Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,890 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete.
to reconcile the differences between Harper & Brothers and the American Publishing Company and patch up a working-contract between them and succeeded where any other man would have failed; as fast as I earned money and sent it to him he banked it at interest and held onto it, refusing to pay any creditor until he could pay all of the 96 alike; when I had earned enough to pay dollar for dollar he swept off the indebtedness and sent me the whole batch of complimentary letters which the creditors wrote in return; when I had earned $28,500 more, $18,500 of which was in his hands, I wrote him from Vienna to put the latter into Federal Steel and leave it there; he obeyed to the extent of $17,500, but sold it in two months at $25,000 profit, and said it would go ten points higher, but that it was his custom to “give the other man a chance” (and that was a true word—­there was never a truer one spoken).  That was at the end of ’99 and beginning of 1900; and from that day to this he has continued to break up my bad schemes and put better ones in their place, to my great advantage.  I do things which ought to try man’s patience, but they never seem to try his; he always finds a colorable excuse for what I have done.  His soul was born superhumanly sweet, and I do not think anything can sour it.  I have not known his equal among men for lovable qualities.  But for his cool head and wise guidance I should never have come out of the Webster difficulties on top; it was his good steering that enabled me to work out my salvation and pay a hundred cents on the dollar—­the most valuable service any man ever did me.

His character is full of fine graces, but the finest is this:  that he can load you down with crushing obligations and then so conduct himself that you never feel their weight.  If he would only require something in return—­but that is not in his nature; it would not occur to him.  With the Harpers and the American Company at war those copyrights were worth but little; he engineered a peace and made them valuable.  He invests $100,000 for me here, and in a few months returns a profit of $31,000.  I invest (in London and here) $66,000 and must wait considerably for results (in case there shall be any).  I tell him about it and he finds no fault, utters not a sarcasm.  He was born serene, patient, all-enduring, where a friend is concerned, and nothing can extinguish that great quality in him.  Such a man is entitled to the high gift of humor:  he has it at its very best.  He is not only the best friend I have ever had, but is the best man I have known.

S. L. Clemens.



Begun at Riverdale, new YorkFinished at York harbor, Maine, august 18, 1902

(See Chapter ccxxiii)

(A bereft and demented mother speaks)

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Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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