March 31 Thursday – The following from “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904” may or may not have happened; Burnam posits that this “flashback, the scene of which is Vienna, the time March 31, 1898, or some eight months before the tale appeared in print.” He then quotes from the story:
I had spent the evening at a social engagement [says the narrator]. About midnight I went away, in company with the military attaches of the British, Italian, and American embassies, to finish with a late smoke. This function had been appointed to take place in the house o f Lieutenant Hillyer, the third attaché mentioned in the above list. When we arrived there we found several visitors in the room; young Szczepanik; Mr. K., his financial backer; Mr. W., the latter’s secretary; and Lieutenant Clayton of the United States Army. . Note: Burnam makes a case that this and a following paragraph were an accurate accounting of the event, and follows them with “We now move into fiction.” The story is a rather wild one, with several plot flaws, but does use Jan Szczepanik’s real name. Lt. John Clayton may or may not have been a real name. Mr. K. was Kleinberg, and Burnam surmises that Mr. W. was Winternitz. “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904” first ran in the Nov. 1898 issue of Century. No other record of a “social event” for this date was found.
April – Overland Monthly p.378-80 ran an anonymous review, Following the Equator in Zigzag: Tenney: “A review, using abundant quotation to illustrate an estimate of Following the Equator as ‘a happy and interesting jumble…a traveler’s miscellany’” . Note: this and many other reviews will be found in Budd’s 1999 Mark Twain: The Contemporary Reviews.
Theodore De Laguna’s article, “Mark Twain as a Prospective Classic,” ran in Overland Monthy p.364-67: Tenney: “Praises MT as a story-teller rather than novelist, his style ‘historically…of infinite import. Aesthetically, it has been seriously undervalued. Quite unpretentious, it is none the less admirably adapted to its content.’ Summarized in ‘Mark Twain as a Word-Painter,’ Literary Digest (New York), XVI (May 28), 642” .
April 1 Friday – An unidentified person wrote in Polish to “The Great American Humorist”; only the envelope survives [MTP].
Fatout lists an unidentified dinner where Sam gave four speeches [MT Speaking 665]. Note: Fatout gives no particulars and none were found.
April 2 Saturday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder of the Century Co., who had recently questioned American Publishing Co. giving McClure’s a segment of FE (without Sam’s knowledge) while refusing it to the Century.
I am mailing to you a little tale entitled “From the London Times.” If you don’t want to pay $125 or $140 per magazine page for it, won’t you please send it to H.H. Rogers, 26 Broadway, & say I would like him to mail it to “The Cosmopolitan,” Irvington, N.Y.? And won’t you do the same with the photograph of Szczepanik, which I mean to enclose … I have 3 part-promises outstanding; the first, to you; the second to Brisbin [sic Brisben] Walker [MTP].
Note: “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904” first ran in the Nov. 1898 issue of Century; it was included in How to Tell a Story, and Other Essays (Hartford 1900) and The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories and Essays (1900) [Budd Collected 2: 1004] John Brisben Walker, owner Cosmopolitan.
Sam then related Gilder making him write an article on bicycles when he was down on his back with a carbuncle—he never got notice back of its rejection. He then described 25 year old Jan Szczepanik:
Szczepanik is an interesting young creature. He comes & drinks beer with me every now & then, & talks till midnight. Is well born, educated, dresses nicely, & is an echte [real] gentleman. He was a village school teacher in the provinces a few years ago, with a salary in proportion; but he is comfortable, now, & has a
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.