Note: all of the above names and letters courtesy of MTP.
December 6 Wednesday – Sam attended “a part of Hansel and Gretel,” a play based on Grimm’s fairy tale, performed at the Metropolitan Opera House, Alfred Hertz conducting the performance of the opera written by Engelbert Humperdinck (1854-1921). Isabel Lyon recorded that he enjoyed the opera, but at George Harvey’s insistence left early so as not to become overtired [Gribben 341: Lyon’s journal TS 112: MTP]. Note: the N.Y. Times, Dec. 7, p.9 “Haensel Und Gretel Again” noted that “Among conspicuous figures in the audience last evening was Mark Twain.”
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Robert Bacon (Dec. 4), Asst. Secretary of State, who had been seeking information on England’s actions on the Congo situation:
I am very glad. I shall take measures at once to get that information. It is my impression that England asked our Government some time ago to join her in a move, but I will inquire, & find out what this impression is based upon.
When I returned from Washington I set on foot (privately) an inquiry into the present English attitude. Answers will come in due time. I hope it is true that John Morley is of the new cabinet; he is a Congo-Reformer. I imagine it goes without saying that Bryce is one, also. These are friends of mine—so also is Campbell-Bannerman [MTP].
Hawkins writes that the above letter shows that Sam “faltered” when pressed for English information on the Congo situation, and “fell back on name-dropping and inappropriate humor….He signed the letter, “S.L. Clemens (oldest person in America)” [163-4].
Sam also wrote to Andrew Carnegie.
Dear St. Andrew: / Any one of those dates will do for me. Will you name it.
Your speech strongly moved me last night. They were welcome words to me.
By the way—an incident. Harvey’s remarks set you to guessing as to whom he was referring to, and it turned out to be you. Then right away you set 3 of us to guessing (my daughter and my secretary and me), as to whom my “lion” would turn out to be. The fact secretaries bristle up and have the road against strangers, after the matter of lions, and my secretary being Miss Lyon—do you see? She was there, by kindness of the Colonel, to watch over my daughter, who is not very well.
Oh, it was a grand night, Saint Andrew, and I was glad I was invited. / Yours ever, / Mark [MTP: Cyril Clemens, Mark Twain: The Letter Writer, 1932 p.107].
A form letter was sent to various people who had honored Sam on his birthday:
To you, & to all my other known & unknown friends who have lightened the weight of my seventieth birthday with kind words & good wishes I offer my most grateful thanks, & beg leave to sign myself
Your & their obliged friend
New York, Dec. 6, 1905
Sam added sentiments to many. The following for this Dec. 6 form letter survive, along with Sam’s added notes:
Moncure D. Conway: “You, ‘worthy to be there? Certainly there could not be any worthier; but Harvey said he would invite no writers but fiction-writers. SLC”
Edwin T. Evans and Josephine Evans: “It was dear & good of you to remember Eve, & I send you my love.”
Mr. [Milton] Goodkind: “It is sound advice, Mr. Goodkind, & I will follow it.”
Miss Rabie Hart in London, England: “Indeed I am very proud of that compliment: ‘The Gospel according to St. Mark”
Mr. Ingram: “Oh no, bless you, I love them well, but I am very old & twice as lazy, & shall never do any work again except under compulsion of hunger & cold.”
Helen Keller: “It is a lovely letter, dear Helen & I thank you from my heart for it. / Remain an optimist just as long as you can, dear! I would not abridge the term by a single day. But as for me—ah, that is different! / Do please give my love to Mr. & Mrs. Macy.”
Seth Low: “Dear Mr. Low, that situation was just too delicious! I wish I could have been there.”
John Y. MacAlister:
But dear Mac Alister you did not enclose that quaint letter.
Indeed I wish Clara could go over there, but I don’t think I could spare her—there’s but a few of us now, & we have to stick close together.
No, you come to us at the end of May (Dublin, N.H.). There’s a spare room & it is charming there in the woods & the hills. Say you will!
The cheque for £700 Plasmon came—thanks.
Dublin will set you up!
Hélène Elisabeth Picard: “For many days I have put in my whole time signing ‘Mark Twain’ to these
cards…With my warmest regards, S.L.C., C.S.”
Mrs. Morison: “And may I find you next time I arrive Dear Mrs. Morison. S L C”
Two to unidentified persons, no added comment [all MTP]. Note: Sam’s note to Picard reveals that these were not all signed and sent on the printed date of Dec. 6.
Sam also wrote to Miss Emma C. Thursby, also likely an added note to the Dec. 6 form letter: “To you, & to all my other known & unknown friends who have lightened the weight of my seventieth birthday with kind words & good wishes I offer my most grateful thanks, & beg leave to sign myself / Your & their obliged friend/ Mark Twain / New York, Dec. 6, 1905” [MTP].
Sam wrote to the Lyric Theatre, NYC, enclosing a card marked “Two for Fedora”—ordering seats [MTP: NY Times, Dec. 8, 1905, p.11].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Mr. Clemens has just come in at 10:15 after dining with Mr. and Mrs. Perry Belmont and going to the opera to see a part of Hansel and Gretel. On coming up to find Jean, who had gone to bed, he stopped on the stairs to say that he had had a beautiful time. Mr. Belmont he likes ever so much, he finds him a man of fine principles and the table talk was good, very good. “Mrs. Belmont is something of a fool, but she has her good parts.” And the opera was lovely. Col. Harvey made him leave before he wanted to, made him come home to rest after the fatigues of wonderful last night, and as he stood on the stairs in the soft half light, he looked the beautiful “Hero-Saint” that Mr. Carnegie claimed him to be in a letter today [MTP TS 112]. Note: Perry Belmont (1851-1947), American attorney, politician and diplomat, Democrat congressman (1881-1889), U.S. Ambassador to Spain (1889). In 1899, after 17 years of marriage, Jessie Ann Robbins divorced Henry T. Sloane to marry Perry Belmont. The marriage occurred 5 hours after the divorce was decreed—at that time considered scandalous. Perhaps at any time. See Insert for Metropolitan Opera House Ad.
Lucy Page Whitehead wrote from Washington, D.C. to Sam adding her congratulations on his 70th and asking if she might “not hope for the pleasure of entertaining” him next spring [MTP]. Note: allowing a day for mail to N.Y., Sam’s reply through Lyon would have been on or after Dec. 7
Albert L. Wilson wrote from Kansas City, Kans. to offer congratulations [MTP].
Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Boston “sorry not to hear your blithe speech last night” [MTP].
B. (no further identification) wrote a rather strange letter about some pharmaceutical he claimed “unique” that he had sent samples to clergy, including Twichell. He does not ask anything specific [MTP].
Moncure D. Conway wrote “good wishes” to Sam [MTP].
Elizabeth B. Custer wrote congratulations to Sam [MTP].
W.A. Darrow wrote congratulations from Phila. [MTP].
Paris R. Forman wrote congratulations, Merry Xmas, Happy New Year [MTP].
Sarah G.H. (K?) Goetchius wrote to Sam, hardly believing he was 70; she knew him when he was 40 [MTP].
John Y.W. MacAlister wrote to Sam. “I find I overlooked the enclosed enclosure; evidently the more hastie the less speed; but I forgot you detest puns, and will go slow in the future” [MTP]. Note: an enclosure by Mrs. R.L. Hastie, makes the pun.
W.S. Morrow wrote congratulations to Sam [MTP].
William Golden Mortimer, M.D. wrote to Sam sending a copy of his book: Pem: History of Coca, etc. (1901). He mentioned old times in Calif. and the Jumping Frog book. He praised “Eve’s Diary” [MTP]. See Gribben p.488 for more on Mortimer’s book.
George H. Picard wrote to Sam, regretting he was unable to attend the party [MTP].
Robert Reid wrote congratulations to “Dear St. Mark”, drawing a nice picture of sam with a halo, and declining the invitation:
“Thank you just the same—but I’d rather a thousand times have that little letter of yours than be ‘amongst those present’ at the Col’s dinner—& this isn’t sour grapes either. Though I do wish it had been a [illegible word] opene cat-fight. / Yours forever with everything” [MTP]. Note: Reid was not invited to Sam’s birthday banquet; see IVL journal entry of Dec. 7. Insert of Reid’s sketch below.
Johnson Stewart wrote from Toronto, Canada to Sam, reacting with tongue-in-cheek to the account of his 70th party that ran in the Mail and Empire that morning. He recalled seeing Twain in the “company of a disreputable party named Toole in London” a few years before. Stewart hoped Sam lived to be 165 [MTP].
E. Thorne wrote congratulations to Sam [MTP].
Louise Waring wrote “Belated congratulations” to Sam [MTP].
Frederick W. Webber wrote from NYC to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Lucy Page Whitehead wrote from Wash, D.C. to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Albert L. Wilson wrote from Kansas City, Mo. to congratulate Sam on his 70th. He wrote that on Feb. 18, 1888 they named their only son “Mark Twain” in his honor [MTP]. Note: allowing 2-3 days mail to N.Y., Sam’s reply through Lyon is given as ca.Mon. Dec. 11.
December 6 ca. – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to the Dec. 3 request from Merrill Tiliston. [MTP]. Note: MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “on or after 3 Dec.” Three days estimated postal time is allowed here, giving ca. Dec. 6.
December 7 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Emilie R. Rogers (Mrs. H.H. Rogers).
Dear Mrs. Rogers: / I walked out to your home this afternoon, hoping & expecting to see you, & was sorry to learn that you were not feeling well, & not seeing people. The footman offered to report my name & see if you would make an exception in my favor, but I was afraid your goodheartedness might overreach your judgment, so I wouldn’t let him do it.
My walk extended to the Broughtons & the Coes, but the day was so fine that they were all out. I meant to call on the Benjamins, but was interrupted by a friend, and before I could extricate myself from him I was clear down to 12th street again.
I met H. H. below the Park, flying toward 78th street, but he wouldn’t halt. B’goshalmighty, I walked 74 blocks, twice over, & caught nobody. / With love, …. [MTP].
On or after Dec. 7 Lyon replied to Lucy Page Whitehead’s Dec. 6 from Washington: “Be glad if he ever goes to Washington again to be entertained under her roof. Did not have time to hunt her up this last visit there only a short time & was overcrowded with the business he went to attend to” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Today, this morning Mr. Clemens read me a very great poem by Mr. Gilder in the Times. It is a poem on this terrible massacring of Jews and peasants in Russia. Mr. Clemens said it was difficult to decide—you couldn’t decide—if it was satire or not, unless you know your man. But, I think Mr. Gilder is in earnest. (Poem is a clipping in folder.) This afternoon Robert Reid came in to see Mr. Clemens. Oh, he is a large man. Stiff, in inflamatory rheumatism. As I entered the drawing room, he was preening before the long mirror. Later, Norman Hapgood came in. Both R.R. and Norman Hapgood were sore about not being invited to the banquet and Moncure D. Conway put his soreness into a pathetic, abused note. But Mr. Clemens said that “Conway has been dead for 5 years” [MTP TS 112].
E. Armstrong wrote from Chicago to Sam, a friendly letter of congratulations [MTP].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote on Koy-Lo Co. letterhead to Miss Lyon. “Mr. Henry C. Davis would like to see Mr. Clemens sometime for a few minutes. I believe he wants to express his appreciation at being selected as Plasmon Chairman—or something of that sort” [MTP].
E.T. Bloxham wrote from Boonton, N.J. after reading “Eve’s Diary” in the current Harper’s. Did Sam simply mean to give “Eve’s Estimate of things general as she perceived them in the Garden”? or did he mean to “portray in a subtle and humorous manner the conception of the world as to the attitude of man towards woman, and vice versa”? On or just after this day In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam: “Mr Clemens wishes to say he thinks an examination of Eve’s character as set forth in the article will answer the question” [MTP].
Coincidentally, also from Boonton, N.J., H.W. Chetterling wrote to Sam discussing in their family the Dec. Harper’s article “Eve’s Diary.” They framed a question about Eve’s “understanding of inanimate things,” which, on or just after this day Isabel V. Lyon again replied for Sam: “Would answer the question with pleasure but does not understand it” [MTP].
Rebecca W.M. Colfelt wrote from Glen Loch, Pa. to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Joseph Esler wrote from Quincy, Ill. to Sam. “As an old time resident of your native city, Hannibal, Mo, and as a near neighbor at the present time, allow the writer, to heartily congratulate you on your passage of your 70th mile-stone” [MTP].
