Year of the Angelfish – “A Good Place to Live in, a Good Place to Die In”
“Autobiography House” becomes “Innocents at Home” becomes “Stormfield”
Doe Luncheons – Elinor Glyn – Knickerbocker Crisis
Bermuda Trips: Margaret, Maude & Reginald; HHR – Children’s Theatre
Jubilee City College – Aldrich Memorial– Commodore Dow – Moffett Drowns
Guests, Guests, & More Guests – Redding Library “Tax” & Dedication
Burglars! Staff Quits – Requies Cat in Pace – Elizabeth Wallace Visits
1908 – Hill notes that of known 1908 letters by Clemens, “nearly half” were to his Members of the Aquarium, or Angelfish. “Almost always they were long, chatty, childlike letters, frequently composed over a number of days. All pleaded for visits.” Hill, as others have done, also makes a connection from the Angelfish to the late Susy Clemens [195-6].
Sometime during the year Sam inscribed an illustration pasted on the front cover of Richard Le Gallienne’s The Old Country House (1905) to Isabel V. Lyon: “S.L. Clemens, 1905, to J.V. Lyon, 1908.” [MTP]. Note: not in Gribben.
Sometime during the year, likely in December, Elizabeth Wallace inscribed for Sam a copy of Aspects of the Earth: A Popular Account of Some Familiar Geological Phenomena (1904) by Nathaniel Southgate Shaler (1841-1906): “To the King / with / the affectionate homage / of Betsy.” Sam signed the half-title page: “SL. Clemens / 1908 / from Betsy Wallace.” Clemens wrote a note on the top of page 69, and dated it Dec. 29, 1909. See entry [Gribben 636].
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a short reply to Brander Matthews (whose incoming is not extant):
“Would I like to have that MS? Indeed I would!
I reckon it is a good idea, to collect the speeches. I will speak to the Harpers” [MTP].
A section in American Literature, “American Humor” (1908), by Julian W. Abernethy, p. 465-72: Tenney: “The book is a broad survey, intended for use in schools, and the treatment of MT is superficial, though laudatory (except for regretting his frequent coarseness). TS and HF are ‘astonishingly clever studies of the American bad boy, and LOM is ‘his best autobiographic narrative,’ a product of the river which inspired him. Abernethy appears to be guided primarily by Brander Matthews and H.R. Haweis, both of whom he quotes in praise of MT (the attributions are unclear, but the sources seem to be Aspects of Fiction, Harper, 1892, and American Humorists, Funk, 1883, respectively) .
The Life of Henry Irving (London; 1908) by Austin Brereton contains accounts of Clemens. Tenney: “MT a guest at a dinner given in Irving’s honor at the Somerset Club by Charles Fairchild and James R. Osgood; Howells and Aldrich were also present 1884 (p. 37); Irving a guest at MT’s home in Hartford, 1884 (p. 42). MT’s name was among over a hundred signatures on a letter dated 14th March, 1885, inviting Irving to a banquet in his honor at Delmonico’s, April 6 (p. 68)” .
The Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1908) by Ferris Greenslet contains letters by Clemens: Tenney: “Includes the correspondence with MT that followed Aldrich’s attribution in Every Saturday of the ‘Carl Byng’ and ‘Hy Slocum’ sketches in the Buffalo Express to him, with MT’s tribute to Harte’s influence as literary mentor, although their friendship had ended (pp. 94-99); correspondence in which MT deluged Aldrich with photographs in response to a request for one (pp. 112-17, including a self-portrait sketch, facing p. 114); anecdote on their comparative popularity in France (p. 117A); quotes MT declaring ‘that if he was a fool, he was at least God’s fool, and entitled to some respect’ (p. 192); on MT as so well known that ‘little donkey-boys on the Nile…will tell you that they were “Mark Twain’s” donkey boys’” [45-6].
Life of Bret Harte (1908) by Edgar T. Pemberton contains references to Mark Twain [Tenney 46].
The New American Type, and Other Essays (1908) by Henry Dwight Sedgwick contains a section, “Mark Twain” (p. 281-313). Tenney: “On MT as the embodiment of a democratic, American spirit in literature” .
Reminiscences of Senator William M. Stewart of Nevada (1908), ed. George Rothwell Brown. Tenney quotes: “‘Chapter XXIII. Mark Twain becomes my secretary—Back from the Holy Land, and he looks it—the landlady terrorized—I interfere with a humorist’s pleasures and get a black patch—Revenge!—Clemens the hero of a Nevada hold-up’ (pp.219-24). An unsympathetic portrayal of MT, who briefly was Stewart’s secretary in Washington. Concludes: ‘Clemens remained with me for some time. He wrote his book in my room, and named it The Innocents Abroad. I was so confident that he would come to no good end, but I have heard of him from time to time since then and I understand that he has settled down since then and become respectable [’”] .
Patrick Cooke published a 63-page pamphlet of criticism of Twain’s “Concerning the Jews”: Our Misunderstanding Concerning the Jews, etc. (1908). Tenney: “…arguing that although MT claimed to be unprejudiced he shared the racial, caste, and sectarian prejudices of his time; MT’s essay ‘Concerning the Jews,’ though kindly mean, serves to perpetuate bigotry” [Tenney, ALR First Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1977) 335].
The Wine of the Puritans: A Study of Present-Day America (London 1908), by Van Wyck Brooks. Tenney: “On pp. 105, 109, 114, briefly mentions MT as simply one more of the popular humorists, sharing their deficiencies” [Tenney, ALR Second Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1978) 176].
Sometime during 1908 Louise Freeman and Mary E. Freeman (mother and daughter) wrote to Sam, thanking him for the pictures and sending love [MTP].
On a Thursday in 1908 Polly Porter, daughter of Robert Porter, Oxford, wrote on The Buckingham Hotel notepaper to Sam:
Dear Dr. Clemens: / The fascinating cards you so kindly sent us are greatly appreciated, and more still your thought of us in this, the busiest of seasons. Thank you many times for them.
“Peter Pan” is still a vivid and delightful dream to me, which will never fade.
After leaving you and Miss Lyon at the theatre Miss Clinton and I have a pleasant tea together and walk home. I missed her call today, but am going to her “At Home” in Monday. She is a charming acquaintance, I think, for which I’m grateful to you as for many other pleasures.
With sincere regard from us all, / Polly Porter [MTP]. Note: Clemens first saw Peter Pan on Nov. 15, 1905.
Also sometime during 1908 A.J. Schortkapp (Mrs. Walter Schortkapp) of Buffalo, NY wrote from Baden Baden, Germany while traveling in Europe. This is a fan letter. She urged him to travel and write more travel books [MTP].
Sometime in1908 Zene Spurrier wrote from Kingman Kansas to send a poem titled “Mark Twain” done for his 70th and “mailed to the author at this late date on the impulse of the moment” [MTP].
Mrs. Esther Ogden Sturgis (Mrs. Richard Clipson Sturgis) wrote on a Tuesday from Kingston, NY: “It is very kind of you to ask me to go to you with Dorothy [Sturgis] , & I should like so much to do so, were I not very much of an invalid & still in the clutches of a trained nurse” [MTP].
Dorothy Sturgis (1891-1978) wrote sometime during 1908 after Apr. 13:
My dear Mr. Clemens / I got the photographs the other day and I was awfully glad to hear from you, because I was beginning to think you didn’t love me any more, you hadn’t written for so long!
The photographs are really very good, aren’t they? Especially of you.
It was so very sweet of you to be so hospitable about my coming to you next time I come to New York, but I should hate to give you the bother of having me on your hands in that way.
I know I shouldn’t revert to subjects which I have dropped, but I forgot to say that those pictures you sent me do not quite fit my picture frames as the opening is a circle, and I wish that if it isn’t too much bother you or Miss Lyon could send me a nice big picture of you, all alone, just head and shoulders, if you have one. (The diameter is 4 inches.)
Have you taken those dancing lessons yet? Don’t forget that you are reserving a dance for me in the Princess Hotel, on the first Friday in January of next year!
With oceans, and seas, and rivers of love to you and Miss Lyon, / Dorothy [MTP].
John Vanderbilt, NYC, sent a long printed poem, “Lake Mohonk” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote for Sam on the letter, “Oh, damn this poet!”
Helen M. Turner wrote from Cincinnati sometime during the year with this ditty:
Life’s a game each one must play,
Humor shines forth night or day;
In the game when brains are wit
I must remark Twain, you are “it” [MTP].
Elizabeth Wallace also sent a little tale on Princess Hotel notepaper, including stick figures inserted at various points of the poem. The poem related the walk with Maude the donkey, her master Reginald, “a kind gentleman” (Twain) and others. “When they came back…the kind gentleman was so very tired that he did not come to dinner” [MTP].
An unidentified person sent a postcard: “In reply to yours of many and some recent dates, let my eloquent New Years Greeting attest an appreciation which–alack—must be voiceless as well as nameless. [other side:] I always thought that old Dean Howells as a muck-raker—& a slush slinger—don’t let him defile you!” [MTP].
George Harvey wrote on Hotel Touraine, Boston, notepaper to Sam: “The name of that hotel in Portsmouth is the Wentworth. I knew all the time. / Uncle William was enchanted with the selections from the motor—I mean the Auto. / But he has doubtless written you / Yours” [MTP] Note: staff note: “end of June 1908 SLC went to Portsmouth for Aldrich Memorial.”
January – “Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven” first appeared in two installments in Harper’s Monthly for Dec. 1907 and for Jan. 1908. It was published by Harper as a book in Oct. 1909 as Extract from Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven. Budd points out that Twain worked on various versions of the story at multiple times—in 1869, 1870, 1873, 1878, 1881, 1883, and 1893 [Budd Collected 2: 1013].
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam drafted a telegram to Robert J. Collier at 752 Park Ave., N.Y.: “WILL MAMMA GO WITH YOU & ME TO BERMUDA IN FEBRUARY? SAY YES. / CLEMENS” [MTP].
Hill writes of the antagonism between Isabel Lyon and Albert Bigelow Paine, and of Samuel Moffett’s call at 21 Fifth Ave. sometime this month, when she told him (quoting from Isabel Lyon’s diary):
When I said the King was distressed to know that Paine had copied quantities of the King’s early letters, that Paine gave him to understand that it was the King’s particular wish that he should have them. The King said last night that the next thing Paine would be getting letters from Howells, and he proceeded to write Mr. Howells asking him not to comply [Hill 201].
Note: Sam wrote Howells on Jan. 22 telling that Moffett had been giving his letters to Paine, and asking Howells not to give Paine the letters he had; Howells replied on Feb. 4 that it was too late; he’d already done so. See entries. Given the date of Sam’s request to Howells and his concerns, it would seem that Isabel’s entry and Moffett’s visit would have come around mid-January at the earliest. See also Feb. 26 for Lyon’s account of telephoning Paine about missing letters.
Sam inscribed a copy of TS to J. Freeman Lincoln: “To J. Freeman Lincoln—Happy New Year, Mark Twain” [MTP].
Carlotta Welles (“Charlie) wrote from Paris to send New Year wishes. She often thought of him and his kindness on the S.S. Minneapolis and doubted she could come back to America in the spring [MTP].
January 1 Wednesday – In N.Y.C. Sam attended a farewell dinner for William Dean Howells at the Metropolitan Club, thrown by Col. Harvey. According to Lyon’s datebook for Jan. 2, Sam spoke last after six speeches [MTP: IVL TS 1]. See entry.
Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Robert Underwood Johnson. “Dear Mr. Johnson: / Mr. Clemens asks me to write for him to say that he is not sufficiently interested to vote on coming membership” [MTP]. Note: Lyon dictated this to Josephine Hobby.
Sam also wrote to Eden Phillpotts.
New Years Day, 1908
My dear Friend;
There above I have tried the new date for the first time—& most strange & impertinent & intrusive it does look! However, this is not a novelty: 65 of its ancestors have affected me in the same way. In offering to dedicate the book to me you do me high honor, & I accept your “select party of rascals” gratefully. This is the best New Year’s Gift I have received.
What an unforgetably lovely time I had in England! It can never be duplicated in this world, & there are some who think it wont be in the next. Your sincere friend & persistent admirer these many years [MTP]. Note: Gribben p. 544 identifies the forthcoming book dedicated to Mark Twain as The Human Boy Again (1908); see Sam’s 26 Apr 1908 to Phillpotts, when the book arrived.
Sam also wrote a “Happy New Year to my dear Whitmore from the ‘great White Brer’” postcard to Franklin G. Whitmore and Harriet E. Whitmore. The other side showed Mark Twain reclining in bed, and a poem by L.J. Bridgman to Mark Twain [MTP].
* John W. Postgate wrote to inquire about dramatizing JA [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Refer him to Miss Marbury / 1430 Bway”
Dorothy Quick signed a Happy New Year card “With love from Dorothy” [MTP].
John M. Warbeke wrote from Williamstown, Mass. “We are in need of some of your spirit in Williams College”—would he visit “on some auspicious occasion”? [MTP]. Note: “H” (Hobby) wrote on the letter, “ans Jan 4”
January 2 Thursday – The New York Times, p. 9 ran this brief squib of an upcoming gathering:
Lotos Club Dinner to Mark Twain
A jollification dinner is announced at the Lotos Club on Jan. 11. Mark Twain is to be the guest of the evening.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Loose jointed & weary I am in bed all day. Not doing much thinking—not doing any work but reading Daniel Deronda with greater delight than ever.
The King signed some kind of a document that pertains to the settling of the Knickerbocker Trust Co’s depositor claims, and Ashcroft came to help him do it. It is claimed that in 2 yrs & 4 mos. all depositors will receive the full value of their moneys.
He told me about the farewell dinner to Mr. Howells, that he went to last night at the Metropolitan Club—“the millionaires’ club.” Col. Harvey gave the dinner & the food was fine—“delicious terrapin—2 rounds of it”—the King hadn’t eaten anything for 24 hours so his appetite was good & even if he hadn’t the big dish of radishes that he eats every night for dinner, he had no heart burn. The Colonel asked him to speak last & to go after 6 speeches, one of them by Alden, who droned away [before] the King talked—“Just talked,” which is so wonderful. Like a dream edifice, for you don’t know what is coming next, & his talks build into exquisite towers & pinnacles & when he sits down the wonderful structure he has built fades away & you have only an imperishable memory of a hauntingly beautiful thing that you can never remember and never forget [MTP: IVL TS 1].
Mrs. Augusta Quimby Frederick wrote to Sam from Belfast, Maine, having just finished CS and regretted that it ended.
“My knowledge of Mrs. Eddy dates back prior to 1866, before she had mounted the Eddy throne, in all her war-paint and feathers. She was then plain Mrs. Patterson in more ways than in name, but her ability to circle round the truth and not touch it, dates back to her first breath.” She wrote she was the daughter of the late Phineas P. Quimby [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 22, 08”
Harper & Brothers wrote to ask Sam’s permission for a Louisville, Ky. high school to give “two or three performances of” P&P [MTP].
January 3 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam inscribed an aphorism on a calendar page for Jan. 3, 1908 to Mr. Randall: “We ought never to do wrong when people are looking. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP: Profiles in History catalogs, No. 1, Item 55].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Dear Santa [Clara] comes in to sit by me because I’m in bed to get rid of the grippe & when I said it was such a wonderful place to stay in that I’d do it often, she remarked, “Yes, we certainly have got the bed bug habit.”
I went down for dinner, & I had the King all to myself. I was so glad—so very glad for he was sweet, very delicate & like his old self before warring outside things came in to harshen him up and make him rude to me. But I do not really care. He had many things on his mind to exasperate him, & as Tino says, he had to explode to someone. So I’m glad I’ve been his safety valve [MTP: IVL TS 2]. Note: “Tino” was Albert Bigelow Paine’s nickname.
Susanna Deacon wrote to Sam. “How delightful! Indeed yes, I will go to the ‘Doc’ party, don’t put it off too long however for in the interval I shall be unable to settle my mind to any thing serious…So Mrs Riggs has thrown the gauntlet? May she not be defeated! But secretly between you and me, the Doc is too flattered…” [MTP].
Neal Champ, age 78, wrote to Sam from St. Louis, relating people he’d known 50 years before in Hannibal, and writing of the time he pulled Sammy Clemens from the river [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Deer Creek Life Saved several times”
January 4 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King sent up an irritated message to me by Katherine this morning. “Was I ill? If not, then some telephoning.” I hopped out of bed, and put on wrapper and a shawl and went down. He was crossish—as the King has never been before—& pounded the bed. Dan Frohman must be telephoned to at once for a box for Ethel Barrymore’s play today—But Dan Frohman is never at his Lyceum office until after 11. I had my little campaign laid out for the King but he didn’t suspect it & he imagined I was just loafing. However, he reached for Kipling’s “Five Seas” and he read aloud, “The Bell Buoy.” Gradually his mood changed to sweet naturalness again. All the harsh edges gone & at 2 he set out for the matinee. He has been resting of late. Resting & sleeping a lot, & so is less nervous—The Templetons came over for billiards, & the King was sweet & gay. Mr. T. said that the King’s name had been down as a juryman for the Thaw trial & the King told how when he was in Riverdale, he was drafted; he got Tom Reed to get him off and then when he was drafted again he got Mr. Rogers to get him off & then when he was drafted a 3rd time he went down to see Judge Seabury & had a nice little speech prepared. The place was full of people trying to get off & when the King reached Judge Seabury he began, “Your honor if you will allow me to explain my incompetency to act as juryman, and the great inconne-.” Judge Seabury broke in “Mr. Clemens, you want to be let off, and certainly you shall be.” So the King’s little speech was never made. He had high praise for Judge Seabury as a handsome creature, & very courteous [MTP: IVL TS 3]. Note: Ethel Barrymore in Her Sister, playing at a 2:30 p.m. matinee. See insert.
Robert J. Collier wrote to reassure Miss Lyon that Sam’s presence at the meeting of the Educational Theatre was not required; that his duties were “purely honorary” [MTP].
Reuben P. Hallack wrote from the Male High School in Louisville, Ky to gain formal permission to give three performances of P&P [MTP]. Note: see Jan. 2 from Harpers on this issue.
January 5 Sunday – H.H. Rogers and wife paid a call on Sam at 21 Fifth Ave.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Mr. Lawrence, president of the Lotos club were here today to talk up the dinner that is to be given next Saturday evening in the King’s honor & the Oxford degree is to be made the feature of it. All day the King was in bed & he is resting up from these long fearful billiard nights, when he played so nervously from 8:3- until 12-1-2 & even 4 o’clock—that time—
He dined with the Colliers & Mr. and Mrs. Dan Frohman. Ethel Barrymore, Mr. & Mrs. Dooley, R.H. Davis were there and he said it was a “kissing bee:. Everyone of course wants to kiss him, for his the lovablest creature.
Mr. and Mrs. Rogers came in too. I tried to find a change in Mr. Rogers since his stroke last July. But there are no effects of it visible now [MTP: IVL TS 3-4]. Note: Richard Harding Davis.
January 6 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: A.B. came in for a few minutes this a.m. but not to give any chance for billiards. The King was sorry. Miss Nichols arrived. The King is interested because Will Gillette speaks of buying a “Jay Farm” up in Redding.
Mr. Howells told the King a dear little story about a little girl who had a baby brother. She watched her mother bathing him one day, she had never seen him in his tub before, and she said to her mother, “Isn’t it good that it didn’t come on his face” [MTP: IVL TS 4]. Note: Miss Marie Nichols.
S.R. Benjamin wrote to Sam soliciting automobile insurance [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Thanks for the letter, but Mr. Clemens does not expect to own an automobile” and “Ans Jan 12, inst.”
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam. “We enclose our certificate #1043 for $2784.37 covering the fifth payment in connection with Mr. Sunderland’s contract for your new residence” [MTP]. Note: William Webb Sunderland and Son was the contractor on the Redding house.
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam enclosing a draft for $2,120.00 for Minneapolis Electric Co. bonds which matured Jan 1 [MTP].
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam, forced to decline an invitation by the Lotos Club for a dinner in Twain’s honor next Saturday evening. Saturdays were “near impossible” for him anyway, but had a long standing appointment to preach at Williams College on that day [MTP].
January 7 Tuesday – Clara Clemens gave a recital at the 21 Fifth Ave. house.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Santa’s Day, really. And I wish all the world could have heard her sing this afternoon when about 14 people were gathered in the drawing rooms and Miss Nichols played her violin. The King didn’t come down until the music was over, for he doesn’t like a drawing room performance, but he listened over the balusters, & I heard him gently clicking the billiard balls around in between times. Then I slid up & got him. He cannot endure Mrs. Under Shirt Johnson [Underwood], says she is a damn fool & doesn’t like to be misquoted by Mrs. Day, who said, “Yes I know she is foolish but—”
Sunderland came in to say that the King’s house is getting on nicely but that they must have more money for it. Tomorrow, I shall send a check for $2700. The king is beginning to feel that he wants to live there [MTP: IVL TS 4-5]. Note: Miss Marie Nichols, Boston violinist. William Webb Sunderland, Danbury Conn. Contractor.
January 8 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King walked up to the Irish exhibition at Madison Square Garden this morning and saw Miss Yeates [sic Yeats], the poet’s sister.
Santa sang again today. A great crimson rose nestled close to her heart and she was like a wonderful flower nestling in the ether of the world. The very air must love to caress her as she passes through it [MTP: IVL TS 5]. Note: William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) Irish poet, dramatist. His two sisters, Elizabeth and Susan Mary, were known as Lolie and Lily. Which sister Sam met is unclear.
Booker T. Washington wrote to Sam.
I had a talk with Mr. H.H. Rogers yesterday, and told him that Col. Henry Watterson is coming here to speak at a meeting for us in Carnegie Hall on the 17th. Mr. Rogers expressed the wish, in which I heartily join, that you be present at the meeting. Also I very much wish that you would consent to sit on the platform with Col. Watterson. It would help our cause greatly [MTP]. Note: see also Rogers’ letter of Jan. 16 about this event.
After Jan. 8 Sam wrote the following reply on Washington’s letter:
Ah, I’d just as soon sit on the platform & be looked at, as not. But it would mean a speech—& I don’t want to make one. But I could sit there & be a target for bouquets. It might be a chance to heave in a word for the durned blue laws. But I don’t decline & I don’t accept. I leave it open [MTP; MTHHR 644n2 (&’s replaced in latter)].
Clemens acquired another case of Queen Anne whisky [L-A MS]. Note: see June 8, 1907 for the full list of acquisition dates of whisky, intended as ammunition against Isabel Lyon.
Eulabee Dix wrote to Miss Lyon asking her to phone “in regard to a desire of Mr Clemens,” which she would explain [MTP].
Henry W. Lucy wrote from Kent, England to Sam, advising him that he’d replied to Edward Verrall Lucas, the biographer of Charles Lamb, addressing him as “My dear lady…I trust Lucas in his acknowledgement of your letter, lived up to the distinction inadvertently conferred upon him. / And how are you? How are the burglars? I hope that when they looked in they did not take your breath away” [MTP]. Note: Clemens to Lucas is not extant.
George Thomson Wilson for Pilgrims of the U.S. sent a printed notice of their annual business meeting on Jan. 22 in the Lawyers Club, NYC at 3 p.m. [MTP].
January 9 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick in Plainfield, N.J. (Only the envelope survives) [MTP].
Sam also wrote to the Knickerbocker Trust Co. Depositors’ Committee:
Jan. 9, 1908
To the Committee:
Gentlemen: I am in receipt of the plan for the resumption of the business of the Knickerbocker Trust Company, and I willingly yield my assent. My interest in the matter is strong, since I measure it by my deposit, $51,199, which is a large one for me.
I believe in your plan. In my judgment it will succeed, and I hope the other depositors will view it in the same way and will give in their adhesion to it. Very truly yours, / S.L. CLEMENS. [New York Times, Jan. 10, 1908, p. 1, “MARK TWAIN ON BANK PLAN.” The article identified the Committee as the “Satterlee-Parsons committee of depositors.” Also seen as “Satterly.”
Though no extant letter deals with Jean’s desire to move from Katonah to Greenwich, Conn. Hill uses Lyon’s datebook and claims Jean was “adamant she must be allowed to leave Katonah.”:
On January 9, 1908, she and two sisters, Edith and Mildred Cowles, who were to serve as nurses, moved into a house at 57 Maple Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut. They were accompanied by Jean’s young friend Marguerite Schmidt [or Schmitt], who may also have been a patient at Katonah. Miss Lyon and Clemens went to meet the quartet at the New York City station en route to the new cottage. “Poor Jean looks very very ill,” Miss Lyon recorded. “She is so white and her once beautiful face is so drawn; her fingers have a curious movement. She is like a drooping lily” . Note: In a letter on Feb. 11 to Charles Langdon, Sam reported Jean was happier at Greenwich, but by Mar. 23 she was dissatisfied there, and Sam wrote Jean that day that he hoped she would find another place close to NY and near Dr. Frederick Peterson, who recommended to Lyon that the four girls might find Gloucester, Mass. more attractive .
Isabel Lyon’s journal: It is dreadful to have such a dearth of amusement for the King. Today—this evening at dinner he said “My life is so empty, it seems a pity that I cannot have a game of billiards when I want it—” Mr. Littleton [neighbor] is submerged in the Thaw trial & has to work every evening; and ABP’s is submerged in his work & has to stay up in the country, for he cannot compose anything in town. We went up to the station to meet Jean who left Katonah today for Greenwich where she is to stay with the Cowles girls. 4 of them have taken a house together. Poor Jean looks very ill. She is so white & her once beautiful face is so drawn & her fingers have a curious movement, & she is like a drooping lily. The King walked down 5th Ave with Tesla, who he said once gave promise of being a mighty man. He had a wireless telegraph method all ready for demonstration years ago but a disastrous fire destroyed all the devices & years of research notes & all formulas & he has never rallied his forces [MTP: IVL TS 5-6].
Chatto & Windus wrote from London to send a statement and check £284 8/8, for the last six months ending Dec. 31. They hoped they would see him in England during the spring or summer [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Yes, thank him & say I’m grown too old to travel but I’m hoping to see them on this side”
D.B. John Roosa wrote to confirm Sam’s acceptance to be at the New York Post-Graduate Medical School dinner at Delmonico’s on Apr. 16 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 10, ‘08”
January 10 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Cackle Madame. / Jean ill.
Eulabee Dix has been in to show the King some miniatures, & before she gets married, Sat. the 18th—she wants to & plans to paint a miniature of the King in his Oxford robe. The King says of her that she is “beautifully architected” and she is. Slim, tallish, beautiful upper lip, long almond finger nails. Everything is right. It is dreadful that life has to be made up of extremes, either the King’s life is a blurr with too much billiards or it is bleak with none.
Mme. Nordica stopped at the house this morning with an invitation to a Sunday evening party at her house. The King was just going out for a walk and got into her mobile with her for a ride. Dear, great, lonely King.
Ashcroft came for dinner & cards. We played until 11:15, then the King went for a walk of 2 blocks. He said his vitality was very low because he can have no billiards. I believe it.
Will told a story that Otto Roth told at a luncheon today. A teacher asked a small boy the gender of Father. “Masculine”—Then she asked the gender of Mother. “Feminine,” the boy said. Then she asked the gender dog & the boy said “Show me the dog” [MTP: IVL TS 6-7]. Note: Lillian Nordica (1857-1914) Am. Opera singer. Otto Roth, native of Vienna was a Boston violinist. Hill adds, “The games, and card games, too, often lasted into the early-morning hours, and the ‘blur’ was not always billiard-induced” [Hill 194].
Harper & Brothers wrote to Miss Lyon about her Jan. 9 letter referring to the Musson Book Co.’s Canadian edition of HF; They were meeting with the management of that company this week [MTP].
Misses Winifred Holt and Edith Holt sent Sam their calling card for Wed. afternoons after 4 p.m., 44 E. 78th St. NYC [MTP]. Note: this was similar to the English “At Home” cards.
January 11 Saturday – In the evening Mark Twain was the guest of honor at a Lotos Club Dinner. The New York Times reported the event on Jan. 12, p. 2. Sam was obviously in his element:
MARK TWAIN NOW AFTER COMPLIMENTS
Says at Lotos Club Dinner He’s Collecting Them as some Others Do Stamps.
NAME DISHES FOR HIS WORKS
Author Took a Nap Between Courses Because He Was Going to be Up So Late.
Through Innocent Oysters Abroad, Roughing It Soup, Fish Huckleberry Finn, and Joan of Arc Filet of Beef, which the menu of the Lotos Club’s dinner to Mark Twain told the guests they were eating last night, the guest of honor in his white suit, sat in an armchair at the speaker’s table. But when Jumping Frog Terrapin had been reached, the author, the names of whose works had been perpetuated in the dishes, thought he would be out of bed pretty late for him, and consequently he would like to take a nap.
While the guests cheered him and he waved his hand to them, he was escorted to the upper floor. Those left in the dining room continued with Punch, Brothers, Punch; Gilded Age duck, Hadleyburg salad, Life on the Mississippi salad, Prince and the Pauper cakes, Puddin’head cheese, and White Elephant coffee. Toward the end of the menu, Mark Twain reappeared.
When his turn to speak came he announced that he had discovered a new idea. People collected postage stamps, cats, dogs, and autographs, but he was collecting compliments, he declared. He had a number of specimens and he would read them. He did. And then he added his appreciation of their authors’ sincerity. The paying of compliments was an art by itself, he said.
At the speakers’ table with Mark Twain were Frank R. Lawrence, President of the club; Col. Robert P. Porter, Andrew Carnegie, Dr. Robert S. MacArthur, Hamilton W. Mabie, James M. Beck, Col. George M. Harvey, Col. William C. Church, Gen. Steward L. Woodford, H. H Rogers, Chester S. Lord, Dr. Alexander C. Humphreys, and William H. McElroy. Near the close of the dinner Gov. Fort of New Jersey entered.
After Mark had taken his armchair again and the other guests had sipped their White Elephant coffee, President Lawrence as a prelude to the introduction of the guest of honor pointed out one significant feature of the occasion.
The first club dinner in he present clubhouse, at 558 Fifth Avenue, held fourteen years ago, had been in honor of Mark Twain. Seven years later, “on his return from diverse and irregular wanderings,” he was the guest at another dinner.
At that time it had been jokingly proposed that at regular intervals of seven years dinners should be held for the author. Last night was the night. It was possible, Mr. Lawrence said, that this dinner might be the last given in the hold house. (The new house, 110 West Fifty-seventy Street, may be ready on Jan. 15.)
Mr. Lawrence then called upon Col. Robert P. Porter, who had accompanied Mr. Clemens to Oxford on the occasion of the conferring upon him of the degree of Doctor of Literature, to tell something of the author as he appeared then.
Dr. Porter said among other things that he had been impressed abroad at the number and kind of persons who knew Mr. Clemens. The people on the street—even the London policemen who had been sent down to the university town to help their comrades of Oxford with the pageant knew him.
Then after a toast had been drunk to him, Mr. Clemens began in his drawling gentle way:
“I wish to begin at the beginning, lest I forget it altogether,” he said. “I wish to thank you for your welcome now and for that of seven years ago, which I forgot to thank you for at the time, also for that of fourteen years ago which I also forgot to thank you for. I know how it is; when you have been in a parlor and are going away, common decency ought to make you say the decent thing, what a good time you have had. Everybody does it except myself.
“I hope that you will continue that excellent custom of giving me dinners every seven years. I had had it on my mind to join the hosts of another world—I do not know which world—but I have enjoyed your custom so much that I am willing to postpone it for another seven years.
“The guest is in an embarrassing position, because compliments have been paid to him. I don’t care whether you deserve it or not, but it is hard to talk up to it.
“The other night at the Engineers’ Club dinner they were paying Mr. Carnegie here discomforting compliments. They were all compliments and they were not deserved, and I tried to help him out with criticisms and references to things nobody understood.
“They say that one cannot live on bread alone, but I could live on compliments. I can digest them. They do not trouble me. I have missed much in life that I did not make a collection of compliments, and keep them where I could take them out and look at them once in a while. I am beginning now. Other people collect autographs, dogs, and cats, and I collect compliments. I have brought them along.
“I have written them down to preserve them, and think that they’re mighty good and exceedingly just.”
Then Mr. Clemens read a few. The first, by Hamilton W. Mabie, said that La Salle might have been the first man to make a voyage of the Mississippi, but that Mark Twain was the first man to chart light and humor for the human race.
“If that had been published at the time that I issued that book (‘Life on the Mississippi’) it would have been money in my pocket,” he said. “I tell you it is a talent by itself to pay complements gracefully and have them ring true. It’s an art by itself.
“Now, here’s one by my biographer. [Loud laughter.] Well, he ought to know me if anybody does. He’s been at my elbow for two years and a half. This is Albert Bigelow Paine:
“‘Mark Twain is not merely the great writer, the great philosopher, but he is the supreme expression of the human being with its strengths and weaknesses.’”
Mark Twain looked up from he paper which the compliments were written.
“What a talent for compression!” he exclaimed.
W. D. Howells, Mark Twain said, spoke of him as first of Hartford and ultimately of the solar system, not to say of the universe.
“You know how modest Howells is,” he commented. “If it can be proved that my fame reaches to Neptune and Saturn, that will satisfy even me. You know how modest and retiring Howells is, but deep down he is as vain as I am.”
Mark Twain said Mr. Howells had been granted a degree at Oxford, whose gown was red. He had been invited to an exercise at Columbia, and upon inquiry had been told that it was usual to wear the black gown. Later he had found that three other men wore bright gowns and he had lamented that he had been one of the black mass, and not a red torch.
Edison wrote: “The average American loves his family. If he has any love left over for some other person he generally selects Mark Twain.”
“Now here’s the compliment of a little Montana girl, “ continued Mark Twain, “which came to me indirectly. She was in a room in which there was a large photograph of me. After gazing at it steadily for a time, she said:
“‘We’ve got a John the Baptist like that.’”
When the diners’ laughter allowed him, Mr. Clemens added:
“She also said: ‘Only ours has more trimmings.’
“I suppose she meant the halo. Now here is a gold miner’s compliment. It is forty-two years old. It was my introduction to an audience to which I lectured in a log schoolhouse. There were no ladies there. I wasn’t famous then. They didn’t know me. Only the miners were there with their breeches tucked into their boot tops and with clay all over them. They wanted some one to introduce me, and then selected a miner, who protested that he didn’t want to do on the ground that he had never appeared in public. This is what he said:
“ ‘I don’t know anything about this man. Anyhow, I only know two things about him. One is he has never been in jail and the other is I don’t know why.’
“There’s one thing I want to say about the English trip. I knew his Majesty, the King of England, long years ago, and I didn’t meet him for the first time then. One thing that I regret was that some newspapers said I talked with the Queen of England with my hat on. I don’t do that with any woman. I did not put it on until she asked me to. Then she told me to put it on, and it’s a command there. I thought I had carried my American democracy far enough. So I put it on. I have no use for a hat, and never did have.
“Who was it who said that he police of London knew me? Why, the police knew me everywhere. There never was a day over there when a policeman did not salute me, and then put up his hand and stop the traffic of the world. They treated me as though I were a Duchess.”
Andrew Carnegie, who followed Mr. Clemens, said that the English public had made much of the author’s literary attainments but there was another Mark Twain—Mark Twain the man. He eulogized Mark Twain at length, and referred to his action in paying every cent of the debts of the publishing firm with which he had once been connected.
Other speakers were Dr. Robert S. MacArthur, Hamilton W. Mabie, James M. Beck, Col. George M. Harvey, Col. William C. Church, and Gen. Stewart L. Woodford.
The menu card was a large sheet rolled as a diploma or degree with its central feature a picture of Mark Twain in his Oxford doctor’s robes. The margins contained small pictures of scenes and characters from the author’s books.
There were also shown the old homes and the new of the Lotos club. A woman below the Mark Twain portrait held in one a scroll with Mr. Clemens’s various degrees, and in the other a mask whose features were those of Mark Twain. Near the bottom in the centre was the menu with its book and character names and titles.
Here is what the diners ate:
Innocent Oysters Abroad.
Roughing It Soup.
Huckleberry Finn Fish.
Joan of Arc Filet of Beef.
Jumping Frog Terrapin.
Punch Brothers Punch.
Life on the Mississippi Ice Cream.
Prince and the Pauper Cake.
White Elephant coffee.
Chateau Yuem Royals.
After it was all over President Lawrence told the company that while this might be the final gathering in the old quarters, the Lotos spirit must be made to burn brightly in the new quarters.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The Lotos Club Dinner is tonight, in honor of the King. ABP came in to go” [MTP: IVL TS 7]. Note: in IVL’s Jan 12 she revealed that Sam and Paine played billiards till 3:30 a.m.
Martin W. Littleton wrote regrets to Sam that he would be unable to attend the Lotos dinner [MTP]. Note: the Littletons were neighbors of Sam’s at 21 Fifth Ave.
Asa K. McIlhaney wrote from Bath, Pa. to Sam. Arbor day there would be celebrated by public school students in the planting of a tree dedicated to Mark Twain—would he send a letter of encouragement to the students? [MTP].
Robert Murray wrote a fan letter to Sam from Dundee, Scotland. “I am now well up in years and you are a trifle ahead, (due largely to the fact that you started before I was ready).” He related his son had spent time in Syria and that was thrilled in Jerusalem to have touched the sword of Godfrey de Bouillon, “which was once touched by Mark Twain” [MTP].
George Wade wrote on Hotel Belmont, NYC notepaper to Sam. “I wonder if you will remember me at all? Some years ago you came & honoured us with your charming wife at luncheon. We then made an excursion to the Tower of London.You also came and saw my studio, & were appreciative of my efforts” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 14, 08”; No prior listing for Wade or the visit to the Tower of London.
Henry Watterson wrote from Louisville, Ky. to announce he would “hold forth next Friday evening at Carnegie Hall under the auspices of our great fellow-countryman, Booker T. Washington.” Wouldn’t Sam “make an effort and accept the seat on the stage which will be sent to you? I want to see you anyhow” [MTP].
January 12 Sunday – The New York Times, p.9, reported another event for this evening, where Mark Twain would be in attendance:
INVITED BY NORIDCA.
Mark Twain, Dr. Butler, Edison, and Sir Purdon Clarke to be Singer’s Guests.
There will be a veritable herd of social lions at Sherry’s to-night, when Mme. Nordica gives her musicale for more than 400 guests. She has engaged the entire second floor suite for the occasion.
Among the celebrities in various walks of life, who have accepted invitations are Mark Twain, Thomas A. Edison, Richard Watson Gilder, Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, Gustav Mahler, James Russel Soley, Karl Muck, Mme. Eames, Mme. Homer, Mme. Sembrich, George Munzig, Clyde Fitch, Frederick Townsend Martin, Sir Purdon Clarke, and Brander Matthews.
Society will be represented by Mrs. Styvesant Fish, Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt, Mrs. John Jacob Astor, Mrs. George Jay Gould, Mrs. Ogden Mills, Mrs. Orme Wilson, Mrs. Henry Clews, Mrs. Reginald C. Vanderbilt, and Mrs. I. Townsend Burden.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: AB has a talent for early rising. A little note left at my door said that his train left at 7:30 and he played billiards until 3:30 this morning after he & the King came over from the Lotos Dinner. The morning the King said that they stopped playing only because he “was weak from loss of profanity.”
Eulabee Dix came in & made the first sketch for the King’s miniature.
Minnie Maddern Fiske said a good thing: “Most women love with their nerves.”
[written on separate, undated scraps inserted at January 12, 1908]
As I may be in jail next week—would like to see him—brought a proceeding to attempt.
So Ashcroft at 3? Thursday?
“1601” author or publisher?
If Mr. Orr or his heirs would but put this letter up for sale! Perhaps it will happen [MTP: IVL TS 7].
Irving Bacheller for Camp Fire Club of America wrote from Riverside, Conn. to invite Sam to the annual ladies night [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote for Sam on the letter, “I never liked an annual lady at all—I like a permanent one”.
Thomas Coupe wrote to ask Sam if he was the gentleman who, on Christmas morning about 11 a.m., rode on a 42nd Street crosstown car, giving the conductor 15 cents and telling him to keep the dime for himself? Coupe was that conductor, and the rider was said later to be Mark Twain. He wanted to know so he might cherish the dime [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 17, 08”
Dorothy Quick wrote from Plainfield, N.J. to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens
Thank you so much for your letter I shall be so glad to come in next Saturday and stay until Monday don’t bother about taking me to the theathre [sic] unless there is something you especially want to see and I shall be perfectly satisfied to stay home with you and play pool I hope you are well with lots of love to Miss Lyon and a hundred hugs and kisses for yourself / I am / your loving little / Dorothy [MTP:MTAq 95].
January 13 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Jan. 12 of Dorothy Quick:
You are just a dear little Dorothy, & I am ever so glad you are coming Saturday morning. We’ll have a fine holiday together. I wish a person could rent you or buy you, just as he would other choice real estate, then I wouldn’t let you go back any more.
Love & good-night, dear [MTP; MTAq 96].
In his A.D. of this date, Sam wrote about a follow up meeting with Elinor Glyn, whom he had met at a December private dinner at Delmonico’s given by Daniel Frohman. In part:
Two or three weeks ago Elinor Glyn called on me one afternoon and we had a long talk, of a distinctly unusual character, in the library. It may be that by the time this chapter reaches print she may be less well known to the world than she is now, therefore I will insert here a word or two of information about her. She is English. She is an author. The newspapers say she is visiting America with the idea of finding just the right kind of a hero for the principal character in a romance which she is purporting to write. She has come to us upon the stormwind of a vast and sudden notoriety.
The source of this notoriety is a novel of hers called Three Weeks. …
[Sam then summarized, in several paragraphs, the plot line and characters]
Mme. Glyn called…and she was a picture! Slender, young, faultlessly formed and incontestably beautiful—a blonde with blue eyes, the incomparable English complexion and crowned with a glory of red hair of a very peculiar, most rare and quite ravishing tint. She was clad in the choicest stuffs and in the most perfect taste. There she is, just a beautiful girl; yet she has a daughter fourteen years old. She isn’t winning; she has no charm but the charm of beauty and youth and grace and intelligence and vivacity; she acts charm and does it well, exceedingly well in fact, but it does not convince, it doesn’t stir the pulse, it doesn’t go to the heart, it leaves the heart serene and unemotional. …
I talked with her with daring frankness, frequently calling a spade a spade instead of coldly symbolizing it as a snow shovel; and on her side she was equally frank. It was one of the damndest conversations I have ever had with a beautiful stranger of her sex, if I do say it myself that shouldn’t. She wanted my opinion of her book and I furnished it. I said its literary workmanship was excellent and that I quite agreed with her view that in the manner of the sexual relation man’s statutory regulations of it were a distinct interference with a higher law, the law of Nature. . ..
Of course what she wanted of me was support and defense—I knew that but I said I couldn’t furnish it. I said we were the servants of convention; that we could not subsist, either in a savage or a civilized state, without conventions; that we must accept them and stand by them, even when we disapproved of them; that while the laws of Nature, that is to say the laws of God, plainly made every human being a law unto himself, we must steadfastly refuse to obey those laws, and we must as steadfastly stand by the conventions which ignore them, since the statutes furnish us peace, fairly good government and stability, and therefore are better for us than the laws of God, which would soon plunge us into confusion and disorder and anarchy if we should adopt them. I said her book was an assault upon certain old and well-established and wise conventions and that it would not find many friends, and indeed would not deserve many.
She said I was very brave, the bravest person she had ever met (gross flattery which could have beguiled me when I was very very young), and she implored me to publish these views of mine, but I said, “No, such a thing is unthinkable.” …
Some days afterward I met her again for a moment and she gave me the startling information that she had written down every word I had said, just as I had said it, without any softening and purifying modifications, and that it was “just splendid, just wonderful.” She said she had sent it to her husband in England. Privately I didn’t think that was a very good idea, and yet I believed it would interest him. She begged me to let her publish it and said it would do infinite good in the world, but I said it would damn me before my time and I didn’t wish to be useful to the world on such expensive conditions [Neider 353-7].
Elinor Glyn’s account of this 90-minute meeting:
He is a dear old man with a halo of white silky hair and a fresh face, and the eyes of a child which look out on life with that infinite air of wisdom one sees peeping sometimes from a young pure soul. To find such eyes in an aged face proves many things as to the hidden beauties in the character. Mark Twain was dressed in putty-coloured—almost white—broad-cloth, very soigné and attractive looking. We sat on a large divan, and he gave orders that we were not to be disturbed [Glyn 143].
Note: unless further evidence is found, the afternoon call by Elinor Glyn is placed in the last week of Dec. 1907. The private dinner by Frohman is estimated at mid-Dec. 1907. Thus, Sam’s above A.D. of Jan. 13, 1908 thus allows time for both events.
Notes of Glyn’s travels, appearances: Elinor Glyn came to the U.S. on Oct. 4, 1907, staying at the Wolcott Hotel. The New York Times, p. BR604 under “What Authors Are Doing” ran a squib announcing her arrival on the Cedric. The paper ran a feature article on her arrival on Oct. 6, p.X12 “Elinor Glyn Talks About Her American Critics.” On Oct. 13, p. SM1, an article appeared under Glyn’s byline, “How New York City Appears to Elinor Glyn.” On Nov. 16, page 1 of the Times reported her in Philadelphia, commenting on the critics as idiots; her book reportedly had sold 50,000 copies during October. On Dec. 3, p.9, the Times headlined Glyn as a guest at the Bagby Musicale, guest of Mrs. Francis R. Leggett, at the Waldorf; and on Dec. 8 a feature article on fashion detailed her outfit at the Bagby Musicale. The Times further reported her appearance on Dec. 9 for the prior night’s gathering of Bohemian Clubs at the Hotel Astor (p. 2; “Bohemian Clubs Hit By Blue Law”); she was quoted in the article as having written Three Weeks “in precisely six days.” She was the subject of a tiff with the actress Mme. Alla Nazimova over her promise and reneging to play in a stage version of Three Weeks [NY Times, Dec. 15, p. 1, “Mrs. Glyn Serves an Ultimatum”]. Her talk to members of the Pen and Brush Club on the afternoon of Dec. 17 was covered by the Times in a Dec. 18, p. 2 article, “Mrs. Glyn On Her Own Books.” The Dec. 20 arrival in New York of Elinor Glyn’s sister, Lady Duff Gordon, was mentioned in a page 1 squib, “Consult Burke’s Peerage.” Elinor Glyn was quoted at the Hotel Plaza. The Dec. 21 luncheon attendance and subsequent snub of Glyn by the Pilgrim Mothers was duly reported in more than one article, the first being “Pilgrim Mothers Cold to Mrs. Glyn” on p. 3, Dec. 22. A Dec. 21 tour of Chinatown by Glyn, her sister and eight others was also reported by the Times on Dec. 23, p. 9, “Lady Duff Gordon Sees Chinatown.” See also the Sept. 27, 1908 interview of MT by Charles Henry Meltzer of the New York American. Elinor Glyn returned to England the last week of June, 1908, arriving in early July [Glyn 159, 163].
George M. Case, James R. Case, Earl B. Holmes, Frank Sicor, Dwight H. Wickwill, and James E. Standish wrote from Colchester, Conn. to Sam: “Dan Beard, the founder of S.D.B. wished us to write to you & tell you that we have elected you an Honorary Member of Fort Roosevelt No. 1. Will you kindly send us your signature so that we can paste it in our Constitution?” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 20, ‘08”
Alice H. Westovelt wrote from NYC to Sam. “Pardon a hasty line. You never came to my party & disappointed to[o] many.” Could he come Sat. next, the 18th? [MTP].
Irene Fredericka Rau wrote from Boston to thank Sam for his signed photo. His Autobiography had been a “constant source of pleasure” [MTP].
January 13, after – A short time after Elinor Glyn’s visit and Sam’s A.D. of Jan. 13, he had another visitor, and added this A.D.:
Sure enough, her report came! It came several days ago, not by her hand but by the hand of another—by the hand of an American lady who is Mrs. Glyn’s closest friend and most ardent admirer, a lady whom I know and like. She is young; she is beautiful; she has faultless taste in dress, and, I know she would be charming if she hadn’t a hobby; but often a hobby so possesses its rider that it sucks all the juices out of the rider’s personality and leaves it dry and feverish and hot-eyed and unwholesome, unspiritual, unwinning, unpersuasive, and I may even say repellent. As a rule, a person under the dominion of a hobby cannot be satisfactorily dealt with. It is the hobby-rider’s conviction that his own reasonings upon his subject are the only sane ones; it is his conviction that your counter-reasonings are either insane or insincere; they make not the least impression upon him, if he even hears them, which he generally doesn’t for while you are talking his mind is commonly busy with what it is going to say in reply to these reasonings which it has not been listening to—busy with what it is going to say when you make a temporary halt for breath and give it a chance to break in.
The lady had not been sent by Mrs. Glyn; she had come of her own accord, and without Mrs. Glyn’s knowledge. She had studied Mrs. Glyn’s report of our conversation, with Mrs. Glyn’s permission, with the result that she felt it to be her duty to come and urge me to let it be published. The sense that it was her duty to do this was so commanding, so overpowering, that she was notable to resist it, but was obliged to surrender to its mastery and obey. She added that she was thoroughly convinced that it was my duty—a duty which I could not honorably avoid—to allow this conversation to be published, because of the influence it—would have upon the public for good.
I said I was sorry to be obliged to take a different view of my duty, but that such was the case. I said I was so habituated to shirking my duty that I was able now to shirk it fifty times a day without a pang; that is, that I could shirk fifty duties a day without a pang if the opportunity to do it were furnished me; that I did not get fifty opportunities a day, but that I got an average of about that many a week, and that I had noticed a peculiarity, a quite interesting peculiarity, of these opportunities—to grit, that the opportunity to do a duty was always furnished me by an outsider, it seldom originated with me; it was always furnished by some person who knew more about my duties toward the public than I did. I said I believed that if I should become the champion of every cause that was brought to my attention and shown by argument that it was my duty to take hold of it and champion it, I shouldn’t ever have any time left to punch up the China missionaries or revel in any of the other duties that were of my own invention and that were occupying all the spare room in my heart. “And yet, “I said,” if you leave out the China missionaries, and King Leopold of Belgium, and the Children’s Theater I am not working many duties of my own invention, but am mainly laboring at duties put upon me by other people.” I said, “I am really quite active in fussing at other people’s good causes—by request. Let me show you—let me give you a list. At present my duty-mill is pretty persistently grinding in the interest of these several matters—to wit:
The Fulton Memorial Fund, which has imposed upon me two voyages to Jamestown, several appeal-letters for publication, half-a-dozen speeches and one lecture;
The movement propagated by Miss Holt for raising a large fund to be devoted to the amelioration of the condition of this State’s helpless and unsupported adult blind persons;
The American movement in the interest of those Russian revolutionists whose hope is to modify tie Czar and his blood-kin menagerie, and rake life in Russia endurable for the common people.
However, the full list would take up too much room. Let the rest go. It is only noon now, yet between yesterday noon And the present noon I have had more opportunities of offered me in the way of assisting good causes than I could utilize, even if I should do my very best. For instance:
Speech at the impending banquet in the interest of that great society which is endeavoring to promote more intimate relations between America and France than now exist. I had to decline it;
Invitation to take a prominent part in another impending function in that same interest. I had to decline it;
Invitation to take a prominent part in still another impending function in that same interest. I had to decline it;
Invitation to attend a public meeting whose object is to obstruct the progress of Christian Science in the land. I had to decline it;
Invitation to make a speech at a public meeting whose object is to raise funds in aid of another polar expedition. I had to decline it;
That isn’t the whole list—but never mind the rest. It is a sufficient indication that you have arrived late with your opportunity for me to do my duty toward the public in this matter of yours, and it will suggest to you that when a person gets so many chances, every twenty-four hours, to do good, he is bound to become callous eventually, and feel not a single responsive throb in his heart when a new chance, or a hundred of them, are offered him. You are very strongly interested in the matter which has brought you to me aren’t you?”
“Yes, my heart is in it.”
“Your whole heart?”
“Yes, my whole heart:”
“It is the same with Mrs. Glyn, isn’t it?”
“Yes, just the same.”
“Both of you have been approached by people whose whole hearts were in other large causes and who wished to secure your sympathy and help in those causes—isn’t it so?”
“Yes, that is true—there have been many instances.”
“I don’t need to ask you if you declined. I always know you did. It isn’t human nature to feel a working sympathy in every good cause that is brought to one’s attention, and without that warm sympathy in a person’s heart he is not going to take hold of such things merely because somebody whose whole heart is in them wants him to do it. Now no part of my heart is in this matter of yours and Mrs. Glyn’s, and I long ago stopped engaging my mouth in either good or bad causes where my heart was indifferent. You and Mrs. Glyn think it strange that since I have an opinion about this matter of yours I yet refuse to make that opinion public; you do think it strange, don’t you?”
“Yes, we do.”
“You think that if you were in my place you would consider a private opinion a public one as well, and that. it was your duty to publish it, and that you could not refuse to publish it without being guilty of moral cowardice—isn’t it so?”
“You have stated it in perhaps harsher terms than necessary, but substantially it is what we think.”
“Don’t you believe that there are often cases where you would do things in private which were without offense and yet which you would not be quite willing to do in public? For instance: you are the mother of three children.”
“Yes” [MTP]. Note: the identity of the lady referred to is unknown.
