Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
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Lilian Aldrich to
Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Boston, Mass.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41850)
My dear “Mark”,
If it is not too much trouble will you kindly copy one of your exquisite Poems for me?
I well know how Poets & literary men are angered by constant requests for their autographs & have been waiting with great impatience for long time, hoping for a letter from you announcing the time of your promised visit to us— In this way I should have received what I most desire—your autograph, & the date of the visit.
Yours most affectionately,
59 Mt German St. March 31st
▮ Copy-text: The Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Mary Elizabeth "Lilian" Woodman Aldrich (1841–1927)
Mary Elizabeth "Lilian" (née Woodman) married the writer and editor Thomas Bailey Aldrich in 1865. In 1920 she published a memoir of her late husband entitled Crowding Memories. (See also Gary Scharnhorst's Twain in His Own Time [University of Iowa Press, 2010], 95–98). Clemens did not have a high opinion of her. For example, in a 27 December 1893 letter to his daughter Susy, he fumed about Lilian: "Lord, I loathe that woman so! She is an idiot—an absolute idiot—& does not know it. She is sham, sham, sham—not a genuine fibre in her anywhere—a manifest & transparent humbug—& her husband, the sincerest man that walks, doesn’t seem aware of it. It is a most extraordinary combination: he, fine in heart, fine in mind, fine in every conceivable way, sincere, genuine, & lovable beyond all men save only Joe Jefferson—& tied for life to this vacant hellion, this clothes-rack, this twaddling, blethering, driveling blatherskite!" (MS facsimile in CU-MARK).