November 16 Monday – Mary Elizabeth Phillips sent a money order to Sam for 25 cents, probably for the print she sent the day before (above) [MTP]. Note: on the env.: “Preserve this rubbish / SLC.”
November 17 Tuesday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote on John Y.
MacAlister’s letter of introduction to Guido Biagi.
“Dear Signr Biagi— / I shall call at the Library when this weather goes back to London where it belongs. You will not remember it, but I have already met you—at the Library, in ’92” [MTP]. Note: MacAlister’s letter humorously credits his letter of introduction for Biagi to Mark Twain as owing to his “exuberant generosity, for you have never done anything to deserve it….”
Sam then wrote to John Y. MacAlister.
It’s a jolly good dividend. A draft on London is greatly respected by my Florentine banker—let it come in that form.
I’ll send the letter to Biaji [Biagi], & follow it with a call presently. That’s a grand library.
Florentine sunshine? Bless you, there isn’t any. We have heavy fogs every morning, & rain all day.
We are (very gradually) settling down, but there is no guessing, yet, when we are really going to feel at home. This house is not merely large, it is vast—Therefore I think it much always lack the home feeling. Besides, none of us but Jean talks the language—& the servants are all natives. It is unspeakably awkward & harassing. The grounds are extensive—a very good thing: for the madam is sent here to live out-doors. She was gaining—decidedly—until a week ago, when she got a bad burn with carbolic acid by accident. It will keep her in the house & in pain some time yet [MTP].
Chatto & Windus wrote two letters to Sam. The first: “We hope by now that you have settled down, and are comfortable in your winter quarters in Florence. We have just received a letter from Mr. Bliss, informing us that he is despatching 250 copies of Vol. 23 of the Edition de Luxe of your Works.” Bliss asked them to remit $250 [MTP]. Sam wrote on the env. “I to authorize him to send Bliss $250” / Send Free to MacAl. / Send me a photo for Collier / Ans. Nov. 21.”
The second letter from Chatto & Windus:
“Messrs. Harper wrote us on Nov. 2nd respecting the sale in Great Britain and the Colonies of the new collected edition of your works in twenty volumes, which it is proposed to bring out in the United States, to be sold by subscription in sets only at a cheap price ($12), and the enclosed copy of our reply shows how the matter now stands.” Chatto was skeptical that their market could absorb “such large numbers of the new edition as Mr. Collier sees his way to handle in the United States.” They did not think it advisable to introduce a cheap set into the English market.
November 18 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook: “Mrs. Crocker T.D. f / Villa Solferino / 8 & 10 Via Solferino /
Dinner, 7 p.m. / (& Mrs. Acklan)” [NB 46 TS 30]. Note: Mrs. Mary Aklom (Mrs. A.J. Aklom), appears in various spellings.
St. Clair McKelway wrote a letter of introduction to Sam for Miss Theodosia Lawson Boone, “now a visitor in Florence, but a resident of New York City” [MTP]. Note: see Nov. 23 from Theodosia Boone.
November 19 Thursday – In Florence, George Gregory Smith wrote to his mother: “We necessarily see a
good deal of Mark Twain & his family. They are all delightful people” [Orth 31].
Sam’s notebook: “Dr. S. (G)iglioli—see Biagi Pref. Pol. ?
Dr. Grazzini (Little
Thanky)? (Praise these.) /
147860 (Prescription / British Pharmacy” [NB 46 TS
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.