From Harper's Weekly Magazine
MT 70
th Birthday Supplement: 23 December 1905


LADIES and Gentlemen, I dare say you all know what it is to remember one or two lines of verse; I am not speaking now of anything grand enough to become poetry, but lines that linger always in your memory and give you renewed pleasure when you recall them. Two such lines I have at home in some verses written by Mr. Andrew Lang in honor of Mr. Clemen's Jubilee twenty years ago. Mr. Lang complains that
"He hears it held with pain
That fifty years have passed and gone
That dawns the morrow star
Which passed above the wain,
            Mark Twain."
Seventy years have gone now. He has told us what an infant he was, -- but seventy years make a great difference in age, in the love of life. We are all trying to live as morally as we can. There is no corner of England or the United States where Mark Twain's name fails to awaken some response. There is not a remote book-store in Great Britain -- and I have made many a long and loving study of book-stores -- where I have not found American literature represented by Innocents Abroad and Huckleberry Finn and it seems as though our ignorant foreigners are our local guides, as indeed I have been to a courteous Englishwoman who thought I lived in a town not destitute of inhabitants and associated closely with English history -- that is, she did when I told her -- and then to have her ask me sweetly: "Do you have all the comforts of life in Philadelphia?" A famous English artist once said to me: "Philadelphia, -- that word has a familiar sound to me. Oh, I have seen it on two of our tombstones at Wells."

Well, I have found one or two names which are open sesames to the foreign intelligence -- Chicago and Mark Twain; Chicago, because it gave a fair, a village fair, and every one likes to read a writer of merry tales. Mark Twain cast his fame across the seas. Why, even the very donkey-boys on the Nile asked me if I lived in Chicago. And the Arabs on the Pyramids offered to do for me a Mark Twain act, and skip up and down those monuments, as they had been encouraged by Mr. Clemens in the hope, doubtless, that they would break their necks, forty years ago. That is a masterpiece that he has taught them. To have one's name linked with the Pyramids is what I call fame; and when to this laurel crown is added the loyal love of friends and the gratitude of many a tired heart helped on its way by the words of mirthful comfort, what can one wish for more? We know that honest mirth cures many a care and that a merry companion is the one we love, and that from the early times down to the present there is nothing worth the wear of winter save laughter and the love of friends. (Applause.)

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