He preferred the quiet of his luxurious home with its beautiful outlook, while for entertainment he found the billiard afternoons sufficient. Guests came from the city, now and again, for week-end visits, and if he ever was restless or lonely he did not show it.
Among the invitations that came was one from General O. O. Howard asking him to preside at a meeting to raise an endowment fund for a Lincoln Memorial University at Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Closing his letter, General Howard said, "Never mind if you did fight on the other side."
To General O. O. Howard:
STORMFIELD, REDDING, CONNECTICUT, Jan, 12, '09. DEAR GENERAL HOWARD,--You pay me a most gratifying compliment in asking me to preside, and it causes me very real regret that I am obliged to decline, for the object of the meeting appeals strongly to me, since that object is to aid in raising the $500,000 Endowment Fund for Lincoln Memorial University. The Endowment Fund will be the most fitting of all the memorials the country will dedicate to the memory of Lincoln, serving, as it will, to uplift his very own people.
I hope you will meet with complete success, and I am sorry I cannot be there to witness it and help you rejoice. But I am older than people think, and besides I live away out in the country and never stir from home, except at geological intervals, to fill left-over engagements in mesozoic times when I was younger and indiscreeter.
You ought not to say sarcastic things about my "fighting on the other side." General Grant did not act like that. General Grant paid me compliments. He bracketed me with Zenophon--it is there in his Memoirs for anybody to read. He said if all the confederate soldiers had followed my example and adopted my military arts he could never have caught enough of them in a bunch to inconvenience the Rebellion. General Grant was a fair man, and recognized my worth; but you are prejudiced, and you have hurt my feelings. But I have an affection for you, anyway. MARK TWAIN.
One of Mark Twain's friends was Henniker-Heaton, the so-called "Father of Penny Postage" between England and America. When, after long years of effort, he succeeded in getting the rate established, he at once bent his energies in the direction of cheap cable service and a letter from him came one day to Stormfield concerning his new plans. This letter happened to be over-weight, which gave Mark Twain a chance for some amusing exaggerations at his expense.
To Henniker-Heaton, in London:
STORMFIELD, REDDING, CONNECTICUT, Jan. 18, 1909. DEAR HENNIKER-HEATON,--I do hope you will succeed to your heart's desire in your cheap-cablegram campaign, and I feel sure you will. Indeed your cheap-postage victory, achieved in spite of a quarter-century of determined opposition, is good and rational prophecy that you will. Wireless, not being as yet imprisoned in a Chinese wall of private cash and high-placed and formidable influence, will come to your aid and make your new campaign briefer and easier than the other one was.
Now then, after uttering my serious word, am I privileged to be frivolous for a moment? When you shall have achieved cheap telegraphy, are you going to employ it for just your own selfish profit and other people's pecuniary damage, the way you are doing with your cheap postage? You get letter-postage reduced to 2 cents an ounce, then you mail me a 4-ounce letter with a 2-cent stamp on it, and I have to pay the extra freight at this end of the line. I return your envelope for inspection. Look at it. Stamped in one place is a vast "T," and under it the figures "40," and under those figures appears an "L," a sinister and suspicious and mysterious L.