Mark Twain at the Aldine Club
The reception and dinner which the Aldine Association gave to Mark Twain on Dec. 4 was the most notable event of the kind that has ever taken place at that club. Although one of the stormiest nights of the season, the rooms of the club were thronged at an early hour, and the large dining room became so inadequate that some forty persons had to be seated in an adjoining apartment, whence they emerged with their chairs when the speaking began.
The occasion was also notable for the men who were present. Among these were Bishop Potter, Joseph Jefferson. F. Hopkinson Smith, James W. Alexander, John Fox, Jr., Winston Churchill, Brander Matthews, Richard Watson Gilder, John Kendrick Bangs, Albert Shaw, Robert Bridges, Clarence C. Buel, George Haven Putnam, Charles Scribner, George P. Brett, Arthur H. Scribner, Frank H. Scott, Edward Bok, William W. Ellsworth, Frank N. Doubleday, Col. G. B. M. Harvey, Major James B. Pond, Robert W. Smith, Winfield S. Moody, Fletcher H. Bangs, Ernest D. North, Charles F. Chichester, Laurence Hutton, Hamilton W. Mabie, Henry Loomis Nelson, F. A.. Deneke [sic], Augustus Thomas, Capt. Joshua Slocum, David A. Munro, and Francis W. Halsey. The speeches were made by Bishop Potter, Joseph Jefferson, Mark Twain, James W. Alexander, George Haven Putnam, Capt. Slocum, John Kendrick Bangs, John Fox, Jr., and Augustus Thomas.
The dinner was remarkable for the decorations of the rooms. These had been arranged by Alexander W. Drake. Mr. Clemens and Mr. Mabie, the toastmaster, were framed in by a pilothouse, from the corners of which were suspended colored lights and the cornice of which bore the name of Alonzo Child, the name of one of the steamboats which Mr. Clemens used to pilot on the Mississippi River. The walls were festooned with hanging moss, and here and there were suspended oranges, gourds, and other Southern growths, while catfish were sailing about in aquariums.
Mr. Clemens found in these decorations the principal themes for his speech, which was reminiscent and constantly delightful. When the dinner was first arranged, an understanding was entered into with Mr. Clemens that the speeches should not be reported. He felt that the public tributes already paid to him fully supplied the public needs. The committee, while differing from him, respected his wishes, and The New York Times Saturday Review must do the same.
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