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Full Online Book HomeNonfictionsThe Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIII - LETTERS, 1893, TO MR. HALL, MRS. CLEMENS, AND OTHERS. FLORENCE. BUSINESS TROUBLES. "PUDD'NHEAD WILSON." "JOAN OF ARC." AT THE PLAYERS, NEW YORK
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The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIII - LETTERS, 1893, TO MR. HALL, MRS. CLEMENS, AND OTHERS. FLORENCE. BUSINESS TROUBLES. 'PUDD'NHEAD WILSON.' 'JOAN OF ARC.' AT THE PLAYERS, NEW YORK Post by :casken Category :Nonfictions Author :Mark Twain Date :April 2011 Read :2207

Click below to download : The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIII - LETTERS, 1893, TO MR. HALL, MRS. CLEMENS, AND OTHERS. FLORENCE. BUSINESS TROUBLES. "PUDD'NHEAD WILSON." "JOAN OF ARC." AT THE PLAYERS, NEW YORK (Format : PDF)


The reader may have suspected that young Mr. Hall in New York was having
his troubles. He was by this time one-third owner in the business of
Charles L. Webster & Co., as well as its general manager. The business
had been drained of its capital one way and another-partly by the
publication of unprofitable books; partly by the earlier demands of the
typesetter, but more than all by the manufacturing cost and agents'
commissions demanded by L. A. L.; that is to say, the eleven large
volumes constituting the Library of American Literature, which Webster
had undertaken to place in a million American homes. There was plenty of
sale for it--indeed, that was just the trouble; for it was sold on
payments--small monthly payments--while the cost of manufacture and the
liberal agents' commissions were cash items, and it would require a
considerable period before the dribble of collections would swell into a
tide large enough to satisfy the steady outflow of expense. A sale of
twenty-five sets a day meant prosperity on paper, but unless capital
could be raised from some other source to make and market those books
through a period of months, perhaps even years, to come, it meant
bankruptcy in reality. It was Hall's job, with Clemens to back him, to
keep their ship afloat on these steadily ebbing financial waters. It was
also Hall's affair to keep Mark Twain cheerful, to look pleasant himself,
and to show how they were steadily getting rich because orders were
pouring in, though a cloud that resembled bankruptcy loomed always a
little higher upon the horizon. If Hall had not been young and an
optimist, he would have been frightened out of his boots early in the
game. As it was, he made a brave steady fight, kept as cheerful and
stiff an upper lip as possible, always hoping that something would
happen--some grand sale of his other books, some unexpected inflow from
the type-setter interests--anything that would sustain his ship until the
L. A. L. tide should turn and float it into safety.

Clemens had faith in Hall and was fond of him. He never found fault with
him; he tried to accept his encouraging reports at their face value. He
lent the firm every dollar of his literary earnings not absolutely needed
for the family's support; he signed new notes; he allowed Mrs. Clemens to
put in such remnants of her patrimony as the type-setter had spared.

The situation in 1893 was about as here outlined. The letters to Hall of
that year are frequent and carry along the story. To any who had formed
the idea that Mark Twain was irascible, exacting, and faultfinding, they
will perhaps be a revelation.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

FLORENCE, Jan. 1, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--Yours of Dec. 19 is to hand, and Mrs. Clemens is deeply
distressed, for she thinks I have been blaming you or finding fault with
you about something. But most surely that cannot be. I tell her that
although I am prone to write hasty and regrettable things to other
people, I am not a bit likely to write such things to you. I can't
believe I have done anything so ungrateful. If I have, pile coals of
fire on my head, for I deserve it!

I wonder if my letter of credit isn't an encumbrance? Do you have to
deposit the whole amount it calls for? If that is so, it is an
encumbrance, and we must withdraw it and take the money out of soak.
I have never made drafts upon it except when compelled, because I thought
you deposited nothing against it, and only had to put up money that I
drew upon it; that therefore the less I drew the easier it would be for

I am dreadfully sorry I didn't know it would be a help to you to let my
monthly check pass over a couple of months. I could have stood that by
drawing what is left of Mrs. Clemens's letter of credit, and we would
have done it cheerfully.

I will write Whitmore to send you the "Century" check for $1,000, and you
can collect Mrs. Dodge's $2,000 (Whitmore has power of attorney which I
think will enable him to endorse it over to you in my name.) If you need
that $3,000 put it in the business and use it, and send Whitmore the
Company's note for a year. If you don't need it, turn it over to Mr.
Halsey and let him invest it for me.

I've a mighty poor financial head, and I may be all wrong--but tell me if
I am wrong in supposing that in lending my own firm money at 6 per cent I
pay 4 of it myself and so really get only a per cent? Now don't laugh if
that is stupid.

Of course my friend declined to buy a quarter interest in the L. A. L.
for $200,000. I judged he would. I hoped he would offer $100,000, but
he didn't. If the cholera breaks out in America, a few months hence, we
can't borrow or sell; but if it doesn't we must try hard to raise
$100,000. I wish we could do it before there is a cholera scare.

I have been in bed two or three days with a cold, but I got up an hour
ago, and I believe I am all right again.

