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Title: Chapters from My Autobiography
Author: Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Chapters from My Autobiography" ***

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NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DXCVIII.

SEPTEMBER 7, 1906


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--I.[1]

BY MARK TWAIN.


     PREFATORY NOTE.--Mr. Clemens began to write his autobiography many
     years ago, and he continues to add to it day by day. It was his
     original intention to permit no publication of his memoirs until
     after his death; but, after leaving "Pier No. 70," he concluded
     that a considerable portion might now suitably be given to the
     public. It is that portion, garnered from the quarter-million of
     words already written, which will appear in this REVIEW during the
     coming year. No part of the autobiography will be published in book
     form during the lifetime of the author.--EDITOR N. A. R.


INTRODUCTION.

I intend that this autobiography shall become a model for all future
autobiographies when it is published, after my death, and I also intend
that it shall be read and admired a good many centuries because of its
form and method--a form and method whereby the past and the present are
constantly brought face to face, resulting in contrasts which newly fire
up the interest all along, like contact of flint with steel. Moreover,
this autobiography of mine does not select from my life its showy
episodes, but deals mainly in the common experiences which go to make up
the life of the average human being, because these episodes are of a
sort which he is familiar with in his own life, and in which he sees his
own life reflected and set down in print. The usual, conventional
autobiographer seems to particularly hunt out those occasions in his
career when he came into contact with celebrated persons, whereas his
contacts with the uncelebrated were just as interesting to him, and
would be to his reader, and were vastly more numerous than his
collisions with the famous.

Howells was here yesterday afternoon, and I told him the whole scheme of
this autobiography and its apparently systemless system--only apparently
systemless, for it is not really that. It is a deliberate system, and
the law of the system is that I shall talk about the matter which for
the moment interests me, and cast it aside and talk about something else
the moment its interest for me is exhausted. It is a system which
follows no charted course and is not going to follow any such course. It
is a system which is a complete and purposed jumble--a course which
begins nowhere, follows no specified route, and can never reach an end
while I am alive, for the reason that, if I should talk to the
stenographer two hours a day for a hundred years, I should still never
be able to set down a tenth part of the things which have interested me
in my lifetime. I told Howells that this autobiography of mine would
live a couple of thousand years, without any effort, and would then take
a fresh start and live the rest of the time.

He said he believed it would, and asked me if I meant to make a library
of it.

I said that that was my design; but that, if I should live long enough,
the set of volumes could not be contained merely in a city, it would
require a State, and that there would not be any multi-billionaire
alive, perhaps, at any time during its existence who would be able to
buy a full set, except on the instalment plan.

Howells applauded, and was full of praises and endorsement, which was
wise in him and judicious. If he had manifested a different spirit, I
would have thrown him out of the window. I like criticism, but it must
be my way.


I.

Back of the Virginia Clemenses is a dim procession of ancestors
stretching back to Noah's time. According to tradition, some of them
were pirates and slavers in Elizabeth's time. But this is no discredit
to them, for so were Drake and Hawkins and the others. It was a
respectable trade, then, and monarchs were partners in it. In my time I
have had desires to be a pirate myself. The reader--if he will look deep
down in his secret heart, will find--but never mind what he will find
there; I am not writing his Autobiography, but mine. Later, according to
tradition, one of the procession was Ambassador to Spain in the time of
James I, or of Charles I, and married there and sent down a strain of
Spanish blood to warm us up. Also, according to tradition, this one or
another--Geoffrey Clement, by name--helped to sentence Charles to death.

I have not examined into these traditions myself, partly because I was
indolent, and partly because I was so busy polishing up this end of the
line and trying to make it showy; but the other Clemenses claim that
they have made the examination and that it stood the test. Therefore I
have always taken for granted that I did help Charles out of his
troubles, by ancestral proxy. My instincts have persuaded me, too.
Whenever we have a strong and persistent and ineradicable instinct, we
may be sure that it is not original with us, but inherited--inherited
from away back, and hardened and perfected by the petrifying influence
of time. Now I have been always and unchangingly bitter against Charles,
and I am quite certain that this feeling trickled down to me through the
veins of my forebears from the heart of that judge; for it is not my
disposition to be bitter against people on my own personal account I am
not bitter against Jeffreys. I ought to be, but I am not. It indicates
that my ancestors of James II's time were indifferent to him; I do not
know why; I never could make it out; but that is what it indicates. And
I have always felt friendly toward Satan. Of course that is ancestral;
it must be in the blood, for I could not have originated it.

... And so, by the testimony of instinct, backed by the assertions of
Clemenses who said they had examined the records, I have always been
obliged to believe that Geoffrey Clement the martyr-maker was an
ancestor of mine, and to regard him with favor, and in fact pride. This
has not had a good effect upon me, for it has made me vain, and that is
a fault. It has made me set myself above people who were less fortunate
in their ancestry than I, and has moved me to take them down a peg, upon
occasion, and say things to them which hurt them before company.

A case of the kind happened in Berlin several years ago. William Walter
Phelps was our Minister at the Emperor's Court, then, and one evening he
had me to dinner to meet Count S., a cabinet minister. This nobleman was
of long and illustrious descent. Of course I wanted to let out the fact
that I had some ancestors, too; but I did not want to pull them out of
their graves by the ears, and I never could seem to get the chance to
work them in in a way that would look sufficiently casual. I suppose
Phelps was in the same difficulty. In fact he looked distraught, now and
then--just as a person looks who wants to uncover an ancestor purely by
accident, and cannot think of a way that will seem accidental enough.
But at last, after dinner, he made a try. He took us about his
drawing-room, showing us the pictures, and finally stopped before a rude
and ancient engraving. It was a picture of the court that tried Charles
I. There was a pyramid of judges in Puritan slouch hats, and below them
three bare-headed secretaries seated at a table. Mr. Phelps put his
finger upon one of the three, and said with exulting indifference--

"An ancestor of mine."

I put my finger on a judge, and retorted with scathing languidness--

"Ancestor of mine. But it is a small matter. I have others."

It was not noble in me to do it. I have always regretted it since. But
it landed him. I wonder how he felt? However, it made no difference in
our friendship, which shows that he was fine and high, notwithstanding
the humbleness of his origin. And it was also creditable in me, too,
that I could overlook it. I made no change in my bearing toward him, but
always treated him as an equal.

But it was a hard night for me in one way. Mr. Phelps thought I was the
guest of honor, and so did Count S.; but I didn't, for there was nothing
in my invitation to indicate it. It was just a friendly offhand note, on
a card. By the time dinner was announced Phelps was himself in a state
of doubt. Something had to be done; and it was not a handy time for
explanations. He tried to get me to go out with him, but I held back;
then he tried S., and he also declined. There was another guest, but
there was no trouble about him. We finally went out in a pile. There was
a decorous plunge for seats, and I got the one at Mr. Phelps's left, the
Count captured the one facing Phelps, and the other guest had to take
the place of honor, since he could not help himself. We returned to the
drawing-room in the original disorder. I had new shoes on, and they were
tight. At eleven I was privately crying; I couldn't help it, the pain
was so cruel. Conversation had been dead for an hour. S. had been due at
the bedside of a dying official ever since half past nine. At last we
all rose by one blessed impulse and went down to the street door without
explanations--in a pile, and no precedence; and so, parted.

The evening had its defects; still, I got my ancestor in, and was
satisfied.

Among the Virginian Clemenses were Jere. (already mentioned), and
Sherrard. Jere. Clemens had a wide reputation as a good pistol-shot, and
once it enabled him to get on the friendly side of some drummers when
they wouldn't have paid any attention to mere smooth words and
arguments. He was out stumping the State at the time. The drummers were
grouped in front of the stand, and had been hired by the opposition to
drum while he made his speech. When he was ready to begin, he got out
his revolver and laid it before him, and said in his soft, silky way--

"I do not wish to hurt anybody, and shall try not to; but I have got
just a bullet apiece for those six drums, and if you should want to play
on them, don't stand behind them."

Sherrard Clemens was a Republican Congressman from West Virginia in the
war days, and then went out to St. Louis, where the James Clemens branch
lived, and still lives, and there he became a warm rebel. This was after
the war. At the time that he was a Republican I was a rebel; but by the
time he had become a rebel I was become (temporarily) a Republican. The
Clemenses have always done the best they could to keep the political
balances level, no matter how much it might inconvenience them. I did
not know what had become of Sherrard Clemens; but once I introduced
Senator Hawley to a Republican mass meeting in New England, and then I
got a bitter letter from Sherrard from St. Louis. He said that the
Republicans of the North--no, the "mudsills of the North"--had swept
away the old aristocracy of the South with fire and sword, and it ill
became me, an aristocrat by blood, to train with that kind of swine. Did
I forget that I was a Lambton?

That was a reference to my mother's side of the house. As I have already
said, she was a Lambton--Lambton with a p, for some of the American
Lamptons could not spell very well in early times, and so the name
suffered at their hands. She was a native of Kentucky, and married my
father in Lexington in 1823, when she was twenty years old and he
twenty-four. Neither of them had an overplus of property. She brought
him two or three negroes, but nothing else, I think. They removed to the
remote and secluded village of Jamestown, in the mountain solitudes of
east Tennessee. There their first crop of children was born, but as I
was of a later vintage I do not remember anything about it. I was
postponed--postponed to Missouri. Missouri was an unknown new State and
needed attractions.

I think that my eldest brother, Orion, my sisters Pamela and Margaret,
and my brother Benjamin were born in Jamestown. There may have been
others, but as to that I am not sure. It was a great lift for that
little village to have my parents come there. It was hoped that they
would stay, so that it would become a city. It was supposed that they
would stay. And so there was a boom; but by and by they went away, and
prices went down, and it was many years before Jamestown got another
start. I have written about Jamestown in the "Gilded Age," a book of
mine, but it was from hearsay, not from personal knowledge. My father
left a fine estate behind him in the region round about
Jamestown--75,000 acres.[2] When he died in 1847 he had owned it about
twenty years. The taxes were almost nothing (five dollars a year for the
whole), and he had always paid them regularly and kept his title
perfect. He had always said that the land would not become valuable in
his time, but that it would be a commodious provision for his children
some day. It contained coal, copper, iron and timber, and he said that
in the course of time railways would pierce to that region, and then the
property would be property in fact as well as in name. It also produced
a wild grape of a promising sort. He had sent some samples to Nicholas
Longworth, of Cincinnati, to get his judgment upon them, and Mr.
Longworth had said that they would make as good wine as his Catawbas.
The land contained all these riches; and also oil, but my father did not
know that, and of course in those early days he would have cared nothing
about it if he had known it. The oil was not discovered until about
1895. I wish I owned a couple of acres of the land now. In which case I
would not be writing Autobiographies for a living. My father's dying
charge was, "Cling to the land and wait; let nothing beguile it away
from you." My mother's favorite cousin, James Lampton, who figures in
the "Gilded Age" as "Colonel Sellers," always said of that land--and
said it with blazing enthusiasm, too,--"There's millions in
it--millions!" It is true that he always said that about everything--and
was always mistaken, too; but this time he was right; which shows that a
man who goes around with a prophecy-gun ought never to get discouraged;
if he will keep up his heart and fire at everything he sees, he is bound
to hit something by and by.

Many persons regarded "Colonel Sellers" as a fiction, an invention, an
extravagant impossibility, and did me the honor to call him a
"creation"; but they were mistaken. I merely put him on paper as he was;
he was not a person who could be exaggerated. The incidents which looked
most extravagant, both in the book and on the stage, were not inventions
of mine but were facts of his life; and I was present when they were
developed. John T. Raymond's audiences used to come near to dying with
laughter over the turnip-eating scene; but, extravagant as the scene
was, it was faithful to the facts, in all its absurd details. The thing
happened in Lampton's own house, and I was present. In fact I was myself
the guest who ate the turnips. In the hands of a great actor that
piteous scene would have dimmed any manly spectator's eyes with tears,
and racked his ribs apart with laughter at the same time. But Raymond
was great in humorous portrayal only. In that he was superb, he was
wonderful--in a word, great; in all things else he was a pigmy of the
pigmies.

The real Colonel Sellers, as I knew him in James Lampton, was a pathetic
and beautiful spirit, a manly man, a straight and honorable man, a man
with a big, foolish, unselfish heart in his bosom, a man born to be
loved; and he was loved by all his friends, and by his family
worshipped. It is the right word. To them he was but little less than a
god. The real Colonel Sellers was never on the stage. Only half of him
was there. Raymond could not play the other half of him; it was above
his level. That half was made up of qualities of which Raymond was
wholly destitute. For Raymond was not a manly man, he was not an
honorable man nor an honest one, he was empty and selfish and vulgar and
ignorant and silly, and there was a vacancy in him where his heart
should have been. There was only one man who could have played the whole
of Colonel Sellers, and that was Frank Mayo.[3]

It is a world of surprises. They fall, too, where one is least expecting
them. When I introduced Sellers into the book, Charles Dudley Warner,
who was writing the story with me, proposed a change of Seller's
Christian name. Ten years before, in a remote corner of the West, he had
come across a man named Eschol Sellers, and he thought that Eschol was
just the right and fitting name for our Sellers, since it was odd and
quaint and all that. I liked the idea, but I said that that man might
turn up and object. But Warner said it couldn't happen; that he was
doubtless dead by this time, a man with a name like that couldn't live
long; and be he dead or alive we must have the name, it was exactly the
right one and we couldn't do without it. So the change was made.
Warner's man was a farmer in a cheap and humble way. When the book had
been out a week, a college-bred gentleman of courtly manners and ducal
upholstery arrived in Hartford in a sultry state of mind and with a
libel suit in his eye, and _his_ name was Eschol Sellers! He had never
heard of the other one, and had never been within a thousand miles of
him. This damaged aristocrat's programme was quite definite and
businesslike: the American Publishing Company must suppress the edition
as far as printed, and change the name in the plates, or stand a suit
for $10,000. He carried away the Company's promise and many apologies,
and we changed the name back to Colonel Mulberry Sellers, in the plates.
Apparently there is nothing that cannot happen. Even the existence of
two unrelated men wearing the impossible name of Eschol Sellers is a
possible thing.

James Lampton floated, all his days, in a tinted mist of magnificent
dreams, and died at last without seeing one of them realized. I saw him
last in 1884, when it had been twenty-six years since I ate the basin of
raw turnips and washed them down with a bucket of water in his house. He
was become old and white-headed, but he entered to me in the same old
breezy way of his earlier life, and he was all there, yet--not a detail
wanting: the happy light in his eye, the abounding hope in his heart,
the persuasive tongue, the miracle-breeding imagination--they were all
there; and before I could turn around he was polishing up his Aladdin's
lamp and flashing the secret riches of the world before me. I said to
myself, "I did not overdraw him by a shade, I set him down as he was;
and he is the same man to-day. Cable will recognize him." I asked him to
excuse me a moment, and ran into the next room, which was Cable's; Cable
and I were stumping the Union on a reading tour. I said--

"I am going to leave your door open, so that you can listen. There is a
man in there who is interesting."

I went back and asked Lampton what he was doing now. He began to tell me
of a "small venture" he had begun in New Mexico through his son; "only a
little thing--a mere trifle--partly to amuse my leisure, partly to keep
my capital from lying idle, but mainly to develop the boy--develop the
boy; fortune's wheel is ever revolving, he may have to work for his
living some day--as strange things have happened in this world. But it's
only a little thing--a mere trifle, as I said."

And so it was--as he began it. But under his deft hands it grew, and
blossomed, and spread--oh, beyond imagination. At the end of half an
hour he finished; finished with the remark, uttered in an adorably
languid manner:

"Yes, it is but a trifle, as things go nowadays--a bagatelle--but
amusing. It passes the time. The boy thinks great things of it, but he
is young, you know, and imaginative; lacks the experience which comes of
handling large affairs, and which tempers the fancy and perfects the
judgment. I suppose there's a couple of millions in it, possibly three,
but not more, I think; still, for a boy, you know, just starting in
life, it is not bad. I should not want him to make a fortune--let that
come later. It could turn his head, at his time of life, and in many
ways be a damage to him."

Then he said something about his having left his pocketbook lying on the
table in the main drawing-room at home, and about its being after
banking hours, now, and--

I stopped him, there, and begged him to honor Cable and me by being our
guest at the lecture--with as many friends as might be willing to do us
the like honor. He accepted. And he thanked me as a prince might who
had granted us a grace. The reason I stopped his speech about the
tickets was because I saw that he was going to ask me to furnish them to
him and let him pay next day; and I knew that if he made the debt he
would pay it if he had to pawn his clothes. After a little further chat
he shook hands heartily and affectionately, and took his leave. Cable
put his head in at the door, and said--

"That was Colonel Sellers."

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Copyright, 1906, by Harper & Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

[2] Correction. 1906: it was above 100,000, it appears.

[3] Raymond was playing "Colonel Sellers" in 1876 and along there. About
twenty years later Mayo dramatized "Pudd'nhead Wilson" and played the
title role delightfully.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DXCIX.

SEPTEMBER 21, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--II.

BY MARK TWAIN.


II.

My experiences as an author began early in 1867. I came to New York from
San Francisco in the first month of that year and presently Charles H.
Webb, whom I had known in San Francisco as a reporter on _The Bulletin_,
and afterward editor of _The Californian_, suggested that I publish a
volume of sketches. I had but a slender reputation to publish it on, but
I was charmed and excited by the suggestion and quite willing to venture
it if some industrious person would save me the trouble of gathering the
sketches together. I was loath to do it myself, for from the beginning
of my sojourn in this world there was a persistent vacancy in me where
the industry ought to be. ("Ought to was" is better, perhaps, though
the most of the authorities differ as to this.)

Webb said I had some reputation in the Atlantic States, but I knew quite
well that it must be of a very attenuated sort. What there was of it
rested upon the story of "The Jumping Frog." When Artemus Ward passed
through California on a lecturing tour, in 1865 or '66, I told him the
"Jumping Frog" story, in San Francisco, and he asked me to write it out
and send it to his publisher, Carleton, in New York, to be used in
padding out a small book which Artemus had prepared for the press and
which needed some more stuffing to make it big enough for the price
which was to be charged for it.

It reached Carleton in time, but he didn't think much of it, and was not
willing to go to the typesetting expense of adding it to the book. He
did not put it in the waste-basket, but made Henry Clapp a present of
it, and Clapp used it to help out the funeral of his dying literary
journal, _The Saturday Press_. "The Jumping Frog" appeared in the last
number of that paper, was the most joyous feature of the obsequies, and
was at once copied in the newspapers of America and England. It
certainly had a wide celebrity, and it still had it at the time that I
am speaking of--but I was aware that it was only the frog that was
celebrated. It wasn't I. I was still an obscurity.

Webb undertook to collate the sketches. He performed this office, then
handed the result to me, and I went to Carleton's establishment with it.
I approached a clerk and he bent eagerly over the counter to inquire
into my needs; but when he found that I had come to sell a book and not
to buy one, his temperature fell sixty degrees, and the old-gold
intrenchments in the roof of my mouth contracted three-quarters of an
inch and my teeth fell out. I meekly asked the privilege of a word with
Mr. Carleton, and was coldly informed that he was in his private office.
Discouragements and difficulties followed, but after a while I got by
the frontier and entered the holy of holies. Ah, now I remember how I
managed it! Webb had made an appointment for me with Carleton; otherwise
I never should have gotten over that frontier. Carleton rose and said
brusquely and aggressively,

"Well, what can I do for you?"

I reminded him that I was there by appointment to offer him my book for
publication. He began to swell, and went on swelling and swelling and
swelling until he had reached the dimensions of a god of about the
second or third degree. Then the fountains of his great deep were broken
up, and for two or three minutes I couldn't see him for the rain. It was
words, only words, but they fell so densely that they darkened the
atmosphere. Finally he made an imposing sweep with his right hand, which
comprehended the whole room and said,

"Books--look at those shelves! Every one of them is loaded with books
that are waiting for publication. Do I want any more? Excuse me, I
don't. Good morning."

Twenty-one years elapsed before I saw Carleton again. I was then
sojourning with my family at the Schweitzerhof, in Luzerne. He called on
me, shook hands cordially, and said at once, without any preliminaries,

"I am substantially an obscure person, but I have at least one
distinction to my credit of such colossal dimensions that it entitles me
to immortality--to wit: I refused a book of yours, and for this I stand
without competitor as the prize ass of the nineteenth century."

It was a most handsome apology, and I told him so, and said it was a
long-delayed revenge but was sweeter to me than any other that could be
devised; that during the lapsed twenty-one years I had in fancy taken
his life several times every year, and always in new and increasingly
cruel and inhuman ways, but that now I was pacified, appeased, happy,
even jubilant; and that thenceforth I should hold him my true and valued
friend and never kill him again.

I reported my adventure to Webb, and he bravely said that not all the
Carletons in the universe should defeat that book; he would publish it
himself on a ten per cent. royalty. And so he did. He brought it out in
blue and gold, and made a very pretty little book of it, I think he
named it "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and Other
Sketches," price $1.25. He made the plates and printed and bound the
book through a job-printing house, and published it through the American
News Company.

In June I sailed in the _Quaker City_ Excursion. I returned in November,
and in Washington found a letter from Elisha Bliss, of the American
Publishing Company of Hartford, offering me five per cent. royalty on a
book which should recount the adventures of the Excursion. In lieu of
the royalty, I was offered the alternative of ten thousand dollars cash
upon delivery of the manuscript. I consulted A. D. Richardson and he
said "take the royalty." I followed his advice and closed with Bliss. By
my contract I was to deliver the manuscript in July of 1868. I wrote the
book in San Francisco and delivered the manuscript within contract time.
Bliss provided a multitude of illustrations for the book, and then
stopped work on it. The contract date for the issue went by, and there
was no explanation of this. Time drifted along and still there was no
explanation. I was lecturing all over the country; and about thirty
times a day, on an average, I was trying to answer this conundrum:

"When is your book coming out?"

I got tired of inventing new answers to that question, and by and by I
got horribly tired of the question itself. Whoever asked it became my
enemy at once, and I was usually almost eager to make that appear.

As soon as I was free of the lecture-field I hastened to Hartford to
make inquiries. Bliss said that the fault was not his; that he wanted to
publish the book but the directors of his Company were staid old fossils
and were afraid of it. They had examined the book, and the majority of
them were of the opinion that there were places in it of a humorous
character. Bliss said the house had never published a book that had a
suspicion like that attaching to it, and that the directors were afraid
that a departure of this kind would seriously injure the house's
reputation; that he was tied hand and foot, and was not permitted to
carry out his contract. One of the directors, a Mr. Drake--at least he
was the remains of what had once been a Mr. Drake--invited me to take a
ride with him in his buggy, and I went along. He was a pathetic old
relic, and his ways and his talk were also pathetic. He had a delicate
purpose in view and it took him some time to hearten himself
sufficiently to carry it out, but at last he accomplished it. He
explained the house's difficulty and distress, as Bliss had already
explained it. Then he frankly threw himself and the house upon my mercy
and begged me to take away "The Innocents Abroad" and release the
concern from the contract. I said I wouldn't--and so ended the interview
and the buggy excursion. Then I warned Bliss that he must get to work or
I should make trouble. He acted upon the warning, and set up the book
and I read the proofs. Then there was another long wait and no
explanation. At last toward the end of July (1869, I think), I lost
patience and telegraphed Bliss that if the book was not on sale in
twenty-four hours I should bring suit for damages.

That ended the trouble. Half a dozen copies were bound and placed on
sale within the required time. Then the canvassing began, and went
briskly forward. In nine months the book took the publishing house out
of debt, advanced its stock from twenty-five to two hundred, and left
seventy thousand dollars profit to the good. It was Bliss that told me
this--but if it was true, it was the first time that he had told the
truth in sixty-five years. He was born in 1804.


III.

... This was in 1849. I was fourteen years old, then. We were still
living in Hannibal, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi, in the
new "frame" house built by my father five years before. That is, some of
us lived in the new part, the rest in the old part back of it--the "L."
In the autumn my sister gave a party, and invited all the marriageable
young people of the village. I was too young for this society, and was
too bashful to mingle with young ladies, anyway, therefore I was not
invited--at least not for the whole evening. Ten minutes of it was to be
my whole share. I was to do the part of a bear in a small fairy play. I
was to be disguised all over in a close-fitting brown hairy stuff proper
for a bear. About half past ten I was told to go to my room and put on
this disguise, and be ready in half an hour. I started, but changed my
mind; for I wanted to practise a little, and that room was very small. I
crossed over to the large unoccupied house on the corner of Main and
Hill streets,[4] unaware that a dozen of the young people were also
going there to dress for their parts. I took the little black slave boy,
Sandy, with me, and we selected a roomy and empty chamber on the second
floor. We entered it talking, and this gave a couple of half-dressed
young ladies an opportunity to take refuge behind a screen undiscovered.
Their gowns and things were hanging on hooks behind the door, but I did
not see them; it was Sandy that shut the door, but all his heart was in
the theatricals, and he was as unlikely to notice them as I was myself.

That was a rickety screen, with many holes in it, but as I did not know
there were girls behind it, I was not disturbed by that detail. If I had
known, I could not have undressed in the flood of cruel moonlight that
was pouring in at the curtainless windows; I should have died of shame.
Untroubled by apprehensions, I stripped to the skin and began my
practice. I was full of ambition; I was determined to make a hit; I was
burning to establish a reputation as a bear and get further engagements;
so I threw myself into my work with an abandon that promised great
things. I capered back and forth from one end of the room to the other
on all fours, Sandy applauding with enthusiasm; I walked upright and
growled and snapped and snarled; I stood on my head, I flung
handsprings, I danced a lubberly dance with my paws bent and my
imaginary snout sniffing from side to side; I did everything a bear
could do, and many things which no bear could ever do and no bear with
any dignity would want to do, anyway; and of course I never suspected
that I was making a spectacle of myself to any one but Sandy. At last,
standing on my head, I paused in that attitude to take a minute's rest.
There was a moment's silence, then Sandy spoke up with excited interest
and said--

"Marse Sam, has you ever seen a smoked herring?"

"No. What is that?"

"It's a fish."

"Well, what of it? Anything peculiar about it?"

"Yes, suh, you bet you dey is. _Dey eats 'em guts and all!_"

There was a smothered burst of feminine snickers from behind the screen!
All the strength went out of me and I toppled forward like an undermined
tower and brought the screen down with my weight, burying the young
ladies under it. In their fright they discharged a couple of piercing
screams--and possibly others, but I did not wait to count. I snatched my
clothes and fled to the dark hall below, Sandy following. I was dressed
in half a minute, and out the back way. I swore Sandy to eternal
silence, then we went away and hid until the party was over. The
ambition was all out of me. I could not have faced that giddy company
after my adventure, for there would be two performers there who knew my
secret, and would be privately laughing at me all the time. I was
searched for but not found, and the bear had to be played by a young
gentleman in his civilized clothes. The house was still and everybody
asleep when I finally ventured home. I was very heavy-hearted, and full
of a sense of disgrace. Pinned to my pillow I found a slip of paper
which bore a line that did not lighten my heart, but only made my face
burn. It was written in a laboriously disguised hand, and these were its
mocking terms:

"You probably couldn't have played _bear_, but you played _bare_ very
well--oh, very very well!"

We think boys are rude, unsensitive animals, but it is not so in all
cases. Each boy has one or two sensitive spots, and if you can find out
where they are located you have only to touch them and you can scorch
him as with fire. I suffered miserably over that episode. I expected
that the facts would be all over the village in the morning, but it was
not so. The secret remained confined to the two girls and Sandy and me.
That was some appeasement of my pain, but it was far from
sufficient--the main trouble remained: I was under four mocking eyes,
and it might as well have been a thousand, for I suspected all girls'
eyes of being the ones I so dreaded. During several weeks I could not
look any young lady in the face; I dropped my eyes in confusion when any
one of them smiled upon me and gave me greeting; and I said to myself,
"_That is one of them_," and got quickly away. Of course I was meeting
the right girls everywhere, but if they ever let slip any betraying sign
I was not bright enough to catch it. When I left Hannibal four years
later, the secret was still a secret; I had never guessed those girls
out, and was no longer expecting to do it. Nor wanting to, either.

One of the dearest and prettiest girls in the village at the time of my
mishap was one whom I will call Mary Wilson, because that was not her
name. She was twenty years old; she was dainty and sweet, peach-bloomy
and exquisite, gracious and lovely in character, and I stood in awe of
her, for she seemed to me to be made out of angel-clay and rightfully
unapproachable by an unholy ordinary kind of a boy like me. I probably
never suspected her. But--

The scene changes. To Calcutta--forty-seven years later. It was in 1896.
I arrived there on my lecturing trip. As I entered the hotel a divine
vision passed out of it, clothed in the glory of the Indian
sunshine--the Mary Wilson of my long-vanished boyhood! It was a
startling thing. Before I could recover from the bewildering shock and
speak to her she was gone. I thought maybe I had seen an apparition, but
it was not so, she was flesh. She was the granddaughter of the other
Mary, the original Mary. That Mary, now a widow, was up-stairs, and
presently sent for me. She was old and gray-haired, but she looked young
and was very handsome. We sat down and talked. We steeped our thirsty
souls in the reviving wine of the past, the beautiful past, the dear and
lamented past; we uttered the names that had been silent upon our lips
for fifty years, and it was as if they were made of music; with reverent
hands we unburied our dead, the mates of our youth, and caressed them
with our speech; we searched the dusty chambers of our memories and
dragged forth incident after incident, episode after episode, folly
after folly, and laughed such good laughs over them, with the tears
running down; and finally Mary said suddenly, and without any leading
up--

"Tell me! What is the special peculiarity of smoked herrings?"

It seemed a strange question at such a hallowed time as this. And so
inconsequential, too. I was a little shocked. And yet I was aware of a
stir of some kind away back in the deeps of my memory somewhere. It set
me to musing--thinking--searching. Smoked herrings. Smoked herrings. The
peculiarity of smo.... I glanced up. Her face was grave, but there was a
dim and shadowy twinkle in her eye which--All of a sudden I knew! and
far away down in the hoary past I heard a remembered voice murmur, "Dey
eats 'em guts and all!"

"At--last! I've found one of you, anyway! Who was the other girl?"

But she drew the line there. She wouldn't tell me.

FOOTNOTE:

[4] That house still stands.


IV.

... But it was on a bench in Washington Square that I saw the most of
Louis Stevenson. It was an outing that lasted an hour or more, and was
very pleasant and sociable. I had come with him from his house, where I
had been paying my respects to his family. His business in the Square
was to absorb the sunshine. He was most scantily furnished with flesh,
his clothes seemed to fall into hollows as if there might be nothing
inside but the frame for a sculptor's statue. His long face and lank
hair and dark complexion and musing and melancholy expression seemed to
fit these details justly and harmoniously, and the altogether of it
seemed especially planned to gather the rays of your observation and
focalize them upon Stevenson's special distinction and commanding
feature, his splendid eyes. They burned with a smouldering rich fire
under the penthouse of his brows, and they made him beautiful.

       *       *       *       *       *

I said I thought he was right about the others, but mistaken as to Bret
Harte; in substance I said that Harte was good company and a thin but
pleasant talker; that he was always bright, but never brilliant; that in
this matter he must not be classed with Thomas Bailey Aldrich, nor must
any other man, ancient or modern; that Aldrich was always witty, always
brilliant, if there was anybody present capable of striking his flint at
the right angle; that Aldrich was as sure and prompt and unfailing as
the red-hot iron on the blacksmith's anvil--you had only to hit it
competently to make it deliver an explosion of sparks. I added--

"Aldrich has never had his peer for prompt and pithy and witty and
humorous sayings. None has equalled him, certainly none has surpassed
him, in the felicity of phrasing with which he clothed these children of
his fancy. Aldrich was always brilliant, he couldn't help it, he is a
fire-opal set round with rose diamonds; when he is not speaking, you
know that his dainty fancies are twinkling and glimmering around in him;
when he speaks the diamonds flash. Yes, he was always brilliant, he will
always be brilliant; he will be brilliant in hell--you will see."

Stevenson, smiling a chuckly smile, "I hope not."

"Well, you will, and he will dim even those ruddy fires and look like a
transfigured Adonis backed against a pink sunset."

       *       *       *       *       *

There on that bench we struck out a new phrase--one or the other of us,
I don't remember which--"submerged renown." Variations were discussed:
"submerged fame," "submerged reputation," and so on, and a choice was
made; "submerged renown" was elected, I believe. This important matter
rose out of an incident which had been happening to Stevenson in Albany.
While in a book-shop or book-stall there he had noticed a long rank of
small books, cheaply but neatly gotten up, and bearing such titles as
"Davis's Selected Speeches," "Davis's Selected Poetry," Davis's this and
Davis's that and Davis's the other thing; compilations, every one of
them, each with a brief, compact, intelligent and useful introductory
chapter by this same Davis, whose first name I have forgotten. Stevenson
had begun the matter with this question:

"Can you name the American author whose fame and acceptance stretch
widest in the States?"

I thought I could, but it did not seem to me that it would be modest to
speak out, in the circumstances. So I diffidently said nothing.
Stevenson noticed, and said--

"Save your delicacy for another time--you are not the one. For a
shilling you can't name the American author of widest note and
popularity in the States. But I can."

Then he went on and told about that Albany incident. He had inquired of
the shopman--

"Who is this Davis?"

The answer was--

"An author whose books have to have freight-trains to carry them, not
baskets. Apparently you have not heard of him?"

Stevenson said no, this was the first time. The man said--

"Nobody has heard of Davis: you may ask all around and you will see. You
never see his name mentioned in print, not even in advertisement; these
things are of no use to Davis, not any more than they are to the wind
and the sea. You never see one of Davis's books floating on top of the
United States, but put on your diving armor and get yourself lowered
away down and down and down till you strike the dense region, the
sunless region of eternal drudgery and starvation wages--there you'll
find them by the million. The man that gets that market, his fortune is
made, his bread and butter are safe, for those people will never go back
on him. An author may have a reputation which is confined to the
surface, and lose it and become pitied, then despised, then forgotten,
entirely forgotten--the frequent steps in a surface reputation. At
surface reputation, however great, is always mortal, and always killable
if you go at it right--with pins and needles, and quiet slow poison, not
with the club and tomahawk. But it is a different matter with the
submerged reputation--down in the deep water; once a favorite there,
always a favorite; once beloved, always beloved; once respected, always
respected, honored, and believed in. For, what the reviewer says never
finds its way down into those placid deeps; nor the newspaper sneers,
nor any breath of the winds of slander blowing above. Down there they
never hear of these things. Their idol may be painted clay, up then at
the surface, and fade and waste and crumble and blow away, there being
much weather there; but down below he is gold and adamant and
indestructible."


V.

This is from this morning's paper:


                        MARK TWAIN LETTER SOLD.

            _Written to Thomas Nast, it Proposed a Joint Tour._

     A Mark Twain autograph letter brought $43 yesterday at the auction
     by the Merwin-Clayton Company of the library and correspondence of
     the late Thomas Nast, cartoonist. The letter is nine pages
     note-paper, is dated Hartford, Nov. 12, 1877, and it addressed to
     Nast. It reads in part as follows:


                                                 Hartford, _Nov. 12_.

     MY DEAR NAST: I did not think I should ever stand on a platform
     again until the time was come for me to say I die innocent. But the
     same old offers keep arriving that have arriven every year, and
     been every year declined--$500 for Louisville, $500 for St. Louis,
     $1,000 gold for two nights in Toronto, half gross proceeds for New
     York, Boston, Brooklyn, &c. I have declined them all just as usual,
     though sorely tempted as usual.

     Now, I do not decline because I mind talking to an audience, but
     because (1) travelling alone is so heart-breakingly dreary, and (2)
     shouldering the whole show is such cheer-killing responsibility.

     Therefore I now propose to you what you proposed to me in November,
     1867--ten years ago, (when I was unknown,) viz.; That you should
     stand on the platform and make pictures, and I stand by you and
     blackguard the audience. I should enormously enjoy meandering
     around (to big towns--don't want to go to little ones) with you for
     company.

     The letter includes a schedule of cities and the number of
     appearances planned for each.


This is as it should be. This is worthy of all praise. I say it myself
lest other competent persons should forget to do it. It appears that
four of my ancient letters were sold at auction, three of them at
twenty-seven dollars, twenty-eight dollars, and twenty-nine dollars
respectively, and the one above mentioned at forty-three dollars. There
is one very gratifying circumstance about this, to wit: that my
literature has more than held its own as regards money value through
this stretch of thirty-six years. I judge that the forty-three-dollar
letter must have gone at about ten cents a word, whereas if I had
written it to-day its market rate would be thirty cents--so I have
increased in value two or three hundred per cent. I note another
gratifying circumstance--that a letter of General Grant's sold at
something short of eighteen dollars. I can't rise to General Grant's
lofty place in the estimation of this nation, but it is a deep happiness
to me to know that when it comes to epistolary literature he can't sit
in the front seat along with me.

This reminds me--nine years ago, when we were living in Tedworth Square,
London, a report was cabled to the American journals that I was dying. I
was not the one. It was another Clemens, a cousin of mine,--Dr. J. Ross
Clemens, now of St. Louis--who was due to die but presently escaped, by
some chicanery or other characteristic of the tribe of Clemens. The
London representatives of the American papers began to flock in, with
American cables in their hands, to inquire into my condition. There was
nothing the matter with me, and each in his turn was astonished, and
disappointed, to find me reading and smoking in my study and worth next
to nothing as a text for transatlantic news. One of these men was a
gentle and kindly and grave and sympathetic Irishman, who hid his sorrow
the best he could, and tried to look glad, and told me that his paper,
the _Evening Sun_, had cabled him that it was reported in New York that
I was dead. What should he cable in reply? I said--

"Say the report is greatly exaggerated."

He never smiled, but went solemnly away and sent the cable in those
words. The remark hit the world pleasantly, and to this day it keeps
turning up, now and then, in the newspapers when people have occasion to
discount exaggerations.

The next man was also an Irishman. He had his New York cablegram in his
hand--from the New York _World_--and he was so evidently trying to get
around that cable with invented softnesses and palliations that my
curiosity was aroused and I wanted to see what it did really say. So
when occasion offered I slipped it out of his hand. It said,

"If Mark Twain dying send five hundred words. If dead send a thousand."

Now that old letter of mine sold yesterday for forty-three dollars. When
I am dead it will be worth eighty-six.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DC.

OCTOBER 5, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--III.

BY MARK TWAIN.


VI.

To-morrow will be the thirty-sixth anniversary of our marriage. My wife
passed from this life one year and eight months ago, in Florence, Italy,
after an unbroken illness of twenty-two months' duration.

I saw her first in the form of an ivory miniature in her brother
Charley's stateroom in the steamer "Quaker City," in the Bay of Smyrna,
in the summer of 1867, when she was in her twenty-second year. I saw her
in the flesh for the first time in New York in the following December.
She was slender and beautiful and girlish--and she was both girl and
woman. She remained both girl and woman to the last day of her life.
Under a grave and gentle exterior burned inextinguishable fires of
sympathy, energy, devotion, enthusiasm, and absolutely limitless
affection. She was _always_ frail in body, and she lived upon her
spirit, whose hopefulness and courage were indestructible. Perfect
truth, perfect honesty, perfect candor, were qualities of her character
which were born with her. Her judgments of people and things were sure
and accurate. Her intuitions almost never deceived her. In her judgments
of the characters and acts of both friends and strangers, there was
always room for charity, and this charity never failed. I have compared
and contrasted her with hundreds of persons, and my conviction remains
that hers was the most perfect character I have ever met. And I may add
that she was the most winningly dignified person I have ever known. Her
character and disposition were of the sort that not only invites
worship, but commands it. No servant ever left her service who deserved
to remain in it. And, as she could choose with a glance of her eye, the
servants she selected did in almost all cases deserve to remain, and
they _did_ remain. She was always cheerful; and she was always able to
communicate her cheerfulness to others. During the nine years that we
spent in poverty and debt, she was always able to reason me out of my
despairs, and find a bright side to the clouds, and make me see it. In
all that time, I never knew her to utter a word of regret concerning our
altered circumstances, nor did I ever know her children to do the like.
For she had taught them, and they drew their fortitude from her. The
love which she bestowed upon those whom she loved took the form of
worship, and in that form it was returned--returned by relatives,
friends and the servants of her household. It was a strange combination
which wrought into one individual, so to speak, by marriage--her
disposition and character and mine. She poured out her prodigal
affections in kisses and caresses, and in a vocabulary of endearments
whose profusion was always an astonishment to me. I was born _reserved_
as to endearments of speech and caresses, and hers broke upon me as the
summer waves break upon Gibraltar. I was reared in that atmosphere of
reserve. As I have already said, in another chapter, I never knew a
member of my father's family to kiss another member of it except once,
and that at a death-bed. And our village was not a kissing community.
The kissing and caressing ended with courtship--along with the deadly
piano-playing of that day.

She had the heart-free laugh of a girl. It came seldom, but when it
broke upon the ear it was as inspiring as music. I heard it for the last
time when she had been occupying her sickbed for more than a year, and I
made a written note of it at the time--a note not to be repeated.

To-morrow will be the thirty-sixth anniversary. We were married in her
father's house in Elmira, New York, and went next day, by special train,
to Buffalo, along with the whole Langdon family, and with the Beechers
and the Twichells, who had solemnized the marriage. We were to live in
Buffalo, where I was to be one of the editors of the Buffalo "Express,"
and a part owner of the paper. I knew nothing about Buffalo, but I had
made my household arrangements there through a friend, by letter. I had
instructed him to find a boarding-house of as respectable a character as
my light salary as editor would command. We were received at about nine
o'clock at the station in Buffalo, and were put into several sleighs and
driven all over America, as it seemed to me--for, apparently, we turned
all the corners in the town and followed all the streets there were--I
scolding freely, and characterizing that friend of mine in very
uncomplimentary words for securing a boarding-house that apparently had
no definite locality. But there was a conspiracy--and my bride knew of
it, but I was in ignorance. Her father, Jervis Langdon, had bought and
furnished a new house for us in the fashionable street, Delaware Avenue,
and had laid in a cook and housemaids, and a brisk and electric young
coachman, an Irishman, Patrick McAleer--and we were being driven all
over that city in order that one sleighful of those people could have
time to go to the house, and see that the gas was lighted all over it,
and a hot supper prepared for the crowd. We arrived at last, and when I
entered that fairy place my indignation reached high-water mark, and
without any reserve I delivered my opinion to that friend of mine for
being so stupid as to put us into a boarding-house whose terms would be
far out of my reach. Then Mr. Langdon brought forward a very pretty box
and opened it, and took from it a deed of the house. So the comedy ended
very pleasantly, and we sat down to supper.

The company departed about midnight, and left us alone in our new
quarters. Then Ellen, the cook, came in to get orders for the morning's
marketing--and neither of us knew whether beefsteak was sold by the
barrel or by the yard. We exposed our ignorance, and Ellen was fall of
Irish delight over it. Patrick McAleer, that brisk young Irishman, came
in to get his orders for next day--and that was our first glimpse of
him....

Our first child, Langdon Clemens, was born the 7th of November, 1870,
and lived twenty-two months. Susy was born the 19th of March, 1872, and
passed from life in the Hartford home, the 18th of August, 1896. With
her, when the end came, were Jean and Katy Leary, and John and Ellen
(the gardener and his wife). Clara and her mother and I arrived in
England from around the world on the 31st of July, and took a house in
Guildford. A week later, when Susy, Katy and Jean should have been
arriving from America, we got a letter instead.

It explained that Susy was slightly ill--nothing of consequence. But we
were disquieted, and began to cable for later news. This was Friday. All
day no answer--and the ship to leave Southampton next day, at noon.
Clara and her mother began packing, to be ready in case the news should
be bad. Finally came a cablegram saying, "Wait for cablegram in the
morning." This was not satisfactory--not reassuring. I cabled again,
asking that the answer be sent to Southampton, for the day was now
closing. I waited in the post-office that night till the doors were
closed, toward midnight, in the hope that good news might still come,
but there was no message. We sat silent at home till one in the morning,
waiting--waiting for we knew not what. Then we took the earliest morning
train, and when we reached Southampton the message was there. It said
the recovery would be long, but certain. This was a great relief to me,
but not to my wife. She was frightened. She and Clara went aboard the
steamer at once and sailed for America, to nurse Susy. I remained behind
to search for a larger house in Guildford.

That was the 15th of August, 1896. Three days later, when my wife and
Clara were about half-way across the ocean, I was standing in our
dining-room thinking of nothing in particular, when a cablegram was put
into my hand. It said, "Susy was peacefully released to-day."

It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can
receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable
explanation of it. The intellect is stunned by the shock, and but
gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their
fall import is mercifully wanting. The mind has a dumb sense of vast
loss--that is all. It will take mind and memory months, and possibly
years, to gather together the details, and thus learn and know the whole
extent of the loss. A man's house burns down. The smoking wreckage
represents only a ruined home that was dear through years of use and
pleasant associations. By and by, as the days and weeks go on, first he
misses this, then that, then the other thing. And, when he casts about
for it, he finds that it was in that house. Always it is an
_essential_--there was but one of its kind. It cannot be replaced. It
was in that house. It is irrevocably lost. He did not realize that it
was an essential when he had it; he only discovers it now when he finds
himself balked, hampered, by its absence. It will be years before the
tale of lost essentials is complete, and not till then can he truly know
the magnitude of his disaster.

The 18th of August brought me the awful tidings. The mother and the
sister were out there in mid-Atlantic, ignorant of what was happening;
flying to meet this incredible calamity. All that could be done to
protect them from the full force of the shock was done by relatives and
good friends. They went down the Bay and met the ship at night, but did
not show themselves until morning, and then only to Clara. When she
returned to the stateroom she did not speak, and did not need to. Her
mother looked at her and said:

"Susy is dead."

At half past ten o'clock that night, Clara and her mother completed
their circuit of the globe, and drew up at Elmira by the same train and
in the same car which had borne them and me Westward from it one year,
one month, and one week before. And again Susy was there--not waving her
welcome in the glare of the lights, as she had waved her farewell to us
thirteen months before, but lying white and fair in her coffin, in the
house where she was born.

The last thirteen days of Susy's life were spent in our own house in
Hartford, the home of her childhood, and always the dearest place in the
earth to her. About her she had faithful old friends--her pastor, Mr.
Twichell, who had known her from the cradle, and who had come a long
journey to be with her; her uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Crane;
Patrick, the coachman; Katy, who had begun to serve us when Susy was a
child of eight years; John and Ellen, who had been with us many years.
Also Jean was there.

At the hour when my wife and Clara set sail for America, Susy was in no
danger. Three hours later there came a sudden change for the worse.
Meningitis set in, and it was immediately apparent that she was
death-struck. That was Saturday, the 15th of August.

"That evening she took food for the last time," (Jean's letter to me).
The next morning the brain-fever was raging. She walked the floor a
little in her pain and delirium, then succumbed to weakness and returned
to her bed. Previously she had found hanging in a closet a gown which
she had seen her mother wear. She thought it was her mother, dead, and
she kissed it, and cried. About noon she became blind (an effect of the
disease) and bewailed it to her uncle.

From Jean's letter I take this sentence, which needs no comment:

"About one in the afternoon Susy spoke for the last time."

It was only one word that she said when she spoke that last time, and it
told of her longing. She groped with her hands and found Katy, and
caressed her face, and said "Mamma."

How gracious it was that, in that forlorn hour of wreck and ruin, with
the night of death closing around her, she should have been granted that
beautiful illusion--that the latest vision which rested upon the clouded
mirror of her mind should have been the vision of her mother, and the
latest emotion she should know in life the joy and peace of that dear
imagined presence.

About two o'clock she composed herself as if for sleep, and never moved
again. She fell into unconsciousness and so remained two days and five
hours, until Tuesday evening at seven minutes past seven, when the
release came. She was twenty-four years and five months old.

On the 23d, her mother and her sisters saw her laid to rest--she that
had been our wonder and our worship.

In one of her own books I find some verses which I will copy here.
Apparently, she always put borrowed matter in quotation marks. These
verses lack those marks, and therefore I take them to be her own:


     Love came at dawn, when all the world was fair,
       When crimson glories' bloom and sun were rife;
     Love came at dawn, when hope's wings fanned the air,
       And murmured, "I am life."

     Love came at eve, and when the day was done,
       When heart and brain were tired, and slumber pressed;
     Love came at eve, shut out the sinking sun,
       And whispered, "I am rest."


The summer seasons of Susy's childhood were spent at Quarry Farm, on the
hills east of Elmira, New York; the other seasons of the year at the
home in Hartford. Like other children, she was blithe and happy, fond of
play; unlike the average of children, she was at times much given to
retiring within herself, and trying to search out the hidden meanings of
the deep things that make the puzzle and pathos of human existence, and
in all the ages have baffled the inquirer and mocked him. As a little
child aged seven, she was oppressed and perplexed by the maddening
repetition of the stock incidents of our race's fleeting sojourn here,
just as the same thing has oppressed and perplexed maturer minds from
the beginning of time. A myriad of men are born; they labor and sweat
and struggle for bread; they squabble and scold and fight; they scramble
for little mean advantages over each other; age creeps upon them;
infirmities follow; shames and humiliations bring down their prides and
their vanities; those they love are taken from them, and the joy of life
is turned to aching grief. The burden of pain, care, misery, grows
heavier year by year; at length, ambition is dead, pride is dead; vanity
is dead; longing for release is in their place. It comes at last--the
only unpoisoned gift earth ever had for them--and they vanish from a
world where they were of no consequence; where they achieved nothing;
where they were a mistake and a failure and a foolishness; there they
have left no sign that they have existed--a world which will lament them
a day and forget them forever. Then another myriad takes their place,
and copies all they did, and goes along the same profitless road, and
vanishes as they vanished--to make room for another, and another, and a
million other myriads, to follow the same arid path through the same
desert, and accomplish what the first myriad, and all the myriads that
came after it, accomplished--nothing!

"Mamma, what is it all for?" asked Susy, preliminarily stating the
above details in her own halting language, after long brooding over them
alone in the privacy of the nursery.

A year later, she was groping her way alone through another sunless bog,
but this time she reached a rest for her feet. For a week, her mother
had not been able to go to the nursery, evenings, at the child's prayer
hour. She spoke of it--was sorry for it, and said she would come
to-night, and hoped she could continue to come every night and hear Susy
pray, as before. Noticing that the child wished to respond, but was
evidently troubled as to how to word her answer, she asked what the
difficulty was. Susy explained that Miss Foote (the governess) had been
teaching her about the Indians and their religious beliefs, whereby it
appeared that they had not only a God, but several. This had set Susy to
thinking. As a result of this thinking, she had stopped praying. She
qualified this statement--that is, she modified it--saying she did not
now pray "in the same way" as she had formerly done. Her mother said:

"Tell me about it, dear."

"Well, mamma, the Indians believed they knew, but now we know they were
wrong. By and by, it can turn out that we are wrong. So now I only pray
that there may be a God and a Heaven--or something better."

I wrote down this pathetic prayer in its precise wording, at the time,
in a record which we kept of the children's sayings, and my reverence
for it has grown with the years that have passed over my head since
then. Its untaught grace and simplicity are a child's, but the wisdom
and the pathos of it are of all the ages that have come and gone since
the race of man has lived, and longed, and hoped, and feared, and
doubted.

To go back a year--Susy aged seven. Several times her mother said to
her:

"There, there, Susy, you mustn't cry over little things."

This furnished Susy a text for thought She had been breaking her heart
over what had seemed vast disasters--a broken toy; a picnic cancelled by
thunder and lightning and rain; the mouse that was growing tame and
friendly in the nursery caught and killed by the cat--and now came this
strange revelation. For some unaccountable reason, these were not vast
calamities. Why? How is the size of calamities measured? What is the
rule? There must be some way to tell the great ones from the small
ones; what is the law of these proportions? She examined the problem
earnestly and long. She gave it her best thought from time to time, for
two or three days--but it baffled her--defeated her. And at last she
gave up and went to her mother for help.

"Mamma, what is '_little_ things'?"

It seemed a simple question--at first. And yet, before the answer could
be put into words, unsuspected and unforeseen difficulties began to
appear. They increased; they multiplied; they brought about another
defeat. The effort to explain came to a standstill. Then Susy tried to
help her mother out--with an instance, an example, an illustration. The
mother was getting ready to go down-town, and one of her errands was to
buy a long-promised toy-watch for Susy.

"If you forgot the watch, mamma, would that be a little thing?"

She was not concerned about the watch, for she knew it would not be
forgotten. What she was hoping for was that the answer would unriddle
the riddle, and bring rest and peace to her perplexed little mind.

The hope was disappointed, of course--for the reason that the size of a
misfortune is not determinate by an outsider's measurement of it, but
only by the measurements applied to it by the person specially affected
by it. The king's lost crown is a vast matter to the king, but of no
consequence to the child. The lost toy is a great matter to the child,
but in the king's eyes it is not a thing to break the heart about. A
verdict was reached, but it was based upon the above model, and Susy was
granted leave to measure her disasters thereafter with her own
tape-line.

As a child, Susy had a passionate temper; and it cost her much remorse
and many tears before she learned to govern it, but after that it was a
wholesome salt, and her character was the stronger and healthier for its
presence. It enabled her to be good with dignity; it preserved her not
only from being good for vanity's sake, but from even the appearance of
it. In looking back over the long vanished years, it seems but natural
and excusable that I should dwell with longing affection and preference
upon incidents of her young life which made it beautiful to us, and that
I should let its few small offences go unsummoned and unreproached.

In the summer of 1880, when Susy was just eight years of age, the
family were at Quarry Farm, as usual at that season of the year.
Hay-cutting time was approaching, and Susy and Clara were counting the
hours, for the time was big with a great event for them; they had been
promised that they might mount the wagon and ride home from the fields
on the summit of the hay mountain. This perilous privilege, so dear to
their age and species, had never been granted them before. Their
excitement had no bounds. They could talk of nothing but this
epoch-making adventure, now. But misfortune overtook Susy on the very
morning of the important day. In a sudden outbreak of passion, she
corrected Clara--with a shovel, or stick, or something of the sort. At
any rate, the offence committed was of a gravity clearly beyond the
limit allowed in the nursery. In accordance with the rule and custom of
the house, Susy went to her mother to confess, and to help decide upon
the size and character of the punishment due. It was quite understood
that, as a punishment could have but one rational object and
function--to act as a reminder, and warn the transgressor against
transgressing in the same way again--the children would know about as
well as any how to choose a penalty which would be rememberable and
effective. Susy and her mother discussed various punishments, but none
of them seemed adequate. This fault was an unusually serious one, and
required the setting up of a danger-signal in the memory that would not
blow out nor burn out, but remain a fixture there and furnish its saving
warning indefinitely. Among the punishments mentioned was deprivation of
the hay-wagon ride. It was noticeable that this one hit Susy hard.
Finally, in the summing up, the mother named over the list and asked:

"Which one do you think it ought to be, Susy?"

Susy studied, shrank from her duty, and asked:

"Which do you think, mamma?"

"Well, Susy, I would rather leave it to you. _You_ make the choice
yourself."

It cost Susy a struggle, and much and deep thinking and weighing--but
she came out where any one who knew her could have foretold she would.

"Well, mamma, I'll make it the hay-wagon, because you know the other
things might not make me remember not to do it again, but if I don't get
to ride on the hay-wagon I can remember it easily."

In this world the real penalty, the sharp one, the lasting one, never
falls otherwise than on the wrong person. It was not _I_ that corrected
Clara, but the remembrance of poor Susy's lost hay-ride still brings
_me_ a pang--after twenty-six years.

Apparently, Susy was born with humane feelings for the animals, and
compassion for their troubles. This enabled her to see a new point in an
old story, once, when she was only six years old--a point which had been
overlooked by older, and perhaps duller, people for many ages. Her
mother told her the moving story of the sale of Joseph by his brethren,
the staining of his coat with the blood of the slaughtered kid, and the
rest of it. She dwelt upon the inhumanity of the brothers; their cruelty
toward their helpless young brother; and the unbrotherly treachery which
they practised upon him; for she hoped to teach the child a lesson in
gentle pity and mercifulness which she would remember. Apparently, her
desire was accomplished, for the tears came into Susy's eyes and she was
deeply moved. Then she said:

"Poor little kid!"

A child's frank envy of the privileges and distinctions of its elders is
often a delicately flattering attention and the reverse of unwelcome,
but sometimes the envy is not placed where the beneficiary is expecting
it to be placed. Once, when Susy was seven, she sat breathlessly
absorbed in watching a guest of ours adorn herself for a ball. The lady
was charmed by this homage; this mute and gentle admiration; and was
happy in it. And when her pretty labors were finished, and she stood at
last perfect, unimprovable, clothed like Solomon in all his glory, she
paused, confident and expectant, to receive from Susy's tongue the
tribute that was burning in her eyes. Susy drew an envious little sigh
and said:

"I wish _I_ could have crooked teeth and spectacles!"

Once, when Susy was six months along in her eighth year, she did
something one day in the presence of company, which subjected her to
criticism and reproof. Afterward, when she was alone with her mother, as
was her custom she reflected a little while over the matter. Then she
set up what I think--and what the shade of Burns would think--was a
quite good philosophical defence.

"Well, mamma, you know I didn't see myself, and so I couldn't know how
it looked."

In homes where the near friends and visitors are mainly literary
people--lawyers, judges, professors and clergymen--the children's ears
become early familiarized with wide vocabularies. It is natural for them
to pick up any words that fall in their way; it is natural for them to
pick up big and little ones indiscriminately; it is natural for them to
use without fear any word that comes to their net, no matter how
formidable it may be as to size. As a result, their talk is a curious
and funny musketry clatter of little words, interrupted at intervals by
the heavy artillery crash of a word of such imposing sound and size that
it seems to shake the ground and rattle the windows. Sometimes the child
gets a wrong idea of a word which it has picked up by chance, and
attaches to it a meaning which impairs its usefulness--but this does not
happen as often as one might expect it would. Indeed, it happens with an
infrequency which may be regarded as remarkable. As a child, Susy had
good fortune with her large words, and she employed many of them. She
made no more than her fair share of mistakes. Once when she thought
something very funny was going to happen (but it didn't), she was racked
and torn with laughter, by anticipation. But, apparently, she still felt
sure of her position, for she said, "If it had happened, I should have
been transformed [transported] with glee."

And earlier, when she was a little maid of five years, she informed a
visitor that she had been in a church only once, and that was the time
when Clara was "crucified" [christened]....

In Heidelberg, when Susy was six, she noticed that the Schloss gardens
were populous with snails creeping all about everywhere. One day she
found a new dish on her table and inquired concerning it, and learned
that it was made of snails. She was awed and impressed, and said:

"Wild ones, mamma?"

She was thoughtful and considerate of others--an acquired quality, no
doubt. No one seems to be born with it. One hot day, at home in
Hartford, when she was a little child, her mother borrowed her fan
several times (a Japanese one, value five cents), refreshed herself with
it a moment or two, then handed it back with a word of thanks. Susy knew
her mother would use the fan all the time if she could do it without
putting a deprivation upon its owner. She also knew that her mother
could not be persuaded to do that. A relief most be devised somehow;
Susy devised it. She got five cents out of her money-box and carried it
to Patrick, and asked him to take it down-town (a mile and a half) and
buy a Japanese fan and bring it home. He did it--and thus thoughtfully
and delicately was the exigency met and the mother's comfort secured. It
is to the child's credit that she did not save herself expense by
bringing down another and more costly kind of fan from up-stairs, but
was content to act upon the impression that her mother desired the
Japanese kind--content to accomplish the desire and stop with that,
without troubling about the wisdom or unwisdom of it.

Sometimes, while she was still a child, her speech fell into quaint and
strikingly expressive forms. Once--aged nine or ten--she came to her
mother's room, when her sister Jean was a baby, and said Jean was crying
in the nursery, and asked if she might ring for the nurse. Her mother
asked:

"Is she crying hard?"--meaning cross, ugly.

"Well, no, mamma. It is a weary, lonesome cry."

