New York to Southampton and Le Havre: SS New York
March 7 Wednesday – Sam sailed on the SS New York for Southampton and Le Havre [MTHHR 23].
March 8 Thursday – At sea on the SS New York,
March 13 Tuesday – Note: Sam was not the only wise man to be pulled in by the Paige typesetter, as this letter shows. Still, in a PS, Rogers urged caution: Now from what I have said in regard to [Urban H.] Broughton’s judgment of the machine, do not allow yourself to get too enthusiastic. Still if faithful and persistent endeavor will accomplish anything, I am sure the Paige Compositor will have an opportunity of speaking for itself at a later time. If it speaks correctly, that is all we desire . See notes on this and page 46.
March 14 Wednesday – The S.S. New York reached Southampton, England.
March 15 Thursday – Sam reached Paris, France and Livy. They had been separated longer than any other previous time in their lives [LLMT 297].
Paris to Southampton, London and New York: SS New York
April 6 Friday – Sam left Paris for Southampton via London
April 7 Saturday – Sam was on the S.S. New York as it sailed from Southampton, England [MTHHR 23].
April 14 Saturday – The N.Y. Times noted that the steamship New York’s arrival was a “fast winter run of 6 days, 21 hours, and 51 minutes.” At 5 p.m. in New York at the Players Club, Sam wrote to Livy that he’d arrived at 10 a.m. and found his old room ready for him at 10:30 a.m.
“I went abroad to see how my family were getting along, and not for the benefit of my own health, as has been reported. My wife has not been well for some time, and she is now under the care of a physician in Paris. I wanted to see for myself just how she was, and that’s the reason I went. I found her to be very much improved, and that’s why I didn’t stay longer. I’ve been gone only three weeks, so you see I didn’t have much of a visit. But the trip was a glorious one. The voyage back, particularly, was delightful. I hear you’d had a great storm here, but at sea we had nothing of it. The New York encountered no bad weather, and only on one day a rough sea, which seemed more like the wash from another steamer than anything else. I shall return to Paris again in just three weeks, to take my family to Aix-les-Bains. Baths are part of the treatment prescribed for my wife.” [Scharnhorst 143].
April 16 Monday – In New York Sam wrote with optimism to Livy: Well, dearheart, Mr. Rogers feels so much encouraged about Websterco’s probable ability to pull through alive, that he suggested, without me saying anything, that we hold on & try to work out, paying a hundred cents on the dollar & finally closing the concern out without any strain upon its name. Mr. Rogers has been at Websterco’s several times & kept close watch upon its affairs, & has kept it out of financial trouble by the strength of his name — and with his money, too, the other day where two or three thousand dollars were immediately necessary.
Note: it was the last publication issued for the bankrupt Webster & Co. It is interesting that just two days before filing bankruptcy, both Rogers and Sam felt the company could weather through. The reasons why, according to Sam’s Apr. 20 to Livy, had to do with the “rigorous attitude” of the Mt. Morris Bank, a principal creditor. See Hall’s quote in the NY Times article of Apr. 19 below.
April 17 Tuesday – The New York Times, p.6 ran an article from the Minneapolis Times:
The Frog Two Thousand Years Old.
A college professor recently asked Mark Twain, “How old do you suppose your jumping frog story is?”
“I know exactly,” replied Mark. “It is fifty-five years old.”
“You are mistaken,” remarked the professor. “It is more than 2,000 years old. It is a Greek story.”
Mark naturally denied that it was a Greek story; it was a California story, and a Calaveras County yarn at that. But the professor merely polished his glasses. He brought Mark the books, and showed him his jumping frog story in very choice Greek with a fringe of Hellenic roots around the margin.
Now the interesting question is, Did the frog episode occur in Angel’s Camp in the Spring of ’49? Mark is perfectly sure that it did. The professor is equally sure that its duplicate happened in Beotia a couple of thousand years ago.
Nobody will presume to say that Twain read this story in a Greek book as far back as ’65, when he retold it, for at that time he knew no Greek. It is only necessary to reflect on the sameness of human history to arrive at the correct conclusion that the story originated in Greece B.C. just as it originated in America A.D. Human nature accounts for it in both instances. The story is only an effort of one man to insure the success of a wager against another. The Greeks were just as apt to try for a cinch as anybody else. The use of the frog is the only coincidence in the story. The rest of it is just as Greek as it is Yankee and as Yankee as it is Greek. [Note: In the Apr. 1894 North American Review article, “Private History of the ‘Jumping Frog’ Story,” the professor is identified as Prof. Van Dyke of Princeton. See Budd, Collected 2: 152].
April 22 Sunday – In New York at the Players Club Sam also wrote that the new machine would be finished in June, and that Rogers had no doubts the “machine’s great future is secure” [MTP].
April 25 Wednesday – In New York on Players Club letterhead, Sam wrote to Livy, still putting a happy face on the business failure:
Well, sweetheart I am more & more grateful that the failure happened, & that it happened just when it did. I can’t think of a date earlier or later that would have been more fortunate. Earlier we couldn’t have had the Grant cheap edition far enough advanced to make a good showing; now the showing is so promising that the creditors hardly refuse to let us resume, I think. It seems much the wisest course to let us resume — but I am indifferent as to which they do. I could not have been indifferent earlier. I am out of the mess, now, & am no longer harassed for money to pour down that hole. Hall is glad we assigned — a heavy responsibility is lifted from his timid soul & incapable shoulders.
May 1 Tuesday – In New York at the Players Club, Sam made a quick trip to Elmira, probably on this day. He was back in New York by May 3 in the afternoon for a meeting with the Mt. Morris Bank [May 4 to Livy]. Note: Since the train trip was eight to nine hours each way, he would have had a short stay in Elmira.
May 2 Wednesday – Sam was in Elmira at least part of the day and returned to New York in time for a business meeting the following day.
New York to Southampton, London and Paris: SS New York
May 8 Tuesday – In New York Sam boarded the S.S. New York before midnight.
May 9 Wednesday – Sam sailed again for Southampton, England in the S.S. New York [Brooklyn Eagle, p.4 “Personal Mention”; MTHHR 24].
May 16 Wednesday – The S.S. New York reached Southampton in the evening and Sam traveled to London.
May 17 Thursday – In London
May 18 Friday – Sam spent two days in London.
May 19 Saturday – Sam left London and traveled to Paris, where he joined his family at the Hotel Brighton.
May 20 Sunday – Sam and Livy examined a cottage in Etretat, France and rented it for the summer [May 22 to Rogers].
June 23 Saturday – The Clemens family left Paris and “traveled all day & it was hot” and arrived at La Bourboule, France. On June 25 Sam wrote to Susan Crane about the trip and the fatigue resulting from two-weeks’ trunk-packing.
We are jammed into little bits of rooms, & we haven’t any parlor. We are a little more cramped than ever before, I believe. Still we are in the best hotel & must do our possible to enjoy it. [Note: this was the Grand Hotel Des Iles Britanniques].
We are located as above, & the quarters are good — everything considered — better than one has a right to expect in a small town like this, remotely situated. We find the scenery beautiful & the air delicious to breathe.
June, after 25th – Sam wrote the essay, “A Scrap of Curious History” in La Bourboule-les-Bains, France after the learning of the assassination of French president Sadi Carnot on June 24. The piece was published Oct. 1914 in Harper’s Magazine. It began:
Marion City, on the Mississippi River, in the State of Missouri — a village; time, 1845. La Bourboule-les-Bains, France — a village; time, the end of June, 1894. I was in the one village in that early time; I am in the other now. These times and places are sufficiently wide apart, yet today I have the strange sense of being thrust back into that Missourian village and of reliving certain stirring days that I lived there so long ago. [Note: may be found in Neider’s The Complete Essays of Mark Twain p.517].
