Mark Twain's Speeches eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 350 pages of information about Mark Twain's Speeches.


          Addressat the actorsfund fair, Philadelphia, in 1895

Ladies and gentlemen,—­The—­er this—­er—­welcome occasion gives me an —­er—­opportunity to make an—­er—­explanation that I have long desired to deliver myself of.  I rise to the highest honors before a Philadelphia audience.  In the course of my checkered career I have, on divers occasions, been charged—­er—­maliciously with a more or less serious offence.  It is in reply to one of the more—­er—­important of these that I wish to speak.  More than once I have been accused of writing obituary poetry in the Philadelphia Ledger.

I wish right here to deny that dreadful assertion.  I will admit that once, when a compositor in the Ledger establishment, I did set up some of that poetry, but for a worse offence than that no indictment can be found against me.  I did not write that poetry—­at least, not all of it.


My friends for some years now have remarked that I am an inveterate consumer of tobacco.  That is true, but my habits with regard to tobacco have changed.  I have no doubt that you will say, when I have explained to you what my present purpose is, that my taste has deteriorated, but I do not so regard it.

Whenever I held a smoking-party at my house, I found that my guests had always just taken the pledge.

Let me tell you briefly the history of my personal relation to tobacco.  It began, I think, when I was a lad, and took the form of a quid, which I became expert in tucking under my tongue.  Afterward I learned the delights of the pipe, and I suppose there was no other youngster of my age who could more deftly cut plug tobacco so as to make it available for pipe-smoking.

Well, time ran on, and there came a time when I was able to gratify one of my youthful ambitions—­I could buy the choicest Havana cigars without seriously interfering with my income.  I smoked a good many, changing off from the Havana cigars to the pipe in the course of a day’s smoking.

At last it occurred to me that something was lacking in the Havana cigar.  It did not quite fulfil my youthful anticipations.  I experimented.  I bought what was called a seed-leaf cigar with a Connecticut wrapper.  After a while I became satiated of these, and I searched for something else, The Pittsburg stogy was recommended to me.  It certainly had the merit of cheapness, if that be a merit in tobacco, and I experimented with the stogy.

Then, once more, I changed off, so that I might acquire the subtler flavor of the Wheeling toby.  Now that palled, and I looked around New York in the hope of finding cigars which would seem to most people vile, but which, I am sure, would be ambrosial to me.  I couldn’t find any.  They put into my hands some of those little things that cost ten cents a box, but they are a delusion.

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Mark Twain's Speeches from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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