January 14 Tuesday – After giving several luncheons for his close male friends earlier in the “season,” Sam gave the first of his “Doe Luncheons” on this day, at the suggestion (perhaps urging) of Kate Douglas Riggs. Twelve ladies plus Twain were included in the luncheon, including Riggs, daughter Clara, Isabel Lyon, Geraldine Farrar, Henrietta Barnes Farrar (Mrs. Sidney Farrar), Mrs. Harleston Deacon, Mrs. Frank N. Doubleday, Mrs. Robert Collier, Miss Emily W. Burbank, Dorothea Gilder, Geraldine Farrar, Mrs. Farrar, Ethel Barrymore and Clara Stanchfield [Jan. 16 to Julia Olivia Langdon; MTP: IVL TS 8].]. Note: Thanks to Victor Fischer for supplying some missing names.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King, Mrs. Riggs, Mrs. Deacon, Mrs. Stanchfield, Mrs. Doubleday, Mrs. Collier, Miss Burbank, Dorothy Gilder, Geraldine Farrar, Mrs. Farrar (who is impossible) Santa [Clara Clemens] & I at the ‘doe luncheon’ today. The King drew pictures of deer for the dinner cards” [MTP]. Note: Isabel did not mention Barrymore. Geraldine Farrar (1882-1967), soprano opera star noted for her beauty. She had a large following with younger women, who were called “Gerry-flappers.”
Sam then inscribed his photograph to Kate Douglas Riggs (aka Wiggin): “To Mrs. Kate D. Riggs, with the love of / Mark Twain Jan. 14/08” [MTP: Profiles in History catalogs, No. 31, Item 165]. Note: the 8×10 photograph was of himself with a kitten, and sold on eBay by Frogtown on Feb. 5, 2010, item # 330400331578.
Sam also inscribed his photograph to another guest of the “Doe Luncheon,” Mrs. Farrar: “To Mrs. Farrar, with kind remembrances of hers very truly—/ Mark Twain / Jan. 14/08” [MTP]. Note: Farrar was included in the above “Doe Luncheon.” This photo’s inscription is sometimes seen as “1905,” but Victor Fischer reports that “the ink on the photo inscription is so faded that it looks very much like 1905 rather than 1908, but it closely matches the 1908 on the photo signed to Kate Douglas Riggs the same day.” Other photos were likely signed at this luncheon.
Winifred Holt for Assoc. for the Blind wrote to ask permission to use Sam’s name on a list of those interested in a French Fete to be held in benefit for the Assoc. [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 20, ‘08”
John Mead Howells wrote to lobby Sam for the annual dinner of the Architectural League [MTP].
Julia Langdon Loomis wrote to Sam hoping to be in NYC in three weeks and “wanting a long, satisfying gossip with you” [MTP].
Samuel E. Moffett wrote to Sam.
I called to see you to-day, but missed you, The other day I received a bunch of manuscript from Champ Clark, offered as a series of articles for Colliers. I am having it examined by the editors, but I don’t think it will be possible for Collier’s to use it, and it will be up to me to tell Clark so. Consequently it would probably have a better effect for you to write to him about the copyright bill than for me to do it. You don’t need to know anything about this manuscript, but if I wrote he might not be able to separate the two subjects in his mind. / Affectionately… [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote for Sam on the letter, “That copyright bill doesn’t need to be meddled with by me, nor by anybody else at present. Therefore I shant write to Champ Clark at this time. The Supreme Court decision may be slow, but it will not be as slow as the Copyright bill in Congress”
Carlotta Welles wrote from Paris to Sam.
My Dear Mr. Clemens:— / I was very happy to hear from you. I should certainly have written you long ago if I had thought that you cared to hear from me, but you must have so many friends, so many people to remember you affectionately, that I didn’t think you very much wanted me to tell you that I hav’nt forgotten you. I’m afraid you’re joking when you say that, anyway!
Of course I remember Frances Nunnally. We exchanged Xmas cards. If I go to College next fall we shall be in the same class—and I hope you’ll come to Bryn Mawr then, and see the whole bunch of us, the three “doangiva-dams” and Frances and me, and, incidentally, the College.
I am getting on all right now. The lake in the “bois de Boulogne” right near us, has actually frozen up so that you could skate on it and I have been improving my opportunities, so you see I’m not very sick. Yesterday they had a sort of band there and you had to pay to get in, so it was quite stylish. I paid and went in and staggered around (not to mention the tumbles) and had a good time watching the fancy skating.
I have been reading a book called “Fraulein Schmidt and Mr. Pustender” by the author of “Elizabeth & her German Garden” which I like ever so much. I hope your radishes still agree with you, and keep you in perfect health. / Very affectionately / Charley [MTP; MTAq 96-7]. Note: in her entry for Jan. 2, 1908, Miss Lyon wrote that Sam had a “big dish of radishes…every night for dinner,” to alleviate heartburn.
January 15 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally.
Where are you, dear? At school? I suppose so, but you haven’t told me.
What I am anxious to know is, can’t you steal a day or two & run up & see us? Miss Lyon & I will go down & board your train at Philadelphia & escort you up. Or, we will go all the way to Baltimore if you prefer. And gladly.
Can you come, dear? And will you? If it isn’t possible to come now, will you name a date & come later? Don’t say no, dear, say yes. / With love, SLC [MTP; MTAq 97].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I went around to see Charlie Boyogian today and he gave me a wonderful Persian tray” [MTP: IVL TS 8]. Note: Boyogian’s was a NYC rug importer.
In the evening during billiards play, Sam felt chilled and by the next morning he was in bed with a bad cold [NY Times Jan. 20, 1908, p.9 “Mark Twain No Worse”]. Note: The “engagement” that Sam rushed to, mentioned in the article, was not identified.
Rev. Washington Gladden wrote from Columbus, Ohio to ask Sam if he still lectured or read in public because the women of his church “have it in their heads that they want to hear you, here in Columbus” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Ansd.”
Joe Goodman wrote from Alameda, Calif to Sam.
I learned to-day, through a letter from Sam Davis and a conversation with Tufts, that they, unknown to me, have been pestering you in different ways with solicitations in my behalf. They meant well, beyond doubt, and I suppose I should be grateful to them; but I’m not, by a damned sight, and I don’t want you to pay any attention to their requests, or anybody else’s, concerning me. If I should ever wish a favor of you, I shall walk up to the captain’s office myself and ask it.
It is true that I’ve encountered a financial typhoon—just as you have, I see. But I shall weather it through; or, if not, I will go down without a signal of distress. The thing that really worries most of my friends is that I have called upon them to repay a part, at least, of what they owe me. But Tufts is not in that list.
Hoping this may help you out of a lot of annoyance, / Yours ever … [MTP].
N.W. Halsey of N.W. Halsey & Co. Bankers, NYC wrote to Sam. “The family cheerfully forgives you for almost anything,—including the sin of having $51,000. cash, that isn’t cash in the eyes of anybody but the assessor., but when it comes to embracing a stronger-lady in broad daylight in Fifth Ave it is another matter and would seem to require a word of explanation” [MTP].
John D. Williams wrote to send to Sam, at the request of Daniel Frohman, tickets for the Criterion Theatre next Saturday matinee [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 17, ‘08”
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon, sending a circular by John W. Postgate for dramatizing JA [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Mr. Clemens would suggest that Miss Marbury let him make a congtract for 6 months”
January 16 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Julia Langdon Loomis (1871-1948), daughter of Charles J. and Ida Clark Langdon.
Jan 16, I think.
Julie dear, it is 10:30 a.m., & time for the dictating to begin; but it wont for I am half full of whisky—& not yet finished. I have discovered a cold, & this is to break it up; for with my bronchital tendencies I dread a cold as the Presbyterian burnt child dreads perdition.
Don’t worry about the appeal in behalf of the poor in the South. Miss Lyon will squelch that without placing it before me—she does the like every day, & through habit & long experience, it costs her neither time nor pangs.
(Intermission of 5 minutes for whisky) But what delights me is that your letter has come just in time! For I am thinking out another “doe-luncheon” for about Feb. 10.
No unbrilliant person is admitted to the sacred function called the “doe-luncheon.” Brightness conceded, character be damned! You are eligible, Julie dear.
Two or 3 times, this season, I have called to 21 Fifth Ave. a stag-party luncheon—Howells, Harvey, Augustus Thomas & so on—the bright lights of the sex, none others admitted. Then comes that rare bird & darling of mine, Kate Douglas Wiggin Riggs, & says reproachfully, “The brilliance, is not limited to the stags—give a doe-luncheon & you will see.”
And she was right. I summoned the does for the 14th & by God she was justified!
(Brief interval for additional whisky.) There were about 8 inviteès, & not one of them failed to accept! A high compliment, nicht wahr? I was the only lady of my sex present. Ethel Barrimore [sic], & we captured Aunt Clara Stanchfield by telephone in her place, the peer of the best doe present. About the 10th of Feb, I mean to repeat, leaving out 2 or 3 of the first gang, & putting in 2 or 3 new ones in their places. I want you; & in due time Miss Lyon will notify you & we shall hope you will be able to come.
With love to you & Edward & the posterity, …[MTP].
Dr. Edward Quintard paid a sick call on Sam and ordered him to stay in bed. Sam was suffering from a bad cold which developed into bronchitis, a chronic health problem for him, especially in winter [NY Times Jan. 20, 1908, p.9 “Mark Twain No Worse”].
In the evening Ralph W. Ashcroft came by and played hearts with Sam and Isabel Lyon until 2 or 3 a.m. [Jan. 17 to Quick; IVL entry below]:
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King says that the Almighty is looking after him a little better than usual, or else he is punishing Mrs. Broughton by giving the King a snuffly cold in his head, so that he can’t go to her reception today. The King was going to dictate, and then he decided to fill up with whiskey and stay in bed, to try to get rid of the cold in him.
(My bell rings)
The King has written brilliant letter to Mrs. Loomis under the inspiration of the whiskey and as I sat beside his bed and we discussed the inspirational qualities of whiskey he said that there is something in it that strips off the artificialities of man, and brings out the real creature. They are the cobwebs that cover our brains & hearts & they are made by the conventionalities.
But that doesn’t mean in my mind that we must strip off our conventionalities by means of whiskey. (Later) Ashcroft came to dine and for cards. We played Hearts until after 3 in the morning, and the King got drunk. He sailed around the room trying to reach the door & landing up in the corner by the Joan of Arc. He cast a gay little eye over at me in his unsteady gait, & said “I’m just practicing,” as he sailed with light footsteps over to the door & up to the bath room. Ashcroft began to spill his cards on the floor and I picked up a discard of 27 cards and tried to arrange it as my hand. So much for the whole quart of scotch they—we—drank [MTP: IVL TS 8-9; also in part, Hill 194]. Note: Hill begins at “Ashcroft came to dine,” and inserts commas, and changes many “&” marks to “and.”
H.H. Rogers wrote from N.Y.C. to Sam.
The enclosed letters will explain themselves.
Lest you do not understand, I beg to inform you that Henry Watterson evidently is going to attend the Booker T. Washington Meeting on Friday evening, and you are invited to the platform or a box. If you want my company, I will go in a box with you, provided I can wear a veil. I think, however, that Mrs. Rogers is going to ask you and Stone to dinner Friday night. If you want to go to the Washington Meeting, we can take Stone along with us and have cards at another time.
Please let me hear from you by telephone or messenger what you will do. / Yours truly…[MTHHR 643-4]. Note: See Washington’s Jan. 8 to MT and his reply shortly after.
J.H. Friedlander for Groupe Architectes Americain, NYC sent Sam a typed invite to a dinner at the University Club on Jan. 28 to honor NYC’s mayor, George B. McClellan, Jr. with a medal [MTP].
Elinor Glyn wrote on Plaza Hotel, NYC notepaper to Sam.
I am sending you my report of the interview we had, so I think you will be amused to find what an accurate ‘reporter’ I am! Even if you feel you would rather I did not publish it, I shall always keep it in memory of a delightful afternoon with a delightful American gentleman….P.S. I wonder if you knew how charming you were that afternoon?! & if you remember what wise things you said? [MTP]. Note: TS of her “interview” in the file.
Howells & Stokes wrote to Miss Lyon about Harry Lounsbury’s bill [MTP].
Eden Phillpotts wrote from Torquay, England to Sam. “Very hearty thanks for your good letter. Now that you have granted my suit I am violently impressed with the inadequacy of the offering. / Yet you, who have written of the human boy as nobody else has, will not object to extend your friendship to my little company. / The book will appear anon & a copy shall reach you at the earliest moment. / Meantime receive the dedication; & if there is so much as a syllable that does not please you, order its alteration …[MTP]. Note: enclosed the title page and dedication to Mark Twain of The Human Boy Again by Phillpotts (1908); see Gribben 544.
January 17 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Julia Langdon Loomis.
Julie dear, I wrote you a day or 2 ago, but I don’t remember what I said because I was sober at the time. But this not is to say—to-wit:
The next Doe-Luncheon will happen at the above address on
Tuesday, Feb. 11
at 1 p.m.
You are hereby invited. Don’t fail to come, dear.
[in left margin]
Not one declined before! [MTP].
Sam also wrote to the Other Depositors of the Knickerbocker Trust Co..
To the Other Depositors.
The time is very short. It expires to-morrow. Mr. Grover Cleveland, a depositor, has approved the Satterlee plan for resumption, & it seems to me that that ought to satisfy every depositor that that plan is safe & wise. If we accept it we shall lose no part of our money; if we do not accept it the Knickerbocker will be delivered over to a permanent receivership. I have already tried a permanent receivership once, & did not like the results. It costs more to keep a permanent receiver than it does to keep a harem. Anybody who has had experience in these matters will endorse this statement. In the long run—in the very long run—we got some of our money, but not enough of it to keep a harem with. All the depositors said so, & were disappointed, & there was much regret. If we accept the Satterlee plan, & do it immediately, it will be well for us; if we refuse, we invite & insure a shrinkage which the patients will not find enjoyable. I have not been invited to say those things, still it has seemed worth while to say them. / Very respectfully / Mark Twain[MTP].
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick in Plainfield, N.J.
Oh you dear child, I am so sorry for you, and also so sorry for myself! It is such a disappointment. I have been sick abed with a cold all day, but I was resolved to be up & dressed & ready for you tomorrow morning. We’ve got a box for a matinée tomorrow, and—well, we’ve got to bear these disappointments, so I may as well get at it; it’s the best way & the only way.
Dear heart you must come next Saturday, if you are perfectly well & strong by that time; but if you aren’t, we’ll put it off still another week.
Ashcroft was here last night, & we played hearts till two or three hours after midnight—with the beautiful cards you gave me. I captured all their chips, & more besides.
With lots & lots of love, / SLC [MTP; MTAq 97-8].
Sam also sent Kate Douglas Wiggin (aka Riggs) an invitation for the next “Doe Luncheon” on Feb. 11 at 1 p.m. “Please don’t fail to come” [MTP].
Sam did not attend the Booker T. Washington Meeting to sit on the platform as invited by Washington on Jan. 8. As recently as Jan. 16, H.H. Rogers asked if Sam was going would he like to share a box. Ralph Ashcroft came again to Stormfield to play billiards with Clemens.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: All day the King was in bed but the whiskey had helped the cold and he is better. Mrs. Toy came in at 5:15 to talk with the King about the children’s theatre, which has been closed on Sundays by the Blue Laws, & then Paine came in for dinner & billiards. Billiard! I watched the game until 11. Early the King began to feel chilly in his little white silk coat, & I got a white serge coat for him, & at 11 I came up stairs to go to bed and read D. Deronda until sleep came. At 2:30 I wakened to hear the billiard bang and went down to find the King playing in a drunken haze. He was trying to drown out the chill, and couldn’t move without reeling. It was a great thing to see. P. was furious with me & told me to clear out, but I sat down & said I’d stay until the King started for bed. P. didn’t like me—but I didn’t care. It was wonderful to see the King pick up a ball and fondle it, & then try to hit it with his cue & be unable to touch it; but he swore splendidly. AB left the room & I gently took the King’s cue away & led him up to his room. He staggered & hit his head against one of the little angels on his bed post, & grabbed his dear head with a volley of oaths. Then I left the room but waited to hear his shoes drop [MTP: IVL TS 9-10]. Note: Hill quotes part of this (with his own edits).
Edith Anderson Logan wrote from NYC to Sam. “Will you do me the honour to dine with me on Thursday Evening January 23rd at Eight o’clock? / General & Mrs. F.D. Grant are to be with me & it would add greatly to our pleasure if you would…” [MTP].
Emma Gertrude Quick sent a telegram to Sam. “Dorothy sick with bad cold sorry cannot come this week / Mrs Quick” [MTP].
January 18 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “King is really ill today” [MTP: IVL TS 10]. Note: bronchitis.
In the afternoon Edmund Clarence Stedman (1833-1908) died of a heart attack in his NYC apartment. He was 74 [NY Times Jan 19, 1908, p. 1, “E.C. Stedman Dies of Heart Disease.”]
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to a reporter from the N.Y. Times, who solicited his response to the news of Stedman’s death. Sam’s dictated response ran in the Jan. 19 paper.
MARK TWAIN STUNNED.
His Loss Unfits Me to Speak, He Says—Mr. Gilder Mourns Him.
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) dictated the following last night from a sick bed, to which he has been confined with a heavy cold since last Thursday, on learning of the death of Mr. [Edmund Clarence] Stedman:
“I do not wish to talk about it. He was a valued friend from days that date back thirty-five years, His loss stuns me and unfits me to speak.”
Asked by a TIMES reporter for a tribute to his dead friend, Richard Watson Gilder said:
“Mr. Stedman was for a lifetime like an elder brother to me, and it is
difficult to respond to your request for a work about him to-night. As poet,
critic, leader in all matters pertaining to the interests and honor of
literature, and as a helpful, loyal and generous friend of men of letters, his
position was unique. He will be greatly missed and widely mourned [MTP]. Note: in Sam’s dictated draft he
struck out after the above sentences,
“I’m sick myself”, evidently
thinking the line was unseemly.
D. Hoffman writes of Stedman’s death and of the two men’s respective opinions of each other:
In dictating more of his autobiography on the following July 3, he said Stedman was a good fellow but “believed that the sun merely rose to admire his poetry & was so reluctant to set at the end of the day & lose sight of it, that it lingered & lingered & lost many minutes diurnally & was never able to keep correct time during his stay in the earth.” Stedman, in turn, had complained twenty years earlier that so far as an author making a decent income, “not every one can be, like Mr. Clemens, his own Harper & Brothers, and his own Edwin Booth” .
Sam also sent a telegram and an inscribed photograph of himself with a note to Dorothy Quick.
To Miss Dorothy Quick
You are ill in bed so am I. With Bronchitis. But I am sending you a very nice picture. / SL Clemens [MTP; MTAq 98]. Note: on the photograph, Sam inscribed: I think this is the best of the Tuxedo pictures save one, Dorothy dear. Mrs.Ogden made it. I have the bronchitis, & am barking at you affectionately.
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person, referring to the Jan. 18 death of Edmund Clarence Stedman: “I am grieved to the heart, for we were close friends for more than a generation. Lord grant me his good fortune: to slip suddenly out of the tragedy of life unwarned!” [MTP].
Harper’s Weekly, p. 13 ran a full page photograph and short anonymous article about the Dec. 28, 1907 luncheon at Lakewood, N.J., “Four Distinguished Americans. From a Photogragh Taken at Lakewood, N.J. , Where a Luncheon was Given to Mr. Howells to Bid Him Godspeed on his Journey to Europe.” Tenney: “Full-page photograph of Howells, MT, Henry M. Alden, and Mayo W. Hazeltine” .
Frederick S. Dellenbaugh wrote from NYC to invite Sam to a dinner given by the Author’s Club on Feb. 11 in favor of Andrew Carnegie [MTP]. Note: on the letter, “Ans Jan 19, Inst H” (likely Josephine Hobby)
Julia Langdon Loomis wrote to Sam. “Well, dear Uncle Sam, I can without embellishment say that I could swear or cry, that it is impossible for me to go to you February eleventh” [MTP].
Frances Nunnally wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,— / That certainly is a lovely invitation you have given me, and I only wish I could say “yes”. Miss Carter never allows us girls to go away from the school, so I can’t possibly come to see you, though I surely wish I could. As I cannot persuade Miss Carter to let me come, I wish you would come down to Baltimore so I could see you. I know you don’t like traveling on the train, but if you should come to Washington or any where in this direction, do stop by here.
I came back to school on the ninth after a perfectly fine holiday at home. I had had such a lovely time and I did not want to come back to work a bit. I might as well get used to it, though, as I will have to study hard now until Easter, when we have about a week or ten days holiday.
I would give anything if I could come up to see you some time soon, but as I can’t, I hope I will see you down here. / I am / With Love, / Francesca [MTP; MTAq 98-9].
Clyde Potts wrote from Morristown, N.J. to Sam. “Dear Sir: / Have just finished my first reading of ‘The Jumping Frog.’ I bought the copy at one dollar net. I consider that I beat you on the deal and enclose herewith my ck for fifty cents. / Respky / Clyde Potts” [MTP]. Note: likely a ploy to gain a signature from Sam’s endorsement. Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 5, 08”
January 19 Sunday – In the morning Dr. Edward Quintard checked on Sam’s condition again, noting that he was “no worse” [NY Times Jan. 20, 1908, p.9 “Mark Twain No Worse”].
The New York Times, Jan. 18, 1908, ran a squib under “City Brevities” p.9:
Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) and Supreme Court Justice Greenbaum will address the annual meeting of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls to-morrow morning at 10:30 o’clock [Jan. 19] in the school building at Fifteenth Street and Second Avenue [Note: Sam was in bed with bronchitis and did not make this event. He sent a letter, not extant, to the group, expressing his regrets for not being present –New York Times, Jan 20, p.6 “Praises Teaching of Girls to Cook.” [Note: Samuel Greenbaum (1854-1930), was appointed to the NY Supreme Court in 1901 and served until 1923.]
The New York Times ran an article which included Mark Twain’s Jan. 17 letter to “Other Depositors of the Knickerbocker Trust Co.”
THE KNICKERBOCKER GETS 2 WEEKS MORE
Additional Assents to Satterlee Resumption Plan Coming in Rapidly.
MARK TWAIN’S WARNING
Tells Fellow-Depositors Who Are Holding Back to Hurry Back, as Does Justice Clarke Also.
Cheering news for depositors in the failed Knickerbocker Trust Company came from more than one quarter yesterday. At the hearing before Justice Clarke on Staten Island yesterday the announcement was made that $34,600,000 of deposits have already assented to the rehabilitation plan of the Parsons-Satterlee committee and that the present Directors had finally sent in their resignations, making possible the immediate consideration by the Voting Trustees of the long list of new Directors and officers tentatively selected by the committee. Justice Clarke granted a further extension of two weeks in which to get full assents to the resumption. Later a cheerful appeal, and at the same time a warning, from Mark Twain to the backward depositors was made public by Attorney Herbert L. Satterlee, counsel to the depositors’ committee.
Mark Twain, who has something like $50,000 tied up in the company, has already sent in his assent to the plan. He is afraid that enough of the others will stay out to hold up the reorganization and leave the company to the mercies of a permanent receivership, which he says would be more expensive than a harem. His letter read: [See Jan. 17 for letter].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: A long crazy heedless kind of day as far as I’m concerned, but full of the goodness of life where the King is concerned. Mrs. Mother Hapgood came in & talked a good deal about Mrs. Clemens & poor Jean, & the way she was criticised in Dublin when no one knew of her incriminating malady. I was terribly tired. The King slept a lot. Mrs. Littleton telephoned over to say they were sending some extra large oysters from the Manhattan Club for the King for his dinner, and when I asked him if they were good, he said, “No, they looked and tasted like a foetus.” Dear wonderful original King [MTP: IVL TS 10-11].
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam. “I received your telegram yesterday I am so sorry you are sick too, did you have to miss the matinee too. I hope I can come next Saturday” [MTP; not in MTAq].
January 19 Sunday ca. – Kate Douglas Riggs (aka Wiggin) wrote to Sam, heading the note, “Acceptance to Mark Twain’s Doe-Luncheon No 2 / February 11th 1908 / Air: ‘Believe me if all those endearing young charms!” and drawing a musical scale, followed by 8 lines of poetry, followed by this note: “N.B. A lady who is invited to, and attends, a Doe Luncheon, is of course, a Doe! The question is, if she attends two doe-luncheons in succession is she a doe-doe? If so she is extinct—and can never be asked to a third” [MTP].
January 20 Monday – The New York Times, p. 9 reported on Sam’s health, as “No Worse”:
MARK TWAIN NO WORSE
But Still In Bed Nursing His Cold—To Go to Bermuda Soon.
There was at least one sore man in the city yesterday, and he was sore in two places at once—in his chest and in his mind. The man was Samuel L. Clemens, whom almost everybody knows best as “Mark Twain.”
At this time last year he was enjoying the sun in Bermuda. To-day his is miserable and in his bed at his home, 21 Fifth Avenue, with a bad cold. If only he had gone to Bermuda, as he did last year at the beginning of January, he and Miss Lyon, his secretary, are certain that all would have been well with him. However, just as soon as he is able, the first steamer cannot take him to the West Indies too fast for Mr. Clemens’s liking.
It was on Wednesday that Mr. Clemens contracted his chill. In hurrying to keep an engagement he got very warm, and then he cooled off too quickly. Nothing more was thought of it until Friday evening, when, dressed in a think white china silk suit, he was playing billiards at home and complained of feeling cold. He changed into another white jacket of thicker texture and continued playing, and before going to bed had a strong “hot Scotch,” but he slept badly and the next morning there wasn’t any doubt about his having a cold.
They gave him a mustard bath and Dr. Edward Quintard was summoned. He ordered Mr. Clemens to stay in bed, and that’s where he is now.
Yesterday morning the doctor said that Mr. Clemens was not any worse, but at 72 one cannot be too careful. By careful nursing it is hoped that an attack of bronchitis may be staved off.
Mr. Clemens is still keeping up his friendship with little Miss Dorothy Quick, daughter of Mrs. E.G. Quick of Brooklyn, whom he met on board ship last July while returning from England. Since his return Miss Quick has twice visited with him at Tuxedo, and is often a caller at his Fifth Avenue home.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Henry Watterson called to see his kinsman, the King” [MTP: IVL TS 11].
Robert Underwood Johnson for American Copyright League wrote to Sam respectfully requesting him to be “one of the representatives of the Council at the funeral of Edmund Clarence Stedman at the Church of the Messiah, Jan. 21 at 3:45” [MTP].
Rossiter Lines wrote to Sam, pasting a newspaper clipping from the Milwaukee Free Press, “Mark Twain Ill at Home.” The clipping ended with: “Dr. Quintard, his physician, said tonight that he apprehended no serious results,” to which Lines quipped that at least the bronchitis had not made Sam serious [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 23, ‘08”
George Lockitt wrote from Queensland, Australia to ask for Sam’s autograph in a letter [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 21, ‘08” and “Too busy to write letters”
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon that she was sending John W. Postgate’s scenario and felt Lyon should read this before deciding to give him a 6 mos. option [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Returned the scenario”
Marion Peak Mason (Mrs. George Grant Mason) wrote from NYC to Sam. “When my two children came down to breakfast this morning they brought the inclosed and announced that it was for ‘Mark Twain.’ So at their solicitations I am sending it to you.” She hoped it would provide “an immediate cure” for him [MTP].
Polly Porter wrote to Miss Lyon enclosing a report from her father of the Oxford ceremonies [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 20, ‘08”; See earlier letter of Polly’s under 1908 entries.
Frank P. Stockbridge for the NY Herald wrote to Sam. He’d called this day but was told Sam was too sick to see him. He wanted “a few words” on vivisection as there was “a good deal of agitation over the matter just now” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Mr. Clemens not able to see anybody before sailing for Bermuda”
January 21 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally.
I wish you were here
And had 2 weeks to spare. Then I would pack you & Miss Lyon aboard ship & sail for Bermuda Saturday. Now you see what you are robbing her of—& she needs that trip very much. I shall take nobody but Ashcroft—yet he hasn’t any use for a voyage.
You are going to spend those ten Easter days here, aren’t you, dear? We’ll come to Catonville & fetch you.
Two hours ago I didn’t know I was going to Bermuda—& I can’t swear to it now. But Ashcroft has secured the staterooms, & I fully expect to be out of bed by Saturday.
Good-bye, dear. With love. … [MTP; MTAq 99].
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick.
Dorothy dear, tell your mother that the wisest way for her to spend money on your health will be to take you to Bermuda for a week or a fortnight; & you must tell her that the best TIME is next Saturday. (That is because I am going, then, & so is Ashcroft.) It’s the big ship (the “Bermudian”). She makes the passage across in 45 hours.
In Bermuda a sick person gets well in 3 days, & strong in a week. I expect to be gone from New York till Feb. 11, but I may be back earlier. I tried the trip twice last year, & I know—the change made me well in 3 days.
The doctors say I shall be well enough by Saturday to sail—so Mr. Ashcroft has secured the staterooms.
I hope you are well by this time, dear. You only need the Bermuda air to make you weller than ever you were in your life before.
With lots of love …
[MTP; MTAq 99-100]. Note: D. Hoffman writes that Sam had tried to interest Robert Collier and wife to join him on the Jan. 25 excursion to Bermuda, but “reverted” to Ashcroft .
Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell.
Miss Lyon told me the contents of Sam Davis’s first letter, & I told her to pay no attention to it, he being a mere—VERY mere—acquaintance of mine, & his venturing to pass the hat to me on behalf of the oldest & proudest friend I’ve got in the world is damned impertinence, & properly an insult to both you & me. I said Davis was all ass; that there was nothing to him BUT ass; & that whenever he does a thing it is because he has an axe to grind; not for gain, but the mere axe of a busybody, a meddler seeking to advertise himself & seem to be on familiar terms with people who care not a godam about him.
When your letter came, a minute ago, Miss Lyon explained that there had been another letter from Davis on this matter, but none from Tufts. She or Paine answered Davis’s letter—without my permission, (which would not have been granted.)
I am in bed bronchially & struggling with two doctors, but in 3 days I expect to be up & at sea—for Bermuda. I hardly know what I am writing, because my head is dizzy with drugs. My hand, too; but there’s nothing trembly about yours.
With love / Mark [MTP].
Note: Samuel Post Davis (1850-1918); Davis’ tale, “The First Piano in Camp” appeared in Mark Twain’s Library of Humor (1888) [Gribben 179]. Davis was considered one of the talented writers in the “Sagebrush School” of literature. A journalist all over the west he arrived in Virginia City in 1875, some eleven years after Mark Twain left. Davis also wrote poetry and sketches, including “The Typographical Howitzer,” a witty tale in the tradition of Twain. Perhaps his major achievement was the 1913 publication of History of Nevada in two volumes. Joe Goodman had written about Davis to Twain a few times (see Vol. I), but exactly when or if Twain ever met Davis is not clear. See the following readings for more on Davis:
Berkove, Lawrence I. “Samuel Post Davis in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction Writers, Vol. 202 of
the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale Research, 1999.
———, ed. Insider Stories of the Comstock Lode and Nevada’s Mining Frontier, 1859-1909. Lewiston, NY:
The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007.
———., ed. The Sagebrush Anthology. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2006.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King is going to Bermuda. / Wandering Jew. A psychic day. Howells letters” [MTP: IVL TS 11].
Thomas Hastings for the Architectural League wrote to Sam, enclosing an engraved invite to the annual dinner on Jan. 31, and mentioning John Mead Howells’ urging of Sam to attend [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 27, ‘08”
Jervis Langdon II wrote from Elmira to announce to Sam that the organ at St. James Church, NYC will be “practically finished the latter part of this week.” He’d read Sam was ill and going to Bermuda—would it be possible for Sam to go and hear the organ before he left? And, if he liked it would he help plot to get Andrew “Carnegie to hear it as we have already talked of doing”? [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “As soon as Mr. Clemens comes back from Bermuda we’ll arrange for Mr. Carnegie to go & hear it when I go”
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens / Thank you so much for our picture it is lovely and I am glad to have it I hope your cold is better now I am better but have not been to school yet the doctor is giving me a tonic and in another week I expect to be all right Mother say she dont think I will be able to come this Saturday but I hope surely the Saturday after I can come if you want me with much love to Miss Lyon and lots and lots and lots for you I am your loving little / Dot [MTP; MTAq 100]. Note: Dorothy hadn’t quite mastered the period, but did (sometimes) put several spaces between her sentences.
January 22 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Andrew Carnegie.
Dear St. Andrew:
I have had to decline this mission a couple of times in the past year or two, & the most I can do now is to forward the letter—which I do, & leave it to take its chances.
That whisky came very handy. I had a very wild & exasperating cold, but a pint of the whisky tamed it in 3 minutes by the watch & I did not wake up again for ten hours.
I shall be out of bed tomorrow, I think, & I’ll break straightway for Bermuda [MTP].
Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells.
I find that Sam Moffett has been lending old letters of mine to Mr. Paine without first submitting them to me for approval or the reverse, so I’ve stopped it. I don’t like to have those privacies exposed in such a way to even my biographer. If Paine should apply to you for letters, please don’t comply. I must warn Twichell, too. A man should be dead before his private foolishnesses are risked in print.
I’m sick abed, these days, but shall be out & off for Bermuda Saturday.
Yours ever— / Mark
[MTP; MTHL 2: 828]. Note: Moffett at this time was on the staff of Collier’s. See Howells’ reply Feb. 4.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: I am loving life very much. The King got up this afternoon & dined downstairs. He talked wonderfully about astronomy, a favorite topic, & then about morals, the moral quality, intellect, & temperament. I got mixed up in my mind of course.
Mr. Moffett came today & told me when I said the King was distressed to know that Paine had copied quantities of the King’s early letters, that Paine gave him to understand that it was the King’s particular wish that he should have them. The King said last night that the next thing Paine would be getting letters from Howells, and he proceeded to write to Mr. Howells asking him not to comply. When the King spoke of the Howells letters my heart stood still, for my anxiety had projected itself into his mind and he said the thing he should have said.
[undated pieces of notepaper inserted at January 22] Note: this appears to be draft of a letter to Albert Bigelow Paine. It may or may not have been sent. Isabel identifies the day as “Friday,” which is likely Jan. 24, since Clemens left for Bermuda on Jan. 25.
The King has been talking about the volume of letters that Clara is going to compile, & asking for some old letters. I went up to the trunk tray that was in your room & found that some of the letters are gone. Have you taken them? & some of the Orion ms. too. If you haven’t got them, then I’m terribly worried. I’m worried anyway. I should not have left them there. I wanted to speak bout the matter to Mrs. Paine over the telephone this morning, but someone was listening. I know just about what was in that trunk tray, & now it seems to me that I saw you going down the hall with a bundle of letters, but I felt you wouldn’t take any without telling me. I am becoming extraordinarily psychic lately. It must be that yogi philosophy, for within the last week several unusual things have happened. I see things—when I was making that call to Redding, & by the way I tried for an hour to get you, & central kept saying that it was a party-line & some one was talking. 3 times she rang me up to say “They’re still talking.” So you can see how impossible it would be for the King to be on a party line. But as I was saying, when I called for long distance, & you, I suddenly saw Mrs. Paine standing at the telephone, so I corrected Central telling her to be sure & call for Mrs. Paine too. I was absolutely certain that you wouldn’t answer it. I have been pretty anxious over the King (& other matters too.) & have tried to have some one to cheer him, for he seems depressed & lonely. Terribly lonely. He got up at 10:30 yesterday (It is 5 o’clock Friday morning) & began billiarding, longing for a companion. I tried to get one, but of course everyone was busy & it made me so sick to hear him say that the Almighty was particularly attentive to him, denying him even billiards. I shall go to bed for a couple of days after the King goes, for I think I must be a little exhausted. I have taken sole care of the King which means an hourly attention from 8 a.m. until 12 midnight, in order to rout out a very tenacious germ, but we routed it. There is to be a Doe party, Feb 11th.
I think life is very wonderful & extravagant in its interests. The King & CC are perfect companions for me, but when the King goes I shall be like a lonely grey smoke-woman. Can I endure it for 12 days. I’m so glad Ashcroft could take him, for he needs the change badly. / Sincerely IVL. / Please tell me ‘bout the letters. I’ve just been thinking that perhaps I put those letters elsewhere. I’ll look today.
[The journal continues for Jan. 22: ]
Heavy snow over this beautiful wonderful world. The King is becoming very much interested in the house & C.C. is too. Oh very much. I’m another woman now & my new name is Madame Naud [MTP: IVL TS 11-14].
Edward John Bing wrote from Budapest, Hungary to ask Sam for his autograph [MTP].
Frances Nunnally wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,—
I surely do wish I could go to Bermuda for I cannot imagine anything nicer, and I should love to have a holiday like that with you. It certainly is lovely of you to ask me to spend my Easter vacation with you, and there is nothing I should like better, but I cannot promise anything now, as I don’t know what Mother has planned for me.
I only have a very few minutes before I shall have to go to bed, but I just wanted to write you a line to wish you the very best of trips. So hoping you will enjoy your two-weeks voyage very much, I am / With love / Francesca [MTP; MTAq 101].
January 22-25? Saturday – In N.Y.C. Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Capt. Frazier.
Dear Capt Frazier
By Mr. Clemens’s direction I write to say that Mr. Chas J. Langdon is his brother in law, & he hopes that you will arrange the weather in such a way as to make it as pleasant for Mr. Langdon as possible, & when the opportunity offers, Mr. Clemens will be glad to reciprocate in kind [MTP].
January 23 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote his aphorism about honors, deserved and not deserved, to Miss Eulabee Dix [MTP]. Note: Eulabee Dix (1878-1961), American artist who painted watercolors on ivory for miniature works of art. Born in Illinois, Dix moved to NYC in 1899 and studied under various artists. She did commissions for well known persons, including Ethel Barrymore. In 1908 Dix did the last painting of Mark Twain from real life. Note the Oxford gown in insert of miniature: It is now in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute. In Looking for Eulabee Dix by Jo Ann Ridley, Twain is quoted as saying he had only previously sat for one miniature portrait in Italy.
Sam also wrote to Marcella Sembrich:
Dear Madame Sembrich:
Eight or ten ladies will assemble at tables at the above address at
1 p.m. February 11
to partake of what Mrs. Kate Douglas Riggs calls my “doe luncheon,” & which I call my “dear-luncheon.” I am the only animal of my sex present on these solemn occasions. And I am in command: Clara is only a subordinate.
Will you do me the honor to come? I hope you will. / Sincerely yours [MTP].
The New York Times, p. 4, “Pilgrims to Dine Reid” announced a dinner in honor of Ambassador to England Whitelaw Reid to be held sometime in February. Mark Twain was noted as having agreed to speak at the dinner.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Englishman. / The Bermuda tickets have come, & Ashcroft is to take the King. He will be away 12 days. Mother must come back to me.
Today I telephoned out to Redding telling AB that the King is going to Bermuda & that he needn’t come down. Somehow all my confidence is gone, & I do not greatly want to see him. My anxiety over the Howells letters incident seems almost to be making me ill. My philosophy is gone.
We had a glorious snow storm last night. & Today the King has spent a good deal of time at the windows, for he loves to watch the snow & its affects.
I played tonight to the King, his favorites, Chopin Nocturn Op 37 [,] No. 2 Schuberts Impromptu.
adagio movement of Beethoven Sonata Pathetique, the Lohengrin Wedding March,
and then he went gently up to his room, with a green woolen afghan falling from
I found my heart & soul flooding over with the tears that
have been moving too heavy for me all day [MTP: IVL TS 14].
Emily W. Burbank wrote from NYC to express her joy at being summoned to the Doe Luncheon [MTP].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon that she rec’d her letter and would inform John W. Postgate to go ahead and try to make a play out of JA [MTP].
Edmund Stedman’s female cousin (unnamed) wrote to Sam relating the last moments of Stedman’s life, realizing “what an irreparable loss you feel in his sudden ‘going home’” [MTP]. Note: Stedman was not one of Sam’s favorites and this editor speculates the loss was not quite irreparable.
Martha Thompson wrote from Bonaire, Houston Co. Ga., to ask Sam if she could write to him again for advice [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 28, ‘08”
January 24 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Jan. 16 from Elinor Sutherlin Glyn. The letter below was Sam’s protest of the publication by Glyn of a pamphlet (Mark Twain on Three Weeks) which included a purported verbatim account of a conversation between the two discussing Glyn’s novel, Three Weeks (1907), which had shocked sensibilities (and gained many sales) for it’s unabashed account of an adulterous relationship.
Dear Mrs. Glyn—it reads pretty poorly. I get the sense of it, but it is a poor literary job. However, it would have to be that because nobody can be reported even approximately except by a stenographer. Approximations, synopsized speeches, translated poems, artificial flowers and chromos all have a sort of value, but it is small. If you had put upon paper what I really said it would have wrecked your type machine.
I said some fetid and over-vigorous things, but that was because it was a confidential conversation. I said nothing for print. My own report of the same conversation reads like Satan roasting a Sunday school. It, and certain other readable chapters of my autobiography, will not be published until all the Clemens family are dead—dead and correspondingly indifferent. They were written to entertain me, not the rest of the world. I am not here to do good—at last, not to do it intentionally. You must pardon me for dictating this letter; I am still sick a-bed and not feeling as well as I might. / Sincerely yours / S.L. Clemens [MTP].
Notes: Glyn’s pamphlet is dated as 1908; it would have predated this letter by at least a few days. See also Dec. 1907 entry and others on Glyn; Gribben 262; Scharnhorst 673-4, quotes the N.Y. American for Sept. 27, 1908, sec.2, p.1 (see Sept 27 entry for this short interview). Glyn would coin the term the “It Girl” for Clara Bow in 1927.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Such a busy day, planning for the King’s departure, looking after him to see
that he does not get into drafts when he stands at the leaky loose windows to
watch the snow & the children & the dogs & things frolicking in the
beautiful white storm. Ashcroft came after dinner & while Mrs. Littleton was here to say goodbye to the King & to
bring him a great basket of pears I slipped away to talk with Ashcroft about
the letters episode, & he approved of my method of procedure with Mr.
Howells for I wrote him of the fact that the King is quite unaware that Paine
sent for the letters. /
Ashcroft is so good— [MTP: IVL TS 15]. Note:
See Lyon’s journal for Jan. 22 which included a letter to Albert Bigelow
Paine written this day about the letters taken.
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon, again about John W. Postgate’s efforts to dramatize JA [MTP]. Note: Marbury wrote many notes to Lyon or Clemens on every detail with regard to dramatizing Twain’s works.
F.J. Neil wrote to Sam, at least the second reader to catch that in his Autobiography he wrote he paid Horace Bixby $100 while in LM paid him $500. “There is yet time to repair the wrong & so save your reputation to future generations” [MTP]. Note: Was miscatalogued as “F.J. Weil.” Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 28, 1908” and “Mr Clemens does not carry these small details in his mind. And the probabilities are that the statement in Life on the Miss is the correct one”
Dorothy Quick wrote from Plainfield, NJ to Sam on the SS Bermudian. “I am so glad you are over your cold and able to go away….I have a new book called Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum it is awfully nice, and awfully funny I am going to send this to the steamer for I am afraid you wont get it otherwise” Dorothy hoped to go to Bermuda in the spring [MTP].
Marcella Sembrich wrote to Sam, sorry she could not attend the Doe Luncheon on Feb. 11 due to a singing performance in Syracuse that day [MTP].
Stephen Terry wrote from Surbiton, Herefordshire to thank Sam for “Soldier Boy” and to ask him to read his articles in The Animal World for “April to Sept last year, which I am sending for your kind acceptance.” He wished he’d met Sam at the Savage Club in London [MTP].
Harry P. Wood left Sam his calling card: “With earnest wishes for your early and full recovery.” He also wrote a full letter from Washington, DC that when in NY he’d left photos and pamphlets describing Hawaii—a place he felt would bring Sam back to good health” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Jan. 27, ‘08”
January 25 Saturday – Sam left for Bermuda on the Bermudian. The New York Times, Jan. 26, p. 4 noted his departure and added:
“Mr. Clemens has been ill at his home for some days, and when he arrived at the vessel went direct to his stateroom and did not emerge while the vessel was at her pier. He was ordered south by his physician because of an attack of laryngitis.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King left at 8 this morning in Margaret Frohman’s beautiful big motor car. Yesterday when she telephoned that she wanted to send it & I told the King, he was very glad, because he’d been wanting to go to the boat in mobile. He has been very beautiful these 2 or 3 days past, deintalized by his illness. At 7:30 I found him up & dressed in front of the fire in his room. I dropped on my knees beside him & he chatted for a moment, saying he hadn’t slept very well. Then came his breakfast, then his departure, & then the empty house. All day I’ve been on my couch, this afternoon going to bed, faint with anxiety, exhaustion, & loneliness. Santa had a wireless to say that the weather is good, sun shining & that there is what appears to be a good ships’ company [MTP: IVL TS 15-16].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon asking her to have Sam sign the enclosed contract with John W. Postgate (not in file) [MTP].
January 26 Sunday – After traversing stormy seas, the Bermudian docked in Hamilton Harbor, Bermuda in the morning [D. Hoffman 89]. Note: The passage took 45 hours; Sam left shortly after a ten-inch snowstorm in NYC [A.D. of Feb. 12].
Woodrow Wilson, at that time President of Princeton, arrived in Bermuda on Jan. 20, and wrote his wife, Ellen Axson Wilson on Jan. 26:
Now I am cut out by Mark Twain! He arrived on the boat this morning, and Mrs. Peck at once took possession of him. They are old friends. Indeed, she seems to know everybody that is worth knowing. She has been coming down here a great many winters, and everybody turns up here sooner or later, it would seem. I have not yet found out where Mr. Clemons [sic] is staying. I hoped he was coming to the Hamilton, but he went off in the other direction. I did not get a chance to speak to him, and do not now whether he would remember me or not [D. Hoffman 95]. Note: Mary Allen Hulbert Peck (Mrs. Hulbert). Of course Clemens would have remembered attending Wilson’s inauguration as Princeton’s President on Oct. 25, 1902, and possibly Wilson’s honorary degree at Yale’s Bicentennial on Oct. 23, 1901.
Wilson later became the subject of rumors about Mrs. Peck, with whom it seems evident that he had a brief extra-marital affair. Mrs. Peck’s Bermuda residence was a sort of social hub for luminaries who visited the islands. Theodore Roosevelt, in a political battle with Wilson, refused to use the scandal or to question Wilson’s morals. Roosevelt said that using such rumors wouldn’t work—“You can’t cast a man as Romeo who looks and acts so much like the apothecary’s clerk.” [Edith and Woodrow: The Wilson White House, by Phyllis Lee Levin (2001), p. 131].
D. Hoffman writes of the habit of children at the hotel to leave for the harbor whenever a cruise ship was docking, and quotes from Elizabeth Wallace’s memoir, Mark Twain and the Happy Island.
The road to the hotel wound upward, and on either side of it palmettos rustled noisily beside still and somber cedars.
Out from under their shadows stepped a gray figure with a crown of glistening white hair. He walked lightly and looked about him with an air of interested and unconscious expectancy. As he came nearer the hotel veranda we recognized the shaggy eyebrows, the delicately arched nose, the drooping moustache…
As a usual thing Margaret [Blackmer] and I felt but a languid interest in the passengers who came, for they did not invade our world. But on the morning that Mark Twain arrived, we felt an unusual thrill…
Margaret’s table was not far from ours, and that day she was sitting alone. Presently Mark Twain came in, and as he reached her table he stopped and spoke to her. He not only spoke to her, but had a conversation with her. I knew, then, that he had recognized her as one of the choice souls of the earth [90-1]. Note: Margaret Gray Blackmer (1897-1987), “a lovely looking child of twelve,” was traveling with her invalid mother. She would become an Angelfish in Sam’s collection. Wallace was a professor of French literature and dean at the University of Chicago . See Jan. 27 entry.
Isabel Lyon’s journal:
Today I got out of bed to call up Tino [Paine] in Redding
& to ask about letters that I am missing & that the King & Santa
would hold me responsible for. He was cross & answered in a burst of ill
temper that he had many letters & would take them when he wanted to. This
is not quite right of Tino—& is a new & regrettable attitude,
my anxiety over it is making me ill [MTP: IVL TS 16].
January 26 to February 2 –– Sometime during the short stay in Bermuda, Sam traveled to Somerset to see 29-year-old Upton Sinclair, who had arrived on the island on Dec. 20, 1907 for a six-month stay. In 1906 Sinclair sent a copy of his best-known book, The Jungle, to Clemens (see Gribben 644). At this time Sinclair was collaborating with fellow socialist Michael Williams on a book about health. The Royal Gazette of Feb. 8 reported on Sam’s trip to Somerset. D. Hoffman writes, quoting the Gazette:
…the carriage ride to Somerset took so long they had no time for a vegetarian dinner. Although he did “not go to the length of declaring himself a vegetarian,” the paper said, Clemens was “in the habit of curing occasional ailments by total abstinence from meat during periods of a week or more at a time” [98-9].
Also during the trip, day undetermined:
His A.D. for Feb. 14 concerned his discovery of a new photographic process called Lumiere, and of a photograph he had taken with Margaret Blackmer. This may have taken place any time during the stay.
One’s first contact with a fresh, new, thrilling novelty is for him a memorable event. I still remember quite clearly the wonder and delight that, swept through me the first time I ever saw a daguerreotype; and alone with it was the sense that there wasn’t any reality about this miracle; that it was a dream, a product of enchantment—beautiful, astonishing, but impermanent. I still remember my first contact with the electric telegraph, and with the phonograph, and with the wireless, and with the telephone, and with the Hoe press—which with my own eyes I saw print twenty thousand newspapers on one side in an hour, and cauldn’t quite believe it although I was actually seeing it. Oh, compare that wee marvel with to-day’s press! In Bermuda an addition was made to the list of these great first contacts, these splendid impossibles: it was the autochrome. I had never seen a sample of that lovely miracle before. A gentleman amateur there had half-a-dozen pictures, made by himself by the Lumiere process, of Bermudian scenery, and a picture of his little girl reposing in the midst of tapestries and vases and rugs, and flowers, and other things distinguished for variety and beauty of coloring, and I was carried away with them. I was glad to have lived to see at last that old, old dream of the photographer come true—, the colored photograph painted by the master, the sun.
How many wonderful inventions have had their birth since I was born. Broadly speaking, it is an interminable list. I was born in the same year that the lucifer-match was born, and the latest link in this great chain is the dainty and bewitching Lumiere.
The amateur whom I have spoken of was preparing an article about the lumiere process for one of the great magazines, and he wanted a picture of me for use as one of the illustrations. I was quite willing to sit, but said Margaret must be put into the picture with me. The picture was notably successful. I was in white, and so was Margaret. Her frock was a very white white, and her white jacket had broad lapels of an intense red; also she wore a red leather belt. My white clothes were of three slightly differing shades of white, and in the picture those shades were exactly reproduced— the coat one shade of white, the shirt-front a slightly whiter white, the necktie a slightly whiter white than the shirt-front. The Lumiere had a sharper eye than myself; I had not detected those differences until it revealed them to me . . . . .
One day Miss W. [Wallace] betrayed to me one of Margaret’s sweet little confidences. Margaret said to her,
“Is Mr. Clemens married?”
Margaret after a little pause said, with a dear and darling earnestness, and much as if she were soliloquizing aloud,
“If I were his wife I would never leave his side for a moment; I would stay by him and watch him, and take care of him all the time.”
It was the mother instinct speaking from the child of twelve; it took no note of the disparity of age; it took no note of my seventy-two years; it noticed only that I was careless, and it was affetionately prepared to protect me from my defect [MTP].
January 27 Monday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to daughter Clara .
Clara dear, we arrived early this morning, after a voyage which began in good form but soon degenerated into storm and turmoil.
We are very comfortably located, in the new addition to the Princess, with private bathroom, etc. The weather is balmy and sunny and altogether satisfactory. The hotels are full of people, and a shark has been seen in the Bay. There is no other society-news, therefore nothing further to report to you. I am getting ready to catch the shark, and will send him when I get him. / With love and kisses, / Marcus [MTP].
Sam also wrote to daughter Jean.
Jean dear, we have arrived, & have been housed in the hotel an hour. There are many tourists here, & I know some of them—among others, Woodrow Wilson, Admiral Upshur, & Miss Sloan, of Long Island. The sun is brilliant & the temperature soft & balmy.
A beautiful dog has come in, uninvited, & has gone to sleep in a chair. He is a bow-legged brindle, & his underjaw sticks out so far that it breaks the fall of his tears when he weeps.
There isn’t anything to write about, dear Jean, so I close with love & kisses / Father [MTP]. Note: Admiral John Henry Upshur (1823-1917), veteran of the Mexican War and Civil War.
Sam’s A.D. of Feb. 13 revisited this first full day in Bermuda:
My first day in Bermuda paid a dividend—in fact a double dividend—it broke the back of my cold and it added a jewel to my collection. As I entered the breakfast-room the first object I saw in that spacious and far-reaching place was a little girl seated solitary at a table for two. I bent down over her and patted her check and said, affectionately and with compassion,
“Why you dear little rascal—do you have to eat your breakfast all by yourself in this desolate way” She turned up her face with a sweet friendliness in it and said, not in a tone of censure, but of approval,
“Mamma is a little slow, but she came down here to get rested.”
“She has found the right place, dear. I don’t seem to remember your name; what is it?”
By the sparkle in her brown eyes, it amused her. She said,
“Why you’ve never known it, Mr. Clemens, because you’ve never seen me before.”
“Why that is true, now that I come to think; it certainly is true and it must be one of the reasons why I have forgotten your name. But I remember it now perfectly—it’s Mary.”
She was amused again; amused beyond smiling; amused to a chuckle, a musical gurgle, and she said,
“Oh no it isn’t, it’s Margaret.”
