Arousing More Interest

[On April 9th, MT published the following "letter to John Smith" in the Quincy Herald. Needless to say, there was no invitation from John Smith, but as this promotional puff eventually gets around to noting, MT was speaking that night in National Hall:]

JOHN SMITH, ESQ. -- Dear Sire: It gratifies me, more than tongue can express, to receive this kind attention at your hand, and I hasten to reply to your flattering note. I am filled with astonishment to find you here, John Smith. I am astonished, because I thought you were in San Francisco. I am almost certain I left you there. I am almost certain it was you, and I know if it was not you, it was a man whose name is similar.

I am surprised to find you here, John Smith. And yet I ought not to be, either, because I found you in New York, most unexpectedly; and I stumbled on you in Boston; and was amazed to discover you in New Orleans; and thunderstruck to run across you in St. Louis. You must certainly be a sort of roving disposition, John Smith. You certainly are, John, and you know that a rolling stone gathers no moss. And a rolling Smith never gathers any moss. There is no real use in anybody's gathering moss, John, because it isn't worth any more in the market than sawdust is, and hardly as much -- but then, if we want to get along pleasantly with the world, we must respect the world's little whims and caprices; and you know that the world has a foolish prejudice in favor of a man's gathering moss. So you had better locate, John, and go to gathering some. It is no credit to you, John Smith, that you are always sure to turn up wherever a man goes. It may be -- no, it cannot be possible -- that there are two John Smiths. The idea is absurd.

However, I always liked you, Smith, and I am right glad to come across you again, moss or no moss. I am proud to be asked to lecture for you and shall always treasure the recollection of that compliment with peculiar fondness; but you see I have already agreed to lecture for the Encore Club, and so of course I have to decline your kind offer. But do not let this provoke a coolness, John; on the contrary, let it bind us together more tenderly than ever in the common bonds of our rolling and mossless good fellowship.

Come to National Hall Tuesday night, 9th inst., John, and bring some of your relations. I would say bring all of them, John, and say it with all my heart, too, but the hall only covers one acre of ground, and your Smith family is a large one, John.

Yours tenderly,