TWAIN'S WANING CONSCIENCE.
No More Left Than a Millionaire, He Says at Putzel Dinner.
Four hundred members of the Freundschaft Club met at their quarters, Park Avenue and Seventy-second Street, last night, to do honor to their late President, Charles Putzel, on his appointment as Tax Commissioner. Among those who were asked to meet him all were officers or ex-officers except Mark Twain. The Chairman, Julius J. Frank, explained that the humorist was King of all Hearts and all Affection. Mayor McClellan sent a letter of regret.
Mr. Putzel remarked that when Mayor McClellan appointed him to office the members of the Freundschaft evidently assumed that he was selected to reduce the assessments on the club. The dinner was set three weeks before the close of swearing-off time. Then the club could sing:
What is it to us if taxes rise and fall!
Thanks to our Putzel, we pay none at all.
After Signor Campanari had sung the Toreador's song Attorney General Mayer was introduced. Then ex-Controller Grout assured the new Tax Commissioner that if he needed criticism he had only to assess The Journal, The World, The Sun, The Herald, and The Eagle at their true value.
Mark Twain, who received an ovation, said:
"Mr. Putzel is related to me in a very tender way through taxes. They are a sore subject to me and I was glad to hear there was any foreign product untaxable in America except the answer to prayer.
"When I went to his office and saw Putzel in the receipt of perjury, I recognized him right away. Years ago I met him in a bookstore. I asked him the discount of a book for a publisher. He said 40 per cent. I asked him the discount to an author. He jotted down another 40 per cent. What was it to clergy? Forty per cent again.
"Well, I said, I was only on my way there, kind of studying. So he put down 20 per cent without a smile. I was in despair and asked him for 10 off, as a member of the human race. He never moved a muscle, but as I left the store called me back for the book and the 40 cents that was coming to me.
"I hoped I might get something from him now as Tax Commissioner. I put up my hand and made a statement. It was pain and grief to me, for I was brought up in the pious circles of Missouri. But a year in New York had left me with no more conscience than a millionaire. I would like to compliment him, anyway, for I may get relief next year.
"Attorney General Mayer suggested I might be a Supreme Court Judge. I can't be that, for I know nothing of the administration of justice. But I understand from his speech he is the propagator of crime for the whole State, and, as I am reasonably familiar with crime, I might have his job.
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