To Correspondents

Mark Twain

The Galaxy/July, 1870

To those parties who have offered to send me curious obituaries, I would say that I shall be very glad to receive such. A number have already been sent me. The quaint epitaph business has had a fair share of attention in all generations, but the village obituaries—those marvelous combinations of ostentatious sorrow and ghastly “fine writing”—have been unkindly neglected. Inquirers are informed that the “Post-mortem Poetry” of last month really came, without alteration, from the Philadelphia “Ledger.” The “Deaths” have long been a prominent feature in the “Ledger.”

Those six or eight persons who have written me from various localities, inquiring with a deal of anxiety if I am permanently engaged to write for THE GALAXY, have been surprised, maybe, at the serene way in which I let the days go by without making any sort of reply. Do they suppose that I am one of that kind of birds that can be walked up to and captured by the process of putting salt on its tail? Hardly. These people want to get me to say Yes, and then stop their magazine. The subscriber was not fledged yesterday.

(Source: Project Gutenberg Australia,

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