me add to this section. Submit your ideas or articles to firstname.lastname@example.org
For the latest
updates on our Twain 2010 projects, follow
me on Twitter.
a PowerPoint Presentation of Twain's
Time in Redding
the most famous person to have lived in Redding, only lived
in Redding for a year and six months. Regardless of the amount
of time he spent here, Redding, Connecticut loves
Mark Twain and reading through his life and works, there really
is no reason not to.
Twain in Redding CT Timeline
June 18, 1908:
Arrives in Redding
Twain’s nephew drowns in NJ, he travels to NYC for funeral
& retires from NYC for good.
1908: Burglars break
in to house.
The Burglary at Stormfield, September 18th, 1908.
This is quite an interesting story which is followed by
the burglar's own account.
Twain requires every male guest to leave $1 for library.
Daughter Jean arrives in Redding. (Lyon & Ashcroft
May 1909: Close
friend Henry Rogers dies.
Experiences heart pain & remains in bed most of June &
Paine moves into Stormfield to aid Twain.
1909: 500 guests attend benefit for library fund.
1909: Clara’s wedding celebrated at Stormfield.
1909: Leaves for a month in “Bermooda”. Doctor’s orders.
1909: Twain returns to Redding.
1909: Daughter Jean dies while taking a bath. 40 acre
parcel of land Jean had called the Italian Farm sold to
build a Jean Clemens Wing on the Mark Twain Library.
He returns to Bermuda.
April 14, 1910:
Twain returns to Redding in very poor shape.
- April 21, 1910:
Twain woke suddenly, took Clara’s hand and said: “Goodbye
dear, if we meet....”.
of Twain in Redding shot by Thomas Edison (1909)
following information is from Albert Bigelow Paine's Biography
of Mark Twain and Mark Twain's Speeches (New York: Harper
and Brothers, 1910) describes his times in Redding, Connecticut
addition to the Paine information there are two more pages
of Twain in Redding, CT.
available: New York Times Articles about Mark
Twain in Redding, CT. Very interesting and informative!
This page includes dates and articles on just about everything
that went on at Twain's Redding Connecticut home.
purchase of Stormfield
His final return to Stormfield
"What Is Man?" and the Autobiography Chapter
248 of Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography (New
York: Harper & Brothers, 1912), 1321-1323.
Harvey came to Dublin, NH that summer and persuaded Clemens
to let him print some selections from the dictations in the
new volume of the North American Review, which he proposed
to issue fortnightly. The matter was discussed a good deal,
and it was believed that one hundred thousand words could
be selected which would be usable forthwith, as well as in
that long-deferred period for which it was planned. Colonel
Harvey agreed to take a copy of the dictated matter and make
the selections himself, and this plan was carried out. It
may be said that most of the chapters were delightful enough;
though, had it been possible to edit them with the more positive
documents as a guide, certain complications might have been
avoided. It does not matter now, and it was not a matter of
very wide import then.
payment of these chapters netted Clemens thirty thousand dollars
-- a comfortable sum, which he promptly proposed to spend
in building on the property at Redding. He engaged John Mead
Howells to prepare some preliminary plans.
"The Boys' Life of Mark Twain", page 65 by
Albert Bigelow Paine.
house had been under construction for a year. He had never
seen it– never even seen the land I had bought for him. He
even preferred not to look at any plans or ideas for decoration.
the house is finished and furnished, and the cat is purring
on the hearth, it will be time enough for me to see it,” he
had said more than once.
had only specified that the rooms should be large and that
the billiard-room should be red. His billiard-rooms thus far
had been of that color, and their memory was associated in
his mind with enjoyment and comfort. He detested details of
preparation, and then, too, he looked forward to the dramatic
surprise of walking into a home that had been conjured into
existence as with a word.
was the 18th of June, 1908, that he finally took possession.
The Fifth Avenue house was not dismantled, for it was the
plan then to use Stormfield only as a summer place. The servants,
however, with one exception, had been transferred to Redding,
and Mark Twain and I remained alone, though not lonely, in
the city house; playing billiards most of the time, and being
as hilarious as we pleased, for there was nobody to disturb.
