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The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg, and Other Stories Part 52

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Lo, for the Honours, cold Neglect instead!

For Respite, disputatious Heirs a Bed Of Thorns for them will furnish. Go, Seek not Here for Peace--but Yonder--with the Dead.

For whether Zal and Rustam heed this Sign, And even smitten thus, will not repine, Let Zal and Rustam shuffle as they may, The Fine once levied they must Cash the Fine.

O Voices of the Long Ago that were so dear!

Fall'n Silent, now, for many a Mould'ring Year, O whither are ye flown? Come back, And break my heart, but bless my grieving ear.

Some happy Day my Voice will Silent fall, And answer not when some that love it call: Be glad for Me when this you note--and think I've found the Voices lost, beyond the Pall.

So let me grateful drain the Magic Bowl That medicines hurt Minds and on the Soul The Healing of its Peace doth lay--if then Death claim me--Welcome be his Dole!

SANNA, SWEDEN, September 15th.

Private.--If you don't know what Riggs's Disease of the Teeth is, the dentist will tell you. I've had it--and it is more than interesting.

--M.T.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Fearing that there might be some mistake, we submitted a proof of this article to the (American) gentlemen named in it, and asked them to correct any errors of detail that might have crept in among the facts.

They reply with some asperity that errors cannot creep in among facts where there are no facts for them to creep in among; and that none are discoverable in this article, but only baseless aberrations of a disordered mind. They have no recollection of any such night in Boston, nor elsewhere; and in their opinion there was never any such night.

They have met Mr. Twain, but have had the prudence not to intrust any privacies to him--particularly under oath; and they think they now see that this prudence was justified, since he has been untrustworthy enough to even betray privacies which had no existence. Further, they think it a strange thing that Mr. Twain, who was never invited to meddle with anybody's boyhood dreams but his own, has been so gratuitously anxious to see that other people's are placed before the world that he has quite lost his head in his zeal and forgotten to make any mention of his own at all. Provided we insert this explanation, they are willing to let his article pa.s.s; otherwise they must require its suppression in the interest of truth.

P.S.--These replies having left us in some perplexity, and also in some fear lest they distress Mr. Twain if published without his privity, we judged it but fair to submit them to him and give him an opportunity to defend himself. But he does not seem to be troubled, or even aware that he is in a delicate situation. He merely says: 'Do not worry about those former young people. They can write good literature, but when it comes to speaking the truth, they have not had my training.--MARK TWAIN.' The last sentence seems obscure, and liable to an unfortunate construction.

It plainly needs refas.h.i.+oning, but we cannot take the responsibility of doing it.--EDITOR.

IN MEMORIAM

OLIVIA SUSAN CLEMENS

DIED AUGUST 18, 1896; AGED 24

In a fair valley--oh, how long ago, how long ago!-- Where all the broad expanse was clothed in vines, And fruitful fields and meadows starred with flowers, And clear streams wandered at their idle will; And still lakes slept, their burnished surfaces A dream of painted clouds, and soft airs Went whispering with odorous breath, And all was peace--in that fair vale, Shut from the troubled world, a nameless hamlet drowsed.

Hard by, apart, a temple stood; And strangers from the outer world Pa.s.sing, noted it with tired eyes, And seeing, saw it not: A glimpse of its fair form--an answering momentary thrill-- And they pa.s.sed on, careless and unaware.

They could not know the cunning of its make; They could not know the secret shut up in its heart; Only the dwellers of the hamlet knew; They knew that what seemed bra.s.s was gold; What marble seemed, was ivory; The glories that enriched the milky surfaces-- The trailing vines, and interwoven flowers, And tropic birds a-wing, clothed all in tinted fires-- They knew for what they were, not what they seemed: Encrustings all of gems, not perishable splendours of the brush.

They knew the secret spot where one must stand-- They knew the surest hour, the proper slant of sun-- To gather in, unmarred, undimmed, The vision of the fane in all its fairy grace, A fainting dream against the opal sky.

And more than this. They knew That in the temple's inmost place a spirit dwelt, Made all of light!

For glimpses of it they had caught Beyond the curtains when the priests That served the altar came and went.

All loved that light and held it dear That had this partial grace; But the adoring priests alone who lived By day and night submerged in its immortal glow Knew all its power and depth, and could appraise the loss If it should fade and fail and come no more.

All this was long ago--so long ago!

The light burned on; and they that wors.h.i.+pped it, And they that caught its flash at intervals and held it dear, Contented lived in its secure possession. Ah, How long ago it was!

And then when they Were nothing fearing, and G.o.d's peace was in the air, And none was prophesying harm, The vast disaster fell: Where stood the temple when the sun went down Was vacant desert when it rose again!

Ah yes! 'Tis ages since it chanced!

So long ago it was, That from the memory of the hamlet-folk the Light has pa.s.sed-- They scarce believing, now, that once it was, Or if believing, yet not missing it, And reconciled to have it gone.

Not so the priests! Oh, not so The stricken ones that served it day and night, Adoring it, abiding in the healing of its peace: They stand, yet, where erst they stood Speechless in that dim morning long ago; And still they gaze, as then they gazed, And murmur, 'It will come again; It knows our pain--it knows--it knows-- Ah surely it will come again.

S.L.C.

LAKE LUCERNE, August 18, 1897.

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