MARK TWAIN TALKS TO COLLEGE WOMEN
Says He'll Only Speak to Alumnae After This.
TELLS THAT TWICHELL STORY
Five Hundred Women Shook Hand with Him and Showered Him with Pretty Speeches.
The Women's University Club and Mark Twain entertained each other yesterday. The club gave a reception, with the author as the guest of honor, and the entire club and a good many of its relatives and friends turned out to meet him. There were 500 of them at least, and each one had something to say to Mr. Clemens when she shook hands with him.
Some one who was looking on said that a good many "repeated" and went up twice to shake hands.
Mr. Clemens in the course of a long life has had other experiences in which college girls have had a part, and he was somewhat reminiscent. The girls he talked to yesterday were some of them grandchildren of other girls he had met in other days.
"I don't have to day anything, do I?" said one girl, who had not been able to think up an interesting remark, as she shook hands with the guest of honor.
"No, indeed," said Mr. Clemens, "I'm shy that way myself."
"I have been waiting since I was three years old for this, " said another girl. "It was as long ago as that that my father pointed out the pictures in 'Innocents Abroad' to me."
"I bring a message from two little," said an older woman. "They want you to write another story as nice as 'The Prince and the Pauper,' and send them the first copy," and Mark Twain gayly promised that he would.
Mr. Clemens had promised to speak at the club, but, having a cold, asked to be excused. He was persuaded, however, to "tell a yarn."
They brought in a little platform that had been in readiness for the address, but he was not satisfied with it.
"I don't think that is high enough." he said, "because I can't tell what people are thinking unless I see their faces." Then at his request the brought a chair, which was placed on the platform, and he stood on it. The veteran author never spoke to a more appreciative audience.
"I am not here, young ladies, to make a speech," he said, "but what may look like one in the distance. I don't dare to make a speech, for I haven't made any preparations, and if I tried it on an empty stomach - I mean an empty mind - I don't know what iniquity I might commit.
"On the 19th of this month, at Carnegie Hall, I am going to take formal leave of the platform for ever and ever, as far as appearing for pay is concerned and before people who have to pay to get in, but I have not given up for other occasions.
"I shall now proceed to infest the platform all the time under conditions that I like - when I am not paid to appear and when no one has to pay to get in, and I shall only talk to audiences of college girls. I have labored for the public good for many years, and now I am going to talk for my own contentment."
Then Mr. Clemens told his "yarn."
It was a yarn about a walking tour with the Rev. Joseph Twichell that the public has found entertaining. The college women appeared to be entertained by it.
Return to The New York Times
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search