WARM APOLOGIES TO MARK TWAIN
Women's Theatre Club Turns Down Its President, Mrs. Rosenfeld.
A BELOVED INSTITUTION
Letter of Apology Calls Him and Puts Him Next but One After the Constitution.
The members of the Actors' Fund Fair Committee of the Century Theatre Club held a fervid meeting yesterday morning in the rooms of the Woman's Professional League, in the Berkeley Lyceum Building, and voted that it was a shame that Christian Science and Mark Twain had come into collision over the fair. They had little sympathy for Mrs. Sidney Rosenfeld, President of their society, who wrote to Mr. Clemens asking him not to assist at their booth because of his hostility to Christian Science.
The women yesterday morning elected no less than three committees; one to call on Mr. Clemens and apologize for Mrs. Rosenfeld's action; one to explain to the newspapers how all the trouble began, and one to hold a conference with Mrs. Rosenfeld. Mrs. Rosenfeld, when conferred with soon afterward, insisted that her action in the matter of writing to Mr. Clemens was entirely personal and not in her capacity as President of the club. At the same time, she strenuously declared that she would rather resign from the club than apologize for her action or permit Mr. Clemens to aid at the society booth at the Metropolitan Opera House.
A formal resolution of apology to Mr. Clemens was adopted at the general meeting. It said:
Resolved, That the Chairman of the committee representing the Century Theatre Club at the Actors' Fund Fair be hereby instructed to prepare a special report containing complete information concerning the invitation to Mr. Samuel M. [sic] Clemens to take especial part with the Century Theatre Club in nthe work for the fair; the information to include copies of all letters and other correspondence, written or received by officers of the Century Theatre Club or others hearing upon said invitation to Mr. Clemens, said special report to be presented to the next business meeting of the Century Theatre Club.
Resolved, That the members of the Auxiliary Committee of the Actors' Fund Fair, appointed from the Century Theatre Club, do herewith express their fullest confidence in Mrs. Edith Ellis Baker, Chairman of said committee, and unqualifiedly approves every and all executive acts of hers while Chairman of this committee, an further appreciate and thank her for her intelligent, energetic, and successful direction of the Century Theatre Club's portion of the work for the Actor's Fund Fair.
The particularly significant part of this was that it upheld Mrs. Baker, Chairman of the Committee, who had revolted from Mrs. Rosenfeld, and insisted on doing the square thing by Mr. Clemens. Considerable correspondence passed between Mrs. Baker and Mrs. Rosenfeld on the subject. Both are Christian Scientists, but Mrs. Baker could not see how the presence of Mark Twain at the society booth would wreck her faith in the teaching of Mrs. Eddy. These letters were presented as exhibits in the case yesterday.
Exhibit 1, dated April 24 was a letter from Mrs. Rosenfeld, C. S., to Mrs. Baker, in which Mrs. Rosenfeld explained that she had just heard of the invitation to Mr. Clemens, and felt that if the humorist appeared at the booth she would have to withdraw from the presidency on religious grounds.
Exhibit 2, the result of a protest in answer to the first letter, was a similar document from the same to the same, in which Mrs. Rosenfeld says: "Now, remember that there is no 'concord between Christ and Belial.' We must choose between truth and error. Mark Twain the man is nothing to me. I have no objection to him as an individual - but Mark Twain as the avenue through which error has striven to attack and destroy truth, is Belial to me, and I can have no dealings with him."
Exhibit 3 is a letter from Mrs. Baker to Mrs. Rosenfeld, in which Mrs. Baker insists that, far from inviting Mr. Clemens without consulting Mrs. Rosenfeld, she spoke to her about it three times before seeing the author, and she, therefore, resented any affront offered Mark Twain in the name of the 400 members of the club.
"The club is not a religious organization," writes Mrs. Baker. "In its membership are people who are as bitter and vituperative in their statements regarding Christian Science as Mr. Twain. In your drawing room I was ridiculed and sneered at for defending my belief in the truth by a member of the club and a dear friend of yours. I love you too much not to deplore the attitude you are taking. If either alternative that you lay down is followed it will bring absolute ridicule on all Scientists."
Exhibit 4 is a letter of apology from Mrs. Baker to Mr. Clemens, disclaiming that the club had any knowledge of the President's action, and expressing regret for the occurrence. "Mrs. Rosenfeld," says the letter, "is an Englishwoman, and does not understand that, after the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation, you are our biggest native document and our best beloved institution."
As announced last night, Daniel Frohman has saved the situation by transferring Mr. Clemens to the Players' Booth. Though the club now has a special committee to apologize, it scarcely expects the beatific honor of getting the prize humorist - who is a bit of a prize pig at the fair - back to its particular booth. Mr. Clemens himself is still out of town, and probably glad of it. Mrs. Rosenfeld was reported to be at her Scientist church last night, but at her home she was said to be out of town also. There is to be a meeting of the club later to talk about its President.
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