CLEMENS, Samuel (Mark Twain). Autograph letter signed (''S. L. Clemens'') to Charles Putzel, New York, 6 March 1906. 1 page, 8vo, on 21 Fifth Avenue stationery, matted and framed with a color engraving of Clemens.
CLEMENS, Samuel (Mark Twain). Autograph letter signed ("S. L. Clemens") to Charles Putzel, New York, 6 March 1906. 1 page, 8vo, on 21 Fifth Avenue stationery, matted and framed with a color engraving of Clemens.
GETTING READY TO ROAST THE TAXMAN
Charles Putzel was recently appointed a commissioner of taxation and wanted Clemens to come to a testimonial dinner in his honor on 8 March. "I can be there by 9:45 day after tomorrow evening," Clemens answers, " & shall be very glad but I want to be about the last speaker, or along there, so that I can gather a text or two from the previous talkers..." Clemens did exactly that. When the man introducing him at the dinner quoted the famous line from Puddn'head Wilson, "When in doubt, tell the truth," Clemens quips that he "never expected it to be applied to me. I did say, 'When you are in doubt," but when I am in doubt myself I use more sagacity.'" He then proceeds to extol the virtues of the newly elevated tax commissioner: "Mr. Putzel stands related to me in a very tender way (through the tax office), and it does not behoove me to say anything which could by any possibility militate against that condition of things. Now, that word--taxes, taxes, taxes! I have heard it to-night. I have heard it all night. I wish somebody would change that subject; that is a very sore subject to me...." The speech was a great success and the New York American next day said "The gray-haired humorist never was in better voice."