With the receipt of this letter carpet-pattern projects would seem to have suddenly ceased to be a factor in Mark Twain's calculations. Such a letter in the early days of the type-machine would have saved him a great sum in money and years of disappointment. But perhaps he would not have heeded it then.
The year 1898 brought the Spanish-American War. Clemens was constitutionally against all wars, but writing to Twichell, whose son had enlisted, we gather that this one was an exception.
To Rev. J. H. Twichell, in Hartford:
KALTENLEUTGEBEN, NEAR VIENNA, June 17, '98. DEAR JOE,--You are living your war-days over again in Dave, and it must be a strong pleasure, mixed with a sauce of apprehension--enough to make it just schmeck, as the Germans say. Dave will come out with two or three stars on his shoulder-straps if the war holds, and then we shall all be glad it happened.
We started with Bull Run, before. Dewey and Hobson have introduced an improvement on the game this time.
I have never enjoyed a war-even in written history--as I am enjoying this one. For this is the worthiest one that was ever fought, so far as my knowledge goes. It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man's. And I think this is the first time it has been done.
Oh, never mind Charley Warner, he would interrupt the raising of Lazarus. He would say, the will has been probated, the property distributed, it will be a world of trouble to settle the rows--better leave well enough alone; don't ever disturb anything, where it's going to break the soft smooth flow of things and wobble our tranquillity.
Company! (Sh! it happens every day--and we came out here to be quiet.)