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Following the Equator, Part 7
written by "Twain, Mark, 1835-1911"
...w Year's Day, and on the next day he surrendered. He had carried his copy of the letter along, and if his instructions required him—in case of emergency—to see that it fell into the hands of the Boers, he loyally carried them out. Mrs. Hammond gives him a sharp rap for his supposed carelessness, and emphasizes her feeling about it with burning italics: "It was picked up on the battle-field in a leathern pouch, supposed to be Dr. Jameson's saddle-bag. Why, in the name of all that is discreet and honorable, didn't he eat it!" She requires too much. He was not in the service of the Reformers—excepting ostensibly; he was in the service of Mr. Rhodes. It was the only plain English document, undarkened by ciphers and mysteries, and responsibly signed and authenticated, which squarely implicated the Reformers in the raid, and it was not to Mr. Rhodes's interest that it should be eaten. Besides, that letter was not the original, it was only a copy. Mr. Rhodes had the original—and didn't eat it. He cabled it to the London press. It had already been read in England and America and all over Europe before, Jameson dropped it on the battlefield. If the subordinate's knuckles deserved a rap, the principal's deserved as many as a couple of them. That letter is a juicily dramatic incident and is entitled to all its celebrity, because of the odd and variegated effects which it produced. All within the space of a single week it had made Jameson an illustrious hero in England, a pirate in Pretoria, and an ass without discretion or honor in Johannesburg; also it had produced a poet-laureatic explosion of colored fireworks which filled the world's sky with giddy splendors, and, the knowledge that Jameson was coming with it to rescue the women and children emptied Johannesburg of that detail of the population. For an old letter, this was much. For a letter two months old, it did marvels; if it had been a year old it woul...

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