Calls West Point Cadets Who Indulge in it Cowards.
Special to the New York Times.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19.—Mark Twain, in an interview today, spoke about hazing at West Point, and denounced the practice as a brutal one and men who indulge in it as bullies and cowards. “Why,” he said, “the fourth class man who is compelled to fight a man from the first class hasn’t a show in the world, and it is not intended that he should. I have read the rules provided to prevent such practices, and they are wholly deficient, because one provision is omitted. I would make it the duty of a cadet to report to the authorities any case of hazing which came to his notice; make such reports a part of the vaunted West Point ‘code of honor’ and the beating of young boys by upper class men will be stopped.
“I am not opposed to fights among boys as a general thing. If they are conducted in a spirit of fairness, I think it makes boys manly, but I do oppose compelling a little fellow to fight some man big enough to whip two of him. When I was a boy, going to school down in the Mississippi Valley, we used to have our fights, and I remember one occasion on which I got soundly trounced, but we always matched boys as nearly of a size as possible, and there was none of the cowardly methods that seem to prevail at West Point.”
In the evening Sam returned from Washington to New York [Jan. 21 to Reid].
Sam’s notebook lists the location and contents of his safety deposit box and contents: “N.Y. Produce Exchange March 1/01 Safety Deposit Whitehall & Stone Sts. Box 1420. Miss Harrison has a key, & Mrs. Clemens another. 200 Int. Navigan 5% bonds, $20,000. / 100 Chi. & Alton pf. Bonds, cost 8,187 / Plasmon Stock & papers 25,000 / Harper & Marbury contracts / & Huck & Sawyer do[cs] / July 12, 200 U.S. Steel pf. 93 ¾ 20,000” [NB 44 TS 4]. Note: similar pages are in the front or back of other notebooks.
At 1410 W. 10th in N.Y.C., Sam wrote to Harper & Brothers. Only the envelope survives, postmarked late in the evening [MTP: TS: Jenkins Co. catalogs, No. 136, Item 54].
Rogers wrote to Sam, having rec’d a request from Frank Bliss on Jan.18 to leave some of Sam’s royalties in Bliss’ hands; he was willing to pay interest. Rogers wrote he wouldn’t answer Bliss until he’d seen Clemens. “My general method of doing business is to get all the money in hand. I think we should keep the account up as close as possible with Bliss” [MTHHR 456-7].
January 20 Sunday – Sam’s notebook: “Fifth Ave Synagogue About 8.30 o’clock—Meyer / 150 girls—4 type,
now 21 in a year. Carriage at 8” [NB 44 TS 4]. Note: Nathaniel Myers (1848-1921), corporate attorney, and President of
the Hebrew Technical School for Girls [obit: NY Times, 31 Aug. 1921, p. 9].
The New York Times, p.4 ran this brief announcement:
Mark Twain at Temple Emanu-El.
Mark Twain will talk to the members of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls at the annual meeting of the school, to be held in the Temple Emanu-El to-night. Mr. Clemens will “say a few things” after the transaction of the routine business, election of Trustees, and reading of the annual reports. The public is invited.
Fatout writes about this school and Sam’s talk:
The Hebrew Technical School for Girls, a philanthropic institution incorporated in 1884, was the only one in the city offering vocational training to Jewish girls. At the annual meeting of the society, President Nathaniel Meyers reviewed the work of the school on Henry Street, and urged that people of means remember it in their wills. Mark Twain, as was to be expected, spoke to a packed house [MT Speaking 374].
Fatout (p.374-6) and the Times also reported Sam’s remarks:
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.