Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mark Twain Discusses The Death Of His Child

To his close friend Rev. Joseph Twitchell, Clemens (Twain) pours out his heart in a letter from London, five months after his daughter Susy died. While Clemens was frantically booking a return steamer from England, "Uncle Joe' had been at Susy's bedside while she died. A hearbroken but grateful father, Clemens wrote to his friend Joseph, "I would have chosen you out of all the world to take my place at Susy's side and Livy's in those black hours". (From the selected letters of Mark Twain)

Twain's letter to Rev Joseph:
You have the touch that heals, not lacerates. And you know the secret places of our hearts. Your know our life - the outside of it - as others do - and the inside of it -which they do not. You have seen our whole voyage. You have seen me go to sea, a cloud of sail (referring to his success in writing) and the flag at the peak. And now you see me chartless, adrift -derelict, battered, water-logged, our sails a ruck of rags, our pride gone. For it is gone. And there is nothing in its place. The vanity of life was all we had, and there is no more vanity left in us. We are even ashamed of that we had, ashamed that we trusted the promises of life and builded high --to come to this.

I did not know that Suzy was a part of that vanity. I did not know that she could go away. I did not know that she could go away and take our lives with her, yet leave our dull bodies behind. And I did not know what she was. To me she was but a treasure in a bank, the amount known, to be counted on. I did not know it could be taken away. And now it is too late. They tell me my treasure is not there, has vanished away in the night, the bank is broken, my fortune is gone, I am a pauper. How am I to comprehend this? How am I to survive? Why am I robbed, and who is benefited?
-Mark Twain

A List Of Mark Twain's Works:
The Innocents Abroad 1869
Curious Republic of Gondour 1870
A Burlesque Autobiography 1871
Roughing It 1872
The Gilded Age 1873
Sketches New and Old 1875
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 1876
Carnival of Crime in CT 1877
A Tramp Abroad 1880
1601 1880
The Prince and the Pauper 1881
The Stolen White Elephant 1882
Life on the Mississippi 1883
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 1885
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 1889
The American Claimant 1892
Tom Sawyer Abroad 1894
The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson 1894
Tom Sawyer, Detective 1896
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol 1 1896
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc Vol 2 1896
How to Tell a Story and Others 1897
Following the Equator 1897
The Man that Corrupted Hadleyburg and other Stories 1900
A Double Barrelled Detective 1902
Extracts from Adam's Diary 1904
A Dog's Tale 1904
The $30,000 Bequest 1906
What is Man? and Other Essays of Mark Twain 1906
Mark Twain's Speeches 1906
Christian Science 1907
A Horse's Tale 1907
Is Shakespeare Dead? 1909
Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven l909
The Mysterious Stranger 1916 uncompleted
Alonzo Fitz and Other Stories
Essays on Paul Bourget
Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences
Goldsmith's Friend Abroad Again
In Defense of Harriet Shelley
On the Decay of the Art of Lying
Some Rambling Notes of an Idle Excursion
The Boys Life of Mark Twain
Those Extraordinary Twins
Mark Twain a Biography Volume I Part 1 1835-1866
Mark Twain a Biography Volume I Part 2 1866-1875
Mark Twain a Biography Volume II Part 1 1875-1886
Mark Twain a Biography Volume II Part 2 1886-1900
Mark Twain a Biography Volume III Part 1 1900-1907
Mark Twain a Biography Volume III Part 2 1907-1910
Mark Twain's Letters 1867-1875
Mark Twain's Letters 1876-1885
Mark Twain's Letters 1886-1900
Mark Twain's Letters 1901-1906
Mark Twain's Letters 1907-1910
Mark Twain's Letters, Complete

1 comment:

  1. Amazingly written. This just goes to show everyone that the bond between a parent and his/her child is unique and powerful enough to transcend the boundaries of time.