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MARK TWAIN'S 
SPEECHES 




Mark Twain About 1880 



AUTHORIZED EDITION 

The Complete Works of 

MARK 
TWAIN 



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MARK TWAIN'S 
SPEECHES 




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HARPER AND BROTHERS 
NEW YORK 



Mark Twain's Speeches 



Copyright, 1923, by Mark Twain Company 



Printed in the United States of America 

I-D 



CONTENTS 



On After-dinner Speaking 



PAGE 
V 



An Appreciation, by William Dean Howells . . . 

Introduction, by Albert Bigelow Paine vii 

On Speech-making Reform l 

The Sandwich Islands 7 

The American Vandal 

Woman— An Opinion • • • 3I 

Americans and the English 34 

About London 

The Ladies 4 

License of the Press 4 

The Weather 53 

The Babies 5 

The Story of a Speech 6 3 

Unconscious Plagiarism 77 

Accident Insurance ° 



83 



Plymouth Rock and the Pilgrims 86 

On Adam 93 

Speech of Samuel L. Clemens 9® 

Advice to Youth I04 

Speech I09 



Turncoats 



H3 



A Tribute Il7 

Consistency I2 ° 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Henry M. Stanley 1 

On Stanley and Livingstone x -. 

General Grant's Grammar j- s 

The Old-fashioned Printer j- 8 

Yale College Speech 

J 4 2 

Welcome Home (1889) I 

On Foreign Critics 

Mistaken Identity 

J 54 

Daly Theatre 7 

Lotos Club Dinner in Honor of Mark Twain . . .161 

An Undelivered Speech l64 

Die Schrecken der Deutschen Sprache 268 

The Horrors of the German Language !6 9 

German for the Hungarians I76 

To the Whitefriars I7 3 

Authors' Club Ig 

The Day We Celebrate l8 - 

Theoretical and Practical Morals I9 o 

Henry Irving Ig 



Welcome Home (1900) jo- 

Gal veston 1 
Literature 



Galveston Orphan Bazaar , 



207 

Disappearance of Literature 20o 

Public Education Society .211 

Municipal Government 2I4 

Municipal Corruption .218 

Votes for Women 222 

University Settlement Society 225 



11 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

On Lincoln's Birthday 228 

Osteopathy 232 

Business 235 

Dinner to Hamilton W. Mabie 239 

The Dinner to Mr. Choate 242 

Sixty-seventh Birthday 244 

Seventieth Birthday 254 

Russian Sufferers 263 

Joan of Arc 269 

Taxes and Morals 276 

Layman's Sermon 281 

Morals and Memory 284 

When in Doubt, Tell the Truth 292 

Introducing Doctor van Dyke 296 

Billiards 302 

"Mark Twain's First Appearance" 303 

In Aid of the Blind 306 

Spelling and Pictures 315 

Copyright 323 

Educating Theatre-goers 330 

The Educational Theatre 333 

Books, Authors, and Hats 335 

Independence Day 344 

The Savage Club Dinner 350 

Charity and Actors 357 

Fulton Day, Jamestown 359 

The Alphabet and Simplified Spelling 364 

Compliments and Degrees 368 



111 



CONTENTS 



PAGE 

Booksellers 

375 

Education and Citizenship 378 

Dinner to Whitelaw Reio .382 

Courage g6 

Queen Victoria -g 7 

Rogers and Railroads 3 3 9 



IV 



AN APPRECIATION 

THESE speeches will address themselves to the 
minds and hearts of those who read them, but 
not with the effect they had with those who heard 
them; Clemens himself would have said, not with 
half the effect. I have noted elsewhere how he 
always held that the actor doubled the value of the 
author's words ; and he was a great actor as well as 
a great author. He was a most consummate actor, 
with this difference from other actors, that he was 
the first to know the thoughts and invent the fancies 
to which his voice and action gave the color of life. 
Representation is the art of other actors; his art 
was creative as well as representative; it was nothing 
at second hand. 

I never heard Clemens speak when I thought he had 
quite failed; some burst or spurt redeemed him when 
he seemed flagging short of the goal, and, whoever 
else was in the running, he came in ahead. His near- 
failures were the error of a rare trust to the spon- 
taneity in which other speakers confide, or are 
believed to confide, when they are on their feet. He 
knew that from the beginning of oratory the orator's 
spontaneity was for the silence and solitude of the 
closet where he mused his words to an imagined 
audience; that this was the use of orators from 
Demosthenes and Cicero up and down. He studied 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

every word and syllable, and memorized them by a 
system of mnemonics peculiar to himself, consisting 
of an arbitrary arrangement of things on a table — 
knives, forks, salt cellars; inkstands, pens, boxes, or 
whatever was at hand — which stood for points and 
clauses and climaxes, and were at once indelible 
diction and constant suggestion. He studied every 
tone and every gesture, and he forecast the result 
with the real audience from its result with that 
imagined audience. Therefore, it was beautiful to 
see him and to hear him; he rejoiced in the pleasure 
he gave and the blows of surprise which he dealt; 
and because he had his end in mind, he knew when 
to stop. 

I have been talking of his method and manner; the 
matter the reader has here before him; and it is 
good matter, glad, honest, kind, just. 



/ite5jf~^%, 



VI 



INTRODUCTION 

MARK TWAIN made his first speech when he 
was about twenty years old, at a printers' 
''banquet," in Keokuk, Iowa. No fragment of 
this early effort has survived the years, but his 
hearers long recalled it as a hilarious perform- 
ance which promptly qualified him for member- 
ship in a debating society, where he became the chief 
star. Doubtless he spoke on other festival occasions 
of the moment, and one wishes that some slight 
remnant of those beginnings might have been 
preserved. 

Keokuk was a brief incident in Mark Twain's 
career. He was presently piloting on the Mississippi 
River, where he was much regarded as a story-teller 
by his associates, but if he ever spoke at a pilots' 
dinner or at one of their meetings no record of the 
fact is discoverable. It was not until he had left the 
river several years behind him and had become a 
sage-brush journalist, reporting the Nevada legisla- 
ture, that we learn of another public appearance, 
this time as Governor of the Third House, a bur- 
lesque organization to which he delivered in person 
his first (and last) "annual message." The Third 
House threw open its doors to the public for the 
event, levying a tax of a dollar on each admission, 
for the benefit of the church. Very likely this was 

vii 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Mark Twain's first appearance before a mixed 
audience, and if the memory of those present may- 
be trusted his speech that night was the "greatest 
effort of his life." Such a verdict is to be taken with 
a liberal allowance for the enthusiasm and setting of 
the occasion, and while we may regret that no sample 
of that celebrated address has come down to us, we 
may console ourselves in the thought that perhaps 
it is just as well for its renown that this is so. Mark 
Twain had at this time written very little that 
would bear the test of years, and it seems probable 
that his memorable message was for that day and 
date only. 

But now came a change — a large and important 
change — in Mark Twain's intellectual life. One 
might call it a "sea change," for it followed a trip 
to the Sandwich Islands, where he had remained for 
a period of four months, a considerable portion of 
that time in almost daily intercourse with America's 
distinguished statesman, Anson Burlingame, who 
had stopped there on his way to China. Burlin- 
game's example, companionship, and advice, coming 
when it did, were in the nature of a revelation to 
Samuel Clemens, who returned to San Francisco, 
consciously or not, the inhabitant of a new domain. 
His Sandwich Island letters to the Sacramento 
Union had been nothing remarkable, but the lecture 
he was persuaded to deliver a few months after his 
return indicates a mental awakening, a growth in 
vigor and poetic utterance that cannot be measured 
by comparison with his earlier writings because it is 
not of the same realm. Fortunately, some consider- 

viii 



INTRODUCTION 

able portions of this first lecture have been preserved, 
and the reader may judge for himself what the 
Mark Twain of that day — he was then thirty-one — 
had to say when, as he tells us, he appeared, " quak- 
ing in every limb," the fear of failure in his heart. 
The story of that evening, as set down in Roughing 
It, is very good history, and need not be repeated here. 
He subsequently delivered the lecture the length 
of the Pacific coast, and finally at Cooper Union in 
New York, just before sailing on the Quaker City 
Holy Land excursion. 

The result of the Quaker City venture was a series 
of travel letters of quite a new sort, and Mark Twain 
returned to find himself famous. Temporarily in 
Washington, he was all at once in the midst of 
receptions and dinners and much in demand as a 
speech-maker. One example only of that time has 
survived — his reply to the toast of "Woman" at a 
banquet of the "Washington Correspondents' Club." 
It does not seem particularly brilliant, as we read it 
to-day, but it must have been so regarded at the 
moment, for no less an authority than Vice-President 
Schuyler Colfax pronounced it, "the best after- 
dinner speech ever made." Doubtless it was a 
refreshing departure from the prosy or clumsy-witted 
efforts common to that period. 

It is not the purpose here to set down a history 
of Mark Twain's speech-making career. He was 
fully launched, now, and the end would not come 
until the final years of his life, his prestige and 
popularity steadily growing until in those later days 
he occupied a position which none thought even to 

ix 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

approach. It may be worth while, however, to 
record something of his methods of preparation and 
delivery. 

In the beginning he carefully wrote out his speeches, 
learned them by heart, and practiced them in the 
seclusion of his chamber. Later on he frequently 
trusted himself to speak without any special prepara- 
tion or notes, confident of picking up an idea from 
the toastmaster's introduction or from some previous 
speaker, usually asking to be placed third on the 
list. But if the occasion was an important one he 
wrote his speech and rehearsed it in the old way. 
His manner of delivery did not change with the 
years, except to become more finished, and to seem 
less so, for it was his naturalness, his apparent lack 
of all art, that was his greatest charm. One of 
those who attended his earliest lectures spoke of his 
exaggerated drawl of that day, his habit of loosely 
lounging about the stage, his apparent indifference 
to the audience. His later art was of the sort that 
made the hearer forget that he was not being per- 
sonally entertained by a new and wonderful friend, 
who had come there for his particular benefit. One 
listener has written that he sat "simmering with 
laughter" through what he thought was a sort of 
introduction, waiting for the traditional lecture to 
begin, when presently with a bow the lecturer dis- 
appeared and it was over. The listener looked at 
his watch — he had been there for more than an hour. 

His manner gave the impression of being entirely 
unstudied, yet no one better than Mark Twain knew 
the value of every gesture and particularly of every 



INTRODUCTION 

pause. He used to say, "The right word may be 
effective, but no word was ever as effective as a 
rightly timed pause." In his speech on "Speech- 
making Reform," with which this volume opens, he 
has given us, in semi-burlesque, a summary of his 
own methods. 

Mark Twain's speeches, as here collected, are 
rather loosely separated into three periods : the first 
division beginning with his San Francisco lecture, 
continuing through those years when his conquest 
of the world of letters had not yet lost its novelty, 
when his blood was quick, when the gods were still 
kind and his words in the main a lilt of good- 
natured foolery. The middle period covers those 
years when the affairs of men and nations began to 
make a larger appeal, when political abuses and the 
injustice of class began to stir him to active rebellion 
and to righteous, even if violent, attitudes of reform. 
The final group is of those later days when, full of 
honors yet saddened by bereavement and the uncer- 
tainty of life's adventures, he had become the philos- 
opher and sage whose voice was sought on every 
public question, whose humor was more gentle, 
whose judgments had become mellowed and were all 
the more welcome for that reason. The conclusion 
of the Seventieth Birthday address and of the Liver- 
pool speech are perhaps the most perfect examples of 
his after-dinner art.* 

Not to have heard Mark Twain is to have missed 

*The closing paragraphs of the Liverpool speech were repeated 
at the end of a speech made at the Lotos Club, N. Y., January u, 
1908, and will be found so placed in this volume. 

xi 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

much of the value of his utterance. He had immeas- 
urable magnetism and charm, his face, surrounded by 
its great mass of hair, pure white in old age, was one 
of unusual beauty, having in repose that gravity 
and pathos of which his whimsical humor and flicker- 
ing smile were the break. No one could resist him — 
probably nobody ever tried to do so. 

Albert Bigelow Paine. 



THE EARLY PERIOD 



ON SPEECH-MAKING REFORM 

After-dinner Speech, About 1884 

I IKE many another well-intentioned man, I hava 
j made too many speeches. And like other 
transgressors of this sort, I have from time to time 
reformed, binding myself, by oath, on New Year's 
Days, to never make another speech. I found that 
a new oath holds pretty well; but that when it is 
become old and frayed out and damaged by a dozen 
annual retyings of its remains, it ceases to be serv- 
iceable; any little strain will snap it. So, last New 
Year's Day I strengthened my reform with a money 
penalty, and made that penalty so heavy that it 
has enabled me to remain pure from that day to 
this. Although I am falling once more, now, I 
think I can behave myself from this out, because the 
penalty is going to be doubled ten days hence. I 
see before me and about me the familiar faces of 
many poor, sorrowing fellow sufferers, victims of the 
passion for speech making — poor, sad-eyed brothers 
in affliction, who, fast in the grip of this fell, de- 
grading, demoralizing vice, have grown weak with 
struggling, as the years drifted by, and at last have 
all but given up hope. To them I say, in this last 
final obituary of mine, don't give up — don't do it; 
there is still hope for you. I beseech you, swear one 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

more oath, and back it up with cash. I do not say 
this to all, of course; for there are some among 
you who are past reform; some who, being long 
accustomed to success and to the delicious intoxi- 
cation of the applause which follows it, are too 
wedded to their dissipation to be capable now or 
hereafter of abandoning it. They have thoroughly 
learned the deep art of speech making, and they suffer 
no longer from those misgivings and embarrass- 
ments and apprehensions which are really the only 
things that ever make a speech maker want to re- 
form. They have learned their art by long obser- 
vation and slowly compacted experience; so now 
they know what they did not know at first, that the 
best and most telling speech is not the actual im- 
promptu one, but the counterfeit of it; they know 
that that speech is most worth listening to which 
has been carefully prepared in private and tried on a 
plaster cast, or an empty chair, or any other appre- 
ciative object that will keep quiet until the speaker 
has got his matter and his delivery limbered up so 
that they will seem impromptu to an audience. 
The expert knows that. A touch of indifferent 
grammar flung in here and there, apparently at 
random, has a good effect — often restores the con- 
fidence of a suspicious audience. He arranges these 
errors in private ; for a really random error wouldn't 
do any good; it would be sure to fall in the wrong 
place. He also leaves blanks here and there — leaves 
them where genuine impromptu remarks can be 
dropped in, of a sort that will add to the natural 
aspect of the speech without breaking its line of 



ON SPEECH-MAKING REFORM 

march. At the banquet he listens to the other 
speakers, invents happy turns upon remarks of 
theirs, and sticks these happy turns into his blanks, 
for impromptu use by and by when he shall be- 
called up. When this expert rises to his feet, he 
looks around over the house with the air of a man 
who has just been strongly impressed by something.. 
The uninitiated cannot interpret his aspect; but 
the initiated can. 

They know what is coming. When the noise of 
the clapping and stamping has subsided this veteran 
says: "Aware that the hour is late, Mr. Chairman, 
it was my intention to abide by a purpose which 
I framed in the beginning of the evening— to simply 
rise and return my duty and thanks, in case I should 
be called upon, and then make way for men more 
able and who have come with something to say.. 
But, sir, I was so struck by General Smith's remark 
concerning the proneness of evil to fly upward, that" 
— etc., etc., etc., and before you know it he has. 
slidden smoothly along on his compliment to the 
general, and out of it and into his set speech, and 
you can't tell, to save you, where it was nor when it 
was that he made the connection. And that man 
will soar along, in the most beautiful way, on the 
wings of a practiced memory, heaving in a little 
decayed grammar here, and a little wise tautology- 
there, and a little neatly counterfeited embarrass- 
ment'yonder, and a little finely acted stumbling and 
stammering for a word, rejecting this word and that, 
and finally getting the right one, and fetching it 
out with ripping effect, and with the glad look of a. 

3 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

man who has got out of a bad hobble entirely by 
accident — and wouldn't take a hundred dollars 
down for that accident ; and every now and then he 
will sprinkle you in one of those happy turns on 
something that has previously been said; and at 
last, with supreme art, he will catch himself, when 
in the very act of sitting down, and lean over the 
table and fire a parting rocket, in the way of an 
afterthought, which makes everybody stretch his 
mouth as it goes up, and dims the very stars in 
heaven when it explodes. And yet that man has 
been practicing that afterthought and that attitude 
for about a week. 

Well, you can't reform that kind of a man. It's 
a case of EH joined to his idols. Let him alone. But 
there is one sort that can be reformed. That is the 
genuine impromptu speaker. I mean the man who 
"didn't expect to be called upon and isn't prepared,' ' 
and yet goes waddling and warbling along, just as if 
he thought it wasn't any harm to commit a crime so 
long as it wasn't premeditated. Now and then he 
says, "but I must not detain you longer"; every 
little while he says, "Just one word more and I am 
done" — but at these times he always happens to 
think of two or three more unnecessary things and 
so he stops to say them. Now that man has no way 
of finding out how long his windmill is going. He 
likes to hear it creak, and so he goes on creaking, 
and Hstening to it. and enjoying it, never thinking 
of the flight of time; and when he comes to sit down 
at last and look under his hopper, he is the most 
surprised person in the house to see what a little bit 

4 



ON SPEECH-MAKING REFORM 

of a grist he has ground and how unconscionably 
long he has been grinding it. As a rule, he finds 
that he hasn't said anything — a discovery which the 
unprepared man ought always to make, and does 
usually make — and has the added grief of making 
it at second hand, too. 

This is a man who can be reformed. And so can 
his near relative, who now rises out of my recon- 
structed past — the man who provisions himself with 
a single prepared bite of a sentence or so, and trusts 
to luck to catch quails and manna as he goes along. 
This person frequently gets left. You can easily 
tell when he has finished his prepared bit and begun 
on the impromptu part. Often the prepared portion 
has been built auring the banquet ; it may consist of 
ten sentences, but it oftener consists of two — oftenest 
of all, it is but a single sentence; and it has seemed 
so happy and pat and bright and good that the 
creator of it, the person that laid it, has been sitting 
there cackling privately over it and admiring it and 
petting it and shining it up and imagining how fine 
it is going to "go," when, of course, he ought to have 
been laying another one, and still another one, and 
maybe a basketful, if it's a fruitful day; yes, and he 
is thinking that when he comes to hurl that egg at 
the house there is going to be such electric explosion 
of applause that the inspiration of it will fill him 
instantly with ideas and clothe the ideas in brilliant 
language, and that an impromptu speech will result 
which will be infinitely finer than anything he could 
have deliberately prepared. But there are two dam- 
aging things which he is leaving out of the cal- 

5 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

culation: one is the historical fact that a man is 
never called up as soon as he thinks he is going to be 
called up, and that every speech that is injected into 
the proceedings ahead of him gives his fires an added 
chance to cool ; and the other thing which he is for- 
getting is that he can't sit there and keep saying that 
fine sentence of his over and over to himself for three 
quarters of an hour without by and by getting a 
trifle tired of it and losing somewhat of confidence 
in it. 

When at last his chance comes and he touches off 
his pet sentence, it makes him sick to see how shame- 
facedly and apologetically he has done it, and how 
compassionate the applause is, and how sorry every- 
body feels; and then he bitterly thinks what a lie 
it is to call this a free country, where none but the 
unworthy and the undeserving may swear. And at 
this point, naked and blind and empty, he swallows 
off into his real impromptu speech; stammers out 
three or four incredibly flat things, then collapses 

into his seat, murmuring, "I wish I was in " 

He doesn't say where, because he doesn't. The 
stranger at his left, says, "Your opening was very 
good"; stranger at his right says, "I liked your 
opening"; man opposite says, "Opening very good 
indeed — very good"; two or three other people 
mumble something about his opening. People 
always feel obliged to pour some healing thing on a 
crippled man that way. They mean it for oil ; they 
think it is oil; but the sufferer recognizes it for 
aquafortis. 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

Extracts From Mark Twain's First Lecture, Originally 

Delivered at Maguire's Academy of Music, San 

Francisco, October 2, 1866. Many Times 

Repeated in This Country and 

Great Britain 

TO cut the matter short the Sandwich Isles are 
2,100 miles southwest from San Francisco, but 
why they were put away out there in the middle of 
the Pacific, so far away from any place and in such 
an inconvenient locality, is no business of ours — it 
was the work of Providence and is not open to 
criticism. The subject is a good deal like many 
others we should like to inquire into, such as, What 
mosquitoes were made for, etc., but under the cir- 
cumstances we naturally feel a delicacy about doing 
it. They are a dozen in number, of volcanic origin — 
eight of them inhabited and four of them the most 
marvelously productive sugar land in the known 
world. Eighty years ago there was a population of 
400,000 on the islands, but only 50,000 now. The 
Kanaka race is rapidly passing away. . . . 

It is said by some, and believed, that Kanakas 
won't lie, but I know they will lie — lie like auction- 
eers — lie like lawyers — lie like patent-medicine adver- 
tisements — they will almost lie like newspaper men. 
They will lie for a dollar when they could get a 

7 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

dollar and a half for telling the truth. They never 
tell a traveler the right road or right distance to a 
place. Christian Kanakas will go into court and 
swear on the Bible and then stand up and lie till the 
lights burn blue around them, and then go home and 
go through a lot of purifying idolatrous ceremonies 
and the thing is all straight. There is only one way 
of getting them to tell the truth, on the stand or 
anywhere else — and that it to swear them on the 
Great Shark God, which seems to have been the 
most potent personage in their idolatrous mythology. 
In old times, when the priests fancied that the shark 
god was angry or out of sorts about anything and 
stood in need of a sacrifice to compose his spirits, 
they used to go forth and lasso a poor wretch of a 
plebeian native and cast him into the sea where the 
sharks could devour him. And to this day, in the 
island of Hawaii, they fear and respect this deity, 
and when they swear by him they keep the oath 
and tell the truth. And yet the unsagacious judges 
go on swearing such witnesses on the Scriptures — 
and refuse to profit by our keener judgment. When 
we have a Chinese witness on an important case we 
swear him on a butchered chicken. 

And cheat ? They will cheat anybody. They used 
to be arrant thieves in old times, and now they are 
arrant rascals — arrant knaves. They measure a 
stranger by the eye, and begin to average him as 
soon as he gets into their cabin. If he knows the 
language and is only pretending to be a stranger, he 
will hear them comment on him and his probable 
errand very freely. They will wonder if he is a 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

missionary — and shake their heads and say no, looks 
too worldly for a missionary; and wonder if he is a 
Calif ornian — no, not quick-motioned enough for a 
Calif ornian; and so on. If they determine that you 
are a missionary, they will offer to have family 
prayers; if they decide that you are a Calif ornian, 
they will proceed to swindle you. To them, anybody 
who doesn't live in the islands is usually a Calif ornian, 
no matter where he comes from. If you merely want 
to stay all night, stay and welcome, eat their poi and 
raw fish and welcome, make yourself at home — for 
theirs is the freest hospitality in the world. It is 
customary to pay them, but the offer must come 
from you; they would never ask it. But if you want 
to trade, if you want to buy anything, they will 
manage to get ahead of you, somehow or other, 
nearly every time. They have always got a sore- 
back horse lying around somewhere to sell to the 
stranger. They will sell him a young chicken and 
then cook him one that remembered Noah's ark and 
the Deluge. A Kanaka will hire a stranger a horse 
for a dollar, and then demand $2.50 when he gets 
back, and say he doesn't know anything about the 
original bargain — his brother made it and then went 
to the country. These niggers have generally got a 
brother nigger on the fence — or in the country. 

These natives are strange people — they can die 
whenever they want to — don't mind dying any more 
than a jilted Frenchman. When they take a notion 
to die, they die, no matter whether anything matters 
or not; they will lie right down sometimes and say 
they are going to die, and can't be persuaded other- 

9 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

wise — have got ready to die, made up their minds to 
die, and will die, in spite of all. 

A gentleman in Hawaii asked his servant if he 
wouldn't like to die and have a big funeral. He said 
yes, and looked happy, and the next morning the 
overseer came and said, "That boy of yours laid 
down and died last night and said you were going 
to give him a fine funeral." 

They are more civilized and Christianized than 
they used to be, but still they believe an enemy can 
offer incantations to the idols and pray them to 
death. Three Kanakas on one whaleship that left 
the islands last year died one after the other, from 
no apparent cause, and each said it was no use to 
try to save them, for they knew some enemy at 
home was praying them to death. I know there is 
something in it — albeit it is rank idolatry — and I 
sincerely feel for these poor creatures. Even in this 
Christian city I went to church last Sunday and 
came mighty near getting prayed to death myself. 

The Kanakas are passionately fond of dogs — not 
great, magnificent Newfoundlands or stately mastiffs 
or graceful greyhounds — but a species of little, puny, 
cowardly, sneaking, noisy cur that a white man 
would condemn to death on general principles. They 
love these puppies better than they love one another 
— better than their children or their religion. They 
feed them — stuff them — with poi and fish, from their 
own calabashes when the supply is scanty, and even 
the family must go hungry. They sleep with them; 
they don't mind the fleas. Men and women carry 
these dogs in their arms, always. If they have got 

10 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

to walk a mile, the dog must be carried — or five 
miles, for that matter — while the little children walk. 
The dog travels in the schooners with them. I have 
seen a puppy hugged and caressed by a mother, and 
her little, tired, sore-footed child cuffed and slapped 
for stumbling to the ground and crying. When the 
woman rides on horseback, she often carries the 
puppy in front of her on the horse; and when the 
man rides — they nearly always go in a keen gallop — 
the puppy stands up behind the saddle, "thortships," 
as a sailor would say, and sways gently to and fro to 
the motion of the horse. No danger of its falling; 
it is educated to ride thus from earliest puppy hood. 
They passionately love and tenderly care for the 
puppy, and feed it from their own hands until it is 
a full-grown dog — and then they cook it and eat it. 

I did not eat any dog. I ate raw salt pork and poi, 
and that was bad enough, but I was lost in the woods 
and hungry. 

I do not see where old Kanehameha got his fierce 
warriors. He was a great warrior, you know — a 
Kanaka Napoleon — and in the old times when the 
feudal system prevailed and the islands were so 
divided up that there was an average of three kings 
to an acre, he held four aces once and took them all 
in and combined the whole concern under one 
sovereignty. He fought many great battles, but I 
cannot think where he got his fighting material, for 
certainly the Kanakas of the present day are the 
most peaceable, inoffensive, unwarlike creatures 
imaginable. One would as soon expect a rabbit to 
fight as one of these. You often see them quarreling 

ii 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

— doubling their fists and striking them together, 
and making frightful grimaces, and hurling curses 
and the deadliest insults at one another, even strik- 
ing out savagely within an inch of one another's 
faces — and just as you think blood is going to flow, 
just as you think there is going to be a Kanaka for 
breakfast, it all ends in smoke. They go off growling 
and viciously shaking their heads. The army of the 
Hawaiian Islands consists of two hundred men (they 
have got a Secretary of War there — and a Secretary 
of the Navy, too, for that matter, but not any ships ; 
and a Minister of Finance also — Harris — and if he 
stays there they won't have any money shortly). 
The army consists of two hundred men, but it is 
not on a war footing, now, happily. Some of the 
muskets haven't got any locks to them, and the 
others haven't got any ramrods. 

Kanakas are fond of horses, and they have got 
plenty of them. They seldom walk anywhere ; they 
nearly always ride. Whenever you see a lot of men 
and women at work in a sugar plantation, you will 
see as many horses hitched at hand for them to ride 
a quarter of a mile home on. These horses are worth 
on an average about seven dollars and a half apiece 
(you can often buy them for less, though), and they 
have to pay a government tax of a dollar a head on 
them. But that doesn't matter. A Kanaka with 
an income of fifty dollars a year will keep half a 
dozen horses, if it breaks him. And he is as unkind 
and as unmerciful to his horse as he is disgustingly 
fond of his puppy. His horse is seldom well fed and 
is always hard ridden. And they can make a horse 

12 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

go when a white man can't. If there is any of that 
capacity in a horse the Kanaka will get it out. I 
once rode over a mountain in Mani with a white man 
whose horse was so lean and spiritless and worthless 
that he could not be persuaded or spurred out of a 
walk, and he kept going to sleep, besides — at least 
he seemed to. But the man said that when he got 
to Maaleo Bay he would find one of his own horses 
there — a blooded animal that could outstrip the 
wind. He got his blooded animal, and gave the 
slow horse to a Kanaka boy and told him to follow. 
Then he put his blooded steed to his utmost speed 
to show him off. But the Kanaka, without spur or 
whip, or scarcely any appearance of urging, sailed 
by us on the old plug, and stayed ahead, and in 
eight miles he beat us out of sight. I never could 
understand how those savages managed to make 
those wretched horses travel so. They are wild, 
free riders, and perfectly at home in the saddle — 
they call it a saddle, a little vile English spoon of a 
thing with a girth that never is tight enough to 
touch the horse and sometimes without any girth 
at all. With their loose ideas, they never cinch a 
Calif ornian's horse tight enough to suit him. 

When a Kanaka rides through the country, he 
stops fifteen or twenty minutes at every single cabin 
he comes to, and has a chat. Consequently their 
horses early acquire an inveterate habit of stopping, 
and they cannot be cured of it. If you attempt to 
keep them in the road and go on about your business, 
they grow frantic and kick up and charge around 
fiercely, and finally take the bits in their mouths 

13 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and cany you to the cabin by main force. I rode 
Kanaka horses nearly altogether. When I made the 
tour of that pleasant country I hadn't any business 
at any of the roadside cabins, but I stopped at them 
all. The horses wanted to stop, and I had to put 
up with it. That is how I happen to have such an 
intimate knowledge of the country and the people. 

The Kanaka women all ride, and ride well and 
gracefully. They ride as women should ride — astride. 
To ride sidewise tires the horse, makes his back sore 
and his footing insecure, and endangers the life of 
the rider. A sidesaddle is always turning and spill- 
ing its precious freight into the mud or on the rocks 
and bruising the limbs or breaking the neck of the 
same. For a woman to ride sidewise is to do an 
awkward, ungainly, absurd, and to the last degree 
foolish and perilous thing. 

Kanakas are cruel by nature. They will put a live 
chicken in the hot embers merely to see it caper 
about. They used to be cruel to themselves before 
the missionaries came. They used to tear and burn 
their flesh, or shave their heads, or pluck out their 
eyes, or knock out a couple of their front teeth, 
when a great chief died. And if their bereavement 
were particularly sore and hard to bear, they would 
go out and murder a neighbor. There was no law 
against it. The largest liberty in the matter of 
mourning was permitted. But the missionaries have 
done away with all that. 

Down there in the islands they have exploded one 
of our most ancient and trusted maxims. It was a 
maxim that we have all of us implicitly believed in 

14 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

and revered — and now it turns out to be a swindling 
humbug. Be virtuous and you will be happy. The 
Kanakas are not virtuous — neither men, women, nor 
children — and yet they are the happiest creatures 
the sun shines on. They are as happy as the day is 
long. They wail and carry on grievously when a 
friend or relative dies, but it is all a pretense; they 
do precisely the same thing when a friend returns 
from a month's absence. In both instances the 
tears are manufactured to order and the joy and 
sorrow counterfeited. A woman returns from a dis- 
tance and a lot of her female friends will huddle 
around her on the ground and twine their arms about 
her and weep and whine and blubber and howl for 
an hour — and they would cheerfully repeat the same 
thing the next day if she died, and dance the hula- 
hula into the bargain. It is rarely that they show 
any genuine tribulation. Theirs is a state of placid 
happiness. All they want is unfettered liberty to 
eat, drink, sleep, sing, dance, swindle, lie, and pray, 
and then, whether school keeps or not is a matter 
of no interest to them. 

The natives do everything wrong end foremost. 
When you meet one on horseback he turns out on 
the wrong side; they cinch a horse on the wrong 
side and mount him from the wrong side; their 
lineage and rank come down from the female ancestor 
instead of the male ; the women smoke more than the 
men; the natives' English "no" generally means 
"yes"; they eat their fish raw, and bathe in the 
middle of the day; instead of keeping it from a 
patient that he is likely to die, they tell him early; 

is 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

when they beckon to a person to come, they motion 
the hand in the opposite direction; the only native 
bird that has handsome feathers has only two, and 
they are under its wings instead of on top of its 
head; frequently a native cat has a tail only two 
inches long and has got a knot tied in the end of it; 
the native duck lives on the dry tops of mountains 
5,000 feet high; the natives always stew chickens 
instead of baking them; they dance at funerals and 
sing a dismal heart-broken dirge when they are 
happy; and with atrocious perverseness they wash 
your shirts with a club and iron them with a brickbat. 

In old times the Kanaka king was the owner of all 
the lands and supreme head of church and state. 
He was absolute. His word was superior to all law. 
His person was sacred. If a common man passed 
his house without prostrating himself, if he came 
near the king with his head wet, if he ventured to 
stand on a hillock that brought him higher than the 
level the king stood on, if his intangible and harmless 
shadow fell upon the king's royal person — that man 
had to die ; there was no salvation for him. Thus sacred 
was the presence and the belongings of those naked, 
greasy, mud-colored, regal savages. The king had 
the power of life and death and liberty over all. He 
could place a taboo (prohibition) upon any spot or 
thing or person, and it was death for any man to 
molest it. 

The high priest came next in authority — decreed 
the human sacrifices and captured the doomed men 
and butchered them. They regulated and bossed all 
such matters under the king. The chiefs came next. 

16 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

They held the lands by feudal tenure from the king 
and owed him service, as in England in the old 
baronial days. The common Kanakas came next; 
they were the slaves of the chiefs— sweated and 
labored for them and were cruelly maltreated in 
return. 

After these came the women, and they were the 
abject slaves of the men; they were degraded to the 
rank of brutes and beasts and considered to be no 
better; they were kept at hard labor and were 
beaten and contemptuously treated by their lords. 
By the taboo it was death for them to sit at the 
tables with their husbands, or to eat of the choice 
fruits of the lands, such as bananas, pineapples, etc., 
at any time. They seemed to have had a sort of 
dim knowledge of what came of women eating fruit ' 
in the Garden of Eden and they didn't feel justified 
in taking any more chances. And it is wisdom— 
unquestionably it is wisdom. Adam wasn't strict 
enough; Eve broke the taboo, and hence comes all 
this trouble. Can't be too particular about fruit— 
with women. 

They were a rusty set all round, those Kanakas, 
in those days. But the missionaries came and 
knocked off the shackles from the whole race- 
broke the power of the king and the chiefs and set 
the common man free and elevated his wife to an 
equality with him, and got a patch of land set apart 
and secured to each to hold forever. And the mis- 
sionaries set up schools and churches and printing 
presses and taught the people the Christian religion, 
after a fashion, and taught the whole nation to read 

17 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and write with facility in the native tongue — and 
now I suppose there is not an uneducated Kanaka 
in the kingdom. 

The natives of the Sandwich Islands are dark 
brown. Their tropical sun and the easy-going ways 
inherited from their ancestors have made them 
"rather lazy, perhaps, but they are not vicious. Nor 
yet virtuous, altogether. 

The missionaries have educated them and have 
about half civilized and half christianized them. 
You may well say, "Well done, good and faithful 
servants !" for mortal man could not have accom- 
plished more with such material to work upon. 

The native women in the rural districts wear a 
single long, loose garment, but the men don't. They 
don't wear anything to speak of. They would cheer- 
fully wear a plug hat and a vest if they had them, 
but they haven't. . . . 

If you would see magnificent scenery — scenery on 
a mighty scale — and get scenery which charms with 
its softness and delights you with its unspeakable 
beauty, at the same moment that it deeply impresses 
you with its grandeur and its sublimity, you should 
go to the islands. 

Each island is a mountain — or two or three moun- 
tains. They begin at the seashore — in a torrid 
climate where the cocoa palm grows, and the coffee 
tree, the mango, orange, banana, and the delicious 
chirinoya; they begin down there in a sweltering 
atmosphere, rise with a grand and gradual sweep till 
they hide their beautiful regalia of living green in 
the folds of the drooping clouds, and higher and 

18 



THE SANDWICH ISLANDS 

higher yet they rise among the mists till their 
emerald forests change to dull and stunted shrubbery, 
then to scattering constellations of the brilliant silver 
sword, then higher yet to dreary, barren desolation — 
no trees, no shrubs, nothing but torn and scorched 
and blackened piles of lava; higher yet, and then, 
towering toward heaven, above the dim and distant 
land, above the waveless sea, and high above the 
rolling plains of clouds themselves, stands the awful 
summit, wrapped in a mantle of everlasting ice and 
snow and burnished with a tropical sunshine that 
fires it with a dazzling splendor ! Here one may stand 
and shiver in the midst of eternal winter and look 
down upon a land reposing in the loveliest hues of a 
summer that hath no end. 

Such is Mauna Loa — 16,000 feet high by recent 
and accurate measurement, and such is Mauna Kea, 
14,000 feet high. . . . 

The natives are indifferent to volcanic terrors. 
During the progress of an eruption they ate, drank, 
bought, sold, planted, builded, apparently indif- 
ferent to the roar of consuming forests, the sight of 
devouring fire, the startling detonations, the hissing 
of escaping steam, the rending of the earth, the 
shivering and melting of gigantic rocks, the raging 
and dashing of the fiery waves, the bellowings and 
unearthly mutterings coming up from a burning 
deep. They went carelessly on, amid the rain of 
ashes, sand, and fiery scintillations, gazing vacantly 
on the ever-varying appearance of the atmosphere, 
murky, black, livid, blazing, the sudden rising of 
lofty pillars of flame, the upward curling of ten 

19 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

thousand columns of smoke, and their majestic roll 
in dense and lurid clouds. All these moving phe- 
nomena were regarded by them as the fall of a 
shower or the running of a brook; while to others 
they were as the tokens of a burning world, the 
departing heavens, and a coming judge. . . . 



20 






THE AMERICAN VANDAL 

Extracts From a Lecture Widely Delivered by Mark 

Twain Following His Return From the "Quaker 

City" Excursion, November, 1867, and 

Prior to the Publication of the 

"Innocents Abroad," July, 1869 

I AM to speak of the American Vandal this eve- 
ning, but I wish to say in advance that I do not 
use this term in derision or apply it as a reproach, 
but I use it because it is convenient; and duly and 
properly modified, it best describes the roving, inde- 
pendent, free-and-easy character of that class of 
traveling Americans who are not elaborately edu- 
cated, cultivated, and refined, and gilded and fili- 
greed with the ineffable graces of the first society. 
The best class of our countrymen who go abroad 
keep us well posted about their doings in foreign 
lands, but their brethren vandals cannot sing their 
own praises or publish their adventures. 

The American Vandal gallops over England, Scot- 
land, Spain, and Switzerland, and finally brings up 
in Italy. He thinks it is the proper thing to visit 
Genoa, the stately old City of Palaces, whose vast 
marble edifices almost meet together over streets 
so narrow that three men can hardly walk abreast 
in them, and so crooked that a man generally comes 
out of them about the same place he went in. He 

21 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

only stays in Genoa long enough to see a few cele- 
brated things and get some fragments of stone from 
the house Columbus was born in — for your genuine 
Vandal is an intolerable and incorrigible relic 
gatherer. It is estimated that if all the fragments of 
stone brought from Columbus's house by travelers 
were collected together they would suffice to build 
a house fourteen thousand feet long and sixteen 
thousand feet high — and I suppose they would. 

Next he hurries to Milan and takes notes of the 
Grand Cathedral (for he is always taking notes). 
Oh, I remember Milan and the noble cathedral well 
enough — that marble miracle of enchanting architec- 
ture. I remember how we entered and walked about 
its vast spaces and among its huge columns, gazing 
aloft at the monster windows all aglow with bril- 
liantly colored scenes in the life of the Savior and 
his followers. And I remember the side-shows and 
curiosities there, too. The guide showed us a coffee- 
colored piece of sculpture which he said was con- 
sidered to have come from the hand of Phidias, since 
it was not possible that any other man, of any epoch, 
could have copied nature with such faultless accuracy. 
The figure was that of a man without a skin; with 
every vein, artery, muscle, every fiber and tendon 
and tissue of the human frame, represented in minute 
detail. It looked natural, because it looked some- 
how as if it were in pain. A skinned man would be 
likely to look that way — unless his attention were 
occupied by some other matter. . . . 

The Vandal goes to see the ancient and most 
celebrated painting in the world, "The Last Supper." 

22 



THE AMERICAN VANDAL 

We all know it in engravings: the disciples all sitting 
on side of a long, plain table and Christ with bowed 
head in the center — all the last suppers in the world 
are copied from this painting. It is so damaged now, 
by the wear and tear of three hundred years, that 
the figures can hardly be distinguished. The Vandal 
goes to see this picture — which all the world praises 
— looks at it with a critical eye, and says it's a per- 
fect old nightmare of a picture and he wouldn't give 
forty dollars for a million like it (and I indorse his 
opinion), and then he is done with Milan. 

He paddles around the Lake of Como for a few 
days, and then takes the cars. He is bound for 
Venice, the oldest and the proudest and the prince- 
liest republic that ever graced the earth. We put 
on a good many airs with our little infant of a 
Republic of a century's growth, but we grow modest 
when we stand before this gray, old imperial city 
that used to laugh the armies and navies of half the 
world to scorn, and was a haughty, invincible, mag- 
nificent Republic for fourteen hundred years! The 
Vandal is bound for Venice! He has a long, long, 
weary ride of it; but just as the day is closing he 
hears some one shout, "Venice!" and puts his head 
out of the window, and sure enough, afloat on the 
placid sea, a league away, lies the great city with its 
towers and domes and steeples drowsing in a golden 
mist of sunset ! 

Have you been to Venice, and seen the winding 
canals, and the stately edifices that border them all 
along, ornamented with the quaint devices and 
sculptures of a former age? And have you seen the 

23 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

great Cathedral of St. Mark's — and the Giant's 
Staircase — and the famous Bridge of Sighs — and the 
great Square of St. Mark's — and the ancient pillar 
with the winged Hon of St. Mark that stands in it, 
whose story and whose origin are a mystery — and 
the Rial to, where Shylock used to loan money on 
human flesh and other collateral ? 

I had begun to feel that the old Venice of song and 
story had departed forever. But I was too hasty. 
When we swept gracefully out into the Grand Canal 
and under the mellow moonlight the Venice of poetry 
and romance stood revealed. Right from the water's 
edge rose palaces of marble; gondolas were gliding 
swiftly hither and thither and disappearing suddenly 
through unsuspected gates and alleys; ponderous 
stone bridges threw their shadows athwart the glit- 
tering waves. There were life and motion every- 
where, and yet everywhere there was a hush, a 
stealthy sort of stillness, that was suggestive of 
secret enterprises of bravos and of lovers; and clad 
half in moonbeams and half in mysterious shadows, 
the grim old mansions of the republic seemed to 
have an expression about them of having an eye out 
for just such enterprises as these. At that same 
moment music came stealing over the waters — Venice 
was complete. 

Our Vandals hurried away from Venice and scat- 
tered abroad everywhere. You could find them 
breaking specimens from the dilapidated tomb of 
Romeo and Juliet at Padua — and infesting the pic- 
ture galleries of Florence — and risking their necks on 
the Leaning Tower of Pisa — and snuffing sulphur 

24 



THE AMERICAN VANDAL 

fumes on the summit of Vesuvius — and burrowing 
among the exhumed wonders of Herculaneum and 
Pompeii — and you might see them with spectacles 
on, and blue cotton umbrellas under their arms, 
benignantly contemplating Rome from the venerable 
arches of the Coliseum. 

And finally we sailed from Naples, and in due time 
anchored before the Piraeus, the seaport of Athens in 
Greece. But the quarantine was in force, and so 
they set a guard of soldiers to watch us and would 
not let us go ashore. However, I and three other 
Vandals took a boat, and muffled the oars, and 
slipped ashore at 1 1.30 at night, and dodged the guard 
successfully. Then we made a wide circuit around 
the slumbering town, avoiding all roads and houses — 
for they'd about as soon hang a body as not for 
violating the quarantine laws in those countries. We 
got around the town without any accident, and then 
struck out across the Attic Plain, steering straight 
for Athens — over rocks and hills and brambles and 
everything — with Mt. Helicon for a landmark. And 
so we tramped for five or six miles. The Attic Plain 
is a mighty uncomfortable plain to travel in, even if 
it is so historical. The armed guards got after us 
three times and flourished their gleaming gun barrels 
in the moonlight, because they thought we were steal- 
ing grapes occasionally — and the fact is we were — for 
we found by and by that the brambles that tripped us 
up so often were grape-vines — but these people in the 
country didn't know that we were quarantine-blockade 
runners, and so they only scared us and jawed Greek 
at us, and let us go, instead of arresting us. 

25 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

We didn't care about Athens particularly, but we 
wanted to see the famous Acropolis and its ruined 
temples, and we did. We climbed the steep hill of 
the Acropolis about one in the morning and tried to 
storm that grand old fortress that had scorned the 
battles and sieges of three thousand years. We had 
the garrison out mighty quick — four Greeks — and 
we bribed them to betray the citadel and unlock 
the gates. In a moment we stood in the presence 
of the noblest ruins we had ever seen — the most 
elegant, the most graceful, the most imposing. The 
renowned Parthenon towered above us, and about 
us were the wreck of what were once the snowy 
marble Temples of Hercules and Minerva, and an- 
other whose name I have forgotten. Most of the 
Parthenon's grand columns are still standing, but the 
roof is gone. 

As we wandered down the marble-paved length of 
this mighty temple, the scene was strangely impres- 
sive. Here and there in lavish profusion were gleam- 
ing white statues of men and women, propped 
against blocks of marble, some of them armless, 
some without legs, others headless, but all looking 
mournful and sentient and startlingly human ! They 
rose up and confronted the midnight intruder on 
every side ; they stared at him with stony eyes from 
unlooked-for nooks and recesses ; they peered at him 
over fragmentary heaps far down the desolate cor- 
ridors ; they barred his way in the midst of the broad 
forum, and solemnly pointed with handless arms the 
way from the sacred fane; and through the roofless 
temple the moon looked down and banded the floor 

26 



THE AMERICAN VANDAL 

and darkened the scattered fragments and broken 
statues with the slanting shadows of the columns ! 

What a world of ruined sculpture was about us! 
Stood up in rows, stacked up in piles, scattered 
broadcast over the wide area of the Acropolis, were 
hundreds of crippled statues of all sizes and of the 
most exquisite workmanship ; and vast fragments of 
marble that once belonged to the entablatures, 
covered with bas-reliefs representing battles and 
sieges, ships of war with three and four tiers of oars, 
pageants and processions — everything one could 
think of. 

We walked out into the grass-grown, fragment- 
strewn court beyond the Parthenon. It startled 
us every now and then, to see a stony white face 
stare suddenly up at us out of the grass, with its 
dead eyes. The place seemed alive with ghosts. We 
half expected to see the Athenian heroes of twenty 
centuries ago glide out of the shadows and steal into 
the old temple they knew so well and regarded with 
such boundless pride. 

The full moon was riding high in the cloudless 
heavens now. We sauntered carelessly and unthink- 
ingly to the edge of the lofty battlements of the 
citadel, and looked down, and, lo! a vision! And 
such a vision ! Athens by moonlight ! All the beauty 
in all the world combined could not rival it! The 
prophet that thought the splendors of the New Jeru- 
salem were revealed to him, surely saw this instead. 
It lay in the level plain right under our feet — all 
spread abroad like a picture — and we looked down 
upon it as we might have looked from a balloon. 

27 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

We saw no semblance of a street, but every house, 
every window, every clinging vine, every projection, 
was as distinct and sharply marked as if the time 
were noonday; and yet there was no glare, no 
glitter, nothing harsh or repulsive — the silent city 
was flooded with the mellowest light that ever 
streamed from the moon, and seemed like some liv- 
ing creature wrapped in peaceful slumber. On its 
farther side was a little temple whose delicate pillars 
and ornate front glowed with a rich luster that 
chained the eye like a spell; and, nearer by, the 
palace of the king reared its creamy walls out of the 
midst of a great garden of shrubbery that was flecked 
all over with a random shower of amber lights — a 
spray of golden sparks that lost their brightness in 
the glory of the moon and glinted softly upon the 
sea of dark foliage like the palled stars of the Milky 
Way! Overhead, the stately columns, majestic still 
in their ruin; underfoot, the dreaming city; in the 
distance the silver sea — not on the broad earth is 
there another picture half so beautiful ! 

We got back to the ship safely, just as the day 
was dawning. We had walked upon pavements that 
had been pressed by Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, 
Socrates, Phocion, Euclid, Xenophon, Herodotus, 
Diogenes, and a hundred others of deathless fame, 
and were satisfied. We got to stealing grapes again 
on the way back, and half a dozen rascally guards 
with muskets and pistols captured us and marched us 
in the center of a hollow square nearly to the sea — till 
we were beyond all the graperies. Military escort — 
ah, I never traveled in so much state in all my life. 

28 



THE AMERICAN VANDAL 

I leave the Vandal here. I have not time to follow 
him farther — nor our Vandals to Constantinople and 
Smyrna and the Holy Land, Egypt, the islands of the 
sea, and to Russia and his visit to the emperor. But 
I wish I could tell of that visit of our gang of Quaker 
City Vandals to the grandest monarch of the age, 
America's stanch, old steadfast friend, Alexander II, 
Autocrat of Russia! 

In closing these remarks I will observe that I 
could have said more about the American Vandal 
abroad, and less about other things, but I found that 
he had too many disagreeable points about him, and 
so I thought I would touch him lightly and let 
him go. 

If there is a moral to this lecture it is an injunction 
to all Vandals to travel. I am glad the American 
Vandal goes abroad. It does him good. It makes a 
better man of him. It rubs out a multitude of his 
old unworthy biases and prejudices. It aids his 
religion, for it enlarges his charity and his benov- 
olence, it broadens his views of men and things; it 
deepens his generosity and his compassion for the 
failings and shortcomings of his fellow creatures. 
Contact with men of various nations and many 
creeds teaches him that there are other people in the 
world besides his own little clique, and other opinions 
as worthy of attention and respect as his own. He 
finds that he and his are not the most momentous 
matters in the universe. Cast into trouble and mis- 
fortune in strange lands and being mercifully cared 
for by those he never saw before, he begins to learn 
that best lesson of all — that one which culminates in 

29 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

the conviction that God puts something good and 
something lovable in every man his hands create — 
that the world is not a cold, harsh, cruel, prison^ 
house, stocked with all manner of selfishness and 
hate and wickedness. It liberalizes the Vandal to 
travel. You never saw a bigoted, opinionated, stub- 
born, narrow-minded, self-conceited, almighty mean 
man in your life but he had stuck in one place ever 
since he was born and thought God made the world 
and dyspepsia and bile for his especial comfort and 
satisfaction. So I say, by all means let the American 
Vandal go on traveling, and let no man discourage 
him. 



30 



WOMAN— AN OPINION 

Address at an Early Banquet of the Washington Corre- 
spondents' Club 

The twelfth toast was as follows: "Women — The pride of any 
profession, and the jewel of ours. 1 * 

MR. PRESIDENT,— I do not know why I 
should be singled out to receive the greatest 
distinction of the evening — for so the office of reply- 
ing to the toast of woman has been regarded in every 
age. I do not know why I have received this dis- 
tinction, unless it be that I am a trifle less homely 
than the other members of the club. But be this as 
it may, Mr. President, I am proud of the position, 
and you could not have chosen anyone who would 
have accepted it more gladly, or labored with a 
heartier good-will to do the subject justice than I — 
because, sir, I love the sex. I love all the women, 
irrespective of age or color. 

Human intellect cannot estimate what we owe to 
woman, sir. She sews on our buttons; she mends 
our clothes; she ropes us in at the church fairs; she 
confides in us; she tells us whatever she can find 
out about the little private affairs of the neighbors; 
she gives us good advice, and plenty of it; she 
soothes our aching brows; she bears our children — 
ours as a general thing. In all relations of life, sir, 

3i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

it is but a just and graceful tribute to woman to say 
of her that she is a brick. 

Wheresoever you place woman, sir — in whatever 
position or estate — she is an ornament to the place 
she occupies, and a treasure to the world. [Here Mr. 
Clemens paused, looked inquiringly at his hearers, 
and remarked that the applause should come in at 
this point. It came in. He resumed his eulogy.] 
Look at Cleopatra! — look at Desdemona! — look at 
Florence Nightingale ! — look at Joan of Arc ! — look at 
Lucretia Borgia! [Disapprobation expressed.] Well 
[said Mr. Clemens, scratching his head, doubtfully], 
suppose we let Lucretia slide. Look at Joyce Heth ! — 
look at Mother Eve ! You need not look at her unless 
you want to, but [said Mr. Clemens, reflectively, after 
a pause] Eve was ornamental, sir — particularly before 
the fashions changed. I repeat, sir, look at the 
illustrious names of history. Look at the Widow 
Machree! — look at Lucy Stone! — look at Elizabeth 
Cady Stanton ! — look at George Francis Train ! And, 
sir, I say it with bowed head and deepest veneration 
— look at the mother of Washington! She raised a 
boy that could not tell a lie — could not tell a lie! 
But he never had any chance. It might have been 
different if he had belonged to the Washington News- 
paper Correspondents' Club. 

I repeat, sir, that in whatever position you place a 
woman she is an ornament to society and a treasure to 
the world. As a sweetheart, she has few equals and no 
superiors ; as a cousin, she is convenient ; as a wealthy 
grandmother with an incurable distemper, she is 
precious ; as a wet-nurse, she has no equal among men. 

32 



WOMAN— AN OPINION 

What, sir, would the people of the earth be with- 
out woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty 
scarce. Then let us cherish her; let us protect her; 
let us give her our support, our encouragement, our 
sympathy, ourselves — if we get a chance. 

But, jesting aside, Mr. President, woman is lov- 
able, gracious, kind of heart, beautiful — worthy of 
all respect, of all esteem, of all deference. Not any 
here will refuse to drink her health right cordially in 
this bumper of wine, for each and every one has 
personally known and loved, and honored the very 
best one of them all — his own mother. 



33 



AMERICANS AND THE ENGLISH 

Address tor a Gathering of Americans in London, 
July 4, 1872 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND LADIES AND GEN- 
TLEMEN,— I thank you for the compliment 
which has just been tendered me, and to show my 
appreciation of it I will not afflict you with many 
words. It is pleasant to celebrate in this peaceful 
way, upon this old mother soil, the anniversary of an 
experiment which was born of war with this same land 
so long ago, and wrought out to a successful issue by 
the devotion of our ancestors. It has taken nearly a 
hundred years to bring the English and Americans into 
kindly and mutually appreciative relations, but I be- 
lieve it has been accomplished at last. It was a great 
step when the two last misunderstandings were settled 
by arbitration instead of cannon. It is another great 
step when England adopts our sewing machines with- 
out claiming the invention — as usual. It was another 
when they imported one of our sleeping cars the other 
day. And it warmed my heart more than I can tell, 
yesterday, when I witnessed the spectacle of an Eng- 
lishman ordering an American sherry cobbler of his own 
free will and accord — and not only that, but with a 
great brain and a level head reminding the barkeeper 
not to forget the strawberries. With a common 
origin, a common language, a common literature, a 

34 



AMERICANS AND THE ENGLISH 

common religion, and — common drinks, what is 
longer needful to the cementing of the two nations 
together in a permanent bond of brotherhood ? 

This is an age of progress, and ours is a progressive 
land. A great and glorious land, too — a land which has 
developed a Washington, a Franklin, a William M. 
Tweed, a Longfellow, a Motley, a Jay Gould, a Samuel 
C. Pomeroy, a recent Congress which has never had 
its equal (in some respects) , and a United States Army 
which conquered sixty Indians in eight months by 
tiring them out — which is much better than uncivilized 
slaughter, God knows. We have a criminal jury sys- 
tem which is superior to any in the world ; and its effi- 
ciency is only marred by the difficulty of finding twelve 
men every day who don't know anything and can't 
read. And I may observe that we have an insanity 
plea that would have saved Cain. I think I can say, 
and say with pride, that we have some legislatures 
that bring higher prices than any in the world. 

I refer with effusion to our railway system, which con- 
sents to let us live, though it might do the opposite, 
being our owners. It only destroyed three thousand 
and seventy lives last year by collisions, and twenty- 
seven thousand two hundred and sixty by running over 
heedless and unnecessary people at crossings. The com- 
panies seriously regretted the killing of these thirty 
thousand people, and went so far as to pay for some of 
them — voluntarily, of course, for the meanest of us 
would not claim that we possess a court treacherous 
enough to enforce a law against a railway company. 
But, thank Heaven, the railway companies are gen- 
erally disposed to do the right and kindly thing with- 

35 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

out compulsion. I know of an instance which greatly 
touched me at the time. After an accident the company 
sent home the remains of a dear distant old relative 
of mine in a basket, with the remark, "Please state 
what figure you hold him at — and return the basket." 
Now there couldn't be anything friendlier than that. 
But I must not stand here and brag all night. 
However, you won't mind a body bragging a little 
about his country on the Fourth of July. It is a fair 
and legitimate time to fly the eagle. I will say only one 
more word of brag — and a hopeful one. It is this. We 
have a form of government which gives each man a 
fair chance and no favor. With us no individual is born 
with a right to look down upon his neighbor and hold 
him in contempt. Let such of us as are not dukes find 
our consolation in that. And we may find hope for the 
future in the fact that as unhappy as is the condition 
of our political morality to-day, England has risen up 
out of a far fouler since the days when Charles I. en- 
nobled courtesans and all political places was a matter 
of bargain and sale. There is hope for us yet.* 



* At least the above is the speech which I was going to make, but 
our minister, General Schenck, presided, and after the blessing, 
got up and made a great, long, inconceivably dull harangue, and 
wound up by saying that inasmuch as speech making did not seem 
to exhilarate the guests much, all further oratory would be dispensed 
with during the evening, and we could just sit and talk privately 
to our elbow neighbors and have a good, sociable time. It is known 
that in consequence of that remark forty-four perfected speeches 
died in the womb. The depression, the gloom, the solemnity that 
reigned over the banquet from that time forth will be a lasting 
memory with many that were there. By that one thoughtless 
remark General Schenck lost forty-four of the best friends he had 
in England. More than one said that night: "And this is the sort 
of person that is sent to represent us in a great sister empire!" 

36 



ABOUT LONDON 

Address at a Dinner Given by the Savage Club, London, 
September 28, 1872 

Reported by Moncure D. Conway in the Cincinnati Commercial. 

IT affords me sincere pleasure to meet this distin- 
guished club, a club which has extended its hos- 
pitalities and its cordial welcome to so many of my 
countrymen. I hope [and here the speaker's voice 
became low and fluttering] you will excuse these 
clothes. I am going to the theater; that will explain 
these clothes. I have other clothes than these. 
Judging human nature by what I have seen of it, 
I suppose that the customary thing for a stranger 
to do when he stands here is to make a pun on the 
name of this club, under the impression, of course, 
that he is the first man that that idea has occurred 
to. It is a credit to our human nature, not a blemish 
upon it; for it shows that underlying all our deprav- 
ity (and God knows and you know we are depraved 
enough) and all our sophistication, and untarnished 
by them, there is a sweet germ of innocence and 
simplicity still. When a stranger says to me, with 
a glow of inspiration in his eye, some gentle, innoc- 
uous little thing about "Twain and one flesh," and 
all that sort of thing, I don't try to crush that man 
into the earth — no. I feel like saying : ' ' Let me take 
you by the hand, sir; let me embrace you; I have 

37 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

not heard that pun for weeks.' ' We will deal in 
palpable puns. We will call parties named King 
"Your Majesty," and we will say to the Smiths 
that we think we have heard that name before some- 
where. Such is human nature. We cannot alter 
this. It is God that made us so for some good and 
wise purpose. Let us not repine. But though I may 
seem strange, may seem eccentric, I mean to refrain 
from punning upon the name of this club, though I 
could make a very good one if I had time to think 
about it — a week. 

I cannot express to you what entire enjoyment I 
find in this first visit to this prodigious metropolis 
of yours. Its wonders seem to me to be limitless. I 
go about as in a dream — as in a realm of enchant- 
ment — wliere many things are rare and beautiful, 
and all things are strange and marvelous. Hour 
after hour I stand — I stand spellbound, as it were — 
and gaze upon the statuary in Leicester Square. 
[Leicester Square being a horrible chaos, with the 
relic of an equestrian statue in the center, the king 
being headless and limbless, and the horse in little 
better condition.] I visit the mortuary effigies of 
noble old Henry VIII. , and Judge Jeffreys, and the 
preserved gorilla, and try to make up my mind 
which of my ancestors I admire the most. I go to 
that matchless Hyde Park and drive all around it, 
and then I start to enter it at the Marble Arch — 
and — am induced to "change my mind." [Cabs are 
not permitted in Hyde Park — nothing less aristo- 
cratic than a private carriage.] It is a great benefac- 
tion — is Hyde Park. There, in his hansom cab, the 

38 



ABOUT LONDON 

invalid can go — the poor, sad child of misfortune — 
and insert his nose between the railings, and breathe 
the pure, health-giving air of the country and of 
heaven. And if he is a swell invalid, who isn't 
obliged to depend upon parks for his country air, 
he can drive inside — if he owns his vehicle. I drive 
round and round Hyde Park, and the more I see of 
the edges of it the more grateful I am that the margin 
is extensive. 

