Part 11 out of 16
I am glad, because I couldn't do the railroading I am proposing to do
during the next two or three days and get there earlier. I could put in
the time till Sunday midnight, but shall not venture it without
telegraphic instructions from her to Nimes day after tomorrow, Oct. 1,
care Hotel Manivet.
The only adventures we have is in drifting into rough seas now and then.
They are not dangerous, but they go thro' all the motions of it.
Yesterday when we shot the Bridge of the Holy Spirit it was probably in
charge of some inexperienced deputy spirit for the day, for we were
allowed to go through the wrong arch, which brought us into a tourbillon
below which tried to make this old scow stand on its head. Of course I
lost my temper and blew it off in a way to be heard above the roar of the
tossing waters. I lost it because the admiral had taken that arch in
deference to my opinion that it was the best one, while his own judgment
told him to take the one nearest the other side of the river. I could
have poisoned him I was so mad to think I had hired such a turnip.
A boatman in command should obey nobody's orders but his own, and yield
to nobody's suggestions.
It was very sweet of you to write me, dear, and I thank you ever so much.
With greatest love and kisses,
To Mrs. Clemens, in Ouchy, Switzerland:
ARLES, Sept. 30, noon.
Livy darling, I hain't got no time to write today, because I am sight
seeing industriously and imagining my chapter.
Bade good-bye to the river trip and gave away the boat yesterday evening.
We had ten great days in her.
We reached here after dark. We were due about 4.30, counting by
distance, but we couldn't calculate on such a lifeless current as we
I love you, sweetheart.
It had been a long time since Clemens had written to his old friend
Twichell, but the Rhone trip must have reminded him of those days
thirteen years earlier, when, comparatively young men, he and
Twichell were tramping through the Black Forest and scaling Gemmi
Pass. He sent Twichell a reminder of that happy time.
To Rev. Joseph H. Twichell, in Hartford, Conn:
NIMES, Oct. 1, '91.
DEAR JOE,--I have been ten days floating down the Rhone on a raft, from
Lake Bourget, and a most curious and darling kind of a trip it has been.
You ought to have been along--I could have made room for you easily--and
you would have found that a pedestrian tour in Europe doesn't begin with
a raft-voyage for hilarity and mild adventure, and intimate contact with
the unvisited native of the back settlements, and extinction from the
world and newspapers, and a conscience in a state of coma, and lazy
comfort, and solid happiness. In fact there's nothing that's so lovely.
But it's all over. I gave the raft away yesterday at Arles, and am
loafing along back by short stages on the rail to Ouchy-Lausanne where
the tribe are staying.
Love to you all
The Clemenses settled in Berlin for the winter, at 7 Kornerstrasse,
and later at the Hotel Royal. There had been no permanent
improvement in Mark Twain's arm and he found writing difficult.
Some of the letters promised to Laffan and McClure were still
Young Hall, his publishing manager in America, was working hard to
keep the business afloat, and being full of the optimism of his
years did not fail to make as good a showing as he could. We may
believe his letters were very welcome to Clemens and his wife, who
found little enough in the general prospect to comfort them.
To Mr. Hall, in New York:
BERLIN, Nov. 27, '91.
DEAR MR. HALL,--That kind of a statement is valuable. It came this
morning. This is the first time since the business began that I have had
a report that furnished the kind of information I wanted, and was really
enlightening and satisfactory. Keep it up. Don't let it fall into
Everything looks so fine and handsome with the business, now, that I feel
a great let-up from depression. The rewards of your long and patient
industry are on their way, and their arrival safe in port, presently,
By George, I shall be glad when the ship comes in!
My arm is so much better that I was able to make a speech last night to
250 Americans. But when they threw my portrait on the screen it was a
sorrowful reminder, for it was from a negative of 15 years ago, and
hadn't a gray hair in it. And now that my arm is better, I have stolen a
couple of days and finished up a couple of McClure letters that have been
lying a long time.
I shall mail one of them to you next Tuesday--registered. Lookout for
I shall register and mail the other one (concerning the "Jungfrau") next
Friday look out for it also, and drop me a line to let me know they have
I shall write the 6th and last letter by and by when I have studied
Yours in a most cheerful frame of mind, and with my and all the family's
Thanksgiving greetings and best wishes,
S. L. CLEMENS.
Postscript by Mrs. Clemens written on Mr. Clemens's letter:
DEAR MR. HALL,--This is my birthday and your letter this morning was a
happy addition to the little gifts on the breakfast table. I thought of
going out and spending money for something unnecessary after it came, but
concluded perhaps I better wait a little longer.
O. L. CLEMENS.
"The German Chicago" was the last of the six McClure letters and was
finished that winter in Berlin. It is now included in the Uniform
Edition of Mark Twain's works, and is one of the best descriptive
articles of the German capital ever written. He made no use of the
Rhone notes further than to put them together in literary form.
They did not seem to him to contain enough substance to warrant
publication. A letter to Hall, written toward the end of December,
we find rather gloomy in tone, though he is still able to extract
comfort and even cheerfulness from one of Mr. Hall's reports.
Memorandum to Fred J. Hall, in New York:
Among the MSS I left with you are a few that have a recent look and are
written on rather stiff pale green paper. If you will have those type-
writered and keep the originals and send me the copies (one per mail, not
two.) I'll see if I can use them.
But tell Howells and other inquirers that my hopes of writing anything
are very slender--I seem to be disabled for life.
Drop McClure a line and tell him the same. I can't dare to make an
engagement now for even a single letter.
I am glad Howells is on a magazine, but sorry he gave up the Study.
I shall have to go on a magazine myself if this L. A. L. continues to
hold my nose down to the grind-stone much longer.
I'm going to hold my breath, now, for 30 days--then the annual statement
will arrive and I shall know how we feel! Merry Xmas to you from us all.
S. L. C.
P. S. Just finished the above and finished raging at the eternal German
tax-gatherer, and so all the jubilant things which I was going to say
about the past year's business got knocked out of me. After writing this
present letter I was feeling blue about Huck Finn, but I sat down and
overhauled your reports from now back to last April and compared them
with the splendid Oct.-Nov. business, and went to bed feeling refreshed
and fine, for certainly it has been a handsome year. Now rush me along
the Annual Report and let's see how we feel!
S. L. C.
LETTERS, 1892, CHIEFLY TO MR. HALL AND MRS. CRANE. IN BERLIN, MENTONE,
Mark Twain was the notable literary figure in Berlin that winter, the
center of every great gathering. He was entertained by the Kaiser, and
shown many special attentions by Germans of every rank. His books were
as well known in Berlin as in New York, and at court assemblies and
embassies he was always a chief center of interest.
He was too popular for his own good; the gaiety of the capital told on
him. Finally, one night, after delivering a lecture in a hot room, he
contracted a severe cold, driving to a ball at General von Versen's, and
a few days later was confined to his bed with pneumonia. It was not a
severe attack, but it was long continued. He could write some letters
and even work a little, but he was not allowed to leave his bed for many
weeks, a condition which he did not find a hardship, for no man ever
enjoyed the loose luxury of undress and the comfort of pillows more than
Mark Twain. In a memorandum of that time he wrote: "I am having a
booming time all to myself."
Meantime, Hall, in America, was sending favorable reports of the
publishing business, and this naturally helped to keep up his spirits.
He wrote frequently to Hall, of course, but the letters for the most part
are purely of a business nature and of little interest to the general
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
HOTEL ROYAL, BERLIN, Feb. 12.
DEAR MR. HALL,--Daly wants to get the stage rights of the "American
Claimant." The foundation from which I wrote the story is a play of the
same name which has been in A. P. Burbank's hands 5 or 6 years. That
play cost me some money (helping Burbank stage it) but has never brought
me any. I have written Burbank (Lotos Club) and asked him to give me
back his rights in the old play so that I can treat with Daly and utilize
this chance to even myself up. Burbank is a lovely fellow, and if he
objects I can't urge him. But you run in at the Lotos and see him; and
if he relinquishes his claim, then I would like you to conduct the
business with Daly; or have Whitford or some other lawyer do it under
your supervision if you prefer.
This morning I seem to have rheumatism in my right foot.
I am ordered south by the doctor and shall expect to be well enough to
start by the end of this month.
It is curious, after Clemens and Howells had tried so hard and so
long to place their "Sellers" Play, that now, when the story
appeared in book form, Augustin Daly should have thought it worth
dramatizing. Daly and Clemens were old friends, and it would seem
that Daly could hardly have escaped seeing the play when it was
going the rounds. But perhaps there is nothing more mysterious in
the world than the ways and wants of theatrical managers. The
matter came to nothing, of course, but the fact that Daly should
have thought a story built from an old discarded play had a play in
it seems interesting.
Clemens and his wife were advised to leave the cold of Berlin as
soon as he was able to travel. This was not until the first of
March, when, taking their old courier, Joseph Very, they left the
children in good hands and journeyed to the south of France.
To Susy Clemens, in Berlin:
MENTONE, Mch 22, '92.
SUSY DEAR,--I have been delighted to note your easy facility with your
pen and proud to note also your literary superiorities of one kind and
another--clearness of statement, directness, felicity of expression,
photographic ability in setting forth an incident--style--good style--no
barnacles on it in the way of unnecessary, retarding words (the Shipman
scrapes off the barnacles when he wants his racer to go her best gait and
straight to the buoy.) You should write a letter every day, long or short
--and so ought I, but I don't.
Mamma says, tell Clara yes, she will have to write a note if the fan
comes back mended.
We couldn't go to Nice to-day--had to give it up, on various accounts--
and this was the last chance. I am sorry for Mamma--I wish she could
have gone. She got a heavy fall yesterday evening and was pretty stiff
and lame this morning, but is working it off trunk packing.