Mary E. Freeman wrote to apologize to Sam for leaving his birthday dinner “so abruptly, with only a hasty hand-shake, and not a word about my liking your brilliant speech” [MTP].
Joseph Homber wrote congratulations to Sam and sent a box of “Rutherford” Havana cigars [MTP].
W.B. Hosford, after reading an account of Sam’s 70th celebration, wrote from Mishikawa, Ind. to ask Sam if he’d known a “Bob” Clemens, an engineer on the Mississippi in 1860’s steamboating days [MTP]. Note: allowing 3 days mail delivery and a Sunday, Sam’s reply is put to ca. Dec. 11.
C. Milde wrote congratulations (in German) to Sam [MTP].
Wilbur F. Mills wrote from Pittsburg, Pa. to Sam after reading of the “Jollification Meeting” of his 70th [MTP].
F.W. Sedgwick wrote from Parma, Mich. to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Dihdwo Twe wrote to Sam, mistakenly addressing it to “Edward H. Clement”:
I was greatly disappointed that we did not get chance to talk over the Congo question when we met at Mr. Pearmain’s home last month. However I am preparing an article on the subject that I want to be published in the Harper Magazine. I shall send you the article when it is finished to have you look it over and push it through if it meet with your appreciation [MTP].
Henry Watterson wrote to Sam, wanting to see him before he left NYC. Could Sam see him for lunch this Sat or Sun at 1 p.m.? [MTP]. Note: at top in pencil “ansd by telephone”; on the left empty side, “Sunday”
On the Congo situation, Thomas Barbour wrote Edmund Morel about the Nov. 27 Twain-Roosevelt luncheon meeting. Twain believed if Roosevelt could have “quietly trustworthy assurance” that the British government was ready to act, that America would “follow suit.” Could Morel get such assurance? If so, Twain would see Roosevelt again [Hawkins 164].
December 8 Friday – Louise A. Howland (Robert Howland’s widow) wrote from Sausalito, Calif. to Sam, congratulating him on his 70th, asking for an “up to date photograph” and recalling the old says when she “knew and claimed Mark Twain—as one of her best friends” [MTP]. Note: estimated here one week, or ca. Dec. 15 for Sam’s reply.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Today Mr. Clemens took me down to the Produce Exchange Safety Vaults and made me his deputy there” [MTP TS 112].
Benjamin Arthur wrote to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Mrs. M.G. Cooney wrote from Rochester, NY to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Helen Keller wrote to Sam. “Your birthday will always be a Thanksgiving Day to me” [MTP].
Henry Moffat, M.D. wrote from NYC to congratulate Sam [MTP].
Abe Newburger wrote from Chicago to congratulate Sam [MTP].
William Winter wrote to congratulate Sam [MTP].
December 8 ca. – Lyon replied for Sam to Lucy Page Whitehead [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “on or after 6 Dec.” Two days estimated postal time is allowed here, giving ca. Dec. 8.
December 9 Saturday – More Dec. 6 form letters for the occasion of Sam’s 70th to the following:
Kate Douglas Wiggin: “I didn’t know until last night (Dec. 8) that you had sent me a book & a letter, dear Mrs. Riggs. I am enjoying them this afternoon, in place of working, (for I am tired again,—always tired since I struck 70). I do so thank you for your hearty words” [MTP]
Annie E. Trumbull: I thank you most cordially for that fine & strong poem now—I was so irretrievably dull & weary & muddy-headed the other night that I couldn’t, then. I got up some time or other next day & went to your hotel, but you had flown—just that moment! [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Lunch with Mr. Davis” [MTP TS 36].
Andrew Carnegie wrote to Sam.
Wednesday 30 is the night fixed. Gilder comes tomorrow to ‘boss’ the affair as usual—
Pray give me namesof any you should like present. Perhaps you can suggest a Prince or two in the Republic of letters, or a special friend you should like present [MTP].
John F. Tremain wrote on Publishers’ Press Assoc. letterhead announcing the formation of a Chemung County Society for Elmirans in NYC. A meeting was called for Dec. 12 at 8 p.m. and they would be “glad to have you attend” [MTP]. Note: IVL answered for Sam on Dec. 11. See entry.
December 10 Sunday – Another Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of Sam’s 70th to Howard Pyle. Sam added this comment: “It is a most dear & sweet little Eve, & looks just as she did in those first days, when there wasn’t any night because that radiant creature still remained smiling around after the sun went down” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight while we were at dinner, Mary Lawton as a guest, Mr. Gilder came in and speaking of profanity in the great or literary people, he told how years ago when George MacDonald was over here, he asked MacDonald “if he were to know anything derogatory to Shakespeare, would he give it out to the world?” and MacDonald replied, “I’d be damned if I would!” Another case of the loyalty of writers to each other. They are a lovable and beloved clan [MTP TS 113]. Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Lunch with Mr. Watterson at 1. Manhattan Club” [MTP TS 36].
Stealla Weiler-Taylor wrote from Hamilton, Ohio to congratulate Sam [MTP].
December 11 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Marjorie V.d.W. Brooke. “I am quite sure, Miss Brooke, that if I had seen that photograph in a shop window I should have supposed it was a picture of myself, so marked is the resemblance” [MTP: eBay item #30366463].
Sam sent another Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of his 70th to Will Larrymore Smedley. Sam added no comment [MTP].
In N.Y.C. Isabel Lyon wrote for Sam to Dihdwo Twe.
Mr. Clemens directs me to write for him & say that he is planning to give a talk on the Congo question on Thursday evening Dec. 21. in a church near at hand, and as you say you can come to New York at any time he hopes you will be able to be here on that date and talk for 20 minutes in the Church; after which Mr. Clemens will say what he wishes to have reach the Associated Press.
The Rev. Percy Grant, rector of the Church of the Ascension, expects to write to you soon—but if he does not, Mr. Clemens wishes me to say that you are to come any way, and on the next day he can see you and talk about your article.
Mr. Clemens directs me to say that he would rather you wouldn’t say anything about this plan, for he doesn’t wish to get into the papers as a lecturer, and therefore there is to be no advertising of the talk. [on verso:] giving details of the horrors that have been perpetrated in Africa [MTP].
Isabel Lyon also began a letter to Raffaello Stiattesi that she finished on Dec. 14. Her perspective on the 70th birthday celebration, the servant Ugo, and the Clemens girls may be instructive to researchers.
Carissimo Toscano Mio: / Two weeks ago I received your dear welcome letter, and I am slow in answering it, because I have been very busy indeed, and not very well—not very strong;—but I have a good Doctor—the one who took care of Miss Clara during all her long illness—and he will bring back my strength again I know.
You will probably not hear that a great banquet was given to Mr. Clemens on his 70th birthday—only writers of fiction were invited, but Col. Harvey who gave the banquet invited me, and I went to sit near my wonderful chief (Mr. Clemens) who made a beautiful and humorous speech; there were many other celebrated men who made speeches also—and it was a beautiful evening for me. But you would never think that Mr. Clemens is seventy years old, he looks far better than he did when he was in beloved Quarto, and he is well and quite contented I think, for now Miss Clara is at home here, well and beautiful & sweet, as you know she cannot help but be. She is singing again—not very much yet, but she is studying and her voice is charming.
Yes. You write English very fluently now, and I am delighted to have so great a benefit come to you in your new neighbor—I think I remember that she was always an interesting woman. You are fortunate.
But Carissimo, you do not tell about “Nina”—& “Sirio” & “Peg.” & the dear Panhard—and I love them all. but best I love to remember the sound of your feet on your gravel walk. Oh how sweet it was. Do you think, really, that I shall ever be in the Canonica again? I promise myself that dear pleasure, but who can tell? Does any one sleep in my tiny bed?
Today I have received the pamphlet you so kindly sent, and I thank you very much for it. I am so happy that your favorite work has made you famous.
I very much hope that you will not be tempted to show my letters to anyone, for I wish to write you freely, dear Don Raffaello— and the letters are only for your eyes—are they not?
About two weeks ago Siquor Ubaldo Traverso was here, and called upon Mr. Clemens. We had a very nice talk with him, and he made me long to see you, & the via Strozzi—& all Florence.
Ugo who re-entered Mr. Clemens’s service in the summer is now back in Italy. Mr. Clemens had to send him home, for he could not learn English, nor our customs, and it made much trouble—All your words came true once more you see [MTP].
Sam also instructed Lyon to reply “Thanks for the honor” to Albert L. Wilson’s Dec. 6 of Kansas City, Mo. for naming their only son, now seventeen, “Mark Twain” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon replied for SLC to the Dec. 9 of John F. Tremain:
At bottom of Tremain’s Dec. 9 in pencil Miss Lyon wrote: “Sorry he cannot come or join, but that he accepts no invitations now, which I can with propriety decline. She quoted him: “Realize that I am old & am staggering along under a heavy burden of duties & industries.” This letter ran in the Elmira Morning Telegram for 17 Dec. 1905.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Oh, Mr. Clemens is so interested in the Congo question, the terrible, terrible Congo suffering”[MTP TS 113]. Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Lunch with Mr. Melville Stone” [MTP TS 36]. Note: Stone ran the Associated Press.
A. Rosenthal, editor of The Modern View Publishing Co., St. Louis, wrote to Sam. They were sending a copy of The Modern View magazine which contained a poem by Henry Tudor written in Sam’s honor. The publication catered to “the representative Jewish element of the country”; they lauded Sam’s “noble stand … in denouncing Russian atrocities against an innocent people” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s one-word directive to Lyon “Answer” is estimated at five days, or ca. Dec. 16.
Daniel Carter Beard wrote from Flushing, L.I. to thank Sam for accepting our invitations and how excited they were at the prospect [MTP].
Marion von Kendler wrote on a picture postcard (of Franz Joseph of Austria), her wish of happiness to Sam “on your natal and all other days” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote above Franz’s head; “No address?”
James F. Mallinckrodt wrote from St. Louis to praise Sam’s birthday speech [MTP].
Annie H. Martin wrote from Carson City, Nev. For the Nevada Press Co. to ask Sam for an article for their Christmas edition [MTP].
George W. Spencer wrote congratulations from Boston, and asked Sam if he would sign the enclosed photo, one he got as a boy at Lee & Shepard’s 35 years before: “I had the pleasure of meeting you three gentlemen, and became somewhat familiar with Billings and Nasby and so much so that I was able to procure their autographs but did not get yours” [MTP].
December 11 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Albert L. Wilson’s Dec. 6 [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “on or after 6 Dec.” Five days estimated postal time is allowed here, giving ca. Dec. 11.
Sam also replied to W.B. Hosford’s Dec. 7 query: “left the River for good in June ‘61” [MTP]. Note: three days allowed for mail time and a Sunday for the reply.
December 12 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Louis Windmüeller, treasurer Legal Aid Society.
I have known about The Legal Aid Society for some years, but it conducts its affairs so quietly and so unostentatiously that I did not know, until the other day, how extensive is the work it is doing. It stirs one’s blood and compels one’s deep homage to read the great figures! If New York could read them, do you think it could ever be said again that “the contributions fail to cover the ever-growing expenses”? I think not—I am sure not.
I found the figures in The Outlook; please let me quote the whole article: [article enclosed/quoted]
It will surprise no one that the President and Mrs. Roosevelt are interested in the Society’s work and are willing to make a long journey to help it along. Indeed, there is something so eloquent about those plain, unadorned statistics and the quoted incidents that it would not be in human nature for either the highest or the lowest in the land to read them and not be strongly moved to desire the privilege of sharing in the Society’s generous crusade in the behalf of the oppressed and the friendless. The Society will not need advertise “Haensel und Gretel”—at least to the people who have seen it; for so deep and satisfying is the chorus of that lovely masterpiece that whoso has been under its spell once will come again. There are enough of those to fill the house. I know this, for when I was there, there was but one vacant seat, and I was in it [MTP]. Note: enclosed, a cover and announcement for a “Special Performance” of Hansel and Gretel by the Conreid Metropolitan Opera Company for the benefit of the Legal Aid Society at the Metropolitan Opera House on Thursday evening, Mar. 15, 1906.
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Neighborhood Club, 9 Plu. / Mr. Eno. / Ives photographer at 1:30 will call here” [MTP TS 36].
M. Fairchild, age 80, wrote from St. Louis to Sam, congratulating him on reaching his 70th and giving his secrets for a long life [MTP]. Note: allow five days plus Sunday for delivery; see ca. Dec. 18 for Sam’s reply.
