At Sam’s urging Dr. William Wilberforce Baldwin came from Rome to the Villa di Quarto and made an examination of Livy, which Sam cut short [May 19 to Baldwin]. F. Kaplan writes , “Baldwin brought with him a new invention, ‘one of those machines for measuring the might of the blood.’ The visit cheered them all. Clara, alarmed that her mother ‘should have these fearful attacks so frequently,’ soon urged him to make a second visit”
May 19 Thursday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Dr. William Wilberforce Baldwin in Rome.
Mrs. Clemens, with characteristic sharpness has hunted the mystery down & found out that it is proposed to have the Swiss surgeon make an examination with a view to an operation. She votes against it, & of course that settles it, for I would not want to take the responsibility of trying to persuade her. She wants me to thank you, but also to ask you not to bring Dr. Corka (if that is the name.)
Damn! I am so sorry I shortened your interview with her yesterday. She has mourned over it & said you were giving her comfort & courage; & now my conscience is biting me all the time for it. I will not interfere next time, I give you my word.
I made still another blunder: I remained a while after she had taken her morphia-hypodermic last night & spoiled its effect; she made me stay, but I ought not to have yielded [MTP].
Isabel Lyon’s journal: “We went to hear some opera in the Verdi Theatre. The Verdi is a splendid building and the music was the Bal Masque, not a very good opera, and the baritone Battisini is not so good as Sulli seems to think” [Gribben 725: TS 17, MTP]. Note: Isabel does not specify whom was included in the “We.”
May 20 Friday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Susan Crane.
These are dismal weeks, dear aunt Sue, but the last one has been less so than its predecessors. The let-up of anxiety is a great refreshment to us. Clara says that day before yesterday Livy broke out into a momentary old-time hilarity—an astonishing thing, an echo of the long-buried past! It happened in Riverdale long ago, when she began to mend, & electrified us then with astonished joy. I hope it may mean a step toward recovery now, but I do not dare to expect it.
Still, I sieze this opportunity to tell you she is better while she is better. I am very very glad of one thing:
she has come to have a splendid confidence in Dr. [G.W.] Kirch. / With great love to you all, …. [MTP].
A note in the DV245 file, MTP: “Traverso says, tell all our servants not to leave gate open after 8. Make note of date. May 20. / Notary to visit Countess at 9 a.m. to-morrow. If a document is to be signed, Celestino & Ugo must witness it. / He came (Mr. Caccia) with notary. Countess evaded.”
Another note in the file, undated but from this same period, ends with “I am not safe here—send me a small revolver & cartridges.”
Another note dated Friday, May 20: “At 2.30 this afternoon Jean said the gardener turned on the water to the garden-fountains where the fishes are. At the present writing (7.50 p.m) it is still squirting / SLC.” He then recorded it at 8.25, and at 6.30 am and 8 a.m. on the 21st . “Meantime the small wall-fossett in my bathroom up stairs is gone dry. No tooth-brush water. / She said she would drive us off the place” [DV245]
May 21 Saturday – Sam’s note about the water situation continued: “May 21. At eleven o’clock the Countess sent word by the gardener that Mr. Clemens’s cook must not leave the villa before seven o’clock in the morning. The cook has been accustomed to leave at six every morning. / May 21. At 12.10 (pm) the water still dripping from the fountain faucet. / No, not dripping—it is a jet” [DV245]. Note: the family’s chef was Carlo Cosi [AMT 1: photo of servants following p.304].
May 22 Sunday – Sam’s note this date gave details in the ongoing conflict with the Countess Massiglia.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.