Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

The New York Times, November 16, 1900

At Reception Given to Him He Protests He Is Not a "Monument of All the Virtues."

Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) was the guest of the Society of American Authors at a reception given at Delmonico's last night. A number of prominent literary people met Mr. Clemens, his wife, and daughter.

The guest of the evening was introduced to the members of the society by Rastus S. Ransom, and in replying to the address of welcome, Mr. Clemens said:

"It seems a most difficult thing for any man, no matter how well prepared, to say anything about me that is not complimentary. Sometimes I am almost persuaded that I am what the Chairman says I am.

"As a rule the Chairman begins by saying something to my discredit, and he feels that he is clear off the track and that he is really not telling the truth, an then he begins to compliment me. Nothing bites so deep down as the facts of a man's life. The real life that you and I live is a life of interior sin.

"Everyone believes I am just a monument of all the virtues. Some day there will be a Chairman who will be able to give the true side of my character. I thought I had met such a Chairman the other night at the Press Club, but when he said that he had never read any of my books I knew he was a liar."

Following Mr. Clemens's speech a number of letters of regret were read. Secretary of State John Hay, in expressing his regrets that he would be unable to be present, wrote: "Mr. Clemens has long done his country honor throughout the world and nothing we can do for him will settle the debt we owe him."

Among those present were W. O. Stoddard, Elliot Danforth, Isaac K. Funk, Mrs. Theodore Sutro, the Rev. Thomas R. Slicer, Col. Richard Henry Savage, Edward W. Bok, John G. Carlisle, Kenyon Cox, Gen. Clous, Count de Lafayette, Gen. Stewart L. Woodford, the Rev. E. Walpole Warren, John Kendrick Bangs, and Edgar Saltus.

Return to The New York Times index

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search