Yes, Mr. Arthur’s play did greatly please me, & it will please me still more when a few emendations—of a not difficult & yet necessary sort—shall have been made: such as the restoring of Huck’s name & deeds & speeches to Huck, & the restoring of Tom’s name & deeds & speeches to Tom. I have mentioned these changes in a note to Mr. Dillingham the other day: he asked me to note such corrections as might seem to me well, & said they would be made. These changes will be large improvements, & at the same time will not necessitate any change in the play’s title [MTP]. Note: see Aug. 2 to Dillingham. Exactly when Clemens saw Arthur’s play is not known; he may have simply had access to the MS of it. See July 1, 1897 for more on Dillingham.
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers about the negotiations on the Hartford house, the August celebration of
York’s 250th anniversary, and Livy’s worsening health:
Your letter [about Witherbee’s offer] entirely settled the thing; & as it confirmed Mrs. Clemens’s judgment she is pleased & flattered; & as it hoists me out of a fog & into clear air I am pleased, too—flattered also, I reckon, tho I am unclear as to that. I am always expecting to be flattered, & sometimes it may be that I discover it where it was not intended.
Tom Reed was here to the celebration, & was the same delightful & irresistible old bullfrog as ever. Confound those editors, they emasculated [William H.] Baker. They’ve taken his 22 carats of gold out of him
left nothing but his 1 carat of alloy. All the same, his suggestion that if rich men would concentrate their attention on laying out their treasures here below, the Lord would take care of the transfer Himself, was mighty good.
The thing is happening which was to be expected. Mrs. Clemens’s five years of constant anxiety & periodical shocks & frights on Jean’s account are bringing a break-down. I am alarmed about her, & she suspects it, tho I lie the best I can in the circumstances, & so does the doctor. In order to be able to breathe, she had to sit upright in bed last night from 9 o’clock almost all the time until 4 this morning. This is becoming a nightly experience. In the daytime she feels fairly well, but has to be watched all the time to keep her from making exertions herself which others could make for her. She has always had good staying power, but good staying power has its limits.
Sam also conveyed Livy’s wish that Whitmore forego the scheme to rent the Hartford house for two years to Sidney A. Witherbee [MTHHR 496-7]. Note: Livy’s hypertension and heart disease was complicated by asthma, which made sitting upright during the night necessary.
Sam also wrote to an unidentified man: “If I remember rightly, the note received by you was intended for a schoolmaster somewhere in the Phillipines [sic]. If he received the one intended for you he will not understand it, but will probably divine that a most common mistake has been made, & will not lose his balance about it & try to find cause of offence in it” [MTP]. Note: Henry Wise, Superintendent of Bacnotan Public Schools, the Philippines, was the recipient of the crossed letter. Wise wrote Sam on June 21.
Charles Bancroft Dillingham of N.Y.C. responded to Sam’s Aug. 2 objections/suggestions about the Huck Finn play and reversing dialogue between Huck and Tom Sawyer.
The principal thing to be borne is that it is “Huckleberry Finn” that has been dramatized, and not “Tom Sawyer”, and if “Tom Sawyer” is as strong as “Huckleberry Finn” we will miss our aim. There are so many “Tom Sawyer” plays being done throughout the country that it is advisable to strengthen “Huckleberry Finn” as much as possible, and if it is the success we anticipate it leaves a good market for Klaw & Erlanger to do a “Tom Sawyer” version later on. You know that plays made from books have little in common with the book excepting the title [MTP].
The ledger books of Chatto & Windus show that 3,000 additional copies (3s.6d.) of Joan of Arc were printed, totaling 11,000 [Welland 238]. ,
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.