Mark Twain? Robert H. Hirst? Susy Clemens? Apocryphal?
Question for Quote Investigator: Several books about cats contain a quotation credited to humorist Mark Twain stating that Twain was a friend and comrade to people who love cats. I am skeptical of this attribution, and I haven’t seen a citation. Would you please explore this topic?
Reply from Quote Investigator: In 2009 Robert H. Hirst who is the general editor of the scholarly Mark Twain Project edited a book titled “Who is Mark Twain?” containing a collection of sketches and essays by Twain that were unpublished (or rarely published) previously.
A vignette dated September 1887 and titled “An Incident” described a meeting between Twain and a young man who was carrying a gun. Twain initially feared the youth was a “lunatic out gunning for men”. Next, he worried that a group of “four sorry-looking cats” were the target. But Twain learned that the youth was hoping to provide a meal for the cats. Boldface added to excerpts by QI:2010, Who is Mark Twain? by Mark Twain, Edited by Robert H. Hirst (General Editor of Mark Twain Project), Title of manuscript: An Incident, Editor’s date of manuscript: September 1887, Start … Continue reading
Aha!—so far from being a madman, he was saner, you see, than the average of our race; for he had a warm spot in him for cats. When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.
A couple more citations for this quotation are listed in the full article on the Medium website which is available here.
Image Notes: Public domain image of painting titled “Wild Cat” by Rosa Bonheur who died in 1899.
Acknowledgement: Great thanks to Karen__Rico whose inquiry led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration.
|↑1||2010, Who is Mark Twain? by Mark Twain, Edited by Robert H. Hirst (General Editor of Mark Twain Project), Title of manuscript: An Incident, Editor’s date of manuscript: September 1887, Start Page 165, Quote Page 166, HarperStudio: Imprint of HarperCollins, New York. (Verified with scans of paperback edition; hardcover was published in 2009)|