The New York Times
23 December 1882
On Plymouth Rock Again. The Pilgrims Sons Talking of Their Forefathers. New-England men in New-York Congratulating Themselves and the Country on Their Ancestors' Virtues and the Resultant Blessings.
The seventy-seventh annual dinner of the New-England Society of New-York was given at Delmonicos last evening, and about 250 gentlemen, members of the society and their friends, braved the inclement weather and celebrated the two hundred and sixty-second anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims by attending the banquet. The banquet hall was decorated simply with American flags and streamers, and the shields of the 11 original States were scattered in convenient positions about the walls. The raised table for the officers and distinguished guests extended along the entire western end of the room, and below this five lower tables stretched down the hall. These, however, were found insufficient to accommodate the large number of guests, and one of the parlors was transformed into a dining-room, in which covers were laid for about 25 of the guests. A string band enlivened the dinner with popular music. Josiah M. Fiske, President of the Society, presided at the dinner, supported on the left by Gen. U.S. Grant, and on the right by Joseph B. Choate. The other guests at the principal table were Senator Miller, of California; Gov. John D. Long, of Massachusetts; Gen. Horace Porter, Samuel L. Clemens, (Mark Twain), the Rev. J. R. Paxton, Commodore Upshur, of the Brooklyn Navy Yard; Col. W.T. Villas, of Madison, Wis.; Gov. Hobart V. Bigelow, of Connecticut; Mayor Grace, Benjamin D. Stillman, President of the Brooklyn New-England Society; Judge Abram R. Lawrence, Chauncey M. Depew, F.W. Hurst, and the Rev. Arthur Brooks....
It was nearly 9 o'clock before the descendants of the Pilgrims concluded the frugal repast which Delmonico had provided for them, and when cigars were lighted, the President, Josiah M. Fiske, called the assembly to order....
[The Times then published in full the remarks by the following speakers on the specified toasts:
The (New York) Evening Post
23 December 1882
The New England Society. Last Night's Dinner--The Speeches.
The seventy-seventh annual dinner of the New England Society took place at Delmonicos last evening. Josiah M. Fiske presided and about two hundred and fifty guests were present, including many prominent persons. After dinner Mr. Fiske called the company to order and Mr. Choate replied to the first toast, Forefathers Day, in his usual happy style.
[Other speeches deleted]
Mark Twain next spoke on Woman, and kept the tables in a roar by comparing the dress fashions prevailing among savages and the belles of modern society to the disadvantage of the latter. In the course of his remarks, he said: Among the Fans, a great negro tribe, a woman when dressed for home, or to go to market, or to go out calling, does not wear anything at all but just her complexion. That is all; that is her entire outfit. It is the lightest costume in the world, but is made of the darkest material. It has often been mistaken for mourning. It is the trimmest, and neatest, and gracefulest costume that is now in fashion; it wears well, is fast colors, doesnt show dirt. You dont have to send it down town to wash and have some of it come back scorched with the flatiron, and some of it with the buttons ironed off, and some of it petrified with starch, and some of it chewed by the calf, and some of it exchanged for other customers things that havent any virtue but holiness, and ten-twelfths of the pieces overcharged for, and the rest of the dozen mislaid. And it always fits; it is the perfection of a fit. And it is the handiest dress in the whole realm of fashion. It is always ready, always done up. When you call on a Fan lady and send up your card, the hired girl never says: Please take a seat; Madame is dressing--she will be down in three-quarters of an hour. No, Madame is always ready dressed, always ready to receive: and before you can get the door mat before your eyes she is in you midst. Then, again, the Fan ladies dont go to church to see what each other has got on; and they dont go back home and describe it and slander it. Such is the dark child of savagery as to every-day toilet, and thus, curiously enough, she finds a point of contact with the fair daughter of civilization and high fashion--who often has nothing to wear--and thus these widely-separated types of the sex meet upon common ground. Yes; such is the Fan-woman, as she appears in her simple, unostentatious every-day toilet. But on state occasions she is more dressy. At a banquet she wears bracelets; at a lecture she wears earrings and a belt; at a ball she wears stockings, and, with true feminine fondness for display, she wears them on her arms; at a funeral she wears a jacket of tar and ashes; at a wedding the bride who can afford it puts on pantaloons. Thus the dark child of savagery and the fair daughter of civilization meet once more upon common ground, and these two touches of nature make their whole world kin.
