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The New York Times, December 1, 1910


Throng at Carnegie Hall Hears Humorous Stories of the Humorist and Philosopher.
Choate, Cannon, Howells, Twichell, and Others Give Reminiscences of His Life Here and Abroad.

Nearly 5,000 persons packed Carnegie Hall last night to honor the memory of Mark Twain. While almost every one of prominence in the literary life and activity of the Eastern half of the country was present, there were many others besides, representing business, finance, and all the professions. The gathering was one of the most distinguished brought together here in years.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Joseph G. Cannon - "Uncle Joe," as Mark Twain always called him, even to his face - was one of the principal as well as one of the most delightful speakers, his talk overflowing with good stories about his friend. Champ Clark of Missouri, minority leader in he present Congress and slated to succeed Mr. Cannon as Speaker in the next, was another to pay Mark Twain tribute.

Others who spoke were his old friend, William Dean Howells, who was chosen to preside; Joseph H. Choate, Henry Watterson, whom Mark Twain, like many others, called "Marse Henry," when he didn't call him "Cousin Henry," as they were connected by marriage; the Rev. Dr. Joseph H. Twichell of Hartford, the humorist's old pastor and intimate friend; George W. Cable and Henry Van Dyke, the latter reading a poem entitled "Mark Twain," written for the occasion.

Not an Occasion for Sadness.

There was a good deal about the ceremonies that was tender, nothing that was sad, but much good humor many bright sayings, and many good stories. Not a few of these were Mark Twain's own. Many of those who knew the humorist, best felt that it was just the sort of meeting he would have sanctioned if his consent to such a gathering could have been obtained. Mr. Howells said in the beginning it would never do to make a solemn thing of the memorial.

"If the mood and make of our commemoration could be left to Mark Twain," said he, "we might imagine him saying:

" 'Why, of course you mustn't make a solemnity of it; you mustn't have it that sort of obsequy. I should want you to be serious about me - that is, sincere; and you couldn't be sincere if you ran to eulogy. But we don't object here to any man's affection; we like to be liked as well as ever, and if any of you can remember some creditable thing about me I shouldn't mind his telling it, provided always he didn't blink the palliating circumstances, the mitigating motives, the selfish considerations, that accompany ever noble action.

" 'I shouldn't like to be made out a miracle of humor either, and left a stumbling block for any one who was intending to be moderately amusing and instructive hereafter. At the same time I don't suppose a commemoration is exactly the occasion for dwelling on a man's shortcomings in his life of his literature or for realizing that he has entered upon an immortality of oblivion.' "

Mr. Choate's Speech.

Mr. Choate also said it wouldn't do to make the meeting one of mourning. He said all the world had come to recognize Mark Twain in lifetime as the foremost American man of letter, and the greatest humorist of the world. His Huckleberry Finn, Col. Sellers, and Tom Sawyer, Mr. Choate said, were as well-known as any historical characters in American annals. His books were first read for their humor, for their freshness from the soil, Mr. Choate declared and luckily Mark Twain's sentences didn't have to be read and re-read to get their meaning, which ever finally had to be guessed at. This was one reason, Mr. Choate thought, why the middle classes of England associated his works with Robinson Crusoe.

He and the humorist were at the German Summer resort on one occasion and Emperor William was there also. The Kaiser sent one of the officers of his retinue to Mark Twain asking him to come to see him. He went immediately, of course.

When he entered the room where the German Emperor was, the Kaiser called out to the Empress, who was in the adjoining room, saying:

"Come here! here's Mark Twain; here's Mark Twain!"

At another time Dr. Twichell and Mark Twain were in another part of Europe and the Prince of Wales, afterward King Edward VII, was at the same place. The Prince sent for Mark Twain, and Dr. Twichell said the two were chatting in a minute as if they had known each other for years. When they had talked for about an hour, Dr. Twichell said, they marched off together, heading the Prince's following of about a dozen officers and attendants. It was such a picture as one is rarely permitted to see, he said. The Prince was erect and soldierly in bearing. By his side was the familiar, loose-jointed figure of Mark Twain, getting over ground with his usual shambling gait. In his right hand he grasped an umbrella by the middle, and this he was waving almost frantically sometimes in gesticulation.

According to Dr. Twichell, Mark Twain said of this occasion that he had found the Prince "quite quick-witted." The speaker said Mark Twain was a fine story teller in his own home, enveloping his yarns with a richness not to be found in his written stories.

Speaker Cannon was evidently the favorite with the audience. There was long applause when he came forward, presented by Mr. Howells as another man besides Mark Twain who loved his cigar. The Speaker said that many years before any one else present was born he used to hear the Mississippi pilots sing out, "Mark Twain, Mark Twain," meaning a depth of two fathoms of water, but he didn't think then that a man would spring up who would make those words famous throughout the world.

He Feared "Pirates."

Mr. Cannon told how Mark Twain had come to Washington to "lobby"; "yes, to lobby," repeated Speaker Cannon, in the interest of an amendment to the copyright law. The humorist frankly said he wanted to protect his and his children's rights against "pirates."