June 27 Wednesday – Frenchmen were rioting throughout the country, angry over the assassination of President Sadi Carnot on June 24. Sam wrote of a crisis situation at the Grand Hotel in La Bourboule, which had several Italians in their employ.
When we were about to go to bed we heard a good deal of noise about a hundred yards away — shoutings of a great crowd. These continued — burst after burst of shouts — louder & louder — & at last the shouts became furious howlings. We have Italian waiters in the house, & I became uneasy, but I tried to make the family believe it was only a mob of drunken merry-makers. However that assertion soon lost force. The noise approached, & took the form of the Marseilleise. Then stones began to fly. They rattled against our windows, & considerably frightened the family. We put out the lights, & no more stones struck our windows, but a lady in another room went too near her open window & got knocked down by a stone. Then the rioters gathered in front of the hotel & demanded the Italians, proposing to hammer them; but the landlord refused to give them up, & sent them to the upper story for safety. There were but two policemen. These argued with the mob, but were not listened to. Toward mid-night the mob came around under our windows again & began to smash windows on the floor below & there was also a crash of smashing woodwork. It looked serious, then. I was afraid they would fire the house. But they didn’t. They kept everybody up to the small hours with their threats & howlings & cries of “A bas les Italiens!” — then at last they went away saying the Italians must leave next day or the hotel must take the consequences [June 29 to Rogers].
June 28 Thursday – Susy Clemens went to bed with a fever of 102; she’d had some fever before this day. This was Sam’s departure day, but the rioters and Susy’s condition forced a postponement:
I was to leave at 10.30 in the morning to catch the steamer, but I of course decided to remain. I didn’t wake until 9, & then I had no time to consider much. Jean came in & said some soldiers & eleven policemen had arrived from Montluçon & there wouldn’t be any more trouble. So at 10.30 I started in the diligence for Laqueille, the RR station; but on the way I had time to think. It goes without saying that I turned back. The President’s funeral is not until Sunday. There can be no assurance of quiet in France until some days after that. Susy is too sick to travel. We must stay here for the present. / The soldiers & the eleven policemen stayed in the hotel last night [June 28] & there was no demonstration.
June 29 Friday – In La Bourboule, France Sam cabled H.H. Rogers: “Unavoidably Detained,” then wrote him a long letter explaining the delay (see June 27 and 28 for events leading up to the cable and letter). He added to the letter on June 30. The soldiers were gone from the hotel and most of the policemen. Sam wrote about walking to the Hotel de Ville and seeing the ringleaders of the riot, “well-dressed, good looking fellows” about to say goodbye to their “well-dressed peasant families.” The men were to walk 32 miles away, “a sort of banishment,” thought to be brought about by prosecution by the hotel landlord. Sam worried that further trouble would brew from resentment of the landlord.
June 30 Saturday – In La Bourboule, France Sam completed the June 29 letter to H.H. Rogers. News had come about the steamer New York having a collision at sea and needing some repairs, and Sam noted it would be unable to sail today.
There was no more trouble from mobs but he reported rioting “all over France” which he thought would continue until a week after tomorrow’s funeral.
July 4 Wednesday – At the Grand Hotel in La Bourboule, France Sam wrote one of his famous aphorisms to Miss Bronson (not identified):
Endeavor to so live that when you come to die even the undertaker will be sorry [MTP].
July 5 Thursday – Sam left the family at La Bourboule and traveled to Paris [July 4 to Clara]. He described his trip as “sweltering” in a July 6 to Livy, but he arrived “totally unfatigued.”
July 6 Friday – At 11 a.m. in the Paris office of Morse, the US Consul-General,
Paris, Southampton to New York: SS Paris
July 7 Saturday – At noon in Southampton, England, Sam sailed for New York aboard the S.S. Paris [LLMT 302].
July 13 Friday – En route from Southampton to New York on the S.S. Paris, Sam wrote to Livy: Livy darling, we shall arrive early to-morrow — Saturday. It has been an astonishing voyage, as regards weather: warm, brilliant, smooth — the sea is a millpond, all the way over.
July 14 Saturday – The American Line steamship S.S. Paris arrived in New York.
August 1 Wednesday – Sam was in Hartford visiting old friends and staying with the Whitmores (See Aug. 3 to Livy.)
August 7 Tuesday – In New York on Players Club stationery,
New York to Southampton: SS Paris
August 15 Wednesday – Sam sailed for Southampton, England
MARK TWAIN AND THE DECKHAND
A Little Dialogue on the Gangplank —
(New York Sun)
Probably the most inconspicuous passenger on the American line steamship Paris, which sailed yesterday morning for Southampton, was a languid man with fluffy gray hair, who looked as if he had made a mistake in taking passage in the cabin. He carried an old umbrella in one hand and a crush hat done up in a newspaper in the other. A few persons recognized him as Samuel L. Clemens. He apparently was traveling as Mark Twain, professional humorist. He was somewhat late; in fact, if he had been a few minutes later, he might have had to walk to Europe or take the next steamship. Somebody suggested to him that the Paris was ready to sail. He answered with his familiar drawl:
“Well, if the boat’s ready to go I guess I am. I am going over to see my wife and family at Etretat, where they are supporting a couple of doctors. You see, over there when a doctor gets hold of a good patient he keeps him. They generally take you to a small place and keep you there. They pass you along to a friend in another place, and they keep you moving like the Wandering Jew. My wife has been doing this for three years.
“I don’t dare to have even a headache after I land on the other side. But I guess I’ll bring her back when I come in October.
“This is my tenth voyage in the past three years. I’m getting real fond of sailing now. After the first five or six days I rather enjoy the trip.” [Sam was playing with the reporter here as the trip seldom took longer at this time than five or six days — the Times article pointed out the jest, though it did not include all of Sam’s remarks; the Sun did not point out the jest but included more of his remarks.] [Reprinted in the Hartford Courant Aug. 17, 1894 p.3; see also Scharnhorst 144].
August 16 Thursday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. An article published Sept. 9, 1894, p.5 and datelined August 22, described the voyage and the weather:
On one day only rain interfered with deck amusements and promenading, a dense fog enshrouded us off the banks and at subsequent short periods further eastward. …Aside from this disagreeable feature, we have had an exceptionally smooth voyage, the glassy surface of the ocean disturbed alone by swells from our huge steamship.
Cloudless skies have favored us, on some days followed by sunsets of remarkable brilliancy and moonlight nights. During the day sportive porpoises and stray sharks attracted attention, ships distinguished in the distance producing unusual interest.
Note: the first day at sea the Paris made 402 miles from Sandy Hook, N.J. (to midnight). The ship carried a total of 1,293 passengers [Ibid.]
August 17 Friday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. The second day at sea the Paris made 423 miles distance [Ibid.]
August 18 Saturday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. The third day at sea the Paris made 429 miles distance [Ibid.]
August 19 Sunday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. The fourth day at sea the Paris made 430 miles distance.
August 20 Monday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. The fifth day at sea the Paris made 455 miles distance [Ibid.].
August 21 Tuesday – Sam was en route aboard the American Line S.S. Paris for Southampton. The sixth day at sea the Paris made 447 miles distance [Ibid.]
