Vol 3 Section 0341

1899                                                                            291

Sam took another page or two to criticize regular doctors and medicines [MTP].

Sam also wrote to T. Douglas Murray:

There is something very Frenchy about the cheeky interest (and complacent) which that excrescence of the human race take in Joan of Arc. In a bookshop window in Rouen I saw a bibliography of their contributions to her literature containing 3,000 titles, 99 hundredths of that must have been written since 1848; five centuries hence they will find something to be vain about in their treatment of Dreyfus.

How lucky that they condemned him again. If I hadn’t been supported and encouraged by my deep trust in their innate and hereditary rottenness, I should have been afraid, at times, that they would strike a lucid interval and save their country that final smirch [MTP: Chicago Book Auctions catalogs, 18 Feb. 1937, Item 106].

Sam also replied to Francis H. Skrine, whose incoming letter is not extant.

It’s a darling anecdote; & like most Scotch ones, full of the right to live forever.

We have had a perfect summer in this remote hamlet; it is fast shortening up, now. We shall be quartered in the Queen Anne Mansions the 1st of October—on the 7th floor; & I do hope to goodness they will take some pains to make our sojourn there comfortable & satisfactory.

After his signature Sam added a PS asking if Skrine would inscribe the book to him. Also, Sam was reminded about words he used in writing that he never used in speaking because he wasn’t sure how to pronounce them and was too lazy to look them up. “Other lazy people have this way, no doubt” [MTP]. Note: Skrine’s 1899 book co-authored by Edward Denison Ross: The Heart of Asia: A History of Russian Turkestan and the Central Asian Khanates from the Earliest Times, (published by Methuen & Co., London) is likely the one referred to here. (Not in Gribben.)

Sam also replied to Simon Wolf (1836-1923), powerful Jewish political attorney and philanthropist who founded the American Jewish Historical Society. Wolf’s letter is not extant, but he referred to it in The Presidents I have Known 1860-1918:

“Mark Twain, in an article in Harper’s Magazine, made a statement reflecting on the loyalty of the Jews during the Civil War. Coming as it did from a literary celebrity, I promptly wrote to him, calling his attention to my book, ‘The American Jew,’ sending him a copy thereof which he acknowledged as follows:” [149]. Sam’s reply:

I wish to thank you for the books now, for if they should get lost on the way, you might think I got them & was derelict in the matter of courtesy. …

I perceive that the Jews did wisely in keeping quiet during the Dreyfus agitation—the other course would have hurt Dreyfus’s cause, & I see now that nothing could have helped it.

Dreyfus has now won, for a second time, the highest honor in the gift of France—expulsion from her Army. I hope he knows how to value that, but I am afraid he doesn’t. But he mustn’t accept a pardon, anyway; an innocent man should spare himself that smirch—& Dreyfus would, I think; he is a manly man.

I thank you. I wanted one complimentary word from a competent source; with that support I can stand the rest [MTP].

Notes: “Twain described ‘Concerning the Jews’ as ‘my gem of the ocean,’ but predicted ‘neither Jew nor Christian will approve it.’ In the case of America’s Jewish leadership, he proved correct. Jewish critics acknowledged Twain’s respect for Jews but bemoaned his errors of fact. They denied that Jews had played a minimal role in gaining American liberty, or that they dominated commerce, or that they shirked military duty. Several critics were especially offended by Twain’s saying that Jews had done nothing to help acquit Captain Dreyfus.

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