And I have been to the Zoological Gardens. What 
a wonderful place that is ! I never have seen such a 
curious and interesting variety of wild animals in 
any garden before — except "Mabille." I never 
believed before there were so many different kinds 
of animals in the world as you can find there — and 
I don't believe it yet. I have been to the British 
Museum. I would advise you to drop in there some 
time when you have nothing to do for — five minutes 
— if you have never been there. It seems to me the 
noblest monument that this nation has yet erected 
to her greatness. I say to her, our greatness — as a 
nation. True, she has built other monuments, and 
stately ones, as well; but these she has uplifted in 
honor of two or three colossal demigods who have 
stalked across the world's stage, destroying tyrants 
and delivering nations, and whose prodigies will still 
live in the memories of men ages after their monu- 
ments shall have crumbled to dust — I refer to the 
Wellington and Nelson monuments, and — the Albert 
memorial. 

The library at the British Museum I find partic- 
ularly astounding. I have read there hours together, 

39 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and hardly made an impression on it. I revere that 
library. It is the author's friend. I don't care how 
mean a book is, it always takes one copy. [A copy 
of every book printed in Great Britain must by law 
be sent to the British Museum, a law much com- 
plained of by publishers.] And then every day that 
author goes there to gaze at that book, and is encour- 
aged to go on in the good work. And what a touch- 
ing sight it is of a Saturday afternoon to see the poor, 
careworn clergymen gathered together in that vast 
reading-room cabbaging sermons for Sunday. You 
will pardon my referring to these things. Every- 
thing in this monster city interests me, and I cannot 
keep from talking, even at the risk of being instruc- 
tive. People here seem always to express distance 
by parables. To a stranger it is just a little confusing 
to be so parabolic — so to speak. I collar a citizen, 
and I think I am going to get some valuable infor- 
mation out of him. I ask him how far it is to 
Birmingham, and he says it is twenty-one shillings 
and sixpence. Now we know that doesn't help a 
man who is trying to learn. I find myself down- 
town somewhere, and I want to get some sort of idea 
where I am — being usually lost when alone — and I 
stop a citizen and say: "How far is it to Charing 
Cross?" "Shilling fare in a cab," and off he goes. 
I suppose if I were to ask a Londoner how far it is 
from the sublime to the ridiculous, he would try to 
express it in coin. But I am trespassing upon your 
time with these geological statistics and historical 
reflections. I will not longer keep you from your 
orgies. 'Tis a real pleasure for me to be here, and I 

40 



ABOUT LONDON 

thank you for it. The name of the Savage Club is 
associated in my mind with the kindly interest and 
the friendly offices which you lavished upon an old 
friend of mine who came among you a stranger, and 
you opened your English hearts to him and gave 
him welcome and a home — Art emus Ward. Asking 
that you will join me, I give you his memory. 



41 



THE LADIES 

Delivered at the Anniversary Festival, 1872, of the 
Scottish Corporation of London 

Mr. Clemens replied to the toast " The Ladies." 

I AM proud, indeed, of the distinction of being 
chosen to respond to this especial toast to "The 
Ladies," or to women if you please, for that is the 
preferable term, perhaps; it is certainly the older, 
and therefore the more entitled to reverence. I have 
noticed that the Bible, with that plain, blunt honesty 
which is such a conspicuous characteristic of the 
Scriptures, is always particular to never refer to even 
the illustrious mother of all mankind as a "lady," 
but speaks of her as a woman. It is odd, but you 
will find it is so. I am peculiarly proud of this honor, 
because I think that the toast to women is one which, 
by right and by every rule of gallantry, should take 
precedence of all others — of the army, of the navy, 
of even royalty itself — perhaps, though the latter is 
not necessary in this day and in this land, for the 
reason that, tacitly, you do drink a broad general 
health to all good women when you drink the health 
of the Queen of England and the Princess of Wales. 
I have in mind a poem just now which is familiar to 
you all, familiar to everybody. And what an inspi- 
ration that was, and how instantly the present toast 
recalls the verses to all our minds when the most 

42 



THE LADIES 

noble, the most gracious, the purest, and sweetest of 
all poets says : 

"Woman! O woman! er 

Worn " 

However, you remember the lines ; and you remem- 
ber how feeling, how dainty, how almost imper- 
ceptibly the verses raise up before you, feature by 
feature, the ideal of a true and perfect woman, and 
how, as you contemplate the finished marvel, your 
homage grows into worship of the intellect that 
could create so fair a thing out of mere breath, mere 
words. And you call to mind now, as I speak, how 
the poet, with stern fidelity to the history of all 
humanity, delivers this beautiful child of his heart 
and his brain over to the trials and sorrows that 
must come to all, sooner or later, that abide in the 
earth, and how the pathetic story culminates in that 
apostrophe — so wild, so regretful, so full of mournful 
retrospection. The lines run thus : 

"Alas ! — alas ! — a — alas ! 
Alas! alas!" 

— and so on. I do not remember the rest ; but, taken 
together, it seems to me that poem is the noblest 
tribute to woman that human genius has ever brought 
forth — and I feel that if I were to talk hours I could 
not do my great theme completer or more graceful 
justice than I have now done in simply quoting that 
poet's matchless words. The phases of the womanly 
nature are infinite in their variety. Take any type 
of woman, and you shall find in it something to 
respect, something to admire, something to love. 

43 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Ar.£ ;.-:•.: s'zii'. Zjzz :r.e ~h:'e ; rising v:u bear: i:.: 



wave :: rr.e: n^zz :ver 
a: .'."i:er::c. .'.""-: f:e: 
bare;:.: :ae ;~'ee: ;. 
c:es r.:: ms.s :r.e g-e-tle 

ir-f-uer.:-r:5 :.be hjmle 



au 



ta 



c: 
c: 

W 

:: 
c - 



THE LADIES 

will not call the mighty roll, the names rise up in 
your own memories at the mere suggestion, luminous 
with the glory of deeds that cannot die, hallowed by 
the loving worship of the good and the true of all 
epochs and all climes. Suffice it for our pride and 
our honor that we in our day have added to it such 
names as those of Grace Darling and Florence Night- 
ingale. Woman is all that she should be — gentle, 
patient, long-suffering, trustful, unselfish, full of gen- 
erous impulses. It is her blessed mission to comfort 
the sorrowing, plead for the erring, encourage the 
faint of purpose, succor the distressed, uplift the 
fallen, befriend the friendless — in a word, afford the 
healing of her sympathies and a home in her heart 
for all the bruised and persecuted children of mis- 
fortune that knock at its hospitable door. And when 
I say, God bless her, there is none among us who has 
known the ennobling affection of a wife, or the stead- 
fast devotion of a mother but in his heart will say, 
Amenl 



AS 



LICENSE OP THE PRESS 

In a talk before the Monday Evening Club of Hartford, in 1873, 
Mark Twain set forth with some vigor Newspaper Sins and omis* 
sions incident to the period following the Civil War. 



I 



(First paragraph missing) 

T (the press) has scoffed at religion till it has 
made scoffing popular. It has defended 
official criminals, on party pretexts, until it has created 
a United States Senate whose members are incapable 
of determining what crime against law and the dig- 
nity of their own body is, they are so morally blind, 
and it has made light of dishonesty till we have as 
a result a Congress which contracts to work for a 
certain sum and then deliberately steals additional 
wages out of the public pocket and is pained and 
surprised that anybody should worry about a little 
thing like that. 

I am putting all this odious state of things upon 
the newspaper, and I believe it belongs there — 
chiefly, at any rate. It is a free press — a press 
that is more than free — a press which is licensed to 
say any infamous thing it chooses about a private 
or a public man, or advocate any outrageous doctrine 
it pleases. It is tied in no way. The public opinion 
which should hold it in bounds it has itself degraded 
to its own level. There are laws to protect the free- 
dom of the press's speech, but none that are worth 

46 



LICENSE OF THE PRESS 

anything to protect the people from the press. A 
libel suit simply brings the plaintiff before a vast 
newspaper court to be tried before the law tries him, 
and reviled and ridiculed without mercy. The touchy 
Charles Reade can sue English newspapers and get 
verdicts; he would soon change his tactics here: 
the papers (backed by a public well taught by them- 
selves) would soon teach him that it is better to suffer 
any amount of misrepresentation than go into our 
courts with a libel suit and make himself the laugh- 
ing stock of the community. 

It seems to me that just in the ratio that our news- 
papers increase, our morals decay. The more news- 
papers the worse morals. Where we have one 
newspaper that does good, I think we have fifty 
that do harm. We ought to look upon the estab- 
lishment of a newspaper of the average pattern in 
a virtuous village as a calamity. 

The difference between the tone and conduct of 
newspapers to-day and those of thirty or forty years 
ago is very noteworthy and very sad — I mean the 
average newspaper (for they had bad ones then, 
too). In those days the average newspaper was the 
champion of right and morals, and it dealt conscien- 
tiously in the truth. It is not the case now. The 
other day a reputable New York daily had an edi- 
torial defending the salary steal and justifying it on 
the ground that Congressmen were not paid enough 
— as if that were an all-sufficient excuse for stealing. 
That editorial put the matter in a new and perfectly 
satisfactory light with many a leather-headed reader, 
without a doubt. It has become a sarcastic proverb 

47 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

that a thing must be true if you saw it in a news- 
paper. That is the opinion intelligent people have 
of that lying vehicle in a nutshell. But the trouble 
is that the stupid people — who constitute the grand 
overwhelming majority of this and all other nations 
— do believe and are moulded and convinced by 
what they get out of a newspaper, and there is 
where the harm lies. 

Among us, the newspaper is a tremendous power. 
It can make or mar any man's reputation. It 
has perfect freedom to call the best man in the 
land a fraud and a thief, and he is destroyed 
beyond help. Whether Mr. Colfax is a liar or 
not can never be ascertained now — but he will rank 
as one till the day of his death — for the news- 
papers have so doomed him. Our newspapers — 
all of them, without exception — glorify the "Black 
Crook" and make it an opulent success — they could 
have killed it dead with one broadside of contemp- 
tuous silence if they had wanted to. Days Doings 
and Police Gazettes flourish in the land unmolested 
by the law, because the virtuous newspapers long ago 
nurtured up a public laxity that loves indecency and 
never cares whether laws are administered or not. 

In the newspapers of the West you can use the 
editorial voice in the editorial columns to defend any 
wretched and injurious dogma you please by paying 
a dollar a line for it. 

Nearly all newspapers foster Rozensweigs and 
kindred criminals and send victims to them by open- 
ing their columns to their advertisements. You all 
know that. 

48 



LICENSE OF THE PRESS 

In the Foster murder case the New York papers 
made a weak pretense of upholding the hands of the 
Governor and urging the people to sustain him in 
standing firmly by the law; but they printed a 
whole page of sickly, maudlin appeals to his clemency 
as a paid advertisement. And I suppose they would 
have published enough pages of abuse of the Gov- 
ernor to destroy his efficiency as a public official to 
the end of his term if anybody had come forward and 
paid them for it — as an advertisement. The news- 
paper that obstructs the law on a trivial pretext, for 
money's sake, is a dangerous enemy to the public 
weal. 

That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, 
is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self- 
complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and 
shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on theif 
way to the poorhouse. I am personally acquainted 
with hundreds of journalists, and the opinion of the 
majority of them would not be worth tuppence in 
private, but when they speak in print it is the 
newspaper that is talking (the pygmy scribe is not 
visible) and then their utterances shake the com- 
munity like the thunders of prophecy. 

I know from personal experience the proneness of 
journalists to lie. I once started a peculiar and 
picturesque fashion of lying myself on the Pacific 
coast, and it is not dead there to this day. Whenever 
I hear of a shower of blood and frogs combined, in 
California, or a sea serpent found in some desert, 
there, or a cave frescoed with diamonds and emeralds 
(always found by an Injun who died before he could 

49 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

finish telling where it was), I say to myself I am the 
father of this child — I have got to answer for this 
lie. And habit is everything — to this day I am 
liable to lie if I don't watch all the time. 

The license of the press has scorched every indi- 
vidual of us in our time, I make no doubt. Poor 
Stanley was a very god, in England, his praises in 
every man's mouth. But nobody said anything 
about his lectures — they were charitably quiet on 
that head, and were content to praise his higher 
virtues. But our papers tore the poor creature limb 
from limb and scattered the fragments from Maine 
to California — merely because he couldn't lecture 
well. His prodigious achievement in Africa goes for 
naught — the man is pulled down and utterly 
destroyed — but still the persecution follows him as 
relentlessly from city to city and from village to 
village as if he had committed some bloody and 
detestable crime. Bret Harte was suddenly snatched 
out of obscurity by our papers and throned in the 
clouds — all the editors in the land stood out in the 
inclement weather and adored him through their 
telescopes and swung their hats till they wore them 
out and then borrowed more; and the first time his 
family fell sick, and in his trouble and harassment 
he ground out a rather flat article in place of another 
heathen Chinee, that hurrahing host said, "Why, 
this man's a fraud," and then they began to reach up 
there for him. And they got him, too, and fetched 
him down, and walked over him, and rolled him in 
the mud, and tarred and feathered him, and then 
set him up for a target and have been heaving dirt 

50 



LICENSE OF THE PRESS 

at him ever since. The result is that the man has 
had only just nineteen engagements to lecture this 
year, and the audience have been so scattering, too, 
that he has never discharged a sentence yet that hit 
two people at the same time. The man is ruined — 
never can get up again. And yet he is a person who 
has great capabilities, and might have accomplished 
great things for our literature and for himself if he 
had had a happier chance. And he made the mis- 
take, too, of doing a pecuniary kindness for a starv- 
ing beggar of our guild — one of the journalistic shoe- 
maker class — and that beggar made it his business 
as soon as he got back to San Francisco to publish 
four columns of exposures of crimes committed by 
his benefactor, the least of which ought to make any 
decent man blush. The press that admitted that 
stuff to its columns had too much license. 

In a town in Michigan I declined to dine with an 
editor who was drunk, and he said, in his paper, 
that my lecture was profane, indecent, and calcu- 
lated to encourage intemperance. And yet that man 
never heard it. It might have reformed him if he had. 

A Detroit paper once said that I was in the con- 
stant habit of beating my wife and that I still kept 
this recreation up, although I had crippled her for 
life and she was no longer able to keep out of my 
way when I came home in my usual frantic frame of 
mind. Now scarcely the half of that was true. 
Perhaps I ought to have sued that man for libel — 
but I knew better. All the papers in America — with 
a few creditable exceptions — would have found out 
then, to their satisfaction, that I was a wife beater, 

Si 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and they would have given it a pretty general 
airing, too. 

Why I have published vicious libels upon people 
myself — and ought to have been hanged before my 
time for it, too — if I do say it myself, that shouldn't. 

But I will not continue these remarks. I have a 
sort of vague general idea that there is too much 
liberty of the press in this country, and that through 
the absence of all wholesome restraint the newspaper 
has become in a large degree a national curse, and 
will probably damn the Republic yet. 

There are some excellent virtues in newspapers, 
some powers that wield vast influences for good; 
and I could have told all about these things, and 
glorified them exhaustively — but that would have 
left you gentlemen nothing to say. 



THE WEATHER 

Address at the New England Society's Seventy-first 
Annual Dinner, New York City 

The next toast was: "The Oldest Inhabitant— The Weather oj 
New England." 

Who can lose it and forget it? 
Who can have and regret it? 

"Be interposer 'twixt us Twain." 

— Merchant of Venice. 

I REVERENTLY believe that the Maker who 
made us all makes everything in New England 
but the weather. I don't know who makes that, but 
I think it must be raw apprentices in the weather- 
clerk's factory who experiment and learn how, in 
New England, for board and clothes, and then are 
promoted to make weather for countries that require 
a good article, and will take their custom elsewhere 
if they don't get it. There is a sumptuous variety 
about the New England weather that compels the 
stranger's admiration — and regret. The weather is 
always doing something there; always attending 
strictly to business; always getting up new designs 
and trying them on the people to see how they will 
go. But it gets through more business in spring 
than in any other season. In the spring I have 
counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds 
of weather inside of four-and-twenty hours. It was 

S3 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

I that made the fame and fortune of that man who 
had that marvelous collection of weather on exhibi- 
tion at the Centennial, which so astounded the for- 
eigners. He was going to travel all over the world 
and get specimens from all the climes. I said, * ' Don't 
you do it ; you come to New England on a favorable 
spring day." I told him what we could do in the 
way of style, variety, and quantity. Well, he came 
and he made his collection in four days. As to 
variety, why, he confessed that he got hundreds of 
kinds of weather that he had never heard of before. 
And as to quantity^— well, after he had picked out 
and discarded all that was blemished in any way, 
he not only had weather enough, but weather to 
spare; weather to hire out; weather to sell; to 
deposit; weather to invest; weather to give to the 
poor. The people of New England are by nature 
patient and forbearing, but there are some things 
which they will not stand. Every year they kill a 
lot of poets for writing about "Beautiful Spring." 
These are generally casual visitors, who bring their 
notions of spring from somewhere else, and cannot, 
of course, know how the natives feel about spring. 
And so the first thing they know the opportunity 
to inquire how they feel has permanently gone by. 
Old Probabilities has a mighty reputation for accurate 
prophecy, and thoroughly well deserves it. You take 
up the paper and observe how crisply and confidently 
he checks off what to-day's weather is going to be on 
the Pacific, down South, in the Middle States, in the 
Wisconsin region. See him sail along in the joy and 
pride of his power till he gets to New England, and 

54 



THE WEATHER 

see his tail drop. He doesn't know what the weather 
is going to be in New England. Well, he mulls over 
it, and by and by he gets out something about like 
this: Probably northeast to southwest winds, vary- 
ing to the southward and westward and eastward, 
and points between, high and low barometer swap- 
ping around from place to place; probable areas of 
rain, snow, hail, and drought, succeeded or preceded 
by earthquakes, with thunder and lightning. Then 
he jots down a postscript from his wandering mind, 
to cover accidents. "But it is possible that the 
programme may be wholly changed in the mean- 
time." Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New 
England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. 
There is only one thing certain about it: you are 
certain there is going to be plenty of it — a perfect 
grand review; but you never can tell which end of 
the procession is going to move first. You fix up 
for the drought; you leave your umbrella in the 
house and sally out, and two to one you get drowned. 
You make up your mind that the earthquake is due; 
you stand from under, and take hold of something 
to steady yourself, and the first thing you know you 
get struck by lightning. These are great disappoint- 
ments; but they can't be helped. The lightning 
there is peculiar; it is so convincing, that when it 
strikes a thing it doesn't leave enough of that thing 
behind for you to tell whether — Well, you'd think 
it was something valuable, and a Congressman had 
been there. And the thunder. When the thunder 
begins to merely tune up and scrape and saw, and 
key up the instruments for the performance, strangers 

55 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

say, "Why, what awful thunder you have here!" 
But when the baton is raised and the real concert 
begins, you'll find that stranger down in the cellar 
with his head in the ash-barrel. Now as to the size 
of the weather in New England — lengthways, I 
mean. It is utterly disproportioned to the size of 
that little country. Half the time, when it is packed 
as full as it can stick, you will see that New England 
weather sticking out beyond the edges and projecting 
around hundreds and hundreds of miles over the 
neighboring States. She can't hold a tenth part of 
her weather. You can see cracks all about where 
she has strained herself trying to do it. I could 
speak volumes about the inhuman perversity of the 
New England weather, but I will give but a single 
specimen. I like to hear rain on a tin roof. So I 
covered part of my roof with tin, with an eye to that 
luxury. Well, sir, do you think it ever rains on that 
tin? No, sir; skips it every time. Mind, in this 
speech I have been trying merely to do honor to the 
New England weather — no language could do it jus- 
tice. But, after all , there is at least one or two things 
about that weather (or, if you please, effects produced 
by it) which we residents would not like to part with. 
If we hadn't our bewitching autumn foliage, we 
should still have to credit the weather with one 
feature which compensates for all its bullying vaga- 
ries — the ice storm: when a leafless tree is clothed 
with ice from the bottom to the top — ice that is as 
bright and clear as crystal; when every bough and 
twig is strung with ice beads, frozen dew drops, and 
the whole tree sparkles cold and white like the Shah 

56 



THE WEATHER 

of Persia's diamond plume. Then the wind waves 
the branches and the sun comes out and turns all 
those myriads of beads and drops to prisms that 
glow and burn and flash with all manner of colored 
fires, which change and change again with incon- 
ceivable rapidity from blue to red, from red to green, 
and green to gold — the tree becomes a spraying foun- 
tain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels; and it 
stands there the acme, the climax, the supremest 
possibility in art or nature, of bewildering, intoxi- 
cating, intolerable magnificence. One cannot make 
the words too strong. 



57 



THE BABIES 

Delivered at the Banquet, in Chicago, Given by the 

Army of the Tennessee to Their First Commander, 

General U. S. Grant, November, 1879 l 

The fifteenth regular toast was "The Babies. — As they comfort 
us in our sorrows, let us not forget them in our festivities" 

I LIKE that. We have not all had the good for- 
tune to be ladies. We have not all been generals, 
or poets, or statesmen; but when the toast works 
down to the babies, we stand on common ground. 
It is a shame that for a thousand years the world's 
banquets have utterly ignored the baby, as if he 
didn't amount to anything. If you will stop and 
think a minute — if you will go back fifty or one 
hundred years to your early married life and recon- 
template your first baby — you will remember that 
he amounted to a good deal, and even something 
over. You soldiers all know that when that little 
fellow arrived at family headquarters you had to 
hand in your resignation. He took entire command. 
You became his lackey, his mere body-servant, and 
you had to stand around, too. He was not a com- 
mander who made allowances for time, distance, 
weather, or anything else. You had to execute his 
order whether it was possible or not. And there 

1 The story of the delivery of this speech may be found in Chap- 
ter CXXIII of Mark Twain — A Biography. 

58 



THE BABIES 

was only one form of marching in his manual of 
tactics, and that was the double-quick. He treated 
you with every sort of insolence and disrespect, and 
the bravest of you didn't dare to say a word. You 
could face the death storm at Donelson and Vicks- 
burg, and give back blow for blow; but when he 
clawed your whiskers, and pulled your hair, and 
twisted your nose, you had to take it. When the 
thunders of war were sounding in your ears you set 
your faces toward the batteries, and advanced with 
steady tread; but when he turned on the terrors of 
his war-whoop you advanced in the other direction, 
and mighty glad of the chance, too. When he called 
for soothing-syrup, did you venture to throw out any 
side-remarks about certain services being unbecom- 
ing an officer and a gentleman? No. You got up 
and got it. When he ordered his pap bottle and it 
was not warm, did you talk back? Not you. You 
went to work and warmed it. You even descended 
so far in your menial office as to take a suck at that 
warm, insipid stuff yourself, to see if it was right — 
three parts water to one of milk, a touch of sugar to 
modify the colic, and a drop of peppermint to kill 
those immortal hiccoughs. I can taste that stuff 
yet. And how many things you learned as you went 
along! Sentimental young folks still take stock in 
that beautiful old saying that when the baby smiles 
in his sleep, it is because the angels are whispering 
to him. Very pretty, but too thin — simply wind on 
the stomach, my friend. If the baby proposed to 
take a walk at his usual hour, two o'clock in the 
morning, didn't you rise up promptly and remark, 

59 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

with a mental addition which would not improve a 
Sunday-school book much, that that was the very 
thing you were about to propose yourself? Oh! you 
were under good discipline, and as you went flutter- 
ing up and down the room in your undress uniform, 
you not only prattled undignified baby talk, but 
even tuned up your martial voices and tried to 
sing! — Rock-a-by Baby in the Tree-top, for instance. 
What a spectacle for an Army of the Tennessee! 
And what an affliction for the neighbors, too; for 
it is not everybody within a mile around that likes 
military music at three in the morning. And when 
you had been keeping this sort of thing up two or 
three hours, and your little velvet-head intimated that 
nothing suited him like exercise and noise, what did 
you do? You simply went on until you dropped in 
the last ditch. The idea that a baby doesn't amount 
to anything! Why, one baby is just a house and a 
front yard full by itself. One baby can furnish more 
business than you and your whole Interior Depart- 
ment can attend to. He is enterprising, irrepressible, 
brimful of lawless activities. Do what you please, 
you can't make him stay on the reservation. Suf- 
ficient unto the day is one baby. As long as you 
are in your right mind don't you ever pray for 
twins. Twins amount to a permanent riot. And there 
ain't any real difference between triplets and an 
insurrection. 

Yes, it was high time for a toastmaster to recog- 
nize the importance of the babies. Think what is in 
store for the present crop ! Fifty years from now we 
shall all be dead, I trust, and then this flag, if it still 

60 



THE BABIES 

survive (and let us hope it may), will be floating 
over a Republic numbering 200,000,000 souls, accord- 
ing to the settled laws of our increase. Our present 
schooner of State will have grown into a political 
leviathan — a Great Eastern. The cradled babies of 
to-day will be on deck. Let them be well trained, 
for we are going to leave a big contract on their 
hands. Among the three or four million cradles 
now rocking in the land are some which this nation 
would preserve for ages as sacred things, if we could 
know which ones they are. In one of these cradles 
the unconscious Farragut of the future is at this 
moment teething — think of it! — and putting in a 
world of dead earnest, unarticulated, but perfectly 
justifiable profanity over it, too. In another the 
future renowned astronomer is blinking at the shin- 
ing Milky Way with but a languid interest — poor 
little chap! — and wondering what has become of 
that other one they call the wet-nurse. In another 
the future great historian is lying — and doubtless 
will continue to lie until his earthly mission is ended. 
In another the future President is busying himself 
with no profounder problem of state than what the 
mischief has become of his hair so early; and in a 
mighty array of other cradles there are now some 
60,000 future office-seekers, getting ready to furnish 
him occasion to grapple with that same old problem a 
second time. And in still one more cradle, somewhere 
under the flag, the future illustrious commander-in- 
chief of the American armies is so little burdened 
with his approaching grandeurs and responsibilities 
as to be giving his whole strategic mind at this 

61 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

moment to trying to find out some way to get 
his big toe into his mouth — an achievement which, 
meaning no disrespect, the illustrious guest of this 
evening turned his entire attention to some fifty-six 
years ago; and if the child is but a prophecy of the 
man, there are mighty few who will doubt that he 
succeeded. 



62 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

An address delivered in 1877, and a review of it twenty-nine 
years later. The original speech was delivered at a dinner given 
by the publishers of The Atlantic Monthly in honor of the seventieth 
anniversary of the birth of John Greenleaf Whittier, at the Hotel 
Brunswick, Boston, December 17, 1877. 

The Speech 

THIS is an occasion peculiarly meet for the dig- 
ging up of pleasant reminiscences concerning 
literary folk; therefore I will drop lightly into his- 
tory myself. Standing here on the shore of the 
Atlantic and contemplating certain of its largest 
literary billows, I am reminded of a thing which hap- 
pened to me thirteen years ago, when I had just 
succeeded in stirring up a little Nevadian literary- 
puddle myself, whose spume-flakes were beginning 
to blow thinly Californiaward. I started an inspec- 
tion tramp through the southern mines of California. 
I was callow and conceited, and I resolved to try the 
virtue of my nom de guerre. 

I very soon had an opportunity. I knocked at a 
miner's lonely log cabin in the foot-hills of the 
Sierras just at nightfall. It was snowing at the 
time. A jaded, melancholy man of fifty, barefooted, 
opened the door to me. When he heard my nom de 
guerre he looked more dejected than before. He let 
me in — pretty reluctantly, I thought — and after the 

63 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

customary bacon and beans, black coffee and hot 
whiskey, I took a pipe. This sorrowful man had not 
said three words up to this time. Now he spoke up 
and said, in the voice of one who is secretly suffering, 
"You're the fourth— I'm going to move." "The 
fourth what?" said I. "The fourth literary man 
that has been here in twenty-four hours — I'm going 
to move. " " You don't tell me ! " said I ; " who were 
the others?" "Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Emerson, and 
Mr. Oliver Wendell Holmes — consound the lot!" 

You can easily believe I was interested. I suppli- 
cated — three hot whiskies did the rest — and finally 
the melancholy miner began. Said he: 

"They came here just at dark yesterday evening, 
and I let them in, of course. Said they were going to 
the Yosemite. They were a rough lot, but that's 
nothing; everybody looks rough that travels afoot. 
Mr. Emerson was a seedy little bit of a chap, red- 
headed. Mr. Holmes was as fat as a balloon; he 
weighed as much as three hundred, and had double 
chins all the way down to his stomach. Mr. Long- 
fellow was built like a prize-fighter. His head was 
cropped and bristly, like as if he had a wig made of 
hair-brushes. His nose lay straight down his face, like 
a finger with the end joint tilted up. They had been 
drinking, I could see that. And what queer talk 
they used! Mr. Holmes inspected this cabin, then 
he took me by the buttonhole, and says he: 

"'Through the deep caves of thought 
I hear a voice that sings, 
Build thee more stately mansions, 
O my soul!' 

64 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

"Says I, 'I can't afford it, Mr. Holmes, and more- 
over I don't want to.' Blamed if I liked it pretty- 
well, either, coming from a stranger, that way. How- 
ever, I started to get out my bacon and beans, when 
Mr. Emerson came and looked on awhile, and then 
he takes me aside by the buttonhole and says : 

'"Gives me agates for my meat; 
Gives me cantharids to eat; 
From air and ocean bring me foods, 
From all zones and altitudes.' 

"Says I, 'Mr. Emerson, if you'll excuse me, this 
ain't no hotel.' You see it sort of riled me — I warn't 
used to the ways of littery swells. But I went on 
a-sweating over my work, and next comes Mr. Long- 
fellow and buttonholes me, and interrupts me. 
Says he: 

"'Honor be to Mudjekeewis! 
You shall hear how Pau-Puk-Keewis — ' 

"But I broke in, and says I, 'Beg your pardon, 
Mr. Longfellow, if you'll be so kind as to hold your 
yawp for about five minutes and let me get this 
grub ready, you'll do me proud.' Well, sir, after 
they'd filled up I set out the jug. Mr. Holmes looks 
at it, and then he fires up all of sudden and yells: 

'"Flash out a stream of blood-red wine! 
For I would drink to other days/ 

"By George, I was getting kind of worked up. I 

don't deny it, I was getting kind of worked up. I 

turns to Mr. Holmes, and says I, 'Looky here, my 

fat friend, I'm a-running this shanty, and if the 

court knows herself, you'll take whisky straight or 

you'll go dry.' Them's the very words I said to him. 

65 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Now I don't want to sass such famous littery people, 
but you see they kind of forced me. There ain't 
nothing onreasonable 'bout me; I don't mind a 
passel of guests a-treadin' on my tail three or four 
times, but when it comes to standing on it it's dif- 
ferent, 'and if the court knows herself,' I says, 'you'll 
take whisky straight or you'll go dry.' Well, 
between drinks they'd swell around the cabin and 
strike attitudes and spout; and pretty soon they 
got out a greasy old deck and went to playing euchre 
at ten cents a corner — on trust. I began to notice 
some pretty suspicious things. Mr. Emerson dealt, 
looked at his hand, shook his head, says: 
"'I am the doubter and the doubt — ' 

and ca 'mly bunched the hands and went to shuffling 
for a new layout. Says he: 

"'They reckon ill who leave me out; 
They know not well the subtle ways I keep 
I pass and deal again! ' 

Hang'd if he didn't go ahead and do it, too! Oh, he 
was a cool one ! Well, in about a minute things were 
running pretty tight, but all of a sudden I see by 
Mr. Emerson's eye he judged he had 'em. He had 
already corralled two tricks, and each of the others 
one. So now he kind of lifts a little in his chair and 
says: 

"'I tire of globes and aces! — 
Too long the game is played!' 

— and down he fetched a right bower. Mr. Long> 
fellow smiles as sweet as pie and says : 

Thanks thanks to thee, my worthy friend, 
For the lesson thou hast taught/ 
66 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

— and blamed if he didn't down with another right 
bower ! Emerson claps his hand on his bowie, Long- 
fellow claps his on his revolver, and I went under a 
bunk. There was going to be trouble; but that 
monstrous Holmes rose up, wobbling his double chins, 
and says he, 'Order, gentlemen; the first man that 
draws, I'll lay down on him and smother him!' All 
quiet on the Potomac, you bet ! 

"They were pretty how-come-you-so by now, and 
they begun to blow. Emerson says, 'The nobbiest 
thing I ever wrote was "Barbara Frietchie."' Says 
Longfellow, 'It don't begin with my "Biglow 
Papers.'" Says Holmes, 'My "Thanatopsis" lays 
over 'em both.' They mighty near ended in a fight. 
Then they wished they had some more company — 
and Mr. Emerson pointed to me and says: 
'"Is yonder squalid peasant all 

That this proud nursery could breed? ' 

He was a-whetting his bowie on his boot — so I let 

it pass. Well, sir, next they took it into their heads 

that they would like some music; so they made me 

stand up and sing "When Johnny Comes Marching 

Home" till I dropped — at thirteen minutes past four 

this morning. That's what I've been through, my 

friend. When I woke at seven, they were leaving, 

thank goodness, and Mr. Longfellow had my only 

boots on, and his'n under his arm. Says I, 'Hold on, 

there, Evangeline, what are you going to do with them? ' 

He says, 'Going to make tracks with 'em; because: 

"'Lives of great men all remind us 
We can make our lives sublime; 
And, departing, leave behind us 
Footprints on the sands of time.' 

6 7 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

As I said, Mr. Twain, you are the fourth in twenty- 
four hours — and I'm going to move; I ain't suited 
to a littery atmosphere." 

I said to the miner, ' ■ Why, my dear sir, these were not 
the gracious singers to whom we and the world pay lov- 
ing reverence and homage ; these were impostors. ' 

The miner investigated me with a calm eye for 
awhile; then said he, "Ah! impostors, were they? 
Are youV 

I did not pursue the subject, and since then I have 
not traveled on my nom de guerre enough to hurt. 
Such was the reminiscence I was moved to contribute, 
Mr. Chairman. In my enthusiasm I may have exag- 
gerated the details a little, but you will easily forgive 
me that fault, since I believe it is the first time I have 
ever deflected from perpendicular fact on an occasion 
like this. 

The Story 

January n, 1906. 
Answer to a letter received this morning: 

Dear Mrs. H., — I am forever your debtor for reminding me 
of that curious passage in my life. During the first year or two 
after it happened, I could not bear to think of it. My pain and 
shame were so intense, and my sense of having been an imbecile 
so settled, established and confirmed, that I drove the episode 
entirely from my mind — and so all these twenty-eight or twenty- 
nine years I have lived in the conviction that my performance 
of that time was coarse, vulgar, and destitute of humor. But 
your suggestion that you and your family found humor in it 
twenty-eight years ago moved me to look into the matter. So 
I commissioned a Boston typewriter to delve among the Boston 
papers of that bygone time and send me a copy of it. 

It came this morning, and if there is any vulgarity about it I 
am not to discover it. If it isn't innocently and ridiculously 
funny, I am no judge. I will see to it that you get a copy. 

68 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

What I have said to Mrs. H. is true. I did suffer 
during a year or two from the deep humiliations of 
the episode. But at last, in 1888, in Venice, my wife 
and I came across Mr. and Mrs. A. P. C, of Concord, 
Massachusetts, and a friendship began then of the 
sort which nothing but death terminates. The C.'s 
were very bright people and in every way charming 
and companionable. We were together a month or 
two in Venice and several months in Rome, after- 
ward, and one day that lamented break of mine was 
mentioned. And when I was on the point of lather- 
ing those people for bringing it to my mind when I 
had gotten the memory of it almost squelched, I 
perceived with joy that the C.'s were indignant about 
the way that my performance had been received in 
Boston. They poured out their opinions most freely 
and frankly about the frosty attitude of the people 
who were present at that performance, and about 
the Boston newspapers for the position they had 
taken in regard to the matter. That position was 
that I had been irreverent beyond belief, beyond 
imagination. Very well; I had accepted that as a 
fact for a year or two, and had been thoroughly 
miserable about it whenever I thought of it — which 
was not frequently, if I could help it. Whenever I 
thought of it I wondered how I ever could have been 
inspired to do so unholy a thing. Well, the C.'s 
comforted me, but they did not persuade me to con- 
tinue to think about the unhappy episode. I resisted 
that. I tried to get it out of my mind, and let it die, 
and I succeeded. Until Mrs. H.'s letter came, it had 
been a good twenty-five years since I had thought 

69 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

of that matter; and when she said that the thing 
was funny I wondered if possibly she might be right. 
At any rate, my curiosity was aroused, and I wrote 
to Boston and got the whole thing copied, as above 
set forth. 

I vaguely remembered some of the details of that 
gathering — dimly I can see a hundred people — no, 
perhaps fifty — shadowy figures sitting at tables feed- 
ing, ghosts now to me, and nameless forevermore. 
I don't know who they were, but I can very distinctly 
see, seated at the grand table and facing the rest 
of us, Mr. Emerson, supernaturally grave, unsmiling; 
Mr. Whittier, grave, lovely, his beautiful spirit shin- 
ing out of his face; Mr. Longfellow, with his silken 
white hair and his benignant face; Dr. Oliver Wen- 
dell Holmes, flashing smiles and affection and all 
good-fellowship everywhere like a rose-diamond whose 
facets are being turned toward the light first one way 
and then another — a charming man, and always fas- 
cinating, whether he was talking or whether he was 
sitting still (what he would call still, but what would 
be more or less motion to other people). I can see 
those figures with entire distinctness across this abyss 
of time. 

One other feature is clear — Willie Winter (for these 
past thousand years dramatic editor of the New York 
Tribune, and still occupying that high post in his 
old age) was there. He was much younger then than 
he is now, and he showed it. It was always a pleasure 
to me to see Willie Winter at a banquet. During a 
matter of twenty years I was seldom at a banquet 
where Willie Winter was not also present, and where 

70 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

he did not read a charming poem written for the 
occasion. He did it this time, and it was up to 
standard: dainty, happy, choicely phrased, and as 
good to listen to as music, and sounding exactly as 
if it was pouring unprepared out of heart and brain. 

Now at that point ends all that was pleasurable 
about that notable celebration of Mr. Whittier's 
seventieth birthday — because I got up at that point 
and followed Winter, with what I have no doubt I 
supposed would be the gem of the evening — the gay 
oration above quoted from the Boston paper. I had 
written it all out the day before and had perfectly 
memorized it, and I stood up there at my genial and 
happy and self-satisfied ease, and began to deliver 
it. Those majestic guests, that row of venerable 
and still active volcanoes, listened, as did everybody 
else in the house, with attentive interest. Well, I 
delivered myself of — we'll say the first two hundred 
words of my speech. I was expecting no returns 
from that part of the speech, but this was not the 
case as regarded the rest of it. I arrived now at the 
dialogue: "The old miner said, 'You are the fourth, 
I'm going to move.' 'The fourth what?' said I. He 
answered, 'The fourth littery man that has been here 
in twenty-four hours. I am going to move.' 'Why, 
you don't tell me,' said I. 'Who were the others?' 
'Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Emerson, Mr. Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, consound the lot — '" 

Now, then, the house's attention continued, but the 
expression of interest in the faces turned to a sort 
of black frost. I wondered what the trouble was. 
I didn't know. I went on, but with difficulty — I 

7i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

struggled along, and entered upon that miner's fear- 
ful description of the bogus Emerson, the bogus 
Holmes, the bogus Longfellow, always hoping — but 
with a gradually perishing hope — that somebody 
would laugh, or that somebody would at least smile, 
but nobody did. I didn't know enough to give it 
up and sit down, I was too new to public speaking, 
and so I went on with this awful performance, and 
carried it clear through to the end, in front of a 
body of people who seemed turned to stone with 
horror. It was the sort of expression their faces 
would have worn if I had been making these remarks 
about the Deity and the rest of the Trinity; there 
is no milder way in which to describe the petrified 
condition and the ghastly expression of those people. 
When I sat down it was with a heart which had 
long ceased to beat. I shall never be as dead again 
as I was then. I shall never be as miserable again 
as I was then. I speak now as one who doesn't 
know what the conditions of things may be in the 
next world, but in this one I shall never be as 
wretched again as I was then. Howells, who was 
near me, tried to say a comforting word, but couldn't 
get beyond a gasp. There was no use — he under- 
stood the whole size of the disaster. He had good 
intentions, but the words froze before they could get 
out. It was an atmosphere that would freeze any- 
thing. If Benvenuto Cellini's salamander had been 
in that place he would not have survived to be put 
into Cellini's autobiography. There was a frightful 
pause. There was an awful silence, a desolating 
silence. Then the next man on the list had to get 

72 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

up — there was no help for it. That was Bishop — 
Bishop had just burst handsomely upon the world 
with a most acceptable novel, which had appeared in 
The Atlantic Monthly, a place which would make any 
novel respectable and any author noteworthy. In 
this case the novel itself was recognized as being, 
without extraneous help, respectable. Bishop was 
away up in the public favor, and he was an object 
of high interest, consequently there was a sort of 
national expectancy in the air; we may say our 
American millions were standing, from Maine to 
Texas and from Alaska to Florida, holding their 
breath, their lips parted, their hands ready to 
applaud, when Bishop should get up on that 
occasion, and for the first time in his life speak in 
public. It was under these damaging conditions 
that he got up to "make good," as the vulgar say. 
I had spoken several times before, and that is the 
reason why I was able to go on without dying in my 
tracks, as I ought to have done — but Bishop had had 
no experience. He was up facing those awful deities 
— facing those other people, those strangers — facing 
human beings for the first time in his life, with a 
speech to utter. No doubt it was well packed away 
in his memory, no doubt it was fresh and usable, 
until I had been heard from. I suppose that after 
that, and under the smothering pall of that dreary 
silence, it began to waste away and disappear out 
of his head like the rags breaking from the edge of 
a fog, and presently there wasn't any fog left. He 
didn't go on — he didn't last long. It was not many 
sentences after his first before he began to hesitate, 

73 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and break, and lost his grip, and totter, and wobble, 
and at last he slumped down in a limp and mushy 
pile. 

Well, the programme for the occasion was probably 
not more than one- third finished, but it ended there. 
Nobody rose. The next man hadn't strength enough 
to get up, and everybody looked so dazed, so stupe- 
fied, paralyzed, it was impossible for anybody to do 
anything, or even try. Nothing could go on in that 
strange atmosphere. Ho wells mournfully, and with- 
out words, hitched himself to Bishop and me and 
supported us out of the room. It was very kind — he 
was most generous. He towed us tottering away 
into some room in that building, and we sat down 
there. I don't know what my remark was now, but 
I know the nature of it. It was the kind of remark 
you make when you know that nothing in the world 
can help your case. But Howells was honest — he 
had to say the heart-breaking things he did say: 
that there was no help for this calamity, this ship- 
wreck, this cataclysm; that this was the most 
disastrous thing that had ever happened in anybody's 
history — and then he added, ''That is, for you — and 
consider what you have done for Bishop. It is bad 
enough in your case, you deserve to suffer. You 
have committed this crime, and you deserve to have 
all you are going to get. But here is an innocent 
man. Bishop had never done you any harm, and 
see what you have done to him. He can never hold 
his head up again. The world can never look upon 
Bishop as being a live person. He is a corpse." 

That is the history of that episode of twenty-eight 

74 



THE STORY OF A SPEECH 

years ago, which pretty nearly killed me with shame 
during that first year or two whenever it forced its 
way into my mind. 

Now then, I take that speech up and examine it. 
As I said, it arrived this morning, from Boston. I 
have read it twice, and unless I am an idiot, it 
hasn't a single defect in it from the first word to 
the last. It is just as good as good can be. It is 
smart; it is saturated with humor. There isn't a 
suggestion of coarseness or vulgarity in it anywhere. 
What could have been the matter with that house? 
It is amazing, it is incredible, that they didn't shout 
with laughter, and those deities the loudest of them 
all. Could the fault have been with me? Did I 
lose courage when I saw those great men up there 
whom I was going to describe in such a strange 
fashion? If that happened, if I showed doubt, that 
can account for it, for you can't be successfully 
funny if you show that you are afraid of it. Well, I 
can't account for it, but if I had those beloved and 
revered old literary immortals back here now on the 
platform at Carnegie Hall I would take that same 
old speech, deliver it, word for word, and melt them 
till they'd run all over that stage. Oh, the fault 
must have been with me, it is not in the speech 
ax all. 

Yet, characteristically enough, Mark Twain had 
quite another opinion of this unfortunate speech. 
Reading it for the first time after the lapse of nearly 
thirty years, he said: "I find it gross, coarse — well, 

75 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

I needn't go into particulars. I don't like any part 
of it, from beginning to end." 

It was only on the second reading that the spirit 
and delight of his old first conception returned, 
causing him to completely reverse this opinion and 
write the words of approval, as quoted. 1 

1 For some further history of this curious episode the reader is 
referred to Howell's "My Mark Twain" and to "Mark Twain — a 
Biography" by A. B. Paine. 



7 6 



UNCONSCIOUS PLAGIARISM 

Delivered at the Dinner Given by the Publishers or 

"The Atlantic Monthly" to Oliver Wendell 

Holmes, in Honor of His Seventieth 

Birthday, August 29, 1879 l 

I WOULD have traveled a much greater distance 
than I have come to witness the paying of honors 
to Doctor Holmes; for my feeling toward him has 
always been one of peculiar warmth. When one 
receives a letter from a great man for the first time 
in his life, it is a large event to him, as all of you 
know by your own experience. You never can receive 
letters enough from famous men afterward to oblit- 
erate that one, or dim the memory of the pleasant 
surprise it was, and the gratification it gave you. 
Lapse of time cannot make it commonplace or cheap. 
Well, the first great man who ever wrote me a 
letter was our guest — Oliver Wendell Holmes. He 
was also the first great literary man I ever stole any- 
thing from — and that is how I came to write to him 
and he to me. When my first book was new, a friend 
of mine said to me, ''The dedication is very neat." 
Yes, I said, I thought it was. My friend said, "I 
always admired it, even before I saw it in The 
Innocents Abroad." I naturally said: "What do 

1 This speech was felt to be in the nature of atonement for the 
" Atlantic Birthday-dinner" speech of two years before. 

77 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

you mean? Where did you ever see it before?" 
"Well, I saw it first some years ago as Doctor 
Holmes's dedication to his Songs in Many Keys" 
Of course, my first impulse was to prepare this man's 
remains for burial, but upon reflection I said I would 
reprieve him for a moment or two and give him a 
chance to prove his assertion if he could. We stepped 
into a book-store, and he did prove it. I had really 
stolen that dedication, almost word for word. I 
could not imagine how this curious thing had hap- 
pened ; for I knew one thing — that a certain amount 
of pride always goes along with a teaspoonful of 
brains, and that this pride protects a man from delib- 
erately stealing other people's ideas. That is what 
a teaspoonful of brains will do for a man — and 
admirers had often told me I had nearly a basket- 
ful — though they were rather reserved as to the size 
of the basket. 

However, I thought the thing out, and solved the 
mystery. Two years before, I had been laid up a 
couple of weeks in the Sandwich Islands, and had 
read and re-read Doctor Holmes's poems till my men- 
tal reservoir was filled up with them to the brim. 
The dedication lay on the top, and handy, so, by 
and by, I unconsciously stole it. Perhaps I uncon- 
sciously stole the rest of the volume, too, for many 
people have told me that my book was pretty poeti- 
cal, in one way or another. Well, of course, I wrote 
Doctor Holmes and told him I hadn't meant to 
steal, and he wrote back and said in the kindest way 
that it was all right and no harm done; and added 
that he believed we all unconsciously worked over 

78 



UNCONSCIOUS PLAGIARISM 

ideas gathered in reading and hearing, imagining 
they were original with ourselves. He stated a truth, 
and did it in such a pleasant way, and salved over 
my sore spot so gently and so healingly, that I was 
rather glad I had committed the crime, for the sake 
of the letter. I afterward called on him and told 
him to make perfectly free with any ideas of mine 
that struck him as being good protoplasm for poetry. 
He could see by that that there wasn't anything 
mean about me; so we got along right from the 
start. I have not met Doctor Holmes many times 
since; and lately he said — However, I am wander- 
ing wildly away from the one thing which I got on 
my feet to do; that is, to make my compliments to 
you, my fellow teachers of the great public, and like- 
wise to say that I am right glad to see that Doctor 
Holmes is still in his prime and full of generous life; 
and as age is not determined by years, but by trouble 
and infirmities of mind and body, I hope it may be a 
very long time yet before any one can truthfully say, 
"He is growing old." 



79 



ACCIDENT INSURANCE— ETC. 

Delivered in Hartford, at a Dinner to Cornelius Wat- 
ford, of London 

GENTLEMEN,— I am glad, indeed, to assist in 
welcoming the distinguished guest of this occa- 
sion to a city whose fame as an insurance center has 
extended to all lands, and given us the name of being 
a quadruple band of brothers working sweetly hand 
in hand — the Colt's arms company making the 
destruction of our race easy and convenient, our life- 
insurance citizens paying for the victims when they 
pass away, Mr. Batterson perpetuating their memory 
with his stately monuments, and our fire-insurance 
comrades taking care of their hereafter. I am glad 
to assist in welcoming our guest — first, because he 
is an Englishman, and I owe a heavy debt of hospi- 
tality to certain of his fellow-countrymen; and 
secondly, because he is in sympathy with insurance, 
and has been the means of making many other men 
cast their sympathies in the same direction. 

Certainly there is no nobler field for human effort 
than the insurance line of business — especially acci- 
dent insurance. Ever since I have been a director 
in an accident-insurance company I have felt that I 
am a better man. Life has seemed more precious. 
Accidents have assumed a kindlier aspect. Dis- 
tressing special providences have lost half their hor- 

80 



ACCIDENT INSURANCE— ETC. 

ror. I look upon a cripple now with affectionate 
interest — as an advertisement. I do not seem to 
care for poetry any more. I do not care for politics 
— even agriculture does not excite me. But to me 
now there is a charm about a railway collision that 
is unspeakable. 

There is nothing more beneficent than accident 
insurance. I have seen an entire family lifted out 
of poverty and into affluence by the simple boon of a 
broken leg. I have had people come to me on 
crutches, with tears in their eyes, to bless this benefi- 
cent institution. In all my experience of life, I 
have seen nothing so seraphic as the look that comes 
into a freshly mutilated man's face when he feels in 
his vest pocket with his remaining hand and finds 
his accident ticket all right. And I have seen noth- 
ing so sad as the look that came into another 
splintered customer's face when he found he couldn't 
collect on a wooden leg. 

I will remark here, by way of advertisement, that 
that noble charity which we have named the Hart- 
ford Accident Insurance Company* is an institu- 
tion which is peculiarly to be depended upon. A 
man is bound to prosper who gives it his custom. 
No man can take out a policy in it and not get 
crippled before the year is out. Now there was one 
indigent man who had been disappointed so often 
with other companies that he had grown disheartened, 
his appetite left him, he ceased to smile — said life 
was but a weariness. Three weeks ago I got him to 
insure with us, and now he is the brightest, happiest 

* The speaker was a director of the company named. 

81 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

spirit in this land — has a good steady income and a 
stylish suit of new bandages every day, and travels 
around on a shutter. 

I will say, in conclusion, that my share of the wel- 
come to our guest is none the less hearty because I 
talk so much nonsense, and I know that I can say 
the same for the rest of the speakers. 



82 






ON AFTER-DINNER SPEAKING 

At a Dinner to Monsieur Frechette or Quebec, 1880 

I HAVE broken a vow in order that I might give 
myself the pleasure of meeting my fnend Fre- 
chette again. But that is nothing to brag about; 
a person who is rightly constructed will break a vow 
any time to meet a friend. Before I last met f Mon- 
sieur Frechette, he had become the child of good 
fortune-that is to say, his poems had been crowned 
by the Academy of France; since I last met him he 
has become the child of good fortune once more- 
that is to say, I have translated his poems into 
English and written a eulogy of them in the French 
language to preface the work. H e possessed a sing e- 
barrelled fame before; he will possess a double- 
barrelled fame now. For this reason: translations 
always reverse a thing and bring an entirely new 
side of it into view, thus doubling the property and 
making two things out of what was only one thing be- 
fore So, in my translation his pathetic poems have nat- 
urally become humorous, his humorous poems have 
become sad. Anybody who knows even the rudiments 
of arithmetic will know that Monsieur Frechettes 
poems are now worth exactly twice as much as they 
were before. I am glad to help welcome the laureate 
of Quebec to our soil; and I assure him that we will do 
our best to leave him no room to regret that he came. 

83 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 
Yes, as I was saying, I broke a vow. If it had been 
a tng, shiny brand-new one, I should be sony of 
course, for lt is always wrong and a pity to Seat 
and mjure good new property; but tlis was dtfereS 

JZV T 6 ' ^ ° ne ' beCaUSe * was « old TragS 
ramshaclde vow that had seen so much serviced 

?rthSt n so so often ; and patched «^ss 

2f , ? t many places ' that ^ ^s become a 
disgraceful object, and so rotten that I eould n^ 
ven ture to put any strain worth mentioning uponTt 
Tins vow was a vow which I first made eleven yea's 
ago on a New-Year's Day that I would never mSe 
another after-dinner speech as long as I lived T It 
was as good a vow then as I ever saw; but I have 
broken it in sjxty-four places, since, and mended it ™ 
fresh every New-Year's. Seven years ago I reformed 

ZS?7f™ y: Imad — thatlwouldfS 
upright life-meaning by that that I would nev^ 
deW another lecture. I believe I have nZZ 
broken that one; I think I can be true to it always 
and thus disprove the Rev. Petroleum V. Nasbv's 
Bu?T h tha !," bUrglarS aDd IeCtUrers — -W'' 

stilt i ther V0 T has ^ been be >™ d -y 

SJ^r' J have . al -^ been beyond its 

tw fr reaS ° n 1S Simple: * Ues ^ the fact 

that the average man likes to hear himself talk 
when he is not under criticism. The very man who 
queers at your after-dinner speech when! readl^ 

moved r m v gS ^^ W0Uld W been P^rfuUy 
moved to make just as poor a one himself if he had 
been present, with the encouraging champagne in 
bun and the friendly, uncritical faces all abouf nim 

Q , 



ON AFTER-DINNER SPEAKING 

But that discourteous man doesn't do all the sneer- 
ing that is done over your speech; no, he does only 
a tenth of it — you do the other nine-tenths yourself. 
Your little talk, which sounded so fine and warbly 
and nice when you were delivering it in the mellow 
light of the lamps and in an enchanted atmosphere 
of applause and all-pervading good-fellowship, looks 
miserably pale and vapid and lifeless in the cold 
print of a damp newspaper next morning, with obit- 
uaries and cast-iron politics all around it and the 
hard gray light of day shining upon it and mocking 
at it. You do not recognize the corpse. You wonder 
if this is really that gay and handsome creature of 
the evening before. You look him over and find he 
certainly is those very remains. Then you want to 
bury him. You wish you could bury him privately. 



*S 



PLYMOUTH ROCK AND THE PILGRIMS 

Address at the First Annual Dinner, N. E. Society, 
Philadelphia, December 22, 1881 

On calling upon Mr. Clemens to make response, President 
Rollins said: 

"This sentiment has been assigned to one who was never 
exactly born in New England, nor, perhaps, were any of his 
ancestors. He is not technically, therefore, of New England 
descent. Under the painful circumstances in which he has 
found himself, however, he has done the best he could — he has 
had all his children born there, 1 and has made of himself a New 
England ancestor. He is a self-made man. More than this, and 
better even, in cheerful, hopeful, helpful literature he is of New 
England ascent. To ascend there in anything that's reasonable 
is difficult, for — confidentially, with the door shut — we all know 
that they are the brightest, ablest sons of that goodly land who 
never leave it, and it is among and above them that Mr. Twain 
has made his brilliant and permanent ascent — become a man of 
mark." 

I RISE to protest. I have kept still for years, but 
really I think there is no sufficient justification 
for this sort of thing. What do you want to celebrate 
those people for? — those ancestors of yours of 1620 — 
the Mayflower tribe, I mean. What do you want to 
celebrate fern for? Your pardon: the gentleman at 
my left assures me that you are not celebrating the 
Pilgrims themselves, but the landing of the Pilgrims 
at Plymouth Rock on the 2 2d of December. So you 

1 A slight mistake: Mark Twain's children were born at Elmira, 
in the state of New York. 

86 



PLYMOUTH ROCK AND THE PILGRIMS 

are celebrating their landing. Why, the other pretext 
was thin enough, but this is thinner than ever; the 
other was tissue, tinfoil, fish-bladder, but this is 
gold-leaf. Celebrating their landing! What was 
there remarkable about it, I would like to know? 
What can you be thinking of? Why, those Pilgrims 
had been at sea three or four months. It was the 
very middle of winter: it was as cold as death off 
Cape Cod there. Why shouldn't they come ashore? 
If they hadn't landed there would be some reason 
for celebrating the fact. It would have been a case 
of monumental leatherheadedness which the world 
would not willingly let die. If it had been you, 
gentlemen, you probably wouldn't have landed, but 
you have no shadow of right to be celebrating, in 
your ancestors, gifts which they did not exercise, 
but only transmitted. Why, to be celebrating the 
mere landing of the Pilgrims — to be trying to make 
out that this most natural and simple and customary 
procedure was an extraordinary circumstance — a 
circumstance to be amazed at, and admired, aggran- 
dized and glorified, at orgies like this for two hundred 
and sixty years — hang it, a horse would have known 
enough to land; a horse — Pardon again; the gen- 
tleman on my right assures me that it was not merely 
the landing of the Pilgrims that we are celebrating, 
but the Pilgrims themselves. So we have struck an 
inconsistency here — one says it was the landing, the 
other says it was the Pilgrims. It is an inconsistency 
characteristic of you intractable and disputatious 
tribe, for you never agree about anything but Boston. 
Well, then, what do you want to celebrate those 

87 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Pilgrims for? They were a mighty hard lot — you 
know it. I grant you, without the slightest unwill- 
ingness, that they were a deal more gentle and 
merciful and just than were the people of Europe of 
that day; I grant you that they are better than their 
predecessors. But what of that? — that is nothing. 
People always progress. You are better than your 
fathers and grandfathers were (this is the first time 
I have ever aimed a measureless slander at the 
departed, for I consider such things improper). Yes, 
those among you who have not been in the peniten- 
tiary, if such there be, are better than your fathers 
and grandfathers were; but is that any sufficient 
reason for getting up annual dinners and celebrating 
you? No, by no means — by no means. Well, I 
repeat, those Pilgrims were a hard lot. They took 
good care of themselves, but they abolished every- 
body else's ancestors. I am a border-ruffian from the 
State of Missouri. I am a Connecticut Yankee by 
adoption. In me, you have Missouri morals, Con- 
necticut culture; this, gentlemen, is the combination 
which makes the perfect man. But where are my 
ancestors? Whom shall I celebrate? Where shall I 
find the raw material ? 

My first American ancestor, gentlemen, was an 
Indian — an early Indian. Your ancestors skinned 
him alive, and I am an orphan. Later ancestors of 
mine were the Quakers William Robinson, Marma- 
duke Stevenson, et at. Your tribe chased them out 
of the country for their religion's sake; promised 
them death if they came back; for your ancestors 
had forsaken the homes they loved, and braved the 



PLYMOUTH ROCK AND THE PILGRIMS 

perils of the sea, the implacable climate, and the 
savage wilderness, to acquire that highest and most 
precious of boons, freedom for every man on this 
broad continent to worship according to the dictates 
of his own conscience — and they were not going to 
allow a lot of pestiferous Quakers to interfere with 
it. Your ancestors broke forever the chains of polit- 
ical slavery, and gave the vote to every man in this 
wide land, excluding none! — none except those who 
did not belong to the orthodox church. Your ances- 
tors — yes, they were a hard lot; but, nevertheless, 
they gave us religious liberty to worship as they 
required us to worship, and political liberty to vote 
as the church required; and so I the bereft one, I 
the forlorn one, am here to do my best to help you 
celebrate them right. 

The Quaker woman Elizabeth Hooton was an 
ancestress of mine. Your people were pretty severe 
with her — you will confess that. But, poor thing! 
I believe they changed her opinions before she died, 
and took her into their fold ; and so we have every 
reason to presume that when she died she went to 
the same place which your ancestors went to. It is 
a great pity, for she was a good woman. Roger 
Williams was an ancestor of mine. I don't really 
remember what your people did with him. But they 
banished him to Rhode Island, anyway. And then, 
I believe, recognizing that this was really carrying 
harshness to an unjustifiable extreme, they took pity 
on him and burned him. They were a hard lot ! All 
those Salem witches were ancestors of mine! Your 
people made it tropical for them. Yes, they did; 

89 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

by pressure and the gallows they made such a clean 
deal with them that there hasn't been a witch and 
hardly a halter in our family from that day to this, 
and that is one hundred and eighty-nine years. The 
first slave brought into New England out of Africa 
by your progenitors was an ancestor of mine — for I 
am of a mixed breed, an infinitely shaded and exqui- 
site Mongrel. I'm not one of your sham meerschaums 
that you can color in a week. No, my complexion is 
the patient art of eight generations. Well, in my 
own time, I had acquired a lot of my kin — by pur- 
chase, and swapping around, and one way and 
another — and was getting along very well. Then, 
with the inborn perversity of your lineage, you got 
up a war, and took them all away from me. And so, 
again am I bereft, again am I forlorn; no drop of 
my blood flows in the veins of any living being who 
is marketable. 

my friends, hear me and reform! I seek your 
good, not mine. You have heard the speeches. Dis- 
band these New England societies — nurseries of a 
system of steadily augmenting laudation and hosan- 
naing, which, if persisted in uncurbed, may some day 
in the remote future beguile you into prevaricating 
and bragging. Oh, stop, stop, while you are still 
temperate in your appreciation of your ancestors! 
Hear me, I beseech you ; get up an auction and sell 
Plymouth Rock! The Pilgrims were a simple and 
ignorant race. They never had seen any good rocks 
before, or at least any that were not watched, and so 
they were excusable for hopping ashore in frantic 
delight and clapping an iron fence around this one. 