It is a pleasure to me to recall various incidents which reveal the
delicacies of feeling that were so considerable a part of her budding
character. Such a revelation came once in a way which, while creditable
to her heart, was defective in another direction. She was in her
eleventh year then. Her mother had been making the Christmas purchases,
and she allowed Susy to see the presents which were for Patrick's
children. Among these was a handsome sled for Jimmy, on which a stag was
painted; also, in gilt capitals, the word "Deer." Susy was excited and
joyous over everything, until she came to this sled. Then she became
sober and silent--yet the sled was the choicest of all the gifts. Her
mother was surprised, and also disappointed, and said:

"Why, Susy, doesn't it please you? Isn't it fine?"

Susy hesitated, and it was plain that she did not want to say the thing
that was in her mind. However, being urged, she brought it haltingly
out:

"Well, mamma, it _is_ fine, and of course it _did_ cost a good
deal--but--but--why should that be mentioned?"

Seeing that she was not understood, she reluctantly pointed to that word
"Deer." It was her orthography that was at fault, not her heart. She had
inherited both from her mother.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCI.

OCTOBER 19, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--IV.

BY MARK TWAIN.


When Susy was thirteen, and was a slender little maid with plaited tails
of copper-tinged brown hair down her back, and was perhaps the busiest
bee in the household hive, by reason of the manifold studies, health
exercises and recreations she had to attend to, she secretly, and of her
own motion, and out of love, added another task to her labors--the
writing of a biography of me. She did this work in her bedroom at night,
and kept her record hidden. After a little, the mother discovered it and
filched it, and let me see it; then told Susy what she had done, and how
pleased I was, and how proud. I remember that time with a deep
pleasure. I had had compliments before, but none that touched me like
this; none that could approach it for value in my eyes. It has kept that
place always since. I have had no compliment, no praise, no tribute from
any source, that was so precious to me as this one was and still is. As
I read it _now_, after all these many years, it is still a king's
message to me, and brings me the same dear surprise it brought me
then--with the pathos added, of the thought that the eager and hasty
hand that sketched it and scrawled it will not touch mine again--and I
feel as the humble and unexpectant must feel when their eyes fall upon
the edict that raises them to the ranks of the noble.

Yesterday while I was rummaging in a pile of ancient note-books of mine
which I had not seen for years, I came across a reference to that
biography. It is quite evident that several times, at breakfast and
dinner, in those long-past days, I was posing for the biography. In
fact, I clearly remember that I _was_ doing that--and I also remember
that Susy detected it. I remember saying a very smart thing, with a good
deal of an air, at the breakfast-table one morning, and that Susy
observed to her mother privately, a little later, that papa was doing
that for the biography.

I cannot bring myself to change any line or word in Susy's sketch of me,
but will introduce passages from it now and then just as they came in
their quaint simplicity out of her honest heart, which was the beautiful
heart of a child. What comes from that source has a charm and grace of
its own which may transgress all the recognized laws of literature, if
it choose, and yet be literature still, and worthy of hospitality. I
shall print the whole of this little biography, before I have done with
it--every word, every sentence.

The spelling is frequently desperate, but it was Susy's, and it shall
stand. I love it, and cannot profane it. To me, it is gold. To correct
it would alloy it, not refine it. It would spoil it. It would take from
it its freedom and flexibility and make it stiff and formal. Even when
it is most extravagant I am not shocked. It is Susy's spelling, and she
was doing the best she could--and nothing could better it for me....

Susy began the biography in 1885, when I was in the fiftieth year of my
age, and she just entering the fourteenth of hers. She begins in this
way:


     We are a very happy family. We consist of Papa, Mamma, Jean, Clara
     and me. It is papa I am writing about, and I shall have no trouble
     in not knowing what to say about him, as he is a _very_ striking
     character.


But wait a minute--I will return to Susy presently.

In the matter of slavish imitation, man is the monkey's superior all the
time. The average man is destitute of independence of opinion. He is not
interested in contriving an opinion of his own, by study and reflection,
but is only anxious to find out what his neighbor's opinion is and
slavishly adopt it. A generation ago, I found out that the latest review
of a book was pretty sure to be just a reflection of the _earliest_
review of it; that whatever the first reviewer found to praise or
censure in the book would be repeated in the latest reviewer's report,
with nothing fresh added. Therefore more than once I took the precaution
of sending my book, in manuscript, to Mr. Howells, when he was editor of
the "Atlantic Monthly," so that he could prepare a review of it at
leisure. I knew he would say the truth about the book--I also knew that
he would find more merit than demerit in it, because I already knew that
that was the condition of the book. I allowed no copy of it to go out to
the press until after Mr. Howells's notice of it had appeared. That book
was always safe. There wasn't a man behind a pen in all America that had
the courage to find anything in the book which Mr. Howells had not
found--there wasn't a man behind a pen in America that had spirit enough
to say a brave and original thing about the book on his own
responsibility.

I believe that the trade of critic, in literature, music, and the drama,
is the most degraded of all trades, and that it has no real
value--certainly no large value. When Charles Dudley Warner and I were
about to bring out "The Gilded Age," the editor of the "Daily Graphic"
persuaded me to let him have an advance copy, he giving me his word of
honor that no notice of it would appear in his paper until after the
"Atlantic Monthly" notice should have appeared. This reptile published a
review of the book within three days afterward. I could not really
complain, because he had only given me his word of honor as security; I
ought to have required of him something substantial. I believe his
notice did not deal mainly with the merit of the book, or the lack of
it, but with my moral attitude toward the public. It was charged that I
had used my reputation to play a swindle upon the public; that Mr.
Warner had written as much as half of the book, and that I had used my
name to float it and give it currency; a currency--so the critic
averred--which it could not have acquired without my name, and that this
conduct of mine was a grave fraud upon the people. The "Graphic" was not
an authority upon any subject whatever. It had a sort of distinction, in
that it was the first and only illustrated daily newspaper that the
world had seen; but it was without character; it was poorly and cheaply
edited; its opinion of a book or of any other work of art was of no
consequence. Everybody knew this, yet all the critics in America, one
after the other, copied the "Graphic's" criticism, merely changing the
phraseology, and left me under that charge of dishonest conduct. Even
the great Chicago "Tribune," the most important journal in the Middle
West, was not able to invent anything fresh, but adopted the view of the
humble "Daily Graphic," dishonesty-charge and all.

However, let it go. It is the will of God that we must have critics, and
missionaries, and Congressmen, and humorists, and we must bear the
burden. Meantime, I seem to have been drifting into criticism myself.
But that is nothing. At the worst, criticism is nothing more than a
crime, and I am not unused to that.

What I have been travelling toward all this time is this: the first
critic that ever had occasion to describe my personal appearance
littered his description with foolish and inexcusable errors whose
aggregate furnished the result that I was distinctly and distressingly
unhandsome. That description floated around the country in the papers,
and was in constant use and wear for a quarter of a century. It seems
strange to me that apparently no critic in the country could be found
who could look at me and have the courage to take up his pen and destroy
that lie. That lie began its course on the Pacific coast, in 1864, and
it likened me in personal appearance to Petroleum V. Nasby, who had been
out there lecturing. For twenty-five years afterward, no critic could
furnish a description of me without fetching in Nasby to help out my
portrait. I knew Nasby well, and he was a good fellow, but in my life I
have not felt malignant enough about any more than three persons to
charge those persons with resembling Nasby. It hurts me to the heart. I
was always handsome. Anybody but a critic could have seen it. And it
had long been a distress to my family--including Susy--that the critics
should go on making this wearisome mistake, year after year, when there
was no foundation for it. Even when a critic wanted to be particularly
friendly and complimentary to me, he didn't dare to go beyond my
clothes. He never ventured beyond that old safe frontier. When he had
finished with my clothes he had said all the kind things, the pleasant
things, the complimentary things he could risk. Then he dropped back on
Nasby.

Yesterday I found this clipping in the pocket of one of those ancient
memorandum-books of mine. It is of the date of thirty-nine years ago,
and both the paper and the ink are yellow with the bitterness that I
felt in that old day when I clipped it out to preserve it and brood over
it, and grieve about it. I will copy it here, to wit:


     A correspondent of the Philadelphia "Press," writing of one of
     Schuyler Colfax's receptions, says of our Washington correspondent:
     "Mark Twain, the delicate humorist, was present: quite a lion, as
     he deserves to be. Mark is a bachelor, faultless in taste, whose
     snowy vest is suggestive of endless quarrels with Washington
     washerwomen; but the heroism of Mark is settled for all time, for
     such purity and smoothness were never seen before. His lavender
     gloves might have been stolen from some Turkish harem, so delicate
     were they in size; but more likely--anything else were more likely
     than that. In form and feature he bears some resemblance to the
     immortal Nasby; but whilst Petroleum is brunette to the core, Twain
     is golden, amber-hued, melting, blonde."


Let us return to Susy's biography now, and get the opinion of one who is
unbiassed:

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa's appearance has been described many times, but very
     incorrectly. He has beautiful gray hair, not any too thick or any
     too long, but just right; a Roman nose, which greatly improves the
     beauty of his features; kind blue eyes and a small mustache. He has
     a wonderfully shaped head and profile. He has a very good
     figure--in short, he is an extrodinarily fine looking man. All his
     features are perfect, except that he hasn't extrodinary teeth. His
     complexion is very fair, and he doesn't ware a beard. He is a very
     good man and a very funny one. He _has_ got a temper, but we all of
     us have in this family. He is the loveliest man I ever saw or ever
     hope to see--and oh, so absent-minded. He does tell perfectly
     delightful stories. Clara and I used to sit on each arm of his
     chair and listen while he told us stories about the pictures on the
     wall.


I remember the story-telling days vividly. They were a difficult and
exacting audience--those little creatures.

Along one side of the library, in the Hartford home, the bookshelves
joined the mantelpiece--in fact there were shelves on both sides of the
mantelpiece. On these shelves, and on the mantelpiece, stood various
ornaments. At one end of the procession was a framed oil-painting of a
cat's head, at the other end was a head of a beautiful young girl,
life-size--called Emmeline, because she looked just about like that--an
impressionist water-color. Between the one picture and the other there
were twelve or fifteen of the bric-à-brac things already mentioned; also
an oil-painting by Elihu Vedder, "The Young Medusa." Every now and then
the children required me to construct a romance--always impromptu--not a
moment's preparation permitted--and into that romance I had to get all
that bric-à-brac and the three pictures. I had to start always with the
cat and finish with Emmeline. I was never allowed the refreshment of a
change, end-for-end. It was not permissible to introduce a bric-à-brac
ornament into the story out of its place in the procession.

These bric-à-bracs were never allowed a peaceful day, a reposeful day, a
restful Sabbath. In their lives there was no Sabbath, in their lives
there was no peace; they knew no existence but a monotonous career of
violence and bloodshed. In the course of time, the bric-à-brac and the
pictures showed wear. It was because they had had so many and such
tumultuous adventures in their romantic careers.

As romancer to the children I had a hard time, even from the beginning.
If they brought me a picture, in a magazine, and required me to build a
story to it, they would cover the rest of the page with their pudgy
hands to keep me from stealing an idea from it. The stories had to come
hot from the bat, always. They had to be absolutely original and fresh.
Sometimes the children furnished me simply a character or two, or a
dozen, and required me to start out at once on that slim basis and
deliver those characters up to a vigorous and entertaining life of
crime. If they heard of a new trade, or an unfamiliar animal, or
anything like that, I was pretty sure to have to deal with those things
in the next romance. Once Clara required me to build a sudden tale out
of a plumber and a "bawgunstrictor," and I had to do it. She didn't
know what a boa-constrictor was, until he developed in the tale--then
she was better satisfied with it than ever.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa's favorite game is billiards, and when he is tired and wishes
     to rest himself he stays up all night and plays billiards, it seems
     to rest his head. He smokes a great deal almost incessantly. He has
     the mind of an author exactly, some of the simplest things he cant
     understand. Our burglar-alarm is often out of order, and papa had
     been obliged to take the mahogany-room off from the alarm
     altogether for a time, because the burglar-alarm had been in the
     habit of ringing even when the mahogany-room was closed. At length
     he thought that perhaps the burglar-alarm might be in order, and he
     decided to try and see; accordingly he put it on and then went down
     and opened the window; consequently the alarm bell rang, it would
     even if the alarm had been in order. Papa went despairingly
     upstairs and said to mamma, "Livy the mahogany-room won't go on. I
     have just opened the window to see."

     "Why, Youth," mamma replied "if you've opened the window, why of
     coarse the alarm will ring!"

     "That's what I've opened it for, why I just went down to see if it
     would ring!"

     Mamma tried to explain to papa that when he wanted to go and see
     whether the alarm would ring while the window was closed he
     _mustn't_ go and open the window--but in vain, papa couldn't
     understand, and got very impatient with mamma for trying to make
     him believe an impossible thing true.


This is a frank biographer, and an honest one; she uses no sand-paper on
me. I have, to this day, the same dull head in the matter of conundrums
and perplexities which Susy had discovered in those long-gone days.
Complexities annoy me; they irritate me; then this progressive feeling
presently warms into anger. I cannot get far in the reading of the
commonest and simplest contract--with its "parties of the first part,"
and "parties of the second part," and "parties of the third
part,"--before my temper is all gone. Ashcroft comes up here every day
and pathetically tries to make me understand the points of the lawsuit
which we are conducting against Henry Butters, Harold Wheeler, and the
rest of those Plasmon buccaneers, but daily he has to give it up. It is
pitiful to see, when he bends his earnest and appealing eyes upon me and
says, after one of his efforts, "Now you _do_ understand _that_, don't
you?"

I am always obliged to say, "I _don't_, Ashcroft. I wish I could
understand it, but I don't. Send for the cat."

In the days which Susy is talking about, a perplexity fell to my lot one
day. F. G. Whitmore was my business agent, and he brought me out from
town in his buggy. We drove by the _porte-cochère_ and toward the
stable. Now this was a _single_ road, and was like a spoon whose handle
stretched from the gate to a great round flower-bed in the neighborhood
of the stable. At the approach to the flower-bed the road divided and
circumnavigated it, making a loop, which I have likened to the bowl of
the spoon. As we neared the loop, I saw that Whitmore was laying his
course to port, (I was sitting on the starboard side--the side the house
was on), and was going to start around that spoon-bowl on that left-hand
side. I said,

"Don't do that, Whitmore; take the right-hand side. Then I shall be next
to the house when we get to the door."

He said, "_That_ will not happen in _any case_, it doesn't make any
difference which way I go around this flower-bed."

I explained to him that he was an ass, but he stuck to his proposition,
and I said,

"Go on and try it, and see."

He went on and tried it, and sure enough he fetched me up at the door on
the very side that he had said I would be. I was not able to believe it
then, and I don't believe it yet.

I said, "Whitmore, that is merely an accident. You can't do it again."

He said he could--and he drove down into the street, fetched around,
came back, and actually did it again. I was stupefied, paralyzed,
petrified, with these strange results, but they did not convince me. I
didn't believe he could do it another time, but he did. He said he could
do it all day, and fetch up the same way every time. By that time my
temper was gone, and I asked him to go home and apply to the Asylum and
I would pay the expenses; I didn't want to see him any more for a week.

I went up-stairs in a rage and started to tell Livy about it, expecting
to get her sympathy for me and to breed aversion in her for Whitmore;
but she merely burst into peal after peal of laughter, as the tale of my
adventure went on, for her head was like Susy's: riddles and
complexities had no terrors for it. Her mind and Susy's were analytical;
I have tried to make it appear that mine was different. Many and many a
time I have told that buggy experiment, hoping against hope that I would
some time or other find somebody who would be on my side, but it has
never happened. And I am never able to go glibly forward and state the
circumstances of that buggy's progress without having to halt and
consider, and call up in my mind the spoon-handle, the bowl of the
spoon, the buggy and the horse, and my position in the buggy: and the
minute I have got that far and try to turn it to the left it goes to
ruin; I can't see how it is ever going to fetch me out right when we get
to the door. Susy is right in her estimate. I can't understand things.

That burglar-alarm which Susy mentions led a gay and careless life, and
had no principles. It was generally out of order at one point or
another; and there was plenty of opportunity, because all the windows
and doors in the house, from the cellar up to the top floor, were
connected with it. However, in its seasons of being out of order it
could trouble us for only a very little while: we quickly found out that
it was fooling us, and that it was buzzing its blood-curdling alarm
merely for its own amusement. Then we would shut it off, and send to New
York for the electrician--there not being one in all Hartford in those
days. When the repairs were finished we would set the alarm again and
reestablish our confidence in it. It never did any real business except
upon one single occasion. All the rest of its expensive career was
frivolous and without purpose. Just that one time it performed its duty,
and its whole duty--gravely, seriously, admirably. It let fly about two
o'clock one black and dreary March morning, and I turned out promptly,
because I knew that it was not fooling, this time. The bath-room door
was on my side of the bed. I stepped in there, turned up the gas, looked
at the annunciator, and turned off the alarm--so far as the door
indicated was concerned--thus stopping the racket. Then I came back to
bed. Mrs. Clemens opened the debate:

"What was it?"

"It was the cellar door."

"Was it a burglar, do you think?"

"Yes," I said, "of course it was. Did you suppose it was a Sunday-school
superintendent?"

"No. What do you suppose he wants?"

"I suppose he wants jewelry, but he is not acquainted with the house and
he thinks it is in the cellar. I don't like to disappoint a burglar whom
I am not acquainted with, and who has done me no harm, but if he had
had common sagacity enough to inquire, I could have told him we kept
nothing down there but coal and vegetables. Still it may be that he is
acquainted with the place, and that what he really wants is coal and
vegetables. On the whole, I think it is vegetables he is after."

"Are you going down to see?"

"No; I could not be of any assistance. Let him select for himself; I
don't know where the things are."

Then she said, "But suppose he comes up to the ground floor!"

"That's all right. We shall know it the minute he opens a door on that
floor. It will set off the alarm."

Just then the terrific buzzing broke out again. I said,

"He has arrived. I told you he would. I know all about burglars and
their ways. They are systematic people."

I went into the bath-room to see if I was right, and I was. I shut off
the dining-room and stopped the buzzing, and came back to bed. My wife
said,

"What do you suppose he is after now?"

I said, "I think he has got all the vegetables he wants and is coming up
for napkin-rings and odds and ends for the wife and children. They all
have families--burglars have--and they are always thoughtful of them,
always take a few necessaries of life for themselves, and fill out with
tokens of remembrance for the family. In taking them they do not forget
us: those very things represent tokens of his remembrance of us, and
also of our remembrance of him. We never get them again; the memory of
the attention remains embalmed in our hearts."

"Are you going down to see what it is he wants now?"

"No," I said, "I am no more interested than I was before. They are
experienced people,--burglars; _they_ know what they want; I should be
no help to him. I _think_ he is after ceramics and bric-à-brac and such
things. If he knows the house he knows that that is all that he can find
on the dining-room floor."

She said, with a strong interest perceptible in her tone, "Suppose he
comes up here!"

I said, "It is all right. He will give us notice."

"What shall we do then then?"

"Climb out of the window."

She said, a little restively, "Well, what is the use of a burglar-alarm
for us?"

"You have seen, dear heart, that it has been useful up to the present
moment, and I have explained to you how it will be continuously useful
after he gets up here."

That was the end of it. He didn't ring any more alarms. Presently I
said,

"He is disappointed, I think. He has gone off with the vegetables and
the bric-à-brac, and I think he is dissatisfied."

We went to sleep, and at a quarter before eight in the morning I was
out, and hurrying, for I was to take the 8.29 train for New York. I
found the gas burning brightly--full head--all over the first floor. My
new overcoat was gone; my old umbrella was gone; my new patent-leather
shoes, which I had never worn, were gone. The large window which opened
into the _ombra_ at the rear of the house was standing wide. I passed
out through it and tracked the burglar down the hill through the trees;
tracked him without difficulty, because he had blazed his progress with
imitation silver napkin-rings, and my umbrella, and various other things
which he had disapproved of; and I went back in triumph and proved to my
wife that he _was_ a disappointed burglar. I had suspected he would be,
from the start, and from his not coming up to our floor to get human
beings.

Things happened to me that day in New York. I will tell about them
another time.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa has a peculiar gait we like, it seems just to sute him, but
     most people do not; he always walks up and down the room while
     thinking and between each coarse at meals.


A lady distantly related to us came to visit us once in those days. She
came to stay a week, but all our efforts to make her happy failed, we
could not imagine why, and she got up her anchor and sailed the next
morning. We did much guessing, but could not solve the mystery. Later we
found out what the trouble was. It was my tramping up and down between
the courses. She conceived the idea that I could not stand her society.

That word "Youth," as the reader has perhaps already guessed, was my
wife's pet name for me. It was gently satirical, but also affectionate.
I had certain mental and material peculiarities and customs proper to a
much younger person than I was.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa is very fond of animals particularly of cats, we had a dear
     little gray kitten once that he named "Lazy" (papa always wears
     gray to match his hair and eyes) and he would carry him around on
     his shoulder, it was a mighty pretty sight! the gray cat sound
     asleep against papa's gray coat and hair. The names that he has
     given our different cats, are realy remarkably funny, they are
     namely Stray Kit, Abner, Motley, Fraeulein, Lazy, Bufalo Bill,
     Cleveland, Sour Mash, and Pestilence and Famine.


At one time when the children were small, we had a very black mother-cat
named Satan, and Satan had a small black offspring named Sin. Pronouns
were a difficulty for the children. Little Clara came in one day, her
black eyes snapping with indignation, and said,

"Papa, Satan ought to be punished. She is out there at the greenhouse
and there she stays and stays, and his kitten is down-stairs crying."

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa uses very strong language, but I have an idea not nearly so
     strong as when he first maried mamma. A lady acquaintance of his is
     rather apt to interupt what one is saying, and papa told mamma that
     he thought he should say to the lady's husband "I am glad your wife
     wasn't present when the Deity said 'Let there be light.'"


It is as I have said before. This is a frank historian. She doesn't
cover up one's deficiencies, but gives them an equal showing with one's
handsomer qualities. Of course I made the remark which she has
quoted--and even at this distant day I am still as much as half
persuaded that if that lady had been present when the Creator said, "Let
there be light," she would have interrupted Him and we shouldn't ever
have got it.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa said the other day, "I am a mugwump and a mugwump is pure from
     the marrow out." (Papa knows that I am writing this biography of
     him, and he said this for it.) He doesn't like to go to church at
     all, why I never understood, until just now, he told us the other
     day that he couldn't bear to hear any one talk but himself, but
     that he could listen to himself talk for hours without getting
     tired, of course he said this in joke, but I've no dought it was
     founded on truth.


                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCII.

NOVEMBER 2, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--V.

BY MARK TWAIN.


Susy's remark about my strong language troubles me, and I must go back
to it. All through the first ten years of my married life I kept a
constant and discreet watch upon my tongue while in the house, and went
outside and to a distance when circumstances were too much for me and I
was obliged to seek relief. I prized my wife's respect and approval
above all the rest of the human race's respect and approval. I dreaded
the day when she should discover that I was but a whited sepulchre
partly freighted with suppressed language. I was so careful, during ten
years, that I had not a doubt that my suppressions had been successful.
Therefore I was quite as happy in my guilt as I could have been if I had
been innocent.

But at last an accident exposed me. I went into the bath-room one
morning to make my toilet, and carelessly left the door two or three
inches ajar. It was the first time that I had ever failed to take the
precaution of closing it tightly. I knew the necessity of being
particular about this, because shaving was always a trying ordeal for
me, and I could seldom carry it through to a finish without verbal
helps. Now this time I was unprotected, but did not suspect it. I had no
extraordinary trouble with my razor on this occasion, and was able to
worry through with mere mutterings and growlings of an improper sort,
but with nothing noisy or emphatic about them--no snapping and barking.
Then I put on a shirt. My shirts are an invention of my own. They open
in the back, and are buttoned there--when there are buttons. This time
the button was missing. My temper jumped up several degrees in a moment,
and my remarks rose accordingly, both in loudness and vigor of
expression. But I was not troubled, for the bath-room door was a solid
one and I supposed it was firmly closed. I flung up the window and threw
the shirt out. It fell upon the shrubbery where the people on their way
to church could admire it if they wanted to; there was merely fifty feet
of grass between the shirt and the passer-by. Still rumbling and
thundering distantly, I put on another shirt. Again the button was
absent. I augmented my language to meet the emergency, and threw that
shirt out of the window. I was too angry--too insane--to examine the
third shirt, but put it furiously on. Again the button was absent, and
that shirt followed its comrades out of the window. Then I straightened
up, gathered my reserves, and let myself go like a cavalry charge. In
the midst of that great assault, my eye fell upon that gaping door, and
I was paralyzed.

It took me a good while to finish my toilet. I extended the time
unnecessarily in trying to make up my mind as to what I would best do in
the circumstances. I tried to hope that Mrs. Clemens was asleep, but I
knew better. I could not escape by the window. It was narrow, and suited
only to shirts. At last I made up my mind to boldly loaf through the
bedroom with the air of a person who had not been doing anything. I made
half the journey successfully. I did not turn my eyes in her direction,
because that would not be safe. It is very difficult to look as if you
have not been doing anything when the facts are the other way, and my
confidence in my performance oozed steadily out of me as I went along. I
was aiming for the left-hand door because it was furthest from my wife.
It had never been opened from the day that the house was built, but it
seemed a blessed refuge for me now. The bed was this one, wherein I am
lying now, and dictating these histories morning after morning with so
much serenity. It was this same old elaborately carved black Venetian
bedstead--the most comfortable bedstead that ever was, with space enough
in it for a family, and carved angels enough surmounting its twisted
columns and its headboard and footboard to bring peace to the sleepers,
and pleasant dreams. I had to stop in the middle of the room. I hadn't
the strength to go on. I believed that I was under accusing eyes--that
even the carved angels were inspecting me with an unfriendly gaze. You
know how it is when you are convinced that somebody behind you is
looking steadily at you. You _have_ to turn your face--you can't help
it. I turned mine. The bed was placed as it is now, with the foot where
the head ought to be. If it had been placed as it should have been, the
high headboard would have sheltered me. But the footboard was no
sufficient protection, for I could be seen over it. I was exposed. I was
wholly without protection. I turned, because I couldn't help it--and my
memory of what I saw is still vivid, after all these years.

Against the white pillows I saw the black head--I saw that young and
beautiful face; and I saw the gracious eyes with a something in them
which I had never seen there before. They were snapping and flashing
with indignation. I felt myself crumbling; I felt myself shrinking away
to nothing under that accusing gaze. I stood silent under that
desolating fire for as much as a minute, I should say--it seemed a very,
very long time. Then my wife's lips parted, and from them issued--_my
latest bath-room remark_. The language perfect, but the expression
velvety, unpractical, apprenticelike, ignorant, inexperienced, comically
inadequate, absurdly weak and unsuited to the great language. In my
lifetime I had never heard anything so out of tune, so inharmonious, so
incongruous, so ill-suited to each other as were those mighty words set
to that feeble music. I tried to keep from laughing, for I was a guilty
person in deep need of charity and mercy. I tried to keep from
bursting, and I succeeded--until she gravely said, "There, now you know
how it sounds."

Then I exploded; the air was filled with my fragments, and you could
hear them whiz. I said, "Oh Livy, if it sounds like _that_ I will never
do it again!"

Then she had to laugh herself. Both of us broke into convulsions, and
went on laughing until we were physically exhausted and spiritually
reconciled.

The children were present at breakfast--Clara aged six and Susy
eight--and the mother made a guarded remark about strong language;
guarded because she did not wish the children to suspect anything--a
guarded remark which censured strong language. Both children broke out
in one voice with this comment, "Why, mamma, papa uses it!"

I was astonished. I had supposed that that secret was safe in my own
breast, and that its presence had never been suspected. I asked,

"How did you know, you little rascals?"

"Oh," they said, "we often listen over the balusters when you are in the
hall explaining things to George."

_From Susy's Biography._


     One of papa's latest books is "The Prince and the Pauper" and it is
     unquestionably the best book he has ever written, some people want
     him to keep to his old style, some gentleman wrote him, "I enjoyed
     Huckleberry Finn immensely and am glad to see that you have
     returned to your old style." That enoyed me that enoyed me greatly,
     because it trobles me [Susy was troubled by that word, and
     uncertain; she wrote a u above it in the proper place, but
     reconsidered the matter and struck it out] to have so few people
     know papa, I mean realy know him, they think of Mark Twain as a
     humorist joking at everything; "And with a mop of reddish brown
     hair which sorely needs the barbars brush a roman nose, short
     stubby mustache, a sad care-worn face, with maney crow's feet" etc.
     That is the way people picture papa, I have wanted papa to write a
     book that would reveal something of his kind sympathetic nature,
     and "The Prince and the Pauper" partly does it. The book is full of
     lovely charming ideas, and oh the language! It is _perfect_. I
     think that one of the most touching scenes in it, is where the
     pauper is riding on horseback with his nobles in the "recognition
     procession" and he sees his mother oh and then what followed! How
     she runs to his side, when she sees him throw up his hand palm
     outward, and is rudely pushed off by one of the King's officers,
     and then how the little pauper's consceince troubles him when he
     remembers the shameful words that were falling from his lips, when
     she was turned from his side "I know you not woman" and how his
     grandeurs were stricken valueless, and his pride consumed to ashes.
     It is a wonderfully beautiful and touching little scene, and papa
     has described it so wonderfully. I never saw a man with so much
     variety of feeling as papa has; now the "Prince and the Pauper" is
     full of touching places; but there is most always a streak of humor
     in them somewhere. Now in the coronation--in the stirring
     coronation, just after the little king has got his crown back again
     papa brings that in about the Seal, where the pauper says he used
     the Seal "to crack nuts with." Oh it is so funny and nice! Papa
     very seldom writes a passage without some humor in it somewhere,
     and I dont think he ever will.


The children always helped their mother to edit my books in manuscript.
She would sit on the porch at the farm and read aloud, with her pencil
in her hand, and the children would keep an alert and suspicious eye
upon her right along, for the belief was well grounded in them that
whenever she came across a particularly satisfactory passage she would
strike it out. Their suspicions were well founded. The passages which
were so satisfactory to them always had an element of strength in them
which sorely needed modification or expurgation, and were always sure to
get it at their mother's hand. For my own entertainment, and to enjoy
the protests of the children, I often abused my editor's innocent
confidence. I often interlarded remarks of a studied and felicitously
atrocious character purposely to achieve the children's brief delight,
and then see the remorseless pencil do its fatal work. I often joined my
supplications to the children's for mercy, and strung the argument out
and pretended to be in earnest. They were deceived, and so was their
mother. It was three against one, and most unfair. But it was very
delightful, and I could not resist the temptation. Now and then we
gained the victory and there was much rejoicing. Then I privately struck
the passage out myself. It had served its purpose. It had furnished
three of us with good entertainment, and in being removed from the book
by me it was only suffering the fate originally intended for it.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa was born in Missouri. His mother is Grandma Clemens (Jane
     Lampton Clemens) of Kentucky. Grandpa Clemens was of the F.F.V's of
     Virginia.


Without doubt it was I that gave Susy that impression. I cannot imagine
why, because I was never in my life much impressed by grandeurs which
proceed from the accident of birth. I did not get this indifference from
my mother. She was always strongly interested in the ancestry of the
house. She traced her own line back to the Lambtons of Durham,
England--a family which had been occupying broad lands there since Saxon
times. I am not sure, but I think that those Lambtons got along without
titles of nobility for eight or nine hundred years, then produced a
great man, three-quarters of a century ago, and broke into the peerage.
My mother knew all about the Clemenses of Virginia, and loved to
aggrandize them to me, but she has long been dead. There has been no one
to keep those details fresh in my memory, and they have grown dim.

There was a Jere. Clemens who was a United States Senator, and in his
day enjoyed the usual Senatorial fame--a fame which perishes whether it
spring from four years' service or forty. After Jere. Clemens's fame as
a Senator passed away, he was still remembered for many years on account
of another service which he performed. He shot old John Brown's Governor
Wise in the hind leg in a duel. However, I am not very clear about this.
It may be that Governor Wise shot _him_ in the hind leg. However, I
don't think it is important. I think that the only thing that is really
important is that one of them got shot in the hind leg. It would have
been better and nobler and more historical and satisfactory if both of
them had got shot in the hind leg--but it is of no use for me to try to
recollect history. I never had a historical mind. Let it go. Whichever
way it happened I am glad of it, and that is as much enthusiasm as I can
get up for a person bearing my name. But I am forgetting the first
Clemens--the one that stands furthest back toward the really original
_first_ Clemens, which was Adam.

_From Susy's Biography._


     Clara and I are sure that papa played the trick on Grandma, about
     the whipping, that is related in "The Adventures of Tom Sayer":
     "Hand me that switch." The switch hovered in the air, the peril was
     desperate--"My, look behind you Aunt!" The old lady whirled around
     and snatched her skirts out of danger. The lad fled on the instant,
     scrambling up the high board fence and dissapeared over it.


Susy and Clara were quite right about that.

Then Susy says:


     And we know papa played "Hookey" all the time. And how readily
     would papa pretend to be dying so as not to have to go to school!


These revelations and exposures are searching, but they are just If I am
as transparent to other people as I was to Susy, I have wasted much
effort in this life.


     Grandma couldn't make papa go to school, no she let him go into a
     printing-office to learn the trade. He did so, and gradually picked
     up enough education to enable him to do about as well as those who
     were more studious in early life.


It is noticeable that Susy does not get overheated when she is
complimenting me, but maintains a proper judicial and biographical calm.
It is noticeable, also, and it is to her credit as a biographer, that
she distributes compliment and criticism with a fair and even hand.

My mother had a good deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed
it. She had none at all with my brother Henry, who was two years younger
than I, and I think that the unbroken monotony of his goodness and
truthfulness and obedience would have been a burden to her but for the
relief and variety which I furnished in the other direction. I was a
tonic. I was valuable to her. I never thought of it before, but now I
see it. I never knew Henry to do a vicious thing toward me, or toward
any one else--but he frequently did righteous ones that cost me as
heavily. It was his duty to report me, when I needed reporting and
neglected to do it myself, and he was very faithful in discharging that
duty. He is "Sid" in "Tom Sawyer." But Sid was not Henry. Henry was a
very much finer and better boy than ever Sid was.

It was Henry who called my mother's attention to the fact that the
thread with which she had sewed my collar together to keep me from going
in swimming, had changed color. My mother would not have discovered it
but for that, and she was manifestly piqued when she recognized that
that prominent bit of circumstantial evidence had escaped her sharp eye.
That detail probably added a detail to my punishment. It is human. We
generally visit our shortcomings on somebody else when there is a
possible excuse for it--but no matter, I took it out of Henry. There is
always compensation for such as are unjustly used. I often took it out
of him--sometimes as an advance payment for something which I hadn't yet
done. These were occasions when the opportunity was too strong a
temptation, and I had to draw on the future. I did not need to copy this
idea from my mother, and probably didn't. Still she wrought upon that
principle upon occasion.

If the incident of the broken sugar-bowl is in "Tom Sawyer"--I don't
remember whether it is or not--that is an example of it. Henry never
stole sugar. He took it openly from the bowl. His mother knew he
wouldn't take sugar when she wasn't looking, but she had her doubts
about me. Not exactly doubts, either. She knew very well I _would._ One
day when she was not present, Henry took sugar from her prized and
precious old English sugar-bowl, which was an heirloom in the
family--and he managed to break the bowl. It was the first time I had
ever had a chance to tell anything on him, and I was inexpressibly glad.
I told him I was going to tell on him, but he was not disturbed. When my
mother came in and saw the bowl lying on the floor in fragments, she was
speechless for a minute. I allowed that silence to work; I judged it
would increase the effect. I was waiting for her to ask "Who did
that?"--so that I could fetch out my news. But it was an error of
calculation. When she got through with her silence she didn't ask
anything about it--she merely gave me a crack on the skull with her
thimble that I felt all the way down to my heels. Then I broke out with
my injured innocence, expecting to make her very sorry that she had
punished the wrong one. I expected her to do something remorseful and
pathetic. I told her that I was not the one--it was Henry. But there was
no upheaval. She said, without emotion, "It's all right. It isn't any
matter. You deserve it for something you've done that I didn't know
about; and if you haven't done it, why then you deserve it for something
that you are going to do, that I sha'n't hear about."

There was a stairway outside the house, which led up to the rear part of
the second story. One day Henry was sent on an errand, and he took a tin
bucket along. I knew he would have to ascend those stairs, so I went up
and locked the door on the inside, and came down into the garden, which
had been newly ploughed and was rich in choice firm clods of black mold.
I gathered a generous equipment of these, and ambushed him. I waited
till he had climbed the stairs and was near the landing and couldn't
escape. Then I bombarded him with clods, which he warded off with his
tin bucket the best he could, but without much success, for I was a good
marksman. The clods smashing against the weather-boarding fetched my
mother out to see what was the matter, and I tried to explain that I was
amusing Henry. Both of them were after me in a minute, but I knew the
way over that high board fence and escaped for that time. After an hour
or two, when I ventured back, there was no one around and I thought the
incident was closed. But it was not. Henry was ambushing me. With an
unusually competent aim for him, he landed a stone on the side of my
head which raised a bump there that felt like the Matterhorn. I carried
it to my mother straightway for sympathy, but she was not strongly
moved. It seemed to be her idea that incidents like this would
eventually reform me if I harvested enough of them. So the matter was
only educational. I had had a sterner view of it than that, before.

It was not right to give the cat the "Pain-Killer"; I realize it now. I
would not repeat it in these days. But in those "Tom Sawyer" days it was
a great and sincere satisfaction to me to see Peter perform under its
influence--and if actions _do_ speak as loud as words, he took as much
interest in it as I did. It was a most detestable medicine, Perry
Davis's Pain-Killer. Mr. Pavey's negro man, who was a person of good
judgment and considerable curiosity, wanted to sample it, and I let him.
It was his opinion that it was made of hell-fire.

Those were the cholera days of '49. The people along the Mississippi
were paralyzed with fright. Those who could run away, did it. And many
died of fright in the flight. Fright killed three persons where the
cholera killed one. Those who couldn't flee kept themselves drenched
with cholera preventives, and my mother chose Perry Davis's Pain-Killer
for me. She was not distressed about herself. She avoided that kind of
preventive. But she made me promise to take a teaspoonful of Pain-Killer
every day. Originally it was my intention to keep the promise, but at
that time I didn't know as much about Pain-Killer as I knew after my
first experiment with it. She didn't watch Henry's bottle--she could
trust Henry. But she marked my bottle with a pencil, on the label, every
day, and examined it to see if the teaspoonful had been removed. The
floor was not carpeted. It had cracks in it, and I fed the Pain-Killer
to the cracks with very good results--no cholera occurred down below.

It was upon one of these occasions that that friendly cat came waving
his tail and supplicating for Pain-Killer--which he got--and then went
into those hysterics which ended with his colliding with all the
furniture in the room and finally going out of the open window and
carrying the flower-pots with him, just in time for my mother to arrive
and look over her glasses in petrified astonishment and say, "What in
the world is the matter with Peter?"

I don't remember what my explanation was, but if it is recorded in that
book it may not be the right one.

Whenever my conduct was of such exaggerated impropriety that my mother's
extemporary punishments were inadequate, she saved the matter up for
Sunday, and made me go to church Sunday night--which was a penalty
sometimes bearable, perhaps, but as a rule it was not, and I avoided it
for the sake of my constitution. She would never believe that I had been
to church until she had applied her test: she made me tell her what the
text was. That was a simple matter, and caused me no trouble. I didn't
have to go to church to get a text. I selected one for myself. This
worked very well until one time when my text and the one furnished by a
neighbor, who had been to church, didn't tally. After that my mother
took other methods. I don't know what they were now.

In those days men and boys wore rather long cloaks in the winter-time.
They were black, and were lined with very bright and showy Scotch
plaids. One winter's night when I was starting to church to square a
crime of some kind committed during the week, I hid my cloak near the
gate and went off and played with the other boys until church was over.
Then I returned home. But in the dark I put the cloak on wrong side out,
entered the room, threw the cloak aside, and then stood the usual
examination. I got along very well until the temperature of the church
was mentioned. My mother said,

"It must have been impossible to keep warm there on such a night."

I didn't see the art of that remark, and was foolish enough to explain
that I wore my cloak all the time that I was in church. She asked if I
kept it on from church home, too. I didn't see the bearing of that
remark. I said that that was what I had done. She said,

"You wore it in church with that red Scotch plaid outside and glaring?
Didn't that attract any attention?"

Of course to continue such a dialogue would have been tedious and
unprofitable, and I let it go, and took the consequences.

That was about 1849. Tom Nash was a boy of my own age--the postmaster's
son. The Mississippi was frozen across, and he and I went skating one
night, probably without permission. I cannot see why we should go
skating in the night unless without permission, for there could be no
considerable amusement to be gotten out of skating at night if nobody
was going to object to it. About midnight, when we were more than half a
mile out toward the Illinois shore, we heard some ominous rumbling and
grinding and crashing going on between us and the home side of the
river, and we knew what it meant--the ice was breaking up. We started
for home, pretty badly scared. We flew along at full speed whenever the
moonlight sifting down between the clouds enabled us to tell which was
ice and which was water. In the pauses we waited; started again whenever
there was a good bridge of ice; paused again when we came to naked water
and waited in distress until a floating vast cake should bridge that
place. It took us an hour to make the trip--a trip which we made in a
misery of apprehension all the time. But at last we arrived within a
very brief distance of the shore. We waited again; there was another
place that needed bridging. All about us the ice was plunging and
grinding along and piling itself up in mountains on the shore, and the
dangers were increasing, not diminishing. We grew very impatient to get
to solid ground, so we started too early and went springing from cake to
cake. Tom made a miscalculation, and fell short. He got a bitter bath,
but he was so close to shore that he only had to swim a stroke or
two--then his feet struck hard bottom and he crawled out. I arrived a
little later, without accident. We had been in a drenching perspiration,
and Tom's bath was a disaster for him. He took to his bed sick, and had
a procession of diseases. The closing one was scarlet-fever, and he came
out of it stone deaf. Within a year or two speech departed, of course.
But some years later he was taught to talk, after a fashion--one
couldn't always make out what it was he was trying to say. Of course he
could not modulate his voice, since he couldn't hear himself talk. When
he supposed he was talking low and confidentially, you could hear him in
Illinois.

Four years ago (1902) I was invited by the University of Missouri to
come out there and receive the honorary degree of LL.D. I took that
opportunity to spend a week in Hannibal--a city now, a village in my
day. It had been fifty-three years since Tom Nash and I had had that
adventure. When I was at the railway station ready to leave Hannibal,
there was a crowd of citizens there. I saw Tom Nash approaching me
across a vacant space, and I walked toward him, for I recognized him at
once. He was old and white-headed, but the boy of fifteen was still
visible in him. He came up to me, made a trumpet of his hands at my ear,
nodded his head toward the citizens and said confidentially--in a yell
like a fog-horn--

"Same damned fools, Sam!"

_From Susy's Biography._


     Papa was about twenty years old when he went on the Mississippi as
     a pilot. Just before he started on his tripp Grandma Clemens asked
     him to promise her on the Bible not to touch intoxicating liquors
     or swear, and he said "Yes, mother, I will," and he kept that
     promise seven years when Grandma released him from it.


Under the inspiring influence of that remark, what a garden of forgotten
reforms rises upon my sight!

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCIII.

NOVEMBER 16, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--VI.

BY MARK TWAIN.


_From Susy's Biography_.


     Papa made arrangements to read at Vassar College the 1st of May,
     and I went with him. We went by way of New York City. Mamma went
     with us to New York and stayed two days to do some shopping. We
     started Tuesday, at 1/2 past two o'clock in the afternoon, and
     reached New York about 1/4 past six. Papa went right up to General
     Grants from the station and mamma and I went to the Everett House.
     Aunt Clara came to supper with us up in our room....

     We and Aunt Clara were going were going to the theatre right after
     supper, and we expected papa to take us there and to come home as
     early as he could. But we got through dinner and he didn't come,
     and didn't come, and mamma got more perplexed and worried, but at
     last we thought we would have to go without him. So we put on our
     things and started down stairs but before we'd goten half down we
     met papa coming up with a great bunch of roses in his hand. He
     explained that the reason he was so late was that his watch stopped
     and he didn't notice and kept thinking it an hour earlier than it
     really was. The roses he carried were some Col. Fred Grant sent to
     mamma. We went to the theatre and enjoyed "Adonis" [word illegible]
     acted very much. We reached home about 1/2 past eleven o'clock and
     went right to bed. Wednesday morning we got up rather late and had
     breakfast about 1/2 past nine o'clock. After breakfast mamma went
     out shopping and papa and I went to see papa's agent about some
     business matters. After papa had gotten through talking to Cousin
     Charlie, [Webster] papa's agent, we went to get a friend of papa's,
     Major Pond, to go and see a Dog Show with us. Then we went to see
     the dogs with Major Pond and we had a delightful time seeing so
     many dogs together; when we got through seeing the dogs papa
     thought he would go and see General Grant and I went with him--this
     was April 29, 1885. Papa went up into General Grant's room and he
     took me with him, I felt greatly honored and delighted when papa
     took me into General Grant's room and let me see the General and
     Col. Grant, for General Grant is a man I shall be glad all my life
     that I have seen. Papa and General Grant had a long talk together
     and papa has written an account of his talk and visit with General
     Grant for me to put into this biography.


Susy has inserted in this place that account of mine--as follows:


                                                    April 29, 1885.

     I called on General Grant and took Susy with me. The General was
     looking and feeling far better than he had looked or felt for some
     months. He had ventured to work again on his book that morning--the
     first time he had done any work for perhaps a month. This morning's
     work was his first attempt at dictating, and it was a thorough
     success, to his great delight. He had always said that it would be
     impossible for him to dictate anything, but I had said that he was
     noted for clearness of statement, and as a narrative was simply a
     statement of consecutive facts, he was consequently peculiarly
     qualified and equipped for dictation. This turned out to be true.
     For he had dictated two hours that morning to a shorthand writer,
     had never hesitated for words, had not repeated himself, and the
     manuscript when finished needed no revision. The two hours' work
     was an account of Appomattox--and this was such an extremely
     important feature that his book would necessarily have been
     severely lame without it. Therefore I had taken a shorthand writer
     there before, to see if I could not get him to write at least a few
     lines about Appomattox.[5] But he was at that time not well enough
     to undertake it. I was aware that of all the hundred versions of
     Appomattox, not one was really correct. Therefore I was extremely
     anxious that he should leave behind him the truth. His throat was
     not distressing him, and his voice was much better and stronger
     than usual. He was so delighted to have gotten Appomattox
     accomplished once more in his life--to have gotten the matter off
     his mind--that he was as talkative as his old self. He received
     Susy very pleasantly, and then fell to talking about certain
     matters which he hoped to be able to dictate next day; and he said
     in substance that, among other things, he wanted to settle once for
     all a question that had been bandied about from mouth to mouth and
     from newspaper to newspaper. That question was, "With whom
     originated the idea of the march to the sea? Was it Grant's, or was
     it Sherman's idea?" Whether I, or some one else (being anxious to
     get the important fact settled) asked him with whom the idea
     originated, I don't remember. But I remember his answer. I shall
     always remember his answer. General Grant said:

     "Neither of us originated the idea of Sherman's march to the sea.
     The enemy did it."

     He went on to say that the enemy, however, necessarily originated a
     great many of the plans that the general on the opposite side gets
     the credit for; at the same time that the enemy is doing that, he
     is laying open other moves which the opposing general sees and
     takes advantage of. In this case, Sherman had a plan all thought
     out, of course. He meant to destroy the two remaining railroads in
     that part of the country, and that would finish up that region. But
     General Hood did not play the military part that he was expected to
     play. On the contrary, General Hood made a dive at Chattanooga.
     This left the march to the sea open to Sherman, and so after
     sending part of his army to defend and hold what he had acquired in
     the Chattanooga region, he was perfectly free to proceed, with the
     rest of it, through Georgia. He saw the opportunity, and he would
     not have been fit for his place if he had not seized it.

     "He wrote me" (the General is speaking) "what his plan was, and I
     sent him word to go ahead. My staff were opposed to the movement."
     (I think the General said they tried to persuade him to stop
     Sherman. The chief of his staff, the General said, even went so far
     as to go to Washington without the General's knowledge and get the
     ear of the authorities, and he succeeded in arousing their fears to
     such an extent that they telegraphed General Grant to stop
     Sherman.)

     Then General Grant said, "Out of deference to the Government, I
     telegraphed Sherman and stopped him twenty-four hours; and then
     considering that that was deference enough to the Government, I
     telegraphed him to go ahead again."

     I have not tried to give the General's language, but only the
     general idea of what he said. The thing that mainly struck me was
     his terse remark that the enemy originated the idea of the march to
     the sea. It struck me because it was so suggestive of the General's
     epigrammatic fashion--saying a great deal in a single crisp
     sentence. (This is my account, and signed "Mark Twain.")


_Susy Resumes._


     After papa and General Grant had had their talk, we went back to
     the hotel where mamma was, and papa told mamma all about his
     interview with General Grant. Mamma and I had a nice quiet
     afternoon together.


That pair of devoted comrades were always shutting themselves up
together when there was opportunity to have what Susy called "a cozy
time." From Susy's nursery days to the end of her life, she and her
mother were close friends; intimate friends, passionate adorers of each
other. Susy's was a beautiful mind, and it made her an interesting
comrade. And with the fine mind she had a heart like her mother's. Susy
never had an interest or an occupation which she was not glad to put
aside for that something which was in all cases more precious to her--a
visit with her mother. Susy died at the right time, the fortunate time
of life; the happy age--twenty-four years. At twenty-four, such a girl
has seen the best of life--life as a happy dream. After that age the
risks begin; responsibility comes, and with it the cares, the sorrows,
and the inevitable tragedy. For her mother's sake I would have brought
her back from the grave if I could, but I would not have done it for my
own.

_From Susy's Biography_.


     Then papa went to read in public; there were a great many authors
     that read, that Thursday afternoon, beside papa; I would have liked
     to have gone and heard papa read, but papa said he was going to
     read in Vassar just what he was planning to read in New York, so I
     stayed at home with mamma.

     The next day mamma planned to take the four o'clock car back to
     Hartford. We rose quite early that morning and went to the Vienna
     Bakery and took breakfast there. From there we went to a German
     bookstore and bought some German books for Clara's birthday.


Dear me, the power of association to snatch mouldy dead memories out of
their graves and make them walk! That remark about buying foreign books
throws a sudden white glare upon the distant past; and I see the long
stretch of a New York street with an unearthly vividness, and John Hay
walking down it, grave and remorseful. I was walking down it too, that
morning, and I overtook Hay and asked him what the trouble was. He
turned a lustreless eye upon me and said:

"My case is beyond cure. In the most innocent way in the world I have
committed a crime which will never be forgiven by the sufferers, for
they will never believe--oh, well, no, I was going to say they would
never believe that I did the thing innocently. The truth is they will
know that I acted innocently, because they are rational people; but what
of that? I never can look them in the face again--nor they me, perhaps."

Hay was a young bachelor, and at that time was on the "Tribune" staff.
He explained his trouble in these words, substantially:

"When I was passing along here yesterday morning on my way down-town to
the office, I stepped into a bookstore where I am acquainted, and asked
if they had anything new from the other side. They handed me a French
novel, in the usual yellow paper cover, and I carried it away. I didn't
even look at the title of it. It was for recreation reading, and I was
on my way to my work. I went mooning and dreaming along, and I think I
hadn't gone more than fifty yards when I heard my name called. I
stopped, and a private carriage drew up at the sidewalk and I shook
hands with the inmates--mother and young daughter, excellent people.
They were on their way to the steamer to sail for Paris. The mother
said,

"'I saw that book in your hand and I judged by the look of it that it
was a French novel. Is it?'

"I said it was.

"She said, 'Do let me have it, so that my daughter can practise her
French on it on the way over.'

"Of course I handed her the book, and we parted. Ten minutes ago I was
passing that bookstore again, and I stepped in and fetched away another
copy of that book. Here it is. Read the first page of it. That is
enough. You will know what the rest is like. I think it must be the
foulest book in the French language--one of the foulest, anyway. I would
be ashamed to offer it to a harlot--but, oh dear, I gave it to that
sweet young girl without shame. Take my advice; don't give away a book
until you have examined it."

_From Susy's Biography._


     Then mamma and I went to do some shopping and papa went to see
     General Grant. After we had finnished doing our shopping we went
     home to the hotel together. When we entered our rooms in the hotel
     we saw on the table a vase full of exquisett red roses. Mamma who
     is very fond of flowers exclaimed "Oh I wonder who could have sent
     them." We both looked at the card in the midst of the roses and saw
     that it was written on in papa's handwriting, it was written in
     German. 'Liebes Geshchenk on die mamma.' [I am sure I didn't say
     "on"--that is Susy's spelling, not mine; also I am sure I didn't
     spell Geschenk so liberally as all that.--S. L. C.] Mamma was
     delighted. Papa came home and gave mamma her ticket; and after
     visiting a while with her went to see Major Pond and mamma and I
     sat down to our lunch. After lunch most of our time was taken up
     with packing, and at about three o'clock we went to escort mamma to
     the train. We got on board the train with her and stayed with her
     about five minutes and then we said good-bye to her and the train
     started for Hartford. It was the first time I had ever beene away
     from home without mamma in my life, although I was 13 yrs. old.
     Papa and I drove back to the hotel and got Major Pond and then went
     to see the Brooklyn Bridge we went across it to Brooklyn on the
     cars and then walked back across it from Brooklyn to New York. We
     enjoyed looking at the beautiful scenery and we could see the
     bridge moove under the intense heat of the sun. We had a perfectly
     delightful time, but weer pretty tired when we got back to the
     hotel.

     The next morning we rose early, took our breakfast and took an
     early train to Poughkeepsie. We had a very pleasant journey to
     Poughkeepsie. The Hudson was magnificent--shrouded with beautiful
     mist. When we arived at Poughkeepsie it was raining quite hard;
     which fact greatly dissapointed me because I very much wanted to
     see the outside of the buildings of Vassar College and as it rained
     that would be impossible. It was quite a long drive from the
     station to Vasser College and papa and I had a nice long time to
     discuss and laugh over German profanity. One of the German phrases
     papa particularly enjoys is "O heilige maria Mutter Jesus!" Jean
     has a German nurse, and this was one of her phrases, there was a
     time when Jean exclaimed "Ach Gott!" to every trifle, but when
     mamma found it out she was shocked and instantly put a stop to it.


It brings that pretty little German girl vividly before me--a sweet and
innocent and plump little creature with peachy cheeks; a clear-souled
little maiden and without offence, notwithstanding her profanities, and
she was loaded to the eyebrows with them. She was a mere child. She was
not fifteen yet. She was just from Germany, and knew no English. She was
always scattering her profanities around, and they were such a
satisfaction to me that I never dreamed of such a thing as modifying
her. For my own sake, I had no disposition to tell on her. Indeed I took
pains to keep her from being found out. I told her to confine her
religious exercises to the children's quarters, and urged her to
remember that Mrs. Clemens was prejudiced against pieties on week-days.
To the children, the little maid's profanities sounded natural and
proper and right, because they had been used to that kind of talk in
Germany, and they attached no evil importance to it. It grieves me that
I have forgotten those vigorous remarks. I long hoarded them in my
memory as a treasure. But I remember one of them still, because I heard
it so many times. The trial of that little creature's life was the
children's hair. She would tug and strain with her comb, accompanying
her work with her misplaced pieties. And when finally she was through
with her triple job she always fired up and exploded her thanks toward
the sky, where they belonged, in this form: "_Gott sei Dank ich bin
fertig mit'm Gott verdammtes Haar!_" (I believe I am not quite brave
enough to translate it.)

_From Susy's Biography_.


     We at length reached Vassar College and she looked very finely, her
     buildings and her grounds being very beautiful. We went to the
     front doore and range the bell. The young girl who came to the
     doore wished to know who we wanted to see. Evidently we were not
     expected. Papa told her who we wanted to see and she showed us to
     the parlor. We waited, no one came; and waited, no one came, still
     no one came. It was beginning to seem pretty awkward, "Oh well this
     is a pretty piece of business," papa exclaimed. At length we heard
     footsteps coming down the long corridor and Miss C, (the lady who
     had invited papa) came into the room. She greeted papa very
     pleasantly and they had a nice little chatt together. Soon the lady
     principal also entered and she was very pleasant and agreable. She
     showed us to our rooms and said she would send for us when dinner
     was ready. We went into our rooms, but we had nothing to do for
     half an hour exept to watch the rain drops as they fell upon the
     window panes. At last we were called to dinner, and I went down
     without papa as he never eats anything in the middle of the day. I
     sat at the table with the lady principal and enjoyed very much
     seeing all the young girls trooping into the dining-room. After
     dinner I went around the College with the young ladies and papa
     stayed in his room and smoked. When it was supper time papa went
     down and ate supper with us and we had a very delightful supper.
     After supper the young ladies went to their rooms to dress for the
     evening. Papa went to his room and I went with the lady principal.
     At length the guests began to arive, but papa still remained in his
     room until called for. Papa read in the chapell. It was the first
     time I had ever heard him read in my life--that is in public. When
     he came out on to the stage I remember the people behind me
     exclaimed "Oh how queer he is! Isn't he funny!" I thought papa was
     very funny, although I did not think him queer. He read "A Trying
     Situation" and "The Golden Arm," a ghost story that he heard down
     South when he was a little boy. "The Golden Arm" papa had told me
     before, but he had startled me so that I did not much wish to hear
     it again. But I had resolved this time to be prepared and not to
     let myself be startled, but still papa did, and very very much; he
     startled the whole roomful of people and they jumped as one man.
     The other story was also very funny and interesting and I enjoyed
     the evening inexpressibly much. After papa had finished reading we
     all went down to the collation in the dining-room and after that
     there was dancing and singing. Then the guests went away and papa
     and I went to bed. The next morning we rose early, took an early
     train for Hartford and reached Hartford at 1/2 past 2 o'clock. We
     were very glad to get back.


How charitably she treats that ghastly experience! It is a dear and
lovely disposition, and a most valuable one, that can brush away
indignities and discourtesies and seek and find the pleasanter features
of an experience. Susy had that disposition, and it was one of the
jewels of her character that had come to her straight from her mother.
It is a feature that was left out of me at birth. And, at seventy, I
have not yet acquired it. I did not go to Vassar College professionally,
but as a guest--as a guest, and gratis. Aunt Clara (now Mrs. John B.
Stanchfield) was a graduate of Vassar and it was to please her that I
inflicted that journey upon Susy and myself. The invitation had come to
me from both the lady mentioned by Susy and the President of the
College--a sour old saint who has probably been gathered to his fathers
long ago; and I hope they enjoy him; I hope they value his society. I
think I can get along without it, in either end of the next world.

We arrived at the College in that soaking rain, and Susy has described,
with just a suggestion of dissatisfaction, the sort of reception we got.
Susy had to sit in her damp clothes half an hour while we waited in the
parlor; then she was taken to a fireless room and left to wait there
again, as she has stated. I do not remember that President's name, and I
am sorry. He did not put in an appearance until it was time for me to
step upon the platform in front of that great garden of young and lovely
blossoms. He caught up with me and advanced upon the platform with me
and was going to introduce me. I said in substance:

"You have allowed me to get along without your help thus far, and if you
will retire from the platform I will try to do the rest without it."

I did not see him any more, but I detest his memory. Of course my
resentment did not extend to the students, and so I had an unforgettable
good time talking to them. And I think they had a good time too, for
they responded "as one man," to use Susy's unimprovable phrase.

Girls are charming creatures. I shall have to be twice seventy years old
before I change my mind as to that. I am to talk to a crowd of them this
afternoon, students of Barnard College (the sex's annex to Columbia
University), and I think I shall have as pleasant a time with those
lasses as I had with the Vassar girls twenty-one years ago.

_From Susy's Biography._


     I stopped in the middle of mamma's early history to tell about our
     tripp to Vassar because I was afraid I would forget about it, now I
     will go on where I left off. Some time after Miss Emma Nigh died
     papa took mamma and little Langdon to Elmira for the summer. When
     in Elmira Langdon began to fail but I think mamma did not know just
     what was the matter with him.


