Unless I start a letter to you as if you were in the next township, I shall never answer your last. The thought of distance still paralyzes us old people to whom it use to be a fact…Saturday night we had an authors’ show—Page, Mabie, Van Dyke, Warner and I read—for the wounded soldiers and we lacked little or nothing of having you with us. I suppose you cannot realize how often you are on our tongues; if you want to achieve our forgetfulness you must guess again. You have pervaded your century almost more than any other man of letters, if not quite more; and it is astonishing how you keep spreading ….
—Everything literary here is filled with the din of arms, but Providence, which has turned our war for humanity into a war for coaling-stations, seems to have peace in charge and to be bringing it about. I hope so; for then Mrs. Howells and I will stop fighting, she being a Jingo.—How strange for you to be over there so long! You wrote a mighty good paper about Austria, and made the whole thing delightfully intelligible. Disunion seems to keep people together politically as well as matrimonially; but you are the first to note the fact [MTHL 2: 672-4].