I should like to see the time come when women shall help to make the laws. I should like to see that whip-lash, the ballot, in the hands of women. As for this city's government, I don't want to say much, except that it is a shame--a shame; but if I should live twenty-five years longer--and there is no reason why I shouldn't--I think I'll see women handle the ballot. If women had the ballot to-day, the state of things in this town would not exist.
If all the women in this town had a vote to-day they would elect a mayor at the next election, and they would rise in their might and change the awful state of things now existing here.
ADDRESS AT AN EARLY BANQUET OF THE WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENTS' CLUB
The twelfth toast was as follows: "Woman--The pride of any profession, and the jewel of ours."
MR. PRESIDENT,--I do not know why I should be singled out to receive the greatest distinction of the evening--for so the office of replying to the toast of woman has been regarded in every age. I do not know why I have received his distinction, unless it be that I am a trifle less homely than the other members of the club. But be this as it may, Mr. President, I am proud of the position, and you could not have chosen any one who would have accepted it more gladly, or labored with a heartier good-will to do the subject justice than I--because, sir, I love the sex. I love all the women, irrespective of age or color.
Human intellect cannot estimate what we owe to woman, sir. She sews on our buttons; she mends our clothes; she ropes us in at the church fairs; she confides in us; she tells us whatever she can find out about the little private affairs of the neighbors; she gives us good advice, and plenty of it; she soothes our aching brows; she bears our children--ours as a general thing. In all relations of life, sir, it is but a just and graceful tribute to woman to say of her that she is a brick.
Wheresoever you place woman, sir--in whatever position or estate--she is an ornament to the place she occupies, and a treasure to the world. [Here Mr. Clemens paused, looked inquiringly at his hearers, and remarked that the applause should come in at this point. It came in. He resumed his eulogy.] Look at Cleopatra! look at Desdemona!--look at Florence Nightingale!--look at Joan of Arc!--look at Lucretia Borgia! [Disapprobation expressed.] Well [said Mr. Clemens, scratching his head, doubtfully], suppose we let Lucretia slide. Look at Joyce Heth!--look at Mother Eve! You need not look at her unless you want to, but [said Mr. Clemens, reflectively, after a pause] Eve was ornamental, sir-- particularly before the fashions changed. I repeat, sir, look at the illustrious names of history. Look at the Widow Machree!--look at Lucy Stone!--look at Elizabeth Cady Stanton!--look at George Francis Train! And, sir, I say it with bowed head and deepest veneration--look at the mother of Washington! She raised a boy that could not tell a lie--could not tell a lie! But he never had any chance. It might have been different if he had belonged to the Washington Newspaper Correspondents' Club.
I repeat, sir, that in whatever position you place a woman she is an ornament to society and a treasure to the world. As a sweetheart, she has few equals and no superiors; as a cousin, she is convenient; as a wealthy grandmother with an incurable distemper, she is precious; as a wetnurse, she has no equal among men.
What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce. Then let us cherish her; let us protect her; let us give her our support, our encouragement, our sympathy, ourselves--if we get a chance.
But, jesting aside, Mr. President, woman is lovable, gracious, kind of heart, beautiful--worthy of all respect, of all esteem, of all deference. Not any here will refuse to drink her health right cordially in this bumper of wine, for each and every one has personally known, and loved, and honored the very best one of them all--his own mother.