The Boys' Life of Mark Twain eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 300 pages of information about The Boys' Life of Mark Twain.
“From my window I saw the hearse and the carriages wind along the road and gradually grow vague and spectral in the falling snow, and presently disappear.  Jean was gone out of my life, and would not come back any more.  The cousin she had played with when they were babies together—­he and her beloved old Katy—­were conducting her to her distant childhood home, where she will lie by her mother’s side once more, in the company of Susy and Langdon.”



Ten days later Mark Twain returned to Bermuda, accompanied only by a valet.  He had asked me if we would be willing to close our home for the winter and come to Stormfield, so that the place might be ready any time for his return.  We came, of course, for there was no thought other than for his comfort.  He did not go to a hotel in Bermuda, but to the home of Vice-Consul Allen, where he had visited before.  The Allens were devoted to him and gave him such care as no hotel could offer.

Bermuda agreed with Mark Twain, and for a time there he gained in strength and spirits and recovered much of his old manner.  He wrote me almost daily, generally with good reports of his health and doings, and with playful counsel and suggestions.  Then, by and by, he did not write with his own hand, but through his newly appointed “secretary,” Mr. Allen’s young daughter, Helen, of whom he was very fond.  The letters, however, were still gay.  Once he said: 

“While the matter is in my mind I will remark that if you ever send me another letter which is not paged at the top I will write you with my own hand, so that I may use in utter freedom and without embarrassment the kind of words which alone can describe such a criminal.”

He had made no mention so far of the pains in his breast, but near the end of March he wrote that he was coming home, if the breast pains did not “mend their ways pretty considerable.  I do not want to die here,” he said.  “I am growing more and more particular about the place.”  A week later brought another alarming letter, also one from Mr. Allen, who frankly stated that matters had become very serious indeed.  I went to New York and sailed the next morning, cabling the Gabrilowitsches to come without delay.

I sent no word to Bermuda that I was coming, and when I arrived he was not expecting me.

“Why,” he said, holding out his hand, “you did not tell us you were coming?”

“No,” I said, “it is rather sudden.  I didn’t quite like the sound of your last letters.”

“But those were not serious.  You shouldn’t have come on my account.”

I said then that I had come on my own account, that I had felt the need of recreation, and had decided to run down and come home with him.

“That’s—­very—­good,” he said, in his slow, gentle fashion.  “Wow I’m glad to see you.”

Project Gutenberg
The Boys' Life of Mark Twain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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