[excerpts from others speeches deleted]
New York Herald
23 December 1882
Forefathers' Day. Seventy-Seventh Annual Dinner of the New England Society. Glorifying the Pilgrims. Speeches by Joseph H. Choate, General Grant, "Mark Twain" and Others. Mayor Grace on Home Rule.
About four hundred members and friends of the New England Society of this city sat down to the seventy-seventh annual dinner, at Delmonico's, last night. At the guests' table sat President Josiah M. Fiske, with General Grant upon his left hand and Joseph H. Choate upon his right. Ranged on either side were also Governor Long, of Massachusetts; Mayor Grace, Chauncey M. Depew, Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain), General Horace K. Porter, Senator Miller, of California; Governor Hobart V. Bigelow, General W.F. Vilas, Walter Watson, Judge Lawrence, F.W. J. Hurst, Commodore Upshur, John Savage, President Benjamin S. Silliman, of the New England Society of Brooklyn; Rev. Dr. Paxum and Rev. Arthur Brooks. At the heads of the five lower tables sat respectively Messrs. C.N. Bliss, Julius Catlin, Judge Horace Russell, William B. Dinsmore and C.W. Griswold, and among others present were Mr. Russell Sage, Mr. George C. Wilson, Mr.Whitelaw Reid, Colonel Ferdinand P. Earle, Mr. Henry C. Bowen, Mr. Jonathan Marshall, Colonel John H. Kemp, Mr. Charles Besman and General Stewart L. Woodford.
Grace was asked by Rev. Dr. Paxum and then the music sounded, the oysters were served and the descendants of the Pilgrims fell to with a will. When coffee was placed on the board thanks were returned by Rev. Arthur Brooks, and then President Fiske made a brief address, welcoming the guests to the seventy-seventh annual feast of the society. He announced that the statue to the Pilgrims in Central park would probably be unveiled during the ensuing year. One of the needs of the city, he said, was a "New England Hall," and it was hoped that this want might be filled. Mr. Fiske then announced the first toast of the evening, "Forefathers' Day," and introduced Mr. Joseph H. Choate, one of the ex-presidents of the society, to speak to it.
[ other speeches deleted]
"Mark Twain" on Woman.
"Woman--God Bless Her," was the toast assigned to "Mark Twain." The toast, he said, includes the sex universally; it is to woman comprehensively wheresoever she may be found. Let us consider her ways. First comes the matter of dress. This is a most important consideration in a subject of this nature, and must be disposed of before we can intelligently proceed to examine the profounder depths of the theme. (Laughter.) For text let us take the dress of two antipodal types--the savage woman of Central Africa and the cultivated daughter of our high modern civilization. Among the Fans a great negro tribe, a woman, when dressed for home or to go to market or out calling, does not wear anything at all but just her complexion--(laughter)--that is all; that is her entire outfit. It is the lightest costume in the world, but is made of the darkest material. It has often been mistaken for mourning. It is the trimmest and neatest and gracefullest costume that is now in fashion. It wears well, is fast colors, does not show dirt. You don't have to send it down town to wash and have some of it come back scorched with the flat iron, and some of it with the buttons ironed off, and some of it petrified with starch, and some of it chewed by the calf, and some of it exchanged for other customers' things that haven't any virtue but holiness, and ten-twelfths of the pieces overcharged for the rest "mislaid." And it always fits. And it is the handiest dress in the whole realm of fashion. It is always ready "done up." When you call on a Fan lady and send up your card the hired girl never says, "Please take a seat; madame is dressing--she will be down in three-quarters of an hour." No, madame is always ready dressed--always ready to receive--and before you can get the door mat before your eyes she is in your midst. Then, again, the Fan ladies don't go to church to see what each other has got on and they don't go back home and describe it and slander it.
