The Ultimate Mark Twain Reference

Mark Twain Chronology

                                 1891 Excerpt

From Volume 2, MTDBD; some formatting is lost from the printed version.

Volume 2 includes a date slot for every date, even those without information; All available incoming letters have been reviewed; in Volume One most incomings were merely listed.

1891 

Jones Backed Out – Abed with Rheumatism – “I’ve Shook the Machine”

American Claimant – Author for 20 years & an Ass for 55

Goodbye Nook Farm, Hello Europe – Bum Arm & Baths 

Afloat on the Rhine

Cult of Wagner – 7 Körnerstrasse – Mommsen & Mt. Blanc

Books published by Charles L. Webster & Co. in 1891.

Bliss, Edgar Janes, The Peril of Oliver Sargent

Byers, S. H. M., The Happy Isles and Other Poems

Clemens, Samuel L. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (a one dollar cloth edition; in the fall)

Crim, Matt, Adventures of a Fair Rebel

Dahlgren, Madeline Vinton, Memoirs of John A. Dahlgren, Rear-Admiral United States Navy

Ireland, Mrs. Alexander, Life of Jane Welsh Carlyle

Lucas, Daniel Bedinger and James Fairfax McLaughlin, Fisher Ames, Henry Clay, etc.,

Schmidt, William, The Flowing Bowl; When and What to Drink 

Scott, Henry W., Distinguished American Lawyers, etc.

Sims, George Robert, Tinkletop's Crime 

Sixtus, A Review of Professor Briggs's Inaugural Address

Sixtus, Progressive Protestantism

Tolstoy, Leo, Ivan the Fool; or, The Old Devil and the Three Small Devils,

        also A Lost Opportunity, and Polikshka [short stories]

Ward, Herbert, My Life with Stanley's Rear Guard

1891 – At the beginning of the year Sam’s capital investment in Webster & Co. was $78,087.35. Even though he wished to collect royalties ($9,071.17) and interest ($377.05) and his 2/3 profits for the prior year ($11,162.19), these were left in the company to continue operation [MTNJ 3: 624n190].

Sometime during the year, Sam wrote a letter of instruction to Will Whitmore, one of Franklin’s sons who was an apprentice on the Paige typesetter (Fred the other son). Sam wanted double-hyphens for a dash; chastised him for sometimes ignoring his italics, and instructed him in that timeless error which eternally dulls the minds of composition teachers:

        IT’s is IT IS abbreviated. Whenever it is not that, it wants no apostrophe. [MTP].

 An undated, unfinished MS of 32 pages, “Letters from a Dog to Another Dog Explaining & Accounting for Man,” was written early in 1891:

 “All things considered,” the canine author muses, “a Man is as good as a Dog….Give the Man freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, freedom of action, & he is a Dog; take them from a Dog & he is a Man” [MTNJ 3: 600n94].

Mark Twain found himself used as an example in a high school textbook, probably for the first time, when Julian Hawthorne and Leonard Lemon published American Literature: An Elementary Text-Book for Use in High Schools and Academies. “He has keen eyes and describes both scene and character vividly. ‘Whether in jest or in earnest, is always and instinctively an artist; it is a necessity of his nature to perfect his work.’” [Tenney 19].

Landon D. Melville’s Eli Perkins: Thirty Years of Wit and Reminiscences of Witty, Wise and Eloquent Men was published. The book quoted Sam as liking HF best of all his books “because it has the truest dialect” (p.760); Landon proclaims Mark Twain as “both a humorist and a wit” (p.81) [Tenney 19]. 

Henry A. Beers Initial Studies in American Letters was published. The book’s material on Mark Twain was essentially the same as the 1887 edition; Beers still grouped Twain with Artemus Ward and other popular humorists of the age (p.188-9), though conceding that “his humor has a more satirical side than Ward’s, sometimes passing into downright denunciation. He delights particularly in ridiculing sentimental humbug and moralizing cant” [Tenney 19].

