Vol 3 Section 1080
comes natural. It was an influence which proceeded from the grace & purity & sweetness, & simplicity, & charity, & magnanimity & dignity of her character. That & the frailty of her body, which made us nurse her, & tend her, & watch over her & hover about her with all ministries which might help out the poverty of her strength by riches drawn from our abundance. It was the attitude of more than one of her friends toward her, it was the common attitude of her servants toward her. Her servants stayed with her till death or marriage intervened: 12 years, 16, 19, 20, 22—that is a part of the record. And one is still with us who served us 23 years, & closed her eyes when death came, & prepared the body for burial. One that served her 20 years sent five dollars from his small savings to buy white roses for her coffin. Letters have come to me from shop-girl, postman, & all ranks in life, down to the humblest. And how moving is the eloquence of the untaught when it is the heart that is speaking! Our black George came, a stranger, to wash a set of windows, & stayed 18 years. Mrs. Clemens discharged him every now & then, but she was never able to get him to pack his satchel. He always explained that “You couldn’t get along without me, Mrs. Clemens, & I ain’t going to try to get along without you.” He had faults, but his worship of her was perfect, & made the rest of us blind to them. When we became bankrupt he was determined to serve her without wages, & would have done it if she had allowed it.
I thank you, Lounsbury, for remembering her.
Joe Twichell married us in Elmira 34 years ago, in her father’s house, & on the spot where she stood as a happy young bride then, she lay in her coffin seven days ago, & over it Twichell spread his hands in benediction& farewell, & in a breaking voice commended her spirit to the peace of God [MTP].
Susan Kearny Selfridge in Cape Cod, Mass. wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP].
July 22 Friday – In Tyringham, Mass. Sam wrote to Mr. Van Dreele. “I & my stricken family hold ourselves under the deepest obligations to you. You removed the difficulties which beset our mournful home-coming, & made our way smooth & untroubled. We cannot thank you enough, but we do thank you most cordially” [MTP].
Sam’s notebook: “Clara, sick, heart-broken, unrestful, returned to New York with Katy, to rest a while with Miss Dr. Parry. / [Horiz. Line separator] / Katy (Leary) was with Susy when she died, in ’96; & with Livy when she died. She has been in our service 23 years” [NB 47 TS 16]. Note: Dr. Angenette Parry.
Clara Clemens, who had arrived in Lee on July 16, left for New York and Dr. Angenette Parry’s
sanatorium at 177 E. 69th St. Isabel Lyon’s Journal: “the strain of living here has been too great. She cannot stand the sounds in the tiny house” [Hill 96-7]. Note: Hill suggests, in the way of biographers, that “The strong probability is that the sound she could stand the least was her father’s voice.” Such things may be counted among the assumptions and leaps of biographers, but strictly speaking they cannot be documented; they do sell books, however.
James Woodworth wrote from San Francisco a letter of condolence to Sam, and a remembrance of hearing the call “Mark Twain! Mark Twain!” on the Mississippi when he was only seven back in 1836, which would have made him 75 at this time [MTP].
July 23 Saturday – In Tyringham, Mass. Sam wrote two letters (the first not sent) to Frank Mason (US Consul at Frankfurt), complaining of the neglect in sending certificates for Livy’s casket to the Prince Oscar before it left from Naples, threatening to put the casket ashore. The second letter:
Dear Mason: / Will you place the enclosures before the H. A. [Hamburg-American] Co., or synopsize my complaint & submit that to them? They might pay no attention to me, a common citizen, but they will not treat you & the Italian Consul-General so. If my poor dear lost incomparable wife had been thrust ignominiously ashore at Naples—think of that. It was actually going to be done. The captain showed me that he really could not dare to do otherwise. I replied with what I believed to be a true statement: “If you do it the American newspapers will ring with it from end to end of the Continent, & it will be an unhappy day for this Company.” He was greatly worried, poor fellow—& quite naturally—but it was a plain case of fight the United States or the newspapers, & he made his choice.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.