MY DEAR STOKER,--I am not dating this because it is not to be mailed at present.
When it reaches you it will mean that there is a hitch in my machine- enterprise--a hitch so serious as to make it take to itself the aspect of a dissolved dream. This letter, then, will contain cheque for the $100 which you have paid. And will you tell Irving for me--I can't get up courage enough to talk about this misfortune myself, except to you, whom by good luck I haven't damaged yet that when the wreckage presently floats ashore he will get a good deal of his $500 back; and a dab at a time I will make up to him the rest.
I'm not feeling as fine as I was when I saw you there in your home. Please remember me kindly to Mrs. Stoker. I gave up that London lecture- project entirely. Had to--there's never been a chance since to find the time. Sincerely yours, S. L. CLEMENS.
LETTERS, 1895-96, TO H. H. ROGERS AND OTHERS. FINISHING "JOAN OF ARC." THE TRIP AROUND THE WORLD. DEATH OF SUSY CLEMENS
To H. H. Rogers, in New York City:
[No date.] DEAR MR. ROGERS,--Yours of Dec. 21 has arrived, containing the circular to stockholders and I guess the Co. will really quit--there doesn't seem to be any other wise course.
There's one thing which makes it difficult for me to soberly realize that my ten year dream is actually dissolved; and that is, that it reveries my horoscope. The proverb says, "Born lucky, always lucky," and I am very superstitious. As a small boy I was notoriously lucky. It was usual for one or two of our lads (per annum) to get drowned in the Mississippi or in Bear Creek, but I was pulled out in a 2/3 drowned condition 9 times before I learned to swim, and was considered to be a cat in disguise. When the "Pennsylvania" blew up and the telegraph reported my brother as fatally injured (with 60 others) but made no mention of me, my uncle said to my mother "It means that Sam was somewhere else, after being on that boat a year and a half--he was born lucky." Yes, I was somewhere else. I am so superstitious that I have always been afraid to have business dealings with certain relatives and friends of mine because they were unlucky people. All my life I have stumbled upon lucky chances of large size, and whenever they were wasted it was because of my own stupidity and carelessness. And so I have felt entirely certain that that machine would turn up trumps eventually. It disappointed me lots of times, but I couldn't shake off the confidence of a life-time in my luck.
Well, whatever I get out of the wreckage will be due to good luck--the good luck of getting you into the scheme--for, but for that, there wouldn't be any wreckage; it would be total loss.