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TOPEKA (Kansas) WEEKLY CAPITAL, July 11, 1889, p. 3





I was recently sitting in Mark Twain's home in Hartford waiting for the humorist to return from his daily walk. Suddenly sounds of devotional singing came in through the open window from the direction of the outer conservatory. The singing was low, yet the sad tremor in the voice seemed to give it special carrying power.

"You have quite a devotional domestic," I said to a member of the family who came in shortly afterward.

"That is not a domestic who is singing," was the answer. "Step to this window, look in the conservatory and see for yourself."

I did so. There, sitting alone on one of the rustic benches in the flower house, was a small, elderly lady. Keeping time with the first finger of her right hand, as if with a baton, she was slightly swaying her frail body as she sang, softly yet sweetly, Charles Wesley's hymn "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," and Sarah Flower Adams' "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

But the singer was not a domestic. It was Harriet Beecher Stowe! There sat the once brilliant authoress like a child crooning a favorite air.


"You are writing a new book, I see," I said to Mark Twain. "Am I?" asked the humorist, with a drawl and a smile. "Oh, yes," he resounded, "I guess I am. You know that Henry Ward Beecher used to tell us that it ain't healthy to read your own writings and I am of the opinion that it's much worse to talk about a book before it is published. The public is apt to tire of it before it comes out and by the time the book is on the market they think it's a pretty stale affair, and as my new book will want all the favor that's lying around loose, I guess I won't say anything about." Upon inquiry at the humorist's publishing house, however, I learned that the book will be issued December 10. Its title will be 'A Yankee at the Court of King Arthur.'

[Note: This interview may have been conducted by Edward Bok.]

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