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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
- 1 J :
BUT I urn used to
having :ny state
e i My mother l>euai;
it before 1 was seven
years old. Vet all
through my life my
facts have had a sub
stratum of truth, and
therefore they were not
riiwnt pieciousness An y person whu is familiar with"
be knows how to strike "my average, and therefore
knows how to get at the jewel .•■•.■ of mine and
es it out of its I'iue clay matrix My mother knew
that art. tt'hen 1 was seven, or eight, or ten. or
twthe year- •>•!. — along there. — .t neighbor sji i
•Dj y.u ever believe anything that that *:♦ ■>;•
Mrsaotber iaid. "He U the weliipring of truth:
bat you can't bring up the whole well with one
Jacket." and &he added. "1 know his average; there
t're he never deceives- me. I discount him thirty
pff cent for embroidery, and what is left is perfect
-«i juic-rle— ■."-:•::, without .« 'As-- ... anywhere".
JJQW.tomake a jumpof forty years, without break
ing the ounnection: that "word ' embroidery'
fii jiied ag;i;:i in my presence and concerning me.
fben 1 ras fifty years old. one nit?ht at Rev. Frank
» Godwin's, h>n--/:n Hartford, at a meeting of the
Liaaday Evening <"!ul». The Monday livening Club
Kin exists. It was founded about forty-five years
by that theological giant. Rev. Dr. Btisfasell.
comrades of his, men of large intellectual
cJiberand more or less distinction, local or national?
1 fas admitted to memt»ership in it in the fall of
j^Ti, and was i:i active member thenceforth until
I«ft Hartford in the .summer of • Sqi .
The membership was restricted in those days !••
f^ltteen. possi!>ly .... The meetings began
• the fir.-', of October, and were held in the
t'zxate house> <>i ;be meml»ers every fortnight there
'■~'*r- throughout the cold months until the first •'
" : *y. Usually there were i dozen members present
*^aetimes a.-> man yas fifteen There was an essay ana
' discussion The essayists followed each other ii:
-■l>balK;tical or. ler thr<*u«h the season The essayist
tj'ddchofise la> own subject and talk twenty min
xes on it. from MS. or orally, according his prefer
«»*. Then the discussion followed, and each mem-
present v. .., allowed ten minutes in which t<«
•••■ . hi> view - The wives of these people were
''J**Yi : •■■■ I: was 'their, privilege It was al»»
"«r jinvilege tci keep . they ■■■■•■ '
V' throw any light upon the discussion; After the
Oacossion then- ivas a supper, and talk, m i cigars^
■Has supper !k^jh at ten o'clock promptly, and ' '"■■
£*apaay broke up and went away at midnight. V
*■** they did except u;«on one occasion; In my
r «*nt birthday speech 1 remarked ion the fact
*3it I haw always bought cheap cigars, and that i
tn»- I have nevei bought costly ones.
Yf~LL. that ni^ht at the i rlub meeting.as I ■..-->-
I, in». George. <»ur colored butler, came to me
•aeathesupper .-.as nearly over, and I noticed thai
«*a» pale. Xormallv hi- complexion was a clear
k f**faa& very handsome; but no* it h.»d modified
?i«aaiber. He said
Clemens, v.iiat are we gjui« t . d.>? There is
-^-ci^arin the house !>ut th^se old l • -ling long
:? c ?-. Cw»*t nobody smoke them but you; They kill
*lMSty yards: It .-.,,••.-■ we
Pnufait pet any cigars out from tovMi. What c*u
II c *>' Ain't it ?K-st to s;.v nothing, and let on that
Te didnjt thinkr"
r _\"-" • said "thai would not be honest. Fetch
ga the loiij; nines." v.hich he dvi.
. itud just conn- across those long nines a few days
v -.- i !jt ' fore l hadn't seen a long nine for years]
..'- 1 "' , ' *' as a cub pilot on the Mississippi in the late
,i 3s - I had h,.d a j-reat affection for Iheiii. because
"*y ■*«■«? not only, to my mind, perfect; !»ut y •■■
tJjZT :1: 1 - * '^sketful <A them for a cent— ■• a dime;
**kL t n<t Uv ' <*«ts out there in those <iays. >•
*«n I saw them advertised in Hartford I sent for a
r^saod at once. They came out to me in badly
l^/'Tt' 1 Mti disreputable looking old square paste;
£ ?*<« »*oxes. two hundred in a box. George brought
rr^f" *' bith Was caved in on a!! side.-. looking the
ThT 1 tt could, ami l>egan to pass them around
tjt.^vwsatijn liad l>een brilliantly animated up
. . . •■,-•:•• :;...n i\w (Ml
!--; V ,. lhat "to say. not a!! of a fudden) but the
C^-Z 5" HJ e * cb J:^« »* lw took up a cigar and
jT * ! ""'** 1 •> n««. i !».»• .n. a:: ;'.■• t. k^.?».?i
k - "
The Question of Veracity in Prophetic Dreams
heii :t p-.»i>e<i ::; the air— and there. ::: the middle,
his sentence broke off That kind of thin went oh
all around the table, until when George had com
pleted his crime the whole place was full of :< thick
solemnity and silence:
Those men began to light the cigars. Rev. Dr.
Parker was the first man to light. He took three or
four hero» whiffs, then gave ii up. He got up
with the remark that •■■ had to go to the bedside of
a sick parishioner He started out. Rev. Dr Bur
ton was the next man. He tool only one ' hifl and
followed Parker He furnished a pretext, and You
could see by the sound of his voice that he didn't
think much of the pretext, and was vexed with
Parker for getting in ahead with a fictitious ailing
client Rev. Mr. Twichell followed, and lid he had
to goiiowj because he must take the midnight train
for Boston: Boston was the first place that occurred
■,;.,.. I suppose.
