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The New York Times, April 23, 1910


Many a great man on his deathbed has called for a favorite book. Sedate biographers are apt to regard such whims as unimportant. TENNYSON'S son records that the poet called for "his Shakespeare" while he was dying, and passed away with the open book on the bed. To what play or what favorite passage in a play he had turned in the last hour we shall never know. WILLIAM MORRIS when he died had been turning over the leaves of a rare old book, "Sacred History and Lives of the Saints," richly illustrated with a thousand or more illuminated prints and many ornamentations. The choice in both cases was wholly understandable. The dying thoughts of these two men were not out of their usual mental current.

Mr. CLEMENS had called for CARLYLE'S "French Revolution." To what episode in that tumultuous aggregation of epithets, that collection of strangely uncouth but often splendidly forcible descriptive passages, did his mind revert in his last hour? It may seem an odd book for a dying man to think about, but there are moods to which it appeals strongly, the whole sum of human life is between its covers, it sets forth as well as other great books the vanity of worldly glory, the need of charity. CLEMENS was a strong man, and one of just principles, on the whole, with a heart full of sympathy. It is interesting to know that he often must have found mental refreshment and consolation in that greatest of the works of another strong and emotional man.

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