Mrs. Clemens has had three bad nights in succession—with this one—the other two were concealed from me to keep my Hartford trip from being spoiled. I am not frightened, but I am uneasy, for she cannot bear much more. She was only a shadow when I saw her last, a month ago, & could hardly raise herself in bed; Clara reveals to me that she is still frailer now, & weaker. Of course I shall not go to Hartford, now that I know. I am dreadfully sorry for any trouble I have put you & Mrs. Whitmore to, but you will understand. If I were the author of the play I should feel almost obliged to go—still, I should not do it—but in the circumstances my presence will not be important. I only found out by accident, last night, that Mrs. Clemens was not prospering; Clara & the nurse & the doctor can easily conspire together & keep Jean & me in the dark when it seems best & humanest for us, but Clara confessed that she has been on the point once or twice of asking me to remain at home. Henceforth she will not need to ask me; I shall not go out of town any more until her mother is on her feet. Please tell the friends why I do not come.
I judge by the silence (5.15 a.m.) in the sickroom for the last quarter of an hour, that nurse & patient are getting some rest at last. I am grateful for that. I also will try [MTP].
Sam also wrote to an unidentified person. “I am sorry but I am over driven” [MTP].
Hélène Elisabeth Picard wrote from Vosges, France to Sam, addressing it, as she typically did, to “My dear Chief Servant.” She was sad after his letter about Livy, and hoped for her full recovery. She had asked for President Roosevelt to send her a word and she thanked Sam for his evident assurance he would ask. She had been able to get autographs from George Land, Michelet, Edmond About, Emile Zola and Victor Hugo. She lamented the “terrible death” of Zola. She also wrote: “But, I shall add what you said of Bret Harte: I detested the man.—I did. I guess you detested Bret Harte because he left his country and gave his splendid talent to another one, though it is only a guess” [MTP]. Note: Though legible, her hand is so very tiny.
November 10 Monday – W. Harlan wrote from New Whatcom, Wash. to Sam, asking for a list of his books and which were the funniest; he wanted to recommend them to his patients. A doctor? Or a quack, Harlan believed in the power of vibration, which he called “Vibraopathy” [MTP]. Note: Clemens wrote on the env. “Curiosity”.
November 11 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook : “Take 2 p m. train for Hartford. / Bought …180 ½ Chi. Milwaukee & St. Paul, common 8% & 5 shs purchasable at par” [NB 45 TS 33]. Note: Sam decided not to go to Hartford due to Livy’s worsening condition [Nov. 9 to Dillingham].
In N.Y.C. William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
Here is a thing as perfectly hopeless as to print, as “The Burning Shame,” but isn’t it the very thing? I appeal to your greater knowledge. This fellow has got it in him, if he can stop getting it out in the present style of facts. Let me have the MS back. Are you coming to the Cambon dinner on Saturday? [MTHL 2: 748-9].
Notes: Howells sent Sam a story by Clark B. Wakefield, a 21-year-old writer in Denison, Texas. See n1 in source. Gribben concludes, “evidently the story did not survive” . “The Burning Shame” was the original title of the King and the Duke’s indecent skit in HF, which in the revised version became “The King’s Camelopard.” A dinner on Nov. 15 at Sherry’s Restaurant in N.Y.C. was held for Jules M. Cambon, French ambassador to the U.S., who was being transferred to Madrid. Sam was scheduled to be a speaker (see Nov. 6 to Hyde) but did not attend, probably due to Livy’s worsening condition.
Charles Warren Stoddard wrote to Sam from Wash. D.C., relating how he’d been mistreated by Frederick Harriott, husband to actress Clara Morris. Harriott had not paid Stoddard royalties due, after taking on the duties of an agent. Thus began a campaign by Howells and Sam to recover the $500 owed
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.