The pretty angel-fish suggested youth and feminine beauty to him, and his adopted granddaughters became angel-fish to him from that time forward. He bought little enamel angel-fish pins, and carried a number of them with him most of the time, so that he could create membership on short notice. It was just another of the harmless and happy diversions of his gentler side. He was always fond of youth and freshness. He regarded the decrepitude of old age as an unnecessary part of life. Often he said:
"If I had been helping the Almighty when, He created man, I would have had Him begin at the other end, and start human beings with old age. How much better it would have been to start old and have all the bitterness and blindness of age in the beginning! One would not mind then if he were looking forward to a joyful youth. Think of the joyous prospect of growing young instead of old! Think of looking forward to eighteen instead of eighty! Yes, the Almighty made a poor job of it. I wish He had invited my assistance."
To one of the angel fish he wrote, just after his return:
I miss you, dear. I miss Bermuda, too, but not so much as I miss you; for you were rare, and occasional and select, and Ltd.; whereas Bermuda's charms and, graciousnesses were free and common and unrestricted--like the rain, you know, which falls upon the just and the unjust alike; a thing which would not happen if I were superintending the rain's affairs. No, I would rain softly and sweetly upon the just, but whenever I caught a sample of the unjust outdoors I would drown him.
VIEWS AND ADDRESSES
[As I am beginning this chapter, April 16, 1912, the news comes of the loss, on her first trip, of the great White Star Line steamer Titanic, with the destruction of many passengers, among whom are Frank D. Millet, William T. Stead, Isadore Straus, John Jacob Astor, and other distinguished men. They died as heroes, remaining with the ship in order that the women and children might be saved.
It was the kind of death Frank Millet would have wished to die. He was always a soldier--a knight. He has appeared from time to time in these pages, for he was a dear friend of the Clemens household. One of America's foremost painters; at the time of his death he was head of the American Academy of Arts in Rome.]
Mark Twain made a number of addresses during the spring of 1908. He spoke at the Cartoonists' dinner, very soon after his return from Bermuda; he spoke at the Booksellers' banquet, expressing his debt of obligation to those who had published and sold his books; he delivered a fine address at the dinner given by the British Schools and University Club at Delmonico's, May 25th, in honor of Queen Victoria's birthday. In that speech he paid high tribute to the Queen for her attitude toward America, during the crisis of the Civil Wax, and to her royal consort, Prince Albert.
What she did for us in America in our time of storm and stress we shall not forget, and whenever we call it to mind we shall always gratefully remember the wise and righteous mind that guided her in it and sustained and supported her--Prince Albert's. We need not talk any idle talk here to-night about either possible or impossible war between two countries; there will be no war while we remain sane and the son of Victoria and Albert sits upon the throne. In conclusion, I believe I may justly claim to utter the voice of my country in saying that we hold him in deep honor, and also in cordially wishing him a long life and a happy reign.
But perhaps his most impressive appearance was at the dedication of the great City College (May 14, 1908), where President John Finley, who had been struggling along with insufficient room, was to have space at last for his freer and fuller educational undertakings. A great number of honored scholars, statesmen, and diplomats assembled on the college campus, a spacious open court surrounded by stately college architecture of medieval design.