Vol 3 Section 0250
November 11 Friday –At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam answered H.H. Rogers’ Nov. 10 cable with one of his own: “Sign thanks splendid Clemens” [NB 40 TS 50].
Sam then wrote to H.H. Rogers.
Your welcome cable came just as I was getting out of bed at 9 this morning, & at 10 my answer “Sign thanks splendid” left here. If I had only been thoughtful enough to address it to your home it could have fetched you & Mrs. Rogers out of bed at 4 this morning & you could have had a good long day & got in a lot of work. I think I was born careless. Forgive me [MTHHR 375].
Note: the source gives this letter and Sam’s cable as Nov. 12, but Sam’s notebook records Sam’s cable answer as Nov. 11, the day the contract supplement was signed in N.Y.C. It’s not clear if Rogers sent two cables, one on Nov. 10 (as per NB 40 TS 50) and another on Nov. 11 (referred to in this letter) but the request to sign would not have been sent after signing.
Sam was having a tussle with writing the Introduction which Frank Bliss wanted for the Uniform Edition. Also, he had resumed his Autobiography and expected to be done with Volume I by spring
J. Henry Harper, Walter Bliss, and H.H. Rogers’ attorney signed a supplemental to the contracts of Dec. 31, 1896 between Harpers, American Publishing Co., and Livy [MTHHR Appendix D 688-90].
Gribben gives this date for a draft of The Mysterious Stranger, a work which Sam would not finish in his lifetime, but one which was cobbled together and over -edited (to the point of introducing a new character, the Astrologer) by Paine and Dunka, and published in 1916 . Note: Tuckey writes “This novella has, moreover, come to be regarded as an important key to an understanding of Mark Twain’s later life and work” [Mark Twain’s The Mysterious Stranger and the Critics, v.].
November 12 Saturday
November 13 Sunday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam finished his Nov. 6 letter to Richard Watson Gilder. His P.S. focused on the fact that Gilder had already rejected “Platonic Sweetheart”—he was convinced it was another case of “Mental Telegraphy,” which was :
…as quick as the cable & twice as economical. When the word came from Mr. Rogers this morning [not extant] that you had rejected that thing, Mrs. Clemens said, “Now you must go at once & write Mr. Gilder & thank him.” I said, “When I am really grateful I don’t wait, but say it in advance—I attended to this a week ago.” “How?” “By Mental Telegraph.” And I showed her the elder half of this letter [Nov. 6]. …
Some people do not believe in mental telegraphy, but I have had 21 years of experience of it & have written a novel with that as motif (don’t be alarmed—I burned it) & I know considerable about it.
I am never afraid to submit an article to you, because I have perfect confidence in your judgment, when you are sober [MTP].
Sam also sent a curious letter with sixteen of 50 “quatrains” after the form of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam to Chatto & Windus, and headed the letter “Burn the rhymes” and “Confidential.” “An American friend” had suggested he “try a new thing”—a rare book for collectors. This was not a new idea for Sam but the first mention encountered for this poem he titled “Omar’s Old Age.” Was it a “vicious scheme?” he asked.
“Samples enclosed. Read them, then burn them at once; don’t let any see them or hear about them. In writing me, don’t use a title, but speak of the work as ‘ABC’”
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.