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The New York Times, April 8, 1906

Humorist Elected Annual Guest of the College Club Here.
Miss Peck Says She Will Climb the Highest Mountain on This Hemisphere

The New York Alumnae of Smith College, the "Smith College Club of New York," held its eleventh annual luncheon at the Hotel Astor yesterday afternoon with many interesting events. The first was the election by acclamation of Mark Twain as the annual guest of the club.

Mr. Clemens is not making speeches at the girls' clubs he visits nowadays. He tells a story and they let him off at that. Yesterday he told the always interesting one of taking a girl to the theatre, and of his tight shoes, and how he walked gallantly home with the shoes on one arm and the girl on the other. But Mark Twain can't tell a story and nothing else, so he had to tell the Smith girls just how nice he thought them.

"When I come to a gathering like this," he said, "I feel that I should like to be an aspirant for political honors; I should like to be elected the belle of New York so that I could come to these luncheons all the time."

Then it was that the girls rose en masse, created a new office, and elected Mark Twain as "Annual Guest" to fill it. And the "Annual Guest", who had talked at bouillon time that he might get off early, went away and didn't take luncheon with the girls at all.

Sir Casper Purdon Clarke spoke at the regular speech-making time at the end of the dinner, and it was then that he told the Smith girls that he would have to apologize to them because a good many years ago he had crossed the ocean on purpose to see Smith College as a sample of what might be done with an English girls' college, and had then found Wellesley so satisfactory that after visiting Vassar he had gone home without seeing Smith at all.

"I had come to study colleges architecturally and not institutionally," he said, "and I thought Wellesley, representing the ideas of a woman, could not be improved upon." The Smith girls applauded heartily.

"Mark Twain," said Sir Purdon, in closing his remarks, "is, I think, better known and better loved in England than he is here. He is one of the most lovable and best men in the world."

Miss Annie Peck, the mountain climber, told the club how pleased she was when she heard the Smith girls speaking of her as "our Miss Peck," because she had once been a teacher in the college.

Miss Peck told the club of something of her experiences, of how she first climbed the Matterhorn, acquired a reputation for mountain climbing, and felt that she must make good her reputation by going into it in earnest.

"Mount Sorento, was the first mountain I ever tried to climb and didn't succeed," she said. "I tried twice. Once my money gave out and a second time the men who were with me gave out. They wouldn't go more than half way up. Now I am going to find the highest mountain on this hemisphere and climb that, and then I am going back to get the best of Mount Sorento."

President Seelye of the college told the girls that they had just as much right to intellect as men, and that their brains were as good, but that they must remember that womanliness is as important for a woman as manliness for a man.

"College women are trying like Miss Peck," he said, "to reach the highest point, the highest altitude, but it is the highest altitude of womanhood, and not manhood. The trouble in some women's colleges is that try to imitate the men. There are some things that men do that women should not."

Dr. Seelye said Andrew Carnegie, who has offered the college $62,000 on condition that it raise a like amount, for a biological laboratory, has given the authorities the privilege to use the money for a library, which is much needed. Mr. Rockefeller has given $100,000 for an endowment fund and a like amount for an assembly hall and dormitory.

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