Autograph Letter, Signed. Samuel L. Clemens, Mark Twain.
Autograph Letter, Signed.
Autograph Letter, Signed.
Autograph Letter, Signed.
(Twain, Mark)

Autograph Letter, Signed.

(Hartford): N.p., 1889. (3)pp., rectos only. Dated July 15, 1889, from Clemens to his daughter, Clara, signed “Papa,” about a train disaster in Virginia. An update about the wreck arrived in a letter while Clemens was dining with his friend, Charles Dudley Warner, a fellow American writer. Clemens’s vivid description of the event brings alive the immediacy of the disaster. He writes, “... that late accident still grows & grows. There had been a washout; several hundred feet of the road were gone; two hours after midnight that sleeping-car train dashed in to that vacant space in a pouring rain, & mingled its wreckage with the chaos of rocks, weeds, rails & freshet-rubbish contributed by the washout; the crushed passengers woke up & wailed out in that rainy thick darkness; then the cheerful car-stove came to their help; & gave them light, & burnt them up.” He goes on to describe how a young girl (Miss Patty Carrington) was killed in the fire, and how the girl’s adoptive mother, Mrs. Judge Thompson, who survived the crash, lost all of her clothing and baggage containing two centuries-worth of family heirlooms as well. The accident to which he refers happened on July 2, 1889, on the Norfolk & Western Railroad line near Thaxton, VA. It was the most serious accident in the railroad’s history: seventeen people were killed and many more were injured. Clemens closes the letter on a lighter note, describing a piece by Beethoven performed by his neice: “the one where, all along & all along, half a dozen of the bass notes keep rolling back down stairs a little way — only to the first landing; & get up again & roll down again & are the darling of the piece & the charm of it.” He signs the letter, “Goodbye dear heart — write me again. Papa. P.S. I don’t mean this letter as an answer to your letter, it is merely a response.” With the original envelope addressed to Clara in Elmira, NY, where Clemens and his family kept a summer home. A dramatic and historical letter that captures Clemens’s instinct for storytelling. Fine. Item #24731

Price: $7,500.00

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