Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1: 1900-1907 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1.

He generally wrote Twichell when he had things to say that were outside of the pale of print.  He was sure of an attentive audience of one, and the audience, whether it agreed with him or not, would at least understand him and be honored by his confidence.  In one letter of that year he said: 

I have written you to-day, not to do you a service, but to do myself one.  There was bile in me.  I had to empty it or lose my day to-morrow.  If I tried to empty it into the North American Review—­oh, well, I couldn’t afford the risk.  No, the certainty!  The certainty that I wouldn’t be satisfied with the result; so I would burn it, & try again to-morrow; burn that and try again the next day.  It happens so nearly every time.  I have a family to support, & I can’t afford this kind of dissipation.  Last winter when I was sick I wrote a magazine article three times before I got it to suit me.  I Put $500 worth of work on it every day for ten days, & at last when I got it to suit me it contained but 3,000 words-$900.  I burned it & said I would reform.

And I have reformed.  I have to work my bile off whenever it gets to where I can’t stand it, but I can work it off on you economically, because I don’t have to make it suit me.  It may not suit you, but that isn’t any matter; I’m not writing it for that.  I have used you as an equilibrium—­restorer more than once in my time, & shall continue, I guess.  I would like to use Mr. Rogers, & he is plenty good-natured enough, but it wouldn’t be fair to keep him rescuing me from my leather-headed business snarls & make him read interminable bile-irruptions besides; I can’t use Howells, he is busy & old & lazy, & won’t stand it; I dasn’t use Clara, there’s things I have to say which she wouldn’t put up with—­a very dear little ashcat, but has claws.  And so—­you’re It.

[See the preface to the “Autobiography of Mark Twain”:  ’I am writing from the grave.  On these terms only can a man be approximately frank.  He cannot be straitly and unqualifiedly frank either in the grave or out of it.’  D.W.]



He took for the summer a house at Dublin, New Hampshire, the home of Henry Copley Greene, Lone Tree Hill, on the Monadnock slope.  It was in a lovely locality, and for neighbors there were artists, literary people, and those of kindred pursuits, among them a number of old friends.  Colonel Higginson had a place near by, and Abbott H. Thayer, the painter, and George de Forest Brush, and the Raphael Pumpelly family, and many more.

Colonel Higginson wrote Clemens a letter of welcome as soon as the news got out that he was going to Dublin; and Clemens, answering, said: 

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Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1: 1900-1907 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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