Yankee Inspires Praise and Invective – Legal Tangles and Slippers for Elsie Leslie
House Wins Lawsuit – Livy’s Eyes are Bad – Goodman Stumps for Typesetter
Summer in Onteora – Susy Enters Bryn Mawr – Jane Clemens Dies
Jean’s Mystery Illness – Olivia Lewis Langdon Dies – Frauds & Liars!
1890 – An appendix of translations of James Hammond Trumbull’s chapter-head quotations (in Chinese, Sanscrit, Sioux Indian, etc.) for GA was added to the book to extend the copyright [Britton, MT Encyc. 752]. Note: the translations may be found in the afterword materials of the 1996 Oxford facsimile edition of GA, p.1-12.
Sometime during the year Sam wrote a long letter to the prolific Scotsman, poet and critic, Andrew Lang (1844-1912). He decried the assumption of critics for “the cultivated — class standard,” and their conclusion that literature not meeting this standard “isn’t valuable.” If the “law” was valid then it would also be valid for “all the steps which lead up to culture & make culture possible,” but it “condemns the spelling book…all school books…all rounds of art which lie between the chromo & the Transfiguration…forbids all amateur music,” etc. Sam had plenty more to say about critics, much of it illuminating:
If a critic should start a religion it would not have any object but to convert angels; & they wouldn’t need it. …
Indeed I have been misjudged, from the very first. I have never tried in even one single little instance, to help cultivate the cultivated classes. I was not equipped for it, either by native gifts or training. And I never had any ambition in that direction, but always hunted for bigger game — the masses. I have seldom deliberately tried to instruct them but have done my best to entertain them. …
Sam solicited Lang’s help in convincing critics that a rule should be adopted to evaluate other than the cultivated standard, or what he called “the Belly & the members”; and to establish a standard by which those works might be judged.
Help me, Mr. Lang; no voice can reach further than yours in a case of this kind, or carry greater weight of authority [MTP]. Note: For Lang’s response, see MTB 895-7.
Sam also received a printed notice from James B. Pond, announcing the 1890-1 season of lectures for George Kennan and Henry M. Stanley. Sam wrote on the notice and returned it to Pond:
I am hampered with a business matter, but I shall be there if it will let me, sure [MTP].
James W. Paige telegraphed Sam sometime during the year: “The papers will be ready for signatures on your arrival here foreign matters make this course necessary” [MTP].
Sam also wrote an undated note to Franklin G. Whitmore to have him write James Means (1853-1920) who sent Sam an undated letter and his 30-page pamphlet, Oppressive Tariff Taxation (1888). Means requested that Sam write something “that our Reform League can circulate throughout the country. Let it appeal to the workingmen.” Means wrote because he “read between the lines in your ‘Yankee.’” Sam wanted to preserve the letter and enclosure, to see if “at a future day” he could “write anything worth printing” [Gribben 460; MTP].
I have not seen the Biography, but I would walk several miles for a chance to read it, for Dr. McDowell was so great a man, & so picturesque, eccentric & extraordinary a personality, that nobody, howsoever gifted with dulness, could make a book about him that would not be interesting [MTP].
Note: There has been some confusion over which McDowell owned the Hannibal cave. Wecter misindentified the owner as Dr. E.D. McDowell (who performed the first removal of a large ovarian tumor in 1809) in the paragraph below:
McDowell, who ran a medical school in St. Louis and was famed as “the originator of ovariotomy.” In the mid-1840’s the eccentric surgeon had stored cannon in the cave, as well as five hundred stand of small arms “for the invasion of Mexico.” He also kept there for several years the cadaver of a little girl — said to be his own fourteen-year-old daughter — in a copper cylinder filled with alcohol, as an experiment to see whether the limestone cavern would “petrify” the body” [160-1].
Note: Actually, the cave (first called Simms Cave, later Saltpeter Cave) was purchased during the 1840’s by E.D. McDowell’s nephew, Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell (1805-1868), founder of the Missouri Medical College, who joined and later tried to discredit his famous uncle. (Interestingly, Ridenbaugh’s bio of Ephraim McDowell, M.D. was among those published by Webster& Co. in 1890). Ober quotes from Goodwin’s 1905 A History of Medicine in Missouri:
“Dr. Joseph Nash McDowell was probably one of the best known physicians who ever practiced in Missouri…Dr. McDowell was a man of many eccentricities, but possessed great ability. He was a skillful surgeon, a polished orator, a brilliant teacher” (Goodwin 37-38). [Ober 4-14].
Literary Tales No. 1 was printed by Boston Home College of Boston. From a listing in the Sept. 1998 Firsts: The Book Collector’s Magazine:
Self-wrappers. This advertising leaflet for a correspondence school includes letters solicited from famous authors on ‘how to succeed in literature.’ The advice Twain provides is not recorded elsewhere. Others who responded with advice included Wilkie Collins, J.R. Lowell, George MacDonald, Lew Wallace and Bret Harte. The date is inferred from the fact that Wilkie Collins was described as recently deceased (d. 1889) and James Russell Lowell was still alive (d.1891) .
Book Buyer, VII p.150 contained anon. “Mark Twain,” a conventional description of the man and his works; facing, there is a portrait of Twain “Engraved for the Book Buyer” [Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 182].
The Nationalist, II p.116 contained anon. “Mark Twain as a Nationalist,” including a brief headnote praising Twain’s “plea for the true equality of man,” and was preceded by the reprinting of a passage from CY on true loyalty as “loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its office-holders” [Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 182-3].
Books published by Charles L. Webster & Co. in 1890.
Filippini, Alexander, Supplement to the Table
Ridenbaugh, Mary Young, Biography of Ephraim McDowell, M.D., “The Father of
Sanford, Elias Benjamin, Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, etc.
Sherman, William T., Memoirs of Gen. W. T. Sherman
Stoddard, William O., Inside the White House in War Times
January – William Dean Howells, in Harper’s Monthly, “Editor’s Study,” p.319-21, praised CY.
Mr. Clemens, we call him, rather than Mark Twain, because we feel that in this book our arch-humorist imparts more of his personality than in anything else he has done. Here he is to the full the humorist, as we know him; but he is very much more, and his strong, indignant, often infuriate hate of injustice, and his love of equality, burn hot through the manifold adventures and experiences of the tale. …
This kind of humor, the American kind, the kind employed in the service of democracy, of humanity, began with us a long time ago; in fact Franklin may be said to have torn it with the lightning from the skies…. No one need deny himself …the pleasure we feel in Mr. Clemens’s book as its highest development [Budd, Contemporary 293-5].
January 1 Wednesday – Sam likely returned to Hartford after his night at the Author’s Club’s Watch Night.
Daniel Frohman wrote to Sam: “yes, the child named in Mr. Chatto’s letter is the one I am thinking of and who has already been written to” [MTP]. Note: relating to the P&P play; child actor not specified.
Joe Goodman wrote at 3 p.m. from N.Y. on Hoffman House stationery to Sam:
When I reached Washington I found that Jones had gone to New York. We passed each other on the road. After seeing Stewart I came back.
I have just had a long talk with Jones laying the whole proposition fully before him. In general terms, his opinion is that it ought to be practicable to raise the money if things are as I represent them to be. Our interview was interrupted by other business engagements of his, but he said he wanted to see me again as soon as he had time to think the matter over a little. Stilson Hutchings [Stilson Hutchins of the Washington Post] has been giving your machine a black eye to him. I told him that Hutchings either didn’t know what he was talking aboutg or was making willful misrepresentations [MTP].
A statement from Webster & Co. with this date is headed: “From Oct 1, 1888 to Jan 1st 1890 for Library of Humor. Profits to be divided 3521.02 statement date Jan 1, 1890 CL Webster & Co.”; 1760.51 for Sam; same for Webster & Co. [MTP].
Wm. G. Simmons & Co, Fine Boots, Shoes & Rubbers, Hartford, billed $14.35 for purchases made Sept 27, Oct 11, 15, 28, Dec 17, 18, 21, 23, 24; Paid Jan. 6 [MTP].
J.G. Rathbun Pharmacists, Hartford billed $17.03 for purchases made Oct 7, 12, 15, 24, Nov 1, 4, 21, Dec 13, 23, 31: Sulphur, menthol inhalers, Rubinat Water, Camphor, Glycerine, Ayers Pectoral, Castor Oil, Bath sponge, Vichy, Vaseline, Sulphur, carbolic acid, Pond’s extract, Brush & comb, wood picks, Colopie.; Paid Jan 4 [MTP].
Neil Stalker, Fine Road and Track Harness, Horse Clothing, etc., Hartford, billed $8.80 for purchases made Oct 7, Nov 9, 11, 25, Dec 9, 20, 24, 31: repair saddle, strap, soap, saddle girths, dressing, oil, sheep skin on girth, sheep skin on collar; Paid [MTP].
Smith, Northam & Co., Hartford, billed $37.40 for meal and feed; Paid Jan. 6 [MTP].
Dr. Clarence C. Rice, Hartford, billed $38 for prof. Svcs. Jan-Mar 1889 & June 1889 to date [MTP].
January 2 Thursday – Desmond O’Brien reviewed CY in the London weekly Truth, p.25, calling it,
…a bizarre book, full of all kinds of laughable and delightful incongruities — the most striking of its incongruities, however, being unconscious, grim, and disenchanting…. His fooling is admirable, and his preaching is admirable, but they are mutually destructive [Tenney 19].
Sharecropper and hero of the Aug. 23, 1877 runaway horse-carriage, John T. Lewis wrote from Elmira to Sam, “Master of no words that will express my feelings on receiving the hansom [sic] book [CY] from you as a Christmas present” [MTP].
January 3 Friday – In Hartford Sam met Edward Bellamy, author of Looking Backward: 2000-1887 (1888). Sylvester Baxter accompanied Bellamy at Sam’s invitation [MTHL 2: 622n2]. Bellamy and Baxter shared political sentiments.
Sam also wrote to Isabel Von Oppen, who had sent a manuscript. Sam wrote that he was “not connected with a magazine or other periodical” and would not be able to use her submission [MTP].
Sam also signed a letter by Franklin G. Whitmore to Judge Charles E. Flandrau, president of the St. Paul Roller Mill Co., one that Sam had owned stock in for years. The company was liquidating. Sam owned 109 shares. Whitmore sent the certificates back for payment of the 20 percent dividend the directors were paying. Whitmore also wrote for Sam to Kingsland Smith of this company advising him that Sam was not interested in Smith’s new venture, and that the shares had been returned to Flandrau [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote at noon from the Hoffman House in N.Y. to Sam, having just left a three-hour interview and breakfast with Senator John P. Jones. “Negotiations with Jones do not thicken as rapidly or well as I could wish,” Joe wrote. Jones promised to come to Hartford again when the machine was in operation; Jones characterized it as “an unknown thing in an unknown line” [MTP].
A.F. Kelly wrote from Elmira sending Livy $60 interest on the Baxter mortgage. Sam wrote on the env: “Please acknowledge him Brer W & I will sign” [MTP]. Note: See Oct. 12 & 14, 1889. Kelly had invested in the Paige typesetter.
January 4 Saturday – The Hartford Courant of Jan. 6, p.8 reported in “The Cliff Dwellers”:
Mr. Frederick H. Chapin of this city gave a most interesting talk Saturday evening at the Collins Street Classical School to the Archeological Club on the subject of the Cliff Dwellers. A number of guests were present, including Mr. S. L. Clemens, the Rev. Mr. Twichell, the Rev. S.J. Andrews, Dr. G.W. Avery, J.B. Bunce, and Mr. Seth Talcott. Mr. J. Coolidge Hills operated the stereopticon and threw upon the canvass a large number of beautiful and amazing pictures, whose interest it is scarcely possible to exaggerate.
Frank E. Bliss for American Publishing Co. wrote to Sam enclosing $840.21 in settlement for all royalties on his old books to Jan. 1, 1890 [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
Your kind goodbye received. I shall make it a point to see the gentleman you speak of & give him our message. / I have my arguments well in hand, and shall do my best to get the book. I shall try and make Marston do most of the talking….700 orders for “Yankee” this morning [MTP].
Note: Hall was on the way to England to negotiate with Edward Marston of Samson Low & Co. for the US rights of Henry M. Stanley’s book, which they would fail to obtain. The firm would later be called Samson Low, Marston & Co. even though Marston had been a partner since 1856.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “My conscience smites me for not sending you a Christmas gift…Is it too late? Would you accept my sketch of a play? You might get useful hints; even if you should wipe out all my dialogues…” [MTP].
Jane Clemens wrote to Aunt Ann [MTP]. Note: miscataloged as to SLC.
C.C. McCabe wrote a short note on Methodist Episcopal Church, N.Y. letterhead asking for a copy the sketch “of how you dealt with a Newspaper Reporter” [MTP].
January 5 Sunday – The New York Times, p.11 ran a long description of the life and biography of ex-senator from New York, Roscoe Conkling (1829-1888). Conkling’s biography was published by Webster & Co. Interestingly, Conkling and Sam had both opposed the 1876 candidacy of James G. Blaine.
The Charleston, S.C. Sunday News, p.5 under “New Books” praised CY:
It is irresistibly funny, but the humor is far surpassed by the philosophy which it teaches and the pitiless satire with which the good old things of the good old days are held up to the well-merited derision of the intelligent world….But the book…contains many suggestions that are of present importance and application. The author touches ever so many sore places in the American economy of the present day. His references, for instance, to the institution of human slavery was intended to reach the South, and what he has to say about “Sixth Century Political Economy” might very well be printed by the National Democratic Committee for general circulation in the next campaign, to show how utterly false are the pleas of the champions of the Protective tariff that high wages is all that the workingmen of this country desire, whether the high wages will buy anything or not.
Altogether, this is one of the strongest and best of Mark Twain’s books, not so much on account of its side-splitting humor, as of its common sense [Budd, Contemporary 298-9].
January 6 Monday – George W. Cable wrote to Sam from Northampton, Mass.
I have asked my publishers…to send you a copy of my Strange True Stories of Louisiana [Gribben 124]. Note: Strange True Stories of Louisiana by Cable was published in 1889.
Mrs. H.W. Beall wrote from Mayesville, S.C., having learned of Sam’s generosity in sending books to Miss Pruddine’s Academy — she’d heard it from Grace King. This made her a beggar for some books, she wrote. Sam wrote on the env., “Brer W. send her a lot of books & all our old magazines? SLC” [MTP].
Charles E. Flandrau, attorney in St. Paul, Minn, wrote to Sam: “Yours of 3d incl. — with 109 shares Roller Mill Stock recd — Enclosed please fine my check for $1090…” [MTP]. Note: see Jan. 3 Flandrau.
January 7 Tuesday – A.E. Pattison for Pope Mfg. wrote to Sam asking where he might buy a “paper covered collection of short sketches” of Sam’s which included his “Bermuda paper,” by Slote, he thought. (“Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion”) [MTP].
The Manchester Guardian, p.6 in “Books of the Week” wrote:
We owe sincere and large thanks to “Mark Twain” for writing and publishing this book [Budd, Contemporary 299]. Note: CY.
Note: Not all English reviews would be so kind. Paine writes:
It was referred to as a “lamentable failure” and as an “audacious sacrilege” and in terms still less polite. Not all of the English critics were violent. The Daily Telegraph gave it something more than a column of careful review, which did not fail to point out the book’s sins with a good deal of justice and dignity; but the majority of English papers joined in a sort of objurgatory chorus which, for a time at least, spared neither the author or his works. Strictures on the Yankee extended to his earlier books. After all, Mark Twain’s work was not for the cultivated class [MTB 894].
January 8 Wednesday – From Hartford Sam wrote to his brother Orion Clemens of a Hartford epidemic of the grippe (flu or influenza). Even the doctors in town were laid up.
The cases in our house were Clara (now slowly convalescing,) four servants (all out of bed but one, now,) & one of Patrick’s [McAleer] children. Susie seems to be attacked since dinner, & the doctor has been notified [MTP].
Daniel Frohman wrote offering to save Sam a box seat for a charity ball; Sam had written he would be in the city on Friday and would call [MTP].
January 9 Thursday – The Post Orders, Circular No. 2 at West Point announced the January 11th appearance at 7:45 p.m., of Mark Twain [Leon 77].
On or just after this day Sam answered through Whitmore that Pattison’s Jan. 7 request was for a paper now out of print, but that the “Bermuda paper” (“Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion”) was in Stolen White Elephant [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they felt they would “collect sufficient” monies from agents to meet a $10,000 note due on Jan. 13 [MTP].
January 10 Friday – Sam wrote to Webster & Co. asking for books to be shipped. His letter not extant but referred to in Webster & Co.’s Jan. 14. Hall was out of the country [MTP].
Charles Ethan Davis telegraphed Sam: “Pump to be made if not delayed any more by La Grippe can be ready without pump in eighteen working days” [MTP].
Henry C. Robinson wrote to Sam that he had to borrow Annie (Trumbull’s?) copy of CY because he couldn’t find one for love or money, and wanted to thank him for the book “a thousand times” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote, “I enclose check and statement of Prince and Pauper for last week” [MTP]. Note: before House’s injunction was issued, Whitford would send Sam weekly royalties on the play of a few hundred dollars at a time.
January 11 Saturday – Sam read selections from CY at the USMA, West Point, New York. Philip Leon writes:
“While West Point and the cadets are by no means the central metaphor for the novel, he clearly intended for West Point to play an important role in representing an egalitarian institution in which merit counts above heredity” .
Not all reviews of CY were glowing: An unsigned article, “Didactic Humorists” ran in Speaker p.49-50 and included a review of CY:
Mr. Clemens is not only dull when he is offensive; he is perhaps even more dull when he is didactic….We hope — we may even believe — that we have seen the artist [Beard] at his worst ; we certainly have not seen the author at his best [Tenney 17].
Charles Ethan Davis telegraphed Sam: “I mean February as some of pump work must be done before machine goes up” [MTP].
January 12 Sunday – The New York World on page 14 ran a long interview and feature article, “‘Mark Twain’ at Home.” A brief excerpt about Sam’s writing habits:
“I don’t know how much copy I write each day in those three summer months. The amount varies. ‘Do a little every day’ is my rule. Stick to it and you find the pile of manuscript growing rapidly. If on reading it over I find things I don’t like I simply tear up twenty or thirty pages and there is no harm done. Don’t be in a hurry to do too much, but work regularly.”
“Then you don’t wait for inspiration?”
“I don’t think the prose writer needs to. If he were to depend upon the support he’d have an inspiration — say once in three months; it would last forty-eight hours, and what would it have accomplished?…I wrote Innocents Abroad in sixty days, working from noon until midnight every day. I wouldn’t dare do it now. I’m an old man. It would break me down.”
“Didn’t it hurt you then?”
“No; I had just left a newspaper desk and I was used to that sort of thing. But now I go slower. There is a book” — pointing to a bundle of manuscript in a pigeonhole — “that I began in 1867 [Shem’s diary]. I’m not sure about the exact date, but I think that was it.”
To charges of plagiarism in CY by Charles Heber Clark (Max Adeler), a man Sam said “had for some years placed himself in such a position that the imputation of being concerned with humor could be cast at him,” but now was “a respectable member of society,” he answered:
“This aroused a great curiosity in me. ‘Why,’ said I, ‘if I had done all Adeler claims, I am the old original boss plagiarist, and hereafter I shall claim pay accordingly.’ How the chapter might have lingered in my mind I could faintly conceive, but how he knew that I had stolen from him hundreds of incidents which he couldn’t possibly have read because my book was not yet published, was too much for my weak imagination. And where do ideas come from? … ‘Well,’ thought I, ‘if I can have stolen unconsciously all of these thousands of ideas from Max Adeler I must have become a worker of miracles.’ … I laugh every time I hear the idiots jackassing in a charge of plagiarism against somebody or other.
“Why, to repeat another man’s thoughts is to pay him the highest compliment you can. It shows what a grip his mind has taken on yours. I never charge any one with plagiarism, for to do so would prove me incapable of gratitude for the highest compliment a man can pay me.”
[The entire article is republished in Scharnhorst, Interviews.105-13].
John Richards wrote from Saucelito, Calif. with feedback for Sam on CY about protectionism. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Protection. Will answer” [MTP].
January 13 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles W. Thomas (1849- ), attorney, editorial writer and president of the Mutual Club of Woodland, Calif. Thomas evidently had written a review of CY for a Western newspaper. He also wrote Sam a question (not extant):
Yes, you are right — that is the book’s purpose. In your notice — for which I cordially thank you — you have divined its intent exactly.
I do not suppose I shall ever go on the platform again, but — well, we can’t tell [MTP]
Note: this tone of resignation contrasts with Sam’s longtime insistence that he would never lecture again save for charity. The financial drain of the Paige compositor led Sam to rethink this issue.
Sam also wrote to Webster & Co. asking for books to be shipped. His letter not extant but referred to in Webster & Co.’s Jan. 14. Hall was out of the country [MTP].
K.C. Tapley of Indiantown, St. Johns, New Brunswick wrote asking for the publisher’s address for the Mark Twain Patent Scrap-book [MTP].
The London Daily Telegraph called CY a “vulgar travesty” and asked the question, “Under which King will the American serve — the ideal or the real? Will they own allegiance to King ARTHUR or JAY GOULD?” [Tenney 18]. Note: Obviously, Sam hit a few nerves; there was great division among CY’s reviews.
Howell W. St. John wrote from Hartford to Sam, enclosing a note from his friend Wells to St. John Jan. 10. St. John wished for Sam to answer the question in Wells’ first sentence — was Mark Twain a tariff reformer or Free Trader? Sam wrote on the envelope, “David A. Wells, Publicist” [MTP]. Note: David Ames Wells (1828-1898) was an engineer, texbook author, economist and advocate for low tariffs.
January 14 Tuesday – In Hartford on or just after this date, Sam answered K.C. Tapley’s Jan. 13 query with the address of Slote & Co. and noted on Tapley’s envelope (later?) “They’ve failed” [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam: “Your favors of January 10th. And 13th. Received. / Your order for books has been properly attended to. / We are now making out an editorial list of all the leading religious papers in the country and will ship the books tomorrow….Since Mr. Hall left the office [for England] nothing of any importance has transpired” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that both the rights of Abby Sage Richardson and Daniel Frohman on the P&P play were limited to the US [MTP].
January 15 Wednesday – Eli H. Chandler of Kansas City, Kansas wrote at sea, returning from London to Sam, and enclosed clippings from the Jan. 13 London Daily Telegraph, which he claimed had the highest circulation in the world. Chandler observed that the editor of the Telegraph “totally misunderstands and misconceives the scope and intention of your book” (CY). The article called the book a “travesty…that tries to deface our moral and literary currency” [MTP]. Note: the reception to “Yankee” in England was decidedly mixed.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “La Grippe [influenza] seems to have been severe with you. We are glad Clara is better, and hope Susie will not suffer much.” Ma was still having delusions. Orion had written the Chicago agents of Webster offering to help them. He enclosed a clipping about a watch swindle in Fredonia. Mollie was washing the dishes [MTP]. Note: Orion’s letters were characteristically a potpourri.
Howell W. St. John wrote to Sam, thanking him for his prompt reply, which evidently pleased, and would be sent on to Wells [MTP]. See Jan. 13 from St. John to SLC.
Daniel Whitford wrote two letters (one with Whitford to Whitmore Jan. 15 encl.) to Sam about the P&P play mess with Frohman, Richardson, and House. Whitford was gathering affidavits [MTP].
George W. Wilson for Pickett Buchanan Camp, Confederate Veterans, Norfolk, Va. wrote asking Sam’s help to establish a monument there [MTP].
January 16 Thursday – Edmund Hudson, editor of the National Democrat Weekly (Washington) wrote after hearing about the Thorne typesetters from Sylvester Baxter of the Boston Herald. “I will be glad if you can aid me in making my order one of the earliest to be supplied,” Hudson wrote, after mentioning that the Mergenthaler and Lanston machines in Washington had “absorbed a good deal of money without yielding much in the way of dividends.” Hudson did not mention Paige by name [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam, passing on Hall’s cable from London:
Marston says, owing to the variety of offers must see Stanley. Expected here two weeks. Think I had better remain if O.K. at home. Marston likes offer but has better cash guarantees. Osgood pressing him hard. Wire answer [MTP]. Note: Sam’s old publisher James R. Osgood had set up shop in England.
January 17 Friday – A Hartford Courant reporter called on Sam in the afternoon, seeking answers about the dispute with Edward H. House over the dramatization contract for P&P. (See Jan.18 entry.)
Sam forwarded Hudson’s Jan. 16 letter to R.W. Nelson of the Thorne Typesetting Co., writing on the bottom:
Come, Mr. Nelson, I shall have to get you to rush this order a little, or this gentleman may think I haven’t any influence with you. / P.S. Please return this letter to me, Mr. Nelson. I maliciously value it on account of that remark about the afflicted Mergenthaler play-thing [MTP].
In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote a short note to Sam:
I’m going to New York next Wednesday night to dine there Thursday. Perhaps you’d be willing to have me stop off a night at Hartford on my way home? [MTHL 2: 627]. Note: Sam’s answer is not extant. Howells attended a Jan. 23 Union League Club dinner honoring Edwin A. Abbey, who was visiting New York.
The New York Tribune on page 1 printed “Author against Author,” voicing Edward H. House’s accusations of duplicity on Sam’s part over dramatizing P&P through Abby Sage Richardson [Scharnhorst, Interviews 115]. See Jan. 18 Courant article for summary.
S.J. Life wrote from Rye, N.Y. to Sam inviting him to attend their school’s production of P&P [MTP].
Harry Myers for YMCA, Nashville, Tenn. wrote to Sam asking him to “help us by getting our crowd together and amusing them for an hour or so,when we pull them for funds and all will be lovely” — this to raise a capstone for their now completed building [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam sending check for royalty on P&P for last week (unspecified amount) [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote on Savoy Hotel, London stationery to Sam, “disgusted with the delays” – delays with the ship, with Edward Marston having the grip and the resulting lost week. In the meantime Hall got acquainted with Andrew Chatto, who had called several times on Marston in their behalf. Marston laughed at Hall’s beginning guarantee of $5,000 as well as $10,000 guarantee plus half the profits. Hall felt he’d done all he could, whether they got the book or not [MTP].
January 18 Saturday – The Hartford Courant printed “Mark Twain’s Lawsuit” on the front page.
Mr. Edward H. House, the author and journalist, has brought suit against Mr. Samuel L. Clemens, alleging breach of contract in relation to the dramatization of The Prince and the Pauper. An acting version of the play in question by Mrs. Abby Sage Richardson is announced for next Monday evening at the Broadway Theater, New York, with Elsie Leslie in the parts of Edward VI and Tom Canty.
Mr. House’s side of the story appeared in the New York Tribune of yesterday. It sets forth that in 1881 Mr. House at Mr. Clemens’s request edited the manuscript of the story and suggested dramatizing the work. Nothing came of the suggestion, and he went to Japan and remained four years. Soon after his return Mr. Clemens wrote him proposing that he dramatize the book and offering one-half or two-thirds of the profits, that he accepted and suggested having the two parts played by one actress, that Mr. Clemens approved the idea, and that in June 1887 he (House) read to Mr. Clemens the first act, that he finished the piece in August of the same year, and in the following February wrote to Mr. Clemens as to newspaper paragraphs that Mrs. Richardson was to dramatize the book. He received no reply, but in answer to a second letter Mr. Clemens wrote, repudiating the whole transaction, but later offered him $5,000 as compensation, which he declined to receive.
A Courant reporter called on Mr. Clemens yesterday afternoon. He was found in his cozy billiard room and seemed quite willing to talk about the matter. He said: “Mr. House was never invited to edit the book for me. He asked if he might read the manuscript while lying bedridden for several weeks simply to satisfy his own curiosity. He made one suggestion — which turned out to be a fallacy. I had used in my book some such expression as this: ‘This person was kindly entreated,’ &c. Mr. House judged it was too late a date to use that form, ‘entreated,’ and advised leaving off the first syllable. I do not remember whether I corrected it or not, but afterward found that it was in use in the time of Henry VIII.”
“How about suggesting the advisability of dramatizing the work?” was asked.
“As if that was original!” exclaimed Mr. Clemens. “It needed no suggestion from Mr. House. The story was originally planned for a drama and not as a book. I doubted my ability to write a drama, but wrote it purposely for somebody capable of doing so to turn it into a drama.”
“He says you offered him one-half or two-thirds of the profits.”
“Mr. House did not accept the proposition. In his letter he only entertained it in a noncommittal way. He did not discard the proposition, but there was nothing is his letter that can be construed into an acceptance. The proposition and his non-acceptance are of the date 1886.”
“He next speaks of suggesting the idea of having the two parts played by one actress. How as to that?”
“A suggestion made three years before by Mr. Will Gillette,” promptly returned Mr. Clemens. “I tried to get Mr. Gillette to dramatize the book for me, giving him full permission to do so. Mr. Gillette entertained this proposition in 1883, and went so far as to draft the plot for the play, making liberal alterations of the text of the book. Mr. Gillette has never retired from the undertaking, and if an undertaking of that kind can remain in force forever, then it is Mr. Gillette that has a claim upon me, and not Mr. House. If I had no right to give Mrs. Richardson permission in 1888 to dramatize, I of course had no right to give Mr. House permission in 1886. Somewhere between 1883 and 1888 I dramatized the book myself, but was assured by competent authorities that neither the living nor the dead could act the play as I had planned it.”
“Mr. House affirms,” pursued the reporter, “that he read you the first act of the play in June, 1887.”
“In that part of 1887,” continued Mr. Clemens, “Mr. House was a guest for a while at my home. I aroused his sleeping interest in the matter, and thought he was going to dramatize the piece, but it was a mistake. He merely showed me a skeleton plan for the first act, with some trifles of conversation put in to indicate the drift of the act. That he wrote a complete act is absolutely untrue.”
“Mr. House says in his affidavit that he wrote you that the piece was finished in August, 1887.”
“A year ago he wrote me the same statement, changing the date of finishing the piece to September, 1887. With anybody else this slight discrepancy of dates would count for nothing. With Mr. House the case is different. If he ever wrote me a letter in which he said he had finished the piece, he has a copy of that letter by him and did not need to make that error. Mr. House is a methodical man, an excellent business man, and never destroys or mislays any scrap of writing that comes to him from any one, or fails to keep a copy of every scrap which he writes himself. I never received any letter from Mr. House saying the play was finished. I was at home again from the vacation as early as October of that year, (1887,) and he did not mention the play in any way during the many months that followed during his stay in Hartford. Evidently he had dropped the play entirely our of his mind. He was busy with other matters, and never made any reference to it. I was thoroughly well pleased with his skeleton of the first act, and said so without reservation. But when I recognized that the most I could hope to get from him was a skeleton for me to fill out, my interest in the matter at once disappeared. He was a near neighbor for many months after that. Our intercourse was constant and familiar, he coming to my house and I going to his to talk and gossip after the manner of friends. Yet throughout this cordial intercourse he remained silent as to that dramatization. I believed then and I believe now that with the skeletonizing of the first act Mr. House’s interest in the project came to an end. Late in 1888 Mrs. Richardson wrote and asked permission to dramatize the book. I had always been on the lookout for some person willing to do this work, and was not particular as to what the terms might be. So I wrote her promptly and accorded the permission. I also gave her Mr. Houses’ New York address and said that he had once taken an interest in this thing. I suggested that she call on him and see if she could secure his cooperation, as he had had practice in dramatic work. She declined, however, preferring to do all the work herself.”
“Another matter, Mr. Clemens. Mr. House asserts that he saw it stated in the papers that you had allowed Mrs. Richardson to dramatize the work, wrote you, and received no reply. Is that so?”
“Mr. House knew why he received no reply,” was the answer. “I was not in Hartford. I told him so when I answered his second letter. Now, as regards my repudiation of the transaction: If asking him to send me a copy of any contract or agreement existing between him and me so that I might, as I said, ‘undo any wrong suffered at my hands,’ is ‘repudiating the whole transaction,’ then I certainly repudiated it for that is what I wrote. As to the alleged proposition to pay him $5,000 as compensation, a proposition that he says he declined, I would only say that it is another effort of Mr. House’s imagination. I never offered him a penny nor consented to join anybody else in offering him one. Again, he says that ‘arbitration was tried without success.’ If that was done, I had nothing whatever to do with it. I would not have consented to arbitrate with a man who had no shadow of a claim against me. After about eighteen months of petrified absence of interest in this dramatization, Mr. House’s condition instantly unpetrified itself when he found that somebody else was willing to undertake the work. He not only imagines that he has an agreement with me for a dramatization, but that the term of it is eternal. It is only fair, then, that the settling of our dispute should be accorded the same liberal lack of hurry. Mr. House is never so entertaining as when he has a grievance. We shall be able to pass the hereafter very pleasantly. Some of the statements in Mr. House’s affidavit are true, but the court will probably give information to amend them.”
The New York Times of yesterday said: “Mark Twain has given to Howard P. Taylor, the playwright, the exclusive right to dramatize his latest work, A Connecticut Yankee at the Court of King Arthur. Mr. Taylor will make a spectacular comedy of it, and when completed it will have its first production at one of the Broadway theaters [Scharnhorst, Interviews 113-116; Also reprinted in the N.Y. Times, Jan. 31, 1890].
Note: the newspapers were full of the case for much of the year. Edward H. House would join other past friends and associates on the dark side of Sam’s regard.
William Algie of Alton Ontario wrote to compliment Sam on CY, especially Chapter XIII, which opined on the French Revolution. Algie also wondered about an old article of Sam’s in “Memoranda,” about criticism of Rev. William Sabine for his action at the funeral of George Holland [MTP]. Note: See Jan. 30, 1871 (Vol. I) for Sam’s criticism, which he failed to recall in his ca. Jan. 20 answer to Algie.
Andrew H.H. Dawson wrote on N.Y. District Atty. letterhead to Sam, that “La Grippe” had “elminated the feminine feaure from our festival and changed the venue to Morelli’s. Sam wrote “answer not needed” on the envelope [MTP]. “La Grippe” was influenza.
R.W. Nelson for Thorne Typesetting Machine Co. wrote to Sam: “Please accept thanks for Mr. Hudson’s letter, which I herewith return to you. We will do the best we can with his order but have nearly fifty orders now on hand.” The letter referred to was Jan. 16, 1890 from Edmund Hudson to SLC [MTP]. See Jan. 17 entry.
A.C. Liebert for Conn. Life Ins., Hartford solicited Sam for policies with forms entirely in German! [MTP].
January 18 Saturday ca. – Sam wrote a letter of regret to the Single Tax Club of New York for being unable to attend the Jan. 20 farewell dinner to Henry George, who was leaving on a speaking tour to Australia. Daniel Carter Beard was president of the Flushing, Long Island chapter of the Single Tax Club [Brooklyn Eagle, Jan. 21, 1890, p.1, “Farewell Dinner to Henry George”]. Note: this letter unlisted in the MTP files.
An anonymous reviewer of CY in the Scots Observer wrote,
As for Mark Twain, he has turned didactic, and being ignorant is also misleading and offensive [Tenney 18].
January 19 Sunday
January 20 Monday – The Clemens family went to New York for the opening of the P&P play at the Broadway Theatre. This was Abby Sage Richardson’s version, produced by Daniel Frohman and staged by David Belasco. Sam stood hand in hand with the star of the show, little Elsie Leslie, and gave a curtain speech following the third act. Livy wrote to her mother about the evening on Feb. 2:
We went down to the opening of “The Prince & Pauper”. We took Jean with us to see it, it was her first theater experience and she enjoyed it very much. Mr George Warner who sat across the house from us said it was one of the funny things to see Jean. We sat in a box and she clapped every time any one did, even her father when he made his speech [MTP]. Note: Jean was nine.
The play did well for several weeks in New York and later on the road [Fatout, MT Speaking 256-7]. The family likely stayed in the city at least one day after. No outgoing letter with a definite date appears before Friday, Jan. 24.
In his 1911 Memoirs, Memory of a Manager, Daniel Frohman wrote of the evening and of subsequent events:
Mr. Clemens made a humorous speech on the first night, highly commending the work; but later he sent me a new manuscript of the play, rewritten in his own way, though following Mrs. Richardson’s construction. Though Mr. Clemens’s work was admirable, it was not so suited to acting requirements as the adaptation I was using; so I returned it to the author with my very adequate but, to him, unconvincing reasons for its rejection. After that I became embroiled in a lawsuit, because it transpired in court that Mr. Clemens had yielded the rights of adaptation some time before to Edward H. House, the predecessor of William Winter as dramatic critic of the Tribune. Though we wrangled in court on the subject and upon the issue that I should be compelled to pay double royalties — to both Mr. Clemens and Mr. House — Mr. Clemens and I played our nightly games of pool at The Players with unruffled amity. I lost the case, though Judge Joseph Daly, brother of Augustin, tendered me the doubtful consolation that I was morally right, though enmeshed legally. The suit was continued; but, on the breaking up of Mr. Clemens’s publishing firm [in 1894], I withdrew it [51-2]. Note: See also Sam to Frohman Feb. 2.
Olaf Halvorsen age 17, wrote from Norway to Sam, his favorite author, begging for his “monogram” [MTP].
Howell W. St. John wrote to Sam, conveying a letter of thanks from David A. Wells to St. John, Jan. 18 encl. [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing reports for the past week (not extant), and also reporting three good orders for CY totaling 1,200 books; many agents reported having “La Grippe” (influenza); nothing more had been heard from Fred Hall [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote a letter to Sam about negotiating with Frohman and contracts to be drawn. [MTP]. Note: two identical handwritten letters are in the file; one he sent to the Murray Hill Hotel.
January 20 Monday ca (on or after) – Sam responded to William Algie’s Jan. 18 question about the Sabine-Holland opinion, written some 19 years before for the Galaxy’s “Memoranda.” Sam had Whitmore write Algie that he had forgotten the article in question [MTP].
January 21 Tuesday – The Boston Daily Globe, Jan. 22, 1889 p.4 “Howard’s Gossip” and datelined New York, Jan. 21, had a few words to say about P&P.
The “Prince and Pauper” needs pruning.
Elsie Leslie does admirable work as the Prince and fair work as the Pauper.
She certainly is a daisy.
Mark Twain’s speech was in his self-complacent line, and a dead copy of Artemus Ward. Twain could never be a favorite here.
We like honest work and don’t fancy impertinent assumption. [Note: this article signed only “Howard” and is contradicted by glowing reviews in the same newspaper on Apr. 13, 1889, p.10].
C.O. Fosgate wrote from Boston to Sam asking if Sam could supply the nature of Robert M. Howland’s recent death and something of his life for the last 20 years; Fosgate wrote he was in Aurora, Nev. In 63-4 and “was an intimate friend of his.” He attested to Howland’s courage when he was sheriff and wrote of the time he took a man to jail followed by a howling mob who wanted vigilante justice. Fosgate lost track of Howland after 1865. Sam wrote on envelope, “Will dictate answer SLC” [MTP].
January 22 Wednesday – J.L. Dawkins, secretary of the Toronto Anti-Poverty Society, wrote to Sam commenting on the libertarian principles of P&P and asking if Sam might lecture for the society sometime in the spring [MTP]. This was one of a probable hundreds of such requests during these years.
William E. Collins wrote for the Hartford Courant to Sam, pasting a “Personal” item from a Baltimore newspaper: “Mark Twain’s wife has written a book under a fictitious name”. Would Sam confirm or deny? Sam wrote on the envelope, “nonsense SLC” [MTP].
J.F. Morton wrote to Sam asking for an autograph [MTP].
E.G. Priston wrote from N.Y. to Sam asking for literary advice for a lady friend [MTP].
January 23 Thursday – Sam signed an affidavit in the House lawsuit case, outlining William Gillette’s early (1884) involvement with a possible P&P play in order to discredit Edward H. House’s claims [MTNJ 3: 544n185].
The Brooklyn Eagle carried an announcement on p.4 of February’s articles for Harper’s Magazine, Number 477. Among them is listed a story collected in 1893’s The £1,000,000 Bank-Note and Other New Stories:
A MAJESTIC LITERARY FOSSIL. By Mark Twain.
Inquiry into the crimes of a Dictionary of Medicine.
[Note: Robert James’ A Medical Dictionary (1743) — See Gribben 350.]
