Vol 3 Section 0320
I can bring a moral to bear here which shows the difference between theoretical morals and practical morals. Theoretical morals are the sort you get on your mother’s knee, in good books, and from the pulpit. You gather them in your head, and not in your heart; they are theory without practice. Without the assistance of practice to perfect them, it is difficult to teach a child to “be honest, don’t steal.”
I will teach you how it should be done, lead you into temptation, teach you how to steal, so that you may recognize when you have stolen and feel the proper pangs. It is no good going round and bragging that you have never taken the chair.
As by the fires of experience, so by commission of crime, you learn real morals. Commit all the crimes, familiarize yourself with all sins, take them in rotation (there are only two or three thousand of them), stick to it, commit two or three every day, and by and by you will be proof against them. When you are through you will be proof against all sins and morally perfect. You will be vaccinated against every possible commission of them. This is the only way.
Appropriately, Sam followed with the story of the stolen watermelon [MT Speaking 330-2]. *Chairman who
introduced Mark Twain: George Grossmith (1847-1912); British comedian.
June 30 Friday – In London, Livy wrote for Sam to Andrew Chatto, asking details for a watch she’d rec’d and wanted to exchange for a fancier case. She also wanted to enclose a letter from Mr. Blair, which Sam wanted sent. Sam had been trying for two days to get down to see Chatto and expected to go in the morning, but thought Chatto might like to see the letter and consider it first [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Tea—Max O’Rell’s. Stanleys. 8 Acacia Road, N.W” [NB 40 TS 57].
Harper & Brothers statement of this date credits Clemens with $1,562.71, payable Nov. 1899 [1899 financial file MTP].
July – Anne E. Keeling’s article, “American Humour: Mark Twain,” ran in the London Quarterly Review, p.147-62. Tenney: “(Source: Asselineau (1954), No. 18; reprinted in Anderson (1971), pp. 221-27.) Discusses the joking in IA, the irreverence in CY, the indictment of slavery in PW and FE, calling MT ‘this sturdy foe of oppression and injustice, this lover of the heroic and the magnanimous…who still continues to provide clean, wholesome food for laughter, under the familiar style of Mark Twain’” [30-1].
Charles Johnston’s article in Atlantic Monthly, “The True American Spirit in Literature,” p. 29-35 refers to Mark Twain, Harte, Cable, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, to show his idea that American literature is characterized by “light without color, and definition without atmosphere.” (At least this is true of Harte’s writings.) America lacks a sense of history, folklore and romance. Twain is referred to as “the greatest writer of them all, the greatest that this New World has yet seen.” Johnson also remarks on Sam’s “absence of religious sentiment,” and cites Buck Fanshaw’s funeral as an example of irreverence towards aristocrats [Wells 25].
July 1 Saturday – In London, England, Sam replied to Francis H. Skrine (Skrine’s not extant), after a visit proved the Skrine’s were not home.
Alas, we shall then be far out on the briny deep, & between this & then I see no chance for us to get together, on account of interfering engagements; but we shall be back by October, & then we shan’t have any difficulty about managing it. We were hoping to catch you at home today & say good-bye, but luck was against us—you were out [MTP].
Sam also wrote an aphorism-inscription for Afsa Horner in an autograph album: “To Afsa Horner: / Always be good & dutiful when it is handy, & never tell a lie except when it will get somebody into trouble that deserves it. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / July 1, 1899” [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.