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Add to My Citations To Elisha Bliss, Jr.
18 July 1870 • Elmira, N.Y.
(MS: NN-B, UCCL 00490)
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Elmira, 18th.

Friend Bliss—

Mr. Langdon is perceptibly better. The doctor has some hope of his recovery.

As I am now unquestionably notorious, it will be justifiable to have a steel portrait of the author in the new book—if not in late [editions ] of the Innocents.1

Upon second thoughts I have concluded to simply put the Czar & his Minister on cards, to be slipped loosely within the fly-leaves of the books—not fastened in any way. Send the Minister’s to him by some personal friend of his, (Gen. Hawley I think you said,) & send the Czar’s through our Minister at St Petersburgh.2

Whenever you are ready for a “blow” on the 75th thousand, send me a brief note to inquire if I [could ]attend a dinner to celebrate it—& I will answer [No as ] [afflably ]& felicitously as possible, & thus we’ll save the dinner & yet compass the advertisement.3

My love to your folks & hearty congratulations to Frank.4

Yrs ever


Explanatory Notes | Textual Commentary

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1 In 1869 Clemens had rejected the “effrontery” of having such a frontispiece in Innocents (L3, 168). He may now have favored a portrait as a corrective to one he disliked, by Gaston Fay, that was appearing as the frontispiece in the Galaxy magazine for August 1870, particularly since he now had in hand the “best picture I ever had” (20? May 70 to Paige; 27 June 71 to Redpath). No portrait was used in Roughing It or in later printings of Innocents. The first of Clemens’s books to include his portrait was A Tramp Abroad (1880).

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2 The United States envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary in St. Petersburg was Andrew G. Curtin (1815?–94), former governor of Pennsylvania (U.S. Department of State, 10). Joseph R. Hawley, editor of the Hartford Courant and a Civil War veteran and former governor of Connecticut, had been an acquaintance of Clemens’s at least since 1869 (L3, 97 n. 5). The present letter must have enclosed the autographed cards (which have not been recovered) to go into gift copies of Innocents. For the inspiration for these gifts, see 30 May 70 to Bliss.

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3 See 7 May 70 and 30 May 70, both to Bliss.

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4 Bliss’s folks were his wife Amelia, his four children, and his father Elisha Bliss, Sr. (1787–1881), a widower, who lived with the family. The oldest son, Francis, had become engaged (L3, 15 nn. 1, 4; Geer 1870, 57; “Hartford Residents,” Bliss Family, 1; 15 Sept 70 to Bliss and French, n. 1).

glyphglyphCopy-text:glyphMS, Albert A. and Henry W. Berg Collection, The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations (NN-B).

glyphglyphPrevious publication:glyph L4, 172–173; MTLP, 35 n. 1 top (misdated 18 May).

glyphglyphProvenance:glyphW. T. H. Howe owned the MS until 1939; in 1940 Dr. Albert A. Berg bought the Howe Collection for NN (Cannon, 185–86).

glyphglyphEmendations and textual notes:glyph

editions • edition[s] [written off edge]

could • [possibly could]

No as • No a[white diamond] [written off edge]

afflably • [sic]