January 24 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote a two-line decline to Clarence W. Bowen:
My hand is out, on miscellaneous work, from lack of practice, & so it would not be worth while to try [MTP].
January 24 Friday ca. † – On or just after this date, Sam answered J.L. Dawkins’ Jan. 22 request to lecture in Toronto. As he often did, he wrote a note on the envelope and forwarded it to Franklin G. Whitmore: “Brer W, Please explain to him that I am unable to do any lecturing this year” [MTP].
January 25 Saturday – After his Jan. 23 dinner at the Union League Club, William Dean Howells stopped off at Hartford, probably staying the night. He wrote to Sam of the visit and his departure on Jan. 28 and also on Feb. 2 to his father [MTHL 2: 628&n4].
The Critic reviewed the stage version of P&P.
[Mrs. Richardson who prepared the play for the stage,] has done her part of the work as well, perhaps, as could be expected; but the piece, as it stands, has no real value, and would have but a poor chance of success without a public favorite like Elsie Leslie to play the two principal characters…. The improbabilities, not to say absurdities, of all this are much more apparent in a play than in the original story…. The best act, artistically, is the last, in which a good deal of the original dialogue is preserved, including some happy examples of Mark Twain’s peculiar humor [Tenney 18].
John (“Jock”) Brown, Dr. Brown’s son wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland to Sam:
I think it as well to send you by letter post another copy of the little book as you may not get the first….If I do not hear from you I will know you have got one or other copy [Gribben 444]. Note: The “little book” was Elizabeth T. McLaren’s Dr. John Brown and his Sister Isabella: Outlines. (1882). See also Dec. 28, 1889.
Frederick J. Hall wrote from the Hotel Continental in Paris to Sam. Since Edward Marston had said he would not, could not do anything on the Stanley book matter for a week or ten days, Hall went to Paris, where he reported paying less for board while he waited; Hall did not hold out hope for an agreement with Samson Low & Co., and so planned on sailing home Feb. 5 on the City of Paris [MTP].
January 26 Sunday – In the evening William Dean Howells left the Clemenses and Hartford, catching the train “just as it began to move” [MTHL 2: 628]. Howells wrote his father on Feb. 2, apologizing for failing to write “last Sunday,” this day: “I had been at New York, and I stopped to see Mark Twain at Hartford and we talked much all day” [MTP: Life in Letters of William Dean Howells, p.1 Doubleday, 1928].
Dr. George T. Stevens wrote from N.Y. to Sam concerning his examination of Livy’s eyes, enclosing “the formula which is for concave glasses of the strength of those she now uses combined with [illegible word] prisms” [MTP].
January 27 Monday – The New York Times, p.5, ran a long article on Edward House’s lawsuit, “MARK TWAIN HAULED UP,” which cited from Sam’s Dec. 17 & 26, 1886 letters to House about dramatizing P&P. Also quoted were affidavits in the suit, and House’s Aug. 29, 1887 letter to Sam. There is little doubt as to the sentiments of the Times (see Whitford’s reason for a Times grudge, Jan. 31):
Twain has been growing rich, while the poor writer, now confined closely to his room with the last term of his slender annuity nearly at hand, had no resources except in his pen. To see months of labor thrown away at such a time was about as serious a thing as could happen. The situation threatened to present an actual case of prince and pauper, with none of the stage gloss or romance to relieve it.
Alfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam from Galveston, Texas, where he was touring in Pinero’s Sweet Lavender. He had seen “items afloat saying that [CY] is in the process of dramatization….I would like above all things to play ‘Hank Morgan.’ He is a magnificent part. Greater than Sellers to my thinking” [MTHL 2: 629n1].
R.P. Kenyon of R.P. Kenyon & Co., N.Y., hats, caps and furs, wrote that they had “designed a new style of hat for gentlemen wear and I desire to name it the ‘Mark Twain’ and respectfully beg your permission” [MTP]. No answer is noted.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam: “I argued your part of the motion in this case this morning and Mrs. Richardson’s counsel submitted an affidavit that all the play was original with her and that she knew nothing of House’s adaptation” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having just recd the $200 monthly check. “I have obtained seven subscribers for your new book [CY]. Pamela sent me the Standard, with Henry George’s notice.” Orion thought that the book would have “a large circulation” in the US and abroad. Ma had another sleepless night [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote from the Hoffman House, N.Y. to Sam: “I have just come from Washington after the most earnest talk of my life. Jones will be here Wednesday in readiness to see the machine operating. I have practically engaged him as our best counsel.
For Mackey at first fought distant. But after a good talk I enlisted him to promise that he would stand in, if upon assurance from others the machine would do all that I claimed….Mackey goes to San Francisco Friday, but he told me he did not want to see the machine — that he had more confidence in my opinion of it than he would have if he had seen it himself [MTP]. Note: in earlier days Mackay was often pronounced “Mackey” and sometimes spelled that way, as Joe does here. I toured his mansion in Virginia City in 1986 and the guide continually used “Mackey.”
January 28 Tuesday – Howells, back in Boston, wrote to Sam regarding the play, The American Claimant (which had been Colonel Sellers as Scientist and licensed to Alfred P. Burbank in 1886).
I have given Herne the play, and talked the matter over with him. He is very hopeful of something from us; and he knows just how we’re fixed regarding this. I read it coming home, and lost all respect for its design; but if we can get it from Burbank I believe I have a plan, or a gleam of a plan for its reconstruction [MTHL 2: 628]. Note: James A. Herne (1839-1901), born James Ahern, top-notch playwright of his time, also an actor.
January 29 Wednesday – Mary Greening, cousin of Sam’s, wrote from Hunnewell, Mo. asking why she never got answers to her letters . “Why don’t your children write?” [MTP].
Mary D. Ely wrote to Sam for the Hartford Art Society, “thanking you for your great kindness in consenting to read for the benefit of the Art Society.” Several halls and rooms were discussed and disqualified for one reason or another. “Mrs Jones said she would see you to-day, & ascertain your preference with regard to place…” [MTP].
January 30 Thursday – Sam wrote on a card to an unidentified person:
If I had ever made such a resolution I would break it now. Yours truly Mark Twain. Jan. 30/90 [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that the gross receipts of P&P for the week beginning Jan. 20 were $5,433.25 and he enclosed a check for Sam’s portion with statement (not extant). Whitford had called on Frohman to again discuss foreign rights to the play — no agreement was reached [MTP].
Jacob Kryger wrote from Pensacola, Fla. to Sam, enclosing a printed circular objecting to moving the Naval Yard to New Orleans. Since Sam wrote LM, Kryger thought “no one is better qualified” for an opinion [MTP].
January 31 Friday – In Hartford Sam answered Howells’ Jan. 28 letter. Since Howells’ visit, Sam had received Burbank’s Jan. 27 inquiry about playing Hank Morgan.
This seems to arrive opportunely. Return it to me & I will send it to Howard Taylor & suggest that he might do worse than put the “Yankee” drama into Burbank’s hands.
Now take the above (American Claimant) & alter & amend the form to suit you, return it to me, & I will write it to Burbank [MTHL 2: 628-9].
Note: Howard P. Taylor was a compositor on the Territorial Enterprise in the 1860’s, and had since been quite successful as a playwright. Sam had authorized Taylor to dramatize CY.
Sam also supposed he would write Burbank and tell him of his recommendation to Taylor.
Sam also wrote to Louise Howland (1848?- ) upon hearing of her husband’s death (Robert Muir Howland 1838-1890). Robert was an old Comstock Lode buddy who kept in touch with Sam as recently as 1883 (see several listings in Vol. I). Paine calls Howland “the most fearless man in the Territory; who, as city marshal of Aurora, kept that lawless camp in subjection” [MTB 176-7]. To his widow Sam now wrote that Bob was,
…so full of opulent life, of abounding & overflowing life, that it was not possible to associate with him & death in one’s thoughts. I mourn for him. / Words of comfort are comfortless & empty; I withhold them [MTP].
Webster & Co. sent “Books sent out during January, 1890” totaling 7,632, with 3,564 CY leading [MTP].
John Mandeville for Sackett Fountain Pen, N.Y. wrote to Sam soliciting his product, and enclosing advertising flyer. Sam wrote “No answer” on the envelope [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam:
I enclose you a clipping from this morning Times, regarding the Edward House matter. You will of course see why the Times helps House. It has an old grudge against you on account of the Duncan matter. A decision in your favor by the court would have more effect than all the letters House could write [MTP]. Note: See Charles C. Duncan (captain) entries in volume I, including Duncan’s lawsuit against the New York Times.
Webster & Co. telegraphed Sam for Frederick J. Hall: “Cable from Mr Hall Trade house offers thirty thousand cash and fifty per cent sail on Paris fifth” [MTP]. Note: Trade house, unnamed competitor.
February – Harper’s Magazine, Number 477, p.439-44 included Sam’s story, “A Majestic Literary Fossil,” which was collected in 1893’s The £1,000,000 Bank-Note and Other New Stories.
St. Nicholas magazine for children, p.309-13 ran “A Wonderful Pair of Slippers,” which included Sam’s letter to Elsie Leslie.
William Thomas Stead’s Review of Reviews (London) chose CY as the “Novel of the Month” [Tenney 19]. See Sam’s Mar. 17 letter to Stead.
L.F. Austin of the London New Review simply treated CY as a joke, along with the praise of it by William Dean Howells in Harper’s [Tenney 18].
Sam’s notebook refers to a scandal of the prior summer in London, one that was partially suppressed by the English government. Sam no doubt read accounts of the perverse tastes of bluebloods at a private club on Cleveland street which ran in the N.Y. Times and in the Nov. 1889 London weekly Truth:
Feb. 1890. It has always been a Cleveland-street aristocracy, the British [3: 540n177].
February 1 Saturday – Sam went to New York City and would return Feb. 3. Clara Clemens also went for an appointment with her orthodontist. Miss Lilly Gillette Foote, the Clemens’ governess accompanied them [Livy to her mother, Feb.2, MTP].
Feb. 1/90. Sir Wm. Gull is just dead. He nursed the P. of W. back to life in ’71 & apparently it was for this that Mr. Gull was granted knighthood, that doormat at the threshold of nobility [MTNJ 3: 538]. Note: Sir William Withey Gull, physician to Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales, died on Jan. 29, the N.Y. Times reported on Jan. 30. Perhaps Sam wrote this on the train.
George W. Cable wrote to Sam asking for an autograph for a “sweet girl, and native to England, and who loves you and is afraid you will find it out” [MTP]. Note: the girl is not named.
Scribner’s & Sons wrote to Sam asking if they might use his portrait as the frontspiece for their monthly The Book Buyer; they always pictured “some distinguished author” in the publication [MTP].
H.H. Collins sent Sam a newspaper clipping [MTP].
Robbins Brothers, Manufacturers and Dealers in Furniture of Every Description, Hartford, billed $3.25 for “Jan 7 repg Portfolio, repairing inlaid chair”; Paid Feb 5 [MTP]. Note: “repg= repairing”
February 2 Sunday – Sam and Livy’s 20th Anniversary, which they both seemed to have overlooked — from a letter to her mother, Livy wrote:
Until I wrote the date… I had not remembered that this is my wedding day. Mr. Clemens is in New York for the day, he went yesterday and will I think return tomorrow…. Susy has gone to church Clara is in New York with Miss Foote attending to her teeth, Jean is upstairs reading. / It is a grey Sunday and looks like snow [Salsbury 273].
In New York at the Murray Hill Hotel, Sam wrote a long letter to Daniel Frohman about his reactions to seeing P&P on stage on opening night, Jan. 20.
Do not make any foreign contracts. I cannot consent to have this amazing burlesque played in England. The very cattle would laugh at it. When I sat in the theatre that first night, I was bewitched by Elsie’s acting, & carried out of myself by the pretty stage-pictures & the rich colors of the dresses, & so the infinite repulsivenesses of the piece (as to language,) got no sufficient attentions from me. I really thought I was seeing a dramatization of the book. It was a vast mistake….I should have perceived that Mrs. Richardson’s contract to dramatize the book had not been fulfilled; that she carefully & deliberately got as far away from the book as she could; that she merely transferred names from the book, & often left the characters that belonged to them behind…
Is the contract fulfilled? Is this mess of idiotic rubbish & vapid twaddle a “dramatization” of the book? It resembles it about as a riot in a sailor boarding-house resembles a Sunday school.
No, if you had allowed me to see the manuscript in time, this stuff would not have gone on the stage. I could not have endured it [MTP].
Sam inscribed a copy of CY to Elsie Leslie: To Elsie dear from her friend Mark Twain Feb.2/90. He also sent a picture of himself with a note and a poem:
…here is my latest book, Elsie dear, but I fear you won’t understand it — yet later when you grow up. However, you will understand the picture of your devoted friend, who sends it.
I’ll be your friend, your thrall, your knave
I’ll be your elder brother
I’ll be, for love, your very slave
Or anything you’d druther
An excerpt from CY ran with comment in the Nationalist, praising Mark Twain’s emphasis on “loyalty to one’s country, not to its institutions or its office-holders,” and his stand for human rights [Tenney 17].
Dean Sage wrote to Sam:
My lord the Bishop has just been in & showed me your letter declining to come here next week & assist Mr Hopkinson Smith in an entertainment for the benefit of the Cathedral.
Now I don’t take any more stock in the Cathedral than you do, nor in the bishop, as an ecclesiastic, but I have for him a great regard as a mighty fine man who continually undergoes persecutions & snubbings at the hands of his theological opponent, but has nevertheless, with wonderful perserverance & modesty, kept on for years & years in an enterprise which everybody predicted would be a disastrous failure, but which will succeed if the bishop lives five years longer.
Sage had read CY and liked it “very much.” He added he was sorry that Sam and Edward House “have had trouble, especially as I know you used to think highly of him — It is simply dreadful to have a friend turn on one as the age we now are, when the circle is continually narrowing…” [MTP].
Bishop William C. Doane wrote from Bishop’s House, Albany to Sam, a short and rather illegible note that mentions seeing Mr. & Mrs. Sage on the train [MTP].
February 3 Monday – Sam returned to Hartford [Livy to her mother, Feb.2, MTP].
In Boston, William Dean Howells answered Sam’s Jan. 31:
All right: I return both your letter and B.’s [Burbank’s] so that you can have the true text before you. I haven’t heard from Herne since he carried off the play. It’s well to get it out of B.’s hands anyway, if he’s willing [MTP] Note: See Jan. 28 from Howells.
February 4 Tuesday – Mrs. H.W. Beall wrote from Mayesville, S.C. to thank Sam for books sent [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote a short note to Sam with weekly reports (not extant): “Not hearing from you in regard to the last cable we received from Mr. Hall saying that trade house had offered $30,000 in cash and 50% and that he would sail on the 5th” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote two letters to Sam, one sent special delivery with copies of Edward House’s affidavits. Whitford received Sam’s telegram this a.m. and returned the letter addressed to Daniel Frohman, along with clipping from the N.Y. Times [MTP].
February 5 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam answered Dean Sage’s Feb. 2 letter and wrote a long narrative of the misdeeds of Edward H. House. Sam accused House of lying about paying back a $300 debt in 1873; caused the rift between Sam and Whitelaw Reid by making false accusations that John Hay later corrected; was “wonderfully tedious company” while ill at the Clemens’ home in 1881; later wrote “great long tiresome letters, with nothing in them but talky-talk,” and more:
When he wrote, in 1885, that he should sail for America in the spring, to remain for good, I wished the ship would go to the bottom. You see, I was the only ostensible friend the man had in the world, & I had to keep up appearances, or be a brute.
He arrived in N.Y. May 10, ’86 (or ’87?) [It was 1886] & my sorrows began. I always had to go & see him when I went thither, & hear him damn his former friends for their neglect.
The reason we invited him to come to us for a month was because his letters indicated that he & Koto were being brutally treated by their landlord & were afraid of bodily assault. I wished he was in hell, but we had to offer him an asylum. He & Koto & their servant were here 5 or 6 weeks. Within the first 10 days he grossly insulted me in the library, & I told him that if he were not disabled I would throw him into the street. I made preparations to have him carted out, but he wrote & sent me a long & outspoken apology, & Mrs. Clemens required me to accept it. So things went smoothly again. I did not know (for it was concealed from me,) that he now & then insulted Mrs. Clemens & the children.
He moved to George Warner’s house, & the friendly relations continued. But at last he insulted Mrs. Warner so brutally that they had to ask him to go — but George Warner ought to have thrown him out of the window. The Warners came over & told me their story; then House wheeled himself over an hour later & told me this — & I told him gently but frankly that he was lying. He moved from the Warners’ to the Yost’s; & when he finally moved to New York he has quarreled with everybody he could get a chance to talk with, except John Hooker & his wife, & our family.
Old friendship? Oh, dear! In one of his lying affidavits, House swears I offered him $5,000 to “compromise” a claim which never existed save in his own laudanum-soaked imagination. Great Scott, I would have paid him that, any time these ten years to see him break his neck [MTP].
Sam also wrote some of this account to his N.Y. attorney, Daniel Whitford of Alexander & Green, countering House’s claims:
The new affidavit is crammed with lies. He has even been writing a diary for 1886-7. Do you think the Court will grant a stay till I can write up a counter-diary?
In two affidavits House has sworn that we talked together in January ’89. I swear I never saw him during the entire year [MTP].
W.A. Goodrich wrote from Elmira to Sam reporting that the wind had blown the doghouse and the dog “Bruce” at Quarry Farm “from where it always stands clear to the garden in one second.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “About the dogs / Jean must answer” [MTP].
February 6 Thursday – From New York, Charles Scribner’s & Sons wrote to Sam thanking him for his photograph and signature, and asking the name of someone who was “competent” to write a 800 to 1,000 word biographical sketch they might put in the April issue of The Book Buyer [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote one-sentence to Sam that he’d just received the papers and Sam’s letter [MTP].
Gustav E. Stechert, Foreign bookseller and Importer, N.Y., billed $3.65 for “10 Wilhelm’s Einar nuss heiraten 3.50 postage .15”; Paid Feb. 12 [MTP]. Note: italics added; see Gribben 771.
February 7 Friday – In Boston, William Dean Howells wrote to Sam of James A. Herne being “immensely pleased with the main points of” the play, The American Claimant (Colonel Sellers as a Scientist).
…but we both think the materialization must all come out, and Sellers kept sane, and broadened, deepened, softened — made everything [John T.] Raymond could do and all he couldn’t do. If you can get the play back from Burbank, I’ll sketch a new plot keeping all the good that’s now in it, and involving your notion of rich international marriage. Then Herne will be sure whether he wants it. I like him better and better. He was wonderfully intelligent about the piece, and could edit it splendidly, and play it to break your heart with joy [MTHL 2: 630].
† On or just after this day, Sam gave the Feb. 6 Scribner’s letter to Franklin G. Whitmore, writing on the bottom for him to refer them to Charles Hopkins Clark of the Hartford Courant for the biographical sketch they requested.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Ma has La Grippe. She is suffering a great deal. The doctor says the case is not alarming, but intimates that her age is…” Orion had secured 15 subscribers for CY [MTP].
W.N. Garrison for American Notes & Queries wrote advising Sam where he might buy a copy of “a very old ‘Medicinal Dictionary’ dating back…to the XVI Century.” He PS’d that this was “not a bid for an autograph!” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Must write & thank him” [MTP].
William B. Smith, Hartford dairy, billed $12.74 (no bill date) for Feb 7 purchases milk, cream; Paid Apr. 12 [MTP].
February 8 Saturday – C. Harry Eaton, secretary for the American Water Color Society, sent Sam a printed invitation to a St. Valentine’s night dinner at the Academy of Design, New York. Sam wrote on the env., “Brer Please decline it. SLC” [MTP]. See Feb. 9.
Karl Gerhardt sent Sam an insurance policy assignment valued at $1,000 for investment in the Paige typesetter [MTP] See Feb. 10.
Lloyd S. Bryce (1851-1917) for North American Review wrote to solicit a submission from Sam [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote Sam a one-sentence note that Ma was better [MTP].
Dean Sage wrote to Sam having heard his side of the Edward House affair and sympathizing with Sam [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that he received “the bundle of letters sent by Whitmore,” but nothing he could use in his motion for injunction, which he would submit on Monday, Feb. 10. He enclosed $218.58 check as Sam’s portion of the gross receipts of $5,914.40 for the P&P play for the previous week [MTP]. Note: this is the sole time in sending receipts that Whitford specified Sam’s portion, here some 3.6%.
February 9 Sunday – Sam wrote to Alfred P. Burbank in Hot Springs, Ark., a letter which has been lost, (see Sam to Howells Jan. 31), advising him that he was recommending Burbank to Howard P. Taylor for the part of Hank Morgan in return for Burbank releasing rights to the Colonel Sellers play (The American Claimant) [MTHL 2: 629n1].
Sam wrote on the envelope to the American Water Color Society for Whitmore, “Please decline it,” and Whitmore wrote a note of regret to C. Harry Eaton of the Society. [MTP]. See Feb. 8.
Willard G. Day for Journalists’ Club, Baltimore, wrote soliciting Sam to speak at the club in “a couple or three months….If you answer don’t sign your name with a type-writer, as if I am hard up, I might sell your autograph” [MTP].
February 10 Monday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote for Sam to Karl Gerhardt, acknowledging receipt of policy no. 333154 of Equitable Life, given as an assignment to Sam for $1,000, but returning same. “Mr. Clemens does not care for an assignment of $1000.00 of your policy for $10,000” [MTP]. See Feb. 8.
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a letter from Hall and one from Edward Marston of Samson Low & Co. (neither extant).
We heard through one of our agents that Lippincott was selling “Yankee” and we instructed him to procure a copy with cash bill and send it on to us for identification. We placed the matter immediately in the hands of Mr. Whitford. We send you a copy of a letter in regard to the matter, received by Alexander & Green from their attorneys in Philadelphia [MTP]. Note: subscription agents would sometimes break their agreement and sell books to trade outlets.
Joe Goodman wrote a short note from the Hoffman House in N.Y. to Sam: “Will be up some time to-morrow. Have had a terrible time with my face. The jawbone was diseased and had to be chipped and scraped. I think it is all right now…” [MTP].
February 11 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam responded to William Dean Howells’ last letter (now lost) that included James A. Herne’s desire to produce The American Claimant. Sam called Herne’s letter “a fine straight-forward utterance,” and told Howells to save the comment for when it was time to write a contract. Sam called Howells’ new book, A Hazard of New Fortunes, “a great book” and liked “the high art by which it is made to preach its great sermon without seeming to take sides or preach at all” [MTHL 2: 630].
Sam also wrote a short note to Stilson Hutchins, declining an invitation to a journalist’s function [MTP]. See Mar. 1888. Hutchins had sold the Washington Post in 1889.
Mrs. Thomas W. Russell, chairwoman of the Needle-work Committee, Hartford Art Soc. wrote complimenting Sam on his letter to Elsie Leslie and his “wonderful work of art,” the slipper (in Feb.’s Harper’s). “I am impressed with the idea that you may have mistaken your Profession, and that Art rather than Lettters should claim you as its Apostle” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that the doctor pronounced Ma a “very sick woman”; she was delirious and without more than an hour’s sleep for 24 hours [MTP].
February 12 Wednesday – Sam and Livy went to New York to see if Dr. Roosa could help Livy with her eyes, which she’d had problems with for the last year. They stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel. Sam saw Daniel Frohman and advised him that he and Livy would call on Abby Sage Richardson the following morning. They’d been unable to accept an earlier breakfast invitation from her [Feb. 19 to Richardson]. Note: Sam wished to make clear his rights to make changes in the P&P play, and remind both Frohman and Richardson that he’d not received a copy of the play prior to its production to approve, as was his right.
In the evening Livy’s tonsils acted up again [Sam to Susan Crane Feb.16].
Sam telegraphed to Chatto & Windus, his English publishers:
YOU HAVE DONE PERFECTLY RIGHT [MTP]. Note: action not identified.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Ma rested better last night. All symptoms favorable this forenoon. Now about 12. / Has the machine gone to New York, yet? / We want to hear from it as soon as possible” [MTP].
Wright F. Simmons wrote from Philadelphia to Sam to request a submission for a new semi-monthly journal “devoted to the interests of the household” [MTP].
February 13 Thursday – Sam and Livy intended to return home this day but Livy “got hit with tonsillitis” and was under the care of Dr. Rice (see Feb. 16 to Crane; also MTNJ 3: 539n175).
A. W. Lang wrote from Hartford to ask Sam to buy shares in a local baseball publication. Whitmore wrote on the letter: “Answered Feb. 18th – Don’t care to subscribe. FGW for SLC” [MTP].
Robert Donald for London Star wrote to Sam:
You may remember that I had a talk with you concerning the Page [sic] Compositor about two months ago, which I called on you for the Pall Mall Gazette. I told Mr. T.P. O’Connor, the Editor of this paper, about the Page [Paige] and destroyed his enthusiasm for the Linotype. He is now yearning for more information…[Note: Sam wrote, “Write him about the Paige” on the envelope] [MTP].
February 14 Friday – Sam and Livy were still in New York, waiting for Livy to recover.
James H. West, publisher of The New Ideal (“Social Science and a Rational Religion”) sent a printed notification that Sam’s subscription expired with the number for Dec. 1889 [MTP].
February 15 Saturday – Sam and Livy were still at the Murray Hill Hotel in New York, waiting for Livy to recover.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote from Hartford to Sam, advising on the status of the typesetter. He’d expected to see Sam on Friday so hadn’t written before. “Mr. Goodman is still at your home & expects to see you tomorrow evening.” He was sorry about Livy’s illness in N.Y. and trusted that she would “entirely recover” [MTP].
The Sydney, Australia Bulletin ran a long quotation of Sam’s concerning the struggle for international copyright, under the caption, “Mark Twain and Divine Right.” It was the first substantive notice of Sam in that newspaper [J. Jones 228n1].
London Athenaeum, No. 3251 reviewed CY:
[This] rather laborious piece of fun with a sort of purpose in it is mechanical and too long, but harmless: Sir Thomas Malory and Lord Tennyson will survive [Tenney 17].
Leave it to stuffy reviewers in Boston (Literary World) to offer this diatribe against Sam’s new book:
We can laugh at Mark Twain’s exaggerations in “Life on the Mississippi, [but] when he prostitutes his humorous gift to the base uses of historical injustice, democratic bigotry, Protestant intolerance, and nineteenth-century vainglory, we must express the very sincere animosity we feel at such a performance. If anything could be less of a credit to our literature than the matter of this book, it certainly is the illustrations which disfigure it [Tenney 18].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam. The doctor “seems puzzled as to what to do” about Ma. “I fear she is losing ground.” Orion offered “legal advice” about the Edward House matter [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about considering a book by Rev. E.B. (Elias Benjamin) Sanford who had asked for a little advance money; also of Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage’s travel book through the Holy Land; “Talmage is exceedingly popular in Brooklyn,” Hall wrote. Quarters were crowded there and Hall thought they should move; Hall summarized finances [MTP]. See Gribben 602 on Sanford; 685 on Talmage.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam enclosing a check (amount not specified) for the previous week’s P&P play royalties [MTP].
Alfred P. Burbank wrote from the Hotel Eastman, Hot Springs, Ark. to Sam:
Yours of the 9th inst. catches me here. I think we can make the deal. We reach N.Y. Mch 10 to play a week’s engagement at the Harlem Opera House. Will you and Mr. Taylor come and see me as “Phenyl” and then hold a [illegible word] over “Hank Morgan”? [Sam wrote on the envevlope, “We’ll answer this, Brer SLC”] [MTP].
February 16 Sunday – In New York Sam wrote to Susan Crane:
Susie dear, Livy says she has not written you a line since your telegram came announcing Uncle John’s death. But I think she is excusable. She has had no time, & no eyes. We came down here Wednesday morning to see if Dr Roosa could do anything for her. We intended to return home Thursday, but she got hit with tonsillitis the night before, & here she lies yet. Our physician is Dr. Rice, & I am the nurse. It is a stubborn attack, but we are doing unceasing doctoring & fussing, & we expect Livy to be strong enough to go home next Tuesday [MTP].
Arthur Levy wrote from N.Y. to Sam, underlining at the top that it was not an autograph request. Levy thanked him for his works and asked where he might get a large photo of Mark Twain, suitable for framing — THEN he would send it for signature [MTP].
February 17 Monday – In New York Sam wrote to Stilson Hutchins about sick Livy and his nursing her in New York. [MTP, paraphrased 1912 Anderson Galleries catalog, Item 222]. Sam also wrote a similar letter to an unidentified person [MTP].
Franklin G.Whitmore wrote to Sam: “Your check for $545 being the amt. Of 2nd dividend of the St Paul Roller Mill Co of ten per cent to Mr. Saml L Clemens is received” [MTP].
Anna S. MacDonald wrote from Quincy, Ill. to Sam, thanking him for his “kind letter” and for not pronouncing her “verses absolutely unavailable. / The small scrap of criticism you were good enough to give was most thankfully received.” Sam wote on the envelope, “Very Pleasant” [MTP].
Miss M.E. Riordon, Dress-Making Rooms, Hartford, billed $28.45 for Making dress; 11 yds silk; Paid Apr. 1890 [MTP].
February 18 Tuesday – Sam and Livy returned to Hartford as planned [Feb. 16 to Crane; Feb. 19 to Richardson].
W. Norris wrote from Civil Prison, Singapore to Sam; a fellow prisoner gave him IA which he read. “I have resolved to send you this letter, and to beg of you to get me out of this prison….I am now short $20,000…” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Wants a loan 20,000”[MTP].
February 19 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Abby Sage Richardson, explaining why he was not able to see her the previous Thursday as he’d told Daniel Frohman that Wednesday. Before the N.Y. trip, Richardson had sent them a breakfast invitation. They’d been unable to attend and they wished to thank her for it; Sam wished to exert his rights to emend the P&P play, and to remind her of the contract.
If I seem slow about answering, it is because your letter [not extant] has lain here while I was in New York playing sick-nurse until last night.
…Your dramatization was to be submitted to me for my approval. It follows that emendations of it, by whomsoever made, must meet my approval. But observe how those conditions have been reversed: Your dramatization was not submitted to me at all, but my emendations of it are submitted to you for your approval.
Mr. Frohman is in error. My MS was submitted to him alone. I needed no one’s approval, not even his. I was advancing a right, not a privilege. If the engagement to submit an early draft of the piece to me had been kept, my right to amend would have ceased when it went on the stage. But now my right is practically limitless.
Sam advised her that he’d be back in New York within the month and would call and talk the situation over with her.
Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished Feb. 20. Sorry to hear of Livy’s illness, and offered more about Ma’s sufferings. “Mollie and I sat up with ma last night. Miss Craig sits up to-night. She is Ma’s attendant. Her sister teaches painting in Keokuk” [MTP].
S.J. Life wrote from Rye, N.Y. to Sam enclosing a hand-drawn invitation from the pupils of Rye Seminary performing an adaptation of P&P on Feb. 28 [MTP].
F.B. Wilson for Jewell Pin Co., Hartford wrote to Sam enclosing a dividend check for $45 on his 15 shares of stock. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer W. if this stock is salable may as well let it slide” [MTP].
February 20 Thursday – Orion Clemens finished his Feb. 19 letter to Sam:
Ma coughed nearly all night. Miss Craig soothed her to sleep three times — her longest nap was about an hour. To-day she is not coughing much, her appetite seems to have returned, and she is now (3:15 pm), up, dressed in her velvet, looking natural, and walking around in her room. It looks now as if she will get well [MTP].
Adolfo Ramasso wrote from Rome asking to translate ten of Sam’s sketches into Italian [MTP].
Dr. Clarence C. Rice wrote a small card to Sam. Rice had seats for Saturday evening, Mar. 1 for a play; he also hoped Livy had no more trouble with the tonsils [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam (Osgood Apr. 16, 1883 encl.): “I return herewith the letter from Mr. Osgood, which I read with interest. / You will see by the reports sent you last night that your book is selling. / We have a scheme for keeping your book going all summer.” The plan involved advertising in “nearly all the college papers in our territory” [MTP]. It’s not clear why Sam sent Osgood’s old letter to Hall — except he praises American Publishing Co.’s sale of Sam’s books.
February 21 Friday – Webster & Co. typed a letter to Sam asking, since he knew Joseph Twichell, could he ask what regiment Yale professor Thomas R. Lounsbury was in during the Civil War, and what occupation he held between the war and his time at Yale. They explained that Lounsbury “always declines to give any information about himself,” and that they needed this for volume eleven of The Library of American Literature [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote that the doctor now thought Ma would get well but must guard against catching colds [MTP].
February 22 Saturday – † On or just after this day Sam sent the Feb. 21 Webster & Co. inquiry about Lounsbury to Twichell: Dear Joe:/ ? / Ys Ever/ Mark./ ~ [MTP].
The Critic reviewed CY:
We do not at all approve of Mark’s performance; it is very naughty indeed: but — and that is all he and his publishers want — we cannot help laughing at it [Tenney 18].
Likewise, there were plenty of scalding notices on the other side of the pond. This day from James Ashcroft Noble of the London Academy, p.130:
Mark Twain’s new book is utterly unworthy of him. Though burlesque is the cheapest kind of humor which can be produced by men whose humorous facility is of the slenderest sort …if we laugh at the new book we are ashamed of ourselves.
Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy, wishing them health. She was excited about the typesetter.
Ma has come out wonderfully tho not as well as she was before. She has so little memory left when she does say any thing like herself it rather surprises us…she thinks you are a little bad boy, the most of the time. Her children are all small and she must go home to them. Write when you can [MTP].
February 23 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam:
Last night we gave Ma a soapsuds injection, and she was relieved for the first time since last Sunday. Then slept through the night, for the first time in a week or two [MTP].
February 24 Monday – The U.S. Congress approved Chicago over New York as the site of the Columbian Exposition of 1892/3. From the New York Times, Feb. 25, 1890 p.2:
CHICAGO FRANTIC WITH JOY
— — —
PURELY A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE
WITH NO SPARK OF SENTIMENT.
CHICAGO, Feb. 24. — If the New-Yorkers who have been striving in a dignified, businesslike way to secure the World’s Fair could have been in Chicago to-night their natural regret at the decision in Washington to-day would have disappeared. They would have realized then how much more Chicago desired the fair, and perhaps obtained some idea of how much the town needed it. Interest in the result, such as is rarely seen in Presidential elections, was apparent all day. Telephones in the newspaper offices and other centers of information began ringing at noon, and never ceased until 5 o’clock, when the news reached Chicago.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
Your favor is received. / Perhaps you would be glad to know that the agent in Hartford took forty-seven orders last week. She tried hard to get into Colt’s factory but could do nothing there at all. [Hall was sending all the contracts] of every kind bearing upon your books [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote two short notes to Sam; the first enclosing a check for P&P royalties (amount not specified) and his intention to see Daniel Frohman. The second note:
Mr. Frohman has not been at his office today and I have been unable to locate him. He is arranging for the production of “A White Lie” at the 5th Avenue Theatre this evening and that has kept him moving around I suppose. / I will get the manuscript tomorrow — [MTP].
February 25 Tuesday – In a letter to Grace King, Livy wrote that she was just getting well from an attack of Quinzy,” having been in bed for “nearly a week in New York with Mr. Clemens as nurse” [MTNJ 3: 539n175]. She also confided that they had attended the opening of P&P play and found it “a real disappointment…In the main it is poor, and does not in the least do the book, we think, justice” [543-4n184]. Note: Quinsy was their term for tonsillitis.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam with an advertising scheme:
I thought of getting up a little pamphlet, such as would sell for five or ten cents on news stands, elevated stands, etc. … The inside cover of each book and half a page of each book to be devoted to the advertising of our works, and half the pages to reading matter…. It strikes me to be the best kind of advertising. This would also pave the way and assist the sale of any cheap edition of your works [MTNJ 3: 541-2n181].
February 26 Wednesday – William J. Hamersley wrote to Sam that “Paige told me yesterday that you wanted me to try to sell some royalties & I have tried and can do nothing” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam:
I returned you the manuscript last night by Adams express. Mr. Frohman said that Mrs. Richardsons’ letter was wholly uncalled for and entirely out of the spirit in which the manuscript was handed to her…as a party to the contract with a statement of what you wished and a request that in places where there was too much of the dialogue she would see where it could be cut down and returned to him. His expenses have been so far in New York about five thousand dollars a week and, of course, he has made nothing yet. The play will be in Hartford before long [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam asking for a “few of the originals of Beard’s drawings” to make up a poster — Hall would make sure they were safely returned. He added a handwritten PS to this typed letter:
I am just in receipt of a letter from Mr. Orion Clemens saying that Keokuk had not been well canvassed on Yankee & that he had learned that Peoria and Quincy had not been properly worked either. These places are in Peale’s field & I have written him sharply about them. He is under contract to sell 5000 copies of the work [MTP]. Note: R.S. Peale & Co., Chicago book agents.
February 27 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Orion about notices of CY and about the health of their mother. He was gratified with Charles H. Clark’s review in the Courant. Of another unspecified review arrived, he wrote that it made him “exceedingly comfortable.” He remarked he’d received “so many uncomplimentary blasts” lately and enjoyed the change. Many of the negative reviews of CY were from the English. Livy was now well. Of Jane Clemens he remarked:
It is a wonderful old lady that can pull through what Ma has been enduring & live. And the more so because when she adopted her deadly water-treatment at 40, she ranked as a confirmed invalid. We are all glad & grateful that she is getting along so well… [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Daniel Whitford, offering his view about Daniel Frohman preferring Abby Richardson’s version to Sam’s, and that he doubted they would come to an agreement. Also he didn’t wish to put Andrew Chatto in an “embarrassing position, but shall leave his contract uninterfered with. In making it he had no interest in view but my protection.” Sam emphasized that Chatto was “the man in authority in England & not me” [MTP].
Life Magazine, originally a humor publication, ran “Mark Twain” on p.121. This was a brief sketch marred by factual errors too gross to be anything but a lampoon:
…Personally, Mr. Twain is a handsome blonde of the African type. He is loved more for his winning ways than his good looks, and has repeatedly refused to be elected keeper of the Hartford dog pound, although the voters of that city would have made the election unanimous. In public speaking Mr. Twain uses a rapid utterance, which makes him the despair of stenographers….[Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Spring, 1982) 5-6].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “I enclose herewith a voting blank. You know every new book we took was to be voted upon.” Hall asked him to vote on the “religious encyclopedia” [MTP]. Note: Elias Benjamin Sanford’s, A Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge., etc. was published by the firm this year.
February 28 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Matthias H. Arnot, letter not extant but referred to in Arnot’s Mar. 3 response. Sam was urging Arnot to come look at the Paige typesetter [MTP].
March – Webster & Co. sent “Books sent out during February, 1890” totaling 4,631, with 1,759 CY leading [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a Feb. incoming entry.
In an unfinished piece titled, “Concerning the Scoundrel Edward H. House,” Sam accused House of lying about collaborating on Arrah-na-Pogue, or The Wicklow Wedding, the 1864 play in Dublin, Ireland by Dion Boucicault. Sam put this claim behind his suggesting House dramatize P&P,
I have been laughed at for believing Mr. House’s statement, but I did believe it, all the same. He told me that his share of the proceeds was $25,000. A theatre manager assures me that Mr. House merely wrote a few lines in ‘Arrah no Pogue’ to protect Mr. Boucicault’s rights here against pirates [MTNJ 3: 545n188]. Note: House secured American copyright in 1891 for a popular song from the play, “The Wearing of the Green,” as co-author with Boucicault.
March 1 Saturday – Abby Sage Richardson’s dramatization of P&P went on tour [MTNJ 3: 481-2].
Dr. Clarence C. Rice had tickets for a play (unnamed) this evening and had invited Sam to go with him. It’s not clear if they attended. See Feb. 20.
Daniel Whitford wrote one-sentence to Sam, enclosing unspecified amount for P&P royalty [MTP].
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $48.80 for Feb 3 60 bu.clipped oats 22.80; 1040 lbs straw 10.40; Feb 7 1040 lbs straw; Feb 10 200 lbs meal (ex yellow) 1.90; 2 bags white wheat bran Feb 24 1.20; 100 meal .90; Paid Mar. 7 [MTP].
