piles of uncut diamonds in South Africa, who said “Don’t look at them merely in the pile; hold them up to the light one by one, they’ll bear it.”
You think it can’t be printed. Possibly not, set out and exposed all by itself, but it stands all ready to be dovetailed into the middle of a long tale, and there the public will give it hospitality, just as they did with Bill Sykes and his hectic domestic affairs [MTP; not in MTHL]. Note: see Nov.11 from Howells.
In N.Y.C. William Dean Howells replied to Sam’s above letter.
I felt sure you would like that story [“The Burning Shame,” by Dennison; See Nov. 11 from Howells]. All the people seemed alive, even the dead man. As for that boy watching with him, and that horrible old, fat jolly harlot, they were artistically perfect. But it is hopelessly beyond all editors.—I would like to encourage the author, and when you send me back his MS.—which you forgot to do—give me your leave to enclose your letter [above], swearing him to make no public use of it.
I do hope I shall see you at the dinner [Nov. 15], for it will be a consolation in itself, and it will mean that Mrs. Clemens is better [MTHL 2: 749].
James S. Kirtley wrote from Kansas City, Mo. to Sam, enclosing a slip with inscription and signature for his book, The Young Man and Himself; His Tasks, His Dreams, His Purposes…His Complete Life (1902), which he’d asked his publisher to send. He asked after Livy’s health [MTP]. Note: the slip is still with the letter; either Sam did not receive the book or neglected to insert it.
A.L. Punton and E.G. Linn of the First Methodist Church, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, wrote to Sam. They asked for an autograph edition of HF or TS or others, to raise money for the purchase of a piano [MTP].
Carl Thalbitzer wrote to Sam from Copenhagen, Denmark, “meditating” after reading his Hadleyburg story. His practice was to ascertain the beliefs of authors he read, and he “took the liberty” to write, being a young author himself. Did Sam put his personal belief in such stories? He encouraged Sam to write a book comparing the old world with the new, and felt that “especially the modern youth, are longing for such a work.”[MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter “Appreciation,” and “Letter answered / Nov. 26, 1902”
November 14 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Emily S. Hutchings, advising her what to do with rejected manuscripts.
I suspect—as you do also—that in these and like matters name and sex are not factors,—nothing counts but the product. As witness, Mahomet, Mrs. Eddy, Mrs. Stowe, Howells, Lowell, Holmes, Harte, Sidney Smith, Hop Smith,—all common every day names in those people’s habitat, names commonly borne by everybody around. It is my belief that being a man won’t help the case any. But there is one thing that may: instead of giving the magazines a chance to reject four out of five manuscripts, do it yourself. For many many years that has happened to four out of five of my manuscripts, and there is a ton of ms. in my study, to show how many times I got ahead of the magazine editors without their knowing it. Where there is reasonable doubt in the case of the prisoner at the bar he has to have the benefit of that doubt and go free. When there is a reasonable doubt in the case of a ms. of yours, your instinct detects it every time, and you ought to lay that piece of paper away, until some future time, when the right way to treat the subject shall have come to you from that mill whose helpful machinery never stands idle—unconscious cerebration. But nothing is really lost: there is always a right way to treat a subject, and the U. C. will find it if you give it time; which time will not be short of two years and will often be five. I am speaking from personal experience [MTP: Cyril Clemens, Mark Twain: The Letter Writer, 1932, p.25-6].
George L. Houghton wrote from Marseilles, Illinois to Sam. “Kindly read the enclosed circular [not extant] and let me know if you can help me in introducing the invention described.” Houghton had experienced a lot of broken promises and obstacles and was willing to give a half-interest in the patent to whomever could help him.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.