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Riverdale – Lying to the Invalid – Jean to Old Point, Va. – Plasmon Concealments Writing Christian Science Articles – Queen of Frauds – Ordered to Italy “Sell that God damned House!”– Bronchitis Blues – Tarrytown Leased – Collier Offers Godalmighty Bissell Buys Hartford House – Measles! For Clara – Fairhaven Trip Long-Distance House-hunting – Major Pond Dies – Escape to Quarry Farm “A Dog’s Tale”– Yacht Races a Diversion – New Harper Contracts – Sailing For Italy Florence Villa di Quarto – Landlady from Hell – Livy’s Set-back

1903 – Sam responded to Maud Madison’s letter and program, sent sometime after 1902. She wrote: “I am a little girl entertainer and I would like to recite for you sometime. I enclose a program of my pieces.” The program included Maud in a Midsummer Night’s Dream fairy dance and recitations of poems by Eugene Field, Robert Louis Stevenson, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, James Whitcomb Riley, and Mary Mapes Dodge . Sam’s reply on the back side of the enclosure: “Clearly opposed to such things—does not consider himself a judge” [MTP]. Note: Was he opposed to child performers? He’d been a fan of Elsie Leslie. So, it was likely the judging he objected to.

Sam wrote an essay, “Something about Doctors,” so named later by Paine. He intended it for his Autobiography, but it was not included until the new “authoritative” edition of 2010. Sam began with “Hannibal 1842” and his experience with castor oil. Throughout his life he had ambivalent or even hostile feelings with doctors, especially the way some charged for their services, yet there were several physicians he admired and placed great stock in. An entire book might serve to examine the various doctor- relationships in Clemens’ life, but Ober’s Mark Twain and Medicine: “Any Mummery Will Cure” (2003) is probably the best treatment so far [AMT 1: 188 & 520-4notes].

Paine gives 1903 for Sam’s unfinished, lightly satirical romance, “Mock Marriage,” which was not published until it was collected in Fables of Man, p. 290-301.

Lecky puts Sam’s essay “Thoughts of God” to 1903 [Fables of Man 110-15]. See also MTB p.1356.

Sam also wrote on printed contents of his Uniform Edition by the American Publishing Co. to an unidentified person, likely at the company: “Let us add to this vol. the stories published in Harpers Monthly & Weekly last Xmas, & the one that is to be in Xmas Monthly for ’03. / SLC” [MTP].

In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote several undated notes to the “invalid” Livy, of which 18 survive. The MTP dates these only as 1902-1903. However, Wecter puts them as “impossible to date with precision, but apparently belong to the late winter and early spring of 1903” [LLMT 341]. Indeed, I have dated four of these: Mar. 1, 1903, Mar. 10, 1903, after Mar. 1903, and Aug. 13, 1903; and so insert them in those specific dates. The rest of these notes are grouped below (all cited from MTP):

Gabrilowitsch. Livy darling, Clara has been here sassing me—will you attend to it. Now then, I suppose we are exactly in time: when we sleep, we both sleep; when we don’t it’s similarly mutual—I didn’t break a snore between midnight & 8.30. The top of the morning to you, sweetheart ===

Don’t know the date nor the day. But anyway it is a soft & pensive foggy morning, Livy darling, & the naked tree-branches are tear-beaded, & Nature has the look of trying to keep from breaking down & sobbing, poor old thing. Good-morning, dear heart, I love you dearly. [Note: naked trees denote winter.] ===

I am not stirring, yet, Livy dear; I hate to wake up, because sleep feels so comfortable and restful; so I shall not wake at all until I’ve finished a dream that I’m dreaming, wherein are persons drowning & I wish to see it—so, good morning my darling, I shall call upon you when I wake [LLMT 343]. ===

Livy darling, I have just parted with the children—they are very sweet. And now I will go to bed & read the Cabbage-Patch & forget the “wars of life” & my work—if I can. Good night, dearest & best—I love you. ===

Good morning, dearheart, & thank you for your dear greeting. I think of you all the time, & it was for you that I was awake till after midnight arranging for this snow-storm & trying to get it at fair & honest rates— which I couldn’t, but if you will take a handful of the snow & examine it you will realize that you have never seen any that could approach this for fineness of quality, & peculiar delicacy of make & finish, and unqualified whiteness, except in the Emperor’s back-yard in Vienna.

