Page:Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.djvu/19

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PREFACE

To begin with, of course, I don't claim that all these stories are absolutely first hand. I sometimes jotted down what I heard Mark say, or stored his talk in some compartment of memory, only to hear him repeat the yarn, after a space, in quite different fashion.

"You remind me of Charles II," I said to him once, referring to that confusing habit of his, and was going to "substantiate" when he interrupted.

"I can guess what you mean, but never mind, for all you know I may be Charlie's reincarnation. Charles, you wanted to say, had only three stories up his sleeve and these he told over and over again for new ones to Nell and the rest of the bunch. And varied them so cleverly and disguised them so well, that his audience never got on to the fact that His Majesty had been chestnutting. As for me, I can only hope that I will succeed as well as Charlie did."

In Berlin I once heard Susie Clemens—ill-fated, talented girl, who died so young—say to her father: "Grouchy again! They do say that you can be funny when company is around—too bad that you don't consider Henry Fisher company."

"Out of the mouth of sucklings," quoth Clements and gave Susie the twenty marks she was after, and he kissed her: "Goodby,

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