Ah, they're wonderfully beautiful! There are such rich moonlights and dusks in "The Challenge" and "The Combat;" and in that long flight of birds across a lake in the subdued flush of sunset (or sunrise--for no man can ever tell tother from which in a picture, except it has the filmy morning mist breathing itself up from the water). And there is such a grave analytical profundity in the faces of "The Connoisseurs;" and such pathos in the picture of the fawn suckling its dead mother, on a snowy waste, with only the blood in the footprints to hint that she is not asleep. And the way he makes animals absolute flesh and blood--insomuch that if the room were darkened ever so little and a motionless living animal placed beside a painted one, no man could tell which was which.
I interrupted myself here, to drop a line to Shirley Brooks and suggest a cartoon for Punch. It was this. In one of the Academy salons (in the suite where these pictures are), a fine bust of Landseer stands on a pedestal in the centre of the room. I suggest that some of Landseer's best known animals be represented as having come down out of their frames in the moonlight and grouped themselves about the bust in mourning attitudes.
Well, old man, I am powerful glad to hear from you and shall be powerful glad to see you and Harmony. I am not going to the provinces because I cannot get halls that are large enough. I always felt cramped in Hanover Square Rooms, but I find that everybody here speaks with awe and respect of that prodigious place, and wonder that I could fill it so long.
I am hoping to be back in 20 days, but I have so much to go home to and enjoy with a jubilant joy, that it seems hardly possible that it can ever come to pass in so uncertain a world as this.
I have read the novel--[The Gilded Age, published during his absence, December, 1873.]--here, and I like it. I have made no inquiries about it, though. My interest in a book ceases with the printing of it. With a world of love, SAML.
LETTERS 1874. HARTFORD AND ELMIRA. A NEW STUDY. BEGINNING "TOM SAWYER." THE SELLERS PLAY.
Naturally Redpath would not give him any peace now. His London success must not be wasted. At first his victim refused point-blank, and with great brevity. But he was overborne and persuaded, and made occasional appearances, wiring at last this final defiant word:
Telegram to James Redpath, in Boston:
HARTFORD, March 3, 1874. JAMES REDPATH,--Why don't you congratulate me?
I never expect to stand on a lecture platform again after Thursday night. MARK.
That he was glad to be home again we may gather from a letter sent at this time to Doctor Brown, of Edinburgh.
To Dr. John Brown, in Edinburgh:
FARMINGTON AVENUE, HARTFORD Feby. 28, 1874. MY DEAR FRIEND,--We are all delighted with your commendations of the Gilded Age-and the more so because some of our newspapers have set forth the opinion that Warner really wrote the book and I only added my name to the title page in order to give it a larger sale. I wrote the first eleven chapters, every word. and every line. I also wrote chapters 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 21, 42, 43, 45, 51, 52. 53, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, and portions of 35, 49 and 56. So I wrote 32 of the 63 chapters entirely and part of 3 others beside.
The fearful financial panic hit the book heavily, for we published it in the midst of it. But nevertheless in the 8 weeks that have now elapsed since the day we published, we have sold 40,000 copies; which gives L3,000 royalty to be divided between the authors. This is really the largest two-months' sale which any American book has ever achieved (unless one excepts the cheaper editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin).