Vol 3 Section 0664

608                                                                        1902

“I would have answered sooner, but I have been bedridden eight days with gout. Truly yours, / S.L. Clemens” [MTP: published in June 1902 issue of The Critic, p. 540]. Note: the said journal added this snarky comment below Sam’s note:

The letter Mr. Clemens has written lets in considerable light on that distinguished author’s attitude of mind towards the critics. It is likely to occasion more than mild surprise from the generous commendations of two generations of reviewers takes “no interest” in the discussion of a topic which concerns them so closely. In connection with such an expressed avowal of indifference on the part of the veteran author of “Innocents Abroad” it does not seem out of place to ask this question — would Mark Twain’s literary ventures have attained the same measure of success if, in the budding period of his career as a writer, the critics to whom his books were sent for review had dismissed each with the remark in chorus, “We ought to take an interest in this subject, but we don’t.”

Also in 1902 or 1903 Sam cabled Theodore Stanton in Paris: “Best compliments to dramatists and hope the detectives will shed glory on a cruelly slandered profession. / Mark Twain” [MTP].

Sometime during 1902 Sam wrote to Henry W. Lucy. This letter ran in the Nov. 15, 1902 issue of Harper’s Weekly (see entry for the letter to the editor Sam enclosed).

My dear Lucy,—The enclosed is a feeler flung forward in the interests of our Obituary as planned by us at Mr.

Bryce’s dinner that night [Mar. 21, 1900].

I mean to spend all the net profits stored up to now in advertising the letter. You see the little game? When attention is fixed on this ballon d’essai [trial balloon] we will rip in with a prospectus of the Obituary Co. (Lim.) offering ordinary shares to the public at a premium, keeping founders’ shares for ourselves [MTP]. Note: “Amended Obituaries” was the article Sam sent both to Lloyd’s Weekly and Harper’s.

For the P.S. designated by the MTP as 1902 to Muriel Pears, see Feb. 14-June 21 entry.

Sam also wrote to Daniel Frohman:

My nephew, Jervis Langdon, who along with some others and myself is backing Robt. Hope-Jones in the building of his altogether unique and magnificent organs, writes me that you are considering erecting in your theatre the finest instrument the factory has yet turned out.

I hope you will do so. I know something about what Hope-Jones means when he promises the greatest organ in America, and that he and our factory can produce something the like of which you never heard


Note: Robert Hope Jones (1859-1914) is considered the inventor of the theater organ; he aimed at imitating orchestra instruments with a pipe organ. He committed suicide in Rochester, N.Y. after merging his company with Wurlitzer in 1914. The extent of Sam’s “backing” is unknown.

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, evidently the organizer of an event with speeches: “If you have to put me in a printed program, please let me follow the others. If I am not in a printed program I shall prefer to get up after the man that needs the most correcting…” [MTP: Goodspeed’s catalogs, No. 373, Item 47].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, enclosing two photographs of Riverdale-on-the-Hudson:

“These represent our present temporary home at Riverdale-on-the-Hudson: a part of the house in one picture, & a part of the grounds in the other, with glimpse of the river through the trees” [MTP: Goodspeed’s catalogs, No. 369, Item 55].

Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, evidently including books: “THESE BOOKS /if taken in moderation, are warranted to cure dog-bite and freckles, and keep the morals from coagulating. / None genuine without this label on the shelf: / Mark Twain” [MTP].

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.