Yes, you are easily the most fortunate of women, I think."]

It was at a dinner at The Players--a small, private dinner given by Mr. George C. Riggs-that I saw Edward L. Burlingame and Mark Twain for the only time together. They had often met during the forty-two years that had passed since their long-ago Sandwich Island friendship; but only incidentally, for Mr. Burlingame cared not much for great public occasions, and as editor of Scribner's Magazine he had been somewhat out of the line of Mark Twain's literary doings.

Howells was there, and Gen. Stewart L. Woodford, and David Bispham, John Finley, Evan Shipman, Nicholas Biddle, and David Munro. Clemens told that night, for the first time, the story of General Miles and the three- dollar dog, inventing it, I believe, as he went along, though for the moment it certainly did sound like history. He told it often after that, and it has been included in his book of speeches.

Later, in the cab, he said:

"That was a mighty good dinner. Riggs knows how to do that sort of thing. I enjoyed it ever so much. Now we'll go home and play billiards."

We began about eleven o'clock, and played until after midnight. I happened to be too strong for him, and he swore amazingly. He vowed that it was not a gentleman's game at all, that Riggs's wine had demoralized the play. But at the end, when we were putting up the cues, he said:

"Well, those were good games. There is nothing like billiards after all."

We did not play billiards on his birthday that year. He went to the theater in the afternoon; and it happened that, with Jesse Lynch Williams, I attended the same performance--the "Toy-Maker of Nuremberg"-- written by Austin Strong. It proved to be a charming play, and I could see that Clemens was enjoying it. He sat in a box next to the stage, and the actors clearly were doing their very prettiest for his benefit.

When later I mentioned having seen him at the play, he spoke freely of his pleasure in it.

"It is a fine, delicate piece of work," he said. "I wish I could do such things as that."

"I believe you are too literary for play-writing."

"Yes, no doubt. There was never any question with the managers about my plays. They always said they wouldn't act. Howells has come pretty near to something once or twice. I judge the trouble is that the literary man is thinking of the style and quality of the thing, while the playwright thinks only of how it will play. One is thinking of how it will sound, the other of how it will look."

"I suppose," I said, "the literary man should have a collaborator with a genius for stage mechanism. John Luther Long's exquisite plays would hardly have been successful without David Belasco to stage them. Belasco cannot write a play himself, but in the matter of acting construction his genius is supreme."

"Yes, so it is; it was Belasco who made it possible to play "The Prince and the Pauper"--a collection of literary garbage before he got hold of it."

Clemens attended few public functions now. He was beset with invitations, but he declined most of them. He told the dog story one night to the Pleiades Club, assembled at the Brevoort; but that was only a step away, and we went in after the dining was ended and came away before the exercises were concluded.

He also spoke at a banquet given to Andrew Carnegie--Saint Andrew, as he called him--by the Engineers Club, and had his usual fun at the chief guest's expense.

I have been chief guest at a good many banquets myself, and I know what brother Andrew is feeling like now. He has been receiving compliments and nothing but compliments, but he knows that there is another side to him that needs censure.

I am going to vary the complimentary monotony. While we have all been listening to the complimentary talk Mr. Carnegie's face has scintillated with fictitious innocence. You'd think he never committed a crime in his life. But he has.

Look at his pestiferous simplified spelling.

Mark Twain
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