The average price of our book is 16 shillings a copy--Uncle Tom was 2 shillings a copy. But for the panic our sale would have been doubled, I verily believe. I do not believe the sale will ultimately go over 100,000 copies.
I shipped to you, from Liverpool, Barley's Illustrations of Judd's "Margaret" (the waiter at the Adelphi Hotel agreeing to ship it securely per parcel delivery,) and I do hope it did not miscarry, for we in America think a deal of Barley's--[Felix Octavius Carr barley, 1822-1888, illustrator of the works of Irving, Cooper, etc. Probably the most distinguished American illustrator of his time.]--work. I shipped the novel (" Margaret") to you from here a week ago.
Indeed I am thankful for the wife and the child--and if there is one individual creature on all this footstool who is more thoroughly and uniformly and unceasingly happy than I am I defy the world to produce him and prove him. In my opinion, he doesn't exist. I was a mighty rough, coarse, unpromising subject when Livy took charge of me 4 years ago, and I may still be, to the rest of the world, but not to her. She has made a very creditable job of me.
Success to the Mark Twain Club!-and the novel shibboleth of the Whistle. Of course any member rising to speak would be required to preface his remark with a keen respectful whistle at the chair-the chair recognizing the speaker with an answering shriek, and then as the speech proceeded its gravity and force would be emphasized and its impressiveness augmented by the continual interjection of whistles in place of punctuation-pauses; and the applause of the audience would be manifested in the same way ....
They've gone to luncheon, and I must follow. With strong love from us both. Your friend, SAML. L. CLEMENS.
These were the days when the Howells and Clemens families began visiting back and forth between Boston and Hartford, and sometimes Aldrich came, though less frequently, and the gatherings at the homes of Warner and Clemens were full of never-to-be-forgotten happiness. Of one such visit Howells wrote:
"In the good-fellowship of that cordial neighborhood we had two such days as the aging sun no longer shines on in his round. There was constant running in and out of friendly houses, where the lively hosts and guests called one another by their christian names or nicknames, and no such vain ceremony as knocking or ringing at doors. Clemens was then building the stately mansion in which he satisfied his love of magnificence as if it had been another sealskin coat, and he was at the crest of the prosperity which enabled him to humor every whim or extravagance."
It was the delight of such a visit that kept Clemens constantly urging its repetition. One cannot but feel the genuine affection of these letters.
To W. D. Howells, in Boston:
Mch. 1, 1876. MY DEAR HOWELLS,--Now you will find us the most reasonable people in the world. We had thought of precipitating upon you George Warner and wife one day; Twichell and his jewel of a wife another day, and Chas. Perkins and wife another. Only those--simply members of our family, they are. But I'll close the door against them all--which will "fix" all of the lot except Twichell, who will no more hesitate to climb in at the back window than nothing.
And you shall go to bed when you please, get up when you please, talk when you please, read when you please. Mrs. Howells may even go to New York Saturday if she feels that she must, but if some gentle, unannoying coaxing can beguile her into putting that off a few days, we shall be more than glad, for I do wish she and Mrs. Clemens could have a good square chance to get acquainted with each other. But first and last and all the time, we want you to feel untrammeled and wholly free from restraint, here.
The date suits--all dates suit. Yrs ever MARK.