Vol 3 Section 0487
November 29 Thursday – Sam wrote his famous “Salutation-Speech from the 19th Century to the 20th” heading it “(For Red-Cross Watch -Night)”. After discovering that the Red Cross Society was doing advance advertising using his name he requested the piece be returned unpublished. He would then send it to the New England Anti-Imperialist League, and the New York Herald, dating it Dec. 31. It ran on Dec. 30 [Zwick, “Who Wrote the Couplet? etc.” MTJ 27.1 (Spring 1989): 34]. Note: See Dec. 30.
Robert C. Ogden’s article, “Mark Twain, American,” ran in Nation (NY), LXXI p.419-20. Tenney: “Praises MT’s public spirit in taking action against small abuses such as overcharging by a cabman, and condemning great wrongs committed in the Philippines and China. He deserves our gratitude for speaking out, for ‘refusing to join the writers who pet and humor the crowd. He has, rather, taken advantage of his assured position to speak words of truth and soberness to his fellow-countrymen, placing the obligations of the citizen above the amiabilities of the man of letters. This puts him as much morally above the mob of literary time-servers as his writings place him artistically.’ (The attribution to Ogden is by POOLE’S INDEX, V (1897-1902, 595.)” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Second Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1978 p. 171]. Note: see also Tenney p.31 for the same listing.
November 30 Friday – Sam’s 65th Birthday.
At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C. Sam wrote a postcard to Richard Watson Gilder, editor of Century Magazine: “I am laid up, but some time when you drop in I will tell you what Harpers said” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified woman, likely a neighbor, who complained about noisy boys gathering on his front steps.
I know I ought to respect my duty & perform it, but I am weak & faithless where boys are concerned, & I can’t help secretly approving pretty bad & noisy ones, though I do object to the kind that ring door-bells. My family try to get me to stop the boys from holding conventions on the front steps, but I basely shirk out of it, because I think the boys enjoy it. And I believe I enjoy it a little, too, because it pesters the family.
My wife has been complaining to me this evening about the boys on the front steps, & under compulsion I have made some promises. But I am very forgetful, now that I am old & my sense of duty getting spongy [MTP]. Note: isn’t this a perfect and typically Mark Twain reply?
Richard Watson Gilder, Robert Underwood Johnson, and Clarence C. Buel wrote a handmade birthday card to Sam, writing in a diamond pattern, with the border as: “Congratulations; Good Wishes; Forgiveness for all sins (General Clemens—See?); and a Fortunate Horoscope”. In the middle of the diamond: “1835 / November 30 / 1900” with the signatures of Gilder, Johnson and C.C. Buel [MTP].
Oscar Wilde chose Sam’s birthday to die in Paris.
December – At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Eduard Pötzl in Vienna that he could not “write articles for anybody but Harper’s Magazine—it’s a contract.” Sam conveyed that they thought of and spoke of him often and sent Christmas greetings [MTP].
Clara Clemens wrote of her father’s new status as a sought-after sage on almost any topic and life in the 10th Street house:
And once settled, Father was overwhelmed by an exhibition of the most sensational kind of cordiality from the public, press, and friends. One could never begin to describe in words the atmosphere of adulation that swept across his threshold. Every day was like some great festive occasion. One felt that a large party was going on and that by and by the guests would be leaving. But there was no leaving. More and more came. And the telephone rang so steadily that the butler got no time for other work, except when the faithful Katie offered to relieve him, and reduce a little at the same time, by carrying telephone
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.