Howells tells us that Clemens gave his strictest personal attention to the arrangement of these details, and that they absorbed him.
There was no particular of the business which he did not scrutinize and master . . . . With the inertness that grows upon an aging man he had been used to delegate more and more things, but of that thing I perceived that he would not delegate the least detail.
They made the journey on the 16th, in nine and a half hours. With the exception of the natural weariness due to such a trip, the invalid was apparently no worse on their arrival. The stout English butler carried her to her room. It would be many months before she would leave it again. In one of his memoranda Clemens wrote:
Our dear prisoner is where she is through overwork-day & night devotion to the children & me. We did not know how to value it. We know now.
And in a notation, on a letter praising him for what he had done for the world's enjoyment, and for his splendid triumph over debt, he said:
Livy never gets her share of these applauses, but it is because the people do not know. Yet she is entitled to the lion's share.
He wrote Twichell at the end of October:
Livy drags along drearily. It must be hard times for that turbulent spirit. It will be a long time before she is on her feet again. It is a most pathetic case. I wish I could transfer it to myself. Between ripping & raging & smoking & reading I could get a good deal of holiday out of it. Clara runs the house smoothly & capitally.
Heavy as was the cloud of illness, he could not help pestering Twichell a little about a recent mishap--a sprained shoulder:
I should like to know how & where it happened. In the pulpit, as like as not, otherwise you would not be taking so much pains to conceal it. This is not a malicious suggestion, & not a personally invented one: you told me yourself once that you threw artificial power & impressiveness in your sermons where needed by "banging the Bible"--(your own words). You have reached a time of life when it is not wise to take these risks. You would better jump around. We all have to change our methods as the infirmities of age creep upon us. Jumping around will be impressive now, whereas before you were gray it would have excited remark.
Mrs. Clemens seemed to improve as the weeks passed, and they had great hopes of her complete recovery. Clemens took up some work--a new Huck Finn story, inspired by his trip to Hannibal. It was to have two parts-- Huck and Tom in youth, and then their return in old age. He did some chapters quite in the old vein, and wrote to Howells of his plan. Howells answered:
It is a great lay-out: what I shall enjoy most will be the return of the old fellows to the scene and their tall lying. There is a matchless chance there. I suppose you will put in plenty of pegs in this prefatory part.
But the new story did not reach completion. Huck and Tom would not come back, even to go over the old scenes.
THE SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY DINNER
It was on the evening of the 27th of November, 1902, I at the Metropolitan Club, New York City, that Col. George Harvey, president of the Harper Company, gave Mark Twain a dinner in celebration of his sixty- seventh birthday. The actual date fell three days later; but that would bring it on Sunday, and to give it on Saturday night would be more than likely to carry it into Sabbath morning, and so the 27th was chosen. Colonel Harvey himself presided, and Howells led the speakers with a poem, "A Double-Barreled Sonnet to Mark Twain," which closed:
Still, to have everything beyond cavil right, We will dine with you here till Sunday night.
Thomas Brackett Reed followed with what proved to be the last speech he would ever make, as it was also one of his best. All the speakers did well that night, and they included some of the country's foremost in oratory: Chauncey Depew, St.