Resplendent in a White Flannel Suit, Author Creates a Sensation in the National Capital.
PLEADS PRIVILEGE OF AGE.
"At Seventy-One Man Can Wear What He Likes," He Declares--Condemns Plug Hat.
Washington, D.C. Friday--Samuel L. Clemens, resplendent in a white flannel suit that smacked of the balmy breezes of a warmer clime, invaded the House of Representatives to-day and created a sensation. In defence of his clothes Mr. Clemens said that he had on plenty of underclothing and that he preferred brilliant and striking colors to the "dark and sombre clothes men usually wore and which had a melancholy and depressing effect" on him.
"Besides," he added, "I am the president, vice president, secretary and treasurer and the only eligible man in the United States of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Purity and Perfection."
"When a man gets to be seventy-one years old, as I am," he continued, "he can wear the clothes he likes best without suffering that criticism which may come to him in his youth. The best clothes I ever saw anywhere were down in the Sandwich Islands, where when they dressed up for a state occasion nobody wore anything more than a pair of spectacles. Next to that I think I prefer the clothes of the middle ages, which were resplendent with colors, plumes and trapping of a brilliant hue.
"Whenever I go to a theatre and see a lot of men rigged out in that abomination of all clothing, a dress suit, they remind me of a flock of crows. I like the peek-a-boo waist and the short sleeves and the low necked gowns of the women, for they are usually backed up by clothing of bright colors which relieve the eye. There is no reason why men should not wear brighter colored clothing, especially in these dark winter months.
"Whenever I see a man wearing a plug hat I always suspect him. I remember W.D. Howells showed up in one not long ago. Howells was not made to be ridiculous, but he certainly had his opportunity on that occasion. Did I suspect him? Yes. I suspected him of being an ass and I didn't have to inquire about it either, for I knew he was one in wearing that hat. Howells is over there in the library now sweating it out with the committee in charge of the Copyright bill. He has no business there to-day, but he is too diffident to come away. You couldn't get him out of there with an offer of a week's wages. He won't hear anything that will do him any good or that he will want to remember next week."
Mr. Clemens declined to give his views of Congress because he said he was there on business before Congress, but after he got through he might have something to say. He told how, through the breaking of a house rule by Sunset Cox, he had been enabled to get on the floor and assist in the passage of the International Copyright law many years ago. To-day Speaker Cannon told him that he was prohibited by the rules of the house from even putting such a question to a vote, "although," said "Uncle Joe," "if I asked the house to admit Mark Twain to the floor I am sure the vote would be unanimous."
The Speaker tendered him the use of his private office, where Mr. Clemens labored with members all afternoon to get their support for the Copyright bill now pending.