I feigned to be ashamed of my mistake, and said,
“Ah well, I couldn’t have made that mistake a few years ago, but I am old now, and one of age’s earliest infirmities is a damaged memory; but I am clearer now—clearer-headed—it all comes back to me; I remember your whole name now, just as if it were yesterday. It’s Margaret Holcomb.”
She was surprised into a laugh this time; the rippling laugh that a happy brook makes when it breaks out of the shadow into the sunshine, and she said,
“Oh you are wrong again; you don’t get anything right. It isn’t Holcomb, it’s Blackmer.”
I was ashamed again, and confessed it; then
“How old are you, dear?”
“Twelve, New Year’s. Twelve and a month.”
“Ah, you’ve got it down fine, honey; it belongs to your blessed time of life; when we get to be seventy-two we don’t reckon by months any more.”
She said, with a fine complimentary surprise in her innocent eyes,
“Why you don’t look old, Mr. Clemens.”
I said I wasn’t, except by the almanac—otherwise I was only fourteen. I patted her dainty brown hand and added,
“Good-bye dear, I am going to my table now; but after breakfast—Where are you going to wait for me?”
“In the big general room.”
“I’ll be there.”
We were close comrades—inseparables in fact—for eight days. Every day we made pedestrian excursions—called them that any way, and honestly they were intended for that, and that is what they would have been but for the persistent intrusion of a gray and grave and rough coated little donkey by the name of Maude. Maude was four feet long; she was mounted on four slender little stilts, and had ears that doubled her altitude when she stood them up straight. Which she seldom did. Her ears were a most interesting study. She was always expressing her private thoughts and opinions with them, and doing it with such nice shadings, and so intelligibly, that she had no need of speech whereby to reveal her mind. This was all new to me. The donkey had always been a sealed book to me before, but now I saw that I could read this one as easily as I could read coarse print. Sometimes she would throw those ears straight forward, like the prongs of a fork; under the impulse of a fresh emotion she would lower the starboard one to a level; next she would stretch it backward till it pointed nor’-nor’east; next she would retire it to due east, and presently clear down to southeast-by—south—all these changes revealing her thoughts to me without her suspecting it.
She always worked the port ear for a quite different set of emotions, and sometimes she would fetch both ears rearward till they were level and became a fork, the one prong pointing southeast the other southwest. She was a most interesting little creature, and always self-possessed, always dignified always resisting authority; never in agreement with anybody, and if she ever smiled once during the eight days I did not catch her at it. Her tender was a little bit of a cart with seat room for two in it, and you could fall out of it without knowing it, it was so close to the ground. This battery was in command of a nice grave, dignified, gentle-faced little black boy whose age was about twelve, and whose name, for some reason or other, was Reginald. Reginald and Maud—I shall not easily forget those names, nor the combination they stood for once I reproached Reginald. I said,
“Reginald, what kind of morals do you sport? You contracted to be here with the battery yesterday afternoon-on the Sabbath Day, mind you—at two o’clock, to assist in the usual pedestrian excursion to Spanish Point and Paradise Vale, and you violated that contract. What is the explanation of this conduct—this conduct which in my opinion is criminal?”
He was not flurried, not affected in any way; not humiliated, not disturbed in his mind. He didn’t turn a feather, but justified his course as calmly and as comprehensively as Maud could have done it with her ears:
“Why I had to go to Sunday school.”
I said with severity,
“So it is Bermudian morals, is it, to break contracts in order to keep the Sabbath? What do you think of yourself, Reginald?”
The rebuke was lost; it didn’t hit him anywhere he said, easily and softly and contentedly, “Why I couldn’t keep ‘em both; I had to break one of ‘em.” I dropped the matter there. There’s no use in arguing against a settled conviction.
excursioning party always consisted of the same persons: Miss W., [Wallace]
Ashcroft, Margaret, Reginald,
[in handwriting: Misses Elizabeth Wallace.]
A bright and charming
lady with a touch of gray in her hair, head of a college in the University of
Chicago, Margaret’s most devoted friend, if I except myself, Maud and me. The
trip, out + return, was five or six
miles, and it generally took us three hours to make it. This was because Maud
set the pace.
Sometimes she kept up with her own shadow, but mostly she
didn’t. She had the finest eye in the company for an ascending grade; she
could detect an ascending grade where neither water nor a spirit-level could do
it, and whenever she detected an ascending grade she respected it; she stopped
and said with her ears,
“This is getting unsatisfactory. We will camp here.”
Then all the vassals would get behind the cart and shove it up the ascending grade, and shove Maud along with it. The whole idea of these excursions was that Margaret and I should employ them for the gathering of strength, by walking—yet we were oftener in the cart than out of it. She drove and I superintended. In the course of the first excursion I found a beautiful little shell on the beach at Spanish Point; its hinge was old and dry, and the two halves came apart in my hand. I gave one of them to Margaret and said,
“Now dear, sometime or other in the future I shall run across you somewhere, and it may turn out that it is not you at all, but will be some girl that only resembles you. I shall be saying to myself ‘I know that this is a Margaret, by the look of her but I don’t know for sure whether this it is my Margaret or somebody else’s; but no matter, I can soon find out, for I shall take my half shell out of my pocket and say ‘I think you are my Margaret, but I am not certain; if you are my Margaret you will be able to produce the other half of this shell’”.
Next morning when I entered the breakfast-room and saw the child sitting solitary at her two-seated breakfast-table I approached and scanned her searchingly all over, then said sadly,
“No, I am mistaken; she looks like my Margaret, but she isn’t, and I am so sorry, I will go away and cry, now.”
Her eyes danced triumphantly, and she cried out,
“No, you don’t have to. There!” and she fetched out the identifying shell.
I was beside myself with gratitude and joyful surprise, and revealed it from every pore. The child could not have enjoyed this thrilling little drama more if we had been playing it on the stage. Many times afterward she played the chief part herself, pretending to be in doubt as to my identity and challenging me to produce my half of the shell. She was always hoping to catch me without it, but I always defeated that game—wherefore she came at last to recognize that I was not only old, but very smart [MTP; D. Hoffman in part, 93-4 ].
Note: Elizabeth Wallace, dean of women at the University of Chicago on vacation, saw Sam’s love of girls between ten and sixteen as a desire to retrieve the loss of daughter Susy . Margaret Gray Blackmer (1897-1987) was the daughter of lawyer and financier Henry Myron Blackmer and his first wife Helen Kerr. Henry had made his wealth financing railroads, and in banking and oil. He was known as a free-spender.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King throws such a new strong light, such a delighting original light on every subject that is brought up that when he is away we move through letter parade of conversation in darkness.
Lounsbury came in today to talk about the telephone line & poles & closing up the gates that let the cattle in to wander over the King’s land, & the cess pool & the gas. Some of those men have been so slow. He says that the 3 big windows out of the dining room are outlined in red stucco—& that they don’t quite like it. Lounsbury is touching, for his devotion to the King’s place takes up all his thought & he sat here with the tears running down his cheeks when he told how he had sat up all night to keep the furnaces going so that the plastering wouldn’t freeze. The men take turn about. Then he said that when Sunderland came up to figure up for the speaking tube that runs from the King’s room to the kitchen & found the cost of it, because it isn’t in the contract, then struck his pencil through the figures saying, “It’s the only thing he has asked for, & I guess we can make him [a] present of that” [MTP: IVL TS 16-17].
January 28 Tuesday – Elisabeth Marbury wrote to bug Miss Lyon to return the contract with John W. Postgate ASAP [MTP].
January 29 Wednesday – M. Howard wrote from Richmond, Ind. to Sam, having been “very much entertained” by CS. He disagreed that Christian Science would spread over the world and mentioned past religious fanatical women whose movements failed [MTP].
Homer Saint-Gaudens wrote from Windsor, Vt. on “Estate of Augustus Saint-Gaudens” letterhead to ask Sam for any letters to his late father. He was planning a book and added:
What started me in writing to you was a remark of my Uncle Louis Saint-Gaudens who said that my father had seen a good deal of you when he was in Paris in the early seventies, and that it used to amuse him greatly to watch you smoke cigar after cigar in endless sequence [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Tell him with pleasure we let him have the letters which are prize, & that we shall like to have the originals back”
January 30 Thursday – Capt. John W. Crawford, “The Poet Scout” (1847-1917) wrote to Sam, enclosing a poem “To Mark Twain,” and two printed sheets, one picturing Crawford in a Buffalo-Bill-like outfit, and the other “Poems and Songs of the Poet Scout.” He also enclosed two post-card sized copies of a poem “A Sunshine Boomerang,” and the following note:
Say Mark / Let’s meet and shake before the parting—Sam Davis said to me in 1877, while sitting at my bedside when I was laid up with a leg on a strike, “if you ever get near where Mark Twain is, send your card and say ‘by order of Sam Davis’”—and I’ve wanted to do it lots of times, but knowing you were a busy, strenuous worker, I hesitated to break in on you, but just lately I have had a great desire to meet and swap a few with you if only for a moment—I will be at the Hoffman till about the 5th or 6th of February, and I hope you will order me up, and believe me you are enshrined in my old Broncho heart low these many years—and I am your friend in clouds or sunshine
[MTP]. Sam’s reply after Feb. 5 and his return to NY: “Answer/ Dear Captain: / It is sorrow to me that you got away so soon. I arrived the very night that you escaped westward. / The next time you are coming, I beg you to give me a few days’ notice, so that I can be clear of engagements. / Sincerely Yours / Mark Twain”. Note: see also Sept. 19, 1908 from Crawford.
Sam’s A.D.: “It takes a Cromwell…ten years to raise the standards of English offical and commercial norals to a respect-worthy altitude” [Gribben 129].
The New York Times, p. 8 reported:
Receiver Wants to See Mark Twain.
Armed with an order signed by Judge Holt of the United States District Court, Charles L. Brookheim is looking for Mark Twain to get from him the books of the Plasmon Company, of which the humorist was President prior to the recent bankruptcy proceedings against it. Mr. Bookheim was appointed receiver of the company. Mark Twain is at present in Bermuda.
January 31 Friday – Sam was in Bermuda.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Such a delightful two letters from Ashcroft about the King & his journey down to Bermuda” [MTP: IVL TS 17].
John W. Crawford wrote on Hoffman House, NY notepaper to Miss Lyon after learning Clemens was gone to Bermuda. He asked if she might make sure Sam saw his Broncho Verse and asked for an autograph [MTP].
February – Clemens signed his copy of Collected Verse of Rudyard Kipling (1907): “SL. Clemens / Feb. ’08 / from Doubleday” [Gribben 376]. Note: Sam would read from the volume in Bermuda in March.
February 1 Saturday – Sam was in Bermuda.
February 2 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Stevenson makes Gilbert in Urir falter mislon say he’d ‘had great gale of prayer upon my spirit’—& it’s a perfect expression” [MTP: IVL TS 17].
James D. Macnab wrote on Plainfield High School, NJ notepaper to ask Sam “the title of the composition and its location which contains the rhyme: ‘Punch, brother, punch, punch with care” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 5, ‘08”
February 3 Monday – Sam left Bermuda on the S.S. Bermudian [D. Hoffman 100].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Homer Saint-Gaudens has written to ask if the King has any of his father’s letters, & there are some” [MTP: IVL TS 17].
Gertrude W. Arnold wrote to Sam (not found at MTP).
Charles J. Langdon wrote from the Hotel Maryland in Pasadena, Calif. where he had evidently gone for his health. He apologized for being quoted regarding Clemens “being no businessman” in the NY Tribune and that Langdon had not agreed with Sam putting his money in the Knickerbocker. Although true, he didn’t understand “How the statement ever got out.” He also mentioned an inaccurate article in the Pasadena paper “of Saturday stating that I was stopping at this hotel and was telling jokes and stories…” Everything is in the first person, as if he is alone. He ends with, “I think I am doing as well out here as could be expected. I am very much better than when I came, but I don’t rest well nights, which makes me rather weak and nervous during the day” [MTP].
February 4 Tuesday – William Dean Howells, in Rome, replied to Sam’s Jan. 22:
My dear Clemens: / Your wish about your letters comes, I am sorry to say, two months too late. When a biographer asks me for the biographee’s letters, I always give them, if I can find them, which sometimes I can’t; and I saw Paine on such intimate terms with you that I should not have hesitated to offer him all your letters. I could only, as I remember find ten or twelve, from those you had written me during the last five or six years. He said he would have them copied and returned to me, but he has not done so, for I think I told him there was no hurry. You get them of him, and see for yourself how little their tenor could annoy you if they were publisht after you were gone. The vast bulk of your letters are at Kittery Point, where no one but I could find them, even if I could. I don’t think Paine could abuse the confidence put in him, or would make an indiscreet use of them; but I no more thought of asking you whether I should give them than I thought of asking Mrs. Aldrich whether I should give Aldrich’s very intimate letters to his biographer, when he askt for them. Of course Paine will do exactly what you say about them; he spoke to me with entire judgment and good sense.
We are having a gay time here in a week’s wet. My wife has not been out of the house since she came into it ten days ago, and Pilla has been three days in bed with the sorest throat in history. She bemoans her absence from Bermuda, where I hope we shall go with you next winter about bronchitis time.
I suppose we shall like Rome when we get round to it. Meantime, nothing could be more comfortable than this hotel. The nice quiet Americans in it don’t speak above their breaths because the nice quiet English wont speak at all.
We join in love to each of you. Yours ever / W. D. Howells [MTHL 2: 829-30]. Note: source gives Ferris Lowell Greenslet (1875-1959) for his Life of Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1908). At this time he was assoc. editor for Atlantic Monthly. See also Gribben 276.
David Bruce Conklin wrote from Brooklyn to ask Sam for his endorsement, “a few lines touching upon the sentiment depicted in the enclosed illustration of the fine photogravure that is being placed on the market.” The illustration, referred to as “the Library picture” is not in the file [MTP].
Richard S. Graves wrote on St. Joseph News-Press, (Mo.) letterhead after receiving a magazine containing pictures of “Some of the Leading Humorists of America,” and noting he was shown as well as Mark Twain. Graves bet Sam had never heard of him and observed that he’d acquired the title in 38 years while Sam had taken 70 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 21, ‘08”
Woodrow Wilson in Bermuda, wrote again to his wife about Mark Twain:
“Mark Twain has been down here between boats, and I have seen a good deal of him. He seems to like being with me. Yesterday Mrs. [Mary Allen] Peck gave him a lunch at her house and gathered a most interesting little group of garrison people to meet him. He was in great form and delighted everybody” [R. Baker 268].
February 5 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mother & I went to see Margaret Illington [Frohman] in The Thief. She was very fine & we went to talk to the dear impulsive creature after the play. Dan Frohman tried to find a cab for us, for ours didn’t stay for us & so we had to get home by trams in a driving snow storm” [MTP: IVL TS 17].
February 5? Wednesday – On the S.S. Bermudian en route to N.Y.C. Sam, Ralph W. Ashcroft, and Margaret Blackmer wrote on an engraving of the ship to Elizabeth Wallace at the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda: “We all send our grateful remembrances and kindest regards to Miss Wallace, Maud[e] & Reginald.” [MTP]. Note: Maude was the donkey they used for excursions, directed by the 12-year-old black boy, Reginald. See Hoffman’s Mark Twain in Paradise p.91-2.
February 6 Thursday – In the evening, the S.S. Bermudian arrived in N.Y.C. with Sam and Ashcroft [Feb. 8 to Nunnally].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The Bermudian is just slipping up along side the dock” (here at 8:15) and “the gang plank will be laid in minute” the man at the telephone at Pier 47 tells me.
And now the King is home, with pink cheeks & a beautiful “spring in his hind legs,” & full of health again & happiness too. For he found a ten-year old, Margaret Blackmer, who was his little companion constantly during his stay in Bermuda. The King found her alone at the breakfast table the morning after he got there, and the friendship began. They hired a donkey named Maude, with a tinier black master called Reginald, & with a Miss Wallace to couple up with Ashcroft, they’d go for long walks. After a while the King & Margaret would climb into the cart, while Ashcroft & Miss Wallace would push it along for Maude was a lazy beastie. Up and down the long rooms the King and I walked while he told me the sweet story of his doings there. Dear God who made the rocks, the seas & the skies & the King, it is so wonderful to have him home again for it’s a hell of a place without him.
Major Leigh & Mr. Chandler went down to the boat to meet the King, for I couldn’t go and it seemed fittingest that some nice man creature would be there. So the King tumbled into the house just as Santa & Will were leaving to go to the Scribners’ where Santa & Mark Rogers sang. Ashcroft came up & spent the night, but before bed time we 3 sat down stairs & talked over everything we could think of about the trip [MTP: IVL TS 17-18].
The New York Times, p. 7, reported that Clara Clemens and Francis Rogers sang for guests at a musicale given by Mrs. Arthur H. Scribner at her NYC home. Isabel Lyon called him Mark Rogers. Sam had just arrived from Bermuda so did not attend.
John Mead Howells wrote twice to Sam. The first enclosed “a list of the rooms and halls on the ground floor and Miss Clemens’ room on the second floor,” with square footage and other details. The Living room was 846 square feet with 9 foot ceilings. The second letter enclosed a certificate billing for $2,071.54 for William Webb Sunderland, being the sixth payment on the contract [MTP].
Manley D. Hudson for the Harvard Missouri Club wrote from Cambridge, Mass. to invite Sam to address the club sometime during the current school year [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08”
Rennetts C. Miller for the Int’l Reform Bureau, Hartford wrote to Sam. Miller had been a student for many years of Oliver Wendell Holmes and planned a book on him; what was Sam’s favorite poem of Holmes? [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08”
Wiley J. Patrick wrote in a shaky hand from Bowling Green, Mo. to ask Sam what he knew of Col. John Ralls of New London or Rev. John Johnson [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08”
C. Ryder for Ryder & Protheroe, druggist wrote from Emporia, Kans. to thank Sam for the Captain Stormfield story; Ryder was a Unitarian and stated his views [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08”
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur H. Scribner sent an engraved invitation for a musicale featuring Clara Clemens and Francis Rogers, Thursday evening Feb. 6 at 39 E. 67th Street, NYC [MTP].
February 6 on or after – Sam replied to John W. Crawford’s Jan. 30, by writing on Crawford’s letter:
It is a sorrow to me that you got away so soon. I arrived the very night that you escaped westward.
The next time you are coming, I beg you to give me a few days’ notice, so that I can be clear of engagements. / Sincerely Yours [MTP]. Note: Crawford is mentioned by Sam in a Spokane, Wash. News article on Aug. 7, 1895 which lists Crawford as a Western Humorist. From this note, it’s clear that Sam regretted not seeing Crawford. Sam did not return from Bermuda until the evening of Feb. 6, so this reply could not have been made until then. See Crawford’s incomings.
February 7 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam sent a reminder invitation to Mary B. Rogers (Mrs. H.H. Rogers, Jr.) to attend the “Doe-Luncheon” at 1 p.m. Feb. 11 [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: I telephoned for Dorothy [Quick] today and she will come tomorrow to stay over Sunday. The King went to lunch at the Lawyer’s Club with Col Harvey. Tino [Paine] came in at 5, had tea with mother & me, & then later billiards. We talked about the Howells letters & I told him that I had tactfully informed the King the night before, that he had the letters; but I couldn’t quite tell him of the scowl on the King’s face. But oh the King is back so beautiful, so younger-than-ever, so full of happiness, that the house has burst into sunshine [MTP: IVL TS 18-19].
William Butler Duncan wrote to invite Sam to a Pilgrims dinner for Whitelaw Reid on Feb. 19 at Delmonico’s [MTP].
D.W. May wrote on US Dept. of Agriculture notepaper to lobby Sam to consider a trip to Porto Rico (older spelling) and stay with them [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 20, ‘08” and “Not planning to make any more journeys—but thank him”
February 8 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally.
Francesca dear, I (and Ashcroft) got back from Bermuda night before last, after a pleasant absence of 13 days. I’ve brought you a Bermuda jewel & Miss Lyon will presently dispatch it to you when Ashcroft sends it to the house. It is decorated with an image of Bermuda’s pride, the angel-fish. It is utilitarian—this jim crack. I think it’s a hairpin, but other authorities think it’s a safety.
But never mind, that isn’t what I sat down to talk about. No, but to thank you & your mother again for that shawl, which has been a most handy & competent friend in time of need—that is to say, Illness. For three weeks it protected me night & day against fresh colds; & was also the only bed-covering I used on shipboard & in Bermuda.
Good-bye, dear. /With love, … [MTP; MTAq 101]. Note: “jim crack,” or gimcrack is a cheap and showy object of little or no use, possibly alteration of Middle English gibecrake, small ornament.
According to Lyon, Dorothy Quick arrived on Feb. 8 for another weekend visit.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Dorothy arrived today & the King was so impatient, pacing up & down the big rooms & going to the front door whenever the bell rang, & standing there in his white clothes in an icy blast of wind. An orchestrelle expert was here & I had to leave him constantly to rush after Mr. Clemens & beg him to keep away from that windy door. Up & down the rooms he went & once he said, “a watched Dorothy never boils.” The expert was so happy & laughed so within his clothes to really hear something humorous.
The King’s interest in children increases—his interest in little girls. He can spend hours & hours with them & finds them such good company [MTP: IVL TS 19].
Sam also wrote an invitation to Dorothea Gilder for the Feb. 11 Doe Luncheon, that included a drawing of a sailboat with two figures on deck and one falling overboard: “Ship sinking—man overboard / SLC” [MTP].
Sergeant Hamilton Fish Camp, U.S.W.V. No. 46 (US War Veterans) sent an engraved invitation and calling card for the Yorkville Casino, a reception on Saturday evening Feb. 8 [MTP].
Duke E. Stubbs for the Chauffeurs’ Club of America wrote to Sam. “We are preparing the yearly copy of our Manual for our membership, and as we are all ‘Pilots,’ who are ‘Roughing It,’ we hope you will send a message of good advice…” also a photograph [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08”
Major Wolfgang Goetz, M.D. wrote to ask Sam to be on the board of directors of a new publishing company set up to publish two books by Goetz [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 10, ‘08” and “Cant do it”
February 8? Saturday – Sam and daughter Clara sent invitations to the following for Clara’s music recital on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 9 p.m.: H.H. Rogers and Emilie R. Rogers; Benjamin S. Guinness and Bridget W. Guinness; and Melville E. Stone. Also on the short program: Miss Marie Nichols, Violin, and Mr. Charles Wark, Piano [MTP].
February 9 Sunday – Dorothy Quick was spending the weekend with Clemens. She left the next day.
February 10 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: All day the King has been playing with Dorothy, & when she left this afternoon he went upstairs quite lonely, but tired too & so he slept. I was having a long interview with a Dr. Beal who is a friend of the Col. Ingersoll family and surreptitiously he is trying to interest some rich people to buy the house Mrs. Ingersoll is now living in. And the man told me how he had been the one to start the fund for Mr. Clemens when he met with his failure through the Webster Company. Beall spoke of it as a smart thing to have done, & I said, “But of course neither Mr. nor Mrs. Clemens could consent to that, etc.” Such a long winded creature.
Tonight after I had played the Tannhauser overture to Mr. Clemens & he said in the front room he said that little Margaret Blackmer asked Miss Wallace if Mr. Clemens were married and when she said no, the child said that if she were Mr. Clemens’s wife she would never leave him an instant, but would take care of him and watch him & look after his comforts always [MTP: IVL TS 19-20].
Harry Brook for the Los Angeles Times Mirror wrote to send Sam a copy of his 70th birthday speech from yesterday’s paper. For 30 years he’d been told he looked like Twain. He offered a page of his personal history and enclosed his photograph and asked for Sam’s photo [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Thanks for letter. / Has a photograph etc”
Herweigh von Ende wrote from NYC to ask Sam for “an hour of your time in the near future” to gain his opinion on “an educational matter” [MTP]. Note: staff note in the file asks why this, dated only Feb. 10, is 1908.
Jervis Langdon II wrote to arrange for Sam and Andrew Carnegie to visit the St. James Church, NYC sometime this week or next to hear the new Hope-Jones organ just installed [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Name the date & telegraph me so that I an see if it will meet Carnegie’s convenience”
Jennie Pomerene for the College Women’s Club, NY wrote to invite Sam to their annual benefit on Feb. 10 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “My engagements cover that day very strongly—you can express regret but not grief”
February 10 Monday ca. – Bridget W. Guinness (Mrs. Benjamin S. Guinness) wrote to Sam, replying to Clara’s recital invitation [MTP].
February 11 Tuesday – Sam hosted his second “Doe Luncheon” at 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. [Feb. 7 to Mary Rogers; IVL TS 20].
Sam also sketched drawings to Dorothea Gilder and Helena Gilder (Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder), guests of the luncheon. To Dorothea he drew a sailboat with two figures on deck and one falling overboard, then wrote, “Ship sinking—man overboard / SLC.” To Helena he wrote a lady with an umbrella in the rain and wrote, “Lady out in the rain / SLC.” [MTP].
For Kate Douglas Riggs (aka Wiggin), Sam also drew a cow, drawn sideways, with the caption, “A cow is a dern hard picture to make. / SLC” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to William Butler Duncan. “I am confined to the house again, but shall be out by the 19th without doubt & glad to be present at the dinner in honor of his Excellency our well-deserving Ambassador” [MTP]. Note: this refers to the Whitelaw Reid dinner at the Pilgrim’s Club on Feb. 19.
Sam also wrote to Charles J. Langdon, at this time in Pasadena, Calif.
There is good news from Julie; also from Jean, who has taken a house in Greenwich, Conn., & is much happier than she was in that desolate sanitarium; Clara is fat & prosperous; my own condition is quite satisfactory. I spent 9 days in Bermuda & beat the bronchitis for once, anyway. But you did well to stay away from there, for Bermuda is not for you. You would find it deadly dull & you couldn’t endure it, whereas dulness & nothing doing is good & satisfactory medicine for me—much the best I know of. I am glad Pasadena is treating you so well; & glad, too, that you are young enough not to mind that awful land-journey. It would kill me, I think.
Jervis is going to invite Mr. Carnegie & me to visit the new organ, & I am waiting with high anticipations.
With very best wishes for your continued improvement, Yours with love, / Saml [MTP]. Note: See Jan. 9 for Jean’s move to Greenwich.
Sarah S. Collier (Mrs. Robert J. Collier) wrote to accept Sam’s invitation for the Doe Luncheon this day [MTP].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Miss Lyon sending the signed John W. Postgate contract [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 18, 08”
Kate Douglas Riggs wrote to Sam: “At the first Doe Luncheon I sat at Mr. Clemens’s end of the table, & at the Second at the other end. Am I therefore to be regarded as a sort of Innu-End-doe?” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “You can tell her she mustn’t bother her head with these difficulties—She’s merely to be regarded as the sweetest think there is”
The New York Times, p. 7, “Pink Ball At Plaza To Help the Blind” announced that on Mar. 2 at the Plaza, “One of the novel entertainments of the season” would take place, “the bal de rose, or pink ball, a subscription affair,” with proceeds going to the New York Assoc. for the Blind. Mark Twain was headlined along with the French Ambassador, President Butler of Columbia as patrons. Tickets were $5 each. Note: Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947), President of Columbia 1902-1945.
February 12 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Jan. 16 from Eden Phillpotts about Phillpotts’ proposed book dedication to Mark Twain:
My dear friend: / Indeed there is not a single syllable to be altered. The dedication pleases me “to the limit”—it could not be improved. I am anticipating a good time in the society of that book.
I have been disputing with bronchitis again, but I went down to Bermuda & quickly settled it my way. / Always & cordially yours ~ SL. Clemens [MTP]. Note: See Jan. 1 to and Jan. 16 from Phillpots, and also Sam’s reply when the book, The Human Boy Again, arrived.
I suppose we are all collectors, and I suppose each of us thinks that his fad is a more rational one that any of the others. Pierpont Morgan collects rare and precious works of art and pays millions per year for them; an old friend of mine, a Roman prince, collects and stores up in hi palace in Rome every kind of strange and odd thing he can find in the several continents and archipelagos, and as a side issue—a pastime, and unimportant—he collected four hundred thousand dollars’ worth of postage-stamps. Other collectors collect rare books, at war prices, which they don’t read, and which they wouldn’t value if a page were lacking. Still other collectors collect menus; still others collect playbills; still others collect ancient andirons. As for me, I collect pets: young girls—girls from ten to sixteen years old; girls who are pretty and sweet and naive and innocent—dear young creatures to whom life is a perfect joy and to whom it has brought no wounds, no bitterness, and few tears. My collection consists of gems of the first water [MTAq xvii]. Note: also from the A.D. of this day (not in Cooley) Sam reviewed his trip to Bermuda with regrets he had not taken Livy there instead of Italy: “…for climate Florence was a sarcasm as compared with Bermuda.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Col. Harvey came in this morning, & toted the King off for luncheon with Mrs. Clarence Mackay. I stayed with him while he finished his dressing & seeing that he hadn’t fastened his trousers, told him so. Darlingly he cocked his head at me & said, “I don’t always; but since you’re so particular I’ll do it this time.” He went along with the Colonel & had a very good time.
Now he is playing billiards with Mr. Riggs.
We’ve been sending notices to the Times & other papers of Santa’s big musicale tomorrow, and then I peeped in to see a tired monarch with exquisitely chiseled features & a cigar between his teeth & that beautiful head nestling against his pillows and Quackenbores [sic] book on Natural Philosophy in his hands.
[entry continued on an earlier blank page]
12—At the King’s request I wrote Mrs. Thayer to ask if she would send down the
letters the King wrote her many years ago just after the Quaker City Expedition, for the King & Paine to see.
Copies can be made there or here. Every day I am reminded of all the Thayers
for by my desk is a framed photograph of the beautiful woman, picture that is
in the Metropolitan Museum. However could Mr. Thayer express so marvelously the
strong, yet warm woman that he gives us in that picture. She is the comforter
of women and men,
for in a supremest agony I could put my head against that
heart & find Solace [MTP: IVL TS 20-21]. Note: George Payn
Quackenbos (1848-1881). A Natural Philosophy, etc. (1899)
February 13 Thursday – In the evening at 21 Fifth Ave. Clara Clemens gave a musical presentation to about 140 persons, accompanied by Miss Marie Nichols of Boston, a violinist, and Charles E. Wark, pianist The NY Times, Feb. 14, p 7, “Miss Clemens’s Musicale” lists the following 60 guests. See also Sam’s Feb. 14 to Jean.
Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Rogers
Mr. & Mrs. H.H. Rogers, Jr.
Mr. & Mrs. John E. Cowdin
Mr. & Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder
Mr. & Mrs. Edward Loomis
Mr. & Mrs. John Alexander
Mr. & Mrs. Schuyler Schieffelin
Mr. & Mrs. H.W. Poor
Mr. & Mrs. R. Fulton Cutting
Dr. Cleveland Dodge and Miss Dodge
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Carnegie
Mrs. John Rutherford Matthews
Mr. & Mrs. John Howells
Dr. & Mrs. Edward Quintard
Mr. & Mrs. Albert Herter
Mrs. Laurence Hutton
Mr. & Mrs. Frank N. Doubleday
Dr. & Mrs. G.M Tuttle
Mr. & Mrs. Norman Hapgood
Mrs. Henry Draper
The Misses Thursby
Mr. & Mrs. R.M. Johnson
Mr. & Mrs. Henry Holt
Mr. & Mrs. J. Newton Perkins
Mr. & Mrs. Howard Van Lindern
Mr. & Mrs. Carroll Beckwith
Mr. & Mrs. Boudinot Keith
Dr. & Mrs. Clarence C. Rice
Mrs. John Day
Mr. & Mrs. Myron W. Whitney
Mr. & Mrs. Daniel French
Mr. & Mrs. Clarence C. Buell
At midnight until 4 a.m. this day, Sam enjoyed a big supper and ball at Sherry’s Restaurant, NYC given by Robert J. Collier [Feb. 14 to Jean]. The New York Times reported the event:
COLLIE BALLET FOR COLLIER.
At a Dinner at Sherry’s Dogs and Dancers Amuse Guests.
Robert Collier gave an elaborate dinner last night at Sherry’s entertaining some thirty of his friends, among them many of the most prominent socially in town. Details about the dinner were not circulated, just because the affair was intended to be informal and an exceptionally cozy little matter.
It was not only a dinner; it was dinner and theatrical entertainment combined, for while the guests dined they were also amused with various novelties.
The dinner and entertainment last night was given in two of the rooms on the second floor at Sherry’s. The two apartments had been arranged in Spanish fashion, one representing the Maison de Madrid, and the other the Court of the Royal Palace.
In the outer room the thirty guests sat at tables, surrounding the apartment on three sides. On each table were roses, and in the centre of each was an outspread Japanese parasol. The effect, with the soft lighting, was very beautiful.
At the further end of the room at the most prominent place sat Mark Twain, in ordinary evening dress. On his right was Ethel Barrymore, and near by were Mr. and Mrs. Collier and Richard Harding Davis. Alla Nazimova was at a table on the left side of the apartment as one faced Mark Twain. Among the others present were Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, Mrs. Astor, Mr. and Mrs. William Waldorf Astor, and Mr. and Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney.
The sensation of the evening, however, was the Collie ballet from “The Top o’ th’ World.” The dance never went better. And yet the dogs were hungry. When it was all over, and each girl had asked her pet whether he would be her little doggie dear, King, forgetting all decorum, ran to the centre table, where Mark Twain had sat, and there helped himself to ice cream. He stood on his hind legs and licked away complacently.
It was curious to see the guests, men and women, smoking cigarettes and watching the girls and the dogs. Not all the women smoked, but many of them did. The other chief entertainment introduced into the dinner was the dancing of a prima ballerina from the Manhattan Opera House.
Sam’s A.D. of Feb. 19 gave comment on Collier’s party:
The party at Sherry’s was
continuously interesting, from the beginning to the end. It was given by Robert
Collier. He, and that sweet and
beautiful girl, his wife, were at Clara’s musicale, and we departed for
Sherry’s in their automobile at midnight. It was a large company, and was made
up of well-known names. Among them was John Hay’s poet-daughter, Mrs. Payne Whitney. I had not seen her since she
was a little child. Neither her mother’s nor her husband’s limitless millions
have smothered her literary gift or beguiled her into neglecting it. Among
them, also, was her sister-in-law, Mrs. Harry Payne Whitney, who is likewise
staggering under weighty millions, but slaves daily and enthusiastically and
faithfully at her statuary work, like the loftiest minded poor devotee of the
great arts in the land. Twice, under the concealment of fictitious names, she
has carried off the first prize in important public competitions. Prince
there, a fine man and diligent and successful artist. I have known him some
time. His wife is Amélie Rives, the poet. The dear
lovely Ethel Barrymore, actress, was there. She is
the sole support of her widowed mother’s family, and has been working hard and
making and saving a deal of money these many months, and now misfortune has
befallen her. A few nights ago, when she was absent at the theatre, a burglar
entered her apartment and carried off every valuable thing she had in the
world, including her accumulated money, which she kept at home because in these
disastrous and panicky days she was afraid to trust it in a bank.
Nazimova, the illustrious Russian actress was there, a most interesting character; I had not seen her before, either on the stage or elsewhere. She talks in easy and flowing and correct English, and she was playing in it acceptably two and a half months after her tongue’s first contact with it. She said she was born and reared in Switzerland, and at eleven didn’t know a Russian word; then she took lessons and acquired her native tongue by the same laborious processes required in mastering a foreign one.
I was at home by half-past four in the morning, in bed at five, asleep at six, and ready for breakfast at eight—refreshed and ready for more activities. They were liberally furnished, and have been industriously carried on ever since [MTP]. Note: Paul Prince Troubetskoy (1866-1938), Russian sculptor b. Italy, son of a Russian nobleman and an American woman.
Sam’s A.D. for this day recounted the eight days on Bermuda with his latest Angelfish, Margaret Blackmer, a donkey named Maude, and a little black boy, Reginald. See Feb. 1 for excerpt.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King has a wee blood vessel broken on his eyeball, & it is inflamed.
Santa’s concert was a great success. Mr. Melville Stone told me that anything in the world that he can do for her he will. There were some lovely people here. 140 I should say, & after everything was over I understood the hitches that occurred—the waiters got drunk.
Mrs. Riggs [Kate Douglas Riggs] recommended a book for the King, ‘Uncle William’ by Jeannette [sic] Lee [MTP IVL TS: 21-22; Gribben 404]. Note: Jennette Barbour (Perry) Lee, Uncle William, The Man Who Was Shif’less (1906).
Jerome Lynch wrote to praise Sam’s last Autobiographical segment. Lynch knew all about the men of the Enterprise; his father was buried at Gold Hill. He also urged Sam to answer in a “permanent way” Senator Stewart’s article in this week’s Saturday Evening Post (see Feb. 15 entry for review of ex-Senator William M. Stewart’s account.) [MTP]. After Feb. 13 Isabel V. Lyon replied for Sam, writing on Lynch’s letter
Mr. Clemens is much obliged but haven’t heard of it. “I [am] much obliged for the reason that while I don’t think that so insignificant a person as Mr Senator Stewart could provoke me to reach down & hit him I have a strong curiosity to see his article because I knew him so long & so well, both the inside of him & the outside of him. Of course I don’t answer such things. This policy I learned a long time ago with that ancient Stewart was a young creature [”] [MTP].
William Augustus Croffut wrote from Washington, D.C. to ask Sam if he should start a movement to help him in his financial difficulties, which he’d read about in the papers. He disclosed that he was born in the house next to the one Sam was building in Redding [MTP].
John F. Mills wrote from West Point, Ind. to Sam. For 30 years Mills had wanted to thank Clemens for his books and now his Autobiography was at hand. Each book from IA on had made him “eager for more.” He’d pasted ‘every scrap” that came his way about Twain. His 13 year old daughter cried over the account of Susy’s death. “Twenty five years ago, in Dakota Territory, I met a man who said his name was Charles. Y. Redmond, and who claimed to be the original of ‘the dissolute author’ in ‘Roughing It.’ … He gave his own version of the fake ‘hold up.’ To-day I read in this week’s issue of the Philadelphia ‘Saturday Evening Post,’ Ex-Senator Stewart’s account. It is time for him to go away back—yours sincerely…” [MTP]. Note: See Feb. 15 entry for review of ex-Senator William M. Stewart’s account.
George L. Robinson wrote on NY Sewage Disposal Co. letterhead to Sam, acknowledging with thanks receipt of Sam’s letter of Feb. 11, “enclosing check for $100., at the request of my father, Mr. George M. Robinson” [MTP].
Homer Saint-Gaudens wrote to Miss Lyon about the letters from his late father to Clemens [MTP].
February 14 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean in Greenwich, Conn.
Dearest Jean, I must snatch a moment to tell you about Clara’s musicale of last night [Feb. 12]. It was very rainy, but no matter about 140 of the 160 guests invited came to the show—& very choice people they were, too, bright, & cultivated. Clara was beautiful to look at, & her voice was in great form. She was a picture of grace, & ease, & conscious mastery of the situation. Sometimes she was playful & cunning. Sometimes she was sweetly & eloquently moving & pathetic, sometimes she was a storm, sometimes she was a majestic tragedy queen; & in all her moods she was an expert in expression, & carried the house! It was a splendid triumph. Everybody praised her singing, praised it with enthusiasm, & praised her acting in the same measure. They couldn’t talk about anything else. Melville Stone, head of the Associated Press, was present, & he told Miss Lyon to furnish him any chance that might occur for him to be of service to Clara, & he would spread her merit from one end of the country to the other.
Miss Nichols played divinely, & she & Clara did a duet that so delighted the house that they had to do it all over again. And there were other encores. It was a great night.
At midnight I went to a big supper & ball at Sherry’s, & enjoyed it thoroughly till 4.05 a.m., when I came away with the last of the rioters.
I have been dictating, this morning, & am going to play billiards all the afternoon.
I hope you are well & happy. With ever so much love, dear Jean / Father [MTP]. Note: at Sherry’s, Sam met John Hay’s daughter, Mrs. Helen Payne Whitney, a poet [Gribben 765]. See his A.D. of Feb. 19.
Sam’s A.D. for this day continued to describe the Bermuda trips and give Angelfish accounts [Hill 209].
Robert J. Collier wrote from NYC to Sam “Wont you let Sadie steal you away after the music to-night for half an hour? We are giving a little Valentine supper party at about twelve o’clock and we can bring you and return you in the motor at whatever time you want to leave” [MTP]. Note: see IVL below; Sam got in at 4:30 a.m.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: It was 4:30 this morning when the King came in from Valentine party at Sherry’s. He went up with Mrs. Collier after the Musicale here. I heard the mobile come down the avenue like a tragic giant June-bug & so I went to look over the balusters & see the King come running up the stairs like a happy exhilarated boy. He told me that something happened up at Sherry’s to make him sorrowful just after he arrived & that he told Robert Collier that he wanted to go to the urinal. R.C. said he’s just come from home, too. But the King said that he only wanted to cry this time, & his tears was too many to be disposed of in any other way.
The King’s eye is so inflamed that Dr. Hadley came down to look at it. I washed it out with ½ teaspoon full of boric acid to ½ glass of water [MTP: IVL TS 22].
Charles Harvey Genung and Frederick Burr Opper for the Player’s Breakfast Committee wrote to Sam that they’d just been informed by George Riggs that Sam would come to their “little breakfast at the Players on Sunday the 23d at one o’clock P.M. / This is good news…and all hands will be delighted” [MTP].
February 15 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Such a sweet comfort of an evening I have had with the King, after a busy & fluttering kind of a day. Mr. Rogers came in for a long talk this morning. Brio left at 12:45, leaving a baddish taste in Santa’s mouth. At 2:15 C. Teller called up asking if the King would come to the telephone, but he wouldn’t of course, & then she sent in a note asking him to go to the Brevort (where she is stopping) in order to do some work which he alone could do. I called her up telling her that she’d have to talk to me & what she wanted was to have him make a speech at a big mass meeting to be held in aid of the 20,000 unemployed in this city. She isn’t alone in her belief that the King is the only one in the world best calculated to advance a cause, but she stands quite alone in being willing to sacrifice him in order to fulfil a whimsy of hers. Later we went to a little tea at Mrs. Dearborn’s & then home to dinner—we two, & then I to play for him. The Erlkonig or “konig Suhl”, & Schubert’s Impromptu I played, but they didn’t fit his mood, & finally the Lohengrin Wedding March, I played 5 times for him. Then to the billiard room, where he gently knocked the balls about making some beautiful shots, and we both smoked [MTP: IVL TS 22-23].
Addison C. Harris, attorney in Indianapolis, Ind. wrote to Sam. “I have not forgotten your good fun over a very long word which I heard you play off in Vienna. / I therefore make bold to send you one; and claim for my Hoosier State…” The clipping contained the word: “Pappatheodorokoummountourgiotopoulos” [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 21, ‘08” and “Thank him for sending the clip”
Charlotte Teller Johnson wrote from the Brevoort Hotel, around the corner from Sam.
My dear Mr Clemens—I am quite sure that I am right—in the biggest sense—in ignoring the personal pride dictated by social prejudice—and in asking you to do a very great thing, which will cost you little effort. I am right because I know and share to a certain extent—your bitterness against the scheme of things as we have been born into it. I count upon what I learned of your attitude to help in promoting true passion for justice—in a concrete undertaking [MTP]. Note: she pleaded a convalescence and therefore couldn’t come in person. This one thing she wanted to accomplish before she died; he might bring Miss Lyon or Clara with him if he chose. See IVL entry this date for what Teller was grinding on about.
“A Senatory of the Sixties,” ran in Saturday Evening Post, with references to Mark Twain [Tenney 46: The Twainian June 1943]. Additionally, Tenney quotes William M. Stewart: “In Nevada, MT ‘went around putting things in the paper about people, and stirring up trouble. Naturally he was not popular. I did not associate with him.’ Stewart’s account of the mock robbery of MT … is violent: the boys overturned the stage, threw MT in a canyon, broke up his portmanteau, and threw the pieces afer him. A few years later, he dropped in on Stewart in Washington, ‘in a seedy suit,’ ‘a sheaf of scraggy black hair leaked out of a battered old slouch hat….He had a very sinister appearance.’ MT asked for a cash stake to finish IA, but Stewart countered by giving him a job as a private secretary and a room in his boarding house. MT repaid this kindness smoking cigars in bed, pretending to be drunk, and frightening the genteel landlady, and Stewart had to threaten him with a thrashing to make him behave” [Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 193].
February 16 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to William Augustus Croffut.
My dear Croffut:
You will see by this morning’s clipping that there is hardly any likelihood that the Knickerbocker will resume business. My deposit is $51,199, & I am not expecting 15 per cent of it to escape alive.
It is lovely of you to want to have a foreign Ambassadorship conferred upon me as a refuge—with the usual salary, which pays part of the house-rent but doesn’t include board & clothes—but no, although the Knickerbocker hasn’t hurt me much I am a candidate for increased gain, increased luxury, augmented pomp & show. I want to be made a Permanent Receiver. Then I can live beyond my means for ten years & still come out a millionaire at the end.
Yours ever, / Mark
Publish it if you can. Every little helps, in this Knickerbocker fight. / SLC
Later. One of the Satterlee committee has called. He read this, & was appalled! And said—
“Oh, for goodness’ sake, don’t think of publishing it. Everything is going well; we are absolutely not going into the hands of a permanent receiver, & so you mustn’t antagonize anybody. Keep still; everything is as right & sure as any one could wish” [MTP].
Adele Burden wrote to invite Sam to luncheon on this day at 1:30 [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King’s eye is still very much inflamed. He lunches today with Mr. Burden. He dines tonight with the Coes.
Friday the King got a letter from W.A. Crofutt [sic Croffut; see above letter to] suggesting that he be made an Ambassador to some big foreign country, because probably the Knickerbocker is going into a permanent receivership. Oh hell, it makes me so sick, but the King never winces.
Later & Mr. Lauterbach came in to say that the articles in the paper are put in for a purpose and the Knicker seems to be promising all good things.
Tonight the King dined with the Coes & when he came home I went to his room to find him seated on the edge of the bed & figuring with the calendar. He said that he was going to Bermuda on Saturday with Mr. Rogers if it could be arranged & of course it can be, & best of all I am to go with him to Bermuda, that darling island way from this cold, but heated, fretted dusty place [MTP: IVL TS 23-24].
February 17 Monday – Sam inscribed a copy of Eve’s Diary to Kim C. Tabley: “To / Mrs. K.C. Tapley / with compliments of / The Author. / Clothes make the man, but they do not improve the woman. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Feb/08” [Nate D. Sanders, Autographs, eBay # 170659440080 June 26, 2011]. Note: evidently Twain thought her last name was “Tapley,” though the incoming (below) clearly shows “Tabley.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Yes, we are to go to Bermuda on next Saturday” [MTP: IVL TS 24].
Mrs. Kim C. Tabley wrote from St. John, New Brunswick to Sam: “Will you accept the enclosed remittance for an autographed copy of your ‘Eve’s Diary’? [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Please address & weigh”
Adolph Fuchs for the Progressive Literary Society, NYC wrote to ask Sam to spend an evening with them some Sunday [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 18, ‘08”
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam discussing estimates for adding the “north wing, including the open loggia and Miss Clemens’s suite of rooms above”—the wing was est. $4,100; loggia $2,250 [MTP].
February 18 Tuesday – Sam’s A.D. of Feb. 19 discloses his activities for the day and evening:
Yesterday I spent two pleasant and exciting hours witnessing a Ben Johnson masque performed at the Plaza hotel by about twenty young and attractive creatures of the two sexes, and it was wonder for rich and beautiful costumes, for excellent singing, and for acting which I had not seen approached before by amateurs. I dined out in the evening at the Doubledays’; and went from there to the Guinnesses, in Washington Square. By eleven a great throng had gathered. There was fine instrumental music and fine singing. The illustrious Caruso was present. I had not seen him before, off the operatic stage. It was a highly fashionable company, but I went in white clothes, because that is my custom, and because everybody approves it. That bright and engaging and untamed young Virginian, a distant cousin of mine, Mrs. William Waldorf Astor, who is over from England on a visit to her people, was there, and at midnight she dragged me into the middle of the room and commanded the music to strike up and then she required me to dance with her. I was willing; I had never danced, but I always knew I could do it if I wanted to. Our performance brought down the house, as the phrase goes, and I privately thought it was rather unusually good myself—and I knew there was a sufficiency of life and activity in it, for one thing. We got an immense encore and responded to it, adding several fresh and hitherto unattempted and finely artistic variations. I promised to visit her inEngland next summer, and spend a few weeks at Cliveden. I probably can’t go, but I would greatly like to see that wonderful place. Shortly after midnight I came away with Prince Troubetskoy and Peter Dunne (“Mr. Dooley”); many were departing, but many were arriving to take their places.
It is as I said, I am not leaving for Bermuda to build up my health, for there is nothing the matter with it; I am going because a change of scene and climate is absolutely necessary for H. H. Rogers, and he won’t go unless I go too. I have divested myself of engagements until the 16th of April [MTP].
Notes: Mrs. William Waldorf Astor (1879-1964), wife of 2nd Viscount Astor, born Nancy Witcher Langhorne (insert photo). Sam’s reference to the lady as “a distant cousin” is likely fanciful, as the Langhornes of Virginia were reported only to be friends of Sam’s parents; Enrico Caruso (1873-1921), perhaps the greatest opera tenor of all time; Caruso made about 290 commercial recordings from 1902 to 1920. All of these recordings, which span most of his stage career, are available today on CDs and as digital downloads, while we have not a single recording of Mark Twain, either singing or talking. Tolstoy, Rodin, Anatole France, and George Bernard Shaw sat for Troubetskoy.
Clemens acquired another case of Queen Anne whisky. On this particular listing he put “1 case $20” but did not put a price on other entries [L-A MS]. Note: see June 8, 1907 for the full list of acquisition dates of whisky, intended as ammunition against Isabel Lyon.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: A turmoil—for many things must be adjusted before I can leave with the King. After a racking day the King & I dined with the Doubledays. That queenly create Neltje Blanchan Doubleday, talked to me again bout Kipling, & said that he never puts a poem down on paper until he has gone over & over it in his head, & eliminated every superfluous word. When they were visiting him last summer in Sussex & motored about with him, his head was full of delightful verses that went in time to the rhythm of the mobile wheels & he would recite them as they sped along. The King put me down at the house & he went on to Mrs. Guinness’s where he stayed until past midnight [MTP: IVL TS 24-25]. Note: Bridget W. Guinness (Mrs. Benjamin S. Guinness) of Washington Square.
Edward John Bing wrote from Budapest, Hungary to thank Sam for his letter. Bing enclosed his photograph (in the file; Bing is estimated at 10 or 11 years old) [MTP].
W.J. Hughes wrote from Minneapolis, Minn. to Sam, thnking the description of all the good things Sam had to eat as a boy in Hannibal “struck me just right” as he also was a boy there from age ten [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 21, ‘08”
John Larkin wrote to advise Sam that his taxable personal property was assessed at $5,000 and the tax on it was $79.77 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Check sent to Mr. Larkin Feb. 20, ‘08”
A.W. Lines for Eastern High School (Detroit) wrote to ask Sam for “a few lines” from Sam’s “ample pen” for their first literary quarterly [MTP]. Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 20, ‘08”
Dorothy Quick wrote to thank Sam for his “lovely valentine” and the “lovely belt” he brought her from Bermuda. She’d read in the papers about Clara’s musicale. Dorothy still eschewed periods in her letters [MTP].
February 19 Wednesday – In the evening Sam attended the Pilgrim’s Club Dinner at Delmonico’s in honor of Ambassador to England, Whitelaw Reid. The New York Times, Feb. 20, p. 3 reported:
AMBASSADOR REID THE PILGRIM’S GUEST
Tells Them Talk of War with Japan is Silly and That England Wouldn’t Aid Her.
CHEER KING AND PRESIDENT
Ex-ambassador Choate Presides In President Duncan’s Absence—Mark Twain Speaks.
The Pilgrims of the United States obtained much information last night. They learned from Mark Twain that it was taking from the coins the motto, “In God We Trust” that caused the recent financial panic; they learned from Joseph H. Choate what a poor embassy this country has in London, and they learned from Whitelaw Reid, the present Ambassador to England and the guest of honor, how very remote the possibility of war with Japan is, and how still more remote is the possibility of England’s supporting Japan in such a contingency.
In every respect the dinner was a typical Pilgrim dinner; a “hands-across-the-sea affair,” with a joint toast to the President and the King, and more people singing “God Save the King” than “The Star Spangled Banner,” because the words are easier to remember. The dinner was held in Delmonico’s big dining hall, and the decorations consisted of English and American flags interwined about the walls. The musical selections were not only Anglo-American, but also very reminiscent, the diners joining, at one point, in singing the chorus of “Annie Rooney.”
President Duncan Ill
Unfortunately the President of the Pilgrims’ Society, William Butler Duncan, was unable to be present owing to illness. Instead Mr. Choate was toastmaster, and sat next to the guest of honor, Mr. Reid. Others at the guest table were J. P. Morgan, Levi P. Morton, Gen. Theodore Bingham, Ogden Mills, Col. Hugh L. Scott, Lieut. Col. B. R. James, Alton B. Parker, Rear Admiral Caspar Goodrich, Seth Low, Samuel L. Clemens, Bishop Potter, Esme Howard of the British Embassy at Washington, the Right Rev. William Lawrence, Andrew Carnegie, Major Gen. Frederick Grant, Courtenay Walter Bennet, British Consul at New York; J. Edward Simmons; St. Clair McKelway, and Sir Caspar Purdon Clarke. There were altogether about 300 guests.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: English. Tonight Mr. & Mrs. Robert Collier dined here. Just the 2 for Robert read aloud a play he has written. It is very good & brilliant in parts. The King got close to him to catch Mr. Collier’s modest reading of it. He really is a little deaf.
