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There was an unoccupied rocking-chair on the veranda, and when my brother offered it to him he dropped into it with a sigh of relief. He smoked for a few moments and said, “Nice morning.”

“Yes, very pleasant.”

“Shouldn’t wonder if we had rain by and by.”

“Well, we could stand a little.”

“This is a nice house you have here?”

“Yes, we rather like it.”

“How’s your family?”

“Quite well – and yours?”

“Oh, we’re comfortable.”

There was another impressive silence, and finally Mark crossed his legs, blew a puff of smoke in the air, and in his lazy drawl, remarked:  “I suppose you’re a little surprised to see me over here so early. Fact is, I haven’t been so neighborly, perhaps, as I ought to be. We must mend that state of things. But this morning I came over because I thought you might be interested in knowing that your roof is on fire…”

MARK TWAIN – On Being Neighborly

The Reverend J. Hyatt Smith relates about his meeting Mark Twain while they both lived in Buffalo. This is taken from MARK TWAIN LAUGHING, edited by P.M. Zall

“Mark Twain occupied a cottage across the street. We did not see very much of him, but one morning as we were enjoying our cigars on the veranda after breakfast, we saw Mark come to his door in his dressing-gown and slippers, and look over at us. He stood at his own door and smoked for a minute, as if making up his mind about something, and, at last, opened his gate and came lounging across the street.