It is the most remarkable thing I ever heard of.

This letter was written in July, and he states in it that he has turned out one hundred thousand words of a large manuscript. . It was a fantastic tale entitled "3,000 Years among the Microbes," a sort of scientific revel--or revelry--the autobiography of a microbe that had been once a man, and through a failure in a biological experiment transformed into a cholera germ when the experimenter was trying to turn him into a bird. His habitat was the person of a disreputable tramp named Blitzowski, a human continent of vast areas, with seething microbic nations and fantastic life problems. It was a satire, of course-- Gulliver's Lilliput outdone--a sort of scientific, socialistic, mathematical jamboree.

He tired of it before it reached completion, though not before it had attained the proportions of a book of size. As a whole it would hardly have added to his reputation, though it is not without fine and humorous passages, and certainly not without interest. Its chief mission was to divert him mentally that summer during, those days and nights when he would otherwise have been alone and brooding upon his loneliness.--[For extracts from "3,000 Years among the Microbes" see Appendix V, at the end of this work.]



By a Microbe

WITH NOTES added by the same Hand 7000 years later

Translated from the Original Microbic by

Mark Twain

His inability to reproduce faces in his mind's eye he mourned as an increasing calamity. Photographs were lifeless things, and when he tried to conjure up the faces of his dead they seemed to drift farther out of reach; but now and then kindly sleep brought to him something out of that treasure-house where all our realities are kept for us fresh and fair, perhaps for a day when we may claim them again. Once he wrote to Mrs. Crane:

SUSY DEAR,--I have had a lovely dream. Livy, dressed in black, was sitting up in my bed (here) at my right & looking as young & sweet as she used to when she was in health. She said, "What is the name of your sweet sister?" I said," Pamela." "Oh yes, that is it, I thought it was--(naming a name which has escaped me) won't you write it down for me?" I reached eagerly for a pen & pad, laid my hands upon both, then said to myself, "It is only a dream," and turned back sorrowfully & there she was still. The conviction flamed through me that our lamented disaster was a dream, & this a reality. I said, "How blessed it is, how blessed it is, it was all a dream, only a dream!" She only smiled and did not ask what dream I meant, which surprised me. She leaned her head against mine & kept saying, "I was perfectly sure it was a dream; I never would have believed it wasn't." I think she said several things, but if so they are gone from my memory. I woke & did not know I had been dreaming. She was gone. I wondered how she could go without my knowing it, but I did not spend any thought upon that. I was too busy thinking of how vivid & real was the dream that we had lost her, & how unspeakably blessed it was to find that it was not true & that she was still ours & with us.

He had the orchestrelle moved to Dublin, although it was no small undertaking, for he needed the solace of its harmonies; and so the days passed along, and he grew stronger in body and courage as his grief drifted farther behind him. Sometimes, in the afternoon or in the evening; when the neighbors had come in for a little while, he would walk up and down and talk in his old, marvelous way of all the things on land and sea, of the past and of the future, "Of Providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate," of the friends he had known and of the things he had done, of the sorrow and absurdities of the world.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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