Vol 4 Section 0014
Paine Hired, Dictations Begin – Retired from Congo – Auto Show – Pleas for Tuskegee
Gridiron Club – Swapping Lies with Joe Cannon – Tea at Columbia U.
Blots from “Marjorie” – Pallbearer for McAleer – MT Fans Mob Majestic – Putzel
Daily with Charlotte – “A” Clubbers – Gorky & Scandal – Speaks for Blind
Upstaging Billiardists – Kissing Vassar Girls – Pleas for S.F. Quake Victims – Bronchitis
Lying Fallow in Dublin – Harper Treacheries – Eve’s Diary – Poor Old Friend is Free
Harvey Picks A.D. segments for N.A.R. – Clara Recovers in Norfolk – Butter from a Pal
O Damn Nietzsche! – 7 Photos for Moral Progress – Assoc. Press Dinner – Clara’s Debut
$30,000 Bequest book – Jean to Katonah – Naked Eve Titillates Librarian
White Suit Shocks Congress
1906 – Sometime during 1906 Sam wrote “The Captain’s Story,” which ran in $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories, first published in Sept. 1906; the piece was an extracted republication from “Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion” 1877 [Camfield, bibliog.]. Also included in $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories and written probably this year: “A Deception” [ibid].
Sam wrote an essay, “Simplified Spelling” in 1906; it first ran in Letters From the Earth (1962) [Camfield’s bibliog.].
Sam also wrote “Things a Scotsman Wants to Know,” which was included in De Vinne’s private and anonymous printing of What Is Man? in August of 1906. Since he wrote parts of What Is Man? as early as 1898, he may have written this piece earlier.
Sometime during the year Isabel Lyon replied for Sam to Daniel Kiefer (incoming not extant).
I should be far from willing to have a political party named after me. I would not be willing to belong to a party which allowed its members to have political aspirations or push friends forward on political preferment.
If I had a photograph I would send it to you with pleasure, but I never keep any on hand [Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’s Letters p.831 gives this “no date”; MTP gives 1906].
Sam also wrote a poem to Gertrude Natkin, whom he met in Dec. 1905 and called “Marjorie.”
TO THAT BONNY CHILD MARJORIE,
A Valentine for
Marjorie, Marjorie, listen to me—
Listen, you winsome witch:
Whom ever you bless with your innocent love,
That person is passing rich.
Rich though he have not a grain of gold
Save that which is in his mouth,
Rich though his silver be all in his head
And crusts for his crow be all his bread
And his wine-tank rusty with drowth.
For your love has the power of the fabled purse
That wrought charms in the old romaunt
Who had it might live in a shack or worse
And feed on dreams & air dew & verse
Yet never could he know want.
[MTP: Kenneth W. Rendell catalogs, No. 259]. See Dec. 28, 1905 for more about Gertrude.
Sometime during 1906, place unknown, Sam wrote to Mary B. Rogers (Mrs. Harry Rogers).
Saturday eve / What was it that happened, dear pal? Did I make a mistake in the hour? I suppose so; I don’t generally get anything right when there is a chance to get it wrong. I thought you said 10, but although I was especially and phenomenally dull-witted, Friday morning, I just had barely penetration enough to see that I had disordered your plans & Harry’s; also I was sorry—not perfunctorily sorry, but really sorry—but being embarrassed I didn’t know enough to say so. So, as dulness isn’t a crime, & is very very rare with me, I am fully expecting you to forgive me. O, pet of St. Peter, why didn’t you tell me, you little fraud! [MTP].
Sam sent autographed notes to unidentified theater managers. Two survive (the notes; neither manager survives!) [MTP].
Sam also wrote instructions for Isabel Lyon to write to Kate D. Wiggin (Riggs).
“Tell Mrs. Riggs that it would be perfectly fair for her to have printed notices for the kind of woman with 7-small-children-&-1-at the breast who appeals to her for literary advice, referring her to the Lord. It is his business—not a sparrow falls, so it shows he is noticing” [MTP].
Sam wrote “S.L. Clemens, 1906” on the inner cover of The Trident and the Net; A Novel (1905) by Marguerite Cunliffe-Owen (de Godart) (1859-1927) [Gribben 166].
Sam also wrote on a Thursday, early in 1906 to Frank N. Doubleday: “Harvey is going to give me written permission to privately print and distribute 250 copies of ‘a small anonymous book of unknown title and contents.” After his signature Sam added, “We have amicably settled the quarrel and the ‘Library’ is stopped without public mention” [MTP]. Note: See May 9 Lyon’s journal entry, which likely puts this letter to April. The “anonymous book of unknown title”: What is Man? printed by DeVinne and not successful.
Sam also wrote to Professor Antonio Borzi, “With many thanks for his photograph, which is an excellent likeness of me when I am at my best” [MTP]. Note: Borzi looked so much like Mark Twain, that whenever he traveled people refused to believe he wasn’t Twain. See Ladies’ Home Journal, May 1907, p. 59, “Mark Twain and his Double.” See May, 1907.
Sometime on a Wednesday early in 1906, Adele Burden wrote a short note to Sam, “looking forward with much pleasure to seeing” him at luncheon at 1:30 on Sunday. “In the meantime, have you discovered a curious situation that existed?” [MTP]. Note: this was prior cataloged as no date. In the file: “According to Adile Burden’s before 16 February 1908 letter, he & SLC meet 2 years prior.” (Not mentioned in Vol. III.)
Eleanor Jay Chapman wrote to Sam relative to her sending him Imaginary Obligations, by Frank Moore Colby (1906) [MTP]. Note: Colby (1865-1925) [Gribben 151].
Frederick Moore Clements, chemist and pharmacist in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, wrote, pasting a news article about Susy’s biography of Clemens on his advertising sheet: “Good! / You make the ‘Kid’ I make the ‘Patent medicine’” [MTP].
Susan L. Crane wrote from Elmira to Sam (pages 1&2 are missing). She related going through the old Langdon house which had been renovated, hardly recognizing it inside. She hoped Sam was warm up in Dublin as they were in “very cold weather.” Sam wrote on the left margin of page 8: “Put this in my tin box—after Auto-use” [MTP]. Note: Sam intended the letter for use in his Autobiography.
Douglas Littleton, a young boy and son of Martin W. Littleton, wrote from 23 Fifth Ave. that they would be “very glad to have you for dinner…when you can come to dinner with us?” [MTP]. Note: the note was not mailed but likely delivered. “Was in fragments.” A NYC neighbor of Clemens.
Gertrude Lynch wrote for The Sunday Illustrated Magazine, NYC, asking if they could lead with an article about Clemens’ home. “We want to tell what it is in a home that gives it the personal touch…” [MTP].
Gertrude Lynch followed up with a thank you to Miss Lyon for letting her “see Mr. Clemens’ house” for The Sunday Illustrated Magazine.
Laura Mozee wrote (probably in the Spring of 1906) to Sam: “Will you be shocked if I ask to be allowed to bring my little 3 ½ x 3 ½ Kodak to your house and take a picture of you?” She’d been in school there a year and hadn’t “done one thing out of the ordinary” and wanted to say to her friends in Idaho when she returned, “This is a picture of Mark Twain. I went to his home and took it myself, while I was in New York.” [MTP]. Note: Twain wrote on the top in pencil: “On tap any time that she’ll give me notice enough so that I can get up & dress.”
History of the Ohio Society of New York, 1885-1905 by James H. Kennedy was published. Tenney cites Mac Donnell Rare Books Catalog 42, no. 119. “Contains at p.431 the first printing of a letter of regret (Machlis 06012) Twain sent to them in response to an invitation to their fifteenth annual banquet held at the Waldorf Astoria, March 30, 1901. At page 101 Twain is listed among those who sent letters of regrets in response to an invitation to an 1891 dinner. Johnson, p.118” [MTJ Bibliographic Issue Number Four 42:1 (Spring 2004) p.9].
Who’s It in America: Being a Sort of Biography of Certain Prominent Persons, etc. by Charles Eustace Merriman. Tenney: “On 32-33 a laboriously jocose account of MT’s life, noting his lack of formal schooling, reputation for humor, and financial troubles. ‘N.B. The fact that he ultimately repaid his creditors, dollar for dollar, is one of the most brilliant witticisms of his career’” [MTJ Bibliographic Issue Number Four 42:1 (Spring 2004) p. 9].
A Short History of American Literature, etc. by Eva March Tappan was published in 1906. Tenney: “On 121, 126, calls MT ‘the best’ among American humorists rather than listing him with ‘writers of fiction,’ but praises IA (‘more than a satire, for Mark Twain is not only a wit but a literary man’), JA, and P&P (‘He is a clear-sighted, original, honest man, and his fun has a solid foundation of good sense’)” [MTJ Bibliographic Issue Number Four 42:1 (Spring 2004) p. 9].
Critic published an anonymous comment on Twain’s 70th birthday dinner, p. 16-17. Tenney: “Reprints ‘The American Joke,’ a poem by Howells for the occasion, and part of MT’s speech, together with a poem Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote for MT’s Fiftieth Birthday Dinner, given as a surprise celebration by the CRITIC; also prints MT’s thank-you note after the earlier dinner, addressed to ‘My Dear Conspirators’” [“A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 190].
Henry Sidgwick: A Memoir by A.S. and E.M.S. by Arthur and Eleanor Sidgwick, p.406. Tenney: “Quotes the Cambridge professor’s journal (March 29, 1885), praising HF: ‘Huck Finn is a kind of boyish, semi-savage Gil Blas, of low—the lowest—Transatlantic life, living by his wits on the Mississippi. The novelty of the scene heightens the romantic imprévu of his adventures: and the comic imprévu of his reflections is—about once every three times—irresistably laughable’” .
Personal Reminiscences of Henry Irving by Bram Stoker contained stories of Mark Twain, p. 166, 324. Tenney: “MT was a guest at a supper with Sarah Bernhardt one night in 1899 when she was playing Hamlet at the Adelphi; F.P. Dunne was also present. Among those listed as having dined with Irving are ‘S.L. Clemens (“Mark Twain”)’ and ‘Mrs. and Misses S.L. Clemens’” .
The Lincoln Farm Association was organized to preserve Lincoln’s birthplace and establish a memorial [Printed broadside from Cowan’s auction, June 24, 2009, Lot 456]. Note: sometime after the formation, membership certificates were issued bearing the signature of Mark Twain and 21 others, and by the end of 1907 over $350,000 had been contributed by over 100,000 people to build the Lincoln Memorial. Certificates of Membership (see insert) were issued; Mark Twain was one of 22 luminaries to sign the certificates. Sometime during the year Sam wrote “A Birthplace Worth Saving” for the Lincoln Farm Assoc. pamphlet [Camfield’s bibliog.].
January – In N.Y.C. Sam wrote an aphorism to The Printer’s Home: “Let us save the to-morrows for work. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain, / Jan./06” [MTP:Mac Donnell, No. 22, Item 123].
Sam also inscribed a printed bust portrait of himself to an unidentified person: “S.L. Clemens / Truly yours / Mark Twain / Jan.06” [MTP:Hamilton catalogs, Sept. 12, 1968, Item 88].
Sam also inscribed a photograph of himself to Klaus Kaempher in Berlin: “Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Jan./ 06” [MTP].
Sam also wrote another aphorism to Charles D. Reid (brother of Robert Reid): “Truth is the most valuable possession we have. Let us economise it. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP]. Note: Victor Fischer of the MTP supplies that the inscription is in a first edtion of IA. see Robert Reid’s note below.
Isabel Lyon’s journal carried this on a loose paper at the beginning of 1906’s “Daily Reminder”:
Tampering with the sentinel
Mr. Clemens said this of someone who tried to reach him through me. Mr. Clemens closed the matter & it is not my place to open it again [MTP TS 1].
Robert Reid wrote from NYC to Sam.
“My brother Charles D. Reid of Springfield, Mass. one of the best ever, but who is not rich like me! (in friends) spent of his brow-sweat to purchase this book on the strength of my … promise to get you to write a little word to him in it of what you think of it…forgive me!” [MTP]. Note: the book was IA.
American Journal of Theology published “Fresh Light on the Dark Continent,” by L. Call Barnes, p. 192-9. Tenney: “a review-article, discussing a number of books about Africa. On p. 198: ‘Several succinct statements of the case against the Congo State are available in this country. But the brochure which is likely to do the most popular execution is King Leopold’s Soliloquy, by Mark Twain. The great humorist never wielded his pen more pointedly in behalf of honesty and humanity. It is significant, too, that he puts added emphasis in his second edition, issued since the publication of the report of the king’s commission” .
Bookman (NY) published “The Story of Mark Twain’s Debts” by Frederick A. King, p. 519-22; reprinted in June [Tenney 42].
Strand Magazine ran “Portraits of Celebrities at Different Ages—New Series. ‘Mark Twain’” p. 721-3, picturing Samuel Clemens at ages 18, 27, 33, 48, and 62. The identical article ran in the Dec. 1905 issue.
January 1 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y.C. Sam replied to Gertrude Natkin’s Dec. 31 note.
Don’t forget, dear, to make your New-Year good-resolutions. Not that I think you need any reforming, for I don’t; I love you plenty well enough, just as you are.
Happy New-Year! I forgot to say it before: this comes of being 17 times as old as you are, & accordingly cripple in my mind & forgetful [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean, 11; 1:20, 7 p.m., very severe.
“The last time I attended school was at the end of 1846.” Mr. Clemens wrote that this morning. About 60 years ago—a little boy of ten.
Tonight I took a little book down to Mr. Clemens, a little book sent me by Belle Greene, “The Childhood of Christ”, translated from the Latin of an old monkish manuscript found in a monastery in the Saly Kammergut. Translation by Harry Greene. The book came as a dampness to me, but as I began to cut the leaves I found it fragrant with legendary love, and read it to its finishing page with delight. Mr. Clemens read a part of it too, and found it delightful, but he was “afraid it was a lie” [MTP TS 1-2; Gribben 275 in part]. Note: the book was a translation by Henry Copley Greene of the Gospel of the Infant according to St. Peter, from the New Testament Apocryphal Books.
Virginia Frazer Boyle wrote New Year wishes to Sam [MTP].
John M. Leach wrote to Sam from Montreal, thinking his best book was RI, and desiring to “procure one of your productions,” specifically “the story ‘of Joseph and his brethren’ as repeated to his Sunday Scholl class by Scotty Briggs” [MTP].
Mrs. Helen Grandin Lord sent a filled-in engraved invitation by Sorosis 1868, for a luncheon on Jan. 10, 1906 at 1 p.m. at the Waldorf-Astoria [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote & circled at the top “Decline it”.
January 2 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
“I left the River for good in ’61.” Mr. Clemens said that this evening at 6:15 when I went in with a little batch of mail—over his head wreaths of smoke were hovering and he had the [NY] Evening Post for his reading together with the first volume of Gibbon’s Rome. Among the letters I carried in was one from Col. Mann, scared he is because a squib got into Town Topics about Mr. Clemens and he had heard that Mr. Clemens didn’t like it, and so he wrote fearing Mr. Clemens would sue. But Mr. Clemens said “that Colonel isn’t big enough game for me—so he needn’t be scared. Czars and Leopolds are my quarry these days.” At dinner he warmed to the subject of Gibbons and his Rome, and Gibbon the man, whose followings of many creeds made him finally an unbeliever. Church of England, Romanist, Presbyterian, Buddhist. He tried them all. And then Mr. Clemens told of the pretty Geneva girl that Gibbon had been in love with and engaged to—but it was broken off by Gibbon père as a person of no consequence. She married Hecker though, and was the mother of Mme. de Stael with Rosseau for her maiden champion; so much for the inconsequential ones of this earth [MTP TS 2-3; also Gribben 503, 256 in part]. Note: Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. See Sam’s answer to Mann’s Dec. 30, 1905 on Jan. 3.
Will M. Clemens wrote from Salmagundi Club notepaper, NYC, to ask permission for him to “come in some afternoon for a bit of chat” [MTP]. Sam wrote at the top, “No answer.”
Mrs. William T. Lees wrote from Brooklyn to Sam, telling a humorous anecdote about Sam’s being overcharged by a cabman. Her little son exclaimed, “what a pity they took away Mark Twain’s political license—will he write any more books?” She asked for his autograph [MTP].
James A. Renwick wrote to Miss Lyon to acknowledge Sam’s Jan. rent check. He wished Happy New Year [MTP].
January 3 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to William D’Alton Mann.
I supposed its intent was malicious, but if Fiske wrote it it wasn’t. I went to the Court for a very definite purpose; but as I have not spoken to any one about it, no one knows what it was but myself.
Well, well, well, Colonel dear, what a flurry you did make among the other sheep when you plunged into that gilded fold in your wolf-skin, with blood & slander in your eye! I have admired you for a whole generation; from away back in those London days which your letter lights up in the night of my memory & makes visible again‘, I have watched you move on from crime to crime, from glory to glory, ever victorious, ever exultant, ever beating the jail & the sheriff, strewing thick your splendid path with the rags and fragments of the raped, the bilked & the blackmailed—& always, always I was rejoicing, always I was proud of you; but never have I admired you as I admire you to-day, never have I been distinctly grateful to you until now—now that you have instituted & established a New Aristocracy, the Aristocracy of Fear, & named & catalogued its membership, & appointed for its escutcheon the trembling slave kneeling under the uplifted lash and buying mercy at fifteen hundred dollars & glad to get it at the price!
Let them call you harsh names—don’t you mind; you have done a splendid public service, & everybody knows it in his private heart: you have elected the timid ones to inextinguishable laughter; you have furnished them a sore which will never heal; you have sold them a Book which will outlast Homer & be worth to their posterity a hundred times the price that was paid you for it—& will not be purchasable even at that handsome rate—a Book which will still be illustrious centuries after Shakespeare & the Breeches Bible shall have faded from the world’s interest & become vague tradition. (Excuse these enthusiasms, they are wrong from me Colonel dear!) Also, you have done the imperial City another great & precious service; for you have proved that within its wide boundaries there does exist one whole man, one man, whom you couldn’t scare. I saw him in the Court, & when your pals were through I heard him testify — oh, but that was a refreshing breath in a mephitic atmosphere! Surely you admire that man, Colonel; why, you cannot help it, for he is your creation; that is to say, you are the Columbus that discovered him after all the New York world had believed he didn’t exist.
Give yourself no concern about the world’s censures, dear Colonel. To be censured, maligned, traduced—it is the common lot. I have not even escaped it myself; & yet where I have committed one crime you have committed a hundred. Moreover, we are old, now, & nothing matters much‘ for you & me, oh, friend of happier days, comrade of the unreturning past! in a little while—oh, such a little while!—you will be borrowing a fan & I a halo. And yet it may not be that way—oh, who can tell, in this uncertain world? But no matter; let happen what may, I am yours for now, & then, & always / Mark [MTP]. Note: see Dec. 28, 1905 entry; Clemens observed Mann’s libel suit proceedings against Norman Hapgood.
In the evening Twain dined at the Players Club which made him an honorary member. The New York Tribune, p.7 reported the event (as did the Times and other city papers):
PLAYERS WELCOME MARK TWAIN.
A dinner was given for Mark Twain at the Players, No. 16 Gramercy Park South, last night by his friends to welcome him as an honorary member of that club. He has belonged to the Players since its foundation, but now his associates have made him a member for life. Brander Matthews presided. The guest of the evening rose as ever to the occasion, in which his humor and pathos mixed the laughter and tears. The other speakers besides Mr. Clemens were Richard Watson Gilder, Dr. John H. Finley, Frank O. Millet, Daniel Frohman, Evart J. Wendell, Robert Reid, Willard Metcalf, William Bispham and Charles Genung.
Paine writes of the evening and of a suggestion by Charles Harvey Genung (b. ca. 1863), which later would become a reality:
The night of January 5, 1906, [see note below] remains a memory apart from other dinners. Brander Matthews presided, and Gilder was there, and Frank Millet and Willard Metcalf and Robert Reid, and a score of others; some of them are dead now, David Munro among them. It so happened that my seat was nearly facing the guest of the evening, who, by custom of The Players, is placed at the side and not at the end of the long table. He was no longer frail and thin, as when I had first met him. He had a robust, rested look; his complexion had the tints of a miniature painting. Lit by the glow of the shaded candles, relieved against the dusk richness of the walls, he made a picture of striking beauty. One could not take his eyes from it, and to one guest at least it stirred the farthest memories. I suddenly saw the interior of a farm-house sitting-room in the Middle West, where I had first heard uttered the name of Mark Twain, and where night after night a group gathered around the evening lamp to hear the tale of the first pilgrimage, which, to a boy of eight, had seemed only a wonderful poem and fairy tale. To Charles Harvey Genung, who sat next to me, I whispered something of this, and how, during the thirty-six years since then, no other human being to me had meant quite what Mark Twain had meant—in literature, in life, in the ineffable thing which means more than either, and which we call “inspiration,” for lack of a truer word. Now here he was, just across the table. It was the fairy tale come true.
“You should write his life.”
His remark seemed a pleasant courtesy, and was put aside as such. When he persisted I attributed it to the general bloom of the occasion, and a little to the wine, maybe, for the dinner was in its sweetest stage just then—that happy, early stage when the first glass of champagne, or the second, has proved its quality. He urged, in support of his idea, the word that Munro had brought concerning the Nast book, but nothing of what he said kindled any spark of hope. I could not but believe that some one with a larger equipment of experience, personal friendship, and abilities had already been selected for the task. By and by the speaking began—delightful, intimate speaking in that restricted circle—and the matter went out of my mind.
When the dinner had ended, and we were drifting about the table in general talk, I found an opportunity to say a word to the guest of the evening about his Joan of Arc, which I had recently re-read. To my happiness, he detained me while he told me the long-ago incident which had led to his interest, not only in the martyred girl, but in all literature. I think we broke up soon after, and descended to the lower rooms. At any rate, I presently found the faithful Charles Genung privately reasserting to me the proposition that I should undertake the biography of Mark Twain. Perhaps it was the brief sympathy established by the name of Joan of Arc, perhaps it was only Genung’s insistent purpose—his faith, if I may be permitted the word. Whatever it was, there came an impulse, in the instant of bidding good-by to our guest of honor, which prompted me to say:
“May I call to see you, Mr. Clemens, some day?”
And something—dating from the primal atom, I suppose—prompted him to answer:
“Yes, come soon.”
This was on Wednesday night, or rather on Thursday morning, for it was past midnight, and a day later I made an appointment with his secretary to call on Saturday [MTB 1260-62] Note: Paine initially misdates this as Jan. 5, even though he correctly identifies it as Wed. night into Thurs. a.m. Later printings of MTB correct this error and makes it Jan. 3.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens has just come home at midnight from a dinner at “The Players” where he was made an honorary member. It was a great night for all the rest of them, because he had stayed away so long—he came up the stairs in happy mood & a japanese paper frog hanging from his coat lapel by its hind leg. This he handed to me as I went down the stairs to greet him. He knew I would be up and waiting to register his safe return.
Mr. Robert Reid had come in a cab and away they went in a gay mood, and Reid brought him home. This was in celebration of his return after his enraged resignation about 3 years back, when an ignorant book-keeper had posted “S.L. Clemens, for non-payment of dues.” He has mentioned it to me several times and of his happiness when club members sent him a winsome invitation:
“Will ye no come back again?
Better love ye canna know”
and tonight he went back.
This Morning Mr. Clemens read aloud to me Jose Rizal’s wonderful poem “My last thought” written the night before his execution as a traitor, and then he read the poem he wrote after reading Rizal’s beautiful work. It is equally moving.
Then he answered Col. Mann’s letter [MTP TS 3-4; Gribben 582 in part] Note: Jose y Alonso Rizal (1861-1896). This date is duplicated with slight variations on two different sheet. What is used here is a combination of both.
The New York Times, p18, “Patrick’s Fight for Life,” announced, “Mark Twain Signs His Petition for Clemency,” asking Governor Frank Wayland Higgins (1856-1907) to stay the Jan. 22 execution of Albert T. Patrick (ca.1866-1940) for the murder of William Marsh Rice (1816-1900), multimillionaire businessman who bequeathed his estate (some ten million) to Rice University, Houston. This was one of the first sensational murder trials of the 20th century; Patrick was Rice’s attorney; he forged a will and killed Rice with chloroform. Patrick’s death sentence was commuted by Higgins in 1906 and in 1912 he was pardoned by New York Governor John Dix, due to doubtful or unreliable medical evidence and contradictory testimony given by Rice’s valet, Charles F. Jones, a co-conspirator who turned state’s evidence. Interestingly, the prosecutor in the case was William Travers Jerome, a man Clemens had openly supported for district attorney. Patrick was ultimately disbarred in 1930. See NY Times, Feb. 12, 1940, p.10 “A.T. Patrick Dies; Won Murder Fight.”
Other newspapers reported more of the 100 or so who signed the petition to stay Patrick’s execution, including The Macon Daily Telegraph (Georgia) of Jan. 6, p.1 “Grover Cleveland and Mark Twain Sign.”
John G. Carlisle, President of the Kentuckians wrote to invite Sam to a dinner at Delmonico’s on Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. [MTP]. Note: Sam did not go; he was in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 27.
Laura K. Hudson wrote to Sam, recalling an article her husband read some 20 years prior, about Sam telling the story of three men who came to a miner’s hut and gave their names as Longfellow, Holmes and Whittier. She wanted to know the whereabouts of “this delightful child” of Sam’s muse [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on Jan. 12. Of course this was Clemens’ embarrassing Whittier’s Birthday dinner toast in Boston, Dec. 17, 1877.
Azel Stevens Roe, Jr. replied to Sam’s of Dec. 29.
It was a great pleasure to get it & find that I was not forgotten. I have been away in the Far West for fifteen years, but am now living at the dear old home where in the little summer house at the foot of the garden. You wrote your name on the window at my Mother’s request. It is still there & recalls to my mind when I see it those past happy hours.
I can never forget the charm of that night at your house in Hartford, when you read aloud to me, “Tom Sawyer” in manuscript, & after it was finished, at midnight, we went to the Piano & I played the Russian Hymn at your request & you sang all the fourteen verses [MTP]. Note: Roe had been a voice and music teacher in Virginia City in 1867 and a tutor in San Francisco in 1863, likely when he met Clemens. See Vol. I.
George Thomson Wilson sent Sam an engraved invitation to meet Mr. Patrick Francis Murphy, at Delmonico’s on Jan. 3 at 7:30 p.m. [MTP]. Note: this likely sent before Jan. 3 as an RSVP was requested.
January 4 Thursday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today young Mr. [Horace] Ashton came and made 8 photographs of Mr. Clemens in his bed. Not very good.
This morning Mr. Clemens was in one of his jovial moods when Jean came into his room, and as she grabbed his head she spoke of the time in Venice long ago when he appeared before his astonished family with his head shaven. His hair was coming out, he thought, and heroic treatment—heroic for the family—would be the only remedy. When Jean commented upon his appearance, he said, yes, his head had looked like a “bladder of snuff” [MTP TS 5].
Booker T. Washington wrote to Sam:
Of course we shall expect you to speak in any manner that you see fit at Carnegie Hall on the evening of the 22d.
I am sending you a copy of my last annual report, an illustrated pamphlet called “The Successful Training of the Negro,” etc.; there may be some facts in these that you might like to refer to. / Yours truly, … [MTP].
January 5 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Herbert Gunnison (1858-1932), publisher of the Brooklyn Eagle, declining an invitation (not extant) [Christie’s auction 24 May 2002, Lot 1, Sale 1083]. Note: Gunnison was an “avid collector who sought to obtain material from a variety of 19th century personalities in the political, military, religious and cultural spectrums. The collection contains approximately 2000 items” [Ibid].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Jean is not well. Not only has her malady increased, but her whole physical condition is at low ebb, and the child calls for great waves of love from those of us who care. Last evening at the Volpe Concert Mrs. Gilder spoke of her beauty and her gracefulness, and it is true. In these last few days a sadness has settled over her, a gentleness that is pitiful, and you long for the masterful young creature whose powerful moods spread consternation, but always back of the moods there are an individuality, a frankness of a very high order.
Poultney Bigelow joined us a tea today after he had had a chat with Mr. Clemens. We talked Dublin, for he wants a good working place, and Mrs. Frothingham has offered him an acre. Such an impulsive man he is. He’d have to have a history. Temperaments like his are pretty apt to spring over conventionalities. I think they can’t help it [MTP TS 5-6; Hill 120 in part].
Sam wrote per Isabel Lyon to an unidentified man: “Dear Sir, / I thank you very much for the compliment of your invitation, but I am obliged to decline it as I have made all the engagements for this year that I can keep. / Sincerely Yours…” [MTP: Alexander Autographs auction, Nov. 16, 2002].
Ethel de Buriatte, a confessed stranger wrote to Sam, and related reading his description of a French duel, which she thought terribly funny, to a friend, who didn’t laugh. The friend confessed that her brother, age 9, used to write like that but his father “whipped it out of him” [MTP].
James Verner Long, American consul in Patios, Greece wrote sending Clemens “The Messenger of the Gods” with 70th birthday wishes. Long had “many pleasant memories” of times together in Florence, Italy [MTP]. Note: his stationery, US Consulate, Florence, left over.
Albert Bigelow Paine made an appointment with Isabel Lyon to see Sam on the following day about writing Twain’s biography [MTB 1262].
January 6 Saturday – Clara Clemens continued to suffer a throat affliction. On this day she returned to the Norfolk sanitarium; she would return on Jan. 9, then go to Atlantic City [IVL TS 4; Hill 121].
Albert Bigelow Paine called on Sam at 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. about the possibility of writing Mark Twain’s biography. Paine writes of the meeting:
I arrived at 21 Fifth Avenue and was shown into that long library and drawing-room combined, and found a curious and deep interest in the books and ornaments along the shelves as I waited. Then I was summoned, and I remember ascending the stairs, wondering why I had come on so futile an errand, and trying to think of an excuse to offer for having come at all.
He was propped up in bed—in that stately bed-sitting, as was his habit, with his pillows placed at the foot, so that he might have always before him the rich, carved beauty of its headboard. He was delving through a copy of Huckleberry Finn, in search of a paragraph concerning which some random correspondent had asked explanation. He was commenting unfavorably on this correspondent and on miscellaneous letter-writing in general. He pushed the cigars toward me, and the talk of these matters ran along and blended into others more or less personal. By and by I told him what so many thousands had told him before: what he had meant to me, recalling the childhood impressions of that large, black-and-gilt-covered book with its wonderful pictures and adventures—the Mediterranean pilgrimage. Very likely it bored him—he had heard it so often—and he was willing enough, I dare say, to let me change the subject and thank him for the kindly word which David Munro had brought. I do not remember what he said then, but I suddenly found myself suggesting that out of his encouragement had grown a hope—though certainly it was something less—that I might some day undertake a book about himself. I expected the chapter to end at this point, and his silence which followed seemed long and ominous.
He said, at last, that at various times through his life he had been preparing some autobiographical matter, but that he had tired of the undertaking, and had put it aside. He added that he had hoped his daughters would one day collect his letters; but that a biography— a detailed story of personality and performance, of success and failure— was of course another matter, and that for such a work no arrangement had been made. He may have added one or two other general remarks; then, turning those piercing agate-blue eyes directly upon me, he said:
“When would you like to begin?”
There was a dresser with a large mirror behind him. I happened to catch my reflection in it, and I vividly recollect saying to it mentally: “This is not true; it is only one of many similar dreams.” But even in a dream one must answer, and I said:
“Whenever you like. I can begin now.”
He was always eager in any new undertaking.
“Very good,” he said. “The sooner, then, the better. Let’s begin while we are in the humor. The longer you postpone a thing of this kind the less likely you are ever to get at it.”
This was on Saturday, as I have stated. I mentioned that my family was still in the country, and that it would require a day or two to get established in the city. I asked if Tuesday, January 9th, would be too soon to begin. He agreed that Tuesday would do, and inquired something about my plan of work. Of course I had formed nothing definite, but I said that in similar undertakings a part of the work had been done with a stenographer, who had made the notes while I prompted the subject to recall a procession of incidents and episodes, to be supplemented with every variety of material obtainable—letters and other documentary accumulations. Then he said:
“I think I should enjoy dictating to a stenographer, with some one to prompt me and to act as audience. The room adjoining this was fitted up for my study. My manuscripts and notes and private books and many of my letters are there, and there are a trunkful or two of such things in the attic. I seldom use the room myself. I do my writing and reading in bed. I will turn that room over to you for this work. Whatever you need will be brought to you. We can have the dictation here in the morning, and you can put in the rest of the day to suit yourself. You can have a key and come and go as you please.”
That was always his way. He did nothing by halves; nothing without unquestioning confidence and prodigality. He got up and showed me the lovely luxury of the study, with its treasures of material. I did not believe it true yet. It had all the atmosphere of a dream, and I have no distinct recollection of how I came away. When I returned to The Players and found Charles Harvey Genung there, and told him about it, it is quite certain that he perjured himself when he professed to believe it true and pretended that he was not surprised [MTB 1262-65]. Note: see Tuesday Jan. 9 entry.
H.H. Rogers spent a large part of the day on the witness stand in the Missouri suit to oust Standard Oil from the state. The Kansas City Star (Mo.) ran “Made Rogers Wince” on the front page, which mentioned Mark Twain:
Mr. Rogers had an engagement to play billiards with Mark Twain this afternoon, but the easy way with which Herman S. Hadley rushed it aside was more characteristic of his Kansas antecedents than even of the Missourians whom he represents. …
Mr. Rogers went on the stand at 12 o’clock and again at 2. The first time he was under fire for an hour. The second time he was on the stand nearly three hours. …
Rogers is almost a type of man to himself. The West does not develop exactly his type. Socially he has a few intimates with whom he is very pleasant. Mark Twain is his pet and his guest at luncheon in the Standard Oil building as often as the humorist will accept an invitation to be there. His efforts [Rogers’] as a humorist to-day showed that in one fold at least he does not rank up with his friend.
B. (not further identified) wrote to Sam. “As plate etchings can be so very cheaply procured now-a days a publication such as is proposed is perfectly feasible. There is not a Sunday paper n the U.S. Canada England Australia and South Africa that will not be glad to help to give the notes of dear old [Felix] Pace to the world and they will be translated into French and German as sure as the sun shines.” B. urged Sam to “get a syndicate or a publisher onto this matter,” and wanted “a reasonable royalty on sales.” [MTP]. Note: Felix Pace not further identified.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Albert Bigelow Paine came this morning to talk over the matter of writing Mr. Clemens’s Biography. Mr. Clemens has consented to have some shorthander come and take down the chat that is to flow from Mr. Clemens’s lips. I hope it may prove inspirational. The commercial machine (Columbia Graphophonic) that Mr. Clemens was looking upon as a boon hasn’t proved so. He dictated his birthday speech into it, and a few letters, but that is all. There is something infinitely sad in the voice as it is reproduced from the cylinders, and how strickening it would be to hear the voice of one gone. Santa C. when to Norfolk, Katie, too. Mr. Clemens and I went to see “The Lion and the Mouse.” A clean little play, but so stupid [MTP TS 6].
The Lion and the Mouse (play) by Charles Klein (1867-1915) at the Lyceum Theatre in N.Y.C. See also Gribben 384. See insert ad
Harper’s Weekly published a full-page drawing of Twain receiving a laurel wreath from a girl dressed as Joan of Arc at the Dec. 21, 1905 dinner of the Society of Illustrators [Tenney 42].
January 7 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning Mr. Clemens was speaking of Roosevelt and his great blustering, and he said that “he is magnificent when his ears are pricked up and his tail is in the air and he attacks a lightning express, only to be lost in the dust the express creates.” Col. Harvey and Dorothy [Harvey] came this afternoon and took Mr. Clemens off in the ‘mobile. Mr. Clemens never speaks heedlessly, he never says things without backbones in them and he never, never wastes words. This morning he illuminated the subject of the terrible cruelty of God. He threw the awful searchlight of his fearless speech upon it and he is so convincing that you feel as if you’d been in the presence of God himself, and when you leave the room your head dizzy and ringing with his contempt of the cowardice of the clergy [MTP TS 6-7].
January 8 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Thomas S. Barbour resigning from the Congo Reform Assoc.
I have retired from the Congo.
I was not able to do it until this morning. For several weeks I have been trying to get back to where I started, something more than a year ago, when I told Mr. Morel I would write an article on the Congo & stop there. That I would not tie myself to any movement of any kind, nor be officially connected with a movement of any kind, in a way which would lay duties & obligations upon me; for I know myself, & I knew that the moment I should begin to feel my perfect freedom menaced, I would immediately tear myself loose & be free.
What have I been doing? Dreaming? Walking in my sleep? It looks so. I wake up & find myself tacitly committed to journeys, & speeches, & soon—perfectly appaling activities. To do those things would infallibly lay further burdens upon me, & presently I should find myself tangled up in the Congo matter, permanently, exclusively, & beyond hope of honorable escape. It freezes the blood in my veins to think of it. These energies, these persistences, are entirely out of my line & foreign to my make. My instincts & interests are merely literary, they rise no higher; & I scatter from one interest to another, lingering nowhere. I am not a bee, I am a lightning-bug.
I shall not make a second step in the Congo matter, because that would compel a third, in spite of me—& a fourth, & a fifth, & so on. I mean, a deliberate second step; what I may do upon sudden impulse is another matter—they are out of my control. If I had Morel’s splendid equipment of energy, brains, diligence, concentration, persistence—but I haven’t; he is a ’mobile, I am a wheelbarrow [MTP].
Notes: Edmund Dene Morel (originally Georges Eduard Pierre Achille Morel de Ville – he may have changed his name to get his signature to fit on a check) (1873-1924) was one of the three founders of the English Congo Reform Association; see Mar. 23, 1904 entry. As with the Anti-Imperialist League, Sam had no problem allowing the use of his name, but did not wish ongoing responsibilities.
Hawkins writes of Sam’s various motivations for resigning from the Congo Reform Assoc:
Twain’s reasons for abandoning the movement after more than a year of activity were numerous. In his Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, Justin Kaplan suggests that Twain’s devotion to Congo reform was limited by fear of offending his audience and risking another financial failure: “By 1905 his celebrity had become addictive and had begun to blunt his purpose as a public conscience” . But while Twain was certainly shaken by his bankruptcy twelve years earlier, no evidence indicates that has withdrawal from the Congo movement turned on such narrow concerns. Twain did have some personal reasons for quitting, but, to his credit, they did not include anxiety over his popularity and income. Acting overzealously, the leaders of the C.R.A., who saw the beloved author as their best instrument for influencing public opinion, began putting inordinate demands on his time. …
Another, less personal, consideration finally sealed his resignation. At the beginning of 1906, the reform movement was making discouragingly little progress. Despite reformers’ pleas, the United States government refused to intervene in the Congo. Throughout his involvement, Twain had believed the United States was a party to the Berlin Act of 1885 and therefore had a legal obligation to supervise Congo rule. In January, 1906, the State Department told him he was mistaken; the United States Senate had never ratified the Berlin Act. Twain consequently got angry with the reformers, whom he believed had misinformed him, and he abruptly decided that no basis for a reform movement existed in the United States [149-150].
Sam also wrote to Seymour Eaton.
I have rec’d the circular of the Booklovers Corporation, making its time-worn appeal for the cash of gulls, in the time-worn fashion. I am sorry to see this; I have been persuading myself that you would reform—partially reform, I mean; partially—for I have never known, in the case of any petty thief, of a reform that covered the whole ground, after he had once gotten habituated to the feel of the coin in another man’s pocket. Come, you can partially reform if you’ll try. Remember what the apostle says: to wit, that while the lamp holds out to burn, the meanest swindler may return.
Yours with faint faint hope— [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Booker T. Washington.
“That suits me exactly: I will choose my subject to suit myself; & shall probably choose it that night, (22d) on the platform. Therefore, if any one asks you what it is going to be, you can answer with truth that you don’t know & that I don’t know” [MTP].
Sam dined with Alice M. Ditson (Mrs. Charles H. Ditson) and went to a performance of Tosca [Hill 123; IVL TS 4]. Note: The NY Times advertised the Tosca performance at the Metropolitan Opera House at 8 p.m., starring Emma Eames, Caruso, Scotti, Rossi, and Dufriche [Jan. 8, p.14].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
All day a rush and a swoop of work, letters and telephoning. This evening Mr. Clemens dined with Mrs. Ditson and her Boston friend, a delightful woman, “looks just as if she’d stepped out of the New Testament and hadn’t got used to her surroundings yet.” When he came home he slipped up to Jean’s room where we were chatting and told us how he had left the opera where they went after dinner—Tosca—and found Dr. Quintard in the lobby, who said that C.C. returns from Norfolk tomorrow. I know he had a good time even if he doesn’t like opera, for he came in with his eyes as shining and lovely and merry as they were the night he came home from the Players with the Japanese frog hanging from his button hole.
Mother and I went to Cecchina’s tonight [a restaurant nearby] [MTP TS 7].
George S. Ferguson wrote from Glasgow, Scotland to Sam, asking why Clemens used the name “Ferguson” for various guides in IA —“a good old historic Scottish name…” He had read in the newspapers about his 70th party and offered his congratulations [MTP].
Frederick D. Grant wrote from Army Headquarters on Governor’s Island, NY to introduce his friend, Harry Windsor Dearborn to Sam. Dearborn and Grant were interested in building a monument to Robert Fulton [MTP].
Notes: Lyon wrote on the letter: “Mr. Clemens saw Mr. Dearborn & consented to become a director of the Fulton Monument Organization.” Inside she wrote: “Mr. Clemens went to a meeting at the Waldorf on Jan. 17th. / Feb. 12 Mr Clemens & I were in the drawing room at the Gelli portrait when the door bell rang—I suggested he might like to escape, but as he attempted to flit from the room on tip toe the alertness of Philip had opened the door too soon—Mr. Dearborn came in laughing at the way he caught Mr. Clemens in flight.”
Hugh P. McCormick for the Congo Reform Assoc. wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: not found at MTP.
January 8 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote again to Thomas S. Barbour. A draft fragment survives. Sam asks, “What to do with the pamphlet?”, his essay “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” that the Congo Reform Assoc. had printed. Sam thought the American branch of the Assoc. should “go out of business for the reason that the agitation of butcheries can only wring people’s hearts unavailingly…unbacked by the American government.” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s recent appeal to Theodore Roosevelt evidently did not bring fruit.
January 8 after – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Edmund Dene Morel thanking him for a map sent and enclosed a copy of his recent letter to Thomas S. Barbour, who he felt worked “hard & well” but alone for the Congo Reform Assoc. in America but had no help. “He cannot land this giant enterprise by himself. It needs an organization like U. S. Steel” [MTP].
January 8–February 12 – Sometime during this period, Sam wrote to the Robert Fulton Memorial Association, a letter which ran in the Feb. 18 issue, p. 20 of the NY Times:
I am sure that but for his genius and energy steam navigation would have remained in the egg centuries longer than it did. He made the vacant oceans and the idle rivers useful after the unprejudiced had been wondering for a hundred million years what they were for. He found these properties a liability; he left them an asset. It is the peculiar honor and privilege of our commercializing age to estimate this majestic service at its splendid and rightful value. The monument is deserved, and it will be built. / Mark Twain
January 9 Tuesday – Sam began a series of Autobiographical Dictations (hereinafter referred to as A.D.) for Albert Bigelow Paine. Paine brought Miss Josephine Hobby, a part-time stenographer, employed by Century Magazine for many years (she would be fired in Sept. 1908 by Isabel Lyon). Miss Hobby had also worked for Charles Dudley Warner and Mary Mapes Dodge [MTB 1266]. The dictations continued with fair regularity throughout 1906 and 7, thereafter intermittently. The last recorded dictation was on Dec. 29, 1909 [MTHHR 607n1]. Note: MTHHR 607n1 uses Jan. 6, 1906 as the beginning date, which was Paine’s first visit to Clemens’ N.Y.C. home; Miss Hobby had not yet been hired and it’s unlikely any dictation was made on that day. See also AMT 1: 250-254 in which Sam dictated first a summary of the difficulties of his autobiography, and then waded into a discussion of Big Bonanza days in Nevada, including segments on Joe Goodman.
Paine writes of this day and the images which stayed in his mind long after:
On Tuesday, January 9, 1906, I was on hand with a capable stenographer—Miss Josephine Hobby, who had successively, and successfully, held secretarial positions with Charles Dudley Warner and Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge, and was therefore peculiarly qualified for the work in hand.
Clemens, meantime, had been revolving our plans and adding some features of his own. He proposed to double the value and interest of our employment by letting his dictations continue the form of those earlier autobiographical chapters, begun with Redpath in 1885, and continued later in Vienna and at the Villa Quarto. He said he did not think he could follow a definite chronological program; that he would like to wander about, picking up this point and that, as memory or fancy prompted, without any particular biographical order. It was his purpose, he declared, that his dictations should not be published until he had been dead a hundred years or more—a prospect which seemed to give him an especial gratification.
I ought to state that he was in bed when we arrived, and that he remained there during almost all of these earlier dictations, clad in a handsome silk dressing-gown of rich Persian pattern, propped against great snowy pillows. He loved this loose luxury and ease, and found it conducive to thought. On the little table beside him, where lay his cigars, papers, pipes, and various knickknacks, shone a reading-lamp, making more brilliant the rich coloring of his complexion and the gleam of his shining hair. There was daylight, too, but it was north light, and the winter days were dull. Also the walls of the room were a deep, unreflecting red, and his eyes were getting old. The outlines of that vast bed blending into the luxuriant background, the whole focusing to the striking central figure, remain in my mind to-day—a picture of classic value.
He dictated that morning some matters connected with the history of the Comstock mine; then he drifted back to his childhood, returning again to the more modern period, and closed, I think, with some comments on current affairs. It was absorbingly interesting; his quaint, unhurried fashion of speech, the unconscious movement of his hands, the play of his features as his fancies and phrases passed in mental review and were accepted or waved aside. We were watching one of the great literary creators of his time in the very process of his architecture. We constituted about the most select audience in the world enjoying what was, likely enough, its most remarkable entertainment. When he turned at last and inquired the time we were all amazed that two hours and more had slipped away.
“And how much I have enjoyed it!” he said. “It is the ideal plan for this kind of work. Narrative writing is always disappointing. The moment you pick up a pen you begin to lose the spontaneity of the personal relation, which contains the very essence of interest. With shorthand dictation one can talk as if he were at his own dinner-table— always a most inspiring place. I expect to dictate all the rest of my life, if you good people are willing to come and listen to it.”
The dictations thus begun continued steadily from week to week, and always with increasing charm. We never knew what he was going to talk about, and it was seldom that he knew until the moment of beginning; then he went drifting among episodes, incidents, and periods in his irresponsible fashion; the fashion of table-conversation, as he said, the methodless method of the human mind. It was always delightful, and always amusing, tragic, or instructive, and it was likely to be one of these at one instant, and another the next. I felt myself the most fortunate biographer in the world, as undoubtedly I was, though not just in the way that I first imagined [MTB 1266-8].
Note on Autobiographical Dictations. The print-volumes released by MTP (Vol. 1 was published in 2010; others forthcoming) undoubtedly will impact study in this area. A full exposition of each day’s dictations is beyond the scope of this work, and should be referenced there. What may be useful as a summary beyond this work is the notation developed by Kiskis in “Dead Man Talking: Mark Twain’s Autobiographical Dictation” which begins on Feb. 1, 1906 and separates each dictation session into three main subjects: Family, Career, and Human Race. Other primary materials, such as Isabel Lyon’s journal/daily reminders, also inform this work.
The New York Times, p.16, “Plans to Help the Blind,” announced that Mark Twain would preside at the first public meeting of the NY State Assoc. for Promoting Interests of the Blind on Mar. 29. Joseph H. Choate and Helen Keller would speak.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Paine came this morning at 11 with his stenographer—and for an hour Mr. Clemens talked. I’ve kept notes of the talk—but I didn’t keep notes of his wonderful rising color and his brilliant eyes as he warmed to the subject of the Big Bonanza Mine and its fall to nothing. He told all about Joe Goodman too.
Afterward Mr. Paine and I had a little chat in the study over the autobiographical drawer. It had always been his dream, ambition, to write Mr. Clemens’s biography, but never came close to the prospect of it until Mr. Clemens said to Mr. David Munro that Paine’s book on Thomas Nast was “damn good” and Munro told Paine. Then his courage flowed. It’s the greatest treat in the world to sit in the brown easy chair and watch that master of mine talk. He was magical this morning [MTP TS 7-8; also Gribben 523 in part].
Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from Boston that they were sailing for Egypt on Saturday [MTP].
January 10 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to unidentified gentlemen.
If you mean, am I sorry I allowed myself, in a moment of passion, to carry my quarrel with Mr. Butters into the newspapers & call him a swindler, I answer yes. It was not the right way, it was not the dignified way, to settle the quarrel, & for that reason I regret it. That it happened, was not wholly my fault, but was largely his own, in that he has persistently remained away from this State, & thus has kept out of the penitentiary, where he belongs, & where I was purposing to place him. If he had been there I should have been satisfied & would not have been moved to expose him in print. The main fault is his, but it is no matter, & I forgive him [MTP].
On or after Jan. 10 Sam also wrote to Mansfield L. Hillhouse. “I desire to express my thanks to the Board of Trustees for the honor they have conferred upon me in electing me a member of the Advisory Board of the Hispanic Society of America” [MTP]. Note: the Society was formed in 1904 by Archer M. Huntington as a museum of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American art and artificats; it remains open to the public at its original location of 155th in NYC.
Sam’s A.D. for this date involved a discussion of speechmaking, a reminiscence about speeches on a night at the Players Club, the “Morris incident” and comments on President Theodore Roosevelt [AMT 1: 254-260].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: recorded how Sam sought to remove himself from the Congo Reform Movement, headed by Edmund Dene Morel: “I’m not a bee, I’m a lightning bug.” “Morel is a mobile, I’m a wheel-barrow.” Mr. Clemens is tiring of Congo and said in a letter to Mr. Barbour when he wrote him that he must withdraw from the Congo matter [MTP TS 8].
Henry Darracott Allison, grocer, Dublin, N.H. wrote to Sam that he was sending two photographs of the Upton house and the Greene house under separate cover. Allison had “enjoyed immensely” Sam’s article in Harper’s Weekly, “and I have read and re-read the speeches made on that occasion” [MTP]. Note: the speeches referred to were from Twain’s 70th birthday celebration.
Thomas S. Barbour for the Congo Reform Assoc. replied to Sam’s Jan. 8 “retired from the Congo” letter, begging Twain to stay and promising “not to be overzealous in putting demands on him” [Hawkins 166]:
I do not think you can leave the Congo until you take the people with you. That hour has seemed to me not far away. It has seemed near because you are there. For you seem to me not like the fire-fly or even the bee but like Orpheus. So long as you stay in Africa the people of other lands will come, in an ever increasing multitude, and they will see and act [Ibid; MTP].
Daniel Carter Beard wrote from NYC to send Sam an autograph from his friend and fellow classmate at the Art Students’ League, Mr. Charles Lamb. Beard also thanked him for the “very kind things you said about me at the late dinner of the Society of Illustrators” [MTP]. Note: the dinner was on Dec. 21, 1905.
Clark Bell wrote on Medico-Legal Society letterhead (NYC) to invite Sam to their annual dinner on Jan. 17 at the Hotel Astor at 7 p.m. He also enclosed a petition to the Governor to pardon Palnek, who was to be executed Jan. 22 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote at the top, “Mr. Clemens signed the petition.”
George Cary Eggleston wrote on Author’s Club stationery, NYC to ask if Sam would provide a paragraph he had written long before on the Ball-Florence Percy controversy as to the true authorship of the song, “Rock Me to Sleep.” Eggleston had carried the clipping with him for years, as it was brilliant and in the same meter [MTP].
John Grier Hibben wrote from the Spencer Trask Lecture Committee, Princeton, Univ., to invite Sam “to address the students of the university, in the form of a lecture, or an informal talk as you may prefer,” the honorarium being $100 [MTP]. Note: Sam declined on Jan. 12.
Mansfield L. Hillhouse wrote to advise Sam that he’d been elected a member of the Advisory Board for the Hispanic Society of America at their Jan. 8 meeting [MTP]. Note: on a separate sheet Lyon wrote for Sam is thanks for the honor.
January 11 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam declined an invitation from an unidentified man, giving the reason that “I have made all the engagements for this year that I can keep” [MTP].
Sam also sent a telegram to Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Lilian W. Aldrich in Boston: “A happy voyage and a quick return” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day involved a Jan. 3 letter from Laura K. Hudson and his reply of Jan. 12 concerning his Dec. 17, 1877 Whittier birthday “debacle” [AMT 1: 260-267].
Isabel Lyon’s Journal: “Mr. Clemens “Yes I was on the Pacific Coast from Aug. 1861 to Oct. 1866.” He was getting ready for dictation. Then after luncheon I took him a little poem written by Carolone Stern of Greenville, Miss. After reading it to himself and being deeply moved by it, he walked the floor and standing near me read aloud the first verse of it.
“Who speaks of care, of toil, of time?
The night-wind cools the heated deck,
The minstrel river sings in rhyme,
And gathers largesse in our wake.
And like a refrain, solemn, slow,
The leadsman’s chant comes from below—
His voice trilled as he gave the leadsman’s call—but turning quickly he said, “There ought to be an echoing cry from the deck.”
Oh, the richness of his nature, and his brain and his soul. He sounds the awfulest depths of the tragedies of earth and heaven and hell—he bubbles over with gaity—he melts with grief into silent sobs—he slays with satire your beliefs—he boils over into profanities that make you feel the terrors of the thunderbolts that must come—and he is the gentlest, most considerate, most lovable creature in all the earth—yet how he covers his true self away from most! [MTP TS 8-9; also Gribben 662, in part].
About this day Sam wrote to Jean, as seen in this paraphrase of Jean’s diary, vol. 6, Jan. 14:
I wrote Father a letter yesterday, that I regret just a little having sent. In the letter I received from him [ca. Jan 11; not extant], he spoke of my sweet & gentle child-spirit that had been inspired by my illness, & urged me to try & get it back again. Also, he urged patience toward Anna and the people in the house with instructions that the doctors all meant well toward me etc. As a whole, the letter was sweet, but the statement of my having been born with a sweet nature surprised me [MTP].
