Previously, I had been pondering the "vexatious visit from sanitary
officers and compliance with annoying regulation" following Livy's death
in Florence, Italy. It seemed tome to be a classic example of
bureaucratic interference. On reading Hamlin Hill's "Mark Twain God's
Fool", I find a different story.
Hill writes of a clash with Dr. Kirch over the final bill for services
to Olivia. As the ship was about to depart it appeared as if the death
certificate and consular papers were missing. Sam believed that Dr.
Kirch had withheld the documents pending final payment of his bill.
Hill writes that the Hamburg-American Steamship Company had, in fact,
forwarded the documents to New York on an earlier ship. Twain had,
unnecessarily, obtained duplicate documents from Francis B. Keene, the
U.S. Consul in Florence.
An interesting book, "God's Fool". I'm sure neither Paine nor Clara
would have approved...