Vol 3 Section 0753

1902                                                                            695

June 11 Wednesday Paul Kester wrote to Sam from Accotink, Va. Kester had heard that Charles Frohman no longer controlled the dramatic rights for TS; Kester had made such a play—would Sam allow him to place it elsewhere? [MTP].

Sam’s notebook contains story ideas and some summaries of the “Five Boons of Life,” which Sam wrote in the Spring of 1902 at Riverdale, and was likely still under some revision. Rasmussen (A-Z p.143) gives it as his first publication in Harper’s Weekly (July 5, 1902): “Robin listening to a worm burrowing— squirrel burying a nut—ant with a grasshopper leg—cows turn heads one way—dog turns round 3 times— nigger’s palms & soles white (legend). The 5 Boons—death the best . Remains unchosen—later they come one after the other & beg for it. Make each a separate tale. Beauty, Fame, Riches, Long Life, Death” [NB 45 TS18]. Note: in the finished story a young man chooses Pleasure, Love, Fame, and Power, then, when all turn to ashes, Death.

Also in this NB entry a few other snippets: “ Dr. Tom—watermelon for dysentery. Old brown Windsor for chaps, abrasions. / Bricks under hat. / April fool. Cotton pie [TS 17].

Livy’s diary: “Mr Hapgood came for luncheon & staid until Thursday morning” [MTP: DV161].

George W. Reeves wrote to Sam, enclosing a letter (not extant) “from a very prominent lawyer at Tarrytown….if possible make an agreement with him that if he does not accomplish the object that you will not pay

him more than $25.00” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “Told him to employ the lawyer, with the condition mentioned in the closing sentence” (about the $25). The attorney was Henry C. Griffin, and his task was to get the assessed value of the Tarrytown house lowered to what Clemens paid for it.

Count and Countess Rochambeau wrote a short note of thanks in French to Sam from N.Y.C. on Waldorf-Astoria Hotel notepaper [MTP].

June 12 ThursdayIn Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Minnie Dawson of Hannibal, daughter of his old schoolteacher, J.D. Dawson.

“I thank you for the Mississippi pearl, which is beautiful & does the river great honor. Always when I have claimed that we used to get pearls out of the mussels, my family have doubted me; but by grace of your evidence my character stands better now” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to C. Edwin Hutchings.

I ought to be very grateful to you for making that verbatim report and printing it, and I am. Long-hand reports have embittered my life for 30 years, for no matter how bad a speech I may make they manage to make it twice as bad as it was when I disgorged it. And so I thank you.

With my kindest regards to Mrs. Hutchings—once of Hannibal—and to you, I am / Sincerely yours… [MTP: Cyril Clemens, Mark Twain: The Letter Writer, 1932, p.110].

Sam also wrote to Mrs. E.W. Stephens of Columbia, Mo.

I beg to thank you first, and all your household next, for the hospitable good times I had under your roof. I offer my sincerest acknowledgments and best wishes to you all; including the officer of the deck, the baby. Not all autocrats wield their authority as justly and as considerately as he does. It was a memorable time for me, those eleven days in Missouri—a dream come true, after 50 years. Billions of boys have dreamed it—all boys of all times and climes and nationalities have dreamed it, but not two dozen have seen it come to pass, perfect, and unmarred by any alloy of reproach or remorse or bitterness, I think. Even the Prodigal’s glad home-coming had a lack: it put an injustice upon his brother, and there was a private pang in that, for him.

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