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LONDON, July 12. - "Yes, I've named the book -- several times. The trouble seems to be to hit upon a name that will stick, but I think I've corralled a name now that will fill the bill. I'm going to call it 'The Last Innocent Abroad.'" Thus spoke Samuel L. Clemens, America's most famous humorist, during a call I made upon him today at his lodgings, Tedworth square, Chelsea.
Mr. Clemens, whom all the world knows as Mark Twain, keeps his spirits up as well as any man of 61 years can who is harassed by financial difficulties. He looks forward to the future as having much in store for him, believing, as he does, that his forthcoming book will prove to be the best of all his works. All his life he has been running a race with King Nicotine, and when he entered his sitting room in response to my card he was blowing clouds of fragrant smoke from a long cigar. The picture which accompanies this article is an excellent likeness of Mark Twain as he looks today. It was taken in London a week ago, and is now reproduced for the first time. Mr. Clemens seated himself and said:
"Almost any one can write a book. Naming it satisfactorily is another and much more difficult matter. First I called this book 'Another Innocent Abroad,' changed it to 'The Surviving Innocent Abroad,' changed it some more and finally adopted 'The Last Innocent Abroad.' That means me. It will be published in December next in London and New York and will be a sort of sequel to my earlier volume. About my plans? Well, we are just starting for Switzerland for a short stay, and then we push on to Vienna, to remain all winter. This is to further my daughter's musical education. In the spring we hope to be back in Hartford again. My health is fairly good -- up and down, you might say. That trip around the world will eventually work wonders for me in a physical sense. One can't derive all the benefit from such a tour immediately, but it will come in time. There is no better gymnasium than the lecture platform. I'm only sorry I didn't take my swing around the circle earlier in life, when I could have stood the journey better."
I asked him if he had any other literary plans in view after completing "The Last Innocent Abroad."
"America is the fountainhead of the world's humor," was his reply, "yet it is a remarkable fact that all the jokes we have do not exceed 50 in number. The funny paragraphs and anecdotes in the papers and the wit of the stage and platform are all founded upon these 50 original jokelets. Now, I have had it in mind to related these masterpieces some day and then give the variations upon them. There are the mother-in-law joke, the plumber joke, the unhappiness of the wedded state joke and just 47 others. Don't you agree with me that these ought all to be properly catalogued for future reference?"
HENRY S. ALWARD.
[Editors Note: Henry Stuart Alward (b. 1868 - d. 1928) was a business associate
of Daniel Frohman.]