Mark Twain Letter for the Next Burglar

After a burglary, Twain had some advice for the next burglar.

"I very much appreciate John Walton’s work. He walks a fine line because he understands, ..."

An Ancient Document (RJS)
"To tell the story of the dawn of the age of authenticity is to show ..."

The Age Of Youthfulness
"We are likely in agreement -- language often gets in the way. For example, I ..."

An Ancient Document (RJS)
"I worry, a little, we emphasize the literalness of these stories too much. For example, ..."

An Ancient Document (RJS)

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I have felt like leaving a note like this around, at least after Boxing Day when a burglar broke into our house and stole my wife’s jewelry. Since the person or persons ignored our computers, there is nothing more in our house than theological books!

  • Larry Barber

    Why I leave my car door unlocked, there is nothing in it to steal (unless you want my jumper cables), so they don’t have to break out a window to determine that there is nothing in it worth stealing.

  • scotmcknight

    Peter, sorry to hear that.

  • RJS

    This letter intrigued me, so I looked for more information. These two posts, The Burglary at Stormfield, September 18, 1908 and Stormfield Burglar Makes His Confession make interesting reading.

  • DRT

    Another of the quaint elements of southern society that I have come to know is that there is quite the aversion to having someone potentially steal things. I bought antique wagon wheels to put at the bottom of my driveway and had several neighbors and acquaintances comment that it is silly to do such a thing since someone could just steal them.

    After that, I started to look around and have noted that the southern folk tend to put little effort into things that are not permanent. I think that is a core element to conservatism.

    No one has stolen my wagon wheels in 10 years so they have had a pretty low yearly cost.

    Please, let people steal the worldly possessions. I love Twain’s note because he is treating the thief with dignity. If someone wants my coat I might give them more, but they would have to give me a good reason.