Joseph is gone to Nice to educate himself in Kodaking--and to get the
pictures mounted which Mamma thinks she took here; but I noticed she
didn't take the plug out, as a rule. When she did, she took nine
pictures on top of each other--composites.
With lots of love.
In the course of their Italian wanderings they reached Florence,
where they were so comfortable and well that they decided to engage
a villa for the next winter. Through Prof. Willard Fiske, they
discovered the Villa Viviani, near Settignano, an old palace
beautifully located on the hilltops east of Florence, commanding a
wonderful view of the ancient city. Clemens felt that he could work
there, and time proved that he was right.
For the summer, however, they returned to Germany, and located at
Bad-Nauheim. Clemens presently decided to make a trip to America to
give some personal attention to business matters. For one thing,
his publishing-house, in spite of prosperity, seemed constantly to
be requiring more capital, and then a Chicago company had been
persuaded by Paige to undertake the manufacture of the type-setter.
It was the beginning of a series of feverish trips which he would
make back and forth across the ocean during the next two years.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
BAD-NAUHEIM, June 11, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--If this arrives before I do, let it inform you that I am
leaving Bremen for New York next Tuesday in the "Havel."
If you can meet me when the ship arrives, you can help me to get away
from the reporters; and maybe you can take me to your own or some other
lodgings where they can't find me.
But if the hour is too early or too late for you, I shall obscure myself
somewhere till I can come to the office.
S. L. C.
Nothing of importance happened in America. The new Paige company
had a factory started in Chicago and expected to manufacture fifty
machines as a beginning. They claimed to have capital, or to be
able to command it, and as the main control had passed from
Clemens's hands, he could do no more than look over the ground and
hope for the best. As for the business, about all that he could do
was to sign certain notes necessary to provide such additional
capital as was needed, and agree with Hall that hereafter they would
concentrate their efforts and resist further temptation in the way
of new enterprise. Then he returned to Bad-Nauheim and settled down
to literature. This was the middle of July, and he must have worked
pretty steadily, for he presently had a variety of MSS. ready to
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
Aug. 10, '92.
DEAR MR. HALT,--I have dropped that novel I wrote you about, because I
saw a more effective way of using the main episode--to wit: by telling it
through the lips of Huck Finn. So I have started Huck Finn and Tom
Sawyer (still 15 years old) and their friend the freed slave Jim around
the world in a stray balloon, with Huck as narrator, and somewhere after
the end of that great voyage he will work in the said episode and then
nobody will suspect that a whole book has been written and the globe
circumnavigated merely to get that episode in an effective (and at the
same time apparently unintentional) way. I have written 12,000 words of
this narrative, and find that the humor flows as easily as the adventures
and surprises--so I shall go along and make a book of from 50,000 to
It is a story for boys, of course, and I think will interest any boy
between 8 years and 80.
When I was in New York the other day Mrs. Dodge, editor of St. Nicholas,
wrote and, offered me $5,000 for (serial right) a story for boys 50,000
words long. I wrote back and declined, for I had other matter in my
I conceive that the right way to write a story for boys is to write so
that it will not only interest boys but will also strongly interest any
man who has ever been a boy. That immensely enlarges the audience.
Now this story doesn't need to be restricted to a Childs magazine--it is
proper enough for any magazine, I should think, or for a syndicate. I
don't swear it, but I think so.
Proposed title of the story, "New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
The "novel" mentioned in the foregoing was The Extraordinary Twins,
a story from which Pudd'nhead Wilson would be evolved later. It was
a wildly extravagant farce--just the sort of thing that now and then
Mark Twain plunged into with an enthusiasm that had to work itself
out and die a natural death, or mellow into something worth while.
Tom Sawyer Abroad, as the new Huck story was finally called, was
completed and disposed of to St. Nicholas for serial publication.
The Twichells were in Europe that summer, and came to Bad-Nauheim.
The next letter records a pleasant incident. The Prince of Wales of
that day later became King Edward VII.
To Mr. and Mrs. Orion Clemens, in Keokuk, Iowa.:
Private. BAD-NAUHEIM, Aug. 23, '92.
DEAR ORION AND MOLLIE,--("Private" because no newspaper-man or other
gossip must get hold of it)
Livy is getting along pretty well, and the doctor thinks another summer
here will cure her.
The Twichell's have been here four days and we have had good times with
them. Joe and I ran over to Homburg, the great pleasure resort,
Saturday, to dine with some friends, and in the morning I went walking in
the promenade and met the British Ambassador to the Court of Berlin, and
he introduced me to the Prince of Wales, and I found him a most unusually
comfortable and unembarrassing Englishman to talk with--quick to see the
obscurest point, and equipped with a laugh which is spontaneous and
catching. Am invited by a near friend of his to meet him at dinner day
after tomorrow, and there could be a good time, but the brass band will
smash the talk and spoil everything.
We are expecting to move to Florence ten or twelve days hence, but if
this hot weather continues we shall wait for cooler. I take Clara to
Berlin for the winter-music, mainly, with German and French added. Thus
far, Jean is our only glib French scholar.
We all send love to you all and to Pamela and Sam's family, and Annie.
Clemens and family left Bad-Nauheim for Italy by way of Switzerland.
In September Mrs. Clemens's sister, Mrs. Crane, who had been with
them in Europe during the first year, had now returned to America.
Mrs. Clemens had improved at the baths, though she had by no means
recovered her health. We get a general report of conditions from
the letter which Clemens wrote Mrs. Crane from Lucerne, Switzerland,
where the party rested for several days. The "Phelps" mentioned in
this letter was William Walter Phelps, United States Minister to
Germany. The Phelps and Clemens families had been much associated
in Berlin. "Mason" was Frank Mason, Consul General at Frankfort,
and in later years at Paris. "Charlie and Ida" were Charles and
Mrs. Langdon, of Elmira.
To Mrs. Crane, in Elmira, N. Y.:
LUCERNE, Sept. 18, '92.
DEAR AUNT SUE,--Imagine how I felt to find that you had actually gone off
without filling my traveling ink stand which you gave me! I found it out
yesterday. Livy advised me to write you about it.
I have been driving this pen hard. I wrote 280 pages on a yarn called
"Tom Sawyer Abroad," then took up the "Twins" again, destroyed the last
half of the manuscript and re-wrote it in another form, and am going to
continue it and finish it in Florence. "Tom Sawyer" seems rather pale to
the family after the extravagances of the Twins, but they came to like it
after they got used to it
We remained in Nauheim a little too long. If we had left there four or
five days earlier we should have made Florence in 3 days; but by the time
we got started Livy had got smitten with what we feared might be
erysipelas--greatly swollen neck and face, and unceasing headaches. We
lay idle in Frankfort 4 days, doctoring. We started Thursday and made
Bale. Hard trip, because it was one of those trains that gets tired
every seven minutes and stops to rest three quarters of an hour. It took
us 3 1/2 hours to get here, instead of the regulation 2.20. We reached
here Friday evening and will leave tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. The rest
has made the headaches better. We shall pull through to Milan tomorrow
if possible. Next day we shall start at 10 a. m., and try to make
Bologna, 5 hours. Next day (Thursday) Florence, D. V. Next year we will
walk, for these excursions have got to be made over again. I've got
seven trunks, and I undertook to be courier because I meant to express
them to Florence direct, but we were a couple of days too late. All
continental roads had issued a peremptory order that no baggage should
travel a mile except in the company of the owner. (All over Europe
people are howling; they are separated from their baggage and can't get
it forwarded to them) I have to re-ship my trunks every day. It is very
amusing--uncommonly so. There seemed grave doubts about our being able
to get these trunks over the Italian frontier, but I've got a very
handsome note from the Frankfort Italian Consul General addressed to all
Italian Customs Officers, and we shall get through if anybody does.
The Phelpses came to Frankfort and we had some great times--dinner at his
hotel, the Masons, supper at our inn--Livy not in it. She was merely
allowed a glimpse, no more. Of course, Phelps said she was merely
pretending to be ill; was never looking so well and fine.
The children are all right. They paddle around a little, and drive-so do
we all. Lucerne seems to be pretty full of tourists. The Fleulen boat
went out crowded yesterday morning.
The Paris Herald has created a public interest by inoculating one of its
correspondents with cholera. A man said yesterday he wished to God they
would inoculate all of them. Yes, the interest is quite general and
strong, and much hope is felt.
Livy says, I have said enough bad things, and better send all our loves
to you and Charley and Ida and all the children and shut up. Which I do
--and shut up.
S. L. C.
They reached Florence on the 26th, and four days later we find
Clemens writing again to Mrs. Crane, detailing everything at length.
Little comment on this letter is required; it fully explains itself.
Perhaps a word of description from one of his memoranda will not be
out of place. Of the villa he wrote: "It is a plain, square
building, like a box, and is painted light green and has green
window-shutters. It stands in a commanding position on the
artificial terrace of liberal dimensions, which is walled around
with masonry. From the walls the vineyards and olive groves of the
estate slant away toward the valley.... Roses overflow the
retaining walls and the battered and mossy stone urn on the gate-
post, in pink and yellow cataracts, exactly as they do on the drop-
curtains in the theaters. The house is a very fortress for
The Mrs. Ross in this letter was Janet Ross, daughter of Lady Duff
Gordon, remembered to-day for her Egyptian letters. The Ross castle
was but a little distance away.
To Mrs. Crane, in Elmira:
VILLA VIVIANI, SETTIGNANO, FLORENCE.
Sept. 30, 1892
DEAR SUE,--We have been in the house several days, and certainly it is a
beautiful place,--particularly at this moment, when the skies are a deep
leaden color, the domes of Florence dim in the drizzling rain, and
occasional perpendicular coils of lightning quivering intensely in the
black sky about Galileo's Tower. It is a charming panorama, and the most
conspicuous towers and domes down in the city look to-day just as they
looked when Boccaccio and Dante used to contemplate them from this
hillock five and six hundred years ago.
