At the risk of adding to the already large stock of bogus information
about Mark Twain, I'm passing along an anecdote I just stumbled on in a
1903 newspaper, as my way of honoring Mark Twain's birthday today. I
don't know if it's true, and if it is true, I don't know who the
principal figures in the story were. It may have happened, it may not
have happened; but it COULD have happened.
On one occasion a Westerner, who owns a big cattle ranch far out and
lives on most of the time, was at the Lotus club with a New York
business acquaintance who is a pretty close friend of Mark Twain. The
two men were having a bit at a table when the humorist entered and at
once proceeded to the table of his friend. He sat down and was duly
introduced, but as Mr. Clemens instead of Mark Twain. The Westerner,
whose literary acquaintance did not extend beyond the newspapers, didn't
know the difference, and was soon swapping yarns with the newcomer.
Finally after looking him pretty closely for a moment, he said:
"Did anybody ever tell you looked like Mark Twain? I mean like the
pictures of him; that's as far as I know him."
"Um--er--," Mr. Clemens hesitated, while his friend was dumb. "I don't
recall that any one ever did, though it is possible some one might have
done so, because I have thought that way myself at times."
"Well, you do," the Westerner went on, "and I noticed it when I first
looked at you, though I should say, meaning no disrespect, that Mark had
a little the bulge on you for beauty, and he ain't so d---- handsome,
The humorist was in for having more of it, but the friend couldn't stand
the pressure, and he changed the subject to something the Western man
knew more about.
(from "Very Snappy Stories of Well Known Authors," AUGUSTA CHRONICLE
[Ga.], December 20, 1903.The story has the feel of a syndicated item,
but I was not able to find it in any other newspaper.)