May 15 Sunday
May 16 Monday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Mollie Clemens.
The “boy-picture holding the printers’ stick”—I remember it well. It was a daguerrotype. I destroyed it in Pamela’s house in St Louis in the spring of 1861 [Note: Sam did not destroy all copies of the picture, which the MTP puts a Nov. 29, 1850 date on and the photographer as G.H. Jones]
The Clemens family was “in a turmoil of trunk-packing” to go to Kaltenleutgeben (on May 20), where they had rented a “furnished house at economical cost for the summer.” Sam then related that the French and Germans were in sympathy with Spain in the impending war (declared by Spain on May 25), but that it didn’t affect them because their “Austrian friends & acquaintances discuss the war…in a self-possessed and rational way…without harmful results.” Sam wrote he hadn’t discovered “the least change” in the atmosphere, which had always been friendly [MTP]. Note: this is clearly a reply to a letter from Mollie (not extant), likely written earlier in the month.
Sam also sent a postcard bearing his photo and aphorism to an unidentified person: “It is best to tell the truth when we cannot think of anything better. Truly Yours / Mark Twain / May 19/98” [MTP].
May 17 Tuesday – At the Hotel Metropole in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote two notes to Chatto & Windus. The first was to send their new address in Kaltenleutgeben; the second was to ask them to “send this shilling book,” which implies an enclosure. Sam thought they would leave on May 19 [MTP]. Note: they left on May 20.
Sam and Livy also replied to California ex-senator (1867-1873) Cornelius Cole (1822-1924) in Los Angeles , who had inquired (not extant) if the Clemenses knew his son, George Cole, a medical student in Vienna. Cole had also evidently mentioned or asked Sam his opinion of the Cuban situation. Sam replied first:
“Yes, we know your George, & he comes to see us, & I think he is behaving in a way to suit you. …
“I think we ought to have taken hold of the Cuban matter & driven Spain out fifty years ago. But better late than never—both for Spain’s sake & the world’s.”
Livy added that her husband “does not seem to me to have said all that I wish.” Not only did they know George, but “like him extremely,” and she added she was “sure he has a very pleasant circle of friends and acquaintances here” [MTP]. See Apr. 15 for a private dinner where the younger Cole was present.
Sam also replied (letter not extant) to Dr. Edward K. Root, one of their family doctors in Hartford.
“Yes, the institution can have the old medical dictionary. If you will step out to the house & show this note to John or Ellen, it will be delivered to you.”
Sam shared family moving plans to Kaltenleutgeben, and still thought they would make the move on May 19. After his signature Sam asked pardon for his tardiness in answering, and added that Livy thought the dictionary, in two volumes, was in the billiard room of their Farmington Ave. house [MTP].
May 18 Wednesday – Carl Kaiser-Herbst (1858 -1940), Viennese artist, wrote from Vienna to Sam: “Many thanks for your book, which I shall value highly. But you have sent me a finished work in return [for] an unfinished sketch—and I remain your debtor!” [MTP]. Note: the subject of the unfinished sketch was not determined.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.