Vol 3 Section 0278
Sam also wrote to an Franklin G. Whitmore, advising he’d directed Frank Bliss to send his January check to Whitmore. He might have another article for Century, for which he would have payment forwarded to Whitmore. He shared plans to “get a good and reasonable house in New York we mean to ship for America in October” [MTP].
Sam’s essay, “The ‘Austrian Parliamentary System’? Government by Article 14” ran in the Feb. 25 issue of Lords and Commons (London) . “It summarized the fourteenth article of the Austrian constitution as ‘a Constitution all by itself…It means anything you please, but it does not mean the same thing to any two people…the Government can commit political adultery with it every day, and while everybody may know it, nobody can prove it’” [MTHHR 390n2].
February 26 Sunday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam replied to (Major “Alligator Jack”) John B. Downing (1834-1914), Mississippi pilot for nearly three decades. Downing’s letter is not extant.
Dear Major, / No; it was to [Horace] Bixby that I was apprenticed. He was to teach me the river for a certain specific sum. I have forgotten what it was [$500], but I paid it. I steered a trip for Bart Bowen, of Keokuk, once on the A.T. Lacy, & I was partner with Will Bowen on the A.B. Chambers (one trip), & with Sam Bowen a whole summer on a small Memphis packet [John H. Dickey from Aug. 4 to Oct. 20, 1858].
The newspaper report you sent me is incorrect. Bixby is not 67; he is 97. I am 65 myself, & I couldn’t talk plain & had just begun to walk when I apprenticed myself to Bixby who was then passing himself off for 57—& successfully too, for he always looked 60 or 70 years younger than he really was. At that time he was piloting the Mississippi on a Potomac commission granted him by George Washington, who was a personal friend of his before the Revolution. He has piloted every important river in America on the commission & has also used it as a passport in Russia. I have never revealed these facts before. I notice, too, that you are deceiving the people concerning your age. The printed portrait of you which you enclosed is not a portrait of you, but a portrait of me when I was 19. I remember very well when it was common for people to mistake Bixby for your grandson. It is spreading, I wonder—this disposition of pilots to renew their youth by doubtful methods? Beck Jolly and Joe Bryan—they probably go to Sunday school now—but it will not deceive.
Yes, it is as you say. All of the procession but a fraction has passed. It is time for us to fall in [MTP:TS
Paine, Mark Twain’s Letters 1917, p.674]. See Aug. 15, 1881 entry, Vol I. Horace Bixby (1826-1912).
Sam’s notebook: “Vienna, Feb. 26. Bliss’s statement to Jan. 1. No mention in it of money for advance-matter to McClure’s Magazine. Have written him I expect $1000 for it. It was salable to the Century for that” [NB 42 TS 56]. Note: a bone of contention which Bliss would finally relent on.
February 27 Monday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Frank Bliss.
The enclosed has just reached me from Mr. Rogers.
I don’t quite get the idea. Why should you want to take out repetitions of old copyrights? Do it if you want to, but it doesn’t seem necessary. …
If you are afraid I could be endangered by having property in my own name—but I couldn’t be, for I don’t owe money to anyone; I am out of debt.
Sam also wrote that he’d written four magazine articles on Christian Science, containing “nothing offensive against the lay Christian Scientist…but they make remorseless fun of his pudd’nheaded little Goddlemighty, Mrs. Eddy,
her jackass ‘Key’ to the Scriptures.” Would the articles damage Bliss’ prospects for the Uniform Edition? Would Bliss like to examine the articles? [MTP]. Note: Fatout in Mark Twain Speaks for Himself, claims Sam began writing on Christian Science in 1898 .
Sam also wrote to Robert Lutz asking him to suppress “Mark Twain’s Lebensgeschichte” and stop more copies from circulating.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.