Livy wrote a quotation from Lamartine in pencil on the
April 29 Friday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder who had replied (not extant) to Sam’s article, “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904.” “All right, measure it by the page & call it $140 per page.”
Sam felt dialog was “the yeast that lightens the bread,” and should be paid double the rate because it was harder to write; he claimed to have some $15,000 worth of magazine articles written over the past ten months but all of it “condemned (by me) to remain unfinished” due to the unfinished dialog. He then gave his opinion of magazines wanting only newer subjects, and responded to Gilder’s past desire for a particular article:
Ah, If I had but known you would care for the Fennimore Cooper article! I wrote it for my own entertainment, & I was charmed with it; but I never dreamed that anybody would take it but a solemn Review. The North American didn’t want it; they were afraid of it. I had to make them take it, at the revolver’s muzzle. They said the subject was so old; that nobody cared to read about Cooper in our day or have his dry bones dug up & inspected. I said it made me ashamed to hear sane men talk like that; that it was a confession that what a magazine required was newness of subject—as if that was the main thing, & not the entertainment to be gotten out of the subject—a principle which would shut up every pulpit between hell & Halifax. In ’90 I sent an article 16 years old, to Harper’s, on “mental telegraphy,” & they paid only half rates for it because the subject was old. I have never written a mag. article that made quite so good a strike as that one made. Why, the subject is 4,000,000 years old; yet was never yet dull—can’t be made dull, except by ingenuity of treatment. / Always Yours / Mark [MTP].
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
We are securing a nice house, satisfactorily furnished, at a little health-resort an hour from Vienna— beautiful wooded hills all about. The family will go there the first [of] June, & if they like it will remain till October. Mrs. Clemens & Jean will take the baths. For company there will be a number of old Vienna friends. If a Revolution should happen here we shall pull out & go to Cuba. Or to Spain, or some other health-resort.
But it must happen before the first week of June or I shall probably be in England on this peat-wool scheme [Note: the health-resort was Kaltenleutgeben, which Sam evaluated on May 20.]
Sam wrote more of his plans to establish a company in England to make the peat-wool to sell to weavers. He was still translating but thought it “dull and stupid work,” and was done with it for now. He thanked Rogers for his research on the market for the Raster machine in America:
I am expecting that your investigations of the design-industry will prove that it has no importance in America. That is already foreshadowed. Your verdict will be valuable, & not doubtful & I wish you were here to pass one upon this peat-wool—&, in case it promises well, squeeze the water out of it & conduct negociations. You found the Paige-industry with $2,000,000 of property on hand, & reduced it to $78,000 in one sitting [MTP; MTHHR 344-5] Note: the rest of the letter is missing.
Sam and Livy inscribed a copy of the English edition of FE (More Tramps Abroad,) to Miss Leila Gittings. Inscribed on the half-title: “Good friends, good books, & a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
Truly yours Mark Twain / Vienna, Apl. 29, 1898.”
back flyleaf, which translated from French reads: “Oh thou who has appeared to me in this worldly desert, /
Inhabitant of the heavens, passerby in these places” [MTP: Parke-Bernet Galleries catalogs, Nov. 21, 1938, No. 66, Item
90]. Note: see Feb. 9, 1902 entry for another mention of Miss Gittings visiting Livy in Riverdale.
April 30 Saturday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to ask Chatto & Windus to send one each of his books P&P, JA, PW, TS, and HF for a “vast Fair (benevolent) to be held here May 17”
[MTP: Remember When Auctions, Inc. catalogs, Mar. 21-2, 1998, No. 43, Item 882].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.