The article which I have been reading, says--speaking of the historical play produced by the pupils of the Howland School--
"The question naturally arises, What has this drama done for those who so enthusiastically took part?--The touching story has made a year out of the Past live for the children as could no chronology or bald statement of historical events; it has cultivated the fancy and given to the imagination strength and purity; work in composition has ceased to be drudgery, for when all other themes fall flat a subject dealing with some aspect of the drama presented never fails to arouse interest and a rapid pushing of pens over paper."
That is entirely true. The interest is not confined to the drama's story, it spreads out all around the period of the story, and gives to all the outlying and unrelated happenings of that period a fascinating interest--an interest which does not fade out with the years, but remains always fresh, always inspiring, always welcome. History-facts dug by the job, with sweat and tears out of a dry and spiritless text-book--but never mind, all who have suffered know what that is. . . I remain, dear madam, Sincerely yours, S. L. CLEMENS.
Mark Twain had a special fondness for cats. As a boy he always owned one and it generally had a seat beside him at the table. There were cats at Quarry Farm and at Hartford, and in the house at Redding there was a gray mother-cat named Tammany, of which he was especially fond. Kittens capering about were his chief delight. In a letter to a Chicago woman he tells how those of Tammany assisted at his favorite game.
To Mrs. Mabel Larkin Patterson, in Chicago:
REDDING, CONNECTICUT, Oct. 2, '08. DEAR MRS. PATTERSON,--The contents of your letter are very pleasant and very welcome, and I thank you for them, sincerely. If I can find a photograph of my "Tammany" and her kittens, I will enclose it in this.
One of them likes to be crammed into a corner-pocket of the billiard table--which he fits as snugly as does a finger in a glove and then he watches the game (and obstructs it) by the hour, and spoils many a shot by putting out his paw and changing the direction of a passing ball. Whenever a ball is in his arms, or so close to him that it cannot be played upon without risk of hurting him, the player is privileged to remove it to anyone of the 3 spots that chances to be vacant.
Ah, no, my lecturing days are over for good and all. Sincerely yours, S. L. CLEMENS.
The letter to Howells which follows was written a short time before the passage of the copyright extension bill, which rendered Mark Twain's new plan, here mentioned, unneeded--at least for the time.
To W. D. Howells, in New York:
Monday, Oct. 26, '08. Oh, I say! Where are you hiding, and why are you hiding? You promised to come here and you didn't keep your word. (This sounds like astonishment--but don't be misled by that.)
Come, fire up again on your fiction-mill and give us another good promise. And this time keep it--for it is your turn to be astonished. Come and stay as long as you possibly can. I invented a new copyright extension scheme last Friday, and sat up all night arranging its details. It will interest you. Yesterday I got it down on paper in as compact a form as I could. Harvey and I have examined the scheme, and to-morrow or next day he will send me a couple of copyright-experts to arrange about getting certain statistics for me.
Authors, publishers and the public have always been damaged by the copyright laws. The proposed amendment will advantage all three--the public most of all.