90 



PLYMOUTH ROCK AND THE PILGRIMS 

But you, gentlemen, are educated ; you are enlight- 
ened ; you know that in the rich land of your nativity, 
opulent New England, overflowing with rocks, this 
one isn't worth, at the outside, more than thirty-five 
cents. Therefore, sell it, before it is injured by 
exposure, or at least throw it open to the patent- 
medicine advertisements, and let it earn its taxes. 

Yes, hear your true friend — your only true friend — 
list to his voice. Disband these societies, hotbeds of 
vice, of moral decay — perpetuators of ancestral super- 
stition. Here on this board I see water, I see milk, I 
see the wild and deadly lemonade. These are but 
steps upon the downward path. Next we shall see 
tea, then chocolate, then coffee — hotel coffee. A few 
more years — all too few, I fear — mark my words, 
we shall have cider! Gentlemen, pause ere it be too 
late. You are on the broad road which leads to dis- 
sipation, physical ruin, moral decay, gory crime, and 
the gallows! I beseech you, I implore you, in the 
name of your anxious friends, in the name of your 
impending widows and orphans, stop ere it be too 
late. Disband these New England societies, renounce 
these soul-blistering saturnalia, cease from varnish- 
ing the rusty reputations of your long-vanished 
ancestors — the super-high-moral old iron-clads of 
Cape Cod, the pious buccaneers of Plymouth Rock 
— go home, and try to learn to behave ! 

However, chaff and nonsense aside, I think I honor 
and appreciate your Pilgrim stock as much as you 
do yourselves, perhaps; and I indorse and adopt a 
sentiment uttered by a grandfather of mine once — a 
man of sturdy opinions, of sincere make of mind, and 

9i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

not given to flattery. He said : ' ' People may talk as 
they like about that Pilgrim stock, but, after all's said 
and done, it would be pretty hard to improve on 
those people; and, as for me, I don't mind coming 
out flatfooted and saying there ain't any way to 
improve on them — except having them born in 
Missouri !" 



92 



ON ADAM 
Delivered About 1880-85. (Exact Occasion Unknown.) 

I NEVER feel wholly at home and equal to the 
occasion except when I am to respond for the 
royal family, or the President of the United States. 
But I am full of serenity, courage, and confidence 
then, because I know by experience that I can drink 
standing "in silence" just as long as anybody wants 
me to. Sometimes I have gone on responding to 
those toasts with mute and diligent enthusiasm until 
I have become an embarrassment, and people have 
requested me to sit down and rest myself. But 
responding by speech is a sore trial to me. The list 
of toasts being always the same, one is always so apt 
to forget and say something that has already been 
said at some other banquet some time or other. For 
instance, you take the toast to — well, take any toast 
in the regulation lot, and you won't get far in your 
speech before you notice that everything you are 
saying is old; not only old, but stale; and not only 
stale, but rancid. At any rate, that is my experience. 
There are gifted men who have the faculty of saying 
an old thing in a new and happy way — they rub the 
old Aladdin lamp and bring forth the smoke and 
thunder, the giants and genii, the pomp and 
pageantry of all the wide and secret realms of 
enchantment — and these men are the saviors of the 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

banquet; but for them it must have gone silent, as 
Carlyle would say, generations ago, and ceased from 
among the world's occasions and industries. But I 
cannot borrow their trick ; I do not know the mystery 
of how to rub the old lamp the right way. 

And so it has seemed to me that for the behoof of 
my sort and kind, the toast list ought to be recon- 
structed. We ought to have some of the old themes 
knocked out of it and a new one or two inserted in 
their places. There are plenty of new subjects, if 
we would only look around. And plenty of old ones, 
too, that have not been touched. There is Adam, for 
instance. Whoever talks about Adam at a banquet? 
All sorts of recent and ephemeral celebrities are held 
up and glorified on such occasions, but who ever says 
a good word for Adam? Yet why is he neglected, 
why is he ignored in this offensive way — can you tell 
me that? What has he done, that we let banquet 
after banquet go on and never give him a lift ? Con- 
sidering what we and the whole world owe him, he 
ought to be in the list — yes, and he ought to be 
away up high in the list, too. He ought to take 
precedence of the Press; yes, and the Army and 
Navy; and Literature; and the Day we Celebrate; 
and pretty much everything else. In the United 
States he ought to be at the very top — he ought to 
take precedence of the President; and even in the 
loyalist monarchy he ought at least to come right 
after the royal family. And be "drunk in silence 
and standing," too. It is his right; and, for one, I 
propose to stick here and drink him in silence and 
standing till I can't tell a ministering angel from a 

94 



ON ADAM 

tax collector. This neglect has been going on too 
long. You always place Woman at the bottom of 
the toast list ; it is but simple justice to place Adam 
at the top of it — for, if it had not been for the help 
of these two, where would you and your banquets 
be? Answer me that. You must excuse me for 
losing my temper and carrying on in this way; and 
in truth I would not do it if it were almost anybody 
but Adam; but I am of a narrow and clannish dis- 
position, and I never can see a relative of mine 
misused without going into a passion. It is no trick 
for people with plenty of celebrated kin to keep 
cool when their folk are misused; but Adam is the 
only solitary celebrity in our family, and that man 
that misuses him has got to walk over my dead body, 
or go around, that is all there is to that. That is 
the way I feel about Adam. Years ago when I went 
around trying to collect subscriptions to build a 
monument to him, there wasn't a man that would 
give a cent; and generally they lost their temper 
because I interrupted their business, and they drove 
me away and said they didn't care A-dam for Adam — 
and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they got 
the emphasis on the wrong end of the word. Such 
is the influence of passion on a man's pronunciation. 
I tried Congress. Congress wouldn't build the mon- 
ument. They wouldn't sell me the Washington 
monument, they wouldn't lend it to me temporarily 
i while I could look around for another. I am nego- 
| tiating for that Bastile yonder by the public square 
lin Montreal, but they say they want to finish it 
first. Of course that ends the project, because there 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

couldn't be any use of a monument after the man 
was forgotten. It is a pity, because I thought Adam 
might have pleasant associations with that build- 
ing — he must have seen it in his time. But he shall 
have a monument yet, even if it be only a grateful 
place in the list of toasts ; for to him we owe the two 
things which are most precious — Life and Death. 
Life, which the young, the hopeful, the undefeated 
hold above all wealth and all honors; and Death, 
the refuge, the solace, the best and kindliest and 
most prized friend and benefactor of the erring, the 
forsaken, the old, and weary, and broken of heart, 
whose burdens be heavy upon them, and who would 
lie down and be at rest. 

I would like to see the toast list reconstructed, for 
it seems to me a needed reform ; and as a beginning 
in this direction, if I can meet with a second, I beg 
to nominate Adam. I am not actuated by family 
considerations. It is a thing which I would do for 
any other member of our family, or anybody else's 
if I could honestly feel that he deserved it. But I 
do not. If I seem to be always trying to shove Adam 
into prominence, I can say sincerely that it is solely 
because of my admiration of him as a man who was 
a good citizen ; a good husband at a time when he 
was not married; a good father at a time when he 
had to guess his way, having never been young 
himself; and would have been a good son if he had 
had the chance. He could have been governor if he 
had wanted to. He could have been postmaster- 
general, speaker of the house, he could have been 
anything he chose, if he had been willing to put 

q6 



ON ADAM 
himself up and stand a canvass. Yet he lived and 
2 1 PnVate c l tlzen - ^ut a handle to his name, 
and he comes down to us as plain, simple Adam 
and nothmg more-a man who could have elecS 
Welf Major-General Adam or anything elJe as 
easy as ro llmg off a log. A man who comes down to 

stailtTl* Stam UP ° n WS name > «*" * was a 
stem to take one apple when most of us would have 
taken the whole crop. I stand up for him on accoun 
of his sterhng pnvate virtues, and not because he 
happens to be a connection of mine. 



97 



SPEECH OF SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

Thirteenth Annual Reunion of the Army of the Potomac, 
Held in Hartford, Connecticut, June 8, 1881 

(Reported by the Hartford "Courant") 

To the regular toast, "The Benefit of Judicious Training," 
Samuel L. Clemens {Mark Twain), responded as follows:— 

"Let but the thoughtful civilian instruct the soldier in his duties, 
and the victory is sure."— Martin Farquhar Tupper on the Art 
of War. 

MR. CHAIRMAN,— I gladly join with my 
fellow-townsmen in extending a hearty wel- 
come to these illustrious generals and war-scarred 
soldiers of the Republic. This is a proud day for us, 
and, if the sincere desire of our hearts has been ful- 
filled, it has not been an unpleasant day for them. 
I am in full accord, sir, with the sentiment of the 
toast — for I have always maintained, with enthu- 
siasm, that the only wise and true way is for the 
soldier to fight the battle and the unprejudiced civil- 
ian to tell him how to do it; yet when I was invitee' 
to respond to this toast and furnish this advice ant 
instruction, I was almost as embarrassed as I was 
gratified; for I could bring to this great service but 
the one virtue of absence of prejudice and set opinion. 
Still, but one other qualification was needed, and,. 
it was of only minor importance— I mean, knowledge 
of the subject— therefore I was not disheartened, fo« 

98 



SPEECH OF SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

I could acquire that, there being two weeks to spare. 
A general of high rank in this Army of the Potomac 
said two weeks was really more than I would need 
for the purpose — he had known people of my style 
who had learned enough in forty-eight hours to enable 
them to advise an army. Aside from the compli- 
ment, this was gratifying, because it confirmed the 
impression I had had before. He told me to go to 
the United States Military Academy at West Point — 
said in his flowery professional way that the cadets 
would "load me up." I went there and stayed two 
days, and his prediction proved correct. I make no 
boast on my own account — none; all I know about 
military matters I got from the gentlemen at West 
Point, and to them belongs the credit. They treated 
me with courtesy from the first; but when my mis- 
sion was revealed, this mere courtesy blossomed into 
the warmest zeal. Everybody, officers and all, put 
down their work and turned their whole attention 
to giving me military information. Every question 
I asked was promptly and exhaustively answered. 
Therefore I feel proud to state that in the advice 
which I am about to give you, as soldiers, I am backed 
up by the highest military authority in the land, yes, 
in the world, if an American does say it — West 
Point! 

To begin, gentlemen. When an engagement is 
meditated, it is best to feel the enemy first. That 
is, if it is night; for, as one of the cadets explained 
to me, you do not need to feel him in the daytime, 
because you can see him then. I never should have 
thought of that, but it is true — perfectly true. In 

99 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

the daytime the methods of procedure are various; 
but the best, it seems to me, is one which was 
introduced by General Grant. General Grant 
always sent an active young redoubt to reconnoitre 
and get the enemy's bearings. I got this from a 
high officer at the Point, who told me he used to 
be a redoubt on General Grant's staff and had done 
it often. 

When the hour for the battle is come, move to the 
field with celerity — fool away no time. Under this 
head I was told of a favorite maxim of General 
Sheridan's. General Sheridan always said, "If the 
siege train isn't ready, don't wait; go by any train 
that is handy; to get there is the main thing." Now 
that is the correct idea. As you approach the field it 
is best to get out and walk. This gives you a better 
chance to dispose your forces judiciously for the as- 
sault. Get your artillery in position, and throw out 
stragglers to right and left to hold your lines of 
communication against surprise. See that every 
hodcarrier connected with the mortar battery is at 
his post. They told me at the Point that Napoleon 
despised mortar batteries and never would use them ; 
he said that for real efficiency he wouldn't give a 
hatful of brickbats for a ton of mortar. However, 
that is all he knew about it. 

Everything being ready for the assault, you want 
to enter the field with your baggage to the front. 
This idea was invented by our renowned guest, 
General Sherman. They told me General Sherman 
said the trunks and steamer chairs make a good pro- 
tection for the soldiers, but that chiefly they attract 

IOO 



SPEECH OF SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

the attention and rivet the interest of the enemy 
and this gives you an opportunity to whirl the other 
end of the column around and attack him in the 
rear. I have given a good deal of study to this 
tactic since I learned about it, and it appears to me 
it is a rattling-good idea. Never fetch on your 
reserves at the start. This was Napoleon's first mis- 
take at Waterloo; next he assaulted with his bomb 
proofs and embrasures and ambulances, when he 
ought to have used a heavier artillery; thirdly, he 
retired his right by ricochet — which uncovered his 
pickets — when his only possibility of success lay in 
doubling up his center flank by flank and throwing 
out his chevaux-de-frise by the left oblique to relieve 
the skirmish line and confuse the enemy — and at 
West Point they said it would. It was about this 
time that the emperor had two horses shot under 
him. How often you see the remark that General 
So-and-So in such and such a battle had two or 
three horses shot under him. General Burnside and 
many great European military men — as I was 
informed by a high artillery officer at West Point, 
has justly characterized this as a wanton waste of 
projectiles, and he impressed upon me a conversa- 
tion held in the tent of the Prussian chiefs at Grave- 
lotte, in the course of which our honored guest just 
referred to — General Burnside — observed that if you 
can't aim a horse so as to hit the general with it, 
shoot it over him and you may bag somebody on 
the other side, whereas a horse shot under a general 
does no sort of damage. I agree cordially with 
General Burnside, and Heaven knows I shall rejoice 

IOI 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

to see the artillerists of this land and all lands cease 
from this wicked and idiotic custom. 

At West Point they told me of another mistake 
at Waterloo, viz., that the French were under fire 
from the beginning of the fight until the end of it, 
which was plainly a most effeminate and ill-timed 
attention to comfort, and a fatal and foolish division 
of military strength; for it probably took as many 
men to keep up the fires as it did to do the fighting. 
It would have been much better to have a small fire 
in the rear and let the men go there by detachments 
and get warm, and not try to warm up the whole 
army at once. All the cadets said that. An assault 
along the whole line was the one thing which could 
have restored Napoleon's advantages at this junc- 
ture; and he was actually rising in his stirrups to 
order it when a sutler burst at his side and covered 
him with dirt and debris; and before he could 
recover his lost opportunity Wellington opened a 
tremendous and devastating fire upon him from a 
monster battery of vivandieres, and the star of the 
great captain's glory set, to rise no more. The cadet 
wept while he told me these mournful particulars. 

When you leave a battlefield, always leave it in 
good order. Remove the wreck and rubbish and 
tidy up the place. However, in the case of a drawn 
battle, it is neither party's business to tidy up any- 
thing — you can leave the field looking as if the city 
government of New York had bossed the fight. 

When you are traversing in the enemy's country 
in order to destroy his supplies and cripple his 
resources, you want to take along plenty of camp 

102 



SPEECH OF SAMUEL L. CLEMENS 

followers — the more the better. They are a tremen- 
dously effective arm of the service, and they inspire in 
the foe the liveliest dread. A West Point professor 
told me that the wisdon of this was recognized as 
far back as Scripture times. He quoted the verse. 
He said it was from the new revision and was a little 
different from the way it reads in the old one. I do 
not recollect the exact wording of it now, but I 
remember that it wound up with something about 
such-and-such a devastating agent being as "terrible 
as an army with bummers." 

I believe I have nothing further to add but this: 
The West Pointer said a private should preserve a 
respectful attitude toward his superiors, and should 
seldom or never proceed so far as to offer suggestions 
to his general in the field. If the battle is not being 
conducted to suit him it is better for him to resign. 
By the etiquette of war, it is permitted to none 
below the rank of newspaper correspondent to dic- 
tate to the general in the field. 

[While Mr. Clemens was speaking a band came 
down the street and struck up "Marching Through 
Georgia" in front of the hall. The remarks were 
interrupted. A voice in the hall started the words, 
others took it up, and the band finally joined in, 
producing a thrilling effect. Hardly had Mr. Clemens 
resumed when the outside band began "Auld Lang 
Syne," and, grasping the situation, he waved his 
hand in unison with the music, and the assemblage 
sang the words to the finish.] 



103 



ADVICE TO YOUTH 

About 1882 

BEING told I would be expected to talk here, I 
inquired what sort of a talk I ought to make. 
They said it should be something suitable to youth — 
something didactic, instructive, or something in the 
nature of good advice. Very well. I have a few 
things in my mind which I have often longed to say 
for the instruction of the young; for it is in one's 
tender early years that such things will best take 
root and be most enduring and most valuable. 
First, then, I will say to you, my young friends — and 
I say it beseechingly, urgingly 

Always obey your parents, when they are present. 
This is the best policy in the long run, because if 
you don't they will make you. Most parents think 
they know better than you do, and you can generally 
make more by humoring that superstition than you 
can by acting on your own better judgment. 

Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any, 
also to strangers, and sometimes to others. If a 
person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether 
it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme 
measures; simply watch your chance and hit him 
with a brick. That will be sufficient. If you shall 
find that he had not intended any offense, come out 
frankly and confess yourself in the wrong when you 

104 



ADVICE TO YOUTH 

struck him; acknowledge it like a man and say you 
didn't mean to. Yes, always avoid violence; in this 
age of charity and kindliness, the time has gone by 
for such things. Leave dynamite to the low and 
unrefined. 

Go to bed early, get up early — this is wise. Some 
authorities say get up with the sun ; some others say 
get up with one thing, some with another. But a 
lark is really the best thing to get up with. It gives 
you a splendid reputation with everybody to know 
that you get up with the lark; and if you get the 
right kind of a lark, and work at him right, you can 
easily train him to get up at half past nine, every 
time — it is no trick at all. 

Now as to the matter of lying. You want to be 
very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly 
sure to get caught. Once caught, you can never 
again be, in the eyes of the good and the pure, what 
you were before. Many a young person has injured 
himself permanently through a single clumsy and 
ill-finished lie, the result of carelessness born of incom- 
plete training. Some authorities hold that the young 
ought not to He at all. That, of course, is putting it 
rather stronger than necessary; still, while I cannot 
go quite so far as that, I do maintain, and I believe 
I am right, that the young ought to be temperate in 
the use of this great art until practice and experience 
shall give them that confidence, elegance, and pre- 
cision which alone can make the accomplishment 
graceful and profitable. Patience, diligence, pains- 
taking attention to detail — these are the require- 
ments ; these, in time, will make the student perfect ; 

105 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

upon these, and upon these only, may he rely as the 
sure foundation for future eminence. Think what 
tedious years of study, thought, practice, experience, 
went to the equipment of that peerless old master 
who was able to impose upon the whole world the 
lofty and sounding maxim that "truth is mighty and 
will prevail" — the most majestic compound fracture 
of fact which any of woman born has yet achieved. 
For the history of our race, and each individual's 
experience, are sown thick with evidence that a truth 
is not hard to kill and that a lie told well is immortal. 
There in Boston is a monument of the man who dis- 
covered anaesthesia; many people are aware, in these 
latter days, that that man didn't discover it at all, 
but stole the discovery from another man. Is this 
truth mighty, and will it prevail ? Ah no, my hearers, 
the monument is made of hardy material, but the lie 
it tells will outlast it a million years. An awkward, 
feeble, leaky lie is a thing which you ought to make it 
your unceasing study to avoid; such a lie as that 
has no more real permanence than an average truth. 
Why, you might as well tell the truth at once and be 
done with it. A feeble, stupid, preposterous He will 
not live two years — except it be a slander upon some- 
body. It is indestructible, then, of course, but that 
is no merit of yours. A final word : begin your prac- 
tice of this gracious and beautiful art early — begin 
now. If I had begun earlier, I could have learned 
how. 

Never handle firearms carelessly. The sorrow and 
suffering that have been caused through the inno- 
cent but heedless handling of firearms by the young! 

1 06 



ADVICE TO YOUTH 

Dnly four days ago, right in the next farmhouse to 
;he one where I am spending the summer, a grand- 
nother, old and gray and sweet, one of the loveliest 
spirits in the land, was sitting at her work, when her 
foung grandson crept in and got down an old, 
mattered, rusty gun which had not been touched for 
nany years and was supposed not to be loaded, and 
)ointed it at her, laughing and threatening to shoot. 
.11 her fright she ran screaming and pleading toward 
he door on the other side of the room; but as she 
)assed him he placed the gun almost against her very 
>reast and pulled the trigger! He had supposed it 
vas not loaded. And he was right — it wasn't. So 
here wasn't any harm done. It is the only case of 
hat kind I ever heard of. Therefore, just the same, 
lon't you meddle with old unloaded firearms; they 
ire the most deadly and unerring things that have 
rver been created by man. You don't have to take 
iny pains at all with them; you don't have to have 
i rest, you don't have to have any sights on the gun, 
ron don't have to take aim, even. No, you just pick 
>ut a relative and bang away, and you are sure to 
*et him. A youth who can't hit a cathedral at thirty 
raids with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an 
lour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his 
grandmother every time, at a hundred. Think 
vhat Waterloo would have been if one of the armies 
lad been boys armed with old muskets supposed 
lot to be loaded, and the other army had been corn- 
Dosed of their female relations. The very thought 
)f it makes one shudder. 
There are many sorts of books ; but good ones are 
107 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

the sort for the young to read. Remember that. 
They are a great, an inestimable, an unspeakable 
means of improvement. Therefore be careful in your 
selection, my young friends; be very careful ; confine 
yourselves exclusively to Robertson's Sermons, Bax- 
ter's Saint* s Rest, The Innocents Abroad, and works 
of that kind. 

But I have said enough. I hope you will treasure 
up the instructions which I have given you, and make 
them a guide to your feet and a light to your under- 
standing. Build your character thoughtfully and 
painstaking upon these precepts, and by and by, 
when you have got it built, you will be surprised 
and gratified to see how nicely and sharply it resem- 
bles everybody else's. 



108 



SPEECH 

At the Banquet or the International Congress op 
Wheelmen. (About 1884) 

MR. CHAIRMAN, — I am not sure that I have 
voice enough to make myself heard over such 
a far-stretching landscape of humanity as this, but I 
will do what I can. I have been asked to tell, briefly, 
what bicycling is like, from the novice's point of 
view. I judge that this is for the instruction of the 
eight hundred guests, scattered through this vast 
assemblage, who are not wheelmen; for it is not 
likely that I could tell the rest of you anything about 
bicycling which you do not already know. As twelve 
speakers are to follow me, and as the weather is very 
warm and close, besides, I shall be careful to make 
quite sure of one thing at least — I will keep well 
within the ten-minute limit allowed each speaker. 

It was on the 10th of May of the present year that 
a brace of curiously contrasted events added them- 
selves to the sum of my experiences; for on that day 
I confessed to age by mounting spectacles for the 
first time, and in the same hour I renewed my youth, 
to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for 
the first time. 

The spectacles stayed on. 



109 



THE MIDDLE PERIOD 



TURNCOATS 

With the nomination of James G. Blaine, in 1884, Mark Twain 
joined with a group of distinguished men informing the "Mug- 
wump " party which elected Grover Cleveland. During the campaign 
he made a number of speeches one of which follows: 

IT seems to me that there are things about this 
campaign which almost amount to inconsist- 
encies. The language may sound violent ; if it does, 
it is traitor to my mood . The Mugwumps are con- 
temptuously called turncoats by the Republican 
speakers and journals. The charge is true: we have 
turned our coats; we have no denials to make as to 
that. But does a man become of a necessity base 
because he turns his coat? And are there no Repub- 
lican turncoats except the Mugwumps? Please look 
at the facts in the case candidly and fairly before 
sending us to political perdition without company. 
Why are we called turncoats? Because we have 
changed our opinion. Changed it about what? 
About the greatness and righteousness of the prin- 
ciples of the Republican party? No, that is not 
changed. We believe in those principles yet; no one 
doubts this. What, then, is it that we have changed 
our opinion about? Why, about Mr. Blaine. That 
is the whole change. There is no other. Decidedly, 
we have done that, and do by no means wish to deny 
it. But when did we change it? Yesterday? — last 
week? — last summer? No — we changed it years and 

"3 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

years ago, as far back as 1876. The vast bulk of the 
Republican party changed its opinion of him at the 
same time and in the same way. Will anybody be 
hardy enough to deny this? Was there more than a 
handful of really respectable and respect-worthy Re- 
publicans on the north Atlantic seaboard who did not 
change their opinion of Mr. Blaine at that time? 
Was not the Republican atmosphere — both private 
and journalistic — so charged with this fact that none 
could fail to perceive it? 

Very well. Was this multitude called turncoats 
at that time? Of course not. That would have been 
an absurdity. Was any of this multitude held in 
contempt at that time, and derided and execrated, 
for turning his Blaine coat? No one thought of 
such a thing. Now, then, we who are called the 
Mugwumps turned our coats at that time, and they 
have remained so turned to this day. If it is shame- 
ful to turn one's coat once, what measure of scorn 
can adequately describe the man who turns it twice. 
If to turn one's coat once makes one a dude, a 
Pharisee, a Mugwump, and fool, where shall you find 
language rancid enough to describe a double turn- 
coat? If to turn your coat, at a time when no one 
can impeach either the sincerity of the act or the 
cleanliness of your motives in doing it, is held to be 
a pathetic spectacle, what sort of spectacle is it 
when such a coat-turner turns his coat again, and 
this time under quite suggestively different circum- 
stances? — that is to say, after a nomination. Do 
these double turncoats exist? And who are they? 
They are the bulk of the Republican party; and it 

114 



TURNCOATS 

is hardly venturing too far to say that neither you 
nor I can put his finger upon a respectable member 
of that great multitude who can put a denial of it 
instantly into words and without blush or stammer. 
Here in Hartford they do not deny; they confess 
that they are double turncoats. They say they are 
convinced that when they formerly changed their 
opinion about Mr. Blaine they were wrong, and so 
they have changed back again. Which would seem 
to be an admission that to change one's opinion and 
turn one's coat is not necessarily a base thing to do, 
after all. Yet they call my tribe customary hard 
names in their next campaign speeches, just the 
same, without seeming to see any inconsistency or 
impropriety in it. Well, it is all a muddle to me. I 
cannot make out how it is or why it that is a single 
turncoat is a reptile and a double turncoat a bird of 
Paradise. 

I easily perceive that the Republican party has 
deserted us and deserted itself; but I am not able 
to see that we have deserted anything or anybody. 
As for me, I have not deserted the Republican code 
of principles, for I propose to vote its ticket, with 
the presidential exception; and I have not deserted 
Mr. Blaine, for as regards him I got my free papers 
before he bought the property. 

Personally I know that two of the best known of 
the Hartford campaigners for Blaine did six months 
ago hold as uncomplimentary opinions about him as 
I did then, and as I do to-day. I am told, upon what 
I conceive to be good authority, that the two or 
three other Connecticut campaigners of prominence 

115 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

of that ilk held opinions concerning him of that same 
uncomplimentary breed up to the day of the nom- 
ination. These gentlemen have turned their coats; 
and they now admire Blaine; and not calmly, tem- 
perately, but with a sort of ferocious rapture. In a 
speech the other night, one of them spoke of the 
author of the Mulligan letters — these strange Vassar- 
like exhibitions of eagerness, gushingness, timidity, 
secretiveness, frankness, naivete, unsagacity, and 
almost incredible and impossible indiscretion — as 
the " first statesman of the age." Another of them 
spoke of "the three great statesmen of the age, 
Gladstone, Bismarck, and Blaine." Doubtless this 
profound remark was received with applause. But 
suppose the gentlemen had had the daring to read 
some of those letters first, appending the names of 
Bismarck and Gladstone to them; do not you can- 
didly believe that the applause would have been 
missing ana that in its place there would have been 
a smile which you could have heard to Springfield? 
For no one has ever seen a Republican mass meeting 
that was devoid of the perception of the ludicrous. 



116 



A TRIBUTE 

This mock speech on the dead partisan written after the election 
of Gr over Cleveland in 1884 was probably never delivered in public. 

MR. CHAIRMAN,— That is a noble and beauti- 
ful ancient sentiment which admonishes us to 
speak well of the dead. Therefore let us try to do 
this for our late friend who is mentioned in the text. 
How full of life and strength and confidence and 
pride he was but a few short months ago ; and, alas ! 
how dead he is to-day! We that are gathered at 
these obsequies, we that are here to bury this dust, 
and sing the parting hymn, and say the comforting 
word to the widow and the orphan now left destitute 
and sorrowing by him, their support and stay in the 
post office, the consulship, the navy yard, and the 
Indian reservation — we knew him, right well and 
familiarly we knew him; and so it is meet that we, 
and not strangers, should take upon ourselves these 
last offices, lest his reputation suffer through expla- 
nations of him which might not explain him happily, 
and justifications of him which might not justify 
him conclusively. First, it is right and well that we 
censure him, in those few minor details wherein 
some slight censure may seem to be demanded; to 
the end that when we come to speak his praises the 
good he did may shine with all the more intolerable 
brightness by the contrast. 

117 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

To begin, then, with the twilight side of his char- 
acter: He was a slave; not a turbulent and trouble- 
some, but a meek and docile, cringing and fawning, 
dirt-eating and dirt-preferring slave; and Party was 
his lord and master. He had no mind of his own, 
no will of his own, no opinion of his own ; body and 
soul he was the property and chattel of that master, 
to be bought and sold, bartered, traded, given away, 
at his nod and beck — branded, mutilated, boiled in 
oil, if need were. And the desire of his heart was to 
make of a nation of freemen a nation of slaves like 
to himself; to bring to pass a time when it might be 
said that "all are for the Party, and none are for 
the State"; and the labors of his diligent hand and 
brain did finally compass his desire. For he fooled 
the people with plausible new readings of familiar 
old principles, and beguiled them to the degradation 
of their manhood and the destruction of their liber- 
ties. He taught them that the only true freedom of 
thought is to think as the party thinks; that the 
only true freedon of speech is to speak as the party 
dictates; that the only righteous toleration is toler- 
ation of what the party approves; that patriotism, 
duty, citizenship, devotion to country, loyalty to 
the flag, are all summed up in loyalty to party. 
Save the party, uphold the party, make the party 
victorious, though all things else go to ruin and the 
grave. 

In these few little things he who lies here cold in 
death was faulty. Say we no more concerning them, 
but over them draw the veil of a charitable oblivion; 
for the good which he did far overpasses this little 

118 



A TRIBUTE 

evil. With grateful hearts we may unite in praises 
and thanksgivings to him for one majestic fact of 
his life — that in his zeal for his cause he finally over- 
did it. The precious result was that a change came; 
and that change remains, and will endure, and on 

its banner is written 

"Not all are for the Party — now some are for the 
State." 



119 



CONSISTENCY 

A paper read at the Hartford Monday Evening Club, following 
the Blaine-Cleveland campaign, 1884. The proper emphasis for 
delivery was indicated on the author's manuscript. 

WE are continually warned to be consistent — by 
the pulpit, by the newspaper, by our asso- 
ciates. When we depart from consistency, we are 
reproached for it by these censors. When a man 
who has been born and brought up a Jew becomes 
a Christian, the Jews sorrow over it and reproach 
him for his inconstancy ; all his life he has denied the 
divinity of Christ, but now he makes a lie of all his 
past; upon him rests the stigma of inconsistency; 
we can never be sure of him again. We put in the 
deadly parallel columns what he said formerly and 
what he says now, and his credit is gone. We say, 
Trust him not; we know him now; he will change 
again; and possibly again and yet again; he has 
no stability. 

There are men called life-long Democrats, life-long 
Republicans. If one of these departs from his alle- 
giance and votes the other ticket, the same thing hap- 
pens as in the Jew's case. The man loses character. He 
is inconsistent. He is a traitor. His past utterances 
will be double columned with his present ones, and 
he is damned; also despised — even by his new 
political associates, for in theirs, as in all men's eyes, 
inconsistency is a treason and matter for scorn. 

120 



CONSISTENCY 

These are facts — common, every-day facts; and I 
have chosen them for that reason; facts known to 
everybody, facts which no one denies. 

What is the most rigorous law of our being? 
Growth. No smallest atom of our moral, mental, or 
physical structure can stand still a year. It grows — 
it must grow; nothing can prevent it. It must grow 
downward or upward ; it must grow smaller or larger, 
better or worse — it cannot stand still. In other 
words, we change — and must change, constantly, 
and keep on changing as long as we live. What, 
then, is the true gospel of consistency? Change. 
Who is the really consistent man? The man who 
changes. Since change is the law of his being, he 
cannot be consistent if he stick in a rut. 

Yet, as the quoted facts show, there are those who 
would misteach us that to stick in a rut is consist- 
ency — and a virtue; and that to climb out of the 
rut is inconsistency — and a vice. They will grant 
you certain things, without murmur or dissent — as 
things which go without saying; truisms. They will 
grant that in time the crawling baby walks and must 
not be required to go on crawling; that in time the 
youth has outgrown the child's jacket and must not be 
required to crowd himself into it; they grant you 
that a child's knowledge is becoming and proper to 
the child only so they grant him a school and teach 
him, so that he may change and grow; they grant 
you that he must keep on learning — through youth 
and manhood and straight on — he must not be 
allowed to suppose that the knowledge of thirty can 
be any proper equipment for his fiftieth year; they 

121 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

will grant you that a young man's opinions about 
mankind and the universe are crude, and sometimes 
foolish, and they would not dream of requiring him 
to stick to them the rest of his life, lest by changing 
them he bring down upon himself the reproach of 
inconsistency. They will grant you these, and every- 
thing else you can think of, in the line of progress 
and change, until you get down to politics and 
religion; there they draw the line. These must 
suffer no change. Once a Presbyterian, always a 
Presbyterian, or you are inconsistent and a traitor; 
once a Democrat, always a Democrat, or you are 
inconsistent and a traitor — a turncoat. 

It is curious logic. Is there but one kind of treason ? 
No man remains the same sort of Presbyterian he 
was at first — the thing is impossible ; time and various 
influences modify his Presby terianism ; it narrows or 
it broadens, grows deeper or shallower, but does not 
stand still. In some cases it grows so far beyond 
itself, upward or downward, that nothing is really 
left of it but the name, and perhaps an inconsequen- 
tial rag of the original substance, the bulk being now 
Baptist or Buddhist or something. Well, if he go 
over to the Buddhists, he is a traitor. To whom? 
To what? No man can answer those questions 
rationally. Now if he does not go over what is he? 
Plainly a traitor to himself, a traitor to the best and 
the highest and the honestest that is in him. Which 
of these treasons is the blackest one — and the shame- 
fulest? Which is the real and right consistency? To 
be consistent to a sham and an empty name, or con- 
sistent to the law of one's being, which is change, and 



122 



CONSISTENCY 

in this case requires him to move forward and keep 
abreast of his best mental and moral progress, his 
highest convictions of the right and the true? Sup- 
pose this treason to the name of a church should 
carry him clear outside of all churches? Is that a 
blacker treason than to remain? So long as he is 
loyal to his best self, what should he care for other 
loyalties? It seems to me that a man should secure 
the Well done, faithful servant, of his own conscience 
first and foremost, and let all other loyalties go. 

I have referred to the fact that when a man retires 
from his political party he is a traitor — that he is so 
pronounced in plain language. That is bold; so bold 
as to deceive many into the fancy that it is true. 
Desertion, treason — these are the terms applied. 
Their military form reveals the thought in the man's 
mind who uses them; to him sl political party is an 
army. Well, is it? Are the two things identical? 
Do they even resemble each other? Necessarily a 
political party is not an army of conscripts, for they 
are in the ranks by compulsion. Then it must be a 
regular army, or an army of volunteers. Is it a 
regular army? No, for these enlist for a specified 
and well-understood term and can retire without 
reproach when the term is up. Is it an army of 
volunteers who have enlisted for the war, and may 
righteously be shot if they leave before the war is 
finished? No, it is not even an army in that sense. 
Those fine military terms are high-sounding, empty 
lies — and are no more rationally applicable to a 
political party than they would be to an oyster bed. 
The volunteer soldier comes to the recruiting office 

123 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and strips himself, and proves that he is so many 
feet high, and has sufficiently good teeth, and no 
fingers gone, and is sufficiently sound in body gen- 
erally; he is accepted, but not until he has sworn a 
deep oath, or made other solemn form of promise, to 
march under that flag until that war is done or his 
term of enlistment completed. What is the process 
when a voter joins a party f Must he prove that he 
is sound in any way, mind or body? Must he prove 
that he knows anything — whatever — is capable of 
anything? Does he take an oath or make a promise 
of any sort? — or doesn't he leave himself entirely 
freet If he were informed by the political boss that 
if he join it must be forever; that he must be that 
party's chattel and wear its brass collar the rest of 
his days, would not that insult him? It goes without 
saying. He would say some rude, unprintable thing 
and turn his back on that preposterous organization. 
But the political boss puts no conditions upon him 
at all; and his volunteer makes no promises, enlists 
for no stated term. He has in no sense become a part 
of an army, he is in no way restrained of his freedom. 
Yet he will presently find that his bosses and his 
newspapers have assumed just the reverse of that; 
that they have blandly arrogated to themselves an 
iron-clad military authority over him; and within 
twelve months, if he is an average man, he will have 
surrendered his liberty, and will actually be silly 
enough to believe that he cannot leave that party, 
for any cause whatever, without being a shameful 
traitor, a deserter, a legitimately dishonored man. 
There you have the just measure of that freedom 

124 



CONSISTENCY 

of conscience, freedom of opinion, freedon of speech 
and action, which we hear so much inflated foolish- 
ness about, as being the precious possession of the 
Republic. Whereas, in truth, the surest way for a 
man to make of himself a target for almost universal 
scorn, obloquy, slander, and insult is to stop twad- 
dling about these priceless independencies , and attempt 
to exercise one of them. If he is a preacher, half his 
congregation will clamor for his expulsion, and will 
expel him, except they find it will injure real estate 
in the neighborhood; if he is a mechanic, he will be 
discharged, promptly; if he is a lawyer, his clients 
will take their business elsewhere; if he is a doctor, 
his own dead will turn against him. 

I repeat that the new party member who supposed 
himself independent will presently find that the party 
has somehow got a mortgage on his soul, and that 
within a year he will recognize the mortgage, deliver 
up his liberty, and actually believe he cannot retire 
from that party from any motive, howsoever high 
and right, in his own eyes, without shame and 
dishonor. 

Is it possible for human wickedness to invent a 
doctrine more infernal and poisonous than this? Is 
there imaginable a baser servitude than it imposes? 
What slave is so degraded as the slave who is proud 
that he is a slave? What is the essential difference 
between a life-long Democrat and any other kind of 
life-long slave? Is it less humiliating to dance to the 
lash of one master than another? 

This atrocious doctrine of allegiance to party plays 
directly into the hands of politicians of the baser 

125 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

sort — and doubtless for that it was borrowed — or 
stolen — from the monarchical system. It enables 
them to foist upon the country officials whom no 
self-respecting man would vote for, if he could but 
come to understand that loyalty to himself is his 
first and highest duty, not loyalty to any party name. 
The wire workers, convention packers, know they 
are not obliged to put up the fittest man for the 
office, for they know that the docile party will vote 
for any forked thing they put up, even though it do 
not even strictly resemble a man. 

I am persuaded — convinced — that this idea of con- 
sistency — unchanging allegiance to party — has low- 
ered the manhood of the whole nation — pulled it 
down and dragged it in the mud. When Mr. Blaine 
was nominated for the Presidency, I knew the man; 
no, I judged I knew him; I don't know him now, but 
at that time I judged I knew him; for my daily paper 
had been painting him black, and blacker, and 
blacker still, for a series of years, during which it had 
no call to speak anything but the truth about him, 
no call to be malicious toward him, no call to be 
otherwise than just simply and honestly candid about 
him, since he belonged to its own party and was not 
before the nation as a detectable candidate for any- 
thing. But within thirty days after the nomination 
that paper had him all painted up white again. That 
is not allegiance to one's best self, one's straitest 
convictions; it is allegiance to party. Nobody likes 
to eat a ton of black paint, and none but the master 
can make the slave do it. Was this paper alone at 
this singular feast? No; ten thousand other Repub- 

126 



CONSISTENCY 

lican newspapers sat down at the same table and 
worried down their ton apiece; and not any fewer 
than ioo f ooo more-or-less-prominent politicians sat 
down all over this country and worried down their 
ton apiece; and after long, long and bitter gagging, 
some millions of the common serfdom of the party 
sat down and worried down their ton apiece. Paint? 
It was dirt. Enough of it was eaten by the meek 
Republican party to build a railroad embankment 
from here to Japan; and it pains me to think that 
a year from now they will probably have to eat it 
all over again. 

Well, there was a lot of queer feasting done in those 
days. One learned in the law pondered the Mulligan 
letters and other frightful literature, and rendered this 
impressive verdict: he said the evidence would not 
convict Mr. Blaine in a court of law, and so he would vote 
for him. He did not say whether the evidences would 
prove him innocent or not. That wasn't important. 

Now, he knew that this verdict was absolutely in- 
conclusive. He knew that it settled nothing, estab- 
lished nothing whatever, and was wholly valueless as a 
guide for his action, an answer to his questionings. 

He knew that the merciful and righteous barriers 
raised up by the laws of our humane age for the 
shelter and protection of the possibly innocent, have 
often and over again protected and rescued the cer- 
tainly guilty. He knew that in this way many and 
many a prisoner has gone unchastised from the court 
when judge and jury and the whole public believed 
with all their hearts that he was guilty. He knew — 
all credit not discredit to our age that it is so — that 

127 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

this result is so frequent, so almost commonplace, 
that the mere failure to satisfy the exacting forms 
of law and prove a man guilty in a court, is a hundred 
thousand miles from proving him innocent. You 
see a hiccoughing man wallowing in the gutter at 
two o'clock in the morning; you think the thing all 
over and weigh the details of it in your mind as 
you walk home, and with immeasurable wisdom 
arrive at the verdict that you don't know he wasn't a 
Prohibitionist Of course you don't, and if you stop 
and think a minute you would realize that you don't 
know he was, either. 

Well, a good clergyman who read the Mulligan 
and other published evidences was not able to make 
up his mind, but concluded to take refuge in the 
verdict rendered by the citizen learned in the law; 
take his intellectual and moral food at second-hand, 
though he doesn't rank as an intellectual infant, 
unable to chew his own moral and mental nourish- 
ment; he decided that an apparently colored person 
who couldn't be proven to be black in the baffling 
crosslights of a court of law was white enough for 
him, he being a little color blind, anyway, in matters 
where the party is concerned, and so he came reluc- 
tantly to the polls, with his redeeming blush on his 
countenance, and put in his vote. 

I met a certain other clergyman on the corner the 
day after the nomination. He was very uncom- 
promising. He said: "I know Blaine to the core; 
I have known him from boyhood up; and I know 
him to be utterly unprincipled and unscrupulous." 
Within six weeks after that, this clergyman was at 

128 



CONSISTENCY 

a Republican mass meeting in the Opera House, and 
I think he presided. At any rate, he made a speech. 
If you did not know that the character depicted in 
it meant Mr. Blaine, you would suppose it meant — 
well, there isn't anybody down here on the earth that 
you can use as a comparison. It is praise, praise, 
praise; laudation, laudation, laudation; glorifica- 
tion, glorification, canonization. Conceive of the 
general crash and upheaval and ripping and tearing 
and readjustment of things that must have been 
going on in that man's moral and mental chaos 
for six weeks! What is any combination of inflam- 
matory rheumatism and St. Vitus 's dance to this? 
When the doctrine of allegiance to party can utterly 
up-end a man's moral constitution and make a tem- 
porary fool of him besides, what excuse are you going 
to offer for preaching it, teaching it, extending it, 
perpetuating it? Shall you say, the best good of 
the country demands allegiance to party ? Shall you 
also say it demands that a man kick his truth and his 
conscience into the gutter, and become a mouthing 
lunatic, besides? Oh, no ! you say; it does not demand 
that. But what if it produce that, in spite of you? 
There is no obligation upon a man to do things 
which he ought not to do, when drunk, but most men 
will do them, just the same, and so we hear no 
arguments about obligations in the matter; we only 
hear men warned to avoid the habit of drinking; get 
rid of the thing that can betray men into such things. 
This is a funny business, all round. The same 
men who enthusiastically preach loyal consistency 
to church and party are always ready and willing 

129 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and anxious to persuade a Chinaman or an Indian 
or a Kanaka to desert his Church, or a fellow- 
American to desert his party. The man who deserts 
to them is all that is high and pure and beautiful — 
apparently; the man who deserts from them is all 
that is foul and despicable. This is Consistency 
with a capital C. 

With the daintiest and self-complacentest sarcasm 
the life-long loyalist scoffs at the Independent — or, 
as he calls him, with cutting irony, the Mugwump; 
makes himself too killingly funny for anything in 
this world about him. But — the Mugwump can 
stand it, for there is a great history at his back, 
stretching down the centuries, and he comes of a 
mighty ancestry. He knows that in the whole his- 
tory of the race of men no single great and high and 
beneficent thing was ever done for the souls and 
bodies, the hearts and the brains, of the children of 
this world, but a Mugwump started it and Mug- 
wumps carried it to victory. And their names are 
the stateliest in history: Washington, Garrison, 
Galileo, Luther, Christ. Loyalty to petrified opinions 
never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in 
this world — and never will. 

To return to the starting point: I am persuaded 
that the world has been tricked into adopting some 
false and most pernicious notions about consistency — 
and to such a degree that the average man has 
turned the rights and wrongs of things entirely 
around, and is proud to be "consistent," unchanging, 
immovable, fossilized, where it should be his humil- 
iation that he is so. 

130 



HENRY M. STANLEY 

Address Delivered in Boston, November, 1886 
Mr. Clemens introduced Mr. Stanley. 

EDIES AND GENTLEMEN, if any should ask v 
Why is it that you are here as introducer of 
the lecturer? I should answer that I happened to* 
be around and was asked to perform this function.. 
I was quite willing to do so, and, as there was no 
sort of need of an introduction, anyway, it could be 
necessary only that some person come forward for 
a moment and do an unnecessary thing, and this is, 
quite in my line. Now, to introduce so illustrious; 
a name as Henry M. Stanley by any detail of what 
the man has done is clear aside from my purpose^ 
that would be stretching the unnecessary to an uncon^ 
scionable degree. When I contrast what I have 
achieved in my measurably brief life with what he 
has achieved in his possibly briefer one, the effect is. 
to sweep utterly away the ten-story edifice of my 
own self -appreciation and leave nothing behind bu& 
the cellar. When you compare these achievements, 
of his with the achievements of really great men who 
exist in history, the comparison, I believe, is in his 
favor. I am not here to disparage Columbus. 

No, I won't do that; but when you come to regard 
the achievements of these two men, Columbus and 
Stanley, from the standpoint of the difficulties they 

131 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

encountered, the advantage is with Stanley and 
against Columbus. Now, Columbus started out to 
discover America. Well, he didn't need to do any- 
thing at all but sit in the cabin of his ship and hold 
his grip and sail straight on, and America would 
discover itself. Here it was, barring his passage the 
whole length and breadth of the South American con- 
tinent, and he couldn't get by it. He'd got to dis- 
cover it. But Stanley started out to find Doctor 
Livingstone, who was scattered abroad, as you may 
say, over the length and breadth of a vast slab of 
Africa as big as the United States. 

It was a blind kind of search. He was the worst 
scattered of men. But I will throw the weight of 
this introduction upon one very peculiar feature of 
Mr. Stanley's character, and that is his indestructible 
Americanism — an Americanism which he is proud of. 
And in this day and time, when it is the custom to 
ape and imitate English methods and fashions, it is 
like a breath of fresh air to stand in the presence 
of this untainted American citizen who has been 
caressed and complimented by half of the crowned 
heads of Europe, who could clothe his body from 
his head to his heels with the orders and decorations 
lavished upon him. And yet, when the untitled 
myriads of his own country put out their hands in 
welcome to him and greet him, "Well done," through 
the Congress of the United States, that is the crown 
that is worth all the rest to him. He is a product of 
institutions which exist in no other country on earth 
— institutions that bring out all that is best and most 
heroic in a man. I introduce Henry M. Stanley. 

132 



ON STANLEY AND LIVINGSTONE 

Mr. Clemens at dinner by the Whitefriars' Club, London, at the 
Mitre Tavern, in reply to the toast in his honor said: 

GENTLEMEN, — I thank you very heartily 
indeed for this expression of kindness toward 
me. What I have done for England and civilization 
in the arduous affairs which I have engaged in (that 
is good: that is so smooth that I will say it again 
and again) — what I have done for England and civi- 
lization in the arduous part I have performed I have 
done with a single-hearted devotion and with no 
hope of reward. I am proud, I am very proud, that 
it was reserved for me to find Doctor Livingstone 
and for Mr. Stanley to get all the credit. I hunted 
for that man in Africa all over seventy-five or one 
hundred parishes, thousands and thousands of miles 
in the wilds and deserts all over the place, sometimes 
riding negroes and sometimes travelling by rail. I 
didn't mind the rail or anything else, so that I didn't 
come in for the tar and feathers. I found that man 
at Ujiji — a place you may remember if you have ever 
been there — and it was a very great satisfaction that 
I found him just in the nick of time. I found that 
poor old man deserted by his niggers and by his 
geographers, deserted by all of his kind except the 
gorillas — dejected, miserable, famishing, absolutely 
famishing— but he was eloquent. Just as I found 

i33 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

him he had eaten his last elephant, and he said to 
me: "God knows where I shall get another.' ' He 
had nothing to wear except his venerable and honor- 
able naval suit, and nothing to eat but his diary. 

But I said to him: "It is all right; I have discov- 
ered you, and Stanley will be here by the four-o'clock 
train and will discover you officially, and then we 
will turn to and have a reg'lar good time." I said: 
"Cheer up, for Stanley has got corn, ammunition, 
glass beads, hymn books, whisky, and everything 
which the human heart can desire; he has got all 
kinds of valuables, including telegraph poles and a 
few cart loads of money. By this time communica- 
tion has been made with the land of Bibles and civi- 
lization, and property will advance." And then we 
surveyed all that country, from Ujiji, through 
Unanogo and other places, to Unyanyembe. I 
mention these names simply for your edification, 
nothing more — do not expect it — particularly as 
intelligence to the Royal Geographical Society. And 
then, having filled up the old man, we were all too 
full for utterance and departed. We have since then 
feasted on honors. 

So far as I am personally concerned, I am here to 
stay a few months, and to see English people and to 
learn English manners and customs, and to enjoy 
myself ; so the simplest thing I can do is to thank you 
for the toast you have honored me with and for the 
remarks you have made, and to wish health and 
prosperity to the Whitefriars' Club, and to sink 
down to my accustomed level. 



i34 



GENERAL GRANT'S GRAMMAR 

Delivered at the Army and Navy Club (1886) 

1ATELY a great and honored author, Matthew 
j Arnold, has been finding fault with General 
Grant's English. That would be fair enough, maybe, 
if the examples of imperfect English averaged more 
instances to the page in General Grant's book than 
they do in Arnold's criticism on the book — but they 
do not. It would be fair enough, maybe, if such 
instances were commoner in General Grant's book 
than they are in the works of the average standard 
author — but they are not. In fact, General Grant's 
derelictions in the matter of grammar and construc- 
tions are not more frequent than such derelictions 
in the works of a majority of the professional authors 
of our time, and of all previous times — authors as 
exclusively and painstakingly trained to the literary 
trade as was General Grant to the trade of war. 
This is not a random statement; it is a fact, and 
easily demonstrable. I have a book at home called 
Modern English Literature: Its Blemishes and Defects, 
by Henry H. Breen, a countryman of Mr. Arnold. 
In it I find examples of bad grammar and slovenly 
English from the pens of Sydney Smith, Sheridan, 
Hallam, Whately, Carlyle, Disraeli, Allison, Junius, 
Blair, Macaulay, Shakespeare, Milton, Gibbon, 
Southey, Lamb, Landor, Smollet, Walpole, Walker 

i35 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

(of the dictionary), Christopher North, Kirk White, 
Benjamin Franklin, Sir Walter Scott, and Mr. 
Lindley Murray (who made the grammar). 

In Mr. Arnold's criticism on General Grant's book 
we find two grammatical crimes and more than 
several examples of very crude and slovenly English, 
enough of them to easily entitle him to a lofty place 
in the illustrious list of delinquents just named. 

The following passage all by itself ought to elect 
him: "Meade suggested to Grant that he might 
wish to have immediately under him, Sherman, who 
had been serving with Grant in the West. He begged 
him not to hesitate if he thought it for the good of 
the service. Grant assured him that he had not 
thought of moving him, and in his memoirs, after 
relating what had passed, he adds," etc. To read 
that passage a couple of times would make a man 
dizzy; to read it four times would make him drunk. 

Mr. Breen makes this discriminating remark: "To 
suppose that because a man is a poet or an historian, 
he must be correct in his grammar, is to suppose 
that an architect must be a joiner, or a physician a 
compounder of medicine." Mr. Breen's point is 
well taken. If you should climb the mighty Matter- 
horn to look out over the kingdoms of the earth, it 
might be a pleasant incident to find strawberries up 
there. But Great Scott ! you don't climb the Matter- 
horn for strawberries! 

People may hunt out what microscopic motes they 
please, but, after all, the fact remains and cannot 
be dislodged, that General Grant's book is a great, 
and in its peculiar department unique and unap- 

136 



GENERAL GRANT'S GRAMMAR 

proachable, literary masterpiece. In their line, there 
is no higher literature than those modest, simple 
memoirs. Their style is at least flawless and no man 
could improve upon it, and great books are weighed 
and measured by their style and matter, and not by 
the trimmings and shadings of their grammar. 

There is that about the sun which makes us forget 
his spots, and when we think of General Grant our 
pulses quicken and his grammar vanishes; we only 
remember that this is the simple soldier, who, all 
untaught of the silken phrase makers, linked words 
together with an art surpassing the art of the schools 
and put into them a something which will still bring 
to American ears, as long as America shall last, 
the roll of his vanished drums and the tread of his 
marching hosts. What do we care for grammar when 
we think of those thunderous phrases: "uncondi- 
tional and immediate surrender," "I propose to move 
immediately upon your works," "I propose to fight 
it out on this line if it takes all summer." Mr. 
Arnold would doubtless claim that that last phrase 
is not strictly grammatical, and yet it did certainly 
wake up this nation as a hundred million tons of 
A No. i, fourth-proof, hard-boiled, hide-bound gram- 
mar from another mouth could not have done. And 
finally we have that gentler phrase, that one which 
shows you another true side of the man, shows you 
that in his soldier heart there was room for other 
than glory war mottoes and in his tongue the gift to 
fitly phrase them — "Let us have peace." 



i37 



THE OLD-FASHIONED PRINTER 

Address at the Typothet2e Dinner Given at Delmonico's, 
January 18, 1886, Commemorating the Birth- 
day of Benjamin Franklin 

Mr. Clemens responded to the toast " The Compositor." 

THE chairman's historical reminiscences of 
Gutenberg have caused me to fall into remi- 
niscences, for I myself am something of an antiquity. 
All things change in the procession of years, and it 
may be that I am among strangers. It may be that 
the printer of to-day is not the printer of thirty -five 
years ago. I was no stranger to him. I knew him 
well. I built his fire for him in the winter mornings ; 
I brought his water from the village pump ; I swept 
out his office; I picked up his type from under his 
stand; and, if he were there to see, I put the good 
type in his case and the broken ones among the "hell 
matter"; and if he wasn't there to see, I dumped it 
all with the "pi" on the imposing stone — for that 
was the furtive fashion of the cub, and I was a cub. 
I wetted down the paper Saturdays, I turned it Sun- 
days — for this was a country weekly; I rolled, I 
washed the rollers, I washed the forms, I folded the 
papers, I carried them around at dawn Thursday 
mornings. The carrier was then an object of interest 
to all the dogs in town. If I had saved up all the 
bites I ever received, I could keep M. Pasteur busy 

138 



THE OLD-FASHIONED PRINTER 

for a year. I enveloped the papers that were for the 
mail — we had a hundred town subscribers and three 
hundred and fifty country ones ; the town subscribers 
paid in groceries and the country ones in cabbages 
and cordwood — when they paid at all, which was 
merely sometimes, and then we always stated the 
fact in the paper, and gave them a puff; and if we 
forgot it they stopped the paper. Every man on 
the town list helped edit the thing — that is, he gave 
orders as to how it was to be edited; dictated its 
opinions, marked out its course for it, and every time 
the boss failed to connect he stopped his paper. We 
were just infested with critics, and we tried to satisfy 
them all over. We had one subscriber who paid cash, 
and he was more trouble than all the rest. He 
bought us once a year, body and soul, for two dol- 
lars. He used to modify our politics every which 
way, and he made us change our religion four times 
in five years. If we ever tried to reason with him, 
he would threaten to stop his paper, and, of course, 
that meant bankruptcy and destruction. That man 
used to write articles a column and a half long, leaded 
long primer, and sign them "Junius," or "Veritas," 
or "Vox Populi," or some other high-sounding rot; 
and then, after it was set up, he would come in and 
say he had changed his mind — which was a gilded 
figure of speech, because he hadn't any — and order 
it to be left out. We couldn't afford "bogus" in 
that office, so we always took the leads out, altered 
the signature, credited the article to the rival paper, 
in the next village, and put it in. Well, we did have 
one or two kinds of "bogus." Whenever there was 

i39 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

a barbecue, or a circus, or a baptizing, we knocked 
off for half a day, and then to make up for short 
matter we would "turn over ads" — turn over the 
whole pages and duplicate it. The other "bogus" 
was deep philosophical stuff, which we judged nobody 
ever read; so we kept a galley of it standing, and 
kept on slapping the same old batches of it in, every 
now and then, till it got dangerous. Also, in the 
early days of the telegraph we used to economize on 
the news. We picked out the items that were point- 
less and barren of information and stood them on a 
galley, and changed the dates and localities, and 
used them over and over again till the public interest 
in them was worn to the bone. We marked the ads, 
but we seldom paid any attention to the marks after- 
ward; so the life of a "td" ad and a "t£" ad was 
equally eternal. I have seen a "td" notice of a 
sheriff's sale still booming serenely along two years 
after the sale was over, the sheriff dead, and the 
whole circumstance become ancient history. Most 
of the yearly ads were patent-medicine stereotypes, 
and we used to fence with them. 

I can see that printing office of prehistoric times 
yet, with its horse bills on the walls, its "d" boxes 
clogged with tallow, because we always stood the 
candle in the "k" box nights, its towel, which was 
not considered soiled until it could stand alone, and 
other signs and symbols that marked the establish- 
ment of that kind in the Mississippi Valley; and I 
can see, also, the tramping "jour, " who flitted by in 
the summer and tarried a day, with his wallet stuffed 
with one shirt and a hatful of handbills, for if he 

140 



THE OLD-FASHIONED PRINTER 

couldn't get any type to set he would do a temper- 
ance lecture. His way of life was simple, his needs 
not complex; all he wanted was plate and bed and 
money enough to get drunk on, and he was satisfied. 
But it may be, as I have said, that I am among 
strangers, and sing the glories of a forgotten age to 
unfamiliar ears, so I will "make even" and stop. 



141 



YALE COLLEGE SPEECH 

In June, 1888, Yale College conferred on Mark Twain the degree 
of Master of Arts. Later in the year he made the following address 
to the students. 

I WAS sincerely proud and grateful to be made a 
Master of Arts by this great and venerable univer- 
sity, and I would have come last June to testify this 
feeling, as I do now testify it, but that the sudden 
and unexpected notice of the honor done me found 
me at a distance from home and unable to discharge 
that duty and enjoy that privilege. 

Along at first, say for the first month or so, I did 
not quite know how to proceed, because of my not 
knowing just what authorities and privileges belonged 
to the title which had been granted me, but after 
that I consulted some students of Trinity, in Hart- 
ford, and they made everything clear to me. It was 
through them that I found out that my title made 
me head of the governing body of the university and 
lodged in me very broad and severely responsible 
powers. It is through trying to work these powers 
up to their maximum of efficiency that I have had 
such a checkered career this year. I was told that 
it would be necessary for me to report to you at this 
time, and, of course, I comply, though I would have 
preferred to put it off till I could make a better 
showing, for, indeed, I have been so pertinaciously 
hindered and obstructed at every turn by the faculty 

142 



YALE COLLEGE SPEECH 

that it would be difficult to prove that the university 
is really in any better shape now than it was when I 
first took charge. In submitting my report I am 
sorry to have to begin it with the remark that 
respect for authority seems to be at a quite low ebb 
in the college. It is true that this has caused me 
pain, but it has not discouraged me. By advice, I 
turned my earliest attention to the Greek department. 
I told the Greek professor I had concluded to drop 
the use of the Greek written character, because it is 
so hard to spell with, and so impossible to read after 
you get it spelled. Let us draw the curtain there. 
I saw by what followed that nothing but early neg- 
lect saved him from being a very profane man. I 
ordered the professor of mathematics to simplify the 
whole system, because the way it was I couldn't 
understand it, and I didn't want things going on in 
the college in what was practically a clandestine 
fashion. I told him to drop the conundrum system; 
it was not suited to the dignity of a college, which 
should deal in facts, not guesses and suppositions; 
we didn't want any more cases of if A and B stand 
at opposite poles of the earth's surface and C at the 
equator of Jupiter, at what variations of angle will 
the left link of the moon appear to these different 
parties? I said you just let that thing alone; it's 
plenty time to get in a sweat about it when it hap- 
pens. As like as not it ain't going to do any harm 
anyway. His reception of these instructions bordered 
on insubordination; in so much that I felt obliged 
to take his number and report him. I found the 
astronomer of the university gadding around after 

i43 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

comets and other such odds and ends — tramps and 
derelicts of the skies. I told him prettly plainly that 
we couldn't have that. I told him it was no economy 
to go on piling up and piling up raw material in the 
way of new stars and comets and asteroids that we 
couldn't ever have any use for till we had worked 
off the old stock. I said if I caught him strawberry- 
ing around after any more asteroids, especially, I 
should have to fire him out. Privately, prejudice got 
the best of me there, I ought to confess it. At bottom 
I don't really mind comets so much, but somehow I 
have always been down on asteroids. There is 
nothing mature about them; I wouldn't sit up 
nights, the way that man does, if I could get a 
basketful of them. He said it was the best line of 
goods he had ; he said he could trade them to Roches- 
ter for comets, and trade the comets to Harvard for 
nebulae, and trade the nebulae to the Smithsonian 
for flint hatchets. I felt obliged to stop this thing 
on the spot; I said we couldn't have the university 
turned into an astronomical junk shop. 

