garden to enjoy the balmy air & the pink cloud of the roses; & she was out too long, & caught cold, & was fatigued, for she is but a shadow & very feeble; & tonsilitis added itself to her other ailments; with night-sweats & a high temperature for two days & nights. And by consequence she is now back where she was 8 or 9 months ago, & is discouraged, & depressed. We are still permitted to see her for a moment several times a day, but it is not wise, & when the specialist returns from Rome to-morrow he will stop it, I suppose.
During the first week here—November 9 to 16th—she was wheeled to the dining room & took her daily dinner in our company. She resumed that journey lately, & kept it up until this backset; & it was a large journey, too, for her—400 feet the round trip—but we fear it will be long before she can do it again.
I wish we had never come. But the doctors believed it necessary, & we had to submit. The 14-day voyage was very hard upon her, for the passengers were very noisy (as those damned cattle always are) & she got but little sleep. I hope to meet some of them in hell yet.
It is all the news we have, dear Mrs. Dodge, except our love for you—which is not news [MTP].
In N.Y.C. H.H. Rogers wrote to Sam. His son-in-law, William Evarts Benjamin had looked into Sam’s property in Tarrytown and felt it was in good condition and should sell in Spring. The financial situation had not improved; timidity ruled. Rogers expected to see George B. Harvey of Harpers in the afternoon and ask him about Sam’s matters. He added family matters and plans for the holiday and later wrote a P.S.
I have had a talk with Colonel Harvey this afternoon, and he says the book business is pretty good this Fall. He reported to me that he had received a cablegram from you, telling him to deposit money with me. I will undertake to get it [MTHHR 547-8].
Sebastiano V. Cecchi of Haskard & Co., Bankers, Florence wrote to Sam.
In consequence of Miss Clemens instructions about the telephone communication which you desire, I had a conversation with the general manager yesterday, which was not satisfactory, so he could not be induced to promise me to begin placing the wire at once. This morning I called personally on this gentleman, and after a good deal of arguing (they have no fewer than 27 applications at this moment) I succeeded in getting his formal promise to give you the priority…within the month [MTP].
Hélène Elisabeth Picard wrote from Vosges, France to wish Sam and Livy improved health and a good New Year. She wished they could have a meeting of the Juggernaut Club, and also that they might do something, as long as it wasn’t needle work. She quoted “Tommy” from John Kendrick Bangs’ Idiot at Home: “I’d rather be spanked than not noticed at all!”[MTP].
December 19 Saturday – Harper’s Weekly, ran an anonymous article, “Mark Twain’s Audiences,” p. 2071. Tenney: “A brief, undocumented anecdote of MT’s reply to a question of what audiences make the most responsive and sympathetic listeners: ‘college men and convicts.’ Also, p. 2030, photograph of MT, without comment, in ‘A Group of Our Harper Authors and Artists’” .
Sam’s notebook: “1 p.m. Mrs. Birch. / Villa Negri / Villa Bolognesi” [NB 46 TS 31].
December 20 Sunday – William Dean Howells wrote to Sam.
It was sweet of you to write me those words about the poem, and about the Bret Harte, and I am glad that the half-truth of the B.H. didn’t quite seem to you a half-lie. What is to be done in such cases? Of course I could have written, though not more sincerely, things that would have left blisters on his fame; but after all, such things had better be left to Judgement Day, which I see more and more use for as I live along. If you read Alfred Russell Wallace’s “Man’s Place in the Universe,” as I’ve just been doing, you will see it too….You ought to read that book; then you would not swear so much at your species. … [MTHL 2: 776-7].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.