 On Sept. 15, 1893 Sam would write daughter Clara,

 The best new acquaintance I’ve ever seen has helped us over Monday’s bridge. I got acquainted with him on a yacht two years ago [MTP].

Note: Sam’s reference was to H.H. Rogers, which raises an interesting point — when and where in 1891 did the men first meet on a yacht? There are two possibilities, as Sam was in Hartford or Europe for most of the year, making only two trips to Washington, D.C. where such a meeting might have taken place: Jan. 13 to 15, or, Jan. 25 to 28, 1891. That is, if Sam’s sometimes faulty memory was correct in 1893 that it was in fact two years before.

"Hell Hound"Rogers (picture not in text)

John C. Pelton of San Francisco wrote sometime in 1891 or 1892 asking for Sam’s autographs and a “few lines” in what he himself called “a begging letter” [MTP]. See Oct. 25, 1892 for a letter from Mrs. P.

 Also during 1891, the American Academy of Political and Social Science sent Sam their circular report for 1890. A card must have also been enclosed, for Sam wrote on the envelope, “Card filled out, within” [MTP]. 

 George Henderson, secretary for the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching send notice that Sam had been elected a member [MTP]. 

January – Sam inscribed a copy of The Stolen White Elephant to an unidentified person: A lie well stuck to becomes History. Mark Twain. Jan. ’91 [MTP: Assoc-Anderson Galleries catalog, Dec. 5, 1934 item72].

In an anonymous article, “American Fiction” in the Edinburgh Review, p.31-65 Mark Twain is mentioned in a list of humorists with the observation that “the humorous drama with a single character in different situations is one which American humourists have made peculiarly their own”; the critic’s own preference is for Lowell [Tenney 19].

 Webster & Co. sent a “Books sent out during December, 1890” report, with a total of 8,395 books including 1,760 CY [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogues this as an incoming letter for Dec. 1890.

 January 1 Thursday

 January 2 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote through Franklin G. Whitmore to the Secretary of the Clover Club of Philadelphia, declining their invitation for Jan. 15 to attend the ninth anniversary dinner. He pled previous engagements [MTP].

 James W. Paige wrote to Sam of more problems on the typesetter:

 The cast iron lever which owing to the poor quality of the iron broke the other day, and the cast iron part accidentally broken by Mr. Parker, have both been replaced by new, substantial and durable steel parts, and the machine has run since this time without bruising, breaking or damaging a type of any sort and gives promise of working continuously without delays of any kind. / This is the best New Year greeting that I can send you / Sincerely Yours  [Kaplan 305; verified, slightly corrected at MTP].

 J.D. Pyatt for Workingmen’s Free Library Committee of Lancaster, Penn. wrote (encl. in Webster & Co.’s Jan 9) to Sam of the success of “begging” for 1,000 books and begged a few from him [MTP]. Note: Sam directed two sets of his books to be donated, as shown by the Jan. 9 from Webster & Co.

 January 3 Saturday – Sam dictated a letter to Franklin G. Whitmore to send to James W. Paige. Noted was receipt from Franklin’s son Will, a statement of expenses for the month of December.

 He desires Mr. Boaz that he is not now making any further advances for the Type machine. …he is endeavoring to have your objections to the form of contract which he submitted to you last week, as he is very anxious to show the machine to Mr Jones [Senator John P. Jones] at the earliest possible opportunity [MTP] Note: signed by Whitmore as agent for S.L. Clemens.

Frederick J. Hall wrote one sentence acknowledging Sam’s endorsed notes received [MTP].

James W. Paige wrote to Sam with an accounting of Dec. 1890 expenses for the typesetter, a copy sent to Whitmore. Paige noted the machine “performed work on the 24th of December, 1890, for the first-time, in a manner satisfactory to me,” and thus was ready for a private showing. On the envelope Sam wrote, “Dec/90 Within, the $500 lent to Paige personally a month ago does not appear [MTP]. 

