OUR CHILDREN AND GREAT DISCOVERIES
DELIVERED AT THE AUTHORS' CLUB, NEW YORK
Our children--yours--and--mine. They seem like little things to talk about--our children, but little things often make up the sum of human life--that's a good sentence. I repeat it, little things often produce great things. Now, to illustrate, take Sir Isaac Newton--I presume some of you have heard of Mr. Newton. Well, once when Sir Isaac Newton-- a mere lad--got over into the man's apple orchard--I don't know what he was doing there--I didn't come all the way from Hartford to q-u-e-s-t-i- o-n Mr. Newton's honesty--but when he was there--in the main orchard-- he saw an apple fall and he was a-t-t-racted toward it, and that led to the discovery--not of Mr. Newton but of the great law of attraction and gravitation.
And there was once another great discoverer--I've forgotten his name, and I don't remember what he discovered, but I know it was something very important, and I hope you will all tell your children about it when you get home. Well, when the great discoverer was once loafn' around down in Virginia, and a-puttin' in his time flirting with Pocahontas--oh! Captain John Smith, that was the man's name--and while he and Poca were sitting in Mr. Powhatan's garden, he accidentally put his arm around her and picked something simple weed, which proved to be tobacco--and now we find it in every Christian family, shedding its civilizing influence broadcast throughout the whole religious community.
Now there was another great man, I can't think of his name either, who used to loaf around and watch the great chandelier in the cathedral at Pisa., which set him to thinking about the great law of gunpowder, and eventually led to the discovery of the cotton-gin.
Now, I don't say this as an inducement for our young men to loaf around like Mr. Newton and Mr. Galileo and Captain Smith, but they were once little babies two days old, and they show what little things have sometimes accomplished.
The children of the Educational Alliance gave a performance of "The Prince and the Pauper" on the afternoon of April 14, 1907, in the theatre of the Alliance Building in East Broadway. The audience was composed of nearly one thousand children of the neighborhood. Mr. Clemens, Mr. Howells, and Mr. Daniel Frohman were among the invited guests.
I have not enjoyed a play so much, so heartily, and so thoroughly since I played Miles Hendon twenty-two years ago. I used to play in this piece (" The Prince and the Pauper") with my children, who, twenty-two years ago, were little youngsters. One of my daughters was the Prince, and a neighbor's daughter was the Pauper, and the children of other neighbors played other parts. But we never gave such a performance as we have seen here to-day. It would have been beyond us.
My late wife was the dramatist and stage-manager. Our coachman was the stage-manager, second in command. We used to play it in this simple way, and the one who used to bring in the crown on a cushion--he was a little fellow then--is now a clergyman way up high--six or seven feet high--and growing higher all the time. We played it well, but not as well as you see it here, for you see it done by practically trained professionals.
I was especially interested in the scene which we have just had, for Miles Hendon was my part. I did it as well as a person could who never remembered his part. The children all knew their parts. They did not mind if I did not know mine. I could thread a needle nearly as well as the player did whom you saw to-day. The words of my part I could supply on the spot. The words of the song that Miles Hendon sang here I did not catch. But I was great in that song.
[Then Mr. Clemens hummed a bit of doggerel that the reporter made out as this:
"There was a woman in her town, She loved her husband well, But another man just twice as well."
"How is that?" demanded Mr.