The Mademoiselle is a great help to Livy in the housekeeping, and is a
cheery and cheerful presence in the house. The butler is equipped with a
little French, and it is this fact that enables the house to go--but it
won't go well until the family get some sort of facility with the Italian
tongue, for the cook, the woman-of-all-work and the coachman understand
only that. It is a stubborn and devilish language to learn, but Jean and
the others will master it. Livy's German Nauheim girl is the worst off
of anybody, as there is no market for her tongue at all among the help.
With the furniture in and the curtains up the house is very pretty, and
not unhomelike. At mid-night last night we heard screams up stairs--Susy
had set the lofty window curtains afire with a candle. This sounds kind
of frightful, whereas when you come to think of it, a burning curtain or
pile of furniture hasn't any element of danger about it in this fortress.
There isn't any conceivable way to burn this house down, or enable a
conflagration on one floor to climb to the next.
Mrs. Ross laid in our wood, wine and servants for us, and they are
excellent. She had the house scoured from Cellar to rook the curtains
washed and put up, all beds pulled to pieces, beaten, washed and put
together again, and beguiled the Marchese into putting a big porcelain
stove in the vast central hall. She is a wonderful woman, and we don't
quite see how or when we should have gotten under way without her.
Observe our address above--the post delivers letters daily at the house.
Even with the work and fuss of settling the house Livy has improved--and
the best is yet to come. There is going to be absolute seclusion here--
a hermit life, in fact. We (the rest of us) shall run over to the Ross's
frequently, and they will come here now and then and see Livy--that is
all. Mr. Fiske is away--nobody knows where--and the work on his house
has been stopped and his servants discharged. Therefore we shall merely
go Rossing--as far as society is concerned--shan't circulate in Florence
until Livy shall be well enough to take a share in it.
This present house is modern. It is not much more than two centuries
old; but parts of it, and also its foundations are of high antiquity.
The fine beautiful family portraits--the great carved ones in the large
ovals over the doors of the big hall--carry one well back into the past.
One of them is dated 1305--he could have known Dante, you see. Another
is dated 1343--he could have known Boccaccio and spent his afternoons in
Fiesole listening to the Decameron tales. Another is dated 1463--
he could have met Columbus.....
Evening. The storm thundered away until night, and the rain came down in
floods. For awhile there was a partial break, which furnished about such
a sunset as will be exhibited when the Last Day comes and the universe
tumbles together in wreck and ruin. I have never seen anything more
spectacular and impressive.
One person is satisfied with the villa, anyway. Jean prefers it to all
Europe, save Venice. Jean is eager to get at the Italian tongue again,
now, and I see that she has forgotten little or nothing of what she
learned of it in Rome and Venice last spring.
I am the head French duffer of the family. Most of the talk goes over my
head at the table. I catch only words, not phrases. When Italian comes
to be substituted I shall be even worse off than I am now, I suppose.
This reminds me that this evening the German girl said to Livy, "Man hat
mir gesagt loss Sie una candella verlaught habe"--unconsciously dropping
in a couple of Italian words, you see. So she is going to join the
polyglots, too, it appears. They say it is good entertainment to hear
her and the butler talk together in their respective tongues, piecing out
and patching up with the universal sign-language as they go along. Five
languages in use in the house (including the sign-language-hardest-worked
of them all) and yet with all this opulence of resource we do seem to
have an uncommonly tough time making ourselves understood.
What we lack is a cat. If we only had Germania! That was the most
satisfactory all-round cat I have seen yet. Totally ungermanic in the
raciness of his character and in the sparkle of his mind and the
spontaneity of his movements. We shall not look upon his like again....
S. L. C.
Clemens got well settled down to work presently. He found the
situation, the climate, the background, entirely suited to literary
production, and in a little while he had accomplished more than at
any other time since his arrival in Europe. From letters to Mrs.
Crane and to Mr. Hall we learn something of his employments and his
To Mrs. Crane, in Elmira:
SETTIGNANO, FLORENCE. Oct. 22, '92.
DEAR SUE,--We are getting wonted. The open fires have driven away the
cold and the doubt, and now a cheery spirit pervades the place. Livy and
the Kings and Mademoiselle having been taking their tea a number of
times, lately, on the open terrace with the city and the hills and the
sunset for company. I stop work, a few minutes, as a rule, when the sun
gets down to the hilltops west of Florence, and join the tea-group to
wonder and exclaim. There is always some new miracle in the view, a new
and exquisite variation in the show, a variation which occurs every 15
minutes between dawn and night. Once early in the morning, a multitude
of white villas not before perceived, revealed themselves on the far
hills; then we recognized that all those great hills are snowed thick
with them, clear to the summit.
The variety of lovely effects, the infinitude of change, is something not
to be believed by any who has not seen it. No view that I am acquainted
with in the world is at all comparable to this for delicacy, charm,
exquisiteness, dainty coloring, and bewildering rapidity of change. It
keeps a person drunk with pleasure all the time. Sometimes Florence
ceases to be substantial, and becomes just a faint soft dream, with domes
and towers of air, and one is persuaded that he might blow it away with a
puff of his breath.
Livy is progressing admirably. This is just the place for her.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
Dec. 12, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--November check received.
I have lent the Californian's Story to Arthur Stedman for his Author Club
Book, so your suggestion that my new spring-book bear that name arrives
too late, as he probably would not want us to use that story in a book of
ours until the Author book had had its run. That is for him to decide--
and I don't want him hampered at all in his decision. I, for my part,
prefer the "$1,000,000 Banknote and Other Stories" by Mark Twain as a
title, but above my judgment I prefer yours. I mean this--it is not
I told Arthur to leave out the former squib or paragraph and use only the
Californian's Story. Tell him this is because I am going to use that in
the book I am now writing.
I finished "Those Extraordinary Twins" night before last makes 60 or
80,000 words--haven't counted.
The last third of it suits me to a dot. I begin, to-day, to entirely
recast and re-write the first two-thirds--new plan, with two minor
characters, made very prominent, one major character cropped out, and the
Twins subordinated to a minor but not insignificant place.
The minor character will now become the chiefest, and I will name the
story after him--"Puddn'head Wilson."
Merry Xmas to you, and great prosperity and felicity!
S. L. CLEMENS.
LETTERS, 1893, TO MR. HALL, MRS. CLEMENS, AND OTHERS. FLORENCE.
BUSINESS TROUBLES. "PUDD'NHEAD WILSON." "JOAN OF ARC."
AT THE PLAYERS, NEW YORK
The reader may have suspected that young Mr. Hall in New York was having
his troubles. He was by this time one-third owner in the business of
Charles L. Webster & Co., as well as its general manager. The business
had been drained of its capital one way and another-partly by the
publication of unprofitable books; partly by the earlier demands of the
typesetter, but more than all by the manufacturing cost and agents'
commissions demanded by L. A. L.; that is to say, the eleven large
volumes constituting the Library of American Literature, which Webster
had undertaken to place in a million American homes. There was plenty of
sale for it--indeed, that was just the trouble; for it was sold on
payments--small monthly payments--while the cost of manufacture and the
liberal agents' commissions were cash items, and it would require a
considerable period before the dribble of collections would swell into a
tide large enough to satisfy the steady outflow of expense. A sale of
twenty-five sets a day meant prosperity on paper, but unless capital
could be raised from some other source to make and market those books
through a period of months, perhaps even years, to come, it meant
bankruptcy in reality. It was Hall's job, with Clemens to back him, to
keep their ship afloat on these steadily ebbing financial waters. It was
also Hall's affair to keep Mark Twain cheerful, to look pleasant himself,
and to show how they were steadily getting rich because orders were
pouring in, though a cloud that resembled bankruptcy loomed always a
little higher upon the horizon. If Hall had not been young and an
optimist, he would have been frightened out of his boots early in the
game. As it was, he made a brave steady fight, kept as cheerful and
stiff an upper lip as possible, always hoping that something would
happen--some grand sale of his other books, some unexpected inflow from
the type-setter interests--anything that would sustain his ship until the
L. A. L. tide should turn and float it into safety.
Clemens had faith in Hall and was fond of him. He never found fault with
him; he tried to accept his encouraging reports at their face value. He
lent the firm every dollar of his literary earnings not absolutely needed
for the family's support; he signed new notes; he allowed Mrs. Clemens to
put in such remnants of her patrimony as the type-setter had spared.
The situation in 1893 was about as here outlined. The letters to Hall of
that year are frequent and carry along the story. To any who had formed
the idea that Mark Twain was irascible, exacting, and faultfinding, they
will perhaps be a revelation.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
FLORENCE, Jan. 1, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--Yours of Dec. 19 is to hand, and Mrs. Clemens is deeply
distressed, for she thinks I have been blaming you or finding fault with
you about something. But most surely that cannot be. I tell her that
although I am prone to write hasty and regrettable things to other
people, I am not a bit likely to write such things to you. I can't
believe I have done anything so ungrateful. If I have, pile coals of
fire on my head, for I deserve it!
I wonder if my letter of credit isn't an encumbrance? Do you have to
deposit the whole amount it calls for? If that is so, it is an
encumbrance, and we must withdraw it and take the money out of soak.
I have never made drafts upon it except when compelled, because I thought
you deposited nothing against it, and only had to put up money that I
drew upon it; that therefore the less I drew the easier it would be for
I am dreadfully sorry I didn't know it would be a help to you to let my
monthly check pass over a couple of months. I could have stood that by
drawing what is left of Mrs. Clemens's letter of credit, and we would
have done it cheerfully.
I will write Whitmore to send you the "Century" check for $1,000, and you
can collect Mrs. Dodge's $2,000 (Whitmore has power of attorney which I
think will enable him to endorse it over to you in my name.) If you need
that $3,000 put it in the business and use it, and send Whitmore the
Company's note for a year. If you don't need it, turn it over to Mr.
