Ulysses S. Villars, pastor Methodist Episcopal Church, Wauneta, Kans. wrote a letter of condolence to Sam. “May God mercifully keep you and tenderly temper this blast, to your heart” [MTP].
Spectator (London) ran an anonymous article, “Mark Twain’s Latest,” p. 925-6. Tenney: “A review of Extracts from Adam’s Diary. ‘Not only is this little book to be acquitted of the charge of any real irreverence, but…its audacity is so tempered by delicacy, and even tenderness, of feeling that no broad- minded reader can arise from its perusal without enhanced admiration for the great and kindly humourist who, since Dickens’s death, has done more than any other writer to promote the gaiety of the two great branches of the Anglo-Saxon race’” [Tenney 39].
June 12 Sunday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to William Dean Howells.
We have to sit & hold our hands & wait—in the silence & solitude of this prodigious house; wait until June 25, then we go to Naples & sail in the Prince Oscar the 28th. There is a ship 12 days earlier (but we came in that one.) I see Clara twice a day—morning & evening greeting—nothing more is allowed. She keeps her bed, & says nothing. She has not cried yet. I wish she could cry. Our old Katy stays near by, in the days, and Miss Lyon (secretary) sleeps in the room with her, nights. It would break Livy’s heart to see Clara. We excuse ourselves from all the friends that call—though of course only intimates come. Intimates—but they are not the old old friends, the friends of the old old times when we laughed. Shall we ever laugh again? If I could only see a dog that I knew in the old times! & could put my arms around his neck & tell him everything, & ease my heart.
Think—in 3 hours it will be a week!—& soon a month; & by & by a year. How fast our dead fly from us.
She loved you so, & was always as pleased as a child with any notice you took of her.
Soon your wife will be with you, oh fortunate man! And John, whom mine was so fond of. The sight of him was such a delight to her. Lord, the old friends, how dear they are.
It was too pitiful, these late weeks, to see the haunting fear in her eyes, fixed wistfully upon mine, & hear her say, as pleading for denial & heartening, “You don’t think I am going to die, do you? oh, I don’t want to die.” For she loved her life, & so wanted to keep it / SLC [MTHL 2: 787-8].
Sam gave his autograph to an unidentified person [MTP]. Note: given the recent tragedy of Livy’s death, it’s likely this autograph would have been to someone within the household staff or a neighbor.
June 13 Monday – In the evening at the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Charles J.
Langdon about transporting two horses, Livy’s last gift to her daughters, back to America.
Poor Livy’s last important gift to the children was a pair of gray mares.These, with the saddles, will leave Leghorn June 22, in the [left blank by Sam] in charge of our butler, Ugo who knows not a word of English. It is a slow ship (about 20 days). Could you send word to our livery man, Melvin, 10th st., half a block east of 5th ave., & ask him to have a man (an Italian speaker) on the dock to receive the horses, & find an Italian boarding house for Ugo? I think Melvin will board the horses, but I want to make sure; if he can’t, he can recommend a boarding-stable.
When the horses are rested, Miss Lyon & Therese (Italian maid) & Ugo will take them up country & put our cottage in order for us. It belongs to Gilder of the Century; I have secured it by cable.
If Clara goes to Elmira we must make the strain as brief as possible—be there one day & return to New York the next.
Lost among old letters & papers on my table I have just found the enclosed. I obey Livy’s order—I would have obeyed long ago but for forgetfulness. Return it to me when I come—every scrap from Livy’s hand is precious to me now.
Livy paid $140 for one of the horses, & $250 for the other. There will be duties to pay [MTP]. Note:
Gilder’s cottage, “Four Brooks Farm” in the Berkshire Mountains near Lee, Mass. [MTHHR 573].
Sam also wrote to H.H. Rogers.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.