Rain Postpones Exercises in Front of Memorial Building for More Than Half Hour.
DR. WALTER WILLIAMS SPEAKS
Hundred of People Attend Exercises in Spite of Unfavorable Conditions--Meyer Presides--Hays Accepts Home and Dr. Ely Talks on "Tom Sawyer's Hannibal and Ours"--Mark Twain's First Cousin Courier-Post's Guest.
The early home of Mark Twain, where the humorist spent his boyhood days and where he dreamed the fancies that have made all the world happier, was today presented to the City of Hannibal by Hon. George A. Mahan, who with Mrs. Mahan are the donors, before a great throng of Hannibal people (text missing) of out-of-town visitors.
From a platform in front of the old home on Hill street Mayor C. T. Hays accepted the gift for the city as a memorial to the humorist. Rain falling in torrents for two hours caused a postponement of the ceremonies for nearly two hours. Shortly before 3 o'clock the crowd began to gather as the sun again shown forth promising a fine afternoon for the exercises.
Forming on Fourth street by the city hall the parade which preceded the exercises started about 2:45 o'clock. Carriages carrying the speakers, several honored guests, and a number of old residents of Hannibal, followed the First Regiment band. Among the guests of honor was Mrs. Tabitha Greening of Palmyra, a first cousin of Twain, brought here by The Courier-Post. A hundred or more business men and a large number of children from the public schools carrying flags marched in the procession. Hundreds of people in addition to those who took part in the parade attended the ceremony at the home.
An Incentive to Endeavor.
In calling the meeting to order W. J. A. Meyer, president of the Hannibal Commercial club emphasized the fact that the memorial to Mark Twain offered an inspiration to every Hannibal citizen. He said it should be an incentive to everybody to endeavor to lead such a life as Mark Twain did. "I congratulate Hannibal on developing great men and women and the city is still producing them," said Mr. Meyer.
"I congratulate Hannibal upon having such a splendid Commercial club which is the fear of all missouri Commercial clubs. It stands for a cleaner, better and more moral city, for higher education and for a higher type of citizenship. We are now able to have a legacy in the home of the home whom all nations honor. I take pleasure in introducing to you one of the donors of the memorial Hon. George A. Mahan."
Mr. Mahan read the following in presenting the home:
Mr. George A. Mahan, Hannibal, Mo.:
My Dear Sir.--In spirit I am with you today, when the boyhood home of the man we have known and loved as Mark Twain is to be conveyed to the city of Hannibal, as a memorial, dedicated to the hallowed past. It is most proper that this house should be so preserved. It was here that he passed much of his happy, curious childhood; it was here that he set out so reluctantly for school--from here he would slip away with those pleasant companions of his Tom Sawyer days. John Briggs and the Bowen boys and Will Pitts and with Tom Blankenship, who is immortal now and loved by all the world as Huckleberry Finn. It was in the very room where you are gathered perhaps, that he first put pencil to paper with the thought of print, for his brother's newspaper office was here, and it was as compositor and sub-editor of that journal that the laughing muse first bade him write. It was in one of the upper rooms that he slept and may have dreamed quaint fancies that all the world are familiar now. It was from this house--at last--a youth of eighteen he set out to conquer the world--and when have the ages produced another who has conquered it so completely? To have begun life meagerly--with only a trifle of schooling, (text missing) at all after twelve, to have risen from the position of printer's devil in a starving office, through the ranks of journeyman type-setting, river piloting, silver mining and frontier journalism to a applied leadership in the foremost rank of letters that was a triumph worth while.
What was the secret of Mark Twain's success? What produced his fame--a fame so dazzling and continuous, that the remoter ends and corners of the earth reflect it; a fame that reached even to the interior of Australian bush where they had only barely heard the name of America; a fame that when he stepped out on the streets of Oxford--where he had gone with a delegation of other chosen ones to take a Doctor's degree--the street boys and cabmen recognizing him, caught up his name and flung it from lip to lip like a cry of fire, until the streets warmed.
The secret of that fame--was it humor? We have had other great humorists, we have them still. Was it his philosophy? The world has always had philosophers; and they were loved, there was respected but it is not recorded that they filled theatres until the crowds mobbed the guards and broke down the doorways merely to look at them , as happened when Mark Twain spoke one Sunday afternoon in New York, a few years ago. Was it his patriotism, eager, incorruptible and uncompromising? We have other patriots as sterling as he. Was it his financial conscience shown by the payment of a heavy burden of optional debt? Alas! We do not always love those with but an indifferent regard for such obligations. Where, then, lay his hold on men--his greatness-if not in such things as these? Well, it did lie somewhat in these attributes, for he had them all, but it was in a still larger endowment that his true greatness lay; a gift that united and glorified all the rest; a gift that the world, the real world, the heart of the world never fails to recognize and reward; the gift of Gentleness; Kindness; in a word the Gift of Humanity. Therein lay Mark Twain's greatness--that was the secret of his fame.
Assuredly, it is fitting that anything which his touch made sacred, should be honored and preserved. You are conferring a permanent benefit on your city for saving for it the roof and lintel and the hearth which were a part of his childhood. I join with all those who loved Mark Twain and therefore with all the world in giving honor and beg to subscribe myself,
Always sincerely yours,
ALBERT BIGELOW PAINE,
Elmira, N. Y., Feb. 3, 1912.
Mr. Geo. A. Mahan,
My dear Mr. Mahan:
After much delay, which I regret I am sending you by prepaid express today, in the name of Mesars , Loomis, Freeman and myself, the enlarged photo of Mark Twain for the Hannibal house. We are very glad to be able to send you such a good likeness of Mr. Clemens.
It may by of interest to you to know a little more about the picture. It was one of several made at Dublin, N. H., about Sept. 1, 1907. Mr. Clemens spent one or two summers at Dublin in the New Hampshire hills, just previous to the time when "Stormfield" was built in the rough Connecticut country near Redding. This picture was taken while he was dictating his autobiography and the photographer was none other than Mr. Albert Bigelow Paine his friend and secretary and present biographer.
Of the many pictures taken in the last few years we all like this set taken by Mr. paine the best, and of the set we think the one we have sent you is probably from all standpoints the most satisfactory. It is a striking likeness.
Yours very sincerely,
Executor Estate of Samuel L. Clemens.
The boyhood home of Mark Twain has been presented to the city of Hannibal with the hope and in the full belief that it will be so maintained and used, as to be an inspiration to its citizens, to the people of Missouri and of the nation as well. (rest of text missing)