Mark Twain Essay

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History Repeats Itself The following I find in a Sandwich Island paper which some friend has sent me from that tranquil far-off retreat. The coincidence between my own experience and that here set down by the late Mr. Benton is so remarkable that I cannot forbear publishing and commenting upon the paragraph. The Sandwich Island paper says: How touching is this tribute of the late Hon. T. H. Benton to his mother's influence:--'My mother asked me never to use tobacco; I have never touched it from that time to the present day. She asked me not to gamble, and I have never gambled. I cannot tell who is losing in games that are being played. She admonished me, too, against liquor-drinking, and whatever capacity for endurance I have at present, and whatever usefulness I may have attained through life, I attribute to having complied with her pious and correct wishes. When I was seven years of age she asked me not to drink, and then I made a resolution of total abstinence; and that I have adhered to it through all time I owe to my mother.' I never saw anything so curious. It is almost an exact epitome of my own moral career--after simply substituting a grandmother for a mother. How well I remember my grandmother's asking me not to use tobacco, good old soul! She said, "You're at it again, are you, you whelp? Now don't ever let me catch you chewing tobacco before breakfast again, or I lay I'll blacksnake you within an inch of your life!" I have never touched it at that hour of the morning from that time to the present day. She asked me not to gamble. She whispered and said, "Put up those wicked cards this minute!--two pair and a jack, you numskull, and the other fellow's got a flush!" I never have gambled from that day to this--never once--without a "cold deck" in my pocket. I cannot even tell who is going to lose in games that are being played unless I deal myself.

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