I think he hardly mentioned the new home during that time.
had never seen even a photograph of the place, and I confess
I had moments of anxiety, for I had selected the site and
had been more or less concerned otherwise, though John Howells
was wholly responsible for the building. I did not really
worry, for I knew how beautiful and peaceful it all was.
morning of the 18th was bright and sunny and cool. Mark Twain
was up and shaved by six o’clock in order to be in time. The
train did not leave until four in the afternoon, but our last
billiards in town must begin early and suffer no interruption.
We were still playing when, about three, word was brought
up that the cab was waiting.
at the station, a group collected, reporters and others, to
speed him to his new home. Some of the reporters came along.
The scenery was at its best that day, and he spoke of it approvingly.
The hour and a half required to cover the sixty miles’ distance
seemed short. The train porters came to carry out the bags.
He drew from his pocket a great handful of silver.
them something,” he said; “give everybody liberally that does
was a sort of open-air reception in waiting–a varied assemblage
of vehicles festooned with flowers had gathered to offer gallant
country welcome. It was a perfect June evening, still and
dream-like; there seemed a spell of silence on everything.
people did not cheer–they smiled and waved to the white figure,
and he smiled and waved reply, but there was no noise. It
was like a scene in a cinema.
carriage led the way on the three-mile drive to the house
on the hilltop, and the floral procession fell in behind.
Hillsides were green, fields were white with daisies, dogwood
and laurel shone among the trees. He was very quiet as we
drove along. Once, with gentle humor, looking out over a white
daisy-field, he said:
is buckwheat. I always recognize buckwheat when I see it.
I wish I knew as much about other things as I know about buckwheat.”
clear-running brooks, a swift-flowing river, a tumbling cascade
where we climbed a hill, all came in for his approval–then
we were at the lane that led to his new home, and the procession
behind dropped away.
carriage ascended still higher, and a view opened across the
Saugatuck Valley, with its nestling village and church-spire
and farmhouses, and beyond them the distant hills. Then
came the house–simple in design, but beautiful–an Italian
villa, such as he had known in Florence, adapted here to American
climate and needs.
the entrance his domestic staff waited to greet him, and presently
he stepped across the threshold and stood in his own home
for the first time in seventeen years. Nothing was lacking–it
was as finished, as completely furnished, as if he had occupied
it a lifetime. No one spoke immediately, but when his eyes
had taken in the harmony of the place, with its restful, home-like
comfort, and followed through the open French windows to the
distant vista of treetops and farmsides and blue hills, he
said, very gently:
beautiful it all is! I did not think it could be as beautiful
as this.” And later, when he had seen all of the apartments:
“It is a perfect house–perfect, so far as I can see, in every
detail. It might have been here always.”
were guests that first evening–a small home dinner-party–and
a little later at the foot of the garden some fireworks were
set off by neighbors inspired by Dan Beard, who had recently
located in Redding. Mark Twain, watching the rockets that
announced his arrival, said, gently:
wonder why they go to so much trouble for me. I never go to
any trouble for anybody.”
evening closed with billiards, hilarious games, and when at
midnight the cues were set in the rack no one could say that
Mark Twain’s first day in his new home had not been a happy
"Mark Twain: A Biographical Summary",
page 2 By Albert Bigelow Paine From Albert Bigelow Paine,
ed., Mark Twain's Letters (New York: Harper & Brothers,
life at Stormfield -- he had never seen the place until
the day of his arrival, June 18, 1908 -- was a peaceful and
serene old age. Not that he was really old; he never was that.
His step, his manner, his point of view, were all and always
young. He was fond of children and frequently had them about
him. He delighted in games -- especially in billiards -- and
in building the house at Stormfield the billiard-room was
first considered. He had a genuine passion for the sport;
without it his afternoon was not complete.
mornings he was likely to pass in bed, smoking -- he was always
smoking -- and attending to his correspondence and reading.
History and the sciences interested him, and his bed was strewn
with biographies and stories of astronomical and geological
research. The vastness of distances and periods always impressed
him. He had no head for figures, but he would labor for hours
over scientific calculations, trying to compass them and to
grasp their gigantic import. I remember once finding him highly
elated over the fact that he had figured out for himself the
length in hours and minutes of a "light year." He
showed me the pages covered with figures, and was more proud
of them than if they had been the pages of an immortal story.
