That Baker letter is indeed precious: he could use an old people’s home all by himself. The spelling, spirit and expression all go together. I wish Keats could have lived to hear of “a town of beauty and a joy forever.” But we must not expect everything.
The young wild-ass whose hoof prints I enclose left two of his books with me: one contains his love-letters, the other his poems, with his portait and his biography so that the public need not be kept waiting if it wants to know how he looks and who he is. Don’t return the letter.
Instead, read the “E. Chair” in the Dec. Harper. It will just suit you [MTHL 2: 734-5]. Note: see notes 1-3 for backstory on Howells’ references. William H. Baker [MTHHR 497n2]
Samuel H. Church wrote from Pittsburgh, Penn. to Sam complimenting him on his story, “The Death Disk” in Harper’s—“a sweet, tender, touching little story” [MTP].
November 24 Sunday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Chatto & Windus, requesting sheets for “The Californian’s Tale,” which he meant to publish in Harper’s Monthly [MTP].
Grace Elizabeth King wrote from New Orleans to Sam advising that a few days later a registered letter would be sent to him c/o the Players Club “containing the scenario of a play which you are to put into the hands of Irving, extruding a promise from him to read it…” [MTP]. Note: this was a play by Albert Phelps of New Orleans, who wrote Sam on Dec. 12.
November 25 Monday – Sam’s notebook: “Delmonico, 7. Harvey. To reconstruct Harper’s Weekly & save its
life. Still with Bangs for editor? Go to! P.S. The result not promising” [NB 44 TS 18]. Note: John Kendrick Bangs.
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Sam, again about Francis Wilson’s offer; she felt they should find a librettist who could do the work of putting the book into the proper script and would “certainly ask 30 or 40% of Mr. Clemens share of the royalties” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Ans Nov. 28. Propose to get a librettist”; a librettist writes the words or text of an opera.
November 26 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Could take 6.46. Don’t | Leave by 7.27—arrive 7.55. 8 p.m. Waldorf— big ball room. Mr. Stokes (Fred). N. England Soc. Return, 11.35 (Next & last, is 12.30)” [NB 44 TS 18].
November 27 Wednesday – Livy’s 56th birthday. Sam inscribed in Hawthorn and Lavender, with Other Verses, to Livy: “To / Mrs. Olivia L. Clemens—Nov. 27, 1871 or 2—Upon the occasion & celebration of one of her early birth-days, when she did not mind them so much. / from SLC. / Riverdale-on-Hudson / Nov. 1901” [MTP:
TS of inscription in Hawthorn and Lavendar, with Other Verses; Gribben 308].
November 28 Thursday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Livy wrote for Sam to George Austin Morrison, informing him that Sam would not be able to get to the Banquet of St. Andrew’s Society until 9:30 and “slip into his seat at the President’s table before the speeches begin” [MTP].
Theodore Weld Stanton for Harper & Brothers wrote from Paris to Sam, after his excursion to the Lower Valley of the Rhone. He had not actually discovered “The Lost Napoleon” but reported
“I have done considerable towards its discovering, if it really exists….I came down in good style all the way to
Arles, but most unfortunately the Mistral had been blowing for two or three days previous, with the result that the atmosphere was so filled with dust clouds, I could not even catch a glimpse of the mountain ranges on the left bank, where is concealed our slumbering warrior.” The trip would have to be made “in the fine season.” Plans were made to explore the mountain ranges between Orange and Avignon, though mirages of mountain-like clouds often fooled travelers [MTP]. Note: see Nov. 17 entry.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.