I was the cause of the child's illness. His mother trusted him to my
care and I took him a long drive in an open barouche for an airing. It
was a raw, cold morning, but he was well wrapped about with furs and, in
the hands of a careful person, no harm would have come to him. But I
soon dropped into a reverie and forgot all about my charge. The furs
fell away and exposed his bare legs. By and by the coachman noticed
this, and I arranged the wraps again, but it was too late. The child was
almost frozen. I hurried home with him. I was aghast at what I had done,
and I feared the consequences. I have always felt shame for that
treacherous morning's work and have not allowed myself to think of it
when I could help it. I doubt if I had the courage to make confession at
that time. I think it most likely that I have never confessed until now.

_From Susy's Biography._


     At last it was time for papa to return to Hartford, and Langdon was
     real sick at that time, but still mamma decided to go with him,
     thinking the journey might do him good. But after they reached
     Hartford he became very sick, and his trouble prooved to be
     diptheeria. He died about a week after mamma and papa reached
     Hartford. He was burried by the side of grandpa at Elmira, New
     York. [Susy rests there with them.--S. L. C.] After that, mamma
     became very very ill, so ill that there seemed great danger of
     death, but with a great deal of good care she recovered. Some
     months afterward mamma and papa [and Susy, who was perhaps fourteen
     or fifteen months old at the time.--S. L. C.] went to Europe and
     stayed for a time in Scotland and England. In Scotland mamma and
     papa became very well equanted with Dr. John Brown, the author of
     "Rab and His Friends," and he mett, but was not so well equanted
     with, Mr. Charles Kingsley, Mr. Henry M. Stanley, Sir Thomas Hardy
     grandson of the Captain Hardy to whom Nellson said "Kiss me Hardy,"
     when dying on shipboard, Mr. Henry Irving, Robert Browning, Sir
     Charles Dilke, Mr. Charles Reade, Mr. William Black, Lord Houghton,
     Frank Buckland, Mr. Tom Hughes, Anthony Trollope, Tom Hood, son of
     the poet--and mamma and papa were quite well equanted with Dr.
     Macdonald and family, and papa met Harrison Ainsworth.


I remember all these men very well indeed, except the last one. I do not
recall Ainsworth. By my count, Susy mentions fourteen men. They are all
dead except Sir Charles Dilke.

We met a great many other interesting people, among them Lewis Carroll,
author of the immortal "Alice"--but he was only interesting to look at,
for he was the stillest and shyest full-grown man I have ever met except
"Uncle Remus." Dr. Macdonald and several other lively talkers were
present, and the talk went briskly on for a couple of hours, but Carroll
sat still all the while except that now and then he answered a question.
His answers were brief. I do not remember that he elaborated any of
them.

At a dinner at Smalley's we met Herbert Spencer. At a large luncheon
party at Lord Houghton's we met Sir Arthur Helps, who was a celebrity of
world-wide fame at the time, but is quite forgotten now. Lord Elcho, a
large vigorous man, sat at some distance down the table. He was talking
earnestly about Godalming. It was a deep and flowing and unarticulated
rumble, but I got the Godalming pretty clearly every time it broke free
of the rumble, and as all the strength was on the first end of the word
it startled me every time, because it sounded so like swearing. In the
middle of the luncheon Lady Houghton rose, remarked to the guests on her
right and on her left in a matter-of-fact way, "Excuse me, I have an
engagement," and without further ceremony she went off to meet it. This
would have been doubtful etiquette in America. Lord Houghton told a
number of delightful stories. He told them in French, and I lost nothing
of them but the nubs.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[5] I was his publisher. I was putting his "Personal Memoirs" to press
at the time.--S. L. C.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCIV.

DECEMBER 7, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--VII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


I was always heedless. I was born heedless; and therefore I was
constantly, and quite unconsciously, committing breaches of the minor
proprieties, which brought upon me humiliations which ought to have
humiliated me but didn't, because I didn't know anything had happened.
But Livy knew; and so the humiliations fell to her share, poor child,
who had not earned them and did not deserve them. She always said I was
the most difficult child she had. She was very sensitive about me. It
distressed her to see me do heedless things which could bring me under
criticism, and so she was always watchful and alert to protect me from
the kind of transgressions which I have been speaking of.

When I was leaving Hartford for Washington, upon the occasion referred
to, she said: "I have written a small warning and put it in a pocket of
your dress-vest. When you are dressing to go to the Authors' Reception
at the White House you will naturally put your fingers in your vest
pockets, according to your custom, and you will find that little note
there. Read it carefully, and do as it tells you. I cannot be with you,
and so I delegate my sentry duties to this little note. If I should give
you the warning by word of mouth, now, it would pass from your head and
be forgotten in a few minutes."

It was President Cleveland's first term. I had never seen his wife--the
young, the beautiful, the good-hearted, the sympathetic, the
fascinating. Sure enough, just as I had finished dressing to go to the
White House I found that little note, which I had long ago forgotten. It
was a grave little note, a serious little note, like its writer, but it
made me laugh. Livy's gentle gravities often produced that effect upon
me, where the expert humorist's best joke would have failed, for I do
not laugh easily.

When we reached the White House and I was shaking hands with the
President, he started to say something, but I interrupted him and said:

"If your Excellency will excuse me, I will come back in a moment; but
now I have a very important matter to attend to, and it must be attended
to at once."

I turned to Mrs. Cleveland, the young, the beautiful, the fascinating,
and gave her my card, on the back of which I had written "_He
didn't_"--and I asked her to sign her name below those words.

She said: "He didn't? He didn't what?"

"Oh," I said, "never mind. We cannot stop to discuss that now. This is
urgent. Won't you please sign your name?" (I handed her a fountain-pen.)

"Why," she said, "I cannot commit myself in that way. Who is it that
didn't?--and what is it that he didn't?"

"Oh," I said, "time is flying, flying, flying. Won't you take me out of
my distress and sign your name to it? It's all right. I give you my word
it's all right."

She looked nonplussed; but hesitatingly and mechanically she took the
pen and said:

"I will sign it. I will take the risk. But you must tell me all about
it, right afterward, so that you can be arrested before you get out of
the house in case there should be anything criminal about this."

Then she signed; and I handed her Mrs. Clements's note, which was very
brief, very simple, and to the point. It said: "_Don't wear your arctics
in the White House._" It made her shout; and at my request she summoned
a messenger and we sent that card at once to the mail on its way to Mrs.
Clemens in Hartford.

When the little Ruth was about a year or a year and a half old, Mason,
an old and valued friend of mine, was consul-general at
Frankfort-on-the-Main. I had known him well in 1867, '68 and '69, in
America, and I and mine had spent a good deal of time with him and his
family in Frankfort in '78. He was a thoroughly competent, diligent, and
conscientious official. Indeed he possessed these qualities in so large
a degree that among American consuls he might fairly be said to be
monumental, for at that time our consular service was largely--and I
think I may say mainly--in the hands of ignorant, vulgar, and incapable
men who had been political heelers in America, and had been taken care
of by transference to consulates where they could be supported at the
Government's expense instead of being transferred to the poor house,
which would have been cheaper and more patriotic. Mason, in '78, had
been consul-general in Frankfort several years--four, I think. He had
come from Marseilles with a great record. He had been consul there
during thirteen years, and one part of his record was heroic. There had
been a desolating cholera epidemic, and Mason was the only
representative of any foreign country who stayed at his post and saw it
through. And during that time he not only represented his own country,
but he represented all the other countries in Christendom and did their
work, and did it well and was praised for it by them in words of no
uncertain sound. This great record of Mason's had saved him from
official decapitation straight along while Republican Presidents
occupied the chair, but now it was occupied by a Democrat. Mr. Cleveland
was not seated in it--he was not yet inaugurated--before he was deluged
with applications from Democratic politicians desiring the appointment
of a thousand or so politically useful Democrats to Mason's place. A
year or two later Mason wrote me and asked me if I couldn't do something
to save him from destruction.

I was very anxious to keep him in his place, but at first I could not
think of any way to help him, for I was a mugwump. We, the mugwumps, a
little company made up of the unenslaved of both parties, the very best
men to be found in the two great parties--that was our idea of it--voted
sixty thousand strong for Mr. Cleveland in New York and elected him. Our
principles were high, and very definite. We were not a party; we had no
candidates; we had no axes to grind. Our vote laid upon the man we cast
it for no obligation of any kind. By our rule we could not ask for
office; we could not accept office. When voting, it was our duty to vote
for the best man, regardless of his party name. We had no other creed.
Vote for the best man--that was creed enough.

Such being my situation, I was puzzled to know how to try to help Mason,
and, at the same time, save my mugwump purity undefiled. It was a
delicate place. But presently, out of the ruck of confusions in my mind,
rose a sane thought, clear and bright--to wit: since it was a mugwump's
duty to do his best to put the beet man in office, necessarily it must
be a mugwump's duty to try to _keep_ the best man in when he was already
there. My course was easy now. It might not be quite delicate for a
mugwump to approach the President directly, but I could approach him
indirectly, with all delicacy, since in that case not even courtesy
would require him to take notice of an application which no one could
prove had ever reached him.

Yes, it was easy and simple sailing now. I could lay the matter before
Ruth, in her cradle, and wait for results. I wrote the little child, and
said to her all that I have just been saying about mugwump principles
and the limitations which they put upon me. I explained that it would
not be proper for me to apply to her father in Mr. Mason's behalf, but I
detailed to her Mr. Mason's high and honorable record and suggested that
she take the matter in her own hands and do a patriotic work which I
felt some delicacy about venturing upon myself. I asked her to forget
that her father was only President of the United States, and her subject
and servant; I asked her not to put her application in the form of a
command, but to modify it, and give it the fictitious and pleasanter
form of a mere request--that it would be no harm to let him gratify
himself with the superstition that he was independent and could do as he
pleased in the matter. I begged her to put stress, and plenty of it,
upon the proposition that to keep Mason in his place would be a
benefaction to the nation; to enlarge upon that, and keep still about
all other considerations.

In due time I received a letter from the President, written with his own
hand, signed by his own hand, acknowledging Ruth's intervention and
thanking me for enabling him to save to the country the services of so
good and well-tried a servant as Mason, and thanking me, also, for the
detailed fulness of Mason's record, which could leave no doubt in any
one's mind that Mason was in his right place and ought to be kept there.
Mason has remained in the service ever since, and is now consul-general
at Paris.

During the time that we were living in Buffalo in '70-'71, Mr. Cleveland
was sheriff, but I never happened to make his acquaintance, or even see
him. In fact, I suppose I was not even aware of his existence. Fourteen
years later, he was become the greatest man in the State. I was not
living in the State at the time. He was Governor, and was about to step
into the post of President of the United States. At that time I was on
the public highway in company with another bandit, George W. Cable. We
were robbing the public with readings from our works during four
months--and in the course of time we went to Albany to levy tribute, and
I said, "We ought to go and pay our respects to the Governor."

So Cable and I went to that majestic Capitol building and stated our
errand. We were shown into the Governor's private office, and I saw Mr.
Cleveland for the first time. We three stood chatting together. I was
born lazy, and I comforted myself by turning the corner of a table into
a sort of seat. Presently the Governor said:

"Mr. Clemens, I was a fellow citizen of yours in Buffalo a good many
months, a good while ago, and during those months you burst suddenly
into a mighty fame, out of a previous long-continued and no doubt proper
obscurity--but I was a nobody, and you wouldn't notice me nor have
anything to do with me. But now that I have become somebody, you have
changed your style, and you come here to shake hands with me and be
sociable. How do you explain this kind of conduct?"

"Oh," I said, "it is very simple, your Excellency. In Buffalo you were
nothing but a sheriff. I was in society. I couldn't afford to associate
with sheriffs. But you are a Governor now, and you are on your way to
the Presidency. It is a great difference, and it makes you worth while."

There appeared to be about sixteen doors to that spacious room. From
each door a young man now emerged, and the sixteen lined up and moved
forward and stood in front of the Governor with an aspect of respectful
expectancy in their attitude. No one spoke for a moment. Then the
Governor said:

"You are dismissed, gentlemen. Your services are not required. Mr.
Clemens is sitting on the bells."

There was a cluster of sixteen bell buttons on the corner of the table;
my proportions at that end of me were just right to enable me to cover
the whole of that nest, and that is how I came to hatch out those
sixteen clerks.

In accordance with the suggestion made in Gilder's letter recently
received I have written the following note to ex-President Cleveland
upon his sixty-ninth birthday:


     HONORED SIR:--

     Your patriotic virtues have won for you the homage of half the
     nation and the enmity of the other half. This places your character
     as a citizen upon a summit as high as Washington's. The verdict is
     unanimous and unassailable. The votes of both sides are necessary
     in cases like these, and the votes of the one side are quite as
     valuable as are the votes of the other. Where the votes are all in
     a man's favor the verdict is against him. It is sand, and history
     will wash it away. But the verdict for you is rock, and will stand.

                                                       S. L. CLEMENS.

        As of date March 18, 1906....


In a diary which Mrs. Clemens kept for a little while, a great many
years ago, I find various mentions of Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, who
was a near neighbor of ours in Hartford, with no fences between. And in
those days she made as much use of our grounds as of her own, in
pleasant weather. Her mind had decayed, and she was a pathetic figure.
She wandered about all the day long in the care of a muscular
Irishwoman. Among the colonists of our neighborhood the doors always
stood open in pleasant weather. Mrs. Stowe entered them at her own free
will, and as she was always softly slippered and generally full of
animal spirits, she was able to deal in surprises, and she liked to do
it. She would slip up behind a person who was deep in dreams and
musings and fetch a war-whoop that would jump that person out of his
clothes. And she had other moods. Sometimes we would hear gentle music
in the drawing-room and would find her there at the piano singing
ancient and melancholy songs with infinitely touching effect.

Her husband, old Professor Stowe, was a picturesque figure. He wore a
broad slouch hat. He was a large man, and solemn. His beard was white
and thick and hung far down on his breast. The first time our little
Susy ever saw him she encountered him on the street near our house and
came flying wide-eyed to her mother and said, "Santa Claus has got
loose!"

Which reminds me of Rev. Charley Stowe's little boy--a little boy of
seven years. I met Rev. Charley crossing his mother's grounds one
morning and he told me this little tale. He had been out to Chicago to
attend a Convention of Congregational clergymen, and had taken his
little boy with him. During the trip he reminded the little chap, every
now and then, that he must be on his very best behavior there in
Chicago. He said: "We shall be the guests of a clergyman, there will be
other guests--clergymen and their wives--and you must be careful to let
those people see by your walk and conversation that you are of a godly
household. Be very careful about this." The admonition bore fruit. At
the first breakfast which they ate in the Chicago clergyman's house he
heard his little son say in the meekest and most reverent way to the
lady opposite him,

"Please, won't you, for Christ's sake, pass the butter?"

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCV.

DECEMBER 21, 1906.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--VIII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1864.)]

[_Dictated in 1906._] In those early days duelling suddenly became a
fashion in the new Territory of Nevada, and by 1864 everybody was
anxious to have a chance in the new sport, mainly for the reason that he
was not able to thoroughly respect himself so long as he had not killed
or crippled somebody in a duel or been killed or crippled in one
himself.

At that time I had been serving as city editor on Mr. Goodman's Virginia
City "Enterprise" for a matter of two years. I was twenty-nine years
old. I was ambitious in several ways, but I had entirely escaped the
seductions of that particular craze. I had had no desire to fight a
duel; I had no intention of provoking one. I did not feel respectable,
but I got a certain amount of satisfaction out of feeling safe. I was
ashamed of myself; the rest of the staff were ashamed of me--but I got
along well enough. I had always been accustomed to feeling ashamed of
myself, for one thing or another, so there was no novelty for me in the
situation. I bore it very well. Plunkett was on the staff; R. M. Daggett
was on the staff. These had tried to get into duels, but for the present
had failed, and were waiting. Goodman was the only one of us who had
done anything to shed credit upon the paper. The rival paper was the
Virginia "Union." Its editor for a little while was Tom Fitch, called
the "silver-tongued orator of Wisconsin"--that was where he came from.
He tuned up his oratory in the editorial columns of the "Union," and Mr.
Goodman invited him out and modified him with a bullet. I remember the
joy of the staff when Goodman's challenge was accepted by Fitch. We ran
late that night, and made much of Joe Goodman. He was only twenty-four
years old; he lacked the wisdom which a person has at twenty-nine, and
he was as glad of being _it_ as I was that I wasn't. He chose Major
Graves for his second (that name is not right, but it's close enough; I
don't remember the Major's name). Graves came over to instruct Joe in
the duelling art. He had been a Major under Walker, the "gray-eyed man
of destiny," and had fought all through that remarkable man's
filibustering campaign in Central America. That fact gauges the Major.
To say that a man was a Major under Walker, and came out of that
struggle ennobled by Walker's praise, is to say that the Major was not
merely a brave man but that he was brave to the very utmost limit of
that word. All of Walker's men were like that. I knew the Gillis family
intimately. The father made the campaign under Walker, and with him one
son. They were in the memorable Plaza fight, and stood it out to the
last against overwhelming odds, as did also all of the Walker men. The
son was killed at the father's side. The father received a bullet
through the eye. The old man--for he was an old man at the time--wore
spectacles, and the bullet and one of the glasses went into his skull
and remained there. There were some other sons: Steve, George, and Jim,
very young chaps--the merest lads--who wanted to be in the Walker
expedition, for they had their father's dauntless spirit. But Walker
wouldn't have them; he said it was a serious expedition, and no place
for children.

The Major was a majestic creature, with a most stately and dignified and
impressive military bearing, and he was by nature and training
courteous, polite, graceful, winning; and he had that quality which I
think I have encountered in only one other man--Bob Howland--a
mysterious quality which resides in the eye; and when that eye is turned
upon an individual or a squad, in warning, that is enough. The man that
has that eye doesn't need to go armed; he can move upon an armed
desperado and quell him and take him prisoner without saying a single
word. I saw Bob Howland do that, once--a slender, good-natured, amiable,
gentle, kindly little skeleton of a man, with a sweet blue eye that
would win your heart when it smiled upon you, or turn cold and freeze
it, according to the nature of the occasion.

The Major stood Joe up straight; stood Steve Gillis up fifteen paces
away; made Joe turn right side towards Steve, cock his navy
six-shooter--that prodigious weapon--and hold it straight down against
his leg; told him that _that_ was the correct position for the gun--that
the position ordinarily in use at Virginia City (that is to say, the gun
straight up in the air, then brought slowly down to your man) was all
wrong. At the word "_One_," you must raise the gun slowly and steadily
to the place on the other man's body that you desire to convince. Then,
after a pause, "_two, three--fire--Stop!_" At the word "stop," you may
fire--but not earlier. You may give yourself as much time as you please
_after_ that word. Then, when you fire, you may advance and go on firing
at your leisure and pleasure, if you can get any pleasure out of it.
And, in the meantime, the other man, if he has been properly instructed
and is alive to his privileges, is advancing on _you_, and firing--and
it is always likely that more or less trouble will result.

Naturally, when Joe's revolver had risen to a level it was pointing at
Steve's breast, but the Major said "No, that is not wise. Take all the
risks of getting murdered yourself, but don't run any risk of murdering
the other man. If you survive a duel you want to survive it in such a
way that the memory of it will not linger along with you through the
rest of your life and interfere with your sleep. Aim at your man's leg;
not at the knee, not above the knee; for those are dangerous spots. Aim
below the knee; cripple him, but leave the rest of him to his mother."

By grace of these truly wise and excellent instructions, Joe tumbled
Fitch down next morning with a bullet through his lower leg, which
furnished him a permanent limp. And Joe lost nothing but a lock of hair,
which he could spare better then than he could now. For when I saw him
here in New York a year ago, his crop was gone: he had nothing much left
but a fringe, with a dome rising above.

[Sidenote: (1864.)]

About a year later I got _my_ chance. But I was not hunting for it.
Goodman went off to San Francisco for a week's holiday, and left me to
be chief editor. I had supposed that that was an easy berth, there being
nothing to do but write one editorial per day; but I was disappointed in
that superstition. I couldn't find anything to write an article about,
the first day. Then it occurred to me that inasmuch as it was the 22nd
of April, 1864, the next morning would be the three-hundredth
anniversary of Shakespeare's birthday--and what better theme could I
want than that? I got the Cyclopædia and examined it, and found out who
Shakespeare was and what he had done, and I borrowed all that and laid
it before a community that couldn't have been better prepared for
instruction about Shakespeare than if they had been prepared by art.
There wasn't enough of what Shakespeare had done to make an editorial of
the necessary length, but I filled it out with what he hadn't
done--which in many respects was more important and striking and
readable than the handsomest things he had really accomplished. But next
day I was in trouble again. There were no more Shakespeares to work up.
There was nothing in past history, or in the world's future
possibilities, to make an editorial out of, suitable to that community;
so there was but one theme left. That theme was Mr. Laird, proprietor of
the Virginia "Union." _His_ editor had gone off to San Francisco too,
and Laird was trying his hand at editing. I woke up Mr. Laird with some
courtesies of the kind that were fashionable among newspaper editors in
that region, and he came back at me the next day in a most vitriolic
way. He was hurt by something I had said about him--some little thing--I
don't remember what it was now--probably called him a horse-thief, or
one of those little phrases customarily used to describe another
editor. They were no doubt just, and accurate, but Laird was a very
sensitive creature, and he didn't like it. So we expected a challenge
from Mr. Laird, because according to the rules--according to the
etiquette of duelling as reconstructed and reorganized and improved by
the duellists of that region--whenever you said a thing about another
person that he didn't like, it wasn't sufficient for him to talk back in
the same offensive spirit: etiquette required him to send a challenge;
so we waited for a challenge--waited all day. It didn't come. And as the
day wore along, hour after hour, and no challenge came, the boys grew
depressed. They lost heart. But I was cheerful; I felt better and better
all the time. They couldn't understand it, but _I_ could understand it.
It was my _make_ that enabled me to be cheerful when other people were
despondent. So then it became necessary for us to waive etiquette and
challenge Mr. Laird. When we reached that decision, they began to cheer
up, but I began to lose some of my animation. However, in enterprises of
this kind you are in the hands of your friends; there is nothing for you
to do but to abide by what they consider to be the best course. Daggett
wrote a challenge for me, for Daggett had the language--the right
language--the convincing language--and I lacked it. Daggett poured out a
stream of unsavory epithets upon Mr. Laird, charged with a vigor and
venom of a strength calculated to persuade him; and Steve Gillis, my
second, carried the challenge and came back to wait for the return. It
didn't come. The boys were exasperated, but I kept my temper. Steve
carried another challenge, hotter than the other, and we waited again.
Nothing came of it. I began to feel quite comfortable. I began to take
an interest in the challenges myself. I had not felt any before; but it
seemed to me that I was accumulating a great and valuable reputation at
no expense, and my delight in this grew and grew, as challenge after
challenge was declined, until by midnight I was beginning to think that
there was nothing in the world so much to be desired as a chance to
fight a duel. So I hurried Daggett up; made him keep on sending
challenge after challenge. Oh, well, I overdid it; Laird accepted. I
might have known that that would happen--Laird was a man you couldn't
depend on.

The boys were jubilant beyond expression. They helped me make my will,
which was another discomfort--and I already had enough. Then they took
me home. I didn't sleep any--didn't want to sleep. I had plenty of
things to think about, and less than four hours to do it in,--because
five o'clock was the hour appointed for the tragedy, and I should have
to use up one hour--beginning at four--in practising with the revolver
and finding out which end of it to level at the adversary. At four we
went down into a little gorge, about a mile from town, and borrowed a
barn door for a mark--borrowed it of a man who was over in California on
a visit--and we set the barn door up and stood a fence-rail up against
the middle of it, to represent Mr. Laird. But the rail was no proper
representative of him, for he was longer than a rail and thinner.
Nothing would ever fetch him but a line shot, and then as like as not he
would split the bullet--the worst material for duelling purposes that
could be imagined. I began on the rail. I couldn't hit the rail; then I
tried the barn door; but I couldn't hit the barn door. There was nobody
in danger except stragglers around on the flanks of that mark. I was
thoroughly discouraged, and I didn't cheer up any when we presently
heard pistol-shots over in the next little ravine. I knew what that
was--that was Laird's gang out practising him. They would hear my shots,
and of course they would come up over the ridge to see what kind of a
record I was making--see what their chances were against me. Well, I
hadn't any record; and I knew that if Laird came over that ridge and saw
my barn door without a scratch on it, he would be as anxious to fight as
I was--or as I had been at midnight, before that disastrous acceptance
came.

Now just at this moment, a little bird, no bigger than a sparrow, flew
along by and lit on a sage-bush about thirty yards away. Steve whipped
out his revolver and shot its head off. Oh, he was a marksman--much
better than I was. We ran down there to pick up the bird, and just then,
sure enough, Mr. Laird and his people came over the ridge, and they
joined us. And when Laird's second saw that bird, with its head shot
off, he lost color, he faded, and you could see that he was interested.
He said:

"Who did that?"

Before I could answer, Steve spoke up and said quite calmly, and in a
matter-of-fact way,

"Clemens did it."

The second said, "Why, that is wonderful. How far off was that bird?"

Steve said, "Oh, not far--about thirty yards."

The second said, "Well, that is astonishing shooting. How often can he
do that?"

Steve said languidly, "Oh, about four times out of five."

I knew the little rascal was lying, but I didn't say anything. The
second said, "Why, that is _amazing_ shooting; I supposed he couldn't
hit a church."

He was supposing very sagaciously, but I didn't say anything. Well, they
said good morning. The second took Mr. Laird home, a little tottery on
his legs, and Laird sent back a note in his own hand declining to fight
a duel with me on any terms whatever.

Well, my life was saved--saved by that accident. I don't know what the
bird thought about that interposition of Providence, but I felt very,
very comfortable over it--satisfied and content. Now, we found out,
later, that Laird had _hit_ his mark four times out of six, right along.
If the duel had come off, he would have so filled my skin with
bullet-holes that it wouldn't have held my principles.

By breakfast-time the news was all over town that I had sent a challenge
and Steve Gillis had carried it. Now that would entitle us to two years
apiece in the penitentiary, according to the brand-new law. Judge North
sent us no message as coming from himself, but a message _came_ from a
close friend of his. He said it would be a good idea for us to leave the
territory by the first stage-coach. This would sail next morning, at
four o'clock--and in the meantime we would be searched for, but not with
avidity; and if we were in the Territory after that stage-coach left, we
would be the first victims of the new law. Judge North was anxious to
have some object-lessons for that law, and he would absolutely keep us
in the prison the full two years.

Well, it seemed to me that our society was no longer desirable in
Nevada; so we stayed in our quarters and observed proper caution all
day--except that once Steve went over to the hotel to attend to another
customer of mine. That was a Mr. Cutler. You see Laird was not the only
person whom I had tried to reform during my occupancy of the editorial
chair. I had looked around and selected several other people, and
delivered a new zest of life into them through warm criticism and
disapproval--so that when I laid down my editorial pen I had four
horse-whippings and two duels owing to me. We didn't care for the
horse-whippings; there was no glory in them; they were not worth the
trouble of collecting. But honor required that some notice should be
taken of that other duel. Mr. Cutler had come up from Carson City, and
had sent a man over with a challenge from the hotel. Steve went over to
pacify him. Steve weighed only ninety-five pounds, but it was well known
throughout the territory that with his fists he could whip anybody that
walked on two legs, let his weight and science be what they might. Steve
was a Gillis, and when a Gillis confronted a man and had a proposition
to make, the proposition always contained business. When Cutler found
that Steve was my second he cooled down; he became calm and rational,
and was ready to listen. Steve gave him fifteen minutes to get out of
the hotel, and half an hour to get out of town or there would be
results. So _that_ duel went off successfully, because Mr. Cutler
immediately left for Carson a convinced and reformed man.

I have never had anything to do with duels since. I thoroughly
disapprove of duels. I consider them unwise, and I know they are
dangerous. Also, sinful. If a man should challenge me now, I would go to
that man and take him kindly and forgivingly by the hand and lead him to
a quiet retired spot, and _kill_ him.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCVI.

JANUARY 4, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--IX.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[_Dictated December 13, 1906._] As regards the coming American monarchy.
It was before the Secretary of State had been heard from that the
chairman of the banquet said:

"In this time of unrest it is of great satisfaction that such a man as
you, Mr. Root, is chief adviser of the President."

Mr. Root then got up and in the most quiet and orderly manner touched
off the successor to the San Francisco earthquake. As a result, the
several State governments were well shaken up and considerably weakened.
Mr. Root was prophesying. He was prophesying, and it seems to me that no
shrewder and surer forecasting has been done in this country for a good
many years.

He did not say, in so many words, that we are proceeding, in a steady
march, toward eventual and unavoidable replacement of the republic by
monarchy; but I suppose he was aware that that is the case. He notes the
several steps, the customary steps, which in all the ages have led to
the consolidation of loose and scattered governmental forces into
formidable centralizations of authority; but he stops there, and doesn't
add up the sum. He is not unaware that heretofore the sum has been
ultimate monarchy, and that the same figures can fairly be depended upon
to furnish the same sum whenever and wherever they can be produced, so
long as human nature shall remain as it is; but it was not needful that
he do the adding, since any one can do it; neither would it have been
gracious in him to do it.

In observing the changed conditions which in the course of time have
made certain and sure the eventual seizure by the Washington government
of a number of State duties and prerogatives which have been betrayed
and neglected by the several States, he does not attribute those changes
and the vast results which are to flow from them to any thought-out
policy of any party or of any body of dreamers or schemers, but properly
and rightly attributes them to that stupendous power--_Circumstance_--
which moves by laws of its own, regardless of parties and policies, and
whose decrees are final, and must be obeyed by all--and will be. The
railway is a Circumstance, the steamship is a Circumstance, the
telegraph is a Circumstance. They were mere happenings; and to the whole
world, the wise and the foolish alike, they were entirely trivial,
wholly inconsequential; indeed silly, comical, grotesque. No man, and no
party, and no thought-out policy said, "Behold, we will build railways
and steamships and telegraphs, and presently you will see the condition
and way of life of every man and woman and child in the nation totally
changed; unimaginable changes of law and custom will follow, in spite of
anything that anybody can do to prevent it."

The changed conditions have come, and Circumstance knows what is
following, and will follow. So does Mr. Root. His language is not
unclear, it is crystal:


     "Our whole life has swung away from the old State centres, and is
     crystallizing about national centres."

     " ... The old barriers which kept the States as separate
     communities are completely lost from sight."

     " ... That [State] power of regulation and control is gradually
     passing into the hands of the national government."

     "Sometimes by an assertion of the inter-State commerce power,
     sometimes by an assertion of the taxing power, the national
     government is taking up the performance of duties which under the
     changed conditions the separate States are no longer capable of
     adequately performing."

     "We are urging forward in a development of business and social life
     which tends more and more to the obliteration of State lines and
     the decrease of State power as compared with national power."

     "It is useless for the advocates of State rights to inveigh against
     ... the extension of national authority in the fields of necessary
     control where the States themselves fail in the performance of
     their duty."


He is not announcing a policy; he is not forecasting what a party of
planners will bring about; he is merely telling what the people will
require and compel. And he could have added--which would be perfectly
true--that the people will not be moved to it by speculation and
cogitation and planning, but by _Circumstance_--that power which
arbitrarily compels all their actions, and over which they have not the
slightest control.

_"The end is not yet."_

It is a true word. We are on the march, but at present we are only just
getting started.

If the States continue to fail to do their duty as required by the
people--

" ... _constructions of the Constitution will be found_ to vest the
power where it will be exercised--in the national government."

I do not know whether that has a sinister meaning or not, and so I will
not enlarge upon it lest I should chance to be in the wrong. It sounds
like ship-money come again, but it may not be so intended.


Human nature being what it is, I suppose we must expect to drift into
monarchy by and by. It is a saddening thought, but we cannot change our
nature: we are all alike, we human beings; and in our blood and bone,
and ineradicable, we carry the seeds out of which monarchies and
aristocracies are grown: worship of gauds, titles, distinctions, power.
We have to worship these things and their possessors, we are all born
so, and we cannot help it. We have to be despised by somebody whom we
regard as above us, or we are not happy; we have to have somebody to
worship and envy, or we cannot be content. In America we manifest this
in all the ancient and customary ways. In public we scoff at titles and
hereditary privilege, but privately we hanker after them, and when we
get a chance we buy them for cash and a daughter. Sometimes we get a
good man and worth the price, but we are ready to take him anyway,
whether he be ripe or rotten, whether he be clean and decent, or merely
a basket of noble and sacred and long-descended offal. And when we get
him the whole nation publicly chaffs and scoffs--and privately envies;
and also is proud of the honor which has been conferred upon us. We run
over our list of titled purchases every now and then, in the newspapers,
and discuss them and caress them, and are thankful and happy.

Like all the other nations, we worship money and the possessors of
it--they being our aristocracy, and we have to have one. We like to read
about rich people in the papers; the papers know it, and they do their
best to keep this appetite liberally fed. They even leave out a football
bull-fight now and then to get room for all the particulars of
how--according to the display heading--"Rich Woman Fell Down Cellar--Not
Hurt." The falling down the cellar is of no interest to us when the
woman is not rich, but no rich woman can fall down cellar and we not
yearn to know all about it and wish it was us.

In a monarchy the people willingly and rejoicingly revere and take pride
in their nobilities, and are not humiliated by the reflection that this
humble and hearty homage gets no return but contempt. Contempt does not
shame them, they are used to it, and they recognize that it is their
proper due. We are all made like that. In Europe we easily and quickly
learn to take that attitude toward the sovereigns and the aristocracies;
moreover, it has been observed that when we get the attitude we go on
and exaggerate it, presently becoming more servile than the natives, and
vainer of it. The next step is to rail and scoff at republics and
democracies. All of which is natural, for we have not ceased to be human
beings by becoming Americans, and the human race was always intended to
be governed by kingship, not by popular vote.

I suppose we must expect that unavoidable and irresistible Circumstances
will gradually take away the powers of the States and concentrate them
in the central government, and that the republic will then repeat the
history of all time and become a monarchy; but I believe that if we
obstruct these encroachments and steadily resist them the monarchy can
be postponed for a good while yet.

[Sidenote: (1849-'51.)]

[_Dictated December 1, 1906._] An exciting event in our village
(Hannibal) was the arrival of the mesmerizer. I think the year was 1850.
As to that I am not sure, but I know the month--it was May; that detail
has survived the wear of fifty-five years. A pair of connected little
incidents of that month have served to keep the memory of it green for
me all this time; incidents of no consequence, and not worth embalming,
yet my memory has preserved them carefully and flung away things of real
value to give them space and make them comfortable. The truth is, a
person's memory has no more sense than his conscience, and no
appreciation whatever of values and proportions. However, never mind
those trifling incidents; my subject is the mesmerizer, now.

He advertised his show, and promised marvels. Admission as usual: 25
cents, children and negroes half price. The village had heard of
mesmerism, in a general way, but had not encountered it yet. Not many
people attended, the first night, but next day they had so many wonders
to tell that everybody's curiosity was fired, and after that for a
fortnight the magician had prosperous times. I was fourteen or fifteen
years old--the age at which a boy is willing to endure all things,
suffer all things, short of death by fire, if thereby he may be
conspicuous and show off before the public; and so, when I saw the
"subjects" perform their foolish antics on the platform and make the
people laugh and shout and admire, I had a burning desire to be a
subject myself. Every night, for three nights, I sat in the row of
candidates on the platform, and held the magic disk in the palm of my
hand, and gazed at it and tried to get sleepy, but it was a failure; I
remained wide awake, and had to retire defeated, like the majority.
Also, I had to sit there and be gnawed with envy of Hicks, our
journeyman; I had to sit there and see him scamper and jump when Simmons
the enchanter exclaimed, "See the snake! see the snake!" and hear him
say, "My, how beautiful!" in response to the suggestion that he was
observing a splendid sunset; and so on--the whole insane business. I
couldn't laugh, I couldn't applaud; it filled me with bitterness to have
others do it, and to have people make a hero of Hicks, and crowd around
him when the show was over, and ask him for more and more particulars of
the wonders he had seen in his visions, and manifest in many ways that
they were proud to be acquainted with him. Hicks--the idea! I couldn't
stand it; I was getting boiled to death in my own bile.

On the fourth night temptation came, and I was not strong enough to
resist. When I had gazed at the disk awhile I pretended to be sleepy,
and began to nod. Straightway came the professor and made passes over my
head and down my body and legs and arms, finishing each pass with a snap
of his fingers in the air, to discharge the surplus electricity; then he
began to "draw" me with the disk, holding it in his fingers and telling
me I could not take my eyes off it, try as I might; so I rose slowly,
bent and gazing, and followed that disk all over the place, just as I
had seen the others do. Then I was put through the other paces. Upon
suggestion I fled from snakes; passed buckets at a fire; became excited
over hot steamboat-races; made love to imaginary girls and kissed them;
fished from the platform and landed mud-cats that outweighed me--and so
on, all the customary marvels. But not in the customary way. I was
cautious at first, and watchful, being afraid the professor would
discover that I was an impostor and drive me from the platform in
disgrace; but as soon as I realized that I was not in danger, I set
myself the task of terminating Hicks's usefulness as a subject, and of
usurping his place.

It was a sufficiently easy task. Hicks was born honest; I, without that
incumbrance--so some people said. Hicks saw what he saw, and reported
accordingly; I saw more than was visible, and added to it such details
as could help. Hicks had no imagination, I had a double supply. He was
born calm, I was born excited. No vision could start a rapture in him,
and he was constipated as to language, anyway; but if I saw a vision I
emptied the dictionary onto it and lost the remnant of my mind into the
bargain.

At the end of my first half-hour Hicks was a thing of the past, a fallen
hero, a broken idol, and I knew it and was glad, and said in my heart,
Success to crime! Hicks could never have been mesmerized to the point
where he could kiss an imaginary girl in public, or a real one either,
but I was competent. Whatever Hicks had failed in, I made it a point to
succeed in, let the cost be what it might, physically or morally. He
had shown several bad defects, and I had made a note of them. For
instance, if the magician asked, "What do you see?" and left him to
invent a vision for himself, Hicks was dumb and blind, he couldn't see a
thing nor say a word, whereas the magician soon found that when it came
to seeing visions of a stunning and marketable sort I could get along
better without his help than with it. Then there was another thing:
Hicks wasn't worth a tallow dip on mute mental suggestion. Whenever
Simmons stood behind him and gazed at the back of his skull and tried to
drive a mental suggestion into it, Hicks sat with vacant face, and never
suspected. If he had been noticing, he could have seen by the rapt faces
of the audience that something was going on behind his back that
required a response. Inasmuch as I was an impostor I dreaded to have
this test put upon me, for I knew the professor would be "willing" me to
do something, and as I couldn't know what it was, I should be exposed
and denounced. However, when my time came, I took my chance. I perceived
by the tense and expectant faces of the people that Simmons was behind
me willing me with all his might. I tried my best to imagine what he
wanted, but nothing suggested itself. I felt ashamed and miserable,
then. I believed that the hour of my disgrace was come, and that in
another moment I should go out of that place disgraced. I ought to be
ashamed to confess it, but my next thought was, not how I could win the
compassion of kindly hearts by going out humbly and in sorrow for my
misdoings, but how I could go out most sensationally and spectacularly.

There was a rusty and empty old revolver lying on the table, among the
"properties" employed in the performances. On May-day, two or three
weeks before, there had been a celebration by the schools, and I had had
a quarrel with a big boy who was the school-bully, and I had not come
out of it with credit. That boy was now seated in the middle of the
house, half-way down the main aisle. I crept stealthily and impressively
toward the table, with a dark and murderous scowl on my face, copied
from a popular romance, seized the revolver suddenly, flourished it,
shouted the bully's name, jumped off the platform, and made a rush for
him and chased him out of the house before the paralyzed people could
interfere to save him. There was a storm of applause, and the magician,
addressing the house, said, most impressively--

"That you may know how really remarkable this is, and how wonderfully
developed a subject we have in this boy, I assure you that without a
single spoken word to guide him he has carried out what I mentally
commanded him to do, to the minutest detail. I could have stopped him at
a moment in his vengeful career by a mere exertion of my will, therefore
the poor fellow who has escaped was at no time in danger."

So I was not in disgrace. I returned to the platform a hero, and happier
than I have ever been in this world since. As regards mental suggestion,
my fears of it were gone. I judged that in case I failed to guess what
the professor might be willing me to do, I could count on putting up
something that would answer just as well. I was right, and exhibitions
of unspoken suggestion became a favorite with the public. Whenever I
perceived that I was being willed to do something I got up and did
something--anything that occurred to me--and the magician, not being a
fool, always ratified it. When people asked me, "How _can_ you tell what
he is willing you to do?" I said, "It's just as easy," and they always
said, admiringly, "Well it beats _me_ how you can do it."

Hicks was weak in another detail. When the professor made passes over
him and said "his whole body is without sensation now--come forward and
test him, ladies and gentlemen," the ladies and gentlemen always
complied eagerly, and stuck pins into Hicks, and if they went deep Hicks
was sure to wince, then that poor professor would have to explain that
Hicks "wasn't sufficiently under the influence." But I didn't wince; I
only suffered, and shed tears on the inside. The miseries that a
conceited boy will endure to keep up his "reputation"! And so will a
conceited man; I know it in my own person, and have seen it in a hundred
thousand others. That professor ought to have protected me, and I often
hoped he would, when the tests were unusually severe, but he didn't. It
may be that he was deceived as well as the others, though I did not
believe it nor think it possible. Those were dear good people, but they
must have carried simplicity and credulity to the limit. They would
stick a pin in my arm and bear on it until they drove it a third of its
length in, and then be lost in wonder that by a mere exercise of
will-power the professor could turn my arm to iron and make it
insensible to pain. Whereas it was not insensible at all; I was
suffering agonies of pain.

After that fourth night, that proud night, that triumphant night, I was
the only subject. Simmons invited no more candidates to the platform. I
performed alone, every night, the rest of the fortnight. In the
beginning of the second week I conquered the last doubters. Up to that
time a dozen wise old heads, the intellectual aristocracy of the town,
had held out, as implacable unbelievers. I was as hurt by this as if I
were engaged in some honest occupation. There is nothing surprising
about this. Human beings feel dishonor the most, sometimes, when they
most deserve it. That handful of overwise old gentlemen kept on shaking
their heads all the first week, and saying they had seen no marvels
there that could not have been produced by collusion; and they were
pretty vain of their unbelief, too, and liked to show it and air it, and
be superior to the ignorant and the gullible. Particularly old Dr.
Peake, who was the ringleader of the irreconcilables, and very
formidable; for he was an F.F.V., he was learned, white-haired and
venerable, nobly and richly clad in the fashions of an earlier and a
courtlier day, he was large and stately, and he not only seemed wise,
but was what he seemed, in that regard. He had great influence, and his
opinion upon any matter was worth much more than that of any other
person in the community. When I conquered him, at last, I knew I was
undisputed master of the field; and now, after more than fifty years, I
acknowledge, with a few dry old tears, that I rejoiced without shame.


[Sidenote: (1847.)]

[_Dictated December 2, 1906._] In 1847 we were living in a large white
house on the corner of Hill and Main Streets--a house that still stands,
but isn't large now, although it hasn't lost a plank; I saw it a year
ago and noticed that shrinkage. My father died in it in March of the
year mentioned, but our family did not move out of it until some months
afterward. Ours was not the only family in the house, there was
another--Dr. Grant's. One day Dr. Grant and Dr. Reyburn argued a matter
on the street with sword-canes, and Grant was brought home
multifariously punctured. Old Dr. Peake calked the leaks, and came every
day for a while, to look after him. The Grants were Virginians, like
Peake, and one day when Grant was getting well enough to be on his feet
and sit around in the parlor and talk, the conversation fell upon
Virginia and old times. I was present, but the group were probably quite
unconscious of me, I being only a lad and a negligible quantity. Two of
the group--Dr. Peake and Mrs. Crawford, Mrs. Grant's mother--had been of
the audience when the Richmond theatre burned down, thirty-six years
before, and they talked over the frightful details of that memorable
tragedy. These were eye-witnesses, and with their eyes I saw it all with
an intolerable vividness: I saw the black smoke rolling and tumbling
toward the sky, I saw the flames burst through it and turn red, I heard
the shrieks of the despairing, I glimpsed their faces at the windows,
caught fitfully through the veiling smoke, I saw them jump to their
death, or to mutilation worse than death. The picture is before me yet,
and can never fade.

In due course they talked of the colonial mansion of the Peakes, with
its stately columns and its spacious grounds, and by odds and ends I
picked up a clearly defined idea of the place. I was strongly
interested, for I had not before heard of such palatial things from the
lips of people who had seen them with their own eyes. One detail,
casually dropped, hit my imagination hard. In the wall, by the great
front door, there was a round hole as big as a saucer--a British
cannon-ball had made it, in the war of the Revolution. It was
breath-taking; it made history real; history had never been real to me
before.

Very well, three or four years later, as already mentioned, I was
king-bee and sole "subject" in the mesmeric show; it was the beginning
of the second week; the performance was half over; just then the
majestic Dr. Peake, with his ruffled bosom and wristbands and his
gold-headed cane, entered, and a deferential citizen vacated his seat
beside the Grants and made the great chief take it. This happened while
I was trying to invent something fresh in the way of a vision, in
response to the professor's remark--

"Concentrate your powers. Look--look attentively. There--don't you see
something? Concentrate--concentrate. Now then--describe it."

Without suspecting it, Dr. Peake, by entering the place, had reminded me
of the talk of three years before. He had also furnished me capital and
was become my confederate, an accomplice in my frauds. I began on a
vision, a vague and dim one (that was part of the game at the beginning
of a vision; it isn't best to see it too clearly at first, it might look
as if you had come loaded with it). The vision developed, by degrees,
and gathered swing, momentum, energy. It was the Richmond fire. Dr.
Peake was cold, at first, and his fine face had a trace of polite scorn
in it; but when he began to recognize that fire, that expression
changed, and his eyes began to light up. As soon as I saw that, I threw
the valves wide open and turned on all the steam, and gave those people
a supper of fire and horrors that was calculated to last them one while!
They couldn't gasp, when I got through--they were petrified. Dr. Peake
had risen, and was standing,--and breathing hard. He said, in a great
voice--

"My doubts are ended. No collusion could produce that miracle. It was
totally impossible for him to know those details, yet he has described
them with the clarity of an eye-witness--and with what unassailable
truthfulness God knows I know!"

I saved the colonial mansion for the last night, and solidified and
perpetuated Dr. Peake's conversion with the cannon-ball hole. He
explained to the house that I could never have heard of that small
detail, which differentiated this mansion from all other Virginian
mansions and perfectly identified it, therefore the fact stood proven
that I had _seen_ it in my vision. Lawks!

It is curious. When the magician's engagement closed there was but one
person in the village who did not believe in mesmerism, and I was the
one. All the others were converted, but I was to remain an implacable
and unpersuadable disbeliever in mesmerism and hypnotism for close upon
fifty years. This was because I never would examine them, in after life.
I couldn't. The subject revolted me. Perhaps because it brought back to
me a passage in my life which for pride's sake I wished to forget;
though I thought--or persuaded myself I thought--I should never come
across a "proof" which wasn't thin and cheap, and probably had a fraud
like me behind it.

The truth is, I did not have to wait long to get tired of my triumphs.
Not thirty days, I think. The glory which is built upon a lie soon
becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. No doubt for a while I enjoyed
having my exploits told and retold and told again in my presence and
wondered over and exclaimed about, but I quite distinctly remember that
there presently came a time when the subject was wearisome and odious to
me and I could not endure the disgusting discomfort of it. I am well
aware that the world-glorified doer of a deed of great and real splendor
has just my experience; I know that he deliciously enjoys hearing about
it for three or four weeks, and that pretty soon after that he begins to
dread the mention of it, and by and by wishes he had been with the
damned before he ever thought of doing that deed; I remember how General
Sherman used to rage and swear over "When we were Marching through
Georgia," which was played at him and sung at him everywhere he went;
still, I think I suffered a shade more than the legitimate hero does, he
being privileged to soften his misery with the reflection that his glory
was at any rate golden and reproachless in its origin, whereas I had no
such privilege, there being no possible way to make mine respectable.

How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo
that work again! Thirty-five years after those evil exploits of mine I
visited my old mother, whom I had not seen for ten years; and being
moved by what seemed to me a rather noble and perhaps heroic impulse, I
thought I would humble myself and confess my ancient fault. It cost me a
great effort to make up my mind; I dreaded the sorrow that would rise in
her face, and the shame that would look out of her eyes; but after long
and troubled reflection, the sacrifice seemed due and right, and I
gathered my resolution together and made the confession.

To my astonishment there were no sentimentalities, no dramatics, no
George Washington effects; she was not moved in the least degree; she
simply did not believe me, and said so! I was not merely disappointed, I
was nettled, to have my costly truthfulness flung out of the market in
this placid and confident way when I was expecting to get a profit out
of it. I asserted, and reasserted, with rising heat, my statement that
every single thing I had done on those long-vanished nights was a lie
and a swindle; and when she shook her head tranquilly and said she knew
better, I put up my hand and _swore_ to it--adding a triumphant "_Now_
what do you say?"

It did not affect her at all; it did not budge her the fraction of an
inch from her position. If this was hard for me to endure, it did not
begin with the blister she put upon the raw when she began to put my
sworn oath out of court with _arguments_ to prove that I was under a
delusion and did not know what I was talking about. Arguments! Arguments
to show that a person on a man's outside can know better what is on his
inside than he does himself! I had cherished some contempt for arguments
before, I have not enlarged my respect for them since. She refused to
believe that I had invented my visions myself; she said it was folly:
that I was only a child at the time and could not have done it. She
cited the Richmond fire and the colonial mansion and said they were
quite beyond my capacities. Then I saw my chance! I said she was
right--I didn't invent those, I got them from Dr. Peake. Even this great
shot did no damage. She said Dr. Peake's evidence was better than mine,
and he had said in plain words that it was impossible for me to have
heard about those things. Dear, dear, what a grotesque and unthinkable
situation: a confessed swindler convicted of honesty and condemned to
acquittal by circumstantial evidence furnished by the swindled!

I realised, with shame and with impotent vexation, that I was defeated
all along the line. I had but one card left, but it was a formidable
one. I played it--and stood from under. It seemed ignoble to demolish
her fortress, after she had defended it so valiantly; but the defeated
know not mercy. I played that matter card. It was the pin-sticking. I
said, solemnly--

"I give you my honor, a pin was never stuck into me without causing me
cruel pain."

She only said--

"It is thirty-five years. I believe you do think that, _now_, but I was
there, and I know better. You never winced."

She was so calm! and I was so far from it, so nearly frantic.

"Oh, my goodness!" I said, "let me _show_ you that I am speaking the
truth. Here is my arm; drive a pin into it--drive it to the head--I
shall not wince."

She only shook her gray head and said, with simplicity and conviction--

"You are a man, now, and could dissemble the hurt; but you were only a
child then, and could not have done it."

And so the lie which I played upon her in my youth remained with her as
an unchallengeable truth to the day of her death. Carlyle said "a lie
cannot live." It shows that he did not know how to tell them. If I had
taken out a life policy on this one the premiums would have bankrupted
me ages ago.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCVII.

JANUARY 18, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--X.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1825.)]

[Sidenote: (1837.)]

[_Dictated March 28, 1906._] Orion Clemens was born in Jamestown,
Fentress County, Tennessee, in 1825. He was the family's first-born, and
antedated me ten years. Between him and me came a sister, Margaret, who
died, aged ten, in 1837, in that village of Florida, Missouri, where I
was born; and Pamela, mother of Samuel E. Moffett, who was an invalid
all her life and died in the neighborhood of New York a year ago, aged
about seventy-five. Her character was without blemish, and she was of a
most kindly and gentle disposition. Also there was a brother, Benjamin,
who died in 1848 aged ten or twelve.

[Sidenote: (1843.)]

Orion's boyhood was spent in that wee little log hamlet of Jamestown up
there among the "knobs"--so called--of East Tennessee. The family
migrated to Florida, Missouri, then moved to Hannibal, Missouri, when
Orion was twelve and a half years old. When he was fifteen or sixteen he
was sent to St. Louis and there he learned the printer's trade. One of
his characteristics was eagerness. He woke with an eagerness about some
matter or other every morning; it consumed him all day; it perished in
the night and he was on fire with a fresh new interest next morning
before he could get his clothes on. He exploited in this way three
hundred and sixty-five red-hot new eagernesses every year of his life.
But I am forgetting another characteristic, a very pronounced one. That
was his deep glooms, his despondencies, his despairs; these had their
place in each and every day along with the eagernesses. Thus his day was
divided--no, not divided, mottled--from sunrise to midnight with
alternating brilliant sunshine and black cloud. Every day he was the
most joyous and hopeful man that ever was, I think, and also every day
he was the most miserable man that ever was.

While he was in his apprenticeship in St. Louis, he got well acquainted
with Edward Bates, who was afterwards in Mr. Lincoln's first cabinet.
Bates was a very fine man, an honorable and upright man, and a
distinguished lawyer. He patiently allowed Orion to bring to him each
new project; he discussed it with him and extinguished it by argument
and irresistible logic--at first. But after a few weeks he found that
this labor was not necessary; that he could leave the new project alone
and it would extinguish itself the same night. Orion thought he would
like to become a lawyer. Mr. Bates encouraged him, and he studied law
nearly a week, then of course laid it aside to try something new. He
wanted to become an orator. Mr. Bates gave him lessons. Mr. Bates walked
the floor reading from an English book aloud and rapidly turning the
English into French, and he recommended this exercise to Orion. But as
Orion knew no French, he took up that study and wrought at it like a
volcano for two or three days; then gave it up. During his
apprenticeship in St. Louis he joined a number of churches, one after
another, and taught in their Sunday-schools--changing his Sunday-school
every time he changed his religion. He was correspondingly erratic in
his politics--Whig to-day, Democrat next week, and anything fresh that
he could find in the political market the week after. I may remark here
that throughout his long life he was always trading religions and
enjoying the change of scenery. I will also remark that his sincerity
was never doubted; his truthfulness was never doubted; and in matters of
business and money his honesty was never questioned. Notwithstanding his
forever-recurring caprices and changes, his principles were high, always
high, and absolutely unshakable. He was the strangest compound that ever
got mixed in a human mould. Such a person as that is given to acting
upon impulse and without reflection; that was Orion's way. Everything he
did he did with conviction and enthusiasm and with a vainglorious pride
in the thing he was doing--and no matter what that thing was, whether
good, bad or indifferent, he repented of it every time in sackcloth and
ashes before twenty-four hours had sped. Pessimists are born, not made.
Optimists are born, not made. But I think he was the only person I have
ever known in whom pessimism and optimism were lodged in exactly equal
proportions. Except in the matter of grounded principle, he was as
unstable as water. You could dash his spirits with a single word; you
could raise them into the sky again with another one. You could break
his heart with a word of disapproval; you could make him as happy as an
angel with a word of approval. And there was no occasion to put any
sense or any vestige of mentality of any kind into these miracles;
anything you might say would answer.

He had another conspicuous characteristic, and it was the father of
those which I have just spoken of. This was an intense lust for
approval. He was so eager to be approved, so girlishly anxious to be
approved by anybody and everybody, without discrimination, that he was
commonly ready to forsake his notions, opinions and convictions at a
moment's notice in order to get the approval of any person who disagreed
with them. I wish to be understood as reserving his fundamental
principles all the time. He never forsook those to please anybody. Born
and reared among slaves and slaveholders, he was yet an abolitionist
from his boyhood to his death. He was always truthful; he was always
sincere; he was always honest and honorable. But in light
matters--matters of small consequence, like religion and politics and
such things--he never acquired a conviction that could survive a
disapproving remark from a cat.

He was always dreaming; he was a dreamer from birth, and this
characteristic got him into trouble now and then.

Once when he was twenty-three or twenty-four years old, and was become a
journeyman, he conceived the romantic idea of coming to Hannibal without
giving us notice, in order that he might furnish to the family a
pleasant surprise. If he had given notice, he would have been informed
that we had changed our residence and that that gruff old bass-voiced
sailorman, Dr. G., our family physician, was living in the house which
we had formerly occupied and that Orion's former room in that house was
now occupied by Dr. G.'s two middle-aged maiden sisters. Orion arrived
at Hannibal per steamboat in the middle of the night, and started with
his customary eagerness on his excursion, his mind all on fire with his
romantic project and building and enjoying his surprise in advance. He
was always enjoying things in advance; it was the make of him. He never
could wait for the event, but must build it out of dream-stuff and enjoy
it beforehand--consequently sometimes when the event happened he saw
that it was not as good as the one he had invented in his imagination,
and so he had lost profit by not keeping the imaginary one and letting
the reality go.

When he arrived at the house he went around to the back door and slipped
off his boots and crept up-stairs and arrived at the room of those
elderly ladies without having wakened any sleepers. He undressed in the
dark and got into bed and snuggled up against somebody. He was a little
surprised, but not much--for he thought it was our brother Ben. It was
winter, and the bed was comfortable, and the supposed Ben added to the
comfort--and so he was dropping off to sleep very well satisfied with
his progress so far and full of happy dreams of what was going to happen
in the morning. But something else was going to happen sooner than that,
and it happened now. The maid that was being crowded fumed and fretted
and struggled and presently came to a half-waking condition and
protested against the crowding. That voice paralyzed Orion. He couldn't
move a limb; he couldn't get his breath; and the crowded one discovered
his new whiskers and began to scream. This removed the paralysis, and
Orion was out of bed and clawing round in the dark for his clothes in a
fraction of a second. Both maids began to scream then, so Orion did not
wait to get his whole wardrobe. He started with such parts of it as he
could grab. He flew to the head of the stairs and started down, and was
paralyzed again at that point, because he saw the faint yellow flame of
a candle soaring up the stairs from below and he judged that Dr. G. was
behind it, and he was. He had no clothes on to speak of, but no matter,
he was well enough fixed for an occasion like this, because he had a
butcher-knife in his hand. Orion shouted to him, and this saved his
life, for the Doctor recognized his voice. Then in those deep-sea-going
bass tones of his that I used to admire so much when I was a little boy,
he explained to Orion the change that had been made, told him where to
find the Clemens family, and closed with some quite unnecessary advice
about posting himself before he undertook another adventure like
that--advice which Orion probably never needed again as long as he
lived.

One bitter December night, Orion sat up reading until three o'clock in
the morning and then, without looking at a clock, sallied forth to call
on a young lady. He hammered and hammered at the door; couldn't get any
response; didn't understand it. Anybody else would have regarded that as
an indication of some kind or other and would have drawn inferences and
gone home. But Orion didn't draw inferences, he merely hammered and
hammered, and finally the father of the girl appeared at the door in a
dressing-gown. He had a candle in his hand and the dressing-gown was all
the clothing he had on--except an expression of unwelcome which was so
thick and so large that it extended all down his front to his instep and
nearly obliterated the dressing-gown. But Orion didn't notice that this
was an unpleasant expression. He merely walked in. The old gentleman
took him into the parlor, set the candle on a table, and stood. Orion
made the usual remarks about the weather, and sat down--sat down and
talked and talked and went on talking--that old man looking at him
vindictively and waiting for his chance--waiting treacherously and
malignantly for his chance. Orion had not asked for the young lady. It
was not customary. It was understood that a young fellow came to see the
girl of the house, not the founder of it. At last Orion got up and made
some remark to the effect that probably the young lady was busy and he
would go now and call again. That was the old man's chance, and he said
with fervency "Why good land, aren't you going to stop to breakfast?"


Orion did not come to Hannibal until two or three years after my
father's death. Meantime he remained in St Louis. He was a journeyman
printer and earning wages. Out of his wage he supported my mother and my
brother Henry, who was two years younger than I. My sister Pamela helped
in this support by taking piano pupils. Thus we got along, but it was
pretty hard sledding. I was not one of the burdens, because I was taken
from school at once, upon my father's death, and placed in the office of
the Hannibal "Courier," as printer's apprentice, and Mr. S., the editor
and proprietor of the paper, allowed me the usual emolument of the
office of apprentice--that is to say board and clothes, but no money.
The clothes consisted of two suits a year, but one of the suits always
failed to materialize and the other suit was not purchased so long as
Mr. S.'s old clothes held out. I was only about half as big as Mr. S.,
consequently his shirts gave me the uncomfortable sense of living in a
circus tent, and I had to turn up his pants to my ears to make them
short enough.

