[MTP; Paine TS, &’s restored]. Note: Livy told of portraits and photos done of Clara and Jean, including a photo by Ignace Spiridon , and enclosed a little one of Jean, who she wrote “on Friday last…had a very bad day.” She insisted Sue charge her for all work done on Susy’s grave.
September 12 Monday
September 13 Tuesday – In Kaltenleutgeben, Austria, Sam wrote to Joe Twichell [MTP].
Dear Joe,—You are mistaken; people don’t send us the magazines. No—Harper, Century & McClure do; an example I should like to recommend to other publishers. And so I thank you very much for sending me Brander’s article [a recent Twichell letter not extant]. When you say “I like Brander Matthews; he impresses me as a man of parts & power,” I back you, right up to the hub—I feel the same way—.And when you say he has earned your gratitude for cuffing me for my crimes against the Leather stockings and the Vicar, I ain’t making any objection. Dern your gratitude!
His article is as sound as a nut. Brander knows literature, & loves it; he can talk about it and keep his temper; he can state his case so lucidly & fairly & so forcibly that you have to agree with him, even when you don’t agree with him; & he can discover & praise such merits as a book has, even when they are half a dozen diamonds scattered through an acre of mud. And so he has a right to be a critic.
To detail just the opposite of the above invoice is to describe me. I haven’t any right to criticize books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin.
Sam wrote of Vienna mourning for the late Empress Elisabeth, assassinated on Sept. 10; the funeral was to be on Sept. 17, and, after being invited by the Hotel Krantz, he anticipated being able to watch the cortége from a “sumptuous view” there [Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’s Letters p. 666-8]. Note: Sam wrote a short article, “The Memorable Assassination,” which he finished on Sept. 26 and offered to Edward Bok, of the Ladies’ Home Journal. It was not published in Sam’s lifetime and collected in What Is Man? and Other Stories (1917).
September 14 Wednesday – In Kaltenleutgeben, Austria, Sam replied to John Y. MacAlister in London, whose recent invitation (not extant) to speak or preside at a meeting of the Savage Club in November had arrived. Sam couldn’t go unless business also demanded, for it took him six days to travel to London since he wouldn’t travel at night. And by no means would he preside:
“I haven’t ever presided at a dinner in my life. It’s a grand gift; I don’t possess it, & I’ve not seen six men that did. The president is usually a man who introduces a person with a hatful of compliments—& then sits down, leaving him the impossible contract of knocking a speech out of that kind of a text” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers, figuring Rogers would have been back home by now. He’d had some strange offers of fortunes, one “too agricultural,” and the other a collection of paintings (or a museum full of them, to be smuggled out of Italy), and Sam thought John D. Rockefeller might be interested in the latter to add to his benefactions for the University of Chicago. He inquired about a “cheap two- hundred dollar article” he’d sent to the Forum (“About Play-Actors”) which he supposed got lost (it ran in the Oct. issue). He then told of the atmosphere in Vienna since the assassination of Empress Elisabeth:
The Austrian Empire is hung in black. The lamentings (particularly in Hungary) are deep & universal. I have not seen anything like it since General Grant died. The French mourning for President Carnot was a mild thing compared with it.
The Bliss-Harper documents have not come yet, but I am very glad you succeeded in appeasing that conflict and arranging a bargain. I hope Bliss is in earnest, and I am persuaded that he is. He gets nothing out of the old books; so I think he believes he can mend his fortunes with the Uniform.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.