DINNER TO HAMILTON W. MABIE
Too Long; Didn't Read ADDRESS DELIVERED APRIL 29, 1901
In introducing Mr. Clemens, Doctor Van Dyke said:
“The longer the speaking goes on to-night the more I wonder how
I got this job, and the only explanation I can give for it is
that it is the same kind of compensation for the number of
articles I have sent to The Outlook, to be rejected by Hamilton
W. Mabie. There is one man here to-night that has a job cut
out for him that none of you would have had—a man whose humor
has put a girdle of light around the globe, and whose sense of
humor has been an example for all five continents. He is going
to speak to you. Gentlemen, you know him best as Mark Twain.”
MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN,—This man knows now how it feels to be the chief guest, and if he has enjoyed it he is the first man I have ever seen in that position that did enjoy it. And I know, by side-remarks which he made to me before his ordeal came upon him, that he was feeling as some of the rest of us have felt under the same circumstances. He was afraid that he would not do himself justice; but he did—to my surprise. It is a most serious thing to be a chief guest on an occasion like this, and it is admirable, it is fine. It is a great compliment to a man that he shall come out of it so gloriously as Mr. Mabie came out of it tonight—to my surprise. He did it well.
He appears to be editor of The Outlook, and notwithstanding that, I have every admiration, because when everything is said concerning The Outlook, after all one must admit that it is frank in its delinquencies, that it is outspoken in its departures from fact, that it is vigorous in its mistaken criticisms of men like me. I have lived in this world a long, long time, and I know you must not judge a man by the editorials that he puts in his paper. A man is always better than his printed opinions. A man always reserves to himself on the inside a purity and an honesty and a justice that are a credit to him, whereas the things that he prints are just the reverse.