George Gregory Smith, in Florence, Italy, wrote his mother: “On Wednesday last [Oct. 7] I signed the lease of the Villa di Quarto for Mark Twain. It is really very fine & beautifully furnished. He cables his satisfaction” [Orth 30]. Note: Sam’s responding cable is not extant.
October 12 Monday – At the Grosvenor Hotel in N.Y.C. Sam began a letter to Frank N. Doubleday that he added a PS to on Oct. 13.
The books came—ever so many thanks. I have been reading “The Bell Buoy” & “The Old Men” over & over again—my custom with Kipling’s work—& saving the rest for other leisurely & luxurious meals. A bell-buoy is a deeply impressive fellow-being. In these many recent trips up & down the Sound in the Kanawha he has talked to me nightly, sometimes in his pathetic & melancholy way, sometimes with his strenuous & urgent note, & I got his meaning—now I have his words! No one but Kipling could do this strong & vivid thing. Some day I hope to hear the poem chanted or sung—with the bell-buoy breaking in, out of the distance.
“The Old Men,” delicious, isn’t it? And so comically true. I haven’t arrived there yet, I suppose I am on the way . . . ./ Yours ever,/ Mark [MTP]. Note: “The Bell Buoy,” and “The Old Men,” poems by Kipling; see Gribben 376 and 380.
Sam also wrote to Frank N. Doubleday “Mrs. Clemens wishes you to send to her sister the best of all magazines of its breed—the big one which deals with American country homes and such. Check enclosed. … I am only guessing at the price…” [MTP].
Sam’s notebook (a to-do list): “
Tell Reeves to re-rent
or put a man on the place. /
Have sent to Miss Lyon. / Get
baggage-tags printed / Beckwith—lawyer—pay him. / See J.P. Morgan
& Mr. Rogers?” [NB 46 TS 25-26].
October 13 Tuesday – At the Grosvenor Hotel in N.Y.C. Sam added P.S. to his Oct. 12 to Doubleday:
P. S. Your letter has arrived. It makes me proud & glad—what Kipling says. I hope Fate will fetch him to Florence while we are there. I would rather see him than any other man.
We’ve let the Tarrytown house for a year. Man, you would never have believed a person could let a house in these times. That one’s for sale, the Hartford one is sold. When we buy again may we—may I—be damned.
I’ve dipped into Blowitz & find him quaintly & curiously interesting. I think he tells the straight truth too. I knew him a little, 23 years ago [MTP]. Note: Henri Blowitz (1825-1903), Bohemian journalist. In 1880 when Sam “knew him a little” he was the chief Paris correspondent for the London Times, most famous for the 1878 printing the Treaty of Berlin at the very moment it was being signed.
Sam also wrote to daughter Clara.
“Benny dear, I have been trying hard for two days, to get a ship for you for the 25th, but it is impossible. There is no ship for Italy on that date. So I am arranging for a tug—it is the best I can do. Dear child, don’t miss the tug. / Lovingly Yours” [MTP].
Sam also wrote to attorney Henry C. Griffin, Tarrytown about return of overpayment of taxes on the Tarrytown property. This letter is not extant but referred to in Griffin’s Oct. 15 reply [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Rented Hillcrest to Mr. Gardiner till Nov. 1/04 for $2,400. & extended to that date his option to buy for $52,000 cash (or $52,500, whichever it is.) Reeves, of Hoyt & Co 15 W. 42d st. / Carry letter & stock to Safe-Dep & examine 2 H – contracts” [NB 46 TS 26]. Note: George W. Reeves was Sam’s real estate agent. H contracts were Harpers. Charles A. Gardiner leased and then purchased the Tarrytown house
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.