March 2 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that Ma “seems well” but they were trying to keep her in her room. Orion was glad Sam “meant to come.”
When I read your letter to Ma, she said: “Tell him I want the horses and carriage he promised me. He never can pay me for all the trouble he was. He was the worst child I had — hollered and squalled day and night — wouldn’t let the nurse nor me, either, rest” [MTP].
Henry C. Robinson wrote to Sam: “Thanks for your kind remembrance!” for books sent. Robinson should have been a doctor, so illegible is his hand [MTP].
March 3 Monday – Matthias H. Arnot wrote to Sam: “Yours dated Feb. 28th recvd this morning on my arrival home from New York.” Arnot had been “intensely busy” so had not written. He was pleased to hear the typesetter was exceeding expectations, and though it was difficult for him to leave Elmira, he would try to be in Hartford at the same time Senator Jones was; but if not, he would “endeavor to come later for a day” [MTP].
March 4 Tuesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having recieved the $200 check. “I read to Mr. Clark what you said about him. He was much gratified, said he was glad you were pleased, and wanted a copy [of Sam’s remarks]. Orion quoted Sam: “If all the critics could handle a book as intelligently and discriminatingly as Mr. Clark does, life would be much pleasanter for us than it is.” Orion told Clark he could use the quote publicly [MTP]. Note: Samuel Mercer Clark (1842-1900) was editor of the Keokuk Gate City for 31 years and a US congressman from Iowa for two terms.(1895-9).
Joe Goodman wrote to Sam from The Arlington House, Wash. D.C. Deciding not to watch the Senate, Joe went to the Smithsonian and at dinner met a Japanese gentleman whom he went to the theatre with and saw The Henrietta and “laughed over it immensely.” He noted they parted without his knowing the man’s name. Joe was leaving for S.F. the next morning at 10:50 [MTP]. Note: Joe did not mention Senator Jones. The play was reported to be by Bronson C. Howard.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, enclosing reports for the past two weeks (not extant) “…our general agents have fallen off terribly.” Snow storms were blamed [MTP].
Joseph Hatton for N.Y. Herald wrote from London to Sam: “People say you are coming to London next month: hope so. … Several friends including Frank Finlay to whom you were kind in America recently are inquiring when you will be here.” Sam wrote on the env. “No — not going to England” [MTP].
March 5 Wednesday – Sam wrote to Daniel Whitford, the letter not extant but referred to in Whitford’s of Mar. 6 [MTP].
March 6 Thursday – The New York Times, p.8 and the Brooklyn Eagle, p.4 ran articles about the trust fund established for the widow and four children of the late Philip H. Welch (1849-1889) American journalist, humorist and author. In the Eagle, at the front of the list of some 600 contributors: William D. Howells and Mark Twain. This bio sketch from Webster & Co.’s Library of American Literature, Vol. 11 p.604:
WELCH, Philip Henry, journalist, b. Angelica, N. Y., 1 Mar., 1849. Followed mercantile pursuits for a number of years. Entered journalism on the Rochester, N. Y., “Post-Express” in 1882. Two years later joined the staff of the N.Y. “Sun.” He gained wide reputation as a writer of jokes. Author of “ The Tailor-Made Girl (1888) and “Said in Fun” (1889). Died, Brooklyn, N. Y., 24 Feb., 1889.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam: “I have your letter of the 5th with enclosure and have written to Messrs Koch Sons — wont you be kind enough to have the contracts with Slote & Co. sent to me” [MTP]. Note: Whitford was reviewing all of Sam’s past contracts; the Slote Co. had rights to publish the Scrap Book.
March 7 Friday – In Hartford on or just after this day, Sam answered Daniel Whitford’s Mar. 6 letter by writing on the envelope to Franklin G. Whitmore, “Please send the Slote Contract to Whitford” [MTP].
March 8 Saturday – What Baetzhold calls “the one most favorable British review” came from down under: “Mark Twain’s New Book. A Crusher for Royalty,” in the Sydney, Australia Bulletin [John Bull 353-4n2].
It is in all respects a fine [book]. The manner in which the archaic and ponderous language of those times, as handed down to us in Arthurian literature and legend, is sustained by all around him, and the sharp contrast to it of the American’s free-and-easy slang is simply wonderful; whoever has read Lecky will recognise how close to authentic history Mr. Clemens has kept wherever that is possible….From a purely literary point of view, it is far and away the best work the author has produced…. But, it is the meaning written in a big round hand between the lines that makes it one of the most valuable and timely books that have been given us lately. The merciless genealogy of the ridiculous and savage arbitrary power that is yet an active working curse to humanity; the manful and open manner in which the shame and impudence of an idle aristocracy living luxuriously out of the toil of the poor, half-starved wretches are shown up, will get in its work. There is hardly any kind of large abuse or wrong that is not vigorously tilted at [J. Jones 230-1].
In a 1968 American Literature article, “Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee and Australian Nationalism,” Jones writes:
…scarcely anything that Mark Twain could have produced could better have suited the spirit of the age than did the Yankee. At the time of its publication, Australian sentiment was already shaping itself in the direction of independence, which after extensive agitation and negotiation throughout the 1890’s was formally promulgated in 1901 .
March 9 Sunday – The New York Times, which had actively covered and sympathized openly with Edward H. House’s lawsuit to enjoin the P&P play produced by Daniel Frohman, loudly announced Judge Joseph Daly’s verdict. (The Brooklyn Eagle’s coverage was much more objective.)
MARK TWAIN IS DEFEATED.
“THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER” CASE DECIDED.
JUDGE DALY UPHOLDS PLAYWRIGHT HOUSE
AND SAYS HIS DRAMATIZATION OR NONE MUST BE PRESENTED.
Edward H,. House, the invalid playwright, has won in his suit against Samuel L. Clemens, (Mark Twain.) Judge Daly in the Court of Common Please yesterday handed down a decision enjoining Daniel Frohman from producing Mrs. Abby Sage Richardson’s dramatization of the wealthy Hartford humorist’s novel. “The Prince and the Pauper,” which recently was seen in this city on the stage of the Broadway Theatre.
It is a great victory for Mr. House and a personal vindication of his honor, as the issue developed in court into one of the individual veracity between him and Mr. Clemens. The playwright’s attorney, Senator Eugene S. Ives, fully appreciated this. The decision was not handed down until noon. Mr. Ives at once got the necessary papers and sent an officer to Albany, where the piece was presented three previous nights of last week, to serve them. The officer left on the 2 o’clock train. He should have been in Albany before 7 o’clock.
The enjoined parties have a remedy at law, however, which will enable them to put the play on again on Monday. They can appeal to the General Term, and pending the confirming or reversing of Judge Daly’s decision they can produce the play by filing the necessary bond.
There has not been a theatrical lawsuit for years that has awakened the general interest that this case has. This was both owing to the prominence of the parties involved and to the fact that there was such a wide difference between the stories told by Mr. House and Mr. Clemens that it was very evident that somebody was wandering farther from “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,” than was consistent with the oath that forms so important a part of legal testimony.
The case is not one that can be called involved or intricate. Briefly it is a story of an alleged injustice done to an author and playwright in straitened circumstances because of physical infirmity by a very wealthy author and publisher. Like the majority of writers, Mr. House is not eminent in commercial ability and business shrewdness. Mr. Clemens is a writer who is a notable exception to his rule. His is possessed of business sagacity that has made him a millionaire. On Mr. Clemens’s paramount ability over Mr. House in this regard the tale of woe told by Mr. House in court seems to hang. …
The fight in court was a bitter one. Senator Eugene S. Ives appeared for Mr. House, Messrs. Alexander and Green for Mr. Clemens, and Mr. Hummel for Daniel Frohman and Mrs. Richardson. Mr. House could show no formal contract to dramatize “The Prince and the Pauper,” but had had a most formidable bundle of correspondence that had passed between himself and Mr. Clemens on the subject. The most important of these letters have already been published in THE TIMES. Substantially the correspondence began with a letter from Mr. Clemens to Mr. House offering him one-half to two-thirds of the profits of the play if he would dramatize the book. Clemens acknowledged that he had tried to do it and made a botch of it. The correspondence then traced the course of the work as it progressed in Mr. House’s hands and referred to a visit of the dramatist to the author’s home to consult over the finishing touches of the work.
March 10 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto:
Mr. Ramasso has made translations of some of my sketches, & wishes to publish them in Italy, but I necessarily refer him to you, because the authority to grant or withhold permission rests solely with you.
Sam asked Chatto to send Adolfo Ramasso his books, but nothing earlier than GA [MTP].
Livy wrote her mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon:
We have a great hope that we may be able to go to Europe the first part of June for the Summer months. We are not entirely certain just whether we can go or not, it will depend somewhat upon Mr. Clemens’ business. It may be that it will be necessary for him to go to England on account of the machine…. Then we want to have the children settle in France for a little while on account of their French. If Susy enters Bryn Mawr next year she must get more French during the Summer and this seems the best way to do it [Salsbury 273-4].
The Brooklyn Eagle, p.3 under “Literary” ran a glowing review of Kipling’s Plain Tales from the Hills, and remarked:
What Bret Harte and Mark Twain have been to the pioneer civilization of the West and of the Pacific coast in the way of romantic or picturesque or grotesque illustration Rudyard Kipling is to the meeting and the continual struggle between the civilization of ancient India and that of modern England.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam enclosing another royalty check for the P&P play. Whitford had not seen Judge Joseph Daly’s (Augustin’s brother) opinion in the “House matter” but he ordered a copy. “I suppose he must hold that your letter to House and his reply constituted a contract giving House the exclusive right to dramatize” [MTP]. Note: this is exactly what the good judge held.
March 11 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam analyzing the “statements rendered by the experts” and was surprised to note extraordinary outlays that would not occur again, presaging a good outlook for the coming year [MTP].
Daniel Whitford sent Sam a copy of Judge Joseph Daly’s opinion in the House case. “You will see that the decision rests entirely upon the two letters of December 1886 which he construes to be a valid contract” [MTP].
March 11-14 Friday – Sam went to New York for two days during this period. He referred to watching “an improved Mergenthaler” in the city with James W. Paige and Charles Ethan Davis [Mar. 31 to Goodman].
March 12 Wednesday – In New York Sam wrote to Charles W. Dayton about letters addressed to Mark Twain for an address in New York that did not exist. Sam had cabled the wrong address to Paris and was afraid that many responses would go to the dead letter office [MTP, paraphrase of Am. Art Assoc. catalog, Mar. 13, 1918 Item 77]. Note: Dayton would join Tammany Hall in 1891 and was appointed N.Y. Postmaster in 1893.
Anna H. Bumstead wrote from Roxbury, Mass. to Sam. Though Mrs. Edmund Asa Ware had recently died, Anna asked that Sam continue his $25 annual contribution until her four “children have received their education.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer please send her $25. SLC” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam: “I send you copy of a letter which I have received today from Mr. Frohman’s Attorneys and our reply” The letter from Hower & Hummel, Daniel Frohman’s attorneys:
Owing to the decision of Judge Daly enjoining our clients from the performance of “The Prince and the Pauper”, with the consent of the plaintiff, [House] we have been compelled in order to obtain that consent, to arrange with the plaintiff for a deposit with his attorneys for the royalties accruing to Mr. Clemens under the contract. The stipulation is to the effect that those deposits shall be made until such time as there shall be a final determination of this action…
Frohman would withhold Sam’s royalty payments, but Sam would be refunded should the court rule in his favor. Whitford replied that whatever arrangement Frohman and House’s attorneys have made, it was without Clemens’ consent; they would not acquiesce in its implementation, and would take the proper action whenever House’s attorneys served papers on Sam or his attorney. Sam wrote “Important!” on the envelope [MTP].
Whitford wrote a second letter to Sam that they had not yet been served by House’s attorneys, and that the “morning newspapers” reported a settlement between Frohman and House, whereby House would leave Frohman alone for five years [MTP].
March 13 Thursday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about Andrew Carnegie’s possible next book being awarded them. Hall had sent a set of Carnegie’s current works express to Sam. Blakely Hall of the N.Y. Sun had been in asking about the typesetter; Hall told him that was separate from the publishing business and referred him to Sam. He also enclosed a promissory note for Sam to sign [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam (TS of Frohman to Whitford Mar. 12 encl.). “I send you a copy of a letter which I have received from Mr. Frohman — He evidently lost his head from fear that the play might be stopped.” Frohman’s short note explained he had to refund all the money paid to Sam and that he’d stopped payment on the last check [MTP].
March 14 Friday – Theodore S. Parvin for Grand Lodge of Iowa wrote Sam asking for any of his manuscripts for a museum of Iowa writers. Due to Sam’s early days in Keokuk and Muscatine, Parvin wished to claim Sam as an Iowa writer [MTP].
Author’s Clipping Bureau wrote to Sam soliciting Sam for their service and touting 25 reviews already gathered for CY. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, please decline this service, on his postal card SLC” [MTP].
Howard P. Taylor wrote to Sam promoting Mr. Burbank for Hank Morgan in a CY play. Taylor had seen Burbank in “Sweet Lavender” and thought him just right. “Have finished the prologue, or introduction, and am about to start on the first act…” [MTP]. Note: Taylor was writing CY as a play.
March 15 Saturday – In Hartford on or just after this day Sam responded through Franklin G. Whitmore to Parvin’s Mar. 14 request that he had only the MS of his last book which was promised [MTP].
Albert Johannsen of the State Center, Iowa Mark Twain Reading Club, wrote asking why a chapter which had been taken from HF appeared in LM [MTP]. Note: this letter marked as received Mar. 18.
Edward Bellamy wrote a letter of introduction to Sam for “Mr. Balestier of McClure’s Syndicate, who wants to talk to you about an article for a series on social reform” [MTP]. Note: Charles Wolcott Balestier (1861-1891), American author and publisher. Kipling married his sister. Balestier wrote the American chapters for The Naulahka (1892) and Kipling dedicated his Barrack-Room Ballads to him in the same year.
Alfred P. Burbank wrote to Sam, relating his talk with Howard Taylor, who had just begun writing a CY play. Burbank wrote, “Is there any day next week that I can have an interview with you on the subject?” He suggested coming up on Tuesday or Friday for a couple hours talk [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Note for $4,000 safely received” (see Mar. 13). Hall asked if Sam had a new address for Mr. Eugene Meyer (Clemens’ piano teacher) who’d requested a set of LAL sent. He PS’d hoping Sam had received Blakely Hall’s (of the N.Y. Sun) note about the typesetter and the set of books from Andrew Carnegie [MTP].
March 16 Sunday – J.S. Butchelder wrote from Fort Wayne , Ind. offering Sam an improvement on his Scrap book pages. He’d read in his “daily papers” about a problem with the pages sticking together. Sam wrote in the envelope, “Brer, please tell him the tissue paper was used in my Scrap-book years ago, but is not used now because the gum now used does not stick the leaves together / SLC” [MTP].
March 17 Monday – In Hartford on or just after this day Sam responded to J.S. Butchelder’s Mar. 16’s query about the paper change made in Mark Twain’s Scrap-Book [MTP].
Sam also wrote to thank Andrew Carnegie for books sent, including Carnegie’s Triumphant Democracy: or Fifty Years’ March of the Republic, which Sam claimed “help to fire me up for my last book” (CY).
I am reading it again, now, & firing up for a lecture which I want to deliver on the other side one of these years. I get a little impatient sometimes, waiting for the auction of thrones…[MTP;Gribben 131].
Sam also wrote a short note to Albert H. Walker, thanking him for things said about “the book” (probably CY):
Credits stand level between you & me, now; I always thought the failure of your case against the Courant was a miscarriage of justice [MTP]. See Nov. 21, 1886; Walker sued the Courant for libel.
Sam also wrote to an unidentified man:
I am not now expecting to see London this year; & for that very reason I suppose I ought to expect to see it.
Sam had tried to write a lecture for this man’s “working men — but the attempt was a failure.” However, he would keep the theme in mind and preserved the man’s address [MTP].
Sam also wrote to William Thomas Stead (1849-1912), an English reform journalist, editor of London’s Pall Mall Gazette (1883-9). Stead had just established Review of Reviews, which was simply a review of literary reviews, and had chosen CY as “Novel of the Month” in his February issue. Stead’s journal would be published in both London and New York from 1891 on. Sam thanked Stead for giving CY “such a handsome amount of space,” and noted that someone in New York was “borrowing your idea & is going to start a review of reviews” [MTP]. Note: Stead included a facsimile of this letter together with a photo of Sam in his 1890 book, Portraits and Autographs. See Dec.19.
Sam also wrote to Charles W. Thomas of Woodland California, thanking him for his review of CY and for “the loan of the doctor’s speech.”
I hope you will pardon my tardiness in replying; the truth is, I have been at home so little, the past month or two, that my mail has been almost wholly neglected; & now I can’t see over the top of it without a step-ladder [MTP].
Charles D. Gallager wrote to Sam enclosing a prospectus of an excursion to England, Ireland, Scotland, The Holy Land, Egypt, Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. Sam wrote “unanswered letters” on the envelope [MTP].
Isabel Von Oppen wrote to Sam enclosing a MS for Sam’s perusal/purchase/publication. A note in the MTP file: “Von Oppen seems to be a lunatic who is trying to squeeze money out of SLC, even attempting to sell his own inscription back to him (?) for $5” [MTP]. See Dec. 18, 1889 and Jan.3, 1890.
March 18 Tuesday – Using Franklin G. Whitmore, Sam responded to Theodore S. Parvin’s Mar. 14 request. Sam had no manuscripts to contribute for the Iowa museum [MTP]. Note: Whitmore’s note is stamped received in Iowa Mar. 20. Mail worked well in those days.
Albert Johannsen’s letter and question about HF arrived, and was probably answered this day or soon after. Sam wrote on the letter for Whitmore: “Brer, please tell him it is too long a story to tell — would require a chapter” [MTP].
Rudyard Kipling’s famous interview with Mark Twain from August, 1889 first ran in the Allahabad, India The Pioneer [Tenney 18; Baetzhold, John Bull 358n18]. Note: many sources incorrectly cite the later Aug. 17, 1890 N.Y. Herald article as the first.
W.H. Benedict wrote from Elmira soliciting money to plant a tree for Sam on Arbor Day. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Build no Monuments to the living. Could not accept. / SLC” [MTP].
Samuel Coit wrote to Sam from Washington, D.C. wishing to “dispose” of his Paige typesetter royalties and asking for Sam’s help in doing so. Sam wrote on the envelope, “He has $40 royalty” [MTP].
March 19 Wednesday – Susy Clemens’ eighteenth birthday.
Sam wrote a postcard to Franklin G. Whitmore:
Yes, send me all letters that refer to the article, whether they cuss or applaud [MTP].
Rudyard Kipling’s famous interview with Mark Twain from August, 1889 ran again in the Allahabad, India The Pioneer Mail [Tenney 18; Baetzhold, John Bull 358n18].
Sam’s notebook: “Mch. 19, ’90 Chas. Hopkins Clark … one — (as trustee for Hartford Free Library) [Paige royalty sent]” [3: 569].
Bissell & Co. per Havens wrote to Sam, returning a “protested check” of $82.13 by F.D. Bunce [MTP]. Note: this check endorsed from Bunce to Frohman to Sam for royalties on the P&P play.
Hanson C. Gibson for Bank of New York wrote to Sam, returning another stopped check of F.D. Bunce to Daniel Frohman in the amount of $80.80, which had been endorsed over to Whitford and then to Sam [MTP].
Routledge & Sons wrote to Sam asking him to “kindly correct and revise” the enclosed sketch of his life that appeared in the last edition of Men of the Time [MTP].
G.G. Green, “sole manufacturer of Boschee’s Oil” wrote to Sam asking about the artist in CY. Sam wrote on the envelope for Whitmore to “decline — paying no attention to his inquiry about an artist. Be cold & distant to this bilk. SLC” [MTP].
March 20 Thursday † – In Hartford on or just after this date Sam, through Franklin G. Whitmore, answered G.G. Green’s Mar. 19 request “that he could not spare a moment for the work you propose” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James R. Osgood asking him the custom for reserving “a couple of the choicest (communicating) rooms” in Paris, France or New York for the “first fortnight in June” — could it be done without making advance payment?
You know the human people. Won’t you drop them a note & ask them those questions for me? I & my wife & the three children are going over at that time, if God wills; but we shan’t know what His idea is, about it, for more than a month yet. He don’t seem to be as prompt as He used to be [MTP].
Note: Plans to move to Europe were already in the mix. Likely reasons are those Livy gave to her mother on Mar. 10.
March 21 Friday – Robert L. Niles wrote to Sam asking the possibility of reviving The Gilded Age play. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, I will answer or dictate / SLC / This must go to Howells I guess” [MTP].
Mary Russell Perkins wrote to solicit Sam’s annual subscription of charity to the Hartford Orphan Asylum. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, Send $10. SLC” [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam (TS of Frohman to Whitford Feb. 12 enclosed):
What Frohman does in this direction does not of course change your rights…. If you wish suit to be brought against him we will begin at once but I am inclined to think that the matter had better rest….I do not think we will rest long in this position but that we will probably hear from him [MTP].
Note: Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, tell him all right for a very little while — then I shall probably want to sue Frohman.”
March 22 Saturday – † In Hartford on or just after this date Sam wrote on Whitford’s Mar. 21 envelope to Franklin G. Whitmore:
Brer, tell him all right for a very little while — then I shall probably want to sue Frohman [MTP].
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam that his friend, Mr. Frank Blopim [?] of the Cunard and Inman Steamship Lines would like to secure Sam’s “accommodations on any steamship of these lines you may desire to go on.” Langdon advised the City of Paris or the City of New York [MTP]. Note: at this time Sam was planning to take the family to Europe, a migration which was put off until 1891.
Joe Twichell wrote to sympathize with Sam on the Edward House matter, reaffirming his opinion of Sam as a man of his word. House had never brought up the subject of the disputed play with Twichell, but if he ever did, Joe would confirm to him that Sam was a man of his word [MTP].
March 23 Sunday
March 24 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mr. S. Howell who also owned a cat named “Satan.”
Our Satan is not as popular as formerly, because he brought derision upon his name by having a Kitten…. The Kitten’s name is Sin — another blunder, for sin is of no sex, whereas the kitten is [MTP from Am. Art Assoc. sale May 10, 1934 Item 127].
Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy of Ma’s condition which worsened and improved; they fed her all the eggnog and panadas with all the whiskey she could bear. She choked in the night and frightened them. Molly urged Sam to come if he could, though she confessed Ma might outlive them all [MTP].
March 25 Tuesday – Samuel Coit wrote from Wash. D.C. to Sam thanking him for his response of Mar. 19 — “I shall follow your suggestion & hold on until the exhibition [of the typesetter] has demonstrated its [illegible word]. I should be pleased to know when that occurs as I shall want to see it.” Sam wrote on the letter, “Brer, please tell him whatever Paige says. / SLC” [MTP].
March 26 Wednesday – In Boston William Dean Howells wrote to Sam enclosing a Mar. 25 letter from Alfred P. Burbank. Burbank wanted a “consideration” to release the play rights for The American Claimant, considering that Sam’s recommendation of Burbank to play Hank Morgan was not enough to guarantee it. Howells felt inadequate to negotiate terms with Burbank and didn’t want to do all the restructuring of the play for less than half profits.
As I could not contribute to buy back the piece from Burbank, I feel that I oughtn’t to urge you to any step in the matter, which you would regret in case of failure.
I have been hoping you would come up here; but I know what vexations you have had, and how difficult it would be for you to get away [MTHL 2: 632-3].
† On or just after this day Sam responded to Samuel Coit’s Mar. 25 through Franklin G. Whitmore: [MTP].
Henry Clay Lukens (Erratic Enrique) wrote from Jersey City asking Sam to “send me your ounce of approval or pound of reprobation” for the article, “American Literary Comedians” in Harper’s Apr. issue (encl. in Alden Apr. 2) [MTP].
March 27 Thursday – Orion Clemens began a short letter to Sam he finished Mar. 28. He thanked for the monthly $200 check. Ma’s cough was still bad in the night but “she does not appear to suffer today” [MTP].
Press Supply Assoc. of Cleveland, Ohio per J.W. H. wrote to Sam soliciting an article 100-500 words “embodying your opinion concerning the necessity of a college education to a young man, contemplating a business career, e.i. [sic] whether it is necessary or not?” [MTP].
March 28 Friday – Matthias H. Arnot sent Sam a check for $5,000 to invest in the Paige compositor, as per a conversation the month before [Mar. 31 to Goodman]. Note: see Mar. 31 to Goodman; this check would be returned.
Orion Clemens finished his Mar. 27 letter: “Ma slept well last night — best night for a week” [MTP].
Joseph N. Verey wrote to Sam from Howard’s Hotel, Jerusalem wishing to be excused for his “long silence.” He felt “under a deep sense of gratitude toward you and Madame Clemens” for their prior kindnesses. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Jos. Very. (I will write him.) SLC” [MTP].
March 29 Saturday – Valentina V. Whiting, a “little girl” in New York wrote to Sam for his autograph [MTP].
Lucia B. Griffin, , “The Celebrated Impersonator,” etc., wrote asking permission to use Sam’s “telephone” sketch and “a few of your funny pieces in a small book of recitations I am getting out for school rooms…” She mentioned having met Orion and Sam’s mother in Keokuk. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, please tell her I can’t speak for my publishers, but I myself have no objections. I will sign. / SLC” [MTP].Note: Lucia B. Griffin’s Catchy Cullings, etc. (1890)
March 30 Sunday – Jessie Burgoyne wrote from N.Y. to ask Sam where she might find his “Yawning Story” and “Sarah Walker.” Sam wrote on the env., “Brer please tell her I didn’t write either of them. I will sign. SLC” [MTP].
Addie M. Cooke wrote from Windsor, Conn. asking Sam if he knew someone who could “compose recitations on any subject.” Whitmore wrote at the top of the note that Mr. C. did not know anyone “who undertakes that species of work. FGW for SLC” [MTP].
Mollie Clemens began a letter to Sam and Livy she finished Apr. 14, all about Ma and her joy at the thought that Sam might come for a visit. She urged Livy to come too, if she could [MTP].
March 31 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Joe Goodman of returning Arnot’s check and suffering from an “empty purse.”
Dear Joe — If you were here, I should say, “Get you to Washington and beg Senator Jones to take the chances and put up about ten or” — no, I wouldn’t. The money would burn a hole in my pocket and get away from me if the furnisher of it were proceeding upon merely your judgment and mine and without other evidence. It is too much of a responsibility.
But I am in as close a place to-day as ever I was; $3,000 due for the last month’s machine-expenses, and the purse empty. …
I have talked with madam, and here is the result. I will go down to the factory and notify Paige that I will scrape together $6,000 to meet the March and April expenses, and will return on the 30th of April….
Sam again said the machine was “at last…perfect, and just a bird to go!…good for 8,000 ems an hour..”
He also noted there was an improved Mergenthaler in New York, “Paige and Davis and I watched it two whole afternoons” [MTP].
Edwin Wildman for Echoes, Elmira wrote to Sam asking for an article or information about his cats.
I have secured two etchings from the photographs made of your favorite kittens by Mr Van Aken, of this city. I desire to make a beautiful supplement for this week — Saturday — and trust that I may be favored with a few lines from you regarding these kittens. Such a favor would greatly indebt us and I trust that we may be favored. [MTP]. Sam answered on Apr. 2.
March 31-April 2 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Elmira businessman Matthias H. Arnot about a prior discussion and commitment to invest in the Paige typesetter. Sam returned Arnot’s check for $5,000 because Senator John P. Jones had not yet examined the machine. Arnot wrote with check on Mar. 28, part of his $50,000 commitment to invest. After a long letter Sam added the P.S.
I have written a good many words, & yet I seem to have failed to say the main thing in exact enough language — which is, that the transaction between us is not complete & binding until you shall have convinced yourself that the machine’s character & prospects are satisfactory.
I ought to
explain that the grippe delayed us some
four to six weeks, & that we
have since been waiting for Mr. Jones. When he was ready, we were not; &
now we have been ready more than a month, while he has been kept in Washington
by the Silver bill. He said the other day that to venture out of the capitol
for a day at this time could easily chance to hurt him if the bill came
up for action, meantime, although it couldn’t hurt the bill, which would pass
anyway. Mrs. Jones said she would send me two or three days’ notice, right
after the passage of the bill, & that they would follow as soon as I should return work that their coming would not
inconvenience us. The bill is still pending [MTP].
April – Sometime during the month, William J. Hamersley loaned Sam $2,500 to help with typesetter expenses. This was a three-month loan but still unpaid a year later. Since Sam expected “Ham” to kick in with one-fifth of ongoing expenses, he may have seen this as an offset. (See July 11 entry.)
Henry Clay Lukens’ article, “American Literary Comedians,” ran in Harper’s Monthly, LXXX p.783-97. Mark Twain is “the one man of all our newspaper harlequins whom Good Luck chose for its pampered idol” [Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1978) 166]. Note: Lukens’ pen name, “Erratic Enrique.”
Webster & Co. Sent Sam a report “Books sent out during March, 1890” totaling 5,727 books led by CY 1,889 [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a March incoming entry.
April 1 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam responded to William Dean Howells’ Mar. 26 letter about A.P. Burbank wanting payment to release rights to the American Claimant play. There would be time enough to talk business with the man later, Sam thought.
I don’t want to buy anything at present, for I am carrying all I can. I cunningly shirked Burbank over on to your shoulders because I was sure that even one more feather in the way of business would break my back; I couldn’t stand an addition. In very truth I want to get far, very far away from plays, just now, for any mention of the stage brings House to mind & turns my stomach. What a gigantic liar that man is! — & what an inconceivable hound [MTHL 2: 632].
W.J. Whiton for Whiton Porteus & Co., Hartford builders, wrote asking Sam for “the last account rendered you by Mr. P. & Co [Paine] as there are one or two items on my books which I have failed to carry out correctly” [MTP].
Guy W. Hubbard, publisher of a paper about autographs, wrote from Pittsfield, Ill. to ask Sam for his views on autograph collecting. “Unanswered letters” Sam wrote on the envelope [MTP].
Robbins Brothers, Hartford furniture, billed $2.50 for “repg music stool, inlaid chair”; Paid Apr. 7;
J.G. Rathbun Pharmacists, Hartford, billed 24.03 for purchases (similar to prior bills) Jan 3, 9, 15, 29, Feb 1, 7, 19, 21 Mar 1, 7, 21, 31; Paid Apr. 3.
Wm. G. Simmons & Co, Fine Boots, Shoes & Rubbers, Hartford $14.25 for purchases Jan 6, 27, Feb 5, 6, 8, 22, Mar 12; Paid Apr. 7.
Smith, Northam & Co., Hartford feedstore billed $5.30 for feed & meal purchases Jan 2, 13, 27 ..note on bill “You made your check 5.50”; Paid Apr.4.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford billed $20.39 for Mar 15, 13, 24, 26 meal and bran and hay; Paid Apr. 9. [All MTP]
April 2 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam answered Edwin Wildman’s Mar. 31 request for an article for Echoes about Sam’s cats:
There is nothing of continental or inter-national interest to communicate about those cats.
They had no history; they did not distinguish themselves in any way.
They died early — on account of being overweighted by their names, it was thought. SOUR MASH, APPOLLINARIS, ZOROASTER, AND BLATHERSKITE…[MTP].
Henry M. Alden for Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam (Lukens Mar. 26 encl.):
I return Mr. Lukens’ letter which, I think, was only meant to call your attention to the article & get a word from you — though really I don’t see why you should give it. / I am sending you my book, “God in His World”. Don’t write me about it till you have read it… [MTP]. Note: God in His World (1890) See Gribben 14.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $19.25 for feed purchases Jan 3, 7, 11, 18, Feb 14, 17, 21, 22, Mch 21; Paid Apr. 2 [MTP]. See also bill Apr.1
Geo. T. Stevens, N.Y. billed $25 “for professional services self & mrs C”; Paid Apr. 2 [MTP].
April 3 Thursday – Matthias H. Arnot wrote to Sam, enclosing a draft for $5,000 [MTP]. Note: Arnot had agreed to purchase $50,000 worth of Paige royalties, $5,000 at a time.
William J. Hamersley wrote to Sam enclosing a check for $2,500 but not able to “risk any money on any business venture.” If Sam knew “the story of” his “private affairs” he would see the why clearly. After his signature Hamersley wrote, “Paige seems hopeful about case — I confess to feeling very doubtful.” Sam wrote “Important letter J. Hamersley” on the envelope [MTP]. Note: a dispute would later arise over whether this was a “personal loan”; Sam felt Hamersley did not pay his share of the Paige expenses.
Inman Steamship Co. per George Hannah wrote to Sam: “Owing to the accident of the City of Paris, the sailing of the City of New York has been postponed from June 4th to June 18th, we have reserved for you on that sailing the same rooms that you had on the 4th, namely 15 and 17 promenade Deck.” Would Sam inform them if he would accept the rooms? Sam wrote on the envelope, “Was going in April 90” [MTP]. Note: Sam had made reservations on the City of Paris to sail to Europe on June 4, 1890. These plans were scrapped and the family would go to Onteora, N.Y. this summer.
April 4 Friday – Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that they’d sent the books (unspecified) to Cedar Rapids, as requested, but had not granted his signature on the title page as the letter of the purchaser had asked for. Reports (not extant) enclosed. “We have also sent a copy to the editor of the “Elmira Echo” [MTP]. Note: likely CY books.
April 5 Saturday – An unsigned review of CY, “Mark Twain’s Camelot” ran in London’s Spectator:
Is it not written in this coarse and clumsy burlesque, of which American in general, and Mark Twain in particular, ought to be heartily ashamed? Mr. Howells, however, is in raptures over this sorry performance [Tenney 17].
Maurice Macmillian wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: this letter is lost in the MTP files.
E.T. Ryan billed & receipted $15.45 for Eggs, chickens, pigeons, duck, vinegar for purchases on: Jan 4, 5,10, 11, 18, 25, 31 Feb 15, 22, Mar 1, 8, 15, 25, Apr 1, 5 [MTP].
April 6 Sunday – Orion Clemens wrote to thank Sam for photographs; Mollie thought Livy looked sad in them, the children, “exceedingly well…the house is very handsome.” Orion gave progress reports on the canvass of CY in the area, both by himself and a girl agent there. Ma was walking around and Mollie had “a dreadful cold with chills and night-sweats” [MTP].
April 7 Monday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam of F.J. Schulte, a Chicago publisher who had a book he thought would be a second Looking Backward. The book, Caesar’s Column by Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901) was forwarded to Sam though Hall didn’t know it until Schulte informed him by letter. He understood from Schulte that Howells “and others are taking a great deal of interest in the book” [MTP]. Note: The book would be published this year by Schulte pseudonymously, sales eventually exceeding 250,000. See Gribben 199.
April 8 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to John J. McCook, having mislaid McCook’s letter (Nov. 9, 1889?) until now. He’d forward McCook’s questions to Webster & Co., and offered this about Edward H. House’s lawsuit:
I don’t much mind the attempt upon my income by Mr. House, for the figure was small, but I do seriously see my character made the so easy prey of a rancid adventurer like that scoundrel. I’m never going to law again with a man who is willing to tell lies & swear to them. It gives me no fair chance [MTP]. Note: From MTHL 2: 633n1: “In long statements to the press House implied that Clemens was a liar and accused him of a ‘habitual readiness to avail himself of the labor of others’.”
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that Edward House’s attorneys were “anxious to know when” Sam was going to England. “They intend to press the case for trial in June” [MTP].
April 9 Wednesday – Andrew Chatto wrote to Sam: “I enclose a copy of a letter just returned from Mefrs. Morgan & Ives, attorneys for Mr. House, concerning the dramatization of” P&P “together with a copy of our reply. Mrs Beringer’s play founded on the story is to be performed at the Gaiety Theatre on Saturday next, and will I hope prove a success.” CY was selling well. [MTP]. Note: Chatto was the only person in England who could authorize the P&P play.
James B. Pond wrote from the Everett House, N.Y. to Sam: “The letter gives us encouragement & your [two illegible words] will be laid. The breakfast will be served in my rooms, surrounded with its ancient & modern [illegible word] of successful tramps” [MTP].
April 10 Thursday – Paulo Fambry wrote from Italy seeking Sam’s permission to translate CY into Italian and to dramatize part of it [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote to Sam sorry that things about the typesetter and Senator Jones “have so missed fire and that” Sam was “in such a strait.” He thought Jones had been sincere in his promises but was simply busy and put things off. The “damned Silver bill, you see, has all to be done over again.” Joe had written Jones urging him to “run up to Hartford, if for nothing else than to relieve you from the embarrassment of whether he intends to do anything or not.” Joe could do nothing more from Fresno. John W. Mackay sounded more hopeful and Joe thought Mackay was going East about the first of this month, and if he did not go to look at the machine himself, he “could send Dick Dey, in whom he has great confidence, and who has lots of executive ability” Why didn’t Sam go to Washington again and “make the best fight” he could before throwing in the sponge [MTP]. Editorial emphasis.
April 11 Friday – Edgar W. (Bill) Nye wrote to Sam from Helena, Mont. that he “had recently the pleasure of meeting … the gifted cuss known as Joe Goodman.” Nye wanted to get together and smoke “the festive corn cob,” drink and play pool and smoke, “tell Sabbath school stories and stay up late” [MTP].
Daniel C. Smith ?wrote from N.Y.: was Sam open to lecture? Sam wrote “no” on the envelope [MTP].
April 12 Saturday – An English version of the P&P play opened at the Gaiety Theatre in London [MTNJ 3: 482]. Note: this had been authorized by Sam and Andrew Chatto.
Moncure D. Conway wrote from London about the P&P play — he’d seen the first performance of it and could not sleep until he had “put on paper an assurance for you of its wondrous success.” He also thought CY was “a pretty book” [MTP].
Mrs. H.N. Ralston wrote from Hyattsville, Md. To send Sam a poem “in consideration of our common dignity as pioneers of Nevada.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “I will answer / SLC” [MTP]. Note: James H. Ralston was in the 1863 Nevada Constitutional convention with Sam; See MT in Nevada by Mack, p. 275 or Smith’s MT of the Enterprise, p. 106. This may have been the Mrs.
April 13 Sunday – The Boston Sunday Globe, p.10 gave a glowing review of P&P with Elsie Leslie, which was in town for a two-week stand (See also the Globe display ad of Apr. 26, 1889, p.3.)
Elsie Leslie, whose charming Fauntleroy is by no means forgotten, is to be the dainty star of the week at the Hollis Street Theatre. Her play is “Prince and Pauper,” a dramatization of Mark Twain’s celebrated story of the same name, the stage version having been made by Mrs. Abby Sage Richardson, a writer of excellent repute. It comes with the prestige of popular and critical approval, having been given with marked success in New York for six weeks and in Philadelphia and Chicago for four weeks each….The prominent feature will, of course, be Elsie Leslie, who is described as little short of a genius.
April 14 Monday – Mollie Clemens finished her Mar. 30 letter to Sam and Livy (clipping encl.):
I wrote the first of this upon the receipt of Livy’s letter — laid it down — and never got at it til now. Ma was quite comfortable for several days, but for three days is not nearly so well. Yesterday’s Gate City contained the enclosed printed letter. We suppose “Prince & Pauper” is in Chicago from this. Sam choose your own time to come, so you don’t put it off too long…Will you go to Elmira this season? [MTP].
Robert J. Burdette wrote to ask Sam “WHO wrote the boy’s diary in which the recurrent phrase is ‘Forget what did?’” He thought Sam wrote it; was certain, and wanted to confirm [MTP]. Note: Sam did not write the phrase. Susan Coolidge was the author; see June 9 entry.
April 15 Tuesday – Sam inscribed a copy of HF to an unidentified person: Everything in this book is true — at least in measure. / Mark Twain/ Hartford/ April 15/90 [MTP].
April 16 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam telegraphed Joe Goodman in Fresno, Calif.
TAKE THE EARLIEST TRAIN EAST YOUR BUSINESS WILL POSSIBLY ALLOW JOE I THINK IT WILL PAY FIRST RATE ANSWER [MTP].