And while I was at it I thought I might as well 
make the reform complete; the astronomer is ex- 
traordinarily mutinous ; and so with your approval 
I will transfer him to the law department and put 
one of the law students in his place. A boy will be 
more biddable, more tractable, also cheaper. It is 
true he cannot be intrusted with important work at 
first, but he can comb the skies for nebulae till he 
gets his hand in. I have other changes in mind, 
but, as they are in the nature of surprises, I judge it 
politic to leave them unspecified at this time. 

144 



WELCOME HOME 

To a Baseball Team Returning From a World Tour by 
Way of the Sandwich Islands (1889) 

THOUGH not a native, as intimated by the 
chairman, I visited, a great many years ago, 
the Sandwich Islands — that peaceful land, that beau- 
tiful land, that far-off home of profound repose, and 
soft indolence, and dreamy solitude, where life is one 
long slumberous Sabbath, the climate one long deli- 
cious summer day, and the good that die experience 
no change, for they but fall asleep in one heaven and 
wake up in another. And these boys have played 
baseball there! — baseball, which is the very symbol, 
the outward and visible expression, of the drive and 
push and rush and struggle of the raging, tearing, 
booming nineteenth century ! One cannot realize it, 
the place and the fact are so incongruous; it's like 
interrupting a funeral with a circus. Why, there's 
no legitimate point of contact, no possible kinship 
between baseball and the Sandwich Islands! Base- 
ball is all fact; the islands all sentiment. In base- 
ball you've got to do everything just right, or you 
don't get there; in the islands you've got to do 
everything just wrong, or you can't stay there. You 
do it wrong to get it right, for if you do it right you 
get it wrong; there isn't any way to get it right but 
to do it wrong, and the wronger you do it the lighter 

145 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

*t is. The natives illustrate this every day. They 
never mount a horse from the larboard side, they 
always mount him from the starboard ; on the other 
hand, they never milk a cow on the starboard side, 
they always milk her on the larboard; it's why you 
see so many short people there — they've got their 
heads kicked off. When they meet on the road, 
they don't turn out to the right, they turn out to 
the left. And so, from always doing everything 
wrong end first, that way, it makes them left handed 
— left handed and cross eyed; they are all so. When 
a child is born, the mother goes right along with her 
ordinary work, without losing half a day; it's the 
father that knocks off and goes to bed till he gets 
over the circumstances. And those natives don't 
trace descent through the male line, but through the 
female; they say they always know who a child's 
mother was. Well, that odd system is well enough 
there, because there a woman often has as many as 
six or seven husbands, all at the same time and all 
properly married to her, and no blemish about the 
matter anywhere. Yet there is no fussing, no trouble. 
When a child is born the husbands all meet together 
in convention, in a perfectly orderly way, and elect 
the father. And the whole thing is perfectly fair ; at 
least as fair as it would be anywhere. Of course, you 
can't keep politics out — you couldn't do that in any 
country; and so, if three of the husbands are Repub- 
licans and four are Democrats, it doesn't make any 
difference how strong a Republican aspect the baby 
has got, that election is going Democratic every 
time. And in the matter of that election those poor 

146 



WELCOME HOME 

people stand at the proud altitude of the very highest 
Christian civilization ; for they know, as well as we, 
that all women are ignorant, and so they don't allow 
that mother to vote. In those islands the cats 
haven't any tails and the snakes haven't any teeth; 
and what is still more irregular, the man that loses 
a game gets the pot. And as to dress; the native 
women all wear a single garment — but the men don't. 
No, the men don't wear anything at all; they hate 
display. When they even wear a smile they think 
they are overdressed. Speaking of birds, the only 
bird there that has ornamental feathers has only 
two — just barely enough to squeeze through with — 
and they are under its wings instead of on top of its 
head, where, of course, they ought to be to do any 
good. The native language is soft and liquid and 
flexible, and in every way efficient and satisfactory — 
till you get mad; then there you are; there isn't 
anything in it to swear with. Good judges all say 
it is the best Sunday language there is ; but then all 
the other six days in the week it just hangs idle on 
your hands; it isn't any good for business and you 
can't work a telephone with it. Many a time the 
attention of the missionaries has been called to this 
defect, and they are always promising they are going 
to fix it; but, no, they go fooling along and fooling 
along and nothing is done. Speaking of education, 
everybody there is educated, from the highest to the 
lowest; in fact, it is the only country in the world 
where education is actually universal. And yet every 
now and then you run across instances of ignorance 
that are simply revolting — simply degrading to the 

i47 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

human race. Think of it — there, the ten takes the 
ace ! But let us not dwell on such things ; they make 
a person ashamed. Well, the missionaries are always 
going to fix that, but they put it off, and put it off, 
and put it off, and so that nation is going to keep on 
going down and down and down, till some day you 
will see a pair of jacks beat a straight flush. 

Well, it is refreshment to the jaded, water to the 
thirsty, to look upon men who have so lately breathed 
the soft airs of those isles of the blest and had before 
their eyes the inextinguishable vision of their beauty. 
No alien land in all the world has any deep, strong 
charm for me but that one, no other land could so 
longingly and so beseechingly haunt me, sleeping 
and waking, through half a lifetime, as that one has 
done. Other things leave me, but it abides; other 
things change, but it remains the same. For me its 
balmy airs are always blowing, its summer seas 
flashing in the sun, the pulsing of its surf-beat is in 
my ear; I can see its garlanded crags, its leaping 
cascades, its plumy palms drowsing by the shore, its 
remote summits floating like islands above the cloud 
rack; I can feel the spirit of its woodland solitudes, 
I can hear the splash of its brooks; in my nostrils 
still lives the breath of flowers that perished twenty 
years ago. And these world wanderers who sit before 
us here have lately looked upon these things! — and 
with eyes of flesh, not the unsatisfying vision of the 
spirit. I envy them that ! 

Yes, and I would envy them somewhat of the 
glories they have achieved in their illustrious march 
about the mighty circumference of the earth, if it 

148 



WELCOME HOME 

were fair; but, no, it was an earned run, and envy 
would be out of place. I will rather applaud — add 
my hail and welcome to the vast shout now going up, 
from Maine to the Gulf, from the Florida Keys to 
frozen Alaska, out of the throats of the other sixty- 
five millions of their countrymen. They have carried 
the American name to the uttermost parts of the 
earth — and covered it with glory every time. That 
is a service to sentiment; but they did the general 
world a large practical service, also — a service to the 
great science of geography. Ah, think of that ! We 
don't talk enough about that — don't give it its full 
value. Why, when these boys started out you 
couldn't see the equator at all; you could walk right 
over it and never know it was there. That is the 
kind of equator it was. Such an equator as that 
isn't any use to anybody; as for me, I would rather 
not have any equator at all than a dim thing like 
that, that you can't see. But that is all fixed now: 
you can see it now, you can't run over it now and 
not know it's there; and so I drink long life to the 
boys who ploughed a new equator round the globe 
stealing bases on their bellies! 



149 



ON FOREIGN CRITICS 

After-dinner Speech (About 1889) 

IF I look harried and worn, it is not from an ill 
conscience. It is from sitting up nights to worry 
about the foreign critic. He won't concede that we 
have a civilization — a ' ' real ' ' civilization. Five years 
ago, he said we had never contributed anything to 
the betterment of the world. And now comes Sir 
Lepel Griffin, whom I had not suspected of being in 
the world at all, and says, "There is no country call- 
ing itself civilized where one would not rather live 
than in America, except Russia." That settles it. 
That is, it settles it for Europe; but it doesn't make 
me any more comfortable than I was before. 

What is "real" civilization? Nobody can answer 
that conundrum. They have all tried. Then suppose 
we try to get at what it is not, and then subtract the 
what it is not from the general sum, and call the 
remainder "real" civilization — so as to have a place 
to stand on while we throw bricks at these people. 
Let us say, then, in broad terms, that any system 
which has in it any one of these things — to wit, 
human slavery, despotic government, inequality, 
numerous and brutal punishments for crime, super- 
stition almost universal, ignorance almost universal, 
and dirt and poverty almost universal — is not a real 
civilization, and any system which has none of them 

150 



ON FOREIGN CRITICS 

is. If you grant these terms, one may then consider 
this conundrum : How old is real civilization ? The 
answer is easy and unassailable. A century ago it 
had not appeared anywhere in the world during a 
single instant since the world was made. If you 
grant these terms — and I don't see why it shouldn't 
be fair, since civilization must surely be fair, since 
civilization must surely mean the humanizing of a 
people, not a class — there is to-day but one real civi- 
lization in the world, and it is not yet thirty years 
old. We made the trip and hoisted its flag when we 
disposed of our slavery. 

However, there are some partial civilizations 
scattered around over Europe — pretty lofty civiliza- 
tions they are, too — but who begot them? What is 
the seed from which they sprang? Liberty and intel- 
ligence. What planted that seed? There are dates 
and statistics which suggest that it was the American 
Revolution that planted it. When that revolution 
began, monarchy had been on trial some thousands 
of years, over there, and was a distinct and convicted 
failure, every time. It had never produced anything 
but a vast, a nearly universal savagery, with a thin 
skim of civilization on top, and the main part of 
that was nickel plate and tinsel. The French, 
imbruted and impoverished by centuries of oppres- 
sion and official robbery, were a starving nation 
clothed in rags, slaves of an aristocracy and smirk- 
ing dandies clad in unearned silks and velvet. It 
makes one's cheek burn to read of the laws of the 
time and realize that they were for human beings; 
realize that they originated in this world and not in 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

hell. Germany was unspeakable. In the Scotch 
lowlands the people lived in sties and were human 
swine; in the highlands drunkenness was general 
and it hardly smirched a young girl to have a family 
of her own. In England there was a sham liberty, 
and not much of that ; crime was general ; ignorance 
the same; poverty and misery were widespread; 
London fed a tenth of her population by charity; 
the law awarded the death penalty to almost every 
conceivable offense ; what was called medical science 
by courtesy stood where it had stood for two thou- 
sand years; Tom Jones and Squire Western were 
gentlemen. 

The printer's art had been known in Germany and 
France three and a quarter centuries, and in England 
three. In all that time there had not been a news- 
paper in Europe that was worthy the name. Mon- 
archies had no use for that sort of dynamite. When 
we hoisted the banner of revolution and raised the 
first genuine shout for human liberty that had ever 
been heard, this was a newspaperless globe. Eight 
years later there were six daily journals in London 
to proclaim to all the nations the greatest birth this 
world had ever seen. Who woke that printing press 
out of its trance of three hundred years? Let us be 
permitted to consider that we did it. Who summoned 
the French slaves to rise and set the nation free? 
We did it. What resulted in England and on the 
Continent? Crippled liberty took up its bed and 
walked. From that day to this its march has not 
halted, and please God it never will. We are called 
the nation of inventors. And we are. We could still 

152 



ON FOREIGN CRITICS 

claim that title and wear its loftiest honors if we had 
stopped with the first thing we ever invented — which 
was human liberty. Out of that invention has come 
the Christian world's great civilization. Without it 
it was impossible — as the history of all the centuries 
has proved. Well, then, who invented civilization? 
Even Sir Lepel Griffin ought to be able to answer 
that question. It looks easy enough. We have con- 
tributed nothing! Nothing hurts me like ingratitude. 



i53 



MISTAKEN IDENTITY 

Address at the Annual ''Ladies' Day," Papyrus Club, 

Boston 

IADIES AND GENTLEMEN,— I am prefectly 
j astonished — a-s-t-o-n-i-s-h-e-d — ladies and gen- 
tlemen — astonished at the way history repeats itself. 
I find myself situated at this moment exactly and 
precisely as I was once before, years ago, to a jot, to 
a tittle — to a very hair. There isn't a shade of differ- 
ence. It is the most astonishing coincidence that 
ever — but wait. I will tell you the former instance, 
and then you will see it for yourself. Years ago I 
arrived one day at Salamanca, New York, eastward 
bound; must change cars there and take the sleeper 
train. There were crowds of people there, and they 
were swarming into the long sleeper train and pack- 
ing it full, and it was a perfect purgatory of dust and 
confusion and gritting of teeth and soft, sweet, and 
low profanity. I asked the young man in the ticket 
office if I could have a sleeping -section, and he 
answered "No," with a snarl that shrivelled me up 
like burned leather. I went off, smarting under this 
insult to my dignity, and asked another local official, 
supplicatingly, if I couldn't have some poor little 
corner somewhere in a sleeping car; but he cut me 
short with a venomous "No, you can't; every corner 
is full. Now, don't bother me any more"; and he 

154 



MISTAKEN IDENTITY 

turned his back and walked off. My dignity was in 
a state now which cannot be described. I was so 
ruffled that — well, I said to my companion, "If these 
people knew who I am they — " But my companion 
cut me short there — "Don't talk such folly," he said; 
"if they did know who you are, do you suppose it 
would help your high-mightiness to a vacancy in a 
train which has no vacancies in it?" 

This did not improve my condition any to speak 
of, but just then I observed that the colored porter 
of a sleeping car had his eye on me. I saw his dark 
countenance light up. He whispered to the uni- 
formed conductor, punctuating with nods and jerks 
toward me, and straightway this conductor came 
forward, oozing politeness from every pore. 

1 ' Can I be of any service to you ? " he asked. ' ' Will 
you have a place in the sleeper?" 

"Yes," I said, "and much oblige me, too. Give 
me anything — anything will answer." 

"We have nothing left but the big family state- 
room," he continued, "with two berths and a couple 
of armchairs in it, but it is entirely at your disposal. 
Here, Tom, take these satchels aboard!" 

Then he touched his hat and we and the colored 
Tom moved along. I was bursting to drop just one 
little remark to my companion, but I held in and 
waited. Tom made us comfortable in that sumptuous 
great apartment, and then said, with many bows 
and a perfect affluence of smiles : 

"Now, is dey anything you want, sah? Case you 
kin have jes' anything you wants. It don't make no 
difference what it is." 

i55 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

"Can I have some hot water and a tumbler at nine 
to-night — blazing hot?" I asked. "You know about 
the right temperature for a hot Scotch punch?" 

"Yes, sah, dat you kin; you kin pen on it; I'll get 
it myself." 

"Good! Now, that lamp is hung too high. Can 
I have a big coach candle fixed up just at the head 
of my bed, so that I can read comfortably?" 

"Yes, sah, you kin; I'll fix her up myself, an' I'll 
fix her so she'll burn all night. Yes, sah; an' you can 
jes' call for anything you want, and dish yer whole 
railroad '11 be turned wrong end up an' inside out for 
to get it for you. Dat's so." And he disappeared. 

Well, I tilted my head back, hooked my thumbs in 
my armholes, smiled a smile on my companion, and 
said, gently: 

"Well, what do you say now?" 

My companion was not in the humor to respond, 
and didn't. The next moment that smiling black 
face was thrust in at the crack of the door, and this 
speech followed : 

"Laws bless you, sah, I knowed you in a minute. 
I told de conduct ah so. Laws! I knowed you de 
minute I sot eyes on you." 

* ■ Is that so, my boy ? ' ' (Handing him a quadruple 
fee.) "Who am I?" 

"Jenuel McClellan, " and he disappeared again. 

My companion said, vinegarishly, "Well, well! 
what do you say now?" Right there comes in the 
marvelous coincidence I mentioned a while ago — 
viz., I was speechless, and that is my condition now. 
Perceive it? 

156 



DALY THEATRE 

Address at a Dinner After the One Hundredth Perform- 
ance of "The Taming of the Shrew" 

Mr. Clemens told the following story, which he incorporated 
afterward in Following the Equator. 

I AM glad to be here. This is the hardest theatre 
in New York to get into, even at the front door. 
I never got in without hard work. I am glad we 
have got so far in at last. Two or three years ago I 
had an appointment to meet Mr. Daly on the stage 
of this theatre at eight o'clock in the evening. Well, 
I got on a train at Hartford to come to New York 
and keep the appointment. All I had to do was to 
come to the back door of the theatre on Sixth Avenue. 
I did not believe that; I did not believe it could be 
on Sixth Avenue, but that is what Daly's note said — 
come to that door, walk right in, and keep the 
appointment. It looked very easy. It looked easy 
enough, but I had not much confidence in the Sixth 
Avenue door. 

Well, I was kind of bored on the train, and I 
bought some newspapers — New Haven newspapers — 
and there was not much news in them, so I read the 
advertisements. There was one advertisement of a 
bench show. I had heard of bench shows, and I 
often wondered what there was about them to inter- 
est people. 1 had seen bench shows — lectured to 

i57 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

bench shows, in fact — but I didn't want to advertise 
them or to brag about them. Well, I read on a little, 
and learned that a bench show was not a bench 
show — but dogs, not benches at all — only dogs. I 
began to be interested, and as there was nothing else 
to do I read every bit of the advertisement, and 
learned that the biggest thing in this show was a St. 
Bernard dog that weighed one hundred and forty- 
five pounds. Before I got to New York I was so 
interested in the bench shows that I made up my 
mind to go to one the first chance I got. Down on 
Sixth Avenue, near where that back door might be, 
I began to take things leisurely. I did not like to be 
in too much of a hurry. There was not anything in 
sight that looked like a back door. The nearest 
approach to it was a cigar store. So I went in and 
bought a cigar, not too expensive, but it cost enough 
to pay for any information I might get and leave the 
dealer a fair profit. Well, I did not like to be too 
abrupt, to make the man think me crazy, by asking 
him if that was the way to Daly's Theatre, so I 
started gradually to lead up to the subject, asking 
him first if that was the way to Castle Garden. When 
I got to the real question, and he said he would show 
me the way, I was astonished. He sent me through 
a long hallway, and I found myself in a back yard. 
Then I went through a long passageway and into a 
little room, and there before my eyes was a big St. 
Bernard dog lying on a bench. There was another 
door beyond and I went there, and was met by a big, 
fierce man with a fur cap on and coat off, who 
remarked, "Phwat do yez want?" I told him I 

158 



DALY THEATRE 

wanted to see Mr. Daly. "Yez can't see Mr. Daly 
this time of night," he responded. I urged that I 
had an appointment with Mr. Daly, and gave him 
my card, which did not seem to impress him much. 
"Yez can't get in and yez can't shmoke here. Throw 
away that cigar. If yez want to see Mr. Daly, 
yez '11 have to be after going to the front door and 
buy a ticket, and then if yez have luck and he's 
around that way yez may see him." I was getting 
discouraged, but I had one resource left that had 
been of good service in similar emergencies. Firmly 
but kindly I told him my name was Mark Twain, 
and I awaited results. There was none. He was not 
fazed a bit. ' ' Phwere's your order to see Mr. Daly ? " 
he asked. I handed him the note, and he examined 
it intently. "My friend," I remarked, "you can 
read that better if you hold it the other side up." 
But he took no notice of the suggestion, and finally 
asked: "Where's Mr. Daly's name?" "There it is," 
I told him, "on the top of the page." "That's all 
right," he said, "that's where he always puts it; but 
I don't see the 'Win his name," and he eyed me 
distrustfully. Finally he asked, "Phwat do yez want 
to see Mr. Daly for?" "Business." "Business?" 
"Yes." It was my only hope. "Phwat kind — 
theatres?" That was too much. "No." "What 
kind of shows, then?" "Bench shows." It was 
risky, but I was desperate. "Bench shows, is it — 
where? " The big man's face changed, and he began 
to look interested. "New Haven." "New Haven, 
it is? Ah, that's going to be a fine show. I'm glad 
to see you. Did you see a big dog in the other room ? ' ' 

iS9 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

1 ' Yes. " ' ' How much do you think that dog weighs ? ' ' 
"One hundred and forty-five pounds.' ' "Look at 
that, now! He's a good judge of dogs, and no mis- 
take. He weighs all of one hundred and thirty-eight. 
Sit down and shmoke — go on and shmoke your cigar, 
I'll tell Mr. Daly you are here." In a few minutes I 
was on the stage shaking hands with Mr. Daly, and 
the big man standing around glowing with satisfac- 
tion. "Come around in front," said Mr. Daly, "and 
see the performance. I will put you into my own 
box." And as I moved away I heard my honest 
friend mutter, "Well, he desarves it." 



1 60 



LOTOS CLUB DINNER IN HONOR 
OF MARK TWAIN 

Address at the First Formal Dinner in the New Club- 
house, November ii, 1893 

In introducing the guest of the eve ling, Mr. Lawrence said: 

"To-night the old faces appear once more amid new surround- 
ings. The place where last we met about the table has vanished, 
and to-night we have our first Lotos dinner in a home that is all 
our own. It is peculiarly fitting that the board should now be 
spread in honor of one who has been a member of the club for 
full a score of years, and it is a happy augury for the future that 
our fellow-member whom we assemble to greet should be the 
bearer of a most distinguished name in the world of letters; for 
the Lotos Club is ever at its best when paying homage to genius 
in literature or in art. Is there a civilized being who has not 
heard the name of Mark Twain? We knew him long years ago, 
before he came out of the boundless West, brimful of wit and 
eloquence, with no reverence for anything, and went abroad to 
educate the untutored European in the subtleties of the American 
joke. The world has looked on and applauded while he has 
broken many images. He has led us in imagination all over the 
globe. With him as our guide we have traversed alike the Mis- 
sissippi and the Sea of Galilee. At his bidding we have laughed 
at a thousand absurdities. By a laborious process of reasoning 
he has convinced us that the Egyptian mummies are actually 
dead. He has held us spellbound upon the plain at the foot of 
the great Sphinx, and we have joined him in weeping bitter 
tears at the tomb of Adam. To-night we greet him in the flesh. 
What name is there in literature that can be likened to his? 
Perhaps some of the distinguished gentlemen about this table 
can tell us, but I know of none. Himself his only parallel!" 

161 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

MR. PRESIDENT, GENTLEMEN, AND 
FELLOW-MEMBERS OF THE LOTOS 
CLUB, — I have seldom in my lifetime listened to 
compliments so felicitously phrased or so well 
deserved. I return thanks for them from a full 
heart and an appreciative spirit, and I will say this 
in self-defense : While I am charged with having no 
reverence for anything, I wish to say that I have 
reverence for the man who can utter such truths, 
and I also have a deep reverence and a sincere one for a 
club that can do such justice to me. To be the chief 
guest of such a club is something to be envied, and if I 
read your countenances rightly I am envied. I am glad 
to see this club in such palatial quarters. I remember 
it twenty years ago when it was housed in a stable. 

Now when I was studying for the ministry there 
were two or three things that struck my attention 
particularly. At the first banquet mentioned in his- 
tory that other prodigal son who came back from 
his travels was invited to stand up and have his say. 
They were all there, his brethern, David and Goliath, 
and — er, and if he had had such experience as I have 
had he would have waited until those other people 
got through talking. He got up and testified to all 
his failings. Now if he had waited before telling all 
about his riotous living until the others had spoken 
he might not have given himself away as he did, and 
I think that I would give myself away if I should go 
on. I think I'd better wait until the others hand in 
their testimony ; then if it is necessary for me to make 
an explanation, I will get up and explain, and if I can- 
not do that, I'll deny it happened. 

162 



LOTUS CLUB DINNER 

Later in the evening Mr. Clemens made another speech, 
replying to a fire of short speeches by Charles Dudley Warner, 
Charles A. Dana, Seth Low, General Porter, and many others, 
each welcoming the guest of honor. 

I don't see that I have a great deal to explain. I 
got off very well, considering the opportunities that 
these other fellows had. I don't see that Mr. Low 
said anything against me, and neither did Mr. Dana. 
However, I will say that I never heard so many lies 
told in one evening as were told by Mr. McKelway — 
and I consider myself very capable; but even in his 
case, when he got through, I was gratified by finding 
how much he hadn't found out. By accident he 
missed the very things that I didn't want to have 
said, and now, gentlemen, about Americanism. 

I have been on the continent of Europe for two and 
a half years. I have met many Americans there, 
some sojourning for a short time only, others making 
protracted stays, and it has been very gratifying to 
me to find that nearly all preserved their Americanism. 
I have found they all like to see the Flag fly, and that 
their hearts rise when they see the Stars and Stripes. 
I met only one lady who had forgotten the land of her 
birth and glorified monarchical institutions. 

I think it is a great thing to say that in two and a 
half years I met only one person who had fallen a 
victim to the shams — I think we may call them 
shams — of nobilities and of heredities. She was 
entirely lost in them. After I had listened to her 
for a long time, I said to her: ''At least you must 
admit that we have one merit. We are not like the 
Chinese, who refuse to allow their citizens who are tired 
of the country to leave it. Thank God, we don't ! ' ' 

163 



AN UNDELIVERED SPEECH 

The steamship St. Paul was to have been launched from Cramp's 
shipyard in Philadelphia on March 25, 1895. A luncheon had 
been planned at which Mr. Clemens was to make a speech. Just 
before the final word was given a reporter asked Mr. Clemens for 
a copy of his speech to be deliverd at the luncheon. To facilitate the 
work of the reporter he loaned him a typewritten copy of the speech. 
It happened, however, that when the blocks were knocked away the 
big ship refused to budge, and no amount of labor could move her 
an inch. She had stuck fast upon the ways. As a result, the 
launching was postponed for a week or two; but in the meantime 
Mr. Clemens had gone to Europe. Years after a reporter called 
on Mr. Clemens and submitted the manuscript of the speech, which 
was as follows: 

DAY after to-morrow I sail for England in a ship 
of this line, the Paris. It will be my fourteenth 
crossing in three years and a half. Therefore, my 
presence here, as you see, is quite natural, quite 
commercial. I am interested in ships. They interest 
me more now than hotels do. When a new ship is 
launched I feel a desire to go and see if she will be 
good quarters for me to live in, particularly if she 
belongs to this line, for it is by this line that I have 
done most of my ferrying. 

People wonder why I go so much. Well, I go 
partly for my health, partly to familiarize myself 
with the road. I have gone over the same road so 
many times now that I know all the whales that 
belong along the route, and latterly it is an embar- 
rassment to me to meet them, for they do not look 

164 



AN UNDELIVERED SPEECH 

glad to see me, but annoyed, and they seem to say: 
"Here is this old derelict again." 

Earlier in life this would have pained me and made 
me ashamed, but I am older now, and when I am 
behaving myself, and doing right, I do not care for 
a whale's opinion about me. When we are young 
we generally estimate an opinion by the size of the 
person that holds it, but later we find that that is 
an uncertain rule, for we realize that there are times 
when a hornet's opinion disturbs us more than an 
emperor's. 

I do not mean that I care nothing at all for a 
whale's opinion, for that would be going to too great 
a length. Of course, it is better to have the good 
opinion of a whale than his disapproval; but my 
position is that if you cannot have a whale's good 
opinion, except at some sacrifice of principle or per- 
sonal dignity, it is better to try to live without it. 
That is my idea about whales. 

Yes, I have gone over that same route so often 
that I know my way without a compass, just by the 
waves. I know all the large waves and a good many 
of the small ones. Also the sunsets. I know every 
sunset and where it belongs just by its color. Neces- 
sarily, then, I do not make the passage now for 
scenery. That is all gone by. 

What I prize most is safety, and in the second 
place swift transit and handiness. These are best 
furnished by the American line, whose water-tight 
compartments have no passage through them, no 
doors to be left open, and consequently no way for 
water to get from one of them to another in time of 

165 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

collision. If you nullify the peril which collisions 
threaten you with, you nullify the only very serious 
peril which attends voyages in the great liners of 
our day, and makes voyaging safer than staying at 
home. 

When the Paris was half-torn to pieces some years 
ago, enough of the Atlantic ebbed and flowed through 
one end of her, during her long agony, to sink the 
fleets of the world if distributed among them; but 
she floated in perfect safety, and no life was lost. 
In time of collision the rock of Gibraltar is not safer 
than the Paris and other great ships of this line. 
This seems to be the only great line in the world that 
takes a passenger from metropolis to metropolis 
without the intervention of tugs and barges or 
bridges — takes him through without breaking bulk, 
so to speak. 

On the English side he lands at a dock; on the 
dock a special train is waiting; in an hour and three- 
quarters he is in London. Nothing could be handier. 
If your journey were from a sandpit on our side to 
a lighthouse on the other, you could make it quicker 
by other lines, but that is not the case. The journey 
is from the city of New York to the city of London, 
and no line can do that journey quicker than this 
one> nor anywhere near as conveniently and handily. 
And when the passenger lands on our side he lands 
on the American side of the river, not in the provinces. 
As a very learned man said on the last voyage (he 
is head quartermaster of the New York and gar- 
board streak of the middle watch): "When we 
land a passenger on the American side there's noth- 

166 



AN UNDELIVERED SPEECH 

ing betwixt him and his hotel but hell and the 
hackman." 

I am glad, with you and the nation, to welcome 
the new ship. She is another pride, another consola- 
tion, for a great country whose mighty fleets have all 
vanished, and which has almost forgotten what it is 
to fly its flag to sea. I am not sure as to which St. 
Paul she is named for. Some think it is the one that 
is on the upper Mississippi, but the head quarter- 
master told me it was the one that killed Goliath. 
But it is not important. No matter which it is, let 
us give her hearty welcome and godspeed. 






167 



DIE SCHRECKEN DER DEUTSCHEN 
SPRACHE 

Address to the Vienna Press Club, November 21, 1897, 
as Delivered in German 

ES hat mich tief geruhrt, meine Herren, hier so 
gastfreundlich empfangen zu werden, von Kol- 
legen aus meinem eigenen Berufe, in diesem von 
meiner eigenen Hiemath so weit entferntem Lande. 
Mein Herz ist voller Daknbarkeit, aber meine Ar- 
muth an deutschen Worten zwingt mich zu groszer 
Sparzamkeit des Ausdruckes. Entschuldigen Sie, 
meine Herren, dasz ich verlese, was ich Ihnen sagen 
will. (Er las aber nicht, Anm, d. Ref .) Die deutsche 
Sprache spreche ich nicht gut, doch haben mehrere 
Sachverstandige mich versichert, dasz ich sie schreibe 
wie ein Engel. Mag sein — Mag sein — ich weisz nicht. 
Habe bis jetzt keine Behanntschaften mit Engeln 
gehabt. Das kommt spater — wenn's dem lieben 
Gott gefallt — es hat heine Eile. 

Seit lange, meine Herren, habe ich die leiden- 
schaftliche Sehnsucht gehegt, eine Rede auf Deutsch 
zu halten, aber man hat mir's nie relauben wollen. 
Leute, die kein Gefuhl fur die Kunst hatten, legten 
mir immer Hindernissse in den Weg und vereitelten 
meinen Wunsch — zuweilen durch Vorwande, haufig 
durch Gewalt. Immer sagten diese Leute zu mir: 
"Schweigen Sie, Ew. Hochwohlgeborne ! Ruhe, um 

168 



THE HORRORS OP THE GERMAN 
LANGUAGE 

Address to the Vienna Press Club, November 21, 1897 
[A Literal Translation] 

IT has me deeply touched, my gentlemen, here so 
hospitably received to be. From colleagues out 
of my own profession, in this from my own home so 
far distant land. My heart is full of gratitude, but 
my poverty of German words forces me to greater 
economy of expression. Excuse you, my gentlemen, 
that I read off, what I you say will. [But he didn't 
read]. 

The German language speak I not good, but have 
numerous connoisseurs me assured that I her write 
like an angel. Maybe — maybe — I know not. Have 
till now no acquaintance with the angels had. That 
comes later — when it the dear God please — it has 
no hurry. 

Since long, my gentlemen, have I the passionate 
longing nursed a speech on German to hold, but one 
has me not permitted. Men, who no feeling for the 
art had, laid me ever hindrance in the way and made 
naught my desire — sometimes by excuses, often by 
force. Always said these men to me: "Keep you 
still, your Highness! Silence! For God's sake seek 

169 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Gotteswillen ! Suche eine andere Art und Weise, 
Dich lastig zu machen." 

Im jetzinger Fall, wie gewohnlich, ist es mir 
schwierig geworden, mir die Erlaubniz zu verschaffen. 
Das Comite bedauerte sehr, aber es konnte mir die 
Erlaubnisz nicht bewilligen wegen eines Gesetzes, 
das von der Concoria verlangt, sie soil die deutsche 
Sprache schutzen. Du Hebe Zeit ! Wieso hatte man 
mir das sagen konnen — mogen — durfen — sollen ? Ich 
bin ja der treueste Freund der deutschen Sprache — 
und nicht nur jetzt, sondern von lange her — ja vor 
zwanzig Jahren schon. Und nie habe ich das Ver- 
langen gehabt, der edlen Sprache zu schaden; im 
Gegentheil, nur gewunscht, sie zu verbessern; ich 
wollte sie bios reformiren. Es ist der Traum meinen 
Lebens gewesen. Ich habe schon Besuche bei den 
verschiedenen deutschen Regierungen abgestattet 
und um Kontrakte gebeten. Ich bin jetzt nach 
Oesterreich in demselben Auftrag gekommen. Ich 
wurde nur einige Aenderungen anstrebun. Ichwurde 
bios die Sprachmethode — die uppige, weitschweifige 
Konstruktion — zusammernuchen ; die ewig Paren- 
these unterdrucken, abschaffen, vernichten; die Ein- 
fuhrung von mehr als driezehn Subjekten in einen 
Satz verbieten; das Zeitwort so weit nach vorne 
rucken, bis man es ohne Fernrohr entdechen kann. 
Mit einem Wort, meine Herren, ich mochte Ihre 
geliebte Sprache vereinfachen, auf dasz, meine Her- 
ren, wenn Sie sie zum Gebet brauchen, nam sie dort 
oben versteht. 

Ich flehe Sie an, von mir sich berathen zu lassen, 
fuhren Sie diese erwahnten Reformen aus. Dann 

170 



HORRORS OF THE GERMAN LANGUAGE 

another way and means yourself obnoxious to 
make." 

In the present case, as usual it is me difficult 
become, for me the permission to obtain. The com- 
mittee sorrowed deeply, but could me the permission 
not grant on account of a law which from the Con- 
cordia demands she shall the German language pro- 
tect. Du Hebe Zeit! How so had one to me this 
say could — might — dared — should. I am indeed the 
truest friend of the German language — and not only 
now, but from long since — yes, before twenty years 
already. And never have I the desire had the noble 
language to hurt; to the contrary, only wished she 
to improve — I would her only reform. It is the dream 
of my life been. I have already visits by the various 
German governments paid and for contracts prayed. 
I am now to Austria in the same task come. I would 
only some changes effect. I would only the language 
method — the luxurious, elaborate construction com- 
press, the eternal parenthesis suppress, do away with, 
annihilate; the introduction of more than thirteen 
subjects in one sentence forbid ; the verb so far to the 
front pull that one it without a telescope discover 
can. With one word, my gentlemen, I would your 
beloved language simplify so that, my gentlemen, 
when you her for prayer need, One her yonder-up 
understands. 

I beseech you, from me yourself counsel to let, 
execute these mentioned reforms. Then will you an 
elegant language possess, and afterward, when you 

171 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

werden Sie eine prachtvolle Sprache besitzen und 
nachher, wenn Sie Etwas sagen wollen, werden Sie 
wenigstens selber verstehen, was Sie gesagt haben. 
Aber ofters heutzutage, wenn Sie einen meilenlangen 
Satz von sich gegeben und Sie sich etwas angelehnt 
haben, urn auszuruhen, dann miissen Sie eine 
ruhrende Neugierde empfmden, selbst herauszubrin- 
gen, was Sie eigentlich gesprochen haben. Vor 
mehreren Tagen hat der Korrespondent einerhiesigen 
tung einen Satz zustande gebracht welcher hundert- 
undzowlf Worte enthielt und darin waren sieben 
Parenthese eingeschachtelt und es wurde Das Sub- 
jekt siebenmal gewechselt. Denken Sie nur, meine 
Herren, im Laufe der Reise eines einzigen Satzes 
musz das arme, verfolgte, ermudete Subjekt sieben- 
mal umsteigen. 

Nun, wenn wir die erwahnten Reformen ausfuhren, 
wird's nicht mehre so arg sein. Doch noch eins. Ich 
mochte gern das trennbare Zeitwort auch ein Bischen 
reformiren. Ich mochte Niemand thun lassen, was 
Schiller gethan: Der hat die ganze Geschichte des 
dreizigjahrigen Krieges zwischen die zwei Glieder 
eines trennbaren Zeitwortes eingezwangt. Das hat 
sogar Deutschland selbst emport; und man hat 
Schiller die Erlaubnisz, die Geschichte des hundret 
jahrigen Krieges zu verfassen — Gott sie's gedankt. 
Nachdem alle diese Reformen festgestellt sein wer- 
den, wird die deutsche Sprache die edelste und die 
schonste auf der Welt sein. 

Da Ihnen jetzt, meine Herren, der Charackter 
meiner Mission behannt ist, bitte ich Sie, so freund- 
lich zu sein und mir Ihre werthvolle Hilfe zu schen- 

172 



HORRORS OF THE GERMAN LANGUAGE 

some thing say will, will you at least yourself under- 
stand what you said had. But often nowadays, 
when you a mile-long sentence from you given and 
you yourself somewhat have rested, then must you 
have a touching inquisitiveness have yourself to 
determine what you actually spoken have. Before 
several days has the correspondent of a local paper 
a sentence constructed which hundred and twelve 
words contain, and therein were seven parentheses 
smuggled in, and the subject seven times changed. 
Think you only, my gentlemen, in the course of the 
voyage of a single sentence must the poor, persecuted, 
fatigued subject seven times change position! 

Now, when we the mentioned reforms execute, 
will it no longer so bad be. Doch noch eins. I might 
gladly the separable verb also a little bit reform. I 
might none do let what Schiller did: he has the 
whole history of the Thirty Years' War between the 
two members of a separate verb in-pushed. That 
has even Germany itself aroused, and one has Schiller 
the permission refused the History of the Hundred 
Years' War to compose — God be it thanked ! After 
all these reforms established be will, will the Ger- 
man language the noblest and the prettiest on the 
world be. 



Since to you now, my gentlemen, the character of 
my mission known is, beseech I you so friendly to be 
and to me your valuable help grant. Mr. Potzl has 
the public believed make would that I to Vienna 

i73 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

ken. Herr Potzl hat das Publikum glauben machen 
woU'eh, dasz ich nach Wien gekommen bin, um die 
Brucken zu verstopfen und den Verkehr zu hindern, 
wahrend ich Beobachtungen sammle und aufziechne. 
Lassen Sie sich aber nicht von ihm anfuhren. Meine 
haufige Anwesenheit auf den Brucken hat einen ganz 
unschuldigen Grund. Dort geibt's den nothigen 
Raum. Dort kann man einen edlen, langen, deut- 
schen Satz ausdehnen, die Bruckengelander entlang, 
und seinen ganzen Inhalt mit einen Blick ubersehen. 
Auf das eine Ende des Gelanders klebe ich das erste 
Glied eines trennbaren Zeitwortes und das Schlusz- 
glied klebe ich an's andere Ende — dann breite ich 
den Lieb des Satzes dazwischen aus. Gewohnlich 
sing fur meinen Zweck die Brucken der Stadt lang 
genug : wenn ich aber Potzl 's Schrif ten studiren will, 
fahe ich hinaus und benutze die herrliche unendliche 
Reichsbrucke. Aber das ist eine Verleumdung. Potzl 
schreibt das schonste Deutsch. Vielleicht nicht so 
biegsam wie das meinige, aber in manchen Kleinig- 
keiten viel besser. Entschuldigen Sie diese Schme- 
icheleien. Die sind wohl verdient. 

Nun bringe ich meine Rede um — nein — ich wollte 
sagen, ich bringe sie zum Schlusz. Ich bin ein Frem- 
der — aber hier, uter Ihnen, habe ich es ganz vergessen. 
Und so, wieder, und noch wieder — biete ich Ihnen 
meinen herzlichsten Dank! 



i74 



HORRORS OF THE GERMAN LANGUAGE 

come am in order the bridges to clog up and the 
traffic to hinder, while I observations gather and 
note. Allow you yourselves but not from him 
deceived. My frequent presence on the bridges has 
an entirely innocent ground. Yonder gives it the 
necessary space, yonder can one a noble long German 
sentence elaborate, the bridge-railing along, and his 
whole contents with one glance overlook. On the 
one end of the railing pasted I the first member of 
a separable verb and the final member cleave I to 
the other end — then spread the body of the sentences 
between it out! Usually are for my purposes the 
bridges of the city long enough; when I but Potzl's 
writings study will I ride out and use the glorious 
endless imperial bridge. But this is a calumny; 
Potzl writes the prettiest German. Perhaps not so 
pliable as the mine, but in many details much better. 
Excuse you these flatteries. These are well deserved. 

Now I my speech execute — no, I would say I bring 
her to the close. I am a foreigner — but here, under 
you, have I it entirely forgotten. And so again and 
yet again proffer I you my heartiest thanks." 



i75 



GERMAN FOR THE HUNGARIANS 

Address at the Jubilee Celebration of the Emancipation 
of the Hungarian Press, March 26, 1899 

The Ministry and members of Parliament were present. The 
subject was the "Ausgleich" — i. e., the arrangement for the appor- 
tionment of the taxes between Hungary and Austria. Paragraph 
14 of the ausgleich fixes the proportion each country must pay to 
the support of the army. It is the paragraph which caused the 
trouble and prevented renewal of the arrangement. 

NOW that we are all here together, I think it 
will be a good idea to arrange the ausgleich. 
If you will act for Hungary I shall be quite willing 
to act for Austria, and this is the very time for it. 
There couldn't be a better, for we are all feeling 
friendly, fair-minded, and hospitable now, and full of 
admiration for each other, full of confidence in each 
other, full of the spirit of welcome, full of the grace 
of forgiveness, and the disposition to let bygones be 
bygones. 

Let us not waste this golden, this beneficent, this 
providential opportunity. I am willing to make any 
concession you want, just so we get it settled. I am 
not only willing to let grain come in free, I am willing 
to pay the freight on it, and you may send delegates 
to the Reichsrath if you like. All I require is that 
they shall be quiet, peaceable people like your own 
deputies, and not disturb our proceedings. 

If you want the Gegenseitigengeldbeitragenden- 
176 



GERMAN FOR THE HUNGARIANS 

verhaltnismassigkeiten rearranged and readjusted I 
am ready for that. I will let you of! at twenty-eight 
per cent — twenty-seven — even twenty-five if you 
insist, for there is nothing illiberal about me when I 
am out on a diplomatic debauch. 

Now, in return for these concessions, I am willing 
to take anything in reason, and I think we may con- 
sider the business settled and the ausgleich ausgeglo- 
schen at last for ten solid years, and we will sign the 
papers in blank, and do it here and now. 

Well, I am unspeakably glad to have that ausgleich 
off my hands. It has kept me awake nights for 
anderthalbjahr. 

But I never could settle it before, because always 
when I called at the Foreign Office in Vienna to talk 
about it, there wasn't anybody at home, and that is 
not a place where you can go in and see for yourself 
whether it is a mistake or not, because the person 
who takes care of the front door there is of a size that 
discourages liberty of action and the free spirit of 
investigation. To think the ausgleich is abgemacht 
at last! It is a grand and beautiful consummation, 
and I am glad I came. 

The way I feel now I do honestly believe I would 
rather be just my own humble self at this moment 
than paragraph 14. 



177 



TO THE WHITEFRIARS 

Address at the Dinner Given by the Whitefriars ' Club 
in Honor of Mr. Clemens, London, June 20, 1899 

The Whitefriars' Club was founded by Dr. Samuel Johnson, and 
Mr. Clemens was made an honorary member in 1874. The mem- 
bers are representative of literary and journalistic London. The 
toast of "Our Guest" was proposed by Louis F. Austin, of the 
Illustrated London News, and in the course of some humorous 
remarks he referred to the vow and to the imaginary woes of the 
"Friars," as the members of the club style themselves. 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND BRETHREN OF 
THE VOW— in whatever the vow is; for 
although I have been a member of this club for five- 
and-twenty years, I don't know any more about 
what that vow is than Mr. Austin seems to. But 
whatever the vow is, I don't care what it is. I have 
made a thousand vows. 

There is no pleasure comparable to making a vow 
in the presence of one who appreciates that vow, in 
the presence of men who honor and appreciate you 
for making the vow, and men who admire you for 
making the vow. 

There is only one pleasure higher than that, and 
that is to get outside and break the vow. A vow is 
always a pledge of some kind or other for the pro- 
tection of your own morals and principles or some- 
body else's, and generally by the irony of fate, it is 
for the protection of your own morals. 

178 



TO THE WHITEFRIARS 

Hence we have pledges that make us eschew 
tobacco or wine, and while you are taking the pledge 
there is a holy influence about that makes you feel 
you are reformed, and that you can never be so 
happy again in this world until — you get outside 
and take a drink. 

I had forgotten that I was a member of this club — 
it is so long ago. But now I remember that I was 
here five-and-twenty years ago, and that I was then 
at a dinner of the Whitef liars' Club, and it was in 
those old days when you had just made two great 
finds. All London was talking about nothing else 
than that they had found Livingstone, and that the 
lost Sir Roger Tichborne had been found — and they 
were trying him for it. 

And at the dinner, Chairman (I do not know 

who he was) — failed to come to time. The gentle- 
man who had been appointed to pay me the cus- 
tomary compliments and to introduce me forgot the 
compliments, and did not know what they were. 

And George Augustus Sala came in at the last 
moment, just when I was about to go without com- 
pliments altogether. And that man was a gifted 
man. They just called on him instantaneously, while 
he was going to sit down, to introduce the stranger, 
and Sala made one of those marvellous speeches which 
he was capable of making. I think no man talked so 
fast as Sala did. One did not need wine while he was 
making a speech. The rapidity of his utterance made 
a man drunk in a minute. An incomparable speech 
was that, an impromptu speech, and an impromptu 
speech is a seldom thing, and he did it so well. 

179 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

He went into the whole history of the United 
States, and made it entirely new to me. He filled it 
with episodes and incidents that Washington never 
heard of, and he did it so convincingly that although 
I knew none of it had happened, from that day to this 
I do not know any history but Sala's. 

I do not know anything so sad as a dinner where 
you are going to get up and say something by-and-by, 
and you do not know what it is. You sit and wonder 
and wonder what the gentleman is going to say who 
is going to introduce you. You know that if he says 
something severe, that if he will deride you, or 
traduce you, or do anything of that kind, he will 
furnish you with a text, because anybody can get 
up and talk against that. 

Anybody can get up and straighten out his char- 
acter. But when a gentleman gets up and merely 
tells the truth about you, what can you do? 

Mr. Austin has done well. He has supplied so 
many texts that I will have to drop out a lot of 
them, and that is about as difficult as when you do 
not have any text at all. Now, he made a beautiful 
and smooth speech without any difficulty at all, and 
I could have done that if I had gone on with the 
schooling with which I began. I see here a gentle- 
man on my left who was my master in the art of 
oratory more than twenty-five years ago. 

When I look upon the inspiring face of Mr. Depew, 
it carries me a long way back. An old and valued 
friend of mine is he, and I saw his career as it came 
along, and it has reached pretty well up to now, 
when he, by another miscarriage of justice, is a 

1 80 



TO THE WHITEFRIARS 

United States Senator. But those were delightful 
days when I was taking lessons in oratory. 

My other master — the Ambassador — is not here 
yet. Under those two gentlemen I learned to make 
after-dinner speeches, and it was charming. 

You know the New England dinner is the great 
occasion on the other side of the water. It is held 
every year to celebrate the landing of the Pilgrims. 
Those Pilgrims were a lot of people who were not 
needed in England, and you know they had great 
I rivalry, and they were persuaded to go elsewhere, 
i and they chartered a ship called Mayflower and set 
sail, and I have heard it said that they pumped the 
Atlantic Ocean through that ship sixteen times. 

They fell in over there with the Dutch from Rotter- 
dam, Amsterdam, and a lot of other places with pro- 
fane names, and it is from that gang that Mr. Depew 
is descended. 

On the other hand, Mr. Choate is descended front 
those Puritans who landed on a bitter night in Decem- 
ber. Every year those people used to meet at a great 
banquet in New York, and those masters of mind in 
oratory had to make speeches. It was Doctor 
Depew's business to get up there and apologize for 
the Dutch, and Mr. Choate had to get up later and 
explain the crimes of the Puritans, and grand, beau- 
tiful times we used to have. 

It is curious that after that long lapse of time I meet 
the Whitefriars again, some looking as young and fresh 
as in the old days, others showing a certain amount of 
wear and tear, and here, after all this time, I find one of 
the masters of oratory and the other named in the list. 

181 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

And here we three meet again as exiles on one 
:rr:e::: :r ar.::her. ar.a y:u --ill r.::::e :ha: ~rilc ~e 
ire ;.'::_-: ::' : . :- :. c.ea.5ir.g tranquillity ir. Arr.eri; 
— a building up of public confidence. We are doinj 
the best we can for our country. I think we have 
spent our lives in serving our country, and we never 
serve it to greater advantage than when we get out 
of it. 

But impromptu speaking — that is what I was 
trying to learn. That is a difficult thing. I used to 
do it in this way. I used to begin about a week 
■head, ar.i --rite cut my irr.rrzrr.:::.: ;;:::':: ar. 1 
it by heart. Then I brought it to the New Bngianc 
dinner printed on a piece of paper in my pocket, 
that I could pass it to the reporters all cut and dried, 
and in order to do an impromptu speech as it shoulc 
be done you have to indicate the places for pauses 
and hesitations. I put them all in it. And then yot 
want the applause in the right places. 

When I got to the place where it should come 
if it did not come in I did not care, but I had i 
marked in the paper. And these masters of mine 
used to wonder why it was my speech came out 
the morning in the first person, while theirs went 
through the butchery of synopsis. 

I i: that l:ir.i ::" syee:h 1 mean ar. :5bar.d syeezh 
and do it well, and make no mistake, in such a wa] 
to deceive the audience completely and make thai 
audience believe it is an impromptu speecri — thai 
is art. 

I was frightened out of it at last by an experience 
of Doctor Hayes. He was a sort of Nansen of thai 

:S2 



TO THE WHITEFRIARS 

day. He had been to the North Pole, and it made him 
celebrated. He had even seen the polar bear climb 
the pole. 

He had made one of those magnificent voyages 
such as Nansen made, and in those days when a man 
did anything which greatly distinguished him for the 
moment he had to come on to the lecture platform 
and tell all about it. 

Doctor Hayes was a great, magnificent creature 
like Nansen, superbly built. He was to appear in 
Boston. He WTote his lecture out, and it was his 
purpose to read it from manuscript; but in an evil 
hour he concluded that it would be a good thing to 
preface it with something rather handsome, poetical, 
and beautiful that he could get of! by heart and 
deliver as if it were the thought of the moment. 

He had not had my experience, and could not do 
that. He came on the platform, held his manuscript 
down, and began with a beautiful piece of oratory. 
He spoke something like this : 

"When a lonely human being, a pigmy in the 
midst of the architecture of nature, stands solitary 
on those icy waters and looks abroad to the horizon 
and sees mighty castles and temples of eternal ice 
raising up their pinnacles tipped by the pencil of the 
departing sun — " 

Here a man came across the platform and touched 
him on the shoulder, and said: "One minute." And 
then to the audience : 

1 ' Is Mrs. John Smith in the house ? Her husband 
has slipped on the ice and broken his leg." 

And you could see the Mrs. John Smiths get up 
183 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

everywhere and drift out of the house, and it made 
great gaps everywhere. Then Doctor Hayes began 
again: "When a lonely man, a pigmy in the archi- 
tecture — " The janitor came in again and shouted: 
" It lis not Mrs. John Smith ! It is Mrs. John Jones ! ' ' 

Then all the Mrs. Joneses got up and left. Once 
more the speaker started, and was in the midst of 
the sentence when he was interrupted again, and the 
result was that the lecture was not delivered. But 
the lecturer interviewed the janitor afterward in a 
private room, and of the fragments of that janitor 
they took "twelve basketsful." 

Now, I don't want to sit down just in this way. I 
have been talking with so much levity that I have 
said no serious thing, and you are really no better 
or wiser, although Robert Buchanan has suggested 
that I am a person who deals in wisdom. I have said 
nothing which would make you better than when 
you came here. 

I should be sorry to sit down without having said 
one serious word which you can carry home and relate 
to your children and the old people who are not able 
to get away. 

And this is just a little maxim which has saved me 
from many a difficulty and many a disaster, and in 
times of tribulation and uncertainty has come to my 
rescue, as it shall to yours if you observe it as I do 
day and night. 

I always use it in an emergency, and you can take 
it home as a legacy from me, and it is: "When in 
doubt, tell the truth." 



184 



AUTHORS* CLUB 

Address at the Dinner Given in Honor of Mr. Clemens, 
London, June, 1899 

Mr. Clemens was introduced by Sir Walter Besant. 

IT does not embarrass me to hear my books praised 
so much. It only pleases and delights me. I have 
not gone beyond the age when embarrassment is pos- 
sible, but I have reached the age when I know how 
to conceal it. It is such a satisfaction to me to hear 
Sir Walter Besant, who is much more capable than 
I to judge of my work, deliver a judgment which is 
such a contentment to my spirit. 

Well, I have thought well of the books myself, 
but I think more of them now. It charms me also 
to hear Sir Spencer Walpole deliver a similar judg- 
ment, and I shall treasure his remarks also. I shall 
not discount the praises in any possible way. When 
I report them to my family they shall lose nothing. 
There are, however, certain heredities which come 
down to us which our writings of the present day 
may be traced to. I, for instance, read the Walpole 
Letters when I was a boy. I absorbed them, gathered 
in their grace, wit, and humor, and put them away 
to be used by-and-by. One does that so uncon- 
sciously with things one really likes. I am reminded 
now of what use those letters have been to me. 

185 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

They must not claim credit in America for what 
was really written in another form so long ago. They 
must only claim that I trimmed this, that, and the 
other, and so changed their appearance as to make 
them seem to be original. You now see what modesty 
I have in stock. But it has taken long practice to 
get it there. 

But I must not stand here talking. I merely 
meant to get up and give my thanks for the pleasant 
things that preceding speakers have said of me. I 
wish also to extend my thanks to the Authors' Club 
for constituting me a member, at a reasonable price 
per year, and for giving me the benefit of your legal 
adviser. 

I believe you keep a lawyer. I have always kept 
a lawyer, too, though I have never made anything 
out of him. It is service to an author to have a law- 
yer. There is something so disagreeable in having a 
personal contact with a publisher. So it is better to 
work through a lawyer — and lose your case. I under- 
stand that the publishers have been meeting together 
also like us. I don't know what for, but possibly 
they are devising new and mysterious ways for 
remunerating authors. I only wish now to thank you 
for electing me a member of this club — I believe I 
have paid my dues — and to thank you again for the 
pleasant things you have said of me. 



186 



THE DAY WE CELEBRATE 

Address at the Fourth-of-July Dinner of the American 
Society, London, 1899 

I NOTICED in Ambassador Choate's speech that 
he said: "You may be Americans or English- 
men, but you cannot be both at the same time." 
You responded by applause. 

Consider the effect of a short residence here. I 
find the Ambassador rises first to speak to a toast, 
followed by a Senator, and I come third. What a 
subtle tribute that to monarchical influence of the 
country wjhen you place rank above respectability ! 

I was born modest, and if I had not been things 
like this would force it upon me. I understand it 
quite well. I am here to see that between them 
they do justice to the day we celebrate, and in case 
they do not I must do it myself. But I notice they 
have considered this day merely from one side — its 
sentimental, patriotic, poetic side. But it has another 
side. It has a commercial, a business side that needs 
reforming. It has a historical side. 

I do not say "an" historical side, because I am 
speaking the American language. I do not see why 
our cousins should continue to say "an" hospital, 
"an" historical fact, "an" horse. It seems to me 
the Congress of Women, now in session, should look 
to it. I think "an" is having a little too much to 

187 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

do with it. It comes of habit, which accounts for 
many things. 

Yesterday, for example, I was at a luncheon party. 
At the end of the party a great dignitary of the 
English Established Church went away half an hour 
before anybody else and carried off my hat. Now, 
that was an innocent act on his part. He went out 
first, and, of course, had the choice of hats. As a rule 
I try to get out first myself. But I hold that it was 
an innocent, unconscious act, due, perhaps, to hered- 
ity. He was thinking about ecclesiastical matters, 
and when a man is in that condition of mind he will 
take anybody's hat. The result was that the whole 
afternoon I was under the influence of his clerical 
hat and could not tell a lie. Of course, he was hard 
at it. 

It is a compliment to both of us. His hat fitted 
me exactly; my hat fitted him exactly. So I judge 
I was born to rise to high dignity in the Church 
some how or other, but I do not know what he was 
born for. That is an illustration of the influence of 
habit, and it is perceptible here when they say "an" 
hospital, ' ' an " European, " an " historical. 

The business aspect of the Fourth of July is not 
perfect as it stands. See what it costs us every year 
with loss of life, the crippling of thousands with its 
fireworks, and the burning down of property. It is 
not only sacred to patriotism and universal freedom, 
but to the surgeon, the undertaker, the insurance 
offices — and they are working it for all it is worth. 

I am pleased to see that we have a cessation of 
war for the time. This coming from me, a soldier, 

188 



THE DAY WE CELEBRATE 

you will appreciate. I was a soldier in the Southern 
war for two weeks, and when gentlemen get up to 
speak of the great deeds our army and navy have 
recently done, why, it goes all through me and fires 
up the old war spirit. I had in my first engagement 
three horses shot under me. The next shots went 
over my head, the next hit me in the back- Then I 
retired to meet an engagement. 

I thank you, gentlemen, for making even a slight 
reference to the war profession, in which I distin- 
guished myself, short as my career was. 



189 



THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL 
MORALS 

The New Vagabonds Club, of London, made up of the leading 
younger literary men of the day, gave a dinner in honor of Mr. 
and Mrs. Clemens, July 8, 1899. 

IT has always been difficult — leave that word diffi- 
cult — not exceedingly difficult, but just difficult, 
nothing more than that, not the slightest shade to 
add to that— just difficult— to respond properly, in 
the right phraseology, when compliments are paid to 
me; but it is more than difficult when the compli- 
ments are paid to a better than I — my wife. 

And while I am not here to testify against myself — 
I can't be expected to do so, a prisoner in your own 
country is not admitted to do so — as to which mem- 
ber of the family wrote my books, I could say in 
general that really I wrote the books myself. My 
wife puts the facts in, and they make it respectable. 
My modesty won't suffer while compliments are being 
paid to literature, and through literature to my 
family. I can't get enough of them. 

I am curiously situated to-night. It so rarely hap- 
pens that I am introduced by a humorist; I am gen- 
erally introduced by a person of grave walk and 
carriage. That makes the proper background of 
gravity for brightness. I am going to alter to suit, 
and haply I may say some humorous things. 

190 



THEORETICAL AND PRACTICAL MORALS 

When you start with a blaze of sunshine and 
upburst of humor, when you begin with that, the 
proper office of humor is to reflect, to put you into 
that pensive mood of deep thought, to make you 
think of your sins, if you wish half an hour to fly. 
Humor makes me reflect now to-night, it sets the 
thinking machinery in motion. Always, when I am 
thinking, there comes suggestions of what I am, and 
what we all are, and what we are coming to. A 
sermon comes from my lips always when I listen to 
a humorous speech. 

I seize the opportunity to throw away frivolities, 
to say something to plant the seed, and make all 
better than when I came. In Mr. Grossmith's 
remarks there was a subtle something suggesting my 
favorite theory of the difference between theoretical 
morals and practical morals. I try to instill practical 
morals in the place of theatrical — I mean theoretical ; 
but as an addendum — an annex — something added 
to theoretical morals. 

When your chairman said it was the first time he 
had ever taken the chair, he did not mean that he had 
not taken lots of other things; he attended my first 
lecture and took notes. This indicated the man's 
disposition. There was nothing else flying around, 
so he took notes; he would have taken anything he 
could get. 

As by the fires of experience, so by commission of 
crime, you learn real morals. Commit all the crimes, 
familiarize yourself with all sins, take them in rota- 
tion (there are only two or three thousand of them), 
stick to it. commit two or three every day, and 

191 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

by-and-by you will be proof against them. When 
you are through you will be proof against all sins and 
morally perfect. You will be vaccinated against 
every possible commission of them. This is the only 
way. 