There were two other apprentices. One was Steve Wilkins, seventeen or
eighteen years old and a giant. When he was in Mr. S.'s clothes they
fitted him as the candle-mould fits the candle--thus he was generally in
a suffocated condition, particularly in the summer-time. He was a
reckless, hilarious, admirable creature; he had no principles, and was
delightful company. At first we three apprentices had to feed in the
kitchen with the old slave cook and her very handsome and bright and
well-behaved young mulatto daughter. For his own amusement--for he was
not generally laboring for other people's amusement--Steve was
constantly and persistently and loudly and elaborately making love to
that mulatto girl and distressing the life out of her and worrying the
old mother to death. She would say, "Now, Marse Steve, Marse Steve,
can't you behave yourself?" With encouragement like that, Steve would
naturally renew his attentions and emphasize them. It was killingly
funny to Ralph and me. And, to speak truly, the old mother's distress
about it was merely a pretence. She quite well understood that by the
customs of slaveholding communities it was Steve's right to make love to
that girl if he wanted to. But the girl's distress was very real. She
had a refined nature, and she took all Steve's extravagant love-making
in resentful earnest.

We got but little variety in the way of food at that kitchen table, and
there wasn't enough of it anyway. So we apprentices used to keep alive
by arts of our own--that is to say, we crept into the cellar nearly
every night, by a private entrance which we had discovered, and we
robbed the cellar of potatoes and onions and such things, and carried
them down-town to the printing-office, where we slept on pallets on the
floor, and cooked them at the stove and had very good times.

As I have indicated, Mr. S.'s economies were of a pretty close and rigid
kind. By and by, when we apprentices were promoted from the basement to
the ground floor and allowed to sit at the family table, along with the
one journeyman, Harry H., the economies continued. Mrs. S. was a bride.
She had attained to that distinction very recently, after waiting a good
part of a lifetime for it, and she was the right woman in the right
place, according to the economics of the place, for she did not trust
the sugar-bowl to us, but sweetened our coffee herself. That is, she
went through the motions. She didn't really sweeten it. She seemed to
put one heaping teaspoonful of brown sugar into each cup, but, according
to Steve, that was a deceit. He said she dipped the spoon in the coffee
first to make the sugar stick, and then scooped the sugar out of the
bowl with the spoon upside down, so that the effect to the eye was a
heaped-up spoon, whereas the sugar on it was nothing but a layer. This
all seems perfectly true to me, and yet that thing would be so difficult
to perform that I suppose it really didn't happen, but was one of
Steve's lies.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCVIII.

FEBRUARY 1, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XI.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1850.)]

[_Dictated March 28th, 1906._] About 1849 or 1850 Orion severed his
connection with the printing-house in St. Louis and came up to Hannibal,
and bought a weekly paper called the Hannibal "Journal," together with
its plant and its good-will, for the sum of five hundred dollars cash.
He borrowed the cash at ten per cent. interest, from an old farmer named
Johnson who lived five miles out of town. Then he reduced the
subscription price of the paper from two dollars to one dollar. He
reduced the rates for advertising in about the same proportion, and
thus he created one absolute and unassailable certainty--to wit: that
the business would never pay him a single cent of profit. He took me out
of the "Courier" office and engaged my services in his own at three
dollars and a half a week, which was an extravagant wage, but Orion was
always generous, always liberal with everybody except himself. It cost
him nothing in my case, for he never was able to pay me a penny as long
as I was with him. By the end of the first year he found he must make
some economies. The office rent was cheap, but it was not cheap enough.
He could not afford to pay rent of any kind, so he moved the whole plant
into the house we lived in, and it cramped the dwelling-place cruelly.
He kept that paper alive during four years, but I have at this time no
idea how he accomplished it. Toward the end of each year he had to turn
out and scrape and scratch for the fifty dollars of interest due Mr.
Johnson, and that fifty dollars was about the only cash he ever received
or paid out, I suppose, while he was proprietor of that newspaper,
except for ink and printing-paper. The paper was a dead failure. It had
to be that from the start. Finally he handed it over to Mr. Johnson, and
went up to Muscatine, Iowa, and acquired a small interest in a weekly
newspaper there. It was not a sort of property to marry on--but no
matter. He came across a winning and pretty girl who lived in Quincy,
Illinois, a few miles below Keokuk, and they became engaged. He was
always falling in love with girls, but by some accident or other he had
never gone so far as engagement before. And now he achieved nothing but
misfortune by it, because he straightway fell in love with a Keokuk
girl. He married the Keokuk girl and they began a struggle for life
which turned out to be a difficult enterprise, and very unpromising.

To gain a living in Muscatine was plainly impossible, so Orion and his
new wife went to Keokuk to live, for she wanted to be near her
relatives. He bought a little bit of a job-printing plant--on credit, of
course--and at once put prices down to where not even the apprentices
could get a living out of it, and this sort of thing went on.

[Sidenote: (1853.)]

I had not joined the Muscatine migration. Just before that happened
(which I think was in 1853) I disappeared one night and fled to St.
Louis. There I worked in the composing-room of the "Evening News" for a
time, and then started on my travels to see the world. The world was New
York City, and there was a little World's Fair there. It had just been
opened where the great reservoir afterward was, and where the sumptuous
public library is now being built--Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street.
I arrived in New York with two or three dollars in pocket change and a
ten-dollar bank-bill concealed in the lining of my coat. I got work at
villainous wages in the establishment of John A. Gray and Green in Cliff
Street, and I found board in a sufficiently villainous mechanics'
boarding-house in Duane Street. The firm paid my wages in wildcat money
at its face value, and my week's wage merely sufficed to pay board and
lodging. By and by I went to Philadelphia and worked there some months
as a "sub" on the "Inquirer" and the "Public Ledger." Finally I made a
flying trip to Washington to see the sights there, and in 1854 I went
back to the Mississippi Valley, sitting upright in the smoking-car two
or three days and nights. When I reached St. Louis I was exhausted. I
went to bed on board a steamboat that was bound for Muscatine. I fell
asleep at once, with my clothes on, and didn't wake again for thirty-six
hours.

[Sidenote: (1854.)]

... I worked in that little job-office in Keokuk as much as two years, I
should say, without ever collecting a cent of wages, for Orion was never
able to pay anything--but Dick Higham and I had good times. I don't know
what Dick got, but it was probably only uncashable promises.

[Sidenote: (1856.)]

One day in the midwinter of 1856 or 1857--I think it was 1856--I was
coming along the main street of Keokuk in the middle of the forenoon. It
was bitter weather--so bitter that that street was deserted, almost. A
light dry snow was blowing here and there on the ground and on the
pavement, swirling this way and that way and making all sorts of
beautiful figures, but very chilly to look at. The wind blew a piece of
paper past me and it lodged against a wall of a house. Something about
the look of it attracted my attention and I gathered it in. It was a
fifty-dollar bill, the only one I had ever seen, and the largest
assemblage of money I had ever encountered in one spot. I advertised it
in the papers and suffered more than a thousand dollars' worth of
solicitude and fear and distress during the next few days lest the owner
should see the advertisement and come and take my fortune away. As many
as four days went by without an applicant; then I could endure this kind
of misery no longer. I felt sure that another four could not go by in
this safe and secure way. I felt that I must take that money out of
danger. So I bought a ticket for Cincinnati and went to that city. I
worked there several months in the printing-office of Wrightson and
Company. I had been reading Lieutenant Herndon's account of his
explorations of the Amazon and had been mightily attracted by what he
said of coca. I made up my mind that I would go to the head waters of
the Amazon and collect coca and trade in it and make a fortune. I left
for New Orleans in the steamer "Paul Jones" with this great idea filling
my mind. One of the pilots of that boat was Horace Bixby. Little by
little I got acquainted with him, and pretty soon I was doing a lot of
steering for him in his daylight watches. When I got to New Orleans I
inquired about ships leaving for Pará and discovered that there weren't
any, and learned that there probably wouldn't be any during that
century. It had not occurred to me to inquire about those particulars
before leaving Cincinnati, so there I was. I couldn't get to the Amazon.
I had no friends in New Orleans and no money to speak of. I went to
Horace Bixby and asked him to make a pilot out of me. He said he would
do it for a hundred dollars cash in advance. So I steered for him up to
St. Louis, borrowed the money from my brother-in-law and closed the
bargain. I had acquired this brother-in-law several years before. This
was Mr. William A. Moffett, a merchant, a Virginian--a fine man in every
way. He had married my sister Pamela, and the Samuel E. Moffett of whom
I have been speaking was their son. Within eighteen months I became a
competent pilot, and I served that office until the Mississippi River
traffic was brought to a standstill by the breaking out of the civil
war.

... Meantime Orion had gone down the river and established his little
job-printing-office in Keokuk. On account of charging next to nothing
for the work done in his job-office, he had almost nothing to do there.
He was never able to comprehend that work done on a profitless basis
deteriorates and is presently not worth anything, and that customers are
then obliged to go where they can get better work, even if they must pay
better prices for it. He had plenty of time, and he took up Blackstone
again. He also put up a sign which offered his services to the public
as a lawyer. He never got a case, in those days, nor even an applicant,
although he was quite willing to transact law business for nothing and
furnish the stationery himself. He was always liberal that way.

[Sidenote: (1861.)]

Presently he moved to a wee little hamlet called Alexandria, two or
three miles down the river, and he put up that sign there. He got no
custom. He was by this time very hard aground. But by this time I was
beginning to earn a wage of two hundred and fifty dollars a month as
pilot, and so I supported him thenceforth until 1861, when his ancient
friend, Edward Bates, then a member of Mr. Lincoln's first cabinet, got
him the place of Secretary of the new Territory of Nevada, and Orion and
I cleared for that country in the overland stage-coach, I paying the
fares, which were pretty heavy, and carrying with me what money I had
been able to save--this was eight hundred dollars, I should say--and it
was all in silver coin and a good deal of a nuisance because of its
weight. And we had another nuisance, which was an Unabridged Dictionary.
It weighed about a thousand pounds, and was a ruinous expense, because
the stage-coach Company charged for extra baggage by the ounce. We could
have kept a family for a time on what that dictionary cost in the way of
extra freight--and it wasn't a good dictionary anyway--didn't have any
modern words in it--only had obsolete ones that they used to use when
Noah Webster was a child.

The Government of the new Territory of Nevada was an interesting
menagerie. Governor Nye was an old and seasoned politician from New
York--politician, not statesman. He had white hair; he was in fine
physical condition; he had a winningly friendly face and deep lustrous
brown eyes that could talk as a native language the tongue of every
feeling, every passion, every emotion. His eyes could outtalk his
tongue, and this is saying a good deal, for he was a very remarkable
talker, both in private and on the stump. He was a shrewd man; he
generally saw through surfaces and perceived what was going on inside
without being suspected of having an eye on the matter.

When grown-up persons indulge in practical jokes, the fact gauges them.
They have lived narrow, obscure, and ignorant lives, and at full manhood
they still retain and cherish a job-lot of left-over standards and
ideals that would have been discarded with their boyhood if they had
then moved out into the world and a broader life. There were many
practical jokers in the new Territory. I do not take pleasure in
exposing this fact, for I liked those people; but what I am saying is
true. I wish I could say a kindlier thing about them instead--that they
were burglars, or hat-rack thieves, or something like that, that
wouldn't be utterly uncomplimentary. I would prefer it, but I can't say
those things, they would not be true. These people were practical
jokers, and I will not try to disguise it. In other respects they were
plenty good-enough people; honest people; reputable and likable. They
played practical jokes upon each other with success, and got the
admiration and applause and also the envy of the rest of the community.
Naturally they were eager to try their arts on big game, and that was
what the Governor was. But they were not able to score. They made
several efforts, but the Governor defeated these efforts without any
trouble and went on smiling his pleasant smile as if nothing had
happened. Finally the joker chiefs of Carson City and Virginia City
conspired together to see if their combined talent couldn't win a
victory, for the jokers were getting into a very uncomfortable place:
the people were laughing at them, instead of at their proposed victim.
They banded themselves together to the number of ten and invited the
Governor to what was a most extraordinary attention in those
days--pickled oyster stew and champagne--luxuries very seldom seen in
that region, and existing rather as fabrics of the imagination than as
facts.

The Governor took me with him. He said disparagingly,

"It's a poor invention. It doesn't deceive. Their idea is to get me
drunk and leave me under the table, and from their standpoint this will
be very funny. But they don't know me. I am familiar with champagne and
have no prejudices against it."

The fate of the joke was not decided until two o'clock in the morning.
At that hour the Governor was serene, genial, comfortable, contented,
happy and sober, although he was so full that he couldn't laugh without
shedding champagne tears. Also, at that hour the last joker joined his
comrades under the table, drunk to the last perfection. The Governor
remarked,

"This is a dry place, Sam, let's go and get something to drink and go to
bed."

The Governor's official menagerie had been drawn from the humblest
ranks of his constituents at home--harmless good fellows who had helped
in his campaigns, and now they had their reward in petty salaries
payable in greenbacks that were worth next to nothing. Those boys had a
hard time to make both ends meet. Orion's salary was eighteen hundred
dollars a year, and he wouldn't even support his dictionary on it. But
the Irishwoman who had come out on the Governor's staff charged the
menagerie only ten dollars a week apiece for board and lodging. Orion
and I were of her boarders and lodgers; and so, on these cheap terms the
silver I had brought from home held out very well.

[Sidenote: ('62 or '63)]

At first I roamed about the country seeking silver, but at the end of
'62 or the beginning of '63 when I came up from Aurora to begin a
journalistic life on the Virginia City "Enterprise," I was presently
sent down to Carson City to report the legislative session. Orion was
soon very popular with the members of the legislature, because they
found that whereas they couldn't usually trust each other, nor anybody
else, they could trust him. He easily held the belt for honesty in that
country, but it didn't do him any good in a pecuniary way, because he
had no talent for either persuading or scaring legislators. But I was
differently situated. I was there every day in the legislature to
distribute compliment and censure with evenly balanced justice and
spread the same over half a page of the "Enterprise" every morning,
consequently I was an influence. I got the legislature to pass a wise
and very necessary law requiring every corporation doing business in the
Territory to record its charter in full, without skipping a word, in a
record to be kept by the Secretary of the Territory--my brother. All the
charters were framed in exactly the same words. For this record-service
he was authorized to charge forty cents a folio of one hundred words for
making the record; also five dollars for furnishing a certificate of
each record, and so on. Everybody had a toll-road franchise, but no
toll-road. But the franchise had to be recorded and paid for. Everybody
was a mining corporation, and had to have himself recorded and pay for
it. Very well, we prospered. The record-service paid an average of a
thousand dollars a month, in gold.

Governor Nye was often absent from the Territory. He liked to run down
to San Francisco every little while and enjoy a rest from Territorial
civilization. Nobody complained, for he was prodigiously popular, he
had been a stage-driver in his early days in New York or New England,
and had acquired the habit of remembering names and faces, and of making
himself agreeable to his passengers. As a politician this had been
valuable to him, and he kept his arts in good condition by practice. By
the time he had been Governor a year, he had shaken hands with every
human being in the Territory of Nevada, and after that he always knew
these people instantly at sight and could call them by name. The whole
population, of 20,000 persons, were his personal friends, and he could
do anything he chose to do and count upon their being contented with it.
Whenever he was absent from the Territory--which was generally--Orion
served his office in his place, as Acting Governor, a title which was
soon and easily shortened to "Governor." He recklessly built and
furnished a house at a cost of twelve thousand dollars, and there was no
other house in the sage-brush capital that could approach this property
for style and cost.

When Governor Nye's four-year term was drawing to a close, the mystery
of why he had ever consented to leave the great State of New York and
help inhabit that jack-rabbit desert was solved: he had gone out there
in order to become a United States Senator. All that was now necessary
was to turn the Territory into a State. He did it without any
difficulty. That undeveloped country and that sparse population were not
well fitted for the heavy burden of a State Government, but no matter,
the people were willing to have the change, and so the Governor's game
was made.

Orion's game was made too, apparently, for he was as popular because of
his honesty as the Governor was for more substantial reasons; but at the
critical moment the inborn capriciousness of his character rose up
without warning, and disaster followed.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCIX.

FEBRUARY 15, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1864-5.)]

_Orion Clemens--resumed._

[_Dictated April 5, 1906._] There were several candidates for all the
offices in the gift of the new State of Nevada save two--United States
Senator, and Secretary of State. Nye was certain to get a Senatorship,
and Orion was so sure to get the Secretaryship that no one but him was
named for that office. But he was hit with one of his spasms of virtue
on the very day that the Republican party was to make its nominations in
the Convention, and refused to go near the Convention. He was urged, but
all persuasions failed. He said his presence there would be an unfair
and improper influence and that if he was to be nominated the compliment
must come to him as a free and unspotted gift. This attitude would have
settled his case for him without further effort, but he had another
attack of virtue on the same day, that made it absolutely sure. It had
been his habit for a great many years to change his religion with his
shirt, and his ideas about temperance at the same time. He would be a
teetotaler for a while and the champion of the cause; then he would
change to the other side for a time. On nomination day he suddenly
changed from a friendly attitude toward whiskey--which was the popular
attitude--to uncompromising teetotalism, and went absolutely dry. His
friends besought and implored, but all in vain. He could not be
persuaded to cross the threshold of a saloon. The paper next morning
contained the list of chosen nominees. His name was not in it. He had
not received a vote.

His rich income ceased when the State government came into power. He was
without an occupation. Something had to be done. He put up his sign as
attorney-at-law, but he got no clients. It was strange. It was difficult
to account for. I cannot account for it--but if I were going to guess at
a solution I should guess that by the make of him he would examine both
sides of a case so diligently and so conscientiously that when he got
through with his argument neither he nor a jury would know which side he
was on. I think that his client would find out his make in laying his
case before him, and would take warning and withdraw it in time to save
himself from probable disaster.

I had taken up my residence in San Francisco about a year before the
time I have just been speaking of. One day I got a tip from Mr. Camp, a
bold man who was always making big fortunes in ingenious speculations
and losing them again in the course of six months by other speculative
ingenuities. Camp told me to buy some shares in the Hale and Norcross. I
bought fifty shares at three hundred dollars a share. I bought on a
margin, and put up twenty per cent. It exhausted my funds. I wrote Orion
and offered him half, and asked him to send his share of the money. I
waited and waited. He wrote and said he was going to attend to it. The
stock went along up pretty briskly. It went higher and higher. It
reached a thousand dollars a share. It climbed to two thousand, then to
three thousand; then to twice that figure. The money did not come, but I
was not disturbed. By and by that stock took a turn and began to gallop
down. Then I wrote urgently. Orion answered that he had sent the money
long ago--said he had sent it to the Occidental Hotel. I inquired for
it. They said it was not there. To cut a long story short, that stock
went on down until it fell below the price I had paid for it. Then it
began to eat up the margin, and when at last I got out I was very badly
crippled.

When it was too late, I found out what had become of Orion's money. Any
other human being would have sent a check, but he sent gold. The hotel
clerk put it in the safe and went on vacation, and there it had reposed
all this time enjoying its fatal work, no doubt. Another man might have
thought to tell me that the money was not in a letter, but was in an
express package, but it never occurred to Orion to do that.

Later, Mr. Camp gave me another chance. He agreed to buy our Tennessee
land for two hundred thousand dollars, pay a part of the amount in cash
and give long notes for the rest. His scheme was to import foreigners
from grape-growing and wine-making districts in Europe, settle them on
the land, and turn it into a wine-growing country. He knew what Mr.
Longworth thought of those Tennessee grapes, and was satisfied. I sent
the contracts and things to Orion for his signature, he being one of the
three heirs. But they arrived at a bad time--in a doubly bad time, in
fact. The temperance virtue was temporarily upon him in strong force,
and he wrote and said that he would not be a party to debauching the
country with wine. Also he said how could he know whether Mr. Camp was
going to deal fairly and honestly with those poor people from Europe or
not?--and so, without waiting to find out, he quashed the whole trade,
and there it fell, never to be brought to life again. The land, from
being suddenly worth two hundred thousand dollars, became as suddenly
worth what it was before--nothing, and taxes to pay. I had paid the
taxes and the other expenses for some years, but I dropped the Tennessee
land there, and have never taken any interest in it since, pecuniarily
or otherwise, until yesterday.

I had supposed, until yesterday, that Orion had frittered away the last
acre, and indeed that was his own impression. But a gentleman arrived
yesterday from Tennessee and brought a map showing that by a correction
of the ancient surveys we still own a thousand acres, in a coal
district, out of the hundred thousand acres which my father left us when
he died in 1847. The gentleman brought a proposition; also he brought a
reputable and well-to-do citizen of New York. The proposition was that
the Tennesseean gentleman should sell that land; that the New York
gentleman should pay all the expenses and fight all the lawsuits, in
case any should turn up, and that of such profit as might eventuate the
Tennesseean gentleman should take a third, the New-Yorker a third, and
Sam Moffett and his sister and I--who are surviving heirs--the remaining
third.

This time I hope we shall get rid of the Tennessee land for good and all
and never hear of it again.

[Sidenote: (1867.)]

[Sidenote: (1871.)]

I came East in January, 1867. Orion remained in Carson City perhaps a
year longer. Then he sold his twelve-thousand-dollar house and its
furniture for thirty-five hundred in greenbacks at about sixty per cent.
discount. He and his wife took passage in the steamer for home in
Keokuk. About 1871 or '72 they came to New York. Orion had been trying
to make a living in the law ever since he had arrived from the Pacific
Coast, but he had secured only two cases. Those he was to try free of
charge--but the possible result will never be known, because the parties
settled the cases out of court without his help.

Orion got a job as proof-reader on the New York "Evening Post" at ten
dollars a week. By and by he came to Hartford and wanted me to get him a
place as reporter on a Hartford paper. Here was a chance to try my
scheme again, and I did it. I made him go to the Hartford "Evening
Post," without any letter of introduction, and propose to scrub and
sweep and do all sorts of things for nothing, on the plea that he didn't
need money but only needed work, and that that was what he was pining
for. Within six weeks he was on the editorial staff of that paper at
twenty dollars a week, and he was worth the money. He was presently
called for by some other paper at better wages, but I made him go to the
"Post" people and tell them about it. They stood the raise and kept him.
It was the pleasantest berth he had ever had in his life. It was an easy
berth. He was in every way comfortable. But ill-luck came. It was bound
to come.

A new Republican daily was to be started in a New England city by a
stock company of well-to-do politicians, and they offered him the chief
editorship at three thousand a year. He was eager to accept. My
beseechings and reasonings went for nothing. I said,

"You are as weak as water. Those people will find it out right away.
They will easily see that you have no backbone; that they can deal with
you as they would deal with a slave. You may last six months, but not
longer. Then they will not dismiss you as they would dismiss a
gentleman: they will fling you out as they would fling out an intruding
tramp."

It happened just so. Then he and his wife migrated to Keokuk once more.
Orion wrote from there that he was not resuming the law; that he thought
that what his health needed was the open air, in some sort of outdoor
occupation; that his father-in-law had a strip of ground on the river
border a mile above Keokuk with some sort of a house on it, and his idea
was to buy that place and start a chicken-farm and provide Keokuk with
chickens and eggs, and perhaps butter--but I don't know whether you can
raise butter on a chicken-farm or not. He said the place could be had
for three thousand dollars cash, and I sent the money. He began to raise
chickens, and he made a detailed monthly report to me, whereby it
appeared that he was able to work off his chickens on the Keokuk people
at a dollar and a quarter a pair. But it also appeared that it cost a
dollar and sixty cents to raise the pair. This did not seem to
discourage Orion, and so I let it go. Meantime he was borrowing a
hundred dollars per month of me regularly, month by month. Now to show
Orion's stern and rigid business ways--and he really prided himself on
his large business capacities--the moment he received the advance of a
hundred dollars at the beginning of each month, he always sent me his
note for the amount, and with it he sent, _out of that money, three
months' interest_ on the hundred dollars at six per cent. per annum,
these notes being always for three months.

As I say, he always sent a detailed statement of the month's profit and
loss on the chickens--at least the month's loss on the chickens--and
this detailed statement included the various items of expense--corn for
the chickens, boots for himself, and so on; even car fares, and the
weekly contribution of ten cents to help out the missionaries who were
trying to damn the Chinese after a plan not satisfactory to those
people.

I think the poultry experiment lasted about a year, possibly two years.
It had then cost me six thousand dollars.

Orion returned to the law business, and I suppose he remained in that
harness off and on for the succeeding quarter of a century, but so far
as my knowledge goes he was only a lawyer in name, and had no clients.

[Sidenote: (1890.)]

My mother died, in her eighty-eighth year, in the summer of 1890. She
had saved some money, and she left it to me, because it had come from
me. I gave it to Orion and he said, with thanks, that I had supported
him long enough and now he was going to relieve me of that burden, and
would also hope to pay back some of that expense, and maybe the whole of
it. Accordingly, he proceeded to use up that money in building a
considerable addition to the house, with the idea of taking boarders and
getting rich. We need not dwell upon this venture. It was another of his
failures. His wife tried hard to make the scheme succeed, and if anybody
could have made it succeed she would have done it. She was a good woman,
and was greatly liked. She had a practical side, and she would have made
that boarding-house lucrative if circumstances had not been against her.

Orion had other projects for recouping me, but as they always required
capital I stayed out of them, and they did not materialize. Once he
wanted to start a newspaper. It was a ghastly idea, and I squelched it
with a promptness that was almost rude. Then he invented a wood-sawing
machine and patched it together himself, and he really sawed wood with
it. It was ingenious; it was capable; and it would have made a
comfortable little fortune for him; but just at the wrong time
Providence interfered again. Orion applied for a patent and found that
the same machine had already been patented and had gone into business
and was thriving.

Presently the State of New York offered a fifty-thousand-dollar prize
for a practical method of navigating the Erie Canal with steam
canal-boats. Orion worked at that thing for two or three years, invented
and completed a method, and was once more ready to reach out and seize
upon imminent wealth when somebody pointed out a defect: his steam
canal-boat could not be used in the winter-time; and in the summer-time
the commotion its wheels would make in the water would wash away the
State of New York on both sides.

Innumerable were Orion's projects for acquiring the means to pay off
the debt to me. These projects extended straight through the succeeding
thirty years, but in every case they failed. During all those thirty
years his well-established honesty kept him in offices of trust where
other people's money had to be taken care of, but where no salary was
paid. He was treasurer of all the benevolent institutions; he took care
of the money and other property of widows and orphans; he never lost a
cent for anybody, and never made one for himself. Every time he changed
his religion the church of his new faith was glad to get him; made him
treasurer at once, and at once he stopped the graft and the leaks in
that church. He exhibited a facility in changing his political
complexion that was a marvel to the whole community. Once the following
curious thing happened, and he wrote me all about it himself.

One morning he was a Republican, and upon invitation he agreed to make a
campaign speech at the Republican mass-meeting that night. He prepared
the speech. After luncheon he became a Democrat and agreed to write a
score of exciting mottoes to be painted upon the transparencies which
the Democrats would carry in their torchlight procession that night. He
wrote these shouting Democratic mottoes during the afternoon, and they
occupied so much of his time that it was night before he had a chance to
change his politics again; so he actually made a rousing Republican
campaign speech in the open air while his Democratic transparencies
passed by in front of him, to the joy of every witness present.

He was a most strange creature--but in spite of his eccentricities he
was beloved, all his life, in whatsoever community he lived. And he was
also held in high esteem, for at bottom he was a sterling man.

About twenty-five years ago--along there somewhere--I suggested to Orion
that he write an autobiography. I asked him to try to tell the straight
truth in it; to refrain from exhibiting himself in creditable attitudes
exclusively, and to honorably set down all the incidents of his life
which he had found interesting to him, including those which were burned
into his memory because he was ashamed of them. I said that this had
never been done, and that if he could do it his autobiography would be a
most valuable piece of literature. I said I was offering him a job which
I could not duplicate in my own case, but I would cherish the hope that
he might succeed with it. I recognise now that I was trying to saddle
upon him an impossibility. I have been dictating this autobiography of
mine daily for three months; I have thought of fifteen hundred or two
thousand incidents in my life which I am ashamed of, but I have not
gotten one of them to consent to go on paper yet. I think that that
stock will still be complete and unimpaired when I finish these memoirs,
if I ever finish them. I believe that if I should put in all or any of
those incidents I should be sure to strike them out when I came to
revise this book.

Orion wrote his autobiography and sent it to me. But great was my
disappointment; and my vexation, too. In it he was constantly making a
hero of himself, exactly as I should have done and am doing now, and he
was constantly forgetting to put in the episodes which placed him in an
unheroic light. I knew several incidents of his life which were
distinctly and painfully unheroic, but when I came across them in his
autobiography they had changed color. They had turned themselves inside
out, and were things to be intemperately proud of. In my dissatisfaction
I destroyed a considerable part of that autobiography. But in what
remains there are passages which are interesting, and I shall quote from
them here and there and now and then, as I go along.

[Sidenote: (1898.)]

While we were living in Vienna in 1898 a cablegram came from Keokuk
announcing Orion's death. He was seventy-two years old. He had gone down
to the kitchen in the early hours of a bitter December morning; he had
built the fire, and had then sat down at a table to write something; and
there he died, with the pencil in his hand and resting against the paper
in the middle of an unfinished word--an indication that his release from
the captivity of a long and troubled and pathetic and unprofitable life
was mercifully swift and painless.

[_Dictated in 1904._] A quarter of a century ago I was visiting John Hay
at Whitelaw Reid's house in New York, which Hay was occupying for a few
months while Reid was absent on a holiday in Europe. Temporarily also,
Hay was editing Reid's paper, the New York "Tribune." I remember two
incidents of that Sunday visit particularly well. I had known John Hay a
good many years, I had known him when he was an obscure young editorial
writer on the "Tribune" in Horace Greely's time, earning three or four
times the salary he got, considering the high character of the work
which came from his pen. In those earlier days he was a picture to look
at, for beauty of feature, perfection of form and grace of carriage and
movement. He had a charm about him of a sort quite unusual to my Western
ignorance and inexperience--a charm of manner, intonation, apparently
native and unstudied elocution, and all that--the groundwork of it
native, the ease of it, the polish of it, the winning naturalness of it,
acquired in Europe where he had been Chargé d'Affaires some time at the
Court of Vienna. He was joyous and cordial, a most pleasant comrade. One
of the two incidents above referred to as marking that visit was this:

In trading remarks concerning our ages I confessed to forty-two and Hay
to forty. Then he asked if I had begun to write my autobiography, and I
said I hadn't. He said that I ought to begin at once, and that I had
already lost two years. Then he said in substance this:

"At forty a man reaches the top of the hill of life and starts down on
the sunset side. The ordinary man, the average man, not to particularize
too closely and say the commonplace man, has at that age succeeded or
failed; in either case he has lived all of his life that is likely to be
worth recording; also in either case the life lived is worth setting
down, and cannot fail to be interesting if he comes as near to telling
the truth about himself as he can. And he _will_ tell the truth in spite
of himself, for his facts and his fictions will work loyally together
for the protection of the reader; each fact and each fiction will be a
dab of paint, each will fall in its right place, and together they will
paint his portrait; not the portrait _he_ thinks they are painting, but
his real portrait, the inside of him, the soul of him, his character.
Without intending to lie he will lie all the time; not bluntly,
consciously, not dully unconsciously, but half-consciously--
consciousness in twilight; a soft and gentle and merciful twilight which
makes his general form comely, with his virtuous prominences and
projections discernible and his ungracious ones in shadow. His truths
will be recognizable as truths, his modifications of facts which would
tell against him will go for nothing, the reader will see the fact
through the film and know his man.

"There is a subtle devilish something or other about autobiographical
composition that defeats all the writer's attempts to paint his portrait
_his_ way."

Hay meant that he and I were ordinary average commonplace people, and I
did not resent my share of the verdict, but nursed my wound in silence.
His idea that we had finished our work in life, passed the summit and
were westward bound down-hill, with me two years ahead of him and
neither of us with anything further to do as benefactors to mankind, was
all a mistake. I had written four books then, possibly five. I have been
drowning the world in literary wisdom ever since, volume after volume;
since that day's sun went down he has been the historian of Mr. Lincoln,
and his book will never perish; he has been ambassador, brilliant
orator, competent and admirable Secretary of State.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCX.

MARCH 1, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XIII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1847.)]

... As I have said, that vast plot of Tennessee land[6] was held by my
father twenty years--intact. When he died in 1847, we began to manage it
ourselves. Forty years afterward, we had managed it all away except
10,000 acres, and gotten nothing to remember the sales by. About
1887--possibly it was earlier--the 10,000 went. My brother found a
chance to trade it for a house and lot in the town of Corry, in the oil
regions of Pennsylvania. About 1894 he sold this property for $250. That
ended the Tennessee Land.

If any penny of cash ever came out of my father's wise investment but
that, I have no recollection of it. No, I am overlooking a detail. It
furnished me a field for Sellers and a book. Out of my half of the book
I got $15,000 or $20,000; out of the play I got $75,000 or $80,000--just
about a dollar an acre. It is curious: I was not alive when my father
made the investment, therefore he was not intending any partiality; yet
I was the only member of the family that ever profited by it. I shall
have occasion to mention this land again, now and then, as I go along,
for it influenced our life in one way or another during more than a
generation. Whenever things grew dark it rose and put out its hopeful
Sellers hand and cheered us up, and said "Do not be afraid--trust in
me--wait." It kept us hoping and hoping, during forty years, and forsook
us at last. It put our energies to sleep and made visionaries of
us--dreamers and indolent. We were always going to be rich next year--no
occasion to work. It is good to begin life poor; it is good to begin
life rich--these are wholesome; but to begin it _prospectively_ rich!
The man who has not experienced it cannot imagine the curse of it.

My parents removed to Missouri in the early thirties; I do not remember
just when, for I was not born then, and cared nothing for such things.
It was a long journey in those days, and must have been a rough and
tiresome one. The home was made in the wee village of Florida, in Monroe
county, and I was born there in 1835. The village contained a hundred
people and I increased the population by one per cent. It is more than
the best man in history ever did for any other town. It may not be
modest in me to refer to this, but it is true. There is no record of a
person doing as much--not even Shakespeare. But I did it for Florida,
and it shows that I could have done it for any place--even London, I
suppose.

Recently some one in Missouri has sent me a picture of the house I was
born in. Heretofore I have always stated that it was a palace, but I
shall be more guarded, now.

I remember only one circumstance connected with my life in it. I
remember it very well, though I was but two and a half years old at the
time. The family packed up everything and started in wagons for
Hannibal, on the Mississippi, thirty miles away. Toward night, when they
camped and counted up the children, one was missing. I was the one. I
had been left behind. Parents ought always to count the children before
they start. I was having a good enough time playing by myself until I
found that the doors were fastened and that there was a grisly deep
silence brooding over the place. I knew, then, that the family were
gone, and that they had forgotten me. I was well frightened, and I made
all the noise I could, but no one was near and it did no good. I spent
the afternoon in captivity and was not rescued until the gloaming had
fallen and the place was alive with ghosts.

My brother Henry was six months old at that time. I used to remember his
walking into a fire outdoors when he was a week old. It was remarkable
in me to remember a thing like that, which occurred when I was so young.
And it was still more remarkable that I should cling to the delusion,
for thirty years, that I _did_ remember it--for of course it never
happened; he would not have been able to walk at that age. If I had
stopped to reflect, I should not have burdened my memory with that
impossible rubbish so long. It is believed by many people that an
impression deposited in a child's memory within the first two years of
its life cannot remain there five years, but that is an error. The
incident of Benvenuto Cellini and the salamander must be accepted as
authentic and trustworthy; and then that remarkable and indisputable
instance in the experience of Helen Keller--however, I will speak of
that at another time. For many years I believed that I remembered
helping my grandfather drink his whiskey toddy when I was six weeks old,
but I do not tell about that any more, now; I am grown old, and my
memory is not as active as it used to be. When I was younger I could
remember anything, whether it had happened or not; but my faculties are
decaying, now, and soon I shall be so I cannot remember any but the
things that happened. It is sad to go to pieces like this, but we all
have to do it.

My uncle, John A. Quarles, was a farmer, and his place was in the
country four miles from Florida. He had eight children, and fifteen or
twenty negroes, and was also fortunate in other ways. Particularly in
his character. I have not come across a better man than he was. I was
his guest for two or three months every year, from the fourth year after
we removed to Hannibal till I was eleven or twelve years old. I have
never consciously used him or his wife in a book, but his farm has come
very handy to me in literature, once or twice. In "Huck Finn" and in
"Tom Sawyer Detective" I moved it down to Arkansas. It was all of six
hundred miles, but it was no trouble, it was not a very large farm;
five hundred acres, perhaps, but I could have done it if it had been
twice as large. And as for the morality of it, I cared nothing for that;
I would move a State if the exigencies of literature required it.

It was a heavenly place for a boy, that farm of my uncle John's. The
house was a double log one, with a spacious floor (roofed in) connecting
it with the kitchen. In the summer the table was set in the middle of
that shady and breezy floor, and the sumptuous meals--well, it makes me
cry to think of them. Fried chicken, roast pig, wild and tame turkeys,
ducks and geese; venison just killed; squirrels, rabbits, pheasants,
partridges, prairie-chickens; biscuits, hot batter cakes, hot buckwheat
cakes, hot "wheat bread," hot rolls, hot corn pone; fresh corn boiled on
the ear, succotash, butter-beans, string-beans, tomatoes, pease, Irish
potatoes, sweet-potatoes; buttermilk, sweet milk, "clabber";
watermelons, musk-melons, cantaloups--all fresh from the garden--apple
pie, peach pie, pumpkin pie, apple dumplings, peach cobbler--I can't
remember the rest. The way that the things were cooked was perhaps the
main splendor--particularly a certain few of the dishes. For instance,
the corn bread, the hot biscuits and wheat bread, and the fried chicken.
These things have never been properly cooked in the North--in fact, no
one there is able to learn the art, so far as my experience goes. The
North thinks it knows how to make corn bread, but this is gross
superstition. Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern
corn bread, and perhaps no bread in the world is quite so bad as the
Northern imitation of it. The North seldom tries to fry chicken, and
this is well; the art cannot be learned north of the line of Mason and
Dixon, nor anywhere in Europe. This is not hearsay; it is experience
that is speaking. In Europe it is imagined that the custom of serving
various kinds of bread blazing hot is "American," but that is too broad
a spread; it is custom in the South, but is much less than that in the
North. In the North and in Europe hot bread is considered unhealthy.
This is probably another fussy superstition, like the European
superstition that ice-water is unhealthy. Europe does not need
ice-water, and does not drink it; and yet, notwithstanding this, its
word for it is better than ours, because it describes it, whereas ours
doesn't. Europe calls it "iced" water. Our word describes water made
from melted ice--a drink which we have but little acquaintance with.

It seem a pity that the world should throw away so many good things
merely because they are unwholesome. I doubt if God has given us any
refreshment which, taken in moderation, is unwholesome, except microbes.
Yet there are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every
eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady
reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get
for it. How strange it is; it is like paying out your whole fortune for
a cow that has gone dry.

The farmhouse stood in the middle of a very large yard, and the yard was
fenced on three sides with rails and on the rear side with high palings;
against these stood the smokehouse; beyond the palings was the orchard;
beyond the orchard were the negro quarter and the tobacco-fields. The
front yard was entered over a stile, made of sawed-off logs of graduated
heights; I do not remember any gate. In a corner of the front yard were
a dozen lofty hickory-trees and a dozen black-walnuts, and in the
nutting season riches were to be gathered there.

Down a piece, abreast the house, stood a little log cabin against the
rail fence; and there the woody hill fell sharply away, past the barns,
the corn-crib, the stables and the tobacco-curing house, to a limpid
brook which sang along over its gravelly bed and curved and frisked in
and out and here and there and yonder in the deep shade of overhanging
foliage and vines--a divine place for wading, and it had swimming-pools,
too, which were forbidden to us and therefore much frequented by us. For
we were little Christian children, and had early been taught the value
of forbidden fruit.

In the little log cabin lived a bedridden white-headed slave woman whom
we visited daily, and looked upon with awe, for we believed she was
upwards of a thousand years old and had talked with Moses. The younger
negroes credited these statistics, and had furnished them to us in good
faith. We accommodated all the details which came to us about her; and
so we believed that she had lost her health in the long desert trip
coming out of Egypt, and had never been able to get it back again. She
had a round bald place on the crown of her head, and we used to creep
around and gaze at it in reverent silence, and reflect that it was
caused by fright through seeing Pharaoh drowned. We called her "Aunt"
Hannah, Southern fashion. She was superstitious like the other negroes;
also, like them, she was deeply religious. Like them, she had great
faith in prayer, and employed it in all ordinary exigencies, but not in
cases where a dead certainty of result was urgent. Whenever witches were
around she tied up the remnant of her wool in little tufts, with white
thread, and this promptly made the witches impotent.

All the negroes were friends of ours, and with those of our own age we
were in effect comrades. I say in effect, using the phrase as a
modification. We were comrades, and yet not comrades; color and
condition interposed a subtle line which both parties were conscious of,
and which rendered complete fusion impossible. We had a faithful and
affectionate good friend, ally and adviser in "Uncle Dan'l," a
middle-aged slave whose head was the best one in the negro quarter,
whose sympathies were wide and warm, and whose heart was honest and
simple and knew no guile. He has served me well, these many, many years.
I have not seen him for more than half a century, and yet spiritually I
have had his welcome company a good part of that time, and have staged
him in books under his own name and as "Jim," and carted him all
around--to Hannibal, down the Mississippi on a raft, and even across the
Desert of Sahara in a balloon--and he has endured it all with the
patience and friendliness and loyalty which were his birthright. It was
on the farm that I got my strong liking for his race and my appreciation
of certain of its fine qualities. This feeling and this estimate have
stood the test of sixty years and more and have suffered no impairment.
The black face is as welcome to me now as it was then.

In my schoolboy days I had no aversion to slavery. I was not aware that
there was anything wrong about it. No one arraigned it in my hearing;
the local papers said nothing against it; the local pulpit taught us
that God approved it, that it was a holy thing, and that the doubter
need only look in the Bible if he wished to settle his mind--and then
the texts were read aloud to us to make the matter sure; if the slaves
themselves had an aversion to slavery they were wise and said nothing.
In Hannibal we seldom saw a slave misused; on the farm, never.

There was, however, one small incident of my boyhood days which touched
this matter, and it must have meant a good deal to me or it would not
have stayed in my memory, clear and sharp, vivid and shadowless, all
these slow-drifting years. We had a little slave boy whom we had hired
from some one, there in Hannibal. He was from the Eastern Shore of
Maryland, and had been brought away from his family and his friends,
half-way across the American continent, and sold. He was a cheery
spirit, innocent and gentle, and the noisiest creature that ever was,
perhaps. All day long he was singing, whistling, yelling, whooping,
laughing--it was maddening, devastating, unendurable. At last, one day,
I lost all my temper, and went raging to my mother, and said Sandy had
been singing for an hour without a single break, and I couldn't stand
it, and _wouldn't_ she please shut him up. The tears came into her eyes,
and her lip trembled, and she said something like this--

"Poor thing, when he sings, it shows that he is not remembering, and
that comforts me; but when he is still, I am afraid he is thinking, and
I cannot bear it. He will never see his mother again; if he can sing, I
must not hinder it, but be thankful for it. If you were older, you would
understand me; then that friendless child's noise would make you glad."

It was a simple speech, and made up of small words, but it went home,
and Sandy's noise was not a trouble to me any more. She never used large
words, but she had a natural gift for making small ones do effective
work. She lived to reach the neighborhood of ninety years, and was
capable with her tongue to the last--especially when a meanness or an
injustice roused her spirit. She has come handy to me several times in
my books, where she figures as Tom Sawyer's "Aunt Polly." I fitted her
out with a dialect, and tried to think up other improvements for her,
but did not find any. I used Sandy once, also; it was in "Tom Sawyer"; I
tried to get him to whitewash the fence, but it did not work. I do not
remember what name I called him by in the book.

I can see the farm yet, with perfect clearness. I can see all its
belongings, all its details; the family room of the house, with a
"trundle" bed in one corner and a spinning-wheel in another--a wheel
whose rising and falling wail, heard from a distance, was the
mournfulest of all sounds to me, and made me homesick and low-spirited,
and filled my atmosphere with the wandering spirits of the dead: the
vast fireplace, piled high, on winter nights, with flaming hickory logs
from whose ends a sugary sap bubbled out but did not go to waste, for we
scraped it off and ate it; the lazy cat spread out on the rough
hearthstones, the drowsy dogs braced against the jambs and blinking; my
aunt in one chimney-corner knitting, my uncle in the other smoking his
corn-cob pipe; the slick and carpetless oak floor faintly mirroring the
dancing flame-tongues and freckled with black indentations where
fire-coals had popped out and died a leisurely death; half a dozen
children romping in the background twilight; "split"-bottomed chairs
here and there, some with rockers; a cradle--out of service, but
waiting, with confidence; in the early cold mornings a snuggle of
children, in shirts and chemises, occupying the hearthstone and
procrastinating--they could not bear to leave that comfortable place and
go out on the wind-swept floor-space between the house and kitchen where
the general tin basin stood, and wash.

Along outside of the front fence ran the country road; dusty in the
summer-time, and a good place for snakes--they liked to lie in it and
sun themselves; when they were rattlesnakes or puff adders, we killed
them: when they were black snakes, or racers, or belonged to the fabled
"hoop" breed, we fled, without shame; when they were "house snakes" or
"garters" we carried them home and put them in Aunt Patsy's work-basket
for a surprise; for she was prejudiced against snakes, and always when
she took the basket in her lap and they began to climb out of it it
disordered her mind. She never could seem to get used to them; her
opportunities went for nothing. And she was always cold toward bats,
too, and could not bear them; and yet I think a bat is as friendly a
bird as there is. My mother was Aunt Patsy's sister, and had the same
wild superstitions. A bat is beautifully soft and silky: I do not know
any creature that is pleasanter to the touch, or is more grateful for
caressings, if offered in the right spirit. I know all about these
coleoptera, because our great cave, three miles below Hannibal, was
multitudinously stocked with them, and often I brought them home to
amuse my mother with. It was easy to manage if it was a school day,
because then I had ostensibly been to school and hadn't any bats. She
was not a suspicious person, but full of trust and confidence; and when
I said "There's something in my coat pocket for you," she would put her
hand in. But she always took it out again, herself; I didn't have to
tell her. It was remarkable, the way she couldn't learn to like private
bats.

I think she was never in the cave in her life; but everybody else went
there. Many excursion parties came from considerable distances up and
down the river to visit the cave. It was miles in extent, and was a
tangled wilderness of narrow and lofty clefts and passages. It was an
easy place to get lost in; anybody could do it--including the bats. I
got lost in it myself, along with a lady, and our last candle burned
down to almost nothing before we glimpsed the search-party's lights
winding about in the distance.

"Injun Joe" the half-breed got lost in there once, and would have
starved to death if the bats had run short. But there was no chance of
that; there were myriads of them. He told me all his story. In the book
called "Tom Sawyer" I starved him entirely to death in the cave, but
that was in the interest of art; it never happened. "General" Gaines,
who was our first town drunkard before Jimmy Finn got the place, was
lost in there for the space of a week, and finally pushed his
handkerchief out of a hole in a hilltop near Saverton, several miles
down the river from the cave's mouth, and somebody saw it and dug him
out. There is nothing the matter with his statistics except the
handkerchief. I knew him for years, and he hadn't any. But it could have
been his nose. That would attract attention.

Beyond the road where the snakes sunned themselves was a dense young
thicket, and through it a dim-lighted path led a quarter of a mile; then
out of the dimness one emerged abruptly upon a level great prairie which
was covered with wild strawberry-plants, vividly starred with prairie
pinks, and walled in on all sides by forests. The strawberries were
fragrant and fine, and in the season we were generally there in the
crisp freshness of the early morning, while the dew-beads still sparkled
upon the grass and the woods were ringing with the first songs of the
birds.

Down the forest slopes to the left were the swings. They were made of
bark stripped from hickory saplings. When they became dry they were
dangerous. They usually broke when a child was forty feet in the air,
and this was why so many bones had to be mended every year. I had no
ill-luck myself, but none of my cousins escaped. There were eight of
them, and at one time and another they broke fourteen arms among them.
But it cost next to nothing, for the doctor worked by the year--$25 for
the whole family. I remember two of the Florida doctors, Chowning and
Meredith. They not only tended an entire family for $25 a year, but
furnished the medicines themselves. Good measure, too. Only the largest
persons could hold a whole dose. Castor-oil was the principal beverage.
The dose was half a dipperful, with half a dipperful of New Orleans
molasses added to help it down and make it taste good, which it never
did. The next standby was calomel; the next, rhubarb; and the next,
jalap. Then they bled the patient, and put mustard-plasters on him. It
was a dreadful system, and yet the death-rate was not heavy. The calomel
was nearly sure to salivate the patient and cost him some of his teeth.
There were no dentists. When teeth became touched with decay or were
otherwise ailing, the doctor knew of but one thing to do: he fetched his
tongs and dragged them out. If the jaw remained, it was not his fault.

Doctors were not called, in cases of ordinary illness; the family's
grandmother attended to those. Every old woman was a doctor, and
gathered her own medicines in the woods, and knew how to compound doses
that would stir the vitals of a cast-iron dog. And then there was the
"Indian doctor"; a grave savage, remnant of his tribe, deeply read in
the mysteries of nature and the secret properties of herbs; and most
backwoodsmen had high faith in his powers and could tell of wonderful
cures achieved by him. In Mauritius, away off yonder in the solitudes of
the Indian Ocean, there is a person who answers to our Indian doctor of
the old times. He is a negro, and has had no teaching as a doctor, yet
there is one disease which he is master of and can cure, and the doctors
can't. They send for him when they have a case. It is a child's disease
of a strange and deadly sort, and the negro cures it with a herb
medicine which he makes, himself, from a prescription which has come
down to him from his father and grandfather. He will not let any one see
it. He keeps the secret of its components to himself, and it is feared
that he will die without divulging it; then there will be consternation
in Mauritius. I was told these things by the people there, in 1896.

We had the "faith doctor," too, in those early days--a woman. Her
specialty was toothache. She was a farmer's old wife, and lived five
miles from Hannibal. She would lay her hand on the patient's jaw and say
"Believe!" and the cure was prompt. Mrs. Utterback. I remember her very
well. Twice I rode out there behind my mother, horseback, and saw the
cure performed. My mother was the patient.

Dr. Meredith removed to Hannibal, by and by, and was our family
physician there, and saved my life several times. Still, he was a good
man and meant well. Let it go.

I was always told that I was a sickly and precarious and tiresome and
uncertain child, and lived mainly on allopathic medicines during the
first seven years of my life. I asked my mother about this, in her old
age--she was in her 88th year--and said:

"I suppose that during all that time you were uneasy about me?"

"Yes, the whole time."

"Afraid I wouldn't live?"

After a reflective pause--ostensibly to think out the facts--

"No--afraid you would."

It sounds like a plagiarism, but it probably wasn't. The country
schoolhouse was three miles from my uncle's farm. It stood in a clearing
in the woods, and would hold about twenty-five boys and girls. We
attended the school with more or less regularity once or twice a week,
in summer, walking to it in the cool of the morning by the forest paths,
and back in the gloaming at the end of the day. All the pupils brought
their dinners in baskets--corn-dodger, buttermilk and other good
things--and sat in the shade of the trees at noon and ate them. It is
the part of my education which I look back upon with the most
satisfaction. My first visit to the school was when I was seven. A
strapping girl of fifteen, in the customary sunbonnet and calico dress,
asked me if I "used tobacco"--meaning did I chew it. I said, no. It
roused her scorn. She reported me to all the crowd, and said--

"Here is a boy seven years old who can't chaw tobacco."

By the looks and comments which this produced, I realized that I was a
degraded object; I was cruelly ashamed of myself. I determined to
reform. But I only made myself sick; I was not able to learn to chew
tobacco. I learned to smoke fairly well, but that did not conciliate
anybody, and I remained a poor thing, and characterless. I longed to be
respected, but I never was able to rise. Children have but little
charity for each other's defects.

As I have said, I spent some part of every year at the farm until I was
twelve or thirteen years old. The life which I led there with my cousins
was full of charm, and so is the memory of it yet. I can call back the
solemn twilight and mystery of the deep woods, the earthy smells, the
faint odors of the wild flowers, the sheen of rain-washed foliage, the
rattling clatter of drops when the wind shook the trees, the far-off
hammering of woodpeckers and the muffled drumming of wood-pheasants in
the remoteness of the forest, the snap-shot glimpses of disturbed wild
creatures skurrying through the grass,--I can call it all back and make
it as real as it ever was, and as blessed. I can call back the prairie,
and its loneliness and peace, and a vast hawk hanging motionless in the
sky, with his wings spread wide and the blue of the vault showing
through the fringe of their end-feathers. I can see the woods in their
autumn dress, the oaks purple, the hickories washed with gold, the
maples and the sumacs luminous with crimson fires, and I can hear the
rustle made by the fallen leaves as we ploughed through them. I can see
the blue clusters of wild grapes hanging amongst the foliage of the
saplings, and I remember the taste of them and the smell. I know how the
wild blackberries looked, and how they tasted; and the same with the
pawpaws, the hazelnuts and the persimmons; and I can feel the thumping
rain, upon my head, of hickory-nuts and walnuts when we were out in the
frosty dawn to scramble for them with the pigs, and the gusts of wind
loosed them and sent them down. I know the stain of blackberries, and
how pretty it is; and I know the stain of walnut hulls, and how little
it minds soap and water; also what grudged experience it had of either
of them. I know the taste of maple sap, and when to gather it, and how
to arrange the troughs and the delivery tubes, and how to boil down the
juice, and how to hook the sugar after it is made; also how much better
hooked sugar tastes than any that is honestly come by, let bigots say
what they will. I know how a prize watermelon looks when it is sunning
its fat rotundity among pumpkin-vines and "simblins"; I know how to tell
when it is ripe without "plugging" it; I know how inviting it looks when
it is cooling itself in a tub of water under the bed, waiting; I know
how it looks when it lies on the table in the sheltered great
floor-space between house and kitchen, and the children gathered for the
sacrifice and their mouths watering; I know the crackling sound it makes
when the carving-knife enters its end, and I can see the split fly along
in front of the blade as the knife cleaves its way to the other end; I
can see its halves fall apart and display the rich red meat and the
black seeds, and the heart standing up, a luxury fit for the elect; I
know how a boy looks, behind a yard-long slice of that melon, and I know
how he feels; for I have been there. I know the taste of the watermelon
which has been honestly come by, and I know the taste of the watermelon
which has been acquired by art. Both taste good, but the experienced
know which tastes best. I know the look of green apples and peaches and
pears on the trees, and I know how entertaining they are when they are
inside of a person. I know how ripe ones look when they are piled in
pyramids under the trees, and how pretty they are and how vivid their
colors. I know how a frozen apple looks, in a barrel down cellar in the
winter-time, and how hard it is to bite, and how the frost makes the
teeth ache, and yet how good it is, notwithstanding. I know the
disposition of elderly people to select the specked apples for the
children, and I once knew ways to beat the game. I know the look of an
apple that is roasting and sizzling on a hearth on a winter's evening,
and I know the comfort that comes of eating it hot, along with some
sugar and a drench of cream. I know the delicate art and mystery of so
cracking hickory-nuts and walnuts on a flatiron with a hammer that the
kernels will be delivered whole, and I know how the nuts, taken in
conjunction with winter apples, cider and doughnuts, make old people's
tales and old jokes sound fresh and crisp and enchanting, and juggle an
evening away before you know what went with the time. I know the look of
Uncle Dan'l's kitchen as it was on privileged nights when I was a child,
and I can see the white and black children grouped on the hearth, with
the firelight playing on their faces and the shadows flickering upon the
walls, clear back toward the cavernous gloom of the rear, and I can hear
Uncle Dan'l telling the immortal tales which Uncle Remus Harris was to
gather into his books and charm the world with, by and by; and I can
feel again the creepy joy which quivered through me when the time for
the ghost-story of the "Golden Arm" was reached--and the sense of
regret, too, which came over me, for it was always the last story of the
evening, and there was nothing between it and the unwelcome bed.

I can remember the bare wooden stairway in my uncle's house, and the
turn to the left above the landing, and the rafters and the slanting
roof over my bed, and the squares of moonlight on the floor, and the
white cold world of snow outside, seen through the curtainless window.
I can remember the howling of the wind and the quaking of the house on
stormy nights, and how snug and cozy one felt, under the blankets,
listening, and how the powdery snow used to sift in, around the sashes,
and lie in little ridges on the floor, and make the place look chilly in
the morning, and curb the wild desire to get up--in case there was any.
I can remember how very dark that room was, in the dark of the moon, and
how packed it was with ghostly stillness when one woke up by accident
away in the night, and forgotten sins came flocking out of the secret
chambers of the memory and wanted a hearing; and how ill chosen the time
seemed for this kind of business; and how dismal was the hoo-hooing of
the owl and the wailing of the wolf, sent mourning by on the night wind.

I remember the raging of the rain on that roof, summer nights, and how
pleasant it was to lie and listen to it, and enjoy the white splendor of
the lightning and the majestic booming and crashing of the thunder. It
was a very satisfactory room; and there was a lightning-rod which was
reachable from the window, an adorable and skittish thing to climb up
and down, summer nights, when there were duties on hand of a sort to
make privacy desirable.

I remember the 'coon and 'possum hunts, nights, with the negroes, and
the long marches through the black gloom of the woods, and the
excitement which fired everybody when the distant bay of an experienced
dog announced that the game was treed; then the wild scramblings and
stumblings through briars and bushes and over roots to get to the spot;
then the lighting of a fire and the felling of the tree, the joyful
frenzy of the dogs and the negroes, and the weird picture it all made in
the red glare--I remember it all well, and the delight that every one
got out of it, except the 'coon.

I remember the pigeon seasons, when the birds would come in millions,
and cover the trees, and by their weight break down the branches. They
were clubbed to death with sticks; guns were not necessary, and were not
used. I remember the squirrel hunts, and the prairie-chicken hunts, and
the wild-turkey hunts, and all that; and how we turned out, mornings,
while it was still dark, to go on these expeditions, and how chilly and
dismal it was, and how often I regretted that I was well enough to go. A
toot on a tin horn brought twice as many dogs as were needed, and in
their happiness they raced and scampered about, and knocked small people
down, and made no end of unnecessary noise. At the word, they vanished
away toward the woods, and we drifted silently after them in the
melancholy gloom. But presently the gray dawn stole over the world, the
birds piped up, then the sun rose and poured light and comfort all
around, everything was fresh and dewy and fragrant, and life was a boon
again. After three hours of tramping we arrived back wholesomely tired,
overladen with game, very hungry, and just in time for breakfast.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[6] 100,000 acres.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXI.

MARCH 15, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XIV.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[_Dictated Thursday, December 6, 1906._]

_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     _Feb. 27, Sunday._

     Clara's reputation as a baby was always a fine one, mine exactly
     the contrary. One often related story concerning her braveness as a
     baby and her own opinion of this quality of hers is this. Clara and
     I often got slivers in our hands and when mama took them out with a
     much dreaded needle, Clara was always very brave, and I very
     cowardly. One day Clara got one of these slivers in her hand, a
     very bad one, and while mama was taking it out, Clara stood
     perfectly still without even wincing: I saw how brave she was and
     turning to mamma said "Mamma isn't she a brave little thing!"
     presently mamma had to give the little hand quite a dig with the
     needle and noticing how perfectly quiet Clara was about it she
     exclaimed, Why Clara! you are a brave little thing! Clara responded
     "No bodys braver but  God!"--


Clara's pious remark is the main detail, and Susy has accurately
remembered its phrasing. The three-year-older's wound was of a
formidable sort, and not one which the mother's surgery would have been
equal to. The flesh of the finger had been burst by a cruel accident. It
was the doctor that sewed it up, and to all appearances it was he, and
the other independent witnesses, that did the main part of the
suffering; each stitch that he took made Clara wince slightly, but it
shrivelled the others.