How I wish I had appreciated the need of $100,000 when I was in New York
last summer! I would have tried my best to raise it. It would make us
able to stand 1,000 sets of L. A. L. per month, but not any more, I

You have done magnificently with the business, and we must raise the
money somehow, to enable you to reap the reward of all that labor.
Sincerely Yours

"Whitmore," in this letter, was F. G. Whitmore, of Hartford, Mark Twain's
financial agent. The money due from Mrs. Dodge was a balance on Tom
Sawyer Abroad, which had been accepted by St. Nicholas. Mr. Halsey was a
down-town broker.

Clemens, who was growing weary of the constant demands of L. A. L., had
conceived the idea that it would be well to dispose of a portion of it
for enough cash to finance its manufacture.

We don't know who the friend was to whom he offered a quarter interest
for the modest sum of two hundred thousand dollars. But in the next
letter we discover designs on a certain very canny Scotchman of Skibo.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

FLORENCE, Jan. 28, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I want to throw out a suggestion and see what you think
of it. We have a good start, and solid ground under us; we have a
valuable reputation; our business organization is practical, sound and
well-devised; our publications are of a respect-worthy character and of a
money-breeding species. Now then I think that the association with us of
some one of great name and with capital would give our business a
prodigious impetus--that phrase is not too strong.

As I look at it, it is not money merely that is needed; if that were all,
the firm has friends enough who would take an interest in a paying
venture; we need some one who has made his life a success not only from a
business standpoint, but with that achievement back of him, has been
great enough to make his power felt as a thinker and a literary man. It
is a pretty usual thing for publishers to have this sort of partners.
Now you see what a power Carnegie is, and how far his voice reaches in
the several lines I speak of. Do you know him? You do by correspondence
or purely business talks about his books--but personally, I mean? so that
it would not be an intrusion for you to speak to him about this desire of
mine--for I would like you to put it before him, and if you fail to
interest him in it, you will probably get at least some valuable
suggestions from him. I'll enclose a note of introduction--you needn't
use it if you don't need to.
Yours S. L. C.

P. S. Yes, I think I have already acknowledged the Dec. $1,000 and the
Jan. $500--and if another $500 was mailed 3 days ago there's no hiatus.

I think I also reminded you that the new letter of credit does not cover
the unexpended balance of the old one but falls considerably short of it.

Do your best with Carnegie, and don't wait to consider any of my
intermediate suggestions or talks about our raising half of the $200,000
ourselves. I mean, wait for nothing. To make my suggestion available I
should have to go over and see Arnot, and I don't want to until I can
mention Carnegie's name to him as going in with us.

My book is type-written and ready for print--"Pudd'nhead Wilson-a Tale."
(Or, "Those Extraordinary Twins," if preferable.)

It makes 82,500 words--12,000 more than Huck Finn. But I don't know what
to do with it. Mrs. Clemens thinks it wouldn't do to go to the Am. Pub.
Co. or anywhere outside of our own house; we have no subscription
machinery, and a book in the trade is a book thrown away, as far as
money-profit goes. I am in a quandary. Give me a lift out of it.

I will mail the book to you and get you to examine it and see if it is
good or if it is bad. I think it is good, and I thought the Claimant
bad, when I saw it in print; but as for real judgment, I think I am
destitute of it.

I am writing a companion to the Prince and Pauper, which is half done and
will make 200,000 words; and I have had the idea that if it were gotten
up in handsome style, with many illustrations and put at a high enough
price maybe the L. A. L. canvassers would take it and run it with that
book. Would they? It could be priced anywhere from $4 up to $10,
according to how it was gotten up, I suppose.

I don't want it to go into a magazine.
S. L. C.

I am having several short things type-"writered." I will send them to
you presently. I like the Century and Harper's, but I don't know that I
have any business to object to the Cosmopolitan if they pay as good
rates. I suppose a man ought to stick to one magazine, but that may be
only superstition. What do you think?
S. L. C.

"The companion to The Prince and the Pauper," mentioned in this
letter, was the story of Joan of Arc, perhaps the most finished of
Mark Twain's literary productions. His interest in Joan had been
first awakened when, as a printer's apprentice in Hannibal, he had
found blowing along the street a stray leaf from some printed story
of her life. That fragment of history had pictured Joan in prison,
insulted and mistreated by ruffians. It had aroused all the
sympathy and indignation in the boy, Sam Clemens; also, it had
awakened his interest in history, and, indeed, in all literature.

His love for the character of Joan had grown with the years, until
in time he had conceived the idea of writing her story. As far back
as the early eighties he had collected material for it, and had
begun to make the notes. One thing and another had interfered, and
he had found no opportunity for such a story. Now, however, in
Florence, in the ancient villa, and in the quiet garden, looking
across the vineyards and olive groves to the dream city along the
Arno, he felt moved to take up the tale of the shepherd girl of
France, the soldier maid, or, as he called her, "The noble child,
the most innocent, the most lovely, the most adorable the ages have
produced." His surroundings and background would seem to have been
perfect, and he must have written with considerable ease to have
completed a hundred thousand words in a period of not more than six

Perhaps Hall did not even go to see Carnegie; at all events nothing
seems to have come of the idea. Once, at a later time, Mask Twain
himself mentioned the matter to Carnegie, and suggested to him that
it was poor financiering to put all of one's eggs into one basket,
meaning into iron. But Carnegie answered, "That's a mistake; put
all your eggs into one basket and watch that basket."

