THE $30,000 BEQUEST and Other Stories by Mark Twain

before cigar shops. This present month is only the sixth, and I am

already in portraits!

The humble offering which accompanies these remarks [see figure]–

the portrait of his Majesty William III., King of Prussia–

is my fifth attempt in portraits, and my greatest success.

It has received unbounded praise from all classes of the community,

but that which gratifies me most is the frequent and cordial verdict

that it resembles the GALAXY portraits. Those were my first love,

my earliest admiration, the original source and incentive of my

art-ambition. Whatever I am in Art today, I owe to these portraits.

I ask no credit for myself–I deserve none. And I never take any,

either. Many a stranger has come to my exhibition (for I have had my

portrait of King William on exhibition at one dollar a ticket), and

would have gone away blessing ME, if I had let him, but I never did.

I always stated where I got the idea.

King William wears large bushy side-whiskers, and some critics have

thought that this portrait would be more complete if they were added.

But it was not possible. There was not room for side-whiskers and

epaulets both, and so I let the whiskers go, and put in the epaulets,

for the sake of style. That thing on his hat is an eagle.

The Prussian eagle–it is a national emblem. When I saw hat I

mean helmet; but it seems impossible to make a picture of a helmet

that a body can have confidence in.

I wish kind friends everywhere would aid me in my endeavor to attract

a little attention to the GALAXY portraits. I feel persuaded it can

be accomplished, if the course to be pursued be chosen with judgment.

I write for that magazine all the time, and so do many abler men,

and if I can get these portraits into universal favor, it is all I ask;

the reading-matter will take care of itself.


There is nothing like it in the Vatican. Pius IX.

It has none of that vagueness, that dreamy spirituality about it,

which many of the first critics of Arkansas have objected to in the

Murillo school of Art. Ruskin.

The expression is very interesting. J.W. Titian.

(Keeps a macaroni store in Venice, at the old family stand.)

It is the neatest thing in still life I have seen for years.

Rosa Bonheur.

The smile may be almost called unique. Bismarck.

I never saw such character portrayed in a picture face before.

De Mellville.

There is a benignant simplicity about the execution of this

work which warms the heart toward it as much, full as much,

as it fascinates the eye. Landseer.

One cannot see it without longing to contemplate the artist.

Frederick William.

Send me the entire edition–together with the plate and the

original portrait–and name your own price. And–would you

like to come over and stay awhile with Napoleon at Wilhelmsh:ohe?

It shall not cost you a cent. William III.



Often a quite assified remark becomes sanctified by use and

petrified by custom; it is then a permanency, its term of activity

a geologic period.

The day after the arrival of Prince Henry I met an English friend,

and he rubbed his hands and broke out with a remark that was charged

to the brim with joy–joy that was evidently a pleasant salve

to an old sore place:

“Many a time I’ve had to listen without retort to an old saying

that is irritatingly true, and until now seemed to offer no chance

for a return jibe: ‘An Englishman does dearly love a lord’;

but after this I shall talk back, and say, ‘How about the Americans?'”

It is a curious thing, the currency that an idiotic saying can get.

The man that first says it thinks he has made a discovery.

The man he says it to, thinks the same. It departs on its travels,

is received everywhere with admiring acceptance, and not only as

a piece of rare and acute observation, but as being exhaustively

true and profoundly wise; and so it presently takes its place

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Categories: Twain, Mark