Mark Twain Writes to Artist Eric Pape; Together with an Exceedingly Rare Autograph Letter Signed by Twain's Youngest Daughter, Jean, Dated Four Months Before Her Tragic Death
[Eric Pape]. Mark Twain. Autograph Letter Signed. Stormfield
Redding Connecticut, July 19/09. One twelvemo page on one folded
octavo leaf of personal stationery. Written area approximately 6.5
x 5 inches. Some creasing, toning, one ink mark on a folded page,
not on the same page as the letter. Very good. With original
mailing envelope in Twain's hand.
Dear Mr. Pape:
By command of physicians who desire to milk me, I am not to stir outside the limits of this farm for the next half-year to come. Otherwise I would be there on the 4th of August + do my share in welcoming the President [Pape had prepared a pageant to greet President Taft for August 4, 1909].
Jean sends cordial greetings to you + Mrs. Pape.
S. L. Clemens".
[Together With]: Jane Lampton Clemens (Usually Known as Jean, Twain's Youngest Daughter and Personal Secretary, 1880-1909). Autograph Letter Signed. Redding Connecticut, Aug. 3 '09. Five and one-half small octavo pages on two small quarto leaves. Some creases, mild toning, else fine. With original mailing envelope in Jean's hand.
"Aug 3, '09
Dare Mrs. Pape:
Please pardon my discourtesy as being caused by any necessity, as a farmer, of working - not intentional. I meant to write long ago, when I first received the invitation to attend the Gloucester celebrations ["s" is crossed out] but I am excessively busy, these days, as Father's secretary and farming on my own account + the days slipped - rushed - by without my realizing how they sped.
I do wish that most attractive pageant had taken place last summer. I should have loved to see it and if I didn't so dislike traveling by train, especially in Summer, I should at least want to make the trip, even if I didn't actually accomplish it, now.
Not long ago, little Bébé [her friend Marguerite Schmidt] wrote, asking me to send you and Mr. Pape, her kindest regards. Yesterday, I had another letter from her in which I was delighted to read that she was returning to America and was going the [?] with a lady in New Canaan. The funny Child gave me all the details except the date, or even the month planned for her departure.
I was so glad to hear from Mrs. Mehans [?] again and to learn that she had come successfully though the terrible operation, which she wrote me might easily prove fatal.
Mrs. Pape, if you and Mr. Pape and your darling boy ever come to New York, won't you let me know, so that I may hope to see you there in case we fail to plan for a visit from you here?
I remember my visits at your charming home and the trips on your boat with such pleasure, that I should be very happy if you could pay us a visit here. With Kindest regards to Mr. Pape and best wishes for the success of the celebrations ["s" is crossed out], together with, cela va sans dire ["that goes without saying"], the warmest of remembrances to yourself,
Very cordially yours,
Jean L. Clemens."
Twain was a well-known friend to other writers and artists, and so it is easy to believe that he'd know the Pape family, especially as they evidently hosted his daughter, Jean, at some point.
Jean Clemens had epilepsy since the age of fifteen, and her mood swings and sometimes unusual behavior may have been because of this disease. In 1906, believing that he could no longer properly care for her, Twain sent Jean to an epilepsy colony in Katonah, New York. In April of 1909, Twain allowed Jean to return home, and they spent several pleasant months together working the farm, and with Jean doing secretarial duties for her father. She died tragically in her bath on Christmas Eve of 1909, having suffered a heart attack brought on by a seizure, and drowned. Letters by her are extremely rare - this may be the first letter of hers to appear at auction.
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