Vol 3 Section 0058

18                                                                           1897

Jean’s spirits are good; Clara’s are rising. They have youth—the only thing that was worth giving to the race.

These are sardonic times. Look at Greece, & that whole shabby muddle. But I am not sorry to be alive & privileged to look on. If I were not a hermit I would go to the House every day & see those people scuffle over it & blether about the brotherhood of the human race. This has been a bitter year for English pride, & I don’t like to see England humbled—that is, not too much. A little of it can do her good, but there has been too much, this year. We are sprung from her loins, & it hurts me. I am for republics, & she is the only comrade we’ve got, in that. We can’t count on France, & there is hardly enough of Switzerland to count. Beneath the governing crust England is sound-hearted—& sincere, too, & nearly straight. But I am appalled to notice that the wide extension of the suffrage has damaged her manners, & made her rather Americanly uncourteous on the lower levels [MTHL 2: 664-6].

Note: Harper’s did not yet have permission to publish Sam’s books first printed by American Publishing Co.,(IA, RI, GA, TS, Sketches New and Old, PW) so their use of the term “Uniform Publishing” the source calls “disingenuous.” Sam referred to an uprising on Crete aiming at annexation of the island to Greece. Britain’s prestige had been damaged by the Jameson Raid, Cecil Rhodes, strained relations with Russia and Germany, and for giving way in Siam to the French. See notes p.666-7 in source.

Sam also wrote to Gertrude Darrall of London thanking her for her “pleasant words” and for being a “friend whom I did not know that I possessed.” Sam wrote a short paragraph referring to Francis Galton’s 1892 book, Finger Prints, which he’d used in writing P&P. Citing use of fingerprints by India and China for 25 years, Sam claimed the use of fingerprints had been “quite thoroughly & scientifically examined by Mr. Galt [sic Galton], & I kept myself within the bounds of his ascertained facts” [MTP: Sotheby’s, New York]. Note: See Nov. 10, 1892 entry; also Gribben 251.

Sam’s notebook:

S. to omnibus driver. I suppose you are glad the winter is over.

No, I don’t care for the cold weather. Gives me chilblains, but that isn’t any matter. But I don’t like the road.

What is the matter with the road?

Don’t like the society. Nothing to these people down the King’s road—Chelsea. Just villagers, don’t’ you know. No style about them.

Were you better off before? Where you before?

Well, I should think! Hammersmith, Earl’s Court, Knightsbridge. There’s society! Interesting people, you see—city people. They’re not dull, like these King’s Road clodhoppers [NB 41 TS 14].

February 24 Wednesday

February 25 Thursday

February 26 Friday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, “nervous about the contracts” since Frank Bliss had delayed signing. Bliss’ contract specified an advance, non-refundable advance of $10,000 on Sam’s new book, (FE). Sam confessed to not being “strenuous now” and suggested they grant concessions should Bliss want them. He was pondering a good offer from a London publisher for FE, and wanted “to strike Chatto for a new and better arrangement,” but not until Bliss signed. “If Bliss shouldn’t sign! Well, that would be a disaster!” Bainbridge Colby was also a source of irritation:

I should think the creditors would be entirely out of patience with Colby. I am. Is there a Judge whom I could appeal to force him to close up the concern? Or, would you advise me to drop a hot paragraph about his laziness and incompetence into the American papers? The nights that Bliss lets me sleep, Colby interferes….

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.