Vol 3 Section 0917
about 3 weeks before. However I cabled the London office acknowledging receipt of the “cheques”—plural; I judged you would understand it to include the £35 from Lloyd’s Weekly.
To-day comes your cable “Silence distressing—write;” & for a time I wonder in what way I’ve been silent. There being no nurses watching, I climbed out & down stairs, & there lay the dam letter on the chair-arm, & as thoroughly unposted as it had been when I saw it last. I’m devilish sorry, & I do apologize—for although I am not as slow as you are about answering letters, as a rule, I see where I’m standing this time.
Meantime Mr. Rogers has returned & been operated on for appendicitis 2 or 3 weeks ago, & his wife telephones that he has been sitting up a little the last 2 or 3 days, & will sail for his summer home on his yacht to-morrow morning—& so, I shan’t see him for weeks to come.
Two weeks ago Jean was taken down with measles, & I haven’t been able to go to her & she hasn’t been able to come to me.
But Mrs. Clemens is making nice progress‘, & can stand alone a moment or two at a time.
Now I’ll post this [MTP].
Sam also wrote to Brander Matthews.
I’m still in bed, but the days have lost their dulness since I broke into Sir Walter & lost my temper. I finished Guy Mannering—that curious, curious book, with its mob of squalid shadows jibbering around a single flesh-&-blood being—Dinmort; a book crazily put together out of the very refuse of the romance-artist’s stage-properties—finished it & took up Quentin Durward, & finished that.
It was like leaving the dead to mingle with the living: it was like withdrawing from the infant class in the College of Journalism to sit under the lectures on English literature in Columbia University.
I wonder who wrote Quentin Durward? [MTP]. Note: Guy Mannering (1815) published anonymously by Sir Walter Scott; Quentin Durward (1823) also by Scott. See MTB 1198; which notes this letter was “evidently mislaid” and not mailed until June, 1910, after Twain’s death. Note: Gribbens estimates that this letter and Sam’s May 4, also to Matthews, consitute “Clemens’ most complete commentaries on Scott’s novels” .
The Hartford Courant, p.5, “Mark Twain’s House,” reported the sale of the Clemens’ home to Richard M. Bissell, “who recently came to Hartford from Chicago to become vice-president of the Hartford Fire Insurance Company….The sale was made through the agency of Franklin G. Whitmore.”
May 9 Saturday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore concerning items in the Hartford house that should be sold loose: “3 or 4 sets of billiard balls,” worth about $50 per set; the old safe in the cellar Sam had purchased for $200, “painted windows…made in England after the house was finished.” Sam noted that the seller of the Tarrytown house had ripped out built in bookshelves “when our back was turned” [MTP].
May 10 Sunday – In N.Y.C. William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
Yes, this is true glory, as we used to imagine it; not the tawdry counterfeit we have experienced. How enviable those newspaper men and women are, and at this point on the wrong slope of the hill, how incredible!—I am awfully sorry for you, you poor fellow, and the first bad day, when I can’t walk Mrs. Howells into the Park, I am coming out to see you again. What you need all the time is some good appreciative contemporary to swear to.— Just think of that nice fellow who sent me the telepathic story about the sumac, turning into an unfortunate writer, and unloading a sheaf of rejected contributions onto me! It was bitter. But I think one—about the early war days in Nevada would have interested you. It was how they ran out of Va. City a gang of desperadoes who came to break up a Union meeting….I heard a funny story about a
clerical Potter (father of the Bishop, I believe) who got married four times. At one of the weddings, one of the young ones bleated for some unknown cause, in the church, and an older sister explained, “Oh, he always cries that way when papa gets married.” —Talking of Potter reminds me of your architect, and your house. Is it really true that you’ve sold it? I congratulate you conditionally. / Yours ever…[MTHL 771-2].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.