Peripheral as it may (or may not) be to Arianne’s inquiry, perhaps it is at least fun that I found Clemen’s interest in twins one of many handy devices for “authenticating” my portrayal of him in my novel "Diamond Jubilee: Sherlock Holmes, Mark Twain, and the Peril of the Empire." Early in the story, Clemens tells Holmes about a strange man he saw in South Africa and then was surprised to encounter again in London. Below, Dr. Watson describes the exchange:
Holmes said, "Mr. Clemens, I realise that you have already said so, but may I assume that you are absolutely certain it was the same man?”
“Mr. Holmes,” Clemens said, leaning forward a bit and speaking in his most intense tone, “you must assume that. I have heard of your skills, even besides the doctor’s little romances about your work. Certain of my London friends speak of your powers of observation in tones approaching reverence. But I have my own skills in that way—as a writer it is my job, my very passion, to take in my surroundings. I survive only by my capacity to do so. I recognised this man thoroughly and absolutely. Any differences caused by the location or his dress were of no more consequence to my recognition of him than if your mother arrived before your eyes wearing a new coat.”
“We will regard the matter as settled then,” said Holmes. I was momentarily distracted; though of course I knew something of Holmes' background, the idea of him having a mother still took me by surprise.
Holmes continued. “The likelihood of twins seems ruled out by the damaged eye.”
“Twins,” said Clemens with a sudden smile. “I had not thought about twins. Funny that it didn’t occur to me.”
Bozeman, MT 59715
[log in to unmask]
> On Aug 27, 2017, at 4:29 PM, Arianne . <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thanks! What I'm interested in is what OTHER people have written about
> Twain and twins. I'm familiar with his work and party turns on twins.
> Appreciate your response!
> Arianne Laidlaw
> On Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 2:47 PM, Martin Zehr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Arianne: Two "twin" associations come to mind. The first is Twain's
>> fascination with Chang & Eng, the Siamese twins, the subject of "Personal
>> Habits of the Siamese Twins," published in 1869, and also the basis of the
>> hilarious, and politically incorrect portrayal of the Siamese Twins by
>> Twain and a collaborator, at a costume party, circa 1906(?), described in
>> Michael Shelden's biography "Mark Twain: Man in White......" Surely Twain
>> would have known about the Siamese twins long before his 1869 piece. Now,
>> if memory serves, there are also the Levin brothers, from his Hannibal
>> childhood, although I can't swear that they were twins, only that they were
>> referred to by Sam and his friends as "Twenty-two."
>> In the category of "advice worth the price."
>> Martin Zehr
>> On Sun, Aug 27, 2017 at 4:30 PM, Arianne . <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> I've been re-reading my thesis written in 1963 and thinking about what I
>>> discovered since at the Mark Twain Papers in 1978. (Life tends to
>>> intervene). If it is not inappropriate to ask, could anyone tell me who,
>>> if anyone, did the best most thorough job on the relationship between
>>> and his brother Henry since then? As far as I know, nobody. I see Henry
>>> as the source of Twain's interest in and identification with twins.
>>> Back in 1963, right after handing in the paper to the University of
>>> at El Paso for my MA, I left for Peace Corps service in Cameroons, West
>>> Africa. When I came back I went for my Phd at University of California
>>> Berkeley. Had to leave after only three months when my mother had a
>>> stroke. I was there because of the Mark Twain Papers and asked to see
>>> first scrapbook which, I think, was delivered to me by Fredrick Anderson,
>>> who in 1978 eventually became my mentor. When I came back to Berkeley
>>> after an interval at home in Sacramento, I learned he had died which
>>> my heart. Nevertheless, it was back then that I met Robert Hirst who
>>> something I'd written about another issue I'd stumbled upon in Twain's
>>> first scrabbook. He never read the original thesis which brougt me there
>>> in the first place, though.
>>> I wrote the thesis, went to the Peace Corps, and entered UC Berkeley as
>>> Jeanne Adamson. When I returned to the Mark Twain Papers in 1978, I was
>>> Arianne Laidlaw. The ladies will understand. Passports confirm all my
>>> name changes.
>>> Looking forward to any views
>>> Arianne Laidlaw
> Arianne Laidlaw A '58