Mark Twain with his wife and their two daughters. The famous writer who has taken up his residence for the entire winter at Hotel Krantz gave a cordial address to the couple. Additionally, congratulations and valuable gifts and bouquets of flowers were sent by many of the distinguished regular guests of the hotel, by colleagues from the hotel business, and by the couple’s personal friends. [Thanks to Holger Kersten for translation.]
November 15 Tuesday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote an aphorism postcard to an unidentified person: “Never put off till to-morrow what can be done day after to-morrow just as well. / Truly Yours/ Mark Twain / Nov. 15/98” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Louise Yates Waring (Mrs. George E. Waring, Jr.)
Dear Madam: / That was the way for Waring to die; it was in character. He had always lived for the race of men, regardless of creed & nationality, & it was his earned right to die for it. He lived a great life, & died a great death. You will allow me the privilege of saying my reverent word of homage to his character, for I new him a quarter of a century; & we were not mere acquaintances, but friends [MTP] . Note: Sam added his “deepest sympathies.” George E. Waring, Jr. (1833-1898), sanitary engineer and civic reformer, died on Oct. 29 from yellow fever contracted while studying sanitary conditions there at the close of the Spanish war. The earliest notation of Waring in Sam’s life may be found in Vol. I, under July 14 entry. See several listings in Vols. I & II.
November 16 Wednesday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to John Malone of the Players Club in N.Y.
It was good to hear from you, & good to hear you talk in that hearty way, too. It is splendid of you to make that offer, & if I were a poet instead of a proser I should be moved to take you up & translate that play. But it is fine & high blank verse & would require something better than my rude handiwork. You will recognise this when you come to look at the text. As soon as this weather improves, one of my daughters will go out & get a copy, & I will send it to you [MTP]. Note: John’s letter to Sam is not extant; the play is not specified.
November 17 Thursday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to Frank Bliss.
I put in 5 days on 50 pages of Introduction, & then put it in the fire. A thousand dollars’ worth of work for nothing. An author cannot successfully write about his own books nor a mother about her own children—nothing but a poorly-concealed parade of silly vanities results. No one can do the job creditably but an outsider. No one can do it best for me but Howells or Brander Matthews.
Sam sent three pages of Introduction which were satisfactory but which he said did “not exhibit me turning handsprings in my shirt-tail.” He also told of Ignace Spiridon’s portrait of him, which he felt was “a long way the best” he had ever had, and suggested “it will be better to confine it to the Uniform, or make a canvassing ad. or specialty” [MTP]. Note: the portrait was used as a frontispiece to Vol. 20 of the 1899 Edition de Luxe of The Writings of Mark Twain. A large copy of it used to hang in the MTP’s main study room at their temporary quarters on Hearst Street, where it kept an eye on visiting Twainiacs.
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
Oh, dear me, you don’t have to excuse yourself for neglecting me, you are entitled to the highest praise for being so limitlessly patient & good in bothering with my confused affairs, & pulling me out of a hole every little while. …
A MS (about “Hadleyburg”) went to you a day or two ago from London. It is more than 20,000 words. I haven’t any purpose in view about it as yet. The [NY] “World” took a look at it. I think it is just possible that it didn’t like my price—$200 per 1000 words. (I didn’t expect it to!)
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.