That is immense news. For 24 hours I have been trying to calm down & cool off & get sane over it, but I don’t succeed very well. I would rather have that stock than be free of sin. The news came in the right time to do me a couple of good services. It lifted me from the fatigue of the Bliss-Harper suspense—I am not going to walk the floor any longer about that. I think the unfairnesses proceed from Harper, not Bliss, & I hope Bliss will win; necessarily it is the canvassers that want the Bliss-form of book….
Another thing. The New York World had just asked for a story for Xmas. I needed a stiffened stiff, for I didn’t want to write for the World. You have furnished it. I have replied, to-day, that my price is $200 per 1000 words. That will put the World’s feverish desires on ice—those highly-enterprising concerns have their economies, like other people.
Sam related Henry Alden’s rejection of “Platonic Sweetheart,” which he took as a favor. He directed Rogers to withdraw the piece from Gilder also, if he hadn’t yet rejected it. Sam thought his “backbone is stiffened in several ways”—he would only write stories and not be in print very often. He would trust the Century and Cosmopolitan to name prices to him but not Alden (Harper’s). Also, he’d accumulated 100,000 words for a new volume of sketches, and could even leave out “The Memorable Assassination” and “Platonic Sweetheart” and still have enough.
Sam interrupted the letter here to write Alden (below). He returned, convinced he’d answered Alden
“softly & sweetly & diplomatically…& told him I’ve got a story & am ready for a bid (per magazine page), subject to his approval of the MS…” [MTHHR 371].
Sam’s notebook gives details of Rogers’ stock purchase for the Clemenses:
Nov. 2/98. Word from Mr. Rogers he has bought for me Federal Steel Company stock, 2017 Preferred shares at 69, & 2493 Common at 28, for $17, 139.87. Glad of that. Represents $50,000 par of stock [NB 40 TS 49].
Sam then replied to Henry M. Alden of Harper & Brothers, who had rejected “My Platonic Sweetheart” and purchased “Concerning the Jews” for $500 on Oct. 5:
That little thing in the Century? It is only 4 pages. I wasn’t writing it for any one in particular; but just as I was finishing it, came a request from Gilder (beginning of May) & sent it. (At the same time he asked for something for Xmas; I wrote it, but as he didn’t remind me again, I forgot all about it.) I had supposed it was published & forgotten, long ago. …
Another thing. I sent the Jew article because I didn’t know you preferred stories to other matter. I didn’t know any one had that preference. I am used to receiving the same rates for both kinds. …
The article which I have been writing about the “Hornet” shipwreck of 32 years ago you will not want, for it is not a story; but I have a story, which will be revised a few times & will then get into the type-writer’s hands within a week from now….
I hold myself your obliged servant & friend for rejecting the “Platonic Sweetheart.” I thought it was good; I think differently, now; I have been examining it again—by aid of your eyes this time—& have written to ask Mr. Rogers to put it away & suppress it if it is still in his reach [MTP]. Note: H.H. Rogers had already submitted “Platonic Sweetheart” to Richard Watson Gilder. Sam would write Gilder on Nov. 6 asking him to reject the piece. It would ultimately be published by Harper’s in 1912. The essay, “My Debut as a Literary Person,” was used as the title piece in the 1903 My Debut as a Literary Person and Essays and Other Stories.
November 3 Thursday
November 4 Friday
November 5 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “Wrote Pond the Forum check hadn’t come” [NB 40 TS 49]. Note:
“About Play Acting” ran in the Oct. 1898 issue of the Forum. “
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.