George H. Daniels for the Lotos Club wrote to announce a dinner for Woodrow Wilson of Princeton, Univ. on Saturday evening, Feb. 3, inviting Sam to “say a few words” [MTP].
Samuel O. Prentice wrote to Sam on Supreme Court of Errors, Hartford, Conn. letterhead, vouching for Arthur M. Marsh, Bridgeport attorney and president of the Contemporary Club of that city. Marsh wished to interview Sam about speaking to their club [MTP].
January 12 Friday – Fred Nye of the Sunday N.Y. World wrote asking if Sam would write for their “humorous campaign in favor of the most down-trodden and abused person in the United States—Father.” On or just after this was received Sam answered: “I think it unlikely that the Harpers would approve, but even if they did I have no intention of writing a miscellaneous article on any body.”
In a side note, probably to Isabel V. Lyon, he directed her to ask a price that would:
“Suppress these people some time by saying I will agree to write an article (of not fewer than 2000 words & not more than 5000) for $500000 the contents of the article not to fall short of 2000 words and not to exceed 5000” [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Jan. 10 from John Grier Hibben declining to speak at Princeton Univ. [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Horner in Belfast, Ireland.
I find the book enchanting. In my opinion it belongs away up—or away down whichever may be proper—on the summit in midsky or at the base of the foothills where sits serene the Sweet Singer of Michigan, Queen & Empress of the Hogwash Guild until now. Hogwash is a term which was invented by the night foreman of the newspaper whereunto I was attached 40 yrs ago, in the capacity of local reporter, to describe my literary efforts. Many years ago I began to collect Hog-wash literature & I am glad of the chance to add to it the extraordinary book which you have sent to me [MTP]. Note: Gribben identifies the volume as Irene Iddesleigh (1897), by Mrs. Emanda M’Kittrick Ros; Horner would also send “Barry Pain’s humorous criticism” of the work and another Ros book on Apr. 21 . Note: in Horner’s of Apr. 21 he referred to this as “your letter of 13th”.
Sam also replied to the Jan. 3 from Mrs. Laura K. Hudson’s about his Dec. 17, 1877 Whittier birthday “debacle”:
I am forever your debtor for reminding me of that curious passage in my life. During the first year or two after it happened I could not bear to think of it, my pain & shame were so intense, and my sense of having been a fool so settled, established, confirmed. I drove the episode entirely from my mind; and so all these twenty-eight or twenty-nine years I have lived in the conviction that my performance of that time was coarse, vulgar & wholly destitute of humor. But your suggestion that you & your family found humor in it moved me to look into the matter; so I commissioned a Boston typewriter to delve into the Boston papers of that bygone time, and send me a copy of it. It came this morning, & if there is any vulgarity about it I am unable to discover it; if it is not innocently and appropriately funny I am no judge. It is my intention that within the next two months the public shall hear from it and sit in judgement upon it once more. By & by I will see to it that you get a copy [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day included comments on Whittier’s 70th birthday celebration in 1877 as compared to Twain’s own 70th celebration organized by Colonel Harvey. Then he digressed into an anecdote of cigars he gave out at one of his Monday Evening Club meetings in Hartford, with the men thinking they were cheap and discarding them on the way out. He closed with a discussion of a meeting at Rev. Frank Goodwin’s house, including Joe Twichell, Charles Dudley Warner, Colonel Greene, Rev. Dr. Burton, Hamersley and son Will, Charles E. Perkins, J. Hammond Trumbull, Henry C. Robinson, and A.C. Dunham [AMT 1: 267-272].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
The dictating continues and Mr. Clemens finds it enchanting and an inspiration. “I would like to have relays of shorthanders, and keep them at it for six hours on a stretch.”
Mr. Paine began classifying the assembled autobiographical papers and matter for biography this morning. It is satisfying to see him at his task, for he touches it with the hands of one caring for every scrap and realizing the value of it. When Elizabeth Dodge was here at tea this afternoon Mr. Clemens came in from a down town trip, and he told her that she was like the lovely Mrs. Osborne he met at dinner at Mrs. Kinnicutts. He told Mrs. Osborne that he was going to dine with the Dodges in a short time and invited her to be there too. All this he told Elizabeth, who was enchanted by his naif way of inviting, for Mrs. Osborne is Elizabeth’s aunt [MTP TS 9-10].
Chatto & Windus sent Sam a financial statement with check for £131:0:6 [MTP].
John Larkin, attorney wrote to Sam that he was trying to reach Gillis & Geogehan, about the “obstreperous parts” of the heating system at 21 Fifth Ave, and would “beat into the heads” of same, “the annoyance that your daughters have suffered” [MTP].
Edgar Gardner Murphy wrote from Montgomery, Ala. to Sam, sending him a copy of his book The Present South. A letter of praise for the book from John Hay, dated Dec. 17, 1904 is in the file [MTP]. Note: not in Gribben.
Francis Stanbern wrote from Vienna, Austria to request, in overly polite bowing and scraping language, for Mark Twain’s autograph [MTP].
In his A.D. for this day Sam mentioned King Leopold briefly, revealing his interest remained even though he had “retired” from the poorly organized Congo Reform Assoc. (Jan. 8) to Barbour [Hawkins 168].
January 13 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote instructions to Isabel Lyon for John Larkin: “Ask Larkin to appoint next Saturday for the tax office & make it $5,000. I want to write it up” [MTP]. Note: Larkin characterized Larkin as “my friend and attorney.”
Clemens’ A.D. for this day continued the discussion on the old Monday Evening Club talk about dreams. He then related telling the the dream to the Club about seeing Henry Clemens in a coffin before the explosion of the Pennsylvania, then the mistake of dosage the young doctor gave to Henry which resulted in his death [AMT 1: 273-276].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mr. Clemens was going to read manuscript tonight, but oh, a disturbing element stopped it. (A mood of Jean’s)” [MTP TS 10].
John F. Hobbs of the Thirteen Club wrote inside an invitation to this evening’s 24th anniversary dinner at the Hotel Savoy:
My Dear Clemens / Sorry “Mark Twain” could not be our guest of honor Jan. 13. Mr. Arthur Brisbane, Chief Editor of the Hearst papers will … speak to the subject ‘Some Superstitions about grafters—financial, political or otherwise.’” Hobbs asked for Sam to write him something on the subject that might be read at the banquet [MTP]. Note: Arthur Brisbane (1864-1936) was one of the most well known American newspaper editors of his day. He was also a coach of public relations for many celebrities, including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and John D. Rockefeller.
James Wharton George wrote from NYC to Miss Lyon. “Your favor of Dec. 21 has been on my desk all this time for I have hated to again urge that Mr Clemens give me an interview” [MTP].
Arthur M. Marsh wrote from Bridgeport, Conn. to offer Sam an honorarium of $125 to speak to his Contemporary Club, of about 125 men and women [MTP]. Note: see Jan. 11 from Marsh.
Volney Streamer wrote on Players Club letterhead, NYC to advise Sam that the $200,000 canceled check to Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant was framed and hanging beside the door to Mr. Booths’ private library [MTP].
Edith de Charny Suffren for Harper & Brothers wrote to thank Sam for sending through Miss Lyon “the little anecdote about…” Pilgrim’s Progress. “It will be used in this week’s issue of the ‘Gossip’” [MTP].
January 13 after – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote one line to George W. James: “Mr. Mighels—is here in the city address can be procured of Harper” [MTP]. Note: Philip Verrill Mighels (1869-1911) was a Nevada writer and one of the state’s first literary figures. His 1905 book, Bruvver Jim’s Baby, was published by Harper & Brothers.
January 14 Sunday – The New York Times, p.9 “What is Doing in Society”: “Mr. and Mrs. Cleveland H. Dodge have invitations out for a dinner for Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain,) on Friday next,” or Jan. 19. Note: Cleveland Hoadley Dodge (1860-1926), philanthropist active in NY politics, was the grandson of William E. Dodge, Jr. (1832-1903) Clemens’ neighbor in Riverside. See Aug. 13, 1903 entry.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning Mr. Paine came up to my room to talk over the dictation of yesterday. Mr. Clemens’s theme was the death of his brother Henry, who lost his life in the awful steamboat disaster so many years ago. He said that Mr. Clemens had given Henry instructions what to do in case of accident—“Don’t lose your head—the passengers will do that,” and they did it, while Henry went for a life-boat for the women and children and he stayed by the burning craft too long. The incident is given in Orion’s account of as much of all that early life as he can remember. All of this Mr. Clemens even as a young, young man; it was the keynote of his character, and today it stands as the main thing in the man’s life. After Paine left I went down to Mr. Clemens’s room and we went over a little leftover mail, he drifted into the Biography chat as is his wont in these days & he said that so few—no autobiographers were ever very frank. Bayard Taylor was—was “so self satisfied and sat back and licked his chops”—but it was all delightful and then Mr. Clemens said that he was going to be frank—not once but many times. (There were Rousseau confessions, but I am going to leave that kind alone, for Rousseau had looked after that end—) and I am going to say just what I think of a dinner-table full of people who preferred to talk themselves to hearing him. People like the guests at Dr. Quintard’s not long since, and Mr. Clemens said that “Quintard does know the damndest lot of catfish.” We spoke of Marie Bashkirtseff’s enchanting and naively frank journal “a perfect delight” he called it, and he chatted on in his loveliest vein. The Times had a reproduction of one of the recent bed photographs taken by young Horace Ashton. A very good and strong and sad photograph, looking exactly like him when he is at work. The hand is out of focus, but that doesn’t seriously damage it and on his knee is the cigar box desk—the desk or box we played cards on a year ago.
Col. Harvey came to talk with Mr. Clemens, also Mr. Owen Johnson came to ask use of Mr. Clemens’s name as a patron for the Russian players who have been in pitiful case but who have been taken up recently by Mr. Dan Frohman. Mr. Gilder’s interest in them has been of great assistance in this move [MTP TS 10-12; also some parts or information in Gribben 592, 687, 50]. Note: Maria Konstantinovna Bashkirtseva (1860-1884) author of Marie Bashkirtseff; The Journal of a Young Artist.
Sally B. Genung wrote from NYC to thank Sam for his kind words about their late friend John Malone. Though a stranger to Sam, she had been a firm fan since she was ten [MTP]. Note: see Lyon’s journal for Jan. 16 on Malone. Since Malone died on Jan. 15, this appears to be misdated.
January 15 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today when I asked Mr. Clemens why mens’ voices singing in the street at night sound so heartbreakingly sad? Or away out in the country, when you are wakened by the sound of a man singing a common place song in a common place voice, why does that make you aware of all the misery of the world? Mr. Clemens replied, “The man is probably dead drunk, but that doesn’t lessen your heartache.”
The reading of the dictated manuscript is forever postponed. Mr. Twichell came this P.M. and it is delightful to have him here. After dinner he and Mr. Clemens went over to call on General Sickles, who is 84 years old. This visit is a duty which Mr. Twichell never neglects [MTP TS 12].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day continued the discussion on the old Monday Evening Club talk about dreams, giving examples of his more vivid dreams; also more comment on the Morris case [AMT 1: 276-282].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote two pages to Sam about the American Mechanical Cashier Co, and the Pope Co. taking over its assets [MTP].
Stuart Donlevy Duncan wrote from Frankfurt on the Main, Germany to Sam. “Even in my most sanguine moments I hardly dared to hope for an answer from you & I really do not know how to thank you for your kindness. Your letter has made me very happy indeed” [MTP].
Grace Kiddes Ford wrote from NYC to invite Sam to dine with them informally Jan. 18 in the evening [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on Jan. 16.
Winifred Holt for the N.Y. Assoc. for the Blind wrote to invite Sam to a meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel to promote the interests of the blind, Mar. 29 at 8:30 p.m. She also hoped he could come to her home on the evening of Mar. 27 with his daughter to meet Helen Keller [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s reply in Jan. 15 after entry.
George O’Connor wrote from Hartford, Conn. to Isabel Lyon about shipping Jean’s horse “Scott” to Katonah, NY [MTP].
January 15 after – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Lyon replied for Sam to Winifred Holt’s Jan. 15: On a slip in the file with the note is one by Lyon:
hope Mr. C. & Miss C can assemble there on Mar. 27. Shall be very glad
indeed to have menu of things he is to touch upon that night. Also shall be
glad to have some seats reserved for him for the night of the 29th.
5 2 seats reserved. Bill sent now. Take it for granted that
no seats are to given away. Every seat worth 3–price easily acquired. Because
there are so many hundreds of people willing to pay that price to have glimpse
of Helen Keller. Ladies peddle
seats house will all be sold out long before Mar 29th[MTP].
January 16 Tuesday – Mark Twain attended a big automobile show at Madison Square Garden, and of course the New York Times of Jan. 16, p. 8 covered the show and his appearance:
MARK TWAIN AT THE SHOW.
Laments That He Cannot Dictate as Fast as Motor Salesmen Talk.
Mark Twain was an interested visitor at the Automobile Show in Madison Square Garden yesterday afternoon. He was the guest of Sales Manager R. D. Chapin at the Oldsmobile booth. As the popular writer walked slowly down the broad aisles, commenting upon the splendid machines on exhibition, he was followed by a curious crowd. Mr. Clemens, however, did not purchase a motor car, but he promised to come again and take a ride in one of the demonstrating machines to-morrow.
“I dictate each day about four thousand words,” he said, “and I find it a hard day’s work. If I could talk as rapidly, however, as some of these automobile salesmen do, I could dictate a great many more words and consequently make more money.”
In N.Y.C. Sam replied to Mrs. Grace Kiddes Ford’s Jan. 15, offering a gracious decline to a “kind invitation” but he was “already booked for that night”[MTP]. Note: the night in question was Jan. 18. No evidence was found for what was “already booked.”
Clemens’ A.D. for this day revealed his thoughts about the “perfect” way to write an autobiography, that is, to talk about “The thing uppermost in a person’s mind” at the time. He related a story about John Malone, who joined an actors’ troupe in Oregon which starred Edwin Booth, and how Malone missed a train that allowed John McCullogh, a fellow actor, to become established on the stage. Sam championed Malone to membership in the Players Club; Joe Twichell arrived and later brought news of Malone’s death. “So there is another surprise, you see. While Twichell and I were talking about John Malone he was passing from this life. His disappointments are ended. At least he is not ‘left out.’ It was a long wait, but the best of all fortunes is his at last” [AMT 1: 283-287].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
John Malone is dead. Mr. Clemens had me telephone Volney Streamer at the Players that if they are short of pall bearers, he will be one. Yesterday Mr. Clemens was talking with Mr. Twichell about John Malone and now he is dead. Mr. Clemens name having been given as a patron of the Russian Players movement, this morning a Russian woman came begging for an interview, for she must have help. It was terrible for at times she was desperate or appealing, seemingly desperate. She insisted upon seeing Mr. Clemens, sure that he could and would help her. I worked with her an hour and finally she left, but as I took her to the door she had tears in her eyes.
At 6 o’clock Mr. Henderson came wanting to have Mr. Clemens read the birthday speech onto phonograph cylinders, Mr. Clemens to own the cylinders and Henderson to get nothing out of it. Forty-five minutes we talked, & I couldn’t make that man make one clear statement [MTP TS 12-13]. Note: John Malone, actor and historian of The Players, died on Jan. 15. Sam was a pallbearer at Malone’s funeral on Jan.18. See entry.
Katharine I. Harrison wrote to Sam:
Miss Lyon wrote me this morning about closing your account with the Guaranty Trust Company,. You only receive 1- ½ to 2% interest and if you think it wise I will close the account …and send the money to the Knickerbocker Trust Company.
I enclose herewith check for $34,700 for 500 shares of Utah Consolidated Mining Company stock as per statement attached [MTP]. Note: The Knickerbocker Trust would suffer a run on the bank on Oct. 22, 1907; Sam’s $51,000 would be at risk.
Sam replied to Harrison: “Leave that egg in another basket & leave the basket where it is” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John Y. MacAlister in London, summarizing the latest happenings in the American branch of the Plasmon Co. Ralph W. Ashcroft was on his way from downtown to Sam’s and would be told to write MacAlister to give the particulars. “He is competent, & I’m not,” Sam wrote.
That gang stacked the cards on me & on the London Co., but I think they dealt us the hand they meant for themselves. Ashcroft will know how the matter stands, & can tell you.
That young lady & her sister called. I was in bed (as now & always pretty much) but Miss Lyon saw them. I hope they are going with us to Gilder’s house Friday night, where the bright people congregate. I never go there, because it is at night, but I will go with them, if they would like it [MTP]. Note: the “young lady & her sister” have not been identified.
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote to Sam.
Mr. Baldwin was asked yesterday by Mr. Hammond’s lawyer to state, in writing, that we would not oppose the dissolution of the Plasmon Co.
In case the Company was dissolved, its assets would be sold to pay the creditors. The only creditors are Hammond, Butters and ourselves. The principal asset is $10,000. on deposit with you, the Company having sold its patents, factory building, etc. …we would get about half of the $10,000…” [MTP].
A. de Monthizin wrote to Lyon, sending a complimentary copy of a Mark Twain lithograph [MTP].
January 17 Wednesday – Sam attended a meeting to form an association for a 1907 centennial of Robert Fulton’s Claremont. The New York Times, Jan. 18, p. 8, “For a Monument to Fulton” reported the presence of Mark Twain. On Feb. 18, the Times, under the same heading, reported Samuel L. Clemens as an “incorporator”and printed his letter of acceptance to the committee:
Mr. Clemens, in accepting membership on the committee, wrote the following letter:
I am sure that but for his genius and energy steam navigation would have remained in the egg centuries longer than it did. He made the vacant oceans and the idle rivers useful after the unprejudiced had been wondering for a hundred million years what they were for. He found these properties a liability; he left them an asset. It is the peculiar honor and privilege of our commercializing age to estimate this majestic service at its splendid and rightful value. The monument is deserved, and it will be built. MARK TWAIN.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day discussed Sam’s past efforts to convince publishers of the viability of a magazine dealing with older articles, The Back Number. He then told of General Sickles, of his renown and of Joe Twichell’s regard for Sickles, having been in Sickle’s regiment in the Civil War [AMT 1: 287-292].
This morning a Miss Jonas, a southerner, came with a letter of introduction from E.C. Stedman. She had a little poem she had written, a negro mother’s tragic cry over the lynching of her son. I took it up and interrupted Mr. Clemens in his dictating, for Miss Jonas wants Mary Shaw to recite it at the Tuskegee meeting on the 22nd. Mr. Clemens said “Oh give it to me now, now is always the best time to do things,” and he read it with his great feeling, making a wonderful poem of it.
The morning mail brought a little book—a sermon by Minot J. Savage, sent by the publisher. Mr. Clemens stroked the soft leather binding & said it was “just the thing to sharpen my razor on,” so the publisher has done a good deed after all.
The young receiving tellers at the Knickerbocker Trust Co. have been uncivil to me and to others of this family. I spoke of the matter to Mr. Clemens. He as going up to a meeting of the Robert Fulton Memorial Assn. At the Waldorf this afternoon and said he’d take me in to see the President of the Trust Co. Mr. Brown, the President was very busy telephoning, so we had to wait. Mr. Clemens said to me, “He’s got some kind of a catfish on the end of that line and he can’t land him or shake him” [MTP TS 13-14]. See also Gribben 358, 605.
January 18 Thursday – Sam was a pallbearer for John Malone, actor, who died on Jan. 15. The funeral took place at the Church of St. Francis Xavier on W. 16th Street. Requiem mass was celebrated by the Rev. Father Van Rensselaer. A large group from The Players attended. Other pall bearers were: Barton Hill, Daniel Frohman, J.H. Benrimo, Jacob Wendell, Jr., T.J. Hallowell, Charles Harvey Genung, and David A. Munro [NY Times, Jan. 19, 1906, p. 11, “Funeral of Actor John Malone”]. See also Nov. 16, 1898 to Malone.
Sam had replied to an invitation from Grace Kiddes Ford on Jan. 15 that he was “already booked” for this evening; no evidence of an engagement for Jan. 18 was found [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day involved: Senator Benjamin Ryan Tillman (1847-1918) speaks of Morris case—Funeral of John Malone contrasted with funeral of Empress of Austria, leads up to dueling [AMT 1: 292-294; see also p. 567 on Tillman].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens was pallbearer for John Malone this morning. He came home from the funeral
with a weight over him, and it came out that Mr. Paine had inadvertently repeated a little remark
that Mr. Clemens had made during the dictation about John Malone and it game
galloping back in garbled forms. Of course it seemed a breach of confidence .
Mr. Paine came up to tell me about it & he said it would have been so much
easier for him if Mr. Clemens had given him a good cursing, but he didn’t, he
was sweet. The days have been rushingly busy for Mr. Clemens, and he seems
tired in spirit and body. Tonight Barry Faulkner took me to Gonfarone’s on Seventh Ave. for
dinner, where we were joined by Witter Bynner.
It was a delight to hear
those 2 lads cheer each other on over each others very bright remarks and
Bynner had a little notebook that he’d pull out to put down Barry’s brilliances
in. We walked home and they jumped me over the puddles. They’re darling boys.
Barry has a picture at Knoedlers and Bynner is writing a play. McClure has got
Howard Pyle away from Harper’s and I’m sorry. Sorry for
Harper’s. Bynner said that Col. Harvey is being
much criticised for giving the kind of dinner that he did for Mr. Clemens on
his 70th birthday, for it was shameful to sacrifice Mr. Clemens to what is
regarded as a great advertisement for Harper’s [MTP TS 14-15].
January 19 Friday – Joe Twichell wrote to Sam.
I declare that the deeps penetrated and explored in much research as this of radium more affect me with the sense of sublimity than those discovered by the telescope. Really this would be an admirable sort of an universe if it wasn’t for the Human Race. Yet it’s the Human Race that has captured the knowledge both of the Light Year and of Radio-activity. Perhaps it will amount to something eventually. / Yrs Aff. / Joe [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day focused on dueling, including the famous ones at Virginia City between Joe Goodman and Tom Fitch, and the threatened one between Clemens and James L. Laird, owner of the Virginia Union. He also included a past unfinished chapter on dueling in Austria [AMT 1: 294-302].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Paine is a “find.” He is doing the very thing that I have longed to have some worshipping creature do with Mr. Clemens’s papers, letters, clippings and autobiographical matter. He is bringing the mass into order, reducing the great chaos that I have always longed to be able to touch but have never found time for [MTP TS 15].
January 20 Saturday – Julia Delafield Longfellow wrote from N.Y.C. inviting Sam to dine with them “informally” and meet “a political friend, Colonel Flood” on Friday, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Sam answered on or just after Jan. 20:
“Look upon it as peculiarly uncommon [?] & uncalled for [one or two words illegible] of ill luck that I am obliged to be in Wash on that date” [MTP].
Just about everything Mark Twain did appeared in the New York newspapers. The Times and the Herald of Jan. 21 were among those which reported on his paying a tax for “fun”:
MARK TWAIN PAYS FOR FUN.
Has No Personal Property Here, but Stands a Tax on $5,000.
“Mark Twain” yesterday [Jan. 20] consented to pay taxes on $5,000 worth of personal property, despite the fact that he had just told the Tax Commissioners that he did not own any personal property here.
Mr. Clemens had received notice of assessment on $25,000 of personal property, and on a like sum as executor of the estate of Mrs. Clemens. He told President O’Donnel of the Tax Board that his wife’s estate had all been settled, and that therefore he did not owe the city anything on that estate, as it no longer existed. He also said that he did not own any personal property in this city subject to taxation.
“Just for the humor of the situation, however, I am willing to pay on $5,000 if the city needs the money,” he said. His consent for that sum was taken by President O’Donnel [Note: the Herald reported Sam paid a tax of $75].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning Mr. Clemens started for the tax collectors’ office with Mr. Larkin. He had 3 notifications with him. Notifications running up in values to $75,000.00, but he liquidated that in the office of the Tax Commissioner and consented to pay the tax on $5,000.00. Mr. Clemens seems tired, he has had a lot of indigestion lately and he is under an added strain in preparing a speech for Monday evening. It’s the second speech, almost the third that he has had in mind for this same occasion, for first it was to be on the Congo, but that was abandoned [MTP TS 15].
Lawrence J. Anhalt wrote from McVicker’s Theatre, Chicago to announce the formation of an Illinois corporation with capital of one million dollars, The Economic League of America—its aims to “improve the conditions of worthy immigrants, and make them good citizens…” May Irwin, who was behind the organization, requested that Sam be among the advisory board [MTP]. Note: at top: “Pay no attention to this but preserve it / SLC”
M.A. Ommanney wrote to Sam after reading his article in the Dec. 1904 Harper’s on Joan of Arc. Did she reap what she sowed? Had any woman ever done so? [MTP].
January 21 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens got into the big grey mobile with Mr. Clinton at 12 o’clock and away they went for luncheon. The day is very lovely—just the sort for motoring, for we’re having a warm wave, too warm but good for motoring.
Mr. Clemens is relishing the prospect of his speech tomorrow evening, Tuskegee. He said this morning when I came back from Miss Hobby’s boarding house where I had taken the manuscript for her to type; “I am promising my self a good time tomorrow night. It’s a devilish speech, full of hypocrisy and sin, I wouldn’t miss it for anything” [MTP TS 15-16].
January 22 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to the Armstrong Assoc. asking if they would admit his nephew, Samuel E. Moffett at the stage door, as he was “one of the editors of ‘Collier’s Weekly’” [MTP]. Note: admittance to the benefit for the Tuskegee Institute that evening.
During an epileptic attack, Jean Clemens burned her arm on one of the new radiators [Hill 120]. See Lyon’s journal entry below.
In the evening, Mark Twain spoke in behalf of Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute at Carnegie Hall. The NY Times reported the event on the front page:
CHOATE AND TWAIN PLEAD FOR TUSKEGEE
Brilliant Audience Cheers Them and Booker Washington.
HUMORIST RAPS TAX DODGERS
Says Everybody Swears, Especially
Off—Friends of Negro Institution Trying to Raise $1,800,000.
To give Booker T. Washington a good start toward collecting the $1,800,000 he wants to carry back from the North to Tuskegee Institute, Mark Twain, Joseph H. Choate, Robert C. Ogden, and Dr. Washington himself spoke in Carnegie Hall last night. Incidentally, it was a “silver jubilee” celebration, since Tuskegee Institute was founded, in 1881.
The big house was crowded to its utmost capacity, and there were as many more outside who would have gone in had there been room. The spectacle reminded one of the campaign days last November, when District Attorney Jerome and his attendant spellbinders were packing Carnegie Hall.
But last night it was by no means a gathering of the “populace” alone. Women in brilliant gowns, resplendent with jewels, and men in evening dress filled the boxes. Despite the avowed object of the meeting—to get money from the audience and others—there was an atmosphere of good humor and lightheartedness. Mark Twain’s “teachings” were met with such volleys of laughter that the man who never grows old could hardly find intervals in which to deliver his precepts. That part of Mr. Clemens’s address which referred to wealthy men who swear off tax assessments was applauded with especial fervor.
The occupants of the boxes included Mrs. John D. Rockefeller, Mrs. Henry H. Rogers, Mrs. Clarence H. Mackay, Mrs. Morris K. Jesup, J. G. Phelps Stokes, Isaac N. Seligman, George Foster Peabody, John Crosby Brown, Carl Schurz, Mrs. W. H. Schieffelin, Mrs. William Jay Schieffelin, Mrs. Joseph H. Choate, Mrs. Henry Villard, Nicholas Murray Butler, Mrs. Robert C. Ogden, Mrs. Cleveland H. Dodge, Mrs. Alfred Shaw, Mrs. Felix M. Warburg, Mrs. R. Fulton Cutting, Mrs. Collis P. Huntington, Mrs. Robert B. Minturn, Mrs. Jacob H. Schiff, Mrs. Paul M. Warburg, and Mrs. Arthur Curtis James.
A negro octet sang between the speeches. Their songs were old-fashioned melodies and revival songs, and their deep, full voice filled the whole house.
William Jay Schieffelin opened the meeting by telling its object and urging that all the help possible be given to Dr. Washington. He announced that in April a special train would leave New York for Tuskegee and that the round-trip ticket would cost $50, covering all expenses. On this occasion the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of Tuskegee will be celebrated at the school itself by speeches by Secretary of War Taft, President Eliot of Harvard, Bishop Galloway, and Andrew Carnegie.
MARK TWAIN’S ADDRESS
“These habits, of which Mr. Choate has told you, are the very habits which have kept me young until I am seventy years old. I have lain in bed all day today, expect to lie in bed all day tomorrow, and will continue to lie in bed all day throughout the year. There is nothing so refreshing, nothing so comfortable, and nothing fits one so well for the kind of work which he calls pleasure. Mr. Choate has been careful not to pay me any compliments. It wasn’t because he didn’t want to—he just couldn’t think of any.
“I came here in the responsible capacity of policeman—to watch Mr. Choate. This is an occasion of grave and serious importance, and it seemed necessary for me to be present so that if he tried to work off any statements that required correction, reduction, refutation or exposure, there would be a tried friend of the public here to protect the house. But I can say in all frankness and gratitude that nothing of the kind has happened. He has not made one statement whose veracity fails to tally exactly with my own standard. I have never seen a person improve so.
“This does not make me jealous, it only makes me thankful. Thankful and proud; proud of a country that can produce such men—two such men. And all in the same century. We can’t be with you always; we are passing away—passing away; soon we shall be gone, and then—well, everything will have to stop, I reckon. It is a sad thought. But in spirit I shall still be with you. Choate, too—if he can.
Nothing to Refute.
“There being nothing to explain, nothing to refute, nothing to excuse, there is nothing left for me to do, now, but resume my natural trade—which is, teaching. At Tuskegee they thoroughly ground the student in the Christian code of morals; they instill into him the indisputable truth that this is the highest and best of all systems of morals; that the nation’s greatness, its strength, and its repute among the other nations, is the product of that system; that it is the foundation upon which rests the American character; that whatever is commendable, whatever is valuable in the individual American’s character is the flower and fruit of that seed.
“They teach him that this is true in every case, whether the man be a professing Christian or an unbeliever; for we have none but the Christian code of morals, and every individual is under its character-building powerful influence and dominion from the cradle to the grave; he breathes it in with his breath, it is in his blood and bone, it is the web and woof and fibre of his mental and spiritual heredities and ineradicable. And so, every born American among the eighty millions, let his creed or destitution of creed be what it may, is indisputably a Christian to this degree—that his moral constitution is Christian.
Two Codes of Morals
“All this is true, and no student will leave Tuskegee ignorant of it. Then what will he lack, under this head? What is there for me to teach him, under this head, that he may possibly not acquire there, or may acquire in a not sufficiently emphasized form? Why, this large fact, this important fact—that there are two separate and distinct kinds of Christian morals; so separate, so distinct, so unrelated, that they are no more kin to each other than are archangels and politicians. The one kind is Christian private morals, the other is Christian public morals.
“The loyal observance of Christian private morals has made this nation what it is—a clean and upright people in its private domestic life, an honest and honorable people in its private commercial life; no alien nation can claim superiority over it in these regards, no critic, foreign or domestic, can challenge the validity of this truth. During 363 days in the year the American citizen is true to his Christian private morals, and keeps undefiled the nation’s character at its best and highest; then in the other two days of the year he leaves his Christian private morals at home, and carries his Christian public morals to the tax office and the polls, and does the best he can to damage and undo his whole year’s faithful and righteous worth.
“Without a blush he will vote for an unclean boss if that boss is his party’s Moses, without compunction he will vote against the best man in the whole land if he is on the other ticket. Every year, in a number of cities and states, he helps to put corrupt men in office, every year he helps to extend the corruption wider and wider; year after year he goes on gradually rotting the country’s political life; whereas if he would but throw away his Christian public morals, and carry his Christian private morals to the polls, he could promptly purify the public service and make the possession of office a high and honorable distinction and one to be coveted by the very best men the country could furnish. But now—well, now he contemplates his unpatriotic work and sighs, and grieves, and blames every man but the right one—which is himself.
As to Tax Dodgers
“Once a year he lays aside his Christian private morals and hires a ferry boat and piles up his bonds in a warehouse in New Jersey for three days, and gets out his Christian public morals and goes to the tax office and holds up his hand and swears he wishes he may never-never if he’s got a cent in the world, so help him! The next day the list appears in the papers—a column and a quarter of names, in fine print, and every man in the list a billionaire and a member of a couple of churches.
“I know all those people. I have friendly, social, and criminal intercourse with the whole of them. They never miss a sermon when they are so as to be around, and they never miss swearing-off day, whether they are so as to be around or not. The innocent man can not remain innocent in the disintegrating atmosphere of this thing. I used to be an honest man. I am crumbling. No—I have crumbled. When they assessed me at $75,000 a fortnight ago, I went out and tried to borrow the money, and couldn’t; then when I found they were letting a whole crop of millionaires live in New York at a third of the price they were charging me, I was hurt, I was indignant, and said: ‘This is the last feather! I am not going to run this town all by myself.’ In that moment—in that memorable moment—I began to crumble.
Mark Twain Disintegrates
“In fifteen minutes the disintegration was complete. In fifteen minutes I was become just a mere moral sand pile; and I lifted up my hand along with those seasoned and experienced deacons, and swore off every rag of personal property I’ve got in the world, clear down to cork leg, glass eye, and what is left of my wig.
“Those tax officers were moved; they were profoundly moved. They had long been accustomed to seeing hardened old grafters act like that, and they could endure the spectacle; but they were expecting better things of me, a chartered professional moralist, and they were saddened. I fell visibly in their respect and esteem, and I should have fallen in my own, except that I had already struck bottom, and there wasn’t any place to fall to.
Does a Gentleman Swear Off?
“At Tuskegee they will jump to misleading conclusions from insufficient evidence, along with Dr. Parkhurst, and they will deceive the student with the superstition that no gentleman ever swears. Look at those good millionaires; aren’t they gentlemen? Well, they swear. Only once a year, maybe, but there’s enough bulk in it to make up for the lost time. And do they lose anything by it? No, they don’t; they save enough in three minutes to support the family seven years. When they swear. do we shudder? No—unless they say damn. Then we do. It shrivels us all up.
“Yet we ought not to feel so about it, because we all swear—everybody. Including the ladies. Including Dr. Parkhurst, that strong and brave and excellent citizen, but superficially educated. For it is not the word that is the sin, it is the spirit back of the word. When an irritated lady says ‘Oh!’ the spirit back of it is ‘damn,’ and that is the way it is going to be recorded against her. It always makes me so sorry when I hear a lady swear like that. But if she says ‘damn,’ and says it in an amiable, nice way, it isn’t going to be recorded at all.
“The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate way. The historian, John Fiske, whom I knew well and loved, was a spotless and most noble and upright Christian gentleman, and yet he swore once. Not exactly that, maybe; still he—but I will tell you about it.
“One day when he was deeply immersed in his work, his wife came in, much moved and profoundly distressed, and said, ‘I am sorry to disturb you, John, but I must, for this is a serious matter, and needs to be attended to at once.’ Then, lamenting, she brought a grave accusation against their little son. She said: ‘He has been saying his Aunt Mary is a fool and his Aunt Martha is a damned fool.’ Mr. Fiske reflected upon the matter a minute, then said: ‘Oh, well, it’s about the distinction I should make between them myself.’
“Mr. Washington, I beg you to convey these teachings to your great and prosperous and most beneficent educational institution, and add them to the prodigal mental and moral riches wherewith you equip your fortunate protégés for the struggle of life.” [The rest of the article excluded]
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean ill, 9 or 8:50, burned on the hot radiator.
Tonight was the great 25th anniversary of the founding of
the Tuskegee institute in Alabama, and the meeting was held in Carnegie Hall.
Mr. Choate, Mr. Clemens, Booker Washington and a Mr. Ogden spoke. On the
platform sat many men and women; those who claimed my attention were Mr. Gilder, Mr. Moncure D. Conway, Rev. Percy Grant and a row
of very fine looking colored men. In our box was mother, Mr. Twichell, Mr. Paine and Miss Hobby—and
two strangers. The house was packed, throngs were turned away. Dr. Quintard had tried days ago to get a seat, but wasn’t
able to. While we were taking off our coats a wave of applause burst and we
hurried to the front of the box to see the speakers, Mr. Clemens leading,
making their way to the front of the stage.
I was so excited that I wanted
to cry & laugh & sing & the interest didn’t flag a minute even
if Mr. Choate did “get through with his speech long before he finished it”, as
Mr. Paine said, and even if Mr. Ogden did give too many
statistics. It was a meeting for a great cause, but statistics go best in
annual reports, when great genius is so close, and so magnetic. His speech was
fine, he hit the voters, tax paying citizens, a fearless rap and the whole
audience winced and visibly too. It’s as Mr. Clemens said, “The innocent who
could laugh with joy didn’t dare to because they were sitting beside a guilty
friend who didn’t dare to” [MTP TS 16-17].
Duffield Osborne (1858-1917), Secretary for Author’s Club, NYC wrote to announce that Sam had been unanimously recommended for honorary membership on Jan 18 [MTP]. Note: see ca. Jan 24 reply.
January 23 Tuesday – Virgil Rule wrote as chairman of a committee for the Pike County Colony in St. Louis to invite Sam to their annual dinner on Mar. 3, 1906 [MTP]. Note: Allowing for five days postal service, Sam’s reply to Isabel V. Lyon to “Decline,” would have been approximately Jan. 29
Clemens’ A.D. for this day included: About the meeting at Carnegie Hall, in interest of Booker Washington’s Tuskegee Institute—Leads up to unpleasant political incident which happened to Mr. Twichell—ends with “The Character of Man” [AMT 1: 302-315].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens was in wonderful shape last night. Mr. Paine said of him this morning that he was King—yes—he was far and away the King above all the others. Take all the distinguished company together and in it you couldn’t find the wonder that there was in his personality as he stepped lightly out before his applauding audience. He doesn’t ever seem to walk, and yet I wonder often how he can kick up the rugs as he does.
Mr. Clemens had a letter from Mrs. Ella Howland. She had read the “King Leopold’s
Soliloquy” and after she had paid her tribute to the power of the pamphlet she
wrote—“Money have I none, but I’ll work like ‘Hell’ to help the cause.” Her
zeal moved Mr. Clemens almost to tears. He shouted with joy & then read it
all over again—and said he’d “take that letter to Washington next week”
[MTP TS 17; also Hawkins 168 in part]. Note: Ella M. Howland not further identified.
Frederick Upham Adams (1859-1921), inventor and author wrote from Hastings-on-Hudson, NY to Sam.
I was much interested and amused over your address of last evening, and take the liberty of enclosing a copy of an ‘open letter’ which I have written to John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and which will be the first in a series which will be syndicated by McClure, Phillips & Company. I hope it will prove more serious than humorous.
I had the pleasure years ago of helping try to entertain you in the old Whitechapel Club of Chicago, along with Peter Dunne (Mr. Dooley) and other good friends, and have met you many times formally and informally since. With very best wishes… [MTP].
Sebastiano Cecchi of Haskard, Bankers wrote from Florence, Italy to Sam, announcing the death of Senator Odoardo Luchini at age 61 from nephritis. He advised a balance in Sam’s account of 2,004.45 in Sam’s favor [MTP]. Note: the amount likely in Lire, but not specified.
January 24 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Gordon in Bunker Hill, Illinois.
I have just received your golden-wedding At Home, & am trying to adjust my focus to it & realize how much it means. It carries me back, with a single prodigious sweep, almost to the half-century mere-stone. It brings before me Mrs. Gordon, young, round-limbed & handsome, & with her the Youngbloods & their babies, & Laura Wright, that unspoiled little maid, that fresh flower of the woods & the prairies. All this is inconceivably long ago! it seems measurable only by astronomical terms & geological periods. Life was a fairy tale then, it is a tragedy now. When I was 43 & John Hay 41, he said life was always a tragedy after 40, & I disputed it. Three years ago he reminded me of this & challenged me to testify again: I counted my graves, & there was nothing for me to say.
I am old; I recognise it, but I don’t realize it. I wonder if anybody ever really ceases to feel young — I mean, for a whole day at a time. My love to you both, & to all of us that are left [MTP]. Note: William C. Youngblood was a pilot on the John J. Roe when Sam met Laura Wright, Youngblood’s niece in May 1858 [MTL 1: 114n7]. Gordon may have been an officer on the Roe.
Sam also wrote a short note to Magnus Gross, educator and President of the NYC Teachers’ Organization: “Dear Sir: / I thank you very much for the compliment of your invitation, but I am obliged to decline it as I have made all the engagements for this year that I can keep” [MTP]. Note: Gross’ invitation not extant.
Sam received the illustrations for “A Horse’s Tale.”
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Tells of the defeat of James G. Blaine for the Presidency, and how Clemens’s, Joe Twichell’s, and Rev. Francis Goodwin’s votes were cast for Grover Cleveland [AMT 1: 315-319].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
It was a living picture that went along before me today in the upper hall. This afternoon Mr. Hitchcock came with the illustrations for The Horse’s Tale. They are lovely, full of heart and life, and Mr. Clemens got out of bed to go into the study to look at them. Jean had been promised that she should see them, and when I suggested that they be taken up to her room, where she is confined by a burned arm, Mr. Clemens said he’d take one of them, and I could carry the rest. So up we came; Mr. Clemens ahead with his sliding-off old grey slippers flopping on every step and his delicate ankles, looking so very slim from under his long tan colored Vienna dressing gown. Along the hall he went—the light ahead shining through his hair like a halo—all eagerness to show the pictures of “Soldier Boy” to Jean. But Jean as only half aware.
Later I telephoned to Mr. Duneka about Mr. Clemens’s pleasure over the pictures. Duneka has been having a hard time to find an artist for Eve’s Diary. There doesn’t seem to be anybody but Strothman, to his mind, and while he is good as an illustrator for Adam’s Diary, he could never do Eve’s. Mr. Duneka seems to think there was a dearth of subjects for Eve, but Mr. Clemens counted up 36 in a short time dictating them to me and I sent that list to Duneka [MTP TS 17-18; also Hill 120 in part]. Notes: Fred Strothman (1879-1958) illustrated Extracts From Adam’s Diary; Lester Ralph (1877-1927), Eve’s Diary. See a discussion of these books and illustrators in the 1996 Oxford facsimile volume of both, afterword p. 21-26. 55 illustrations were published in Eve’s Diary appearing on each text-facing page.
Winifred Holt for the N.Y. Assoc. for the Blind wrote to thank Sam for his $5 contribution; she would send invitations for the Mar. 29 meeting so he could give them to appreciative friends [MTP].
Ella M. Howland wrote to Sam, impressed by the pamphlet, “King Leopold’s Soliloquy.” A printed letter from the Congo Reform Assoc. is in the file with Howland’s letter, folded to fit the accompanying envelope [MTP]. Note: see Lyon’s journal entry of Jan. 23, which suggests this date is off.
Dennis J. Mahoney wrote from Mahanoy ? City, Pa. to Sam after reading his speech at Carnegie Hall. Sam was “a true American” [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on Feb. 3; see entry.
Mrs. M. Wortman wrote from Leadville, Colo. to offer Sam her cure for rheumatism, “so cheap and simple”—cream of tarter and Asafoetida pills [MTP]. Note: from an Indian herb, also called “Devil’s dung.”
An unidentified “old, old woman” wrote from Hartford to hope that Sam knew Christ “the way, the Truth, and the Life” [MTP].
January 24 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Duffield Osborne (1858-1917), author and editor, at this time secretary of the Authors Club.
I thank you cordially for the kind words with which you have closed your note; they are very welcome & have given me great pleasure. Are you ever down my way? There are some things which I should like to talk with you privately about. I am leaving town for a week; after that I am quite likely to be at home every day & all day, & shall be glad to hear from you by mail or telephone. My tel address, which is private & not in the book, is— [MTP; a draft]. Note: JoDee Benussi identifies an announcement for a May 20, 1915 sale by Anderson Galleries of HF, together with “a signed letter by Mark Twain to Duffield Osborne, in which Mark Twain gives … his private telephone number….” This is almost certainly the original of the above draft, and is given UCCL 09877 by MTP.
January 25, before – Sam wrote a line to the Tarboro, N.C. Literary Club, celebrating its eleventh anniversary on Jan. 25 with a “Mark Twain Evening” where quotations from eminent American humorists were read by each member of the club. He wrote: “I wish I could be there. Sincerely…” [MTP: Baltimore Sun, Jan. 29].
January 25 Thursday – At 11:45 a.m. Sam left for Washington, D.C. with George Harvey He would stay until Jan. 30. Fatout lists him giving a dinner speech this evening at an unidentified club, and in his Jan. 23 dictation had entertained the idea of using his old Whittier dinner speech of 1877. He evidently did not do so [MT Speaking 674; IVL TS Jan. 25, 1906].
During his Washington stay Clemens would again confer with Secretary of State Elihu Root and/or Asst. Secretary Robert Bacon about the Congo situation. During this trip he would be informed that the U.S. had not ratified the Berlin Act of 1885, which put down rules for the governing of Africa: “that of the fourteen Christian Governments pledged to watch over Leopold and keep him within treaty limits, our Government was not one. Our Government was only sentimentally concerned, not officially, not practically, not by any form of pledge or promise” [Hawkins 163, 168]. Note: Sam had assumed the U.S. was a party to the Berlin Act. See previous entries. See also Feb. 10 to Barbour.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today Mr. Clemens started off with Mr. Bowen (Col. Harvey’s secy.) at 11:45 for Washington. He was nervous and excited because his clothes weren’t ready and then he flew off to buy a new hat—a derby which he finally didn’t wear, but crushed his old soft hat in a bunch and stuck it in his overcoat pocket & put his silk hat on. Col. Harvey has taken him and he may be back on Sunday or perhaps not until mid-week.
Last night we had music—a steady lovely stream for nearly two hours. Aeolian [Co.] gave of its best. Often and often Mr. Clemens doesn’t hear the music, he couldn’t for his wonderful brain is singing melodies all its own with the music that the Aeolian is making for accompaniment. He has said that often it will start a train of thought that will rise and fall and go on and on with the strains of the music, but he doesn’t know that I am there, it is just disembodied sound, and that’s what I like best—to minister, but to have my ministrations received unconsciously [MTP TS 18-19].
Harry J. Clinton wrote from Dobbs Ferry, NY to send three photos for Twain’s autograph, one for Roy D. Chapin, one for James H. Hare, and one for himself [MTP].
Lowell C. Frost wrote to Sam, enclosing a check (unspecified) to pay for an autograph [MTP]. Note: See Jan. 31 for Sam’s unique answer.
Dorothy Scarborough, English teacher at Baylor, Univ. wrote from Waco, Tex. to Sam. “…you have an unlimited number of friends down here, unknown to you.” One-third of her class had written about Mark Twain during a 20-minute impromptu writing lesson on “appreciation of some living writer” [MTP].
January 26 Friday – Sam was in Washington, D.C.
David Pae for The People’s Friend / The Popular Home Journal (London) wrote to Sam, relating “a recent competition” where their readers were asked “to name their favorite living writer.” As a result HF and IA were tied for best; would Twain agree with this verdict, and if so, which of these was his favorite? [MTP]. Note: Lyon replied for Sam; allowing for post from London to NY, ten days time, or ca. Feb. 5.
Frank B. Swigart, a printer with the St. Louis Globe Democrat sent a clipping of his letter to the editor, in which he asks Clemens to send one book to the Printers’ Home, Colorado Springs, Colo. [MTP]. Lyon wrote on top: “Mr. Clemens sent A Tramp Abroad Feb. 1, 1906 & wrote in it—‘Let us save the tomorrows for work’”
January 27 Saturday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. In the evening he attended the Gridiron Club’s Banquet at the New Willard Hotel. The club was celebrating the digging of the Panama Canal, and the dining room was transformed into Panama, with the club and guests marching and singing: “We’re going to dig the big canal, Hurrah! Hurrah!” to the tune of When Johnny Comes Marching Home. “Mark Twain kept pace with the rest, as lively as a boy. Associate Justice Brewer, sedate and dignified, was by his side.” Later, speeches were made, including one of about 20 minutes by Mark Twain. Each of the principal speakers were introduced by “appropriate musical numbers,. Secretary Root, Secretary Taft, and Mark Twain being especially honored in that way.” At dinner Sam sat next to “Uncle Joe” Cannon [NY Times, Jan. 28, 1906, p. 4; Fatout MT Speaking 674]. Note: Joseph Gurney Cannon (1836-1926), Speaker of the House of Representatives (1903-1911), considered by many historians to be the most dominate Speaker in US history. He would later assist Sam in December of 1906 when he came to Washington to speak to a Joint Congressional Committee on Patents.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This was a tragic day. I came in from a shopping
expedition for Jean and others and when I went into her room for
tea, she told me that a terrible thing had happened. In a burst of unreasoning
rage she struck Katie a terrible blow in the face. The significance of it is
what is so terrible, for now she has done what I have seen in her
possible and feared she would do. She is distressed poor child. She
described the wave of passion that swept over her as being that of an insane
person. She knew she couldn’t stop—she had to strike and she said that she
wanted to kill and was sorry she hadn’t—to her mind it doesn’t seem right not
to finish any job you have begun and she had wanted to kill Katie [MTP TS
19-20; also Hill 120-1 in part].
Lystra weighs in on the case for and against Jean striking Katy Leary:
That Jean hit Katy in the face seems possible, though Jean herself never mentioned the incident in her diary or letters. … The incident may have been accidental, occurring during one of Jean’s grand mal seizures, characterized as they are by involuntary movements of the arms and legs. … Katy offers no clues about this incident. … If Katy had any notion that Jean had tried to kill her in 1906, the down-to-earth housekeeper proved mighty charitable in her later portrayal. …Lyon’s interpretation was strikingly negative, visibly framing the event as an expression of homicidal passion [53-5]. Note: in that time, epilepsy was considered by many to be the cause of criminality. Likely the sensitive, melodramatic Isabel Lyon imagined what her fears shaped, and she was definitely afraid of Jean during seizures.
The Gridiron Club sent Sam an engraved invitation to a dinner at the New Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C. Saturday evening, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. [MTP].
Edmund D. Morel wrote again urging, “Don’t ‘retire from Congo’…altogether” [Hawkins 167; MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam, pasting a Jan. 26 Hartford Courant squib at the top, “Mark Twain’s Coachman Ill.” Joe was going to see him (Patrick McAleer) without fail. Also, he had a call the previous night from the President of the Hartford Yale Alumni Assoc. “whose errand was to extend to you, through me, an urgent invitation and request to come to the Annual Banquet…Feb. 9th and offer a few remarks” [MTP]. Note: Sam did not attend.
January 28 Sunday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. The New York Times of Jan. 30, p.9 “Views of Mark Twain on Being in Congress,” reported Sam hosting a luncheon at his hotel for “Uncle Joe” Cannon, Speaker of the House, and his publisher, George B. Harvey.
On Saturday night he [Twain] attended the Gridiron dinner and noticed a great many people whose pictures he had seen. He is a little timid, but he easily made some acquaintances there, one of who was this Mr. Cannon already referred to. Mr. Cannon seemed to like him, and Mr. Twain was pleased at that. They struck up such a friendship that Mr. Twain invited Mr. Cannon to come and have luncheon with him at his hotel on Sunday.
On that day at 1 o’clock Mr. Cannon showed up, not in his famous homespun dress, but in another suit. Mr. Twain told Mr. Cannon he was disappointed, and Mr. Cannon promised to wear the homespun suit the next time he met Mr. Twain. They had a good time, and ate many things, and Mr. Harvey, a friend of Mr. Twain’s who prints the things Mr. Twain writes, was there, too. When Mr. Cannon went away he asked Mr. Twain to come and see him at his office at the foot of Pennsylvania Avenue, and see how he did his work [See Tues. Jan. 30 for a continuation of this story]
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Jean—12:30 and 9:30 P.M.” [MTP TS 20].
January 29 Monday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. Fatout lists him as giving remarks on copyright [MT Speaking 674].
Charles Alexander, Editor of Alexander’s Magazine (“dedicated to the interests of the black people in every part of the world”) wrote to Sam. He had a copy of “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” and also The Story of the Congo Free State by Henry Wellington Wack. Was Sam acquainted with Wack, and was his story of the Congo “worthy of belief?” Sam’s reply would be kept confidential [MTP]. Note: Sam answered Jan.31.
D. Ceall wrote from Rotterdam, Holland to offer himself as a fan [MTP].
Lee Crandall of Globe, Ariz. left his calling card at Sam’s NY house, writing on the back, “Here opposing joint statehood with New Mexico” [MTP].
A.B. Dodge wrote from Manchester, N.H. to ask Sam where he might get a copy or two of “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” [MTP].
Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam, wishing to renew the copyright on “Punch Brothers, Punch and Other Sketches” published in 1878 by Slote, Woodman & Co.; and could he tell them the name of the “Other Sketches” in the same pamphlet? The original copyright would expire on Mar. 14 [MTP].
Phoebe Holmes wrote to Sam on Board of Education, Eastern High School, Washington, D.C. letterhead to explain the recent production there of his Meisterschaft piece. They hadn’t realized it was copyrighted [MTP]. Note: two days is allowed for postal time, with an estimated ca. Jan. 31 for Isabel Lyon’s answer for Sam.
Olive Robbins, a schoolgirl, wrote from Roxbury, Mass. to ask for Twain’s autograph [MTP].
January 29 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam directed Isabel Lyon to decline the Jan. 23 invitation of Virgil Rule [MTP]. Note: the MTP catalogs this directive as “on or after 23 Jan.” Five days postal service from St. Louis is allowed here.
January 30 Tuesday – Sam was in Washington, D.C. until the afternoon, when he returned to NY [IVL TS 13]. By invitation Sam went to “Uncle Joe” Cannon’s office to watch him work as Speaker of the House. NY Times of this date continued from Jan. 28 entry:
So Mr. Twain showed up there this afternoon, but he did not see Mr. Cannon do any work, at least not much. He and Mr. Cannon sat in the Speaker’s room and told stories all the time. Mr. Cannon must have got interested in what Mr. Twain had to say, for after a while he put his feet on the top of his table and crossed his thumbs, and that is always a sign that Mr. Cannon is interested. Mr. Twain sat alongside him and talked in a slow drawl. Mr. Cannon talked fully as much as Mr. Twain, and the philosopher enjoyed hearing what he said.
