He could write some letters and even work a little, but he was not allowed to leave his bed for many weeks, a condition which he did not find a hardship, for no man ever enjoyed the loose luxury of undress and the comfort of pillows more than Mark Twain. In a memorandum of that time he wrote: "I am having a booming time all to myself."
Meantime, Hall, in America, was sending favorable reports of the publishing business, and this naturally helped to keep up his spirits. He wrote frequently to Hall, of course, but the letters for the most part are purely of a business nature and of little interest to the general reader.
To Fred J. Hall, in New York:
HOTEL ROYAL, BERLIN, Feb. 12. DEAR MR. HALL,--Daly wants to get the stage rights of the "American Claimant." The foundation from which I wrote the story is a play of the same name which has been in A. P. Burbank's hands 5 or 6 years. That play cost me some money (helping Burbank stage it) but has never brought me any. I have written Burbank (Lotos Club) and asked him to give me back his rights in the old play so that I can treat with Daly and utilize this chance to even myself up. Burbank is a lovely fellow, and if he objects I can't urge him. But you run in at the Lotos and see him; and if he relinquishes his claim, then I would like you to conduct the business with Daly; or have Whitford or some other lawyer do it under your supervision if you prefer.
This morning I seem to have rheumatism in my right foot.
I am ordered south by the doctor and shall expect to be well enough to start by the end of this month.
It is curious, after Clemens and Howells had tried so hard and so long to place their "Sellers" Play, that now, when the story appeared in book form, Augustin Daly should have thought it worth dramatizing. Daly and Clemens were old friends, and it would seem that Daly could hardly have escaped seeing the play when it was going the rounds. But perhaps there is nothing more mysterious in the world than the ways and wants of theatrical managers. The matter came to nothing, of course, but the fact that Daly should have thought a story built from an old discarded play had a play in it seems interesting.
Clemens and his wife were advised to leave the cold of Berlin as soon as he was able to travel. This was not until the first of March, when, taking their old courier, Joseph Very, they left the children in good hands and journeyed to the south of France.
To Susy Clemens, in Berlin:
MENTONE, Mch 22, '92. SUSY DEAR,--I have been delighted to note your easy facility with your pen and proud to note also your literary superiorities of one kind and another--clearness of statement, directness, felicity of expression, photographic ability in setting forth an incident--style--good style--no barnacles on it in the way of unnecessary, retarding words (the Shipman scrapes off the barnacles when he wants his racer to go her best gait and straight to the buoy.) You should write a letter every day, long or short --and so ought I, but I don't.
Mamma says, tell Clara yes, she will have to write a note if the fan comes back mended.
We couldn't go to Nice to-day--had to give it up, on various accounts-- and this was the last chance. I am sorry for Mamma--I wish she could have gone. She got a heavy fall yesterday evening and was pretty stiff and lame this morning, but is working it off trunk packing.
Joseph is gone to Nice to educate himself in Kodaking--and to get the pictures mounted which Mamma thinks she took here; but I noticed she didn't take the plug out, as a rule. When she did, she took nine pictures on top of each other--composites. With lots of love. PAPA.
In the course of their Italian wanderings they reached Florence, where they were so comfortable and well that they decided to engage a villa for the next winter.