The club was about to move again, into splendid new quarters, and it wished to entertain him once more in its old rooms.

He wore white, and amid the throng of black-clad men was like a white moth among a horde of beetles. The room fairly swarmed with them, and they seemed likely to overwhelm him.

President Lawrence was toast-master of the evening, and he ended his customary address by introducing Robert Porter, who had been Mark Twain's host at Oxford. Porter told something of the great Oxford week, and ended by introducing Mark Twain. It had been expected that Clemens would tell of his London experiences. Instead of doing this, he said he had started a new kind of collection, a collection of compliments. He had picked up a number of valuable ones abroad and some at home. He read selections from them, and kept the company going with cheers and merriment until just before the close of his speech. Then he repeated, in his most impressive manner, that stately conclusion of his Liverpool speech, and the room became still and the eyes of his hearers grew dim. It may have been even more moving than when originally given, for now the closing words, "homeward bound," had only the deeper meaning.

Dr. John MacArthur followed with a speech that was as good a sermon as any he ever delivered, and closed it by saying:

"I do not want men to prepare for heaven, but to prepare to remain on earth, and it is such men as Mark Twain who make other men not fit to die, but fit to live."

Andrew Carnegie also spoke, and Colonel Harvey, and as the speaking ended Robert Porter stepped up behind Clemens and threw over his shoulders the scarlet Oxford robe which had been surreptitiously brought, and placed the mortar-board cap upon his head, while the diners vociferated their approval. Clemens was quite calm.

"I like this," he said, when the noise had subsided. "I like its splendid color. I would dress that way all the time, if I dared."

In the cab going home I mentioned the success of his speech, how well it had been received.

"Yes," he said; "but then I have the advantage of knowing now that I am likely to be favorably received, whatever I say. I know that my audiences are warm and responseful. It is an immense advantage to feel that. There are cold places in almost every speech, and if your audience notices them and becomes cool, you get a chill yourself in those zones, and it is hard to warm up again. Perhaps there haven't been so many lately; but I have been acquainted with them more than once." And then I could not help remembering that deadly Whittier birthday speech of more than thirty years before--that bleak, arctic experience from beginning to end.

"We have just time for four games," he said, as we reached the billiard- room; but there was no sign of stopping when the four games were over. We were winning alternately, and neither noted the time. I was leaving by an early train, and was willing to play all night. The milk-wagons were rattling outside when he said:

"Well, perhaps we'd better quit now. It seems pretty early, though." I looked at my watch. It was quarter to four, and we said good night.



Edmund Clarence Stedman died suddenly at his desk, January 18, 1908, and Clemens, in response to telegrams, sent this message:

I do not wish to talk about it. He was a valued friend from days that date back thirty-five years. His loss stuns me and unfits me to speak.

He recalled the New England dinners which he used to attend, and where he had often met Stedman.

"Those were great affairs," he said. "They began early, and they ended early. I used to go down from Hartford with the feeling that it wasn't an all-night supper, and that it was going to be an enjoyable time. Choate and Depew and Stedman were in their prime then--we were all young men together. Their speeches were always worth listening to. Stedman was a prominent figure there. There don't seem to be any such men now-- or any such occasions."

Stedman was one of the last of the old literary group.

Mark Twain
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