I’ve landed a big fish to-day. He is a costly one, but he is worth the money—worth it because America
has got to buy him whether she wants to or not. It isn’t a type-setter, which people may take or leave, as they
You are now to do as follows—and don’t be trying to shirk:
You will run up to the Cheney Silk mills at South Manchester, 8 miles from Hartford; or, you visit mills
nearer New York; and you will also post yourself in other ways; and when you’ve got accurate statistics in
place of my faulty ones, you will then run over here a fortnight after you receive this, and examine the
machine and its work. And then you will run back home and get up a Company of about $5,000,000 or
$10,000,000, and take my fish off my hands, and give me one-tenth of that Company’s stock, fully paid up,
for my share. …
I think you better make a $2,000,000 Company, and pay the money all in, in 3 or 4 instalments. That will buy the patents and furnish a deal more capital than is necessary, besides.
And I think the Standard Oil should take the whole of it [MTHHR 327-33]. Note: Sam’s business plans were rarely modest ones.
Note: One can only imagine Rogers’ initial reaction to Sam’s latest boondoggle, after all his help at climbing out of debt from the Paige typesetter debacle and the failure of Webster & Co. Alas, there are no extant replies from Rogers for the next year, and all we know of Rogers’ communications we have in Sam’s responses.
March 18 Friday – Clemens inscribed a cabinet-size photo of himself: “To Sigmund Schlesinger with
cordial greetings. Mark Twain, Mar 18” [Sotheby’s June 19, 2003 Lot 7].
At 4 p.m. Sam again met with Jan Szczepanik’s banker, Ludwig Kleinberg: “Friday I went with Mr.
Kleinberg & Mr. Wood to see the ‘rasters.’” [NB 40 TS 15].
More from Sam’s notebook:
To-day (18th) Mr. William M. Wood, representing American carpet interests, arrived. He is a very charming man, but he is exactly one day too late—which seems to show that I am a more charming man than he is. We talked a couple of hours very pleasantly. He wanted me to furnish him a price at which I would sell my Option. I declined, & got away from the subject. I was afraid he would offer me half a million dollars for it. I should have been obliged to take it. But I was born with the speculative instinct & I did not want that temptation put in my way.
Curious. Wood said he knew but one man in Vienna—had met him some years ago
in Constantinople— Major X, an
American gentleman who has served in the Austrian cavalry 32 years. He had
taken the Major along as interpreter
when he had his talk with Mr. Kleinberg this morning. And now I find that Major
X is to be one of the guests whom I am to meet at Dr. Otis’s to-night. It is
a small world [NB 40 TS 14]. (Editorial emphasis). Note: Dr. George Otis. William M. Wood may be the same William Wood who Sam put in his address
book before arriving in Vienna. WilliamDolmetsch writes:
“The physician they [Clemenses] most often saw socially as well as perhaps professionally in Vienna was the expatriate Virginian Dr. George Otis, who settled in Austria after serving as a Confederate army surgeon in the Civil War. He subsequently founded the still-active American Medical Society of Vienna” .
March 19 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “Saturday, March 19. Susy’s birth-day. It was then that that dear life began which ended a year & seven months ago” [NB 40 TS 15].
The New York Times, p.BR185 reprinted an article from the London Academy.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.