Then we played billiards, but even his favorite game could
not make him altogether forget his splendid achievement.
"The Boys' Life of Mark Twain", page 65 by
Albert Bigelow Paine.
Twain loved Stormfield. Almost immediately he gave up the
idea of going back to New York for the winter, and I think
he never entered the Fifth Avenue house again. The quiet and
undisturbed comfort of Stormfield came to him at the right
time of life. His day of being the "Belle of New York” was
over. Now and then he attended some great dinner, but always
under protest. Finally he refused to go at all. He had much
company during that first summer–old friends, and now and
again young people, of whom he was always fond. The billiard-room
he called "the aquarium,” and a frieze of Bermuda fishes,
in gay prints, ran around the walls. Each young lady visitor
was allowed to select one of these as her patron fish and
attach her name to it. Thus, as a member of the "aquarium
club,” she was represented in absence. Of course there were
several cats at Stormfield, and these really owned the premises.
The kittens scampered about the billiard-table after the balls,
even when the game was in progress, giving all sorts of new
angles to the shots. This delighted him, and he would not
for anything have discommoded or removed one of those furry
"Mark Twain: A Biographical Summary",
page 2 By Albert Bigelow Paine From Albert Bigelow Paine,
ed., Mark Twain's Letters (New York: Harper & Brothers,
was on the day before Christmas, 1909, that heavy bereavement
once more came into the life of Mark Twain. His daughter Jean,
long subject to epileptic attacks, was seized with a convulsion
while in her bath and died before assistance reached her.
He was dazed by the suddenness of the blow. His philosophy
sustained him. He was glad, deeply glad for the beautiful
girl that had been released. "I never greatly envied
anybody but the dead," he said, when he had looked at
her. "I always envy the dead." The coveted estate
of silence, time's only absolute gift, it was the one benefaction
he had ever considered worth while.
the years were not unkindly to Mark Twain. They brought him
sorrow, but they brought him likewise the capacity and opportunity
for large enjoyment, and at the last they laid upon him a
kind of benediction. Naturally impatient, he grew always more
gentle, more generous, more tractable and considerate as the
seasons passed. His final days may be said to have been spent
in the tranquil light of a summer afternoon. His own end followed
by a few months that of his daughter. There were already indications
that his heart was seriously affected, and soon after Jean's
death he sought the warm climate of Bermuda. But his malady
made rapid progress, and in April he returned to Stormfield.
He died there just a week later, April 21, 1910.
"Books and Burglars" By Mark Twain.
Address to The Redding (Conn.) Library Association, October
28, 1908. From Mark Twain's Speeches (New York: Harper and
this library had been in operation a few weeks ago, and
the burglars who happened along and broke into my house --
taking a lot of things they didn't need, and for that matter
which I didn't need -- had first made entry into this institution.
Picture them seated here on the floor, poring by the light
of their dark-lanterns over some of the books they found,
and thus absorbing moral truths and getting a moral uplift.
The whole course of their lives would have been changed. As
it was, they kept straight on in their immoral way and were
sent to jail. For all we know, they may next be sent to Congress.
And, speaking of burglars, let us not speak of them too harshly.
Now, I have known so many burglars -- not exactly known, but
so many of them have come near me in my various dwelling-places,
that I am disposed to allow them credit for whatever good
qualities they possess. Chief among these, and, indeed, the
only one I just now think of, is their great care while doing
business to avoid disturbing people's sleep. Noiseless as
they may be while at work, however, the effect of their visitation
is to murder sleep later on. Now we are prepared for these
visitors. All sorts of alarm devices have been put in the
house, and the ground for half a mile around it has been electrified.
The burglar who steps within this danger zone will set loose
a bedlam of sounds, and spring into readiness for action our
elaborate system of defences. As for the fate of the trespasser,
do not seek to know that. He will never be heard of more.