I take pride in Clara's remark, because it shows that although she was
only three years old, her fireside teachings were already making her a
thinker--a thinker and also an observer of proportions. I am not
claiming any credit for this. I furnished to the children worldly
knowledge and wisdom, but was not competent to go higher, and so I left
their spiritual education in the hands of the mother. A result of this
modesty of mine was made manifest to me in a very striking way, some
years afterward, when Jean was nine years old. We had recently arrived
in Berlin, at the time, and had begun housekeeping in a furnished
apartment. One morning at breakfast a vast card arrived--an invitation.
To be precise, it was a command from the Emperor of Germany to come to
dinner. During several months I had encountered socially, on the
Continent, men bearing lofty titles; and all this while Jean was
becoming more and more impressed, and awed, and subdued, by these
imposing events, for she had not been abroad before, and they were new
to her--wonders out of dreamland turned into realities. The imperial
card was passed from hand to hand, around the table, and examined with
interest; when it reached Jean she exhibited excitement and emotion, but
for a time was quite speechless; then she said,

"Why, papa, if it keeps going on like this, pretty soon there won't be
anybody left for you to get acquainted with but God."

It was not complimentary to think I was not acquainted in that quarter,
but she was young, and the young jump to conclusions without reflection.

Necessarily, I did myself the honor to obey the command of the Emperor
Wilhelm II. Prince Heinrich, and six or eight other guests were
present. The Emperor did most of the talking, and he talked well, and in
faultless English. In both of these conspicuousnesses I was gratified to
recognize a resemblance to myself--a very exact resemblance; no, almost
exact, but not quite that--a modified exactness, with the advantage in
favor of the Emperor. My English, like his, is nearly faultless; like
him I talk well; and when I have guests at dinner I prefer to do all the
talking myself. It is the best way, and the pleasantest. Also the most
profitable for the others.

I was greatly pleased to perceive that his Majesty was familiar with my
books, and that his attitude toward them was not uncomplimentary. In the
course of his talk he said that my best and most valuable book was "Old
Times on the Mississippi." I will refer to that remark again, presently.

An official who was well up in the Foreign Office at that time, and had
served under Bismarck for fourteen years, was still occupying his old
place under Chancellor Caprivi. Smith, I will call him of whom I am
speaking, though that is not his name. He was a special friend of mine,
and I greatly enjoyed his society, although in order to have it it was
necessary for me to seek it as late as midnight, and not earlier. This
was because Government officials of his rank had to work all day, after
nine in the morning, and then attend official banquets in the evening;
wherefore they were usually unable to get life-restoring fresh air and
exercise for their jaded minds and bodies earlier than midnight; then
they turned out, in groups of two or three, and gratefully and violently
tramped the deserted streets until two in the morning. Smith had been in
the Government service, at home and abroad, for more than thirty years,
and he was now sixty years old, or close upon it. He could not remember
a year in which he had had a vacation of more than a fortnight's length;
he was weary all through to the bones and the marrow, now, and was
yearning for a holiday of a whole three months--yearning so longingly
and so poignantly that he had at last made up his mind to make a
desperate cast for it and stand the consequences, whatever they might
be. It was against all rules to _ask_ for a vacation--quite against all
etiquette; the shock of it would paralyze the Chancellery; stem
etiquette and usage required another form: the applicant was not
privileged to ask for a vacation, he must send in his _resignation_. The
chancellor would know that the applicant was not really trying to
resign, and didn't want to resign, but was merely trying in this
left-handed way to get a vacation.

The night before the Emperor's dinner I helped Smith take his exercise,
after midnight, and he was full of his project. He had sent in his
resignation that day, and was trembling for the result; and naturally,
because it might possibly be that the chancellor would be happy to fill
his place with somebody else, in which case he could accept the
resignation without comment and without offence. Smith was in a very
anxious frame of mind; not that he feared that Caprivi was dissatisfied
with him, for he had no such fear; it was the Emperor that he was afraid
of; he did not know how he stood with the Emperor. He said that while
apparently it was Caprivi who would decide his case, it was in reality
the Emperor who would perform that service; that the Emperor kept
personal watch upon everything, and that no official sparrow could fall
to the ground without his privity and consent; that the resignation
would be laid before his Majesty, who would accept it or decline to
accept it, according to his pleasure, and that then his pleasure in the
matter would be communicated by Caprivi. Smith said he would know his
fate the next evening, after the imperial dinner; that when I should
escort his Majesty into the large salon contiguous to the dining-room, I
would find there about thirty men--Cabinet ministers, admirals, generals
and other great officials of the Empire--and that these men would be
standing talking together in little separate groups of two or three
persons; that the Emperor would move from group to group and say a word
to each, sometimes two words, sometimes ten words; and that the length
of his speech, whether brief or not so brief, would indicate the exact
standing in the Emperor's regard, of the man accosted; and that by
observing this thermometer an expert could tell, to half a degree, the
state of the imperial weather in each case; that in Berlin, as in the
imperial days of Rome, the Emperor was the sun, and that his smile or
his frown meant good fortune or disaster to the man upon whom it should
fall. Smith suggested that I watch the thermometer while the Emperor
went his rounds of the groups; and added that if his Majesty talked four
minutes with any person there present, it meant high favor, and that the
sun was in the zenith, and cloudless, for that man.

I mentally recorded that four-minute altitude, and resolved to see if
any man there on that night stood in sufficient favor to achieve it.

Very well. After the dinner I watched the Emperor while he passed from
group to group, and privately I timed him with a watch. Two or three
times he came near to reaching the four-minute altitude, but always he
fell short a little. The last man he came to was Smith. He put his hand
on Smith's shoulder and began to talk to him; and when he finished, the
thermometer had scored seven minutes! The company then moved toward the
smoking-room, where cigars, beer and anecdotes would be in brisk service
until midnight, and as Smith passed me he whispered,

"That settles it. The chancellor will ask me how much of a vacation I
want, and I sha'n't be afraid to raise the limit. I shall call for six
months."

[Sidenote: (1891)]

[Sidenote: (1899)]

Smith's dream had been to spend his three months' vacation--in case he
got a vacation instead of the other thing--in one of the great capitals
of the Continent--a capital whose name I shall suppress, at present. The
next day the chancellor asked him how much of a vacation he wanted, and
where he desired to spend it. Smith told him. His prayer was granted,
and rather more than granted. The chancellor augmented his salary and
attached him to the German Embassy of that selected capital, giving him
a place of high dignity bearing an imposing title, and with nothing to
do except attend banquets of an extraordinary character at the Embassy,
once or twice a year. The term of his vacation was not specified; he was
to continue it until requested to come back to his work in the Foreign
Office. This was in 1891. Eight years later Smith was passing through
Vienna, and he called upon me. There had been no interruption of his
vacation, as yet, and there was no likelihood that an interruption of it
would occur while he should still be among the living.

[_Dictated Monday, December 17, 1906._] As I have already remarked, "Old
Times on the Mississippi" got the Kaiser's best praise. It was after
midnight when I reached home; I was usually out until toward midnight,
and the pleasure of being out late was poisoned, every night, by the
dread of what I must meet at my front door--an indignant face, a
resentful face, the face of the _portier_. The _portier_ was a
tow-headed young German, twenty-two or three years old; and it had been
for some time apparent to me that he did not enjoy being hammered out of
his sleep, nights, to let me in. He never had a kind word for me, nor a
pleasant look. I couldn't understand it, since it was his business to be
on watch and let the occupants of the several flats in at any and all
hours of the night. I could not see why he so distinctly failed to get
reconciled to it.

The fact is, I was ignorantly violating, every night, a custom in which
he was commercially interested. I did not suspect this. No one had told
me of the custom, and if I had been left to guess it, it would have
taken me a very long time to make a success of it. It was a custom which
was so well established and so universally recognized, that it had all
the force and dignity of law. By authority of this custom, whosoever
entered a Berlin house after ten at night must pay a trifling toll to
the _portier_ for breaking his sleep to let him in. This tax was either
two and a half cents or five cents, I don't remember which; but I had
never paid it, and didn't know I owed it, and as I had been residing in
Berlin several weeks, I was so far in arrears that my presence in the
German capital was getting to be a serious disaster to that young
fellow.

I arrived from the imperial dinner sorrowful and anxious, made my
presence known and prepared myself to wait in patience the tedious
minute or two which the _portier_ usually allowed himself to keep me
tarrying--as a punishment. But this time there was no stage-wait; the
door was instantly unlocked, unbolted, unchained and flung wide; and in
it appeared the strange and welcome apparition of the _portier's_ round
face all sunshine and smiles and welcome, in place of the black frowns
and hostility that I was expecting. Plainly he had not come out of his
bed: he had been waiting for me, watching for me. He began to pour out
upon me in the most enthusiastic and energetic way a generous stream of
German welcome and homage, meanwhile dragging me excitedly to his small
bedroom beside the front door; there he made me bend down over a row of
German translations of my books and said,

"There--you wrote them! I have found it out! By God, I did not know it
before, and I ask a million pardons! That one there, the 'Old Times on
the Mississippi,' is the best book you ever wrote!"

The usual number of those curious accidents which we call coincidences
have fallen to my share in this life, but for picturesqueness this one
puts all the others in the shade: that a crowned head and a _portier_,
the very top of an empire and the very bottom of it, should pass the
very same criticism and deliver the very same verdict upon a book of
mine--and almost in the same hour and the same breath--is a coincidence
which out-coincidences any coincidence which I could have imagined with
such powers of imagination as I have been favored with; and I have not
been accustomed to regard them as being small or of an inferior quality.
It is always a satisfaction to me to remember that whereas I do not
know, for sure, what any other nation thinks of any one of my
twenty-three volumes, I do at least know for a certainty what one nation
of fifty millions thinks of one of them, at any rate; for if the mutual
verdict of the top of an empire and the bottom of it does not establish
for good and all the judgment of the entire nation concerning that book,
then the axiom that we can get a sure estimate of a thing by arriving at
a general average of all the opinions involved, is a fallacy.

[_Dictated Monday, February 10, 1907._] Two months ago (December 6) I
was dictating a brief account of a private dinner in Berlin, where the
Emperor of Germany was host and I the chief guest. Something happened
day before yesterday which moves me to take up that matter again.

At the dinner his Majesty chatted briskly and entertainingly along in
easy and flowing English, and now and then he interrupted himself to
address a remark to me, or to some other individual of the guests. When
the reply had been delivered, he resumed his talk. I noticed that the
table etiquette tallied with that which was the law of my house at home
when we had guests: that is to say, the guests answered when the host
favored them with a remark, and then quieted down and behaved themselves
until they got another chance. If I had been in the Emperor's chair and
he in mine, I should have felt infinitely comfortable and at home, and
should have done a world of talking, and done it well; but I was guest
now, and consequently I felt less at home. From old experience, I was
familiar with the rules of the game, and familiar with their exercise
from the high place of host; but I was not familiar with the trammelled
and less satisfactory position of guest, therefore I felt a little
strange and out of place. But there was no animosity--no, the Emperor
was host, therefore according to my own rule he had a right to do the
talking, and it was my honorable duty to intrude no interruptions or
other improvements, except upon invitation; and of course it could be
_my_ turn some day: some day, on some friendly visit of inspection to
America, it might be my pleasure and distinction to have him as guest at
my table; then I would give him a rest, and a remarkably quiet time.

In one way there was a difference between his table and mine--for
instance, atmosphere; the guests stood in awe of him, and naturally they
conferred that feeling upon me, for, after all, I am only human,
although I regret it. When a guest answered a question he did it with
deferential voice and manner; he did not put any emotion into it, and he
did not spin it out, but got it out of his system as quickly as he
could, and then looked relieved. The Emperor was used to this
atmosphere, and it did not chill his blood; maybe it was an inspiration
to him, for he was alert, brilliant and full of animation; also he was
most gracefully and felicitously complimentary to my books,--and I will
remark here that the happy phrasing of a compliment is one of the rarest
of human gifts, and the happy delivery of it another. In that other
chapter I mentioned the high compliment which he paid to the book, "Old
Times on the Mississippi," but there were others; among them some
gratifying praise of my description in "A Tramp Abroad" of certain
striking phases of German student life. I mention these things here
because I shall have occasion to hark back to them presently.

[_Dictated Tuesday, February 12, 1907._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Those stars indicate the long chapter which I dictated yesterday, a
chapter which is much too long for magazine purposes, and therefore must
wait until this Autobiography shall appear in book form, five years
hence, when I am dead: five years according to my calculation,
twenty-seven years according to the prediction furnished me a week ago
by the latest and most confident of all the palmists who have ever read
my future in my hand. The Emperor's dinner, and its beer-and-anecdote
appendix, covered six hours of diligent industry, and this accounts for
the extraordinary length of that chapter.

A couple of days ago a gentleman called upon me with a message. He had
just arrived from Berlin, where he had been acting for our Government in
a matter concerning tariff revision, he being a member of the commission
appointed by our Government to conduct our share of the affair. Upon the
completion of the commission's labors, the Emperor invited the members
of it to an audience, and in the course of the conversation he made a
reference to me; continuing, he spoke of my chapter on the German
language in "A Tramp Abroad," and characterized it by an adjective which
is too complimentary for me to repeat here without bringing my modesty
under suspicion. Then he paid some compliments to "The Innocents
Abroad," and followed these with the remark that my account in one of my
books of certain striking phases of German student life was the best and
truest that had ever been written. By this I perceive that he remembers
that dinner of sixteen years ago, for he said the same thing to me about
the student-chapter at that time. Next he said he wished this gentleman
to convey two messages to America from him and deliver them--one to the
President, the other to me. The wording of the message to me was:

"Convey to Mr. Clemens my kindest regards. Ask him if he remembers that
dinner, and ask him why he didn't do any talking."

Why, how could I talk when he was talking? He "held the age," as the
poker-clergy say, and two can't talk at the same time with good effect.
It reminds me of the man who was reproached by a friend, who said,

"I think it a shame that you have not spoken to your wife for fifteen
years. How do you explain it? How do you justify it?"

That poor man said,

"I didn't want to interrupt her."

If the Emperor had been at my table, he would not have suffered from my
silence, he would only have suffered from the sorrows of his own
solitude. If I were not too old to travel, I would go to Berlin and
introduce the etiquette of my own table, which tallies with the
etiquette observable at other royal tables. I would say, "Invite me
again, your Majesty, and give me a chance"; then I would courteously
waive rank and do all the talking myself. I thank his Majesty for his
kind message, and am proud to have it and glad to express my sincere
reciprocation of its sentiments.

[_Dictated January 17, 1906._] ... Rev. Joseph T. Harris and I have been
visiting General Sickles. Once, twenty or twenty-five years ago, just as
Harris was coming out of his gate Sunday morning to walk to his church
and preach, a telegram was put into his hand. He read it immediately,
and then, in a manner, collapsed. It said: "General Sickles died last
night at midnight." [He had been a chaplain under Sickles through the
war.]

[Sidenote: (1880.)]

It wasn't so. But no matter--it was so to Harris at the time. He walked
along--walked to the church--but his mind was far away. All his
affection and homage and worship of his General had come to the fore.
His heart was full of these emotions. He hardly knew where he was. In
his pulpit, he stood up and began the service, but with a voice over
which he had almost no command. The congregation had never seen him thus
moved, before, in his pulpit. They sat there and gazed at him and
wondered what was the matter; because he was now reading, in this broken
voice and with occasional tears trickling down his face, what to them
seemed a quite unemotional chapter--that one about Moses begat Aaron,
and Aaron begat Deuteronomy, and Deuteronomy begat St. Peter, and St.
Peter begat Cain, and Cain begat Abel--and he was going along with this,
and half crying--his voice continually breaking. The congregation left
the church that morning without being able to account for this most
extraordinary thing--as it seemed to them. That a man who had been a
soldier for more than four years, and who had preached in that pulpit so
many, many times on really moving subjects, without even the quiver of a
lip, should break all down over the Begats, they couldn't understand.
But there it is--any one can see how such a mystery as that would arouse
the curiosity of those people to the boiling-point.

Harris has had many adventures. He has more adventures in a year than
anybody else has in five. One Saturday night he noticed a bottle on his
uncle's dressing-bureau. He thought the label said "Hair Restorer," and
he took it in his room and gave his head a good drenching and sousing
with it and carried it back and thought no more about it. Next morning
when he got up his head was a bright green! He sent around everywhere
and couldn't get a substitute preacher, so he had to go to his church
himself and preach--and he did it. He hadn't a sermon in his barrel--as
it happened--of any lightsome character, so he had to preach a very
grave one--a very serious one--and it made the matter worse. The gravity
of the sermon did not harmonize with the gayety of his head, and the
people sat all through it with handkerchiefs stuffed in their mouths to
try to keep down their joy. And Harris told me that he was sure he never
had seen his congregation--the whole body of his congregation--the
_entire_ body of his congregation--absorbed in interest in his sermon,
from beginning to end, before. Always there had been an aspect of
indifference, here and there, or wandering, somewhere; but this time
there was nothing of the kind. Those people sat there as if they
thought, "Good for this day and train only: we must have all there is of
this show, not waste any of it." And he said that when he came down out
of the pulpit more people waited to shake him by the hand and tell him
what a good sermon it was, than ever before. And it seemed a pity that
these people should do these fictions in such a place--right in the
church--when it was quite plain they were not interested in the sermon
at all; they only wanted to get a near view of his head.

Well, Harris said--no, Harris didn't say, _I_ say, that as the days went
on and Sunday followed Sunday, the interest in Harris's hair grew and
grew; because it didn't stay merely and monotonously green, it took on
deeper and deeper shades of green; and then it would change and become
reddish, and would go from that to some other color--purplish,
yellowish, bluish, and so on--but it was never a solid color. It was
always mottled. And each Sunday it was a little more interesting than it
was the Sunday before--and Harris's head became famous, and people came
from New York, and Boston, and South Carolina, and Japan, and so on, to
look. There wasn't seating-capacity for all the people that came while
his head was undergoing these various and fascinating mottlings. And it
was a good thing in several ways, because the business had been
languishing a little, and now a lot of people joined the church so that
they could have the show, and it was the beginning of a prosperity for
that church which has never diminished in all these years.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXII.

APRIL 5, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XV.

BY MARK TWAIN.

[_Dictated October 8, 1906._]

_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     Papa says that if the collera comes here he will take Sour Mash to
     the mountains.


[Sidenote: (1885.)]

This remark about the cat is followed by various entries, covering a
month, in which Jean, General Grant, the sculptor Gerhardt, Mrs. Candace
Wheeler, Miss Dora Wheeler, Mr. Frank Stockton, Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge,
and the widow of General Custer appear and drift in procession across
the page, then vanish forever from the Biography; then Susy drops this
remark in the wake of the vanished procession:


     Sour Mash is a constant source of anxiety, care, and pleasure to
     papa.


I did, in truth, think a great deal of that old tortoise-shell harlot;
but I haven't a doubt that in order to impress Susy I was pretending
agonies of solicitude which I didn't honestly feel. Sour Mash never gave
me any real anxiety; she was always able to take care of herself, and
she was ostentatiously vain of the fact; vain of it to a degree which
often made me ashamed of her, much as I esteemed her.

Many persons would like to have the society of cats during the summer
vacation in the country, but they deny themselves this pleasure because
they think they must either take the cats along when they return to the
city, where they would be a trouble and an encumbrance, or leave them in
the country, houseless and homeless. These people have no ingenuity, no
invention, no wisdom; or it would occur to them to do as I do: rent cats
by the month for the summer and return them to their good homes at the
end of it. Early last May I rented a kitten of a farmer's wife, by the
month; then I got a discount by taking three. They have been good
company for about five months now, and are still kittens--at least they
have not grown much, and to all intents and purposes are still kittens,
and as full of romping energy and enthusiasm as they were in the
beginning. This is remarkable. I am an expert in cats, but I have not
seen a kitten keep its kittenhood nearly so long before.

These are beautiful creatures--these triplets. Two of them wear the
blackest and shiniest and thickest of sealskin vestments all over their
bodies except the lower half of their faces and the terminations of
their paws. The black masks reach down below the eyes, therefore when
the eyes are closed they are not visible; the rest of the face, and the
gloves and stockings, are snow white. These markings are just the same
on both cats--so exactly the same that when you call one the other is
likely to answer, because they cannot tell each other apart. Since the
cats are precisely alike, and can't be told apart by any of us, they do
not need two names, so they have but one between them. We call both of
them Sackcloth, and we call the gray one Ashes. I believe I have never
seen such intelligent cats as these before. They are full of the nicest
discriminations. When I read German aloud they weep; you can see the
tears run down. It shows what pathos there is in the German tongue. I
had not noticed before that all German is pathetic, no matter what the
subject is nor how it is treated. It was these humble observers that
brought the knowledge to me. I have tried all kinds of German on these
cats; romance, poetry, philosophy, theology, market reports; and the
result has always been the same--the cats sob, and let the tears run
down, which shows that all German is pathetic. French is not a familiar
tongue to me, and the pronunciation is difficult, and comes out of me
encumbered with a Missouri accent; but the cats like it, and when I make
impassioned speeches in that language they sit in a row and put up their
paws, palm to palm, and frantically give thanks. Hardly any cats are
affected by music, but these are; when I sing they go reverently away,
showing how deeply they feel it. Sour Mash never cared for these things.
She had many noble qualities, but at bottom she was not refined, and
cared little or nothing for theology and the arts.

It is a pity to say it, but these cats are not above the grade of human
beings, for I know by certain signs that they are not sincere in their
exhibitions of emotion, but exhibit them merely to show off and attract
attention--conduct which is distinctly human, yet with a difference:
they do not know enough to conceal their desire to show off, but the
grown human being does. What is ambition? It is only the desire to be
conspicuous. The desire for fame is only the desire to be continuously
conspicuous and attract attention and be talked about.

These cats are like human beings in another way: when Ashes began to
work his fictitious emotions, and show off, the other members of the
firm followed suit, in order to be in the fashion. That is the way with
human beings; they are afraid to be outside; whatever the fashion
happens to be, they conform to it, whether it be a pleasant fashion or
the reverse, they lacking the courage to ignore it and go their own way.
All human beings would like to dress in loose and comfortable and highly
colored and showy garments, and they had their desire until a century
ago, when a king, or some other influential ass, introduced sombre hues
and discomfort and ugly designs into masculine clothing. The meek public
surrendered to the outrage, and by consequence we are in that odious
captivity to-day, and are likely to remain in it for a long time to
come.

Fortunately the women were not included in the disaster, and so their
graces and their beauty still have the enhancing help of delicate
fabrics and varied and beautiful colors. Their clothing makes a great
opera audience an enchanting spectacle, a delight to the eye and the
spirit, a Garden of Eden for charm and color. The men, clothed in dismal
black, are scattered here and there and everywhere over the Garden, like
so many charred stumps, and they damage the effect, but cannot
annihilate it.

In summer we poor creatures have a respite, and may clothe ourselves in
white garments; loose, soft, and in some degree shapely; but in the
winter--the sombre winter, the depressing winter, the cheerless winter,
when white clothes and bright colors are especially needed to brighten
our spirits and lift them up--we all conform to the prevailing insanity,
and go about in dreary black, each man doing it because the others do
it, and not because he wants to. They are really no sincerer than
Sackcloth and Ashes. At bottom the Sackcloths do not care to exhibit
their emotions when I am performing before them, they only do it because
Ashes started it.

I would like to dress in a loose and flowing costume made all of silks
and velvets, resplendent with all the stunning dyes of the rainbow, and
so would every sane man I have ever known; but none of us dares to
venture it. There is such a thing as carrying conspicuousness to the
point of discomfort; and if I should appear on Fifth Avenue on a Sunday
morning, at church-time, clothed as I would like to be clothed, the
churches would be vacant, and I should have all the congregations
tagging after me, to look, and secretly envy, and publicly scoff. It is
the way human beings are made; they are always keeping their real
feelings shut up inside, and publicly exploiting their fictitious ones.

Next after fine colors, I like plain white. One of my sorrows, when the
summer ends, is that I must put off my cheery and comfortable white
clothes and enter for the winter into the depressing captivity of the
shapeless and degrading black ones. It is mid-October now, and the
weather is growing cold up here in the New Hampshire hills, but it will
not succeed in freezing me out of these white garments, for here the
neighbors are few, and it is only of crowds that I am afraid. I made a
brave experiment, the other night, to see how it would feel to shock a
crowd with these unseasonable clothes, and also to see how long it might
take the crowd to reconcile itself to them and stop looking astonished
and outraged. On a stormy evening I made a talk before a full house, in
the village, clothed like a ghost, and looking as conspicuously, all
solitary and alone on that platform, as any ghost could have looked; and
I found, to my gratification, that it took the house less than ten
minutes to forget about the ghost and give its attention to the tidings
I had brought.

I am nearly seventy-one, and I recognize that my age has given me a good
many privileges; valuable privileges; privileges which are not granted
to younger persons. Little by little I hope to get together courage
enough to wear white clothes all through the winter, in New York. It
will be a great satisfaction to me to show off in this way; and perhaps
the largest of all the satisfactions will be the knowledge that every
scoffer, of my sex, will secretly envy me and wish he dared to follow my
lead.

That mention that I have acquired new and great privileges by grace of
my age, is not an uncalculated remark. When I passed the seventieth
mile-stone, ten months ago, I instantly realized that I had entered a
new country and a new atmosphere. To all the public I was become
recognizably old, undeniably old; and from that moment everybody assumed
a new attitude toward me--the reverent attitude granted by custom to
age--and straightway the stream of generous new privileges began to flow
in upon me and refresh my life. Since then, I have lived an ideal
existence; and I now believe what Choate said last March, and which at
the time I didn't credit: that the best of life begins at seventy; for
then your work is done; you know that you have done your best, let the
quality of the work be what it may; that you have earned your holiday--a
holiday of peace and contentment--and that thenceforth, to the setting
of your sun, nothing will break it, nothing interrupt it.

[_Dictated January 22, 1907._] In an earlier chapter I inserted some
verses beginning "Love Came at Dawn" which had been found among Susy's
papers after her death. I was not able to say that they were hers, but I
judged that they might be, for the reason that she had not enclosed them
in quotation marks according to her habit when storing up treasures
gathered from other people. Stedman was not able to determine the
authorship for me, as the verses were new to him, but the authorship has
now been traced. The verses were written by William Wilfred Campbell, a
Canadian poet, and they form a part of the contents of his book called
"Beyond the Hills of Dream."

The authorship of the beautiful lines which my wife and I inscribed upon
Susy's gravestone was untraceable for a time. We had found them in a
book in India, but had lost the book and with it the author's name. But
in time an application to the editor of "Notes and Queries" furnished me
the author's name,[7] and it has been added to the verses upon the
gravestone.

Last night, at a dinner-party where I was present, Mr. Peter Dunne
Dooley handed to the host several dollars, in satisfaction of a lost
bet. I seemed to see an opportunity to better my condition, and I
invited Dooley, apparently disinterestedly, to come to my house Friday
and play billiards. He accepted, and I judge that there is going to be a
deficit in the Dooley treasury as a result. In great qualities of the
heart and brain, Dooley is gifted beyond all propriety. He is brilliant;
he is an expert with his pen, and he easily stands at the head of all
the satirists of this generation--but he is going to walk in darkness
Friday afternoon. It will be a fraternal kindness to teach him that with
all his light and culture, he does not know all the valuable things; and
it will also be a fraternal kindness to him to complete his education
for him--and I shall do this on Friday, and send him home in that
perfected condition.

I possess a billiard secret which can be valuable to the Dooley sept,
after I shall have conferred it upon Dooley--for a consideration. It is
a discovery which I made by accident, thirty-eight years ago, in my
father-in-law's house in Elmira. There was a scarred and battered and
ancient billiard-table in the garret, and along with it a peck of
checked and chipped balls, and a rackful of crooked and headless cues. I
played solitaire up there every day with that difficult outfit. The
table was not level, but slanted sharply to the southeast; there wasn't
a ball that was round, or would complete the journey you started it on,
but would always get tired and stop half-way and settle, with a jolty
wabble, to a standstill on its chipped side. I tried making counts with
four balls, but found it difficult and discouraging, so I added a fifth
ball, then a sixth, then a seventh, and kept on adding until at last I
had twelve balls on the table and a thirteenth to play with. My game was
caroms--caroms solely--caroms plain, or caroms with cushion to
help--anything that could furnish a count. In the course of time I found
to my astonishment that I was never able to run fifteen, under any
circumstances. By huddling the balls advantageously in the beginning, I
could now and then coax fourteen out of them, but I couldn't reach
fifteen by either luck or skill. Sometimes the balls would get scattered
into difficult positions and defeat me in that way; sometimes if I
managed to keep them together, I would freeze; and always when I froze,
and had to play away from the contact, there was sure to be nothing to
play at but a wide and uninhabited vacancy.

One day Mr. Dalton called on my brother-in-law, on a matter of business,
and I was asked if I could entertain him awhile, until my brother-in-law
should finish an engagement with another gentleman. I said I could, and
took him up to the billiard-table. I had played with him many times at
the club, and knew that he could play billiards tolerably well--only
tolerably well--but not any better than I could. He and I were just a
match. He didn't know our table; he didn't know those balls; he didn't
know those warped and headless cues; he didn't know the southeastern
slant of the table, and how to allow for it. I judged it would be safe
and profitable to offer him a bet on my scheme. I emptied the avalanche
of thirteen balls on the table and said:

"Take a ball and begin, Mr. Dalton. How many can you run with an outlay
like that?"

He said, with the half-affronted air of a mathematician who has been
asked how much of the multiplication table he can recite without a
break:

"I suppose a million--eight hundred thousand, anyway."

I said "You shall hove the privilege of placing the balls to suit
yourself, and I want to bet you a dollar that you can't run fifteen."

I will not dwell upon the sequel. At the end of an hour his face was
red, and wet with perspiration; his outer garments lay scattered here
and there over the place; he was the angriest man in the State, and
there wasn't a rag or remnant of an injurious adjective left in him
anywhere--and I had all his small change.

When the summer was over, we went home to Hartford, and one day Mr.
George Robertson arrived from Boston with two or three hours to spare
between then and the return train, and as he was a young gentleman to
whom we were in debt for much social pleasure, it was my duty, and a
welcome duty, to make his two or three hours interesting for him. So I
took him up-stairs and set up my billiard scheme for his comfort. Mine
was a good table, in perfect repair; the cues were in perfect condition;
the balls were ivory, and flawless--but I knew that Mr. Robertson was my
prey, just the same, for by exhaustive tests with this outfit I had
found that my limit was thirty-one. I had proved to my satisfaction that
whereas I could not fairly expect to get more than six or eight or a
dozen caroms out of a run, I could now and then reach twenty and
twenty-five, and after a long procession of failures finally achieve a
run of thirty-one; but in no case had I ever got beyond thirty-one.
Robertson's game, as I knew, was a little better than mine, so I
resolved to require him to make thirty-two. I believed it would
entertain him. He was one of these brisk and hearty and cheery and
self-satisfied young fellows who are brimful of confidence, and who
plunge with grateful eagerness into any enterprise that offers a showy
test of their abilities. I emptied the balls on the table and said,

"Take a cue and a ball, George, and begin. How many caroms do you think
you can make out of that layout?"

He laughed the laugh of the gay and the care-free, as became his youth
and inexperience, and said,

"I can punch caroms out of that bunch a week without a break."

I said "Place the balls to suit yourself, and begin."

Confidence is a necessary thing in billiards, but overconfidence is bad.
George went at his task with much too much lightsomeness of spirit and
disrespect for the situation. On his first shot he scored three caroms;
on his second shot he scored four caroms; and on his third shot he
missed as simple a carom as could be devised. He was very much
astonished, and said he would not have supposed that careful play could
be needed with an acre of bunched balls in front of a person.

He began again, and played more carefully, but still with too much
lightsomeness; he couldn't seem to learn to take the situation
seriously. He made about a dozen caroms and broke down. He was irritated
with himself now, and he thought he caught me laughing. He didn't. I do
not laugh publicly at my client when this game is going on; I only do it
inside--or save it for after the exhibition is over. But he thought he
had caught me laughing, and it increased his irritation. Of course I
knew he thought I was laughing privately--for I was experienced; they
all think that, and it has a good effect; it sharpens their annoyance
and debilitates their play.

He made another trial and failed. Once more he was astonished; once more
he was humiliated--and as for his anger, it rose to summer-heat. He
arranged the balls again, grouping them carefully, and said he would win
this time, or die. When a client reaches this condition, it is a good
time to damage his nerve further, and this can always be done by saying
some little mocking thing or other that has the outside appearance of a
friendly remark--so I employed this art. I suggested that a bet might
tauten his nerves, and that I would offer one, but that as I did not
want it to be an expense to him, but only a help, I would make it
small--a cigar, if he were willing--a cigar that he would fail again;
not an expensive one, but a cheap native one, of the Crown Jewel breed,
such as is manufactured in Hartford for the clergy. It set him afire all
over! I could see the blue flame issue from his eyes. He said,

"Make it a hundred!--and no Connecticut cabbage-leaf product, but
Havana, $25 the box!"

I took him up, but said I was sorry to see him do this, because it did
not seem to me right or fair for me to rob him under our own roof, when
he had been so kind to us. He said, with energy and acrimony:

"You take care of your own pocket, if you'll be so good, and leave me to
take care of mine."

And he plunged at the congress of balls with a vindictiveness which was
infinitely contenting to me. He scored a failure--and began to undress.
I knew it would come to that, for he was in the condition now that Mr.
Dooley will be in at about that stage of the contest on Friday
afternoon. A clothes-rack will be provided for Mr. Dooley to hang his
things on as fast as he shall from time to time shed them. George raised
his voice four degrees and flung out the challenge--

"Double or quits!"

"Done," I responded, in the gentle and compassionate voice of one who is
apparently getting sorrier and sorrier.

There was an hour and a half of straight disaster after that, and if it
was a sin to enjoy it, it is no matter--I did enjoy it. It is half a
lifetime ago, but I enjoy it yet, every time I think of it George made
failure after failure. His fury increased with each failure as he
scored it. With each defeat he flung off one or another rag of his
raiment, and every time he started on a fresh inning he made it "double
or quits" once more. Twice he reached thirty and broke down; once he
reached thirty-one and broke down. These "nears" made him frantic, and I
believe I was never so happy in my life, except the time, a few years
later, when the Rev. J. H. Twichell and I walked to Boston and he had
the celebrated conversation with the hostler at the Inn at Ashford,
Connecticut.

At last, when we were notified that Patrick was at the door to drive him
to his train, George owed me five thousand cigars at twenty-five cents
apiece, and I was so sorry I could have hugged him. But he shouted,

"Give me ten minutes more!" and added stormily, "it's double or quits
again, and I'll win out free of debt or owe you ten thousand cigars, and
you'll pay the funeral expenses."

He began on his final effort, and I believe that in all my experience
among both amateurs and experts, I have never seen a cue so carefully
handled in my lifetime as George handled his upon this intensely
interesting occasion. He got safely up to twenty-five, and then ceased
to breathe. So did I. He labored along, and added a point, another
point, still another point, and finally reached thirty-one. He stopped
there, and we took a breath. By this time the balls were scattered all
down the cushions, about a foot or two apart, and there wasn't a shot in
sight anywhere that any man might hope to make. In a burst of anger and
confessed defeat, he sent his ball flying around the table at random,
and it crotched a ball that was packed against the cushion and sprang
across to a ball against the bank on the opposite side, and counted!

His luck had set him free, and he didn't owe me anything. He had used up
all his spare time, but we carried his clothes to the carriage, and he
dressed on his way to the station, greatly wondered at and admired by
the ladies, as he drove along--but he got his train.

I am very fond of Mr. Dooley, and shall await his coming with
affectionate and pecuniary interest.

_P.S. Saturday._ He has been here. Let us not talk about it.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[7] Robert Richardson, deceased, of Australia.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXIII.

APRIL 19, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XVI.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[_Dictated January 12th, 1905._] ... But I am used to having my
statements discounted. My mother began it before I was seven years old.
Yet all through my life my facts have had a substratum of truth, and
therefore they were not without preciousness. Any person who is familiar
with me knows how to strike my average, and therefore knows how to get
at the jewel of any fact of mine and dig it out of its blue-clay matrix.
My mother knew that art. When I was seven or eight, or ten, or twelve
years old--along there--a neighbor said to her,

"Do you ever believe anything that that boy says?"

My mother said,

"He is the well-spring of truth, but you can't bring up the whole well
with one bucket"--and she added, "I know his average, therefore he never
deceives me. I discount him thirty per cent. for embroidery, and what is
left is perfect and priceless truth, without a flaw in it anywhere."

Now to make a jump of forty years, without breaking the connection: that
word "embroidery" was used again in my presence and concerning me, when
I was fifty years old, one night at Rev. Frank Goodwin's house in
Hartford, at a meeting of the Monday Evening Club. The Monday Evening
Club still exists. It was founded about forty-five years ago by that
theological giant, Rev. Dr. Bushnell, and some comrades of his, men of
large intellectual calibre and more or less distinction, local or
national. I was admitted to membership in it in the fall of 1871 and was
an active member thenceforth until I left Hartford in the summer of
1891. The membership was restricted, in those days, to eighteen--
possibly twenty. The meetings began about the 1st of October and were
held in the private houses of the members every fortnight thereafter
throughout the cold months until the 1st of May. Usually there were a
dozen members present--sometimes as many as fifteen. There was an essay
and a discussion. The essayists followed each other in alphabetical
order through the season. The essayist could choose his own subject and
talk twenty minutes on it, from MS. or orally, according to his
preference. Then the discussion followed, and each member present was
allowed ten minutes in which to express his views. The wives of these
people were always present. It was their privilege. It was also their
privilege to keep still; they were not allowed to throw any light upon
the discussion. After the discussion there was a supper, and talk, and
cigars. This supper began at ten o'clock promptly, and the company broke
up and went away at midnight. At least they did except upon one
occasion. In my recent Birthday speech I remarked upon the fact that I
have always bought cheap cigars, and that is true. I have never bought
costly ones.

Well, that night at the Club meeting--as I was saying--George, our
colored butler, came to me when the supper was nearly over, and I
noticed that he was pale. Normally his complexion was a clear black, and
very handsome, but now it had modified to old amber. He said:

"Mr. Clemens, what are we going to do? There is not a cigar in the house
but those old Wheeling long nines. Can't nobody smoke them but you. They
kill at thirty yards. It is too late to telephone--we couldn't get any
cigars out from town--what can we do? Ain't it best to say nothing, and
let on that we didn't think?"

"No," I said, "that would not be honest. Fetch out the long
nines"--which he did.

I had just come across those "long nines" a few days or a week before. I
hadn't seen a long nine for years. When I was a cub pilot on the
Mississippi in the late '50's, I had had a great affection for them,
because they were not only--to my mind--perfect, but you could get a
basketful of them for a cent--or a dime, they didn't use cents out there
in those days. So when I saw them advertised in Hartford I sent for a
thousand at once. They came out to me in badly battered and
disreputable-looking old square pasteboard boxes, two hundred in a box.
George brought a box, which was caved in on all sides, looking the worst
it could, and began to pass them around. The conversation had been
brilliantly animated up to that moment--but now a frost fell upon the
company. That is to say, not all of a sudden, but the frost fell upon
each man as he took up a cigar and held it poised in the air--and there,
in the middle, his sentence broke off. That kind of thing went on all
around the table, until when George had completed his crime the whole
place was full of a thick solemnity and silence.

Those men began to light the cigars. Rev. Dr. Parker was the first man
to light. He took three or four heroic whiffs--then gave it up. He got
up with the remark that he had to go to the bedside of a sick
parishioner. He started out. Rev. Dr. Burton was the next man. He took
only one whiff, and followed Parker. He furnished a pretext, and you
could see by the sound of his voice that he didn't think much of the
pretext, and was vexed with Parker for getting in ahead with a
fictitious ailing client. Rev. Mr. Twichell followed, and said he had to
go now because he must take the midnight train for Boston. Boston was
the first place that occurred to him, I suppose.

It was only a quarter to eleven when they began to distribute pretexts.
At ten minutes to eleven all those people were out of the house. When
nobody was left but George and me I was cheerful--I had no compunctions
of conscience, no griefs of any kind. But George was beyond speech,
because he held the honor and credit of the family above his own, and he
was ashamed that this smirch had been put upon it. I told him to go to
bed and try to sleep it off. I went to bed myself. At breakfast in the
morning when George was passing a cup of coffee, I saw it tremble in his
hand. I knew by that sign that there was something on his mind. He
brought the cup to me and asked impressively,

"Mr. Clemens, how far is it from the front door to the upper gate?"

I said, "It is a hundred and twenty-five steps."

He said, "Mr. Clemens, you can start at the front door and you can go
plumb to the upper gate and tread on one of them cigars every time."

It wasn't true in detail, but in essentials it was.

The subject under discussion on the night in question was Dreams. The
talk passed from mouth to mouth in the usual serene way.

I do not now remember what form my views concerning dreams took at the
time. I don't remember now what my notion about dreams was then, but I
do remember telling a dream by way of illustrating some detail of my
speech, and I also remember that when I had finished it Rev. Dr. Burton
made that doubting remark which contained that word I have already
spoken of as having been uttered by my mother, in some such connection,
forty or fifty years before. I was probably engaged in trying to make
those people believe that now and then, by some accident, or otherwise,
a dream which was prophetic turned up in the dreamer's mind. The date of
my memorable dream was about the beginning of May, 1858. It was a
remarkable dream, and I had been telling it several times every year for
more than fifteen years--and now I was telling it again, here in the
club.

In 1858 I was a steersman on board the swift and popular New Orleans and
St. Louis packet, "Pennsylvania," Captain Kleinfelter. I had been lent
to Mr. Brown, one of the pilots of the "Pennsylvania," by my owner, Mr.
Horace E. Bixby, and I had been steering for Brown about eighteen
months, I think. Then in the early days of May, 1858, came a tragic
trip--the last trip of that fleet and famous steamboat. I have told all
about it in one of my books called "Old Times on the Mississippi." But
it is not likely that I told the dream in that book. It is impossible
that I can ever have published it, I think, because I never wanted my
mother to know about the dream, and she lived several years after I
published that volume.

I had found a place on the "Pennsylvania" for my brother Henry, who was
two years my junior. It was not a place of profit, it was only a place
of promise. He was "mud" clerk. Mud clerks received no salary, but they
were in the line of promotion. They could become, presently, third clerk
and second clerk, then chief clerk--that is to say, purser. The dream
begins when Henry had been mud clerk about three months. We were lying
in port at St. Louis. Pilots and steersmen had nothing to do during the
three days that the boat lay in port in St. Louis and New Orleans, but
the mud clerk had to begin his labors at dawn and continue them into the
night, by the light of pine-knot torches. Henry and I, moneyless and
unsalaried, had billeted ourselves upon our brother-in-law, Mr. Moffet,
as night lodgers while in port. We took our meals on board the boat. No,
I mean _I_ lodged at the house, not Henry. He spent the _evenings_ at
the house, from nine until eleven, then went to the boat to be ready for
his early duties. On the night of the dream he started away at eleven,
shaking hands with the family, and said good-by according to custom. I
may mention that hand-shaking as a good-by was not merely the custom of
that family, but the custom of the region--the custom of Missouri, I may
say. In all my life, up to that time, I had never seen one member of the
Clemens family kiss another one--except once. When my father lay dying
in our home in Hannibal--the 24th of March, 1847--he put his arm around
my sister's neck and drew her down and kissed her, saying "Let me die."
I remember that, and I remember the death rattle which swiftly followed
those words, which were his last. These good-bys of Henry's were always
executed in the family sitting-room on the second floor, and Henry went
from that room and down-stairs without further ceremony. But this time
my mother went with him to the head of the stairs and said good-by
_again_. As I remember it she was moved to this by something in Henry's
manner, and she remained at the head of the stairs while he descended.
When he reached the door he hesitated, and climbed the stairs and shook
hands good-by once more.

In the morning, when I awoke I had been dreaming, and the dream was so
vivid, so like reality, that it deceived me, and I thought it was real.
In the dream I had seen Henry a corpse. He lay in a metallic
burial-case. He was dressed in a suit of my clothing, and on his breast
lay a great bouquet of flowers, mainly white roses, with a red rose in
the centre. The casket stood upon a couple of chairs. I dressed, and
moved toward that door, thinking I would go in there and look at it, but
I changed my mind. I thought I could not yet bear to meet my mother. I
thought I would wait awhile and make some preparation for that ordeal.
The house was in Locust Street, a little above 13th, and I walked to
14th, and to the middle of the block beyond, before it suddenly flashed
upon me that there was nothing real about this--it was only a dream. I
can still feel something of the grateful upheaval of joy of that moment,
and I can also still feel the remnant of doubt, the suspicion that maybe
it _was_ real, after all. I returned to the house almost on a run, flew
up the stairs two or three steps at a jump, and rushed into that
sitting-room--and was made glad again, for there was no casket there.

We made the usual eventless trip to New Orleans--no, it was not
eventless, for it was on the way down that I had the fight with Mr.
Brown[8] which resulted in his requiring that I be left ashore at New
Orleans. In New Orleans I always had a job. It was my privilege to watch
the freight-piles from seven in the evening until seven in the morning,
and get three dollars for it. It was a three-night job and occurred
every thirty-five days. Henry always joined my watch about nine in the
evening, when his own duties were ended, and we often walked my rounds
and chatted together until midnight. This time we were to part, and so
the night before the boat sailed I gave Henry some advice. I said, "In
case of disaster to the boat, don't lose your head--leave that unwisdom
to the passengers--they are competent--they'll attend to it. But you
rush for the hurricane-deck, and astern to one of the life-boats lashed
aft the wheel-house, and obey the mate's orders--thus you will be
useful. When the boat is launched, give such help as you can in getting
the women and children into it, and be sure you don't try to get into it
yourself. It is summer weather, the river is only a mile wide, as a
rule, and you can swim that without any trouble." Two or three days
afterward the boat's boilers exploded at Ship Island, below Memphis,
early one morning--and what happened afterward I have already told in
"Old Times on the Mississippi." As related there, I followed the
"Pennsylvania" about a day later, on another boat, and we began to get
news of the disaster at every port we touched at, and so by the time we
reached Memphis we knew all about it.

I found Henry stretched upon a mattress on the floor of a great
building, along with thirty or forty other scalded and wounded persons,
and was promptly informed, by some indiscreet person, that he had
inhaled steam; that his body was badly scalded, and that he would live
but a little while; also, I was told that the physicians and nurses were
giving their whole attention to persons who had a chance of being saved.
They were short-handed in the matter of physicians and nurses; and Henry
and such others as were considered to be fatally hurt were receiving
only such attention as could be spared, from time to time, from the more
urgent cases. But Dr. Peyton, a fine and large-hearted old physician of
great reputation in the community, gave me his sympathy and took
vigorous hold of the case, and in about a week he had brought Henry
around. Dr. Peyton never committed himself with prognostications which
might not materialize, but at eleven o'clock one night he told me that
Henry was out of danger, and would get well. Then he said, "At midnight
these poor fellows lying here and there all over this place will begin
to mourn and mutter and lament and make outcries, and if this commotion
should disturb Henry it will be bad for him; therefore ask the physician
on watch to give him an eighth of a grain of morphine, but this is not
to be done unless Henry shall show signs that he is being disturbed."

Oh well, never mind the rest of it. The physicians on watch were young
fellows hardly out of the medical college, and they made a mistake--they
had no way of measuring the eighth of a grain of morphine, so they
guessed at it and gave him a vast quantity heaped on the end of a
knife-blade, and the fatal effects were soon apparent. I think he died
about dawn, I don't remember as to that. He was carried to the dead-room
and I went away for a while to a citizen's house and slept off some of
my accumulated fatigue--and meantime something was happening. The
coffins provided for the dead were of unpainted white pine, but in this
instance some of the ladies of Memphis had made up a fund of sixty
dollars and bought a metallic case, and when I came back and entered the
dead-room Henry lay in that open case, and he was dressed in a suit of
my clothing. He had borrowed it without my knowledge during our last
sojourn in St. Louis; and I recognized instantly that my dream of
several weeks before was here exactly reproduced, so far as these
details went--and I think I missed one detail; but that one was
immediately supplied, for just then an elderly lady entered the place
with a large bouquet consisting mainly of white roses, and in the centre
of it was a red rose, and she laid it on his breast.

I told the dream there in the Club that night just as I have told it
here.

Rev. Dr. Burton swung his leonine head around, focussed me with his eye,
and said:

"When was it that this happened?"

"In June, '58."

"It is a good many years ago. Have you told it several times since?"

"Yes, I have, a good many times."

"How many?"

"Why, I don't know how many."

"Well, strike an average. How many times a year do you think you have
told it?"

"Well, I have told it as many as six times a year, possibly oftener."

"Very well, then you've told it, we'll say, seventy or eighty times
since it happened?"

"Yes," I said, "that's a conservative estimate."

"Now then, Mark, a very extraordinary thing happened to me a great many
years ago, and I used to tell it a number of times--a good many
times--every year, for it was so wonderful that it always astonished the
hearer, and that astonishment gave me a distinct pleasure every time. I
never suspected that that tale was acquiring any auxiliary advantages
through repetition until one day after I had been telling it ten or
fifteen years it struck me that either I was getting old, and slow in
delivery, or that the tale was longer than it was when it was born.
Mark, I diligently and prayerfully examined that tale with this result:
that I found that its proportions were now, as nearly as I could make
oat, one part fact, straight fact, fact pure and undiluted, golden fact,
and twenty-four parts embroidery. I never told that tale afterwards--I
was never able to tell it again, for I had lost confidence in it, and so
the pleasure of telling it was gone, and gone permanently. How much of
this tale of yours is embroidery?"

"Well," I said, "I don't know. I don't think any of it is embroidery. I
think it is all just as I have stated it, detail by detail."

"Very well," he said, "then it is all right, but I wouldn't tell it any
more; because if you keep on, it will begin to collect embroidery sure.
The safest thing is to stop now."

That was a great many years ago. And to-day is the first time that I
have told that dream since Dr. Burton scared me into fatal doubts about
it. No, I don't believe I can say that. I don't believe that I ever
really had any doubts whatever concerning the salient points of the
dream, for those points are of such a nature that they are _pictures_,
and pictures can be remembered, when they are vivid, much better than
one can remember remarks and unconcreted facts. Although it has been so
many years since I have told that dream, I can see those pictures now
just as clearly defined as if they were before me in this room. I have
not told the entire dream. There was a good deal more of it. I mean I
have not told all that happened in the dream's fulfilment. After the
incident in the death-room I may mention one detail, and that is this.
When I arrived in St. Louis with the casket it was about eight o'clock
in the morning, and I ran to my brother-in-law's place of business,
hoping to find him there, but I missed him, for while I was on the way
to his office he was on his way from the house to the boat. When I got
back to the boat the casket was gone. He had conveyed it out to his
house. I hastened thither, and when I arrived the men were just removing
the casket from the vehicle to carry it up-stairs. I stopped that
procedure, for I did not want my mother to see the dead face, because
one side of it was drawn and distorted by the effects of the opium. When
I went up-stairs, there stood the two chairs--placed to receive the
coffin--just as I had seen them in my dream; and if I had arrived two or
three minutes later, the casket would have been resting upon them,
precisely as in my dream of several weeks before.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[8] See "Old Times on the Mississippi."



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXIV.

MAY 3, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XVII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     _Sept. 9, '85._--Mamma is teaching Jean a little natural history
     and is making a little collection of insects for her. But mamma
     does not allow Jean to kill any insects she only collects those
     insects that are found dead. Mamma has told us all, perticularly
     Jean, to bring her all the little dead insects that she finds. The
     other day as we were all sitting at supper Jean broke into the room
     and ran triumfantly up to Mamma and presented her with a plate full
     of dead flies. Mamma thanked Jean vary enthusiastically although
     she with difficulty concealed her amusement. Just then Soar Mash
     entered the room and Jean believing her hungry asked Mamma for
     permission to give her the flies. Mamma laughingly consented and
     the flies almost immediately dissapeared.


[_Monday, October 15, 1906._] Sour Hash's presence indicates that this
adventure occurred at Quarry Farm. Susy's Biography interests itself
pretty exclusively with historical facts; where they happen is not a
matter of much concern to her. When other historians refer to the Bunker
Hill Monument they know it is not necessary to mention that that
monument is in Boston. Susy recognizes that when she mentions Sour Mash
it is not necessary to localize her. To Susy, Sour Mash is the Bunker
Hill Monument of Quarry Farm.

Ordinary cats have some partiality for living flies, but none for dead
ones; but Susy does not trouble herself to apologize for Sour Mash's
eccentricities of taste. This Biography was for _us_, and Susy knew that
nothing that Sour Mash might do could startle us or need explanation, we
being aware that she was not an ordinary cat, but moving upon a plane
far above the prejudices and superstitions which are law to common
catdom.

Once in Hartford the flies were so numerous for a time, and so
troublesome, that Mrs. Clemens conceived the idea of paying George[9] a
bounty on all the flies he might kill. The children saw an opportunity
here for the acquisition of sudden wealth. They supposed that their
mother merely wanted to accumulate dead flies, for some æsthetic or
scientific reason or other, and they judged that the more flies she
could get the happier she would be; so they went into business with
George on a commission. Straightway the dead flies began to arrive in
such quantities that Mrs. Clemens was pleased beyond words with the
success of her idea. Next, she was astonished that one house could
furnish so many. She was paying an extravagantly high bounty, and it
presently began to look as if by this addition to our expenses we were
now probably living beyond our income. After a few days there was peace
and comfort; not a fly was discoverable in the house: there wasn't a
straggler left. Still, to Mrs. Clement's surprise, the dead flies
continued to arrive by the plateful, and the bounty expense was as
crushing as ever. Then she made inquiry, and found that our innocent
little rascals had established a Fly Trust, and had hired all the
children in the neighborhood to collect flies on a cheap and
unburdensome commission.

Mrs. Clemens's experience in this matter was a new one for her, but the
governments of the world had tried it, and wept over it, and discarded
it, every half-century since man was created. Any Government could have
told her that the best way to increase wolves in America, rabbits in
Australia, and snakes in India, is to pay a bounty on their scalps. Then
every patriot goes to raising them.

_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     _Sept. 10, '85._--The other evening Clara and I brought down our
     new soap bubble water and we all blew soap bubles. Papa blew his
     soap bubles and filled them with tobacco smoke and as the light
     shone on then they took very beautiful opaline colors. Papa would
     hold them and then let us catch them in our hand and they felt
     delightful to the touch the mixture of the smoke and water had a
     singularly pleasant effect.


It is human life. We are blown upon the world; we float buoyantly upon
the summer air a little while, complacently showing off our grace of
form and our dainty iridescent colors; then we vanish with a little
puff, leaving nothing behind but a memory--and sometimes not even that.
I suppose that at those solemn times when we wake in the deeps of the
night and reflect, there is not one of us who is not willing to confess
that he is really only a soap-bubble, and as little worth the making.

I remember those days of twenty-one years ago, and a certain pathos
clings about them. Susy, with her manifold young charms and her
iridescent mind, was as lovely a bubble as any we made that day--and as
transitory. She passed, as they passed, in her youth and beauty, and
nothing of her is left but a heartbreak and a memory. That long-vanished
day came vividly back to me a few weeks ago when, for the first time in
twenty-one years, I found myself again amusing a child with
smoke-charged soap-bubbles.

[Sidenote: (1885.)]

Susy's next date is November 29th, 1885, the eve of my fiftieth
birthday. It seems a good while ago. I must have been rather young for
my age then, for I was trying to tame an old-fashioned bicycle nine feet
high. It is to me almost unbelievable, at my present stage of life, that
there have really been people willing to trust themselves upon a dizzy
and unstable altitude like that, and that I was one of them. Twichell
and I took lessons every day. He succeeded, and became a master of the
art of riding that wild vehicle, but I had no gift in that direction and
was never able to stay on mine long enough to get any satisfactory view
of the planet. Every time I tried to steal a look at a pretty girl, or
any other kind of scenery, that single moment of inattention gave the
bicycle the chance it had been waiting for, and I went over the front of
it and struck the ground on my head or my back before I had time to
realise that something was happening. I didn't always go over the front
way; I had other ways, and practised them all; but no matter which way
was chosen for me there was always one monotonous result--the bicycle
skinned my leg and leaped up into the air and came down on top of me.
Sometimes its wires were so sprung by this violent performance that it
had the collapsed look of an umbrella that had had a misunderstanding
with a cyclone. After each day's practice I arrived at home with my skin
hanging in ribbons, from my knees down. I plastered the ribbons on where
they belonged, and bound them there with handkerchiefs steeped in Pond's
Extract, and was ready for more adventures next day. It was always a
surprise to me that I had so much skin, and that it held out so well.
There was always plenty, and I soon came to understand that the supply
was going to remain sufficient for all my needs. It turned out that I
had nine skins, in layers, one on top of the other like the leaves of a
book, and some of the doctors said it was quite remarkable.

I was full of enthusiasm over this insane amusement. My teacher was a
young German from the bicycle factory, a gentle, kindly, patient
creature, with a pathetically grave face. He never smiled; he never made
a remark; he always gathered me tenderly up when I plunged off, and
helped me on again without a word. When he had been teaching me twice a
day for three weeks I introduced a new gymnastic--one that he had never
seen before--and so at last a compliment was wrung from him, a thing
which I had been risking my life for days to achieve. He gathered me up
and said mournfully: "Mr. Clemens, you can fall off a bicycle in more
different ways than any person I ever saw before."

[Sidenote: (1849.)]

A boy's life is not all comedy; much of the tragic enters into it. The
drunken tramp--mentioned in "Tom Sawyer" or "Huck Finn"--who was burned
up in the village jail, lay upon my conscience a hundred nights
afterward and filled them with hideous dreams--dreams in which I saw his
appealing face as I had seen it in the pathetic reality, pressed against
the window-bars, with the red hell glowing behind him--a face which
seemed to say to me, "If you had not give me the matches, this would not
have happened; you are responsible for my death." I was _not_
responsible for it, for I had meant him no harm, but only good, when I
let him have the matches; but no matter, mine was a trained Presbyterian
conscience, and knew but the one duty--to hunt and harry its slave upon
all pretexts and on all occasions; particularly when there was no sense
or reason in it. The tramp--who was to blame--suffered ten minutes; I,
who was not to blame, suffered three months.

The shooting down of poor old Smarr in the main street[10] at noonday
supplied me with some more dreams; and in them I always saw again the
grotesque closing picture--the great family Bible spread open on the
profane old man's breast by some thoughtful idiot, and rising and
sinking to the labored breathings, and adding the torture of its leaden
weight to the dying struggles. We are curiously made. In all the throng
of gaping and sympathetic onlookers there was not one with common sense
enough to perceive that an anvil would have been in better taste there
than the Bible, less open to sarcastic criticism, and swifter in its
atrocious work. In my nightmares I gasped and struggled for breath under
the crush of that vast book for many a night.

All within the space of a couple of years we had two or three other
tragedies, and I had the ill-luck to be too near by on each occasion.
There was the slave man who was struck down with a chunk of slag for
some small offence; I saw him die. And the young California emigrant who
was stabbed with a bowie knife by a drunken comrade: I saw the red life
gush from his breast. And the case of the rowdy young Hyde brothers and
their harmless old uncle: one of them held the old man down with his
knees on his breast while the other one tried repeatedly to kill him
with an Allen revolver which wouldn't go off. I happened along just
then, of course.

Then there was the case of the young California emigrant who got drunk
and proposed to raid the "Welshman's house" all alone one dark and
threatening night.[11] This house stood half-way up Holliday's Hill
("Cardiff" Hill), and its sole occupants were a poor but quite
respectable widow and her young and blameless daughter. The invading
ruffian woke the whole village with his ribald yells and coarse
challenges and obscenities. I went up there with a comrade--John Briggs,
I think--to look and listen. The figure of the man was dimly risible;
the women were on their porch, but not visible in the deep shadow of its
roof, but we heard the elder woman's voice. She had loaded an old musket
with slugs, and she warned the man that if he stayed where he was while
she counted ten it would cost him his life. She began to count, slowly:
he began to laugh. He stopped laughing at "six"; then through the deep
stillness, in a steady voice, followed the rest of the tale: "seven ...
eight ... nine"--a long pause, we holding our breath--"ten!" A red spout
of flame gushed out into the night, and the man dropped, with his breast
riddled to rags. Then the rain and the thunder burst loose and the
waiting town swarmed up the hill in the glare of the lightning like an
invasion of ants. Those people saw the rest; I had had my share and was
satisfied. I went home to dream, and was not disappointed.

