Vol 3 Section 1083

1904                                                                           1019

Your kind word of July 17 has reached me this morning, & I & mine thank you deeply for your love & sympathy.

I suppose you are far at sea, now, & I hope you & Mr. Rogers are already the better for the holiday & the change. I need to run down to New York, but I have not been able to do so, being until the past few days a good deal concerned about the daughters, particularly Clara. But there is an improvement, now & I feel less uneasy.

Very soon I shall go house-hunting down there.

With affectionate regards & best wishers to both of you, who are our best friends [MTHHR 578-9].

Alice Reynolds Hall (1871-1904) in Lenox, Mass. wrote a letter of condolence to Sam [MTP]. Note: Alice, born in Elmira would die suddenly on Nov. 9 in Lawrence, Mass.

July 27 Wednesday

July 28 ThursdayIn Tyringham, Mass. Sam sent the “TO WHOM THIS SHALL COME” note to Virginia F. Boyle in Memphis, Tenn., and added, “Few will know, better than you, the weight of the blow which has fallen upon us” [MTP]. Note: postmarked July 28; addressed in Lyon’s hand.

Sam also sent the “TO WHOM THIS SHALL COME” note to Charles Warren Stoddard in Cambridge, Mass., and added, “I thank you, dear old friend of the days when I was happy” [MTP]. Note: postmarked July 28.

Sam also wrote to Lady Walpurga Ehrengarde Helena von Hohenthal Paget in Florence. “Yes, you know ‘what grief means,’ & now I know it also. Your sympathy is grateful to us: you who have walked before us in that Valley of the Shadow of Death where we are now groping, seeking light & finding none; & for this good word of sympathy we deeply thank you” [MTP].

Sam also wrote to Joe Twichell.

Dear Joe: / “How life & the world—the past & the future—are looking to me? [”]

(A part of each day—or night)—as they have been looking to me the past 7 years: as being NON-EXISTENT. That is, that there is nothing. That there is no God & no universe; that there is only empty space,

      in it a lost & homeless & wandering & companionless & indestructible thought. And that I am that thought. And God, & the Universe, & Time, & Life, & death, & Joy & Sorrow & Pain only a grotesque & brutal dream, evolved from the frantic imagination of that insane thought.

By this light, the absurdities that govern life & the universe lose their absurdity & become natural, & a thing to be expected. It reconciles everything, makes everything lucid & understandable: a God who has no morals, yet blandly sets Himself up as Head Sunday-school Superintendent of the Universe; Who has no idea of mercy, justice, or honesty, yet obtusely imagines Himself the inventor of those things: a human race that takes Him at His own valuation, without examining the statistics; thinks itself intelligent, yet hasn’t any more evidence of it than had Jonathan Edwards in his wildest moments; a race which did not make itself nor its vicious nature, yet quaintly holds itself responsible for its acts.

But—taken as unrealities; taken as the drunken dream of an idiot Thought, drifting solitary & forlorn through the horizonless eternities of empty Space, these monstrous sillinesses become proper & acceptable, & lose their offensiveness.

I suppose this idea has become a part of me because I have been living in it so long—7 years—& in that time have written so long a story embodying it & developing it; a book which is not finished & is not intended for print.

And so, a part of each day Livy is a dream, & has never existed. The rest of it she is real, & is gone. Then comes the ache, & continues. Then comes the long procession of remorses, & goes filing by—uncountable, & both ends dimming away & vanishing under the horizons.

How well she loved you & Harmony! as did I, & do I, also. / Mark [MTP]. Note: in his sorrow and loss and mourning, Sam inevitably would blame God—ironic for a man who was a deep thinker.

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.