Home | Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search

The New York Times, February 8, 1906

He's All Right, but as to His Knowledge of Veracity - Well!

Mark Twain declared last night that he had never told a lie in his life - up to that moment. Then he said he was glad to be present. Mr. Clemens was a guest at the dinner and entertainment given at the Press Club in memory of Charles Dickens under the auspices of the American branch of the Dickens Fellowship. George Cary Eggleston, Honorary President of the Dickens Fellowship, was toastmaster.

"John D. Rockefeller, Jr.," said Mr. Clemens, "told his Sunday school class a few weeks ago all about veracity, and why it was better that everybody should always keep a plentiful supply on hand, and I want to say to you that among the hundreds of letters I receive each week many of them have suggested that I ought to attend Mr. Rockefeller's class. I know Mr. Rockefeller very well. He is a fine fellow, and competent in many ways, but as to his knowledge of veracity - well, he is only 35 years old, and I am 70. I have been familiar with veracity twice as long as he has."

Mr. Clemens asserted that the world at large has missed the point of the story little George Washington told his father about the cherry tree episode. The boy did not tell a lie, because he could have done so had he felt like it, and he would not have had to attend a Rockefeller class to teach him now. The pith of the story was the astonishment of George's father to find that he had a son who had a chance to tell a lie and didn't do it.

Return to The New York Times index

Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search