It was March when Clemens felt that once more his presence was
demanded in America. He must see if anything could be realized from
the type-setter or L. A. L.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

March 13, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am busy getting ready to sail the 22d, in the Kaiser
Wilhelm II.

I send herewith 2 magazine articles.

The Story contains 3,800 to 4,000 words.

The "Diary" contains 3,800 words.

Each would make about 4 pages of the Century.

The Diary is a gem, if I do say it myself that shouldn't.

If the Cosmopolitan wishes to pay $600 for either of them or $1,200 for
both, gather in the check, and I will use the money in America instead of
breaking into your treasury.

If they don't wish to trade for either, send the articles to the Century,
without naming a price, and if their check isn't large enough I will call
and abuse them when I come.

I signed and mailed the notes yesterday.
S. L. C.

Clemens reached New York on the 3d of April and made a trip to
Chicago, but accomplished nothing, except to visit the World's Fair
and be laid up with a severe cold. The machine situation had not
progressed. The financial stringency of 1893 had brought everything
to a standstill. The New York bank would advance Webster & Co. no
more money. So disturbed were his affairs, so disordered was
everything, that sometimes he felt himself as one walking amid
unrealities. A fragment of a letter to Mrs. Crane conveys this:

"I dreamed I was born and grew up and was a pilot on the Mississippi
and a miner and a journalist in Nevada and a pilgrim in the Quaker
City, and had a wife and children and went to live in a villa at
Florence--and this dream goes on and on and sometimes seems so real
that I almost believe it is real. I wonder if it is? But there is
no way to tell, for if one applies tests they would be part of the
dream, too, and so would simply aid the deceit. I wish I knew
whether it is a dream or real."

He saw Warner, briefly, in America; also Howells, now living in New
York, but he had little time for visiting. On May 13th he sailed
again for Europe on the Kaiser Wilhelm II. On the night before
sailing he sent Howells a good-by word.

To W. D. Howells, in New York City:

DEAR HOWELLS--I am so sorry I missed you.

I am very glad to have that book for sea entertainment, and I thank you
ever so much for it.

I've had a little visit with Warner at last; I was getting afraid I
wasn't going to have a chance to see him at all. I forgot to tell you
how thoroughly I enjoyed your account of the country printing office, and
how true it all was and how intimately recognizable in all its details.
But Warner was full of delight over it, and that reminded me, and I am
glad, for I wanted to speak of it.

You have given me a book; Annie Trumbull has sent me her book; I bought a
couple of books; Mr. Hall gave me a choice German book; Laflan gave me
two bottles of whisky and a box of cigars--I go to sea nobly equipped.

Good-bye and all good fortune attend you and yours--and upon you all I
leave my benediction.

Mention has already been made of the Ross home being very near to
Viviani, and the association of the Ross and Clemens families.
There was a fine vegetable garden on the Ross estate, and it was in
the interest of it that the next letter was written to the Secretary
of Agriculture.

To Hon. J. Sterling Morton, in Washington, D. C.:
Editorial Department Century Magazine, Union Square,

NEW YORK, April 6, 1893.
TO THE HON. J. STERLING MORTON,--Dear Sir: Your petitioner, Mark Twain,
a poor farmer of Connecticut--indeed, the poorest one there, in the
opinion of many-desires a few choice breeds of seed corn (maize), and in
return will zealously support the Administration in all ways honorable
and otherwise.

To speak by the card, I want these things to hurry to Italy to an English
lady. She is a neighbor of mine outside of Florence, and has a great
garden and thinks she could raise corn for her table if she had the right
ammunition. I myself feel a warm interest in this enterprise, both on
patriotic grounds and because I have a key to that garden, which I got
made from a wax impression. It is not very good soil, still I think she
can grow enough for one table and I am in a position to select the table.
If you are willing to aid and abet a countryman (and Gilder thinks you
are,) please find the signature and address of your petitioner below.

Respectfully and truly yours.

67 Fifth Avenue, New York.

P. S.--A handful of choice (Southern) watermelon seeds would pleasantly
add to that lady's employments and give my table a corresponding lift.

His idea of business values had moderated considerably by the time
he had returned to Florence. He was not hopeless yet, but he was
clearly a good deal disheartened--anxious for freedom.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

FLORENCE May 30, '93
DEAR MR. HALL,--You were to cable me if you sold any machine royalties--
so I judge you have not succeeded.

This has depressed me. I have been looking over the past year's letters
and statements and am depressed still more.

I am terribly tired of business. I am by nature and disposition unfitted
for it and I want to get out of it. I am standing on the Mount Morris
volcano with help from the machine a long way off--doubtless a long way
further off than the Connecticut Co. imagines.

Now here is my idea for getting out.

The firm owes Mrs. Clemens and me--I do not know quite how much, but it
is about $170,000 or $175,000, 1 suppose (I make this guess from the
documents here, whose technicalities confuse me horribly.)

The firm owes other sums, but there is stock and cash assets to cover the
entire indebtedness and $116,679.20 over. Is that it? In addition we
have the L. A. L. plates and copyright, worth more than $130,000--is
that correct?

That is to say, we have property worth about $250,000 above indebtedness,
I suppose--or, by one of your estimates, $300,000? The greater part of
the first debts to me is in notes paying 6 percent. The rest (the old
$70,000 or whatever it is) pays no interest.