Paula Lorch (Mrs. Emil Lorch) wrote from Nurnberg, Bavaria asking if it were true that Sam was writing another book [MTP]. Note: Sam’s answer is cataloged as Dec. 29 to 31.
December 13 Wednesday – According to the notation on the envelope of A. MacHugh’s and Y. MacLoghlan’s Nov. 13, Sam answered the “two Irish mugs” on this day.
Yes, both publicly & privately I have praised the astonishing triumph achieved by Witte at Portsmouth with deuces and against a Japanese flush; also both publicly & privately I have said unchristian things about the Peace which resulted. This kind of discrimination is not a new thing with me. It is a custom of mine to frankly & cordially admire the Deity’s astonishing cleverness in making his Masterwork out of dirt & leavings, but it is also a custom of mine to as frankly & cordially deride the result.
Keep your promise, MacHugh—come & see me. And bring MacLoghlan if he exists—which I am doubting. His signature is too careful [MTP].
Note: Count Sergei Yulyevich Witte headed the Russian delegation which negotiated the Treaty of Portsmouth (N.H.) which ended the 1904-05 Russo-Japanese war.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Booker T. Washington called today. He has a monstrous handgrip.
At luncheon today Mr. Clemens told how in all the previous banquets at which Mr. Howells has spoken, the guests were ordinary men, or commercial men, pretty unimaginative, so that he was not looking for any enthusiastic reception when he rose to his feet, after a few very lovely words from Col. Harvey, to toast his friend, Mr. Clemens. He was greeted by a burst of applause and homage and was so overcome by it that he did not know whether he could pay his tribute and make his toast. Mr. Clemens was deeply moved himself when he told us. Today, he wrote to Mr. Windmuller and finished the letter with what he called “such a cunning remark”. He said that in the performance of Hansel and Gretel last Wednesday evening, “there was only one vacant seat, and I was in it.” Oh, it is a darling [MTP TS 113].
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Mr. Robt Reid came to talk about the ‘Players,’ & later Mr. David Munro telephoned, wishing to tell his delight into Mr. Clemens’s own ear” [MTP TS 36].
Sam S. Shubert and Lee Shubert sent a telegram from N.Y.C. to Sam noting Sarah Bernhardt’s appearance on Monday, Dec. 18 at the Casino Theatre for the “benefit of Jewish sufferers in Russia.” They would be “sincerely grateful” if Mark Twain could “be present and make a short address.” On or just after this day Sam replied by writing on the bottom of the letter, “Send some one down. How many speakers” [MTP]. Note: see insert ad for Dec. 14, which also advertised the event. Sam agreed to offer a few words.
Herbert E. Bowen wrote from NYC to send “more flotsam & jetsam, which Col. Harvey directs me to send to you.” He also asked Sam to autograph on a slip of paper to go with Bowen’s statuette [MTP].
Julia Brodie wrote from Novato, Calif. to send best wishes for the new year [MTP].
Dihdwo Twe wrote to Sam having rec’d his letter. “…unfortunately the 21st conflicts with our new change of time. Our final examination comes on the 21st and lasts through the 22nd…I can come down on the 23rd and spend a week in the City to see certain persons concerning the Congo question” [MTP].
December 14 Thursday – Sam sent another Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of Sam’s 70th to Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Lilian W. Aldrich, now at their summer home, “Redfarm,” in Ponkapog, Mass. Sam added: “Apparently I am never going to get a chance to add a line, so I will just give it up till a later day &—God Almighty bless you both! / SLC / Dec. 14.” [MTP].
In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon finished her Dec. 11 to Raffaello Stiattesi.
Today Teresa [Cherubini] had a post card from Ugo, and he was in Paris at the time he sent it. He went home by way of Cherbourg.
Last evening Santa Clara, Jean, & I went to see Madame Sara Bernhardt in “Angelo.” She was very wonderful, as she always is—and her speech is very beautiful.
Miss Clara sends you her love, and Mr. Clemens wishes me to give you his very warm regards. He often speaks of you very affectionately. My dear, sweet mother sends you her love also—and I am so happy to have you—il Toscano mio—for my friend [MTP]. Note: the NY Times, Dec. 14, p.9, gives the Dec. 13 performance as the first of the play Angelo, a lesser-known work of Victor Hugo, though popular on the French stage.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Jean, 9:30. Santissima, Jean and I went to see Bernhardt last night in ‘Angelo’. She is a most finished actress, for she can be the tigress, or the woman, and the note of restraint in this play was so satisfying. But, it was all good, her support was fine as it always is” [MTP TS 113].
Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Mr. [Channing] Pollock came to talk with Mr. Clemens about his making a little speech next Monday afternoon in the Casino Theatre for the Bernhard[t] Benefit for the Jews. Wrote Mr. Larkin about the unsatisfactory condition of the heating. Radiators make such a noise in the front part of the house that one cannot sleep” [MTP TS 37].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote to Miss Lyon: “Please tell Mr. Clemens that I have secured an amendment of the royalty arrangement on hat pins so that, instead of our sending to the Antipodes $5.00 out of the $7.50 (on each $100 of sales) …we are now only to send $3.75” [MTP].
Thomas S. Barbour wrote to Sam with plans to go to Washington to perhaps see Elihu Root on the Congo question. What did Sam think of the idea? He asked Sam to telegraph collect if he did not think such a visit was wise at this time [MTP].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam about a little book of poetry by Mrs. Margaret Potter Black of Chicago, that she brought to Sam’s birthday dinner. Duneka dissuaded her from giving it to Clemens then, and then forgot about it. “Would it be asking too much to have a line of acknowledgment go to her in some way, either through your secretary, through me or by your own fair hand?” He closed by saying that “Praises of your speech keep pouring upon us” [MTP].
John R. Marks wrote from Prince Edward Island after reading an account of Sam’s 70th celebration, hoping that Sam would give him a reply to this letter, which was appreciative of Twain’s humor [MTP].
John D. Rhodes wrote a fan letter to Sam, wishing him “a happy return of your birthday” [MTP].
Booker T. Washington wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr Clemens:—
Merely to let you have this as a reminder, I am writing to say that the meeting for Tuskegee will be held in Carnegie Hall, Monday evening January 22nd, at eight fifteen.
All of my friends are most grateful to you.
Later on I shall send you some printed matter from Tuskegee which will give you full information regarding the school. / Very truly yours…[MTP].
S. Burns Weston , Secretary for The Contemporary Club of Philadelphia wrote to Sam requesting he give a reading at their next reading on Jan. 8, 1906. Weston wrote that Miss Agnes Repplier had spoken to Sam about the possibility at his 70th birthday celebration. Sam, shortly after receipt, wrote “Decline it” on the letter for Isabel Lyon [MTP].
Lamont Hammond’s article “Mark Twain at Seventy” ran in Nation (NY) p. 478-9. Tenney: “MT has won respect as a writer, here and in England, although he does not belong to the coteries of Boston and New York. ‘He knows America and knows it whole,’ writing with power rather than fine academic distinctions. He is a ‘humorist of the first rank,’ to be sure, but also a humanist” .
December 15 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote a short note to Robert Bacon. “Dear Mr. Bacon: / I am expecting to send you the full report (in French) & an elaborate digest of it (English). By mail or by the hand of a delegation of our Association” [MTP].
Sam also sent a Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of his 70th birthday to John D. Rhodes, US Court of Claims, Washington, D.C. Sam added: “Alas, they have shut Huck & Tom out from the youth’s department of the Brooklyn Blind Asylum library!” [MTP]. Note: postmarked this date.
Sam also wrote a two-page letter to an unnamed correspondent (now identified below) in Vienna. Sam recalled the “many pleasant months” spent in Vienna and the “many delightful people” there. He also gave the old leadman’s story once again to explain his nom de plume [MTP: Sotheby’s catalog Dec. 15, 1987, Item 56]. Note: this is likely a reply to Maurice Ernst, who wrote from Vienna on Dec. 4 [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Santa C. is ill—and must stay in her bed for days to come. 42 today.
Mr. Clemens is going to speak at a Benefit in which Sara Bernhardt is to play a tiny play—for the Russian Jews. Mr. Pollock came down to talk with Mr. Clemens about it, and they had a delightful chat. He told Mr. Clemens that his father, a learned man, had said that the legend runs in Germany that only 2 people of great prominence have “Herr” before their name: “God Almighty and Mark Twain.” [MTP TS 113-114]. Note: Channing Pollock (1880-1946), playwright and critic, then with the Lyric Theatre.
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Radiators noisy in Jean’s room, & in Miss Clemens’s little room” [MTP TS 37].
N.J. Bachelleur for N.H. Board of Agriculture wrote to Sam. “I have before me a Brooklyn Eagle interview with you in which, I am pleased to see, you say many kind things about New Hampshire. May I have your kind permission to use some parts of this interview in publications of this board?/ Yours… [MTP]. Note: Miss Lyon wrote in pencil: “Can use whatever he pleases. It was not an interview for any particular paper, but was delivered by the Harpers to a great many papers.”
William C. Dornin wrote from NYC to ask if it was too late to offer congratulations [MTP].
Eden E. Greville wrote from NYC to Sam, enclosing a card for the first meeting of the American Playgivers; he hoped to see Sam there. No card is in the file [MTP].
Katharine I. Harrison wrote to Sam: “I deposited this morning for your account in the Guaranty Trust Company check for $150.00, being dividend on Borden’s Condensed Milk Company Preferred stock [MTHHR 605n1].
John Horner wrote from Belfast, Ireland enclosing a copy of Irene Iddesleigh (1897) by Mrs. Emanda M’Kittrick Ros [Gribben 589; MTP].
F.P. McNutt for the NY Telephone Co. wrote enclosing “a contract for additional telephone equipment recently requested” [MTP].
Abbott Handerson Thayer wrote to Sam.
“Have I embarrassed you by forcing you to share my first hour of frothing at the mouth after a contact with Bostonians. I should greatly regret that. I merely became wildly communicative and my heart looked round for some mother’s-arms…. As William James wrote me, it was their preoccupations leaving me out.” He also asked after Jean [MTP].
Dihdwo Twe wrote from Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, Mass. to Sam.
I have been planning for sometime to come to New York to see you and Dr. Lyman Abbott personally and privately about the condition in Congo today. I have visited Congo before coming to this country; and I have, after nearly twelve years’ effort, worked out a scheme which seems practical to me, and which, I believe, if taken up will create more public sentiment than anything that could be done. I think it is a good chance to come down this month because our vacation is unusually longer this year. I will, therefore, come down to talk the subject over with you and to see Dr. Abbott and others if possible.
You will hear from me as soon as I arrive [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply is estimated at Dec. 18 to allow postal time plus Sunday.
December 15 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Louise A. Howland’s Dec. 8 letter and request for “an up to date photograph” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “on or after 8 Dec.” Seven days estimated postal time is allowed here, giving ca. Dec. 15. “We will sign a photo & send it.” Sam wrote her a paragraph on Dec. 19. See entry.
December 16 Saturday – Sam conferred sometime this day with actress Sarah Bernhardt, who was scheduled to appear at the Casino Theatre on Dec. 18 in a benefit for Jewish victims in Russia (see Dec. 14 insert advertisement) [Dec. 17 inscription in JA]. Sam showed initial interest in offering a few words for the event in his Dec. 13 response to the Shuberts. His meeting with Bernhardt likely involved his attendance and address for the following afternoon’s benefit. It was a cause that found Clemens’ sympathies.
Relations with Sam’s old friend, now Senator from New York, Chauncey M. Depew, had become somewhat strained by Depew’s support for Theodore Roosevelt; Depew had bolstered Roosevelt in a New York Mayoral race, and in 1900 was a Roosevelt delegate at the Republican National Convention.
PLATT AND DEPEW SHOULD RESIGN
NEW YORK, N.Y., Dec. 16.—The New York Post published this day…a number of letters from prominent persons relating to the fitness of Senators Platt and Depew to represent New York State in the United States senate, and the question of both men resigning. The letters are replies to these three questions…
1. Do you believe that Thomas C. Platt and Chauncey M. Depew are fit representatives…?
2. Do you think they should immediately resign their seats
3. In case they do not retire voluntarily should the legislature pass a resolution asking them to r
Mark Twain thinks the senators unfit, believes they should resign and answers the third question by saying: “If I were a legislator I would offer the resolution but ‘not’ hopefully.” [Reprinted in: Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Dec. 17, 1905, p.1].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Today over the telephone Mr. Pollock told me that Mr. Clemens is the first great man—hero—he has ever met, whose feet were not made of clay. Here are all the others: Marion Crawford, Hall Caine, Israel Zangwell [sic Zangwill] among them, but he left them all with a sense of disappointment. Not so with Mr. Clemens. Mr. Pollock has been uplifted by his talk.
