May 31 Sunday –
proper for the living, they are proper & safe for the dead only. I value the impulse which moves you to tender me these honors: I value it as highly as any one can, & am grateful for it, but I should stand in a sort of terror of the honors themselves. So long as we remain alive we are not safe from doing things, which, howsoever righteously & honorably intended, can wreck our repute & extinguish our friendships. I hope that no society will be named for me while I am still alive, for I might at some time or other do something which could cause its members to regret having done me that honor. After I shall have joined the dead I shall follow the custom of those people & be guilty of no conduct that can wound any friend; but until that time shall come I shall be a doubtful quantity, like the rest of our race [MTP].
Isabel Lyon wrote for Sam to Will Larrymore Smedley (1871-1958), artist, illustrator and writer in Chatauqua, N.Y., thanking him for the gift of “the little landscape,” which he would be glad to accept
[MTP]. Note: see Aug. 29.
Sam’s notebook: contains annual estimates of American Publishing Co. profits from the sales of his books,
totaling: “Only $50,000 in 5 yrs [NB 46 TS 17].
Sam’s notebook: “Bergheim here—lunch. / [Horiz. Line separator] / Take him to Lotos— / [Horiz. Line separator] / Leave him there & go to Mr. Rogers & show him Collier proposal” [NB 46 TS 18].
June 1, before – Sam wrote to Daniel Willard Fiske, asking help in finding a furnished villa near Florence, Italy. He divulged that he was also writing Mrs. Ross , (Janet D. Ross ) and that daughter Clara was also writing Miss Hall and Miss Blood to keep an eye out for a place “during the next 5 or 6 months.” Livy added a PS in the top margin: “Do you know of any very good physicians in Florence?”
[MTP]. Note: this letter date is based on Fiske’s June 1 cable, and is likely 10 days or so prior to June 1. So, more accurately dated as ca. May 21.
June 1 Monday – In Riverdale, N.Y. Sam wrote again to Daniel Willard Fiske.
The cablegram [not extant] arrived this morning, promising the particulars, & was very welcome. Mr. [George Gregory] Smith may have sent an earlier letter; if so, it tried to find us in Hartford & got lost. We tried to trace it; but failed. When Mrs. Clemens (who is a strenuous objector) lets me alone, I use no address but just “New York City”—then the answering letter cannot miscarry, for I always keep the General Postoffice posted as to my whereabouts; but if I say “Riverdale” trouble follows, oftener than otherwise.
Mrs. Clemens is naturally desirous of knowing the number & size of the rooms in the villa, & if the warming-arrangements are good. Also if there is a bedroom & water-closet on the ground floor, for she is tired living upstairs, & in this house she has to.
I have engaged passage in the “Lahn,” which sails for Genoa Sept. 26, & we believe Mrs. Clemens is going to be strong enough to endure the voyage by that time. The doctors say she might even make the voyage now. But of course we don’t want to hurry—the early part of October will be early enough to arrive in Florence. It will still be hot there. We remember.
If the particulars jibe with Mrs. Clemens’s ideas it will be joyful news for her, & better than medicine! [MTP]. Note: George Gregory Smith (b.1845), attorney from a prominent Vermont family, friend of Fiske’s and a close neighbor of the Clemenses in Florence for the 1903-4 period. See more on Smith in Orth’s article, MTJ (Fall 2003) p.27-36. Fiske enlisted Smith’s help to find an appropriate villa, as Fiske was just leaving for the summer [Orth 30]. The Clemens family would not sail for Italy until Oct. 24, 1903 on the Princess Irene.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
I expect to arrive Wednesday 12.05 noon. [June 3]
I shall see Frank Bliss before I return. Ask him to look at his books and tell you how many copies of “Innocents Abroad” have been sold from the beginning down to the present time, exclusive of the uniform edition.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.