"The Voyage Home" Chapter 292 of
Albert Bigelow Paine, Mark Twain: A Biography (New York: Harper
& Brothers, 1912), 1564-1574.
sent no word to Bermuda that I was coming, and when on
the second morning I arrived at Hamilton, I stepped quickly
ashore from the tender and hurried to Bay House. The doors
were all open, as they usually are in that summer island,
and no one was visible. I was familiar with the place, and,
without knocking, I went through to the room occupied by Mark
Twain. As I entered I saw that he was alone, sitting in a
large chair, clad in the familiar dressing-gown.
House stands upon the water, and the morning light, reflected
in at the window, had an unusual quality. He was not yet shaven,
and he seemed unnaturally pale and gray; certainly he was
much thinner. I was too startled, for the moment, to say anything.
When he turned and saw me he seemed a little dazed. "Why,"
he said, holding out his hand, "you didn't tell us you
were coming." "No," I said, "it is rather
sudden. I didn't quite like the sound of your last letters."
"But those were not serious," he protested. "You
shouldn't have come on my account." I said then that
I had come on my own account; that I had felt the need of
recreation, and had decided to run down and come home with
him. "That's -- very -- good," he said, in his slow,
gentle fashion. "Now I'm glad to see you."
breakfast came in and he ate with an appetite. When he had
been shaved and freshly propped up in his pillows it seemed
to me, after all, that I must have been mistaken in thinking
him so changed. Certainly he was thinner, but his color was
fine, his eyes were bright; he had no appearance of a man
whose life was believed to be in danger. He told me then of
the fierce attacks he had gone through, how the pains had
torn at him, and how it had been necessary for him to have
hypodermic injections, which he amusingly termed "hypnotic
injunctions" and "subcutaneous applications,"
and he had his humor out of it, as of course he must have,
even though Death should stand there in person.
Mr. and Mrs. Allen and from the physician I learned how slender
had been his chances and how uncertain were the days ahead.
Mr. Allen had already engaged passage on the Oceana for the
12th, and the one purpose now was to get him physically in
condition for the trip. How devoted those kind friends had
been to him! They had devised every imaginable thing for his
comfort. Mr. Allen had rigged an electric bell which connected
with his own room, so that he could be aroused instantly at
any hour of the night. Clemens had refused to have a nurse,
for it was only during the period of his extreme suffering
that he needed any one, and he did not wish to have a nurse
always around. When the pains were gone he was as bright and
cheerful, and, seemingly, as well as ever.
the afternoon of my arrival we drove out, as formerly, and
he discussed some of the old subjects in quite the old way.
He had been re-reading Macaulay, he said, and spoke at considerable
length of the hypocrisy and intrigue of the English court
under James II. He spoke, too, of the Redding
Library. I had sold for him that portion of
the land where Jean's farm-house had stood, and it was in
his mind to use the money for some sort of a memorial to Jean.
I had written, suggesting that perhaps he would like to put
up a small library building, as the Adams lot faced the corner
where Jean had passed every day when she rode to the station
for the mail. He had been thinking this over, he said, and
wished the idea carried out. He asked me to write at once
to his lawyer, Mr. Lark, and have a paper prepared appointing
trustees for a memorial library fund.
pain did not trouble him that afternoon, nor during several
succeeding days. He was gay and quite himself, and he often
went out on the lawn; but we did not drive out again. For
the most part, he sat propped up in his bed, reading or smoking,
or talking in the old way; and as I looked at him he seemed
so full of vigor and the joy of life that I could not convince
myself that he would not outlive us all.
found that he had been really very much alive during those
three months -- too much for his own good, sometimes -- for
he had not been careful of his hours or his diet, and had
suffered in consequence. He had not been writing, though he
had scribbled some playful valentines and he had amused himself
one day by preparing a chapter of advice -- for me it appeared
-- which, after reading it aloud to the Allens and receiving
their approval, he declared he intended to have printed for
my benefit. As it would seem to have been the last bit of
continued writing he ever did, and because it is characteristic
and amusing, a few paragraphs may be admitted.
