April 4 Tuesday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam replied to yet another invitation by James B. Pond for lectures. Sam said no, he didn’t like lecturing and only wanted to do it twice a year or so for fun—“…talking for money is work, & that takes the pleasure out of it.” Sam doubted any terms would entice him and didn’t “expect to see a platform again until the wolf commands.” He shared family plans to return to America early in October, and sent his love to “the Lotos boys” [MTP].
April 5 Wednesday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam added to his Apr. 2 letter to William Dean Howells. He related reading the serial segment of Howells’ Their Silver Wedding Journey up to the point where Jean came and took the magazine away. Sam confessed that after he had sold his stock at “a fine profit early in January” it has “never ceased to advance, & is now worth $60,000 more than” he’d sold it for. He felt as if he’d spent $20,000 a month and felt “reproached for this showy & unbecoming extravagance.” Sam related receiving a three-page letter (Countess de Bardi Mar. 29, 1899) “from a King’s daughter” which he wanted to keep, and then wrote three paragraphs relating the trip to Budapest.
They are wonderful English scholars, those people; my lecture audience—all Hungarians—understood me perfectly,—to judge by the effects. The English clergyman told me that in his congregation are 150 young English woman who earn their living teaching their language; & that there are others besides these.
For 60 cents a week the telephone reads the morning paper to you at home; gives you the stocks & markets at noon; gives you lessons in 3 foreign languages during 3 hours; gives you the afternoon telegrams;
at night the concerts & operas. Of course even the clerks & seamstresses & bootblacks & everybody else are subscribers.
(Correction. Mrs. Clemens says it is 60 cents a month.)
I am renewing my youth. I made 4 speeches at one banquet here last Saturday night [Apr. 1]. And I’ve been to a lot of football matches [MTHL 2: 691].Note: Sam would add more on Apr. 6, 12, and 13.
Sam also wrote to John Brisben Walker, suggesting “Wapping Alice” if Walker needed a story. It was an essentially true tale, Sam wrote, “even more bizarre & picturesque than I have made it in the story.” He named Joe Twichell as the preacher and George Griffin, the butler, who died two years before while working at the Union League Club, N.Y. If Walker was interested he should write Katharine Harrison
[MTP]. Note: this tale was based on the July 18, 1877 sleuthing and coerced marriage ceremony at the Farmington Ave. home, between a servant Lizzy and Willie Taylor. See entry.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore, likely about the “Wapping Alice” story:
“Maybe I forgot to send the article to the Century—I don’t know. But to cover accidents, I am sending an article to Mr. Walker of the ‘Cosmopolitan.’ If he accepts it he will send the money to you, & you can receipt for it” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Katharine I. Harrison. “Please send ‘Wapping Alice’ to Mr. Walker, & greatly oblige / Sincerely Yours / SL CLemens” [MTP]. Note: John Brisben Walker of Cosmopolitan Magazine.
April 6 Thursday – At the Hotel Krantz in Vienna, Austria, Sam added to his Apr. 2 and 5 letter to William Dean Howells.
Next Morning. I have been reading the morning paper. I do it every morning—well knowing that I shall find in it the usual depravities and baseness & hypocrisies & cruelties that make up Civilization, & cause me to put in the rest of the day pleading for damnation of the human race. I cannot seem to get my prayers answered, yet I do not despair.
(Escaped from) 5 o’clock Tea.(‘sh!) Oh, the American girl in Europe! Often she is creditable, but sometimes she is just shocking. This one, a minute ago—19, fat-face, raspy voice, pert ways, the self-complacency of
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.