Imagine the calamity on two sides of the ocean when he foisted his simplified spelling on the whole human race. We've got it all now so that nobody could spell . . . .

If Mr. Carnegie had left spelling alone we wouldn't have had any spots on the sun, or any San Francisco quake, or any business depression.

There, I trust he feels better now and that he has enjoyed my abuse more than he did his compliments. And now that I think I have him smoothed down and feeling comfortable I just want to say one thing more--that his simplified spelling is all right enough, but, like chastity, you can carry it too far.

As he was about to go, Carnegie called his attention to the beautiful souvenir bronze and gold-plated goblets that stood at each guest's plate. Carnegie said:

"The club had those especially made at Tiffany's for this occasion. They cost ten dollars apiece."

Clemens sand: "Is that so? Well, I only meant to take my own; but if that's the case I'll load my cab with them."

We made an attempt to reform on the matter of billiards. The continued strain of late hours was doing neither of us any particular good. More than once I journeyed into the country on one errand and another, mainly for rest; but a card saying that he was lonely and upset, for lack of his evening games, quickly brought me back again. It was my wish only to serve him; it was a privilege and an honor to give him happiness.

Billiards, however, was not his only recreation just then. He walked out a good deal, and especially of a pleasant Sunday morning he liked the stroll up Fifth Avenue. Sometimes we went as high as Carnegie's, on Ninety-second Street, and rode home on top of the electric stage--always one of Mark Twain's favorite diversions.

From that high seat he liked to look down on the panorama of the streets, and in that free, open air he could smoke without interference. Oftener, however, we turned at Fifty-ninth Street, walking both ways.

When it was pleasant we sometimes sat on a bench in Central Park; and once he must have left a handkerchief there, for a few days later one of his handkerchiefs came to him accompanied by a note. Its finder, a Mr. Lockwood, received a reward, for Mark Twain wrote him:

There is more rejoicing in this house over that one handkerchief that was lost and is found again than over the ninety and nine that never went to the wash at all. Heaven will reward you, I know it will.

On Sunday mornings the return walk would be timed for about the hour that the churches would be dismissed. On the first Sunday morning we had started a little early, and I thoughtlessly suggested, when we reached Fifty-ninth Street, that if we returned at once we would avoid the throng. He said, quietly:

"I like the throng."

So we rested in the Plaza Hotel until the appointed hour. Men and women noticed him, and came over to shake his hand. The gigantic man in uniform; in charge of the carriages at the door, came in for a word. He had opened carriages for Mr. Clemens at the Twenty-third Street station, and now wanted to claim that honor. I think he received the most cordial welcome of any one who came. I am sure he did. It was Mark Twain's way to warm to the man of the lower social rank. He was never too busy, never too preoccupied, to grasp the hand of such a man; to listen to his story, and to say just the words that would make that man happy remembering them.

We left the Plaza Hotel and presently were amid the throng of outpouring congregations. Of course he was the object on which every passing eye turned; the presence to which every hat was lifted. I realized that this open and eagerly paid homage of the multitude was still dear to him, not in any small and petty way, but as the tribute of a nation, the expression of that affection which in his London and Liverpool speeches he had declared to be the last and final and most precious reward that any man can win, whether by character or achievement.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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