I am in bed a week (bronchitis, as usual), but hope to be out again in a fortnight.
I expect to drive the Countess off this place (she lives over her own stable, 50 yards from one end of the Villa.) Her presence poisons the whole region. I am backing some peasant-suits against her—2 civil & one criminal—& when those are through I have some more up my sleeve. She appealed to the priest, yesterday, to placate me & call me off—which he declined. He & I are good friends. She hasn’t any.
I expect to move out of this Villa as soon as Mrs. Clemens can be moved. I have examined 2 & 3 a day for 2 weeks, & have found the right one I think. I shall soon know, when I get out of bed. I shall leave Quarto, but I expect to drive the countess off the place first. She knows that if I leave it she will have a difficult time trying to rent it again—for she knows I will prove to any applicant that he will be an ass to take it on any terms [MTHHR 557-9]. Note: Henry A. Butters with the Plasmon Co. had offered to restore 250 shares of stock to Sam if he would make an additional investment (see Jan 29 to Stanchfield). Sam would refuse: see Mar. 21 to MacAlister.
Sam also wrote to H.E. Fisher of the Conklin Pen Co., letter not extant but referred to in Conklin’s Mar. 12 reply.
Sam’s notebook: “Livy is getting along pretty well, now” [NB 47 TS 7].
February 26 Friday – Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence: Sam finished his Feb. 25 to H.H. Rogers.
Feb. 26, 8 a.m. News comes that Mrs. Clemens slept a little while lying down.The first time for many weeks. / P.S.[enclosure:]
Mister Rodjers dear sir I will now tell you what it was which was this & probly in the Sunday-School— Teacher. Wen the first Walking Delegate (or maybe Second) step out on the Sea his foot slip from under,
he cry out “Help me or I sink,” for he is being too cocky & need a lesson. Also wen that Schwab scheme is examine by the stockholders they detect a fault.
Now then, I will explain you the moral hid in the two histories—it is this, to-wit, thus: The Walking Delegate put too much trust in the water, the other put too much water in the Trust.
mister roggers dear sir i left a cain in that crockery jug in yore offis it has a sollid gold hed on it but looks like puter on accounts of wether and hard usidge and is wuth ninety fore dolers send me the mony if she is lost or took by yore son hairey or eny of those others which hangs around thair they probly took her before this time send it to jon t louis he will see i git it and goddlemighthty will bless you dear mister roggers so no more at preasant from yore true freind in jesus / archible askins / care jon t louis [MTHHR 557-9]. Note: the source: “The postscript is a further testimony to Clemens’s enduring admiration for William H. Baker’s prose” [n3]; see Nov. 21, 1901 for more on this semi-literate citizen of Fairhaven, Mass, who wrote several letters to H.H. Rogers.
Sam also replied to the Feb. 24 from Raffaele Simboli, editor for Il Nuova Antologia:
“I shall be glad to receive that copy of the Antologia and I thank you. I shall try to read—and fail, as I can’t read anything higher up than newsaper Italian. I have neglected the living languages and shall not learn the dead ones until I am dead and need them” [The Critic Vol. 44 (June 1904) p. 484].
Frederick A. Duneka wrote to Sam, sorry to hear of Livy’s relapse.
“We are getting out ‘A Dog’s Tale’ in attractive shape as a dollar book and look for good results.” Sam wrote on the env. “From Mr. Duneka/ Ans. Mar 11, 1904 / Reduction of Royalty on new cheap edition / P.S. changes title of You’re a damfool Mary” [MTP].
February 27 Saturday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Dr. H. Laing Gordon, and marked it “Private” at the top:
You will remember that you gave me your positive promise that no part of what I was going to read should appear in print; a promise so unqualifiedly positive that I fully trusted in it & therefore took no
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.