My teaching and training enabled me to see deeper into these tragedies
than an ignorant person could have done. I knew what they were for. I
tried to disguise it from myself, but down in the secret deeps of my
heart I knew--and I _knew_ that I knew. They were inventions of
Providence to beguile me to a better life. It sounds curiously innocent
and conceited, now, but to me there was nothing strange about it; it was
quite in accordance with the thoughtful and judicious ways of Providence
as I understood them. It would not have surprised me, nor even
over-flattered me, if Providence had killed off that whole community in
trying to save an asset like me. Educated as I had been, it would have
seemed just the thing, and well worth the expense. _Why_ Providence
should take such an anxious interest in such a property--that idea never
entered my head, and there was no one in that simple hamlet who would
have dreamed of putting it there. For one thing, no one was equipped
with it.

It is quite true I took all the tragedies to myself; and tallied them
off, in turn as they happened, saying to myself in each case, with a
sigh, "Another one gone--and on my account; this ought to bring me to
repentance; His patience will not always endure." And yet privately I
believed it would. That is, I believed it in the daytime; but not in the
night. With the going down of the sun my faith failed, and the clammy
fears gathered about my heart. It was then that I repented. Those were
awful nights, nights of despair, nights charged with the bitterness of
death. After each tragedy I recognized the warning and repented;
repented and begged; begged like a coward, begged like a dog; and not in
the interest of those poor people who had been extinguished for my sake,
but only in my own interest. It seems selfish, when I look back on it
now.

My repentances were very real, very earnest; and after each tragedy they
happened every night for a long time. But as a rule they could not stand
the daylight. They faded out and shredded away and disappeared in the
glad splendor of the sun. They were the creatures of fear and darkness,
and they could not live out of their own place. The day gave me cheer
and peace, and at night I repented again. In all my boyhood life I am
not sure that I ever tried to lead a better life in the daytime--or
wanted to. In my age I should never think of wishing to do such a thing.
But in my age, as in my youth, night brings me many a deep remorse. I
realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the
race--never quite sane in the night. When "Injun Joe" died.[12] ... But
never mind: in another chapter I have already described what a raging
hell of repentance I passed through then. I believe that for months I
was as pure as the driven snow. After dark.

It was back in those far-distant days--1848 or '9--that Jim Wolf came to
us. He was from Shelbyville, a hamlet thirty or forty miles back in the
country, and he brought all his native sweetnesses and gentlenesses and
simplicities with him. He was approaching seventeen, a grave and slender
lad, trustful, honest, a creature to love and cling to. And he was
incredibly bashful.

It is to this kind that untoward things happen. My sister gave a
"candy-pull" on a winter's night. I was too young to be of the company,
and Jim was too diffident. I was sent up to bed early, and Jim followed
of his own motion. His room was in the new part of the house, and his
window looked out on the roof of the L annex. That roof was six inches
deep in snow, and the snow had an ice-crust upon it which was as slick
as glass. Out of the comb of the roof projected a short chimney, a
common resort for sentimental cats on moonlight nights--and this was a
moonlight night. Down at the eaves, below the chimney, a canopy of dead
vines spread away to some posts, making a cozy shelter, and after an
hour or two the rollicking crowd of young ladies and gentlemen grouped
themselves in its shade, with their saucers of liquid and piping-hot
candy disposed about them on the frozen ground to cool. There was joyous
chaffing and joking and laughter--peal upon peal of it.

About this time a couple of old disreputable tom-cats got up on the
chimney and started a heated argument about something; also about this
time I gave up trying to get to sleep, and went visiting to Jim's room.
He was awake and fuming about the cats and their intolerable yowling. I
asked him, mockingly, why he didn't climb out and drive them away. He
was nettled, and said over-boldly that for two cents he _would_.

It was a rash remark, and was probably repented of before it was fairly
out of his mouth. But it was too late--he was committed. I knew him; and
I knew he would rather break his neck than back down, if I egged him on
judiciously.

"Oh, of course you would! Who's doubting it?"

It galled him, and he burst out, with sharp irritation--

"Maybe _you_ doubt it!"

"I? Oh no, I shouldn't think of such a thing. You are always doing
wonderful things. With your mouth."

He was in a passion, now. He snatched on his yarn socks and began to
raise the window, saying in a voice unsteady with anger--

"_You_ think I dasn't--_you_ do! Think what you blame please--_I_ don't
care what you think. I'll show you!"

The window made him rage; it wouldn't stay up. I said--

"Never mind, I'll hold it."

Indeed, I would have done anything to help. I was only a boy, and was
already in a radiant heaven of anticipation. He climbed carefully out,
clung to the window-sill until his feet were safely placed, then began
to pick his perilous way on all fours along the glassy comb, a foot and
a hand on each side of it. I believe I enjoy it now as much as I did
then: yet it is a good deal over fifty years ago. The frosty breeze
flapped his short shirt about his lean legs; the crystal roof shone like
polished marble in the intense glory of the moon; the unconscious cats
sat erect upon the chimney, alertly watching each other, lashing their
tails and pouring out their hollow grievances; and slowly and
cautiously Jim crept on, flapping as he went, the gay and frolicsome
young creatures under the vine-canopy unaware, and outraging these
solemnities with their misplaced laughter. Every time Jim slipped I had
a hope; but always on he crept and disappointed it. At last he was
within reaching distance. He paused, raised himself carefully up,
measured his distance deliberately, then made a frantic grab at the
nearest cat--and missed. Of course he lost his balance. His heels flew
up, he struck on his back, and like a rocket he darted down the roof
feet first, crashed through the dead vines and landed in a sitting
posture in fourteen saucers of red-hot candy, in the midst of all that
party--and dressed as _he_ was: this lad who could not look a girl in
the face with his clothes on. There was a wild scramble and a storm of
shrieks, and Jim fled up the stairs, dripping broken crockery all the
way.

[Sidenote: (1867.)]

The incident was ended. But I was not done with it yet, though I
supposed I was. Eighteen or twenty years later I arrived in New York
from California, and by that time I had failed in all my other
undertakings and had stumbled into literature without intending it. This
was early in 1867. I was offered a large sum to write something for the
"Sunday Mercury," and I answered with the tale of "Jim Wolf and the
Cats." I also collected the money for it--twenty-five dollars. It seemed
over-pay, but I did not say anything about that, for I was not so
scrupulous then as I am now.

A year or two later "Jim Wolf and the Cats" appeared in a Tennessee
paper in a new dress--as to spelling; spelling borrowed from Artemus
Ward. The appropriator of the tale had a wide reputation in the West,
and was exceedingly popular. Deservedly so, I think. He wrote some of
the breeziest and funniest things I have ever read, and did his work
with distinguished ease and fluency. His name has passed out of my
memory.

A couple of years went by; then the original story--my own
version--cropped up again and went floating around in the spelling, and
with my name to it. Soon first one paper and then another fell upon me
rigorously for "stealing" Jim Wolf and the Cats from the Tennessee man.
I got a merciless beating, but I did not mind it. It's all in the game.
Besides, I had learned, a good while before that, that it is not wise to
keep the fire going under a slander unless you can get some large
advantage out of keeping it alive. Few slanders can stand the wear of
silence.

[Sidenote: (1873.)]

[Sidenote: (1900.)]

But I was not done with Jim and the Cats yet. In 1873 I was lecturing in
London, in the Queen's Concert Rooms, Hanover Square, and was living at
the Langham Hotel, Portland place. I had no domestic household, and no
official household except George Dolby, lecture-agent, and Charles
Warren Stoddard, the California poet, now (1900) Professor of English
Literature in the Roman Catholic University, Washington. Ostensibly
Stoddard was my private secretary; in reality he was merely my
comrade--I hired him in order to have his company. As secretary there
was nothing for him to do except to scrap-book the daily reports of the
great trial of the Tichborne Claimant for perjury. But he made a
sufficient job out of that, for the reports filled six columns a day and
he usually postponed the scrap-booking until Sunday; then he had 36
columns to cut out and paste in--a proper labor for Hercules. He did his
work well, but if he had been older and feebler it would have killed him
once a week. Without doubt he does his literary lectures well, but also
without doubt he prepares them fifteen minutes before he is due on his
platform and thus gets into them a freshness and sparkle which they
might lack if they underwent the staling process of overstudy.

He was good company when he was awake. He was refined, sensitive,
charming, gentle, generous, honest himself and unsuspicious of other
people's honesty, and I think he was the purest male I have known, in
mind and speech. George Dolby was something of a contrast to him, but
the two were very friendly and sociable together, nevertheless. Dolby
was large and ruddy, full of life and strength and spirits, a tireless
and energetic talker, and always overflowing with good-nature and
bursting with jollity. It was a choice and satisfactory menagerie, this
pensive poet and this gladsome gorilla. An indelicate story was a sharp
distress to Stoddard; Dolby told him twenty-five a day. Dolby always
came home with us after the lecture, and entertained Stoddard till
midnight. Me too. After he left, I walked the floor and talked, and
Stoddard went to sleep on the sofa. I hired him for company.

Dolby had been agent for concerts, and theatres, and Charles Dickens and
all sorts of shows and "attractions" for many years; he had known the
human being in many aspects, and he didn't much believe in him. But the
poet did. The waifs and estrays found a friend in Stoddard: Dolby tried
to persuade him that he was dispensing his charities unworthily, but he
was never able to succeed.

One night a young American got access to Stoddard at the Concert Rooms
and told him a moving tale. He said he was living on the Surrey side,
and for some strange reason his remittances had failed to arrive from
home; he had no money, he was out of employment, and friendless; his
girl-wife and his new baby were actually suffering for food; for the
love of heaven could he lend him a sovereign until his remittances
should resume? Stoddard was deeply touched, and gave him a sovereign on
my account. Dolby scoffed, but Stoddard stood his ground. Each told me
his story later in the evening, and I backed Stoddard's judgment. Dolby
said we were women in disguise, and not a sane kind of women, either.

The next week the young man came again. His wife was ill with the
pleurisy, the baby had the bots, or something, I am not sure of the name
of the disease; the doctor and the drugs had eaten up the money, the
poor little family was starving. If Stoddard "in the kindness of his
heart could only spare him another sovereign," etc., etc. Stoddard was
much moved, and spared him a sovereign for me. Dolby was outraged. He
spoke up and said to the customer--

"Now, young man, you are going to the hotel with us and state your case
to the other member of the family. If you don't make him believe in you
I sha'n't honor this poet's drafts in your interest any longer, for I
don't believe in you myself."

The young man was quite willing. I found no fault in him. On the
contrary, I believed in him at once, and was solicitous to heal the
wounds inflicted by Dolby's too frank incredulity; therefore I did
everything I could think of to cheer him up and entertain him and make
him feel at home and comfortable. I spun many yarns; among others the
tale of Jim Wolf and the Cats. Learning that he had done something in a
small way in literature, I offered to try to find a market for him in
that line. His face lighted joyfully at that, and he said that if I
could only sell a small manuscript to Tom Hood's Annual for him it would
be the happiest event of his sad life and he would hold me in grateful
remembrance always. That was a most pleasant night for three of us, but
Dolby was disgusted and sarcastic.

Next week the baby died. Meantime I had spoken to Tom Hood and gained
his sympathy. The young man had sent his manuscript to him, and the very
day the child died the money for the MS. came--three guineas. The young
man came with a poor little strip of crape around his arm and thanked
me, and said that nothing could have been more timely than that money,
and that his poor little wife was grateful beyond words for the service
I had rendered. He wept, and in fact Stoddard and I wept with him, which
was but natural. Also Dolby wept. At least he wiped his eyes and wrung
out his handkerchief, and sobbed stertorously and made other exaggerated
shows of grief. Stoddard and I were ashamed of Dolby, and tried to make
the young man understand that he meant no harm, it was only his way. The
young man said sadly that he was not minding it, his grief was too deep
for other hurts; that he was only thinking of the funeral, and the heavy
expenses which--

We cut that short and told him not to trouble about it, leave it all to
us; send the bills to Mr. Dolby and--

"Yes," said Dolby, with a mock tremor in his voice, "send them to me,
and I will pay them. What, are you going? You must not go alone in your
worn and broken condition; Mr. Stoddard and I will go with you. Come,
Stoddard. We will comfort the bereaved mamma and get a lock of the
baby's hair."

It was shocking. We were ashamed of him again, and said so. But he was
not disturbed. He said--

"Oh, I know this kind, the woods are full of them. I'll make this offer:
if he will show me his family I will give him twenty pounds. Come!" The
young man said he would not remain to be insulted; and he said
good-night and took his hat. But Dolby said he would go with him, and
stay by him until he found the family. Stoddard went along to soothe the
young man and modify Dolby. They drove across the river and all over
Southwark, but did not find the family. At last the young man confessed
there wasn't any.

The thing he sold to Tom Hood's Annual was "Jim and the Cats." And he
did not put my name to it.

So that small tale was sold three times. I am selling it again, now. It
is one of the best properties I have come across.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTES:

[9] The colored butler.

[10] See "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."

[11] Used in "Huck Finn," I think.

[12] Used in "Tom Sawyer."



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXV.

MAY 17, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XVIII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[_Dictated December 21, 1906._] I wish to insert here some pages of
Susy's Biography of me in which the biographer does not scatter,
according to her custom, but sticks pretty steadily to a single subject
until she has fought it to a finish:


     _Feb. 27, '86._--Last summer while we were in Elmira an article
     came out in the "Christian Union" by name "What ought he to have
     done" treating of the government of children, or rather giving an
     account of a fathers battle with his little baby boy, by the mother
     of the child and put in the form of a question as to whether the
     father disciplined the child corectly or not, different people
     wrote their opinions of the fathers behavior, and told what they
     thought he should have done. Mamma had long known how to disciplin
     children, for in fact the bringing up of children had been one of
     her specialties for many years. She had a great many theories, but
     one of them was, that if a child was big enough to be nauty, it was
     big enough to be whipped and here we all agreed with her. I
     remember one morning when Dr. ---- came up to the farm he had a
     long discussion with mamma, upon the following topic. Mamma gave
     _this_ as illustrative of one important rule for punishing a child.
     She said we will suppose the boy has thrown a handkerchief onto the
     floor, I tell him to pick it up, he refuses. I tell him again, he
     refuses. Then I say you must either pick up the handkerchief or
     have a whipping. My theory is never to make a child have a whipping
     and pick up the handkerchief too. I say "If you do not pick it up,
     I must punish you," if he doesn't he gets the whipping, but _I_
     pick up the handkerchief, if he does he gets no punishment. I tell
     him to do a thing if he disobeys me he is punished for so doing,
     but not forced to obey me afterwards.

     When Clara and I had been very nauty or were being very nauty, the
     nurse would go and call Mamma and she would appear suddenly and
     look at us (she had a way of looking at us when she was displeased
     as if she could see right through us) till we were ready to sink
     through the floor from embarasment, and total absence of knowing
     what to say. This look was usually followed with "Clara" or "Susy
     what do you mean by this? do you want to come to the bath-room with
     me?" Then followed the climax for Clara and I both new only too
     well what going to the bath-room meant.

     But mamma's first and foremost object was to make the child
     understand that he is being punished for _his_ sake, and because
     the mother so loves him that she cannot allow him to do wrong; also
     that it is as hard for her to punish him as for him to be punished
     and even harder. Mamma never allowed herself to punish us when she
     was angry with us she never struck us because she was enoyed at us
     and felt like striking us if we had been nauty and had enoyed her,
     so that she thought she felt or would show the least bit of temper
     toward us while punnishing us, she always postponed the punishment
     until _she_ was no more chafed by our behavior. She never humored
     herself by striking or punishing us because or while she was the
     least bit enoyed with us.

     Our very worst nautinesses were punished by being taken to the
     bath-room and being whipped by the paper cutter. But after the
     whipping was over, mamma did not allow us to leave her until we
     were perfectly happy, and perfectly understood why we had been
     whipped. I never remember having felt the least bit bitterly toward
     mamma for punishing me. I always felt I had deserved my punishment,
     and was much happier for having received it. For after mamma had
     punished us and shown her displeasure, she showed no signs of
     further displeasure, but acted as if we had not displeased her in
     any way.


Ordinary punishments answered very well for Susy. She was a thinker, and
would reason out the purpose of them, apply the lesson, and achieve the
reform required. But it was much less easy to devise punishments that
would reform Clara. This was because she was a philosopher who was
always turning her attention to finding something good and satisfactory
and entertaining in everything that came her way; consequently it was
sometimes pretty discouraging to the troubled mother to find that after
all her pains and thought in inventing what she meant to be a severe and
reform-compelling punishment, the child had entirely missed the
severities through her native disposition to get interest and pleasure
out of them as novelties. The mother, in her anxiety to find a penalty
that would take sharp hold and do its work effectively, at last
resorted, with a sore heart, and with a reproachful conscience, to that
punishment which the incorrigible criminal in the penitentiary dreads
above all the other punitive miseries which the warden inflicts upon him
for his good--solitary confinement in the dark chamber. The grieved and
worried mother shut Clara up in a very small clothes-closet and went
away and left her there--for fifteen minutes--it was all that the
mother-heart could endure. Then she came softly back and
listened--listened for the sobs, but there weren't any; there were
muffled and inarticulate sounds, but they could not be construed into
sobs. The mother waited half an hour longer; by that time she was
suffering so intensely with sorrow and compassion for the little
prisoner that she was not able to wait any longer for the distressed
sounds which she had counted upon to inform her when there had been
punishment enough and the reform accomplished. She opened the closet to
set the prisoner free and take her back into her loving favor and
forgiveness, but the result was not the one expected. The captive had
manufactured a fairy cavern out of the closet, and friendly fairies out
of the clothes hanging from the hooks, and was having a most sinful and
unrepentant good time, and requested permission to spend the rest of the
day there!

_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     But Mamma's oppinions and ideas upon the subject of bringing up
     children has always been more or less of a joke in our family,
     perticularly since Papa's article in the "Christian Union," and I
     am sure Clara and I have related the history of our old family
     paper-cutter, our punishments and privations with rather more pride
     and triumph than any other sentiment, because of Mamma's way of
     rearing us.

     When the article "What ought he to have done?" came out Mamma read
     it, and was very much interested in it. And when papa heard that
     she had read it he went to work and secretly wrote his opinion of
     what the father ought to have done. He told Aunt Susy, Clara and I,
     about it but mamma was not to see it or hear any thing about it
     till it came out. He gave it to Aunt Susy to read, and after Clara
     and I had gone up to get ready for bed he brought it up for us to
     read. He told what he thought the father ought to have done by
     telling what mamma would have done. The article was a beautiful
     tribute to mamma and every word in it true. But still in writing
     about mamma he partly forgot that the article was going to be
     published, I think, and expressed himself more fully than he would
     do the second time he wrote it; I think the article has done and
     will do a great deal of good, and I think it would have been
     perfect for the family and friend's enjoyment, but a little bit too
     private to have been published as it was. And Papa felt so too,
     because the very next day or a few days after, he went down to New
     York to see if he couldn't get it back before it was published but
     it was too late, and he had to return without it. When the
     Christian Union reached the farm and papa's article in it all ready
     and waiting to be read to mamma papa hadn't the courage to show it
     to her (for he knew she wouldn't like it at all) at first, and he
     didn't but he might have let it go and never let her see it, but
     finally he gave his consent to her seeing it, and told Clara and I
     we could take it to her, which we did, with tardiness, and we all
     stood around mamma while she read it, all wondering what she would
     say and think about it.

     She was too much surprised, (and pleased privately, too) to say
     much at first, but as we all expected publicly, (or rather when she
     remembered that this article was to be read by every one that took
     the Christian Union) she was rather shocked and a little
     displeased.

     Clara and I had great fun the night papa gave it to us to read and
     then hide, so mamma couldn't see it, for just as we were in the
     midst of reading it mamma appeared, papa following anxiously and
     asked why we were not in bed? then a scuffle ensued for we told her
     it was a secret and tried to hide it; but she chased us wherever we
     went, till she thought it was time for us to go to bed, then she
     surendered and left us to tuck it under Clara's matress.

     A little while after the article was published letters began to
     come in to papa crittisizing it, there were some very pleasant ones
     but a few very disagreable. One of these, the very worst, mamma got
     hold of and read, to papa's great regret, it was full of the most
     disagreble things, and so very enoying to papa that he for a time
     felt he must do something to show the author of it his great
     displeasure at being so insulted. But he finally decided not to,
     because he felt the man had some cause for feeling enoyed at, for
     papa had spoken of him, (he was the baby's father) rather
     slightingly in his Christian Union Article.

     After all this, papa and mamma both wished I think they might never
     hear or be spoken to on the subject of the Christian Union article,
     and whenever any has spoken to me and told me "How much they did
     enjoy my father's article in the Christian Union" I almost laughed
     in their faces when I remembered what a great variety of oppinions
     had been expressed upon the subject of the Christian Union article
     of papa's.

     The article was written in July or August and just the other day
     papa received quite a bright letter from a gentleman who has read
     the C. U. article and gave his opinion of it in these words.


It is missing. She probably put the letter between the leaves of the
Biography and it got lost out. She threw away the hostile letters, but
tried to keep the pleasantest one for her book; surely there has been no
kindlier biographer than this one. Yet to a quite creditable degree she
is loyal to the responsibilities of her position as historian--not
eulogist--and honorably gives me a quiet prod now and then. But how
many, many, many she has withheld that I deserved! I could prize them
now; there would be no acid in her words, and it is loss to me that she
did not set them all down. Oh, Susy, you sweet little biographer, you
break my old heart with your gentle charities!

I think a great deal of her work. Her canvases are on their easels, and
her brush flies about in a care-free and random way, delivering a dash
here, a dash there and another yonder, and one might suppose that there
would be no definite result; on the contrary I think that an intelligent
reader of her little book must find that by the time he has finished it
he has somehow accumulated a pretty clear and nicely shaded idea of the
several members of this family--including Susy herself--and that the
random dashes on the canvases have developed into portraits. I feel that
my own portrait, with some of the defects fined down and others left
out, is here; and I am sure that any who knew the mother will recognize
her without difficulty, and will say that the lines are drawn with a
just judgment and a sure hand. Little creature though Susy was, the
penetration which was born in her finds its way to the surface more than
once in these pages.

Before Susy began the Biography she let fall a remark now and then
concerning my character which showed that she had it under observation.
In the Record which we kept of the children's sayings there is an
instance of this. She was twelve years old at the time. We had
established a rule that each member of the family must bring a fact to
breakfast--a fact drawn from a book or from any other source; any fact
would answer. Susy's first contribution was in substance as follows. Two
great exiles and former opponents in war met in Ephesus--Scipio and
Hannibal. Scipio asked Hannibal to name the greatest general the world
had produced.

"Alexander"--and he explained why.

"And the next greatest?"

"Pyrrhus"--and he explained why.

"But where do you place yourself, then?"

"If I had conquered you I would place myself before the others."

Susy's grave comment was--

"That _attracted_ me, it was just like papa--he is so frank about his
books."

So frank in admiring them, she meant.


[_Thursday, March 28, 1907._] Some months ago I commented upon a chapter
of Susy's Biography wherein she very elaborately discussed an article
about the training and disciplining of children, which I had published
in the "Christian Union" (this was twenty-one years ago), an article
which was full of worshipful praises of Mrs. Clemens as a mother, and
which little Clara, and Susy, and I had been hiding from this lovely and
admirable mother because we knew she would disapprove of public and
printed praises of herself. At the time that I was dictating these
comments, several months ago, I was trying to call back to my memory
some of the details of that article, but I was not able to do it, and I
wished I had a copy of the article so that I could see what there was
about it which gave it such large interest for Susy.

Yesterday afternoon I elected to walk home from the luncheon at the St.
Regis, which is in 56th Street and Fifth Avenue, for it was a fine
spring day and I hadn't had a walk for a year or two, and felt the need
of exercise. As I walked along down Fifth Avenue the desire to see that
"Christian Union" article came into my head again. I had just reached
the corner of 42nd Street then, and there was the usual jam of wagons,
carriages, and automobiles there. I stopped to let it thin out before
trying to cross the street, but a stranger, who didn't require as much
room as I do, came racing by and darted into a crack among the vehicles
and made the crossing. But on his way past me he thrust a couple of
ancient newspaper clippings into my hand, and said,

"There, you don't know me, but I have saved them in my scrap-book for
twenty years, and it occurred to me this morning that perhaps you would
like to see them, so I was carrying them down-town to mail them, I not
expecting to run across you in this accidental way, of course; but I
will give them into your own hands now. Good-by!"--and he disappeared
among the wagons.

Those scraps which he had put into my hand were ancient newspaper copies
of that "Christian Union" article! It is a handsome instance of mental
telegraphy--or if it isn't that, it is a handsome case of coincidence.

_From the Biography._


     _March 14th, '86._--Mr. Laurence Barrette and Mr. and Mrs. Hutton
     were here a little while ago, and we had a very interesting visit
     from them. Papa said Mr. Barette never had acted so well before
     when he had seen him, as he did the first night he was staying with
     us. And Mrs. ---- said she never had seen an actor on the stage,
     whom she more wanted to speak with.

     Papa has been very much interested of late, in the "Mind Cure"
     theory. And in fact so have we all. A young lady in town has worked
     wonders by using the "Mind Cure" upon people; she is constantly
     busy now curing peoples deseases in this way--and curing her own
     even, which to me seems the most remarkable of all.

     A little while past, papa was delighted with the knowledge of what
     he thought the best way of curing a cold, which was by starving it.
     This starving did work beautifully, and freed him from a great many
     severe colds. Now he says it wasn't the starving that helped his
     colds, but the trust in the starving, the mind cure connected with
     the starving.

     I shouldn't wonder if we finally became firm believers in Mind
     Cure. The next time papa has a cold, I haven't a doubt, he will
     send for Miss H---- the young lady who is doctoring in the "Mind
     Cure" theory, to cure him of it.

     Mamma was over at Mrs. George Warners to lunch the other day, and
     Miss H---- was there too. Mamma asked if anything as natural as
     near sightedness could be cured she said oh yes just as well as
     other deseases.

     When mamma came home, she took me into her room, and told me that
     perhaps my near-sightedness could be cured by the "Mind Cure" and
     that she was going to have me try the treatment any way, there
     could be no harm in it, and there might be great good. If her plan
     succeeds there certainly will be a great deal in "Mind Cure" to my
     oppinion, for I am very near sighted and so is mamma, and I never
     expected there could be any more cure for it than for blindness,
     but now I dont know but what theres a cure for _that_.


It was a disappointment; her near-sightedness remained with her to the
end. She was born with it, no doubt; yet, strangely enough, she must
have been four years old, and possibly five, before we knew of its
existence. It is not easy to understand how that could have happened. I
discovered the defect by accident. I was half-way up the hall stairs one
day at home, and was leading her by the hand, when I glanced back
through the open door of the dining-room and saw what I thought she
would recognise as a pretty picture. It was "Stray Kit," the slender,
the graceful, the sociable, the beautiful, the incomparable, the cat of
cats, the tortoise-shell, curled up as round as a wheel and sound asleep
on the fire-red cover of the dining-table, with a brilliant stream of
sunlight falling across her. I exclaimed about it, but Susy said she
could see nothing there, neither cat nor table-cloth. The distance was
so slight--not more than twenty feet, perhaps--that if it had been any
other child I should not have credited the statement.

_From the Biography._


     _March 14th, '86._--Clara sprained her ankle, a little while ago,
     by running into a tree, when coasting, and while she was unable to
     walk with it she played solotaire with cards a great deal. While
     Clara was sick and papa saw her play solotaire so much, he got very
     much interested in the game, and finally began to play it himself a
     little, then Jean took it up, and at last _mamma_, even played it
     ocasionally; Jean's and papa's love for it rapidly increased, and
     now Jean brings the cards every night to the table and papa and
     mamma help her play, and before dinner is at an end, papa has
     gotten a separate pack of cards, and is playing alone, with great
     interest. Mamma and Clara next are made subject to the contagious
     solatair, and there are four solotaireans at the table; while you
     hear nothing but "Fill up the place" etc. It is dreadful! after
     supper Clara goes into the library, and gets a little red mahogany
     table, and placing it under the gas fixture seats herself and
     begins to play again, then papa follows with another table of the
     same discription, and they play solatair till bedtime.

     We have just had our Prince and Pauper pictures taken; two groups
     and some little single ones. The groups (the Interview and Lady
     Jane Grey scene) were pretty good, the lady Jane scene was perfect,
     just as pretty as it could be, the Interview was not so good; and
     two of the little single pictures were very good indeed, but one
     was very bad. Yet on the whole we think they were a success.

     Papa has done a great deal in his life I think, that is good, and
     very remarkable, but I think if he had had the advantages with
     which he could have developed the gifts which he has made no use of
     in writing his books, or in any other way for other peoples
     pleasure and benefit outside of his own family and intimate
     friends, he could have done _more_ than he has and a great deal
     more even. He is known to the public as a humorist, but he has much
     more in him that is earnest than that is humorous. He has a keen
     sense of the ludicrous, notices funny stories and incidents knows
     how to tell them, to improve upon them, and does not forget them.
     He has been through a great many of the funny adventures related in
     "Tom Sawyer" and in "Huckleberry Finn," _himself_ and he lived among
     just such boys, and in just such villages all the days of his early
     life. His "Prince and Pauper" is his most orriginal, and best
     production; it shows the most of any of his books what kind of
     pictures are in his mind, usually. Not that the pictures of England
     in the 16th Century and the adventures of a little prince and
     pauper are the kind of things he mainly thinks about; but that
     _that_ book, and those pictures represent the train of thought and
     imagination he would be likely to be thinking of to-day, to-morrow,
     or next day, more nearly than those given in "Tom Sawyer" or
     "Huckleberry Finn."[13]

     Papa can make exceedingly bright jokes, and he enjoys funny things,
     and when he is with people he jokes and laughs a great deal, but
     still he is more interested in earnest books and earnest subjects
     to talk upon, than in humorous ones.[14]

     When we are all alone at home, nine times out of ten, he talks
     about some very earnest subjects, (with an ocasional joke thrown
     in) and he a good deal more often talks upon such subjects than
     upon the other kind.

     He is as much of a Pholosopher as anything I think. I think he
     could have done a great deal in this direction if he had studied
     while young, for he seems to enjoy reasoning out things, no matter
     what; in a great many such directions he has greater ability than
     in the gifts which have made him famous.


Thus at fourteen she had made up her mind about me, and in no timorous
or uncertain terms had set down her reasons for her opinion. Fifteen
years were to pass before any other critic--except Mr. Howells, I
think--was to reutter that daring opinion and print it. Right or wrong,
it was a brave position for that little analyser to take. She never
withdrew it afterward, nor modified it. She has spoken of herself as
lacking physical courage, and has evinced her admiration of Clara's; but
she had moral courage, which is the rarest of human qualities, and she
kept it functionable by exercising it. I think that in questions of
morals and politics she was usually on my side; but when she was not
she had her reasons and maintained her ground. Two years after she
passed out of my life I wrote a Philosophy. Of the three persons who
have seen the manuscript only one understood it, and all three condemned
it. If she could have read it, she also would have condemned it,
possibly,--probably, in fact--but she would have understood it. It would
have had no difficulties for her on that score; also she would have
found a tireless pleasure in analyzing and discussing its problems.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTES:

[13] It is so yet--M. T.

[14] She has said it well and correctly. Humor is a subject which has
never had much interest for me. This is why I have never examined it,
nor written about it nor used it as a topic for a speech. A hundred
times it has been offered me as a topic in these past forty years, but
in no case has it attracted me.--M. T.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXVI.

JUNE 7, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XIX.

BY MARK TWAIN.


_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     _March 23, '86._--The other day was my birthday, and I had a little
     birthday party in the evening and papa acted some very funny
     charades with Mr. Gherhardt, Mr. Jesse Grant (who had come up from
     New York and was spending the evening with us) and Mr. Frank
     Warner. One of them was "on his knees" honys-sneeze. There were a
     good many other funny ones, all of which I dont remember. Mr. Grant
     was very pleasant, and began playing the charades in the most
     delightful way.


Susy's spelling has defeated me, this time. I cannot make out what
"honys-sneeze" stands for. Impromptu charades were almost a nightly
pastime of ours, from the children's earliest days--they played in them
with me when they were only five or six years old. As they increased in
years and practice their love for the sport almost amounted to a
passion, and they acted their parts with a steadily increasing ability.
At first they required much drilling; but later they were generally
ready as soon as the parts were assigned, and they acted them according
to their own devices. Their stage facility and absence of constraint and
self-consciousness in the "Prince and Pauper" was a result of their
charading practice.

At ten and twelve Susy wrote plays, and she and Daisy Warner and Clara
played them in the library or up-stairs in the school-room, with only
themselves and the servants for audience. They were of a tragic and
tremendous sort, and were performed with great energy and earnestness.
They were dramatized (freely) from English history, and in them Mary
Queen of Scots and Elizabeth had few holidays. The clothes were borrowed
from the mother's wardrobe and the gowns were longer than necessary, but
that was not regarded as a defect. In one of these plays Jean (three
years old, perhaps) was Sir Francis Bacon. She was not dressed for the
part, and did not have to say anything, but sat silent and decorous at a
tiny table and was kept busy signing death-warrants. It was a really
important office, for few entered those plays and got out of them alive.


     _March 26._--Mamma and Papa have been in New York for two or three
     days, and Miss Corey has been staying with us. They are coming home
     to-day at two o'clock.

     Papa has just begun to play chess, and he is very fond of it, so he
     has engaged to play with Mrs. Charles Warner every morning from 10
     to 12, he came down to supper last night, full of this pleasant
     prospect, but evidently with something on his mind. Finally he said
     to mamma in an appologetical tone, Susy Warner and I have a plan.

     "Well" mamma said "what now, I wonder?"

     Papa said that Susy Warner and he were going to name the chess
     after some of the old bible heroes, and then play chess on Sunday.


     _April 18, '86._--Mamma and papa Clara and Daisy have gone to New
     York to see the "Mikado." They are coming home to-night at half
     past seven.

     Last winter when Mr. Cable was lecturing with papa, he wrote this
     letter to him just before he came to visit us.


     DEAR UNCLE,--That's one nice thing about me, I never bother any
     one, to offer me a good thing twice. You dont ask me to stay over
     Sunday, but then you dont ask me to leave Saturday night, and
     knowing the nobility of your nature as I do--thank you, I'll stay
     till Monday morning.[15]

                   Your's and the dear familie's
                                              GEORGE W. CABLE.


[_December 22, 1906._] It seems a prodigious while ago! Two or three
nights ago I dined at a friend's house with a score of other men, and at
my side was Cable--actually almost an old man, really almost an old man,
that once so young chap! 62 years old, frost on his head, seven
grandchildren in stock, and a brand-new wife to re-begin life with!

[_Dictated Nov. 19, 1906._]


     Ever since papa and mamma were married, papa has written his books
     and then taken them to mamma in manuscript and she has expergated
     them. Papa read "Huckleberry Finn" to us in manuscript just before
     it came out, and then he would leave parts of it with mamma to
     expergate, while he went off up to the study to work, and sometimes
     Clara and I would be sitting with mamma while she was looking the
     manuscript over, and I remember so well, with what pangs of regret
     we used to see her turn down the leaves of the pages, which meant
     that some delightfully dreadful part must be scratched out. And I
     remember one part pertickularly which was perfectly fascinating it
     was dreadful, that Clara and I used to delight in, and oh with what
     dispair we saw mamma turn down the leaf on which it was written, we
     thought the book would be almost ruined without it. But we
     gradually came to feel as mamma did.


It would be a pity to replace the vivacity and quaintness and felicity
of Susy's innocent free spelling with the dull and petrified
uniformities of the spelling-book. Nearly all the grimness it taken out
of the "expergating" of my books by the subtle mollification
accidentally infused into the word by Susy's modification of the
spelling of it.

I remember the special case mentioned by Susy, and can see the group
yet--two-thirds of it pleading for the life of the culprit sentence that
was so fascinatingly dreadful and the other third of it patiently
explaining why the court could not grant the prayer of the pleaders; but
I do not remember what the condemned phrase was. It had much company,
and they all went to the gallows; but it is possible that that specially
dreadful one which gave those little people so much delight was
cunningly devised and put into the book for just that function, and not
with any hope or expectation that it would get by the "exper-gator"
alive. It is possible, for I had that custom.

Susy's quaint and effective spelling falls quite opportunely into
to-day's atmosphere, which is heavy with the rumblings and grumblings
and mutterings of the Simplified Spelling Reform. Andrew Carnegie
started this storm, a couple of years ago, by moving a simplifying of
English orthography, and establishing a fund for the prosecution and
maintenance of the crusade. He began gently. He addressed a circular to
some hundreds of his friends, asking them to simplify the spelling of a
dozen of our badly spelt words--I think they were only words which end
with the superfluous _ugh_. He asked that these friends use the
suggested spellings in their private correspondence.

By this, one perceives that the beginning was sufficiently quiet and
unaggressive.

Next stage: a small committee was appointed, with Brander Matthews for
managing director and spokesman. It issued a list of three hundred
words, of average silliness as to spelling, and proposed new and sane
spellings for these words. The President of the United States,
unsolicited, adopted these simplified three hundred officially, and
ordered that they be used in the official documents of the Government.
It was now remarked, by all the educated and the thoughtful except the
clergy that Sheol was to pay. This was most justly and comprehensively
descriptive. The indignant British lion rose, with a roar that was heard
across the Atlantic, and stood there on his little isle, gazing,
red-eyed, out over the glooming seas, snow-flecked with driving
spindrift, and lathing his tail--a most scary spectacle to see.

The lion was outraged because we, a nation of children, without any
grown-up people among us, with no property in the language, but using it
merely by courtesy of its owner the English nation, were trying to
defile the sacredness of it by removing from it peculiarities which had
been its ornament and which had made it holy and beautiful for ages.

In truth there is a certain sardonic propriety in preserving our
orthography, since ours is a mongrel language which started with a
child's vocabulary of three hundred words, and now consists of two
hundred and twenty-five thousand; the whole lot, with the exception of
the original and legitimate three hundred, borrowed, stolen, smouched
from every unwatched language under the sun, the spelling of each
individual word of the lot locating the source of the theft and
preserving the memory of the revered crime.

Why is it that I have intruded into this turmoil and manifested a desire
to get our orthography purged of its asininities? Indeed I do not know
why I should manifest any interest in the matter, for at bottom I
disrespect our orthography most heartily, and as heartily disrespect
everything that has been said by anybody in defence of it. Nothing
professing to be a defence of our ludicrous spellings has had any basis,
so far as my observation goes, except sentimentality. In these
"arguments" the term venerable is used instead of mouldy, and hallowed
instead of devilish; whereas there is nothing properly venerable or
antique about a language which is not yet four hundred years old, and
about a jumble of imbecile spellings which were grotesque in the
beginning, and which grow more and more grotesque with the flight of the
years.

[_Dictated Monday, November 30, 1906._]


     Jean and Papa were walking out past the barn the other day when
     Jean saw some little newly born baby ducks, she exclaimed as she
     perceived them "I dont see why God gives us so much ducks when
     Patrick kills them so."


Susy is mistaken as to the origin of the ducks. They were not a gift, I
bought them. I am not finding fault with her, for that would be most
unfair. She is remarkably accurate in her statements as a historian, as
a rule, and it would not be just to make much of this small slip of
hers; besides I think it was a quite natural slip, for by heredity and
habit ours was a religious household, and it was a common thing with us
whenever anybody did a handsome thing, to give the credit of it to
Providence, without examining into the matter. This may be called
automatic religion--in fact that is what it is; it is so used to its
work that it can do it without your help or even your privity; out of
all the facts and statistics that may be placed before it, it will
always get the one result, since it has never been taught to seek any
other. It is thus the unreflecting cause of much injustice. As we have
seen, it betrayed Susy into an injustice toward me. It had to be
automatic, for she would have been far from doing me an injustice when
in her right mind. It was a dear little biographer, and she meant me no
harm, and I am not censuring her now, but am only desirous of correcting
in advance an erroneous impression which her words would be sure to
convey to a reader's mind. No elaboration of this matter is necessary;
it is sufficient to say _I_ provided the ducks.

It was in Hartford. The greensward sloped down-hill from the house to
the sluggish little river that flowed through the grounds, and Patrick,
who was fertile in good ideas, had early conceived the idea of having
home-made ducks for our table. Every morning he drove them from the
stable down to the river, and the children were always there to see and
admire the waddling white procession; they were there again at sunset to
see Patrick conduct the procession back to its lodgings in the stable.
But this was not always a gay and happy holiday show, with joy in it for
the witnesses; no, too frequently there was a tragedy connected with it,
and then there were tears and pain for the children. There was a
stranded log or two in the river, and on these certain families of
snapping-turtles used to congregate and drowse in the sun and give
thanks, in their dumb way, to Providence for benevolence extended to
them. It was but another instance of misplaced credit; it was the young
ducks that those pious reptiles were so thankful for--whereas they were
_my_ ducks. I bought the ducks.

When a crop of young ducks, not yet quite old enough for the table but
approaching that age, began to join the procession, and paddle around in
the sluggish water, and give thanks--not to me--for that privilege, the
snapping-turtles would suspend their songs of praise and slide off the
logs and paddle along under the water and chew the feet of the young
ducks. Presently Patrick would notice that two or three of those little
creatures were not moving about, but were apparently at anchor, and were
not looking as thankful as they had been looking a short time before. He
early found out what that sign meant--a submerged snapping-turtle was
taking his breakfast, and silently singing his gratitude. Every day or
two Patrick would rescue and fetch up a little duck with incomplete legs
to stand upon--nothing left of their extremities but gnawed and bleeding
stumps. Then the children said pitying things and wept--and at dinner we
finished the tragedy which the turtles had begun. Thus, as will be
seen--out of season, at least--it was really the turtles that gave us
so much ducks. At my expense.


     Papa has written a new version of "There is a happy land" it is--


     "There is a boarding-house
               Far, far away,
     Where they have ham and eggs,
               Three times a day.
     Oh dont those boarders yell
     When they hear the dinner-bell,
     They give that land-lord rats
               Three times a day."


Again Susy has made a small error. It was not I that wrote the song. I
heard Billy Rice sing it in the negro minstrel show, and I brought it
home and sang it--with great spirit--for the elevation of the household.
The children admired it to the limit, and made me sing it with
burdensome frequency. To their minds it was superior to the Battle Hymn
of the Republic.

How many years ago that was! Where now is Billy Rice? He was a joy to
me, and so were the other stars of the nigger-show--Billy Birch, David
Wambold, Backus, and a delightful dozen of their brethren, who made life
a pleasure to me forty years ago, and later. Birch, Wambold, and Backus
are gone years ago; and with them departed to return no more forever, I
suppose, the real nigger-show--the genuine nigger-show, the extravagant
nigger-show,--the show which to me had no peer and whose peer has not
yet arrived, in my experience. We have the grand opera; and I have
witnessed, and greatly enjoyed, the first act of everything which Wagner
created, but the effect on me has always been so powerful that one act
was quite sufficient; whenever I have witnessed two acts I have gone
away physically exhausted; and whenever I have ventured an entire opera
the result has been the next thing to suicide. But if I could have the
nigger-show back again, in its pristine purity and perfection, I should
have but little further use for opera. It seems to me that to the
elevated mind and the sensitive spirit the hand-organ and the
nigger-show are a standard and a summit to whose rarefied altitude the
other forms of musical art may not hope to reach.

[_Dictated September 5, 1906._] It is years since I have examined "The
Children's Record." I have turned over a few of its pages this morning.
This book is a record in which Mrs. Clemens and I registered some of
the sayings and doings of the children, in the long ago, when they were
little chaps. Of course, we wrote these things down at the time because
they were of momentary interest--things of the passing hour, and of no
permanent value--but at this distant day I find that they still possess
an interest for me and also a value, because it turns out that they were
_registrations of character_. The qualities then revealed by fitful
glimpses, in childish acts and speeches, remained as a permanency in the
children's characters in the drift of the years, and were always
afterwards clearly and definitely recognizable.

There is a masterful streak in Jean that now and then moves her to set
my authority aside for a moment and end a losing argument in that prompt
and effective fashion. And here in this old book I find evidence that
she was just like that before she was quite four years old.


     _From The Children's Record. Quarry Farm, July 7, 1884._--Yesterday
     evening our cows (after being inspected and worshipped by Jean from
     the shed for an hour,) wandered off down into the pasture, and left
     her bereft. I thought I was going to get back home, now, but that
     was an error. Jean knew of some more cows, in a field somewhere,
     and took my hand and led me thitherward. When we turned the corner
     and took the right-hand road, I saw that we should presently be out
     of range of call and sight; so I began to argue against continuing
     the expedition, and Jean began to argue in favor of it--she using
     English for light skirmishing, and German for "business." I kept up
     my end with vigor, and demolished her arguments in detail, one
     after the other, till I judged I had her about cornered. She
     hesitated a moment, then answered up sharply:

     "_Wir werden nichts mehr darüber sprechen!_" (We won't talk any
     more about it!)

     It nearly took my breath away; though I thought I might possibly
     have misunderstood. I said:

     "Why, you little rascal! _Was hast du gesagt?_"

     But she said the same words over again, and in the same decided
     way. I suppose I ought to have been outraged; but I wasn't, I was
     charmed. And I suppose I ought to have spanked her; but I didn't, I
     fraternized with the enemy, and we went on and spent half an hour
     with the cows.


That incident is followed in the "Record" by the following paragraph,
which is another instance of a juvenile characteristic maintaining
itself into mature age. Susy was persistently and conscientiously
truthful throughout her life with the exception of one interruption
covering several months, and perhaps a year. This was while she was
still a little child. Suddenly--not gradually--she began to lie; not
furtively, but frankly, openly, and on a scale quite disproportioned to
her size. Her mother was so stunned, so nearly paralyzed for a day or
two, that she did not know what to do with the emergency. Reasonings,
persuasions, beseechings, all went for nothing; they produced no effect;
the lying went tranquilly on. Other remedies were tried, but they
failed. There is a tradition that success was finally accomplished by
whipping. I think the Record says so, but if it does it is because the
Record is incomplete. Whipping was indeed tried, and was faithfully kept
up during two or three weeks, but the results were merely temporary; the
reforms achieved were discouragingly brief.

Fortunately for Susy, an incident presently occurred which put a
complete stop to all the mother's efforts in the direction of reform.
This incident was the chance discovery in Darwin of a passage which said
that when a child exhibits a sudden and unaccountable disposition to
forsake the truth and restrict itself to lying, the explanation must be
sought away back in the past; that an ancestor of the child had had the
same disease, at the same tender age; that it was irremovable by
persuasion or punishment, and that it had ceased as suddenly and as
mysteriously as it had come, when it had run its appointed course. I
think Mr. Darwin said that nothing was necessary but to leave the matter
alone and let the malady have its way and perish by the statute of
limitations.

We had confidence in Darwin, and after that day Susy was relieved of our
reformatory persecutions. She went on lying without let or hindrance
during several months, or a year; then the lying suddenly ceased, and
she became as conscientiously and exactingly truthful as she had been
before the attack, and she remained so to the end of her life.

The paragraph in the Record to which I have been leading up is in my
handwriting, and is of a date so long posterior to the time of the lying
malady that she had evidently forgotten that truth-speaking had ever had
any difficulties for her.


     Mama was speaking of a servant who had been pretty unveracious, but
     was now "trying to tell the truth." Susy was a good deal surprised,
     and said she shouldn't think anybody would have to _try_ to tell
     the truth.


In the Record the children's acts and speeches quite definitely define
their characters. Susy's indicated the presence of mentality--
thought--and they were generally marked by gravity. She was timid, on
her physical side, but had an abundance of moral courage. Clara was
sturdy, independent, orderly, practical, persistent, plucky--just a
little animal, and very satisfactory. Charles Dudley Warner said Susy
was made of mind, and Clara of matter.

When Motley, the kitten, died, some one said that the thoughts of the
two children need not be inquired into, they could be divined: that Susy
was wondering if this was the _end_ of Motley, and had his life been
worth while; whereas Clara was merely interested in seeing to it that
there should be a creditable funeral.

In those days Susy was a dreamer, a thinker, a poet and philosopher, and
Clara--well, Clara wasn't. In after-years a passion for music developed
the latent spirituality and intellectuality in Clara, and her
practicality took second and, in fact, even third place. Jean was from
the beginning orderly, steady, diligent, persistent; and remains so. She
picked up languages easily, and kept them.


     _Susy aged eleven, Jean three._--Susy said the other day when she
     saw Jean bringing a cat to me of her own motion, "Jean has found
     out already that mamma loves morals and papa loves cats."


It is another of Susy's remorselessly sound verdicts.

As a child, Jean neglected my books. When she was nine years old Will
Gillette invited her and the rest of us to a dinner at the Murray Hill
Hotel in New York, in order that we might get acquainted with Mrs.
Leslie and her daughters. Elsie Leslie was nine years old, and was a
great celebrity on the stage. Jean was astonished and awed to see that
little slip of a thing sit up at table and take part in the conversation
of the grown people, capably and with ease and tranquillity. Poor Jean
was obliged to keep still, for the subjects discussed never happened to
hit her level, but at last the talk fell within her limit and she had
her chance to contribute to it. "Tom Sawyer" was mentioned. Jean spoke
gratefully up and said,

"I know who wrote that book--Harriet Beecher Stowe!"


     One evening Susy had prayed, Clara was curled up for sleep; she was
     reminded that it was her turn to pray now. She laid "Oh! one's
     enough," and dropped off to slumber.

     _Clara five years old._--We were in Germany. The nurse, Rosa, was
     not allowed to speak to the children otherwise than in German.
     Clara grew very tired of it; by and by the little creature's
     patience was exhausted, and she said "Aunt Clara, I wish God had
     made Rosa in English."

     _Clara four years old, Susy six._--This morning when Clara
     discovered that this is my birthday, she was greatly troubled
     because she had provided no gift for me, and repeated her sorrow
     several times. Finally she went musing to the nursery and presently
     returned with her newest and dearest treasure, a large toy horse,
     and said, "You shall have this horse for your birthday, papa."

     I accepted it with many thanks. After an hour she was racing up and
     down the room with the horse, when Susy said,

     "Why Clara, you gave that horse to papa, and now you've tooken it
     again."

     _Clara._--"I never give it to him for always; I give it to him for
     his birthday."


     In Geneva, in September, I lay abed late one morning, and as Clara
     was passing through the room I took her on my bed a moment. Then
     the child went to Clara Spaulding and said,

     "Aunt Clara, papa is a good deal of trouble to me."

     "Is he? Why?"

     "Well, he wants me to get in bed with him, and I can't do that with
     jelmuls [gentlemen]--I don't like jelmuls anyway."

     "What, you don't like gentlemen! Don't you like Uncle Theodore
     Crane?"

     "Oh yes, but he's not a jelmul, he's a friend."


                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[15] Cable never travelled Sundays.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXVIII.

JULY 5, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XX.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1868.)]

[_Notes on "Innocents Abroad." Dictated in Florence, Italy, April,
1904._]--I will begin with a note upon the dedication. I wrote the book
in the months of March and April, 1868, in San Francisco. It was
published in August, 1869. Three years afterward Mr. Goodman, of
Virginia City, Nevada, on whose newspaper I had served ten years before,
came East, and we were walking down Broadway one day when he said: "How
did you come to steal Oliver Wendell Holmes's dedication and put it in
your book?"

I made a careless and inconsequential answer, for I supposed he was
joking. But he assured me that he was in earnest. He said: "I'm not
discussing the question of whether you stole it or didn't--for that is a
question that can be settled in the first bookstore we come to--I am
only asking you _how_ you came to steal it, for that is where my
curiosity is focalized."

I couldn't accommodate him with this information, as I hadn't it in
stock. I could have made oath that I had not stolen anything, therefore
my vanity was not hurt nor my spirit troubled. At bottom I supposed that
he had mistaken another book for mine, and was now getting himself into
an untenable place and preparing sorrow for himself and triumph for me.
We entered a bookstore and he asked for "The Innocents Abroad" and for
the dainty little blue and gold edition of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes's
poems. He opened the books, exposed their dedications and said: "Read
them. It is plain that the author of the second one stole the first one,
isn't it?"

I was very much ashamed, and unspeakably astonished. We continued our
walk, but I was not able to throw any gleam of light upon that original
question of his. I could not remember ever having seen Dr. Holmes's
dedication. I knew the poems, but the dedication was new to me.

I did not get hold of the key to that secret until months afterward,
then it came in a curious way, and yet it was a natural way; for the
natural way provided by nature and the construction of the human mind
for the discovery of a forgotten event is to employ another forgotten
event for its resurrection.

[Sidenote: (1866.)]

I received a letter from the Rev. Dr. Rising, who had been rector of the
Episcopal church in Virginia City in my time, in which letter Dr. Rising
made reference to certain things which had happened to us in the
Sandwich Islands six years before; among things he made casual mention
of the Honolulu Hotel's poverty in the matter of literature. At first I
did not see the bearing of the remark, it called nothing to my mind. But
presently it did--with a flash! There was but one book in Mr. Kirchhof's
hotel, and that was the first volume of Dr. Holmes's blue and gold
series. I had had a fortnight's chance to get well acquainted with its
contents, for I had ridden around the big island (Hawaii) on horseback
and had brought back so many saddle boils that if there had been a duty
on them it would have bankrupted me to pay it. They kept me in my room,
unclothed, and in persistent pain for two weeks, with no company but
cigars and the little volume of poems. Of course I read them almost
constantly; I read them from beginning to end, then read them backwards,
then began in the middle and read them both ways, then read them wrong
end first and upside down. In a word, I read the book to rags, and was
infinitely grateful to the hand that wrote it.

Here we have an exhibition of what repetition can do, when persisted in
daily and hourly over a considerable stretch of time, where one is
merely reading for entertainment, without thought or intention of
preserving in the memory that which is read. It is a process which in
the course of years dries all the juice out of a familiar verse of
Scripture, leaving nothing but a sapless husk behind. In that case you
at least know the origin of the husk, but in the case in point I
apparently preserved the husk but presently forgot whence it came. It
lay lost in some dim corner of my memory a year or two, then came
forward when I needed a dedication, and was promptly mistaken by me as a
child of my own happy fancy.

I was new, I was ignorant, the mysteries of the human mind were a sealed
book to me as yet, and I stupidly looked upon myself as a tough and
unforgivable criminal. I wrote to Dr. Holmes and told him the whole
disgraceful affair, implored him in impassioned language to believe that
I had never intended to commit this crime, and was unaware that I had
committed it until I was confronted with the awful evidence. I have lost
his answer, I could better have afforded to lose an uncle. Of these I
had a surplus, many of them of no real value to me, but that letter was
beyond price, beyond uncledom, and unsparable. In it Dr. Holmes laughed
the kindest and healingest laugh over the whole matter, and at
considerable length and in happy phrase assured me that there was no
crime in unconscious plagiarism; that I committed it every day, that he
committed it every day, that every man alive on the earth who writes or
speaks commits it every day and not merely once or twice but every time
he opens his mouth; that all our phrasings are spiritualized shadows
cast multitudinously from our readings; that no happy phrase of ours is
ever quite original with us, there is nothing of our own in it except
some slight change born of our temperament, character, environment,
teachings and associations; that this slight change differentiates it
from another man's manner of saying it, stamps it with our special
style, and makes it our own for the time being; all the rest of it being
old, moldy, antique, and smelling of the breath of a thousand
generations of them that have passed it over their teeth before!

In the thirty-odd years which have come and gone since then, I have
satisfied myself that what Dr. Holmes said was true.

I wish to make a note upon the preface of the "Innocents." In the last
paragraph of that brief preface, I speak of the proprietors of the
"Daily Alta California" having "waived their rights" in certain letters
which I wrote for that journal while absent on the "Quaker City" trip. I
was young then, I am white-headed now, but the insult of that word
rankles yet, now that I am reading that paragraph for the first time in
many years, reading it for the first time since it was written, perhaps.
There were rights, it is true--such rights as the strong are able to
acquire over the weak and the absent. Early in '66 George Barnes invited
me to resign my reportership on his paper, the San Francisco "Morning
Call," and for some months thereafter I was without money or work; then
I had a pleasant turn of fortune. The proprietors of the "Sacramento
Union," a great and influential daily journal, sent me to the Sandwich
Islands to write four letters a month at twenty dollars apiece. I was
there four or five months, and returned to find myself about the best
known honest man on the Pacific Coast. Thomas McGuire, proprietor of
several theatres, said that now was the time to make my fortune--strike
while the iron was hot!--break into the lecture field! I did it. I
announced a lecture on the Sandwich Islands, closing the advertisement
with the remark, "Admission one dollar; doors open at half-past 7, the
trouble begins at 8." A true prophecy. The trouble certainly did begin
at 8, when I found myself in front of the only audience I had ever
faced, for the fright which pervaded me from head to foot was
paralyzing. It lasted two minutes and was as bitter as death, the memory
of it is indestructible, but it had its compensations, for it made me
immune from timidity before audiences for all time to come. I lectured
in all the principal Californian towns and in Nevada, then lectured once
or twice more in San Francisco, then retired from the field rich--for
me--and laid out a plan to sail Westward from San Francisco, and go
around the world. The proprietors of the "Alta" engaged me to write an
account of the trip for that paper--fifty letters of a column and a half
each, which would be about two thousand words per letter, and the pay to
be twenty dollars per letter.

I went East to St. Louis to say good-bye to my mother, and then I was
bitten by the prospectus of Captain Duncan of the "Quaker City"
excursion, and I ended by joining it. During the trip I wrote and sent
the fifty letters; six of them miscarried, and I wrote six new ones to
complete my contract. Then I put together a lecture on the trip and
delivered it in San Francisco at great and satisfactory pecuniary
profit, then I branched out into the country and was aghast at the
result: I had been entirely forgotten, I never had people enough in my
houses to sit as a jury of inquest on my lost reputation! I inquired
into this curious condition of things and found that the thrifty owners
of that prodigiously rich "Alta" newspaper had _copyrighted_ all those
poor little twenty-dollar letters, and had threatened with prosecution
any journal which should venture to copy a paragraph from them!

And there I was! I had contracted to furnish a large book, concerning
the excursion, to the American Publishing Co. of Hartford, and I
supposed I should need all those letters to fill it out with. I was in
an uncomfortable situation--that is, if the proprietors of this
stealthily acquired copyright should refuse to let me use the letters.
That is just what they did; Mr. Mac--something--I have forgotten the
rest of his name--said his firm were going to make a book out of the
letters in order to get back the thousand dollars which they had paid
for them. I said that if they had acted fairly and honorably, and had
allowed the country press to use the letters or portions of them, my
lecture-skirmish on the coast would have paid me ten thousand dollars,
whereas the "Alta" had lost me that amount. Then he offered a
compromise: he would publish the book and allow me ten per cent. royalty
on it. The compromise did not appeal to me, and I said so. I was now
quite unknown outside of San Francisco, the book's sale would be
confined to that city, and my royalty would not pay me enough to board
me three months; whereas my Eastern contract, if carried out, could be
profitable to me, for I had a sort of reputation on the Atlantic
seaboard acquired through the publication of six excursion-letters in
the New York "Tribune" and one or two in the "Herald."

In the end Mr. Mac agreed to suppress his book, on certain conditions:
in my preface I must thank the "Alta" for waiving "rights" and granting
me permission. I objected to the thanks. I could not with any large
degree of sincerity thank the "Alta" for bankrupting my lecture-raid.
After considerable debate my point was conceded and the thanks left out.

[Sidenote: (1902.)]

[Sidenote: (1904.)]

[Sidenote: (1897.)]

