During the civil war he remembered visiting a battlefield once, but he had never felt comfortable there. One cannot carry an umbrella when it rains, for when shells are flying they might get tangled up with the umbrella.
Personally he disapproved of the war in South Africa, and he thought England sinned when she interfered with the Boers, as the United States is sinning in meddling in the affairs of the Filipinos. England and America were kin in almost everything; now they are kin in sin. He had long worked as a missionary, advocating bonds of friendship between America and England, and, thanks to his efforts, the United States was on good terms with Great Britain.
America and England wept at the door of China when the mailed fist of blustering Germany battered the unhappy China-man while Russia robbed him, and they have worked together to maintain the favor of the world. He sympathized with the Boers, but as a missionary in the cause of an Anglo-American alliance he took pleasure in welcoming Mr. Churchill, “a blend of America and England which makes a perfect match.”
Mr. Churchill was greeted cordially by the audience. He showed nervousness at first, but soon forgot himself in his subject, and held the attention of his listeners by a clear recital of some of the most striking episodes of the struggle between Boer and Briton. A touch of humor, introduced half unconsciously, lightened up the lecture considerably.
STORY OF THE ESCAPE
After alluding to the fact that he had already written a book about his escape from Pretoria, he said he trusted that everyone in the audience would purchase a copy. This was the anniversary of his escape, many accounts of which had been related here and in England, but none of which was true. He escaped by climbing over the iron paling of his prison while the sentry was lighting his pipe. He passed through the streets of Pretoria unobserved and managed to board a coal train on which he hid among the sacks of coal.
When he found the train was not going in the direction he wanted he jumped off.
He wandered about aimlessly, he said, for a long time, suffering from hunger, and at last he decided that he must seek aid at all risks. He knocked at the door of a kraal, expecting to find a Boer, and to his joy found it occupied by an Englishman named Herbert Howard, manager of a Transvaal colliery, who ultimately helped him to reach the British lines.
J.F. Dickie, who had been pastor of the American Church in Berlin during the Clemenses stay there, recalled his presence at the Waldorf-Astoria:
In the year 1900 I was fortunate enough to be present at a lecture in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York given by Winston Churchill on his experiences in South Africa. As Mr. Churchill frankly said, “his lecture derived an importance it could not otherwise have secured by the presence of Mark Twain as its chairman.” The speech he made in introducing the talented young lecturer was in his usual vein, and was remarkable for his characterisation of England, which he said was mentioned in Scripture in that benediction which said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
At the close of the lecture I was presented to Mark Twain, who kindly invited me to call on him at his
home on Tenth Street near Fifth Avenue. I joyously accepted his invitation, and had the great pleasure of
meeting Mrs. Clemens, that beautiful soul, whose memory was very sweetly cherished by the ladies of the
Berlin Church. …
Mark Twain came home before I had finished my visit to New York, and he invited me to be his companion in his morning walks. He went out daily at half-past ten and walked up Fifth Avenue. He was a child of the pavement. He loved the haunts of men better than the quiet of the country. That life of Fifth Avenue with its endless procession of carriages and its no less endless procession of pedestrians gave him delight. As he told me, he never tired of it. It was always ever old, yet even new—a kaleidoscopic view of metropolitan life [185-187].
December 12 ca. – At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Richard Watson Gilder.
In bed with a chest-cold & other company—Wednesday:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.