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"Marcus D. Parsons" <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 5 Nov 1995 19:47:38 -0600
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Cyril Clemens of Kirkwood, MO, published a smpaper bound booklet entitled
"Mark Twain's Jest Book" in 1957 (c) Mark Twain Journal; Kirkwood, MO.
This is his account of the famous story on page 25.

    Mark Twain told the Editor's father, Dr. James Ross Clemens of St.
Louis, how he worked.
    "When I stop writing for the day, Dr. Jim, I always leave off in the
middle of a sentence.  This is so I can begin again the next morning
right off, without having to read back to refresh my memory."
    Once this knsman whom he nicknamed, Dr. Jim, became serously ill at
the same hotel in London where Mark happened to be stopping.  The press
confused the two Clemenses, and before long the news spread that Mark
himself was not only ill--but actually dead.  A number of reporters
called at the apartment to secure details of the funeral.  But when Mark
himself opened the door, they nearly fainted in astonishment.  Learning
the purpose of their visit, he simply remarked, "Well, you boys find a
pretty lively corpse, don't you?.
    One young reporter was so visibly disappointed at missing what had
promised to be a great scoop, that Clemens took pity upon the neophyte
and said,
    "Simply cable your New York papaer that the *Report of Mark Twain's
Death has been Greatly Exaggerated!"*
    Commenting upon the incident in after years, Mark Twain would always
conclude his account by saying:
    "But even my kinsman, Dr. Jim escaped death--probably by some
chicanery of the tribe of Clemens!"

Marc Parsons
Saint Charles, Missouri