Preoccupied with his inventions, Tesla apologizes for an unpaid debt: "I had been so absorbed in my work that I forgot everything"
ALS in French, signed “N. Tesla,” one page, 8 x 10.75, The Gerlach Hotel letterhead, December 11, 1892. Handwritten letter by Nikola Tesla to Mr. A. Gallois in Paris, in full (translated): "I have just received your letter of the 26th Nov. Thank you for reminding me that the money has not been sent yet. For some time I had been so absorbed in my work that I forgot everything. Receive, dear sir, the assurance of my highest consideration." In fine condition.
Tesla had visited Paris earlier in the year, delivering a lecture on 'Experiments with Alternate Currents of High Potential and High Frequency' before the Societe Francaise de Physique on February 19, 1892. Presumably, the payment in question in the present letter stemmed from his visit to France. In the ensuing days, he was preoccupied with personal tragedy—the death of his mother on Easter Sunday—in addition to his work involving alternating current, hydroelectric power, and the production and transmission of electricity.
In September 1892, he moved into the Hotel Gerlach—now known as the 'Radio Wave Building'—where he lived before the end of the century and experimented with radio waves in 1896. The modern dwelling befitted the eccentric inventor, as it was fireproof and equipped with elevators, electric lights, and sumptuous dining rooms.
Tesla struggled with finances throughout his life, yet demonstrates his honesty in this letter by reassuring his debtor of his intent to repay. A highly desirable handwritten letter that, in using a secondary language, also demonstrates Tesla's superior intellect—he was fluent in eight languages: English, French, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Italian, and Latin.