Five minutes ago I said “it is no use”—& put my work away. For Clara came from the other sick room & brought the report I was expecting: Jean has pneumonia.”
Katy wants to be night-nurse, Maria wants to be day-nurse, those good girls; but we must have another professional—it will be best. We are face to face with an immense emergency. Livy was promised by the doctor that she should see me as soon as Xmas & its trying emotions should be fairly & safely by. It must be lied out of, now, because if I saw her, no lie would deceive her as to why Jean couldn’t come, too. Livy is counting the minutes. It will not take her long to become suspicious.
Clara is persecuted with superstitions, born of my Xmas story; I am persecuted with superstitions (& have been for 5 months), born of Cheiro’s prophecy of 7 years ago & repeated 4 years ago in the same words): “In your 68th year you will become—rather suddenly—very rich.” To become rich—& have no use for the money!
It can easily happen. Disaster stealthily tracking me 7 years, disguised as Good Fortune. It can easily happen.
Don’t inquire of us, Charley. Don’t remind us—at least not by telegraph. The telegraph seems to add to the fears, somehow.
With great love to you all, … [MTP].
Sam also wrote on the back side of Harper’s “Literary Gossip” column for Nov. 20 to Louise Morgan Sill of Harper’s Bazar.
Souvenirs James H. Hyde
James Mac Alister
Reed’s is to be upholstered & sent by Col. Harvey to Mrs. Reed [MTP].
James B. Pond and family sent their group photo to Sam, inscribed: “To Mark Twain / The Pond Trinity / Xmas 1902 / Bim Pond, Jr. 13 on Monday” [MTP].
December 27 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam began a letter to William Dean Howells that he finished Dec. 28.
Suppose you send Dick Burton’s letter to Stoddard, & say, “Your proposal to expose Harriott to the publishers seems as good idea to Clemens & me. If the case were ours, we would send him a copy of Burton’s letter & say we were going to lay it before the several publishers & ask their advice as to how best to proceed in order to get the rest of the money due; & if Harriot did not reply with the money or a satisfactory promise, we should then go ahead & do that.”
It is the only promising next-move I can think of, & S. can make it perfectly well without us. I think it will
Jean is in a flaming fever to-night, poor thing [MTHL 2: 760-1].
In N.Y.C. William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
I enclose a letter for H., [Frederick C. Harriott] which please have copied and send him, if you approve it. If he does not disgorge, I would ask Burton, if I were you, to write him, and remind him of the whole transaction, and then remark that he (B.) [Richard Burton] would be glad to hear from us that he (H.) had made full restitution to S. [Charles W. Stoddard] H. seems now disposed to make a stand, and as what we want is merely to get the money for S.and leave H. to his bad dreams, we had better not use the whip till we have tried chucking a little more. So I think [MTHL 2: 759]. Note: to see the enclosed letter from Howells to Fred Harriott, see source n1.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.