and now here they were once more, two old men with the hills still fresh and green, the river still sweeping by and rippling in the sun. Standing there together and looking across to the low -lying Illinois shore, and to the green islands where they had played, and to Lover’s Leap on the south, the man who had been Sam Clemens said:
“John, that is one of the loveliest sights I ever saw. Down there by the island is the place we used to swim, and yonder is where a man was drowned, and there’s where the steamboat sank. Down there on Lover’s Leap is where the Millerites put on their robes one night to go to heaven. None of them went that night, but I suppose most of them have gone now.
John Briggs said:
“Sam, do you remember the day we stole the peaches from old man Price and one of his bow-legged niggers came after us with the dogs, and how we made up our minds that we’d catch that nigger and drown him?”
They came to the place where they had pried out the great rock that had so nearly brought them to grief. Sam Clemens said:
“John, if we had killed that man we’d have had a dead nigger on our hands without a cent to pay for him.”
And so they talked on of this thing and that, and by and by they drove along the river, and Sam Clemens pointed out the place where he swam it and was taken with a cramp on the return swim, and believed for a while that his career was about to close.
“Once, near the shore, I thought I would let down,” he said, “but was afraid to, knowing that if the water was deep I was a goner, but finally my knees struck the sand and I crawled out. That was the closest call I ever had.”
They drove by the place where the haunted house had stood. They drank from a well they had always known, and from the bucket as they had always drunk, talking and always talking, fondling lovingly and lingeringly that most beautiful of all our possessions, the past.
“Sam,” said John, when they parted, “this is probably the last time we shall meet on this earth. God bless you. Perhaps somewhere we shall renew our friendship.”
“John,” was the answer, “this day has been worth thousands of dollars to me. We were like brothers once, and I feel that we are the same now.
“Good-by, John. I’ll try to meet you—somewhere” [MTB 1168-71].
Powers writes of Sam’s departure from Hannibal on his way to Columbia, Mo. by train:
The next morning, a Sunday, he walked with a Baptist minister ahead of a throng to the railroad station, where he posed for photographers in his gray suit and homburg, a spray of flowers in his fist. As he strolled in the sunlight, an ancient specter materialized from the depths of the crowd…. It was deaf Tom Nash, who shrieked out: “Same damned fools, Sam!” [MT A Life 613].
Sam’s notebook: indicated that he intended to use Edwin Ransford’s line “In the Days When We Went
Gypsying” in his next Huck and Tom Story [Gribben 569: NB 45 TS 15]. Sam also entered: “Lease (5 months) of the York Harbor house begins / Rent, $600 for the 5 months. / Two payments: / July 1, $300 / Sept. 1, 300” [ibid].
Livy’s diary: “Mr Harriott (Clara Morris’ husband, Frederick[)] called. Dr Parry & Miss Grace Darling John
Howells was here for tea” [MTP: DV161].
Hastings MacAdam’s article in the St. Louis Republic, “Mark Twain Visits His Old Sweetheart,” ran on p. 1, sec. 3 [MTCI 444-8].
Dial Magazine, p. 390, ran a brief review of “A Double Barrelled Detective Story.” “The story, which is slight, promises well in the opening chapters, but it may be said not to be worked out, and leaves the reader disappointed” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Third Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Autumn 1979 p. 187].
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.