Friday, April 29, 2011


A Grotesque Swindle

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain), letter to Sylvester Baxter (November 20, 1889), on the coup that toppled Brazil's Emperor Pedro II:
Another throne has gone down, and I swim in oceans of satisfaction. I wish I might live fifty years longer; I believe I should see the thrones of Europe selling at auction for old iron. I believe I should really see the end of what is surely the grotesquest of all the swindles ever invented by man—monarchy. It is enough to make a graven image laugh, to see apparently rational people, away down here in this wholesome and merciless slaughter-day for shams, still mouthing empty reverence for those moss-backed frauds and scoundrelisms, hereditary kingship and so-called "nobility." It is enough to make the monarchs and nobles themselves laugh—and in private they do; there can be no question about that.
Too bad Twain's prediction didn't come true.

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