Mark Twain's Speeches eBook

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

So if, as that gentleman said, a book does consist solely of ideas, that is the best argument in the world that it is property, and should not be under any limitation at all.  We don’t ask for that.  Fifty years from now we shall ask for it.

I hope the bill will pass without any deleterious amendments.  I do seem to be extraordinarily interested in a whole lot of arts and things that I have got nothing to do with.  It is a part of my generous, liberal nature; I can’t help it.  I feel the same sort of charity to everybody that was manifested by a gentleman who arrived at home at two o’clock in the morning from the club and was feeling so perfectly satisfied with life, so happy, and so comfortable, and there was his house weaving, weaving, weaving around.  He watched his chance, and by and by when the steps got in his neighborhood he made a jump and climbed up and got on the portico.

And the house went on weaving and weaving and weaving, but he watched the door, and when it came around his way he plunged through it.  He got to the stairs, and when he went up on all fours the house was so unsteady that he could hardly make his way, but at last he got to the top and raised his foot and put it on the top step.  But only the toe hitched on the step, and he rolled down and fetched up on the bottom step, with his arm around the newel-post, and he said: 

“God pity the poor sailors out at sea on a night like this.”


          Addressat A public meeting of the new York association for
          promoting the interests of the blind at the Waldorf Astoria,
          march 29, 1906

If you detect any awkwardness in my movements and infelicities in my conduct I will offer the explanation that I never presided at a meeting of any kind before in my life, and that I do find it out of my line.  I supposed I could do anything anybody else could, but I recognize that experience helps, and I do feel the lack of that experience.  I don’t feel as graceful and easy as I ought to be in order to impress an audience.  I shall not pretend that I know how to umpire a meeting like this, and I shall just take the humble place of the Essex band.

There was a great gathering in a small New England town, about twenty-five years ago.  I remember that circumstance because there was something that happened at that time.  It was a great occasion.  They gathered in the militia and orators and everybody from all the towns around.  It was an extraordinary occasion.

The little local paper threw itself into ecstasies of admiration and tried to do itself proud from beginning to end.  It praised the orators, the militia, and all the bands that came from everywhere, and all this in honest country newspaper detail, but the writer ran out of adjectives toward the end.  Having exhausted his whole magazine of praise and glorification, he found he still had one band left over.  He had to say something about it, and he said:  “The Essex band done the best it could.”

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