August 22 Wednesday – At 4 p.m., the S.S. Paris docked at Southampton. The seventh day at sea the Paris made 441 miles distance, within 67 miles to Southampton
August 23 Thursday † – Sam reached Etretat, France on the Normandy coast by this day, reuniting with his family [Sept. 2-3 to Rogers].
August 25 Saturday – In Etretat, France Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers:
I find the Madam ever so much better in health and strength; but disappointed, for she hoped you and Mrs. Duff would come and let her take care of you as she proposed; but I told her I didn’t get the letter, which was true. But I don’t see how she would take care of anybody in this little Chalet des Abris, which is such an incredibly small coop that the family can’t find room to sleep without hanging their legs out of the windows.
Still, Sam thought the air “superb and soothing and wholesome,” and welcomed the remoteness as “just the place to write in.” He asked if Rogers could “assign to yourself the privileges and powers of proxy for Mrs. Clemens by virtue of your power of attorney?” Sam didn’t want Livy to have to make a “fatiguing journey” to Havre to find a US consul if they were to initiate the proxy there.
August 26 Sunday – In Etretat, France
September 1 Saturday – At the Chalet des Abris in Etretat, France,
October 1 Monday – The Clemens family left Etretat bound for Paris, but after four hours travel, they stopped at the Hotel d’Angleterre in Rouen, France, due to Susy’s fever and congestion of the right lung [Oct. 5 to Rogers].
October 7 Sunday – At the Hotel d’Angleterre in Rouen, France, Sam wrote a humorous letter to H.H. Rogers. It seems Sam had to make a quick trip to the bathroom at 2 a.m., and got lost in the dark, unable to tell which floor he was even on. He drew a layout of the hotel with a staircase zigzagging up the middle.
Yours of the 24th Sept. has arrived, filled with pleasantness and peace. I would God I were in my room in the new house in Fairhaven, so’st I could have one good solid night’s sleep. …at 2 this morning I had a W.C. call and jumped up, in the dark, and ran in my night-shirt and without a candle — for I believed I knew my way….Would you think a person could get lost in such a place? I assure you it is possible; for a person of talent. We are on the second floor from the ground. There’s a W.C. on the floor above us and one on the floor below us. Halls pitch dark. I groped my way and found the upper W.C. Starting to return, I went up stairs instead of down, and went to what I supposed was my room, but I could not make out the number in the dark and was afraid to enter it. Then I remembered that I — no, my mind lost confidence and began to wander. I was no longer sure of what floor I was on, and the minute I realized that, the rest of my mind went. One cannot stand still in the dark hall at 2 in the morning, lost, and be content. One must move, and go on moving, even at the risk of getting worse lost. I groped up and down a couple of those flights, over and over again, cursing to myself. And every time I thought I heard some body coming, I shrank together like one of those toy balloons when it collapses. You see, I could not grope to the top floor and start fresh and count down to my own, for it was all occupied by young ladies, and a dangerous place to get caught in, clothes as I was clothed, and not in my right mind. I could not grope down to the ground floor and count up, for there was a ball down there. A ball, and young ladies likely to be starting up to bed about this time. X X X. And so they did. I saw the glow of their distant candle, I felt the chill of their distant cackle. I did not know whether I was on a W.C. floor or not, but I had to take a risk. I groped to the door that ought to be it — right where you turn down the stairs; and it was it. I entered it grateful, and stood in its dark shelter with a beating heart and thought how happy I should be to live there always, in that humble cot, and go out no more among life’s troubles and dangers. Several of the young ladies applied for admission, but I was not receiving, Thursdays being my day. I meant to freeze out the ball, if it took a week. And I did. When the drone and burr of its music had ceased for twenty minutes and the house was solidly dead and dark, I groped down to the ground floor, then turned and counted my way up home all right.
Then straightway my temper went up to 180 in the shade and I began to put it into form. Presently and admiring voice said —
“When you are through with your prayers, I would like to ask where you have been, all night.”
It was Mrs. Clemens; waiting in the dark; waiting for a reposeful atmosphere and tranquillizing speech; for Susy’s tossings and semi-deliriums had fagged her out, in a watch-weary state, and she had come to my room to rest her nerves a bit.
I told about my adventures, and that took her out of her troubles for the present. Then I fired up on my lamp and read until 6 this morning; thus adding one more to the string of wakeful nights which I have passed in this town [MTHHR 81-2].
October 15 Monday – The Dreyfus Affair began when Alfred Dreyfus was arrested for spying;. See Dec. 22 entry. Dolmetsch writes, “References to the Dreyfus affair permeate almost everything Mark Twain wrote in Vienna” (1897-1898) .
October 31 Wednesday – The Clemens family left Rouen for the two-hour trip to Paris. Sam wrote of the move in his Nov. 2 to Rogers:
The doctor delayed us 2 days at Rouen after we were packed & ready. We could not make out what amount of risk there was; so at the end of 2 days we concluded to take it without knowing; so I secured a compartment by paying 2 extra fares, & we bundled Susy up & came through all right. It happened to be the mildest & sunniest day of the whole season, & it did Susy good instead of harm. We have our old rooms in the hotel & are very comfortable. Mrs. Clemens started out at once to look at flats which had been hunted up by friends & agents; overdid herself & had to lie up a day or two in consequence [Nov. 2 to Rogers].
Upon arrival, Sam found a report of the first sixteen days’ test of the Paige typesetter in the Chicago Herald, which he commented on in his letter to Rogers.
November 2 Friday – From the Brighton Hotel in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers. He described the move from Rouen (see Oct. 31) and gave the rest of the letter to a discussion of the typesetter; he’d received the Chicago report on the machine’s progress upon arriving in Paris. The report evidently showed some shortcomings, for Sam wrote:
It seems a pity they didn’t put the old machine in, instead of the new one, for it was in good & sound condition, I think.
Sam ended with a note that he “was going out flatting, now,” (apartment hunting) [MTHHR 89-90].
November 6 Tuesday – From the Brighton Hotel in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers about their rental house at 169 Rue de l’Unversité:
It isn’t a flat, but a whole house. We get it, furnished, for $250 a month. It belongs to a friend [“the artist Pomroy” – MTB 989] who has to go south for 6 months. He pays $300. It has 4 bedrooms. When you come we’ll sleep two of the girls together, and that will vacate a room for you. Take a vacation and come; it will rest you up, and you will be glad you took a holiday. We are growing old, and must not put off the holidays.
November 7 Wednesday – In the morning, from the Brighton Hotel in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, mostly about the Paige typesetter and its competitor the Mergenthaler Linotype machine. Reports up to now from Chicago had been encouraging, but the machine would soon start to break repeatedly. Sam related how long the Mergenthaler had been around, breaking down and continuing on:
When a bastard cripple like the Mergenthaler can fight its way up through ridicule & hostility during seven years to prosperity & a goodly share of respect, there’s no occasion for the Paige Compositor to have any doubts about the future.
November 15 Thursday – Note: After some promising production for a month, the newest Paige typesetter began to break down repeatedly. Rogers had gone to Chicago to investigate. The end would soon come.
November 16 Friday – Paine gives us Sam’s description of the house: It was a lovely house; large, rambling, quaint, charmingly furnished and decorated, built upon no particular plan, delightfully uncertain and full of surprises. You were always getting lost in it, and finding nooks and corners which you did not know were there and whose presence you had not suspected before. It was built by a rich French artist, and he had also furnished it and decorated it himself. The studio was coziness itself. With us it served as a drawing-room, sitting-room, living-room, dancing-room — we used it for everything. We couldn’t get enough of it. It is odd that it should have been so cozy, for it was 40 feet long, 40 feet high, and 30 feet wide, with a vast fireplace on each side, in the middle, and a musicians’ gallery at one end [MTB 989-90].
