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The New York Times, June 7, 1902


It is reported that Dr. CLEMENS after the variegated and admirable speech recently made by him on receiving his latest degree, announced that it was is last appearance as a speaker in public.

We must all hope that it is only the first of a long series of last appearances. Probably there is no genius now known to the English-speaking world who can impart such vitality to a pleasantry of ripe age as can Mark Twain. Let us trust that he is illustrating this happy facility in the present instance and that his announcement is but an incident in the continuous exercise of his unique and precious function in this generation. We have many humorists of more or less distinction in "occasional" talk. There are some who have aspired to association, and even to rivalry with him. Some of them have approached him on a few of the many sides he has turned to a delighted public. No one has attained his rank. No one is so familiar and so uniformly surprising. Of no one can we be so sure that he will be funny and so utterly at a loss to predict what form or direction his fun will take. It would be a great pity if at future entertainments his "turn" should be missing.

Every one will read with pleasure the accounts of Dr. CLEMENS'S material prosperity, and hope that they are far short of the fact. He has proved his possession of that rarest claim to fortune - the capacity to face deprivation and hard work for the satisfaction of his own conscience and his emancipation from even indirect responsibility for losses incurred through him. His title is very clear to the best that can possibly come to him. And, of course, he is entitled to repose if he wishes it. But it is hard to connect his retirement from the public stage with the notion of repose. He has borne his part with such ease and apparent spontaneity, it has seemed much more natural for him to talk in his own way than to keep silent, that one can imagine his self-repression only as an act of self-denial. It would certainly be unkindness to the public for who he has so long been indulgent. We prefer to regard his announced intention as a practical joke, which, like most practical jokes, has in it an element of cruelty.

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