“We went out and loaded the pistol. Just then I had some qualms about staying to see the act of my friend. I hadn’t objected to witnessing a drowning, but this shooting was different; the drowning might have been looked upon as accidental, but not so with this. But I calmed myself, for when I suggested that I might go away he grew uneasy and acted as though he would not carry out his purpose if I did not stay beside him. So I stayed. He placed the barrel at his temple. He hesitated. In spite of all I could do I waxed impatient. ‘Pull the trigger!’ I cried. He pulled it. The ball went clean through his head. I held my breath. Then I found that the bullet had cleaned out all the gray matter. It had made a new man of him. Before he shot that shot he was nothing but a poet. Now he is a useful citizen. The ball just carried the poetic faculty out of the back door. Ever since then, although I am aware that I assisted him in the crime for selfish ends, I have been wishing that I might again help some other poet, or many of them, in the same way.
“So you see what a good thing a pawnbroker is. I am going to tell all the poets I know where your shop is located. Of course, you have lots of other good things in your establishment besides the pawnshop, and I have been thinking of sending you my check to help along your work. But I have decided, instead, to send to your library a lot of those books of mine that I hear one of your small boys has dubbed “Strawberry Finn.”
Note: University Settlement Society was founded in 1884 on NYC’s east side, America’s first social settlement serving the needs of immigrants. It yet grinds on.
Mrs. Elizabeth Evans wrote to Sam with “grateful appreciation” for his “Sitting in Darkness” article
William Oliver Fuller, Jr. of the Rockland Maine Courier-Gazette wrote to Sam: “I wish to exonerate you in the matter of the [missing] slippers. Aldrich, conscience smitten, and finding they weren’t mates, has returned them. I am looking forward to see the N.A. Review article make a sensation” [MTP].
General Oliver O. Howard committee chairman on invitations for Lincoln Memorial University’s Lincoln’s Birthday Celebration, wrote to Sam about the Feb. 11, 1901 benefit at Carnegie Hall.
“Yours of today is just received. We will not consider the article in the North American Review as an obstacle. I have been as catholic as possible in inviting Bishops of different grades & divisions of the church to meet you, officers of the Army & Navy, & also Henry Watterson & many men of all parties & stripes among our citizens.” Howard enclosed a clipping from the Mail and Express Illustrated Saturday Magazine which announced Henry Watterson as the orator of the event and Mark Twain as introducing him [MTP].
Kelly Miller, professor of mathematics at Howard University wrote compliments of Twain’s “Sitting in Darkness” article [MTP].
John J. Rooney of Rooney & Spence, Custom Brokers, N.Y.C. wrote compliments of Twain’s “Sitting in Darkness” article, and suggesting he write “a basket of articles” on imperialism [MTP]. Note: see Nov. 15,
1900 for another mention of Rooney.
Irving S. Underhill wrote to Sam that Doubleday, Page & Co. resigned all interest in reprinting “Adam’s Diary.” He suggested Sam get Harpers to reprint it [MTP].
February 3 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “Write Introduction to 100-Year Book. Mrs. Schieffelin, 242 E. 15th” [NB
44 TS 5].
At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Edward W. Ordway, secretary of the Anti-Imperialist
League. “I myself have no objections; for the other necessary permission I will refer you to Colonel Harvey of the North American Review…” [MTP]. Note: the League requested to reprint in pamphlet form, “To The Person Sitting in Darkness.”
Dr. Titus M. Coan, N.Y.C. wrote compliments of Twain’s “Sitting in Darkness” article [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.