1987: Twain: Tells a Lot

Mark Twain. HJN, drawing.

Mark Twain. HJN, drawing.

[Dear Mother,]

Another anecdote that tells a lot about the man is when he was allowed, with great reluctance on Clara’s part [one of Twain’s daughters], to attend a recital that she did manage to give. He was placed on the third row and ordered not to call attention to himself. When the recital was over he got on stage and gave a 20-minute speech. The next day, 75 of the 80 lines that the local newspaper devoted to Clara’s recital dealt with Mark Twain’s speech. No wonder he made the girls sick.

I hope you enjoy these snippets as much as I do. I guess sometimes sharing your readings is as dangerous as sharing your dreams. Have you ever been that interested in other people’s accounts of their dreams? I rarely have, unless it’s swapping common dreams, in which case you are trading information with someone else about your own dream life. To me the saddest and most incriminating side of Clemens’s behavior was toward Jean, the younger, epileptic daughter. She understood him and loved him more than Clara, but he relegated her to the margins of his life and couldn’t shoulder any real responsibility for her nor confront the implications of her illness. She was the only one of the women, apparently, with a real illness, yet comes across as the least morbid and hypochondriacal of them.

(c) 2018 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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4 Responses to 1987: Twain: Tells a Lot

    • JMN says:

      I do too. The biography I was reading in 1987 went deeply into his personal life by the sound of it. My sympathies might have been tinged by my own struggles to emerge from my dad’s shadow at the time. It’s been a long time since I’ve read Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but scenes and language from those two novels are still engraved in my memory. I’ve encountered various quotes and anecdotes from Twain over the years, and I’ve never stopped admiring him as one of our greatest writers and humorists. Also, I’ve had my own failings as a parent since ‘87! Sheesh! We’re all human, aren’t we? Thank you so much for reading and responding.


  1. iScriblr says:

    Wow! Love Twain!❤

    Liked by 1 person

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