I will read you a written statement upon the sub- 
ject that I wrote three years ago to read to the 
Sabbath schools. [Here the lecturer turned his pock- 
ets out, but without success.] No! I have left it 
home. Still, it was a mere statement of facts, illus- 
trating the value of practical morals produced by 
the commission of crime. 

I was at a great school yesterday (St. Paul's), 
where for four hundred years they have been busy 
with brains, and building up England by producing 
Pepys, Miltons, and Marlboroughs. Six hundred 
boys left to nothing in the world but theoretical 
morality. I wanted to become the professor of prac- 
tical morality, but the high master was away, so I 
suppose I shall have to go on making my living the 
same old way — by adding practical to theoretical 
morality. 

What are the glory that was Greece, the grandeur 
that was Rome, compared to the glory and grandeur 
and majesty of a perfected morality such as you see 
before you? 

The New Vagabonds are old vagabonds (under- 
going the old sort of reform). You drank my health; 
I hope I have not been unuseful. Take this system 
of morality to your hearts. Take it home to your 
neighbors and your graves, and I hope that it will be 
a long time before you arrive there. 

192 



HENRY IRVING 

The Dramatic and Literary Society of London gave a welcome' 
home dinner to Sir Henry Irving at the Savoy Hotel, London, 
June q, 1900. In proposing the toast of "The Drama" Mr. 
Clemens said: 

I FIND my task a very easy one. I have been a 
dramatist for thirty years. I have had an ambi- 
tion in all that time to overdo the work of the 
Spaniard who said he left behind him four hundred 
dramas when he died. I leave behind me four hun- 
dred and fifteen, and am not yet dead. 

The greatest of all the arts is to write a drama. It 
is a most difficult thing. It requires the highest 
talent possible and the rarest gifts. No, there is 
another talent that ranks with it — for anybody can 
write a drama — I had four hundred of them — but to 
get one accepted requires real ability. And I have 
never had that felicity yet. 

But human nature is so constructed, we are so per- 
sistent, that when we know that we are born to a 
thing we do not care what the world thinks about it. 
We go on exploiting that talent year after year, as I 
have done. I shall go on writing dramas, and some day 
the impossible may happen, but I am not looking for it. 

In writing plays the chief thing is novelty. The 
world grows tired of solid forms in all the arts. I struck 
a new idea myself years ago. I was not surprised at it. 
I was always expecting it would happen . A person who 
has suffered disappointment for many years loses con- 

193 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

fidence, and I thought I had better make inquiries before 
I exploited my new idea of doing a drama in the form 
of a dream, so I wrote to a great authority on knowl- 
edge of all kinds, and asked him whether it was new. 

I could depend upon him. He lived in my dear 
home in America — that dear home, dearer to me 
through taxes. He sent me a list of plays in which 
that old device had been used, and he said that there 
was also a modern lot. He travelled back to China and 
to a play dated two thousand six hundred years before 
the Christian era. He said he would follow it up with 
a list of the previous plays of the kind, and in his inno- 
cence would have carried them back to the Flood. 

That is the most discouraging thing that has ever 
happened to me in my dramatic career. I have done 
a world of good in a silent and private way, and have 
furnished Sir Henry Irving with plays and plays and 
plays. What has he achieved through that influence? 
See where he stands now — on the summit of his art 
in two worlds — and it was I who put him there — that 
partly put him there. 

I need not enlarge upon the influence the drama 
has exerted upon civilization. It has made good 
morals entertaining. I am to be followed by Mr. 
Pinero. I conceive that we stand at the head of the 
profession. He has not written as many plays as I 
have, but he has had that God-given talent, which 
I lack, of working them off on the manager. I 
couple his name with this toast, and add the hope 
that his influence will be supported in exercising his 
masterly handicraft in that great gift, and that he 
will long live to continue his fine work. 

194. 



LATER SPEECHES 



WELCOME HOME 

Address at the Dinner in His Honor at the Lotos Club, 
November io, 1900 

In August, 1895, just before sailing for Australia, Mr. Clemens 
issued the following statement: 

"It has been reported that I sacrificed, for the benefit of the 
creditors, the property of the publishing firm whose financial 
backer I was, and that I am now lecturing for my own benefit. 

"This is an error. I intend the lectures, as well as the prop- 
erty, for the creditors. The law recognizes no mortgage on a 
man's brains, and a merchant who has given up all he has may 
take advantage of the laws of insolvency and may start free 
again for himself. But I am not a business man, and honor is 
a harder master than the law. It cannot compromise for less 
than one hundred cents on a dollar, and its debts are never 
outlawed. 

"I had a two-thirds interest in the publishing firm whose 
capital I furnished. If the firm had prospered I would have 
expected to collect two-thirds of the profits. As it is, I expect 
to pay all the debts. My partner has no resources, and I do 
not look for assistance to my wife, whose contributions in cash 
from her own means have nearly equaled the claims of all 
creditors combined. She has taken nothing; on the contrary, 
she has helped and intends to help me to satisfy the obligations 
due to the rest of the creditors. 

"It is my intention to ask my creditors to accept that as a 
legal discharge, and trust to my honor to pay the other fifty 
per cent as fast as I can earn it. From my reception thus far 
on my lecturing tour, I am confident that if I live I can pay off 
the last debt within four years. 

"After which, at the age of sixty-four, I can make a fresh and 
unincumbered start in life. I am going to Australia, India, and 
South Africa, and next year I hope to make a tour of the great 
cities of the United States." 

197 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

I THANK you all, out of my heart for this frater- 
nal welcome, and it seems almost too fine, almost 
too magnificent, for a humble Missourian such as I 
am, far from his native haunts on the banks of the 
Mississippi; yet my modesty is in a degree fortified 
by observing that I am not the only Missourian who 
has been honored here to-night, for I see at this very 
table — here is a Missourian [indicating Mr. McKel- 
way], and there is a Missourian [indicating Mr. 
Depew], and there is another Missourian — and Hen- 
drix and Clemens ; and last but not least, the greatest 
Missourian of them all — here he sits — Tom Reed, 
who has always concealed his birth till now. And 
since I have been away I know what has been hap- 
pening in his case : he has deserted politics, and now 
is leading a creditable life. He has reformed, and 
God prosper him; and I judge, by a remark which 
he made upstairs awhile ago, that he had found a 
new business that is utterly suited to his make and 
constitution, and all he is doing now is that he is 
around raising the average of personal beauty. 

But I am grateful to the president for the kind 
words which he has said of me, and it is not for me 
to say whether these praises were deserved or not. 
I prefer to accept them just as they stand, without 
concerning myself with the statistics upon which 
they have been built, but only with that large mat- 
ter, that essential matter, the good-fellowship, the 
kindliness, the magnanimity, and generosity that 
prompted their utterance. Well, many things have 
happened since I sat here before, and now that I 
think of it, the president's reference to the debts 

198 



WELCOME HOME 

which were left by the bankrupt firm of Charles L. 
Webster & Co. gives me an opportunity to say a 
word which I very much wish to say, not for myself, 
but for ninety-five men and women whom I shall 
always hold in high esteem and in pleasant remem- 
brance — the creditors of that firm. They treated me 
well; they treated me handsomely. There were 
ninety-six of them, and by not a finger's weight did 
ninety-five of them add to the burden of that time 
for me. Ninety-five out of the ninety-six — they 
didn't indicate by any word or sign that they were 
anxious about their money. They treated me well, 
and I shall not forget it; I could not forget it if I 
wanted to. Many of them said, "Don't you worry, 
don't you hurry " ; that's what they said. Why, if I 
could have that kind of creditors always, and that 
experience, I would recognize it as a personal loss 
to be out of debt. I owe those ninety-five creditors a 
debt of homage, and I pay it now in such measures 
as one may pay so fine a debt in mere words. Yes, 
they said that very thing. I was not personally 
acquainted with ten of them, and yet they said, 
"Don't you worry, and don't you hurry." I know 
that phrase by heart, and if all the other music should 
perish out of the world it would still sing to me. I 
appreciate that ; I am glad to say this word ; people 
say so much about me, and they forget those cred- 
itors. They were handsomer than I was — or Tom 
Reed. 

Oh, you have been doing many things in this time 
that I have been absent; you have done lots of 
things, some that are well worth remembering, too. 

199 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Now, we have fought a righteous war since I have 
gone, and that is rare in history — a righteous war is 
so rare that it is almost unknown in history; but by 
the grace of that war we set Cuba free, and we joined 
her to those three or four nations that exist on this 
earth ; and we started out to set those poor Filipinos 
free, too, and why, why, why that most righteous 
purpose of ours has apparently miscarried I suppose 
I never shall know. 

But we have made a most creditable record in 
China in these days — our sound and level-headed 
administration has made a most creditable record 
over there, and there are some of the Powers that 
cannot say that by any means. The Yellow Terror 
is threatening this world to-day. It is looming vast 
and ominous on that distant horizon. I do not know 
what is going to be the result of that Yellow Terror, 
but our government has had no hand in evoking it, 
and let's be happy in that and proud of it. 

We have nursed free silver, we watched by its 
cradle ; we have done the best we could to raise that 
child, but those pestiferous Republicans have — well, 
they keep giving it the measles every chance they 
get, and we never shall raise that child. Well, that's 
no matter — there's plenty of other things to do, and 
we must think of something else. Well, we have 
tried a President four years, criticised him and found 
fault with him the whole time, and turned around 
a day or two ago with votes enough to spare to elect 
another. O consistency! consistency! thy name — I 
don't know what thy name is — Thompson will do — 
any name will do — but you see there is the fact, 

200 



WELCOME HOME 

there is the consistency. Then we have tried for 
governor an illustrious Rough Rider, and we liked 
him so much in that great office that now we have 
made him Vice-President — not in order that that 
office shall give him distinction, but that he m ay- 
confer distinction upon that office. And it's needed, 
too — it's needed. And now, for a while anyway, we 
shall not be stammering and embarrassed when a 
stranger asks us, "What is the name of the Vice- 
President?" This one is known; this one is pretty 
well known, pretty widely known, and in some 
quarters favorably. I am not accustomed to deal- 
ing in these fulsome compliments, and I am probably 
overdoing it a little; but — well, my old affectionate 
admiration for Governor Roosevelt has probably 
betrayed me into the complimentary excess; but I 
know him, and you know him; and if you give him 
rope enough — I mean if — oh yes, he will justify that 
compliment ; leave it just as it is. And now we have 
put in his place Mr. Odell, another Rough Rider, I 
suppose ; all the fat things go to that profession now. 
Why, I could have been a Rough Rider myself if I 
had known that this political Klondike was going to 
open up, and I would have been a Rough Rider if I 
could have gone to war on an automobile — but not 
on a horse! No, I know the horse too well; I have 
known the horse in war and in peace, and there is 
no place where a horse is comfortable. The horse 
has too many caprices, and he is too much given to 
initiative. He invents too many new ideas. No, I 
don't want anything to do with a horse. 
And then we have taken Chauncey Depew out of 
201 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

a useful and active life and made him a Senator 
— embalmed him, corked him up. And I am not 
grieving. That man has said many a true thing 
about me in his time, and I always said something 
would happen to him. Look at that [pointing to 
Mr. Depew] gilded mummy! He has made my life 
a sorrow to me at many a banquet on both sides of 
the ocean, and now he has got it. Perish the hand 
that pulls that cork ! 

All these things have happened, all these things 
have come to pass, while I have been away, and it 
just shows how little a Mugwump can be missed in a 
cold, unfeeling world, even when he is the last one 
that is left — a Grand Old Party all by himself. 
And there is another thing that has happened, per- 
haps the most imposing event of them all : the insti- 
tution called the Daughters of the Crown — the 
Daughters of the Royal Crown — has established itself 
and gone into business. Now, there's an American 
idea for you; there's an idea born of God knows 
what kind of specialized insanity, but not softening 
of the brain — you cannot soften a thing that doesn't 
exist — the Daughters of the Royal Crown ! Nobody 
eligible but American descendants of Charles II. 
Dear me, how the fancy product of that old harem 
still holds out ! 

Well, I am truly glad to foregather with you again, 
and partake of the bread and salt of this hospitable 
house once more. Seven years ago, when I was your 
guest here, when I was old and despondent, you gave 
me the grip and the word that lift a man up and 
make him glad to be alive; and now I come back 

202 



WELCOME HOME 

from my exile young again, fresh and alive, and re'ady 
to begin life once more, and your welcome puts the 
finishing touch upon my restored youth and makes 
it real to me, and not a gracious dream that must 
vanish with the morning. I thank you. 



203 



GALVESTON ORPHAN BAZAAR 

Address at a Fair Held at the Waldorf-Astoria, New 

York, in October, 1900, in Add oe the 

Orphans at Galveston 

I EXPECTED that the Governor of Texas would 
occupy this place first and would speak to you, 
and in the course of his remarks would drop a text 
for me to talk from ; but with the proverbial obsti- 
nacy that is proverbial with governors, they go back 
on their duties, and he has not come here, and has 
not furnished me with a text, and I am here without 
a text. I have no text except what you furnish me 
with your handsome faces, and — but I won't con- 
tinue that, for I could go on forever about attractive 
faces, beautiful dresses, and other things. But, after 
all, compliments should be in order in a place like 
this. 

I have been in New York two or three days, and 
have been in a condition of strict diligence night and 
day, the object of this diligence being to regulate 
the moral and political situation on this planet — put 
it on a sound basis — and when you are regulating 
the conditions of a planet it requires a great deal of 
talk in a great many kinds of ways, and when you 
have talked a lot the emptier you get. When I am 
situated like that, with nothing to say, I feel as 
though I were a sort of fraud ; I seem to be playing 
a part, and please consider I am playing a part for 

204 



GALVESTON ORPHAN BAZAAR 

want of something better, and this is not unfamiliar 
to me; I have often done this before. 

When I was here about eight years ago I was com- 
ing up in a car of the elevated road. Very few people 
were in that car, and on one end of it there was no 
one, except on the opposite seat, where sat a man 
about fifty years old, with a most winning face and 
an elegant eye — a beautiful eye; and I took him 
from his dress to be a master mechanic, a man who 
had a vocation. He had with him a very fine little 
child of about four or five years. I was watching 
the affection which existed between those two. I 
judged he was the grandfather, perhaps. It was 
really a pretty child, and I was admiring her, and 
as soon as he saw I was admiring her he began to 
notice me. 

I could see his admiration of me in his eye, and I 
did what everybody else would do — admired the 
child four times as much, knowing I would get four 
times as much of his admiration. Things went on 
very pleasantly. I was making my way into his 
heart. 

By^and-by, when he almost reached the station 
where he was to get off, he got up, crossed over, and 
he said : ' ' Now I am going to say something to you 
which I hope you will regard as a compliment." 
And then he went on to say: "I have never seen 
Mark Twain, but I have seen a portrait of him, and 
any friend of mine will tell you that when I have 
once seen a portrait of a man I place it in my eye and 
store it away in my memory, and I can tell you now 
that you look enough like Mark Twain to be his 

205 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 



brother. Now," he said, "I hope you take this as 
a compliment." 

I said : "I will be frank with you. In my desire to 
look like that excellent character I have dressed for 
the character; I have been playing a part." 

He said: "That is all right, that is all right; you 
look very well on the outside, but when it comes to 
to the inside you are probably not in it with the 
original." 

So when I come to a place like this with nothing 
valuable to say I always play a part. But I will 
say before I sit down that when it comes to saying 
anything here I will express myself in this way : I am 
heartily in sympathy with you in your efforts to 
help those who were sufferers in this calamity, and 
in your desire to help those who were rendered home- 
less, and in saying this I wish to impress on you the 
fact that I am not playing a part. 






206 



LITERATURE 

Address at the Royal Literary Fund Banquet, London, 

May 4, 1900 

Anthony Hope introduced Mr. Clemens to make the response to 
the toast "Literature." 

MR. HOPE has been able to deal adequately 
with this toast without assistance from me. 
Still, I was born generous. If he had advanced any 
theories that needed refutation or correction I would 
have attended to them, and if he had made any state- 
ments stronger than those which he is in the habit 
of making I would have dealt with them. 

In fact, I was surprised at the mildness of his state- 
ments. I could not have made such statements if I 
had preferred to, because to exaggerate is the only 
way I can approximate to the truth. You cannot 
have a theory without principles. Principles is 
another name for prejudices. I have no prejudices 
in politics, religion, literature, or anything else. 

I am now on my way to my own country to run 
for the presidency because there are not yet enough 
candidates in the field, and those who have entered 
are too much hampered by their own principles, 
which are prejudices. 

I propose to go there to purify the political atmos- 
phere. I am in favor of everything everybody is in 
favor of. What you should do is to satisfy the 

207 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

whole nation, not half of it, for then you would only 
be half a President. 

There could not be a broader platform than mine. 
I am in favor of anything and everything — of tem- 
perance and intemperance, morality and qualified 
immorality, gold standard and free silver. 

I have tried all sorts of things, and that is why I 
want to try the great position of ruler of a count ry. 
I have been in turn reporter, editor, publisher, 
author. Lawyer, burglar, I have worked my way up, 
and wish to continue to do so. 

I read to-day in a magazine article that Christen- 
dom issued last year fifty-five thousand new books. 
Consider what that means! Fifty-five thousand new 
books meant fifty -four thousand new authors. We 
are going to have them all on our hands to take care 
of sooner or later. Therefore, double your subscrip- 
tions to the literary fund! 



208 



DISAPPEARANCE OP LITERATURE 

Address at the Dinner of the Nineteenth Century Club, 
at Sherry's, New York, November 20, 1900 

Mr. Clemens spoke to the toast "The Disappearance of Liter- 
ature." Doctor Gould presided, and in introducing Mr. Clemens 
said that he {the speaker), when in Germany, had to do a lot of 
apologizing for a certain literary man who was taking what the 
Germans thought undue liberties with their language. 

IT wasn't necessary for your chairman to apologize 
for me in Germany. It wasn't necessary at all. 
Instead of that he ought to have impressed upon 
those poor benighted Teutons the service I rendered 
them. Their language had needed untangling for a 
good many years. Nobody else seemed to want to 
take the job, and so I took it, and I flatter myself 
that I made a pretty good job of it. The Germans 
have an inhuman way of cutting up their verbs. 
Now a verb has a hard time enough of it in this 
world when it's all together. It's downright inhuman 
to split it up. But that's just what those Germans 
do. They take part of a verb and put it down here, 
like a stake, and they take the other part of it and 
put it away over yonder like another stake, and 
between these two limits they just shovel in German. 
I maintain that there is no necessity for apologizing 
for a man who helped in a small way to stop such 
mutilation. 

We have heard a discussion to-night on the disap- 
209 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

pearance of literature. That's no new thing. That's 
what certain kinds of literature have been doing foi 
several years. The fact is, my friend, that the fashion 
in literature changes, and the literary tailors have to 
change their cuts or go out of business. Professor 
Winchester here, if I remember fairly correctly what 
he said, remarked that few, if any, of the novels 
produced to-day would live as long as the novels of 
Walter Scott. That may be his notion. Maybe he 
is right ; but so far as I am concerned, I don't care 
if they don't. 

Professor Winchester also said something about 
there being no modern epics like Paradise Lost. I 
guess he's right. He talked as if he was pretty 
familiar with that piece of literary work, and nobody 
would suppose that he never had read it. I don't 
believe any of you have ever read Paradise Lost, and 
you don't want to. That's something that you just 
want to take on trust. It's a classic, just as Professor 
Winchester says, and it meets his definition of a 
classic — something that everybody wants to have 
read and nobody wants to read. 

Professor Trent also had a good deal to say about 
the disappearance of literature. He said that Scott 
would outlive all his critics. I guess that's true. 
The fact of the business is, you've got to be one of 
two ages to appreciate Scott. When you're eighteen 
you can read Ivanhoe, and you want to wait until 
you are ninety to read some of the rest. It takes a 
pretty well-regulated abstemious critic to live ninety 
years. 



2IO 



PUBLIC EDUCATION ASSOCIATION 

Address at a Meeting of the Berkeley Lyceum, New York, 
November 23, 1900 

I DON'T suppose that I am called here as an 
expert on education, for that would show a lack 
of foresight on your part and a deliberate intention 
to remind me of my shortcomings. 

As I sat here looking around for an idea it struck 
me that I was called for two reasons. One was to do 
good to me, a poor unfortunate traveller on the 
world's wide ocean, by giving me a knowledge of 
the nature and scope of your society and letting me 
know that others beside myself have been of some 
use in the world. The other reason that I can see 
is that you have called me to show by way of con- 
trast what education can accomplish if administered 
in the right sort of doses. 

Your worthy president said that the school pic- 
tures, which have received the admiration of the 
world at the Paris Exposition, have been sent to 
Russia, and this was a compliment from that Gov- 
ernment — which is very surprising to me. Why, it 
is only an hour since I read a cablegram in the news- 
papers beginning "Russia Proposes to Retrench." I 
was not expecting such a thunderbolt, and I thought 
what a happy thing it will be for Russians when the 
retrenchment will bring home the thirty thousand 

211 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Russian troops now in Manchuria, to live in peaceful 
pursuits. I thought this was what Germany should 
do also without delay, and that France and all the 
other nations in China should follow suit. 

Why should not China be free from the foreigners, 
who are only making trouble on her soil? If they 
would only go home, what a pleasant place China 
would be for the Chinese! We do not allow China- 
men to come here, and I say in all seriousness that 
it would be a graceful thing to let China decide who 
shall go there. 

China never wanted foreigners any more than for- 
eigners wanted Chinamen, and on this question I 
am with the Boxers every time. The Boxer is a 
patriot. He loves his country better than he does 
the countries of other people. I wish him success. 
The Boxer believes in driving us out of his country. 
I am a Boxer, too, for I believe in driving him out of 
our country. 

When I read the Russian despatch further my 
dream of world peace vanished. It said that the 
vast expense of maintaining the army had made it 
necessary to retrench, and so the Government had 
decided that to support the army it would be neces- 
sary to withdraw the appropriation from the public 
schools. This is a monstrous idea to us. We believe 
that out of the public school grows the greatness of 
a nation. 

It is curious to reflect how history repeats itself 
the world over. Why, I remember the same thing 
was done when I was a boy on the Mississippi River. 
There was a proposition in a township there to dis- 

212 



PUBLIC EDUCATION ASSOCIATION 

continue public schools because they were too expen- 
sive. An old farmer spoke up and said if they stopped 
the schools they would not save anything, because 
every time a school was closed a jail had to be built. 

It's like feeding a dog on his own tail. He'll never 
get fat. I believe it is better to support schools than 
jails. 

The work of your association is better and shows 
more wisdom than the Czar of Russia and all his 
people. This is not much of a compliment, but it's 
the best I've got in stock. 



213 



MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT 

Address at the Annual Dinner of the St. Nicholas Society, 
New York, December 6, 1900 

Doctor Mackay, in his response to the toast "St. Nicholas" 
referred to Mr. Clemens, saying: "Mark Twain is as true a 
preacher of true righteousness as any bishop, priest, or minister 
of any church to-day, because he moves men to forget their faults 
by cheerful well doing instead of making them sour and morbid 
by everlasting bending their attention to the seamy and sober side 
of lifer 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF 
THE ST. NICHOLAS SOCIETY— These 
are, indeed, prosperous days for me. Night before 
last, in a speech, the Bishop of the Diocese of New 
York complimented me for my contribution to the- 
ology, and to-night the Reverend Doctor Mackay 
has elected me to the ministry. I thanked Bishop 
Potter then for his compliment, and I thank Doctor 
Mackay now for that promotion. I think that both 
have discerned in me what I long ago discerned, but 
what I was afraid the world would never learn to 
recognize. 

In this absence of nine years I find a great improve- 
ment in the city of New York. I am glad to speak 
on that as a toast — ''The City of New York." Some 
say it has improved because I have been away. 
Others, and I agree with them, say it has improved 
because I have come back. We must judge of a 

214 



MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT 

city, as of a man, by its external appearances and by 
its inward character. In externals the foreigner com- 
ing to these shores is more impressed at first by our 
skyscrapers. They are new to him. He has not 
done anything of the sort since he built the tower 
of Babel. The foreigner is shocked by them. 

In the daylight they are ugly. They are — well, too 
chimneyfied and too snaggy — like a mouth that needs 
attention from a dentist ; like a cemetery that is all 
monuments and no gravestones. But at night, seen 
from the river where they are columns towering 
against the sky, all sparkling with light, they are 
fairylike; they are beauty more satisfactory to the 
soul and more enchanting than anything that man 
has dreamed of since the Arabian nights. We can't 
always have the beautiful aspect of things. Let us 
make the most of our sights that are beautiful and 
let the others go. When your foreigner makes dis- 
agreeable comments on New York by daylight, float 
him down the river at night. 

What has made these skyscrapers possible is the 
elevator. The cigar box which the European calls a 
"lift" needs but to be compared with our elevators 
to be appreciated. The lift stops to reflect between 
floors. That is all right in a hearse, but not in 
elevators. The American elevator acts like the man's 
patent purge — it worked. As the inventor said, 
"This purge doesn't waste any time fooling around; 
it attends strictly to business." 

That New Yorkers have the cleanest, quickest, 
and most admirable system of street railways in the 
world has been forced upon you by the abnormal 

215 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

appreciation you have of your hackman. We ought 
always to be grateful to him for that service. Nobody 
else would have brought such a system into existence 
for us. We ought to build him a monument. We 
owe him one as much as we owe one to anybody. 
Let it be a tall one. Nothing permanent, of course; 
build it of plaster, say. Then gaze at it and realize 
how grateful we are — for the time being — and then 
pull it down and throw it on the ash heap. That's 
the way to honor your public heroes. 

As to our streets, I find them cleaner than they 
used to be. I miss those dear old landmarks, the 
symmetrical mountain ranges of dust and dirt that 
used to be piled up along the streets for the wind and 
rain to tear down at their pleasure. Yes, New York 
is cleaner than Bombay. I realize that I have been 
in Bombay, that I now am in New York; that it is 
not my duty to flatter Bombay, but rather to flatter 
New York. 

Compared with the wretched attempts of London 
to light that city, New York may fairly be said to be 
a well-lighted city. Why, London's attempt at good 
lighting is almost as bad as London's attempt at 
rapid transit. There is just one good system of rapid 
transit in London — the "Tube," and that, of course, 
had been put in by Americans. Perhaps, after 
a while, those Americans will come back and give New 
York also a good underground system. Perhaps they 
have already begun. I have been so busy since I 
came back that I haven't had time as yet to go down 
cellar. 

But it is by the laws of the city, it is by the manners 

216 



MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT 

of the city, it is by the ideals of the city, it is by th* 
customs of the city and by the municipal govern- 
ment which all these elements correct, support, and 
foster, by which the foreigner judges the city. It is 
by these that he realizes that New York may, indeed, 
hold her head high among the cities of the world. 
It is by these standards that he knows whether to 
class the city higher or lower than the other muni- 
cipalities of the world. 

Gentlemen, you have the best municipal govern- 
ment in the world — the purest and the most fragrant. 
The very angels envy you, and wish they could estab- 
lish a government like it in heaven. You got it by 
a noble fidelity to civic duty. You got it by stern 
and ever-watchful exertion of the great powers with 
which you are charged by the rights which were 
handed down to you by your forefathers, by your 
manly refusal to let base men invade the high places 
of your government, and by mstant retaliation when 
any public officer has insulted you in the city's 
name by swerving in the slightest from the upright 
and full performance of his duty. It is you who have 
made this city the envy of the cities of the world. 
God will bless you for it — God will bless you for it. 
Why, when you approach the final resting place the 
angels of heaven will gather at the gates and cry out: 

"Here they come! Show them to the archangel's 
box, and turn the limelight on them!" 



217 



MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION 

Address at the City Club Dinner, January 4, 1901 

Bishop Potter told how an alleged representative of Tammany 
Ball asked him in effect if he would cease his warfare upon the 
Police Department if a certain captain and inspector were dis- 
missed. He replied that he would never be satisfied until the "man 
at the top" and the "system" which permitted evils in the Police 
Department were crushed. 

THE Bishop has just spoken of a condition of 
things which none of us can deny, and which 
ought not to exist; that is, the lust of gain — a lust 
which does not stop short of the penitentiary or the 
jail to accomplish its ends. But we may be sure of 
one thing, and that is that this sort of thing is not 
universal. If it were, this country would not be. 
You may put this down as a fact : that out of every 
fifty men, forty-nine are clean. Then why is it, you 
may ask, that the forty-nine don't have things the 
way they want them? I'll tell you why it is. A 
good deal has been said here to-night about what is 
to be accomplished by organization. That's just 
the thing. It's because the fiftieth fellow and his 
pals are organized and the other forty-nine are not 
that the dirty one rubs it into the clean fellows every 
time. 

You may say organize, organize, organize; but 
there may be so much organization that it will inter- 
fere with the work to be done. The Bishop here 

2l8 



MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION 

had an experience of that sort, and told all about it 
downtown the other night. He was painting a 
barn — it was his own bam — and yet he was informed 
that his work must step ; he. was a nonunion painter, 
and couldn't continue at that sort of job. 

Now, all these conditions of which you complain 
should be remedied, and I am here to tell you just 
how to do it. I've been a statesman without salary 
for many years, and I have accomplished great and 
widespread good. I don't know that it has benefited 
anybody very much, even if it was good; but I do 
know that it hasn't harmed me very much, and it 
hasn't made me any richer. 

We hold the balance of power. Put up your best 
men for office, and we shall support the better one. 
With the election of the best man for Mayor would 
follow the selection of the best man for Police Com- 
missioner and Chief of Police. 

My first lesson in the craft of statesmanship was 
taken at an early age. Fifty-one years ago I was 
fourteen years old, and we had a society in the town 
I lived in, patterned after the Freemasons, or the 
Ancient Order of United Farmers, or some such 
thing — just what it was patterned after doesn't mat- 
ter. It had an inside guard and an outside guard, 
and a past grand warden, and a lot of such things, 
so as to give dignity to the organization and offices 
to the members. 

Generally speaking it was a pretty good sort of 
organization, and some of the very best boys in the 
village, including — but I mustn't get personal on an 
occasion like this — and the society would have got 

219 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

along pretty well had it not been for the fact that 
there were a certain number of the members who 
could be bought. They got to be an infernal nuisance. 
Every time we had an election the candidates had 
to go around and see the purchasable members. 
The price per vote was paid in doughnuts, and it 
depended somewhat on the appetites of the individ- 
uals as to the price of the votes. 

This thing ran along until some of us, the really 
very best boys in the organization, decided that these 
corrupt practices must stop, and for the purpose of 
stopping them we organized a third party. We had 
a name, but we were never known by that name. 
Those who didn't like us called us the Anti-Doughnut 
party, but we didn't mind that. 

We said: "Call us what you please; the name 
doesn't matter. We are organized for a principle." 
By-and-by the election came around, and we made 
a big mistake. We were triumphantly beaten. That 
taught us a lesson. Then and there we decided 
never again to nominate anybody for anything. We 
decided simply to force the other two parties in the 
society to nominate their very best men. Although 
we were organized for a principle, we didn't care 
much about that. Principles aren't of much account 
anyway, except at election time. After that you j 
hang them up to let them season. 

The next time we had an election we told both 
the other parties that we'd beat any candidates put 
up by any one of them of whom we didn't approve. 
In that election we did business. We got the man 
we wanted. I suppose they called us the Anti- 

220 



MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION 

Doughnut party because they couldn't buy us with 
their doughnuts. They didn't have enough of them. 
Most reformers arrive at their price sooner or later, 
and I suppose we would have had our price; but 
our opponents weren't offering anything but dough- 
nuts, and those we spurned. 

Now it seems to me that an Anti-Doughnut party 
is just what is wanted in the present emergency. I 
would have the An ti- Doughnuts felt in every city 
and hamlet and school district in this State and in 
the United States. I was an Anti-Doughnut in my 
boyhood, and I'm an Anti-Doughnut still. The 
modern designation is Mugwump. There used to 
be quite a number of us Mugwumps, but I think 
I'm the only one left. I had a vote this fall, and I 
began to make some inquiries as to what I had 
better do with it. 

I don't know anything about finance, and I never 
did, and I know some pretty shrewd financiers, and 
they told me that Mr. Bryan wasn't safe on any 
financial question. I said to myself, then, that it 
wouldn't do for me to vote for Bryan, and I rather 
thought — I know now — that McKinley wasn't just 
right on this Philippine question, and so I just didn't 
vote for anybody. I've got that vote yet, and I've 
kept it clean, ready to deposit at some other election. 
It wasn't cast for any wildcat financial theories, and 
it wasn't cast to support the man who sends our 
boys as volunteers out into the Philippines to get 
shot down under a polluted flag. 



221 



VOTES FOR WOMEN 

At the Annual Meeting of the Hebrew Technical School 

for Girls, Held in the Temple Emmanuel, 

January 20, 1901 

Mr. Clemens was introduced by President Meyer, who said: 
u In one of Mr. Clemens' s works he expressed his opinion of men, 
saying he had no choice between Hebrew and Gentile, black men 
or white; to him all men were alike. But I never could find that 
he expressed his opinion of women; perhaps that opinion was so 
exalted that he could not express it. We shall now be called to hear 
what he thinks of women." 

IADIES AND GENTLEMEN— It is a small help 
^j that I can afford, but it is just such help that 
one can give as coming from the heart through the 
mouth. The report of Mr. Meyer was admirable, 
and I was as interested in it as you have been. Why, 
I'm twice as old as he, and I've had so much experi- 
ence that I would say to him, when he makes his 
appeal for help: "Don't make it for to-day or 
to-morrow, but collect the money on the spot." 

We are all creatures of sudden impulse. We must 
be worked up by steam, as it were. Get them to 
write their wills now, or it may be too late by-and- 
by. Fifteen or twenty years ago I had an experience 
I shall never forget. I got into a church which was 
crowded by a sweltering and panting multitude. The 
city missionary of our town — Hartford — made a tell- 
ing appeal for help. He told of personal experiences 
among the poor in cellars and top lofts requiring 

222 



VOTES FOR WOMEN 

instances of devotion and help. The poor are always 
good to the poor. When a person with his millions 
gives a hundred thousand dollars it makes a great 
noise in the world, but he does not miss it; it's the 
widow's mite that makes no noise but does the best 
work. 

I remembered on that occasion in the Hartford 
church the collection was being taken up. The 
appeal had so stirred me that I could hardly wait 
for the hat or plate to come my way. I had four 
hundred dollars in my pocket, and I was anxious to 
drop it in the plate and wanted to borrow more. 
But the plate was so long in coming my way that 
the fever-heat of beneficence was going down lower 
and lower — going down at the rate of a hundred dol- 
lars a minute. The plate was passed too late. When 
it finally came to me, my enthusiasm had gone down 
so much that I kept my four hundred dollars — and 
stole a dime from the plate. So, you see, time some- 
times leads to crime. 

Oh, many a time have I thought of that and 
regretted it, and I adjure you all to give while the 
fever is on you. 

Referring to woman's sphere in life, I'll say that 
woman is always right. For twenty-five years I've 
been a woman's rights man. I have always believed, 
long before my mother died, that, with her gray 
hairs and admirable intellect, perhaps she knew as 
much as I did. Perhaps she knew as much about 
voting as I. 

I should like to see the time come when women 
shall help to make the laws. I should like to see that 

223 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

whip-lash, the ballot, in the hands of women. As for 
this city's government, I don't want to say much, 
except that it is a shame — a shame; but if I should 
live twenty-five years longer — and there is no reason 
why I shouldn't — I think I'll see women handle the 
ballot. If women had the ballot to-day, the state of 
things in this town would not exist. 

If all the women in this town had a vote to-day 
they would elect a mayor at the next election, and 
they would rise in their might and change the awful 
state of things now existing here. 



224 



UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT SOCIETY 

After the serious addresses were made, Seth Low introduced Mr. 
Clemens at the Settlement House, February 2, 1901. 

THE older we grow the greater becomes our 
wonder at how much ignorance one can contain 
without bursting one's clothes. Ten days ago I did 
not know anything about the University Settlement 
except what I'd read in the pamphlets sent me. Now, 
after being here and hearing Mrs. Hewitt and Mrs. 
Thomas, it seems to me I know of nothing like it at 
all. It's a charity that carries no humiliation with 
it. Marvellous it is, to think of schools where you 
don't have to drive the children in but drive them 
out. It was not so in my day. 

Down-stairs just now I saw a dancing lesson going 
on. You must pay a cent for a lesson. You can't 
get it for nothing. That's the reason I never learned 
to dance. 

But it was the pawnbroker's shop you have here 
that interested me mightily. I've known something 
about pawnbrokers' shops in my time, but here you 
have a wonderful plan. The ordinary pawnbroker 
charges thirty-six per cent a year for a loan, and I've 
paid more myself, but here a man or woman in dis- 
tress can obtain a loan for one per cent a month! 
It's wonderful! 

I've been interested in all I've heard to-day, espe- 
225 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

daily in the romance recounted by Mrs. Thomas, 
which reminds me that I have a romance of my own 
in my autobiography, which I am building for the 
instruction of the world. 

In San Francisco, many years ago, when I was a 
newspaper reporter (perhaps I should say I had been 
and was willing to be), a pawnbroker was taking care 
of what property I had. There was a friend of mine, 
a poet, out of a job, and he was having a hard time 
of it, too. 

Well, my friend the poet thought his life was a 
failure, and I told him I thought it was, and then he 
said he thought he ought to commit suicide, and I 
said "all right," which was disinterested advice to a 
friend in trouble; but, like all such advice, there was 
just a little bit of self-interest back of it, for if I 
could get a "scoop" on the other newspapers I 
could get a job. 

The poet could be spared, and so, largely for his 
own good and partly for mine, I kept the thing in his 
mind, which was necessary, as would-be suicides are 
very changeable and hard to hold to their purpose. 
He had a preference for a pistol, which was an extrav- 
agance, for we hadn't enough between us to hire a 
pistol. A fork would have been easier. 

And so he concluded to drown himself, and I said 
it was an excellent idea — the only trouble being that 
he was so good a swimmer. So we went down to the 
beach. I went along to see that the thing was done 
right. Then something most romantic happened. 
There came in on the sea something that had been 
on its way for three years. It rolled in across the 

226 



UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT SOCIETY 

broad Pacific with a message that was full of mean- 
ing to that poor poet and cast itself at his feet. It 
was a life preserver ! This was a complication. And 
then I had an idea — he never had any, especially 
when he was going to write poetry ; I suggested that 
we pawn the life preserver and get a revolver. 

The pawnbroker gave us an old derringer with a 
bullet as big as a hickory nut. When he heard that 
it was only a poet that was going to kill himself he 
did not quibble. Well, we succeeded in sending a 
bullet right through his head. It was a terrible 
moment when he placed that pistol against his fore- 
head and stood for an instant. I said, "Oh, pull the 
trigger!" and he did, and cleaned out all the gray 
matter in his brains. It carried the poetic faculty 
away, and now he's a useful member of society. 

Now, therefore, I realize that there's no more 
beneficent institution than this penny fund of yours, 
and I want all the poets to know this. I did think 
about writing you a check, but now I think I'll send 
you a few copies of what one of your little members 
called Strawberry Finn. 



227 



ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY 

Introducing Col. Waiter son at the celebration of Abraham Lincoln's 
Q2d Birthday Anniversary, Carnegie Hall, February n, 1901, to 
raise funds for the Lincoln Memorial University at Cumberland 
Gap, Tennessee. 

1ADIES AND GENTLEMEN— The remainder 
j of my duties as presiding chairman here this 
evening are but two — only two. One of them is easy, 
and the other difficult. That is to say, I must intro- 
duce the orator, and then keep still and give him a 
chance. The name of Henry Watterson carries with 
it its own explanation. It is like an electric light on 
top of Madison Square Garden; you touch the but- 
ton and the light flashes up out of the darkness. 
You mention the name of Henry Watterson, and 
your minds are at once illuminated with the splendid 
radiance of his fame and achievements. A journalist, 
a soldier, an orator, a statesman, a rebel. Yes, he 
was a rebel; and, better still, now he is a recon- 
structed rebel. 

It is a curious circumstance that without collusion 
of any kind, but merely in obedience to a strange 
and pleasant and dramatic freak of destiny, he and 
I, kinsmen by blood, 1 for we are that — and one- 
time rebels — for we were that — chosen out of a mil- 
lion surviving quondam rebels to come here and 

1 Colonel Watterson's forbears had intermarried with the Lamp- 
tons, Mark Twain's maternal ancestors. 

228 






ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY 

bare our heads in reverence and love of that noble 
soul whom forty years ago we tried with all our 
hearts and all our strength to defeat and dispos- 
sess — Abraham Lincoln! Is the Rebellion ended 
and forgotten? Are the Blue and the Gray one 
to-day? By authority of this sign we may answer 
yes; there was a Rebellion — that incident is closed. 
I was born and reared in a slave state; my father 
was a slave owner; and in the Civil War I was a 
second lieutenant in the Confederate service. For 
a while. This second cousin of mine, Colonel Wat- 
terson, the orator of this present occasion, was born 
and reared in a slave state, was a colonel in the 
Confederate service, and rendered me such assist- 
ance as he could in my self-appointed task of anni- 
hilating the Federal armies and breaking up the 
Union. I laid my plans with wisdom and foresight, 
and if Colonel Watterson had obeyed my orders 1 
should have succeeded in my giant undertaking. It 
was my intention to drive General Grant into the 
Pacific: — if I could get transportation — and I told 
Colonel Watterson to surround the Eastern armies 
and wait till I came. But he was insubordinate and 
stood upon a punctilio of military etiquette; he 
refused to take orders from a second lieutenant — 
and the Union was saved. This is the first time this 
secret has been revealed. Until now no one outside 
the family has known the facts. But there they 
stand — Watterson saved the Union. Yet to this day 
that man gets no pension. Those were great days, 
splendid days. What an uprising it was! For the 
hearts of the whole nation, North and South, were 

229 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

in the war. We of the South were not ashamed ; for, 
like the men of the North, we were fighting for flags 
we loved; and when men fight for these things, and 
under these convictions, with nothing sordid to 
tarnish their cause, that cause is holy, the blood 
spilled for it is sacred, the life that is laid down for 
it is consecrated. To-day we no longer regret the 
result, to-day we are glad that it came out as it did, 
but we are not ashamed that we did our endeavor; 
we did our bravest best, against despairing odds, 
for the cause which was precious to us and which 
our conscience approved; and we are proud — and 
you are proud — the kindred blood in your veins 
answers when I say it — you are proud of the record 
we made in those mighty collisions in the fields. 

What an uprising it was! We did not have to 
supplicate for soldiers on either side. "We are com- 
ing, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand 
strong!" That was the music North and South. 
The very choicest young blood and brawn and brain 
rose up from Maine to the Gulf and flocked to the 
standards — just as men always do when in their eyes 
their cause is great and fine and their hearts are in 
it; just as men flocked to the Crusades, sacrificing 
all they possessed to the cause, and entering cheer- 
fully upon hardships which we cannot even imagine 
in this age, and upon toilsome and wasting journeys 
which in our time would be the equivalent of circum- 
navigating the globe five times over. 

North and South we put our hearts into that 
colossal struggle, and out of it came the blessed 
fulfilment of the prophecy of the immortal Gettys- 

230 



ON LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY 

burg speech which said: "We here highly resolve 
that these dead shall not have died in vain; that 
this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of 
freedom; and that a government of the people, by 
the people, for the people, shall not perish from the 
earth." 

We are here to honor the birthday of the greatest 
citizen, and the noblest and the best, after Washing- 
ton, that this land or any other has yet produced. 
The old wounds are healed ; you and we are brothers 
again; you testify by honoring two of us, once 
soldiers of the Lost Cause and foes of your great 
and good leader — with the privilege of assisting 
here; and we testify it by laying our honest homage 
at the feet of Abraham Lincoln and in forgetting 
that you of the North and we of the South were ever 
enemies, and remembering only that we are now 
indistinguishably fused together and namable by one 
common great name — Americans. 



231 



OSTEOPATHY 

On February 27, iqoi, Mr. Clemens appeared before the Assembly 
Committee in Albany, New York, in favor of the Seymour bill 
legalizing the practice of osteopathy. 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN —Dr. 
Van Fleet is the gentleman who gave me the 
character. I have heard my character discussed a 
thousand times before you were born, sir, and shown 
the iniquities in it, and you did not get more than 
half of them. 

I was touched and distressed when they brought 
that part of a child in here, and proved — I don't 
exactly know what, unless it was that you should not 
take a child to pieces i n that way. What remarkable 
names those diseases have! It makes me envious 
of the man that has them all. I have had many 
diseases, and am thankful for all I have had. 

One of the gentl emen spoke of the knowledge of 
something else found in Sweden, a treatment which 
I took. It is, I suppose, a kindred thing. There is 
apparently no great difference between them. I was 
a year and a half in London and Sweden, in the 
hands of that grand old man, Mr. Kellgren. 

I cannot call him a doctor, for he has not the 
authority to give a certificate if a patient should die, 
but fortunately they don't. 

The State stands as a mighty Gibraltar clothed 
with power. It stands between me and my body, 

232 



OSTEOPATHY 

and tells me what kind of a doctor I must employ. 
When my soul is sick unlimited spiritual liberty is 
given me by the State. Now then, it doesn't seem 
logical that the State shall depart from this great 
policy, the health of the soul, and change about and 
take the other position in the matter of smaller 
consequences — the health of the body. 

The Bell bill limitations would drive the osteopaths 
out of the State. Oh, dear me ! when you drive some- 
body out of the State you create the same condition 
as prevailed in the Garden of Eden. You want the 
thing that you can't have. I didn't care much about 
the osteopaths, but as soon as I found they were 
going to drive them out I got in a state of uneasiness, 
and I can't sleep nights now. 

I know how Adam felt in the Garden of Eden 
about the prohibited apple. Adam didn't want the 
apple till he found out he couldn't have it, just as he 
would have wanted osteopathy if he couldn't have it. 

Whose property is my body? Probably mine. I 
so regard it. If I experiment with it, who must be 
answerable? I, not the State. If I choose injudi- 
ciously, does the State die? Oh, no. 

I was the subject of my mother's experiment. She 
was wise. She made experiments cautiously. She 
didn't pick out just any child in the flock. No, she 
chose judiciously. She chose one she could spare, and 
she couldn't spare the others. I was the choice child 
of the flock, so I had to take all of the experiments. 

In 1844 Kneipp filled the world with the wonder 
of the water cure. Mother wanted to try it, but on 
sober second thought she put me through. A bucket 

233 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

of ice water was poured over to see the effect. Then 
I was rubbed down with flannels, a sheet was dipped 
in the water, and I was put to bed. I perspired so 
much that mother put a life preserver to bed with me. 

But this had nothing but a spiritual effect on me, 
and I didn't care for that. When they took off the 
sheet it was yellow from the output of my conscience, 
the exudation of sin. It purified me spiritually, and 
it remains until this day. 

I have experimented with osteopathy and allop- 
athy. I took a chance at the latter for old times' 
sake, for, three times, when a boy, mother's new 
methods got me so near death's door she had to call 
in the family physician to pull me out. 

The physicians think they are moved by regard 
for the best interest of the public. Isn't there a little 
touch of self-interest back of it all? It seems to me 
there is, and I don't claim to have all the virtues — 
only nine or ten of them. 

I was born in the "Banner State," and by "Banner 
State ' ' I mean Missouri. Osteopathy was born in the 
same State, and both of us are getting along reasonably 
well. At a time during my younger days my attention 
was attracted to a picture of a house which bore the 
inscription, "Christ Disputing With the Doctors." 

I could attach no other meaning to it than that 
Christ was actually quarrelling with the doctors. So 
I asked an old slave, who was a sort of a herb doctor 
in a small way — unlicensed, of course — what the 
meaning of the picture was. "What has he done?" 
I asked. And the colored man replied: "Humph, 
he ain't got no license." 

234 



BUSINESS 

The alumni of Eastman College gave their annual banquet, 
March 30, iqoi, at the Y . M. C. A. Building. Mr. James G. 
Cannon, of the Fourth National Bank, made the first speech of the 
evening, after which Mr. Clemens was introduced by Mr. Bailey 
as the personal friend of Tom Sawyer, who was one of the types 
of successful business men. 

MR. CANNON has furnished me with texts 
enough to last as slow a speaker as myself 
all the rest of the night. I took exception to the 
introducing of Mr. Cannon as a great financier, as 
if he were the only great financier present. I am a 
financier. But my methods are not the same as Mr. 
Cannon's. 

I cannot say that I have turned out the great 
business man that I thought I was when I began 
life. But I am comparatively young yet, and may 
learn. I am rather inclined to believe that what 
troubled me was that I got the big-head early in the 
game. I want to explain to you a few points of 
difference between the principles of business as I see 
them and those that Mr. Cannon believes in. 

He says that the primary rule of business success 
is loyalty to your employer. That's all right — as a 
theory. What is the matter with loyalty to yourself? 
As nearly as I can understand Mr. Cannon's methods, 
there is one great drawback to them. He wants you 
to work a great deal. Diligence is a good thing, but 

235 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

taking things easy is much more — restful. My idea 
is that the employer should be the busy man, and 
the employee the idle one. The employer should be 
the worried man, and the employee the happy one. 
And why not? He gets the salary. My plan is to 
get another man to do the work for me. In that 
there's more repose. What I want is repose first, 
last, and all the time. 

Mr. Cannon says that there are three cardinal 
rules of business success ; they are diligence, honesty, 
and truthfulness. Well, diligence is all right. Let 
it go as a theory. Honesty is the best policy — when 
there is money in it. But truthfulness is one of the 
most dangerous — why, this man is misleading you. 

I had an experience to-day with my wife which 
illustrates this. I was acknowledging a belated invi- 
tation to another dinner for this evening, which 
seemed to have been sent about ten days ago. It 
only reached me this morning. I was mortified at 
the discourtesy into which I had been brought by 
this delay, and wondered what was being thought 
of me by my hosts. As I had accepted your invita- 
tion, of course I had to send regrets to my other 
friends. 

When I started to write this note my wife came 
up and stood looking over my shoulder. Women 
always want to know what is going on. Said she: 
"Should not that read in the third person?" I con- 
ceded that it should, put aside what I was writing, 
and commenced over again. That seemed to satisfy 
her, and so she sat down and let me proceed. I then 
— finished my first note — and so sent what I intended. 

236 



BUSINESS 

I never could have done this if I had let my wife 
know the truth about it. Here is what I wrote : 

To the Ohio Society, — I have at this moment received a 
most kind invitation (eleven days old) from Mr. Southard, 
president; and a like one (ten days old) from Mr. Bryant, 
president of the Press Club. I thank the society cordially for 
the compliment of these invitations, although I am booked else- 
where and cannot come. 

But, oh, I should like to know the name of the Lightning 
Express by which they were forwarded; for I owe a friend a 
dozen chickens, and I believe it will be cheaper to send eggs 
instead, and let them develop on the road. 

Sincerely yours, 

Mark Twain. 

I want to tell you of some of my experiences in 
business, and then I will be in a position to lay down 
one general rule for the guidance of those who want 
to succeed in business. My first effort was about 
twenty-five years ago. I took hold of an invention — 
I don't know now what it was all about, but some 
one came to me and told me it was a good thing, and 
that there was lots of money in it. He persuaded me 
to invest $15,000, and I lived up to my beliefs by 
engaging a man to develop it. To make a long story 
short, I sunk $40,000 in it. 

Then I took up the publication of a book. I 
called in a publisher and said to him: "I want you 
to publish this book along lines which I shall lay 
down. I am the employer, and you are the employee. 
I am going to show them some new kinks in the pub- 
lishing business. And I want you to draw on me for 
money as you go along," which he did. He drew on 
me for $56,000. Then I asked him to take the book 
and call it off. But he refused to do that. 

237 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

My next venture was with a machine for doing 
something or other. I knew less about that than I 
did about the invention. But I sunk $170,000 in 
the business, and I can't for the life of me recollect 
what it was the machine was to do. 

I was still undismayed. You see, one of the strong 
points about my business life was that I never gave 
up. I undertook to publish General Grant's book, 
and made $140,000 in six months. My axiom is, to 
succeed in business : avoid my example. 



238 



DINNER TO HAMILTON W. MABIE 

Address Delivered April 29, 1901 
In introducing Mr. Clemens, Doctor Van Dyke said: 

"The longer the speaking goes on to-night the more I wonder 
how I got this job, and the only explanation I can give for it is 
that it is the same kind of compensation for the number of 
articles I have sent to The Outlook, to be rejected by Hamilton 
W. Mabie. There is one man here to-night that has a job cut 
out for him that none of you would have had — a man whose 
humor has put a girdle of light around the globe, and whose 
sense of humor has been an example for all five continents. He 
is going to speak to you. Gentlemen, you know him best as 
Mark Twain." 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN,— 
This man knows now how it feels to be the 
chief guest, and if he has enjoyed it he is the first 
man I have ever seen in that position that did enjoy 
it. And I know, by side remarks which he made to 
me before his ordeal came upon him, that he was 
feeling as some of the rest of us have felt under the 
same circumstances. He was afraid that he would 
not do himself justice; but he did — to my surprise. 
It is a most serious thing to be a chief guest on an 
occasion like this, and it is admirable, it is fine. It 
is a great compliment to a man that he shall come 
out of it so gloriously as Mr. Mabie came out of it 
to-night — to my surprise. He did it well. 

He appears to be editor of The Outlook, and not- 
withstanding that, I have every admiration, because 

239 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

when everything is said concerning The Outlook, after 
all one must admit that it is frank in its delinquencies, 
that is it outspoken in its departures from facts, that 
it is vigorous in its mistaken criticism of men like me. 
I have lived in this world a long, long time, and I 
know you must judge a man by the editorials that 
he puts in his paper. A man is always better than 
his printed opinions. A man always reserves to 
himself on the inside a purity and an honesty and 
a justice that are a credit to him, whereas the things 
that he prints are just the reverse. 

Oh yes, you must not judge a man by what he 
writes in his paper. Even in an ordinary secular 
paper a man must observe some care about it; he 
must be better than the principles which he puts in 
print. And that is the case with Mr. Mabie. Why, 
to see what he writes about me and the missionaries 
you would think he did not have any principles. 1 
But that is Mr. Mabie in his public capacity. Mr. 
Mabie in his private capacity is just as clean a man 
as I am. 

In this very room, a month or two ago, some 
people admired that portrait; some admired this, 
but the great majority fastened on that, and said, 
"There is a portrait that is a beautiful piece of 
art." When that portrait is a hundred years old it 
will suggest what were the manners and customs in 
our time. Just as they talk about Mr. Mabie 
to-night, in that enthusiastic way, pointing out the 

1 Reference to the drastic articles written by Mark Twain on the 
missionaries in China. These articles had stirred up all the religious 
papers — including the Outlook. 

240 



DINNER TO HAMILTON W. MABIE 

various virtues of the man and the grace of his 
spirit, and all that, so was that portrait talked about. 
They were enthusiastic, just as we men have been 
over the character and the work of Mr. Mabie. 
And when they were through they said that portrait, 
fine as it is, that work, beautiful as it is, that piece 
of humanity on that canvas, gracious and fine as it 
is, does not rise to those perfections that exist in the 
man himself. Come up, Mr. Alexander. [The refer- 
ence was to James W. Alexander, who happened to 
be sitting beneath the portrait of himself on the 
wall.] Now, I should come up and show myself. 
But he cannot do it, he cannot do it. He was born 
that way, he was reared in that way. Let his 
modesty be an example, and I wish some of you 
had it, too. But that is just what I have been say- 
ing — that portrait, fine as it is, is not as fine as the 
man represents, and all the things that have been 
said about Mr. Mabie, and certainly they have been 
very nobly worded and beautiful, still fall short of 
the real Mabie. 



241 



THE DINNER TO MR. CHOATE 

At a Dinner Given in Honor of Ambassador Joseph H. 
Choate at the Lotos Club, November 24, 1901 

The speakers, among others, were: Senator Depew, William 
Henry White, Speaker Thomas Reed, and Mr. Choate. Mr. 
Clemens spoke, in part, as follows: 

THE greatness of this country rests on two anec- 
dotes. The first one is that of Washington and 
his hatchet, representing the foundation of true speak- 
ing, which is the characteristic of our people. The 
second one is an old one, and I've been waiting to 
hear it to-night; but as nobody has told it yet, I 
will tell it. 

You've heard it before, and you'll hear it many, 
many times more. It is an anecdote of our guest, 
of the time when he was engaged as a young man 
with a gentle Hebrew, in the process of skinning the 
client. The main part in that business is the collec- 
tion of the bill for services in skinning the man. 
"Services" is the term used in that craft for the 
operation of that kind — diplomatic in its nature. 

Choate 's — co-respondent — made out a bill for five 
hundred dollars for his services, so called. But 
Choate told him he better leave the matter to him, 
and the next day he collected the bill for the services 
and handed the Hebrew five thousand dollars, saying, 
"That's your half of the loot," and inducing that 

242 



THE DINNER TO MR. CHOATE 

memorable response: "Almost thou persuadest me 
to become a Christian." 

The deep - thinkers didn't merely laugh when 
that happened. They stopped to think, and said: 
"There's a rising man. He must be rescued from 
the law and consecrated to diplomacy. The com- 
mercial advantages of a great nation lie there in 
the man's keeping. We no longer require a man to 
take care of our moral character before the world. 
Washington and his anecdote have done that. We 
require a man to take care of our commercial 
prosperity." 

Mr. Choate has carried that trait with him, and, 
as Mr. Carnegie has said, he has worked like a mole 
underground. 

We see the result when American railroad iron is 
sold so cheap in England that the poorest family can 
have it. He has so beguiled that Cabinet of England. 

He has been spreading the commerce of this nation, 
and has depressed English commerce in the same 
ratio. This was the principle underlying that anec- 
dote, and the wise men saw it ; the principle of give 
and take — give one and take ten — the principle of 
diplomacy. 



243 



SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY 

At the Metropolitan Club, New York, 
November 28, 1902 

Address at a dinner given in honor of Mr. Clemens by Colonel 
Harvey. President of Harper 6* Brothers. 

I THINK I ought to be allowed to talk as long as 
I want to, for the reason that I have cancelled 
all my winter's engagements of every kind, for good 
and sufficient reasons, and am making ro new engage- 
ments for this winter, and, therefore, this is the only 
chance I shall have to disembowel my skull for a 
year — close the mouth in that portrait for a year. 
I want to offer thanks and homage to the chairman 
for this innovation which he has introduced here, 
which is an improvement, as I consider it, on the 
old-fashioned style of conducting occasions like this. 
That was bad — that was a bad, bad, bad arrange- 
ment. Under that old custom when the chairman 
got up and made a speech, he introduced the prisoner 
at the bar, and covered him all over with compli- 
ments, nothing but compliments, not a thing but 
compliments, never a slur, and sat down and left 
that man to get up and talk without a text. You 
cannot talk on compliments ; that is not a text. No 
modest person, and I was born one, can talk on com- 
pliments. A man gets up and is filled to the eyes 
with happy emotions, but his tongue is tied ; he has 

244 






SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY 

nothing to say; he is in the condition of Doctor 
Rice's friend who came home drunk and explained 
it to his wife, and his wife said to him, "John, when 
you have drunk all the whiskey you want, you ought 
to ask for sarsaparilla." He said, "Yes, but when 
I have drunk all the whiskey I want I can't say 
sarsaparilla." And so I think it is much better to 
leave a man unmolested until the testimony and 
pleadings are all in. Otherwise he is dumb — he is 
at the sarsaparilla stage. 

Before I get to the higgledy-piggledy point, as Mr. 
Howells suggested I do, I want to thank you, gen- 
tlemen, for this very high honor you are doing me, 
and I am quite competent to estimate it at its value. 
I see around me captains of all the illustrious indus- 
tries, most distinguished men; there are more than 
fifty here, and I believe I know thirty-nine of them 
well. I could probably borrow money from — from 
the others, anyway. It is a proud thing to me, indeed, 
to see such a distinguished company gather here on 
such an occasion as this, when there is no foreign 
prince to be feted — when you have come here not to 
do honor to hereditary privilege and ancient lineage, 
but to do reverence to mere moral excellence and 
elemental veracity — and, dear me, how old it seems 
to make me! I look around me and I see three or 
four persons I have known so many, many years. I 
have known Mr. Secretary Hay — John Hay, as the 
nation and the rest of his friends love to call him — I 
have known John Hay and Tom Reed and the 
Reverend Twichell close upon thirty-six years. 
Close upon thirty-six years I have known those 

245 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

venerable men. I have known Mr. Ho wells nearly 
thirty-four years, and I knew Chauncey Depew 
before he could walk straight, and before he learned 
to tell the truth. Twenty-seven years ago I heard 
him make the most noble, eloquent and beautiful 
speech that has ever fallen from even his capable 
lips. Tom Reed said that my principle defect was 
inaccuracy of statement. Well, suppose that that is 
true. What's the use of telling the truth all the 
time? I never tell the truth about Tom Reed — but 
that is his defect, truth; he speaks the truth always. 
Tom Reed has a good heart, and he has a good 
intellect, but he hasn't any judgment. Why, when 
Tom Reed was invited to lecture to the Ladies' 
Society for the Procreation or Procrastination, or 
something, of morals, I don't know what it was — 
advancement, I suppose, of pure morals — he had 
the immoral indiscretion to begin by saying that 
some of us can't be optimists, but by judiciously 
utilizing the opportunities that Providence puts in 
our way we can all be bigamists. You perceive his 
limitations. Anything he has in his mind he states, 
if he thinks it is true. Well, that was true, but that 
was no place to say it — so they fired him out. 

