The Rescue,_Feb_7,_1871,_cropped_Repair.jpg

“Boys, I had great presence of mind once. It was at a fire. An old man leaned out of a four-story building, calling for help. Everybody in the crowd below looked up, but nobody did anything. The ladders weren’t long enough. Nobody had any presence of mind–nobody but me. I came to the rescue. I yelled for a rope. When it came I threw the old man the end of it. He caught it, and I told him to tie it around his waist. He did so, and I pulled him down.”

— Mark Twain, in Albert Bigelow Paine, The Boy’s Life of Mark Twain, 1916