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ron hohenhaus <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Sat, 9 Jun 2007 22:04:16 +1000
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The following 1899 newspaper clipping tumbled out of an 1898 edition of
"More Tramps Abroad". Other than the fact that it seems to be a snippet of
an interview with Mark Twain, I doubt it's anything too remarkable.

However, I thought members of the list might find it of interest -- or
perhaps know more about the providence of this particular passage, which was
marked "Daily Mail, 11 November 1899." I'm not sure which "Daily Mail" this
refers to. It might be the London paper or one of several such mastheads in
the antipodes.

I trust the less-than-flattering remarks about the 'Boer' will not offend
any reader. I offer this text merely as a historical curiosity as I know
little or nothing of the subjects mentioned herein (all errors in
transcribing the text are mine). I also note that no such interview is
mentioned in Louis Budd's 1977  edition of "Interviews with Samuel L.
Clemens 1874-1910".

Perhaps this bit of editorialising is what we would call an "opinion piece"


Ron Hohenhaus
Australian Mark Twain Society

The Boer in Peace Time. Mark Twain's Analysis of the Burgher of To-day.

Mark Twain has met the Boer, and this is what he says of him: -- "He is
deeply religious; profoundly ignorant; dull, obstinate, bigoted; uncleanly
in his habits; hospitable, honest in his dealings with the whites, a hard
master to his black servant, lazy, a good shot, good horseman, addicted to
the chase; a lover of political independence, a good husband and father; not
fond of herding together in towns, but liking the seclusion and remoteness
and solitude and empty vastness and silence of the veldt; a man of mighty
appetite, and not delicate about what he appeases it with -- well satisfied
with pork, and Indian corn and biltong, requiring only that the quantity
shall not be stinted; willing to ride a long journey to take a hand in a
rude all-night dance interspaced with vigorous feeding and boisterous
jollity, but ready to ride twice as far for a prayer meeting; proud of his
Dutch and Huguenot origin and its religious and military history; proud of
his race achievements in South Africa -- its bold plunges into hostile and
uncharted deserts in search of free solitudes unvexed by the pestering and
detested English, also its victories over the natives and the British;
proudest of all, of the direct and effusive personal interest which the
Deity has always taken in its affairs.
"He cannot read he cannot write; he has one or two newspapers; but he is
apparently not aware of it, until latterly, he had no schools, and taught
his children nothing; news is a term which has no meaning to him, and the
thing itself he cares nothing about. He hates to be taxed, and resents it.
He has stood stock still in South Africa for two centuries and a half, and
would like to stand still till the end of time, for he has no sympathy with
uitlander notions of progress.
"He is hungry to be rich and wishes that he had never been discovered."