Truly SAML. L. CLEMENS.
The "two simple lines," of course, were the train rails under the bear's feet, and completed the striking cover design of the Overland monthly.
The brief controversy over the "Three Aces" was the beginning of along and happy friendship between Aldrich and Mark Twain. Howells, Aldrich, Twichell, and Charles Dudley Warner--these were Mark Twain's intimates, men that he loved, each for his own special charm and worth.
Aldrich he considered the most brilliant of living men.
In his reply to Clemens's letter, Aldrich declared that he was glad now that, for the sake of such a letter, he had accused him falsely, and added:
"Mem. Always abuse people.
"When you come to Boston, if you do not make your presence manifest to me, I'll put in a !! in 'Every Saturday' to the effect that though you are generally known as Mark Twain your favorite nom de plume is 'Barry Gray.'"
Clemens did not fail to let Aldrich know when he was in Boston again, and the little coterie of younger writers forgathered to give him welcome.
Buffalo agreed with neither Mrs. Clemens nor the baby. What with nursing and anguish of mind, Mark Twain found that he could do nothing on the new book, and that he must give up his magazine department. He had lost interest in his paper and his surroundings in general. Journalism and authorship are poor yoke-mates. To Onion Clemens, at this time editing Bliss's paper at Hartford, he explained the situation.
To Onion Clemens, in Hartford:
BUFFALO, 4th 1871. MY DEAR BRO,--What I wanted of the "Liar" Sketch, was to work it into the California book--which I shall do. But day before yesterday I concluded to go out of the Galaxy on the strength of it, so I have turned it into the last Memoranda I shall ever write, and published it as a "specimen chapter" of my forthcoming book.
I have written the Galaxy people that I will never furnish them another article long or short, for any price but $500.00 cash--and have requested them not to ask me for contributions any more, even at that price.
I hope that lets them out, for I will stick to that. Now do try and leave me clear out of the 'Publisher' for the present, for I am endangering my reputation by writing too much--I want to get out of the public view for awhile.
I am still nursing Livy night and day and cannot write anything. I am nearly worn out. We shall go to Elmira ten days hence (if Livy can travel on a mattress then,) and stay there till I have finished the California book--say three months. But I can't begin work right away when I get there--must have a week's rest, for I have been through 30 days' terrific siege.
That makes it after the middle of March before I can go fairly to work-- and then I'll have to hump myself and not lose a moment. You and Bliss just put yourselves in my place and you will see that my hands are full and more than full.
When I told Bliss in N. Y. that I would write something for the Publisher I could not know that I was just about to lose fifty days. Do you see the difference it makes? Just as soon as ever I can, I will send some of the book M.S. but right in the first chapter I have got to alter the whole style of one of my characters and re-write him clear through to where I am now. It is no fool of a job, I can tell you, but the book will be greatly bettered by it. Hold on a few days--four or five--and I will see if I can get a few chapters fixed to send to Bliss.
I have offered this dwelling house and the Express for sale, and when we go to Elmira we leave here for good. I shall not select a new home till the book is finished, but we have little doubt that Hartford will be the place.
We are almost certain of that. Ask Bliss how it would be to ship our furniture to Hartford, rent an upper room in a building and unbox it and store it there where somebody can frequently look after it.