And shall we see Susy?
Without doubt! without a shadow of doubt if
it can furnish opportunity to break our hearts again.
On November 26th, Thanksgiving, occurs this note:
“We did not celebrate
it. Seven years ago Susy gave her play for
the first time.”
And on Christmas:
London, 11.30 Xmas morning. The Square & adjacent streets are not merely quiet, they are dead. There is not a sound. At intervals a Sunday-looking person passes along. The family have been to breakfast. We three sat & talked as usual, but the name of the day was not mentioned. It was in our minds, but we said nothing.
And a little later:
Since bad luck struck us it is risky for people to have to do with us. Our cook’s sweetheart was healthy. He is rushing for the grave now. Emily, one of the maids, has lost the sight of one eye and the other is in danger. Wallace carried up coal & blacked the boots two months—has suddenly gone to the hospital—pleurisy and a bad case. We began to allow ourselves to see a good deal of our friends, the Bigelows—straightway their baby sickened & died. Next Wilson got his skull fractured.
January 23, 1897. I wish the Lord would disguise Himself in citizen’s clothing & make a personal examination of the sufferings of the poor in London. He would be moved & would do something for them Himself.
“Personal recollections of Joan of arc”
Meantime certain publishing events had occurred. During his long voyage a number of Mark Twain’s articles had appeared in the magazines, among them “Mental Telegraphy Again,” in Harpers, and in the North American Review that scorching reply to Paul Bourget’s reflections upon America. Clemens could criticize his own nation freely enough, but he would hardly be patient under the strictures of a Frenchman, especially upon American women.
There had been book publication also during this period. The Harpers had issued an edition of ‘Tom Sawyer Abroad’, which included another Tom and Huck story ‘Tom Sawyer, Detective’, written in Paris, and the contents of the old White Elephant book.
But there had been a much more important book event. The chapters of his story of Joan having run their course in Harper’s Magazine had been issued as a volume.
As already mentioned, Joan had been early recognized as Mark Twain’s work, and it was now formally acknowledged as such on the title-page. It is not certain now that the anonymous beginning had been a good thing. Those who began reading it for its lofty charm, with the first hint of Mark Twain as the author became fearful of some joke or burlesque. Some who now promptly hastened to read it as Mark Twain’s, were inclined to be disappointed at the very lack of these features. When the book itself appeared the general public, still doubtful as to its merits, gave it a somewhat dubious reception. The early sales were disappointing.