Now then, will Harper or Appleton, or Putnam give me $200,000 for those
debts and my two-thirds interest in the firm? (The firm of course taking
the Mount Morris and all such obligations off my hands and leaving me
clear of all responsibility.)

I don't want much money. I only want first class notes--$200,000 worth
of them at 6 per cent, payable monthly;--yearly notes, renewable annually
for 3 years, with $5,000 of the principal payable at the beginning and
middle of each year. After that, the notes renewable annually and
(perhaps) a larger part of the principal payable semi-annually.

Please advise me and suggest alterations and emendations of the above
scheme, for I need that sort of help, being ignorant of business and not
able to learn a single detail of it.

Such a deal would make it easy for a big firm to pour in a big cash
capital and jump L. A. L. up to enormous prosperity. Then your one-third
would be a fortune--and I hope to see that day!

I enclose an authority to use with Whitmore in case you have sold any
royalties. But if you can't make this deal don't make any. Wait a
little and see if you can't make the deal. Do make the deal if you
possibly can. And if any presence shall be necessary in order to
complete it I will come over, though I hope it can be done without that.

Get me out of business!

And I will be yours forever gratefully,

My idea is, that I am offering my 2/3 of L. A. L. and the business for
thirty or forty thousand dollars. Is that it?

P. S. S. The new firm could retain my books and reduce them to a
10 percent royalty. S. L. C.

To Rev. Jos. H. Twichell, in Hartford:

June 9, '93.
DEAR JOE,--The sea voyage set me up and I reached here May 27 in
tolerable condition--nothing left but weakness, cough all gone.

Old Sir Henry Layard was here the other day, visiting our neighbor Janet
Ross, daughter of Lady Duff Gordon, and since then I have been reading
his account of the adventures of his youth in the far East. In a
footnote he has something to say about a sailor which I thought might
interest you--viz:

"This same quartermaster was celebrated among the English in Mesopotamia
for an entry which he made in his log-book-after a perilous storm; 'The
windy and watery elements raged. Tears and prayers was had recourse to,
but was of no manner of use. So we hauled up the anchor and got round
the point.'"

There--it isn't Ned Wakeman; it was before his day.

With love,

They closed Villa Viviani in June and near the end of the month
arrived in Munich in order that Mrs. Clemens might visit some of the
German baths. The next letter is written by her and shows her deep
sympathy with Hall in his desperate struggle. There have been few
more unselfish and courageous women in history than Mark Twain's

From Mrs. Clemens to Mr. Hall, in New York:

June 27th 1893
DEAR MR. HALL,--Your letter to Mr. Clemens of June 16th has just reached
here; as he has gone to Berlin for Clara I am going to send you just a
line in answer to it.

Mr. Clemens did not realize what trouble you would be in when his letter
should reach you or he would not have sent it just then. I hope you will
not worry any more than you can help. Do not let our interests weigh on
you too heavily. We both know you will, as you always have, look in
every way to the best interests of all.

I think Mr. Clemens is right in feeling that he should get out of
business, that he is not fitted for it; it worries him too much.

But he need be in no haste about it, and of course, it would be the very
farthest from his desire to imperil, in the slightest degree, your
interests in order to save his own.

I am sure that I voice his wish as well as mine when I say that he would
simply like you to bear in mind the fact that he greatly desires to be
released from his present anxiety and worry, at a time when it shall not
endanger your interest or the safety of the business.

I am more sorry than I can express that this letter of Mr. Clemens'
should have reached you when you were struggling under such terrible
pressure. I hope now that the weight is not quite so heavy. He would
not have written you about the money if he had known that it was an
inconvenience for you to send it. He thought the book-keeper whose duty
it is to forward it had forgotten.

We can draw on Mr. Langdon for money for a few weeks until things are a
little easier with you. As Mr. Clemens wrote you we would say "do not
send us any more money at present" if we were not afraid to do so. I
will say, however, do not trouble yourself if for a few weeks you are not
able to send the usual amount.

Mr. Clemens and I have the greatest possible desire, not to increase in
any way your burdens, and sincerely wish we might aid you.

I trust my brother may be able, in his talk with you, to throw some
helpful light on the situation.

Hoping you will see a change for the better and begin to reap the fruit
of your long and hard labor.
Believe me
Very Cordially yours

Hall, naturally, did not wish to be left alone with the business. He
realized that his credit would suffer, both at the bank and with the
public, if his distinguished partner should retire. He wrote, therefore,
proposing as an alternate that they dispose of the big subscription set
that was swamping them. It was a good plan--if it would work--and we
find Clemens entering into it heartily.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

MUNICH, July 3, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--You make a suggestion which has once or twice flitted
dimly through my mind heretofore to wit, sell L. A. L.

I like that better than the other scheme, for it is no doubt feasible,
whereas the other is perhaps not.

The firm is in debt, but L. A. L. is free--and not only free but has
large money owing to it. A proposition to sell that by itself to a big
house could be made without embarrassment we merely confess that we
cannot spare capital from the rest of the business to run it on the huge
scale necessary to make it an opulent success.

It will be selling a good thing--for somebody; and it will be getting rid
of a load which we are clearly not able to carry. Whoever buys will have
a noble good opening--a complete equipment, a well organized business,
a capable and experienced manager, and enterprise not experimental but
under full sail, and immediately able to pay 50 per cent a year on every
dollar the publisher shall actually invest in it--I mean in making and
selling the books.

