People who are judges of art, find in the execution a grandeur which has not been equalled in this country, and an expression which has not been approached in any. Yrs truly, S. L. CLEMENS.
P. S. 62,000 copies of "Roughing It" sold and delivered in 4 months.
The Clemens family did not spend the summer at Quarry Farm that year. The sea air was prescribed for Mrs. Clemens and the baby, and they went to Saybrook, Connecticut, to Fenwick Hall. Clemens wrote very little, though he seems to have planned Tom Sawyer, and perhaps made its earliest beginning, which was in dramatic form.
His mind, however, was otherwise active. He was always more or less given to inventions, and in his next letter we find a description of one which he brought to comparative perfection.
He had also conceived the idea of another book of travel, and this was his purpose of a projected trip to England.
To Orion Clemens, in Hartford:
FENWICK HALL, SAYBROOK, CONN. Aug. 11, 1872. MY DEAR BRO.--I shall sail for England in the Scotia, Aug. 21.
But what I wish to put on record now, is my new invention--hence this note, which you will preserve. It is this--a self-pasting scrap-book --good enough idea if some juggling tailor does not come along and ante- date me a couple of months, as in the case of the elastic veststrap.
The nuisance of keeping a scrap-book is: 1. One never has paste or gum tragacanth handy; 2. Mucilage won't stick, or stay, 4 weeks; 3. Mucilage sucks out the ink and makes the scraps unreadable; 4. To daub and paste 3 or 4 pages of scraps is tedious, slow, nasty and tiresome. My idea is this: Make a scrap-book with leaves veneered or coated with gum-stickum of some kind; wet the page with sponge, brush, rag or tongue, and dab on your scraps like postage stamps.
Lay on the gum in columns of stripes.
Each stripe of gum the length of say 20 ems, small pica, and as broad as your finger; a blank about as broad as your finger between each 2 stripes--so in wetting the paper you need not wet any more of the gum than your scrap or scraps will cover--then you may shut up the book and the leaves won't stick together.
Preserve, also, the envelope of this letter--postmark ought to be good evidence of the date of this great humanizing and civilizing invention.
I'll put it into Dan Slote's hands and tell him he must send you all over America, to urge its use upon stationers and booksellers--so don't buy into a newspaper. The name of this thing is "Mark Twain's Self-Pasting Scrapbook."
All well here. Shall be up a P. M. Tuesday. Send the carriage. Yr Bro. S. L. CLEMENS.
The Dan Slote of this letter is, of course, his old Quaker City shipmate, who was engaged in the blank-book business, the firm being Slote & Woodman, located at 119 and 121 William Street, New York.
LETTERS 1872-73. MARK TWAIN IN ENGLAND. LONDON HONORS. ACQUAINTANCE WITH DR. JOHN BROWN. A LECTURE TRIUMPH. "THE GILDED AGE"
Clemens did, in fact, sail for England on the given date, and was lavishly received there. All literary London joined in giving him a good time. He had not as yet been received seriously by the older American men of letters, but England made no question as to his title to first rank. Already, too, they classified him as of the human type of Lincoln, and reveled in him without stint. Howells writes: "In England, rank, fashion, and culture rejoiced in him. Lord Mayors, Lord Chief justices, and magnates of many kinds were his hosts."
He was treated so well and enjoyed it all so much that he could not write a book--the kind of book he had planned. One could not poke fun at a country or a people that had welcomed him with open arms. He made plenty of notes, at first, but presently gave up the book idea and devoted himself altogether to having a good time.