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To-morrow will be the thirty-sixth anniversary of our marriage. My wife passed from this life one year and eight months ago, in Florence, Italy, after an unbroken illness of twenty-two months' duration.

About two o'clock she composed herself as if for sleep, and never moved again. She fell into unconsciousness and so remained two days and five hours, until Tuesday evening at seven minutes past seven, when the release came. She was twenty-four years and five months old.

In Heidelberg, when she was six, she noticed that the Schloss gardens--

There was one young fellow, brisk, but not bright, overpoweringly pleasant and cordial, in his way. He said his mother used to teach school in Elmira, New York, where he was born and bred and where the family continued to reside, and that she would be very glad to know that he had met me and shaken hands, for he said: "She is always talking about you. She holds you in high esteem, although, as she says, she has to confess that of all the boys that ever she had in her school, you were the most troublesome."

"I am a Republican; I expect to remain a Republican always. It is my purpose, and I am not a changeable person. But look at the condition of things. The Republican party goes right along, from year to year, scoring triumph after triumph, until it has come to think that the political power of the United States is its property and that it is a sort of insolence for any other party to aspire to any part of that power. Nothing can be worse for a country than this. To lodge all power in one party and keep it there is to insure bad government and the sure and gradual deterioration of the public morals. The parties ought to be so nearly equal in strength as to make it necessary for the leaders on both sides to choose the very best men they can find. Democratic fathers ought to divide up their sons between the two parties if they can, and do their best in this way to equalize the powers. I have only one son. He is a little boy, but I am already instructing him, persuading him, preparing him, to vote against me when he comes of age, let me be on whichever side I may. He is already a good Democrat, and I want him to remain a good Democrat--until I become a Democrat myself. Then I shall shift him to the other party, if I can."

