"I knew what they were for. I tried to disguise it from myself, but down in the secret deeps of my heart I knew--and I knew
that I knew. They were inventions of Providence to beguile me to a better life. It sounds curiously innocent and conceited, now, but to me there was nothing strange about it; it was quite in accordance with the thoughtful and judicious ways of Providence as I understood them. It would not have surprised me, nor even over-flattered me, if Providence had killed off that whole community in trying to save an asset like me. Educated as I had been, it would have seemed just the thing, and well worth the expense. Why Providence should take such an anxious interest in such a property--that idea never entered my head, and there was no one in that simple hamlet who would have dreamed of putting it there. For one thing, no one was equipped with it.
It is quite true I took all the tragedies to myself; and tallied them off, in turn as they happened, saying to myself in each case, with a sigh, "Another one gone--and on my account; this ought to bring me to repentance; His patience will not always endure." And yet privately I believed it would. That is, I believed it in the daytime; but not in the night. With the going down of the sun my faith failed, and the clammy fears gathered about my heart. It was then that I repented. Those were awful nights, nights of despair, nights charged with the bitterness of death. After each tragedy I recognized the warning and repented; repented and begged; begged like a coward, begged like a dog; and not in the interest of those poor people who had been extinguished for my sake, but only in my own interest. It seems selfish, when I look back on it now.
My repentances were very real, very earnest; and after each tragedy they happened every night for a long time. But as a rule they could not stand the daylight. They faded out and shredded away and disappeared in the glad splendor of the sun. They were the creatures of fear and darkness, and they could not live out of their own place. The day gave me cheer and peace, and at night I repented again. In all my boyhood life I am not sure that I ever tried to lead a better life in the daytime--or wanted to. In my age I should never think of wishing to do such a thing. But in my age, as in my youth, night brings me many a deep remorse. I realize that from the cradle up I have been like the rest of the race--never quite sane in the night. When "Injun Joe" died... But never mind: in another chapter I have already described what a raging hell of repentance I passed through then. I believe that for months I was as pure as the driven snow. After dark."
(iz avtobiografije Marka Twaina) (pdf
Vedel sem, zakaj se je to dogajalo. Pred seboj sem poskušal prikriti, a na skrivnem, v globinah srca sem vedel - in vedel
sem, da sem vedel. To so bila dela Božje previdnosti, ki naj bi me prigovorila v boljše življenje. Zdaj se sliši domišljavo in kar preveč naivno, a takrat se mi ni zdelo čudno. Bilo je v skladu s premišljenimi in pravičnimi orodji Previdnosti, kakor sem jih razumel. Ne bi me presenetilo, ne bi mi niti posebej laskalo, če bi Previdnost pobila celotno skupnost v poskusu rešitve vrlega posameznika, kakršen sem sam. Izobražen, kot sem bil, zdel bi se ravno vreden takšne cene. Zakaj neki bi Previdnost sploh izrazila takšno neučakano zanimanje, mi ni nikoli prišlo na misel. In v tisti preprosti vasi nikomur ni.
Resnica je, da sem vse tragedije iz okolice prikrojil svojemu življenju, po vrsti, kot so se dogajale; vsakič sem si z vzdihom rekel: "Še eden - spet na moj račun. Tokrat se zares moram pokesati, Njegova potrpežljivost ne bo večna." Ampak sam pri sebi sem verjel, da bo. Kar pomeni, to sem verjel podnevi, a ne ponoči. Ko je sonce zašlo, je moja vera upadla in trohnobni strahovi so se zgoščali okrog mojega srca. Takrat sem se kesal. Bile so to strašne noči, noči obupa, noči, nabite s trpkostjo in smrtjo. V vsaki tragediji sem prepoznal opozorilo in se pokesal, se kesal in prosil, prosil kot strahopetec, prosil kot pes, in to ne zaradi ubogih ljudi, ki so bili pokončani zavoljo mene, vendar samo za lastni interes. Zdi se sebično, ko pogledam nazaj.
Moja kesanja so bila zelo resnična, zelo iskrena. Po vsaki tragediji so se dolgo ponavljala vsako noč. Kot po pravilu pa niso prenesla sončne svetlobe. Zbledela so, se razcefrala in izginila v radosti sonca. Bila so bitja strahu in teme, niso mogla obstajati izven svoje tvarine. Dan mi je dal veselje in mir, ponoči sem se znova skesal. Ne spominjam se, da bi se v vsem deškem življenju kdaj poskušal poboljšati podnevi - ali se hotel. V mojih letih naj ne bi razmišljal o teh željah. Toda noči mojih mladostnih let mi prinašajo globoka obžalovanja. Spoznavam, da sem bil od zibke naprej ravno tak kot celotna rasa - ponoči nikoli povsem luciden. Ko je umrl "Indijanec Joe"... ampak kakorkoli, nekje sem že opisal, kakšen silovit pekel obžalovanja sem prečil. Mislim, da sem bil mesece čist kot svež sneg. Po temi.