17, '09. [Written with pencil]. My pen has gone dry and the ink is out of reach. Howells, Did you write me day-before-day before yesterday, or did I dream it? In my mind's eye I most vividly see your hand-write on a square blue envelop in the mailpile. I have hunted the house over, but there is no such letter. Was it an illusion?
I am reading Lowell's letter, and smoking. I woke an hour ago and am reading to keep from wasting the time. On page 305, vol. I. I have just margined a note:
"Young friend! I like that! You ought to see him now."
It seemed startlingly strange to hear a person call you young. It was a brick out of a blue sky, and knocked me groggy for a moment. Ah me, the pathos of it is, that we were young then. And he--why, so was he, but he didn't know it. He didn't even know it 9 years later, when we saw him approaching and you warned me, saying, "Don't say anything about age--he has just turned fifty, and thinks he is old and broods over it."
[Well, Clara did sing! And you wrote her a dear letter.]
Time to go to sleep. Yours ever, MARK.
To Daniel Kiefer:
[No date.] DANL KIEFER ESQ. DEAR SIR,--I should be far from willing to have a political party named after me.
I would not be willing to belong to a party which allowed its members to have political aspirations or to push friends forward for political preferment. Yours very truly, S. L. CLEMENS.
The copyright extension, for which the author had been working so long, was granted by Congress in 1909, largely as the result of that afternoon in Washington when Mark Twain had "received" in "Uncle Joe" Cannon's private room, and preached the gospel of copyright until the daylight faded and the rest of the Capitol grew still. Champ Clark was the last to linger that day and they had talked far into the dusk. Clark was powerful, and had fathered the bill. Now he wrote to know if it was satisfactory.
To Champ Clark, in Washington:
STORMFIELD, REDDING, CONN., June 5, '09. DEAR CHAMP CLARK--Is the new copyright law acceptable to me? Emphatically, yes! Clark, it is the only sane, and clearly defined, and just and righteous copyright law that has ever existed in the United States. Whosoever will compare it with its predecessors will have no trouble in arriving at that decision.
The bill which was before the committee two years ago when I was down there was the most stupefying jumble of conflicting and apparently irreconcilable interests that was ever seen; and we all said "the case is hopeless, absolutely hopeless--out of this chaos nothing can be built." But we were in error; out of that chaotic mass this excellent bill has been instructed; the warring interests have been reconciled, and the result is as comely and substantial a legislative edifice as lifts its domes and towers and protective lightning rods out of the statute book, I think. When I think of that other bill, which even the Deity couldn't understand, and of this one which even I can understand, I take off my hat to the man or men who devised this one. Was it R. U. Johnson? Was it the Author's League? Was it both together? I don't know, but I take off my hat, anyway. Johnson has written a valuable article about the new law--I enclose it.
At last--at last and for the first time in copyright history we are ahead of England! Ahead of her in two ways: by length of time and by fairness to all interests concerned. Does this sound like shouting? Then I must modify it: all we possessed of copyright-justice before the fourth of last March we owed to England's initiative. Truly Yours, S.