I love you most dearly and continuously & constantly, Livy dearest.


I can’t find that Father Gerard. Will look again later.


Dearest, we’ve had a grand dispute as to when Clara was first able to read, either German or English—& of course I was right & of course I was put down by the strong hand. I will not stay here, I am going to heaven. There they will not abuse me, but will praise me & pet me & flatter me, & give me a halo, & I am not going to lend it to the children. Good night, my darling—you shall wear it sometimes. / Y. ===

Schon ist’s wieder Winter! I have discovered our telephone wire—it leads to a tree, from the house. Being mailed in ice, it is as big as a clothes-line & most undifficult to see. This will be a grand ice-storm if the sun comes out—the spectacle-scenery is all ready to burst into a jeweled conflagaration. Good morning sweetheart, the top of the morning to you! / Y.


Livy dear, your daughter Clara is looking powerful sweet & trim & pretty to-night, & I haven’t ever heard her in finer voice I think. We have all just come up, & I am going to bed. Good-night, my darling, I love you heaps more than I can tell. / Y.


Good-night, dear heart, here is old Brer Howells coming Saturday night, but John can’t come, the Count can’t come & the Colonel can’t come. There’s more Can’t Comes than any other guests. I love you, love you dearly, sweetheart.


Honey, I’s gwyne take de res’ you tole me to take, en I ain’ gwyne git up in de mawnin’ ontwel I done feel fust-rate en ker-blunketyblunk. I love you darling old-young sweetheart of my youth & my age, & I kiss you good-night. / Y. [LLMT 342].


Livy dear, aren’t you going to sell the divan & the big chairs in the study, or shall we take them to Europe? I will find out the name of my friend the Head Manager of the Deutchland line to-morrow, & write him. I do hope I can run down & see Mr. Rogers to-morrow.

I’m full of retiring to Italy—I shall be glad to go. I shall love the quiet & serenity of that country. I must get a note from the Italian Consul—to be helpful at the Genoa custom-house. Good-night, dear sweetheart, sleep well./ Y


Arouse! the Spring is here! There is that subtle & heavenly something in the atmosphere which we recognize as Spring: the buds know it, the grass & the animals know it, all Nature knows it & rejoices. And so shall we,      so do we, my darling.


Dearheart, I’ve done another full day’s work, & finished before 4. I have been reading & dozing since—& would have had a real sleep a few minutes ago but for an incursion to bring me a couple of unimportant letters. I’ve stuck to the bed all day & am getting back my lost ground. Next time I will be strictly careful & make my visit very short—just a kiss & a rush. Thank you for your dear, dear note, you who are my own & only sweetheart. Sleep well!


[page 1]

To the blessed Invalid

Very private & confidential.

To be delivered when no one is watching.

[page 2]

Dearest & sweetest & loveliest, it is necessary that we use a code, for the suspicious child has his baleful eye upon us. Be wary, be surreptitous, be furtive, be deceptive, be discreet! Ever & ever & always passionately thine


Key will follow, conveyed by subsidized & trustworthy hands.

[page 3]

Anthropological, geneological, paleontological, it is astronomical that we use a seismograph, for the all-blighting sun has his binomial theorem upon U.S. Be recondite, be malechite, be troglodite, be stalagtite! Sozodont & sozodont & sal ammoniac synchronously pax vobiscum


Anthropological_______________________________________dearest Genealogical_________________________________________ sweetest Paleontological_______________________________________ loveliest Astronomical________________________________________ necessary Seismograph___________________________________________ code All-blighting_______________________________________ suspicious Sun_________________________________________________ child Binomial theorem________________________________________ eye U.S.___________________________________________________ us. Recondite____________________________________________ wary Malachite________________________________________ surreptitious Troglodite____________________________________________ furtive Stalagmite!__________________________________________ discreet . Sozodont_____________________________________________ ever Sal ammoniac_________________________________________ always Synchronously____________________________________ passionately Pax vobiscum_________________________________________ thine


I do love you so, my darling, and it so grieves me to remember that I am the cause of your being where you are. I wish—I wish—but it is too late. I drove you to sorrow and heart-break just to hear myself talk. If ever I do it again when you get well I hope the punishment will fall upon me the guilty, not upon you the innocent.

