never visited because he would have to cross the river to do so. How would Sam like it if he and his son came to visit him sometime? [MTP].
December 25 Thursday, Christmas – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frank Bliss.
You needn’t hurry, beyond the usual—I’m not asking that—but in a week or so when your check is ready, send it. Clara & I are still on deck, but otherwise the house is a hospital, & the expenses phenomonal. There is plenty of money, but it is in sound investments, & I do not wish to disturb it unless I must.
Merry Christmas to you! [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Emilie R. Rogers (Mrs. H.H. Rogers).
It is lovely of you to remember my vices, not to rebuke them but to condone them. It is the right spirit, & I thank you. If there was more of it in the world we could have more vices & be happier.
(That pension is collected. He doesn’t believe any Lewis, but it’s all right I’ve got the money.)
1.45 p.m. Th doctor has just been in. He is still uncertain as to Jean’s malady, but fears it is pneumonia. I was privately suspecting it myself.
The very best of Christmases to you, dear Mrs. Rogers [MTP]. Note: H.H. Rogers had chipped in for the pension of John T. Lewis, hero and retired servant of the Langdons, who in 1877 saved Ida Langdon (Mrs. Charles J. Langdon) and daughter Julia from death in a runaway carriage.
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
I am right down glad my friends did not approve the quality of the time I was exploiting & had no cordial confidence in the blacking-box, for now I have my reward. It is just a daisy, this new watch! & if I had old Baker’s flow & gift of language I could thank you as I want to; but as it is, I only feel it & can’t say it. You know there was something inadequate about the blacking-box, although I dissembled concerning it. It never called me at eight exactly; it couldn’t seem to hit the bull’s eye, but knocked to the splinters off all around it, five & ten points out, sometimes to the east, sometimes to the west—but this one drove the center this morning, a fine & impressive novelty.
The furrow-preventer is lovely—it was dear & good of you to think of that protector. Mrs. Clemens took the care of the silver one years ago, lest I should lose it (that was her way of smoothing-over robbery with violence), & her friend the Jesuit priest got away with it. She will want to protect this one when she gets well. I wonder what that will be; she had a bad time day before yesterday, but is doing well, now, & sent down her Xmas greetings for you & Mrs. Rogers this morning, but you were away from home & the telephone. Clara is lying to her with an expertness & ability born of sick-room practice, & making her believe Jean is having pleasant times out-doors; if she knew Jean’s temperature of yesterday (103 2/5 ) and to-day (103 4/5) and that the doctor cannot determine what the disease is, she would go out of her mind.
I’m coming in, in a few days. Thank you ever so much about that contract, I must call Harvey’s attention to that clause.
Your chances are good for a Merry Xmas, & here is hoping you & yours are having it in full measure [MTHHR 512-3]. Note: Jean Clemens would develop pneumonia. Harper & Brothers had exclusive rights to all Mark Twain books and articles until Jan. 1902; this suggests negotiations were taking place for the extension of those rights, which was accomplished in Oct. 1903 [n2].
December 26 Friday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Susan Crane.
Susy dear, I thank you ever so much for those cunning little conveniences. They will be ever so handy & useful.
I wrote Charley a considerable letter to-day which will give you an idea of the terrors Clara & I are undergoing—for the time will come when Livy will divine that something is the matter with Jean—& what can we do? Tell her the truth? By that time Jean’s pneumonia will have brought her in great danger. Livy will find it out. Her heart is bad; Clara is sure it will not be able to bear the shock.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.