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The New York Times, December 25, 1909

She Was Overcome by an Epileptic Seizure an Hour Before Her Body Was Discovered.
On Wednesday Her Father Helped Her Trim a Christmas Tree - Mark Twain Now All Alone.

Special to The New York Times.

REDDING, Conn., Dec. 24. - Miss Jean Clemens, youngest daughter of Mark Twain, was found dead in the bathtub at Stormfield, Mr. Clemens's country home near here, early this morning. Her body lay submerged in water when the young woman's maid discovered it, shortly after sunrise.

An attack of epilepsy, to which Miss Clemens had been subject for many years, is believed to have rendered her unconscious while she was taking her morning bath, with the result that she drowned in the water of the bath.

Mark Twain, her father, while heartbroken at the blow which has taken away the one daughter who had remained single to be his mainstay in his declining years, is bearing up bravely under the shock, and says that, in spite of his sorrow, he cannot help feeling glad that death came to his daughter at home.

He had feared for many months that she might be stricken while on horseback, far away on the lonely country roads, and that she might be mangled beneath the horse's hoofs. He had many warnings that his daughter might be stricken down. Less than a month ago she suffered a violent attack of epilepsy, and for several years she had been under the constant care of an attendant.

For several months Miss Clemens was in a sanitarium, but in April last had come to Stormfield in order to be her father's housekeeper and to help him in his literary work as his secretary.

Had Prepared for a Jolly Christmas.

Miss Clemens herself had no thought of death. Several days ago she invited one of her girl friends in New York to come to Stormfield to spend the holidays and elaborate plans had been made for a jolly Christmas.

This friend had been instructed to come today on the Pittsfield express, and Mark Twain had arranged with the New York, New Haven & Hartford officials to have the train stop at Redding, which is a flag station, at 5:19 this afternoon. A telegram was sent to her this morning informing her of what had happened and telling her not to come, but she evidently did not get the message, for she arrived according to arrangement, and was driven at once to Stormfield.

Miss Clemens and her father were up late last night discussing plans for Christmas Day and talking of the future. This morning about 6:30 o'clock Katie, one of the maids at Stormfield, who usually accompanied Miss Clemens wherever she went, rapped on her door and asked if she were ready to dress.

"No, Katie, you can wait an hour, for I am going to lie in bed and read," said Miss Clemens through the door. She often did this in the morning before arising, so the maid went away. An hour later she returned to the bedroom, which is on the second floor of Stormfield. Miss Clemens was not there.

Her Father Hears the News.

Katie went at once to the bathroom. One glance inside and the maid screamed in terror. She ran to the door of Mr. Clemens's room, who was still in bed, and told him that he had better come at once. Mr. Clemens hastily donned a bathrobe.

The servants were grouped around the bathroom door uncertain what to do. In a few minutes the body had been lifted from the tub, and a telephone call brought Dr. Ernest H. Smith, the family physician and County Medical Examiner, to the Clemens home. For a long time the doctor tried by artificial respiration to bring the young woman back to life, but it was useless. She had been dead at least an hour before he arrived, said the doctor later.

Soon after Dr. Smith arrived Mr. Clemens telephoned to Alfred [sic] Bigelow Paine, who has been assisting the author in writing his biography and who lives not far from Stormfield.

Mr. Paine and his wife were soon at the house and did what they could for Mr. Clemens. The news of Miss Clemens's death spread rapidly through the countryside, and there were many messages of sympathy and offers of help over the telephone. Many of Mark Twain's neighbors also called in person, and soon the reporters arrived. Mr. Clemens met them and told the sad story of his daughter's death.

"My daughter, Jean Clemens, passed from this life suddenly this morning at 7:30 o'clock," he said.

"All the last half of her life she was an epileptic, but she grew better latterly. For the past two years we considered her practically well, but she was not allowed to be entirely free. Her maid, who has served us twenty-eight years, was always with her when she went to New York on shopping excursions and such things. She had very few convulsions in the past two years and those she had were not violent.

