November 6 Sunday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam began a letter to Richard Watson Gilder that he finished Nov. 13. Sam directed him to reject the MS of “My Platonic Sweetheart” if he hadn’t already. Sam felt the article was a mistake, though he’d liked it when he wrote it [MTP].
Sam also began a letter to H.H. Rogers that he finished Nov. 7.
The other day I was going to cable & ask you to buy me $25,000 worth of Steel stock; & my idea was to have Mr. Whitmore mortgage our Hartford house for the money; & I would take up my uncompleted Autobiography & finish it, & let Bliss & Chatto each make $15,000 out of it for me next fall (as they did with the Equator book) & pay off the mortgage; & also go on the platform in New York & a dozen other cities next November at $500 a night & make up the deficit—if any. I was strongly minded to write Pond & agree to do 20 or 30 nights, in place of the 100 he wants; & I got out my uncompleted lecture of a year ago & was going to put in the finishing touches.
I was full of the scheme; & it looked good. There were arguments in favor of it. At present Mrs. Clemens’s income is about $4,000; the books, in England and America together, furnish another $6,000; & I scrabble for the rest of the year’s necessities with magazine-work. The steel stock will pay 5 per cent by & by;
if I had the second block of it it would complete the necessary income, & I could be a person of importance & not have to damage my reputation by too-frequent appearances in magazines.
Sam did not push ahead with the plan to mortgage and lecture—he admitted cold feet to go in debt again, thought he felt he would never write his Autobiography unless he was in a hole. “Was I wise, or have I acted foolishly & like a coward?” [MTHHR 374].
Sam also replied to James B. Pond.
“Rice knows mighty well what the price was. You spoke to him October 7—a month ago–& his check has not arrived yet. Will you ask him to explain this? (It is a warm subject, & I will change it, now, lest my temper get up)” [MTP].
Note: Joseph Mayer Rice (1857-1934), physician, journal editor, education critic. Rice published a series of muckraking articles on urban education in the magazine The Forum in 1892 and 1893 that proved to be his most influential work. Sam noted the check came the next day but was $150 instead of $200.
Sam also wrote to Mrs. Rebecca Buffum Spring (1811-1911), Quaker and one of the most widely known women in 19th Century America
I am very glad indeed that you liked the book. I think, myself, that it was a mistake to put my nom de guerre to it, & that it would have been much better to use my other name.
It is odd, but your letter was a reminder to me that it was Stoddard who suggested to me that I write a serious book—“Joan” was the result of that suggestion [MTP].
Note: JA, was initially published under the pseudonym Sieur Louis De Conte. Charles Warren Stoddard, whom Sam wrote to next. Rebecca Spring was an ardent abolitionist who visited John Brown in prison in 1859. Her N.Y. home was a gathering spot for intelligentsia, both literary and cultural. In 1853, together with her husband Marcus Spring (1810-1874), founded a New Jersey utopia, Rariton Bay Union. She died just short of 100 years of age.
Sam also wrote to Charles Warren Stoddard.
“I’ve always forgotten to tell you that one of my books was written by your order. Years ago on the train, between Baltimore & Wash., you told me I must write a serious book. I tho’t it over & concluded to risk it; so I wrote the ‘Joan of Arc’” [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.