But I stand corrected. I concede and acknowledge that it was only the government that sent it on such an errand that was polluted. Let us compromise on that. I am glad to have it that way. For our flag could not well stand pollution, never having been used to it, but it is different with the administration.
But a much more conspicuous comment on the Philippine policy was the so- called "Defense of General Funston" for what Funston himself referred to as a "dirty Irish trick"; that is to say, deception in the capture of Aguinaldo. Clemens, who found it hard enough to reconcile himself to- any form of warfare, was especially bitter concerning this particular campaign. The article appeared in the North American Review for May, 1902, and stirred up a good deal of a storm. He wrote much more on the subject--very much more--but it is still unpublished.
THE RETURN OF THE NATIVE
One day in April, 1902, Samuel Clemens received the following letter from the president of the University of Missouri:
MY DEAR MR. CLEMENS, Although you received the degree of doctor of literature last fall from Yale, and have had other honors conferred upon you by other great universities, we want to adopt you here as a son of the University of Missouri. In asking your permission to confer upon you the degree of LL.D. the University of Missouri does not aim to confer an honor upon you so much as to show her appreciation of you. The rules of the University forbid us to confer the degree upon any one in absentia. I hope very much that you can so arrange your plans as to be with us on the fourth day of next June, when we shall hold our Annual Commencement.
Very truly yours, R. H. JESSE.
Clemens had not expected to make another trip to the West, but a proffered honor such as this from one's native State was not a thing to be declined.
It was at the end of May when he arrived in St. Louis, and he was met at the train there by his old river instructor and friend, Horace Bixby--as fresh, wiry, and capable as he had been forty-five years before.
"I have become an old man. You are still thirty-five," Clemens said.
They went to the Planters Hotel, and the news presently got around that Mark Twain was there. There followed a sort of reception in the hotel lobby, after which Bixby took him across to the rooms of the Pilots Association, where the rivermen gathered in force to celebrate his return. A few of his old comrades were still alive, among them Beck Jolly. The same afternoon he took the train for Hannibal.
It was a busy five days that he had in Hannibal. High-school commencement day came first. He attended, and willingly, or at least patiently, sat through the various recitals and orations and orchestrations, dreaming and remembering, no doubt, other high-school commencements of more than half a century before, seeing in some of those young people the boys and girls he had known in that vanished time. A few friends of his youth were still there, but they were among the audience now, and no longer fresh and looking into the future. Their heads were white, and, like him, they were looking down the recorded years. Laura Hawkins was there and Helen Kercheval (Mrs. Frazer and Mrs. Garth now), and there were others, but they were few and scattering.
He was added to the program, and he made himself as one of the graduates, and told them some things of the young people of that earlier time that brought their laughter and their tears.
He was asked to distribute the diplomas, and he undertook the work in his own way. He took an armful of them and said to the graduates:
"Take one. Pick out a good one. Don't take two, but be sure you get a good one."
So each took one "unsight and unseen" aid made the more exact distributions among themselves later.
Next morning it was Saturday--he visited the old home on Hill Street, and stood in the doorway all dressed in white while a battalion of photographers made pictures of "this return of the native" to the threshold of his youth.