March 26, 2004

Twain Meeting

A look at the later years of Mark Twain's life in this review of two new books on the man, including lots of stuff I didn't know about him. This excerpt tells of Twain's secretary who, after failing to seduce and wed the widower Twain, married his business manager:

Twain's fecklessness with finances was next to unbelievable. I doubt that he was ever much deceived about his secretary's intentions, but, nonetheless, he gave Isabel Lyon and Ralph Ashcroft his power of attorney, and, for Isabel, threw in a nice cottage from which his daughters, with difficulty, eventually managed to evict her.

In the midst of all this plotting and flirting Isabel Lyon married Ralph Ashcroft, a union that at first blush produced no blush at all. Twain, observing them in the early days of their marriage, remarked that they were as cool as if they had been sitting on blocks of ice. When informed by Ashcroft that nothing "animal" was in the offing between himself and his bride, Twain was flabbergasted, concluding that, though they may or may not have been crooks, they were obviously fools.

(via Arts & Letters Daily)

Posted by dan at March 26, 2004 10:15 PM