Dear Joe: / It is 13 days. I am bewildered and must remain so for a time longer. It was so sudden, so unexpected. Imagine a man worth a hundred millions who suddenly finds himself penniless & fifty millions in debt in his old age. I was richer than any other person in the world, and now I am that pauper without peer. Some day I will tell you about it, not now. / Mark [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Villa di Quarto / I got up in a chair in my room on the second floor, & lost my balance and fell almost out. I don’t know what saved me. The fall would have killed me; in my bereaved circumstances the world would have been sure it was suicide” [NB 47 TS 12].
Bram Stoker in London wrote condolences to Sam [MTP].
June 19 Sunday – At the Villa Reale di Quarto Sam wrote to Charles J. Langdon.
I am a man without a country. Wherever Livy was, that was my country. And now she is gone. It is 2 weeks to-day. But it seems only yesterday. Tomorrow we quit this residence—without her. That is strange: it has never happened before. For four days the trunk-packing has been going on—and Livy not superintending. That has never happened before: for even when we were leaving Riverdale she gave instructions from her bed. We have had to do all our planning by ourselves; for our journey, & if she were here she would show us that we have done it poorly, & we should see it ourselves. We have been beset with perplexities and uncertainties—she never had any. How we miss her clear head!
Clara left her room this morning, at last, & drove half an hour, which rejoiced us. It decided us that we could leave this sad house a day sooner than we were hoping for. We remain at the Hotel de Ville several days; then go to Rome & let Clara rest a day; then to Naples the evening of the 27th & sail next day.
I am bringing nothing dutiable except a couple of side-saddles, which the children have used several months. IF they are dutiable, all right; I think they cost Livy $30 or $40 apiece. They & the horses were her last important gift to the children. She wouldn’t let me share—she paid the whole out of her own Elmira money, & took such an enthusiastic pleasure in it. Those are the most precious horses in the world, now. I am bringing home the trunk of family silver—it came here from the Lincoln Safe Deposit some months ago. None of it is dutiable.
Dear, dear Livy, she bore the burden & privations of our poverty for years, & never uttered a murmur nor allowed me to curse myself for causing it; & just as the relief came she was stricken down & cruelly robbed of her reward. Even after we arrived here she was not willing to spend money freely, because our expenses were $1650 a month—hardly $500 a month short of Riverdale; but I said I would earn $10,000 by magazine work if she would throw away every penny of it on whatever she chose, & please me. Before the end of January (I think it was,) I had managed to work 3 days in every week; & when I showed her that I had earned $11,000-odd, she never again refused to buy whatever she wanted. What a beautiful spirit passed from the earth when the light went out of her dear eyes! How sweet she looked, & young & lovely & worshipful, when she lay in the hallowed grace & dignity of death! [MTP]. Note: Sam headed the letter “Villa di Quarto” though from the text it seems they moved to the Hotel De Ville in Florence this day.
Sam also wrote a letter of recommendation for Ugo Piemontini to an unidentified man: “Ugo Piemontini,
a man of good character and habits, whom I have sent over in charge of two gray mares…” [MTP: Dawson’s Book
Shop Catalog, No. 141, Item 218]. Note: See June 13 to Langdon.
Frederick J. Hall wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
Odoardo Luchini wrote a letter of condolence in Italian to Sam [MTP].
June 20 Monday – Jean Clemens was ill, so Sam and Katy Leary remained with Jean at the Villa di Quarto for three hours. In the meantime the rest of the party (Isabel V. Lyon, her mother Georgiana
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.