Susy Clemens - Death


Clemens chose not to accompany the family to Europe on Twain's lecture tour of 1895-1896, citing seasickness and a desire to recover her health and become an opera singer. She stayed in Elmira, at the home of her aunt Susan Crane. In August 1896, while visiting her former home in Hartford, Clemens developed a fever that turned into spinal meningitis. She developed delirium, at one point clutching an article of her mother's clothing and crying because she thought her mother had died, and at another looking out the windows at the traffic and singing, "Up go the trolley cars for Mark Twain's daughter. Down go the trolley cars for Mark Twain's daughter." Eventually she lost her sight and lapsed into a coma. She died at age twenty-four; her family was devastated.

Clemens was buried in Elmira. The poem on her headstone was adapted from a poem called Annette by poet Robert Richardson: "Warm summer sun shine kindly here, Warm southern wind blow softly here, Green sod above, lie light, lie light -- Good night, dear heart, Good night, good night."

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