My own history includes an incident which will always connect me with England in a pathetic way, for when I arrived here seven years ago with my wife and my daughter--we had gone around the globe lecturing to raise money to clear off a debt--my wife and one of my daughters started across the ocean to bring to England our eldest daughter. She was twenty four years of age and in the bloom of young womanhood, and we were unsuspecting. When my wife and daughter--and my wife has passed from this life since--when they had reached mid Atlantic, a cablegram--one of those heartbreaking cablegrams which we all in our days have to experience--was put into my hand. It stated that that daughter of ours had gone to her long sleep. And so, as I say, I cannot always be cheerful, and I cannot always be chaffing; I must sometimes lay the cap and bells aside, and recognize that I am of the human race like the rest, and must have my cares and griefs. And therefore I noticed what Mr. Birrell said--I was so glad to hear him say it--something that was in the nature of these verses here at the top of this:
"He lit our life with shafts of sun And vanquished pain. Thus two great nations stand as one In honoring Twain."
I am very glad to have those verses. I am very glad and very grateful for what Mr. Birrell said in that connection. I have received since I have been here, in this one week, hundreds of letters from all conditions of people in England--men, women, and children--and there is in them compliment, praise, and, above all and better than all, there is in them a note of affection. Praise is well, compliment is well, but affection --that is the last and final and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement, and I am very grateful to have that reward. All these letters make me feel that here in England--as in America--when I stand under the English flag, I am not a stranger. I am not an alien, but at home.
AT THE DEDICATION OF THE COLLEGE OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, MAY 16, 1908
Mr. Clemens wore his gown as Doctor of Laws, Oxford University. Ambassador Bryce and Mr. Choate had made the formal addresses.
How difficult, indeed, is the higher education. Mr. Choate needs a little of it. He is not only short as a statistician of New York, but he is off, far off, in his mathematics. The four thousand citizens of Greater New York, indeed!
But I don't think it was wise or judicious on the part of Mr. Choate to show this higher education he has obtained. He sat in the lap of that great education (I was there at the time), and see the result--the lamentable result. Maybe if he had had a sandwich here to sustain him the result would not have been so serious.
For seventy-two years I have been striving to acquire that higher education which stands for modesty and diffidence, and it doesn't work.
And then look at Ambassador Bryce, who referred to his alma mater, Oxford. He might just as well have included me. Well, I am a later production.
If I am the latest graduate, I really and sincerely hope I am not the final flower of its seven centuries; I hope it may go on for seven ages longer.
DIE SCHRECKEN DER DEUTSCHEN SPRACHE [THE HORRORS OF THE GERMAN LANGUAGE]
ADDRESS TO THE VIENNA PRESS CLUB, NOVEMBER 21, 1897, DELIVERED IN GERMAN [Here in literal translation]
It has me deeply touched, my gentlemen, here so hospitably received to be. From colleagues out of my own profession, in this from my own home so far distant land. My heart is full of gratitude, but my poverty of German words forces me to greater economy of expression. Excuse you, my gentlemen, that I read off, what I you say will. [But he didn't read].
The German language speak I not good, but have numerous connoisseurs me assured that I her write like an angel. Maybe--maybe--I know not. Have till now no acquaintance with the angels had.