Vol 3 Section 0289
March 27 Monday – In Budapest, Hungary, Sam sent an aphorism to an unidentified person:“It is not
easy for us to bear prosperity. (Another man’s, I mean.) / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / March 27, 1899” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Bertha von Suttner to decline an invitation (not extant) of some sort. He was booked only for one engagement in April and after that he would take a holiday for the season [MTP].
Elizabeth Bacon Custer wrote to Sam, grateful for a check she’d rec’d on the anniversary of her wedding day. “I do not know how to tell you with what surprise and gratitude I have received these evidences of your determination to rise above the common business methods of the world in general” [MTP]. Note: One of the Webster debts that Sam was working off was to Mrs. Custer.
March 28 Tuesday – The Clemens family’s last full day in Budapest, Hungary. On one of their days in Budapest Ferenc Kossuth (1841-1914), leader of the Independence Party in the Hungarian Parliament, called at their hotel. Dolmetsch: “Clemens had heard Lajos Kossuth [Ferenc’s father, a Hungarian hero] lecture in St. Louis in the late 1850s on one of the barnstorming tours of the United States, and like most Americans, the Clemenses venerated this great ‘Champion of Liberty’” . Note: Lajos Kossuth (1802-1894) toured the US in 1851-2, and in St. Louis on Mar. 15, 1852 not the late 1850s; as such it is doubtful young Samuel Clemens, who left home in 1853, would have heard Kossuth lecture in St. Louis. No record of Clemens going to St. Louis prior to 1853 has been found.
March 29 Wednesday – In the afternoon Sam and daughters went to a tea party with music and instruction for girls in Magyar dances. Clementina Katona Abrányi (1858 -1932), Hungarian feminist author, remembered Mark Twain at this gathering as “sensitive, reflective and introverted,” impressed by his “erudition” and progressive opinions on women’s issues. Dolmetsch: “Anna Katona, ‘the first Hungarian to discover the serious Mark Twain behind the laughter’” .
The Clemens family left Budapest, Hungary at 8 p.m. from the eastern rail station (Keleti) and traveled the 180 miles back to Vienna “in a wagon-lit carriage ‘put at their disposal by Hungarian Railroads,’ certainly a mark of unusual distinction” [Dolmetsch 59]. Note: The following letter to Katharine Boland may have been written in Budapest or Vienna; Sam often put the address of where they were headed on letters as he was leaving a location. In this case they would have arrived back in Vienna very late, perhaps even after midnight, so Budapest is more likely. Katona gives Mar. 30 as the departure date .
Livy and Sam wrote to Katharine Boland, congratulating her on the impending marriage to James R.
Clemens, who had just sent a cable (not extant) of their engagement Sam:
I have never married a Clemens myself, & should think twice before I ventured to do such a thing; still less particular people have taken the risk & found them well enough as a change. In your case, Miss Boland, I am hoping the best. I like my relative Jim very much, and as a Clemens he averages away up [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s cable May 3 congratulating on their marriage.
Countess de Bardi wrote from Cannes, France to Sam, to thank him for his gift of one of his pens, which she was “quite happy and proud to have it,” and thought better of making it simply an object of reverence but “that I shall love to use it!” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the envelope: “From Her Royal Highness the Countess Bardi, (House of Bourbon,) daughter of the King of Portugal.” The note and envelope bear a mourning border.
March 30 Thursday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria Sam signed sheets for the deluxe Uniform editions which had arrived prior to leaving for Budapest. He shipped them to Frank Bliss by “the best express-firm in Vienna” [Mar. 31 to Bliss].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.