Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain




















































































































































 - 

Charles Dudley Warner was at church, one day, when the worn letter was
read and wept over.  At the church - Page 420
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Charles Dudley Warner Was At Church, One Day, When The Worn Letter Was Read And Wept Over.

At the church door, afterward, he dropped a peculiarly cold iceberg down the clergyman's back with the question -

'Do you know that letter to be genuine?'

It was the first suspicion that had ever been voiced; but it had that sickening effect which first-uttered suspicions against one's idol always have. Some talk followed -

'Why - what should make you suspect that it isn't genuine?'

'Nothing that I know of, except that it is too neat, and compact, and fluent, and nicely put together for an ignorant person, an unpractised hand. I think it was done by an educated man.'

The literary artist had detected the literary machinery. If you will look at the letter now, you will detect it yourself - it is observable in every line.

Straightway the clergyman went off, with this seed of suspicion sprouting in him, and wrote to a minister residing in that town where Williams had been jailed and converted; asked for light; and also asked if a person in the literary line (meaning me) might be allowed to print the letter and tell its history. He presently received this answer -

Rev. - - - -

MY DEAR FRIEND, - In regard to that 'convict's letter' there can be no doubt as to its genuineness. 'Williams,' to whom it was written, lay in our jail and professed to have been converted, and Rev. Mr. - - , the chaplain, had great faith in the genuineness of the change - as much as one can have in any such case.

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