Halsey and let him invest it for me.
I've a mighty poor financial head, and I may be all wrong--but tell me if
I am wrong in supposing that in lending my own firm money at 6 per cent I
pay 4 of it myself and so really get only a per cent? Now don't laugh if
that is stupid.
Of course my friend declined to buy a quarter interest in the L. A. L.
for $200,000. I judged he would. I hoped he would offer $100,000, but
he didn't. If the cholera breaks out in America, a few months hence, we
can't borrow or sell; but if it doesn't we must try hard to raise
$100,000. I wish we could do it before there is a cholera scare.
I have been in bed two or three days with a cold, but I got up an hour
ago, and I believe I am all right again.
How I wish I had appreciated the need of $100,000 when I was in New York
last summer! I would have tried my best to raise it. It would make us
able to stand 1,000 sets of L. A. L. per month, but not any more, I
You have done magnificently with the business, and we must raise the
money somehow, to enable you to reap the reward of all that labor.
S. L. CLEMENS.
"Whitmore," in this letter, was F. G. Whitmore, of Hartford, Mark Twain's
financial agent. The money due from Mrs. Dodge was a balance on Tom
Sawyer Abroad, which had been accepted by St. Nicholas. Mr. Halsey was a
Clemens, who was growing weary of the constant demands of L. A. L., had
conceived the idea that it would be well to dispose of a portion of it
for enough cash to finance its manufacture.
We don't know who the friend was to whom he offered a quarter interest
for the modest sum of two hundred thousand dollars. But in the next
letter we discover designs on a certain very canny Scotchman of Skibo.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
FLORENCE, Jan. 28, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I want to throw out a suggestion and see what you think
of it. We have a good start, and solid ground under us; we have a
valuable reputation; our business organization is practical, sound and
well-devised; our publications are of a respect-worthy character and of a
money-breeding species. Now then I think that the association with us of
some one of great name and with capital would give our business a
prodigious impetus--that phrase is not too strong.
As I look at it, it is not money merely that is needed; if that were all,
the firm has friends enough who would take an interest in a paying
venture; we need some one who has made his life a success not only from a
business standpoint, but with that achievement back of him, has been
great enough to make his power felt as a thinker and a literary man. It
is a pretty usual thing for publishers to have this sort of partners.
Now you see what a power Carnegie is, and how far his voice reaches in
the several lines I speak of. Do you know him? You do by correspondence
or purely business talks about his books--but personally, I mean? so that
it would not be an intrusion for you to speak to him about this desire of
mine--for I would like you to put it before him, and if you fail to
interest him in it, you will probably get at least some valuable
suggestions from him. I'll enclose a note of introduction--you needn't
use it if you don't need to.
Yours S. L. C.
P. S. Yes, I think I have already acknowledged the Dec. $1,000 and the
Jan. $500--and if another $500 was mailed 3 days ago there's no hiatus.
I think I also reminded you that the new letter of credit does not cover
the unexpended balance of the old one but falls considerably short of it.
Do your best with Carnegie, and don't wait to consider any of my
intermediate suggestions or talks about our raising half of the $200,000
ourselves. I mean, wait for nothing. To make my suggestion available I
should have to go over and see Arnot, and I don't want to until I can
mention Carnegie's name to him as going in with us.
My book is type-written and ready for print--"Pudd'nhead Wilson-a Tale."
(Or, "Those Extraordinary Twins," if preferable.)
It makes 82,500 words--12,000 more than Huck Finn. But I don't know what
to do with it. Mrs. Clemens thinks it wouldn't do to go to the Am. Pub.
Co. or anywhere outside of our own house; we have no subscription
machinery, and a book in the trade is a book thrown away, as far as
money-profit goes. I am in a quandary. Give me a lift out of it.
I will mail the book to you and get you to examine it and see if it is
good or if it is bad. I think it is good, and I thought the Claimant
bad, when I saw it in print; but as for real judgment, I think I am
destitute of it.
I am writing a companion to the Prince and Pauper, which is half done and
will make 200,000 words; and I have had the idea that if it were gotten
up in handsome style, with many illustrations and put at a high enough
price maybe the L. A. L. canvassers would take it and run it with that
book. Would they? It could be priced anywhere from $4 up to $10,
according to how it was gotten up, I suppose.
I don't want it to go into a magazine.
S. L. C.
I am having several short things type-"writered." I will send them to
you presently. I like the Century and Harper's, but I don't know that I
have any business to object to the Cosmopolitan if they pay as good
rates. I suppose a man ought to stick to one magazine, but that may be
only superstition. What do you think?
S. L. C.
"The companion to The Prince and the Pauper," mentioned in this
letter, was the story of Joan of Arc, perhaps the most finished of
Mark Twain's literary productions. His interest in Joan had been
first awakened when, as a printer's apprentice in Hannibal, he had
found blowing along the street a stray leaf from some printed story
of her life. That fragment of history had pictured Joan in prison,
insulted and mistreated by ruffians. It had aroused all the
sympathy and indignation in the boy, Sam Clemens; also, it had
awakened his interest in history, and, indeed, in all literature.
His love for the character of Joan had grown with the years, until
in time he had conceived the idea of writing her story. As far back
as the early eighties he had collected material for it, and had
begun to make the notes. One thing and another had interfered, and
he had found no opportunity for such a story. Now, however, in
Florence, in the ancient villa, and in the quiet garden, looking
across the vineyards and olive groves to the dream city along the
Arno, he felt moved to take up the tale of the shepherd girl of
France, the soldier maid, or, as he called her, "The noble child,
the most innocent, the most lovely, the most adorable the ages have
produced." His surroundings and background would seem to have been
perfect, and he must have written with considerable ease to have
completed a hundred thousand words in a period of not more than six
Perhaps Hall did not even go to see Carnegie; at all events nothing
seems to have come of the idea. Once, at a later time, Mask Twain
himself mentioned the matter to Carnegie, and suggested to him that
it was poor financiering to put all of one's eggs into one basket,
meaning into iron. But Carnegie answered, "That's a mistake; put
all your eggs into one basket and watch that basket."
It was March when Clemens felt that once more his presence was
demanded in America. He must see if anything could be realized from
the type-setter or L. A. L.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
March 13, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am busy getting ready to sail the 22d, in the Kaiser
I send herewith 2 magazine articles.
The Story contains 3,800 to 4,000 words.
The "Diary" contains 3,800 words.
Each would make about 4 pages of the Century.
The Diary is a gem, if I do say it myself that shouldn't.
If the Cosmopolitan wishes to pay $600 for either of them or $1,200 for
both, gather in the check, and I will use the money in America instead of
breaking into your treasury.
If they don't wish to trade for either, send the articles to the Century,
without naming a price, and if their check isn't large enough I will call
and abuse them when I come.
I signed and mailed the notes yesterday.
S. L. C.
Clemens reached New York on the 3d of April and made a trip to
Chicago, but accomplished nothing, except to visit the World's Fair
and be laid up with a severe cold. The machine situation had not
progressed. The financial stringency of 1893 had brought everything
to a standstill. The New York bank would advance Webster & Co. no
more money. So disturbed were his affairs, so disordered was
everything, that sometimes he felt himself as one walking amid
unrealities. A fragment of a letter to Mrs. Crane conveys this:
"I dreamed I was born and grew up and was a pilot on the Mississippi
and a miner and a journalist in Nevada and a pilgrim in the Quaker
City, and had a wife and children and went to live in a villa at
Florence--and this dream goes on and on and sometimes seems so real
that I almost believe it is real. I wonder if it is? But there is
no way to tell, for if one applies tests they would be part of the
dream, too, and so would simply aid the deceit. I wish I knew
whether it is a dream or real."
He saw Warner, briefly, in America; also Howells, now living in New
York, but he had little time for visiting. On May 13th he sailed
again for Europe on the Kaiser Wilhelm II. On the night before
sailing he sent Howells a good-by word.
To W. D. Howells, in New York City:
MURRAY HILL HOTEL, NEW YORE, May 12, 1893.
DEAR HOWELLS--I am so sorry I missed you.
I am very glad to have that book for sea entertainment, and I thank you
ever so much for it.
I've had a little visit with Warner at last; I was getting afraid I
wasn't going to have a chance to see him at all. I forgot to tell you
how thoroughly I enjoyed your account of the country printing office, and
how true it all was and how intimately recognizable in all its details.
But Warner was full of delight over it, and that reminded me, and I am
glad, for I wanted to speak of it.
You have given me a book; Annie Trumbull has sent me her book; I bought a
couple of books; Mr. Hall gave me a choice German book; Laflan gave me
two bottles of whisky and a box of cigars--I go to sea nobly equipped.
Good-bye and all good fortune attend you and yours--and upon you all I
leave my benediction.
Mention has already been made of the Ross home being very near to
Viviani, and the association of the Ross and Clemens families.
There was a fine vegetable garden on the Ross estate, and it was in
the interest of it that the next letter was written to the Secretary
To Hon. J. Sterling Morton, in Washington, D. C.:
Editorial Department Century Magazine, Union Square,
NEW YORK, April 6, 1893.
TO THE HON. J. STERLING MORTON,--Dear Sir: Your petitioner, Mark Twain,
a poor farmer of Connecticut--indeed, the poorest one there, in the
opinion of many-desires a few choice breeds of seed corn (maize), and in
return will zealously support the Administration in all ways honorable
To speak by the card, I want these things to hurry to Italy to an English
lady. She is a neighbor of mine outside of Florence, and has a great
garden and thinks she could raise corn for her table if she had the right
ammunition. I myself feel a warm interest in this enterprise, both on
patriotic grounds and because I have a key to that garden, which I got
made from a wax impression. It is not very good soil, still I think she
can grow enough for one table and I am in a position to select the table.
