humor, He—but no, He hasn’t; He can make ridiculous things, up to the best of us, but He doesn’t know they are ridiculous. /Always yours
P. S. Nov. 4. That erasure was an ungentle slur at the human race. Ungentle, & unfair. I retract it. I wish I could learn to remember that it is unjust & dishonorable to put blame upon the human race for any of its acts. For it did not make itself, it did not make its nature, it is merely a machine, it is moved wholly by outside influences, it has no hand in creating the outside influences nor in choosing which of them it will welcome or reject, its performance is wholly automatic, it has no more mastership nor authority over its mind than it has over its stomach, which receives material from the outside & does as it pleases with it, indifferent to its proprietor’s suggestions, even, let alone his commands; wherefore, whatever the machine does—so-called crimes & infamies included,—is the personal act of its Maker, & He, solely, is responsible. I wish I could learn to pity the human race instead of censuring it & laughing at it; & I could, if the outside influence of old habit were not so strong upon my machine. It vexes me to catch myself praising the clean private citizen Roosevelt
blaming the soiled President Roosevelt, when I know that neither praise nor blame is due to him for any thought or word or deed of his, he being merely a helpless & irresponsible coffee-mill ground by the hand of God [MTP]. Note: Sam reacted here to a political speech Joe gave; the election of 1904 was days away. He also referred to the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War, with a possible reference to Kakichi Mitsukuri (1857-1909) Japanese zoologist degreed from Yale in 1879, and likely had a connection with Twichell and Twain. He was also influential in public life in Japan; and the S.F. Call reported a K. Mitsukuri arriving on Sept. 13 and departing on Dec. 4. Ironically, if Sam truly believed in determinism, that man is “merely a helpless & irresponsible coffee-mill” how then could he have given such a large place in his psyche to regret and self-blame, from his boyhood on? If man has no choice, no responsibility, how then can he have regret for his actions?
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote to Sam, after looking into The American Mechanical Cashier Co.
I have called on Fairchild several times, and found him in to-day. I asked him a number of questions…
I read the two Pope contracts. One of them, covering the 1,000 machines, has certainly been violated by Pope. The other only obligates the Company to pay for about $13,000. worth of tools. The Cashier Co. would be amply warranted in suing Pope for damages covering non-delivery of machines. It is liable for $13,000. worth of tools, but not for $104,000 [MTP]. Note: Ashcroft had also seen Delos McCurdy, one of Fairchild’s attorneys, who disclosed he’d advised Fairchild to sue for $250,000 [ibid.].
Sebastiano V. Cecchi, Haskard & Co. Bankers wrote to Sam about more conflict with the Countess Massiglia, who refused to take back the inventory, insisting that George Gregory Smith be present. The latter was in America; so, two witnesses, Cecchi and a notary went to the Quarto “expecting that, at last, we would dispose of this veritable white elephant!” Still, the Countess refused, the lease ending Oct. 31. The rest of the letter is a long accounting of details relative to the villa, and the mercurial Countess [MTP]. Note: See Gribben 48, 721
November 5 Saturday – Charlotte Graham Toler wrote from London to Sam. She had seen the letter Clemens wrote her brother, and was “infinitely touched” by his reference to her sister and herself. She offered condolences and expressed gratitude he was taking up the Congo matter, since Roger Casement, who had prepared the Congo report, was “a great friend of ours” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the env. “My tin
box / sisters of.”
November 6 Sunday – At the Grosvenor Hotel in N.Y.C. Sam wrote to Susan Crane.
Aunt Sue, dear, I’m on my knees begging forgiveness for not long ago thanking you for your invitation to visit the beloved farm this month. Goodness knows I wanted to, but I couldn’t get away from here—even for a day. Part of it was business; a good deal of it was the house. My, the house! I think Katy & the cook expect to move in, about day after to-morrow; Katy thinks she may be able to have my room ready for me by next Saturday or Sunday. As to when we can send for Jean & the servants—well, that is further along, we can’t guess a date. Your own room will be ready as early as Jean’s—& it will make you swear. Light green wall-
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.