Along one side of the library, in the Hartford home, the bookshelves joined the mantelpieces...and on the mantelpiece, stood various ornaments. At one end of the procession was a framed oil-painting of a cats head, at the other was a head of a beautiful girl called Emmeline...
The children required me to construct a romancealways impromptunot a moments preparation permittedand into that romance I had to get all that bric-a-brac and the...pictures. I had to start always with the cat and finish with Emmeline. I was never allowed the refreshment of a change, end for end. It was not permissible to introduce a bric-a-brac ornament into the story out of its place in the procession.
These bric-a-bracs were never allowed a peaceful day, a reposeful day, a restful Sabbath...They knew no existence but a monotonous career of violence and bloodshed. In the course of time the bric-a-brac and the pictures showed wear. It was because they had had so many and such tumultuous adventures in their romantic career.Mark Twain, Autobiography, posthumous