Mr. Shaugnessy has given me a wonderful old cashmere sofa cushion. It is rare, & a study in design and coloring. I took it to bed with me tonight, to get acquainted with its wonders [MTP: IVL TS 25].
John W. Crawford (“Capt. Jack”) wrote from Chicago to Sam. “I don’t know how to thank you for your autograph letter.” Crawford planned on notifying Bob Davis of Munsey’s the next time he came to NY so that “a few congenials” might be gathered for Crawford to don his buckskins and entertain [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Thank him for letter & clipping & say that Mr. Clemens sales again for Bermuda”
William Augustus Croffut wrote from Washington, D.C. that no of course he wouldn’t publish anything. He praised Sam and thought he should be an ambassador. When he talked with ex-Gov. Morgan Gardner Bulkeley the day before the Governor “laughed and answered that he didn’t believe you would accept any diplomatic mission. I said probably you wouldn’t, but Conn might do herself the honor of offering you your pick.” Croffut ended by saying he’d been “very lucky in my investments since” he’d seen Twain [MTP].
Samuel Major Gardenhire for Gardenhire & Jetmore wrote to invite Sam, his daughter, and Mr. Paine to a dinner with Governor Joseph W. Folk of Mo. on Feb. 26; he heard of the event from Eugene Christian [MTP].
Gribben offers part of Sam’s A.D. for this date having to do with Ben Jonson (1572-1637):
Though Mark Twain alluded to Jonson several times in print, it was not until 1908 that he mentioned seeing and enjoying one of Jonson’s dramatic works—a masque performed at the New York Plaza Hotel (19 February 1908 AD). Jonson’s praise for Shakespeare is one piece of evidence that Mark Twain must overcome in proving his thesis of “Is Shakespeare Dead?” (1909): in Part 3 he notes that Jonson “waited seven years” before he penned his encomium; in Part 5 he reiterates that it was only in 1623 that “Ben Jonson awoke out of his long indifference and sang a song of praise and put it in the front of the book” of Shakespeare’s plays; in Part 10 Mark Twain quotes from Timber (1641) Jonson’s laudatory remarks about Francis Bacon’s oratorical speech .
Also from this day’s A.D., Clemens met “John Hay’s poet-daughter, Mrs. [Helen] Payne Whitney. I had not seen her since she was a little child. Neither her mother’s nor her husband’s limitless millions have smothered her literary gift or beguiled her into neglecting it” . See also Feb. 14
Note: For more of Sam’s A.D. of Feb. 19, see Feb. 13, and 22.
February 20 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick in Plainfield, N.J.
An hour after Midnight
I got your dear Valentine, which I prize, & today I got your letter, & I thank you for it.
And you didn’t take a single prize! Oh, you dear little rat, it was a shame, & I am sorry.
Clara was very busy, or she would have sent you a Valentine. She is grieving, now, because she forgot it.
I’ve been to a banquet, to-night, [Pilgrim Club Dinner] & got away at 11, which is blessedly early, for a banquet. I played billiards an hour, & now I have gone to bed. I sail for Bermuda in the “Bermudian” Saturday morning, with H. H. Rogers, his son-in-law Benjamin, a man-servant, & Miss Lyon. It is for Mr. Rogers’s health. We shall stop at the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, & stay a month or two. You dear child, I wish you were going. /Most lovingly / SLC [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Julia Barnett Rice (Mrs. Isaac L. Rice):
Dear Mrs. Rice. / I have an abundance of sympathy for this movement for the protection of children. If I were younger I would like to work for it. But now I thank you for the compliment you pay me, & shall be happy to have my name used as President of the Children’s Hospital Branch [MTP: The Forum, 39:564].
Note: This letter was included in a NY Times article, Feb. 27, p. 2, “Anti-Noise Society Reivews Progress.” Julia Barnett Rice (1860-1929) was a physician but never practiced; she was involved in medical issues and is credited with the creation of quiet zones around NYC hospitals. She was the founder of the Anti-Noise Society. Her husband Isaac Leopold Rice (1850-1915) was a manufacturer, lawyer, writer and chess expert who founded the school of political science at Columbia, founded The Forum magazine in 1885.
Raoul W. D’Arche wrote from Hartford to invite Sam to lecture for a benefit for the Spanish War Veterans. Twichell had told him they couldn’t get Mark Twain for $2,000 [MTP]. Note: Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. Feb. 21, 08” and “Mr. Clemens thanks him very much for his cordial invitation, but Mr. Twichell is right, he does not expect to ever again speak in Hartford as he has retired from the platform”
Frances Nunnally wrote from St. Timothy’s, Cantonsville, Md. to Sam, surprised to get his letter since she thought he might still be in Bermuda. How she wished she could have been there with him. She had just finished her mid-term exams [MTP].
February 21 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a letter of introduction to Albert Bigelow Paine for Joe Goodman [MTP: Am. Art Assoc-Anderson Galleries catalogs, 11-12 Nov. 1937, No. 4346, Item 88]. Note: Paine would travel in the West gathering information for the Mark Twain biography.
In the two-volume copy of Studies in the History of Venice (1907) by Horatio Robert Forbes Brown (1854-1926), Sam put his name and the month and year, then wrote on the front free endpaper of vol. 1 a lengthy note dated Feb. 21, 1908 of his meeting with Brown in Venice thirty years earlier [Gribben 87].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King went to hear Tetrazzini tonight. When he came home I went in to see him as he lay in bed smoking, & he said that he was enchanted with her singing. Here she is with her great fame to come after her after her 45th year. For years she sang in San Francisco & elsewhere, at a modest salary, & in London she burst upon the world in her great glory.
Mother is standing by me working for me, doing errands. Copying letters & today she bought tobacco for the King. I could not go without her wonderful & sympathetic help [MTP: IVL TS 25]. Note: insert ad of Feb. 17, 1908 shows this day’s performance (Friday) was Lucia Di Lammermoor, a tragic opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti, running about 3 hours 40 minutes at Oscar Hammerstein’s Manhattan Opera House. Luisa Tetrazzini (1871-1940), Italian soprano of great international fame. Her 1907 debut in London’s Covent Garden as Violetta in La traviata was a sensation, and in 1908 she played the same role in New York.
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam to enclose a copy of William Webb Sunderland’s letter agreeing to complete the loggia wing at $4,100 by June 1, weather permitting [MTP].
John Larkin wrote to Sam enclosing a receipt for payment of personal property taxes of $79.77 [MTP].
Frances Nunnally wrote again from St. Timothy’s, Catonsville, Md. to Sam.
About two hours after I mailed that note to you the postman brought me that lovely pin. It certainly is pretty and you don’t know how much I appreciate it. The angel-fish surely must be a beautiful fish if it has all those lovely colors. …What has become of that trip to Washington you thought you might make? I certainly wish you would take it and stop by Baltimore [MTP].
Miss Lula Phillips wrote from Monticello, Va. to Sam. “In looking thru an old trunk of my mother’s I came across this photo of your mother and thinking that you would like to have it I take pleasure in forwarding it to you. / The late Dr. J.M. Clemens of Louisville was a relation of mine (our Mothers being sisters) and I presume this is how the picture came to be in her possession” [MTP]. Lyon wrote on the env., “Important / contains photo of Mr. Clemens’s mother / Answd. Explaining etc.”
Dorothy Quick wrote from Plainfield, NJ to Sam. “I am glad you are going back to Bermuda because I know you love it there but I shall not see you for so long I wish I could go too / Will you write me when ever you have time and tell me all about the beautiful lilies when they come out / With lots of love and kisses your loving /Dorothy” [MTP].
February 22 Saturday – Sam, Isabel V. Lyon, H.H. Rogers, and William Evarts Benjamin sailed again for Bermuda. Rogers brought along his valet. Lyon noted in her journal that “Mr. Rogers came feebly onto the boat, a sick sick man” [MTHHR 645n1; D. Hoffman 102].
In his A.D. of Feb. 19, Sam had said:
“It is as I said, I am not leaving for Bermuda to build up my health, for there is nothing the matter with it; I am going because a change of scene and climate is absolutely necessary for H.H. Rogers, and he won’t go unless I go too” [D. Hoffman 103].
The New York Times, p. 6, “H.H. Rogers Off to Bermuda” reported the departure on the Bermudian of Rogers and Twain for a Bermuda vacation of “two or three weeks.” They actually stayed 47 days.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Headache / We sailed at 10:30. A full cargo of folks & I’m musing over a fellow cabiner. But she has proven herself a sweet & gentle Bermudian, a Mrs. Williams, who lets me alone. I must not forget that AB came to my rescue by first packing the King’s trunk last night & then soothing my spine & then helping me out of the house with a seething head. Mr. Rogers came feebly onto the boat, a sick sick man. AB came up to me to say that Maurice one of the editors of the Bookman was aboard with what he called a “jag” & he introduced him to me that I might keep him away from the King. After luncheon I went to my cabin & slept for 4 hours, weak from headache, weary from my sleepless nights [MTP: IVL TS 25-26].
February 23 Sunday – A somewhat longer article on H.H. Rogers and Twain leaving for Bermuda ran on the front page of the New York Times.
ROGERS AND TWAIN SAIL
Exchanging Jests on the Pier—Financier Thinks the Outlook Bright.
“This is what I get for being in bad company,” said Mark Twain, humorist, pointing to H. H. Rogers, financier, when a host of interviewers descended upon him yesterday morning on the deck of the steamship Bermudian, previous to their departure for Bermuda.
“My methods,” responded Mr. Rogers quickly, “are no worse than your jokes, and they are bad enough.”
Mr. Clemens is going to Bermuda to continue the stay which certain social and business obligations cut short. Mr. Rogers is going away for a rest and recreation. The former wore a light suit of gray and looked like a fashion plate. Mr. Rogers was in sombre black.
Mr. Rogers smilingly declared that there was no truth in Mr. Clemens’s story that he was going to Bermuda to keep the financier straight. He added that his own reason for making the trip was because of Mr. Clemens’s offer to stand treat.
“That’s true,” said Mark Twain, “but I’m $2 shy of the amount, and I’m going to shake him down for it when we get to sea.”
At this Mr. Rogers laughed and said that Mark Twain’s remark might be taken as a fair sample of his jokes, but he doubted if it was worth the $2.
Mr. Clemens said he expected to remain in Bermuda until April. When Mr. Rogers asked about the financial situation he smiled and, looking out across the river, said that the horizon was bright and he believed that the same thing could be said of the financial horizon.
On the Bermudian also sailed Mr. and Mrs. George Keegan. Mr. Keegan is assistant manager of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company. Two days ago he married Miss Mary Brennan of 2 West Seventy-fifth Street. When the bride and groom arrived at the steamer their friends fell upon them with rice and confetti. They found their stateroom appropriately decorated with signs announcing that they were “newlyweds.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Its’ a lovely voyage. Calm & a lot of people there must be for every cabin is full, but I do not see anything but young Dr. Ditman who is bright & charming, & today Maurice came & sat down for a chat about books & automobiles & methods of work. We sit at a corner table with a Commander & Mrs. Burdick. Today it was a little rough & the racks on the table protected everybody’s lap but Mr. Rogers’s. A roll sent a cup of coffee that the King had been protesting about, into his lap, & the King suggested that I take that place, as I didn’t object to holding such things in my lap. He said it with gravity & we took it in the same way [MTP: IVL TS 26]. Note: Dr. Norman Ditman (1877-1944).
February 24 Monday – The Clemens party arrived in Bermuda and Sam checked into the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda where he wrote two postcards to Frances Nunnally.
Francesca dear, I got your letter just as I was leaving New York—thank you dear.
I am writing now because I suppose that the linchpin got lost in the mails; & if that is so, I want you to drop me a line here, so that I can replace it with another.
I suppose I shall [continued on the back of a second postcard] be here some time—possibly until toward the middle of April.
It is very pleasant. I hope / we are to have you with us in New York at Easter. / Goodbye, dear [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: We sighted land very early this morning & before ten sailed up the wonderful tiny channel between the tiny islands into Hamilton Bay. I took Dr. Ditman to the farthest most point forward that he might see the wonders of it, & he had the enthusiasm of a poet.
The Hotel is full & we are scattered. Oh, so scattered, until it seems as if one of my legs were in #70 & the other in 166. 166 is the King’s room & is so small that the King says “it was intended for a cigar box, in fact it was a cigar box once.” But little rooms are nothing, for here we are in this darling place. Miss Wallace is here, the Dean of Woman at Chicago University. It is raining & so we cannot go over to Mrs. Peck at Shoreby to see Mr. Woodrow Wilson whose last day it is here [MTP: IVL TS 26-27].
D. Hoffman writes of Sam’s arrival with Rogers:
The most public of all Clemens’s visits to the Islands began slowly. He found his room so small he declared it a former cigar box, and because the day was rainy, he and Rogers abandoned their plan of riding to Shoreby to see Mrs. Peck and Woodrow Wilson, who was spending his last day on the Islands. Miss Wallace, still on holiday, found it a mooted question whether Rogers was taking care of Clemens, or Clemens of Rogers. She also wondered about the relation between Clemens and his secretary. Miss Lyon was a “black eyed black haired Italian looking little woman,” she wrote in her Bermuda journal, “who hovers about him with the tender care of a mother and daughter combined.” Surprisingly, the two women became friends. Miss Wallace nevertheless made certain that the King found company with Irene Gerken, a pert little twelve year old from West Seventy-fifth Street, in New York. (She had not cast her net wide. Clemens played billiards with Irene in January, he said, and was amused to watch her seize advantage by freely repositioning the balls. He took to calling such a maneuver an “Irene”) [103-4].
Elizabeth Wallace recorded in her diary Sam’s arrival with Lyon and Rogers. On the earlier 1908 arrival by Clemens she had nicknamed Ralph Ashcroft “The Pilot Fish.” He wasn’t along on this extended stay:
no Pilot Fish conducted him but instead a black eyed black haired Italian looking little woman who hovers about him with the tender care of a mother and daughter combined. This is the Little Secretary of the King and my heart’s doors were open for her to come in and she came in and will remain forever as Caranana. With Mr. Clemens and Caranana came a tall distinguished looking man with a fine cut profile and clear young complexion. It was Mr. Rogers [Hill 203].
Margaret Blackmer wrote from Misses Tewksbury’s School, Briarcliff Manor, NY to Sam.
I received your nice letter, and I was very glad to hear from you.
We had a play a few nights ago. Mother came up and stayed all night.
I wonder how Maud [donkey] is. Do you miss the rides we used to have?
I am very happy and I hope you are also.
Miss Tewksbury is going to take us into New York today to go to the acquarium and to the metropolitan art museum. We are coming back sometime today.
I hope you will see mother soon.
With lots of love…[MTP].
Amy C. Hayes wrote from Pukoo, Molokai, Hawaii to Sam, working a description of the natives he’d described there in his writing so many years ago, into a request for an answer with autograph [MTP].
John M. Howells for Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam: “The house has now reached a state where it will be advisable to take up very shortly the question of mantel pieces. No fewer than 7 mantels were in the new house, the billiard room to be made as per the original contract, the living room mantel “is the carved Scotch mantel piece now in the attic of the Fifth Avenue house,” so that the other 5 needed to be specified. John offered various options [MTP].
John Larkin wrote to Miss Lyon that he had her letter with Sam’s check for $5,000 on the Knickerbocker Trust and would follow instructions [MTP].
February 25 Tuesday – In Bermuda, Sam made another excursion in the donkey cart, this time to Spanish Point with Irene Gerken. Reginald handled the donkey as before, while Isabel Lyon, Elizabeth Wallace, and William Benjamin all walked. H.H. Rogers did not go [D. Hoffman 105]. See Lyon’s entry below:
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King has found a little girl—Irene Gerken—& this afternoon we started for Spanish Point, the King & Irene in the donkey cart, with Maude. IT was happiness haunted by a sadness to course along these lovely roads, with the memory of dead little Juliet in my heart [MTP: IVL TS 27].
Mrs. Gerrit S. Clemens for the Womens’ Club of Texas wrote from Joplin, Mo. to invite Sam to visit Texas, where she spent part of the winter. She mentioned the “pleasant visit” she and the doctor had at Tuxedo Park in August 1907 [MTP].
Archibald Henderson wrote from Chapel Hill, NC to Sam. He was “almost finished” with his biography of Bernard Shaw but one chapter on Shaw’s philosophy kept him “awake at night”—would Sam read it and offer his opinion? He thought Shaw’s views must be close to Clemens’ [MTP].
Jervis Langdon II wrote to Sam sorry that the Bermuda trip would keep him from joining “at St. James Church with Julie and Edward and a few others to hear that glorious organ played by a splendid player—Mark Andrews….” They also needed one more investor at $5,000 and explained [MTP].
February 26 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave. NY, Isabel Lyon telephoned Albert Bigelow Paine after discovering some missing older letters of Clemens’. Isabel Lyon’s diary:
Tino [a nickname for Paine] in Redding…to ask about letters that I am missing and that the King and Santa [Clara] would hold me responsible for. He was cross and answered in a burst of ill temper that he had many letters and would take them when he wanted to. This is not quite right of Tino—and is a new and regrettable attitude [Hill 201].
Note: Lyon was concerned that if Paine published the letters, the volume that she and Clara Clemens planned to publish might be injured. Hill adds that Paine wrote Isabel a letter claiming he had spent two years and over $8,000 working on Twain’s bio, and met her concern by saying that the brief excerpts he would publish would only serve to increase the public’s appetite for Clara’s later volume [201-2].
Jean Clemens wrote from Greenwich, Conn. to Isabel Lyon:
Howdy Lioness; / It’s raining cats & dogs wherefore my walk in (I started a word & then ran to give George 3 cts. & now I don’t know what the word was intended to be) had of necessity to be diminished.
Thank you so very much for those photographs, especially the one of “In the Garden” which I love. It brings out the wonderful details of the grasses, leaves & of the background so much better than the newspaper print. I hadn’t so much as seen the houses & terraces in the background, before. It is all so exquisite, so perfect.
And what do you suppose? Mr. [George de Forest] Brush actually wants to paint me. He means to endeavor to find a stray moment before he sails to draw a sketch of me to work on in Florence & then when he returns paint some things. And besides all this he told me that he and “Mittie” had sat about in Dublin admiring me. Are you as utterly amazed as I was? I had never dreamed of a thing, not an atom in Dublin. And when at Bedford I caught him staring somewhat hard, I thought he was looking to see whether I appeared well or not, as people had been peering at me on account of my health. …
On Monday, I discussed Mildred most of the time with Dr. P. but when he asked me how I felt, I answered:
“Spry as a grasshopper” & that’s still true [MTP].
February 27 Thursday – In Bermuda, the Clemens party was entertained by a baseball game [D. Hoffman 105].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Ball game today / I turn on the practical faucet & suggest a publisher. This apropos to Miss W’s [Wallace’s] charming ms. reminiscent of her life in France. She’s been reading it to me on the porch & I went off to find the King just arrived from a trip to town with Mr. Rogers. St. Simeon Slylites—or Skylights—[MTP: IVL TS 27-28].
The New York Times reported Sam’s enlistment by Mrs. Isaac L. Rice in the Anti-Noise Society, though this was merely the use of his name, as he had allowed with previous social movements. In part:
ANTI-NOISE SOCIETY REVIEWS PROGRESS
Fifty-Nine Hospitals with 18,000 Beds Now Represented in Its Directorate.
CHILDREN HELP THE CAUSE
Mark Twain Runs Their Branch—Mrs. Rice, at St. Regis Meeting.
Tells What Has Come of Small Beginning.
The Society for the Suppression of Unnecessary Noise held its first annual meeting last night at the Hotel St. Regis, Fifth Avenue and Fifty-fifth Street, and Mrs. Isaac L. Rice, its founder and President, reported the progress it had made.
One of the newest moves was the organization, with the full consent and cooperation of the Board of Education, of a Children’s Hospital Branch, to be composed of children pledged to make as little noise as possible in the neighborhood of hospitals. Mark Twain has agreed to be President of this. In accepting the office he wrote to Mrs. Rice:
I have an abundance of sympathy for this movement. If I were younger I would like to work for it. Now, I thank you for the compliment you pay me, and shall be happy to have my name used as President of the Children’s Hospital Branch. Sincerely yours, MARK TWAIN.
February 28 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: There was a cold & tearing wind all day, so that when the Trinidad finally got in after lying to anchor outside the harbor, her smoke stacks were white with brine, & her few passengers looked wearily shaken. This morning Sorellatua & I went to a quaint little Belgian woman who has brought a quantity of lovely lace here for sale. The King drives out, & he walks out, & he is gay & young & full of a new and splendid life. Mr. Rogers is improving every day now, & he isn’t the grey feeble man he was less than a week ago.
A dance tonight & a lot of English were here. Dr. & Mrs. Parker had the Governor General here for dinner. The Governor General looks like a parrot, Mr. Wodehouse is his name.
The King plays billiards by the hour with the 2 childhood [missing word?] Irene Gerken & Anne Fields. He is hungry for the friendship & his association of children & his first interest when he goes to a new place to find little girls [MTP: IVL TS 28; also, in part and some modified: MTHHR 645n1; D. Hoffman 105]. Note: General J.H. Wodehouse.
D. Hoffman adds,
“When indoors, Clemens spent hours playing billiards with Irene and another child, Anne Fields, of Jersey City. That evening, before the regular Friday night hotel ball, his excellency the governor, Lt.-Gen. J.H. Wodehouse, arrived in regalia” .
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote a laundry list to Miss Lyon, covering many of the things they’d been collaborating on. There is a certain playfulness in the second section of his letter:
Shall I tell Henderson to send along his chapter on Shaw as a philosopher?
I enclose clipping from the Sunday World; also one from the Westminster Gazette.
I have sent a package of magazines to Dr. Herring, for you. If you want others, tell me what to get.
Hobbe [Josephine Hobby] can’t have struck any snags yet, as she had not attempted to continue the acquaintance recently formed.
At last we have found a couple of suitable shells, and they will be ready next Friday. I will send one to Bermuda by next mail, and one direct to Margaret [Blackmer]. If this is not right, say so now !
I was delighted to get your note, and to learn that you did not die on the voyage. Yesterday, before receiving it, I sent you a cartoon which I received from Richards, the cartoonist who crossed to England last summer with us. If the conditions on your return voyage are not satisfactory, think of this cartoon, and be comforted. There is always a lot of solace in the thought that things might be worse.
That Byrn Mawr school has been closed, temporarily, on account of scarlet fever, so Miss Howard and the Morfords are having holidays. Miss Howard and I are going to get drunk to-morrow at Fraunces Tavern, across the Way, just as George Washington did ; then we are going to see Paid in Full at the Astor, and where we will end up if our brains get mushy, I don’t know. One thing is certain, we will not classify the tricks of the last game, and exclaim what a remarkable hand we have !
I am glad you like Miss Wallace, but I want to warn you that she is the daughter and grand-daughter of Presbyterian missionaries ; and, as you know, the offspring of parsons and professors will always bear watching.
By the way, did Sir Benjamin Stone (Keeper of the Sutton Coal-fields and Photographer-Extraordinary to the Houses of Parliament) ever keep his promise to send the King copies of the photographs taken on the Terrace, in which Balfour and Komura and the King appear?
I suppose Rogers and Benjamin monopolize the King. How do you put in your time? Not having headaches, I hope? / R.W.A. [MTP]. Note: Arthur Balfour, Komura: Japanese Ambassador.
Margaret Blackmer wrote from Briarcliff Manor, NY wishing Sam a nice time in Bermuda and when he got back her picture would be ready for him—could he ask Mr. Ashcroft to send her mother a picture of Sam and her in the donkey cart? “If you see Maud, give her my love, and tell her I hope I will see her again” [MTP].
February 29 Saturday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam began a letter to daughter Clara that he added a PS to on Mar. 2.
Clara dear, there is nothing to report. Everything goes well & satisfactorily, therefore plan-making has not begun. It will not begin until Mr. Rogers becomes restless. He is in better condition than he was in when he left New York, & if he remains contented he will go on improving I think. He & Miss Lyon are very good pals, & Miss Wallace is another one. Benjamin is good company. Take it altogether, Mr. Rogers is well situated, as to the main requirement, which is cheerful & frivolous surroundings; the next requirement is pleasant & sunny weather. Thus far the weather has not been of high quality, but an improvement is promised. Ever yours …. [MTP]. Note: see Mar. 2 for PS.
Sam also inscribed a copy of Eve’s Diary to Irene Gerken: “To / Miss Irene Gerken / with the affectionate regards of / The Author. / Bermuda, Feb. 29, 1908. / Let us save the to-morrows for work / Truly Yours / Mark Twain” [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The best of all the lovely chaffing day was the evening when we went to the King’s room after dinner & he read some Kipling poems to us. “The Bolivar”, “Soldier & Sailor Too” (so full of unapproachable words) “The Mary Gloster” & “McAndrew’s Prayer.” We went from shouting joys to tears over the beauties, the perfections of that magician; & for Kipling to be able to hear the King read those verses might be solace to him for the loss of his dear little girl Josephine.
Oh the comings into our lives of sweet women & strong men who stay with us for a swift moment—then go. They bring a pungent joy, & a fearful one, for we know they come, only to go again. A woman came down on the ship; a woman with red hair & a tall slim figure, & a cleft in her chin and lovely eyes. She was the only woman I saw & I was drawn to her. This morning she stopped at our breakfast table to say she was starting for Nassau, & to give me a beautiful message. She was like Eulabie Dix who came like a burst of sunshine & love to us & then flew away to St. Louis to ponder on what may be marriage for her.
Today Elizabeth Wallace & I went up to Madam la Belge to buy more lace & after luncheon we drove to a little Devonshire Church, & went into the grave yard to make photographs of the giant, ancient dying cedar that has been standing for generations guarding the quaint small church, & the dead, lying under simple slabs. When we came home we had tea & Mrs. Peck joined us. She & Sorellatua talked in French all the time. It was a delight. Professor Ferguson & Mrs. F. & Miss F. are here [MTP: IVL TS 28-29].
D. Hoffman writes of “the mysterious” Mary Allen Hulbert Peck and of some of Sam’s activities on Feb. 29:
Another person who raised eyebrows, especially those of Miss Lyon and Miss Wallace, was the mysterious Mrs. Peck. At first, Miss Lyon simply recorded that she regularly wintered in Bermuda and called herself a “hardy annual.” But soon she wrote that Mrs. Peck was “a bewitching woman, and a snare for men folk.” People on the Islands, she added, “think she is not sincere.” Miss Wallace, more reserved, reported that no husband was in sight, and “there was a little restless look of unfulfilment about her eyes and mouth that gave grounds for romantic speculation.” They watched Mrs. Peck when she appeared at the hotel for tea on February 29 and conversed with a friend all the while in French. Clemens spent part of the day entertaining Irene. He gave her [above] an inscribed copy of Eve’s Diary, which he had lovingly written after the loss of his wife. That evening, lying on his bed and still wearing his white suit, he read aloud from the narrative poems of Kipling, who had just won the Nobel Prize. As he read “Mary Gloster,” Miss Wallace and Miss Lyon broke into tears . Note: Elizabeth Wallace wrote in her memoirs that Mrs. Peck possessed “a little restless look of unfulfilment about her eyes and mouth that gave grounds for romantic speculation” [ibid].
Charles P. DeLaittre wrote from Aitkin, Minn. to ask Sam if one Clarence H. Mackay of NYC was authorized to receive funds for the Lincoln Farm Assoc. [MTP].
March – Burr McIntosh Monthly (NY) ran a portrait of Twain and daughter Clara, p. 57-8,. Tenney: “Accompanying text states that MT had approximately $50,000 on deposit at the Knickerbocker Trust Company in New York at the time of the crash; he opposed establishing a permanent receivership on the grounds that it would be as expensive to maintain as a harem: ‘Anybody who has had experience in this line will endorse my statement’” .
Pacific Monthly ran an article by Charles Warren Stoddard, “In Old Bohemia, II, the Overland and the Overlanders,” p. 261-73. Tenney: “Contains anecdotes of MT in California and recollections of sharing rooms with him in London in the winter of 1873-74. Includes photograph of MT” .
Blackwood’s (London) printed an article by Charles Whibley, “American Literature,” p.414-22. Tenney: “On MT, pp. 419-20: ‘There is but one author who represents with any clarity the spirit of his country, and that author is Mark Twain. Not Mark Twain the humorist, the favourite of the reporters, the facile contemner of things which are noble and of good report, but Mark Twain, the pilot of the Mississippi, the creator of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer. He, indeed, is national as Fielding is national. Future ages will look upon Huck Finn as we look upon Tom Jones,—as an embodiment of national virtue’” .
March 1 Sunday – In Bermuda, the Clemens party took an excursion to see the new island aquarium, which had opened on Jan. 1, 1908. D. Hoffman gives “the effervescent and obliging U.S. consul,” W. Maxwell Greene as organizer of the trip, and writes:
Goodwin Gosling, secretary to the Bermuda Natural History Society, also came aboard…. Twelve fish tanks were cleverly constructed within a masonry moat around a powder magazine the Royal Navy had declared obsolete. Open to sunlight and fresh air, the tanks were designed to be approached through dark and mysterious chambers. “The fish were very wonderful in their coloring and form,” Miss Wallace wrote, “but Mr. Clemens didn’t seem to think that they were very sociable. … Clemens, predictably, pronounced the blue and yellow angelfish his favorite. After a keeper prodded the octopus, so it was told, Clemens did the same to Rogers, and said, “There you are, H.H.—the Big Stick is after you, even down here.”
Upon return, the group took cabs to Prospect in Devonshire Parish, just east of Hamilton to review the troops at the British garrison and listen to the band. Tourists were allowed to attend Sunday services in the chapel. D. Hoffman writes of Sam’s approach:
Sundays saw Clemens adopt a careful strategy. He would arrive too late for church but in time for the band, which played under a grove of cedars. On such outings he took further opportunities to poke fun of Rogers, calling him “the Rajah” .
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Sunday and a full day. This morning at 10:30 we went with the American Consul, Mr. Greene & a scientist, Mr. Gosling, to the Aquarium. We were a party of 2 or 15 & going up young Dr. Ditman talked to me about Lafcadio Hearn & he wished that Hearn could have come to Bermuda & could have written of its beauties, before he went to Japan to grow ever iller & finally pessimistic & then to die. The Aquarium isn’t large, but its specimens are very beautiful. There was a young eager Bermudian there who seemed to know more about the real lives of fish than the scientist did. It was a darling sail, and when we reached the Princess, we scrambled for cabs and drove up to Prospect to see the young soldiers and to hear the band. We met some very agreeable people there. Mrs. Peck again, and Lieut. Frewen and Mrs. Frewen and Capt. Rose and others. Mrs. Peck comes down every winter and calls herself a “Hardy Annual”. After luncheon at 4 “The Harem” and Miss Wallace started for Soucy to have tea with Mrs. Hastings and her daughters. It was very sweet and calm there. The King protested that the fire was poorly laid, and under his bidding I mended its structure, and up it blazed, while the King sat near the table with a sweet black cat in his lap. All day it has been an arriving and a departing, for after leaving Mr. Rogers at the Princess we drove up to Belleterre, Mayor James’s very lovely house with its beautiful garden, quaint, and a pride to the Colonel and a joy to the rest of us. We had tea again, in the library, where there were 5 beautiful Chinese rice-bowls up on a high shelf. Then another departing and an arriving at the Hotel after a drive home in the twilight [MTP: IVL TS 30-31]. Note: likely Sir Moreton Frewen.
March 2 Monday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam added a PS to his Feb. 29 letter to daughter Clara: “P.S. Monday Eve. Your letter has arrived, with its gratifying news. The Oswego incident is worth a dozen word-compliments.”
Sam also replied to the Feb. 28 from Margaret Blackmer at The Misses Tewksbury’s School, Irvington-on-Hudson, N.Y.
I saw the ship coming in at 8 this morning, & very soon afterward the purser sent your letter to me, & I was glad to get it.
I will see that Mr. Ashcroft does not forget to send your mother the picture of you & me & the donkey. He gave one to Miss Lyon, & it was so good that I took it away from her. I shall be so glad to have the picture of you which your mother is saving for me.
I met Maude at the dock this morning, & gave her your message. She was all alone; Reginald had gone off somewhere. We made a trip to Spanish Point with Maude & Reginald the other day; Miss Lyon, Miss Wallace and Mr. Benjamin walked, & Irene & I rode in the cart. Irene is 12 years old, & lives in West 75th street.
There isn’t any coasting here, but no matter, it is nicely hot & sunny and comfortable.
Don’t forget that I am to see you at Easter, dear. I shall be here 2 or 3 weeks yet, I suppose. With lots of love, … [MTP; MTAq 113-15]. Note: Maude was the donkey and Reginald the black boy who accompanied the pair on their cart rides during Sam’s last visit in January.
Sam also wrote to daughter Jean in Greenwich, Conn.
Jean dear, there is nothing to report except that we are all comfortable & Mr. Rogers is improving, day by day. We do not know how long we shall stay, but it will be beyond the 10th, anyway. (The 10th is sailing-day 8 days hence.) It has been rainy, but we have lovely summer weather now, & the effect upon Mr. Rogers and Miss Lyon is fine.
The roads are good, & we drive a deal; when we are not driving we still live out-doors in the sun & gather health.
The hotels are full—& more than full. The cottages are full also. The weekly steamer brought 255 people this morning, & they are around skirmishing for shelter.
There’s plenty of company in this hotel, & of an excellent sort, & there’s a dance twice a week. We are not suffering for a lack of pleasant social life. / With lots of love & kisses /Father [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Mai H. Coe (Mrs. William Robertson Coe) about her father, H.H. Rogers.
Dear Mrs. Coe:
Your father is ever so much better, & I think he improves daily. This is exactly the place for him, & I hope to get him to remain clear into April.
He has been pining for the expected picture of the baby, & when he saw the steamer come gliding past the windows at 8.30 this morning his anxiety rose to boiling point, which [is] 212 at sea-level.
The letters will not be delivered until 5 this afternoon, & he is waiting as patiently as he can. I do hope you haven’t forgotten to send the picture / With love [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Emilie R. Rogers (Mrs. H.H. Rogers).
Dear Mrs. Rogers: / He is getting along splendidly! This was the very place for him. He enjoys himself & is as quarrelsome as a cat.
But he will get a backset if Benjamin goes home. Benjamin is the brightest man in these regions, & the best company! Bright? He is much more than that, he is brilliant. He keeps the crowd intensely alive. / With love & all good wishes, … [MTHHR 644-5].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Cards we have in the evening now up in the King’s room; the King and Mr. Rogers abuse each other with an earnestness entirely deceptive to the uninitiated, but it is blessedness to us.
This afternoon the King and I went up to the Victoria Lodge just opposite the public gardens, to call on the Misses Ladd and Miss Shibley and to hear the band play. Such a lot of people arrived. It is desparing to have to meet strangers by introduction, but to meet them because of a bond of sudden sympathy, that is good and natural. It’s the way marriage ought to be: a natural beautiful meeting without the legal or ecclesiastical bondage that so often makes conditions fester under it. Elizabeth Wallace has promised that she will not introduce another human soul to me [MTP: IVL TS 31].
March 3 Tuesday – Sometime during the Bermuda stay with H.H. Rogers, Elizabeth Wallace recorded her impression of Rogers and the interaction between Clemens and Rogers during card games:
One day as the Rajah [Rogers] came in to the dining room in his slow stately manner, the King who was already seated at the table said, “There he comes just like Gibbs’ Lighthouse, stiff and tall turning his lights from side to side.” The kindly simile was perfect in a way and I never afterwards saw the Rajah bearing down upon us without seeing the resemblance. The Rajah and the King love each other dearly and manifest their affection by abusing each other whenever the occasion offers and when it doesn’t making the opportunity themselves. Our favorite amusement of an evening is to play hearts and the Secretary [Lyon], who always keeps score, writes our names thus, The Author, The Rajah, The Dean, The Secretary. The Author usually prefaces the game by saying to the Rajah in a tone of kindly remonstrance “Now I hope you are not going to show your disagreeable disposition tonight. Do try to show us some pleasant sides of your character.” The Rajah with a perfectly serious face replies in the same vein and this is kept up throughout the evening so skillfully that the Secretary and the Dean never grow weary, on the contrary they are convulsed with silent mirth. They—the King and the Rajah—both hold to the theory that the other would be a hopeless outcast were it not for his regenerating influence and they assume a high moral tone when they reason with one another [Hill 204-5].
Charles E.S. Wood wrote from Portland, Ore. to ask Sam for the Pacific Monthly Magazine to submit some article. Wood had been writing for them without pay, but they would pay Clemens. He enclosed several articles from the magazine which are in the file [MTP]. Lyon wrote on the letter, “Answd. May 7, ‘08” and on the envelope a note “Answd. Mch. 10” with another cryptic note that Sam could not comply due to his contract with Harpers.
March 4 Wednesday – Dorothy Butes wrote from London to Sam.
Dear Dr. Clemens. / Your crimes follow you! In geography, the other day, the Professor said that at a little inn in Germany, where he stayed, in the guest register he had to put down, his name & profession, & just above his name was that of “S.L. Clemens, Profession, Mark Twain”!!
We are in a pretty flat (apartment) of our own, now—It is nice not to be in hotels—one gets so tired of living in trunks—I never saw anything which quite equals the slowness of British Workmen—They put all there pots & pans in the hall, roll up their sleeves, slap each other on the back, & solicitously enquire, “Wot’s wrong, old Sport?” of one another—Then they do a little work—At eleven they go off—“for lunch” (they arrived at ten, you know,) and don’t turn up again till 2 o’clock—Mother has been so tormented by them that the doctor has ordered her to bed for a few weeks, so the “British Workman” will be “on his own”!
I went to a Dance at Queen’s College last night. Very, very few of the girls could “lead,” & very few could even “follow” decently—We had a “Waltz Gallop” amongst other things. It was too funny to see our staid and stately English Grammar teacher gallop off like a Bucking Bronco from the Wild West! I & my partner started off in her wake, and bumped into a few couples—
It has been foggy and wretched. I loathe this climate!
You have been down in the Bermudas again, havn’t you? We had a lovely stay in Paris—& brought back lots of mechanical toys. I must go and do my German exercises now. I don’t see why one couldn’t be just as happy without German verbs!
With much love, Your little friend / Dorothy Butes
P.S. Arn’t you coming over for the London Pageant? London would love to have you ( I speak for London!) [MTP; MTAq 115-16].
John M. Howells for Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam about Clara’s desire to have the two Lucca della Robbia (1399-1482) plaques set into the wall [MTP].
Frances Nunnally wrote from St. Timothy’s to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,— / I hope you got the letter I sent to you in New York just too late for you to get it before you sailed. In it I told you the lovely pin arrived just after I sent you the letter you received in New York. It hadn’t been lost in the mails at all, and I surely am glad for I wouldn’t have lost it for anything.
Bermuda must be a beautiful place and I am so glad you went down there, so you will miss the disagreeable cold weather of New York.
Last night we had great excitement here, though it all came out well. While one of the clubs was giving a party in the gymnasium, the school house caught on fire from some of the paper decorations on the walls, and all the favors just went up in one great flame. All the girls got out of the building in about two minutes and no one was hurt at all. The part that wasn’t burnt was damaged by water, so we will not be able to use that building for several days. Our dwelling house was not touched, though there was a general confusion, as everything was moved out for fear the fire would spread. Everything was fixed up again to-day and I think we are going to have school to-morrow in a little parish house near here. Though we lost only one day of school, I suppose everything will be more or less confused for the next three or four days, until we can get into our school house gain.
Must stop now / With love, / Francesca [MTP; MTAq 116-17].
March 5 Thursday – Sam appeared on stage at the Princess Hotel ballroom, for the benefit of the Cottage Hospital. He told the story of the “three-dollar dog,” which he had related in his A.D. of Oct. 3, 1907. See entry; also see D. Hoffman p.110-114 for the full tale. Hoffman writes:
Mark Twain told the story as though for the first time, aiming for what he defined in his autobiography as “the captivating naturalness of an impromptu narration.” He added an “application,” another of his techniques. “My friend was partly right,” he said, “when he assured me that the ‘Lord would provide,’ but it is rather doubtful whether the Lord really would have provided for us if I had not bestirred myself.” He continued:
The Bermuda Hospital needs financial assistance and it is very easy and very pleasant to believe that the Lord will provide for such a worthy institution, but it is safer for us to bestir ourselves a little….Therefore, give generously tonight to the cause. The larger the sums, the more cordially they will be received, and if you have not brought your purses with you, the ladies may contribute their jewels and the gentlemen their letters of credit, or express checks, properly endorsed. This does not mean that small sums will not be politely received, but simply means that the degree of enthusiasm for a shilling may be slightly less than one for one hundred pounds….And in closing, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me remind you that the hospital is always fighting pain, and pain is a King who is no respecter of persons [114-15].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King helped in an entertainment tonight for the benefit of the Cottage Hospital. He was rarely welcomed by his audience and when his turn really came—for he introduced a man who made misrepresentations (Faulkner his name is)—he told the Three Dollar Dog story, and he broke down at the point where the general asked if he would sell that dog. He broke down into a hearty boyish laugh [MTP: IVL TS 31-32].
In New York, Clara Clemens participated in another musicale at a private home, this time for Dr. and Mrs. Edward Quintard at 145 West Fifty-eighth Street. Miss Lillian Littlehales played the cello and Charles Wark accompanied on the piano [NY Times, Mar. 6, “Mrs. Quintard Entertains,” p. 7]. Wark, a married man, was to be later romantically linked with Clara. Dr. Quintard was Sam’s regular NYC physician.
Alice Minnie Herts for the Children’s Educational Theatre wrote to Miss Lyon so she might advise Sam of what had been done to incorporate the Educational Theatre [MTP].
Eden Phillpotts wrote from Eltham, Torquay to Sam.
My dear friend / Today your cargo of boys—mostly bad ones—sail for the States. Few men I think would welcome such an inroad as you have done.
May they serve to pass a spare hour or so for one who has in his own amazing gallery so many immortal pictures of “genus puer.”
I much regretted that my agents have not found a home for your book in this country. Perhaps American school boys are different from English ones—& yet that surely is an absurd proposition [MTP].
March 6 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: This morning we had been gaily photographing the King and Irene, in and out of the donkey cart, and they went to the billiard room to be photographed there by a German whose name is uncatchable. I followed by and by to tell the King that the “battery” was waiting to move and looking through the window into the billiard room as I passed along the porch, I saw the King, pale as death, leaning over the table, and the young German rubbing the back of his head. “Do you feel better now?” I heard him say. Then the King straightened himself up and said he did, he thought. It had been just a sudden “crick in his neck,” and the pain is always so acute with him that it makes him weak. All day I too was weak with the memory of the look on his face. We started off for the Spanish Point but we didn’t reach it—and turning home we met Mr. Rogers and Benjamin in a fiacre [hackney coach]. We induced Mr. Rogers and Elizabeth to climb into the battery and after making a photo of the blessed group, Benjamin and I started for a drive and wound up at the Admiralty Gardens, where after a talk with the English chauffer who couldn’t permit us to see the cave, we did see it, and it was very interesting. The Admiral now here is Inglefield. He is sent over in a battleship—he and his family and his 16 servants. He has a very charming home and 5 boats of different grades at his secret and that secret cave to go down into and watch the waters surging in from the sea at the openings that the prisoners made there more than 100 years ago. It is a place to fire the imagination of a Stevenson, or a lesser man too, for the sound of that water is eternal, and the movement of it is too [MTP: IVL TS 32-33]
Frederick T. Leigh for Harper & Brothers wrote to Miss Lyon, advising that $5,057.70 had been deposited in Lincoln National Bank for Clemens [MTP].
John M. Howells for Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam detailing the mantel items and the Robbia terra cotta placques; other details left to decide were mentioned [MTP].
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens / I hope you are enjoying the balmy sunshine and the lilies of Bermuda better than I am enjoying the sunshine of Plainfield for I am sick in bed and can do nothing but look at it from inside while I dose with “no 77” every hour [Humphrey’s # 77 a cold medicine]. I hope you and Miss Lyon are well and enjoying the comforts of life and the Bermuda air. I wish I were with you but as I am not I wish you would write to me occasionally but then I know you are busy enjoying yourself. Miss Clara sent me some beads which my friend’s and I have enjoyed very much also a very nice note [.] When are you coming to New York again [?] But now I must close [.] With love to Miss Lyon and lots & lots & lots for yourself.
I am your very loving / Dorothy
P.S. I have several new autographs Geraldine Farrar [,] Governor Fort [,] Booker Washington [,] and curso [Enrico Caruso]—I have written Mary Garden and other people / Love / Dorothy [MTP; MTAq 117].
George White wrote from Glen Ridge, NJ to Sam. White had been reading the latest Autobiographical segment and felt Sam’s work on the Mississippi had no equal in literature [MTP].
March 7 Saturday – The Royal Gazette of Hamilton, Bermuda noted the regular appearance of Sam and H.H. Rogers on Front Street. Quoted and summarized by D. Hoffman:
Rogers and Clemens often took short rides to town, and not without attracting notice. An idler on Front Street, the Royal Gazette reported, “may see almost any afternoon, weather permitting, two quiet looking, white haired old gentlemen taking the air in an open carriage, chatting cosily and absorbing with shrewd glances from under bushy eyebrows the sights and the scenes of the street.” Their reputations preceded them—perhaps with help from Upton Sinclair. The same piece said that Sinclair, a “representative of that fast growing class, the American Socialist,” was currently rusticating in Somerset. Of the two old gentlemen that appeared on Front Street, the Gazette continued, one was known as a maker of merriment, while the other was likewise in touch with the world but rather through their pockets than their sense of humor.” Miss Wallace maintained that Rogers, too, was a charming man “with a fund of quiet humor,” but Clemens found that his association with Rogers prompted more questions than his public attentions to schoolgirls. When asked why he befriended a man of so much tainted money, he had a ready answer. “Yes,” he said, “it’s doubly tainted: t’aint yours, and t’aint mine” [105-6].
March 8 Sunday – The New York Times, page 12, ran “Knickerbocker Will Open On March 26,” which announced the reopening of Sam’s bank where he had over $51,000 in deposits. The Knickerbocker Trust Co. bank had suffered a run by frantic depositors and was forced to close shortly after noon on Oct. 2, 1907. It’s likely that Sam received the good news by this day or the next.
H.W. Finlayson wrote from Grassy Bay, Bermuda to Sam (John Gay, Capt. Of Cressy; also signed) Finlayson:
Dear Doctor Clemens: I understand we are cousins and in a closer sense than that you are American and I English. Your dear mother is sister to my (to me) dearer mother!
I am jealous that my Alma Mater was forestalled by Oxford in adopting you.
I regret also that the “exigencies of the service” prevented my being in Oxford—in fact, England—to assist those who desired to do you honour. Think you that we might square yards in some way? May I suggest a way? What if you did us the honour to lunch on board the battleship on Monday or Tuesday? Does that appeal to your sense of humour? If not, will you let it touch that whole-hearted generosity of yours, and come?
We won’t ask you to say anything funny, but will, if you will honour us, show you as much of the ship as you might wish to see, and do our best not to bore you too much.
I have a confession to make—my conscience compels me. Here it is—Fleet-Surgeon F—and I made a pilgrimage yesterday to your present shrine to do you homage. We had one golden opportunity, when you were smoking your after breakfast cigar on the terrace of the hotel, but being the shyest of a shy race, or let me say, the kindest of our kind, we refrained from taking advantage of your only moment of isolation to attack you and achieve the object of our visit. …
I must apologize for the length of this invitation. My excuse is, that it is not so much an invitation as a humble petition from two / GRATEFUL ADMIRERS-IN-CHIEF [MTP: Mark Twain and the Happy Island, p. 65-66].
March 9 Monday – Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam, enclosing a bill for $2,952.69 for William Webb Sunderland, the 7th payment in his contract [MTP].
March 10 Tuesday – At the invitation of ship’s captain, John Gay, Sam spent much of the day aboard a British Cruiser, the HMS Cressy, enjoying laughter and stories in the Officers’ Mess [Mar. 12 to Quick]. William Evarts Benjamin accompanied him. The Cressy was one of three warships anchored at the Dockyard, Ireland Island, Sandys Parish [D. Hoffman 115-16]. Note: since he did not mention his time aboard ship in the following three letters, they were likely written in the a.m. before boarding. Sam would mention this time aboard the ship to Dorothy Quick in his Mar. 12 letter.
At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to daughter Jean .
Jean dear, we are having an exceedingly good time, & the weather is perfect now. It is American June weather. There’s a plenty of people—every Monday 250 arrive from New York, & half as many sail for New York next day. We make delightful friends, then they fly homeward, & we make a new accumulation in their places. We go driving or sailing or tramping every day, & also we go to teas & lunches, but not to dinner—we don’t go out at night, but stay at home & play cards & billiards.
Mr. Rogers is improving, & likes it here. I believe I can persuade him to stay till near the middle of April; but at first he wanted to get back home. I hope you are having good & satisfactory times & are happy. I have a note from Clara, & she is evidently in fine spirits.
Lovingly, with hugs & kisses / Father [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Mar. 4 from Frances Nunnally.
Yes, you dear Francesca, I got the letter, & was very glad to have it. But if the pin had been lost it wouldn’t have mattered, because I find I am likely to be here a month yet, & therefore could get another.
I am very glad no harm came of your fire, but I hope you won’t have any more accidents of that kind. It makes me very uncomfortable to hear about it & think of the risks.
I wish you were here, dear. You wouldn’t ever be idle. We are busy everyday—sailing, driving, walking, lunching, dancing tea-ing, & so on; & at night we stay at home. We decline night-invitations, & go to bed by 10.30 or 11. Miss Lyon is getting strong & healthy, & Mr. Rogers is improving so decidedly that he is glad he came, & I expect to persuade him to stay until April 11.
The weather is perfect now. It is New York June weather, & I think there is no such thing possible as improving upon that.
Goodnight, Francesca dear. / With love / SLC [MTP; MTAq 119].
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick.
Dorothy dear, I am so sorry, sorry, sorry you are sick. I know you ought to come here. This heavenly climate & fine air would soon make you strong & well. It is doing wonders for Miss Lyon & Mr. Rogers. Can’t you come? I don’t expect to go home before the 1st or 10th of April. I hope your mother can bring you. You are a frail little creature, & you need to get away from doctors & let generous & wise Nature build you up & make you strong. Come to me, you dear Dorothy! You will be so welcome.
Miss Lyon is getting strong & robust, & Mr. Rogers is improving so decidedly that he has stopped talking about going back home—so I am hoping & expecting to keep him here until April 11th. We are having very lively times every day—sailing, driving, walking, lunching, dancing; & at night we play billiards & cards & never go out, to dinners or anywhere else. I am now so strong that I suppose I could pull up one of these islands by the roots & throw it half way to New York. In fact I know I could.
Write you? Certainly I shall. I don’t intend to ever be too busy to write to my dear Dorothy.
Good-bye, with lots & lots of love— / SLC [MTP; MTAq 118].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King and Benjamin went out to the Cressy to lunch with the regular mess and were escorted by Mr. John Gay, and Fleet Surgeon Finlayson. They went gaily off in the admiral’s launch, and when he came back the King said that the day had been perfect. We waited for over an hour to be called for by that admiral’s launch. Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, Lafreda, and Madelon Wier and Elizabeth—to go out to the Cressy for tea—but the boat didn’t come, and we had a sad sense of defeat, so we sat on the porch and had a riotous dish of tea with rum in it, and watched for the King to come back to us. These days are sweet—even the days with a sense of defeat [MTP: IVL TS 33]
Irene Gerken left the islands on this day. The New York Times of Apr. 19, 1908, p.4 would run a photo of Sam and Irene on the dock in Bermuda, possibly taken on this day.
The ledger books of Chatto & Windus show that 1,000 additional copies (3s.6d.) of Pudd’nhead Wilson were printed, totaling 12,000 [Welland 238].
March 11 Wednesday – Sam attended a garden party at the Governor J.H. Wodehouse’s house and enjoyed music by a British band, which he called the “best band in the British army save one—the Horseguards” [Mar. 12 to Quick]. Note: if IVL’s lined out phrase for this date means anything, Benjamin went with him.
March 12 Thursday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam began a letter to Dorothy Quick that he added to on Mar. 13, and 16. Sam relates activities of this day, as well as time spent on Mar. 10 and 11.
My poor little Dorothy, I hope you are well again, & will write a line & tell me so. I wish you were here—you would be on your feet right away.
We are to be here about 20 days yet. We sail for New York April 1.
It is very pleasant. There is always something going on. Yesterday it was a large garden party at the governor’s, & there was music by the best band in the British army save one—the Horseguards. I have not heard such lovely music except at the King’s garden-party last summer, when the Horse Guards band played.
Day before yesterday I spent the day on a British cruiser, & had a screaming good time (the screaming was laughter over yarns in the officers’ mess). And yesterday Miss Lyon, & 5 other ladies were the cruiser’s guests, & they had a screaming good time too.
To-day five of us men drove to St George’s, over beautiful roads with charming scenery & the wonderful blue water always in sight—distance 12 miles—& we dined at the hotel. However, on the way there we visited a wonderful cave that was discovered in December by a couple of black boys—the most beautiful cave in the world I suppose. We descended 150 steps & stood in a splendid place 250 feet long & 30 or 40 wide, with a brilliant lake of clear water under our feet & all the roof overhead splendid with shining stalactites, thousands & thousands of them as white as sugar, & other thousands & thousands of them brown & pink & other tints. All lighted with acetalyne jets.
