The First Paragraph from Chapter 3 of The Autobiography of Mark Twain


I can see the farm yet, with perfect clearness.  I can see all

its belongings, all its details; the family room of the house,

with a "trundle" bed in one corner and a spinning wheel in

another--a wheel whose rising and falling wail, heard from a 

distance, was the mournfulest of all sounds to me and made

me homesick and low spirited and filled my atmosphere with

the wandering spirits of the dead; the vast fireplace, piled

high on winter nights with flaming hickory logs from whose ends 

a sugary sap bubbled out but did not go to waste, for we 

scraped it off and ate it; the lazy cat spread out on the rough

hearthstones; the drowsy dogs braced against the jambs and

blinking; my aunt in one chimney corner, knitting; my uncle

in the other, smoking his corncob pipe; the slick and carpetless

oak floor faintly mirroring the dancing flame tongues and

freckled with black indentations where fire coals had popped 

out and died a leisurely death; half a dozen children romping

in the background twilight; "split"-bottomed chairs here and

there, some with rockers; a cradle--out of service but waiting 

with confidence; in the early cold mornings a snuggle of 

children in shirts and chemises, occupying the hearthstone

and procrastinating--they could not bear to leave that comfortable

place and go out on the wind-swept floor space between the

house and kitchen where the general tin basin stood, and wash.