Riverdale – Lying to the Invalid – Jean to Old Point, Va. – Plasmon Concealments Writing Christian Science Articles – Queen of Frauds – Ordered to Italy “Sell that God damned House!”– Bronchitis Blues – Tarrytown Leased – Collier Offers Godalmighty Bissell Buys Hartford House – Measles! For Clara – Fairhaven Trip Long-Distance House-hunting – Major Pond Dies – Escape to Quarry Farm “A Dog’s Tale”– Yacht Races a Diversion – New Harper Contracts – Sailing For Italy Florence Villa di Quarto – Landlady from Hell – Livy’s Set-back
1903 – Sam responded to Maud Madison’s letter and program, sent sometime after 1902. She wrote: “I am a little girl entertainer and I would like to recite for you sometime. I enclose a program of my pieces.” The program included Maud in a Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy dance and recitations of poems by
Eugene Field, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, James Whitcomb Riley, and Mary Mapes Dodge . Sam’s reply on the back side of the enclosure: “Clearly opposed to such things—does not consider himself a judge” [MTP]. Note: Was he opposed to child performers? He’d been a fan of Elsie Leslie. So, it was likely the judging he objected to.
Sam wrote an essay, “Something about Doctors,” so named later by Paine. He intended it for his Autobiography, but it was not included until the new “authoritative” edition of 2010. Sam began with “Hannibal 1842” and his experience with castor oil. Throughout his life he had ambivalent or even hostile feelings with doctors, especially the way some charged for their services, yet there were several physicians he admired and placed great stock in. An entire book might serve to examine the various doctor- relationships in Clemens’ life, but Ober’s Mark Twain and Medicine: “Any Mummery Will Cure” (2003) is probably the best treatment so far [AMT 1: 188 & 520-4notes].
Paine gives 1903 for Sam’s unfinished, lightly satirical romance, “Mock Marriage,” which was not published until it was collected in Fables of Man, p. 290-301.
Lecky puts Sam’s essay “Thoughts of God” to 1903 [Fables of Man 110-15]. See also MTB p.1356.
Sam also wrote on printed contents of his Uniform Edition by the American Publishing Co. to an unidentified person, likely at the company: “Let us add to this vol. the stories published in Harpers Monthly & Weekly last Xmas, & the one that is to be in Xmas Monthly for ’03. / SLC” [MTP].
In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote several undated notes to the “invalid” Livy, of which 18 survive. The MTP dates these only as 1902-1903. However, Wecter puts them as “impossible to date with precision, but apparently belong to the late winter and early spring of 1903” [LLMT 341]. Indeed, I have dated four of these: Mar. 1, 1903, Mar. 10, 1903, after Mar. 1903, and Aug. 13, 1903; and so insert them in those specific dates. The rest of these notes are grouped below (all cited from MTP):
Gabrilowitsch. Livy darling, Clara has been here sassing me—will you attend to it. Now then, I suppose we are exactly in time: when we sleep, we both sleep; when we don’t it’s similarly mutual—I didn’t break a snore between midnight & 8.30. The top of the morning to you, sweetheart ===
Don’t know the date nor the day. But anyway it is a soft & pensive foggy morning, Livy darling, & the naked tree-branches are tear-beaded, & Nature has the look of trying to keep from breaking down & sobbing, poor old thing. Good-morning, dear heart, I love you dearly. [Note: naked trees denote winter.] ===
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.