THE DINNER TO MR. CHOATE
Too Long; Didn't Read AT A DINNER GIVEN IN HONOR OF AMBASSADOR JOSEPH H. CHOATE AT
THE LOTOS CLUB, NOVEMBER 24, 1902
The speakers, among others, were: Senator Depew, William Henry
White, Speaker Thomas Reed, and Mr. Choate. Mr. Clemens spoke,
in part, as follows:
The greatness of this country rests on two anecdotes. The first one is that of Washington and his hatchet, representing the foundation of true speaking, which is the characteristic of our people. The second one is an old one, and I’ve been waiting to hear it to-night; but as nobody has told it yet, I will tell it.
You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it many, many times more. It is an anecdote of our guest, of the time when he was engaged as a young man with a gentle Hebrew, in the process of skinning the client. The main part in that business is the collection of the bill for services in skinning the man. “Services” is the term used in that craft for the operation of that kind-diplomatic in its nature.
Choate’s—co-respondent—made out a bill for $500 for his services, so called. But Choate told him he had better leave the matter to him, and the next day he collected the bill for the services and handed the Hebrew $5000, saying, “That’s your half of the loot,” and inducing that memorable response: “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”