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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, July 05, 1908, Image 27

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1908-07-05/ed-1/seq-27/

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THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
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In 19?4
MARK TWAIN
The Significance of "That Reminds Me"
rejoined me he was silent, and this alarmed me, be
cause I had not seen an example of it before. He
seemed quite uncomfortable, and I asked him what
the trouble was. He said he had been inspired to
give the girl a pleasant surprise, and so had gone
back and'said to her. "That young fellow's name is
not Wilkinson; that's Mark Twain."
She did not lose her mind; she did not exhibit any
excitement at all; but said quite simply, quite tran
quilly. "Tell it to the marines. Mr. Peters — if that
should happen to be your name."
It was very pleasant to meet her again. W e were
white headed, but she was not : in the sweet and un
vexed spiritual atmosphere of the Bermudas one does
not achieve gray hairs at forty-eight.
Ii and of course it was
born of association, like nearly everything else
that drifts into a person's head, asleep or awake. On
board sh::>. on the passage down. Twichell was talk
ing about the swiftly .developing possibilities of
aerial navigation, and he quoted those striking
verses of Tennyson's which forecast a future when
air borne vessels of war shall meet and fight above
the clouds and redden the earth below with a rain
of blood. Thii picture of carnage and blood and
death reminded me of something which I had read
a fortnight ago. — Statistics of railway accidents com
piled by the United States Government, wherein
the ... fact was set forth that on our two
hundred thousand miles of railway we annually kill
ten thousand persons outright and injure eighty
thousand. The warships in the air suggested the
railway horrors, and three nights afterward the rail
way horrors suggested my dream. The work of
association was going on in my head, unconsciously,
The Mm Dur»t ... Now. [Don U'jm Any More Out of Tou
t tii I " "" m admii Iream,
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rpses to the gi
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OUSY has named a number of t he friends who
*- were assembled at Onteora at the time of
our visit (in 1890); but ... among
them Laurence Huttoi Charles Dudley Warner,
and Carroll Beckwith, and their wives! It was a
bright and jolly company. Some of those choice
spirits are still with us: the others have passed
from this life: Mrs. Clemens, Susy. Mr. Warner,
Mary Map Dodge, Laurence Hutton, Dean Sage.
Peace to their ashes! Susy is in errnr in thinking
Mr- Dodge was not there at that time: we were
her guests.
We arrived at nightfall, dreary from a tiresome
journey: but the dreariness did not last. Mrs.
"Dodge had provided a homemade banquet, and the
happy company sat down to it, twenty strong or
more. Then the thing happened which always
happens at large dinners, and is always exasjx?rat
ing: everybody talked to his
elbow mates, and all talked at
once, and gradually raised their
voices higher and higher and
higher, in the desperate effort
to be heard. It was like a ri<>t.
an insurrection: it was an in
tolerable volume of noise. Pres
ently I said to the lady next
me :
""I will subdue this riot: I will
silence this racket. There is only
one way to do it; but 1 know
the art. You must tilt your
head toward mine and seem to be
deeply interested in what 1 am
saying. I will talk in a low
voice; then, just because cur
neighbors won't be able to h<-..r
me, they will want to hear ir.e.
If I mumble 1 >ng enough, say
two minutes, you will see that
the dialogues will one after an
other come to a standstill, and
there will be silence, — not a
sound anywhere but my mum-
Ming.".
r T"MIE\ in a very low voice I
■*■ began: " When I went out
to Chicago, eleven years ago,
to witness the Grant festivities,
there was a great banquet on
the first night, with six hundred
ex-soldiers present. The gentle
man who sat next me was Mr.
X. X. He was very hard of
hearing, and he had a habit
common to deaf people of shout
ing his remarks instead of ■! ■ -
livering them in an ordinary
voice. He would handle his knife
and fork in reflective silence for
five or six minutes at a time, and
then suddenly fetch out a shout
that would make you jump out
of the United States."
By this time the insurrection
at Mrs. Dodge's table — at least
that part of it in my imme
diate neighborhood — had died
down, and the silence was spread
ing, couple by t-'iupU-. down the
long table. I went "ii in a lower
and still lower mumble, and
most impressively :
"During one "f Mr. X X.'s
mute intervals, a man opposite
us approached Ihe end "t a
story which he hail been tell
ing his elbow neighbor. He
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