Every Friday night there’s a ball in the hotel; & I look on. I go out to teas & lunches, but not to dinners. I stay at home, nights.
There’s a lot of lovely sailboats, & we often go sailing in them. They are wonderfully handled by colored sailors. You dear child, if you were only here! There’s a little bit of a donkey-cart, & a little bit of a donkey named Maude, & we would make trips to Spanish Point. It is 3 miles, & Maude can go there in an hour & a half. There is a pretty beach there, & the water is crystal-clear. But you can’t bathe there, for lack of bath houses [MTP; MTAq 119-20].
March 13 Friday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam added to his Mar. 12 to Dorothy Quick.
Friday, 9 p.m. This has been a lovely summer day, very brilliant & not uncomfortably warm. If you would only come, you could stop those deadly medicines & soon get well.
The ball has begun, & I think I will go down & look on.
Dear child I am taking the liberty of appointing you to membership in my “Aquarium”—if you will let me. It consists of 5 angel-fishes & one shad. I am the shad. The device of the club is a very small angel-fish pin, to be worn on the breast. I will fetch it when I come. I have to wear a flying-fish pin, until I can get a shad made [MTP].
Irene Gerken wrote to Sam including her charming spelling.
We arrived safely and found lovely spring weather. The trip was fine only I was a little sick. I met a lote of friends on board and so was not very lonesome. How is Mr. Roggers? I hope he is much better, and when he leaves I hope he will have recovered all to geather. My bird was not the least sick and now he is talking all the time. Please give my love to Miss Lion and Miss Wallace. Mother and Father wish to be remembered to you. With lots of love from all / Your little Angel Fish / Irene Gerken [MTP; MTAq 121].
Harry P. Wood for Hawaii Promotion Co. wrote to Sam, offering to “place some article of furniture in one of the rooms that would serve to continually recall to your mind the days you spent in these Islands many years ago.” They suggested either a chair or a mantel [MTP]. Note: see Nov. 30, 1908 entry for picture of chair.
Howells & Stokes wrote two typed letters to Sam, going over details on the Redding house: the sewage disposal plant and the gas lighting plant, with costs. The second letter noted that Clemens had left the matter of the mantel designs with them and they would aim at the “simplest and best effects.” [MTP].
March 14 Saturday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam began a letter to Frances Nunnally that he added a PS to on Mar. 16.
I was very glad to get your letter, Francesca dear, & also glad that you all escaped uninjured from the fire. But I hope you won’t be subjected to any more risks of that kind.
It is lovely summer weather here, now, splendidly sunny & yet not too hot. I believe this is the best climate in the world. The sailing, among the islands is delightful, & the water is divinely blue. The drives are very fine, too. I wish you were here.
We sail for New York April 1, arriving Thursday April 3—& then it will soon be Easter & you will let us fetch you to New York for a visit, won’t you? I am depending on it, and I hope I shan’t be disappointed.
Are you growing out of my knowledge? Would I know you if I met you on the street in a strange town? I hope so. / Lovingly / SLC [MTP; MTAq 122]. Note: see Mar. 16 for P.S.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I’ve got 2 old Bermudian cedar chairs. They are darlings” [MTP: IVL TS 33].
The New York Times, p. BR140 ran this notice:
Completing Mark Twain’s Works.
The American Publishing Company of Hartford, Conn., has just issued the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth volumes of Mark Twain’s collected writings in order to complete the sets of the various uniform editions published by them. These volumes are important ones, and contain many of the stories, sketches, and articles written by Mr. Clemens during the last five years, and also a number of earlier stories, which a careful search, under Mr. Clemens’s supervision, has brought to light, and which, in many cases, rank with his best work.
March 15 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: The Yoke—Hubert Wales. / We lunched with Mrs. Peck today and had some wonderful Bermudian Pepperpot. The heart of it was a chicken and it had strange spices and pepper corns. It came on the table in what is called a buck kettle—a big black heavy old kettle, full of the flavor of many pepperpots. Bur first of all we drove up to Prospect to hear the Sunday morning band play, and to see the charming English people, and the pretty Americans under the trees, and the brilliant red coated bands and scatteringly few soldiers making a lovely picture. We went up with young Mr. and Mrs. Graham and Mr. Trumbull. The close of the day was the best—for we went to the King’s room and he lay on his white bed and read Kipling to us [MTP: IVL TS 33-34]. Note: The Yoke (1907), by Hubert Wales, about a mother who seduces her son in order to keep him from a wicked woman, brought civil charges. Not in Gribben. This may have been Lyon’s book. There’s no evidence Sam read or was aware of it. Mary Allen Hulbert Peck.
D. Hoffman gives us an account of this day’s activities, adding from Elizabeth Wallace’s diary:
On March 15, after another Sunday morning drive to Prospect for the band concert, Clemens and his party rode to Shoreby, where Mrs. Peck entertained them with her favorite dish, West Indian pepper pot. It was brought to the table in a “big black heavy old kettle,” Miss Lyon said. Typically, pepper pot took three or four days to prepare, with strips of pork, beef, and poultry cooked with cassareep, peppers, thyme, and salt. Mrs. Peck said it was a heathen dish, best enjoyed on Sundays. Although mild at first taste, Miss Wallace wrote, it soon began to burn insidiously. Clemens approved, but said a little more pepper was needed. The day ended in his hotel room with more readings from Kipling’s poems .
March 16 Monday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam finished his Mar. 12 and 13 to Dorothy Quick.
March 16. The Bermudian has arrived, with / 60 bags of mail & 250 passengers. She sails to-morrow.
We don’t sail April 1. We have postponed to April 11. I am sorry, but Mr. Rogers is improving ever so fast, & we want him to stay as long as he will. Bermuda is better than four or five or six million doctors. Don’t you forget that, dear. / With lots of love [MTP].
Sam also added a P.S. to his Mar. 14 to Francess Nunnally.
P.S. March 16 (Monday.) We don’t sail homeward April 1. We have postponed it to April 11. Francesca dear, I am taking the liberty of appointing you to membership in my “Aquarium.” (Club). It contains 5 angel-fishes & one shad. I am the shad. The badge of the club is a very small angel-fish pin, to be worn on the breast. I will bring it when I come. I have to wear a flying-fish until I can get a shad-pin made [MTP].
Emilie R. Rogers (Mrs. H.H. Rogers) arrived in Bermuda on the Bermudian. On Mar. 23 Sam noted in his letter to daughter Clara that Emilie had not been in good health upon her arrival but that by then she was “much improved.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mrs. Rogers arrived today. She has a peculiar nervous affection of the right arm and hand” [MTP: IVL TS 34].
Archibald Henderson wrote to Isabel Lyon advising he was sending Clemens the typed chapter on “Mr. Shaw’s Philosophy” [MTP]. Note: likely George Bernard Shaw’s philosophy, which was close to Clemens’.
William Webb Sunderland wrote from Danbury, Conn. confirming receipt of Sam’s Mar. 9 letter with amount of seventh payment (as per contract). He thanked Clemens and reported they had framed the loggia [MTP.]
March 17 Tuesday – Howells & Stokes sent another typed advisory about the Redding house under construction, specifically the wainscoting in the various bathrooms [MTP].
March 18 Wednesday – Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Sam, enclosing their readers’ criticism of the JA play produced by John W. Postgate [MTP].
The New York Times, p. 7 “Great Men’s Letters Sold at Auction” reported that three letters from Mark Twain sold for greater amounts than those from Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Andrew Carnegie, and others.
March 19 Thursday – Irene Gerken wrote her typical no-periods note to Sam. “I received your letter this evening and was very glad to hear from you you say you are lonesome Why I should think Miss Allen would fill my place Allthough I am far away I hear all the news. By the score you sent me of the cards I see Mr Rodgers has lost every game I am very glad that you had a good time at the War ship and if I had knowen you were there I might of seen you.” She asked after Maud and Reginald [MTP].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote a short note to Isabel Lyon (though catalogued as to Clemens) [MTP]. Note: there are many letters in the file to Lyon which are catalogued as to Clemens. Though somer are listed in this volume, not all are.
John M. Howells for Howells & Stokes wrote again to Sam with many details about the Redding house, including placques, stonework and a possible fountain [MTP].
W.A. Morschhauser wrote from NYC to advise Sam that he’d sent “a few” photos he’d taken in Bermuda; if he wished more to please advise [MTP].
The Playground Assoc. sent an engraved invitation to meet Mrs. Humphry Ward at a dinner at the Waldorf on Mar. 31 [MTP]. Note: IVL wrote: “Answd. Mch. 19—Mr. C. in Bermuda, wd. Forward invitation, etc.”
C. Brereton Sharpe for the Plasmon Syndicate, London wrote to Sam enclosing the Mar. 18 issue of Truth, which had an article on Plasmon that Sharpe felt was “a good advertisement” [MTP].
March 20 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: We went to the Hastings for tea today at four o’clock, It was assembled out on the beautiful point, and though there were a lot of people there, our own clan was the dearest. The others gave us no thrills. The King and I drove over with Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, the Rajah on the box, (Betsy is naughty—she says Mrs. Rogers could be called a Eunuch because she is the Rajah’s manager.) and after the tea and the sandwiches we drove around to the North Shore, and got out to look down a cliff side into the water 100 feet below. To look into Bermuda water, it is a blast of poetry just to say it. The King is having a darling time with 2 little girls—Jean Spurr and Helen Martin. Jean wears a blond wig and has no eye brows or lashes, but the King doesn’t care about a detail like that. He sees into her fair young soul and is very glad [MTP: IVL TS 34-35]. Note: see Mar. 23 entry.
March 21 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Such a wonderful day we have had, for Mrs. Rogers organized a party to go to Somerset, 12 miles away and to lunch there. We set out at eleven; Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. [Zoheth] Freeman, the King, Mr. Weir, Mrs. Peck, Mrs. [Marion Schuyler] Allen, Mr. John Wayland, Elizabeth [Wallace] and I. And the drive around by Paget and through Warwick was beautiful with glimpses of wide views of these waters through cedared openings, with each house more quaint and satisfying in its architecture than the last one, with darkeys bending over the vast onion fields, patiently thinking they are finding weeds; with the oleanders just coming into bloom; with the life plant lifting its stately bells, and with the sight of the King’s beautiful head always away in front, 3 carriages ahead. Then the drive home was even better, for John Wayland and I talked alone, and he said that his father had said of the King that the King stands for the same things that Lincoln stands for—that he is of the same greatness, and it is very true [MTP: IVL TS 35].
March 22 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Betsy, the King and I drove up to Prospect to hear the band play. We sat on a cab rug under the trees and watched that colony of red coated players with its graceful leader, and we watched the little children who were enraptured by the music, and who gamboled around through “the forest of legs” (Betsy) and tumbled over the dogs and were so very, very happy. They were great human beings in little, and showed openly the characteristics that their elders were concealing under stolid masks. Sometimes a riotous bonnet would reveal a hearty heavy with the love of color. But oh, the outward show of us all. The King is happiest in white. I am most comfortable in yellows; and today Mrs. Freeman told me that living as I am with the greatest human being, there can be no danger of my ever over dressing the part, the danger will be in my failure to dress up to it. The King would love to have me in rich soft clinging silks and splendid or delicate colors; and when I told him what Mrs. Freeman had advised me to do, he said that she was a wise woman [MTP: IVL TS 35-36].
March 23 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Yesterday the King, Mr. Rogers and I drove over to call on Sir Bronlow Grey’s elderly daughters who have never been off these islands. He was attorney general here and in those old days he would not let them leave, and now they are afraid to venture, I believe.
This morning the King started off on a picnic with Jean and Helen to be gone all day; and we, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, and the Waylands lunched with Mrs. Peck again, and again had pepperpot. Col. Frewen was there. He talked to me about South African and the Boer War and about India and his brother who sat at the other end of the table and who was the discoverer of Kipling; found his youthful contributions to some local paper to be full of interest and said that he was a rising genius, but was snubbed for his pains. And now those who snubbed him are having a bitter laugh at themselves.
Mr. Wayland said on Saturday that Mrs. Peck is reaching out for friends. People here think she is not sincere [MTP: IVL TS 36-37]. Note: Sir Moreton Frewen; Mary Allen Hulbert Peck; Jean Spurr and Hellen Elizabeth Martin. Jean was thirteen and from Newark. Helen was twelve and from Montreal, Canada [D. Hoffman 118-19].
At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to daughter Clara.
Dear heart, it isn’t “better than Mark ever done.” They used to shorten-up base-ball games to ’tend my lectures. And as for mere charity entertainments, they didn’t dast to play agin me at all, except Sundays, & then I sqwushed them. But you are coming along, dear, you are coming along. You are getting splendid notices, & I am aware that you deserve them. It makes me very glad.
We are having good times. To-day I went pic-nicking with some other children, & romped in the sand on the sea-shore about 6 hours. I returned dog-tired, & at first I thought I oughtn’t to have went, but 2 hours of billiards rested me up again.
Mr. Rogers was pretty poorly when we came down here, & Miss Lyon was not much better off, but both are in much improved condition now. There was nothing the matter with me, yet I seem to have improved a little myself.
Our sailing-date is April 11. / With heaps of love / Marcus [MTP].
Sam also wrote to daughter Jean in Greenwich, Conn.
There is nothing to report to you, Jean dear, except the weather, & it may be pronounced perfect. To-morrow the ship will carry away a number of pleasant friends, & she didn’t bring any in their places—not a single familiar face. But no matter, there’s plenty of good times, & I like Bermuda ever so much.
I hope you will find a place that will be entirely satisfactory to you & your friends—but be sure it is close to New York, because I want you to be near Dr. Peterson, & also near enough for me to see you, & I can’t stand long land-journeys. However, you’ll find the right place, no doubt. When you think you have found it, submit it to Dr. Peterson, & if it satisfies him it will satisfy me.
Mrs. Rogers is here, now, but her health is bad, & I think the climate does not altogether agree with her.
I believe I will go to bed, now. I have been pic-nicking & billiarding 9 hours to-day.
With lots & lots of love
Sam also sent a postcard with a photo of the “Royal Palms” to Dorothy Quick in Plainfield, N.J., adding:
The weather is perfect, & if you want some of it for your own use or for sale, please let me know, & I will see that you get all you want—but our government will swindle you on the duty, as it does on all imports./ S.L.C [MTP].
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam with Sunderland’s estimate of $450 for the sleeping porch “as designed for Miss Clemens opening over the west end of the loggia and projecting from her room.” He included specifications for the addition [MTP].
Jervis Langdon II wrote to ask Sam if he would sign the enclosed letter (not in file) or write one of his own, as a testimonial for the Hope-Jones organ to Daniel Frohman [MTP].
March 24 Tuesday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally.
Francesca dear, this note will leave here 4 days hence by a slow steamer, & reach you 8 days from now—April 1. We sail April 11 & reach New York April 13th—Tuesday. Miss Lyon & my daughter will then go to Redding, Conn., where we are building a house, & return at the week-end—Saturday, April 18.
Then on Monday Miss Lyon will go to Baltimore & stay over night & fetch you home to New York Tuesday, & rest you up, & take you back to your school by the time it opens.
You consent, don’t you, dear? There is a comfortable room for you, & I would give you two if I could—or a dozen, if I had them. You will give us this pleasure, won’t you? The ship that fetches us home will leave New York the 9th of April, & if you write me by the 7th (to above address) I shall get your letter before we go hence. I am hoping you will say yes, dear heart. / With love, SLC [MTP].
Miss Elizabeth Wallace and her mother left the Islands on this day [D. Hoffman 119].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Betsy [Elizabeth Wallace] has gone away on the Bermudian. I’ve come to my room very lonely and very forlorn, and my spirit is covered with white blisters. Again I say it, that I must not let myself love people—but forever I am doing it. It is just as I said to Ashcroft: Betsy is wonderful because she understands a thousand things she does not know or even suspect. She lives out her dean-ship of the Junior College in the University of Chicago with not entire interest; for she is a living throbbing woman, and meant to be living a stronger throbbinger life [MTP: IVL TS 37].
Victor H. Paltsits wrote on NY State Capitol letterhead to invite Sam to the annual dinner for the New York Library Club on Thursday, Apr. 30, at the Aldine Assoc [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd Mch. 25—wd. Forward his letter to Mr. Clemens in Bermuda. Date of his return uncertain”
March 25 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: Mr. and Mrs. Freeman took me for tea at the Women’s Exchange. We sat up on the latticed balcony and watched the darkeys in afternoon toilets, and the other folks go by and then we drove out to Spanish Point and around by the North Shore and to visit some charming rentable vacant houses, and that started me to telling the Freemans about Redding and Lyonesse and they want to go there too.
Someone—Dr. Gallanded—has written to say that the King’s name has been suggested for the Nobel Prize [MTP: IVL TS 37-38].
Frances Nunnally wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,—
I am sure I have not changed so much that you would not know me in a strange place, and I really do not think I have changed at all, unless I have gained some flesh.
I am deeply honored to be a member of the “Aquarium,” which from the number of members I see is a very select club.
We have not had anymore excitement of any kind since the fire, and we have once more gotten back into our school house. Everything is in running order now just like it always was. We only have three weeks now before our Easter holidays begin, and I can hardly wait until that time. I think Mother is coming up to take me to New York, but I shall certainly see you while I am there. If we go to Europe this summer as we hope to do, we will have to make our preparations and do all our shopping at Easter, as we shall probably sail as soon as school is out in June. I am making all these plans in my mind, but I am not sure that we are going abroad at all. Any how I shall be in New York in about three weeks and I surely hope to see you there.
Hoping you are still having a fine time in Bermuda, I am / With love, / Francesca [MTP; MTAq 123-4].
C.F. Stromeyer, Furniture & Upolstery, NYC, wrote acknowledging Clemens’ letter and informing that they had shipped the Mantel to Harry Lounsbury and William Robertson Coe [MTP].
March 26 Thursday – Dr. Frederick Peterson wrote to Isabel Lyon recommending that Jean Clemens, her two nurses, and young friend Marguerite Schmidt (or Schmitt), who shared a cottage in Greenwich, Conn., might prefer Gloucester, Mass. On Apr. 18, Lyon and one of the nurses, Edith Cowles, would go to Gloucester and select a cottage for the girls [Hill 197; MTP]. Note: IVL wrote: “Heartily approve of Gloucester”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: We dined—a lot of us—with Mr. and Mrs. Wayland, here in the hotel—Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, and Mr. & Mrs. Weir, Mrs. Peck, Mr. Ely, the King and I and afterward we all came up to the King’s room to hear him read Kipling. He was never in better spirit—never in completer understanding and John Wayland said that to hear such an appreciation of an appreciation—as in the “Sailor and Soldier Too,” poem—was a thing never again to be repeated. I suggested it to John Wayland, knowing that sometimes the King is weary after a dinner, or bored which is worse—and I knew that every soul there would treasure the memory of it, and then Mrs. Peck would have a place to smoke in. She wore a very beautiful gown that she called one of her “life-boats”—she is a bewitching woman, and a snare for men folk [MTP: IVL TS 38]. Note: Mary Allen Hulbert Peck, Robert Erksine Ely.
Margery H. Clinton wrote to Sam.
I telephoned to your house the other day, to find out if you had returned from Bermuda, and was told that you would not be back until April. I am so sorry, because I wanted to see you before sailing for Europe. Mother and I are leaving next Tuesday (the 31st), by the steamer Hamburg, for Gibraltar….
Looking back over this winter, my pleasantest recollections are the good times you have given me, and I want to thank you again for being so sweet to me… [MTP; not in MTAq].
March 27 Friday – The Bermuda Royal Gazette of Mar. 31 reported Sam’s reading of Kipling’s poems at Shoreby on Mar. 27 for the guests of Mrs. Mary Allen Peck: “He read these in a tone and with a depth of feeling that gave to the verses a value seldom recognized” [D. Hoffman 108]. Note: Gribben offers more detail:
…Clemens repeatedly read aloud to groups of vacationing Americans in Bermuda in 1908. “These people had never, never heard anything of the real Kipling before,” an admiring Isabel Lyon commented in her journal. Following a reading on March 27th Miss Lyon heard one of the fifteen people present, a Mr. Chamberlain, declare that “there isn’t anyone else in the world who could read between the lines as the King can” (Lyon’s journal, TS 313, MTP). Another account of these Kipling readings appears in Elizabeth Wallace’s valuable if saccharine memoir, Mark Twain and the Happy Island (1913), pp. 93-100. Miss Wallace, the dean of women at the University of Chicago, heard Clemens entertain Henry H. Rogers and other friends in his hotel room in Hamilton on several occasions in March and April 1908. She remembered that Clemens held his pipe in one hand and gesticulated with it during highly dramatic passages. Rogers urged his friend Clemens not to read “too slowly” .
The New York Times, p. 1 included a short article about Mark Twain in Bermuda:
NEWS FROM MARK TWAIN.
Enjoying Himself in Bermuda and Teaching Little Girls to be Wise.
Some new epigrams by Mark Twain were brought home yesterday by the Quebec Line steamer Bermudian from Bermuda. Among the passengers was Miss Jeanne [sic Jean] Spurr, a Newark little girl, who proudly showed a ball programme on which Mr. Clemens had written:
“Considering the proportion of things, it is better to be a young June bug than an old bird of Paradise.”
C.H. Pedrie of Glens Falls, N.Y., told of an incident at the ball. Mr. Clemens, seeing another little girl making faces and otherwise causing consternation to her guardians, wrote on her programme:
“Never do anything naughty when any one’s looking.”
Mr. Pedrie said that Mark Twain spends most of his time romping with the children and telling them stories.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Two days ago I gave Mrs. Freeman “Eve’s Diary” to read and today when I went to her room and she said she had finished it between laughter and tears, and that she didn’t see how a man could ever get into the heart of a woman as he had done, she finished her worshipful delight by saying “but he is just a combination of God and women and little children, and so he is the perfect man.” It was a darling tribute for me to be able to bring back to the King, and he gathered it to his heart, as only he could.
This afternoon we went over to Mrs. Peck’s, for last night the King said he would read Kipling over there to Col. Graham, and someone else, and the someone elses ran up to about 15. These people had never, never heard anything of the real Kipling before for as Mr. Chamberlain said: there isn’t anyone else in the world who could read between the lines as the King can. It was a proud hour for me, and almost spoiled a little by having Josephine Bacon recite some baby verses and then stand and bid for the applause that she got—of course—and the King was annoyed almost into showing that annoyance [MTP: IVL TS 38-39].
I.K. Funk for
Funk & Wagnalls wrote,
enclosing a tract, “A
Uniform Alphabet For Respelling for Pronunciation” and asking his “careful
attention.” The tract was “sent only for criticism” and not for public use. “I
would take it as a special favor if you should write me fully” [MTP]. Note:
IVL: “Answrd Mch. 30 –
wd. File to mail Mr. C’s return / He cannot do
Howells & Stokes wrote again with more details on the Redding house’s finishing touches [MTP].
March 28 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: Sometimes it seems to me as if each person were surrounded by a wonderful color, and that is a sacrilege to try to penetrate it. There be some whose color could never be merged into that of another person, but in the main there is only one person in all the world whose color would match with its mate, to make a perfect harmony. For we can’t be many things to many people. I look at all these people and they seem either monotonous or crude in coloring, but suddenly a comet goes by in flashing beauty, and we clap our hands in joy at the splendid vision and recognition of it. I lunched with all the Waylands today at Ardsheal, and Mr. Wayland drove me home talking brilliantly during the splendid glimpses we got of the south shore. Thursday night John Wayland seemed to rebuke me for loving the King as I do and said I mustn’t be a “priestess”. Last night after a dance we thrashed it out on the porch and now he knows that I couldn’t even aspire to that great place [MTP: IVL TS 39-40].
The New York Times, p. BR177 included the following anecdote:
When Authors Are Tonguetied.
A few weeks ago, at a dinner given to Gertrude Atherton in London, a story was told by a woman who had been present at a New York luncheon when Mrs. Atherton and Mr. Clemens were introduced and placed next each other. Mark Twain thought his neighbor was about to speak, and gallantly waited for her, while Mrs. Atherton, with her customary reserve of manner, waited for him. There ensued a chilly silence, which was broken by Mark Twain saying, as he shook his white locks: “Child, child, don’t be so terribly boisterous.”
March 29 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: The band concert at Prospect when dear John Wayland and the King sat on a rug apart from a batch of women, for when he goes to listing to music he doesn’t want anything else. No feminine chatter—and up near the tennis court sat Madame Wayland, and Mrs. John W. and Josephine Dascomb [sic Daskam] Bacon—such a chatterer—and a Mrs. Gordon. Then home. This afternoon we went over to the Long Beach on the South Shore where the King and Zoe Freeman went in swimming. The King at 72 was as young and vigorous in his wide strokes as a youth would have been [MTP: IVL TS 40]. Note: Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon (Mrs. Selden Bacon) (1876-1961 ) poet and author of novels and several stories published in Atlantic, Scribner’s and other magazines [Who’s Who in America 1908-1909, p. 68]. She was also a pioneer in the Girl Scouts movement and compiled their guidebook.
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr Clemens.
I wrote you a long letter last week but by some mistake it was not mailed in time for Saturday steamer so I am writing again I will mail this one at once so there can be no mistake I know from your letter it must be beautiful in Bermuda and I should love to be there with you and make the acquaintance of Maud I am sure we would all be very good friends and have lots of fun together I have one more autograph of F. S. Church (artist) it is very nice, he drew a picture and autographed it wasn’t that nice of him? I am doing very well in school now. I have a lot of stamps and am getting along very well with my collections I suppose the lilies are out now they must be beautiful I shall be very glad when you are back but I do not blame you for wanting to stay as long as you [can] as the weather here is very changable. Hot one day cold the next. With lots & lots of love to you and Miss Lyon I am / your very loving Dorothy
P.S. I am so glad I am a member of the Aquariumn lots of love [MTP]. Note: the source surmises the artist was Frederic E. Church, landscape painter who lived near Hudson New York, and had a brief friendship with Twain in 1888 [n1].
March 30 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “We had a darling lazy sail this afternoon with Mr. and Mrs. Freeman, and then tea in the billiard room—that to give Zoe Freeman a chance for a cup, for he was tired” [MTP: IVL TS 40].
Among new arrivals to the Islands were the fourth Earl Grey (1851-1917), (aka Albert Henry George Grey) Governor General of Canada (1904-1911), and Nicholas Murray Butler (1862-1947) president of Columbia University (1902-1945) [D. Hoffman 120]. Note: Alice Holford Grey, Mrs. Earl Grey (d. 1944), was also along on the trip. Canadian football’s Grey Cup is named for Lord Grey, a supporter of the sport.
David C. Grant for Lincoln National Bank wrote to advise Sam that of the two checks he’d presented, drawn on the Knickerbocker Trust Co. they had been able to cash the $5,000 check but not the $45,000 [MTP]. Note: this letter enclosed in Ashcroft’s Apr. 1.
March 31 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King is going boating with Nicholas Murray Butler and Lord Gray [sic Grey] who arrived yesterday on the Bermudian” [MTP: IVL TS 40-41]. Note: Albert Henry George Grey, 4th Earl Grey (1851–1917) served as Canada’s Ninth Governor General (1904-1911). He established the Grey Cup for the Canadian football championship. The Cup was initially for the top amateur rugby team in 1909, but since 1965 it has been the prize for the top professional football team.
At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally at St. Timothy’s School in Catonsville, Maryland.
Your letter has come, Francesca dear, you dear indefinite little body! But anyway, you are coming to New York, & that is something. I do hope your mother will let me have you part of the time.
Won’t she go to the Grosvenor? It is the nicest, quietest, genteelest little hotel in all New York. We have used no other for a good many years. It is on the corner of 10th and 5th avenue, just a block from our house. Tell her I know she will like the Grosvenor.
sail April 11, arriving the 13
th a day or so before
you arrive. Do you know my telephone address (it isn’t in the book): “3907
Gramercy.” With love … [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick.
Insert Below: Pitt’s Bay with Bay House on left, Princess Hotel on right.
You dear little Dorothy, this is only a line to say I hope you are not still looking out upon the snow-storms from a sick bed & taking “77,” but are up & around & well again. Next time you are sick you must come to Bermuda, then you won’t need any medicines.
We sail for home April 11, & then I shall see you./ Lovingly … [MTP]. Note: Humphreys #77 was a common cold medicine of the day.
According to D. Hoffman this is the day Sam met another angelfish, Helen Schuyler Allen (b. 1894), thirteen year old daughter of William H. Allen and Marion Schuyler Allen. William Allen was the vice-consul under W. Maxwell Greene. Helen’s grandmother, Susan Elizabeth Allen, then 82, knew Olivia Langdon Clemens when she was only a small child (Susan died in 1909). Sam knew Helen’s grandfather, Charles Allen when he was American consul in the days of Innocents Abroad. Helen was not a tourist, but lived across Pitt’s Bay from the hotel. She had come to watch the dancing at the hotel . Note: In his Apr. 17, 1908 A.D. he described Helen Allen as “aged 13, native of Bermuda, perfect in character, lovely in disposition, and a captivater at sight!” .
Note: Hoffman also writes that Sam visited Susan Allen when he learned of the family’s Elmira connections, and talked for an hour and a half . Hoffman does not specify if the visit was on this day, but since the dancing was in the evening, the visit was likely the following day, or later. Helen would visit Sam at Stormfield on Oct. 16-17, 1909. / Bay House & Princess Hotel
Lawrence B. Evans wrote to advise Sam that at a meeting of the Boston Authors Club he’d been elected an honorary member [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd April 3 – Mr. C. in Bermuda, wd. File carefully to mail, etc.”
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam that Isabel Lyon had authorized proceeding with the sleeping porch. They also advised of other details and blueprints and mantels [MTP].
Elisabeth Marbury wrote to Isabel Lyon (though catalogued as to Clemens); would he consent to a flat royalty of $50 per week for all performances of “How I Became an Editor” for Arnold Daly? [MTP].
April – Gessford’s photograph of Mark Twain ran in Forum, facing p. 441. “No significant commentary” [Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 192].
April 1 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: The Bermudian sailed away with such a cargo of folks. The greatest “miss” as these Bermuda darkeys say, is the Waylands. Another of the King’s angel fish went too. He has his aquarium of little girls and they are all angel fish, while he wears a flying fish scarf pin, though he says he is a shad. Off he goes with a flash when he sees a new pair of slim little legs appear and if the little girl wears butterfly bows of ribbon on the back of her head then his delirium is complete [MTP: IVL TS 41].
Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote to Isabel Lyon, enclosing the Apr. 30 from Lincoln National Bank. He asked her opinion of various department stores in NYC. Also: “I saw Betsy and her mother off to Chicago. Betsy is quite my ideal of a girl.” [MTP]. Note: “Betsy” was Elizabeth Wallace.
Margaret Blackmer wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens:— / I received your nice letter and card.
I would like very much to join your club. I think it would be a very nice one.
I like the shell more and more every day, don’t you?
Mother is out west and will be out for a long time. Maybe I can get Miss Tewksbury to bring me down to see you in the Easter vacation.
Today lots of pie beds were made and we played a lot of jokes on each other.
With lots of love. / Yours lovingly. / Margaret B. [MTAq 131-2]. Note: source claims “pie beds” were short-sheeted pranks.
April 2 Thursday – Clemens was in Bermuda.
April 3 Friday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: “I’ve just been reading AB’s article on Stedman in the April ‘Pearson’s’ and somehow it isn’t all Stedman at all. I’m afraid that some of it is a eulogization of Paine through a dead man” [MTP: IVL TS 37-38].
Kendrick Lewis for Louisville Male High School wrote twice to Sam. One is a formal letter of thanks bound in blue cardboard, thanking him for the right to put on a P&P play. The other is a short note inviting him to a performance of the play on Apr. 24 or 25 [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd. Apr. 6. Mr. C. may return abt. Apr. 13 – Thanked him for Mr. C. wd. Hold letter & ‘greeting’ to mail his return.”
April 4 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: We went out to the Euryalus again to the children’s party this time—and it was a rough little voyage. 15 of us had to cramp-up in a tiny cabin and our stomachs felt badly. But we got inside the breakwater and onto the flagship and officers Gray and Boyer and Beatty showed us about and were very good to us and made the children adorably happy. We went into the Bake room, and into the “Sick-Bay,” and we climbed into the turrets and saw the beautiful great guns and heard about the workings of them, and then all the children and the King and we women (Mrs. Allen, Mrs. Marsh, Mrs. Butterfield and I) sat down to tea and 14 kinds of cake. It was so good to see the King in his happiness sitting between Helen Allen and Dorothy Darrell, and putting his panama hat on top of Helen’s nob-on-her-head as a hat rack, and he eating cakes and drinking ginger pop, and loving it all.
Going out in that rough little sea, the King sat in a corner of the cabin reading Woodrow Wilson “Mere Literature,” and he didn’t seem to realize that he had a lot of giggling youngsters there—or more likely he never read a word but took it all in with the tail of his eye and the tail of his ear [MTP: IVL TS 41-42].
Daniel Frohman for the Lyceum Theatre wrote to Sam. “I am to-day in receipt of your letter of March 31st. I did not know that Jervis Langdon was your nephew and so I just happened to treat him with unusual politeness.” His enthusiasm was somewhat held back by the $20,000 price of the Hope-Jones organ; he wondered if it were adaptable to the theater. He added, “I shall convey to Margaret Illington your message…” [MTP]. Note: Margaret Illington was at this time Mrs. Daniel Frohman.
Hellen Elizabeth Martin wrote to Sam. In part: “We arrived at home on Sunday morning April 5th, We stayed five days in New York and had a fine time there. We found our cat had run away on Saturday evening, We did not get him back until Monday morning. Our dog was delighted at our coming back. How are you feeling. I was very sick on the boat and so was Mother, it was very rough coming back.” [MTP; not in MTAq].
Frances Nunnally wrote from St. Timothy’s school to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,— / Your letter reached me this morning, and I am awfully sorry to have to tell you that I will not be able to come to New York at all during the holidays. I did not know this until two days ago, when Mother wrote and said she thought I had better come home. I certainly am disappointed that I will not be able to pay you a visit, for I had been looking forward to it with a great deal of pleasure. We have about decided to go abroad right after school closes in June, and as I will not have time to go home then, Mother things it best that I come at Easter. So I will have to give up my trip to New York.
Must stop so this letter will get mailed right away.
Hoping you will have a very pleasant ocean trip up, I am / With love, / Francesca [MTAq 132].
April 5 Sunday – At the Princess Hotel in Hamilton, Bermuda Sam wrote to daughter Clara in N.Y.C.
Clärchen dear, I hope you are entirely well & hearty by this time. I don’t know where you are, but you are drifting professionally around somewhere, I suppose—& hope.
I have led a lazy & comfortable life here for six weeks, & am sorry it will come to an end next Saturday—a shade less than a week hence. It is a most pleasant & useless life,—as far as other people are concerned. I have been useful only once: I talked for the hospital, one night & made some money for it. Next Thursday I am to be useful again—a talk for the aquarium, which is the Governor’s pet, & a very worthy one. It will be a great institution by & by, & will draw the scientific folk from many countries. But it needs money now.
Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada is visiting here, & is a good fellow—yes, & charming. This morning he said I was about the most conspicuous detail of the island scenery (my white clothes). But I was frank, & told him not to deceive himself: that it was not nature, it was art, & premeditated,—I got myself up so, to attract attention.
We have accumulated a fortune in delightful friends—some from abroad, some native to the place. In this way our sojourn had paid richly.
We’ll be at 21 on the 13th.
With heaps of love & kisses, / Marcus [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Josephine Dascomb [sic Daskam] is such a damn fool that the King would like to kick her and I’d like to give him a push to add force to the kick. Smirking and preening her feathers she kept calling herself the Rose of the Harem, and calling other people idiots, but put the accusation into their own mouths as in the case of Capt. Egerton the ADC, who, she said, told someone that he hadn’t any brains and so made him ADC. Her way of getting even with him because he hadn’t invited her to Government House. She took the good taste out of the morning we had had there at Prospect listening to the music, and watching the people. The cunning Freeman children, who more and more remind the King of Susy and Clara, came and snuggled up to us, and when the King went off to speak to Lord Grey, little Mary in despair said, “Oh, where has Mark Twain gone?” A part of the music finished in the banging overture style and she said, “I don’t like the way the music happens, now” [MTP: IVL TS 42-43]. Note: Earl Grey govenor-general of Canada. Capt. Egerton is not further identified. Josephine Dodge Daskam Bacon: see 29 Mar. 1908.
April 6 Monday – Bermuda. Mark Twain and Earl Grey met and talked to the children at the garrison school. Their comments appeared in the Apr. 19 NY Times. See Apr. 8 below for these.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: We went up to the Garrison School at 11, and were met by Col. Chapman who took us into the primitive school room where the tiny children were in charge of a Mrs. Wates, who had charge of the Garrison School in Cairo a few years since. Both she and the school master in Kahki had a pardonable pride in their pupils. They sang old English hymns for us without any accompaniment and their sweet voices made our hearts ache. The King sat there in his white clothes, and his eyes were filled with tears as those dear children sang. Then he spoke to them and told them how when he was a boy he had given the cat “pain killer”, and the greave children broke out into shouts of laughter. After we got home he told me that they were so serious that he did not know how he was going to break through that barrier; but the first ripple of sound broke, and then they were enthusiastic. When leaving time came they gave him three—no four—splendid cheers, following the Khaki schoolmaster’s “hip hip” which he said as “ip, ip.” Then we went to the officers mess. The Freemans took me to drive this afternoon and then we went to the Arts and Crafts for Tea [MTP: IVL TS 41-42].
April 7 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Bermuda: The King and I went out to the reefs this morning in a kind of royal party, for Lord Gray the Governor General of Canada and Lady Gray and Mrs. (Bermuda Governor) Wodehouse went—and I did like it very much. Mostly it was quiet and restful. But I had a talk with Mrs. Wodehouse who turned to me at once when someone said of me “That is Mark Twain’s private secretary.” We got into the glass bottomed boats and were rowed out over the coral reefs. Oh, it is so beautiful to see the coral mound and the sea fans, and the finger sponge. The King said that the deep places were like the sage brush and the desert. Coming home I got some snapshots of the King and Lord Grey. I had a nice little chat with him and he is just a human man. Lady Grey let me take a photo of her, and we sat and chatted along for some time. It is just an accident of birth—but is it?—that makes them fitted for their great position—so someone says. But Lord Grey is a big strong man.
We drove out to Tuckertown and then had tea at Frascati (the Freemans and the Rogerses) [MTP: IVL TS 43-44].
Howells & Stokes wrote to advise Sam that the total cost of “all masonry, paving and carpentry work in connection with the terraces, steps, balustrades, paths, fountain, pergolas, benches, etc. arrived two days ago from Mr. Sunderland. It is $2,200…” Sunderland didn’t feel it was possible to finish all by the first of June, when Clemens had planned to move in [MTP].
April 8 Wednesday – The New York Times, Apr. 19, p. X4, “Mark Twain’s Outing in Bermuda” ran with three photos of Twain and Irene Gerken (not identified), Twain and H.H. Rogers, and one of Earl Grey and Lt. Gen. Wodehouse:
Mark Twain Tells About the Cat.
HAMILTON, Bermuda, April 10.—A distinguished party consisting of Earl Grey, Governor General of Canada, Lady Grey, S. L. Clemens, (Mark Twain,) Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Rogers, and Lieut. Gen. and Mrs. Wodehouse made a trip to the coral reefs on Wednesday [Apr. 8] as the guests of the Bermuda Natural History Society.
They entered the glass-bottomed boat as the steam launch came to a stop about three miles out from Hamilton, and gazing down into the crystal clear depths, they admired the waving sea fans, the graceful coral formations, and the many brilliant rainbow hued fishes that played about beneath them. The party spent the better part of an hour looking at the wonders of this varied marine life. On the trip back they were entertained by Mark Twain’s comments and stories which he has always ready for the occasion. It was while viewing the parade of the Forty-sixth Regiment at Prospect on Sunday last that Col. Chapman invited him to address the children of the garrison school. He consented, and next day appeared before them with a solemn mien.
“As I was on my way up the hill,” he said, “I saw a cat jump over a wall, and that reminded me of a little incident of my childhood that may interest you. I was a little boy once upon a time, and before that I was a little girl, perhaps, though I don’t remember it.
“There was a good deal of cholera around the Mississippi Valley in those days, and my mother used to dose up children with a medicine called Patterson’s Patent Pain Killer. She had an idea that the cholera was worse than the medicine, but then she had never taken the stuff. It went down our insides like liquid fire and fairly doubled us up. I suppose we took fifty bottles of that pain killer in our family. I used to feed mine to a crack in the floor of our room when no one was looking.
“One day when I was doing this our cat, whose name was Peter, came into the room, and I looked at him and wondered if he might not like some of that pain killer. He looked hungry, and it seemed to me that a little of it might do him good. So I just poured out the bottle and put it before him. He did not seem to get the real effect of it at first, but pretty soon I saw him turn and look at me with a queer expression in his eyes, and the next minute he jumped to the window and went through it like a cyclone, taking all the flower pots with him; and seeing that cat on the wall just now reminded me of the little incident of my childhood after many years.”
Earl Grey met the children of the garrison school and told them about his plans for a great celebration of the Canadian Tercentenary. He said that it would cost a hundred thousand pounds to buy the Plains of Abraham, the scene of the famous battle, and that he hoped to raise that amount by subscriptions of threepences from all the quarters of the British Empire. The names of the subscribers would be enrolled in vellum scrolls and deposited in the great monument, which it is purposed to erect on the scene of the historic event.
“Gentlemen, you have remarked that my visit is a new departure of a Governor General of Canada. Well, I believe that to be true, but I also believe that if I am the first to visit Bermuda I shall not be the last.
“If you resolve to have the best transportation service and the best hotels, you will encourage people from abroad to make homes in your islands, and I believe Providence has destined them to become in ever-increasing degree the Winter homes and the market garden of the Canadian people”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Drove out to Mrs. Allen’s—fish, flowers with coffee, a lovely picture. / This morning Grace Freeman and I went out to Somerset by the ferry boat to hunt for cedar chests, but didn’t find them. I brough away a Boer War trench shovel” [MTP: IVL TS 44]. Note: Grace Freeman (Mrs. Zoheth S. Freeman).
April 9 Thursday – Bermuda. Either this day or the next, Sam lost his half of the seashell used to identify him to Margaret Blackmer (see May 25 to Blackmer). It was found by a servant in the mess hall at Prospect Army Garrison and handed to Major Malcolm D. Graham, who mailed it back to Sam in New York. See also May 25 to Graham.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King does love these English people. He has just been talking about Col. Chapman and says “he is such a sweet man, he has that curious diffidence and shyness that always means the unhardened heart.”
It was a mistake for us to drive over to St. George’s today—15 of us—for last night the King dined up at the officers’ mess, and for some reason he didn’t want and wouldn’t eat any breakfast this morning, and he felt so badly at luncheon, that he and I left the table at St. George’s and drove home alone and in silence along the beautiful north shore [MTP: IVL TS 44-45].
Eva C. Dix wrote to Sam about his letter on vivisection, in which he’d given permission for her to publish. She’d handed out a few of the letters, but wanted to wait to include it in their annual report. How many copies would he like? [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd. Apr. 4” and on reverse, “Mr. Clemens would be glad to have 8 or 10.”
Jean Spurr wrote from Newark, NJ to Sam.
I am writing to you to wish you a pleasant trip home. But if you do have a rough trip do not be foolish as I was and get so sick you cannot eat a thing.
I am back at school again but we are to have Easter vacation next week. I could not bear to be indoors if I did not have that to look forward to.
Our country is looking fine for this time of year. Spring has set in early.
Have you seen many oleanders in bloom. We did not see any.
Hoping you a pleasant trip,
I am/ your little friend / Jean Spurr [MTP; not in MTAq].
April 10 Friday – Several photographs of Mark Twain swimming in the Bahamas are given this date [Bob Slotta, eBay item 180516263500, June 4, 2010; See Hellen Allen’s of Apr. 27, D. Hoffman, picture p. 122]. Note: advertised at that time as the “Only known Under Water Images of him.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I went to get a cedar chest today, and all the morning I was very busy, but went to the Allens at Bay House to photograph the King and Helen Allen in swimming” [MTP: IVL TS 45]. Note: see one of the photographs taken on this day in D. Hoffman, p. 126.
April 11 Saturday – In Bermuda, the Clemens party boarded the steamer Bermudian for a return trip to New York. Isabel Lyon’s journal: “We sailed—Josephine Dascomb [sic Daskam Bacon] is killable—the King calls her ‘Josephine Bastard Bacon’” [MTP: IVL TS 45]. Note: see Mar. 29 on Bacon.
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam, noting he would be leaving Bermuda this day, and asking if it would be possible for Lyon to meet at Bradley & Hubbard Mfg. Co.to choose gas fixtures. Also what type of kitchen range and ice box would be desired? [MTP].
An unidentified person (Grateful Admirers in-Chief) wrote a fan letter to Sam [MTP]. Note: also given as Feb. 27.
April 12 Sunday – Sam was aboard the Bermudian on the way home to New York. In the Apr. 14 edition of the New York Times, p. 9, Sam related an incident aboard ship:
Mark Twain told of one exciting incident of the voyage home. The ocean he characterized as “most rude.” On Sunday afternoon, dressed in his famous white suit, he was standing at the stern rail with Miss Dorothy Sturgis of Boston, watching the play of the ship’s log, when a wave struck the vessel astern and a great comber climbed over the rail and drenched the pair.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “So ill I was” [MTP: IVL TS 45].
April 13 Monday – The Bermudian docked in New York in the afternoon. On Apr. 14 the New York Times, p. 9 ran this tale about Mark Twain and Rogers returning:
TWAIN AND ROGERS BACK FROM BERMUDA
Offer to Lend $2 to Rogers Not Accepted—Strain of Traveling with Financier.
JOINS ANTI-NOISE CRUSADE
“Fourteen Banks of England Could Not Finance” Lakes to Gulf Canal.
“Birds of a feather,” said Mark Twain, as he appeared on the deck of the steamer Bermuda yesterday holding H. H. Rogers by the arm. “You know the rest of it,” and both humorist and financier laughed heartily. All this marked the end of a five weeks’ vacation on the Island of Bermuda. Both looked in the best of health. Mark Twain wore a gray flannel suit, a long fur-lined overcoat, and a peaked cap, which sat jauntily on his long, gray hair.
Mark Twain, smoking a long, black cheroot, met interviewers standing under a sign warning male passengers that smoking on deck annoyed mal de mer patients. “It’s a terrible strain, this being a financier,” he said, nodding his head in the direction of Mr. Rogers. “It is also a strain traveling with one. I offered to loan Rogers $2, though I knew I was taking an awful risk. Rogers thought it was simply a courtesy and so did not take me up. Now I am $2 ahead.
“I have returned from my trip a reformer. I have joined the ranks the anti-noise society. I have retired both from the making of after-dinner speeches and the lecture platform. No one can tolerate noise, you know, unless they are noisemakers. I am through making a noise and so I now insist on quiet. Mrs. Rice started her crusade at the right time for me.”
“Mr. Twain, what do you think of the scheme to improve our interior waterways by dredging a fourteen-foot channel down the Mississippi River?” asked one.
“I have no sentimental interest in such a project, and I have too many realities to deal with to be chasing a will-o’-the-wisp. When the Almighty built this earth He knew very well that a fourteen-foot channel from Chicago to the Gulf would have been a very excellent and much needed thing, but he also knew that it would tax even His resources. If there were fourteen Banks of England behind the scheme, and fourteen more behind them, there would not be enough available money to finance the scheme.
“I know the Mississippi Valley and its oozy soil too well. The digging of the channel would be but the beginning. A thousand dredges could not keep it clear.”
Mr. Rogers said that he had had a pleasant vacation and was much improved in health, but was out of touch with current events.
Mark Twain told of one exciting incident of the voyage home. The ocean he characterized as “most rude.” On Sunday afternoon, dressed in his famous white suit, he was standing at the stern rail with Miss Dorothy Sturgis of Boston, watching the play of the ship’s log, when a wave struck the vessel astern and a great comber climbed over the rail and drenched the pair.
Mr. Twain said he will remain in his Fifth Avenue house for five weeks and then go the new home he is building on a farm at Redding, four miles out of Danbury, Conn.
The Bermuda brought a large consignment of West Indian fish for the Aquarium. She also had on board a consignment of 1,000 boxes containing 60,000 Easter lilies. The Bermuda steamer Trinidad, arriving later in the week, will, it is expected, bring a great cargo of lilies.
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam began a letter at midnight to Dorothy Sturgis that he added to the next day, Apr. 14.
Tel: 3907 Grammercy.
21 Fifth avenue, 13th—midnight
Good-night, dear, und schlafen Sie wohl! It was a great disappointment, for I was confident that you would fail to catch the train. I never gave you up until dinner-time. Then Miss Lyon telephoned Plainfield, N. J., & asked the youngest (no, next-youngest) angel-fish in the Aquarium to come up & spend a few days, but her mother cannot bring her until Monday—so that was another disappointment, & the Aquarium is going to be empty all that interval.
Mr. Littleton was called to Washington this afternoon, & could not keep his appointment to play billiards to-night—still another disappointment. But my biographer (Albert Bigelow Paine), was in the house, & agreed to stay all night. We left Miss Lyon on guard against the reporters & went upstairs at 5 p.m. & played until 5 minutes ago (barring the dinner-hour.) My cat came up from the basement to superintend. She leaped upon the table & spread herself out, after her sociable habit, & we had to play around her for half an hour, then she went about her other affairs.
The house is looking very homelike & inviting, & I am not sorry to be in my own bed again.
Mr. Ashcroft came up with the trunks, but he had an engagement & could not stay; but Mrs. Littleton came over & sat with Miss Lyon in the billiard room until 11. It has been a pleasant evening, but if you had been here it would have been pleasanter.
I hope you reached home safely—but I am very very sorry you caught the train. I beg to be remembered kindly to your father & mother & your brother; & with love to you, I am … [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Article about children. Lord Grey has been an enchanting Englishman on this trip—as he must be on any trip and anywhere” [MTP: IVL TS 45].
Will McClintock, a seventeen year old fan who’d read TS five times, wrote from Brooklyn to ask Sam for an autographed letter [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Too busy to write a letter but glad to send auto.” Clemens consistently refused to send “a few lines” or opinions or a letter from this year on, but gladly sent autographs and a few photos.
April 14 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Margaret Blackmer.
Dear Margaret, we arrived from Bermuda yesterday afternoon, & in the accumulation of letters I find yours of a fortnight ago. I’ve brought the little angel-fish pin—badge of my Aquarium—& will keep it for you till you come, which I hope will be as soon as Miss Tewksbury can escort you. Come VERY soon!
We had 7 very lovely weeks in the island, & the lovable Miss Wallace was with us until recently. We made only one excursion to Spanish Point. Irene—one of my angel-fishes—drove me, & the others walked, & shoved Maude up the acclivities. You would hardly recognise Maude now. She has been closely clipped, & her pelt is shiny & smoothe, & looks like velvet.
Think—there isn’t a solitary angel-fish in the house, Margaret. Francesca was to come to-day, but can’t, because she has to go home to Georgia & get ready for Europe. Another was to have come yesterday to dine & stay all night, but she was called out of town. We telephoned Dorothy of New Jersey last night, but her mother cannot bring her until next Monday. Imagine this desolation—a house with not an angel-fish in it! Hurry up, dear!
I am inconsolable. Three days
before we left Bermuda my shell was stolen from my watch-chain. It grieves me
deeply; but Mr. Ashcroft will hunt for another one—so that I can identify you
when I see you, dear. /With lots & lots of love / SLC / Chief
slave of the Aquarium [MTP]. Note:
See Jan. 26 account of the seashell halves, by which Clemens and Blackmer could
“identify” the other.
Margaret Blackmer wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens:— / My Easter vacation begins Thursday. I am going away with papa for a little while. But if you will write and tell me when you will be home I will come and see you. I will be away with papa for about a week but after I come back I will come.
I love my shell so much. / With lots of love / Your loving friend / Margaret [MTP; MTAq 134]. Note: Sam wrote on the letter “Have asked her to go with us to the Children’s Theatre April 23.”
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Mrs. Guinness, Jean, Edith Cowles. Blue facings. / Lunch with Mrs. Day [MTP: IVL TS 46].
Nancy Langhorne Astor wrote a postcard from Taplow, England to Sam. “Dear Cousin — / When shall we expect you? Let me know & I will promise you rest & absolute freedom from the reporters—& the most lovely garden in England to take your sun baths in—I will also collect little children from miles around to amuse you!” [MTP]. Note: the card is not addressed or stamped, so likely enclosed in another letter not extant. Sam was not related to any Langhorne, as the name was given in honor of a friend, not a relative.
Robert Erskine Ely for New York City History Club wrote, enclosing a program of performances on Apr. 23 and Apr. 28, given by the Children’s Educational Theatre for the Club. Clemens was invited to attend and possibly to say a few words [MTP].
Dorothy Sturgis wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens / I was so very, very sorry that we caught that horrid 5 o’clock train, and I wasn’t able to dine with you!
I suppose you saw what they said in the newspapers about our being caught by that wave. The account in the Boston Herald was really very funny, and of course mostly incorrect!
We had a very comfortable trip out here, and arrived safely at our house shortly after ten.
I hope you got home safely, and that Mr. Ashcroft met you alright.
Please give my love to Miss Lyon, and tell her not to forget to send me those photographs she took of us on the steamer, and by the way do you want the pictures I took of you, if so I will send them to you as soon as they are printed [MTAq 135].
April 15 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Apr. 14 of Margaret Blackmer.
