The “Prince Oscar” is due to arrive Sunday July 7—so Jean says; my head is muddled, & I do not know anything myself. The Consul has written the Collector asking him to see that we are delayed as little as possible, but I hope you will add your influence, too. (I seem to have written this to you before—I don’t know; I have written you 50 letters in my head, & this may be one of them.)
I am not allowed to see Clara to-day. She was strongly threatened with a nervous breakdown, & we are still troubled about her. We hope to persuade her not to go to Elmira—at least we can try. If she goes, we shall make the strain upon her as brief as possible, going up the day before the funeral & returning the day after. We must go to a strange hotel in New York—a house with no associations. We have chosen the St. Denis. If she does not go to Elmira, she will stop in that hotel with Miss Lyon & her mother till we return.
Then we go at once to the woods in Massachusetts, where I have secured a house for the summer by cable. It is next door to Gilder’s, of the “Century” & belongs to him.
It is an awful blow & wholly unexpected, & we do not rally very well. / Ever yours SL. C / [in ight margin:] Will you telephone Harvey our ship’s name & date? [MTHHR 571-2].
Poultney Bigelow, on the US Flagship Brooklyn off Tangiers, Morocco, wrote a letter of condolence to
Sam. “I love to look back and recall Mrs. Clemens—I don’t think I ever met anyone with such a wholesome breadth of human charity and general atmosphere of helpful sympathy” [MTP].
June 14 Tuesday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence, Isabel V. Lyon wrote for Sam to Raffaele Simboli. “You will understand that Mr. Clemens is not interested in anything at the present time, his house being a house of mourning” [MTP].
Raffaele Simboli for Nuova Antologia wrote to Sam, asking if he had been sent copies of The Critic, which contained his “article richly illustrated.” Had he rec’d the photos? [MTP]. Note: likely the letter that Lyon replied to, above.
Helen Keller wrote to Sam. “Do try to reach through grief & feel the pressure of her hand, as I reach through darkness & feel the smile on my friends’ lips & the light in their eyes, though mine are closed” [MTP].
June 15 Wednesday
June 16 Thursday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto Sam wrote to Daniel Willard Fiske in London.
You have been a dear good friend to us, dear Mr. Fiske, & she loved you & honored you, & yours was always a welcome face to her. But I cannot write, I do not know how I even live; & Clara—why, Clara does not, she has lain ever since, smileless, tearless, saying nothing. It was such a crushing blow, & so unexpected. Livy was brightly chatting, five minutes before she died. [on right margin:] The flowers came, & were used [MTP]. Note: this letter was found in Fiske’s pocket after his death. See Nov. 3 from Horatio S. White.
S.M. Swales wrote a letter of condolence, what Sam noted on the envelope was a “Beautiful letter from a stranger” [MTP].
June 17 Friday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam sent a cable to John Y. MacAlister:
“Clara slowly recovering The rest well / Clemens” [MTP].
Thomas Nelson Page in York Harbor, Maine wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Emma B. Thayer and Abbott Handerson Thayer each wrote, from Monadnock, N.H., a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
June 18 Saturday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto near Florence Sam wrote to Joe Twichell.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.