My friends, I thoroughly appreciated that compliment, and considered it the highest one that was ever paid to me. To be the means of soothing to sleep a brain teeming with bugs and squirming things like Darwin’s was something that I had never hoped for, and now that he is dead I never hope to be able to do it again.
Atthe annual dinner, November 13, 1900
William L. Brown, the former editor of the Daily News,
president of the club, introduced Mr. Clemens as the principal
ornament of American literature.
I must say that I have already begun to regret that I left my gun at home. I’ve said so many times when a chairman has distressed me with just such compliments that the next time such a thing occurs I will certainly use a gun on that chairman. It is my privilege to compliment him in return. You behold before you a very, very old man. A cursory glance at him would deceive the most penetrating. His features seem to reveal a person dead to all honorable instincts—they seem to bear the traces of all the known crimes, instead of the marks of a life spent for the most part, and now altogether, in the Sunday-school of a life that may well stand as an example to all generations that have risen or will riz—I mean to say, will rise. His private character is altogether suggestive of virtues which to all appearances he has got. If you examine his past history you will find it as deceptive as his features, because it is marked all over with waywardness and misdemeanor—mere effects of a great spirit upon a weak body—mere accidents of a great career. In his heart he cherishes every virtue on the list of virtues, and he practises them all—secretly—always secretly. You all know him so well that there is no need for him to be introduced here. Gentlemen, Colonel Brown.
Addressat the dinner given to Mr.
Carnegie at the dedication
of the new York engineers’ club, December 9, 1907
Mr. Clemens was introduced by the president of the club, who, quoting from the Mark Twain autobiography, recalled the day when the distinguished writer came to New York with $3 in small change in his pockets and a $10 bill sewed in his clothes.
It seems to me that I was around here in the neighborhood of the Public Library about fifty or sixty years ago. I don’t deny the circumstance, although I don’t see how you got it out of my autobiography, which was not to be printed until I am dead, unless I’m dead now. I had that $3 in change, and I remember well the $10 which was sewed in my coat. I have prospered since. Now I have plenty of money and a disposition to squander it, but I can’t. One of those trust companies is taking care of it.