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    [Mark Twain]. Samuel Clemens Autograph Letter Signed, with a Jean Clemens Autograph Letter Signed. One page of a bifolium, 5" x 6.5", [New York], May 22, 1908. Two years before his death, the great author writes this letter of consolation from his brownstone on Fifth Avenue in New York City to an unnamed recipient who has recently suffered a stroke. The text and signature are bold and clear. The paper is lightly age-toned and very clean. The letter reads in full:

    "My friend, I have just learned through a letter from Jean, of the heavy stroke that has smitten you, & I hasten to do as we all do, & as is our nature to do: say the word that would come forth & console if it could, but never yet has healed the hurt it sought to heal, for in no words of any man is there healing for a breaking heart. But it is all we can do. We can only say -- & I say it: -- out of my heart I grieve for you. Most sincerely [signed] SL Clemens."

    When Samuel Clemens wrote this letter of consolation, he knew all too well the bitterness of grief. His later years were plagued by financial troubles. In 1896, his oldest daughter Susan had died at age twenty-four. Eight years later, his wife, Olivia Langdon Clemens, had died after a period of declining health. More grief was just around the corner for Clemens. Jean (Jane Lampton) Clemens (1880-1909), his youngest daughter, would die on Christmas Eve 1909 at the age of twenty-nine after a lifetime of illness. Included is her letter (four pages of a bifolium, March 20, 1908) to "Nancy" (Nancy Douglas Bowditch), containing content on being dissatisfied with her famous father. The letter reads in part:

    "Your father has talked so much to me about adding a very healthy outdoor life to the doctor's methods, as a means of curing me, that I had already begun to try and live up to his advice, as far as was possible in this village. Nothing is positively settled as yet, but in her letter to me the Lioness said she felt sure that father would object to my being so far away from him and the doctor! I wrote that the doctor considered the place good and as for being near the family, that strikes me as silly. I don't see them for months at a time, any of them & it was their fault not mine, then. . . . I don't Recon when I shall write [to Robert] as I am unwilling to send a letter containing nothing but the 'blues.'"

    Nancy Bowditch's father was painter George de Forest Brush. Jean met and befriended Nancy when Brush's family moved to an artist colony near Clemens' home in New England. Nancy herself later became an artist and playwright. Jean's letter is lightly age-toned. Included is a literary post card with information about Twain on the reverse.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2015
    9th Thursday
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