A lot of accounts have been settled here to-night 
for me; I have held grudges against some of these 
people, but they have all been wiped out by the 
very handsome compliments that have been paid 
me. Even Wayne MacVeagh — I have had a grudge 
against him many years. The first time I saw Wayne 
MacVeagh was at a private dinner party at Charles 
A. Dana's, and when I got there he was clattering 

246 



SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY 

along, and I tried to get a word in here and there; 
but you know what Wayne MacVeagh is when he is 
started, and I could not get in five words to his 
one — or one word to his five. I struggled along and 
struggled along, and — well, I wanted to tell and 
I was trying to tell a dream I had had the night before, 
and it was a remarkable dream, a dream worth 
people's while to listen to, a dream recounting Sam 
Jones the revivalist's reception in heaven. I was on 
a train, and was approaching the celestial way 
station — I had a through ticket — and I noticed a 
man sitting alongside of me asleep, and he had his 
ticket in his hat. He was the remains of the Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury; I recognized him by his 
photograph. I had nothing against him, so I took 
his ticket and let him have mine. He didn't object 
— he wasn't in a condition to object — and presently 
when the train stopped at the heavenly station — 
well, I got off, and he went on by request — but there 
they all were, the angels, you know, millions of them, 
every one with a torch; they had arranged for a 
torch-light procession ; they were expecting the Arch- 
bishop, and when I got off they started to raise a 
shout, but it didn't materialize. I don't know 
whether they were disappointed. I suppose they 
had a lot of superstitious ideas about the Archbishop 
and what he should look like, and I didn't fill the 
bill, and I was trying to explain to Saint Peter, and 
was doing it in the German tongue, because I didn't 
want to be too explicit. Well, I found it was no use, 
I couldn't get along, for Wayne MacVeagh was 
occupying the whole place, and I said to Mr. Dana, 

247 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

"What is the matter with that man? Who is that 
man with the long tongue? What's the trouble with 
him, that long, lank cadaver, old oil-derrick out of 
a job — who is that?" "Well, now," Mr. Dana said, 
1 ' you don't want to meddle with him ; you had better 
keep quiet; because that's a bad man. Talk! He 
was born to talk. Don't let him get out with you; 
he'll skin you." I said, "I have been skinned, 
skinned, and skinned for years, there is nothing 
left." He said, "Oh, you'll find there is; that man 
is the very seed and inspiration of that proverb 
which says, ' No matter how close you skin an onion, 
a clever man can always peel it again.'" Well, I 
reflected and I quieted down. That would never 
occur to Tom Reed. He's got no discretion. Well, 
MacVeagh is just the same man; he hasn't changed 
a bit in all those years; he has been peeling Mr. 
Mitchell lately. That's the kind of man he is. 

Mr. Howells — that poem of his is admirable ; that's 
the way to treat a person. Howells has a peculiar 
gift for seeing the merits of people, and he has 
always exhibited them in my favor. Howells has 
never written anything about me that I couldn't 
read six or seven times a day ; he is always just and 
always fair ; he has written more appreciatively of me 
than anyone in this world, and published it in the 
North American Review. He did me the justice to 
say that my intentions — he italicized that — that my 
intentions were always good, that I wounded people's 
conventions rather than their convictions. Now, I 
wouldn't want anything handsomer than that said 
of me. I would rather wait, with anything harsh I 

248 



SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY 

might have to say, till the convictions become con- 
ventions. Bangs has traced me all the way down. 
He can't find that honest man, but I will look for 
him in the looking-glass when I get home. It was 
intimated by the Colonel that it is New England 
that makes New York and builds up this country 
and makes it great, overlooking the fact that there's 
a lot of people here who came from elsewhere, like 
John Hay from away out West, and Howells from 
Ohio, and St. Clair McKelway and me from Mis- 
souri, and we are doing what we can to build up 
New York a little — elevate it. Why, when I was 
living in that village of Hannibal, Missouri, on the 
banks of the Mississippi, and Hay up in the town of 
Warsaw, also on the banks of the Mississippi River — 
it is an emotional bit of the Mississippi, and when 
it is low water you have to climb up to it on a ladder, 
and when it floods you have to hunt for it with a 
deep-sea lead — but it is a great and beautiful country. 
In that old time it was a paradise for simplicity — it 
was a simple, simple life, cheap but comfortable, and 
full of sweetness, and there was nothing of this rage 
of modern civilization there at all. It was a delec- 
table land. I went out there last June, and I met in 
that town of Hannibal a schoolmate of mine, John 
Briggs, whom I had not seen for more than fifty 
years. I tell you, that was a meeting! That pal 
whom I had known as a little boy long ago, and 
knew now as a stately man three or four inches over 
six feet and browned by exposure to many climes, 
he was back there to see that old place again. We 
spent a whole afternoon going about here and there 

249 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and yonder, and hunting up the scenes and talking 
of the crimes which we had committed so long ago. 
It was a heartbreaking delight, full of pathos, 
laughter, and tears, all mixed together; and we 
called the roll of the boys and girls that we picnicked 
and sweethearted with so many years ago, and there 
were hardly half a dozen of them left ; the rest were 
in their graves ; and we went up there on the summit 
of that hill, a treasured place in my memory, the 
summit of Holiday's Hill, and looked out again over 
that magnificent panorama of the Mississippi River, 

eping along league after league, a level green 
paradise on one side, and retreating capes and prom- 
ontories as far as you could see on the other, 
fading away in the soft, rich lights of the remote 
distance. I recognized then that I was seeing now 
the most enchanting river view the planet could 
furnish. I never knew it when I was a boy ; it took 
an educated eye that had travelled over the globe to 
know and appreciate it; and John said, "Can you 
point out the place where Bear Creek used to be 
before the railroad came?" I said, "Yes, it ran 
along yonder." "And can you point out the 

mming hole?" "Yes, out there." And he said, 
"Can you point out the place where we stole the 
skirl?" Well, I didn't know which one he meant. 
Such a wilderness of events had intervened since that 
day, more than fifty years ago, it took me more than 
five minutes to call back that little incident, and 
then I did call it back; it was a white skirl, and we 
painted it red to allay suspicion. And the saddest, 
saddest man came along — a stranger he was — and 

250 



SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTH HAY 

he looked that red skiff over so pathetically, and he 
said: "Well, if it weren't for its complexion I'd 
know whose skiff that was." He said it, in that 
pleading way, you know, that appeals for sympathy 
and suggestion; we were full of sympathy for him, 
but we we" Q n't in any condition to offer suggest ions. 
I can see liini yet as he turned away with that Same 
sad look on his faee and vanished out of history 
forever. I wonder what became of that man. I 
know what became of the skiff. Well, it was a 
beautiful life, a lovely life. 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. But we were good boys, good 
Presbyterian boys, all Presbyterian boys, and loyal 
and all that; anyway, we were good Presbyterian 
boys when the weather was doubtful; when it was 
fair, we did wander a little from the fold. 

Look at John Hay and me. There we were in 
obscurity, and look where we are now. Consider 
the ladder which he has climbed, the illustrious voca- 
tions he has served — and vocations is the right word ; 
he has in all those vocations acquitted himself with 
high credit and honor to his country and to the 
mother that bore him. Scholar, soldier, diplomat, 
poet, historian — now, see where we are. He is Sec- 
retary of State and I am a gentleman. It could not 
happen in any other country. Our institutions give 
men the positions that of right belong to them 
through merit; all you men have won your places, 
not by heredities, and not by family influences or 

251 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

extraneous help, but only by the natural gifts God 
gave you at your birth, made effective by your own 
energies; this is the country to live in. 

Now, there is one invisible guest here. A part of 
me is present; the larger part, the better part, is 
yonder at her home; that is my wife, and she has a 
good many personal friends here, and I think it 
won't distress any one of them to know that, although 
she is going to be confined to that bed for many 
months to come from that nervous prostration, there 
is not any danger and she is coming along very well — 
and I think it quite appropriate that I should speak 
of her. I knew her for the first time just in the same 
year that I first knew John Hay and Tom Reed and 
Mr. Twichell — thirty-six years ago — and she has been 
the best friend I have ever had, and that is saying a 
good deal; she has reared me — she and Twichell 
together — and what I am I owe to them. Twichell 
— why, it is such a pleasure to look upon Twichell's 
face! For five-and-twenty years I was under the 
Rev. Mr. Twichell's tuition, I was in his pastorate, 
occupying a pew in his church, and held him in due 
reverence. That man is full of all the graces that go 
to make a person companionable and beloved; and 
wherever Twichell goes to start a church the people 
flock there to buy the land; they find real estate 
goes up all around the spot, and the envious and the 
thoughtful always try to get Twichell to move to 
their neighborhood and start a church ; and wherever 
you see him go you can go and buy land there with 
confidence, feeling sure that there will be a double 
price for you before very long. I am not saying this 

252 



SIXTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY 

to flatter Mr. Twichell; it is the fact. Many and 
many a time I have attended the annual sale in his 
church, and bought up all the pews on a margin — 
and it would have been better for me spiritually and 
financially if I had stayed under his wing. 

I have tried to do good in this world, and it is 
marvellous in how many different ways I have done 
good, and it is comfortable to reflect — now, there's 
Mr. Rogers — just out of the affection I bear that 
man many a time I have given him points in finance 
that he had never thought of — and if he could lay 
aside envy, prejudice, and superstition, and utilize 
those ideas in his business, it would make a difference 
in his bank account. 

Well, I like the poetry. I like all the speeches 
and the poetry, too. I like Doctor Van Dyke's 
poem. I wish I could return thanks in proper meas- 
ure to you, gentlemen, who have spoken and violated 
your feelings to pay me compliments; some were 
merited and some you overlooked, it is true; and 
Colonel Harvey did slander every one of you, and 
put things into my mouth that I never said, never 
thought of at all. 

And now, my wife and I, out of our single heart, 
return you our deepest and most grateful thanks, 
and — yesterday was her birthday. 



253 



SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY 

Address at a Dinner Given by Colonel George Harvey 

at Delmonico's, December 5, 1905, to Celebrate 

the Seventieth Anniversary of Mr. 

Clemens's Birth 

Mr. Eowells introduced Mr. Clemens: 

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, and Colonel Harvey, I will try- 
to be greedy on your behalf in wishing the health of our honored 
and, in view of his great age, our revered guest. I will not say, 
'O King, live forever!' but '0 King, live as long as you like!'" 
[Amid great applause and waving of napkins all rose and drank 
to Mark Twain.] 

WELL, if I had made that joke, it would be 
the best one I ever made, and in the prettiest 
language, too. I never can get quite to that height. 
But I appreciate that joke, and I shall remember it 
— and I shall use it when occasion requires. 

I have had a great many birthdays in my time. I 
remember the first one very well, and I always think 
of it with indignation; everything was so crude, 
unaesthetic, primeval. Nothing like this at all. No 
proper appreciative preparation made ; nothing really 
ready. Now, for a person born with high and delicate 
instincts — why, even the cradle wasn't whitewashed 
— nothing ready at all. I hadn't any hair, I hadn't 
any teeth, I hadn't any clothes, I had to go to my 
first banquet just like that. Well, everybody came 
swarming in. It was the merest little bit of a village 

254 



SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY 

— hardly that, just a little hamlet, in the backwoods 
of Missouri, where nothing ever happened, and the 
people were all interested, and they all came; they 
looked me over to see if there was anything fresh in 
my line. Why, nothing ever happened in that vil- 
lage — I — why, I was the only thing that had really 
happened there for months and months and months ; 
and although I say it myself that shouldn't, I came 
the nearest to being a real event that had happened 
in that village in more than two years. Well, those 
people came, they came with that curiosity which is 
so provincial, with that frankness which also is so 
provincial, and they examined me all around and 
gave their opinion. Nobody asked them, and I 
shouldn't have minded if anybody had paid me a 
compliment, but nobody did. Their opinions were 
all just green with prejudice, and I feel those opinions 
to this day. Well, I stood that as long as — you know 
I was courteous, and I stood it to the limit. I stood 
it an hour, and then the worm turned. I was the 
worm; it was my turn to turn, and I turned. I 
knew very well the strength of my position ; I knew 
that I was the only spotlessly pure and innocent 
person in that whole town, and I came out and said 
so. And they could not say a word. It was so true. 
They blushed; they were embarrassed. Well, that 
was the first after-dinner speech I ever made. I 
think it was after dinner. 

It's a long stretch between that first birthday 
speech and this one. That was my cradle song, and 
this is my swan song, I suppose. I am used to swan 
songs ; I have sung them several times. 

255 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

This is my seventieth birthday, and I wonder 
if you all rise to the size of that proposition, realiz- 
ing all the significance of that phrase, seventieth 
birthday. 

The seventieth birthday! It is the time of life 
when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when 
you may throw aside the decent reserves which have 
oppressed you for a generation and stand unafraid 
and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit 
and look down and teach — unrebuked. You can tell 
the world how you got there. It is what they all do. 
You shall never get tired of telling by what delicate 
arts and deep moralities you climb up to that great 
place. You will explain the process and dwell on 
the particulars with senile rapture. I have been 
anxious to explain my own system this long time, 
and now at last I have the right. 

I have achieved my seventy years in the usual 
way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which 
would kill anybody else. It sounds like an exagger- 
ation, but that is really the common rule for attain- 
ing old age. When we examine the programme of 
any of these garrulous old people we always find 
that the habits which have preserved them would 
have decayed us ; that the way of life which enabled 
them to live upon the property of their heirs so long, 
as Mr. Choate says, would have put us out of com- 
mission ahead of time. I will offer here, as a sound 
maxim, this: That we can't reach old age by another 
man's road. 

I will now teach, offering my way of life to whom • 
soever desires to commit suicide by the scheme which 

256 



SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY 

has enabled me to beat the doctor and the hangman 
for seventy years. Some of the details may sound 
untrue, but they are not. I am not here to deceive; 
I am here to teach. 

We have no permanent habits until we are forty. 
Then they begin to harden, presently they petrify, 
then business begins. Since forty I have been regular 
about going to bed and getting up — and that is one 
of the main things. I have made it a rule to go to 
bed when there wasn't anybody left to sit up with; 
and I have made it a rule to get up when I had to. 
This has resulted in an unswerving regularity of 
irregularity. It has saved me sound, but it would 
injure another person. 

In the matter of diet — which is another main 
thing — I have been persistently strict in sticking to 
the things which didn't agree with me until one or 
the other of us got the best of it. Until lately I got 
the best of it myself. But last spring I stopped 
frolicking with mince pie after midnight ; up to then 
I had always believed it wasn't loaded. For thirty 
years I have taken coffee and bread at eight in the 
morning, and no bite nor sup until seven-thirty in 
the evening. Eleven hours. That is all right for 
me, and is wholesome, because I have never had a 
headache in my life, but headachy people would not 
reach seventy comfortably by that road, and they 
would be foolish to try it. And I wish to urge upon 
you this — which I think is wisdom — that if you find 
you can't make seventy by any but an uncomfortable 
road, don't you go. When they take off the Pullman 
and retire you to the rancid smoker, put on your 

257 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

things, count your checks, and get out at the first 
way station where there's a cemetery. 

I have made it a rule never to smoke more than 
one cigar at a time. I have no other restriction as 
regards smoking. I do not know just when I began 
to smoke, I only know that it was in my father's life- 
time, and that I was discreet. He passed from this 
life early in 1847, when I was a shade past eleven; 
ever since than I have smoked publicly. As an 
example to others, and not that I care for modera- 
tion myself, it has always been my rule never to 
smoke when asleep, and never to refrain when awake. 
It is a good rule. I mean, for me ; but some of you 
know quite well that it wouldn't answer for every- 
body that's trying to get to be seventy. 

I smoke in bed until I have to go to sleep ; I wake 
up in the night, sometimes once, sometimes twice, 
sometimes three times, and I never waste any of 
these opportunities to smoke. This habit is so old 
and dear and precious to me that I would feel as 
you, sir, would feel if you should lose the only moral 
you've got — meaning the chairman — if you've got 
one: I am making no charges. 1 will grant, here, 
that I have stopped smoking now and then, for a 
few months at a time, but it was not on principle, 
it was only to show off; it was to pulverize those 
critics who said I was a slave to my habits and 
couldn't break my bonds. 

To-day it is all of sixty years since I began to 
smoke the limit. I have never bought cigars with 
life belts around them. I early found that those 
were too expensive for me. I have always bought 

258 



SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY 

cheap cigars — reasonably cheap, at any rate. Sixty 
years ago they cost me four dollars a barrel, but my 
taste has improved, latterly, and I pay seven now. 
Six or seven. Seven, I think. Yes, it's seven. But 
that includes the barrel. I often have smoking 
parties at my house ; but the people that come have 
always just taken the pledge. I wonder why that is ? 

As for drinking, I have no rule about that. When 
the others drink I like to help; otherwise I remain 
dry, by habit and preference. This dryness does 
not hurt me, but it could easily hurt you, because 
you are different. You let it alone. 

Since I was seven years old I have seldom taken 
a dose of medicine, and have still seldomer needed 
one. But up to seven I lived exclusively on allo- 
pathic medicines. Not that I needed them, for I 
don't think I did; it was for economy; my father 
took a drug store for a debt, and it made cod- liver 
oil cheaper than the other breakfast foods. We had 
nine barrels of it, and it lasted me seven years. Then 
I was weaned. The rest of the family had to get 
along with rhubarb and ipecac and such things^ 
because I was the pet. I was the first Standard Oil 
Trust. I had it all. By the time the drug store was 
exhausted my health was established and there has 
never been much the matter with me since. But 
you know very well it would be foolish for the 
average child to start for seventy on that basis. It 
happened to be just the thing for me, but that was, 
merely an accident; it couldn't happen again in a 
century. 

I have never taken any exercise, except sleeping 
259 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

and resting, and I never intend to take any. Exercise 
is loathsome. And it cannot be any benefit when 
you are tired; and I was always tired. But let 
another person try my way, and see whence he will 
come out. 

I desire now to repeat and emphasize that maxim: 
We can't reach old age by another man's road. My 
habits protect my life, but they would assassinate 
you. 

I have lived a severely moral life. But it would 
be a mistake for other people to try that, or for me 
to recommend it. Very few would succeed: you 
have to have a perfectly colossal stock of morals; 
and you can't get them on a margin; you have to 
have the whole thing, and put them in your box. 
Morals are an acquirement — like music, like a foreign 
language, like piety, poker, paralysis — no man is 
born with them. I wasn't myself, I started poor. 
I hadn't a single moral. There is hardly a man in 
this house that is poorer than I was then. Yes, I 
started like that — the world before me, not a moral 
in the slot. Not even an insurance moral. I can 
remember the first one I ever got. I can remember 
the landscape, the weather, the — I can remember 
how everything looked. It was an old moral, an old 
second-hand moral, all out of repair, and didn't fit, 
anyway. But if you are careful with a thing like 
that, and keep it in a dry place, and save it for 
processions, and Chautauquas, and World's Fairs, 
and so on, and disinfect it now and then, and give 
it a fresh coat of whitewash once in a while, you will 
be surprised to see how well she will last and how 

260 



SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY 

long she will keep sweet, or at least inoffensive. 
When I got that mouldy old moral, she had stopped 
growing, because she hadn't any exercise; but I 
worked her hard, I worked her Sundays and all. 
Under this cultivation she waxed in might and 
stature beyond belief, and served me well and was 
my pride and joy for sixty-three years; then she got 
to associating with insurance presidents, and lost 
flesh and character, and was a sorrow to look at and 
no longer competent for business. She was a great 
loss to me. Yet not all loss. I sold her — ah, pathetic 
skeleton, as she was — I sold her to Leopold, the 
pirate King of Belgium; he sold her to our Metro- 
politan Museum, and it was very glad to get her, 
for without a rag on, she stands 57 feet long and 16 
feet high, and they think she's a brontosaur. Well, 
she looks it. They believe it will take nineteen geo- 
logical periods to breed her match. 

Morals are of inestimable value, for every man is 
born crammed with sin microbes, and the only thing 
that can extirpate these sin microbes is morals. Now 
you take a sterilized Christian — I mean, you take 
the sterilized Christian, for there's only one. Dear 
sir, I wish you wouldn't look at me like that. 

Threescore years and ten ! 

It is the Scriptural statute of limitations. After 
that, you owe no active duties; for you the strenu- 
ous life is over. You are a time-expired man, to use 
Kipling's military phrase: You have served your 
term, well or less well, and you are mustered out. 
You are become an honorary member of the republic, 
you are emancipated, compulsions are not for you, 

261 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

nor any bugle call but "lights out." You pay the 
time-worn duty bills if you choose, or decline if you 
prefer — and without prejudice — for they are not 
legally collectable. 

The previous-engagement plea, which in forty 
years has cost you so many twinges, you can lay 
aside forever; on this side of the grave you will 
never need it again. If you shrink at thought of 
night, and winter, and the late home-coming from 
the banquet and the lights and the laughter through 
the deserted streets — a desolation which would not 
remind you now, as for a generation it did, that 
your friends are sleeping, and you must creep in 
a-tiptoe and not disturb them, but would only 
remind you that you need not tiptoe, you can never 
disturb them more — if you shrink at thought of 
these things, you need only reply, "Your invitation 
honors me, and pleases me because you still keep me 
in your remembrance, but I am seventy; seventy, 
and would nestle in the chimney corner, and smoke 
my pipe, and read my book, and take my rest, wish- 
ing you well in all affection, and that when you in 
your turn shall arrive at pier No. 70 you may step 
aboard your waiting ship with a reconciled spirit, 
and lay your course toward the sinking sun with a 
contented heart. 



262 



RUSSIAN SUFFERERS 

On December 18, 1905, an entertainment was given at the Casino 
for the benefit of the Russian sufferers. After the performance 
Mr. Clemens spoke. 

IADIES AND GENTLEMEN,— It seems a sort 
j of cruelty to inflict upon an audience like this 
our rude English tongue, after we have heard that 
divine speech flowing in that lucid Gallic tongue. 

It has always been a marvel to me — that French 
language; it has always been a puzzle to me. How 
beautiful that language is. How expressive it seems 
to be. How full of grace it is. 

And when it comes from lips like those, how elo- 
quent and how liquid it is. And, oh, I am always 
deceived — I always think I am going to understand it. 

Oh, it is such a delight to me, such a delight to me, 
to meet Madame Bernhardt, and laugh hand to hand 
and heart to heart with her. 

I have seen her play, as we all have, and oh, that 
is divine; but I have always wanted to know 
Madame Bernhardt herself — her fiery self. I have 
wanted to know that beautiful character. 

Why, she is the youngest person I ever saw, except 
myself — for I always feel young when I come in the 
presence of young people. 

I have a pleasant recollection of an incident so 
many years ago — when Madame Bernhardt came to 

263 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Hartford, where I lived, and she was going to play 
and the tickets were three dollars, and there were 
two lovely women — a widow and her daughter — 
neighbors of ours, highly cultivated ladies they were ; 
their tastes were fine and elevated, but they were 
very poor, and they said: "Well, we must not spend 
six dollars on a pleasure of the mind, a pleasure of 
intellect; we must spend it, if it must go at all, to 
furnish to somebody bread to eat." 

And so they sorrowed over the fact that they had 
to give up that great pleasure of seeing Madame 
Bernhardt, but there were two neighbors equally 
highly cultivated and who could not afford bread, 
and those good-hearted Joneses sent that six dollars — 
deprived themselves of it — and sent it to those poor 
Smiths to buy bread with. And those Smiths took it 
and bought tickets with it to see Madame Bernhardt. 

Oh yes, some people have tastes and intelligence 
also. 

Now, I was going to make a speech — I supposed I 
was, but I am not. It is late, late; and so I am going 
to tell a story; and there is this advantage about a 
story, anyway, that whatever moral or valuable 
thing you put into a speech, why, it gets diffused 
among those involuted sentences and possibly your 
audience goes away without finding out what that 
valuable thing was that you were trying to confer 
upon it; but, dear me, you put the same jewel into 
a story and it becomes the keystone of that story, 
and you are bound to get it — it flashes, it flames, it 
is the jewel in the toad's head — you don't overlook 
that. 

264 



RUSSIAN SUFFERERS 

Now, if I am going to talk on such a subject as, 
for instance, the lost opportunity — oh, the lost oppor- 
tunity. Anybody in this house who has reached the 
turn of life — sixty, or seventy, or even fifty, or along 
there — when he goes back along his history, there 
he finds it mile-stoned all the way with the lost 
opportunity, and you know how pathetic that is. 

You younger ones cannot know the full pathos 
that lies in those words — the lost opportunity; but 
anybody who is old, who has really lived and felt 
this life, he knows the pathos of the lost opportunity. 

Now, I will tell you a story whose moral is that, 
whose lesson is that, whose lament is that. 

I was in a village which is a suburb of New Bed- 
ford several years ago — well, New Bedford is a suburb 
of Fair Haven, or perhaps it is the other way; in any 
case, it took both of those towns to make a great 
center of the great whaling industry of the first half 
of the nineteenth century, and I was up there at 
Fair Haven some years ago with a friend of mine. 

There was a dedication of a great town hall, a 
public building, and we were there in the afternoon. 
This great building was filled, like this great theatre, 
with rejoicing villagers, and my friend and I started 
down the centre aisle. He saw a man standing in 
that aisle, and he said: "Now, look at that bronzed 
veteran — at that mahogany-faced man. Now, tell 
me, do you see anything about that man's face that 
is emotional? Do you see anything about it that 
suggests that inside that man anywhere there are 
fires that can be started? Would you ever imagine 
that that is a human volcano?" 

265 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

"Why, no," I said, "I would not. He looks like 
a wooden Indian in front of a cigar store." 

"Very well," said my friend, "I will show you that 
there is emotion even in that unpromising place. I 
will just go to that man and I will just mention in 
the most casual way an incident in his life. That 
man is getting along toward ninety years old. He is 
past eighty. I will mention an incident of fifty or 
sixty years ago. Now, just watch the effect, and it 
will be so casual that if you don't watch you won't 
know when I do say that thing — but you just watch 
the effect." 

He went on down there and accosted this antiquity, 
and made a remark or two. I could not catch up. 
They were so casual I could not recognize which one 
it was that touched that bottom, for in an instant 
that old man was literally in eruption and was filling 
the whole place with profanity of the most exquisite 
kind. You never heard such accomplished profanity. 
I never heard it also delivered with such eloquence. 

I never enjoyed profanity as I enjoyed it then — 
more than if I had been uttering it myself. There is 
nothing like listening to an artist — all his passions 
passing away in lava, smoke, thunder, lightning, and 
earthquake. 

Then this friend said to me: "Now, I will tell you 
about that. About sixty years ago that man was a 
young fellow of twenty-three, and had just come 
home from a three years' whaling voyage. He came 
into that village of his, happy and proud because now, 
instead of being chief mate, he was going to be master 
of a whale ship, and he was proud and happy about it. 

266 



RUSSIAN SUFFERERS 

"Then he found that there had been a kind of a 
cold frost come upon that town and the whole region 
roundabout ; for while he had been away the Father 
Mathew temperance excitement had come upon the 
whole region. Therefore, everybody had taken the 
pledge; there wasn't anybody for miles and miles 
around that had not taken the pledge. 

"So you can see what a solitude it was to this 
young man, who was fond of his grog. And he was 
just an outcast, because when they found he would 
not join Father Mathew's Society they ostracized 
him, and he went about that town three weeks, day 
and night, in utter loneliness — the only human being 
in the whole place who ever took grog, and he had 
to take it privately. 

"If you don't know what it is to be ostracized, to 
be shunned by your fellow-man, may you never 
know it. Then he recognized that there was some- 
thing more valuable in this life than grog, and that 
is the fellowship of your fellow-man. And at last he 
gave it up, and at nine o'clock one night he went 
down to the Father Mathew Temperance Society, 
and with a broken heart he said : ' Put my name down 
for membership in this society.' 

"And then he went away crying, and at earliest 
dawn the next morning they came for him and routed 
him out, and they said that new ship of his was ready 
to sail on a three years' voyage. In a minute he was 
on board that ship and gone. 

"And he said — well, he was not out of sight of 
that town till he began to repent, but he had made 
up his mind that he would not take a drink, and so 

267 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

that whole voyage of three years was a three years' 
agony to that man because he saw all the time the 
mistake he had made. 

"He felt it all through; he had constant reminders 
of it, because the crew would pass him with their 
grog, come out on the deck and take it, and there 
was the torturous smell of it. 

"He went through the whole three years of suffer- 
ing, and at last coming into port it was snowy, it 
was cold, he was stamping through the snow two 
feet deep on the deck and longing to get home, and 
there was his crew torturing him to the last minute 
with hot grog, but at last he had his reward. He 
really did get to shore at last, and jumped and ran 
and bought a jug and rushed to the society's office 
and said to the secretary: 

" 'Take my name off your membership books, and 
do it right away ! I have got a three years' thirst on.' 

"And the secretary said: ' It is not necessary. You 
were blackballed V " 



268 



JOAN OF ARC 

Address at the Dinner of the Society of Illustrators, 

Given at the Aldine Association Club, 

December 22, 1905 

Just before Mr. Clemens made his speech, a young woman 
attired as Joan of Arc, with a page bearing her flag of battle, 
courtesied reverently and tendered Mr. Clemens a laurel wreath on 
a satin pillow. He tried to speak, but his voice failed from excess 
of emotion. "I thank youl ,} he finally exclaimed, and, pulling 
himself together, he began his speech. 

NOW there is an illustration [pointing to the 
retreating Joan of Arc]. That is exactly 
what I wanted — precisely what I wanted — when I 
was describing to myself Joan of Arc, after studying 
her history and her character for twelve years 
diligently. 

That was the product — not the conventional Joan 
of Arc. Wherever you find the conventional Joan of 
Arc in history she is an offence to anybody who 
knows the story of that wonderful girl. 

Why, she was — she was almost supreme in several 
details. She had a marvellous intellect; she had a 
great heart, had a noble spirit, was absolutely pure 
in her character, her feeling, her language, her words, 
her everything — she was only eighteen years old. 

Now put that heart into such a breast — eighteen 
years old — and give it that masterly intellect which 
showed in the face, and furnish it with that almost 

269 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

godlike spirit, and what are you going to have? 
The conventional Joan of Arc ? Not by any means. 
That is impossible. I cannot comprehend any such 
thing as that. 

You must have a creature like that young and fair 
and beautiful girl we just saw. And her spirit must 
look out of the eyes. The figure should be — the 
figure should be in harmony with all that, but, oh, 
what we get in the conventional picture, and it is 
always the conventional picture ! 

I hope you will allow me to say that your guild, 
when you take the conventional, you have got it at 
second hand. Certainly, if you had studied and 
studied, then you might have something else as a 
result, but when you have the common convention 
you stick to that. 

You cannot prevail upon the artist to do it; he 
always gives you a Joan of Arc — the lovely creature 
that started a great career at thirteen, but whose 
greatness arrived when she was eighteen ; and merely 
because she was a girl he cannot see the divinity in 
her, and so he paints a peasant, a coarse and lubberly 
figure — the figure of a cotton bale, and he clothes 
that in the coarsest raiment of the peasant region — 
just like a fish woman, her hair cropped like that of 
a Russian peasant, and that face of hers, which 
should be beautiful and which should radiate all the 
glories which are in the spirit and in her heart — that 
expression in that face is always just the fixed expres- 
sion of a ham. 

But now Mr. Beard has intimated a moment ago, 
and so has Sir Purdon-Clarke also, that the artist, 

270 



JOAN OF ARC 

the illustrator, does not often get the idea of the 
man whose book he is illustrating. Here is a very 
remarkable instance of the other thing in Mr. Beard, 
who illustrated a book of mine. You may never 
have heard of it. I will tell you about it now — A 
Yankee in King Arthur's Court. 

Now, Beard got everything that I put into that 
book and a little more besides. Those pictures of 
Beard's in that book — oh, from the first page to the 
last is one vast sardonic laugh at the trivialities, the 
servilities of our poor human race, and also at the 
professions and the insolence of priestcraft and king- 
craft — those creatures that make slaves of them- 
selves and have not the manliness to shake it off. 
Beard put it all in that book. I meant it to be there. 
I put a lot of it there and Beard put the rest. 

That publisher of mine in Hartford had an eye for 
the pennies, and he saved them. He did not waste 
any on the illustrations. He had a very good artist 
— Williams — who had never taken a lesson in draw- 
ing. Everything he did was original. The publisher 
hired the cheapest wood-engraver he could find, and 
in my early books you can see a trace of that. You 
can see that if Williams had had a chance he would 
have made some very good pictures. He had a good 
heart and good intentions. 

I had a character in the first book he illustrated — 
The Innocents Abroad. That was a boy seventeen or 
eighteen years old — Jack Van Nostrand — a New York 
boy, who, to my mind, was a very remarkable creature. 
I tried to get Williams to understand that boy, and 
make a picture of Jack that would be worthy of Jack. 

271 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Jack was a most singular combination. He was 
born and reared in New York here. He was as deli- 
cate in his feelings, as clean and pure and refined in 
his feelings as any lovely girl that ever was, but 
whenever he expressed a feeling he did it in Bowery 
slang, and it was a most curious combination — that 
delicacy of his and that apparent coarseness. There 
was no coarseness inside of Jack at all, and Jack, in 
the course of seventeen or eighteen years, had 
acquired a capital of ignorance that was marvellous 
— ignorance of various things, not of all things. For 
instance, he did not know anything about the Bible. 
He had never been in Sunday-school. Jack got more 
out of the Holy Land than anybody else, because the 
others knew what they were expecting, but it was a 
land of surprise to him. 

I said in the book that we found him watching a 
turtle on a log, stoning that turtle, and he was ston- 
ing that turtle because he had read that "The song 
of the turtle was heard in the land," and this turtle 
wouldn't sing. It sounded absurd, but it was charged 
on Jack as a fact, and as he went along through that 
country he had a proper foil in an old rebel colonel, 
who was superintendent and head engineer in a large 
Sunday-school in Wheeling, West Virginia. That man 
was full of enthusiasm wherever he went, and w^uld 
stand and deliver himself of speeches, and Jack would 
listen to those speeches of the colonel and wonder. 

Jack had made a trip as a child almost across this 
continent in the first overland stage-coach. That 
man's name who ran that line of stages — well, I 
declare that name is gone. Well, names will go. 

272 



JOAN OF ARC 

Halliday — ah, that's the name — Ben Halliday, 
your uncle [turning to Mr. Carnegie]. That was the 
fellow — Ben Halliday — and Jack was full of admira- 
tion at the prodigious speed that that line of stages 
made — and it was good speed — one hundred and 
twenty-five miles a day, going day and night, and 
it was the event of Jack's life, and there at the Fords 
of the Jordan the colonel was inspired to a speech 
(he was always making a speech), so he called us up 
to him. He called up five sinners and three saints. 
It has been only lately that Mr. Carnegie beatified 
me. And he said : ' ' Here are the Fords of the Jordan 
— a monumental place. At this very point, when 
Moses brought the children of Israel through — he 
brought the children of Israel from Egypt through 
the desert you see there — he guarded them through 
that desert patiently, patiently during forty years, 
and brought them to this spot safe and sound. There 
you see — there is the scene of what Moses did." 

And Jack said : " Moses who ? ' ' 

"Oh," he says, "Jack, you ought not to ask that! 
Moses, the great lawgiver ! Moses, the great patriot 
Moses, the great warrior! Moses, the great guide, 
who, as I tell you, brought these people through 
these three hundred miles of sand in forty years, 
and landed them safe and sound." 

Jack said: "There's nothin' in that! Three hun- 
dred miles in forty years ! Ben Halliday would have 
snaked 'em through in thirty-six hours." 

Well, I was speaking of Jack's innocence, and it 
was beautiful. Jack was not ignorant on all subjects. 
That boy was a deep student in the history of Anglo- 

273 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Saxon liberty, and he was a patriot all the way 
through to the marrow. There was a subject that 
interested him all the time. Other subjects were of 
no concern to Jack, but that quaint, inscrutable 
innocence of his I could not get Williams to put into 
the picture. 

Yes, Williams wanted to do it. He said: "I will 
make him as innocent as a virgin." He thought a 
moment, and then said, "I will make him as inno- 
cent as an unborn virgin," which covered the 
ground. 

I was reminded of Jack because I came across a 
letter to-day which is over thirty years old that Jack 
wrote. Jack was doomed to consumption. He was 
very long and slim, poor creature, and in a year or 
two after he got back from that excursion to the 
Holy Land he went on a ride on horseback through 
Colorado, and he did not last but a year or two. 

He wrote this letter, not to me, but to a friend of 
mine, and he said: "I have ridden horseback" — 
this was three years after— "I have ridden horse- 
back four hundred miles through a desert country 
where you never see anything but cattle now and 
then, and now and then a cattle station — ten miles 
apart, twenty miles apart. Now you tell Clemens 
that in all that stretch of four hundred miles I have 
seen only two books — the Bible and Innocents 
Abroad — the Bible in good repair. 

I say that he had studied, and he had, the real 
Saxon liberty, the acquirement of our liberty, and 
Jack used to repeat some verses — I don't know where 
they came from, but I thought of them to-day when 

274 



JOAN OF ARC 

I saw this letter — that that boy could have been 
talking of himself in those quoted lines from that 
unknown poet : 

"For he had sat at Sidney's feet 

And walked with him in plain apart, 
And through the centuries heard the beat 
Of Freedom's march through Cromwell's heart." 

And he was that kind of a boy. He should have 
lived, and yet he should not have lived, because he 
died at that early age — he couldn't have been more 
than twenty — he had seen all there was to see in 
the world that was worth the trouble of living in it ; 
he had seen all of this world that is valuable; he 
had seen all of this world that was illusion, and illu- 
sion is the only valuable thing in it. He had arrived 
at the point where presently the illusions would cease 
and he would have entered upon the realities of life, 
and God help the man that has arrived at that point. 



275 



TAXES AND MORALS 

Address at Carnegie Hall, New York, January 22, 1906 

At the twenty -fifth anniversary of the founding of Tuskegee 
Institute by Booker Washington, Mr. Choate presided, and in intro- 
ducing Mr. Clemens declared that he made play his work, and 
that when he worked hardest he did so lying in bed. 

I CAME here in the responsible capacity of police- 
man to watch Mr. Choate. This is an occasion 
of grave and serious importance, and it seems neces- 
sary for me to be present, so that if he tried to work 
off any statement that required correction, reduction, 
refutation, or exposure, there would be a tried friend 
of the public to protect the house. He has not made 
one statement whose veracity fails to tally exactly 
with my own standard. I have never seen a person 
improve so. This makes me thankful and proud of 
a country that can produce such men — two such men. 
And all in the same country. We can't be with you 
always ; we are passing away, and then — well, every- 
thing will have to stop, I reckon. It is a sad thought. 
But in spirit I shall still be with you. Choate, too — 
if he can. 

Every born American among the eighty millions, 
let his creed or destitution of creed be what it may, 
is indisputably a Christian to this degree — that his 
moral constitution is Christian. 

There are two kinds of Christian morals, one pri- 
276 



TAXES AND MORALS 

vate and the other public. These two are so distinct, 
so unrelated, that they are no more akin to each 
other than are archangels and politicians. During 
three hundred and sixty-three days in the year the 
American citizen is true to his Christian private 
morals, and keeps undefiled the nation's character 
at its best and highest; then in the other two days 
of the year he leaves his Christian private morals at 
home and carries his Christian public morals to the 
tax office and the polls, and does the best he can to 
damage and undo his whole year's faithful and 
righteous work. Without a blush he will vote for 
an unclean boss if that boss is his party's Moses, 
without compunction he will vote against the best 
man in the whole land if he is on the other ticket. 
Every year in a number of cities and States he helps 
put corrupt men in office, whereas if he would but 
throw away his Christian public morals, and carry 
his Christian private morals to the polls, he could 
promptly purify the public service and make the 
possession of office a high and honorable distinction. 
Once a year he lays aside his Christian private 
morals and hires a ferry-boat and piles up his bonds 
in a warehouse in New Jersey for three days, and gets 
out his Christian public morals and goes to the tax 
office and holds up his hands and swears he wishes he 
may never-never if he's got a cent in the world, so 
help him. The next day the list appears in the 
papers — a column and a quarter of names, in fine 
print, and every man in the list a billionaire and 
member of a couple of churches. I know all those 
people. I have friendly, social, and criminal rela- 

277 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

tions with the whole lot of them. They never miss 
a sermon when they are so's to be around, and they 
never miss swearing-off day, whether they are so's 
to be around or not. 

I used to be an honest man. I am crumbling. 
No — I have crumbled. When they assessed me at 
$75,000 a fortnight ago I went out and tried to bor- 
row the money, and couldn't; then when I found 
they were letting a whole crop of millionaires live in 
New York at a third of the price they were charging 
me I was hurt, I was indignant, and said: "This is 
the last feather. I am not going to run this town all 
by myself." In that moment — in that memorable 
moment — I began to crumble. In fifteen minutes 
the disintegration was complete. In fifteen minutes 
I had become just a mere moral sand pile; and I 
lifted up my hand along with those seasoned and 
experienced deacons and swore off every rag of per- 
sonal property I've got in the world, clear down to 
cork leg, glass eye, and what is left of my wig. 

Those tax officers were moved; they were pro- 
foundly moved. They had long been accustomed to 
seeing hardened old grafters act like that, and they 
could endure the spectacle; but they were expecting 
better things of me, a chartered, professional moral- 
ist, and they were saddened. 

I fell visibly in their respect and esteem, and I 
should have fallen in my own, except that I had 
already struck bottom, and there wasn't any place 
to fall to. 

At Tuskegee they will jump to misleading con- 
clusions from insufficient evidence, along with Doctor 

278 



TAXES AND MORALS 

Parkhurst, and they will deceive the student with 
the superstition that no gentleman ever swears. 

Look at those good millionaires; aren't they gen- 
tlemen? Well, they swear. Only once in a year, 
maybe, but there's enough bulk to it to make up for 
the lost time. And do they lose anything by it? 
No, they don't; they save enough in three minutes 
to support the family seven years. When they swear, 
do we shudder? No — unless they say "damn!" 
Then we do. It shrivels us all up. Yet we ought 
not to feel so about it, because we all swear — every- 
body. Including the ladies. Including Doctor 
Parkhurst, that strong and brave and excellent 
citizen, but superficially educated. 

For it is not the word that is the sin, it is the spirit 
back of the word. When an irritated lady says 
"oh!" the spirit back of it is "damn!" and that is 
the way it is going to be recorded against her. It 
always makes me so sorry when I hear a lady swear 
like that. But if she says "damn," and says it in 
an amiable, nice way, it isn't going to be recorded 
at all. 

The idea that no gentleman ever swears is all 
wrong; he can swear and still be a gentleman if he 
does it in a nice and benevolent and affectionate 
way. The historian, John Fiske, whom I knew well 
and loved, was a spotless and most noble and upright 
Christian gentleman, and yet he swore once. Not 
exactly that, maybe; still, he — but I will tell you 
about it. 

One day, when he was deeply immersed in his 
work, his wife came in, much moved and profoundly 

279 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

distressed, and said: "I am sorry to disturb you, 
John, but I must, for this is a serious matter, and 
needs to be attended to at once." 

Then, lamenting, she brought a grave accusation 
against their little son. She said: "He has been 
saying his Aunt Mary is a fool and his Aunt Martha 
is a damned fool." Mr. Fiske reflected upon the 
matter a minute, then said: "Oh, well, it's about the 
distinction I should make between them myself." 

Mr, Washington, I beg you to convey these teach- 
ings to your great and prosperous and most benefi- 
cent education institution, and add them to the 
prodigal mental and moral riches wherewith you 
equip your fortunate proteges for the struggle of life. 



280 



LAYMAN'S SERMON 

The Young Men's Christian Association asked Mr. Clemens to 
deliver a lay sermon at the Majestic Theatre, New York, March 
4, 1906. More than five thousand young men tried to get into the 
theatre, and in a short time traffic was practically stopped in the 
adjacent streets. The police reserves had to be called out to thin the 
crowd. Doctor Fagnani had said something before about the 
police episode, and Mr. Clemens took it up. 

I HAVE been listening to what was said here, and 
there is in it a lesson of citizenship. You created 
the police, and you are responsible for them. One 
must pause, therefore, before criticising them too 
harshly. They are citizens, just as we are. A little 
of citizenship ought to be taught at the mother's 
knee and in the nursery. Citizenship is what makes 
a republic; monarchies can get along without it. 
What keeps a republic on its legs is good citizenship. 
Organization is necessary in all things. It is even 
necessary in reform. I was an organization myself 
once — for twelve hours. I was in Chicago a few 
years ago about to depart for New York. There 
were with me Mr. Osgood, a publisher, and a stenog- 
rapher. I picked out a stateroom on a train, the 
principal feature of which was that it contained the 
privilege of smoking. The train had started but a 
short time when the conductor came in and said that 
there had been a mistake made, and asked that we 
vacate the apartment. I refused, but when I went 

281 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

out on the platform Osgood and the stenographer 
agreed to accept a section. They were too modest. 

Now, I am not modest. I was born modest, but it 
didn't last. I asserted myself, insisted upon my 
rights, and finally the Pullman conductor and the 
train conductor capitulated, and I was left in 
possession. 

I went into the dining car the netft morning for 
breakfast. Ordinarily I only care for coffee and rolls, 
but this particular morning I espied an important- 
looking man on the other side of the car eating 
broiled chicken. I asked for broiled chicken, and I 
was told by the waiter and later by the dining-car 
conductor that there was no broiled chicken. There 
must have been an argument, for the Pullman con- 
ductor came in and remarked : ' ' If he wants broiled 
chicken, give it to him. If you haven't got it on the 
train, stop somewhere. It will be better for all con- 
cerned!" I got the chicken. 

It is from experiences such as these that you get 
your education of life, and you string them into 
jewels or into tinware, as you may choose. I have 
received recently several letters asking my counsel 
or advice. The principal request is for some incident 
that may prove helpful to the young. There were a 
lot of incidents in my career to help me long — some- 
times they helped me along faster than I wanted 
to go. 

Here is such a request. It is a telegram from 
Joplin, Missouri, and it reads : "In what one of your 
works can we find the definition of a gentleman?" 

I have not answered that telegram, either; I 

282 



LAYMAN'S SERMON 

couldn't. I don't remember that I ever defined a 
gentleman, but it seems to me that if any man has 
just merciful and kindly instincts he would be a gen- 
tleman, for he would need nothing else in the world. 

I received the other day a letter from my old 
friend, William Dean Howells — Ho wells, the head of 
American literature. No one is able to stand with 
him. He is an old, old friend of mine, and he writes 
me, "To-morrow I shall be sixty-nine years old." 
Why, I am surprised at Howells writing that ! I have 
known him longer than that. I'm sorry to see a man 
trying to appear so young. Let's see. Howells 
now, "I see you have been burying Patrick. I sup- 
pose he was old, too." 

No, he was never old — Patrick. He came to us 
thirty-six years ago. He was my coachman on the 
morning that I drove my young bride to our new 
home. He was a young Irishman, slender, tall, lithe, 
honest, truthful, and he never changed in all his life. 
He really was with us but twenty-five years, for he 
did not go with us to Europe, but he never regarded 
that as separation. As the children grew up he was 
their guide. He was all honor, honesty, and affection. 
He was with us in New Hampshire, with us last sum- 
mer, and his hair was just as black, his eyes were 
just as blue, his form just as straight, and his heart 
just as good as on the day we first met. In all the 
long years Patrick never made a mistake. He never 
needed an order, he never received a command. He 
knew. I have been asked for my idea of an ideal 
gentleman, and I give it to you — Patrick McAleer. 

283 



MORALS AND MEMORY 

Mr. Clemens was the guest of honor at a reception held at 
Barnard College {Columbia University), March 7, 1906, by the 
Barnard Union. One of the young ladies presented Mr. Clemens, 
and thanked him for his amiability in coming to make them an 
address. She closed with the expression of the great joy it gave 
her fellow-collegians, "because we all love you." 

IF any one here loves me, she has my sincere thanks. 
Nay, if any one here is so good as to love me — 
why, I'll be a brother to her. She shall have my 
sincere, warm, unsullied aff ectio n. When I was com- 
ing up in the car with the very kind young lady who 
was delegated to show me the way, she asked me 
what I was going to talk about. And I said I wasn't 
sure. I said I had some illustrations, and I was going 
to bring them in. I said I was certain to give those 
illustrations, but that I hadn't the faintest notion 
what they were going to illustrate. 

Now, I've been thinking it over in this forest glade 
[indicating the woods of Arcady on the scene setting], 
and I've decided to work them in with something 
about morals and the caprices of memory. That 
seems to me to be a pretty good subject. You see, 
everybody has a memory and it's pretty sure to 
have caprices. And, of course, everybody has morals. 

It's my opinion that every one I know has morals, 
though I wouldn't like to ask. I know I have. But 
I'd rather teach them than practice them any day. 

284 



MORALS AND MEMORY 

"Give them to others" — that's my motto. Then 
you never have any use for them when you're left 
without. Now, speaking of the caprices of memory 
in general, and of mine in particular, it's strange to 
think of all the tricks this little mental process plays 
on us. Here we're endowed with a faculty of mind 
that ought to be more supremely serviceable to us 
than them all. And what happens? This memory 
of ours stores up a perfect record of the most useless 
facts and anecdotes and experiences. And all the 
things that we ought to know — that we need to 
know — that we'd profit by knowing — it casts aside 
with the careless indifference of a girl refusing her 
true lover. It's terrible to think of this phenomenon. 
I tremble in all my members when I consider all the 
really valuable things that I've forgotten in seventy 
years — when I meditate upon the caprices of my 
memory. 

There's a bird out in California that is one perfect 
symbol of the human memory. I've forgotten the 
bird's name (just because it would be valuable for 
me to know it — to recall it to your own minds, 
perhaps). 

But this fool of a creature goes around collecting 
the most ridiculous things you can imagine and stor- 
ing them up. He never selects a thing that could 
ever prove of the slightest help to him; but he goes 
about gathering iron forks, and spoons, and tin cans, 
and broken mouse-traps — all sorts of rubbish that is 
difficult for him to carry and yet be any use when he 
gets it. Why, that bird will go by a gold watch to 
bring back one of those patent cake-pans. 

285 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Now, my mind is just like that, and my mind isn't 
very different from yours — and so our minds are just 
like that bird. We pass by what would be of ines- 
timable value to us, and pack our memories with the 
most trivial odds and ends that never by any chance, 
under any circumstances whatsoever, could be of 
the slightest use to any one. 

Now, things that I have remembered are con- 
stantly popping into my head. And I am repeatedly 
startled by the vividness with which they recur to 
me after the lapse of years and their utter useless- 
ness in being remembered at all. 

I was thinking over some on my way up here. 
They were illustrations I spoke about to the young 
lady on the way up. And I've come to the conclu- 
sion, curious though it is, that I can use every one 
of these freaks of memory to teach you all a lesson. 
I'm convinced that each one has its moral. And I 
think it's my duty to hand the moral on to you. 

Now, I recall that when I was a boy I was a good 
boy — I was a very good boy. Why, I was the best 
boy in my school. I was the best boy in that little 
Mississippi town where I lived. The population was 
only about twenty million. You may not believe it, 
but I was the best boy in that State — and in the 
United States, for that matter. 

But I don't know why I never heard any one say 
that but myself. I always recognized it. But even 
those nearest and dearest to me couldn't seem to see 
it. My mother, especially, seemed to think there 
was something wrong with that estimate. And she 
never got over that prejudice. 

286 



MORALS AND MEMORY 

Now, when my mother got to be eighty-five years 
old her memory failed her. She forgot little threads 
that hold life's patches of meaning together. She 
was living out West then, and I went on to visit her. 

I hadn't seen my mother in a year or so. And 
when I got there she knew my face; knew I was 
married ; knew I had a family, and that I was living 
with them. But she couldn't, for the life of her, tell 
my name or who I was. So I told her I was her boy. 

"But you don't live with me," she said. 

"No," said I, "I'm living in Hartford." 

"What are you doing there?" 

"Going to school." 

"Large school?" 

"Very large." 

"All boys?" 

"All boys." 

"And how do you stand?" said my mother. 

"I'm the best boy in that school," I answered. 

"Well, " said my mother, with a return of her old 
fire, "I'd like to know what the other boys are like." 

Now, one point in this story is the fact that my 
mother's mind went back to my school days, and 
remembered my little youthful self -prejudice when 
she'd forgotten everything else about me. 

The other point is the moral. There's one there 
that you will find if you search for it. 

Now, here's something else I remember. It's about 
the first time I ever stole a watermelon. "Stole" is 
a strong word. Stole? Stole? No, I don't mean 
that. It was the first time I ever withdrew a water- 
melon, retired it from circulation — the first time I 

287 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

ever extracted a watermelon. That is exactly the 
word I want — "extracted." It is definite. It is 
precise. It perfectly conveys my idea. Its use in 
dentistry connotes the delicate shade of meaning I am 
looking for. You know we never extract our own teeth. 

And it was not my watermelon that I extracted. 
I extracted that watermelon from a farmer's wagon 
while he was inside negotiating with another cus- 
tomer. I carried that watermelon to one of the 
secluded recesses of the lumber-yard, and there I 
broke it open. 

It was a green watermelon. 

Well, do you know when I saw that I began to feel 
sorry — sorry — sorry. It seemed to me that I had 
done wrong. I reflected deeply. I reflected that I 
was young — I think I was just eleven. But I knew 
that though immature I did not lack moral advance- 
ment. I knew what a boy ought to do who had 
extracted a watermelon — like that. 

I considered George Washington, and what action 
he would have taken under similar circumstances. 
Then I knew there was just one thing to make me 
feel right inside, and that was — Restitution. 

So I said to myself: "I will do that. I will take 
that green watermelon back where I got it from." 
And the minute I had said it I felt that great moral 
uplift that comes to you when you've made a noble 
resolution. 

So I gathered up the biggest fragments, and I 
carried them back to the farmer's wagon, and I 
restored the watermelon — what was left of it. And 
I made him give me a good one in place of it, too. 

288 



MORALS AND MEMORY 

And I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself 
going around working off his worthless, old, green 
watermelons on trusting purchasers who had to rely 
on him. How could they tell from the outside 
whether the melons were good or not? That was 
his business. And if he didn't reform, I told him 
I'd see that he didn't get any more of my trade — 
nor anybody else's I knew, if I could help it. 

You know that man was as contrite as a reviv- 
alist's last convert. He said he was all broken up 
to think I'd gotten a green watermelon. He prom- 
ised me he would never carry another green water- 
melon if he starved for it. And he drove off — a 
better man. 

Now, do you see what I did for that man? He 
was on a downward path, and I rescued him. But 
all I got out of it was a watermelon. 

Yet I'd rather have that memory — just that mem- 
ory of the good I did for that depraved farmer — than 
all the material gain you can think of. Look at the 
lesson he got! I never got anything like that from 
it. But I ought to be satisfied. I was only eleven 
years old, but I secured everlasting benefit to other 
people. 

The moral in this is perfectly clear, and I think 
there's one in the next memory I'm going to tell you 
about. 

When I was seventeen I was very bashful, and a 
sixteen-year-old girl came to stay a week with us. 
She was a peach, and I was seized with a happiness 
not of this world. 

One evening my mother suggested that, to enter- 
289 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

tain her, I take her to the theatre. I didn't really 
like to, because I was seventeen and sensitive about 
appearing in the streets with a girl. I couldn't see 
my way to enjoying my delight in public. But we 
went. 

I didn't feel very happy. I couldn't seem to keep 
my mind on the play. I became conscious, after 
a while, that that was due less to my lovely company 
than my boots. They were sweet to look upon, as 
smooth as skin, but fitted ten times as close. I got 
oblivious to the play and the girl and the other 
people and everything but my boots until — I hitched 
one partly off. The sensation was sensuously perfect. 
I couldn't help it. I had to get the other off, partly. 
Then I was obliged to get them off altogether, except 
that I kept my feet in the legs so they couldn't get 
away. 

From that time I enjoyed the play. But the first 
thing I knew the curtain came down, like that, with- 
out my notice, and I hadn't any boots on. What's 
more, they wouldn't go on. I tugged strenuously. 
And the people in our row got up and fussed and 
«aid things until the peach and I simply had to 
triove on. 

We moved — the girl on one arm and the boots 
tinder the other. 

We walked home that way, sixteen blocks, with 
a retinue a mile long. Every time we passed a lamp- 
post death gripped me at the throat. But we got 
home — and I had on white socks. 

I: I live to be nine hundred and ninety-nine years 
old I don't suppose I could ever forget that walk. 

290 



MORALS AND MEMORY 

I trust that you will carry away some good thought 
from these lessons I have given you, and that the 
memory of them will inspire you to higher things, 
and elevate you to plans far above the old — and — 
and — 

And I tell you one thing, young ladies: I've had 
a better time with you to-day than with that peach 
fifty-three years ago. 



291 



WHEN IN DOUBT, TELL THE TRUTH 

Mark Twain's speech at the dinner of the " Freundschaft Society," 
March 9, 1906, had as a basis the words of introduction used by 
Toastmaster Frank, who, referring to Pudd'nhead Wilson, used the 
phrase, "When in doubt, tell the truth" 

MR. CHAIRMAN, MR. PUTZEL, AND GEN- 
TLEMEN OF THE FREUNDSCHAFT,— 
That maxim I did invent, but never expected it to 
be applied to me. I meant to say, ''When you are 
in doubt;" when I am in doubt myself I use more 
sagacity. 

Mr. Grout suggested that if I have anything to 
say against Mr. Putzel, or any criticism of his career 
or his character, I am the last person to come out on 
account of that maxim and tell the truth. That is 
altogether a mistake. 

I do think it is right for other people to be virtuous 
so that they can be happy hereafter, but if I knew 
every impropriety that even Mr. Putzel has com- 
mitted in his life, I would not mention one of them. 
My judgment has been maturing for seventy years, 
and I have got to that point where I know better 
than that. 

Mr. Putzel stands related to me in a very tender 
way (through the tax office), and it does not behoove 
me to say anything which could by any possibility 
militate against that condition of things. 

Now, that word — taxes, taxes, taxes ! I have heard 
292 



WHEN IN DOUBT, TELL THE TRUTH 

it to-night. I have heard it all night. I wish some- 
body would change that subject; that is a very sore 
subject to me. 

I was so relieved when Judge Leventritt did find 
something that was not taxable — when he said that 
the commissioner could not tax your patience. And 
that comforted me. We've got so much taxation. 
I don't know of a single foreign product that enters 
this country untaxed except the answer to prayer. 

On an occasion like this the proprieties require that 
you merely pay compliments to the guest of the 
occasion, and I am merely here to pay compliments 
to the guest of the occasion, not to criticise him in 
any way, and I can say only complimentary things 
to him. 

When I went down to the tax office some time ago, 
for the first time in New York, I saw Mr. Putzel 
sitting in the "Seat of Perjury." I recognized him 
right away. I warmed to him on the spot. I didn't 
know that I had ever seen him before, but just as 
soon as I saw him I recognized him. I had met him 
twenty-five years before, and at that time had 
achieved a knowledge of his abilities and something 
more than that. 

I thought: "Now, this is the man whom I saw 
twenty-five years ago." On that occasion I not only 
went free at his hands, but carried off something 
more than that. I hoped it would happen again. 

It was twenty-five years ago when I saw him, a 
young clerk in Putnam's book store. I went in there 
and asked for George Haven Putnam, and handed 
him my card, and then the young man said Mr. 

293 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Putnam was busy and I couldn't see him. Well, I 
had merely called in a social way, and so it didn't 
matter. 

I was going out when I saw a great big, fat, 
interesting-looking book lying there, and I took it 
up. It was an account of the invasion of England 
in the fourteenth century by the Preaching Friar, 
and it interested me. 

I asked him the price of it, and he said four dollars. 

"Well," I said, "what discount do you allow to 
publishers?" 

He said : ' ' Forty per cent off. ' ' 

I said: "All right, I am a publisher." 

He put down the figure, forty per cent off, on a 
card. 

Then I said: "What discount do you allow to 
authors?" 

He said: "Forty per cent off." 

"Well," I said, "set me down as an author." 

"Now," said I, "what discount do you allow to 
the clergy?" 

He said: "Forty per cent off." 

I said to him that I was only on the road, and 
that I was studying for the ministry. I asked him 
wouldn't he knock off twenty per cent for that. 
He set down the figure, and he never smiled once. 

I was working off these humorous brilliancies on 
him and getting no return — not a scintillation in his 
eye, not a spark of recognition of what I was doing 
there. I was almost in despair. 

I thought I might try him once more, so I said: 
"Now, I am also a member of the human race. Will 

294 



WHEN IN DOUBT, TELL THE TRUTH 

you let me have the ten per cent off for that?" He 
set it down, and never smiled. 

Well, I gave it up. I said: " There is my card 
with my address on it, but I have not any money 
with me. Will you please send the bill to Hart- 
ford?" I took up the book and was going away. 

He said: "Wait a minute. There is forty cents 
coming to you." 

When I met him in the tax office I thought maybe 
I could make something again, but I could not. But 
I had not any idea I could when I came, and as it 
turned out I did get off entirely free. 

I put up my hand and made a statement. It gave 
me a good deal of pain to do that. I was not used 
to it. I was born and reared in the higher circles of 
Missouri, and there we don't do such things — didn't 
in my time, but we have got that little matter set- 
tled — got a sort of tax levied on me. 

