Sam also wrote to Albert Bigelow Paine. “To me the most satisfactory passage in this book is the verdict penciled on p.651. / Truly Yours / Mark Twain / Riverdale, Nov. 16, 1901” [MTP]. Note: Sam wrote this note on one of the inside blank pages of IA. The penciled note, not in his hand, read: “So ends the best sketches of travel which hae ever been written.” Paine’s address at this time is shown as: 136 Delaware St., Flushing, Long Island. A small photo of the Quaker City is pasted below Sam’s note, identified in his hand.
Sam’s notebook: “Choate dinner, 9.30 or 10. Lotos Club. Asked Carnegie for Allan Ramsay—he sent a fellow named
William R—didn’t know” [NB 44 TS 18]. Note: Sam’s speech at the Lotos Club, which gave a welcome and a sort of “roast” to Ambassador Joseph H. Choate:
MR. CHOATE ARRAIGNED BEFORE THE LOTOS CLUB
Pleads Guilty to Intense Joy at Being Home Again.
Mr. Carnegie Testifies to New York’s
Good Government—Senator Depew, Ex-Speaker Reed, and Mark Twain Also Heard.
“The Lotos Club vs. Joseph H. Choate,” was the formal looking document, wrapped in a legal blue cover and tied with a legal red string that stared the American Ambassador to England in the face when took his place as the guest of honor at the Lotos Club dinner last night. It was the menu. Copies of it were beside the plates of the members of the club, and their guests gathered to meet Mr. Choate. It read; “Dinner to the Hon. Joseph H. Choate, Ambassador from the United States to the Court of St. James, by the Lotos Club, New York.” Then followed the list of good things constituting the repast, the date of the dinner, a great read [sic] seal, and the names of the “witnesses.”
In the absence of Judge Frank R. Lawrence, President of the club, Capt. William Henry White, Vice President, presided. About him were Thomas B. Reed, Justice Wallace, William B. Hornblower, Major H. B. Bird, Judge Patterson, W. E. Dodge, Maurice E. Jessup, Henry E. Howland, Chauncey M. Depew, Samuel L. Clemens, and Andrew Carnegie.
Mr. Carnegie gave testimony to the effect that New York, despite its government in the past, is one of he best governed cities in the world. Mr. Choate declared that New York amazed him on his return by its remarkable development, and said that he would have kissed the American soil gladly if it had not been that it was an unclean New York pavement. Throughout his address he was constantly interrupted by cheers and laughter.
He had just begun to speak when Mr. Clemens arrived. Chester S. Lord started with the humorist to take him to his seat, but Mr. Clemens objected. He said;
“I am very old and I am very wise, and I hate an ante-climax. Joe is doing very well. He has them laughing. If I should buck in now they might take me for a Princeton tiger beaten or a Tammany tiger beaten, and I am very old and I am very wise. Joe would have a right to fire a plate at me if I should come in now. I will stay here and add to the applause, for I am very old and very wise.”
Mr. Clemens waited for the conclusion of Mr. Choate’s remarks in the outer hall with the club members who had no seats and the servants who stood listening to the speaker.
When Mr. Clemens joined those seated at the guests table he leaned over and told Mr. Reed to beware. He said: “I am very old, and I am very wise, and I have more hair on my head than you have, Thomas. I warn you to make your talk short.” The ex-Speaker told Mr. Clemens a story very short and evidently very much to the point, for they laughed together, and then Mr. Clemens, very old and very wise, advised him against laughing for fear of growing too fat.
Upon rising to introduce the guest of the evening, Capt. White said he desired to emphasize the purpose
for which the Lotos Club had been formed, and which it had always steadily pursued—the maintenance of
good-fellowship. Mr. Choate, said he, was primarily “a good fellow” in the best sense of the term, and the
Lotos Club welcomed him to its house as one of the representatives of intellect whom it was its custom to
honor at a special dinner.
…[other speeches omitted here]…
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.