I am to see Livy a moment every afternoon until she has another bad night; and I stand in dread, for with all my practice I realize that in a sudden emergency I am but a poor, clumsy liar, whereas a fine alert and capable emergency liar is the only sort that is worth anything in a sick-chamber.
Now, Joe, just see what reputation can do. All Clara’s life she has told Livy the truth and now the reward comes; Clara lies to her three and a half hours every day, and Livy takes it all at par, whereas even when I tell her a truth it isn’t worth much without corroboration . . . .
Soon my brief visit is due.
I’ve just been up listening at Livy’s
5 P.M. A great disappointment.
I was sitting outside Livy’s door
waiting. Clara came out a minute ago and said L ivy is not so well,
and the nurse can’t let me see her to-day.
That pathetic drama was to continue in some degree for many a long month. All that winter and spring Mrs. Clemens kept but a frail hold on life. Clemens wrote little, and refused invitations everywhere he could. He spent his time largely in waiting for the two-minute period each day when he could stand at the bed-foot and say a few words to the invalid, and he confined his writing mainly to the comforting, affectionate messages which he was allowed to push under her door. He was always waiting there long before the moment he was permitted to enter. Her illness and her helplessness made manifest what Howells has fittingly characterized as his “beautiful and tender loyalty to her, which was the most moving quality of his most faithful soul.”
THE SECOND RIVERDALE WINTER
Most of Mark Twain’s stories have been dramatized at one time or another, and with more or less success. He had two plays going that winter, one of them the little “Death Disk,” which—in story form had appeared a year before in Harper’s Magazine. It was put on at the Carnegie Lyceum with considerable effect, but it was not of sufficient importance to warrant a long continuance.
Another play of that year was a dramatization of Huckleberry Finn, by Lee Arthur. This was played with a good deal of success in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, the receipts ranging from three hundred to twenty-one hundred dollars per night, according to the weather and locality. Why the play was discontinued is not altogether apparent; certainly many a dramatic enterprise has gone further, faring worse.