Vol 3 Section 1085
coming into the range of the search light too late for the motor man to stop the car without hitting her, although at that point he was slowing up for the bridge.
She was thrown violently to the ground, hitting the car in her fall, and the horse was killed. She was taken on board and brought to the village and to Dr. J.J. Hassett as soon as possible. Examination showed a rupture of a ligament of one ankle, injuries to her back which time alone will tell of, and many bruises. She had been cut by the glass from the car window and the blood made her look as though there were serious cuts, while in reality they were slight. The blood, which gave so much fright, really came from a hemorrhage at the nose.
Dr. Hassett dressed her wounds and took her to Tyringham where he has been attending her and she is slowly recovering from the injuries and shock.
Note: The New York Times also reported the accident on Aug. 2, p.1, but without the above detail.
Sebastiano V. Cecchi, Sam’s business agent in Florence, wrote to Sam, mentioning that he had taken receipt for four “Harper’s books,” including James Barnes’ The Son of Light Horse Harry (1904), a volume about Robert E. Lee; Kings and Queens I have Known (1904) by Elena Vacarescu (1868-1947) [Gribben 48, 721: MTP].
July 31 Sunday – Lee, Mass: Sam’s notebook: “LEE, Mass. / (Berkshire hills.). Last night the young people out on a moonlight ride. Trolly frightened Jean’s horse. Collision. Horse killed. Rodman Gilder picked Jean up,— unconscious; she was taken to the doctor, per the car. Face, nose, side, back contused; tendon of left ancle broken” [MTB 1224: NB 47 TS 17]. Note: Paine slightly altered the notebook entry, presented here.
Clara Clemens remembered:
Just before this accident happened I had been taken to a doctor’s house in New York [Parry] for examination, for my health had completely broken down under the strain of Mother’s long illness and the shock of her death. It was determined that I must resort to a life of rest and inactivity, avoiding all forms of excitement or worry, as I was considered to be seriously ill. When this dreadful thing happened to Jean, Father telephoned to my doctor in New York to warn him that the newspapers would be filled the following day with descriptions of Jean’s narrow escape and that on no account must I be permitted to see a single newspaper; Father himself would come to New York and gently break the news to me and explain that, although Jean was suffering much pain and misery, her life was not in danger and there was absolutely no cause for anxiety.
And now what really happened was this. I was lying in bed late in the morning when Father was announced with the explanation that he had come to New York on business. He entered the room and, after a brief greeting, handed me a newspaper with the headlines: “It is hoped that Mark Twain’s youngest daughter, Jean, may live. Her horse fell on her and crushed her.”
I read and reread the sentence, unable to feel anything but a sharp pain in my head. This couldn’t be true. Then slowly Father began to tell the story in his most feeling and dramatically impressive way.
It would have been interesting to know what kind of wheels were revolving in his mind, when his actions were so at variance with his intentions. But I never asked him. The dear man certainly intended to spare me a shock, and some strange spirit led him into contrary behavior [MFMT 256-7].
Note: the most likely sequence of events:
July 30: Jean’s late night tangle with the trolley.
July 31: Sam’s call to Clara’s doctor Parry.
Aug. 1: Sam’s trip to N.Y. to see Clara, who then left for Lee, Mass. to stay three days with Jean.
Aug. 4: Sam’s return to Lee; Clara left for New York.
See Yuran, p. 6 for a photo of Jean on crutches with her dog Prosper, taken a week or more after the accident.
August – Sam’s notebook: contains the title of Joseph C. Lincoln’s book, Cape Cod Ballads and Other Verse,
by Joe Lincoln (1902), and a stanza from the poem [Gribben: 410: NB 46 TS 33]
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.