Sanctimonious Cheapskate – Huck Finn Took Off – 1,000 Investment Opportunities
Grant’s Memoirs – Path Worn to N.Y. – Banned in Concord – Black Bunting
Fantastic Sales & Royalties – Why Not the Pope? – Paige Quicksand
Sam Honored at 50 – Susy Starts a Biography
1885 –Paine ascribes several segments of Mark Twain’s Autobiography to this year, including those relating to General Grant and his Memoirs. There are a few specific dates in these segments [MTA 1: 13-70].
Sam wrote from Hartford to his sister, Pamela Moffett (No date on this letter). He used Webster to handle family errands as well as business matters.
I have sent for Charley to get you a special car. He will see you tomorrow morning. Therefore wait [MTBus 187].
Sam inscribed copies of: Mark Twain’s Sketches, New and Old, and Huck Finn, and The Stolen White Elephant to Ulysses S. Grant Jr.: “To U.S. Grant, Jr. from the Author. 1885” ; and: “To / U.S. Grant, Jr / from / S.L. Clemens / 1885”; and: “To / U.S. Grant, Jr. / from / The Author. / 1885” [MTP]. Note: unknown place.
Sam also wrote from Hartford to Laurence Hutton, declining a Kinsmen Club dinner:
Indeed I wish I could be there, but I can’t. I’ve got to sit as a judge in a Trinity College debate that night, & so I couldn’t do justice to the Kinsmen’s debauch & expect to be in proper form to average the debaters that night [MTP]. Note: further investigation into possible dates for such a debate might yield a month and/or day.
Sometime during the year Sam wrote to Charles Webster, asking him to send,
Munn & Co the $20 at once—don’t forget it, as you did to send me some book proofs (which I am getting along very well without). [Sam wrote he] kind of [expected to] run down Thursday [MTP]. Note: Sam enclosed a printed notice, probably by Munn & Co., that dealt in patents. Back on June 12, 1870 Sam wrote Orion that he was gratified Munn & Co. liked Orion’s wood cutting machine.
Several of Sam’s manuscripts published posthumously are assigned to 1885. Among these, “The Chicago G.A.R. Festival,” “The Character of Man,” (early in 1885) and “Kiditchin” [Camfield, bibliog.; Budd, “Collected” 1021].
Jesse R. Grant sent Sam a note dated only “Friday”: “I am in town stayting at the Union League Club. Will you let me know when you arrive so that I may call” (on Hotel Normandie card) [MTP].
Editor’s note: The close of 1885 is a propitious division for this work, both in number of pages and in the life of Samuel Clemens, who was at the highest point of his success, with several best selling books behind him, immense success with the release of Grant’s Memoirs, and the future pregnant with possibilities as a publisher and writer. In February of 1886 Julia Grant received the largest royalty payment ever made in U.S publishing history. All told, some $450,000 would eventually be hers. Sam’s reputation was never stronger. In the days ahead, he would face losses, bankruptcy, tragedy and bitterness; but as the sun set on 1885, Sam had obtained wealth, respectability, the love of a devoted family and close friends, plus the admiration of millions at home and abroad.
I am frightened at the proportions of my prosperity.
It seems to me that whatever I touch turns to gold.
David H Fears © 2007, 2014
Day By Day continues with Volume II (1886-1896)