Q. How old are you?
A. Nineteen, in June,
Q. Indeed! I would have taken you to be thirty-five or six. Where were
A. In Missouri.*
Q. When did you begin to write?
A. In 1836.
Q. Why, how could that be, if you are only nineteen now?
A. I don't know. It does seem curious, somehow.8
Q. It does, indeed. Whom do you consider the most remarkable man you
A. Aaron Burr.**
Q. But you never could have met Aaron Burr, if you are only nineteen
A. Now, if you know more about me than I do, what do you ask me for?
Q. Well, it was only a suggestion; nothing more. How did you happen to
A. Well, I happened to be at his funeral one day, and he asked me to
make less noise, and--
Q. But, good heavens! if you were at his funeral, he must have been
dead;7 and if he was dead, how could he care whether you made a
noise or not?
A. I don't know. He was always a particular kind of a man that way.
Q. Still, I don't understand it all. You say he spoke to you, and that
he was dead.
A. I didn't say he was dead.
Q. But wasn't he dead?
A. Well, some said he was, some said he wasn't.
Q. What did you think?
A. Oh, it was none of my business! It wasn't any of my funeral.
Q. Did you-- However, we can never get this matter straight. Let me ask
about something else. What was the date of your birth?
A. Monday, October, 31, 1693.
Q. What! Impossible! That would make you a hundred and eighty years
old. How do you account for that?
A. I don't account for it at all.
Q. But you said at first you were only nineteen, and now you make
yourself out to be one hundred and eighty. It is an awful discrepancy.
A. Why, have you noticed that? (Shaking hands.)Many a time it has
seemed to me like a discrepancy, but somehow I couldn't make up my mind. How
quick you notice a thing!
Q. Thank you for the compliment, as far as it goes. Had you, or have
you, any brothers or sisters?
A. Eh! I-- I-- I think so,-- yes,-- but I. don't remember.
Q. Well, that is the most extraordinary statement I ever heard!
A. Why, what makes you think that?
Q. How could I think otherwise? Why, look here! Who is this a picture
of on the wall? Isn't that a brother of yours?
Л. Oh! yes, yes, yes! Now you remind me of it; that was a brother of
mine. That's William,-- Bill we called him. Poor old Bill!
Q. Why? Is he dead, then?
A. Ah, well, I suppose so. We never could tell. There was a great
mystery about it.
Q. That is sad, very sad. He disappeared, then?
A. Well, yes, in a sort of general way. We buried him.
Q. Buried him! Buried him without knowing whether he was dead or not?
A. Oh, no! Not that. He was dead enough.
Q. Well, I confess that I can't understand this. If you buried him and
you knew he was dead--
A. No! no! We only thought he was.
Q. Oh, I see! He came to life again?
A. I bet he didn't.
Q. Well, I never heard anything like this. Somebody was dead. Somebody
was buried. Now, where was the mystery?
A. Ah, that's just it! That's it exactly. You see, we were twins,--
defunct and I,-- and we got mixed in the bath-tub when we were only two
weeks old, and one of us was drowned. But we didn't know which. Some think
it was Bill. Some think it was me.
Q. Well, that is remarkable. What do you think?
A. Goodness knows! I would give whole worlds to know.9 This
solemn, this awful mystery has cast a gloom over my whole life. But I will
tell you a secret now, which I never have revealed to any creature before.
One of us had a peculiar mark,-- a large mole on the back of his left
hand,-- that was me. That child was the one that was drowned!
Q. Very well, then, I don't see that there is any mystery about it,
A. You don't? Well, I do. Anyway I don't see how they could ever have
been such a blundering lot as to go and bury the wrong"child. But 'sh!--
don't mention it where the family can hear of it. Heaven knows they have
heart-breaking troubles enough without adding this.
Q. Well, I believe I have got material enough for the present, and I am
very much obliged to you, for the pains you have taken. But I was a good
deal interested in that account of Aaron Burr's funeral. Would you mind
telling me what particular "circumstance it was that made you think Burr was
such a remarkable man?
A. Oh, it was a mere trifle! Not one man in fifty would have noticed it
at all. When the sermon was over, and the procession all ready to start for
the cemetery, and the body all arranged nice in the hearse, he said he
wanted to take a last look at the scenery, and so he got up and rode with