December 11 Saturday –
recounting what actually happened (see entry for this portion of Sam’s letter), Sam related recent family doings, and enclosed a couple of choice letters he’d received:
I have been interrupted & now my time is short. I will shove other people’s letters in—that will fill up. The small note is from a handsome young girl who sat in the next box to the one occupied by Clara & the Letchititchkis [Leschetizkys] & me at the opera the other night. The penciled noted is the rough draft of the answer I sent her. A very pretty letter came back, but Livy is keeping it.
Some of the letters that come are just too lovely—the enclosed one from Hamburg, Germany, for instance. That is the way to say the pleasant thing to the stranger.
Here—as in London—Livy & the girls find that the name Clemens is no sufficient disguise. They have Pleasant adventures.
Sam related an episode of Clara and Katy Leary’s the day before, with a cabbie and a box office man at a theater, who softened once Clara gave the name Clemens.
Livy has adventures, too. And Katy—but you know Katy. If I should start in on Katy’s adventures with this family’s name, a certain amount of time would be consumed.
We cannot persuade Livy to go out in society yet, but all the lovely people come to see her; & Clara & I go to dinner parties, & around here & there, & we all have a most hospitable good time. Jean’s wood-carving flourishes, & her other studies.
Good-bye, Joe—& we all love all of you. / Mark [MTP]. Note: Joe answered on Dec. 27.
Rogers wrote to Sam, enclosing complimentary letters from several of his creditors.
“I know your heart will be made glad by the accompanying sheets which express the appreciation shown by the creditors of the firm of Charles L. Webster & Company, of your kindly act. …”
Rogers would send more such letters as they came in. Harry Rogers had received his copy of FE; his father had “monopolized it to the present time” and wrote, “I like it particularly well. It is a good book.— My word!” He was just winding up a business deal in Boston that had taken five years [MTHHR 305-6]. Note: for excerpts from the complimentary creditor letters see n1. In that note, the source continues:
It must have been at about this time that Miss Harrison also forwarded a three- page document listing 101 creditors of Charles L. Webster & Company, to whom $79,704.80 had been owed, indicating amounts they had been paid, first by Colby, then by Miss Harrison for Rogers, until only $7,990.82 was outstanding. These figures did not include, she explained, the $33,862.72 owed to the Mount Morris Bank, Mrs. J.D. Grant, and the Barrows.
Sam’s notebook: “Cablegram from Keokuk ‘Orion died to-day.’ He was past 73” [NB 42 TS 51]. Note: Orion Clemens (1825-1897) was actually 72 at the time of his death. By Dec. 30 Sam still had not rec’d a letter from Mollie and wrote “we do not know whether it was sudden or not” [ibid.].
Orion Clemens rose at six, his usual time, and descended the stairs of his small Keokuk house to build a fire. Mollie stirred awake upstairs. Orion sat down at the kitchen table and wrote out some notes for a court case. Molly waited for his rap on the ceiling, their signal that the fire had warmed the room enough for her to come down. The rap did not come. She gave the floor a rap of her own. No response. She hurried downstairs and found her husband upright, but with his head slumped forward and his arms dangling. He was seventy-two [MT A Life 591].
Paine writes of Orion,
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.