necessarily could not be helped. Also I have been troubled by the resumption of digitalis & bromide—drugs which help other people but have always failed in Mrs. Clemens’s case—& also the resumption of electricity, which was tried during two years without good result, though under the best conditions which Paris could furnish.
With the profoundest respect I am / Sincerely Yours [MTP]. Note: reviewing Sam’s next letter to Sherry, it would seem this letter to Prof. Grocco was an oblique way of firing the doctor after discovering one of his prescriptions contained bromide. Of course it was also true that, as Sam confessed, the doctor was unable to attend to Livy as much as was desired.
Sam also wrote to Margaret Sherry, the trained nurse who had been sent home on Dec. 7, 1903.
We relieved those two physicians from duty to-day. It was necessary. Mrs. Clemens had made no progress in 4 weeks—a thing which substantially amounts to retrogression. Lately she had not been sleeping, & that was having a bad effect. She has not been out of her bed for 8 weeks. Dr. Starr’s remedies had been supplanted by inefficacious ones. Three days ago it was found out that one of the prescriptions contained bromide; Mrs. Clemens ceased from taking it, of course; we cabled Dr. Starr for the address of another physician if he could recommend one; he answered this morning recommending one, & we have called him for tomorrow & sent courteous congès to Prof. G. & Nesti. Mrs. Clemens’s food has been unappetising & unproductive of flesh; to-morrow Katy will begin to cook it herself.
We are all feeling better to-night, & there is a pervading cheerfulness which is genuine—I think we have been parading the counterfeit article exclusively for several weeks.
As we have an affection for you & Dr. Moffatt [sic Moffat] I thought I would tell you these things, knowing you would like to hear them‘, he also [MTP]. Notes: Dr. Henry Moffat, of Yonkers. Dr. M. Allen Starr, N.Y.C. family physician, recommended Dr. G.W. Kirch, an Austrian physician in Florence [Hill 81]. Hill writes:
Kirch, who believed that Mrs. Clemens needed only one or two visits a week, was ordered to attend her daily and to minister to Miss Lyon and Mrs. Lyon—even to make an inspection of the cesspools under the house in preparation for the condemnation proceedings against the villa. Clemens and he were to file lawsuits and countersuits over Kirch’s bill and to threaten litigation as late as 1906 .
F. Kaplan (who spells the doctor’s name as “Kirsch,”) writes: “At Twain’s insistence, he came to the house daily, helped in dealing with practical issues, and played long hours of billiards with his patient’s nervously bored husband” .
February 8 Monday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to to Frederick A.
Yes, I prefer that you shall handle the Dog Tale in England. If Chatto inquires, I will explain. I suppose it will be sufficient to say that the Harpers proposed it & that our relations & interests are now so closely united that I naturally want to do anything which in their judgment is best for both.
My magazine work, all typewritten & nearly ready to start for New York a week ago, came to a sudden standstill through a curious episode early on Feb. 2d, whereby my secretary’s life was about frightened out of her—since which time she has lain half-conscious in her bed at home, & the doctors cannot foretell what the outcome will be. This, & Mrs. Clemens’s unfavorable condition have kept me moving day & night To-day we have changed physicians & we expect good results. I cabled New York last night & got the new physician’s address this morning, then discharged the other two doctors at noon to-day. Mrs. Clemens has not been out of her bed for 8 weeks, & we were getting very uneasy. When we first arrived here she was twenty times better than she is now.
I stopped the “Italian With Grammar,” at the last moment, because I wanted to knock out the last few hundred words & use the space thus acquired for a different & more satisfactory ending. I accomplished this the other night—between rushes—& it will do, now.
I am very glad indeed that the books are going well—they are certainly most handsomely advertised. With love to you & the Colonel,
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.