We have not seen it for thirteen years. Katie Leary, our old housekeeper, who has been in our service more than twenty-four years, cried when she told me about it to-day. She said, "I had forgotten it was so beautiful, and it brought Mrs. Clemens right back to me--in that old time when she was so young and lovely."
Clara Clemens had not recovered from the strain of her mother's long illness and the shock of her death, and she was ordered into retirement with the care of a trained nurse. The life at 21 Fifth Avenue, therefore, began with only two remaining members of the broken family-- Clemens and Jean.
Clemens had undertaken to divert himself with work at Tyringham, though without much success. He was not well; he was restless and disturbed; his heart bleak with a great loneliness. He prepared an article on Copyright for the 'North American Review',--[Published Jan., 7905. A dialogue presentation of copyright conditions, addressed to Thorwald Stolberg, Register of Copyrights, Washington, D. C. One of the best of Mark Twain's papers on the subject.]--and he began, or at least contemplated, that beautiful fancy, 'Eve's Diary', which in the widest and most reverential sense, from the first word to the last, conveys his love, his worship, and his tenderness for the one he had laid away. Adam's single comment at the end, "Wheresoever she was, there was Eden," was his own comment, and is perhaps the most tenderly beautiful line he ever wrote. These two books, Adam's Diary and Eve's--amusing and sometimes absurd as they are, and so far removed from the literal--are as autobiographic as anything he has done, and one of them as lovely in its truth. Like the first Maker of men, Mark Twain created Adam in his own image; and his rare Eve is no less the companion with whom, half a lifetime before, he had begun the marriage journey. Only here the likeness ceases. No Serpent ever entered their Eden. And they never left it; it traveled with them so long as they remained together.
In the Christmas Harper for 1904 was published "Saint Joan of Arc"--the same being the Joan introduction prepared in London five years before. Joan's proposed beatification had stirred a new interest in the martyred girl, and this most beautiful article became a sort of key-note of the public heart. Those who read it were likely to go back and read the Recollections, and a new appreciation grew for that masterpiece. In his later and wider acceptance by his own land, and by the world at large, the book came to be regarded with a fresh understanding. Letters came from scores of readers, as if it were a newly issued volume. A distinguished educator wrote:
I would rather have written your history of Joan of Arc than any other piece of literature in any language.
And this sentiment grew. The demand for the book increased, and has continued to increase, steadily and rapidly. In the long and last analysis the good must prevail. A day will come when there will be as many readers of Joan as of any other of Mark Twain's works.
[The growing appreciation of Joan is shown by the report of sales for the three years following 1904. The sales for that year in America were 1,726; for 1905, 2,445 for 1906, 5,381; for 1907, 6,574. At this point it passed Pudd'nhead Wilson, the Yankee, The Gilded Age, Life on the Mississippi, overtook the Tramp Abroad, and more than doubled The American Claimant. Only The Innocents Abroad, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, and Roughing It still ranged ahead of it, in the order named.]
LIFE AT 21 FIFTH AVENUE
The house at 21 Fifth Avenue, built by the architect who had designed Grace Church, had a distinctly ecclesiastical suggestion about its windows, and was of fine and stately proportions within. It was a proper residence for a venerable author and a sage, and with the handsome Hartford furnishings distributed through it, made a distinctly suitable setting for Mark Twain. But it was lonely for him. It lacked soul.