MARK TWAIN’S ANECDOTE.
Mark Twain, who was next introduced, said:
“Mr. Carnegie has told you that on the other side of the water they consider it necessary to train men for the Diplomatic Service. He also suggested that on this side we don’t find it necessary on this side, but can turnout ready-made ones whenever we need them. And this reminds me of an anecdote. You’ve all it, of course. The greatness of this country rests upon two anecdotes. The first is that of George Washington and the little hatchet story he told his father. From that arose the characteristic of true speaking which is the great characteristic of this Nation today.
“A firm of lawyers—we’ll say Mr. Choate was one of the members of the firm, the other partner being a Hebrew, Mr. Choate’s correspondent—were talking one day over the amount they would charge a client for their services—services is what they call it. [Laughter.] The Hebrew drew up a bill for $500 and Mr. Choate said: ‘You’d better let me attend to that myself.’ And the next day Mr. Choate handed him a check for $5,000, saying, ‘That is your share of the loot.’ Then this humble Hebrew gentleman in admiration said: ‘Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.’ [Laughter.] And the world said: ‘This a rising man. [Laughter.] We must save him from the law. He should be a diplomat.’
“The world looked beneath this anecdote and reasoned that a man who could thus take care of his private interests could well look after the commercial interests [laughter] of a growing country of 70,000,000. Mr. Choate has carried these qualities to England with him. Why railroad iron is so cheap there now that even the poorest families can have plenty of it. [Laughter.] He has, as Mr.. Carnegie said, worked like a mole underground. Since he has been there—only three years—American commerce has increased tenfold—or whatever it has increased—and he has depressed the commerce of England in the same ratio. He has applied that fundamental principle of diplomacy, give and take—give one and take ten—and he is still applying it.” [laughter.]
Muriel M. Pears wrote to Sam from Nairn, Scotland. A long, rambling and folksy letter, Muriel vowed that if she were on a desert island “the boys and I” would take along Dickens, Kipling, and Twain [MTP]. Note: “Muriel Pears, a charter member of the Juggernaut Club, a world-wide ‘organization’ of women from thirteen to sixty in age who had written lively or thoughtful letters to Mark Twain and to whom he wrote in turn. He had never met any of the members, but he delighted to make rules for the club, such as that there was to be “not a man in the combination! Except myself, I mean” (SLC to Muriel Pears, Riverdale, 21 June 1902, Yale) [MTHL 2: 738n3].
17 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “
dew on the gowan lying is you specialty. / Lord Rector of Glasgow—rectors are
ecclesiastical only—if its a good salary I shall run for it. Ancient &
Honorable Artillery” [NB 44 TS 18].
Theodore Weld Stanton (1851-1925) wrote from Paris on Harper’s letterhead
I landed here last week after a most delightful passage. I never in fact had a more pleasant one. We were nearly, within a half hour, making the shortest eastern passage.
I write only a word to inform you that I am starting tomorrow down to Lyons there to begin the search for the “Lost Napoleon”. I will find out there all about the boats and hope to be able to give you a favorable report before long [MTP].
Note: Theodore was the fourth son of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. On his trip down the Rhone near Avignon, France, Sam wrote about a mountain that seemed to be Napoleon’s face; see Sept. 28, 1891 entry. This became “The Lost Napoleon” when Stanton made a trip to France in part to locate the mountain.
18 Monday – Sam’s notebook: “
if these fail, try dissection. Extravagant enough in American
form—in original Scotch form more so. Unconscious: chance
juxtaposition of quaint or grotesque incongruous elements” [NB 44 TS
The Plasmon Syndicate sent a cable to Sam: “Your telegram of 18th received. Have had an interview with Bergheim. Have received from the following. Must request you keep this information perfectly confidential.” Sales
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.