"advice" is concerning deportment on reaching the
Gate which St. Peter is supposed to guard: Upon arrival do
not speak to St. Peter until spoken to. It is not your place
to begin. Do not begin any remark with "Say." When
applying for a ticket avoid trying to make conversation. If
you must talk let the weather alone. St. Peter cares not a
damn for the weather. And don't ask him what time the 4:30
train goes; there aren't any trains in heaven, except through
trains, and the less information you get about them the better
for you. You can ask him for his autograph -- there is no
harm in that -- but be careful and don't remark that it is
one of the penalties of greatness. He has heard that before.
Don't try to kodak him. Hell is full of people who have made
that mistake. Leave your dog outside. Heaven goes by favor.
If it went by merit you would stay out and the dog would go
in. You will be wanting to slip down at night and smuggle
water to those poor little chaps (the infant damned), but
don't you try it. You would be caught, and nobody in heaven
would respect you after that. Explain to Helen why I don't
come. If you can. There were several pages of this counsel.
One paragraph was written in shorthand. I meant to ask him
to translate it; but there were many other things to think
of, and I did not remember.
spent most of each day with him, merely sitting by the bed
and reading while he himself read or dozed. His nights were
wakeful -- he found it easier to sleep by day -- and he liked
to think that some one was there. He became interested in
Hardy's Jude, and spoke of it with high approval, urging me
to read it. He dwelt a good deal on the morals of it, or rather
on the lack of them. He followed the tale to the end, finishing
it the afternoon before we sailed. It was his last continuous
reading. I noticed, when he slept, that his breathing was
difficult, and I could see from day to day that he did not
improve; but each evening he would be gay and lively, and
he liked the entire family to gather around, while he became
really hilarious over the various happenings of the day.
was only a few days before we sailed that the very severe
attacks returned. The night of the 8th was a hard one. The
doctors were summoned, and it was only after repeated injections
of morphine that the pain had been eased. When I returned
in the early morning he was sitting in his chair trying to
sing, after his old morning habit. He took my hand and said:
"Well, I had a picturesque night. Every pain I had was
on exhibition." He looked out the window at the sunlight
on the bay and green dotted islands. "'Sparkling and
bright in the liquid light,'" he quoted. "That's
Hoffman. Anything left of Hoffman?" "No," I
said. "I must watch for the Bermudian and see if she
salutes," he said, presently. "The captain knows
I am here sick and he blows two short whistles just as they
come up behind that little island. Those are for me."
He said he could breathe easier if he could lean forward,
and I placed a card-table in front of him.
breakfast came in, and a little later he became quite gay.
He drifted to Macaulay again, and spoke of King James's plot
to assassinate William II., and how the clergy had brought
themselves to see that there was no difference between killing
a king in battle and by assassination. He had taken his seat
by the window to watch for the Bermudian. She came down the
bay presently, her bright-red stacks towering vividly above
the green island. It was a brilliant morning, the sky and
the water a marvelous blue. He watched her anxiously and without
speaking. Suddenly there were two white puffs of steam, and
two short, hoarse notes went up from her. "Those are
for me," he said, his face full of contentment. "Captain
Fraser does not forget me."
followed another bad night. My room was only a little distance
away, and Claude came for me. I do not think any of us thought
he would survive it; but he slept at last, or at least dozed.
In the morning he said: "That breast pain stands watch
all night and the short breath all day. I am losing enough
sleep to supply a worn-out army. I want a jugful of that hypnotic
injunction every night and every morning." We began to
fear now that he would not be able to sail on the 12th; but
by great good-fortune he had wonderfully improved by the 11th,
so much so that I began to believe, if once he could be in
Stormfield, where the air was more vigorous, he might easily
survive the summer. The humid atmosphere of the season increased
the difficulty of his breathing.
evening he was unusually merry. Mr. and Mrs. Allen and Helen
and myself went in to wish him good night. He was loath to
let us leave, but was reminded that he would sail in the morning,
and that the doctor had insisted that he must be quiet and
lie still in bed and rest. He was never one to be very obedient.
A little later Mrs. Allen and I, in the sitting-room, heard
some one walking softly outside on the veranda. We went out
there, and he was marching up and down in his dressing-gown
as unconcerned as if he were not an invalid at all. He hadn't
felt sleepy, he said, and thought a little exercise would
do him good. Perhaps it did, for he slept soundly that night
-- a great blessing.
