Bambino Cat: Rescued Mark Twain’s Soul Full of Grief

Bambino Cat — is a cat of America’s favorite author, Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known by his pen name Mark Twain. His famous novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and its sequel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) are often called as Great American Novel. He was devastated after his wife died, Bambino the cat came rescue him…

Bambino Cat

Mark Twain in his later years

Twain in his later years: PHOTO by A.F. Bradley (Wikipedia)

Livy: A Woman of Substance

Olivia Clemens


Samuel Clemens met Charles Langdon as a fellow passenger onboard to the Quaker City in 1867. Charles showed miniature paintings of Charles Langdon’s old sister, Olivia Langdon and Samuel fell in love with this woman instantly. That was the beginning of their love story.

This woman, Olivia Langdon was raised by her father, Jervis Langdon. He was a very successful businessman who dealt in timber and coal. The Langdons were one of the leading families of the community. Olivia’s mother was able to be socially active through charities and women’s organizations while her aunt was a pioneering itinerant teacher at a time when women were just beginning to be allowed to graduate with college degrees to be equal to those of men.

Samuel Clemens wrote his sister in 1869 before they got married: I take as much pride in her brains as I do in her beauty, & as much pride in her happy & equable disposition as I do in her brains. Olivia’s intellectual and progressive upbringing would be a major influence on Samuel Clemens and his writing.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain (The Richard H. Driehaus Museum)

Livy’s and Sam’s marriage was very much one of the equals. Olivia was an active participant in her husband’s writing. He left pages of manuscript by her bedside for her to read and review. He often, though not always, accepted her suggestions. Clemens remembered in his autobiography how he liked to insert phrases and incidents which he knew Olivia would not approve — just to see her reaction.

When their lovely story ends after 34 years of marriage, Olivia died in 1904. Samuel’s world collapsed.

To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with.

Mark Twain quotes (goodreads)

Bambino, the Black Cat

Bambino, Mark Twain's cat

Bambino (English III Advanced)

After Livy died, one of their daughters Clara went to sanatorium. Every family members were deeply affected by Livy’s death, who was being firm, yet gentle moral center of the household. Clara had a black cat, which she found a comfort while she could not meet any friends or family members. But she had to let him go since the facility didn’t let her to have a cat. Clara asked her father to take care of him.

The black cat Bambino came to Samuel’s house and fit right in. Samuel came from a family who loved cats. His mother had taken in and cared for strays from his earliest memories. As an adult, Samuel might have had as many as 19 cats at a time in the family home. Bambino became a beloved comfort for Samuel as well in his struggles with an overwhelming grief.

…And he disappeared.


Mark Twain


Have you seen a distinguished looking black cat that looks as if it might be lost? If you have taken it to Mark Twain, for it may be his. 
 Samuel placed an ad in the New York American.
 Large and intensely black; thick, velvety fur; has a faint fringe of white hair across his chest; not easy to find in ordinary light.

A perfect stream of cats and their owners showed up at Mark Twain’s house. Soon Samuel felt so bad that he advertised in all the papers for him. Even parades of cats and people, there’s no Bambino in it. Then situation moved two or three nights after that, Bambino got back home! Samuel was delighted and then he advertised that his cat was found.

Perhaps because of the outpouring of well-meaning cats and people, even they just wanted to have a glimpse of Mark Twain, and they kept coming in even after Bambino’s back, he began to emerge from his deep grief and go out into the world again.

A cat ain’t servant nor slave to anybody at all. He’s got all the independence there is, in Heaven or anywhere else, there ain’t any left over for anybody else.


Mark Twain

Quintessential Twain, 1908. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION, MTP. (

If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.

Mark Twain quotes (goodreads)

…Added info about Mark Twain’s friendship with genius inventor who happened to have a black cat as well…

Tesla’s Laboratory

Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla

Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla (

Twain was fascinated with science and scientific inquiry. He developed a close and lasting friendship with Nikola Tesla, and the two spent much time together in Tesla’s laboratory.
 Twain patented three inventions, including an Improvement in Adjustable and Detachable Straps for Garments (to replace suspenders) and a history trivia game. Most commercially successful was a self-pasting scrapbook; a dried adhesive on the pages needed only to be moistened before use. Over 25,000 were sold.

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Originally published at Johnny Times.

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