January 4 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to James W. Paige, glad that the “machine is again at work.” Sam wrote he was “leaving for a few days,” and hoped by the time he returned Paige would have sold “a large stock of royalties to the Farnham people” [MTP]. Note: William Hamersley was initially involved in the typesetter company early in the 1880s, when it was then called the Farnham machine, still with Paige as inventor [MTB 904]. A dispute arose in July 1890 between Hamersley and Sam over funding of the Paige. See July 11, 1890 entry and MTNJ 3: 599n91 for particulars.

January 5 MondayMary L. Craig wrote from Dubois, Penn. to Sam asking permission to write a sketch of Jane Lampton Clemens for an unspecified newspaper. Craig had been employed by Orion to care for Ma for eight months of 1890, “became very much attached to her,” and wrote down several of her “sayings.” Of course, she added, she would only tell the pleasant things she remembered [MTP]. 

Frederick J. Hall wrote to Sam clarifying the Mt. Morris Bank debt in regards to LAL production. He noted too that they’d paid the Little & Co. judgment. Hall had to fire one man in the “instalment department” who had stolen “several hundred dollars”; bonding would reimburse [MTP]. 

January 6 TuesdayJames W. Paige wrote from Hartford to Sam:

 Your letter of the 4th inst. receivecd. – In reply I must again remind you that I have repeatedly told you that I could not sell or assist you to sell any of the royalties now held by you for the type setting machine until you shall have been authorized, by letter from Mr. Jones… [MTP]. 

January 7 WednesdayCharles W. Joundham sent a photograph of Sam he wished autographed and returned [MTP].

Mrs. M.E. Keyes wrote to Sam in need of $500 — another begging letter [MTP].

January 8 Thursday – In Hartford Sam responded to an invitation (not extant) by Thomas L. Gulick.

…It could bring peace to this family who have heard me sigh for the Islands every year for twenty years, yet have never heard me sigh to return to any other place I had seen before. But I know we can never go — although I shall never entirely give up the intention [MTP]. Note: tragically, Sam would be at anchor off the Sandwich Islands in 1895, but a cholera quarantine would prevent his disembarking.

Sam also signed a one-liner written by Franklin G. Whitmore to an unidentified man, thanking for the New Years’ greeting and the comic calendar [MTP].

January 9 FridayFrederick J. Hall wrote to Sam enclosing a Dec. 1 report, which he thought “remarkable” considering “no new books had been published that have had any great sale” [MTP].

Webster & Co. wrote to Sam that his request for two sets of his books to be sent to J.D. Pyatt would be filled today (Pyatt Jan 2 encl) [MTP]. Note: See Jan. 2.

Hume Nisbet wrote from London to Sam sending two books if Sam would pay duties on them. (encl. in Hall’s Jan. 21 and with a press notice of Ashes: A Tale of Two Spheres, by Hume Nisbet) [MTP].

January 10 SaturdayFrank E. Bliss wrote a short note enclosing check for $433.04 for “all royalties and profits due on sales of your books to date. Please acknowledge” [MTP]. 

Gardiner Greene Hubbard wrote from Washington, D.C. to Sam (Hudson to Hubbard Jan 6 encl). Hudson was President of the American Bell Telephone Co. Gardiner wrote, “I hope we shall receive your intercession, that the inventor of the telephone may be taken out of purgatory and be sent on his journey towards heaven” [MTP]. Note: Hudson’s letter pleads that Sam’s Hartford house “is in a place exceedingly difficult of access — a neighborhood which objects to having poles in its streets — and so it has been necessary to reach him by a rather roundabout way, exposing him all the more to the mischievous effects of the electric light currents….”  

Pratt & Whitney per R.F. Blodgett sent Sam statements and a dun notice for bills of $1,744. 20 from April last, and one for $6,562.69 for Dec. 1 which had not been paid [MTP]. 

January 11 Sunday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Annie Eliot Trumbull, daughter of Hartford historian and philologist, J. Hammond Trumbull. The Trumbulls were family friends. Evidently books had been found in the Clemens home belonging to Annie.