“What did we talk about?” said Mr. Twain afterward. “Well, we just swapped lies.”
The Speaker was not the only man Mr. Twain saw. He met a great many Senators and people like that.
“And,” said Mr. Twain, “there were a good many flights of imagination in what those people said. But the Speaker and I stuck pretty close to the truth.”
He reflected on this for a moment, and then seemed to fear that he had been too hasty. “At least,” he amended, “I did. I don’t know whether or not the Speaker stretched a point or two.”
Mr. Twain was asked how he came to go to the Capitol.
“Well,” he said, “I wanted to see my old friend Joe Cannon.”
“Is Mr. Cannon an old friend of yours?” he was asked.
“I call him an old friend,” explained Mr. Twain, “because I met him for the first time on Saturday night, and a man you meet on a Saturday night is always an old friend. I sat beside him at the Gridiron dinner, and I gradually came to have a good opinion of him. If the dinner had lasted half an hour longer I think we would have been calling each other Joe and Sam.
Samuel is Mr. Twain’s family name—the one his family uses.
“But it did not,” added Mr. Twain, “and so I have not called him Joe yet. Perhaps I will the next time I come.”
Mr. Twain and Mr. Cannon took luncheon together, and Mr. Twain looked the Senate over and saw more people whose pictures he had seen. Then he went back to his hotel and gave a dinner to a few friends. He does not know when he will go back.
The Kansas City (Mo.) Star, p. 1 reported more of Twain’s activities:
MARK TWAIN VISITS CONGRESS.
The Senators Take Mr. Clemens to Lunch With Them.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30.—Mark Twain and Congress saw each other to-day. Before they separated each knew the other fairly well. Mr. Clemens did not shy at Congress, but Congress did shy a little at Mark. Mark Twain’s hair was the first thing that attracted the attention of Congress. From the floor and galleries he looked like Chief Justice Fuller. After watching his hair for a time the Senate decided to get better acquainted and Colonel George B. Harvey and Mr. Clemens were invited to come down and see the Vice President. Mr. Fairbanks glanced at Mr. Clemens’s hair and looked as if he would like to know him better so that he might ask what tonics he used. Thinking it over, Mr. Fairbanks carefully brushed four hairs over his bald spot. The Vice President was about to present his visitors with his autographed photographs when other senators came romping in and insisted that Mr. Clemens and Colonel Harvey take luncheon with them in the Senate restaurant.
“We lunched and lied together,” Mr. Clemens said in describing the luncheon.
[Note: Melville Weston Fuller (1833-1910): Chief Justice from 1888-1910; Charles Warren Fairbanks (1852-1918) served in T. Roosevelt’s second adminstration. Fairbanks, Alaska is named after him.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight as Jean and Barry Faulkner and I sat in the drawing-room Mr. Clemens returned from Washington, tired and jaded with a cold brewing. He had had a beautiful time, restful and enjoyable, but the evening before at a banquet he sat with his back toward a draft of some kind—either hot or cold—and though he finally changed places with Major Leigh, the deed had been done. He didn’t want to change places with the Major, for from his seat he could command the great dining room full of pretty women in beautiful garments; and to him the sight was a lovely one.
It is good to have him home again. He sat with us for a few minutes and then with one of his graceful goodnight salutations he went up to bed, and to a hot foot bath and hot whiskey and a steaming of eucalyptus and benzoin administered by that faithful, comforting, competent Katie [MTP TS 20].
William A. Caldwell wrote to Sam on The California News letterhead, Berkeley, Calif. Caldwell told of a letter he’d rec’d from a man in Washington, D.C. about the thought behind a word. The man referred to Sam’s recent talk at Carnegie Hall, that when a woman missed her train and said “Oh!” with the thought behind the word being “damn!” [MTP].
H.A. Lorberg wrote from Portsmouth, Ohio to Sam, asking about a photo he’d sent that he wanted Sam to sign [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter: “This man is as bad as Mr. Clemens’s maxim is good about an uneasy conscience & a hair in the mouth—He has been pestering Mr. Clemens for more than 2 ½ years.”
Helen J. Sanborn wrote to Sam. “Dear sir, / Mrs Pearmain of Boston at whose home I had the pleasure of hearing your delightful Andalusian story said that you desire to introduce to your daughter Carolina Marcial the young Spanish girl whom you met at the College Club and at Mrs. Pearmain’s.” Helen was going to bring her to NY in March, as “she speaks with great power and effect” [MTP].
January 31 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Charles Alexander’s Jan. 29: .
The charges against Leopold are proven to the hilt by unimpeachable testimony. A small percentage of this vast mass of testimony is offered as a sample in King Leopold’s Soliloquy. In the face of this formidable testimony what Mr. Wack or any other man may say in favor of Leopold is a matter of small consequence. There is not white wash enough on the planet to modify Leopold’s complexion. Leopold’s commission, a jury packed by himself, has confirmed & established the validity of the charges. This puts all the whitewashers out of commission [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Lowell C. Frost. “Your check has already gone to a charity which needs it, & which, for econ-
onomic reasons, I had declined to contribute to, although it is on my annual list. I assure you I feel as good & benevolent & exemplary as if the money had come out of my own pocket” [MTP].
Sam also sent Mr. Gummere some standard wording to decline an invitation [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Duffield Osborne, secretary of the Authors Club: “Dear Sir: The recommendation to honorary membership affords me great gratification, & I beg to return my best thanks for it. I was not aware of the Club’s earlier action (of Nov. 17, 1896), or I should have made an acknowledgment of it” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Two or three days ago when Mr. Clemens and Col. Harvey were in Washington they called on Wayne MacVeagh with the object in view of trying to induce him to write his autobiography. Mr. MacV. said he couldn’t ever drive the pen again, it wouldn’t be possible. He has been in public life for 50 years and was as close to Lincoln as he was to Mr. Clemens when Lincoln made his famous Gettysburg speech, “and that was enough to make an autobiography go” Mr. Clemens said.
Mr. Clemens described to him his own joy in dictating his autobiography and suggested that he talk an hour a day to begin with and he’d soon see how easily he could slip along into two hours. And he said that even if Mr. MacVeagh is “seventy years old” he is still a very young man in spirit [MTP TS 20-21].
Laura K. Hudson wrote to thank Sam for his “very kind note and—later on—the promised copy of the old ‘Atlantic Monthly’…” [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam, sorry to say that the news about Patrick McAleer was very bad. Patrick had been operated on and was deluded in thinking he would soon recover, but a nurse told Joe there was no hope; for his cancer of the liver [MTP].
January 31 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Phoebe Holmes’ Jan. 29: “Matter of no consequence. Really mustn’t trouble herself—it hasn’t troubled Mr. Clemens in the least degree” [MTP].
February – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Edward E. Clarke. “DEAR SIR,—I have found the original manuscript and with great pleasure I transmit it herewith, also a printed copy. It is a matter of great pride to me to have any word of mine concerning the world’s supremest heroine honored by a place in that Museum” [MTP: Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’s Letters, p.789].
Fatout lists Sam for a dinner speech, possibly sometime in Feb. 1906, at the General Miles Dinner in N.Y.C. [MT Speaking 674]. Note: Gen. Nelson Appleton Miles (1839-1925), medal of honor recipient for his service in the Civil War at Chancellorsville; he also was in the Indian Wars and the Spanish-American War.
Burr McIntosh Monthly (NY) ran Paul Thompson’s article “Men of Note: Samuel Langhorne Clemens,” p. 49. Tenney: “A short, conventional biographical sketch. On the facing page is a photograph of MT, ‘copyright by Marceau, Boston’” [“A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 190].
February 1 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Andrew Carnegie. “I am requested to ask you to read the accompanying letter, and I comply, not reluctantly but with pleasure” [MTP]. Note: The letter enclosed not specified.
Sam also sent an inscribed copy of TA to Frank B. Swigart: “Let us save tomorrows for work” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Frederic Remington.
The book is exceedingly interesting, & I thank you very much for sending it to me.
Up to 1811 (steam navigation) those vast rivers were not valuable; they were valuable 60 years (until 1870); they have had no value since; they have been flowing a million years. The questions arises, what were they made for, anyway? [MTP]. Note: Gribben identifies the book as History of Early Steamboat Navigation on the Missouri River, etc. by Hiram Martin Chittenden (1858-1917); the book was inscribed: “To Saml L. Clemens / from / Frederic Remington / 1906” .
Clemens’ A.D. for this day continued the subject of Jan. 24 about Joe Twichell’s unpopular vote for Grover Cleveland [AMT 1: 319-323].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Poultny [sic] Bigelow joined us at tea today. He looked worried & white for the great controversy he has stirred up in the government by his article on Panama has brought disaster to him. He is too honest, too fearless. He lost the friendship of Emperor William by his frank statements, and now he has lost the friendship of President Roosevelt [MTP TS 21].
James A. Renwick sent a note of receipt for $291.67 for Feb. rent [MTP].
February 2 Friday – Jean Clemens suffered three more epileptic attacks. Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean—9 A.M., 6 P.M., 10 P.M.
I had a very plain talk with Mr. Clemens this morning about Jean’s condition and told him how on Tuesday I had talked with Dr. [Edward] Quintard. The dreadfulness of it all swept over him as I knew it would and with that fiercest of all his looks in his face he blazed out against the swindle of life and the treachery of a God that can create disease and misery and crime—create things that men would be condemned for creating—that men would be ashamed to create. Looking up at the face of little Jean—the picture that hangs over Mr. Clemens’s bed—one can seem to see angry, pitiful, helpless tears there—tears over the swindle of her life. Dr. Quintard is going to change her treatment, and they are going to give up Dr. Starr.
This afternoon a messenger came with a note from Mr. Frank Fuller asking Mr. Clemens to call on Mr. Fuller’s ill, ill wife. I telephoned to him that Mr. Clemens would be happy to do so, and tomorrow afternoon at 5 has been set for the call. When I went up to Mr. Clemens’s room with a second note from Mr. Fuller, this time a note of gratitude, I asked Mr. Clemens about Mr. Fuller and he said that he was acting Governor of the Territory of Utah in 1861 when Mr. Clemens stopped there for 2 or 3 days on his way to the Pacific Coast for the first time. He went on to say that now “Fuller is a thousand years old, but he didn’t look it until a year ago” (his voice sounded crackly with age over the telephone) and that in those early days in 1867 when Mr. Clemens came east, Mr. Fuller met him in New York and because he had a local reputation in California wanted to have him lecture in New York’s biggest hall, Cooper Union, and they’d pack the house. Mr. Clemens said it couldn’t be done, Mr. Fuller said it could, so he started in to advertise this new lecturer and kept it up for 8 days, but it “didn’t draw a customer”. Mr. Clemens said then that they must paper the house—so Fuller sent bushel baskets of complimentary tickets to all the teachers of all the schools in or near New York, and to swell people in the city and the place was crammed, even the platform. People were turned away in shoals—and the manager took in $35. Got it from curious folks who wondered what was going on and so paid their dollar apiece to satisfy their curiosity. Characteristically Mr. Clemens didn’t tell whether he pleased those people or not [MTP TS 22-23; also Hill 121 in part].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day continued the subject of Feb. 1—The Death of Susy Clemens—Ends with mention of Dr. John Brown [AMT 1: 323-328].
American Mechanical Cashier sent a notice of a stockholders’ meeting on Feb. 13 at 3.30 p.m. in Jersey City [MTP].
The Architectural League sent an engraved invitation for their annual dinner on this evening at 7 p.m. in the American Fine Arts Building, requesting an answer [MTP].
Nanon Toby wrote from NYC to Sam. Toby had been a fan since childhood, and requested Sam to send him any “literary aspirants” requesting criticism that Clemens had no time for [MTP].
February 3 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Dennis J. Mahoney.
Dear Mr. Mahoney: / If you go on trying to make better Americans of the people whom you meet you cannot be better employed. You will be doing your best, you will be doing your full share, & nothing more can be required of any man. / May you prosper— … [MTP]. Note: Mahoney not further identified.
Sam also wrote to Gertrude Natkin, 138 W. 98th in N.Y.C.
Now then, dear, I will recal myself to your remembrance—then I will proceed. Do you remember coming out of Carnegie Hall one day & exchanging views concerning the weather with a white-headed patriarch with a limp & a glass eye? Very well, I am that patriarch.
And so, to business. A gentleman has just been here who represents the West Side Y. M. C. A., & he says that every Sunday afternoon at 3.30 p.m he fills the Majestic Theatre, 59th & Broadway, with his young fellows & they listen to lectures furnished by prominent men. I don’t lecture any more, but I promised to introduce one of his lecturers for him. I chose Gen. Horace Porter, late Ambassador to France, because I have known him 30 years. He is to talk on the 18th of this month unless he is obliged to go to Washington on Hague Tribunal business; in which case he will do his talk a week later, on the 25th.
Would you like to hear him? A few ladies are admitted—very few. They stick them around, here & there in boxes — none on the floor, which is reserved for the young fellows. My secretary (whom you saw with me) is invited, & is going. Could you come, with your father or your mother, or both?
If you come I shall want to send you a written order on those people to see to it that you are not left outside or there will be trouble. And won’t you be a good child & come & speak to me?
I kiss your hand, dear.
Your oldest friend [MTAq 10].
Gertrude Natkin replied to Sam, delighted at his invitation for herself and her mother, which she was “more than delighted to accept.” When she read his letter of this date she wrote, “I could have kissed you; but perhaps that will hold good for another time” [MTAq 11]. Note: Cooley points out that Natkin didn’t become an angelfish but that his “correspondence with her points the way to the Aquarium and the dozen young ladies who were to become angelfish” . insert angelfish pin
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today Mr. Clemens was in one of his most interesting moods. He had no dictating to do and we went over a big waiting pile of mail & he talked about the dictated ms. and he red me scraps out of a new book. He said that Andrew D. White’s autobiography is too expensive, which it is at $7.50, but good to have of course, and then he swung off onto the subject of “man” the helplessness of him and his entire lack of “free will”. I didn’t’ know how strong a fatalist he is until this morning. Every deed is leading right on toward the next. “We’re nothing but a rag bag of disappeared ancestors.” He swung up and down the room in his brown robe, smoking one cigar after another. Such a glorious creature he is! When I’m tired or nervous and worried and have to go to his room with a budget, it doesn’t take long for his influence to quiet me. It is his greatness, his genius, his magnetism, his strong humanness, and his great sweet soul [MTP TS 23-24; also Gribben 760 in part]. Note: Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918).
Helen J. Sanborn wrote from Winter Hill, Mass. to inform Sam that the young Spanish girl Carolina Marcial whom he wished to introduce to Jean would be in NYC from Apr. 2 to 13, and would speak on the evening of Apr. 2 at the Hotel Savoy before the Presbyterian Union [MTP].
The New York Times, p. BR65 announced a new volume from Harper & Brothers:
“Mark Twain, Humorous Editor.”
“Men and Things” is the title of the first volume of a series—constituting a sort of encyclopaedia of humor—which the Harpers are publishing, with Mark Twain as titular compiler. Much of Mr. Clemens’s own work is included, and the series is a development of a single volume published as long ago as 1888. “Men and Things” is to be published some time after the middle of the month.
February 4 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Richard R. Bowker asking when “a copyright meeting of importance in Washington or elsewhere” would take place [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Yesterday Mr. Paine gave to Mr. Clemens and me copies of the first Tammany Tiger designed by Nast. Mr. Paine is a generous man, it is a comfort to have his presence in the house and to know that every morning he is working over Mr. Clemens’s autobiographical papers. He is bringing into order the clippings and letters and everything.
Today Mr. Clemens lunched with Mr. and Mrs. John W. Alexander and Maude Adams. We didn’t see him on his returns; but at tea time when Mr. Montague and Mr. and Mrs. Loomis were here and he came down to join us he told what a delightful time he had had and how charming Miss Adams was in her description of the great interest that the children take in her play of Peter Pan. To them it is a reality. They write letters to her about the wonderful flying and one little boy sent her five cents to pay for telling him just how it is done [MTP TS 24]. Note: Nast first drew the Tammany Tiger in 1871; it was first published in Harper’s Weekly. See insert.
Edward E. Clarke wrote to Sam from Hastings, England. Clarke referred to Clemens’ Dec. 1904 article on Joan of Arc. He had sent copies of it to various French authorities and asked if Sam would send the MS for the article to be placed in a French artifact collection. A listing of artifacts referred to is not in the file [MTP].
Samuel Johnson Woolf, graphic artist, journalist, and illustrator (1880-1948), wrote from NYC enclosing a note from Col. George Harvey. Woolf wished to paint Twain’s portrait and since Sam had “so kindly consented to sit” he wished to know when he should come [MTP]. Note: shortly after this letter, a reply was made (not extant) and an appointment set for Clemens to sit for Woolf. The following article is Woolf’s account of the meeting (day not specified, which ran in Collier’s, vol. 45, no. 8, 1910, pages 42-44, and now shown on Schmidt’s website:
It was on an afternoon in February 1906, [Feb. 9] that I had my first appointment to meet Mark Twain and make arrangements for sittings for a portrait which I was to paint of him.
At that time he lived in the old-fashioned red-brick house on the corner of Ninth Street and Fifth Avenue, the one he occupied up to the time that he moved to Stormfield. Promptly at the appointed time I called, and passing through a hall filled on either side with book-cases, I was ushered into a long, high-ceilinged front parlor so characteristic of the older New York houses. Book-cases here filled all sides of the room, and, with a hasty glance, I noticed Macaulay’s “England,” Gibbon’s “Rome,” and Carlyle’s works. Two large pictures also attracted my attention; one of him painted in Italy and Alexander’s charming decorative representation of the unfortunate Jean Clemens.
I had little time for observing more, for, on looking through the open folding doors, and which led to a cozy sitting-room, I caught my first sight of the venerable author who had but a few months before passed his seventieth milestone.
How different, in most cases, are the impressions that photographs and portraits give from those received when we stand face to face with the original! How unlike were all the pictures which I had seen of him. At that time he still wore his black clothes, and his entire head seemed strikingly pale. Instead of the rugged, weather-beaten face which I had expected, I saw one softer and calmer, but no less strong, while the delicacy and refinement of his features were most noticeable. His hair, too, which I had always though wiry, was glossy and silken. Never have I seen a head where it seemed more an integral part—its ivory-like tones melting imperceptibly into the lighter hues of the skin, so that the line of juncture was almost entirely lost. Even his hands betrayed a more actively nervous man than one would be led to imagine a former river-pilot could be. In build he was smaller and slighter than he appeared in most pictures, though it probably was the massiveness of his head that gave this appearance.
On hearing me in the other room, and without waiting for me to be announced, he got up from a long sofa which was placed crossways in a bay window, and removing a pair of steel spectacles, he wrinkled his bushy white eyebrows until his eyes were almost lost, and came forward with a short “How d’ye do?”
My heart fell: so here was America’s humorist; how glum, how severe! But scarcely had I time to record these impressions than the eyebrows relaxed, and beginning at the corner of his deep-set eyes, a smile, no, not a smile, but rather a soft reflection of one, illumined his face; and underneath the glow of kindly sweetness could be seen the touch of sadness.
“So you have come here to do me, my boy; come in and sit down: I have been done before,” he added, “in many ways, and I have also had some portraits painted, though each one I vowed would be the last; and as I don’t believe any one’s word should be broken in at least ten years, I guess you will really be the last one to do it. Wait until you look around, and I think you will agree that I am perfectly preserved—in oil, at least.”
Before deciding upon a suitable place to paint, we talked. He had seen a portrait of an actor which I had painted recently, so we, or rather he, talked of the stage and his one excursion into dramatic literature, “The Gilded Age.” Getting up from the sofa and clasping his hands behind his back, he walked up and down the room, recalling scenes of thirty or more years ago, and stopping in front of the marble mantel now and then while he emphasized some especial point.
“They thought they could kill it,” he began; “the morning after the first performance all the critics damned it—not a word in its favor; the second night we had hardly a handful of people.” Up to this point there was resentment in his voice. The plaint of the unappreciated was heard, but suddenly changing his tone, he went on, the smile again beginning to break.
“I grew anxious for my personal safety. But the third night there were almost two handfuls and several laughs, and at the end of the second week those of our friends who had not lent a willing hand had to pay for their seats. Yes, if you have something to say, say it often enough and folks will be bound to listen.” Suddenly remembering what I was there for, he said: “But this isn’t painting the portrait; we have work to do, both of us.” And so he took me from one room to the other, pointing out cherished tokens and mementoes.
Into the dining-room with its colonial furniture and a portrait of himself painted years ago by Frank Millet. “It’s all mine, except the hair,” he remarked. I looked in bewilderment. “It was this way,” he explained, “when I started sitting for that one, my hair was fairly long, but as the sittings continued, it grew until it was uncomfortable. So one day, without saying anything to Millet about it, I went to the barber to have it trimmed. Unfortunately, I grew sleepy in the comfortable chair, and when I woke up I saw that I had lost all likeness to my portrait. I didn’t know what to do, for I was afraid of Millet in those days, so on the day for the next sitting I hired a wig and went to the studio. When I got there Millet at once noticed how fine my hair looked and painted it, and it wasn’t until the session was ended that I took it off.”
Then we went upstairs to his bedroom, in which, in contrast to the rest of the house, everything was in a delightful disorder. On the window-sill stood his shaving glass and cup, while on either side of a large dark wood Italian bed, with two carved angels over the head, were tables covered with books and pipes. Opening off of this room was his den, also filled with books, and how his eyes glistened as he showed the various little keepsakes which brought back the memories of dead years. A silver loving-cup, a Bismarck tobacco jar, a drawing by Howard Pyle of the menu for his seventieth birthday dinner, together with the gilded laurel wreath with which a young girl dressed as Joan of Arc had crowned him on that occasion.
It was finally decided that the sofa in the room between the parlor and the dining-room would be the best place for him to pose. It was there as a usual thing he would sit after lunch and smoke and dream. On one side of the room was a large organ, and often during the sittings either his daughter or secretary would play. Music seems to appeal to him, rather from the associations it recalled than on its own account; and often when some old ballad or war song was played, a peculiar look would steal across his face, and his eyes would fill with tears; then, as the melody changed and some other remembrance came to him, he would pass it off with a light remark, joking in a way at his own seriousness. But that seemed to be especially characteristic of him—no matter how deep the thought that engaged his attention, by a peculiar process of mental conjuring he changed his appearance, or perhaps his point of view, so as to make it present a lighter side. In doing this he never for one moment lost sight of the original depth, but felt rather that by donning the cap and bells he could hold the attention and preach and amuse simultaneously.
At the end of one of the sitting he got up and came over to see the progress which I made on the picture.
“Make me beautiful,” he said; “remember, truth is your most valuable possession; therefore don’t waste it.” At another time two friends, very tall men came in to see him, to ask him to take a walk on the avenue. “With you two!” said he, standing between them and taking each by the arm, “never, never shall it be said that Mark Twain was the cross-piece of a capital H.”
His Interest in His Hair
After two or three sittings he saw that talking did not interfere with my work, and sometimes he conversed during the entire sitting. One day, however, he said: “I am afraid my talking bothers you. I guess you are one of the few people who would be willing to pay me to keep quiet.” I assured him that such was by no means the case, and that, far from interfering with the progress of the picture, it helped me.
If he was vain about anything in his personal appearance, it was his hair; and that I should get it right in the picture seemed to give him the greatest concern. Several times he gave me suggestions as to the way he wore it, asking me to wait until he went upstairs and brushed it. Then he would come down with it rearranged, and I would get to work again.
As the head began to near completion, he wanted to know what I would do with his hands, for I had them only sketched in, so as to get the general arrangement of the entire figure on the canvas. “I guess a book would look better in them,” he remarked, smilingly, one day, “even if a cigar is more natural.” I solved the difficulty by putting a cigar in one hand and a book in the other, as one seemed as much a part of him as the other.
One day while I was there a prominent New York paper called him up on the telephone and offered to give one hundred dollars to any charity which he might name for a fifteen-minute interview on a certain subject which he did not care to discuss. The refusal worried him during the rest of the afternoon, and before I left he gave me a note to mail to a certain hospital, enclosing a check as contribution to its “conscience fund.” In many other ways did he show the same spirit, and I can never forget how on one occasion when a severe snowstorm set in while I was at his house he insisted that I wear his overshoes home, assuring me that he was old enough to break any appointment on account of the weather, and that he would not need them again until it was clear, and then he did not wear them.
The last time he posed he was particularly reflective; in fact, he said very little during the entire sitting. While I was still there the expressman called for the picture to take it up to my studio. As it was being carried out, Mr. Clemens turned and said; “Now I feel as if I had attended my own funeral!”
Note: Lyon’s journal gives Feb. 9 as the day Woolf began the portrait of Twain; see Feb. 9.
February 5 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to William A. Caldwell (incoming not extant) who evidently had asked of something Sam spoke of in a recent talk; was it an example of “thought-transferrence”? No, it was simply an old maxim of his written in London ten years before that he’d made one of his texts in his speech. “The idea is pretty mouldy & commonplace. There isn’t anybody alive (or dead) who hasn’t used it from one to sixty times” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Dr. John Brown, continued—Incidents connected with Susy Clemens’s childhood—Bad spelling, etc. [AMT 1: 328-334].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Today Jean and I went up to see Dr. Peterson who is going to have charge of her case, her pitiful malady, if he feels that he can benefit her. She has been running down rapidly and looks badly, and is ill, really very ill” [MTP TS 24-25].
Melvin L. Severy wrote from Arlington Heights, Mass. to Sam. Severy was preparing a book on the Congo and asked for information Sam had used in “King Leopold’s Soliloquy.” Sam directed Lyon on Severy’s query: “All documents can be had of Congo Reform or from English Headquarters” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal records her taking Jean Clemens to see Dr. Frederick Peterson, “who is going to take charge of her case, her pitiful malady, if he feels that he can benefit her” [Hill 121]. Note: Peterson of Columbia Univ. was American’s top authority on epilepsy.
Charles R. Deacon for the Union Printers’ Home, Colorado Springs, Colo. wrote to thank Sam for a copy of TA Sam had donated for their Home library [MTP].
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam (only the envelope survives), but in the file is a note from her journal, “I was very happy and sent Mark the following reply.” She does not reveal a copy of the letter [MTP].
February 5 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to David Pae’s Jan. 26 question that she thought Sam would name HF and JA as “perhaps his favorites” [MTP].
February 6 Tuesday – Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Sam proposing a 2 ½ to 3 ½ % royalty if she sold Paul Kester’s verson of TS. Sometime later the note is annotated “satisfactory” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Playing “The Prince and the Pauper”—Acting charades, etc. [AMT 1: 334-341].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This afternoon late, I took Teresa over to the Post Graduate Hospital. She is ill, poor girl and after trying in vain to do her work and rapidly growing iller with stomach trouble, almost an ulceration of the stomach, Dr. Halsey gave orders for her to be taken there. When I reached home it was after seven and I thought Mr. Clemens would be gone to his dinner with Mr. David Munro and others at The Players; but he wasn’t—he and Robert Reid stood in the middle room smoking and waiting for me to come in to give them some music. Scotch music. I played “The Campbells are Coming” for the pleasure of those two men. Robert Reid is so very tall, and big too, fine strong shoulders [MS TS 25; also Gribben 115 in part]. Note: Dr. Robert Hurtin Halsey (1873-1955), would doctor Clemens until his death in 1910, and was a founder of the American Heart Assoc. Being in medicine, his middle name was unfortunate.
February 7 Wednesday – The New York Times, Feb. 8, reported on another speech by Mark Twain, this one at a dinner of the American branch of the Dickens Fellowship, which was celebrating the 94th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. Sam did not mention Dickens in his speech. See also Fatout, MT Speaking 482-4.
TWAIN ON ROCKEFELLER, JR.
He’s All Right, but as to His Knowledge of Veracity—Well!
Mark Twain declared last night [Feb. 7] that he had never told a lie in his life—up to that moment. Then he said he was glad to be present. Mr. Clemens was a guest at the dinner and entertainment given at the Press Club in memory of Charles Dickens under the auspices of the American branch of the Dickens Fellowship. George Cary Eggleston, Honorary President of the Dickens Fellowship, was toastmaster.
“John D. Rockefeller, Jr.,” said Mr. Clemens, “told his Sunday school class a few weeks ago all about veracity, and why it was better that everybody should always keep a plentiful supply on hand, and I want to say to you that among the hundreds of letters I receive each week many of them have suggested that I ought to attend Mr. Rockefeller’s class. I know Mr. Rockefeller very well. He is a fine fellow, and competent in many ways, but as to his knowledge of veracity—well, he is only 35 years old, and I am 70. I have been familiar with veracity twice as long as he has.”
Mr. Clemens asserted that the world at large has missed the point of the story little George Washington told his father about the cherry tree episode. The boy did not tell a lie, because he could have done so had he felt like it, and he would not have had to attend a Rockefeller class to teach him now. The pith of the story was the astonishment of George’s father to find that he had a son who had a chance to tell a lie and didn’t do it.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight at half past nine Mr. Clemens & I started for the Press Club with two of its members who came up here from the club rooms in Nassau Street. Mr. Clemens had said that if he felt like it he would have me telephone to them at nine o’clock & they promised to send a wheelbarrow for him at his own suggestion. The downtown streets were deserted and looked almost like the silent narrow dark streets of Florence. Mr. George Carey Egglestontook Mr. Clemens in charge when we arrived and a Mr. Davis took me by the hand and put me in charge of his wife at one of 3 long tables running lengthwise of the big room, which was decorated by flags, English and American, and portraits of literary men. When Mr. Clemens finally interrupted a droning stupid speech by simply entering the room, he received an applauding salutation and with his sweet gracious manner and his light, light step he was shown to the seat of honor by Mr. Eggleston and after Mr. E. made a few introductory remarks Mr. Clemens rose amid the glad shouts of all those people. How great he is, how magnetic. His speech was delightful, full of subtleties that those people couldn’t see through at all, but they didn’t know it. They didn’t know about [Henry] Butters and Harold Wheeler [MTP TS 25-26].
Richard R. Bowker wrote to Sam that the continuation of the Copyright Conferences in NY was of lesser importance for Twain to attend than the Congressional hearings that would come later.
You will be interested to know that Dr. Edward Everett Hale, now Chaplain of the Senate, has also promised to appear at the committee hearings in advocacy of a term for life and an extension, preferably for fifty years, as he also is an example of the injustice of the present copyright system—his “Man Without a Country” as well as earlier works already being out of copyright [MTP].
George B. Harvey wrote a short note to Sam. “If you can, please do keep Wednesday the 14th, luncheon time, free to come down to give Mr. Alden a little send-off” [MTP].
February 8 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin.
Aren’t you the dearest child there is? I am perfectly sure of it. I was never surer of anything in my life. When a person gets to be as old as I am he can’t take new friends into his heart easily — they don’t seem as dear as the old ones; but you, oh you are an exception! I wouldn’t trade you for dozens & dozens of these gray-heads I’ve been so fond of all these ages.
If Gen. Porter should postpone his lecture to the 25th we will write or telephone in time, so that you & your mother will be saved from making a fruitless journey to 59th street.
Meantime, don’t forget me, & don’t forget my name. Set it down on a piece of paper; & if you lose the paper, call me up & inquire: “3907 Gramercy”—it isn’t in the telephone book.
P. S. Do you know, dear, I am lost in admiration of my own smartness. I first wrote the enclosed order, & then asked Miss Lyon to call up Mr. Powlison & say I should want a couple of friends taken care of: he broke in, at that point & said “ask Mr. Clemens to write an order; the usher will find me & deliver it, & I will see that they are shown to the seats provided for them.” She brings that report this moment. Do you notice? he came near repeating the words of my order. I used to be often bright, like that, but not lately—oh, no, that is not so—I am always bright.
He has telephoned his name; it is Charles—or Charley;—I have never seen him, & so I don’t know which he prefers. [enclosure] / Majestic Theatre— / Please report to Mr. Powlison that the friends whom my secretary spoke to him about, have arrived, so that he can have them shown to the seats provided for them [MTAq 11-12]. Note: Sam had agreed to introduce Gen. Horace Porter on Feb. 18, but wrote there was a chance Porter might have to postpone until Feb. 25. See Feb. 14 to Natkin. Charles F. Powlison is identified in the Mar. 5, 1905 NY Times article for the Mar. 4 event as Secretary of the West Side Branch of the YMCA. See Mar. 4 entry.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy Clemens’ Biography, continued—Romancer to the children—Incident of the spoon-shaped drive—The burglar alarm does its whole duty [AMT 1: 341-346].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
A whirl of young, young men came to the house this afternoon, all with messages & invitations for Mr. Clemens. Among them was a young clergyman who came with an invitation to Mr. Clemens to lunch with a club of young clergymen. But Mr. Clemens said to me as he sat on the edge of the bed with his bare feet hanging out from under a Jaeger blanket, “Why, I can’t go there, they’ll think I’m a Christian if I do, and I am—a Hell of a Christian.”
Oh, he’s so much more of a Christian than most.
This evening Mr. Gilder telephoned to say that Mr. Marly, Belgian representative here, and a Roman Catholic priest of Albany, also a Belgian and a strong adherent of Leopold’s, were at 13 East 8th Street and they’d like to see Mr. Clemens. It was just nine o’clock and I told Mr. Gilder that Mr. Clemens had gone to his room, but that I’d take him the message. When I delivered it, Mr. Clemens was superb in his denunciation of the men who could say that the Congo reports were exaggerated. He couldn’t & wouldn’t admit them. If their King had been the means of murdering one million instead of tens millions of helpless creatures, or if he confessed to the murder of only one soul, he stood guilty—just as guilty. It is a great picture he makes when he sits up in bed and with flashing eye and uplifted right arm he utters his fearless condemnations of those who are [three illegible canceled words]. I carried his reply to Mr. Gilder—the replay that those 2 men would feel insulted before they had been in the house five minutes, because he has such contempt for the man they would try to defend [MTP TS 26-27].
The Players Club wrote a short reminder of the St. Valentine’s Dinner to David Munro at the Players’ on Wed. Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. “Every one is requested to bring a Valentine offering to the guest of honor” [MTP]. Note: on the note IVL wrote, “Mr. Clemens took a copy of Joan of Arc.”
Dihdwo Twe wrote from Ashburnham, Mass. to Sam “dissatisfied with the method of the ‘Congo Reform Association’…“they are trying to influence this great country by distribution of printed circulars. This will take too much money, too long time, and besides the result will remain uncertain.” Twe wanted to bring two or three Congolese children who had been mutilated and urged the C.R.A to perform this scheme. In debt about $5,000, the Assoc. refused. A note on the back of Twe’s letter by Lyon shows Sam thought the plan “excellent, but that he doubts if it is really worthwhile to continue the agitation in America with the idea of getting help from our Government” [Hawkins 171; MTP]. Note: Hawkins offers a thorough and scholarly treatment of the Congo Reform Movement and of Twain’s involvement in it, and of the subsequent reversal of the US government and ultimate solutions.
Erasmus Wilson wrote from NYC to Sam. After sitting near him on the previous evening, Wilson bid him greetings from James Whitcomb Riley and also from his friend Charles Whistler, “who had the honor of setting up some of your ‘stuff’ in the early days of journalism on the coast.” Wilson enjoyed Sam’s talk and asked if he might call at his convenience [MTP].
February 8 ca. – On or after this date Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Dihdwo Twe’s request. See note in Feb. 8 from Dwe, which summarizes Sam’s answer [MTP].
Also on or after this date Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Erasmus Wilson’s Feb. 8 request. “Mr. Clemens’s movements are so uncertain that he is never sure to be at home at any particular time—his duty to be at home to receive co[mpany]—always try to be here at that time to receive people” [MTP].
February 9 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
All these days are full of interesting doings. A steady flame of delight burns through every hour; it burns—but sometimes the fog of little trying circumstances will obscure it until the wit comes to make you see right through the fog to the wonderful, wonderful flame. I don’t want any earthly thing outside of this house. And it is such a comfort to have Mr. Paine full of the love of the daily dictation, missing not a gesture—not a word—not a glance, but treasuring it all.
Mr. Clemens has begun to sit for a portrait to young Mr. Woolf. He doesn’t enjoy it, for he hates to be photographed or painted. We were speaking of the Gessford photograph today, it has so much fire in the eyes, a rare thing to find in any of his photographs and he said that he was just beginning to lose his temper and was on the verge of saying so when the final exposure was made [MTP TS 27-28]. Note: Samuel Johnson Woolf.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: The “strong language” episode in the bath-room—Susy’s reference to “The Prince and the Pauper”—The mother and the children help edit the books—Reference to ancestors [AMT 1: 346-354].
In Wrentham, Mass. Helen Keller collapsed from overwork after attending a meeting in behalf of the deaf in Portland, Maine. She had to cancel a Mar. 20 New York appearance at which Mark Twain was to preside and Joseph Hodges Choate was to have been one of the speakers [The Oregonian, Feb. 10, 1906, p. 1, “Helen Kellar [sic] Has Collapsed”].
February 10 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Thomas S. Barbour, confiding the results of his last conference with the Secretary of State:
I am so busy with other matters that I have failed to tell you of my visit to Mr. Bacon in Washington a week ago. He & Mr. [Elihu] Root have been making a searching examination among the Department’s archives with this resultant verdict: our Government is so entirely outside of the Congo matter that it could by no means initiate a move in it, nor even second a move made by one or all of the other Governments concerned, without laying itself open to the danger of undiplomatic intrusion. As I understood Mr. Bacon this was the view left on record in the Department by John Hay after an examination of the matter.
The strength of the Reform movement in America lay in the apparent fact that our Government was one of the responsible parties and therefore could be persuaded to come forward and do its duty. The above verdict relieves it and sets it free. I think it most unlikely that it will ever throw away the pleasant advantages of that verdict [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Andrew Carnegie.
The whisky arrived in due course from over the water; last week one bottle of it was extracted from the wood & inserted into me, on the instalment plan, with this result: that I believe it to be the best & smoothest whiskey now on the planet. Thanks, oh, thanks; I have discarded Peruna.
Hoping that you three are well & happy & will be coming back before the winter sets in … [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Jan. 29 from D. Ceall. “I thank you; for I resemble Carlyle & all other men in this: that the approving word is very welcome to me. If ever Carlyle’s energy of language was ever an offense to me, it must have been in a long-past & forgotten time; I shouldn’t be able to find fault with it now”[MTP].
Frank Fuller wrote to Sam.
My Ever Dear Mark: My darling wife dropped asleep forever at just 6 o’clock this morning and I am all alone.
I was compelled to come down here for a few minutes & so I am rewarded with your sweet note thorugh Miss Lyon.
We shall take the dear one to Portsmouth where she was born [MTP]. Note: Fuller thanked Sam for his visit, that it had meant so much to his wife, Livy’s friend and intimate. “Her life went out without a moment’s notice & I could not say goodbye! So went our sweethearts, Mark, so went the light of our lives into the endless unknown. Faithfully yours.”
Sam replied to Frank Fuller: “I am so glad dear Fuller, so glad I made that visit; & so sorry the rush & turmoil of life prevented my repeating it. I have words of sorrow for you, but not for her: how blessed are the dead, how fortunate are the dead. Ever your friend” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Grant came in this afternoon and after talking with me about Mrs. Peabody who had applied to Mr. Clemens for aid, and in whose behalf I had telephoned to Mr. Grant, he went up to talk with Mr. Clemens. After dinner Mr. Clemens told me that when Mr. Grant returns from Boston at the end of a week he is going to take Mr. Clemens to the Hippodrome. Mr. Clemens has been wanting to go, for there is a great spectacular scene which is beautiful, we are told.
Today the beautiful Barnett photograph arrived from England and it is for me. For 3 years I have longed for one, and as I grow older I marvel more and more over the fact that anything I long for with a strong steady silent desire, comes to me in time. It never fails [MTP TS 28]. Note: over the first paragraph above there are three diagonal lines, as if the paragraph was stricken.
Her journal about this day on Feb. 11: Yesterday [Feb. 10] after the portrait sitting Mr. Clemens and I went over to the hospital to see Teresa. She was so happy to see the Signor Padrone, & the pale face brightened; but we couldn’t stay long for a little girl suffering from heart disease made Mr. Clemens own gentle heart ache so that we had to leave. [in left margin: The little girl died that night, 4 days later the head nurse told me that as she was dying, blood spurted from her lips upon the nurse’s gown and she murmured “Excuse me.”] He is so thoughtful & feared that the unlighted cigar he carried would make the little creature ill, but the nurse in charge said, “No”, she wouldn’t notice it and so we came home through the snowy streets, the coupe having to go slowly [TS 18]. Note: See Feb. 11 for the entry relevant to that day.
Ida Benfey Judd wrote from 1 W. 87th, NYC, to Sam. She referred to his prior permission through Frank Bliss, to use parts of FE in a comedy presentation. Now she was planning a trilogy of Biblical stories about Job and Joseph and asked Sam if she could come and tell them to him. Would he be a patron? She’d already enlisted Felix Adler, John Burroughs, Bronson Howard, Mary E. Wilkins, Ida M. Tarbell and a few others [MTP]. Note: source says this may be 1906 or 1907.
Abbott Handerson Thayer wrote to Sam about the peace and quiet of his Dublin house, and how it all made him reflect on life, Sam’s 70th birthday, and how thankful he was for “Mark Twain’s existence” [MTP].
Harper’s Weekly published “When Mark Twain Lectured” by W.H. Merrill, p. 199, 209. Tenney: “Describes an MT lecture ‘in the early seventies…in a thriving village in western New York” .
Collier’s Weekly published “Lincoln Farm Association” [Camfield’s bibliog.].
February 11 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Today hasn’t been a very gay Sunday, for Mr. Clemens went off to lunch at Mrs. Henry Holt’s with the Pumpelly’s, & then he went to see Mr. & Mrs. Rogers finishing up with dinner at the Broughtons & not reaching home until nearly 10:30” [MTP TS 28-29].
Evelyn Garrant Smalley wrote from NYC to thank Sam for his help in “responding so instantly” with a letter for her to Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie had “promised to guarantee a thousand dollars” to her fund for Russian actors [MTP].
February 12 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
The dictating began again this morning after two days of rest. This evening Mr. Clemens was saying that Mr. Paine and Miss Hobby make a good audience, and quite enough too. Mr. Paine came in while Jean and I were at tea, so he joined us. He came to inquire some facts about Mr. Clemens’s fountain pen, for it is such a good one. (The Conklin Pen). The sitting for the portrait bores Mr. Clemens; perhaps because he feels that it is not going to be very good and then it is at a bad time in the day too, but any time would be bad with that artist.
As we came up stairs for the night Mr. Clemens gave me the last budget of typewritten ms. It is very beautiful, for just now he is talking about Susie Clemens and her “autobiography of my father,” and he has begun to use parts of it for the autobiography [MTP TS 29].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy’s Biography continued—Some of the tricks played in “Tom Sawyer”—The broken sugar-bowl— Skating on the Mississippi with Tom Nash, etc. [AMT 1: 350-354].
Mary E. Joyce wrote from NYC in behalf of a club of fifteen crippled boys, to whom she was reading TS. She wanted to find pins or buttons with Twain’s picture to give to the boys [MTP]. Note: on the mourning-bordered note from Joyce, Lyon wrote, “Mr. Clemens applied to R.W. Ashcroft who knows where the little badges can be made.” See Mar. 17 entry.
February 13 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to thank an unidentified person for “the newspaper slip & for your pleasant words” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy’s Biography continued—Cadet of Temperance—First meeting of Mr. Clemens and Miss Langdon—Miss Olivia Langdon an invalid—Dr. Newton [AMT 1: 354-359].
M. McElroy wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam and enclosing an article that referred to a meeting for the blind. Was it to be a public or private meeting? McElroy offered to put Sam in touch with someone who could offer “good and substantial practical ideas” for Sam’s undertaking for the blind [MTP]. Note: see ca. Feb. 13. McElroy enclosed a clipping from the Boston Evening World, “Helen Keller in State of Collapse.” Lyon wrote on the typed letter, “Meeting will take place on the 29th of March at the Waldorf, but necessarily with Miss Keller absent from the program. It will be public. As for further particulars I am not very well posted, but refer him to Miss Holt who is at the head of the movement.”
Gertrude Natkin wrote a valentine poem to Sam on a picture postcard (of a girl with flowers), mailed inside an envelope:
TO MY SWEET VALENTINE
You are a merry merry lark,
You are the noble witty Mark;
My thoughts of you to tell, I fain,
You cut my little heart in Twain
[MTAq 12]. Note: Sam replied on Feb. 14
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Mr. Clemens is hating & hating & hating having to sit for his portrait, and it is such a bad portrait too. Young Woolf hasn’t caught one gleam even of Mr. Clemens’s personality and the man who gazes at you from that canvas hasn’t one idea in his head. It must be stopped. There is a mistake somewhere [MTP TS 29-30]. Note: Samuel Johnson Woolf.
Brander Matthews wrote a small, mourning-bordered note to Sam. “Do you know any good reason why you should not come here to lunch at half past one on Washington’s Birthday—the 22nd—Thursday of next week? / I’ve scarcely seen you all this winter” [MTP].
William McCutchan Morrison wrote to thank Sam for his little booklet, “King Leopold’s Soliloquy,” which he thought had done more good than anything written on the subject [MTP].
February 13-15 Thursday – During this period Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to an unidentified person’s invitation to an opera in Washington [MTP].
February 13 ca. – On or after this date Sam directed Lyon to reply to M. McElroy’s Feb. 13 request: the meeting was on Mar. 29 at the Waldorf, and public, but Helen Keller “of necessity” would not appear. He directed Lyon to steer the man to Miss Hall who was head of the movement [MTP].
February 14 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin.
It was a very sweet Valentine, & you are a dear. But I have told you that before. You got ahead of me, but it was only because I was busy. Yesterday I bought my favorite book for you, but I fell to reading it, & became fascinated, as always before, & here it lies, yet—unsent. It is the book of that quaint & charming & affectionate & tempestuous & remorseful little child, Marjorie Fleming. Doubtless you are already acquainted with it. I am incurably slow & lazy, but I will send it, sure—I certainly will.
General Porter can’t lecture on the 18th, but I have promised to introduce Dr. Van Dyke on the 25th. I think it will be at Carnegie Hall—but I will let you know. He is a very gifted man, but I have not known him as long as I have known Porter.
Aren’t you dear & sweet? Doubters are requested to inquire of SLC [MTAq 13]. Note: Dr. Henry Van Dyke, clergyman and Sam’s friend was also unable to speak; Sam did give a lecture on Mar. 4. Fatout lists as “conjectural” a speech introducing Van Dyke as “late Feb. early March, and before Mar. 4” [MT Speaking 487-91] but Van Dyke did not speak, so it’s doubtful the speech was ever given. Evidently Fatout did not have access to all the letters, and his schedule of speeches is sometimes in error.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Tonight Mr. Clemens went to The Players to a dinner given as a surprise to Mr. David Munro, that canny Scotchman at half past six. I was in Jean’s room when Mr. Clemens called me asking me to give him some music & when I reaching the living room I found Mr. Paine there too. He was going up to The Players with Mr. Clemens. The music was Scotch, as it always is in parts now. “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon,” – “Robin Adair” – “Bonnie Sweet Bessie” – “The Campbells are Coming”- he loves them all and as he paced the floor smoking, he sang bits of the airs in a low voice. Mr. Paine exclaimed with pleasure at the sweetness of the music and he was watching Mr. Clemens’s enjoyment of it [MTP TS 30]. Gribben also notes these songs and “Loch Lomand”, p. 115, 369.
Fatout lists Sam giving a speech or a story at the “sendoff” Henry Mills Alden Luncheon. Alden was editor of Harper’s Magazine [MT Speaking 674].
A.D. Howard for the NY Tribune wrote to Sam asking several questions, including one about the original character of Huck Finn [MTP]. Notes: On or just after this day, Sam wrote on the letter for reply: “I believe the original of Huck Finn is still alive, & that he is a magistrate in a far western state, & that he is a respected & respect worthy man. I do not consider myself privileged to reveal his name. I cannot answer the other questions it would take too much time” In the file is a newspaper clipping datelined Wallace, Idaho, Feb. 12 “ ‘Huckleberry Finn,’ Twain’s Friend, Dies,” naming one Captain A.O. Tonkray, native of Hannibal, Mo. dead at 65. Sam wrote at the top of the page with the pasted clipping, “Huck Finn was Tom Blankenship & is still living.” Lyon wrote on the side, “Mr. Clemens never heard of Capt. Tonkray. / Would like a little interview to any passages in the Book refer to Capt. Tonkray.” See ca. Mar. 6 from Capt. Tonkray’s brother.
Robert Reid wrote to Sam, sometime before Feb. 14, advising of a surprise dinner for David Munro on Feb. 14 at the Players Club and “WE WANT YOU!” [MTP].
Ora J. Parker wrote to I.V. Leroy (sic; Isabel V. Lyon),
Yours of late date at hand advising me that I have made a “common error” in asking Mr. Clemens to comment on my sketches.
The poet has advised so strongly against this weakness of our common human nature that I feel justly rebuked and properly ashamed at having so far disregarded his inspired advice [MTP] Note: She went on to say that she’d rec’d Sam’s thanks for five sketches but six were sent. “Why, oh why! Miss. Leroy [sic] could you not have done me the faint service of counting them right?” then in a PS she took another look at the “5” and saw it was a “6,” so apologized again.
February 14 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Mr. Ora J. Parker’s gift of sketches and request for comment. Such requests came “with such frequency that long ago he made a rule not to grant any of them, and so be fair to all” [MTP].
February 15 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to George B. Harvey.
Dear Uncle George: / I greet your 70th birthday with gratitude & enthusiasm, & with cordial wishes that there may be many happy returns of it.
And next time, don’t swindle me out of my share in it, but invite me in time. I think it’s a cruelty & a shame that I can’t be there.
With love to all the Trinity, … [MTP]. Note: Sam’s humor: Harvey was b. Feb. 16, 1864, making him but 42 years old.
Sam also wrote to L.E. Shattuck [MTP]. Note: he gave the same response offered to A.D. Howard of the NY Tribune ca. Feb. 14, which suggests Shattuck was another newspaperman.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy Clemens’ Biography continued—Death of Jervis Langdon—Birth of Langdon Clemens—Burlesque map of Paris …[AMT 1: 359-363].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens rang for me this morning at 9:10, & when I went in he said: “I’ve been thinking about making a round of the hospitals & talking to some of those sick people.” Then he told me about the time in London when he and C.C. and someone else went to an accident ward perhaps, for everyone was picturesquely bandaged, & they had a very satisfactory time. “Once I talked to the inmates of an insane asylum, in Hartford. I have talked to idiots a thousand times, but only once to the insane.”
I asked him about the dinner last night and he told me that they had kept Mr. Munro “down cellar” for awhile & when he was brought up, he found 20 or more men in the library with plaids across their breasts & he as presiding officer had linked arms with completely surprised Mr. Munro & they marched around through the rooms with bag pipers going on ahead. I know it was better than Mr. Clemens could say, for he is so modest about himself & does not realize how completely he contributes to perfections. He said that Mr. Paine had a poem for the occasion—the best thing of the evening, thought Mr. Clark had a good one too. [in left margin: No more portrait sittings!…] [MTP TS 30-31].
Mally Graham Coatsworth Lord (Mrs. Herbert Lord) wrote from 623 W. 113th St. NYC to Sam. “My dear dear Mr. Mark Twain,— / There is to be a group of your adorers at our house from four to six on washington’s Birthday, quite a lot of people, and I want to know if you won’t come and be adored” [MTP].
Sam’s A.D. of this day titled “The Fortifications of Paris” covered: Livy’s illness after Langdon Clemens’ birth and her care by Rachael Gleason of Elmira; the death of Emma Nye at the Clemens home; the publication of the wacky map—the piece was selected for MTE [249-52].
February 16 Friday – Sam gave a speech as the honorary head of The Ends of the Earth Club at the Savoy Hotel. The New York Times reported on p.9:
ENDS OF EARTHERS FOREGATHER HERE AGAIN
And Astonish Mark Twain with Some Very Brief Reports.
HE AND OTHERS REMINISCE
The Author Tells How He Filled Cooper Union
39 Years Ago—150 Globe Trotters at Dinner.
Once every year a body of men of prime fellowship, hailing from the four corners of the earth, but speaking the Anglo-Saxon tongue, gather in New York to see each other, shake hands, and say “How d’ye do.” They call their organization The Ends of the Earth Club. The name typifies their clan, for it is to the very jumping-off places of the earth that its membership of men in every known profession reaches, and if the fun they had at their third annual dinner at the Savoy Hotel last night didn’t penetrate to the ends of the glove, it was the sole fault of modern methods of communication.
The Ends of the Earth Club, of which Mark Twain is the honorary head, with Rudyard Kipling and Admiral George Dewey as members of the Honorary Council, was formed three years ago by globe trotters of New York and elsewhere in the world, whose idea was to dine together once every twelve months and exchange felicitations. Here are its principles:
Members: Good fellows with no axes to grind who speak our language.
Lodge: Wherever the four ways meet—the North and South and East and West trails.
Greeting: “Where do you come from?” “I come from the ends of the earth.”
“To speak the language.”
Mark Twain was the honorable guest and made the main speech at the dinner last night and sat next to Gen. James H. Wilson, who, although the speeches were all informal, acted as toastmaster. Mr. Clemens did not arrive at the dinner until 10 o’clock. When he did appear the Ends of the Earthers rose and sang, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.”
Now, the Ends of the Earth Club has no regular quarters and has no business to transact, but at each dinner it goes through the mock form of receiving reports from its Secretary and Treasurer.
“The report of the Secretary,” responded Secretary C. Bowyer Vaux, indicating the menu card, “is already in cold type before you.”
Mark Twain, in beginning his talk, said he never intended delivering another speech or another lecture, but that when it came to reminiscences he would take care of his share.
“I don’t quite get the hang of this club,” he said. “You don’t know what the Treasurer’s report furnishes except that it doesn’t furnish anything. I might just as well be in the S.P.C.A. I don’t know whether you adopted that method or whether the Society for the Propagation of Cruelty to Animals adopted it. [Laughter.] Only you do come out better than they do.”
Mr. Clemens then went on to tell about Mulberry Sellers, to whom Gen. Wilson had alluded in his introduction.