I have your letter of yesterday, & you are a very dear Margaret, & have given me great pleasure. Now as I cipher it you are to go away with your papa Thursday the 16th (to-morrow) & will return on or “about” the 23d.
So I will look for you about the 23d. I am the honorary President of the Children’s Theatre, & on the 23d the children will give a performance in aid of one of the great charities. Ah, they are great, those gifted children. Of course I shall be there (for I have to speak a few words,) & it would be lovely if you could go there with Miss Lyon & me. Can you? Will you? / Lovingly / SLC / C.S. of the A. [MTP]. Note: C.S. of the A. = Chief Slave of the Aquarium.
Clemens acquired another case of Queen Anne whisky [L-A MS]. Note: see June 8, 1907 for the full list of acquisition dates of whisky, intended as ammunition against Isabel Lyon.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Hunting fixtures. / Doesn’t want article. Santa came home” [MTP: IVL TS 46].
Caroline Coddington wrote the first of several “crank” letters to Sam: “We hope our Idea will succeed in pleasing the Numerous Beings whose names will become enrolled in the various departments of the Alphabet.” Enclosed a list of A to Z standing for the Woman Department and the Man Department, as well as an envelope containing some “’mix’ for a bird’s nest” [MTP]. Note: in each letter she enclosed wood scraps and other small objects, all of which shows that insane people also loved Mark Twain.
Joe Twichell wrote to Sam.
You were doubtless grieved to learn, if you did learn, on your arrival home that you had missed the honor of my “keep” over last Sunday.
But dry your tears. …Providence does favor some people.
I am called to New York again;—this time to attend a meeting in Carnegie Hall next Monday evning (Apr. 20) and I will lodge with you then—if you say so.
But there’s no compulsion about it, you understand./ Yours aff / Joe [MTP].
April 16 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick in Plainfield, N.J.
Friday—Saturday—Sunday—Monday—then you are here! Monday afternoon. About half-past 2, I suppose. Well, I shall be on the lookout, & powerful glad to see you. Shan’t we have good times? I do most confidently guess so.
In Bermuda I bought a trinket for your Christmas. But I can’t keep it that long, I’ll give it to you now.
That reminds me that you are a member of my Aquarium Club, which consists of a few very choice school-girl angel-fishes & one slave. I am the slave.
I think you have the badge. But if you haven’t, I’ll get it for you.
Do remember me kindly to your mother & all the household,—& don’t forget that I love you, you dear little rascal [MTP].
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr Clemens / I am very glad you are home and I am so glad I am to see you on Monday I will not be able to come Monday morning but will come on the one-nine train I will be so glad to see you I am sorry not being able to be with you on Saturday but I really want to be with Grandpa and now I must close.
With love to you and Miss Lyon / your loving / Dorothy
P.S. Grandpa is goint away that is why I must be with him on Sunday / Dorothy [MTP]. Note: this letter was included in Sam’s Apr. 17 A.D.
Sam’s A.D. for this day continued to describe the Bermuda trips and give Angel fish accounts [Hill 209].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “All day in Redding” [MTP: IVL TS 46].
The New York Times, p. 3, announced that Mark Twain would speak for the Children’s Educational Theatre on April 23, under the auspices of the NYC History Club.
April 17 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Richard C. Carr in Bogotville, Chicoutine County, P.Q., Canada.
“I have not heard of the learned pere Vignie before, still he could have existed. The main trouble with him is, that he did not furnish his “documents” instead of merely talking about them. In my judgment the unverified testimony of no unknown person is valuable—even when found in a Bible. / Very Truly Yours “… [MTP]. Note: “Père,” or father, was used by certain Catholic priests; it also was used to distinguish a father from a son. No further reference for Carr or Père Vignie was found.
Sam also wrote to Margery H. Clinton.
Dear Miss Marjorie—
It was lovely of you to knit that beautiful tie for me. It is in the right hands, it is in appreciative hands: I shall wear it with ostentation.
I am so sorry you have escaped to Europe; & I am sorry you will not be in the box to-morrow with Miss Polly & the rest of us. / Sincerely Yours / SL. Clemens [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Angelfish, 10-year-old Hellen Elizabeth Martin of Montreal, Canada.
I miss you, dear Helen [sic Hellen]. I miss Bermuda too, but not so much as I miss you; for you were rare, and occasional, and select, and Ltd., whereas Bermuda’s charms and graciousnesses were free and common and unrestricted,—like the rain, you know, which falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain’s affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly upon the just, but whenever I caught a sample of the unjust out-doors I would drown him [MTP]. Note: Hellen Elizabeth Martin (b. ca. 1897), one of five children and the daughter of Robert Dennison Martin and Helen Moncrieff Morton. Robert died in 1905; at this time Mrs. Martin was a wealthy widow. Sam recorded in his NB for June 1908 that Hellen’s age was 12. Cooley notes that this is Clemens’ only surviving letter to Hellen [MTAq 141n3].
Sam also replied to the Apr. 15 from Joe Twichell. A draft survives:
I am glad, Joe—uncommonly glad—for you will tell me about the “new movement” up your way which your clergy have been importing from Boston. Something of it has reached me, & has filled me to the eyelids with irreverent laughter. You will tell me if my understanding of the New Movement is correct: to-wit, that it is just Christian Science, with some of the earmarks painted over & the others removed, after the fashion of the unanointed cattle-thieves of the wild, wild West. My word, how ecclesiastical history do repeat herself! The Jews steal a God & a Creation & a Flood & a Moral Code from Babylon; Egypt steals the like from a forgotten Antiquity; Greece steals the swag from Egypt; Rome steals it from Greece; Christianity comes belated along & steals morals & miracles & one thing & another from Budh & Confucius; Christian Science arrives & steals the Christian outfit & gives it a new name; & now at last comes the Boston puritan—hater of Christian Science—& steals the plunder anew, & re-baptises it, & shouts tearful & grateful glory to God for winking at the mulct & not letting on—according to His shady custom these thirty million years.
Oh yes, I am aware that the Science was emptying New England’s churches, & that the wise recognized that something had got to be done or the Church must go out of business & put up its pulpits at auction; I am aware that the peril was forestalled, & how; I am aware that Christian Science, disguised & new-named, has arrived in Hartford & is being preached & thankfully welcomed—where? In the most fitting of all places: The Theological Factory, which was largely built out of stolen money. Money stolen from me by that precious Christian, Newton Case, & his pals of the American Publishing Company.
Oh, dear Joe, why doesn’t somebody write a tract on “How to Be a Christian & yet keep Your Hands off of Other People’s Things” [MTP]. Note: Newton Case (1807-1890), wealthy railroad executive and and past Hartford neighbor of Sam’s. Case was also a friend of Twichells, who had offered to pay Julia Twichell’s passage to Europe. See entries on Case, Vol. I & II.
In Sam’s A.D. for this day he dictated about his collection of Angelfish, listing the names and sketches of each girl: Dorothy Butes, Frances Nunnally, Dorothy Quick, Margaret Blackmer, Irene Gerken, Hellen Martin, Jean Spurr, Loraine Allen, Helen Allen, and Dorothy Sturgis. Notably absent from this list was Margaret Illington (honorary), Dorothy Harvey, Louise Paine, and Marjorie Breckenridge, all of whom were listed in the “Constitution for the Aquarium” dated only “Summer, 1908.” This suggests that Clemens added this last group to his Aquarium Club sometime after Apr. 17. Loraine Allen, on the other hand, appears in this list and dictation below, but not in the Constitution. See Schmidt’s Twainquotes website for more on Loraine and the other Angelfish.
After my wife’s death, June 5, 1904, I experienced a long period of unrest and loneliness. Clara and Jean were busy with their studies and their labors and I was washing about on a forlorn sea of banquets and speechmaking in high and holy causes—industries which furnished me intellectual cheer and entertainment, but got at my heart for an evening only, then left it dry and dusty. I had reached the grandpapa stage of life; and what I lacked and what I needed was grandchildren, but I didn’t know it. By and by this knowledge came by accident, on a fortunate day, a golden day, and my heart has never been empty of grandchildren since. No, it is a treasure-place of little people whom I worship, and whose degraded and willing slave I am. In grandchildren I am the richest man that lives to-day; for I select my grandchildren, whereas all other grandfathers have to take them as they come, good, bad and indifferent.
The accident I refer to, was the advent of Dorothy Butes, 14 years old, who wanted to come and look at me. Her mother brought her. There was never a lovelier child. English, with the English complexion; and simple, sincere, frank and straightforward, as became her time of life. This was more than two years ago. She came to see me every few weeks, until she returned to England eight months ago. Since then, we correspond.
My next prize was Frances Nunnally, school-girl, of Atlanta, Georgia, whom I call Francesca for short. I have already told what pleasant times we had together every day in London, last summer, returning calls. She was 16 then, a dear sweet grave little body, and very welcome in those English homes. She will pay me a visit six weeks hence, when she comes North with her parents Europe-bound. She is a faithful correspondent.
My third prize was Dorothy Quick—ten years and ten-twelfths of a year old when I captured her at sea last summer on the return-voyage from England. What a Dorothy it is! How many chapters have I already talked about her bright and booming and electrical ways, and her punctuationless literature and her adorably lawless spelling? Have I exhausted her as a text for talk? No. Nobody could do it. At least nobody who worships her as I worship her. She is eleven years and nearly eight-twelfths of a year old, now, and just a dear! She was to come to me as soon as I should get back from Bermuda, but she has an earlier grandpapa, and he is leaving for Europe next Monday morning, and naturally he had to have the last of her before sailing. Is she her old self, and is her pen characteristically brisk and her spelling and punctuation undamaged by time and still my pride and delight? Yes:
[Dorothy Quick’s Apr. 16 letter was inserted here; see entry]
Next is Margaret—Margaret Blackmer, New York, 12 years old last New Year’s. She of the identification shell. Those shells were so frail and delicate that they could not endure exposure on a watch-chain, therefore we have put them safely and sacredly away and hung gold shells enameled with iridescent shell-colors on our watch-chains to represent them and do the identifying with. Margaret’s father will bring her down from her school at Briarcliff on the Hudson six days hence to visit me—as I learn per her letter of five days ago—and then she will go with me to play at the Children’s Theatre, where, as Honorary President of that admirable institution, I am to say a few words.
Next is Irene—Irene Gerken, of 75th Street, New York, that beautiful and graceful and altogether wonderful child—I mean fairy—of 12 summers. To-morrow she will go to a matinee with me, and we are to play billiards the rest of the day. In Bermuda, last January, we played much billiards together, and a certain position of the balls is still known by her name there. When her ball backed itself against the cushion and became thereby nearly unusable, she was never embarrassed by that defect but always knew how to remedy it: she just moved it out to a handier place, without remark or apology and blandly fired away! Down there, now, when a ball lies glued to a cushion, gentlemen who have never seen that child lament and say,
“O hang it, here’s another Irene!”
Next is Hellen Martin, of Montreal, Canada, a slim and bright and sweet little creature aged ten and a half years.
Next is Jean Spurr, aged 13 the 14th of last March, and of such is the kingdom of Heaven.
Next is Loraine Allen, nine and a half years old, with the voice of a flute and a face as like a flower as a face can be, and as graciously and enchantingly beautiful as ever any flower was.
Next is Helen Allen, aged 13, native of Bermuda, perfect in character, lovely in disposition, and a captivator at sight!
Next—and last, to date—is Dorothy Sturgis, aged 16, of Boston. This is the charming child mentioned in yesterday’s chapter when I was talking about Lord Grey. On the voyage together we were at the stern watching the huge waves life the ship skyward then drop her, most thrillingly H—alifax-ward, when one of them vast bulk leaped over the taffrail and knocked us down and buried us under several tons of salt water. The papers, from one end of America to the other, made a perilous and thundersome event of it, but it wasn’t that kind of thing at all. Dorothy was not discomposed, nobody was hurt, we changed our clothes from the skin outward, and were on deck again in half an hour. In talking of Dorothy yesterday I referred to her as one my “angel-fishes.”
All the ten school-girls in the above list are my angel-fishes, and constitute my Club, whose name is “The Aquarium” and contains no creature but these angel-fishes and one slave. I am the slave. The Bermudian angel-fish, with its splendid blue decorations, is easily the most beautiful fish that swims, I think. So I thought I would call my ten pets angel-fishes, and their club the Aquarium.
The club’s badge is the angel-fish’s splendors reproduced in enamels and mounted for service as a lapelpin—at least that is where the girls wear it. I get these little pins in Bermuda; they are made in Norway.
A year or two ago I bought a lovely piece of landscape of 210 acres in the country near Redding, Connecticut, and John Howells, the son of his father, is building a villa there for me. We’ll spend the coming summer in it. I have never been to that region, but the house is so lauded by Clara and Miss Lyon that I am becoming anxious to see it.
The billiard room will have the legend “The Aquarium” over its door, for it is to be the Club’s official headquarters. I have good photographs of all my fishes, and these will be framed and hung around the walls. There is an angel-fish bedroom—double-bedded—and I expect to have a fish and her mother in it as often as Providence will permit.
There’s a letter from the little Montreal Hellen. I will begin an answer now, and finish it later: [MTAq 137-41]. Note: see letter to Hellen above in entry.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Went to Boston with E. Cowles” [MTP: IVL TS 46]. Note: Edith Cowles.
Diana Belais for the New York City Humane Society wrote to Sam. Having called on Clemens the day before but not finding him in, Belais wrote she’d had a “charming conversation” with Lyon who suggested she write. She wanted to acquaint Clemens with their society, especially on the issue of vivisection, in which she knew he was interested. She hoped he “might be inclined to take some very slight, but active, part in our endeavor” [MTP].
Hellen Elizabeth Martin wrote to Sam.
I wrote you a letter but was just too late for the mail for Bermuda. I hope you had a pleasant voyage coming back. My Brother Charlie who is at Boarding School, is coming back for the Easter Holidays. How are you feeling now? I am feeling fine. Lots of Love from / Your Loving Little friend / Hellen Martin / P.S. Wishing you a very Happy Easter. H.M. [MTP].
Photo insert: Twain and Rogers are standing in the middle next to the windows.
April 18 Saturday – Mark Twain, H.H. Rogers and State Senator Patrick H. McCarren were guests of honor at the Humorists and Cartoonists Beefsteak Dinner at Reisenwebers in NYC. His speech and the event was covered by the NY Times, Apr. 19, p.16.
TWAIN AND M’CARREN
MIX WIT WITH ART
And Incidentally Devour Beefsteak and Beer with Cartoonists.
LONG PAT WANTS TO PAINT
Says He’d Like to Picture Some Folks as He Sees Them—Inside—
Twain on Heroes.
Mark Twain, the humorist; Mam’selle Fay Douglass, introduced as “the champion long-distance soubrette of the world”; Patrick H. McCarren, and H. H. Rogers of the Standard Oil Company met some 150 comic artists, cartoonists, caricaturists, humorous writers, comic writers, and other funny-looking people last night at Reisenweber’s, third floor, where there was beefsteak and animal and vegetable spirits.
Everybody did something, and many things were still doing at 11 o’clock when Mark Twain, Mr. Rogers, and Senator McCarren withdrew, but at that hour Roy McCardell, exuberant with animal and vegetable spirits, was trying to hold down all speakers to two-second addresses.
This was the first meeting of this company, most of those present being from New York, though Philadelphia and Newark were represented; and some sort of organization may eventuate from the meeting. At 11 o’clock it appeared that the proper name for the organization would be the Mutual Protective Bail Bond Association.
The eating cards were of huge size, so that the artists might write down their stimulated fancies and pass them around. This was done. One of the inside pages of the big card had “Steak” in the size of type sometimes used on front pages to herald murders, and on the other inside page was “Beer,” in type no smaller.
The Introductory Speech.
The card was entirely correct in its details. The things on the card were finally disposed of, though the drawing of pictures and seizure of autographs had been going on at such a pace, as said Homer Davenport later, that Mark Twain’s signature, which last week sold for a few cents over $4, would now fall below 30 cents.
Walt McDougal, said to be of Philadelphia, attempted to call the meeting to order, and proceeded with his address notwithstanding, as follows:
“I want to tell you of the pride and exaltation that fills me at the thought of having been called upon to preside over the greatest galaxy of human intellect ever gathered under one tent.” [Violent applause.]
Voices: “Let McCarren speak.”
“You are a dear old man, Mac, but—”
“Call the Committee on Credentials.”
“I could make a long speech,” went on the Chairman.
“Terrible!” yelled the audience.
“But I will now call on one,” went on the Chairman, “who has hobnobbed with royalty, run the Standard Oil Company—”
Many voices: “Pat McCarren!”
Mark Twain on Heroes.
Mark Twain was called, however, and he said:
“In the matter of courage we all have our limits. There never was a hero who did not have his bounds. I suppose it may be said of Nelson and all the others whose courage has been advertised that there came times in their lives when their bravery knew it had come to its limit.
“I have found mine a good many times. Sometimes this was expected—often it was unexpected. I know a man who is not afraid to sleep with a rattlesnake, but you could not get him to sleep with a safety razor.
“I never had the courage to talk across a long, narrow room. I should be at the end of the room facing all the audience. If I attempt to talk across a room I find myself turning this way and that, and thus at alternate periods I have part of the audience behind me. You ought never to have any part of the audience behind you; you never can tell what they are going to do.
“I’ll sit down.”
He was talking across the room.
It must be said parenthetically and looking backward, that before Mark Twain spoke Rennold Wolf had introduced Mam’selle Fay Douglass, the champion long-distance soubrette of the world, who sang a song about somebody getting on a horse with her out around Pueblo, Colorado. Mam’selle Douglass wore a sort of bathing-suit costume. Considerable applause greeted Mam’selle Fay Douglass.
Clarence Harvey was introduced as one who would read a poem. He did not, though no direct word against it was spoken. He started in to say that he thought that what had gathered around the boxes on which beefsteak and beer had been sitting, was the nucleus of a fine club, but he was cut off by this voice:
“Cut that out! That’s my speech!”
Mr. Harvey did so, switching to a plea for the return to the simple life of Arcadee, as it is in most rhymes, where (in Arcadee, that is) the dairy maid attends to her own dairy and baby does not have to leave home for its meals.
Senator Pat Says He Got His.
Chairman McDougall said that, nevertheless, he would try for one more speech, anyhow, thus introducing Senator McCarren. Thus spoke the Senator, playing with his apron strings in a nonchalant sort of way:
“I am unlike Mr. Clemens; I know no limits to my courage. All that could happen to be has been performed. I don’t care whether I talk across the room or along it.
“I have often thought that if I ever adopted the profession of caricaturing I would draw the insides of some people, using some sort of X ray apparatus to find what they were really like inside.
“Now, the artists, the excellent artists whom I see around me, have drawn my exterior in excellent pictures. They know not what they have done. They have made me popular with the female sex, and they can’t vote.
“I have recently been in a position where I would have like to picture some people as I saw them— inside.”
Senator McCarren said he did not agree with Frank J. Gould, who was quoted in he papers yesterday as saying that money was a curse. But even if it was, he said, he was anxious to find out just exactly what kind of a curse it was. He pleaded with the cartoonists to draw him henceforth as a man who wanted to be a philanthropist, one who took pleasure in handing out money. He had noticed the pleasure it gave other men to hand out money; he wanted so much to taste that pleasure to the full.
“I have a great deal before me,’ he went on. “I now receive a salary of $1,500 a year, and most of that is spent before I receive it.”
In conclusion he made this appeal to the artists and humorists present:
“If you can’t do me any good, then go ahead and do me as much harm as you can.”
Mr. Clemens Gets a Picture.
Archie Gunn, artist, sang, and was going to do it again when Chairman McDougall called upon Charles Battell Loomis for the story about the lady with the gold fingernails.
“Flown!” was the cry.
It was true.
The artist who is best known by the names “Pal,” which he signs to his pictures and “the Big Turk,” which he does not, drew the beautiful head of a beautiful girl in a few minutes, presenting it to Mark Twain, who said it was the most beautiful thing of the evening. “Pal,” alias “the Big Turk,” said privately that the picture was not at all what it should have been: He had happened on the wrong canvas. It was an oil canvas. If he had had a chalk canvas, why then—
H. H. Rogers, who sat by the side of Mark Twain, was called upon for words. These he said:
“Mr. Clemens has paid me to keep still.”
Bob Davis tired to make a speech and was cried down, Roy McCardell leading the opposition. R. F. Outcault also tried and couldn’t.
Then Senator McCarren, Mark Twain, and H. H. Rogers withdrew. But Mr. McCardell said he wouldn’t.
At last reports somebody was “singing” at Reisenweber’s, third floor [Note: See also Fatout 619; State Senator Patrick Henry McCarren (1849-1909), political boss who dominated Brooklyn politics for two decades; known as “Friend of the Sugar Trust”].
A program/menu for this dinner survives, autographed by Mark Twain to Betsy Robinson. The large menus contained Headline fonts only for “Steak” and “Beer.” See two inserts: large program (above) & enlargement of left side with MT signature (at right). The 20” x 13” program was signed by: “Mark Twain SL Clemens”. Political cartoonist Homer Davenport (1867-1912) added a sketch of Clemens to which he wrote, “That’s him.” Betsy Robinson attended the event and had many of the attendees, in addition to Clemens and Davenport draw sketches and sign her program. Included were: George McManus (1884-1954), Charles Battell Loomis (1861–1911), Walter McDougall (1858-1938), Victor C. Forsythe (1885-1962), Richard F. Outcault (1863-1928), Winsor McCay (1867-1934), H.A. MacGill, Gus Mager (1878-1956), G. Viafora, Archie Gunn (1863-1930), F.M. White, Walter Sinclair and one other [Written Word Autographs auction June 27, 2009 Lot 398].
Isabel Lyon and Edith Cowles, one of Jean Clemens’ nurses, went to Gloucester, Mass. to select a cottage for Jean, her two nurses, and young friend Marguerite Schmidt, to rent for the summer [Hill 197]. Isabel Lyon’s journal: “ To Gloucester hunting houses. Cream puff” [MTP: IVL TS 46].
Solomon J. Douglas wrote from New Haven, Conn. to Sam. Douglas remembered sailing in the brig George to Bermuda in 1868. He also recalled Sam’s interest in the Russian movements for freedom. He complained of “Russian spies” in the US: “We allow these spies to sneak into our libraries, & try to catch a Russian subject reading books on human freedom. Shame on the Astor Library officials for ever allowing it.” He signed and noted “class of ’57 Yale” [MTP].
John W. Postgate wrote to Sam, appealing for an extension to produce JA as “The Maid of Orleans” play [MTP].
April 19 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.
Yes indeed, dear Miss Dorothy, I want the pictures you took; & I am hoping that Mr. Russell will not forget to send copies of those which he took of you & me, for I want good ones to frame & hand in the billiard room of the house I am building in the country—the said room’s name being “The Aquarium,” because it is to be the Aquarium’s official headquarters.
It is 11 a.m., now, & as soon as Miss Lyon gets up I will remind her to send you the pictures she took of us on the steamer, when she gets up. She arrived late last night after a journey to Gloucester, where she secured a house for my daughter, Jean. She is probably tired out.
1 p.m. Miss Lyon is up, & I shall get up myself before long, as there is to be company at dinner. I am very glad she caught you on the telephone & delivered my affectionate greetings to you & got yours to me in return.
With a further consignment of love, … [MTP; MTAq 142].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: A rainy Easter—but a good quiet restful day. Young Dr. Norman Ditman has won the $20,000 Gibbs prize for original investigation in sick kidneys. We read an interesting article about Dr. Koch’s investigation of the Sleeping Sickness and its cause. He says that it has been traced to the crocodiles or alligators because only the natives near rivers become infected, for that is where the tsetse fly, the cause of the disease, lives.
By and by evening came and with it the Waylands for dinner, and dear Dan Frohman and Margaret Illington [Frohman]. Santa and Will came down for a change too and we had a beautiful time. Then after dinner and after we had smoked in the drawing room and had watched the King and Margaret Illington making the most beautiful picture in the world as they sat on the floor and watched Tammany and her pile of kittens (quietly they touched them, and the King’s white head was so lovingly beautiful, as he bent over that striped batch), we went to the billiard room and the 3 men played cowboy pool and each one of them got a game and so the rubber is to be played next Sunday night, when they will all be here for dinner again at seven [MTP: IVL TS 46-47]. Note: Ditman, 31 at this time, won the prize for an essay dealing with “the cause and possible prevention of Bright’s disease” [NY Times, Apr. 19, 1908].
April 20 Monday – If Sam’s estimate was correct, Dorothy Quick, Angelfish, would arrive for a vist at about 2 p.m. this day. See his letter to Dorothy of Apr. 16.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Went to look at Cremone bolts” [MTP: IVL TS 47]. Note: Cremone bolts are used for door and window casement locks; sliding bolts.
Caroline Coddington wrote another short “crank” note from Brooklyn. “I hope Miss Clemens will not have the pleasure of laying out her father — / I have suffered sufficiently to free him from his ‘Ideas’ I trust they both will enjoy future success” [MTP].
Harry P. Wood for Hawaii Promotion Co. wrote to Isabel Lyon, “glad indeed to know that Mr. Clemens accepts our gift. Upon receipt of the architect’s plans, we will lose no time in getting the work done” [MTP]. Note: the gift was a koa wood carved mantel for Sam’s billiard room.
April 21 Tuesday – Sam, feeling “in the humor to dance” at midnight, “went round the corner,” but not finding Nancy Langhorne Astor there, decided not to dance [Apr. 28 to Astor].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Went to hunt for wall paperings. Santa and her troupe are planning to go to England [MTP: IVL TS 47].
Alice Moran wrote from Oil City, Penn. to Sam.
In my effort to prove that Who’s Who in America, is he who has some infusion of Celtic blood, I have come upon a rough place. In the beginning I assumed that your blood was considerably Celtic because I know Mark Twain well, and there’s much of the Celt in him.
However, now that I am summing up my material & I have little time left, I realize that my assumption will not pass for a fact.
Please, Mr. Clemens—may I know from you if Mark Twain gets his humor from some bit of the Celtic in you! [MTP].
John B. Stanchfield for Reynolds, Stanchfield & Collin (law firm) wrote to Sam. “Baldwin & Baldwin have sent over to me a copy of the summons and complaint in the action brought by Mr. Butters against you for libel. I discussed the subject with you some time ago and in conversation you directed me to put in the necessary appearance on your behalf. Kindly advise me whether I am to carry out those instructions. I am at present engaged in Court, but as soon as I am at leisure I will come up and see you about the matter”[MTP]. Note: IVL: “carry out the instructions”
April 22 Wednesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King, Dorothy, Ashcroft and I went down to the Aquarium today for a little frolic, but the King was very limp, and didn’t stay there very long, for there weren’t the wonderful fish that you see in Bermuda waters. The angel fish cannot live here at all it would seem. The King cosied-up in the corner of the elevated train, and come home to rest for Zoeth and Grace Freeman came to dine and to meet ABP. AB wasn’t very well, and so not very bright, but Grace was scintillating [MTP: IVL TS 447-48].
Caroline Coddington wrote another “crank” letter to Sam, addressing it “Dear Spakers.” She apologized for the “tangled message from ‘Snarles’ sent …last evening” She hoped to see him “ere long and apologize” [MTP].
Ethel Courlander wrote from Croydon, England, enclosing a print (not in file) for Clemens to autograph [MTP].
April 23 Thursday – The New York Times, p. 13, “Business Troubles” ran a paragraph on the Plasmon Co. of America’s bankruptcy:
Schedules in bankruptcy of the Plasmon Company of America, food products, 59 Pearl Street, of which Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens) was acting President, show liabilities of $26,843 and assets of $1,395, consisting of cash, $915; accounts $30; patents $100; machinery at Briarcliff Manor, $200, and 30,000 pounds of spoiled casein, $150. Among the creditors are John Hays Hammond, $10,000, secured; Ralph W. Ashcroft, $8,565, salary as Secretary and Treasurer and money loaned; William B. McGann, $2,500, salary as President; William T. Robson, $1,000 salary as Treasurer; W.W. Wallace, $1,000 wages as clerk, and Samuel L. Clemens, as assignee of the International Plasmon, Ltd., $456.
Sam spoke at the Children’s Theatre of the Educational Alliance. The New York Times covered the event in it’s Apr. 24 issue, p. 9:
CHILD ACTORS WARM TO THEIR MARK TWAIN
An Eye at Every Peek Hole and an Ear at Every Crack as He Speaks.
HE TELLS GOOD NEWS, TOO
Bigger Theatre and New Directors for the Children’s Educational
Play Acting—Society Gives Aid.
“Say, didn’t youse ever see an automobile before?”
This in most scornful tones last night from the larger boys in the crowd outside the Children’s Theatre of the Educational Alliance, at Jefferson Street and East Broadway. It was announced that “Mark Twain” was to speak at the evening’s performance, and society, with its motor cars descended upon the Children’s Theatre, so naturally all the curious small boys in the neighborhood swarmed around.
To be sure, society didn’t arrive till the first play, “Editha’s Burglar,” was well under way, and the regular patrons of the theatre who save their few pennies desperately to go there, were thrilling with admiration for the tiny Editha.
“Say! Ain’t she the cute one? Oh! She’ll have that boiglar fooled,” they murmured to each other as Society walked down the aisles.
The curtain fell on the first play, and they “got busy” behind, according to stage managerial directions. The child-actors retired to the dressing rooms, while the youthful stage hands did their work. The assistant property man stowed away safely the auto horn with which he had announced the arrival of Editha’s papa, and took a hand at the lashing. As the scenery was rushed hither and thither, just like the “real behind the scenes,” except for the conspicuous absence of profanity, there were many officious calls of “Sh-sh! Silence, there!” for the children’s orchestra was playing Mozart’s “Magic Flute” music between acts, and the artists behind respected their fellow-workers in front. All of a sudden a small girl at one side of the curtain called out:
“That’s him, there he comes.”
“Him” was Mark Twain, taking his place before the curtain to make his speech.
At the call, the stage hands stopped shifting, the property men came running out with a vase in each hand, and out swarmed the actors from the dressing rooms. Those from the first play had their make-up only half off, and those who were to be in the coming play had not yet developed sufficient “temperament” to object to being disturbed before going on to play their roles. One and all, the entire staff of the Children’s Theatre, ranged itself behind the curtains, with an eye at every possible peep hole, and an ear at every crack. At the furthest left hand edge sat “Mrs. Whitmore” taking down the speech.
“I’m going to have every word he says, every word,” she declared.
Meanwhile, quite unaware of this enthusiastic devotion behind the curtain, Mark Twain was making his speech to the audience in front. In opening, Mr. Clemens called attention to the playing by the children’s orchestra.
“We have all home talent here,” he said.
“We,” sniffed a girl flippantly.
“Silence, Becky!” answered the dressing room mistress severely. However he is regarded elsewhere the children at the Educational Alliance take Mark Twain seriously.
Mr. Clemens made only a short address, pointing out the need for a children’s theatre to supply the demand for amusement, and to give amusement of the right kind. He asserted that the work was entirely educational, and that the boys and girls training for the plays knew their Shakespeare far better than many Broadway audiences. [Sotto voce applause from the actors, with their ears against the curtain.] Of the hundreds of children in the classes of “Speech and Action” only three, Mr. Clemens said, had developed any desire to take up acting as a profession.
Then Mr. Clemens announced the news of the evening. After July 1 the Educational Theatre for Children will enter upon an independent existence, under a different Board of Directors. The Honorary President of the board is Mr. Clemens himself, and he said he took great pride in the choice as he understood that the children themselves had some voice in that election. [Emphatic nods of approval from all the assembled theatre staff.] The other Directors are Robert Collier of Collier’s Weekly, the Rev. Percy Stickney Grant, and President Stanley Hall of Clarke University. Under this new direction a larger building will be erected to give more seating room at the theatre and to provide schoolrooms for the accompanying class work.
The speech was over, with great applause in front, but that was nothing compared with the joyous war dance behind, in which all joined to the chant: “oh, we’re to have the new theatre.” Then the stag manager called: “Hey there! All ready!” The actors fled, the scene shifters stood at attention, the light man gathered up his blue bulbs, and all was order once more. But they crowded around the girl in the corner, who had been taking notes.
“Did you get it all down—every word he said?” they demanded as the curtain went up on “ ‘Op-o’-me-Thumb,” the second play of the evening.
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick.
I miss you so! I wish you were back, you dear little rascal.
When I found that your luggage could not be expressed until morning I asked Miss Lyon to telephone you so, right away, & no doubt she did so.
It is past midnight—we have been to the Children’s Theatre, where you must go with us some day when you can be spared from home. You will like it, dear.
I thought you left your story with me, & I told Miss Lyon she might read it—but we couldn’t find it, & she was so disappointed, & so was I. Won’t you send it to me, dear heart? I will send it back as soon as she has read it.
I have been playing billiards alone for half an hour, but it is no fun, & there are no cats & no Dorothy, & the house is silent & asleep. I will follow suit now. With love good-bye, good-bye, good night! [MTP; MTAq 143-4 (gives as Apr. 24)].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: Such a busy day. Dictating letters to Hobby, looking after the King, attending to furniture repairings for the new house, going with Santa to select hats, going up to Mrs. Freeman (Mother and I) in the Hotel Willard, dining (the King and I) with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Collier and then going down to the Educational Alliance to see “Editha’s Burglar” and “Op’o My Thumb”. Between the 2 plays the King spoke in behalf of the Educational Theatre, and I was nervous about him, for he wasn’t himself. He miscalled words, and seemed to have great difficulty in holding his thoughts together, but I was the only one who knew it. It was enough for the rest of the audience to look at him and be enchanted. Today after Dorothy left, I found the King laughing as he sat in his room and he told me how D. had written a story of a woman ghost who appeared before her sorrowing husband and told him to be comforted for he was happier as he was without her, as she was planning to get a divorce [MTP: IVL TS 48].
Kendall Banning wrote from NYC to Isabel Lyon (though catalogued to MT) about taking a plaster cast of Clemens’ hand at 2 p.m. Tuesday [MTP].
Dorothy Sturgis wrote to Sam.
I got my photographs the other day, but none of the ones I took of you came out at all so I won’t send them.
When Miss Lyon was here in Boston I told her that I was going to send you an Easter present. It was a little sketch I drew while in St. George’s, of the church on the hill which was started, but never finished. Mama said she thought that you would like it. Where I took it to be framed they said they would send it by Saturday, but I don’t think they did, did they? I thought I’d better write and tell you who it was from as there was no card or anything with it.
Now that I have not got my own pictures of you, please tell Miss Lyon to be sure and send me hers. Give her lots and lots of love, and keep oceans for yourself. / Ever Lovingly, the newest arrival / DMS [MTP; MTAq 143].
April 24 Friday – Clemens and Ralph Ashcroft traveled to Greenwich, Conn. to visit Jean Clemens. Jean, her two nurses, and friend Marguerite Schmidt; the ladies would shortly move to Gloucester, Mass. Meanwhile, Isabel Lyon inspected the construction site of what would be Stormfield at Redding [Hill 197; 203]. Note: the exact date of Jean’s move was not determined, but on May 20, Sam wrote a “welcome to your new home” for her. It becomes apparent that Hill used IVL’s journals for much of his source, though he didn’t always cite it.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: We went to Redding today, Mother and I; and it was like driving along and looking through veils of exquisite color at a darling landscape, for the blooms of willow and maple and birch and cedar were so delicate and so different in color that you could see through them easily. The King’s house is coming on very well, but the chaos there is appalling just now, for they are working on Santa’s wing, and the loggia and the road and the path to the pergola and the terraces and the perron, and the cess pool and the gas works, and the interior decorations and today it seemed a little despairing, and I couldn’t see my way, or their way out. And Lyonesse is so dear. The long line of study and living room and buttery and kitchen and wood house is such a splendid satisfying original long line, and the view from there is so beautiful, that we are both filled with happiness over it. Real happiness.
The King went to see Jean today. Ashcroft took him to Greenwich [MTP: IVL TS 48-49].
Diana Belais for the New York City Humane Society wrote to thank Sam for his permission to use his name in their cause; she’d asked the favor in her Apr. 17 letter [MTP].
Irene Gerken wrote from NYC to Sam. “I want to thank you very very much for your kind invitation and I was very sorry that I had to refuse you but my friend is giving a theater party and I have accepted the invitation. / Please give my love to Miss Lion [sic] and hopeing that this letter will find you in good health” [MTP; Not in MTAq].
Hellen Elizabeth Martin wrote to Sam. “I received your nice letter and was so glad to get it. I also miss you very very much indeed. My brother Charlie went back to school on Wednesday 22nd. I have started my lessons and have a lot of new ones. We have got another little kitten only a month old…. Would you please write an autograph for a friend of mine her name is Grace Brown” [MTP; Not in MTAq].
J. Pease Norton for American Health League wrote to advise Clemens that his name had been nominated for membership in their organization. Questions (not detailed in the letter) were enclosed (not in file) for his reply [MTP].
April 25 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Helen Schuyler Allen.
I miss you ever so much, you dear Helen. There’s been a queer & constant reminder of you—salt in my hair—ever since that pleasant bath, until an hour ago when I washed it out with 5 separate & distinct soapings & scourings.
We had an enjoyable voyage—(though a little rough)—because I had a member of the Aquarium along, & also the Governor General. The Governor General (Gray)—is just a love! There couldn’t be a more winning, & respect-compelling and human-being-at-its-very-best personality. And so the voyage was too short.
But I’m desolate now. My youngest daughter came yesterday, but she could stay only an hour or two, then hurry away. My other daughter (Clara) will arrive this evening. Meantime there’s not an angel-fish on the place; the Aquarium is empty. Francesca (Atlanta Ga.), can’t come till June. Dorothy (London) can’t come any earlier. Margaret (up the Hudson at school), can’t come till April 23. Dorothy (New Jersey) can’t come till next Monday. You can see yourself, that things were looking gloomy for me—but my weather is improving, I am glad to say. Irene has telephoned that she is coming Saturday morning. She will play billiards until luncheon & after that, we will go to a matinèe. Maybe her parents will allow her to stay over till Monday, then Dorothy will come.
The billiard room in the house we are building up-country will be the official headquarters of the Aquarium. On the walls will be the framed photographs of the members and over the door will be the sign “The Aquarium,” in wood-carving. My daughter Jean will do the carving, & she is competent.
Good-bye, dear heart. Please remember me cordially to the others & at least all of that to yourself.
The people of the Sandwich Islands have offered me a mantel-piece, of native wood, for the new house. Isn’t that nice? Miss Lyon & the architect have forwarded the design, dimensions, etc. [MTP; MTAq 144-5].
Sam also replied to a not-extant letter from Andrew Lang, which from this reply, asked if Sam had received Lang’s latest book. Gribben supplies The Maid of France, Being the Story of the Life and Death of Jeanne d’Arc, London (1908) .
Dear Mr. Lang,—
I haven’t seen the book nor any review of it, but only not very understandable references to it—of a sort which discomforted me, but of course set my interest on fire. I don’t want to have to read it in French—I should lose the nice shades, & should do a lot of gross misinterpreting, too. But there’ll be a translation soon, nicht wahr? I will wait for it. I note with joy that you say: “If you are lazy about comparing, (which I most certainly am), I can make you a complete set of what the authorities say, & of what this amazing novelist says that they say.”
Ah, do it for me! Then I will attempt the article, & (if I succeed in doing it to my satisfaction,) I will publish it. It is long since I touched a pen (3½ years), & I was intending to continue this happy holiday to the gallows, but—there are things that could beguile me to break this blessed Sabbath. / Yours very sincerely, … [MTP].
Sam also replied to the Apr. 23 from Dorothy Sturgis.
Dear Miss Dorothy, I thank you ever so much for the picture; I am very glad to have it—your mother was quite right about it. I did not know it was from you until your letter came. Miss Lyon thinks you think you told her you were going to send me an Easter present, but forgot to really say it.
It is generally agreed that Joe Jefferson’s son’s Rip Van Winkle is not as good as his father’s was, & some folks say the like about Sothern jr’s Lord Dundreary as compared with his senior’s rendition of the part—but that is [a] distinct mistake. Miss Lyon & I saw the piece this afternoon, & I laughed as I have not laughed before in 30 years—that is to say, not since I saw the elder Sothern in the part for the last time a generation ago. When you have the opportunity, go & see that play.
Miss Lyon sends you lots & lots of love, & so doth [MTP].
Note: Edward H. Sothern, son of Edward Askew Sothern, ended his engagement on this very day at the Lyric Theatre, where Sam, Miss Lyon and Mrs. Collier viewed the performance. Sothern played the part of Lord Dundreary, a part his father had played for many years [NY Times, 17 Apr. p. 7, “Theatrical notes”; NY Times 28 Jan, “Dundreary’s Charm and Genial Humor”; Gribben 689]. See Sam’s A.D. Apr. 28; Insert ad for play.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I shall never, never be able to catch up again for the days are only a kind of wind that whirls me along and away through a wonderful maze of living. Mrs. Collier, the King and I went to see Sothern in Dun Dreary” [MTP: IVL TS 49]. Note: see insert.
Philip Nichols Sunderland wrote to thank Sam for his check of $4,063.78, the eighth payment on the contract for construction of the Redding house [MTP]. Note: Sunderlands were a three generation Danbury family of builders, who built Stormfield.
Monroe Sunshine wrote on Sunshine Pressing Appliance letterhead, NYC to Sam.
I dare say that as you strolled past 14 E 8th St. on your way to Fifth Ave late this afternoon you little dreamed that you passed within a few feet of one who was the protégé of old Joe Brown, once Mayor of Atton, Ill, later Mayor of St. Sonis and at one time owner of some of the fastest Mississippi boats.
Mr. Brown often told me that you were a very “bum” pilot. He said you had the habit of running “her” on sand banks.
Joe Brown is sleeping on one of the hills above Atton overlooking the river he loved so well…. I never had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Mr. Mark Twain but I certainly would like to [MTP].
April 26 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Eden Phillpotts.
Dear Mr. Phillpotts:
The Human Boy Again has arrived, & I have just begun it & am greatly enjoying it. Meantime (in Bermuda) I read—& re-read—The Mother of the Man, with high admiration. A great book!
I wish I had energy enough to resume work upon one or two of my several half-finished books—but that is a dream, & won’t ever come true. / Cordially your friend … [MTP].
Note: Gribben supplies Phillpott’s dedication of the book: “TO MY DEAR FRIEND, / MARK TWAIN, / FATHER OF ‘TOM SAWYER’ AND / ‘HUCKLEBERRY FINN,’ / THESE HUMAN BOYS, / WITH SINCEREST REGARD.” The title page quotes Mark Twain’s aphorism from “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar” about the schoolboy who said that “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” The Human Boy Again (1908), and The Mother of Man (1908), both by Phillpotts [Gribben 544-5]. Note: See Philpotts letter of May 11.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: That last Sunday evening batch was here again and we had a lovely time, for downstairs Margaret Frohman told us how she doesn’t wear any drawers in her first act, and we chatted a cosy lot. The Frohmans left early and then the Waylands stayed until 1:30 and I a-perishing with sleep. But it is lovely to be a-perishing with sleep when the Waylands are here [MTP: IVL TS 49].
April 27 Monday – Helen Schuyler Allen wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens, / I was afraid that possibly you had forgotten to write me, so decided I would write you first, and tell you how much I have missed you, I shall always remember the lovely times we had together and particularly our fine swim that last day you were in Bermuda. When ever I use my camera I think of you, and how kind you were to help me get it. Please do write me soon. I remain you loving and devoted “Angel-fish” / Helen Schuyler Allen
P.S. Please give my love to Miss Lyon [MTAq 146].
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam, including her story, “Martin Chown,” that Sam had asked for in his Apr. 24 letter.
Dear Mr Clemens
here is the story
What would have happened. The guests were gone and Martin Chown sat by the fire it was almost out. Martin Chown was an old man no not old but he was not young he was 65 years old he was alone and his thoughts were sad they went back to the last Christmas where he had sat in the death chamber of his wife and how she had when his train of thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a figure clothed in white You are happier as it is it said so is she.
“No No interrupted the man.”
You are the spirit but I will show you what would have happened if she had lived Come Come
Martin Chown drew back.
Where was he to be taken but the spirit drew him forward do not be afraid come again. Martin Chown followed it. It led him to a room he looked and recognized the courtroom he was on the witness stand so was his wife
What does it mean he asked the spirit
it means that your wife would have loved someone eles and gotten rid of you through the divorce court
Will she suceed he was about to ask when he looked up the spirit and the courtroom had vanished he was once more seated by the now dying fire there was no sign of the spirit
Martin Chown slowly arose it is better as it is he said slowly He had learned that it is best to be contented with what is ordained
I have missed you very very much (also the cats but not so much) the play went on very well everyone said I did very well thank Miss very much for sending the bag Mother would write but she is sick in bed with lots of love your loving / Dorothy
P.S. give lots of love to Miss Lyon [MTAq 146-7].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: A larynghaical cold, I’ve got. But I went with John Howells to look at gas fixtures at Caldwells’ wonderful place on 15th street where they have the most exquisite reproductions from all nations. These men (Mr. Von Lossburg among them) spend their lives searching museums and excavations and palaces for the most beautiful, perfect lamps and chandeliers and lanterns, and their place is comforting—more comforting than a museum [MTP: IVL TS 50].
V.F. Von Lossberg for Caldwell & Co., NYC wrote a list of fixtures “under consideration for your new residence” [MTP].
Clemens A.D. for this day is listed by MTP.
April 28 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Nancy Langhorne Astor.
I am very sorry to hear that you have been sick, & very glad to believe that you are well again.
I wonder if I am really to have the lark of darting over to England & back, in the summer? The thought of it is enticing, but—There’s always a but. I do not suppose I can go—still, it is good enough material to dream upon, till by & by.
I went round the corner at midnight last Tuesday, & was in the humor to dance, but refrained, you not being there. I couldn’t manage it alone./ Ever yours [MTP].
Note: Virginia-born Nancy Wicher Langhorne (1879-1964) married Englishman Waldorf Astor (1879-1952) in 1906. It was the second marriage for both. Their English home, “Cliveden,” was the focal point for gatherings of literary figures and political leaders. It is likely that Sam met the Astors in his 1907 trip to England. When Astor inherited the title of Viscount he was elevated to the House of Lords. Nancy (Lady Astor) was elected to her husband’s former seat in 1919 in Parliament, becoming the first woman to serve in the House of Commons. The term “cousin” which Sam used was likely due to their common surname “Langhorne,” though Clemens family tradition held that the name was given to Samuel as an honor to a friend, not a relative. Clemens’ parents were from Virginia, as were the Langhornes, so it is likely that Nancy was related to the man whose name was given to Sam. Just where Sam went to dance at midnight on Apr. 21 is not known.
Sam also wrote to Andrew Carnegie.
Dear St. Andrew:
The whisky came at the right time. Of course—for whisky never comes at the wrong time.
“My boat is by the shore
And my bark is on the sea
But before I go, Tom Moore,
Here’s a health to Carnegie.”
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick.
Oh, you dear Dorothy, you have changed the story! You little rascal, you have put things in it that were not there before, & I want it just as it was. Be a good child, & send me the original manuscript—I will be sure & send it back to you.
Of course you did very well, in the play—I knew you would.
Dear heart, can’t you come up Saturday after next & play billiards & take lunch & go to a matinee & stay over till Monday? Can’t you? Won’t you? I hope so. Ask your mother, if you may come. I shan’t be here long—only a month; then our new house in the country will be finished, & we’ll go & live in it. And you must come there as soon as you can. There will be a bed in your room for your mother.
I haven’t seen a cat since you went away until to-night—then Tammany came up to play billiards.
With lots of love, / SLC
[In the left-margin of the first page:] I like the story in its changed form, but I like the former form a little the best [MTP; MTAq 147-8].
Sam’s A.D. is given by Gribben:
“Clemens said that he last saw the senior Edward A. Sothern (1826-1881) as Lord Dundreary twenty-five years ago in Hartford, when Clemens laughed so constantly that he felt obliged to leave the theatre so as not to distract from Sothern’s acting. “In those days it was the funniest thing I had ever seen on the stage, and I find that it is just as funny now as it was then. I saw it yesterday [sic]. I am old & intelligent now, and by earnest and watchful effort was able to keep from going into hysterics over it” [Gribben 689].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “These days are a crashing rush over the King’s house [Redding]. I’m having a sorry time wasting time finding [wall]papers, but at the Alfred Peats Co. I’m getting them” [MTP: IVL TS 50].
Richard Watson Gilder wrote to Sam.
My grandfather was a Methodist class leader; my father was a Methodist preacher; my uncle was a Methodist preacher. These facts account for those virtues which you have always found shining so brightly in my person.
The above are the reasons also for my writing this line of introduction to a committee of Methodist ministers who have designs upon you. I do not know why they prefer yourself to Twichell but they apparently know what they want. … [MTP].
John M. Howells wrote to advise Sam that they had ordered the Verrochio Cupid for the fountain on the lower terrace, enclosing a letter from The Erkins Co. supplying the Cupid [MTP].
John Larkin, attorney, NYC wrote to Sam.
The two suits by the City of New York one against you as executor of Mrs. Clemens for about $75. for taxes for the year 1905, and the other against you personally for about $750. for taxes for the same year, have, as you know, been pending for some months. I have kept the suits open during your absence…. I think the suit against you as executor for the small amount will have to be paid. As regards the other suit…the only way to settle the suit is by your appearing either in person or by your secretary or someone else who is familiar your your affairs and making an affidavit before the Corporation Counsel showing that the assessment, which was $50,000, was excessive [MTP].
Edith Thompson wrote from Milwaukee,Wisc. to Sam. “When I reached home last Saturday, I found your letter and book. It was lovely of you to send it to me and I appreciate it very much. / We had a very rough trip home also, but it was not as rough as yours, I don’t think. / Yours…” [MTP]. Note: the lady was likely in Bermuda about the same time Clemens was there.
April 29 Wednesday– Sam wrote a sketch unpublished until 2009: “Dr. Van Dyke as a Man and as a Fisherman” [Who Is Mark Twain? xxvi, 87-94]. Note: title assigned by the MTP. Undoubtedly the sketch owes itself to an Atlantic article in the May 1908 issue by Henry Bradford Washburn, “Shall We Hunt and Fish? The Confessions of a Sentimentalist,” where Washburn opens with a quotation from Van Dyke’s “Some Remarks on Gulls, with a Foot-note on a Fish,” Scribner’s Magazine Aug. 1907. In his A.D. for this day Sam wrote (not dictated): “Last night I read in the Atlantic a passage from one of Rev. Dr. Van Dyke’s books….I like Van Dyke, and I greatly admire his literary style—notwithstanding the drawback that a good deal of his literary product is of a religious sort” [Gribben 722: DV 251 MTP]. Note: Van Dyke would be “an officiating clergyman” at Sam’s funeral at the Brick Presbyterian.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King can’t dictate these days—he is waiting to be settled in the Redding house” [MTP: IVL TS 50].
Kendall Banning wrote to Lyon (though catalogued to Lyon & Clemens) about making another cast of Clemens’ hand. “The cast taken this afternoon has turned out satisfactorily so far as we know, but we would like to show the hand in different position…. I am writing to Mr. Henry H. Rogers to-day with a request that he also pose for us. It might be possible to arrange to take casts of both Mr. Clemens and Mr. Rogers’ hands at the same time—a plan which was suggested by Mr. Clemens himself” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “It was a poor cast they made—not showing the wrist or palm.” Also, a clipping is in the file, paper not specified, “H.H. ROGERS SAID TO BE IN VERY POOR HEALTH.”
Howells & Stokes wrote a short note advising that they were ordering two exterior Venetian blinds to fit the two openings at the end of the loggia, for $128.50 [MTP].
April 30 Thursday – Frances Nunnally wrote from Baltimore to Sam.
While I was at home for my holidays, I started several times to write to you, but something always interrupted me, so I am going to try to write now. I had such a good time at home, that it was awfully hard when I had to come back to school. There is just six weeks to this term, though, and I think it will pass very quickly. When I come up to New York about the first or middle of June, I hope very much I can see you. Margaret Disosway told me when she came back to school that Mrs. Quick had taken her to call on you while she was in New York, and I surely wish I had been there.
I think we will sail for England on the “Minneapolis” on the sixth of June, but there may be some trouble about my leaving school before it is over. We have gotten our passage for that date and I don’t know what we will do if they will not let me leave school early. They have always been very strict about that sort of thing here, thought. Perhaps we can get passage on a later boat.
I want this letter to go off on the afternoon mail so I will stop. / With love, / Francesca [MTAq 148-9].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I went to Redding this afternoon, and after a drive of 4 miles in a driving rain (open carriage—no top) Lounsbury’s wife welcomed us, and I went early to bed” [MTP: IVL TS 50].
May – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam inscribed a copy of LM to an unidentified person: “Mark Twain /. I published this book at my own expense, as an experiment in economy. It cost me fifty-six thousand dollars before the first copy issued from the press. / SLC / May, 1908.” [MTP].
Sam discussed The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1737-1809) with Albert Bigelow Paine, who quotes Twain:
“…that seems a mild book now. I read it first when I was a cub pilot, read it with fear and hesitation, but marveling at its fearlessness and wonderful power. I read it again a year or two ago, for some reason, and was amazed to see how tame it had become. It seemed that Paine was apologizing everywhere for hurting the feelings of the reader” [MTB 1445].
Bookman (NY) ran an anonymous article, “Travelling with Mark Twain,” p. 227-8. Tenney: “Describes the hold of MT and Kipling on all who speak English; for example, when MT boarded the Bermudian a stevedore asked, ‘Where’s his white suit?” On the ship, a traveler introduced himself because he thought it was ‘the duty—and the privilege—of every American—to shake hands—with Mark Twain’” [Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 192].
