I went to your house yesterday to see what had become of you & your family, but by ill luck I was a little too late—you had flitted in for a moment & flown again. I was very sorry I missed the glimpse I came so near having of you. But I could have brought you no cheer, for I have none myself. I think I have never had so many depressing days, nor lived so long in such an unlifting atmosphere of anxiety & mourning. Then what must it be for those whose hearts are under the Knife! It is only by our misery of three years ago that we can know.
With our deepest sympathies & warmest regards, (Mrs. Clemens joining me) … [MTP].
Sam also signed “Mark T.” on a card to an unidentified person, and added: “If that story said I found that
stone otherwise than simply worthless, it did not speak the truth” [The Autograph 1.8 (Nov.-Dec. 1912): 188].
January late – Sue Crane wrote to the Clemenses, enclosing a pamphlet about osteopathy, as well as a package of hickory nuts. Sue’s letter is not extant but it and the enclosures are mentioned in Sam’s Feb. 8 response.
Sam and Livy dined at the home of Francis and Helen Skrine, friends they first met in Calcutta during the world tour. In attendance was Sir William Wilson Hunter. Sam mentioned the dinner as “a couple of weeks ago,” and Hunter’s Feb. 6 death in his Feb. 8 to Sue Crane. See Gribben, p.645 for Skrine’s book on Hunter.
February – Sam also wrote an aphorism to Alfred E. Mann. “Never do wrong when people are looking” [MTP].
February 1 Thursday – Jonas Henrick Kellgren Osteopath, billed £10.10.0 for the last half of January, Feb. 1, 1900 included, for Jean’s treatments [1900 Financial file MTP].
February 1 Thursday, ca. – In London, England Sam replied to Samuel S. McClure’s Jan. 16 continuing to discuss McClure’s proposition of a new magazine that Sam would edit in absentia. Sam’s take on writing and lecturing with humor provides a fascinating understanding of this aspect of his art.
Let us not deceive any one, nor allow any one to deceive himself if it can be prevented. This is not to be a comic magazine. It is simply a good, clean, wholesome collection of well-written & enticing literary products, like the other magazines of its class; not setting itself to please but one of a man’s moods, but all of them. It will not play but one kind of music, but all kinds. I should not be able to edit a comic periodical satisfactorily, for lack of interest in the work. I value humor highly, & am constitutionally fond of it, but I should not like it as a steady diet. For its own best interests, humor should take its outings in grave company; its cheerful dress gets heightened color from the proximity of sober hues. For me to edit a comic magazine would be an incongruity & out of character; for of the twenty-three books which I have written, eighteen do not deal in humor as their chiefest feature, but are half-&-half admixtures of fun & seriousness. I think I have seldom deliberately set out to be humorous, but have nearly always allowed the humor to drop in or stay out according to its fancy. Although I have many times been asked to write something humorous for an editor or publisher, I have had wisdom enough to decline; a person could hardly be humorous with the other man watching him like that. I have never tried to write a humorous lecture, I have only tried to make serious ones: it is the only way not to succeed.
Sam continued that while he would write for the proposed magazine when the spirit moved him, he felt his “largest entertainment in editing it,” and it would “be comfort & joy” for him “to walk the quarter-deck & superintend” [MTP]. Paine writes of McClure’s scheme:
McClure was in England with a proposition for starting a new magazine whose complexion was to be peculiarly American, with Mark Twain as its editor. The magazine was to be called The Universal, and by
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.