Forgive us — partially forgive Frances, & accept my cordialist thanks for Field’s book; it was very good of you to give it to me. I read the Cyclopeedy aloud & the Frau & I greatly enjoyed it; also “Stony Lonesome,” which is in more than one respect a remarkable performance for a lad; it is really Kipplingish in its straightforward, unembroidered style & its familiar handling of the technical colloquialisms of the railway. He must have served a term on the rails [MTP].

 The N.Y. Times, Jan. 21, p.1 reported, “A SERMON HEARD 450 MILES AWAY,” in the Clemens home in Hartford:

 Elmira, NY. Jan. 11. — The Rev. Thomas K. Beecher, at the Park Church this morning, preached a sermon on the life of the late Mrs. Olivia Langdon, mother of Mrs. Samuel L. Clemens of Hartford, Conn. It was impossible for Mr. And Mrs. Clemens to be present, but their house in Hartford was connected with the church here by a long-distance telephone, the receiver being placed on the pulpit and hidden in a bank of flowers. The line went by Syracuse, Albany, and Springfield to Hartford, a distance of 450 miles, and worked very successfully, the entire service being very plainly heard in Mr. Clemens’s residence in Hartford.

 Hartford physician W.A.M. Wainwright wrote to Sam. “I was out of town yesterday, so did not get your note until this morning. From what I know of Mrs. Keyes, I think she is a perfectly reliable and trustworthy person” [MTP]. Note: evidently, the woman had a plan to open a boarding house.

January 12 Monday – Sam left for New York, Jersey City, and Washington — altogether a fourteen hour trip. “Railing toward Washington” in the afternoon, Sam wrote a short note posted from Washington D.C. to Charles N. Flagg, “Up in the Cheney Building Tower.” Sam wrote that Richard Watson Gilder of Century magazine read the more important submissions himself instead of using assistant editors, and that Flagg’s “Talks with my Uncle George” was about to be read [MTP]. See Dec. 16, 1890 ca entry.

In the evening Sam arrived in Washington and checked into the Arlington Hotel. The purpose of his trip was to confer with Senator John P. Jones on the Paige typesetter [Jan 13 to Livy].

January 13 Tuesday – In Washington Sam wrote to Livy. Senator Jones would be done with the Silver Bill responsibilities after the next evening (Jan. 14). Sam had an appointment to see him at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15. A man named Blackburn “broke his collar bone again this morning,” the same man who had suffered broken bones in a runaway horse affair “3 or 4 months ago in Louisville.” He’d seen an old Elmira friend by the name of Brooks who “served a term” with Livy at the Elmira Water Cure. Sam felt “wretched” from the long trip and was going to take a nap. He liked his reading material:

 I’ve got a charming book for you to read — “The Crimes of Sylvester Bonnard” [MTP]. Note: Crime of Sylvester Bonnard (1881), by Anatole France (Francois Anatole Thibault 1844-1924)

January 14 Wednesday – In Washington, Sam wrote again to Livy just before 10 p.m. With no appointments until Thursday, Sam “avoided encountering people by clinging as a rule to” his room and reading. He read four acts of Cymbeline, and noted there were only two characters in the play. He ate “another vast meal” and sent information on an Italian dish for Alice, their cook. He expressed being homesick and missed even Susy, though he hadn’t had her around, lately. After his signature and a hope that when he carried this letter down to post he’d find one from Livy — Sam thanked her that he did find one waiting [MTP]. Note: Cymbeline is a Shakespeare play based on an early Celtic British king.

 Kate Foote of Hartford wrote an invitation of some sort (not extant) to Sam in Washington, which he answered on Jan. 16. MTNJ 3: 624n186 identifies Miss Foote as a “‘bedridden permanent invalid’ — probably a relative of Mrs. George H. Warner’s.”

 Sam’s notebook: Washington, Jan.14/91. Paige says Hamersley says he is given more than he is entitled to, in the contract, in proportion to mine. And he will give one of the two twentieths to me, under certain conditions [MTNJ 3: 599].

