must be extremely embarrassing to that diffident man’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Fourth Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p. 173-4].
March 16 Wednesday – After writing Amelia S. Levetus, a meeting was arranged for this evening, and the young inventor, Jan Szczepanik, visited the Clemens’ suite at the Metropole. The invention Sam was most excited about was the Raster, a labor-saving machine for electrically copying graphic images directly into woven fabric. Sam was ever-enamored of labor-saving devices.
Sam’s notebook of Mar. 18 relates what he did prior to the evening meeting:
I spent the 16th in gathering American statistics at our Consulate-General (the youngest were 18 years old!)
British ones through Mr. Wm. Lavino, Correspondent of the London Times: he got others for me by telephoning the British Consulate.
I ciphered on the data, & wrote 11 pages of questions; & when the inventor & his capitalist (Mr. Ludwig Kleinberg) arrived at 9 with Miss Levetus & Dr. [Alfred] Winternitz, I was ready for business, & rich with my new learning. My extraordinary familiarity with the subject paralyzed the banker for a while, for he was merely expecting to find a humorist, not a commercial cyclopedia—but he recovered presently.
We talked till midnight & then parted: I to think over the data & the price ($1,500,00) & we to meet again at 4 p.m. to-day. (18th) [NB 40 TS 13] (Editorial emphasis.)
Note: the banker was Kleinberg, who Dolmetsch writes “was eager to sell and suggested a price of $1.5 million. Clemens said he would ‘sleep on it’ and meet the banker again at four the next afternoon”
Sam’s notebook for Mar. 20:
The patents for England & Germany are sold, & negociations for the sale of Italy, France, the Netherlands &c are going on.
Were going on; but Wednesday night [Mar. 16] I asked Mr. Kleinberg to stop them, & postpone them indefinitely. I placed before him a scheme for concentrating the patents for all the world in the grip of a single giant company. The world has a capital of $1,500,000,000 invested in the industry affected by this invention— an invention able to reduce one of its very important expenses 90 per cent [NB 40 TS 15].
Dan De Quille (William Wright) died in West Liberty, Iowa, at the home of his daughter “Mell.” De Quille had moved from Nevada back to Iowa, his birthplace, in July of 1897 [Salt Lake Tribune Apr. 25, 1898].
Hiram M. Stanley, American philosopher, reviewed FE in Dial, p. 186-7. Tenney quotes Stanley: “A first-rate specimen of that eminently sagacious mixture of sense and nonsense which is so characteristic of him” .
March 17 Thursday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam, instead of waiting to meet the banker Ludwig Kleinberg at 4 p.m., sent for him at breakfast. There he agreed to a two -month option at Kleinberg’s price of $1.5 million, payable in installments and extendable by request, for American rights to the Raster, invented by Jan Szczepanik (see Mar. 16 entry). Sam would receive a twelve percent commission if he sold the rights for that amount. Sam also got the rights to a second more advanced-design machine at a ten percent discount over any other offers, as well as first refusal for a different device, a machine that would weave cloth from peat moss [NB 40 TS 13-14]. Note: Dolmetsch points out that they shook hands on the contract, which still needed to be signed before a notary .
Sam then began a letter to H.H. Rogers (that he finished on Mar. 20) outlining the option he’d taken, the possibilities for profit and statistics from the potential market. It all reminds of the excitement and projected calculations he’d immersed himself in with the Paige typesetter. Sam worked hard to reel Rogers into the invention investment; he was directive in the sort of way he’d been years before with Howells:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.