This afternoon Mr. Clemens and Mr. Gilder drove up to call on Mr. Carnegie and Carl Schurz and others, but they didn’t accomplish the others for Mr. Carnegie and Mr. Schurz kept them. Mr. Clemens said at dinner that he had forgotten to tell Carl Schurz about the great value of his German newspaper that used to reach him away back in 1847, or 48. The paper was Die Anzeiger des Westens, and the little boy Clemens used to take it over to the German baker who lived near them, and he’s sell it to him for a big slab of gingerbread [MTP TS 114].
Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Miss Clara to sing at 2:30 to Mr. Charlton. / She was too ill to sing. / Radiator kept Jean awake, also kept Katie awake” [MTP TS 37]. Note: Loudon Charlton, concert manager.
Thomas S. Barbour of the Congo Reform Assoc., Boston, wrote to Sam.
“Your telegram reached me yesterday and I at once telephoned Dr. Hall who has now written to Mr. Root, suggesting an interview for Thursday. In case this date is chosen I shall hope to see you Wednesday morning.” He enclosed a document they printed, and confided they’d invited Grover Cleveland to accept a position as Vice President [MTP].
Ellen Bowith wrote from St. Albans (Queens) NY to Sam being “the bearer of a letter of introduction” from John Y.W. MacAlister of London. When he had time she wanted to present it to him, and would be honored if he would come to her recital on Tuesday. She enclosed tickets [MTP].
Boyd Crumrine wrote from Washington, Penn. to Sam, enclosing a clipping from the Washington Observer of Nov. 27, 1905. Could he “go over the paper carefully and send us a statement of what you believe to be the facts concerning your ancestry…for the archives of our Society.” The Washington County Historical Society was the group in question [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply is estimated to be ca. Dec. 18, allowing two days postal service.
Newspaper articles across the country on Sam’s 70th birthday celebration at Delmonico’s on Dec. 5 evoked responses from some old friends and sidekicks. Among these was William S. Grieg an old friend and typesetting partner for the St. Louis Evening News in the 1850s, who wrote to Sam and noted several persons Sam recalled and one he did not.
My dear friend, I have waited until the cyclone of congratulations good wishes and adulation from all the world (enough to turn the brain of any ordinary man) should have subsided a little before tendering you my hearty congratulations on your 70th birthday and my earnest wish that you may maintain your health and spirits enjoy many more birthdays.
I don’t suppose you remember me but you may remember, in 1856 I think [1853 or 4], working on the St Louis Evening News, of which Chas G. Ramsey was proprietor, foreman John Bailey champion typestringer and imbiber of the ardent, who used to come up missing about once a week, when Chas G. would lecture his thus “you can’t fool me, John Bailey, more’n two or three times more,” then there was yourself and your side partner Bob Ruggles (Larnon and Pythias) though I always associated Bob with Ichabode Crane. Amongst the others there was Garrit Marney, a little Frenchman who could swim like a frog, and who, on our afternoon visit to Bloody Island, was to look out for me as I could hardly swim and through whose neglect one day I nearly drowned.
You probably remember when we went to learn French from Dr Ricardo and after a short trial concluded it was too slow and that the American language was good enough for us
My name was Wm S. Grieg, but John Bailey christened me Grey and the name stuck to me for years, you used to say “Now Grey none of your sarcasm.” But what changes time has wrought. Bloody Island is no more, a large city spreads over the bottom lands where we gathered pecans and Hickories and hunted for quirrel, rabbit and quail, and of all the prints who trod the boards at that time very few remain, and the ups and downs and adventure “by food and field” of those few no doubt would fill volumes. I have had my share but now I am settled down amid my children and Grandchildren and haven’t been in a print I hope for 3 or 4 years, though I retain good health I treasure all your works except some of the latest I haven’t got, and now Sam if you will find time to write me a few lines in answer to this, to let me know you received it, I will be more than pleased, wishing you a merry Xmas and happy New Year, I am / an old Friend / Wm S. Grieg [MTP]. Note: See Sam’s reply on Dec. 19. Persons mentioned: Charles G. Ramsey, John Bailey, Bob Ruggles, Garrit Marney, Dr. Ricardo.
Bertram Harrison wrote from NYC to ask Sam what time he should send a carriage for him for the benefit at the Casino Theatre Monday afternoon; the time set for Sam’s talk was 5 p.m. [MTP].
H.A. Lorberg, publisher of Davis High School Library, Portsmouth, Ohio, wrote congratulations “a little late” for Sam’s 70th and also to wish a merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Lorberg requested a signed photograph to be placed in their library (a three-story Victorian edifice with mansard roof). He’d sent a large photo to Florence but did not receive it back, assuming it was “probably lost in mail” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply is estimated at 5 days, or ca. Dec. 21.
Herbert T. Stephens wrote on Kansas City Univ. letterhead to congratulate Sam on his 70th [MTP].
Andrew Carnegie inscribed a copy of his book James Watt (1905): “To one I am proud to / call friend / Mr. Clemens / Andrew Carnegie / Dec. 16th 1905” [Gribben 131].
December 16 ca. – Sam directed Isabel Lyon to answer A. Rosenthal’s Dec. 11 [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs this as “on or after 11 Dec.” Five days estimated postal time from St. Louis is allowed here.
December 17 Sunday – Sam wrote a longish inscription in JA to Sarah Bernhardt:
Ah, Madame the illustrious, I made a mistake yesterday; When you spoke of the “play,” I thought you meant the book—I have no play, I was never able to write a play. But this is the book; & it has one large merit: it puts no words into Jeanne’s mouth which she did not say. With the homage of Yours very truly the Author, To Madame Sarah Bernhardt. Dec. 17/05 [MTP: Anderson Galleries catalog, Dec. 17, 1934, Item 61].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Today, drowsing, not very well. Poultney Bigelow came in this afternoon and when he joined us at tea he exclaimed over the wonderful change in Mr. Clemens condition and appearance. P.B. is just back from Panama and full of the dreadful condition of things down there. A condition that government reports cover up. He has written an article about it all, but said that Harper, who sent him there, and paid for the article, would be afraid to publish it and would do too much editing to it. After dinner Mr. Clemens said he’s longing for Dublin [N.H.] again. His days are so full here that there isn’t much chance for work or rest [MTP TS 114]. Isabel Lyon’s Journal # 2: “Noise in front radiators in the night, also in Mr. Clemens’s dressing room & in my room” [MTP TS 37].
John Irwin wrote from Galence, Ohio asking where he might get a copy of a piece by Sam that Harper said was out of print [MTP]. Note: allowed 3 days for Sam’s reply, or ca. Dec. 20.
American Playgoers, Amelia Bingham president, sent Sam a postcard sized meeting announcement for Sunday, Dec. 17 at 8:15 p.m. at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel [MTP].
December 18 Monday – At the Casino Theatre in the afternoon (Lyon’s journal #2 gives it as 2 p.m) following a performance by Sarah Bernhardt, Sam offered a few words for the benefit of Jewish sufferers in Russia. The New York Times, Dec. 19, p. 9 reported the event:
MARK TWAIN SPEAKS
AFTER BERNHARDT ACTS
Jewish Benefit Audience Enjoys an Unusual Double Bill.
$3,000 FOR THE RELIEF FUND
Humorist Says He and the Actress Are Two of the Youngest Persons Alive.
The benefit matinee for the Jewish sufferers in Russia, which was given at the Casino yesterday afternoon, drew a big crowd from the professional and social worlds. Among those who helped entertain it were Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain. During the hour just after luncheon the lobby of the theatre looked as if a greenroom reception for all New York were in progress.
Well-known actresses in their prettiest afternoon gowns sold programmes and flowers at fancy prices. The prices, however, were no more objectionable than the smiles that went with them, and this feminine lobbying proved a popular and profitable device.
Each well-known actor was besieged as he entered with friendly demands upon is patience and pocketbook. Jacob Adler, who came a little late, could hardly force his way into the theatre through the crowd of young women, each of whom insisted upon selling him a programme and a rose.
Inside the theatre, boxes, orchestra, and balconies were filled to their utmost capacity.
Among the actors and actresses who volunteered their services were Kate Condon, Kitty Cheatham, and Chauncey Olcott, who sang; Auguste Van Biene, cellist; Ilka Palmay, in Hungarian dances; Henry Miller and Martha Waldron, in “Frederic Lemaitre,” and Margaret Anglin and her company in third act of “Zira.”
Sarah Bernhardt presented for the first time the one-act play, in French, “L’Escarpolette,” by Miss G. Constant Lounsbury, an American woman who spends most of her time in Paris. The play was given the following cast:
Le Chevalier Robert de Bellancourt……….Mme. Sarah Bernhardt
Celine …………………………………………….. Mle. Seylor
The Marquis ……………………………………. M. Chameroy
The piece is a dainty little production in which an eighteenth century Marquis destined by his father to marry a fiancée whom the young man has never seen, falls in love with a Fragonard portrait of a young girl in a swing. In seeking the Celine of his father’s choice the youth, after a bit of mystification, finds that his unknown fiancée is the original of his beloved Fragonard.
Mark Twain, who followed Mme. Bernhardt, spoke of the wonderful French language, which he always felt as if he were “just going to understand.”
“Mme. Bernhardt is so marvelously young,” he added. “She and I are two of the youngest people alive.”
Then the humorist told a story of how when Mme. Bernhardt was playing in Hartford some years ago three charitable old ladies decided to deny themselves the pleasure of seeing the great actress and to send the money instead to some needy friends.
“And the needy friends,” concluded Mr. Clemens drily, “gratefully took the money and bought Bernhardt tickets with it.”
Both Mr. Clemens and Mme. Bernhardt received warm welcomes.
Among those in the boxes were Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Schiff, Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Guggenheim, Mr. and Mrs. Randolph Guggenheim, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Gureaux, Mme. Bernhardt, Miss Margaret Anglin, Mr. and Mrs. Henry Lehman, Mr. Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), and Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Adler.
Ilka Palmay, Ruth Vincent, Kitty Gordon, Josephine Jacoby, Violet Holls, Isabelle Urquhart, and Annette Kohn were among those who distributed programmes and flowers in the foyer.
About $3,000 was realized from the performance.
Miss Anglin was asked by Mme. Bernhardt after the benefit if she would appear with her in Maeterlinck’s “Pelleas and Melisande.” Miss Anglin expressed her pleasure at the invitation, and it is said some arrangement may be made for a performance of the play in French after the Bernhardt road tour.
A special matinee performance of “La Tosca” by Mme. Bernhardt is announced for Friday afternoon at the Lyric Theatre.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: This afternoon Mr. Clemens chatted at a benefit given for the Russian Jews. Bernhardt played that Watteau one-act play L’Escarpolette, utterly charming, but before she went on she sat in the box with Mr. Clemens and it was a delight to watch those two rare geniuses chat. Bernhardt was in her man’s costume but sat with her legs on a chair and covered, and Mr. Clemens beautiful white head bent ever toward her, vibrant with life and strength and genius. And then the delight of his slow saunter onto the stage amid giant applause and cries of “bravo” [MTP TS 115].
Wm. Knabe & Co. , N.Y.C., wrote to Sam. Arthur Rubinstein, (1887-1982) Russian pianist, was to begin a US tour in January, 1906, and wished to give the proceeds of one of his recitals for the relief of Russian Jews, his brother being a political convict in Siberia. Could this benefit recital use Mark Twain’s name as a patron, along with fifteen or twenty others? On or just after this day Sam replied:
“Entirely in sympathy with the cause and if my name as a patron can be of any use will be glad to have you use it” [MTP].
Sam sent another Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of his 70th birthday to Eduard Pötzl in Vienna, Austria. Sam added a short letter to the form:
Dear Pötzl: It is a beautiful & most valued appreciation, & I have read it with delight. The sound of your voice in print brings back Vienna, & you, & Letschititske [sic] to me & fills me with memories of blessed days! The will come no more—but we have had them, & that is something to be thankful for.
The congratulations are arriving from far & wide—from friends, & from strangers who are also friends—& I am very glad; I did not know there were so many [MTP].
