In 1907 a young girl whom Mr. Clemens met on the steamer Minnehaha called him "grandpa," and he called her his granddaughter. She was attending St. Timothy's School, at Catonsville, Maryland, and Mr. Clemens promised her to see her graduate. He accordingly made the journey from New York on June 10, 1909, and delivered a short address.

I don't know what to tell you girls to do. Mr. Martin has told you everything you ought to do, and now I must give you some don'ts.

There are three things which come to my mind which I consider excellent advice:

First, girls, don't smoke--that is, don't smoke to excess. I am seventy- three and a half years old, and have been smoking seventy-three of them. But I never smoke to excess--that is, I smoke in moderation, only one cigar at a time.

Second, don't drink--that is, don't drink to excess.

Third, don't marry--I mean, to excess.

Honesty is the best policy. That is an old proverb; but you don't want ever to forget it in your journey through life.



At the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of Tuskeegee Institute by Booker Washington, Mr. Choate presided, and in introducing Mr. Clemens made fun of him because he made play his work, and that when he worked hardest he did so lying in bed.

I came here in the responsible capacity of policeman to watch Mr. Choate. This is an occasion of grave and serious importance, and it seems necessary for me to be present, so that if he tried to work off any statement that required correction, reduction, refutation, or exposure, there would be a tried friend of the public to protect the house. He has not made one statement whose veracity fails to tally exactly with my own standard. I have never seen a person improve so. This makes me thankful and proud of a country that can produce such men--two such men. And all in the same country. We can't be with you always; we are passing away, and then--well, everything will have to stop, I reckon. It is a sad thought. But in spirit I shall still be with you. Choate, too--if he can.

Every born American among the eighty millions, let his creed or destitution of creed be what it may, is indisputably a Christian--to this degree that his moral constitution is Christian.

There are two kinds of Christian morals, one private and the other public. These two are so distinct, so unrelated, that they are no more akin to each other than are archangels and politicians. During three hundred and sixty-three days in the year the American citizen is true to his Christian private morals, and keeps undefiled the nation's character at its best and highest; then in the other two days of the year he leaves his Christian private morals at home and carries his Christian public morals to the tax office and the polls, and does the best he can to damage and undo his whole year's faithful and righteous work. Without a blush he will vote for an unclean boss if that boss is his party's Moses, without compunction he will vote against the best man in the whole land if he is on the other ticket. Every year in a number of cities and States he helps put corrupt men in office, whereas if he would but throw away his Christian public morals, and carry his Christian private morals to the polls, he could promptly purify the public service and make the possession of office a high and honorable distinction.

Once a year he lays aside his Christian private morals and hires a ferry- boat and piles up his bonds in a warehouse in New Jersey for three days, and gets out his Christian public morals and goes to the tax office and holds up his hands and swears he wishes he may never--never if he's got a cent in the world, so help him. The next day the list appears in the papers--a column and a quarter of names, in fine print, and every man in the list a billionaire and member of a couple of churches.

Mark Twain
Classic Literature Library

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