In the evening the Clemens family sans Jean went to a Nook Farm wedding; Miss Mary Robinson and Louis R. Cheney tied the knot [Salsbury 276]. Livy described the decorations at the wedding in a letter to her mother on Apr. 20.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam concerned about needing funds to “push the present business.” Of the near $50,000 in profits for the last year, his accounting showed $8,400 went to Sam, $12,250 to buy out Charles Webster, and $22,234 was invested in the LAL volumes. “But the truth is we are trying to do too large a business on too small a cash capital.” Sam wrote on the envelope to Whitmore, “Well, Brer, how can we raise it for him? /SLC” [MTP].
April 17 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Edgar W. (Bill) Nye, answering his Apr. 11:
I am just your man! I expect Joe Goodman East before many weeks, & when he comes, we’ll foregather, you & Riley & Joe & I, & just have an elegant time — a time that will beggar description, if that it the right literary phrase & sufficiently unhackneyed; & if it ain’t, we’ll substitute a time that will cast a gloom over the whole community [MTP].
Joe Goodman telegraphed from Fresno to Sam: “Could not come for a month any how very critical season with vines will write at length” [MTP
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam of a letter received by Gen. Sherman offering them the full control of plates he owned for his standard work with Appleton, who had merely paid him a royalty for their use. Also, Hall had experienced trouble collecting from A.L. Bancroft & Co. of S.F.; they now owed $2,481 and were general agents for CY and LAL. Hall sent a $2,500 promissory note from the bank for Sam to endorse, which would carry them over until Bancroft paid [MTP].
Rev. John J. McCook wrote to Sam acknowledging his “very great kindness and courtesy in the matter of the notes” [MTP]. See Apr. 8.
April 18 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Joe Goodman having received his telegraph of the day before and his earlier letter. A. Hoffman puts Joe in Washington at this time, attempting to hook Senator Jones into backing the Paige machine , but from his Apr. 17 telegram and letter of this day it’s clear he was in Fresno. Sam wanted Joe to go inspect the new Mergenthaler Linotype machine, because he and Paige weren’t allowed to sit and watch it run now.
The Mergenthaler, which was dead, has come to life again…Paige, Davis & I have watched it work, & think it is better & worse than the old machine…. We consider it liberal to call it a 3500-em machine (corrected matter.) … [Senator] Jones could not fairly be required to accept our report, anyway. If you were here, of course you could do the examining, in Jones’s interest, & I guess the result would be that we should come out with flying colors.
I mean to keep our nose above water if I possibly can, till you arrive, for I couldn’t take Jones’s money on an uncertainty. I have a new scheme which I think he would take to, if convinced that the Linotype is no competitor.
News to-day that some vast capitalists want to come & talk business with us. We have appointed next Thursday — the final touch, the air-blast, will be in, then [MTP]. Note: The “air-blast” was a late improvement by Paige to utilize compressed air to blow motes off the types. One of the backers of the Mergenthaler was Stilson Hutchins, founder of the Washington Post.
Livy’s Apr. 20 letter to her mother described the events of the evening of Apr. 18:
We have been rather gay for us this week on Friday evening we went to South Manchester; again all the family going but Jean. It being Friday evening and a number of young people that are not yet in society being among the invited guests I let Susy and Clara go.
There were four or five cars full of invited guests, all the nice people pretty much of Hartford were of the party. We were invited for theatricals we had first a most charming play “A Box of Monkeys.” I think I never saw a better play or one better given. The actors and actresses were all Cheneys, one Mrs. Cheney, two Misses Cheney and two Mr. Cheneys. They were all truly accomplished actresses and actors. After the play a beautiful supper and then a dance for the young people [Salsbury 277]. See Apr. 23 from Emily Cheney. The play was by Grace Livingston Furniss.
Joe Goodman wrote to Sam that he had to borrow funds for the new crop; that he had no idea why Sam would want him to return East as Sam’s dispatch of Apr. 16 asked, but that he was out of money and had no idea what he could achieve there. Pruning the grapes could not wait. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Doesn’t want to come / Has old habit of dependency on Some one” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote of being approached for a book by “the great and only” (Samuel) Ward McAllister (1827-1895) on social etiquette entitled, The Social Arts. What was Sam’s opinion? [MTP]. See Gribben 434 giving a book title of McAllister’s, Society As I Have Found It, Cassell Publishing Co., 1890.
April 19 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall. Sam’s business manager for Hartford affairs, Franklin G. Whitmore, had offered to invest $10,000 or $12,000” at a “usurious rate of interest — 8 or 10 per cent” and even preferred to buy an interest in Webster & Co. He had worked as a general agent for the company in 1888 for the Library of Humor. Sam advised Hall to take Whitmore on for a year and then see if an interest might be sold him. At first Sam spoke approvingly of the idea:
But even if he were a partner, it ought to be expressed in the contract that he must always be subject to your orders. He suits me very well, for my uses, and he would still come up here and do my work every Sunday and retain his present salary ($500 a year.) Of course you might find him useless to you; so it would never do to sell to him without a full year to study him in. He is perfectly honest, and can be entirely trusted; but on the other hand there is nothing of the negociator in him; he couldn’t make a contract with an author or a binder or a printer; he often has good judgment, but seldom any courage.
Sam later added a “Private” after his signature,
Mrs. Clemens is opposed to it. She says take the money and pay as much interest for it as you want to, but keep entirely clear of the man [MTLTP 259-60].
Did Livy really exert such opinions? Or, did Sam simply think it over and change his mind, not wishing to recant or re-write the letter?
Orion Clemens wrote to his dear brother:
I am afraid you are in trouble. You make wonderfully few mistakes for a man whose fields of literature and business are both of extraordinary boldness….If a spring crevasse has temporarily flooded the play, the machine, the new book, and the publishing business, it will be gone by summer. In the meantime, if there is any way I can help you, let me know. I hope my work, of which a sample is inclosed, will prove profitable to you. [MTP]. Note: several pages of historical research followed.
Frederick J. Hall wrote hoping Sam was thinking over his last letter about the need for an increase in capital. The endorsed note was received; Hall noted Sam’s words (not extant) about Gen. Sherman [MTP].
April 19 Saturday ca. – In Hartford on or just after this day Sam answered Robert J. Burdette’s Apr. 14 letter about stealing ideas, plagiarism and the like. Sam made clear distinctions in this matter, admitting that he “never had an original idea in” his life.
…and never have met anybody that had had…..Nothing is ours but our language, our phrasing. If a man takes that from me (knowingly, purposely) he is a thief. If he takes in unconsciously — snaking it out of some secluded corner of his memory, and mistaking it for a new birth instead of a mummy — he is no thief, and no man has a case against him.
Unconscious appropriation is utterly common; it is not plagiarism and is no crime; but conscious appropriation, i.e., plagiarism, is as rare as parricide [MTP].
Also on or after this day Sam wrote a short note on an envelope to Frederick J. Hall: “Brer, tell him I approve” [MTP].
April 20 Sunday – In Hartford Livy wrote to her mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon referring to Apr. 18 (see that entry).
James B. Pond wrote to Sam: “The arrangements are completed & all here accepted & will be present next Sunday morning to give Max O’Rell a send off.” Pond named eleven men who would be there, including Augustin Daly, George Kennan, Edmund C. Stedman and Richard Watson Gilder; he hoped Sam would not miss it; O’Rell was “worthy of it” [MTP].
April 21 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall about a possible book to publish and the way he’d like to respond to suggested books:
Now here’s a simple system, & certain-sure of a result: When you propose to me, & detail your argument for or against, enclose a blank note, & I can fill out & sign & return that note without saying a word.
Sam also said he thought well of “the MacAlister [sic] etiquette book” [MTP] Society as I Have Found It, by (Samuel) Ward McAllister (1890) was published by Cassell Publishing Co. [Gribben 434].
Andrew Carnegie wrote to Sam, sorry that he and the wife had missed him. He included an invitation to dine, “a quiet family dinner…tomorrow Tuesday Eve at seven.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Will answer him SLC” [MTP]. See Apr. 23.
April 22 Tuesday – Henry Green wrote from Hartford to Sam about his new invention:
…a new system of mechanical instrument to supplant, or to be as great a novelty as the organette was. I do not expect the earth from it but I should like to find someone to help me take out the patent & put the thing where it will do some good. It is needless to tell you I am a poor man…[Sam wrote on the env., “Inventor of a musical organ. Will go & call on him”] [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam having received his of Apr. 19 and 21. “I enclose herewith a number of votes. It is hardly yet time to vote on the [Ward] McAllister book, as it is not yet certain we can get it” [MTP].
April 23 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a short note of response to Andrew Carnegie’s Apr. 22 note. He regretted missing Carnegie at home on his last trip to New York, but expected to “be down in a day or two” and would call again [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam but only the envelope survives [MTP].
Emily Cheney wrote from South Manchester, Mass:
I was counting on seeing you last evening and telling you myself what a pleasure and comfort your letter [not extant] was to all of us. We shall consider it the charter of our company. / It is one thing to say pleasant flattering things to people on the spot and a very different one to write a letter the day after the play — and a letter that makes them glow with pride. We all appreciated it and feel that the play was worth while…I shall never dare [to] have another play unless you will promise to come to it [MTP]. Note: Sam and Livy attended the play A Box of Monkeys on Apr. 18 in S. Manchester. See entry.
April 24 Thursday – In Hartford this was the day of the big test of the Paige typesetter for Senator John P. Jones and contingent. They arrived from New York about noon. Sam met the group at the train depot, took them home and fed them a big dinner. Kaplan writes this reception was “calculated to make them grateful and happy,” and that they were “plied with Roman punch, champagne, brandy and his best stories, and then loaded into the family carriage.” The machine failed. The contingent “marched out in disgust” leaving Sam in a deep depression .
Emily Gooding, “a country woman…raised in Boone Co. Missouri,” wrote from Post Oak, Texas to ask Sam to critique her poetry [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam having received his vote. Ward McAllister would not commit until his MS was completed.
Will let you know the developments regarding the books. I have an appointment to see Gen. Sherman on Saturday. I do not think it will pay us to take this book if he wants any advancement in cash, because it has had its sale, but if we can get it on the terms he suggests, that is, merely take control of the stock and pay him commission on what we sell, it may pay us to get it, because when the General dies it will have a little boom [MTP].
The Lyceum (Dublin) sent Sam what appears to be a typed TS on lined tablet paper of their Vol. III No. 31 for April 1890 with the lead article, “MARK TWAIN AMONG THE PROPHETS”[MTP].
April 25 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Moncure Conway who had sent news about the English version of the P&P play.
From your description I judge that the play is a fine & delicate piece of literary work besides being a good acting piece…. For Mrs. Richardson’s sake I want the American Prince & Pauper to live & prosper, for she needs the money; but I wish she could get suddenly rich: then I should wish her play would die in 24 hours. I think it is by long odds the most ignorant piece of literature & the poorest rubbish the world has ever seen; & it is not a dramatization of the book, but merely uses the book’s names, distorts the book’s incidents, copies nothing from me, & is wholly original, thank God. It does not profess to be a burlesque, but that is what it is. But for Elsie Leslie’s charming acting, the awful piece would have died the first night. However, as an aggravation to that lowest down of all polecats & liars, House, & for Mrs. Richardson’s sake, let us hope it will go on living & prospering [MTP].
Sam also wrote a short note to Joe Goodman that Joe’s letter made him “comfortable.” Sam wished Joe was coming, but he would manage with Senator Jones [MTP].
Amos Townsend for Garfield Memorial Assoc. of Cleveland, Ohio wrote to Sam, inviting him to attend the dedication of the memorial structure for Garfield on May 30. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, please decline & I will sign. / SLC” [MTP]. See Apr. 26.
April 26 Saturday – On or just after this day Sam declined (through Franklin G. Whitmore) Amos Townsend’s Apr. 25 invitation [MTP]. See Apr. 25.
April 27 Sunday – Fatout lists this date for the Max O’Rell Dinner at the Everett House in Boston, Mass. where Sam gave a speech, “continuing his feud with foreign critics in general and with the ghost of Matthew Arnold in particular,” with “On Foreign Critics” [MT Speaking 257-60].
If I look harried and worn, it is not from an ill conscience. It is from sitting up nights to worry about the foreign critic. He won’t concede that we have a civilization — a “real” civilization. Five years ago, he said we had never contributed anything to the betterment of the world. And now comes Sir Lepel Griffin, whom I had not suspected of being in the world at all, and says “ there is no country calling itself civilized where one would not rather live than in America, except Russia.” That settles it. That settles it for Europe; but it doesn’t make me any more comfortable than I was before.
What is a “real” civilization? Nobody can answer that conundrum. They have all tried. Then suppose we try to get at what it is not…. Let us say, then, in broad terms, that any system which has in it any one of these things, to wit, human slavery, despotic government, inequality, numerous and brutal punishments for crimes, superstition almost universal, ignorance almost universal, and dirt and poverty almost universal — is not a real civilization, and any system which has none of them, is.
If you grant these terms, one may then consider this conundrum: How old is real civilization? The answer is easy and unassailable. A century ago it had not appeared anywhere in the world during a single instant since the world was made. If you grant these terms — and I don’t see why it shouldn’t be fair, since civilization must surely mean the humanizing of a people, not a class — there is today but one real civilization in the world, and it is not yet thirty years old. We made the trip and hoisted its flag when we disposed of our slavery.
Note: Max O’Rell was the pseudonym for Leon Paul Blouët (1848-1903), French humorist and newspaperman in England, who lectured in the U.S. in 1887 and 1890. Sam saw O’Rell as “an unoriginal humorist who palmed off as his own the good things of others” . Fatout gives this date as “conjecturally.”
April 28 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Annie E. Trumbull agreeing to a visit for May 10, probably a young ladies’ Saturday Morning Club appearance [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam having received the monthly $200 check.
I hope you are not offended by my suggestion to compromise with House which I made before the case came to trial. I find no fault with you, as you have never studied law. I blame your attorneys for encouraging you to defend a suit that they foreknew you would lose. I claim no transcendent legal knowledge [MTP].
April 29 Tuesday – The Hartford Courant, p.2, “Open Hearth Concert Tonight,” announced the Open Hearth Benefit at the Foot Guard Hall in Hartford. Sam read from CY.
April 30 Wednesday – Charles M. Green wrote on Mutual Life Ins. Co., N.Y. letterhead to Sam. Green was planning a reading of selections from CY using stereopticons to show the illustrations in the book, but in the book he had they were not sharp enough — were there originals he might borrow? Sam wrote on the envelope, “Talk with me about this, Brer / SLC” [MTP].
May – MTNJ 3: 564n255 refers to Sam dining at the George Hearst home during this month in Washington. See unresolved issues regarding a possible May 8-12 trip to Washington.
Webster & Co. sent Sam a “Books sent out during April, 1890” report, with a total of 6,524, led by 2,038 CY [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a Apr. incoming entry.
May 1 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Carnegie, sending apologies to Mrs. Carnegie:
Oh, I am mighty sorry I left Sunday evening, but I got homesick, & hadn’t anything to do & nothing to read [MTP]. Note: Sam spoke at the Max O’Rell (Paul Blouët) dinner in Boston the Sunday prior.
Sam also wrote to John Garth, journalist, of his thoughts about lecturing:
I avoid all such efforts, of late years, because I have found that I can’t frame an address which from my point of view is worth delivering. I have hung around the platform for twenty-four years now & it is high time for me to leave it & take to the chimney corner & stay there. And that is what I have contracted with myself to do… [MTP from Southern Literary Journal Fall, 1987, p.13].
F. Schroeder, manufacturing confecturer, Hartford billed $4.80 for Dec 24 candies 4.80 “Madame: this is not the order of Decbr 23, which is paid, but a duplicate sent one day later.”; marked Paid, no date.
Neil Stalker, Fine Road and Track Harness, Horse Clothing, etc., Hartford, receipted $10.45 for Jan 18, 21, Feb 24, Mar 4, 11, 31, Apr 15 purchases: chamois, sponse, castile soap, comb, whip, repairs, etc.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $38.40 for Apr 5, 14, 21, 28 purchases: meal, bran, oats, hay; Paid May 14 [all MTP].
May 2 Friday – The latest effort at International Copyright legislation failed in Congress.
May 2 Friday ca. – On or about this day Sam left for New York to raise money for the Paige typesetter. Livy wrote to him about his business worries and their planned trip to Europe, canceled.
Youth don’t let the thought of Europe worry you one bit because we will give that all up. I want to see you happy much more than I want any thing else even the childrens lessons. Oh darling it goes to my very heart to see you worried [LLMT 255-6].
May 3 Saturday – William J. Hamersley wrote to Sam: “Paige claims, as I understand, that his machine is now ready for…final exhibition.” Hamersley enclosed a three page typed document outlining the price of $12,000 for sale of the first machines, including a proposal to organize a joint stock company to raise ten million dollars for the manufacture [MTP].
May 4 Sunday – F.W. Heisler wrote from Wilmington, Del. to Sam; Where could he find a copy of Sam’s address on New England weather? [MTP].
May 5 Monday – Frederick J. Hall wrote two notes to Sam, both involving a $25,000 loan from the Mt. Morris Bank [MTLTP 260n1; MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam offering to “watch that rat-hole” (Webster & Co.) while Sam and family sailed for Europe. “you would worry less during your voyage” [MTP].
May 6 Tuesday
May 7 Wednesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam apologizing for not sending the daily reports.
The bank wants the amount made out in three $5,000 notes and one $10,000. We then give them a check for $9,000.00 or an agreement not to draw our account below $16,000. They discount the notes at .06% and as we only use $16000.00 of the amount they really get what is equivalent to .08% [MTP]. Note: the percentages, although written as hundredths of a percent were whole, six and eight percent.
Henry O. Houghton wrote to Sam from Boston. This is a letter of introduction for Charles W. Felt of Northborough, Mass., a man for 30 years “actively developing typesetting and justifying machines.” Houghton thought it “not improbably that Felt “has some ideas that may be valuable” (encl. in Felt May 10) [MTP].
May 8 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Grace Elizabeth King, thanking her for a gift sent:
What a noble hunk of tobacco it is! I would God you were here with me to help smoke it; then would we have a serene & unproving time & unspeakable enjoyment.
Sam also noted now that he had her address, he would send some books.
We keep up a great affection for you in this & family, & we all want to see you [MTP].
Sam may have gone to Washington for a few days, though evidence rests on one note sent from Robert Underwood Johnson to Sam at the Arlington House, on which the date may have been added later. See MTNJ 3: 552n213.
George E. Walsh, Manager for Correspondents’ Syndicate, N.Y. wrote soliciting Sam’s opinion, “in view of the recent defeat in the House of Representatives of the International Copyright bill,” just what “method should be pursued in the future to secure passage of such a bill; what were the prospects; would failure to pass the bill “affect American literature to any great extent”? [MTP]. Note: the latest bill failed on May 2.
May 9 Friday – Franklin Chamberlin, Sam’s Hartford neighbor wrote that he and Livy had inquired if their dogs were troublesome; Fencing was discussed although the note is mostly unreadable. [MTP].
May 10 Saturday – In Hartford Sam spoke at his Saturday Morning Club. His remarks were not recorded [Fatout, MT Speaking 659].
Robert Underwood Johnson wrote for Mrs. Hearst an invitation to Sam to dine at 7 p.m. this evening, or the next if that wasn’t agreeable. [MTP].
Note: The unmailed envelope (no postmark) is addressed to Sam at the Arlington Hotel, and the suspicious looking date on the letter is in a different shade of ink, which may mean it was added later, in error, or it may simply mean the quill was low for that line alone. It is noted that this date conflicts with Fatout’s report above, though Fatout offers nothing besides a simple listing. The case for this date and Sam taking a May 8 “flying trip” to Washington rests on Johnson’s letter and Sam’s notebook:
Donnerstag, nach Washington (Thursday to Washington)
Auf Ruchkehr, Laffan sehen (On return trip, see Laffan)
Hearst, 1400 N.H. Ave [MTNJ 3: 552].
Further, in a N.Y. Times article for May 4, 1890, Richard Watson Gilder was quoted as saying Robert Underwood Johnson had been in Washington for “several days working for passage of the bill.” Also, Johnson’s June 10 letter shows Johnson still in Washington. Together these suggest Johnson was likely in Washington during this time, continually working for passage and/or reconsideration of the International Copyright legislation (which would eventually pass on Mar. 4, 1891). Plus, no letters after Sam’s May 8 to Grace King and before his May 13 to his sister have been found, allowing a short window of opportunity for Sam to make the trip.
The case against this letter’s date being correct rests mainly on circumstantial evidence. The appearance of the different or lighter ink in the very sharp and darkly inked note by Johnson. Plus, no mention of a quick trip to Washington was made in any of Sam’s letters before or just after this date, something he nearly always did with such trips. Sam’s notebook entry above is not dated, nor is his notebook always chronological; the lines may have been added for his June trip to Washington. No record or mention of Sam in Washington was found in the Washington Post nor the N.Y. Times, nor the Hartford Courant, for Sam going to Washington which usually reported such matters. And since the copyright bill failed in the House on May 2 and was reported by all three of the above newspapers, this begs the question, why would he go there after the bill failed? Sam would next be in Washington on June 13 for a few days, which might suggest the notebook references and the letter were written then.
Thus the “May 10”? letter remains here awaiting further evidence. Robert Hirst of the MTP concluded he could not reassign this letter without more proof. All we have now is circumstantial. It is my opinion that it belongs in another date.
Charles W. Felt wrote to Sam enclosing the letter of introduction by Henry O. Houghton. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, tell him it is out of my line,& refer him to Paige. / SLC” [MTP].
The Old Staten Island Dyeing Establishment, N.Y. billed & receipted $3.85 for Cleaning 12 Nurse’s Caps 3.00 exp.30. Add chg .55 [shipping] [MTP].
May 11 Sunday – F.J. Earll for N.Y. Morning Journal wrote to solicit “a few lines” on International Copyright from Sam, who directed Whitmore to decline for him (on the env.) [MTP]. Note: the bill failed in Congress on May 2.
Fox & Whitmore Co., “Practical Decorators and Designers,” Hartford, wrote asking Sam “the probability of your redecorating your library and dining-room ceilings, this summer” [MTP].
May 12 Monday – In Hartford on or just after this day Sam answered through Franklin G. Whitmore, the May 11 invitation of F.J. Earll [MTP]. Also about this day Sam used Whitmore to answer Charles W. Felt’s May 10 inquiry: “Brer, tell him it is out of my line, & refer him to Paige” [MTP]
If Sam did make a quick trip to Washington on May 8, he would have returned home by this day.
May 13 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett:
Indeed my character never gives me any concern. I never sit up with it when it seems to be sick, never bother about it in any way. I have always approved & admired it, I still approve & admire it, I strenuously desire & do steadfastly believe that my relatives & friends approve & admire it, I know God approves & admires it — & there’s the end: What the rest of the public think of it is not matter of life-&-death interest to me. This is why I have allowed House to have the whole newspaper field to himself unreplied to. Let that dog bark till his teeth drop out — it will do him no good, it will not make him famous, (which is what he is after); a year hence nobody will be able to remember what cur it was that barked, nor who it was he barked at.
At the end Sam announced: “…we sail for the Pyrennees either June 7 or July 5, I reckon” [MTP].
Also, Franklin G. Whitmore answered for Sam to Fox & Whitmore Co., saying there were no plans to redecorate the ceilings this summer [MTP].
Kate Field wrote from N.Y. to Sam enclosing a copy of Kate Field’s Washington for May 14, 1890 which featured an article on copyright, “A Nation of Pirates.” She asked if he would “read enclosed and send me a word of denunciation for a column of authors that is to be in my next number?” [MTP].
May 14 Wednesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about securing the $25,000 loan from the Mount Morris Bank [MTLTP 260n1].
The Players Club, N.Y. receipted Sam for $10 for dues ($20 crossed out for $10) [MTP].
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Livy that he was sailing for Europe on June 18 and could not be at the June 17h stockholders’ meeting, and so sent a proxy for her vote; he mentioned that Matthew Arnot could not “possibly get away” to Hartford to see the machine [MTP].
May 15 Thursday – Edward Bellamy wrote from Chicopee Falls, Mass. Introducing Henry Holiday, evidently a visitor from England. This was enclosed in Holiday’s May 16 to Sam [MTP].
Emerson W. Judd, secretary for Mass. Tax Reform League wrote offering to make Sam a member of the Mass. Tariff Reform League, now changed in name to the New England Tariff Reform League, for only one dollar [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that he’d hit a dead end with Ward McAllister after making an offer on the book for a sliding scale of royalties. The Sherman matter was closed on favorable terms. A letter from Andrew Carnegie arrived the day before saying his current book was not advanced enough to be definite but that he wouldn’t forget their “enterprising firm” [MTP].
Samuel B. Halliday, assistant to Henry Ward Beecher for 27 years, wrote from Brooklyn to Sam enclosing a flyer and testimonials, and seeking contributions for the church’s building fund. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Read it, Brer. No answer? Or decline. B. Halliday, Beecher’s Assistant” [MTP].
May 15 Thursday ca. † – On or about this day Sam went to New York City for business.
May 16 Friday – The Monday Evening Club, Hartford sent Sam an invitation to the May 19 meeting at Frank W. Cheney’s home. Sam wrote on the env., “Brer, say I am gone to New York for a few days & probably will not be back in time / SLC” [MTP].
Henry Holiday wrote from Chicopee Falls, Mass. to Sam, enclosing Bellamy’s May 15 letter of introduction. Holiday wanted to meet the author of Huck Finn, and was staying in Boston. A May 20 postcard to Whitmore identifies Holiday as a lecturer on Naturalist Art; he was on a tour of major US cities [MTP]. Note: it is not clear if this was the renowned artist.
George Standring wrote from London to Sam sending a two-inch clipping, which reported that the “Leeds Mercury” was using the Mergenthaler machines. Standring was looking forward to hear from Sam “the final, complete & overwhelming success of the [Paige] machine.” There had been rumors that Sam would come over for the London reception of Henry M. Stanley. When Sam did come, why not “lecture a few” there? [MTP].
May 17 Saturday – Webster & Co. wrote advising Sam they’d sent out some 600 circular letters lately to various students, though some 60 were returned for more postage, even all were had the same postage [MTP]. The student marketing effort was intended to keep up sales of CY throughout the summer.
The Compagnie Generale Transatlantique sent a 17” x 8” colored layout of the cabins aboard their liners, the SS La Bourgogne & La Gascogne. A penciled date marked at the top appears to be in Sam’s hand and the first ship named is lined out; several rooms aft are marked with vertical lines; the key denotes these as “outside Cabins with two berths and a sofa” [MTP].
May 18 Sunday
May 19 Monday
May 19 Monday ca. – On or about this day Sam was in New York City where he put a card on Andrew Carnegie’s door, “I mean to ring your doorbell toward 8 this evening, Mr. Carnegie.” The card had Sam’s name and the Murray Hill Hotel on it [MTP].
James W. Paige telegrammed Sam at the Murray Hill Hotel: “Hamersley in NY will write the papers myself” [MTP].
Mary Davis wrote from Baltimore asking Sam to use his influence for her at Johns Hopkins College Medical School. She wrote he must be “accustomed to being addressed by unknown correspondents” [MTP].
May 20 Tuesday – E.W. Stephens for Herald Publishing Co. wrote inviting Sam to attend a gathering of the press in Missouri on Aug. 22. Sam would not have to speak [June to Stephens].
W.H. Patten for Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam and sent a drawing by Mr. Sterner of Elsie Leslie in her dressing room at the Broadway Theatre. [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that the Edward House case was put over until October and Sam “need fear no annoyance; he agreed that Sam’s “plan of preserving strict silence” about the case was best [MTP].
Otto B. Schlutter of Hartford billed $18 for “Tuition”; Paid May 24 [MTP]. Note: German teacher.
May 21 Wednesday – In New York at the Murray Hill Hotel, Sam wrote to Livy that he’d just received both her letters, which suggests he’d been in the city perhaps earlier than Monday the 19th. Estimated here, the prior Thursday, or May 15.
I telegraphed you a while ago, before going down to get shaved, telling you I am going yachting to-day & to-night with Laffan, up the Hudson river & back. I ought to be starting, now, but I steal a moment to write you this line, & say again, as in the telegram, I like the outlook, & think it promises to accomplish things.
Note: William Mackay Laffan, a longtime friend whom Sam met in 1880 (see Feb. 20, 1880 entry) and the owner of the New York Sun. Sam lobbied the man hard in hopes of his sales and support for the Paige typesetter.
The Boston Daily Globe, p.7, “All Boston Smiles” declared “Samuel L. Clements [sic] (Mark Twain) registered at the Vendome,” and on May 28, p.2. declared “Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) is Right at Home in Boston.” No other evidence of a trip to Boston was found — it is possible that a reservation was made for him there and he was unable to make the trip. Clearly, Sam was in New York on this day, with plans to go yachting up the Hudson with William Laffan Mackay (see above letter to Livy.) He may have made a quick trip to Boston on May 28, however. His last known stop in Bean Town was Apr. 27 for the Max O’Rell dinner.
May 22 Thursday – Sam returned to Hartford, probably this day or the next.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam:
Senator Ives, House’s counsel, asked me if we would be ready to try the case in the autumn — I told him we would let him know when the time came. He said that from a financial point of view he didn’t think either side could afford to try it and that he thought it was a case that ought to be settled. [Whitford added he would see what their ideas were about settlement] [MTP]. Eugene S. Ives (1859- ).
May 23 Friday – Rufus Slattery, secretary of the Elmira YMCA, sent Sam an announcement of an amateur photo contest. Slattery wanted to enter a photo he took of Sam, who responded through Whitmore on May 24 [MTP].
Henry (Harry) Edwards wrote from Dunedin, NZ to Sam, enclosing a clipping from an Auckland newspaper which promised a dramatization of P&P in Melbourne in the spring (US Fall). “The colonial rights have already been secured,” the article said. [MTP].
William Thomas Stead for Review of Reviews wrote to Sam enclosing this month’s issue in which he defended CY; Stead related that The Lyceum was “the organ of the Jesuits of Dublin and they are particularly indignant with you and me — with you for writing King Arthur and with me for giving it the benefit of publicity in my Review.” Stead related other publications and their take on the book. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Interesting letter from W.T. Stead Editor Review of Reviews” [MTP].
May 24 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote on Rufus Slattery’s May 23 envelope to Whitmore:
Brer, Tell him I would not object if it were a good likeness, but it is not [MTP].
Hamburg-American Packet Co. sent Sam an engraved invitation for a luncheon on board the new steamship, Normannia at the Hamburg Pier, Hoboken, N.J. June 4, 1890 at 1 o’clock. “Decline with thanks,” Sam wrote on the envelope [MTP].
May 25 Sunday
May 26 Monday – H.A.L. Christian wrote to Sam to settle a $40 bet — did Sam serve on the Confederate side? [MTP].
Wesley Washington Pasko (seen also as Pasco) wrote from N.Y. to Sam enclosing articles on various typesetters, which Sam annotated and corrected in six places. Pasko was the recording secretary of the N.Y. Typothetae [MTNJ 3: 555n223]. He wrote:
I have no hesitation in saying that I regard your machine as the most ingenious piece of machinery it has ever been my pleasure to see. It works admirably. During the two hours I saw it going it did not once require to be stopped to adjust a trifle, or to replace a screw or a spring — something that I have never before seen in a type-setting machine [MTP]. Note:also, Bonham’s Auction Jun 27, 2006 lot 3110
May 27 Tuesday
May 28 Wednesday – The Boston Daily Globe, p.2. declared “Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) is Right at Home in Boston…at the Vendome.” No other evidence of a trip to Boston was found. See also May 21 entry, for identical notice in Globe. His last known stop in Bean Town was Apr. 27 for the Max O’Rell dinner.
May 28 Wednesday ca. † – In Hartford Sam used Franklin G. Whitmore to reply to H.A.L. Christian’s May 26 question — did he serve as a Confederate? Sam told Whitmore to reply that he’d “served 2 weeks on the Confederate side” [MTP].
May 29 Thursday
May 30 Friday
May 31 Saturday – D.B. S. John Roosa, M.D., New York, receipted $20 “for Mrs Clemens and Susie” [MTP]. Note: Dr. Roosa was an eye doctor.
June – Sometime during the month Sam answered E.W. Stephens’s May 20 invitation. Sam wrote he’d been “ailing for two or three weeks,” and that he’d made passage for the family to Europe and expected to be there “from the end of June till near October,” though this didn’t mean he would be able to go, since “Providence will rip up the engagement when the time comes.” [The Clemens family did not go to Europe this year.]
I have an honest love for the press-boys of my native state, and a most grateful appreciation of the great compliment they have paid me, but you see how I am situated [MTP].
Sam’s “Reply to the Editor of ‘The Art of Authorship’” first appeared in the collection published this month titled The Art of Authorship, edited by George Bainton [Budd, Collected 945-6, 1023].
Webster & Co. sent Sam a “Books sent out during May, 1890” report, totaling 7,040 books with 1,509 Huck Finns and 664 CY [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a May incoming entry.
J.G. Rathbun Pharmacists, Hartford, billed $3.55 for Apr 7, 12, 16 purchases, toothbrushes, castor oil, vaseline, comb, candy, etc.; Paid July 2 [MTP].
June 1 Sunday
June 2 Monday – Magdalene LeViseur wrote a short note from Posen (a province of Prussia at this time, now part of Poland) to ask Sam permission to translate and publish TA. Chatto & Windus’ address written in pencil at the top, appears to be SLC’s hand [MTP].
J.F. Morton in Boston, sent a long printed poem, “Quisque Histrioniam Exercet” to Sam [MTP].
June 3 Tuesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, enclosing the prior weeks’ reports (not extant). “I presume you will be in the city soon — that is, if you sail on Saturday. Please let me know if you intend on going on that date” [MTP].
Charles S. Fairchild wrote from Boston on Lee, Higginson & Co. stationery (he was a broker at the firm) to Sam;
I had a long talk with Ludlam on the way to Boston the other night, and a chat today with Livermore about the type-setting machine. They both agree that the wise thing to do now is to build a few machines and put them into actual use, and wait until they are fairly tested before putting up any large factory…. / We had a delightful day and were very much impressed with the type setting and distributing machine [MTP]. Note: MTNJ 3: 556n228 claims Ludlam and Livermore “apparently” accompanied Fairchild to Hartford for inspection of the Paige typestter; the date unknown.
James W. Paige wrote to Sam that he had received his two letters “and cannot express what I feel regarding them.” North had done a patent search and found that “the switch” had been patented by Charles Batchelor of N.Y. on Apr. 15 1890. “I am having the telegraph machine put up and will have it in operation if possible” [MTP].
June 4 Wednesday – Howard P. Taylor wrote to Sam that he’d seen A.P. Burbank this day “and he informed me you were to leave for Europe shortly.” How could he submit terms to Sam that he might make for the production of CY? [MTP].
June 5 Thursday
June 6 Friday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam and enclosed a $4,000 promissory note “which was paid the other day.” A Mr. H.A. D’Arcy was “very much exercised” when told he couldn’t get the plates for P&P to use in the Tommy Russell Prince & Pauper Company. Hall would consult Whitford [MTP]. Note: D’Arcy wrote to Sam on June 11.
June 7 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam of his need soon to go to Chicago and Minneapolis to organize and get things started in those agent offices. Nobody understood the LAL installment plans except Thomas M. Williams, who was managing it from N.Y. Sam wrote “Important” on the envelope [MTP].
June 8 Sunday – Clara Clemens’ sixteenth birthday.
June 9 Monday – Robert J. Burdette wrote to Sam, informing him that Susan Coolidge (Sarah Chauncey Woolsey 1835-1905) was the “fellow who wrote ‘Forget what did’” [MTP]. See Apr. 14.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $16.95 for May 2, 3, 16, 30: meal, bran, etc.; Paid June 23 [MTP].
June 10 Tuesday – Jane Clemens wrote a short paragraph of delusion to her long-dead parents; Orion Clemens added to it a letter to Sam finished June 15 [MTP].
Richard W. Gilder for Century Magazine wrote to Sam:
I don’t know why you should say that the paragraph you send me has a “doubtful look.” If matrimony is a good thing the more of it the better. To be sure I never heard of the young lady whom, according to the papers, I am to marry in June, but probably this proves that the match was truly made in heaven [MTP].
Robert Underwood Johnson for American Copyright League wrote to Sam that “things look bright at Washington” for the copyright legislation [MTP].
June 11 Wednesday – Sam referred to this as “that first day” in New York (by calculation from his June 14 to Livy). In that letter Sam talked of being with Joe Goodman in New York. He also wrote about the stay there:
In New York Joe & I went to a ten-cent dive where we saw a variety performance which Jean ought to have shared with us. It lasted 2 hours: there was Punch & Judy; & a very small dwarf; & some Zulus in native lack of costume (from Baxter street, I reckon); & a girl who had 25 alligators & crocodiles for pets, & they crawled all over her; & a sweet little girl of ten years who played delightfully on the harmonicon; also on a row of common bottles; on a concertina; on a violin; on a curious & rich-noted little instrument like a mussel (shell); on a cornet; & a banjo. Very wonderful. And there was a Jap juggler who did the most extraordinary things I ever saw [MTP].
Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished June 12, “delighted” that the machine “works splendidly.” When Ma was asked Sam’s question: was she still regularly attending church twice a day, and prayer meetings? “She answered, ‘Does he want me to go regularly? He had better come and go with me.’” … “The doctor comes daily. Every other day he applies the battery. The last time she could not feel it in her feet….Yesterday she thought Pa had just died” [MTP].
H.A. D’Arcy wrote to ask Sam “to reconsider” his objection to using “a few of the cuts from” P&P for the “coming tour of Tommy Russell” Co. (encl. in Whitford’s June 25) [MTP]. See June 6.
June 12 Thursday – Sam and Joe Goodman were still in New York; Sam wrote Livy on June 14 that “there was nothing to write” this day.
Mackenzie Bell of London, England wrote to Sam requesting biographical information. Whitmore would answer for Sam on June 25 [MTP].
Orion Clemens finished his June 11 to Sam. See entry.
William Mackay Laffan wrote a short note to Sam: “Handed that memorandum to Fairchild, and I have little doubt that it is destroyed; but I will ask him for it” [MTP]. Note: likely about the typesetter and Fairchild’s recent visit to Hartford to inspect it.
Edgar W. (Bill) Nye wrote from Tompkinsville, N.Y. (“quite cool and comfortable over here on Staten Island”) to Sam: “Has the great Joseph [Goodman] came yet?” Nye wanted to get together with Sam and Goodman when Sam was agreeable [MTP].
June 13 Friday – In the afternoon, Sam and Joe Goodman took the six-hour train trip to Washington, D.C., arriving at night. The pair ate “an enormous supper & went right to bed & to sleep.” Sam wrote to Livy the next day about the trip:
We had a delightful journey down. The water & the woods & the grass employed the eye untiringly for 6 hours, the general smoking car was cool & comfortable, the train was swift & the movement exhilarating, & I didn’t read a line on the way. Once we cut a horse in two, slightly injured the driver’s arm, & whirled the carriage entirely around without damaging it in the least. When we got to the next station, men appeared with stretchers, ready to be conveyed back, with physicians to care to the wounded — for the telephone had been at work [MTP].
Alexander Badlam wrote to Sam on advertising stationery for his book, The Wonders of Alaska. “I send you to-day by mail a copy of my first effort in book making on what I know about Alaska” [MTP]. Note: Badlam’s inscription: Samuel L. Clemens, Esq., / Complements of/ Alex [Gribben 38]
June 14 Saturday – In Washington Sam wrote Livy about the stay in New York with Joe Goodman, the trip down the day before; Joe “has gone to call at Senator Jones’s & make a business appointment” [LLMT 256-7].
James B. Pond wrote from Liverpool, England to Sam:
You have doubtless seen by the papers that I have engaged Stanley, & will begin in N.Y. about Nov. 11, and Boston to follow. Don’t you want to bring Mrs. Clemens to Boston & meet the charming Mrs. Stanley (to be) & introduce Stanley again? [MTP].
June 15 Sunday – H.E. Harrington for Mutual Life Ins., N.Y. wrote an estimate to Sam for an “investment policy” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote below Ma’s June 10 delusional paragraph to her parents:
Ma wrote this on the 10th. She was excited, nearly crying with joy once the expected reunion of the family. / She is very weak, this afternoon, drooping to the left, and staggering [MTP].