Noah Brooks was the editor of the "Alta" at the time, a man of sterling
character and equipped with a right heart, also a good historian where
facts were not essential. In biographical sketches of me written many
years afterward (1902), he was quite eloquent in praises of the
generosity of the "Alta" people in giving to me without compensation a
book which, as history had afterward shown, was worth a fortune. After
all the fuss, I did not levy heavily upon the "Alta" letters. I found
that they were newspaper matter, not book matter. They had been written
here and there and yonder, as opportunity had given me a chance
working-moment or two during our feverish flight around about Europe or
in the furnace-heat of my stateroom on board the "Quaker City,"
therefore they were loosely constructed, and needed to have some of the
wind and water squeezed out of them. I used several of them--ten or
twelve, perhaps. I wrote the rest of "The Innocents Abroad" in sixty
days, and I could have added a fortnight's labor with the pen and gotten
along without the letters altogether. I was very young in those days,
exceedingly young, marvellously young, younger than I am now, younger
than I shall ever be again, by hundreds of years. I worked every night
from eleven or twelve until broad day in the morning, and as I did two
hundred thousand words in the sixty days, the average was more than
three thousand words a day--nothing for Sir Walter Scott, nothing for
Louis Stevenson, nothing for plenty of other people, but quite handsome
for me. In 1897, when we were living in Tedworth Square, London, and I
was writing the book called "Following the Equator" my average was
eighteen hundred words a day; here in Florence (1904), my average seems
to be fourteen hundred words per sitting of four or five hours.[16]

I was deducing from the above that I have been slowing down steadily in
these thirty-six years, but I perceive that my statistics have a
defect: three thousand words in the spring of 1868 when I was working
seven or eight or nine hours at a sitting has little or no advantage
over the sitting of to-day, covering half the time and producing half
the output. Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the
arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to
Disraeli would often apply with justice and force:

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

[_Dictated, January 23, 1907._]--The proverb says that Providence
protects children and idiots. This is really true. I know it because I
have tested it. It did not protect George through the most of his
campaign, but it saved him in his last inning, and the veracity of the
proverb stood confirmed.

[Sidenote: (1865.)]

I have several times been saved by this mysterious interposition, when I
was manifestly in extreme peril. It has been common, all my life, for
smart people to perceive in me an easy prey for selfish designs, and I
have walked without suspicion into the trap set for me, yet have often
come out unscathed, against all the likelihoods. More than forty years
ago, in San Francisco, the office staff adjourned, upon conclusion of
its work at two o'clock in the morning, to a great bowling establishment
where there were twelve alleys. I was invited, rather perfunctorily, and
as a matter of etiquette--by which I mean that I was invited politely,
but not urgently. But when I diffidently declined, with thanks, and
explained that I knew nothing about the game, those lively young fellows
became at once eager and anxious and urgent to have my society. This
flattered me, for I perceived no trap, and I innocently and gratefully
accepted their invitation. I was given an alley all to myself. The boys
explained the game to me, and they also explained to me that there would
be an hour's play, and that the player who scored the fewest ten-strikes
in the hour would have to provide oysters and beer for the combination.
This disturbed me very seriously, since it promised me bankruptcy, and I
was sorry that this detail had been overlooked in the beginning. But my
pride would not allow me to back out now, so I stayed in, and did what I
could to look satisfied and glad I had come. It is not likely that I
looked as contented as I wanted to, but the others looked glad enough to
make up for it, for they were quite unable to hide their evil joy. They
showed me how to stand, and how to stoop, and how to aim the ball, and
how to let fly; and then the game began. The results were astonishing.
In my ignorance I delivered the balls in apparently every way except the
right one; but no matter--during half an hour I never started a ball
down the alley that didn't score a ten-strike, every time, at the other
end. The others lost their grip early, and their joy along with it. Now
and then one of them got a ten-strike, but the occurrence was so rare
that it made no show alongside of my giant score. The boys surrendered
at the end of the half-hour, and put on their coats and gathered around
me and in courteous, but sufficiently definite, language expressed their
opinion of an experience-worn and seasoned expert who would stoop to
lying and deception in order to rob kind and well-meaning friends who
had put their trust in him under the delusion that he was an honest and
honorable person. I was not able to convince them that I had not lied,
for now my character was gone, and they refused to attach any value to
anything I said. The proprietor of the place stood by for a while saying
nothing, then he came to my defence. He said: "It looks like a mystery,
gentlemen, but it isn't a mystery after it's explained. That is a
_grooved_ alley; you've only to start a ball down it any way you please
and the groove will do the rest; it will slam the ball against the
northeast curve of the head pin every time, and nothing can save the ten
from going down."

It was true. The boys made the experiment and they found that there was
no art that could send a ball down that alley and fail to score a
ten-strike with it. When I had told those boys that I knew nothing about
that game I was speaking only the truth; but it was ever thus, all
through my life: whenever I have diverged from custom and principle and
uttered a truth, the rule has been that the hearer hadn't strength of
mind enough to believe it.

[Sidenote: (1873.)]

A quarter of a century ago I arrived in London to lecture a few weeks
under the management of George Dolby, who had conducted the Dickens
readings in America five or six years before. He took me to the
Albemarle and fed me, and in the course of the dinner he enlarged a good
deal, and with great satisfaction, upon his reputation as a player of
fifteen-ball pool, and when he learned by my testimony that I had never
seen the game played, and knew nothing of the art of pocketing balls,
he enlarged more and more, and still more, and kept on enlarging, until
I recognized that I was either in the presence of the very father of
fifteen-ball pool or in the presence of his most immediate descendant.
At the end of the dinner Dolby was eager to introduce me to the game and
show me what he could do. We adjourned to the billiard-room and he
framed the balls in a flat pyramid and told me to fire at the apex ball
and then go on and do what I could toward pocketing the fifteen, after
which he would take the cue and show me what a past-master of the game
could do with those balls. I did as required. I began with the
diffidence proper to my ignorant estate, and when I had finished my
inning all the balls were in the pockets and Dolby was burying me under
a volcanic irruption of acid sarcasms.

So I was a liar in Dolby's belief. He thought he had been sold, and at a
cheap rate; but he divided his sarcasms quite fairly and quite equally
between the two of us. He was full of ironical admiration of his
childishness and innocence in letting a wandering and characterless and
scandalous American load him up with deceptions of so transparent a
character that they ought not to have deceived the house cat. On the
other hand, he was remorselessly severe upon me for beguiling him, by
studied and discreditable artifice, into bragging and boasting about his
poor game in the presence of a professional expert disguised in lies and
frauds, who could empty more balls in billiard pockets in an hour than
he could empty into a basket in a day.

In the matter of fifteen-ball pool I never got Dolby's confidence wholly
back, though I got it in other ways, and kept it until his death. I have
played that game a number of times since, but that first time was the
only time in my life that I have ever pocketed all the fifteen in a
single inning.

[Sidenote: (1876.)]

My unsuspicious nature has made it necessary for Providence to save me
from traps a number of times. Thirty years ago, a couple of Elmira
bankers invited me to play the game of "Quaker" with them. I had never
heard of the game before, and said that if it required intellect, I
should not be able to entertain them. But they said it was merely a game
of chance, and required no mentality--so I agreed to make a trial of it.
They appointed four in the afternoon for the sacrifice. As the place,
they chose a ground-floor room with a large window in it. Then they
went treacherously around and advertised the "sell" which they were
going to play upon me.

I arrived on time, and we began the game--with a large and eager
free-list to superintend it. These superintendents were outside, with
their noses pressed against the window-pane. The bankers described the
game to me. So far as I recollect, the pattern of it was this: they had
a pile of Mexican dollars on the table; twelve of them were of even
date, fifty of them were of odd dates. The bankers were to separate a
coin from the pile and hide it under a hand, and I must guess "odd" or
"even." If I guessed correctly, the coin would be mine; if incorrectly,
I lost a dollar. The first guess I made was "even," and was right. I
guessed again, "even," and took the money. They fed me another one and I
guessed "even" again, and took the money. I guessed "even" the fourth
time, and took the money. It seemed to me that "even" was a good guess,
and I might as well stay by it, which I did. I guessed "even" twelve
times, and took the twelve dollars. I was doing as they secretly
desired. Their experience of human nature had convinced them that any
human being as innocent as my face proclaimed me to be, would repeat his
first guess if it won, and would go on repeating it if it should
continue to win. It was their belief that an innocent would be almost
sure at the beginning to guess "even," and not "odd," and that if an
innocent should guess "even" twelve times in succession and win every
time, he would go on guessing "even" to the end--so it was their purpose
to let me win those twelve even dates and then advance the odd dates,
one by one, until I should lose fifty dollars, and furnish those
superintendents something to laugh about for a week to come.

But it did not come out in that way; for by the time I had won the
twelfth dollar and last even date, I withdrew from the game because it
was so one-sided that it was monotonous, and did not entertain me. There
was a burst of laughter from the superintendents at the window when I
came out of the place, but I did not know what they were laughing at nor
whom they were laughing at, and it was a matter of no interest to me
anyway. Through that incident I acquired an enviable reputation for
smartness and penetration, but it was not my due, for I had not
penetrated anything that the cow could not have penetrated.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[16] With the pen, I mean. This Autobiography is dictated, not written.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXX.

AUGUST 2, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XXI.

BY MARK TWAIN.


_From Susy's Biography of Me._


     _Feb. 12, '86._

     Mamma and I have both been very much troubled of late because papa
     since he has been publishing Gen. Grant's book has seemed to forget
     his own books and work entirely, and the other evening as papa and
     I were promonading up and down the library he told me that he
     didn't expect to write but one more book, and then he was ready to
     give up work altogether, die, or do anything, he said that he had
     written more than he had ever expected to, and the only book that
     he had been pertickularly anxious to write was one locked up in the
     safe down stairs, not yet published.[17]

     But this intended future of course will never do, and although papa
     usually holds to his own opinions and intents with outsiders, when
     mamma realy desires anything and says that it must be, papa allways
     gives up his plans (at least so far) and does as she says is right
     (and she is usually right, if she dissagrees with him at all). It
     was because he knew his great tendency to being convinced by her,
     that he published without her knowledge that article in the
     "Christian Union" concerning the government of children. So judging
     by the proofs of past years, I think that we will be able to
     persuade papa to go back to work as before, and not leave off
     writing with the end of his next story. Mamma says that she
     sometimes feels, and I do too, that she would rather have papa
     depend on his writing for a living than to have him think of giving
     it up.


[_Dictated, November 8, 1906._] I have a defect of a sort which I think
is not common; certainly I hope it isn't: it is rare that I can call
before my mind's eye the form and face of either friend or enemy. If I
should make a list, now, of persons whom I know in America and
abroad--say to the number of even an entire thousand--it is quite
unlikely that I could reproduce five of them in my mind's eye. Of my
dearest and most intimate friends, I could name eight whom I have seen
and talked with four days ago, but when I try to call them before me
they are formless shadows. Jean has been absent, this past eight or ten
days, in the country, and I wish I could reproduce her in the mirror of
my mind, but I can't do it.

It may be that this defect is not constitutional, but a result of
lifelong absence of mind and indolent and inadequate observation. Once
or twice in my life it has been an embarrassment to me. Twenty years
ago, in the days of Susy's Biography of Me, there was a dispute one
morning at the breakfast-table about the color of a neighbor's eyes. I
was asked for a verdict, but had to confess that if that valued neighbor
and old friend had eyes I was not sure that I had ever seen them. It was
then mockingly suggested that perhaps I didn't even know the color of
the eyes of my own family, and I was required to shut my own at once and
testify. I was able to name the color of Mrs. Clemens's eyes, but was
not able to even suggest a color for Jean's, or Clara's, or Susy's.

All this talk is suggested by Susy's remark: "The other evening as papa
and I were promenading up and down the library." Down to the bottom of
my heart I am thankful that I can see _that_ picture! And it is not dim,
but stands out clear in the unfaded light of twenty-one years ago. In
those days Susy and I used to "promonade" daily up and down the
library, with our arms about each other's waists, and deal in intimate
communion concerning affairs of State, or the deep questions of human
life, or our small personal affairs.

It was quite natural that I should think I had written myself out when I
was only fifty years old, for everybody who has ever written has been
smitten with that superstition at about that age. Not even yet have I
really written myself out. I have merely stopped writing because
dictating is pleasanter work, and because dictating has given me a
strong aversion to the pen, and because two hours of talking per day is
enough, and because--But I am only damaging my mind with this digging
around in it for pretexts where no pretext is needed, and where the
simple truth is for this one time better than any invention, in this
small emergency. I shall never finish my five or six unfinished books,
for the reason that by forty years of slavery to the pen I have earned
my freedom. I detest the pen and I wouldn't use it again to sign the
death warrant of my dearest enemy.

[_Dictated, March 8, 1906._] For thirty years, I have received an
average of a dozen letters a year from strangers who remember me, or
whose fathers remember me as boy and young man. But these letters are
almost always disappointing. I have not known these strangers nor their
fathers. I have not heard of the names they mention; the reminiscences
to which they call attention have had no part in my experience; all of
which means that these strangers have been mistaking me for somebody
else. But at last I have the refreshment, this morning, of a letter from
a man who deals in names that were familiar to me in my boyhood. The
writer encloses a newspaper clipping which has been wandering through
the press for four or five weeks, and he wants to know if Capt Tonkray,
lately deceased, was (as stated in the clipping) the original of
"Huckleberry Finn."

I have replied that "Huckleberry Finn" was Frank F. As this inquirer
evidently knew the Hannibal of the forties, he will easily recall Frank.
Frank's father was at one time Town Drunkard, an exceedingly
well-defined and unofficial office of those days. He succeeded "General"
Gaines, and for a time he was sole and only incumbent of the office; but
afterward Jimmy Finn proved competency and disputed the place with him,
so we had two town drunkards at one time--and it made as much trouble in
that village as Christendom experienced in the fourteenth century when
there were two Popes at the same time.

In "Huckleberry Finn" I have drawn Frank exactly as he was. He was
ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as
ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the
only really independent person--boy or man--in the community, and by
consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy, and was envied by
all the rest of us. We liked him; we enjoyed his society. And as his
society was forbidden us by our parents, the prohibition trebled and
quadrupled its value, and therefore we sought and got more of his
society than of any other boy's. I heard, four years ago, that he was
Justice of the Peace in a remote village in the State of ----, and was a
good citizen and was greatly respected.

During Jimmy Finn's term he (Jimmy) was not exclusive; he was not
finical; he was not hypercritical; he was largely and handsomely
democratic--and slept in the deserted tan-yard with the hogs. My father
tried to reform him once, but did not succeed. My father was not a
professional reformer. In him the spirit of reform was spasmodic. It
only broke out now and then, with considerable intervals between. Once
he tried to reform Injun Joe. That also was a failure. It was a failure,
and we boys were glad. For Injun Joe, drunk, was interesting and a
benefaction to us, but Injun Joe, sober, was a dreary spectacle. We
watched my father's experiments upon him with a good deal of anxiety,
but it came out all right and we were satisfied. Injun Joe got drunk
oftener than before, and became intolerably interesting.

I think that in "Tom Sawyer" I starved Injun Joe to death in the cave.
But that may have been to meet the exigencies of romantic literature. I
can't remember now whether the real Injun Joe died in the cave or out of
it, but I do remember that the news of his death reached me at a most
unhappy time--that is to say, just at bedtime on a summer night when a
prodigious storm of thunder and lightning accompanied by a deluging rain
that turned the streets and lanes into rivers, caused me to repent and
resolve to lead a better life. I can remember those awful thunder-bursts
and the white glare of the lightning yet, and the wild lashing of the
rain against the window-panes. By my teachings I perfectly well knew
what all that wild riot was for--Satan had come to get Injun Joe. I had
no shadow of doubt about it. It was the proper thing when a person like
Injun Joe was required in the under world, and I should have thought it
strange and unaccountable if Satan had come for him in a less impressive
way. With every glare of lightning I shrivelled and shrunk together in
mortal terror, and in the interval of black darkness that followed I
poured out my lamentings over my lost condition, and my supplications
for just one more chance, with an energy and feeling and sincerity quite
foreign to my nature.

But in the morning I saw that it was a false alarm and concluded to
resume business at the old stand and wait for another reminder.

The axiom says "History repeats itself." A week or two ago Mr.
Blank-Blank dined with us. At dinner he mentioned a circumstance which
flashed me back over about sixty years and landed me in that little
bedroom on that tempestuous night, and brought to my mind how creditable
to me was my conduct through the whole night, and how barren it was of
moral spot or fleck during that entire period: he said Mr. X was sexton,
or something, of the Episcopal church in his town, and had been for many
years the competent superintendent of all the church's worldly affairs,
and was regarded by the whole congregation as a stay, a blessing, a
priceless treasure. But he had a couple of defects--not large defects,
but they seemed large when flung against the background of his
profoundly religious character: he drank a good deal, and he could
outswear a brakeman. A movement arose to persuade him to lay aside these
vices, and after consulting with his pal, who occupied the same position
as himself in the other Episcopal church, and whose defects were
duplicates of his own and had inspired regret in the congregation he was
serving, they concluded to try for reform--not wholesale, but half at a
time. They took the liquor pledge and waited for results. During nine
days the results were entirely satisfactory, and they were recipients of
many compliments and much congratulation. Then on New-year's eve they
had business a mile and a half out of town, just beyond the State line.
Everything went well with them that evening in the barroom of the
inn--but at last the celebration of the occasion by those villagers
came to be of a burdensome nature. It was a bitter cold night and the
multitudinous hot toddies that were circulating began by and by to exert
a powerful influence upon the new prohibitionists. At last X's friend
remarked,

"X, does it occur to you that we are _outside the diocese_?"

That ended reform No. 1. Then they took a chance in reform No. 2. For a
while that one prospered, and they got much applause. I now reach the
incident which sent me back a matter of sixty years, as I have remarked
a while ago.

One morning Mr. Blank-Blank met X on the street and said,

"You have made a gallant struggle against those defects of yours. I am
aware that you failed on No. 1, but I am also aware that you are having
better luck with No. 2."

"Yes," X said; "No. 2 is all right and sound up to date, and we are full
of hope."

Blank-Blank said, "X, of course you have your troubles like other
people, but they never show on the outside. I have never seen you when
you were not cheerful. Are you always cheerful? Really always cheerful?"

"Well, no," he said, "no, I can't say that I am always cheerful,
but--well, you know that kind of a night that comes: _say_--you wake up
'way in the night and the whole world is sunk in gloom and there are
storms and earthquakes and all sorts of disasters in the air
threatening, and you get cold and clammy; and when that happens to me I
recognize how sinful I am and it all goes clear to my heart and wrings
it and I have such terrors and terrors!--oh, they are indescribable,
those terrors that assail me, and I slip out of bed and get on my knees
and pray and pray and promise that I will be good, if I can only have
another chance. And then, you know, in the morning the sun shines out so
lovely, and the birds sing and the whole world is so beautiful, and--_b'
God, I rally!_"

Now I will quote a brief paragraph from this letter which I have a
minute ago spoken of. The writer says:


     You no doubt are at a loss to know who I am. I will tell you. In my
     younger days I was a resident of Hannibal, Mo., and you and I were
     schoolmates attending Mr. Dawson's school along with Sam and Will
     Bowen and Andy Fuqua and others whose names I have forgotten. I was
     then about the smallest boy in school, for my age, and they called
     me little Aleck for short.


I only dimly remember him, but I knew those other people as well as I
knew the town drunkards. I remember Dawson's schoolhouse perfectly. If I
wanted to describe it I could save myself the trouble by conveying the
description of it to these pages from "Tom Sawyer." I can remember the
drowsy and inviting summer sounds that used to float in through the open
windows from that distant boy-Paradise, Cardiff Hill (Holliday's Hill),
and mingle with the murmurs of the studying pupils and make them the
more dreary by the contrast. I remember Andy Fuqua, the oldest pupil--a
man of twenty-five. I remember the youngest pupil, Nannie Owsley, a
child of seven. I remember George Robards, eighteen or twenty years old,
the only pupil who studied Latin. I remember--in some cases vividly, in
others vaguely--the rest of the twenty-five boys and girls. I remember
Mr. Dawson very well. I remember his boy, Theodore, who was as good as
he could be. In fact, he was inordinately good, extravagantly good,
offensively good, detestably good--and he had pop-eyes--and I would have
drowned him if I had had a chance. In that school we were all about on
an equality, and, so far as I remember, the passion of envy had no place
in our hearts, except in the case of Arch Fuqua--the other one's
brother. Of course we all went barefoot in the summer-time. Arch Fuqua
was about my own age--ten or eleven. In the winter we could stand him,
because he wore shoes then, and his great gift was hidden from our sight
and we were enabled to forget it. But in the summer-time he was a
bitterness to us. He was our envy, for he could double back his big toe
and let it fly and you could hear it snap thirty yards. There was not
another boy in the school that could approach this feat. He had not a
rival as regards a physical distinction--except in Theodore Eddy, who
could work his ears like a horse. But he was no real rival, because you
couldn't hear him work his ears; so all the advantage lay with Arch
Fuqua.

I am not done with Dawson's school; I will return to it in a later
chapter.

[_Dictated at Hamilton, Bermuda, January 6, 1907._] "That reminds me."
In conversation we are always using that phrase, and seldom or never
noticing how large a significance it bears. It stands for a curious and
interesting fact, to wit: that sleeping or waking, dreaming or talking,
the thoughts which swarm through our heads are almost constantly,
almost continuously, accompanied by a like swarm of reminders of
incidents and episodes of our past. A man can never know what a large
traffic this commerce of association carries on in our minds until he
sets out to write his autobiography; he then finds that a thought is
seldom born to him that does not immediately remind him of some event,
large or small, in his past experience. Quite naturally these remarks
remind me of various things, among others this: that sometimes a
thought, by the power of association, will bring back to your mind a
lost word or a lost name which you have not been able to recover by any
other process known to your mental equipment. Yesterday we had an
instance of this. Rev. Joseph H. Twichell is with me on this flying trip
to Bermuda. He was with me on my last visit to Bermuda, and to-day we
were trying to remember when it was. We thought it was somewhere in the
neighborhood of thirty years ago, but that was as near as we could get
at the date. Twichell said that the landlady in whose boarding-house we
sojourned in that ancient time could doubtless furnish us the date, and
we must look her up. We wanted to see her, anyway, because she and her
blooming daughter of eighteen were the only persons whose acquaintance
we had made at that time, for we were travelling under fictitious names,
and people who wear aliases are not given to seeking society and
bringing themselves under suspicion. But at this point in our talk we
encountered an obstruction: we could not recall the landlady's name. We
hunted all around through our minds for that name, using all the
customary methods of research, but without success; the name was gone
from us, apparently permanently. We finally gave the matter up, and fell
to talking about something else. The talk wandered from one subject to
another, and finally arrived at Twichell's school-days in Hartford--the
Hartford of something more than half a century ago--and he mentioned
several of his schoolmasters, dwelling with special interest upon the
peculiarities of an aged one named Olney. He remarked that Olney, humble
village schoolmaster as he was, was yet a man of superior parts, and had
published text-books which had enjoyed a wide currency in America in
their day. I said I remembered those books, and had studied Olney's
Geography in school when I was a boy. Then Twichell said,

"That reminds me--our landlady's name was a name that was associated
with school-books of some kind or other fifty or sixty years ago. I
wonder what it was. I believe it began with K."

Association did the rest, and did it instantly. I said,

"Kirkham's Grammar!"

That settled it. Kirkham was the name; and we went out to seek for the
owner of it. There was no trouble about that, for Bermuda is not large,
and is like the earlier Garden of Eden, in that everybody in it knows
everybody else, just as it was in the serpent's headquarters in Adam's
time. We easily found Miss Kirkham--she that had been the blooming girl
of a generation before--and she was still keeping boarders; but her
mother had passed from this life. She settled the date for us, and did
it with certainty, by help of a couple of uncommon circumstances, events
of that ancient time. She said we had sailed from Bermuda on the 24th of
May, 1877, which was the day on which her only nephew was born--and he
is now thirty years of age. The other unusual circumstance--she called
it an unusual circumstance, and I didn't say anything--was that on that
day the Rev. Mr. Twichell (bearing the assumed name of Peters) had made
a statement to her which she regarded as a fiction. I remembered the
circumstance very well. We had bidden the young girl good-by and had
gone fifty yards, perhaps, when Twichell said he had forgotten something
(I doubted it) and must go back. When he rejoined me he was silent, and
this alarmed me, because I had not seen an example of it before. He
seemed quite uncomfortable, and I asked him what the trouble was. He
said he had been inspired to give the girl a pleasant surprise, and so
had gone back and said to her--

"That young fellow's name is not Wilkinson--that's Mark Twain."

She did not lose her mind; she did not exhibit any excitement at all,
but said quite simply, quite tranquilly,

"Tell it to the marines, Mr. Peters--if that should happen to be _your_
name."

It was very pleasant to meet her again. We were white-headed, but she
was not; in the sweet and unvexed spiritual atmosphere of the Bermudas
one does not achieve gray hairs at forty-eight.

I had a dream last night, and of course it was born of association, like
nearly everything else that drifts into a person's head, asleep or
awake. On board ship, on the passage down, Twichell was talking about
the swiftly developing possibilities of aerial navigation, and he quoted
those striking verses of Tennyson's which forecast a future when
air-borne vessels of war shall meet and fight above the clouds and
redden the earth below with a rain of blood. This picture of carnage and
blood and death reminded me of something which I had read a fortnight
ago--statistics of railway accidents compiled by the United States
Government, wherein the appalling fact was set forth that on our 200,000
miles of railway we annually kill 10,000 persons outright and injure
80,000. The war-ships in the air suggested the railway horrors, and
three nights afterward the railway horrors suggested my dream. The work
of association was going on in my head, unconsciously, all that time. It
was an admirable dream, what there was of it.

In it I saw a funeral procession; I saw it from a mountain peak; I saw
it crawling along and curving here and there, serpentlike, through a
level vast plain. I seemed to see a hundred miles of the procession, but
neither the beginning of it nor the end of it was within the limits of
my vision. The procession was in ten divisions, each division marked by
a sombre flag, and the whole represented ten years of our railway
activities in the accident line; each division was composed of 80,000
cripples, and was bearing its own year's 10,000 mutilated corpses to the
grave: in the aggregate 800,000 cripples and 100,000 dead, drenched in
blood!

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTE:

[17] It isn't yet. Title of it, "Captain Stormfield's Visit to
Heaven."--S. L. C.



CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XXII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1890.)]

[_Dictated, October 10, 1906._] Susy has named a number of the friends
who were assembled at Onteora at the time of our visit, but there were
others--among them Laurence Hutton, Charles Dudley Warner, and Carroll
Beckwith, and their wives. It was a bright and jolly company. Some of
those choice spirits are still with us; the others have passed from this
life: Mrs. Clemens, Susy, Mr. Warner, Mary Mapes Dodge, Laurence Hutton,
Dean Sage--peace to their ashes! Susy is in error in thinking Mrs. Dodge
was not there at that time; we were her guests.

We arrived at nightfall, dreary from a tiresome journey; but the
dreariness did not last. Mrs. Dodge had provided a home-made banquet,
and the happy company sat down to it, twenty strong, or more. Then the
thing happened which always happens at large dinners, and is always
exasperating: everybody talked to his elbow-mates and all talked at
once, and gradually raised their voices higher, and higher, and higher,
in the desperate effort to be heard. It was like a riot, an
insurrection; it was an intolerable volume of noise. Presently I said to
the lady next me--

"I will subdue this riot, I will silence this racket. There is only one
way to do it, but I know the art. You must tilt your head toward mine
and seem to be deeply interested in what I am saying; I will talk in a
low voice; then, just because our neighbors won't be able to hear me,
they will _want_ to hear me. If I mumble long enough--say two
minutes--you will see that the dialogues will one after another come to
a standstill, and there will be silence, not a sound anywhere but my
mumbling."

Then in a very low voice I began:

"When I went out to Chicago, eleven years ago, to witness the Grant
festivities, there was a great banquet on the first night, with six
hundred ex-soldiers present. The gentleman who sat next me was Mr. X. X.
He was very hard of hearing, and he had a habit common to deaf people of
shouting his remarks instead of delivering them in an ordinary voice. He
would handle his knife and fork in reflective silence for five or six
minutes at a time and then suddenly fetch out a shout that would make
you jump out of the United States."

By this time the insurrection at Mrs. Dodge's table--at least that part
of it in my immediate neighborhood--had died down, and the silence was
spreading, couple by couple, down the long table. I went on in a lower
and still lower mumble, and most impressively--

"During one of Mr. X. X.'s mute intervals, a man opposite us approached
the end of a story which he had been telling his elbow-neighbor. He was
speaking in a low voice--there was much noise--I was deeply interested,
and straining my ears to catch his words, stretching my neck, holding my
breath, to hear, unconscious of everything but the fascinating tale. I
heard him say, 'At this point he seized her by her long hair--she
shrieking and begging--bent her neck across his knee, and with one awful
sweep of the razor--'

"HOW DO YOU LIKE CHICA-A-AGO?!!!"

That was X. X.'s interruption, hearable at thirty miles. By the time I
had reached that place in my mumblings Mrs. Dodge's dining-room was so
silent, so breathlessly still, that if you had dropped a thought
anywhere in it you could have heard it smack the floor.[18] When I
delivered that yell the entire dinner company jumped as one person, and
punched their heads through the ceiling, damaging it, for it was only
lath and plaster, and it all came down on us, and much of it went into
the victuals and made them gritty, but no one was hurt. Then I explained
why it was that I had played that game, and begged them to take the
moral of it home to their hearts and be rational and merciful
thenceforth, and cease from screaming in mass, and agree to let one
person talk at a time and the rest listen in grateful and unvexed peace.
They granted my prayer, and we had a happy time all the rest of the
evening; I do not think I have ever had a better time in my life. This
was largely because the new terms enabled me to keep the floor--now that
I had it--and do all the talking myself. I do like to hear myself talk.
Susy has exposed this in her Biography of me.

Dean Sage was a delightful man, yet in one way a terror to his friends,
for he loved them so well that he could not refrain from playing
practical jokes on them. We have to be pretty deeply in love with a
person before we can do him the honor of joking familiarly with him.
Dean Sage was the best citizen I have known in America. It takes courage
to be a good citizen, and he had plenty of it. He allowed no individual
and no corporation to infringe his smallest right and escape unpunished.
He was very rich, and very generous, and benevolent, and he gave away
his money with a prodigal hand; but if an individual or corporation
infringed a right of his, to the value of ten cents, he would spend
thousands of dollars' worth of time and labor and money and persistence
on the matter, and would not lower his flag until he had won his battle
or lost it.

He and Rev. Mr. Harris had been classmates in college, and to the day of
Sage's death they were as fond of each other as an engaged pair. It
follows, without saying, that whenever Sage found an opportunity to play
a joke upon Harris, Harris was sure to suffer.

Along about 1873 Sage fell a victim to an illness which reduced him to a
skeleton, and defied all the efforts of the physicians to cure it. He
went to the Adirondacks and took Harris with him. Sage had always been
an active man, and he couldn't idle any day wholly away in inanition,
but walked every day to the limit of his strength. One day, toward
nightfall, the pair came upon a humble log cabin which bore these words
painted upon a shingle: "Entertainment for Man and Beast." They were
obliged to stop there for the night, Sage's strength being exhausted.
They entered the cabin and found its owner and sole occupant there, a
rugged and sturdy and simple-hearted man of middle age. He cooked supper
and placed it before the travellers--salt junk, boiled beans, corn bread
and black coffee. Sage's stomach could abide nothing but the most
delicate food, therefore this banquet revolted him, and he sat at the
table unemployed, while Harris fed ravenously, limitlessly, gratefully;
for he had been chaplain in a fighting regiment all through the war, and
had kept in perfection the grand and uncritical appetite and splendid
physical vigor which those four years of tough fare and activity had
furnished him. Sage went supperless to bed, and tossed and writhed all
night upon a shuck mattress that was full of attentive and interested
corn-cobs. In the morning Harris was ravenous again, and devoured the
odious breakfast as contentedly and as delightedly as he had devoured
its twin the night before. Sage sat upon the porch, empty, and
contemplated the performance and meditated revenge. Presently he
beckoned to the landlord and took him aside and had a confidential talk
with him. He said,

"I am the paymaster. What is the bill?"

"Two suppers, fifty cents; two beds, thirty cents; two breakfasts, fifty
cents--total, a dollar and thirty cents."

Sage said, "Go back and make out the bill and fetch it to me here on the
porch. Make it thirteen dollars."

"Thirteen dollars! Why, it's impossible! I am no robber. I am charging
you what I charge everybody. It's a dollar and thirty cents, and that's
all it is."

"My man, I've got something to say about this as well as you. It's
thirteen dollars. You'll make out your bill for that, and you'll _take_
it, too, or you'll not get a cent."

The man was troubled, and said, "I don't understand this. I can't make
it out."

"Well, I understand it. I know what I am about. It's thirteen dollars,
and I want the bill made out for that. There's no other terms. Get it
ready and bring it out here. I will examine it and be outraged. You
understand? I will dispute the bill. You must stand to it. You must
refuse to take less. I will begin to lose my temper; you must begin to
lose yours. I will call you hard names; you must answer with harder
ones. I will raise my voice; you must raise yours. You must go into a
rage--foam at the mouth, if you can; insert some soap to help it along.
Now go along and follow your instructions."

The man played his assigned part, and played it well. He brought the
bill and stood waiting for results. Sage's face began to cloud up, his
eyes to snap, and his nostrils to inflate like a horse's; then he broke
out with--

"_Thirteen dollars!_ You mean to say that you charge thirteen dollars
for these damned inhuman hospitalities of yours? Are you a professional
buccaneer? Is it your custom to--"

The man burst in with spirit: "Now, I don't want any more out of
you--that's a plenty. The bill is thirteen dollars and you'll _pay_
it--that's all; a couple of characterless adventurers bilking their way
through this country and attempting to dictate terms to a gentleman! a
gentleman who received you supposing you were gentlemen yourselves,
whereas in my opinion hell's full of--"

Sage broke in--

"Not another word of that!--I won't have it. I regard you as the
lowest-down thief that ever--"

"Don't you use that word again! By ----, I'll take you by the neck
and--"

Harris came rushing out, and just as the two were about to grapple he
pushed himself between them and began to implore--

"Oh, Dean, don't, _don't_--now, Mr. Smith, control yourself! Oh, think
of your family, Dean!--think what a scandal--"

But they burst out with maledictions, imprecations and all the hard
names they could dig out of the rich accumulations of their educated
memories, and in the midst of it the man shouted--

"When _gentlemen_ come to this house, I treat them _as_ gentlemen. When
people come to this house with the ordinary appetites of gentlemen, I
charge them a dollar and thirty cents for what I furnished you; but when
a man brings a hell-fired Famine here that gorges a barrel of pork and
four barrels of beans at two sittings--"

Sage broke in, in a voice that was eloquent with remorse and
self-reproach, "I never thought of that, and I ask your pardon; I am
ashamed of myself and of my friend. Here's your thirteen dollars, and my
apologies along with it."


[_Dictated March 12, 1906._] I have always taken a great interest in
other people's duels. One always feels an abiding interest in any heroic
thing which has entered into his own experience.

[Sidenote: (1878.)]

In 1878, fourteen years after my unmaterialized duel, Messieurs Fortu
and Gambetta fought a duel which made heroes of both of them in France,
but made them rather ridiculous throughout the rest of the world. I was
living in Munich that fall and winter, and I was so interested in that
funny tragedy that I wrote a long account of it, and it is in one of my
books, somewhere--an account which had some inaccuracies in it, but as
an exhibition of the _spirit_ of that duel, I think it was correct and
trustworthy. And when I was living in Vienna, thirty-four years after my
ineffectual duel, my interest in that kind of incident was still strong;
and I find here among my Autobiographical manuscripts of that day a
chapter which I began concerning it, but did not finish. I wanted to
finish it, but held it open in the hope that the Italian ambassador, M.
Nigra, would find time to furnish me the _full_ history of Señor
Cavalotti's adventures in that line. But he was a busy man; there was
always an interruption before he could get well started; so my hope was
never fulfilled. The following is the unfinished chapter:


[Sidenote: (1898.)]

     As concerns duelling. This pastime is as common in Austria to-day
     as it is in France. But with this difference, that here in the
     Austrian States the duel is dangerous, while in France it is not.
     Here it is tragedy, in France it in comedy; here it is a solemnity,
     there it is monkey-shines; here the duellist risks his life, there
     he does not even risk his shirt. Here he fights with pistol or
     sabre, in France with a hairpin--a blunt one. Here the desperately
     wounded man tries to walk to the hospital; there they paint the
     scratch so that they can find it again, lay the sufferer on a
     stretcher, and conduct him off the field with a band of music.

     At the end of a French duel the pair hug and kiss and cry, and
     praise each other's valor; then the surgeons make an examination
     and pick out the scratched one, and the other one helps him on to
     the litter and pays his fare; and in return the scratched one
     treats to champagne and oysters in the evening, and then "the
     incident is closed," as the French say. It is all polite, and
     gracious, and pretty, and impressive. At the end of an Austrian
     duel the antagonist that is alive gravely offers his hand to the
     other man, utters some phrases of courteous regret, then bids him
     good-by and goes his way, and that incident also is closed. The
     French duellist is painstakingly protected from danger, by the
     rules of the game. His antagonist's weapon cannot reach so far as
     his body; if he get a scratch it will not be above his elbow. But
     in Austria the rules of the game do not provide against danger,
     they carefully provide _for_ it, usually. Commonly the combat must
     be kept up until one of the men is disabled; a non-disabling slash
     or stab does not retire him.

     For a matter of three months I watched the Viennese journals, and
     whenever a duel was reported in their telegraphic columns I
     scrap-booked it. By this record I find that duelling in Austria is
     not confined to journalists and old maids, as in France, but is
     indulged in by military men, journalists, students, physicians,
     lawyers, members of the legislature, and even the Cabinet, the
     Bench and the police. Duelling is forbidden by law; and so it seems
     odd to see the makers and administrators of the laws dancing on
     their work in this way. Some months ago Count Bodeni, at that time
     Chief of the Government, fought a pistol-duel here in the capital
     city of the Empire with representative Wolf, and both of those
     distinguished Christians came near getting turned out of the
     Church--for the Church as well as the State forbids duelling.

     In one case, lately, in Hungary, the police interfered and stopped
     a duel after the first innings. This was a sabre-duel between the
     chief of police and the city attorney. Unkind things were said
     about it by the newspapers. They said the police remembered their
     duty uncommonly well when their own officials were the parties
     concerned in duels. But I think the underlings showed good
     bread-and-butter judgment. If their superiors had carved each other
     well, the public would have asked, Where were the police? and their
     places would have been endangered; but custom does not require them
     to be around where mere unofficial citizens are explaining a thing
     with sabres.

     There was another duel--a double duel--going on in the immediate
     neighborhood at the time, and in this case the police obeyed custom
     and did not disturb it. Their bread and butter was not at stake
     there. In this duel a physician fought a couple of surgeons, and
     wounded both--one of them lightly, the other seriously. An
     undertaker wanted to keep people from interfering, but that was
     quite natural again.

     Selecting at random from my record, I next find a duel at Tarnopol
     between military men. An officer of the Tenth Dragoons charged an
     officer of the Ninth Dragoons with an offence against the laws of
     the card-table. There was a defect or a doubt somewhere in the
     matter, and this had to be examined and passed upon by a Court of
     Honor. So the case was sent up to Lemberg for this purpose. One
     would like to know what the defect was, but the newspaper does not
     say. A man here who has fought many duels and has a graveyard, says
     that probably the matter in question was as to whether the
     accusation was true or not; that if the charge was a very grave
     one--cheating, for instance--proof of its truth would rule the
     guilty officer out of the field of honor; the Court would not allow
     a gentleman to fight with such a person. You see what a solemn
     thing it is; you see how particular they are; any little careless
     act can lose you your privilege of getting yourself shot, here. The
     Court seems to have gone into the matter in a searching and careful
     fashion, for several months elapsed before it reached a decision.
     It then sanctioned a duel and the accused killed his accuser.

     Next I find a duel between a prince and a major; first with
     pistols--no result satisfactory to either party; then with sabres,
     and the major badly hurt.

     Next, a sabre-duel between journalists--the one a strong man, the
     other feeble and in poor health. It was brief; the strong one drove
     his sword through the weak one, and death was immediate.

     Next, a duel between a lieutenant and a student of medicine.
     According to the newspaper report these are the details. The
     student was in a restaurant one evening: passing along, he halted
     at a table to speak with some friends; near by sat a dozen military
     men; the student conceived that one of these was "staring" at him;
     he asked the officer to step outside and explain. This officer and
     another one gathered up their caps and sabres and went out with the
     student. Outside--this is the student's account--the student
     introduced himself to the offending officer and said, "You seemed
     to stare at me"; for answer, the officer struck at the student with
     his fist; the student parried the blow; both officers drew their
     sabres and attacked the young fellow, and one of them gave him a
     wound on the left arm; then they withdrew. This was Saturday night.
     The duel followed on Monday, in the military riding-school--the
     customary duelling-ground all over Austria, apparently. The weapons
     were pistols. The duelling terms were somewhat beyond custom in the
     matter of severity, if I may gather that from the statement that
     the combat was fought "_unter sehr schweren Bedingungen_"--to wit,
     "Distance, 15 steps--with 3 steps advance." There was but one
     exchange of shots. The student was hit. "He put his hand on his
     breast, his body began to bend slowly forward, then collapsed in
     death and sank to the ground."

     It is pathetic. There are other duels in my list, but I find in
     each and all of them one and the same ever-recurring defect--the
     _principals_ are never present, but only their sham
     representatives. The _real_ principals in any duel are not the
     duellists themselves, but their families. They do the mourning, the
     suffering, theirs is the loss and theirs the misery. They stake all
     that, the duellist stakes nothing but his life, and that is a
     trivial thing compared with what his death must cost those whom he
     leaves behind him. Challenges should not mention the duellist; he
     has nothing much at stake, and the real vengeance cannot reach him.
     The challenge should summon the offender's old gray mother, and his
     young wife and his little children,--these, or any to whom he is a
     dear and worshipped possession--and should say, "You have done me
     no harm, but I am the meek slave of a custom which requires me to
     crush the happiness out of your hearts and condemn you to years of
     pain and grief, in order that I may wash clean with your tears a
     stain which has been put upon me by another person."

     The logic of it is admirable: a person has robbed me of a penny; I
     must beggar ten innocent persons to make good my loss. Surely
     nobody's "honor" is worth all that.

     Since the duellist's family are the real principals in a duel, the
     State ought to compel them to be present at it. Custom, also, ought
     to be so amended as to require it; and without it no duel ought to
     be allowed to go on. If that student's unoffending mother had been
     present and watching the officer through her tears as he raised his
     pistol, he--why, he would have fired in the air. We know that. For
     we know how we are all made. Laws ought to be based upon the
     ascertained facts of our nature. It would be a simple thing to make
     a duelling law which would stop duelling.

     As things are now, the mother is never invited. She submits to
     this; and without outward complaint, for she, too, is the vassal of
     custom, and custom requires her to conceal her pain when she learns
     the disastrous news that her son must go to the duelling-field, and
     by the powerful force that is lodged in habit and custom she is
     enabled to obey this trying requirement--a requirement which exacts
     a miracle of her, and gets it. Last January a neighbor of ours who
     has a young son in the army was wakened by this youth at three
     o'clock one morning, and she sat up in bed and listened to his
     message:

     "I have come to tell you something, mother, which will distress
     you, but you must be good and brave, and bear it. I have been
     affronted by a fellow officer, and we fight at three this
     afternoon. Lie down and sleep, now, and think no more about it."

     She kissed him good night and lay down paralyzed with grief and
     fear, but said nothing. But she did not sleep; she prayed and
     mourned till the first streak of dawn, then fled to the nearest
     church and implored the Virgin for help; and from that church she
     went to another and another and another; church after church, and
     still church after church, and so spent all the day until three
     o'clock on her knees in agony and tears; then dragged herself home
     and sat down comfortless and desolate, to count the minutes, and
     wait, with an outward show of calm, for what had been ordained for
     her--happiness, or endless misery. Presently she heard the clank of
     a sabre--she had not known before what music was in that
     sound!--and her son put his head in and said:

     "X was in the wrong, and he apologized."

     So that incident was closed; and for the rest of her life the
     mother will always find something pleasant about the clank of a
     sabre, no doubt.

     In one of my listed duels--however, let it go, there is nothing
     particularly striking about it except that the seconds interfered.
     And prematurely, too, for neither man was dead. This was certainly
     irregular. Neither of the men liked it. It was a duel with cavalry
     sabres, between an editor and a lieutenant. The editor walked to
     the hospital, the lieutenant was carried. In this country an editor
     who can write well is valuable, but he is not likely to remain so
     unless he can handle a sabre with charm.

     The following very recent telegram shows that also in France duels
     are humanely stopped as soon as they approach the (French)
     danger-point:

     "_Reuter's Telegram._--PARIS, _March 5_.--The duel between Colonels
     Henry and Picquart took place this morning in the Riding School of
     the Ecole Militaire, the doors of which were strictly guarded in
     order to prevent intrusion. The combatants, who fought with swords,
     were in position at ten o'clock.

     "At the first reengagement Lieutenant-Colonel Henry was slightly
     scratched in the fore arm, and just at the same moment his own
     blade appeared to touch his adversary's neck. Senator Ranc, who was
     Colonel Picquart's second, stopped the fight, but as it was found
     that his principal had not been touched, the combat continued. A
     very sharp encounter ensued, in which Colonel Henry was wounded in
     the elbow, and the duel terminated."

     After which, the stretcher and the band. In lurid contrast with
     this delicate flirtation, we have this fatal duel of day before
     yesterday in Italy, where the earnest Austrian duel is in vogue. I
     knew Cavalotti slightly, and this gives me a sort of personal
     interest in his duel. I first saw him in Rome several years ago. He
     was sitting on a block of stone in the Forum, and was writing
     something in his note-book--a poem or a challenge, or something
     like that--and the friend who pointed him out to me said, "That is
     Cavalotti--he has fought thirty duels; do not disturb him." I did
     not disturb him.


[_May 13, 1907._] It is a long time ago. Cavalotti--poet, orator,
satirist, statesman, patriot--was a great man, and his death was deeply
lamented by his countrymen: many monuments to his memory testify to
this. In his duels he killed several of his antagonists and disabled the
rest. By nature he was a little irascible. Once when the officials of
the library of Bologna threw out his books the gentle poet went up there
and challenged the whole fifteen! His parliamentary duties were
exacting, but he proposed to keep coming up and fighting duels between
trains until all those officials had been retired from the activities of
life. Although he always chose the sword to fight with, he had never had
a lesson with that weapon. When game was called he waited for nothing,
but always plunged at his opponent and rained such a storm of wild and
original thrusts and whacks upon him that the man was dead or crippled
before he could bring his science to bear. But his latest antagonist
discarded science, and won. He held his sword straight forward like a
lance when Cavalotti made his plunge--with the result that he impaled
himself upon it. It entered his mouth and passed out at the back of his
neck. Death was instantaneous.


[_Dictated December 20, 1906._] Six months ago, when I was recalling
early days in San Francisco, I broke off at a place where I was about
to tell about Captain Osborn's odd adventure at the "What Cheer," or
perhaps it was at another cheap feeding-place--the "Miners' Restaurant."
It was a place where one could get good food on the cheapest possible
terms, and its popularity was great among the multitudes whose purses
were light It was a good place to go to, to observe mixed humanity.
Captain Osborn and Bret Harte went there one day and took a meal, and in
the course of it Osborn fished up an interesting reminiscence of a dozen
years before and told about it. It was to this effect:

He was a midshipman in the navy when the Californian gold craze burst
upon the world and set it wild with excitement. His ship made the long
journey around the Horn and was approaching her goal, the Golden Gate,
when an accident happened.

"It happened to me," said Osborn. "I fell overboard. There was a heavy
sea running, but no one was much alarmed about me, because we had on
board a newly patented life-saving device which was believed to be
competent to rescue anything that could fall overboard, from a
midshipman to an anchor. Ours was the only ship that had this device; we
were very proud of it, and had been anxious to give its powers a
practical test. This thing was lashed to the garboard-strake of the
main-to'gallant mizzen-yard amidships,[19] and there was nothing to do
but cut the lashings and heave it over; it would do the rest. One day
the cry of 'Man overboard!' brought all hands on deck. Instantly the
lashings were cut and the machine flung joyously over. Damnation, it
went to the bottom like an anvil! By the time that the ship was brought
to and a boat manned, I was become but a bobbing speck on the waves half
a mile astern and losing my strength very fast; but by good luck there
was a common seaman on board who had practical ideas in his head and
hadn't waited to see what the patent machine was going to do, but had
run aft and sprung over after me the moment the alarm was cried through
the ship. I had a good deal of a start of him, and the seas made his
progress slow and difficult, but he stuck to his work and fought his way
to me, and just in the nick of time he put his saving arms about me when
I was about to go down. He held me up until the boat reached us and
rescued us. By that time I was unconscious, and I was still unconscious
when we arrived at the ship. A dangerous fever followed, and I was
delirious for three days; then I come to myself and at once inquired
for my benefactor, of course. He was gone. We were lying at anchor in
the Bay and every man had deserted to the gold-mines except the
commissioned officers. I found out nothing about my benefactor but his
name--Burton Sanders--a name which I have held in grateful memory ever
since. Every time I have been on the Coast, these twelve or thirteen
years, I have tried to get track of him, but have never succeeded. I
wish I could find him and make him understand that his brave act has
never been forgotten by me. Harte, I would rather see him and take him
by the hand than any other man on the planet."

At this stage or a little later there was an interruption. A waiter near
by said to another waiter, pointing,

"Take a look at that tramp that's coming in. Ain't that the one that
bilked the house, last week, out of ten cents?"

"I believe it is. Let him alone--don't pay any attention to him; wait
till we can get a good look at him."

The tramp approached timidly and hesitatingly, with the air of one
unsure and apprehensive. The waiters watched him furtively. When he was
passing behind Harte's chair one of them said,

"He's the one!"--and they pounced upon him and proposed to turn him over
to the police as a bilk. He begged piteously. He confessed his guilt,
but said he had been driven to his crime by necessity--that when he had
eaten the plate of beans and flipped out without paying for it, it was
because he was starving, and hadn't the ten cents to pay for it with.
But the waiters would listen to no explanations, no palliations; he must
be placed in custody. He brushed his hand across his eyes and said
meekly that he would submit, being friendless. Each waiter took him by
an arm and faced him about to conduct him away. Then his melancholy eyes
fell upon Captain Osborn, and a light of glad and eager recognition
flashed from them. He said,

"Weren't you a midshipman once, sir, in the old 'Lancaster'?"

"Yes," said Osborn. "Why?"

"Didn't you fall overboard?"

"Yes, I did. How do you come to know about it?"

"Wasn't there a new patent machine aboard, and didn't they throw it over
to save you?"

"Why, yes," said Osborn, laughing gently, "but it didn't do it."

"No, sir, it was a sailor that done it."

"It certainly was. Look here, my man, you are getting distinctly
interesting. Were you of our crew?"

"Yes, sir, I was."

"I reckon you may be right. You do certainly know a good deal about that
incident. What is your name?"

"Burton Sanders."

The Captain sprang up, excited, and said,

"Give me your hand! Give me both your hands! I'd rather shake them than
inherit a fortune!"--and then he cried to the waiters, "Let him
go!--take your hands off! He is my guest, and can have anything and
everything this house is able to furnish. I am responsible."

There was a love-feast, then. Captain Osborn ordered it regardless of
expense, and he and Harte sat there and listened while the man told
stirring adventures of his life and fed himself up to the eyebrows. Then
Osborn wanted to be benefactor in his turn, and pay back some of his
debt. The man said it could all be paid with ten dollars--that it had
been so long since he had owned that amount of money that it would seem
a fortune to him, and he should be grateful beyond words if the Captain
could spare him that amount. The Captain spared him ten broad
twenty-dollar gold pieces, and made him take them in spite of his modest
protestations, and gave him his address and said he must never fail to
give him notice when he needed grateful service.

Several months later Harte stumbled upon the man in the street. He was
most comfortably drunk, and pleasant and chatty. Harte remarked upon the
splendidly and movingly dramatic incident of the restaurant, and said,

"How curious and fortunate and happy and interesting it was that you two
should come together, after that long separation, and at exactly the
right moment to save you from disaster and turn your defeat by the
waiters into a victory. A preacher could make a great sermon out of
that, for it does look as if the hand of Providence was in it."

The hero's face assumed a sweetly genial expression, and he said,

"Well now, it wasn't Providence this time. I was running the
arrangements myself."

"How do you mean?"

"Oh, I hadn't ever seen the gentleman before. I was at the next table,
with my back to you the whole time he was telling about it. I saw my
chance, and slipped out and fetched the two waiters with me and offered
to give them a commission out of what I could get out of the Captain if
they would do a quarrel act with me and give me an opening. So, then,
after a minute or two I straggled back, and you know the rest of it as
well as I do."

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)

FOOTNOTES:

[18] This was tried. I well remember it.--M. T., _October, '06_.

[19] Can this be correct? I think there must be some mistake.--M. T.



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXXIII.

OCTOBER, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XXIII.

BY MARK TWAIN.


[Sidenote: (1845.)]

[_Dictated March 9, 1906._] ... I am talking of a time sixty years ago,
and upwards. I remember the names of some of those schoolmates, and, by
fitful glimpses, even their faces rise dimly before me for a
moment--only just long enough to be recognized; then they vanish. I
catch glimpses of George Robards, the Latin pupil--slender, pale,
studious, bending over his book and absorbed in it, his long straight
black hair hanging down below his jaws like a pair of curtains on the
sides of his face. I can see him give his head a toss and flirt one of
the curtains back around his head--to get it out of his way, apparently;
really to show off. In that day it was a great thing among the boys to
have hair of so flexible a sort that it could be flung back in that way,
with a flirt of the head. George Robards was the envy of us all. For
there was no hair among us that was so competent for this exhibition as
his--except, perhaps, the yellow locks of Will Bowen and John Robards.
My hair was a dense ruck of short curls, and so was my brother Henry's.
We tried all kinds of devices to get these crooks straightened out so
that they would flirt, but we never succeeded. Sometimes, by soaking our
heads and then combing and brushing our hair down tight and flat to our
skulls, we could get it straight, temporarily, and this gave us a
comforting moment of joy; but the first time we gave it a flirt it all
shrivelled into curls again and our happiness was gone.

John Robards was the little brother of George; he was a wee chap with
silky golden curtains to his face which dangled to his shoulders and
below, and could be flung back ravishingly. When he was twelve years old
he crossed the plains with his father amidst the rush of the
gold-seekers of '49; and I remember the departure of the cavalcade when
it spurred westward. We were all there to see and to envy. And I can
still see that proud little chap sailing by on a great horse, with his
long locks streaming out behind. We were all on hand to gaze and envy
when he returned, two years later, in unimaginable glory--_for he had
travelled_! None of us had ever been forty miles from home. But he had
crossed the Continent. He had been in the gold-mines, that fairyland of
our imagination. And he had done a still more wonderful thing. He had
been in ships--in ships on the actual ocean; in ships on three actual
oceans. For he had sailed down the Pacific and around the Horn among
icebergs and through snow-storms and wild wintry gales, and had sailed
on and turned the corner and flown northward in the trades and up
through the blistering equatorial waters--and there in his brown face
were the proofs of what he had been through. We would have sold our
souls to Satan for the privilege of trading places with him.

I saw him when I was out on that Missouri trip four years ago. He was
old then--though not quite so old as I--and the burden of life was upon
him. He said his granddaughter, twelve years old, had read my books and
would like to see me. It was a pathetic time, for she was a prisoner in
her room and marked for death. And John knew that she was passing
swiftly away. Twelve years old--just her grandfather's age when he rode
away on that great journey with his yellow hair flapping behind him. In
her I seemed to see that boy again. It was as if he had come back out of
that remote past and was present before me in his golden youth. Her
malady was heart disease, and her brief life came to a close a few days
later.

Another of those schoolboys was John Garth. He became a prosperous
banker and a prominent and valued citizen; and a few years ago he died,
rich and honored. _He died._ It is what I have to say about so many of
those boys and girls. The widow still lives, and there are
grandchildren. In her pantalette days and my barefoot days she was a
schoolmate of mine. I saw John's tomb when I made that Missouri visit.

Her father, Mr. Kercheval, had an apprentice in the early days when I
was nine years old, and he had also a slave woman who had many merits.
But I can't feel very kindly or forgivingly toward either that good
apprentice boy or that good slave woman, for they saved my life. One day
when I was playing on a loose log which I supposed was attached to a
raft--but it wasn't--it tilted me into Bear Creek. And when I had been
under water twice and was coming up to make the third and fatal descent
my fingers appeared above the water and that slave woman seized them and
pulled me out. Within a week I was in again, and that apprentice had to
come along just at the wrong time, and he plunged in and dived, pawed
around on the bottom and found me, and dragged me out and emptied the
water out of me, and I was saved again. I was drowned seven times after
that before I learned to swim--once in Bear Creek and six times in the
Mississippi. I do not now know who the people were who interfered with
the intentions of a Providence wiser than themselves, but I hold a
grudge against them yet. When I told the tale of these remarkable
happenings to Rev. Dr. Burton of Hartford, he said he did not believe
it. _He slipped on the ice the very next year and sprained his ankle._

Will Bowen was another schoolmate, and so was his brother, Sam, who was
his junior by a couple of years. Before the Civil War broke out, both
became St. Louis and New Orleans pilots. Both are dead, long ago.

[Sidenote: (1845.)]

[_Dictated March 16, 1906._] We will return to those schoolchildren of
sixty years ago. I recall Mary Miller. She was not my first sweetheart,
but I think she was the first one that furnished me a broken heart. I
fell in love with her when she was eighteen and I was nine, but she
scorned me, and I recognized that this was a cold world. I had not
noticed that temperature before. I believe I was as miserable as even a
grown man could be. But I think that this sorrow did not remain with me
long. As I remember it, I soon transferred my worship to Artimisia
Briggs, who was a year older than Mary Miller. When I revealed my
passion to her she did not scoff at it. She did not make fun of it. She
was very kind and gentle about it. But she was also firm, and said she
did not want to be pestered by children.

And there was Mary Lacy. She was a schoolmate. But she also was out of
my class because of her advanced age. She was pretty wild and determined
and independent. But she married, and at once settled down and became in
all ways a model matron and was as highly respected as any matron in the
town. Four years ago she was still living, and had been married fifty
years.

Jimmie McDaniel was another schoolmate. His age and mine about tallied.
His father kept the candy-shop and he was the most envied little chap in
the town--after Tom Blankenship ("Huck Finn")--for although we never saw
him eating candy, we supposed that it was, nevertheless, his ordinary
diet. He pretended that he never ate it, and didn't care for it because
there was nothing forbidden about it--there was plenty of it and he
could have as much of it as he wanted. He was the first human being to
whom I ever told a humorous story, so far as I can remember. This was
about Jim Wolfe and the cats; and I gave him that tale the morning after
that memorable episode. I thought he would laugh his teeth out. I had
never been so proud and happy before, and have seldom been so proud and
happy since. I saw him four years ago when I was out there. He wore a
beard, gray and venerable, that came half-way down to his knees, and yet
it was not difficult for me to recognize him. He had been married
fifty-four years. He had many children and grandchildren and
great-grandchildren, and also even posterity, they all said--
thousands--yet the boy to whom I had told the cat story when we were
callow juveniles was still present in that cheerful little old man.

Artimisia Briggs got married not long after refusing me. She married
Richmond, the stone mason, who was my Methodist Sunday-school teacher in
the earliest days, and he had one distinction which I envied him: at
some time or other he had hit his thumb with his hammer and the result
was a thumb nail which remained permanently twisted and distorted and
curved and pointed, like a parrot's beak. I should not consider it an
ornament now, I suppose, but it had a fascination for me then, and a
vast value, because it was the only one in the town. He was a very
kindly and considerate Sunday-school teacher, and patient and
compassionate, so he was the favorite teacher with us little chaps. In
that school they had slender oblong pasteboard blue tickets, each with a
verse from the Testament printed on it, and you could get a blue ticket
by reciting two verses. By reciting five verses you could get three blue
tickets, and you could trade these at the bookcase and borrow a book for
a week. I was under Mr. Richmond's spiritual care every now and then for
two or three years, and he was never hard upon me. I always recited the
same five verses every Sunday. He was always satisfied with the
performance. He never seemed to notice that these were the same five
foolish virgins that he had been hearing about every Sunday for months.
I always got my tickets and exchanged them for a book. They were pretty
dreary books, for there was not a bad boy in the entire bookcase. They
were _all_ good boys and good girls and drearily uninteresting, but they
were better society than none, and I was glad to have their company and
disapprove of it.

