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Indeed, he records how she gave him hand-held "electric vibrating machines", one of the first electrical appliances to be invented at a time when it was widely believed that electric massages had health benefits. Twain goes on to claim that Miss Lyon, who was nearly three decades his junior, was trying to seduce him. But at his insistence, she was largely marginalised from accounts of his life by early biographers. It's extremely unflattering for Twain and shows him at his worst. For Miss Lyon's closest living descendant, the onslaught in Twain's autobiography will open old wounds. She never mentioned any grudge and really respected him.

I think by the end, the old guy was just off his rocker. Prof Trombley believes Twain was turned against Miss Lyon by his daughter Clara, who was jealous of his assistant's role in his life and worried about how much she knew about the family's secrets, including her own affair with a married man. He took his feud with her so far that he threatened her if she ever spoke out against him, he had left orders for the manuscript to be published - a move that would have ruined her reputation during her lifetime as his word would have drowned out her denials.

The family also took away from her the house in Connecticut that he had given her. Twain also poured out bile at Ralph Ashcroft, from Cheshire, who was a year-old business investor when he met Twain in and was taken on by him as financial advisor in The writer was an inveterate bad businessman but Mr Ashcroft directed him to the best financial move of his career - registering the name "Mark Twain" as a trademark and then forming the Mark Twain Company.

In March , Lyon and Ashcroft married - a union that was widely believed to have been encouraged by Twain. But within months he had dismissed them both and begun to write his screed, accusing them of theft, conspiracy and forgery. The two moved to Canada but later divorced. Miss Lyon moved back to the US, while Mr Ashcroft became a successful advertising executive in Toronto, dying there in If the attacks on his erstwhile secretary and business advisor reflect what Prof Trombley calls the worst of Twain, the newly-released autobiography does not damate to his reputation as a literary talent.

His satirical take on German compound nouns reinforces his reputation for humour and his eulogy to his dead daughter, Susy, does the same for his moving writing. In comments that carry powerful political echoes that he could not have foreseen a century later, he expresses his dislike of American military interventionism abroad calling US soldiers "uniformed assassins" and of tax-dodging plutocrats lamenting: "The world believes that the elder Rockefeller is worth a billion dollars. He pays taxes on two million and a half". He has a passion for cards. Oh, games of any kind!


That was ten days ago. Among other emollients he kept prominently in the foreground the fact that this was only a baby elephant, not an adult. Meantime telegrams came from Robert now and then reporting progress—progress that was slow and disappointing, but full of hope, full of encouragement—all this concerned the car for the elephant; heavy Christmas traffic in the way, etc. Miss Lyon had been hoping, a little, and then a little more and a little more—but this news mashed those frail hopes into the mud. Day before yesterday came a telegram saying ten bales of hay—one ton—had been shipped to us by fast freight, and along with the hay twenty bushels of carrots and fruit.

All for the elephant.

Freight prepaid. Early yesterday morning the railway office, three miles away, reported the arrival of this provender, and an hour later it arrived here and was stored in the garage. Miss Lyon—however, her despair had already reached bottom. At nine this morning, Mr. Dan Beard was selected for the drawings, and was given a free hand, as the next letter shows. Webster, owing to poor health, had by this time retired from the firm. HALL,—Upon reflection—thus: tell Beard to obey his own inspiration, and when he sees a picture in his mind put that picture on paper, be it humorous or be it serious.

I want his genius to be wholly unhampered, I shan't have fears as to the result. They will be better pictures than if I mixed in and tried to give him points on his own trade. I even did a heroic thing: shipped my book off to New York lest I should forget hospitality and embitter your visit with it.

By Mark Twain

Not that I think you wouldn't like to read it, for I think you would; but not on a holiday that's not the time. I see how you were situated—another familiarity of Providence and wholly wanton intrusion—and of course we could not help ourselves. Well, just think of it: a while ago, while Providence's attention was absorbed in disordering some time-tables so as to break up a trip of mine to Mr. Church's on the Hudson, that Johnstown dam got loose. I swear I was afraid to pray, for fear I should laugh. Well, I'm not going to despair; we'll manage a meet yet.

I expect to go to Hartford again in August and maybe remain till I have to come back here and fetch the family. And, along there in August, some time, you let on that you are going to Mexico, and I will let on that I am going to Spitzbergen, and then under cover of this clever stratagem we will glide from the trains at Worcester and have a time. I have noticed that Providence is indifferent about Mexico and Spitzbergen. DEAR HOWELLS,—If you should be moved to speak of my book in the Study, I shall be glad and proud—and the sooner it gets in, the better for the book; though I don't suppose you can get it in earlier than the November number—why, no, you can't get it in till a month later than that.

Well, anyway I don't think I'll send out any other press copy—except perhaps to Stedman.

A Miss Mallard Mystery - Ep. 15 - Express Train to Trouble

I'm not writing for those parties who miscall themselves critics, and I don't care to have them paw the book at all. It's my swan-song, my retirement from literature permanently, and I wish to pass to the cemetery unclodded. I judge that the proofs have begun to reach you about this time, as I had some though not revises, this morning. I'm sure I'm going to be charmed with Beard's pictures.

Observe his nice take-off of Middle-Age art-dinner-table scene.

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Mark Twain in Nevada - Wikipedia

Clemens's soul; and I am as grateful to you as a body can be. I am glad you approve of what I say about the French Revolution. Few people will. It is odd that even to this day Americans still observe that immortal benefaction through English and other monarchical eyes, and have no shred of an opinion about it that they didn't get at second-hand. Next to the 4th of July and its results, it was the noblest and the holiest thing and the most precious that ever happened in this earth. And its gracious work is not done yet—not anywhere in the remote neighborhood of it.

Don't trouble to send me all the proofs; send me the pages with your corrections on them, and waste-basket the rest. We issue the book Dec. I am waiting to see your Study set a fashion in criticism. When that happens—as please God it must—consider that if you lived three centuries you couldn't do a more valuable work for this country, or a humaner.

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As a rule a critic's dissent merely enrages, and so does no good; but by the new art which you use, your dissent must be as welcome as your approval, and as valuable. I do not know what the secret of it is, unless it is your attitude—man courteously reasoning with man and brother, in place of the worn and wearisome critical attitude of all this long time—superior being lecturing a boy.

Well, my book is written—let it go. But if it were only to write over again there wouldn't be so many things left out. They burn in me; and they keep multiplying and multiplying; but now they can't ever be said. And besides, they would require a library—and a pen warmed up in hell. I have come near writing you about this matter several times, but it wasn't ripe, and I waited. It is ripe, now. It is a type-setting machine which I undertook to build for the inventor for a consideration. Indeed only a dozen men have known of the matter.

I have reported progress from time to time to the proprietors of the N. Trow; also to the proprietors of the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe.

Mark Twain's Reconstruction

Three years ago I asked all these people to squelch their frantic desire to load up their offices with the Mergenthaler N. Tribune machine, and wait for mine and then choose between the two. They have waited—with no very gaudy patience—but still they have waited; and I could prove to them to-day that they have not lost anything by it.