Samuel Hopkins Adams wrote for Collier’s to Sam. He had been silent on the Oppenheimer treatment because he’d been down with the grippe, and now was taking a trip to New Orleans, but when he returned in late January
I will call upon you, and shall hope to proceed with the matter then directly. / Dr. S. Weir Mitchell has signified his willingness to give me the material which he has, bearing upon Bishop Potter’s participation in the fraud. I understand that Dr. Mitchell got the Bishop in a corner and made it rather unpleasant for him. This, of course, is confidential… [MTP].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote “Note for S.L.C.: / I saw Lauterbach to-day. He said, in re. The sale to Ogden, that, in case it were attacked, he thought it could be sustained….His advice for the present, summed up, is: ‘Stand pat’” [MTP].
John F. Hobbs of the Thirteen Club wrote to ask Sam for his presence as the Guest of Honor at it’s 24th Anniversary Banquet, Hotel Savoy, Saturday evening, Jan. 13, 1906 [MTP]. Note: Sam declined; see Jan. 13, 1906 entry for Hobbs’ follow up.
Winifred Ives wrote from NYC to ask Sam to speak at the Annual reception in the Babies Ward of the Post Graduate Hospital, Jan.19 at 4 p.m. [MTP].
W.B. Rundle wrote from Cherry Creek, Nev. Sending two views (not in file) of the “old Overland Stage road” which enabled Sam to write RI, and wishing “his years upon the earth be many” [MTP].
December 18 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam directed Lyon to answer Dihdwo Twe’s Dec. 15: “Would suggest that he bring Dr. Abbot—to talk it over, arrange date & time to suit everybody” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs this as “on or after 15 Dec.” Estimated postal time is allowed here.
In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Boyd Crumrine’s Dec. 16 request. “Mr. Clemens thinks that Mr. Bryan Clemens of St. Louis Mo would know about the ancestry. But that his own knowledge is vague and untrustworthy” [MTP].
Sam also replied to M. Fairchild’s Dec. 12 experience of reaching 80 by no strong drink or tobacco, staying active and living “in favor with God and man.” His tongue-in-cheek reply:
“I realize, by your experience alas! that it doesn’t matter how recklessly & irrationally a man may live, he can never be sure of escaping old age” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs this as “on or after 12 Dec.,” the date of Fairchild’s letter from St. Louis. Five days estimated postal time plus Sunday is allowed here.
December 19 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Dinner engagement / Miss Winifred Holt / 44 East 78th Street. / Dentist Dr. Fulton / Dr. Fournier’s Associate. / at 3. 66 E. 58th” [MTP TS 37].
James Bertram, personal secretary for Andrew Carnegie wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam, advising that “In the course of a few weeks a cask will be delivered to you which Mr. Carnegie says you will please not hesitate to receive….” On or about this day Sam replied:
“Very glad to hear about that cask & I shall watch out for it with very agreeable anticipations—that I’m like Mr. Carnegie with the eggs—I like to have all my whiskey in one keg & then I can watch that keg” [MTP]. Note: Carnegie was the originator of the aphorism Sam often used about putting all of one’s eggs in one basket and watching that basket.
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to an old friend and typesetter-workmate on the St. Louis Daily News in 1855, William S. Grieg, who had written on Dec. 16 from St. Louis about the times in the early 1850s on the St. Louis Evening News with a young Sam.
I have forgotten the Frenchman, but I remember the others. The excellent Ruggles—tall, slender, & with bulging eyes—became a distinguished & honored Judge in Kansas. Simmons, the refined & intellectual consumptive—a pathetic figure—I remember him well. I remember the Ricards class; also the ass who could not be taught to pronounce “une singe” otherwise than “amn Sygie”; & the mouse dans san trou he pronounced “daunz sun trow (like ou in Ouch) / Sincerely your friend….[MTP].
Note: the “ass” whose name Sam could not recall may have been William G. Waite, as revealed in a New York Times feature article which ran on June 8, 1902, “Mark Twain Among Scenes of His Early Life.” Here are two of the final paragraphs of the article, noting another compositor in those early 1850s, one unnamed in Grieg’s Dec. 16 or in Sam’s above reply of Dec. 19:
OTHER OLD FRIENDS
William G. Waite, now a printer in The St. Louis Republic composing room worked with Mark Twain in the early fifties, when he, too, was a printer. They were employed in the old Evening News office in St. Louis, and the future author worked a year in that capacity.
“He was a good printer,” said Waite, “but mighty independent. He was always called, ‘that boy’ by Charles G. Ramsey, proprietor and editor of The News. He’d get down late once in a while, and Ramsey would say: ‘Here’s that _____ boy late again.’ Clemens didn’t say anything to this for a long time, but one morning he turned on Ramsey and replied: ‘Take your dashed situation, and got to (a warm country)!’ He left the office and we heard nothing of him for several years.
Sam sent another Dec. 6 form thank you letter for the occasion of his 70th to Louise A. Howland (Robert’s widow), now in Sausalito, Calif. Sam added a paragraph:
To think of you as a grandmother! It is quite impossible. It was a good deal of a strain to think of you as a mother; still, I managed it, being greatly helped there to by the picture of the child—good sound & solid evidence; unadorned evidence—even naked evidence; for the plump creature was reclining in an oyster shell while its wardrobe was at the wash [MTP].
In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Robert Underwood Johnson, that Clemens would be unable to attend the dinner of the Academy of Arts and letters on Friday, Dec. 29 [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Tonight Mr. Clemens dined with Miss Winifred Holt and sat between her and Miss May Sinclair. When Miss Holt had finished a long talk on the goodness of God, and his mercies to her, Mr. Clemens asked her if she could account for God’s reason for making a pet of her and terrible slaves and sufferers of other human beings. She shivered at his blasphemies [MTP TS 115]. Note: Winifred Holt (1870-1945), sculptor and founder of the NY Assoc. for the Blind. May Sinclair (1865-1946) British novelist.
Thomas S. Barbour for the Congo Reform Assoc. wrote to Sam, not yet hearing from Elihu Root. Barbour thought he might go to NY this night, or in the morning, and enclosed slips (not in file) they printed this day. “Possibly you may have seen the article in the West African Mail” [MTP].
George Albert Bramley wrote to ask Sam if he could speak at the YMCA of the West Presbyterian Church for their award dinner at the Hotel Vendome, on Friday evening, the 19th of January [MTP].
William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
I am going to do a series of reprints from their periodicals for H.B. & Co. The first volume will consist of six stories, and will be called “Their Husbands’ Wives”—that is, wives peculiarly and self-sacrificially devoted to their husbands. In this volume I should like to include your “Eve’s Diary,” which exactly denotes the typical attitude of the feminine soul. Can you let me have it, and if yes, for what money outright, a percentage being practicable? Of course, Eve was never legally Adam’s wife, but lived with him in a state which under the circumstances left no stain on her reputation. It was a kind of common-law marriage, and as you have given it the stamp of your approval, I do not think her inclusion among other devoted wives will seriously damage the series. There would be five other stories in the book, for which you need not blush ethically or artistically. You could freely use the piece in any collection of your own soon or late. The fact of the enterprise is confided to you. / Yours ever … [MTHL 2: 799-800]. Note: Sam agreed, exacting no set price—see source notes 1&2.
Frank R. Lawrence wrote to Sam for the Lotus Club, N.Y.C. asking if they might use his name for the committee in honor of Mrs. Craigie on the afternoon of Dec. 28, and, “would it be possible for [him] to come and say a few words on that occasion?” On or just after this day Sam replied that using his name would be an honor, but he had another engagement for that evening and had to “rest in bed during the after-noon” [MTP]. Note: Pearl Mary Teresa Richards Craigie, pseud. John Oliver Hobbes (1867-1906). See also July 5, 1907.
Edmund D. Morel for the Congo Reform Assoc., Liverpool, wrote a mostly illegible letter to Sam [MTP].
Nemo (no further identification) wrote from Conn. to Sam after reading an article in the NY Sun by a Catholic priest which he claimed contradicted “something that you have written about Belgium in Africa,” but he knew Sam’s story was true and gave reasons. “I want your story about the Congo. I shall enjoy it as I have every thing that you have written and I believe tghat I have read all of your stories including your private letter to the Mammoth Cod Association” [MTP].
Channing Pollock for the Lyric Theater wrote to Sam, sending at Lyon’s request, a box for Friday evening at the Lyric Theatre [MTP].
Volney Streamer wrote to send Sam a “belated” birthday gift, a “little book” (unspecified). He was “going about chorteling over your speech of Nov. 30the and especially the thought that all this you have done has been play!” [MTP].
R.E. Warren wrote from St.Louis to ask why Sam didn’t live in Missouri? And, had he ever lived for a short time in Cape Girardeau, Mo? “I have been told that you did live there for a short time; that you worked as a clerk for the well known war-time merchant there, Edmund Garaghty…until you were “fired” by him for presuming to fall in love with one of his charming daughters. Is it so?” [MTP].
December 20 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Ah, we saw Bernhardt in Camille today. The last act crowns everything I have ever seen. The death chatter of her poor jaw—Oh, terrible and so close to the grave. She goes beyond [Eleonora] Duse’s art in that play, in all but the gambling room scene. Mr. Clemens lunched with Mr. Howells today, and he dined with Mr. and Mrs. Cross this evening, and I flew over to see Saint Mother who is going home for Christmas. Santissima does not seem to improve any [MTP TS 115]. Note: the play was by Alexandre Dumas (1824-1895) of Musketeer fame, at the Lyric Theatre, 42 St. West of Broadway.
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Dinner at 8 with Mr. & Mrs. Cross to meet Miss May Sinclair / 6 Washington Square, N.” [MTP TS 37].
Francis Arthur Jones, N.Y. correspondent for the magazines and newspapers of George Newnes, Ltd., London, wrote Sam asking for “a few minutes any time convenient,” not to “inflict the burden of an ‘Interview’ but just to pay a little fifteen minute friendly visit.” On or just after this day Sam replied, “any forenoon at ten” [MTP].
Sarah Bernhardt sent a night telegram to Sam: “I have read your Joan d’arc it is an admirable work sincere full of life and personal. I finished it today and I will begin tomorrow to read the play happy Christmas Dear great Mark Twain / Sarah Bernhardt” [MTP].
Francis Arthur Jones, NY Correspondent wrote to ask if he might “come to see you for a few minutes at any time convenient to yourself?” He didn’t want to “inflict” an interview, “but just to pay a little fifteen minute friendly visit” [MTP]. Note: Clemens wrote on bottom “any forenoon at ten”
Harper & Brothers wrote to advise Sam that they had placed his name on the gratis list [MTP].
Robert K. Mackey wrote to Sam asking if he would autograph Sam’s speech in a newspaper [MTP].
Henry R. Thayer wrote from Denver, Colo. to Sam asking about an article he’d read in Cosmopolitan several years ago, “Concerning the Jews,” which agreed with “a good deal” of his own sentiments. Thayer had an interest in Satan, mentioned in that old article, expecting to spend eternity with Satan. “Like yourself, I have friends in both places.” [MTP].
December 20 ca. – Sam answered John Irwin’s Dec. 17 question of where he might find a work out of print: “Haven’t any idea. Suppose with the Harpers…”[MTP].
December 21 Thursday – Mark Twain was the guest of honor at the Aldine Association dinner given by the Society of Illustrators. The New York Times, Dec. 22, p. 9 reported on the event:
JOAN OF ARC APPEARS
TO STARTLE MARK TWAIN
Surprise Prepared for Him by Society of Illustrators.
THEIR GUEST AT DINNER
Andrew Carnegie shares the Honors
of the Evening with the Humorist—Many Noted Guests.
Mark Twain was the guest of honor at a dinner given last night at the Aldine Association by the Society of Illustrators. All the well-known magazine and newspaper artists were present, while other distinguished guests included Andrew Carnegie, Sir. C. Purdon Clarke, Caspar Whitney, Robert Collier, Jr., Norman Hapgood, Alphonse Mucha, Arthur Scribner, and Thomas A. Janvier, Frederick Remington, Henry S. Fleming, and Daniel Beard were on the Reception Committee.
It had been arranged that when the humorist arose to speak Miss Angersten, a well-known model, was to appear in the garb and with the simple dignity of Jean d’Arc, his favorite character in all history. He was on his feet as Jean d’Arc entered the room. She wore the armor of the French heroine and her hair and face made a strangely appealing picture.
