It was the eighth of June when we set out on this journey,--[The reader may remember that it was the 8th of June, 1867, that Mark Twain sailed for the Holy Land. It was the 8th of June, 1907, that he sailed for England to take his Oxford degree. This 8th of June, 1909, was at least slightly connected with both events, for he was keeping an engagement made with Francesca in London, and my notes show that he discussed, on the way to the station, some incidents of his Holy Land trip and his attitude at that time toward Christian traditions. As he rarely mentioned the Quaker City trip, the coincidence seems rather curious. It is most unlikely that Clemens himself in any way associated the two dates.]--but the day was rather bleak and there was a chilly rain. Clemens had a number of errands to do in New York, and we drove from one place to another, attending to them. Finally, in the afternoon, the rain ceased, and while I was arranging some matters for him he concluded to take a ride on the top of a Fifth Avenue stage. It was fine and pleasant when he started, but the weather thickened again and when he returned he complained that he had felt a little chilly. He seemed in fine condition, however, next morning and was in good spirits all the way to Baltimore. Chauncey Depew was on the train and they met in the dining- car--the last time, I think, they ever saw each other. He was tired when we reached the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore and did not wish to see the newspaper men. It happened that the reporters had a special purpose in coming just at this time, for it had suddenly developed that in his Shakespeare book, through an oversight, due to haste in publication, full credit had not been given to Mr. Greenwood for the long extracts quoted from his work. The sensational head-lines in a morning paper, "Is Mark Twain a Plagiarist?" had naturally prompted the newspaper men to see what he would have to say on the subject. It was a simple matter, easily explained, and Clemens himself was less disturbed about it than anybody. He felt no sense of guilt, he said; and the fact that he had been stealing and caught at it would give Mr. Greenwood's book far more advertising than if he had given him the full credit which he had intended. He found a good deal of amusement in the situation, his only worry being that Clara and Jean would see the paper and be troubled.

He had taken off his clothes and was lying down, reading. After a little he got up and began walking up and down the room. Presently he stopped and, facing me, placed his hand upon his breast. He said:

"I think I must have caught a little cold yesterday on that Fifth Avenue stage. I have a curious pain in my breast."

I suggested that he lie down again and I would fill his hot-water bag. The pain passed away presently, and he seemed to be dozing. I stepped into the next room and busied myself with some writing. By and by I heard him stirring again and went in where he was. He was walking up and down and began talking of some recent ethnological discoveries-- something relating to prehistoric man.

"What a fine boy that prehistoric man must have been," he said--" the very first one! Think of the gaudy style of him, how he must have lorded it over those other creatures, walking on his hind legs, waving his arms, practising and getting ready for the pulpit."

The fancy amused him, but presently he paused in his walk and again put his hand on his breast, saying:

"That pain has come back. It's a curious, sickening, deadly kind of pain. I never had anything just like it."

It seemed to me that his face had become rather gray. I said:

"Where is it, exactly, Mr. Clemens?"

He laid his hand in the center of his breast and said:

"It is here, and it is very peculiar indeed."

Remotely in my mind occurred the thought that he had located his heart, and the "peculiar deadly pain" he had mentioned seemed ominous. I suggested, however, that it was probably some rheumatic touch, and this opinion seemed warranted when, a few moments later, the hot water had again relieved it.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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