Twain Once Had Narrow Escape from Drowning in the Mississippi.
4-22-10

In his biography Mark Twain tells a story of the narrow escape from drowning, experienced by himself and the late W. H. C. Nash. This story as related by Mrs. Mary Hubbard, a sister of Mr. Nash, is one of great interest. "Mark and Henry," she said, "were chums or pals as some call it. One wintry day Sam and Henry hied themselves to Holliday Hill to inspect the chutes used to transport rock from the top of the hill to the river. The men would put the rock in this chute and it would slide directly onto the boat. Having nothing to do, Sam, it is supposed, suggested that they try sliding down the chute as the river was frozen over and there was no danger of drowning. They got a good sized box put it in the chute and down they went like lightning. They struck the ice with great force and both went through. They were rescued by some men who were near and both taken to (text missing). Sam withstood the cold bath very well and never afterwards suffered from its effects. But it was different with my brother. He lost his hearing also his speech as a result of the exposure. However, he lived to be an old man, dying only recently."

Another story told by Mrs. Hubbard is equally as interesting. It happened at her wedding a few years after Sam and her brother Henry, had such a narrow escape from drowning.

They, with other boys of their age, decided to charivari the wedding and arrived at the Nash home with noise-producing devices, about the time the services began. The bride's father, A. O. Nash, suspected the boys and met them in front of the house. To his sudden query as to their mission, Twain replied that they had simply dropped around for the wedding. Mr. Nash invited them into the yard, but they preferred to take a stand on the sidewalk. Their host then (text missing) to the kitchen and returned with ice ream and cake for the boys and served them with a feast. Twain and his companions seated themselves comfortably on the curbing and enjoyed the repast, then they went to their homes.

A few years ago, when Mr. Clemens was in Hannibal on a visit, he was introduced to a grandson of Mrs. Nash, and on learning his new acquaintance's relations to his own old friends, said:

"My boy, I'm mighty glad to meet you. I remember having occupied a curb-stone seat at your grandmother's wedding."








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