"At 7:30 this morning a maid went to her room to see why she did not come down to her breakfast, and found her in her bathtub drowned. It means that she had a convulsion an could not get out.

"She had been leading a very active life.

"She spent the greater part of her time looking after a farm which I bought for her, and she did much of my secretarial work besides.

Her Last Talk With Her Father.

"Last night she and I chatted later than usual in the library, and she told me all her plans about the housekeeping, for she was also my housekeeper. I said everything was going so smoothly that I thought I would make another trip to Bermuda in February, and she said put it off till March and she and her maid would go with me. So we made that arrangement.

"But she is gone, poor child.

"She was all I had left, except Clara, who married Mr. Gabrilowitsch lately, and has just arrived in Europe."

In one of the downstairs room of Stormfield was today a half-trimmed Christmas tree, which the bereaved author pointed to while tears came to his eyes.

"My daughter was trimming the tree yesterday and I was helping her," he said. "She was so anxious that the lads and lassies of the neighborhood should have a tree, so we brought this one in and began to trim it for them. Tomorrow there were to have trooped in to see the tree and to get presents from it.

"It is all so very sad. Upstairs in my daughter's room are still a number of gifts which she had bought for some of her dear friends, and which were to have been sent out by her today. It will be a sad Christmas for poor old me."

Last Monday Miss Clemens went to New York with her maid to meet her father on his arrival from Bermuda. She took advantage of her presence in town to buy several Christmas presents for her friends. Some of these she sent by mail, and they will be received this morning about the same time that some of her friends learn of her death.

Death Was Clearly Accidental.

Dr. Smith, after leaving Stormfield, made out a certificate of death from accidental cause, which he sent on to Clifford B. Wilson, the Coroner at Bridgeport. In this the doctor stated that the primary cause of death was epilepsy and the secondary cause drowning.

"It was a plain case and no mystery about it," said Dr. Smith. "There have been two other cases of epilepsy here recently which met death in the same way. It is very common for an epileptic to fall unconscious in the water while bathing. One of the other cases here recently was drowned in three or four inches of water after being rendered unconscious by an attack of epilepsy.

"The bath tub in which Miss Clemens met her death was nearly full of water when I got there. She simply must have lost consciousness and sunk down beneath the surface. Mr. Clemens is bearing up bravely under the blow, and he will survive it, I am sure. He is strong and healthy for a man of his years."

Miss Clemens had recently attended to much of her fathers mail. Only yesterday she telephoned to the Associated Press a statement from her father, contradicting the newspaper reports that he was in failing health.

A cablegram was sent today to Mr. Clemens's married daughter, who with her husband, is spending her honeymoon abroad. It told her of her sister's death.

Arrangements for the funeral have already been made. The body will be taken to Elmira, N.Y., and will on Sunday be buried from the former home of Mr. Clemens's wife. Miss Clemens will be laid at rest alongside her mother in the old churchyard at Elmira.

Mr. Clemens will not be able to attend the funeral. He is now 74 years old, and his physicians discourage the unusual fatigue that he would necessarily undergo on such a journey. For the present he will remain at Stormfield.

Mark Twain's Plans for His Daughter.

It had been Mr. Clemens's ambition for the pasty twenty years to provide a future home for his daughters, and to leave them a sufficient income to continue their existence after his death in the same comfort as they had before. As the copyrights on all his books are rapidly expiring, and soon will bring in no return, it occurred to him that if he wrote an autobiography, which might be brought out, a little in each volume, in a new edition of his works, which the publishers should publish after his death, that he might secure a new copyright for these volumes.

Much of this autobiography is finished, and the home for his daughters built, but there seems to be no occasion for either precaution at present.

Miss Clara Clemens, who is a musician, was married last Summer to Ossip Gabrilowitsch, the celebrated Russian pianist, and the two are now in Europe. Miss Clemens had been engaged to Gabrilowitsch twice before, and each time the engagement had been broken. Last Spring the pianist was seized with a desperate illness and spent some time in a hospital near the point of death. At that time Miss Clemens spent a great deal of time with him and they were married soon after his recovery and left for Europe.

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