Sam also wrote condolences to Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
Three of us in the family know of the bereavement which has come to you & Mrs. Aldrich, & we wish to offer our deep sympathy. It cannot help, but it is all that any can give. Mrs. Clemens lives in a world where no sorrows come from without—a blessed ignorance which sometimes seems compensation for her captivity. It seemed so this morning, when that man whom she loved & I loved passed to his rest, & she was spared the shock & I bore it alone. It is unrealizable. At this hour eight days ago I was writing Tom Reed a blithe letter— two days earlier I had flung friendly bricks at him in a speech, in return for a volley of the like from him—he was full of life & just his old self: & now he is an unreality, the remains of a dream [MTP]. Note: Aldrich’s son Charles, diagnosed in 1901 with tuberculosis, would die in 1904. Thomas would follow him in death in 1907.
Thomas Nast (1840-1902), editorial cartoonist and friend of Sam’s, died in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he was serving as American consul to Ecuador. It was Albert Bigelow Paine’s biography of Nast that impressed Clemens and led him to offer Paine the position as his biographer.
an unidentified person wrote thanks to Sam from Somerville, Mass., for his article on Christian Science in the North American Review [MTP].
December 8 Monday – Sam’s notebook: “Get to Rices by 6.45. Julia Marlow[e]’s new play. Stay all night. Hot Scotch” [NB 45 TS 34]. Note: English-born actress Julia Marlowe, born Sarah Frances Frost (1865-1950), played the role of Charlotte Durand in
Paul Kester and George Middleton’s dramatization of George W. Cable’s Southern romance, The Cavalier, which opened this night at Charles Frohman’s Criterion Theatre, Broadway and 44th St. [NY Times Dec. 7, p.34 “Offerings of the Week”]. Note: insert ad for Dec. 8 performance.
Prof. Henry Van Dyke wrote from Princeton, N.J.. to Sam.
The dinner was fine and therefore fit.
Velasquez might have made a better picture than the one on my souvenir. But he could not have said anything about my work that I would value half as much as your word. Do you mind my quoting it? That is a delicate question. The answer is written on the enclosed card.
We are studying the development of the short story in my advanced class this year. Next month we take you up. You know how it feels to be a Classic [MTP]. Note: Sam enclosed this note in his ca. Dec. 10 to Livy.
December 8 after – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam replied to Henry Van Dyke’s Dec. 8.
It probably costs you nothing to write a short story but I find that it costs me as many false starts—and therefore failures—as does a long one. And as the right start—the right plan—is the only difficulty encountered with either, consider what a rascal for time-expense the short story is to me. Ten years and five failures—that is about my luck. I had it with the one in the Christmas Weekly. And yet that one is so light and frivolous and looks so easy, and as if it couldn’t be started on a wrong plan, but I discovered four wrong ones in ten years. I have hardly ever started a story, long or short, on the right plan—the right plan being the plan which will make it tell itself without my help—except after three failures. I think you are safe to tell the advanced class that only the born artist can expect to start a story right the first time [MTP: Van Dyke, Tertius. Henry van Dyke: a Biography, 1935 p.218]. Note: this letter labeled December by MTP, but takes up the subject of short stories in Henry’s Dec. 8.
December 9 Tuesday – Sam’s notebook: “Jean fainted again. Are these a result of the fall on the ice?” [NB 45 TS 34].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.