twainquotes logo

Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search


Chicago Daily Tribune, December 21, 1909, p. 5

Humorist Says He May Not Be Able to Finish Life History.
Death of H. H. Rogers Part Cause for Break in His Health.

New York, Dec. 20. -- [Special.] -- Mark Twain, who for a month has been in Bermuda, where he celebrated his seventy-fourth birthday on Nov. 30, returned today on the steamship Bermudian out of sorts physically and even disinclined to jest. He was amiably sand and his familiar drawl lacked the humorous note.

He said he did not like the transition from the pleasant temperature and green fields of Bermuda to the chilly atmosphere of New York. He put his hand on his left breast, indicating that his trouble seemed to be chiefly there, and attributed it to indigestion. He was accompanied by Albert Bigelow Paine, who is assisting him with his autobiography.

Those who saw the humorist were unanimous in declaring that his present condition was due in a great measure to the death last summer of his lifelong companion, H. H. Rogers, the former Standard Oil magnate. Mr. Rogers and Mr. Clemens were boon companions and spent many hours together. Soon after the death of Mr. Rogers the humorist began to decline. It was in an attempt to regain his lost strength and vitality that he took the trip to Bermuda.

Autobiography Is Not Ended.

"I have spend most of my time in Bermuda riding," said Mr. Clemens. "I am getting too old to play golf or tennis and I have no inclination to do much work. When I got down to Bermuda that pain in my breast left me; now, on my return, I have got it again. I have five or six unfinished tasks, including my autobiography, and I do not know when I will finish them. I have done almost nothing in the last three years. I may take up my autobiography again in a few weeks. I have published 100,000 words and expect to have 500,000 published, mostly after I am dead."

In regard to the challenge of Maj. Charles Gonier of St. Louis to play with him and Mathias Dougherty the continuation of the game of euchre they had played when all three, the last surviving members of the St. Louis Euchre club, sat up all night in St. Louis away back in 1863, the humorist said:

"I read that challenge in a dispatch from St. Louis. I am not going to continue the game. I am not well enough and I have not the time."

Advocate of Woman's Suffrage.

He had this to say about woman's suffrage:

"I not only advocate it now, but have advocated it earnestly for the last fifty years. As to the militant suffragettes, I have noted that many women believe in militant methods. You might advocate one way of securing the rights and I might advocate another, they both might help to bring about the result desired. To win freedom always involved hard fighting. I believe in women doing what they deem necessary to secure their rights."

Mr. Clemens said he had been invited to lecture on woman suffrage by women's organizations. They knew where he stood on the matter.

"I cannot oblige them," he said, again putting his hand over his left breast; "I am troubled too much here. I would not have the strength to deliver a lecture. I won't lecture any more. My work is over in this life and this world."

It was not with his usual firmness of step that the humorist came down the gangplank.

Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search