Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was asked in 1874 by his publisher
to write a review of the book Nuggets and Dust Panned Out in California by Dod Grille,
written by Ambrose Bierce. The publisher, Chatto & Windus,
knew that Bierce and Clemens had known each other since the 1860s, and figured a quotable review by Clemens might boost lagging sales of the book. They got a review, just not one they expected. And, needless to say, Clemens and Bierce remained friends.
"Dod Grile" (Mr. Bierce) is a personal friend of mine, & I like him exceedingly — but he knows my opinion of the "Nuggets & Dust," & so I do not mind exposing it to you. It is the vilest book that exists in print — or very nearly so. If you keep a "reader," it is charity to believe he never really read that book, but framed his verdict upon hearsay.
Bierce has written some admirable things — fugitive pieces — but none of them are among the "Nuggets." There is humor in Dod Grile, but for every laugh that is in his book there are five blushes, ten shudders and a vomit. The laugh is too expensive.
Samuel L. Clemens
(Source: Boston Public Library, via Lettersofnote.com)