My son-in-law, Samuel Clemence, has asked me to acknowledge receipt of your letter of March 31st, and say that he regrets exceedingly that he is unable to write you at this time, because of a serious attack of lapsipall. He begs me to thank you very heartily for your kindly expressions, and feels complimented that you and your people should think so well of his literary efforts. He has told me charming and astounding stories of his visit to New Zealand, and it has created in me a great desire to visit your country. My age is ninety-three, and my family think the journey too much for one of my years, but as I am a man of the strictest habits, never having tasted spiritous liquors, tea or coffee, and never having smoked a cigar or lost my temper, I feel sure that I am likely to live to above the century mark.
Mr. Clemence has been in good health until recently, but a trip to the West Indies with a party of riotous gentlemen has laid him low, and we are quite doubtful as to his recovery. He has lost his sense of humor entirely, and is now writing on metaphysical and religious subjects. His latest, and to my mind his best production is in the form of a sermon which has been published in the “Christian Pulpit.” His text is “Why will ye doubting stand?” He has also just published in the “National Register” and article entitled: “Do calves need water?” The article has produced much discussion and criticism, and the general feeling in the community is that he is “getting religion.”
Mr. Clemence desires me to convey to you his heartiest thanks, and with best regards, I am,
Your obedient servant,
Sam’s notebook: “Miss Mary Bisland / c/o McClure’s / Letschetitzke’s mother & daughter. He advised her (after listening) to take up singing. 3 years later (both women veiled) listened, & advised her to take up the piano” [NB 45 TS 11].
Livy’s diary : “Mrs Henry A. Brooks & Miss Biddel took luncheon with us. Mr Poultney Bigelow and John Howells here for tea. Mr Robert McClure & Mr Jaccaci here for dinner, went on 12 o’clock train, midnight— ” [MTP: DV161].
William H. Hoyt & Co., N.Y.C. wrote to Sam asking for $150 to be spent in advertising the Hartford home. Enclosed and referred to was a copy of a letter from Title Guarantee and Trust Co., 146 Broadway, that Mrs. Flora McDonald Casey, the owner of the Tarrytown property, requested closing be delayed one week as she was out of town [MTP].
May 6 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Alice Day, dinner, to meet Lord & Lady Kelvin 8. p.m.” [NB 45 TS 12]. Note:
Sam then listed subjects for his A.D.: “Interview with Kaiser Franz Joseph. / and with Kaiser Wilhelm II / Little child shall lead them” [ibid]. Note: Lord Kelvin born William Thomson, professor of physics at Glasgow University for 53 years. He became wealthy directing work on the first transatlantic cable. In 1874, Lord Kelvin married Miss Frances Anna Blandy, his second wife.
Francis Bret Harte, Mark Twain’s old nemesis, died in London from a hemorrhage connected with throat cancer. For many years Harte had lived in England. He is buried at St. Peter’s Church, Frimley, Surrey, England [NY Times, May 7, p.9, “Death of F. Bret Harte”]. Note: no mention of his death was found in Clemens’ papers.
Ellsworth of Mont Clare, Chicago wrote to Sam.
The enclosed clipping [not extant] introduces Rev. Chas. W. Briggs…a lineal successor of the old Spanish priests of Queen Isabella’s times who thanked God for the “clean record” of the Spanish army when the Indies were first exploited. He is a priest after Corbin’s own heart!
It occurs to me that the hide of this follower (?) of the Prince of Peace should be placed alongside the pelt of Rev. Ament on the barn-door. And I know of no one who can stretch it so neatly and drive the nails so deftly as yourself [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.