November 17 Saturday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris,
November 29 Thursday – Thanksgiving – I
H.H. Rogers’ letter arrived at 8 a.m. It was written after his return to N.Y. from Chicago, to investigate the problems reported on the Paige typesetter. This letter evidently brought the final bad news on the machine. Sam began his response and finished his letter on Nov. 30.
…I had a bit of a shiver & says to myself, “Clemens, stand by for a cyclone! for if Mr. Rogers finds it wise & best to remove his supports from under that machine, your fine ten-year-old dream will blow away like a mist & you will land in the poor-house sure.”
Then, just before the Thanksgiving dinner this evening arrived a letter from home announcing that Mrs. Clemens’s only brother is in alarming state of health.
It seems to me, take it all around, that President hasn’t chosen a Thanksgiving date with much judgment this time [MTHHR 99-100].
December 7 Friday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, Sam still expected a final word on the Paige typesetter, which suggests Rogers’ last letter was not a final conclusion, but a probable one.
December 9 Sunday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, responding to his Nov. 30 letter. and a change of mind about the rental house: I am feeling in better shape yesterday and to-day….If this family were in a hotel, now, or in a flat, I would take the next ship for New York, for I see you believe that would be well. But here we are, in this private little house, with two stories, eight staircases, no end of cells and passages, and little or no room. It was built by an idiot, I think. There is but one bedroom on our floor. All other bedrooms are far away, and one couldn’t make anybody hear if one were in trouble. We have French servants whom we know little or nothing about. The man-servant is sometimes impudent — in manner, not words — and I guess he’ll have to go, before long, though he is alert and capable, and another stranger admitted.
December 22 Saturday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, shocked by the final failure of the typesetter: I seemed to be entirely expecting your letter [not extant, but probably explaining the failure of the machine] and also prepared and resigned; but Lord, it shows how little we know ourselves and how easily we can deceive ourselves. It hit me like a thunderclap. It knocked every rag of sense out of my head, and I went flying here and there and yonder, not knowing what I was doing, and only one clearly-defined thought standing up visible and substantial out of the crazy storm-drift — that my dream of ten years was in desperate peril, and out of 60,000 or 70,000 projects for its rescue came flocking through my skull, not one would hold still long enough for me to examine it and size it up. Have you ever been like that? Not so much so, I reckon.
Sam had slept six hours and his “pond had clarified,” and he found “the sediment of my 70,000 projects” to be of the character he then listed. Most of the rest of his letter contains specifics of the machine, of using a different kind of type, even of consulting Thomas A. Edison about it, and of strategies to gain some interest in the Mergenthaler Co. But it was too late for that.
Don’t say I’m wild. For really I’m sane again this morning.
Note from MTHHR 111,n2: “The number of parenthetical phrases, phrases written in margins, parentheses within parentheses, and shifts in direction, as well as the pleading tone of much of this letter, all testify to Clemens’s extreme agitation while writing it.”
French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason. The conviction caused a European controversy known as the Dreyfus Affair, one in which Sam would take great interest.
December 27 Thursday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers. Evidently another letter had arrived from Rogers (not extant) for Sam answered:
Notwithstanding your heart is “old & hard,” you make a body choke up, I know you “mean every word you say,” & I do take it “in the same spirit in which you tender it.” I shall keep your regard while we two live — that I know; for I shall always remember what you have done for me, and that will insure me against ever doing anything that could forfeit it or impair it. I am 59 years old; yet I never had a friend before who put out a hand and tried to pull me ashore when he found me in deep waters.
Sam jumped at Rogers’ offer to write his “business brothers,” who had invested in the machine at his urgings: Bram Stoker, Henry Irving, and Dr. Clarence Rice. He offered advice and suggestions on each, and with respect to John Brusnahan, swore he “was not going to die until I have got him squared entirely up,” even if it meant doing a public reading for him. Sam talked about coming to Fairhaven and occupying the teen Harry Rogers’ room.
Pretty soon the house will be Kodakable — and when you Kodak it, I would like to have one.
We shall try to find a tenant for our Hartford house; not an easy matter, for it costs heavily to live in. We can never live in it again; though it would break the family’s hearts if they could believe it.
Nothing daunts Mrs. Clemens or makes the world look black to her — which is the reason I haven’t drowned myself. / SL Clemens /
Note: Many accounts cite the death of Susy in 1896 as the reason for the Clemens family never living in the Farmington Ave. house again; interesting that Sam was convinced here, through the failure of the typesetter, that such would be the case.
January 2 Wednesday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers.
Yours of Dec. 21 [not extant] has arrived, containing the circular to stockholders and I guess the Co will really quit — there doesn’t seem to be any other wise course.
There’s one thing which makes it difficult for me to soberly realize that my ten-year dream is actually dissolved; and that is, that it reverses my horoscope. The proverb says, “Born luck, always lucky,” and I am very superstitious. As a small boy I was notoriously lucky. It was usual for one or two of our lads (per annum) to get drowned in the Mississippi or in Bear Creek, but I was pulled out in a 2/3 drowned condition 9 times before I learned to swim, and was considered to be a cat in disguise. When the “Pennsylvania” blew up and the telegraph reported my brother as fatally injured (with 60 others) but made no mention of me, my uncle said to my mother “it means that Sam was somewhere else, after being on that boat a year and a half — he was born lucky.” Yes, I was somewhere else. I am so superstitious that I have always been afraid to have business-dealings with certain relatives and friends of mine because they were unlucky people. All my life I have stumbled upon lucky chances of large size, and whenever they were wasted it was because of my own stupidity and carelessness. And so I have felt entirely certain that that machine would turn up trumps eventually. It disappointed me lots of times, but I couldn’t shake off the confidence of a life time in my luck.
January 5 Saturday – French officer Alfred Dreyfus was stripped of his army rank and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil’s Island. Sam would take an active interest in the Dreyfus Affair in Vienna in 1897-8
January 8 Tuesday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, The Hartford house was a continuing concern, to the point where he’d lost a day’s work over it:
We have offered to rent our house to a friend. I guess he will not take it, for he won’t like the expense of living in it. But we shall try again. Apparently it costs $200 a month to support it untenanted, even without counting the taxes. Part of the money spent by Whitmore in the reported 9 months went to my brother — $50 a month; $40 a month to Whitmore; $70 a month to the gardener and his wife. Insurance $300 a year, I think. I have proposed to Whitmore to reduce himself to $20 a month. If we can rent, or sell, or burn the house, it will rid us of the other wages and the taxes. We’ve got to rent that house, or sell it or burn it. [MTP].
January 29 Tuesday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris
Mrs. C. has made acres of figures, and has decided that without horses and coachman we can live there the winter on Paris rates — $1,000 a month. Her calculations have always come out right, I believe, and so she is right about this, I guess.
A friend wants our house from March 1 till Sept. 1 — and that comes very handy. I am quite willing somebody else shall pay our taxes for us a while [MTHHR 123-5].