The summer is here. Cheer up, my best beloved. We shall be happy again, my own dear Sweetheart [MTP].

An undated note from Livy to Sam exists in the MTP and is described and given in LLMT p.332-3. This note is here put to 1903, but may have been earlier. The description followed by the note:

Letters from Livy in these last years are very few. Among the Mark Twain Papers is a single sheet, written on both sides in pencil as if in haste. It is exceedingly characteristic of what Livy’s critics call her exercise of censorship and her partisans regard as her loving solicitude that in all public relations he put his best foot forward. The date is lacking; it was probably left on his desk or work-table as a reminder more earnest than spoken words. The occasion also seems unknown to Mark Twain biography. About Marie Van Vorst (1867-1936) Mark seems to have written—and probably at Livy’s instance suppressed—an unkind letter to the newspapers. She was a prolific lightweight American poet, novelist,  and feature writer for magazines. Her first publication was a poem in Scribner’s Magazine in 1893, but she did not become well known until some years later, after publishing in1901 (with Bessie Van Vorst) Bagsby’s Daughter , an independent effort in 1902 called Philip Longstreth, and in the following year a serial report on the working girl, “The Woman Who Toils,” which ran in Everybody’s Magazine before appearing as a book. Whatever Mark’s quarrel with her, it probably boiled up quickly and spent itself with the catharsis of self-expression, as was his temperamental habit. And Livy’s message mirroring her distress over the incident could not but have been a powerful deterrent.

Youth, darling, have you forgotten your promise to me? You said that I was constantly in your mind and that you knew what I would like & you would not publish what I would disapprove. Did you think I would approve the letter to Marie van Vorst?

I am absolutely wretched today on account of your state of mind—your state of intellect. Why don’t you let the better side of you work? Your present attitude will do more harm than good. You go too far, much too far in all you say, & if you write in the same way as you have in this letter people forget the cause for it & remember only the hateful manner in which it was said. Do darling change your mental attitude, try to change it. The trouble is you don’t want to. When you asked me to try mental science I tried it & I keep trying it. Where is the mind that wrote the Prince & P, Jeanne d’Arc, The Yankee &c &c &c. Bring it back! You can if you will—if you wish to. Think of the side I know, the sweet dear, tender side—that I love so. Why not show this more to the world? Does it help the world to always rail at it? There is great & noble work being done, why not sometimes recognize that? Why always dwell on the evil until those who live beside you are crushed to the earth you seem almost like a monomaniac. Oh! I love you so & wish you would listen & take heed. Yours / Livy [Note: Marie Van Vorst’s letter is not extant; the only prior is her sending two poems on Jan. 1, 1902; See Gribben p.724]

Letters from a Son to His Self-Made Father by Charles Eustace Merriman was issued by New Hampshire Publishing Co., Boston. The dedication page reads “To / Mark Twain / A Ready-Made Wit.” No example of a presentation copy to Clemens has been found.

Sam’s essay, “Was the World Made for Man?” was written in reponse to articles in Literary Digest from Feb., Mar., and Apr. of 1903. Alfred Russell Wallace’s book Man’s Place in the Universe, was, according to Budd, recommended to Twain by Howells in Dec., 1903, “but he may have already been aware of the work by that time” [Collected 2: 1008-9]. Note: Gribben also lists an article of Wallace by the same name, and notes Howells’ Dec. 20 to Sam [733].

Sometime during 1903 George Elliott Fleming, NY attorney, wrote to compliment Sam on “the best short story that was ever written, ‘Was it Heaven? Or Hell?’” [MTP].

Carlo Paladini in Florence, Italy, also sent best wishes from “our best and most popular daily newspapers” [MTP].

Paul (not further identified but speculated to be Paul Tyler) sent Sam a printed article from the Apr. 22, 1902 Boston Transcript, “That Ransomed Missionary” which told of Miss Ellen M. Stone. Paul wrote:

You being an honorary Sunday School scholar—naturally take to Miss Ellen & her cause. Read this paragraph. / Paul / Ellen is really a great woman—there is no better” [MTP].

