Mark Twain, Killing it in The Friend Game Since 1903

I must steal half a moment from my work to say how glad I am to have your book, and how highly I value it, both for its own sake and as a remembrance of an affectionate friendship which has subsisted between us for nine years without a break, and without a single act of violence that I can call to mind. I suppose there is nothing like it in heaven; and not likely to be, until we get there and show off. I often think of it with longing, and how they’ll say, “There they come — sit down in front!” I am practicing with a tin halo.

Mark Twain, best friend, forever. Here, Letters of Note reprints a good one he wrote to his pal Helen Keller. (Did you know?) After this enviable opening, he turns to the subject of plagiarism, something Helen was accused of — in a crazy official way involving a tribunal! — at age 12. Mark’s thoughts after reading about the incident in her autobiography? “The kernel, the soul — let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterances — is plagiarism.” Sound familiar?