Vol 3 Section 0177
Austrian professional dramatist” (Siegmund Schlesinger) on a half-profit basis, a work that was “about finished.” He was doing other literary work as well:
Meantime I have translated a new and strong Austrian melancholy drama and secured the English and American rights on a half-profit basis. And between-times I have written a comedy by my self, entitled “Is He Dead?”— and I put on the finishing touches to-day and read it to Mrs. Clemens, and she thinks it is very bully. I think, myself, that for an ignorant first attempt it lacks a good deal of being bad. I am learning the trade pretty fast—I shall get the hang of it yet, I believe. I shall stick to the business right along until I either turn out something real good or find out I can’t.
Sam closed this day’s section of the letter relating his Feb. 1 platform appearance for a Viennese charity to a packed house (see entry). Livy was still not going out to mingle—and she would need to be persuaded [MTHHR 317-9]. Note: Sam would write Bliss about the disappointing sales on Feb. 11.
The Critic published a review of FE, p. 89-90. Tenney: “Praises the description, social commentary, and humor: ‘One reads as if traveling with a shrewd, kindly, sincere, and humorous man of the world who has kept only illusions enough to make life really living….With less of broad farce, this latest book has more wit, and more literary value, than any other volume of the author’s work ’” .
February 6 Sunday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam added to his Feb. 5 letter to
Rogers after receiving one from him
Your letter has arrived! [not extant.] And you’ve crucified the Bank, sure enough! I shake you by the hand! and am your obligedest and humblest servant. Now it’s plain sailing. I still owe the Bank (after this $6,612.42 is paid) fairly and squarely about $6,000, more, and that I will pay, a little at a time, at my leisure. When they prove to me that they never collected the $9,000 false notes, I will pay that, too. But the burden of proof is upon them—they must do the proving, themselves. And I don’t quite know how they will do it: for Hall and his book-keeper cooked a false statement of the Webster assets and liabilities once and played it off on me; and another time Hall deceived me and got my name on $15,000 of new Mt. Morris notes, allowing [me] to believe I was endorsing the old ones—therefore the testimony of those two has no value for me.
Sam also wanted the George Barrow & Son claim paid in full but no interest, since there were sisters involved “in sharp need of the money.”
I thought I was going to finish this letter, this time, but no—there’s some company—ladies—and I must put on my shirt and go and see them. (This is Mrs. Clemens’s idea; she is particular about clothes) [MTHHR 317-9]. Note: $6,612.46 was the amount compromised by Rogers after the Mt. Morris Bank had offered $6,750 to settle their claim of $27,864.46 in a Jan. 22 1898 letter to Rogers. See source p. 320-1 for a full accounting.
Sam also wrote to Arthur E. Gilbert, who evidently had written (not extant) asking if he might name a pipe after Mark Twain. Sam responded that he liked the idea:
“A health-protecting pipe is substantially a life-boat—with a limitless field for its benevolences. I have not heard of any person who would object to having a life-boat named for him.”
After this note he added another marked “Private” suggesting that Gilbert’s apparatus to clean the pipe should be sold with the pipes, and that good pipes should be sold in Vienna. “They advertise good pipes, but when you want one, they are always out” [MTP]. Note: Following Gilbert’s name are the initials A.I.E.E., which likely stand for the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (now IEEE) from 1884- 1963. No further information on Gilbert was found but Sam replied again to another non-extant letter on Feb. 12. This quick turnaround of mail would rule out Gilbert being in the US.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.