Edith Colgate Salsbury has collected and edited in narrative form ""which lets the principals speak for themselves"" quotations from letters, manuscripts and Journals from 1872, when the eldest of Samuel Clemens"" daughters was born, to her death in 1896. Et is a procedure congenial to their contents, for life at the Clemens' Nook Farm in Hartford was gracious, gay, loving and not a little elegant. These years encompass almost all of the author's major work (from the novel, FAc Gilded Age undertaken with Charles Dudley Warner through Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper. Euckleberry Finn; A Connecticut Tankee, etc.) and find him in his greates thappiness and success, adoring his wife and children, popular at home and abroad. The later years were saddened by financial duress and the illness of family members. Susy's succumbing to spinal meningitis heralded in years of loss: first Livy in 1904, then his daughter Jean in 1909 passed on before him. But it is the fine esprit, the rich life of the heart and a hospitable home that abound here, and Mark Twain, with an eye to posterity, need not have worried that his concerns would seem pathetically trivial to the ""pitying snob...holding this yellow paper in your hand in 1960."" The whole is in itself a commentary on 19th century living as well. Sam in the role of husband and father is overly prone to sentiment, but maintains his standing as a complex character.