October 31 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y.: Sam’s notebook: “(See Sept. 28.) Jean’s last faint was July 31—92
days without an attack: 13 weeks. (See Oct. 9. also.) ” [NB 45 TS 32].
Sam wrote to Joe Twichell.
DEAR JOE,—It is ten days since Susy wrote that you were laid up with a sprained shoulder, since which time we have had no news about it. I hope that no news is good news, according to the proverb; still, authoritative confirmation of it will be gladly received in this family, if some of you will furnish it. Moreover, I should like to know how and where it happened. In the pulpit, as like as not, otherwise you would not be taking so much pains to conceal it. This is not a malicious suggestion, and not a personally-invented one: you told me yourself, once, that you threw artificial power and impressiveness into places in your sermons where needed, by “banging the bible”—(your own words.) You have reached a time of life when it is not wise to take these risks. You would better jump around. We all have to change our methods as the infirmities of age creep upon us. Jumping around will be impressive now, whereas before you were gray it would have excited remark.
Poor Livy drags along drearily. It must be hard times for that turbulent spirit. It will be a long time before she is on her feet again. It is a most pathetic case. I wish I could transfer it to myself. Between ripping and raging and smoking and reading, I could get a good deal of a holiday out of it.
Clara runs the house smoothly and capably. She is discharging a trial-cook to-day and hiring another. / A power of love to you all! / MARK [MTP: Paine’s 1917 Mark Twain’ Letters, p.728].
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
This is private. It may be that I shall spend the 7th & 8th of November in Hartford (at your house, if there is room.) As I am not yet certain, let’s keep it private.
Meantime I wish you would ask Dr. Porter to get that infamous restriction removed from my land. If he is willing Mrs. Chamberlin ought to be, for she will not live very long. If he declines, I will go & see him when I come; but I hope he won’t decline.
I want Mrs. Clemens to let the house be put up at the upset price of $30,000, but she can’t talk business yet. But if we can get that restriction removed the house will really become saleable, I think.
We think she gains a little strength, but it isn’t much [MTP]. Note: Mrs. Franklin Chamberlin, neighbor at the Farmington Ave. house; Sam did not have great relations with the late Mr. Chamberlin; see Vol. I. Due to Livy’s bad episodes, Sam did not go to Hartford.
Sue Crane, back in Elmira since Oct. 25, replied to Grace Sewell, daughter of the Clemenses neighbor in York Harbor, Maine.
Indeed you and your father were both very greedy, in a most lovely way, for I am sure you would never have thus labored to get any thing for yourselves. And there are so many of these almost invisible seeds! I know too, so well how much searching, and bending over brown stalks, was required to gather such a quantity.
You may be sure that I shall strive to make every seed become a plant, with the blue flowers so dear to me, and if I am rewarded by blossoms, beside the one dear face I always see in the fringed gentian, I shall also see you, your father and mother.
You will be interested to know that the last flowers, which I took to the train, came out beautifully, and were sent in to Mrs Clemens as a good omen, and as we were picking up to leave the train, Mrs Clemens asked Miss Clara to be sure and save the gentians. Seeing her guard the small bunch of flowers, I took charge of them, and in the morning sunshine, in my Riverdale room, they wakened again, and again, with wide open fringes were taken to cheer the invalid, who has somewhat the feeling for them that I have.
Yes we are very much encouraged in regard to Mrs Clemens. She sat up an hour, out of doors on Tuesday and did not suffer from it. No doubt a long time will be required to restore the tired nerves, but I believe it will come to pass, with care. Miss Clara & Jean now have with them their mothers dearest and oldest
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.