Will Rogers' Weekly Articles
WA186 July 4, 1926
AMERICANS AT LAST GET EVEN
Well, I was a-setting around Rome here the other night. (This is Rome, Italy, you Birds! Don’t just think it’s Rome, Georgia.) Well, as I say I was setting
here trying to think up something to do. Rome is not what you would call an exciting town when night comes on. It’s too dark to go visit any of the old Churches and Cathedrals or Catacombs. The Theatres they don’t start till about
10:30, and I can’t stay awake that long, much less after you have got in them
and they have started. I can understand why they start so late. They know what
the show is and they are ashamed to start it.
Bill Jr. had been going to some of the movies when he could tell the front of one from a drug store or a saloon. He says Gloria Swanson has just got over here in the Mack Sennett bathing pictures, and that they think if she is properly handled that she will some day make good.1
“Charlot” is here in a “Dogs Life.”2
You don’t know who Charlot is? Why that’s old Charley himself! That’s what these people over here call him. They were asking me about the Dog he used in the Picture, and how he was. I told them that the pup he used in that Picture died of old age 5 years ago.
Well, as I didn’t want to see the “Birth of a Nation” any more, (as much as I like Griffith and the Picture) why I didn’t go to the Movies.3
Well, I was just sitting in the Hotel, betting pennies with Bill Jr. on which one would call the turn on the people that come in. Bill is sure fire on “Middle Westers.” He can pretty near name the town from Ohio to Iowa, if he can only be near enough to hear them order a meal. Californians are a cinch. We don’t even bet on them any more, they are so easy to peg. They are kicking on the climate
here or in Naples or Venice or Nice or anywhere. They long for those good old
Cloudbursts that Los Angeles had this spring. New Yorkers they try to act, “not like Tourists,” and the funny part is they are more like Tourists than any of them.
Well, while we are there, why in blows the Barnum and Baileys Circus of American Tourists. It’s the Hotel Men’s Association. They have been over here ever since they had a vacant room at home. They were just about closing their tour. They have been over here for over two months, three hundred of them. They have been the Guests of the Hotel men over here. Everything paid, even to their Railroad fares. Well, maybe you think I wasn’t glad to see them. Here was a bunch of Highbinders that I had paid toll to all over the United States for years, and just when I wanted to see somebody else getting back at them and making them pay the freight, why they were the Guests of somebody.
But I was glad to see the Rascals, for after all they are a fine bunch and we
can’t live without them, and for a bunch of all around good fellows I guess we
haven’t got a race over there that beat them unless it is the Bootleggers, and
that profession embraced most of these. Well, everybody was with them that you all know over home. From Big Hotels like the Biltmores down to little Joints like Royal Ponciana in Palm Beach.
Mayor Jimmy Walker’s wife from New York was with them.4
I had never met her, but knowing Jimmy so well, why we got together and knocked him. She is an Ex-trouper herself, and this row of one night stands through Europe seemed like old times to her. Jimmy Slattery from Buffalo, the middleweight, was with them.5
I don’t know just what Hotel Jimmy represented.
One of Mr. Statler’s, I guess.6
Statler was along. He is a great one, and what a time he was having! They played a town every day, and a Banquet that night. How those Ladies stood it is more than I will ever know. But they sure seemed to look great and all in fine shape. If you can be permitted to say that of a Lady without being disrespectful.
They got up at eight o’clock to go to the Palace and see the King.7
Now that is pretty early just to see a King. But he spoke good English to them, in fact too good for some of them, and asked all about what they were doing over
here, how many Hotels they Represented, how many rooms each Hotel had, how much they got per room, and all about it. Everybody was tickled to death to think that the King of Italy showed such interest in the Hotel Men’s business.
Come to think of it, it was just the move of a good far-sighted business man. There is eleven hundred rooms in that Palace, and at say, $5 a room that’s $5,500 a day that the King can pick up and he can pack them in because there is that many coming every day to Rome to try and see Mussolini. And in that way, by the King running the Hotel, people would see and learn who he was. You see, as it is now, Mussolini is so far out in front that all other Notables are just not notable any more.
Well, that night the Hotel men of Rome gave them a big Banquet at the Excelsior Hotel, where I happened to be stopping, and I was asked to the Dinner. It certainly was a very elaborate and swell affair. The American Hotel men presented Italy with a beautiful Clock. It was a kind of Marine or ship clock. Well, it only had 12 hours on it, and over here they don’t stop at twelve; they count time clear up to 24. A fellow will say, “I will meet you at 15 minutes to twenty-two.” So I don’t know what they will do about this clock. You would have thought Oscar of the Waldorf who was with them would have known of that and had them get a 24-hour clock.8
He had been to Europe before.
