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John Huffman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
John Huffman <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 19 Jun 1995 11:53:41 -0500
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        Since Mark Twain had two daughters die prematurely, it is unclear
to whom you are referring.  Here is a little information about his
children which I trust will be of some usefullness.
        Samuel Clemens had four children.  Langdon was born prematurely
in Buffalo on November 7, 1870 and died on June 2, 1872.  Sam blamed
himself for his son's death and sailed for England two months later.  He
did not return until January, 1874.
        Olivia Susan Clemens (Susy) was born March 19, 1872 in Elmira,
New York and died of spinal menigitis on August 18, 1896.  Again Mark
Twain left for England, spending the winter of 1896 there.  Susy had been
working on his biography at the time of her death.  When Sam saw her
unfinished last sentence, he made this comment:
        "When I looked at that arrested sentence that ends the little
book it seems as if the hand that traced it cannot be far -- it is gone
for a moment only, and will come again and finish it.  But that is a
dream; a creature of the heart, not of the mind --  a feeling, a longing,
not a mental product; the same that lured Aaron Burr, old, gray, forlone,
forsaken, to the pier day after day, week after week, there to stand in
the gloom and chill of the dawn, gazing seaward through veiling mists and
sleet and snow for the ship which he knew was gone down, the ship that
bore all his treasure -- his daughter."
        Carved upon Susy's headstone in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira,
NY are the following words:
        "Warm summer sun shine kindly here;
        Warm southern wind blow softly here;
        Green sod above lie light, lie light --
        Good night, dear heart, good night, good night."

        Clara Clemens (Bay) was born in June, 1874 and died in San Diego,
California on November 20, 1962 of heart trouble.
        Jane Clemens (Jean) was born on July 26, 1880 and died in the
bathtub of an epilectic seizure on December 24, 1909 at her father's home
in Redding Conn. (Stormfield).  Mark Twain wrote in his autobiography "I
saw her mother buried.  I said I would never endure that horror again;
that I would never again look into the grave of any one dear to me.  I
have kept to that.  They will take Jean from this house tomorrow and bear
her to Elmira, NY, where lie those of us that have been release, but I
shall not follow."  His tribute to her was his last piece of writing.  It
can be found in "The Autobiography of Mark Twain," edited by Charles
Neider and published by Harper Brothers.  The last chapter was given to
Albert Bigelow Paine to be added later.  I highly recommend reading this
chapter, beginning with the words, "Jean is dead!"  It speaks volumes
about Mark Twain's grief and it's impact upon him.  You might also look
at "The Death of Jean," in which Mark Twain said: "In Jean's loss I am
almost bankrupt, and my life is a bitterness, but I am content:  for she
has been enriched with the most precious of all gifts -- that gift which
makes all other gifts mean and poor -- death."
        After Jean's death, he left for Bermuda amidst rumors that he was
ill and depressed.  He died four months later.

John Huffman
Site Administrator
Mark Twain Birthplace SHS