“Which was It” to be serialized in a weekly only—then brought out in a book.
I to have immediate possession to put in a book.
And 5 “Boons of Life” [NB 45 TS 24]. Note: Walker = John Brisben Walker, owner Cosmopolitan.
August 27 after – In York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote a long harangue to the Western Union President about poor service for telegrams in the region.
I have been living here seven weeks & will remark incidentally that so far as my personal experience goes, the telegraphic service of this region is bad. I state that as fact. I add, as matter of opinion, that it is wantonly & deliberately so.
…[Sam gave detailed examples of poor service: a telegraph from Clara on Aug. 12 from New Haven that arrived 4 & ¼ hours later; an enclosed Aug. 18 telegram from Samuel E. Moffett, sent from Boston; Moffett beat the telegram to York Harbor by more than two hours, etc.]
My complaint, then, is against the heads of the Boston & York Harbor offices, for what looks like unexplainable & inexcusable ineffectiveness. What this is due to, I am not qualified to say. It looks like indifference, it looks like stupidity, it may be neither. It may be that the men are dead. I think they are, & that they ought to be buried. While this is merely an opinion & carries with it no obligation upon any one to accept it, I think it entitled to respect, for the reason that the facts above recited do certainly seem to point to the presence in official capacities in the Boston & York Harbor offices not of living persons but of corpses. It is my conviction—though I do not urge this, but merely offer the suggestion as a courtesy & in a friendly spirit—that the Western Union morgues in Boston & in York Harbor ought to be taken in hand & their contents connected-up with their own batteries & galvanized into a semblance of life.
I seem to be chaffing, but that is only a cloak, to keep certain feelings in abeyance which I do not wish to expose. I am complaining in seriousness, & protesting, & asking for a better & fairer & honester telegraph-service. I am claiming the privilege of doing this, on the ground that I help to pay these men’s wages & am personally interested in the ways they take to earn them.
Sam then proposed that the Western Union President test the system using a pseudonym. He added a last example of poor service at the end.
Saturday morning, August 27, Clara telegraphed Mrs. Bunce in Brooklyn for the Hartford address of Miss Garret, a trained nurse.
No answer likely on that day of course. But evidently Mrs. B. tele the nurse to go to us. For she arrived Sunday night at tea, beating a telegram announcing her coming 11 hours.
No telegrams delivered on Sunday. It is all right, as long as there is a Sunday, but I wish it could he abolished, it interferes with everything, with its silly restraints upon man’s freedom.
U.S. should own telegraphs, telephones, coal mines
[enclosure, telegram from Jervis Langdon to SLC:]
Shall bring Aunt Sue to you eleven forty five this morning / Jervis Langdon 1214pm [MTP].
Note: Aug. 27 was a Wednesday; Sam may have meant Aug. 23; this MTP-catalogued as simply “August,” though Aug. 12, 18 and Aug. 27-8 incidents are cited. Those may be found in the appropriate dates.
August 28 Thursday – In York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote to Ida Langdon in Gloucester, Mass.
It is lovely, perfectly lovely of you to give us that splendid invitation, & it would delight me clear beyond the limits of expression if circumstances & God privileged us to accept it, for I should have a noble good time there—& a fruitful one, too; for in the protection of your roof I could write unpersecuted & unpestered by undesired intruders, & could finish my book. But Livy, whose thanks are as warm as mine, bows to circumstances & God, & in her belief they require her to go Tarrytowning or some such business, & she feels
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.