I am miserably sorry to be adding bothers and torments to the over-supply
which you already have in these hideous times, but I feel so troubled,
myself, considering the dreary fact that we are getting deeper and deeper
in debt and the L. A. L. getting to be a heavier and heavier burden all
the time, that I must bestir myself and seek a way of relief.

It did not occur to me that in selling out I would injure you--for that I
am not going to do. But to sell L. A. L. will not injure you it will put
you in better shape.
Sincerely Yours

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

July 8, '92.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am sincerely glad you are going to sell L. A. L. I am
glad you are shutting off the agents, and I hope the fatal book will be
out of our hands before it will be time to put them on again. With
nothing but our non-existent capital to work with the book has no value
for us, rich a prize as it will be to any competent house that gets it.

I hope you are making an effort to sell before you discharge too many
agents, for I suppose the agents are a valuable part of the property.

We have been stopping in Munich for awhile, but we shall make a break for
some country resort in a few days now.
Sincerely Yours
S. L. C.

July 8
P. S. No, I suppose I am wrong in suggesting that you wait a moment
before discharging your L. A. L. agents--in fact I didn't mean that.
I judge your only hope of salvation is in discharging them all at once,
since it is their commissions that threaten to swamp us. It is they who
have eaten up the $14,000 I left with you in such a brief time, no doubt.

I feel panicky.

I think the sale might be made with better advantage, however, now, than
later when the agents have got out of the purchaser's reach.
S. L. C.

P. S. No monthly report for many months.

Those who are old enough to remember the summer of 1893 may recall
it as a black financial season. Banks were denying credit,
businesses were forced to the wall. It was a poor time to float any
costly enterprise. The Chicago company who was trying to build the
machines made little progress. The book business everywhere was
bad. In a brief note following the foregoing letters Clemens wrote

"It is now past the middle of July and no cablegram to say the
machine is finished. We are afraid you are having miserable days
and worried nights, and we sincerely wish we could relieve you, but
it is all black with us and we don't know any helpful thing to say
or do."

He inclosed some kind of manuscript proposition for John Brisben
Walker, of the Cosmopolitan, with the comment: "It is my ingenious
scheme to protect the family against the alms-house for one more
year--and after that--well, goodness knows! I have never felt so
desperate in my life--and good reason, for I haven't got a penny to
my name, and Mrs. Clemens hasn't enough laid up with Langdon to keep
us two months."

It was like Mark Twain, in the midst of all this turmoil, to project
an entirely new enterprise; his busy mind was always visioning
success in unusual undertakings, regardless of immediate conditions
and the steps necessary to achievement.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

July 26, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--..... I hope the machine will be finished this month;
but it took me four years and cost me $100,000 to finish the other
machine after it was apparently entirely complete and setting type like a

I wonder what they call "finished." After it is absolutely perfect it
can't go into a printing-office until it has had a month's wear, running
night and day, to get the bearings smooth, I judge.

I may be able to run over about mid-October. Then if I find you relieved
of L. A. L. we will start a magazine inexpensive, and of an entirely
unique sort. Arthur Stedman and his father editors of it. Arthur could
do all the work, merely submitting it to his father for approval.

The first number should pay--and all subsequent ones--25 cents a number.
Cost of first number (20,000 copies) $2,000. Give most of them away,
sell the rest. Advertising and other expenses--cost unknown. Send one
to all newspapers--it would get a notice--favorable, too.

But we cannot undertake it until L. A. L, is out of the way. With our
hands free and some capital to spare, we could make it hum.

Where is the Shelley article? If you have it on hand, keep it and I will
presently tell you what to do with it.

Don't forget to tell me.
Yours Sincerely
S. L. C.

The Shelley article mentioned in this letter was the "Defense of
Harriet Sheller," one of the very best of his essays. How he could
have written this splendid paper at a time of such distraction
passes comprehension. Furthermore, it is clear that he had revised,
indeed rewritten, the long story of Pudd'nhead Wilson.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

July 30, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--This time "Pudd'nhead Wilson" is a success! Even Mrs.
Clemens, the most difficult of critics, confesses it, and without
reserves or qualifications. Formerly she would not consent that it be
published either before or after my death. I have pulled the twins apart
and made two individuals of them; I have sunk them out of sight, they are
mere flitting shadows, now, and of no importance; their story has
disappeared from the book. Aunt Betsy Hale has vanished wholly, leaving
not a trace behind; aunt Patsy Cooper and her daughter Rowena have almost
disappeared--they scarcely walk across the stage. The whole story is
centered on the murder and the trial; from the first chapter the movement
is straight ahead without divergence or side-play to the murder and the
trial; everything that is done or said or that happens is a preparation
for those events. Therefore, 3 people stand up high, from beginning to
end, and only 3--Pudd'nhead, "Tom" Driscoll, and his nigger mother,
Roxana; none of the others are important, or get in the way of the story
or require the reader's attention. Consequently, the scenes and episodes
which were the strength of the book formerly are stronger than ever, now.

When I began this final reconstruction the story contained 81,500 words,
now it contains only 58,000. I have knocked out everything that delayed
the march of the story--even the description of a Mississippi steamboat.
There's no weather in, and no scenery--the story is stripped for flight!

