April 22, '94. Dear old darling, we all think the creditors are going to allow us to resume business; and if they do we shall pull through and pay the debts. I am prodigiously glad we made an assignment. And also glad that we did not make it sooner. Earlier we should have made a poor showing; but now we shall make a good one.
I meet flocks of people, and they all shake me cordially by the hand and say "I was so sorry to hear of the assignment, but so glad you did it. It was around, this long time, that the concern was tottering, and all your friends were afraid you would delay the assignment too long."
John Mackay called yesterday, and said, "Don't let it disturb you, Sam-- we all have to do it, at one time or another; it's nothing to be ashamed of."
One stranger out in New York State sent me a dollar bill and thought he would like to get up a dollar-subscription for me. And Poultney Bigelow's note came promptly, with his check for $1,000. I had been meeting him every day at the Club and liking him better and better all the time. I couldn't take his money, of course, but I thanked him cordially for his good will.
Now and then a good and dear Joe Twichell or Susy Warner condoles with me and says "Cheer up--don't be downhearted," and some other friend says, "I am glad and surprised to see how cheerful you are and how bravely you stand it"--and none of them suspect what a burden has been lifted from me and how blithe I am inside. Except when I think of you, dear heart--then I am not blithe; for I seem to see you grieving and ashamed, and dreading to look people in the face. For in the thick of the fight there is cheer, but you are far away and cannot hear the drums nor see the wheeling squadrons. You only seem to see rout, retreat, and dishonored colors dragging in the dirt--whereas none of these things exist. There is temporary defeat, but no dishonor--and we will march again. Charley Warner said to-day, "Sho, Livy isn't worrying. So long as she's got you and the children she doesn't care what happens. She knows it isn't her affair." Which didn't convince me.
Good bye my darling, I love you and all of the kids--and you can tell Clara I am not a spitting gray kitten. SAML.
Clemens sailed for Europe as soon as his affairs would permit him to go. He must get settled where he could work comfortably. Type- setter prospects seemed promising, but meantime there was need of funds.
He began writing on the ship, as was his habit, and had completed his article on Fenimore Cooper by the time he reached London. In August we find him writing to Mr. Rogers from Etretat, a little Norman watering-place.