I am superstitious. I kept the prediction in mind and often thought of it. When at last it came true, Oct.
22,/03, there was but a month and 9 days to spare.
The contract signed that day concentrates all my books in Harper’s hands, and now at last they are valuable: in fact they are a fortune. The guarantee me $25,000 a year for 5 years, but they will yield twice as much that for many a year, if intelligently handled. Four months ago I could not have believed that I could ever get rid of my 30-years’ slavery to the pauper American Publishing Co—a worthless concern which always kept a blight upon the books [MTHHR 540n1: NB 46: TS 15]. Also entered: “Dr. Starr, 10 a.m. / To-day the Bliss-Harper contract was signed. See. Apl. 17/02” [TS 28]. Note: Louis Hamon was Cheiro.
The Clemens family boarded the Princess Irene in Hoboken, N.J. and took possession of Suite 1 on the promenade deck [Oct. 21 to Johnson]. Flowers and fruit waited on board for them, a gift from Mrs. H.H. Rogers and Mrs. Coe [MTHHR 541n1: NB 46 (formerly 36) TS 28]. They would sail the next day for Genoa, Italy. Isabel V. Lyon and her mother would make the trip about a month later [before Nov. 1 SLC to unidentified].
October 24 Saturday – The Clemens family and hired help sailed for Genoa, Italy in the Princess Irene
[MTHHR 541n1]. Note: the voyage would take 14 days. Isabel Lyon and her mother would sail on Nov. 7 [NY Times, p.13, Nov. 7, 1903]; Sam thought their arrival would be about Nov. 22 or 23; Hill gives the delay and change of plans for Lyon due to her treatment for an eye infection . Trombley gives it as “an injury” [MT’s Other Woman 28]. The injury may have led to infection. Lyon would be bothered by the wounded eye for years without cure.
Sam’s notebook: “Sailed in the Princess Irenefor Genoa at 11. Flowers & fruit from Mrs Rogers & Mrs. Coe. We have with us Katy Leary (in our domestic service 22 years) & Miss Margaret Sherry (trained nurse)” [MTB
1209; NB 46 TS 28]
The New York Times, p. 9, ran “Mark Twain Makes Some Parting Remarks”:
MARK TWAIN MAKES SOME PARTING REMARKS
Comments on Aristophanes, Rabelais, Dowie, and Mrs. Eddy.
Henry W. Lucy Arrives and the British
and American Humorists Tell Stories About Each Other.
Henry W. Lucy, the British humorist, better known as Toby, M. P., arrived in this country yesterday morning with his wife on the Cunard Line steamship Lucania for a five weeks’ visit. Shortly after he arrived Mark Twain sailed for Italy on the North German Lloyd steamship Prinzessin Irene. Mr. Lucy, as he came off of the steamship, had a note in his hand which, he said, was from Mark Twain. It read: “You arrive this morning, and I sail this afternoon, in order to avoid you.”
In explaining the note, he said:
“Some time ago Mark Twain and I were at a surprise dinner to E. A. Abbey, the artist when he proposed to me that we start a paper called The Obituary. We were to print the life of every living man of prominence, send him the proof, and ask him for 50 pounds for suppressing the story. I considered the matter and wrote to Twain that it was agreeable to me. Since then he has made every effort, and successfully, to keep of my way.”
Before Mark Twain sailed he was told what Lucy had said, and he replied:
“That’s true, we did talk it over, and I think there never was a better paying institution that could be devised. You see, the idea was to write the most scandalous things about a man while he was alive, and tell him it would be published at the time of his death unless he paid to have it kept out of the papers. If the man paid handsomely, we would allow him to alter the proof and cover up the spots on his career. There are very few men who have not some spots that can be artistically covered. He could cut the proof, add to it, or polish it as much as he wished, but he had to pay for that. He could have as many of the copies of the paper in which the article was printed as he wished, and in the end he could, by paying enough money, get as good a reputation as he wanted, and one of which his family could be proud.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.