Vol 3 Section 0750
June 7 Saturday –
ancestors, and we are glad to point out the fact that St. Louis is a French city. When La Salle came down this river a century and a quarter ago there was nothing on its banks but savages. He opened up this great river and by his simple act was gathered in this great Louisiana territory. I would have done it myself for half the money.
“The name of La Salle will last as long as the river itself—will last until commerce is dead. We have allowed the commerce of the river to die, but it was to accommodate the railroads, and we are grateful. We have here with us a man who tells me he knew this river in the early ages, Pierre Chouteau, who says that he can remember when he could jump over it, and I believe that statement because he made it. Under no other circumstances would I.
“I have come across a quality of veracity here in St. Louis which is new to me. It is the development of these later ages. I must call your attention to the fact that on this boat you are quite safe. I am here with a knowledge acquired long ago with the peculiarities of these waters, which is so pleasant to the strangers, from the color it bears and from its taste, but you will have to take the testimony of others for that.
“Now the Governor and the Mayor have utilized their opportunities to advertise the World’s Fair and I have taken the occasion to advertise myself, so there is nothing remaining but to again extend that welcome to our illustrious guests and to assure them that that welcome is heartfelt and sincere, and I am sure that we will spread open to them wide the doors of the whole continent.”
Sorrentino gives a 6:30 p.m. dinner at the St. Louis Club and an 8:30 p.m. reception at the University Club . According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, June 8, Mark Twain spoke to the University Club:
If I am not called at least “Doc” from now on…there will be a decided coolness. This is a university club. No ignorant person can enter here. You are my collegiate colleagues—perhaps I may say collegiate inferiors, those of you who are not doctors yet. I have done a great deal of useful work during the past week, chiefly in the line of giving good advice. I have delivered diplomas and told the graduates what they must do, if they wanted to become doctors like me. I have talked to old soldiers and told them how much I admired them and how glad they ought to be that they had not got into such scraps as I had. I have talked in church on Sunday morning, to my own satisfaction at least. I have piloted a steamboat on the Mississippi river, and by the help of Providence that ship is still safe. When I saw a line in the Mississippi which looked partly like wind and partly like a snag, I simply told the regular pilot I was tired of steering and gave him the wheel. I could have told once what made the line on the water, but a man loses that trick. I would not lose that last week and my visit to Hannibal for anything. My joy has been made perfect by the handshaking of these Missourians. There has not been a cold handshake among them. Some have asked me if I were not tired of all this. That has seemed hardly a proper question. Missouri cordiality does not tire a man. If it is true, as has been published, that I have made the world laugh, it is also true that Missouri has made me shed tears. …Life is just a sandwich of pleasures and heartaches. You have to have the pains to appreciate the pleasures.
Sam’s notebook: contains a reference to a song, “When I am Gone,” and his intention to use the song in his next Tom and Huck story [Gribben 759; NB 45 TS 16]. Note: In London in 1897, Sam had recalled this song when thinking of Susy’s death [NB 39 TS 58].
Livy’s diary: “Julie & Ida came & spent the night—, dined with us & breakfasted Sat. morning” [MTP:
Sam’s notebook: “Home-dinner (Bixby) / Old chum night” [NB 45 TS 16]. Note: the entry also
includes old activities he enjoyed as a boy [NB 45 TS18]. Note: The Mark Twain Encyclopedia. New York: Garland
Publishing, Inc., 1993: 394-5, gives: marbles, kites, sleds, skates, swings, picnics.
In St. Louis, Mo. Sam wrote on the flyleaf of a presentation copy of TS, to Lamotte Cates. “On the whole it is better to deserve honors and not have them, than to have them and not deserve them. Truly yours, Mark Twain. To Lamotte Cates with the best wishes of The Author. St. Louis, June 7, 1901” [MTP: Dawson’s Book Shop catalog,
Jan. 1938, No. 124, Item 4]. Note: Cates was a cousin of James Ross Clemens.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.