Very well, I will wait for the pf. Steel to fall. I did place an order when it was at 90—intending to sell when it went up 8 or 9 points—but I was a day late & didn’t get it. Up here I don’t trade at all, nor look at the stock-list, nor subscribe for any daily paper. I have retired from the world for 3 months, or 4
Sam described their housing as “reposeful as a cemetery,” some two and a half miles above the village of Ampersand, without any close neighbors [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote “Ampersand, N.Y.” on many of his letters; here the choice has been made to label them Saranac Lake, N.Y.
June 25 Tuesday
June 26 Wednesday
June 27 Thursday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam replied to Abbott Handerson Thayer’s June 18:
Your hearty praises give me very great pleasure, & I thank you for speaking them out. When one is treading on an unpopular road it is a mighty help & refreshment to know that there are those whose hearts are with him.
Oh, but we are a spectacle! Such rich assets gone to pot—in Cuba, in Porto Rico, in the Phillipines [sic], in the White House, in the Supreme Court, in the pulpit, in the Constitution & the Declaration, in China where our missionaries are confessed revenge-hunters & highwaymen. Of every possession which was valuable— morals, principles, the spirit of liberty; & national pride in these things—we are stripped to the shirt-tail. But—we’ve got McKinley, to worship & Furston to admire! let us not despair. Why, we are just a sarcasm.
We remember the Hartford visit well, & were speaking of it a fortnight ago, with a young artist who came to black-&-white us for the Century. Mrs. Clemens joins me in kindest regards to you. / Sincerely Yours, / SL. Clemens [Smithsonian Archives of American Art Online; Thayer Family Papers]. Note: Sam was reminded of Thayer’s 1882 visit to draw his portrait for the Century; see Feb. 24, 1882 entry and others in Vol. I.
June 28 Friday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam wrote condolences to John M. Hay: “I will not torture you with words; they would help if they could, but in all the ages they have not availed” [MTP]. Note: Hay’s eldest son, Adelbert Stone Hay (1876-1901), recently appointed by President McKinley as his private secretary, died instantly after a fall from a window in New Haven, while attending Yale Commencement. The young man, trying to cool off before retiring, fell asleep in the window sill. He had briefly been a consul to South Africa [Thayer 2: 262-3]. The Sunday Globe (Washington, D.C) reported on July 14, 1901, p. 1 that Hay had been drunk when he fell, a fact “concealed from the public.”
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
We are sweating away, here at the “Liar”—which should be plural, for there are several of us. This weather is not from Heaven.
We are sorry to hear of Mrs. Rogers’s bad state of health, and sorry too that she must not go where she could be better. It has been a wearing year for her.
We are having a time with our letters and freight. There are 75 Saranacs in this cussed region and our stuff gets distributed amongst them all—for each is a P.O.
Sam closed by saying Livy thought Rogers was kind and was willing to spare Sam for “that fortnight” whenever he was notified [MTHHR 463-4]. Note: Sam did wordplay on “Lair,” the name he’d christened the Lake Saranac cabin, to “Liar.”
June 29 Saturday – In Saranac Lake, N.Y. Sam wrote to daughter Clara, who had remained for a time in New York, probably for activities related to her singing career: “Hurry up here, Ashcat dear, before the mosquitoes & strawberries are gone. We are wanting to see you, & are all ready to welcome you.” Sam
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.