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The New York Times, June 21, 1907

Strolls in Bathrobe and Bare Legs from Hotel for a Plunge.

Special Cablegram.

Copyright, 1907, by THE NEW YORK TIMES CO.

LONDON, June 20. - Mark Twain exhibited himself as an eccentric today, and every staid Londoner who witnessed the exhibition fairly gasped. A little after 8 o'clock this morning he appeared in the foyer of Brown's Hotel garbed in a blue bathrobe and slippers, with about three inches of bare legs showing.

A slight, elderly gentleman, with bushy, white hair, in this unconventional costume, startled the patrons of the hotel and worried the employees tremendously, but Mark Twain coolly surveyed those who were staring at him, and accompanied by is secretary, R. W. Ashcroft, walked out of the front door of the hotel into Dover Street.

The sidewalks were thronged with pretty shop girls on their way to work. They stopped short and gazed in astonishment at the great American humorist as he made his way toward the Bath Club, nearly opposite the hotel.

After his bath Mark Twain returned to his hotel in his three-piece costume of one bathrobe and two slippers, and had the pleasure of making a lot more people open their eyes very wide. The manager of the hotel was aghast as he saw Twain enter the hotel, but didn't make a fuss. His feeling was that a great man like Mark Twain must be allowed to do as he pleases.

Mark Twain professed to wonder at the excitement he had caused. "I simply wanted to take a bath," he said, "and did the same thing I'd often done at the seaside. London is a sort of seaside town, isn't it?"

Mark Twain tomorrow will renew his acquaintance with King Edward, having a special invitation to the King's great garden party at Windsor. He met King Edward first a number of years ago in Homburg [sic], where the King had a jolly laugh with him over a passage in one of his books in which he commented on the fact that Edward, at that time Prince of Wales, had passed him on the strand without stopping for a chat with him. The Prince, he later explained, was in a carriage, while he was on top of a penny 'bus.

Secretary Ashcroft and two assistants were as busy as bees today answering communications from public bodies, public men, and personal friends of Mark Twain, who desire to entertain him. there could be no better evidence of his great popularity in England.

For more regarding Twain's association with Ralph Ashcroft, see Karen Lystra's DANGEROUS INTIMACY
(University of California Press, 2004).

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