WANTS MARK TWAIN TO EXPLAIN TO HER
Mrs. Ashcroft Hurries Back from Her Honeymoon Abroad to Find Out About $4,000 Suit.
FORMERLY HIS SECRETARY
She Thinks the Attachment on the Humorist's Gift House is the Work of His Daughter.
Mrs. Ralph Ashcroft, who until her marriage a few weeks ago, was Miss I. N. [sic] Lyon, secretary to Mark Twain, arrived yesterday on the Cunard liner Carmania to learn why Mr. Clemens had obtained an attachment of $4,000 against the house in Redding, Conn., he gave her when she got married.
She is a demure-looking woman, but was wroth when she landed, for she had to leave her husband and cut short their honeymoon to return to America. She lays the blame for it all on Miss Clemens, daughter of the humorist, whose artistic temperament, she said, often led her in the wrong direction.
Mrs. Ashcroft was met at the pier by her mother, and after a day in New York she will beard [sic] Mark Twain in his country home, Stormfield, to learn the true inwardness of the attachment and seek an adjustment of the matter.
"Two weeks ago in London I was notified that Mr. Clemens had sworn out an attachment against he house he gave me," said Mrs. Ashcroft. "I came home as soon as I possibly could, leaving my husband behind. I cannot think that Mr. Clemens is responsible for what has happened. He and I were the best of friends, and he has treated me almost as would a father.
"For seven years I was closely associated with him. I relieved him of every care I could, and he gave me the house, and later lent me the money with which to furnish it. This money, both understood, was to be paid back when I could do so. Knowing him as I do, I cannot believe that he attached the property.
"I believe the whole trouble is caused by his daughter. Miss Clemens is of the artistic temperament, but in this affair I believe that she has been wrongly advised into taking a step she would never have taken had she the right understanding of the case."
Mrs. Ashcroft said she intended to take steps at once to adjust the matter. She thinks that the whole trouble must be due to some mistake. She said that no request had been made by her former employer for a return of the money. Indeed, she said, that several times she had refused suggestions from him that she consider the cost of fixing up and furnishing the house as a gift from him.
"If Miss Clemens knows all about the case, and I notice that she says she is fully informed as to her father's affairs, she must know that every step in the restoration of the house was done not only with her father's knowledge but with his approval," continued Mrs. Ashcroft. "She does not exhibit a surprising knowledge of affairs when she presented her case, for in spite of what is said to the contrary, every cent that was expended for renovation I incurred a liability to pay.
"Mr. Clemens has notes amounting to nearly $1,000, which were signed by my husband when the first rough estimate was made of the cost of fitting up the place. Mr. Clemens made a written agreement with Mr. Ashcroft to accept his notes for the balance of the indebtedness outstanding upon the completion of repairs.
"The whole case will be settled, but the shame of it is that I should have been placed in an improper and false light."
Mr. Ashcroft was formerly financial secretary to Mr. Clemens. It is said that both left the humorist's service because of differences with Miss Clemens.
news story contains misleading statements. The Times never ran a
response from Clemens, correction or clarification. For the full story of
the scandal, see Karen Lystra's DANGEROUS INTIMACY
(University of California Press, 2004).
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