February – As early as Feb. 3 in a letter to Rogers, Sam was planning and discussing a world tour. The plans evolved over the spring and were not finalized until late May, with J.B. Pond acting as manager for the North American leg and Robert Sparrow Smythe of Melbourne handling the down-under leg. After the death of Susy, Clara Clemens recalled her father saying to her mother:
The hellish struggle it was to settle on making that lecture trip around the world? How we fought the idea, the horrible idea, the heart-torturing idea. I, almost an old man, with ill health, carbuncles, bronchitis and rheumatism…with patience worn to rags, I was to pack my bag and be jolted around the devil’s universe for what? To pay debts that were not even of my making. And you were worried at the thought of facing such hardships of travel, and SHE [Susy] was unhappy to be left alone. But once the idea of that infernal trip struck us we couldn’t shake it [MFMT 179]. Note: this sentiment is drenched in guilt and remorse, and contrasts sharply with the enthusiasm and planning made between Jan. and May, 1895.
February 3 Sunday – At 169 rue de l’Université in Paris, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, announcing that the day before was their silver wedding anniversary. “About the end of January” Sam had written to Henry M. Stanley asking for the name of Stanley’s lecture agent (Robert Sparrow Smythe) in Melbourne [Feb. 12 to Rogers] about a possible world tour.
I expect to sail in the New York the 23d of this present month. To consult with you first and then arrange a contract to issue Joan next December and follow it with the Uniform Edition.
Also to consult with you about another project, which is — (take a breath and stand by for a surge) — to go around the world on a lecture trip.
This is not for money, but to get Mrs. Clemens and myself away from the phantoms and out of the heavy nervous strain for a few months. By the urgent help of the doctor I have got her more than half persuaded — provided Susy or Clara will go with us. Also, it will be a rest for you and Mrs. Duff and Harry. You all need just such a trip. I suppose I can hire myself out to Mrs. Clemens as a platform-reader and thus escape trouble from my creditors. I must ask Colby about that. For my scheme is, to start west in September, read twice in Kansas City, four times in Chicago, four times in San Francisco, two or three times around about there, and sail for Australia about Oct. 1. Read 60 times in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania; once in Columbo, Ceylon; 4 times in Bombay; maybe read also in Calcutta or around there somewhere; then go on to the gold and diamond mines of South Africa and put in 20 or 25 readings there; then to Great Britain and read in London, Dublin, Edinburgh, and so on, 20 or 30 times; then home and read a few times in Boston, New York, Phila, Baltimore, Washington and Richmond.
Sam disclosed he’d discussed such a tour with Henry M. Stanley. He felt he would do better financially should he go alone but that would “worsen Mrs. Clemens, not improve her.” He relished being a “novelty” in Australia and South Africa, “the only Yank that ever appeared there or in India on the platform.” He felt it would take all summer to train himself for the platform and gave as a reason “those unspeakable botches” he’d made at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 26 and 27, 1894 with James Whitcomb Riley. “I was a fool to go on that platform — but I had to have money.”
Whitmore reports a balance of $67.40 in bank at Hartford. He never gives a body sufficient notice ahead. I must try and replace him with another idiot when I come.
If I go on that trip I may possibly get a book of travel out of it; and books of travel are good sellers in the subscription trade.
If we go, it is our project to get the Elmira relatives to board two of our girls for us while we are away. That is, half of the time; and Twichell in Hartford the other half. He has offered, more than once, heretofore. What that kind of change of scene I think the girls would have a very good time and not miss us severely. Miss their mother, I mean. Girls don’t miss their fathers as much as they ought to.
After his signature Sam added an alternate idea for the tour to begin in reverse, with England, Scotland, Ireland first, then South Africa, etc. [MTHHR 126-8]. Note: Franklin G. Whitmore was another of the “victims” of Sam’s ire once a working relationship wore thin. This was true of Charles Webster, Daniel Whitford, Charles Perkins, Elisha Bliss and others.
Le Havre to Southampton and New York: SS New York
February 22 Friday
Sam traveled to Havre where he either stayed in a hotel or spent the night aboard the SS New York, preparing to sail the next morning.
February 23 Saturday – The S.S. New York sailed from Havre, France with Sam aboard. The ship stopped in Southampton and sailed for New York. MTHHR, p.132 offers the following exposition of this trip back to the US:
“His errand was twofold: to arrange for the publication of Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc, and to consider a plan for a uniform edition of his works. Joan of Arc was not difficult to sell, although Mark Twain insisted it be published anonymously for fear that association with his name would prevent readers from taking the work seriously. It was taken up at once as a serial for Harper’s Magazine. A penalty, in the form of an increase in the author’s royalties, was to be invoked if Mark Twain’s name as mentioned in connection with the serial, and Harper & Brothers also promised to bring it out soon thereafter as a dignified volume. Arrangements for a uniform edition of Mark Twain’s works, however, were to stretch out over several years.”
March 2 Saturday – The S.S. New York arrived in New York City [NY Times, Mar. 3, 1895 p.14, “Arrivals from Europe”; Mar. 11 to Livy]. Mrs. Cara Rogers Duff met his boat and escorted him to the Rogers’ home at 26 E. 57th Street [2nd Apr. 3 to Rogers].
March 15 Friday – Sometime during this week Sam went to Hartford. He may have stayed at the Twichell’s, or the Day’s, who were renting the Clemens house on Farmington Ave.
March 21 Thursday – In Hartford at Joe Twichell’s,
March 22 Friday – Sam returned to New York and the Rogers’ home at 26 E. 57th,
March 24 Sunday – In New York, fourteen year old Helen Keller (1880-1968), the first deafblind person who would graduate from college, met Sam and William Dean Howells at Laurence Hutton’s. (Sam’s Nov. 26, 1896 to Emilie Rogers mentions that H.H. Rogers was also present.) Keller wrote to her friend, Mary Mapes Dodge on Mar. 29 (using a new script typewriter, a “Remington”) of the meeting on the previous Sunday (Mar. 24).
Mr. Clemens told us many entertaining stories, & made us laugh till we cried. He told us he was going back to Europe this week to bring his wife & daughter back to America because his daughter, who is a schoolgirl in Paris, had learned so much in three years & a half that if he did not bring her home she would soon know more than he did. I think “Mark Twain” is a very appropriate nom de plume for Mr. Clemens because it has a funny & quaint sound that goes well with his amusing writings, & its nautical significance suggests the deep & beautiful things he has written [LLMT 313-4]. Note: this has been erroneously reported as Mar. 31, 1895, but Sam was aboard the S.S. Paris that day en route.
March 25 Monday – Sam traveled to Philadelphia,
March 27 Wednesday – In New York
New York to Le Havre: SS Paris
MARCH 28 THURSDAY – SAM WAS EN ROUTE ON THE S.S. PARIS FOR HAVRE, FRANCE.
April 3 Wednesday – In the evening the S.S. Paris arrived in Southampton, England. Sam then left for London, where he had an engagement for a dinner given by Henry M. Stanley on the following night.
April 4 Thursday – In London,
Sam described his dinner with Henry M. Stanley and a crowd of “thirty or forty”:
Stanley is magnificently housed in London, in a grand mansion in the midst of the official world right off Downing street and Whitehall. He had an extraordinary assemblage of brains and fame there to meet me — thirty or forty (both sexes) at dinner, and more than a hundred came in after dinner. Kept it up till after midnight. There were cabinet ministers, ambassadors, admirals, generals, canons, Oxford professors, novelists, playwrights, poets, and a number of people equipped with rank and brains. I told some yarns and made some speeches. I promised to call on all those people next time I come to London, and show them the wife and the daughters. If I were younger and very strong I would dearly love to spend a season in London — provided I had no work on hand; or no work more exacting than lecturing. I think I will lecture there a month or two when I return from Australia.
