Submitted by scott on
November – A formal invitation was sent out to be George B. Harvey’s guest at the celebration of Mr. Clemens’ Seventieth Birthday, Delmonico’s on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. One such letter went to Louise C. Moulton [MTP].

Sam also wrote to the Oppenheimer Institute.

Reverend & Dear Sirs: / Institute a question of & fair dealing, in which the Institute is interested. Herewith I enclose (1) copy of a letter from me to D . Oppenheimer; (2) his reply; (3) my rejoinder. He has not answered the rejoinder. Indeed, there are two questions: one of fair dealing toward dipsomaniacs, the other of expediency. In No. 1 I suggested that D . Oppenheimer’s remark to me should be added to the advertisements. If I had thought of it I could have suggested, in place of that, that the Institute’s present procedure be changed in one or two details, in such a way as to make the conditions fair & right as between the Institute & the dipsomaniac, without changing the advertisement at all. That is to say, I could have suggested that the Institute tell the dipsomaniac in advance, that his case is incurable. If the patient should then decide to pay his money & try the treatment, it would be his own affair.

It is not my interest, nor any one’s, to discredit or diminish the great & useful work which the Institute is doing, & it may well be that the suggestion I made was not a good one, & that it would be unwise to act upon it. My experience is limited to the case of my butler—I have no knowledge of others. Two years ago I sent him there on the 16th of February & he began the treatment. A week or two later he brought me the bill for the cure, & he was drunk at the time. I mentioned this to D .Oppenheimer expecting him to smile, for I thought there was a touch of humor in the situation; but he merely said, “Oh, yes, that happens,” which I interpreted to mean that it was a not unusual incident & therefore,—through wear—not humorous; but he followed it by the remark that the butler was a dipsomaniac & that he regarded that disease as incurable—“I quoted his words in my second letter. Then he told me the man’s history, as acquired from the man himself: that he was English: 43 years old; had been a drinker 17 years; & a hard drinker of late years. He could have gotten that history before undertaking the case; he could have pronounced the case incurable & left the man to decide whether he would pay and try, or not. Or he could have sent me word (I being responsible for the money) & allowed me to do the deciding. I must assume that the proceeding in the cited case is the usual one. In my belief it is unfair.

In the last paragraph of No. 3 D . Oppenheimer confuses me a little. He says he can cure dipsomania, & in the same breath explains that he can’t. Apparently he can cure a dipsomaniac if the dipsomaniac will furnish the necessary auxiliary “brains”/—(resistance-power). That is, the doctor will load the gun if the gun will do the firing. He knows that a dipsomaniac is no such gun, & that the offer is an offer of nothing at all [MTP]. Note: see Feb. 16 and 23, 1903 entries. The letter was headed “Precede it with list of Clergymen”—31 names were attached.

Sam also wrote an aphorism to an unidentified person. “There is no sadder sight than a young pessimist or an old optimist. / Mark Twain / Nov/05” [MTP].

Sam inscribed an aphorism in a copy of TS to an unidentified person: “Consider well the proportion of things: it is better to be a young June-bug than an old bird of paradise. Truly yours, Mark Twain Nov./05” [MTP: The 19 Century Shop catalog, No. 45, Item 161].

Sam sent a note of thanks written sometime between Nov. 1905 and May 1906 to an unidentified man.

My dear Sir: / Of the multitude of books which have been given me in these latter days, none has given me more pleasure & satisfaction than yours. If the compilation had been made for me alone it could not have suited me better. I am always at home at ten in the morning & I wish you would drop in [MTP: Becky Thatcher Book Shop].

Sam’s essay with letters and dialogue, “A Helpless Situation” first appeared in Harper’s Bazaar for Nov. It was collected in The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (1906) [Budd, Collected 2: 1010]. Note: this had been titled “A Hapless Situation,” and accompanied “The War Prayer” to the Bazaar, both sent on Mar. 21. See Lyon’s entry for Mar. 22.

Sam inscribed a copy of Fables by G. Washington Aesop, etc. (1878): “SL. Clemens’s book. / Nov. ’05.” [Gribben 396]. Note: “G. Washington Aesop,” the pseudonym for George Thomas Lanigan (1846-1886).

Sam signed his copy of The Works of Tacitus. The Oxford Translation, Revised. With Notes (2 vols.): “SL. Clemens / November, 1905. / 21—5 ave.” Sam twice underscored the word “Revised” on the title page and wrote under it, “What the English of it? If so, in the name of God what was it like before it was ‘revised’?” [Gribben 682]. Note: Sam signed the second vol. the same but without the note on “revised.”

Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.