“SL. Clemens / Villa di Quarto / Florence/
If you have received the letter pamphlet I mailed you last week—I had to get it from New York, which took three days—you know that it was not to Yale that Daniel Hand bequeathed the pile his grand partner made for him, but to the emancipated slaves who had raised the cotton out of which it was made; which, to my mind, is a fine thing, in fact a thing approaching the sublime [MTP]. Note: Daniel Hand (1801-1891), Connecticut philanthropist. In 1888 he gave to the American missionary Assoc. more than one million dollars, to be held in trust and known as the Daniel Hand Educational Fund for Colored People, to be used in the old slave states.
December 23 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook : “a perfect stranger called & I responded, thinking it was another Wade of 25 years ago. Knocked 2 hours out of my day’s work, for I could not resume. This is paying $250 cash for a tiresome stranger’s society. Too high” [NB 46 TS 31].
December 24 Thursday – Mr. & Mrs. George Gregory Smith visited the Clemens family [Orth 31].
December 25 Friday, Christmas – Sam went to the George Gregory Smith’s for a quiet lunch, and stayed most of the afternoon. “He is to meet Dr. Grazzini here” [Orth 31-2; Smith to sister].
Miss U. Fischer wrote from Milan, Italy to Sam. Only the envelope survives [MTP].
Livy gave Sam a copy of Charles Godfrey Leland’s Legends of Florence; Collected from the People and Re-Told by … (Hans Breitmann). Sam inscribed the book:
Xmas / 1903 / Given to me by Livy” [Gribben 405].
December 26 Saturday
December 27 Sunday
December 28 Monday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to George B. Harvey.
If Wood is confirmed, this is a pæan of drunken joy; if it’s the other way, it is a wail, a lament; in either case it is a note of contempt for the President & his catamite.
You may find it injudicious to print it. You are on the spot & will know. In case of non-printing, please return it to me, for there might come a time during election-year when the atmosphere might change & in your judgment make it available.
Naturally you want first-rate short-story talent. Then examine a New York police-story (Irish) in the Evening Post of Dec. 14, & hunt up that writer. I think it would be very difficult to tell a story better than that one is told.
If you are proud of the Xmas Weekly & Monthly, I believe you’ve the right.
Mrs. Clemens has suffered a set-back & lost 3 months—no, more than twice that. She is discouraged, & that takes some of the spirit out of the rest of us. However, we are sure she is going to take another start now. The salutations of the season to you all! & warm regards [MTP].
Note: General Leonard Wood had been nominated for Major General rank by President Roosevelt. He had previously been promoted to Brigadier General by McKinley passing over many others. Confirmation for Major General rank met resistance in the Senate; charges were made which led to investigations, including inquiries in Cuba. Wood would not be confirmed until Mar. 18, 1904 [NY Times, Mar. 19, p.5, “Wood’s Nomination is Confirmed by Senate”]. Sam thought twice about the piece he’d written on Wood; from the following NB entry he decided not to send it to Harvey:
Sam’s notebook: “
Sent to Harper ‘Major
Gen. Wood, M.D.,’ 1035 words—to be returned if arrive too late for usefulness. ($310.50.) / Didn’t send it” [NB 46 TS
December 29 Tuesday
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.