Vol 3 Section 0411

1900                                                                            359

April 28 SaturdayAt 30 Wellington Court in London, England Sam wrote to Grace Reuter, mother of child prodigy on the violin, Florizel Reuter (or von Reuter; 1890-1985) and protégé of Lyman J. Gage (see Apr. 30 to Gage in which this letter was enclosed). Evidently Sam had heard the young fiddler at his parlor some time before this letter, and had been duly impressed.

I think it quite manifest that there is the making of a great artist in Florizel, & that his continuance under able teachers will presently fit him for the high place his native genius may be depended upon to secure for him. Even to-day, young as he is [10], & after only a year’s tuition under a really competent master, his playing would, I am sure, charm a great popular audience in America in as pronounced a degree as it charmed me


Note: the following on young Reuter, permission the Davenport, Iowa Library’s website:

Born in 1890 to parents Jacob and Grace Rueter, Davenport’s curly haired charmer Florizel Reuter was already musically and intellectually impressive at age five, when he was invited to study in Chicago, Illinois with Max Bendix, concertmaster of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Bendix is said to have procured an especially small violin so that Florizel’s diminutive hands could master the instrument. Florizel was a protégé of Lyman J. Gage, who hosted a Davenport reception in Florizel’s honor in June of 1895, and was no doubt responsible for little Florizel’s appearances in the White House performing for President and Mrs. McKinley in 1899 and again for Theodore Roosevelt several years later. [Gage was Secretary of the Treasury.]

The precocious Reuter went on to study and perform extensively in Europe. The 1949 Davenport Daily Times reported that Florizel was applauded by kings, knighted by the Romanian throne, impoverished by war and left with only a wife and two valuable violins, an Obici and a Maggini valued at $25,000.

“…a sunny faced, natural child without the least trace of spoiling by all the attention he has received…The exact future of this phenomenon cannot be predicted. He seems to be prematurely bright in all things for a boy of his years, and in the realm of harmony he is a wonderful genius” [Davenport Sunday Democrat, Sept. 15, 1895, p.1].

Also: Florizel had an adult career in Germany as a soloist and violin teacher. He was also psychic and author of several books on his mediumistic communications with deceased musicians, among others.

Sam also wrote to unidentified men concerning their wish to reissue his Library of Humor. Since this issue had been touched on in a couple of Sam’s letters to Frank Bliss, it’s likely that this note was sent to staff members of the American Publishing Co. Sam remembered that the plates to the 1888 book had been ordered melted. “Let the matter of issuing the ‘Library of Humor’ stand over until I get home. I can’t make up my mind yet. I will make it up then” [MTP].

April 29 Sunday Sam’s notebook: “Punctuality is the thief of time. / S.L. Clemens interviews Mark Twain.

Subject: What do you think of Interviewers & their trade?” [NB 43 TS 9].

April 30 MondaySam’s notebook: “Never waste a lie, for you never know when you may need one” [NB 43 TS 9].

At 30 Wellington Court in London, England Sam wrote to Lyman J. Gage (1836-1902) concerning his protégé, Florizel Reuter enclosing a copy of his Apr. 28 to Grace Reuter, Florizel’s mother [MTP].

The accompanying copy is what I wrote to Mrs. Reuter. [on Apr. 28]

If the main purpose is that Florizel [Reuter] shall come before the public as an infant prodigy, he is competent for that already—in America, but not in Europe….If he avoided the most difficult music of the

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