Allen had chartered a special tug to come to Bay House landing
in the morning and take him to the ship. He was carried in
a little hand-chair to the tug, and all the way out he seemed
light-spirited, anything but an invalid. The sailors carried
him again in the chair to his state-room, and he bade those
dear Bermuda friends good-by, and we sailed away. As long
as I remember anything I shall remember the forty-eight hours
of that homeward voyage. It was a brief two days as time is
measured; but as time is lived it has taken its place among
those unmeasured periods by the side of which even years do
first he seemed quite his natural self, and asked for a catalogue
of the ship's library, and selected some memoirs of the Countess
of Cardigan for his reading. He asked also for the second
volume of Carlyle's French Revolution, which he had with him.
But we ran immediately into the more humid, more oppressive
air of the Gulf Stream, and his breathing became at first
difficult, then next to impossible. There were two large port-holes
which I opened; but presently he suggested that it would be
better outside. It was only a step to the main-deck, and no
passengers were there. I had a steamer-chair brought, and
with Claude supported him to it and bundled him with rugs;
but it had grown damp and chilly, and his breathing did not
improve. It seemed to me that the end might come at any moment,
and this thought was in his mind, too, for once in the effort
for breath he managed to say: "I am going -- I shall
be gone in a moment." Breath came; but I realized then
that even his cabin was better than this. I steadied him back
to his berth and shut out most of that deadly dampness. He
asked for the "hypnotic injunction" (for his humor
never left him), and though it was not yet the hour prescribed
I could not deny it. It was impossible for him to lie down,
even to recline, without great distress. The opiate made him
drowsy, and he longed for the relief of sleep; but when it
seemed about to possess him the struggle for air would bring
the more comfortable moments he spoke quite in the old way,
and time and again made an effort to read, and reached for
his pipe or a cigar which lay in the little berth hammock
at his side. I held the match, and he would take a puff or
two with satisfaction. Then the peace of it would bring drowsiness,
and while I supported him there would come a few moments,
perhaps, of precious sleep. Only a few moments, for the devil
of suffocation was always lying in wait to bring him back
for fresh tortures. Over and over again this was repeated,
varied by him being steadied on his feet or sitting on the
couch opposite the berth.
spite of his suffering, two dominant characteristics remained
-- the sense of humor, and tender consideration for another.
Once when the ship rolled and his hat fell from the hook,
and made the circuit of the cabin floor, he said: "The
ship is passing the hat." Again he said: "I am sorry
for you, Paine, but I can't help it -- I can't hurry this
dying business. Can't you give me enough of the hypnotic injunction
to put an end to me?" He thought if I could arrange the
pillows so he could sit straight up it would not be necessary
to support him, and then I could sit on the couch and read
while he tried to doze. He wanted me to read Jude, he said,
so we could talk about it. I got all the pillows I could and
built them up around him, and sat down with the book, and
this seemed to give him contentment. He would doze off a little
and then come up with a start, his piercing, agate eyes searching
me out to see if I was still there. Over and over -- twenty
times in an hour -- this was repeated.
I could deny him no longer I administered the opiate, but
it never completely possessed him or gave him entire relief.
As I looked at him there, so reduced in his estate, I could
not but remember all the labor of his years, and all the splendid
honor which the world had paid to him. Something of this may
have entered his mind, too, for once, when I offered him some
of the milder remedies which we had brought, he said: "After
forty years of public effort I have become just a target for
medicines." The program of change from berth to the floor,
from floor to the couch, from the couch back to the berth
among the pillows, was repeated again and again, he always
thinking of the trouble he might be making, rarely uttering
any complaint; but once he said: "I never guessed that
I was not going to outlive John Bigelow." And again:
"This is such a mysterious disease. If we only had a
bill of particulars we'd have something to swear at."