Then he touched me. Yes, he touched me this 
time, because he cried — cried! He was moved to 
tears to see that I, a virtuous person only a year 
before, after immersion for one year — during one 
year in the New York morals — had no more con- 
science than a millionaire. 



29s 



INTRODUCING DOCTOR VAN DYKE 
(1906) 

I AM here, ostensibly, to introduce to you the lec- 
turer of the occasion, the Reverend Doctor van 
Dyke, of Princeton University; not to tell you who 
he is — you know that already; riot to praise his 
delicious books — they praise themselves better than 
any words of mine could do it for them. Then is 
there any real use or advantage in my being here at 
all? Yes; I am here to talk and put in the time 
while Doctor van Dyke reflects upon what he is 
going to say, and whether he had better say it or not. 

Chance has furnished me a text — a text which 
offers me an opportunity to teach, an opportunity 
to be instructive; and if I have a passion for any- 
thing, it is for teaching. It is noble to teach oneself; 
it is still nobler to teach others — and less trouble. 
My text is a telegram from the Daily Review, an 
Illinois newspaper, which says, "In what book of 
yours will we find a definition of a gentleman?" 
This question has been asked me a number of times 
by mail in the past month or two, and I have not 
replied; but if it is now going to be taken up by 
telegraph, it is time for me to say something, and I 
think that this is the right time and place for it. 

The source of these inquiries was an Associated 
Press telegram of a month or so ago, which said, in 

296 



INTRODUCING DOCTOR VAN DYKE (1906) 

substance, that a citizen of Joplin, Missouri, who 
had just died, had left ten thousand dollars to be 
devoted to the dissemination among young men of 
Mark Twain's idea of the true gentleman. This was 
a puzzle to me, for I had never in my life uttered in 
print a definition of that word — a word which once 
had a concrete meaning, but has no clear and definite 
meaning now, either in America or elsewhere. In 
England, long ago, and in America in early times the 
term was compact and definite, and was restricted 
to a certain grade of birth, and it had nothing to do 
with character; a gentleman could commit all the 
crimes and bestialities known to the Newgate Cal- 
endar, and be shunned and despised by everybody, 
great and small, and no one could dispute it. But 
in our day how would you define that loose and 
shackly and shadowy and colorless word? — in case 
you had thirty-five years to do it in. None but a very 
self-complacent and elaborately incompetent person 
would ever try to define it; and then the result 
wouldn't be worth the violent mental strain it had 
cost. 

The weeks drifted along, and I remained puzzled ; 
but at last when this telegram came I suddenly 
remembered ! Remembered that I had once defined 
the word? Not at all. What I remembered was 
this: In the first fortnight of March, four years ago, 
a New York lady defined the word in a published 
interview. The main feature of her definition was 
that no man is a gentleman who hasn't had a college 
education. Oh, dear me — Adam, for instance ! And 
Arkwright — and Watt — and Stephenson — and Whit- 

297 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

ney — and Franklin — and Fulton — and Morse — and 
Elias Howe — and Edison — and Graham Bell — and 
Lincoln — and Washington — and — and me. What a 
project ! to select and set apart a majestic and monu- 
mental class for the people's reverence and homage, 
then degrade it, belittle it, make it trivial, make it 
comical, make it grotesque, by leaving out of it the 
makers of history, the uplifters of man, the creators 
and preservers of civilizations! The idea of leaving 
us out ! It was my privilege to laugh, if I did it 
privately. Very well, I did it privately. Consider- 
ing the fact that the person who proposes to define 
that word must be equipped with almost limitless 
knowledge and daring and placid self-confidence, it 
seemed to me that the late Simon Hanks, of Cape 
Cod, had surely changed his sex and was come again. 
The poet says : 

'The Lord knows all things, great and small; 
With doubt He's never vexed; 
Ah yes, the good Lord knows it all — 
But Simon Hanks comes next." 

The matter seemed settled. But the New York 
papers have long known that no large question is 
ever really settled until I have been consulted ; it is 
the way they feel about it, and they show it by 
always sending to me when they get uneasy; so the 
interviewers came up to River dale to get the verdict. 
I was in bed, trying to amuse the bronchitis, there- 
fore I got myself excused. I said not a word upon 
the subject to any one. Yet there was a long and 
fictitious interview pretending to come from me, in 
one of the papers the next morning — the only 

298 



INTRODUCING DOCTOR VAN DYKE (1906) 

instance in which a paper on either side of the Atlan- 
tic had treated me uncourteously and unfairly for 
many years. I was made to speak in the first person 
and to furnish my idea of what a gentleman is. 

You will perceive that there is a sort of grotesque 
and degraded humor about that situation. All 
definers of the modern gentleman are agreed that 
among his qualities must be honesty, courtesy, and 
truthfulness. Very well, here is a journalist who 
sends to me a forger to represent him, then prints 
the forger's product and filches money with it from 
his deceived readers — yet if I should assert that he 
is not a gentleman his friends could quite properly 
require me to prove it, and I couldn't do it; for I 
don't know what a gentleman is — a gentleman on 
the indefinite modern plan. It's the fourth dimen- 
sion to me, with the unsquared circle and the nebular 
theory added. 

There is also another humorous detail or two about 
the situation. The forged interview deceived and 
beguiled that trusting and well-meaning citizen of 
Joplin before he died, and pillaged his heirs after he 
was in his grave. They can't get the bequeathed 
money, for it has to go to the dissemination of my 
definition of what a gentleman is. The proposed 
class in gentlemanliness can't get it, for my defini- 
tion doesn't exist and has never existed. The money 
is tied up for good and all. I believe it is the most 
dismally and pathetically and sardonically humorous 
incident I have ever come across. 

Now then, can't we define the American gentleman 
at all? As a whole — no. We can define the best 

299 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

part of him, the valuable part ; it is as far as we can 
get. The rest of him is hazy, diffused, uncertain ; it 
is this, that, and the other thing; it is everything 
and nothing, according to Tom, Dick, and Harry's 
undigested notion ; and when you've got the jumble 
all jumbled together to suit you, if it still seems to 
lack something, whitewash it with a college educa- 
tion and call game. 

What shall we say is the best part, the accepted 
part, the essential part, of the American gentleman? 
Let us say it is courtesy and a blemishless character. 
What is courtesy? Consideration for others. Is 
there a good deal of it in the American character? 
So far as I have observed, no. Is it an American 
characteristic? So far as I have observed, the most 
striking, the most prominent, the most American of 
all American characteristics is the poverty of it in 
the American character. Even the foreigner loses 
his kindly politeness as soon as we get him Ameri- 
canized. When we have been abroad among either 
the naked savages or the clothed civilized, for even so 
brief a time as a year, the first thing we notice when 
we get back home is the wanton and unprovoked 
discourtesies that assail us at every turn. They 
begin at the customs pier and they follow us every- 
where. Such of you as have been abroad will feel, 
with remembered pangs and cheek burnings, that I 
am speaking the truth; the rest of you will confess 
it some day when you come home from abroad. You 
will step into the trolley with your heart so full of 
thankfulness to be at home again that you can't 
speak; you are so glad, so happy, so grateful, that 

300 



INTRODUCING DOCTOR VAN DYKE (1906) 

the tears blur everything, and you say to yourself, 
"Oh, am I really and truly at home once more?" 
Then the conductor bawls out "Come, step lively, 
will you!" and you realize that you are. You realize 
that in no country on the planet, savage or civilized, 
but your own could you hear your unoffending old 
father and mother and your gentle young sister as- 
sailed with that brutal insult ; also, that no people on 
the planet but ours is meek enough to stand it. We 
allow our commonest rights to be trampled under- 
foot every day and everywhere ; among us citizenship 
is an unknown virtue. We have never claimed to be the 
Uncourteous Nation, the Unpolite Nation, I don't 
know where, there being no competition. Is it because 
we are also the Too-Modest Nation? Probably. Is 
that why we still keep that old, quiet, courtly uninso- 
lent, uncharacteristic E pluribus Unum for our nationa) 
motto, instead of replacing it with an up-to-date one, 
full of national character, "Come, step lively!" 

I am working hard, day and night, without salary 
or hope of applause, upon my high and self-appointed 
task of reforming our national manners, and I ask 
for your help. Am I polite, do you ask? Well . . . no. 
I'm an American myself. Why don't I begin by reform- 
ing my own manners ? I have already explained that 
in the beginning. I said, it is noble to teach oneself, 
but still nobler to teach others — and less trouble. 

Having now finished this extraneous and unofficial 
lecture, I invite the real lecturer to approach and de- 
liver to you his message ; but I do it courteously ; you 
will never hear me say to Reverend Doctor van Dyke, 
whom I and the nation revere, "Come, step lively!" 

301 



BILLIARDS 

Mr. Clemens attended a billiard tourney on the evening of April 
24, 1906, and was called on to tell a story. 

THE game of billiards has destroyed my natu- 
rally sweet disposition. Once, when I was an 
underpaid reporter in Virginia City, whenever I 
wished to play billiards I went out to look for an 
easy mark. One day a stranger came to town and 
opened a billiard parlor. I looked him over casually. 
When he proposed a game, I answered, "All right." 

"Just knock the balls around a little so that I can 
get your gait," he said; and when I had done so, 
he remarked : * ' I will be perfectly fair with you. I'll 
play you left-handed." I felt hurt, for he was cross- 
eyed, freckled, and had red hair, and I determined to 
teach him a lesson. He won first shot, ran out, took 
my half dollar, and all I got was the opportunity to 
chalk my cue. 

"If you can play like that with your left hand," I 
said, "I'd like to see you play with your right." 

"Couldn't play at all," he said. "I'm left-handed." 



302 



"MARK TWAIN'S FIRST APPEARANCE" 

On October 5, 1906, Mr. Clemens, following a musical recital by 
his daughter in Norfolk, Conn., addressed her audience on the 
subject of stage-fright. He thanked the people for making things 
as easy as possible for his daughter's American debut as a contralto, 
and then told of his first experience before the public. 

MY heart goes out in sympathy to any one who 
is making his first appearance before an audi- 
ence of human beings. By a direct process of mem- 
ory I go back forty years, less one month — for I'm 
older than I look. 

I recall the occasion of my first appearance. San 
Francisco knew me then only as a reporter, and I 
was to make my bow to San Francisco as a lecturer. 
I knew that nothing short of compulsion would get 
me to the theatre. So I bound myself by a hard- 
and-fast contract so that I could not escape. I got 
to the theatre forty-five minutes before the hour set 
for the lecture. My knees were shaking so that I 
didn't know whether I could stand up. If there is 
an awful, horrible malady in the world, it is stage- 
fright — and seasickness. They are a pair. I had 
stage-fright then for the first and last time. I was 
only seasick once, too. It was on a little ship on 
which there were two hundred other passengers. I — 
was — sick. I was so sick that there wasn't any left 
for those other two hundred passengers. 

It was dark and lonely behind the scenes in that 
303 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

theatre, and I peeked through the little peek-holes 
they have in theatre curtains and looked into the 
big auditorium. That was dark and empty, too. 
By-and-by it lighted up, and the audience began to 
arrive. 

I had got a number of friends of mine, stalwart 
men, to sprinkle themselves through the audience 
armed with big clubs. Every time I said anything 
they could possibly guess I intended to be funny 
they were to pound those clubs on the floor. Then 
there was a kind lady in a box up there, also a good 
friend of mine, the wife of the Governor. She was 
to watch me intently, and whenever I glanced toward 
her she was going to deliver a gubernatorial laugh 
that would lead the whole audience into applause. 

At last I began. I had the manuscript tucked 
under a United States flag in front of me where I 
could get at it in case of need. But I managed to 
get started without it. I walked up and down — I 
was young in those days and needed the exercise — 
and talked and talked. 

Right in the middle of the speech I had placed a 
gem. I had put in a moving, pathetic part which 
was to get at the hearts and souls of my hearers. 
When I delivered it they did just what I hoped and 
expected. They sat silent and awed. I had touched 
them. Then I happened to glance up at the box 
where the Governor's wife was — you know what 
happened. 

Well, after the first agonizing five minutes, my 
stage-fright left me, never to return. I know if I 
was going to be hanged I could get up and make a 

304 



"MARK TWAIN'S FIRST APPEARANCE" 

good showing, and I intended to. But I shall never 
forget my feelings before the agony left me, and I 
got up here to thank you for her for helping my 
daughter, by your kindness, to live through her first 
appearance. And I want to thank you for you? 
appreciation of her singing, which is, by-the-way, 
hereditary. 



3©5 



IN AID OF THE BLIND 

Address at a Public Meeting of the New York Association 

for Promoting the Interests of the Blind, at 

the Waldorf-Astoria, March 29, 1906 

IF you detect any awkwardness in my movements 
and infelicities in my conduct I will offer the 
explanation that I never presided at a meeting of 
any kind before in my life, and that I do find it out 
of my line. I suppose I could do anything anybody 
else could, but I recognized that experience helps, 
and I do feel the lack of that experience. I don't 
feel as graceful and easy as I ought to be in order to 
impress an audience. I shall not pretend that I 
know how to umpire a meeting like this, and I shall 
just take the humble place of the Essex band. 

There was a great gathering in a small New Eng- 
land town about twenty-five years ago. I remember 
that circumstance because there was something that 
happened at that time. It was a great occasion. 
They gathered in the milita and orators and every- 
body from all the towns around. It was an extraor- 
dinary occasion. 

The little local paper threw itself into ecstasies of 
admiration and tried to do itself proud from begin- 
ning to end. It praised the orators, the militia, and 
all the bands that came from everywhere, and all 
this in honest country newspaper detail, but the 

306 



IN AID OF THE BLIND 

writer ran out of adjectives toward the end. Having 
exhausted his whole magazine of praise and glorifica- 
tion, he found he still had one band left over. He 
had to say something about it, and he said: "The 
Essex band done the best it could." 

I am an Essex band on this occasion, and I am 
going to get through as well as inexperience and 
good intentions will enable me. I have got all the 
documents here necessary to instruct you in the 
objects and intentions of this meeting and also of 
the association which has called the meeting. But 
they are too voluminous. I could not pack those 
statistics into my head, and I had to give it up. I 
shall have to just reduce all that mass of statistics 
to a few salient facts. There are too many statistics 
and figure for me. I never could do anything with 
figures, never had any talent for mathematics, never 
accomplished anything in my efforts at that rugged 
study, and to-day the only mathematics I know is 
multiplication, and the minute I get away up in that, 
as soon as I reach nine times seven 

[Mr. Clemens lapsed into deep thought for a 
moment. He was trying to figure out nine times 
seven, but it was a hopeless task, and he turned to 
St. Clair McKelway, who sat near him. Mr. McKel- 
way whispered the answer, and the speaker resumed :] 

I've got it now. It's eighty-four. Well, I can get 
that far all right with a little hesitation. After that 
I am uncertain, and I can't manage a statistic. 

"This association for the" 

[Mr. Clemens was in another dilemma. Again he 
was obliged to turn to Mr. McKelway.] 

307 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Oh yes, for promoting the interests of the blind. 
It's a long name. If I could I would write it out for 
you and let you take it home and study it, but I 
don't know how to spell it. And Mr. Carnegie is 
down in Virginia somewhere. Well, anyway, the 
object of that association which has been recently 
organized, five months ago, in fact, is in the hands 
of very, very energetic, intelligent, and capable 
people, and they will push it to success very surely, 
and all the more surely if you will give them a little 
of your assistance out of your pockets. 

The intention, the purpose, is to search out all the 
blind and find work for them to do so that they may 
earn their own bread. Now it is dismal enough to 
be blind — it is dreary, dreary life at best, but it can 
be largely ameliorated by finding something for these 
poor blind people to do with their hands. The time 
passes so heavily that it is never day or night with 
them, it is always night, and when they have to sit with 
folded hands and with nothing to do to amuse or enter- 
tain or employ their minds, it is drearier and drearier. 

And then the knowledge they have that they must 
subsist on charity, and so often reluctant charity, it 
would renew their lives if they could have something 
to do with their hands and pass their time and at the 
same time earn their bread, and know the sweetness 
of the bread which is the result of the labor of one's 
own hands. They need that cheer and pleasure. It 
is the only way you can turn their night into day, 
to give them happy hearts, the only thing you can 
put in the place of the blessed sun. That you can do 
in the way I speak of. 

308 



IN AID OF THE BLIND 

Blind people generally who have seen the light 
know what it is to miss the light. Those who have 
gone blind since they were twenty years old — their 
lives are unendingly dreary. But they can be taught 
to use their hands and to employ themselves at a 
great many industries. That association from which 
this draws its birth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
has taught its blind to make many things. They 
make them better than most people, and more honest 
than people who have the use of their eyes. The 
goods they make are readily salable. People like 
them. And so they are supporting themselves, and 
it is a matter of cheer, cheer. They pass their time 
now not too irksomely as they formerly did. 

What this association needs and wants is $15,000. 
The figures are set down, and what the money is for, 
and there is no graft in it or I would not be here. And 
they hope to beguile that out of your pockets, and 
you will find affixed to the program an opportu- 
nity, that little blank which you will fill out and 
promise so much money now or to-morrow or some 
time. Then, there is another opportunity which is 
still better, and that is that you shall subscribe an 
annual sum. 

I have invented a good many useful things in my 
time, but never anything better than that of getting 
money out of people who don't want to part with it. 
It is always for good objects, of course. This is the 
plan : When you call upon a person to contribute to 
a great and good object, and you think he should 
furnish about one thousand dollars, he disappoints 
you as like as not. Much the best way to work him 

309 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

to supply that thousand dollars is to split it into 
parts and contribute, say a hundred dollars a year, or 
fifty, or whatever the sum may be. Let him contrib- 
ute ten or twenty a year. He doesn't feel that, but 
he does feel it when you call upon him to contribute 
a large amount. When you get used to it you would 
rather contribute than borrow money. 

I tried it in Helen Keller's case. Mr. Hutton wrote 
me in 1896 or 1897 when I was in London and said: 
"The gentleman who has been so liberal in taking 
care of Helen Keller has died without making provi- 
sion for her in his will, and now they don't know 
what to do." They were proposing to raise a fund, 
and he thought $50,000 enough to furnish an income 
of $2,400 or $2,500 a year for the support of that 
wonderful girl and her wonderful teacher, Miss Sul- 
livan, now Mrs. Macy. I wrote to Mr. Hutton and 
said: "Go on, get up your fund. It will be slow, 
but if you want quick work, I propose this system," 
the system I speak of, of asking people to contribute 
such and such a sum from year to year and drop out 
whenever they please, and he would find there 
wouldn't be any difficulty, people wouldn't feel the 
burden of it. And he wrote back saying he had 
raised the $2,400 a year indefinitely by that system 
in a single afternoon. We would like to do some- 
thing just like that to-night. We will take as many 
checks as you care to give. You can leave your 
donations in the big room outside. 

I knew once what it was to be blind. I shall never 
forget that experience. I have been as blind as any- 
body ever was for three or four hours, and the suffer- 

310 



IN AID OF THE BLIND 

ings that I endured and the mishaps and the acci- 
dents that are burning in my memory make my 
sympathy rise when I feel for the blind and always 
shall feel. I once went to Heidelberg on an excursion. 
I took a clergyman along with me, the Rev. Joseph 
Twichell, of Hartford, who is still among the living 
despite that fact. I always travel with clergymen 
when I can. It is better for them, it is better for me. 
And any preacher who goes out with me in stormy 
weather and without a lightning rod is a good one. 
The Reverend Twichell is one of those people filled 
with patience and endurance, two good ingredients 
for a man travelling with me, so we got along very 
well together. In that old town they have not altered 
a house nor built one in 1,500 years. We went to the 
inn and they placed Twichell and me in a most colos- 
sal bedroom, the largest I ever saw or heard of. It 
was as big as this room. 

I didn't take much notice of the place. I didn't 
really get my bearings. I noticed Twichell got a 
German bed about two feet wide, the kind in which 
you've got to lie on your edge, because there isn't 
room to lie on your back, and he was way down 
south in that big room, and I was way up north at 
the other end of it, with a regular Sahara in between. 

We went to bed. Twichell went to sleep, but then 
he had his conscience loaded and it was easy for him 
to get to sleep. I couldn't get to sleep. It was one 
of those torturing kinds of lovely summer nights 
when you hear various kinds of noises now and then. 
A mouse away off in the southwest. You throw 
things at the mouse. That encourages the mouse. 

311 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

But I couldn't stand it, and about two o'clock I got 
up and thought I would give it up and go out in the 
square where there was one of those tinkling foun- 
tains, and sit on its brink and dream, full of romance. 

I got out of bed, and I ought to have lit a candle, 
but I didn't think of it until it was too late. It was 
the darkest place that ever was. There has never 
been darkness any thicker than that. It just lay in 
cakes. 

I thought that before dressing I would accumulate 
my clothes. I pawed around in the dark and found 
everything packed together on the floor except one 
sock. I couldn't get on the track of that sock. It 
might have occurred to me that maybe it was in the 
wash. But I didn't think of that. I went excursion- 
ing on my hands and knees. Presently I thought, 
"I am never going to find it; I'll go back to bed 
again." That is what I tried to do during the next 
three hours. I had lost the bearings of that bed. I 
was going in the wrong direction all the time. By- 
and-by I came in collision with a chair and that 
encouraged me. 

It seemed to me, as far as I could recollect, there 
was only a chair here and there and yonder, five or 
six of them scattered over this territory, and I 
thought maybe after I found that chair I might 
find the next one. Well, I did. And I found another 
and another and another. I kept going around on 
my hands and knees, having those sudden collisions, 
and finally when I banged into another chair I 
almost lost my temper. And I raised up, garbed as 
I was, not for public exhibition, right in front of a 

312 



IN AID OF THE BLIND 

mirror fifteen or sixteen feet high. I hadn't noticed 
the mirror; didn't know it was there. 

Then I got down on my hands and knees and went 
on another exploring expedition. 

As far as I could remember there were six chairs 
in that Oklahoma, and one table, a great big heavy- 
table, not a good table to hit with your head when 
rushing madly along. In the course of time I col- 
lided with thirty-five chairs and tables enough to 
stock that dining-room out there. It was a hospital 
for decayed furniture, and it was in a worse condi- 
tion when I got through with it. I went on and on, 
and at last got to a place where I could feel my way 
up, and there was a shelf. I knew that wasn't in 
the middle of the room. Up to that time I was afraid 
I had gotten out of the city. 

I was very careful and pawed along that shelf, 
and there was a pitcher of water about a foot high, 
and it was at the head of Twichell's bed, but I didn't 
know it. I felt that pitcher going and I grabbed at 
it, but it didn't help any and came right down on 
Twichell and nearly drowned him. But it woke him 
up. I was grateful to have company on any terms. 
He lit a match, and there I was, way down south 
when I ought to have been back up yonder. My bed 
was out of sight it was so far away. You needed a 
telescope to find it. Twichell comforted me and I 
scrubbed him off and we got sociable. 

But that night wasn't wasted. I had my pedom- 
eter on my leg. Twichell and I were in a pedometer 
match. Twichell had longer legs than I. The only 
way I could keep up was to wear my pedometer to 

313 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

bed. I always walk in my sleep, and on this occasion 
I gained sixteen miles on him. After all, 1 never 
found that sock. I never have seen it from that day 
to this. But that adventure taught me what it is 
to be blind. That was one of the most serious occa- 
sions of my whole life, yet I never can speak of it 
without somebody thinking it isn't serious. You try 
it and see how serious it is to be as the blind are and 
I was that night. 

[Mr. Clemens read several letters of regret. He 
then introduced Joseph H. Choate, saying:] 

It is now my privilege to present to you Mr. 
Choate. I don't have to really introduce him. I 
don't have to praise him, or to natter him. I could 
say truly that in the forty-seven years I have been 
familiarly acquainted with him he has always been 
the handsomest man America has ever produced. 
And I hope and believe he will hold the belt forty- 
five years more. He has served his country ably, 
faithfully, and brilliantly. He stands at the sum- 
mit, at the very top in the esteem and regard of his 
countrymen, and if I could say one word which would 
lift him any higher in his countrymen's esteem and 
affection, I would say that word whether it was true 
or not. 



3i4 



SPELLING AND PICTURES 

Address at the Annual Dinner of the Associated Press, 
at the Waldorf-Astoria, September 18, 1906 

I AM here to make an appeal to the nations in 
behalf of the simplified spelling. I have come 
here because they cannot all be reached except 
through you. There are only two forces that can 
carry light to all the corners of the globe — only two 
— the sun in the heavens and the Associated Press 
down here. I may seem to be flattering the sun, 
but I do not mean it so; I am meaning only to be 
just and fair all around. You speak with a million 
voices; no one can reach so many races, so many 
hearts and intellects, as you — except Rudyard Kip- 
ling, and he cannot do it wit hour your help. If the 
Associated Press will adopt and use our simplified 
forms, and thus spread them to the ends of the earth, 
covering the whole spacious planet with them as with 
a garden of flowers, our difficulties are at an end. 

Every day of the three hundred and sixty-five the 
only pages of the world's countless newspapers that 
are read by all the human beings and angels and 
devils that can read, are these pages that are built 
out of Associated Press despatches. And so I beg 
you, I beseech you — oh, I implore you to spell them 
in our simplified forms. Do this daily, constantly, 
persistently, for three months — only three months — 

31S 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

it is all I ask. The infallible result ? — victory, victory 
all down the line. For by that time all eyes here and 
above and below will have become adjusted to the 
change and in love with it, and the present clumsy 
and ragged forms will be grotesque to the eye and 
revolting to the soul. And we shall be rid of phthisis 
and phthisic and pneumonia and pneumatics, and 
diphtheria and pterodactyl, and all those other insane 
words which no man addicted to the simple Christian 
life can try to spell and not lose some of the bloom 
of his piety in the demoralizing attempt. Do not 
doubt it. We are chameleons, and our partialities 
and prejudices change places with an easy and blessed 
facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and 
happy in it. 

Do I seem to be seeking the good of the world? 
That is the idea. It is my public attitude ; privately 
I am merely seeking my own profit. We all do it, 
but it is sound and it is virtuous, for no public inter- 
est is anything other or nobler than a massed accumu- 
lation of private interests. In 1883, when the 
simplified-spelling movement first tried to make a 
noise, I was indifferent to it; more — I even irrever- 
ently scoffed at it. What I needed was an object 
lesson, you see. It is the only way to teach some 
people. Very well, I got it. At that time I was 
scrambling along, earning the family's bread on mag- 
azine work at seven cents a word, compound words 
at single rates, just as it is in the dark present. I 
was the property of a magazine, a seven-cent slave 
under a boiler-iron contract. One day there came a 
note from the editor requiring me to write ten pages 

316 



SPELLING AND PICTURES 

on this revolting text: ''Considerations concerning 
the alleged subterranean holophotal extemporane- 
ousness of the conchy liaceous superimbri cation of 
the Ornithorhyncus, as foreshadowed by the unintel- 
ligibility of its plesiosaurian anisodactylous aspects." 

Ten pages of that. Each and every word a 
seventeen- jointed vestibuled railroad train. Seven 
cents a word. I saw starvation staring the family 
in the face. I went to the editor, and I took a stenog- 
rapher along so as to have the interview down in 
black and white, for no magazine editor can ever 
remember any part of a business talk except the 
part that's got graft in it for him and the magazine. 
I said, "Read that text, Jackson, and let it go on 
the record; read it out loud." He read it: "Con- 
siderations concerning the alleged subterranean 
holophotal extemporaneousness of the conchylia- 
ceous superimbrication of the Ornithorhyncus, as 
foreshadowed by the unintelligibility of its plesiosau- 
rian anisodactylous aspects." 

I said, "You want ten pages of those rumbling, 
great, long, summer thunderpeals, and you expect 
to get them at seven cents a peal?" 

He said, "A word's a word, and seven cents is the 
contract; what are you going to do about it?" 

I said, "Jackson, this is cold-blooded oppression. 
What's an average English word?" 

He said, "Six letters." 

I said, "Nothing of the kind; that's French, and 
includes the spaces between the words; an average 
English word is four letters and a half. By hard, 
honest labor I've dug all the large words out of my 

3i7 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

vocabulary and shaved it down till the average is 
three letters and a half. I can put one thousand and 
two hundred words on your page, and there's not 
another man alive that can come within two hundred 
of it. My page is worth eighty-four dollars to me. 
It takes exactly as long to fill your magazine pages 
with long words as it does with short ones— four 
hours. Now, then, look at the criminal injustice of 
this requirement of yours. I am careful, I am eco- 
nomical of my time and labor. For the family's 
sake I've got to be so. So I never write 'metropolis* 
for seven cents, because I can get the same money 
for 'city.' I never write 'policeman,' because I can 
get the same price for 'cop.' And so on and so on. 
I never write 'valetudinarian' at all, for not even 
hunger and wretchedness can humble me to the 
point where I will do a word like that for seven cents; 
I wouldn't do it for fifteen. Examine your obscene 
text, please; count the words." 

He counted and said it was twenty-four. I asked 
him to count the letters. He made it two hundred 
and three. 

I said, "Now, I hope you see the whole size of 
your crime. With my vocabulary I would make 
sixty words out of those two hundred and five let- 
ters, and get four dollars and twenty cents for it; 
whereas for your inhuman twenty-four I would get 
only one dollar and sixty-eight cents. The pages of 
these sky-scrapers of yours would pay me only about 
three hundred dollars; in my simplified vocabulary 
the same space and the same labor would pay me 
eight hundred and forty dollars. I do not wish to 

318 



SPELLING AND PICTURES 

work upon this scandalous job by the piece. I want 
to be hired by the year." He coldly refused. I said : 

"Then for the sake of the family, if you have no 
feeling for me, you ought at least to allow me over- 
time on that word extemporaneousness." Again he 
coldly refused. I seldom say a harsh word to any one, 
but I was not master of myself then, and I spoke right 
out and called him an anisodactylous plesiosaurian 
conchyliaceous Ornithorhyncus, and rotten to the 
heart with holophotal subterranean extemporaneous- 
ness. God forgive me for that wanton crime; he 
lived only two hours. 

From that day to this I have been a devoted and 
hard-working member of the heaven-born institution, 
the International Association for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Authors, and now I am laboring with Car- 
negie's Simplified Committee, and with my heart in 
the work. . . . 

Now then, let us look at this mighty question 
reasonably, rationally, sanely — yes, and calmly, not 
excitedly. What is the real function, the essential 
function, the supreme function, of language? Isn't 
it merely to convey ideas and emotions ? Certainly. 
Then if we can do it with words of fonetic brevity 
and compactness, why keep the present cumbersome 
forms? But can we? Yes. I hold in my hand the 
proof of it. Here is a letter written by a woman, right 
cut of her heart cf hearts. I think she never saw a 
spelling book in her life. The spelling is her own. 
There isn't a waste letter in it anywhere. It reduces 
the fonetics to the last gasp — it squeezes the surplus- 
age out of every word — there's no spelling that can 

319 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

begin with it on this planet outside of the White 
House. And as for the punctuation, there isn't any. 
It is all one sentence, eagerly and breathlessly uttered, 
without break or pause in it anywhere. The letter is 
absolutely genuine — I have the proofs of that in my 
possession 1 . I can't stop to spell the words for you, 
but you can take the letter presently and comfort 
your eyes with it. I will read the letter : 

"Miss dear friend I took some Close into 

the armerry and give them to you to Send too the 
suffrers out to California and i Hate to truble you but 
i got to have one of them Back it was a black oil wolle 
Shevyott With a jacket to Mach trimed Kind of 
Fancy no 38 Burst measure and passy menterry 
acrose the front And the color i woodent Trubble you 
but it belonged to my brothers wife and she is Mad 
about it i thoght she was willing but she want she 
says she want done with it and she was going to Wear 
it a Spell longer she ant so free harted as what i am 
and she Has got more to do with Than i have having 
a Husband to Work and slave For her i gess you 
remember Me I am shot and stout and light com- 
plected i torked with you quite a spell about the suf- 
frars and said it was orful about that erth quake I 
shoodent wondar if they had another one rite off 
seeine general Condision of the country is Kind of 
Explossive i hate to take that Black dress away from 
the suffrars but i will hunt round And see if i can get 



1 Unfortunately for this statement, the letter later proved to be 
a clever hoax, the work of Miss Grace Donworth. 

Mark Twain enjoyed the joke and urged the author to continue 
the letters and gather them in a book, which she did later. 

320 



SPELLING AND PICTURES 

another One if i can i will call to the armerry for it 
if you will jest lay it asside so no more at present 
from your True freind 
i liked your 
appearance very Much" 

Now you see what simplified spelling can do. It 
can convey any fact you need to convey ; and it can 
pour out emotions like a sewer. I beg you, I beseech 
you, to adopt our spelling, and print all your des- 
patches in it. 

Now I wish to say just one entirely serious word: 

I have reached a time of life, seventy years and a 
half, where none of the concerns of this world have 
much interest for me personally. I think I can speak 
dispassionately upon this matter, because in the little 
while that I have got to remain here I can get along 
very well with these old-fashioned forms, and I don't 
propose to make any trouble about it at all. I shall 
soon be where they won't care how I spell so long 
as I keep the Sabbath. 

There are eighty-two millions of us people that 
use this orthography, and it ought to be simplified 
in our behalf, but it is kept in its present condition 
to satisfy one million people who like to have their 
literature in the old form. That looks to me to be 
rather selfish, and we keep the forms as they are 
while we have got one million people coming in here 
from foreign countries every year and they have got 
to struggle with this orthography of ours, and it keeps 
them back and damages their citizenship for years 
until they learn to spell the language, if they ever do 
learn. This is merely sentimental argument. 

321 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

People say it is the spelling of Chaucer and Spencer 
and Shakespeare and a lot of other people who do 
not know how to spell anyway, and it has been trans- 
mitted to us and we preserved it and wish to preserve 
it because of its ancient and hallowed associations. 

Now, I don't see that there is any real argument 
about that. If that argument is good, then it would 
be a good argument not to banish the flies and the 
cockroaches from hospitals because they have been 
there so long that the patients have got used to them 
and they feel a tenderness for them on account of 
the associations. 

•v, you see before you the wreck and ruin of 
what was once a young person like yourselves. I am 
exhausted by the heat of the day. I must take what 
is left of this wreck and run out of your presence and 
carry it away to my home and spread it out there and 
sleep the sleep of the righteous. There is nothing 
much left of me but my age and my righteousness, 
but I leave with you my love and my blessing, and 
may you always keep your youth. 



322 



COPYRIGHT 

When the present copyright law was under discussion, Mr. 
Clemens appeared in Washington, and sent Speaker Cannon the 
following letter: 

December 7, igo6. 

" Dear Uncle Joseph. — Please get me the thanks of Congress, 
not next week but right away. I*, is very necessary. Do accom- 
plish this for your affectionate old friend right away — by persua- 
sion if you can. by violence if you must, for it is imperatively 
necessary that I get on the floor of the House for two or three 
hours and talk to the members, man ty man, in behalf of sup- 
port, encouragement, and protection of one of the nation's most 
valuable assets and industries — its literature. I have arguments 
with me — also a barrel with liquid in it. 

"Give me a chance. Get me the thanks of Congress. Don't 
wait for others — there isn't time; furnish them to me yourself 
and let Congress ratify later. I have stave": r.d let 

Congress alone for seventy -one years and am entitled to the 
thanks. Congress knows this perfectly well, and I have long 
felt hurt that this quite proper and earned expression of grat- 
itude has been merely felt by the House and never publicly 
uttered. 

"Send me an order on the sergeant-at-arms quick. Y 
shall I come? 

::h love and a benediction, 

UOC Twain." 

Later in the da\ with Mr. 77 'swells . Edward Everett Hale. Thomas 
Nelson Page, and a number of other authors, Mr. Clemens afj 
before the copyright committee. The Mi Bill contemplated an 
author's copyright for the term of his life and l there- 

after, applying also for the benefit of artists, musicians, and others, 
authors did most of the talking. F. D. Millet made a speech 
• artists, and John Philip Sousa for the musicians. 
Mr Clemens was the last speaker of the day, and its chief feature. 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

I HAVE read this bill. At least I have read such 
portions as I could understand. Nobody but a 
practiced legislator can read the bill and thoroughly 
understand it, and I am not a practiced legislator. 

I am interested particularly and especially in the 
part of the bill which concerns my trade. I like that 
^sion of copyright life to the author's life and 
fifty years afterward. I think that would satisfy 
any reasonable author, because it would take care of 
his children. Let the grandchildren take care of 
themselves. That would take care of my daughters, 
and after that I am not particular. I shall then 
have long been out of this struggle, independent of 
it, indifferent to it. 

It isn't objectionable to me that all the trades and 
professions in the United States are protected by the 
bill. I like that. They are all important and worthy, 
and if we can take care of them under the Copyright 
law I should like to see it done. I should like to see 
oyster culture added, and anything else. 

I am aware that copyright must have a limit, 
because that is required by the Constitution of the 
Ur. tes, which sets aside the earlier Constitu- 

tion, which we call the decalogue. The decalogue 
says you shall not take away from any man his profit, 
.n't like to be obliged to use the harsh term. What 
the decalogue really says is, "Thou shalt not steal," 
but I am trying to use more polite language. 

The laws of England and America do take it away, 

elect but one class, the people who create the 

literature of the land. They always talk handsomely 

about the literature of the land, always what a fine, 

324 



COPYRIGHT 

great, monumental thing a great literature is, and in 
the midst of their enthusiasm they turn around and 
do what they can to discourage it. 

I know we must have a limit, but forty-two years 
is too much of a limit. I am quite unable to guess 
why there should be a limit at all to the possession 
of the product of a man's labor. There is no limit to 
real estate. 

Doctor Hale has suggested that a man might just 
as well, after discovering a coal mine and working it 
forty-two years, have the Government step in and 
take it away. 

What is the excuse? It is that the author who 
produced that book has had the profit of it long 
enough, and therefore the Government takes a profit 
which does not belong to it and generously gives it 
to the 88,000,000 of people. But it doesn't do any- 
thing of the kind. It merely takes the author's 
property, takes his children's bread, and gives the 
publisher double profit. He goes on pubHshing the 
book and as many of his confederates as choose to 
go into the conspiracy do so, and they rear families 
in affluence. 

And they continue the enjoyment of those ill-gotten 
gains generation after generation forever, for they 
never die. In a few weeks or months or years I shall 
be out of it, I hope under a monument. I hope I 
shall not be entirely forgotten, and I shall subscribe 
to the monument myself. But I shall not be caring 
what happens if there are fifty years left of my copy- 
right. My copyright produces annually a good deal 
more than I can use, but my children can use it. I 

325 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

can get along; I know a lot of trades. But that goes 
to my daughters, who can't get along as well as I can 
because I have carefully raised them as young ladies, 
who don't know anything and can't do anything. I 
hope Congress will extend to them the charity which 
they have failed to get from me. 

Why, if a man who is not even mad, but only 
strenuous — strenuous about race suicide — should 
come to me and try to get me to use my large politi- 
cal and ecclesiastical influence to get a bill passed by 
this Congress limiting families to twenty-two children 
by one mother, I should try to calm him down. I 
should reason with him. I should say to him, ' ' Leave 
it alone. Leave it alone and it will take care of itself. 
Only one couple a year in the United States can reach 
that limit. If they have reached that limit let them 
go right on. Let them have all the liberty they want. 
In restricting that family to twenty-two children 
you are merely conferring discomfort and unhappi- 
ness on one family per year in a nation of 88,000,000, 
which is not worth while." 

It is the very same with copyright. One author 
per year produces a book which can outlive the forty- 
two-year limit ; that's all. This nation can't produce 
two authors a year that can do it ; the thing is de- 
monstrably impossible. All that the limited copyright 
can do is to take the bread out of the mouths of the 
children of that one author per year. 

I made an estimate some years ago, when I appeared 
before a committee of the House of Lords, that we 
had published in this country since the Declaration 
of Independence 220,000 books. They have all gone. 

326 



COPYRIGHT 

They had all perished before they were ten years old. 
It is only one book in iooo that can outlive the forty- 
two-year limit. Therefore why put a limit at all? 
You might as well limit the family to twenty-two 
children. 

If you recall the Americans in the nineteenth cen- 
tury who wrote books that lived forty-two years you 
will have to begin with Cooper; you can follow with 
Washington Irving, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Edgar 
Allan Poe, and there you have to wait a long time. 
You come to Emerson, and you have to stand still 
and look further. You find Howells and T. B. Aldrich, 
and then your numbers begin to run pretty thin, and 
you question if you can name twenty persons in the 
United States who in a whole century have written 
books that would live forty-two years. Why, you 
could take them all and put them on one bench there 
[pointing]. Add the wives and children and you 
could put the result on two or three more benches. 

One hundred persons — that is the little, insignifi- 
cant crowd whose bread and butter is to be taken 
away for what purpose, for what profit to anybody? 
You turn these few books into the hands of the pirate 
and of the legitimate publisher, too, and they get the 
profit that should have gone to the wife and children. 

When I appeared before that committee of the 
House of Lords the chairman asked me what limit 
I would propose. I said, "Perpetuity." I could see 
some resentment in his manner, and he said the idea 
was illogical, for the reason that it has long ago been 
decided that there can be no such thing as property 
in ideas. I said there was property in ideas before 

327 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Queen Anne's time ; they had perpetual copyright. He 
said, ' ' What is a book ? A book is just built from base 
to roof on ideas, and there can be no property in it." 

I said I wished he could mention any kind of prop- 
erty in this planet that had a pecuniary value which 
was not derived from an idea or ideas. He said real 
estate. I put a supposititious case, a dozen English- 
men who travel through South Africa and camp out, 
and eleven of them see nothing at all ; they are men- 
tally blind. But there is one in that party who 
knows what this harbor means and what the lay of 
the land means. To him it means that some day a 
railway will go through here, and there on that harbor 
a great city will spring up. That is his idea. And he 
has another idea, which is to go and trade his last 
bottle of Scotch whiskey and his last horse-blanket 
to the principal chief of that region and buy a piece 
of land the size of Pennsylvania. That was the value 
of an idea that the day would come when the Cape 
to Cairo Railway would be built. 

Every improvement that is put upon the real 
estate is the result of an idea in somebody's head. 
The skyscraper is another idea; the railroad is 
another; the telephone and all those things are 
merely symbols which represent ideas. An andiron, 
a wash tub, is the result of an idea that did not exist 
before. 

So if, as that gentleman said, a book does consist 
solely of ideas, that is the best argument in the 
world that it is property, and should not be under 
any limitation at all. We don't ask for that. Fifty 
years from now we shall ask for it. 

328 



COPYRIGHT 

I hope the bill will pass without any deleterious 
amendments. I do seem to be extraordinary inter- 
ested in a whole lot of arts and things that I have 
got nothing to do with. It is a part of my generous, 
liberal nature; I can't help it. I feel the same sort 
of charity to everybody that was manifested by a 
gentleman who arrived at home at two o'clock in the 
morning from the club and was feeling so perfectly 
satisfied with life, so happy, and so comfortable, and 
there was his house weaving, weaving, weaving 
around. He watched his chance, and by and by 
when the steps got in his neighborhood he made a 
jump and climbed up and got on the portico. 

And the house went on weaving and weaving and 
weaving, but he watched the door, and when it came 
around his way he plunged through it. He got to 
the stairs, and when he went up on all fours the 
house was so unsteady that he could hardly make 
his way, but at last he got to the top and raised his 
foot and put it on the top step. But only the toe 
hitched on the step, and he rolled down and fetched 
up on the bottom step, with his arm around the 
newel-post, and he said : ' ' God pity the poor sailors 
out at sea on a night like this." 



329 



EDUCATING THEATRE-GOERS 

The children cf the Educational Alliance gave a performance of 
"The Prince and the Pauper" on the afternoon of April 14, 1907, 
in the theatre oj the Alliance Building in East Broadway. The 
audience was composed of nearly one thousand children of the 
neighborhood. Mr. Clemens, Mr. Eowells, and Mr. Daniel 
Frohman were among the invited guests. 

I HAVE not enjoyed a play so much, so heartily, 
and so thoroughly since I played Miles Hendon 
twenty -two years ago. I used to play in this piece 
("The Prince and the Pauper") with my children, 
who, twenty-two years ago, were little youngsters. 
One of my daughters was the Prince, and a neighbor's 
daughter was the Pauper, and the children of other 
neighbors played other parts. But we never gave 
such a performance as we have seen here to-day. It 
would have been beyond us. 

My late wife was the dramatist and stage-manager. 
Our coachman was the stage-manager, second in 
command. We used to play it in this simple way, 
and the one who used to bring in the crown on a 
cushion — he was a little f ellow then — is now a clergy- 
man way up high — six to seven feet high — and grow- 
ing higher all the time. We played it well, but not 
as well as you see it here, for you see it done by 
practically trained professionals. 

I was especially interested in the scene which we 
have just had, for Miles Hendon was my part. I 

33o 



EDUCATING THEATRE-GOERS 

did it as well as a person could who never remembered 
his part. The children all knew their parts. They 
did not mind if I did not know mine. I could thread 
a needle nearly as well as the player did whom you 
saw to-day. The words of my part I could supply on 
the spot. The words of the song that Miles Hendon 
sang here I did not catch. But I was great in that song. 

It was so fresh and enjoyable to make up a new 
set of words each time that I played the part. 

If I had a thousand citizens in front of me, I would 
like to give them information, but you children 
already know all that I have found out about the 
Educational Alliance. It's like a man living within 
thirty miles of Vesuvius and never knowing about 
a volcano. It's like living for a lifetime in Buffalo, 
eighteen miles from Niagara, and never going to see 
the Falls. So I lived in New York and knew nothing 
about the Educational Alliance. 

This theatre is a part of the work, and furnishes 
pure and clean plays. This theatre is an influence. 
Everything in the world is accomplished by influ- 
ences which train and educate. When you get to be 
seventy-one and a half, as I am, you may think that 
your education is over, but it isn't. 

If we had forty theatres of this kind in this city 
of four millions, how they would educate and elevate ! 
We should have a body of educated theatre-goers. 

It would make better citizens, honest citizens. 
One of the best gifts a millionaire could make would 
be a theatre here and a theatre there. It would 
make of you a real Republic, and bring about an 
educational level. 

33i 



THE EDUCATIONAL THEATRE 

On November 19, 1907, Mr. Clemens entertained a party of six 
or seven hundred of his friends, inviting them to witness the repre- 
sentation of "The Prince and the Pauper," played by boys and 
girls of the East Side at the Children's Educational Theatre, New 
York. 

JUST a word or two to let you know how deeply 
I appreciate the honor which the children who 
are the actors and frequenters of this cozy play- 
house have conferred upon me. They have asked 
me to be their ambassador to invite the hearts and 
brains of New York to come down here and see the 
work they are doing. I consider it a grand distinc- 
tion to be chosen as their intermediary. Between 
the children and myself there is an indissoluble bond 
of friendship. 

I am proud of this theatre and this performance — 
proud, because I am naturally vain — vain of myself 
and proud of the children. 

I wish we could reach more children at one time. 
I am glad to see that the children of the East Side 
have turned their backs on the Bowery theatres to 
come to see the pure entertainments presented 
here. 

This Children's Theatre is a great educational 
institution. I hope the time will come when it will 
be part of every public school in the land. I may 
be pardoned in being vain. I was born vain, I guess. 

332 



THE EDUCATIONAL THEATRE 

[At this point the stage-manager's whistle interrupted 
Mr. Clemens.] That settles it; there's my cue to 
stop. I was to talk until the whistle blew, but it 
blew before I got started. It takes me longer to get 
started than most people. I guess I was born at 
slow speed. My time is up, and if you'll keep quiet 
for two minutes I'll tell you something about Miss 
Herts, the woman who conceived this splendid idea. 
She is the originator and the creator of this theatre. 
Educationally, this institution coins the gold of young 
hearts into external good. 

[On April 23, 1908, he spoke again at the same place.] 

I will be strictly honest with you ; I am only fit to 
be honorary president. It is not to be expected that 
I should be useful as a real president. But when it 
comes to tilings ornamental I, of course, have no 
objection. There is, of course, no competition. I 
take it as a very real compliment because there are 
thousands of children who have had a part in this 
request. It is promotion in truth. 

It is a thing worth doing that is- done here. You 
have seen the children play. You saw how little 
Sally reformed her burglar. She could reform any 
burglar. She could reform me. This is the only 
school in which can be taught the highest and most 
difficult lessons — morals. In other schools the way 
of teaching morals is revolting. Here the children 
who come in thousands live through each part. 

They are terribly anxious for the villain to get his 
bullet, and that I take to be a humane and proper 
sentiment. They spend freely the ten cents that is 

333 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

not saved without a struggle. It comes out of the 
candy money, and the money that goes for chewing- 
gum and other necessaries of life. They make the 
sacrifice freely. This is the only school which they 
are sorry to leave. 



334 



BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND HATS 

Address at the Pilgrims' Club Luncheon. Given in Honor 

of Mr. Clemens at the Savoy Hotel, 

London, June 25, 1907 

Mr. Birrell, M.P., Chief Secretary for Ireland, in introducing 
Mr. Clemens said: "We all love Mark Twain, and we are here 
to tell him so. One more point — all the world knows it, and that 
is why it is dangerous to omit it — our guest is a distinguished 
citizen of the Great Republic beyond the seas. In America his 
Huckleberry Finn and his Tom Sawyer are what Robinson Crusoe 
and Tom Brown's School Days have been to us. They are racy 
of the soil. They are books to which it is impossible to place 
any period of termination. I will not speak of the classics — 
reminiscences of much evil in our early lives. We do not meet 
here to-day as critics with our appreciations and depreciations, 
our twopenny little prefaces or our forewords. I am not going 
to say what the world a thousand years hence will think of 
Mark Twain. Posterity will take care of itself, will read what 
it wants to read, will forget what it chooses to forget, and will 
pay no attention whatsoever to our critical mumblings and 
jumblings. Let us, therefore, be content to say to our friend and 
guest that we are here speaking for ourselves and for our children, 
to say what he has been to us. I remember in Liverpool, in 1 867, 
first buying the copy, which I still preserve, of the celebrated 
Jumping Frog. It had a few words of preface which reminded 
me then that our guest in those days was called 'the wild 
humorist of the Pacific slope,' and a few lines later down, 'the 
moralist of the Main.' That was some forty years ago. Here 
he is, still the humorist, still the moralist. His humor enlivens 
and enlightens his morality, and his morality is all the better 
for his humor. That is one of the reasons why we love him. I 
am not here to mention any book of his — that is a subject of 
dispute in my family circle, which is the best and which is the 
next best — but I must put in a word, lest I should not be true 

335 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

to myself — a terrible thing — for his Joan of Arc, a book of 
chivalry, of nobility, and of manly sincerity for which I take 
this opportunity of thanking him. But you can all drink this 
toast, each one of you with his own intention. You can get into 
it what meaning you like. Mark Twain is a man whom English 
and Americans do well to honor. He is the true consolidator of 
nations. His delightful humor is of the kind which dissipates 
and destroys national prejudices. His truth and his honor, his 
love of truth, and his love of honor, overflow all boundaries. He 
has made the world better by his presence. We rejoice to see 
him here. Long may he live to reap the plentiful harvest of 
hearty, honest human affection 1" 

PILGRIMS, I desire first to thank those under- 
graduates of Oxford. When a man has grown 
so old as I am, when he has reached the verge of 
seventy-two years, there is nothing that carries him 
back to the dreamland of his life, to his boyhood, like 
recognition of those young hearts up yonder. And 
so I thank them out of my heart. I desire to thank 
the Pilgrims of New York also for their kind notice 
and message which they have cabled over here. Mr. 
Birrell says he does not know how he got here. But 
he will be able to get away all right — [pointing at 
Mr. Birrell 's empty glass] he has not drunk any- 
thing since he came here. I am glad to know about 
those friends of his, Otway and Chatterton — fresh, 
new names to me. I am glad of the disposition he 
has shown to rescue them from the evils of poverty, 
and if they are still in London, I hope to have a talk 
with them. For a while I thought he was going to 
tell us the effect which my book had upon his growing 
manhood. I thought he was going to tell us how 
much that effect amounted to, and whether it really 
made him what he now is, but with the discretion 

336 



BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND HATS 

born of Parliamentary experience he dodged that, 
and we do not know now whether he read the book 
or not. He did that very neatly. I could not do it 
any better myself. 

My books have had effects, and very good ones, 
too, here and there, and some others not so good. 
There is no doubt about that. But I remember one 
monumental instance of it years and years ago. Pro- 
fessor Norton, of Harvard, was over here, and when 
he came back to Boston I went out with Howells to 
call on him. Norton was allied in some way by 
marriage with Darwin. Mr. Norton was very gentle 
in what he had to say, and almost delicate, and he 
said: "Mr. Clemens, I have been spending some 
time with Mr. Darwin in England, and I should like 
to tell you something connected with that visit. You 
were the object of it, and I myself would have been 
very proud of it, but you may not be proud of it. 
At any rate, I am going to tell you what it was, and 
to leave to you to regard it as you please. Mr. 
Darwin took me up to his bedroom and pointed out 
certain things there — pitcher plants, and so on, that 
he was measuring and watching from day to day — 
and he said: 'The chambermaid is permitted to do 
what she pleases in this room, but she must never 
touch those plants and never touch those books on 
that table by that candle. With those books I read 
myself to sleep every night.' Those were your own 
books." I said: "There is no question to my mind 
as to whether I should regard that as a compliment 
or not. I do regard it as a very great compliment 
and a very high honor that that great mind, labor- 

337 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

ing for the whole human race, should rest itself on 
my books. I am proud that he should read himself 
to sleep with them." 

Now, I could not keep that to myself — I was so 
proud of it. As soon as I got home to Hartford I 
called up my oldest friend — and dearest enemy on 
occasion — the Rev. Joseph Twichell, my pastor, and 
I told him about that, and, of course, he was full of 
interest and venom. Those people who get no com- 
pliments like that feel like that. He went off. He 
did not issue any applause of any kind, and I did 
not hear of that subject for some time. But when 
Mr. Darwin passed away from this life, and some 
time after Darwin's Life and Letters came out, the 
Rev. Mr. Twichell procured an early copy of that 
work and found something in it which he considered 
applied to me. He came over to my house — it was 
snowing, raining, sleeting, but that did not make any 
difference to Twichell. He produced the book, and 
turned over and over, until he came to a certain 
place, when he said: "Here, look at this letter from 
Mr. Darwin to Sir Joseph Hooker." What Mr. 
Darwin said — I give you the idea and not the very 
words — was this : I do not know whether I ought to 
have devoted my whole life to these drudgeries in 
natural history and the other sciences or not, for 
while I may have gained in one way I have lost in 
another. Once I had a fine perception and apprecia- 
tion of high literature, but in me that quality is 
atrophied. "That was the reason," said Mr. Twichell, 
"he was reading your books." 

Mr. Birrell has touched lightly — very lightly, but 
338 



BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND HATS 

in not an uncomplimentary way — on my position in 
this world as a moralist. I am glad to have that 
recognition, too, because I have suffered since I have 
been in this town ; in the first place, right away, when 
I came here, from a newsman going around with a 
great red, highly displayed placard in the place of an 
apron. He was selling newspapers, and there were 
two sentences on that placard which would have 
been all right if they had been punctuated ; but they 
ran those two sentences together without a comma 
or anything, and that would naturally create a wrong 
impression, because it said, "Mark Twain arrives 
Ascot Cup stolen." No doubt many a person was 
misled by those sentences joined together in that 
unkind way. I have no doubt my character has 
suffered from it.. I suppose I ought to defend my 
character, but how can I defend it ? I can say here 
and now — and anybody can see by my face that I 
am sincere, that I speak the truth — that I have never' 
seen that Cup. I have not got the Cup — I did not 
have a chance to get it. I have always had a good 
character in that way. I have hardly ever stolen 
anything, and if I did steal anything I had discretion 
enough to know about the value of it first. I do not 
steal things that are likely to get myself into trouble. 
I do not think any of us do that. I know we all take 
things — that is to be expected — but really, I have 
never taken anything, certainly in England, that 
amounts to any great thing. I do confess that when 
I was here seven years ago I stole a hat, but that did 
not amount to anything. It was not a good hat, 
and was only a clergyman's hat, anyway. 

339 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

I was at a luncheon party, and Archdeacon Wil- 
berforce was there also. I dare say he is Archdeacon 
now — he was a canon then — and he was serving in 
the Westminster battery, if that is the proper term — 
I do not know, as you mix military and ecclesiastical 
things together so much. He left the luncheon table 
before I did. He began this. I did steal his hat, but 
he began by taking mine. I make that interjection 
because I would not accuse Archdeacon Wilberforce 
of stealing my hat — I should not think of it. I con- 
fine that phrase to myself. He merely took my hat. 
And with good judgment, too — it was a better hat 
than his. He came out before the luncheon was over, 
and sorted the hats in the hall, and selected one 
which suited. It happened to be mine. He went 
off with it. When I came out by-and-by there was 
no hat there which would go on my head except his, 
which was left behind. My head was not the cus- 
tomary size just at that time. I had been receiving 
a good many very nice and complimentary atten- 
tions, and my head was a couple of sizes larger than 
usual, and his hat just suited me. The bumps and 
corners were all right intellectually. There were re- 
sults pleasing to me — possibly so to him. He found 
out whose hat it was, and wrote me saying it was pleas- 
ant that all the way home, whenever he met anybody 
his gravities, his solemnities, his deep thoughts, his elo- 
quent remarks were all snatched up by the people he 
met, and mistaken for brilliant humorisms. 

I had another experience. It was not unpleasing. 
I was received with a deference which was entirely 
foreign to my experience by everybody whom I met, 

340 



BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND HATS 

so that before I got home I had a much higher opinion 
of myself than I have ever had before or since. And 
there is in that very connection an incident which I 
remember at that old date which is rather melan- 
choly to me, because it shows how a person can 
deteriorate in a mere seven years. It is seven years 
ago. I have not that hat now. I was going down 
Pali-Mall, or some other of your big streets, and I 
recognized that that hat needed ironing. I went into 
a big shop and passed in my hat, and asked that it 
might be ironed. They were courteous, very cour- 
teous, even courtly. They brought that hat back to 
me presently very sleek and nice, and I asked how 
much there was to pay. They replied that they did 
not charge the clergy anything. I have cherished 
the delight of that moment from that day to this. 
It was the first thing I did the other day to go and 
hunt up that shop and hand in my hat to have it 
ironed. I said when it came back, "How much to 
pay?" They said, "Ninepence." In seven years I 
have acquired all that worldliness, and I am sorry 
to be back where I was seven years ago. 

But now I am chaffing and chaffing and chaffing 
here, and I hope you will forgive me for that; but 
when a man stands on the verge of seventy-two you 
know perfectly well that he never reached that place 
without knowing what this life is — heartbreaking 
bereavement. And so our reverence is for our dead. 
We do not forget them; but our duty is toward the 
living; and if we can be cheerful, cheerful in spirit, 
cheerful in speech and in hope, that is a benefit to 
those who are around us. 

34i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

My own history includes an incident which will 
always connect me with England in a pathetic way, 
for when I arrived here seven years ago with my 
wife and my daughter — we had gone around the 
globe lecturing to raise money to clear of! a debt — 
my wife and one of my daughters started across the 
ocean to bring to England our eldest daughter. She 
was twenty-four years of age and in the bloom of 
young womanhood, and we w T ere unsuspecting. When 
my wife and daughter — and my wife has passed from 
this life since — when they had reached mid- Atlantic, 
a cablegram — one of those heartbreaking cablegrams 
which we all in our days have to experience — was 
put into my hand. It stated that that daughter of 
ours had gone to her long sleep. And so, as I say, I 
cannot always be cheerful, and I cannot always be 
chaffing; I must sometimes lay the cap and bells 
aside, and recognize that I am of the human race 
like the rest, and must have my cares and griefs. 
And, therefore, I noticed what Mr. Birrell said — I 
was so glad to hear him say it — something that was 
in the nature of these verses here at the top of this 

menu. 

"He lit our life with shafts of sun 
And vanquished pain. 
Thus two great nations stand as one 
In honoring Twain." 

I am very glad to have those verses. I am very 
glad and very grateful for what Mr. Birrell said in 
that connection. I have received since I have been 
here, in this one week, hundreds of letters from all 
conditions of people in England — men, women, and 

342 



BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND HATS 

children — and there is in them compliment, praise, 
and, above all and better than all, there is in them a 
note of affection. Praise is well, compliment is well, 
but affection — that is the last and final and most 
precious reward that any man can win, whether by 
character or achievement, and I am very grateful to 
have that reward. All these letters make me feel 
that here in England — as in America — when I stand 
under the English flag, I am not a stranger. I am 
not an alien, but at home. 



343 



INDEPENDENCE DAY 

The American Society in London gave a banquet, July 4, 1907, 
at the Hotel Cecil. Ambassador Choate called on Mr. Clemens to 
respond to the toast " The Day We Celebrate. 1 * 

MR. CHAIRMAN, MY LORD, AND GEN- 
TLEMEN, — Once more it happens, as it 
has happened so often since I arrived in England a 
week or two ago, that instead of celebrating the 
Fourth of July properly as has been indicated, I 
have to first take care of my personal character. 

