Vol 3 Section 0336

286                                                                        1899

Sam had done some editing on the introduction for Murray’s Joan of Arc book to suit Livy and himself , and estimated it now ran 3,500 words [MTP].

August 30 Wednesday

August 31 Thursday

AutumnSam wrote a piece titled, “A Simplified Alphabet” in response to the simplified spelling movement in the United States. It began:

I have had a kindly feeling, a friendly feeling, a cousinly feeling toward Simplified Spelling, from the beginning of the movement three years ago, but nothing more inflamed than that. It seemed to me to merely propose to substitute one inadequacy for another; a sort of patching and plugging poor old dental relics with cement and gold and porcelain paste; what was really needed was a new set of teeth. That is to say, a new ALPHABET.

The heart of our trouble is with our foolish alphabet. It doesn’t know how to spell, and can’t be taught. In this it is like all other alphabets except one—the phonographic. This is the only competent alphabet in the world. It can spell and correctly pronounce any word in our language.


Simplified Spelling makes valuable reductions in the case of several hundred words, but the new spelling must be LEARNED. You can’t spell them by the sound; you must get them out of the book. But even if we knew the simplified form for every word in the language, the phonographic alphabet would still beat the Simplified Speller “hands down” in the important matter of economy of labor. I will illustrate:

PRESENT FORM: through, laugh, highland.

SIMPLIFIED FORM: thru, laff, hyland [Neider, Complete Essays 544-50].

SeptemberSam’s article, “Concerning the Jews” first ran in the Sept. issue of Harper’s . It was collected in The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories (1900) and How to Tell a Story, and Other Essays (1903); a postscript was added to the essay in the English edition of the former as well as later American editions beginning in 1902. See Sept. 15 to Simon Wolf, with notes.

Sam wrote “My Boyhood Dreams” in Sanna this month. Gribben offers that the sketch alluded to Frank Richard Stockton (1834-1902) “in a context that indicates esteem and affection; he jokingly claims that Stockton originally hoped to be a barkeeper” [666: DV390; McClure’s Magazine Jan. 1900 issue, p.286-90: Budd Collected 2: 1005].

September 1 FridayIn Sanna, Sweden Sam wrote to Poultney Bigelow.

We are progressing handsomely, and are greatly obliged to you for putting us on the track. I suppose you will be returning to London soon. We shall reach there the last day of this month and may remain till mid-winter or longer. Then I will powerfully discourage the weekly newspaper project unless you can prove that the wear and tear of it will not destroy your health [MTP].

Sam also wrote to James B. Pond, once again nixing an offer to lecture, this time for a thousand a night.

Say! Some time ago I received notice that I had been elected an honorary member of the “Society of Sons of Steerage Immigrants,” & was told that Kipling, Hop Smith & Nelson Page are officers of it. What right have they to belong? Ask Page or Smith about it.

Max made the speech of the evening at the Whitefriars banquet to me, in London [MTP]. Note: See June 16

for the banquet Sam referred to, at which Max O’Rell spoke.

September 2 Saturday

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.