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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
"R. Kent Rasmussen" <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 15 Dec 2011 14:34:14 -0800
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
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As the editor of a collection of Mark Twain quotes, I feel a little foolish asking for help identifying a quote, but I'm stuck. I have most of Mark Twain's published writings on my computer and a vernerable but excellent text-search program (Lotus Magellan), but I'm absolutely unable to find an answer to my question.

A clergyman writing to Mark Twain in 1908 rattled off allusions to some of his favorite passages in Mark Twain's works and included this line: "the nigger with such a tail, `why he had a hundred!'"

I'm assuming he meant "tale" for "tail."  Nevertheless, every conceivable combination of key words I've searched has failed to turn up a likely hit. The clergyman's other textual allusions are accurate, but it's possible that he unintentionally phrased the mystery reference with words different from those in the text he was thinking of. However, even searches for words such as "story" (for "tale") and "thousand" and "million" (for "hundred") turned up no hits. My conclusion is that unless the clergyman was thinking of something written by a different author (yes, I've tried searching on google books), he was thinking of a very differently worded Mark Twain passage. If anyone can help me identify that passage, I'll be much obleeged. Keep in mind that any Mark Twain text the clergyman read had to have been published before September 1908 and probably appeared in a book or magazine reasonably accessible on the East Coast.