December 30 Wednesday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Frederick A.
Happy New Years to you all—last shout for this year!
Before I forget it. You & the Colonel will naturally be on the lookout for first-class short-story talent— therefore, seek out the man that wrote the police-story (Irish & New York) in the Evening Post of Dec. 14, & secure him. If that story isn’t well told, tell me so & I will take my medicine.
Yes, I’ve written the Midsummer story (“You’ve Been a Dam Fool, Mary. You Always Was,”) & the next-Xmas story (“The $30,000 Bequest”), & Mrs. Clemens is editing the hellfire out of them. The typewriter will take hold, next.
Two weeks ago I wrote a pretty pison article about “Major General Wood, M.D.,” & took a great pains with it, & worked at it several days & got it to suit me exactly—then pigeonholed it with a sigh; for I’m not as free to make enemies now as I was before the contract was signed; I mustn’t make any except when citizenship makes a plain duty of it—& the lousy Wood case doesn’t reach up to that. But I shan’t destroy it, I’ll keep it for my own occasional reading when I am feeling vicious & need a tonic.
I am writing “Italian With Grammar,” & will send it to the Colonel if it reads to suit me when I get it done.
Good—close the trade with the Englishman on the Dog-story pamphlet. I wish we could spread it over America in the like form, if it would do no harm to the Xmas-issue of it. It might be a good advertisement, possibly. With the kindest regards to all of you, … [MTP].
Note: neither the Midsummer Story or the attack on Gen. Wood were published in his lifetime. The former was submitted to Harper’s in Feb. 1904 but the title was objectionable; it was eventually published in Fables of Man (1972), p. 249 -78 “The $30,000 Bequest” was first published in Harper’s Weekly Dec. 10, 1904 and in 1906 would be the title story for a book of sketches. “Italian With Grammar” ran in the Aug. 1904 issue of Harper’s Monthly [Wilson 259; Camfield’s bibliog.].
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
I am very glad indeed that Mr. Benjamin has Reeves in charge & has “pinned him down,” for he needs a strong grip on him (& more sense than I keep in stock) for his proper management. (Found the check-book—next-commission hasn’t been paid.)
I can’t find the Brooklyn-Gas document; I am sure it is on this big table somewhere among the wreckage
literature, but I can’t get on its track. Will hire a detective. I think it entitles me to one to two thousand dollars of the issue, & I hope you will capture it for me.
I am sorry to hear that Mrs. Braughton is tired out. That is a malady that makes me shudder,—the very suggestion! Once I took it quite easy when Mrs. Clemens was tired, for I did not know what it was prophecying. Send the Braughtons over here; & you & Mrs. Rogers come along with them. I have instructed a real estate man to let me know if a roomy & attractive villa comes his way. It will be well for you to have a rest, if you can get away. Your evidence is all in, at Boston if I read the news aright, & I hope I do.
We were uneasy about Mrs. Clemens, but she is picking up nicely these last 3 days.
Merry Xmas & happy New Years to you all, in which Mrs. Clemens joins me. And to that good bachelor, Rice [MTHHR 548-9].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Sam. “Your letter of the 15th received. I am very glad to have your address. I herewith enclose your statements for three weeks of ‘Pudd’n Head Wilson’ in the Stock Houses. I also enclose you a check for these three weeks royalties”[MTP]. Note: statements show amounts of $23.12, $16.45, and $18.40 for the three weeks ending Oct. 24.
Mrs. Peurlyn Neville sent an “at home” calling card to Mr. & Mrs. Clemens, with Wednesday, Dec. 30th,
“music 4 to 6.30 p.m. R.S.V.P.” written in [MTP]. Note: nothing was found to show they attended.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.