The New York Times/Mark Twain Investigating

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Mark Twain Investigating  (1907) 
by Mark Twain
The New York Times, May 5, 1907.

MARK TWAIN INVESTIGATING.

And If the Report That He's Lost at Sea is So, He'll Let the Public Know.

Mark Twain was hard ashore and pounding heavily on the front lawn of the Tuxedo Club last night. The people of Norfolk, Va., who had taken more interest in him than they had in the big naval review at the opening of Jamestown Exposition, were informed of the fact and were breathing easily again.

Mr. Clemens, given up for lost by the host of friends he made in Norfolk on his visit to that city with H. H. Rogers aboard the latter's yacht, Kanawha, will be the hero of that Virginia community should he ever return there. The fact that the yacht slipped out of Hampton Roads during a fog and started north caused the report to spread through Virginia that the Kanawha had not been reported as having passed the Capes safely, and the friends of the humorist in the South feared mightily for his life. And all the time Mr. Clemens was safe in his rooms in Fifth Avenue.

Editor Harvey Wilson of The Norfolk Ledger-Dispatch sat up all night with an "extra" ready and with his heart in his mouth. He is an old-time admirer of Mark and has "read after him," as they say in Virginia, these many years. In the Virginia Club in Norfolk, and in the Westmoreland in Richmond, the negro servants were kept busy rushing messages to the telegraph offices, while the most expert of the julepers [sic] of the Southland worked their arms off cracking ice and plucking the tender leaves of the fragrant herb in the preparation of a certain famous concoction guaranteed to dispel sorrow and lighten hearts that are heavy.

Mr. Clemens heard all this yesterday, but took it calmly.

"You can assure my Virginia friends," said he, "that I will make an exhaustive investigation of this report that I have been lost at sea. If there is any foundation for the report, I will at once apprise the anxious public. I sincerely hope that there is no foundation for the report, and I also hope that judgment will be suspended until I ascertain the true state of affairs."

To his friend, Milt. Goodkind of 121 West Forty-second Street, Mr. Clemens sent the following telegram as soon as he had read a report from Norfolk telling of the fear there that he was lost on the bosom of the briny deep:

Latitude 43 degrees 5 hours and 41 seconds west by southeast of Central Park West. Kanawha heading toward nowhere; terrific cyclone raging; all the houses down in our vicinity; trees and telegraph poles interfering with our progress; vessel leaking badly; passed a school of whales and several elephants at dawn. Fire Department badly crippled; extension ladder out of commission; water very low; two of our crew lost overboard last evening. Please send airship and some bock beer at once; crew starving.
Deny report that I am dodging Mrs. Eddy or Actor's Fund Fair. Ship sinking; send financial relief at once.
MARK TWAIN.

Being slightly puzzled by the telegram and the dispatch from Norfolk, Mr. Goodkind in the afternoon sent to the newspapers a notice offering a reward of $50 for the capture of Mark Twain, alive, drowned, or half drowned. But the humorist had taken refuge at Tuxedo and his rescue from the cruel clutches of the sea was being celebrated there.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).