Vol 3 Section 0781

1902                                                                            723

“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 afterIn 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 ThursdayIn 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.