reflection, travel notes, stories picked up by the way, PUDD’NHEAD WILSON’s maxims, and elaborate and more or less tenuous satire. Anyone who has acquired the art of judicious skipping can get a great deal of fun out of the book. It is worth considerable trouble to get at his account of Bombay; or to ponder over his views of what ‘civilization’ has done for the black man of Australia.” MT follows no conventional formulas: “Order, proportion, sequence and coherence have no conceivable part in his scheme of literary composition. He follows his own sweet will, like a spoiled child who knows he can have his own way if he is only audacious and amusing” [Tenney: “A Reference Guide Sixth Annual Supplement,” American Literary Realism, Spring 1982 p. 8].
December 31 Friday – The Boston Daily Globe, p.8, gave FE a glowing review, and praised the author.
Mark Twain is generally ranked among the greatest of humorists whose wit is charged with a peculiar American flavor, but nothing is further from the truth than that he is merely a humorous writer. He is, in fact, a man of the strongest intellectual power, and will compare favorably with the brightest minds of the age. His intellect penetrates so quickly to the innermost recesses of things that one is often amazed at the worldwide truth he condenses in a sentence.
Take this, for instance, one of many that he gathered from his latest work, “Following the Equator, a Journey Around the World” (The American Publishing company, Hartford) “Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.”
Here is a module containing a human truth; you have often had a shadowy perception of it; you have seen it illustrated in the belief of men, though you could hardly define it, when lo! Mr. Clemens cleaves the sphere by virtue of his deep insight into the essence of things, and you have a concentrated truth illustrated by a world of examples. Innumerable instances in his writings might be selected to show these rare and high qualities of mind, but we must proceed to a more general survey of the new book. …
“Following the Equator” is a finely printed and handsomely bound volume of more than 700 pages, and contains several hundred illustrations of both practical and humorous interest. The frontispiece is a portrait of the author enjoying solitary comfort on shipboard, and above his autograph is this original maxim: “Be good and you will be lonesome.”
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.