The later ratio of popularity is more nearly three to one. It has been repeatedly stated that in England the Tramp has the greater popularity, an assertion not sustained by the publisher's accountings.]



The reader has not failed to remark the great number of letters which Samuel Clemens wrote to his friend William Dean Howells; yet comparatively few can even be mentioned. He was always writing to Howells, on every subject under the sun; whatever came into his mind-- business, literature, personal affairs--he must write about it to Howells. Once, when nothing better occurred, he sent him a series of telegrams, each a stanza from an old hymn, possibly thinking they might carry comfort.--["Clemens had then and for many years the habit of writing to me about what he was doing, and still more of what he was experiencing. Nothing struck his imagination, in or out of the daily routine, but he wished to write me of it, and he wrote with the greatest fullness and a lavish dramatization, sometimes to the length of twenty or forty pages:" (My Mark Twain, by W. D. Howells.)] Whatever of picturesque happened in the household he immediately set it down for Howells's entertainment. Some of these domestic incidents carry the flavor of his best humor. Once he wrote:

Last night, when I went to bed, Mrs. Clemens said, "George didn't take the cat down to the cellar; Rosa says he has left it shut up in the conservatory." So I went down to attend to Abner (the cat). About three in the morning Mrs. C. woke me and said, "I do believe I hear that cat in the drawing-room. What did you do with him?" I answered with the confidence of a man who has managed to do the right thing for once, and said, "I opened the conservatory doors, took the library off the alarm, and spread everything open, so that there wasn't any obstruction between him and the cellar." Language wasn't capable of conveying this woman's disgust. But the sense of what she said was, "He couldn't have done any harm in the conservatory; so you must go and make the entire house free to him and the burglars, imagining that he will prefer the coal-bins to the drawing-room. If you had had Mr. Howells to help you I should have admired, but not have been astonished, because I should know that together you would be equal to it; but how you managed to contrive such a stately blunder all by yourself is what I cannot understand."

So, you see, even she knows how to apprecaite our gifts....

I knocked off during these stirring hours, and don't intend to go to work again till we go away for the summer, four or six weeks hence. So I am writing to you, not because I have anything to say, but because you don't have to answer and I need something to do this afternoon.

The rightful earl has----

Friday, 7th.

Well, never mind about the rightful earl; he merely wanted to-borrow money. I never knew an American earl that didn't.

After a trip to Boston, during which Mrs. Clemens did some bric-a-brac shopping, he wrote:

Mrs. Clemens has two imperishable topics now: the museum of andirons which she collected and your dinner. It is hard to tell which she admires the most. Sometimes she leans one way and sometimes the other; but I lean pretty steadily toward the dinner because I can appreciate that, whereas I am no prophet in andirons. There has been a procession of Adams Express wagons filing before the door all day delivering andirons.

In a more serious vein he refers to the aged violinist Ole Bull and his wife, whom they had met during their visit, and their enjoyment of that gentle-hearted pair.

Clemens did some shorter work that spring, most of which found its way into the Atlantic. "Edward Mills and George Benton," one of the contributions of this time, is a moral sermon in its presentation of a pitiful human spectacle and misdirected human zeal.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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