Mr. Cannon said Mark Twain had a burning desire to appear on the floor of the House of Representatives and argue his cause. The humorist came to see him about it and the Speaker told him it could not be done, as such a thing had never been done. He told him that none but members and ex-members had the privilege of the floor of the House. The only precedents in the cases of others were where persons had received the thanks of Congress. Soon after this Mark Twain himself brought to his desk a letter addressed to the Speaker. Here is the letter:

Dec. 7.

Dear Uncle Joseph: Please get me the thanks of Congress; not next week, but right away. It is very necessary. Do accomplish this at once, by persuasion, if you can, by violence if you must, for it is absolutely necessary that I get on the floor for two or three hours and talk to the Congressmen man by man. I have arguments with me; also a barrel with liquid in it. I have stayed away form Congress and let it alone for seventy-one years and I am entitled to its thanks. Congress knows this well and it never has publicly acknowledged its appreciation. Send me a reply at once with an order on the Sergeant-at-Arms. With love and benediction,



In his address, Mr. Watterson paid a notable tribute to the humorist's life.

"His marriage," said Mr. Watterson, "was the most brilliant success of his life. He got the woman of all the world he most needed; a truly lovely and wise helpmate, who kept him in bounds and headed him straight and right while she lived, the best of housewives an mothers, and the safest of counselors and soundest of critics. She knew his worth; she understood his genius; she clearly saw his limitations and angles. Her death was a grievous disaster as well as a staggering blow. He never quite survived it."

The closing feature of the meeting was Dr. van Dyke's poem, read by himself. Here it is:


We knew you well, dear Yorick of the West,
The very soul of large and friendly jest,
That loved and mocked the broad grotesque of things
In this New World where all the folk are kings.

Your breezy humor cleared the air with sport
Of shams that haunt the democratic court -
For even where the sovereign people rule,
A human monarch needs a royal fool.

Your native drawl lent flavor to your wit;
Your arrows lingered but they always hit;
Homeric mirth around the circle ran,
But left no wound upon the heart of man.

We knew you kind in trouble, brake in pain,
We saw your honor kept without a stain;
We read this lesson of our Yorick's years -
True wisdom comes with laughter and with tears.

None of His Relatives There.

No close relative of Mark Twain's was present. His daughter, Mrs. Ossip Gabrilowitsch, is in Europe. Among those on the platform besides the speakers were Cass Gilbert, Lawrence Gilman, Daniel C. French, Dr. H. Holbrook Curtis, Edwin Howland Blashfield, and John Burroughs. Others in the audience were:

J. P. Morgan, J. Boren Harriman, Mrs. Robert G. Ingersoll, Dr. Edward Quintard, Col. George Harvey, J. Henry Harper, Albert Bigelow Paine, Mr. and Mrs. John E. Milholland, Dr. A. Alexander Smith, Mrs. Richard Watson Gilder, Mrs. Andrew Carnegie, Mrs. Charles A. Ditson, Mrs. Von R. Phelps, William G. Choate, Robert J. collier, Mrs. Ruth McEnery Stuart, Theodore N. Vail, William Rockefeller, Mr. and Mrs. Brayton Ives, Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Kellogg, Will N. Harben, F. Hopkinson Smith, Booth Tarkington, Charles Rann Kennedy, Samuel M.Gardenhire, John Luther Long, Charles Battell Loomis, Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Lynch Williams, Winfield S. Moody, W. W. Ellsworth, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence C. Buel, Frank H. Dodd, Irving Bacheller, Nathan Straus, Mr. and Mrs.Walter Damrosch, Dr. Carlos F. MacDonald, W. A. Nash, Mr. and Mrs. Alton B. Parker, the Rev. Junius B. Remensnyder, Mr. and Mrs. Seth Low, Prof. Thomas R. Lounsbury, Colgate Hoyt, William B. Hornblower, Prof. J. Howard Van Amringe, Miss Jeanette Gilder, Dr. and Mrs. Charles Avery Doremus.

Isaac N. Seligman, Justice and Mrs. Greenbaum, the Rev. Percy Stickney Grant, Edwin R. Seligman, David Leventritt, Dr. John D. Quackenbos, Dr. and Mrs. Newell Dwight Hillis, Mrs Henry Villard, Major Charles E. Lydecker, Gen. Stewart L.Woodford, Prof. Thomas N. Balliet, Edward M. Shepard, Dr. and Mrs. Louis L. Seaman, Mr. and Mrs. Trumbull White, Daniel Frohman, the Rev. George F. Nelson, Dr. Virgil P. Gibney, Gen. and Mrs. F. D. Grant, and Mrs. G. P. Putnam, Stuart G. Nelson, DeLancey Nicoll, Justice Peter A. Hendrick, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hamblen Sears, Mr. and Mrs. Paul D. Cravath, Mr. and Mrs. Charles R. Lamb, Andrew D. White, Dr. F. de Sola Mendes, Will H. Low, Justice John W. Goff, Mrs. Schuyler Van Rensselaer, Charles Dana Gibson, Henry Arthur Jones, David Bennett King, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Ellsworth, and Mr. and Mrs. Frank H. Scott.

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