Now, then what is she worth? The amount of matter is but 3,000 words
short of the American Claimant, for which the syndicate paid $12,500.
There was nothing new in that story, but the finger-prints in this one
is virgin ground--absolutely fresh, and mighty curious and interesting
to everybody.

I don't want any more syndicating--nothing short of $20,000, anyway, and
that I can't get--but won't you see how much the Cosmopolitan will stand?

Do your best for me, for I do not sleep these nights, for visions of the

This in spite of the hopeful tone of yours of 11th to Langdon (just
received) for in me hope is very nearly expiring. Everything does look
so blue, so dismally blue!

By and by I shall take up the Rhone open-boat voyage again, but not now-
we are going to be moving around too much. I have torn up some of it,
but still have 15,000 words that Mrs. Clemens approves of, and that I
like. I may go at it in Paris again next winter, but not unless I know I
can write it to suit me.

Otherwise I shall tackle Adam once more, and do him in a kind of a
friendly and respectful way that will commend him to the Sunday schools.
I've been thinking out his first life-days to-day and framing his
childish and ignorant impressions and opinions for him.

Will ship Pudd'nhead in a few days. When you get it cable

Mark Twain
Care Brownship, London

I mean to ship "Pudd'nhead Wilson" to you-say, tomorrow. It'll furnish
me hash for awhile I reckon. I am almost sorry it is finished; it was
good entertainment to work at it, and kept my mind away from things.

We leave here in about ten days, but the doctors have changed our plans
again. I think we shall be in Bohemia or thereabouts till near the end
of September, then go to Paris and take a rest.
Yours Sincerely
S. L. C.

P. S. Mrs. Clemens has come in since, and read your letter and is deeply
distressed. She thinks that in some letter of mine I must have
reproached you. She says it is wonderful that you have kept the ship
afloat in this storm that has seen fleets and fleets go down; that from
what she learns of the American business-situation from her home letters
you have accomplished a marvel in the circumstances, and that she cannot
bear to have a word said to you that shall voice anything but praise and
the heartiest appreciation--and not the shadow of a reproach will she

I tell her I didn't reproach you and never thought of such a thing. And
I said I would break open my letter and say so.

Mrs. Clemens says I must tell you not to send any money for a month or
two--so that you may be afforded what little relief is in our power.
All right--I'm willing; (this is honest) but I wish Brer Chatto would
send along his little yearly contribution. I dropped him a line about
another matter a week ago--asked him to subscribe for the Daily News for
me--you see I wanted to remind him in a covert way that it was pay-up
time--but doubtless I directed the letter to you or some one else, for I
don't hear from him and don't get any Daily News either.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

Aug. 6, '93.
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am very sorry--it was thoughtless in me. Let the
reports go. Send me once a month two items, and two only:

Cash liabilities--(so much)
Cash assets--(so much)

I can perceive the condition of the business at a glance, then, and that
will be sufficient.

Here we never see a newspaper, but even if we did I could not come
anywhere near appreciating or correctly estimating the tempest you have
been buffeting your way through--only the man who is in it can do that--
but I have tried not to burden you thoughtlessly or wantonly. I have
been wrought and unsettled in mind by apprehensions, and that is a thing
that is not helpable when one is in a strange land and sees his resources
melt down to a two months' supply and can't see any sure daylight beyond.
The bloody machine offered but a doubtful outlook--and will still offer
nothing much better for a long time to come; for when Davis's "three
weeks" is up there's three months' tinkering to follow I guess. That is
unquestionably the boss machine of the world, but is the toughest one on
prophets, when it is in an incomplete state, that has ever seen the
light. Neither Davis nor any other man can foretell with any
considerable approach to certainty when it will be ready to get down to
actual work in a printing office.

(No signature.)

Three days after the foregoing letter was written he wrote, briefly:

"Great Scott but it's a long year-for you and me! I never knew the
almanac to drag so. At least since I was finishing that other

"I watch for your letters hungrily--just as I used to watch for the
cablegram saying the machine's finished; but when 'next week
certainly' swelled into 'three weeks sure' I recognized the old
familiar tune I used to hear so much. Ward don't know what sick-
heartedness is--but he is in a way to find out."

Always the quaint form of his humor, no matter how dark the way.
We may picture him walking the floor, planning, scheming, and
smoking--always smoking--trying to find a way out. It was not the
kind of scheming that many men have done under the circumstances;
not scheming to avoid payment of debts, but to pay them.

To Fred J. Hall, in New York:

Aug. 14, '93
DEAR MR. HALL,--I am very glad indeed if you and Mr. Langdon are able to
see any daylight ahead. To me none is visible. I strongly advise that
every penny that comes in shall be applied to paying off debts. I may be
in error about this, but it seems to me that we have no other course
open. We can pay a part of the debts owing to outsiders--none to the
Clemenses. In very prosperous times we might regard our stock and
copyrights as assets sufficient, with the money owing to us, to square up
and quit even, but I suppose we may not hope for such luck in the present
condition of things.

What I am mainly hoping for, is to save my royalties. If they come into
danger I hope you will cable me, so that I can come over and try to save
them, for if they go I am a beggar.

