Raw, randy banter with his friend Frank Fuller, the ex-acting Governor of Utah whom Clemens had met in 1862 out West and who had arranged several public lectures on Hawaii for Clemens in 1867. At the close of the letter, Clemens euphemistically writes: "Speaking of 'courses,' I have mine, now. Please forward one dozen odorless Rubber Cundrums — I don't mind them being odorless — I can supply the odor myself. I would like to have your picture on them." The letter in the main is concerned with Clemens's prospective lecture circuit out West. In a postscript at the top of the beginning of the letter he emphatically tells Fuller not to "make a d--d mistake now, & send both these letters to Dubuque." The enclosed letters have not been located, but they were certainly addressed to G. L. Torbert of Dubuque, who was secretary of the Western Literary Societies. Torbert's organization had evidently repeated its November 1867 offer to sponsor a lecture tour for Clemens.
In the second letter, Clemens chides Fuller about not sending the requested "cundrums." He elaborates on the subject, rather baldly: "However, never mind the cundrums [last word struck through]. I can get along without them, I suppose. try and never use them [this phrase also struck through]. He then returns to the business of the lectures. "Mr. Torbert appears to be getting along well enough with the lecture tour. I have made several other appointments to preach." Torbert had arranged 21 dates and Clemens had organized ten lectures on his own, mostly in eastern cities for the late fall of 1868.
He concludes by wishing Fuller well and hopes his business is prospering because he likes "Odorless Rubber Companies. I like them because they don't stink." Fuller was co-owner of a New York rubber goods business which evidently produced condoms, among other items. In a note by Fuller on the verso of the letter, he indicates that the product was odorless because it contained very little sulfur. Ironically enough, these roister-doister letters were penned at a time when Clemens was smitten hard with Olivia Langdon of Elmira and was courting her with amorous but pious missives. On 21 September he wrote of his intended reform: "I will so mend my conduct that I shall grow worthier of your prayers & your good will ..." It would take Livy's sobering rejection of his advances and the skepticism of his future in-laws about his character before Clemens would reform in earnest (see lots 460 and 461).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale