Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume II, Part 2: 1886-1900 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 310 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume II, Part 2.

That is to say, the flags of England and America.  To an Austrian friend he emphasized this thought: 

The war has brought England and America close together—­and to my mind that is the biggest dividend that any war in this world has ever paid.  If this feeling is ever to grow cold again I do not wish to live to see it.

And to Twichell, whose son David had enlisted: 

You are living your war-days over again in Dave & it must be strong pleasure mixed with a sauce of apprehension . . . .

I have never enjoyed a war, even in history, as I am enjoying this one, for this is the worthiest one that was ever fought, so far as my knowledge goes.  It is a worthy thing to fight for one’s own country.  It is another sight finer to fight for another man’s.  And I think this is the first time it has been done.

But it was a sad day for him when he found that the United States really meant to annex the Philippines, and his indignation flamed up.  He said: 

“When the United States sent word to Spain that the Cuban atrocities must end she occupied the highest moral position ever taken by a nation since the Almighty made the earth.  But when she snatched the Philippines she stained the flag.”



One must wonder, with all the social demands upon him, how Clemens could find time to write as much as he did during those Vienna days.  He piled up a great heap of manuscript of every sort.  He wrote Twichell: 

    There may be idle people in the world, but I am not one of them.

And to Howells: 

I couldn’t get along without work now.  I bury myself in it up to the ears.  Long hours—­8 & 9 on a stretch sometimes.  It isn’t all for print, by any means, for much of it fails to suit me; 50,000 words of it in the past year.  It was because of the deadness which invaded me when Susy died.

He projected articles, stories, critiques, essays, novels, autobiography, even plays; he covered the whole literary round.  Among these activities are some that represent Mark Twain’s choicest work.  “Concerning the Jews,” which followed the publication of his “Stirring Times in Austria” (grew out of it, in fact), still remains the best presentation of the Jewish character and racial situation.  Mark Twain was always an ardent admirer of the Jewish race, and its oppression naturally invited his sympathy.  Once he wrote to Twichell: 

The difference between the brain of the average Christian and that of the average Jew—­certainly in Europe—­is about the difference between a tadpole’s brain & an archbishop’s.  It is a marvelous race; by long odds the most marvelous race the world has produced, I suppose.

Yet he did not fail to see its faults and to set them down in his summary of Hebrew character.  It was a reply to a letter written to him by a lawyer, and he replied as a lawyer might, compactly, logically, categorically, conclusively.  The result pleased him.  To Mr. Rogers he wrote: 

Project Gutenberg
Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume II, Part 2: 1886-1900 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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