friend, the lady for whom Clara was named, and who wrote me when I was in York that she would take my place for a time, if I needed to come home. She is to each member of the Clemens family what no one else can be, and she is able just now to leave her own family. Mrs. Stanchfield is dear to us all, and I like to think of her as there to cheer and encourage them all.
Yes, I found all things at home in good condition, thank you. I arrived on Saturday evening, [Oct. 25] to find the house bright, and very beautiful, with great branches of maple & oak. The dogs, the cat, the horses, as well as the dwellers in the home gave a cordial welcome. It was a joy to be at home, and a great joy to attend the morning service in the church. The pleasant greetings of friends on the streets in town, still goes on, and I feel anew that it is a privilege to grow up with a town from childhood. The old friends mean so much to us as we go older. There is also a peculiar charm in adding new friends, & in feeling that there may be a continually widening circle. I prize the friends added at York, and love to think of the many attractive features of that old place, and I often go over the bridge the “float”, and down among the old pine trees, in the darkness of the night, when sleep fails to come. I walk my little path between the red cottage, and your home, more cheerfully these nights than in the Aug & Sep nights, when your father’s lantern was the most cheering influence.
Your thoughtful letter of Oct 16 reached me at home, and I had already acted upon the suggestion of Mr Putnam, for the money order reached Riverdale, and as it could not be cashed at the office, I went to a relative in Wall St who is a banker, and obtained the money without difficulty. I went into Wall Street just after the shooting of those three men, the murderer taking his own life. There was great confusion & excitement so that I dreaded to go out onto the street again. But Mr Halsey went with me to a car; for its a confused wild place for a country woman. I thought of the peace & quiet of the Yorks, which I greatly prefered. It is odd that one day, being obliged to wait, I went to York Beach for the ride, & at the end of the car route, had an instinct that gentians grew in that neighborhood, and that I could find them if only there was time. You were very persevering in my behalf, and I thank you heartily, as well as your father—and, I am sure the seeds will grow for me. I shall try a few this fall, and some in the spring.
We have not yet had very cold weather. The grass is green, the oak trees are in glorious color, and the witchhazel is still in bloom.
On the afternoon of the day [after] Mrs Clemens was put in her own room she began to improve, as if new courage was given her by the fact that she could take that journey and live. We are all so very thankful it was taken that very day.
Please remember me most kindly to your father and mother, and I shall always regard you all as friends, for you were so very kind to me in those troubled weeks.
Please look at the pine trees, and the in flowing, and outgoing tide, for me, and remember that my spirit haunts your neighborhood as it does Riverdale, and Quarry farm [Heritage Auction Archives Oct. 15, 2009, Lot 35132; “Be Sure and Save the Gentians,” by Peter Salwen, 2005].
Sam’s notebook continued his thoughts about nurse Margaret Garrety, discharged on Oct. 23: “Too sudden a verdict [made on Oct. 6]. The above nurse turned out to be mechanically competent, (rule of thumb), but vain, silly, self-important, untrustworthy, a most thorough fool, & a liar by instinct & training. I discharged her Oct. 23” [NB 45 TS 30].
October, late – Sam began work again on the story he called “No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger.” The first chapter was composed of segments from the earlier “The Chronicle of Young Satan,” which he had put aside when the family sailed to America in 1900. From late this month through May 1903 he completed the first seven chapters [Lsytra 38].
November – Critic ran a brief review of “A Double-Barrelled Detective Story” on p.479. In full:
“Who but a man with an unassailable reputation would dare to make game of his constituents as is here done? It is doubtful if a publisher could have been found who would have printed this one hundred and seventy-five page joke had it been written by a nobody. In the first place, he has taken in vain the sacred name of Mr. Sherlock Holmes; and, in the second place, the public, who is also taken in, must pay one dollar and fifty cents per head for the privilege of having a gifted author laugh at it. The worst of it is, the joke is not even a very good one. The pseudo-dramatic style in which the first part is written would make any one pause to wonder what Mr. Clemens was up to
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.