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The New York Times, January 30, 1906

Delightful, as a Representative, to Slap Uncle Joe's Back
The Smiling Philosopher and the Speaker Try That and Indorse It -
The Chill of the Senate

Special to the New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 20. - Mark Twain thinks he would like to be a Senator, although there are moments when he would like to be a Representative. For, he says, you can slap the Speaker on the back and call him "Uncle Joe" - that is, some people can do that - but he doesn't know of anybody in the Senate who can slap the Vice President on the back and call him "Uncle Charley." At least Mr. Twain hasn't met any Senator yet - he admits that - and there may be some who can do it. Mr. Twain expects if he stays here a few hours longer to know all the Senators. He has made fair progress since he came.

Not that this is Mr. Twain's first visit to Washington. He has been here several times, but never before has he felt that he was a really distinguished person. This time people have noticed him, he says.

On Saturday night he attended the Gridiron dinner and noticed a great many people whose pictures he had seen. He is a little timid, but he easily made some acquaintances there, on of who was this Mr. Cannon already referred to. Mr. Cannon seemed to like him, and Mr. Twain was pleased at that. They struck up such a friendship that Mr. Twain invited Mr. Cannon to come and have luncheon with him at his hotel on Sunday.

On that day at 1 o'clock Mr. Cannon showed up, not in his famous homespun dress, but in another suit. Mr. Twain told Mr. Cannon he was disappointed, and Mr. Cannon promised to wear the homespun suit the next time he met Mr. Twain. They had a good time, and ate many things, and Mr. Harvey, a friend of Mr. Twain's who prints the things Mr. Twain writes, was there, too. When Mr. Cannon went away he asked Mr. Twain to come and see him at his office at the foot of Pennsylvania Avenue, and see how he did his work.

So Mr. Twain showed up there this afternoon, but he did not see Mr. Cannon do any work, at least not much. He and Mr. Cannon sat in the Speaker's room and told stories all the time. Mr. Cannon must have got interested in what Mr. Twain had to say, for after a while he put his feet on the top of his table and crossed his thumbs, and that is always a sign that Mr. Cannon is interested. Mr. Twain sat alongside him and talked in a slow drawl. Mr. Cannon talked fully as much as Mr. Twain, and the philosopher enjoyed hearing what he said.

"What did we talk about?" said Mr. Twain afterward. "Well, we just swapped lies."

The Speaker was not the only man Mr. Twain saw. He met a great many Senators and people like that.

"And," said Mr. Twain, "there were a good many flights of imagination in what those people said. But the Speaker and I stuck pretty close to the truth."

He reflected on this for a moment, and then seemed to fear that he had been too hasty. "At least," he amended, "I did. I don't know whether or not the Speaker stretched a point or two."

Mr. Twain was asked how he came to go to the Capitol.

"Well," he said, "I wanted to see my old friend Joe Cannon."

"Is Mr. Cannon an old friend of yours?" he was asked.

"I call him an old friend," explained Mr. Twain, "because I met him for the first time on Saturday night, and a man you meet on a Saturday night is always an old friend. I sat beside him at the Gridiron dinner, and I gradually came to have a good opinion of him. If the dinner had lasted half an hour longer I think we would have been calling each other Joe and Sam.

Samuel is Mr. Twain's family name - the one his family uses.

"But it did not," added Mr. Twain, "and so I have not called him Joe yet. Perhaps I will the next time I come."

Mr. Twain and Mr. Cannon took luncheon together, and Mr. Twain looked the Senate over and saw more people whose pictures he had seen. Then he went back to his hotel and gave a dinner to a few friends. He does not know when he will go back.

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