A friend pointed out that I hadn’t confirmed that I arrived back in NY and that with  no new posts I had some wondering if there was a Thelma and Louis ending to my trip. Well I’m back, alive and kicking but not too high. I also promised to put the Mark Twain speech in the blog which I will do below.

Now that one of the VW bugs is in California I have to get going on restoring the second one a ’76 Super Beetle. It will be a lot more work than the first. For starters there is no ignition key so I will have to get one or take the ignition apart, no fun and expensive. But it will keep me busy. Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. Ok now on to Twain’s speech and two new blogs. One about American (and foreign flags) and the latest from Rexy Boy who has been very sick lately.

Mark Twain’s farewell speech Liverpool 1907

“Home is dear to us all, and I am now departing for mine on the other side of the ocean. Oxford has conferred upon me the loftiest honor that has ever fallen to my fortune, the one I should have chosen as outranking any and all others within the gift of men or states to bestow upon me. And I have had, in the four weeks that I have been here, another lofty honor, a continuous honor, an honor which has known no interruption in all these twenty-six days, a most moving and pulse-stirring honor: the hearty hand-grip and the cordial welcome which does not descend from the pale gray matter of the brain, but comes up with the red blood out of the heart! It makes me proud, and it makes me humble.

“Many and many a year ago I read an anecdote in Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast. A frivolous little self-important captain of a coasting-sloop in the dried-apple and kitchen-furniture trade was always hailing every vessel that came in sight, just to hear himself talk and air his small grandeurs. One day a majestic Indiaman came ploughing by, with course on course of canvas towering into the sky, her decks and yards swarming with sailors, with macaws and monkeys and all manner of strange and romantic creatures populating her rigging, and thereto her freightage of precious spices lading the breeze with gracious and mysterious odors of the Orient. Of course, the little coaster-captain hopped into the shrouds and squeaked a hail: Ship ahoy! What ship is that, and whence and whither?’ In a deep and thunderous bass came the answer back, through a speaking-trumpet: The Begum of Bengal, a hundred and twenty-three days out from Canton — homeward bound! What ship is that?’ The little captain’s vanity was all crushed out of him, and most humbly he squeaked back: Only the Mary Ann, fourteen hours out from Boston, bound for Kittery Point with nothing to speak of!’ That eloquent word only’ expressed the deeps of his stricken humbleness.

“And what is my case? During perhaps one hour in the twenty four — not more than that — I stop and reflect. Then I am humble then I am properly meek, and for that little time I am only the Mary Ann’ — fourteen hours out, and cargoed with vegetables and tin-ware: but all the other twenty-three my self-satisfaction rides high, and I am the stately Indianian, plowing the great seas under a cloud of sail, and laden with a rich freightage of the kindest words that were ever spoken to a wandering alien, I think; my twenty-six crowded and fortunate days multiplied by five; and I am the Begum of Bengal, a hundred and twenty-three days out from Canton. Homeward bound!”


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