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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:


BAMBINO - the cat

Mark Twain Has Lost a Black Cat.
From the New York American.

Have you seen a distinguished looking cat that looks as if it might be lost? If you have take it to Mark Twain, for it may be his. The following advertisement was received at the American office Saturday night:

A CAST LOST - FIVE DOLLARS REWARD for his restoration to Mark Twain, No. 21 Fifth avenue. Large and intensely black; thick, velvety fur; has a faint fringe of white hair across his chest; not easy to find in ordinary light.
- reprint in Kansas City Star, April 5, 1905

Photo of Bambino by Mark Twain's daughter, Jean Clemens
from the archives of the Mark Twain Papers, University of California, Berkeley.

It has been discovered that the reason your cat declines milk and meat and lets on to live by miraculous intervention is, that he catches mice privately.
- quoted in My Father, Mark Twain by Clara Clemens

Testimonial from Col. George Harvey, Mark Twain's publisher:
I think that perhaps the funniest thing about Mark Twain now is not his writing, but his bed. He lies in bed a good deal; he says he has formed the habit. His bed is the largest one I ever say, and on it is the weirdest collection of objects you ever saw, enough to furnish a Harlem flat--books, writing materials, clothes, any and everything that could foregather in his vicinity.

He looks quite happy rising out of the mass, and over all prowls a huge black cat of a very unhappy disposition. She snaps and snarls and claws and bites, and Mark Twain takes his turn with the rest; when she gets tired of tearing up manuscript she scratches him and he bears it with a patience wonderful to behold.
- interview subtitled "Mark Twain's Bed," Washington Post, March 26, 1905, p. F12


Bambino and the candle

Testimonial from Clara Clemens, Mark Twain's daughter:
In the early autumn Father rented a house on Fifth Avenue, corner of Ninth Street, number 21, where he, Jean, the faithful Katie, and the secretary settled down for the winter. I was taken to a sanatorium for a year. During the first months of my cure I was completely cut off from friends and family, with no one to speak to but the doctor and nurse. I must modify this statement, however, for I had smuggled a black kitten into my bedroom, although it was against the rules of the sanatorium to have any animals in the place. I called the cat Bambino and it was permitted to remain with me until the unfortunate day when it entered one of the patient's rooms who hated cats. Bambino came near giving the good lady a cataleptic fit, so I was invited to dispose of my pet after that. I made a present of it to Father, knowing he would love it, and he did. A little later I was allowed to receive a limited number of letters, and Father wrote that Bambino was homesick for me and refused all meat and milk, but contradicted his statement a couple of days later saying: "It has been discovered that the reason your cat declines milk and meat and lets on to live by miraculous intervention is, that he catches mice privately."
- My Father, Mark Twain by Clara Clemens


Testimonial from Katy Leary, Mark Twain's servant:
Mr. Clemens borrowed a kitten one time, called Bambino, from Clara, who had him in the sanitarium, and had trained him to wash his own face in the bowl every morning -- which shows that he was a very smart little cat. He used to have this kitten up in his room at the Fifth Avenue house and he taught it to put out a light, too. He had a tiny little lamp to light his cigars with at the head of the bed, and after he got all fixed and didn't want the light any more, he taught that cat to put his paw on the light and put it out. Bambino would jump on the bed, look at Mr. Clemens to see if he was through with the light, and when Mr. Clemens would bow twice to him, he'd jump over on to that table quick, and put his little paw right on the lamp! Mr. Clemens was always showing him off; he did that for a lot of people that come there to call.

One night he got kind of gay, when he heard some cats calling from the back fence, so he found a window open and he stole out. We looked high and low but couldn't find him. Mr. Clemens felt so bad that he advertised in all the papers for him. He offered a reward for anybody that would bring the cat back. My goodness! the people that came bringing cats to that house! A perfect stream! They all wanted to see Mr. Clemens, of course.

Two or three nights after, Katherine heard a cat meowing across the street in General Sickles' back yard, and there was Bambino--large as life! So she brought him right home. Mr. Clemens was delighted and then he advertised that his cat was found! But the people kept coming just the same with all kinds of cats for him--anything to get a glimpse of Mr. Clemens!
- A Lifetime with Mark Twain by Mary Lawton

Also see: "A Talk with Mark Twain's Cat" at this site.

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