He recounted the incident of the exchanged hats; then he spoke of graver things. He closed:

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. I have my cares and griefs, and I therefore 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 the program:

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 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 or the American flag I am not a, stranger, I am not an alien, but at home.



He left, immediately following the Pilgrim luncheon, with Hon. Robert P. Porter, of the London Times, for Oxford, to remain his guest there during the various ceremonies. The encenia--the ceremony of conferring the degrees--occurred at the Sheldonian Theater the following morning, June 26, 1907.

It was a memorable affair. Among those who were to receive degrees that morning besides Samuel Clemens were: Prince Arthur of Connaught; Prime Minister Campbell-Bannerman; Whitelaw Reid; Rudyard Kipling; Sidney Lee; Sidney Colvin; Lord Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland; Sir Norman Lockyer; Auguste Rodin, the sculptor; Saint-Saens, and Gen. William Booth, of the Salvation Army-something more than thirty, in all, of the world's distinguished citizens.

The candidates assembled at Magdalen College, and led by Lord Curzon, the Chancellor, and clad in their academic plumage, filed in radiant procession to the Sheldonian Theater, a group of men such as the world seldom sees collected together. The London Standard said of it: So brilliant and so interesting was the list of those who had been selected by Oxford University on Convocation to receive degrees, 'honoris causa', in this first year of Lord Curzon's chancellorship, that it is small wonder that the Sheldonian Theater was besieged today at an early hour.

Shortly after 11 o'clock the organ started playing the strains of "God Save the King," and at once a great volume of sound arose as the anthem was taken up by the undergraduates and the rest of the assemblage. Every one stood up as, headed by the mace of office, the procession slowly filed into the theater, under the leadership of Lord Curzon, in all the glory of his robes of office, the long black gown heavily embroidered with gold, the gold-tasseled mortar- board, and the medals on his breast forming an admirable setting, thoroughly in keeping with the dignity and bearing of the late Viceroy of India. Following him came the members of Convocation, a goodly number consisting of doctors of divinity, whose robes of scarlet and black enhanced the brilliance of the scene. Robes of salmon and scarlet-which proclaim the wearer to be a doctor of civil law--were also seen in numbers, while here and there was a gown of gray and scarlet, emblematic of the doctorate of science or of letters.

The encenia is an impressive occasion; but it is not a silent one. There is a splendid dignity about it; but there goes with it all a sort of Greek chorus of hilarity, the time-honored prerogative of the Oxford undergraduate, who insists on having his joke and his merriment at the expense of those honored guests.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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