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Excerpt from Mark Twain, A Biography Vol II, Part 2
From CLXXXVII. Some Literary Matters

... On the evening before the lecture Mrs. James T. Fields had him to her house to dine with Dr. Holmes, then not far from the end of his long, beautiful life.--[He died that same year, October, 1894.]

Clemens wrote to Paris of their evening together:

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes never goes out (he is in his 84th year), but he came out this time--said he wanted to "have a time" once more with me.

Mrs. Fields said Aldrich begged to come, & went away crying because she wouldn't let him. She allowed only her family (Sarah Orne Jewett & sister) to be present, because much company would overtax Dr. Holmes.

Well, he was just delightful! He did as brilliant and beautiful talking (& listening) as he ever did in his life, I guess. Fields and Jewett said he hadn't been in such splendid form for years. He had ordered his carriage for 9. The coachman sent in for him at 9, but he said, "Oh, nonsense!--leave glories & grandeurs like these? Tell him to go away & come in an hour!"

At 10 he was called for again, & Mrs. Fields, getting uneasy, rose, but he wouldn't go--& so we rattled ahead the same as ever. Twice more Mrs. Fields rose, but he wouldn't go--& he didn't go till half past 10--an unwarrantable dissipation for him in these days. He was prodigiously complimentary about some of my books, & is having Pudd'nhead read to him. I told him you & I used the Autocrat as a courting book & marked it all through, & that you keep it in the sacred green box with the loveletters, & it pleased him.

Contributed by Paine, Albert Bigelow


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