The Circle published an anonymous article, “At Home with Famous Authors: A Glimpse into the work-shop where seven great writers do their thinking and writing.” Tenney: “Includes a photograph of W.D. Howells at his desk, and one of MT in bed’” [Tenney, ALR Second Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1980) 175].
May 1 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the Apr. 30 to Frances Nunnally.
The way you are arranging things, you little rascal, what sort of a glimpse of you am I going to get? Before the 6th of June we shall be living in the house I am building in the country. However, it isn’t far away—only an hour & a half. When you arrive here I will come to town & see you—& then I hope you & your mother can run out to the villa with me & give me a visit.
If you should need to change your steamship-date, let me know, & I will put it into the hands of Ashcroft & Miss Lyon & save you the bother of attending to it.
It was a great pleasure to see Miss Margaret; I hope it isn’t to be the last time. Francesca dear, is Atlanta vain of you two, or are you samples of just the ordinary average product of that place? /With love … [MTP; MTAq 149].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: I drove to look at a Redding farm of 70 acres and a dear old house for $3500. for Zoheth and Sheba and then Lounsbury took me to Lyonesse and Eugene Adams and I had a splendid half hour planning for the arrangement for the house. We tore the plaster from the stone work around the mantles and it reveals a lovely old chimney piece of coarse stone work that I shall leave exposed. But the work of the day was at the King’s house going over and over the rooms to get the sense of them, and to correct a score of tiny mistakes.
The work seems to go forward very slowly and outside of the house is chaos. Santa’s wing is an improvement to the whole house [MTP: IVL TS 50-51].
May 2 Saturday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: Headache. So ill all day, for I wept without control for hours last night, because I was exhausted, and the fact that Santa [Clara] misunderstood all my efforts, in working over the house. My anxiety over the finishings, my interest in my search for the right thing for the King’s house has all been misinterpreted, and the child says I am trying to ignore her. All my effort has been to please her, to keep her from the dreary search of hours and hours to find the right thing, or shape or color. The King has resented my being out of the house so much, until I’ve told him that I only seem neglectful and that all my days are only for his interest, and that when he thinks that I am out frolicking, I am only trying to save his money and Santa’s strength. Oh, so ill I am [MTP: IVL TS 51].
Charles H. Higgs wrote from Chicago to Sam about CS and the cult which he’d studied for 25 years. Higgs praised the book as “the best presentation of the facts of any work so far,” and advised Sam to revise the first half of the book so as not to “raise prejudice in the minds of some” [MTP].
Rossiter Johnson for the National Alumni wrote to ask Sam’s permission to include 2 to 4,000 word synopses of GA or PW or TS in their forthcoming 20 volume set [MTP]. Note: Harper’s was consulted and, in a May 23 letter to Lyon, they thought it unwise.
Charles J. Langdon wrote to Sam from 355 South Marengo Avenue in Pasadena, Calif., where he’d gone for his health. He asked Sam for an autographed photo for a friend, Joseph E. Hinds, who “lives here and has been very kind to me during my stay.” He finished with: “I expect to be here until about the middle of June and a letter sent to the above address would reach me” [MTP; Mark Woodhouse, Elmira College email Jan. 31, 2011]. Note: Twain signed a photo for Joseph sometime in 1905: see 1905 year listings.
Dorothy Sturgis wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens / How do you think I have spent my entire day to-day? Reading “The Prince and the Pauper”. I have always loved it, but now it has an added interest for me since I know its author!
Perhaps you remember that in your last letter to me you spoke of Sothern’s Lord Dundreary. I saw it when it was here, and thought it was perfectly splendid, and just as funny as it could be! But possibly a little too long drawn out in some places, such as the time when Lord Dundreary has that long conversation with the girl, whom [he] eventually marrys, just outside the house.
Papa went to New York last night on business, and I begged him to take me with him so that I could come and see you, but he remained hard hearted and refused to take me!
Give my love to Miss Lyon, but tell her I shan’t love her any more if she does not send me those pictures of you pretty soon, because you must remember that I have no picture of you at all! On Easter mama gave me a beautiful Japanese silver picture frame, with the opening four inches in diameter, and I am hoping that a picture of you will fit that. / Ever your loving / Dorothy [MTAq 149-50]. Note: Edward H. Sothern; see Apr. 25 entry.
May 3 Sunday– Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Ill all day, but I did go up to the Wayland’s for dinner with a stiff larynx—and a heavy heart” [MTP: IVL TS 51].
A.J. Dawson wrote from Scotland to ask Sam, “When will you come back again? The U.S. shouldn’t be selfish; we too have rights….Yours so affectionately.” Dawson quoted Sam’s “The Aged Pilot Man” from RI (1872) [MTP].
Dorothy Quick wrote from Plainfield, NJ, enclosing the story of “Martin Chown” she’d written. “I think I copied the story exactly…I have lost one sheet of the original but I’ll send what I have[.] I’m sorry now I copied it over but Mother said the writing was very bad. I want to come up next Saturday very much & I think I can” [MTP; not in MTAq].
May 4 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam replied to the May 3 from Dorothy Quick.
You are just a dear, you little rascal! I shall be so glad to see you. I shall be downstairs waiting for you at 11.30 when you come.
It was lovely of you to send me the original MS of the story.
We certainly did have good times in Tuxedo, & I guess we will duplicate them in the new house in the country. We’ll start The Author’s League again, & you will dictate & I will be your amanuensis.
Yes, Wednesday will be time enough to let me know whether you can come or not—but I do hope you won’t fail to come, dear heart.
I am watching out for the violets; it is very sweet of you to send them. / With lots of love … [MTP; MTAq 150]. Note: in his Apr. 28 to Quick, Sam had asked her to “come up Saturday after next” (May 9) and to stay over till Monday, May 11. She wrote him shortly about May 6 however (not extant) that she was down with a cold and wanted to postpone the visit until the following weekend.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Somebody has put all these sickening ideas into Santa’s head and I feel that my interest in the house is dead forever” [MTP: IVL TS 52].
Arnold Briggs from England wrote a fan letter to Sam. While confessing that American humor seemed “abstruse” to him, he’d just finished “A Horse’s Tale,” which he loved. He closed by asking for an autograph [MTP].
Andrew Lang wrote from Kensington, London. “If you will lay 60s [illegible word] it is all right. I believe he is to be translated, and has only afraid that he may expect his [illegible word], but I will give you what I can find” [MTP]. Note: see Clemens’ Apr. 25 reply to Lang’s non-exant.
May 5 Tuesday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Eulabee Dix / Mr. Clemens remembers that you want a sitting for his hand./ Margery. / Mustn’t forget that Mr. Clemens is counting on your & Carolines visit. It isn’t entirely selfish” [MTP: IVL TS 52]. Note: this entry is on a separate scrap of paper, undated and placed in this date; it may not relate.
Homer G. Curless wrote from Springfield, Ohio to ask Sam’s advice. Which books should a young man put in his library? [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Mr. Clemens would be glad if he were able to give advice, but he finds that the taste of each person must determine the matter”
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam about “addition of certain apparatus” to “facilitate the connection of a second generating unit” for acetlylene gas [MTP].
May 6 Wednesday – In N.Y.C. Isabel Lyon wrote for Sam to Frederick A. Duneka.
“Mr. Clemens asks me to write for him & say that as these people want such a small quantity of stuff, & as it would look better to be in the collection than out of it, if you have no objection he will tell them to go ahead” [MTP]. Note: likely some unidentified group wanting to reprint snippets of Mark Twain’s published works, though also unidentified.
George L. Carlisle wrote to Sam, enclosing his first attempt at a book, Around the World in a Year. (1908). He sought Sam’s opinion of the book [MTP]. Note: See Gribben p. 127.
Dorothy Quick wrote a short note to Sam. “I have such a bad cold I won’t be able to come in this week if you want me I can come next week instead. I am disappointed. I put off writing till the last minute as Mother thought I might be all right…”[MTP; not in MTAq].
May 7 Thursday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “I dined, Mother too, with the Waylands at the Café Beaux Arts and then we went to see Margaret Illington [Frohman] again in ‘The Thief’”[MTP: IVL TS 52].
Charles H. Keep for the Knickerbocker Trust sent a form letter thanking Sam as one of their depositors, allowing them to reorganize [MTP].
May 8 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick.
(Joan of Arc’s Day.)
Your letter came last night, dear, & brought me such a disappointment. I am so sorry you have a cold, but glad you are taking proper care of it. It would not be wise for you to make a journey in the draughty cars at such a time.
“If you want me I can come next week.” If I want you! Can you imagine when I don’t want you? As far as my understanding of it goes, I want you all the time. I hope you will get entirely over your cold, dear heart, & will come to me to-morrow week sound & well.
The violets came promptly, & the reason I did not write you to that effect was, that I wanted to tell you, & show them to you unwithered; for Claude undertook to keep them fresh, & he has done it. You dear sweet child, to send them to me [MTP; MTAq 151]. Note: Claude Benchotte the butler.
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Santa is never sure for 24 hours if she will be able to make this trip to London. The plans are all going forward. / My days are terrible—except for a few placid moments with the King” [MTP: IVL TS 52].
Zoheth S. Freeman for Merchants National Bank wrote to Lyon (though catalogued as to Clemens) [MTP].
May 9 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.
Dear Miss Dorothy:
Why, bless you heart, your father isn’t a bit necessary on a short journey like that. Use him for company, & leave the rest to us. We will meet you at the station; & take care of you; & when you return homeward we will put you on board your car. It is all easy, & handy, & safe—you see that it is, yourself. Next time you have a chance to come down, tell us your train, & come right along. We will take you off your father’s hands at the station, giving a receipt for you if required; & on your return we will deliver you unimpaired into his hands.
There, I’ve said it twice. That is because I wrote pages 1 about a week ago, & didn’t re-read it when I began page 2 at the bottom of page 1.
May 9 I have been waiting and waiting for the photographs to come from the developer before writing you. They never came until last night, & they were bad, when they did come. I enclose the only good one. The likeness of you is very good, but I wish you had washed your face before sitting. The picture ought to have been taken right after the wave-drench, then you would have been up to standard. The chair-back at your left is VERY good.
The picture will fit the frame your mother gave you, I think. You say you have no picture of me at all. Do you mean a solitaire? There’s plenty, but they are too large for the frame—but they don’t belong in that frame, anyhow.
We are going to the police-parade, now. Good bye. With the love of / S L C
P. S. Miss Lyon has brought copies of the two other pictures. I enclose them [MTP; MTAq 151-2].
After the parade, Sam also wrote to Dorothy Quick, revealing the day’s activities.
I hope the cold is well—I mean I hope you are well of the cold, you dear Dorothy. I had arranged to take you to the police-parade, but I took Miss Lyon in your place. Perhaps it was best that you were not there, for it was cloudy part of the time, & a little chilly. It was much the most splendid parade I have ever seen, either in Europe or America, & I am sure you would have enjoyed it.
I took Ashcroft & Miss Lyon to the matinèe, & the box was an unusually large & comfortable one, but I didn’t like the piece. It was too frivolous & vaudevillish, & too much ballet & clothes and foolish songs. I got very tired of it, & was glad you were not there. We must find something better for next Saturday when you come. I miss you, & shall be so glad to see you, dear. / With lots of love, …[MTAq 152-3]. Note: IVL’s journal gives the matinee performance: The Soul Kiss, a musical in two acts, produced by Florenz Ziegfield at the New York Theatre [Gribben 649].
Sam inserted the following newspaper article:
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS REVIEWING TO-DAY’S POLICE PARADE
[photograph of five men captioned as follows:]
MARK TWAIN. CARDINAL LOGUE. ARCHBISHOP FARLEY. PRESIDENT M’GOWAN. PATROLMAN FARLEY.
This is a photograph of the scene on the reviewing stand this afternoon while the medals of honor
were being presented to the brave policemen who had won them during the past year. At one end of the row of guests shown here is Mark Twain, wearing a derby hat, and at the other end Patrolman James Farley, who has been fifty years on the force and who was present at the special invitation of Commissioner Bingham. next to Mark Twain is Cardinal [Michael] Logue, Primate of Ireland, with Archbishop Farley on his left. President Mcgowan, of the Board of Aldermen, is on the Archbishop’s left.
[beside a face in the background SLC has written ‘× Miss Lyon.’]
Isabel Lyon’s journal: The King, Ashcroft and I went to see ‘The Soul Kiss’—a horrid sort of play, but Genee the Danish dancer was beautiful and wonderful” [MTP: IVL TS 52-53].
Irene Gerken wrote from Deal Beach, NJ: “My dear Mr Clemens / I am now in the country and am haveing a fine time, only it is not very good weather and can not go out. But as it is a good day to write letters I am kept pretty busy, I am going to call on Anne Fields tomorrow and as it is not very far I am going in the Auto. Please give my love to Miss Lion” [MTP; not in MTAq].
Howells & Stokes wrote to Sam, enclosing a copy of drawing #45, showing the arrangement of bookcases in the living room, hall and billiard room of the Redding house [MTP].
May 10 Sunday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The Waylands and the Frohmans were here for dinner again, and a young journalist” [MTP: IVL TS 53].
Frances Nunnally wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens, — / Thank you very much for your kind offer to change our steamship passage for us, but we have already succeeded in getting very good accommodations on the “Minnetonka.” So we shall sail on the thirteenth instead of on the sixth of June. By the present arrangements, I will only have about one day in New York before we sail, as I am not to leave here until the eleventh. I certainly hope I can see you before we leave. When do you expect to go to your new house? I know you will be glad to get there, in the country. I surely would love to make you a visit in your new home, but as I said, I will just have one day before we sail.
I am having to study awfully hard now, but in three weeks the worst part of my work will be over, and then it will not be anytime before school closes. Then I am sure my summer abroad will make up for all the hard work. / With love, / Francesca [MTAq 153].
May 11 Monday – Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Margaret Frohman has sent me a darling colonial tea service” [MTP: IVL TS 53].
A.C. Furbush wrote from Georgetown, Conn., hearing of Sam’s plans to donate books to start a library in West Redding at the Umpawaug Chapel. Furbush argued that Clemens’ books would get better exposure if he donated them to Georgetown’s library, which was recently started by laboring people [MTP].
Katherine Nichols wrote from Newark, NJ to Sam. “Dear Cousin: / If you think I am worthwhile, I would greatly appreciate a reproduction in marble of Karl Gerhardt’s bust of you, miniature size. / Its really an accurate likeness!” After her signature: “How would you like me to get you into spiritual communication with Susie? I can do it; under the proper influences or auspices” [MTP].
Eden Phillpotts wrote from Hotel Minerva, Florence, Italy to Sam.
My Dear Friend / I do hope you are back like a giant refreshed from the vexed Bermoothes to your unfinished books.
I saw a plaster picture of you in a shop window yesterday & smiled upon it. And somehow I seem to expect the white vision of you at every street corner! “The Mother” [see Apr. 26 Notes] (the line little which has to be changed in U.S.A.) is a little too saccharine, but it was written for love of one woman: my own mother who said to me “the time has come for you to write me a book; & my book shall be a joy & not a grief.” So I obeyed & found in the heredity of goodness a them that promised beauty & hope.
I wonder if you would like a copy of the book from me? You shall have it when I go home in July…. I wonder what you liked best in Florence? ….
PS / I suppose it is not in my power to do you any service in Florence but if so, command me [MTP].
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens
I am almost well now but not quite. I am so glad you got the violets all right. It was so funny how I got this cold that I must tell you about it. I was in school Tuesday when suddenly my eye began to get red. & Miss Arnold (my teacher) said she was afraid I was going to have a pink eye and I had better go home which I did. I did not have pink eye but I got nervous; hence the cold. But I am all right now except a slight cough. How are the cats? “Oh dear! look at the time quarter of nine; I must go to bed.” So I will say “good night” and close with lots & lots of love / I am / Your very loving / Dorothy
P.S. Please give Miss Lyon lots of love for me. Dorothy [MTP; MTAq gives May 12].
May 12 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Quick.
You dear little Dorothy, it was very fortunate that you escaped the pinkeye, for although a cold is bad, pinkeye is worse, & is a stubborn & painful malady.
I shall look for you Saturday morning with high anticipations. We’ve got a box for “Girls,” & they say it is very good, & is clean & wholesome & hasn’t any of that horrible ballet-dancing in it, such as we saw last Saturday.
Margaret Illington has been trying to get into our Aquarium, & I wouldn’t let her; but Sunday night she came here to dinner with her husband (Daniel Frohman), & she was dressed for 12 years, & had pink ribbons at the back of her neck & looked about 14 years old; so I admitted her as an angel-fish, & pinned the badge on her bosom. There’s lots of lady-candidates, but I guess we won’t let any more in, unless perhaps Billy Burke.
I’ve got something for you. It cost 10 cents. I took it away from Ashcroft.
I haven’t seen the kittens lately, but Tammany came up Sunday night & jumped up on the table & helped us play billiards—uninvited. / With lots & lots of love, / SLC
Dear heart, we must start the Author’s League again [MTAq 154].
Note: source provides that Girls ran for 64 performances at Daly’s Theatre in New York and starred Laura Nelson Hall. Margaret Illington, wife of Daniel Frohman, manager of the Lyceum Theatre [n1-2].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Hunting clothes for Santa” [MTP: IVL TS 53].
Frank Bloodgood wrote to Sam, agreeing to “furnish and hang all wall papers, Japanese grass cloth, Burlap, etc., prepare and tint all ceilings, paint all bath rooms, etc. at your residence in Redding…for the sum of …$1,285.00” [MTP].
Angie J. King wrote from Janesville, Wisc. to praise CS [MTP].
May 13 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote a letter of introduction for George M. Robinson, wealthy Elmira furniture maker, to Bram Stoker. “This is George Robinson, a friend of mine of 40 years’ standing, & I hope you will tell him the things he wishes to know, for Clara’s sake & mine” [MTP]. Note: George M. Robinson was a lineal descendant of John Robinson, one of the Mayflower emigrants of 1620. See Aug. 20, 1890 entry, Vol. II. Also, the reference to Clara and the need for Sam’s note become clear by this May 14, 1908, p. 9 squib in the New York Times, under the heading, “MUSIC AND MUSICIANS”:
George M. Robinson sails on the Baltic to-day to arrange for the concert appearance in London and Paris of Miss Clara Clemens, the contralto, daughter of Mark Twain, and Miss Marie Nichols, violinist, who will sail Saturday on the Caronia [Note: Robinson was Clara’s new manager, hired at $300 per month [Hill 215].
Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Calvin H. Higbie. “Mr. Clemens asks me to write for him & say that he has no idea of the value of the article you speak of; that you might be able to sell it to some newspaper out here, but what they would give you for it is a thing that Mr. Clemens could not possibly determine” [MTP]. Note: this a reply to a non-extant request from Sam’s old mining partner.
Helen S. Allen wrote from Bermuda to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemen’s,
I was so glad to hear you hadn’t forgotten me but that it was only the mail. How sorry I was to hear that Miss Lyon was ill and I am also glad to hear that she is better now. A dreadful thing happened the other night! Some dogs came and killed all my guinea pigs and rabbits, except one rabbit who hid itself away in the coal room.
There is to be a fancy dress dance at Government House on the 22nd of May. It is the Governor’s little boys birthday and lots of children are asked and some of the cadets from the ships. Maxwell is going as an Indian Chief and I as Juliet, I went in this costume once before.
I have never met Irene, but I saw her with you while she was here and I must admit I envy her being with you in New York.
Mother and Daddy have not decided whether I am to go away this winter to school, but if I do not I am looking forward to seeing you here.
Will you please write to me again soon? because I shall love to here about all your plans and doings.
With lots of love for Miss Lyon and yourself
I remain / Your “Bermuda angel-fish”
Helen Schuyler Allen [MTAq 155-6].
John H. Finley sent a telegram to Sam: “Electric cab will call for you tomorrow morning nine fifteen to bring you to the college for exercises” [MTP]. Note: see May 14 entry.
Jessie G. Happ wrote from South Bend, Ind. to tell Sam the story of his father, who was injured in the Civil War and had been denied twice in applying for a pension increase. Would Clemens aid his father “in bringing this matter before Congress”? [MTP]. Note: IVL: Mr. Clemens would like to be able”
Frederick T. Leigh for Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens: / You will remember that you referred a letter to us, of Mr. Rossiter Johnson [May 2], Editor-in-Chief of the National Alumni, in which the gentleman offered you $500. for permission to use in his forthcoming set of books, from 2,000 to 4,000 words either from “The Gilded Age” or “Pudd’nhead Wilson” and “Tom Sawyer”.
After considerable consideration and examining into the matter, I think it would be an undesirable thing to grant the permission asked.
We have consistently, for more than four years, refrained from letting anybody print anything from your books in the various collections of authors’ writings, in readers, etc., etc., and it is believed that this policy has been a wise one and resulted in increased sales of your books in sets and singly. As it is, no one can now make use of your name to help them sell the collected writings of others. …[MTP].
Otto H. Kuhn for Kuhn, Loeb & Co., NYC wrote to Sam.
I am obliged for your note of the 13th instant. As I wrote Miss Herts yesterday, existing engagements make it impossible for me to be present at the meeting at your house this afternoon. I regret this exceedingly, both because the object of the Children’s Educational Theatre is particulary sympathetic to me and because it would have afforded me much pleasure to meet you and the other gentlemen concerned [MTP].
Dorothy Sturgis wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens
I’m just going to write you this letter to see how famous you are & not put any address on it. Do tell me if it reaches you! / DMS
21 5 Ave.
I put this on so that if they don’t know your address they will find it inside [MTAq 156]. Note: Sam wrote on the page, “It arrived promptly.”
May 14 Thursday – Sam left 21 Fifth Ave. at 10 a.m., sat on the platform for the City College Ceremonies for three and a half hours, then returned home at 3 p.m. and an hour later took a walk: “At 4 I walked out to 57th street & made a call, then came back in the ’bus—for it was raining” [May 15 to Jean]. In the evening he gave a speech for the banquet of the Alumni of the City College, below:
Sam was included as a speaker at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for the Jubilee celebration of the College of the City of New York. He arrived at 9:30 p.m. The New York Times, p. 5 covered the event:
JUBILEE DEDICATION FOR CITY COLLEGE
Eighty Seats of Learning Represented at the Ceremonies on St. Nicholas Heights.
BRYCE AND TWAIN THERE
Mrs. Cleveland Touches Electric Button That Rings
the Tower Bell Signalizing the Dedication.
The College of the City of New York which cost $6,500,000 and in its completed state is said to be second to none in the United States, was dedicated yesterday to the cause of higher education, free to all, under the most auspicious conditions.
The day was an ideal one for the ceremonies, at which no less than eighty colleges of this and other lands were represented in the throng that was gathered for the dedicatory exercises.
Aside from the actual dedication there were two notable features. One was the ovation with which Mark Twain was received. The other was the raising of the Stars and Stripes to the lofty flagstaff on the plaza, while the assembled company sang “America” and the silken folds of the emblem snapped in the breeze.
The exercises began at 9:15 o’clock with a reception for the speakers and distinguished guests in Townsend Harris Hall, where the academic procession was formed. It was a few minutes after 10 o’clock, while the Seventh Regiment Band played an overture, that the line, with Major Charles E. Lydecker, Marshal in Chief, at its head, moved from the north door of Harris Hall toward the plaza, where the presentation and raising of the flags of the city and of the Nation took place.
President McGowan of the Board of Alderman, introduced by Dr. Finley, President of the college, presented the city flag.
“We of New York owe allegiance to three flags,” said Mr. Gowan. “First is our allegiance to the National flag, with beautiful and inspiring Stars and Stripes; second, to the flag of this Commonwealth, the emblem of the great Empire State, and the greatest and most powerful in the Union; third, the flag of this city.”
Flag Flung to the Breeze.
The emblem was received by a delegation of students, who hurried with it to the tower of the auditorium, from which it was soon flung to the breeze.
Edward Lauterback, on behalf of the Associate Alumni of the college, presented the National emblem. The flag-raising which followed the address and formal presentation, was inspiring. With thousands grouped about the flagstaff “Old Glory” was run up and in a moment it was caught in the breeze.
As the band struck up the “Star Spangled Banner” every hat was doffed and cheer after cheer rang out to be echoes and re-echoed among the turreted towers of the surrounding buildings.
Mark Twain reached the grounds just before the flag-raising, and instantly recognized he was welcomed with cheers as he walked with buoyant step from the Amsterdam Avenue gate to the plaza. He wore the gown of a Doctor of Laws of Oxford, and the red and pale blue of his flowing robe and his shock of white hair would have made him a conspicuous figure in any assemblage. He joined a group of the guests and speakers consisting of Ambassador Bryce, President Eliot of Harvard University, Joseph H. Choate, Mayor McClellan, and Edward M. Shepard, President of the college trustees, all greeting him cordially.
The movement of the guests and speakers to the main hall, where the dedication exercises proper took place, proved a triumphal procession for Mark Twain. He walked with St. Clair McKelway, but all efforts to carry on a conversation with the editor were futile. Cheer after cheer rang out for the distinguished author. He smiled, waved his hand and doffed his cap to the enthusiastic throng. The undergraduates were unsparing in their welcome of the famous man of letters.
“What do you think of it?” he was asked.
“I am not a bit embarrassed,” he replied.
Another reporter asked him if he didn’t wish all the shouting boys could vote.
“That I don’t,” he said, laughing. “I am afraid they might elect me Sheriff, or to some other high office which I am not qualified to fill.”
It was the City College’s day, and Mark Twain’s.
In the great hall those taking part in the programme were seated in the front row on the platform. Among them was Mrs. Grover Cleveland, who had a simple but interesting duty to perform in connection with the dedication. She sat between Mr. Shepard and President Finley, and was quickly recognized. She was quietly dressed in black, with just a dash of color in the form of purple trimming and a bit of lace at the throat. Her hat was trimmed with flowers and a white wing.
The exercises began with an invocation offered by Mgr. Lavelle, followed by the formal presentation of the buildings to the Mayor of the city by Mr.. Shepard. Turning to Mayor McClellan, Mr. Shepard said:
“It is the plain duty of the Trustees at this dedication to express their special sense of the obligation which the college and city owe the genius and labors of George B. Post, the architect, and of those who have labored with him here.
“We offer, Mr. Mayor, this great hall and these buildings upon St. Nicholas Heights as the result of our stewardship over the moneys and other power which the city has put into our hands. Whatever may be amiss in what we have done we are confident that here is fit provision for the present work of the President, Faculty, and instructors, who must, in truth, be the rulers of the college, and for it earn its lesser or its greater glory.
“No doubt there must in time come still larger provision, but what has thus far been done makes easy on these very heights that increase in college work which will inevitably come with the Greater and still Greater New York. through the work of President Finley and his associates and successors may God bring the full measure of a great blessing to the City of New York, to those who dwell within its borders, and to those who are within the ever larger and larger, and, we pay, the nobler and still nobler, scope of its influence.”
[passage cut here]
Every one settled back for a good laugh when President Finley called on Mark Twain to speak for Oxford, introducing him as the foremost figure in American letters. When he could make himself heard, the author said, in all seriousness:
“How difficult, indeed, is the higher education. Mr. Choate evidently needs a little of it. He is not only lacking as a statistician of New York, but he is off, way off, in his mathematics. ‘Four thousand citizens of New York,” indeed!
“But I don’t think it was wise or judicious on the part of Mr. Choate to show the kind of higher education he has obtained. He has said that seventy years ago he was in the lap of that great educator Horace Mann. I was there at the time—and see the result, the lamentable result. May be, if he had had a sandwich here to sustain him, the result would not have been so serious.
Gov. Hughes was to have spoken, but telegraphed that he was kept away by pressing official duties. He sent his congratulations.
400 ALUMNI AT THE WALDORF. [This at 9 p.m.]
They Sing Old Songs and Listen to the Wisdom of Mark Twain.
The “old boys” of the College of the City of New York—400 strong—representing the Associate Alumni of the institution, lustily last night drank to the long life and prosperity of their alma mater at a dinner in the Waldorf-Astoria. It was the closing feature of the day of celebration in connection with the dedication of the new buildings on St. Nicholas Heights. The alumni sang the song with a zest which revived memories of the old days, when they were enrolled as students in the buildings now vacated for the larger and more magnificent quarters which the city has built.
And when the echoes had died away, the alumni and members of the college Faculty, together with the Presidents of several other colleges in this and other States, listened to the words of wisdom and wit by Mark Twain and others.
One suggestion made by Mark Twain may take root and grow, the college men say, although, when offered last night, it was partially cloaked in jest. The suggestion was that a chair of citizenship be established at City College, and the idea met with applause. Mark Twain, who was late in arriving at the dinner, was lustily cheered. Some one facetiously shouted, “Who is Mark Twain?”
Instantly came the reply from many throats:
“First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Before the author was called upon to speak, the other speakers had been frequently interrupted by cries of “Louder!” And on this Mark Twain commented:
“If you have a voice loud enough to state what you have to state you don’t have to have anything in what you say anyhow.” And then he told of the Mayor’s suggestion made in his speech at the dedication exercises in the afternoon, that citizenship should be placed above everything, even learning.
Mark Twain’s Suggestion.
“I thought when the Mayor said that there was not a man within hearing who did not agree with that sentiment,” added Mr. Clemens. “And then I thought—is there in any college of the land a chair of citizenship where good citizenship and all that it implies is taught? there is not one—that is, not one where sane citizenship is taught. There are some which teach insane citizenship, bastard citizenship, but that is all. Patriotism! Yes, but patriotism is usually the refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks the loudest.
“You can begin that chair of citizenship in the College of the City of New York. You can place it above mathematics and literature, and that is where it belongs.
“Some years ago on the gold coins we used to trust in God. We didn’t put it on the coppers and the nickels because we were not sure. If you teach citizenship you will teach that veracity is one of the first principles of good citizenship. I think that the Congress of the United States should take it upon itself to state just what we do believe in.
“That statement on the gold coins, ‘In God We Trust,’ was an overstatement. There is not a nation in the world which ever put its faith in God. In the unimportant cases of life, perhaps, we do trust in God—that is, if we rule out the gamblers and burglars, and plumbers, for of course they do not believe in God.
“If cholera ever reached these shores the bulk of the Nation would pray to be delivered from the plague, but the rest of the population would put their trust in the Boards of Health. If I remember rightly, the President required or ordered the removal of that sentence from the coins. Well, I didn’t see that the statement out to remain there. It wasn’t true.
“The author then told of the forty-two children in the Holy Land who were devoured by two bears, and suggested that if they put their trust in God, as they had been advised to do by the prophet, they were sadly disappointed.
He Respects the Prophets.
“But I have a great respect for the baldheaded prophets,” he resumed. “I expect to be one myself sometime. I don’t know Mr. Bryan, but he’s got that sort of a head. If congress puts that motto back on the coins I hope they will modify it. There are limitations. If there is not room on the coins for the limitations let them enlarge the coins.
“Now I want to tell a story about jumping at conclusions. It was told to me by Bram Stoker, and it concerns a christening. There was a little clergyman who was prone to jump at conclusions sometimes. One day he was invited to officiate at a christening. He went there sat the relatives—intelligent-looking relatives they were. The little clergyman’s instinct came to him to make a great speech. He was given to flights of oratory that way—a very dangerous thing, for often the wings which take one into the clouds of oratorical enthusiasm are wax and melt up there, and down you come.
“But the little clergyman couldn’t resist. He took the child in his arms and, holding it, looked at it a moment. It wasn’t much of a child. It was little, like a sweet potato. Then the little clergyman waited impressively, and then: ‘I see in your countenances, he said, ‘disappointment of him. I see you are disappointed with this baby. Why? Because he is so little. My friends, if you had but the power of looking into the future you might see that great things may come of little things.
His Name Was Mary Ann.
“ ‘There is the great ocean, holding the navies of the world, which came from little drops of water no larger than a woman’s tears. There is the great constellations in the sky, made up of little bits of stars. Oh, if you could consider his future you might see that he might become the greatest poet of the universe, the greatest warrior the world has ever known, greater than Caesar, than Hannibal, than er —er (turning to the father,) what’s his name?’
“The father hesitated then whispered back, ‘His name? Well, his name is Mary Ann.’ ”
It was nearly midnight when Mr. Clemens finished speaking. With a long cigar in his mouth he hastened from the dining hall, pausing at the door to say:
“I have an important engagement at a quarter of eleven.”
It was then 11:45
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “The King, Paine and I went up to the New City College to see the gift of them to the city” [MTP: IVL TS 53].
Albert Bigelow Paine wrote for Sam to Charles Gladstone Bird in Oakland, Calif., asking for a negative of Bird’s picture of the cabin at Jackass Hill, which Paine wanted for publication in the only authorized biography of Mark Twain. Paine mentioned that he had been to the very spot though there “was no trace of the old cabin” remained [MTP].
Caroline Coddington of Brooklyn wrote another bunch of drivel to Sam, enclosing some wood chips and a wooden ring, and some doodles with abstruse captions. All pretty non compis mentis were these crank letters of hers [MTP].
Mrs. Beaumont Packard for the Golden Gate Professional Club, NYC wrote to invite Sam to be their guest of honor at a reception, May 24 at the Plaza Hotel, and “make a few remarks on California and what it stands for in the world…. The objects of this Club are many principally however to benefit young aspirants, especially young women, coming here from California to seek their fortunes by studying the arts” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answrd May 15, ’08 / Regret very much”
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens / I got your letter & will be so glad to come Saturday I may come in with grandma on an early train which will bring me to your house at 11 but if I come in with mother it will be half-past I am writing this letter in a great hurry so you must excuse it this is going to be a very short letter as I want it to catch the first mail
With lots & lots of love I am your loving / Dorothy [MTAq 157].
May 15 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean in Greenwich, Conn.
It is a sour wet day, Jean dear, & at noon I am still in bed, but not idle. I am trying to arrange in my head some perplexing statistics to use in a speech I am to make in the afternoon 5 days hence, & am also trying to think of something to say at a banquet that night, & at another banquet 5 days afterward. These are busy times. I sat on the platform 3 hours & a half, yesterday, at the City College ceremonies, after prowling in gowned procession for an hour previously. There were about 200 degree-men in gowns, but they were black ones; I was glad to have a red one on, because it made me conspicuous. We left home at 10 in the morning & got back at 3. At 4 I walked out to 57th street & made a call, then came back in the ’bus—for it was raining. At 9. 30 p. m. I went to the City College banquet at the Waldorf, & got back at midnight. I made a vicious half-political half-theological speech, but sugared it over with a gentle-spirited tale at the end.
I am expecting you to-day, but you haven’t come yet. With lots of love, you dear Jean,
P. S. I find you are not coming to-day, dear heart, & I am disappointed [MTP].
In N.Y.C. Ralph W. Ashcroft wrote for Sam to Sanford, Bell, & Lahm, 61 Fourth Ave., NYC, confirming an order for a new pool table to be set up at the new Redding residence:
Gentlemen: / I hereby accept, for Mr. S. L. Clemens, your offer of the 14th inst., of one 5 x 10 pool table, quartered oak, “Baltimore” design, top of rails veneered with rosewood, new billiard rubber cushions fitted, new Simonis #2 cloth, oak cue rack to match table, one dozen selected hardwood butt cues with ivory tips, one mackintosh cover, one billiard brush, two bridges, one set of counters on wire, packed and delivered on board cars, for $130. net cash. This price to include labor of setting table up at Mr. Clemens’ residence in Redding, Conn. The pockets to be made same size as those on the table in Mr. Clemens’ city residence.
Please arrange with Miss Lyon, Mr. Clemens’ secretary, as to the date for setting up the table at Redding.
Thanking you, I am,
Yours, very truly,
I enclose card of introduction
to Miss Lyon [MTP]. See Insert ad:
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.
Yours of day-before-yesterday arrived this morning. It stopped over at Hartford for refreshments.
The newest photographs (& the best, we think) arrived from the photographer’s yesterday evening, & Miss Lyon will mail one to you. The upper part of the figure, if judgmatically scissored out, will go into the 4–inch circle very well, if a part of the right arm be chopped off.
Land! I forgot all about the dancing lessons. I must attend to that. Don’t you mind about the “bother,” & we shan’t. All we need to know is about your trains, & we’ll receive you & re-ship you, & take good care of you between. And there won’t be any bother about it. Dorothy comes from New Jersey every now & then & stays two or three days (she is coming tomorrow), & we don’t discover that there is any bother about it. Just you give us your trains, & leave the rest to us.
You remember the Waylands? They are just lovely. They come here to dinner every Sunday night. The Freemans, too when they are in town. / With lots of love … [MTP; MTAq 156]. Note: Zoheth S. Freeman was Sam’s banker; Grace Hill Freeman (Mrs. Zoheth S. Freeman); Mr. & Mrs. John Elton Wayland.
Caroline Coddington wrote yet another crank letter to Sam; see prior [MTP].
Frank N. Doubleday for Doubleday, Page & Co. wrote to Sam. “As I telephoned Miss Lyon, I saw Mr. Rogers, and he agreed to come to our luncheon at one o’clock on Wednesday, May 20th, at the Aldine…. Mr.Rogers, I think, will come if he is in town, but I am almost afraid that he will run away so that he will not have to come, and I hope you will corral him for the good of the cause” [MTP].
Alice Minnie Herts for the Children’s Educational Theatre wrote to advise Sam of two performances on May 21 and May 24, and to ask if he would send any names he thought might like to be invited [MTP].
Elizabeth Jordan wrote from NYC to invite Sam to “dine with me at Delmonico’s Sunday evening, June seventh at 8 p.m. to meet Mr. & Mrs. Charles Rann Kennedy” [MTP]. Note: editorial emphasis.
May 16 Saturday – Dorothy Quick arrived in New York for a visit and stay-over at Sam’s house until Monday, May 18. With Isabel Lyon, the pair had tickets for “Girls” at Daly’s Theatre:
Insert: Girls, play at Daly’s theatre (See May 12 to Quick)
Sam saw daughter Clara, accompaniest Charles E. Wark (“Will”), and violinist Miss Marie Nichols off on the steamship Caronia, headed for Europe, where they were to give a series of concerts in London and Paris [May 19 to Allen; NY Times, May 17, p. 9, “Miss Clemens Sails to Sing in Europe”]. Note: Hill gives a performance in London at Queen’s Hall ca. June 6 and at Bechstein Hall, London on June 16 .
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “Santa sailed today in the Caronia. / Dorothy Quick arrived this morning to stay ovr Sunday” [MTP: IVL TS 53].
The New York Times, p. 3, “Top Price For Grant Letter” included two letters by Mark Twain sold:
Two letters of Mark Twain, one dated “Kaltenleukgeben 1898,” “Go on: fire away; I am a firm and trustworthy target for checks,” and the other, dated “London, 1900,” “A month ago I put $25,000 into a promising venture here,” respectively $4.50 and $6.50.
[Note: Both letters were to John Brisben Walker, Aug. 20, 1898 and Apr. 7, 1900. The investment was in the Int’l Plasmon Syndicate of London.].
May 17 Sunday – Dorothy Sturgis wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens.
You are indeed a most noted personage if a letter will reach you without any address on it at all. But do tell me why it went to Hartford, did you ever live there?
I saw a lovely article about you in the Transcript the other day, headed
“Mark Twain-Nuisance Senator Stewart tells how he wrote ‘Innocents Abroad’ and frightened his landlady”! Was that true? If so I didn’t know that you were such a bad character, the description of you was truly awful, and not at all correct—now, except for the cigar. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t have a cigar in your mouth or between your fingers.
Papa read aloud “The Brushwood Boy” to me last night for about the tenth or twelve time. I believe, & I love it more every time I read it. Don’t you think yourself that of all the short stories in the English language it is one of the most wonderfully worded, the most clearly expressed, and the most exquisitely thought out of any you have read? I certainly do. Did you ever come across a writer who could cover so large a space of time and introduce so many wonderful thoughts in so short a story. / Ever your loving Dorothy [MTAq 158]. Note: “The Brushwood Boy” by Rudyard Kipling.
May 18 Monday – Dorothy Quick ended her weekend visit and left for home in the late afternoon [May 19 to Allen].
Howells & Stokes wrote to advise Sam the cost of bookcases on drawing #45 would be $267 [MTP].
Elizabeth Jordan wrote to Lyon (though catalogued to Clemens). She was delighted he would come if in town [MTP].
Robert Mountsier for Univ. of Michigan Students Lecture Assoc. wrote to invite Sam to lecture sometime during the coming year [MTP].
Phillip F. Cunliffe Owen wrote from Staten Island, NY to Sam. “With your permission I will call for you on Monday evening next, at a quarter to seven, to escort you up to Delmonico’s for the British Schools and Universities Dinner. I have placed a copy of your speech in the hands of Melville Stone with the necessary directions” [MTP].
May 19 Tuesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Helen S. Allen in Hamilton, Bermuda.
I am so sorry, you dear child! You must be pretty desolate, now, with so many of your pets gone. I hope the disaster will not spoil the fancy dress dance for you.
Indeed you will be very likely to see me in Bermuda next winter, but I shall also hope that you will come to New York to school. I wish to keep in touch with my angel-fishes. One of them came Saturday morning & stayed until late yesterday afternoon, but could not stay longer because she goes to school. We drove to the ship, Saturday afternoon, & saw my daughter Clara off to England.
The new house up-country is getting finished. Miss Lyon expects to go up & take possession about the first of June; then I will follow about the tenth.
To-morrow I attend two functions, & two on the 25th—then I’m free till next fall. It’s a blessed thought!
Miss Lyon sends lots of love, & so do I. / SLC
The pictures of you & me in the Atlantic Ocean are VERY cunning! Miss Lyon has sent you copies—or will, anyway. She has just gone out a while ago, so I don’t know [MTP; not in MTAq].
Sam also wrote to daughter Clara.
Clärchen dear, you are half-way across, now—I have been keeping the progress of the ship in mind ever since you left, & watching her lay the meridians of longitude behind her. By this time she has cut twenty-five or thirty of them in two, I guess.
Robert Collier did certainly do well by you. He is a dear. He was going to find an automobile for us, but we’ll call him off from that quest to-day. We should need it only 4 or 5 months in the year; it would cost a good deal; the chauffer would be expensive; we shouldn’t use the thing often, for I mean to walk, not ride; we should have to build a garage—an unsightly one, no doubt. And so, there’s not going to be any ’mobile.
We took the subway at 9 this morning, & had half an hour with Jean at the Grand Central station. She was on her way to Glo’ster—a tedious long journey. I was sorry for her, but she was cheerful. From the station I walked out to the Plaza Hotel, & then back home.
If you should run across little Dorothy Butes, be good to her. She is one of my pets.
With warm regards to the others [&] lots of love & kisses to you. / Father
Dear heart, I hope everything will come out exactly as you would wish [MTP].
Hellen Elizabeth Martin wrote to Sam. “I was so pleased to get your letter. I am glad you heard from Jean Spurr, Our cousin Bruce is dead. Mother went to … see him buried. I am glad you are feeling well and hope you are still well. Edith and I went picking flowers with my Sunday school teacher and the class. Did you get the letters I sent you? Lots of love…” [MTP; not in MTAq]. Note: IVL: “ans. June 7”
May 20 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean, now under the care of Dr. Harlands and Dr. Peterson, in a house taken for the summer at Eastern Point, Gloucester, Mass. Two hired nurses, Edith and Mildred Cowles, and friend Marguerite Schmidt, looked after her there. Insert: Eastern Point Lighthouse, erected and first lit, 1832.
Jean dear, welcome to your new home, & happiness therein! In earlier days I would not have expected you to be otherwise than unhappy in a new & strange home, but your spirit & your philosophy have undergone great & beneficent improvement in these latter days, along with your improved physical health. I am aware that you are sweet, & forgiving, & helpful, & now, & not fretful & not given to complaining, & fault-finding. In a word, that the fine & fortunate disposition you were born with is again in the ascendant—& long may it keep its supremacy!
I hope your house will turn out to be a pleasant one, & satisfactory to you & all your excellent household, & that its situation & surroundings will soon come to be homelike & to your mind. I believe you are going to be happy. The best sign I have heard of is, that you are not absorbed in yourself, now, so much as you are in those about you, & in contributing to their lives whatever of comfort & peace & sunshine you can. I wish I was like this, myself, but it has long ago been petted out of me if it was ever in me, & I am too old & “set,” now, to learn to interest myself in anybody’s welfare but my own.
Miss Lyon went to the farm yesterday afternoon, & will be there to-day, superintending. I told her to stop negociations for an automobile, & make horse-arrangements with the Redding livery-stable for the season.
The stenographer has come.
With lots of love & kisses / Father [MTP].
Note: “Eastern Point, at the entrance to Gloucester Harbor, has been home to farms, a quarry, a Civil War fort, a number of summer residences and the Eastern Point Yacht Club. One of the most famous locations at Eastern Point is Beauport, a sprawling 40-room mansion that is now open as a museum. Among the visitors entertained at Beauport were Henry James, Amy Lowell, Booth Tarkington, Noel Coward and Eleanor Roosevelt”[New England lighthouses: http://lighthouse.cc/easternpoint/history.html]. Also, a 300-room luxury hotel at Eastern Point burned in 1908.
In his May 21 to Jean, Sam wrote that he spent three hours in the afternoon listening to speeches and two hours from 10 p.m. to midnight doing the same. A search of the New York Times for May 20-21 turned up one good possibility for a meeting with speeches during the day of May 20 that Twain would likely have been interested in:
May 21, 1908, p. 5, “Want City to Pay for Drive Extension,” was a public meeting and taxpayers protest at a $1,500,000 assessment on their property for improvements made to Riverside Drive. The meeting was held in the Gerken Building, 90 West Broadway, during the day; this may have been the three hours Sam spent listening to speeches. As a former resident of Riverside, he would have known many of the speakers and groups.
In the evening Sam spoke before the American Booksellers annual dinner. The New York Times, May 21, 1908, p. 7 reported on the event:
MARK TWAIN GIVES THANKS
To the American Booksellers for Helping Him Make a Living.
At the annual dinner of the American Booksellers’ Association last evening at the rooms of the Aldine Association, Mark Twain, in his usual white flannel suit, told how well his books had sold since they had passed from subscription agents into the hand of the booksellers.
“For thirty-six years my books were sold by subscription,” he said. “The books passed into the hands of my present publishers in 1904, and you then became the providers of my diet. I think I may say without flattering you that you have done exceedingly well by me.
“By the terms of my contract my publishers had to account to me for 50,000 volumes per year for five years, and pay me for them whether they sold them or not. It is at this point that you gentlemen come in, for it was your business to unload the 250,000 volumes upon the public in five years if you possibly could. Have you succeeded? Yes, you have—and more. For in four years, with a year still to spare, you have sold the 250,000 volumes and 240,000 besides.”
The story teller then said he was building a farmhouse with the proceeds, where he intends to take a vacation for thirty or forty years before completing the five books he is now engaged on.
Other speakers at the dinner were the Rev. Dr. Newell Dwight Hillis, Burges Johnson, Will Irwin, Holman Day, and Simon Brentano. About 400 were present [Note: part of Sam’s speech ran in the June 6 issue of Harper’s Weekly.]
Isabel Lyon wrote for Sam to an unidentified man, advising that Sam must decline his invitation as he was now retired from the platform [MTP].
Howells & Stokes wrote a short note to Sam to enclose a letter from Harry P. Wood of the Hawaii Promotion Committee. “We told them not to hurry the matter, but to do something interesting” [MTP]. Note: relating to the gift of a mantel piece for Stormfield.
Alfred J. Silberstein for NYC College wrote to Sam. “Accept this Dedication Number of the ‘College Mercury’ as a remembrance of the splendid ceremonies on May 14th last, in which you so nobly participated” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Many thanks / Answd. May 25”
May 21 Thursday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean in Gloucester, Mass.
Your beautiful letter [not extant] has come, Jean dear, & I draw a deep breath of relief—you like the place, & my anxieties have vanished away! I had a growing fear—founded upon nothing—that you would feel the other way about it. I am unspeakably glad that it pleases you, & now I hope & believe you will have a happy summer. By your description, it is a place that would delight the heart of any one that has the seeing eye for the graciousness of the woods & fields & rocks & their wild inhabitants, & for the majestic ocean. You can live out of doors there; you were virtually in prison at Greenwich, & would still have been in prison if you had occupied the whole forlorn & uninspiring town.
Oh, don’t trouble about me! I am a happy & vigorous loafer. Yesterday afternoon I spent 3 hours listening to speeches, & spent 2 hours in the same way last night—from 10 till midnight. Then I played billiards & freshened myself up. I have no public engagement until Monday night—& that is the last one for the season, thanks be! There’s a great banquet to the Primate of Ireland Tuesday night, but I am sticking to my wise resolution of not going out any more until autumn.
Evidently there is something that has been kept from me—but that is right, & as it should be, unless it is something that I could remedy. Clara, Miss Lyon & Mr. Paine keep all sorts of distresses from me, & I am very thankful for it—distresses which they are aware I could not remedy, I mean. They know I desire this; for I am taking my holiday, now after 60 years of work & struggle & worry & vexation, & am willing to know nothing, ever any more, of what Susy used to call “the wars (woes) of life.” But whenever there is anything that depends upon me & my help, I want to know all about it.
I am glad to have Brush’s address & very very sorry for his bereavement. I will write him the first thing in the morning.
With ever & ever & ever so much love, dear child, / Father [MTP].
Note: see May 22 to George de Forest Brush (1855-1941), painter who was active at the artist colony in Dublin, N.H. during Twain’s Oct. 1905 stay; Sam also called on Brush in Florence, Italy on Jan. 22, 1904. See Sam’s note of condolence on May 22. Sam’s Monday night “public engagement” was a May 25 speech given at Delmonico’s on Victoria Day. See entry. Hill sees Sam’s reply here to Jean as “openly unimpressed” that “Jean apparently implied that the truth about her unhappiness [at Katonah, Greenwich, etc.] was being kept from” him.
Sam also wrote a line to Franklin G. Whitmore: “I am unspeakably glad to hear the good news, give my best love to the patient, / S.L. Clemens” [MTP].
Helen Stewart Campbell wrote from Arlington, N.J. to ask if Sam had rec’d her “rhyming effusion on ‘The Ladies!’ after he arrived” in NY on the Bermudian [MTP]. Note: same woman wrote Nov 28, 1907 asking for a loan.
E.J. Ridgway wrote from NYC to Sam, “sending you by bearer, a copy of ‘A Mind That Found Itself’ the book which I spoke to you about yesterday. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd May 25, ’08 / Thank him for sending it. Began it at once but shall read it slowly as it is strong goods.” The book (1908) was by Clifford Whittingham Beers, (1876-1943) [Gribben 56].
Dorothy Sturgis wrote from Boston to Sam.
My Dear Mr. Clemens / I got the picture the other day, and it’s a perfect beauty, not exactly four inches in size though, is it. I hate to spoil it by cutting it up. It’s such a nice picture as it is.
Mama has gone up to Woodstock to spend a week or so, and I’m left all alone now, you see I only see Papa and my brother at breakfast and dinner, and not always there. But I’m doing all the housekeeping, and that’s lots of fun.
Please give my love to Miss Lyon and thank her ever so much for taking all the trouble she has to send your various pictures out to me.
When you write next please tell me lots of news about yourself and Miss Lyon, and about what’s happening in New York.
I spoke of The Brushwood Boy in my last letter to you, and that reminds me that I meant to ask you where Kipling is now, I have often wondered where he spends most of his time, and I have often longed to meet him, but I don’t suppose I ever shall. / Lovingly Dorothy [MTAq 159].
Clemens A.D. for this day is listed by MTP.
May 22 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote condolences to George de Forest Brush, after hearing of his loss from daughter Jean.
My dear friend, I have just learned through a letter from Jean of the heavy stroke that has smitten you, & I hasten to do as we all do, & as it is our nature to do: say the word that would comfort & console if it could, but never yet has healed the hurt it sought to heal, for in no words of any man is there healing for a breaking heart. But it is all we can do. We can only say—& I say it:—out of my heart I grieve for you. Most sincerely, … [MTP]. Note: see Aug. 25 from Brush, who had recently lost a daughter, Georgia Brush.
Witter Bynner wrote to Sam. “I’m glad if you’re nesting—even if its from me. But I surely’d like a word with you before I take to the woods again. Can’t you stick on a post-card the hour and day when I might find you next week between Tuesday and Saturday? Yours…” [MTP].
L. Dean Sands for the Missouri University Savitar wrote to ask Sam if he’d be “gracious enough to write something to go in our Savitar ’09?” [MTP].
Clemens A.D. for this day is listed by MTP.
May 23 Saturday – Harper & Brothers wrote to Sam, advising him not to satisfy the request of Rossiter Johnson, who wanted “permission to include in his forthcoming set of books the synopsis of 2 or 3 of” Sam’s books, and to stick to “that policy which you have followed so consistently in refusing permission for your works & name to be associated with other publications…” [MTP].
Robert W. Breckons wrote on U.S. Attorney’s Office, Honolulu, to ask Sam to put his autograph on enclosed postcard for Breckons’ eight year old daughter [MTP].
May 24 Sunday – Clara Clemens’ cabled from England that she had arrived safely. The cable arrived in the morning at 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. [May 24 to Sturgis] Sam then sent a telegram to daughter Jean, c/o Dr. Harlands: “Clara has arrived safely. Much love to you. Father” [MTP]. Note: Clara Clemens had arrived in England for her singing tour of Paris and London.