[Sidenote: (1849.)]

Twenty years ago Mr. Richmond had become possessed of Tom Sawyer's cave
in the hills three miles from town, and had made a tourist-resort of it.
In 1849 when the gold-seekers were streaming through our little town of
Hannibal, many of our grown men got the gold fever, and I think that all
the boys had it. On the Saturday holidays in summer-time we used to
borrow skiffs whose owners were not present and go down the river three
miles to the cave hollow (Missourian for "valley"), and there we staked
out claims and pretended to dig gold, panning out half a dollar a day at
first; two or three times as much, later, and by and by whole fortunes,
as our imaginations became inured to the work. Stupid and unprophetic
lads! We were doing this in play and never suspecting. Why, that cave
hollow and all the adjacent hills were made of gold! But we did not know
it. We took it for dirt. We left its rich secret in its own peaceful
possession and grew up in poverty and went wandering about the world
struggling for bread--and this because we had not the gift of prophecy.
That region was all dirt and rocks to us, yet all it needed was to be
ground up and scientifically handled and it was gold. That is to say,
the whole region was a cement-mine--and they make the finest kind of
Portland cement there now, five thousand barrels a day, with a plant
that cost $2,000,000.

For a little while Reuel Gridley attended that school of ours. He was an
elderly pupil; he was perhaps twenty-two or twenty-three years old. Then
came the Mexican War and he volunteered. A company of infantry was
raised in our town and Mr. Hickman, a tall, straight, handsome athlete
of twenty-five, was made captain of it and had a sword by his side and a
broad yellow stripe down the leg of his gray pants. And when that
company marched back and forth through the streets in its smart
uniform--which it did several times a day for drill--its evolutions were
attended by all the boys whenever the school hours permitted. I can see
that marching company yet, and I can almost feel again the consuming
desire that I had to join it. But they had no use for boys of twelve and
thirteen, and before I had a chance in another war the desire to kill
people to whom I had not been introduced had passed away.

I saw the splendid Hickman in his old age. He seemed about the oldest
man I had ever seen--an amazing and melancholy contrast with the showy
young captain I had seen preparing his warriors for carnage so many,
many years before. Hickman is dead--it is the old story. As Susy said,
"What is it all for?"

Reuel Gridley went away to the wars and we heard of him no more for
fifteen or sixteen years. Then one day in Carson City while I was having
a difficulty with an editor on the sidewalk--an editor better built for
war than I was--I heard a voice say, "Give him the best you've got, Sam,
I'm at your back." It was Reuel Gridley. He said he had not recognized
me by my face but by my drawling style of speech.

He went down to the Reese River mines about that time and presently he
lost an election bet in his mining camp, and by the terms of it he was
obliged to buy a fifty-pound sack of self-raising flour and carry it
through the town, preceded by music, and deliver it to the winner of the
bet. Of course the whole camp was present and full of fluid and
enthusiasm. The winner of the bet put up the sack at auction for the
benefit of the United States Sanitary Fund, and sold it. The excitement
grew and grew. The sack was sold over and over again for the benefit of
the Fund. The news of it came to Virginia City by telegraph. It produced
great enthusiasm, and Reuel Gridley was begged by telegraph to bring the
sack and have an auction in Virginia City. He brought it. An open
barouche was provided, also a brass band. The sack was sold over and
over again at Gold Hill, then was brought up to Virginia City toward
night and sold--and sold again, and again, and still again, netting
twenty or thirty thousand dollars for the Sanitary Fund. Gridley carried
it across California and sold it at various towns. He sold it for large
sums in Sacramento and in San Francisco. He brought it East, sold it in
New York and in various other cities, then carried it out to a great
Fair at St. Louis, and went on selling it; and finally made it up into
small cakes and sold those at a dollar apiece. First and last, the sack
of flour which had originally cost ten dollars, perhaps, netted more
than two hundred thousand dollars for the Sanitary Fund. Reuel Gridley
has been dead these many, many years--it is the old story.

In that school were the first Jews I had ever seen. It took me a good
while to get over the awe of it. To my fancy they were clothed invisibly
in the damp and cobwebby mould of antiquity. They carried me back to
Egypt, and in imagination I moved among the Pharaohs and all the shadowy
celebrities of that remote age. The name of the boys was Levin. We had a
collective name for them which was the only really large and handsome
witticism that was ever born in that Congressional district. We called
them "Twenty-two"--and even when the joke was old and had been worn
threadbare we always followed it with the explanation, to make sure that
it would be understood, "Twice Levin--twenty-two."

There were other boys whose names remain with me. Irving Ayres--but no
matter, he is dead. Then there was George Butler, whom I remember as a
child of seven wearing a blue leather belt with a brass buckle, and
hated and envied by all the boys on account of it. He was a nephew of
General Ben Butler and fought gallantly at Ball's Bluff and in several
other actions of the Civil War. He is dead, long and long ago.

Will Bowen (dead long ago), Ed Stevens (dead long ago) and John Briggs
were special mates of mine. John is still living.

[Sidenote: (1845.)]

In 1845, when I was ten years old, there was an epidemic of measles in
the town and it made a most alarming slaughter among the little people.
There was a funeral almost daily, and the mothers of the town were
nearly demented with fright. My mother was greatly troubled. She worried
over Pamela and Henry and me, and took constant and extraordinary pains
to keep us from coming into contact with the contagion. But upon
reflection I believed that her judgment was at fault. It seemed to me
that I could improve upon it if left to my own devices. I cannot
remember now whether I was frightened about the measles or not, but I
clearly remember that I grew very tired of the suspense I suffered on
account of being continually under the threat of death. I remember that
I got so weary of it and so anxious to have the matter settled one way
or the other, and promptly, that this anxiety spoiled my days and my
nights. I had no pleasure in them. I made up my mind to end this
suspense and be done with it. Will Bowen was dangerously ill with the
measles and I thought I would go down there and catch them. I entered
the house by the front way and slipped along through rooms and halls,
keeping sharp watch against discovery, and at last I reached Will's
bed-chamber in the rear of the house on the second floor and got into it
uncaptured. But that was as far as my victory reached. His mother caught
me there a moment later and snatched me out of the house and gave me a
most competent scolding and drove me away. She was so scared that she
could hardly get her words out, and her face was white. I saw that I
must manage better next time, and I did. I hung about the lane at the
rear of the house and watched through cracks in the fence until I was
convinced that the conditions were favorable; then I slipped through the
back yard and up the back way and got into the room and into the bed
with Will Bowen without being observed. I don't know how long I was in
the bed. I only remember that Will Bowen, as society, had no value for
me, for he was too sick to even notice that I was there. When I heard
his mother coming I covered up my head, but that device was a failure.
It was dead summer-time--the cover was nothing more than a limp blanket
or sheet, and anybody could see that there were two of us under it. It
didn't remain two very long. Mrs. Bowen snatched me out of the bed and
conducted me home herself, with a grip on my collar which she never
loosened until she delivered me into my mother's hands along with her
opinion of that kind of a boy.

It was a good case of measles that resulted. It brought me within a
shade of death's door. It brought me to where I no longer took any
interest in anything, but, on the contrary, felt a total absence of
interest--which was most placid and enchanting. I have never enjoyed
anything in my life any more than I enjoyed dying that time. I _was_, in
effect, dying. The word had been passed and the family notified to
assemble around the bed and see me off. I knew them all. There was no
doubtfulness in my vision. They were all crying, but that did not affect
me. I took but the vaguest interest in it, and that merely because I was
the centre of all this emotional attention and was gratified by it and
vain of it.

When Dr. Cunningham had made up his mind that nothing more could be done
for me he put bags of hot ashes all over me. He put them on my breast,
on my wrists, on my ankles; and so, very much to his astonishment--and
doubtless to my regret--he dragged me back into this world and set me
going again.

[_Dictated July 26, 1907._] In an article entitled "England's Ovation to
Mark Twain," Sydney Brooks--but never mind that, now.

I was in Oxford by seven o'clock that evening (June 25, 1907), and
trying on the scarlet gown which the tailor had been constructing, and
found it right--right and surpassingly becoming. At half past ten the
next morning we assembled at All Souls College and marched thence,
gowned, mortar-boarded and in double file, down a long street to the
Sheldonian Theatre, between solid walls of the populace, very much
hurrah'd and limitlessly kodak'd. We made a procession of considerable
length and distinction and picturesqueness, with the Chancellor, Lord
Curzon, late Viceroy of India, in his rich robe of black and gold, in
the lead, followed by a pair of trim little boy train-bearers, and the
train-bearers followed by the young Prince Arthur of Connaught, who was
to be made a D.C.L. The detachment of D.C.L.'s were followed by the
Doctors of Science, and these by the Doctors of Literature, and these
in turn by the Doctors of Music. Sidney Colvin marched in front of me; I
was coupled with Sidney Lee, and Kipling followed us; General Booth, of
the Salvation Army, was in the squadron of D.C.L.'s.

Our journey ended, we were halted in a fine old hall whence we could
see, through a corridor of some length, the massed audience in the
theatre. Here for a little time we moved about and chatted and made
acquaintanceships; then the D.C.L.'s were summoned, and they marched
through that corridor and the shouting began in the theatre. It would be
some time before the Doctors of Literature and of Science would be
called for, because each of those D.C.L.'s had to have a couple of Latin
speeches made over him before his promotion would be complete--one by
the Regius Professor of Civil Law, the other by the Chancellor. After a
while I asked Sir William Ramsay if a person might smoke here and not
get shot. He said, "Yes," but that whoever did it and got caught would
be fined a guinea, and perhaps hanged later. He said he knew of a place
where we could accomplish at least as much as half of a smoke before any
informers would be likely to chance upon us, and he was ready to show
the way to any who might be willing to risk the guinea and the hanging.
By request he led the way, and Kipling, Sir Norman Lockyer and I
followed. We crossed an unpopulated quadrangle and stood under one of
its exits--an archway of massive masonry--and there we lit up and began
to take comfort. The photographers soon arrived, but they were courteous
and friendly and gave us no trouble, and we gave them none. They grouped
us in all sorts of ways and photographed us at their diligent leisure,
while we smoked and talked. We were there more than an hour; then we
returned to headquarters, happy, content, and greatly refreshed.
Presently we filed into the theatre, under a very satisfactory hurrah,
and waited in a crimson column, dividing the crowded pit through the
middle, until each of us in his turn should be called to stand before
the Chancellor and hear our merits set forth in sonorous Latin.
Meantime, Kipling and I wrote autographs until some good kind soul
interfered in our behalf and procured for us a rest.

I will now save what is left of my modesty by quoting a paragraph from
Sydney Brooks's "Ovation."

       *       *       *       *       *

Let those stars take the place of it for the present. Sydney Brooks has
done it well. It makes me proud to read it; as proud as I was in that
old day, sixty-two years ago, when I lay dying, the centre of
attraction, with one eye piously closed upon the fleeting vanities of
this life--an excellent effect--and the other open a crack to observe
the tears, the sorrow, the admiration--all for me--all for me!

Ah, that was the proudest moment of my long life--until Oxford!

       *       *       *       *       *

Most Americans have been to Oxford and will remember what a dream of the
Middle Ages it is, with its crooked lanes, its gray and stately piles of
ancient architecture and its meditation-breeding air of repose and
dignity and unkinship with the noise and fret and hurry and bustle of
these modern days. As a dream of the Middle Ages Oxford was not perfect
until Pageant day arrived and furnished certain details which had been
for generations lacking. These details began to appear at mid-afternoon
on the 27th. At that time singles, couples, groups and squadrons of the
three thousand five hundred costumed characters who were to take part in
the Pageant began to ooze and drip and stream through house doors, all
over the old town, and wend toward the meadows outside the walls. Soon
the lanes were thronged with costumes which Oxford had from time to time
seen and been familiar with in bygone centuries--fashions of dress which
marked off centuries as by dates, and mile-stoned them back, and back,
and back, until history faded into legend and tradition, when Arthur was
a fact and the Round Table a reality. In this rich commingling of quaint
and strange and brilliantly colored fashions in dress the dress-changes
of Oxford for twelve centuries stood livid and realized to the eye;
Oxford as a dream of the Middle Ages was complete now as it had never,
in our day, before been complete; at last there was no discord; the
mouldering old buildings, and the picturesque throngs drifting past
them, were in harmony; soon--astonishingly soon!--the only persons that
seemed out of place, and grotesquely and offensively and criminally out
of place were such persons as came intruding along clothed in the ugly
and odious fashions of the twentieth century; they were a bitterness to
the feelings, an insult to the eye.

The make-ups of illustrious historic personages seemed perfect, both as
to portraiture and costume; one had no trouble in recognizing them.
Also, I was apparently quite easily recognizable myself. The first
corner I turned brought me suddenly face to face with Henry VIII, a
person whom I had been implacably disliking for sixty years; but when he
put out his hand with royal courtliness and grace and said, "Welcome,
well-beloved stranger, to my century and to the hospitalities of my
realm," my old prejudices vanished away and I forgave him. I think now
that Henry the Eighth has been over-abused, and that most of us, if we
had been situated as he was, domestically, would not have been able to
get along with as limited a graveyard as he forced himself to put up
with. I feel now that he was one of the nicest men in history. Personal
contact with a king is more effective in removing baleful prejudices
than is any amount of argument drawn from tales and histories. If I had
a child I would name it Henry the Eighth, regardless of sex.

Do you remember Charles the First?--and his broad slouch with the plume
in it? and his slender, tall figure? and his body clothed in velvet
doublet with lace sleeves, and his legs in leather, with long rapier at
his side and his spurs on his heels? I encountered him at the next
corner, and knew him in a moment--knew him as perfectly and as vividly
as I should know the Grand Chain in the Mississippi if I should see it
from the pilot-house after all these years. He bent his body and gave
his hat a sweep that fetched its plume within an inch of the ground, and
gave me a welcome that went to my heart. This king has been much
maligned; I shall understand him better hereafter, and shall regret him
more than I have been in the habit of doing these fifty or sixty years.
He did some things in his time, which might better have been left
undone, and which cast a shadow upon his name--we all know that, we all
concede it--but our error has been in regarding them as crimes and in
calling them by that name, whereas I perceive now that they were only
indiscretions. At every few steps I met persons of deathless name whom I
had never encountered before outside of pictures and statuary and
history, and these were most thrilling and charming encounters. I had
hand-shakes with Henry the Second, who had not been seen in the Oxford
streets for nearly eight hundred years; and with the Fair Rosamond, whom
I now believe to have been chaste and blameless, although I had thought
differently about it before; and with Shakespeare, one of the
pleasantest foreigners I have ever gotten acquainted with; and with
Roger Bacon; and with Queen Elizabeth, who talked five minutes and never
swore once--a fact which gave me a new and good opinion of her and moved
me to forgive her for beheading the Scottish Mary, if she really did it,
which I now doubt; and with the quaintly and anciently clad young King
Harold Harefoot, of near nine hundred years ago, who came flying by on a
bicycle and smoking a pipe, but at once checked up and got off to shake
with me; and also I met a bishop who had lost his way because this was
the first time he had been inside the walls of Oxford for as much as
twelve hundred years or thereabouts. By this time I had grown so used to
the obliterated ages and their best-known people that if I had met Adam
I should not have been either surprised or embarrassed; and if he had
come in a racing automobile and a cloud of dust, with nothing on but his
fig-leaf, it would have seemed to me all right and harmonious.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XXIV.

BY MARK TWAIN.

_From Susy's Biography of Me_ [1885-6].


     Mamma and papa have returned from Onteora and they have had a
     delightful visit. Mr. Frank Stockton was down in Virginia and could
     not reach Onteora in time, so they did not see him, and Mrs. Mary
     Mapes Dodge was ill and couldn't go to Onteora, but Mrs. General
     Custer was there, and mamma said that she was a very attractive,
     sweet appearing woman.


[_Dictated October 9, 1906._] Onteora was situated high up in the
Catskill Mountains, in the centre of a far-reaching solitude. I do not
mean that the region was wholly uninhabited; there were farmhouses here
and there, at generous distances apart. Their occupants were descendants
of ancestors who had built the houses in Rip Van Winkle's time, or
earlier; and those ancestors were not more primitive than were this
posterity of theirs. The city people were as foreign and unfamiliar and
strange to them as monkeys would have been, and they would have
respected the monkeys as much as they respected these elegant
summer-resorters. The resorters were a puzzle to them, their ways were
so strange and their interests so trivial. They drove the resorters over
the mountain roads and listened in shamed surprise at their bursts of
enthusiasm over the scenery. The farmers had had that scenery on
exhibition from their mountain roosts all their lives, and had never
noticed anything remarkable about it. By way of an incident: a pair of
these primitives were overheard chatting about the resorters, one day,
and in the course of their talk this remark was dropped:

"I was a-drivin' a passel of 'em round about yisterday evenin', quiet
ones, you know, still and solemn, and all to wunst they busted out to
make your hair lift and I judged hell was to pay. Now what do you reckon
it was? It wa'n't anything but jest one of them common damned yaller
sunsets."

In those days--

[_Tuesday, October 16, 1906._] ... Warner is gone. Stockton is gone. I
attended both funerals. Warner was a near neighbor, from the autumn of
'71 until his death, nineteen years afterward. It is not the privilege
of the most of us to have many intimate friends--a dozen is our
aggregate--but I think he could count his by the score. It is seldom
that a man is so beloved by both sexes and all ages as Warner was. There
was a charm about his spirit, and his ways, and his words, that won all
that came within the sphere of its influence. Our children adopted him
while they were little creatures, and thenceforth, to the end, he was
"Cousin Charley" to them. He was "Uncle Charley" to the children of more
than one other friend. Mrs. Clemens was very fond of him, and he always
called her by her first name--shortened. Warner died, as she died, and
as I would die--without premonition, without a moment's warning.

Uncle Remus still lives, and must be over a thousand years old. Indeed,
I know that this must be so, because I have seen a new photograph of him
in the public prints within the last month or so, and in that picture
his aspects are distinctly and strikingly geological, and one can see he
is thinking about the mastodons and plesiosaurians that he used to play
with when he was young.

It is just a quarter of a century since I have seen Uncle Remus. He
visited us in our home in Hartford and was reverently devoured by the
big eyes of Susy and Clara, for I made a deep and awful impression upon
the little creatures--who knew his book by heart through my nightly
declamation of its tales to them--by revealing to them privately that he
was the real Uncle Remus whitewashed so that he could come into people's
houses the front way.

He was the bashfulest grown person I have ever met. When there were
people about he stayed silent, and seemed to suffer until they were
gone. But he was lovely, nevertheless; for the sweetness and benignity
of the immortal Remus looked out from his eyes, and the graces and
sincerities of his character shone in his face.

It may be that Jim Wolf was as bashful as Harris. It hardly seems
possible, yet as I look back fifty-six years and consider Jim Wolf, I am
almost persuaded that he was. He was our long slim apprentice in my
brother's printing-office in Hannibal. He was seventeen, and yet he was
as much as four times as bashful as I was, though I was only fourteen.
He boarded and slept in the house, but he was always tongue-tied in the
presence of my sister, and when even my gentle mother spoke to him he
could not answer save in frightened monosyllables. He would not enter a
room where a girl was; nothing could persuade him to do such a thing.
Once when he was in our small parlor alone, two majestic old maids
entered and seated themselves in such a way that Jim could not escape
without passing by them. He would as soon have thought of passing by one
of Harris's plesiosaurians ninety feet long. I came in presently, was
charmed with the situation, and sat down in a corner to watch Jim
suffer, and enjoy it. My mother followed a minute later and sat down
with the visitors and began to talk. Jim sat upright in his chair, and
during a quarter of an hour he did not change his position by a
shade--neither General Grant nor a bronze image could have maintained
that immovable pose more successfully. I mean as to body and limbs; with
the face there was a difference. By fleeting revealments of the face I
saw that something was happening--something out of the common. There
would be a sudden twitch of the muscles of the face, an instant
distortion, which in the next instant had passed and left no trace.
These twitches gradually grew in frequency, but no muscle outside of the
face lost any of its rigidity, or betrayed any interest in what was
happening to Jim. I mean if something _was_ happening to him, and I knew
perfectly well that that was the case. At last a pair of tears began to
swim slowly down his cheeks amongst the twitchings, but Jim sat still
and let them run; then I saw his right hand steal along his thigh until
half-way to his knee, then take a vigorous grip upon the cloth.

That was a _wasp_ that he was grabbing! A colony of them were climbing
up his legs and prospecting around, and every time he winced they
stabbed him to the hilt--so for a quarter of an hour one group of
excursionists after another climbed up Jim's legs and resented even the
slightest wince or squirm that he indulged himself with, in his misery.
When the entertainment had become nearly unbearable, he conceived the
idea of gripping them between his fingers and putting them out of
commission. He succeeded with many of them, but at great cost, for, as
he couldn't see the wasp, he was as likely to take hold of the wrong end
of him as he was the right; then the dying wasp gave him a punch to
remember the incident by.

If those ladies had stayed all day, and if all the wasps in Missouri had
come and climbed up Jim's legs, nobody there would ever have known it
but Jim and the wasps and me. There he would have sat until the ladies
left.

When they finally went away we went up-stairs and he took his clothes
off, and his legs were a picture to look at. They looked as if they were
mailed all over with shirt buttons, each with a single red hole in the
centre. The pain was intolerable--no, would have been intolerable, but
the pain of the presence of those ladies had been so much harder to bear
that the pain of the wasps' stings was quite pleasant and enjoyable by
comparison.

Jim never could enjoy wasps. I remember once--


     _From Susy's Biography of Me_ [1885-6].

     Mamma has given me a very pleasant little newspaper scrap about
     papa, to copy. I will put it in here.


[_Thursday, October 11, 1906._] It was a rather strong compliment; I
think I will leave it out. It was from James Redpath.

The chief ingredients of Redpath's make-up were honesty, sincerity,
kindliness, and pluck. He wasn't afraid. He was one of Ossawatomie
Brown's right-hand men in the bleeding Kansas days; he was all through
that struggle. He carried his life in his hands, and from one day to
another it wasn't worth the price of a night's lodging. He had a small
body of daring men under him, and they were constantly being hunted by
the "jayhawkers," who were proslavery Missourians, guerillas, modern
free lances.

[_Friday, October 12, 1906._] ... I can't think of the name of that
daredevil guerilla who led the jayhawkers and chased Redpath up and
down the country, and, in turn, was chased by Redpath. By grace of the
chances of war, the two men never met in the field, though they several
times came within an ace of it.

Ten or twelve years later, Redpath was earning his living in Boston as
chief of the lecture business in the United States. Fifteen or sixteen
years after his Kansas adventures I became a public lecturer, and he was
my agent. Along there somewhere was a press dinner, one November night,
at the Tremont Hotel in Boston, and I attended it. I sat near the head
of the table, with Redpath between me and the chairman; a stranger sat
on my other side. I tried several times to talk with the stranger, but
he seemed to be out of words and I presently ceased from troubling him.
He was manifestly a very shy man, and, moreover, he might have been
losing sleep the night before.

The first man called up was Redpath. At the mention of the name the
stranger started, and showed interest. He fixed a fascinated eye on
Redpath, and lost not a word of his speech. Redpath told some stirring
incidents of his career in Kansas, and said, among other things:

"Three times I came near capturing the gallant jayhawker chief, and once
he actually captured _me_, but didn't know me and let me go, because he
said he was hot on Redpath's trail and couldn't afford to waste time and
rope on inconsequential small fry."

My stranger was called up next, and when Redpath heard his name he, in
turn, showed a startled interest. The stranger said, bending a caressing
glance upon Redpath and speaking gently--I may even say sweetly:

"You realize that I was that jayhawker chief. I am glad to know you now
and take you to my heart and call you friend"--then he added, in a voice
that was pathetic with regret, "but if I had only known you then, what
tumultuous happiness I should have had in your society!--while it
lasted."

The last quarter of a century of my life has been pretty constantly and
faithfully devoted to the study of the human race--that is to say, the
study of myself, for, in my individual person, I am the entire human
race compacted together. I have found that then is no ingredient of the
race which I do not possess in either a small way or a large way. When
it is small, as compared with the same ingredient in somebody else,
there is still enough of it for all the purposes of examination. In my
contacts with the species I find no one who possesses a quality which I
do not possess. The shades of difference between other people and me
serve to make variety and prevent monotony, but that is all; broadly
speaking, we are all alike; and so by studying myself carefully and
comparing myself with other people, and noting the divergences, I have
been enabled to acquire a knowledge of the human race which I perceive
is more accurate and more comprehensive than that which has been
acquired and revealed by any other member of our species. As a result,
my private and concealed opinion of myself is not of a complimentary
sort. It follows that my estimate of the human race is the duplicate of
my estimate of myself.

I am not proposing to discuss all of the peculiarities of the human
race, at this time; I only wish to touch lightly upon one or two of
them. To begin with, I wonder why a man should prefer a good
billiard-table to a poor one; and why he should prefer straight cues to
crooked ones; and why he should prefer round balls to chipped ones; and
why he should prefer a level table to one that slants; and why he should
prefer responsive cushions to the dull and unresponsive kind. I wonder
at these things, because when we examine the matter we find that the
essentials involved in billiards are as competently and exhaustively
furnished by a bad billiard outfit as they are by the best one. One of
the essentials is amusement. Very well, if there is any more amusement
to be gotten out of the one outfit than out of the other, the facts are
in favor of the bad outfit. The bad outfit will always furnish thirty
per cent. more fun for the players and for the spectators than will the
good outfit. Another essential of the game is that the outfit shall give
the players full opportunity to exercise their best skill, and display
it in a way to compel the admiration of the spectators. Very well, the
bad outfit is nothing behind the good one in this regard. It is a
difficult matter to estimate correctly the eccentricities of chipped
balls and a slanting table, and make the right allowance for them and
secure a count; the finest kind of skill is required to accomplish the
satisfactory result. Another essential of the game is that it shall add
to the interest of the game by furnishing opportunities to bet. Very
well, in this regard no good outfit can claim any advantage over a bad
one. I know, by experience, that a bad outfit is as valuable as the
best one; that an outfit that couldn't be sold at auction for seven
dollars is just as valuable for all the essentials of the game as an
outfit that is worth a thousand.

I acquired some of this learning in Jackass Gulch, California, more than
forty years ago. Jackass Gulch had once been a rich and thriving
surface-mining camp. By and by its gold deposits were exhausted; then
the people began to go away, and the town began to decay, and rapidly;
in my time it had disappeared. Where the bank, and the city hall, and
the church, and the gambling-dens, and the newspaper office, and the
streets of brick blocks had been, was nothing now but a wide and
beautiful expanse of green grass, a peaceful and charming solitude. Half
a dozen scattered dwellings were still inhabited, and there was still
one saloon of a ruined and rickety character struggling for life, but
doomed. In its bar was a billiard outfit that was the counterpart of the
one in my father-in-law's garret. The balls were chipped, the cloth was
darned and patched, the table's surface was undulating, and the cues
were headless and had the curve of a parenthesis--but the forlorn
remnant of marooned miners played games there, and those games were more
entertaining to look at than a circus and a grand opera combined.
Nothing but a quite extraordinary skill could score a carom on that
table--a skill that required the nicest estimate of force, distance, and
how much to allow for the various slants of the table and the other
formidable peculiarities and idiosyncrasies furnished by the
contradictions of the outfit. Last winter, here in New York, I saw Hoppe
and Schaefer and Sutton and the three or four other billiard champions
of world-wide fame contend against each other, and certainly the art and
science displayed were a wonder to see; yet I saw nothing there in the
way of science and art that was more wonderful than shots which I had
seen Texas Tom make on the wavy surface of that poor old wreck in the
perishing saloon at Jackass Gulch forty years before. Once I saw Texas
Tom make a string of seven points on a single inning!--all calculated
shots, and not a fluke or a scratch among them. I often saw him make
runs of four, but when he made his great string of seven, the boys went
wild with enthusiasm and admiration. The joy and the noise exceeded that
which the great gathering at Madison Square produced when Sutton scored
five hundred points at the eighteen-inch game, on a world-famous night
last winter. With practice, that champion could score nineteen or
twenty on the Jackass Gulch table; but to start with, Texas Tom would
show him miracles that would astonish him; also it might have another
handsome result: it might persuade the great experts to discard their
own trifling game and bring the Jackass Gulch outfit here and exhibit
their skill in a game worth a hundred of the discarded one, for profound
and breathless interest, and for displays of almost superhuman skill.

In my experience, games played with a fiendish outfit furnish ecstasies
of delight which games played with the other kind cannot match.
Twenty-seven years ago my budding little family spent the summer at
Bateman's Point, near Newport, Rhode Island. It was a comfortable
boarding-place, well stocked with sweet mothers and little children, but
the male sex was scarce; however, there was another young fellow besides
myself, and he and I had good times--Higgins was his name, but that was
not his fault. He was a very pleasant and companionable person. On the
premises there was what had once been a bowling-alley. It was a single
alley, and it was estimated that it had been out of repair for sixty
years--but not the balls, the balls were in good condition; there were
forty-one of them, and they ranged in size from a grapefruit up to a
lignum-vitæ sphere that you could hardly lift. Higgins and I played on
that alley day after day. At first, one of us located himself at the
bottom end to set up the pins in case anything should happen to them,
but nothing happened. The surface of that alley consisted of a rolling
stretch of elevations and depressions, and neither of us could, by any
art known to us, persuade a ball to stay on the alley until it should
accomplish something. Little balls and big, the same thing always
happened--the ball left the alley before it was half-way home and went
thundering down alongside of it the rest of the way and made the
gamekeeper climb out and take care of himself. No matter, we persevered,
and were rewarded. We examined the alley, noted and located a lot of its
peculiarities, and little by little we learned how to deliver a ball in
such a way that it would travel home and knock down a pin or two. By and
by we succeeded in improving our game to a point where we were able to
get all of the pins with thirty-five balls--so we made it a
thirty-five-ball game. If the player did not succeed with thirty-five,
he had lost the game. I suppose that all the balls, taken together,
weighed five hundred pounds, or maybe a ton--or along there
somewhere--but anyway it was hot weather, and by the time that a player
had sent thirty-five of them home he was in a drench of perspiration,
and physically exhausted.

Next, we started cocked hat--that is to say, a triangle of three pins,
the other seven being discarded. In this game we used the three smallest
balls and kept on delivering them until we got the three pins down.
After a day or two of practice we were able to get the chief pin with an
output of four balls, but it cost us a great many deliveries to get the
other two; but by and by we succeeded in perfecting our art--at least we
perfected it to our limit. We reached a scientific excellence where we
could get the three pins down with twelve deliveries of the three small
balls, making thirty-six shots to conquer the cocked hat.

Having reached our limit for daylight work, we set up a couple of
candles and played at night. As the alley was fifty or sixty feet long,
we couldn't see the pins, but the candles indicated their locality. We
continued this game until we were able to knock down the invisible pins
with thirty-six shots. Having now reached the limit of the candle game,
we changed and played it left-handed. We continued the left-handed game
until we conquered its limit, which was fifty-four shots. Sometimes we
sent down a succession of fifteen balls without getting anything at all.
We easily got out of that old alley five times the fun that anybody
could have gotten out of the best alley in New York.

One blazing hot day, a modest and courteous officer of the regular army
appeared in our den and introduced himself. He was about thirty-five
years old, well built and militarily erect and straight, and he was
hermetically sealed up in the uniform of that ignorant old day--a
uniform made of heavy material, and much properer for January than July.
When he saw the venerable alley, and glanced from that to the long
procession of shining balls in the trough, his eye lit with desire, and
we judged that he was our meat. We politely invited him to take a hand,
and he could not conceal his gratitude; though his breeding, and the
etiquette of his profession, made him try. We explained the game to him,
and said that there were forty-one balls, and that the player was
privileged to extend his inning and keep on playing until he had used
them all up--repeatedly--and that for every ten-strike he got a prize.
We didn't name the prize--it wasn't necessary, as no prize would ever be
needed or called for. He started a sarcastic smile, but quenched it,
according to the etiquette of his profession. He merely remarked that he
would like to select a couple of medium balls and one small one, adding
that he didn't think he would need the rest.

Then he began, and he was an astonished man. He couldn't get a ball to
stay on the alley. When he had fired about fifteen balls and hadn't yet
reached the cluster of pins, his annoyance began to show out through his
clothes. He wouldn't let it show in his face; but after another fifteen
balls he was not able to control his face; he didn't utter a word, but
he exuded mute blasphemy from every pore. He asked permission to take
off his coat, which was granted; then he turned himself loose, with
bitter determination, and although he was only an infantry officer he
could have been mistaken for a battery, he got up such a volleying
thunder with those balls. Presently he removed his cravat; after a
little he took off his vest; and still he went bravely on. Higgins was
suffocating. My condition was the same, but it would not be courteous to
laugh; it would be better to burst, and we came near it. That officer
was good pluck. He stood to his work without uttering a word, and kept
the balls going until he had expended the outfit four times, making four
times forty-one shots; then he had to give it up, and he did; for he was
no longer able to stand without wobbling. He put on his clothes, bade us
a courteous good-by, invited us to call at the Fort, and started away.
Then he came back, and said,

"What is the prize for the ten-strike?"

We had to confess that we had not selected it yet.

He said, gravely, that he thought there was no occasion for hurry about
it.

I believe Bateman's alley was a better one than any other in America, in
the matter of the essentials of the game. It compelled skill; it
provided opportunity for bets; and if you could get a stranger to do the
bowling for you, there was more and wholesomer and delightfuler
entertainment to be gotten out of his industries than out of the finest
game by the best expert, and played upon the best alley elsewhere in
existence.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.

                       (_To be Continued._)



NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW

No. DCXXV.

DECEMBER, 1907.


CHAPTERS FROM MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY.--XXV.

BY MARK TWAIN.


_January 11, 1906._ Answer to a letter received this morning:


     DEAR MRS. H.,--I am forever your debtor for reminding me of that
     curious passage in my life. During the first year or two after it
     happened, I could not bear to think of it. My pain and shame were
     so intense, and my sense of having been an imbecile so settled,
     established and confirmed, that I drove the episode entirely from
     my mind--and so all these twenty-eight or twenty-nine years I have
     lived in the conviction that my performance of that time was
     coarse, vulgar and destitute of humor. But your suggestion that you
     and your family found humor in it twenty-eight years ago moved me
     to look into the matter. So I commissioned a Boston typewriter to
     delve among the Boston papers of that bygone time and send me a
     copy of it.

     It came this morning, and if there is any vulgarity about it I am
     not able to discover it. If it isn't innocently and ridiculously
     funny, I am no judge. I will see to it that you get a copy.


                Address of Samuel L. Clemens ("Mark Twain")
            From a report of the dinner given by the Publishers
                 of the Atlantic Monthly in honor of the
                      Seventieth Anniversary of the
         Birth of John Greenleaf Whittier, at the Hotel Brunswick,
                         Boston, December 17, 1877,
                            as published in the
                         BOSTON EVENING TRANSCRIPT,
                             December 18, 1877


     Mr. Chairman--This is an occasion peculiarly meet for the digging
     up of pleasant reminiscences concerning literary folk; therefore I
     will drop lightly into history myself. Standing here on the shore
     of the Atlantic and contemplating certain of its largest literary
     billows, I am reminded of a thing which happened to me thirteen
     years ago, when I had just succeeded in stirring up a little
     Nevadian literary puddle myself, whose spume-flakes were beginning
     to blow thinly Californiawards. I started an inspection tramp
     through the southern mines of California. I was callow and
     conceited, and I resolved to try the virtue of my _nom de guerre._
     I very soon had an opportunity. I knocked at a miner's lonely log
     cabin in the foothills of the Sierras just at nightfall. It was
     snowing at the time. A jaded, melancholy man of fifty, barefooted,
     opened the door to me. When he heard my _nom de guerre_ he looked
     more dejected than before. He let me in--pretty reluctantly, I
     thought--and after the customary bacon and beans, black coffee and
     hot whiskey, I took a pipe. This sorrowful man had not said three
     words up to this time. Now he spoke up and said, in the voice of
     one who is secretly suffering, "You're the fourth--I'm going to
     move." "The fourth what!" said I. "The fourth littery man that has
     been here in twenty-four hours--I'm going to move." "You don't tell
     me!" said I; "who were the others!" "Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Emerson
     and Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes--consound the lot!"

     You can easily believe I was interested. I supplicated--three hot
     whiskeys did the rest--and finally the melancholy miner began. Said
     he--

     "They came here just at dark yesterday evening, and I let them in
     of course. Said they were going to the Yosemite. They were a rough
     lot, but that's nothing; everybody looks rough that travels afoot.
     Mr. Emerson was a seedy little bit of a chap, red-headed. Mr.
     Holmes as fat as a balloon; he weighed as much as three hundred,
     and double chins all the way down to his stomach. Mr. Longfellow
     built like a prize-fighter. His head was cropped and bristly, like
     as if he had a wig made of hair-brushes. His nose lay straight down
     his face, like a finger with the end joint tilted up. They had been
     drinking, I could see that. And what queer talk they used! Mr.
     Holmes inspected this cabin, then he took me by the buttonhole, and
     says he--


     "'Through the deep cares of thought
     I hear a voice that sings,
     Build thee more stately mansions,
     O my soul!'


     "Says I, 'I can't afford it, Mr. Holmes, and moreover I don't want
     to.' Blamed if I liked it pretty well, either, coming from a
     stranger, that way. However, I started to get out my bacon and
     beans, when Mr. Emerson came and looked on awhile, and then he
     takes me aside by the buttonhole and says--


     "'Give me agates for my meat;
     Give me cantharids to eat;
     From air and ocean bring me foods,
     From all zones and altitudes.'


     "Says I, 'Mr. Emerson, if you'll excuse me, this ain't no hotel.'
     You see it sort of riled me--I warn't used to the ways of littery
     swells. But I went on a-sweating over my work, and next comes Mr.
     Longfellow and buttonholes me, and interrupts me. Says he,


     "'Honor be to Mudjekeewis!
     You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis--'


     "But I broke in, and says I, 'Beg your pardon, Mr. Longfellow, if
     you'll be so kind as to hold your yawp for about five minutes and
     let me get this grub ready, you'll do me proud.' Well, sir, after
     they'd filled up I set out the jug. Mr. Holmes looks at it and then
     he fires up all of a sudden and yells--


     "'Flash out a stream of blood-red wine!
     For I would drink to other days.'


     "By George, I was getting kind of worked up. I don't deny it, I was
     getting kind of worked up. I turns to Mr. Holmes, and says I,
     'Looky here, my fat friend, I'm a-running this shanty, and if the
     court knows herself, you'll take whiskey straight or you'll go
     dry.' Them's the very words I said to him. Now I don't want to sass
     such famous littery people, but you see they kind of forced me.
     There ain't nothing onreasonable 'bout me; I don't mind a passel of
     guests a-treadin' on my tail three or four times, but when it comes
     to _standing_ on it it's different, 'and if the court knows
     herself,' I says, 'you'll take whiskey straight or you'll go dry.'
     Well, between drinks they'd swell around the cabin and strike
     attitudes and spout; and pretty soon they got out a greasy old deck
     and went to playing euchre at ten cents a corner--on trust. I began
     to notice some pretty suspicious things. Mr. Emerson dealt, looked
     at his hand, shook his head, says--


     "'I am the doubter and the doubt--'


     and ca'mly bunched the hands and went to shuffling for a new
     layout. Says he--


     "'They reckon ill who leave me out;
     They know not well the subtle ways I keep.
     I pass and deal _again_!'


     Hang'd if he didn't go ahead and do it, too! O, he was a cool one!
     Well, in about a minute, things were running pretty tight, but all
     of a sudden I see by Mr. Emerson's eye he judged he had 'em. He had
     already corralled two tricks and each of the others one. So now he
     kind of lifts a little in his chair and says--


     "'I tire of globes and aces!--
     Too long the game is played!'


     --and down he fetched a right bower. Mr. Longfellow smiles as sweet
     as pie and says--


     "'Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
     For the lesson thou hast taught,'


     --and blamed if he didn't down with _another_ right bower! Emerson
     claps his hand on his bowie, Longfellow claps his on his revolver,
     and I went under a bunk. There was going to be trouble; but that
     monstrous Holmes rose up, wobbling his double chins, and says he,
     'Order, gentlemen; the first man that draws, I'll lay down on him
     and smother him!' All quiet on the Potomac, you bet!

     "They were pretty how-come-you-so, by now, and they begun to blow.
     Emerson says, 'The nobbiest thing I ever wrote was Barbara
     Frietchie.' Says Longfellow, 'It don't begin with my Biglow
     Papers.' Says Holmes, 'My Thanatopsis lays over 'em both.' They
     mighty near ended in a fight. Then they wished they had some more
     company--and Mr. Emerson pointed to me and says--


     "'Is yonder squalid peasant all
     That this proud nursery could breed?'


     He was a-whetting his bowie on his boot--so I let it pass. Well,
     sir, next they took it into their heads that they would like some
     music; so they made me stand up and sing 'When Johnny Comes
     Marching Home' till I dropped--at thirteen minutes past four this
     morning. That's what I've been through, my friend. When I woke at
     seven, they were leaving, thank goodness, and Mr. Longfellow had my
     only boots on, and his'n under his arm. Says I, 'Hold on, there,
     Evangeline, what are you going to do with _them_! He says, 'Going
     to make tracks with 'em; because--


     "'Lives of great men all remind us
     We can make our lives sublime;
     And, departing, leave behind us
     Footprints on the sands of time.'


     As I said, Mr. Twain, you are the fourth in twenty-four hours--and
     I'm going to move; I ain't suited to a littery atmosphere."

     I said to the miner, "Why, my dear sir, _these_ were not the
     gracious singers to whom we and the world pay loving reverence and
     homage; these were impostors."

     The miner investigated me with a calm eye for a while; then said
     he, "Ah! impostors, were they? Are _you_?

     I did not pursue the subject, and since then I have not travelled
     on my _nom de guerre_ enough to hurt. Such was the reminiscence I
     was moved to contribute, Mr. Chairman. In my enthusiasm I may have
     exaggerated the details a little, but you will easily forgive me
     that fault, since I believe it is the first time I have ever
     deflected from perpendicular fact on an occasion like this.


What I have said to Mrs. H. is true. I did suffer during a year or two
from the deep humiliations of that episode. But at last, in 1888, in
Venice, my wife and I came across Mr. and Mrs. A. P. C., of Concord,
Massachusetts, and a friendship began then of the sort which nothing but
death terminates. The C.'s were very bright people and in every way
charming and companionable. We were together a month or two in Venice
and several months in Rome, afterwards, and one day that lamented break
of mine was mentioned. And when I was on the point of lathering those
people for bringing it to my mind when I had gotten the memory of it
almost squelched, I perceived with joy that the C.'s were indignant
about the way that my performance had been received in Boston. They
poured out their opinions most freely and frankly about the frosty
attitude of the people who were present at that performance, and about
the Boston newspapers for the position they had taken in regard to the
matter. That position was that I had been irreverent beyond belief,
beyond imagination. Very well, I had accepted that as a fact for a year
or two, and had been thoroughly miserable about it whenever I thought of
it--which was not frequently, if I could help it. Whenever I thought of
it I wondered how I ever could have been inspired to do so unholy a
thing. Well, the C.'s comforted me, but they did not persuade me to
continue to think about the unhappy episode. I resisted that. I tried to
get it out of my mind, and let it die, and I succeeded. Until Mrs. H.'s
letter came, it had been a good twenty-five years since I had thought of
that matter; and when she said that the thing was funny I wondered if
possibly she might be right. At any rate, my curiosity was aroused, and
I wrote to Boston and got the whole thing copied, as above set forth.

I vaguely remember some of the details of that gathering--dimly I can
see a hundred people--no, perhaps fifty--shadowy figures sitting at
tables feeding, ghosts now to me, and nameless forever more. I don't
know who they were, but I can very distinctly see, seated at the grand
table and facing the rest of us, Mr. Emerson, supernaturally grave,
unsmiling; Mr. Whittier, grave, lovely, his beautiful spirit shining out
of his face; Mr. Longfellow, with his silken white hair and his
benignant face; Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, flashing smiles and affection
and all good-fellowship everywhere like a rose-diamond whose facets are
being turned toward the light first one way and then another--a charming
man, and always fascinating, whether he was talking or whether he was
sitting still (what _he_ would call still, but what would be more or
lees motion to other people). I can see those figures with entire
distinctness across this abyss of time.

One other feature is clear--Willie Winter (for these past thousand years
dramatic editor of the "New York Tribune," and still occupying that high
post in his old age) was there. He was much younger then than he is now,
and he showed it. It was always a pleasure to me to see Willie Winter at
a banquet. During a matter of twenty years I was seldom at a banquet
where Willie Winter was not also present, and where he did not read a
charming poem written for the occasion. He did it this time, and it was
up to standard: dainty, happy, choicely phrased, and as good to listen
to as music, and sounding exactly as if it was pouring unprepared out of
heart and brain.

Now at that point ends all that was pleasurable about that notable
celebration of Mr. Whittier's seventieth birthday--because I got up at
that point and followed Winter, with what I have no doubt I supposed
would be the gem of the evening--the gay oration above quoted from the
Boston paper. I had written it all out the day before and had perfectly
memorized it, and I stood up there at my genial and happy and
self-satisfied ease, and began to deliver it. Those majestic guests,
that row of venerable and still active volcanoes, listened, as did
everybody else in the house, with attentive interest. Well, I delivered
myself of--we'll say the first two hundred words of my speech. I was
expecting no returns from that part of the speech, but this was not the
case as regarded the rest of it. I arrived now at the dialogue: 'The old
miner said, "You are the fourth, I'm going to move." "The fourth what?"
said I. He answered, "The fourth littery man that has been here in
twenty-four hours. I am going to move." "Why, you don't tell me," said
I. "Who were the others?" "Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Oliver
Wendell Holmes, consound the lot--"'

Now then the house's _attention_ continued, but the expression of
interest in the faces turned to a sort of black frost. I wondered what
the trouble was. I didn't know. I went on, but with difficulty--I
struggled along, and entered upon that miner's fearful description of
the bogus Emerson, the bogus Holmes, the bogus Longfellow, always
hoping--but with a gradually perishing hope--that somebody would laugh,
or that somebody would at least smile, but nobody did. I didn't know
enough to give it up and sit down, I was too new to public speaking, and
so I went on with this awful performance, and carried it clear through
to the end, in front of a body of people who seemed turned to stone with
horror. It was the sort of expression their faces would have worn if I
had been making these remarks about the Deity and the rest of the
Trinity; there is no milder way in which to describe the petrified
condition and the ghastly expression of those people.

When I sat down it was with a heart which had long ceased to beat. I
shall never be as dead again as I was then. I shall never be as
miserable again as I was then. I speak now as one who doesn't know what
the condition of things may be in the next world, but in this one I
shall never be as wretched again as I was then. Howells, who was near
me, tried to say a comforting word, but couldn't get beyond a gasp.
There was no use--he understood the whole size of the disaster. He had
good intentions, but the words froze before they could get out. It was
an atmosphere that would freeze anything. If Benvenuto Cellini's
salamander had been in that place he would not have survived to be put
into Cellini's autobiography. There was a frightful pause. There was an
awful silence, a desolating silence. Then the next man on the list had
to get up--there was no help for it. That was Bishop--Bishop had just
burst handsomely upon the world with a most acceptable novel, which had
appeared in the "Atlantic Monthly," a place which would make any novel
respectable and any author noteworthy. In this case the novel itself was
recognized as being, without extraneous help, respectable. Bishop was
away up in the public favor, and he was an object of high interest,
consequently there was a sort of national expectancy in the air; we may
say our American millions were standing, from Maine to Texas and from
Alaska to Florida, holding their breath, their lips parted, their hands
ready to applaud when Bishop should get up on that occasion, and for the
first time in his life speak in public. It was under these damaging
conditions that he got up to "make good," as the vulgar say. I had
spoken several times before, and that in the reason why I was able to go
on without dying in my tracks, as I ought to have done--but Bishop had
had no experience. He was up facing those awful deities--facing those
other people, those strangers--facing human beings for the first time in
his life, with a speech to utter. No doubt it was well packed away in
his memory, no doubt it was fresh and usable, until I had been heard
from. I suppose that after that, and under the smothering pall of that
dreary silence, it began to waste away and disappear out of his head
like the rags breaking from the edge of a fog, and presently there
wasn't any fog left. He didn't go on--he didn't last long. It was not
many sentences after his first before he began to hesitate, and break,
and lose his grip, and totter, and wobble, and at last he slumped down
in a limp and mushy pile.

Well, the programme for the occasion was probably not more than
one-third finished, but it ended there. Nobody rose. The next man hadn't
strength enough to get up, and everybody looked so dazed, so stupefied,
paralyzed, it was impossible for anybody to do anything, or even try.
Nothing could go on in that strange atmosphere. Howells mournfully, and
without words, hitched himself to Bishop and me and supported us out of
the room. It was very kind--he was most generous. He towed us tottering
away into some room in that building, and we sat down there. I don't
know what my remark was now, but I know the nature of it. It was the
kind of remark you make when you know that nothing in the world can help
your case. But Howells was honest--he had to say the heart-breaking
things he did say: that there was no help for this calamity, this
shipwreck, this cataclysm; that this was the most disastrous thing that
had ever happened in anybody's history--and then he added, "That is, for
_you_--and consider what you have done for Bishop. It is bad enough in
your case, you deserve to suffer. You have committed this crime, and you
deserve to have all you are going to get. But here is an innocent man.
Bishop had never done you any harm, and see what you have done to him.
He can never hold his head up again. The world can never look upon
Bishop as being a live person. He is a corpse."

That is the history of that episode of twenty-eight years ago, which
pretty nearly killed me with shame during that first year or two
whenever it forced its way into my mind.

Now, then, I take that speech up and examine it. As I said, it arrived
this morning, from Boston. I have read it twice, and unless I am an
idiot, it hasn't a single defect in it from the first word to the last.
It is just as good as good can be. It is smart; it is saturated with
humor. There isn't a suggestion of coarseness or vulgarity in it
anywhere. What could have been the matter with that house? It is
amazing, it is incredible, that they didn't shout with laughter, and
those deities the loudest of them all. Could the fault have been with
me? Did I lose courage when I saw those great men up there whom I was
going to describe in such a strange fashion? If that happened, if I
showed doubt, that can account for it, for you can't be successfully
funny if you show that you are afraid of it. Well, I can't account for
it, but if I had those beloved and revered old literary immortals back
here now on the platform at Carnegie Hall I would take that same old
speech, deliver it, word for word, and melt them till they'd run all
over that stage. Oh, the fault must have been with _me_, it is not in
the speech at all.

[_Dictated October 3, 1907._] In some ways, I was always honest; even
from my earliest years I could never bring myself to use money which I
had acquired in questionable ways; many a time I tried, but principle
was always stronger than desire. Six or eight months ago,
Lieutenant-General Nelson A. Miles was given a great dinner-party in New
York, and when he and I were chatting together in the drawing-room
before going out to dinner he said,

"I've known you as much as thirty years, isn't it?"

I said, "Yes, that's about it, I think."

He mused a moment or two and then said,

"I wonder we didn't meet in Washington in 1867; you were there at that
time, weren't you?"

I said, "Yes, but there was a difference; I was not known then; I had
not begun to bud--I was an obscurity; but you had been adding to your
fine Civil War record; you had just come back from your brilliant
Indian campaign in the Far West, and had been rewarded with a
brigadier-generalship in the regular army, and everybody was talking
about you and praising you. If you had met me, you wouldn't be able to
remember it now--unless some unusual circumstance of the meeting had
burnt it into your memory. It is forty years ago, and people don't
remember nobodies over a stretch of time like that."

I didn't wish to continue the conversation along that line, so I changed
the subject. I could have proven to him, without any trouble, that we
did meet in Washington in 1867, but I thought it might embarrass one or
the other of us, so I didn't do it. I remember the incident very well.
This was the way of it:

I had just come back from the Quaker City Excursion, and had made a
contract with Bliss of Hartford to write "The Innocents Abroad." I was
out of money, and I went down to Washington to see if I could earn
enough there to keep me in bread and butter while I should write the
book. I came across William Clinton, brother of the astronomer, and
together we invented a scheme for our mutual sustenance; we became the
fathers and originators of what is a common feature in the newspaper
world now--the syndicate. We became the old original first Newspaper
Syndicate on the planet; it was on a small scale, but that is usual with
untried new enterprises. We had twelve journals on our list; they were
all weeklies, all obscure and poor, and all scattered far away among the
back settlements. It was a proud thing for those little newspapers to
have a Washington correspondence, and a fortunate thing for us that they
felt in that way about it. Each of the twelve took two letters a week
from us, at a dollar per letter; each of us wrote one letter per week
and sent off six duplicates of it to these benefactors, thus acquiring
twenty-four dollars a week to live on--which was all we needed, in our
cheap and humble quarters.

Clinton was one of the dearest and loveliest human beings I have ever
known, and we led a charmed existence together, in a contentment which
knew no bounds. Clinton was refined by nature and breeding; he was a
gentleman by nature and breeding; he was highly educated; he was of a
beautiful spirit; he was pure in heart and speech. He was a Scotchman,
and a Presbyterian; a Presbyterian of the old and genuine school, being
honest and sincere in his religion, and loving it, and finding serenity
and peace in it. He hadn't a vice--unless a large and grateful sympathy
with Scotch whiskey may be called by that name. I didn't regard it as a
vice, because he was a Scotchman, and Scotch whiskey to a Scotchman is
as innocent as milk is to the rest of the human race. In Clinton's case
it was a virtue, and not an economical one. Twenty-four dollars a week
would really have been riches to us if we hadn't had to support that
jug; because of the jug we were always sailing pretty close to the wind,
and any tardiness in the arrival of any part of our income was sure to
cause us some inconvenience.

I remember a time when a shortage occurred; we had to have three
dollars, and we had to have it before the close of the day. I don't know
now how we happened to want all that money at one time; I only know we
had to have it. Clinton told me to go out and find it--and he said he
would also go out and see what he could do. He didn't seem to have any
doubt that we would succeed, but I knew that that was his religion
working in him; I hadn't the same confidence; I hadn't any idea where to
turn to raise all that bullion, and I said so. I think he was ashamed of
me, privately, because of my weak faith. He told me to give myself no
uneasiness, no concern; and said in a simple, confident, and
unquestioning way, "the Lord will provide." I saw that he fully believed
the Lord would provide, but it seemed to me that if he had had my
experience--

But never mind that; before he was done with me his strong faith had had
its influence, and I went forth from the place almost convinced that the
Lord really would provide.

I wandered around the streets for an hour, trying to think up some way
to get that money, but nothing suggested itself. At last I lounged into
the big lobby of the Ebbitt House, which was then a new hotel, and sat
down. Presently a dog came loafing along. He paused, glanced up at me
and said, with his eyes, "Are you friendly?" I answered, with my eyes,
that I was. He gave his tail a grateful little wag and came forward and
rested his jaw on my knee and lifted his brown eyes to my face in a
winningly affectionate way. He was a lovely creature--as beautiful as a
girl, and he was made all of silk and velvet. I stroked his smooth brown
head and fondled his drooping ears, and we were a pair of lovers right
away. Pretty soon Brigadier-General Miles, the hero of the land, came
strolling by in his blue and gold splendors, with everybody's admiring
gaze upon him. He saw the dog and stopped, and there was a light in his
eye which showed that he had a warm place in his heart for dogs like
this gracious creature; then he came forward and patted the dog and
said,

"He is very fine--he is a wonder; would you sell him?"

I was greatly moved; it seemed a marvellous thing to me, the way
Clinton's prediction had come true. I said,

"Yes."

The General said,

"What do you ask for him?"

"Three dollars."

The General was manifestly surprised. He said,

"Three dollars? Only three dollars? Why, that dog is a most uncommon
dog; he can't possibly be worth leas than fifty. If he were mine, I
wouldn't take a hundred for him. I'm afraid you are not aware of his
value. Reconsider your price if you like, I don't wish to wrong you."

But if he had known me he would have known that I was no more capable of
wronging him than he was of wronging me. I responded with the same quiet
decision as before,

"No--three dollars. That is his price."

"Very well, since you insist upon it," said the General, and he gave me
three dollars and led the dog away, and disappeared up-stairs.

In about ten minutes a gentle-faced middle-aged gentleman came along,
and began to look around here and there and under tables and everywhere,
and I said to him,

"Is it a dog you are looking for?"

His face was sad, before, and troubled; but it lit up gladly now, and he
answered,

"Yes--have you seen him?"

"Yes," I said, "he was here a minute ago, and I saw him follow a
gentleman away. I think I could find him for you if you would like me to
try."

I have seldom seen a person look so grateful--and there was gratitude in
his voice, too, when he conceded that he would like me to try. I said I
would do it with great pleasure, but that as it might take a little time
I hoped he would not mind paying me something for my trouble. He said he
would do it most gladly--repeating that phrase "most gladly"--and asked
me how much. I said--

"Three dollars."

He looked surprised, and said,

"Dear me, it is nothing! I will pay you ten, quite willingly."

But I said,

"No, three is the price"--and I started for the stairs without waiting
for any further argument, for Clinton had said that that was the amount
that the Lord would provide, and it seemed to me that it would be
sacrilegious to take a penny more than was promised.

I got the number of the General's room from the office-clerk, as I
passed by his wicket, and when I reached the room I found the General
there caressing his dog, and quite happy. I said,

"I am sorry, but I have to take the dog again."

He seemed very much surprised, and said,

"Take him again? Why, he is my dog; you sold him to me, and at your own
price."

"Yes," I said, "it is true--but I have to have him, because the man
wants him again."

"What man?"

"The man that owns him; he wasn't my dog."

The General looked even more surprised than before, and for a moment he
couldn't seem to find his voice; then he said,

"Do you mean to tell me that you were selling another man's dog--and
knew it?"

"Yes, I knew it wasn't my dog."

"Then why did you sell him?"

I said,

"Well, that is a curious question to ask. I sold him because you wanted
him. You offered to buy the dog; you can't deny that I was not anxious
to sell him--I had not even thought of selling him, but it seemed to me
that if it could be any accommodation to you--"

He broke me off in the middle, and said,

"_Accommodation_ to me? It is the most extraordinary spirit of
accommodation I have ever heard of--the idea of your selling a dog that
didn't belong to you--"

I broke him off there, and said,

"There is no relevancy about this kind of argument; you said yourself
that the dog was probably worth a hundred dollars, I only asked you
three; was there anything unfair about that? You offered to pay more,
you know you did. I only asked you three; you can't deny it."

"Oh, what in the world has that to do with it! The crux of the matter is
that you didn't own the dog--can't you see that? You seem to think that
there is no impropriety in selling property that isn't yours provided
you sell it cheap. Now, then--"

I said,

"Please don't argue about it any more. You can't get around the fact
that the price was perfectly fair, perfectly reasonable--considering
that I didn't own the dog--and so arguing about it is only a waste of
words. I have to have him back again because the man wants him; don't
you see that I haven't any choice in the matter? Put yourself in my
place. Suppose you had sold a dog that didn't belong to you; suppose
you--"

"Oh," he said, "don't muddle my brains any more with your idiotic
reasonings! Take him along, and give me a rest."

So I paid back the three dollars and led the dog down-stairs and passed
him over to his owner, and collected three for my trouble.

I went away then with a good conscience, because I had acted honorably;
I never could have used the three that I sold the dog for, because it
was not rightly my own, but the three I got for restoring him to his
rightful owner was righteously and properly mine, because I had earned
it. That man might never have gotten that dog back at all, if it hadn't
been for me. My principles have remained to this day what they were
then. I was always honest; I know I can never be otherwise. It is as I
said in the beginning--I was never able to persuade myself to use money
which I had acquired in questionable ways.

Now, then, that is the tale. Some of it is true.

                                                     MARK TWAIN.





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