Vol 3 Section 0575

1901                                                                            519

Twain adapted the story to dramatic form and presented it at Carnegie Hall in early winter [Feb. 8] 1902 (Paine 1194). The story was published in Germany in the A Double-Barrelled Detective Story volume (Tauchnitz: 1902), then in the United States the following year in My Debut as a Literary Person” [41]. On Aug. 30, 1906 in an autobiographical dictation, Sam related the twelve-year struggle it took to get this story right:

In the course of twelve years I made six attempts to tell a simple little story which I knew would tell itself in four hours if I could ever find the right starting point. I scored six failures; then one day in London [Oct. 1899] I offered the text of the story to Robert McClure and proposed that he publish that text in the magazine and offer a prize to the person who should tell it best. I became greatly interested and went on talking upon the text for half an hour; then he said, “You have told the story yourself. You have nothing to do but put it on paper just as you have told it.”

I recognized that this was true. At the end of four hours it was finished, and quite to my satisfaction. So it took twelve years and four hours to produce that little bit of a story, which I have called “The Death Wafer” [MTE 199-200]. See also Wilson p.41-4.

George B. Harvey replied to Sam’s request of this date (above): “No objections. Have been mighty busy since I got back but am going to get in to see you some day this week” [MTP].

Sam also wrote a post card to Dr. Elizabeth Jarrett: “Come down and see me” [eBay Mar. 16, 2006, Item 6612597385]. Note: Sam was responding to an invitation (not extant) to address the Alumnae of Normal College (ladies school, later Hunter College); Jarrett was the president of the group.

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Guaranty Trust


May 5 Sunday

May 6 MondaySam’s notebook: “The Osbornes 7.30 850 Madison ave / Ask about gravestones. Sail Sunday 12, or Monday? Invite Twichell & Harvey? Or Corey? Harry Harper proposition” [NB 44 TS 10].

At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Frank Parsons (1854-1908), professor at Boston University and also at Ruskin College, Trenton, Mo., declining an unspecified invitation, as he already had enough engagements [MTP]. Note: Sam dictated and signed this typewritten per “F.A.R.,” who was Frances A. Ramsay, a stenographer often used during this period.

Rudyard Kipling wrote to thank Sam:

        for the help you have given me by your testimony in my small suit against Fenno the Benevolent Publisher, and I am also immensely pleased to see by the papers that you, on your own account, are chasing a Fenno through the swampy ground of the Law. If you catch him will you please scalp him for me and I’ll give you half of G.H. Putnam’s scalp—when I get it [MTP].

May 7 TuesdaySam’s notebook: “Trains leave foot 23d / 10.55 a.m. / 12.55 p.m. / 1.25 / 2.10 / 3.55 p.m.

Princeton direct. / Photograph—10.30” [NB 44 TS 10].

Possibly on this day Sam also wrote on a calling card to Dr. Elizabeth Jarrett: “Admit the bearer at any hour in the 24 / SL Clemens” [eBay Mar. 16, 2006, Item 6612597385].

Barbara Mullen wrote to Sam inviting him to speak at her high school. Mullen’s letter is not extant but it is referred to in Sam’s May 20 reply.

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.