I know Mr. H., and I will go to him, dear madam, if upon reflection you find you still desire it. There will be a conversation. I know the form it will take. It will be like this:
Mr. H. How do her books strike you?
Mr. Clemens. I am not acquainted with them.
H. Who has been her publisher?
C. I don’t know.
H. She has one, I suppose?
C. I—I think not.
H. Ah. You think this is her first book?
C. Yes—I suppose so. I think so.
H. What is it about? What is the character of it?
C. I believe I do not know.
H. Have you seen it?
C. Well—no, I haven’t.
H. Ah-h. How long have you known her?
C. I don’t know her.
H. Don’t know her?
H. Ah-h. How did you come to be interested in her book, then?
C. Well, she—she wrote and asked me to find a publisher for her, and mentioned you.
H. Why should she apply to you instead of me?
C. She wished me to use my influence.
H. Dear me, what has influence to do with such a matter?
C. Well, I think she thought you would be more likely to examine her book if you were influenced.
H. Why, what we are here for is to examine books—anybody’s book that comes along. It’s our business. Why should we turn away a book unexamined because it’s a stranger’s? It would be foolish. No publisher does it. On what ground did she request your influence, since you do not know her? She must have thought you knew her literature and could speak for it. Is that it?
C. No; she knew I didn’t.
H. Well, what then? She had a reason of some sort for believing you competent to recommend her literature, and also under obligations to do it?
C. Yes, I—I knew her uncle.
H. Knew her uncle?
H. Upon my word! So, you knew her uncle; her uncle knows her literature; he endorses it to you; the chain is complete, nothing further needed; you are satisfied, and therefore—
C. No, that isn’t all, there are other ties. I know the cabin her uncle lived in, in the mines; I knew his partners, too; also I came near knowing her husband before she married him, and I did know the abandoned shaft where a premature blast went off and he went flying through the air and clear down to the trail and hit an Indian in the back with almost fatal consequences.
H. To him, or to the Indian?
C. She didn’t say which it was.
H. (With A sigh). It certainly beats the band! You don’t know her, you don’t know her literature, you don’t know who got hurt when the blast went off, you don’t know a single thing for us to build an estimate of her book upon, so far as I—