I find for sure—& I have suspected it before—that Livy does not like to have me diminish the gravity of her case by writing letters home which bring back cheerful off-hand remarks like “We are so glad Livy is improving,” “We are glad Livy is getting along so nicely,” etc. She said this morning with asperity, “I suppose they think I am frolicking around Florence!” She asked me what cable I sent this morning. I said “I said you were doing well”—imagining no offence. She was displeased, & said “It was not true.” I said it was true when I wrote it, several days ago, & I sent it to forestal a letter to you or to Charley, & one to Mr. Rogers, in which I had told about the collapse & the pulse at 192. She said “It happened again last night, & there was no need to send such a cable.”
“But I did not know of it until after the cable was gone.”
“Has there ever been a time here when it was true? Has there ever been a time when I was actually improving, since we left the farm?”
Why, Sue, dear, we do not acknowledge to our own private hearts what we think of Livy’s chances, & so how can we write it?
Now, then, what can you say in your letters about her case? It is beyond my talent to invent the right & safe phrases.
The truest true fact furnishable about Livy is this: She is still alive. Whenever we send you news of her, give the words no value, they are a husk, a disguise—inside of them is that phrase. Lovingly / Saml
How can a person—I mean a shadow—remain precisely the same, week after week, & never advance a single inch nor the ten thousandth part of it? [MTP].
Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Harriet E. Whitmore (Mrs. Franklin G. Whitmore).
Mr. Clemens wants me to write for him to thank you for the book that you sent Mrs. Clemens some time ago. He wants me to tell you “how charming he found it; how delightful the literary style of it is; in fact you could find no defect in it.” and I am thinking how glad Mr. Frederick Whitmore will be of a criticism like that.
Mrs. Clemens has not had the good winter that the first weeks after her arrival promised. She has not left her room for a long long time, but she seems to be improving now. and all are hoping that the lovely Spring days will bring strength with them.
Mr. Clemens is just up after two weeks in bed with hard bronchitis. He is still coughing a good deal. Clara and Jean are quite well. Both are studying hard, and Clara is doing beautiful things with her voice. I
am present at all her lessons, and the developement is marvellous. Someone after hearing her sing, was heard to say “What a wonderful black contralto from such a little Creature!”— Italy is very beautiful these days, and the Villa di Quarto overlooks one of the loveliest views about Florence.
Mr. Clemens sends many messages to you and to Mr. Whitmore. / Very Sincerely…. [MTP]. Note: the
book Mrs. Whitmore sent was by her husband, Frederick Whitmore: A Florida Farm (1903) [Gribben 764].
Mary L. Kearney wrote from Galveston, Tex. to Sam, having recently purchased his complete writings, asked for his autograph to “place in same” [MTP].
March 9 Wednesday
March 10 Thursday – Miss G.S. Godkin wrote from Florence, sorry to hear that Sam was “ailing with the bronchitis.” She and her cousin would like to call next Thursday, his reception day, if he was well. She enclosed an article written by her brother in the NY Evening Post sent by her sister-in-law (not in the file) [MTP].
March 11 Friday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto, Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Frederick A.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.