I had suggested to Murray a fortnight ago, that he get some big guns to write introductory monographs for the book:
Miss X, Joan’s Voices & Prophecies.
The Lord Chief Justice of England, the legal prodigies which she performed before her Judges.
Lord Roberts, her military genius.
Kipling, her patriotism.
And so on. When he came this morning he said he had captured Miss X; that Lord Roberts & Kipling were going to take hold & see if they could do monographs worthy of the book. He hadn’t run the others to cover yet, but was on their track. Very good news. It is a grand book, & is entitled to the best efforts of the best people. As for me, I took pains with my Introduction, & I admit that it is no slouch of a performance.
Then I came down to Chatto’s & found your all-too-beautiful letter, & was lifted higher than ever. Next came letters from America properly glorifying my Christian Science article in the Cosmopolitan (& one roundly abusing it,) & a letter from John Brisben Walker enclosing $200 additional pay for the article…
And last of all came a letter from Whitmore. How I do wish that man was in hell. Even the briefest line from that idiot puts me in a rage; & while it lasts I recognize & concede that there is not another temper as bad as mine except God Almighty’s.
But on the whole it has been a delightful day, & with Whitmore in hell it would have been perfect. But that will happen & I can wait.
Ah, if I could look into the insides of people as you do, & put it on paper, & invent things for them to do
say, & tell how they said it, I could write a fine & reasonable book now, for I’ve got a prime subject. I’ve written 30,000 words of it & satisfied myself that the stuff is there; so I am going to discard that MS & begin all over again & have a good time with it [MTHL 2: 708-12].
Notes: “Miss X” was the pseudonym of Adela M. Goodrich-Freer, who in 1899 published Essays in Psychical Research. Lord Russell of Killowen was Lord Chief Justice; Lord Roberts was the commander-in-chief of the British forces in S. Africa. Sam’s Cosmopolitan October article was “Christian Science and the Book of Mrs. Eddy.” The 30,000 words were likely one draft of The Mysterious Stranger.
Sam also wrote to Captain Richard Edgcumbe, his old neighbor on Tedworth Square, on Chatto & Windus letterhead: “I’ve got your welcome note, & … I mean to look in, kind of sneakingly & surreptitiously, for I am pretending to be on the Continent—help me keep that fraud!” [Sotheby’s catalog, June 19, 2003, Item 86].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, thanking him for the “very handsome things” which Pond, Scribner, and Howells said about him.
I’m not going to barn-storm the platform any more, but I am glad you have corraled Howells. He’s a most sinful man, & I always knew God would send him to the platform if he didn’t behave.
I am hard at work—consequently happy.
It is very interesting to be in London these days & read the war news [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified man, declining to lecture: “it would bring the publicity which it is my game to avoid” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Brisben Walker, editor of Cosmopolitan.
By gracious but you have a talent for making a man feel proud & good. To say a compliment well is a high art & few possess it. You know how to do it, & when you confirm its sincerity with a handsome cheque the limit is reached & compliment can no higher go. I like to work for you: when you don’t approve an article you say so, recognising that I’m not a child & can stand it; & when you approve an article I don’t have to dicker with you as if I raised peanuts & you kept a stand; I know I shall get every penny the article is worth
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.