The great humorist looked as full of vitality as ever though it was plan that he was labouring under a stress of emotion, and at times he nervously tore the paper he was holding in his hands. At the end of his talk, with a break in his voice, he bade his hearers goodnight, and everyone admired his generous courage when it was known that he had left Mrs. Clemens at home seriously ill.
A note in the DV245 file: “Tell Mr. Gordon I am willing to read 10 minutes (shall I write it?)”
Note: In secondary sources the date is unclear, and Fatout suggests possibly March (Gribben gives April: p.178). Sam protested that some of his reading got into the papers (Feb. 27 to Gordon). After seeing the report, Sam “waited for an explanation from Dr H. Laing Gordon, connected with the Fund.. Hill gives the reading as the same week as Sam’s Feb. 25 to Rogers. Clearly these scholars did not have access to the incoming letters of Gordon; and/ or did not piece together the Gordon letters with Sam’s NB entry of Feb. 13.
In his Feb. 17 to Duneka Sam wrote that Isabel Lyon “came on duty again for a few minutes per day, Feb. 12 or 13.” This after her scare by the mad killer donkey on Feb. 2. By Isabel’s account she was out of commission only five days.
Sam’s notebook: “Miss Lyon appeared for the first time, but is not strong yet. / [Horiz. Line separator] / 10 p.m. found the gates wide open (to let the countess in?) I believe she was there. Senilio closed them. He was in doubt” [NB 47 TS 6].
Charles S. Fairchild wrote from NY to Sam, glad to receive Sam’s note (no recent note extant to Fairchild) that they were comfortably settled in Florence. Fairchild gave progress details on The American Mechanical Cashier Co. which he’d persuaded Sam to invest in [MTP].
Willie Shine wrote from Chicago to Sam, telling of an adventure he and his uncle and two other men had on Aug. 10 in the infamous Hannibal cave of Mark Twain’s stories. They had to find a secondary entrance, did not bring coats, got lost and cold and scared but finally broke out [MTP].
February 13 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “Aftnoon. 3.30. / 4 p.m. 8 (second floor) via Cavour / Senator Luchini
[Horiz. Line separator] / Send the cook here tomorrow (Sunday) / [Horiz. Line separator] / Also, Emilio / [Horiz. Line separator] / Also Celestino?” [NB 47 TS 6]. Note: the first entry was his second reading (after Friday night) at the amateur performance of Cousin Kate; see Feb. 12. Not in Fatout.
February 14 Sunday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
The publishers sent me your book three or four weeks ago, & it gave me a most stimulating & delicious time—& did also partly & timely justify & reinforce some laudations of you which I had dictated the day before (in my Autobiography.)
We were sent to Italy for Mrs. Clemens’s sake, but she has never been as well here as she was when she left home. She could then walk several steps; but now she has not been out of her bed for 9 weeks. There is no promise that she will get out of it in 9 more. She got hit with a week of tonsilitis—there was the trouble. It took away what was left of her strength, & she cannot seem to get it back. For a year & a half life, for this family, has been merely a bad dream. If it has been better with you I am glad [MTP].
Sam also replied to John R. Carpenter, who had sent a letter and box of effects of the late Mollie Clemens.
Your kind letter arrived several days ago, also the box, but I have not been able to write until now. In fact for the past 18 months I have seldom been able to give much attention to my affairs, because all of my
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.