If you are willing to aid and abet a countryman (and Gilder thinks you
are,) please find the signature and address of your petitioner below.
Respectfully and truly yours.
67 Fifth Avenue, New York.
P. S.--A handful of choice (Southern) watermelon seeds would pleasantly
add to that lady's employments and give my table a corresponding lift.
His idea of business values had moderated considerably by the time
he had returned to Florence. He was not hopeless yet, but he was
clearly a good deal disheartened--anxious for freedom.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
FLORENCE May 30, '93
DEAR MR. HALL,--You were to cable me if you sold any machine royalties--
so I judge you have not succeeded.
This has depressed me. I have been looking over the past year's letters
and statements and am depressed still more.
I am terribly tired of business. I am by nature and disposition unfitted
for it and I want to get out of it. I am standing on the Mount Morris
volcano with help from the machine a long way off--doubtless a long way
further off than the Connecticut Co. imagines.
Now here is my idea for getting out.
The firm owes Mrs. Clemens and me--I do not know quite how much, but it
is about $170,000 or $175,000, 1 suppose (I make this guess from the
documents here, whose technicalities confuse me horribly.)
The firm owes other sums, but there is stock and cash assets to cover the
entire indebtedness and $116,679.20 over. Is that it? In addition we
have the L. A. L. plates and copyright, worth more than $130,000--is
That is to say, we have property worth about $250,000 above indebtedness,
I suppose--or, by one of your estimates, $300,000? The greater part of
the first debts to me is in notes paying 6 percent. The rest (the old
$70,000 or whatever it is) pays no interest.
Now then, will Harper or Appleton, or Putnam give me $200,000 for those
debts and my two-thirds interest in the firm? (The firm of course taking
the Mount Morris and all such obligations off my hands and leaving me
clear of all responsibility.)
I don't want much money. I only want first class notes--$200,000 worth
of them at 6 per cent, payable monthly;--yearly notes, renewable annually
for 3 years, with $5,000 of the principal payable at the beginning and
middle of each year. After that, the notes renewable annually and
(perhaps) a larger part of the principal payable semi-annually.
Please advise me and suggest alterations and emendations of the above
scheme, for I need that sort of help, being ignorant of business and not
able to learn a single detail of it.
Such a deal would make it easy for a big firm to pour in a big cash
capital and jump L. A. L. up to enormous prosperity. Then your one-third
would be a fortune--and I hope to see that day!
I enclose an authority to use with Whitmore in case you have sold any
royalties. But if you can't make this deal don't make any. Wait a
little and see if you can't make the deal. Do make the deal if you
possibly can. And if any presence shall be necessary in order to
complete it I will come over, though I hope it can be done without that.
Get me out of business!
And I will be yours forever gratefully,
S. L. CLEMENS.
My idea is, that I am offering my 2/3 of L. A. L. and the business for
thirty or forty thousand dollars. Is that it?
P. S. S. The new firm could retain my books and reduce them to a
10 percent royalty. S. L. C.
To Rev. Jos. H. Twichell, in Hartford:
VILLA VIVIANI, SETTIGNANO (FLORENCE)
June 9, '93.
DEAR JOE,--The sea voyage set me up and I reached here May 27 in
tolerable condition--nothing left but weakness, cough all gone.
Old Sir Henry Layard was here the other day, visiting our neighbor Janet
Ross, daughter of Lady Duff Gordon, and since then I have been reading
his account of the adventures of his youth in the far East. In a
footnote he has something to say about a sailor which I thought might
"This same quartermaster was celebrated among the English in Mesopotamia
for an entry which he made in his log-book-after a perilous storm; 'The
windy and watery elements raged. Tears and prayers was had recourse to,
but was of no manner of use. So we hauled up the anchor and got round
There--it isn't Ned Wakeman; it was before his day.
They closed Villa Viviani in June and near the end of the month
arrived in Munich in order that Mrs. Clemens might visit some of the
German baths. The next letter is written by her and shows her deep
sympathy with Hall in his desperate struggle. There have been few
more unselfish and courageous women in history than Mark Twain's
From Mrs. Clemens to Mr. Hall, in New York:
June 27th 1893
DEAR MR. HALL,--Your letter to Mr. Clemens of June 16th has just reached
here; as he has gone to Berlin for Clara I am going to send you just a
line in answer to it.
Mr. Clemens did not realize what trouble you would be in when his letter
should reach you or he would not have sent it just then. I hope you will
not worry any more than you can help. Do not let our interests weigh on
you too heavily. We both know you will, as you always have, look in
every way to the best interests of all.
I think Mr. Clemens is right in feeling that he should get out of
business, that he is not fitted for it; it worries him too much.
But he need be in no haste about it, and of course, it would be the very
farthest from his desire to imperil, in the slightest degree, your
interests in order to save his own.
I am sure that I voice his wish as well as mine when I say that he would
simply like you to bear in mind the fact that he greatly desires to be
released from his present anxiety and worry, at a time when it shall not
endanger your interest or the safety of the business.
I am more sorry than I can express that this letter of Mr. Clemens'
should have reached you when you were struggling under such terrible
pressure. I hope now that the weight is not quite so heavy. He would
not have written you about the money if he had known that it was an
inconvenience for you to send it. He thought the book-keeper whose duty
it is to forward it had forgotten.
We can draw on Mr. Langdon for money for a few weeks until things are a
little easier with you. As Mr. Clemens wrote you we would say "do not
send us any more money at present" if we were not afraid to do so. I
will say, however, do not trouble yourself if for a few weeks you are not
able to send the usual amount.
Mr. Clemens and I have the greatest possible desire, not to increase in
any way your burdens, and sincerely wish we might aid you.
I trust my brother may be able, in his talk with you, to throw some
helpful light on the situation.
Hoping you will see a change for the better and begin to reap the fruit
of your long and hard labor.
Very Cordially yours
OLIVIA L. CLEMENS.
Hall, naturally, did not wish to be left alone with the business. He
realized that his credit would suffer, both at the bank and with the
public, if his distinguished partner should retire. He wrote, therefore,
proposing as an alternate that they dispose of the big subscription set
that was swamping them. It was a good plan--if it would work--and we
find Clemens entering into it heartily.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
MUNICH, July 3, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--You make a suggestion which has once or twice flitted
dimly through my mind heretofore to wit, sell L. A. L.
I like that better than the other scheme, for it is no doubt feasible,
whereas the other is perhaps not.
The firm is in debt, but L. A. L. is free--and not only free but has
large money owing to it. A proposition to sell that by itself to a big
house could be made without embarrassment we merely confess that we
cannot spare capital from the rest of the business to run it on the huge
scale necessary to make it an opulent success.
It will be selling a good thing--for somebody; and it will be getting rid
of a load which we are clearly not able to carry. Whoever buys will have
a noble good opening--a complete equipment, a well organized business,
a capable and experienced manager, and enterprise not experimental but
under full sail, and immediately able to pay 50 per cent a year on every
dollar the publisher shall actually invest in it--I mean in making and
selling the books.
I am miserably sorry to be adding bothers and torments to the over-supply
which you already have in these hideous times, but I feel so troubled,
myself, considering the dreary fact that we are getting deeper and deeper
in debt and the L. A. L. getting to be a heavier and heavier burden all
the time, that I must bestir myself and seek a way of relief.
It did not occur to me that in selling out I would injure you--for that I
am not going to do. But to sell L. A. L. will not injure you it will put
you in better shape.
S. L. CLEMENS.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
July 8, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am sincerely glad you are going to sell L. A. L. I am
glad you are shutting off the agents, and I hope the fatal book will be
out of our hands before it will be time to put them on again. With
nothing but our non-existent capital to work with the book has no value
for us, rich a prize as it will be to any competent house that gets it.
I hope you are making an effort to sell before you discharge too many
agents, for I suppose the agents are a valuable part of the property.
We have been stopping in Munich for awhile, but we shall make a break for
some country resort in a few days now.
S. L. C.
P. S. No, I suppose I am wrong in suggesting that you wait a moment
before discharging your L. A. L. agents--in fact I didn't mean that.
I judge your only hope of salvation is in discharging them all at once,
since it is their commissions that threaten to swamp us. It is they who
have eaten up the $14,000 I left with you in such a brief time, no doubt.
I feel panicky.
I think the sale might be made with better advantage, however, now, than
later when the agents have got out of the purchaser's reach.
S. L. C.
P. S. No monthly report for many months.
Those who are old enough to remember the summer of 1893 may recall
it as a black financial season. Banks were denying credit,
businesses were forced to the wall. It was a poor time to float any
costly enterprise. The Chicago company who was trying to build the
machines made little progress. The book business everywhere was
bad. In a brief note following the foregoing letters Clemens wrote
"It is now past the middle of July and no cablegram to say the
machine is finished. We are afraid you are having miserable days
and worried nights, and we sincerely wish we could relieve you, but
it is all black with us and we don't know any helpful thing to say
He inclosed some kind of manuscript proposition for John Brisben
Walker, of the Cosmopolitan, with the comment: "It is my ingenious
scheme to protect the family against the alms-house for one more
year--and after that--well, goodness knows! I have never felt so
desperate in my life--and good reason, for I haven't got a penny to
my name, and Mrs. Clemens hasn't enough laid up with Langdon to keep
us two months."
It was like Mark Twain, in the midst of all this turmoil, to project
an entirely new enterprise; his busy mind was always visioning
success in unusual undertakings, regardless of immediate conditions
and the steps necessary to achievement.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
July 26, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--..... I hope the machine will be finished this month;
but it took me four years and cost me $100,000 to finish the other
machine after it was apparently entirely complete and setting type like a
I wonder what they call "finished." After it is absolutely perfect it
can't go into a printing-office until it has had a month's wear, running
night and day, to get the bearings smooth, I judge.
