<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Letter from Mark Twain to Dr. John Brown - Feb. 28, 1874
Mark Twain Letters

Letter from Mark Twain to Dr. John Brown


Mark Twain Dr. John Brown

MY DEAR FRIEND,—We are all delighted with your commendations of The Gilded Age-and the more so because some of our newspapers have set forth the opinion that Warner really wrote the book and I only added my name to the title page in order to give it a larger sale. I wrote the first eleven chapters, every word and every line. I also wrote chapters 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 21, 42, 43, 45, 51, 52. 53, 57, 59, 60, 61, 62, and portions of 35, 49 and 56. So I wrote 32 of the 63 chapters entirely and part of 3 others beside.

The fearful financial panic hit the book heavily, for we published it in the midst of it. But nevertheless in the 8 weeks that have now elapsed since the day we published, we have sold 40,000 copies; which gives L3,000 royalty to be divided between the authors. This is really the largest two-months' sale which any American book has ever achieved (unless one excepts the cheaper editions of Uncle Tom's Cabin). The average price of our book is 16 shillings a copy—Uncle Tom was 2 shillings a copy. But for the panic our sale would have been doubled, I verily believe. I do not believe the sale will ultimately go over 100,000 copies.

I shipped to you, from Liverpool, Darley's Illustrations of Judd's "Margaret" (the waiter at the Adelphi Hotel agreeing to ship it securely per parcel delivery,) and I do hope it did not miscarry, for we in America think a deal of Darley's work. I shipped the novel ("Margaret") to you from here a week ago.

Indeed I am thankful for the wife and the child—and if there is one individual creature on all this footstool who is more thoroughly and uniformly and unceasingly happy than I am I defy the world to produce him and prove him. In my opinion, he doesn't exist. I was a mighty rough, coarse, unpromising subject when Livy took charge of me 4 years ago, and I may still be, to the rest of the world, but not to her. She has made a very creditable job of me.

Success to the Mark Twain Club!—and the novel shibboleth of the Whistle. Of course any member rising to speak would be required to preface his remark with a keen respectful whistle at the chair-the chair recognizing the speaker with an answering shriek, and then as the speech proceeded its gravity and force would be emphasized and its impressiveness augmented by the continual interjection of whistles in place of punctuation-pauses; and the applause of the audience would be manifested in the same way....

They've gone to luncheon, and I must follow. With strong love from us both.

Your friend,

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