December 27 Thursday – The New York Times ran this story on the front page:
INVITED HERE BY MARK TWAIN.
The Author Wants Friend in Colorado to Visit Him—How the Two Missed a fortune in 1863.
Special to the New York Times.
DENVER, Col., Dec. 26—Judge Adair Wilson of the State Court of Appeals has received an invitation [not extant] from his old friend Mark Twain to visit him in New York City.
“I would come to see you,” writes Mr. Twain, “but I have decided never again to attempt a long journey on land. I like to ride on water, but my land journeys are over. Come and let us talk over old times.”
Judge Wilson and Mark Twain were for years prominently identified with Virginia City, Nevada. There were city editors upon rival newspapers, and it was while working on the newspaper as city editor and reporter that Twain gathered together the inimitable stories of life in a mining camp of the far West that helped to make his name known throughout the world.
“It was in 1863, in the height of the civil war, when gold was selling at 200 per cent and moving upward, that Twain and I both missed a fortune,” said Judge Wilson today. “The Comstock lode was at that time creating great excitement in all the speculative circles of the United States. A party of miners made Twain and myself an offer of a third interest in property which brought $300,000 when put on the market, but we both declined.”
Note: Adair Wilson (b.1841), was the junior local editor of the Virginia City Union, whom Sam tagged with the handle, “The Unimportant.” See Aug. 11-16, 1863 entries, Vol. I. Wilson later moved to Colorado and became a state senator and a judge [MTL 1: 265n2].
About this day Sam wrote to the Red Cross Society, his letter was quoted and paraphrased in the Dec. 30 issue of the San Francisco Call:
NEW YORK, Dec. 29. Among the many greetings to the new century which were received by the Red Cross Society, to be read at its chain of watch meetings, was one sent by Mark Twain. After sending it he got it into his head that the Red Cross scheme was not just what it was cracked up to be, and that the alleged greetings were largely mythical. So a few days ago he wrote to the management of the enterprise:
“The list thus far issued by you contains only vague generalities & one definite name, mine—‘Some Kings
Queens & Mark Twain.’ Now, I am not enjoying this sparkling solitude & distinction, which has not been authorized by me, & which makes me feel like a circus poster in a graveyard, or like any other advertisement improperly placed.”
He added that unless the Red Cross manager would send him for publication a complete list of contributors he wanted his “Greeting” back. Manager F.D. Higbee [sic] explained that to publish names at that time would hurt the scheme, so he returned the “Greeting” with regret [MTP]. Note: Frank D. Higbie, nephew of Calvin H. Higbie.
Augustus T. Gurlitz wrote to Sam. “Judge Lacombe last evening filed a decision in the Kipling case, of which I send you a copy herewith. You will note that he holds that our proof falls short of showing such a well recognized common-law trademark in the elephant’s head as would entitle us to the relief by way of preliminary injunction.” Further, since there were 30 or 40 editions of Kipling’s work, some not bearing the elephant head design, the claim was doubtful. Gurlitz expected to win eventually, and suggested Sam wait for disposition in Kipling’s case before proceeding with his own actions [MTP].
December 28 Friday – Justus S. North wrote from Welaka, Fla. to Sam, unhappy that he’d purchased a volume entitled Library of Wit and Humor by Mark Twain (and others), and blaming Sam. North had discovered:
on inspection, turns out to be an old Eli Perkins production of old dressed in a new suit, and you (“my heretofore Idol”) do not seem to be in it beyond the cover. It is very evident that your name is used for no other purpose than to impose upon the confiding public. In other words procuring money under false
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.