Vol 3 Section 0723

1902                                                                            665

Wallack’s Theatre. Morris was called a genius and a great “emotional actress.” Her career was brief but she was a memorable star. The New York Times reported the event on Apr. 21, p.2, “Clara Morris Tells of Stage Life Trials”:

Wallack’s Theatre was one great stage last evening [Apr. 20]. On it were gathered many of New York’s prominent actors, who, throwing off their daily roles, assumed that of hearers, and listened to Miss Clara Morris. For almost two hours the latter stood and chatted with her friends of the experience of bygone years. The artists and literary people present, who had not been initiated into the privacy of life behind the scenes, caught nice bits of color and enjoyed the chat as much as anyone else.

Shortly before 9 o’clock, Miss Clara Morris was led on stage by Mark Twain, who by way of preface said: “I was born by accident, and by fortunate accident the person who was to have introduced Clara Morris did not arrive. Everybody knows I’m well qualified to make an introduction, and if I had had time to know what I want to say, I should say it. But as it is I can’t pay any compliments—in fact, it is not necessary, since

Miss Morris’s whole life has been her compliment.”

Livy’s diary: “We took Mildred Holden, Mable McGinnis & Rodman Gilder with us up to our new Tarry

Town house (which by the way is not yet in our possession) for a cold luncheon: sending Fletcher (the butler

      Katy) there before us to prepare the luncheon. Sunday afternoon came for tea Miss Martin; Sam Moffett; Mr Stillman; Dr H [?] Mr & Mrs & Miss Appleton.

In the evening we all four went into town to hear Clara Morris lecture. As Mr Watterson who was to introduce her did not arrive, Mr Clemens introduced her; I thought making a nice 2 minute speech. ” [MTP: DV161].

Frank Richard Stockton (1834-1902) died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Washington, D.C. Stockton was a popular humorist and writer from Philadelphia, best known for a series of innovative children’s fairy tales. His collected works amounted to 23 books of stories for adults and children, published between 1899 and 1904. As a young man he broke the “world’s record” for downing hotdogs. Later he was assistant editor of the St. Nicholas Magazine under Mary Mapes Dodge. The first meeting between Mark Twain and Stockton was likely sometime in the 1880s. Specifics are often elusive for first meetings, but the first recorded one in these volumes finds both men at Madison Square Garden on Apr. 14, 1887. On Apr. 24, 1902 Sam served as a pallbearer in Stockton’s funeral in Philadephia.

April 21 MondayIn Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote a postcard replying to William Dean Howells’ Apr.

         I forgot to say I made immediate note of that luncheon, & shall be at your house & ready to go with you at 1 p.m on the said date” [MTP]. Note: the lunch date was for Apr. 26.

Sam also wrote a chastening letter to Nathaniel S. Olds, of the Rochester Post-Express.

Between you & me I was also expecting to catch the wise asleep— & it came out just so. In this connection I have your scalp, the Springfield Republican’s & the N. Y. Tribune’s. You all plunge right ahead in the dead certain way of the wary & deep old hand, who never protects himself by inquiring into things before he commits himself, but knows all about it just by native penetration & inspiration—& (in the present case) I reap the profit, such as it is. The “tragic incident” didn’t fool you old experts, oh not the least little bit! oh no, you-all know how to tell invention from fact at a glance, you wise, wise, people! you complacent serenities, who are always forgetting to remember that a fictionist can’t “invent” a situation (of a possible sort) & get in ahead of history with it. Actual history has always arrived with it by a previous train. You will be obliged to allow that my “tragic incident” could happen. Very well; as soon as you have recognized that & conceded it, you are on unsafe ground—more than unsafe!—if you venture to pay it the compliment of being an invention.

There was one truth in my story, & that was the “tragic incident.” I took nothing from the facts, & added nothing to them. “Truth is stranger than fiction.” In what way? In this: That where it comes to the contriving of extravagances & apparent impossibilities, Fiction isn’t “in it” with Fact.

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