Vol 3 Section 0931

1903                                                                            869

I have just been telephoning for an appointment with you toward noon to-morrow. I may not be able to go down, but it is no matter—all I wanted was to ask you to consider no proposition from the American Publishing Company until after I have talked with you. They were coldly indifferent the other day; their temperature has changed; it is not wearing furs now [MTP]. Note: Duneka, editor for Harpers, had pledged to renegotiate the contracts completely, giving Sam whatever he wanted within reason. The only thing standing in the way was the American Publishing Co.

Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Franklin G. Whitmore.

Mr. Clemens came back this morning from a little visit with Mr. Rogers and being very tired has gone to his room. But he asked me to send you the enclosed check, and to tell you how very much he and Mrs. Clemens appreciate all the hard work you have done for them, and to thank you, for no one else would have taken the interest that you have. They are so very glad the house is now off their hands—thanks to your efforts. Mrs. Clemens is improving a little all the time, and last week was taken into the guest room that you occupied. They expect soon to bring her down stairs. Mr. Clemens and the daughters are in good shape, though Clara is a little weak yet [MTP]. Note: Sam may have gone to Fairhaven or New York to seek Rogers’ advice on the Harpers-Bliss-Collier situation.

Katharine I. Harrison wrote to Sam. “I enclose herewith a letter just received from Mr. Frank E. Bliss, of London, concerning the International Plasmon situation. Yours truly…” [MTP]. Note: evidently a mystery, as this seems to be a different Frank E. Bliss than American Publishing Co.’s Frank E. Bliss. Sam wrote on the env. “He responds rather late in the day.”

In Florence, Italy, George Gregory Smith, who had been tapped by Fiske to find the Clemens family a suitable villa, wrote to his mother and brother of the task. To his brother he wrote:

I wrote M.T. about Papiniano & told him you had lived in it, & that he could write. So you may hear from him. The only trouble is that the Barlows have put up the price to 1000 lire a month. This is absurd & I won’t pay it. I have almost as good a villa, barring the wonderful view. Miss Porritts in the Bolognese Road for Lire 350 per month [Orth 30]. Note: See Sept 20, Oct. 4, Oct. 11 from Smith to his mother.

The New York Herald, p. 6 ran “Mark Twain’s Door Open to Burglars”:


Undisturbed by the recent activity of thieves in the Bronx, Mark Twain, at his home in Riverdale, in the extreme northern end of the borough, expressed himself yesterday as not averse to the powers that prey on his neighbors.

“I just wish I knew the fellows on my route,” said the humorist, his eyes twinkling with merriment. “I have been expecting them about here, and from feelings of brotherhood, if for no more noble reason, I have been intending to give them a warm reception. My larder is open to them, and if they smoke they can have the best in the good deal akin. We all travel in groups. We work one neighborhood until we feel that we have sapped the lemon dry and then we move on to more fruitful soil. I don’t know, but I am ready to believe that the gentlemen who visited Riverdale and stolen everything they could lay their hands on are now laying away treasure down in Ohio and some other rich preserve of the Union. These grafters are pretty wise fellows. They know when they have been long enough in one neighborhood and when their victims seem to have become tired of them.

“There is such a thing as despoiling even the fatted calf, and these fellows understand that as well as we do. I’d like to meet the gentlemen who have this route now. I would treat them well. In fact, I fear I might succumb to the temptation to treat them too well. Perhaps that is why they have passed my door without

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.