Sam also replied to the May 21 from Dorothy Sturgis:
Indeed I would tell you lots of news if there were lots to tell, but there’s only some. We shipped my daughter Clara to England a week ago, & she has just arrive there—so says her cablegram of this morning.
Last Tuesday we shipped my daughter Jean to Eastern Point, Gloucester, Mass, where she has taken a house for the summer, & has two very charming companions who do for her what you are doing for your father & brother—keep house. Miss Lyon found that place & secured it, but as Jean had never seen it we were in deep suspense & anxiety until we should hear from her, for it might not content her. But it is all right, now—she can’t find adjectives enough to express her delight in it. I did not fully appreciate how cautious I had been, until her letter came & relieved me.
One of the angel-fishes is stopping over Sunday with us, & she & I took the top of the electric stage this morning and traveled from our door to 90th street, then down again to 55th where we entered the St. Regis & sat down to wait until church should break out. When the porter informed us,we crossed the street & mixed into the crowd issuing from a 5th avenue church, & gained good & great reputation at no expense of fatigue or contributions. Everywhere you could hear people say in an awed & hushed voice, “How nice that young Clemens is—people think he doesn’t go to church, but you can see he does.” Then I whispered to the fish to look as if she had put 10 cents in the plate, & I put on a look indicating a dollar & a half—& you never saw such admiration as it excited. Many of the ladies swooned, from pure joy.
We joined every congregation between 55th and 28th, & by careful & delicate art convinced each & every [one] of them that we had been partakers of their clerical feast. It has been a good lesson to this child; she will always know how to make an inexpensive good impression, Sundays, after this; & by & by it will have a splendid commercial value for her.
Kipling? I don’t know where he is, now. England, no doubt. He winters in South Africa.
Good bye. With love— / SLC [MTP].
May 25 Monday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Margaret Blackmer at Miss Tewksbury’s School in Irvington, N.Y.
Did I tell you, when you visited me, that I had lost my half of the enameled shell in Bermuda? I’ve got it back again! Of course the real shell, the original shell, the frail jetsam of the waves of Sandy Point, was the valuable shell, because of its odd & pretty associations, (& I still possessed that), but I held the enameled one in very high regard because it was that original’s official deputy & representative. I lost it off my watch chain at a dinner at the officers’ mess at Prospect a day or two before we sailed, & now it has been found & handed to Major Graham by one of the servants. I shan’t lose it again, dear.
One of my angel-fishes stayed over last Sunday with us, & another one stayed over yesterday with us. I wish you would do us that honor. / With love … [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Major Malcolm D. Graham at Prospect Army Garrison in Hamilton, Bermuda.
Dear Major Graham:
Yes, it is my shell, & I am very glad it is found, for two large reasons: 1, it purges of suspicion a colored maid of some particular friends of mine—a suspicion which I kept to myself of course, in the absence of positive proof; 2—a minor reason—it has very pretty associations with an American child of twelve, whose acquaintance I made at the “Princess,”—one of ten little girls, scattered about England, France, Canada & the U.S., with whom I am in continuous correspondence. One day at Spanish Point I found a delicate little bivalve, & severed its dried hinge, & said, “You are to keep one of these halves always, & I the other—for identification purposes. Some day I may meet some child I may think is you, but not be certain; then I will expose my half-shell & say ‘If you are my Margaret & not another, produce the duplicate of this, & prove your my-Margaretship!’ ”
Afterward, for many days, I used to strike a dramatic attitude of glad surprise when I met her, then turn heart-brokenly away, murmuring, “Alas, no, it is not my Margaret!”—whereupon with innocent exultation she would fetch her shell out of her bosom & hold it up to the light of day.
She was here with an aunt a week ago, & would give no name to the servant, but sent up her eloquent dumb shell to me, with the enameled iridescences glinting from its hollowed surface. I carried down my original, & didn’t tell her I had lost its representative.
I shall be very glad if you will give the enclosed trifle to that mess-room waiter, with my thanks. It has of course been a pleasure to autograph the cards: they will be posted to-day. (If they—or one or two of them—should fail to reach their destinations, you will remember that sometimes postmen are collectors of picture-cards & autographs.)
The new house in the country will not be completely finished & furnished before the middle of June, & so we are tied to the hot town until then, instead of being set free of it the first of May, as heretofore. But no matter, I am enjoying life.
There’s an agonized call on the telephone!—& not from a stranger; so I will run & pacify it. Aufwiedersehen in Bermuda next winter! / Very sincerely yours … [MTP]. Note: Sam evidently lost his half of the shell at one of the band concerts he attended at the Prospect Army Garrison, and a waiter at the mess there found it. The good major returned it.
Isabel Lyon replied for Sam to Rossiter Johnson’s May 2, enclosing Harper & Brothers’ May 23 advice not to give consent for Johnson to quote from two or three of Sam’s books [MTP].
Lyon also wrote for Sam to an unidentified man to decline an invitation, and explaining Sam no longer took “any railway journeys that are not compulsory” [MTP].
In the evening Sam spoke at Delmonico’s to celebrate Victoria Day (Empire Day). The New York Times, May 26, p. 5, covered the event and Sam’s speech:
TWAIN EULOGIZES QUEEN VICTORIA
Humorist Speaks at Victoria Day Dinner of British Schools and Universities Club.
”HAD NO PEER IN HER TIME” Mentioning War Only to Scoff at Idea,
He Tells of Affection Between Countries.
Old “boys” from many famous English universities and schools, including Oxford and Cambridge and Eton and Harrow, met at Delmonico’s last night to celebrate Victoria Day, under the auspices of the British Schools and Universities Club. Victoria, or Empire Day, as it is more generally known throughout the British colonies, was founded on the late Queen’s birthday, the 24th of May. Falling this year on a Sunday, the annual dinner of the club had perforce to be held one date late.
The chief guest of honor last night was Samuel L. Clemens, who as Mark Twain is loved throughout the British Empire as much as he is in his native land. Mark Twain is an Oxford Doctor of Literature, this degree having been conferred on him by the university during his visit last year.
Dr. W. E. Lambert, President of the Club, was toastmaster and read a cable from King Edward sent through Lord Knollys, conveying a message of good will to the club. Seated at the guest table with him were Mr. Clemens, W. Courteney Bennet, C. I. E., British Consul General at New York; J. E. Grote Higgins, the Rev. A. H. Judge, past President of the club; the Rev. D. Parker Morgan, D. D.; Dr. John MacPhee, President of the Canadian Society; Robert P. Porter, Reginald Walsh, and J. D. Petersen, Secretary.
Mr. Clemens responded to the toast, “Queen Victoria—An American Tribute.” He prefaced his remarks by reciting one or two of his humorous experiences, including an imaginary interview which he thought he overhead between Livingstone and Stanley, when the latter found Livingston in Central South Africa. Livingstone wanted to know the news of the world for the five years he had been in Africa, and Mark Twain overhead Stanley tell how the rulers of most of the countries had been changed, finally concluding, “and Horace Greeley has changed his political faith.”
“As a woman the Queen was all that the most exacting standards could require. As a far-reaching and effective and beneficent moral force she had no peer in her time among either monarchs or commoners. As a monarch she was without reproach in her great office. One may not venture, perhaps, to say so sweeping a thing as this in cold blood about any monarch that preceded her, either upon her own throne or upon any other. It is a colossal eulogy, but it is justified.
“What she did for us in America in our time of storm and stress we shall not forget, and whenever we call it to mind we shall always remember the wise and righteous mind that guided her in it and sustained and supported her—Prince Albert’s. We need not talk any idle talk here tonight about either possible or impossible war between the two countries; there will be no war while we remain sane and the son of Victoria sits upon the throne.”
Consul General Bennett, alluding to the feeling between England and America, said:
“I will stake my reputation that there never can be serious trouble between the two countries. They are marching along the same line, and the same object in view, and they are marching now as they will in the future, as one great nation.”
Mrs. George S. Brock wrote from Washington, D.C. to ask Sam where she might get a copy of a toast he made called “Friends” or “To a Friend”. “An actor impersonating Mark Twain at Chase’s this winter gave this toast at a dinner but I can’t remember it and I am very anxious to get it to send to a friend…” [MTP]. Note: IVL: “not a toast of mine, but an ancient one & a very good one.”
AS you ascend the hill of prosperity may you not meet a friend.
May the best of your past
Be the worst of your future.
Here’s to you as good as you are
Here’s to me as bad as I am
But as bad as I am &
As good as you are
I’m as good as you are
As bad as I am.
Billie Burke wrote from Oakland, Calif. to Sam. “My dearest friend / I can’t tell you what happiness your darling note gave me. Just to know that I had not been forgotten was in itself a joy…” [MTP]. Note: IVL wrote a list of girls and ladies on the envelope, members of MT’s Aquarium.
Edward M. Colie wrote from East Orange, NJ to thank Sam for his “presence and talk at the [Empire Day] Dinner.” She also thanked him for inscribing her copy of HF [MTP].
Gerken wrote from Deal Beach, NJ: “My
dear Mr. Cleamens, / I received your letter and was very glad to hear from you.
I am very glad you are coming down
Monday Wednesday. It is lovely
weather down here now and we are all having a grand time. I am sure that the
air down here will do you good. Soon the bathing pool will open and then we can
have fun going swimming every day” [MTP; not in MTAq].
J.A. Lloyd wrote from Dixon, Ill., a long rambling letter amounting to a request for Sam’s autograph and the enclosing of his book [MTP]. Note: not in Gribben. IVL wrote on the letter: “Thanks for letter / Would so like to be able to say that he will find time to read the book”
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr Clemens
I have intended writing every day since I left you to thank you for the lovely time I had with you I haven’t got my pony yet but we are looking all the time & may get one any day, it is very warm here today & if the weather keeps warm I suppose you’ll be glad to get into the country yourself. My drawing class on pleasant days goes out to sketch from nature it is very nice but I don’t like it very much. With lots of love hugs & kisses I am your loving / Dorothy [MTAq 161-2]. Note: Dorothy seemed to be growing more familiar with punctuation.
May 26 Tuesday – Sam went to Deal Beach, N.J. to spend a week with Col. George Brinton Harvey. During this stay he spent time with Harvey’s daughter Dorothy Harvey (1894-1937), who he added as an Angelfish in his club [June 2 to Allen]. Note: Dorothy was the only child of George and Alma Parker Harvey. In the source Sam mentioned being with two Angelfish members in Deal; Dorothy Harvey and Louise Paine, (1894-1968), daughter of Albert Bigelow Paine, were the first members of Sam’s club to visit the new home in Redding, Conn. (first called “Innocents at Home,” later “Stormfield.”). Louise Paine was the most likely to be second Angelfish at Harvey’s Deal, N.J. home. Ever since her father became Mark Twain’s official biographer in Jan. 1906, Louise was around Clemens a great deal. See the website www.twainquotes.com for more on Louise and all the other Angelfish. In his 1910 memoir, In the Kaiser’s Capital, J.F. Dickie recalled seeing Twain and Louise Paine together in New York. Perhaps they were on their way to or from Deal, N.J.
In May 1908, the last time I met him, he was taking his walk on Fifth Avenue as heretofore, clad in his white flannel suit. He had as his companion a sweet young maiden of perhaps thirteen summers, whom he introduced to me as the daughter of his biographer, Mr. Bigelow Paine. It was a very pretty sight to see, and left the sweet impression of a heart that, in spite of his seventy years, had never learned to grow old .
Helen S. Allen wrote to Sam.
My dear Mr. Clemens,
The party at Government House was a perfect success, everybody looked their very best. I am going to send you some pictures taked of Max and myself just before we started and while we were there. We got there by 3:30 and went right down on one of the lower terraces and had our pictures taken and played musical chaires then had tea and after that the cotilion and just before we went home we fished for candies, we didn’t get home until quite late, later than we expected.
Monday was a legal holiday and I went to a lovely picnic at St. David’s Lighthouse. Tuesday I had a small tennis party. I am getting on beautifully with my tennis but will not stop until I am not ashamed to play with anybody.
Dr. Herring told us that he saw you in New York and that you thought there was some hope of your coming down here this summer if so please let me know so that I will be able to be down to see you.
I will be delighted to get the pictures. With lots of love for Miss Lyons and yourself.
Believe me as ever
Your loving little “Angel-fish”
Helen Schuyler Allen [MTAq 162].
Mabel Hill wrote from Irvington, NY to ask if Clara Clemens had left any word for her about some music manuscripts that she was looking over. She’d called “the other day” but the butler didn’t know anything about them [MTP].
W.H. Langhorne wrote a rather long letter from Oxford, England. Langhorne was 82 and retiring from being a minister to two parishes for the Church of England. He possessed the MSS. of Richard Langhorne, a man he claimed was “unjustly condemned,” and W.H. wanted to publish them. He wondered if Clemens might help get the memoirs into helpful hands [MTP].
A.S. North wrote from Montclair, NJ to enclose some sheets of handwritten music and lyrics of “Scroll Song” [MTP].
May 27 Wednesday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen].
Howells & Stokes wrote to Isabel Lyon (though catalogued to Clemens) about newspapers inquiring for photos of the new Redding house [MTP].
Phillip F. Cunliffe Owen wrote from Staten Island, NY to thank Sam for his appearance at the British dinner at Delmonico’s, and especially for his eulogy of Queen Victoria. Owen added he’d written to Whitelaw Reid about Clara Clemens’ presence in England [MTP].
Dorothy Sturgis wrote from Boston to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens / I got your letter the other day, and I never knew you had so many daughters before, but I’m glad you got them all “shipped” safely!
What are your summer plans? or haven’t you got any? I don’t know exactly what I am going to do except that in July and August I am going to a camp on Lake Asguam in New Hampshire, and in June I may got up to Woodstock and join Mama there.
I’m afraid I must stop now as I have lots of lessons to do. / Lovingly / Dorothy
Love to Miss Lyon! [MTAq 163].
May 28 Thursday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen].
May 29 Friday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen].
Sam wrote to Carlotta Welles.
Dear Charley, I am vexed to the last limit, & disappointed, & so sorry. If my secretary hadn’t chanced to be out, it would not have happened, for she sees all strangers that come, whereas I see none of them. The butler took you for a stranger, & followed the law of the house, but if you had told him you were a friend he would have found me, for I was in my room. In fact he did find me, but I was asleep, & so he foolishly & criminally did not wake me. I hope you will not come as a stranger next time, & I also hope that there will be a next time.
Frances Nunnally is at school near Baltimore, & I shall see her here June 12th. She sails, Europe-bound, on the 13th. She & her mother visited me in Tuxedo Park last September, but it was only a glimpse, for they were flying homeward from Europe.
Mr. Ashcroft is well. He dined with us Wednesday, & spent the night. The burden of city life is heavy upon me, but we go to the country for the summer June 15th. We have been delayed a month by an unfinished house.
I hope you will come again, & not as a stranger, Charley. / Affectionately, … [MTP; MTAq 163-4].
Note: Cooley adds after the letter: “At the bottom of the letter Carolotta Welles (Briggs) later wrote this note: ‘This was my last letter from Mr. Clemens. I called at 21 Fifth Avenue around the first of June ’08 just before going to Bryn Mawr where my sister was graduating. He sent this letter to Bryn Mawr. I have not got the envelope as someone begged to have it’ ” [MTAq 164].
May 30 Saturday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen].
Sarah A. Blanchard wrote to ask Sam if he would lecture before the Dorchester, Mass. Women’s Club next season [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd June 2, ’08; Sincere thanks for compliment of invitation”
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens
My letter has not reached you are you have been sick. I am worried please let me know.
I’m very well and very very busy studying for examinations its awfully hard work. commencement is Tuesday June 9th I’m going to be there and expect to have lots of fun Tell miss Lyon I send lots of love to her and hope she is well and now I must close
With lots and lots of love hoping youre not sick / I am / Your very loving / Dorothy / Please write
May 31 Sunday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen].
Louise Paine wrote to Sam.
Your lovely picure came out safely and is very popular. Every one who sees it says that it is such a beautiful picture, and that you are such a handsome man. You really should be hiding somewhere to hear the nice things that are said about you.
I would have written sooner but I wanted to wait till the picture should come; besides we only have one writing hour a week.
Often I think of the lovely time I had at your home last week; so thanking you again, both for the lovely visit and the picure, I am / your little friend [MTP; not in MTAq].
Summer – Sometime during the summer of 1908, Clemens drafted his Constitution for the Angelfish. It follows:
INNOCENCE AT HOME
Qualifications for Membership
Sincerity, good disposition, intelligence, & school-girl age.
Secrets of the Order
Members of the Aquarium are forbidden to divulge its affairs to any but their parents & guardians.
This is the only copy of these Rules & Regulations. They must be read to each Member when opportunity shall permit, but they must not be printed or otherwise copied.
I have built this house largely, indeed almost chiefly, for the comfort & accommodation of the Aquarium. Its members will always be welcome under its roof.
Its Aquarium name is “Innocents at Home,” & it is not misnamed, for I know the Fishes well, and am aware that they can furnish the innocence necessary to make the name good.
The Billiard Room is the Aquarium’s Private Headquarters. Members may exclude non-members from that room at any time they choose, & for as long as they choose. They may stop a game whenever they please & put the players out. The power to exercise these privileges is lodged not only in the Members as a whole, but may be used by a single Fish if she shall desire to do so.
Neither the Admiral nor the Officers and Servants of the Aquarium are immune from this rule.
This is the Loggia, which projects from the Western end of the house. It is open to the scenery & the breezes, by grace of its high & wide arches, & forasmuch as its piers support a second-story wing, it is sheltered from sun and rain. It is large, & cleanly tiled, & is the Aquarium’s play-&-exercise quarters when the weather is not of a sort to invite the children to the wood, & hills.
This is one of the piers & will contain a vase of flowers at times, & at other times an Angel-Fish who has been tried & found guilty of conduct unbecoming her high estate. The Court may sentence her to remain in the Niche of Repentance for a period of not less than two minutes nor more than ten. While under sentence she must live on bread & water.
The Criminal Court
This is the spacious room which opens upon the Fish-Market. Here accused Members will be tried for conduct unbecoming an Angel-Fish. The Admiral will sit as Judge, & the prosecution & defence will be conducted by the Official Legal Staff of the Aquarium.
All prisoners shall be granted trial by jury.
None may sit upon the jury except Members.
The jury shall consist of not fewer than one Member nor more than three.
Any Member refusing to sit upon the jury shall be fined. The Judge alone may name the fine, & he alone may collect it.
Non-Members cannot act as witnesses.
The right to conspire is restricted to Membership. Conspiracies cannot be concocted in the house; nor anywhere upon the estate except in the gorge below the Aquarium Cataract in the daytime, nor anywhere at night except in the privacy of the Pergola at the foot of the grounds below the northern front of the house.
Members desiring to conspire must give notice to the Admiral & tell him what it is about.
Except when the proposed conspiracy is against the Admiral himself; in that case notice must be given to the Official Legal Staff.
Persons intruding upon a lawfully arranged conspiracy with a view to obstructing it, will be tried in the Criminal Court.
The only important decoration of the Billiard Room is the framed photographs of the Membership. Portraits of non-members are not permitted there.
The official Badge of the Order is a small angel-fish pin. It bears the splendid colors of that beautiful inhabitant of the West India waters, exactly imitated in enamels. Members wear it upon the left breast, usually. The Admiral is obliged to furnish this pin to every Member without charge, & he is also obliged to replace lost ones on the same terms. Members need only give him notice.
Members are created by appointment. By the Admiral.
None above school-girl age is admitted.
But, once a Member, always a Member—for life.
Margaret Ellington [sic] Frohman, a choice & valued Member, is beyond school-girl age, but with opportunity by the Admiral will be able to explain her case & justify it.
Members of the Aquarium are entitled to put M.A. after their names.
Non-members can be admitted only by pass, signed by the Admiral. They are not privileged to take part in the proceedings.
Attempts to bribe the Court or Jury, by either members or non-members, will be subjected to such punishment as the Judge in his discretion prescribe.
At all trials the Judge, the Mother Superior, the Chatelaine & Staff must appear in their official robes.
Spectators must wear evening dress.
Members must wear their badge and their head-ribbon.
Proceedings cannot begin until the Chatelaine shall have made proclamation that the Court is now open & ready for business.
Order of Appointment
There are 12 Members, & the names of the same are here set down in the order of their appointment, with the ages which they had reached at the time of appointment.
Dorothy Butes, 14, England. (honorary)
Frances Nunnally, 16, Georgia.
Dorothy Quick, 10 & 10 months, New Jersey.
Margaret Blackmer, 12, New York.
Irene Gerken, 12, New York.
Helen Allen, 13, Bermuda.
Hellen Martin, 13, Canada.
Jean Spurr, 13, New Jersey.
Dorothy Sturgis, 16, Massachusetts.
Margaret Illington, New York.
Dorothy Harvey, 13, New Jersey.
Louise Paine, 13, Connecticut
Marjorie Breckenridge, 15
Members who fail to write the Admiral during an unbroken period of 3 months do not cease to be Members, but are retired from the Active list & banished to the roll of Honorary Members with reproaches!
Conspicuously charming unmarried ladies above school-girl age may be appointed to this degree. But the members in occupation must at no time exceed 6.
Admiral of the Aquarium
Mother Superior Miss Clara Clemens
Legal Staff, Dan Frohman
The Admiral is a Member, but gets no salary; the others are paid, but not Members.
The foregoing Constitution, Rules & other particulars are respectfully submitted to the Aquarium, for approval or dissent, by
June – Sam’s notebook contained a roster of his Angelfish:
The Acquarium, (June 1908)
Dorothy Butes (16) London, England (Honorary) 16
Dorothy Quick (11 ½ ) Plainfield, N.J. 12
Dorothy Harvey, (13.9) Deal Beach, N.J. 13
Dorothy Sturgis (16) 153 Beacon Street [Boston] 16
Hellen Martin, (12) 1 Murray ave, Westmount, Montreal 12
Helen Schuyler Allen, (13) Bay House, Bermuda 13
Irene Gerken (13) 52 W. 75th street 13
Margaret Blackmer, (12) New York 12
Louise Paine (13) Redding, Conn 13
Frances Nunnally (17) Atlanta, Ga. 17
Margaret Illington 13
Jean Spurr, (13) 129 Mt. Pleasant ave, Newark, N.J. 150
Marjorie Breckenridge, 15, Brooklyn
The 12 children’s ages foot up 165 years. Margaret Illington isn’t a child, but she is charming enough to be one. She dressed for 12 & elected herself, & was accepted & invested with the badge of the Order (an enameled angel-fish pin) [MTAq 165; NB 48 ]
Sam passed on a “chain prayer” to Beatrice M. Benjamin.
Endless chain Prayer
Oh Lord Christ we implore thee Oh eternal God, to have mercy on all mankind keep us from sin by thy precious blood. take us to be with thee eternally Amen
This prayer has been sent by Bishop Laurence recomending to be rewritten and sent to some other persons. he who will not send it will be afflicted in some way by some misfortune. one who paid no attention met with a terrible accident. he who will write this prayer for nine days and distribute it to nine other persons comencing the day rec’d. on or after the ninth day experiences great Joy. at Jerusalem during the holy Feast it was said to who will rewrite this prayer will be delivered from every calamity. please do not break the chain copy all on this page
This prayer was sent me by a Friend
“Save yourself, dear Beatrice! This comes to me from an unknown benefactor, & I am distributing my 9, in fear and trembling” [MTP].
Sam also sent the same “chain prayer” to Mai H. Coe (Mrs. William Robertson Coe), and enclosed a newspaper report that the prayers of Father Curry of St. James Church had saved a prisoner (Sullivan, whose sister was a Nun) at midnight who was to die at 6 a.m. [MTP].
June 1 Monday – Sam was the guest of Col. George Brinton Harvey in Deal, N.J. [June 2 to Allen; June 2 to Sturgis].
Henry Hersch Hart wrote from San Francisco, Calif. to ask for Clemens’ autograph on a note [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Answd June 9, ’08 / Would be so glad to but demands are great”
Lucia Hull wrote from Newport, R.I. to thank Sam for his “awfully sweet letter.” She vowed to keep the letter and someday when her grandchildren were in financial straits she would sell it for a fortune [MTP].
June 2 Tuesday – Sam left the Harvey residence in Deal, N.J. and returned home to New York at noon. Before leaving, he settled on the name “Innocence at Home” for the new home in Redding [June 3 to Clara].
At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.
I am just back this moment, & find yours of May 27. I have been down in Jersey eight days, visiting around among my angel-fishes of that region, & have had a very good time indeed.
Oh yes, I have plans, but what disturbs me is, that they don’t seem to fit in with yours very well. About next Monday (June 8) I expect to pass through Boston on a visit to my daughter Jean at Gloucester, Mass., & I was planning to stop over, (in Boston) one or two hours, if the trains might permit, & run in & see you. But there are two maybe’s—1, Maybe the trains will connect too closely; & 2, maybe you will be gone to Woodstock. Then there are some more maybes—thus: 3: maybe after I shall have spent a couple of days in Gloucester, the return trains may connect less closely in Boston; & 4, maybe you will be back from Woodstock by that time. And so I am going to hope for a glimpse of you in that Gloster trip somewhere. Meantime I will wait & see what happens. / Lovingly … [MTP; MTAq 166-7].
Sam also wrote to Helen S. Allen.
I have been away, 8 days, Helen dear, visiting a couple of my angel-fishes at Deal Beach, New Jersey, & we had fine times together. But through being away, I missed a girl’s-school musicale at Irvington-on-Hudson where another angel-fish was to perform (Margaret Blackmer of the “identification-shell.”) I lost my half of the shell in Bermuda at the Officers’ Mess dinner, but it has been found & is on its way to me now.)
The new country-house is finished (its name is “INNOCENCE AT HOME”), & we shall occupy it two weeks hence. In succession these following angel-fishes have promised to visit me there: Irene, & 3 Dorothys.
The Aquarium contains 12 fishes, & 4 of them are named Dorothy. If you come to New York before December I require you to give me the pleasure of a visit there. Please do not forget. When I reached home yesterday I found letters from 6 of my 12. I am beginning the answers now, & they will all be finished before I stop.
(I am glad you had such a happy time at the fancy-dress party, & I thank you ever so much for the pictures. Max takes well. I think you are best in the large group.) Miss Lyon kept her promise to send you some pictures I believe. I will ask her when she comes; (she has gone to Innocence at Home on furnishing-business. Goes every 2 or 3 days, & is desperately busy.) / Very lovingly … [MTP; not in MTAq].
Sam also replied to the May 30 from Dorothy Quick, revealing his plans to move to Redding, Conn.
You dear little Dorothy, I am so glad to hear from you. No, I haven’t been sick, I have been away, eight days, at Deal Beach, arranging a lot of matters with my publisher. I am home now for a week, then I am going to Gloucester, Mass., to spend a few days with my daughter Jean, who has taken a house near there on the sea shore for the summer. After that I shall run back to New York & then up-country to the new house. It will be ready for us by the 15th or 20th of June, we think. By & by you & your mother must give us a visit there, when we get things well going. Miss Lyon & I will do our very best to make it pleasant for you. Promise me you will come, dear.
I hope you will have a splendid good time at Commencement. I expect to arrive at Gloucester about that date.
Clara is singing in London, & I judge by the cable-news that she is having a very satisfactory time.
Miss Lyon sends you lots of love, & I send you lots & lots of mine. / SLC [MTP; MTAq 165-6].
Eleanor L. Nicholas wrote a begging letter from NYC to Sam asking him to “send all you can spare” so she might afford to move [MTP].
Francis Ram wrote from London to Sam. It seems the first page of the letter, an unflattering assessment of Queen Victoria, is missing. Enclosed is a newspaper clipping, May 25, from the London Times, that Ram responded to: “Mark Twain on Queen Victoria.” Ram claimed Victoria at one time had broken another woman’s heart [MTP].
June 3 Wednesday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Clara.
Well, Clärchen dear, I have your dear letter from ship board saying what fine shape you are in: also there are cablegrams whereby we know you sang twice last Saturday; & now I am waiting for particulars by mail. It seems a good while to wait, too.
I’ve been down-country 8 days, at Col. Harveys, & have had a charming time. I got back yesterday noon. I devoted the 8 days to trying to invent a name for the Redding house. After many & many a defeat, I won out at last, yesterday morning, & am quite well satisfied with my performance. I wanted a name that wasn’t use-worn; & wouldn’t resemble any other house’s name, either in this world or Sheol; & couldn’t be copied by anybody; & would at once suggest me to anybody hearing it uttered or seeing it in print, by suggesting my best-known book. I reckon INNOCENCE AT HOME covers these several grounds. Many populations will think it describes me, but I do not wish to seem to know that.
Have a good time, dear heart, & success, to your satisfaction & clear up to your utmost desire. / With lots & lots of love / Father [MTP]. Note: Clara would override Sam’s initial choice for the home, making it “Stormfield,” which may have contributed to the false notion that Twain’s final years were unhappy, unproductive ones.
Sam also wrote to Frederick A. Duneka.
Dear Brer Duneka:
Ostler & I helped him out. Ostler put it into his head to go, & I furnished him a “philosophy of life.” The quoted paragraphs are (barring two or three inconsequential & unliterary errors) from my 70th-birthday speech of 2½ years ago. Reads pretty well, too! / Yrs ever … [MTP].
Note: Sam may have referred to Sir William Osler, who in one of his talks claimed a paraphrase from Mark Twain’s Christian Science, that “so-called Humanists have not enough Science, and Science sadly lacks the Humanities.” Since nothing like this claim was found in the book, Osler may have been “the whole force of Twain’s criticism, rather than one passage” [Osler’s ‘a way of life’ and other addresses, etc. note 124]. Just whom was helped by Clemens and Ostler is made clear by Duneka’s reply of June 4, “the Chicago man who killed himself on his 70th birthday quoting your great speech…” See Sam’s reply June 4.
From Google books: Sir William Osler (1849-1919) had a long and distinguished career as a physician and professor at McGill University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Johns Hopkins University, and finally, as the Regius Chair in Medicine at Oxford University. Over the course of his professional life, Osler gave many addresses—mostly to medical students—on medical ethics, medicine and the humanities, the relationship between the medical practitioner and the patient, and, as the titular essay makes clear, on the “way of life” he advocated for the ethical physician. He remains an inspiration to many contemporary medical practitioners; there are active Osler Societies throughout the world. While Osler’s talks were frequently published during his lifetime and they have been published individually and in different compilations since his death, none contain the over 1500 annotations that appear here, notes that serve to explain the many philosophical, biblical, historical, and literary allusions contained in Osler’s writings. This thoroughly explicated selection of Sir William Osler’s writings will be cherished by physicians, medical students, nurses, philosophers, theologians, and ethicists in this-and future-generations.
Sam also wrote to Frances Nunnally at St. Timothy’s School, in Catonsville, Maryland.
Francesca dear, I am ciphering over the situation. The country-house is finished & I shall move into it June 15th, by Miss Lyon’s guess. So I am planning as thus:
Sunday, June 7, my last public engagement here.
Monday, June 8. To Boston.
Tuesday, 9th. To Gloucester, to visit my daughter Jean, who has taken a house on the sea, near there.
Thursday, 11th. Back to New York, to see you next day.
That is my scheme. Tell me your hotel, dear, so that I can go & find you.
And make a note of my telephone address, for it is not in the book:
3907 Gramercy. / With love [MTAq 167]. Note: Sam’s travel plans were changed; he wrote daughter Jean on June 5 that “I shall have to be here until near June 20.”
The New York Times, p. 12 reported an updated schedule for bankruptcy of the Plasmon Co. of America:
THE PLASMON COMPANY OF AMERICA.—Another set of schedules of the Plasmon Company of America, manufacturer of food products, 59 Pearl Street, of which Mark Twain was acting President, was filed yesterday by R. D. Hanna, Secretary. They show liabilities of $17,347 and assets of $4,173, consisting of stock, $1,500; cash in Knickerbocker Trust Company, $819; office furniture, $700; machinery and tools, $1,000, and accounts, $154. In addition to these assets there are unliquidated claims for damages to the goodwill of the business against S. L. Clemens (Mark Twain) fro $25,000 and R. W. Ashcroft for $5,000. The schedules filed several weeks ago showed liabilities of $26,843 and assets $1,395 [Note: Robert D. Hanna]
The Times, p. 5, “Child Actors Close The Winter Season,” also reported the final performance of the season, and announced that the Entertainment Department of the Educational Alliance the following season would be incorporated as the Educational Theatre, under the management of Mark Twain, Robert Collier, Otto Kahn, the Rev. Percy Stickney Grant, and President G. Stanley Hall of Clark University in Mass.
Lilian W. Aldrich wrote to Sam advising that the dedication exercises for the Thomas Bailey Aldrich Memorial would be June 30. He would get a formal invite later [MTP]. Note: IVL: “Of course I shall be there if writing happens to prevent. Have an engagement in Boston for that evening but that will not prevent”
Ferris Greenslet for the Aldrich Memorial Museum wrote to Sam, detailing the upcoming ceremonies, asking for his brief remarks, five or ten minutes [MTP].
Dorothy Harvey wrote from Asbury Park, NJ to Sam. “I received your sweet letter to-day and think it very nice of you to write to your ‘angel-fish’. / I suppose Miss Lyon is very busy getting ‘Innocence at Home’ ready for you to live in and I should love to see it myself sometime. We had pie for lunch to-day and it was to bad that you were not here for it was very good indeed” [MTP; not in MTAq].
Clemens A.D. for this day is listed by MTP.
June 4 Thursday – Frederick A. Duneka for Harper & Brothers wrote offering a rather humorous reply to Twain’s of the previous day:
Oh Royal Sire: / My correspondence with royal personages has been so limited and intermittent that I am a little creaky in the joints as to the proper form of genuflective address. “Dear King” has a ring far too rudely and robustly democratic, “Dear Sire” proclaims a hint of equality which royalty is swiftly sure to resent and “O King Live Forever” is a plagiarism which spells instant expulsion from the light of the royal presence.
So I don’t know how to begin—and this I am convinced accounts for the one-sided nature of the correspondence which I have heretofore carried on alone with Kings and such.
But without beginning—this is to thank you for your note with its strange newspaper clipping of the Chicago man who killed himself on his 70th birthday quoting your great speech (which I had the pleasure of hearing on your 70th birthday,) and quoting it as a philosophy of Death rather than of life. My own point of view is that we could better spare people who have not yet reached this serene age, and if a method could be arranged whereby your great peroration might become executioner, I should be happy, O King! to furnish a list for the royal off-with-his-head roster.
Thank you again for the information which I am venturing to make the basis of a “literary note”.
With bowed forehead, I am, Hoch-wohlgeboren, / Your humble subject [MTP]. Note: Hoch-wohlgeboren = high well-born.
Irene Gerken wrote from Deal Beach, NJ to Sam.
My dear Mr. Cleamens, / I received your letter and was very glad to hear from you. I am very sorry that I could not say goodby to you but I suppose the auto was not finished in time. Is it very warm in New York it must be as it is very warm here. We have had no more lovely days like the one when I was at Dorothy’s and I hope we will not for a long time…I have not had the pleasure of having Dorothy over yet as I have been to New York with Mother but hope to have her next week [MTP; not in MTAq].
Frances Nunnally wrote to Sam.
Dear Mr. Clemens,—
Your letter came this morning and I am so glad you are going to be in New York when we sail. I was afraid you would have gone to your new house. Mother leaves Atlanta on the sixth and is going right to New York, as she has some shopping to do before we leave. Then Father is coming up and take me up on the eleventh. I shall reach New York on the afternoon of the eleventh and will be there until some time on the thirteenth, whenever the “Minnetonka” sails. We shall be at the Waldorf and I will telephone you when I get to New York. I certainly am glad I am going to have a chance to see you before I go. I wish you were going over again this summer, The picture you enclosed in your letter reminds me so much of last summer. It is awfully good, I think.
I want this letter to get off on the afternoon mail, so I will stop. Hoping to see you in about a week, I am / With love, / Francesca [MTAq 167-8].
June 5 Friday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Jean, at Eastern Point in Gloucester, Mass.
Dear Jean, consound the well-intending dog! And certainly he had good intentions, & a heroic spirit. The great big majority of our race are away below him in this regard, & not worthy to untie his shoe-latchets.
Miss Lyon is slaving away at the new house, getting it ready. She will make an admirable job of it if she survives.
I have named the house Innocence at Home. A good name—& susceptible of more than one interpretation.
I shall have to be here until near June 20th. Then I am expecting to be there. Must be, I reckon; & must remain there some days & straighten-up things & entertain two or three sets of visitors who may possibly settle in the neighborhood—& certainly I do hope they will.
Then on the 30th of June I am due in Portsmouth N.H. for the dedication of the Tom Bailey Aldrich Memorial. Along about that time you will be well settled in your home, I guess, & can receive me, on my way to or from Portsmouth.
We have started a village
library up yonder, & the people have named it for me.
We have dug four
or five hundred old books out of our over- burdened shelves & inflicted
them upon that library.
I have no doubt the Spider is having a good time in London. I hope so, anyway.
With lots of love & kisses, / Father [MTP]. Note: One might only speculate as to the line Sam struck out. Was there some reason he decided Jean should not know about the large donation of books? However, he must have thought it would upset her, because on June 14 he wrote her not to be troubled by the donation; there were no books that Jean would “wish to withhold.” The first paragraph about the dog is clearly a response to a recent letter from Jean, but none are extant.
Sam also wrote to Father William Fitz-Simon, at this time in Washington, D.C. about his approaching wedding in Tuxedo Park to Miss Ursula Juliet Morgan.
Dear Father Fitz-Simon,—Marriage—yes, it is the supreme felicity of life, I concede it. And it is also the supreme tragedy of life. The deeper the love the surer the tragedy. And the more disconsolating when it comes.
And so I congratulate you. Not perfunctorily, not lukewarmly, but with a fervency & fire that no word in the dictionary is strong enough to convey. And in the same breath & sincerity I grieve for you. Not for both of you & not for the one that shall go first, but for the one that is fated to be left behind. For that one there is no recompense—For that one no recompense is possible.
There are times—thousands of times—when I can expose the half of my mind, & conceal the other half, but in the matter of the tragedy of marriage I feel too deeply for that, & I have to bleed it all out or shut it all in. And so you must consider what I have been through, & am passing through & be charitable with me.
Make the most of the sunshine! & I hope it will last long—ever so long.
I do not really want to be present; yet for friendship’s sake & because I honor you so, I would be there if I could. / Most sincerely your friend, / S. L. Clemens [MTP: Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’s Letters, p.811-12]. Note: the MTP’s TS replaces Sam’s “&” signs and makes a few other changes. Rev. William Fitz-Simon would marry Miss Ursula Juliet Morgan (niece of J. Pierpont Morgan) at St. Mary’s church in Tuxedo Park on June 24 [NY Times, 24 June, p. 7, Miss Morgan Weds Rev. Wm. Fitz-Simon].
Julia O’Connell wrote from NYC to invite Sam to visit their literary club at Morris High School; they had been studying TS and “are greatly delighted with your style and humor” [MTP].
Myron H. Phelps for the Society for Advancement of India wrote to Sam. “In view of your interest in the subject, I take the liberty of sending you a report regarding our work which we have just issued; and also some newspaper clippings which possibly you may not have seen, and which may interest you” [MTP]. Clippings from the NY Sun, NY Post, NY Herald, all June 3 are in the file.
Dorothy Quick wrote to Sam.
My Dear Mr Clemens / I have a bad cold rose fever and Bronchitis together its almost over now. We except to leave on Wednesday for Atlantic City. I have not gotten my pony and mother says that there is no use in getting one now as we are going away but get it in the fall and hire one whereever we go. I like that idea dont you? I have two rabbits. Billy and Dorothy (Dodo for short) they are two weeks old pure white with blue eyes. They’re so lovely.
When we go away I shall let my friend Claire Kenworthy take care of them for me. She can have the products. You must be having a lovely time going everywhere. I hope you enjoy your visit with Miss Clemens I look forward to visiting you later on.
I hope you will like your new house when you see it. but, oh dear how late its getting and I must close with lots & lots of love your loving / Dorothy / P.S. Please give Miss Lyon my love / Dorothy [MTAq 168].
June 6 Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frances Nunnally.
You are a very dear & sweet Francesca to answer so promptly, & you so heavy-laden with work, you poor little chap! But soon you’ll be at sea, & that will be fine & restful. I wish I could go with you.
I go away Monday the 8th, but shall plan to return Thursday forenoon so as to be on deck & listening for your telephone message that afternoon. You & your parents must spare us a little of your time at our feed-trough, either at dinner that evening or at luncheon or dinner next day. I’m going to count on that, dear heart. / With love, … [MTP; MTAq 169].
Sam and Isabel Lyon went to the Savoy Theatre to see Charles Rann Kennedy’s play, The Servant in the House. Sam would meet Kennedy at a dinner given by Miss Elizabeth Jordan on June 7 [June 7 to Sturgis; NY Times, June 8, p.7 “Dinner to Charles Rann Kennedy”]. Note: the Henry Miller Associate Players.
The New York Times, June 14, p. C3, ran a special story datelined London, June 6:
TWAIN’S DAUGHTER TALKS ABOUT HIM
Miss Clara Clemens Says It Is Hard to Have a Genius for a Father.
TAKEN FOR BUFFALO BILL
“Father Wears White Suit to Remind Him of Bed,” Says Miss Clara.
Special Correspondence THE NEW YORK TIMES.
LONDON, June 6.—Miss Clara Clemens, daughter of Mark Twain, who is the possessor of a rich contralto voice, has made her debut in this country as a concert singer at the Queen’s Hall. She will give a recital, with Miss Marie Nichols, violinist, and Mr. Wark, pianist, at the Bechstein Hall on June 16.
Miss Clemens inherits her father’s sense of humor, and in an article published in the London Express she tells of the tribulations which face the daughter of a celebrity.
Miss Clemens writes as follows:
“I have just come to the conclusion that things want readjusting in this old world of ours.
“Need I mention the fact that I refer to the glaring injustice of having to go about labeled ‘Mark Twain’s daughter’ when I am doing my best to pursue a musical career?
“Father, is, of course, a genius—and that is what makes me so tired. My fatigue is directly caused by the incessant strain—prolonged over some years and induced by trying to find a secret hiding place when I can shroud my identity and be sure of a really comfortable bed.
“I have a mind to scour Europe for such a place, and when I have found it to take to bed for, say, a couple of years, and arise—a genius. For the bed habit is the recipe of father’s success.
“While I have been tiring myself out in an endeavor to rise to the heights as anybody else’s daughter he has just lain in bed and thought things and got out of bed now and then to loaf around on a lecture tour or tramp lazily through Europe. That’s why I’m looking for a really comfortable bed. Genius is the art of taking—to bed.
“Father called me a genius once when I was about 15, and, although I guess he was just fooling me, I am not likely to forget the occasion. He had gone on a lecture tour with Mr. George W. Cable, the Southern writer, and during his absence we girls—my two sisters and myself—arranged some theatricals as a surprise for him on his return to our home at Hartford, Conn.
“The piece we selected was ‘The Prince and the Pauper,’ and father pretended to enjoy it just as much as we did, and, as I said before, he informed me that I was a genius. Shortly after that memorable night I came over to Europe.
“Then my troubles began. They began in Berlin, where father, thanks to no violent physical efforts on his part, is wonderfully popular. When I was not studying hard at my music I would go out occasionally to little functions, where I would sit in a corner and be completely ignored by all assembled until some foolish person whispered to another: ‘I believe that’s Mark Twain’s daughter in the corner.’
“Then the guests would arise as one man and swoop down upon me, and expect me to be ‘bright’ and amusing after a hard day’s work. These, of course, were the occasions when my august parent was not present. At social gatherings graced by his presence my existence was on the level of a footstool—always unnecessary object in a crowded room. Father, fresh from bed, would completely flood the place with his talk. And yet the secret of his popularity never occurred to me at the time.
“But father has had much to endure, too. The last time he was in London he was assailed in Regent Street by a venerable old lady, who shook him cordially by the hand and repeated fervently: ‘I have always wanted to shake hands with you.’ My father, who was feeling particularly brilliant after a long day’s rest, was much moved, and responded gratefully: ‘So you know who I am, madam?’ ‘Of course I do,’ answered the old lady with enthusiasm, “You’re Buffalo Bill!’
“Father’s white suit is another of my trials. I have always believed that the reason he took to wearing it is that it soothed him and reminded him of bed. His white hair, too, can be explained scientifically. The explanation can be found in any well-equipped natural history museum. The hares and the bird and the foxes in the arctic regions are of a dazzling whiteness when the snow covers their haunts. Father is, therefore, a striking example of what is known as sympathetic coloration. His hair has gradually assumed the color of his pillow.
“But I must do father bare justice. In spite of his lying-in-bed habit he can be impetuous both in speech and action. When he gets too impetuous in speech I rise to the occasion and answer him back.
“Last Winter I was to sing at an important evening concert on the other side, and the entire family had been invited to attend a function in the afternoon, Father, being unmusical, could not understand that I should have been unfit to sing if I had chattered after his own fashion all the afternoon. And so I coaxed him to go and represent the family. At first he objected strongly, but finally, in a burst of impetuosity, he said: ‘Yes, Clara, I’ll go to that reception. I’d go to _____ for you.’
“To which I thoughtfully replied: ‘If ever, father, you should be called upon to go there, please go labeled “I’m for Clara.’ ”
[Note: Sam approved of this article: in his June 14 to daughter Jean he wrote, “Clara has been writing something for a London paper, & doing it very well. I will try to remember to enclose it.”]
Harper’s Weekly published an excerpt from Sam’s speech at the eighth annual banquet of the American Booksellers Assoc. on May 20: “Mark Twain, His Books, and the Booksellers,” p. 32 [Tenney, ALR Third Annual Supplement to the Reference Guide (Autumn, 1979) 192].
Leopold Godfrey-Turner wrote from England for “Life’s Pictorial Comedy” to ask Clemens to write an answer to the question, “What is the greatest mistake” of his life [MTP] Note: IVL: “Contract prohibits,” meaning his contract with Harper’s prohibited him from submitting elsewhere.
June 6? Saturday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Jennie A. Eustace.
Dear Miss Eustace:
I wish to contribute the inclosed $10 to that $1,000 which you propose to raise among our profession. I think I have fairly earned the right to say “our,” for I have been monologuing before the footlights for forty years & I am on the free list of all the righteously conducted theatres in the country. / Sincerely yours, / S. L. Clemens [MTP: NY Times, June 9, 1908 p.7]. Note: the following from the Times article explains:
To Miss Eustace’s Fund for Feeding Needy School Children.
Jennie Eustace, leading woman of the “Witching Hour” company at the Hackett Theatre, who has undertaken to raise $1,000 for the fund to aid the indigent school children of New York, yesterday received a letter from Mark Twain inclosing a check for $10. The letter, which was written from 21 Fifth Avenue, said:
[Sam’s above letter appeared here].
Though Miss Eustace announced her intention of collecting funds only three days ago, she has already received nearly $200. The subscriptions have been from “professional” friends and also from friends and acquaintances in no manner connected with the stage.
Note: Just after this letter from Sam, Jennie A. Eustace replied: “You are very kind. I thank you sincerely. Your cheque will do a great deal of good. But you will do a great deal more. I cannot tell you how I appreciate your subscribing to my fund. Would you object to my using your charming letter” [MTP]. Note: This is catalogued as simply 1908 but it is clearly in response to Sam’s above.
June 7 Sunday – At 21 Fifth Ave, N.Y. Sam wrote to Ebenezer J. Hill, postmaster, N.Y. A draft plus a signed letter survive.
Dear Sir: /I am just about to settle in Redding; but to live there, & have to break bulk at Branchville, on then mail addressed to Georgetown, is too confusing for me. The Railroad Co has done its part to my entire satisfaction, in the matter of granting us express-service after June 15, and now I turn to you to help me out of the difficulty of being outside the limit allowed to the rural free delivery that starts from the Redding Post Office. There are several of us newcomers, & there will be some more. Hoping you will be able to help us, I am / Very … [MTP: Christie’s East catalogs, Nov. 12, 1997, Item 27].
Sam also replied to the June 5 from Dorothy Quick.
You dear little rat, aren’t you ever going to stop catching cold & struggling with bronchitis? I am so sorry for you. Wait till I get you up-country at “Innocence at Home”—then we’ll set your health up!
Yes, I like the idea of waiting till fall to buy the pony. A hired one will answer quite well in the meantime.
I am glad you’ve got Billy & Dodo. In December they will be just right, & I will run down to see you & we will have them for dinner. I am like you, I just love rabbits.
I have been scheming to get down to your school-exercises day after tomorrow, but I failed, because of a string of business engagements which are going to keep me here for more than two days yet. I would love to see you, dear.
Will it be safe to leave them with Claire Kenworthy? Do you know her well-enough? Is she good, & does she go to Sunday school? I think I wouldn’t take any rash chances; because if she should eat them—however, maybe she can resist. I will hope so. She can eat the “products,” & that will be all right, because they will belong to her.
Miss Lyons sends her love, & I send lots & lots of love, dear heart / SLC
I reckon this will catch you before you get started toward Atlantic City. Tell me—what is your address there, & how long shall you stay? [MTAq 170-1].
Note: Cooley in the latter source cites Clara in MFMT that the name for the new house at Redding was changed from “Autobiography House” to “Innocence at Home” on June 3, but this is incorrect. Sam made the change on the morning of June 2, at the end of his stay in Deal, N.J. with the Harveys; see entry. Such errors often get repeated.
Sam also wrote to John L. RoBards in Hannibal, Mo.
If the graves of my family need putting in order, will you kindly have it attended to and send me the bill? I shall be greatly obliged.
I was very sorry to miss you that afternoon at the Auditorium, but I was constantly being introduced to people, & had no chance to get out my glasses & examine the cards placed in my hands until you were gone; then all my efforts to get on your track were futile. By George it was a day of confusions, mistakes, disappointments, defeated intentions, & cross-purposes!
You came east, that time, without looking in at 21 Fifth avenue. Please don’t act like that again. I will always be a delight to me to see you—& the time left us is not long, John / Sincerely Your friend … [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Dorothy Sturgis.
The Directors of the Children’s Theatre are holding a business meeting down stairs, but as I am only Honorary President, I don’t have to do any work & can therefore stay up here & answer Aquarium letters. Yours I cannot find; & so, as I don’t know what State Woodstock is in I will send this to your Boston address.
I find I am not going to pass through Boston till then end of the month, because I can’t get away from here earlier. I do hope you will be at home again by that time. I have to be in Portsmouth, N. H., June 30 for the Tom Bailey Aldrich Memorial dedication.
I go visiting on Long Island tomorrow, but shall return on Friday to receive an angel-fish (the Georgian) & her parents, who will dine with me & sail for Europe next Day. Then I shall go back & finish the visit.
Yesterday we went to see “The Servant in the House”) (oh, a noble play), & tonight I go dining out, to meet the author of it, whom I very much wish to know.
I don’t know how I have managed to mislay your letter. Such is not my custom—certainly it isn’t as regards the letters of the Aquarium. I don’t care for the others, they are Miss Lyon’s affair. / Lovingly … [MTAq 169-70]. Note: Charles Rann Kennedy (1871-1950) Anglo-American dramatist, was the author of The Servant in the House; his plays dealt with moral dilemmas. Frances Nunnally was the Angelfish Sam planned to receive on Friday.
The New York Times, June 8, ran a squib on p. 7 covering the Kennedy dinner:
Dinner to Charles Rann Kennedy.
Miss Elizabeth Jordan gave a dinner at Delmonico’s last night in honor of Charles Rann Kennedy, author of “The Servant in the House,” and Mrs. Kennedy, (Edith Wynne Mathison.)
Among those present were Mark Twain, Mr. and Mrs. Selden Bacon, Mr. and Mrs. St. Clair McKelway, Charles A. Conant, Mrs. James Robert McKee, Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Goetchius, Miss Elizabeth Cutting, and Mr. Arthur Brisbane.
Newton Wallop (Earl of Portsmouth) wrote to Sam. “I wish I could have seen you as well as your handwriting. We shall not be returning to town before the end of this month; but Lady Portsmouth hopes then to give herself the opportunity of making your daughters acquaintance.” The Wallops were visiting the US [MTP].
June 8 Monday – Clara Clemens’ 34th birthday. Clara was in London on tour.
William Fitz-Simon wrote from Tuxedo Park, NY to Sam.
I thank you most heartily for your letter. I appreciate what you say and even now can understand the deep truth you express. You honor me greatly in writing me as you have done and I am so glad because of your expression of friendship. You will allow me to say that I have regarded it as a great privilege to have had an opportunity during your stay here to learn something of that great humanness—that great heart that is the mainspring of your life. Miss Morgan is very anxious to meet you… [MTP].
T.H. Green wrote a three-page typed letter from Minneapolis about his sister discovering a note about Clemens’ grandmother, Pamela Goggin Clemens, during a search of Virginia genealogical records [MTP]. Note: IVL on letter: “Many thanks for your very pleasant letter. / Answd June 11, 08”
Ferris Greenslet for the Aldrich Memorial Museum wrote a short note on Houghton Mifflin notepaper to Sam. “It is great pleasure ot us all to know that you can be present at Portsmouth on June 30th. You don’t say anything about the matter of the little talk on Aldrich as a Wit, but I shall venture to assume that your silence gives consent…”[MTP].
June 9 Tuesday – Malcolm D. Graham wrote from Hamilton, Bermuda to Sam. “I am indeed glad to have traded the owner of the shell, and am returning it to you by the mail under registered cover & trust it will duly reach you.” He also discussed Bermuda’s weather [MTP]. Note: the “identification” shell was from Helen Blackmer; See May 25 to Graham.
Ebenezer J. Hill, Congressman,