The "little book" mentioned in this letter was by Swedenborg, an author in whom the Boston literary set was always deeply interested. "Mental Telegraphy" appeared in Harper's Magazine, and is now included in the Uniform Edition of Mark Twain's books. It was written in 1878.
Joe Goodman had long since returned to California, it being clear that nothing could be gained by remaining in Washington. On receipt of the news of the type-setter's collapse he sent a consoling word. Perhaps he thought Clemens would rage over the unhappy circumstance, and possibly hold him in some measure to blame. But it was generally the smaller annoyances of life that made Mark Twain rage; the larger catastrophes were likely to stir only his philosophy.
The Library of American Literature, mentioned in the following letter, was a work in many volumes, edited by Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson.
To Joe T. Goodman:
April [?] 1891. DEAR JOE, Well, it's all right, anyway. Diplomacy couldn't have saved it--diplomacy of mine--at that late day. I hadn't any diplomacy in stock, anyway. In order to meet Jones's requirements I had to surrender the old contract (a contract which made me boss of the situation and gave me the whip-hand of Paige) and allow the new one to be drafted and put in its place. I was running an immense risk, but it was justified by Jones's promises--promises made to me not merely once but every time I tallied with him. When February arrived, I saw signs which were mighty plain reading. Signs which meant that Paige was hoping and praying that Jones would go back on me--which would leave Paige boss, and me robbed and out in the cold. His prayers were answered, and I am out in the cold. If I ever get back my nine-twentieths interest, it will be by law- suit--which will be instituted in the indefinite future, when the time comes.
I am at work again--on a book. Not with a great deal of spirit, but with enough--yes, plenty. And I am pushing my publishing house. It has turned the corner after cleaning $50,000 a year for three consecutive years, and piling every cent of it into one book--Library of American Literature--and from next January onward it will resume dividends. But I've got to earn $50,000 for it between now and then--which I will do if I keep my health. This additional capital is needed for that same book, because its prosperity is growing so great and exacting.
It is dreadful to think of you in ill health--I can't realize it; you are always to me the same that you were in those days when matchless health. and glowing spirits and delight in life were commonplaces with us. Lord save us all from old age and broken health and a hope-tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.
With love to you both from us all. MARK.
Mark Twain's residence in Hartford was drawing rapidly to a close. Mrs. Clemens was poorly, and his own health was uncertain. They believed that some of the European baths would help them. Furthermore, Mark Twain could no longer afford the luxury of his Hartford home. In Europe life could be simpler and vastly cheaper. He was offered a thousand dollars apiece for six European letters, by the McClure syndicate and W. M. Laffan, of the Sun. This would at least give him a start on the other side. The family began immediately their sad arrangements for departure.
To Fred J. Hall (manager Chas. L. Webster & Co.), N. Y.:
HARTFORD, Apl. 14, '91. DEAR MR. HALL,--Privately--keep it to yourself--as you, are already aware, we are going to Europe in June, for an indefinite stay. We shall sell the horses and shut up the house. We wish to provide a place for our coachman, who has been with us a 21 years, and is sober, active, diligent, and unusually bright and capable.