Mark Twain and cat
very early in my research of mark twain, i discovered this man had a deep love for cats. i immediately began to have doubts about the pit nutters inclusion of him on their famous list. of all of the famous people that i have researched so far that were erroneously included on the famous list, Mark Twain is by far the most amusing. Mark Twain didn't even care for dogs all that much. but don't take my word for it. read on and be sure to check the links.
from Mark Twain, a Biography: the Personal and Literary Life of Samuel Langhorne Clemens by Albert Bigelow Paine volume 2 p 685:
Mark Twain himself had no great love for the canine breed. To a woman who wrote, asking for his opinion on dogs, he said, in part:
"By what right has the dog come to be regarded as a "noble" animal? The more brutal and cruel and unjust you are to him the more your fawning and adoring slave he becomes; whereas, if you shamefully misuse a cat once she will always maintain a dignified reserve toward you afterward you can never get her full confidence again."
He was not harsh to dogs; occasionally he made friends with them. There was once at the farm a gentle hound, named Bones, that for some reason even won his way into his affections. Bones was always a welcome companion, and when the end of summer came, and Clemens, as was his habit, started down the drive ahead of the carriage, Bones, half-way to the entrance, was waiting for him. Clemens stooped down, put his arms around him, and bade him an affectionate good-by. He always recalled Bones tenderly, and mentioned him in letters to the farm.
i especially like this sentiment, "By what right has the dog come to be regarded as a "noble" animal? The more brutal and cruel and unjust you are to him the more your fawning and adoring slave he becomes;…" this leads me to believe that Mark Twain would have reserved his greatest disdain for the american pit bull terrier.
also from Paine's biography:
But next morning a dog began to howl. Gillis woke this time, to find his room-mate standing in the door that opened out into a back garden, holding a big revolver, his hand shaking with cold and excitement.
"Came here, Steve," he said. "Come here and kill him. I'm so chilled through I can't get a bead on him."
"Sam," said Steve, "don't shoot him. Just swear at him. You can easily kill him at that range with your profanity."
even though Twain seemed to have a general dislike of dogs, he at least a good sense of dogs and genetics, unlike the pit nutters of today:
further evidence that indicates he was not fond of dogs. Mark Twain made the following statement at a dinner commemorating Benjamin Franklin:
it does appear that Mark Twain owned at least one dog. well at least it appears that his daughters owned at least one dog.
i do have a theory how Mark Twain ended up on the pit nutters' list. he references dog fighting and baiting in his fictional work. in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, there is a character by the name of Jim Smiley who likes to bet on dog and cock fights. and then there is this excerpt from Huckleberry Finn
The hogs loafed and grunted around everywheres. You'd see a muddy sow and a litter of pigs come lazying along the street and whollop herself right down in the way, where folks had to walk around her, and she'd stretch out and shut her eyes and wave her ears whilst the pigs was milking her, and look as happy as if she was on salary. And pretty soon you'd hear a loafer sing out, "Hi! SO boy! sick him, Tige!" and away the sow would go, squealing most horrible, with a dog or two swinging to each ear, and three or four dozen more a-coming; and then you would see all the loafers get up and watch the thing out of sight, and laugh at the fun and look grateful for the noise. Then they'd settle back again till there was a dog fight. There couldn't anything wake them up all over, and make them happy all over, like a dog fight -- unless it might be putting turpentine on a stray dog and setting fire to him, or tying a tin pan to his tail and see him run himself to death.
SPECIAL THANKS TO CKING. without this individual's help, discrediting the pit nutters' claim that Mark Twain was a pit bull owner may not have been possible.