I am glad to be remembered by our President; & glad he can find time for it, when his hands are so full & over-full. I am grateful to him for appointing Hay & Porter & Tower—they are a credit to him & to the country. I wish that kind of appointments would become the rule with our presidents.
I feel quite sure that in Cape Town 13 months ago I stood on a platform for the last time. Nothing but the Webster debts could persuade me to lecture again, & I have ceased to worry about those.
Sam recalled Vancouver in 1895 when he gave himself four years to pay the debts, thinking he would need two seasons in America, one in England and one around the world. He and Livy were satisfied that the debts will be paid a year earlier than planned. “I am a cheerful man these days.” He laid it all to “madam’s economical genius” [MTP]. Note: President William McKinley named the following to the diplomatic corps: John Hay (England), Horace Porter (France), and Charlemagne Tower (Hungary).
Sam presented an inscribed copy of HF to Miss Mathilde Grüter, the daughter of the Grüter family that had rented him the tiny room in the Villa Tannen: “To Miss Mathilde Grüter with kindest remembrances of /
Mark Twain, September 17th, 1897” [Locher 17: Hüppy 84].
September 18 Saturday – In Weggis, Switzerland Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers:
The Swiss vacation is ended & I am packing the trunks for Vienna. That is, I am superintending. …I leave all places with regret, & if there is ever to be an exception, this is not the one. We shall reach Salzburg next Wednesday 22d—no, a day or two later—& remain a week. We reach Vienna about Oct.1. Our address there for a few days will be c/o Thos. Cook & Son, while we hunt up a house to live in.
Sam wished that Dr. Clarence Rice had come to Weggis, wondering if he came to Switzerland with his family.
We should have been very glad of a night of them. I could not have offered any billiards, but German 9-pins are to be had. There is good exercise in it, but that is all. You can’t hit anything but the game-keeper. We have played, all these weeks.
Sam noted he’d only seen a newspaper three times in ten weeks, didn’t know what was going on in the world, but didn’t “seem any the worse for it.” He intended to “continue the deprivation” to see what the result would be. He also noted on Charles Langdon’s monthly statement that Bainbridge Colby charged him $800 “for something or other,” which he said was the “third or fourth similar robbery he has committed,” and still had not collected the money due from Daniel Frohman. “Colby is a bilk” [MTHHR
301-2]. Note: German 9-pins was an old European lawn game, from which many forms of later bowling descended.
Sam also wrote thanks to Robert Barr for a Thesaurus. Sam gave his Thos. Cook temporary address in Vienna and disclosed they would stop in Salzburg on the way, from Sept. 22 [MTP]. Note: See Feb. 10 and Aug. 7 entries for more on Barr.
September 19 Sunday – In Weggis, Switzerland Sam wrote to Robert Barr, editor of The Idler:
Dear Robert : / When I got back from the pier I took up A Woman Intervenes, to read until the family should be ready to go boating; but they were a little tardy, & by the time that Mrs. Clemens came for me I was past Chapter 7. If engagements are to be kept, they must be kept before Chapter 8; for after that point they will be violated. One is in the rush of the story, then, & cannot get ashore any more until the end. He is helpless. The fascinations of the tale are stronger than his promises & his principles. I read through to the end without stopping (& without skipping a line.) And yet my custom is to skip liberally. The style is what I have been talking about these several recent days: honest, simple, straight-forward, unostentatious, unruffled; barren of impertinences, & familiarities; dignified, refined, self-respectful, & respectful toward the reader; bright,
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.