Note: Bishop Henry Codman Potter (1835-1908), liberal Episcopal clergyman, was a friend of Sam’s, “celebrated for his attacks on vice and corruption in New York City under Tammany”; he was among the fusionist forces that elected Seth Low NYC Mayor in 1900. Edward T. Potter was the architect of the Clemenses Hartford house [n3-4].
May 11 Monday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote to Frank E. Bliss, suggesting if he came now Sam would discuss “the details of some very important talks” he’d been having, things which Bliss would want to know about [MTP].
Hill gives this as the date Sam signed the deed on the Hartford house, purchased by Richard M. Bissell .
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
It’s fine, that you are able to sit up & write a firm strong hand. It looks as if you are getting along exceedingly well. I’ve been up to-day & down stairs to breakfast, with the my clothes all on. But then Whitmore, arrived in the midst, & brought a deed to sign—for we have sold the Hartford house—& we talked 4 hours while waiting for a notary from Kingsbridge; then I was tuckered out & went back to bed, leaving him to do the waiting. Which was not long. The deed was executed, then Mr. Collier arrived from New York in his mobile & we have talked 2 hours. He is just gone—6 p.m. He wants the handling of a cheap edition of the books, & when Harvey gets back from Europe & you get back from Fairhaven I think it can be managed. Duneka came up the other day, & I talked plain. Duneka finally said he was wiling, & the Colonel would be willing, to destroy the existing contracts & start fresh, the Harpers to have the whole retail-handling of my books & Bliss to have the monopoly of all sets & charge for them any price he might choose, the Harpers to have no dictation in the matter.
We’ve rented the Tarrytown house for 5 months, with option to buy within that time at $52,000 cash. It’s the same man that’s been snooping around for 4 years, & who wanted it some months ago on $20,000 cash & $32,000 secured by mortgage.
We’ve built a deck-room, with awnings on top of the porch, & Mrs. Clemens sits or lies there a good part of each day, now, & is making good progress though she cannot yet walk alone.
To-day, of her own accord, she proposed to let me go up & spend a night at Fairhaven some time when the yacht is going. That shows she is getting healthy—& it’s the surest sign I’ve seen. Heretofore she has not been willing to have me outside the house a night lest her anxieties give her a nervous set back.
I think I’ll get up again, now, for an hour. I live on spoon-victuals altogether—I can’t bite anything. The dentist came out here & performed the surgical operation for Riggs’s disease—performed it on all my teeth in 2 or 3 hours. It will be a week or so yet before I can bite. But they are
mighty good teeth, & sound as a nut [MTHHR 526-7]. Note: Rigg’s disease, named after American dentist John W. Riggs (1811-1885), also know as pyorrhea, is an inflammation of the gums which causes looseness and loss of teeth.
Livy and Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore. Livy was anxious that things in the Hartford house might be sold that she wanted to keep and gave him a few particulars. Sam added directions to ship 3 items to Susan Crane in Elmira: “The little old coupe carriage; The oil Andrea del Sarto of the Holy Family; The ‘Emmaline’ (rough water color of a lovely young girl) alongside the library mantel” [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “APH [designating aphorism:] / Adam, man’s benefactor—he gave him all he has ever received that was worth having—Death” [NB 46 TS 16].
Poultney Bigelow typed a letter to Sam.
I was going to bike up to you today—then I found too much work on me and have put it off till tomorrow, Tuesday, I wanted to carry this in person.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.