If in the hands of men who regard their citizenship as a high trust this scheme shall fail upon trial a better must be sought, a better must be invented; for it cannot be well or safe to let the present political conditions continue indefinitely. They can be improved, and American citizenship should arouse up from its disheartenment and see that it is done.
Had this document been put into type and circulated it might have founded a true Mark Twain party.
Clemens made not many more speeches that autumn, closing the year at last with the “Founder’s Night” speech at The Players, the short address which, ending on the stroke of midnight, dedicates each passing year to the memory of Edwin Booth, and pledges each new year in a loving-cup passed in his honor.
NEW INTERESTS AND INVESTMENTS
The spirit which a year earlier had prompted Mark Twain to prepare his “Salutation from the Nineteenth to the Twentieth Century” inspired him now to conceive the “Stupendous International Procession,” a gruesome pageant described in a document (unpublished) of twenty-two typewritten pages which begin:
The stupendous procession
At the appointed hour it moved across the world in following order:
The Twentieth Century
A fair young creature, drunk and
disorderly, borne in the arms of
Satan. Banner with motto, “Get What You Can, Keep What You Get.”
Guard of Honor—Monarchs,
Presidents, Tammany Bosses, Burglars, Land
Thieves, Convicts, etc., appropriately clothed and bearing the
symbols of their several trades.
A majestic matron in flowing robes drenched with blood. On her head a golden crown of thorns; impaled on its spines the bleeding heads of patriots who died for their countries Boers, Boxers, Filipinos; in one hand a slung-shot, in the other a Bible, open at the text “Do unto others,” etc. Protruding from pocket bottle labeled “We bring you the blessings of civilization.” Necklace-handcuffs and a burglar’s jimmy. Supporters—At one elbow Slaughter, at the other Hypocrisy. Banner with motto—“Love Your Neighbor’s Goods as Yourself.” Ensign—The Black Flag. Guard of Honor—Missionaries and German, French, Russian, and British soldiers laden with loot.
And so on, with a section for each nation of the earth, headed each by the black flag, each bearing horrid emblems, instruments of torture, mutilated prisoners, broken hearts, floats piled with bloody corpses. At the end of all, banners inscribed:
“All White Men are Born Free and Equal.”
“Christ died to make
Christ died to make men free.”
with the American flag furled and draped in crepe, and the shade of Lincoln towering vast and dim toward the sky, brooding with sorrowful aspect over the far-reaching pageant. With much more of the same sort. It is a fearful document, too fearful, we may believe, for Mrs. Clemens ever to consent to its publication.