Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2: 1907-1910 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2.
background.  At the entrance his domestic staff waited to greet him, and then he stepped across the threshold into the wide hall and stood in his own home for the first time in seventeen years.  It was an anxious moment, and no one spoke immediately.  But presently his eye had taken in the satisfying harmony of the place and followed on through the wide doors that led to the dining-room—­on through the open French windows to an enchanting vista of tree-tops and distant farmside and blue hills.  He said, very gently: 

“How beautiful it all is?  I did not think it could be as beautiful as this.”

He was taken through the rooms; the great living-room at one end of the hall—­a room on the walls of which there was no picture, but only color-harmony—­and at the other end of the hall, the splendid, glowing billiard-room, where hung all the pictures in which he took delight.  Then to the floor above, with its spacious apartments and a continuation of color—­welcome and concord, the windows open to the pleasant evening hills.  When he had seen it all—­the natural Italian garden below the terraces; the loggia, whose arches framed landscape vistas and formed a rare picture-gallery; when he had completed the round and stood in the billiard-room—­his especial domain—­once more he said, as a final verdict: 

“It is a perfect house—­perfect, so far as I can see, in every detail.  It might have been here always.”

He was at home there from that moment—­absolutely, marvelously at home, for he fitted the setting perfectly, and there was not a hitch or flaw in his adaptation.  To see him over the billiard-table, five minutes later, one could easily fancy that Mark Twain, as well as the house, had “been there always.”  Only the presence of his daughters was needed now to complete his satisfaction in everything.

There were guests that first evening—­a small home dinner-party—­and so perfect were the appointments and service, that one not knowing would scarcely have imagined it to be the first dinner served in that lovely room.  A little later; at the foot of the garden of bay and cedar, neighbors, inspired by Dan Beard, who had recently located near by, set off some fireworks.  Clemens stepped out on the terrace and saw rockets climbing through the summer sky to announce his arrival.

“I wonder why they all go to so much trouble for me,” he said, softly.  “I never go to any trouble for anybody”—­a statement which all who heard it, and all his multitude of readers in every land, stood ready to deny.

That first evening closed with billiards—­boisterous, triumphant billiards—­and when with midnight the day ended and the cues were set in the rack, there was none to say that Mark Twain’s first day in his new home had not been a happy one.



I went up next afternoon, for I knew how he dreaded loneliness.  We played billiards for a time, then set out for a walk, following the long drive to the leafy lane that led to my own property.  Presently he said: 

Project Gutenberg
Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 2: 1907-1910 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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