Läser i samma bok av Mark Twain en redogörelse för ett samtal han har med John Hay (som arbetat som sekreterare under Lincoln). Hay säger följande:
At forty a man reaches the top of the hill of life and starts down on the sunset side. The ordinary man, the average man, not to particularize too closely and say the commanplace man, has at that age suceeded or failed; in either case he has lived all of his life that is likely to be worth recording; also in either case the life lived is worth setting down, and cannot fail to be interesting if he comes as near to telling the truth about himself as he can. And he WILL tell the truth in spite of himself, for his facts and his fictions will work loyally together for the protection of the reader; each fact and each fiction will be a dab of paint, each will fall in its right place, and together they will paint his portrait; not the portrait HE thinks they are painting, but his real portrait, the inside of him, the soul of him, his character.