March 31 Tuesday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to Lawrence J. Anhalt’s Mar. 30.
No, there are temptations against which we are fire-proof. Your proposition is one which comes to me with considerable frequency, but it never tempts me. The price isn’t the objection—you offer plenty; it is the nature of the work that is the objection, a kind of work which I could not do well enough to satisfy me. To multiply the price by twenty would not enable me to do the work to my satisfaction, & by consequence would make no impression upon me [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Louise W. Carnegie (Mrs. Andrew Carnegie) in N.Y.C.
That was perfectly delightful—nobody there but good fellows, bright fellows, charming fellows (I am not forgetting that you were present)—& I had to leave in the midst of the fun! It was my own fault. I could have told Mrs. Clemens not to listen for me & not to expect me; then I could have seen the dinner through & gone to a hotel, for the night, or to Mr. Rogers’s. But my presence of mind was absent, & I did not think of it.
You scared all those people, & it was delightful: they were all wortkarg, as the Germans say—even Schurz, even the Judge—& I don’t know anything that’s prettier or more winning than to see capable men embarrassed. I never saw Karl Schurz frightened before. Howells is always frightened, but he surpassed himself this time; he always arranges & rearranges his knives & forks while he is speaking & suffering, but this time his patterns outdid the elaborations of the kaleidoscope. I was never so sorry to leave a dinner as I was to leave that one.
Mrs. Clemens said I must not forget to thank you for the beautiful flowers & to send you her love. She has made actual & visible progress these last two days, I am glad to say.
I hope the three of you will have a safe & pleasant journey to your other home [MTP]. Note: Sam referred to the gathering at the Carnegie’s on Mar. 28 to meet Sidney Lee. See entry.
Sam also wrote a goodnight note to Livy.
March 31.Good-night, Livy darling—but first, hear Dr. Draper writing about you prophetically, thirty years ago, in his great work on “Physiology,”chapter on Woman:
“But it is in the family & social relations that her beautiful qualities shine forth. At the close of a long life checkered with pleasures & misfortunes, how often does the aged man with emotion confess that, though all the ephemeral acquaintances & attachments of his career have ended in disappointment & alienation, the wife of his youth is still his friend. In a world from which everything else seems to be passing away, her affection alone is unchanged, true to him in sickness as in health, in adversity as in prosperity, true to the hour of death.”
He knew you well, he knew you accurately, dear old-young sweetheart, he knew you as I know you. Goodnight again, dearest Livy—now you can take your afternoon sleep [MTP]. Note: Sam referred here to John William Draper (1811-1882), Human Physiology, Statical and Dynamical; or, The Conditions and Course of the Life of Man (1856) [Gribben 203].
Isabel Lyon wrote for Sam to Will M. Clemens “Mr. Clemens directs me today in answer of yours of the 30th, that he does not name rates, he only entertains them” [MTP]. Note: Will did not reply until June 1.
Frederick W. Peabody wrote to Sam: “Your April N. Am. Rev. article is great, much the best thing that has been done on the subject. You may not be ‘combating Christian Science,’ but you have been giving it a mighty poke in a tender spot. I await the book with impatience” [MTP].
April – Mark Twain’s humorous article “Instructions in Art” first ran in
Metropolitan Magazine this month and in May, 1903. In part, with some of his drawings (inserts).
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.