January 19 Tuesday –
Note: Howells replied on Feb. 14. The source gives Sam’s “long stories” as “Probably The Mysterious Stranger and ‘Three Thousand Years among the Microbes.” The first installment of Howells’ novel The Son of Royal Langbrith ran in the Jan. issue of the North American Review [n4 & 5]. Thomas Bailey Aldrich’s “new book”: Ponkapog Papers (1903) [Gribben 17].
Sam’s notebook: “Countess Seristori / Palazzo Seristori / 5 p.m.” [NB 47 TS 4]. Note: not identified.
Norah Boord wrote from Baden to request Sam’s autograph and “some lines” [MTP].
January 17 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “Countess Valgoria / Via Cennini 2 / 4.30 to 7” [NB 47 TS 4].
Countess Frances R. Massiglia wrote to Sam, the letter not extant but referred to in Sam’s reply of Jan.
18 per Clara.
January 18 Monday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Daniel Willard Fiske.
“I have been in to ask Mrs. Clemens, and she says ‘Give him my love, and say I have been very wretched but am better today; and tell him our day is Thursday, and we say this because we want to see him & talk with him, not get mere glimpses of him on the road’” [MTP].
Sam also replied per daughter Clara to Frances R. Massiglia’s Jan. 17 note (not extant).
Dear Madam / To my astonishment and humiliation I find that you are right and I quite otherwise. I thought I had your written permission to put in a telephone but it is not so.
The permission is for “pigs” & enunciator only. One night we had desperate need of the doctor a thing which we must expect to happen every now & then for months to come, and I ordered the telephone as being a necessity though most undesirable I did not look to see if I had your permission for I thought I already had it.
The telephone-people had no right to enter your premises unauthorized, they should have given me an opportunity to ask your consent, please present your estimate of your damages to them, and see what excuse they can make if they can make any at all which of course they can not.
Shall I order the removal of the telephone which is still deaf & dumb and has never been able to utter a word yet though it is trying harder & harder every day all these weeks and hoping & hoping the best it can in its paralyzed condition? Of course I will remove it at once if you desire it [MTP]. Note: on the reverse Sam noted: “(I had her oral consent days ago, but hadn’t the wit to ask her to put it in writing).”
Mrs. A. Biagi wrote from Florence to Sam. Looking through some letters of her late husband, Professor Biagi, she found one addressed to him by Sam. She had a few other autographs she wished to sell, including Garibaldi’s, Browning, Wordsworth, etc., and asked Sam’s help in doing so [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote to Guido Biagi, Nov. 17, 1903.
Sam’s notebook: “Mailed ‘St. Joan of Arc’ to the Harpers…(Mailed it Jan. 19, but wrote Jan. 20 to recall it” [NB 47 TS 4]. Note: Sam wrote this under Jan. 14 NB entry. Also under this day: “Countess Crenville / 5 Via Dante da Castiglione / Lunch, 1 p.m.” [ibid.].
An unidentified person sent a telegram to Sam: “Mollie gone” is all it reads; the place sent is Italian but illegible [MTP].
January 20 Wednesday – Sam’s notebook entry (see Jan. 19) shows he recalled “St. Joan of Arc” that he’d mailed to Harpers [NB 47 TS 4].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.