It would take more than the Redding air to make me keep still, and I like to instruct people. It's noble to be good, and it's nobler to teach others to be good, and less trouble. I am glad to help this library. We get our morals from books. I didn't get mine from books, but I know that morals do come from books-- theoretically at least. Mr. Beard or Mr. Adams will give some land, and by and by we are going to have a building of our own.

This statement was news to both Mr. Beard and Mr. Adams and an inspiration of the moment; but Mr. Theodore Adams, who owned a most desirable site, did in fact promptly resolve to donate it for library purposes. Clemens continued:

I am going to help build that library with contributions from my visitors. Every male guest who comes to my house will have to contribute a dollar or go away without his baggage.-- [A characteristic notice to guests requiring them to contribute a dollar to the Library Building Fund was later placed on the billiard-room mantel at Stormfield with good results.]--If those burglars that broke into my house recently had done that they would have been happier now, or if they'd have broken into this library they would have read a few books and led a better life. Now they are in jail, and if they keep on they will go to Congress. When a person starts downhill you can never tell where he's going to stop. I am sorry for those burglars. They got nothing that they wanted and scared away most of my servants. Now we are putting in a burglar-alarm instead of a dog. Some advised the dog, but it costs even more to entertain a dog than a burglar. I am having the ground electrified, so that for a mile around any one who puts his foot across the line sets off an alarm that will be heard in Europe. Now I will introduce the real president to you, a man whom you know already--Dr. Smith.

So a new and important benefit was conferred upon the community, and there was a feeling that Redding, besides having a literary colony, was to be literary in fact.

It might have been mentioned earlier that Redding already had literary associations when Mark Twain arrived. As far back as Revolutionary days Joel Barlow, a poet of distinction, and once Minister to France, had been a resident of Redding, and there were still Barlow descendants in the township.

William Edgar Grumman, the librarian, had written the story of Redding's share in the Revolutionary War--no small share, for Gen. Israel Putnam's army had been quartered there during at least one long, trying winter. Charles Burr Todd, of one of the oldest Redding families, himself--still a resident, was also the author of a Redding history.

Of literary folk not native to Redding, Dora Reed Goodale and her sister Elaine, the wife of Dr. Charles A. Eastman, had, long been residents of Redding Center; Jeanette L. Gilder and Ida M. Tarbell had summer homes on Redding Ridge; Dan Beard, as already mentioned, owned a place near the banks of the Saugatuck, while Kate V. St. Maur, also two of Nathaniel Hawthorne's granddaughters had recently located adjoining the Stormfield lands. By which it will be seen that Redding was in no way unsuitable as a home for Mark Twain.



Mark Twain was the receiver of two notable presents that year. The first of these, a mantel from Hawaii, presented to him by the Hawaiian Promotion Committee, was set in place in the billiard-room on the morning of his seventy-third birthday. This committee had written, proposing to build for his new home either a mantel or a chair, as he might prefer, the same to be carved from the native woods. Clemens decided on a billiard-room mantel, and John Howells forwarded the proper measurements. So, in due time, the mantel arrived, a beautiful piece of work and in fine condition, with the Hawaiian word, "Aloha," one of the sweetest forms of greeting in any tongue, carved as its central ornament.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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