“When I was writing the book,” he said. I had great trouble with Mulberry Sellers. I had the man’s name written originally as Mulberry Sellers. A friend told me I ought to change it.
“ ‘Make it Escol Sellers,’ he advised.
“ ‘But I’m afraid,’ I replied. ‘An Escol Sellers may be living and we may get into trouble.’ However, I made it Escol Sellers and one day a man from Philadelphia, a stately and cultivated gentleman, approached me.
“ ‘Sir,’ he said, ‘my name is Escol Sellers. I’ll give you fifteen minutes to take my name out of that book.’
“We did it, but that didn’t end the trouble, for a Mulberry Sellers turned up in Wisconsin, one on the Wabash, and others from various parts of the country.”
Mr. Clemens then told of his first lecture delivered at the Cooper Institute thirty-nine years ago.
“I met a man on the streets of New York a few weeks ago,” said he. “He was my old friend Fuller, ninety years gone and gray-headed. I was glad to see him, and the moment I laid eyes upon him I was brought back to my first lecture in New York, at Cooper Institute. Fuller was the man who proposed it. I demurred.
“ ‘Nobody knows me here, Fuller,’ I said, ‘and the thing will be a failure.”
“ ‘No such thing,’ he argued. ‘We will fill the house at $1 a head.’
“I was young enough to be deceived by his flamboyant talk and immediately had dreams of filling the house at $1 a head. He suggested Cooper Institute. I’ve been there once, and don’t want to go again.
“They advertised me as the “Eloquent and Celebrated Mark Twain.” They hung up in the city buses great bunches of flimsy cards advertising my coming lecture. The cards were to be pulled down and read by anybody interested. I saw them and got to haunting those buses. I rode up and down, up and down through this town of New York watching with beating heart and hoping that someone would pull one of those sheets.
“I never saw anybody do it. I finally advised Fuller to flood the city with paper, and we did so. We sent out barrels of complimentary tickets. When the eventful night came, the streets were blocked with struggling men and women. The house was jammed with people. I felt flattered, for it was my first lecture in the East. It was a magnificent triumph. We had a superb time, and we took in $35. I remarked about this to Fuller the other day.
“ ‘No,’ he said, “it was $350.’
“I didn’t hold that against him and ask him for the money, because it happened too long ago.”
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy’s Biography mentions little Langdon—The change of residence from Buffalo to Hartford—Clemens tells of the sale of his Buffalo paper to Mr. Kinney—speaks of Jay Gould, John A. McCall and John D. Rockefeller [AMT 1: 363-366].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Every day except Sat. & Sun. Mr. Paine & Miss Hobby come & every day is a delight & an inspiration to those two—and to Mr. Clemens as well. He does enjoy it so” [MTP TS 31].
Lu B. Cake wrote to Sam that “some time ago” she’d sent her book Who Killed Him? Gentiles, not the Jews, and had “begged a line to help bring the case before the public more fully, not that you endorse the contents…” She was preparing a circular and had obtained responses from “eminent ones,” such as ex-President Grover Cleveland. On or after this date Sam replied that he had “very little time to read therefore economized by reading subjects which interested him “& this one does not” [MTP].
Mary E. Joyce wrote from NYC to thank Sam for his response to her search for badges or buttons for her club of fifteen crippled boys. “I had no idea of anything so perfectly beautiful coming in answer to my letter, and the boys will be as delighted as I am….The club is the ‘Little Men’s Club,’ and the idea of having the initials on the button with the picture is a fine one” [MTP].
The Monmouth (N.J.) Daily Review sent Sam a telegram asking “In what work will we find ‘Definition of a gentleman’” [MTP].
William H. Rideing for Boston Youth’s Companion wrote to Sam. “I enclose 2 copies of the photograph I spoke of at the Players the other night and I shall be very much obliged if you will write you’re your autograph in pencil on one and your autograph and a line or two besides on the other, which I mean to keep for myself” [MTP].
W.W. Sturges wrote from Meadville, Mo. to Sam.
I notice the remarks in the papers about the piece of poetry sent you concerning the lightning bug & like yourself I don’t think it applies to you; but here is one I think does:
De Lady bug hab de golden wing:—
De firefly hab de flame;
De bed bug don’t hav no wing at all;
But he gits dare all de same.
Sturges, who signed himself “scientist” added a PS: “Please hand my best regards to our mutual friend ‘Eli Perkins.’”[MTP].
Of the selections from Twain’s A.D.’s, DeVoto selected about half of the materials not chosen before by Paine to be included in Mark Twain in Eruption (1940); among DeVoto’s choices, was “The Teaching of Jay Gould,” dictated this day, in which Twain decried Jay Gould’s greed; he made fun of a “seemingly pious article” about John McCall, and excoriated Americans who held the unprincipled rich in high esteem [77-81].
February 16 ca. – Robert Fraser Standen wrote to Sam. “I should be much obliged if you will inform me when this book of yours, substantiating the accusations made against Mrs Eddy in the postscript above quoted, may be expected to be placed before the public” [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on Feb. 24. Standen had quoted a PS of Sam’s in his letter to Harpers on Dec. 2, 1905.
February 17 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam sent his autograph on a small card to an unidentified person [MTP #10492].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Today Mr. Clemens said that ‘Poultney Bigelow’s father is trying to pin him to a square mile of this earth. Trying to have him settle on the old Bigelow estate for the summer. It’s somewhere up on the Hudson’” [MTP TS 31-32].
Frederick A. Duneka of Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam that Eve’s Diary “book promises to be a very beautiful one.” Sam had suggested to include “a little extract” from Adam’s Diary in the book—was he still “of the same mind”? Sam wrote on the letter on or just after this day that he was “Still of the same mind” [MTP].
President Theodore Roosevelt and Edith K. Roosevelt sent Sam an wedding announcement of their daughter, Alice Lee Roosevelt to Mr. Nicholas Longworth for this date. Soon after Feb. 17 Sam wrote on the back to Isabel Lyon: “We ought to drop them a note & say we’d heard it” [MTP]. Note: See Feb. 18 to Clara; Sam’s advice here was not carried out by Miss Lyon.
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote on Koy-Lo Co. letterhead to enclose 50 shares of stock to Sam and Stanchfield as a bonus for their last purchase of stock. The Co. had been organized in London, “to exploit the pin there….I have been too busy with pin and Plasmon matters to run up and see you this week, but will do so next week if you will let me know when to do so” [MTP].
Jean Burlingame Beatty (Mrs. Robert Chetwood Beatty) wrote from Westfield, NJ to thank Sam about an article he’d written in 1870 or 71 about her grandfather, Anson Burlingame, whom Sam much admired [MTP]. Note: see Vol. I for entries on Anson Burlingame, who made it possible for Sam’s scoop on the SS Hornet.
Charles F. Johnson wrote from Hartford, Conn. to Sam. The letter was to introduce Mrs. Parsons (first name illegible), who wished Sam to attend a dinner for the Smith College Alumnae and “to say something to [illegible word] the gayety of the occasion. Three hundred girls is rather a formidable audience, but I know you are a brave man” [MTP].
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam.
My darling Mr. Clemens / My vocabulary seems quite exhausted when I want to tell you how kind and good you are. I wanted to call you “sweet and dear” but I didn’t know whether you have a copy-right or not on these words. But I don’t suppose you will mind if I use them; I shall change them a little, you are very sweet and very dear.
I want to thank you for your kind gift. It is a sweet little story but that is quite natural since it is your favorite. May I be your little “Marjorie”?
I can hardly wait until I see you again as you imagine that the postponement of the lecture was quite a disappointment to me I think I will stop writing now as I am getting a little sleepy (no offense meant) and I want my thoughts always to be bright and fresh when I write to you I will have something nice to dream about after writing this to you. Good Night / The little girl who loves you / Gertrude [MTAq 13-4].
February 18 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote verse to an unidentified person. A draft survives:
For your love has the power of the fabled purse
That wrought charms in the old romaunt
Who had it might live in a shack or worse
And feed on dreams & air dew & verse
Yet never could he know want [MTP].
Sam also wrote to daughter Clara in Atlantic City, N.J. referring to the President’s daughter, Clara’s illness and other matters.
Well, dear Ashcast, she’s married, ain’t you glad? I know it, because the President has sent a card which says so. I was going to telegraph him that we already knew about it, but Miss Lyon who is provincial & Farmingtonius & not well up in society things thought it quite unnecessary, & even said so. So there it stands. It is no fault of mine. I wash my hands of it.
Your ring still lies on my bed-table. It is a bait—for Catherine—& Philip—& Miss Lyon. I am watching them. They do not suspect. Keep it to yourself—we’ll see what will happen, when it happens.
I am afraid you are in bed yet, as I hear nothing to the contrary. If you had remained here you would have had this attack anyway, & become bedridden, so it is fortunate that you are there in that wholesomer air. Don’t hurry back—don’t. And don’t try to send Katy—I won’t allow it.
Teresa is getting along a little, at the hospital. To-morrow they will put her in a room to herself. I am glad of that [MTP]. Note: Teresa Cherubini was the maid.
February 19 Monday – Govinier C. Hall for the Knife & Fork Club in Kansas City, Mo. wrote to Sam [MTP]. Note: the social club was formed on Nov. 29, 1898: “The Club has just one purpose – to hold monthly dinners which will bring together the young business and professional men of the city in social intercourse, and which will afford an opportunity to present addresses of high character on the important subjects that are engaging
the attention of the thinking men of the times” Hall is not listed in the 1902 membership rolls online, but interestingly, General Frederick Funston is.
Fatout lists Sam for a dinner speech on Feb. 19 to Pilgrims of the U.S. in N.Y.C. [MT Speaking 674].
February 20 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave. Sam directed Isabel Lyon to write to William McCutchan Morrison, Congo missionary, in Lexington, Va.: “I thank him very much for his letter, and I hope that the agitation of the Congo question will bear fruit. I think the promise looks good in England” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: About Rear-Admiral Charles Wilkes–And meeting Anson Burlingame in Honolulu [AMT 1: 367-369].
Sam inscribed a recent photograph of himself to Frank R. Lawrence: “Take note of this, Frank Lawrence, old friend of mine. To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is nobler—and no trouble.—S.L. Clemens.” [MTP; Kansas City Star, Feb. 20, p.1; also NY Times p.1]. Note: Lawrence was past president of the Lotos Club; see Nov. 11, 1893 entry.
In the afternoon Sam was the guest of honor at Columbia University. The New York Times, Feb. 21, p. 2; He took Jean along [IVL Feb. 20 TS 20]:
TWAIN THE GREATEST
In English Literature, Says Brander Matthews—A Columbia Tea for Him.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) was the guest of honor at a Columbia University tea held yesterday [Feb 20] afternoon in Earl Hall. More than 900 students greeted Mr. Clemens and Sir Caspar Purden-Clarke, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Edward Robinson, the Assistant Director, who were also guests.
At the close of the reception the students gathered outside Earl Hall and cheered Mr. Clemens to the echo. The tea was more generally attended than any other held this year.
Prof. Brander Matthews earlier in the day, while lecturing tto his class in American literatur, called Mr. Clemens the “greatest figure in English literature.” Prof. Matthews declared that there is no man even in England who can be compared to Mark Twain as a master of the language.
Sam also began a letter to Gertrude Natkin that he added a P.S. to on Feb. 21.
Isn’t it odd, you little witch! I was already thinking of calling you by that name [Marjorie] & now you have thought of it yourself. And I am very glad to share those other titles with you, dear, very glad indeed, notwithstanding they are pretty flattering for me, while they fit you to the shade of a shadow.
Dr. Van Dyke has not been able to get free of his preaching-engagements for next Sunday. Therefore he can’t lecture that afternoon. Also, it gives me my freedom, for I am now not obliged to do any introducing there, & I think I won’t; but if I change my mind I will write & tell you. I am become so tired & dull, these latter days, that I would like to go to bed & stay there the rest of the season. It is a dreadfully long winter; I wish it would quit, & try something else. It makes me sour & out of patience, & to-night I am sour beyond expression! But you—well, you never can be that, Marjorie Dear, it’s against your nature. / Good-night & bright dreams! [MTAq 14].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight Mr. Clemens dined with Mr. & Mrs. Robert Collier. He & Jean went up to a reception at Earl Hall, Columbia University, this afternoon & saw some interesting people, but mostly not I think. They came home very tired & Mr. Clemens went at once to his bed to rest.
This morning Mr. Paine said such a beautiful thing about Mr. Clemens. “Oh, he’s the King—he’s the King, and it’s so glorious to know he is crowned.
I was so grateful to him for saying it.
Mr. Clemens has been telling us about an attractive lady, a Mrs. Lord, who was at the reception this afternoon. She was introduced to him, he liked her and asked her to come again as she passed on after a word with him and Sir Purdon Clarke. “And she did come again, she came five times and every time I was glad to see her” [MTP TS 32].
Virginia Taylor wrote from Barnard College, NYC to invite Sam to speak the “Barnard Union.” Her father, Charles T. Taylor “says you do not remember him, of course, but he met you through his friend, Henry Cuyler Bunner, whose books he illustrated. I did not have anything more tangible to place myself in your mind this afternoon at the Columbia University Tea, excepting Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder’s directions, which I delivered. / Barnard is young and needs your help” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the back of the letter: “Mar. 7th / telephone / Call at 330 / with an open / mobile.”
February 21 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam added a PS to his Feb. 20 to Gertrude Natkin:
Mr. Powlison has been here, & he is a charming man. Of course he persuaded me. The date is March 4, 3.30 p.m., at the Majestic Theatre. You & your mother will be shown to the box, as per the order which I sent you, & you will find Miss Lyon & her mother there. Mr. P. has to provide a clergyman to furnish respectability, & I will take care of the rest of the show myself.
I’m getting dreadfully late, & I’ve an engagement! Good-bye, you dear little friend [MTAq 14]. Note: Charles F. Powlison. When Van Dyke was not able to speak, Sam agreed to do so on the above date.
Sam also wrote to Sarah S. Collier (Mrs. Robert J. Collier):
Do you know, my dear, it has probably never happened before. Of course the materials have often been present under a roof, or the summer sky, but scattered among the mass, not isolated, not bunched. When two or three are gathered together (of those aspects,) it will be found that the Almighty, with all His advantages, is not likely to get there ahead of me. I am seventy, but I have never before seen three such beautiful girls concentrated in a space coverable by an umbrella—and bunched; no surrounding neutrality of commonplace faces & figures & gowns to reinforce & emphasize & exaggerate the effect [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Jervis Langdon just escapes being a railway magnate—Clemens’ dealings with Elisha Bliss, the publisher [AMT 1: 369-372].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens enjoyed the Collier dinner last night. When I went to his room this morning he was full of glee over a darling little note he was writing to Mrs. Collier in code telling her how beautiful she & Mrs. Dooley & Mrs. Pulitzer were as they sat together on a couch when the men joined them after smoking. It is satisfying to see his enjoyment of beauty. He spoke of Jerome, who was there & said “he’s a handsome devil”—“and he’s a gentleman too, but when he talks he uses so much slang that you have to stop him & get him to translate, & there are plenty of profane words scattered nicely along.” When they joined those beautiful creatures, Mr. “Jerome was sensible & sat down on a grizzly bear’s head in front of them”, but Mr. Clemens took Mrs. Sallie’s place on the couch, between Mrs. Dooley & Mrs. Pulitzer, so he could see only one beautiful profile at a time. (And to think of his own wonderful beauty, between those two young creatures, for he was a glory as he started out at 10 minutes before 8) [MTP TS 32-33].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote on Koy-Lo Co. letterhead to Sam.
I wired Vernon on Tuesday that you would prefer he should see Lauterbach and Baldwin next week, and I also wrote him confirming this and stating that you would not be a party to any negotiationsn in which Wheeler or Butters were mixed up [MTP]. Note: Ashcroft enclosed a copy of a note he’d sent to Edward Lauterbach and also a statement “of the money paid out by me during the last seven months of 1905. Please send me your check for the $289.90 when convenient”
Homer Croy wrote for the Savitar (Univ. of Mo. yearbook) to advise Sam that this year’s book would be dedicated to Mark Twain. They were expressing last year’s book and requested a photo for use plus a “little letter in longhand so that we can reproduce it” [MTP].
February 22 Thursday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
These days are fat with good things. This morning a man from The Evening Post came to ask permission to publish Col. Mann’s letter to Mr. Clemens and Mr. Clemens’s reply to it. The other night when Mr. Clemens was dining with Robert Collier, Mr. Jerome was there and Mr. Clemens mentioned the little correspondence—Jerome said that that letter could be subpoenaed, which Mr. Clemens said “would suit me exactly for I am a slave to the law and would yield up my grandmother or any other asset.” He walked up & down the living room enjoying in his imagination the publication of that letter, after I had told him of the Post’s request, & since then there have been an Englishman from the Times, and a nice man from the Herald eager for that same letter. The Englishman said that it was Mr. Clemens’s duty to publish anything in his best vein & he had been told that the letter had been written in a very happy mood. (Certainly a strong truthful mood) [MTP TS 33-34].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy’s remarks about her grandfather Jervis Langdon—Clemens tells about Dwight Atwater—David Gray; and about meeting David Gray, junior, at a dinner recently [AMT 1: 373-375].
Sam dined with Mr. & Mrs. Norman Hapgood. He was accompanied by Dorothea Gilder. Also at the dinner were Roger E. Fry, and Robert W. Chambers [IVL Feb. 23 TS 21]. See Feb. 23 entry for more on Mr. Fry.
George J. Helmer for Infirmacy of Osteopathy wrote to solicit Sam’s support at the NY State Legislature to fight laws that would “render the Osteopathic practice illegal in this State” [MTP].
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam.
Now darling Mr. Clemens, you know way down in the bottom of that big heart of yours that you could’ent be “sour or out of patience” no matter what the weather man is doing with the weather. That going to bed and remaining the rest of the season is like the butterfly who as a nasty horrid little caterpillar goes to bed and then blooms into a beautiful butterfly. But this is not like your case, as you could not become nicer than you are, whereas there is a great chance for improvement in the case of the caterpillar.
Do you know Mr. Clemens, according to the Latin language, your name suits you perfectly. What made me think of this was because I was just translating “Cicero” and I came across the word Clemens: merciful, good, kind, just like you. I like to write my letters to you in my own room away from everybody else and after I have sent the letter I keep the folks curious as to what I wrote you but finally I tell them as I keep a duplicate of my letters to you.
Now Mr. Clemens, in case you go to bed, please wake up by March 4, Good-bye, Your little girl who loves you. / Gertrude / P.S. That was force of habit, I meant to sign Marjorie.
Excuse that blot I could’ent help it / well, we shall let it go with a kiss [MTAq 15]. Note: Cooley notes that “the letter shows no sign of an inkblot, but Gertrude may have kissed and blotted the letter. Future ‘blots’ sent by both Gertrude and Clemens are symbolic.” It is easy to understand how enchanted Sam must have been by this creative, educated, and affectionate young girl.
February 23 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Last night Mr. Clemens dined with the Norman Hapgoods. He said this morning that the Hapgood dinners are best avoided, for there are always too many people there—too many big people. Mr. Fry the new assistant Curator of the Museum was there, doubtless a charming man, but not very talkative, & Robert W. Chambers, Mr. Clemens had no chance to talk with, & altogether he came home very tired & not inspired. Dorothea Gilder went up to the dinner with him [MTP TS 34]. Note: Note: Roger E. Fry, Englishman, artist and art critic, was curator of paintings for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He later wrote several books on art.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Clemens tells how he became a business man—Mentions his brother Orion’s autobiography [AMT 1: 376-379].
W. Vernon wrote to advise he would be in NY on the 27th and 28th and wished to make an appointment with Ashcroft and with Sam’s counsel [MTP]. Note: this letter is addressed to Ashcroft, and likely forwarded by him to Sam, together with Ashcroft’s Feb. 23 to Lauterbach. Vernon then wrote the following letter to Sam:
I have received a letter from Mr. Ashcroft, saying that you would take part in no negotiations in which Mr. Butters or Mr. Wheeler had to do. When I was in New York, it was arranged that Mr. Hammond (and with Mr. Wheeler’s consent) that he should withdraw entirely from the Plasmon matter. There never has been any question of having any dealings with Mr. Butters, as nobody wishes to have anything to do with him. The opinion expressed about this was universal.
Wilson encouraged Sam to attend the meeting with him, Ashcroft, Sam’s attorney, and Hammond, on Tuesday Feb. 27. If not then, Wilson would like to see Sam on Wed., Feb. 28 [MTP] Note: Lyon wrote on the letter Sam’s directives: “Telephone Ashcroft- / Read the letter / Hammond gone to Mexico? / Can’t see why he should be present / Counsel knows more than / he does—their affair to know / what do to—If Ash or counsel thngs he ought to be there / he’ll go.”
Candace Wheeler wrote from NYC to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens
The 4th of March, on Sunday, at three o’clock, we expect to have a little very good singing and a few very delightful people. Really delightful people I will say, since I hope you will be hear and the Gilders and the Doubledays and McElways & Choates—all of them of the kind that are worth while, and no one who is not–not one, even as an attachment [MTP]. Note: She also asked if Jean and Clara might come. Lyon wrote on the letter, “Cannot make any plans for daughters but should like to know how long it will hang on for he has an engagement to talk on 59St at 345… / Telephone / Hope to get there”
February 24 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Frederick A. Duneka. “Saturday. Many thanks. The books have come. I am fully equipped for the voyage now. SL. Clemens” [MTP]. Note: since Sam was not planning any voyage, the reference may be rhetorical.
replied to Govinier C. Hall’s
Feb. 19 at the Hall-Truman Furniture Co. in Kansas City. Sam
was “old, or nearly that” and would “not travel any more.” He thanked Hall for
an unspecified book and praised the illustrations in it: “God
bless this artist
& damn & try to forgive the other kind”
Hall had written for the Knife & Fork Club.
Sam also replied to Robert Fraser Standen’s ca. Feb. 16: “It is quite likely that the Harper Corporation has doubted the policy of publishing the book at this time. In fact this is really the case. But as to my “preferences,” I haven’t altered any [MTP]. Note: the book was the delayed Christian Science.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This afternoon after I had finished playing the Tannhäuser Overture to Mr. Clemens, he suggested that the joys of a trip in the subway from Astor Place to the Northern terminus would be considerable, for he loves the subway. I said doubtless he would enjoy it. Then he asked me if I’d like to go. It was a happy suggestion. I played The Chorus of Angels through & away we went up to the 150th Street where we got out & walked down toward the Hudson. It is very close to the beautiful new Spanish Library Building given to the city by Mr. Archer Huntington. Mr. Clemens has been made consulting director of it, taking the place of Mr. John Hay. Oh, it was a dear afternoon, & we reached home in just an hour and a half after leaving the house. The air was soft, the mud—real mud on that real country road—had the spring quality, the Hudson lay glinting in a soft silver mist, & the automobiles went honk-honking along in a steady stream to the north [MTP TS 34-35; also noted in Gribben 732].
[From IVL Feb. 25:]
We are having fun out of an incident which occurred yesterday [Feb. 24]. It seems that when Mr. Clemens & I were in the northbound subway train he had been acutely aware of a beautiful girl who sait on “the port side of the car”. At dinner last night he asked if I hadn’t noticed how lovely she was. I had to say no, I hadn’t seen her. “Didn’t see her! Why her beauty filled the car!” When I reached C.C.’s room after dinner I confessed to her that I hadn’t seen that beautiful girl because I had been trying not to look at a glorious young god of a man. She told on me at tea this afternoon [Feb. 25], to the delight of Mr. Clemens & Bynner. Here’s a case! I’m to chaperone Mr. Clemens. C.C. is to chaperone me, & Bynner said “I’ll take a front seat.” But he has been deputed as a suitable chaperone for C.C In great glee Mr. Clemens called us “a pair of old flirts” [MTP TS 22].
Harper’s Weekly published “Anecdotes of Mark Twain” by Henry P. Goddard, p. 280-1. Tenney: “Recollections by Goddard, who knew MT in the 1870’s. Notes MT’s generosity in signing over a lecture fee to Colonel Richard Malcom Johnston; describes MT’s comments on lecturing and his gradual reduction of lecture notes to a few marks on his fingernails” . See Jan. 17, 1889 entry for Sam’s donation of lecture fee to Johnston. No 1870’s information on Goddard has been found connecting him to Sam.
February 24 ca. – Sam replied to Henry Copley Greene (incoming not extant), who had evidently sought a signature on a petition to install streetlights in Dublin, N.H. “about Dublin Lights— If I were going to tell the entire truth I don’t care whether they have lights or haven’t them. The people who care are the ones to sign” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Harper & Brothers: “There isn’t a cent of money in a Danish translation—can have the permission provided your trans & pub. fin in 3 years—otherwise keep some one else from that opportunity” [MTP].
A draft exists (possibly not sent) from Sam per Isabel Lyon to an unidentified man:
Dear Sir: / When I finished the book & handed the MS. to the Harpers my interest in the matter ended. Whenever I have finished a book the question of whether it should ever be pub. or not is a matter of indifference to me. I have no preferences. The book [CS] has been ready for publication some 3 or 4 yrs. If at any time the Harpers should conclude to issue it, there will be no occasion to consult me about it [MTP].
February 24–28 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to the editor of the Saturday Evening Post that his contract with Harpers “doesn’t allow it. Besides, very busy with regular work” [MTP].
February 25 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Late last night—midnight & after—I sat here cutting Harper’s magazine for Mark & came across a beautiful little poem by Mildred Howells. I took it to Mr. Clemens this morning, he read it aloud to me & then cut it out of the magazine. This afternoon when Witter Bynner was here for tea, Mr. Clemens read it aloud again saying that he had wasted a whole chapter to say what she had said in a few lines & then as he paced the room he talked a little bit about the power of poetry to convey our thoughts in fittest form. Witter Bynner then recited a little poem of his own which is to appear shortly in McClures. It, too, is very beautiful, & is another summing up of a life problem. He is a magnetic creature.
At half past four Mr. & Mrs. Paine & their 3 lovely children, Louise, aged 11, a little poetess, Frances, aged 7, and tiny Joy, aged 3 came in for tea.
[on separate sheet of paper dated Feb. 25—an incident; see this placed for Feb. 24:] [MTP TS 35-36].
Note: Witter Bynner (1881-1968), poet, and writer. Bynner was a 1902 Harvard graduate and later became friends with D.H. Lawrence. Bynner lived for three decades in New Mexico, where he threw parties for famous people.
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to William Dean Howells, now in Atlantic City, N.J. at the St. Charles Hotel.
Miss Lyon brought to me, this morning, Mildred’s poem, in the March Harper; & its depth, & dignity, & pathos, & compression, & fluent grace & hearty—and stern veracity—have haunted me all day & sung in the ears of my spirit like a strain of solemn music. What a lumbering poor vehicle prose is for the conveying of a great thought! It cost me several chapters to say in prose what Mildred has said better with a single penfull of ink. Prose wanders around with a lantern & laboriously schedules & verifies the details & particulars of a valley & its frame of crags & peaks, then Poetry comes, & lays bare the whole landscape with a single splendid flash.
This evening I went out to 59th street to read the masterly poem to my brilliant niece, Mrs. Julie Langdon Loomis, who is a daft admirer of yours & student of Silas Lapham & others of your books; but I had my journey for nothing, for of course I left the poem in my other vest. And a pity, too, & I cursed myself.
Clara is grateful to you, & very properly sorry & ashamed for letting you run all over that place in search of comfortable quarters for her. I gave her a scolding, but of course that didn’t undo her evil work. / With love to you both …. [MTHL 2: 800-801]. Note: source gives clarifying notes: Mildred Howells’ poem was “At the Wind’s Will,” which “figured human beings as autumn leaves driven by chance winds,” an idea that would find agreement with Clemens. Sam was working ont What Is Man? which he was to have printed privately in August. Clara Clemens was also in Atlantic City, at the Brighton Hotel, confined to bed by an illness.
Patrick McAleer, longtime servant for the Clemens family, died at the age of 60 in Hartford. Sam would attend Patrick’s funeral. In his Mar. 4 speech at the YMCA, Sam called Patrick “my ideal of an ideal gentleman” [MTHL 2: 802n2].
Sam wrote to Robert Fraser Standen (Stander?) in Dover, England. This letter not extant but mentioned in Standen’s Mar. 23, 1907 letter [MTP].
Duffield Osborne wrote for the Authors Club to invite Sam to a reception for Norman Hapgood on Mar. 15 at 9 pm [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the bottom of the letter: “That date is to me quite impossible as I have got to be in Washington.”
February 26 Monday – A telegram (not extant) came to Clemens from Hartford, announcing the death of Patrick McAleer [IVL TS 23]. Note: This was likely sent by Twichell. See IVL’s Feb. 27 entry.
Sam wrote to Joe Twichell: “Shall reach Hartford about two thirty today to attend Patrick’s funeral Wednesday. I desire to be a pall bearer” [MTP]. Note: likely this was a telegram. Also included in IVL’s TS 23.
Sam also wrote to Brig. Gen. Albert Leopold Mills (1854-1916): “Dear Sir, / By permission of the enclosed post card which I think is authentic I venture to offer to the Academy a photograph of what is left of me, & add my grateful remembrance of pleasant days with the officers & the cadets of the long time ago. / Very truly yours…” [MTP: Paine TS]. Note: Mills was in the West Point class of 1879. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at Santiago, Cuba, on July 1, 1898. Later in 1898 he was appointed Superintendent of West Point by President McKinley, a post which he held until 1906. Clemens visited the Academy in the spring of 1879. Leon writes Mills likely heard Sam speak then [131, 250]. See Feb. 28 for Mills’ reply.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy comes to New York with her mother and father—Aunt Clara Spaulding visits them at the Everett House—Aunt Clara’s ill luck with horses—The omnibus incident in Germany—Aunt Clara now ill at the Hoffman House from a horseback accident thirty years ago—Clemens takes Susy to see General Grant—Clemens’ account of his talk with Grant—Clemens gives his first reading in New York—Also tells about one in Boston—Memorial to Longfellow—And one in Washington [AMT 1: 379-385].
Sam traveled to Hartford, arriving at about 2:30 p.m. for Patrick McAleer’s funeral on Feb. 28.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning’s mail brought letters from the ends of the earth, five of them. First a letter from a Danish Unitarian Minister asking the privilege of translating Joan of Arc into his native tongue; next a letter from a Spanish actress asking an autograph; then a letter from a secretary of a Club in Canada asking Mr. Clemens to be their guest of honor; then a delightful letter from a school boy in Montpelier, France, asking for a copy of “Innocents Abroad”—a large order—Mr. Clemens said. And lastly a request from “the most enthused of his Hungarian admirers” for a word in writing.
The French boy is a dear. Mr. Clemens calls him Gertrude’s twin & would like the fun of marrying them. He plays the darlingest games.
This afternoon Mr. Paine who is a veritable Chorus of Angels, took Jean & me down to the East side through the Polish-Jew quarter where the Hebrew in every guise runs a law-abiding riot. It’s a lovely medly of street vendors of every kind. Jean is going to pack a description of it into a German essay. Through the Bowery we went into Chinatown, enchanting babies we saw & we ate chop-suey in a very nice Chinese restaurant. We bought Chinese bowls & Mr. Paine bought me a darling Chinese man [MTP TS 36-37].
T.N. James wrote from Boston to Sam asking if he would consider being the Editor-in-Chief of “Men of Mark” in New York [MTP]. Note: Sam answered on or just after this date. See below in Feb. 26 ca..
Sam also wrote (possibly a telegram) to Charles Hopkins Clark:
“Will you assemble some Cheneys & Twichells & other friends at Hartford Club Thursday [Mar. 1] & lunch them & me at my expense. / S.L.C.” [MTP]. Note: Sam would attend Patrick McAleer’s funeral on Feb. 28. This note also included in IVL TS 23.
February 26 ca. – On or after this day Sam instructed Lyon to answer the Feb. 26 offer of T.N. James that his contract with Harpers would not allow him to “take up their proposition” [MTP]. Note: if the mail was delivered on the same day from Boston, his reply would have been made prior to his leave for Hartford; if later, then upon his return to N.Y.
February 27 Tuesday – Sam went to Hartford; Katy Leary also went [Feb. 26 to Twichell; IVL below and Feb. 28].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Yesterday [Feb. 26] came a telegram from Hartford announcing Patrick’s death & when I told Mr. Clemens he was deeply moved. He was sitting in the Gladstone chair [see insert Gladstone chair] in the living room & after a moment he said “I must go to the funeral.” So this morning he went.
Mr. Clemens will spend tonight with the Twichells & tomorrow night with the Whitmores, & how happy that will make them. How glad Mrs. Whitmore will be. …
The weather has changed & it is very, very cold [MTP TS 37-38].
George J. Helmer for Infirmacy of Osteopathy wrote to Sam. “Your letters to the Assemblyman and Senator just received. I thank you for calling my attention to the fact that the circular letter was more in the form of a command than a request. Am glad that seventy years has not dulled your vision for the abnormal” [MTP].
February 28 Wednesday – In Hartford Sam was a pall-bearer at Patrick McAleer’s funeral.
William Dean Howells wrote from Atlantic City, N.J. to Sam.
No praise that I ever had for work of my own gave me such entire and perfect joy as your praise of Pilla’s poem. Of course your letter has gone straight to her, and she will know how to prize the words which are simply without price.
I have no complaint to make of Clara [who was also in Atlantic City] except that I was not the least use in the world to her. Sometimes she must make that up to me. I wish she could go to Bermuda while Pilla is there.
To-morrow I shall be 69, but I do not seem to care. I did not start the affair, and I have not been consulted about it at any step. I was born to be afraid of dying, but not of getting old. Age has many advantages, and if old men were not so ridiculous, I should not mind being one. But they are ridiculous and they are ugly. The young do not see this so clearly as they do; but some day they will.
So you have been up, burying poor old Patrick [McAleer]—I suppose he was old, too. I remember how you used to work, one while, over his stable. I dare say he did not like it; but he probably never said so, and now the best return you can make is to see him put under the ground. It is strange, but that was really the best you could do, and I am glad you did it.
I want to hear some of your autobiography, if you will let me: or you could give me the MS. and let me read it for myself.
Mrs. Howells joins me in love to you all.
After his signature Howells added a paragraph about resolving death, and of his 87 year old father’s resolving it [MTHL 2: 801-2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Santissima sang today for Mrs. Day & Alice Day & Miss Burbank& Miss Gordon & Miss McGinnis & Dorothea Gilder. Some of her notes were very, very beautiful, but she has the beginning of another cold, & so she was a little nervous. Dorothea Gilder was refreshing in a pretty new brown crepe de chine frock, she whirled around in a sweet naive way & asked us to admire it. We had been doing it without her pretty bidding. Saturday she sails in the Princess Irene for Gibraltar with Miss Cecilia Beaux.
Katie came home tonight from Patrick’s funeral. She said it was beautiful to see Mr. Clemens walk up the aisle of the Cathedral with his hand on Patrick’s coffin. (And I hope his spirit could see the honor done to his dear faithful body by his wonderful master.) She said the place was full of people, for it became known that Mr. Clemens was to be at the funeral & so homage was done to him. I hope Jesse Moore had a look at his beautiful face. Katie said that Mr. Clemens didn’t go to the cemetery [MTP TS 38-39].
Hill writes of Clara Clemens’ struggle to regain her singing form and of Isabel Lyon’s journal entry: “On February 28 she attempted to sing: ‘,’ Isabel commented .
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam. “At the request of Miss Lyon, I am sending you a copy of the additions you wrote to ‘Adam’s Diary’ which are to be inserted at page 35. / We expect to have a dozen more pictures for ‘Eve’s Diary’ in two or three days. When they arrive, I shall let you know” [MTP].
Bernard F. Martin wrote on Senate Chamber, State of NY letterhead to acknowledge receipt of Sam’s letter. “I voted against Osteopathy last winter. I have not made up my mind as to my course on this bill mentioned by you” [MTP].
Albert Leopold Mills, Superintendent of West Point Military Academy, replied to thank Sam for his photograph sent Feb. 26. Mills hoped that Sam might come to see the many changes there [MTP]. Note: See Leon 250.
Susana Torres de Pastex wrote from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Sam. She was sending a parchment painted with “our great Mark Twain!” and asked that he might “write something on it” [MTP].
Leslie J. Tompkins wrote on Assembly Chamber State of NY letterhead to thank Sam for his suggestions concerning the Osteopathy Bill. Tompkins had not yet studied the bill. He feared his bills would be “buried in committee” [MTP].
W. Vernon wrote to Sam, sorry that a meeting was not to be, but “delighted however to hear that the probabilities in favor of a settlement of this business [along] lines we discussed in the fall are nearly attained.” He hoped to be back from England in the beginning of May [MTP].
March – Sam inscribed a copy of TS with an aphorism: “Let us save the to-morrows for work, Truly Yours Mark Twain, Mch/06” [MTP: City Book Auction catalogs 26 May 1945, Item 119].
Charles E. Dana wrote for the Contemporary Club in Phila. to invite Sam to their 20th anniversary dinner. They had chosen “American Humor” as the subject. Miss Agnes Repplier, (1855-1950) Philadelphia essayist known for her scholarship and humor, would give an address on the subject [MTP].
John Fretwell wrote to Sam enclosing a photo of himself dated Aug. 1902 and related being mistaken for Twain in several locations. On the photo envelope, Fretwell typed: “Port: of a man who in Kaltenleutgeben bei Wein, Louksor in Egypt, Birmingham, England, Boston, Mass. & New York, has been charged with crimes committed by Mark Twain, but in Each case succeed[ed] in proving an Alibi. /[picture] made in Zurich, Aug 1902” [MTP]. Note: photo of Fretwell in file; his moustache resembled Twain’s.
March 1 Thursday – In Hartford, Sam luncheoned with friends assembled by Charles Hopkins Clark [Feb. 26 to Clark; ca. Mar. 10 to Clark]. F. Kaplan puts this at the Hartford Club and includes Joe Twichell . Note: Clark wrote on Mar. 9 suggesting they split the bill for the lunch; Sam agreed.
F. Kaplan also has Twain reading “Wapping Alice” to Harmony Twichell’s Saturday morning discussion group sometime during the three days in Hartford, but if he did so it would not have been on a Saturday. Kaplan writes, “Harmony felt smoldering resentment that he dared present a story about sexual escapades and transvestitism to respectable female company,” though it’s not clear how he knows she smoldered .
In the evening Sam returned to New York [IVL TS 24].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight Mr. Clemens came back from Hartford & he took cold up there. It began going up in the train when he sat in a draft & the wind blew into the Twichell house & into his bedroom, so that wasn’t comforting & yesterday morning at the funeral, he took off his coat when he got into the Cathedral & struggled against the creeping cold. The coat was miles away for he had given it to the Sexton, not realizing that he was going to be away up by the altar. He said the service was so beautiful. The priest’s voice was fine & in the right key, and “there was one voice in the choir that was divinely beautiful”—he couldn’t tell me whether it was a boy’s or a woman’s, but oh it was so satisfying [MTP TS 39].
Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. wrote from San Diego, Calif. to Sam that he’d rec’d Harper’s notice of the Hill Crest edition, though he already possessed each volume, “some of them several times over, and there is not a volume among them that I have not occasionally presented to a friend when in need of good literature.” Grant especially valued the books with Sam’s autograph. Though he only got to NY once in three or four years, Grant intended to call on his next visit [MTP]. See Sam’s reply on Mar. 8.
James A. Renwick wrote to Sam, sending a rent receipt $291.67 for March rent [MTP].
March 2 Friday – Clara Clemens returned to Atlantic City; she would make another NY trip on Mar 13 to audition [Hill 122].
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin in N.Y.C., whom he now referred to as “Marjorie.”
Marjorie dear, Mr. [Charles F.] Powlison has sent tickets—which is very well; it simplifies things.
The house is made up of men, you see. Certainly this is a new kind of matinèe.
He has added come compliments (for me). I have destroyed them. Compliments make me vain; & when I am vain I am insolent & overbearing. It is a pity, too, because I love compliments. I love them even when they are not so. My child, I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat.
Marjorie, Marjorie, listen to me—
Listen, you… you…
Do you notice? it’s a poem. I’ve got that far all right. I expect it to be 8 or ten lines when I get it done. It will take a long time, because poetry is very difficult for me, on account of it’s being outside the range of my great talents. I expect to finish that second line during March, & take hold of No. 3 in April. I intend that it shall be exceedingly good when I get done, you dear little creature
P. S. It was a very nice blot, dear; there couldn’t be a nicer blot than that [MTAq 16]. Note: see Natkin’s Feb. 22 for explanation of the blot.
Sam also sent a telegram to C. Brereton Sharpe for the Plasmon Syndicate in London. “Have made an adjustment of Plasmon controversy preserving your third interest, but must issue $7500 Preferred Stock at par, each shareholder subscribing pro rata. Have agreed subject to confirmation of your subscribing $2500. Advise you to agree to it. Telegraph either yes or no Clemens” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Santissima went back to Atlantic City. I have been playing to Mr. Clemens, playing his favorites and after I had played many things that he loves I took up the Largo. He sat in the big green tufted chair quite near me, with his back toward me, and when I had finished it he said “If you’re not tired play the Susie one”, that is the Intermezzo. I played it and he said “I can fit the words to both those pieces, as the coffins of Susie & her mother are borne through the dining room & the hall & the drawing room of the Hartford house. Susie calls to me in the Intermezzo & her mother in the Largo, and they are lamenting that they shall see that place no more.” Oh, is soul is so lonely. Days are when it is so terrible [MTP TS 39-40].
Nineteen year old Julius Cohn wrote to Sam on Emil Nathan & Co., Wholesale Liquors (his employer) letterhead. Cohn had not been able to save to buy more of Twain’s books, his father deceased and his earnings supported his mother and sisters—he asked Clemens if he could “let me have a few” books? [MTP].
March 3 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Homer Croy, editor of the Missouri University’s yearbook the Savitar. Croy had sent Sam a copy of the 1905 yearbook which announced a proposal to dedicate the 1906 edition to Mark Twain. See insert 1906 Savitar.
The Savitar has arrived, & I
thank you very much for it. Everything that comes from the University interests
—& this book affects me in that way strongly.
Meantime my secretary has mislaid your letter. According to my recollection it proposed to dedicate the next Savitar to me. If that is so, I shall be proud of the honor, I assure you.
I do not remember that you added anything, but if you did it has escaped from my memory, & I beg that you will repeat it. / Sincerely Yours … [MTP].
Sam also wrote per Lyon to decline an invitation by the Yale Chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society to lecture: “I have not an open date for the rest of the season” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean and I went over to the Gilders’ last night. So many strange people! But I had a nice talk with Mr. Everett Shinn who tried to sell his Cornish place to Mr. Clemens a year ago. I saw & quite liked several people. Mary Lawton was a glory in white satin. Mr. Gilder was beautiful.
Secured a cabin for C.C. on the Minnetonka sailing June 9th. (Weeks later—Returned that security.)
Mr. Paine came in this morning with some beautiful photographs of Mr. Clemens. Photographs that he made of Mr. Clemens in bed & they are wonderful.
Barry Faulkner came in for tea & he told us how on Jan. 24, a bitterly cold day, Gerald Thayer, utterly naked climbed to the top of Monodnock. I think it was a glory of a thing to do. Think of that strong young naked white creature dashing alone through the winter woods. Think of him standing along among the mighty rocks on the top of the mountain. It is the great primeval call of the wild & there seems to me to be something akin to a religion in it [MTP TS 40-41].
George Daulton wrote from Staten Island, NY to send Sam one of Gessford’s photographs for him to sign. George was the son of Sam’s “old time printer friend,” Frank Daulton. George’s wife had a serial running in St. Nicholas, and one of George’s stories was “under consideration” at the Century Co. Frank Daulton was now living in Arkansas dwelling “with extreme pleasure in his memories of you.” George would like to visit Twain sometime [MTP].
Alice M. Ditson (Mrs. Charles H. Ditson) wrote from NYC to Sam. “My Dear Mr Clemens— / send the enclosed with no further comment than that ‘them’ my sentiments—” And you wanted to have my angel dog for breakfast! Infidel! Nevertheless I am yours affectionately …” [MTP].
Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Sam.
President Finley and I are collecting letters to Ex-President Cleveland from his friends, appropriate to his 69th birthday.
If the plan appeals to you, will you kindly send a sealed greeting under cover to me at the above address [Century Magazine, NYC], and I will send it, and the other letters, South to him in time for him to get them, all together, on the 18th of the present month… [MTP].
C. Brereton Sharpe for the Plasmon Syndicate sent a telegram reply to Sam’s cable of Mar. 2. “We to-day cabled in reply as follows: — / ‘Raif New York. / Yes / Praevalet”. Sharpe also wrote a letter, quoting Sam’s Mar. 2 cable, his reply and added: “and are very pleased indeed to learn that you have been able to arrive at an adjustment. / We trust that the arrangement you have made with Mr. Hammond will prove a satisfactory one for all concerned, and that we may look forward in the near future to good and profitable results from the Plasmon business in America” [MTP].
March 4 Sunday – At about 4 p.m. Sam spoke at the Majestic Theatre for the West Side Branch of the YMCA. Gertrude Natkin and her mother were in the audience. The New York Times, Mar. 5 p. 2, recorded the wild crush at the doors and also Sam’s speech.
POLICE HUSTLE CROWD AWAITING MARK TWAIN
Bungle at the Majestic Theatre Angers Y. M. C. A. Men.
WOULDN’T OPEN THE DOORS
Mr. Clemens Gives Some Advice About the Treatment of
Corporations and Talks About Gentlemen.
Members of he West Side Branch of the Young Men’s Christian Association found that entering the Majestic Theatre yesterday afternoon to hear an address by Mark Twain had a close resemblance to a football match. No one was injured, but for a few minutes the police were hustling the crowd backward and forward by sheer force, a mounted man was sent to push his way through the thickest of the press and the jam was perilous.
The doors of the theatre should have been opened at 3 o’clock, and about three hundred persons were there at that time. It was an orderly crowd of young men with a sprinkling of elderly ones, but Capt. Daly of the West Forty-seventy Street Station would not allow them to be admitted until he has summoned the reserves. It took twenty minutes for these to arrive and every moment the crush grew greater. Still there was no disorder and the police as they formed into line had to face nothing more dangerous than a little good-humored chaff.
The crowd was ranged in a rough column facing the main doors of the lobby. The Young Men’s Christian Association authorities came out several times and asked the Captain to allow the doors to be opened.
“If you do it, I’ll take away my men and there’ll be a lot of people hurt or killed,” he replied. “I know how to handle crowds.”
Then he proceeded to handle the crowds. He tried to swing the long solid line up against the southwestern side of Columbus Circle and force them in by the side entrance of the lobby, instead of the one they faced. First he sent a mounted man right through the column. The patrolmen followed and in a moment the orderly gathering was hustled and thrust in all directions.
Capt. Daly’s next maneuver was to open the side door. The crowd surged up, but he had them pushed back, and closed the door again. The crowd was utterly bewildered. Then the Young Men’s Christian Association authorities opened one-half of the door on their own responsibility. Through this narrow passage the crowd squeezed. The plate glass in the half that was closed was shattered to atoms, and the men surged forward. A few coats were torn, but in spite of the way in which they had been handled everybody kept his temper. If there had been any disorderly element present nothing could have avoided serious accidents. In the end all but 500 gained admission.
Hold Police Responsible.
At the opening of the meeting, the Rev. Dr. Charles P. Fagnani, the Chairman, said: “The management desires to disclaim all responsibility for what has happened. [Cheers.] The matter was taken out of their hands by the police. [Hisses.] You have been accustomed long enough to being brutally treated by the police, and I do not see why you should mind it. [A voice: “You’re right.”] Some day you will take matters into your own hands and will decide that the police shall be the servants of the citizens.”
At the end of the meeting, Charles F. Powlison, Secretary of the West Side Branch, stated he had been asked to submit a resolution condemning the action of the police, but it had been decided it was better not to do so.
Mark Twain was introduced as a man “well worth being clubbed to hear.” He was greeted with a storm of applause that lasted over a minute.
“I thank you for this signal recognition of merit,” he said. “I have been listening to what has been said about citizenship. You complain of the police. You created the police. You are responsible for the police. They must reflect you, their masters. Consider that before you blame them.
“Citizenship is of the first importance in a land where a body of citizens can change the whole atmosphere of politics, as has been done in Philadelphia. There is less graft there than there used to be. I was going to move to Philadelphia, but it is no place for enterprise now.
“Dr. Russell spoke of organization. I was an organization myself once for twelve hours, and accomplished things I could never have done otherwise. When they say ‘Step lively,’ remember it is not an insult from a conductor to you personally, but from the President of the road to you, an embodiment of American citizenship. When the insult is flung at your old mother and father, it shows the meanness of the omnipotent President, who could stop it if he would.
Mark Twain Got the Stateroom.
“I was an organization once. I was traveling from Chicago with my publisher and stenographer—I always travel with a bodyguard—and engaged a stateroom on a certain train. For above all its other conveniences, the stateroom gives the privilege of smoking. When we arrived at the station the conductor told us he was sorry the car with our stateroom was left off. I said: ‘You are under contract to furnish a stateroom on this train. I am in no hurry. I can stay here a week at the road’s expense. It’ll have to pay my expenses and a little over.’
“Then the conductor called a grandee, and, after some argument, he went and bundled some meek people out of the stateroom, told them something not strictly true, and gave it to me. About 11 o’clock the conductor looked in on me, and was very kind and winning. He told me he knew my father-in-law—it was much more respectable to know my father-in-law than me in those days. Then he developed his game. He was very sorry the car was only going to Harrisburg. They had telegraphed to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and couldn’t get another car. He threw himself on my mercy. But to him I only replied:
“ ‘Then you had better buy the car.’
“I had forgotten all about this, when some time after Mr. Thomson of the Pennsylvania heard I was going to Chicago again and wired:
“ ‘I am sending my private car. Clemens cannot ride on an ordinary car. He costs too much.’ “
Definition of a Gentleman.
Mark Twain went on to speak of the man who left $10,000 to disseminate his definition of a gentleman. He denied that he had ever defined one, but said if he did he would include the mercifulness, fidelity, and justice the Scripture read at the meeting spoke of. He produced a letter from William Dean Howells, and said:
“He writes he is just 69, but I have known him longer than that. ‘I was born to be afraid of dying, not of getting old,’ he says. Well, I’m the other way. It’s terrible getting old. You gradually lose things, and become troublesome. People try to make you think you are not. But I know I’m troublesome.
“Then he says no part of life is so enjoyable as the eighth decade. That’s true. I’ve just turned into it, and I enjoy it very much. ‘If old men were not so ridiculous,’ why didn’t he speak for himself? ‘But,’ he goes on, ‘they are ridiculous, and they are ugly.’ I never saw a letter with so many errors in it. Ugly! I was never ugly in my life! Forty years ago I was not so good-looking. A looking glass then lasted me three months. Now I can wear it out in two days.
“ ‘You’ve been up in Hartford burying poor old Patrick. I suppose he was old, too,’ says Howells. No, he was not old. Patrick came to us thirty-six years ago—a brisk, lithe young Irishman. He was as beautiful in his graces as he was in his spirit, and he was as honest a man as ever lived. For twenty-five years he was our coachman, and if I were going to describe a gentleman in detail I would describe Patrick.
“At my own request I was his pall bearer with our old gardener. He drove me and my bride so long ago. As the little children came along he drove them, too. He was all the world to them, and for all in my house he had the same feelings of honor, honesty, and affection.
“He was 60 years old, ten years younger than I. Howells suggests he was old. He was not so old. He had the same gracious and winning ways to the end. Patrick was a gentleman, and to him I would apply the lines:
“So may I be courteous to men, faithful to friends, True to my God, a fragrance to the path I trod.
When inquiries were made last night at the West Side Branch as to whether a complaint of the action of the police would be made by the association to Commissioner Bingham, it was said to be improbably that any official action would be taken” [Note: Patrick McAleer died on Feb. 25; Sam was a pallbearer at his Hartford funeral on Feb. 28].
Bernhardt Wall (1872-1956), pioneer etcher and producer of fine press books” made a sketch (see insert) of Mark Twain during his above YMCA speech.
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Charles Hopkins Clark in Hartford.
This is the first time I have had a chance to thank you. The cold I caught in the North-bound train, & which I increased by attending the funeral in the Cathedral without an overcoat has kept me in bed ever since, until this afternoon when I had to keep an engagement to address the Y.M.C.A. in the Majestic Theatre: the physical exertion of speaking pumped up a perspiration which seems to have abolished the cold; & so I am able at last to thank you for taking all that trouble for me, & I do thank you most heartily, most cordially, most gratefully.
You must let me pay that bill, Charley, then I will love you from crown to bootheels—& I’ll trust you again. Send it, & with it your love. You have mine. / Mark [MTP].
In the evening Sam began a letter to Gertrude Natkin that he added to on Mar. 8 and 9.
But you were a delightful surprise when you did at last arrive, this afternoon! I had really given you up, & was getting into that vicious mood which comes upon a disappointed person & makes him go on a platform & say odious things to a mass of men who only think kindly of him & have never done him any harm in the world!
I supposed I had carried stupidity to the limit when I failed to instruct Miss Lyon to telephone you to come to the stage door—but it wasn’t so, I was stupid again in letting you & your sister go in that
you,) I thought I had made a step & added a word, but I was mistaken. Marjorie, Marjorie, listen to me—listen, you (elf?)
No, elf won’t do, because I must have a word that can furnish a proper rhyme at the end of the fourth line, & there isn’t anything that rhymes with elf except self & pelf & shelf. Those are inelegant; there are not going to be any inelegant words in this work of art, my precious little maid. But I’m not worrying—I’ll have that word inside of three weeks, sure. For I am full of talent. The noun is the only difficulty, not the adjective. I can manage the adjective; any two-syllable one that hasn’t the emphasis on the wrong end & has sugar enough it in, will do, & I know several of those [MTAq 16-17].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today we went up to the Majestic Theatre, Mr. Clemens & mother & I, & he spoke to all those many, many Y.M.C.A. men. But the main thing is that Gertrude was there, “that darling child.” We went in the stage door & for a very long time Gertrude didn’t arrive. Mr. Clemens’s look of disappointment made me heartsick and feebly[.] I tried to find the child in that vast crowd. It was a Christian crowd, but as I turned away from a big burly young man who had tried to gain admittance & had failed, I heard him say: “Just my God damn luck!” Mr. & Mrs. Paine & Miss Hobby were in the next box & Mr. Clemens’s talk was lovely & brave & strong & instructive & humorous. No one else in all the world can combine all those qualities with such great wonderful personal charm. The other men walked with their feet onto that stage. He appeared with a soft unconscious step, light as a girl’s & with a grace that is undescribable. There’s never been so graceful, so unconsciously beautiful, so masterful and strong a personality. He seems never to be aware of himself [MTP TS 41].