June 16 Monday – Orion Clemens finished the June 15 letter:
When I offered to bring Ma down to breakfast this morning she found herself too weak on the left side, and liable to fall. She said she had not use of her left side, from her hip down [MTP].
Frank B. Earnest for Atlee & Earnest, attorneys in Laredo, Texas wrote to Sam wishing to sell his “now very rare” copy of “Mark Twain’s Autobiography and First Romance.” Earnest wrote: “In 1879 I was engaged in editing the ‘Daily Tribune’ at Knoxville, Tennessee” and told of getting a signed photo of Mark Twain after publishing “some very pleasant thing” about him [MTP]. See Dec. 18, 1879 entry.
June 17 Tuesday
June 18 Wednesday – ‡ See addenda
June 19 Thursday – Robinson for Collier’s Once a Week (“Fiction Fact Sensation Wit Humor News”) wrote to Sam asking to reprint the “proposal” from GA [MTP].
June 20 Friday – William J. Hamersley wrote to Sam about a “personal loan” he’d made to Sam and a note from Whitmore regarding it. Hamersley was relying on Sam’s “promise to take care of it sometime next month.” No amount is mentioned but on Apr. 3 Hamersley sent Sam $2,500 [MTP].
June 21 Saturday ‡ – See Addenda: Sam and Joe Goodman returned from Washington by this day.
June 22 Sunday – Joseph T. Goodman wrote from the Hoffman House, N.Y. to Sam: “Mrs. Goodman concluded to come over to the city and stay for a week or so — or until we knew if Jones is disposed to do anything about the machine. Her health is very poor.” Sam wouldn’t hear from Joe again unless he had something to say about Senator John P. Jones or John W. Mackay, the two big fish they angled for [MTP].
June 23 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Joe Goodman, once again singing the praises of the Paige typesetter. Sam mentioned the “Silver Bill” which was before Congress and tied up Senator John P. Jones from returning for a final successful exhibition of the machine. Fred Whitmore (Franklin’s son) was now turning out about 6,200 ems per hour on the machine. Sam’s spirits were high, and his faith sure:
I am one of the wealthiest grandees in America — one of the Vanderbilt gang, in fact — & yet if you asked me to lend you a couple of dollars I should have to ask you to take my note instead [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Mrs. Joseph T. Goodman at the Hoffman House. This letter not extant but referred to in Kinney’s July 9 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to a Miss Duvall at Smith College, letter not extant but referenced in Kinney’s June 30.
June 24 Tuesday – In Hartford George Warner wrote, “Susy Clemens is in and happy, the dear girl,” referring to her acceptance at Bryn Mawr College [Salsbury 277].
Sam wrote to William Thomas Stead.
May I wish you every success with your “Review of Reviews” which I think will fulfill a long felt want both in England and in America [MTP].
Joseph B. & Jeanette Gilder for The Critic wrote to ask Sam to vote from a list for the magazine’s “Forty Immortals.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Brer, please ask her to send me the ‘list’ referred to SLC” [MTP].
Louis Reeves Harrison wrote from N.Y. on Fellowcraft Club stationery to ask Sam to contribute a chapter to a composite novel, “The idea originated with Mr. R.D. Blumenfeld, Editor of the Evening Telegram.” On the envelope Sam directed Whitmore to decline [MTP].
‡ See addenda
June 25 Wednesday – New York Times, June 25, 1890, p.6 “Help Wanted – Males”
COLLEGE STUDENTS, TEACHERS, AGENTS
And all who desire work for the Summer months wanted to secure orders for “The Great War Library” in ten volumes, embracing the works of Gens. Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, McClellan, Crawford, Hancock, and Custer; sold on easy monthly payments. We will pay you at the rate of $60 weekly for one order per day. For agencies and further particulars call on or address Charles L. Webster & Co., 3 East 14th St., New York.
Through Franklin G. Whitmore, Sam answered Mackenzie Bell’s June 12 request for biographical information. Sam responded that nothing more could be added to Routledge’s Men of the Time article [MTP]. Note: Bell (1856-1930) published numerous books, articles and poems. Seven linear feet of his papers reside at UCLA.
Sam also responded to Charles Fairbanks, son of Mary Mason Fairbanks about a newspaper article that upset Mary.
Tell her she mustn’t bother with such things; they are not worth it. It is my inflexible rule to be satisfied & content with anything & everything a newspaper may say about me so long as it confines itself to statements that are not true. I have never seen an opinion of me in print which was as low down as my private opinion of myself. Of course that is something of an exaggeration, but there is a great big element of fact in it, nevertheless [MTMF 265].
June 26 Thursday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
Your favor received. I returned to the office only this morning. I will have Mr. Brokaw make up a statement of what is due you at once…./ With reference to what we can pay you in July: I do not see how we can pay you anything now. As you know, the money we have made off our other books has been absorbed by the “Library.” [Hall estimated $70,000 in capital had been “absorbed” by the LAL since they began it] [MTP].
June 27 Friday – Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished June 28. He thanked him for the monthly $200 check. “Ma is doing very well. Tells fabulous stories, and is restless and is uncertain in her walk, on account of the weakness in her left side…” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall, concerned with how he might squeeze cash from the company to meet Sam’s needs, wrote then sent a telegram, which read: “Await letter just mailed before answering mine yesterday regarding royalties” [MTP]. Hall’s letter reveals much of the inner workings and strategies of the company, at a time when installment sales and a waning subscription market made for cash flow problems:
I have just thought of a plan that will perhaps enable me to do very much better than I mentioned in my letter to you yesterday.
The $3500 which Gill owes us is for a job lot of books — some Grant, some Sheridan, and, principally, Huck Finn and Prince & Pauper. When he buys in large lots this way we always have to give him time and accept his notes in payment, but he has plenty of money and is very often willing to discount his bills at 2 ½ %. I will write him to-day asking him if it would be convenient for him to give us cash…if he will do so we will give him a 2 ½ % discount. If he does this I shall be able to turn over twelve or fifteen hundred dollars to you at once — may, possibly, be able to get it to you by the first of July, but, of course, I cannot promise this absolutely by that time, as I do not know how Gill will be situated. Peale owes us some six or seven hundred dollars and I have written him stirring him up.
If $500 will be of any help to you, I can promise that absolutely by the first of July no matter whether we hear from Gill and Peale or not.
I have been thinking about the matter constantly since I received your letter [recent one not extant], and I can assure you that I appreciate the injustice of taking money due you as author and putting it into the manufacture of other people’s books. I do not see how it could be helped under the circumstances. Mr. Brokaw is now at work on your statement and I shall make it a point right along to send you every cent of money we can possibly spare until our indebtedness to you as author is wiped out. The mere fact that you are a member of the firm is no reason why you should wait for your royalties any more than Mr. Stedman, Mrs. Sheridan, or anyone else. I appreciate this fact thoroughly [MTP].
Note: Hall also discussed his recent trip to Minneapolis, helping Mr. Perry there straighten up his books; and, the delays involved in Vol. XI of LAL, with changes to the index being very complicated and expensive; he mentioned a bill to J.J. Little & Co., printers would come to about 1,500 or 1,600 dollars; Stedman’s delay had forced the publication to June, “the dullest time of the year.” Hall added a handwritten PS that he “ought to be able to send…$2000.00 or $2500.00 by Aug.1st.”
June 28 Saturday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, enclosing a June 27 letter by Edmund C. Stedman protesting Webster & Co.’s use of the phrase “Great War Library” in connection with the Civil War generals’ memoirs. Hall wrote:
Mr. Stedman evidently thinks that because he used the word “library” on the “Library of American Literature” that that word was thereafter to be stricken from the English language. He also seems to think that because we publish a book of his compilation that it gives him the right to interfere in our business generally, which, in my opinion, is a piece of unmitigated impudence [MTLTP 261n2]. Note: Sam’s answer, see June 30 entry.
Orion Clemens finished his June 27: Ma wanted to see Sam. The weather was hot, 97 degrees. [MTP].
June 29 Sunday
June 30 Monday – Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall, responding to Edmund C. Stedman’s “piece of unmitigated impudence.”
The letter accounts for Arthur Stedman [son of Edmund, working at Webster & Co.]: idiotcy runs in the family.
It requires no notice of any kind. Treat it with contemptuous silence — that and all similar letters from that pair of quite too wonderful people [MTLTP 261].
John C. Kinney for Hartford Post Office wrote to Sam about a letter from Sam to Miss Duvall at Smith College mailed on June 23 and reported missing; a note from Arthur Water for the Northampton Post Office to Kinney of this same date says the lost letter was found on June 27 [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Dan Beard says that he wants to make whatever drawings are made for the posters in advertising the ” CY “play, and also the drawings of costumes, as he has made a study of that subject. I told him I didn’t know who had charge of the matter but I would mention it to you.” Hall also mentioned a book proposed, Justice and Jurisprudence, An Inquiry Concerning the Constitutional Limitations of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendment. but did not mention the author, only that he “bore wonderful commendatory epistles from men like Carnegie, President Harrison, Associate Justice Waite, etc.” Hall didn’t think there was any money in the book [MTP]. Note: the book was by “The Brotherhood of Liberty” and published by J.B. Lippincott in 1889.
July – Webster & Co. Sent Sam a “Books sent out during June, 1890” report totaling 3,990 books with 1,236 CY’s [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a June incoming entry.
July 1 Tuesday – Frank E. Bliss of American Publishing Co. wrote to Sam enclosing a check for $263.29 to settle all royalties from sales of his books to this date. [MTP].
John M. Knight for Manning Collegiate Institute wrote to thank Sam for gift copies of CY and HF for their library [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Sam: “Your kind letter is received. Many thanks. I know you will live until Nov. 18th & go to Boston with our crowd. I have sent your letter to Stanley. I know he will appreciate it” [MTP].
Webster & Co. sent Sam a statement of account for CY to July 1 showing a gross profit of $12,097.98 (encl. in Hall Aug. 8, 1889); this statement covers 12 legal-sized ledger pages [MTP].
Dr. Clarence C. Rice receipted $78 for “Mrs Clemens & Miss Susie; Jany, Feby & June 90”.
Hansel, Sloan & Company, successors to D.H. Buell, fine jewelry, Hartford, billed $8.55 for purchases & repairs for: Jan 14, Mch 18, apr 11, May 1, 9, 28, June 14, 18, 28; Paid July 16.
Wm. G. Simmons & Co, Fine Boots, Shoes & Rubbers, Hartford billed $23.85 for purchases & repairs from Apr 21, 26, 28 30, May 14, 20, 28, June 10, 23, 26, 30; Paid July 16 [all MTP].
July 1-2 Wednesday – Instead of a summer trip to Europe, the Clemens family opted to take Candace Wheeler up on her many past invitations to revisit her Catskills retreat at the Onteora Club near Tannersville, New York. They arrived sometime before the holiday (July 1-2; Hall had found they’d left the hotel by July 2) and would stay till mid-September, though Sam would make trips to Washington and New York on business. Brander Matthews called the park there a “newly founded settlement of artists with pen and pencil” [Salsbury 278]. Candace Wheeler wrote about the retreat and the Clemens’ summer there:
It was generally our particular friends who came in to stay for longer or shorter periods at the Inn — those who had visited us in our cabin and eaten our roasted corn between rocks, or sat in the moonlight on my brother’s broad piazza, listening to wonderful music played upon the piano which toiling oxen had brought along the steep zigzag heights of the old Catskill road. Friends who had spent the days with us in the open, playing with our tamed fox cubs or climbing mountains by day and sleeping away at night the tire of tramping days in our little bedrooms.
The Clemenses…came to the Inn for the season — the father and mother, and Clara, Susy, and “Little Jean.” They took “Balsam,” a bit of cottage across the road from the Inn, and it became a sort of jewel-box for the summer — a thing that held values untold .
Robert Underwood Johnson remembered Onteora’s cabins:
At first the houses were chiefly log cabins and an inn built for warm weather. Of the latter Mark said that “the partitions were so thin that one could hear a lady in the next room changing her mind”; but later the construction was more substantial [Remembered Yesterdays 324].
Paine writes of the week:
The Clemenses secured a cottage for the season. Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge, Laurence Hutton, Carroll Beckwith, the painter; Brander Matthews, Dr. Heber Newton, Mrs. Custer, and Dora Wheeler were among those who welcomed Mark Twain and his family at a generous home-made banquet.
It was the beginning of a happy summer. There was a constant visiting from one cottage to another, with frequent assemblings at the Bear and Fox Inn, their general headquarters. There were pantomimes and charades, in which Mark Twain and his daughters always had star parts. Susy Clemens, who was now eighteen, brilliant and charming, was beginning to rival her father as a leader of entertainment. Her sister Clara gave impersonations of Modjeska and Ada Rehan. … Matthews also remembers Jean, as a little girl of ten, allowed to ride a pony and to go barefoot, to her great delight, full of health and happiness, a favorite of the colony [MTB 900]. (Editorial emphasis.)
Note: Paine also gives an account of Brander Matthews teaching Sam piquet, a card game in vogue, and of Sam sitting for his portrait smoking a corncob pipe. Carroll Beckwith was the artist [900-1]. Several photographs were taken of Sam and some of the guests during this retreat. They also met Miss Jessie Pinney (later Baldwin) in Onteora who agreed to give Clara piano lessons twice a month in New York [MTNJ 3: 580n27].
July 1 Tuesday ca. – In Onteora Park, near Tannersville, New York shortly after this date, Sam wrote a long letter to the editor of Free Russia who had recently invited Sam to say something on the objects of several Russian liberation groups.
When one reads that paragraph [sent] in the glare of George Kennan’s revelations, & considers how much it means; considers that all earthly figures fail to typify the Czar’s government, & that one must descend into hell to find its counterpart, one turns hopefully to your statement of the objects of the several liberation-parties — & is disappointed. Apparently none of them can bear to think of losing the present hell entirely, they merely want the temperature cooled down a little.
I now perceive why all men are the deadly & uncompromising enemies of the rattlesnake: it is merely because the rattlesnake has not speech. Monarchy has speech, & by it has been able to persuade men that it differs somehow from the rattlesnake, has something valuable about it somewhere, something worth preserving, something even good & high & fine, when properly “modified,” something entitling it to protection from the club of the first comer who catches it out of its hole. It seems a most strange delusion & not reconcilable with out superstition that man is a reasoning being. …
If I am a Swinburnian — & clear to the marrow I am — I hold human nature in sufficient honor to believe there are eighty million mute Russians that are of the same stripe, & only one Russian family that isn’t [MTP].
July 2 Wednesday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam in Hartford, presuming “you will not want to be bothered with business matters while in the Catskills.” Hall had received Sam’s two letters (one identified by Hall’s reference as Sam’s June 30) and would do as he suggested on “the Stedman matter” (Stedman objected to the firm’s use of the word “Library” in selling their “Great War Library” books — see June 30 from SLC to Hall). As for money Sam needed, Hall could send $500 “any time you want it” and hoped “to follow it very soon by another and larger remittance”. Hall’s handwritten PS noted he’d called at the hotel at about 10.30 but “the boy said he could find no trace of you” [MTP]. Note: this last indicates the family had left for Onteora.
C.O. Fosgate wrote from Boston to Sam, a follow up letter asking about Robert M. Howland. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Tell him I am absent & left no address? SLC” [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d just received a note from Charles Ethan Davis that “Paige was going on with the work as he had understood it with Mr. Clemens”[MTP].
July 3 Thursday – Louise A. Howland wrote with mourning border stationery to thank Sam for his kindness in sending “such sympathizing words” on the death of her husband Robert M. Howland. Sam wrote “No answer required” on the envelope [MTP].
J. Langdon & Co. per C.L. Stillman wrote Sam that a draft for $3,000 had been sent to the US Bank, Hartford, “same to apply on note of Mrs. Clemens” [MTP].
P.D. Ryan, Hartford Merchant Tailor, receipted $6 for Feb 19, May 31, June 10 — all for repair clothing [MTP].
July 4 Friday – At Onteora, Sam performed the function of starter for “burlesque races.” In the evening by the fireside he charmed the company with his old story, “Golden Arm” [Powers, MT A Life 532]. Robert Underwood Johnson in his 1923 memoir, Remembered Yesterdays:
Mark was the centre of attraction for the Onteora colony and for none more than the children, between whom and him there was an ideal relation of mutual devotion .
July 5 Saturday – In Onteora Park, near Tannersville, New York, Sam wrote a poem and a sketch of two men passing each other, one with a halo and the other holding a fan, titled, “The Last Meeting, & Final Parting” in honor of Laurence Hutton, who was also visiting Onteora Club at the time.
When I meet you I shall know you,
By your halo I shall know you —
Thus shall know you, blameless man;
And you’ll know me also, Larry,
When we meet but may not tarry —
Yes, alas, alas, you’ll know me by my fan [MTP].
Note: this may be the date the famous photograph was made of Sam, the red-haired, big mustachioed Hutton, and James M. Dodge (“Jamie”) sitting on the stoop of a cabin at Onteora, all holding the same type of straw hat (See Lawton after p.254). Dodge was the son of Mary Mapes Dodge (see Nov. 19, 1880), one of the first to build at Onteora. James was an inventor and mechanical engineer, known as a raconteur. Sam called him “the greatest story-teller in America” [MTNJ 3: 582n34].
July 6 Sunday – In Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, stressing he wanted Edward M. (Ned) Bunce to see the Paige typesetter.
And be sure you either take Batterson to see it, or have Bunce do it. / I am waiting for news from Goodman [MTP]. Note: James G. Batterson, president of Travelers Insurance; Joe Goodman was in Washington, D.C..
Thomas Fitch in Reno, Nevada sent Sam a clipping (newspaper unspecified) of his July 4th Oratory; no letter was enclosed or is extant [MTP].
July 7 Monday – Joseph B. Gilder for The Critic wrote to follow up on the list of persons Sam was asked to vote for, their “Forty Immortals” [MTP].
July 8 Tuesday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d arranged for James G. Batterson, president of Travelers Insurance Co. and also head of New England Granite Works, to see the Paige typesetter [MTNJ 3: 561n250]. Note: Sam felt if Batterson or some other wealthy investor put in a substantial sum, that Senator John P. Jones would then be more likely to invest. See Sept. 24 entry.
July 9 Wednesday – In Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore about a supposed gift by Connor of a new font for the Paige typesetter. Sam was concerned the gift aspect might have been forgotten and a bill would be presented [MTP]. Note: Connor is not further identified.
Hartford Post Office per John C. Kinney notified Sam that his June 23 to Mrs. Joseph T. Goodman, Hoffman House, N.Y. had been sent to the dead letter office [MTP]. The Goodmans may not have arrived in New York by this time; Joe would write from N.Y. to Sam on July 18.
July 10 Thursday – In Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. The text is lost [MTP].
July 11 Friday – In Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to William J. Hamersley, who Sam said had not lived up to advancing one-fifth of monies needed to continue work on the Paige typesetter. He calculated Hamersley was thus in debt to him of about $30,000. Continuing on, Sam felt:
I cannot carry the whole burden of expense any longer, but must look to you for a fifth of it henceforth. I make this mention at the time because another heavy bill from Pratt & Whitney will soon be due & I wish to look to you for your proper share of it [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote to Sam from a New York City address. He’d met with John W. Mackay (Mackey) the Comstock Lode silver baron and had no luck. Mackay was wary of the large amount of capital required to manufacture the Paige typesetter. Goodman blamed Mackay’s “querulous mood,” and “fatal delays” for having “sicklied over the bloom of original enthusiasm.” Joe was not discouraged, however. He liked a challenge:
Come down to the city, and let’s get our war paint on. I am never at my best until the situation is desperate [MTNJ 3: 562n253].
July 12 Saturday – In Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. The letter is lost [MTP]. Receiving Joe Goodman’s challenge of July 11, Sam left for New York City. He checked into the Hoffman House [MTNJ 3: 562n253].
William O. McDowell wrote to Sam for permission “to quote, in a pamphlet….excerpts from the pages on ‘Freemen’” in CY, and asked Sam to send an answer to an “enclosed letter suggesting a Pan Republic Congress.” Sam wrote on the bottom of the letter, “Brer, tell him to make the extracts — & say I am not feeling well enough to write” [MTP].
July 13 Sunday – In New York at the Hoffman House, Sam wrote to John Russell Young of the N.Y. Herald soliciting him to “go up to Hartford” with him “& look at the machine.”
Tomorrow? Next day? Or Wednesday? We can leave here at 9 a.m., you know, & you can be back in New York at 6.30 pm if you are limited as to time. / Drop me a line to the Hoffman [MTP].
John Russell Young for N.Y. Herald wrote to thank Sam for his invitation to come view the typesetter in Hartford; he hoped to run up next week or the week after:
I forgot to tell you last evening, that I saw Stanley in Cairo, and the other day in London. He charged me with special messages to you, and yours, of good will and friendship — I never saw him look better than he does now, in the twenty three years of our friendship [MTP].
July 14 Monday – In New York City at the Hoffman House, Sam wrote again to John Russell Young who turned Sam down to go to Hartford and view the Paige typesetter. Sam felt he might not be back in the City for another month. Aside from lobbying support for the Paige, Sam reviewed rehearsals of Howard P. Taylor’s dramatization of CY.
Reconsider! Can’t you strain a point & make it this coming Saturday, or some other day this week? [MTP]
John R. Young for N.Y. Herald wrote to Sam: “I will arrange or try at least to get to Hartford on Friday evening with Charles Jewell [sp?]. This would allow me to see the machine, and return on Saturday.” (encl. in Goodman July 18) [MTP].
July 15 Tuesday – Sam may have gone to Hartford with Frank Fuller, as per Livy’s July 16 letter.
William J. Hamersley wrote to Sam about the “Personal loan” of $2,500 due on July 1 and still unpaid. The letter is smeared and partly illegible [MTP]. Note: see July 11 with Sam’s counterclaim of Hamersley owing about $30,000 on the Paige typesetter, which likely explains this unpaid “loan.”
Howard P. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam that he had “put the finishing touches” on the CY play and now he had to get a manager “to father it.” He reported he’d “departed greatly from the book but retained a number of your effects.” When and where could he read it to Sam? [MTP].
Connecticut Trust and Safe Deposit Co. receipted $10 For storage & safekeeping of tin Box; expires July 17, 1891 [MTP].
July, mid – Webster & Co., issued the eleventh and last volume of the series Library of American Literature [MTNJ 3: 614n145].
July 16 Wednesday – Unable to interest John Russell Young in a quick trip to Hartford, Sam may have been on his way back to Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y. and his family — MTNJ 3: 562n253 states he “did not return to Onteora until 30 July.” The following letter from Livy shows he was not yet back at Onteora, and that he planned to go to Hartford with Frank Fuller. Sam’s letter referred to is not extant, but it was likely written on July 14 or 15:
Your letter has come saying that you & Mr. Fuller go to Hartford the next day. Am sorry that I did not send your yesterday’s letter there because I am afraid you will not get it. I thought you would telegraph me when you expected to go there, so that I could know where to write you. Has Mr. Fuller any idea of helping you with the machine? Do write me more particulars. Do you think that by any possibility Saturday can bring you here? I do hope so, we so long to see you and yet I hardly expect it and of course do not desire it unless it is best all around.
Mr. Mathews has sent you a large book of 484 pages on tennis. I suppose he thought you did so well with the work on piquet that he would give you another to master. Write me just how you are feeling, so that I may know too how to feel. We are all well and getting on very nicely, but we shall be mighty glad to get you back. Have you any plans about when you can come?
I enclose a line to Katy will you please give it to her? If you are feeling a little bit of a let up in your poverty I wish you would get yourself a half dress suit, you need one so much & your old one is not good fitting. If you could have one that was not so heavy it would be better.
I love you my own darling pet and now I must go to luncheon with the chicks.
Yours Always With Deepest Love, Livy L. C. [The Twainian 35.6 (Nov.-Dec. 1976), p.1]
Note: The book: John Moyer Heathcote’s Tennis (1890). Alternate title, Tennis, Lawn Tennis, Rackets, Fives.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that CY had sold only 23,000 copies in seven months, which was far below Sam’s “traditional” minimum of 40,000. Further, increased transportation efficiency in the US was contributing to the phasing out of subscription sales in favor of sales in the trade. (See Hall to Sam Nov. 29.)
July 17 Thursday
July 17-19 Saturday – Sam left the family again and traveled to New York, then on to Hartford, where he wrote to daughter Clara on July 20.
July 18 Friday – Joe Goodman wrote from the Hoffman House, N.Y. to Sam (Young July 14 encl.) that owing to the heat he didn’t go down town until 4 p.m. and found a letter for Sam there from John Russell Young. “I still expect Jones to-night. If he does not put in an appearance by morning, I shall to go Washington to-morrow” [MTP].
Howard P. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam that he’d received Whitmore’s note the day before and would run to Hartford the next day, Saturday morning. “So be prepared to be bored for a couple of hours” [MTP]. Note: Taylor wanted to read Sam the CY play he’d written.
Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam suggesting they get “out a cheap edition of your books, Mrs. Custer’s book, and any other of our books it might pay to get out in paper form at fifty cents.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “A good idea. Tell him to exploit it, Brer / SLC” [MTP].
July 19 Saturday ca. (before) – In Onteora Park, N.Y., Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
Yours received. Many thanks. I am daily expecting to leave for Hartford. Please send the following cablegram by United Lines…[MTP]. Note: the cable shows below.
Franklin G. Whitmore then wrote a cable for Sam to Joseph N. Verey (sometimes spelled Very), the Clemens past courier in Europe, whom Sam hoped might be of service to Charles Langdon and family.
Clemens gave you up & made other arrangements. Whitmore [MTP].
Sam wrote to Mr. D. C. Lyle of Baltimore Co. Maryland, evidently on the postcard sent for him to use, giving the London address for Chatto & Windus. Lyle had asked about the publication which had included the Twain genealogy: “It is long ago out of print on this side, & the plates broken up. / SLC” [MTP]. See Aug. 11entry.
July 19 Saturday – Sam, John Russell Young, and Howard P. Taylor all arrived in Hartford, though it’s not clear whether any of the men traveled together. Taylor came to read his dramatization of CY for Sam and get some feedback. Young came to see the Paige typesetter, which he did this day. He was instrumental in persuading John P. Jones and John W. Mackay to make the trip to Hartford on July 23 [MTNJ 3: 567n264].
Joe Goodman wrote from the Hoffman House, N.Y. to Sam. Jones arrived the night before but was “on the jump” with business; Joe had:
…an extended talk with him late this afternoon…He promised to go to Hartford Monday, or if not Monday he will then be able to name a definite hour, as he has to transact some business affairs with Mackay and others that day. I will telegraph you when I know [MTP].
Jacob Fromer, dealer in Dry Goods, Groceries, Tannersville, N.Y. sent a statement and bill to Sam totaling $11.58 and marked paid July 22. The statement listed the following items:
July 8: brooms, dust pan, whisk brook, mop, toilet paper, crackers, box ink, ink stand, 1 gal. Oil, oil can, 1 feather duster, jug for flowers; July 12: mop, lantern, 6 wax candles, 1 gal oil; July 15: 1 box ink 1 bot shoe polish; July 16: Borax, 1 Bot Ink, 1 ice pick; July 18: 1 pr shoes 1.50, 1 pr shoes 1.00, 48 pc. Cotton 20 ½ yd velvet, whale bone, tea pot, 1 hat, 1 pr scissors, 2 dishes, 1 teapot 1 tea kettle, 2 jars [MTP].
M. Clabaugh, attorney in Meade, Kansas wrote to Sam enclosing the obituary of William G. Hawkins, for many years a clerk on steamboats in the St. Louis and New Orleans trade. “Sometime before his death he was in my office and seeing a copy of your ‘Life on the Mississippi’ he borrowed and read the same. He also wrote a list of pilots a copy of which I enclose.” [MTP]. Note: this is a long list of old time pilots, including Sam, Horace Bixby, the Ealers, and many others.
July 20 Sunday – Howard P. Taylor, came to Hartford to read a draft of the CY play. Sam wrote to daughter Clara Clemens in Onteora, N.Y. of his opinions:
Clara dear, I hope your piano has arrived as you hoped, & that you are satisfied with it & having a good time — a better time than I have been having today. It’s a secret that isn’t to be breathed outside the family — the new play, the Yankee in Arthur’s Court, has bored the very soul out of me. Four level hours I listened, today, in misery. Taylor has made a rattling, stirring, & spectacular, & perhaps talking play, & has shown dramatic talent & training; but his handling of archaic English is as ignorant & dreadful as poor Mrs. Richardson’s; & he has captured but one side of the Yankee’s character — his rude animal side, his circus side; the good heart & the high intent are left out of him; he is a mere boisterous clown, & oozes slang from every pore [LLMT 257]. Note: though Taylor revised the play and shopped it to several N.Y. producers, he was unsuccessful (see MTNJ 3: 562n254).
While Sam was working business in New York and Hartford, William Dean Howells stopped off at Onteora. Sam wrote he wasn’t sure when he would return but, “Don’t let Mr. Howells get away before I come…Why the nation didn’t he come sooner!” Sam would miss Howells’ visit.
Sam also wrote a sweet letter to his daughter Jean, about the horses, including one named “Max Clemens” who was “under medical treatment for the scarlet fever or whatever …”
Your new kitten is out on vacation, too, up the Avenue about 300 yards beyond the bridge. A little girl had it in her lap, petting it, sitting on the grass in a yard, & I recognized it & said I believed it was our cat. She said she believed it was. She said, “It came here last night; & once before one of your cats came here & I carried it back home again.” I said I would write Jean that her kitten was in good hands. I thought I would let it stay there & board till we come home from summering, because otherwise it will wander to some other house where we can’t find it again. You see, it has a way of following people off, because it is of a sociable turn & can’t get along without society & culture.
Ino is here, & not trying to do anything useful; & today I saw him breaking the Sabbath. If he does it again I will drown him [MTP].
July 21 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Livy and Clara Clemens in Onteora, N.Y.
Keep up your spirits if your unfortunate eyes will let you, my darling; & be sure I shall not remain away from you one unnecessary hour. …
Clara dear, I have found the Beethoven & the Chopin — found them instantly, because I went straight to the place where you said they were not, & there they were, sure enough. I will send them by express — doubtless tomorrow [MTP].
John Russell Young wrote to Sam:
I came duly and saw Mackay and Senator Jones. They are both going up on Wednesday I am sorry that I went on Saturday, as I could then have gone with them. We would have painted the town a delicate carmine [MTP].
July 22 Tuesday – John R. Young wrote again to Sam.
Mackay and Jones go up tomorrow at nine to return at 2.20. you should keep them until 7 and show them the [illegible word] Asylum, the Hubbard Monument, the grave yards, Charter Oak…and the other institutions of your pleasing town. –I am sorry I did not wait and go with them [MTP].
July 23 Wednesday – Senator John P. Jones and John W. Mackay, after months of delay, and at the urging of John Russell Young, finally came to Hartford and inspected the Paige typesetter. This time there was no blowup, the machine worked flawlessly. The pair then returned to New York where they made a limited commitment to Joe Goodman, outlined in his July 26 letter to Sam.
Howard P. Taylor wrote to Sam of his revised dramatization of CY. His manuscript was “pretty well marked up,” and he thought four copies should be made.
Have you not type-writers in your publishing house here who could do the work [?] On the outside it would cost perhaps $30 or $40, and just at present I don’t feel as though I could stand it all myself [MTNJ 3: 564n258].
July 24 Thursday – Back in New York City Sam sent a telegram to Franklin G. Whitmore, about moving the Paige typesetter. Now that the machine was “finished,” they were required to move it from Pratt & Whitney’s workshop (see July 29 to Goodman).
Have it moved to union place at once I shall be up in a day or two [MTP]. Note: The move was to 42 Union Place, Hartford, Paige’s workshop [MTNJ 3: 566n263].
July 25 Friday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote Sam that he was forwarding 50 blank royalties as requested. Royalties were payments to be made upon each machine’s sale, and therefore were in a superior position to stock. These were a form of investment in the Paige typesetter [MTNJ 3: 565n260].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that they’d been delayed on getting accounting for HF and LM and P&P sales because they had to go back to the old ledgers for these since there had been no separate accounting done since Dec. 31, 1885 [MTP]. Note: evidently these was requested by Sam.
July 26 Saturday – Jean Clemens’ tenth birthday.
Joe Goodman reported the less than encouraging news to Sam that Mackay and Jones had offered only $5,000 each, plus they would each secure two other investors at that price, totaling $30,000. “My capitalist” as Sam had called Jones, did not want to undergo the large capitalization necessary for manufacture of the Paige machine. The cautious pair wanted instead to invest enough for a good field trial. Goodman was “a good deal disgusted with the cowardliness and stinginess of their course,” but Sam had little choice but to accept the modest offer. After all, Jones and Mackay had made their fortune, which they did not seem anxious to risk to make Sam one or themselves a larger one [MTP].
Mackenzie Bell wrote to Sam: “Many thanks for your kind letter in reply to my note of 12th June” [MTP]. Note: Bell had requested biographical information on Mark Twain.
July 27 Sunday
July 28 Monday – Sam traveled from Hartford to New York City where he checked into the Hoffman House and wrote Franklin G. Whitmore:
I tried to make myself plain, to-day, & doubtless I did. But to make sure, let me repeat: I want Mr. Davis [Paige’s assistant] to explain to all our force, without delay, that as we are going to do nothing whatever but set type henceforth till the company is formed, we shall need no one for some little time but our 4 operators — so we give them notice in order that they may be on the lookout during August to find employment.
Sam wanted the total monthly expenses limited to $600 or less starting in September. He felt the machine could still be marketed if he wasn’t hurt too much financially [MTP].
J.G. Kelley wrote from “The States,” Hartford to Sam, asking to take his hand for “Auld Lang Syne.” He was a captain in the Nevada infantry during the war and a pioneer of Carson City; he would be at the hotel for several days [MTP].
Webster & Co. Sent a daily report for this day included with others July 28-31 [MTP].
July 29 Tuesday – In New York City Sam wrote to Joe Goodman comparing the New York Tribune’s Mergenthaler, the Rogers, and the Thorne typesetters to that of the Paige — two to four thousand ems per hour compared to seven or eight. Things were coming to a head, what with competitors working in the field from New York to Chicago:
Now that our machine is finished, we are required to move out of the factory. So we are doing that, & shall move into the new place as soon as it is ready — say by the middle of August; if the delay is no greater we shall be setting type again in the first days of September. We shall run the machine 24 hours a day, there; during 60 consecutive days, & maybe longer. My idea is that by the first of December we shall be at work in a New York newspaper office, & prepared to prove to the satisfaction of everybody that no one can afford to take another machine as a gift if he can get ours for $12,000 [MTP]. Note: prospective prices of competitors were far less, from two to six thousand.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore approving a bank draft drawn on a Fresno, Calif. bank in the name of Joe Goodman, who he said would be there “about ten days from now.”
Honor the draft & keep the matter secret — make no reference to it in any piece of writing, directed to anybody. I’ll explain the reasons when I see you [MTP].
John W. Mackay, July 29/90, deposited $5,000 to my credit in above Bank [Nevada Bank of San Francisco]. When Co is formed, I shall give him its equivalent in stock.
Also, Jno. P. Jones deposited $5000 in above bank to my credit on the same terms [3: 565].
Note: before this entry Sam lined out as completed the task of putting 50 royalties in the Webster & Co. safe on this date.
July 30 Wednesday – Sam left New York for Onteora Park, Tannersville, N.Y. and the family [July 29 to Whitmore].
Charles Ethan Davis wrote to Sam that he’d discussed with Paige about the length of a N.Y. trial of the machine; they felt 10 hours a day would be preferable over 24 hours; Paige was laid up for a few days with “Cholera Morbus” [MTP]. Note: gastroenteritis.
Sam wrote to James W. Paige, letter not extant, but referred to in Paige’s Aug. 5 reply [MTP].
July 31 Thursday – In Onteora Park, Carroll Beckwith began painting Sam’s portrait [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
Webster & Co. sent Daily Report slips for the period July 28 to 31 [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore sent Sam a progress report on the typesetter, his talk with Charles Ethan Davis about it, and about laying off men who had been working on it [MTP].
August – Webster & Co. sent Sam a “Books sent out during July, 1890” report on the usual ledger page paper, with a total of 3,651 including 1,049 CY sales [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as a July incoming entry.
August 1 Friday – C.L. Stillman, Treasurer for J. Langdon & Co. wrote to Sam having sent a $3,000 draft to the US Bank, Hartford, “This amt. to apply on note of Mrs. Clemens” [MTP].
P.H. Smith, boarding, livery and sale stables, Hartford, receipted $7 for July 23 carriage [MTP].
Neil Stalker, Fine Road and Track Harness, Horse Clothing, etc., Hartford, receipted $10.35 for May 5, 12, 13, Jun 5 10, 19, July 1, 16 purchases, curry comb, repairs girth, saddle cloth, straps, harness, whips.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $9.25 for July 3, 14, 21, 26; meal, flour; Paid Aug. 7 [all MTP].
August 2 Saturday – D.B. Davidson, N.Y. agent for the Nevada Bank of San Francisco wrote to Sam that Sam’s “signature (specimens)” had been verified by the bank. This process related to Sam using the $10,000 credit drawn on this bank from John W. Mackay and John P. Jones [MTNJ 3: 565n259].
Thomas O. Enders for U.S. Bank notified Sam of the Aug. 1 draft for $3,000 received [MTP].
Webster & Co. sent Daily Report slips for Aug. 1 and 2 [MTP].
August 3 Sunday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote to Senator John P. Jones after reading one of his speeches in the newspaper. Since he perceived that Jones had “more than common appreciation of the force of statistics” and so asked Webster & Co. to send Jones the new edition of Rowell’s Newspaper Directory, listing 1,500 dailies and 12,000 other periodicals. This was all part of Sam’s campaign to get Jones excited about the market for the Paige typesetter. Sam added,
I think I could sell Arnot a privilege. He is worth $7,000,000 [MTP]. Note: Matthias H. Arnot had pledged $50,000 (see Aug. 9 to Arnot; Mar. 31-Apr. 2 entries)
Sam also wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Wood, evidently a photographer:
I and the inferior members of the Clemens family join in hearty thanks to you for your thoughtful kindness in giving us copies of the photographs which you made at the Hutton dive the other day. (The word dive is not used disrespectfully; it is only an affectionate reference to the hospitable bar in the back room.) We wish you well and repeat our thanks [MTP; from Henkels catalog Oct. 30, 1923 Item 136].
August 4 Monday
August 5 Tuesday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam telegraphed to Franklin G. Whitmore:
Tell me by telegraph before night if the alterations have been made in the contract for the delay in damaging the chances [MTP]
Sam also wrote a letter to Whitmore concerning a day and night trial of the machine in Hartford. Sam deduced that James W. Paige and his assistant Charles Ethan Davis did not believe the machine was up to sustained operation over several days, though Sam thought they would be proven wrong. The goal would be a 60 day and night test in New York. Meanwhile, the typesetter was in Paige’s Hartford shop:
I want power provided for all-day-&-night work at Union Place, & I want the test applied. Then we can go to New York on a certainty, not a theory — we shall know how many hours to subject her to, per day.
After his signature Sam asked that Whitmore send him the “noble old pair of walking shoes in my pigeon holes,” and the “coarse yarn socks” if he found them there as well [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote a one page letter all about Ma, who talked incessantly for ten hours and asked for Sam several times. “1 p.m. 4 hours later. Ma has still talked on, and does not look so well. Her eyelids droop. Her expression is discouraging” [MTP].
James W. Paige wrote to Sam:
Your favor of the 30th inst. came duly to hand while I was suffering from a very severe attack of cholera-morbus. … I have obtained the paper referred to in your letter from Mr. Whitmore, and will give it my attention in a few days. There are some things concerning the machine that require my personal supervision, which in my present state of health will be all that I can attend to [MTP].
August 6 Wednesday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote to Miss Lanigan, who evidently had sought information about Livy for publication. Sam answered with Livy’s thanks but observed,
…she is habituated to obscurity & prefers to remain in it Privately I believe she thinks that to be merely proprietor of a cannon cannot warrant one in letting on to be part of the battery [MTP].
