October 29 Saturday – Sam inscribed each of the 23 volumes of the new Hillcrest Edition of his works, using a different aphorism (most from “Pudd’nhead Wilsons New Caledar” in FE) just out by Harper & Brothers, to William R. Coe, H.H. Rogers’ son-in-law. Volume one is not extant and only five is dated.
Vol. 5: “It is not best to use our morals weekdays, it gets them out of repair for Sunday. To Will R. Coe with the kindest regards of The Author. October 29, 1904.”
Vol. 2: “To any foreigner, English is exceedingly difficult. Even the angels speak it with an accent.”
Vol. 3: “Put all your eggs in one basket & watch that basket.”
Vol. 4: “Prosperity is the best protector of principle.”
Vol. 6: “Everyone is a moon, & has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
Vol. 7: “There isn’t a Parallel of latitude but thinks it would be the Equator if it had its rights.”
Vol. 8: “To succeed in the other trades capacity must be shown; in the law, concealment of it will do.”
Vol. 9: “Every god has his day.”
Vol. 10: “‘Let a sleeping dog lie.’ Yes, that is well enough, but if you want to convince, do it yourself.” Vol. 11: “Grief can take care of itself; but to get the full value of a joy, you must have somebody to divide it with.”
Vol. 12: “It is nobler to show another how to be good than to be good yourself and less trouble.”
Vol. 13: “Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.”
Vol. 14: “Hunger is the handmaid of genius. Or the barmaid or the housemaid or the lady’s maid, I do not know for sure which it is, but anyway it’s so.”
Vol. 15: “Each person is born to one possession which outvalues any he can earn or inherit: his last breath.”
Vol. 16: “Few of us can stand prosperity. Another man’s, I mean.”
Vol. 17: “The best way to deceive some people is to tell the truth.”
Vol. 18: “By trying, we can easily learn to endure adversity. Another man’s, I mean.”
Vol. 19: “The principle difference between a cat & a lie is, that the cat has only 9 lives.”
Vol. 20: “Irreverence is another man’s disrespect of your god. There isn’t any word that tells us what your disrespect for his god is.”
Vol. 21: “There are two times in a man’s life when he should not speculate: when he can’t afford it, & when he can.”
Vol. 22: “Let me make the superstitions of a nation, & I care not who makes its laws or its songs either.”
Vol. 23: “When angry, say damn. If the emotion increases, introduce adjectives” [Sotheby’s Auction June
18, 2002, Lot 126; liveauctioneers.com item 223785]. Note: The Hillcrest Edition was the last set of Mark Twain’s works published by the American Publishing Co. It was negotiated by H.H. Rogers that no royalties would come to Sam on this set, in return for the transfer of rights of all Twain’s books to Harper
Brothers. Later, Harper wound up buying 1,800 of the 2,500 Hillcrest sets from Bliss. Sam aphoristically inscribed a few sets; those known today were the above set to H.H. Rogers’ son-in-law, William R. Coe, as well as his other son-in-law, William F. Benjamin, and to daughters Jean and Clara, both on Nov. 27, 1904.
October 30 Sunday
October 31 Monday – At the Grosvenor Hotel in N.Y.C. Sam wrote to Charles Erskine Scott Wood.
Dear Wood: / I have read “A Masque of Love” with strong pleasure. It is a beautiful poem & wise & deep. What Alp shall you subdue next? You were an able instructor of West Point lads in the science of war; then you took up the law & distinguished yourself in that profession; & now you have proven that you are a poet.
Well, go on, old time friend; the more triumphs you achieve the better will be pleased [MTP]. Note: Wood was in the West Point class of 1874; he became a prominent attorney and leader of the Anti-Imperialist
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.