The face of the humorist, which had been wearing its “company” smile all night, suddenly changed. He had every appearance of a man who had seen a ghost. His eyes fairly started out of his head, and his hand gripped the edge of the table.
Jean d’Arc presented him with a wreath of bay. He merely bowed, with his eyes fixed on the girl’s face. They followed her as in reverent silence she passed out, followed by a little boy in suitable costume, bearing a banner over her head. Then Mark Twain spoke. His voice was broken, and his word came slowly.
There’s an illustration, gentlemen—a real illustration,” he said. “I studied that girl, Joan of Arc, for twelve years, and it never seemed to me that the artists and the writers gave us a true picture of her. They drew a picture of a peasant. Her dress was that of a peasant. But they always missed the face—the divine soul, the pure character, the supreme woman, the wonderful girl. She was only 18 years old, but put into a breast like hers a heart like hers and I think, gentlemen, you would have a girl—like that.”
The humorist looked toward the door, and there was absolute silence—puzzled silence—for many did not know whether it was time to laugh, disrespectful to giggle, or discourteous to keep solemn. The humorist realized the situation. Turning to his audience he came out of the clouds and said solemnly:
“But the artists always paint her with a face—like a ham.”
The rest of his discourse was taken up with reminiscences of Jack, one of the figures in his “Innocents Abroad.” He told much that was new about Jack, but it was all tinged with the melancholy that has come to Mark Twain these days.
“What was his name, now?” he asked. “I can’t remember names these days. Seventy years is a long time, gentlemen. You know the man I mean—the fellow that crossed the Holy Land in the first stagecoach. Come, now, some of you must remember. I can’t think. Was it Robespierre, or John the Baptist, or Ben Franklin, who invented the guillotine? Why, yes!” he suddenly cried, “it was Carnegie’s uncle! What was I thinking about? Mr. Carnegie and I got it all straightened out one day. It was his uncle who first crossed the Jordan in a stagecoach. Don’t try to deny it, now. You admitted it when I fished up that family tree.”
“I admit it,” said Mr. Carnegie from his right. “It’s wonderful, Mark, how names do slip one.”
“Yes,” said Mark Twain; “well I remember how your uncle got up on the end of that old stage coach at the Jordan ford and said he felt moved to speak. He said with tears in his voice how this was the Jordan, how yonder was the illimitable desert, over three hundred miles wide, over which Moses and his people had toiled for forty years to this spot—this spot hallowed in all history. And it was here that Jack interrupted and said: ‘Moses who, uncle?’ And your uncle said that it was Moses the poet, Moses the lawyer, the warrior, the guide who had guided his people for forty years over that three hundred miles of dreary sand.
“And,” Mark Twain added, “your uncle always said that it would have taken only thirty-six hours if they’d left out holidays.”
Mr. Carnegie’s speech made a real hit. He said in part:
“I wish I were young enough to be a fellow-student, but if you’ll just count me in for tonight, I’ll try to behave myself. all my life I’ve had this streak of Bohemianism in me. You can’t tell how hard I tried to know Irving and dear old Joe Jefferson. I knew Bret Harte and Josh Billings—oh, Josh! Josh! —don’t you young fellows thing for a moment that I’m not used to high society. But the dearest of all acquaintances, after I’d scraped and bowed to get it is—[his hand fell on Mark Twain’s shoulder]—is Mark.
“It is a great thing to be able to say you have a friend like this. I remember how mad Josh Billings was because he did not meet Matthew Arnold when I received him at my house. However, he met him later, and I thought the apostle of sweetness and light would like to hear how Josh lectured and got his audiences.
“ ‘Well,’ said Josh Billings, ‘people want to know about the little things—all about them. If I told them the story of Jonah and the whale they’d want to know every detail. I told them all I knew, which was more’n the whale or Jonah ever knew; then they wanted to know what Jonah was doing in the whale’s society. It was society I started to speak about.
“But there’s one literary mystery I want to see cleared up tonight!” said Mr. Carnegie. “It has been rumored that I am an author. I am. I will confess it now that I hold Mark Twain’s affidavit—his signature—that I am the joint author of ‘Pudd’nhead Wilson.’ I can prove that the following passage was taken bodily from the lips of Andrew Carnegie:
“ ‘The fool saith in his heart: Do not put all your eggs in one basket.
“ ‘ But the wise main exhorteth thus: Put all your eggs in one basket; then watch the basket.’
“He took that from me!”
Mr. Carnegie sat down amid roars of laughter. He had outwitted Twain himself.
Other speakers of the evening were Rollo Ogden, editor of the Evening Post; Sir Purdon Clarke, and others. Sir Purdon spoke of “Dead Artists Whom Mark Twain May Have Influenced.” He said that in England there were illustrated papers before there were illustrators and that they had been a disreputable lot—the illustrators—carefully making wood cuts from the old masters for the comic sheets and illustrating continued stories so that their employment had to last. He created much amusement [Note: see a variation of the speech in Fatout, MT Speaking p.472-7, in which he reminisces about True Williams, his first illustrator. For more than you ever wanted to know about Williams, see MTJ, 39:2 (Fall 2001) all, by Barbara Schmidt]
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote on Koy-Lo Co. letterhead to Sam, writing about Beecher Ogden, owner of the Plasmon factory who wished to pay taxes. More Plasmon complications. He also enclosed Sam’s stock (Spiral Pin Co.) and announced he would “come and see you to-morrow (Friday) morning, unless Miss Lyon telephones me not to…Tuesday in 11 stores we sold 826 hat pins, value $501.02” [MTP].
John H. Dey wrote on Office of Treasurer, Village of Pelham Manor, Westchester NY, to Sam, noting attacks on Sam’s criticism of the Congo situation. Dey morphs his letter into anti-Semitic prose, among other things [MTP].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam with plans for “Eve’s Diary” to be included “in the first volume of a series of small books under his [Howells] editorship and that of Mr. Alden” [MTP].
Mrs. John A. Hankey wrote from Gettysburg, Pa., “inspired” to write Sam by his 70th and to give him her toast. The hand is from an elderly lady [MTP].
Wm. Knabe & Co., NYC wrote to Sam. “A day or two since we wrote asking permission to use your name as one of several patrons for a benefit concert to be given in January, in aid of the fund for the Russian Jews.” They enclosed a list of other possible patrons [MTP].
Life Magazine for Dec. 21, p. 799 ran this cartoon: see Insert:
December 21 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to H.A. Lorberg’s Dec. 16 request: “Were not in Florence for pleasure—paid no attention to anything that happened” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs this as “on or after 16 Dec..” Five days estimated postal time is allowed here.
December 22 Friday – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Robert K. Mackey’s Dec. 20 request for an autograph on a newspaper speech. “Cut out the speech and send it, not the entire newspaper” [MTP].
Mrs. Abigail M. Roach wrote to Sam [MTP]. On or just after this date Sam sent her the form letter for the occasion of his 70th, adding a short paragraph:
Indeed yes, I remember! I do well remember the charming schoolgirl who turned out (beyond belief) to be a matron. That whole evening [Dec. 5] was delightful, including you. / Sincerely Yours / SL. Clemens [MTP].
Sam attended a gathering in the evening that is mentioned by Frederick W. Spencer in his Dec. 27 letter to Sam: “I sat in the front row of the balcony, about ten feet from you last Friday night….” The nature of the event is revealed by Lyon:
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Tonight we went to see Bernhardt in Phedre, Mr. Clemens, Dorothea Gilder, Francesca, Jean and I. Mr. Clemens was pretty well bored, but we were in a box, so he could walk around outside when the confinement was too oppressive. Bernhardt was very fine. It is an abstract play. The damming quality of love, and the fear of love, being the dominant note in it, and Phedre the Queen is so overcome by her own intense love for Hyppolytus, that it made Dorothea say as we drove home, that “she was like an exquisite flower destroyed by its own perfume” [MTP TS 115]. Note: the play starring Sarah Bernhardt, was by Jean Baptiste Racine (1639-1699).
John M. Curtis wrote from New Rochelle, NY to thank Sam for the many happy hours Twain’s books had given [MTP].
Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam asking if he would autograph one of the set of six volumes, “Best Books of Mark Twain” for an 82 year old man in Bridgeport, Conn. [MTP].
Robert K. Mackey wrote from NYC to Sam. The letter is mostly illegible but the import is a requested autograph [MTP].
Daniel O’Day wrote from NYC to ask Sam for a letter of introduction to someone in Florence, Italy on whom he might depend to secure a house there [MTP].
December 23 Saturday – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Robert K. Mackey. “Mr. Clemens wishes me to thank you for your kind wishes and he directs me to return herewith the autographed speech. May I also express my thanks for your kind message to me” [MTP].
Harper’s Weekly featured a 32-page supplement “MARK TWAIN’S 70TH BIRTHDAY” of the Dec. 5 gathering, with nineteen full page photographs of the party tables at Delmonico’s, p. 1883-1914. Tenney: An extensive record of the dinner…with the guest list…and with full-page photographs of those seated at each table…gives text of speeches, poems, and messages honoring MT…and a list of signers of a telegram of birthday greetings from Europe” [40-1].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Tonight Mr. Clemens dined with Mr. and Mrs. Collier and enjoyed himself and them, for he likes Mr. Collier and they love him. Santissima is very, very far from well” [MTP TS 116].
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Dihdwo Twe will arrive / Dinner / Mr. Robert Collier to meet Judge Jerome / 20 Grammercy Park [MTP TS 38].
William Howells Gulliford wrote on Gulliford Academy letterhead, Pueblo, Colo. to Sam, pasting a clipping with “Montefiore’s Clever Retort” above his note: “Do’st remember the old Hanover Square rooms in London thirty years ago? and the Seattle Theatre, with the Philadelphia boys ten years ago? Hope you are well and hearty: all reasonable good wishes” [MTP].
Horace A. Kelly wrote on Hotel Threadgill, Okla. City stationery to Sam. Kelly’s father had, in 1864 or 1865 been a typesetter with Sam at the same “cases” when Clemens “suddenly one day” announced that he was “going to lay down the “Stick” forever.” Kelly sent birthday congratulations [MTP].
Henry Tudor wrote a fan letter from St. Louis to Sam, and wished holiday greetings [MTP].
December 24 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to William Robertson Coe (1869-1955), son-in-law to H.H. Rogers.
I have sampled the Cabañas, & they are fit for the Gods (who will not get a dam one of them.) May you live long & continue to prosper; & Mrs. Coe the same.
I started out, yesterday afternoon, to look in upon the four households and wish them a Merry Christmas, but I got belated & couldn’t make it; but I shall try again soon, & shall succeed; for you are all my nearest & steadfastest & most valued friends, & I don’t like to let the chief holiday-week of the year get by without a good handshake & a drink with you. I am planning this raid for New Year’s Day, & I hope I shan’t be disappointed. With sincerest regards to you both, … [MTP].
Note: Dias writes of Coe: “A native of England, he was educated in Wales, migrated to Philadelphia with his family in 1883, and became a naturalized American citizen in 1890. In 1893, he became an insurance broker in New York. He and Mai [Rogers] were married on June 4, 1900. He was a director of various companies and, in his later years, was well-known for his large racing stableand for his many philanthropies” [MT Letters 50].
Sam also wrote to the Editor of Harper’s Weekly. The letter ran in the Weekly Jan. 13, 1906.
To the Editor of Harper’s Weekly. SIR:
Scarcely had Watchman Fowler taken his post at the gate when a procession of strange creatures appeared.
“Halt! Who goes there?” ejaculated the watchman when a fat negro approached, laboriously leading a thin, bow-legged goat.
“Dis heah beast is Ole Ironsides, suh,” explained the goat’s mahout.
—From “Dan’l the Bulldog,” in the “Times.”
When I read it I recognized, with a thrill, that the right word had been found at last—mahout. The ’mobile, that majestic devil, that impressive devil, is our elephant, he is in a class by himself, like the jungle monarch; to be his master, pilot, and compeller is a post of solemn and awful dignity and danger, and it does seem to me that that measly word “chauffeur” does not properly fit the occupant of it. Chauffeur is a good enough word when strictly confined to its modest and rightful place—as you will see by what Littre says about it. I translate: “A chauffeur is the firer-up on the street-corner peanut-roaster; in English, stoker.” A good enough word, you see, in its own place; but when we come to apply it to the admiral of the thunderous ’mobile or of the mighty elephant, we realize that it is inadequate. No, stoker is not the thing, chauffeur is not the thing, mahout is the thing—mahout is the word we need. Besides, there is only one way of saying mahout, whereas there are nine ways of saying chauffeur, and none of them right. With ever-increasing respect, dear sir, as the ages roll on, I am yours,
Sam also wrote to George B. Harvey.
