Mark Twain: April Fool, 1884
Edited by Leslie Myrick and Christopher Ohge
Full size in new window
Horace E. Scudder to
Samuel L. Clemens
31 March 1884 • Cambridge, Mass.
(MS: CU-MARK 41977)
My Dear Mr. Clemens,
It has long been one of my regrets that your face was not included either in any of the series of postage stamps issued by
the government or in that of the Atlantic Portraits. The latter would be preferable, for there is no gum game about them, and I always carry them about me in a neat card case. I like to collect portraits of literary men, and when I can get them in characteristic form I am more than proud. I have
Full size in new windowthat one of Dr. Holmes in which he is standing by a breakfast table in the favorite attitude of Shakespeare leaning on his monument, and I am glad to say that I have that very animated one in which you are grasping the hand of Mr. Raymond in the characteristically cordial manner which does you so much honor. Now I want to ask the favor of you that you would add a few words to this picture,—just say in your forcible English or American—I can read both languages—what you were thinking of when you were in that attitude. I want, in short, a holograph—I think that is what they call it, something full of meaning, not a mere empty autograph, though the spoken word might mislead a less educated man than you are, or I am. This letter for instance is a holograph.
I don’t like to trust the picture to the mail, for you to write beneath it, or on its back, but I would be glad if you would make your sentiment on a piece of bristol board six inches by nine,—the nine to go the long way—and pack it carefully between some stiff boards, and send it by mail. Be careful to put on letter postage, for unless you have a proof sheet with it, it can’t go by newspaper mail.
I remain, more than ever
Your sincere friendHorace E. Scudder
Cambridge, Mass 31 March 1884 Mr. Samuel L. Clemens
Full size in new window Mr. Samuel L. Clemens | Farmington Avenue | Hartford [rule] | Conn. [postmarked:] boston mass. mar 31 84 4 30 pm [docketed by SLC, in pencil:] Scudder— | not good | mention
▮ Copy-text: MS, Mark Twain Papers, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley (CU-MARK).
Horace E. Scudder (1838–1902)
Horace Elisha Scudder was a Boston journalist, children's writer, biographer, and editor of the Riverside Magazine and, later, the Atlantic Monthly, following Thomas Bailey Aldrich. He had a long association of various publishing partnerships with H. O. Houghton as a minority partner, along with George H. Mifflin, in the 1870s. He is best known for the Bodley Books (1875–87), The Children's Book (1881), History of the United States . . . for the Use of Schools and Academies (1884), and Letters of Bayard Taylor (1884).