Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mark Twain

Life was not a valuable gift, but death was. . . . [D]eath was sweet, death was gentle, death was kind; death healed the bruised spirit and the broken heart, and gave them rest and forgetfulness; death was man's best friend; when man could endure life no longer, death came and set him free.

From his story, Letters from the Earth, which was published posthumously.

In 1895, Twain was in serious financial straits as a result of his investment in a new typesetting machine that never worked.  So he agreed to undertake an around-the-world lecture tour in order to pay off his debts.  

While Twain was in Europe on that tour, his 24-year-old daughter, Susy Clemens, died from spinal meningitis.  Twain was informed of her illness, but was unable to make it back to be with her before she died.  He was devastated by this loss, and much of his late writing is cynical and bitter.

Mark Twain was born on this date in 1835.

Olivia Susan ("Susy") Clemens

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