February 14-June 21 – Sometime during the year Sam added the following P.S. to a letter to Muriel M. Pears, his designated member for Scotland to his Juggernaut Club. Which extant letter should this go with? Of those extant to Pears (deduced by the subject matter of each) the Feb. 14 letter is the next possibility, but a non- extant letter may be the right one. In his June 21 to Pears Sam asks if she wants to see the “Constitution Laws of my Club of which you are the Member for Scotland,” clearly indicating he’d already informed her of the idea of the club. Therefore, the following P.S. is designated Feb. 14-June 21, 1902.
P.S. Did you know? I have a Club—a private Club, which is all my own. I appoint the Members myself, & they can’t help themselves, because I don’t allow them to vote on their own appointment, & I don’t allow them to resign! They are all friends whom I have never seen (save one), but who have written friendly letters to me. By the laws of my Club there can be only one member in each country, & there can be no male member but myself. Some day I may admit males, but I don’t know—they are capricious and inharmonious,
their ways provoke me a good deal. It is a matter which the Club shall decide. I have made four appointments in the past three or four months: you as Member for Scotland—oh, this good while! a young citizeness of Joan of Arc’s home-region as Member for France; a Mohammedan girl as Member for Bengal; & a dear & bright young niece of mine as Member for the United States—for I do not represent a country myself but am merely Member at Large for the Human Race. You must not try to resign, for the laws of the Club do not allow that. You must console yourself by remembering that you are in the best of company; that nobody knows of your membership except myself; that no member knows another’s name, but only her country; that no taxes are levied & no meetings held—(but how dearly I should like to attend one!) One of my members is a princess of a royal house, another is the daughter of a village bookseller on the continent of Europe. For the only qualification for membership is intellect & the spirit of good will; other distinctions, hereditary or acquired, do not count. May I send you the Constitution & Laws of the Club? …
Sam disclosed that daughter Jean typed the Laws of the Club, and was too curious about its meaning, so that he had to remind her there were cheaper typists who would not pry into the “sacred mysteries of this Club” [MTP].
February 15 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frank Bliss.
I suppose Newbegin asked for a day or two because he wants to find out who the new client is, & trade with him instead of with us. I guess he will find out without much trouble; therefore you better get that option right away.
I think the new applicant will want to sell single volumes rather than sets. That obstructing Harper contract will bar that, as far as the Harper books are concerned, & the new applicant will back out.
Get hold of Underwood Monday evening or Tuesday morning, & get that option. Offer him nothing; then offer him $10,000, or $5,000; & go on increasing your offer, up to 25,000 cash.
Then I will go to Harper & say you now have command of the books & are offered $250,000 for 5 years’ use of them, 40% of this cash in advance.
If Harper isn’t willing to close with us on the same terms, I can go through the formality of accepting the
new client’s offer. A formality only; for I think he will back out when he finds he would not be allowed to sell
the Harper books in single volumes.
Then we can cancel the option.
Sam thought that Norman Hapgood confided that his friend, the “new applicant,” wanted to sell single volumes [MTP]. Note: Hapgood (1868-1937), American writer, journalist, editor and critic. Drama critic of the New York Commercial Advertiser and of the Bookman (1897-1902), editor of Collier’s in 1903, and later editor and owner of Harpers.
Sam also wrote to an unidentified tobacconist: “I am smoking the pipe, now. Please send me / 12 tins Wills Navy Cut / (light blue label) / with the bill. / & much oblige” [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.