We keep losing all the world's great authors. Chaucer is dead, and so is Milton and so is Shakespeare, and I am not feeling very well myself.
I have had a great many birthdays in my time. I remember the first one very well, and 1 always think of it with indignation; unaesthetic, triumviral. No proper preparation was made; nothing really ready why the cradle wasn't white washed. I hadn't any hair; I hadn't any teeth, I hadn't any clothes, I had to go to my first banquet dressed like that.
Everybody came swarming in, it was the merest little bit of a village in the backwoods of Missouri, where nothing ever happened and the people were all interested they all came why I came to the nearest thing to being a real event that had happened in that village in more than two years.
Now the world, it seems, has risen up rejoicing. I have had many honors conferred upon me, but I deserved them all.
I am glad to be back here in Hannibal, in view of the honor. I stepped ashore with the feeling of one who returns out of a dead and gone generation. I climbed Holidays Hill to get a comprehensive view. The whole town lay spread out below me. The New houses did not affect the older picture I had, the older picture in my mind, Hannibal, as it was. I experienced emotions that I had never expected. I was profoundly moved ....I said, So Many of the people I once knew in this tranquil refuge of my childhood are now in heaven; some, I trust, are in the other place."
Living in Hannibal, on the banks of the Mississippi, was a paradise - it was a simple, simple life, and there was nothing of this age of modern civilization here at all.
There was no crime. Merely little things like pillaging orchards and watermelon patches and breaking the Sabbath - we didn't break the Sabbath often enough to signify - once a week perhaps. We were good boys, we were good Presbyterian boys - when the weather was doubtful; when it was fair, we did wander a little from the fold.
School days - we look back upon them regretfully because we have forgotten our punishments at school, and how we grieved when our marbles were lost and our kites destroyed - we have forgotten all the sorrows and privations of that canonized epoch and remember only its orchards robberies, its wooden sword pageants, and its fishing holidays.
I do have some good advice for the young people here - always obey your parents, when they are present. I learned that by experience. Parents think they know better than you do, and I think it is wise to humor that superstition. I never let schooling interfere with my education. --Mark Twain
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