 Note 91 from this source: “Hamersley nonetheless offered to surrender a portion of his interest ‘for the sake of success’ if Clemens retracted his letter of July 11. There is no record of an apology from Clemens, and Hamersley retained his full interest in the typesetter.”

 Lou G. Stephens wrote from Centerville, Iowa announcing herself as “sister of your old friend Dan De Quille.” She offered some of her history in a rather piteous way; perhaps a begging letter [MTP].

January 15 Thursday – In Washington Sam met at 11 a.m. with Senator John P. Jones, though the silver legislation was not yet completed by the Senate. Kaplan writes, “Jones gave him a grudging few minutes, told him he was too busy with Senate affairs, and rushed him out.” Sam’s follow up letter of Jan. 20 does not reflect an offense of any sort over this meeting, and addresses concerns or suggestions Jones must have made concerning the Paige typesetter. Kaplan further presents Sam as “sick with worry,” and that his letters to Jones “grew more and more shrill and desperate in their claims,” yet gives no evidence of these judgments [305].

January 15-February 15 Sunday – In Hartford sometime during this period Sam wrote a letter which seems to be written for publication to the Telephone Co.

This marvelous experience convinces me that the time is coming, & very soon, when the telephone will be a perfect instrument; when proximity will no longer be a hindrance to its performance; when, in fact, one will hear a man who is in the next block just as easily & comfortably as he would if that man were in San Francisco…But enthusiasm is carrying me away. I must calm myself. A word more: in the circumstances, it seems a fair & indeed imperative return-courtesy that arrangements lately made by me in a moment of irritation, regarding the future of the inventor of the telephone, should now be modified: therefore please say to him he can have my place, I can get another [MTP].

January 16 Friday – Sam took the train for Hartford shortly after 2:30 p.m., the time noted on his letter to Kate Foote in response to her invitation of Jan. 14 (not extant). “…recent deaths in our family circle forbid me to assist at any public function for the winter” [MTP]. Note: Olivia Lewis Langdon passed away on Nov. 28, 1890.

J.D. Pyatt for Workingmen’s Free Library Committee wrote a letter of thanks to Sam for the two sets of his books sent earlier in the month [MTP]. See Jan. 2 & 9 entries.

The Hartford Courant of Jan. 15, p.8, “City Briefs” reported that Charles Noel Flagg’s portrait of Sam, “which Mr. Clemens regards as far the best likeness of himself that has ever been made,” would be on exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this day at Flagg’s studio in the Cheney building.

January 17 Saturday – Sam may have spent Friday night in New York or traveled straight through to Hartford. If the former then he was in New York this day.

P.M. Barker for S. Alberta District, Calgary, Canada wrote to Sam, relating a story heard on a tour at Prince Albert [MTP].

Frederick J. Hall wrote requesting Sam sign the new, cheaper lease that the landlord requested be in two separate names of the firm. Hall thought the $5,000 lease for four lofts to be “a bargain.” Collections naturally fell off in January; the bank account was low but that due to paying off the $1,500 judgment to Little & Co. [MTP].

January 18 Sunday

January 19 Monday – In Hartford Sam wrote to Charles J. Roseboult of the N.Y. Sun. directing him not to wait for him, because he’d “been away for ten days & must go again.” He was out of “that after-dinner field for the season anyway.” Evidently Roseboult had sent Sam a list of questions (not extant), to which he wrote:

…only one answer is possible — a YES to the entire batch so strong that you have no type in the Sun office able to make it emphatic enough [MTP].

January 20 Tuesday – In Hartford Sam wrote a long letter on the Paige typesetter to Senator John P. Jones, answering his questions and concerns, laying out the size of the market for rental machines at “12 cents per 1000 ems.” Sam calculated the American business worth $35,000,000; the European $20,000,000. He also tried to build on a suggestion of Jones’:

You spoke of having people of moderate means subscribe for the stock. Which suggests this idea to me: If you & Mr. Carnegie & one other — possibly Mackay? — should organize yourselves into a company, & held the list with good-sized subscriptions, I think the Typothetae of the United States could be depended upon to put up $500,000 among them….

