Mark Twain Wants $75,000
From Mark Twain, in the Forum.
VIENNA, Jan. 10 - I see by this morning's telegraphic news that I am not to be the new Ambassador here, after all. This--well, I hardly know what to say. I--well, of course I do not care anything about it; but it is at least a surprise. I have for many months been using my influence at Washington to et this diplomatic see expanded into an Ambassadorship, with the idea, of course, th-- But never mind. Let it go. It is of no consequence. I say it calmly; for I am calm. But at the same time--However, the subject has no interest for me, and never had. I never really intended to make the place, any way--I made up my mind to it months and months ago, nearly a year. But now, while I am calm, I would like to say this--that, so long as I shall continue to possess an American's proper price in the honor and dignity of his country, I will not take any Ambassadorship in the gift of the flag at a salary short of $75,000 a year. If I shall be charged with wanting to live beyond my country's means, I cannot help it. A country which cannot afford Ambassadors' wages should be ashamed to have Ambassadors.
Think of a Seventeen-thousand-five-hundred-dollar Ambassador! Particularly for America. Why, it is the most ludicrous spectacle, the most inconsistent and incongruous spectacle, contrivable by even the most diseased imagination. It is a billionaire in a paper collar, a king in a breech-clout, an archangel in a tin halo. And, for pure sham and hypocrisy, the salary is just the match of the Ambassador's official clothes.
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