MARK TWAIN FOUND GORKY A VEXATION
Hits Public in the Face With His Hat, Then Holds It Out, He Wrote.
Nineteen letters of Mark Twain to Charlotte Teller, the author of "The Cage," will be sold at the Anderson Galleries on March 14. Miss Teller met Mark Twain in connection with Gorky's visit to New York, during the Russian Revolution of 1905. She saw him nearly every day for about three months. She then went abroad and they continued to correspond at intervals until his death.
In one of the letters Mark Twain says:
"Gorky is a puzzle and a vexation to me. He came here in a distinctly diplomatic capacity - a function which demands (and necessitates) delicacy, tact, deference to people's prejudices. He came on a great mission, a majestic mission, the succor of an abused and suffering vast nation. As to his diplomacy, it does not resemble Talleyrand's, Gortschakoff's, Metternich's; it is new, it is original; it has not its like in history; he hits the public in the face with his had and then holds it out for contributions. It is not ludicrous, it is pitiful.
"As to his patriotism, his lofty talk of lifting up and healing his bleeding nation - it can't stand the strain of a trifling temporary inconvenience. He had made a grave blunder and persistently refuses to rectify it."
The other letters are full of such characteristic touches as:
"I never use profanity except when writing to a clergyman."
"They have taken to interrupting me every time I try to arrange about my funeral, which is to be in January, a year and seven months from now - January 4th; I tell strangers it is the 6th.
"This letter reminds me of the time I reformed. I said I would smoke only one cigar a day. Before the month was out I was getting cigars manufactured specially. They were as long as a crutch."
In one of the letters he says:
"If you, yourself, have any doubts, brush them away, for there is greatness in you, Charlotte - more than you suspect."
A few of the letters have pieces cut out of them, which was done by Mark Twain, who explained it in this way:
"This letter is getting oppressively long for you, who are a busy person, and I am modifying it with the scissors."
The letters are sympathetic and intimate. They are full of revelations of character
and conditions. Inspite of their sometimes sombre tone, they are full of humorous