Buffalo, Nov. 11.
My Dear Bro:
You have got the same curious ideas that all novices have—you must stipulate [ beforehand] [ whic what] shall be done in case you prove a literary treasure. Hang it, man, ten thousand such stipulations would be worthless. It is simply absurd for one man to try to bargain such a thing out with another—your work must not only show you to be worth more money, but must [ is itself] compel its [price. If] you would rather be slave all night in St Louis for $8 more a month than do easy & gentlemanly work in Hartford in daylight, I applaud your wisdom & say nothing against it. I will only remark that Bliss offers you, as [ I as ] exactly three times as much as the work is worth. I would take the job myself at less money if I were living in Hartford & my name did not appear as editor.
I have never intended to intimate that this work was worth $100 a month, but meant to intimate that it could be made a stepping stone & opportunity to make you known & valuable. My name to it is what Bliss was willing to [pay] $4,000 for.
But I will remark that when I discovered, before Pamela went away, that your present pay was $108 a month instead of $100, I wrote [ b ] Bliss that if you went there he could pay you $108 a month & charge the 8 $8 to me. But I would rather live on $100 a month & live like a human being, than have 8 $8 more & live like an owl.1
I do resent that idea of stipulating for advance of wages in case a man is [worth. ] it. I haven’t had anything incense me so in six months. Might as well stipulate that one should have two h golden harps hereafter before know under certain conditions, before finding out whether he is going to be able to play acceptably on one first.
I have thought that the proper way w to get you east will be for the “Democrat” people to get free passes for both of you [over] the roads clear to Hartford.2 They can do it easily & [ th ought ] to do it. I say all this because I find my expenses in one way or another are stretching up in the neighborhood of a thousand dollars a month, & I have foolishly cripp[l]ed myself by paying one man $5,000 who was not in a hurry & by lending another man $4,000 who pays me nothing more than legal interest.3 But And I am looking for a heavy bills to come in during the next few weeks—a four or five hundred-dollar doctor’s bill, a sixty-dollar nurse bill, a hundred & seventy-dollars sleigh-bill, a two-hundred dollar life-insurance bill,4 a three-hundred dollar [carpenter’s] bill, & a dozen or two of twenty-five dollar debts, & we owe the servants seven hundred dollars which they can call for at any time—& I am sitting still with idle hands—for Livy is very sick & I do not believe the baby will live five days.5
Under which circumstances get those free passes if you can, but if you can’t, then let me know & I will provide the money. I didn’t expect quite such an avalanche of bills at a time when my household expenses are so greatly augmented. I will not allow [ me myself] to be caught in such a close place again. Of course I can borrow all the money I want, but I will saw wood before I will borrow.
Do just as you please about the Tenn. land—always.
I am glad you have sent such full Nevada notes6—though as they have just come & I am stealing a few minutes from the sick room to answer a pile of business letters, I haven’t read a sentence of them yet
in haste Sam
P. S. Wait till I hear again from Bliss.
Provenance:see Moffett Collection in Description of Provenance.
Emendations and textual notes:
beforehand • before-ǀhand
whic what • whicat
is itself • istself
price. If • price.—ǀIf
I as • I as- ǀ
b • [partly formed; possibly ‘t’]
worth. • [deletion implied]
over • ovrer
th ought • [underscore added after ‘th’ canceled]
carpenter’s • carpendter’s
me myself • meyself