May 18 Friday – Sam’s notebook: “Miss Chomondeley—lunch. / Meyer’s lecture Frederic William Myers.—& dine at Stanley’s. / RELIEF of Mafeking. The news came at 9.17 p.m. Before 10 all London was in the streets, gone mad with joy. By then the news was all over the American continent” [NB 43 TS 11]. Note: the siege of Mafeking was a famous British action in the second Boer War. The siege was finally lifted on May 17, 1900, when British forces commanded by Colonel B.T. Mahon of the army of Lord Roberts relieved the town after fighting their way in.
At 30 Wellington Court in London, Sam wrote to Mollie Clemens.
Allowing for difference in longitudinal time, your “premonition” of May 6 of “something out of the usual, and good”—for us—scored a bull’seye. For two days earlier—May 4th—Jean turned the corner— passed the main crisis & entered the home stretch for ultimate restoration to health….
We were making arrangements to go home; we have stopped them, & shall remain with Kellgren until October, & shall summer in Sweden again [MTP].
May 19 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “London wild with joy & noise all day & until two hours after midnight / Weather still horribly cold—we have had 9 months of winter. In New York last Monday, thermometer, 92” [NB 43 TS 11]. Note: See May 8 NB entry.
At 30 Wellington Court in London, Sam finished his May 17 to Samuel Moffett:
“Your later letter [not extant] arrived yesterday. Your aunt Livy is no better pleased with Dr. Helmer’s shifty way than you are. However, after all, he did furnish some definite particulars at last—all he had in stock, no doubt.”
Sam suggested the doctor was too lazy to keep records of his past cases. He ended with: “Jean remains in fine condition & we are well content” [MTP].
May 20 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “Lunch 10 m [a.m.?] to 1—come down Middle Temple Lane to Middle Temple—after lunch to Temple Church—get out at 4.30, oratorio begins at 3. Girls invited” [NB 43 TS 11].
May 21 Monday – Sam’s notebook: “Somatose, a Swiss meat-extract & curer of all ills. / Is a £ $4.86? / $3,071— £632? / Speech at Lotos: Thank my 96 creditors, only one of whom was a Shylock—Thos. Russell & son” [NB 43 TS 11-12].
May 22 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Clara Sue & Bertha Underhill—early. / Bigelow, 7.30 10 Elm Park Gardens, S.W. / Irving Underhill wants to pay me $500—owing 7 years. Cannot allow it. He has had a hard time” [NB 43 TS 12].
In the evening in London, The Clemenses visited Irving S. Underhill and family (see above NB entry), who were visiting London [May 23 to Underhill]. Charles Underhill, son of Irving, writes of this evening in his 1928 reminiscence:
At the dinner were Mark Twain, Mrs. Clemens, their two daughters, Father [Irving Underhill] and my aunt and their cousin, and two fine young fellows from Sweden.
When dinner was over, Clara Clemens (now Mrs. Gabrilovitch [sic]) entertained the little company by singing. After her singing it was the men’s duty to provide the entertainment. Mark Twain was always enthusiastic about charades. He and the other men withdrew to the hall, closed the door, and whispered. Mark Twain suggested the word that had constantly been in his mind for many years, and, even though he had just cleared himself of all debts, the word that was still fresh in his mind, “insolvent.” This was to be acted in two acts and then the whole word.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.