October 29 Monday –
perhaps an hour. My daughter repeated it to us in a few sentences, possessing decided literary value. This may have come from me. I don’t know, but the inaccuracy of the sentences did not come from me. That was original with her.
She said: “The reindeer is a very swift animal. A reindeer once drew a sled 400 miles in two hours.” Then, commenting on it, “This was regarded as remarkable. When the reindeer was done drawing that sled 400 miles in two hours it died.”
Now, there is the whole process of thought, the putting two and two together and drawing a conclusion. My next picture is of the prisoners in the Pretoria jail at the time of the Jameson raid. I soothed the feelings of those prisoners. I told them if they were not in that jail they would probably be in another. I pointed out their great opportunity for concentrating their minds. Sir Walter Raleigh would never have written his great history if he had not been imprisoned in the Tower. Another book written in jail was John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, a book I could have written myself if I had been in jail. I told those prisoners that instead of trying to get out they should have been paying board in that jail, so great were their opportunities of
As a final instance of the force of limitations in the development of concentration, I must mention that beautiful creature, Helen Keller, whom I have known for these many years. I am filled with the wonder of her knowledge, acquired because shut out from all distraction. If I could have been deaf, dumb, and blind I also might have arrived at something. I am only sentimentally blind, morally deaf and sometimes, not always, dumb. No, her grammar isn’t “perfect.” There’s no such thing as “perfect grammar,” but she is as near to it as anyone can be [MT Speaking 346-8]. Note: as per NB entry this day, Livy was in the audience.
George Iles (1852-1942), Canadian author, actor inscribed a copy of Flame, Electricity and the Camera
(1900) to Sam: “Samuel L. Clemens with the author’s high regard. New York, October 27, 1900” [MTP]. Note: Iles once played Rip Van Winkle in the play, American Cousin. See entries for Iles in Vol. II.
An anonymous review of The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories, ran in Speaker, p.103. Tenney: “Brief review, praising the title story; ‘the rest of the book is of the nature of pleasant gossip, essays on the Jews, on Christian Science, &c’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 186].
October 28 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “MEAT EXTRACT / London Syndicate ought to add £100,000 themselves & make a Co of £100,000 with a cash working capital of £70,000, payable in 25% instalments as required” [NB 43 TS 27].
At the Hotel Earlington in N.Y.C., Sam wrote a short note in reply to George Iles’ Oct 27, thanking him for Flame, Electricity and the Camera (1900), and that “it is just the kind of reading” that he enjoyed “the most.” He also announced they were “about to move to a furnished house—I think it will be 14 W. 10th street—& when we get settled you must come & swap talk with me” [MTP]. Note: Gribben connects this book to Sam’s reply: Iles’
Flame, Electricity and the Camera; Man’s Progress (1900) .
Sam’s notebook: “Capital $1,250,000. London Syndicate £30,000, get £60,000—that is, $300,000. / German Co ¼ 312,500. / To Exploration for guaranteeing—300,000 / Cash working— / Capital left — 300,000 / I want $20,000 / Plenty of time to think that over” [NB 43 TS 27]. Note: According to Sam’s numbers, the exchange rate was 5:1.
Frank N. Doubleday wrote to Sam about obtaining a house at 14 East 10th Street in N.Y. His agent would come to the Earlington Hotel at 4 p.m. the next day. Sam wrote on the envelope: “No. 14, 10th St.
Think is no doubt we can keep the house another year” [MTP].
October 30 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “See Chas. Frohman / or Rosenfeld 289 4th ave. / Write Sraus on Authors
Club. / See Metro bank & leave check & signatures” [NB 43 TS 28]. Note: a collaboration between Sydney Rosenfeld
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.