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ADDRESS AT A DINNER GIVEN BY THE SAVAGE CLUB, LONDON, SEPTEMBER 28, 1872. Reported by Moncure D. Conway in the Cincinnati Commercial. It affords me sincere pleasure to meet this distinguished club, a club which has extended its hospitalities and its cordial welcome to so many of my countrymen. I hope [and here the speaker’s voice became low and fluttering] you will excuse these clothes. I am going to the theatre; that will explain these clothes. I have other clothes than these. Judging human nature by what I have seen of it, I suppose that the customary thing for a stranger to do when he stands here is to make a pun on the name of this club, under the impression, of course, that he is the first man that that idea has occurred to. It is a credit to our human nature, not a blemish upon it; for it shows that underlying all our depravity (and God knows and you know we are depraved enough) and all our sophistication, and untarnished by them, there is a sweet germ of innocence and simplicity still. When a stranger says to me, with a glow of inspiration in his eye, some gentle, innocuous little thing about “Twain and one flesh,” and all that sort of thing, I don’t try to crush that man into the earth—no. I feel like saying: “Let me take you by the hand, sir; let me embrace you; I have not heard that pun for weeks.” We will deal in palpable puns. We will call parties named King “Your Majesty,” and we will say to the Smiths that we think we have heard that name before somewhere. Such is human nature. We cannot alter this. It is God that made us so for some good and wise purpose. Let us not repine. But though I may seem strange, may seem eccentric, I mean to refrain from punning upon the name of this club, though I could make a very good one if I had time to think about it—a week.
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Mark Twain

American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer.

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