I would sail to-day if I had anybody to take charge of my family and help
them through the difficult journeys commanded by the doctors. I may be
able to sail ten days hence; I hope so, and expect so.

We can never resurrect the L. A. L. I would not spend any more money on
that book. You spoke, a while back, of trying to start it up again as a
preparation to disposing of it, but we are not in shape to venture that,
I think. It would require more borrowing, and we must not do that.
Yours Sincerely
S. L. C.

Aug. 16. I have thought, and thought, but I don't seem to arrive in any
very definite place. Of course you will not have an instant's safety
until the bank debts are paid. There is nothing to be thought of but to
hand over every penny as fast as it comes in--and that will be slow
enough! Or could you secure them by pledging part of our cash assets

I am coming over, just as soon as I can get the family moved and settled.
S. L. C.

Two weeks following this letter he could endure the suspense no
longer, and on August 29th sailed once more for America. In New
York, Clemens settled down at the Players Club, where he could live
cheaply, and undertook some literary work while he was casting about
for ways and means to relieve the financial situation. Nothing
promising occurred, until one night at the Murray Hill Hotel he was
introduced by Dr. Clarence C. Rice to Henry H. Rogers, of the
Standard Oil group of financiers. Rogers had a keen sense of humor
and had always been a great admirer of Mark Twain's work. It was a
mirthful evening, and certainly an eventful one in Mark Twain's
life. A day or two later Doctor Rice asked the millionaire to
interest himself a little in Clemens's business affairs, which he
thought a good deal confused. Just what happened is not remembered
now, but from the date of the next letter we realize that a
discussion of the matter by Clemens and Rogers must have followed
pretty promptly.

To Mrs. Clemens, in Europe:

Oct. 18, '93.
DEAR, DEAR SWEETHEART,--I don't seem to get even half a chance to write
you, these last two days, and yet there's lots to say.

Apparently everything is at last settled as to the giveaway of L. A. L.,
and the papers will be signed and the transfer made to-morrow morning.

Meantime I have got the best and wisest man in the whole Standard Oil
group of mufti-millionaires a good deal interested in looking into the
type-setter (this is private, don't mention it.) He has been searching
into that thing for three weeks, and yesterday he said to me, "I find the
machine to be all you represented it--I have here exhaustive reports from
my own experts, and I know every detail of its capacity, its immense
value, its construction, cost, history, and all about its inventor's
character. I know that the New York Co. and the Chicago Co. are both
stupid, and that they are unbusinesslike people, destitute of money and
in a hopeless boggle."

Then he told me the scheme he had planned, then said: "If I can arrange
with these people on this basis--it will take several weeks to find out--
I will see to it that they get the money they need. Then the thing will
move right along and your royalties will cease to be waste paper. I will
post you the minute my scheme fails or succeeds. In the meantime, you
stop walking the floor. Go off to the country and try to be gay. You
may have to go to walking again, but don't begin till I tell you my
scheme has failed." And he added: "Keep me posted always as to where you
are--for if I need you and can use you--I want to know where to put my
hand on you."

If I should even divulge the fact that the Standard Oil is merely talking
remotely about going into the type-setter, it would send my royalties up.

With worlds and worlds of love and kisses to you all,

With so great a burden of care shifted to the broad financial shoulders
of H. H. Rogers, Mark Twain's spirits went ballooning, soaring toward the
stars. He awoke, too, to some of the social gaieties about him, and
found pleasure in the things that in the hour of his gloom had seemed
mainly mockery. We find him going to a Sunday evening at Howells's, to
John Mackay's, and elsewhere.

To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:

Dec. 2, '93.
LIVY DARLING,--Last night at John Mackay's the dinner consisted of soup,
raw oysters, corned beef and cabbage, and something like a custard.
I ate without fear or stint, and yet have escaped all suggestion of
indigestion. The men present were old gray Pacific-coasters whom I knew
when I and they were young and not gray. The talk was of the days when
we went gypsying a long time ago--thirty years. Indeed it was a talk of
the dead. Mainly that. And of how they looked, and the harum-scarum
things they did and said. For there were no cares in that life, no aches
and pains, and not time enough in the day (and three-fourths of the
night) to work off one's surplus vigor and energy. Of the mid-night
highway robbery joke played upon me with revolvers at my head on the
windswept and desolate Gold Hill Divide, no witness is left but me, the
victim. All the friendly robbers are gone. These old fools last night
laughed till they cried over the particulars of that old forgotten crime.

John Mackay has no family here but a pet monkey--a most affectionate and
winning little devil. But he makes trouble for the servants, for he is
full of curiosity and likes to take everything out of the drawers and
examine it minutely; and he puts nothing back. The examinations of
yesterday count for nothing to-day--he makes a new examination every day.
But he injures nothing.

I went with Laffan to the Racquet Club the other night and played,
billiards two hours without starting up any rheumatism. I suppose it was
all really taken out of me in Berlin.

Richard Harding Davis spoke yesterday of Clara's impersonations at Mrs.
Van Rensselaer's here and said they were a wonderful piece of work.

Livy dear, I do hope you are comfortable, as to quarters and food at the
Hotel Brighton. But if you're not don't stay there. Make one more
effort--don't give it up. Dear heart, this is from one who loves you--
which is Saml.

