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Mark Twain exhibit draws international attention

A Bermudian exhibit detailing the connection between Bermuda and famed author Mark Twain has been highlighted by London's The Times.

In an article published on March 1, journalist Simon de Bruxelles wrote about Mr Twain's relationship with the Island in light of the recent discovery of a previously unpublished poem and other writings.

Mr de Bruxelles also noted the current Masterworks Museum exhibit “Ever the Twain Shall Meet”, which was organised in collaboration with the Mark Twain House and Museum in Hartford, Connecticut.

The exhibit, open now, hosts a raft of items connected to Mr Twain's time on the Island including photographs of the writer in Bermuda, first edition copies of ‘The Innocents Abroad' and ‘Mark Twain and The Happy Island', several letters written by the author and some of Mr Twain's personal items, including a pen and a white shirt that was part of Mr Twains iconic white suit ensemble.

Exhibit curator Anne-Marie Walsh said she was pleased but not surprised that the exhibit has received international attention

“I would be surprised if we didn't get international attention owing to Twain's continued popularity,” Ms Walsh said. “He was America's first celebrity and is still widely read today. This show aims to rekindle Bermuda's interest in Mark Twain as one of the Island's most beloved ambassadors.”

Samuel Clemens, who adopted Mark Twain as a pen name, was a frequent visitor to the Island, travelling to the Island seven times between 1967 and his death in 1910.

Mr Twain died shortly after returning home from a long vacation on the Island, where he stayed with the family of US vice-consul William Allen. The Allen family recently released a wealth of photographs, letters, manuscripts and a previously unpublished poem.

Also included in the collection was an account of a cricket game he watched on the Island, discussing the “Etiquetical Requirements” of watching a game.

A section reads: “It is not good form for the ignorant spectator to be constantly questioning his intelligent neighbour about the game. There should be intervals of one to two minutes between the questions otherwise the intelligent neighbour will eventually get tired.”

The “intelligent neighbour” later explains to Mr Twain that the wicket “is for the umpire to sit down on when he is tired”.

The previously unpublished poem meanwhile was written in a volume of ‘Roughing It' dedicated to Helen Allen, the 14-year-old daughter of Mr Allen.

Written to biographer Albert Bigelow Paine, who joined Mr Twain on his 1909 visit to Bermuda, the poem reads: “Ah Paine will come with me just once again; only once again; and after a time and two times and half a time he will go down the stairway that looks upon the sea and lo, thenceforth the places that knew him once will know him no more for ever.”

Taking a dip: Mark Twain and Helen Allen, the daughter of his host family, enjoy the waters next to the property 'Bay House', in Old Slip Lane, Pembroke. This picture is thought to have been taken in 1908

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Published March 05, 2014 at 8:00 am (Updated March 04, 2014 at 8:00 pm)

Mark Twain exhibit draws international attention

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