Hay, Bliss Perry, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Francis Hopkinson Smith, and Henry Van Dyke [MTP:
Laura Stedman, Life and Letters of Edmund Clarence Stedman 1901, p.474].
June 26 Friday – Sam’s notebook: “
at Lahn /
Mrs. Stanley Brown—dinner/ Wright may call today” [NB 46 TS 20].
June 27 Saturday – Frank Bliss wrote a two-page typed letter to Sam concerning relinquishing contract rights for $50,000, and Collier’s possible entrance selling sets of Mark Twain’s books by subscription.
When Mr. Jacobs and myself called on you last Thursday it was with the expectation of considering a price at which the shares of the A.P. Company might be sold to you at; but you immediately told us that while you had offered to buy the Company that you had changed your mind; that you did not wish to load yourself up with the cares of running it, or the management of it, or of the winding up of its affairs; that all you did care about was to get hold of the contract existing between Mrs. Clemens and the Company and proceeded to make still another proposition, which was that the A.P. Company be allowed to sell all of the 2500 sets of the “Hillcrest” Edition (and later a condition not to sell at less than $36.50 a set); to deliver you the plates of the Uniform Set, fill all orders for the twenty-third volume, destroy all the old plates and old books except such as may be required for any orders already taken; that no further royalty be paid you or the Harpers on the “Hillcrest” Edition and that you were to pay the American Publishing Company $10,000 [MTP].
Note: Bliss continued for another page and a half of single-spaced typed text taking issue with the terms offered, and then declining. Bliss then offered three “suggestions” for continuing: First, a $50,000 payment and permission to sell their stock of “Hillcrest” sets on hand as payment for their giving up their rights. Second, “concessions made by the various parties interested,” including an arrangement with Mr. Collier of
of his royalties to be paid to the A.P. Co. in excess of 20,000 sets sold, also leaving “existing contracts between Mrs. Clemens and this Company as they are. We going on with the ‘Hillcrest’ Edition…” And third: since they had not violated their contracts that they be allowed to continue under the present contracts. The issues between Twain, Bliss, Collier and Harpers had become quite tangled. Sam saw a great opportunity to enhance his income by allowing Collier to sell sets as well as the other two firms.
June 28 Sunday – The New York Times, p. SM12 ran a humorous article, wherein “Alligator Jack” John B. Downing told a story about Mark Twain.
Mark Twain’s Roast Chickens.
Recently Major John B. Downing of Middleport, Ohio, was discussing army chicken stealing and the various ways the boys had of preparing them to be served. The Major was a Mississippi River pilot in his young days and stood at the wheel as a cub under the watchful eye of “Sam” Clemens, the Mark Twain of the present day.
“Speaking of chicken stealing,” said the Major, who is now gray and reminiscent, “we had great times on the Mississippi when Mark Twain, Jake Estep, and myself were together. Jake would have made a typical soldier. He could locate a fat pullet in a whole coop of half-breeds.
“In those days we carried a great deal of poultry from points along the Mississippi River to New Orleans, particularly during the holiday season. At many places the coops were four and five deep on the levee when we landed. Estep always had an eye out for a particularly promising coop, and usually kept in mind the place where it had been stored away.
“Shortly before midnight he would go on deck and extract several plump fowls from the coops he had ‘pre-empted.’ The chickens were dispatched without a protesting squawk, the entrails removed, but the feathers left intact. Seasoning were then inserted, and the fowls inclosed in a heavy casing of soft clay to the thickness of two inches. The were then cast among the hot embers in the ashpan and permitted to roast to the Queen’s taste. When thoroughly cooked, they were removed, and the clay casing broken from about them. The feathers came away with the clay, leaving clean, smoking hot fowls ready for the dish of hot butter awaiting them up stairs. Estep with a fork stripped the flesh from the bones into the melted butter, while the rest of us stood about and smacked our lips in anticipation. Dear, dear, but they were good! In cooking them
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.