Mrs. Clemens is charitable to me, and restricted herself to saying, “Mr. Rogers urged you to deal solely with the Harpers, and I urged you; and so you have no one to blame but yourself that you are in the hands of a sleepy and timorous publisher whom you call ‘the late Frank Bliss.’”
It’s true, every word. The only answer I can make is, “The Harpers went back on the contract which they first made with me because their lawyer made them believe Bliss owned the renewals (a thing which Bliss has naively confessed that he doesn’t believe himself), and then, in order to get my books together in a set, I had to get up an arrangement with Bliss—but if it was to do over again I wouldn’t do it.”
Yet, Sam was still convinced that “even Frank Bliss, asleep with one hand tied behind him, can sell twice as many copies of a travel-book by subscription as any house can sell by trade methods.”
Thus Sam continued to believe in the outdated subscription method, and since FE was a travel-book, he was all the more convinced it should sell by subscription. Sam also passed on Frank Doubleday’s thoughts that Bliss couldn’t make profits with the new terms he’d signed, but Sam reflected that Elisha Bliss had done all right on such half-profit terms, making $32,000 on TA in the first three months.
If Bliss fails on the $10,000, lucky for me. But he belongs to Twichell’s church & God won’t let him. God takes care of all of Jo Twichell’s riff-raff; it was a commercial mistake when I sold out my pew there. People of other affiliations have to work and pay to get into Heaven, but Twichell can glide his in on a pass. You ought to know Twichell. / SLC [MTHHR 272-3].
Sir Walter Besant replied to Sam from Frognal End, Hampstead N.W., London. Besant was down with a bad cold after returning from France and answered Sam’s letter without a date. He would meet Sam whenever and wherever Sam pleased and would write more tomorrow if he felt better [MTP].
April 16 or 18 Sunday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam wrote a postcard to Chatto & Windus asking for Prof. Henry Drummond’s books, Natural Law in the Spiritual World (1883), The Lowell Lectures on the Ascent of Man (1894), Pax Vobiscum. An Address (1890), and The Greatest Thing in the World. An Address (1890) [MTP]. Note: Drummond died on Mar. 11. Gribben surmises this death “aroused Clemens’ interest in the efforts of Drummond to reconcile science and theology” .
April 17 Saturday
April 18 Sunday
April 19 Monday
April 20 Tuesday
April 21 Wednesday – The “Critic’s Competition” in the Hartford Courant, p.8 selected Mark Twain’s “Jumping Frog” tale as one of the best dozen short stories by authors dead or alive. The article asked, “Is that as good a specimen as his ‘A Strange Occurrence?’”
April 22 Thursday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam wrote to Douglas B. Sladen declining an invitation of some sort.
“I do not go anywhere in public, or I should gladly say yes. I am very sorry, for whereas I have so much respect for a mile that I seldom walk one, I would walk five to see Lord Roberts” [MTP].
Note: Lord Roberts: Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts (1832-1914), Anglo-Irish distinguished Field Marshal, perhaps the most successful commander of the Victorian era. He was known endearingly as “Bobs” by his troops. Sam was undoubtedly familiar with Roberts’ part in the siege and capture of Delhi, India and relief of Lucknow under Sir Colin Campbell during the 1857 Indian rebellion. See Feb. 22 and 23
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.