England's coat of arms should be a lion's head & shoulders welded onto
a cur's hindquarters.
- Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, vol. 3
Illustration from WASHINGTON TIMES, June 28, 1907
reprinting the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Wherever they can stick a name so that it shall glorify anything pertaining
to England, there they stick it. You never hear of an Englishman speak
of the Hawaiian Islands--no, he calls them the Sandwich Islands; Cook
discovered them second-hand, by following a Spanish chart three hundred
years old, which is still in the British Museum, and named them for some
one-horse Earl of Sandwich, that nobody had heard of before, and hasn't
since--a man that probably never achieved any work that was really gorgeous
during his earthly mission, excepting his invention for confining a slice
of ham between two slices of bread in such a manner as to enable even
the least gifted of our race to eat bread and meat at the same time, without
being bewildered by too elaborate a conjunction of ideas. I suppose, if
the real truth were known, some foreigner invented the Sandwich, but England
gave it a name, in her usual cheerful fashion. They never even speak of
the whale that swallowed Jonah merely as a whale, but as the Prince of
Wales. They think it suggests that he was an English whale. If he was
that, that is sufficient. That covers up any probable flaws in his character.
It is nothing to them that he went about gobbling up the prophets wherever
he found them; it is nothing that he interfered with their business--nothing
that he put them to infinite delay, discomfort and annoyance; it is nothing
that he disgorged prophets in such a condition, as to personal appearance,
that they might well feel a delicacy about preaching in a strange city.
No--being an English whale was sufficient to make this infamous conduct
excusable; and being English, they are willing to let the "great
fish" pass for a whale, notwithstanding a whale's throat is not large
enough to let a man do down.
Howard Baetzhold's book
MARK TWAIN AND JOHN BULL:
THE BRITISH CONNECTION
with cover design by Guy Fleming
from Indiana University Press.
Jacket scan is from the
Dave Thomson collection.
This book is currently out of print but
frequently available from
amazon's used book sites.
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