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Well, say, this beats croquet. There's more go about it!
- quoted in "Mark Twain at Football Game," New York World, Sunday November 18, 1900

AI image created by Barbara Schmidt


Twain at football game

THE (New York) WORLD, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 1900, p. 3.


Sees Yale Whip Princeton, but "Roots" Vigorously for the Tigers.

Mark Twain, as the guest of Laurence Hutton, the writer, was an interested spectator of the Yale-Princeton football game. Mr. Clemens left Friday afternoon for Princeton and ws driven immediately to Mr. Hutton's residence. He held an informal reception there during Friday evening.

Just before 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon Mr. Clemens, Mr. Hutton and several Princeton professors were driven to the football field. Some Princetonians in the crowd recognized Mark Twain and he was the recipient of several long-drawn out "Sis-boom-ahs" as he climbed up the seats on the east stand. This was the stand where the Princeton singing societies were congregated. They were gathered near the northern end of the stand, and the mighty volume of sound they put forth seemed to delight Mr. Clemens, who smiled at their enthusiasm.

Mr. Clemens wore a huge yellow chrysanthemum in the left lapel of his long black overcoat. This tribute to the college was appreciated by the students near by, who throughout the game gave an occasional "tiger" for "Mark Twain."

Mr. Clemens appeared deeply interested in the contest. It was the first college football game he had ever witnessed. He asked many questions of his friend Mr. Hutton and of others near by concerning the plays and the players. He quickly mastered the main principles of the game and easily detected the superiority of the team from New Haven.

Cheered for the Tigers.

In the early part of the contest, when Princeton surprised her admirers by the strong resistance she put up, Mr. Clemens cheered lustily in unison with the other rooters for Old Nassau. He looked gloomy and sympathetic when Gould made an easy touchdown for Yale soon after the game began. But when Mattis shortly thereafter dropped a pretty goal from the field Mr. Clemens laughed loudly, clapped his hands, and exclaimed: "That's good! That's good! Perhaps Princeton will win after all."

When the first half closed with the figures standing 11 for Yale and 5 for Princeton, Mr. Clemens was one of the most eager of the mathematicians figuring how Princeton might yet pull the game out of the fire. After the ten minutes' intermission were up, Yale's giants came lumbering on the filed for the second half, and Mr. Clemens, who had been standing up and stamping his feet to keep warm, sat down again with a broad grin of anticipatory joy.

"Here's where Princeton gets even!" he remarked jovially to his friends. But Princeton didn't get even.

As the second half progressed and Yale's big fellows ripped the light Princeton line to pieces for long gains Mr. Clemens's face was a study. He apparently was a sincere adherent of Princeton, yet he could not refrain from making remarks complimentary to the physique of the Yale eleven.

When the gigantic Perry Hale and the huge and gritty Gordon Brown, the captain of the blues, or the almost equally stalwart Stillman slammed into the Tigers, bowling them over on all sides, Mr. Clemens made such remarks as:

"I should think they'd break every bone they ever had!"

"Those Yale men must be made of granite, like the rocks of Connecticut!"

"Those young Elis are too beefy and brawny for the Tigers."

"Well, say, this beats croquet. There's more go about it!"

"That Yale team could lick a Spanish army!"

"The country is safe when its young men show such pluck and determination as are here in evidence to-day."

Admired Pluck of Vanquished.

The eighteen thousand cheering people were a revelation to Mr. Clemens. As the Tigers were trailed deeper and deeper in the mire, when the score was standing 29 to 5 against them, toward the very close, the cheering clubs gave a grand exhibition of the "Never say die" spirit for which Princeton has always been famous. Without let-up they sang all the songs in their repertoire with a vim and an energy that were inspiring, and waved the yellow and black flags on high.

Yale might beat their football team, but the pluck of the Princeton men was undaunted. It was this feature which particularly impressed itself upon Mr. Clemens. He said, after the game, that the contest was one of the events of his life, and that he was proud to have been present at a game where Princeton men made such a splendid exhibition of spirit. He said he was proud of Yale, too, for Yale is in his State. He spoke of the splendid courage displayed by all of the Yale men, particularly Brown, who repeatedly hurled himself at formations and broke them up in a manner that overwhelmed the lighter Jerseymen.

Mr. Clemens said he was sorry football, as it was played to-day, was not in vogue during his schooldays, as he believed he would have liked to play it. He gave it as his opinion that it was the grandest game ever invented for boys--one which showed all their best qualities to advantage, and a game that must necessarily build up the mind as well as the body.

The sport made such a favorable impression on Mr. Clemens, that he said he believed he would attend the Yale-Harvard contest at New Haven next Saturday. Mr. Clemens will return to New York to-day.

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