Such is the child of savagery as to everyday toilet, and thus, curiously enough, she finds a point of contact with the fair daughter of civilization and high position who often has "nothing to wear," and thus these widely separated types of the sex meet upon common ground. Yes; such is the Fan woman as she appears in her simple unostentatious everyday toilet. But on state occasions she is more dressy. At a banquet she wears bracelets; at a lecture she wears earrings and a belt; at a ball she wears stockings, and, with the true feminine fondness for display, she wears them on her arms; at a funeral she wears a jacket of tar and ashes; at a wedding the bride who can afford it puts on pantaloons. Thus the dark child of savagery and the fair daughter of civilization meet once more upon common ground, and these two touches of nature make their whole world kin.The Other Type
Now we will consider the dress of our other type. A large part of the daughter of civilization is her dress--as it should be. Some civilized women would lose half their charm without dress, and some would lose all of it. The daughter of modern civilization dressed at her utmost best is a marvel of exquisite and beautiful art and--expense. All the lands and all the climes and all the arts are laid under tribute to furnish her forth. Her linen is from Belfast, her robe is from Paris, her lace is from Venice or France or Spain, her feathers are from the remote regions of Southern Africa, her furs from the remoter home of the iceberg and the aurora, her fan from Japan, her diamonds from Brazil, her bracelets from California, her pearls from Ceylon; her cameos from Rome. She has gems and trinkets from buried Pompeii and others that graced comely Egyptian forms that have been dust and ashes now for forty centuries, her watch is from Geneva, her cardcase is from China, her hair (laughter) is from--from--I don't know where her hair is from; I never could find out that. That is her other hair, her public hair, her Sunday hair; I don't mean the hair she goes to bed with. Why, you ought to know the hair I mean; it's that thing which she calls a switch, and which resembles a switch as much as it does a brickbat--(laughter)--or a shotgun or any other thing which you can correct people with. It's that thing which she twists and then coils round and round her head, beehive fashion, and then tucks the end in under the hive and harpoons it with a hairpin. And that reminds me of a trifle:--Any time you want to you can glance around the carpet of a Pullman car and go and pick up a hairpin; but not to save your life can you get any woman in that car to acknowledge that hairpin. Now isn't that strange? But it's true. The woman who has never swerved from cast iron morality and fidelity in her whole life, will, when confronted with this crucial test, deny her hairpin. (Laughter.) She will deny that hairpin before a hundred witnesses. I have stupidly got into more trouble and more hot water trying to hunt up the owner of a hairpin in a Pullman car than by any other indiscretion in my life. (Laughter.)
Well, you see what the daughter of civilization is when she is dressed, and you have seen what the daughter of savagery is when she is not. Such is woman as to costume. I come now to consider her in her higher and nobler aspects--as mother, wife, widow--(laughter)--grass widow, mother-in-law, hired girl, telegraph operator, telephone halloer, queen, book agent, wet nurse, stepmother, boss, professional double-headed woman, professional beauty and so forth and so on. We will simply discuss these few--let the rest of the sex tarry in Jericho till we come again. First on the list of right and first on our list comes a woman who--why, dear me, I've been talking three-quarters of an hour. I beg a thousand pardons. But you see yourselves that I had a large contract. I have accomplished something anyway. I have introduced my subject, and if I had till next Forefathers' Day I am satisfied that I could discuss it as adequately and appreciatively a glorious and noble theme deserves. But, as the matter stands now, let us finish as we began and say, without jesting but with all sincerity, Woman--God Bless her! (Applause.)
[remaining speeches deleted]