May – Sam’s option on the sale of Jan Szczepanik’s Raster machine in America was allowed to expire. Rogers had not been enthusiastic and now America was at war with Spain. Letters from Sam to Rogers for the period reveal Sam’s “increasingly crestfallen responses” to Rogers’ letters on the subject, none of which are extant [Dolmetsch 204]. Note: See photos of both of Szczepanik’s machines p. 202-3. Sam remained friends with the young inventor and also admired his capitalist backer, Ludwig Kleinberg. During the summer in Kaltenleutgeben, Sam made several bicycle trips with the two men [ibid].
Sometime during the month Sam inscribed a cabinet photo to Amelia S. Levetus: To Miss Levetus/ with
compliments of / Mark Twain / May 1898 [MTP: Hamilton catalogs Nov. 3, 1966, No. 15, Item 278]. (Editorial emphasis.)
Sam also inscribed his photograph to Eva Nansen: He had his desire—he has seen the pole; I have had mine, for I have seen him / Mark Twain / To Mrs. Frithjof [sic] Nansen, / With best salutations of / SL Clemens/ May, 1898 [MTP: Christie’s catalogs, May 29, 1998, Item 59; also eBay Nov. 6, 2008, Item 230268702043]. Note: Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930) was famous for his expedition to the North Pole 1893-1896. See May 9 entry.
Sometime before the 26th of the month, Sam wrote to Joe Twichell [MTP].
The May issue of The Windsor Magazine (London) ran, “American Authors of Today,” by James Ramsay, which included a segment, p.722, on Twain [eBay Oct. 25, 2009, Item 270351039042]. Not in Tenney.
Ch. Scolik’s article and photograph, “Mark Twain Sitting for His Portrait, March 1898” ran in McClure’s, p.2 The photograph was of Sam sitting for a bust by Miss Theresa Feodorowna Ries [Tenney 29].
Catholic World, p.266-7 reviewed FE. Tenney: “‘One of the best of his books. It is lively and interesting almost all the way through,’ although India is a dull topic. ‘His theory of the pledge is one of his best things; a most valuable idea, and well known to Catholic theology, though not always duly insisted on in this particular manner’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 170].
May 1 Sunday
May 2 Monday
May 3 Tuesday
May 4 Wednesday
May 5 Thursday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
He gave his future address the Villa Paulhof in Kaltenleutgeben; Sam often did this when about to move; they would not go to the health resort until May 20.
The Pratt & Whitney Co.’s old bill for $1,744.20, dated Apr. 3, 1890 had arrived; it was one which had been disputed after Paige had moved his typesetter from the company into his Hartford shop. Sam did not remember the bill, and asked how it happened “to wait 8 years?” Why didn’t they send such a bill to Whitmore? “Deep down in my soul” he knew he was free of debt from that company.
“The Webster debts gave me all I want of this life, & I would risk hell in a minute to leave it” [MTP].
Note: Sam may indeed have forgotten about this old bill, but he was billed initially, and again on Oct. 4, 1890 and Jan. 10, 1891 by R.F. Blodgett of Pratt & Whitney for this exact amount. On Mar. 19, 1891 Sam replied to a request by Paige for more money and an enclosed bill (likely this one) from P&W by returning the bill and refusing to pay any more on the typesetter. On Sept. 17, 1892 Sam wrote Whitmore from Lucerne, feeling that it was the right time to put in the claim for this amount to the Chicago concern of new investors
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.