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In Which Mark Twain Explains My Own Dilemmas with Great Prescience

By (February 6, 2013) No Comment

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The only trouble about this town is, that it is too large. You cannot accomplish anything in the way of business, you cannot even pay a friendly call, without devoting a whole day to it—that is, what people call a whole day who do not get up early. Many business men only give audience from eleven to one; therefore, if you miss those hours your affair must go over till next day. Now if you make time at one place, even though you stay only ten or fifteen minutes, you can hardly get to your next point, because so many things and people will attract your attention and your conversation and curiosity, that the other three-quarters of that hour will be frittered away. You have but one hour left, and my experience is that a man cannot go anywhere in New York in an hour. The distances are too great—you must have another day to it. If you have got six things to do, you have got to take six days to do them in.

—Mark Twain, February 2, 1867, from his Alta California travel diaries.

(Photo of Mark Twain courtesy of George Grantham Bain Collection, Library of Congress.)

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