George Henschel wrote for the Century Assoc. NYC to invite Sam and Clara to “a little Bohemian dinner in the Duset Room of the Hofbrauhaus Broadway & 30th Street on Tuesday March 20th at 7:30” [MTP].
March 5 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Alice M. Ditson (Mrs. Charles H. Ditson).
I am glad to have that speech; it has moved me, & also modified me, in some degree. I don’t feel the same passionate appetite for your dog that I felt that evening; & it is probably because I have just had my breakfast. I can’t really depend on my reforms; they are so likely to be inspirational & temporary; therefore for my sake & the dog’s, I think it will be better that one of us keep out of the way [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Livy warns Sam when he attends the Cleveland reception at the White House—Describes the Paris house in which they lived in 1893—Also room in Villa Viviani—Also dining room in house at Riverdale—Tells how Clemens was “dusted off” after the various dinners—and the card system of signals—Letter from Richard W. Gilder regarding Grover Cleveland’s sixty-ninth birthday—Mason [AMT 1: 385-389].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
It was so dreadful to have to go to a little reception at Mr. Weyman’s studio, The Benedict in Washington Square, but Jean couldn’t go alone & I toted her, & after I got in there I didn’t mind it a bit, I liked it, for the room was beautiful, & Mr. Weyman was agreeable. There was a lovely dull gold ceiling & frieze above a soft indescribably colored wall—oh tan, or pale sand color, & there were lovely pictures there & a beautiful big screen, copying an old German style & lots of lovely candles lit it all. The talk didn’t amount to a great deal, but the effect of the room was very satisfying [MTP TS 41-42]. Note: evidently Sam did not go. Weyman was not further identified.
H.A. Williams, nephew of Steve Gillis and James Gillis, was in N.Y.C. with a letter from his uncle Jim and wrote to Sam: “He was very anxious to have me see you if possible. I have heard so many pleasant things of you both from Uncle Jim and my Uncle Steve, that I trust you will be able to appoint some day when I can have the pleasure of meeting you” [MTP]. Note: Clemens replied ca. Mar. 6
March 6 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Grover Cleveland.
Grover Cleveland, Esq.
Your patriotic virtues have won for you the homage of half the nation & the enmity of the other half. This places your character as a citizen upon a summit as high as Washington’s. The verdict is unanimous & unassailable. The votes of both sides are necessary in cases like these, & the votes of the one side are quite as valuable as are the votes of the other. When the votes are all in a public man’s favor the verdict is against him. It is sand, & history will wash it away. But the verdict for you is rock, & will stand.
With the profoundest respect, SL. Clemens [MTP].
Sam also wrote an aphorism to Mr. Isidor Lewis: “Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economise it. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / March 6/06 / Mr. Isidor Lewis.” [MTP].
Sam also wrote this above aphorism tipped into a memento program of a dinner given him by the Lotos Club. The sheet is also signed by William Dean Howells, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, and others [MTP]. Note: This same inscription suggests that the aphorism was given to Mr. Isidor Lewis and perhaps others at the dinner.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Clemens makes Baby Ruth intercede in behalf of Frank H. Mason, and he is retained in his place—Clemens’ letter to Ex-President Cleveland—Cleveland as sheriff, in Buffalo—as Mayor he vetoes ordinance of railway corporation—Clemens and George Washington Cable visit Governor Cleveland at Capitol, Albany—Clemens sits on the bells and summons sixteen clerks—The Lyon of St. Mark [AMT 1: 389-392].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today came a letter [not extant] from a man asking if Clemens’s one act play would be available for vaudeville, & appropriate. The play is “The Death Wafer.” Mr. Clemens said to me: “They could try a funeral service, & if that succeeds they could try this.” Tonight after Jean played it, Mr. Clemens said: “The dearest & sweetest lie I ever heard is the Lorelei.” & then he chuckled [MTP TS 42].
Robert Fulton Cutting wrote from 32 Nassau St. in N.Y.C. to Sam. Would he be able to “make an address” to the N.Y. Trade School on Friday evening April 6? Fulton described the proposed audience as “nearly one thousand young men between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five who are learning the elementary trades…They belong to the most ambitious class of our American industrials and come to the school for hard work and not for play” [MTP]. Note: On or about Mar. 10 Miss Lyon’s answer reflected Sam’s desire to accommodate such students if possible, though many times such offers were declined straightaway.
Charles Putzel, NY attorney, wrote to Sam.
Our guests and our members will be greatly pleased with your very kind acceptance to be present at this complimentary Dinner to me. There will be a hundred and fifty diners, and your wish, Ihave already communicated to the Toastmaster, and you are now placed at the bottom of the list of speakers. …New York Cab Company will have one of its cabs at your door on Thursday, at 9:15 P.M. … [MTP]. Note: see below reply.
Sam also replied to Charles Putzel:
Dear Mr. Putzl [sic Putzel] —
I can be there by 9.45 day after tomorrow evening, & shall be very glad—but I want to be about the last speaker, or along there, so that I can gather a test or two from the previous talkers. My secretary will not let me forget the date. / Truly Yours / SL. Clemens [Christie’s auction Dec. 4, 2009, Lot 38 Item 2153]. Note: source gives this as a testimonial dinner for Putzel, a newly appointed tax commissioner. Fatout adds the Mar. 8, 1906 dinner speech for Putzel was given by the Freundschaft Society, N.Y.C (Putzel was a former president of the society) [503, 675].
March 6 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote a note to Philip Sawyer: “Pay to the order of Tom Sawyer comrade of Huckleberry Finn. Two hundred dollars” [MTP].
Sam gave advice to Isabel V. Lyon to reply to H.A. Williams’ Mar. 5 letter. “2 o’clock Thurs afternoon be pretty sure to be in & glad to see him” [MTP].
Alex C. Toncray (Tonkray) wrote to Sam, as quoted in his A.D.
You no doubt are at a loss to know who I am. I will tell you. In my younger days I was a resident of Hannibal, Mo., and you and I were schoolmates attending Mr. Dawson’s school along with Sam and Will Bowen and Andy Fuqua and others whose names I have forgotten. I was then about the smallest boy in school, for my age, and they called me little Aleck Tonkray for short [MTP]. Note: Alex’s brother was the Capt. Tonkray whose death was sent by clipping; see Feb. 14 from A.D. Howard and Sam’s reply to this on Mar. 8.
March 7 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Robert K. Mackey, who was seeking autographs for his son’s set of Mark Twain books. Lyon wrote that if Mackey would leave the first volume Mr. Clemens would autograph it for him [MTP].
Sam also wrote to John F. Tremain of the Chemung County Society who had written on Dec. 9 conferring upon Mark Twain honorary membership in their society and inviting him to dine with them on Mar. 29. Sam thanked him for both but declined to attend due to other engagements [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Susy’s Biography—John Hay incident—Giving the young girl the French novel—Susy and her father escort Livy to train, then go over Brooklyn Bridge—On the way to Vassar they discuss German profanity—Clemens tells of the sweet and profane German nurse—The arrival at Vassar and the dreary reception—Told by Susy—The reading, etc.—Clemens’ opinion of girls—He is to talk to the Barnard girls this afternoon [AMT 1: 392-396].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to invite Sam to dine at Delmonico’s on Tuesday, Mar. 13 at 7:30 p.m. since Col. Harvey and Major Leigh were sailing for Europe the following day [MTP].
In the afternoon, Sam was guided by a young woman to speak at Columbia University for the Barnard College Union reception. Fatout writes:
At a Barnard College reception, the girls swarmed around Mark Twain with a gratifying display of flattering affection. He enjoyed the society of young women. In MTA (2: 172), he says: “Girls are charming creatures. I shall have to be twice seventy years old before I change my mind about that. I am to talk to a crowd of them this afternoon, students of Barnard College…and I think I shall have just as pleasant a time as I had with the Vassar girls twenty-one years ago.” He did have a pleasant time, recording in a dictation next day his great satisfaction in being fussed over. Escorted to the platform by Miss Russell, president of Barnard, and Miss Hill, dean, he stood before a painted backdrop depicting a woodsy setting, and faced a house crowded with admiring femininity. Introduced as one whom all the girls loved, he spoke for an hour, and afterwards shook hands with everybody, his youthful listeners assuring him that his words would undoubtedly make them lead better lives . Note: see Fatout 495-502 for full text of Clemens’ speech, which includes the watermelon tale. Also included in his talk was the story of a visitor to the Hartford home sometime after 1890, a story he’d told at the Players Club on Jan. 26, 1894. The story of Benjamin Ellis Martin (d. 1909), a Civil War surgeon and author had stopped to visit the Clemens family; Sam mistook him for an etchings salesman. The tale was published in 2004 as “Courtesy to Unexpected Visitors” in Mark Twain’s Helpful Hints for Good Living p. 25-6 and notes p. 186.
After the reception Sam dined with Professor of Philosophy Herbert Gardiner Lord of Barnard College [Virginia TaylorMar. 8]
Edwina L. Levy wrote after listening to Sam:
I had the great pleasure of listening to Mark Twain this afternoon at Bernard College, and the still greater pleasure of meeting him after the lecture. Would you induce him to be kind enough to send me his autograph, that I may have a souvenir of one of the most delightful afternoons I have ever spent [MTP]. Note: photograph of Sam enclosed for signature.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean, 9:20 I was alone
Tonight at 9:30 Mr. Clemens came slipping upstairs after his expedition to Barnard College & his even later with Prof. and Mrs. Lord. He had had a beautiful time. At half past 3 he slid away in a mobile with strong young Virginia Taylor & 2 other Barnardites, and this evening he told how he had had a beautiful time. He sat on my broad short divan here & told me how much he had enjoyed all those girls, and how responsive they had been. He told Mrs. Lord last Sunday that he wanted that mobile full of girls & it was about that—though there was a place for me too, his authorized chaperon, but I couldn’t go—I dared not leave Jean alone. But I bought of a street vendor 3 darling pots of primroses—1 for Jean, 2 for me and they are such a comfort. One is on the floor by my fireplace & the 2nd vol. of “Roughing It” dropped off the shelf as I was getting it, & knocked off a shaft of blossoms & 3 pretty leaves [MTP TS 42-43].
March 8 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam added to his Mar. 4 to Gertrude Natkin. He would finish the letter on Mar. 9
Marjorie, I’ve got the words! The words That rhyme. The rest is easy, because No. 3 doesn’t have to rhyme with anything. Observe:
TO THAT BONNY CHILD, MARJORIE.
Marjorie, Marjorie, listen to me—
Listen, you winsome witch:
Whomever you bless with your innocent love,
That person is passing rich.
There, dear—that poem is as good as half done, I think. All in good time I shall finish it, will see [MTAq 17].
Sam also wrote on the Mar. 1 from Ulysses S. Grant, Jr. “I prize your friendship very highly & shall be glad to welcome you to my house when you come to New York. We will then sit down together & brush the dust off that friendship. / I do not run across Gen. Fred in the flesh, but I am glad to say I remain in touch with him” [MTP]. Note: Sam signed and dated this, likely for Lyon to copy & mail.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: The Barnard lecture—Subject Morals—Letter from brother of Captain Toncray—Clemens reply that original of “Huckleberry Finn” was Tom Blankenship—Tom’s father Town Drunkard—Describes Tom’s character—Death of Injun Joe—Storm which came that night—Incident of the Episcopal sextons and their reforms—John D. Dawson’s school in Hannibal—Archibald Fuqua’s great gift [AMT 1: 396-400].
Isabel Lyon’s journal noted that Sam dined with Moncure D. Conway and Andrew Dickson White, men Lyon referred to as “those 2 autobiographists” [Gribben 760: TS 143].
Later Sam spoke before the Freundschaft Society, honoring Charles Putzel, a past president of the group, who had just been named a tax commissioner. The New York Times, Mar. 9, p1: reported:
TWAIN’S WANING CONSCIENCE.
No More Left Than a Millionaire, He Says at Putzel Dinner.
Four hundred members of the Freundschaft Club met at their quarters, Park Avenue and Seventy-second Street, last night, to do honor to their late President, Charles Putzel, on his appointment as Tax Commissioner. Among those who were asked to meet him all were officers or ex-officers except Mark Twain. The Chairman, Julius J. Frank, explained that the humorist was King of all Hearts and all Affection. Mayor McClellan sent a letter of regret.
Mr. Putzel remarked that when Mayor McClellan appointed him to office the members of the Freundschaft evidently assumed that he was selected to reduce the assessments on the club. The dinner was set three weeks before the close of swearing-off time. Then the club could sing:
What is it to us if taxes rise and fall!
Thanks to our Putzel, we pay none at all.
After Signor Campanari had sung the Toreador’s song Attorney General Mayer was introduced. Then ex-Controller Grout assured the new Tax Commissioner that if he needed criticism he had only to assess The Journal, The World, The Sun, The Herald, and The Eagle at their true value.
Mark Twain, who received an ovation, said:
“Mr. Putzel is related to me in a very tender way through taxes. They are a sore subject to me and I was glad to hear there was any foreign product untaxable in America except the answer to prayer.
“When I went to his office and saw Putzel in the receipt of perjury, I recognized him right away. Years ago I met him in a bookstore. I asked him the discount of a book for a publisher. He said 40 per cent. I asked him the discount to an author. He jotted down another 40 per cent. What was it to clergy? Forty per cent again.
“Well, I said, I was only on my way there, kind of studying. So he put down 20 per cent without a smile. I was in despair and asked him for 10 off, as a member of the human race. He never moved a muscle, but as I left the store called me back for the book and the 40 cents that was coming to me.
“I hoped I might get something from him now as Tax Commissioner. I put up my hand and made a statement. It was pain and grief to me, for I was brought up in the pious circles of Missouri. But a year in New York had left me with no more conscience than a millionaire. I would like to compliment him, anyway, for I may get relief next year.
“Attorney General Mayer suggested I might be a Supreme Court Judge. I can’t be that, for I know nothing of the administration of justice. But I understand from his speech he is the propagator of crime for the whole State, and, as I am reasonably familiar with crime, I might have his job [Note: Julius Marshuetz Mayer (1865-1925), New York Atty. Gen. 1905-1906. Later became a judge.
After the event Sam wrote his thanks to Charles Putzel.
Dear Mr. Putzel: I intended to write you the next day & still the next & the 3 next & the next day, but was always prevented by one interruption or another; & so at last you have gotten in ahead of me. I wanted to speak of the very thing you have now spoken about: the generous & moving reception accorded me, both when I entered the hall & when I rose to speak. These things go to a man’s heart & they went to mine. The praises & affection lavished upon me were as fine as anything of the kind I have had the good fortune to listen to, & none of them rang false; they were as manifestly sincere as they were fine. I was very glad to be there, & hear those happy speeches, & see that great body of choice men, & have the pleasure of shaking hands with so many of them [MTP]. Note: Charles Putzel was recently appointed a commissioner of taxation; he was also a trustee for the City College of N.Y. (1901-1910)
Sam also replied to Alex C. Toncray (Tonkray) in Chicago, who wrote on Mar. 6.
Dear Mr. Toncray: / It is plain to me that you knew the Hannibal of my boyhood, the names you quote prove it. This is an unusual circumstance in my experience. With some frequency letters come from strangers reminding me of old friends & early episodes, but in almost every case these strangers have mixed me up with somebody else, and the names and incidents are foreign to me.
Huckleberry Finn was Tom Blankenship. You may remember that Tom was a good boy, not-withstanding his circumstances. To my mind he was a better boy than Henry Beebe & John Reagan put together, those swells of the ancient days [MTP]. Note: mail from Chicago to NY now took only 2 days.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
The days are so full of varied joys. I lunched with Mrs. Day & her daughter & Miss Caer was there too, that interesting woman who spent 11 months in the royal palace in China. Her accounts of her life there were delightful. One of the Chinese grandees diplomatically told her that he could send her a wonderful ointment for the hair, one that would darken it for her too. To them a blond must be really a torture for they depict their devils as fair haired.
I came home to find quite a number of things to do, people to see & telephoning, & Mr. Clemens gone to his bed tired. He was resting up too, for he dined with Moncure D. Conway & Andrew D. White (those 2 autobiographists) before going up to the Freundschaft Club at 9:30. But I had a darling chat with him, & he was interested in Mrs. Day & her Christian Science. Mr. Dearborn came in to see if Mr. Clemens would speak in Carnegie for the Fulton Memorial Association. The idea pleases Mr. Clemens. Mr. Glover, a handsome man, came in to see Mr. Clemens, but had to see me instead [MTP TS 43-44]. Note: Harry Windsor Dearborn.
John Brown, Jr. (“Jock”) wrote to Sam, hoping he remembered him. He’d given letters of his father to his cousin, Dr. J.T. Brown, to write a memoir of his father, which was published in 1901, but little use was made of the letters. “Among the letters I got back in 1902 were some from you and Mrs. Clemens. I have now got a large number of letters written by my father between 1830 and 1882 and intend publishing a selection in order to give the public an idea of the man he was….I now write to ask you if you have letters from him and if you will let me see them and use them” [MTP].
Moncure D. Conway in NYC sent a note by messenger to Sam. “Can you come this evening at seven sharp to the Century Club to dine with Andrew D. White? / The messenger will wait for an answer, if you are in….The short notice is inevitable” [MTP]. Note: Sam went; see IVL entry this day.
Ernest A. Gerrard wrote from 104 E. 20th N.Y.C.to Sam that he was mailing a copy of France and the Maid, a play based on Joan of Arc. “I send it to you because I know you are one of the few Americans sufficiently familiar with the subject matter to appreciate and enjoy the truthful handling of the characters and events” [MTP]. Note: Sam answered ca. Mar. 10.
Lillie T. Noel wrote from Washington Training College, Wash., D.C. to relate an incident and to ask Sam’s opinion of what he might have done in that situation. It seems that during a group pose for a photograph, a lady sneezed who was sitting above a young man. Some item flew down the stairs but the lady was quicker to retrieve it than the young man—it was a set of the lady’s false teeth. What would Sam have done or said in that situation to restore the lady’s dignity? [MTP]. Note: Sam replied Mar. 10.
Philip Sawyer wrote from NYC to Sam, signing “Tom Sawyer.” He was “overjoyed to find” Sam’s “check in my mail this morning—particularly as ‘my pump had begun to suck!’” [MTP].
Virginia Taylor wrote from Barnard College to thank Sam for speaking at the College, and that he was “certainly are an angel.” She apologized for not being able to “deliver you safely home,” and that perhaps “we shouldn’t have let you accept the dinner engagement with Professor Lord” [MTP]. Note: H.G. Lord Philosophy Professor.
March 8-11 Sunday – During this period Sam replied to Ernest Carson Hunt (incoming not extant) that he had never written a book entitled, “How to be a gentleman” [MTP].
March 9 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam added to his Mar. 4 and Mar. 8 to Gertrude Natkin, who had telephoned him, perhaps before he completed the letter [Natkin Mar. 10].
I knew I could do it, dear. By going without rest or food for a day & a night I have compressed the proper work of months into a single cataclysmal explosion. And so as you see, it is finished:
Rich, though he have not a grain of gold
Save that which is in his mouth,
Rich, though his silver be all on his head
And crusts for his craw be all his bread
And his wine-tank rusty with drouth;
For your love has the power of the fabled purse
That wrought charms in the old romaunt:
Who had it might live in a shack or worse
And feed on dreams & dew & verse,
Yet never could he know want.
(There, Marjorie dear—I charge you a blot for that) [MTAq 17-18]. Note: blot = kiss.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens is following up the Fulton Memorial Talk at Carnegie. He likes it better than he did. He is dissipating—but delightful. Off in a hansom for tea with Betty Buffum at the Waldorf & then in the hansom up beautiful Fifth Avenue to 91st St. to drop Mr. Clemens’s cards along at the various places where he has dined. Mr. Carl Schurz, Mrs. Burden, Norman Hapgood, Prof. Sloane, Mrs. Alexander, Mr. Henry Holt, then leaving Betty at the Hotel Marie Antoinette & so home in the growing twilight down the long avenue with its roadway so polished by the solemn padding of horses & carriages that the light sent long shafts of yellow & silver, like the reflections on ice, & we went into them & into them like riding down rainbow rays. Just as I was leaving the house I saw Mr. Clemens & Mr. Paine sauntering back from the Players. Today came a Tribune man to offer Mr. Clemens the office of U.S. Senator in place of Chauncey DePew who is resigning. If he’d accept they’d boom him [MTP TS 44-45]. Note: leaving his card at various hosts was perhaps a way of thanking or inviting in return.
Charles Hopkins Clark wrote from Hartford to Sam suggesting they split the bill for the Mar. 1 luncheon in Hartford [MTP]. Note: Sam agreed in his ca.Mar. 10 .
Edward M. Foote wrote for the Young Men’s Bible Class, NYC to invite Sam to their reunion on Mar. 22 at 8 p.m. [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter: “I daren’t be with thee. I’d like to mighty well.”
Mrs. Clement March wrote from Cambridge, Mass. for the Bazaar of Women’s Clubs there to ask if Sam would contribute some of his work to the Book Table [MTP].
Miss Lyle E. Sullivan wrote from Trenton, Mich. to ask Sam for his photo and autograph [MTP].
March 10 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote a postcard to Edwina L. Levy. “Oh, dear me, Miss Levy! I’ve ‘lifted’ this English girl’s post-card without noticing what I was doing. But I’ll send her a more recent photograph to make up for it” [MTP].
Sam also wrote on Edwina L. Levy’s Mar. 7 letter to Miss D. Stickney, explain his blunder of sending the photograph Miss Stickney had sent of him to Miss Levy. “But I am sending you a far more recent one, & shall hope that you will forgive me.” (photograph signed and enclosed) [MTP]. Note: photo sold on eBay Nov. 8, 2008, Item # 260311578030, and inscribed “Very Truly Yours Mch 10/06 / Mark Twain”.
Sam also replied to the Mar. 8 from Lillie T. Noel.
The standard of etiquette for a dropped garter has become—through our modified manners in the drift of the centuries—precisely the etiquette for dropped teeth. The remark proper at that early day is exactly proper for our time & must not be altered. Mr. A. should have bowed low, handed the lady her teeth, & sternly quenched the smiles of the witnesses with the noble “Honi soit que mal y pense.” [MTP]. Note: French phrase meaning: “Shamed be he who thinks evil of it”.
Gertrude Natkin wrote another affectionate letter to Sam, mentioning her phone call to him of the day before. She had received his letter this a.m. and replied, including a little verse she’d written:
LAY OF ANCIENT ROME
Ole Marcus was a Roman,
A Roman good was he,
No dagger was seen neath his toga blue
But there a heart brave and true [MTAq 18-19]. Note: see source for the full text.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Saturdays Mr. Clemens doesn’t dictate, except to me, & we save up the important letters for that day & go through them as through a delightful game, wondering what will come next in the great batch of mail that comes from all parts of the world during the week. His moods are always interesting.
Mr. Rogers came at 12:30 and took him off to luncheon and to the matinee, “Abbysinia” [sic] at the Majestic Theatre. He came home a little tired while Mr. Paine sat at tea with Jean & me, & after a glass of milk, he tucked the evening papers under his arm to go up to his bed & reset before going out again this evening to play billiards with Mr. Rogers .
Mr. Henderson came in again to talk about having Mr. Clemens speak the birthday speech onto those cylinders, & I suppose now that he will really do it. We had a nice talk over that & over the Herald reporter who came with the Tribune man’s “Senatorial” Copy. Mr. Paine told me yesterday that Mr. Clemens reception of the suggestion & of the reporter was so find & so characteristic [MTP TS 45-46; also, in part, Gribben 642]. Note: “Abyssinia” was a musical comedy.
March 10 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Charles Hopkins Clark’s Mar. 10 letter: “All right—got to compromise on half then” [MTP]. Note: To split the bill for the luncheon in Hartford on Mar. 1.
At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Robert Fulton Cutting’s Mar. 8 invitation to address the students of the N.Y. Trade School: “At present cannot see his way to it—but would like to think this over for a day or so to see if he can manage it” [MTP].
Sam also replied to Ernest A. Gerrard’s Mar. 8 note (writing on it) that he was sending a play, France and the Maid for Sam to appreciate: “I have taken a glimpse of it here & there & think I know I shall have great pleasure & content in reading it when these strenuous days are by, & I get a chance to stop working & speechifying & steal a holiday for reading & rest” [MTP].
March 11 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning I went in with some more left over mail. A letter from John D. Rockefeller S.S. [Sunday School] chairman or something, asking Mr. Clemens to address that class. He chuckled and said “I daren’t be with them, but I’d like it mighty well,” for he’d talk about Joseph of course. We had such a talk about the human race.
But the morning was so beautiful. Mr. Clemens went to work to write a fictitious correspondence between himself & Brig. Gen. Fred D. Grant which was to be submitted to H.G. Muller & Mr. Dearborn when they came this afternoon, & to be printed in the Carnegie Hall programs to excuse Mr. Clemens from any formal Fulton Memorial speech making. He read most of it aloud to me when I went in later & was joined there by Mr. Paine who came in to show Mr. Clemens the Tribune article which was in the Herald & Mr. Clemens excused us both so that he could continue his work & we came up to my rooms.
[continued on separate pieces of paper:]
Mr. Clemens didn’t come down to luncheon, he had a glass of milk & at 2:30 Mr. & Mrs. Gordon Miller came for the interview or rather Mr. Muller, but we all went up to the bedroom & Mr. Clemens read aloud that fictitious correspondence & the plans are made for the Carnegie Hall speech which is to be made some time in the week before “Holy Week”. Mr. Clemens remarked “Mrs. Miller is a pretty and very young woman. Too good for Miller.”
After they left Mr. Clemens went down to the living room where we had music until we were interrupted by a young Mr. Elsberg—the student who introduced everyone to Mr. Clemens at the Columbia Reception a fortnight or so ago. He proved a tiresome creature, & when A.C. Fahnestock came in to see Mr. Clemens that gave him the needed chance to leave the worrisome companionship of young Elsberg, & when Mr. F. left, Mr. Clemens slipped away & out into the fresh air for a stroll. Elsberg stayed on & on, but by & by Mary Lawton came in, handsome & fresh & full of Dr. Anspacher’s play of Tristan & Isolde which she has just been reading & which is admirably suited to her heroic personality, & which she is to have for her own if she can interest people in the rather costly presentation of it. Finally Elsberg left & then Miss Lawton told us of an interesting interview she had had the afternoon before with Ada Rehan, when she went to see her with a letter of introduction from Mr. Clemens. Miss Lawton was very anxious to have Ada Rehan coach her in the Shrew, but that couldn’t be brought about for Miss Rehan doesn’t ever coach anyone. Miss Lawton said that Ada Rehan is a very impressive figure now, a majestic creature who has lived beyond her victories. She lives always in the past, & her outlook is a very pessimistic one, for she sees how dramatic art has been commercialized in these days, & that without money one might as well give up. Mary Lawton said that she was beautiful & like a woman at the head of a Salon, with the graciousness of manner, a beauty of gesture that one may read about, but rarely see. She sent sweet little messages to Mr. Clemens begging him not to work too hard, not to let the public demand of him beyond his strength. She couldn’t realize the fun he gets out of his talks for Y.M.C.A.’s & for the Freundschaft Clubs and their like. He loves it all. It’s a tonic to him to see the sea of faces before him & to hear the wave—the burst of adoring homage they lavish upon him.
We were alone for dinner, for Jean went up to dine with Mrs. Loomis & Mr. Clemens was very tired. He stayed downstairs only a little while, & for only the andante movement of the Schubert Unfinished Symphony—but as I went upstairs later he called me in to his room & said that he wanted me to telephone Mrs. Stanchfield in the morning to ask her to tell me the story of the Irish woman who lived at Elmira many years ago & whose illegitimate daughter was recognized among good people because the mother had built up for herself a character of great nobility by her work for & her devotion to that baby. Then deeply moved he told me the story of John O’Donnell that faithful Elmira coachman, but tomorrow Mrs. Stanchfield will doubtless tell the stories to me and Miss Hobby will shorthand them for she is to be there for that purpose. Mr. Clemens looked tired & depressed & beautiful as he lay there with the soft cloud of tobacco smoke from his cigar surrounding him & the carved columns of the beautiful old bed, a picture for always [MTP TS 46-49]. Note: The following to and from Grant, according to Lyon’s above entry were “fictitious.” Nevertheless,t they are given unique UCCL #’s by the MTP. In his A.D. Sam discussed these following 8 correspondences, done with the approval of Grant:
I shall be unspeakably sorry if the bronchitis catches me, for that will mean six weeks in bed–my annual tribute to it for the last sixteen years. I shall be sorry because I want to be in condition to appear at Carnegie Hall on the night of April 10th and take my permanent leave of the platform. I never intended to lecture for pay again, and I think I shall never lecture again where the audience has paid to get in. I shall go on talking, but it will be for fun, not money. I can get lots of it to do.
My first appearance before and audience was forty years ago, in San Francisco. If I live to take my farewell in Carnegie Hall on the night of the 10th, I shall see, and see constantly, what no one else in that house will see. I shall see two vast audiences–the San Francisco audience of forty years ago and the one which will be before me at that time. I shall see that early audience with as absolute distinctness in every detail as I see it at this moment, and as I shall see it while looking at the Carnegie audience. I am promising myself a great, a consuming pleasure, on that Carnegie night, and I hope that the bronchitis will leave me alone and let me enjoy it.
I was vaguely meditating a farewell stunt when General Fred Grant sent a gentleman over here a week ago to offer me a thousand dollars to deliver a talk for the benefit of the Robert Fulton Monument Association of which he is the President and I Vice-President. This was the very thing, and I accepted it at once, and said I would without delay write some telegrams and letters from Fred Grant to myself and sign his name to them, and in this way we could make a good advertisement and I could thus get the fact before the public that I was now delivering my last and final platform talk for money. I wrote the correspondence at once. General Grant approved it, and I here insert it [The following 8 notes, including to and from Hugh Gordon Miller, were included in this “fictitious” bunch] [MTA 1: 425-428 A.D. Mar. 20, 1906].
Frederick D. Grant’s telegram marked “Private and Confidential,” which prompted a telegram reply, then back and forth notes all on this day. Grant asked if Sam would consider, for $1,000, to speak at Carnegie Hall for the benefit of the Robert Fulton Memorial Assoc.
Sam telegraphed reply to Grant that he’d “be glad to do it, but I must stipulate that you keep the thousand dollars and add it to the Memorial Fund as my contribution.”
Grant’s short note suggesting Sam not contribute the full amount and asking, “Why should you do this work wholly without compensation?”
Sam replied again to Grant’s last note:
Because I stopped talking for pay a good many years ago, and I could not resume the habit now without a great deal of personal discomfort. I love to hear myself talk, because I get so much instruction and moral upheaval out of it, but I lose the bulk of this joy when I charge for it. Let the terms stand.
General, if I have your approval, I wish to use this good occasion to retire permanently from the platform.
Grant wrote back: “Certainly. But as an old friend, permit me to say, Don’t do that. Why should you?—you are not old yet.”
Sam then wrote a much longer and more humorous reply.
Dear General: / I mean the pay-platform; I shan’t retire from the gratis-platform until after I am dead and courtesy requires me to keep still and not disturb the others.
What shall I talk about? My idea is this: to instruct the audience about Robert Fulton, and…Tell me—was that his real name, or was it his nom de plume? However, never mind, it is not important—I can skip it, and the house will think I knew all about it, but forgot. Could you find out for me if he was one of the Signers of the Declaration, and which one? But if it is any trouble, let it alone, I can skip it. Was he out with Paul Jones? Will you ask Horace Porter? And ask him if he brought both of them home. These will be very interesting facts, if they can be established. But never mind, don’t trouble Porter, I can establish them anyway. The way I look at it, they are historical gems—gems of the very first water.
Well, that is my idea, as I have said: first, excite the audience with a spoonful of information about Fulton, then quiet them down with a barrel of illustration drawn by memory from my books—and if you don’t say anything the house will think they never heard it before, because people don’t really read your books, they only say they do, to keep you from feeling bad. Next, excite the house with another spoonful of Fultonian fact. Then tranquillize them again with another barrel of illustration. And so on and so on, all through the evening; and if you are discreet and don’t tell them the illustrations don’t illustrate anything, they won’t notice it and I will send them home as well informed about Robert Fulton as I am myself. Don’t you be afraid; I know all about audiences. They believe everything you say, except when you are telling the truth. / Truly yours, … P.S. Mark all the advertisements “Private and confidential,” otherwise the people will not read them [MTA 1: 425-428 A.D. Mar. 20, 1906].
Hugh Gordon Miller for the Fulton Monument Assoc. wrote to ask Sam how long he would talk in order for him to know when to call the carriages afterward. Sam replied “I cannot say for sure. It is my custom to keep on talking till I get the audience cowed. Sometimes it takes an hour and fifteen minutes, sometimes I can do it in an hour” [MTA 1: 428 A.D. Mar. 20, 1906]. Note: end of “fictitious” notes written by Sam and approved by Grant.
The New York Times, Mar. 12, “Carnegie Assaults the Spelling Book,” announced that Andrew Carnegie had led the formation of a new group on Mar. 11, The Simplified Spelling Board, of which Mark Twain was a member.
March 12 Monday – George Henschel wrote fom the Institute of Musical Art, 53 Fifth Ave. to Sam:
On case your daughter Clara can’t accompany you to my little Bohemian (or rather Bavarian) dinner on Tuesday the 20th at the Aufbrauhaus, won’t you give me the pleasure of your company even if you have to come alone?…We shall be twelve all round—all round a round table—in a very cosy Room, drinking the most delicious Munich beer imaginable. Pray come and make us all young and happy [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply, instructing Miss Lyon to telegraph “yes” is dated ca. Mar. 14.
Sam wrote “Comments on the Moro Massacre,” on Mar. 12 and 14, about the final military engagement in the Philippines, where over 600 natives were massacred by forces led by General Leonard Wood. The piece was not published in Twain’s lifetime; in 1992 it appeared in Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Clemens comments on the killing of 600 Moros—Men, women and children—In a crater bowl near Jolo in the Philippines—Our troops commanded by General Leonard Wood—Contrasts this “battle” with various other details of our military history—The newspapers’ attitude toward the announcements—President Theodore Roosevelt’s message of congratulation [AMT 1: 403-407].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
By appointment I met Miss Hobby up at the Hoffman house where Mrs. Stanchfield told us the story of Mary Donnovan & her daughter. Over a cup of tea at Maillards after the Stanchfield talk was over, Miss Hobby & I discussed plans for Dublin next summer, for Mr. Clemens is very anxious to have her with him right through those 6 months [MTP TS 49]. Note: Maillard’s Restaurant at Fifth Ave. & 35th Street served afternoon tea for ladies from 3 to 7 p.m.
Edwina L. Levy wrote to thank Sam again for his autograph received [MTP].
Cornelia A. Lyon wrote from Asbury Park, NJ to ask Sam for $25 to get her by until she collected some $1,500. She enclosed letters attesting to her collection, which her attorney said she would get. She prefaced her request by noting in the Mar. 11 NY Herald, the suggestion that Mark Twain be named for Congress in the event of retirement of either NY Senator. She recalled going around Sam and Livy’s Buffalo house with other young girls to “catch a glimpse of the bride and groom.” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the top of the letter, “Enclosed letter returned,” and on the other corner, “Request”
Charles Putzel wrote appreciation to Sam for his presence and address at the Freundschaft Society dinner Thursday last [MTP].
March 13 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin. In full:
To whom these presents shall
One unto you unknown—
& yet a Friend—instructs
me to beg you to hold free
of engagements the evening
of April fifth. This, from
Another Unknown Friend [MTAq 20].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean, at 8 this morning.
Santa C. came back from Atlantic City.
I talked with Mr. Clemens about Miss Hobby, who said she won’t be able to give up her position with the Century people. Mr. Clemens finds her entirely to his liking & he says “it is a case of established competency” which is saying a great deal, for she is a good audience, is sympathetic & very appreciative.
(Later in the day) I talked with Miss Hobby, when I told her that Mr. Clemens would want her from May 11th to he first of November, she said she’d be willing to think it over. Just then Mr. Paine came in full of my same advice, “Give up the Century”—and she’ll do it [MTP TS 49-50].
Joseph Baron wrote a long “fan letter” from Blackburn, England to Sam, noting that as a “slim youth” he had spent a US dollar on a copy of IA, and had not stopped laughing since. “Mark I have laughed & grown fat!!!” He was going to get “the best & biggest photo of yourself, & to sign it send it to me for framing in my den” [MTP].
Thomas P. Brown wrote from Compton, Calif. to Sam, informing him of a letter given to his father by King Kalakaua after a gift of HF. Brown offered to send Sam the original and Sam replied ca. Mar. 15 [MTP]. Note: The mail would have taken a bit longer to cross the country than two days. It is here reassigned to ca. Mar. 19.
Reginald Wright Kauffman wrote from the Curtis Publishing Co. in Philadelphia (Saturday Evening Post, etc.) to Sam. Kauffman enclosed a copy of a letter received “the other day” and thought it “might prove mildly amusing to you. The anxious gentleman from Brooklyn…wants to know the address of Col. Mulberry Sellers” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s answer is catalogued as ca. Mar. 15 by the MTP.
Clara Clemens arrived back in New York from Atlantic City and auditioned for Loudon Charlton as her manager. Charlton thought she wasn’t ready to appear in public. Isabel Lyon’s journal:
At fifteen minutes past midnight Santa [Clara] stole up to my room. She couldn’t sleep, poor dear, for Charlton’s verdict was one to keep her awake. So she sat in a dear curled up heap on my couch, and we talked over things and people until now—and it is past 2. I have with me the memory of her darlingness, and especially as she stole down stairs into the black black hall, with 2 little bottles of bromide powder in her dear little hand [Hill 122].
Hamlin Garland’s Diaries, ed by Donald Pizer. San Marino, California: The Huntington Library (1968). Tenney: Passim on MT:
At a memorial meeting to MT, April 30, 1910, among the old guard, one intoxicated and “Opie Read purple-visaged walking sedately and talking a lot of `guff'” (17). Dined with Clarence Darrow (November 4, 1920), who “particularly dwelt upon Mark Twain and his savage attacks on the Christian religion. It was all rather wearisome to me” (123). Says Howells inspired MT with reform ideas, and P&P and CY “were due to Howells almost directly” (152). Went to see Will Rogers on the film set for CY (December 28, 1930; 181-82). Describes MT at a dinner honoring Henry James (December 9, 1904): “When Mark Twain’s humor vanishes he is tragic. His wife is dead, one daughter is dead, another is in a sanitarium” (191). At a lunch with Colonel Harvey (March 13, 1906) “Twain looked old and sluggish and congested, his purplish face and bushy yellow-white hair making him a picturesque figure. He drank more than he should and ate more than he should. He is old and his work is nearly done” (191-92). On MT’s friendship for Howells and the differences between them, MT’s coarse anecdotes—”His profanity was oriental in its richness and power” (192-93) [Tenney 338]. Note: no other record of a lunch this day with Harvey was found.
March 14 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to Edward M. Foote’s Mar. 9 invitation:
Indeed I should like to attend the reunion of the fellowship of honorary members of Mr. Rockefeller’s Bible Class, (of whom I am one, by grace of service rendered,) but I must be discreet & not venture. This is an account of Joseph. He might come up as an issue, & then I could get into trouble, for Mr. Rockefeller & I do not agree as to Joseph. Eight years ago I quite painstakingly & exhaustively explained Joseph, by the light of the 47th chapter of Genesis, in a North American Review article entitled “Concerning the Jews,” which has since been transferred to volume of my Collected Works; then I turned my attention to other subjects, under the impression that I had settled Joseph for good & all & left nothing further for anybody to say about him. Judge, then, of my surprise & sorrow, when by the newspapers I lately saw that Mr. Rockefeller had taken hold of Joseph—quite manifestly unaware that I had already settled Joseph—& was trying to settle him again.
In every sentence uttered by Mr. Rockefeller there was evidence that he was not acquainted with Joseph. Therefore it was plain to me that he had never read my article. He has certainly not read it, because his published estimate of Joseph differs quite materially from mine. This could not be, if he had read the article. He thinks Joseph was Mary’s little lamb; this is an error. He was—he—but you look at the article, then you will see what he was.
…. [Sam inserted a newspaper clipping from Dr. Silverman and a passage from the Bible about Joseph]
No, I thank you cordially & in all sincerity, but I am afraid to come, I must not venture to come, for I am sensitive, I am humane, I am tender in my feelings & I could not bear it if young Mr. Rockefeller, whom I think a great deal of, should get up & go to whitewashing Joseph again. But you have my very best wishes [MTP].
Sam also wrote instructions to Isabel V. Lyon. “If I am free of engagements for next Tuesday, invite Mr & Mrs. Doubleday to come to luncheon; if they can’t, then invite them to come at 2 p. m.—they want me to read my Gospel of Self. /We are to telephone them TO–DAY” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Moro Slaughter continued—Luncheon for George Harvey—Opinions of the guests as to Moro fight—Cable from General Leonard Wood explaining and apologizing—What became of the wounded?—President Roosevelt’s joy over the splendid achievement—Manner in which he made Wood Major General—McKinley’s joy over capture of Emilio Aguinaldo [AMT 1: 407-409].
A.A. Bustard wrote from Steubenville, Ohio asking where he might find a copy of “one of your recent stories which was written for the special edification of Secretary Hay? I believe it deals with Queen Elizabeth and Sir Walter Raleigh…” [MTP]. Note: The man referred to 1601; Sam’s answer is dated ca. Mar. 16, allowing two days postal delivery.
Charles Hopkins Clark wrote to Sam that the Mar. 1 luncheon bill in Hartford came to $28.95.
“I would very much like the privilege of paying the whole bill, but you can send me a check for $14.47, if you insist. Let me know next time you are coming and I will exercise a little of the American right of independence” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s answer was ca. Mar. 16.
W.O. Fuller, Jr. wrote from Rockland, Maine to invite Sam to the dedication of his new house on the night of Mar. 31. He mentioned several notables who would be there [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote “Decline it”
George Henschel wrote from Phila. to Sam. “Many thanks for your telegram. I am delighted you will be with me on Tuesday next, the 20th at 7.30. The entrance to the Dutch Room of the Hofbrauhaus is on Broadway (cor. Of 30th) ..I am sorry your daughters can’t come” [MTP].
Ada Patterson for Hearst’s New York American wrote asking Sam’s opinion of an enclosed parody of Robinson Crusoe by Barry Pain, English humorist. And, would he give Patterson “a few minutes, not more than five…and allow me the pleasure of shaking hands with the father of ‘Huckleberry Finn’”? [MTP]. Note: Isabel Lyon answered for Sam ca. Mar. 16 that “Mr. Clemens couldn’t do either or any of the things asked,” which leads to some speculation as to Twain’s regard for the American or Hearst or Patterson.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wrote to Sam about the Mar. 22 evening meeting of his Young Men’s Bible Class. Martin W. Littleton, ex-president of the Borough of Brooklyn (and Sam’s NY neighbor) would speak. He would send the subject of the evening in a day or two. “A few words, however, on any theme which suggests itself to you would be highly pleasing, or your views on the question of lying…” [MTP].
Clara Clemens tried out again, this time for Isidore Luckstone. He “gave his verdict and it was that C.C.’s breath is not as it should be” [Hill 122].
March 14 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam instructed Isabel Lyon to telegraph George Henschel “yes” to his Mar. 12 invite for a Bavarian dinner on Mar. 20 [MTP].
March 15 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam wrote an aphorism to Florence Watson-Cadieu, secretary of the Whidden Memorial Hospital Guild, Everett, Mass. “On the whole it is better to deserve honors and not have them, than have them & not deserve them. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].
Sam hosted a dinner for the Rogerses and Dr. Edward Quintard [Hill 124].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: March 5, 1906: Clemens talks to the West Side YMCA in the Majestic Theatre—Lyon meets one of the Christian young men at the door—Patrick McAleer’s funeral—Luncheon next day at Hartford Club—Clemens meets eleven of his old friends—They tell many stories: Rev. Dr. George H. McKnight and the Jersey funeral—Twichell’s story on board the Kanawha, about Richard Croker’s father—The Mary Ann story—Decoration Day and the fiery Major and Twichell’s interrupted prayer [AMT 1: 409-417, 621]. Note: See last page of source for a listing of his “eleven old friends.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Charlton came to hear Santa C. sing, & has said that she is not yet ready for public appearances, not yet ripe.
Tonight Mr. & Mrs. Rogers & Dr. Quintard dined here. But before they came I had been called up by John D. Rockefeller hoping for a possible talk [with] Mr. Clemens before his famous Bible Class. Mr. Clemens is an honorary member of it & upon young John’s invitation to attend he wrote a delightful letter to be read—or not—at that meeting. A letter on Joseph. But John D. & Mr. Clemens do not agree theologically on the Joseph subject, so Mr. Clemens said he is going to speak on lying, perhaps. At dinner tonight Mr. Clemens said that I had been sparking over the phone with young John D.
Secty the talk going on John D. Bible Classes, Lying & Joseph; the first speculator. Here has been a lot of talk with Mr. Dearborn about the Carnegie Hall talk. They can’t fix upon a date for April 5 Gen. Grant can’t be present & April 10th comes in Holy Week. I was afraid of that so I telephoned over to Rev. Percy Grant& he said that a talk from Mr. Clemens couldn’t damage Holy Week, so it has been decided that way. When I told Mr. Clemens about the decision after lunch, he told about giving a lecture in Ceylon on Good Friday, he didn’t know it was Good Friday, so he didn’t know why he had such a solemn lot of people, nor why the Almighty started a great thunder storm. The lecture was in a corrugated thin iron building & the sound of the rain on the roof drowned out all sound of his voice. The days are overflowing with the joys of the dear “swindle” of life. Such a darling swindle just now.
[on a separate piece of paper:] At fifteen minutes past midnight Santa stole up to my room. She couldn’t sleep, poor dear, for Charlton’s verdict was one to keep her awake, so she sat in a dear curled up heap on my couch and talked over things and people until now it is past 2. I have with me the memory of her darlingness and especially as she stole down stairs into the black, black hall, with 2 little bottles of bromide powder in her dear little hand. A heavy snow has fallen. Almost the first of the year—almost—for the winter has been like a November [MTP TS 50-52].
W.T. Hall wrote on Dothan Eagle (Ala.) letterhead to Sam, enclosing a clipping from the Atlanta Evening News, “which is of interest to me , and I suppose to you.” Hall was a fan who hadn’t asked for an autograph in his life [MTP]. Note: the clipping is in the file see below:
MARK TWAIN FOR SENATOR.
Somebody, or rather some one, has suggested Mark Twain run for senator from New York, to succeed DePew or Platt, provided one of them can be prized off the roost.
It wouldn’t do.
New York has tried one funny man in the senate and—now look at him!
Mark Twain was shaving when a Herald reporter asked him about the suggestion. Here is what the great humorist said:
“If such an offer as that were made to me it would be the most gigantic compliment I ever received. I would not consider myself, however, a worthy successor to Dr. Depew or Mr. Platt, as I am in no way qualified for the post. A senator needs to know the political history of the country, past and present, as well as its commercial, industrial and financial affairs. Of these things I am blissfully ignorant.
“Even if I were qualified, the duties of a senator would be distasteful to me. My own particular workis the greatest source of pleasure I have, and for that reason I do not consider it as work at all. I regard myself as the most lazy human being on earth. I have absolutely no industry in me whatever, and to ‘make good’ as a senator one must be in love with the job and be industrious. If a man is to succeed in any occupation the work to him must be a labor of love. It has always been so with me and my work, and I think I can justly say, without vanity, that my career has been, to a fair degree, a success.
“For five days every week I am busy writing or dictating, and I’m in a modified paradise the while. Saturdays and Sundays I take off, and during these two holidays, as I call them, I’m in a modified hades.”
We are glad Mark Twain refuses to take to politics, but he his mistaken in regard to his disqualifying attributes. He would not have to know anything in order to serve in the senate, and as for being the laziest man on earth, we fail to see how that would interfere with his efficiency in politics. We want Mark Twain to stay where he is—in bed, dictating when he feels like it and getting up when he gets good and ready. The old man is very precious and we mustn’t waste him.
Frederick D. Grant wrote from Governor’s Island, NY to Sam regretting he would be unable to attend Sam’s Apr. 5 lecture at Carnegie Hall for the benefit of the Fulton Monument Assoc. He suggested that Apr. 10 would be the night for entertainment on the Island and he hoped Sam would attend [MTP].
Calvin H. Higbie wrote from Greenville, Calif. to Sam advising him that “two or three parties” had been after him to write his recollections of early Nevada with Twain. He’d “been jotting down incidents that came to mind for several years” and could not recall the date Sam came to Aurora and the first trip sam made over the Sierra’s to Calif. Being sick the past few years, his “finances are getting pretty low,” which is the main reason he wanted to write something [MTP]. Note: Higbie enclosed a letter from George Miner, Sunday Editor of the NY Herald, asking for Higbie’s account.
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wrote to Sam that he would call on him on Thursday at eight, and anticipated “real interest” for Sam to talk to his Young Men’s Bible Class [MTP].
John F. Tremain, secretary for the Chemung County Society, wrote asking if, since Sam was unable to attend their Mar. 29 dinner, could he send “some little message of cheer and encouragement—wishing the society success, which we may read at the dinner”? [MTP]. Note: Lyon answered ca. Mar 17: “Mr. Clemens doesn’t get time to write anything. Very sorry but have to make this reply in all cases” [MTP].
March 15 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Sam replied to the Mar. 13 from Reginald Kauffman: “I think it is a very entertaining letter & I thank you for sending me a copy of it—” [MTP].
March 16 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam began a siege with a bad cold which would keep him in bed until Mar. 23. He wrote to Gertrude Natkin:
To whom these presents shall come—greetings & salutation.
It’s postponed to April 10th, you little rascal.
Unknown Friend” [MTAq 20].
Gertrude Natkin wrote a short reply:
To whom these presents shall come, greeting: Kindly notify my unknown friend that your little known friend will take due notice of the postponement and try to remain in utter darkness until then. / Your Little Known Friend [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Schoolmates of sixty years ago—Mary Miller, one of Clemens’ first sweethearts—Artemesia Briggs, another—Mary Lacy, another—Jimmy McDaniel, to whom Sam told his first humorous story—Joshua Richmond, Sunday-school teacher, afterwards owner of Tom Sawyer’s cave, which is now being ground into cement—Philander A. Hickman, the showy young captain—Reul Gridley and the sack of flour incident—The Levin Jew boys called Twenty-two—George H. Butler, nephew of Ben Butler—The incident of getting into bed with Will Bowen to catch the measles, and the successful and nearly fatal case which resulted [AMT 1: 417-421].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Late this afternoon Mr. Clemens complained of cold. Oh, he is so thoughtless about uncovering himself when he is warm, and then discovering that he is chilled, but if he has cold it is largely because the germ is here in the house. Jean has it. C.C. has had it & I have had foolish intermittent attempts at sore throat. This afternoon C.C. & I went up to have Isidore Luckstone hear her sing. We picked up Charlton on the way up & when C.C. had sung the arias from Semiramedi & Henchel’s morning hymn, Mr. Luckstone gave his verdict & it was that C.C.’s breath is not as it should be. Luckstone is strong & breezy & Norsemanlike & competent & his explanations were illuminating & inspiring. Dr. Halsey came down to see Mr. Clemens late this evening, & after that C.C. & I went over to the Gilders’. There were not many people there, only 5 women & 7 or 8 men. Mme. Janvier played 2 of Dubois’ compositions most charmingly, & she read some of the Provencal poetry, she being a woman of the Midi. On our return Mr. Clemens called me in to give him an account of the evening [MTP TS 52].
March 16 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to A.A. Bustard’s Mar. 14 inquiry as to where he might buy 1601: “It was privately printed—never published at all—& so far as he knows no copy of it is now in existence” [MTP]. Note: of course copies did survive and were reprinted after his death.
Lyon also replied to the Mar. 14 requests from Ada Patterson. See entry.
Sam also replied to the Mar. 14 from Charles Hopkins Clark about the cost of the Mar. 1 Hartford luncheon: “We’ve gotten through this time very nicely & without any bloodshed—” [MTP]. Note by Lyon: “Mr. Clemens sent check $1500”
March 17 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to an unidentified person:
“Mr. Clemens not very well wishes me to thank you very much for your letter which greatly interested him—& that far from objecting to his translating the article into French it is a compliment which I accept with pleasure & hold at a high value—” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
This morning C.C. went off to Atlantic City again, & the day was a rushing, busy one. Mr. Clemens is not any better, but on the other hand he doesn’t seem to be worse. Mr. Dearborn came in to talk up the Carnegie lecture & the price for the tickets, and Jean came in late for tea from her Italian lesson, her hair much blown & with the news that she had bought 5 dozen handkerchiefs at a kind of a sale at McCreery’s. The day was dreary because Mr. Clemens didn’t leave his bed at all & the moments are very anxious ones when he is not well. Cold in the head set in, he sent for Dr. Helmer who nursed him & relieved him [MTP TS 52-53]. Note: Dr. George J Helmer, Osteopath.
Gertrude Natkin wrote a reply to Sam’s Mar. 13 and Mar 16 notes: “Kindly notify my unknown friend that your little known friend will take due notice of the postponement and try to remain in utter darkness until then / Your Little Known Friend” [MTAq 21]. Note: source gives a telephone call this evening from Miss Lyon to Gertrude with the news that Sam was in bed with a cold.
Mary E. Joyce wrote to Sam. “Thank you very much for the beautiful buttons. I appreciate the trouble you have taken and I am sure the boys will be delighted” [MTP]. Note: Sam helped in securing the buttons for the club of fifteen handicapped boys, as requested by Mary Joyce on Feb. 12.
