If you got half as much as Pond prophecied, be content & praise God—it has not happened to another. But I am sorry he didn’t go with you; for it is marvelous to hear him lie. He is good company, cheery & hearty, & his mill is never idle. Your doing a lecture tour was heroic. It was the highest order of grit, & you have a right to be proud of yourself. No amount of applause or money or both could save it from being a hell to a man constituted as you are. It is that even to me, who am made of coarser stuff. …
Privately speaking, this is a sordid & criminal war, & in every way shameful & excuseless. Every day I write (in my head) bitter magazine articles about it, but I have to stop with that, for England must not fall: it would mean an inundation of Russian & German political degradations which would envelop the globe & steep it in a sort of Middle-Age night & slavery which would last till Christ comes again—which I hope he will not do; he made trouble enough before. Even wrong—& she is wrong—England must be upheld. He is an enemy of the human race who shall speak against her now. Why was the human race created? Or at least why wasn’t something creditable created in place of it. God had His opportunity; He could have made a reputation. But no, He must commit this grotesque folly—a lark which must have cost him a regret or two when He came to think it over & observe effects. For a giddy & unbecoming caprice there has been nothing like it till this war. I talk the war with both sides—always waiting until the other man introduces the topic. Then I say “My head is with the Briton, but my heart & such rags of morals as I have are with the Boer—now we will talk, unembarrassed & without prejudice.” And so we discuss, & have no trouble [MTHL 2: 715-7].
January 26 Friday – At 30 Wellington Court in London, England Sam finished his Jan. 25 to William Dean Howells.
It was my intention to make some disparaging remarks about the human race; & so I kept this letter open for that purpose, & for the purpose of telling my dream, wherein the Trinity were trying to guess a conundrum propounded by One of Them regarding that premature birth; but I can do better—for I can snip out of the “Times” various samples & side-lights which bring the race down to date & expose it as of yesterday. …
I notice that God is on both sides in this war; thus history repeats itself. But I am the only person who has noticed this; everybody here thinks He is playing the game for this side, & for this side only. / With great love to you all / Mark [MTHL 2: 715-7].
Rogers wrote to Sam replying to his of Jan. 8 and of Jan. 13:
I have your favor of the 8th, also the one of the 13th inst. I have informed Mrs. Rogers what you said in regard to that grand Entertainment, and you may consider yourself booked. You certainly must come home in the Spring. We cannot have you away any longer. I am seriously contemplating the chartering of a yacht, in the expectation that you will look after the commissary department. It was not run to my satisfaction last year, and I want a skilful man at the head, if I follow the business.
I have read with interest your complimentary opinion of Doctors, and when I have the courage, I shall read it to our mutual friend. At present it would be dangerous.
Rogers gave his advice as requested about Samuel McClure’s offer for Sam to edit a new magazine. If everything was as described, Rogers felt “…it would be a nice business for you.” He admonished Sam to “stick to it” once his mind was made up [MTHHR 428-9 ]
January 27 Saturday – At 30 Wellington Court in London, England Sam wrote to Joe Twichell [MTP:
Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’s Letters, p.694].
DEAR JOE,—Apparently we are not proposing to set the Filipinos free and give their islands to them; and apparently we are not proposing to hang the priests and confiscate their property. If these things are so, the war out there has no interest for me.
I have just been examining chapter LXX of “Following the Equator,” to see if the Boer’s old military effectiveness is holding out. It reads curiously as if it had been written about the present war.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.