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.