I may be able to run over about mid-October. Then if I find you relieved
of L. A. L. we will start a magazine inexpensive, and of an entirely
unique sort. Arthur Stedman and his father editors of it. Arthur could
do all the work, merely submitting it to his father for approval.
The first number should pay--and all subsequent ones--25 cents a number.
Cost of first number (20,000 copies) $2,000. Give most of them away,
sell the rest. Advertising and other expenses--cost unknown. Send one
to all newspapers--it would get a notice--favorable, too.
But we cannot undertake it until L. A. L, is out of the way. With our
hands free and some capital to spare, we could make it hum.
Where is the Shelley article? If you have it on hand, keep it and I will
presently tell you what to do with it.
Don't forget to tell me.
S. L. C.
The Shelley article mentioned in this letter was the "Defense of
Harriet Sheller," one of the very best of his essays. How he could
have written this splendid paper at a time of such distraction
passes comprehension. Furthermore, it is clear that he had revised,
indeed rewritten, the long story of Pudd'nhead Wilson.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
July 30, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--This time "Pudd'nhead Wilson" is a success! Even Mrs.
Clemens, the most difficult of critics, confesses it, and without
reserves or qualifications. Formerly she would not consent that it be
published either before or after my death. I have pulled the twins apart
and made two individuals of them; I have sunk them out of sight, they are
mere flitting shadows, now, and of no importance; their story has
disappeared from the book. Aunt Betsy Hale has vanished wholly, leaving
not a trace behind; aunt Patsy Cooper and her daughter Rowena have almost
disappeared--they scarcely walk across the stage. The whole story is
centered on the murder and the trial; from the first chapter the movement
is straight ahead without divergence or side-play to the murder and the
trial; everything that is done or said or that happens is a preparation
for those events. Therefore, 3 people stand up high, from beginning to
end, and only 3--Pudd'nhead, "Tom" Driscoll, and his nigger mother,
Roxana; none of the others are important, or get in the way of the story
or require the reader's attention. Consequently, the scenes and episodes
which were the strength of the book formerly are stronger than ever, now.
When I began this final reconstruction the story contained 81,500 words,
now it contains only 58,000. I have knocked out everything that delayed
the march of the story--even the description of a Mississippi steamboat.
There's no weather in, and no scenery--the story is stripped for flight!
Now, then what is she worth? The amount of matter is but 3,000 words
short of the American Claimant, for which the syndicate paid $12,500.
There was nothing new in that story, but the finger-prints in this one
is virgin ground--absolutely fresh, and mighty curious and interesting
I don't want any more syndicating--nothing short of $20,000, anyway, and
that I can't get--but won't you see how much the Cosmopolitan will stand?
Do your best for me, for I do not sleep these nights, for visions of the
This in spite of the hopeful tone of yours of 11th to Langdon (just
received) for in me hope is very nearly expiring. Everything does look
so blue, so dismally blue!
By and by I shall take up the Rhone open-boat voyage again, but not now-
we are going to be moving around too much. I have torn up some of it,
but still have 15,000 words that Mrs. Clemens approves of, and that I
like. I may go at it in Paris again next winter, but not unless I know I
can write it to suit me.
Otherwise I shall tackle Adam once more, and do him in a kind of a
friendly and respectful way that will commend him to the Sunday schools.
I've been thinking out his first life-days to-day and framing his
childish and ignorant impressions and opinions for him.
Will ship Pudd'nhead in a few days. When you get it cable
Care Brownship, London
I mean to ship "Pudd'nhead Wilson" to you-say, tomorrow. It'll furnish
me hash for awhile I reckon. I am almost sorry it is finished; it was
good entertainment to work at it, and kept my mind away from things.
We leave here in about ten days, but the doctors have changed our plans
again. I think we shall be in Bohemia or thereabouts till near the end
of September, then go to Paris and take a rest.
S. L. C.
P. S. Mrs. Clemens has come in since, and read your letter and is deeply
distressed. She thinks that in some letter of mine I must have
reproached you. She says it is wonderful that you have kept the ship
afloat in this storm that has seen fleets and fleets go down; that from
what she learns of the American business-situation from her home letters
you have accomplished a marvel in the circumstances, and that she cannot
bear to have a word said to you that shall voice anything but praise and
the heartiest appreciation--and not the shadow of a reproach will she
I tell her I didn't reproach you and never thought of such a thing. And
I said I would break open my letter and say so.
Mrs. Clemens says I must tell you not to send any money for a month or
two--so that you may be afforded what little relief is in our power.
All right--I'm willing; (this is honest) but I wish Brer Chatto would
send along his little yearly contribution. I dropped him a line about
another matter a week ago--asked him to subscribe for the Daily News for
me--you see I wanted to remind him in a covert way that it was pay-up
time--but doubtless I directed the letter to you or some one else, for I
don't hear from him and don't get any Daily News either.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
Aug. 6, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am very sorry--it was thoughtless in me. Let the
reports go. Send me once a month two items, and two only:
Cash liabilities--(so much)
Cash assets--(so much)
I can perceive the condition of the business at a glance, then, and that
will be sufficient.
Here we never see a newspaper, but even if we did I could not come
anywhere near appreciating or correctly estimating the tempest you have
been buffeting your way through--only the man who is in it can do that--
but I have tried not to burden you thoughtlessly or wantonly. I have
been wrought and unsettled in mind by apprehensions, and that is a thing
that is not helpable when one is in a strange land and sees his resources
melt down to a two months' supply and can't see any sure daylight beyond.
The bloody machine offered but a doubtful outlook--and will still offer
nothing much better for a long time to come; for when Davis's "three
weeks" is up there's three months' tinkering to follow I guess. That is
unquestionably the boss machine of the world, but is the toughest one on
prophets, when it is in an incomplete state, that has ever seen the
light. Neither Davis nor any other man can foretell with any
considerable approach to certainty when it will be ready to get down to
actual work in a printing office.
Three days after the foregoing letter was written he wrote, briefly:
"Great Scott but it's a long year-for you and me! I never knew the
almanac to drag so. At least since I was finishing that other
"I watch for your letters hungrily--just as I used to watch for the
cablegram saying the machine's finished; but when 'next week
certainly' swelled into 'three weeks sure' I recognized the old
familiar tune I used to hear so much. Ward don't know what sick-
heartedness is--but he is in a way to find out."
Always the quaint form of his humor, no matter how dark the way.
We may picture him walking the floor, planning, scheming, and
smoking--always smoking--trying to find a way out. It was not the
kind of scheming that many men have done under the circumstances;
not scheming to avoid payment of debts, but to pay them.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
Aug. 14, '93
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am very glad indeed if you and Mr. Langdon are able to
see any daylight ahead. To me none is visible. I strongly advise that
every penny that comes in shall be applied to paying off debts. I may be
in error about this, but it seems to me that we have no other course
open. We can pay a part of the debts owing to outsiders--none to the
Clemenses. In very prosperous times we might regard our stock and
copyrights as assets sufficient, with the money owing to us, to square up
and quit even, but I suppose we may not hope for such luck in the present
condition of things.
What I am mainly hoping for, is to save my royalties. If they come into
danger I hope you will cable me, so that I can come over and try to save
them, for if they go I am a beggar.
I would sail to-day if I had anybody to take charge of my family and help
them through the difficult journeys commanded by the doctors. I may be
able to sail ten days hence; I hope so, and expect so.
We can never resurrect the L. A. L. I would not spend any more money on
that book. You spoke, a while back, of trying to start it up again as a
preparation to disposing of it, but we are not in shape to venture that,
I think. It would require more borrowing, and we must not do that.
S. L. C.
Aug. 16. I have thought, and thought, but I don't seem to arrive in any
very definite place. Of course you will not have an instant's safety
until the bank debts are paid. There is nothing to be thought of but to
hand over every penny as fast as it comes in--and that will be slow
enough! Or could you secure them by pledging part of our cash assets
I am coming over, just as soon as I can get the family moved and settled.
S. L. C.
Two weeks following this letter he could endure the suspense no
longer, and on August 29th sailed once more for America. In New
York, Clemens settled down at the Players Club, where he could live
cheaply, and undertook some literary work while he was casting about
for ways and means to relieve the financial situation. Nothing
promising occurred, until one night at the Murray Hill Hotel he was
introduced by Dr. Clarence C. Rice to Henry H. Rogers, of the
Standard Oil group of financiers. Rogers had a keen sense of humor
and had always been a great admirer of Mark Twain's work. It was a
mirthful evening, and certainly an eventful one in Mark Twain's
life. A day or two later Doctor Rice asked the millionaire to
interest himself a little in Clemens's business affairs, which he
thought a good deal confused. Just what happened is not remembered
now, but from the date of the next letter we realize that a
discussion of the matter by Clemens and Rogers must have followed
To Mrs. Clemens, in Europe:
Oct. 18, '93.
DEAR, DEAR SWEETHEART,--I don't seem to get even half a chance to write
you, these last two days, and yet there's lots to say.
Apparently everything is at last settled as to the giveaway of L. A. L.,
and the papers will be signed and the transfer made to-morrow morning.
Meantime I have got the best and wisest man in the whole Standard Oil
group of mufti-millionaires a good deal interested in looking into the
type-setter (this is private, don't mention it.) He has been searching
into that thing for three weeks, and yesterday he said to me, "I find the
machine to be all you represented it--I have here exhaustive reports from
my own experts, and I know every detail of its capacity, its immense
value, its construction, cost, history, and all about its inventor's
character. I know that the New York Co. and the Chicago Co. are both
stupid, and that they are unbusinesslike people, destitute of money and
in a hopeless boggle."