Sir Mortimer Durand still remains unconvinced. 
Well, I tried to convince these people from the begin- 
ning that I did not take the Ascot Cup; and as I 
have failed to convince anybody that I did not take 
the cup, I might as well confess I did take it and be 
done with it. I don't see why this uncharitable feel- 
ing should follow me everywhere, and why I should 
have that crime thrown up to me on all occasions. 
The tears that I have wept over it ought to have 
created a different feeling than this — and, besides, I 
don't think it is very right or fair that, considering 
England has been trying to take a cup of ours for 
forty years — I don't see why they should take so 
much trouble when I tried to go into the business 
myself. 

Sir Mortimer Durand, too, has had trouble, through 
going to a dinner here, and he has told you what he 

344 



INDEPENDENCE DAY 

suffered in consequence. But what did he suffer? 
He only missed his train and one night of discomfort, 
and he remembers it to this day. Oh! if you could 
only think what I have suffered from a similar cir- 
cumstance. Two or three years ago, in New York, 
with that Society there which is made up of people 
from all British Colonies, and from Great Britain 
generally, who were educated in British colleges and 
British schools, I was on hand to respond to a toast 
of some kind or other, and I did then what I have 
been in the habit of doing, from a selfish motive, for 
a long time, and that is, I got myself placed No. 3 
in the list of speakers — then you get home early. 

I had to go five miles upriver, and had to catch 
a particular train or not get there. But see the 
magnanimity which is born in me, which I have cul- 
tivated all my life. A very famous and very great 
British clergyman came to me presently, and he said : 
1 ' I am away down in the list ; I have got to catch a 
certain train this Saturday night; if I don't catch 
that train I shall be carried beyond midnight and 
break the Sabbath. Won't you change places with 
me?" I said: "Certainly I will." I did it at once. 
Now, see what happened. Talk about Sir Mortimer 
Durand's sufferings for a single night ! I have suffered 
ever since because I saved that gentleman from 
breaking the Sabbath — yes, saved him. I took his 
place, but I lost my train, and it was I who broke 
the Sabbath. Up to that time I never had broken 
the Sabbath in my life, and from that day to this I 
never have kept it. 

Oh! I am learning much here to-night. I find I 
345 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

didn't know anything about the American Society — 
that is, I didn't know its chief virtue. I didn't know 
its chief virtue until his Excellency our Ambassador 
revealed it — I may say, exposed it. I was intending 
to go home on the 13 th of this month, but I look upon 
that in a different light now. I am going to stay here 
until the American Society pays my passage. 

Our Ambassador has spoken of our Fourth of July 
and the noise it makes. We have got a double Fourth 
of July — a daylight Fourth and a midnight Fourth. 
During the day in America, as our Ambassador has 
indicated, we keep the Fourth of July properly in a 
reverent spirit. We devote it to teaching our chil- 
dren patriotic things — reverence for the Declaration 
of Independence. We honor the day all through the 
daylight hours, and when night comes we dishonor 
it. Presently — before long — they are getting nearly 
ready to begin now — on the Atlantic coast, when 
night shuts down, that pandemonium will begin, and 
there will be noise, and noise, and noise — all night 
long — and there will be more than noise — there will 
be people crippled, there will be people killed, there 
will be people who will lose their eyes, and all through 
that permission which we give to irresponsible boys 
to play with firearms and fire-crackers, and all sorts 
of dangerous things. We turn that Fourth of July, 
alas! over to rowdies to drink and get drunk and 
make the night hideous, and we cripple and kill 
more people than you would imagine. 

We probably began to celebrate our Fourth-of- 
July night in that way one hundred and twenty-five 
years ago, and on every Fourth-of-July night since 

346 



INDEPENDENCE DAY 

these horrors have grown and grown, until now, in 
our five thousand towns of America, somebody gets 
killed or crippled on every Fourth-of-July night, 
besides those cases of sick persons whom we never 
hear of, who die as the result of the noise or the 
shock. They cripple and kill more people on the 
Fourth of July in America than they kill and cripple 
in our wars nowadays, and there are no pensions for 
these folk. And, too, we burn houses. Really we 
destroy more property on every Fourth-of-July night 
than the whole of the United States was worth one 
hundred and twenty-five years ago. Why, our 
Fourth of July is our day of mourning, our day of 
sorrow ! Fifty thousand people who have lost friends, 
or who have had friends crippled, receive that Fourth 
of July, when it comes, as a day of mourning for the 
losses they have sustained in their families. 

I have suffered in that way myself. I have had 
relatives killed in that way. One was in Chicago 
years ago — an uncle of mine, just as good an uncle 
as I have ever had, and I had lots of them — yes, 
uncles to burn, uncles to spare. This poor uncle, full 
of patriotism, opened his mouth to hurrah, and a 
rocket went down his throat. Before that man could 
ask for a drink of water to quench that thing, it 
blew up and scattered him all over the forty-five 
States, and — really, now, this is true — I know about 
it myself — twenty-four hours after that it was rain- 
ing buttons, recognizable as his, on the Atlantic sea- 
board. A person cannot have a disaster like that 
and be entirely cheerful the rest of his life. I had 
another uncle, on an entirely different Fourth of 

347 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

July, who was blown up that way, and really it 
trimmed him as it would a tree. He had hardly a 
limb left on him anywhere. All we have left now is 
an expurgated edition of that uncle. But never mind 
about these things; they are merely passing matters. 
Don't let me make you sad. 

Sir Mortimer Durand said that you, the English 
people, gave up your colonies over there — got tired 
of them — and did it with reluctance. Now I wish 
you just to consider that he was right about that, 
and that he had his reasons for saying that England 
did not look upon our Revolution as a foreign war, 
but as a civil war fought by Englishmen. 

Our Fourth of July which we honor so much, and 
which we love so much, and which we take so much 
pride in, is an English institution, not an American 
one, and it comes of a great ancestry. The first 
Fourth of July in that noble genealogy dates back 
seven centuries lacking eight years. That is the day 
of the Great Charter — the Magna Charta — which 
was born at Runnymede in the next to the last year 
of King John, and portions of the liberties secured 
thus by those hardy Barons from that reluctant 
King John are a part of our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, of our Fourth of July, of our American 
liberties. And the second of those Fourths of July 
was not born until four centuries later, in Charles 
the First's time, in the Bill of Rights, and that is 
ours, that is part of our liberties. The next one was 
still English, in New England, where they established 
that principle which remains with us to this day, and 
will continue to remain with us — no taxation with- 

348 



INDEPENDENCE DAY 

out representation. That is always going to stand, 
and that the English Colonies in New England 
gave us. 

The Fourth of July, and the one which you are 
celebrating now, born in Philadelphia on the 4th of 
July, 1776 — that is English, too. It is not American. 
Those were English colonists, subjects of King 
George III, Englishmen at heart, who protested 
against the oppressions of the Home Government. 
Though they proposed to cure those oppressions and 
remove them, still remaining under the Crown, they 
were not intending a revolution. The revolution 
was brought about by circumstances which they 
could not control. The Declaration of Independence 
was written by a British subject, every name signed 
to it was the name of a British subject. There was 
not the name of a single American attached to the 
Declaration of Independence — in fact, there was not 
an American in the country in that day except the 
Indians out on the plains. They were Englishmen, 
all Englishmen — Americans did not begin until seven 
years later, when that Fourth of July had become 
seven years old, and then the American Republic 
was established. Since then there have been Amer- 
icans. So you see what we owe to England in the 
matter of liberties. 

We have, however, one Fourth of July which is 
absolutely our own, and that is that great proclama- 
tion issued forty years ago by that great American to 
whom Sir Mortimer Durand paid that just and beau- 
tiful tribute — Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's procla- 
mation, which not only set the black slaves free. h\ic 

319 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

set the white man free also. The owner was set free 
from the burden and offence, that sad condition of 
things where he was in so many instances a master 
and owner of slaves when he did not want to be. 
That proclamation set them all free. But even in 
this matter England suggested it, for England had 
set her slaves free thirty years before, and we fol- 
lowed her example. We always followed her example, 
whether it was good or bad. 

And it was an English judge that issued that other 
great proclamation, and established that great prin- 
ciple that, when a slave, let him belong to whom he 
may, and let him come whence he may, sets his foot 
upon English soil, his fetters by that act fall away 
and he is a free man before the world. We followed 
the example of 1833, and we freed our slaves as I 
have said. 

It is true, then, that all our Fourths of July, and 
we have five of them, England gave to us, except 
that one that I have mentioned — the Emancipation 
Proclamation, and, lest we forget, let us all remember 
that we owe these things to England. Let us be able 
to say to Old England, this great-hearted, venerable 
old mother of the race, you gave us our Fourths of 
July that we love and that we honor and revere, you 
gave us the Declaration of Independence, which is 
the Charter of our rights, you, the venerable Mother 
of Liberties, the Protector of Anglo-Saxon Freedom 
• — you gave us these things, and we do most honestly 
thank you for them. 



35o 



THE SAVAGE CLUB DINNER 

A portrait of Mr. Clemens, signed by all the members of the club 
attending the dinner, was presented to him, July 6, 1907, and in 
submitting the toast "The Health of Mark Twain" Mr. J. Scott 
Stokes recalled the fact that he had read parts of Doctor Clemens' s 
works to Harold Frederic during Frederic's last illness. 

MR. CHAIRMAN AND FELLOW-SAVAGES, 
— I am very glad indeed to have that portrait. 
I think it is the best one that I have ever had, and 
there have been opportunities before to get a good 
photograph. I have sat to photographers twenty- 
two times to-day. Those sittings added to those 
that have preceded them since I have been in Europe 
— if we average at that rate — must have numbered 
one hundred to two hundred sittings. Out of all 
those there ought to be some good photographs. 
This is the best I have had, and I am glad to have 
your honored names on it. I did not know Harold 
Frederic personally, but I have heard a great deal 
about him, and nothing that was not pleasant and 
nothing except such things as lead a man to honor 
another man and to love him. I consider that it is 
a misfortune of mine that I have never had the luck 
to meet him, and if any book of mine read to him in 
his last hours made those hours easier for him and 
more comfortable, I am very glad and proud of that, 
I call to mind such a case many years ago of an 
English authoress, well known in her day, who wrote 

35i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

such beautiful child tales, touching and lovely in 
every possible way. In a little biographical sketch 
of her I found that her last hours were spent partly 
in reading a book of mine, until she was no longer 
able to read. That has always remained in my mind, 
and I have always cherished it as one of the good 
things of my life. I had read what she had written, 
and had loved her for what she had done. 

Stanley apparently carried a book of mine feloni- 
ously away to Africa, and I have not a doubt that 
it had a noble and uplifting influence there in the 
wilds of Africa — because on his previous journeys 
he never carried anything to read except Shakespeare 
and the Bible. I did not know of that circumstance. 
I did not know that he had carried a book of mine. 
I only noticed that when he came back he was a 
reformed man. I knew Stanley very well in those 
old days. Stanley was the first man who ever 
reported a lecture of mine, and that was in St. Louis. 
He did it so thoroughly that I could never use 
that lecture in St. Louis again. I met Stanley here 
when he came back from that first expedition of his 
which closed with the finding of Livingstone. You 
remember how he would break out at the meetings 
of the British Association, and find fault with what 
people said, because Stanley had notions of his own, 
and could not contain them. They had to come out 
or break him up — and so he would go round and 
address geographical societies. He was always on the 
war-path in those days, and people always had to 
have Stanley contradicting their geography for them 
and improving it. But he always came back and sat 

352 



THE SAVAGE CLUB DINNER 

drinking beer with me in the hotel up to two in the 
morning, and he was then one of the most civilized 
human beings that ever was. 

I saw in a newspaper this evening a reference to an 
interview which appeared in one of the papers the 
other day, in which the interviewer said that I 
characterized Mr. Birrell's speech the other day at 
the Pilgrims' Club as "bully." Now, if you will 
excuse me, I never use slang to an interviewer or 
anybody else. That distresses me. Whatever I said 
about Mr. Birrell's speech was said in English, as 
good English as anybody uses. If I could not describe 
Mr. Birrell's delightful speech without using slang I 
would not describe it at all. I would close my mouth 
and keep it closed, much as it would discomfort me. 

Now that comes of interviewing a man in the first 
person, which is an altogether wrong way to inter- 
view him. It is entirely wrong because none of you, 
I, or anybody else, could interview a man — could 
listen to a man talking any length of time and then 
go off and reproduce that talk in the first person. 
It can't be done. What results is merely that the 
interviewer gives the substance of what is said and 
puts it in his own language and puts it in your 
mouth. It will always be either better language than 
you use or worse, and in my case it is always worse. 
I have a great respect for the English language. I 
am one of its supporters, its promoters, its elevators. 
I don't degrade it. A slip of the tongue would be 
the most that you would get from me. I have always 
tried hard and faithfully to improve my English and 
never to degrade it. I always try to use the best 

353 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

English to describe what I think and what I feel, or 
what I don't feel and what I don't think. 

I am not one of those who in expressing opinions 
confine themselves to facts. I don't know anything 
that mars good literature so completely as too much 
truth. Facts contain a deal of poetry, but you can't 
use too many of them without damaging your litera- 
ture. I love all literature, and as long as I am a 
doctor of literature — I have suggested to you for 
twenty years I have been diligently trying to improve 
my own literature, and now, by virtue of the Univer- 
sity of Oxford, I mean to doctor everybody else's. 

Now I think I ought to apologize for my clothes. 
At home I venture things that I am not permitted 
by my family to venture in foreign parts. I was 
instructed before I left home and ordered to refrain 
from white clothes in England. I meant to keep 
that command fair and clean, and I would have done 
it if I had been in the habit of obeying instructions, 
but I can't invent a new process in life right away. 
I have not had white clothes on since I crossed the 
ocean until now. 

In these three or four weeks I have grown so tired 
of gray and black that you have earned my gratitude 
in permitting me to come as I have. I wear white 
clothes in the depth of winter in my home, but I 
don't go out in the streets in them. I don't go out 
to attract too much attention. I like to attract 
some, and always I would like to be dressed so that 
I may be more conspicuous than anybody else. 

If I had been an ancient Briton, I would not have 
contented myself with blue paint, but I would have 

354 



THE SAVAGE CLUB DINNER 

bankrupted the rainbow. I so enjoy gay clothes in 
which women clothe themselves that it always grieves 
me when I go to the opera to see that, while women 
look like a flower-bed, the men are a few gray stumps 
among them in their black evening dress. These are 
two or three reasons why I wish to wear white clothes. 
When I find myself in assemblies like this, with every- 
body in black clothes, I know I possess something 
that is superior to everybody else's. Clothes are 
never clean. You don't know whether they are clean 
or not, because you can't see. 

Here or anywhere you must scour your head every 
two or three days or it is full of grit. Your clothes 
must collect just as much dirt as your hair. If you 
wear white clothes you are clean, and your cleaning 
bill gets so heavy that you have to take care. I am 
proud to say that I can wear a white suit of clothes 
without a blemish for three days. If you need any 
further instruction in the matter of clothes I shall be 
glad to give it to you. I hope I have convinced some 
of you that it is just as well to wear white clothes as 
any other kind. I do not want to boast. I only 
want to make you understand that you are not clean. 

As to age, the fact that I am nearly seventy-two 
years old does not clearly indicate how old I am, 
because part of every day — it is with me as with 
you — you try to describe your age, and you cannot 
do it. Sometimes you are only fifteen; sometimes 
you are twenty-five. It is very seldom in a day that 
I am seventy-two years old. I am older now some- 
times than I was when I used to rob orchards; a 
thing which I would not do to-day — if the orchards 

355 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

were watched. I am so glad to be here to-night. I 
am so glad to renew with the Savages that now 
ancient time when I first sat with a company of this 
club in London in 1872. That is a long time ago. 
But I did stay with the Savages a night in London 
long ago, and as I had come into a very strange land, 
and was with friends, as I could see, that has always 
remained in my mind as a peculiarly blessed eve- 
ning, since it brought me into contact with men of 
my own kind and my own feelings. 

I am glad to be here, and to see you all again, 
because it is very likely that I shall not see you 
again. It is easier than I thought to come across 
the Atlantic. I have been received, as you know, in 
the most delightfully generous way in England ever 
since I came here. It keeps me choked up all the 
time. Everybody is so generous, and they do seem 
to give you such a hearty welcome. Nobody in the 
world can appreciate it higher than I do. It did not 
wait till I got to London, but when I came ashore 
at Tilbury the stevedores on the dock raised the first 
welcome — a good and hearty welcome from the men 
who do the heavy labor in the world, and save you 
and me having to do it. They are the men who with 
their hands build empires and make them prosper. 
It is because of them that the others are wealthy 
and can live in luxury. They received me with a 
"Hurrah!" that went to my heart. They are the 
men that build civilization, and without them no civi- 
lization can be built. So I came first to the authors and 
creators of civilization, and I blessedly end this happy 
meeting with the Savages who destroy it. 

356 



CHARITY AND ACTORS 

Address at the Actors' Fund Fair in the Metropolitan 
Opera House, New York, May 6, 1907 

Mr. Clemens, in his white suit, formally declared the fair open. 
Mr. Daniel Frohman, in introducing Mr. Clemens, said: 

"We intend to make this a banner week in the history of the 
Fund, which takes an interest in every one on the stage, be he 
actor, singer, dancer, or workman. We have spent more than 
$40,000 during the past year. Charity covers a multitude of 
sins, but it also reveals a multitude of virtues. At the opening 
of the former fair we had the assistance of Edwin Booth and 
Joseph Jefferson. In their place we have to-day that American 
institution and apostle of wide humanity — Mark Twain." 

AS Mr. Frohman has said, charity reveals a mul- 
XjL titude of virtues. This is true, and it is to be 
proved here before the week is over. Mr. Frohman 
has told you something of the object and something 
of the character of the work. He told me he would 
do this — and he has kept his word! I had expected 
to hear of it through the newspapers. I wouldn't 
trust anything between Frohman and the newspapers 
— except when it' s a case of charity ! 

You should all remember that the actor has been 
your benefactor many and many a year. When you 
have been weary and downcast he has lifted your 
heart out of gloom and given you a fresh impulse. 
You are all under obligation to him. This is your 
opportunity to be his benefactor — to help provide 

357 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

for him in his old age and when he suffers from 
infirmities. 

At this fair no one is to be persecuted to buy. If 
you offer a twenty-dollar bill in payment for a pur- 
chase of $i you will receive $19 in change. There 
is to be no robbery here. There is to be no creed 
here — no religion except charity. We want to raise 
$250,000 — and that is a great task to attempt. 

The President has set the fair in motion by press- 
ing the button in Washington. Now your good 
wishes are to be transmuted into cash. 

By virtue of the authority in me vested I declare 
the fair open. I call the game. Let the transmuting 
begin ! 



358 



FULTON DAY, JAMESTOWN 

Address Delivered September 23, 1907 

Lieutenant-Governor Ellyson, of Virginia, in introducing Mr. 
Clemens, said: 

"The people have come here to bring a tribute of affectionate 
recollection for the man who has contributed so much to the 
progress of the world and the happiness of mankind." As Mr. 
Clemens came down to the platform the applause became louder 
and louder, until Mr. Clemens held out his hand for silence. It 
was a great triumph, and it was almost a minute after the 
applause ceased before Mr. Clemens could speak. He attempted 
it once, and when the audience noticed his emotion, it cheered 
again loudly. 

IADIES AND GENTLEMEN,— I am but human, 
^j and when you give me a reception like that I 
am obliged to wait a little while I get my voice. 
When you appeal to my head, I don't feel it; but 
when you appeal to my heart, I do feel it. 

We are here to celebrate one of the greatest events 
of American history, and not only in American his- 
tory, but in the world's history. 

Indeed it was — the application of steam by Robert 
Fulton. 

It was a world event — there are not many of them. 
It is peculiarly an American event, that is true, but 
the influence was very broad in effect. We should 
regard this day as a very great American holiday. 
We have not many that are exclusively American 

359 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

holidays. We have the Fourth of July, which we 
regard as an American holiday, but it is nothing of 
the kind. I am waiting for a dissenting voice. All 
great efforts that led up to the Fourth of July were 
made, not by Americans, but by English residents of 
America, subjects of the King of England. 

They fought all the fighting that was done, they 
shed and spilt all the blood that was spilt, in securing 
to us the invaluable liberties which are incorporated 
in the Declaration of Independence; but they were 
not Americans. They signed the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence; no American's name is signed to that 
document at all. There never was an American such 
as you and I are until the Revolution, when it had 
all been fought out and liberty secured, after the 
adoption of the Constitution, and the recognition of 
the Independence of America by all powers. 

While we revere the Fourth of July — and let us 
always revere it, and the liberties it conferred upon 
us — yet it was not an American event, a great Amer- 
ican day. 

It was an American who applied that steam suc- 
cessfully. There are not a great many world events, 
and we have our full share. The telegraph, telephone, 
and the application of steam to navigation — these are 
great American events. 

To-day I have been requested, or I have requested 
myself, not to confine myself to furnishing you with 
information, but to remind you of things, and to 
introduce one of the nation's celebrants. 

Admiral Harrington here is going to tell you all 
that I have left untold. I am going to tell you all 

360 



FULTON DAY, JAMESTOWN 

that I know, and then he will follow up with such 
rags and remnants as he can find, and tell you what 
he knows. 

No doubt you have heard a great deal about 
Robert Fulton and the influences that have grown 
from his invention, but the little steamboat is suffer- 
ing neglect. 

You probably do not know a great deal about that 
boat. It was the most important steamboat in the 
world. I was there and saw it. Admiral Harrington 
was there at the time. It need not surprise you, for 
he is not as old as he looks. That little boat was 
interesting in every way. The size of it. The boat 
was one [consults Admiral], he said ten feet long. 
The breadth of that boat [consults Admiral], two 
hundred feet. You see, the first and most important 
detail is the length, then the breadth, and then the 
depth; the depth of that boat was [consults again] — 
the Admiral says it was a flat boat. Then her ton- 
nage — you know nothing about a boat until you 
know two more things: her speed and her tonnage. 
We know the speed she made. She made four miles 
— and sometimes five miles. It was on her initial 
trip, on August n, 1807, that she made her initial 
trip, when she went from [consults Admiral] Jersey 
City — to Chicago. That's right. She went by way 
of Albany. Now comes the tonnage of that boat. 
Tonnage of a boat means the amount of displace- 
ment; displacement means the amount of water a 
vessel can shove in a day. The tonnage of man is 
estimated by the amount of whiskey he can displace 
in a day. 

361 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Robert Fulton named the Clermont in honor of his 
bride, that is, Clermont was the name of the county 
seat. 

I feel that it surprises you that I know so much. 
In my remarks of welcome of Admiral Harrington I 
am not going to give him compliments. Compli- 
ments always embarrass a man. You do not know 
anything to say. It does not inspire you with words. 
There is nothing you can say in answer to a compli- 
ment. I have been complimented myself a great 
many times, and they always embarrass me — I always 
feel that they have not said enough. 

The Admiral and myself have held public office, 
and were associated together a great deal in a friendly 
way in the time of Pocahontas. That incident where 
Pocahontas saves the life of Smith from her father, 
Powhatan's club, was gotten up by the Admiral and 
myself to advertise Jamestown. 

At that time the Admiral and myself did not have 
the facilities of advertising that you have. 

I have known Admiral Harrington in all kinds of 
situations — in public service, on the platform, and 
in the chain gang now and then — but it was a mis- 
take. A case of mistaken identity. I do not think 
it is at all a necessity to tell you Admiral Harring- 
ton's public history. You know that it is in the his- 
tories. I am not here to tell you anything about his 
public life, but to expose his private life. 

I am something of a poet. When the great poet 
laureate, Tennyson, died, and I found that the place 
was open, I tried to get it — but I did not get it. Any- 
body can write the first line of a poem, but it is a 

362 



FULTON DAY, JAMESTOWN 

very difficult task to make the second line rhyme with 
the first. When I was down in Australia there were 
two towns named Johnswood and Par-am. I made 
this rhyme: 

"The people of Johnswood are pious and good; 
The people of Par-am they don't care a ." 

I do not want to compliment Admiral Harrington, 
but as long as such men as he devote their lives to the 
public service the credit of the country will never 
cease. I will say that the same high qualities, the 
same moral and intellectual attainments, the same 
graciousness of manner, of conduct, of observation, 
and expression have caused Admiral Harrington to 
be mistaken for me — and I have been mistaken for 
him. 

A mutual compliment can go no further, and I now 
have the honor and privilege of introducing to you 
Admiral Harrington. 



363 



THE ALPHABET AND SIMPLIFIED 
SPELLING 

Address at the Dinner Given to Mr. Carnegie at the 

Dedication of the New York Engineers' 

Club, December 9, 1907 

Mr. Clemens was introduced by the president of the club, who, 
quoting from the Mark Twain autobiography, recalled the day 
when the distinguished writer came to New York with three dollars 
in small change in his pockets and a ten-dollar bill sewed in his 
clothes. 

IT seems to me that I was around here in the 
neighborhood of the Public Library about fifty 
or sixty years ago.' I don't deny the circumstances, 
although I don't see how you got it out of my auto- 
biography, which was not to be printed until I am 
dead, unless I'm dead now. I had that three dollars 
in change, and I remember well the ten dollars 
which was sewed in my coat. I have prospered 
since. Now I have plenty of money and a disposi- 
tion to squander it, but I can't. One of those trust 
companies is taking care of it. 

Now, as this is probably the last time that I shall 
be out after nightfall this winter, I must say that I 
have come here with a mission, and I would make 
my errand of value. 

Many compliments have been paid to Mr. Carnegie 
to-night. I was expecting them. They are very 
gratifying to me. 

364 



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MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

us an alphabet that we wouldn't have to spell with 
at all. Why, there isn't a man who doesn't have to 
throw out about fifteen hundred words a day when 
he writes his letters because he can't spell them! It's 
like trying to do a St. Vitus's dance with wooden 
legs. 

Now I'll bet there isn't a man here who can spell 
" pterodactyl," not even the prisoner at the bar. 
I'd like to hear him try once — but not in public, for 
it's too near Sunday, when all extravagant histrionic 
entertainments are barred. I'd like to hear him try 
in private, and when he got through trying to spell 
"pterodactyl" you wouldn't know whether it was a 
fish or a beast or a bird, and whether it flew on its 
legs or walked with its wings. The chances are that 
he would give it tusks and make it lay eggs. 

Let's get Mr. Carnegie to reform the alphabet, 
and we'll pray for him — if he'll take the risk. 

If we had adequate, competent vowels, with a 
system of accents, giving to each vowel its own soul 
and value, so every shade of that vowel would be 
shown in its accent, there is not a word in any tongue 
that we could not spell accurately. That would be 
competent, adequate, simplified spelling, in contrast 
to the clipping, the hair punching, the carbuncles, 
and the cancers which go by the name of simplified 
spelling. If I ask you what b-o-w spells you can't 
tell me unless you know which b-o-w I mean, and it 
is the same with r-o-w, and the whole family of words 
which were born out of lawful wedlock and don't 
know their own origin. 

Now, if we had an alphabet that was adequate 
366 



ALPHABET AND SIMPLIFIED SPELLING 

and competent, instead of inadequate and incompe- 
tent, things would be different. Spelling reform has 
only made it bald-headed and unsightly. There is the 
whole tribe of them, "row" and "read" and "lead" 
— a whole family who don't know who they are. I 
ask you to pronounce s-o-w, and you ask me what 
kind of a one. 

If we had a sane, determinate alphabet, instead of 
a hospital of comminuted eunuchs, you would know 
whether one referred to the act of a man casting the 
seed over the ploughed land or whether one wished 
to recall the lady hog and the future ham. 

It's a poor alphabet. I appoint Mr. Carnegie to 
get after it, and leave simplified spelling alone. Sim- 
plified spelling brought about sun spots, the San 
Francisco earthquake, and the recent business depres- 
sion, which we would never have had if spelling had 
been left all alone. 

Now, I hope I have soothed Mr. Carnegie and 
made him more comfortable than he would have 
been had he received only compliment after compli- 
ment, and I wish to say to him that simplified spell- 
ing is all right, but, like chastity, you can carry it 
too far. 



367 



THE LAST LOTOS CLUB SPEECH 

Delivered January ii, 1908 

In introducing Mr. Clemens, Frank B. Lawrence, the President 
of the Lotos Club, recalled the fact that the first club dinner in the 
present club-house, some fourteen years ago, was in honor of 

Mark Twain. 

I WISH to begin this time at the beginning, lest 
I forget it altogether; that is to say, I wish to 
thank you for this welcome that you are giving, and 
the welcome which you gave me seven years ago, 
and which I forgot to thank you for at that time. I 
also wish to thank you for the welcome you gave me 
fourteen years ago, which I also forgot to thank you 
for at the time. 

I hope you will continue this custom to give me a 
dinner every seven years before I join the hosts in 
the other world — I do not know which world. 

Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Porter have paid me many 
compliments. It is very difficult to take compliments. 
I do not care whether you deserve the compliments 
or not, it is just as difficult to take them. The other 
night I was at the Engineers' Club, and enjoyed the 
sufferings of Mr. Carnegie. They were compliment- 
ing him there ; there it was all compliments, and none 
of them deserved. They say that you cannot live by 
bread alone, but I can live on compliments. 

I do not make any pretence that I dislike compli- 
368 



THE LAST LOTOS CLUB SPEECH 

merits. The stronger the better, and I can manage 
to digest them. I think I have lost so much by not 
making a collection of compliments, to put them 
away and take them out again once in a while. 
When in England I said that I would start to collect 
compliments, and I began there and I have brought 
some of them along. 

The first one of these lies — I wrote them down and 
preserved them — I think they are mighty good and 
extremely just. It is one of Hamilton Mabie's com- 
pliments. He said that La Salle was the first one to 
make a voyage of the Mississippi, but Mark Twain 
was the first to chart, light, and navigate it for the 
whole world. 

If that had been published at the time that I issued 
that book [Life on the Mississippi], it would have 
been money in my pocket. I tell you, it is a talent 
by itself to pay compliments gracefully and have 
them ring true. It's an art by itself. 

Here is another compliment by Albert Bigelow 
Paine, my biographer. He is writing four octavo 
volumes about me, and he has been at my elbow two 
and one-half years. 

I just suppose that he does not know me, but says 
he knows me. He says "Mark Twain is not merely 
a great writer, a great philosopher, a great man; he 
is the supreme expression of the human being, with 
every human strength — and weakness." What a 
talent for compression ! It takes a genius in compres- 
sion to compact as many facts as that. 

W.D.Howells spoke of me as first of Hartford, and ul- 
timately of the solar system, not to say of the universe. 

369 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

You know how modest Howells is. If it can be 
proved that my fame reaches to Neptune and Saturn, 
that will satisfy even me. You know how modest 
and retiring Howells seems to be, but deep down he 
is as vain as I am. 

Mr. Howells had been granted a degree at Oxford, 
whose gown was red. He had been invited to an 
exercise at Columbia, and upon inquiry had been 
told that it was usual to wear the black gown. Later 
he had found that three other men wore bright gowns, 
and he had lamented that he had been one of the 
black mass, and not a red torch. 

Edison wrote: "The average American loves his 
family. If he has any love left over for some other 
person, he generally selects Mark Twain." 

Now here's the compliment of a little Montana 
girl which came to me indirectly. She was in a room 
in which there was a large photograph of me. After 
gazing at it steadily for a time, she said : 

"We've got a John the Baptist like that." She 
also said: "Only ours has more trimmings." 

I suppose she meant the halo. Now here is a gold 
miner's compliment. It is forty-two years old. It 
was my introduction to an audience to which I lec- 
tured in a log school-house. There were no ladies 
there. I wasn't famous then. They didn't know 
me. Only the miners were there, with their breeches 
tucked into their boot-tops and with clay all over 
them. They wanted some one to introduce me, and 
they selected a miner, who protested, saying: 

"I don't know anything about this man. Any- 
how, I only know two things about him. One is, he 

37o 



THE LAST LOTOS CLUB SPEECH 

has never been in jail, and the other is, I don't know 
why." 

There's one thing I want to say about that English 
trip. I knew his Majesty the King of England long 
years ago, and I didn't meet him for the first time 
then. One thing that I regret was that some news- 
papers said I talked with the Queen of England with 
my hat on. I don't do that with any woman. I did 
not put it on until she asked me to. Then she told 
me to put it on, and it's a command there. I thought 
I had carried my American democracy far enough. 
So I put it on. I have no use for a hat, and never 
did have. 

Who was it who said that the police of London 
knew me? Why, the police know me everywhere. 
There never was a day over there when a policeman 
did not salute me, and then put up his hand and 
stop the traffic of the world. They treated me as 
though I were a duchess. 

The happiest experience I had in England was at 
a dinner given in the building of the Punch publica- 
tion, a humorous paper which is appreciated by all 
Englishmen. It was the greatest privilege ever 
allowed a foreigner. I entered the dining-room of 
the building, where those men get together who have 
been running the paper for over fifty years. We 
were about to begin dinner when the toastmaster 
said: "Just a minute; there ought to be a little 
ceremony." Then there was that meditating silence 
for a while, and out of a closet there came a beautiful 
little girl dressed in pink, holding in her hand the 
original of a cartoon of me, published in the previous 

37i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

week's paper, Mr. Punch, offering me welcome to 
England. It broke me all up. I could not even say 
" Thank you." That was the prettiest incident of 
the dinner, the delight of all that wonderful table. 
When she was about to go, I said, "My child, you 
are not going to leave me; I have hardly got 
acquainted with you." She replied, "You know 
I've got to go; they never let me come in here 
before, and they never will again." That is one of 
the beautiful incidents that I cherish. 

[At the conclusion of his speech, and while the 
diners were still cheering him, Colonel Porter brought 
forward the red-and-gray gown of the Oxford "doc- 
tor," and Mr. Clemens was made to don it. The 
diners rose to their feet in their enthusiasm. With 
the mortar board on his head, and looking down 
admiringly at himself, Mr. Twain said :] 

I like that gown. I always did like red. The 
redder it is the better I like it. I was born for a 
savage. Now, whoever saw any red like this? There 
is no red outside the arteries of an archangel that 
could compare with this. I know you all envy me. 
I am going to have luncheon shortly with ladies — just 
ladies. I will be the only lady of my sex present, and I 
shall put on this gown and make those ladies look dim. 

[Mr. Clemens then, by request, gave the closing 
remarks of an address which he had delivered at a 
farewell dinner tendered him, July 10, 1907, by the 
Lord Mayor of Liverpool.] 

Home is dear to us all, and now I am departing 
to my own home beyond the ocean. Oxford has con- 

372 



THE LAST LOTOS CLUB SPEECH 

ferred upon me the loftiest honor that has ever fallen 
to my share of this life's prizes. It is the very one I 
would have chosen, as outranking all and any others 
the one more precious to me than any and all others' 
within the gift of man or state. During my four 
weeks' sojourn in England I have had another lofty 
honor, a continuous honor, an honor which has flowed 
serenely along, without halt or obstruction, through 
all these twenty-six days, a most moving and pulse- 
stirnng honor-the heartfelt grip of the hand, and 
the welcome that does not descend from the pale- 
gray matter of the brain, but rushes up with the red 
blood from the heart. It makes me proud, and some- 
times it makes me humble, too . . . Many and many 
a year ago I gathered an incident from Dana's Two 
Years Before the Mast. It was like this: There was 
a presumptuous little self-important skipper in a 
coasting sloop, engaged in the dried-apple and 
kitchen-furniture trade, and he was always hailing 
every ship that came in sight. He did it just to hear 
himself talk and to air his small grandeur. 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, her hull burdened 
to the Plimsoll line with a rich freightage of precious 
spices, lading the breezes with gracious and mysterious 
odors of the Orient. It was a noble spectacle, a sub- 
lime spectacle! Of course, the little skipper popped 
into the shrouds and squeaked out a hail, ' ' Ship ahoy I 
What ship is that? And whence and whither?" In 
a deep and thunderous bass the answer came back 
through the speaking trumpet, "The Begum, of 

373 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

Bengal, one hundred and forty-two days out from 
Canton, homeward bound! What ship is that?" 
Well, it just crushed that poor little creature's vanity 
flat, and he squeaked back most humbly, ' ' Only the 
Mary Ann, fourteen hours out from Boston, bound 
for Kittery Point — with nothing to speak of!" Oh, 
what an eloquent word, that "only," to express the 
depths of his humbleness! That is just my case. 
During just one hour in the twenty -four — not more — 
I pause and reflect in the stillness of the night with 
the echoes of your English welcome still lingering in 
my ears, and then I am humble. Then I am properly 
meek, and for that little while I am only the Mary 
Ann, fourteen hours out, cargoed with vegetables 
and tinware; but during all the twenty- three hours 
my vain self-complacency rides high on the white 
crest of your approval, and then I am a stately 
Indiaman, ploughing the great seas under a cloud 
of canvas and laden with the kindest words that 
have ever been vouchsafed to any wandering alien 
in this world, I think; then my twenty-six fortunate 
days on this old mother soil seem to be multiplied 
by six, and I am the Begum of Bengal, one hundred 
and forty-two days out from Canton, homeward 
bound! 



374 



BOOKSELLERS 

Address at banquet on Wednesday evening, May 20, 1908, of 
the American Booksellers 1 Association, which included most of the 
leading booksellers of America, held at the rooms of the Aldine 
Association, New York. 

THIS annual gathering of booksellers from all 
over America comes together ostensibly to eat 
and drink, but really to discuss business; therefore 
I am required to talk shop. I am required to furnish 
a statement of the indebtedness under which I lie to 
you gentlemen for your help in enabling me to earn 
my living. For something over forty years I have 
acquired my bread by print, beginning with The 
Innocents Abroad, followed at intervals of a year or 
so by Roughing It, Tom Sawyer, Gilded Age, and so 
on. For thirty -six years my books were sold by 
subscription. You are not interested in those years, 
but only in the four which have since followed. 
The books passed into the hands of my present pub- 
lishers at the beginning of 1904, and you then became 
the providers of my diet. I think I may say, with- 
out flattering you, that you have done exceedingly 
well by me. Exceedingly well is not too strong a 
phrase, since the official statistics show that in four 
years you have sold twice as many volumes of my 
venerable books as my contract with my publishers 
bound you and them to sell in five years. To your 

375 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

sorrow you are aware that frequently, much too fre- 
quently, when a book gets to be five or ten years old 
its annual sale shrinks to two or three hundred copies, 
and after an added ten or twenty years ceases to sell. 
But you sell thousands of my moss-backed old 
books every year — the youngest of them being books 
that range from fifteen to twenty-seven years old, 
and the oldest reaching back to thirty-five and forty. 

By the terms of my contract my publishers had to 
account to me for 50,000 volumes per year for five 
years, and pay me for them whether they sold them 
or not. It is at this point that you gentlemen come 
in, for it was your business to unload 250,000 volumes 
upon the public in five years if you possibly could. 
Have you succeeded? Yes, you have — and more. 
For in four years, with a year still to spare, you have 
sold the 250,000 volumes, and 240,000 besides. 

Your sales have increased each year. In the first 
year you sold 90,328; in the second year, 104,851; 
in the third, 133,975 ; in the fourth year — which was 
last year — you sold 160,000. The aggregate for the 
four years is 500,000 volumes, lacking 11,000. 

Of the oldest book, The Innocents Abroad, — now 
forty years old — you sold upward of 46,000 copies in 
the four years; of Roughing It — now thirty-eight 
years old, I think— you sold 40,334; oi Tom Sawyer, 
41,000. And so on. 

And there is one thing that is peculiarly gratifying 
to me: the Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc is a 
serious book; I wrote it for love, and never expected 
it to sell, but you have pleasantly disappointed me 
in that matter. In your hands its sale has increased 

376 



BOOKSELLERS 

each year. In 1904 you sold 1726 copies; in 1905 
2445; in 1906, 5381; and last year, 6574. 

Last February, when Rudyard Kipling was ill in 
America, the sympathy which was poured out to 
him was genuine and sincere, and I believe that which 
cost Kipling so much will bring England and America 
closer together. I have been proud and pleased to 
see this growing affection and respect between the 
two countries. I hope it will continue to grow, and, 
please God, it will continue to grow. I trust we 
authors will leave to posterity, if we have nothing 
else to leave, a friendship between England and 
America that will count for much. I will now con- 
fess that I have been engaged for the past eight days 
in compiling a toast. I have brought it here to lay 
at your feet. I do not ask your indulgence in pre- 
senting it, but for your applause. 

Here it is: "Since England and America may be 
joined together in Kipling, may they not be severed 
in 'Twain.'" 



377 



EDUCATION AND CITIZENSHIP 

On the evening of May 14, 1908, the alumni of the College of the 
City of New York celebrated the opening of the new college buildings 
at a banquet in the Waldorf-Astoria. Mr. Clemens followed 
Mayor McClellan. 

I AGREED when the Mayor said that there was 
not a man within hearing who did not agree that 
citizenship should be placed above everything else, 
even learning. 

Have you ever thought about this? Is there a 
college in the whole country where there is a chair 
of good citizenship? There is a kind of bad citizen- 
ship which is taught in the schools, but no real good 
citizenship taught. There are some which teach 
insane citizenship, bastard citizenship, but that is 
all. Patriotism ! Yes ; but patriotism is usually the 
refuge of the scoundrel. He is the man who talks 
,the loudest. 

You can begin that chair of citizenship in the 
College of the City of New York. You can place 
it above mathematics and literature, and that is where 
it belongs. 

We used to trust in God. I think it was in 1863 
,that some genius suggested that it be put upon the 
gold and silver coins which circulated among the 
rich. They didn't put it on the nickels and coppers 
because they didn't think the poor folks had any 
trust in God. 

378 



EDUCATION AND CITIZENSHIP 

Good citizenship would teach accuracy of thinking 
and accuracy of statement. Now, that motto on the 
coin is an overstatement. Those Congressmen had 
no right to commit this whole country to a theolog- 
ical doctrine. But since they did, Congress ought to 
state what our creed should be. 

There was never a nation in the world that put its 
whole trust in God. It is a statement made on insuf- 
ficient evidence. Leaving out the gamblers, the 
burglars, and the plumbers, perhaps we do put our 
trust in God after a fashion. But, after all, it is an 
overstatement. 

If the cholera or black plague should come to these 
shores, perhaps the bulk of the nation would pray 
to be delivered from it, but the rest would put then- 
trust in the Health Board of the City of New York. 

I read in the papers within the last day or two of 
a poor young girl who they said was a leper. Did 
the people in that populous section of the country 
where she was— did they put their trust in God? 
The girl was afflicted with the leprosy, a disease 
which cannot be communicated from one person to 
another. 

Yet, instead of putting their trust in God, they 
harried that poor creature, shelterless and friendless, 
from place to place, exactly as they did in the Middle 
Ages, when they made lepers wear bells, so that 
people could be warned of their approach and avoid 
them. Perhaps those people in the Middle Ages 
thought they were putting their trust in God. 

The President ordered the removal of that motto 
from the coin, and I thought that it was well. I 

379 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

thought that overstatement should not stay there. 
But I think it would better read, "Within certain 
judicious limitations we trust in God," and if there 
isn't enough room on the coin for this, why, enlarge 
the coin. 

Now I want to tell a story about jumping at con- 
clusions. It was told to me by Bram Stoker, and it 
concerns a christening. There was a little clergyman 
who was prone to jump at conclusions sometimes. 
One day he was invited to officiate at a christening. 
He went. There sat the relati ves — intelligent-looking 
relatives they were. The little clergyman's instinct 
came to him to make a great speech. He was given 
to flights of oratory that way — a very dangerous 
thing, for often the wings which take one into clouds 
of oratorical enthusiasm are wax and melt up there, 
and down you come. 

But the little clergyman couldn't resist. He took 
the child in his arms, and, holding it, looked at it a 
moment. It wasn't much of a child. It was little 
like a sweet potato. Then the little clergyman waited 
impressively, and then : " I see in your countenances, ' ' 
he said, "disappointment of him. I see you are dis- 
appointed with this baby. Why? Because he is so 
little. My friends, if you had but the power of look- 
ing into the future you might see that great things 
may come of little things. There is the great ocean, 
holding the navies of the world, which comes from 
little drops of water no larger than a woman's tears. 
There are the great constellations in the sky, made 
up of little bits of stars. Oh, if you could consider 
his future you might see that he might become the 

380 



EDUCATION AND CITIZENSHIP 

greatest poet of the universe, the greatest warrior 
the world has ever known, greater than Caesar, than 
Hannibal, than — er — er" (turning to the father) — 
" what's his name?" 

The father hesitated, then whispered back: "His 
name? Well, his name is Mary Ann." 



381 



DINNER TO WHITELAW REID 

Address at the Dinner in Honor of Ambassador Reid, 
Given by the Pilgrims' Club of New York 
on February 19, 1908 

I AM very proud to respond to this toast, as it 
recalls the proudest day of my life. The delightful 
hospitality shown me at the time of my visit to 
Oxford I shall cherish until I die. In that long and 
distinguished career of mine I value that degree 
above all other honors. When the ship landed even 
the stevedores gathered on the shore and gave an 
English cheer. Nothing could surpass in my life 
the pleasure of those four weeks. No one could pass 
by me without taking my hand, even the policemen. 
I've been in all the principal capitals of Christen- 
dom in my life, and have always been an object of 
interest to policemen. Sometimes there was sus- 
picion in their eyes, but not always. With their 
puissant hand they would hold up the commerce of 
the world to let me pass. 

I noticed in the papers this afternoon a despatch 
from Washington, saying that Congress would imme- 
diately pass a bill restoring to our gold coinage the 
motto "In God We Trust." I'm glad of that; I'm 
glad of that. I was troubled when that motto was 
removed. Sure enough, the prosperities of the whole 
nation went down in a heap when we ceased to 

382 



DINNER TO WHITELAW REID 

trust in God in that conspicuously advertised way. 
I knew there would be trouble. And if Pierpont 
Morgan hadn't stepped in 1 — Bishop Lawrence may 
now add to his message to the old country that we 
are now trusting in God again. So we can discharge 
Mr. Morgan from his office with honor. 

Mr. Reid said an hour or so ago something about 
my ruining my activities last summer. They are not 
ruined, they are renewed. I am stronger now — much 
stronger. I suppose that the spiritual uplift I received 
increased my physical power more than anything I 
ever had before. I was dancing last night at 12.30 
o'clock. 

Mr. Choate has mentioned Mr. Reid's predecessors. 
Mr. Choate's head is full of history, and some of it 
is true, too. I enjoyed hearing him tell about the 
list of the men who had the place before he did. He 
mentioned a long list of those predecessors, people I 
never heard of before, and elected five of them to the 
Presidency by his own vote. I'm glad and proud to 
find Mr. Reid in that high position, because he didn't 
look it when I knew him forty years ago. I was talk- 
ing to Reid the other day, and he showed me my 
autograph on an old paper twenty years old. I 
didn't know I had an autograph twenty years ago. 
Nobody ever asked me for it. 

I remember a dinner I had long ago with Whitelaw 
Reid and John Hay at Reid's expense. I had an- 
other last summer when I was in London at the 

1 Refers to the panic of 1907 when J. Pierpont Morgan, George 
F. Baker, and other downtown bankers tided the country through 
a financial crisis. 

383 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

embassy that Choate blackguards so. I'd like to 
live there. 

Some of us don't appreciate what this country can 
do. There's John Hay, Reid, Choate, and me. This 
is the only country in the world where youth, talent 
and energy can reach such heights. It shows what 
we could do without means, and what people can do 
with talent and energy when they find it in people 
like us. 

When I first came to New York they were all 
struggling young men, and I am glad to see that 
they have got on in the world. I knew John Hay 
when I had no white hairs in my head and more hair 
than Reid has now. Those were days of joy and 
hope. Reid and Hay were on the staff of the Tribune. 
I went there once in that old building, and I looked 
all around, and I finally found a door ajar and looked 
in. It wasn't Reid or Hay there, but it was Hor- 
ace Greeley. Those were the days when Horace 
Greeley was a king. That was the first time I ever 
saw him and the last. I only stayed a minute. I 
could have stayed longer if I had wanted to, but I 
didn't want to. 

I was admiring him when he stopped and seemed 
to realize that there was a fine presence there some- 
where. He looked at me a moment, and said : * 'What 
in H — do you want ? " 

Well, I couldn't think of what I wanted, so I 
retired. 

But later Hay rose, and you know what summit 
Whitelaw Reid has reached, and you see me. Those 
two men have regulated troubles of nations and con- 

384 



DINNER TO WHITELAW REID 

ferred peace upon mankind. And in my humble 
way, of which I am quite vain, I was the principal 
moral force in all those great international move- 
ments. These great men illustrated what I say. 
Look at us great people — we all come from the dregs 
of society. That's what can be done in this country. 
That's what this country does for you. 

Choate here — he hasn't got anything to say, but 
he says it just the same, and he can do it so felici- 
tously, too. I said long ago he was the handsomest 
man America ever produced. May the progress of 
civilization always rest on such distinguished men as 
it has in the past ! 



385 



COURAGE 

At a beefsteak dinner, given by artists, caricaturists, and humor- 
ists of New York City, April 18, 1908, Mr. Clemens, Mr. H. H. 
Rogers, and Mr. Patrick McCarren were the guests of honor. Each 
wore a white apron, and each made a short speech. 

IN the matter of courage we all have our limits. 
There never was a hero who did not have his 
bounds. I suppose it may be said of Nelson and all 
the others whose courage has been advertised that 
there came times in their lives when their bravery- 
knew it had come to its limit. 

I have found mine a good many times. Some- 
times this was expected — often it was unexpected. 
I know a man who is not afraid to sleep with a rattle- 
snake, but you could not get him to sleep with a 
safety-razor. 

I never had the courage to talk across a long, nar- 
row room. I should be at the end of the room facing 
all the audience. If I attempt to talk across a room 
I find myself turning this way and that, and thus at 
alternate periods I have part of the audience behind 
me. You ought never to have any part of the audi- 
ence behind you; you never can tell what they are 
going to do. 

I'll sit down. 



386 



QUEEN VICTORIA 

Address to the British Schools and Universities Club, at 

Delmonico's, Monday, May 25, 1908, in Honor of 

Queen Victoria's Birthday 

Mr. Clemens told the story of his duel with a rival editor: how 
he practised firing at a barn door and failed to hit it, but a friend 
of his took off the head of a little bird at thirty-five yards and attrib- 
uted the shot to Mark Twain. The duel did not take place. Mr. 
Clemens continued as follows: 

YOU do me a high honor, indeed, in selecting 
me to speak of my country in this commem- 
oration of the birthday of that noble lady whose life 
was consecrated to the virtues and the humanities 
and to the promotion of lofty ideals, and was a model 
upon which many a humbler life was formed and 
made beautiful while she lived, and upon which 
many such lives will still be formed in the genera- 
tions that are to come — a life which finds its just 
image in the star which falls out of its place in the 
sky and out of existence, but whose light still streams 
with unfaded luster across the abysses of space long 
after its fires have been extinguished at their source. 
As a woman the Queen was all that the most 
exacting standards could require. As a far-reaching 
and effective beneficent moral force she had no peer 
in her time among either monarchs or commoners. 
As a monarch she was without reproach in her great 
office. We may not venture, perhaps, to say so 

387 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

sweeping a thing as this in cold blood about any 
monarch that preceded her upon either her own 
throne or upon any other. It is a colossal eulogy, 
but it is justified. 

In those qualities of the heart which beget affec- 
tion in all sorts and conditions of men she was rich, 
surprisingly rich, and for this she will still be remem- 
bered and revered in the far-off ages when the polit- 
ical glories of her reign shall have faded from vital 
history and fallen to a place in that scrap-heap of 
unverifiable odds and ends which we call tradition. 
Which is to say, in briefer phrase, that her name 
will live always. And with it her character — a fame 
rare in the history of thrones, dominions, principal- 
ities, and powers, since it will not rest upon harvested 
selfish and sordid ambitions, but upon love, earned 
and freely vouchsafed. She mended broken hearts 
where she could, but she broke none. 

What she did for us in America in our time of storm 
and stress we shall not forget, and whenever we call 
it to mind we shall always remember the wise and 
righteous mind that guided her in it and sustained 
and supported her — Prince Albert's. We need not 
talk any idle talk here to-night about either possible 
or impossible war between the two countries; there 
will be no war while we remain sane and the son of 
Victoria and Albert sits upon the throne. In con- 
clusion, I believe I may justly claim to utter the 
voice of my country in saying that we hold him in 
deep honor, and also in cordially wishing him a long 
life and a happy reign. 



388 



ROGERS AND RAILROADS 

At a Banquet Given Mr. H. H. Rogers by the Business 

Men of Norfolk, Va., Celebrating the Opening 

of the Virginian Railway, April 3, 1909 

Toastmaster: 

"I have often thought that when the time comes, which must 
come to all of us, when we reach that Great Way in the Great 
Beyond, and the question is propounded, 'What have you done 
to gain admission into this great realm? ' if the answer could be 
sincerely made, 'I have made men laugh/ it would be the surest 
passport to a welcome entrance. We have here to-night one who 
has made millions laugh — not the loud laughter that bespeaks 
the vacant mind, but the laugh of intelligent mirth that helps 
the human heart and the human mind. I refer, of course, to 
Doctor Clemens. I was going to say Mark Twain, his literary 
title, which is a household phrase in more homes than that of 
any other man, and you know him best by that dear old title." 

I THANK you, Mr. Toastmaster, for the compli- 
ment which you have paid me, and I am sure I 
would rather have made people laugh than cry, yet 
in my time I have made some of them cry ; and before 
I stop entirely I hope to make some more of them 
cry. I like compliments. I deal in them myself. I 
have listened with the greatest pleasure to the compli- 
ments which the chairman has paid to Mr. Rogers 
and that road of his to-night, and I hope some of 
them are deserved. 

It is no small distinction to a man like that to sit 
here before an intelligent crowd like this and to be 

389 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

classed with Napoleon and Caesar. Why didn't he 
say that this was the proudest day of his life? 
Napoleon and Caesar are dead, and they can't be 
here to defend themselves. But I'm here! 

The chairman said, and very truly, that the most 
lasting thing in the hands of man are the roads which 
Caesar build, and it is true that he built a lot of them; 
and they are there yet. 

Yes, Caesar built a lot of roads in England, and 
you can find them. But Rogers has only built one 
road, and he hasn't finished that yet. I like to hear 
my old friend complimented, but I don't like to hear 
it overdone. 

I didn't go around to-day with the others to see 
what he is doing. I will do that in a quiet time, 
when there is not anything going on, and when I 
shall not be called upon to deliver intemperate com- 
pliments on a railroad in which I own no stock. 

They proposed that I go along with the committee 
and help inspect that dump down yonder. I didn't 
go. I saw that dump. I saw that thing when I was 
coming in on the steamer, and I didn't go because I 
was diffident, sentimentally diffident, about going 
and looking at that thing again — that great, long, 
bony thing ; it looked just like Mr. Rogers's foot. 

The chairman says Mr. Rogers is full of practical 
wisdom, and he is. It is intimated here that he is a 
very ingenious man, and he is a very competent 
financier. Maybe he is now, but it was not always 
so. I know lots of private things in his life which 
people don't know, and I know how he started; and 
it was not a very good start. I could have done 

390 



ROGERS AND RAILROADS 

better myself. The first time he crossed the Atlantic 
he had just made the first little strike in oil, and he 
was so young he did not like to ask questions. He 
did not like to appear ignorant. To this day he 
doesn't like to appear ignorant, but he can look as 
ignorant as anybody. On board the ship they were 
betting on the run of the ship, betting a couple of 
shillings, or half a crown, and they proposed that 
this youth from the oil regions should bet on the run 
of the ship. He did not like to ask what a half 
crown was, and he didn't know; but rather than be 
ashamed of himself he did bet half a crown on the 
run of the ship, and in bed he could not sleep. He 
wondered if he could afford that outlay in case he 
lost. He kept wondering over it, and said to him- 
self: "A king's crown must be worth $20,000, so 
half a crown would cost $10,000." He could not 
afford to bet away $10,000 on the run of the ship, 
so he went up to the stakeholder and gave him $150 
,to let him off. 

I like to hear Mr. Rogers complimented. I am 
not stingy in compliments to him myself. Why, I 
did it to-day when I sent his wife a telegram to com- 
fort her. That is the kind of person I am. I knew 
she would be uneasy about him. I knew she would 
be solicitous about what he might do down here, so 
I did it to quiet her and to comfort her. I said he 
was doing well for a person out of practice. There is 
nothing like it. He is like I used to be. There were 
times when I was careless — careless in my dress when 
I got older. You know how uncomfortable your wife 
can get when you are going away without her super- 

39i 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

intendence. Once when my wife could not go with 
me (she always went with me when she could — I 
always did meet that kind of luck), I was going to 
Washinton once, a long time ago, in Mr. Cleveland's 
first administration, and she could not go; but, in 
her anxiety that I should not desecrate the house, 
she made preparation. She knew that there was to 
be a reception of those authors at the White House 
at seven o'clock in the evening. She said, "If I 
should tell you now what I want to ask of you, you 
would forget it before you get to Washington, and 
therefore, I have written it on a card, and you will 
find it in your dress- vest pocket when you are dress- 
ing at the Arlington — when you are dressing to see 
the President." I never thought of it again until I 
was dressing, and I felt in that pocket and took it 
out, and it said, in a kind of imploring way. "Don't 
wear your artics in the White House." 

You complimented Mr. Rogers on his energy, his 
foresightedness, complimented him in various ways, 
and he has deserved those compliments, although I 
say it myself; and I enjoy them all. There is one 
side of Mr. Rogers that has not been mentioned. If 
you will leave that to me I will touch upon that. 
There was a note in an editorial in one of the Norfolk 
papers this morning that touched upon that very 
thing, that hidden side of Mr. Rogers, where it spoke 
of Helen Keller and her affection for Mr. Rogers, to 
whom she dedicated her life book. And she has a 
right to feel that way, because, without the public 
knowing anything about it, he rescued, if I may use 
that term, that marvellous girl, that wonderful 

392 



ROGERS AND RAILROADS 

Southern girl, that girl who was stone deaf, blind, 
and dumb from scarlet fever when she was a baby 
eighteen months old; and who now is as well and 
thoroughly educated as any woman on this planet 
at twenty-nine years of age. She is the most mar- 
vellous person of her sex that has existed on this 
earth since Joan of Arc. 

That is not all Mr. Rogers has done; but you 
never see that side of his character, because it is 
never protruding ; but he lends a helping hand daily 
out of that generous heart of his. You never hear 
of it. He is supposed to be a moon which has one 
side dark and the other bright. But the other side 
though you don't see it, is not dark; it is bright, and 
its rays penetrate, and others do see it who are not 
God. 

I would like this opportunity to tell something 
that I have never been allowed to tell by Mr. Rogers, 
either by my mouth or in print, and if I don't look 
at him I can tell it now. 

In 1893, when the publishing company of Charles 
L. Webster, of which I was financial agent, failed, it 
left me heavily in debt. If you will remember what 
commerce was at that time you will recall that you 
could not sell anything, and could not buy anything, 
and I was on my back; my books were not worth 
anything at all, and I could not give away my 
copyrights. Mr. Rogers had long enough vision 
ahead to say, "Your books have supported you 
before, and after the panic is over they will support 
you again," and that was a correct proposition. 
He saved my copyrights, and saved me from financial 

393 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

ruin. He it was who arranged with my creditors to 
allow me to roam the face of the earth for four years 
and persecute the nations thereof with lectures, prom- 
ising that at the end of four years I would pay dollar 
for dollar. That arrangement was made; otherwise 
I would now be living out-of-doors under an umbrella, 
and a borrowed one at that. 

You see his white mustache and his head trying 
to get white (he is always trying to look like me — 
I don't blame him for that) . These are only emblem- 
atic of his character, and that is all. 1 say, with- 
out exception, hair and all, he is the whitest man I 
have ever known. 



394 



DINNER TO MR. JEROME 

A dinner to express their confidence in the integrity and good 
judgment of District Attorney Jerome was given at Delmonko's 
by his admirers on the evening of May 7, 1909 

INDEED, that is very sudden. I was not informed 
that the verdict was going to depend upon my 
judgment, but that makes not the least difference in 
the world when you already know all about it. It 
is not any matter when you are called upon to 
express it; you can get up and do it, and my verdict 
has already been recorded in my heart and in my 
head as regards Mr. Jerome and his administration 
of the criminal affairs of this county. 

I agree with everything Mr. Choate has said in 
his letter regarding Mr. Jerome; I agree with every- 
thing Mr. Shepard has said ; and I agree with every- 
thing Mr. Jerome has said in his own commendation. 
And I thought Mr. Jerome was modest in that. If 
he had been talking about another officer of this 
county*, he could have painted the joys and sorrows 
of office and his victories in even stronger language 
than he did. 

I voted for Mr. Jerome in those old days, and I 
should like to vote for him again if he runs for any 
office. I moved out of New York, and that is the 
reason, I suppose, I cannot vote for him again. 
There may be some way, but I have not found it 

395 



MARK TWAIN'S SPEECHES 

out. But now I am a farmer — a farmer up in Con- 
necticut, and winning laurels. Those people already 
speak with such high favor, admiration, of my farm- 
ing, and they say that I am the only man that has 
ever come to that region who could make two blades 
of grass grow where only three grew before. 

Well, I cannot vote for him. You see that. As it 
stands now, I cannot. I am crippled in that way 
and to that extent, for I would ever so much like to 
do it. I am not a Congress, and I cannot distribute 
pensions, and I don't know any other legitimate way 
to buy a vote. But if I should think of any legitimate 
way, I shall make use of it, and then I shall vote for 
Mr. Jerome. 



"CHE END 



39*