" Kaltenleutgeben, near Vienna." 7 May 1898. 3 1/3 pages, in ink, on rectos and versos of two octavo lettersheets. Modest tanning, old folds from mailing, slightly weak at one fold, one word slightly smudged below baseline, otherwise very good. Item #WRCLIT63438
To "Dear Gilder," in the recipient's role as editor of CENTURY MAGAZINE: "If I want more, 'say so.' A young person would walk into that trap, imagining it a promise, whereas it has only the gilded outside aspect of one ... But I am not a young person: I have had it & cannot catch it again. So I, who am the descendant of the horse-beck's daughter, say not a single word, but am amply content with the addition of that great compliment wherein you tell me it is the highest price you have ever paid to anybody for anything. I have had that compliment paid to me three or four times in my life, & in every case there was something upliftingly splendid about the feel of it. I think it must be the way a pirate or tiger feels when he has made a 'record' ... I still remember the first two instances ... One was 31 years ago, when a now forgotten London magazine went down into its treasury & paid me $12.50 per mag. page for a 4-page article; the other was 22 years ago when the Atlantic paid me $18 per mag page for a series of articles. To be conscientiously accurate, that wasn't the highest the Atlantic had ever paid for prose - it had paid the same rate to Holmes for the 'Autocrat.' Still, as you will easily understand, the 'feel' was there: because to be rated with Oliver Wendell was itself a 'record.' In those days the author hadn't his today's chance to scrape the fat off'n an editor, but in those days there wasn't any fat on him - he hadn't either circulation or advertisements ...." Signed "Yours sincerely Mark [flourish]."