Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete eBook

Albert Bigelow Paine
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,890 pages of information about Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete.
me to conduct their side of a quarrel in print for them whenever they desire me to do it; or if they are busy, and have not the time to ask me, I will cheerfully do it anyhow.  In closing this I must remark that if any question the right of the clergymen of Elmira to turn Mr. Beecher out of the Ministerial Union, to such I answer that Mr. Beecher recreated that institution after it had been dead for many years, and invited those gentlemen to come into it, which they did, and so of course they have a right to turn him out if they want to.  The difference between Beecher and the man who put an adder in his bosom is, that Beecher put in more adders than he did, and consequently had a proportionately livelier time of it when they got warmed up.)


The indignity put upon the remains of George Holland by the RevMr. Sabine

(See Chapter lxxvii)

What a ludicrous satire it was upon Christian charity!—­even upon the vague, theoretical idea of it which doubtless this small saint mouths from his own pulpit every Sunday.  Contemplate this freak of nature, and think what a Cardiff giant of self-righteousness is crowded into his pigmy skin.  If we probe, and dissect; and lay open this diseased, this cancerous piety of his, we are forced to the conviction that it is the production of an impression on his part that his guild do about all the good that is done on the earth, and hence are better than common clay —­hence are competent to say to such as George Holland, “You are unworthy; you are a play-actor, and consequently a sinner; I cannot take the responsibility of recommending you to the mercy of Heaven.”  It must have had its origin in that impression, else he would have thought, “We are all instruments for the carrying out of God’s purposes; it is not for me to pass judgment upon your appointed share of the work, or to praise or to revile it; I have divine authority for it that we are all sinners, and therefore it is not for me to discriminate and say we will supplicate for this sinner, for he was a merchant prince or a banker, but we will beseech no forgiveness for this other one, for he was a play-actor.”

It surely requires the furthest possible reach of self-righteousness to enable a man to lift his scornful nose in the air and turn his back upon so poor and pitiable a thing as a dead stranger come to beg the last kindness that humanity can do in its behalf.  This creature has violated the letter of the Gospel, and judged George Holland—­not George Holland, either, but his profession through him.  Then it is, in a measure, fair that we judge this creature’s guild through him.  In effect he has said, “We are the salt of the earth; we do all the good work that is done; to learn how to be good and do good

Project Gutenberg
Mark Twain, a Biography. Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook