Walter Bliss suspects that I am keeping back the best stuff, to sell to another publisher. His father was a thief, & he has inherited the fancy that nobody is honorable.
Those people are scared. They have no pluck, no energy, no brains. They are going to fail on their $10,000 [meaning they’d lose the right to publish FE] & I shall be rid of them & not sorry. I mean to begin to rush the MS over to you soon. To be any good to any publisher for the fall trade, it is necessary that said publisher have the MS in his hands by the end of May. I mean to have it all in your hands by then. Then if Bliss’s money isn’t ready, straight off, we can cancel the contract & give the book to Harper, or Doubleday…
He argued that allowing for S. Africa might mean taking 300 MS pages out to make room. He added that the publishers were “speaking up vigorously here—my latest offer is 25 per cent royalty.” (Ten per cent was customary.) Sam added to this letter on Apr. 28 [MTHHR 273-6].
Insert photo 1897 – Mark Twain in London
April 27 Tuesday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam wrote to “Friar” Arthur Spurgeon (1861-1938), declining an invitation to the Whitefriars Club, after changing his mind to make only “several engagements.” He would keep only those and not add any.
I am to dine with Mr. Moberly Bell May 4th, but even if I were free I should avoid adding a public engagement.
You will have a good time. Max O’Rell made a delightful speech that other time, & he will do it again [MTP].
Notes: Charles Frederick Moberly Bell (1847-1911) editor of the London Times from 1890 until his death. His greatest accomplishment was his agreement with American Horace Everett Hooper (1859-1922) to reprint and sell a revised version of the out-of-date 9th ed. of the Encyclopedia Britannica under the sponsorship of the Times, which led to a profit of over £600,000. As a result the Times was profitable at long last and survived. “Friar” 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, MT Speaking 260]. Arthur Spurgeon is mentioned in several sources as a member of the White Friar’s Club, including another occasion where Max O’Rell spoke on May 11, 1900 when Spurgeon was in charge of the gathering [Literary World, Vol. 61 p. 436]. Thanks to JoDee Benussi for deciphering Spurgeon’s name, catalogued as “Frian Spurgeon” for “Friar Spurgeon” and for providing the previous citation.
Sam also inscribed a photograph to Stephen (not further identified): “Dear Stephen: It was pleasant to know
that you are still about. Remain so—& live long & prosper: Truly Yours, Mark” [MTP].
Note: the short signature, the reference to Stephen “still about” implies a long knowledge of the man. There are two possibilities the editors turned up: Stephen M. Griswold (1835-1916), a passenger on the Quaker City, and Stephen C. Massett (1820-1898) aka “Jeems Pipes,” whose letters to Sam until 1884 are catalogued by the MTP. He died on Aug. 19, 1898. Of course, other Stephen’s are possible.
Sam wrote 7,000 words on the S. African addition in the two days (Apr. 27 and 28) since he began the Apr. 26 to Rogers [Apr. 28 to Rogers].
April 28 Wednesday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam finished his Apr. 26 to H.H. Rogers.
The issue of including South Africa in FE had been settled in the affirmative—by Livy:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.