Jervis Langdon II wrote to Sam.
Dear Uncle Sam: —
I have two messages for you this morning. The first is that Lee and I have a small daughter, not yet two days old, who is a lusty and good natured addition to your list of fond relatives up here in the country. ….
Secondly; we have noted with interest the accounts in the papers of your several outings in motor cars, and this week we see on the cover of an Automobile magazine a picture of you, regally settled in the tonneau of one. My message is that if you have become fond of motoring you must come up here sometime after fine, warm weather arrives and take some trips with me. We have a fairly good automobile of the best of habits….[MTP].
Duffield Osborne, acting secretary of the American Copyright League wrote from 33 East 17th St., N.Y. to Sam: “We are about to send out the inclosed circular letter signed by the members of the Council. Kindly authorize me to use your signature in that connection” [MTP]. Note: Sam answered ca. Mar. 19: “Yes certainly—use it.”
Clara Clemens canceled a reservation on the SS Minnetonka for Europe, which would sail on June 9, and went again to Atlantic City to continue recuperating from her throat ailment [Hill 122].
March 17 ca. – Isabel Lyon replied to John F. Tremain’s Mar. 15 request. See entry.
March 18 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin, who, upon learning from Isabel Lyon that Sam was in bed with a cold, had sent flowers.
Aren’t you dear! Aren’t you the dearest child there is? To think to send me those lovely flowers, you sweet little Marjorie. Marjorie! don’t get any older—I can’t have it. Stay always just as you are—youth is the golden time.
Miss Lyon came up & arranged the flowers for me, & they certainly do look like you. Consequently they are very acceptable company. I was writing a short article on the Carnegie Spelling-Reform, to put in the time, but I have finished it now.
Miss Lyon brought me your messages from the telephone, & I was very glad to have them, Marjorie dear. To-morrow, or next day I can leave this bed, then I can talk to you myself. No, to your shadow—for that is all a telephone can furnish of you. It makes you vague & unreal; & the voice is somebody else’s & unfamiliar. / Good-night (blot) & sleep well, you dear little rascal! [MTAq 21].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
A busy but flighty morning. I have no time for reading in all these flying months. Perhaps I’m discouraged from attempting anything more felicitous by the great horror left by “The House of Mirth”. It isn’t possible for me to read it. I’ve made 3 attempts, only to dash it aside full of pain over its dreadfulness.
Today Mr. Elliott drifted in for tea & then Dr. Hunt came full of Vienna recollections which he & Jean exchanged & when Langdon Warner came in & stayed for dinner at Jean’s invitation, to meet Barry Faulkner who was coming.
Tonight Mr. Clemens began to have sore throat, and at midnight Dr. Green came in to give him a treatment. It relieved him & our minds too when he said he felt better [MTP TS 53]. Note: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905). See Gribben 758. A large “X” was drawn through the last two paragraphs.
March 19 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to W.T. Hall.
I thank you very much for the clipping from the Atlantic [sic Atlanta] Evening News.
I have waited these many years for you to hear me lecture, but now it is too late: I am taking my farewell of the platform three weeks hence. The hostiles say “But you are forgetting the gallows—” a joke which I am too proud & arrogant to notice [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean, 8:20 10:30
Mr. Paine spoke to me about a piece of land 75 acres with an old farm house on it in Redding, Ct. where he recently bought a place—$2,000.00 is the price—and when I told Mr. Clemens about it, he closed in with the idea as a good investment, and Mr. Paine has sent off the first $100.00 to bind the bargain. I didn’t think he would want it because I couldn’t think he would want anything that I want—with an aching heart. I reached out for that farm for I don’t ever want to go back to Farmington again. I want & want & want to sell Choisy & so be able to settle where there is more room—you can see for 20 miles. Life is such a tiny bubble that why we reach out for material things I don’t know; but we do it and that old beamed farmhouse on top of the hill held out its arms to me.
It is dreary & gloomy with Mr. Clemens in his bed because he must be there.
Mr. Paine has taken some more wonderful photographs of him.
Dr. Halsey came down to see Mr. Clemens & has ordered cold water compresses for his throat & Mr. Clemens finds him a beautiful creature to look at! [MTP TS 53-54; also in part, Hill 126]. Note: the Redding land would be Sam’s last home, “Stormfield.”
W.W. Hallock wrote from NY to offer Sam a speaking engagement to the Sphinx Club, “an organization of newspaper and magazine publishers, printers, advertisers, Agents, Newspaper Representatives, and those in kindred lines” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter “Farewell to Stage”
March 19 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave., N.Y. Isabel Lyon replied for Sam to Thomas P. Brown’s Mar. 13 offer: “should only lose it—& so does not care” [MTP].
Sam answered Duffield Osborne’s request of Mar. 17. See entry. “Yes certainly—use it” [MTP].
March 20 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frederick A. Duneka of Harper & Brothers about the illustrations for Eve’s Diary (1906).
We all think Mr. Ralph’s pictures delightful—full of grace, charm, variety of invention, humor, pathos, poetry—they are prodigal in merits. It’s a bonny Eve, a sweet & innocent & winning little lassie, & she is as natural & at home in the tale as if she had just climbed out of it. Now do you think draperies are indispensable to picture women? /Truly yours / SL. C.
Isn’t she cunning where she has been chasing Adam, & is looking after him in his flight? Do you note how dear & sweet & clean minded she is, & how charged with childlike wonder and interest? Clothes would vulgarize her—even a duchess’s [MTP]. Note: Sam won the argument; the illustrator for Eve’s Diary was Lester Ralph (1877-1927).
This was the day Mr. and Mrs. Frank Doubleday were invited for luncheon to hear Sam read his “Gospel of Self.” See Mar. 14 note to Lyon [MTP].
Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Frank Fuller that he was “not at all well” [MTP: City Book Auction catalogs, May 12, 1945, Item 77]. Note: This is a reply to a not extant letter from Fuller.
Sam also wrote to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
I am very sorry that, after all, I cannot meet the honorary membership Thursday Evening. I am not sick—I have merely been sick, & the doctor requires me to keep to my room three of four days longer. In answer to my protest, he says, “Risks which a younger person might venture are forbidden the Methuselah of American Literature.” Do you suppose that that clumsy remark is meant as a compliment? If so, I shall find it where a doctor’s compliments are always to be found—in the bill. There should be a law against this kind of graft [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s Mar. 14 to Edward M. Foote about attending Rockefeller’s Bible class.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens began dictating again today, yesterday he couldn’t.
I have just called up young John D.’s secretary to say that Mr. Clemens will not be able to be present at that famous Bible class meeting on Thursday evening.
About tea time 20 or more of the Lester Ralph illustrations for Eve’s Diary arrived from Harper’s. I carried them up to Mr. Clemens who found them beautiful, full of invention & poetry & purity & humor, and it was boundless delight to see Mr. Clemens examine & approve of each one. I often think that if the value of his approval is great, then the value of his disapproval is greater; with his loveliness & depth of character he can see & overlook many weaknesses, but where his really condemns, you won’t ever find any condemnation juster. He has temporary prejudices, thousands of them, but you learn the difference between those & the things he really condemns.
Today Mr. & Mrs. F.N. Doubleday were coming for luncheon & afterward Mr. Clemens was to read some of the Gospel, but he wasn’t well enough to do it, & so the engagement had to be cancelled. A pity too, he said, “When there’s nobody but myself issuing complete sets of microbes, we’ll invite the Doubledays again.” Jean has had a wretched cold for many days, & others of us are slightly infected, too [MTP TS 54-55].
Edward A. Cady wrote from San Francisco to ask who the original Tom Sawyer was. A man by that name lived there, a fireman on the Panama route for years who claimed to have met Clemens in Virginia City. Cady also asked if Sam recalled “poor old Ted McGinty of early days of the Comstock—he introduced you to me at Colfax Station in 1866” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote “No ans.” on the note. Neither man was identified.
Elisabeth Cutting wrote from Brooklyn, NY to Sam: “May I venture to recall myself to you as one of the many who paid their tribute to you on the evening of Colonel Harvey’s dinner?” Cutting was a member of the Women’s University Club and hoped to come to a reception in Sam’s honor on Apr. 2 [MTP].
T. Gilbert Pearson, secretary of the National Assoc. of Audobon Societies, wrote from N.Y. to ask Sam to protest by letter against the legalization of “certain species of foreign game in the State of New York during the entire year,” which would be enacted by an amendment to the state game law [MTP]. Note: Sam’s response came ca. Mar. 22.
Fatout lists Clemens as offering remarks to the Bohemians at the Hofbrauhaus, N.Y.C. [MT Speaking 675]. Note: no confirmation of this appearance was found; Fatout offers no supporting evidence but George Henschel wrote his thanks on Mar. 14 that Sam would attend this function.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: About young John D. Rockefeller’s Sunday-school talks. Mr. Clemens is asked, as honorary member, to talk to the Bible Class. His letter of refusal. He accepts invitation from Gen. Fred Grant to speak at Carnegie Hall April 10th, for benefit of Robert Fulton Monument association. His letter of acceptance [AMT 1: 421-428]. Note: see April 10 entry.
Of the selections from Twain’s A.D.’s, DeVoto selected about half of the materials not chosen before by Paine to be included in Mark Twain in Eruption (1940); among DeVoto’s choices, was “Mr. Rockefeller’s Bible Class,” dictated this day, about John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s class and Bible explanations [83-91].
March 21 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean to Lakewood.
C.C. & I went to see Otis Skinner in The Duel & a finer bit of unconscious sarcasm of stage traditions I’ve never seen. We were stunned into silence by Fay Davis’s inability to make one good or natural thing, but that inability was the saving of the play from hopeless mediocrity, & the placing of it was among the finest productions of the winter for old fashioned acting. It was glorious & we were convulsed, where everyone else was overcome by emotion—to tears [MTP TS 55].
Clemens’ A.D. for this day: Mental telegraphy—Letter from Jock Brown—Search for Dr. John Brown’s letters a failure—Joe Twichell and his wife, Harmony, have an adventure in Scotland—Twichell’s picture of a military execution—Letter relating to foundation of the Players Club—The mismanagement which caused Clemens to be expelled from the Club—He is now an honorary member [AMT 1: 429-432].
Dr. Moses Allen Starr wrote from 5 W. 54th St., N.Y. to Sam, confiding that Dr. G.W. Kirch had retained a lawyer, Mr. Shedd, in “regard to the settlement” of his bill for services in Florence to Livy. Starr suggested a compromise as a way to avoid “annoying publicity…about Mrs. Clemens illness and death” which he felt “would be so despicable” to Sam. The claim was for $400 and Starr suggested $250 [MTP]. Note: Isabel Lyon wrote on Starr’s letter: “Answer sent at Mr. Larkin’s suggestion.” See Mar. 22 notes for Starr.
Grover Cleveland wrote from Florida to Sam.
My dear Mr Clemens:
Whatever people may say, for the purposes of fine diction, about the compensations of age and all that sort of thing, the air of sixty nine is generally a little chilly; and the warmth of friendly kindness makes one more comfortable.
Mind you I find no fault with the atmosphere; and I do not complain of the stiffness of joints that increases as I go. But after all it does set one off at an easier pace if some good friend at each of these last mile posts, shouts charity out: “Go it old man! You ain’t winded a bit. You’ll get there!”
So from the bottom of my heart I thank you for your generous letter of congratulation. / Faithfully Yours / Grover Cleveland [MTP].
William A. Frisbie wrote on Minneapolis Journal letterhead to ask Sam if he would come to Minneapolis as a Journal staff member for the G.A.R. encampment the week of Aug. 13. They would publish 500 words from Sam daily as observation. Digs at the home of the Journal’s publisher, Mr. Swift or digs at the Minneapolis Club were offered [MTP]. Note: Sam answered ca. Mar. 23.
Jean Clemens left to take a brief stay at “Lakewood,” a sanitarium. She would return on Mar. 27, and remain with her family and under Isabel Lyon’s care until fall [Hill 121].
Gertrude Natkin wrote another affectionate letter to Sam, confessing how much she loved him and that she’d nearly been caught writing to him during French class. The thought of him “confined” to his room “on this the first day of Spring” made her “down hearted” [MTAq 22-3].
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. wrote to Sam.
I am in receipt of your note, also of the telephone communication through your secretary yesterday. I sincerely regret to learn of your illness and am glad to learn from your note that you are already better. / It will be a great disappointment to all those assembled on Thursday night, as well as to myself, not to have the pleasure of seeing and hearing you [MTP].
March 22 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, Isabel V. Lyon wrote notes for Sam to answer Elisabeth Cutting. “Mar 22—Think out a date for Reception. The Spanish girl Senorita Marcial will be here about Apr. 2. Would they like to invite Sen Marcial & her chaperon Miss Sanborn to this recep.” [Lyon:] “Mention this as Mr. Clemens would like to help her along in her work—in any way that comes along” [MTP].
Lyon also wrote the notes to reply to Moses Allen Starr’s Mar. 21 (the answer was sent at John Larkin’s suggestion by Isabel V. Lyon)
Note to Dr Starr— / [diagonally beneath name:] services to Mrs. Clemens
Kirch is a singular kind of coward—he knows perfectly well that he can bring suit in Florence any time he pleases & get his 400 whether he wins the suit or loses.
Mr. Clemens is going to consider your suggestion & arrive at a decision about it.
Here’s Mr. Clemens’s case—Mr Larkin must not stop him putting the Kirch case & correspondence into a pamphlet & sending it to every English speaking person in Florence & Rome—
(note by Isabel V. Lyon: Finally Mr. C. decides to ask Mr. Larkin to come talk over the Shedd matter for there’s too much for the telephone—Mr. Larkin is coming this afternoon at 5. Mar 22) [MTP]. Note: see Mar. 21; Shedd was Dr. Kirch’s attorney.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Susy’s Biography—Langdon’s illness and death—Susy tells of interesting men whom her father met in England and Scotland—Dr. John Brown, Charles Kingsley, Henry M. Stanley, Thomas Hardy, Henry Irving, Robert Browning, Charles Dilke, Charles Reade, William Black, Lord Houghton, Frank Buckland, Tom Hughes, Anthony Trollope, Tom Hood, Dr. MacDonald, and Harrison Ainsworth—Clemens tells of meeting Lewis Carroll—of luncheon at Lord Houghton’s—Letters from Mr. and Mrs. Clemens to Dr. Brown—Mr. Clemens’ regret that he did not take Livy for a last visit to Dr. Brown [AMT 1: 432-436].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mr. Paine has just appeared at my door to say Mr. Clemens wants to know “where in hell that God damn Gospel is” [MTP TS 55-56]. Note: Sam’s “Gospel” was “What is Man?”
F.B. Goddard wrote from NYC to Sam enclosing a photo of himself and having been “many times each week” receiving “the flattering compliment of being mistaken for your distinguished self” [MTP]. Note: the man did bear a strking resemblance to Twain.
Alex D. Martin wrote from Newark, NJ to Sam. “I am an old St. Louis printer, having worked there some six years ‘when you and I were boys.’ I will be 76 years old on the 27th of this month. Am a Union member, in good standing, for some 54 years; belong to the No. 6 of New York; was at ‘the Home’, left it, —sorry for it—and have been trying to get back for over three years.” Could Sam help get him a ticket? He was also “sadly in need of some reading matter,” and hoped he was not “too fresh” in asking for some [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote “No ans” on the letter.
March 22 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to T. Gilbert Pearson’s Mar. 20 request. “Letters should be signed by God Almighty—& the Son & young John D., & the Virgin—Gilder & himself are ragtag & bobtail—Letters should be signed by thieves with money in their pockets, thieves respected & adored” [MTP].
March 22-26 Monday – During this period Sam replied to Maude Clement Rice in Sawnee on Delaware, Penn.: “I am glad to have a copy of that letter, & shall also be very glad to sign the photograph—” [MTP]. Note: incoming not extant; possibly a relative of old “Unreliable,” Clement Rice?
March 23 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to Kate W. Barrett (incoming not extant):
If I dared I would say yes, but I must not venture it. I shall be fortunate if I do not break down under the work which I am still booked to do between now & the end of the season, & it would not be safe for me to add anything to it. The invitations come every day, but I have to say no all the time; though often, as in the present case, my sympathies are strongly stirred & it costs me a pang to do it. It is a deep pleasure to me to know that you have thought of me in connection with your noble work.
[in bottom left corner, note by Isabel V. Lyon:]
“answering Mrs. Kate W. Barrett who asked Mr. Clemens to attend Annual Conference of Florence Critterton assn. & say something in the vein inspiring King Leopold’s Soliloquy, for the cause of the care of girls gone astray” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Some curious letter superscriptions which have come to Clemens—Our inefficient postal system under Postmaster-General David McKendree Key—Reminiscences of Harriet Beecher Stowe—Story of Reverend Charles Stowe’s little boy, Charles Edward Stowe [AMT 1: 436-439].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens went down for luncheon today & after a frantic, frantic morning, C.C. & I went around to look at the house at University Place & Washington Sq. Then when I came back we had music.
Mr. Dearborn has had to change the date again for the Fulton lecture. It has been shifted out of Holy Week & I’m glad. When I told Mr. Clemens about it, he said “yes, it is a good thing to change the date, for to have it in Holy Week would be like playing a Comedy in Heaven—” & when I suggested that they surely wouldn’t have comedies in Heaven, he said “No, there won’t be any humorists there, Heaven must be a hell of a place.”
C.C. & I went over to the Gilders’ this evening. There were lots of people there, among them Mr. & Mrs. Albert Vorse whom I met there a week ago & we have planned to go see some Marionettes on Monday evening [MTP TS 56]. Note: Albert Vorse (1866-1910) and Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966). Albert was a journalist who encouraged his wife to write; Mary published her first of 18 books, The Breaking-In of a Yachtman’s Wife in 1908 and later became active in the suffrage movement. Not in Gribben.
March 23 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Mar. 21, William A. Frisbie’s invitation to come to Minneapolis. “Travelling days are over—don’t make any journeys now except compulsory ones—” [MTP].
March 24 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin at 138 W. 98th St., N.Y.C.
Are you listening, you little rascal? You have been thinking about me? That is quite proper—when there is nothing else on hand; but not in lesson-time, that won’t do. Why, not even Marjorie Fleming was so lawless as that, altho’ she was a good deal of a rule-breaker. Dr. John Browne never saw Marjorie, of course, yet she was so alive to him, & so vivid, & so dear & sweet, that he told me she was the same to him as a grandchild, & that he couldn’t love a real grandchild any more than he loved this little comrade of his musings & his dreams. So spoke of her as his dream-grandchild. And you are mine. I shouldn’t want a sweeter one, & there couldn’t be a dearer one. For a year & more I have been calling this house a hospital, & now at last I am a patient myself—but I’m only a “temporary,” not a “permanent,” like the rest of the family—& I shall be up to-morrow, I suppose, & may be this evening, & will hunt for you on the telephone, & thank you for those dear messages you send me. I am cross, from being restrained of my liberty, but not with you, dear, only with the rest of the human race. No, I couldn’t be cross with you, you dear little Marjorie—on the contrary I blow you a volley of blots! [MTAq 22-3]. Note: Sam had been in bed with a bad cold since Mar. 16.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
“This is the day my father died fifty nine years ago” Mr. Clemens said to me 5 minutes ago as he looked at the date on the morning newspaper, The Times. He remembers it all distinctly for he was just at the age when events stamp themselves indelibly. He drew the sparkle in his eye back into its sheath after he saw & received the copy of Simplicissimus that I brought in to him. He enjoys it. He calls it his “Darling Simplicissimus”.
This is the wretched day when Mr. Clemens went down to the living room & there wasn’t anyone there, for a half hour he waited for a human being & none came to stay. C.C. looked in upon him as she passed out of the house, & then a blast of cold & bedeviled loneliness swept over him & made him hate his life. C.C. was late for luncheon, & Mr. Clemens loathed the meal. He dropped his 2 hard water biscuits with a bang on the mahogany table in a cursing wave of bitterness. These are the agony days when he knows Mrs. Clemens is gone.
This evening C.C., R.G. [Rodman Gilder], Mary Lawton & I went up to Hammerstein’s Variety Show to see Henri de Vries in his “Case of Arson”. Only fair. But there were some wonderful Hungarian dancers there [MTP TS 56-57; also in part Gribben 644]. Note: Simplicissimus; Illustrierte Wochenschrift (Munich, 1896), a humorous German magazine.
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam on or after Mar. 24.
My Dear Mr. Clemens
—You see, I do not wish to appear as a reckless little law breaker in your sight so I have tryed to restrain myself from setting forth my love on paper during school time and I have succeeded. I am just overflowing with love for you and there is likely to be an inundation at any time, hence this violation of rules.
It was very dear of you to telephone to me that evening, but you are such a dear, I knew you would telephone if you said you would. I am so glad that Apr. 10th comes during Holiday week for then I can think of you as much as I please without breaking any rules. Oh, that I could give you a real blot right now, well I will have to make the best of it and store it up for the eventful evening. . Good Night, Sweet Dreams / Marjorie [MTP; MTAq 23].
Frances Campbell Sparhawk wrote from Newton Center, Mass. to Sam. After reading “King Leopold’s Soliloquy,” Sparhawk was joining the Congo Reform Assoc. Noting the contrast of outrage with the horrors of the Russo-Japanese war as against the indifference of the Congo situation, Sparhawk concluded, “Our people are full of race prejudice.” She thanked him for the Soliloquy [MTP].
March 24 after – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to an unidentified person. All that survives is what he wrote on the envelope: “Her songs were delightfully humorous, & were effectively interpreted by an art all her own, & refreshingly original. The house responded with enthusiasm. —Mark Twain” [MTP].
Harper’s Weekly ran an anonymous article, “Further Anecdotes of Mark Twain,” p. 421. Tenney “Chiefly on MT in Hartford, with texts of some brief MT notes” [Tenney 41].
March 25 Sunday – Sam lunched with Miss Winifred Holt and had tea with the Howellses [Hill 124].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean 9, 11, 4 (Lakewood, very bad day)
Mr. Clemens hates this house. He calls it “The Valley of the Shadow”.
lunched with Miss Winifred Holt & came hope at half past four to find Mr.
Howells here at tea in C.C.’s room. Later
Mr. Henschel came in too. It was a great delight
for me to sit in that
company & hear Mr. Clemens & Mr. Howells talk of Macaulay & Trevelyan’s Life &
Letters & Science—Metchnikoff’s Book, Mr. Howells spoke of—& Mr.
Clemens was in fine form, a better mood than the one he went away in for he was
depressed and lonely & said he was going to have company in the house, a
man or a woman, he didn’t’ care which. He was beautiful to behold as he paced
the drawing room & tossed his head in his lonely decision to have that
company in the house. After Mr. Howells left Mr. Clemens went to bed &
finally I went in to see what news from Miss Holt & her scheme for the
adult blind. The meeting for which & at which Mr. Clemens is to preside
will be held next Thursday evening. He is bothered by the detail of it &
the protracted program [MTP TS 57-58; also, in part, Gribben 712]. Note:
many of Lyon’s strikeouts are inexplicable, and may have been added years later
with an eye to eventual publication.
Mary E. Bell wrote to Sam.
While I am very anxious to go North, I think my visit depends on my meeting you and Mr. Howells. I guarantee to make you laugh, perhaps at me, old, poor, maybe [illegible word, “graying”?] shadows. Were I young, I had rather to go to any extremity almost, than worry people. Alas! Time will not wait for me and as I am trying to earn a few dollars…I beg you will, at any hour convenient to you, grant me a short interview? [MTP].
Florence T. Holt wrote from NYC to Sam. “The Joe Smiths, who are to be in town oer Sunday, will lunch with us that day at two oclock & we thought you might come to see them…P.S. I promise not to tell any smear stories!”[MTP].
March 26 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to John Brown, Jr. (“Jock”).
Dear Mr. Jock: — / With this I am returning the typed letters which you sent. They pleasantly but pathetically bring back the scenes and associations of thirty-three years ago, when Mrs. Clemens and our small Susy and I were comrades of your father in Edinburgh daily, during six weeks, without a break.
Use the letters freely. Doctor John’s letters to Mrs. Clemens and me I am not able to find. We have hunted the house over, with this result. And I am greatly surprised, for Mrs. Clemens treasured them as precious remembrancers, and she always knew where to put her hand upon them. But perhaps I ought not to be surprised, for during the ten years that we were wanderers in Europe our house in Hartford was several times occupied by renters, with the result that a great many things which we valued got lost or destroyed. In this present case I deeply deplore the loss.
I shall be glad to see the memoir you speak of, if you will send it.
I thank you very much for the photographs of the beautiful children. Marjorie Fleming ought to have had just one more gift, then she would have been perfect. She ought to have looked like this little girl of yours—I mean she ought to have had your little girl’s beauty. [After signature:]
I remember 23 Rutland st exceedingly well. Those were good times.
The enclosed photograph is copyrighted in G.B & America—don’t let it get into print [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Asa Don Dickinson of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Be wise as a serpent & wary as a dove! The newspaper boys want that letter—don’t you let them get hold of it. They say you refuse to allow them to see it without my consent. Keep on refusing, & I’ll take care of this end of the line.
Was the January meeting held? You did not tell me [MTP]. Note: Dickinson was in charge of the dept. for the blind at the Sheepshead Bay Branch. Sam is likely referring to his reply of Nov. 21, 1905 to Dickinson’s Nov. 19, 1905. See Dickinson’s reply to this letter on Mar. 28.
Sam also wrote to Augustus T. Gurlitz. “I am told a reporter from the Journal has been here—with authorization from you. I did not see him. I have nothing to say to reporters. He is coming again; and again he will go without seeing me” [MTP].
Sam also replied to his old mining partner, Calvin H. Higbie, in Greenville, Plumas Co. Calif. Higbie had written on Mar. 15. Higbie had a manuscript to pass by Mark Twain and wanted a few details of Sam’s movements.
I went down to Aurora about midsummer of ‘62. I suppose it must have been toward the end of October, ‘62 that I went to Walker River to nurse Capt. John Nye. I crossed the Sierras into California for the first time along about the middle of ‘64, I should say.
Send me your manuscript. I shall be as competent as anybody to sit in judgment upon its value and arrive at a verdict. Then I will ask the New York Herald to name a price & come to my house and talk with me, in case he finds that your narrative comes up to his expectations. If he should decide that he doesn’t want it—but that is further along. If you have told your story with your pen in the simple unadorned & straightforward way in which you would tell it with your tongue, I think it cannot help but have value.
I was very glad to hear from you, old comrade, & shall be also glad to be of service to you in this matter if I can [MTP].
Sam had Rodman Gilder and Mr. and Mrs. Albert Vorse to dinner [Hill 124]. Note: see Lyon’s next entry.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: John D. Rockefeller’s Bible Class again—Clemens comments on several newspaper clippings—Tells Howells the scheme of this autobiography—Tells the newspaper account of girl who tried to commit suicide—Newspapers in remote villages and in great cities contrasted—Remarks about Captain E.L. Marsh and Dick Higham—Calvin Higbie’s letter, and Herald letter to Higbie [AMT 1: 439-446].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: I dined with Barry at Cecchina’s.
Tonight at dinner when Mr. & Mrs. Vorse & Rodman Gilder were here, Mr. Clemens swung off into wonderful talk of the piloting days on the Mississippi; my chronicling wit is gone.
After dinner we went up to see Francis Wilson in “the Mountain Climbers”. [sic] It was a foolish enough play, but the Vorses are lovely and Rodman Gilder was handsome & we whirled up there in cabs & away from there in cabs & somehow I didn’t get to bed or to sleep until 4:30 in the morning. It seemed all wrong to go off & leave Mr. Clemens alone, though I venture to say that he liked it.
Mr. Clemens & I went around to see the sunshiny house on Washington Square [MTP TS 58; also in part Gribben 388]. Note: The Mountain Climber, a three-act farce at the Criterion Theatre by Curt Kraatz and M. Neal. See insert.
John Hellier wrote with “deep grief” from Manchester, England to Sam asking for his help with his wife, who was troubled with “mental delusions.” He had been told that if he could take his wife to various places she might be cured. He worked for the Inland Revenue Department and was unable to do this. Could Sam confer with the 5th Avenue doctors concerning his case? [MTP].
E.E. Olcott, president and general manager of the Hudson River Day Line of steamers, wrote to Sam, grateful for his past help on the start of their Hudson Memorial Assoc. Heller requested Sam’s “cooperation” at another event on Mar. 31 in Newburgh—the launching of a new steamer of the Hudson River Day Line [MTP]. Note: written on the letter ca. Mar. 28: “Two engagements for that day & evening.”
March 27 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean arrived suddenly this morning & quite white, & all day reporters have been flitting in & out trying to get Mr. Clemens to say something because Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer are reported as under ban in a Brooklyn library. Mr. Clemens hasn’t anything to say, he never does have, except from the depths of that glory of a bed & for private ears. Those reporters wanted to get hold of the letter he wrote to Mr. Asa Don Dickinson, “a most characteristic & most damndest letter” — but it would be a damaging letter if they could get hold of it.
Gerald Thayer came in at tea time & he & Mr. Paine closed in on a friendship—quickly as that [MTP TS 59]. Note: Sam replied to Dickinson on Nov. 21, 1905 and Mar. 26, 1906.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Calvin Higbie’s spelling—Clemens scheme for getting Higbie a job at the Pioneer—in 1863 Clemens goes to Virginia City to be sole reporter on Territorial Enterprise—Clemens tries his scheme for finding employment for the unemployed on a young St. Louis reporter with great success—Also worked the scheme for his nephew, Samuel E. Moffett [AMT 1: 446-451].
Sam met Charlotte Teller Johnson (b. 1876), when she knocked on his door and asked Isabel Lyon to speak with him. Teller was active in the movement to support the Russian revolutionaries, and lived a few doors down from Clemens at 3 Fifth Ave.
Robert Hirst of the MTP in a Nov. 2000 Mark Twain Forum post quoted from Teller’s (1925) privately printed S.L.C. to C.T. of how she met Mark Twain:
It was during the Russian Revolution of 1905 [sic] that word came to a group of us who were living at 3 Fifth Ave, all of us writers, that Tschaikowsky was coming with Gorki to raise money in the U.S. When he arrived I saw him, and found him much depressed because he did not know how to reach Mark Twain, whom he wanted as chairman for a big mass meeting. Although I did not know Mark Twain myself, I offered to see what could be done. I went to 21 Fifth Ave. and asked for Mr. Clemens’s secretary. She said to bring Tschaikowsky back at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I did, and introduced the two men, both of them white haired and most distinguished in appearance. As I started to leave, Mark Twain asked me my name and when he found that I had written a “Joan d’Arc” play which was considered the previous year by Maude Adams, he asked me to come back the next morning [Mar. 28] and read him the play. I did, and when I finished he was much moved . . . . From that day I saw him almost every day for nearly three months [Note: the next day, Mar. 28, Isabel Lyon made a journal recording, touching on this day and Charlotte Teller’s return with Tschaykoffski.]
Note: Charlotte had married a Washington engineer, Frank Minitree Johnson in 1902, but at this time was either separated or divorced. After 1915 she was Mrs. Hirsch. At this time she wrote under the name Charlotte Teller and lived with her grandmother. After 1900 several of her short stories and articles were published in newspapers and journals, including Everybody’s Magazine, Harper’s Weekly, and Metropolitan Magazine. Gribben identifies the 30 year old Teller and the reading of her MS of The Cage, a play about the Haymarket Riot, which Appleton published in 1907; Sam would also read her play MS of Mirabeau in Dublin, N.H. on June 15. Gribben writes of the gossip regarding their relationship which led to a permanent split (see Oct. 21, 1906) .
Trombley speculates: “Undoubtedly, what drew Twain to Charlotte Teller Johnson was the combination of her youth and her talent. She probably reminded him a great deal of his lost daughter Susy, an aspiring writer” [MT Other Woman 104].
Hill, who likely did not have access to the Teller document Hirst quotes from (above), puts Sam’s meeting of Charlotte Teller Johnson to “early in 1906 at a meeting to support Russian revolutionaries” . Hill likely confused the gathering on Apr. 11 as their first meeting. This is somewhat confusing because Hill quotes frequently from IVL’s journal, and clearly he missed the Mar. 28, 1906 entry where she put Johnson’s first meeting to the previous day, Mar. 27. Lystra continues the error citing Hill, but adds the claim that Isabel Lyon mounted a “defensive operation against an attractive young woman, Charlotte Teller Johnson…she had caught Twain’s eye at a meeting they both attended early in 1906 in support of Russian revolutionaries” . Lystra also cites Isabel Lyon’s journal of Mar. 28, Apr. 6, 11, June 15, 1906. See also Oct. 21, 1906.
Note: when biographers cite secondary sources, which sometimes cite other secondary sources—the initial study done without access or with improper interpretation of primary sources—or, when errors are contained in primary sources, such as newspaper accounts or reminiscences—accuracy is sacrificed. This study does not pretend to be wholly accurate, but in comparing various sources it becomes evident that at times scholars have been misled.
The N.Y Times ran the following on page 9:
NEVER TOO ILL FOR A STORY.
“Mark Twain’s” Only Comment on Brooklyn’s Edict Against His Works.
There is a letter over in Brooklyn signed by Samuel L. Clemens, a sad man living at 21 Fifth Avenue. Mr. Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, has been ill for a week with a cold which threatened him with pneumonia. Yesterday he was said to be better, but he did not feel well enough to receive interviewers and explain to them how it had happened that the Brooklyn Public Libraries, through Librarian Frank P. Hill, had put on the “restricted list” both “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer,” and what he had said to them in the letter he wrote on the subject.
Mr. Clemens’s secretary told the reporters that the humorist had thrown away Dante’s “Inferno,” which he had been reading, when he learned of the ban on his books in Brooklyn. Then he proceeded to tell a story he knew of an Englishman who “bettered a story.” Here is the story as the secretary told it:
“There was once a wicked man who stayed late at his club. His wife had a cuckoo clock. As he entered the door he heard it sound twice, and on his own account added more ‘cuckoos.’ When he awoke in the morning he was happy in the belief that his wife had been deceived into thinking he had got home by 12 o’clock.
“Now this story was told by an American to an Englishman, who, lacking a sense of humor, insisted on telling the sequel. It was to the effect that the too lively gentleman learned from his spouse when he complained about not being wakened in time that she had been out on an errand. During the night she had heard the clock ‘co-co’ and decided that it had the hiccoughs, so she had taken it to the clockmaker.”
The doctor who was summoned after this story said that his patient was doing very well, indeed. The fact that Mr. Hill had refused to give out the letter in regard to the edict against “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer” made it impossible for Mr. Clemmens’s [sic] secretary to make it public, the communication being personal.
Jean Clemens returned from what was likely a trial stay at Lakewood Sanitarium. She would remain with the family and Miss Lyon until fall [Hill 121].
George Cary Eggleston wrote from NYC to congratulate Sam on the Brooklyn Library’s recent reflections, meaning perhaps a reconsideration on the banning of HF [MTP].
Edward M. Foote, chair of the entertainment committee for the Young Men’s Bible Class, 11 W. 45th St., N.Y. wrote his disappointment that Sam could not attend their Class Reunion, and invited him to “choose an evening in the latter part of April…when you can with comfort meet…and talk the art of lying, or whatever else is in your mind at the time” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply was ca. Mar. 29.
John Greenhall wrote from Leeds, England to ask Sam if it was correct that one of his daughters had converted to Christian Science [MTP]. Note: Sam replied on Apr. 6.
E.W. Halifax, secretary of the English Branch of the League for the Preservation of Swiss Scenery, wrote from London fearing a prior letter had gone astray: “Sir Maitin wished me to write & say he is disappointed we have not heard from you—If you could send us a word of encouragement it would be so valuable.” Halifax enclosed a circular [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply from Isabel Lyon is catalogued as ca. Mar. 29, but this does not allow adequate time for the cross-Atlantic mail. Estimated time for reply here is ca.Apr. 6.
Helen Keller wrote to Sam, a letter that he inserted into his A.D. of Mar. 30.
It is a great disappointment to me not to be with you and the other friends who have joined their strength to uplift the blind. The meeting in New York will be the greatest occasion in the movement which has so long engaged my heart: and I regret keenly not to be present and feel the inspiration of living contact with such an assembly of wit, wisdom and philanthropy.
…You once told me you were a pessimist, Mr. Clemens; but great men are usually mistaken about themselves. You are an optimist. If you were not, you would not preside at the meeting. For it is an answer to pessimism. It proclaims that the heart and the wisdom of a great city are devoted to the good of mankind, that in this the busiest city in the world no cry of distress goes up, but receives a compassionate and generous answer. Rejoice that the cause of the blind has been heard in NewYork; for the day after it shall be heard round the world. Yours…[MTP].
Arthur B. Krock wrote from the Lewis Institute, Chicago to Sam responding the the Brooklyn Library tabooing Sam’s books. His mother had argued that Matthew Arnold was a greater humorist than Mark Twain, but his father said that remark was an insult to “the Grandfather of American Literarure” [MTP].
March 28 Wednesday – In the a.m. Charlotte Teller Johnson returned to 21 Fifth Ave. and read her play Joan d’Arc to Clemens. It was the beginning of almost daily visits between the two and much correspondence. See Mar. 27 entry.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Orion Clemens’ personality—His adventure at the house of Dr. Meredith—Orion’s three o’clock a.m. call on young lady—Death of Clemens’ father, just after having been made County Judge—Sam Clemens’ small income after having become bankrupt through maladministration of Charles L. Webster [AMT 1: 451-455].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Off Mr. Clemens went at 7 o’clock to dine with Miss Winifred Holt & talk over things that are to be done tomorrow evening at the meeting for the blind. Barry & Gerald & Gerome [Brush] dined here, & after dinner we 6 went up to the Armory at 94th Street, forever away, & saw some pretty good, certainly interesting, riding, interesting because the men who rode were untrained & not under a fearful training discipline & you felt the naturalness of it.
A young and delightfulish Mrs. Johnson came in yesterday [Mar. 27] to ask if Mr. Clemens would care to meet Mr. Tschaykoffski, the Russian Revolutionary agitator. He came & Mr. Clemens had a good talk with him, but discouraged him a bit I fear. Mrs. Johnson herself is a clever creature, I believe, for she attracts you & she told me how for a year she has been working on a Joan of Arc play for Maude Adams [MTP TS 59-60]. Note: Charlotte was evidently still introducing herself as “Mrs. Johnson” while writing under the name of Charlotte Teller.
On this day or the next Sam wrote a letter to Nikolai V. Chaikovsky (1851-1926) (often seen spelled in various ways: Tchaikovsky, Tchaykoffsky, etc.) that ran in the N.Y. Times for Mar. 30, 1906:
Dear Mr. Tchaykoffsky: I thank you for the honor of the invitation, but I am not able to accept it, because on Thursday evening I shall be presiding at a meeting whose object is to find remunerative work for certain classes of our blind who would gladly support themselves if they had the opportunity.
My sympathies are with the Russian revolution, of course. It goes without saying. I hope it will succeed, and now that I have talked with you I take heart to believe it will. Government by falsified promises, by lies, by treacheries, and by the butcher-knife for the aggrandizement of a single family of drones and its idle and vicious kin has been borne quite long enough in Russia, I should think, and it is to be hoped that the roused nation, now rising in its strength, will presently put an end to it and set up the republic in its place. Some of us, even of the white headed, may live to see the blessed day when Czars and Grand Dukes will be as scarce there as I trust they are in heaven.
Most sincerely yours,
Note: Chaikovsky was born in Vyatka, Russia, and formed a group advocating revolutionary socialist ideals, which became the Narodnik movement. After some divergence of opinions with the group he moved to the U.S. and set up a socialist commune in Kansas in the 1870s. The group failed and he moved to London to write and raise money. He returned to Russia in 1905 and opposed the Bolsheviks. At this time, along with Gorky and others, he was active in the US in trying to raise money for revolutionary goals. He was no relation to Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky the composer.
Sam inscribed a copy of IA with an aphorism for Mrs. Catherine Haley: “Mrs. Catherine Haley. Do your duty today and repent tomorrow. Truly Yours, Mark Twain. March 28/06.” [ABE books: Peter L. Stern & Co., Boston June 19, 2009].
Asa Don Dickinson wrote for the Bay Ridge Branch, Brooklyn Public Library. Sam inserted this letter in his A.D. for Apr. 9, 1906.
Your letter of the 26th inst. rec’d this moment. As I have now been transferred to the above address, it has been a long time reaching me.
I have tried to be wary and wise and am very grateful to you for your reticence. The poor old B.P.L. has achieved some very undesirable notoriety. I thought my head was coming off when I heard from my chief on the telephone night before last. But yesterday he began to be amused, I think, at the tea pot tempest.
[She assured Clemens that his books had not been restricted from short fiction, only not placed with books in the Children’s rooms.]
I am looking forward with great eagerness to seeing and hearing you tomorrow night at the Waldorf. … I am very sorry to have caused you so much annoyance through reporters, but be sure that I have said nothing nor will say anything to them about the contents of that letter. And please don’t you tell on me! / Yours…[MTP].
Hugh Gordon Miller for the Fulton Monument Assoc. wrote to Sam, enclosing an article on Fulton which might be helpful in Sam’s upcoming lecture, postponed from Apr. 10 to the 19 [MTP].
March 28 ca. – Hélène Elisabeth Picard wrote to Sam. The letter was inserted in the A.D. of Apr. 9. It included a clipping (in French) from a newspaper there. The clipping announced, dateline NY Mar. 27, that the directors of the Brooklyn Library put two of Twain’s books on the restricted list for children under the age of fifteen. Picard was surprised by the article, but observed that in France such an article would make everyone go out to buy the book. She closed with: “I know your pen well. I know it has never been dipped in anything but clean, clear ink” [MTP].
Sam replied to a Mar. 26 the invitation by E.E. Olcott to take part in a Mar. 31 launching of a new steamer of the Hudson River Day Line. Sam had two other engagements for that day and evening [MTP].
March 29 Thursday – At the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Sam told a story at a benefit for the blind. The New York Times, Mar. 30:
TWAIN AND CHOATE TALK AT MEETING FOR BLIND
Humorist Sightless Once—in a Vast German Inn.
HIT AT GHOST, BROKE MIRROR
Mr. Choate Urges Liberal Contributions, Mr. Gilder
Writes a Poem and Helen Keller a Letter.
A new poem by Richard Watson Gilder, a striking letter from Helen Keller, an appeal for funds by Joseph H. Choate, and a funny story by Mark Twain made up the programme of the meeting held in the ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria last night by the New York State Association for Promoting the Interests of the Blind.
[Gilder’s poem omitted here]
Mr. Clemens presided over the meeting and told the story of when he was hopelessly blind for a space of about two hours.
“I have a mass of statistics here,” he said to the large audience filling the boxes and seats on the ballroom floor, “but I am afraid of them because I was never able to do much with that rugged study, mathematics. I can only figure on the multiplication table up to seven times nine, which is—84. I can’t even figure on the name of the society, it is so long. I would write it out for you to take with you, but I can’t spell it, and Andrew Carnegie is somewhere down in Virginia. This association needs $15,000, and we may be able to collect it here. There is no graft in it or I would not be presiding.
“I know what it is to be blind. I was blind once. It occurred after an excursion from Heidelberg to a mediaeval town about twenty miles away. The Rev. Joe Twitchell of Hartford was with me. He is still living. I always like a minister with me on an excursion. He makes a fine lightning rod for such excursions as the one we made. We went up by rail, and circumstances were such as to bring us back on a raft.
“In this ancient town, which had not altered a building or put up a new one in 1,500 years, we had a room for the night which was as large as the beds were small. We had to sleep on our sides in the beds. Twitchell’s bed was way down south in that room and mine was furthest north. I couldn’t sleep after the light was put out, and finally decided to leave the room and go into the square and sit on the edge of a tinkling fountain.
“Off in the southwest of that room a mouse got busy, and I threw something at it. It pleased the mouse, and it kept on making a noise. I couldn’t stand it with the other occasional noises in the room. The darkness of that room lay in great cakes. I got out of bed and clawed around in an endeavor to accumulate my clothes. I got most of the things in the room in a pile, save one sock. I began to hunt that sock. On hands and knees I crawled for three hours.
“I might have concluded that the sock was in the wash and saved myself some adventures, but I did not think of that. I remembered distinctly that there were six chairs and a table in that room before I went to bed, but I butted thirty-six chairs and enough tables to fill the dining room of the Waldorf.
“Finally I decided to stand up in what clothes I had on me. I saw a shadowy form and I had no intention of letting any ghost bite me without a struggle. I took one of the thirty-six chairs and smashed it. It was a mirror. Then I reflected.
“I got back on my hands and knees and traveled a few more miles of this Oklahoma of a bedroom. Finally I reached a wall, and stood up again. I felt a shelf. I was delighted. It was the first encouragement I had received. I was then certain that I had not passed the city limits.
“On the shelf was a pitcher of water. I groped for it and it fell. It fell on Joe Twitchell’s face. It nearly drowned Twitchell, but it brought me the glad relief of company. When he struck a match I got back to bed.
“I have never found the sock, but the hours of darkness I experienced in the explorations in that room were not empty hours. They served their purpose. The Rev. Joe Twitchell [sic] had longer legs than I, and we both wore pedometers on that trip. As I walk in my sleep, I always wore mine to bed with me. When I got up in the morning I found that I had gained sixteen miles on Twitchell. Again, my reflecting after the mirror incident made me remember to tell the landlord that Twitchell had broken.” [the rest of the article omitted.]
Either before or after the benefit at the Waldorf, Sam had dinner with Mr. George de Forest Brush, a Dublin artist, and his son Barry and Gerald Thayer at the Players Club [Hill 124].
Sam replied to an inquiry from the NY Times, with clippings enclosed concerning the recent death of Captain Alex C. Toncray (Tonkray), who claimed to be Huck Finn:
Dear Sir: / I have no recollection of ever having been acquainted with anyone by the name of Toncray. The original of Huck Finn was a boy of my own age name Tom Blankenship. He had a brother several years older than himself, and a good many sisters. He was a good-hearted boy, and there was no harm in him. He had no education. / Truly yours…[MTP: Watertown Daily Times, Feb. 22, 1919].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Clemens as apprentice to Mr. Ament—Wilhelm II’s dinner, and potato incident—The printing of Reverend Alexander Campbell’s sermon—Incident of dropping watermelon on Henry Clemens’ head—Orion buys Hannibal Journal which is a failure—Then he goes to Muscatine, Iowa, and marries—Clemens starts out alone to see the world—Visits, St. Louis, New York, Philadelphia, Washington—Then goes to Muscatine and works in Orion’s office—Finds fifty-dollar bill—Thinks of going to explore the Amazon and collect coca—Gets Horace Bixby to train him as pilot—Starts with Orion for Nevada when Orion is made Secretary to Territory of Nevada [AMT 1: 455-462].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Santa Clara ill with sore throat.
This evening Mr. Clemens presided at the meeting for the blind held in the Waldorf ball room. He had never done any presiding before, but it was beautifully & bewitchingly done. Mrs. Gilder & Mrs. “White Violet” Vorse were in the box & a young Jewish girl, Ada Marks. Later Mr. Gilder joined us [MTP TS 60].
Capt. A.J. Forsyth wrote from 330 W. 11th St., N.Y. to ask if Sam, while working on the Mississippi, had ever heard of Thomas McAleer (or Mac Alear) who was Captain of the Steamer Valley Trader sometime during the 1840s. The matter involved an inheritance [MTP]. Note: Isabel Lyon’s reply for Sam is catalogued by the MTP as ca. 31 Mar. “Mr. Clemens has never heard of that boat—was never a captain of a steam boat.”
Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam to ask for a customer where the story “The Stolen White Elephant” first appeared. Was it in some periodical? [MTP]. Note: Sam’s answer is catalogued by the MTP as ca. Mar. 31. See that entry.
R. Scarano wrote from 70 W. 102 St., N.Y. urging Sam to propose buying his “nice small edition of Dante, the so called ‘Dantino’” [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply is catalogued as ca. 31 Mar. by the MTP. See entry.
March 29 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to Edward M. Foote’s Mar. 27 invitation: “It isn’t likely that I’ll find a vacancy between this & my going away for the summer—on the 24th of April—but I can tell more about that later on & so I will not let the matter escape, from my mind—” [MTP].
March 30 Friday – Joe Twichell wrote from Hartford to Sam:
I am ordered on duty—as reader of a Scripture lesson only—at the service named on the enclosed card [not extant], which will be in commemoration of the close of the Civil War.
Harmony proposes to attend it with me. It will require us to be in New York from Saturday night to Monday morning. There are plenty of places where we could stay while there, but our choice of all is 21 Fifth Avenue, and there shall be our quarters if you say so [MTP]. Note: Joe also related gratitude from Patrick McAleer’s people for Sam’s attendance at the funeral.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Clemens interview with Tchaykoffsky, and Clemens’ views regarding the Russian revolution—Clemens presides at meeting of the Association formed in interest of the adult blind—His first meeting with Helen Keller—Helen Keller’s letter, which Mr. Clemens read at this meeting [AMT 1: 462-467].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
A turmoil—Mr. Clemens was tired all day. He lunched at The Players with Mr. Paine & Gerald Thayer & later Gerome [Brush] came in—Oh, it was as late as six o’clock—with the news that he cannot go on the West Indies trip with Gerald, for his heart isn’t strong enough for volcanic climbing such as they’re planning. Mr. Brush & Barry & Gerald were called in at about midnight to discuss it all; but earlier in the evening we—Jean & Gerome [Brush] & I—had gone over to the Gilders’, & I felt illish, so illish that to talk was like hawling bogs up by the roots out of black mud [MTP TS 60].
Cartoonist on the Evansville Courier, identified only as Alexander, wrote that he was sending under separate cover cartoons of Huck Finn and Tom Sawer that had made a “hit” in the newspaper, and he hoped Sam liked them [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter: “Likes the cartoon very much & thanks you for sending it.”
Sam’s piece “For the Russian Revolution” ran in the NY Herald, Times, and Tribune [Camfield’s Bibliog.].
March 31 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to George O’Connor.
To Mr. George Connors: / My daughter neglected to consult me when she entered into negotiations looking to the matter of engaging your services as coachman for the summer, and now I am obliged to say that it is absolutely necessary for me to have a man of years & experience, one who is trained to the saddle, who can take the full responsibility of two horses under the saddle in case of need. I feel that I must find some one who can meet these requirements since all of them are important [MTP].
Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to James B. Pond who was still coaxing Sam to lecture. Lyon wrote thanks but that Mark Twain “expects to retire permanently from the platform,” sentiment given many times in the past [MTP]. Note: Pond was nothing if not persistent.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Tonight Mr. Clemens said he’d like to get up a game on copyright. Have all the authors in the U.S. sign a petition to have copyright on Mr. Clemens’s books extended for life & 50 years beyond. He’d be willing to go down to Washington next January & lobby for it—for if Congress would grant the right to one author, it would be the entering wedge for all of them.
Jean & I went down to see Gerald sail in the little Fontabelle for Dominica, & later we went up to call on the Brushes at the Grand Union. Mrs. Brush was very attractive when she said that Mr. Brush preferred her babies to any others & that was why he was always painting them.
Louis Agassiz Fuertes was there too. Came in to show Mr. Brush some studies for a wild fowl calendar, & they’re lovely [MTP TS 61].
J.Q. Adams wrote on Art Commission of the City of New York letterhead to Sam:
Some are born great
Some achieve greatness
Some have greatness dribbled on them by Father Time but try to rob him of the credit. However, I want very much to see you and have a chat…[MTP]. Note: Sam answered ca. 2 Apr.
Eleven year old Elizabeth Owen Knight wrote from Rockville, Md. to Sam. “I know you will be surprised to hear from a little Maryland girl that you have never seen. I wish I could know you, for I have enjoyed your books so much and I want to write and tell you how much I have enjoyed them.” She thought it funny that the Brooklyn Public Library would restrict his books for younger children [MTP].
March 31 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to Capt. A.J. Forsyth’s Mar. 29 inquiry. “Mr. Clemens has never heard of that boat—was never a captain of a steam boat” [MTP].
Sam also replied to Harper & Brothers’ Mar. 29 inquiry as to where “The Stolen White Elephant” story first appeared.
In Buffalo I began to scratch together sketches for vol of sketches—then I did this extraordinary thing—I made a contract with Bliss for that vol of sketches at a royalty of 7½% which would mean that I made that cont. after cont for Roughing It which was 7½%—By & by—the several years—Osgood wanted a book & I said he couldn’t do anything with a book—(10% royalty)—nothing but a vol of sketches—Osgood won but just did sell 10000 copies in 6 mos. [MTP].
Sam also replied to R. Scarano’s Mar. 29 offer to sell a set of Dante’s works. Sam referred him to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., as they possessed “almost every edition of Dante that has ever been printed” [MTP].
April – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam inscribed a copy of TS to Norman D. Bassett with an aphorism: “Few things are harder to bear than the annoyance of a good example. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Apl./06 / Norman D. Bassett” [MTP].
Ellis Parker Butler (1869-1937) inscribed his book Pigs Is Pigs (1906) to Sam dated April 1906 in Flushing New York [Gribben 119].
Early in the month Gertrude Natkin wrote another letter to Sam, announcing she had restrained from writing him during school time, as she did “not wish to appear as a reckless law breaker” in his sight. She had Twain fever: “I am just overflowing with love for you and there is likely to be an inundation at any time….” She also thanked him for a telephone call, and was glad Apr. 10 came “during a Holiday week” [MTAq 23].
M. Rogers wrote from London, England to Sam, noting belatedly the Nelson Centenary (1805-1905). “I beg that you will accept the enclosed as literary curiosities or relics of old time journalism, and as a souvenir of Nelson’s times, and if you will acknowledge receipt & kindly let your reply be an autograph… [MTP]. Note: an unused stamped env. remains in the file.
Woman’s Home Companion ran an anonymous article “The Four Greatest Living Americans at Work,” p. 28-9. Tenney: “Photographs of Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Andrew Carnegie working at their desks, and MT writing in bed; notes MT’s world wide reputation and praises him for the labors by which he paid off his creditors after his publishing house failed” [“A Reference Guide Fourth Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1980 p. 175].
