But may God bless Memphis, the noblest city on the face of the earth. She has done her duty by these poor afflicted creatures--especially Henry, for he has had five--aye, ten, fifteen, twenty times the care and attention that any one else has had. Dr. Peyton, the best physician in Memphis (he is exactly like the portraits of Webster), sat by him for 36 hours. There are 32 scalded men in that room, and you would know Dr. Peyton better than I can describe him if you could follow him around and hear each man murmur as he passes, "May the God of Heaven bless you, Doctor!" The ladies have done well, too. Our second mate, a handsome, noble-hearted young fellow, will die. Yesterday a beautiful girl of 15 stooped timidly down by his side and handed him a pretty bouquet. The poor suffering boy's eyes kindled, his lips quivered out a gentle "God bless you, Miss," and he burst into tears. He made them write her name on a card for him, that he might not forget it.

Pray for me, Mollie, and pray for my poor sinless brother. Your unfortunate brother,


P. S.--I got here two days after Henry.

But, alas, this was not all, nor the worst. It would seem that Samuel Clemens's cup of remorse must be always overfull. The final draft that would embitter his years was added the sixth night after the accident-- the night that Henry died. He could never bring himself to write it. He was never known to speak of it but twice.

Henry had rallied soon after the foregoing letter had been mailed, and improved slowly that day and the next: Dr. Peyton came around about eleven o'clock on the sixth night and made careful examination. He said:

"I believe he is out of danger and will get well. He is likely to be restless during the night; the groans and fretting of the others will disturb him. If he cannot rest without it, tell the physician in charge to give him one-eighth of a grain of morphine."

The boy did wake during the night, and was disturbed by the complaining of the other sufferers. His brother told the young medical student in charge what the doctor had said about the morphine. But morphine was a new drug then; the student hesitated, saying:

"I have no way of measuring. I don't know how much an eighth of a grain would be."

Henry grew rapidly worse--more and more restless. His brother was half beside himself with the torture of it. He went to the medical student.

"If you have studied drugs," he said, "you ought to be able to judge an eighth of a grain of morphine."

The young man's courage was over-swayed. He yielded and ladled out in the old-fashioned way, on the point of a knife-blade, what he believed to be the right amount. Henry immediately sank into a heavy sleep. He died before morning. His chance of life had been infinitesimal, and his death was not necessarily due to the drug, but Samuel Clemens, unsparing in his self-blame, all his days carried the burden of it.

He saw the boy taken to the dead room, then the long strain of grief, the days and nights without sleep, the ghastly realization of the end overcame him. A citizen of Memphis took him away in a kind of daze and gave him a bed in his house, where he fell into a stupor of fatigue and surrender. It was many hours before he woke; when he did, at last, he dressed and went to where Henry lay. The coffin provided for the dead were of unpainted wood, but the youth and striking face of Henry Clemens had aroused a special interest. The ladies of Memphis had made up a fund of sixty dollars and bought for him a metallic case. Samuel Clemens entering, saw his brother lying exactly as he had seen him in his dream, lacking only the bouquet of white flowers with its crimson center--a detail made complete while he stood there, for at that moment an elderly lady came in with a large white bouquet, and in the center of it was a single red rose.

Orion arrived from Tennessee, and the brothers took their sorrowful burden to St.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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