Howells in his book mentions this evening, which he says “was made memorable to me by the kind, clear, judicial sense with which he explained and justified the labor-unions as the sole present help of the weak against the strong.”
They discussed dreams, and then in a little while Howells rose to go. I went also, and as we walked to his near-by apartment he spoke of Mark Twain’s supremacy. He said:
“I turn to his books for cheer when I am down-hearted. There was never anybody like him; there never will be.”
Clemens sailed next morning. They did not meet again.
LETTERS FROM BERMUDA
Stormfield was solemn and empty without Mark Twain; but he wrote by every steamer, at first with his own hand, and during the last week by the hand of one of his enlisted secretaries—some member of the Allen family usually Helen. His letters were full of brightness and pleasantry —always concerned more or less with business matters, though he was no longer disturbed by them, for Bermuda was too peaceful and too far away, and, besides, he had faith in the Mark Twain Company’s ability to look after his affairs. I cannot do better, I believe, than to offer some portions of these letters here.
He reached Bermuda on the 7th of January, 1910, and on the 12th he wrote:
Again I am living the ideal life. There is nothing to mar it but the bloody-minded bandit Arthur,—[A small playmate of Helen’s of whom Clemens pretended to be fiercely jealous. Once he wrote a memorandum to Helen: “Let Arthur read this book. There is a page in it that is poisoned."]—who still fetches and carries Helen. Presently he will be found drowned. Claude comes to Bay House twice a day to see if I need any service. He is invaluable. There was a military lecture last night at the Officers’ Mess Prospect; as the lecturer honored me with a special urgent invitation, and said he wanted to lecture to me particularly, I naturally took Helen and her mother into the private carriage and went.
As soon as we landed at the door with the crowd the Governor came to me& was very cordial. I “met up” with that charming Colonel Chapman [we had known him on the previous visit] and other officers of the regiment & had a good time.
A few days later he wrote:
Thanks for your letter & for
its contenting news of the situation in
that foreign & far-off & vaguely remembered country where you &
Loomis & Lark and other beloved friends are.
I had a letter from Clara this morning. She is solicitous & wants me well & watchfully taken care of. My, my, she ought to see Helen & her parents & Claude administer that trust. Also she says, “I hope to hear from you or Mr. Paine very soon.”
I am writing her & I know you will respond to your part of her prayer. She is pretty desolate now after Jean’s emancipation—the only kindness that God ever did that poor, unoffending child in all her hard life.
Send Clara a copy of Howells’s gorgeous letter.