Also he read a book by William Allen White, 'In Our Town', a collection of tales that he found most admirable. I think he took the trouble to send White a personal, hand-written letter concerning them, although, with the habit of dictation, he had begun, as he said, to "loathe the use of the pen."
There were usually some sort of mild social affairs going on in the neighborhood, luncheons and afternoon gatherings like those of the previous year, though he seems to have attended fewer of them, for he did not often leave the house. Once, at least, he assisted in an afternoon entertainment at the Dublin Club, where he introduced his invention of the art of making an impromptu speech, and was assisted in its demonstration by George de Forest Brush and Joseph Lindon Smith, to the very great amusement of a crowd of summer visitors. The "art" consisted mainly of having on hand a few reliable anecdotes and a set formula which would lead directly to them from any given subject.
Twice or more he collected the children of the neighborhood for charades and rehearsed them, and took part in the performance, as in the Hartford days. Sometimes he drove out or took an extended walk. But these things were seldom.
Now and then during the summer he made a trip to New York of a semi- business nature, usually going by the way of Fairhaven, where he would visit for a few days, journeying the rest of the way in Mr. Rogers's yacht. Once they made a cruise of considerable length to Bar Harbor and elsewhere. Here is an amusing letter which he wrote to Mrs. Rogers after such a visit:
DEAR MRS. ROGERS,--In packing my things in your house yesterday morning I inadvertently put in some articles that was laying around, I thinking about theology & not noticing, the way this family does in similar circumstances like these. Two books, Mr. Rogers' brown slippers, & a ham. I thought it was ourn, it looks like one we used to have. I am very sorry it happened, but it sha'n't occur again & don't you worry. He will temper the wind to the shorn lamb & I will send some of the things back anyway if there is some that won't keep.
In time Mark Twain became very lonely in Dublin. After the brilliant winter the contrast was too great. He was not yet ready for exile. In one of his dictations he said:
The skies are enchantingly blue. The world is a dazzle of sunshine. Monadnock is closer to us than usual by several hundred yards. The vast extent of spreading valley is intensely green--the lakes as intensely blue. And there is a new horizon, a remoter one than we have known before, for beyond the mighty half-circle of hazy mountains that form the usual frame of the picture rise certain shadowy great domes that are unfamiliar to our eyes . . . .
But there is a defect--only one, but it is a defect which almost entitles it to be spelled with a capital D. This is the defect of loneliness. We have not a single neighbor who is a neighbor. Nobody lives within two miles of us except Franklin MacVeagh, and he is the farthest off of any, because he is in Europe . . . .
I feel for Adam and Eve now, for I know how it was with them. I am existing, broken-hearted, in a Garden of Eden.... The Garden of Eden I now know was an unendurable solitude. I know that the advent of the serpent was a welcome change--anything for society . . . .
I never rose to the full appreciation of the utter solitude of this place until a symbol of it--a compact and visible allegory of it-- furnished me the lacking lift three days ago. I was standing alone on this veranda, in the late afternoon, mourning over the stillness, the far-spreading, beautiful desolation, and the absence of visible life, when a couple of shapely and graceful deer came sauntering across the grounds and stopped, and at their leisure impudently looked me over, as if they had an idea of buying me as bric-a-brac. Then they seemed to conclude that they could do better for less money elsewhere, and they sauntered indolently away and disappeared among the trees.