MY DEAR OLD JOE AND HARMONY,--The baby is here and is the great American Giantess--weighing 7 3/4 pounds. We had to wait a good long time for her, but she was full compensation when she did come.
The Modoc was delighted with it, and gave it her doll at once. There is nothing selfish about the Modoc. She is fascinated with the new baby. The Modoc rips and tears around out doors, most of the time, and consequently is as hard as a pine knot and as brown as an Indian. She is bosom friend to all the ducks, chickens, turkeys and guinea hens on the place. Yesterday as she marched along the winding path that leads up the hill through the red clover beds to the summer-house, there was a long procession of these fowls stringing contentedly after her, led by a stately rooster who can look over the Modoc's head. The devotion of these vassals has been purchased with daily largess of Indian meal, and so the Modoc, attended by her bodyguard, moves in state wherever she goes.
Susie Crane has built the loveliest study for me, you ever saw. It is octagonal, with a peaked roof, each octagon filled with a spacious window, and it sits perched in complete isolation on top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills. It is a cosy nest, with just room in it for a sofa and a table and three or four chairs--and when the storms sweep down the remote valley and the lightning flashes above the hills beyond, and the rain beats upon the roof over my head, imagine the luxury of it! It stands 500 feet above the valley and 2 1/2 miles from it.
However one must not write all day. We send continents of love to you and yours. Affectionately MARK.
We have mentioned before that Clemens had settled his mother and sister at Fredonia, New York, and when Mrs. Clemens was in condition to travel he concluded to pay them a visit.
It proved an unfortunate journey; the hot weather was hard on Mrs. Clemens, and harder still, perhaps, on Mark Twain's temper. At any period of his life a bore exasperated him, and in these earlier days he was far more likely to explode than in his mellower age. Remorse always followed--the price he paid was always costly. We cannot know now who was the unfortunate that invited the storm, but in the next letter we get the echoes of it and realize something of its damage.
To Mrs. Jane Clemens and Mrs. Moffett, in Fredonia:
ELMIRA, Aug. 15. MX DEAR MOTHER AND SISTER,--I came away from Fredonia ashamed of myself; --almost too much humiliated to hold up my head and say good-bye. For I began to comprehend how much harm my conduct might do you socially in your village. I would have gone to that detestable oyster-brained bore and apologized for my inexcusable rudeness to him, but that I was satisfied he was of too small a calibre to know how to receive an apology with magnanimity.
Pamela appalled me by saying people had hinted that they wished to visit Livy when she came, but that she had given them no encouragement. I feared that those people would merely comprehend that their courtesies were not wanted, and yet not know exactly why they were not wanted.
I came away feeling that in return for your constant and tireless efforts to secure our bodily comfort and make our visit enjoyable, I had basely repaid you by making you sad and sore-hearted and leaving you so. And the natural result has fallen to me likewise--for a guilty conscience has harassed me ever since, and I have not had one short quarter of an hour of peace to this moment.
You spoke of Middletown. Why not go there and live? Mr. Crane says it is only about a hundred miles this side of New York on the Erie road. The fact that one or two of you might prefer to live somewhere else is not a valid objection--there are no 4 people who would all choose the same place--so it will be vain to wait for the day when your tastes shall be a unit.