Mark Twain and Seth Low were the attractions at the noon meeting yesterday in the hall on the ground floor of 350 Broadway. A crowd of more than 2,000 jammed into the place, and was so thick that several times the management had to interrupt the speakers to prevent surging, and injury to many in the audience. Ten minutes before the opening of the meeting the rush of those trying to crowd into the already packed hall became so threatening that a half dozen policemen at the entrance were almost carried off their feet, and were forced, by way of precaution, to close the doors.
Within the hall every available inch of space was called into requisition. Men and boys climbed up the latticework surrounding the elevator at one side of the hall, and climbed up on window sills and wherever there was an inch to give a foothold above the heads of the rest of the men. In the opinion of many who have been identified with political meetings for years past, never was such a jam seen as the one that greeted the Fusion candidate and the man who had come to throw bombs of humor into the camp of Tammany.
Promptly at 11:55 o’clock Mark Twain appeared from the doorway of the New York Life Building. He was linked to the arm of Joseph Johnson, Jr., President of the Order of Acorns, and, followed by Mr. Low, the trio worked its way through the crowd of about 1,000 persons that had been locked out of the hall by the closing of the doors.
As Mark Twain and Seth Low stepped upon the platform the yell that arose was deafening, and it was many minutes before Mr. Johnson, assisted by the humorist, could restore order. President Johnson introduced Mark Twain. The latter arose immediately, and when, after several minutes effort, quiet had been restored, he began:
“In this campaign there is nothing very much simpler than to decide if we are to vote for the continuance of Crokerism and Tammany rule or whether we shall not. I think we have had enough of a system of American royalty residing in Europe. If we should have nothing but excellent and trusted men on the ticket of Mr. Croker, I think it would be doubtful if we would want to continue it. But it is not likely that we will continue it, and it is very likely that we will vote the Fusion ticket from top to bottom. [Cheers.]
“Of course, I cannot expect you all to know this, but it was only against my physician’s advice that I came here. I have been on a sickbed for the past forty-eight hours. I told my physician that I must come, but he was obdurate. I explained to him that if I had only some reputable sort of an ailment I might be able to consider his advice, but that I did not see, under the circumstances, how I could explain a nursery ailment to the gentlemen who expected me to talk to them. The trouble was, gentlemen indiscriminate eating. I ate a banana, thinking that by doing so I might conciliate the Italians of this city to voting the Fusion ticket. But, as it turned out, it was not an Italian banana. It was a Tammany banana, as should have been easily detected. A Tammany banana is a strange thing. One end of it, or one part, here or there, is perfectly white. The rest of it is rotten.
“Now, I have the greatest respect for Mr. Shepard personally, but nine-tenths of the rest of the bananas on that ticket are rotten. Mr. Shepard is the white part of the banana. The best we can do is to throw the whole banana from us, for it is unfit. It will make us sick. It will make us feel as if we had swallowed whole bunches of Tammany tigers and as if they were all wrestling for the supremacy in our interiors.
“What we need is a doctor to handle the feeling within. I think I can introduce you to a very good doctor, too—Seth Low, who but lately was honored with a Yale LL.D.”
Mr. Low stepped to the front to follow the humorist. “If it be true that Crokerism and Deveryism have been the main issues in this campaign,” he said, “then some new light has been thrown on those issues during the last few days. Both Mr. Croker and Mr. Devery have come forward from their covers behind the Constitution and have spoken their minds. Mr. Devery said that he should remain in the Police Department even if I was elected Mayor. I wish you would elect me, so that we could try out that issue. I can assure you that he shall not remain Deputy Police Commissioner if I am elected. And if, in addition, you will elect Mr. Jerome, the whereabouts of Mr. Devery will be even more uncertain.
“When asked about Devery, Mr. Shepard hid behind the Constitution and stated his refusal to talk politics. Last night, however, he was forced to speak. But we do not hide or conceal our hands. We stand squarely on the platform of decent and honest home rule. And if you want home rule and reform in the Police Department, vote for the Fusion ticket.
“If Mr. Shepard means what he said last night about Devery, let him say also what he thinks of Crokerism and what he thinks of his associates, Mr. Fromme and Mr. Unger and Mayor Van Wyck, whom the Bar Association pronounced conspicuously unfit for the office for which he is a candidate.
SLC used mourning border for most letters from Susy’s death on, then from Livy’s death on.