Sam also replied to the Jan. 2 of William Dean Howells, mostly giving instructions and claims for
Plasmon. He added the following:
That is a lovely letter of Aldrich’s. I will return it after a day or two—I want to read it to the family, first. However, I may decide to send it to my Scotch lassie in the Highlands, first—but she will send it back. I
have never seen her, but she is just a dear—just an explosion, an effervescence, an uncorked bottle of champagne that pours out youth & sparkle & grace of speech & spirit, & the worship we love from the lips we love—& all in a torrent! What a breeze she is! & how young she makes an old body feel. She has enslaved this household, one & all. / Yours ever… [MTHL 2: 736-7]. Note: Sam’s Jan. 4 to Twichell reveals that “Aldrich became a grandfather in the closing days of December,” likely the purport of the letter. The Scotch lassie was Muriel M. Pears. Howells wrote in My Mark Twain:
Now, I was not surprised to learn that “the damned human race” was to be saved by plasmon, if anything, and that my first duty was to visit the plasmon agency with him, and procure enough plasmon to secure my family against the ills it was heir to for evermore. I did not immediately understand that plasmon was one of the investments which he had made from “the substance of things hoped for,” and in the destiny of a disastrous disappointment. But after paying off the creditors of his late publishing firm, he had to do something with his money, and it was not his fault if he did not make a fortune out of plasmon [81-2].
Sam also wrote to Irving S. Underhill.
Ah, but they didn’t give you my message!
I wanted to write to you myself, but they wanted to do it too, & promised to ask you if you would sell me the privilege the Harpers desired, & on what terms. It was a Harper scheme, but I was not willing to suggest it to you on any basis except one which you could entirely & commercially approve.
A few days later the Harpers changed their mind & concluded to put only one story in my book—one which will furnish in the Monthly next month. So that ended the matter.
But I have always felt in your debt, & I still feel so, because you would not charge me anything for the privilege of printing the Diary in the magazine. I beg you to reconsider that, & let me pay. I shall do it gladly if you will allow me [MTP]. Note: see Jan, 1, 1901; June 3, 1893 entries. Evidently, Underhill owned the rights to “Extracts from Adam’s Diary” first published in the Niagara Book.
Sam’s notebook: “Autobiog. The Time Charley Langdon & I fell out of the wagon backwards” [NB 45 TS 1a]. Note:
see Sept. 28, 1868 for this episode during Sam’s courting of Livy.
January 4 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to Joe Twichell, that, having declined five public functions pleading he did not go outside of the city, he could not very well accept Twichell’s to come to Hartford “upon any invitation to a function there.” Therefore, he would not let Twichell know if he was coming and if it got into the newspapers that he was, he would stay home. “For I live upon the public confidence, & must not lie to it openly.” Therefore he would just say that he had “to spend part of a day, & a night, in Hartford some time or other between this & April 1st—the particular date is not material.” He also forwarded news about Thomas Bailey Aldrich:
Say—Aldrich became a grandfather in the closing days of December. What late crops we are having!—we boys that foregathered together in New York & Boston thirty & thiry-three-&-four years ago. Hay, Aldrich Howells, Whitelaw Reid, Clemens—all sterile in the second generation but that little poet [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Francis Holme. “I rather admire that aesophagus myself, Mr. Holme, especially because it caught our editor of the magazine and he sent to ask if I had made a mistake. Very truly yours, Mrk Twain. ” [MTP].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Sam.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.