      We are offering hundred-dollar bills at a penny apiece, & it would seem to be good politics for a couple of men to sell out their mines & mills & take the entire lot, instead of letting everybody in [MTP].  

January 21 Wednesday – The N.Y. Times, p.1 reported, “A SERMON HEARD 450 MILES AWAY,” over telephone lines to the Clemens home in Hartford. The article was datelined Elmira, Jan. 11. See that entry for the article.  

Frederick J. Hall wrote a short note to Sam of the letter and notice from Hume Nisbet (Jan. 9 encl.), and they’d received notice from the post office that books were waiting; they’d forward them [MTP]. Note: See Jan 9.

January 22 ThursdayS. New England Tel. Co per W.H. Babcock notified Sam with a form letter of interruption of service due to icy weather. Sam wrote on the envelope, “Rebate for telephone” [MTP]. 

January 23 Friday – In Hartford Sam wrote again to Senator John P. Jones of Nevada, announcing he was “coming down to show” him how the whole typesetter stock affair might be successful without Jones having to do any personal soliciting, “either by voice or pen.”

 Of course I meant to wait until the silver question was out of the way, but according to the papers that is to be kept alive by the enemy till the end of the session [MTP].

 Sam also responded for Livy to a letter from Georgina Sullivan Jones, whose request for information about Bryn Mawr had arrived on Jan. 22. Livy’s eyes,

…would not endure a light strong enough to write by…her intellects are deranged, on account of getting ready for a guest she is afraid of. So I am to be the official reporter & am waiting till she shall arrive back from the kitchen & dictate the Bryn Mawr matters to me.

 Sam did not finish the letter, but his contribution was enclosed in Livy’s Jan. 25 to Jones [MTP].

 William C. Pepper, agent for Webster & Co., wrote from Buffalo to Sam responding to an ad in an unspecified source. Sam wrote on the envelope “Answer to [illegible word]/ Buffalo” [MTP].

January 24 Saturday – Sam left again for Washington likely on this day, he’d announced the day before in his letter to Senator Jones. On Jan. 25 Livy began her letter to Georgina Sullivan Jones, “Mr. Clemens has gone out of town for a few days.”

Howard P. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam about his efforts to dramatize CY; if Sam consented he would try to obtain a “prominent star comedian to produce it.” He’d read the play to John B. Curtis who was “quite enthused over it, but wanted to rename it “Sam’l of Posen at King Arthur’s Court” and change Hank Morgan’s character to a modern American Jew. Even so Curtis was willing to spend $15,000-$20,000 on producing the play [MTP].

January 25 Sunday – Sam was in Washington, seeking to confer with Senator John P. Jones on the Paige typesetter.

James Redpath wrote from N.Y. asking Sam if there were any services he could perform for him, as he was out of production with Belford Co. Publishers [MTP].

January 26 Monday – Sam was in Washington, seeking to confer with Senator John P. Jones on the Paige typesetter.

The Farnham Type-setter Manufacturing Co. sent a printed circular detailing the developments of the Paige Compositor. Directors listed: William Hamersley, W.L. Matson, H.P. Stearns, James Nichols, Leander Hall, Wm. H. Lockwood, and Samuel E. Elmore. A note on the second page advises: “This circular is not issued for publication, and the receiver of it is requested to keep it private” [MTP].

Frederick J. Hall wrote a short note to Sam enclosing reports for the “past two or three weeks”; also a voting slip for Herbert Ward’s book, My Life With Stanley’s Rear Guard which Hall had discussed with Sam earlier. “We publish the book to-day and already secured 1800 orders for it. It took a thousand to pay for getting it out” [MTP].

Charles Noel Flagg, artist, wrote to Sam having received back his MS, “Talks with my Uncle George,” rejected by Gilder. He told of repeatedly losing to a friend at billiards, who then said “Go paint — that’s the only thing you know,” which he agreed with; perhaps he shouldn’t try to write [MTP]. See Sam’s response Jan. 31.

