He said: "I'll bet Littleton carried that ball home with him."

Then I suggested that near the end of the game it might have jumped off the table, and I looked carefully under the furniture and in the various corners, but without success. There was another set of balls, and out of it I selected a white one for our play, and the game began. It went along in the usual way, the balls constantly falling into the pockets, and as constantly being replaced on the table. This had continued for perhaps half an hour, there being no pocket that had not been frequently occupied and emptied during that time; but then it happened that Clemens reached into the middle pocket, and taking out a white ball laid it in place, whereupon we made the discovery that three white balls lay upon the table. The one just taken from the pocket was the missing ball. We looked at each other, both at first too astonished to say anything at all. No one had been in the room since we began to play, and at no time during the play had there been more than two white balls in evidence, though the pockets had been emptied at the end of each shot. The pocket from which the missing ball had been taken had been filled and emptied again and again. Then Clemens said:

"We must be dreaming."

We stopped the game for a while to discuss it, but we could devise no material explanation. I suggested the kobold--that mischievous invisible which is supposed to play pranks by carrying off such things as pencils, letters, and the like, and suddenly restoring them almost before one's eyes. Clemens, who, in spite of his material logic, was always a mystic at heart, said:

"But that, so far as I know, has never happened to more than one person at a time, and has been explained by a sort of temporary mental blindness. This thing has happened to two of us, and there can be no question as to the positive absence of the object."

"How about dematerialization?"

"Yes, if one of us were a medium that might be considered an explanation."

He went on to recall that Sir Alfred Russel Wallace had written of such things, and cited instances which Wallace had recorded. In the end he said:

"Well, it happened, that's all we can say, and nobody can ever convince me that it didn't."

We went on playing, and the ball remained solid and substantial ever after, so far as I know.

I am reminded of two more or less related incidents of this period. Clemens was, one morning, dictating something about his Christian Union article concerning Mrs. Clemens's government of children, published in 1885. I had discovered no copy of it among the materials, and he was wishing very much that he could see one. Somewhat later, as he was walking down Fifth Avenue, the thought of this article and his desire for it suddenly entered his mind. Reaching the corner of Forty-second Street, he stopped a moment to let a jam of vehicles pass. As he did so a stranger crossed the street, noticed him, and came dodging his way through the blockade and thrust some clippings into his hand.

"Mr. Clemens," he said, "you don't know me, but here is something you may wish to have. I have been saving them for more than twenty years, and this morning it occurred to me to send them to you. I was going to mail them from my office, but now I will give them to you," and with a word or two he disappeared. The clippings were from the Christian Union of 1885, and were the much-desired article. Clemens regarded it as a remarkable case of mental telegraphy.

"Or, if it wasn't that," he said, "it was a most remarkable coincidence."

The other circumstance has been thought amusing. I had gone to Redding for a few days, and while there, one afternoon about five o'clock, fell over a coal-scuttle and scarified myself a good deal between the ankle and the knee. I mention the hour because it seems important. Next morning I received a note, prompted by Mr. Clemens, in which he said:

Tell Paine I am sorry he fell and skinned his shin at five o'clock yesterday afternoon.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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