whether another dinner could be held if it were not possible to secure a greatly popular chairman. Colonel Rogers, who had visited Hartford, Mark Twain’s home, some years before, only to find that its most famous inhabitant had just left for Europe, suggested that as Clemens was then in London he should be asked to take the chair. It was then Friday morning, and communication was made by telephone. Yes, he would come; he would be delighted. Word was sent round at once, and on July 7, 1900, there was the biggest and most jovial dinner of the year, with Mark Twain enjoying himself to the top of his bent, and diffusing around him an atmosphere of high exhilaration. He new that it was against the rule to make speeches, he remarked; but he was in the chair, and a chairman was monarch of all he surveyed. He should therefore make as many speeches as he liked; and he did, in fact, make two, each of them distinguished by wit, raillery, and that power of story-telling of which is he is the supreme master. He was on several other occasions at the Club, calling there for letters, and to see friends; but was not again present on a Saturday night .
July 8 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “Ogilvie—the hospital ? in S.A. Explain why a dog carrying 10,000 fleas will break down if you add 5. / We have secured real estate in S.A. worth a portion of what it has cost” [NB 43 TS 21].
At Dollis Hill House in London, England Sam replied to Elizabeth (Ann Chase) Akers Allen (1832-1911), American author, journalist, poet of Tuckahoe, N.Y. She wrote under the name of Elizabeth Akers; her letter to Sam is not extant, nor is the particular story in question referred to.
“The story is not necessarily a negro story, but a world-story. It probably exists in varying forms in India
other ancient lands. Whence our negroes got it I do not know, nor from what land it made its way to Maine. Among our negroes there is more than one form of it” [MTP].
Sam also replied to Andrew Carnegie about the maxim of putting all one’s eggs in one basket and watching that basket; Sam had written Carnegie (through his three-year-old daughter, Margaret Carnegie, May 28). Carnegie’s reply to that letter, basically a solicitation to invest in Plasmon, is not extant, but evidently he invoked the maxim in declining, to which Sam responded:
It is a perfectly sound maxim, & I’ve followed it ever since you gave it [to] me. Mind, it needn’t bar you from removing your eggs from their present basket & putting them all in Plasmon. Don’t neglect to do this.
By & by I’ll hope to shelter in the shadows of Shibo Castle. Meantime we have taken a house & sheep-farm for 3 or 4 months within a 3-minute drive of the solid brick-&-mortar edge of London… [MTP].
At 1 a.m. after returning from the Savage Club dinner, Sam also wrote to Richard W. Gilder.
If you only want to say you “expect” a contribution from me, say it & welcome! But it must not bind me, understand, old man. Promises burden me heavily & I avoid making them, although I generally break them. …[See July 4 for paragraph here]
Your note was written on the 5th, posted on the 6th (your sailing-day,) & reached me here at 1 o’clock this morning when I arrived back from conducting the season-closing services of the Savage Club. I’m answering as soon as possible [MTP: Willard Wilson, Mark Twain Returns to Hawaii, 1969].
July 9 Monday – Sam’s notebook: “Full board meeting 12. noon. To pass important resolution. / 38 Montpelier ,
S.W. / 21 Carleton H.T. — 3.” [NB 43 TS 21]. Note: square after “Montpelier” drawn in.
July 10 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Dr. Haig, 7 Brook st (just around the corner.) / A.D. Provand, M.P. 2 Whitehall Court SW / The pocket-mine (or Frenchman’s Tunnel) in 1855. The 3 meet there again, aged 75) & strike it rich. But the girl, oh where is she? Chapparal quail” [NB 43 TS 21].
Will M. Clemens replied to Sam’s objections in his June 6 reply.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.