Then he told me the scheme he had planned, then said: "If I can arrange
with these people on this basis--it will take several weeks to find out--
I will see to it that they get the money they need. Then the thing will
move right along and your royalties will cease to be waste paper. I will
post you the minute my scheme fails or succeeds. In the meantime, you
stop walking the floor. Go off to the country and try to be gay. You
may have to go to walking again, but don't begin till I tell you my
scheme has failed." And he added: "Keep me posted always as to where you
are--for if I need you and can use you--I want to know where to put my
hand on you."
If I should even divulge the fact that the Standard Oil is merely talking
remotely about going into the type-setter, it would send my royalties up.
With worlds and worlds of love and kisses to you all,
With so great a burden of care shifted to the broad financial shoulders
of H. H. Rogers, Mark Twain's spirits went ballooning, soaring toward the
stars. He awoke, too, to some of the social gaieties about him, and
found pleasure in the things that in the hour of his gloom had seemed
mainly mockery. We find him going to a Sunday evening at Howells's, to
John Mackay's, and elsewhere.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
Dec. 2, '93.
LIVY DARLING,--Last night at John Mackay's the dinner consisted of soup,
raw oysters, corned beef and cabbage, and something like a custard.
I ate without fear or stint, and yet have escaped all suggestion of
indigestion. The men present were old gray Pacific-coasters whom I knew
when I and they were young and not gray. The talk was of the days when
we went gypsying a long time ago--thirty years. Indeed it was a talk of
the dead. Mainly that. And of how they looked, and the harum-scarum
things they did and said. For there were no cares in that life, no aches
and pains, and not time enough in the day (and three-fourths of the
night) to work off one's surplus vigor and energy. Of the mid-night
highway robbery joke played upon me with revolvers at my head on the
windswept and desolate Gold Hill Divide, no witness is left but me, the
victim. All the friendly robbers are gone. These old fools last night
laughed till they cried over the particulars of that old forgotten crime.
John Mackay has no family here but a pet monkey--a most affectionate and
winning little devil. But he makes trouble for the servants, for he is
full of curiosity and likes to take everything out of the drawers and
examine it minutely; and he puts nothing back. The examinations of
yesterday count for nothing to-day--he makes a new examination every day.
But he injures nothing.
I went with Laffan to the Racquet Club the other night and played,
billiards two hours without starting up any rheumatism. I suppose it was
all really taken out of me in Berlin.
Richard Harding Davis spoke yesterday of Clara's impersonations at Mrs.
Van Rensselaer's here and said they were a wonderful piece of work.
Livy dear, I do hope you are comfortable, as to quarters and food at the
Hotel Brighton. But if you're not don't stay there. Make one more
effort--don't give it up. Dear heart, this is from one who loves you--
which is Saml.
It was decided that Rogers and Clemens should make a trip to Chicago
to investigate personally the type-setter situation there. Clemens
reports the details of the excursion to Mrs. Clemens in a long
subdivided letter, most of which has no general interest and is here
omitted. The trip, as a whole, would seem to have been
satisfactory. The personal portions of the long Christmas letter
may properly be preserved.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
THE PLAYERS, Xmas, 1893.
Merry Xmas, my darling, and all my darlings! I arrived from Chicago
close upon midnight last night, and wrote and sent down my Christmas
cablegram before undressing: "Merry Xmas! Promising progress made in
Chicago." It would get to the telegraph office toward 8 this morning and
reach you at luncheon.
I was vaguely hoping, all the past week, that my Xmas cablegram would be
definite, and make you all jump with jubilation; but the thought always
intruded itself, "You are not going out there to negotiate with a man,
but with a louse. This makes results uncertain."
I was asleep as Christmas struck upon the clock at mid night, and didn't
wake again till two hours ago. It is now half past 10 Xmas morning; I
have had my coffee and bread, and shan't get out of bed till it is time
to dress for Mrs. Laflan's Christmas dinner this evening--where I shall
meet Bram Stoker and must make sure about that photo with Irving's
autograph. I will get the picture and he will attend to the rest. In
order to remember and not forget--well, I will go there with my dress
coat wrong side out; it will cause remark and then I shall remember.
No. 2 and 3.
I tell you it was interesting! The Chicago campaign, I mean. On the way
out Mr. Rogers would plan out the campaign while I walked the floor and
smoked and assented. Then he would close it up with a snap and drop it
and we would totally change the subject and take up the scenery, etc.
(Here follows the long detailed report of the Chicago conference, of
interest only to the parties directly concerned.)
We had nice tripe, going and coming. Mr. Rogers had telegraphed the
Pennsylvania Railroad for a couple of sections for us in the fast train
leaving at 2 p. m. the 22nd. The Vice President telegraphed back that
every berth was engaged (which was not true--it goes without saying) but
that he was sending his own car for us. It was mighty nice and
comfortable. In its parlor it had two sofas, which could become beds at
night. It had four comfortably-cushioned cane arm-chairs. It had a very
nice bedroom with a wide bed in it; which I said I would take because I
believed I was a little wider than Mr. Rogers--which turned out to be
true; so I took it. It had a darling back-porch--railed, roofed and
roomy; and there we sat, most of the time, and viewed the scenery and
talked, for the weather was May weather, and the soft dream-pictures of
hill and river and mountain and sky were clear and away beyond anything I
have ever seen for exquisiteness and daintiness.
The colored waiter knew his business, and the colored cook was a finished
artist. Breakfasts: coffee with real cream; beefsteaks, sausage, bacon,
chops, eggs in various ways, potatoes in various--yes, and quite
wonderful baked potatoes, and hot as fire. Dinners--all manner of
things, including canvas-back duck, apollinaris, claret, champagne, etc.
We sat up chatting till midnight, going and coming; seldom read a line,
day or night, though we were well fixed with magazines, etc.; then I
finished off with a hot Scotch and we went to bed and slept till 9.30a.m.
I honestly tried to pay my share of hotel bills, fees, etc., but I was
not allowed--and I knew the reason why, and respected the motive. I will
explain when I see you, and then you will understand.
We were 25 hours going to Chicago; we were there 24 hours; we were 30
hours returning. Brisk work, but all of it enjoyable. We insisted on
leaving the car at Philadelphia so that our waiter and cook (to whom Mr.
R. gave $10 apiece,) could have their Christmas-eve at home.
Mr. Rogers's carriage was waiting for us in Jersey City and deposited me
at the Players. There--that's all. This letter is to make up for the
three letterless days. I love you, dear heart, I love you all.
LETTERS 1894. A WINTER IN NEW YORK. BUSINESS FAILURE.
END OF THE MACHINE
The beginning of the new year found Mark Twain sailing buoyantly on a
tide of optimism. He believed that with H. H. Rogers as his financial
pilot he could weather safely any storm or stress. He could divert
himself, or rest, or work, and consider his business affairs with
interest and amusement, instead of with haggard anxiety. He ran over to
Hartford to see an amateur play; to Boston to give a charity reading; to
Fair Haven to open the library which Mr. Rogers had established there; he
attended gay dinners, receptions, and late studio parties, acquiring the
name of the "Belle of New York." In the letters that follow we get the
echo of some of these things. The Mrs. Rice mentioned in the next brief
letter was the wife of Dr. Clarence C. Rice, who had introduced
H. H. Rogers to Mark Twain.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
Jan. 12, '94
Livy darling, I came down from Hartford yesterday with Kipling, and he
and Hutton and I had the small smoking compartment to ourselves and found
him at last at his ease, and not shy. He was very pleasant company
indeed. He is to be in the city a week, and I wish I could invite him to
dinner, but it won't do. I should be interrupted by business, of course.
The construction of a contract that will suit Paige's lawyer (not Paige)
turns out to be very difficult. He is embarrassed by earlier advice to
Paige, and hates to retire from it and stultify himself. The
negotiations are being conducted, by means of tedious long telegrams and
by talks over the long-distance telephone. We keep the wires loaded.
Dear me, dinner is ready. So Mrs. Rice says.
With worlds of love,
Clemens and Oliver Wendell Holmes had met and become friends soon after
the publication of Innocents Abroad, in 1869. Now, twenty-five years
later, we find a record of what without doubt was their last meeting.
It occurred at the home of Mrs. James T. Field.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
BOSTON, Jan. 25, '94.
Livy darling, I am caught out worse this time than ever before, in the
matter of letters. Tuesday morning I was smart enough to finish and mail
my long letter to you before breakfast--for I was suspecting that I would
not have another spare moment during the day. It turned out just so.
In a thoughtless moment I agreed to come up here and read for the poor.
I did not reflect that it would cost me three days. I could not get
released. Yesterday I had myself called at 8 and ran out to Mr. Rogers's
house at 9, and talked business until half past 10; then caught 11
o'clock train and arrived here at 6; was shaven and dressed by 7 and
ready for dinner here in Mrs. Field's charming house.
Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes never goes out now (he is in his 84th year,)
but he came out this time-said he wanted to "have a time" once more with
Mrs. Fields said Aldrich begged to come and went away crying because she
wouldn't let him. She allowed only her family (Sarah Orne Jewett and
sister) to be present, because much company would overtax Dr. Holmes.
Well, he was just delightful! He did as brilliant and beautiful talking
(and listening) as ever he did in his life, I guess. Fields and Jewett
said he hadn't been in such splendid form in years. He had ordered his
carriage for 9.
The coachman sent in for him at 9; but he said, "Oh, nonsense!--leave
glories and grandeurs like these? Tell him to go away and come in an
At 10 he was called for again, and Mrs. Fields, getting uneasy, rose, but
he wouldn't go--and so we rattled ahead the same as ever. Twice more
Mrs. Fields rose, but he wouldn't go--and he didn't go till half past 10
--an unwarrantable dissipation for him in these days. He was
prodigiously complimentary about some of my books, and is having
Pudd'nhead read to him. I told him you and I used the Autocrat as a
courting book and marked it all through, and that you keep it in the
sacred green box with the love letters, and it pleased him.
