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The New York Times, February 1, 1925

"Oldest Clown" Also Gives Incidents in Barnum's Life.

Incidents in the lives of Mark Twain and P. T. Barnum were intimately described yesterday afternoon at one of the weekly lectures at the National Democratic Club by Robert E. Sherwood, introduced as the "Oldest Clown in America. Mr. Sherwood told the following story about Mark Twain:

"One day Mr. Twain and I were seated in the old Hotel St. Denis, when we decided to have a drink. Mr. Twain was not a strong drinker, but when the waiter brought him a whisky and a small glass of water as a chaser he waved it aside and said: 'What's the use of starting a fire and putting it right out again?"

It was in 1878, while appearing as a clown in Barnum's circus, said Mr. Sherwood, that he first met Mark Twain, who often told him that all his life he had wanted to be a clown.

The lecturer showed a ring on his finger which Barnum had given to him and took occasion to correct the impression that Barnum had coined the phrase: "A sucker is born every minute." What Barnum did say, he pointed out, was that "the American public like to be humbugged."

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