Vol 3 Section 0086

46                                                                           1897


283n2]. Note: Sam had just given Bliss half the MS on June 16; and the NY Times puts Bliss’ arrival back in Hartford as “a week before” July 10. Bliss may have sent this note from his London hotel.

The first of Mark Twain’s special cables appeared in the Hearst newspapers, the Sunday S.F. Examiner, front page, and the NY Journal. Below, in part, from the Examiner:

LONDON. June 19 — So far as I can see, a procession has value in but two ways—as a show and as a symbol, its minor function being to delight the eye, its major one to compel thought, exalt the spirit, stir the heart, and inflame the imagination. As a mere show, and meaningless—like a Mardi-Gras march—a magnificent procession is worth a long journey to see; as a symbol, the most colorless and unpicturesque procession, if it have a moving history back of it, is worth a thousand of it.

After the civil war ten regiments of bronzed New York veterans marched up Broadway in faded uniforms and faded battle flags that were mere shot-riddled rags—and in each battalion as it swung by, one noted a great gap, an eloquent vacancy, where had marched the comrades who had fallen and would march no more.

Always, as this procession advanced between the massed multitudes, its approach was welcomed by each block of people with a burst of proud and grateful enthusiasm—then the head of it passed, and suddenly revealed those pathetic gaps and silence fell upon that block, for every man in it had choked up, and could not get command of his voice and add it to the storm again for many minutes. That was the most moving and tremendous effect that I have ever witnessed—those affecting silences falling between those hurricanes of worshipping enthusiasm.

A Symbolical Pageant

There was no costumery in that procession, no color, no tinsel, no brilliancy, yet it was the greatest spectacle and the most gracious and exalting and beautiful that has come within my experience. It was because it had history back of it and because it was a symbol and stood for something and because one viewed it with spiritual vision, not the physical. There was not much for the physical eye to see, but it revealed continental areas, limitless horizons, to the eye of the imagination and the spirit.

A procession, to be valuable, must do one thing or the other—clothe itself in splendors and charm the eye or symbolize something sublime and uplifting, and so appeal to the imagination . As a mere spectacle to look at, I suppose that the Queen’s procession will not be as showy as the Czar’s late pageant; it will probably fall much short of the one in “Tannhauser” in the matter of rich and adorable costumery; in the number of renowned personages on view in it will probably fall short of some that have been seen in England before this. And yet in its major function, its symbolic function, I think that if all the people in it wore their everyday clothes and marched without flags or music it would still be incomparably the most important procession that ever moved through the streets of London.

For English Power and Renown

For it will stand for English history, English growth, English achievement, the accumulated power and renown and dignity of twenty centuries of strenuous effort. Many things about it will set one to reflecting upon what a large feature of this world England is today, and this will in turn move one, even the least imaginative, to cast a glance down her long perspective and note the steps of her progress and insignificance of her first estate. In this matter London is itself a suggestive object lesson.

I suppose that London has always existed. One cannot easily imagine an England that had no London. No doubt there was a village here over a thousand years ago. It was on the river somewhere west of where the tower is now. It was built of thatched mud huts close to a couple of limpid brooks, and on every hand for miles and miles stretched rolling plains of fresh green grass, and here and there were groups and groves of trees. The tribes wore skins—sometimes merely their own sometimes those of other animals.

The chief was monarch, and helped out his complexion with blue paint. His industry was the chase, his relaxation was war. Some of the Englishmen who will view the procession today are carrying his people’s ancient blood in their veins.

It may be that the village remained about as it began, away down to the Roman occupation, a couple of thousand years ago [Note: For the full text see Neider’s Complete Essays 189-99.]

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