Letter to Bliss: 15 May 1871

[PAGE 1] Elmira, Monday
Friend Bliss:

    Yrs rec'd enclosing check for $703.35. The old "Innocents" holds out handsomely.

    I feel confident that House will make a most readable book. Shall write him what you say.

    I have MS. enough on hand now, to make (allowing for engravings) about 400 pages of the book -- consequently am two-thirds done. I intended to run up to Hartford about the middle of the week & take [PAGE 2] it along; because it has chapters in it that ought by all means to be in the prospectus; but I find myself so thoroughly interested in my work, now (a thing I have not experienced for months) that I can't bear to lose a single moment of the inspiration. So I will stay here & peg away as long as it lasts. My present idea is to write as much more as I have already written, & then cull from the mass the very best chapters & discard the rest. I am not half as well satisfied with the first [PAGE 3] part of the book as I am with what I am writing now. When I get it done I want to see the man who will begin to read it and not finish it. If it falls short of the Innocents in any respect I shall lose my guess.

    When I was writing the Innocents my daily "stent" was 30 pages of MS & I hardly ever got beyond it; but I have gone over that nearly every day for the last ten. That shows that I am writing with a red-hot interest. Nothing grieves me now -- [PAGE 4] nothing troubles me, bothers me or gets my attention -- I don't think of anything but the book, & don't have an hour's unhappiness about anything & don't care two cents whether school keeps or not. If I keep up my present lick three weeks more I shall be able & willing to scratch out half of the chapters of the Overland narrative -- & shall do it.

    You do not mention having received my second batch of MS, sent a week or two ago -- about 100 pages.

    If you want to issue [PAGE 5] a prospectus & go right to canvassing, say the word & I will forward some more MS -- or send it by hand -- special messenger. Whatever chapters you think are unquestionably good, we will retain of course, & so they can go into a prospectus as well one time as another. The book will be done soon, now. I have 1200 pages of MS already written, & am now writing 200 a week -- more than that, in fact; during past week wrote 23 one day, then 30, 33, 35, 52, & 65. -- How's that?

    [PAGE 6] It will be a starchy book, & should be full of snappy pictures -- especially pictures woked in with the letter-press. The dedication will be worth the price of the volume -- thus:

To the Late Cain;
This Book is Dedicated:
    Not on account of respect for his memory, for it merits little respect; not on account of sympathy with him, for his bloody deed placed him without the pale of sympathy, strictly speaking: but out of a mere humane commiseration for him in that it was his misfortune to live in a dark age that knew not the beneficent Insanity Plea.

I think it will do.
Ys Clemens.

    [PAGE 7] P.S. The reaction is beginning & my stock is looking up. I am getting the bulliest offers for books & almanacs, am flooded with lecture invitations, & one periodical offers me $6,000 cash for 12 articles, of any length & on any subject, treated humorously or otherwise.