Time and again he picked up Carlyle or the Cardigan Memoirs,
and read, or seemed to read, a few lines; but then the drowsiness
would come and the book would fall. Time and again he attempted
to smoke, or in his drowse simulated the motion of placing
a cigar to his lips and puffing in the old way.
dreams beset him in his momentary slumber -- one of a play
in which the title-role of the general manager was always
unfilled. He spoke of this now and then when it had passed,
and it seemed to amuse him. The other was a discomfort: a
college assembly was attempting to confer upon him some degree
which he did not want. Once, half roused, he looked at me
searchingly and asked: "Isn't there something I can resign
and be out of all this? They keep trying to confer that degree
upon me and I don't want it." Then realizing, he said:
"I am like a bird in a cage: always expecting to get
out and always beaten back by the wires." And, somewhat
later: "Oh, it is such a mystery, and it takes so long."
Toward the evening of the first day, when it grew dark outside,
he asked: "How long have we been on this voyage?"
I answered that this was the end of the first day. "How
many more are there?" he asked. "Only one, and two
nights." "We'll never make it," he said. "It's
an eternity." "But we must on Clara's account,"
I told him, and I estimated that Clara would be more than
half-way across the ocean by now. "It is a losing race,"
he said; "no ship can outsail death." It has been
written -- I do not know with what proof -- that certain great
dissenters have recanted with the approach of death -- have
become weak, and afraid to ignore old traditions in the face
of the great mystery.
wish to write here that Mark Twain, as he neared the end,
showed never a single tremor of fear or even of reluctance.
I have dwelt upon these hours when suffering was upon him,
and death the imminent shadow, in order to show that at the
end he was as he had always been, neither more nor less, and
never less than brave. Once, during a moment when he was comfortable
and quite himself, he said, earnestly: "When I seem to
be dying I don't want to be stimulated back to life. I want
to be made comfortable to go." There was not a vestige
of hesitation; there was no grasping at straws, no suggestion
those two days and nights went by. Once, when he was partially
relieved by the opiate, I slept, while Claude watched, and
again, in the fading end of the last night, when we had passed
at length into the cold, bracing northern air, and breath
had come back to him, and with it sleep. Relatives, physicians,
and news-gatherers were at the dock to welcome him. He was
awake, and the northern air had brightened him, though it
was the chill, I suppose, that brought on the pains in his
breast, which, fortunately, he had escaped during the voyage.
It was not a prolonged attack, and it was, blessedly, the
last one. An invalid-carriage had been provided, and a compartment
secured on the afternoon express to Redding
-- the same train that had taken him there two years before.
Robert H. Halsey and Dr. Edward Quintard attended him, and
he made the journey really in cheerful comfort, for he could
breathe now, and in the relief came back old interests. Half
reclining on the couch, he looked through the afternoon papers.
It happened curiously that Charles Harvey Genung, who, something
more than four years earlier, had been so largely responsible
for my association with Mark Twain, was on the same train,
in the same coach, bound for his country-place at New Hartford.
Lounsbury was waiting with the carriage, and on that still,
sweet April evening we drove him to Stormfield much as we
had driven him two years before.
and then he mentioned the apparent backwardness of the season,
for only a few of the trees were beginning to show their green.
As we drove into the lane that led to the Stormfield entrance,
he said: "Can we see where you have built your billiard-room?"
The gable showed above the trees, and I pointed it out to
him. "It looks quite imposing," he said. I think
it was the last outside interest he ever showed in anything.
He had been carried from the ship and from the train, but
when we drew up to Stormfield, where Mrs. Paine, with Katie
Leary and others of the household, was waiting to greet him,
he stepped from the carriage alone with something of his old
lightness, and with all his old courtliness, and offered each
one his hand. Then, in the canvas chair which we had brought,
Claude and I carried him up-stairs to his room and delivered
him to the physicians, and to the comforts and blessed air
of home. This was Thursday evening, April 14, 1910.
of Redding Resources:
York Times Articles about Mark Twain in Redding
of Stormfield with a very descriptive write up of the
house's rooms and layout.
Stormfield Project has begun, you can track it via my Mark
Twain Stormfield Project blog.
the latest updates on our Twain 2010 projects, follow
us on Twitter.
a PowerPoint Presentation of Twain's
Time in Redding
(fundraiser for Twain 2010 projects)
The Mark Twain Forum (amazing insights).
a scrapbook with pictures of Stormfield from PBS. Click Here.
with links to Twain related sites
Back to TOP
| Back to Redding Section | Back
to Georgetown Section