Her illness and her helplessness made manifest what Howells has fittingly characterized as his "beautiful and tender loyalty to her, which was the most moving quality of his most faithful soul."
THE SECOND RIVERDALE WINTER
Most of Mark Twain's stories have been dramatized at one time or another, and with more or less success. He had two plays going that winter, one of them the little "Death Disk," which--in story form had appeared a year before in Harper's Magazine. It was put on at the Carnegie Lyceum with considerable effect, but it was not of sufficient importance to warrant a long continuance.
Another play of that year was a dramatization of Huckleberry Finn, by Lee Arthur. This was played with a good deal of success in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, the receipts ranging from three hundred to twenty-one hundred dollars per night, according to the weather and locality. Why the play was discontinued is not altogether apparent; certainly many a dramatic enterprise has gone further, faring worse.
Huck in book form also had been having adventures a little earlier, in being tabooed on account of his morals by certain librarians of Denver and Omaha. It was years since Huck had been in trouble of that sort, and he acquired a good deal of newspaper notoriety in consequence.
Certain entries in Mark Twain's note-book reveal somewhat of his life and thought at this period. We find such entries as this:
Saturday, January 3, 1903. The offspring of riches: Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny.
Sunday, January 4, 1903. The offspring of poverty: Greed, sordidness, envy, hate, malice, cruelty, meanness, lying, shirking, cheating, stealing, murder.
Monday, February 2, 1903. 33d wedding anniversary. I was allowed to see Livy 5 minutes this morning in honor of the day. She makes but little progress toward recovery, still there is certainly some, we are sure.
Sunday, March 1, 1903. We may not doubt that society in heaven consists mainly of undesirable persons.
Thursday, March 19, 1903. Susy's birthday. She would be 31 now.
The family illnesses, which presently included an allotment for himself, his old bronchitis, made him rage more than ever at the imperfections of the species which could be subject to such a variety of ills. Once he wrote:
Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired.
Adam, man's benefactor--he gave him all that he has ever received that was worth having--death.
The Riverdale home was in reality little more than a hospital that spring. Jean had scarcely recovered her physical strength when she was attacked by measles, and Clara also fell a victim to the infection. Fortunately Mrs. Clemens's health had somewhat improved.
It was during this period that Clemens formulated his eclectic therapeutic doctrine. Writing to Twichell April 4, 1903, he said:
Livy does make a little progress these past 3 or 4 days, progress which is visible to even the untrained eye. The physicians are doing good work for her, but my notion is, that no art of healing is the best for all ills. I should distribute the ailments around: surgery cases to the surgeon; lupus to the actinic-ray specialist; nervous prostration to the Christian Scientist; most ills to the allopath & the homeopath; & (in my own particular case) rheumatism, gout, & bronchial attack to the osteopathist.
He had plenty of time to think and to read during those weeks of confinement, and to rage, and to write when he felt the need of that expression, though he appears to have completed not much for print beyond his reply to Mrs. Eddy, already mentioned, and his burlesque, "Instructions in Art," with pictures by himself, published in the Metropolitan for April and May.
Howells called his attention to some military outrages in the Philippines, citing a case where a certain lieutenant had tortured one of his men, a mild offender, to death out of pure deviltry, and had been tried but not punished for his fiendish crime.--[The torture to death of Private Edward C.