New York, Thursday, January 18, 1906Senator Tillman of South Carolina has been making a speech--day before yesterday--of frank and intimate criticism of the President--the President of the United States, as he calls him; whereas, so far as my knowledge goes, there has been no such functionary as President of the United States for forty years, perhaps, if we except Cleveland. I do not call to mind any other President of the United States--there may have been one or two--perhaps one or two, who were not always and persistently presidents of the Republican party, but were now and then for a brief interval really Presidents of the United States. Tillman introduces into this speech the matter of the expulsion of Mrs. Morris from the White House, and I think his arraignment of the President was a good and capable piece of work. At any rate, his handling of it suited me very well and tasted very good in my mouth. I was glad that there was somebody to take this matter up, whether from a generous motive or from an ungenerous one, and give it an airing. It was needed. The whole nation, and the entire press, have been sitting by in meek and slavish silence, everybody privately wishing--just as was my own case--that some person with some sense of the proprieties would rise up and denounce this outrage as it ought to be denounced. Tillman makes a point which charms me. I wanted to use it myself, days ago, but I was already arranging a scheme in another matter of public concern which may invite a brick or two in my direction, and one entertainment of this sort at a time is plenty for me. That point was this: that the President is always prodigal of letters and telegrams to Tom, Dick, and Harry, about everything and nothing. He seems never to lack time from his real duties to attend to duties that do not exist. So, at the very time when he should have been throwing off one or two little lines to say to Mrs. Morris and her friends that, being a gentleman, he was hastening to say he was sorry that his assistant secretary had been turning the nation's official mansion into a sailor boarding-house, and that he would admonish Mr. Barnes, and the rest of the reception-room garrison, to deal more gently with the erring in future, and to abstain from any conduct in the White House which would rank as disgraceful in any other respectable dwelling in the land. . . .I don't like Tillman. His second cousin killed an editor, three years ago, without giving that editor a chance to defend himself. I recognize that it is almost always wise, and is often in a manner necessary, to kill an editor, but I think that when a man is a United States Senator he ought to require his second cousin to refrain as long as he can, and then do it in a handsome way, running some personal risk himself. I have not known Tillman to do many things that were greatly to his credit during his political life, but I am glad of the position which he has taken this time. The President has persistently refused to listen to such friends of his as are not insane--men who have tried to persuade him to disavow Mr. Barnes's conduct and express regret for that occurrence. And now Mr. Tillman uses that point which I spoke of a minute ago, and uses it with telling effect. He reminds the Senate that at the very time that the President's dignity would not allow him to send to Mrs. Morris or her friends a kindly and regretful line, he had time enough to send a note of compliment and admiration to a prize-fighter in the far West. If the President had been an unpopular person, that point would have been seized upon early, and much and disastrous notice taken of it. But, as I have suggested before, the nation and the newspapers have maintained a loyal and humiliated silence about it, and have waited prayerfully and hopefully for some reckless person to say the things which were in their hearts, and which they could not bear to utter. Mrs. Morris embarrasses the situation, and extends and keeps alive the discomfort of eighty millions of people, by lingering along near to death, yet neither rallying nor dying; to do either would relieve the tension. For the present, the discomfort must continue. Mr. Tillman certainly has not chloroformed it.We buried John Malone this morning. His old friends of the Players' Club attended in a body. It was the second time in my life that I had been present at a Catholic funeral. And as I sat in the church my mind went back, by natural process, to that other one, and the contrast strongly interested me. That first one was the funeral of the Empress of Austria, who was assassinated six or eight years ago. There was a great concourse of the ancient nobility of the Austrian Empire; and as that patchwork of old kingdoms and principalities consists of nineteen states and eleven nationalities, and as these nobles came clothed in the costumes which their ancestors were accustomed to wear on state occasions three, four, or five centuries ago, the variety and magnificence of the costumes made a picture which cast far into the shade all the notions of splendor and magnificence which in the course of my life I had accumulated from the opera, the theater, the picture galleries, and from books. Gold, silver, jewels, silks, satins, velvets--they were all there in brilliant and beautiful confusion, and in that sort of perfect harmony which Nature herself observes and is master of, when she paints and groups her flowers and her forests and floods them with sunshine. The military and civic milliners of the Middle Ages knew their trade. Infinite as was the variety of the costumes displayed, there was not an ugly one, not one that was a discordant note in the harmony, or an offense to the eye. When those massed costumes were still, they were transcendently beautiful; when the mass stirred, the slightest movement set the jewels and metals and bright colors afire and swept it with flashing lights which sent a sort of ecstasy of delight through me.But it was different this morning. This morning the clothes were all alike. They were simple and devoid of color. The Players were clothed as they are always clothed, except that they wore the high silk hat of ceremony. Yet, in its way, John Malone's funeral was as impressive as had been that of the Empress. There was no inequality between John Malone and the Empress except the artificial inequalities which have been invented and established by man's childish vanity. The Empress and John were just equals in the essentials of goodness of heart and a blameless life. Both passed by the onlooker, in their coffins, respected, esteemed, honored; both traveled the same road from the church, bound for the same resting-place--according to Catholic doctrine, Purgatory--to be removed thence to a better land or to remain in Purgatory accordingly as the contributions of their friends, in cash or prayer, shall determine. The priest told us, in an admirably framed speech, about John's destination, and the terms upon which he might continue his journey or must remain in Purgatory. John was poor; his friends are poor. The Empress was rich; her friends are rich. John Malone's prospects are not good, and I lament it.Perhaps I am in error in saying I have been present at only two Catholic funerals. I think I was present at one in Virginia City, Nevada, in the neighborhood of forty years ago--or perhaps it was down in Esmeralda, on the borders of California--but if it happened, the memory of it can hardly be said to exist, it is so indistinct. I did attend one or two funerals--maybe a dozen--out there; funerals of desperadoes who had tried to purify society by exterminating other desperadoes--and did accomplish the purification, though not according to the program which they had laid out for this office.Also, I attended some funerals of persons who had fallen in duels--and maybe it was a duelist whom I helped to ship. But would a duelist be buried by the church? In inviting his own death, wouldn't he be committing suicide, substantially? Wouldn't that rule him out? Well, I don't remember how it was, now, but I think it was a duelist.

Chapter 12

It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live. There is but one reasonable explanation of it. The intellect is stunned by the shock and but gropingly gathers the meaning of the words. The power to realize their full import is mercifully wanting. The mind has a dumb sense of vast loss--that is all. It will take mind and memory months, and possibly years, to gather together the details and thus learn and know the whole extent of the loss. A man's house burns down. The smoking wreckage represents only a ruined home that was dear through years of use and pleasant associations. By and by, as the days and weeks go on, first he misses this, then that, then the other thing. And when he casts about for it he finds that it was in that house. Always it is an essential--there was but one of its kind. It cannot be replaced. It was in that house. It is irrevocably lost. He did not realize that it was an essential when he had it; he only discovers it now when he finds himself balked, hampered, by its absence. It will be years before the tale of lost essentials is complete, and not till then can he truly know the magnitude of his disaster.


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