Xmas eve, 1905
O Harvey the Magnificent! little by little I am recovering from its emotions & its splendors—the most satisfying & spirit-exalting honor ever done me in all my 70 years, oh by 70 times 70! By George, nobody but you could have imagined & carried out that wonderful thing. I can’t thank you adequately, dear uncle George, it is just impossible. / Yours now & always [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “This afternoon Sir Purdon Clarke came in while we were at tea, and he sat for over an hour delighting us with his talk. He took us all over the world for in his wanderings he has been all over it” [MTP TS 116].
December 25 Monday Christmas – On or about this day Sam also sent another Dec. 6 form letter for the occasion of his 70th to Josephine P. Peabody, adding Happy New Year and Merry Christmas sentiment [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Jean ill all day, no climax. Christmas—and my first intimation of it was an envelope on my breakfast tray, an envelope from Mr. Clemens. He received a pretty good letter this morning from a western man, a letter asking him to take up cudgels for Satan, the neglected one who hasn’t done the crimes that the Almighty has done in his wrath, but as Mr. Clemens said there is no proof for there are no witnesses for Satan. If you make a personality out of the Supreme power then there is a chance of bringing that person to trial, for there are witnesses, but “How can you make a person out of that white hunk of fog” [MTP TS 116].
Peter Cadley wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam, unable to find “The Stolen White Elephant” story in a magazine [MTP]. Note: mail delivery not available on Christmas Day, Sam’s reply is estimated as ca. Dec. 26.
Dr. Albert R. Halley wrote from Chicago to compliment Sam on his writing and applying for the job of writing his biography [MTP]. Note: Allowing three days mail time, Sam’s decline is estimated as ca. Dec. 29.
J.T. Green wrote from Jacksonville, Tenn. to Sam, noting his recent 70th [MTP].
Francis Davis Millet wrote to Sam that he was sending “a sample barrel of cigars,” and listed his favorite brands. “May God preserve you a thousand year!” [MTP].
Henry Tudor inscribed his portrait: “To dear Mark Twain / with the gratitude of nearly half a Century—all the sounder for growing old in a bottle—Henry Tudor / Christmas, 1905” [MTP].
December 26 Tuesday – Sam and Isabel Lyon attended an afternoon song recital at Carnegie Hall by Mme. Johanna Gadski (1872-1932), German soprano who achieved worldwide success and whose recordings survive. Leaving the building Clemens spotted a young girl who later wrote she was “yearning” to speak with him. They chatted briefly about the weather, and the following day she would write him a note; they would begin an affectionate correspondence. He would call her “Marjorie” and be “her oldest friend.” She was Gertrude Natkin, and though a bit older than his later “Angelfish,” was a precursor of the club [Natkin Dec. 27; Feb. 3 to Natkin; NY Times Dec. 24, p X1, Dec. 27, p. 9 “Mme. Gadski’s Song Recital”]. Cooley writes:
ONE DAY in December 1905 [Dec. 26], fifteen-year-old Gertrude Natkin caught Samuel Clemens’s eye while he was leaving Carnegie Hall. He introduced himself, discovered her name, and soon afterward began corresponding with her. Clemens wrote Gertrude a half dozen letters a month during the first three months of their friendship, each of which received her enthusiastic reply. He soon nicknamed her “Marjorie” after Marjorie Fleming , a young (deceased) Scottish writer whom he admired. …
Even though Gertrude Natkin never became an angelfish, Clemens’s correspondence with her points the way to the Aquarium and the dozen young ladies who were to become angelfish. The Natkin correspondence is characterized by a freshness and playfulness many of his later letters do not achieve…Marjorie appears to be almost giddy with infatuation [1-2]. First published in the North British Review, Gribben gives the full title: Marjorie Fleming, A Sketch; Being the Paper Entitled “Pet Marjorie”: A Story of Child-Life Fifty Years Ago (1863) by Dr. John Brown .
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich: “I am very glad you thought to send me Mr. Samuel’s article. It is able and to the point. It will be difficult to unseat Leopold, but it is worth trying and we shall go on trying. / Merry Christmas and love to you all” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to William Robertson Coe. “Thank you cordially, dear Mr. Coe, for your sumptuous token of remembrance. Mine to you is delayed several months by the publishers, but by & by it will be autographed & sent. /Merry Christmas & best wishes to all the family from / Yours Ever” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Mr. Clemens, Francesca and I went to hear Mme. Gadski’s Recital this afternoon in Carnegie Hall. Mr. Clemens had been lunching with Mr. Archer Huntington and went with him up to 145th Street to see the new library building that Mr. Huntington is building for the housing of the Spanish library of his, and Mr. Clemens has allowed himself to be made a member of the Advisory Board in place of Mr. John Hay. So he was late to the concert, but he heard 2/3 of it and found it lovely. Her voice is so satisfying, so beautiful, so true. He was sweet to a little girl in brown who recognized him of course, and they exchanged affectionate salutations. Really he is bubbling over with a sweetness, and simpleness and loveliness which is irresistible [MTP TS 116]. Note: Johanna Gadski (1872-1932), German soprano. the NY Times, Dec. 27, 1905 p. 9, “MME. GADSKI’S SONG RECITAL” gave the performer a somewhat mixed if positive review.
Ernest Hamlin Abbott wrote to Sam.
Arriving here this afternoon, I learn that Mr. Twe, a colored student from Massachusetts, has called to see my Father, Dr. Lyman Abbott, with the request that he make an appointment to meet you to confer in regard to Congo affairs. At the request of my Father, whom I have consulted by telephone, I am writing to ask whether this is in accordance with your wish [MTP].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam. He thanked Sam for giving permission for Howells to include “Eve’s Diary” in the series of small books under Howells’ editorship. He enclosed $50 payment for the right. Duneka wanted to publish “Eve’s Diary” as a book with a picture on every other page, and suggested Fred Strothman, the same artist who had illustrated Extracts From Adam’s Diary [MTP]. Note: “Eve’s Diary” was illustrated by Lester Ralph in 1906.
Henry Copley Greene wrote to Sam enclosing a check for $91.75 that was overcharged on the Dublin rental house [MTP].
Georgya E. Heolly wrote from Los Angeles to Sam, wondering if he recalled going to school with her father, Sidney B. Heolly [MTP].
George Madden Martin wrote from Anchorage, Ky. to offer 70th congratulations to Sam [MTP].
J.H. Nolen wrote on State of Missouri, Bureau of Labor letterhead to Sam, sending “a little souvenir made of wood taken from the house in which you were born at Florida, Mo.” in a case “made in the Missouri penitentiary by one of the St. Louis ‘boodle’ convicts…” Nolen claimed he’d taken the wood from Sam’s birth house himself [MTP].
Note: The souvenir is not further identified. Sam’s reply is estimated at three days, or ca. Dec. 29. The “boodle” convicts were grafters at the top levels of government convicted of taking boodle. See Oct. 1902 McClure’s Magazine for details, or http://www.nassaucivic.com/Tweed_Days_IN_St_Louis.htm and on other sites.
William H. Ridgway wrote on Craig Ridgway & Son Co. letterhead, Coatesville, Pa. to Sam. Having been presented with a “handsome edition” of Sam’s works, he “would just dearly love to have your autograph to paste in the favorite album which to me is your ‘Roughing It’” [MTP].
December 26 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Peter Cadley’s Dec. 25 question about which magazine first published “The Stolen White Elephant.” Sam’s reply: “Don’t remember where it was published” [MTP]. Note: the story was not published first in a magazine, but as the lead story in the book by the same name, 1882. It was written by Sam in late Nov. or early Dec., 1878, originally intended to be a chapter in TA (1880) [Wilson 247].
December 27 Wednesday – Hawkins writes that Sam overestimated the response to King Leopold’s Soliloquy “and was disappointed by the Catholic response to the pamphlet. He had hoped to start a conflict between Catholics and Protestants over the Congo misrule, with the notion that Protestants would come out in force against Leopold, since the notable Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore had defended Leopold.
Isabel Lyon’s Journal: The slowness of the Congo movement is troubling Mr. Clemens very much. There is no leadership to it, and he can do no more than he has done in giving to the cause “King Leopold’s Soliloquy.” A little attack from a Roman Catholic priest came this morning—“good enough as far as it goes” Mr. Clemens said, but one attack isn’t enough to stir up Romanism against Protestantism and seemingly the great fear of the press lies in the dread of irritating the Roman Church than in any fear of Leopold’s displeasure [MTP TS 116-117; Hawkins 161, 165 in part]. Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Dr. Quintard, 7:30” [MTP TS 38].
Paine writes on Clemens’ disengagement with the Congo Reform Assoc.:
Various plans and movements were undertaken for Congo reform, and Clemens worked and wrote letters and gave his voice and his influence and exhausted his rage, at last, as one after another of the half-organized and altogether futile undertakings showed no results. His interest did not die, but it became inactive. Eventually he declared: “I have said all I can say on that terrible subject. I am heart and soul in any movement that will rescue the Congo and hang Leopold, but I cannot write any more.”
His fires were likely to burn themselves out, they raged so fiercely. His final paragraph on the subject was a proposed epitaph for Leopold when time should have claimed him. It ran:
Here under this gilded tomb lies rotting the body of one the smell of whose name will still offend the nostrils of men ages upon ages after all the Caesars and Washingtons & Napoleons shall have ceased to be praised or blamed & been forgotten—Leopold of Belgium [MTB 1231].
Frederick W. Spencer wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam, confessing that in June 1904 after performing as a fiddler for the Savage Club of London, he’d lied about knowing Mark Twain. He expected to perform again for the club and wished “absolution for my transgression” by meeting and performing two original compositions for Sam, “The Old Soldiers Dream,” and “Arkansas Traveler.” [MTP]. On or just after this day Isabel V. Lyon made notes about their meeting, “Friday or Saturday at 8 or 7.45,” —Dec. 29 or 30.
“A terror—a conceited fool. He came & played—& when a Mr. Wheaton—a submarine inventor came too—Mr. Clemens finally got out of the room—& went to bed in a nervous misery—but first proper Jean brought him back & made him say Good night” [MTP].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam advising him that Mrs. Charles Henry Webb, wife of the late Charles Henry Webb, discovered a play Sam had written “probably out on the Pacific Coast,” and wanted to know if Sam wished to recover his lost play [MTP]. Note: listed as one of two for Dec. 26 but is Dec 27.
Allan McClane Hamilton wrote from NYC to solicit Sam’s aid in seeking a commuted sentence from the Governor for Albert T. Patrick, to be electrocuted Jan. 22, 1906 [MTP]. Note: Patrick was a lawyer convicted of the murder of his partner, William Marsh Rice, and sentenced at Sing Sing. The Governor pardoned Patrick.
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens:
Yesterday a very happy little girl went home, thinking only of dear Mr. Clemens. I wish to thank you very much for being so kind. I really think you must have seen in my face that I was yearning to speak to you and it was kind of you to gratify my wish. I am very glad that I can go up and speak to you now (if ever I have that pleasure again) as I think we know each other. Trusting you will favor me with “little business” (grand treasure) which you said I should leave to you (and which I shall, as an obedient child) I am the little girl who loves you. / Gertrude Natkin [MTAq 8]. Note: On Dec. 26 Gertrude met Mark Twain with Isabel Lyon, “coming out of Carnegie Hall one day & exchanging views concerning the weather” [Feb.3, 1906 to Natkin].
December 28 Thursday – Sam went to the West Side Court to view a libel trial brought by William d’Alton Mann (1839-1920), publisher of Town Topics against Collier’s Weekly and Norman Hapgood, editor in chief of that periodical. (Mann was a Civil War officer who fought under George Armstrong Custer at Gettysburg, and rose to the rank of Colonel. See more below Times article) Sam was not there to offer testimony. The New York Times wrote of Mark Twain “a Spectator in Court” in their article, Dec. 29, p.5 “Mr. Burden Describes ‘Fads and Fancies’ Call.” (Note: two days later Mann wrote to Clemens; see entry).
