Vol 3 Section 0085

1897                                                                              45

June 17 ThursdayThe Hartford Courant ran an article on p.6, “Mark Twain,” from the Hartford Times.

We do not think Mr. Clemens is destitute or much pressed for the want of the comforts of life. He has arranged with the Hartford Publishing Company to print and issue his new book, “The Surviving Innocent Abroad.” The company gives him $10,000 in cash on receiving his manuscript, and will pay him a royalty ($1 per volume, we believe,) on the sales of the book. We believe the sum of $10,000 has already been paid to Mr. Clemens. If not, it will be paid to him within a short time.

June 18 Friday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam replied to Helen Skrine’s invitation (not extant) that with her “kind leave” he would “come Wednesday June 30th—7.30” He thanked Helen for inviting Clara but “she feels her bereavement still so heavily that I am not able to persuade her” [MTP].

June 19 Saturday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam wrote to James Gordon Bennett, Jr., who was heading up a NY Herald division in Paris, which published the Paris Herald, heading the letter concerning the Herald’s relief fund for Mark Twain, “Personal.”

Dear Sir: I concealed this matter from my family, & hoped that when they found out I could persuade them to be reconciled to it, but I have been disappointed in that, & have failed, after three days of strenuous effort. I hoped & believed, & I still believe, that a sufficient fund could be raised to lighten my debt very greatly & possibly even discharge it, but the family are not willing, (convinced me that I have no right to take your money & other men’s to smooth my road with,) & so I have to come to you & ask you to cable the enclosed letter to the Herald to the end that I may once more stand well with the household. I shall be grateful if you will do me this favor. And I am already grateful to you for wanting to help me out of my slavery of debt

[MTHHR 287n2].

Note: The “enclosed letter” was cabled by Bennett to the NY Herald, and ran there as well as in other newspapers later in the month, including the Springfield Daily Republican, June 29, 1897, p. 6, which follows. This letter was also written June 19, not June 24 or 25 as catalogued. In his June 23 to Rogers, Sam wrote that Livy “made me write to Bennett in Paris last Saturday and ask him to stop the scheme and return the money.”


Does so at the Desire of His Family, So He Says

The New York Herald Mark Twain fund is to be abandoned at the request of Mr. Clemens. It was started by the Herald with $1000, and had amounted to $2938. Here is the letter, written in London, June 19:—

I made no revelation to my family of your generous undertaking in my behalf and for my relief from debt, and in that I was wrong.

Now that they know all about the matter they contend I have no right to allow my friends to help me while my health is good and my ability to work remains, that it is not fair to my friends and not justifiable, and that it will be time enough to accept help when it shall be proved that I am no longer able to work.

I am persuaded that they are right. While they are grateful for what you have done and for the kindly instinct which prompted you, it is urgent that the contributions be returned to the givers with their thanks and mine. I yield to their desire and forward their request and my indorsement of it to you.

I was glad when you initiated that movement, for I was tired of the fact and worry of debt, but I recognize that it is not permissible for a man whose case is not hopeless to shift his burdens to other men’s shoulders.


Note: J. Kaplan points out Sam’s June 24 repeating of the request suggests that the “first letter to Bennett somehow miscarried” [349]. This letter, and one for publication enclosed were both written on June 19. Bennett may not have had time to respond from Paris by the time Sam wrote again.

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.