December 30 Friday – Herbert Ashcroft of the Koy -Lo Co. wrote to Sam. “I am today in receipt of a cable from my brother stating that the London Plasmon Company will not make any contract and that they prefere to stand the ‘freeze out’ with which they are threatened. He also confirms …that he will return on the ‘Lucania’ arriving her probably Saturday morning, the 7th prox.” [MTP].
E. Prentiss Bailey of the Utica Observer (NY) wrote to Sam.
Please for one moment recall our last meeting in the Lincoln National Bank, and your relation to me of how the night before it fell to you to introduce Clara Morris to her audience in Wallack’s, and then let me say that I am reprinting the exquisite verse graven upon the tombstone of your dear wife. The laughter that moves to tears has been yours to give to the world in generous measure, but these tears, these tears are sweeter still. The world will love you the more for them. / Sincerely [MTP].
William E. Benjamin wrote to Sam, enclosing the receipt for the $800 commission; the deed for the property, which Sam was to sign, would follow “in due course” [MTP].
Sebastiano V. Cecchi wrote to Sam, enclosing a bill and statement of account with Haskard & Co. Bank, Florence. He related that the Florence attorney Ubaldo Traverso “has cited 28 witnesses against your old landlady” and that she fell ill from the fact; but the case would go to court sometime in January
James Douglas Campbell for the Plasmon Co. of America sent Sam another meeting notice, this time for Feb. 2, 1905 at 116 Broad St. [MTP].
December 31 Saturday – Sam’s notebook: “The puppy & the Christian are born blind. The puppy gets over it” [NB 47 TS 17].
George Standring sent Sam a 3×4” card with his name nicely written in the center, and in the upper left corner, was printed:
“A PLAIN CARD: FROM A PLAIN MAN: WITH NEW YEAR GREETING; WISHING YOU ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN REASONABLY HOPE FOR OR DESIRE IN THE YEAR NOW ABOUT TO BEGIN—–FROM GEORGE STANDRING TO” [MTP].
Editor’s note: The break here at the end of 1904 is a significant and propitious one. Samuel Clemens is just beginning to come out of his deepest mourning for the light of his life. He has taken a three-year lease on a N.Y.C. house, and has shown interest in political and social issues that would thrust him more fully into the role of American Sage. Without Livy’s influence and sometimes brake upon his expressed opinions, he would courageously stand as the conscience of the country. His dictations for his 100 year autobiography would begin anew in 1906 creating a torrent of manuscript that is even today being sorted out. Sam had taken the worst blows life had to offer by the end of 1904; perhaps his best writing was behind him; but certainly not his best living.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.