The following incident occurred to young Samuel Clemens when he was yet
a young junior pilot on the Mississippi river boat, Pennsylvania.
While the boat was tied up in St. Louis, Sam, and his younger brother Henry
went ashore to visit their sister. After dinner that night, Henry went back to
the boat, but Sam stayed on at his sisterís house.
As he dropped off to sleep, he had a terrifying dream in which he saw the
body of his brother Henry lying in a casket which was balanced across two chairs.
On top of it was a bouquet of white roses with a single red one in the middle.
The dream was so vivid that Sam awoke with his heart pounding. Thinking it
had really happened, he rushed downstairs expecting to find his brotherís body
there. But to his intense relief, he learned that Henry was perfectly alright.
It was just a dream. A very bad dream. Happily, Sam went back to bed.
One week later, in New Orleans, Sam was transferred to another boat. Henry
continued on up the river on the Pennsylvania. Three days later Sam heard the
fearful news that the boilers had blown up while his brotherís boat was just
below Memphis. One hundred fifty people were killed or injured. Among them,
Samís beloved brother Henry.
Hurrying at once to Memphis, Sam reached his brotherís side the night
before he died, and sat with him during his final hours. The next morning,
sick with grief, he went down to the room where the bodies of the dead were
awaiting burial. Henryís body lay in a metal casket that was balanced across
two chairs, just as Sam had seen it two weeks earlier in his prophetic dream.
There was only one thing missingó the roses.
But even as Sam stood there watching, one of the volunteer nurses came up
with a bouquet of white roses and laid them on the casket. In the center of the
bouquet was a single blood-red blossom.|
By Doane Hoag, Las Vegas Sun magazine