Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 3 (Samuel Clemens) - University of California Press - 2015 - 747 pages

Samuel Clemens wrote a 500,000-word autobiography towards the end of his life.  The work was intended to be a way to combat the copyright laws of the day.  In his time, authors and their heirs were only allowed to control the sale of written works for 42 years.  As many of the Twain volumes were approaching that age, he planned to reissue them with autobiographical forewords, thereby restarting copyrights for his remaining heirs, daughters Clara and Jean.  Work on the autobiography was suspended in April 1909 when Clemens discovered a plot by his business manager (Ashcroft) and his secretary (Lyon) to spirit the Twain estate away from his daughters.  Clemens then made the case against his employees to his lawyer (Lark) in a 433-page manuscript written over a five-month period.  The correspondence to Lark (known as "Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript") was never intended for publication but was passed to the estate in care of executors (Loomis & German).  Loomis passed the manuscript to German who died in 1964.  The papers were rescued from a trash heap by German's daughter (Janet Penfield) and eventually donated to the Mark Twain Project in 1973.  A 120-page summary of Ashcroft-Lyon is included in this final volume of the autobiography.

Clemens abruptly ended the writing of the autobiography after his daughter Jean died suddenly on Christmas Eve 1909.  Jean had a history of epilepsy but had not had a seizure for several months.  She drowned in her bath tub after a full day of planning for the Christmas celebration.  Since his only remaining heir (Clara) had married a wealthy man and moved to Europe, Clemens did not attempt to reset the copyrights and instead instructed his estate not to publish the autobiography until 100 years after his death.  At the same time, the U.S. Congress increased the copyright limit to 56 years.  Four months after Jean's death, Samuel Clemens returned to his home from a Bermuda vacation in a wheelchair and died a week later at the age of 74.  His official three-volume autobiography covers 2,200 pages not including photographs.  [JAM 2/29/2016]

Following are comments by Clemens about his daughter's dog after the death of Jean Clemens.

"Her dog has been wandering about the grounds to-day, comradeless and forlorn.  I have seen him from the windows.  She got him from Germany.  He has tall ears and looks exactly like a wolf.  He was educated in Germany, and knows no language but the German.  Jean gave him no orders save in that tongue.  And so, when the burglar alarm made a fierce clamor at midnight a fortnight ago, the butler, who is French and knows no German, tried to interest the dog in the supposed burglar.  He remembered two or three of Jean's German commands (without knowing their meaning), and he shouted them to the eager dog.  'Leg' Dich!' (lie down!) The dog obeyed - to the butler's distress.  'Sei ruhig!' (be still!)  The dog stretched himself on the floor, and even stopped batting the floor with his tail.  Then Jean came running, in her night clothes, and shouted 'Los!' (go! fly! rush!) and the dog sped away like the wind, tearing the silences to tatters with his bark.  Jean wrote me, to Bermuda, about the incident.  It was the last letter I was ever to receive from her bright head and her competent hand.  The dog will not be neglected."

"About three in the morning, while wandering about the house in deep silences, as one does in times like these, when there is a dumb sense that something has been lost that will never be found again, yet must be sought, if only for the employment the useless seeking gives, I came upon Jean's dog in the hall down stairs, and noted that he did not spring to greet me, according to his hospitable habit, but came slow and sorrowfully; also I remembered that he had not visited Jean's apartment since the tragedy.  Poor fellow, did he know?  I think so.  Always when Jean was abroad in the open he was with her; always when she was in the house he was with her, in the night as well as in the day.  Her parlor was his bedroom.  Whenever I happened upon him on the ground floor he always followed me about, and when I went up stairs he went too - in tumultuous gallop.  But now it was different: after petting him a little I went to the library - he remained behind; when I went up stairs he did not follow me, save with his wistful eyes.  He has wonderful eyes - big, and king, and eloquent.  He can talk with them.  He is a beautiful creature, and is of the breed of the New York police-dogs.  I do not like dogs because they bark when there is no occasion for it; but I have liked this one from the beginning, because he belonged to Jean, and because he never barks except when there is occasion - which is not oftener than twice a week."

"Christmas Night.  This afternoon they took her away from her room.  As soon as I might, I went down to the library, and there she lay, in her coffin, dressed in exactly the same clothes she wore when she stood at the other end of the same room on the 6th of October last, as Clara's chief bridesmaid.  Her face was radiant with happy excitement then; it was the same face now, with the dignity of death and the peace of God upon it.  They told me the first mourner to come was the dog.  He came uninvited, and stood up on his hind legs and rested his forepaws upon the trestle, and took a long last look at the face that was so dear to him, then went his way silently as he had come.  He knows."

"December 26.  The dog came to see me at eight o'clock this morning.  He was very affectionate, poor orphan!  My room will be his quarters hereafter."