It *as only a ........ tier, they began
i, distribute pretexts. At ten minutes to eleven all
those people were out of the house. When nobody
was left but George in i me I was cheerful— I had
no compunctions lof conscience, no griefs •>; any
kind. But George was be yon 1 speech, because he
held the honor and credit of the family above his
own and he was ashamed that this smirch had been
put .., ,- 1 told him I • -•■- I • '••- i and try to sleep
it off. ; went to be myself. At breakfast in the
morning when George was passing a cup oi coffee, I
saw it tremble in his hand. 1 knew by that sign
that there was something on his mini He brought
the up to me and asked impressively
• Mr. Clemens; ho • far i- it from the front door to
the upper gate'" ...
I said -It is a hundred and twenty-five step..
He said "Mr Clemens, you i in start at the trout
d or and you can go plumb to the upper gate— and
tread on one c»f them cigars every time
It wasn't true in detail, but in essentials it was.
Till-" subject under discussion on the night in ques
tion was Dream. The talk passed from mouth
t , mouth :n the usual serene way.
•.1 . not no» remember ■.•■•• views con-
I Hid Never Seen *
Member of the Family
X.,,, Another- Except
j _c 1-.,'- -.* the time 1 don't remember
Stf S?;,rtVm tl-^t «ln^ -as.then: but I
. w what in. " dream by way i illustrating
do and ai>o remember that
doubting rtiil. _ hivin" been uttered by my
hrfST'Ti^prohabl: engaged in «xymg to make
!*•!<»!■<. i 'l .', . . ,hl, .,. ,!,.i th.-v. bj some
SS£^ ■••'■ '■-■""""'
:r.-i"v.-f,..-•=_, V:, - ■ ■■..■ ;
■;- • '-
I HAD found :. place 01 the E'ennsylvania i <;- ■•.-.
brother Henryjwho was two years my junior, it
was not a place of profit: ii v> as only a place of
promise. He was "mud" clerk. Mud clerk- re
ceived no salary; hut they were in the line of pro
motion. They could l>ecome. presently, third clerk
and second clerk; then chief clerk, — that is to say.
purser. The dream -.•■■• when Henry had been
mud clerk about three months. We were lying ii
port it St Louis. Pilots md ••-■• men had nothing
to do during the three da that the boat lay in port
in St Louis and New Orleans; but the mud clerk
had to begin his labors at da ■ 1 and continue them
into the night, by the light <>f pineknot torches
Henry mil moneyless and unsalaried. had billeted
ourselves upon our brother in lav Mr. Moffet. as
night lodgers while in port We took our meals 01
board the boa 1 No, I mean I lodged at the bouse
not Henry. He spent the evenings it the house,
from nine until eleven, then vent to the boat to be
read} for his early duties:
On the night of the dream he started away at
eleven, shaking hand? with the family, and aid goou
by according to custom I may mention that hand
shaking as ,1 good by was not merely the custom'ot
that family but the custom of the region— the lus
torn of Missouri. I ma; -ay In ill my hie. up to that
.... 1 1. ,-i never seen .•■•■• of the Clemens
family kiss another
one -except once.
When my father lay
(lying in our home iv.
Hannibal. •:.■■•■ ■■!■•
fourth of March. 1847
he put hi ami around
my Mst.-r's neck in 1
drew her down in 1
ki ;ed her, 1 ing,
"Lei me die." I re
member that, md I
ivmember the death
rattle which swiftly
followed those word-,
which ■ .•:'.• ':' last.
....... 1 bys <>:
Henry's were always
executed in the family
sitting room on the
second floor, and
Henry ■ ••.• from that
room .and down stairs
without further cere
But this time my
mother went with him
to the head of the
stairs and said good
by again. As I re
member it, she was
moved to this by
something in Henry's
manner, and she re
- , ned at the head of
the stairs while he
ended When he
reached the door he hesitated, and climbed the
tail and shook hand good by once more.
IN the morning hen 1 awoke 1 had been dreaming,
and the dream was so vivid, so like reality, that
it deceived me, and I thought it was real. In the
dream 1 had seen Henry a corpse. He lay in a me
tallic burial case. He was dressed in a suit of my
clothing, and on his breast lay a great bouquet <>:
flowers, mainly white roses, with a red rose in the
center The casket stood upon a couple of chairs
I dressed, and moved toward that door, thinking
I would go in there and look at it: but I changed
my mind. 1 thought I could not yet bear to meet
my mother. 1 thought 1 would wait awhile ami
make some preparation for that ordeal The house
now i was telling i: again, here in the, .club;
In iS^S I was a steersman on |»oard the swift and
popular New Orleans and St L/ouis packet Pennsyl
vania, Captain Kleinfelter. I had "tK-e:i lent to Mr.
Brown; one of pilots of the Pennsylvania; by
my owner, Mr. Horace 1:. Bixby, and had been steer
ing for Brown about eighteen months, I think.
Then, in the early days of Ma ISSS. came a tragic
trip,- the last trip of that ■':••■•■ and famous tean
boat I have told all about it ii one <>:" my books
called "Old Time ■■; the Mississippi/,." But it U
not likely that I told the dream in that book i- is
impossible that I can ever have published it. I think!
l>ecause I never wanted my mother to know about
the dream, and she lived several years after I pub
tished that volume.