Various diversions were planned for Redding; among them was discussed a possible school of philosophy, such as Hawthorne and Emerson and Alcott had established at Concord.

He spoke quite freely of his English experiences, but usually of the more amusing phases. He almost never referred to the honors that had been paid to him, yet he must have thought of them sometimes, and cherished them, for it had been the greatest national tribute ever paid to a private citizen; he must have known that in his heart. He spoke amusingly of his visit to Marie Corelli, in Stratford, and of the Holy Grail incident, ending the latter by questioning--in words at least--all psychic manifestations. I said to him:

"But remember your own dream, Mr. Clemens, which presaged the death of your brother."

He answered: "I ask nobody to believe that it ever happened. To me it is true; but it has no logical right to be true, and I do not expect belief in it." Which I thought a peculiar point of view, but on the whole characteristic.

He was invited to be a special guest at the Jamestown Exposition on Fulton Day, in September, and Mr. Rogers lent him his yacht in which to make the trip. It was a break in the summer's monotonies, and the Jamestown honors must have reminded him of those in London. When he entered the auditorium where the services were to be held there was a demonstration which lasted more than five minutes. Every person in the hall rose and cheered, waving handkerchiefs and umbrellas. He made them a brief, amusing talk on Fulton and other matters, then introduced Admiral Harrington, who delivered a masterly address and was followed by Martin W. Littleton, the real orator of the day. Littleton acquitted himself so notably that Mark Twain conceived for him a deep admiration, and the two men quickly became friends. They saw each other often during the remainder of the Jamestown stay, and Clemens, learning that Littleton lived just across Ninth Street from him in New York, invited him to come over when he had an evening to spare and join the billiard games.

So it happened, somewhat later, when every one was back in town, Mr. and Mrs. Littleton frequently came over for billiards, and the games became three-handed with an audience--very pleasant games played in that way. Clemens sometimes set himself up as umpire, and became critic and gave advice, while Littleton and I played. He had a favorite shot that he frequently used himself and was always wanting us to try, which was to drive the ball to the cushion at the beginning of the shot.

He played it with a good deal of success, and achieved unexpected results with it. He was even inspired to write a poem on the subject.


When all your days are dark with doubt, And dying hope is at its worst; When all life's balls are scattered wide, With not a shot in sight, to left or right, Don't give it up; Advance your cue and shut your eyes, And take the cushion first.

The Harry Thaw trial was in progress just then, and Littleton was Thaw's chief attorney. It was most interesting to hear from him direct the day's proceedings and his views of the situation and of Thaw.

Littleton and billiards recall a curious thing which happened one afternoon. I had been absent the evening before, and Littleton had been over. It was after luncheon now, and Clemens and I began preparing for the customary games. We were playing then a game with four balls, two white and two red. I began by placing the red balls on the table, and then went around looking in the pockets for the two white cue-balls. When I had made the round of the table I had found but one white ball. I thought I must have overlooked the other, and made the round again. Then I said:

"There is one white ball missing."

Clemens, to satisfy himself, also made the round of the pockets, and said:

"It was here last night." He felt in the pockets of the little white- silk coat which he usually wore, thinking that he might unconsciously have placed it there at the end of the last game, but his coat pockets were empty.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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