TWAIN'S DAUGHTER TALKS ABOUT HIM
Miss Clara Clemens Says It Is Hard to Have a Genius for a Father.
TAKEN FOR BUFFALO BILL
"Father Wears White Suit to Remind Him of Bed," Says Miss Clara.
Special Correspondence THE NEW YORK TIMES.
LONDON, June 6. - Miss Clara Clemens, daughter of Mark Twain, who is the possessor of a rich contralto voice, has made her debut in this country as a concert singer at the Queen's Hall. She will give a recital, with Miss Marie Nichols, violinist, and Mr. Wark, pianist, at the Bechstein Hall on June 16.
Miss Clemens inherits her father's sense of humor, and in an article published in the London Express she tells of the tribulations which face the daughter of a celebrity.
Miss Clemens writes as follows:
"I have just come to the conclusion that things want readjusting in this old world of ours.
"Need I mention the fact that I refer to the glaring injustice of having to go about labeled 'Mark Twain's daughter' when I am doing my best to pursue a musical career?
"Father, is, of course, a genius - and that is what makes me so tired. My fatigue is directly caused by the incessant strain - prolonged over some years and induced by trying to find a secret hiding place when I can shroud my identity and be sure of a really comfortable bed.
"I have a mind to scour Europe for such a place, and when I have found it to take to bed for, say, a couple of years, and arise - a genius. For the bed habit is the recipe of father's success.
"While I have been tiring myself out in an endeavor to rise to the heights as anybody else's daughter he has just lain in bed and thought things and got out of bed now and then to loaf around on a lecture tour or tramp lazily through Europe. That's why I'm looking for a really comfortable bed. Genius is the art of taking - to bed.
"Father called me a genius once when I was about 15, and, although I guess he was just fooling me, I am not likely to forget the occasion. He had gone on a lecture tour with Mr. George W. Cable, the Southern writer, and during his absence we girls - my two sisters and myself - arranged some theatricals as a surprise for him on his return to our home at Hartford, Conn.
"The piece we selected was 'The Prince and the Pauper,' and father pretended to enjoy it just as much as we did, and, as I said before, he informed me that I was a genius. Shortly after that memorable night I came over to Europe.
"Then my troubles began. They began in Berlin, where father, thanks to no violent physical efforts on his part, is wonderfully popular. When I was not studying hard at my music I would go out occasionally to little functions, where I would sit in a corner and be completely ignored by all assembled until some foolish person whispered to another: 'I believe that's Mark Twain's daughter in the corner.'
"Then the guests would arise as one man and swoop down upon me, and expect me to be 'bright' and amusing after a hard day's work. These, of course, were the occasions when my august parent was not present. At social gatherings graced by his presence my existence was on the level of a footstool - always unnecessary object in a crowded room. Father, fresh from bed, would completely flood the place with his talk. And yet the secret of his popularity never occurred to me at the time.
"But father has had much to endure, too. The last time he was n London he was assailed in Regent Street by a venerable old lady, who shook him cordially by the hand and repeated fervently: 'I have always wanted to shake hands with you.' My father, who was feeling particularly brilliant after a long day's rest, was much moved, and responded gratefully: 'So you know who I am, madam?' 'Of course I do,' answered the old lady with enthusiasm, "You're Buffalo Bill!'
"Father's white suit is another of my trials. I have always believed that the reason he took to wearing it is that it soothed him and reminded him of bed. His white hair, too, can be explained scientifically. The explanation can be found in any well-equipped natural history museum. The hares and the bird and the foxes in the arctic regions are of a dazzling whiteness when the snow covers their haunts. Father is, therefore, a striking example of what is known as sympathetic coloration. His hair has gradually assumed the color of his pillow.
"But I must do father bare justice. In spite of his lying-in-bed habit he can be impetuous both in speech and action. When he gets too impetuous in speech I rise to the occasion and answer him back.
"Last Winter I was to sing at an important evening concert on the other side, and the entire family had been invited to attend a function in the afternoon, Father, being unmusical, could not understand that I should have been unfit to sing if I had chattered after his own fashion all the afternoon. And so I coaxed him to go and represent the family. At first he objected strongly, but finally, in a burst of impetuosity, he said: 'Yes, Clara, I'll go to that reception. I'd go to _____ for you.'
"To which I thoughtfully replied: 'If ever, father, you should be called upon to go there, please go labeled "I'm for Clara.' "
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