ENDS OF EARTHERS FOREGATHER HERE AGAIN
And Astonish Mark Twain with Some Very Brief Reports.
HE AND OTHERS REMINISCE
The Author Tells How He Filled Cooper Union 39 Years Ago - 150 Globe Trotters at Dinner.
Once every year a body of men of prime fellowship, hailing from the four corners of the earth, but speaking the Anglo-Saxon tongue, gather in New York to see each other, shake hands, and say "How d'ye do." They call their organization The Ends of the Earth Club. The name typifies their clan, for it is to the very jumping-off places of the earth that its membership of men in every known profession reaches, and if the fun they had at their third annual dinner at the Savoy Hotel last night didn't penetrate to the ends of the glove, it was the sole fault of modern methods of communication.
The Ends of the Earth Club, of which Mark Twain is the honorary head, with Rudyard Kipling and Admiral George Dewey as members of the Honorary Council, was formed three years ago by globe trotters of New York and elsewhere in the world, whose idea was to dine together once every twelve months and exchange felicitations. Here are its principles:
Members: Good fellows with no axes to grind who speak our language.
Lodge: Wherever the four ways meet -- the North and South and East and West trails.
Greeting: "Where do you come from?" "I come from the ends of the earth." What for?" "To speak the language."
Mark Twain was the honorable guest and made the main speech at the dinner last night and sat next to Gen. James H. Wilson, who, although the speeches were all informal, acted as toastmaster. Mr. Clemens did not arrive at the dinner until 10 o'clock. When he did appear the Ends of the Earthers rose and sang, "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow."
Now, the Ends of the Earth Club has no regular quarters and has no business to transact, but at each dinner it goes through the mock form of receiving reports from its Secretary and Treasurer.
"The report of the Secretary," responded Secretary C. Bowyer Vaux, indicating the menu card, "is already in cold type before you."
"It is in order to dispose of it," said Gen. Wilson.
"We've already done so," replied Mr. Vaux.
Then came the "report" of the Treasurer, Charles Triller. "To present a report these days is to throw a bomb. Look at the Panama and insurance matters." Mr. Triller was then unanimously reelected until he had had time to make up alleged deficits.
"Has any member of the club an objection to anything that has happened during the dinner?" asked Gen. Wilson.
"Yes," replied Prof. Edward S. Morse, jumping from his seat. "I enter objection to the orchestra. I move that at the next dinner we have a Japanese band with Geisha girls."
"That's it," agreed a dozen members, yelling at once, "the Geisha girls! We'll have the next dinner tomorrow night."
Gen. Wilson then opened the speechmaking by remarking that he hoped that the day was near when everybody on earth would speak the English tongue.
"When Richard Croker was coming over a few years ago, some one asked him how he stood on the Philippines question.
" 'I am an anti-imperialist,' he replied.
" 'What do you mean by that?' was asked.
" 'I mean that I'd get busy quick and kill every beggar who doesn't speak the English language.'
"Those are my sentiments," said Gen. Wilson. Capt. W. Wyndham, British Consul at Boston, echoed the principle.
"A few years ago when you'd walk up to an attendant at a railroad station in India and asked for the station master you'd get the reply, 'Steeshum maaster eeti rize.' All of which would mean that the station master was eating rice. Today when you ask the same man the same question you get the reply, 'The station master is enjoying his post prandial repast and repose.' The English language is spreading, and we Anglo-Saxons will soon control the world."
Prof. Morse talked about civilization, "Civilization," he said, "doesn't mean subways, skyscrapers, automobiles, and sixty-mile-a-minute railroad trains. It means good manners, gentleness, and sympathy among society. That's what the Japanese have and that's where we are lacking."
Col. T. L. Livermore and Capt. Thomas Franklin of the army made short talks. Then F. Hopkinson Smith, a native of Virginia, told several negro dialect stories and explained how he had come North in the early sixties.
"I'm a New Yorker and you know all New Yorkers have three residences. One is the place where they vote; another where they pay taxes, and another where they sue for divorce."
Mark Twain, in beginning his talk, said he never intended delivering another speech or another lecture, but that when it came to reminiscences he would take care of his share.
"I don't quite get the hang of this club," he said. "You don't know what the Treasurer's report furnishes except that it doesn't furnish anything. I might just as well be in the S.P.C.A. I don't know whether you adopted that method or whether the Society for the Propagation of Cruelty to Animals adopted it. [Laughter.] Only you do come out better than they do."
Mr. Clemens then went on to tell about Mulberry Sellers, to whom Gen. Wilson had alluded in his introduction.
"When I was writing the book," he said. I had great trouble with Mulberry Sellers. I had the man's name written originally as Mulberry Sellers. A friend told me I ought to change it.
" 'Make it Escol [sic] Sellers,' he advised.
" 'But I'm afraid,' I replied. 'An Escol [sic] Sellers may be living and we may get into trouble.' However, I made it Escol [sic] Sellers and one day a man from Philadelphia, a stately and cultivated gentleman, approached me.
" 'Sir,' he said, 'my name is Escol [sic] Sellers. I'll give you fifteen minutes to take my name out of that book.'
"We did it, but that didn't end the trouble, for a Mulberry Sellers turned up in Wisconsin, one on the Wabash, and others from various parts of the country."
Mr. Clemens then told of his first lecture delivered at the Cooper Institute thirty-nine years ago.
"I met a man on the streets of New York a few weeks ago," said he. "He was my old friend Fuller, ninety years gone and gray-headed. I was glad to see him, and the moment I laid eyes upon him I was brought back to my first lecture in New York, at Cooper Institute. Fuller was the man who proposed it. I demurred.
" 'Nobody knows me here, Fuller,' I said, 'and the thing will be a failure."
" 'No such thing,' he argued. 'We will fill the house at $1 a head.'
"I was young enough to be deceived by his flamboyant talk and immediately had dreams of filling the house at $1 a head. He suggested Cooper Institute. I've been there once, and don't want to go again.
"They advertised me as the "Eloquent and Celebrated Mark Twain." They hung up in the city buses great bunches of flimsy cards advertising my coming lecture. The cards were to be pulled down and read by anybody interested. I saw them and got to haunting those buses. I rode up and down, up and down through this town of New York watching with beating heart and hoping that someone would pull one of those sheets.
"I never saw anybody do it. I finally advised Fuller to flood the city with paper, and we did so. We sent out barrels of complimentary tickets. When the eventful night came, the streets were blocked with struggling men and women. The house was jammed with people. I felt flattered, for it was my first lecture in the East. It was a magnificent triumph. We had a superb time, and we took in $35. I remarked about this to Fuller the other day.
" 'No,' he said, "it was $350.'
"I didn't hold that against him and ask him for the money, because it happened too long ago."
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