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The New York Times, August 21, 1910


Swiss Peasant Declines to Part with an Enigmatical Phrase.

By Marconi Transatlantic Wireless Telegraph to The New York Times.

BERLIN, Aug. 20, (by telegraph to Clifden, Ireland; thence by wireless.) - "An enigmatical autograph by Mark Twain has remained undiscovered in an little Swiss hamlet for the last thirteen years," says Ernest Karedel of Pittsburg, who has arrived from Switzerland and is at the Hotel Adlon.

In 1897 Mark Twain was a visitor at the cottage of an honest Swiss peasant, Alois Dahinden, in Buhlegg, near Lucern. In order to avoid publicity and the hue and cry of enterprising journalists the distinguished author resolutely refused to inscribe his name in the village register.

The villagers, who at first regarded Mr. Clemens with suspicion, gradually became reconciled. They insisted on his leaving a memento behind. With characteristic modesty he hesitated, and then reluctantly turning over the empty pages until the last one in the book, wrote: "Please do not forget this important truth: Habit is habit and is not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed down the stairs."

At the time, September, 1897, the particular connection of the sentence with anything that took place in Mr. Clemens's sojourn still puzzles Dahinden who has refused all offers to part with the treasure.

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