Very truly yours MARK TWAIN.
Following the Equator was issued by subscription through Mark Twain's old publishers, the Blisses, of Hartford. The sale of it was large, not only on account of the value of the book itself, but also because of the sympathy of the American people with Mark Twain's brave struggle to pay his debts. When the newspapers began to print exaggerated stories of the vast profits that were piling up, Bliss became worried, for he thought it would modify the sympathy. He cabled Clemens for a denial, with the following result:
To Frank E. Bliss, in Hartford:
VIENNA, Nov. 4, 1897. DEAR BLISS,--Your cablegram informing me that a report is in circulation which purports to come from me and which says I have recently made $82,000 and paid all my debts has just reached me, and I have cabled back my regret to you that it is not true. I wrote a letter--a private letter--a short time ago, in which I expressed the belief that I should be out of debt within the next twelvemonth. If you make as much as usual for me out of the book, that belief will crystallize into a fact, and I shall be wholly out of debt. I am encoring you now.
It is out of that moderate letter that the Eighty-Two Thousand-Dollar mare's nest has developed. But why do you worry about the various reports? They do not worry me. They are not unfriendly, and I don't see how they can do any harm. Be patient; you have but a little while to wait; the possible reports are nearly all in. It has been reported that I was seriously ill--it was another man; dying--it was another man; dead --the other man again. It has been reported that I have received a legacy it was another man; that I am out of debt--it was another man; and now comes this $82,000--still another man. It has been reported that I am writing books--for publication; I am not doing anything of the kind. It would surprise (and gratify) me if I should be able to get another book ready for the press within the next three years. You can see, yourself, that there isn't anything more to be reported--invention is exhausted. Therefore, don't worry, Bliss--the long night is breaking. As far as I can see, nothing remains to be reported, except that I have become a foreigner. When you hear it, don't you believe it. And don't take the trouble to deny it. Merely just raise the American flag on our house in Hartford, and let it talk. Truly yours, MARK TWAIN.
P. S. This is not a private letter. I am getting tired of private letters.
To Rev. J. H. Twichell, in Hartford:
VIENNA HOTEL METROPOLE, NOV. 19, '97. DEAR JOE,--Above is our private (and permanent) address for the winter. You needn't send letters by London.