October 17 Wednesday – Mark Twain wasted no time upon his return to the U.S. to speak in public. In the evening he spoke at a benefit for the Galveston orphans at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (of the Sept. 8 -9 hurricane). From the N.Y. Times of Oct. 18.
BAZAAR FOR GALVESTON ORPHANS
Mark Twain Closes the Benefit—Net Receipts Estimated at $25,000
The bazaar for the benefit of the homeless Galveston orphans, which began Monday night in the Waldorf-Astoria, was closed last night by Mark Twain. The attendance was the largest of the three evenings. Mr. Clemens, in closing the bazaar, spoke for about ten minutes.
Some of the people present were Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish, Mrs. George J. Gould, Mrs. Joseph H. Choate, Mrs. C. H. Postley, Mrs. W. D. Dinsmore, Mrs. Walter Peckham, Mrs. Clarence A. Henriques, Miss Helen M. Gould, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mrs. Hermann Oelrichs, Mrs. Sidney J. Smith, Mrs. Edwin R. Ladew, Mrs. H. McK. Twombly, Mrs. Richard Delafield, Mrs. H. F. Dimmock, Mrs. Seth Low, Mrs. Edwin Gould, and Mrs. Timothy L. Woodruff.
The management of the bazaar estimated the net receipts for the three nights at between $25,000 and $30,000. It will be some days before the exact amount can be learned. Until the accounts are closed an office will be maintained in the Waldorf-Astoria.
The text of Sam’s speech:
I expected that the Governor of Texas would occupy this place first and would speak to you, and in the course of his remarks would drop a text for me to talk from; but with the proverbial obstinacy that is proverbial with governors, they go back on their duties, and he has not come here, and has not furnished me with a text, and I am here without a text. I have no text except what you furnish me with your handsome faces, and—but I won’t continue that, for I could go on forever about attractive faces, beautiful dresses, and other things. But, after all, compliments should be in order in a place like this.
I have been in New York two or three days, and have been in a condition of strict diligence night and day, the object of this diligence being to regulate the moral and political situation on this planet—put it on a sound basis—and when you are regulating the conditions of a planet it requires a great deal of talk in a great many kinds of ways, and when you have talked a lot the emptier you get, and get also in a position of corking. When I am situated like that, with nothing to say, I feel as though I were a sort of fraud; I seem to be playing a part, and please consider I am playing a part for want of something better, and this, is not unfamiliar to me; I have often done this before.
When I was here about eight years ago I was coming up in a car of the elevated road. Very few people were in that car, and on one end of it there was no one, except on the opposite seat, where sat a man about fifty years old, with a most winning face and an elegant eye—a beautiful eye; and I took him from his dress to be a master mechanic, a man who had a vocation. He had with him a very fine little child of about four or five years. I was watching the affection which existed between those two. I judged he was the grandfather, perhaps. It was really a pretty child, and I was admiring her, and as soon as he saw I was admiring her he began to notice me.
I could see his admiration of me in his eye, and I did what everybody else would do—admired the child four times as much, knowing I would get four times as much of his admiration. Things went on very pleasantly. I was making my way into his heart.
By-and-by, when he almost reached the station where he was to get off, he got up, crossed over, and he said: “Now I am going to say something to you which I hope you will regard as a compliment.” And then he went on to say: “I have never seen Mark Twain, but I have seen a portrait of him, and any friend of mine will tell you that when I have once
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.