Janet D. Ross wrote from Settignano, Florence, Italy to Sam, saying she should have written sooner expressing concern for Livy’s illness, but she too had been ill, and her husband died in July [19th], so she did nothing. She recommended a book, Letters from the East, a book by her late husband, Henry James Ross and edited by Janet Ross (1902). Sam’s copy of the book was inscribed: “SL. Clemens / 1902 / from  Jaccaci”—August F. Jaccaci, art director for McClure’s. See Sam’s to Rogers, of Jan. 2, 1902 for mention of Jaccaci.

Which Was It” was an unfinished piece Sam wrote during 1903; It was collected in the 1968 “Which Was the Dream?” [Camfield bibliog.].

As Regards The Company’s Benevolences” was a summary of Twain’s experiences with the American Publishing Co. and the Blisses. It was not published in his lifetime and may be seen in [MTHL 533-4].

Stevensoniana (London), J.A. Hammerton, ed. contained praise by Robert Louis Stevenson of Mark Twain’s books [Tenney 38]. See Baetzhold, p.204-5, 361n17.

G.K. Chesterton’s Varied Types contained a chapter on Bret Harte, p.179-95. Tenney: “Chesterton regards American humor as based on exaggeration. Passing references to MT as lacking Harte’s subtlety and reverence, pp. 182-4” [38].

A Reader’s History of American Literature by Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Henry Walcott Boynton, Houghton, Mifflin Co., p. 246-8. Tenney: “Sees MT as primarily a humorist, but recognizes a somewhat different achievement in HF [38].

Charles Warren Stoddard’s Exits and Entrances: A book of Essays and Sketches, contained “A Humorist Abroad,” p.61-74. Tenney: “On MT when he was lecturing in London, 1873-4, and they shared rooms” [38].

George Edward Woodberry’s America in Literature (NY & London) p. 159-61: Tenney: “MT was the climax of Western humor, ‘although, fun for fun’s sake being his rule, he often goes sprawling, for fun seldom stands alone; for long life it has to mate with something, to blend with the other elements, as in the great humorists.’ The picturesqueness of the West called for the artist, and ‘the artist came in Bret Harte’” [38].

T. Edgar Pemberton’s The Life of Bret Harte (NY), p. 70, 73-5 quotes Harte’s account of his first meeting with Mark Twain, and Twain’s telling and writing the “Jumping Frog” story [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 189].

Richard Burton’s Literary Leaders of America, p.311-12 had a brief mention of Mark Twain. In full:

One living writer of indisputable genius stands halfway between fiction and the essay, hard to catalogue, so unique is he: Mark Twain, whose place in the popular heart is of the household kind, whose work, when it is looked back upon in its entirety, will be recognized as that of a humorist in the large meaning of the word, and essentially serious-minded man who really preaches and teaches while we laugh” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 188].

Horace Spencer Fiske’s Provincial Types in American Literature contained a section on HF, p.152-66. Tenney: “Consists largely of a summary of HF, with thin and passing reference to MT’s faithful representation of the people and the life of the region” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 188].

George B. Harvey published a 49 -page booklet on Twain’s 67th Birthday celebration, including the text of speeches by himself, William Dean Howells, Thomas B. Reed (his last speech), Chauncey M. Depew, St. Clair McKelway, Hamilton Wright Mabie, John Kendrick Bangs, Wayne McVeagh, Henry Van Dyke, and Mark Twain. Tenney: “Several of the speakers told stories of biographical interest: Harvey and Reed on MT aboard Henry Rogers’s yacht Kanawha , Reed on dinners at which he and MT were guests in London and (with Twichell) at Bad Homburg” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 188].

Frank Norris’s The Responsibilitiesof the Novelist, and Other Literary Essays, contained a section, “An American School of Fiction?” p.193-200. Tenney: “Dismisses the major American writers one by one as either not true novelists, or insufficiently American. ‘But as the novelists, as such, are under consideration, even Mark Twain may be left out of the discussion. American to the core, posterity will yet know him not as a novel-writer, but as a humorist’ (p.196)” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 173].

1903 ca. – Paine puts “about 1903” to Sam’s essay, “The Recurrent Major and Minor Compliment,” which Tuckey writes, “conveys his sense of his own representative experience of the nightmare of human history” [Fables of Man 430-3].



Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.