Vol 3 Section 1041


1904                                                                            977

H.A. Lorberg wrote from Portsmouth, Ohio to Sam, asking for his signed portrait for their new city library [MTP].

George Gregory Smith began a note to Sam that he finished Apr 13, confiding that he didn’t believe Caulfield would report anything unpleasant about Clara’s concert. “I saw him at the concert & he seemed greatly pleased” [MTP].

April 13 WednesdaySam’s notebook: “Princess De Rohan” [NB 47 TS 9].

George Gregory Smith finished his Apr. 12 note. “The Italian Gazette has just come & Caulfield has apparently gone the limit of his possibilities of enthusiasm.” Did Sam think he could get away for a day or two for a trip to Siena to see the Palio? “We leave on Friday at 12.05 & see the prove or trial races on Saturday & the Grand Palio on Sunday to return Monday…I will see you tomorrow Thursday afternoon & talk it over” [MTP].

Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam. Only a small envelope survives [MTP].

April 14 ThursdayAt the Villa Reale di Quarto, William Lyon Phelps                        visited Sam for

about an hour, noting that Sam “was 68 years old, but looked older….During this hour’s interview, Mark smoked

three cigars; there was a constant twitching in his right cheek and his right eye seemed inflamed” [Hill 83]. Notes: Phelps was the “unrepentant duck-killer,” who as a boy killed five of Sam’s white ducks at the Farmington ave. house. (no relation to William Walter Phelps, American Minister to Germany). Note: Hill is quoting from Phelps’ article, “Some Notes on Mark Twain. With Some Unpublished Letters,” in the May 5, 1910 The Independent. In that article Phelps also writes:

On a memorable afternoon at Florence, the fourteenth of April 1904, I had an hour’s conversation with him and his daughter Jean. …

When I entered the room in Florence where he and his daughter were sitting, I found him absorbed in reading the latest news of the Japanese-Russian war, and it was with difficulty that I could induce him to talk on any other theme. He was tremendous partisan of the Japanese, and rejoiced greatly in their victories. “The real reason,” said he dryly, “why the Russians are getting licked is because of their niggardly policy. Look at General Kurapotkin! I read in the papers that he has taken out with him only eighty holy images! Just like the Russians! They never make adequate preparation for battle. Why, eighty ikons are not half enough; they ought to have two or three for every private soldier if they expect to beat those clever Japs. But that’s just the way the Russians do business; they are economical with their holy images when they ought to order them out by the carload.” I remarked that I had just read in the New York Sun a poem by Miss Edith Thomas, in which she hotly defended the Russians because they were Christians, and earnestly hoped that they would triumph over the heathen Japanese. He impatiently replied, “Edith doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”

I finally persuaded him to talk a little about himself. I asked him which of all his works he thought was the best. In Yankee fashion he asked which I put first, and I said Huckleberry Finn. After a moment’s hesitation he remarked: “That is undoubtedly my best book.” Then I asked if, leaving aside the pleasure of artistic creation, it was not a source of great happiness to him to think that from a river pilot on the Mississippi he had risen to be an honoured and welcome guest at royal courts, and that this change in his circumstances had been wrought not by the accidental acquisition of a great fortune or by success in war, but wholly by the power of his own mind. (For from this point of view Mark Twain’s career is unique in the history of America.) He drawled out very slowly: “I do look back on my life with considerable satisfaction” [215-17].

Sam’s notebook: “Prof. Gelli” [NB 47 TS 9]. Note: Sam sat for his portrait. See Mar. 11 insert.

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