There were many delightful ladies in that company. One was the wife of His Excellency Admiral Bridge [Sir Cyprian Bridge], Commander-in-Chief of the Australian Station, and she said her husband was able to throw wide all doors to me in that part of the world and would be glad to do it; and would yacht me and my party around, and excursion us in his flag-ship and make us have a great time; and she said she would write him we were coming, and we would find him ready [Apr. 7 to Rogers].
April 5 Friday – The dinner and gathering at Henry M. Stanley’s ran past midnight into this day. Later in the day Sam likely traveled on to Paris and 169 rue de l’Université to reunite with his family.
April 7 Sunday – In Paris at 169 rue de l’Université,
April 23 Tuesday – In Paris at 169 rue de l’Universite, Sam wrote to J. Henry Harper, about the planned Uniform Edition of his works, about a 3,000 word short, “Mental Telegraphy Again,” he was sending to Henry Loomis Nelson for Harper’s Weekly, and about a contract he was about to sign:
To-day I shall sign a contract which has just arrived from Melbourne, for a six to nine months’ reading tour next fall & winter in the Sandwich Islands, New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Madras, Calcutta, Bombay & other Indian cities, then South Africa & the Mauritius. After which I shall probably read in England a spell, then talk across America to Pacific coast & then back again through the Southern States.
And then die, I reckon. I & the family expect to reach the Everett House about three weeks hence — noon, May 18, & go thence to Elmira, NY, two days later. I would like to have (at Elmira) the M.S. or a type-written copy of Book III of “Joan of Arc” as soon as I arrive there, so that I can reduce it for the magazine. / Sincerely Yours [MTP].
Note: of interest is the evolution of plans for the world tour; several times Sam had mentioned San Francisco on the outward leg; here he planned an American leg at the end of the tour with return through the South. Initially May 18 had been booked, but was moved up one week to May 11.
May 1 Wednesday –
Sam then announced he’d contracted with Robert Sparrow Smythe of Melbourne to manage the tour there, and also shared the shift in his thinking about lecturing in America prior to sailing for Australia:
I’ve a notion to read a few times in America before I sail for Australia. I’m going to think it over & make up my mind. We expect to reach the Everett House before noon May 17.
Note: this information no doubt led Pond to offer services as Sam’s manager as far as Vancouver, B.C.
Family departs Paris to Southampton and the States: SS New York
May 10 Friday – The Clemens family, not together in America since 1891, left Paris for Southampton.
May 11 Saturday – In Southampton, England, the Clemens family sailed for New York on the S.S. New York. The voyage would take seven days [MTHHR 134]. Note: Sam later called this the beginning of the world tour.
May 18 Saturday – The S.S. New York arrived in New York at 9 a.m. with the Clemens family aboard. [N.Y. Times, May 18, 1895, p.6 “Incoming Steamships. To-day, (Saturday) May 18”; NB 34 TS 9; MTHHR 134]. Note: the latter source says the family “went immediately to Elmira,” but Sam wrote Frank Mayo on May 19 and gave a curtain speech on May 22; his first letter from Elmira was May 24 to J.B. Pond, and other extant letters do not give the exact date of arrival there. However, Paine’s edition of Mark Twain’s Notebook p.256 shows a facsimile page dated with this date, noon, and “Arrived at 9.”
The Chicago Inter Ocean ran an article with this dateline, on the Sunday, May 19 edition, front page:
MARK TWAIN RETURNS
While in Paris He Did Not Meet Paul Bourget.
New York, May 18. — Special Telegram. — Samuel L. Clemens, Mark Twain, was a passenger on the New York, which arrived at the American line pier this morning. He came over with his family and will remain in this city only twenty-four hours before starting for his home in Hartford. Mr. Clemens was found among a mass of trunks, boxes, and baskets trying to identify his property.
“This wasn’t much of a trip,” he said. I have not done any work. I simply went over because my family wanted to come home, and I’ve brought ‘em.”
“Did you meet Paul Bourget in Paris?” was asked.
“I did not,” he replied, with a twinkle in his eye. “He was there, I believe, but we did not meet. We had nothing to say to each other, anyway. When I criticised his ‘Outre Mer’ I did so in print. The only way he could reply was with his pen. It would have been very unwise to have done that, so he hasn’t replied at all.”
“Is it true that you are the author of the personal reminiscences of Joan of Arc?” was asked. Mr. Clemens straightened up and cast a sharp glance at his questioner, and then fixed his eyes on space.
“I should have to carefully consider that question,” he replied. “I always make it a point to claim everything that is without an owner, whether it is tangible property or the mere subtle product of the mind. But I can’t answer that. It wouldn’t be fair.” [Note: not in Scharnhorst].
NEW YORK, May, 19 — Mark Twain chatted with a Globe reporter at the Everett house today about the possibility of a great reform in American common life. The humorist as a reformer may seem to be out of his role, but Mr. Clemens had put by the mask and spoke earnestly.
In the course of conversation he was asked if in his last trip to France, from which he has just returned, he had noticed an new habit or fad of the people that differed from those at home.
“I don’t recall anything startling just now,” he said. “I am not one of those travelers who seek in a foreign country for something they do not like. So many people, especially in writing about other countries, seem to view them as if from an eminence, and look down upon and decry what they do not like. It makes not the slightest difference to the people of the country; your opinion is of no value to them.
“I do not like to look for something whenever I go among foreign people that we can adopt at home with benefit to ourselves or advantage to America as a nation. In many years I think we are ahead of all, but I believe there may be good points found by careful observation of other people.
“In the last four years I have crossed the Atlantic 15 times. Every time I get back to New York I see things on every hand that I think are better than what I have just been accustomed to. They keep coming up there, there, there again and yonder, but every now and then I see something that isn’t so nice.
“Did it ever occur to you to notice how discourteous we are as a people in our cities? In common life I mean.
“Yesterday I was in one of these great stores where they sell about everything one wants and where there are a thousand clerks. I was waiting for my purchase when a woman walked up to the counter — an American woman all over (he repeated in a gallant tone, and shaking his head in his peculiar manner by way of emphasizing his admiration of her kind while he deprecated the weakness he was about to report).
“There stood the salesgirls behind the counter. With the air of one asking a favor the woman asked if she could see some article of apparel that goes about the waist.
“ ‘What’s y’r size?’ asked the salesgirl, brusquely.
“ ‘I don’t know,’ said the woman, mildly.
“ ‘Here, measure y’rself!’ and the girl snaked a measuring tape from under the counter and handed it to the customer.
“A purchase was made, and then, from the salesgirl, abruptly: ‘Payfe’t now or send it home?’
“ ‘I will pay for it here.’
“ ‘Cash — cash — cash!’ and that was all.
“Now, isn’t that the case, over and over again? Are we not all that way?
“Doesn’t a man do the same at a hotel? A stranger enters a hotel office. The clerk glances up, sees that it is not one of the regular patrons and goes on with his work. The man registers and asks — asks — if he can have such and such kind of a room. The clerk swings the register around, scratches a number opposite the guest’s name, and yells: ‘Front! Show the gentleman to X, 13.’
“There is the same discourtesy without a word. The man asked a question. The clerk said not a word except to summon a porter. It is not always what is said to us; it’s the way in which it is said, or the manner of the person that really offends us, and this when we have not been offensive in word or manner, but have been polite.
“There is none of us who relish such treatment as the woman received at the big store. Yet we are silent, or if we complain we do not complain in the right place, and so get little redress.
