“All you need now is one more dog” – a delightful note from Mark Twain

In honor of my new pound puppy, Winston.

Mark Twain didn’t trip the light fantastic on tip-toes. Instead he created fantasy with words. This note Twain wrote congratulating a little girl on her menagerie is simply delightful.

To Miss Joy Agnew, in London:

[Written from Tuxedo Park, New York]

Unto you greetings and salutation and worship, you dear, sweet little rightly-named Joy! I can see you now almost as vividly as I saw you that night when you sat flashing and beaming upon those sombre swallow-tails.

 “Fair as a star when only one

Is shining in the sky.”

 Oh, you were indeed the only one—there wasn’t even the remotest chance of competition with you, dear! Ah, you are a decoration, you little witch!

The idea of your house going to the wanton expense of a flower garden!—aren’t you enough? And what do you want to go and discourage the other flowers for? Is that the right spirit? is it considerate? is it kind?

How do you suppose they feel when you come around—looking the way you look? And you so pink and sweet and dainty and lovely and supernatural? Why, it makes them feel embarrassed and artificial, of course; and in my opinion it is just as pathetic as it can be. Now then you want to reform—dear—and do right. Mark-Twain

Well certainly you are well off, Joy:

  •  3 bantams
  • 3 goldfish;
  • 3 doves;
  • 6 canaries;
  • 2 dogs;
  • 1 cat;

All you need, now, to be permanently beyond the reach of want, is one more dog—just one more good, gentle, high principled, affectionate, loyal dog who wouldn’t want any nobler service than the golden privilege of lying at your door, nights, and biting everything that came along—and I am that very one, and ready to come at the dropping of a hat.

Do you think you could convey my love and thanks to your “daddy” and Owen Seaman and those other oppressed and down-trodden subjects of yours, you darling small tyrant?

On my knees! These—with the kiss of fealty from your other subject—


The man did have a way with words.

Mark Twain quote about Dogs



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