Sam also wrote to William Dean Howells.
Last night at 9.20 I entered Mrs. Clemens’s room to say good-night—& she was dead! Tho’ no one knew it. She had been cheerfully talking a moment before. She was sitting up in bed—she had not lain down for months—& Katie & the nurse were supporting her. They supposed she had fainted, & they were holding the oxygen pipe to her mouth, expecting to revive her. I bent over her & looked in her face, & I think I spoke—I was surprised & troubled that she did not notice me. Then we understood, & our hearts broke. How poor we are to-day!
But how thankful I am that her persecutions are ended. I would not call her back if I could.
To-day, treasured in her worn old Testament, I found a dear & gentle letter from you, dated Far Rockaway, Sept. 13, 1896, about our poor Susy’s death. I am tired & old; I wish I were with Livy.
I send my love—& hers—to you all [MTHL 2: 785]. Note: see Howells’ letter in Vol. II.
Sam also wrote to Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
We are crushed. The disaster came at a little past 9 nine last night—& with a merciful swiftness; she had been cheerfully talking, a moment before. At 8 she had been speaking to me about a possible flight to a summer-villa which we had taken in the hills 20 miles from here.
Her miseries had lasted 22 months; I am so grateful that her sweet spirit is at rest.
The world is black to-day, & I think it will never lighten again.
I send my love—& hers—to both of you [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “At 12.20 p.m. I looked for the last time upon that dear face—& I was full of remorse for things done & said in these 34 years of married life that hurt Livy’s heart. / [Horiz. Line separator] / Jean did not sleep. To-day she had an attack—the first in 13 months” [NB 47 TS 12].
Daniel Willard Fiske wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Francis Bowler Keene wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Gertrude Tennant wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
William Wilson wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Samuel E. Moffett wrote a letter of condolence to Sam. “With all the preparation of these years of flickering life we could hardly believe that Aunt Livy’s sufferings were over. It seemed as strange and incredible…. We know that such a sorrow as yours does not come to many…”[MTP].
At the Villa di Quarto at 5 p.m., Livy’s “body was embalmed by the attending physician,” Dr. G. W. Kirch; the “vice counsul came out to the villa & put the requisite seals upon the casket.” The body was then put in a vault until it could be shipped to Genoa and placed aboard on June 25 [June 8 to Twichell; July 23 to Mason]. The Clemens party would then travel south to Rome, then to Naples, meet the ship there and sail for N.Y.
June 7 Tuesday – At 7 p.m. at the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder. The content suggests Sam had also included Gilder in his telegraphing of Livy’s death.
I have been worrying & worrying to know what to do; at last I went to the girls with an idea: to ask the Gilders to get us shelter near their summer home. It was the first time they have not shaken their heads. So to-morrow I will cable you & shall hope to be in time.
An hour ago the best heart that ever beat for me & mine went silent out of this house, & I am as one who wanders, & has lost his way. She who is gone was our head, she was our hands. We are now trying to make plans—we; we who have never made a plan before, nor ever needed to. If she could speak to us she would make it all simple & easy with a word, & our perplexities would dissolve & vanish away. If she had known she was near to death she would have told us where to go & what to do; but she was not suspecting,
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.