It was decided that Rogers and Clemens should make a trip to Chicago
to investigate personally the type-setter situation there. Clemens
reports the details of the excursion to Mrs. Clemens in a long
subdivided letter, most of which has no general interest and is here
omitted. The trip, as a whole, would seem to have been
satisfactory. The personal portions of the long Christmas letter
may properly be preserved.

To Mrs. Clemens, in Paris:

THE PLAYERS, Xmas, 1893.
No. 1.
Merry Xmas, my darling, and all my darlings! I arrived from Chicago
close upon midnight last night, and wrote and sent down my Christmas
cablegram before undressing: "Merry Xmas! Promising progress made in
Chicago." It would get to the telegraph office toward 8 this morning and
reach you at luncheon.

I was vaguely hoping, all the past week, that my Xmas cablegram would be
definite, and make you all jump with jubilation; but the thought always
intruded itself, "You are not going out there to negotiate with a man,
but with a louse. This makes results uncertain."

I was asleep as Christmas struck upon the clock at mid night, and didn't
wake again till two hours ago. It is now half past 10 Xmas morning; I
have had my coffee and bread, and shan't get out of bed till it is time
to dress for Mrs. Laflan's Christmas dinner this evening--where I shall
meet Bram Stoker and must make sure about that photo with Irving's
autograph. I will get the picture and he will attend to the rest. In
order to remember and not forget--well, I will go there with my dress
coat wrong side out; it will cause remark and then I shall remember.

No. 2 and 3.
I tell you it was interesting! The Chicago campaign, I mean. On the way
out Mr. Rogers would plan out the campaign while I walked the floor and
smoked and assented. Then he would close it up with a snap and drop it
and we would totally change the subject and take up the scenery, etc.

(Here follows the long detailed report of the Chicago conference, of
interest only to the parties directly concerned.)

No. 4.
We had nice tripe, going and coming. Mr. Rogers had telegraphed the
Pennsylvania Railroad for a couple of sections for us in the fast train
leaving at 2 p. m. the 22nd. The Vice President telegraphed back that
every berth was engaged (which was not true--it goes without saying) but
that he was sending his own car for us. It was mighty nice and
comfortable. In its parlor it had two sofas, which could become beds at
night. It had four comfortably-cushioned cane arm-chairs. It had a very
nice bedroom with a wide bed in it; which I said I would take because I
believed I was a little wider than Mr. Rogers--which turned out to be
true; so I took it. It had a darling back-porch--railed, roofed and
roomy; and there we sat, most of the time, and viewed the scenery and
talked, for the weather was May weather, and the soft dream-pictures of
hill and river and mountain and sky were clear and away beyond anything I
have ever seen for exquisiteness and daintiness.

The colored waiter knew his business, and the colored cook was a finished
artist. Breakfasts: coffee with real cream; beefsteaks, sausage, bacon,
chops, eggs in various ways, potatoes in various--yes, and quite
wonderful baked potatoes, and hot as fire. Dinners--all manner of
things, including canvas-back duck, apollinaris, claret, champagne, etc.

We sat up chatting till midnight, going and coming; seldom read a line,
day or night, though we were well fixed with magazines, etc.; then I
finished off with a hot Scotch and we went to bed and slept till 9.30a.m.
I honestly tried to pay my share of hotel bills, fees, etc., but I was
not allowed--and I knew the reason why, and respected the motive. I will
explain when I see you, and then you will understand.

We were 25 hours going to Chicago; we were there 24 hours; we were 30
hours returning. Brisk work, but all of it enjoyable. We insisted on
leaving the car at Philadelphia so that our waiter and cook (to whom Mr.
R. gave $10 apiece,) could have their Christmas-eve at home.

Mr. Rogers's carriage was waiting for us in Jersey City and deposited me
at the Players. There--that's all. This letter is to make up for the
three letterless days. I love you, dear heart, I love you all.

If you like this book please share to your friends :

The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIV - LETTERS 1894. A WINTER IN NEW YORK. BUSINESS FAILURE. END OF THE MACHINE The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIV - LETTERS 1894. A WINTER IN NEW YORK. BUSINESS FAILURE. END OF THE MACHINE

The Letters Of Mark Twain (complete) - Volume IV - MARK TWAIN'S LETTERS 1886-1900 - Chapter XXXIV - LETTERS 1894. A WINTER IN NEW YORK. BUSINESS FAILURE. END OF THE MACHINE
The beginning of the new year found Mark Twain sailing buoyantly on atide of optimism. He believed that with H. H. Rogers as his financialpilot he could weather safely any storm or stress. He could diverthimself, or rest, or work, and consider his business affairs withinterest and amusement, instead of with haggard anxiety. He ran over toHartford to see an amateur play; to Boston to give a charity reading; toFair Haven to open the library which Mr. Rogers had established there; heattended gay dinners, receptions, and late studio parties, acquiring thename of the "Belle of New York."


Mark Twain was the notable literary figure in Berlin that winter, thecenter of every great gathering. He was entertained by the Kaiser, andshown many special attentions by Germans of every rank. His books wereas well known in Berlin as in New York, and at court assemblies andembassies he was always a chief center of interest.He was too popular for his own good; the gaiety of the capital told onhim. Finally, one night, after delivering a lecture in a hot room, hecontracted a severe cold, driving to a ball at General von Versen's, anda few days later was confined