Vol 3 Section 0771

1902                                                                            713

Mr. Clemens began in a markedly characteristic vein to say that he had come to York to instruct it in its ancient history, to rectify the morals of its inhabitants and to otherwise do valuable things in the way of didactics. He found himself prevented from doing so by the example of another, and noted with surprise that Thomas B. Reed should mistake a desk for a pulpit, especially as the speaker was the one who, in time gone by, had amazed the nations of the world, the human race, and, added Mr. Clemens, “even myself!”

He said in a letter signed “One of the Victims” had just been handed him from the audience and contained several compliments, things which he never overlooked; and would the writer please rise? The letter stated that there had never been any but the best weather until he had come to York, and seemed to place the blame entirely on him, demanding that he either apologize or go away. The first, he might do, but the alternative would meet with a flat refusal. In thirty-seven days he had had no fault to find with the weather as he had stayed strictly at home, and the rain seemed to come only when it thought it could catch one out. For thirty-four of the thirty-seven days he had worked and that was something he never before had been able to do. The climate, he thought, prevented moral deterioration, for he had worked four Sundays without breaking the Sabbath.

The author then said he was a little deaf, but not so much so as to miss the many compliments which had preceded, and not so blind as not to see that they all referred to him. When Ex-Gov. Chamberlain referred to “the intellectually brilliant,” the speaker had noticed that he had looked straight at him. To some this would be embarrassing, but where deserved it was not so at all.

… One of the most serious questions with which he had to contend in York was matches. If he wished to smoke it was next to impossible to get a light. He could buy only a sort of match with a picture of the inventor on each box and labeled “Safety.” He felt free to say that they are so safe one cannot light them. Even Satan, the inventor and a distant relative of his, can’t use them for he has no appliances to make them go, and is utilizing them to build cold storage vaults for such choice morsels as Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander VI; and, added the speaker, “he has a wistful eye on some other notables not yet started, and here present.”

Another serious question for Mr. Clemens was the confusion of post offices in this town—York Cliffs, York Beach, York Harbor, York Village, York Corner, and so on. In fact, one cannot throw a brickbat across a thirty-seven acre lot without danger of disabling a postmaster; they are as thick as aldermen in the days of the old city charter.

If he stayed here he expected to attend York’s tri-centennial in fifty years, for already he had grown younger by many years than he was on his arrival.

An open air concert by the Marine Band on the Village Green was enjoyed from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by an “illuminated boat parade” on Lake Gorges from 8 to 9 p.m. with fireworks thereafter. Livy enjoyed the festivities but they may have overtaxed her, leading to the Aug. 12 crisis.

August 6 WednesdayIn York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote a short note to Franklin G. Whitmore, on the top of H.H Rogers’ Aug. 5 letter. “Dear Brer: The following shows that Mr. Rogers disapproves. So do I, then, for I have the greatest confidence in his judgment” [MTP].

Sam also replied to John M. Sosey, secretary of the Missouri Press Assoc.

I have received your note of the 1st inst., informing me of my election to honorary membership in the Missouri Press Association, and I beg to return through you to the Association my sincerest thanks for the compliment thus conferred upon me—a compliment which I hold in especial value, coming, as it does, from the press of my native state [MTP: Southern Literary Journal, Fall 1987, Vol. 20, No.1, p.18].

August 7 ThursdayIn York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote to Klaw & Erlanger, who were agents for Lee Arthur’s dramatization of HF.

Above, you will find a pair of samples; they are authentic autographs, for I wrote them myself.

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