May 8 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook: “Dora [Wheeler] Keith the whole day” [NB 44 TS 10].
At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Laurence Hutton in Princeton, N.J.. to announce he was
“coming down all alone per 3.55 train to-morrow. The rest of the tribe have to stay here” [MTP].
Hiram Stevens Maxim wrote from London to Sam having received his letter of Apr. 26 (not extant).
When one has great talents they generally find an opportunity of doing good to their fellow-man. The position which you occupy to-day in the world enables you to do that which no other man could do. Every word that you write is eagerly sought after and read by countless millions on both sides of the Atlantic.
The great nuisance that the world is cursed with to-day is, unquestionably the Missionary nuisance. If we could abate this, we could have “Peace on Earth and good-will among men” [MTP]. Note: Maxim enclosed other letters against missionary work in China.
May 9 Thursday – Sam’s notebook: “Read in Princeton. See Jan. 7. Evening. I read: Watermelon/ Dead Man—
sash / Mexican Plug / Old Ram / German Lesson” [NB 44 TS 10]. Note: Sam compared with Jan. 7 readings at H.H.
Sam wrote a postcard to Dr. Elizabeth Jarrett: “I shall be ready at 1.45./ Very Truly Yours / SL Clemens” [eBay Mar. 16, 2006, Item 6612597385; Valley Auctions 15 Apr. 2007, Lot 792].
At 3:55 p.m. Sam took a direct train to Princeton, N.J.. where he was a guest of Laurence Hutton. Livy and the girls did not go [May 9 to Hutton].
In the evening at Alexander Hall, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.. Sam gave readings from his writings (see NB entry above). The New York Sun, May 10, p.1 ran a short notice of the event.
ONLY 368 SINS, SAYS MARK TWAIN.
Commit One a Day ad You’ll Have Done With Them in a Little Over a Year.
PRINCETON, N. J., May 9—Mark Twain will spend two days in Princeton at the home of Laurence Hutton, the writer. He arrived here this afternoon and to-night in Alexander Hall he gave a reading before a large audience of Mr. Hutton’s friends, composed mostly of university students and professors. Mr. Clemens wished it to be understood that he was not in Alexander Hall to-night as a lecturer. In beginning he said, “I feel exceedingly surreptitious in coming down here without an announcement of any kind. I did not want to see any advertisements around, for the reason that I’m not a lecturer any longer. I reformed long ago, and I break over and commit this sin only just one time this year, and that is moderate, I think, for a person of my disposition. It is not my purpose to lecture any more as long as I live. I never intend to stand upon a platform any more unless by the request of a Sheriff or something like that.”
He prefaced his reading by saying that he would begin with a scheme of his own, a scheme for the regeneration of the human race. “You should economize,” he said, “every sin you commit and get a value out of it. If you commit a sin sit down and think about it. You must end by making up your mind that you will never commit that sin again. You should go to the next sin and use that in the same way. Now, there are only 368 sins that you can commit, so that if you begin to-morrow and commit all of them you will be out in a little over a year.”
His reading on the eccentricities of the German language made the best hit of the evening. He took a dig at the missionaries when telling a story he said: “Delia married William Thompson, a very nice man, a very nice man—a missionary.”
At the conclusion of the reading Mr. Clemens was cheered loudly by the students. He assured them that he would respond “if he had voice enough.”
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.