Vol 3 Section 0311
June 8 Thursday – Clara Clemens’ 25th birthday.
Sam’s notebook entry: “
8/99. Goerz. 13th ?” [NB 40 TS 56]. Note: the strikeout and the new
entry for Goerz on June 13 may reflect a change of
appointment date; see June 13.
June 9 Friday – The family left Broadstairs, England, and returned to the Prince of Wales Hotel in London. Sam wrote two notes to Chatto & Windus, one perhaps shortly after this day. The first short note asked if they couldn’t get it in the papers that “Mrs. Clemens & 2 daughters are with me? It is very awkward, on some accounts, that this is not known.” In the second note he wrote: “After reflection, Mrs. Clemens prefers that no newspaper mention be made of the family’s presence in town” [MTP].
Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote to Sam from Maythem Hall, Rolvenden, Kent, inviting Sam and Livy to “come and spend a few days” in the English country. “It is so long since we met but please do not have forgotten me. Do not say you are going to ten thousand dinner parties.” She was also writing to Poultney Bigelow and enclosed a copy of her letter to him [MTP].
Lilly G. Warner wrote to Livy, overjoyed that the Clemenses planned to return. Her brother Will was in London at the Savoy Hotel [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Fri., 9, Savage Club” [NB 40 TS 56].
Fatout writes of this dinner speech at the Savage Club, chaired this night by John Y. MacAlister:
When the family returned to London in the early summer of 1899, Mark Twain was immediately sought after, much as he had been on his first visit almost thirty years before. The Savage Club made him its fourth honorary member, the other three being the Prince of Wales, Fridtjof Nansen, and Henry M. Stanley. At a club dinner for the new member, the toastmaster said that the chief guest had no claim to the title of humorist, that his true vocation was statistics, which he loved for their own sake, and that he would have an easy time counting all the real jokes he had ever made. Mark Twain promptly jumped up to make the brief reply given below. Later in the evening he evidently made a full-scale speech, but it has not survived [MT Speaking 321]. Note: MTB 1086-7 gives part of his later full speech. Fatout set intros in italics..
Sam’s short rejoinder:
Perhaps I am not a humorist, but I am a first-class fool—a simpleton; for up to this moment I have believed Chairman MacAlister to be a decent person whom I could allow to mix up with my best friends and relatives. The exhibition he has just made of himself reveals him to be a scoundrel and a knave of the deepest dye. I have been cruelly deceived, and it serves me right for trusting a Scotchman. Yes, I do understand figures, and I can count. I have counted the words in MacAlister’s drivel (I certainly cannot call it a speech), and there were exactly three thousand four hundred and thirty-nine. I also carefully counted the lies—there were exactly three thousand four hundred and thirty-nine. Therefore, I leave MacAlister to his fate.
I was sorry to hear my name mentioned as one of the great authors, because they have a sad habit of dying off. Chaucer is dead. Spenser is dead, so it Milton, so is Shakespeare, and I am not feeling very well myself .
The Savage Club dinner was commemorated in an impromptu sketch by Phil May, the well-known humorist artist, of himself, Mark Twain, MacAlister and a fourth. For at least two years May illustrated
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.