John McComb wrote to Sam on San Quentin State Prison letterhead, that the newly elected governor of California, Gov. Markham was replacing his position with a friend and he would soon be out of work. McComb was involved in a plan to reorganize the Alta California. He had also lost money on a life insurance policy with Charter Oak Ins., Hartford. He wondered if Sam might help, as he needed the funds to complete his reorganization. He also thanked Sam for “the very kind reception accorded to my son when he had the pleasure of meeting you in New York, last June.” Sam wrote on the envelope for Whitmore, “Brer, please get this information. This is an old friend of mine. SLC’ [MTP]. Note: See Vol. I entries about McComb (1829-1896) who played a pivotal role in Sam’s 1867 Holy Land expedition.

January 27 Tuesday – Sam was in Washington,  seeking to confer with Senator John P. Jones on the Paige typesetter.  

Orion Clemens wrote thanking Sam for the $200 check which came the day before [MTP]. 

William Fowler wrote from Edinburgh to Sam about the death of Jim Park, a friend “who was so deeply bitten by Mark Twain.” Fowler called Twain “Jim Park’s good angel” [MTP]. 

January 28 Wednesday – Sam probably returned to Hartford by this day, as the trip was often a long one and his Jan. 29 telegraph to Howard P. Taylor would have been during daytime hours.  

Julius G. Rathbun wrote to Sam wishing a “1/4 hours confab” with him sometime in the next few days [MTP]. Note: Rathbun owned the Hartford apothecaries. 

January 29 Thursday – In Hartford Sam telegraphed Howard P. Taylor, once compositor on the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise, and now an accomplished playwright, who wished to dramatize CY. 

Been away. I like the idea but submit the terms to me before you close. SL Clemens / Jany 29th 1891 [MTP]. 

Sam inscribed a cabinet photograph of himself standing on the cabin porch at Onteora to Mrs. Gertrude Tennant, Henry M. Stanley’s mother-in-law (Stanly married six months before, and Mrs. Tennant accompanied them on the tour, “somewhat to the amusement of the American press.” Stanley was currently on a US lecture tour (See Feb. 3 SLC to Hall).

 With kindest regards to Mrs. Tennant from Mark Twain, Hartford Jan. 29 ’91 [Christie’s, Lot 136 Sale 6623 Sept. 24, 2002; avail. online].

January 30 FridayJames Whitcomb Riley wrote to Sam enclosing his poem, “Honest Old Sam Hungerford.” Gribben writes:

“Riley sent this poem to Clemens from Pittsburg…; it is a ‘dialect’ piece about ‘the prince of honest men,’ someone who ‘never earnt a dollar, ner he didn’t give a dam!’ Riley wrote that he wanted to hear Clemens recite the short poem ‘in some deep, reposeful state of satirical exasperation’” [580]. Note: see Feb. 2 for Sam’s thanks.  

Howard P. Taylor wrote from N.Y. to Sam, “glad you consented to the change. It only remains for Curtis to come to business. He is playing this week somewhere in Pennsylvania.” Taylor would try to “get the best terms possible,” and “Of course…would submit terms to you before closing in any case. That is part of our agreement” [MTP]. 

January 31 Saturday – In Hartford Sam wrote a one-liner to Charles Noel Flagg, also in Hartford. Flagg the artist had also written “Talks with my Uncle George,” sent to Richard Watson Gilder of the Century, who had rejected it.  

Dear Mr. Flagg: Gilder’s a jackass. Get it nicely type-written, & we’ll ship it to Harper [MTP].

Eugene Davis wrote to Sam from the U.S. Senate. Davis was sorry Sam was “troubled with sciatica.” If Sam meant for him to telegraph him in Hartford when Senator John P. Jones went to N.Y, then it would give him “great pleasure to do so.” Sam wrote on the envelope, “Takes 5 days to answer. / SLC” [MTP].