A "WAR PRAYER" BY TWAIN.
Unpublished Article by Author Read in St. Louis.
Special to The New York Times.
ST. LOUIS. Dec. 6. - An unpublished article by Mark Twain, called "The War Prayer," was recalled by Dr. Henry Neuman, leader of the Ethical Culture Society in Brooklyn, this morning in his address on "Mark Twain" before the Ethical Society of St. Louis.
The story tells how a regiment on its way to the front assembles at a church and prays for victory. When the prayer is concluded a white-robed stranger enters to say he has been sent from "On High" with a message that the petition will be answered if the men care to repeat it after understanding its full import. Their prayer, he tells them, asks for more than they seem to realize. Hence he bids them listen while he repeats aloud these unspoken implications of their desire:
"O, Lord, we go forth to smite the foe. Help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiting fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief. For our sakes, who adore thee, Lord, blast their steps, water their way with their tears."
Because he was told that this article would be regarded as sacrilegious, Mark
Twain, who, according to Dr. Neuman, was a free thinker, did not permit it.