January 4 Friday – At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote a postcard to Augustus T. Gurlitz: “You must
do all things according to your judgment, & not ask for mine” [MTP: Sotheby’s, New York catalogs, 11 Dec. 1990, Item
382]. Note: Sam wrote three postcards on three consecutive days to Gurlitz.
Sam also wrote to Charles Major in Shelbyville, Ind.
“Dear Mr. Major: / We are in Boston Jan. 14, & we return here Jan. 18. Can’t you send me the box for a later date? God Almighty will bless you, & I’ll be assisting” [MTP].
Note: Sam had a box at the Criterion Theatre for Paul Kester’s dramatization of Major’s novel, When Knighthood Was in Flower [ MTHHR 458n1: NB 44 TS 4]. Kester had agreed to dramatize TS, but the production never came off. See Mar. 24, 1900 entry.
Sam also wrote to Mr. Townsend.
I am better acquainted with sin than I am with business, but I suppose that if I enclose the within document it will move you to send me the reading-stand and the freight-bill. The freight-bill is what I want, particularly, for I am used to getting along without reading-stands, but I have an old passion for freight-bills [MTP]. Note: evidently Sam was having a reading stand shipped.
The New York Times, Jan. 5, p.1 reported on the dinner and Sam’s City Club speech of Jan. 4:
BISHOP POTTER SAYS HE WAS APPROACHED
Declares a Croker Emissary Tried to Close His Mouth.
TALK AT CITY CLUB DINNER.
Members Criticised for Indifference—Mark Twain and Other Notable Speakers Heard.
“The Causes of Our Present Municipal Degradation” was the subject that was discussed from many standpoints at a dinner given by the City Club last night. Not only were the causes the subject of discussion, but the speakers presented plans for the betterment of the city, prominent among them being those put forward by Bishop Potter and Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain.)
The dinner was a large one and Wheeler H. Peckham presided. With him at [the] table were Bishop Potter, Samuel L. Clemens, Charles Sprague Smith, Senator Le Grand Tibbitts, St. Clair McKelway, John E. Parsons, George F. Seward, Frank Moss, Paul Dana, R. R. Bowker, the Rev. Thomas R. Slicer, and the Rev. Grenville Merrill. Bourke Cockran had accepted an invitation to speak, but was detained at the last moment, while letters of regret were read from Gov. Odell, Abram S. Hewitt, District Attorney Philbin, Charles Steward Smith, Robert C. Morris, William H. Baldwin, Charles R. Miller, and Joel Bernhardt.
Mark Twain said that he held the whole matter of reform in his hands; that he knew all about it, and that he was going to tell his hearers just how to bring it about. He told about an organization of which he was a member fifty-one years ago—when he was fourteen years old—which had been dubbed the “Anti-Doughnut Party.” In the course of his address he dwelt on he fact that just such a party was needed now, and it was the opinion of those who heard him last night that the “Anti-Doughnut Party” would be one of the slogans in the next municipal campaign.
MARK TWAIN’S REMEDY.
Mark Twain, who was the next speaker, and who, Mr. Peckham said, would view the matter from a different standpoint, took issue with Bishop Potter at once. He said that there was lust for gain and dishonesty, but that it must be admitted that if such a condition was universal this country could not survive. He said that he believed that forty-nine out of every fifty men were honest, and asked if this were true why it was that the forty-nine honest ones could not have their way. The whole matter simplified, he said, was that the wrong man was in authority.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.