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The New York Times, November 10, 1901, p. 9

Dinner of the British Schools and Universities Club.
Lords Pauncefote, Wolseley, Roberts, and Kitchener Send Greeting--Memory of Victoria Honored--Mark Twain's Speech.

Ed. Note: [this article has been edited to include only the speech by Mark Twain.]

With music and feasting and standing toasts, the birthday of King Edward VII of England was celebrated last night at a dinner given in Delmonico's by Britons living in New York. The dinner was under the auspices of the British Schools and Universities Club of New York, and the guests who responded to set toasts were Sir Percy Sanderson, British Consul General in this city; the Rev. Dr. D. Parker Morgan, rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest; Mark Twain, Major Gen. John R. Brooke, United States Army, and the Rev. Dr. F. L. Patton, President of Princeton University.

The room was decorated with tasteful simplicity, one end over the guests' table, being adorned with five flags hanging from the ceiling. In the centre was a big union jack, with an Irish banner on one side and a royal British flag on the other, while two United States flags were in each corner. In the intervals between toasts there were songs and piano recitals.

Many messages from distinguished and titled personages were read. Lord Roberts, Lord Wolseley, Lord Pauncefote, Governor General Milner of Cape Town, Secretary of State John Hay, Lord Kitchener, Earl Strathcona, and the Governor General of Canada were among the senders.

The toastmaster of the evening was the society's President, Dr. J. A. Irwin. About ninety guests were gathered at the three tables, arranged in a broken rectangle.

At the board for special guests were seated Sir Percy Sanderson, Gen. Brooke, the Rev. Dr. D. Parker Morgan, the Rev. Dr. Patton, Mark Twain, Daniel G. Reid, President of the American Tin Plate Company, Frater Munro, President of St. Andrew's Society; Dr. Wolfred Nelson, President of the New York Society for Graduates of McGill University in Montreal; Dr. J. C. McGuire of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; Thomas H. Bartindale, President of the Canadian Society of New York; President Ohman of the Australian Society; W. R. Stewart of The London Daily Express, and George Guy Ward of St. George's Society.

Among the other diners was Cuthbert Hall, Chairman of the Marconi Company, who had just arrived in the city.


Samuel L. Clemens followed the President of Princeton University. He was hailed with cries of "Mark Twain, for he is a jolly good fellow." He said:

"If I never do another creditable thing, I have at least got the Rev. Dr. Patton's train for him, and I have lost my own. To-morrow his Sabbath will suffer no damages, but I have to break mine. But if you will consider the self-sacrifice that I make, think of it. He can afford it better than I. He has a record to fall back on, and, sadly, so have I. [Laughter.] I also enjoy a kindness. I am glad to have him catch his train. The sooner he goes the more liberally I can afford to speak.

"Historically speaking, 1,956 years ago Caesar invaded Britain. But we will let bygones be bygones and we will call it off. It is not proper to revive these old scores. We are here rather to do honor to the Government that is still with us.

"I feel drawn toward Edward VII. My ancestors were subjects of all the other Edwards. Gen. Brooke has ancestors and the right to be proud of them, the right to take credit for producing them. My ancestors were not of any consequence. I looked into them and I don't care for them. A friend of mine looked back many years over my ancestors and they didn't amount to much. When he got to the Elizabethan period he found that one was a pirate, not much of a pirate, a pretty poor pirate, and then I told him to send in his bill and quit looking up my ancestors.

"Adam and Noah were ancestors of mine. I never thought much of them. Adam lacked character. He couldn't be trusted with apples. Noah had an absurd idea that he could navigate without any knowledge of navigation, and he ran into the only shoal place on earth. I shall arrange it that my descendants shall look on me as their ancestor.

"I feel drawn to King Edward because he has an acute sense of humor. It is a good thing to have in a monarchy. There is a legend that the peasants, after the battle of Boswell's Field, found a rosebush on which there were two roses, one white, one red. And they grew together; the white taking on the blush of the red. The one was of Lancaster, the other of York. Since then, at times whenever England has been threatened with war with a friendly nation, this double rose has appeared, and its fragrance has gone over England and was has been averted.


"I have always leaned toward the Edwards, but I have admired Henry VIII. He was a great King. I would like to do myself as he did. He married pretty nearly every one who came along.

"A King has a pretty difficult time of it. He is subject to temptations. So am I. But I get no credit for resisting.

"They taxed my head once in England. I mean my literary producing structure. I think they taxed it as gas works. I don't know what else. I wrote the good Queen a friendly letter about it. I said, 'I don't know you, but I've met your son. He was at the head of a procession on the Strand and I was on a bus.'

"Years afterward at Homburg I met the Prince of Wales. We had a long walk and talk together. When shaking hands goodbye, he said, 'I am glad to have met you again.' That made me feel very sorry, for I feared he took me for some one else, perhaps Bishop Potter, and I told him so. Then he said, 'Why, don't you remember when you met me on the Strand and I was at the head of a procession, and you were on a bus?' "

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