Seventh Trip: November 22 to Saturday December 18, 1909
“I haven’t been well for the past 5 months, & so I haven’t stirred from home,” Clemens wrote Dorothy Quick on November 18, “but now I’ve got to make a trip, by the doctor’s orders. I don’t want to. But I must obey, I suppose. I sail for Bermuda day after tomorrow, with my secretary Mr. Paine for company. Perhaps we shall be back by the middle of December.”
When the Bermudian encountered rough seas it was Paine who took ill, not Clemens. They reached the Islands on Monday, November 22, ahead of the season, and registered at the Hamilton Hotel. Confined by the rainy day, Clemens discussed the possibility of a new planet. To his mind, even if life was governed by the same great laws of nature that so perfectly regulated celestial movement, the vast dimensions of outer space signified the minuscule importance of the human race. More than thirty years earlier, he had written of Tom Sawyer being as thrilled “as an astronomer feels who has discovered a new planet.” Mathematical studies of perturbations in the orbit of Uranus now led Sir Percival Lowell to postulate an unseen planet beyond Neptune. “I believe in the new planet,” Mark Twain impishly wrote earlier in 1909. “I am so sensitively constructed that I perturbate when any other planet is disturbed. This has been going on all my life. It only happens in the watermelon season. . . . I know there is a new planet. I know it because I don’t perturbate for nothing.”
Clemens and Paine arrived on the Islands without being expected, Marion Allen noted in her memoir. When the weather finally cleared they took long carriage rides, “wandering at will,” Paine wrote, “among the labyrinth of blossom-bordered, perfectly kept roadways of a dainty paradise”.
After three days at the hotel, Clemens joined the Allen family for Thanksgiving dinner. He felt so welcome at Bay House that he stayed there until he left the Islands. Clemens enjoyed greater privacy and the peace of long vistas over the Great Sound. Any view, he thought, should have water. Mrs. Allen wrote that he so loved the sea, he “would have come for the voyage alone.”