It has not happened often that the activities of a major author have been recorded day to day by one of his associates. Still less often has the recorder been himself an author of sympathy and perception. Few Dr. Johnsons, that is, have had their James Boswells. Neither George W. Cable nor Mark Twain was in any real sense a Boswell to the other, but for four months in 1884-1885, when each was at the peak of his literary career, they were together constantly as they toured the country sharing the same platforms to read from their books. Letters they wrote during those months report even the smallest incidents in the halls, at the hotels, and on the trains; and with uncommon intimacy the letters reflect the personalities of the two men and the way they saw each other.
Cable sent his wife a letter almost every day he was on the road, some days more than one. These letters fill most of the pages of the present volume. Written in the railway cars, or in their hotel while Mark Twain sang in an adjoining room, or in the retiring room of the hall, as was often the case, while Mark was on the stage drawing waves of laughter and applause from his hearers, Cable's letters reproduce in tone as well as in fact one of the most remarkable joint undertakings in our literary annals. Both members of the reading team wrote now and then to the manager of their tour, Major James B. Pond, and since Pond was a friend to both of them much longer than the duration of the reading tour, their letters to him