Yours / Mark Twain / To Madam la Comtesse Lutzow / With salutations & homage of / S.L. Clemens / March 2, 1899” [MTP].
March 3 Friday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam wrote to James M. Tuohy of the N.Y.
World, “obliged for the good news” that Rudyard Kipling was going to get well [MTP].
March 4 Saturday
March 5 Sunday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam replied to James Ross Clemens, who evidently had sent his picture (not extant).
We were very glad to get the picture, & should have been still gladder if you had brought it yourself. You look neither strong nor hearty, & the trip could have done you good. Possibly we may have the pleasure of seeing you by the end of the summer, as we are hoping to end our long exile then, & shall expect to spend a moment or two in England on our way home.
We are plodding along about as usual. Jean studies Russian & other devilish things, & Clara forsook the piano four months ago & has devoted herself industriously to singing ever since, under a competent master. Mrs. Clemens takes care of the clan, & has her hands full; & I superintend [MTP]. Note: after his signature Sam included a PS showing the playfulness and close relationship he had with his cousin:
“P.S. I am not opposed to that moustache of yours, but the rest of the family are. They wish it removed. But if I were you I would pay no attention to this. You are entitled to your rights, & should resist every attempt of unauthorized people to interfere with them.”
Note: Clara decided to give up the piano for voice on or before Oct. 8, 1898; see entry. Her voice teacher was retired diva Marianne Brandt (stage name Marie Bischoff).
William Dean Howells wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam.
It ought to be as pleasant to sit down and write to you as to sit down and talk to you; but it isn’t, for if it were talking, I could soon shift the work on you, and have the best of it everyway; in writing I do all the work and don’t have any fun. …
It did me good to hear of your prosperity, and upon your caution, I didn’t go around bragging of it as I should have liked to do; but all the family rejoiced. From the figures you give me I believe you could live as cheaply in New York as in Vienna. The family hotels have multiplied and cheapened greatly; or if you prefer to keep house, apartments are plenty.
Howells’ son John was headed to California for the second phase of the competiton to win architectural design for the University of California (his firm took second place).
…all that I am doing now is writing regularly for the American edition of Literature. Of course I am writing novels and other things. But the old zest is gone [a line from Turgenev that Howells liked to quote].
Howells closed by relating that “Rudyard Kipling came awfully near dying; the interest in him was something tremendous” [MTHL 2: 687-8].
March 6 Monday
March 7 Tuesday – In Vienna, Austria, Sam cabled Rudyard Kipling: “I TENDER MY SINCEREST
CONDOLENCES / MARK TWAIN” [MTP]. Note: on Mar. 6 at 6:30 a.m., the Kiplings lost a daughter, Josephine (1892-1899). Rudyard had been seriously ill with inflammation of the lungs since early Feb. See Carrington, p.225-6.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.