Note: this may be Annette LaNeaugan (Ann Lannigan) referred to in MTNJ 3: 618 in connection to the “Extraordinary Crowninsheild Case — as related by Miss Hesse.” This was a famous case from 1819 concerning conflicts between state and federal bankruptcy laws, but the connection to this Miss Lanigan is unknown.
Sam, obviously responding to John Russell Young to about a letter sent to Hartford that would be forwarded to him, wrote a short note in reply. He thanked Russell for remembering him [MTP].
James W. Paige telegraphed Sam: “Cannot fix paper am writing one relating to foreign & domestic to which no one can object look for letter” [MTP].
August 7 Thursday – Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam at Onteora:
Yours recd: Have just shipped the shoes. No woolen socks to be found. Everything is going on as usual — Mr Paige is head over heels interested in some electrical experiment with Nash. Davis is at factory working on the machine….I think you had better write Mr. Paige about discharging the men, Nash, Van, Earl, Vic & [illegible name] or as many as you think best [MTP].
August 8 Friday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote two notes to Franklin G. Whitmore, the second a PS for the first. Sam wanted all work on the machine and all expenses limited as of Sept. 1. He felt official notice had been given to any men who continued to work in September, and announced they would be refused payment, save for Charles Ethan Davis, Paige’s assistant.
Are they still tinkering on the machine? I thought the remaining work on the machine was to occupy only 3 days, & the rest of the month be used up in moving, &c. Ys / SLC [MTP]. Note: in his PS, Sam added that Paige framed a new contract. Sam wanted it in the safety deposit, safe from fire.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam (financial statements encl.): “I send you a mass of documents which I hope will be clear.” These included reports for the prior week and also a monthly report of sales. Also, individual book accounts of CY, Library of Humor, and the older books, HF, P&P, LOM, and White Elephant. This is by far the largest “mass” of accounting Hall had sent [MTP].
August 9 Saturday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote again to Franklin G. Whitmore, stressing one fact — the machine should be “up & at work without shadow of doubt, Sept. 1.”
The most important man — to me — after Senator Jones, will arrive in Hartford on that day, to look at the machine. Me. Davis named that date & his prophecies have succeeded heretofore, which gives me confidence this time [MTP].
Sam also wrote a long letter to Matthias H. Arnot, enclosing a letter from Joe Goodman, to show he’d fulfilled “all the obligations laid upon me by my conversation with you last December.”
I produced Senator Jones in the flesh at Hartford after keeping the machine waiting for him 6 months & upwards at great expense; & he did not merely “approve” the machine, he sat over it a long time pretty nearly tongue-tied with astonishment & admiration. He has found his tongue since, & is using it with energy. …
John Mackay was also converted when he saw the machine at work; & his last word to John Russell Young of the N.Y. Herald when he sailed for Europe a few days ago was, “do everything you can for Sam & his machine.[“] So Young writes me. …
The above is formal notice that it is now in order for Mr. Arnot to resume payments on that $50,000 [MTNJ 3: 566-7].
Clara Washburne wrote from N.Y. to ask Sam if TS was dramatized; did he own the dramatization of it? And did he grant acting rights, and if so, on what terms? [MTP].
August 10 Sunday – Sydney Scrope wrote from New Brighton, N.Y. to ask Sam how he “first came to adopt the ‘nom de plume’ which had become a household word”[MTP].
August 11 Monday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam telegraphed to Franklin G. Whitmore:
I go to New York tomorrow night & ultimately to Washington ship the contract immediately to Webster & Co and ask Hall by telegraph to put it in his safe telegraph me here before night that this has been attended to [MTP].
D.C. Lyle wrote from Baltimore County, Md. to ask Sam to write on an enclosed postal card the title of the publication in which the Twain genealogy appeared. Lyle had inquired of Chatto and Windus but they didn’t know [MTP].
August 12 Tuesday – As disclosed in his Aug. 11 telegram to Franklin G. Whitmore, Sam went by train (two and a half hours) in the evening to New York City, where he checked into the Murray Hill Hotel [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam that he’d received his letter this day and was “glad you all are so pleasantly situated” (at Onteora). Ma wasn’t walking now and was “very sick.” [MTP].
John McComb wrote from Bellagio, Italy to Sam. He was going to write a book about his party of 42 traveling in Europe, “Even if I’m the only one who’ll read it” Would Sam write him a few lines? “No Answer,” on the envelope [MTP].
August 13 Wednesday – In New York on this date, Sam signed a new contract drawn up by James W. Paige, who sold all rights in his typesetter for $250,000. Sam was to pay Paige this amount within six months, which put him behind the gun to acquire major financing [MTHL 3: 571].
At the Murray Hill Hotel, Sam wrote again to Franklin G. Whitmore, who was vacationing at Montewest House in Branford, Conn.
Paige comes down here tomorrow, & we go together to hear Jones’s objections & rectify them on the spot [Note: Sam intended to go to Washington to convince Jones].
Charles Ethan Davis, mechanical engineer and Paige’s assistant, had offered to work on simply “for a hundred dollars now & then,” and he would see who would stay at half wages, as Sam had suggested. He also disclosed that Livy was headed to Elmira the next day (Aug. 14) for a week. Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon, was failing [MTP]. Powers writes that Livy and the children went to Elmira, but Livy wrote Aug. 24 to her mother upon return to Onteora Park that “I found the children all in good health and they seemed very glad to get me back…” [Salsbury 279]. Powers also claims that “a double barrel of anxiety arrived on August 14” when word that both mothers were gravely ill, yet this Aug. 13 letter shows that news of Mrs. Langdon’s illness reached them prior to news about Jane Clemens.
Kaplan gives this as the date that John P. Jones “acquired a six-month option to organize a parent company to make and market the [Paige] machine . By this date, Joe Goodman was back in Fresno, however, so it’s more likely that the Jones option was obtained in Sam’s late-August trip to Washington.
Sam and Paige traveled to Washington. If Paige left Hartford in the morning and met Sam in N.Y., the pair would have taken the rest of the day to travel to Washington.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about various “schemes” to raise capital [MTP].
August 14 Thursday – In Washington, D.C. [MTHL 3: 572] Sam wrote to Whitmore, probably still in Branford Conn. Word had arrived of 87-year-old Jane Clemens’ stroke. Sam abruptly prepared to leave for Keokuk:
Better fix up the Bk ac/ with this $1000. I leave for Keokuk in the morning. Mother very ill [MTP]. Note: Jane would die on Oct. 27, 1890.
Meanwhile, Livy left Onteora to spend a week with her ailing mother [MTNJ 3: 575n2].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam hoping he’d had “time to look over the statement regarding the L.A.L. scheme, that is, selling stock in the effort; that possibly Whitmore might want to invest; they could guarantee six per cent interest for two or three years [MTP]. Note: the strain on capital to front the publication of LAL, which was pricey enough to require installment sales. Hall suggested they might sell stock in the project as a way to raise the needed funds.
August 15 Friday – Sam left Washington for Keokuk and his ailing mother. The entire day would be spent on the train. (A letter from Sam in Tannersville, N.Y. to the Rogers Peet Clothing Store assigned this date is probably mis-dated.)
August 16 Saturday – Sam arrived in Keokuk, Iowa. Sam spent a few days at his mother’s bedside. She seemed to rally [MTNJ 3: 572].
August 17 Sunday – Sam was in Keokuk, Iowa at Orion and Mollie Clemens’ home, at his mother’s bedside.
John Brusnahan foreman for N.Y. Herald compositors was anxious to see his newspaper install a Paige typesetter, and wrote Sam an “anxious” letter to “make a move” after learning the paper was considering installing a Mergenthaler Linotype on trial [MTNJ 3: 575n3]. Whitmore no doubt received this letter, as he then telegraphed Sam with unnecessary urgency the next day, Aug. 18.
“Rudyard Kipling on Mark Twain,” from the Allahabad The Pioneer and The Pioneer Mail, was reprinted on page five of the New York Herald. This is Kipling’s account of his August 1889 unannounced visit to Elmira to meet Mark Twain. Reprinted in Scharnhorst, Interviews.117-26.
Rudyard Kipling wrote from Villiers Street, Strand, London to Sam:
What a shame! I never thought about lunch. But they is always that way the Authorities a many of them. It’s because they esteem their own cookery more than the conversation of others. But I will, with your leave, take that lunch later. I’m very glad that the interview didn’t offend. It was written out & done before I left Elmira that night [MTP]. Note: “that night” was Aug. 15, 1889. See entry.
August 18 Monday – While in Keokuk, Sam received a telegram from Franklin G. Whitmore, a message Sam referred to in his Aug. 21 to Mollie & Orion as “that idiotic & nerve-stretching dispatch,” which caused Sam to leave Keokuk early. He may have left this day or the next, for he wrote from Elmira on Aug. 21.
August 19 Tuesday – Olivia Lewis Langdon’s 80th birthday. Mrs. Langdon’s health was failing and Livy was now with her in Elmira. A small gift card in Livy’s hand with this date “from her loving children Samuel & Livy” has been preserved [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam, concerned about the new contract with Paige. Frank thought Sam was “deceived with promises,” and unprotected by the agreement, which called for $250,000 payment to Paige within six months. Increasingly, Sam would rely on the backing of Senator John P. Jones [MTHL 3: 571].
This is the likely day that Sam left Keokuk for Elmira, where Livy was caring for her mother.
August 20 Wednesday – Sam arrived in Elmira either this day or the next. He wrote the name of George Robinson in his notebook — a friend and furniture manufacturer in Elmira, who would have been a candidate for investing in the Paige typesetter [MTNJ 3: 578n14].
Orlando George wrote from New Orleans to Sam: “In February, 1889, I mailed you, from Lima Peru, a long letter — too long, I fear, giving you an outline of a Story, which I have in manuscript.” George wanted to know if Sam got his letter and could he offer the benefit of a few words about the story? [MTP].
A.G. Harrington wrote from Cortland, N.Y. to Sam with the “manuscript of a first class book” he wanted to find an “energetic publisher” for. Sam wrote, “No Answer” on the envelope [MTP].
August 21 Thursday – In Elmira with Livy who was caring for her mother, Sam wrote to Orion and Mollie Clemens. A mix-up in the Buffalo to Elmira leg of his trip back caused him to take another train, so he directed Orion and Ed Brownell to “go to the R.R. office & collect back the money…& get drunk on it.” Sam regretted having to leave early,
I was mighty sorry to have to leave when I did, for I had entirely enjoyed my visit until that fool Whitmore sent that idiotic & nerve-stretching dispatch. It ought to have read: “A very pleasant but not important letter from Brusnahan — wants you to look in, as you pass through New York.” …
We go to New York this afternoon. Livy will go to the Katskills tomorrow if the strike will permit, & I go to Washington, mayhap.
Now that I am back close to my base of operations, my mind is at rest & I feel entirely fearless as regards the future.
You can open Jean’s letter & keep it — I don’t need it. She & Livy are first rate, Mother is not very well. Sue is as usual, & we all send love to you both & plenty of it. I hope Ma does not miss me [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. A mix-up about two copies of the new contract with Paige being out of the safe at the same time led to problems, but Sam felt it had “come out all right,” and told Whitmore not to worry.
Neither Paige nor anybody else could have mended the old one [contract] in such a way as to make it entirely satisfactory; but a few strokes of the pen can make the new one perfect — & Paige will agree to those strokes; I have no doubt of that — none in the world. If it will be of any solace to you to know it, I look upon the whole episode as a most fortunate thing, & one which I would not undo for a great deal of money.
I think you may rush the checks to Tannersville — Mrs. Clemens will sign them. Some of them are urgent — shopping ones. She will reach there to-morrow or Saturday.
My own movements are uncertain. I may possibly go to Washington Saturday & remain a day or two [MTP].
Sam and Livy took the ten-hour train trip to New York where they spent one night.
August 22 Friday – In New York, Sam and Livy parted ways, Sam to Washington, D.C., and Livy back to the children at Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Livy would write to her mother on Aug. 24 from there. Sam checked into the Arlington House [Aug. 26 to Whitmore].
John Henton Carter (Commodore Rollingpin) wrote on the letterhead of August Gast Bank Note Co., St. Louis to Sam: “I send you by this mail a copy of a work I have just issued intitled, ‘Thomas Rutherton’ / I know that it is a good book because I wrote it myself.” He wanted Sam’s opinion [MTP]. See Apr. 29, 1891 when Carter wrote again. Thomas Rutherton (1890).
Mrs. A.S. Parker wrote from Eagleville, Conn. to invite Sam to an Aug. 28th six-granges picnic. Sam wrote “Declined” on the envelope [MTP].
August 23 Saturday – Sam was in Washington, D.C., courting Senator John P. Jones and other investors for the Paige typesetter. Joe Goodman had returned to Fresno, Calif., “about ten days from” July 29 [July 29 to Whitmore]. (No mention is made of Joe in Sam’s few letters from Washington.)
A.G. Harrington wrote to ask Sam if he could send a MS for evaluation [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam: “In your letter dated Elmira 21st Aug ’90…you have a wrong impression of what I meant by my being ‘Mad & internally raging &c.’” This was over Whitmore’s concern about Sam’s contract with Paige, “afraid that all you had was promises.” Enough said, he wrote, the machine should be ready about Sept. 15 [MTP].
August 23-28 or September 28-30 – Sam spoke at the National Wholesale Druggists Association Banquet, Washington, D.C. – Fatout reported this as questionably September [MT Speaking 261-2]. Sam may have gone to Washington sometime between Sept. 28 and 30 because he was there on Oct. 1. This would leave only a day or two in September for such a speech, but six possible days in August.
August 24 Sunday – Sam was in Washington, D.C., waiting. During this stay Senator John P. Jones of the Committee on Finance was involved in the aftermath of the compromise Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890, which fell short of the free coinage of silver, but did increase the amount of silver the government was required to purchase monthly. The Act passed in response to the growing complaints of farmers (beginning in 1887), who had immense debts that could not be paid off due to a series of droughts. However, as is often the case, the legislation had unintended consequences which eventually led to inflation and contributed to the Panic of 1893. Jones was one of fifteen Republican senators in favor of the free and unlimited coinage of silver.
Sam telegraphed Livy that he would need to remain in Washington for “several days” [Salsbury 279 quoting Livy to her mother, this date].
“Mark Twain on Kipling” ran in the N.Y. World, p.18 [Scharnhorst, Interviews 126].
Orion and Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy. Orion got their letter the prior day; he would “attend to the ticket to-morrow Ma was still delusional, “sleeping better but not eating much” [MTP].
August 25 Monday – Sam was in Washington, D.C.
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam about Ma and sorry that Sam “had to leave so soon.” [MTP].
August 26 Tuesday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. staying at the Arlington Hotel. He wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore directing him to pay the Paige staff without reduction for the month of August.
I have been here ever since last Friday, & may be here one day more — & possibly a week. Who knows? But there’s no help for it, though it is dull waiting [MTP]. Note: Sam was waiting for Senator John P. Jones to get free from his senatorial duties.
Henry M. Whitney for Weekly Hawaiian Gazette wrote to Sam saying he would soon send a copy of his new publication, The Tourists’ Guide Through the Hawaiian Islands. Sam had met Whitney in the islands in 1866. The preface of this new guide contained Sam’s “prose poem” tribute to the Sandwich Islands [MTNJ 3: 589n58]. See MTNJ 1: 105.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam at the Arlington House, Washington, about their woes with the installments on LAL, and suggested a businesslike way of explaining how their capital got locked up through the sales of the book series, it being too expensive to sell for cash like other books [MTP].
August 27 Wednesday – In Washington D.C. Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore asking for a “small speech printed on proof-slips” he’d left in a “green tin box near your table in the billiard room.” The speech had been written but never given. It contained statistics for wage-saving machines like the cotton gin, corn-sheller, etc., and Sam wanted it mailed to Senator Jones [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam thanking for the $200 monthly check. Ma was suffering still with difficulty now in breathing. “I am dieting on coffee and milk alone, for my cold” [MTP].
August 28 Thursday – In Washington, D.C. Sam wrote a short note to Livy, now back in Tannersville, N.Y. Sam complained of “a dreary long separation” and wrote of his plans for the day, which included a quick trip to Philadelphia:
Livy darling, I am up at 6.30 to catch the earliest train for Philadelphia, to assist Mr. Hall in a matter of business, but I shall be back here about nightfall & continue to talk with Jones [MTP].
Note: Sam later wrote Hall that he’d failed with the “monumental humbug of the century,” and referred to a backup book deal, so that securing a book was likely the purpose of this day-trip.
Frederick J. Hall wrote two letters to Sam. The first enclosed “notes to take up our first notes discounted, they become due Sept. 15th. Please endorse.” The second, typed and longer letter expressed the presumption that Sam would stop on his way back to sign renewals of notes. A man had been there about the embezzler Scott, but to get Scott discharged from prison early (to save his citizenship) it would be necessary for Sam to withdraw a letter he’d sent to the Governor about Scott, whose sentence expired next June [MTP].
August 29 Friday – Sam left Washington and traveled to Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y., where Livy and the children waited. In his Aug. 31 to Orion and Mollie Clemens Sam wrote “From Washington to Onteora betwixt 6 in the morning & 9 in the evening is a most exhausting trip.” The rest of the summer would be spent at the resort.
George Standring wrote from London to keep Sam up to date on various typesetter developments there. He enclosed reports from the Pall Mall Gazette and the London Star (neither extant) [MTP].
August 30 Saturday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall. He referenced what was probably the subject of his one-day trip to Philadelphia on Aug. 28.
I failed with the monumental humbug of the century; so you’ll have to fall back on other possibilities, Watson Gilder and the Methodist Book Concern, &c. I shall be down again perhaps in a week or sooner, and then we can consider Whitmore.
Franklin G. Whitmore had made an offer to invest $10-12,000 in Webster & Co. for part ownership, and Sam had recommended he work with Hall for a year first. Hall had reservations (see Apr.19 to Hall; also MTLTP 261n2top). Sam also approved Hall’s idea of selling stock in the Library of American Literature series.
August 31 Sunday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y., Sam wrote to Orion and Mollie Clemens. He was just back from Washington and shared the news that Nevada Senator John P. Jones promised to “set himself seriously to work to raise the capital” in December or January.
Doesn’t want to begin until he can walk the disciples right up to the machine & show it to them. Thinks he will have no trouble about raising the money then. Well, we must wait & see. So I am feeling reasonably comfortable [MTP].
Sam also wrote to “Brer” Franklin G. Whitmore, asking that 100 cigars be shipped to him. He enclosed something, probably a check, to Eugene Meyer, Susy and Clara’s music teacher [MTP]. Note: Meyer is noted as “Eugen” in two of Sam’s notebook entries.
September 1 Monday – In Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote a short note to Sherrard Clemens II, who evidently had written asking about one of his English ancestors. Sam answered:
…I am wholly ignorant. I knew of the patriot Clemens, & of his execution as one of Charles’s judges, & also that he had at an earlier day been English Ambassador at the Spanish court; but I had not heard until now that he married a Spanish wife [MTP].
He also wrote to Orion Clemens about the matter. Sam told his brother he was ignorant but that Orion could write and tell him what he knew [MTP]. Sherrard was probably not a relative; Sam named him as “a conspicuous member of Congress from Virginia at the opening of the war” because he was a Unionist. See Jan 19? 1878 entry.
Sam also sent a short request to Franklin G. Whitmore not to forward any more Webster & Co. statements as they “lumber up the whole place” [MTP]. Note: This was a curious reversal of his need to stay informed, sometimes daily of the business of the firm.
Carroll Beckwith finished Sam’s portrait [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
C.L. Stillman for J. Langdon & Co. Sent notice they’d sent $3,000 check to the US Bank in Hartford to Sam’s credit [MTP].
September 2 Tuesday – Sam gave a Browning reading for the gathering at Onteora Park [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
September 3 Wednesday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall about rotten fruit and larger-than-ordered fruit baskets from a New York merchant named Goldsmith. Pay the man $42 and let him sue for the rest of the bill, Sam argued. After receiving too much bad fruit Sam had complained to Hall; the quality improved but larger baskets were sent without authorization. When the bill came, larger than agreed ($3 each) prices were charged.
If you have to hunt up another fruiterer for us, (for this one will quit,) please make distinct terms with him, as in G.’s case [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that he was going to Syracuse to see Watson Gill next week. “The enclosed statement [not extant] speaks for itself. It is the best August we have had since the Grant book.” Hall felt if they could “scrape along for the next four or five months” they would be well again [MTP].
September 4 Thursday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, now back in Hartford, asking if he would send three or four photographs of himself to give to friends at the park/club [MTP].
Webster & Co. sent Sam the “Books sent out during August, 1890” postmarked this day, and totaling 6,802 books including 1,096 CY [MTP].
September 5 Friday – Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished Sept. 6: “We are delighted you are so much relieved from your terrible suspense…./I will write to Sherrard Clemens, though I cannot answer his questions” [MTP]. See Sept. 1 entry.
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $28.45 for Aug 1, 4, 18 oats, meal; Paid Sept.12 [MTP].
September 6 Saturday – Orion Clemens finished his Sept. 5 to Sam:
To-day Ma’s room has that dreadful urinary smell which characterized Mr. Stott’s during the last five or six years of his life. Ma is wild about the box with blue stripes you sent her, and into which you strove to put every thing she could need [MTP].
September 7 Sunday – John Brusnahan, foreman at the N.Y. Herald, wrote to Sam:
I gave my report to Mr. Howland yesterday. He took it home to ponder over it. I am vain enough to think I have fired a pretty heavy shot into the Mergenthaler [MTP].
September 8 Monday – Sam traveled to Hartford in order to sign the contract with John P. Jones. He wrote Joe Goodman.
Dear Joe: I am here 24 hours to sign the written contract — which has been done. From it has been weeded out everything suggested by Jones. Apparently he wants Paige to retain the ¼ gross proceeds, & all other shares just as they stand — has his reasons for wanting these things so.
Jones doesn’t need to sign the added paper unless he wants to — & not until he gets ready, anyway. The papers go to him to-day.
Sam conveyed that Jones’ main concern was a reduction of the total capital required of him; Sam wrote that though the amount had been reduced by half, it was not unsafe to the enterprise [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Senator John P. Jones, sending the new contract, modified with Jones’ wishes. Sam pointed out the capital required was reduced by half to $950,000. Sam wrote he would send details of the machine’s “supremacy in its line” in a few days.
I return to “Onteora Club,” Tannersville N.Y., to-morrow. If at any time you want me to come & do anything, or prove anything, or covert anybody, Mr. Davis can fetch me by telegram or letter.
After his signature Sam wrote about his claim that the machine could set and distribute 8,000 ems an hour; the price of $12,000 had been based on a 5,000-em machine, which should be honored for first orders but that after the business was established should be raised “to about $18,000” [MTP].
September 9 Tuesday – Sam returned to Onteora [Sept. 8 to Jones].
September 10 Wednesday – Horace L. Traubel for Walt Whitman wrote to Sam:
I want gratefully to acknowledge ten dollars (in check) sent me in trust & on a/c Whitman fund for months April May June July & Aug… [MTP].
September 11 Thursday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote again to Senator John P. Jones, passing on an “official report on the Mergenthaler machine,” which concluded that it was “capricious & unreliable in its working,” and in “average hands, a 2,000-em machine.”
3 or 4 days’ apprenticeship on this machine will enable any young fellow of ordinary capacity to beat the best & ablest Mergenthaler or Rogers expert.
And after one week’s apprenticeship he will beat any two Mergenthaler or Rogers expert [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore who’d sent a letter but forgot to enclose something for Sam to fill out [MTP].
September 12 Friday – In Onteora Park near Tannersville, N.Y. Sam wrote to Mary M. Keller (Mrs. George Keller) of Hartford (George was an architect).
I thank you ever so much for sending it to me. And this reminds me to say I have just found out that whereas Kipling’s stories are plenty good enough on a first reading, they very greatly improve on a second [MTP].
Sam went to New York City and gave a dinner speech at a dinner for Moorfield Storey (1845-1929), lawyer and publicist. Storey was a Mugwump who opposed Blaine in 1884. Later he was prominent in the Anti-Imperialist League. Sam likely spent the night in the city.
September 13 Saturday – Sam returned to Onteora Park, likely this day, and began to ready the family for return to Hartford. Beckwith recorded Sam performing a charades with daughter Jean [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
September 14 Sunday
September 15 Monday – Livy wrote to her mother about the family’s plans to leave Onteora,
We begin to feel that our time here is very short as we expect to leave a week from tomorrow. We have enjoyed our summer exceedingly….Tomorrow morning quite a number of them are going. Mademoiselle [Susy’s French teacher] leaves us and Susy is through with her work for the present.
Orion Clemens began a letter to Sam he finished Sept. 16:
Ma fell in the yard, before 1 o’clock yesterday afternoon, and hurt her left leg by a bruise and strain, or sprain. I carried her bodily upstairs.The doctor was here twice. He thinks no bone is broken, but she cannot move her left leg. [Drs. Jenkins and Bancroft examined her] [MTP].
September 16 Tuesday – Orion Clemens finished his Sept. 15 to Sam:
Puss [Quarles] writes that she has been at a picnic at Florida [Mo.] and Mrs. Violet wants Ma to “satisfy some of the folks” by stating who put the first dress on you. Ma does not remember. Puss also wants to know where the house stood that you were born in. Ma don’t remember, and I don’t suppose you do. I have a vague impression it was a little [illegible word] on Main Street, where we ate on a dry goods box, before we bought a table [MTP].
Edwin Shideler for Farm Fun wrote to ask what Sam charged for “a half column article?” [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam that he’d been away for “two or three days” and on return found Sam’s check for $2,000, which he would deposit at Bissell’s bank. When would they see the Clemenses back in Hartford? [MTP].
Sarony, NY photographer receipted $3 for “1 doz p. mailed” [MTP].
September 17 Wednesday – Beckwith’s notes indicate that Sam dined with Carroll Beckwith and Miss Field at Onteora [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
September 18 Thursday – Dion Boucicault died. Born Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot, he was a famed Irish actor and playwright who specialized in melodramas. The New York Times obituary called him “the most conspicious English dramatist of the 19th century.” See May 17, 1873 and Mar. 9, 1883 entries
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Dr. Bancroft thinks Ma is the worst she has been, and that she may not pull through” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing reports for the past two weeks (not extant) The sales of LAL were good — up to 150 sets (by now a 10 volume work) for Sept. “Both Watson Gill and the Methodist Book Concern think they will be able to place some of our stock. I will know something definite from them within a fortnight” [MTP].
September 19 Friday – At Onteora Park, Carroll Beckwith’s journal notes that Sam sat one last time for the “finished” portrait [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
September 20 Saturday – A long biographical sketch, “Modern Men: Mark Twain,” ran in the Edinburgh Scots Observer [Tenney 17]. After praising and discussing all of Sam’s prior works, granting some the level of masterpiece, the article turned to CY:
…he is but an exemplar and a type of all that is worst in the great American nation — its ignorance of facts, its indifference to every point of view but its own, its passion for cheap wit and cheaper clowning, its unconscious yet offensive impudence, its incapacity for good breeding and good manners, its determination to level down the world and Time and Fate to the point where Mr. Andrew Carnegie becomes possible and a ‘Cincinnati Olive’ may ‘have a look in’ with a decent Corot or an average Tennyson.
September 21 Sunday
September 22 Monday – Beckwith’s diary notes the Clemens family left for New York [Beckwith’s unpublished papers at the Smithsonian; offered by a MT scholar who wishes to remain unnamed].
A.G. Hales wrote from New South Wales, Australia to Sam, sending his “latest effort in the journalistic line” (not extant). Could Sam drop a line and tell him what he thought? Sam wrote “Smiles” on the envelope, with the quote marks, which may have been the title of the work sent [MTP].
September 23 Tuesday – This is the planned day for the Clemens family to return to Hartford (see Sept. 15 entry). They may have spent a day or two in New York City on their return, as was their habit when summers were spent at Quarry Farm.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing reports (not extant) for the past two weeks; they had “sold 2297 volumes…from our home office, which is, of course. exclusive of general agents’ sales…” [MTP].
September 24 Wednesday – Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam about James G. Batterson investing in the Paige typesetter. Batterson had seen the machine and was impressed with it, but was not “so situated that he could take any financial interest in it now as his legitimate business requires all his time” [MTNJ 3: 583n35]. Note: Batterson was founder and head man at Travelers Insurance Co.
September 25 Thursday – T.E. Roessle for The Arlington House, Washington, wrote to Sam and returned Sam’s check for $25 overpaid, since “Mr. Paige’s a/c was, as you will see, included in yours” [MTP].
September 26 Friday
September 27 Saturday – Back home in Hartford Sam wrote to Senator John P. Jones, enclosing more clarification on the “expert’s report on the Mergenthaler machine,” which Sam noted was a “private document,” of which he had a copy.
These facts, added to the fact that those machines will prove wholly unendurable in a daily newspaper office, make the coast clear [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Ladies of the Onteora Club, thanking them for their gift of a picture, “Mort de Léandre” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam thanking for the monthly $200 check. The doctor diagnosed Ma with inflammation of the nerve centers at the base of the brain, but not enough to constitute inflammation of the brain itself. Orion wrote that he finished Wm. II on his historical research, and that the North American Review got his registered MS on the 20th, and he expected it back daily [MTP].
September 28 Sunday
September 29 or August 23-28 – Sam spoke at the National Wholesale Druggists Association Banquet, Washington, D.C. Fatout reports this as questionably September [MT Speaking 261-2]. Sam may have gone to Washington sometime between Sept. 29 and 30; he was there on Oct. 1. This would leave only a day or two in September for such a speech, but six possible days in August.
September 29 Monday – Sam and Livy and Susy left for New York where they stayed at the Murray Hill Hotel before taking Susy on to Bryn Mawr, Penn. While in New York they shopped for clothes for Susy to start college with [Salsbury 280].
September 30 Tuesday – In New York, Susy Clemens wrote to her sister Clara of their shopping in New York, her excitement at going away to college and of missing her.
Dearest, dear Clara; I am sitting in a bright sunny room just now, and would realy be perfectly happy for the time being if only you were here….
I have been rushing around till now with Mamma; and she has gotten me a lot of beautiful undressed kid gloves.
The new dresses are stunning! You would hardly recognize your unstylish sister in them. They fit perfectly without a wrinkle and are so narrow in the back that I have to stand up straight….
Tonight when I come back from the theater it will seem so doleful not to be able to talk it over with you, Clara. I would give anything if you were only here! I shall be so glad when we can be together again and I can hear you play the old familiar things. Because even tho’ I have been cross and horrid a great deal you know I have loved and admired you all the time. This you must never forget! …Think of me when you play the Onteora and Elmira music and write me very soon [Salsbury 280-1].
Note: Since Sam wrote from Washington the next day (Oct. 1) and wrote Oct. 4 to Goodman that Susy had entered Bryn Mawr, “three or four days ago,” it is calculated that Sam left New York for Washington either Sept. 30 or Oct. 1, while Livy and Clara left New York at or about the same time for Bryn Mawr. Sam would rejoin them by Oct. 4.
James W. Paige wrote to Sam that his draftsman, Charles I.. Earll, had seen the Rogers machine in New York on Monday. Paige included some matter set for the New York World by that machine and compared it with what the Paige typesetter could do. “In view of what we know and what Mr. Earll has just seen shall we send Van to examine it now or wait a while? Please answer” [MTP].
The Scots Observer p.454-5 ran an anonymous article, “Modern Men. Mark Twain.” “After praise of the ‘good Mark Twain,’ who gave us IA, RI, HF (a better book than the somewhat artificial TS), expresses regret for the vulgarity of CY [Tenney, MTJ (Spring 2004) p.6].
October – Mollie Clemens wrote to Sam [MTP]. Marked “Missing” in the MTP files.
Webster & Co. sent Sam a “Books sent report”: 7,564 total ; 2,699 CY [MTP].
Samuel Spaulding, Hartford, receipted $30 for “Sprinkling Farmington Ave in front of premises during the season of 1890” [MTP].
October 1 Wednesday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. to visit Senator John P. Jones and probably delivered John Brusnahan’s report [MTNJ 3: 583n36]. Sam wrote a one line note to Franklin G. Whitmore, enclosing a draft for an unknown amount. He asked Whitmore to “Turn in at U.S. Bank to my credit, Brer” [MTP]. Was this another deposit from Jones, perhaps from the two additional investors Jones had pledged to bring in at $5,000 each?
Charles Warren Stoddard, Sam’s former secretary during his 1872 England stay, wrote thanking him for “all those lovely books that now make my set complete.” In 1877 Sam gave Stoddard a set of signed copies of all his books to date, and recently sent the rest [MTNJ 3: 581n30]. Note: Connections with Stoddard go back to Sam’s California and Hawaii days.
A.B. de Frece for Stanley Reception Committee wrote to Sam a form letter announcing that
Lady Managers of the Stanley Reception have named you as one of the Reception Committee…at the Metropolitan Opera House on Tuesday evening, Nov. 11, 1890 at 8 o’clock, in aid of the Summit Convalescent Home [MTP].
William O. McDowell sent Sam a form letter soliciting funds for the erection of a liberty pole at Navesink Highlands, N.J. adjoining the twin lighthouses. Sam wrote “$1.00” on the envelope [MTP].
October 1 Wednesday ca. – Susy Clemens and Livy arrived at Bryn Mawr College in Penn. [Oct. 4 to Goodman]. Sam was in Washington, D.C.
October 2 Thursday – The Brooklyn Eagle, p.4 ran an article about the upcoming drama of P&P by Edward H. House, “How a Woman Bids Fair to Outwit Mark Twain”:
E.H. House, who dramatized Mark Twain’s book, “The Prince and the Pauper,” and afterward had to go to law with the famous humorist to prevent him from using another dramatization of his story or to get paid for his own, is in a fair way of getting full pay for his work. Mr. House’s dramatization is to be seen for the first time in Brooklyn next week — at the Amphion academy, Messrs. Knowles & Morris having made special arrangements for its uninterrupted representations in view of the law suit and application for injunction against Mr. House and Tommy Russell’s mother now pending. Mr. House won his suit against Mark Twain for using Mrs. Richardson’s dramatization and the losers agreed to give Mr. House one-half of the royalties earned with Mrs. Richardson’s play. Next Mrs. Lamprecht, little Tommy Russell’s mother, contracted with Mr. House to produce his play, “Prince and Pauper,” with her son in the principal part. Then Mark Twain and his manager, Daniel Frohman, asked for an injunction to prevent the presentation of Mr. House’s dramatization by the Tommy Russell company and a decision in this application is nearly due. Mr. House and Mrs. Lamprecht make the point first seen by the woman, that in the first suit nothing was said by anybody about Mr. House not producing his own play.
October 3 Friday – Unknown person for the N.Y. Sun sent Sam a printed, three-page folded form signed by Theo. L. De Vinne, president of the New-York Machine Type-setting Co.,which sang the praises of the McMillan typesetting machine [MTP].
October 4 Saturday – In Bryn Mawr, Penn. Sam wrote to Joe Goodman that he was “just back from Washington,” and that John P. Jones “seems quite well satisfied,” and would soon leave for California.
Susy entered this college as a freshman three or four days ago. It is by long odds the best female college in the world [MTP].
Sam, Livy and Susy stayed at the Summit Grove Inn, J.W. Arthur proprietor, waiting for Susy to be assigned a room; a new dormitory was not quite finished. Salsbury writes:
“Among the girls at the Inn were Evangeline and Ethel Walker, the former a sophomore and the latter a classmate of Susy’s” . (Editorial emphasis.)
R.F. Blodgett for Pratt & Whitney wrote to Sam to “beg again” that the enclosed statement for 1,744.20 dated Apr. 3 be paid [MTP].
October 5 Sunday – While at Bryn Mawr waiting for Susy to be assigned a room, Sam aided a visiting history scholar, Miss Wergeland, in ordering her meals, since he spoke fluent German and the lady did not speak much English. He performed this service three times a day during the entire stay. Though one girl claimed the Clemens were there two weeks, Sam was back in Hartford by Oct. 11 [Salsbury 281-2]. Did Livy stay on with Susy until she was assigned a room in Radnor Hall? Sam’s Oct. 12 to his sister suggests Sam and Livy left together this day.
October 6 Monday – John Russell Young wrote to Sam inviting him to attend the dinner for Judge Roger Atkinson Pryor (1828-1919) at the Astor House in New York on Thursday, Oct. 9 [MTP]. Note: Pryor was a veteran of the Third Virginia Infantry and Fitzhugh Lee’s cavalry. He became a distinguished jurist and judge, rising to the N.Y. Supreme Court in 1894-99. See Oct.8.
October 7 Tuesday – James R. Gilmore for James T. White & Co., publishers, N.Y. wrote to Sam asking for “fuller details” on Sam’s life in preparing a “National Clyclopedia of American Biography” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam (encl. Towle to Webster & Co. Oct. 1 which asked to use short excerpts for school books). Weekly and monthly reports were mentioned but are not extant. Over $3,000 had been collected on LAL for Sept. Towle’s letter was for Sam’s consideration. A book on electricity by Edison was an idea the “manager” at Webster & Co. had spoken of often — Hall thought it might be titled, “Electricity; its uses and possibilities,” and he felt it would sell better than Edison’s biography. Since Sam knew Edison, perhaps he could write him? [MTP].
October 8 Wednesday – From Bryn Mawr, Penn., Sam telegraphed John Russell Young in New York that he would be at the Astor House dinner for Judge Robert A. Prior: “I shall be there & hungry” [MTP].
John Brusnahan of the N.Y. Herald wrote from Brooklyn to Sam: “Yours from Washington received in due time. Presuming that you may have arrived home before this I address you at Hartford.” He’d made a bet with his boss, Mr. Howland, who said that the Paige wouldn’t be ready for another year, though he thought it was probably the best one [MTP].
October 9 Thursday – Sam and Livy left Susy at Bryn Mawr and traveled to New York. (They may have left the day before, Oct. 8, after receiving Young’s invitation, as Sam did not like to travel on the same day he was to give a speech.) In the evening, Sam gave this short humorous dinner speech at the Roger A. Pryor Dinner, Astor House:
I have often wondered how after-dinner talkers, such as we have heard tonight, manage to make such clever impromptu speeches. My impromptu speeches are all carefully prepared in advance, but I can’t understand how these other fellows manage the thing. Now there is Dougherty; he gets up with all the confidence which is generally inspired by the preparation of a month and he talks just as nicely and smoothly as though he had never thought about the matter before. When he comes to a place to heave in poetry he heaves her in, and when it is time for a story it comes right out. I am not so much surprised about Depew. He once asked me how I managed my impromptu speeches and I told him. I taught him the art and I sometimes wish I hadn’t. Henry George appears to have a faucet concealed somewhere about him, and he just turns it on and out the stuff flows.
There has been a good deal of war talk here tonight and I don’t appear to have been considered in it. I was in the Confederate Army. I was in it for two weeks. If Pryor had to fight through the whole war to get a position as judge, I suppose that, considering the difference in our abilities, if I had fought four weeks I would have made President, and if I had fought six weeks the war would have ended.
I am not much of a talker upon this kind of an occasion. You ought to allow me a discount. A few days ago I called at the office of George Putnam, the publisher. I was met by a very severe-looking clerk, who told me that Mr. Putnam wasn’t in. I knew that wasn’t true, but I didn’t blame the young man, for I don’t think he liked the look of my clothes, but I thought as long as I had paid him a visit I would do some business with him, and I said I wanted to buy a book — a book of travel or something of that kind — and he handed me a volume which he said would cost me three dollars. I said to him: “I am a publisher myself, and I suppose you allow the usual publisher’s discount of 60 percent.” The young man looked absent-minded, but said nothing. Then I remarked: “I am also an author, and I suppose you allow the usual author’s discount of 30 percent.” The young man looked pale. I addressed him further: “I also belong to the human race, and I suppose you allow the usual discount to the human race of 10 percent.” The young man said nothing, but he took a pencil from behind his ear and made an arithmetical calculation and remarked: “After adding to that 5 percent discount for natural shyness, I find that the firm owes you fifteen cents.” So, gentlemen, if you allow me on my impromptu speech all the discounts which are properly due me, I think you will find that besides this dinner you are indebted to me about fifteen cents, and I hope the hat will be passed around and the amount collected [Fatout, MT Speaking 263-4].