Human Life ran “Henry H. Rogers” by Robert H. Murray, p. 1-3, 29. Tenney: “On p. 3, ‘As a Friend of Twain’s’ describes the help and advice Rogers gave MT in putting his financial affairs back together after the Webster failure; provides no new information” [“A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 190].
April ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam sent a one-sentence note of introduction for Albert Bigelow Paine, his “particular friend (also biographer)” to Annie E. Trumbull [MTP].
April 1 Sunday – Although not cited by Fatout or others, on Apr. 4, Charles F. Powlison for the YMCA wrote from NYC to thank Sam for addressing their Sunday afternoon meeting.
Cuyler Reynolds wrote from Albany, NY to Sam, relating that his late father had engaged James W. Paige and given him “his type-setting bent,” and how building such machines had made his father a failure and left them in poverty. He had heard Sam had lived in a house once used by D’Annunzio and wanted to know the address. He’d also defended Sam’s book, Extracts of Adam’s Diary to Bishop Doane [MTP]. Note: William Croswell Doane (1832-1913), First Bishop Episcopal Diocese of Albany. Gaetano Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863-1938), Italian poet, journalist, daredevil.
April 1 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to the cartoons of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer sent Mar. 30 from the Evansville Courier by cartoonist Alexander [MTP].
An envelope survives addressed to Charlotte Teller Johnson catalogued as “1 April to 25 October 1906” [MTP].
Jervis Langdon II sent Sam a report as trustee to former stockholders of J. Langdon & Co, Inc. from Feb. 17, 1905 to Apr. 1, 1906 [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter for Lyon to “write Jervis and tell him he transacts that business better even than his Uncle Sam could after all his experience on the platform.”
April 2 Monday – The New York Times, Apr. 3, p. 9, “Three New Plays at Vassar Benefit,” reported that “Mark Twain was the centre Times of one admiring group in a lower stage box…” at the Hudson Theatre, N.Y.C. The plays: The Mallet’s Masterpiece; The Land of the Free; The Watteau Shepherdess. Fatout offers more detail and some speculation about this event:
That he made a speech is not on record, but he probably said something. Afterward, in an informal reception on the stage, he shook hands and autographed programs, sometimes adding a maxim, such as “Do your duty today and repent tomorrow.” To sign programs he rested them on the shoulder of Miss T.V. Dickson, one of the ushers. “A nice quiet little desk,” he said, that he wished he could keep. He also kissed a good many of the ladies, especially the young ones. He had such a good time with the Vassar girls that he did not make it to the Museum of Natural History, where the governor general of Canada and other very important persons were anxiously waiting for him to take part in some unknown function [MT Speaking 675]. Note: Fatout gives no source for this information.
Sam sent his autograph to Mary Scott Allen [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Government of new Territory of Nevada—Governor Nye & the practical jokers— Clemens begins journalistic life on Virginia City Enterprise—reports legislative sessions—He and Orion prosper—Orion builds $12,000 house—Gov. Nye turns Territory of Nevada into a state [MTP Autodict1].
The Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co. wrote to Sam enclosing seats for the opening night (Apr. 9) of the billiard tourney (Apr. 9 to 21) at Madison Square Garden. “Should you find it inconvenient to attend on April 9th, we shall be glad to substitute seats for any date you may select” [MTP]. Note: Isabel Lyon answered thanks for Sam ca. Apr. 4 that there were no engagements for Apr. 9. See entry.
Irving Bacheller inscribed a gift of his new book Silas Strong, Emperor of the Woods (1906): “To Mark Twain / who, I hope, for / this little book / will credit me / something on my / great debt to him. / Irving Bacheller / Riverside Conn. / April 2 1906”. Sam signed the front pastedown endpaper: “S L Clemens / 1906 / Apl. / 21 Fifth avenue” [Gribben 37].
Susan Kearny Selfridge wrote to Sam. “Following my husband’s recent death (Captain Selfridge, U.S.Navy) I find I must work—& am opening a very charming Tea House this season at Magnolia,Mass.—that most lovely of American spas.” Would Sam agree to speak there as a Saturday Matinee speaker? She was the daughter of Gen. Phil Kearny, Civil War hero [MTP]. Note: Sam’s reply is given ca. 4 April by the MTP.
E.L. Hathaway wrote from Granger, Wash.: “You do not know me and never will, but I feel quite acquainted with you, through your writings.” He asked for a list of all of Mark Twain’s books; didn’t need an autograph, “a printed or typewritten list” would do [MTP]. Note: Sam answered ca. Apr. 8: “will find the list in the Cyclopaedias.”
April 2 ca. – Sam replied to J.Q. Adams’ Mar. 31 request for a chat. See entry. “Come—am usually at home afternoons. / SLC / Tel. 3907 Gramercy” [MTP].
Sam also gave Isabel Lyon instructions for answering Jervis Langdon II’s ca. Apr. 1 letter: “Write Jervis & tell him he warrants that business better even than his uncle Sam could after all his experience on the platform” [MTP].
April 3 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Gertrude Natkin at 138 W. 98th St., N.Y.
Mr. Clemens has asked me to send you these tickets for a box for the evening of the 19th, and to say that he would write you himself, but that these are very very busy days, & when he is not working he is too tired to do anything but rest up for the busy day that comes to-morrow.
He sends his love to you as always—& will be glad when the days come when he will not be so driven [MTP].
Sam spoke at the Women’s University Club and included a story about a walking tour with Joe Twichell [J.P. Lewis Apr. 4].
Sam’s A.D.: He complained about the Congo Reform Assoc.; He had discovered the “Association’s conviction that our Government’s pledged honor was at stake in the Congo matter was an exaggeration; that the Association was attaching meanings to certain public documents connected with the Congo which the strict sense of the documents did not confirm” [Hawkins 170]. Note: Sam also discussed the famous “Report of My Death” to a reporter [MTE 252-3].
Reflecting Mark Twain’s popularity, the New York Times announced on p.2, “MARK TWAIN LETTER SOLD, at auction for the grand amount of $43—a nine-page letter to Thomas Nast for Nov. 12, 1877.
Clemens’ A.D. for this day included: The Barnes incident again—Benjamin F. Barnes appointed to Postmastership of Washington—Clemens prepares speech on King Leopold of Belgium, but suppresses it after learning that our Government will do nothing in the matter—Intends to speak at Majestic Theatre on “The American Gentleman” but is defeated by length of first part of programme—Theodore Roosevelt the American gentleman—Mark Twain letter sells for $43 at Nast sale—Report cabled that Clemens was dying, in London—Reporters interview him for American papers [MTP Autodict 4].
Of the selections from Twain’s A.D.’s, DeVoto selected about half of the materials not chosen before by Paine to be included in Mark Twain in Eruption (1940); among DeVoto’s choices, was “The American Gentleman,” dictated this day, which accused Theodore Roosevelt of being representative of America’s bad manners. Sam also made reference to the massacre of 600 Moros in the Philippines [33-4].
April 4 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Charles J. Langdon in Elmira. “Was there a Mrs. Lee among the Quaker City’s passengers? I do not recal the name” [MTP]. Note: Mrs. S.G. Lee of Brooklyn was on the excursion [MTL 2: 387].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: The Morris case again—Scope of this autobiography, a mirror—More about Nast sale; laurels for Mr. Clemens—Clippings in regard to Woman’s University Club reception; Clemens comments on them—Vassar benefit at Hudson theater; Clemens meets many old friends [MTP Autodict1].
J.P. Lewis wrote from Glenbrook, Conn. to Sam. Where could he find “the story about a walking tour with Mr. Twichell that you told at the Women’s University club yesterday [Apr. 3].” Lewis professed to admire Twichell and if he might get to know Mark Twain better he’d like him as well [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Lyon’s reply as “ca.6 April.” See entry.
Charles F. Powlison for the YMCA wrote from NYC to thank Sam for addressing their Sunday afternoon meeting. He had called to thank Sam personally but he was not at home [MTP].
F.A. Solomons wrote from Washington, D.C. to Sam recalling “a most delightful interiview” he had “back in the Sixties” about Dan Slote. Solomons also thanked him for “the noble words you recently spoke out at a public dinner in New York anent the diabolical treatment of the Russians, murderous Government towards its almost helpless subjects…” If Sam ever traveled to Washington again, Solomons would count it as a “pleasure to greet you and present you to my family” [MTP]. Note: Lyon answered ca. Apr. 6 for Sam.
April 4 ca. – Isabel Lyon answered the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.’s Apr. 2 note with tickets for the world’s championship billiard tourney, Madison Square Garden, Apr. 9 to 21. See entry. “Thanks for the tickets—glad to have them for that date as has no engagement” [MTP].
Sam also replied to Susan Kearny Selfridge’s Apr. 2 request.
Mrs. Selfridge / The announcement which I made in public a day or two ago that I have quitted the platform permanently was quite seriously made. I said I would not appear again for money nor before an audience that had paid to hear me. It is a promise which I shall keep. I am too old & tired to travel & I make no journeys, even short ones that are not compulsory. I remember those days in Paris well & pleasantly & I wish I were so situated as to be able to be useful to her in her work, but my circumstances bar me [MTP].
April 5 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Alice Pearmain (Mrs. Sumner B. Pearmain).
Dear Mrs. Pearmain: The first of May falls on Tuesday. My plan is to go to Boston on the previous Saturday, & remain until the family are settled at Dublin and ready for me. The family leave here for Dublin the first of May and will have everything ready for me by the 4th or 5th of May, no doubt. I thank you ever so much for your exceedingly kind invitation and I gladly accept it. I will keep bachelor’s hall at the Touraine [Hotel, Boston] three days, & remove to your house on the day appointed for me in your letter—May first. I am a desperately tired man & I have engagements in front of me which will find me much more tireder by the time I reach Boston. I shall be wholly glad to slump down there & have a rest. With many thanks & with love to you all & to Margaret. Sincerely yours, S.L. Clemens [Skinner Auctions Oct. 26, 2002 Sale 2167 Lot 18].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Miss Mary Lawton the rising sun, Ellen Terry the setting sun—Ellen
. . . .
Terry’s farewell banquet,
on 50th anniversary—Mr. Clemens’s cablegram—Clemens
has fine new idea for a
play; James Hammond Trumbull squelches it—Orion Clemens is defeated as Secretary of State—At Mr.
Camp’s suggestion Mr. Clemens speculates
refuses— Mr. Clemens just discovers that he still own 1000 acres
of the Tennessee land—Orion comes East, gets position
on Hartford Evening Post—After various business ventures he returns to
Keokuk & tries raising chickens [MTP Autodict1].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The Vorses took Mr. Clemens, Jean & me up to see that wonderful creature Ruth St. Dennis [sic] in her Hindoo dances. Oh, such a marvel as she is” [MTP TS 61]. Note: Ruth St. Denis (1879-1968) was an early modern dance pioneer who would found Adelphi University’s dance department in 1938. Her and her husband, Ted Shawn, were known for their Oriental productions. The ad for this day give it as a 3 p.m. matinee at the Hudson Theatre. See insert.
William Bengough wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam:
I enclose a print from the portrait sketch I made of you that rainy fall day in dripping old Kaltenlutgen away back in ’98. The day I called to tell you about Santiago—and stoically kept my promise not to print our interview.
I realize the imperfection of my hasty sketch, and wish that some day I could make a “real oil painting” of it, with a sitting or two to help me out.
This appeared in the March number of M.A.P. —you probably saw it staring at you on various newsstands [MTP]. Note: Lyon answered ca. Apr. 7: “Doesn’t think he could make it worse.”
Norman Hapgood wrote to Sam on a University Club note sheet. “I am giving a lunch at this club next Monday at 1 to the British novelist, H.G. Wells. Can you be persuaded to come? Hoping so…” [MTP].
Calvin H. Higbie wrote to Sam: “Yours of March 26 at hand, and much pleased that you will do so much for me, but as the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, of March 25, has begun an [a series] article on the same subject, I am afraid that it will greatly injure my plans.” He characterized the first article as “a garbled mess…nothing original…taken almost verbatim from Roughing It, and with some deliberate lies.” He had consulted an attorney in S.F. to prosecute them for libel and damage [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote to go on with things as if nothing had happened and to have the MS typewritten. They wouldn’t know if any damage had been done until he submitted the MS to the NY Herald or to a magazine.
Wanda M. Russian wrote from Chicago asking if she might “translate into German works of your pen specified by you and under your own conditions?” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “ca.7 April,” buit five days estimated postal time is allowed here, giving ca. Apr. 10. See entry.
Albert G. Webber, attorney in Decatur, Ill. wrote philosophizing about whether a person in good health and in the luxury of wealth enjoyed Twain’s humor as much as one with bad health and “buoyed up by adversity.”
Is it not in your power to produce a work of humor which will portray the wrongs and abuses of the poor and the downtrodden and that will cause the rich to ponder over what good they can do with their wealth to mankind [?]. Can you alienate selfishness and cultivate a love of mankind [?]
The luster of such a concluding work from you would be an apex of imperishable honor and glory to your immortal living monument [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the back of the letter: “I wrote that very book nine years ago & after I am dead it will be published but not before that.”
April 5 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Ellen Terry, the actress:
“Age has not withered, nor custom staled, the admiration and affection I have felt for you so many many years. I lay them at your honored feet with the strength and freshness of their youth upon them undiminished. / Mark Twain” [MTP].
April 6 Friday – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Mary E. Bell: “When Mr. C. came home from the theatre he wrote this sentence hoping it might be made useful among her other testimonials Re—Mrs. Bell” [MTP]. Note: evidently Bell had performed on stage.
Sam also replied to John Greenall in Leeds, England who had written Mar. 27:
How things do get mixed in this world! I wrote the extravagant chapter you speak of in ’97 or ’98 in Vienna at a time when Christian Science was so new to me that I had not studied it at all, & was only interested to play around in the shallows with it & get a moment’s fun out of it. This is my dim recollection of the time, the circumstances & the article. Three or four years later here at home, I took up the matter again & actually studied the history of Christian Science, its claims & pretensions, & its bible; with the result that if I had had any hostility toward Christian Science itself previously, I lost that & in its place conceived a vast admiration for & detestation of Mrs. Eddy. Mrs. Eddy stole “Science & Health.” She is an ignorant twaddler. She can’t write English; she can’t write anything above nursery grade, she hasn’t a vestige of reasoning power. But she has extraordinary courage. She has on her shoulders the best business head in Christendom—bar none. While obscure, & without money or influence, she stole Quimby’s book & upon it she built her Science, organized its ancient & powerful forces compacted the whole into a religion, & hitched the religion & Christianity & herself to the Holy Family; & she has moved successfully forward from that day to this toward her chosen goal—recognition as a god, & founder of a religion which may last 3000 years & probably will. She has accomplished more in 30 years than any other founder achieved in a century.
I have said all this in detail, & it was ready for publication three years ago. My publishers have always been doubtful about the judacity of publishing the book. My interest in books perishes when I have finished writing them. My publishers may take their time, the matter has no interest for me.
I have never tried Christian Science myself, but it is not because I am prejudiced against it. I have no prejudices. I am quite willing to experiment with anything that comes along, if I have occasion & there is opportunity. I have often tried hard to persuade my family of invalids to try Christian Science, but their prejudices were too strong for me.
I have not taken back anything I have said about Christian Science; my unpublished chapters are not hostile to it, but only to Mrs. Eddy who is a great & shining & impressive fraud. /Yours Sincerely … [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Mr. Clemens’s present house unsatisfactory because of no sunshine—Mr. Clemens meets Etta in Washington Sq.—Recalls ball-room in Virginia City 44 years ago—Orion resumed; he invents wood-sawing machine; invents steam canal-boat; his funny experience in bath-tub. Bill Nye’s story—Orion’s autobiography—His death [MTP Autodict2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
On my knees before the fireplace in Mr. Clemens’s room, I cleaned his pipe while he talked to me of Joan of Arc & Peterson pipes & Mrs. Johnson [Teller] & her Mirabeau play as he nestled enthroned in his bed, and then after hasty tea I went up to see Maude Adams—a darling with her frank lovely eyes. She wore a short, brown corduroy suit, a pale green silk necktie, and she loves Mr. Clemens. She loved his reason for wanting to see Peter Pan, “because it breaks all the rules of drama” & she was happy because he likes Peter. I went up to ask her just what she does think of Mrs. Johnson’s Joan of Arc play, & she likes it. She thinks it the best Joan of Arc play written so far, but it isn’t entirely actable yet—it has got to be changed a little [MTP TS 62]. Note: see also Gribben 690.
In the evening, Sam went with Miss Lyon and Jean to the Gilders, where H.G. Wells was being entertained [IVL Apr. 7].
NOTE: Ralph W. Ashcroft sent several letters to Isabel Lyon during this year concerning Koy-Lo business or Plasmon business and developments. Most of these letters are not included here; likewise for nearly all other letters between persons outside the immediate Clemens family. DHF.
Poultney Bigelow typed a letter from Colon, Panama to Sam.
Thank God this is my last week of the Isthmus—at lease on this time !
The place stinks of cess pools, swamp and political graft and , for my sake I am happy in having abundant evidence to sustain all the charges I made against the Administration on December 1st. 1905.
Today the scoundrels are here pumping brackish water from the Chagres into the water mains—brackish water taken less than two miles from the sea! Pumping it into the mains and mixing it with swamp water, and this TAFT proudly proclaims as a FINE WATER SUPPLY for COLON.
And the poor women and babies spewing it out and begging tank water from private people who have some still stored up!
This makes me an anarchist, socialist anything you please—
By the way there’s a flourishing Mark TWAIN Club down here and two of them are member[s] of the “ENDS of the EARTH”.
Tracy ROBINSON, remembers you indelibly from your visit here in 1867-8? was it and spins your yarns about the Quaker City—maybe it was a year or two later…
Tracy ROBINSON is the oldest and most respectable man of the place—he was here in 1860 and has been here ever since, now he is 74 years old , one of the sweetest gentlest and honestest of men.
He has published a volume of poems called “Under the Palm” or some such title.
Then there is J.S. GILBERT who quotes you by the yard, he has been here some 20 years and published a volume of verse called “Panama Patchwork”—with good stuff in it—as good as some of Kipling. Shall try and get a copy for you.
He is one of your Club and then there is W. ANDREWS—a Briton who has been here some 25 years—and spouts Tom Sawyer and Joan of Arc by the yard ! … [MTP]. Note: Bigelow signed off by saying he hoped to reach NY toward the end of the month to retire to his farm at MALDEN on the Hudson. He was forced to turn to the Hearst Syndicate to get the truth told about Panama. Sam wrote on the bottom of the letter in black ink:
“MAXIM / It isn’t your conduct that makes you respectable or the reverse, but people’s opinion of it.”
William Dean Howells wrote on Hotel Regent N.Y.C. letterhead to Sam. “If this finds you awake, get out of bed, no matter if it is as early as twelve o’clock, and say over the phone that you will come here to lunch on Sunday at one o’clock, to meet H.G. Wells, the man from Mars and other malign planets, and an awfully nice little Englishman” [MTHL 2: 803]. Note: Sam accepted; see Apr. 8 to Clara.
Charles J. Langdon replied to Sam that he had his “letter of inquiry in reference to a Mrs Lee, and as to whether” he remembered her as a passenger on the Quaker City. “I have a vague recollection of such a party and how she looked, but as I recall it she was not a passenger for the whole trip.” He suggested Sam contact the Severances of Cleveland for confirmation. Edward Loomis had lost his mother and he and Julie were on their way to Watertown NY for the funeral [MTP].
David Warfield, actor, wrote to Sam, “delighted to know that you are to attend our play on Saturday—and should you care to come ‘in back’ for a few moments after the performance, I should deem it an honor. As for the seals which I offered you—it still goes—any date you may name” [MTP].
The New York Times ran an excerpt from Sam’s comments in Harper’s Weekly:
MARK TWAIN ON J. W. FOLEY.
Says the “Schoolboy” is a Public Pet and a Pioneer of Spelling Reform.
Mark Twain in Harper’s Weekly.
A year and a quarter ago Mr. Foley began to do schoolboy poems in a fire-new and blood-curdling and criminal fashion of spelling which no self-respecting eye could endure at first. It was phonetics carried to the uttermost limit of exactness in the reproduction of sound effects. The public felt deeply outraged, and there was a smell of insurrection in the air—a quite justifiable condition of things, too, for the poems looked like the alphabet hiccupping home in disorderly squads, a most painful and irritating spectacle—but I ask you, what has become of that insurrection? No man knows. It disappeared and left no sign. For the public had done the fatal thing; it kept on reading the poems in order to curse the spelling, and of course the natural thing happened; familiarity with the spelling modified the reader’s hostility to it, then reconciled him to it, and at last made him fall in love with it; and now—well, now Mr. Foley’s schoolboy is a pet.
[Note: James William Foley (1874-1939), poet, was both praised (compared favorably to Eugene Field) and criticized for his “inconsistent” spelling. His Songs of School-days was published later in the year by Doubleday; he was at this time a private secretary to Governor Searles of N. Dakota.]
Gribben cites Isabel Lyon’s journal that Sam discussed Miss Charlotte Teller Johnson’s play on this day, probably an unperformed work she co-authored with Martha S. Bensley, “Sociological Maid. A Play in One Act” .
April 6 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam to E.W. Halifax’s Mar. 27 request from London. Written on Halifax’s letter in pencil: “Mr. Clemens wishes he could but he is talking & writing & dictating all day & has to decline a number of things every day that he ought to be strongly interested in” [MTP]. Note: MTP catalogues this reply as ca. Mar. 29, but this does not allow adequate time for the cross-Atlantic mail. Estimated time for reply here is ca. Apr. 6. or ten days.
Lyon also responded to J.P. Lewis’ Apr. 4 requests: “The whole thing is in the book called a tramp abroad. Merely outlining it from memory [at the Apr. 3 talk for the Women’s University Club.] This will beat both of his games–He’s not invited to call & he wont get an autograph letter” [MTP].
Lyon also took instruction from Sam to thank F.A. Solomons for his Apr. 4 “pleasant note” and hoped that he might “have the pleasure of meeting him again some day in Washington” [MTP].
April 7 Saturday – Clara Clemens wrote to her father, the letter not extant but was quoted by Sam in his Apr. 10 letter to William Dean Howells and also in his reply to Clara [MTP]. See entries.
Sam was elected as the “annual guest” of Smith College’s New York Alumnae at a luncheon at the Hotel Astor. The New York Times, Apr. 8, p. 7, reported:
TWAIN AND SIR PURDON LAUD SMITH GRADUATES
Humorist Elected Annual Guest of the College Club Here.
GALA DAY AT HOTEL ASTOR
Miss Peck Says She Will Climb the Highest Mountain on This Hemisphere
The New York Alumnae of Smith College, the “Smith College Club of New York,” held its eleventh annual luncheon at the Hotel Astor yesterday afternoon with many interesting events. The first was the election by acclamation of Mark Twain as the annual guest of the club.
Mr. Clemens is not making speeches at the girls’ clubs he visits nowadays. He tells a story and they let him off at that. Yesterday he told the always interesting one of taking a girl to the theatre, and of his tight shoes, and how he walked gallantly home with the shoes on one arm and the girl on the other. But Mark Twain can’t tell a story and nothing else, so he had to tell the Smith girls just how nice he thought them.
“When I come to a gathering like this,” he said, “I feel that I should like to be an aspirant for political honors; I should like to be elected the belle of New York so that I could come to these luncheons all the time.”
Then it was that the girls rose en masse, created a new office, and elected Mark Twain as “Annual Guest” to fill it. And the “Annual Guest”, who had talked at bouillon time that he might get off early, went away and didn’t take luncheon with the girls at all.
Sir Casper Purdon Clarke spoke at the regular speech-making time at the end of the dinner, and it was then that he told the Smith girls that he would have to apologize to them because a good many years ago he had crossed the ocean on purpose to see Smith College as a sample of what might be done with an English girls’ college, and had then found Wellesley so satisfactory that after visiting Vassar he had gone home without seeing Smith at all.
“I had come to study colleges architecturally and not institutionally,” he said, “and I thought Wellesley, representing the ideas of a woman, could not be improved upon.” The Smith girls applauded heartily.
“Mark Twain,” said Sir Purdon, in closing his remarks, “is, I think, better known and better loved in England than he is here. He is one of the most lovable and best men in the world.”
Miss Annie Peck, the mountain climber, told the club how pleased she was when she heard the Smith girls speaking of her as “our Miss Peck,” because she had once been a teacher in the college.
Miss Peck told the club of something of her experiences, of how she first climbed the Matterhorn, acquired a reputation for mountain climbing, and felt that she must make good her reputation by going into it in earnest.
“Mount Sorento, was the first mountain I ever tried to climb and didn’t succeed,” she said. “I tried twice. Once my money gave out and a second time the men who were with me gave out. They wouldn’t go more than half way up. Now I am going to find the highest mountain on this hemisphere and climb that, and then I am going back to get the best of Mount Sorento.”
President Seelye of the college told the girls that they had just as much right to intellect as men, and that their brains were as good, but that they must remember that womanliness is as important for a woman as manliness for a man.
“College women are trying like Miss Peck,” he said, “to reach the highest point, the highest altitude, but it is the highest altitude of womanhood, and not manhood. The trouble in some women’s colleges is that try to imitate the men. There are some things that men do that women should not.”
Dr. Seelye said Andrew Carnegie, who has offered the college $62,000 on condition that it raise a like amount, for a biological laboratory, has given the authorities the privilege to use the money for a library, which is much needed. Mr. Rockefeller has given $100,000 for an endowment fund and a like amount for an assembly hall and dormitory.
[Note: Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke (1846-1911), English museum director, was the second head of NY’s Metropolitan Museum. Fatout mistakenly reports this event as 1901 (p. 668). Laurenus Clark Seelye (1837-1924), first president of Smith College (1873-1910)]
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Clemens lunched with the Smith College Alumnae today & had a beautiful time being “petted” until Mr. Paine arrived to take him away to see David Warfield in “The Music Master.” He did enjoy it so much & thinks it’s a greater play than Rip Van Winkle & he thinks that David Warfield is a greater actor than Joe Jefferson was.” He cam back while we were at tea, with a beautiful wave of freshness in spite of the bigger wave of freshness which carried him up to his bed after he had given a cheery salutation, pushed his hands through his hair & seized upon the evening papers.
Last night we went over to the Gilders’. Mr. Clemens went too, for Mr. H.G. Wells was to be there and Mrs. Gilder did so hope Mr. Clemens could find it in his inclination to come. Jean was beautiful. Mr. Paine said of her today that she had the tragic beauty of a young queen doomed to the block. She had a little silver brandeau on her dark hair, which always makes her so classically beautiful. Mr. Paine was there—& I met & liked a Miss Beatrice Hanscome [MTP TS 62-63; also noted in Gribben 385]. Notes: David Warfield (1866-1951) performed in the play The Music Master, by Charles Klein at the Bijou Theatre, (see insert). Warfield played the role of Anton von Barwig, a pianist in a dime museum in N.Y.C. who rediscovered his lost daughter—his best role played from 1904-1907. At one time he was one of the wealthiest actors. Lyon recorded Sam’s opinion of the play: he thought it better than Boucicault’s adaptation of Rip Van Winkle.
Paine writes: “We went behind when it was over, and I could see that Warfield glowed with Mark Twain’s unstinted approval. Later, when I saw him at The Players, he declared that no former compliment had ever made him so happy” [MTB 1305].
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam signed a postcard to Miss Maud Morris in Baltimore, Md. [MTP].
John Larkin, attorney, wrote a short note to Sam that he’d seen Mr. Dorenms (?) and would see Sam next week when he returned from the South [MTP].
April 7 ca. – Isabel V. Lyon replied to William Bengough’s Apr. 5 note. “Doesn’t think he could make it worse” [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Apr. 5 from Albert G. Webber: “I wrote that book nine years ago & after I am dead it will be published but not before that” [MTP].
April 8 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to a not-extant letter from daughter Clara, now convalescing at the Hotel Brighton in Atlantic City, N.J.
I am so glad, you dear ashcat! so glad the auto[biography] interests you; I was so afraid it wouldn’t. I couldn’t guess as to how it might read, for I have purposely refrained from reading a line of it myself, lest I should find myself disappointed & throw up the job. I wanted it to gather age before I should look at it, so that it would read to me as it would to a stranger—then I could judge it intelligently. However, as Twichell wanted to experiment with it I took the last 3 days instalments & corrected them—& in this way I found out that I was doing well enough for an apprentice who was an unpractised learner in the art of dictating to a stenographer. Twichell’s verdict is, that the interest doesn’t flag. That’s all I want. I only want to interest the reader, he can go elsewhere for profit & instruction.
Yes, dear child, I’m a “recognized immortal genius,” & a most dissipated one, too. I lunched with Howells to-day to meet H. G. Wells; & Frank Millet was there, & Francis Wilson, & Norman Hapgood, & other charming people. Tomorrow I lunch with Norman Hapgood (to meet the Russian revolutionists, I think) & to-morrow night I dine with Mr. Rogers & go to the great billiard-championship match; & next night I dine out to meet Narodny, the Russian revolutionist, who has been in hiding here a block away from us for a month, & nobody knew it.
Pile up health, dear—pile it up! & meantime be happy. Give my love to Katy [MTP].
Notes: as mentioned above, Sam had lunch with William Dean Howells, who had invited ten men, with the guest of honor H.G. Wells (Herbert George Wells; 1866-1946), British science fiction author (IVL notes that Sam went to the Gilders’ on the evening of Apr. 6 to meet Wells, so this was not their first meeting). He also invited Francis Millet, artist and journalist; Francis Wilson (1854-1935), American actor and comedian; Joe Twichell; and Norman Hapgood were among the guests (See prior entries for details on others.) Ivan Narodny (1870-1953), journalist and art promoter, was one of a half dozen names the leader of the Cronstadt uprising of the military in Oct. 1905 took; after coming to the US he worked for the Russian newspaper Russkii Golos (Russian Voice) and the New York American. He was a contributor to many art journals and started his own, The Pilgrim’s Almanac. The New York Times had published an interview with Narodny on Apr. 7, characterizing him as “chief agent” of the Russian revolution. He would invite Mark Twain to meet Maxim Gorky at a dinner on Apr. 11. See also MTHL 803n1; Lyon’s journal TS 155; W.D. Howells to his sister Aurelia H. Howells, Apr. 8.
Sam also wrote to Gertrude Natkin, who had just turned sixteen. Sam thought impropriety was perceived in his relationship after a young woman turned sixteen.
You are the sweetest grandchild I’ve got, Marjorie dear, & the best. Am I long time sending that stage-door order? Yes; & it is partly because I was born lazy, & partly because I have been very very busy gadding around & very very tired and
10.30 p.m. This is an hour later than usual for me to return to bed. So you are 16 to-day you dear little rascal! Oh, come, this won’t do—you mustn’t move along so fast; at this rate you will soon be a young lady, & next you will be getting married. I shall be sorry, then; & moreover if you don’t appoint me your head bridesmaid & be exceedingly good to me I will do everything I can to break off the match.
I was going to give you this pen, & now it will do for a birth-day token. It is the best one I have ever had; I have used no other for 4 years. I asked Miss Lyon to send to Toledo for another one for me, & it will arrive before the 19th I guess.
[Sam gave instructions for where Gertrude should go at the Carnegie bldg. for his Apr. 19 lecture.]
Sixteen! Ah, what has become of my little girl? I am almost afraid to send a blot, but I venture it. Bless your heart it comes within an ace of being improper! Now back you go to 14!—then there’s no impropriety. Good night, Sweet Fourteen [MTAq 24-5].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Mr. Twichell is here—Mrs. too, & Mr. T thinks that auto-ms. is absorbingly interesting. C.C. has taken a lot of it away with her & writes enthusiastically about it too.
Mr. Clemens lunched with Mr. Howells today up at the Hotel Regent. Mr. H.G. Wells was there, & Francis Wilson & Norman Hapgood & Frank Millet & Mr. Clemens said it was delightful [MTP TS 63].
Marie E. Burns wrote on The “Little Mothers” Aid Assoc., Brooklyn letterhead to remind Sam that their Easter Festival would take place on Sat. Apr. 21 from 2 to 5 p.m. If Sam could stop for a “few minutes and give the children a world of greeting it would be greatly appreciated” [MTP].
Edward Everett Hale wrote to Sam that Hale’s copyright on short story “The Man Without a Country” (1863) would expire this year. He discussed details of copyright legislation under consideration [Gribben 285: MTP]. Note: Isabel Lyon noted receipt of the letter in her journal of Apr. 10. Sam wrote a reply on the letter, also dated Apr. 10.
William Dean Howells wrote on Hotel Regent N.Y.C. letterhead to Sam, wanting “to see every word of the 578 pages before this”—a portion of Sam’s A.D., which he wrote “is one of the humanest and richest pages in the history of man.” Howells lone objection was including the episode where Orion got into bed with two old maids (see MTA 272-4) [MTHL 2: 803]. Sam’s full autobiography (or at least the first volume) was published in Oct. 2010; two additional volumes are forthcoming in 2012 and 2014.
April 8 ca. – Sam answered E.L. Hathaway’s Apr. 2 request [MTP]. See entry.
April 9 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to H.H. Rogers.
When you come by for me at 5 this afternoon won’t you please bring me
4—100- “ “
10—10- “ “
& please ask Miss Harrison to draw this $1000 from my balance at the Guaranty Trust. / Yours ever
Miss Lyon doesn’t know about this. SL. Clemens [MTHHR 604-5].
In the evening Sam and H.H. Rogers attended a billiard tournament for the “18-2 World’s Championship” at Madison Square Garden [ca. Apr. 4 to Brunswick-Balke-Collender Co.]. Note: this was not the first billiards match the pair had taken in. Isabel Lyon’s Journal for Apr. 10:
[Sam and Rogers were conspicuous:] were about the only men in evening clothes, and because of our old white heads….there was a great wave of applause [as they were about to leave], and Mr. Clemens turned instinctively to see the shot that had been made, only to find the billiardists surprised at applause for what wasn’t anything to applaud, and then Mr. Clemens knew that “he was the shot” they were celebrating [MTHHR 605n1]. Note: The NY Times sub-headlined “Mark Twain Cheered” on Apr. 9. The eventual winner on Apr. 21 was George F. Slosson, who defeated Jacob Schaefer, 500 to 396 [NY Times, Apr. 22, p15].
Sam also writes an aphorism to an unidentified person: “We ought never to do wrong when any one is looking / Mark Twain” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon replied for Sam to Hélène Elisabeth Picard’s Mar. 28. “Mr. Clemens keeps utterly away from anything that wrings his heart. He has too many speeches to make, too many people to see in these days & he must remain cheerful—In these rushing days must deny himself the pleasure of writing letters. He dictates several thousand words a day etc” [MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Letter from French girl enclosing cable about “Huck Finn”—The Juggernaut Club – Letter from Librarian of Brooklyn Public Library in regard to “Huckleberry Finn” and “Tom Sawyer.” Clemens’ reply — The deluge of reporters trying to discover the contents of that letter [MTP Autodict2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
“Today came a note from Mr. Howells who returned with it a batch of auto-ms. which Mr. Clemens took up there yesterday. He wants to read all the 578 pages that went before the batch he had—and he thinks it is wonderful. Says that Mr. Clemens is ‘nakeder than Adam & Eve put together’ in his absolutely sincerity” [MTP TS 63].
B.M. Byrne wrote on Jackson City Bank, Jackson Mich. letterhead to Sam. “I am addressing you for the Outlook Circle of The Kings Daughters, to learn if if would be possible for them to secure you for a lecture here this Spring” [MTP].
Fred E. Farnsworth for the Bankers’ Club of Detroit wrote to Sam asking if he could deliver an address sometime in the last week of April or the second week in May [MTP].
Benjamin W. Gilchrist for Geo. A. Hasley Council, Newark, NJ wrote to Sam asking for a lecture during May [MTP].
April 10 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a reply on Edward Everett Hale’s Apr 8. “I had already dismissed the copyright matter from my mind, recognizing that it was too late to accomplish anything with it this year. Therefore I squash my answer to your letter into a simple sentence, to wit:—I haven’t any wish to follow up the copyright matter this year” [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Apr. 8 praise of his A.D. from William Dean Howells:
It is lovely of you to praise it so, & to want to read the rest of it. I’ll see to it that you do read the rest of it, before you get out of the notion. Clara will arrive this evening & fetch it. She took 500 pages with her—to pretend to read, as I supposed, & thus please me—but she has actually been reading them; & moreover she says in plain terms:
“I spent the morning reading in your biography even forgetting my fresh air duties the time passed so smoothly, so rapidly”—& more of the same sort. This from one’s own flesh! It is next to incredible.
Let us institute a gang next fall, made up of nice publishers & nice literary folk, whose function it shall be to entertain at luncheon the visiting literary stranger, the expense to be distributed among the gang. He must be entertained, & why should the cost fall upon an individual?—as in the H.G. Wells case. There’s you; & me & Augustus Thomas; & the Colonel; & Sam McClure; and Doubleday; & Gen. Haven Putnam; & Ed Burlingame; & Gilder; & Mr. Shaw; & Mr. Dogley & Robert Collier; & Norman Hapgood; & Francis Wilson; & David Munro; & Lanier; and—and—well, there’s others. Plenty of nice boys. None eligible but literatics, publishers, & maybe a one or two nice actors & managers. Yours ever [MTHL 2: 804].
Notes: those not prior identified: Edward Burlingame, editor of Scribner’s; Albert Shaw, ed. of American Review of Reviews; Henry W. Lanier secretary of Doubleday, Page & Co.
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Child’s letter about “Huckleberry Finn” being flung out of Concord Library—Ambassador White’s autobiography—Clemen’s version of the Fiske-Cornell episode—Another example of his great scheme for find employment for the unemployed—This client wins the Fiske lawsuit [MTP Autodict2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Jean, 10:10 from 6 a.m. (very good & obedient) 12:05, very bad; 5:05
The morning mail batch wasn’t heavy, but it had a nice
letter from E.E. Hale on the copyright question in which he said that nothing
can be done in the matter this year, but if Mr. Clemens & Mr. Howells have
any personal reason for pushing it, he is willing to do his part. His copyright
on “A Man Without A Country” expires this year
& it is “pretty
devilish” SLC. There is no reason now, why Mr. Clemens should want to push the
matter & he dictated a reply to Dr. Hale.
Last evening Mr. Clemens left at 5 with Mr. Rogers & after dinner at the Rogers’s they went to see a champion billiard match at the Madison Square Garden. This morning Mr. Clemens said he and Mr. Rogers were very conspicuous for 2 reasons. Because they were about the only men in evening clothes & because of our old white heads. The men assembled there were a serious & a knowing lot; men ranging in age from 35 to 50; most discriminating company, & there were miracles wrought there, Mr. Clemens said. He told me how the game went—all on the side of the Frenchman Curé, who was laying against the young American, Morningside. 100 points ahead he was when Mr. Clemens and Mr. Rogers started to leave at 10 o’clock. As they made their way along to the exit there was a great wave of applause, & Mr. Clemens turned instinctively to see the shot that had been made, only to find the billiardists surprised at applause for what wasn’t anything to applaud, & then Mr. Clemens knew that he “was the shot” they were celebrating [MTP TS 63-64].
Also in her journal for Apr. 11: “Last night [Apr. 10] Mr. Clemens dined with Mrs. Johnson and her revolutionary tribe—Narodny and others. No—Narodny wasn’t there either—but he’s to be there tonight, and Gorky too. A buck dinner” [MTP].
John Brown, Jr. (“Jock”) wrote from Edinburgh, Scotland to Sam. “Thanks for your kind note returning the types of your and Mrs. Clemens’ letters and thank you for letting me use them. … I have sent you the Memoir by Dr. J.T. Brown.” He also thanked Sam for his photograph [MTP].
Harry C. Eva for Harlem Rescue Mission wrote to invite Sam to be “one of the speakers” at the sixth anniversary of the Mission on Apr. 19th at 8 p.m. [MTP].
Ivan Narodny wrote from 3 Fifth Ave., NYC to invite Sam to dinner Wed. Apr. 11 at 7 pm to meet Maxim Gorky [MTP].
Guion P. Wilson for Journalists’ Club of Baltimore wrote to Sam asking him to appear at the Lyric Theatre there to help the club climb out of debt [MTP].
April 10 ca. – Sam replied to Wanda M. Russian’s Apr. 5 inquiry about German translating:
I don’t know where these rights belong but I do know they formerly belonged to Chatto & W. pub. London & whether they have been transferred to Harper & Bros or not I don’t know. Robert Lutz of Leipzig has long had the right in Germany [MTP]. Note: this was written across Russian’s letter.
Sam also replied to Marie E. Burns (hers not extant): “In the circumstances I find I’m getting more & more worn, & there are many things for me to do before I can leave this town” [MTP].
April 11 Wednesday – Thomas Bailey Aldrich wrote from the Hotel de France & Choiseul, Paris:
Dear Mark: / I’ve a bit of news which I am sure will interest you, since it is the only happy thing that has befallen this stricken family during the past three years—the engagement of Talbot to a sweet young New England girl, a Miss Eleanor Little. ….
We start for home on April 27—the fiancée remains on this side for a while—and I shall be glad to get back. We made a long sojourn in Egypt, and I have had all the potted mummy I want at present. We all are well and send love and remembrances to you and your little flock, God keep them! / Yours affectionately …[MTP].
Clemens’ A.D. for the day: Frank Fuller and his enthusiastic launching of Clemens’ first New York lecture— Results not in fortune but in fame—Leads to a lecture tour under direction of James Redpath—Clipping in regard to Frank Fuller, & Clemens’ comments—Olive Logan clipping & Clemens’ comments—Clemens’ feeling toward suicides [MTP Autodict2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Santa C. arrived yesterday [Apr. 10] & last evening I took mother to see Mrs. Fisk in Leah Kleshua [sic Kleschna]. It is such a good & well acted & well staged play…After the play we went around to the Green room & saw Mrs. Fisk…She was delighted with the message which Mr. Clemens sent her about the Horse’s Tale (it is to appear in Harper’s in August) but she said its main work would be done in Mexico & not yet in Spain—for Spain isn’t ripe for it[.] She sent Mr. Clemens her dear love & other charming messages which he was waiting for on my return.
Last night Mr. Clemens dined with Mrs. Johnson and her revolutionary tribe—Narodny and others. No—Narodny wasn’t there either—but he’s to be there tonight, & Gorky too. A buck dinner.
They sat down 13—such a hellish superstition it is [MTP TS 65]. Note: Minnie Maddern Fiske played the lead role in Leah Kleschna at the Academy of Music. Born Marie Augusta Davey, she was often billed simply as Mrs. Fiske.
Charles Butler Fenton (1862-1962), former New Zealand captain, wrote from Brooklyn, NY to Sam. “May I request you to kindly place forward your proposed lecture to be delivered on 19th inst. at Carnegie Music Hall to an earlier date. / As I am a seafaring man, Master of a merchant steamship, trading to China ports, in the employ of your friend Mr Rogers, and as I purpose getting married on the 19th inst; hence the reason of my request” [MTP]. See Apr. 16 for Sam’s matchless reply.
The New York Times, p. 11, “Ellen Terry’s Jubilee” announced a movement to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Miss Ellen Terry’s stage career. Mark Twain and Joseph H. Choate were “in full sympathy” and Daniel Frohman of the Lyceum Theatre was taking subscriptions. A big benefit started ty the London Tribune was also being held in London for Ellen Terry, the aim being to fund her retirement.
The New York Times, p. 6, “Riot of Enthusiasm Greets Maxim Gorky” also announced the dinner for this evening to which Ivan Narodny invited Twain to meet Maxim Gorky (Aleksey Maksimovich Peshkov) (1868-1936), Russian author and activist; the paper then reported the substance on Apr. 12, p.4:
Gorky and his wife will be guests at many receptions here. This evening he will be a guest of honor at a dinner at A Club, 3 Fifth Avenue. Mark Twain, W.D. Howells, Peter Finley Dunne, Robert F. Collier, Robert Hunter, Gaylord Wilshire, M[r]. Narodny, and M[r]. Tchaykoffsky will be among the other guests [Note: See picture insert below, which also gives among the group, Maxim Gorky, and his son Zinovii Peshkov].
McFarland writes of The A Club at 3 Fifth Ave. (where Charlotte Teller Johnson lived with her grandmother) a few doors down from Sam’s 21 Fifth Ave.:
In February 1906, a group of eighteen or twenty young writers and social workers bought a mansion at 3 Fifth Avenue, just north of Washington Square, with the intention of entering into a cooperative housing arrangement. The news caused a small stir in the newspapers. The proposed housing collective was so at odds with the individual or familial ways that New Yorkers usually lived that reporters were dispatched to investigate this novel group. When a reporter asked its president, Howard Brubaker, what the collective’s name was, Brubaker casually replied, “Oh, just call it a club.” Thereafter it became known as “A Club” both in the newspaper accounts and in the popular lore of the group itself. Although the A Club cooperative housing experiment lasted only a few years, it nevertheless brought together and helped solidify a network of individuals whose contribution to Village history far outweighed their relatively small numbers.
Newspaper reporters who interviewed A Club’s founders received somewhat contradictory descriptions of the group’s purpose and membership. The earliest version came from Helen Todd, a wealthy Chicago settlement worker who had bankrolled the purchase of the mansion. She described A Clubbers as “people who like the bohemian life and are interested in the East Side of New York,” and who took the Fifth Avenue house “because it is only a short distance from the ‘ghetto.’” The part about wanting to be close to East Side slums was true enough, but the New Yorkers in the group objected to Todd’s use of the word “bohemian” in connection with themselves. Charlotte Teller [Johnson], an editorial assistant at Everybody’s magazine and a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, emphasized that “Life [at A Club] will not be bohemian, as has been stated, for most of us are old enough not to be childish in that way….We shall lead a perfectly conventional, normal family life.” She, for one, hoped to organize women who were employed in the factories of the Washington Square district. “We are here for work,” she stated emphatically [120-21]. Note: editorial emphasis on names.
Isabel Lyon’s journal for Apr. 12: Last night [Apr. 11] Mr. Clemens dined with Narodny & Maxim Gorky and others down at #3 Fifth Avenue. It must have been a delight even if Gorky cannot speak a word of English. He sat on Mr. Clemens’s right & his adopted son acted as interpreter. Mr. Clemens said when the signal for serving dinner was given 3 Japs in white uniforms moved off for the soup & as one of them served Maxim Gorky, he reached out his hand & took the little Jap’s in friendly greeting “A better thing than the Portsmouth Peace,” for while neither could speak a word of the other’s language, their hearts did the spontaneous talking that tells [MTP TS 65-66]. See the rest of the Apr. 12 entry. Hirst notes that the language barrier “… explains, perhaps, why there are not extensive records of what the two talked about.”
GORKY AND TWAIN PLEAD FOR REVOLUTION
Committee Formed to Raise Funds for Russian Freedom.
TO ARM REVOLUTIONISTS
”I Come to You a Beggar That Russia
May Be Free,” Says Gorky at A Club Dinner.
The American auxiliary movement to aid the cause of freedom in Russia was launched last night at a dinner given at the Club A House, 3 Fifth Avenue, with Mark Twain and Maxim Gorky as the principal spokesmen.
“If we can build a Russian republic to give to the persecuted people of the Czar’s domain the same measure of freedom that we enjoy, let us go ahead and do it,” said Mark Twain. “We need not discuss the method by which that purpose is to be attained. Let us hope that fighting will be postponed or averted for a while, but if it must come— ” Mr. Clemens’s hiatus was significant.
“I am most emphatically in sympathy with the movement now on foot in Russia to make that country free,” he went on. “I am certain that it will be successful, as it deserves to be. Anybody whose ancestors were in this country when we were trying to free ourselves from oppression must sympathize with those who now are trying to do the same thing in Russia.
“The parallel I have just drawn only goes to show that it makes no difference whether the oppression is bitter or not; men with red, warm blood in their veins will not endure it, but will seek to cast it off. If we keep our hearts in this matter Russia will be free.”
The dinner was given by Ivan Narodny, the representative in this country of the Russian military revolutionists, in honor of Maxim Gorky. The list of guests included Dr. Nicholas Tchaykoffsk, Robert Collier, Kikolay Zavolsky Pieshkoff, the adopted son of Gorky; Nikolas Burenin, his friend and private secretary; Arthur Brisbane, David Graham Phillips, Robert Hunter, Ernest Poole, Dr. Walter Weyl, Leroy M. Scott, and Howard Bruebaker. W. D. Howells and Peter Finley Dunne had been invited but were unable to attend.
Mark Twain’s speech followed the reading by Robert Hunter of a manifesto formally inaugurating the American movement to help make Russia free. This movement will involve the appointment of a large committee of men of National reputation to aid in the collection of funds throughout the United States for the purchase of arms for the Russian revolutionists.
Mr. Clemens, Mr. Collier, Mr. Howells, Mr. Dunne, Mr. Hunter, Mr. Phillips, Miss Jane Addams of Hull House, Chicago, and others have already accepted places on the committee, and it was said by Mr. Hunter that invitations have been sent to a great number of others who are expected to join the movement.
[information about funds cut out here]
Mark Twain sat on the right of M. Narodny. Maxim Gorky sat on the right of Mr. Clemens. On the other side of the Russian writer sat his adopted son, who acted as interpreter during the animated conversation which was carried on between the American author and the writer who has depicted so vividly the tragic depths of the life of the lower classes in Russia.
Mr. Clemens, in beginning his speech, paid a warm tribute to Gorky, and this was returned by the Russian when his turn came to speak.
Gorky Praises Mark Twain.
“I am very glad to meet Mark Twain,” he said. “I knew him through his writings almost before I knew any other writer. I was little more than a boy when I began to wait and hope for the meeting which has been realized tonight. It is a happy day – a day happy beyond all expectation to me.
“Mark Twain’s fame is so well established all the world over that I could not add anything to it by any words of mine. He is a man of force. He has always impressed me as a blacksmith who stands at his anvil with the fire burning and strikes hard and hits the mark every time. He has done much to beat away the dross and bring out the true steel of character in his writings.
“I come to America expecting to find true and warm sympathizers among the American people for my suffering countrymen, who are fighting so hard and bearing so bravely their martyrdom for freedom. Now is the time for the revolution. Now is the time for the overthrow of Czardom. Now! Now! Now! But we need the sinews of war, the blood we will give ourselves. We need money, money, money. I come to you as a beggar that Russia may be free.”
…[ Seated left to right: Zinovii Peshkov (Gorky’s adopted son), Gorky, Twain, Ivan Narodny ]
“What have you read in American literature?” Gorky was asked.
“I have read Mark Twain. The reading proved an inspiration to me. It is part of the liberal education of Russia to read Mark Twain’s works. They have all been translated and sold in hundreds of editions [The article continued on. The New York Sun, Apr. 12 p. 2, and the New York Tribune, p4 also gave accounts.]
April 12 Thursday – In the evening Sam and William Dean Howells visited Maxim Gorky. New York newspapers followed Gorky’s every move, including a p. 2 article from the Apr. 13 Times, “MAXIM GORKY VISITS THE TOMB OF GRANT,” which included the following passage on Mark Twain and W.D. Howells:
Mark Twain and W. D. Howells called upon Gorky at his apartments in the Hotel Belleclaire last evening. They remained with him for about half an hour discussing literature, and invited him to attend a literary dinner about a fortnight from now. Gorky accepted the invitation.
Some waiting reporters waylaid Mr. Clemens and Mr. Howells in the hotel lobby after their call. When Mr. Clemens was asked regarding the purpose of their visit he made signals of distress to Mr. Howells, who was some distance away, and said:
“Come here, Howells. You don’t look as if you had any information. You are a good man; come back here and tell them all about it, and be sure to make it a private talk so as to get it in the papers.”
Mr. Howells modestly averred that the idea of the dinner had originated with Mr. Clemens.
“Yes,” said Mark Twain, “we are going to offer Gorky the literary hospitality of the country. He is big enough for the honor. It is going to be a dinner with only authors and literary men present. We want to do it in proper style, and will have authors not only from New York, but from Chicago, and we may have some literary geniuses from Indiana, where I believe they breed ‘em.”
Sam also made his second appearance at the international billiard championship at Madison Square Garden. Willie Hoppe defeated Albert G. Cutler. The New York Times, p. 7, quoted Sam, coming as he said:
“To see the boy David get away with one of the billiard Goliaths.” He was accompanied by Albert Bigelow Paine. They came in while Cutler was in he middle of his fifth turn at the table. There was a spontaneous outburst of applause, and Twain smiled and bowed his white head to all parts of the house before taking his seat. Then he began a running fire of comment upon the play, applauding good shots of both competitors without partiality.
At 21 Fifth Ave. in N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Calvin H. Higbie, who had been seeking Sam’s help with a manuscript. Yes, the MS should be typewritten; exposure in some Western newspapers shouldn’t hurt Higbie’s chances for publication: “If they don’t mention it, it is not ‘our affair to remind them of it’” [MTP].
In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to an unidentified person or persons.
Mr. Clemens suggests that it would be a wise arrangement if certain nice publishers & nice authors were to band together to entertain foreign literary men when the visit these shores. H. G. Wells has just been over here—is here in fact—& Mr. Howells gave a delightful luncheon for him but all the expense fell on Mr. Howells & Mr. Clemens feels that that ought not to be—especially when there are those who would gladly share it— [MTP].
Sam also wrote an aphorism on a small card for an unidentified person: “Let us save the to-morrows for work. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / April 12/06” [MTP].
Sam also inscribed the same above aphorism in a copy of HF to an unidentified person [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today Mr. Clemens had me go with him to the barber’s near at hand to have his hair trimmed. I always go with him now, & early in the week I ordered his summer clothes & shirts—such pretty shirts. This after noon after Norman Hapgood & Robert Collier left, Mr. Clemens went up to the Hotel Regent where Mr. Howells is staying & together they called on Gorky. Mr. Clemens didn’t come home until after seven & then he was so tired—so tired he couldn’t eat any dinner, more than 6 olives, & up to his bed he went. I slipped into the room to find him reading Tacitus & oh, so tired & so dear & so beautiful [MTP TS 66].
Joe Twichell wrote a short note to Sam. “This is to advise you that Harmony and I expect to arrive at your door at a little after 4 oclock Saturday P.M.” [MTP].
