“We had no circulation to our paper, for you see the circulation end is the losing end. When I got home I found I could make more money by Twain than by two, so I gently but firmly had to eliminate Lucy from the money proposition. I calculated that he would not land until tomorrow, or else I should not have sent the note until today. But he is a good fellow, and I hope he will do well. However, his situation reminds me of what St. Clair McKelway said to me when he learned that the Harpers had promised me a pension for life in consideration of work I had promised to do for them. ‘Col. Harvey is living on hope’, he said, ‘while you are living on a certainty.’”
At the pier Mark Twain was occupied in getting eighteen pieces of baggage, and his wife, two daughters, and another lady who, like Mrs. Clemens, is an invalid, on board the ship. Some one suggested that Mr. Clemens was having a great deal of trouble.
“Well,” he replied, “I always was sorry for Father Noah; he had so much trouble getting all of his animals aboard the ark. But you see I’m peevish today. I have absorbed all of my wife’s pugnacity, and all of my daughters’ audacity.”
At the pier a Tax Assessor from Tarrytown was waiting for the humorist. When Mr. Clemens appeared the Assessor stepped up to him and said, an anxious look in his eyes, “When are you coming back?” Mark Twain did not answer, but turning to the reporters, said:
“I don’t own the Casey House at Tarrytown; I have only rented it for a year. As a matter of fact, I am tired of renting four houses and being able to occupy but one. I don’t see that it matters to that fellow at what time I am going to return.”
It was remarked that in THE SATURDAY BOOK REVIEW of THE NEW YORK TIMES mention had been made of the fact that Mr. Clemens had been compared with Rabelais and Aristophanes.
“Rabelais, yes,” he commented. “Aristophanes, no. I never knew Aristophanes personally. All of what I know of him was told me by William Dean Howells. I get quite a confused idea of what he was like. Sometimes I think of him sailing up the English Channel with Sir John Hawkins; again, I think of Aristophanes as the Greek physician, and again as an Italian virtuoso. If I had lived in the fifteenth century I should have been Rabelais. I know him from top to bottom.”
“When you wrote ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and told of the King, who after stripping was pained as the tiger for the circus, did you have Dowie in mind?” somebody asked.
A deep frown came over the author’s face and he replied:
“I can’t trace the slightest resemblance, for I have never seen Dowie disrobe. I have a presentiment that I am to meet Dowie in the next world, but I do not know where. If I had him in one place I will go to the other. I don’t care how hot or how cold it is, but I do not want to be in the same place where he is. I want society in the next world, but not that of Dowie or Mrs. Eddy.”
Just before the vessel sailed a note from Mr. Lucy brought his love and his wishes for a good voyage. Mr. Lucy went at once to Larchmont, where he will spend a few days, when he will return to lecture. “Major Pond once made me an offer, “ he said, “and if he could make money on me why can’t I make it
on myself? I shall lecture on ‘Peeps Into Parliament’ and ‘Prime Ministers I Have Known.’ The former is taken from my collection of sketches in The Strand. I did not intend to lecture when I started, but came here to study America and Americans, but I cannot resist taking some of your money back with me.”
Note: John Alexander Dowie (1847-1907), founder of the Christian Apostolic Church of Zion. He was widely traveled and a forerunner to Billy Sunday. He was also a faith-healer. In 1901 he claimed to be the prophet Elijah. He is best remembered for founding Zion City some 40 miles from Chicago which banned doctors, theaters, dance halls, drug stores, secret lodges, and smoking and drinking.
Budd also reports articles on Twain’s departure by the New York Evening Journal, p.3, “Twain off Shooting Shafts of Humor”; New York Evening Telegram, back page, “Lose Humorist, But Get Another”: Budd “By far the longest item for this event; SLC talks about J.A. Dowie and Henry Lucie, his ‘Obituary’ scheme and comparisons of him to Aristophanes and Rabelais [Budd, “Supplement” ALR 16.1 (Spring 1983) 71]. Budd’s no. 190a.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.