Vol 3 Section 0189
Honor Be Unto Mark Twain.
From the London Academy.
Mark Twain’s success in carrying out the great project to which he dedicated himself on the failure of his business will be matter for satisfaction to all his very numerous friends. He has worked hard to amass the necessary funds, and has done so single-handed, and we are proud to congratulate him on a noble achievement. It will be remembered that early last year, when sick at heart and in poor health, Mark Twain accepted the offer of a public subscription which was made by a New York paper. But in the course of a few days that acceptance was revoked, and he determined that not from without but from within should the debt be paid. Honor be to him for such a decision.
Mark Twain has told us that his favorite motto is: “Be good, and you will be lonesome.” He must be very
lonesome now [Note: Clemens never officially accepted the subscription, but simply allowed it for a time.]
March 20 Sunday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam added a PS to his Mar. 17 letter to H.H. Rogers
P.S. But really you should come yourself—for some good sense and good diplomacy are necessary, on account of the promised auxiliary invention. You might find it worth while to wait to include it in the present Option, and you are the very man to know how to make them do it.
If there’s war here, go to Germany. You can see the machine in practical operation there, and you will not need to visit Austria (or what’s left of it) at all.
Parliament meets to-morrow afternoon—and there’ll be music. I’ve got a front seat for the season (which will be short, perhaps.)
I will send you my Option in another envelop, registered. I keep a stamped copy of it.
P.P.S. Mr. Kleinberg would like to have a third of the American stock in place of $500,000 cash, but I told him that could be talked when my principal arrives from New York—I couldn’t say, myself [MTHHR 327-33]. Note: Sam enclosed ten sheets of questions and answers from Kleinberg. The option Sam arranged would not be exercised as Rogers felt the American market was too limited. Luckily for Sam, his guardian angel Rogers steered him away from such investments.
March 21 Monday – By his letter of Mar. 20 to Rogers, Sam seemed anxious to go to the reopening session of the Austrian Parliament this afternoon. In his Mar. 23 to Rogers he confirmed that he went:
“I was present at the opening of Parliament, but it was peaceable & dull; so I have not been there since.”
This was also the day the contract for Sam’s American option on Szczepanik’s Raster machine was to be signed before a notary [MTHHR 335]. Dolmetsch points out the hard truth of what Sam was up to:
Ironically, this was no victory at all. Although he could not foresee it, not negotiating immediate sale of his option to his competitor [William M. Wood] was another huge error in Clemens’s business judgment… Lacking capital of his own with which to speculate, Clemens had gambled this time on Henry Rogers’s backing to obtain and profitably sell the rights to Szczepanik’s machines, and he was headed for disappointment .
Sam attended a meeting of the English-French Conversation Club, where Miss Alice Potter had been scheduled to read two Mark Twain selections, “The Californian’s Tale,” and “Adam’s Diary.” Dolmetsch writes that Sam had been invited as a “guest of honor,” but was not obligated to read. “Twain nevertheless volunteered to present his two selections himself much to the delight of the assemblage. How Miss Potter felt about it, however, the newspapers neglected to report” .
March 22 Tuesday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers, this time about a play he was “sending by very slow express,” Bartel Turaser by Philipp Langmann. Sam had translated it for Rogers to “exploit in American through” his “sub-theatrical agent.” He had also contracted to translate a comedy
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.