Said Hammond in his speech: “The result of this was that the interview was reported literally and a leader appeared in the next morning’s issue protesting against such lenience. The privations, already severe enough, were considerably augmented by that remark, and it required some three or four days’ search on the part of some of our friends who were already outside of jail to get hold of Mark Twain and have him go and explain to Kruger that it was all a joke.”
Clemens made as good a plea to “Oom Paul” as he could, and in some degree may have been responsible for the improved treatment and the shortened terms of the unlucky reformers.
They did not hurry away from South Africa. Clemens gave many readings and paid a visit to the Kimberley mines. His note-book recalls how poor Riley twenty-five years before had made his fatal journey.
It was the 14th of July, 1896, a year to a day since they left Elmira, that they sailed by the steamer Norman for England, arriving at Southampton the 31st. It was from Southampton that they had sailed for America fourteen months before. They had completed the circuit of the globe.
THE PASSING OF SUSY
It had been arranged that Katie Leary should bring Jean and Susy to England. It was expected that they would arrive soon, not later than the 12th, by which time the others would be established. The travelers proceeded immediately to London and engaged for the summer a house in Guildford, modest quarters, for they were still economizing, though Mark Twain had reason to hope that with the money already earned and the profits of the book he would write of his travels he could pay himself free. Altogether, the trip had been prosperous. Now that it was behind him, his health and spirits had improved. The outlook was brighter.
August 12th came, but it did not bring Katie and the children. A letter came instead. Clemens long afterward wrote:
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 earlier 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.