to raise subscriptions for him.
When an Evening Journal correspondent
discovered Mr. Verey in lodgings on Rot-
ten Row he talked freely of his experiences
with Mr. Clemens.
“Candidly,” he said, “I have nothing to
tell. There were no incidents on the trip—
not one accident. Mr. Clemens found it so
dull that he frequently begged of me to lose
the train and land him in a mess or accident
of some kind for a diversion, but I never
took his request seriously.
“Now, as to the brilliant story of ex-
periences on Mont Blanc, with its beauties
and perils. Mr. Clemens never went up the
mountain. He remained at the hotel at the
foot, dodging autograph hunters and
“Often would he fly into a tremendous
rage, stamp about, curse and make every
one in the hotel perspire and groan, all for
a joke. He was the best tempered man I
ever saw, very easy to serve.”
Verey was not along on that trip at all. In reply to a cable from a London paper, I said you were Harris. / Livy was close to the grave Sunday night & Monday & Tuesday, but she has been soaring up like a weed since. Love to you all / MARK [MTP].
September 24 Wednesday – In York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote to William Dean Howells.
I go on my knees to Mildred—I let her go away without accompanying her to her car, & without explaining to her that I was on sentinel duty & could not leave my post. My head was all gone & upside down—I could not think of anything; of anything but the swift disaster which we believed was hanging over our heads & ready to crush us at any moment. Life is purgatory at all times, & a swindle & a crime—yesterday it was hell. To-day there is a relenting; the Boston specialist has cheered every one up. The impossible has happened: Mrs. Clemens has received the professional nurse with favor. The family are banished—yet the
patient is reconciled [MTHL 2: 744-5]. Note: Sam misdated this Sept. 23; see source n1. The visit of Mildred Howells was likely sometime within the past few days.
Sam also wrote a progress report on Livy’s condition to H.H. Rogers.
Your letter is infinitely touching, & I am grateful beyond any words. I wrote you a note last night which was gloomy, & there was cause. We believed that the end was very close at hand. Mrs. Clemens is only a shadow now, & she seemed past the rallying point. Nothing escapes her, even when there is apparently no light in her eyes, & she discovered our alarm & hunted it home, questioning the witnesses one a time; & out of their tangle of lies extracting the truth, to the last detail. She saw that there was no one about her with any real courage left, except Katy. She lay & mediated long upon the situation—two or three hours—then her mind was made up, & she said “I intend to get well,” & dismissed the subject. Meantime I had been flying about York Harbor & caught one New York physician of note & started him out, & telephoned Boston for another. The New York doctor raised the chances & did good. This morning the Boston one said (I privately asked him to tell me the square truth & not spare me) “I at present see no reason at all that she should not build up & get as well as she was before.”
I improved on this report a little & the effect upon the patient was fine.
A professional nurse has arrived from Boston, & the impossible has happened: Mrs. Clemens has received her with favor. We have been banished, & Mrs. Clemens accepts it.
Our difficulty has been, that Mrs. Clemens has remained what she always was: boss. Her long-headed intelligence & wisdom (& strong character) have kept the place for her in spite of her physical helplessness, & we weaklings have done as was our life-long habit—succumbed; we were never taught anything else. She has
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.