Josiah Flint Willard wrote from NYC to Sam. “You have been a most distinguished ‘Tramp Abroad,’ and as a tramp at last at home, after a long hospital experience in Berlin, I wonder whether you would be good enough to introduce me to Gorky. My intentions upon Gospodinn Gorky are not mercenary, although I have been a tramp in Russia.” [MTP].
April 12-15 Sunday – Sometime during this period Sam left a calling card at Charlotte Teller Johnson’s house: “I have come to ask after your cold, & to see if you are up & about: in which case can you see me in your workroom instead of venturing out into the air to come to my house? I hope you are well enough to take that risk, but naturally I am not in a position to guess intelligently. / SLC” [MTP].
Sam wrote a four-page unpublished MS called “A Cloud-Burst of Calamities” in which he narrated a day-by-day for Apr. 12 to 14, 1906 concerning the Maxim Gorky situation and scandal [MTP].
April 13 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a note of introduction for Maxim Gorky to Josiah Flint Willard at 119 Waverly Place, N.Y.C., replying to Willard’s Apr. 12: “Dear Maxim Gorky: / Mr. Willard, the bearer of this, begs me to give him a line of introduction to you & I comply with his request in the conviction that you will find him interesting, since, like yourself, he has seen the seamy side of life & has had adventures” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Charlotte Teller Johnson.
Now then, dear Charlotte, you need some forgiveness yourself! I have to admire that letter, I can’t help it, for it is wonderful; its match may exist somewhere in literature, but its superior doesn’t. ….
…The hand that wrote that letter can do the Mirabean—that I know. If you yourself have had any doubts, brush them away; for there is greatness in you, Charlotte,—more of it than you suspect, I think. You are going to surpass your utmost anticipations.
Next Thursday that lecture at Carnegie Hall—why did I make that engagement! it exasperates me to think of it—oh, more than that, it makes me sick, it nauseates me. Be good—come & see me Wednesday morning & see if you cannot help me get rid of that fatal feeling. Will you do that? Will you?
Those lovely flowers! Dear me, you didn’t forget anything! I’ll give you my stiletto when you come—I realize that I don’t know how to use it [MTP].
Sebastiano V. Cecchi wrote from Florence, Italy to Sam. “I was glad to get your news through Miss Lyon’s letter of the 11th Feby. and hope you continue to be well.” A friend had sent him a magazine which covered Sam’s 70th Birthday celebration and Cecchi enjoyed Sam’s speech. Traverso had advised him that Countess Massiglia’s charges of perjury against Sam’s “late servants Bruschi & Folli” resulted in a not guilty verdict, so another “fiasco in on record for the late landlord & landlady of yours!” Traverso had sent him lawyer’s bills amounting to 552.70—“be so good as to give me your instructions about them.” He also wanted to know if Sam wanted to proceed with the old lawsuit [MTP].
Edith V. Conlis wrote from NYC to Sam. She and her sister were artists, daughters of James Conlis of Farmington, Conn. and she requested an interview [MTP].
F.T. Richards wrote from NYC to Sam. A devoted fan, Richards wrote: “I am sending you the original drawing of ‘Life’s’ Monthly Calendar in which your 70th anniversary is recorded. / If you will allow me to present it to you , it will give me great pleasure” [MTP].
Carolyn Wells wrote to Sam from Rahway, N.J., having seen Sam as “truly affable and amiable…at close range” at his birthday dinner. She had since been “trying to screw up her courage” to ask him to write in her book, “which as you can see for yourself, is no common or garden autograph album. Please join the Mermaid Club as a most Honorable Honorary and Honored Member, and then, if you will, return the book to my New York address no. 12 East 22nd Street” [MTP].
April 14 Saturday – Four autographed notes by Clemens on a four-page letter by an unspecified reporter of the NY Times, requesting his opinion on Maxim Gorky’s trip to America to raise funds in the cause of Russian emancipation. Sam refused to be interviewed but answered written questions with written answers, with the priviso that they would be printed verbatim, if at all. Two of the notes follow:
We were quite willing to accept France’s assistance when we were in the throes of our Revolution, & we have always been grateful for that assistance. It is our turn, now, to pay that debt of gratitude by helping another oppressed people in its struggle for liberty…
In as much as we conducted our own Revolution with guns and the sword, our mouths are closed against preaching gentler methods to other oppressed nations. Revolutions are achieved by blood & carnage alone. So far I know there has been but one Revolution which was carried to a successful issue without bloodshed. / Mark Twain [MTP: American Art Assoc.-Anderson Galleries catalogs, Jan. 29, 1936, Item 119].
April 15 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied with an aphorism to Carolyn Wells: “It is easier for a needle to go through a camel’s eye than for a rich woman to sprain her ancle & keep it out of the papers. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / April 15, 1906 / With greetings & good wishes to Carolyn Wells” [MTP].
The New York Times ran a front-page scandal story involving Maxim Gorky; Mark Twain’s remarks on helping Russia were included:
GORKY AND ACTRESS ASKED TO QUIT HOTELS
She Is Not Mme. Gorky, Though He Calls Her So.
REAL MME. GORKY IN RUSSIA
Writer’s Companion is Mme. Andreieva, a Russian
Actress—He Says She’s His Wife in His Eyes.
The manager of the Hotel Belleclaire, where Maxim Gorky and the woman who has been generally known here as Mme. Gorky, have been staying as guests of H. Gaylord Wilshire, discovered yesterday from a published story what has been no secret since their arrival—that is, that the so-called Mme. Gorky is not the wife of the revolutionary leader, but Mme. Andreieva, a Russian actress. As a result, both were compelled to leave the hotel. They moved to the Lafayette-Brevoort, at Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street. Late yesterday they left this hotel also, going to apartments at 12 Fifth Avenue. At the Lafayette-Brevoort it was said that they had departed of their own accord.
[more details of the controversy are cut here]
MARK TWAIN’S POSITION.
We Took France’s Aid, and Should
Help Russians, He Holds.
Much adverse criticism has arisen here through the formation of the committee to purchase arms to aid Maxim Gorky in his revolutionary movement. Many prominent men are on the committee. Mark Twain, one of the members, was questioned on the matter yesterday at his Fifth Avenue home.
“Why,” he was asked, “should this country assist in any way the Russian people in their revolutionary movement?”
“Because we were quite willing,” he replied, “to accept France’s assistance when we were in the throes of our Revolution, and we have always been grateful for that assistance. It is our turn now to pay that debt of gratitude by helping another oppressed people in its struggle for liberty, and we must either do it or confess that our gratitude to France was only eloquent words, with no sincerity back of them.”
“But do you think it consistent that Americans, with their so-called love of peace, should aid in a movement to throw Russia into a bloody revolution, particularly in view of the fact that America was chiefly instrumental in bringing to an end the Russo-Japanese war?” To this Mr. Twain replied:
“Inasmuch as we conducted our own Revolution with guns and the sword, our mouths are closed against preaching gentler methods to other oppressed nations. Revolutions are achieved by blood and courage alone. So far as I know there has been but one revolution which was carried to a successful issue without bloodshed.”
“In lending, then, our assistance to the Russian people for the overthrow of their despotic form of government, why should we not also start active propaganda seeking the abolition of all similar forms of government?”
“Simply because,” replied Mr. Clemens, “we have not been invited to do it. Should the invitation come, as in the present case, we will put our shoulder to the wheel.” [See Schmidt for full article.]
Susan Crane wrote from Quarry Farm, Elmira to ask Sam for autographs for two young cousins of her late husband, Theodore Crane. The mother of the children would be in NY. “…I think how Livy would rejoice in all you are doing to help every body, and—possibly with her mighty, inspiring love she is undergirding you in these very activities—Sometimes it seems that she is not far away and helps…” [MTP].
April 15 after – Sam wrote “The Gorky Incident” sometime afer Gorky was evicted from his hotel on Apr. 15, 1906; it was not published in Sam’s lifetime. It first appeared edited by Bernard DeVoto in Slavonic and East European Review (Aug. 1944), p. 37-8; it was again revised and published in Letters from the Earth (1962), which Budd gives as the more accurate TS [Budd, Collected 2: 1011].
Frank E. Vaughn wrote from NYC to Sam. In a melodramatic letter, Vaughn contrasted Gorky’s welcome with “shrieks of ‘Crucify Him’” and closed with “Hands off and give Maxim Gorky a chance!” [MTP].
April 16 Monday – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Nikolai V. Chaikovsky. “Mr. C asks me to write for him and say that he is not going to take any public notice of the man Spiridovitch. He is not too troubled about the matter” [MTP]. Note: Alexander Spiridovitch (1873-1952), Russian police general. In 1906 Spiridovitch was assigned to a detail guarding the residences of Czar Nicholas II. When the Russian prime minister Pyotr Stolypin was assassinated in Kiev, Spiridovich was investigated, but cleared of any charges, and he retained his position.
Sam also wrote a reply that is pure Twain to the Apr. 11 from Charles Butler Fenton.
Dear Capt. Fenton: / I remember you very well & very pleasantly & I remember that voyage very well also—but not so pleasantly. As to your request for a postponement of my lecture date, the spirit is willing but the difficulties are so great as to be prohibitive. Let us get up a compromise. If you should postpone your wedding you would disappoint only one person—besides yourself. If I should postpone my lecture I should disappoint 3000 persons beside myself. If you were going to marry 3000 ladies & I were going to lecture to only one person the wedding would be incomparably the more important occasion of the 2 & I would promptly surrender to that great fact & postpone my lecture. There is one perfectly right & fair & equitable way out of our snarl. If you will marry 3000 ladies I will postpone. If you persist in limiting yourself to one, then you must postpone & come to the lecture.—both of you. I am a little vain of this idea—I don’t think Solomon himself could beat it for straight & stern & uncompromising justice to all parties concerned [MTP]. Note: Fenton later helped with the opening of the Panama Canal; he lived to be 100.
Sam also wrote to Joe Goodman in Alameda, Calif.
Dear Joe: / I thank you very much. I shall advise with the Harpers & then write Tufts.
Well, we are having a time here, over Russia! / Yours ever / Mark [MTP]. Note: Sam referred to the Gorky scandal.
Daniel Carter Beard for the Society of Illustrators wrote to Sam. “The Society of Illustrators is not going to have a dinner so don’t be alarmed, but we are going to have an informal smoker at the Aldine Ass[oc] on Saturday night at 9 PM April the twenty first, and if you will come and smoke with us, no speech, we will feel highly complimented” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter, “Will try to be present / Mr Dougherty.” The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “ca.18 April.” See entry.
Frederick D. Grant wrote from Governor’s Island, NY to Sam. “I am looking forward with the greatest pleasure to presiding at the meeting to be held on the 19th Carnegie Hall, for the benefit of the Fulton Memorial, when you are to lecture.” Grant wanted to know if Sam would touch on any political questions regarding the US or any other country, as this would cause him embarrassment. As an Army officer he was not allowed to make such opinions public and thought Sam might do so at the event. He provided his phone number should Sam want to discuss this issue, and marked his letter “Confidential” [MTP].
Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam.
Perhaps it is rather inconsiderate of me to write to you at such a busy time but I cant restrain myself from sending you some love and blots [kisses]. Of course I shall keep a good many of these imaginary blots and bring them forth into real ones for Thursday evening. I am quite sure you will accept them then.
I was going to send you a cartoon that was in the paper Friday evening but Miss Lyon told me that you have already seen it.
I almost forgot, I am taking up too much of your time because when you are not busy I want you to rest. I hope you will be already to receive a volley of “real” blots. / Good night [MTAq 25-6]. Note: Sam was to give a speech for the Fulton Assoc. on Apr. 19. Getrude referred to an Apr. 13 cartoon, possibly:
Insert cartoon: Idaho Statesman, p.10, Apr. 13, 1906
(smaller text in right corner: “Uncle Mick will appreciate him”)
Belle Vernon wrote on The National Arts Club, NYC letterhead to Sam. She reminded him she had been one of Miss Porter’s girls at Farmington years before. Since Sam was “so delightful” at the Woman’s University Club, she invited him to dine at the Club on Wed. evening Apr. 18 at 7:30 p.m. [MTP].
April 16 ca. – Old Guard of the City of NY sent Sam a handwritten invitation to their Anniversary dinner at the Hotel Astor on Monday Apr. 23 at 7 p.m. [MTP].
April 17 Tuesday – Sam wrote to an unidentified person about Benjamin Chapin, who performed on stage as Abraham Lincoln. This letter appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Apr. 22, 1906 in “Lincoln Lives in Ohio Actor.”
April 17, 1906. / In the beginning of the first act, while Mr. Chapin did seem to me to be a very close and happy imitation of Mr. Lincoln, it was only an imitation—an artificiality. But at that point the miracle began. Little by little, step by step, by an imperceptible evolution the artificial Lincoln dissolved away and the living and real Lincoln was before my eyes and remained real until the end. Happily to it that strong word “miracle” because I think it justified. I think that I have not before seen so interesting a spectacle as this steady growth and transformation of an unreality into a reality. / S.L. Clemens, (Mark Twain) [MTP]. Note: Chapin’s play on Lincoln ran from Mar. 26 to the week of Apr. 8 [NY Times Apr. 8, “This Week’s Offerings” p. X1]. It is not clear which day Sam attended the performance.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mrs. Johnson came back from Washington. She paid me damn compliments. Life is sticky. Where are, are, are the ideals” [MTP TS 66-67].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to advise Sam on the “best thing to do” about Bobbs-Merrill’s “attempt to re-publish some of your old non-copyright matter in the newspapers.” Duneka suggested they wait until “the book is issued, then get out an injunction preventing the sale or distribution…on the ground that at least one of the articles in the volume is not by Mark Twain.” He also announced: “We are going to get out a de luxe edition of “EVE’S DIARY” on hand made paper, —a limited edition to sell for $5.00 per copy. It ought to be profitable and it ought to be good advertising” [MTP].
Brander Matthews wrote to Sam. “Dear Mark: / Here is the MS of that paper I perpetrated on you eight years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it; and I said what I thought—and very much what I had been saying in fragments here and there these many years. / Yours ever…” [MTP].
April 18 Wednesday – The New York Times, Apr. 19, p. 14, “Sutton Beats Slosson by Superior Billiards,” again mentioned Mark Twain’s evening at the international billiards tourney at Madison Square Garden:
Mark Twain witnessed the contest from his usual seat at one side of the table. He laughed heartily as the French billiardist rubbed along the caroms for fair-sized runs at the beginning until he had obtained a lead of 270 to 183 at the end of the thirteenth inning by cleverly executed ball-to-ball billiards.
The American humorist foresaw the end, however, as he explained to those sitting near him.
Gertrude Natkin wrote from NYC to Sam: “NOTICE! / A little girl is very anxious waiting for the eve of he 19th. Reward! Of ten blots to the one identifying this little girl” [MTAq 26; MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam.
Dear Mark: / See what you’ve brought me to! What stories could I tell such an audience? Were I to undertake it, I should have to ask you to give me a lesson or two in the art. But I can’t go, fortunately. May 4th I shall be in Lexington, Ky. attending Mr. Ogden’s Southern Education Conference. Harmony is going with me. We leave New York May 1st and shall be away till May 9th.
After his signature, Joe added, “Thanks for your just comment on Gorky’s bad mistake. Poor fellow; he didn’t understand our bigotry. Too bad!” [MTP]. Note: in the file is an invitation (dated Apr. 16) to Twichell from the Periodical Publishers’ Association of America, Edward Bok (ed. Ladies’ Home Journal, Phila.) for a dinner on May 4. It appears that Joe marked the following paragraph: “The Board of Directors thought that you might be willing to come and add zest to the entertainment of the evening by giving our guests some of those stories which you know so well how to tell.”
April 18 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Apr. 16 from Daniel Carter Beard: “Will try to be present / Mrs. Dougherty” [MTP].
April 19 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a note for Gertrude Natkin (and probably her mother): “Please admit these friends of mine by the stage door, & greatly oblige” [MTP].
In the evening Sam gave his “last speech” at Carnegie Hall in the cause for aid to earthquake-stricken San Francisco. New York newspapers covered the event, including the Times, Apr. 20, p.11.
MARK TWAIN APPEALS FOR THE ‘SMITTEN CITY’
Begs the Audience at His Last Public Lecture to be Liberal.
A UNIQUE TALK ON FULTON
Humorist Speaks in His Old Vein for
the Benefit of the Fulton Memorial Association.
Mark Twain’s last words on the public lecture platform were an appeal for charity to alleviate human suffering. He delivered his public valedictory at Carnegie Hall last night, and in announcing with a tinge of sadness that he appeared in the role of a public lecturer for the last time, he begged New York to aid the victims of the disaster in San Francisco.
“Now,” he said to the audience which filled the hall, “since I must, I shall say good-bye. I see many faces in this audience well known to me. They are all my friends, and I feel that those I don’t know are my friends, too. I wish to consider that you represent the Nation, and that in saying good-bye to you I am saying good-bye to the nation.
“In the great name of humanity, let me say this final word: I offer an appeal in behalf of that vast, pathetic multitude of fathers, mothers, and helpless little children. They were sheltered and happy two days ago. Now they are wandering, forlorn, hopeless, and homeless, the victims of a great disaster. So I beg of you,” he concluded, raising his head and stretching out his arms in appeal, “I beg of you to open your hearts and open your purses and remember San Francisco, the smitten city.”
Mr. Clemens later talked to the newspaper reporters about earthquakes on the Pacific coast.
“I haven’t been there since 1868, he said, “and that great city of San Francisco has grown up since my day. When I was there she had 118,000 people, and of this number 18,000 were Chinese. I was a reporter on The Virginia City Enterprise in Nevada in 1862, and stayed there, I think, about two years, when I went to San Francisco and got a job as a reporter on The Call. I was there three or four years.
“I remember one day I was walking down Third Street in San Francisco. It was a sleepy, dull Sunday afternoon and no one was stirring. Suddenly as I looked up the street about three hundred yards the whole side of a house fell out. The street was full of bricks and mortar. At the same time I was knocked against the side of a house and stood there stunned for a moment.
“I thought it was an earthquake. Nobody else had heard anything about it and no one said earthquake to me afterward, but I saw it and I wrote it. Nobody else wrote it, and the house I saw go into the street was the only house in the city that felt it. I’ve always wondered if it wasn’t a little performance gotten up for my especial entertainment by the nether regions.”
Mr. Clemens delivered his lecture last night for the benefit of the Robert Fulton Memorial Association, which is to erect a monument in New York to the memory of the man who applied steam to navigation.
“I wish to deliver a historical address,” he began. I’ve been studying the history of—er—a—let me see—a,” then he stopped in confusion and walked over to Gen. Fred D. Grant, who sat at the head of the platform. He leaned over in a whisper and then returned to the front of the stage and continued:
“Oh, yes! I’ve been studying Robert Fulton. I’ve been studying a biographical sketch of Robert Fulton, the inventor of—er—a—let’s see—oh, yes, the inventor of the electric telegraph. Also, I understand he invented the air—diria—pshaw! I have it at last—the dirigible balloon. Yes, the dirigible—but it is a difficult word, and I don’t see why anybody should marry a couple of words like that when they don’t want to be married at all and are likely to quarrel with each other all the time. I should put that couple of words under the ban of the United States Supreme Court, under its decision of a few days ago, and then take ‘em out and drown ‘em.
“And Fulton was born in—er—a—well, it doesn’t make much difference where he was born, does it? I remember a man who came to interview me once, to get a sketch of my life. I consulted with a friend—a practical man—before he came, to know how I should treat him.
“ ‘Whenever you give the interviewer a fact,’ he said, ‘give him another fact that will contradict it. Then he’ll go away with a jumble that he can’t use at all. Be gentle, be sweet, smile like an idiot—just be natural.’ That’s what my friend told me to do, and I did it.
“ ‘Where were you born?’ asked the interviewer.
“Well—er—a,’ I began, ‘I was born in Alabama, or Alaska, or the Sandwich Islands; I don’t know where, but right around there some where. And you had better put it down before you forget it.
“ ‘But you weren’t born in all those places,’ he said.
“ ‘Well, I’ve offered you three places. Take your choice. They’re all at the same price.’
“ ‘How old are you?’ he asked.
“ ‘I shall be 19 in June,’ I said.
“ ‘Why, there’s such a discrepancy between your age and your looks,’ he said. “
“ ‘Oh, that’s nothing,’ I said, ‘I was born discrepantly.’
“Then we got to talking about my brother Samuel, and he told me my explanations were confusing.
“ ‘I suppose he is dead,’ I said. ‘Some said that he was dead and some said that he wasn’t.’
“ ‘Did you bury him without knowing whether he was dead or not?’ asked the reporter.
“ ‘There was a mystery,’ said I. ‘We were twins, and one day when we were two weeks old—that is, he was one week old and I was one week old—we got mixed up in the bathtub, and one of us drowned. We never could tell which. One of us had a strawberry birthmark on the back of his hand. There it is on my hand. This is the one that was drowned. There’s no doubt about it.’
“ ‘Where’s the mystery?’ he said.
“ ‘Why, don’t you see how stupid it was to bury the wrong twin?’ I answered. I didn’t explain it any more because he said the explanation confused him. To me it is perfectly plain.
“But,” continued Mr. Clemens, “to get back to Fulton; I’m going along like an old man I used to know, who used to start to tell a story about his grandfather. He had an awfully retentive memory, and he never finished the story, because he switched off into something else. He used to tell about how his grandfather one day went into a pasture, where there was a ram. The old man dropped a silver dime in the grass, and stooped over to pick it up. The ram was observing him, and took the old man’s action as an invitation. Just as he was going to finish about the ram this friend of mine would recall that his grandfather had a niece who had a glass eye. She used to loan that glass eye to another lady friend, who used it when she received company. The eye didn’t fit the friend’s face, and it was loose. And whenever she winked it would turn over.
“Then he got on the subject of accidents, and he would tell a story about how he believed accidents never happened.
“There was an Irishman coming down a ladder with a hod of bricks,” he said, “and a Dutchman was standing on the ground below. The Irishman fell on the Dutchman and killed him. Accident? Never! If the Dutchman hadn’t been there the Irishman would have been killed. Why didn’t the Irishman fall on a dog which was next to the Dutchman? Because the dog would have seen him coming. Then he’d get off from the Dutchman to an uncle named Reginald Wilson. Reginald went into a carpet factory one day, and got twisted into the machinery’s belt. He went excursioning around the factory until he was properly distributed and was woven into sixty-nine yards of the best three-ply carpet. His wife bought the carpet, and then she erected a monument to his memory. It read:
“Sacred to the memory of sixty-nine yards of the best three-ply carpet, containing the mortal remainders of REGINALD WILSON. Go thou and do likewise
“And so on he would ramble about telling the story of his grandfather until we never were told whether he found the ten-cent piece or whether something else happened.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Carnegie / St. Andrews dinner at Engineer’s Club. Speech by Mr. Clemens, very good, on simplified spelling” [MTP TS 67].
Josephine D. Crockett wrote from Public School 99, NYC to advise Sam that the children of the school would plant a tree on Arbor Day, May 4, and name it “Mark Twain.” Could he be present at 1:30 p.m.? [MTP].
William Dean Howells wrote on Regent Hotel, N.Y.C. notepaper to Sam.
This seems a poor old thing one may be kind to without a great deal of suffering. If you will fix an afternoon of next week—when Mrs. Gorky is not calling—I will come to listen to her donkeyisms at your house. Shall we say 4 p.m., Monday, and will you have her notified?
I am awfully sorry not to come and keep your platform down tonight. Last night was one of quite useless and meaningless pain—waking every hour after morphine, and getting no sort of credit for it. / Yours ever…[MTHL 2: 805; MTP]. Note: Howells enclosed a letter from Mary E. Bell dated Apr. 15.
April 20 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam began a letter to Charlotte Teller Johnson that he finished on Apr. 21.
It was a charming surprise, dear my lady, but it was over before I could rouse my mind out of its 5-days’ drowse & take advantage of the opportunity to ask some leading questions about the present status of the Gorky situation & thrash that matter out to a finish. It vexes me to think the chance escaped. But I didn’t suspect that the time was so short. I know my own attitude—that is definite enough—but I wanted to get at yours. Next time don’t be quite so precipitate. Hörst du? [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Jean one. / Cesare made sketch of Mr. Clemens talking, standing beside Mr. Carnegie” [MTP TS 67].
April 21 Saturday – In the afternoon Sam presided over a meeting at the Casino Theatre to organize help for the city of San Francisco. The New York Evening World, p. 2, reported:
CALIFORNIANS ARRANGE TO GIVE AID TO VICTIMS.
Meeting at Casino Under Auspices of Mrs. Oelrichs
and Mrs. W.K. Vanderbilt, jr., Presided Over by Mark Twain.
Crowding the Casino Theatre from stage to entrance hundreds of Californians gathered this afternoon to discuss plans for aiding their stricken friends and relatives in San Francisco and neighboring towns. Mark Twain was in the chair, and under his guidance the business in hand progressed rapidly.
The outcome of the meeting was the announcement of a benefit performance in the Casino a week from to-morrow night, a benefit euchre party of the California Club at the Waldorf-Astoria on April 27 and the appointment of a committee with Blanche Bates as chairman to visit the Mayor and ask him for the right to take charge of ordering necessary supplies of clothing to be bought out of the great fund already raised and to be sent at once to San Francisco.
All Anxious to Help.
Everybody seemed anxious to help in the meeting. Henry Miller, the actor, was his own stage hand, helping to arrange the tables and chairs on the stage for the speakers. When the curtain went up on the assemblage of speakers, there was a great burst of applause as Mark Twain arose in the centre.
“I take it for granted you all know me,” said he, “and if you don’t now you surely will before I get through. I’m here on a mission and I’m most always known as S.L. Clemens, which may be hard to spell.”
He then introduced Henry Miller, who announced the benefit performance for a week from to-morrow night. ….
When Mr. Miller concluded Mark Twain again arose.
“It hadn’t been forty-eight hours,” said Mr. Clemens, “since I threatened myself with never again appearing before a paying audience. Well, I haven’t for you paid nothing to come here, but you’ll pay before you go out. I mean that I want every one to resolve to buy tickets for the benefit performance. You’ll pay mentally before you leave here. I feel certain.”
Calls it Great Calamity.
He went on to say feelingly that he looked upon San Francisco as an old home, since he lived there forty years ago, when it was a small but growing town. He characterized the earthquake and fires as “the greatest calamity of ancient or modern times.” Referring to ways of helping the city now he said:
“Let us turn from the dead to the living. The dead are at peace. But consider that there are 300,000 homeless persons there now. They are many of them starving, half clothes, deprived of their means of livelihood. We must help them at once, and we will.”
In speaking of the subscription list for the sufferers he said:
“The poor are always ready to give money. The poor man out of his poverty gives one-half or one-fourth of what he has. The rich man gives one-tenth of one per cent of his fortune. The pennies and the dimes and the quarters are what will make the present fund the size we need.
He then paid a tribute to the Salvation Army and said it should be represented on all committees working in the area of destruction.
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam finished his Apr. 20 to Charlotte Teller Johnson.
Saturday Eve. No, it was only the “drowse”—plain dulness, intolerable stupidity, lifelessness, almost amounting to the condition which we call “dazed.” It came of ragged sleep. You see, I am in bed these by compulsion. There is nothing animating about it. It doesn’t even move my temper; it merely petrifies me. And when is it to end? Maybe Tuesday, maybe Wednesday; maybe—well, the doctor can’t tell. / Sincerely SLC [in left margin:] I didn’t even thank you; but that was dulness, not intention [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Lyon pasted or copied a newspaper clipping from an unidentified newspaper with a poem titled “Farewell” to Mark Twain.
John Horner wrote from Belfast, Ireland to Sam and included a second book by Mrs. Emanda M’Kittrick Ros, Delina Delaney (Belfast, Ire. No date), and a copy of Barry Pain’s humorous criticism of Irene Iddesleigh (1897), another book by Ros he’d sent before. Sam inscribed the book with his name and “1906”. Horner requested a signed photograph of Twain in exchange [Gribben 588].
April 22 Sunday
April 22 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Ella and Margaret McMahon. “I must send you both a word of sympathy in these days of your bereavement, although I know that words cannot comfort the stricken any more than they can convey the sympathy of the one who writes them”: [MTP]. Note: object of sympathy not specified.
April 23 Monday – The New York Times, p.12, “Billiard Benefit Plans” announced a billiard benefit for San Francisco at the concert hall of Madison Square Garden on the following evening. Mark Twain had been asked to make “a brief address.”
The Old Guard was to parade with a following banquet at the Hotel Astor. Rain cut the parade short but the banquet went off as planned, with Mark Twain making a characteristic late arrival. The New York Times, Apr. 24, p. 7, reported:
OLD GUARD CELEBRATE THEIR 80TH BIRTHDAY
Rain Stops Parade, but Banquet Joy Makes Up for It.
It was the Old Guard’s eightieth anniversary yesterday [Apr. 23], and a popular military organization celebrated the birthday in its characteristic way. The rain spoiled the parade, an untoward incident, since from the side of every Guard there dangled a brand new sabre, and not many people had a chance to see them.
The banquet at the Hotel Astor in the evening, however, was made all the more glorious.
The fulldress uniforms of the Old Guard are concededly the finest hereabouts. They were set off to advantage in the banquet hall, which was decorated with flags and bunting selected to harmonize with their coats of white and gold. A feature of the banquet was the entrance of Mark Twain at the close of the celebration. The banqueters had cheered President Roosevelt and cheered Grant, but they cheered the veteran humorist still more.
During the speechmaking a concealed anonymous poet shouted bits at the guests through a megaphone which he aimed at all of the diners. Mark Twain’s flowing locks came in for a long tirade of poetry, which amused the humorist immensely.
Mark Twain thanked the Old Guard for the fine reception they had given him, and then he told a story. He got a bouquet of roses for telling it. [Also noted in Fatout, p. 675].
Alf Hayman manager for Charles Frohman’s Empire Theatre, wrote to Sam. “Mr. Frohman requests me to write and say to you that Miss Lawton was called to ‘The Duel’ rehearsal by his cable request, and the question of her playing the part rests with Mr. [Otis] Skinner, who by the way seems very much pleased with the work of Miss Lawton up to date” [MTP]. Note: Charles Frohman (1860-1915), brother of Daniel Frohman. Both men were involved in various NY theaters, including the Lyceum. See May 7 entry to Skinner.
G.C. Hewett, mining engineer in Colorado Springs, Colo. wrote to Sam, enclosing a picture of “the house you are said to have lived in in Arroya, Nevada.” Since he loved RI, he wished to know if it was written in that house [MTP].
Carolyn Wells wrote a short note from Rahway, NJ to Sam. “Thank you 1000 times for your humorous contribution to my book. It was most kind of you to write it for me” [MTP].
April 24 Tuesday – In the evening at Madison Square Garden, Sam made some brief remarks at a billiard exhibition of trick shots for the benefit of San Francisco.
The game of billiards has destroyed my naturally sweet disposition. Once, when I was an underpaid reporter in Virginia City, whenever I wished to play billiards I went out to look for an easy mark. One day a stranger came to town and opened a billiard parlor. I looked him over casually. When he proposed a game, I answered, “All right.”
“Just knock the balls around a little so that I can get your gait,” he said; and when I had done so, he remarked, “I will be perfectly fair with you. I’ll play you left-handed.” I felt hurt, for he was cross-eyed, freckled, and had red hair, and I determined to teach him a lesson. He won first shot, ran out, took my half dollar, and all I got was the opportunity to chalk my cue.
“If you can play like that with your left hand,” I said, “I’d like to see you play with your right.”
“I can’t,” he said. “I’m left-handed” [Fatout, MT Speaking 520-1].
April 25 Wednesday – The New York Times, p. 13, “What is Doing in Society” included a squib about Mark Twain and Miss Ida M. Tarbell to be the guests of honor at a May 1 evening celebration in the Gibson Studios for the tenth anniversary of the incorporation of the College Women’s Club. Fatout does not list his appearance; newspapers give the event as May 4, when Sam was under doctor’s orders “to remain in bed two or three days” [May 4 to Teller].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Jean, noon. Eve.” [MTP TS 68].
Frederick J. Hall wrote from Tarrytown, N.Y. to Sam, enclosing a letter by Sam he advised should be burned (not in file now). “The circumstances that prompted you to write it were, I think, as follow: J.W. suborned one of our agents and secured a number of copies of Gen’l Grant’s Memoirs, which he advertised at cut rates. Our firm brought suit, and while the decision was in our favor, it was—like most legal decisions—ambiguous and unsatisfactory. You felt J.W. deserved a flaying, but later it was decided to let the matter rest where it was” [MTP]. Note: The MTP catalogs Sam’s reply as “ca. 27 April.”
Frederick W. Davis wrote from Brooklyn to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens:– / I had a very interesting call last Sunday morning on a friend of yours, Mr. Bloodgood H. Cutter, the “poet Lariat”. He is now in his 89th year and his faculties seem to be as bright as ever. He remembers the adventures on the “Quaker City” as if they were but yesterday, and told me some very laughable ones. One in particular was where he went to visit the Emperor of “Roosia” with your company. He said the Captain, (Duncan) took him aside and remarked: “Now Cutter, when you visit the Emperor of Russia you must not hand him any of your poetry”! He told me how the ship’s officers were worried over the subject of court dress for all the members of the ship, and how he put on a new velvet suit he had purchased in Genoa. The waves were rather high when they were about to embark in a row-boat for the shore, and he dashed back to his stateroom for a long bombazine coat to put over the velvet clothes. He did not discover till he was in the row-boat that the long coat contained a voluminous quantity of the poetry above-mentioned. He told me all about the visit to the Emperor, who received you all so kindly, and how the members of the party made fun of him for going off with one of the court ladies, who showed him through the palace. On the way back to the ship he discovered that he had left his bombazine coat behind with all the precious poetry! He was for going back for it at once, but the Captain and others persuaded him not to go back and mar a good impression,—by offering to pay for the coat.
He told me about his climb up Mt. Vesuvius, and his poem on “Gibralter,” [sic] which he said you called “slush”! He said you and Dan and the Doctor were inclined to be a little wild on the boat, getting up dances, etc., and he was afraid he was not popular because he did not countenance such proceedings. He said Dan once dressed up in the costume of a Moor for a masquerade ball and said: “Now Cutter, look at this costume, and write me a poem on it”. [Cutter:] “So I went down in the cabin and got pen and paper together, for I was all the time scribbling, and in about 15 minutes re-appeared with the poem on Dan’s costume”, he said.
Mr. Cutter recited about a dozen of his poems to me (there was no escape!) one being entitled as near as I can remember, “Lines Addressed to Sam, (a negro servant) on Being Presented with one of my Old Hats”. He said he was afraid you did not think very much of him because he was not “eddicated” but he intended to use his free-born American privilege of putting his thoughts into verse if he chose to. He told me about your sending a carriage up for him on your last visit near the vicinity, and appreciated it. He gave me a poem on parting, and I asked for one for you, which I herewith enclose [not extant]. If you are in that neighborhood in the near future, (Little Neck station), I would advise you to make a call on the old gentleman, as his surroundings are rather astonishing. (A large wooden figure stands in his front yard, taken from the prow of a ship’s boat) and there are many other curious things.
You may [have] forgotten that in the last ten years you have written me two or three letters, but I have not. I have dashed this off hurriedly on the typewriter thinking it might amuse you and call up old recollections. If you are ever in Brooklyn, I hope you will ring the bell at the above address and let me show you a hundred interesting things. Your popularity is ever on the increase. / Respectfully yours …[MTP]. Note: after his signature Davis added a short paragraph urging Sam to come and visit Cutter with him. “You owe it to posterity!”
Percy Stickney Grant for the Church of the Ascension, NYC wrote to Sam, enclosing a poem by Dihdwo Twe to honor Gen. Oliver Otis Howard, founder of Howard University. “What do you think of this for poetry? It just came to me from our young Liberian friend, Dihdwo Twe. It strikes me as not at all bad” [MTP].
Sumner Bass Pearmain wrote to Sam. “Just a line to remind you that Miss Lyon is to write me (or wire) what train you tke that I may meet you @ the station—you should get ticket & trunk checks for Boston Back Bay Station” [MTP].
April 26 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote congratulations to Thomas Bailey Aldrich and Lilian W. Aldrich in Ponkapog, Mass.
I rejoice with you.. This is from habit, temperament, training, tradition—that straitjacket which keeps its grip on us always & won’t allow our common sense any little liberty to work. And I rejoice with you in earnest, I can’t help it. Oh, I know—I know. I have stood where Talbot stands, & was happy: happy, & not afraid. What riches! And now—what poverty! Life is a silly invention, an immeasurable brutality. Now, then——
x x x x
Hang it, I am in this mood, & I don’t seem to able to drag myself out of it. There are but two tragedies—birth and marriage—& when they occur among friends whom I hold dear, they break my heart, they disorder my mind, they drive me into rages. Then I say unbecoming things; yet I have to say them, I can’t quiet down until I get them out of me. I have seen a good deal of Howells, lately, & he is as sweet as ever he was in his life. I am leaving for Dublin, N. H., for a long summer, & am impatient to start, for I have led a turmoilsome life this winter, & am tired to the bone.
With great love to the 3 of you—& the prospective fourth— [MTP]. Note: Talbot Aldrich, son just married.
April 27 Friday – In the evening at 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin.
Those lovely flowers & that precious valley!—certainly you are a dear sweet little girl, Marjorie; there’s none dearer nor sweeter. I am hereby answering that valley with another, you dear child; also I am sending an Aūf wiedersehen along with it, & thereto the injunction that when the wiedersehen occurs next fall it shall find you a little girl still. Cling to your blessed youth—the valuable time of life—don’t part with it till you must. / With love, & good-byes, & lots of blots— / SLC [MTAq 27].
April 27 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote wrote thanks to Frederick J. Hall: “Glad to have that letter it will do to go into the MS” [MTP]. Note: the MS referred to may have been the autobiography soon to run in the North American Review v. 183-186 1906-7.
April 28 Saturday – Sam wrote to Gertrude Natkin, his letter not extant but referred to in Natkin’s reply of early May. From the context of her reply, Sam asked her if she would like to have an autographed photo of himself for her room [MTP].
April 29 Sunday
April 30 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Robert Reid.
I keep thinking about that picture—I cannot get it out of my mind. I think—no, I know—that it is the most moving, the most eloquent, the most profoundly pathetic picture I have ever seen. It wrings the heart to look at it, it is so desolate, so grieved. It realizes San Francisco to us as words have not done & cannot do. I wonder how many women can look upon it & keep back their tears—or how many unhardened men, for that matter? [MTP].
Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to H.H. Rogers. “Mr. Clemens directs me to hand you herewith his check for $50.00000. Will you kindly have an acknowledgment of its receipt returned by bearer” [MTHHR 605]. Note: the source indicates Sam’s finances “seem to have been in good condition” at this time [n1].
Sam also wrote to Marcella Sembrich, opera star: “Welcome back to life again, dear Madame Sembrich, after that stupendous adventure!” [MTP].
Sam would write ca. May 6 to Charlotte Teller Johnson that “Four went to Dublin last Monday, 6 are here, waiting for me.”
May – Poultney Bigelow wrote a short note to Sam from Malden, N.Y.. “Bless you—best of Sublunary Benefactors—long years to you—full years—happy years for the sake of your fellow humans” [MTP].
Human Life published “Mark Twain—Dean of Our Humorists,” by William A. Graham, p. 1-2. Tenney: “A popular, appreciative account, chiefly of the Hartford years. Mentions conversations with MT and hearing him speak at a Thanksgiving-Day dinner at the YMCA in 1888 o 1889” [“A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 190].
William Greenfield authored “A Playmate of Mark Twain’s, Who, as a Little Girl, Used to Make Mud-Pies with the Great Humorist,” in Human Life, p.22. Tenney: “An interview with Tabitha Quarles Greening (Mrs. J.W. Greening, of Palmyra, Missouri; she was the daughter of Jane Lampton Clemens’s sister Martha—MT called her ‘Puss’). She remembers MT as rather delicate in his youth, and full of pranks, and his brother Orion as absent-minded. She describes the Clemens family’s move to Hannibal: young Sam was left behind, making mud-pies, and was still occupied when her grandfather, Wharton Lampton, rode by a half-hour later and picked him up” [“A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 190; also Tenney 42].
Sometime in early May, before May 8, Gertrude Natkin replied to the (not extant) of Sam’s Apr. 28:
Oh, Mr. Clemens, I should just love to have an autographed photograph of you for my room. I have always wanted it but I thought you might think of it yourself. Mr. Clemens: if you only could realized how I love you. I cannot express it, but I suppose sending a few blots will help a little. / I hope you will love me just the same. You know I have taken away those two years long ago [MTP].
May 1 Tuesday – Robert Reid wrote on this day or May 2 to Sam.
Dear St Mark / A thousand thanks to you for your beautiful note anent the picture. I only wish the picture deserved it!—I wish you wouldn’t go away for such a long summer, for a long summer it will be if H.H.R. holds me to contract labor!! Why must it be that a man should be, because “artistic,”—such a damn phool as I am!—However in the midst of my troubles is always the shining joy of your friendship! / Yrs for painting / Robert Reid [MTP]. Note: the file cites Lyon’s note on her copy of this letter, that the subject of a rough sketch which Reid was going to paint was the S.F. earthquake of Apr. 22, 1906.
May 2 Wednesday
May 3 Thursday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mr. Clemens’s inspiration for this morning. ‘Get up a stench in England about the Gospel. Have 200 copies printed anonymously there, uncopyrighted, too” [MTP TS 69].
The Independent (NY) ran a brief review of Men and Things (reissue of Mark Twain’s Library of Humor) p. 1046. Tenney: “In ‘this curious book’ there is little humor. ‘It would seem that each author is represented by his inferior work only,’ and much of it ‘is rather of the mournful sort’” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Seventh Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1983 p. 170].
Mary E. Bell wrote from Shirley, Mass. to ask Sam for “any kind word” on her sketches. She referred to an interview with Sam and sent regards to Miss Clemens and Miss Lyon [MTP].
May 4 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam, down with bronchitis again, wrote to Charlotte Teller Johnson.
I have your note, dear lady Charlotte, & of course I say “Yes”—quite willingly, too.
Professor Giddings’s article is remorselessly severe, but it is all good sense. The editorial is sane, also. The whole case is as pitiful as it can be—that of those poor Gorkys, I mean.
The doctor has been here—it was not I but others who invited him—& I am to remain in bed two or three days. There are two “fastest” Boston trains—the 10 a.m. & the 1 p.m., & I shall take the latter when I go. Monday? Yes, I think—if I shall have learned your plans by noon of that day; otherwise I will wait & go Tuesday. This, on the guess that the doctor will offer no objections.
I hope your work will go smoothly & pleasantly & satisfactorily, & I am sure it will [MTP]. Note: Sam would need a few more days to recover He would leave New York on May 14.
Frederick A. Duneka wrote a short note to Sam. “I am enclosing proofs of your article on Mr. Howells. It seems to me that perhaps a line or two might be changed in the second paragraph. In reading it over, I am again surprised at its exquisite charm. / A check will follow when we get the proofs back” [MTP].
John T. Fenlon for Lincoln Farm Assoc. wrote to advise Sam that the association had been “duly incorporated…with you as one of the original twenty-one incorporators.” “No stock will be issued and no liability of any kind is assumed by you, the purposes being purely patriotic as given above” [MTP].
May 5 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam inscribed an etching to Edward Lauterbach: “It is not best to use our morals on weekdays, Edward, it gets them out of repair for Sunday. Your friend / Mark Twain / May 5, 1906.” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Oren Root, Jr., an officer in the Kingsbridge Railway Co.
My daughters are frequently robbed by conductors on the surface lines; there they report to me, but bring me nothing upon which I can enter a complaint, since they shrink from asking the robber for his number. But at last my eldest daughter has brought me a number. The swindle was perpetrated this morning upon the 3rd avenue between 60th & 64th street (going up town), between 11 & 11.30, & the thief’s number is 3818.
I am bedridden, but if you will send some one to me for the particulars, I will furnish them. Please telephone first, (3907 Gramercy)—it is not in the telephone book [MTP: John S. Mayfield, Mark Twain vs. the Street Railway Co., 1926, p.18-19].
May 6 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal:
I am sitting here at 2:30 in the morning. I couldn’t
can’t sleep. Downstairs I hear Mr. Clemens cough. I have taken 2 heavy
drugs, but they don’t effect—a terrible anxiety weighs—up Fifth Avenue, drays
drag themselves. Horses, I suppose are in front of them. I feel a calamity.
The Valley of the Shadow, Mr. Clemens calls this house. Trunks are around but
the terror is heavy upon me. When Santa started for Gilders tonight I
told her I’d go for whiskey—but thre was not whiskey to quiet me. Foolish for
me to think it would [MTP TS 69]. Note: though most editorial strike
outs are not used in Lyon’s entries, all of these are. The pattern of most
strikeouts suggests that Lyon, at a later time, deleted those phrases and
passages which were melodramatic, effusive in her regard for Clemens, or
woe-is-me; such is the nature of the above. Many of the deletions and
emendations suggest she may have been preparing the documents for eventual
publication. Most of her diaries/journals/daily reminders are published in this
volume for the first time.
The New York Times, p.1, “Mark Twain Out Again,” reported on the improving health of Twain who would leave for Dublin N.H. “within a few days.”
May 6 ca. – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a PS (afterthoughts to his May 4) to Charlotte Teller Johnson: P.S.
It is bronchitis that is keeping me here. There is only about ten cents’ worth of it, but even that much means bed, according to doctor-notions.
I have torn up the preceding sheet: it was mainly about Giddings’s article, &—like the article—not worth while. Giddings did his work well, but what he lacked was a subject; there was nothing before his house; he was establishing the facts of the multiplication table when nobody was doubting those facts; & at the same time he was overlooking the issue that was before the house, & the only one.
In Gorky’s case it is a very large one; in Smith’s case, or Jones’s it would have no importance. Gorky is a puzzle & a vexation to me. He came here in a distinctly diplomatic capacity—a function which demands (& necessitates) delicacy, tact, deference to people’s prejudices. He came on a great mission, a majestic mission, the succor of an abused & suffering vast nation. As to his diplomacy, it does not resemble Talleyrand’s, Gortschakoff’s, Metternich’s; it is new, it is original, it has not its like in history: he hits the public in the face with his hat & then holds it out for contributions. It is not ludicrous, it is pitiful. As to his patriotism,—his lofty task of lifting up & healing his bleeding nation,—it can’t stand the strain of a trifling temporary inconvenience. He has made a grave blunder & persistently refuses to rectify it.
A diplomat of full age ought surely to know this pair of simple things that a country’s laws are written upon paper, & that its customs are engraved upon brass. One may play with the one, but not with the other. It is less risky for a stranger to dance upon our Constitution in the public square than to affront one of our solidified customs. The one is merely eminently respectable, the other is sacred.
What I am afflicting you with these platitudes for? To get them (& the revolution) out of my system. It looks like using you as a convenience, but I don’t see any other way. Come, let’s cut the resolution! & concentrate on Mirabeaus & Autobiographies & other spirit-contenting industries. I hope you are getting along with the mentioned last act to your satisfaction, & that I may see a carbon copy when it is done.
Four went to Dublin last Monday, 6 are here, waiting for me. Also, the music [Orchestrelle] has gone to Dublin. This house is several shades too quiet, now. “Dublin, N.H.”—that is the whole address: it is only a village, you needn’t add anything. Dear my lady, Aùfwiedersehen [MTP].
May 7 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Otis Skinner (1858-1942), actor and a star since the mid 1890s. Clemens came to the defense of Mary Lawton:
Dear little Otis:
So you have discharged her! Your reasons have greatly interested me. To-wit:
She is too tall. But she is no taller than she was when you engaged her.
She is too large. But she is no larger now than she was then.
Her voice isn’t right. But it is the same voice that was satisfactory before.
She has freckles. But they are the same old ones.
She has red hair. She had it before.
She “doesn’t spell correct.” How do you know?
Those are all the reasons you have mentioned for discharging her—but were they all you had? Isn’t it possible that you have withheld one or two? This, for instance, from a Richmond paper:
“Mr. Skinner’s leading woman this year is Miss Mary Lawton, who, though a young woman, shows rare talent, & promise of a brilliant future. As the Duchess of Chailles she rendered the star able support, & her splendid work in a most trying role evoked frequent outbursts of applause.”
It is just possible that the outbursts of applause were a little too frequent to please you? You are aware that that has sometimes been a more serious defect than red hair. Could still another overlooked reason for discharging her have been this paragraph from another Richmond paper?
“Too much praise could not be lavished on Mary Lawton, who appeared as the Duchess de Chailles. Here we have a young actress with every requisite for success—beauty, magnetism, grace, individuality, & strength. She makes her role wonderful, & in successfully living her part proves herself a student not only of stagecraft but of the profoundest psychology. One would hardly wish to see another attempt the work she does in “The Duel.” The part seems essentially hers, & should remain her exclusive province.”
With such unanswerable reasons as these for discharging her, why do you suppress them & waste your strength upon such little matters as her red hair & the fact that she “can’t spell correct?”
I do not charge you with violating the letter of your contract, I only charge you with being meanly treacherous to the spirit of it. I also charge, that—(in the peculiar circumstances of the case)—its terms would not have been exacted by a man, but only by a homunculus. Miss Lawton was to play a week for you on trial, & provide stage-clothes at her own expense. She saved you fifty dollars a day; her work was entirely satisfactory to your audiences; it won the praises of your troupe; it won the praises of your manager; it won your own praises, freely & frankly expressed. The trial-week completed, you hadn’t the courage to dismiss her yourself, but put that humiliating office upon your manager, & furnish him the fictitious pretexts above quoted. You did not even offer to pay for the stage-clothes you had obliged her to buy. You know, from the beginning—confess it!—that you intended to use her to save expenses, & then dismiss her. In other words, that you meant to rob her. Would you mind telling me what it feels like to be an Otis Skinner?
You are a good actor—pretty loud, pretty ranty, & all that—but good & popular; the best in your line, as any just critic will grant. It is argument that you have some intelligence; the presence in you of intelligence is argument that by study & practice you could become a man, in time. It could be worth your while. There you would deal honorably by a poor & friendless girl like Mary Lawton, & not take advantage of her poverty & friendlessness to swindle her out of her clothes—as you have done—& discharge her upon the basis of a lie—as you have done. / Mark Twain [MTP].
Note: The Duel by Henri Lavedan (1859-1940), a three act play starring Otis Skinner, was performed at the National Theatre, Washington, D.C. April 23 through April 28, 1906 after an earlier run in NYC. The play contained only two female roles [Gribben 398]. Lyon wrote in her journal for Wed. Mar. 21, 1906 that she and Clara went to see the play; see entry.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Somewhere along here, C.C., R.G., [Rodman Gilder] & I went to see “Peter
Pan”. That wonderful Maude Adams!
I do not care if people
do say that she has had children by Charles Frohman , I should like to know
her & should like to see the child. I should like to know more of her
than the bit I saw of her in the hotel that afternoon. She thrilled me through
& through with that exquisite play of Barrie’s—of her exquisite acting of
it. You never think of her as a woman in her boy part. I was weak with the ever
present sobs in me—& R.G.’s eyes were flooded with beautiful tears too [MTP
TS 69-70]. Note: Lyon strikes out the gossip about Adams; it’s as if she
is self-censoring with an eye to others reading the material or to publication.
J.Q. Adams wrote to Sam. “Here is the cartoon I spoke of from the Chicago Tribune. It’s jaundiced look comes from hanging on the wall of my study since your last birthday” [MTP]. JQA shown on letterhead as asst. secy of Art Commission of the City of New York.
May 7 ? Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Charlotte Teller Johnson. “I am getting into pretty bad shape, therefore, it will be best for you to come pretty soon—however, after lunch will do, I suppose. Pulse normal—temperature variable; temper ditto” [MTP].
May 8 Tuesday – Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote to John B. Stanchfield with a copy to Sam. “Wright called at my office to-day. He said he has been out to the Coast recently. He said also that Butters had now plenty of money; was largely interested in the Realty Bonding & Finance Company, of Oakland; was actively connected with some new traction syndicates building trolleys in Northern California; and that some of his Oakland property has doubled in value recently.” He gave an address for Wright in E. Orange, N.J. [MTP].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam that he would put his essay on Howells in the July issue of Harper’s unless he heard from Sam to the contrary. He did not want the Howells article to immediately precede “A Horse’s Tale,” nor to be in the same issue with Howells’ own travel article. He enclosed a check for $712.80 for 2,376 words of the Howells article [MTP].
May 8 ? Tuesday – Gertrude Natkin wrote to Sam that it “seems such a long time since” she’d written, and “what a disappointment to you to be confined to your room” when he might be “contemplating the enjoyment of the green meadows, of driving, riding, and other pleasures.” Gertrude asked for a signed photo of him, and expressed her love again [MTAq 27-8; MTP].
May 9 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I think it was this day that Mr. Clemens gave the gospel ms. to Mr. Frank Doubleday to take & start in on the publishing of 250 copies to be printed on the DeVinne press. Not to be published in Mr. Clemens’s name, not even to be copyrighted in his name” [MTP TS 70]. Note: clearly added at on later day. See under 1906 year entry a letter to Doubleday on this subject.
Oren Root, Jr. replied to Sam after investigating “the unfortunate incident” to which Sam referred on May 5, in which a street car conductor failed to make proper change for Clara Clemens. In view of the long employment of the conductor (since 1900) Root did not think the mistake was intentional, and wished to make amends. He enclosed 20c in stamps [MTP]. Note: see Sam’s May 13 reply.
May 10 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to Gertrude Natkin’s May 5-8:
Hail & Aùfwiedersehen, Marjorie dear! & thank you for the blots—which I duplicate. Indeed it has been a troublesome captivity, but the end is near by, now, for if the weather permits, I am to leave my room day after to-morrow (or at furthest Monday) & break for the woods & freedom—that is to say, Dublin, N.H.
An autographed photograph? Why, I did think of it long ago, you little witch, but of course it wouldn’t have been proper etiquette for me to offer it, you know. If there is one in the house you shall have it right away; & if there isn’t, Miss Lyon will send out & get one.
Good-night & good-bye. I love you dearly, you dear little Marjorie (blot) & I’m glad you have shed those two unnecessary years (blot) [MTAq 28].