Sam also wrote to an unidentified man, commenting on a list of books sent: “In the list are two books…which I do not call to mind; I suppose they are piracies.” He added three to the list published since 1895: FE, JA, and the Hadleyburg volume. He suggested sending the list to American Publishing in Hartford; that Bliss could “probably answer the other questions, too; & name the sales of the books—things which I am not able to do” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Miss O’Reilly:
My dear Miss O’Reilly—
I am far up in the Adirondack woods & have no books with me, but I am sending a couple of autographs to Harpers, with instructions to paste them in & forward the books to you.
I am not meaning to be tardy, & I ask pardon, but I have been away a fortnight & have been ill since my return until now [MTP]. Note: had been to unidentified person.
Sam also wrote two notes to Franklin G. Whitmore. The first (postmarked Aug. 27) is one line: “You can do the rest of the filling out and attend to the collecting.” This may relate to renting the Farmington Ave. house, while the second letter (postmarked Aug 28) relates to the sale of the house:
Dear Brer: / Whenever you have an offer for the house let us know the amount. I doubt if Mrs. Clemens can ever bring herself to sell, but it might happen—one never knows. I wish we had sold it ten years ago for what it would fetch, little or big. One ought not to retain idle property in our country, the only one in the world that taxes such just the same when it is idle as when it is earning money. Just on account of the taxes there has never been a time when I wouldn’t have sold the house for anything it would fetch if the family had been willing [MTP].
August 28 Wednesday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam wrote to John H. Stevens, older brother of Ed Stevens, one of Sam’s sidekicks in the Marion Rangers, 1861.
If Brooklyn were in America—or England—or France—or anywhere near by, I would certainly call on you, I would indeed; but I know no journey that to me is so distant & so formidable as is the journey to Brooklyn. The few times I have been there were seasons of terror to me, I seemed so far away from natural protectors. You must be John—of the Upper River; of the generation of Orion Clemens, David Garth, Charley Meredith, Bill Briggs, John Bowen, as I was of the generation of Ed. Stevens, John Garth, John Meredith, John Briggs, Will Bowen, etc. Orion died 4 years ago, aged 73; I shall be 66 at this year’s end.
Sam continued about Ed Stevens, whom he’d had “a good deal of correspondence with …a year or two before he died.” These are not extant, but Sam did respond to a letter from Ed’s sister, Jenny S. Boardman (Stevens) on Mar. 25, 1887 (see entry) . Sam thanked John for a picture of Ed, but with the beard Sam hardly recognized him. He did remember Ed’s ways and their friendship, however.
“We were great friends, warm friends, he & I. He was of a killingly entertaining spirit; he had the light heart, the care-free ways, the bright word, the easy laugh, the unquenchable genius of fun; he was a friendly light in a frowning world—he should not have died out of it” [MTP].
Note: Wecter describes Ed Stevens as “The jeweler’s son…handsome and ‘neat as a cat’ but no sissy. Always ready for fun, he led an insurrection that tore down Dick Hardy’s stable, as Sam Clemens remembered, and later joined that ‘rebel company’ that lasted for two weeks…” [142-3].
Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell, with a differing literary opinion:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.