Dear Joe,—I am lost in reverence and admiration! It is now twenty-four hours that I have been trying to cool down and contemplate with quiet blood this extraordinary spectacle of energy, industry, perseverance, pluck, analytical genius, penetration, this irruption of thunders and fiery splendors from a fair and flowery mountain that nobody had supposed was a sleeping volcano, but I seem to be as excited as ever. Yesterday I read as much as half of the book, not understanding a word but enchanted nevertheless—partly by the wonder of it all, the study, the erudition, the incredible labor, the modesty, the dignity, the majestic exclusiveness of the field and its lofty remoteness from things and contacts sordid and mean and earthy, and partly by the grace and beauty and limpidity of the book’s unsurpassable English. Science, always great and worshipful, goes often in hodden grey, but you have clothed her in garments meet for her high degree.
You think you get “poor pay” for your twenty years? No, oh no. You have lived in a paradise of the intellect whose lightest joys were beyond the reach of the longest purse in Christendom, you have had daily and nightly emancipation from the world’s slaveries and gross interest, you have received a bigger wage than any man in the land, you have dreamed a splendid dream and had it come true, and to-day you could not afford to trade fortunes with anybody—not even with another scientist, for he must divide his spoil with his guild, whereas essentially the world you have discovered is your own and must remain so.
It is all just magnificent, Joe! And no one is prouder or gladder than / Yours always / Mark [MTP: Paine,
Mark Twain’s Letters 1917, p.721]. Note: See May 24 entry.
Sam also wrote to George Iles in N.Y.C.: “I hand you many many thanks for the big literary-historical book,
which arrived last night. I greatly prize it” [MTP]. Note: the title is not specified.
Sam’s notebook listed more snippets of boyhood memories/ideas for the 50 years after story: “Cadebts [sic Cadets] of Temperance / Hiring the Hessians for 4th July / Mason’s IOOF / Fantastics / Dead Man (who shall he be) / Duke & Dauphin / Genl Gaines / Ghost of Injun Joe / Put in one day’s work on the rock, now / We think it will amuse the coopers—go & examine” [NB 45 TS 18].
Richard Burton for Lothrop Publishing, Boston, wrote that he was sending Sam an autographed copy of Harry Leon Wilson’s The Spenders; A Tale of the Third Generation (1902), “which I think you will enjoy for its idiomatic freshness and flavor of Americanism and especially for its humorous presentation of Western types” [MTP]. Note: Wilson also wrote on June 19. See also June 23 and June 28 for Sam’s reply.
Franklin G. Whitmore wrote to Sam, reporting some progress in selling the Hartford house. The mantel had been removed and boxed for shipment; the new mantel “will be put up within a few weeks”; a carpenter strike delayed things. He’d received $ 66 from John O’Neil from the sale of flowers and $45 dividend from the Jewell Pin Co. and with those amounts had been able to meet expenses for May [MTP]. Note: Jewell Pin Co. must have been another name for the International Spiral Pin Co., which Sam had invested in for his daughters.
Howard E. Wright for the Plasmon Co. of America wrote to Sam, receipting him for $5,000 (dated June 12, 1902) for payment of shares of Plasmon Co. of America, “in the name of Henry A. Butters,” and was awaiting Butters’ instruction for issuance of shares [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on env. “Receipt for $5000, 20% of $25,000 subscribed to stock of Plasmon Co of America”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, p.6 ran “Mark Twain’s Pessimism,” an article quoting Twain from the
We have the fad of civilization, we put on the veneer of it, and play at it. We dress in the sheep’s clothing of it, but inwardly we are the same ravening wolves of the stone age. We have our laws and customs, and we put a man in the strait-jacket of forms and declarations, but within all that he is the hunchback still, and when loosed by anything that provokes his greed or selfishness, he is crooked still. We crush and kill as we always have [Sorrentino 40].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.