Notes: Daniel Dougherty (1826-1892), lawyer, orator; Henry George (1839-1897) single tax advocate; George Haven Putnam (1844-1912), publisher, author, leader in the American Copyright League.
Sam wrote on Oct. 15 about time in the hotel after the dinner with Edwin Booth and Thomas Bailey Aldrich:
I smoked with him till midnight in his rooms four or five nights ago, and Aldrich and I tried to persuade him [to write a book; see Oct. 15 to Hall].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam, restating the facts of the House case. He closed with:
I understand that the play was very poorly set in Brooklyn [House’s version] and that the boy’s acting fell far below that of the girl [Elsie Leslie]. I am more than ever convinced that our policy is a waiting game. When they are through fighting it may result in a satisfactory settlement all round. If not we can try our case [MTP].
October 10 Friday – A.B. de Frece for Stanley Reception wrote to Sam asking him to respond to being chosen for the committee [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam that he’d answered Mrs. Lamprecht’s letter to the effect that “it would be idle of her to see you as your contract with Mr. Frohman precludes…dealing with any other party” [MTP]. Note: Mrs. Lamprecht was the child actor Tommy Russell’s mother. Russell was starring in the Edward House version of P&P in Brooklyn. See Oct. 2 article.
Myra Howard Field wrote from Colorado Springs, Co. to Sam asking for “some of your autographs” for her table at a large fair, in order to raise funds for the girls’ dormitory of Colorado College. Sam wrote on the env. “Brer, send her 6 and a line SLC” [MTP].
October 11 Saturday – In Hartford Franklin G. Whitmore wrote for Sam to Albert S. Towle, whose letter had been enclosed in Hall’s Oct. 7 letter. Permission was granted for Towle to use three sketches in a work being prepared [MTP].
Daniel Frohman applied to the courts for protection in performing his own version (Abby Sage Richardson’s) of P&P as long as he paid Edward H. House a royalty [Brooklyn Eagle, Oct. 12, 1890 p.3].
John A. Cockerill for the N.Y. Press Club wrote to Sam asking him to lecture for the Press Club Building Fund. Sam wrote “Answer Cockerill doubtfully” on the envelope [MTP].
Alice Kingsbury wrote from Waterbury, Conn. asking if Sam and George W. Cable would speak at some event. [MTP]. Note: handwriting is awful; could not make out more. ‡ See Addenda.
October 12 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to his sister, Pamela Moffett:
I am very much obliged for the copy of McEwan’s staving good & just eulogy of Sam [Moffett]. I shall mail it to Susy. The last time I saw her was a week ago on the platform at Bryn Mawr. Our train was moving slowly away, & she was drifting collegeward afoot, her figure blurred & dim in the rain & fog, & she was crying [MTP].
Note: The above gives credence to the idea that Sam and Livy stayed at Bryn Mawr about one week, not two, as some sources have it, and that they left together.
Sam also wrote that his mother was near death, according to Orion’s letter received this day. Sam increasingly saw death as a blessed release from the pains of life; moreover, that his mother had lived too long.
What a pity, & how unfair, that she has been detained all these useless & distressing years. I think her sufferings must have been away beyond our conception — for in fancy she has constantly seen her sister snubbed, insulted, and wantonly misused [MTP].
‡ See Addenda.
Blakely Hall wrote an editorial sympathetic to Sam in the Brooklyn Eagle, p.3. Hall ridiculed Edward H. House, writing he “would never have produced his dramatization if it had not been for Frohman’s success.”
I should like to see Mr. House. Any man who can make a living by drawing a royalty from a piece which he not only never wrote, but with which he has had no connection whatever, and who can draw valuable royalties from that play under the sanction of the courts, is a man who may be described as soaring toward the heights of exalted financial genius. [Note: The court granted Frohman an injunction stopping House’s competing production of P&P.]
Ernest W. Smith for Revue des Revues, Paris wrote to ask Sam’s opinion on “the 40 best authors of works of fiction” [MTP].
Dorothy Tennant Stanley (Mrs. Henry M. Stanley) wrote to Sam accepting his invitation to stay with them, but mentioned she would have her mother, Mrs. Tennant along. “Because you speak of the ‘jungles of Hartford’ and as there is perhaps no hotel in that wild place, I should not like to leave my mother to go on alone to some neighboring town” [MTP].
October 13 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mary Mason Fairbanks, who evidently had written asking about the family (her letter not extant).
Susy is a freshman at Bryn Mawr, poor child; we left her there a week ago, & it’s about the longest week the almanac was ever furnished to this fambly. Livy’s health is rather shabby….Clara decides to stay out of college & devote herself to music….We haven’t forecast Jean’s future yet, but think she is going to be a horse jockey & live in the stable.
Clara was taking piano lessons twice monthly in New York from Miss Jessie Pinney (later Baldwin), and practiced three hours a day. The Clemens family met Pinney at their summer stay in Onteora [MTMF 265-6; MTNJ 3: 580n27]. Sam wrote in his notebook during this period that “Miss Pinney is a ‘Confused Christian’” [n27].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond that he was going to the Stanley Club dinner on Nov. 8, and was thinking of a trip he would make five years later:
I shall want you to tell me what your plans are for the Pacific coast. One of these days — or years — I’m going out there to read a few nights, & I like to travel in illustrious company [MTP].
Note: this would have been rare bait for Pond, who often and without success, had tried to engage Mark to tour. Now that financial pressures were great, the idea of doing platform performances for money, not charity, was in his thoughts.
Sam also wrote to Candace Wheeler responding to her invitation (also not extant) for a summer stay the next year, and also an offer from Mr. Thurber (probably Candace’s father as Thurber was her maiden name).
It is a lovely offer, a seductive & splendid offer, & it costs us many a a pang to have to decline it.…But we’ve got to let our children clamor as they may for a return to these happy hunting grounds. We must spend next year in Europe; & we are unpractical people who shudder at the base idea of looking further ahead than a year at a time.
Sam added an apology for the delay in answering but they’d been away so much and had been so rushed; he promised to send back some plans Candace had sent, content unknown [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Freidrich Reimer in Germany, thanking him for the German edition of P&P. He was “charmed with the translator’s work,” and thought it “admirably done” [MTP].
Charles E. Flandrau for Flandrau, Squires & Cutcheon wrote to Sam enclosing check for $272.50, a 5% dividend on St. Paul Roller Mill Co. [MTP].
Clara L. Newkirk wrote from Kansas City, Mo to Sam. She had written a book (not named) and would be “glad to have you examine the manuscript.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “You know what to answer, Brer / SLC” [MTP].
October 14 Tuesday – C.M. Dally wrote on Hartley & Graham, Arms & Ammunition, N.Y. letterhead to ask Sam for a copy of his letter to the Queen. Sam wrote “Brer Refer him to Harper’s Magazine” [MTP].
Denning & Co. N.Y. dealer returned Sam’s check for $1.40 for a bill paid twice [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to his dear “Mark,” enclosing a schedule for Stanley’s lecture tour of the US.
Very glad to get your letter. I knew you were to be at the Stanley Club dinner. Your name & Nye’s & DePew were the only ones suggested outside the Club….Have you got it down to go to Boston with us Nov. 18 & to introduce Stanley? [MTP].
George H. Warner wrote to Sam (clippings of 2 letters encl.): “I think you told me you had not seen the enclosed, which I have just come across in my desk and send to unkindle your hate.” The newspaper clippings, from the N.Y. Dramatic Mirror of Aug. 12 and Aug 18, a letter from Frohman to House, and from House to the Editor, respectively [MTP].
October 15 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall about book matters — he’d go along with Hall on a proposed book by Charles Warren Stoddard; he didn’t think much of a book by Edison because he knew Edison wouldn’t have the time to write it and it would only be marginally profitable, perhaps; He planned to send George Lathrop to ask Edison if he might dictate a book using the phonograph. Sam also had Edwin Booth in mind for a book — he’d spent time with him after the Pryor dinner on Oct. 9 and felt a talk with him might be profitable [MTP].
Sam also wrote a note of apology to Candace Wheeler:
I am simply buried under sackcloth & ashes! The ass who does clerical work for me did up the plan in paper without enclosing anything to protect it from getting crushed in the mail…I have his remains on ice, & subject to your order [MTP]. Note: the subject of the plans is unknown, but Livy was involved and mentioned in this and the Oct. 13 letter.
A.B. de Frece for Stanley Reception sent Sam another form letter, this one (as my letter of 1st. inst) to “please find your stage entrance ticket and Reception Committee Badge, for which kindly remit the amount Ten Dollars to Mrs Geo.M. Grant, Treas….” [MTP]. Note: the ticket is in the MTP file, which suggests Sam did not use it.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam about two books: the Jenness-Miller book which he enclosed a vote form for, and a book by Stoddard, which wasn’t to be taken on a royalty until plates were paid for. The first book was “to cover dressing, care of the body, exercise and all other kindred subjects in which ladies are interested.” As for the other, Hall wrote, “I am at a loss what to do in regard to Stoddard’s book. His other books have been successful….principally published by Harper.” He felt they would take “very little risk in losing anything” on the book but wondered why Stoddard wanted no money until the plates were paid for [MTP].
The New York Daily Standard, Vol. VIII No. 16 p.11 carried a notice urging readers to write Mark Twain asking for a book on the Single Tax. This explains the many letters he received asking for something on the idea [MTP note in 17 Oct 1890 Alley to SLC file].
October 16 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Daniel Whitford, his N.Y. attorney with Alexander & Green, about the continuing saga of the P&P dramatizations in the courts.
Frohman acknowledges that Mrs. Richardson has rights by continuing to pay a portion of her royalties to her. Is that not a confession that I have rights also? Am I to be insulted in this brutal way by this son of a bitch & have no recourse? [MTP]. Note: Amid all the injunctions and legal battles, Sam did not receive royalties on the plays.
Sam also wrote to an unidentified clothier apologizing for a delay in paying a bill. He sent a check and wrote if the clothes were ready to send them to his Hartford address [MTP].
Phineas Taylor Barnum inscribed his book, Dollars and Sense; or How to Get On. The Whole Secret in a Nutshell (1890): To Saml. L. Clemens, Esq. (Mark Twain) with kind regards of P.T. Barnum, Bridgeport, Conn., Oct. 16, 1890 [Gribben 48].
Robert F. Gibson wrote to Sam suggesting he write on the issue of the Single Tax and “examine the possibilities of the subject for pathos and humor.” Sam wrote, “Advice gratis” on the envelope [MTP].
Candace Wheeler wrote to Sam about the impression his family made on them at Onteora, and renewed her offer of a lot for them to build on there [MTP].
October 17 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James B. Pond, who’d asked about the P&P play controversy:
There are two Prince & Pauper plays — one in the hands of a pirate [House], the other in the hands of a person who is the same thing without the name [Frohman]. God be thanked I have no influence with either [MTP].
Henry Ware Alley wrote urging Sam to send his views on the Single Tax to The Standard [MTP].
Katherine (Kate) Foote wrote from Colton, Calif. to Sam. She wished his CY book wasn’t sold by subscription and thought it useless to ask a bookseller for it and so she wrote to him for it [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to ask when Sam would be down. Could Hall come up to Hartford sometime next week? Sam wrote on the envelope, “Come up if he likes, Brer. I don’t go down soon. But give me 24 hours notice before coming / SLC” [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote a potpourri to Sam: more physical ailments of Ma. Judge Miller would be buried Saturday in Keokuk, which was now well lighted with electric lights. Orion hoped Sam could succeed in getting Senator Jones to “take hold of the machine.” [MTP].
E.T. Ryan receipted $15.63 for eggs, chickens Apr 14, 24, 28, May 5, 13, 20, July 17, 20, 23, Sept 7, 9, 26, Oct 4, 11, 17 [MTP].
October 18 Saturday – William J. Bok for The Bok Syndicate Press, N.Y. wrote to Sam: “May I not be favored with your literary plans for the balance of the Autumn and the coming Winter? ….Allow me to enclose one of our recent literary letters” [MTP].
George E. Chase wrote from Philadelphia to ask Sam if he would consider the Single Tax [MTP].
J. Hagerty for Hagerty & Sons, Burlington, Iowa wrote asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
October 19 Sunday – W.J. Bolton wrote from Poughkepsie, N.Y. (sp?) asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
William O. Foley for Ewing & Co. wrote from Greensburg, Ind. asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
Edward Herrmann wrote from St.Paul, Minn. asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
C.V. Harbottle wrote from Phila asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
October 20 Monday – Susy Clemens wrote about life at college:
I am glad of course that I am in Bryn Mawr as I was working all last year to get in and now that I am here there is a great deal that I enjoy most thoroughly. The work is delightful and the people are lovely and altogether Bryn Mawr is an ideal place, but oh! it does not, can not compare with home! [Salsbury 283].
B.C. Stickney wrote from Brooklyn asking Sam to “Please set me down for one copy of your book on the land question, if you should write one” [MTP].
October 21 Tuesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam:
Our poor dear mother is losing ground. She has almost quit eating and hs long alternations of sleeping and restlessness…weakness increases. We are trying a few drops of King’s cure for consumption for her cough. [Orion included a few pages of history for Sam’s game] [MTP].
James A. Ford wrote from Sioux City, Iowa asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
A.P. Freund wrote from Chicago asking Sam to use the Single Tax (land question) as the basis for a book [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam estimating it would now take four months “for us to have the ‘L.A.L’ on a paying basis.” He included a financial summary, estimating it would take 2,905 books a month, or 112 a day “to cover all expenses, etc.”; assets and liabilities were summarized [MTP].
October 22 Wednesday – Edwin Reed wrote from Chicago to Sam: “I take the liberty to send you, by current mail, copy of a brief I have drawn up in he pending suit, Bacon vs. Shakespeare.” Sam wrote “No Answer” on the envelope [MTP].
October 23 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote a few pages to Joe Goodman, all about typesetter developments and plans. The New York World published an “elaborate & highly complimentary account of the Rogers machine,” which Sam argued produced one-sixth the output of the Paige in a given time.
I guess it is another stock-jobbing operation — it can’t be anything else. The machine has nothing but certain death before it.
I wish you could get a day off & make those two or three Californians buy those privileges [Jones, Mackay, and probably Hearst], for I’m going to need money before long.
I don’t know where the Senator [Jones] is; but out on the coast I reckon.
I guess we’ve got a perfect machine at last. We never break a type, now, & the new device for enabling the operator to touch the last letters & justify the line simultaneously works to a charm.
With love to you both, Mark [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Frederick J. Hall in New York:
Come up here next Tuesday [Oct. 28], and let me know your train. I shall be away until Monday night [Oct. 27].
Sam wanted Hall to “tackle Whitmore” and agree to borrow $10,000 for a year at “8 or 10 per cent,” something he did not want to do earlier [MTP]. Note: Sam’s mother passed away on Oct. 27, and he likely did not receive word till Oct. 28. He was headed to Bryn Mawr the next day.
Annie J. Markham, 17-year old in Allegheny Penn. who had read “every line” by Mark Twain, asked for “a few words in your own dear handwriting” [MTP].
W.H. Merriam wrote from N.Y. to ask Sam to insert “selections” in a volume of American Humorists he was preparing for Walter Scott’s Camelot Series. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Ask him to name the ones he wants” [MTP].
October 24 Friday – Sam and daughter Clara Clemens took the train from Hartford at 12:25 p.m. They got off at New Haven and took a Shore Line boat with a parlor car, all the way to Philadelphia. Sam thought it a “Mighty lovely trip.”
Dining room on the boat, skirting around New York, & an hour & ten minutes to eat (a poor) dinner in. Ben [Clara] ate two buttered rolls at New Haven & nearly a thimble full of baked potato on that boat.
They arrived at the Broad Street station some fifteen minutes late with the 7:15 p.m. Bryn Mawr train ready to leave; it was held in wait for the pair and they reached the college in an hour.
…walked to the College — no Susy there — gone to a dance, some girls said. But in a moment Susy burst in — she had heard of our arrival. She was for going straight & hospitably to her room & giving up the dance; but I wouldn’t allow that. Clara didn’t seem tired, & I wasn’t, & had been free from rheumatism all day & was feeling like a bird; so I joined the crowd.
To my joy it turned out that the dance was here — right at home. I danced two Virginia reels & another dance, & looked on & talked the rest of the time. It was very jolly & pleasant, & everybody asked after & was disappointed when I said you hadn’t come.
Sam wrote the above at 10:40 p.m. from the Summit Grove Inn, just after the dance. His daughters had left in a bus for the College. He sent his love and said he had to write John Brusnahan, foreman for the New York Herald’s compositors, before retiring [LLMT 258-9]. Note: letter to Brushahan not extant.
F.C. Clarke wrote a postcard asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “The doctor has prepared us for the end at any moment. Ma has almost lost the power of articulation” [MTP].
Hartford and New York Transportation Co. billed $1, $1.24, and $.050, all charged Oct. 27 for transport of a barrel of apples, oil, case of mineral water [MTP].
October 25 Saturday – Sam and Clara Clemens were in the second day of their visit at Bryn Mawr College with Susy.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that he would be “up next Tuesday on the train that leaves New York at 8 o’clock and arrives Hartford at 11.38” [MTP].
October 26 Sunday – Sam and Clara Clemens were in the third and last day of their visit at Bryn Mawr College with Susy. See Nov. 4 from Burdette.
In Hartford Livy wrote to her mother:
Jean and I went to church this morning it was grey and chilly. We are alone in the house, Mr. Clemens and Clara having gone down to Bryn Mawr to spend Saturday and Sunday with Susy … I wish there was some way to change our manner of living but that seems next to impossible unless we sell our house….Mr. Clemens is reading aloud to me Mr Stanley’s new book which we are enjoying very much indeed [Salsbury 283-4; MTNJ 3: 588]. Note: Henry M. Stanley’s In Darkest Africa was published by Charles Scribner’s Sons in July 1890. Sam had chased Stanley long and hard for his book; it’s not clear why Stanley chose another US publisher.
October 27 Monday – Jane Lampton Clemens, Sam’s mother, died at age 87.
Sam and Clara Clemens left Bryn Mawr and arrived back in Hartford by evening where they were met with the news of Jane’s death, probably by telegram from Orion and Mollie Clemens [Oct. 23 to Hall].
James G. Batterson for Travelers Insurance, Hartford wrote to Sam: “News from Bryn Mawr received. I shall be at my office all day to-morrow” [MTP].
Frank C. Drake for Baltimore American wrote to ask Sam for “two stickfuls of matter relative to Thanksgiving” for their article on American Humor [MTP].
John Alexander Steuart (1861-1932) wrote from London to Sam, sending him “a volume of letters to Living Authors” just published by Sampson Low & Co. “Would be glad to know that the book is not wholly distasteful to one whose writings have long been my delight.” Sam wrote, “Will Answer” on the envelope [MTP] Note: MTP has listed this as J.A. Stewart, perhaps an alternative spelling. . Letters to Living Authors 1890.
Daniel Whitford wrote to warn Sam not to respond to a telegram by Will E. Burton, a man he judged a pirate trying to dramatize TS. “There was a contract I think with Olive Logan but I have never seen it that I remember, but this has nothing to do with it” [MTP].
Summit Grove House; J. Warner Arthur, receipted $7.50 for 2 1/2 days board at 2.00 = 5.00; 5 extras 2.50 [MTP]. Note: For Sam and Clara’s stay at Bryn Mawr.
October 28 Tuesday – Sam endured the grueling 24-hour turned into 48-hour train trip to Hannibal, Mo., for his mother’s funeral.
From his notebook:
Oct. 28. Left at 8.03 a.m. Left Springfield at 10.32 a.m. Should have reached Chicago at 10.10 next a.m. Really got there 6.45 p.m. Took C.B. & Q at 10.30 p.m. Due at Quincy without change at 8.30 next morning. Hannibal at 9.55 [3: 592].
Will Bowen wrote from New Orleans, condolences to Sam on reading of the death of Jane Lampton Clemens. “Well old friend I see by the AM paper, that ‘The Girls have come[’] and the dear good old Mother has gone to the Picnic at last….Well Sam! Not many have lost better Mothers than you and I — none perhaps have loved them better, but this does not stay the inevitable.” Will asked Sam if he’d come and visit this winter [MTP].
J.M. Plade wrote from Chicago asking Sam to use the Single Tax as the basis for a book [MTP].
William Winter wrote a short note of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote condolences and a word of wisdom to Sam:
A boy has only one own mother in his whole life, and when she is gone this world can never be quite the same to him any more. God bless you, and bless us all. Yours with much affection [MTP].
William C. Wright (Dan De Quille) wrote from Bournemouth, England to Sam.
I have just received the N.Y. Standard & note your name as being one who has done a great deal of good by showing up abuses & doing it in a very pleasant way so that many rather like being dosed in such a skillful manner, who bar the doors securely against an ordinary truth teller. … / Your latest work is just about perfection…/ I fear you will not find out the reason of my bothering you. It is simply to request you to write a book showing the reason of so much poverty in the wealthiest age the world has seen [MTP].
October 29 Wednesday – Sam arrived in Chicago at 6:45 p.m. and left at 10:30 p.m. He would arrive at Hannibal the next morning, Oct. 30, the day of the funeral.
October 30 Thursday – Sam arrived in Hannibal at 9:55 a.m. Jane Clemens was buried in the afternoon under a large tree at Mount Olivet Cemetery, next to the graves of her husband John Marshall Clemens, and son, Henry Clemens. Sam left for home again in the evening [MTNJ 3: 592n67; Powers, MT A Life 532].
From Burlington, Iowa Sam wrote to Orion and Mollie Clemens, thanking them both for their faithful service in taking care of Jane Clemens “these terrible 8 years.” His trip back was stalled.
If I had only got off at Quincy I should have been in Chicago at 9.30 this morning & fairly rested up. My train is 7 hours late & any connections are all ruined [MTP].
October 31 Friday – Sam arrived back home in Hartford, either late in the evening or in the wee hours of Nov. 1.
November 1 Saturday – Orion Clemens wrote two one-page letters to Sam:
I am very sorry you were delayed; but it could not be foreseen. / You have nothing to regret toward Ma. You did all you could, and really and generously; but I feel that your praises are real deserved. I am stung with remorse. If I had her back I would recall and abolish every harsh or over-done modulation of voice; I would talk and listen to her more; I would cheer her oftener with hopes of the impossible.
In his second letter Orion wrote on behalf of John Fry, a friend who used to work on the Keokuk Gate City and was now in Washington. Fry was notified to send a picture and life sketch of Mark Twain (or possibly Orion; the letter is not clear) to a newspaper syndicate. Orion wanted to pass it by Sam before he complied [MTP]. See Nov. 13 entry.
Parke Godwin (1816-1904) American Journalist, wrote from Roslyn, N.Y. to Sam: “I saw in the paper yesterday that you were going to try a little wickedness, after having been moderately good all your life. I was so glad to hear it” [MTP].
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $7.35 for Oct 6, 17, 25, 27: wheat bag, provender, bran; Paid Nov. 5 [MTP].
November 2 Sunday
November 3 Monday – Livy wrote to her mother about Susy:
We get rather homesick letters from Susy still. I am afraid when she goes back after being home for Thanksgiving that she will be still more homesick [Salsbury 283].
November 4 Tuesday – Robert J. Burdette wrote from Bryn Mawr, Penn. to Sam:
I came home to save the country and find waiting for me something I would rather read than the President’s message any time — a letter from you. Having saved the country and read your letter, I am off for the wars again. / Robert the junior said he saw you crossing the College grounds Sunday a week ago, but the rest of the family laughed him to scorn and said he had seen a spirit. But the phantom which we are now convinced that he saw, will always be a most welcome ghost at our material dinner table [MTP].
Charles J. Langdon wrote to ask Sam to advise him by mail of Henry M. Stanley’s address as they wanted to get him to Elmira during his lecture tour [MTP].
November 5 Wednesday – Among those sending condolences on the death of Jane Clemens, Laurence Hutton’s note is not extant. Sam answered it today:
I thank you for the kind & sympathetic words. My sorrow was appeased when I saw the serene face in the coffin, every trace of care gone from it, & only repose & peace visible there [MTP].
William Winter also wrote on Oct. 28. Sam thanked him and observed:
My mother was very old — 87 — & has been threatened with death for some years, now, at times, with intervals of vigorous recuperation between; but her restorations to bodily health were not to her own profit, because they gave new lease to mental tortures — hallucinations which as often took the form of malignant persecutions & insult as any other. And so, for eight years she had as a rule a worn & hunted look [MTP].
Sam wrote to Lewis Morris Iddings, letter not extant but referred to in Iddings’ Nov. 16 [MTP].
November 6 Thursday – Katherine (Kate) Foote wrote to Sam thanking him for a book (unspecified) sent for an Indian boy; she would let the doctor take it to the reservation and would let Sam know what the boy thought of it [MTP].
Cecilia Fosbery wrote from London to Sam; she met him four years before while staying at the Hotel Capitol in Hartford with her father, who was doing work at the Colt factory. She asked Mark Twain for his autograph for the wife of Dr. Hutchinson Tristram, “a very well known man…He wants one of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s” — was it possible? [MTP].
James T. White & Co., publishers, N.Y. wrote to Sam acknowledging his “esteemed favor” (letter) about preparation of a sketch of his life for the proposed National Cyclopædia of American Biography, specimen page enclosed (showing Chauncey M. Depew’s sketch on one column) [MTP].
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam sending a form for him and Livy to sign. The form is not enclosed but is described by Whitford as “the best that can be done” to “hold against your creditors,” and so appears to have been some sort of a transfer of assets should creditors come after them, which, ironically was ultimately done in 1894. Sam wrote on the envelope, and a note from Whitmore to Whitford also in the file to the same effect: “Brer, return it to Whitford & say Mrs. Clemens who did not know of the project, refuses to allow it to be done. / SLC” [MTP].
November 7 Friday
November 8 Saturday – Sam went to New York, and if the Tribune letter of Nov. 11 is to be believed, arrived at 11:25 a.m., leaving after a few hours for home, after an altercation with a horse-car conductor. He then wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Sun which ran in the newspaper the next day as “An Appeal Against Injudicious Swearing”:
To THE EDITOR OF THE SUN — Sir: Doubtless you city people do not mind having your feelings hurt and your self-love blistered, for your horse car and elevated road service train you to patience and humble-mindedness, but with us hayseed folk from the back settlements the case is different. We are so delicate, so sensitive — well, you would never be able to imagine what it is like. An unkind speech shrivels us all up and often makes us cry. Now, the thing which happened today a New Yorker would not mind in the least; but I give you my word it almost made me want to go away and be at rest in the cold grave.
I stepped aboard a red Sixth avenue horse car — No. 106 — at Sixth avenue and Forty-second street at 11:45 this morning [Nov. 8], bound down town. Of course there was no seat — there never is: New Yorkers do not require a seat, but only permission to stand up and look meek, and be thankful for such little rags of privilege as the good horse-car company may choose to allow them. I stood in the door, behind three ladies. After a moment, the conductor, desiring to pass through and see the passengers, took me by the lappel and said to me with that winning courtesy and politeness which New Yorkers are so accustomed to: “Jesus Christ! what you want to load up the door for? Git back here out of the way!” Those ladies shrank together under the shock, just the same as I did; so I judged they were country people. This conductor was a person about 30 years old, I should say, five feet nine, with blue eyes, a small, dim, unsuccessful moustache, and the general expression of a chicken thief — you may probably have seen him.
I urged him to modify his language, I being from the country and sensitive. He looked upon me with cold and heartless scorn, thus hurting me still more. I said I would report him, and asked him for his number. He said, in a tone which wounded me more than I can tell, “I’ll give you a chew of tobacco.”
Why, dear sir, if conductors were to talk to us like that out in the country we could never, never bear to ride with them, we are so sensitive. I went up to Sixth avenue and Forty-third street to report him, but there was nobody in the superintendent’s office who seemed to want to converse with me. A man with “conductor” on his cap said it wouldn’t be any use to try to see the President at that time of day, and intimated by his manner, not his words, that people with complaints were not popular there, any way.
So I have been obliged to come to you, you see. What I wanted to say to the President of the road was this — and through him say it to the President of the elevated roads — that the conductors ought to be instructed never to swear at country people except when there are no city ones to swear at, and not even then except for practice. Because the country people are sensitive. Conductors need not make any mistakes; they can easily tell us from the city people. Could you use your influence to get this small and harmless distinction made in our favor?
MARK TWAIN [MTP].
Note: This article was reprinted in other newspapers as “New York Civility.” The conductor, Thomas F. Shields was fired due to Sam’s complaint [MTNJ 3: 592n69]. See Nov. 15, 21, May 11, 1891
Livy wrote again to her mother that from her letters Susy seemed better and “the last one was not as homesick as the other ones have been” [Salsbury 283].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam and enclosed a “Books sent out during October, 1890” with a total of 8,390 including 1,973 CY. “I have written General Langdon as per your instructions. / I enclose report for October 1890. Last October (’89) our sales were 2824, showing a pretty good increase.” Hall noted that older books were selling well: “McClellan, Genesis, Hancock, Custer, &c.” [MTP].
November 9 Sunday – Sam’s Nov. 8 letter, “An Appeal Against Injudicious Swearing,” to the New York Sun ran on page six (see Nov. 8).
Frank Curtiss, president of the Sixth Avenue Horse-Car Co. began a letter to Sam he finished Nov. 12, and which ran in the Nov. 13, 1890 N.Y. World p,4 “Mark Twain Gains His Point”:
Dear Sir: Your public letter in a New York paper regarding treatment you received on our line from one of our conductors has come to our attention. We have investigated the matter and the conductor of the car admits the charges you make, except that his first remark was not intended for you. His excuse is that he had been annoyed by a drunken passenger until his patience was exhausted and was not in good humor when you boarded the car. There is no question but what a conductor is insulted many times to one insult he gives, yet this is no excuse, as he is there as conductor to take what the public may give. I mention this not as a business excuse, but as a charitable excuse.
We have taken the conductor off.
Had you made your complaint direct to the Company instead of to the public the result would have been the same, except that the conductor would not have gone from us with the brand you have placed upon him — “chicken thief,” &c. which we, a corporation think does him a great wrong. Yours respectfully, FRANK CURTISS, President [MTP].
William Mackay Laffan wrote a short note from N.Y. to Sam: “There is a busted conductor in this town and your letter did it. Great fun!” His planned gathering for Wednesday “wont come off” but Sam could “drop in, all the same” [MTP].
November 10 Monday – MTNJ 3: 592n69 shows Sam’s Nov. 8 letter also running in the New York World.
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam (Webster & Co. to Langdon Nov. 8 encl.):
Enclosed I send you draft on New York for $10,000 which mother proposes to make as a loan to Livy. I also enclose a note for Livy to sign and return for the same. I have made the rate of interest 4% that is what mother kindly charges me for some funds of hers that I have. But I trust Livy will make Chas. L. Webster & Co. pay her 6% for the same [MTP].
St Louis, Keokuk & Northwestern RR of Keokuk receipted for 60lbs, “1 Bx H nuts; received of Orion Clemens to Samuel Clemens”, prepaid [MTP].
November 11 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall that his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon, had agreed to loan $10,000 for one year at six percent. He asked Hall to send her the firm’s note. After his signature Sam clarified, “(Her mother lends it to her)” [MTP].
Joseph Hatton wrote from N.Y. to Sam: “My lawyer in London is in negotiation with Mrs Berringer for the acting rights to Prince & P. in England. I suppose there is no doubt that she has your rights for England?” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Joseph Hatton (will answer him)” [MTP].
The New York Tribune of Nov. 11, 1890 took the opportunity to jab Mark Twain over the fired conductor incident. In full:
MARK TWAIN’S LETTER.
The Tribune observes with pleasure that Mr. Mark Twain, of Hartford, has been in town. New-York is always glad to have Mr. Twain visit her. She likes to have him come and put up at a hotel and stay a week and enjoy himself. And usually, we believe, he does enjoy himself when he comes; but this time we are sorry to see that his stay was marred by an unpleasant incident. He had trouble with a horse-car conductor. He has himself written a garbled and imaginative account of it, from which we shall make no extracts, but proceed to give the facts in the case exactly as they occurred.
Mr. Twain arrived at the Grand Central Station last Saturday at 11:25 o’clock a.m. He was approached by interested gentlemen wearing high hats of an earlier date, who said: “Keb, sir?” but Mr. Twain took no keb. He preferred to walk, and started out along Forty-second st. in the direction of the North River, carrying his gripsack in one hand and lunch-box and umbrella in the other. At exactly 11:45 he arrived at Sixth-ave. Here he boarded a red Sixth-ave. car, numbered 106, which was going downtown. He stopped on the rear platform long enough to pay his fare, but said nothing whatever to the conductor. Then he stepped just inside the door and, there being no vacant seat, reached up and secured himself by a strap and began to read the advertisements in the car, many of which were really of considerable merit. Soon others boarded the car, but they could not get in, as Mr. Twain blocked up the doorway. “Step right up front, there,” said the conductor in a loud voice. Twain did not move. Another passenger got on and looked at the humorist’s back. “Step right up forward — plenty o’ room up front,” yelled the conductor. Mr. Twain stood still and hung to the strap. Twice more did the conductor admonish the author to forget these things that were behind and press forward, once tapping him gently on the back, but Twain held his own. The conductor became perplexed and did not know what to do. He began to suspect that his passenger could not move for some reason. He jumped off and ran ahead and got on the front platform and communicated his suspicion to the driver .
It happened that the driver was a patron of several circulating libraries and a man of extensive reading. After he heard the conductor he said: “I was a-reading Mark Twain about another feller that had a frog that could out-jump any other frog in Calaveras County. He was an awful jumper. But one day a stranger come along with jess an ord’nary plug frog an’ they got up a match, an’ the stranger’s frog hopped right away from the big jumper, an’ the stranger walked off with the money they had up. When he’d gone the feller tipped up his jumper an’ poured a double-handful of shot out of his mouth that the stranger had filled up his stomach with. Mebby somebody filled up that man that way so he can’t move. I tell you what, we oughter stand that feller on his head and pour the bird-shot out of him.” He accordingly stopped his horses and went in with the conductor, and together they seized Mr. Twain and turned him upside down and bumped the top of his head on the floor and pounded him on the back for two or three minutes. Of course, they were unsuccessful, but after they stood him on his feet he became very indignant and got off the car and walked back to Forty-second-st., where the company’s offices are situated, to report the outrage, as he considered it. Here he found, however, that all of the officers from the president down to the last assistant clerk, had gone fishing at Hellgate, and after waiting around a while, he decided to give up his stay in New-York, walked back to the Grand Central and took the twelve-forty train for Hartford, after a stay in the city of one hour and fifteen minutes.
These are the facts, cold, metallic facts, as we may call them, which can be substantiated. Mr. Mark Twain in his letter to the press tried to throw dust in the eyes of the New-York public. No conductor swore at him. If we so desired we could say that his letter is a tissue of falsehoods; as it is, we will say that it bristles with inaccuracies. We are the more surprised of this when we remember the almost idolatrous regard for truth which he has always heretofore shown in his public writings. But greater men than he have allowed passion to carry them away. We look for a general retraction and an apology to New-York from Mr. Twain by an early mail [Clipping at MTP; page no. not shown].
November 12 Wednesday – Robert Underwood Johnson for Am. Copyright League wrote to notify Sam that in the League’s Nov. 11 meeting Sam was elected a member of the Council of the League. Sam wrote on the env, “Brer, acknowledge this & receipt it for me / SLC” [MTP].
November 13 Thursday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Your letter this moment received. I have cut it in two above the word ‘private’ and shall mail it forthwith to Fry, with only this comment: ‘Sam sends me the enclosed which means, I suppose, that I am to write nothing, and you are to use nothing that I told you’”. Fry had been asked to do an article on the Clemens family [MTP]. See Nov. 1 entry.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing a note signed there payable to Livy. This is likely the $10,000 note and check from Langdon, a loan from Mrs. Langdon to Livy. Hall asked if Sam had seen the “good showing” report for October [MTP].
The Hartford Courant of Nov. 14, p.5, “Mr. Burton’s Lecture for the Indian Association,” reported a lecture at the Clemens’ residence this afternoon:
The third and final lecture by Richard E. Burton for the benefit of the Indian Association was delivered yesterday afternoon at the residence of Mrs. S.L. Clemens on Farmington avenue. The lecturer chose for his subject, George Meredith, the English novelist, and was listened to by an audience which filled the spacious rooms. [Note: Livy was active in Indian charities. See Sam’s opinion of Meredith.]
November 14 Friday – C.R. Plummer, Special Agent, Lowell, Mass., special orders on dictionaries, “Atlases, Encyclopedias” wrote to Sam (clippings encl.) noting changes in a circular sent to him by Webster & Co. [MTP].
November 15 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Joseph Hatton of the N.Y. Herald that it had been “an age since we foregathered in London.” Sam was reminded that he was old. Hatton’s Nov. 11 confessed he’d missed the P&P play in Brooklyn, which was Edward H. House’s version. “Not much loss,” Sam wrote. As for visiting the Hattons in New York, Sam wrote,
I suppose I shall get to New York but seldom this winter, as the recent death of my mother has withdrawn me from festivities, & the indifferent health of my wife inclines me to shut myself up at home & be as good company as I can myself since she hasn’t any other [MTP].
Thomas F. Shields the conductor fired for his Nov. 8 behavior to Sam in New York, wrote a letter of apology and entreaty for Sam to intervene for him with his employer. Shields sent the letter to the wrong address and also to “Mr. Geo Clements (Mark Twain),” which should have been enough for Sam to round-file it, but Sam had Fred Hall write to the president of the Sixth Avenue Railroad Co. and Shields got his job back [MTNJ 3: 594n72].
November 16 Sunday – Sam’s notebook entry for this day lists songs given at an evening concert given by the Fisk University Jubilee Singers in Hartford’s Asylum Hill Congregational Church. These include, “I know that my Redeemer Lives,” “Steal Away,” and “It Causes me to Tremble,” which Sam noted was “Beautiful.” In between songs the Rev. C.W. Sheldon, secretary of the American Missionary Association, who was traveling with the group; and Joseph Twichell, and some of the singers gave short speeches. The concert was a fund raiser to build a theological seminary for southern blacks [3: 593n71].
Lewis Morris Iddings (1850-1921) journalist at this time with the N.Y. Evening Post, wrote from N.Y. to Sam:
Your note of the 5th was duly received, I was sorry to know that the Drawing Room was not [open] & have the pleasure of meeting you this season. / Pray do not consider me intrusive if I offer you my sympathies in the sadness which you must feel on the death of your aged mother. [Iddings hoped] they might meet at the University Club in N.Y. sometime. [Sam wrote on the envelope, “Iddings Will write him”] [MTP].
H. Potts for the Grand Haven, Mich. Courier-Journal wrote to ask Sam for “a brief sketch of your life” for a lecture he was preparing. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Send him the printed slip & say it is all there is / SLC” [MTP].
Marshall P. Wilder wrote from N.Y. to invite Sam to breakfast with him at Delmonico’s next Sunday, Nov. 23 at 12 o’clock to meet Mr. E.S. Willard & Mr. James Halton of London [MTP]. Note: Sam would be on his way to Elmira that day.
November 17 Monday – Sam wrote to Joe Goodman in Fresno, letter not extant but referred to in Joe’s Nov. 24 [MTP].
S.F. Fleharty wrote two one-page notes to Sam about the “Street car incident” and firing of the conductor in N.Y. “Please don’t visit New York again! Chicago, with the World’s Columbian Exposition and Theo. Thomas in her embrace, yearns for you.”; Fleharty resented the way the N.Y. Tribune had made fun of Sam in the incident (See article Nov. 11) [MTP].
A.A. LeRoy wrote from New Paltz, N.Y. to Sam with the pithy: “I hope it isn’t true” and enclosed a clipping from the N.Y. Tribune dated Nov. 11, “Mark Twain’s Letter” [MTP]. Note: copied in Nov. 11.
William M. Stewart wrote to Sam (enclosed in Hall Nov. 8) [MTP].
Webster & Co. wrote to Sam with details of their two new books, A Concise Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge., and Inside the White House in War Times. Sam’s note on the envelope reveals this typed letter was from Hall, but it is not signed by him as was usual [MTP].
