Vol 3 Section 0517

1901                                                                          463



Men Belong to Two “Petrified Parties,” the Humorist Declares.




Mr. Clemens Makes an Address Before the Members of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls.


Expressing himself as strongly in favor of woman’s rights, in the past, the present, and the future, Mark Twain, at the annual meeting of the meeting of the members of the Hebrew Technical School for Girls, last night said that he believed that if women had the right of suffrage such corruption as is said to exist in this city would be swept away. He predicted that the time would come when women in this city would be allowed to vote, and he contended that it would mean much for the purity of the city when such was the case.

The meeting at which Mr. Clemens made these predictions, in a speech of characteristic humor and wit, was held in the vestry room of the Temple Emanu-El, Fifth Avenue and Forty-fourth Street. Every seat was taken, long before the exercises began, with members of the society and its well wishers. Mr. Clemens entered with Nathaniel Meyers, the President, and as he took his seat on the platform there was a greeting of applause.

An election of Trustees followed, and then Mr. Meyer introduced Mr. Clemens, saying that he was one who had no prejudices against any kind of man and adding:

“In one of his works he says that he has no prejudice, whether a man be white or black, Jew or Gentile, debtor or creditor, old or young. The moment he says he is a man he can’t say anything worse. But Mr. Clemens has not told us what he thinks of women. So we have asked him to come here and perhaps he will tell us that. He said he could not resist a request to help our cause.”


Mr. Clemens said that such help as he was able to give he gave willingly, but it was the kind of help that came from his heart through the mouth.

“Mr. Meyers has conducted this matter with distinguished ability,” he continued, “but at the end of this report I noticed a defect. He made such a strong appeal to those people who are going to make their wills. Some of you are here, you know. Such an appeal loosens your purse strings and you want to give. Well, when he was talking I thought, ‘Now he’s going to do it.’ When a man makes an appeal like that he ought not to make it for day after tomorrow. We are all creatures of impulse. It’s a great mistake to get everybody ready to give money and then not pass the hat.” After the laughter had subsided the speaker went on to tell a little story.

“Some years ago in Hartford,” he said, “we all went to the church on a hot, sweltering night, to hear the annual report of Mr. Hawley, a city missionary, who went around finding the people who needed help and didn’t want to ask for it. He told of the life in the cellars where poverty resided, he gave instances of the heroism and devotion of the poor. The poor are always good to each other. When a man with millions gives we make a great deal of noise. It’s noise in the wrong place. For it’s the widow’s mite that counts.

“Well, Hawley worked me up to a great state. I couldn’t wait for him to get through. I had four hundred dollars in my pocket. I wanted to give that and borrow more to give. You could see greenbacks in every eye. But he didn’t pass the plate, and it grew hotter and we grew sleepier. My enthusiasm went down, down, down—$100 at a time, till finally when the plate came round I stole 10 cents out of it. [Prolonged laughter.] So you see a neglect like that may lead to crime.”

Clemens then said that he though the President’s description of the Institution as “almost a model school” would be improved by the omission of the word “almost.” He added that in the statement of the neglect of the Virgin Mary he recognized the truth, though he had not read it recently.

“Man has made woman what she is,” he went on. “He has kept her down in her proper place. Your president sits here in that self-satisfied conceit of his, and assumes that I don’t know anything about women. Why, I’ve been in favor of women’s rights for years. I see in this school a hope for the realization of a project I have always dreamed of. Why, do you know, when I looked at my gray-haired old mother, with her fine

SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.