June – In Tuxedo Park, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean, who evidently was dissatisfied at Katonah, and also unhappy with Isabel V. Lyon.
Jean dear, if your mother were here she would know how to think for you and plan for you and take care of you better than I do; but we have lost her, and a man has no competency in these matters. I have to have somebody in whom I have confidence to attend to every detail of my daily affairs for me except my literary work. I attend to not one of them myself; I give the instructions and see that they are obeyed. I give Miss Lyon instructions—she does nothing of her own initiative. When you blame her you are merely blaming me—she is not open to criticism in the matter. When I find that you are not happy in that place I instruct her to ask Drs. [Frederick] Peterson and Hunt to provide a change for you, and she obeys the instructions. In her own case I provide no change, for she does all my matter well, and although they are often delicate or difficult she makes no enemies, either for herself or for me. I am not acquainted with another human being of whom this could be said. It would not be possible for any other person to see reporters and strangers every day, refuse their requests, and yet send them away good and permanent friends to me and to herself—but I should make enemies of many of them if I tried to talk with them. The servants in the house are her friends, they all have confidence in her: and not many people can win and keep a servant’s friendship and esteem—one of your mother’s highest talents. All Tuxedo likes Miss Lyon—the hackmen, the aristocrats and all. She has failed to secure your confidence and esteem and I am sorry. I wish it were otherwise, but it is no argument since she has not failed in any other person’s case. One failure to fifteen hundred successes means that the fault is not with her. I am anxious that Dr. Peterson shall place you to your satisfaction, and I have not a doubt that he will find such a place if it exists. God Almighty alone is responsible for your temperament, your malady, and all your troubles and sorrows. I cannot blame you for them and I do not.
Lovingly and compassionately, / Your Father [MTP].
Putnam’s Magazine ran an article by John Mead Howells: “Mark Twain’s House—to Be Built at Redding, Connecticut,” p. 376. “From a drawing in red chalk by the architect, John Mead Howells” (Son of William Dean Howells). Tenney: “On pp. 377-378, there are a report of Albert Bigelow Paine’s plans to live nearby, an extract from the New York TIMES on details of the house, and the report that MT does not plan to look at the house until it is complete and furnished, with the cat purring on the hearth before the fire” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 175-6].
In late June Ernest A. Ebblewhite for Worshipful Soc. Gardeners, London sent Sam an engraved invitations to meet the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs at Dinner at Fishmonger’s Hall, London Bridge, Tuesday July 9 at 7 p.m [MTP].
Seumas McManus wrote to Sam. “I thank you, sincerely, dear Mr. Clemens, for your beautiful words, written in my autograph book” [MTP].