I said, "Now, I hope you see the whole size of your crime. With my vocabulary I would make sixty words out of those two hundred and five letters, and get four dollars and twenty cents for it; whereas for your inhuman twenty-four I would get only one dollar and sixty-eight cents. Ten pages of these sky-scrapers of yours would pay me only about three hundred dollars; in my simplified vocabulary the same space and the same labor would pay me eight hundred and forty dollars. I do not wish to work upon this scandalous job by the piece. I want to be hired by the year." He coldly refused. I said:

"Then for the sake of the family, if you have no feeling for me, you ought at least to allow me overtime on that word extemporaneousness." Again he coldly refused. I seldom say a harsh word to any one, but I was not master of myself then, and I spoke right out and called him an anisodactylous plesiosaurian conchyliaceous Ornithorhyncus, and rotten to the heart with holoaophotal subterranean extemporaneousness. God forgive me for that wanton crime; he lived only two hours.

From that day to this I have been a devoted and hard-working member of the heaven-born institution, the International Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Authors, and now I am laboring with Carnegie's Simplified Committee, and with my heart in the work . . . .

Now then, let us look at this mighty question reasonably, rationally, sanely--yes, and calmly, not excitedly. What is the real function, the essential function, the supreme function, of language? Isn't it merely to convey ideas and emotions? Certainly. Then if we can do it with words of fonetic brevity and compactness, why keep the present cumbersome forms? But can we? Yes. I hold in my hand the proof of it. Here is a letter written by a woman, right out of her heart of hearts. I think she never saw a spelling-book in her life. The spelling is her own. There isn't a waste letter in it anywhere. It reduces the fonetics to the last gasp--it squeezes the surplusage out of every word--there's no spelling that can begin with it on this planet outside of the White House. And as for the punctuation, there isn't any. It is all one sentence, eagerly and breathlessly uttered, without break or pause in it anywhere. The letter is absolutely genuine--I have the proofs of that in my possession. I can't stop to spell the words for you, but you can take the letter presently and comfort your eyes with it. I will read the letter:

"Miss dear freind I took some Close into the armerry and give them to you to Send too the suffrers out to California and i Hate to treble you but i got to have one of them Back it was a black oll wolle Shevyott With a jacket to Mach trimed Kind of Fancy no 38 Burst measure and palsy menterry acrost the front And the color i woodent Trubble you but it belonged to my brothers wife and she is Mad about it i thoght she was willin but she want she says she want done with it and she was going to Wear it a Spell longer she ant so free harted as what i am and she Has got more to do with Than i have having a Husband to Work and slave For her i gels you remember Me I am shot and stout and light complected i torked with you quite a spell about the suffrars and said it was orful about that erth quake I shoodent wondar if they had another one rite off seeine general Condision of the country is Kind of Explossive i hate to take that Black dress away from the suffrars but i will hunt round And see if i can get another One if i can i will call to the armerry for it if you will jest lay it asside so no more at present from your True freind

"i liked your appearance very Much"

Now you see what simplified spelling can do.

It can convey any fact you need to convey; and it can pour out emotions like a sewer. I beg you, I beseech you, to adopt our spelling, and print all your despatches in it.

Now I wish to say just one entirely serious word:

I have reached a time of life, seventy years and a half, where none of the concerns of this world have much interest for me personally.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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