“Abroad people are not likely to be subjected to such treatment, and if they are they complain to the highest in authority and get better attention.
“Until this time I have latterly on my return from across the water up at the Players’ club, and I have always been impressed with the conversation of the men, who are telling each other of some trouble they had had during the day on the street car or elevated railroad lines. It seems to me an odd thing that there should be such difficulties so frequently, and I asked if the sufferers had made complaint. Yes, they had, but I found it was only to some one about the offender, not to the responsible head. That is wrong. If we want courteous treatment we have got to see to it that complains of abusive treatment are made to the proper people.”
“Do you hold, then, that discourtesy is to be reformed by complaint?”
“I do. Twenty-five years ago the general experience in this country was that if you addressed a railroad conductor you got an insolent or a gruff answer. At that time if you wanted to go from here to Hartford or to Boston, for instance, the chances were that you would have to stand up, and if you asked for a seat the conductor would either tell you disagreeable that there was none or he would not answer you at all.
“I have seen those cars with the aisles filled as those of your surface cars, and a request for a seat would be answered by abuse. One man — I ought not to have forgotten his name, but I do not just now recall it — stood for his rights. He demanded a seat, and insisted that one be given to him. They told him bluntly there were none. They matter was carried to the courts, and it was very promptly decided that a railroad company must give a man a seat or pay damages. Now you have not difficulty in getting a seat if you only insist gently but firmly on having one, even if the company has to put on an extra car. And all over the country now the railroad conductors usually answer you civilly.
May 23 Thursday – This is the probable day that the Clemens family continued on to Elmira. The May 26 to Rogers reveals they did not go directly to Quarry Farm.
May 26 Sunday – In Elmira Sam wrote to his brother Orion. This letter is not extant but was quoted in a June 17 to Samuel Moffett from Pamela Moffett.
We are all in good health, & Livy looks young & fresh & spry. I have very little time in which to select and prepare my readings, but I will make up by working double tides till I start west. We shall start about mid-summer. We sail for Australia from the Pacific Coast in August. Livy and Clara go with me around the world, but Susie refuses because she hates the sea, & Jean refuses because she can’t spare the time from school.
May 27 Monday – The Clemens family moved from Elmira to Quarry Farm [May 26 to Rogers].
May 30 Thursday – At Quarry Farm Sam wrote to Henry M. Alden of Harper & Brothers:
Sam also wrote a short paragraph to Robert Underwood Johnson of The Century.
I am in bed, & must stay there two or three weeks yet — gout in my starboard ancle, a boil as big as a turkey’s egg on my port thigh…Can’t write, these days [MTP].
June 3 Monday – At Quarry Farm, Dr. Theron Augustus Wales lanced Sam’s thigh carbuncle [June 4 to Rogers; MTHHR 165n1 identifies the doctor].
Sam wrote his boil turned out to be a carbuncle, which “furnished” him “a week of admirable pain.” The carbuncle had been lanced and he’d “squelched three others in their infancy,” and was “discouraging another.” He also had one on the back of his right hand. (Note: carbuncles are staph infections which can spread to other parts of the body; they are normally larger than boils.) He didn’t expect to get out of bed for three or four more days, and bemoaned the time lost. Instead of preparing and familiarizing himself with three readings, one would be the most he might do. At this point he wanted to drastically abbreviate the U.S. leg of the tour:
Sam’s business troubles were not yet over, as reflected in this piece in the NY Times, June 4, 1895 p.15 “Business Troubles”: An execution has been received by the Sheriff against Samuel L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”) and Frederick T. Hall [sic] as partners in the firm of Charles L. Webster & Co., for $5,046 in favor of Thomas Russell & Son, for binding books and on notes of the firm. [Note: Sam was served with a subpoena on this matter on June 25; see entry].
June 11 Tuesday – In Elmira at Quarry Farm, Sam wrote to nephew Samuel Moffett. He’d heard from J.B. Pond that San Francisco was out for the tour:
I am thoroughly disappointed. I wanted to talk half a dozen times in San Francisco, & I expected to have a good time & stay ten days & see everybody I ever knew; but Pond says the town empties itself before the first week in August, & I must not go there earlier than October — which puts my visit off till October of next year, of course. If I could have foreseen that I was not to go to Frisco I would have started around the world the other way, of course, & saved myself one crossing of the Atlantic & one crossing of our continent. I could have saved a world of time & travel.
He added that they would be taking “one of the northern routes,” in hopes the weather would be cooler, since Livy’s “health fails under heat.” Sydney would be the first port in Australia [MTP].
Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, arguing that if he had to have a circular the main feature of it should be that he was on his way to Australia and from there around the globe on a reading and talking tour for the next year.
I like the approximated itinery first rate. It is lake, all the way from Cleveland to Duluth. I wouldn’t switch aside to Milwaukie for $200,000.
Look very sharp, Pond, & arrange the railway trips according to Mrs. Clemens’s strength — so far, you seem to be watching out for that.
Sam added that if he must have 30,000 circulars to “tackle Bliss if you want to. He’ll decline, I think.”
He also wanted the casting of “that white-linen full-length Twain,” of Pond’s, probably left over from the Cable tour. He enclosed a list of seven program-talks he would give in one-night stands, and when he talked twice he would use two different programs. Number three was “Selection not yet selected,” which he called “the most important in the list,” for he’d put a new selection in it every night and in that way “build & practice a SECOND program.” The list: “My First Theft,” “The Jumping Frog,” The ex-Slave’s Story,” “Jim Baker & the Blue-jays,” “The Historical Old Ram,” and “My Last Theft” [MTP]. Note: Fatout writes of the expanded variety of Sam’s readings:
In his notebooks are at least one hundred titles of possible readings, most of them from Huckleberry Finn, Roughing It, and The Innocents Abroad, some from A Tramp Abroad, and several from Joan of Arc. On the tour he used about forty selections. The most frequent numbers were the watermelon story, the German language, grandfather’s old ram, the stabbed man, the Nevada duel, the Mexican plug, punch-brothers-punch-with-care, the whistling stammerer, the christening story, the golden arm, encounter with an interviewer, and a poem about the Ornithorhyncus he composed on shipboard. Others, less often read, were about his first meeting with Artemus Ward, Aunty Cord, Baker’s blue jays, acting as courier, the jumping frog, King Sollermun, the incorporated company of mean men, the two raft bullies, Buck Fanshaw’s funeral, and so forth [On Lecture Circuit 242].
Sam’s thigh carbuncle dispelled a core and left “a corresponding raw cavity” in his leg; he felt it would “heal fast, now” [June 19 to Pond].
June 25 Tuesday – At Quarry Farm Sam wrote to George Washington Cable, who had written (not extant) praising the JA installment in Harper’s Monthly.
You make me feel ever so proud & pleased. I wrote the story from love, & one particularly likes to have one’s pets praised.
Yes sir! I liked you in spite of your religion; & I always said to myself that a man that could be good & kindly with that kind of a load on him was entitled to homage — & I paid it. And I have always said, & still maintain, that as a railroad-comrade you were perfect. …We always had good times in the cars, & never minded the length of the trips — & my, but they were sockdolagers for length! [MTP].
June 26 Wednesday – At Quarry Farm, Sam was served with a subpoena brought by Thomas Russell & Son, printers and bookbinders, a creditor of Webster & Co. This was published on June 4 in the NY Times (see entry); the debt was $5,046. This was the subject of Sam’s PS finish for his letter to Rogers he began June 25:
P.S. This paper has just been served on me. Is it necessary that I obey it and appear in court in New York July 5? The doctor has just gone from here; he says I’ll be able to travel by that date. / SLC [MTHHR 157 and n3].