November 18 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam mailed a calling card with a mourning border to John Russell Young, congratulating his wife, Rose Fitzpatrick Young (1841-1881) and hoping “that she will always try to deserve her good fortune” [MTP]. Note: Mrs. Young’s achievement is not specified.
November 19 Wednesday – Rev. Edwin Pond Parker wrote to Sam upset at learning a “public reception” for H.M. Stanley would be given following his Hartford lecture, and solely to those who had paid $1 to hear him. He applied to Sam assuming that the Stanley’s would be their guest again [MTP].
An unidentified person from N.Y. sent Sam a critical note about the firing of the conductor [MTP].
Orion Clemens wrote two letters to Sam. The first letter is about Ma’s broach pin, and a will they found which settled the question of whom was to receive the pin; they had already sent the pin to Pamela, but Mollie was to have inherited it. Orion felt the will was written before Sam had children. He wanted Livy to have Ma’s afghan if she wished. The second note asked if Sam wanted Ma’s large bible, date 1817 — “has pa’s birth and marriage in his own hand — your birth in ma’s hand, &c” [MTP].
November 19 or 20 Thursday – This day or the day before, word by telegram arrived at the Clemens’ home that Livy’s mother, Olivia Lewis Langdon, was dying. Sam and Livy took the ten-hour trip to be at her side in Elmira.
November 20 Thursday – Stillman & Co., Agents, Hartford, billed $10 for re-dying seal coat: Livy wrote on bill: “Dear Sirs/ My absence from town must be my excuse for this bill’s remaining so long unpaid / O.L. Clemens”; Paid Dec. 21, 1890 [MTP].
Sam wrote to William J. Bok for Bok Syndicate Press, N.Y., objecting to a published paragraph in “Bok’s Literary Leaves” about Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher. Sam’s letter not extant but referred to in Bok’s apology of Nov. 28 [MTP].
November 21 Friday – Sam and Livy arrived in Elmira and went to Olivia Lewis Langdon’s bedside [Nov. 27 to Howells].
Thomas F. Shields, the fired N.Y. horse-car conductor, wrote to Sam after receiving his telegram several days before. Shields, upon applying back to the Horse-Car Co., was reinstated, albeit as an “extra conductor”; he wrote it would “take some time before I get a steady car again” [MTP].
Joseph P. Smith for Urbana (Ohio) Daily Citizen sent Sam a printed card asking him to “kindly indicate…which among the shorter poems of the English language is your favorite?” [MTP]. Note: an unused printed post card for return is with the letter. Likely Sam had no favorite or didn’t wish it known.
Daniel Whitford wrote to Sam restating the Frohman-House-Richardson fiasco on the P&P play:
You have a contract with Mr. Frohman allowing him to produce the play. He has been enjoined by the Court from producing it. When the injunction was served upon him, Mr. Frohman might have stopped, and you would have had no remedy against him until the injunction was removed. His engagements were evidently such that he could not stop, so he made an arrangement with House to give him a sum of money outright and pay over to his counsel the royalties due to you and Mrs. Richardson, to be returned when the suit between you and House was decided, if it was found that the injunction was properly granted. This, of course, cannot bind you as you had nothing to do with it. As between you and Mr. Frohman this is the situation: You sue him for the royalties and he defends on the ground that you had no right to contract with him for the production of the play. That involves a litigation of two or three years. Frohman may be worthless by that time. …
I now advise that we put the cause on the calendar and be prepared to try it in February….House’s play having failed will be a full moral justification for your throwing him overboard. If we are beaten in the court below we will go to the higher courts until the law is settled. Unless we show that we are in earnest this will hang along forever…[MTP].
November 21-24 Monday – Sometime after Sam and Livy left for Elmira, Jean Clemens, just past her tenth birthday was felled by a severe illness. Dr. E.W. Kellogg and Dr. Edward K. Root did not or could not diagnose what may have been the onset of epilepsy, which would attack her again at age sixteen [Powers, MT A Life 532; Nov. 26, 27 to Livy]. When word reached Elmira, Sam left again for Hartford and then to Bryn Mawr to retrieve Susy.
November 22 Saturday – Katy Leary (1856?-1934), the Clemens family’s longtime maid, wanted to telegraph Livy to return home. Young Jean Clemens was seriously ill; Dr. Kellogg agreed that Livy’s return was needed. Clara Clemens, now sixteen, overruled Katy and the doctor, arguing that Livy could not withstand such an arduous trip home from Elmira while her mother lay dying [Nov. 26, 27 to Livy].
Frederick J. Hall wrote two letters to Sam, the first forwarding a letter from William M. Stewart, San Francisco who wrote for Rollin M. Daggett, (in view of his “long acquaintance” with Sam). Daggett was impatient for his Hawaiian Legends book to be published. Hall wrote the letter was “nonsense from the beginning to the end. We did sell Mr. Daggett’s book by subscription.” Over 100 copies were sold and Hall felt it was not a book that could be sold by subscription: “…it is not of enough general interest” and that “At present we are out of pocket $1640.78” on the book.” Hall thought they should offer Daggett all the copies and plates of the book if he would make this loss good. [MTP].
In his second note, Hall wrote he’d seen Thomas F. Shields, the fired conductor who said he’d been reinstated [MTP].
November 23 Sunday
November 24 Monday – Sam probably spent the day traveling back to Hartford.
Wilson Barrett sent Sam clippings from the Nov. 14, 1890 issue of The Lantern newspaper, St. Helens, England about various dramatics there starring Mr. Wilson Barrett and Miss Eastlake [MTP].
Joe Goodman wrote from Fresno to Sam: “Your favor of the 17th was received to-day and an unacknowledged one of two or three weeks ago.” Joe couldn’t say when he might come east again. Senator John P. Jones was in San Francisco as of a few days ago and Joe had been trying to get away to see him there, “as well as Hayward, Hobart, and the others,” but of the 30 men on his ranch there wasn’t one he trusted to direct things in his absence [MTP].
November 25 Tuesday – Sam reached Bryn Mawr, Penn. too late to bring Susy home that day, and so had to spend the night. He wrote to Livy that Susy was “first rate.” It was in Susy’s parlor at 9:05 p.m. that he wrote his wife this short note:
We send a whole world of love to you. I’m going now to the cottage here on the grounds where I am to sleep. Goodnight, Dear Heart [MTP]. Note: it was Thanksgiving break at the school.
In Boston, Benjamin P. Shillaber (1812-1890) passed away of diabetes and heart failure [NY Times, Nov. 26, 1890]. Best remembered as “Mrs. Partington.” He was instrumental in Sam’s early literary career when he printed one of Sam’s first stories, “The Dandy Frightening the Squatter,” in the Boston Carpet Bag. See May 1, 1852. Note: Shillaber’s 1854 Life and Sayings of Mrs. Partington included stories about her nephew Ike; Norton notes that Ike influenced Sam’s creation of Tom Sawyer .
November 26 Wednesday – Sam brought Susy home to Hartford from Bryn Mawr. She would not return. Evidently she failed an algebra exam and did not wish to redo it, though her teacher, Miss Thomas, was eager to give her another chance. She was described at being “rattled,” no doubt from the bad news about her grandmother, and also about sister Jean; Susy had also suffered from an acute case of homesickness. At about 10 p.m., Sam began a letter to Livy, still in Elmira; he wrote of the day’s trip:
Susy & I came up to New York in the ordinary car & were very comfortable. We lunched at Russell’s, then took the train for Hartford & arrived here on time. Jean was full of life & looking first rate but a trifle pale. A little trace of fever, but that is gone now and her skin is moist. She has had faithful, constant & excellent nursing; Katy & Anna have done nothing else since you left. They have never left her alone a moment. They are both as good as they can be. But Katy’s place has been a hard one. She fully believed the right thing both Saturday & Sunday night was to telegraph you to come home & Dr. Kellogg inclined to her side, but Clara overruled them & was positive it would be utterly wrong to subject you to such a journey….Katy’s instinct was right & that you ought most certainly to have been telegraphed for. Katy said, “I couldn’t help but feel Mrs. Clemens would never trust us again.”
Lilly Warner was in for a while this evening & Dr. Root; both were full of sorrow for mother & of sympathy for you. You are having a bitter hard time Dear heart, & I would wish I were with you, but that I was so glad to be here so that I could telegraph you the exact truth & remove your anxiety about Jean.
The children are over at the Warner’s & I guess I will send for them, as it is about half past 10. Good night Darling, I Love You & I dread what may be passing there [MTP]. Note: Sam added a paragraph the next day.
Frederick J. Hall wrote two notes Sam, the first forwarding the card of Mr. T.P. O’Connor (editor of the Pall Mall Gazette) , 61 Carlisle Mansions, Victoria Street, S.W.; the second enclosing reports for the past two weeks (not extant).
By the first of the year, however, we will have a stock of books on hand that will be sufficient to last us until next Fall, if not later. We are careful in manufacturing these books, only making those that we are having a steady sale and we are sure to dispose of. We are not piling up any dead material [MTP].
James B. Pond wrote to Sam on the letterhead of “Stanley’s American Tour, Under the direction of Maj. J. B. Pond, On Board Pulman Palace Car ‘Henry M. Stanley’ En route,” to which Pond has added in his own handwriting in faded black ink, “Cleveland to Buffalo”:
Dear Mark: We are sweeping the country, Stanley nightly receptions and orations. Will you & Mrs. Clemens come to N.Y. Dec. 3rd and hear the story of the “Rear Guard” and go with us to Washington the 4th? Mr. and Mrs. Stanley join in this invitation most heartily. Mr. S. is an Angel without wings. Yours Sincerely, J. B. Pond [The Twainian (Sept.-Oct. 1976) p.3-4].
November 27 Thursday – Thanksgiving – Livy’s 45th birthday. Livy was still in Elmira at her mother’s bedside. She wrote Sam:
We had a bad fright last night, we thought mother was going, but after a time she got quiet and slept about four hours. It is a terrible time [MTP; A. Hoffman 362-3].
In Hartford in the morning, Sam finished his Nov. 26 to Livy.
Thursday, 9:30 a.m. Charley W. [Warner] is here; says if we are called to Elmira, Annie Price says she will come and stay till Dec. 4. Jean’s case is perfectly satisfactory now. Mrs. Bunce is visiting her this moment. I love you Darling, Sam’l. Charley’s telegram just arrived [MTP].
Sam also wrote a response to William Dean Howells’ letter of condolence (not extant). He thanked Howells for his sentiments and told of rushing home from Elmira to find out “the truth as to Jean’s condition,” and of the many telegrams from Elmira of the “steadily failing” Olivia Lewis Langdon. Sam was torn and expressed his sorrows to his old friend:
I ought to be there to a support to Mrs. Clemens in this unspeakable trouble, & so ought Susy & Clara; but Jean pleads to be not wholly forsaken; so, when the death-telegram falls, I think I shall stay with Jean & send Susy & Clara to their mother.
I have fed so full on sorrows, these last weeks that I seem to have become hardened to them — benumbed.
After his signature Sam added, “A Boy’s Town,” Howells’ memoir of his boyhood years in Hamilton, Ohio, was “perfect — as perfect as the perfectest photograph the sun ever made” [MTHL 2: 633].
Katy Leary, the longtime Clemens servant, remembered this time:
He’d joke about anything. He’d joke even at a funeral! I remember when Mrs. Clemens’ mother was dying. She was sick a long time, and Mrs. Clemens was in Elmira and kept telegraphing Mr. Clemens every morning to come that day. Finally he said he’d go, but the children all began to cry and hung on to him and begged him not to, so he hadn’t the heart to leave ‘em and he got terrible upset. So he went over to Mr. Warner and says: “Warner, I’ve written a letter to everybody who has a single drop of my blood in their veins and whose funeral I may ever have to go to, and I have asked them all to come and settle right down here within a radius of two blocks and just stay until they all die, so I won’t ever have to go out of town to attend their funerals! Yes, he’d joke about anything [LWMT 212].
November 28 Friday – In Elmira Olivia Lewis Langdon died. She was 80. Livy and her sister Susan Crane were with her, and Susy and Clara Clemens were on their way (they may have left this day or Nov. 29). A telegram (not extant) was sent to Sam in Hartford. He answered:
Livy darling, my heart goes out to you [MTPO].
In the evening Sam attended what he called a “matchlessly beautiful wedding,” between Miss Elizabeth Cheney, second daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Knight D. Cheney of South Manchester, and Alfred Cowles of Chicago. Dr. Edwin Parker performed the ceremony. A raft of Cheney’s attended as did the Charles Warner’s, the A.C. Dunham’s, Joe Twichell and the Misses Twichell, the Trumbull’s, and others [Hartford Courant Nov. 29, p.1 “Cowles-Cheney”]. Note: Sam, not listed in the Courant article but mentioned the wedding in his Nov. 29 to Livy
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam that the “exact amount of royalty paid to Mr. Stedman and Miss Hutchinson,”: $7,439.75 to the pair plus $500 divided between them for the completion of each volume, as per contract, making, “in round figures, $13,000 out of it so far, an amount Hall thought was more than any literary work they’d engaged in before. Mrs. Custer had received $1,832.84 to date [MTP]. Note: these amounts were obviously requested by Sam.
William J. Bok for Bok Syndicate Press, N.Y. wrote to apologize for a paragraph published to which Sam evidently objected to in a letter dated Nov. 20 that Bok mentioned. Bok included printed material from his “Bok’s Literary Leaves,” which was blue-penciled on a paragraph about Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher not writing her “Reminiscences” of her late husband until a “month or two ago” [MTP]. Note: perhaps Sam felt such a revelation might devalue her book.
Orion Clemens wrote to thank Sam for the $200 monthly check received.
I have sent out of it $10 to Puss, and have paid to the undertaker $75 and to the Doctor $40 on their accounts, leaving $114 yet due them.
Mollie and I join in hoping this birthday finds you in less suspense and anxiety than those of which your face bore such cruel marks the last 2 times we saw you [MTP].
November 29 Saturday – In Hartford around noon, having received word of his mother-in-law’s death, Sam wrote to Livy in Elmira:
Livy Dear, another night & another morning are past, & so we realize again that the world stands still for nothing — goes on & on, no matter what happens.
There have been some interruptions: a call from Charley Warner; from Henry Robinson; from Mrs. Cabell; from a Miss Prince & Lilly Warner; from a Mr. Gill, acquaintance of mine; from I don’t know who-all; & so I was glad enough when Mrs. Bunce arrived a while ago & went up to take the book which I had laid down so many times that Jean was about ready to forbid any further interruptions of her entertainment.
All those people left their love for you. At that matchless beautiful wedding last night—nobody there but old familiar friends—a great part of the talk was loving talk of you & mother [Note: Watson Gill; see Nov. 30; Isa Carrington Cabell. The wedding of Nov. 28 was the Cowles-Cheney. See entry ].
Sam confessed he’d lost his temper at Susy and Clara at the train station and thought about telegraphing his apologies. It is not clear if they left this morning or the day before.
At 3:30 p.m. Sam added a PS that he’d been reading to Jean for an hour when Katy Leary came up and insisted Jean rest. Sam came up with a good stand-in:
…I suggested sending for Satan [female cat] to take my place which was voted entirely; so Frances was sent for the cat, but brought up a basket of noble hot-house grapes & these cards & Jean hurried me off to express her thanks & reminded twice not to forget, intimating that it would be just my style to get in talking & forget all about the thanks — there, you see, it would never have occurred to you to remember a grace of that kind — & when I got down to the front door there was the manifest hand of Providence: for there sat Sin [Satan’s kitten], waiting — & I darted up to Jean. Mrs. Colt & Mrs. Beach were very sweet & sympathetic about you & Jean & mother.
Sam told of Mrs. Ellen C. Taft asking if she might send Livy a telegram; that telegrams frightened her; Sam confessed he wanted to hug her but didn’t.
He added a glimmer of humor after his signature; he told Livy that many people adored her, “But it is only on my account” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote Sam an analysis of Webster & Co.’s current situation:
The truth of the matter is just this: That we are developing a new line in our business and developing it rapidly — it is the trade line. Outside of “L.A.L” [Library of American Literature] three-quarters of the business we have done in the past six months has been in the trade line. It is a permanent line and the only way we can dispose of old books, and it is a line through which we can increase our business indefinitely” [MTLTP 262n3]. Note: Increased transportation efficiency had made subscription selling less viable.
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, declining an invitation to take a trip with him and the Henry M. Stanley’s. Pond was Stanley’s agent in a forthcoming tour of the U.S. After explaining his family situation, Sam added:
I am exceedingly glad the present rear guard is prospering handsomely & not likely to run out of beads & brass rods to buy its daily manioc with [MTP].
Note: manioc = cassava/casava, native to S. America and a staple there. Sam’s remark may be a whimsy relating Brazil, Indiana to Brazil, S. America. James Whitcomb Riley and Bill Nye were tag-team lecture phenoms currently in their last season together; Riley was a Hoosier; Pond stayed in Brazil, Ind. in 1889 and may have written from there again.
The Critic ran “The Way Mark Twain Impressed England” [Tenney 17].
Bessie Stone wrote from Auburndale, Mass. to send Sam prayers on his birthday [MTP].
November 30 Sunday – Sam’s 55th Birthday.
In Elmira funeral services and burial were held for Olivia Lewis Langdon. Livy was joined by her daughters, Clara and Susy Clemens. Sam remained in Hartford. From the Dec. 1 Elmira Daily Advertiser:
The funeral services of Mrs. Jervis Langdon were held yesterday [Nov. 30] afternoon at the family residence, corner of Main and West Church streets. The hour was 2 o’clock…the services were very simple, without music, and were conducted by the Rev. Thomas K. Beecher…. The interment was private, only the members of the family and their immediate friends attending the remains to Woodlawn.
She was laid to rest between her husband, Jervis Langdon, and Langdon Clemens, infant son of Samuel and Olivia Clemens in Woodlawn Cemetery. See Jerome & Whisbey, Mark Twain in Elmira p.161 for a cemetery plot chart.
In Hartford Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall relating three hours of “social stuff” talk with Watson Gill, the bookstore owner who had a contract with Webster & Co. to dispose of surplus books from subscription sales. Gill objected to the company moving into the trade business, but Sam’s situation was respected.
I liked Gill for one thing — he didn’t enlarge on the business when he found how I was situated. He had said he only wanted existing contracts lived up to. To which I answered, in effect, that the contracts are always able to take care of themselves when they are clearly and not confusingly worked; and that we always live up to our contracts.
I know you will do the right and fair thing; and I shall endorse your action and back it up [MTP].
December – Sam’s notebook for this month gives the titles of two books: Ludovic Halévy’s novel, L’Abbé Constantin (1882) and Anatole France’s novel, The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard. Sam would recommend the first in a letter from Washington, D.C. to Livy on Jan. 13, 1891 [MTNJ 3: 595].
December 1 Monday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam: “Cyclopedia of Religious Knowledge received. Thanks” [MTP].
Wm. B. Smith & Son, Flour, Grain, Feed, Baled and Loose Hay and Straw, Hartford, billed $48.61 for purchases Nov 8, 24, 25 for wheat, bran, provender oats, straw; Paid Dec. 5.
Neil Stalker, Fine Road and Track Harness, Horse Clothing, etc. billed $15.45 for items Sep 12, 19, Oct 1, 18, 31, Nov 14, 15, 21: chamois, sponges, lines, halter repair, collar rep. Castile soap, slipper & strap repair; Paid same day [MTP].
December 2 Tuesday – Sam declined an invitation, likely from Herbert Gunnison (1858-1932), publisher of the Brooklyn Eagle, as he suffered from “a domestic affliction,” likely the Nov. 28 passing of his mother-in-law, Olivia Lewis Langdon [Christie’s Lot 1 Sale 1083 May 24, 2002; avail online]. Note: Sam’s decline was in Gunnison’s autograph collection; Gunnison and Clemens were likely acquainted.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, apologizing for Watson Gill annoying him. He’d seen Gill and “patched up a truce with him, although as soon as our present contracts expire I shall take good care to make no other contracts with him as he is very unreasonable” [MTP].
December 3 Wednesday
December 4 Thursday – Joe Goodman wrote to Sam: “I took a run down to San Francisco for a day to see Jones. He told me there would be no use seeing Hayward or Hobart as they had recently sustained a loss of upward of a million in some mining speculation.” Jones told him that he wasn’t going to deal with men who would have to struggle to raise a quarter million, but was “going straight to Westinghouse, Carnegie, Morton, Jay Gould, etc. any one of whom, if he could get him interested, could organize the company without difficulty” [MTP].
Alexander Brown wrote to thank Sam “for having aided me with an advance order for The Genesis.” Brown hoped Sam liked the work and would be very glad to know his opinion of it. Sam wrote, “Don’t know what he is talking about” on the envelope [MTP]. Note: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. would send Brown’s book on Dec. 10, which is why Sam didn’t know yet. See Gribben 86.
December 5 Friday – Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam, financial statement enclosed. “Books sent out during November, 1890, showing 6,359 total including 824 CY. Hall asked Sam to notice that they were selling “a great many of your old books published by the American Publishing Company. This is all owing to our new store scheme.” Hall explained why November was below the prior month — very few of the total books sold were done by general agents. Nearly all were sold directly by the firm [MTP].
December 6 Saturday – James N. Kimball wrote to Sam asking for permission to use the story “Baker’s Blue Jay” [MTP]. See. Dec. 7, 8.
December 7 Sunday – In Hartford this day or the next, Sam wrote a note to Franklin G. Whitmore, directing him to tell James N. Kimball to “go ahead” [MTP]. See Dec. 6, 8.
December 8 Monday – Sam wrote to Houghton, Mifflin & Co. inquiring about Alexander Brown’s work, The Genesis of the United States. Brown wrote Sam on Dec. 4. Sam’s letter is not extant, but is referred to in Houghton’s Dec. 10 reply [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote a note for Sam to James N. Kimball, giving him permission to “use or reproduce the story shorthand from his book ‘The Tramp Abroad’ Namely: ‘Baker’s Blue Jay I am” [MTP].
J.A. Ekberg, “an artist out of employment” wrote from Troy, N.Y. to ask Sam’s help finding a position at “any publishing house.” Sam wrote, “No Answer” on the envelope [MTP].
December 9 Tuesday – Orion Clemens wrote to Sam and Livy. To Sam: “This express box contains Ma’s Bible, with the record of her great-grandfather’s death 120 years ago, her father’s snuff box, her own mother’s ring, with ‘P.L.’ for Peggy Lampton, who died 72 years ago, and other things.” To Livy: “Sam and I can sympathize with you in your great loss” (at her mother’s passing). Mollie also conveyed her sympathies [MTP
Dunham Wheeler wrote from N.Y. to Sam:
Whenever you come to New York will you bear in mind that the men who were at Onteora last summer are trying to make a practice of lunching very simply together ala Dutch treat every Saturday at one o’clock in the private Dining Room of the “Players Club”. Should you ever be able to join us you will be hailed with acclamations of delight. [Sam wrote, “Brer, tell him I will remember, & am much obliged to him for telling me” on the envelope] [MTP].
December 10 Wednesday – In Jefferson, Ohio, where he was visiting family, William Dean Howells sent a letter of condolence to Livy.
My dear Mrs. Clemens:
I did not think, when I wrote to poor Clemens the other day about his mother that I should so soon be telling you I grieved with you for the loss of yours. I am glad I knew your mother for to have known that gentleness was to have felt its blessing.
I am sorry for you with all my heart. Don’t vex yourself with any sort of answer [MTHL 2: 634].
Houghton, Mifflin & Co. wrote to Sam acknowledging his “of 8th inst. this morning” and they sent him Alexander Brown’s work, The Genesis of the United States. Sam wrote, “Pay it” on the env. [MTP].
December 11 Thursday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Mollie Clemens:
Give these to Al Patterson. I knew Doctor Hayes 20 years ago, when he assisted when father Langdon was on his death bed. I heard a few years later of Dr. Hayes’s wonderful cures of asthma, but had forgotten all about it [MTP]. Note: Sam likely sent information of the doctor’s cure, for Patterson, a Keokuk friend or neighbor.
December 12 Friday
December 13 Saturday – Sam took daughter Clara Clemens to New York on the 8:29 a.m. train from Hartford. Clara was taking piano lessons twice a month in New York from Miss Jessie Penney. Father and daughter traveled with Henry C. and Mrs. Robinson. Sam was seeking Robinson’s legal assistance in framing a new contract with James W. Paige. At the Players Club, Sam wrote a short note to Frederick J. Hall:
Got belated, or I would look in. Am leaving for home.
Please send Mrs. Clemens 2 copies of the cook book — new edition.
Also send vol. 9, L.A.L. to C.J. Langdon, Elmira. His copy never arrived or has been lost [MTP].
Note: L.A.L. was Library of American Literature.
Sam’s notebook records the train departure and also the return train they caught at 4 p.m. [MTNJ 3: 595].
Franklin Fyles, N.Y. wrote soliciting a sketch of 2,000 words, offering $100 [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing a weekly report (not extant). Hall thought since they’d soon have International Copyright — shouldn’t they approach Chatto & Windus about “handling some of their books here?” He cited examples of Besant’s works, James Payne’s and others he couldn’t recall that sold well in the US. Hall had seen Mr. Peacock (likely a hotel staff member at the Hoffman House) this day and arranged to have Sam notified immediately upon Senator Jones’ arrival in N.Y. A book sent to Miss Mary Lafferty by Sam’s instruction came back with a bad address on Greenwich Ave. Did Sam have a correct address? [MTP]. See MTLTP 263n3 for this letter.
Sarony, N.Y. photographer receipted Sam for $3 for 12 photographs [MTP].
December 14 Sunday
December 15 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Andrew Chatto, his English publisher, asking him to “tackle with attention” Fred Hall’s idea. Sam wished him a Merry Christmas [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Hall, encouraging him to “go for the good Chatto with” his “scheme, which is a wise one.” He explained the IA book was for a nursemaid of Jean’s who was now with the Rev. R. Heber Newton family, so to check the directory and send the book there [MTP].
At noon Sam dropped into Paige’s workshop to monitor work on the “merest trifle” fix on the typesetter. James W. Paige and his assistant, Charles Ethan Davis, were “still tinkering,” and promised “one hour” more work [Dec. 20 notebook entry 3: 596].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam. “Your favor received. The two cook books have been sent to Mrs Clemens and the Vol. 9 [LAL] to General Langdon” [MTP].
December 16 Tuesday ca., before – In Hartford Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder:
My Dear Gilder: C.N. Flagg, descendant of a tolerably long line of painters, is painting my portrait for exhibition in the Academy next spring: & he has made the sittings delightful with his tongue — repetitions of talks with his aged uncle George, (painter, of course) who knew everybody in art & literary circles in London a generation or so ago. Finally I said, “You’ve got a gold mine in that Uncle George of yours — why don’t you work it,” All right. First result, last night. I mean, first instalment of “Talks with my Uncle George” submitted in manuscript. Present, the Twichells Mrs. George Warner, Mrs. Clemens — the visitors there by accident. Well, sir, by cordial verdict of that court, this instalment is just charming. Actually this delightful talker writes as delightfully as he talks — or else he deceived us by masterly reading. I think Flagg is a discovery. Do you want him? Make me a bid & I’ll see whether you can have him or not. He is poor, but I’m not going to let him go cheap. Yrs. sincerely, S.L. Clemens [MTP from Goodspeed’s Catalog, No. 189, Item 62].
December 16 Tuesday – Richard Watson Gilder typed a postcard notifying Sam that “Talks with my Uncle George” had been received and he would read it [MTP].
Howard P. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam that so far he’d been unsuccessful in placing the CY play for this season after having interviewed “most of the New York managers…At present the play is under consideration by A.M. Palmer of the Madison Square and Palmer’s Theatre” [MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote a short note to Sam that he’d written Chatto and enclosed Sam’s letter. Hall would be on the lookout for a copy of Stanley’s book for him [MTP].
December 17 Wednesday – William J. Bok for Bok Syndicate Press wrote asking if Sam received his “letter of explanation” and was “much troubled” since he hadn’t heard back. He would be in Hartford in Feb. and would consider it an “honor to call.” He advised that Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher was “about to publish a series of most interesting articles for my brother Edward’s ‘Ladies’ Home Journal” [MTP].
Oscar Fischer wrote to Sam seeking to translate CY into Danish. Sam had Whitmore refer him to Chatto, as he did with all requests for translating his works [MTP].
December 18 Thursday – Sam’s notebook:
Framing new contract with Robinson & Whitmore [3: 595].
Note: note #80 here explains the new agreement aimed at guaranteeing Sam a nine-tenths interest in the typesetter even should Sam fail to buy out James W. Paige by the deadline of Feb. 13, 1891. Henry C. Robinson drew the contract, which would be sent to Paige on Dec. 26. See Paige’s response in that day’s entry.
Orion wrote to Sam for Mollie Clemens, who had a headache, about finding a memorandum of Ma’s that left the breast pin to Mollie, who wished “Livy would make some request” about some dresses of Ma’s [MTP].
December 19 Friday – Sam’s notebook:
Dec. 19/90 Take the 9th Ave. Elevated, every time. Passes within 1 block of both the Xstopher st & Desbrosses ferries. Take West shore car to 9th Ave. station. From hotel door to the ferry stations ½ hour is plenty of time. Came to N.Y. in early train with Beecher [3: 596]. Note: Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, pastor of the Elmira First Congregational, was in Hartford. It’s not known if the two had business together in N.Y. or merely shared the same car.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. We will order as set of Stanley. Have also sent a set of “L.A.L”, cloth, to Mr. Wales (Dr. Theron Augustus Wales?) A paragraph was given about having satisfied Watson Gill [MTP].
William Thomas Stead (1849-1912) for Review of Reviews, London, wrote to Sam, hoping that Sam didn’t think the “portrait in the Album which I send herewith is too atrocious a libel upon yourself.” If Sam had a better one he would get it. Stead announced that he was going to have his own office in N.Y. with Albert Shaw now editing the Minneapolis Tribune as his editor [MTP]. Note: Stead’s Portraits and Autographs (1890) is a book comprised of photographs, letters and an index of “readers and well wishers of the Review of Reviews,” with Sam’s “portrait” (about ten years old) and facsimile of his Mar. 17, 1890 letter to Stead on pages 62-3.
December 20 Saturday – Sam was becoming incensed at the endless delays and tinkering done on the typesetter by James W. Paige and his assistant Charles Ethan Davis. Sam’s notebook:
Dec. 20/90. About 3 weeks ago, the machine was pronounced “finished,” by Paige, for certainly the half dozenth time in the past twelvemonth. Then it transpired — I mean it was discovered — that North had failed to inspect the period, & it sometimes refused to perform properly. But to correct that error would take just one day & only one day — the “merest trifle in the world.” I said this sort of mere trifle had interfered often before & had always cost ten times as much time & money as their loose calculations promised. P.& Davis knew (they always “know,” never guess) that this correction would cost but one single day. Well, the best part of 2 weeks went by. I dropped in (last Monday noon) & they were still tinkering. Still tinkering, but just one hour, now, would see the machine at work, blemishless, & never stop again for a generation: the hoary old song that has been sung to weariness in my ears by these frauds & liars! Four days & a half elapsed, & still that “one hour’s” work was still going on, & another hour’s work still to be done. I have not heard how things stand, to-day. I wish they would get down to where one minute’s work would make a finish. In that case we should see the end, certainly, in, say, 15 years [3: 596].
J.A. Ekberg, an unemployed artist, wrote from Troy, N.Y. to Sam — this a follow up letter to his Dec. 8. Ekberg had not heard from Sam so wrote again asking for “a few lines”; he drew his portrait in pencil on the inside pane of the letter [MTP].
Roderick F. Farrell, N.Y. attorney, “broken in fortune” wrote to Sam for a loan. He mentioned IA and the Quaker City in 1867 (Farrell was not among those passengers or crew). He attached a five-inch news clipping about himself that revealed had been US Consul at Cadiz, Spain in 1868 [MTP].
December 21 Sunday – † In Hartford Sam telegraphed Frederick J. Hall:
Come up at noon [.] forever — damn the idiotic telephone [MTP]
December 22 Monday – Sam’s notebook:
Let Ham drop his indebtedness & 1/20 [3: 597].
Note: William J. Hamersley had not contributed his required on-going funds for the development of the typesetter, so Sam suggested forgiving the indebtedness and reducing Hamersley’s ownership share from 1/10th to 1/20th. In a later entry Sam wrote that the 1/20th from Hamersley should be given to Joe Goodman.
Century Magazine wrote to Sam thanking him for sending “Talks With My Uncle George” by Charles Noel Flagg. They would read it and let him know their decision as promptly as possible [MTP]. See Jan 26, 31, 1891entries.
December 23 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a letter to the editor of the New York World, which was published on Christmas day:
It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christian hope and aspiration that all of us — the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage — may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss — except the inventor of the telephone. MARK TWAIN / Hartford, Dec. 23
December 24 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James W. Paige, inviting him to “come out here day after tomorrow (Friday)” (Dec. 26) to discuss a new contract. Senator John P. Jones was to leave California for the East right after Christmas and Sam felt it best that he and Paige make an agreement “more satisfactory than the present contract” before Jones arrived. Sam enclosed another of those analyses of em rates, proof-corrections and overall costs per 1000 ems taking into account such factors as gas, wages, labor, etc [MTP].
December 25 Thursday – Christmas – Sam’s “A Christmas Hope” concerning the inventor of the telephone, ran on the front page of the New York World. See Dec. 23.
Sam wrote to James W. Paige, letter not extant but referred to in Paige’s Dec. 30 response. Sam had sent a contract or a request for Paige to sign a contract [MTP].
Franklin G. Whitmore reported to Sam that the typesetter was up and running again [MTNJ 3: 597 under Dec. 29 entry].
Charles D. Poston sent Sam a printed in blue card approx. 3×4 inches: “Arizona, Xmas, 1890” heading; “the Prince of Abyssinia from the valley of Raesselas, renews assurances of eminent esteem and ancient friendship.” Signed on the back by Poston, whose signature rivaled John Hancock’s [MTP].
December 26 Friday – Two days before, Sam invited James W. Paige to the house to clarify an new contract that would be presented to Senator John P. Jones by the two of them in Washington upon Jones’ return. Sam asked again for a meeting on Dec. 31, so it’s unlikely the meeting took place on this day. Sam had the proposed contract drawn by Henry C. Robinson, sent (probably by messenger or his servant) to Paige. The typesetter broke down again on this day [MTNJ 3: 597 under Dec. 29 entry]. Paige answered on Dec. 30.
Frederick J. Hall wrote that J.J. Little, printers for Webster & Co., had won the appeal of judgment:
At the beginning of the suit Little offered to compromise for $800.00, and Mr. Whitford advised Mr. Webster to accept the compromise, but Mr. Webster thought it best not to [MTNJ 3: 597n86].
Orion Clemens wrote to Sam thanking for his monthly $200 check. He sent $10 to Puss Quarles, paid the undertaker his balance of $65, the doctor his balance of $49, completing all outstanding bills. He hoped to finish his work on the English Kings within six months [MTP].
December 27 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote what he later called an “ill-tempered letter” that should be torn up to Frederick J. Hall.
I don’t believe Whitford. Webster was too big a coward to bring a suit when advised against it. The real mistake was in trusting law business to an ignorant, blethering gas-pipe like Whitford. I am not saying this in hatred, for I do not dislike Whitford. He is simply a damned fool — in court — & will infallibly lose every suit you put into his hands. If you are going to have any lawsuits with Gill, I beg that you will either compromise or have some other law conduct the thing.
Note: Watson Gill had an agreement with Webster & Co. to dispose of their surplus books in his bookstore, so when the company began selling to the trade, Gill felt it was a violation of their agreement and would go to court over the matter. Sam’s sudden invective against Whitford probably stemmed from his failure to win the Edward H. House case, as well as knowledge that their appeal of the Joseph J. Little judgment would be denied; Clemens did not relish losing another such case.
Sam also wrote to Gardiner G. Hubbard, father-in-law to Alexander Graham Bell. Hubbard had responded to Sam’s notice on Christmas in the N.Y. World, slighting the inventor of the telephone. This letter may be viewed online at: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/bellhtml/004039.html
Arguing that since Bell invented the telephone he was also responsible for the Hartford telephone, Sam complained that there was no night-service, even though they charged for it; that the quality of reception was such that it would take a week’s effort to convey a 20-word message,
And if you try to curse through the telephone, they shut you off. It is this ostentatious holiness that gravels me. Every day I go there to practice, & always I get shut off. And so what it amounts to is, that I don’t get any practice that can really be considered practice. Well, as you can see, yourself, the inventor is responsible for all this. For your sake I wish I could think of some way to save him, but there doesn’t appear to be any.
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam:
As I wrote you we have fixed the matter up with Gill. When he saw we wanted to do what was right but would not be imposed upon, he came to terms. As I wrote you we shall have to cut loose from him after our present contract expires, as we can do the business he does for us at more profit to ourselves now that we are organized for it.
Hall noted what Sam had said about avoiding lawsuits. LAL collections would run nearly $4,000 for Dec., keeping up the average, though January was usually a bad month since it followed the holidays [MTP].
December 28 Sunday – In Hartford † Sam wrote to Frederick J. Hall about his “ill-tempered letter” he wished Hall to tear up, and about Daniel Whitford his N.Y. attorney. Though Sam blamed Whitford for allowing “Webster to make a contract without time-limit with [Watson] Gill,” he was useful to Hall as director of the bank.
But I would require him to employ assistance whenever a case is to go to court — have a lawyer whose face & manner are not a fatal influence with judge & jury [MTP].
December 29 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote a note of thanks to James Whitcomb Riley in Indianapolis, Ind., for sending:
…the charming book, which laments my own lost youth for me as no words of mine could do [MTP]. Note: Riley’s Rhymes of Childhood (1890). See Riley’s Dec. 31 to Sam.
Sam’s notebook holds another entry about Paige and the delays on the typesetter:
Dec. 29. The “one hour” lasted till last Thursday [Dec. 25]; it was reported to me by Whitmore that it got to work again that day. The next day [Dec. 26] I sent down the new (proposed) contract prepared by Robinson.
The machine broke down again that day! Remains so, still.
To-day Davis writes that the insurance agent [fire] wants his money. Also can I let him have $200. According to my verbal agreement, he reminds. In the first place there was nothing said about $200, but only $100. And he forgets the verbal agreement of the same time, that all future money was to come from royalties & that Paige was to sell them. They never remember their agreements of any kind [3: 597].
December 30 Tuesday – James W. Paige responded to Sam’s “favor of the 25th,” and refused to sign the new agreement drawn up on Dec. 18. Without elaborating his objections, Paige wrote,
The paper you sent me on the following day cannot be executed for many reasons.
It is very incorrect in the recitals and in its legal effect would prove suicidal for us both [MTNJ 3: 595n80; MTP].
Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam: “Your favor received. As I said yesterday we are not going to have any more suits unless they are forced upon us which is not likely to happen” [MTP].
December 31 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam sent a note to James W. Paige wanting a talk to “help matters” relating to a new contract and the upcoming negotiations with Senator John P. Jones. Sam suggested 2:30 or 3 this afternoon and if William J. Hamersley could come, would Paige let him know [MTP]. Note: Hamersley had been a party in the earlier contracts.
Interestingly, Franklin G. Whitmore also sent the same request for Sam to Paige and Hamersley.
In Indianapolis, Ind., James Whitcomb Riley wrote Sam about his Dec. 29 note on Riley’s Rhymes of Childhood (1890).
Your comment on the Child’s book is the prize gift to me of all this uncommonly considerate Christmas [and Sam’s] own indorsement of the general grade of children and child-character the book so affectionately embraces.
Riley also recalled as a boy typesetter his discovery of Sam’s The Jumping Frog and “his rare fortune of meeting” Sam even for “the briefest two or three times we have glimpsed by each other” [Gribben 581].
James W. Paige wrote two letters to Sam. The first related an accident “Mr. Parker met with …in putting the machine together,” so that Paige had to stay at the office tomorrow, but could “devote time for a talk…at 2.30 P.M. or any time during the afternoon” that Sam could come. The second letter explained that Mr. Hamersley could not be found, and that since his horse was with Steve, who had been sent to find Hamersley, he could not come to Sam’s for the needed talk. Plus the machine was being assembled and he had to supervise “the working of the new lever” which replaced one broken a few days before [MTP].