Good-bye, my dear darling, it is 15 minutes to dinner and I'm not dressed
yet. I have a reception to-night and will be out very late at that place
and at Irving's Theatre where I have a complimentary box. I wish you
were all here.
In the next letter we meet James J. Corbett--"Gentleman Jim," as he
was sometimes called--the champion pugilist of that day.
The Howells incident so amusingly dramatized will perhaps be more
appreciated if the reader remembers that Mark Twain himself had at
intervals been a mind-healing enthusiast. Indeed, in spite of his
strictures on Mrs. Eddy, his interest in the subject of mind-cure
continued to the end of his life.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
Sunday, 9.30 a. m.
Livy dear, when we got out to the house last night, Mrs. Rogers, who is
up and around, now, didn't want to go down stairs to dinner, but Mr. R.
persuaded her and we had a very good time indeed. By 8 o'clock we were
down again and bought a fifteen-dollar box in the Madison Square Garden
(Rogers bought it, not I,) then he went and fetched Dr. Rice while I
(went) to the Players and picked up two artists--Reid and Simmons--and
thus we filled 5 of the 6 seats. There was a vast multitude of people in
the brilliant place. Stanford White came along presently and invited me
to go to the World-Champion's dressing room, which I was very glad to do.
Corbett has a fine face and is modest and diffident, besides being the
most perfectly and beautifully constructed human animal in the world.
"You have whipped Mitchell, and maybe you will whip Jackson in June--but
you are not done, then. You will have to tackle me."
He answered, so gravely that one might easily have thought him in
"No--I am not going to meet you in the ring. It is not fair or right to
require it. You might chance to knock me out, by no merit of your own,
but by a purely accidental blow; and then my reputation would be gone and
you would have a double one. You have got fame enough and you ought not
to want to take mine away from me."
Corbett was for a long time a clerk in the Nevada Bank in San Francisco.
There were lots of little boxing matches, to entertain the crowd: then at
last Corbett appeared in the ring and the 8,000 people present went mad
with enthusiasm. My two artists went mad about his form. They said they
had never seen anything that came reasonably near equaling its perfection
except Greek statues, and they didn't surpass it.
Corbett boxed 3 rounds with the middle-weight Australian champion--oh,
beautiful to see!--then the show was over and we struggled out through a
perfect wash of humanity. When we reached the street I found I had left
my arctics in the box. I had to have them, so Simmons said he would go
back and get them, and I didn't dissuade him. I couldn't see how he was
going to make his way a single yard into that solid oncoming wave of
people--yet he must plow through it full 50 yards. He was back with the
shoes in 3 minutes!
How do you reckon he accomplished that miracle? By saying:
"Way, gentlemen, please--coming to fetch Mr. Corbett's overshoes."
The word flew from mouth to mouth, the Red Sea divided, and Simmons
walked comfortably through and back, dry shod. Simmons (this was
revealed to me under seal of secrecy by Reid) is the hero of "Gwen," and
he and Gwen's author were once engaged to marry. This is "fire-escape"
Simmons, the inveterate talker, you know: "Exit--in case of Simmons."
I had an engagement at a beautiful dwelling close to the Players for
10.30; I was there by 10.45. Thirty cultivated and very musical ladies
and gentlemen present--all of them acquaintances and many of them
personal friends of mine. That wonderful Hungarian Band was there (they
charge $500 for an evening.) Conversation and Band until midnight; then a
bite of supper; then the company was compactly grouped before me and I
told about Dr. B. E. Martin and the etchings, and followed it with the
Scotch-Irish Christening. My, but the Martin is a darling story! Next,
the head tenor from the Opera sang half a dozen great songs that set the
company wild, yes, mad with delight, that nobly handsome young Damrosch
accompanying on the piano.
Just a little pause--then the Band burst out into an explosion of weird
and tremendous dance music, a Hungarian celebrity and his wife took the
floor--I followed; I couldn't help it; the others drifted in, one by one,
and it was Onteora over again.
By half past 4 I had danced all those people down--and yet was not tired;
merely breathless. I was in bed at 5, and asleep in ten minutes. Up at
9 and presently at work on this letter to you. I think I wrote until 2
or half past. Then I walked leisurely out to Mr. Rogers's (it is called
3 miles but it is short of it) arriving at 3.30, but he was out--
to return at 5.30--(and a person was in, whom I don't particularly like)
--so I didn't stay, but dropped over and chatted with the Howellses until
First, Howells and I had a chat together. I asked about Mrs. H. He said
she was fine, still steadily improving, and nearly back to her old best
health. I asked (as if I didn't know):
"What do you attribute this strange miracle to?"
"Lord, what a conversion! You were a scoffer three months ago."
"I? I wasn't."
"You were. You made elaborate fun of me in this very room."
"I did not, Clemens."
"It's a lie, Howells, you did."
I detailed to him the conversation of that time--with the stately
argument furnished by Boyesen in the fact that a patient had actually
been killed by a mind-curist; and Howells's own smart remark that when
the mind-curist is done with you, you have to call in a "regular" at last
because the former can't procure you a burial permit.
At last he gave in--he said he remembered that talk, but had now been a
mind-curist so long it was difficult for him to realize that he had ever
been anything else.
Mrs. H. came skipping in, presently, the very person, to a dot, that she
used to be, so many years ago.
Mrs. H. said: "People may call it what they like, but it is just
hypnotism, and that's all it is--hypnotism pure and simple. Mind-cure!
--the idea! Why, this woman that cured me hasn't got any mind. She's a
good creature, but she's dull and dumb and illiterate and--"
"I know what I'm talking about!--don't I go there twice a week? And Mr.
Clemens, if you could only see her wooden and satisfied face when she
snubs me for forgetting myself and showing by a thoughtless remark that
to me weather is still weather, instead of being just an abstraction and
a superstition--oh, it's the funniest thing you ever saw! A-n-d-when she
tilts up her nose-well, it's--it's--Well it's that kind of a nose that--"
"Now Eleanor!--the woman is not responsible for her nose--" and so-on and
so-on. It didn't seem to me that I had any right to be having this feast
and you not there.
She convinced me before she got through, that she and William James are
right--hypnotism and mind-cure are the same thing; no difference between
them. Very well; the very source, the very center of hypnotism is Paris.
Dr. Charcot's pupils and disciples are right there and ready to your hand
without fetching poor dear old Susy across the stormy sea. Let Mrs.
Mackay (to whom I send my best respects), tell you whom to go to to learn
all you need to learn and how to proceed. Do, do it, honey. Don't lose
.....At 11 o'clock last night Mr. Rogers said:
"I am able to feel physical fatigue--and I feel it now. You never show
any, either in your eyes or your movements; do you ever feel any?"
I was able to say that I had forgotten what that feeling was like. Don't
you remember how almost impossible it was for me to tire myself at the
Villa? Well, it is just so in New York. I go to bed unfatigued at 3,
I get up fresh and fine six hours later. I believe I have taken only one
daylight nap since I have been here.
When the anchor is down, then I shall say:
"Farewell--a long farewell--to business! I will never touch it again!"
I will live in literature, I will wallow in it, revel in it, I will swim
in ink! Joan of Arc--but all this is premature; the anchor is not down
To-morrow (Tuesday) I will add a P. S. if I've any to add; but, whether
or no, I must mail this to morrow, for the mail steamer goes next day.
5.30 p. m. Great Scott, this is Tuesday! I must rush this letter into
the mail instantly.
Tell that sassy Ben I've got her welcome letter, and I'll write her as
soon as I get a daylight chance. I've most time at night, but I'd
druther write daytimes.
The Reid and Simmons mentioned in the foregoing were Robert Reid and
Edward Simmons, distinguished painter--the latter a brilliant,
fluent, and industrious talker. The title; "Fire-escape Simmons,"
which Clemens gives him, originated when Oliver Herford, whose
quaint wit has so long delighted New-Yorkers, one day pinned up by
the back door of the Players the notice: "Exit in case of Simmons."
Gwen, a popular novel of that day, was written by Blanche Willis
"Jamie" Dodge, in the next letter, was the son of Mrs. Mary Mapes
Dodge, editor of St. Nicholas.
To Clara Clemens, in Paris:
MR. ROGERS'S OFFICE, Feb. 5, '94.
Dear Benny--I was intending to answer your letter to-day, but I am away
down town, and will simply whirl together a sentence or two for good-
fellowship. I have bought photographs of Coquelin and Jane Hading and
will ask them to sign them. I shall meet Coquelin tomorrow night, and if
Hading is not present I will send her picture to her by somebody.
I am to breakfast with Madame Nordica in a few days, and meantime I hope
to get a good picture of her to sign. She was of the breakfast company
yesterday, but the picture of herself which she signed and gave me does
not do her majestic beauty justice.
I am too busy to attend to the photo-collecting right, because I have to
live up to the name which Jamie Dodge has given me--the "Belle of New
York"--and it just keeps me rushing. Yesterday I had engagements to
breakfast at noon, dine at 3, and dine again at 7. I got away from the
long breakfast at 2 p. m., went and excused myself from the 3 o'clock
dinner, then lunched with Mrs. Dodge in 58th street, returned to the
Players and dressed, dined out at 9, and was back at Mrs. Dodge's at
10 p. m. where we had magic-lantern views of a superb sort, and a lot of
yarns until an hour after midnight, and got to bed at 2 this morning
--a good deal of a gain on my recent hours. But I don't get tired; I
sleep as sound as a dead person, and always wake up fresh and strong--
usually at exactly 9.
I was at breakfast lately where people of seven separate nationalities
sat and the seven languages were going all the time. At my side sat
a charming gentleman who was a delightful and active talker, and
interesting. He talked glibly to those folks in all those seven
languages and still had a language to spare! I wanted to kill him, for
I greet you with love and kisses.
To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:
Livy dear, last night I played billiards with Mr. Rogers until 11, then