Note: from the source: Another subpoena (Now in CWB [Clifton Waller Barrett Library]) ordered Mrs. Clemens to appear on 19 July 1895 before the Honorable M.L. Stover, one of the justices on the Supreme Court of New York. Clemens’s eagerness to settle the matter resulted in an arrangement which was worked out before the case was taken to court.
July 1 Monday – At Quarry Farm
July 2 Tuesday – At Quarry Farm Sam wrote on a series of three stones, a “Contract” with Julia J. Beecher (Mrs. Thomas K. Beecher). Stones 1-3:
If you prove right and I prove wrong
A million years from now,
In language plain and frank and strong
My error I’ll avow
To your dear mocking face.
If I prove right, by God his grace,
Full sorry I shall be,
For in that solitude no trace
There’ll be of you and me
Nor of our vanished race.
A million years, O patient stone,
You’ve waited for this message
Deliver it a million hence!
(Survivor pays expressage.)
Mark Twain [MTP].
Note: The text of this poem, with one line missing, was published in the July 31 N.Y. Tribune and the Aug. 3 issue of Critic, p.79. [Tenney, ALR supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn 1978) 167-8]
The stone was picked up by Mrs. Beecher in the Susquehanna river bed near Wyalusing Pa near to the summer cottage of Charles Beecher. The stone is kidney shaped of a slatey formation and a reddish color and singularly was split into three slabs.
July 6 Saturday – In Elmira at Quarry Farm Sam finished his July 5 note to Robert Underwood Johnson of Century Magazine with a PS that he had no time to revise the bicycle piece as the carriage was starting for town that moment. Johnson would have to send him a proof, and best to send it to Quarry Farm before July 10 [MTP].
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers, announcing that finally, “under bad and uncomfortable conditions” he would go to New York with Livy on Monday, July 8. The time was too short before they must leave for Cleveland; they couldn’t afford another delay. So they would take the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western railroad.
…leaving here at noon and arriving at Everett House 7.30; then return here next day at 1 p.m. This will give me 3 or 4 days to rest-up in, before leaving for Cleveland — and I shall need as many. I will read, here, to the Reformatory convicts Wed and Thurs. nights. Yrs sincerely / SLC [MTP].
July 8 Monday – At Quarry Farm Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, again delayed on coming to New York.
A telephone message from town has stopped me just as I was about to put on my clothes for the first time in 44 days. Dr. Wales had just gone, not pleased about the New York journey, and outspokenly discontented because a professional nurse (mighty capable man), was going with me instead of Mrs. Clemens. After all the trouble the tribe of us had been at, to persuade her to remain here! She is not well, and I could not endure the idea of her making that big journey — no good preparation for the long trip Pacfic-ward. My uneasiness about her would have made the journey all the harder for me.
July 10 Wednesday – Sam left Elmira without Livy for New York to be examined by attorneys for Thomas Russell the next day. His earlier plans were to stay at the Everett House.
July 11 Thursday – Sam was examined by attorneys. The Boston Daily Globe sensationalized the session, running this article on p.6, July 12, 1895.
“MARK TWAIN” IS RUINED.
Failure of Publishing House in Which He Was a Partner Involved the Humorist’s Private Fortune.
NEW YORK, July 11 — “Mark Twain,” otherwise Samuel L. Clemens, the humorist, was examined in supplementary proceedings this afternoon at the office of Stern & Rushmore, his lawyers, at 40 Wall st.
The action was taken on account of the failure, some months ago, of the publishing house of Charles L. Webster & Co, in which Mr Clemens was a partner.
Thos. Russell & Sons, printers, have an account against the publishing firm for printing their books. The claim, amounting to a little over $5000, was unsatisfied at the time of the failure.
They have secured an execution against Mr Clemens and Frederick J Hall, another partner in the publishing business, and as this execution was returned unsatisfied by the sheriff, an order was secured for the examination of Messrs Clemens and Hall in supplementary proceedings.
Bainbridge Colby, the assignee of the firm of Charles L. Webster & Co, said that Mr Clemens is a ruined man financially, and that he has been very much depressed over the necessity of submitting to the ordeal of a supplementary examination.
Mr. Colby said that Mr Clemens has, to the best of this ability, devoted himself to the work of seeing the creditors of the late publishing firm satisfied.
A dividend of 20 percent upon all claims was paid to the creditors last April, and all the creditors, with the exception of Russell & Sons, have been satisfied with the efforts of assignee Colby and Mr Clemens to settle the debts of the firm.
The largest debt of the publishing firm was to Mrs Clemens, who at different times advanced $70,000 in money to help along the business. After the failure this was a clear loss, as she made no claim against the firm.
July 12 Friday – Sam gave a reading to 700 boys at the House of Refuge, Randall’s Island, New York as a rehearsal for his tour to kick off in Cleveland on July 15 [Fatout, MT Speaking 662]. Note: The House of Refuge was a reformatory for incorrigible boys.
The New York Times, July 14, 1895 p.2 “Two More House of Refuge Rioters; Held for Seriously Injuring Keeper Parker with Baseball Bats,” reported on a riot at the school on this afternoon. Sam did not mention the riot afterward, but in a July 14 to Rogers he called his talk there a “comical defeat.” The N.Y. Sun of July 18 reported that “the performance took and the boys were in a roar…from the time they found…that it wasn’t against the rules to smile until the speaker sat down” [Fatout, Lecture Circuit 243-4].
According to Sam’s July 14 to Rogers, he was on the train the day before, July 13, meaning he would have spent this night in New York.
July 13 Saturday – Sam left New York on the train for Elmira. In his letter of July 14 to H.H. Rogers, he described seeing Charles E. Rushmore of Stern & Rushmore, attorneys, on the train.
…told him I didn’t want any annoyance at Cleveland;…but he said I could rest easy; said he was sure Wilder [Thomas Russell’s attorney] was now satisfied that I had no concealed property & would leave me alone in Cleveland.
And yet, after all, he was not certain. However, that is neither here nor there. Wilder can play that card, & I will take no risks with that man. Mr. Rushmore thinks he knows Wilder. It is a superstition. Cleveland is a good card, & Wilder is not a sentimentalist. I wish I had listened to [John] Stanchfield here when he wanted to vacate the order of the Court [July 14 to Rogers].
July 14 Sunday – At Quarry Farm, A few minutes before leaving for town, Sam also wrote to his sister Pamela Moffett.
I have not been able to write. I have been in bed ever since we arrived here May 25th, until four days ago [July 10] when I put on my clothes for the first time in 45 days to go to New York — barely capable of the exertion — to undergo the shame born of the mistake I made in establishing a publishing house. I can’t make any more financial mistakes; I’ve nothing left to make them with. If Webster had paid me my dividend on the Grant book when he paid himself & Mrs. Grant, I should have been spared the humiliations of these days. However I am still clean of dishonesty toward any man, and — but never mind, it would profit nothing to say it.
Livy & Clara have gone down in the valley to take the train toward the Pacific Coast, & I follow in five minutes. We leave Susy & Jean here at the farm. They will join us in London next year.
Note: Livy and Clara left first, but only for the depot, where Sam caught up with them. Sam’s indelible picture of the train pulling out from Elmira with Susy waving tearful good-byes on the platform was the last time they would see her alive [Sept. 24, 1896 to Howells; MTB 1002].