Vol 3 Section 0444

392                                                                        1900

September 4 Tuesday – James B. Pond wrote to Sam.

I am glad to get your letter on the margin of the proposed little story for my book. I don’t agree with you. I believe that a man who can write a letter that makes one feel as though his friends should enjoy the same feeling, has no right to insist that everybody should wait for him to die,—a man who has a lease of life for one hundred years, as you have. You have got the thing down so fine that you can live without eating, and a man who does not require nourishment is an “evergreen”.

I will not print the letter, First: because you rather I would not. Second: because Mr. Cable has reconsidered and has asked me not to do it. …

Sam Moffet [ sic] called this morning and I asked him to look over a long story that I had written about you for my book, but I do not reprint your letters in full. The story deals with our trip across the Continent. It is not bad, and I want you to read it for the first time in the book. Then if you feel like shooting me at sight, pull out your blunderbuss. I shall not be armed when I meet you [MTP].

September 5 Wednesday

September 6 ThursdayAt Dollis Hill House in London, England Sam replied to an invitation by Stanley W. Ball to speak at a new reading room for the local library at Kensal Rise. Sam wrote over the letterhead, “Duplicate of a letter which I lost, this morning between Dollis Hill & the station.”

“I am very sorry that for reasons more easily explicable by tongue than pen, I shall not be able to assist at the opening of the reading room; but I shall be sorrier still if that fact shall lose me the opportunity of meeting the Chairman & Vice Chairman at my house” [MTP].

Note: The following information on the above letter is by Robert Hirst from the Bancroftiana Newsletter, Vol.

119, Fall 2001:

Clemens dated it simply “September 6” but the year was certainly 1900, when he and his family rented Dollis Hill House in Willesden, just outside metropolitan London. (The mourning border was for their daughter Susy, who had died on August 18, 1896.) One of the striking things about this letter is the way it helps us piece together the puzzle of Clemens’s life at the time. Even now we scarcely know who Stanley W. Ball was. But the letter itself (as well as the “Duplicate” which Clemens says he lost on the way to the “train station” that morning!) declined an invitation to speak at the opening of a new reading room at Kensal Rise, part of Willesden’s public libraries. Although Clemens says he will “not be able to assist” them, the “Chairman & Vice Chairman” of the Kensal Rise Library Committee must have changed his mind, for he did in fact speak at the opening on September 27. Stanley W. Ball and “Mr. A. Dunn” are identified in the official program as having given to the library some “36 Photographs of local views.” Arthur Dunn was the local photographer who took the photographs, about which Clemens said, on September 20, “I have not seen finer photographs than those six pictures of Dollis Hill & the family” [Editorial emphasis.]

An anonymous review of The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories and Essays ran in Independent p.2170. Tenney: “In part: ‘Some of these stories are funny, all are entertaining. Regarded as literature, they are of very slipshod workmanship. Split infinitives, slang, loose English and an obvious straining after humorous effects are the weak features of the work. Mark Twain is, however, a privileged character, and his standing in American literature is firmly fixed. We welcome whatever he writes, and we are sure of our money’s worth when we buy one of his books. There is something in the depth of the initial story of the present book, something so human and true, that we overlook the exaggerations of style and the tendency to horse-play literature’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Sixth Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Spring 1982 p. 9].

September 7 Friday

September 8 Saturday

September 9 Sunday

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