
July 28 Sunday – In the evening, Charles Langdon visited the Clemens family at Quarry Farm [July 29 to Whitmore].
Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, enclosing a check for Whitmore’s salary. The letter is not extant but is referenced in Whitmore’s July 30 [MTP].
Frank G. Warner wrote from Hartford to Sam begging him to to back him in some enterprise; Warner’s Uncle Charles would not help. He mentioned Mr. Bundy and Mr. Pitkin [MTP]. Note: probably not known to Sam.
July 29 Monday – In Elmira Sam wrote a two-paragraph note to Franklin G. Whitmore, about the Paige typesetter rate of production and of Charles Langdon’s visit of the prior evening and his agreement to send $5,000 to the U.S. Bank on this day. Earlier this day Sam went down town and saw Charles but had forgot to ask him if the deed was done [MTP].
Francis Dalzell Finlay wrote to Sam that he could be reached through his brother H.R. Finlay at New York City, Box 2082 [MTNJ 3: 484n4]. Finlay and his daughter Mary Finlay would visit Sam’s in October. (See Oct. 11 entry.)
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about the production schedule for CY he’d outlined in his July 24 letter. Quick proofreading in Elmira would be required.
Now in regard to reading proof of the book, I will see that it is compared with the greatest of care and made to conform exactly with the manuscript [MTLTP 255n1]. Note: Stedman’s edits were to be preserved; Sam was adamant about the proof-readers following his own punctuation “absolutely” (see Aug. 20 to Hall).
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam enclosing a check drawn to Ralph Gillett, insurance agent for policies renewed, $365.01. Sam’s property was insured for $70,500 until Aug. 1, 1892 [MTP].
July 30 Tuesday – In Elmira Sam wrote to Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine about illustrations for CY. The note expressed Sam’s desire to closely cooperate with Dan Beard, for whom he had great respect. He also wrote that he’d sent his MS to New York to be typewritten [MTP]. Note: Sam also mentioned he’d sent his MS “off to New York” to Howells, so as to make an anticipated visit more of a vacation [MTHL 2: 607].
The preparation of CY was underway. Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam and agreed, “We shall be careful not to get any religious matter in the Prospectus” for CY. Hall suggested pushing the book as a trade publication rather than by subscription, an idea Sam historically rejected [MTLTP 258n2].
H.L. Bunce for U.S. Bank, Hartford wrote that Sam’s account had been credited $5,000 from a check from J. Langdon & Co. [MTP].
An unidentified person wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: this appears to be Sam mailing himself (From Elmira to Hartford) some clippings about Elsie Leslie Lyde, and another about the Mergenthaler Linotype machine in England.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam:
Yours of 28th recd. Thanks for check of salary. I enclose as requested memo: of foods & ends paid by me for you. Segars 12.00….total $14.74. I have notified Paige of your desire to keep the finish of the machine a secret as far as possible [MTP].
July 31 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook: [chk] #4974. EL Holbrook, $15, July 31 [3: 491].
A.W. Drake for Century Co. wrote to Sam (enclosed in Mary MacDonald’s Aug. 2): “I write to acknowledge the four pen drawings from Miss Mac Donald received through you and also her letter of July 23rd. I have written Miss Mac Donald this morning. Thanking you for having forwarded the drawings, I am….” Drake’s letter to the artist stated her drawings had improved but they were not up to their standard. Sam wrote, “It is an impossible case. Drop it for the present” [MTP].
August – Sometime during the month Sam wrote Franklin G. Whitmore, “I can have no stoppage upon any pretext,” which most likely had to do with the Paige typesetter [MTP].
“Mark Twain’s Story” ran in Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly. Sam wrote a list of his favorite songs in his notebook, not dated but within August notes. These may not be the full or correct titles, but they were good enough for Sam: