But Among My Good
Words There Are So Many Which Are Bitter, That I Fear I Shall Have
Failed In My Object As Regards Them.
And it seems to me, as I read
once more my own pages, that in saying evil things of my friends I
have used language stronger than I intended; whereas I have omitted
to express myself with emphasis when I have attempted to say good
Why need I have told of the mud of Washington, or have
exposed the nakedness of Cairo? Why did I speak with such eager
enmity of those poor women in the New York cars, who never injured
me, now that I think of it? Ladies of New York, as I write this,
the words which were written among you are printed and cannot be
expunged; but I tender to you my apologies from my home in England.
And that Van Wyck Committee - might I not have left those contractors
to be dealt with by their own Congress, seeing that that Congress
committee was by no means inclined to spare them? I might have kept
my pages free from gall, and have sent my sheets to the press unhurt
by the conviction that I was hurting those who had dealt kindly by
me! But what then? Was any people ever truly served by eulogy; or
an honest cause furthered by undue praise?
O my friends with thin skins - and here I protest that a thick skin
is a fault not to be forgiven in a man or a nation, whereas a thin
skin is in itself a merit, if only the wearer of it will be the
master and not the slave of his skin - O my friends with thin skins,
ye whom I call my cousins and love as brethren, will ye not forgive
me these harsh words that I have spoken?
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