[Feb. 7 to Rogers].
Sam also wrote to Frederick A. Duneka of Harpers, his letter not extant but referred to in Duneka’s reply of Feb. 6; from this reply it’s evident that Sam asked why the six-volume set sold by subscription was not itemized on Harper’s statement.
Hélène Elisabeth Picard wrote to Sam from St. Die (Vosges), France, wondering how he could have written such a patriotic book about Joan of Arc when he wasn’t French; Picard was highly complimentary, and thanked him for “all the hours” and pleasure of his other books [MTP]. Note: on the env.
Sam wrote “Ans. Feb. 22”
Sam’s notebook: “Test to determine the difference between intelligence & extraordinary intelligence: As you finish your letters, throw them on the floor (I have a good reason for this). The intelligent stranger will pick them up every time & lay them on the table” [NB 45 TS 3].
February 6 Thursday – Frederick A. Duneka of Harpers wrote to Sam.
Your letter of yesterday [not extant] has come to me and I beg to say that the reason why no mention of the 6-vol. set was made in your statement is because these books are being sent out to agents and others under an installment arrangement. This means that because of cancellations of orders and because of returns, these books have not reached the stage yet where they can appear in any account (as sales) as a basis for payment of royalty.
If matters continue to progress as at present, there will be due you more than $15,000 on these 6-vol. Sets in your next royalty statement [MTP].
Sam’s neighbor, Darwin Pearl Kingsley (1857-1932), executive for N.Y. Life Insurance Co., visited the Clemens household in the evening
February 7 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam added to the Feb. 5 letter to Francis H. Skrine.
Feb. 7. I read to the end of Hunter’s strange recoveries from repetitions of what was substantially death. I found no dull pages. If I had been at his side he would never have had these disastrous & constitution-undermining experiences with dysentery. I would have bought a fresh ripe watermelon for thruppence & fed it to him with limitless prodigality & had him on his feet inside of ten hours every time & as free from any vestige or remnant of that distemper as ever he was in his life. And I would have said to him, “Don’t ever call other doctors when you have these attacks; call me—& give me a fresh ripe watermelon & ten hours, if ever I fail to set you on your feet sound & whole in that time, I will give you a thousand pounds cash if it takes my last penny.”
Yet I get no practice, except upon my wife; the others lay the thing before a physician before trying it— with the infallible result. But many’s the time I’ve fetched her out in short order. She had a bad attack when we came home from summering, last year. I reckon there was only about one watermelon left in New York, but I took a coupè & began the hunt, at 9 p.m; & at 11 I was back with the preserver. Every time she woke in the night I fed it to her; & in ten hours she was all right—it had never taken quite that much time before.
If I were in South Africa & medically equipped, I would engage that no soldier should perish with dysentery—nor remain off duty above one day. But do you suppose the medical staff would allow Lord Kitchener there, or Lord Curzon in India to listen to me?
Indeed no. They wouldn’t dream of permitting it [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reactions were to Skrine’s 1901 book, Life of William Wilson Hunter.Horatio Herbert Kitchener (1850-1916) British Field Marshall, won fame in the Sudan in 1898 and played a major role in the Boer Wars. Lord Curzon of Kedelston (George Nathaniel Curzon 1859-1925).
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers asking (after his signature) if they shouldn’t invite Laurence Hutton on a cruise. Prior to that he wrote:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.