my hand & unfinished, & if you will run up some forenoon (not the 21st)—telephone me first, to make sure—“150 Kingsbridge” I will show the lot to you, & if you like you can carry it confidentially away. It seems unfair that you should have to wait while the slow North American grinds me out [MTP]. Note: the two were collaborating on a book. See earlier entries on McCrackan.
Edith E. Dodge wrote from Augusta, Ga. to Sam. This is a very melodramatic “begging” letter from a woman who claimed to have had a son by Samuel L. Clemens in 1864! She was no relation to the William Dodge family of Riverdale, neighbors of the Clemenses. After reading the tear-jerker, Sam wrote on the top: “Let me see. From August (9?) 1861 till near the autumn of 1864, I was not out of the Territory of Nevada; & was not absent from the Pacific Coast until October 1866. Evidently the within son is of the vintage of 1864. No use to set up a claim to him— he would prove an alibi. / SLC” [MTP].
December 18 Thursday – Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904), Irish writer and suffragette, wrote from Bristol, England—a short, and mostly illegible note of appreciation to Twain [MTP]. Sam wrote on the env. “Preserve this (Frances power Cobb’s autograph.)” Two of Cobbe’s books are noted in Gribben, p. 149. Cobbe founded the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection. Her father banished her for rejecting her Calvinist upbringing.
December 19 Friday – Fatout lists an “unidentified dinner” speech in N.Y.C. for this date [MT Speaking 672].
December 20 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote per Isabel Lyon to Laurence Hutton.
I don’t lecture any more, otherwise I should say yes to that proposition, with pleasure. I never intend to stand on a platform again until the sheriff requires it.
That photographer sent me a very fine picture of myself, and I wrote and asked him if he could furnish one half a dozen cabinet size. When you see him I wish you would ask him if he got my letter. I’m ever so sorry to hear that you are in such unsatisfactory case, and I do hope you will find somebody who can improve it.
Mrs. Clemens makes a little progress we think; it is unspeakably slight and slow, but Clara believes it is really progress, and she is with her mother four hours every day. In this she is more fortunate than Jean and I; we have not seen the Madame since summer. In one detail I can perceive progress myself; within the last month, certainly within the last fortnight. She has become able to read a little; this necessarily shreds away some of the clouds that shadow her atmosphere. She sent for your personal and Dog book two or three days ago, and it went to her room before breakfast this morning [MTP]. Note: Sam liked the photographs made of him at Woodrow Wilson’s Inauguration on Oct. 25. the Photographer is not named. A Boy I Knew and Four Dogs (1898) by Laurence Hutton.
Fatout [MT Speaking 672] lists a reading for Sam at Mrs. Bartholomew’s in N.Y.C. for this date, likely taken from the following NB entry:
Sam’s notebook: “Mrs. Bartholomew 640 Madison ave? / At Mrs. Dimock’s house. Russian Passport & Was it Heaven? Or Hell? Mrs. D’s house 25 E 60th, cor. Madison ave. / Dine with James Goodwin 11 W 54th
stay all night. / Reading said to begin 8.45” [NB 45 TS 35]. Note: Sam gave more than one reading for Mrs. Bartholomew’s charity, not specified; see May 1 entry.
William Digby wrote from London to Sam, complimenting him on his story “Was it Heaven? or Hell?” in the Dec. issue of Harper’s [MTP].
Sam’s remembrance of a good friend, “Thomas Brackett Reed” ran in Harper’s Weekly. It was later published in Europe and Elsewhere (1923). In full:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.