Lewis went away very happy and grateful, for our monthly offering was added, and he saw his way to live through the winter in real comfort, and by degrees meet all his just obligations, for he too has found farming expensive.
He has worked so hard, to see so much effort wasted, and to see so many things go wrong, it is a joy to see his life brightened at last in just this way. It was an inspiration on your part, and has given happiness to others beside Lewis. He appreciates. and is grateful in a truly manly way—and if prayers can help those for whom they are uplifted you and Mr. Rogers will be helped every day when you are not thinking. [in right margin, in SLC’s hand: I will pray for you, too, unless you buy me off. SLC]
But I fear the uplift helps only the reverent soul that would bestow all good upon his fellows.
[in right margin, in SLC’s hand: Meaning you or me, no doubt. Perhaps me.] Good night and most lovingly….[MTP; enclosed in Dec. 16 and 18 to Rogers].
Sam’s notebook: “Lunch, 1 p.m / Madm Villari / 27 Viole Regina Victoria / Go with me see the priest”
[NB 46 TS 30].Note: Linda Villari. See Villari’s note of Dec. 7.
December 4 Friday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to William Dean Howells.
The Xmas No. is fine, & a worthy place for your moving & beautiful poem. How many it comes home to; how many have felt it, & having felt it once will feel it always. The crime of the Invention of the Human Race—how much it has to answer for!
You have written of Harte most felicitously—most generously, too, & yet at the same time truly: for he was all you ever said, & although he was more & worse, there is no occasion to remember it & I am often ashamed of myself for doing it. I have had a curious experience. In the bound Blackwood for 1871 I was reading that mag’s discovery of Harte & its surprise & admiration over the Luck of Roaring Camp, which it reproduced substantially in full. There stood his birth! & I was carried back to it: then the next night came your funeral services over him, in which you brought him in a princely progress across the applauding continent, young & dapper & brown-haired; & by & by laid him to rest, white-headed & half-forgotten, in an alien land. In the one night I saw him born; I saw him flit across the intervening day, as it were, & when night closed down again I saw him buried. It was wierd & impressive.
At last we are getting wonted to this fortress we are living in. It is rather comfortable (as European comfort goes), though God himself couldn’t start through it on a given excursion & not get lost. It is a monster accumulation of bricks for $2,000 a year—furnished. It must have been built for fuss & show & irruptions of fashion, not for a home. There are 20 large chambers on the top floor, but they are for servants. Our own floor (ground floor) is cut up into 21 rooms, passages, corridors, &c., & the floor above us is cut up into 22 of the like useless things (the house is 200 feet long)—yet if you were to come I could not find you a comfortable satisfactory place. Love to you!
[in left margin:] P.S. Mrs. Clemens improves a little. She thinks she can get 2 along without the trained nurse now, & will try the experiment [MTHL 774-5]. Note: the poem referred to in the opening of the letter was “Sorrow, My Sorrow, in the Dec. Harper’s. Howells had written in the”Editor’s Easy Chair” about Bret Harte, also the Dec. Harper’s.
December 5 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “The water was again shut off to-day. Upon inquiry, the Maestro di Casa was gone a brief journey” [NB 46 TS 31].
December 6 Sunday – The New York Times, p.4, “Mark Twain’s Wife Ill” squib announced what was really not news.
Theodosia Lawson Boone wrote to Sam, having received his “kind note” on Thursday morning. She could not visit the day suggested (not given) on account of illness of Mrs. Harrick, but would as soon as she recovered on “some other Thursday in the near future” [MTP].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.