the hill & be in Florence in 7 minutes. Possession can be had when Lord Salisbury vacates it next summer. Do come over & take it. Shall I speak for it? Ask Mrs. Rogers.
I am glad Mr. Benjamin has taken hold of that thing. Reeves has had more than a year in which to find out that the house needs shingling; perhaps he finds it out now for spite, since he got caught “doing” me for $500 unearned money.
I am exceedingly glad to have the Sun. It seems to me that it has very greatly improved.
Daniel Hawks at 150 is not a bad picture by any means. I don’t remember when it was taken, nor where. I have a letter from Mrs. Crane all about the alleged John T. Lewis. I will have it typed & sent to you
[MTHHR 544-6]. Note: Sam’s article, “Italian Without a Master” ran in Harper’s Weekly for Jan. 2, 1904. It was included in The $30,000 Bequest and Other Stories (1906) [Budd, Collected 2: 1009]. “Daniel Hanks” is a reference to Harry Rogers, the name taken from a poem, “The Village Oracle” by Joseph C. Lincoln in Cape Cod Ballads and Other Verse (1902); evidently the character had a streak of stubbornness which reminded Sam of young Harry [n2]. See Dec. 3 from Sue Crane for the letter here enclosed.
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam, whose books were selling well; newspapers around the country were saying good things about Mark Twain.
It seemed good to see your handwriting again and it was doubly good to get a chance at that very funny story of your furtive encounter with an elusive Italian newspaper. The Colonel has taken it for the Weekly and proposes to make much of it. Meanwhile can I hope for something from your pen for the special midsummer fiction number of the Magazine—and for the Christmas (1904) number. Your dog story made a great hit— and an Englishman wants a pamphlet of it to give to the anti-vivisectionists in England [MTP].
December 17 Thursday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Francis H.
It is a charming young lady. She brought the book, & I have dipped into it with satisfaction—here I only dip & sip, for I am at work, these days, on a steady long job. We are beginning to like it here; we are housed, but not quite homed yet. But we are a long journey from town, & I like that. The daughters pay the visits & I stay at home.
Mrs. Clemens is not prospering as we could wish [MTP].
December 18 Friday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam finished his Dec.16 to H.H.
Dec. 18 Mrs. Clemens was very ill all yesterday afternoon & last night, with white spots in her throat & high fever, mind wandering at intervals. She is better this morning, but very weak. She has no strength wherewith to withstand such attacks. She is far from being as strong as she was when you took her down the Hudson in the yacht. The 14-day sea-voyage was a terrible strain on her, the first-cabin savages kept her awake night & day. We shall travel in a real cattle-boat next time; I want no more contact with ladies & gentlemen & other [two or three words heavily canceled]
I will go down now & see her a moment. Only a moment is allowed. I wish we had stayed at home….
Sam also wrote to Mary Mapes Dodge.
Your dear & welcome letter was delayed. It went to Riverdale, then to Elmira, N.Y., then to New York, & reached my hand just as we were starting for the steamer, Oct. 24th. Since then Livy & I have answered it many times—in our heads & hearts, but not with the pen; for she is never well enough to write letters, & I have been over-crowded with literary work that needed close attention if I would keep in the vein, so I have neglected my letters & pushed my work. Until now. Now comes a suspension of labor, also a suspension of interest in it. For Livy has had a backset. There was a splendid sunshiny day—almost the only one we have seen since we entered this house—& Livy was taken from her bed & conveyed, in her wheel-chair into the
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.