I had never before heard a Banquet where the speeches were interpreted from one language to another. Well, if you want to know just how poor your speech is, have it interpreted.
Mr. Green of New York is the head of all of them. He is the only man ever won a lawsuit against Henry Ford. Well, after the real speeches were over and nothing could hurt the evening, I was asked to speak in behalf of the paying guests. A guy tried to interpret my speech. It was worse in Italian than it was in English, (or American rather). So he quit when he had no words for “guy” and “birds” and “bohunks” in Italian. I told them I thought that American was finally even with Europe for all we had done for them, for our Hotel men, three hundred of them, had come over and eat off starving Belgium and tax-ridden Europe for three months. I told them they had eat enough free food to feed Europe through two more wars, and that if they had had to pay, in American prices, for all they had drank that everybody over here could pay us our debts, and that it would take American Tourists five years to pay for this free trip.
Well, that didn’t go so good with the Americans, for there is such a thing as being too truthful, and the Italians didn’t understand what it was all about, and there was a band in the other room waiting to play for the dance, and somebody slipped out and started the band. Well, for once in my life they did me as big a favor as they did the audience. I was perfectly willing to stop.
An alleged humorous speech delivered in American to mostly Italians is not the easiest job any one ever tackled. Being an Italian is a very serious business in itself. And I really think that these Americans’ conscience were beginning to hurt them after all these weeks.
Now I know a lot of you will say that a Hotel man has no conscience. But I differ with you. I could just tell the way these fellows looked that they felt that they hadn’t done hardly right, and at the first opportunity they would do something to repay these poor down-trodden Europeans. Personally I was kinder glad they were hooking these Birds over here, for after all they don’t deserve any too much sympathy.
So in my own heart I kinder admire our Hotel men. They are the only body of men in the world that could have come to Europe and got something for nothing. So if your town had one on the trip, give him another free dinner.
Have him at the Rotary, the Kiawanis, the Apes, the Tigers, the Lions, the Eagles, the Elks, or any of those exclusive clubs, and make him tell you about
Europe. For they saw more of it in a shorter time than anybody that ever come here, and they made a mighty nice impression and was a great gang, and I want to tell them that Rome has never looked the same since they left. Mussolini and I are just walking around waiting for something else to show up.
1For Gloria Swanson see WA 117: N 14. Michael “Mack” Sennett, Canadian-born film producer and director known as the American “king of comedy.” Sennett, who created the famous Keystone Cops in 1913, had a
prodigious sense of the absurd and the zany. He also created the Sennett Bathing Girls, who dressed in enticing bathing costumes that never got wet.
2Dog’s Life, comedy motion picture produced and directed by Charlie Chaplin (see WA 127: N7) in 1918. This was one of Chaplin’s many films in which he portrayed his famous “Tramp” character.
3Birth of a Nation, epochal film produced, written, and directed by D.W. Griffith (see WA 117: N 17) in 1915. The first twelve-reel motion picture, Birth of a Nation depicted the Civil War and Reconstruction period in American history in such graphic, realistic terms that it became a classic soon after its release.
4Janet Allen Walker, vaudeville singer and dancer who married Mayor Jimmy Walker (see WA 121: N 6) of New York City in 1912. They were divorced in 1933.
5James Shamus “Jimmy” Slattery, flashy Irish-American light heavyweight boxer who briefly held the New York state title in 1930.
6Ellsworth Milton Statler, American hotel proprietor who opened his first hotel in 1901 and operated luxury establishments in leading American cities until his death in 1928.
7Victor Emmanuel III, king of Italy from 1900 to 1946.
8Oscar Tschirky, known was “Oscar of the Waldorf,” famous Swiss-born maitre d’hôtel of the Waldorf-Astoria and its successor, the Waldorf, from 1893 to 1943.
WA187 July 11, 1926
ROGERS FINDS SWITZERLAND
Well all I know is just what I read or what countries, or things, I hear the guide talk about as we drag our weary bones from one old Church to another, or from in front of one old painting to another. Well sir, we were going along the other day; wasn’t bothering a soul, and wasn’t caring much what happened to us or just where we went, and the first thing we were stopped by a different band of Soldiers and they said, both of them, that we were in their country. I said whose country? And he said, “Why you are in the middle of Switzerland.”
I told him, “Why, we haven’t been away from the Hotel but a little while. How could we be in the middle of Switzerland?” But I couldn’t argue with him. He evidently knew Switzerland better than I did. I would have sworn it wasn’t Switzerland. I couldn’t hear anybody yodeling or falling off a mountain, or see feathers in anybody’s hat. But he told me to walk over here to the line and he would show me that I was in Switzerland, and sure enough we walked over there and it said Switzerland on one side of the rock and France on the other, and then a hundred yards to the north of us lay Germany, and one mountain south lay Italy, or the Kingdom of Mussolini.
