It was far in the night; but neighbor H. A. Lounsbury and Deputy-Sheriff Banks were notified, and by morning the thieves were captured, though only after a pretty desperate encounter, during which the officer received a bullet-wound. Lounsbury and a Stormfield guest had tracked them in the dark with a lantern to Bethel, a distance of some seven miles. The thieves, also their pursuers, had boarded the train there. Sheriff Banks was waiting at the West Redding station when the train came down, and there the capture was made. It was a remarkably prompt and shrewd piece of work. Clemens gave credit for its success chiefly to Lounsbury, whose talents in many fields always impressed him. The thieves were taken to the Redding Town Hall for a preliminary healing. Subsequently they received severe sentences.

Clemens tacked this notice on his front door:



There is nothing but plated ware in this house now and henceforth.

You will find it in that brass thing in the dining-room over in the corner by the basket of kittens.

If you want the basket put the kittens in the brass thing. Do not make a noise--it disturbs the family.

You will find rubbers in the front hall by that thing which has the umbrellas in it, chiffonnier, I think they call it, or pergola, or something like that.

Please close the door when you go away!

Very truly yours, S. L. CLEMENS.



Now came the tranquil days of the Connecticut autumn. The change of the landscape colors was a constant delight to Mark Twain. There were several large windows in his room, and he called them his picture- gallery. The window-panes were small, and each formed a separate picture of its own that was changing almost hourly. The red tones that began to run through the foliage; the red berry bushes; the fading grass, and the little touches of sparkling frost that came every now and then at early morning; the background of distant blue hills and changing skies-these things gave his gallery a multitude of variation that no art-museums could furnish. He loved it all, and he loved to walk out in it, pacing up and down the terrace, or the long path that led to the pergola at the foot of a natural garden. If a friend came, he was willing to walk much farther; and we often descended the hill in one direction or another, though usually going toward the "gorge," a romantic spot where a clear brook found its way through a deep and rather dangerous-looking chasm. Once he was persuaded to descend into this fairy-like place, for it was well worth exploring; but his footing was no longer sure and he did not go far.

He liked better to sit on the grass-grown, rocky arch above and look down into it, and let his talk follow his mood. He liked to contemplate the geology of his surroundings, the record of the ageless periods of construction required to build the world. The marvels of science always appealed to him. He reveled in the thought of the almost limitless stretches of time, the millions upon millions of years that had been required for this stratum and that--he liked to amaze himself with the sounding figures. I remember him expressing a wish to see the Grand Canon of Arizona, where, on perpendicular walls six thousand feet high, the long story of geological creation is written. I had stopped there during my Western trip of the previous year, and I told him something of its wonders. I urged him to see them for himself, offering to go with him. He said:

"I should enjoy that; but the railroad journey is so far and I should have no peace. The papers would get hold of it, and I would have to make speeches and be interviewed, and I never want to do any of those things again."

I suggested that the railroads would probably be glad to place a private car at his service, so that he might travel in comfort; but he shook his head.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book