There can really be no excuse for this last book of trite and beautiful sayings. I do not attempt, in any way, to palliate this great wrong. I would not do so even if I had an idea what palliate meant.
It will, however, add one more to the series of books for which I am to blame, and the pleasure of travel will be very much enhanced, for me, at least.
There is one friend I always meet on the trains when I travel. He is the news agent. He comes to me with my own books in his arms, and tells me over and over again of their merits. He means it, too. What object could he have in coming to me, not knowing who I am, and telling me of their great worth? Why would he talk that way to me if he did not really feel it?
That is one reason I travel so much. When 1 get gloomy and heartsick, I like to get on a train and be assured once more, by a total stranger, that my books have never been successfully imitated.
Some authors like to have a tall man, with a glazed grip-sack, and whose breath is stronger than his intellect, selling their works; but I do not prefer that way.
I like the candor and ingenuousness of the train-boy. He does not come to the front door while you are at prayers, and ring the bell till the hat-rack falls down, and then try to sell you a book containing 2,000 receipts for the blind staggers. He leans gently over you as you look out the car window, and he puts some pecan meats in your hand, and thus wins your trusting heart. Then he sells you a book, and takes an interest in you.
This book will go to swell the newsboy's armful, and if there be any excuse, under the sun, for its publication, aside from the royalty; that is it.
I have taken great care to thoroughly eradicate anything that would have the appearance of poetry in this work, and there is not a thought or suggestion contained in it that would soil the most delicate fabric.
Do not read it all at once, however, in order to see whether he married the girl or not.