Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884

Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge

Stillman S. Conant? to Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Washington, D.C.
(MS: CU-MARK, UCLC 41973)

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Brooklyn Mch 31 /84

Señor Don Samuel Clemens— Hartford

Muy Señor mio—

He emprendido un viage desde un Pais muy lejano, lleno de peligros y vicisitudes, con el solo objeto de dirigirle hoy esta carta, y rogarle me mando su autografo para conservarlo en esta vida y en la venidera en la página mas prominente de mi album.

Esperando no desatenderá mi peticion, soy de ud,[1]

S. S. Q. B. S. M.

Quixote de la Mancha

22 Willow St Brooklyn N. Y.

alt

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Samuel Clemens Esqr. | Hartford | Conn. [postmarked:] brooklyn n.y. mar 31 84 10 30 pm [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Spanish

Explanatory Notes

1. Translated with the help of Melissa Martin of the Mark Twain Project: "I embarked on a journey from a very distant place full of hazards and vicissitudes, with the sole purpose of sending this letter to you today, and I beg that you send your autograph, to conserve it in this life and in the next in the most prominent page of my album. I hope that you will not disregard this request." "S. S. Q. B. S. M." stands for "Seguros Servidores Que Besan Sus Manos" ("I remain very truly yours"). [back]


Textual Commentary

Copy-text:The Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).

Persons Mentioned

Stillman S. Conant  (1831–1885)

Stillman S. Conant was a journalist who contributed to several prominent periodicals of the day, including the Galaxy, to which Clemens also contributed. He also translated into English (from a German translation) Mikhail Lermontov's poem The Circassian Boy (Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1875). In 1869 he became the managing editor of Harper's Weekly, a position he held until 1885, when he disappeared off the coast of Coney Island. In 1890 the New York Times reported the discovery of a skeleton in the dunes near Rockaway Beach that was believed to be Conant, but that was never verified ("A Skeleton in the Dunes: The Disappearance of Stillman S. Conant Recalled," New York Times, 14 December 1890, 8).