The methods used in obtaining subscriptions to “Fads and Fancies” were gone into at length yesterday [Dec. 28] at the hearing before Magistrate Whitman, in the West Side Court, on the charge of criminal libel …. James A. Burden, Jr., who was the principal witness, told in detail of the particular experience with Robert A. Irving, editor of the New Yorker and formerly a solicitor for “Fads,” which led him to have Irving arrested on an extortion charge three weeks ago.
Mark Twain a Visitor.
Mark Twain entered the private examination room at the West Side Court just before the session began. His appearance caused a stir among the lawyers, newspaper men, and spectators assembled there. It was afterward learned that while the humorist is not to be called as a witness, something more than curiosity had prompted his attendance. Town Topics recently contained a paragraph in which Mark Twain had been made to appear as indorsing “Fads and Fancies” at a recent dinner [Dec. 21] of writers at which Mr. Carnegie was a guest. Mr. Clemens had been quoted as uttering a soft impeachment directed at Mr. Carnegie for not devoting his millions to the distribution of the works of Mark Twain in an edition de luxe on the “Fads and Fancies” pattern instead of building libraries.
It was said that Mr. Clemens did not like the item. After listening to some of the testimony, however, he went away. He refused to say anything regarding the purpose of his visit.
Note: this on Mann from The Man Who Robbed the Robber Barons (1997) by Richard T. Gregg:
“Hero of the Battle of Gettysburg, politician, investor, Federal revenue employee, newspaper publisher, inventor, and builder of railway coaches for luxury travel, founder of the Compagnie Internationale de Wagons-Lits. …became a columnist at the beginning of the twentieth century. His ‘Town Topics, the Journal of Society’ victimized New York’s, indeed the nation’s, upper ‘400’, who literally quaked in terror at the thought of being exposed by Colonel Mann! Those who proffered loans (never repaid, naturally!) to the Colonel, to avoid their private or scandalous activities being singled out [blackmailed] in Mann’s column, included:”
E. Clarence Jones, Senator Russell Alger, Dr. Seward Webb, William C. Whitney, J. Pierpont Morgan, George and Howard Gould (sons of Jay Gould), Collis P. Huntington, James R. Keene, John “Bet-a-Million” Gates, the barbed-wire king; Rosewell Flower, broker & former governor of NY, Grant B. Schley, Charles M. Schwab, Thomas Fortune Ryan, and Perry Belmont (each with amounts from $1,000 to $76,000). Note: source lists each with each amount. See Sam’s disdainful letter to Mann Jan 3, 1906.
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Miss Gertrude Natkin’s Dec. 27 note.
“It was very sweet of you, dear, to let me shake hands with you, that day; & mind, don’t you forget to remember that you are to be just as sweet & dear next time, & shake again, you charming child.
This, from your oldest & latest conquest— / SL. Clemens (M.T.)” [MTP].
Sam sent a signed photograph of himself to Miss Daisy Scott, in West Kensington, London [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Letters of love and homage come pouring in and in reply to them Mr. Clemens writes such sweet little sentences. He is moved by them, and so unspoiled and simple [MTP TS 117]. Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Dinner at Mrs. Henry Draper’s / 271 Madison Ave. / at 8 o’clock” [MTP TS 38].
O.J. Bowman wrote from Horseheads, N.Y. to ask Sam if he might use his influence with “Saint Andrew” Carnegie to secure an organ for their church [MTP].
Florence T. Holt wrote to ask Sam if he would dine “with us informally on Wednesday, January 10the at eight o’clock?” [MTP].
Valentine H. Surghnor sent a night telegram from Chicago: “Congratulations young man the world has enjoyed you and your sayings and is better for your having lived in it may you continue to live long and well” [MTP].
Florence V. Swain wrote from Muncie, Ind. to Sam asking if he was a descendant of the Anthony family of Va. [MTP].
Booker T. Washington sent a telegram to Sam: “It would injure our meeting and disappoint our friends as well as place me in embarrassing position to have you withdraw since your name has already been extensively advertised among our friend[s] hope very much you will remain / Booker T. Washington” [MTP].
December 29 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Clarence C. Buel (incoming not extant).
This letter from Harper & Bros. troubles me a little, for I hate both the name and memory of Charles Henry Webb, liar and thief, and I know of no such play. I have no memory of it and of course am not going to allow it to be either published or played; and I should like to forestall any attempt to do either of these things. There may be nothing in the report, still it is a case of might be, and can you tell me how to find out in a private way without appearing in the matter myself? / Yours Sincerely [MTP].
Sam also wrote an answer to an unidentified person (now identified in Notes below): “Yes I did lay aside the ‘stick’ to resume it no more forever; but January 1857 was the time it happened, & Keokuk, Iowa the place” [MTP].
Note: the “stick” was the typesetter’s line of type. On Dec. 23, Horace A. Kelly wrote that his father had, in 1864 or 1865 been a typesetter with Sam at the same “cases” when Clemens “suddenly one day” announced that he was “going to lay down the “Stick” forever.” This is obviously Sam’s answer to Kelly.
Isabel Lyon’s journal # 2: “Mr. Henry Draper / 271 Madsion Ave. / To meet the members of the Astronomical and Astrophysical society at nine o’clock” [MTP TS 38].
William Courie wrote from Syracuse, NY to Sam, sending a book which he hoped he would like, with things in it he thought he might not like. He recommened several stories. Sam wrote on the top of the letter: “N.B. Always get somebody else to send your book. It will save two persons embarrassment”
Anna Palmer Draper sent an engraved invitation for Friday evening at 9 p.m. Dec. 29, to meet members of the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society [MTP].
George P. Morris wrote on The Congregationalist and Christian World letterhead to Sam. “Possibly you may like to see a tribute to your friend, which we think not only true but clever. Yours…” [MTP].
Owen P. White wrote on Wise & White (El Paso, Tex) stationery to Sam, sending a “toast” since he wasn’t invited to the 70th party [MTP].
Sam inscribed a copy of George Ade’s Pink Marsh. A Story of the Streets and Town (1897): “S.L. Clemens, 1905, Dec. 29. From Wm. Dean Howells.” Gribben notes Sam may not have seen this book until Howells sent it to him, and cites the July 22, 1908 note of thanks to Howells .
December 29–31 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to the Dec. 12 from Paula Lorch (Mrs. Emil Lorch)—was he writing another great book? Lorch was in Nurnberg, Bavaria.
“I am happy to say dear Madame, that I am writing another book & that it is half finished; also that I am writing 4 other books, & they are half finished; & finally, that I do honestly intend to finish all of them, but do not really expect to finish any of them. It is an odd confession, but it is perfectly true” [MTP].
On or just after Dec. 29, Lyon answered Dr. Albert R. Halley’s Dec. 25: “Have always declined to be a party to a biography of him & he will never expect to feel otherwise about it[.] Commissioned his daughter to write it” [MTP].
On or just after Dec. 29 At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam sent thanks to J.H. Nolen for his Dec. 26 letter and gift of “a little souvenir made of wood taken from” Sam’s birth house in Florida, Mo.:
“Thanks / value much more because made by a boodler whom Gov. Folk has guided into honest ways to make his b & b” [MTP].
Note: The MTP catalogs this reply as “on or after 26 Dec.,” but Dec. 26 is the date Nolen wrote. Three days estimated postal time is allowed here. Joseph Wingate Folk (1869-1923) lawyer, reformer, Missouri governor (1905-1909), nicknamed “Holy Joe” for his work in prosecuting corruption and political machines in St. Louis.
December 30 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to H.H Rogers.
I had already telegraphed Booker “All right, but don’t commit me to talk upon any particular subject.”
Are you going to spend Saturday afternoon at home, tomorrow? If so chalk your cue and expect me right after luncheon [MTHHR 604]. Note: Sam planned to speak at Carnegie Hall to honor the 25th anniversary of Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington. It is not known if Rogers agreed.
William d’Alton Mann publisher of Town Topics wrote from NYC to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens:—
I read in the New York Sun of yesterday that you were present in the 54th street Magistrates’ Court at the hearing of my information for libel against Collier’s and Hapgood prepared to “roast Mann”. Be sure, my dear Mr. Clemens, that I am not going to hold you responsible for anything said in the newspapers, because from sad experience I know they say any damned old thing that happens to promise sensation. However, in another place I read that you were very much offended at a paragraph in my issue of this week. I premise by saying that during the preparation of this week’s issue I was so very ill that I not only did not write anything for the paper, but did not even see anything that was written, or read the proofs, which is my usual custom. I have now read the only paragraph referring to you and have conferred with that member of my staff who wrote it. It was dear old Stephen Fiske who loves his little joke and he says to me that it was a New Year’s skit, and not intended in any way to be objectionable to you, for whom he has the highest and kindest regard, as have I. As I read it I am quite sure that the newspapers have made themselves ridiculous in saying that you had any feeling over the paragraph, a bit of nonsense with no serious import to any one. I think it proper that I should write this word of explanation to you. Though it has not been my pleasure to see anything of you for many years other than to pay my respects as a member of the Lotos Club and shake your hand when you were entertained there, I recall frequently our evening chats at the Langham Hotel about a third of a century ago. I also recall that away back of that I invited you to contribute to he old Mobile Register of which I was the owner and Editor-in-chief, and that you were pleased to write some very clever articles on agriculture. You wrote me in accepting to contribute that you noticed that I had an agricultural department and that as you knew nothing about agriculture you would write on that subject.
I read with great care your speech at the Harvey dinner and be sure I am delighted to know by it and from other sources that you are the same old “Mark Twain” and I trust in the enjoyment of the excellent health your appearance indicates. “May you live long and prosper”. With especial kind wishes for a New Year, believe me / Sincerely yours, … [MTP]. Note: see Dec. 28 entry on Mann.
Hamilton Wright Mabie for National Institute of Arts sent Sam a notice of the next meeting at the Aldine Assoc., on Friday evening, Jan. 26, 1906, 7 p.m. [MTP].
An unidentified person wrote from Brooklyn, NY to Sam. (Only the envelope survives) [MTP]. On the back: “St. Nicholas Hotel where the family were staying for several weeks in the winter of ‘68”
December 31 Sunday –Sam also wrote his signature to William H. Ridgway in Contesville, Penn.: “None Genuine without this signature on the bottle: / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to George Standring:
Dear Standring it was good to hear from you. I wish you lived here, & close by—I should enjoy that. For I have no young friends now; except Aldrich & [Thomas] Wentworth Higginson & Julia Ward Howe & Edward Everet Hale: Howells is old, Tom Reed & John Hay were young, but they are gone.
With old-time affection [MTP].
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam.
“The old year which was so happy toward the last is nearing its end and I want to wish you a very happy new year. I hope that I will have as pleasant an incident this new year as I had the fortune to have last year. Thanking you for your sweet letter, I am the little girl who loves you. Gertrude” [MTAq 9].
Muriel M. Pears wrote to Sam.
Always Dear and Great Mr. Clemens,
Now that I know you, I always find it quite a little difficult to address you—isn’t that unreasonable and feminine? But you can see Why—If one had gone away in the least disappointed or left indifferent it would have been so easy to have gone straight ahead without concern! But as it is—why, I can never even see the mental image of that two nights’ host without a quick, soft feeling of lovableness; I wish so much I could express that feeling of personal attachment; I grope about for words and phrases; and oh, I am so disappointed and disapproving of my hopeless futile efforts in the end! The only consolation I have is to reflect that, anyway, magicians always do know everything, even the things that don’t come off;—and who should know if not you who tore my heart with Eve’s sweet Diary, and the memorable Birthday Speech. I cannot bear to think of these things; the sorrows of life seem sometimes nearly unendurable: “Not in our dreams, O Lord, not even in our dreams!”—yet isn’t that about all that our love for our friends can do, only a little and in a degree to understand something of what they have had to meet and accept. So now you see that I am trying to thank you for the remembrance and friendship expressed in the Christmas Harper and the cutting about the Banquet. I wish I had known of this, for then I would have cabled my love too, with all the rest of the world wide choir. As it is, I am sending, as soon as it comes out, one of the Queen’s Carols to the Little Lady, as a token of the Season’s greetings and good wishes…[MTP].
Late December – Mrs. Helen Grandin Lord, corresponding secretary of the Sorosis 1868 requested Sam’s presence on a printed invitation to luncheon on Monday, January 1st, 1906 at 1 p.m. at the Waldorf-Astoria. Sometime before that date Sam wrote on the invitation for Isabel Lyon: “Decline it” [MTP].