DINNER TO W. D. HOWELLS.
Mark Twain Makes a Speech for the Guest of Honor.
Special to The New York Times.
LAKEWOOD, N. J., Dec. 28. - A brilliant gathering made up of representatives of the various Harper publications and their most prominent literary contributors, attended a dinner given to-day at the Laurel House by Col. George Harvey in honor of W. D. Howells, who will soon sail for Europe. Among the seventy guests present were "Mark Twain," Henry M. Alden, David Munro, Albert Bigelow Paine, Van Tassel Sutphen, and Dennis O'Sullivan, well known as a singer in London opera.
After dinner Col. Harvey called on Mr. Howells, who said that as he and Mr. Clemens had long ago made a pact that if he would write Mr. Clemens's books, Mr. Clemens would make his speeches, he would leave him to make the speech now if Mr. Clemens thought he could remember it.
Mr. Clemens rose to the occasion, and kept the room in a gale of laughter for some time, revealing the details of his literary collaboration with Mr. Howells for some years. He said the Mr. Howells had started by expurgating his books for him till he had attained his present reputation, and that had Mr. Howells continued the process he had no doubt it would have brought to him a reputation for literary purity such as had never been before known, but unfortunately Mr. Howells was not content with merely expurgating Mr. Clemens's books, he soon began to interline.
"And then," concluded Mr. Clemens, "I released him from the contract and have edited my own books ever since."
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