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The New York Times, September 9, 1899


A letter from Mark Twain addressed to a correspondent in Oklahoma is published in one of the Kansas City papers. It relates to Rudyard Kipling and was called out in an interesting manner. It seems that the students of Stillwater College, in Oklahoma, recently declared that Kipling was entitled to be regarded as the greatest living writer of English. Dr. Henry Walker of Oklahoma City disagreed with this verdict in a letter which he wrote to a paper published in Oklahoma City, and gave that proud eminence to Mark Twain instead. He sent Mr. Clemens a copy of his letter and has received the following reply:

"Dear Doctor Walker: I thank you ever so much for the impulse which moved you to write the article--and for the article, also, which is mighty good reading. And I am glad you praised Kipling--he deserves it; he deserves all the praise that is lavished upon him, and more. It is marvelous--the work which that boy has done' the more you read the 'Jungle Books' the more wonderful they grow. But Kipling himself does not appreciate them as he ought; he read 'Tom Sawyer' a couple of times when he was coming up out of his illness and said he would rather be author of that book than any that has been published during its lifetime. Now, I could have chosen better, I should have chosen 'Jungle Books.' But I prize his compliment just the same, of course. I thank you gain and heartily. I haven't the language to say it strongly enough."

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