Mrs. Clemens has read the letter, & it moved her deeply, as I knew it would. Among other things, she said, “In sharp stress you would go to Mr. Rogers, & I would consent; but you would not go to any other friend in the world; & if you should be willing, I should not consent.”
Now, you see, you are protected, for I can’t make out a case of sharp stress which would come up to her standard.
The improvement goes on. I sleep out of the house, & the family keep away from her room & leave her to the trained nurse—which is solitude & quiet rest.
The doctors have been babies in her hands—& the rest of us. If we had had a man on deck, she would have had a nurse & tranquility, & been on her feet 4 weeks ago, & she would have saved her summer & I mine.
She asked me to send her kindest regards to you and emphasize it [MTHHR 510].
Sam also wrote on the bottom of Edmund S. Mills’ Sept. 18 letter and sent it to Franklin G. Whitmore.
He offered me $5,000 more than we paid for the Tarrytown house, & I asked him to bait his client with the Hartford one (I didn’t expect he could.) I meant to send you his letter earlier, but Mrs. Clemens’s illness stopped everything.
She was very low, Sunday night, Monday & Tuesday, but now she is coming along most gratifyingly. [In one corner after his signature:] I wish those RR bonds had been sound; she would be well, now. Her worry has been because she bought the one house before she had sold the other [MTP].
September 27 Saturday – In York Harbor, Maine Sam wrote to Ida Langdon.
Livy & I wish to thank you ever so much for selecting the silver; it was dear & good of you, & lovely—all of which you always are.
It is an unspeakable disappointment & sorrow to us all that we cannot be there on the great day & wish joy to that dear couple & blow a hearty breath into their sails as they raise their anchor & begin their voyage—
which, may all prosperity attend! [MTP]. Note: Eleanor Sayles would marry Jervis Langdon II on Oct. 2.
Sam and Livy wrote to Eleanor Sayles.
Dear Lee: / Now that you are about to enter upon a great & solemn responsibility, & one which is new to you, perhaps a word from one who is experienced may be of service to you.
To begin, then: the first requisite to happiness in the married state is obedience. Where obedience is wanting, failure is certain; where obedience is wanting, trouble is sure to follow; where obedience is wanting, it were better, a hundred times better, that the marriage had never been.
The best way, the wisest way, the only safe & right way, is to exact it at the very start—then it will soon come easy to him. But if you fool around—but don’t do that, don’t do it. Your aunt Livy did that, for a long time, hoping against hope, but at the end of the week she realized her mistake, & ever since then, happiness has reigned.
He will want to rebel; but if you start right he will not want to a second time. This is Experience which is speaking at you; this is not from an amateur, this is from one who knows.
Enter into our tribe & enrich it with the graces of your youth & of your heart; be you welcome, & let us love you! / Your uncle / Sam.
Livy was well enough to add a short note in pencil on the reverse:
Will you accept this gift—(which we hope you will constantly use) as a token of our welcome into our clan from Mr Clemens & me & from one who hopes soon to have the right to sign herself affectionately “Aunt Livy” [MTP].
In Kittery Point, Maine William Dean Howells wrote to Sam, commenting on “The Belated Russian Passport,” which ran in the Dec. 6 issue of Harper’s Weekly.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.