Vol 3 Section 0939
July 10 Friday – Livy wrote to daughter Clara “about her admiration for [Louis] Agassiz’s fortitude in facing the prospect of blindness when he was a young man; he practiced the study of fossils by touch alone so that he would not be forced to give up his career [Gribben 12: MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Telegraphed Collier he better get definite 10 day option to purchase from Bliss & stop any farming-out projects / The week with the Gov. Gen. of Canada” [NB 46 TS 21].
July 11 Saturday – At Quarry Farm in Elmira, N.Y. Sam wrote to Hélène Elisabeth Picard.
“I thank you, with enthusiasm, for the moving & beautiful Joan pictures. They are a delight to the eye & an exaltation to the spirit. Thank you again!”
Sam then related the trip from Riverdale to Elmira and gave Livy’s status since arriving:
The Madam is gaining daily. She spends the whole day on the front porch (a good part of it sitting up in a chair), reading or enjoying the wide view of valley & town & the receding panorama of Pennsylvanian hills. (Here the summer weather is imported from Heaven.)
Good-by, dear France; I must go & help her pass the time [MTP: “Mark Twain’s Private Girls’ Club,” Ladies’ Home Journal , 1912, p.54].
Sam’s notebook: “Meeting with P of W at Homburg” [NB 46 TS 21]. Note: Sam’s recollection of the Prince of Wales may have had some relevance at this time, but exactly what is unclear.
July 12 Sunday – At Quarry Farm in Elmira, N.Y. Sam wrote to Samuel M. Bergheim, director of the Plasmon Syndicate, London. The letter is not extant but referred to in Bergheim’s July 29 reply.
July 13 Monday
July 14 Tuesday – At Quarry Farm in Elmira, N.Y. Sam wrote to Daniel Willard Fiske, who had replied to Sam’s request for a villa near Florence. Fiske’s reply is not extant. Sam thanked Fiske and Mr. George Gregory Smith for their efforts, but was in a quandary over a choice between Villa Papiniano, and the one recommended by Mrs. Janet Ross, Villa Marmigliana at Maiano. Available dates did not jibe with their travel plans, with the former not available till Nov. 15 and the latter two months earlier, Sept. 15. Papiniano lacked stoves and had no stable.
These things go for naught, unless
The villa is high, & dry, & sunny, & sheltered from the winter winds. The reason we are troubling you is, that we greatly desire to know if you know the villa & can recommend it as having the above advantages in equal degree with Papiniano.
Won’t you please cable me a liberal & comprehensive answer? (address “Mark Twain, Elmira, New York). I will refund when I come—I swear it. I owe Mr. Smith 130 lire—I intend to pay him, too. I swear it [MTP]. Note: Fiske answered on July 28. George Gregory Smith (b.1845), attorney from a prominent Vermont family, 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. See Sept. 20, Smith to his mother on Papiniano.
Sam also wrote to Franklin G. Whitmore.
Please give me the name & address of your Texan correspondent who has been taking care of the taxes &c., connected with Mrs. Clemens’s patch of Texas land. Mr. Langdon is going to establish relations with him & act for Mrs. Clemens while we are in Europe.
(I’ve mislaid the deed, but that’s only an incident; I am used to that.)
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.