“The White House Funeral” by Mark Twain


To the Editor of The Tribune.

I can truly say that this has been the most melancholy day of my life. When I arose this morning & reflected that on this day it was to be given me to see that noble band of patriots, the President & his Cabinet, delivered over to the cold charities of a thankless nation, my heart was ready to break. My brain was flooded with tender memories of blessings brought to me by this paternal administration that was now dying — memories of clerkships which I had held & salaries I had received for work which was never required of me; memories of the franking privilege enjoyed by me, along with all the cooks, & barbers, & Congressmen, & correspondents in Washington; of building-stone which I had been allowed to sell from the Capitol grounds & pocket the money, owing to my acquaintance with certain officials of the Senate; of sums I had clandestinely amassed by procuring & selling to the Associated Press the President’s several Messages before they were transmitted to Congress — these, & a thousand touching recollections of a like nature came thronging in sad procession down the corridors of my memory, & I bowed my head & wept…

See The Full Unpublished Letter at Mark Twain Project