Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/166

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MARK TWAIN AND THE ENGLISH HACK-WRITER

A Berlin cartoon paper, "Ulk," once represented Twain as "an Arthurian Knight, canned up to the neck in armour," galloping after kill-joys and such, and picking them up with his lance and warhooping like wild. That's what he would like to have done to the hack of a London publishing house, who had interfered with his copy, striking out sentences, and words, and substituting his own "insular ignorance" wherever Mark's broad humanity ran amuck of public opinion as he, the hack, understood it.

Mark told me that he spent three days "abolishing that cad" (quoting from Carlyle) and I think he added:

"I gave him at least part of the Hades and brimstone he deserved. There were such moving passages as 'monumental ass,' 'masticator of commonplaces,' 'offspring of a court fool,' 'clownish idiot,' etc. All the hatred, all the venom that was in my system I let loose upon that damn' fool, squirted it into him with all the force that I was capable of. Oh, I laid him out. If he had had the chance to read the letter, his own mother would not have recognized him.

"But, as you may have heard, women know these things better, and Livy destroyed that wonderful letter of mine, burned it up

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