Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1: 1900-1907 eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1.
affection I bear that man many a time I have given him points in finance that he had never thought of—­and if he could lay aside envy, prejudice, and superstition, and utilize those ideas in his business, it would make a difference in his bank-account.
Well, I liked the poetry.  I liked all the speeches and the poetry, too.  I liked Dr. van Dyke’s poem.  I wish I could return thanks in proper measure to you, gentlemen, who have spoken and violated your feelings to pay me compliments; some were merited and some you overlooked, it is true; and Colonel Harvey did slander every one of you, and put things into my mouth that I never said, never thought of at all.

    And now my wife and I, out of our single heart, return you our
    deepest and most grateful thanks, and—­yesterday was her birthday.

The sixty-seventh birthday dinner was widely celebrated by the press, and newspaper men generally took occasion to pay brilliant compliments to Mark Twain.  Arthur Brisbane wrote editorially: 

    For more than a generation he has been the Messiah of a genuine
    gladness and joy to the millions of three continents.

It was little more than a week later that one of the old friends he had mentioned, Thomas Brackett Reed, apparently well and strong that birthday evening, passed from the things of this world.  Clemens felt his death keenly, and in a “good-by” which he wrote for Harper’s Weekly he said: 

    His was a nature which invited affection—­compelled it, in fact—­and
    met it half-way.  Hence, he was “Tom” to the most of his friends and
    to half of the nation . . . .

I cannot remember back to a time when he was not “Tom” Reed to me, nor to a time when he could have been offended at being so addressed by me.  I cannot remember back to a time when I could let him alone in an after-dinner speech if he was present, nor to a time when he did not take my extravagance concerning him and misstatements about him in good part, nor yet to a time when he did not pay them back with usury when his turn came.  The last speech he made was at my birthday dinner at the end of November, when naturally I was his text; my last word to him was in a letter the next day; a day later I was illustrating a fantastic article on art with his portrait among others—­a portrait now to be laid reverently away among the jests that begin in humor and end in pathos.  These things happened only eight days ago, and now he is gone from us, and the nation is speaking of him as one who was.  It seems incredible, impossible.  Such a man, such a friend, seems to us a permanent possession; his vanishing from our midst is unthinkable, as was the vanishing of the Campanile, that had stood for a thousand years and was turned to dust in a moment.

The appreciation closes: 

I have only wished to say how fine and beautiful was his life and character, and to take him by the hand and say good-by, as to a fortunate friend who has done well his work and gees a pleasant journey.


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Mark Twain, a Biography — Volume III, Part 1: 1900-1907 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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