I did not know that Susy was part of us; I did not know that she could go away; I did not know that she could go away & take our lives with her, yet leave our dull bodies behind. And I did not know what she was. To me she was but treasure in the bank; the amount known, the need to look at it daily, handle it, weight it, count it, realize it, not necessary; & now that I would do it, it is too late; they tell me it is not there, has vanished away in a night, the bank is broken, my fortune is gone, I am a pauper. How am I to comprehend this? How am I to have it? Why am I robbed, & who is benefited?
Sam continued on in this vein about Susy, glad at least she died in the Farmington Ave. home with Sue Crane, Katy Leary, John and Ellen O’Neil, and Twichell with her at the end. Even in his grief Sam recognized his writing saved him, though he pitied Livy who did not have any such salve:
She does not see people, & cannot; books have lost their interest for her. She sits solitary; & all the day, & all the days, wonders how it all happened, & why. We others are always busy with our affairs, but Susy was her comrade—had to be driven from her loving persecutions—sometimes at 1 in the morning. I have done it often. To Livy the persecutions were welcome. It was heaven to her to be plagued like that. But it is ended now. Livy stands so in need of help; & none among us all could help her like you.
At the end of the letter Sam looked forward to again taking walks with Joe; then they might “have such talks!” [MTP].
Powers writes of Sam’s work and Livy’s help during this period:
He continued writing through the damp London winter and early spring of 1897. He wrote rapidly and grimly, often well into the night. Livy kept herself from staring at the walls by editing his pages as they issued—she’d lost interest in people, her own reading, nearly everything. The book that he was producing—its working title was “Round the World”—was to be undistinguished, merely competent. And yet in a certain way, it was the most important work he ever did—simply because it was work. Work was all that kept him motivated enough to meet each day, and the only discharge of his terrible, hell-tossed nights [MT A Life 582-3]. Note: See Feb. 26 to Rogers for sources of his irritation.
J. Woulfe Flanagan wrote to Sam, thanking him for “the courteous tone” of his reply (this day); he would try placing his bed in other rooms where “the sound of the piano in its present position does not penetrate” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote on the envelope, “It appears that this is not an old one, but a callow young thing whose ears are not fully grown yet. They promise well”
January 20 Wednesday – At 23 Tedworth Square in London Sam wrote a short note to neighbor J. Woulfe Flanagan that he did not send: “You compliment me upon not having imitated your manners. I thank you very much” [MTP].
January 21 Thursday
January 22 Friday – Sam’s notebook:
Jan. 22. ’97. Was to dine with Mr. Wilson this evening, but late in the afternoon came a telegram to his house from King’s College Hospital saying “tell the friends of Mr. Wilson he has met with an accident. I went there in a cab, arriving at 6.20. Was not allowed to see him—too seriously hurt. Skull fractured back of ear, by a fall—streets snowy & slippery. He is in danger. His wife was to have sailed for American next week [NB 41 TS 5]. Note: this may have been his “Old Scotch friend & neighbor,” William A. Wilson, referred to in an Oct. 14-18, 1896 letter to Chatto & Windus.
January 23 Saturday– Sam’s notebook:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.