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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about Mark Twain's Speeches.

OBITUARY POETRY

          Addressat the actorsfund fair, Philadelphia, in 1895

Ladies and gentlemen,—­The—­er this—­er—­welcome occasion gives me an —­er—­opportunity to make an—­er—­explanation that I have long desired to deliver myself of.  I rise to the highest honors before a Philadelphia audience.  In the course of my checkered career I have, on divers occasions, been charged—­er—­maliciously with a more or less serious offence.  It is in reply to one of the more—­er—­important of these that I wish to speak.  More than once I have been accused of writing obituary poetry in the Philadelphia Ledger.

I wish right here to deny that dreadful assertion.  I will admit that once, when a compositor in the Ledger establishment, I did set up some of that poetry, but for a worse offence than that no indictment can be found against me.  I did not write that poetry—­at least, not all of it.

CIGARS AND TOBACCO

My friends for some years now have remarked that I am an inveterate consumer of tobacco.  That is true, but my habits with regard to tobacco have changed.  I have no doubt that you will say, when I have explained to you what my present purpose is, that my taste has deteriorated, but I do not so regard it.

Whenever I held a smoking-party at my house, I found that my guests had always just taken the pledge.

Let me tell you briefly the history of my personal relation to tobacco.  It began, I think, when I was a lad, and took the form of a quid, which I became expert in tucking under my tongue.  Afterward I learned the delights of the pipe, and I suppose there was no other youngster of my age who could more deftly cut plug tobacco so as to make it available for pipe-smoking.

Well, time ran on, and there came a time when I was able to gratify one of my youthful ambitions—­I could buy the choicest Havana cigars without seriously interfering with my income.  I smoked a good many, changing off from the Havana cigars to the pipe in the course of a day’s smoking.

At last it occurred to me that something was lacking in the Havana cigar.  It did not quite fulfil my youthful anticipations.  I experimented.  I bought what was called a seed-leaf cigar with a Connecticut wrapper.  After a while I became satiated of these, and I searched for something else, The Pittsburg stogy was recommended to me.  It certainly had the merit of cheapness, if that be a merit in tobacco, and I experimented with the stogy.

Then, once more, I changed off, so that I might acquire the subtler flavor of the Wheeling toby.  Now that palled, and I looked around New York in the hope of finding cigars which would seem to most people vile, but which, I am sure, would be ambrosial to me.  I couldn’t find any.  They put into my hands some of those little things that cost ten cents a box, but they are a delusion.

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