good-night to her. It was a most merciful death & I was & am full of gratitude that it came without warning & was preceded by no fear.
We are planning, now, we are superintending the packing, we are doing the thinking. We have never done any of these things before. / Ever yours [MTHHR 570-1].
Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell.
Dear Joe: We were eager to serve her, all these piteous months. She couldn’t devise a plan, however staggering, that we didn’t applaud, & do our best to bring it to fruitage. Every day, for weeks & weeks, we went out armed with the enclosed paper, hunting for a villa—to rent for a year, but always with an option to buy at a specified figure within the year; & yet, deep down in our unrevealing hearts we believed she would never get out of her bed again.
Only last Sunday evening, with death flying toward her, & due in one hour & a quarter, she was full of interest in that matter, & asked me if I had heard of any more villas for sale. And many a time, these months, she said she wanted a home—a house of her own, that she was tired & wanted rest, & could not rest & be in comfort & peace while she was homeless. And now she is at rest, poor worn heart! Joe, she was so lovely, so patient— a murmur at her hard fate; yet—but I can’t put her sufferings on paper, it breaks my heart to think of them. She sat up in bed 6 months, night & day, & was always in bodily misery, & could get but little sleep,
then only by resting her forehead against a support—think of those lonely nights in the gloom of a taper, with Katy sleeping, & with no company but her fearsome thoughts & her pathetic longings; it makes my heart bleed, it makes me blaspheme, to think of the gratuitous devilishness of it.
How sweet she was in death, how young, how beautiful, how like her girlish self of thirty years ago. Not a gray hair showing. This rejuvenescence was noticeable within 2 hours after death; that was at 11:30; when I went down again (2.30) it was complete; the same at 4, 5, 7, 8—& so remained the whole of the day till the embalmers came at 5; & then I saw her no more. In all that night & all that day she never noticed my caressing hand—it seemed strange.
She so dreaded death, poor timid little prisoner; for it promised to be by strangulation. Five times in 4 months she went through that choking horror for an hour & more, & came out of it white, haggard, exhausted, & quivering with fright. Then cursing failed me; there was no language bitter enough whereby to curse the cowardly invention of those wanton tortures. But when death came, she did not know it. Nor did we. She was chatting cheerfully, only a minute before. We were all present, I was stooping over her; we saw no change—yet she was gone from us! Why am I required to linger here? / SLC [MTP].
Susan Crane wrote a letter to Sam. “All day, and all night, my heart asks, how are they living the weary hours through?”[MTP].
Harmony and Joe Twichell wrote to Sam. “There is nothing that we can say. What is there to say? But here we are—with you all every hour and every minute, filled with unutterable thoughts; unutterable affection for the dead and the living” [MTP]. Note: Written and signed by Joe; catalogued from both.
Louise Du Cros in London, wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Mrs. E.H. Hankin in Brighton, England, wrote a tiny card of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Lady Walburga Paget of Florence wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Francis B. Keene, US Consul, Florence wrote a notarized letter to the Collector of Customs, NY, asking them to make “smooth the way of Mr. Samuel Clemens, ‘Mark Twain’ and his daughters, who are returning to America with the body of Mrs. Clemens.”
June 9 Thursday – In London William Dean Howells wrote to Sam, having rec’d his of June 6:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.