Vol 3 Section 0117

1897                                                                              73

She was a brilliant talker…It always seemed funny to me that she & I could be friends, but we were—I suppose because under all her wild & repulsive foolery, that warm heart of her would show.

From this 1864 inspiration Sam crafted “Hellfire” after Lillie. He had also used the personal as the character of Shirley Tempest in the 1877 play of Ah Sin, in collaboration with Bret Harte [Sanborn 243-5].

Sandra Littleton-Uetz writes,

“Hellfire” resembled Twain’s favorite daughter Susy, but the description matches more closely incidents in the life of Lillie Hitchcock, a woman he knew in San Francisco…”Hellfire” rescues Oscar from danger that Twain had actually experienced: being trapped on the Mississippi’s ice flows. His companion that day was Tom Nash, and his description in the Autobiography (2: 213) of Tom’s sister Mary makes her another source for this composite picture, rarely drawn, of an admirable, resourceful, and heroic female protagonist [MT Encyclopedia, “Hellfire Hotchkiss” 355]

August 5 Thursday – James Hammond Trumbull (1821-1897) died. Trumbull, with whom Sam enjoyed a personal as well as a professional relationship, was the contributor of the multi-lingual headings in GA, as well as a scholar and Hartford historian, whose work on the philology and history of Native Americans made his reputation. See indexed entries, Vol. I&II, MTDBD on Trumbull. Sam wrote a tribute to the man sometime during the family’s stay in Weggis. The article ran in the Hartford Courant on Nov. 1, 1897, p.3 as well as the Nov. issue of Century Magazine.

Mary Aklom (Mrs. A.J. Aklom) wrote from Pachmarlie, India to Sam, delayed thanks for JA. Aklom had rec’d a letter from Sam’s daughter (unspecified) a week or two ago though it made them sad to see “how terribly she still misses her sister….” They were looking forward to his book on India [MTP].

August 6 Friday – In Weggis, Switzerland Sam replied to H.H. Rogers’ July 23 (not extant), discussing plans for the deluxe edition of his uniform works, including a letter Samuel McClure had sent “a couple of days ago…from London.” McClure’s letter included a copy of Frank N. Doubleday’s letter to Rogers (not extant) laying out a scheme for the deluxe set which Sam felt was a “bolder one than Bliss’s, yet still not quite bold enough.” Sam suggested 1,000 deluxe sets be made at $ 100 each, not 250 at $200, and no work begun until 250 sets had been subscribed for. He could “find a market through Chatto for a number of sets,” and estimated “there would be $70,000 profit in it, or in the neighborhood.” Sam was “in a sweat to publish the de luxe with Miss Harrison,” but would “keep quiet & kind of rational, & wait & see how the eventualities eventuate.” On the money front, Sam and Livy were feeling much better:

Your splendid news that the Bliss money & what is in your hands foots up to $27,000 & that you are doing a little gambling for Mrs. Clemens has set us both up in spirits, & we are feeling pretty fine. Mrs. Clemens went to ciphering at once & found that by adding to the $27,000 sums lying in the London bank, Langdon’s hands

      Whitmore’s, she could swell the gross amount to $49,000 & pay off the Webster debt at once. She wanted me to ask you to pay $39,000 straight way, leaving us $10,000 to live on till we get ahead again. But I have advised her to wait & keep still, say nothing—otherwise she might damage Bliss’s chances; his canvassers will want to use my load of debt as a persuader, and make people buy the book to get me out. By George, it’s a shabby business, but I suppose Bliss would be in a state of consternation if we would suddenly step up to the captain’s office and settle. I judge he would consider himself cruelly betrayed. & you will let us know when the right time has come. (I DIDN’T EDIT THAT OUT.) [Likely Livy did.]

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