New Letters Show Twain's Loneliness In His Last 4 Years
"When I am not away from home I live in bed, to beat the lonesomeness," Mark Twain wrote in 1906, four years before his death.
Yesterday more light was shed on his last years by the publication of letters written between 1900 and 1910 to Mrs. Mary Benjamin Rogers, one of his honorary nieces.
"Mark Twain's Letters to Mary," edited by Lewis Leary, Professor of English at Columbia University, reveal varying moods - broad humor, satire, bitterness, dejection. With his wife dead, his younger daughter incurably ill and his older daughter often away from home, the humorist turned to writing brooding, philosophical stories.
During this time he found relief from what he called his "rage against brutal Nature" in his friendship with Mary Rogers, the daughter-in-law of his business adviser, Henry H. Rogers. She was 25 years old and Twain 71 when their correspondence began in earnest in 1906. "What a useful creature you are, Saccharin!" he wrote that year. "I can entertain myself with scribbling incoherently to you, you have to put up with it."
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