The great trouble about painting a whole gallery of portraits at the same time is, that the housemaid comes and dusts, and does not put them back the way they were before, and so when the public flock to the studio and wish to know which is Howells and which is Depew and so on, you have to dissemble, and it is very embarrassing at first. Still, you know they are there, and this
knowledge presently gives you more or less confidence, and you say sternly, “This is Howells,” and watch the visitor’s eye. If you see doubt there, you correct yourself and try another. In time you find one that will satisfy, and
then you feel relief and joy, but you have suffered much in the meantime; and you know that this joy is only temporary, for the next inquirer will settle on another Howells of a quite different aspect, and one which you suspect is Edward VII or Cromwell, though you keep that to yourself, of course. It is much better to label a portrait when you first paint it, then there is no uncertainty in your mind and you can get bets out of the visitor and win them.
First you think it’s Dante; next you think it’s Emerson; then you think it’s Wayne MacVeagh. Yet it isn’t any of them; it’s the beginnings of Depew. Now you wouldn’t believe Depew could be devolved out of that; yet the minute it is finished here you have him to the life, and you say, yourself, “If that isn’t Depew it isn’t anybody.”
Some would have painted him speaking, but he isn’t always speaking, he has to stop and think sometimes.
That is a genre picture, as we say in the trade, and differs from the encaustic and other schools in various ways, mainly technical, which you wouldn’t understand if I should explain them to you. But you will get the idea as I go along, and little by little you will learn all that is valuable about Art without knowing how it happened, and without any sense of strain or effort, and then you will know what school a picture belongs to, just at a glance, and whether it is an animal
picture or a landscape. It is then that the joy of life will begin for you.
When you come to examine my portraits of Mr. Joe Jefferson and the rest, your eye will have become measurably educated by that time, and you will recognize at once that no two
of them are alike. I will close the present chapter with an example of the nude, for your instruction.
The North American Review included the fourth installment of Mark
Twain’s Christian Science series, this last titled “Mrs. Eddy in Error,” (p. 505-17) written in 1897-8 in Vienna, this titled, “Mrs. Eddy in Error.” The installments ran monthly from Dec. 1902 through this month’s issue. A book would result from these articles, though Harpers would delay it till 1907 [AMT-1: 707].
Richard Eugene Burton presented his book, Message and Melody; A Book of Verse to Mark Twain [Gribben 118].
Sam’s notebook: mention of Shakespeare’s birthday [Gribben 635: NB 46 TS 14].
April or May – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote a note to Livy.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.