Well, I had always heard a lot of Switzerland. Every time we read a headline in the papers about universal Peace or “War is expected to break out in the Balkans tomorrow afternoon,” why the date line is always in Switzerland. It’s the Rumor factory of the world. When two Nations can’t hardly agree on war by each remaining at home, why they decide to have a conference where they can generally draw up the plans and start it right away. I happened to think that there was a conference going on there at the time, because I had come over on the boat with an awfully fine bunch of fellows who were going to Geneva, to hold what they smilingly called a “Preliminary Disarmament Conference.” They entered into it with about the same hopes for success that I would tackle Hamlet in tights.
So I just thought I will go by and see my old friends and see what a conference looks like. And on my way down there this morning I will just see what Switzerland looks like, and kinder study out her history and tradition.
Switzerland is the most independent country in the world. They have neither imports or exports. Its sole commodities are Conferences and Neutrality. When Nations get ready to make peace or war (and they generally don’t know which they are making), why they always go to Switzerland. Geneva and Locarno are the principal conference towns. It’s kinder like Atlantic City is for bathing Contests (without water). It has a corner on all Conferences. It has had fewer
wars and has been the starting place of more of them than any Nation that ever
lived. They just sit around and remain Neutral during these wars and then collect from all ends. It’s the only country where both sides can go and meet and have a drink together during that particular war. Switzerland is a kind of a
Speakeasy for any and all sides. There is little private rooms all over and anybody can come and meet anybody else and Switzerland just winks knowingly
and says nothing. It’s the “Blind Tiger” of Europe. They knew something when they settled there too. They said to themselves, “The best thing about a war is
to keep out of it.” But they also figured there is a lot of jack in them at that, if you are placed right. So they commenced to figuring, “Where can a fellow go to be near enough to see a war but still not be in it?” So they picked out the spot they have now, and they picked better than they knew, for it has never been necessary to even go out and try and get a better location. Their grandstands were built by nature. All they had to do was to get the hotels ready to take care of the guests or accomplices of a war that are always around but never really in one. They built roads up to the topmost peaks so you could get a close-up of the wars. Then if you were kinder finicky about your wars and didn’t like that particular one, why Switzerland would always be willing to board you for a few weeks till one comes along that you did like. They had various different combinations of nations around them that could generally be placed in action if you could get enough spectators.
Then of course you would think that it would be dull in between wars, but there is where you are wrong. They had really what is an all the year round business. The minute a war was over, if there was none booked to start within the next few weeks, why they would hold what they called a “Peace Conference” to prevent other wars. Well now, off hand you would think a country wouldn’t allow a conference to be held here that would be for the purpose of taking away their means of livelihood. But they were smart. They had made a close study of history for hundreds and hundreds of years back and an old smart one of them told the others don’t interfere with them holding these peace meetings here. Let them go ahead. They are held after every war, since Adam first swung on Eve for not having his breakfast Apple there, on time. When she come to, her and Adam held a Peace Conference. It was to do away with all wars between Husband and wife. Well, the old learned Swiss that was telling this got to laughing so much when he thought how successful that conference had been that he convinced them that there really was more conferences than there was wars, because sometimes it took two or three conferences before they could get a war started. So he won his point, and the Swiss constitution is one of the shortest. It says, “This nation must give aid and board lodging to any and all conferences to either prevent or start wars. No preference is to be shown. All Conferences are to be held inside the Home Grounds of Switzerland, but all fighting is to be confined to the outside. If two Nations get to fighting inside our domain we kick ’em down the mountain, across the line, and if they don’t observe these rules we won’t watch ’em fight again.”
So in that way they have lived 600 years in peace, and have seen every war and it hasn’t cost them a nickle to do it. Confer or fight; it don’t make any difference to Switzerland. They are going to get theirs either way.
WA188 July 18, 1926
WILL ROGERS MEETS A CELEBRITY IN
SIR JAMES BARRIE
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. But over here in England
during all these strikes and everything they didn’t print any papers. So all I wanted to know I had to find out on the outside. I really have the best news for you just because I didn’t get to read the paper today. While here I was fortunate enough to meet Mrs. Astor, our very distinguished Countrywoman, and
she was good enough to have me to dinner one night, and seated on my left was Sir James Barry, the Little Scotch Author that has written such wonderful things.1
I had never read any of them, but I knew enough to know that he was a great man. After the dinner he asked me to come by his Apartment on my way back to my hotel. There was no one else along, just he and I. Well, that was the greatest fortune that befell me so far on the whole trip.
He lives up on what I think was the top floor of an Apartment overlooking the Thames Embankment. First I will tell you about the Apartment, or rather the main living room of the Apartment which we were in. It was not very large, but had big windows opening out onto a stone banlistrade, or porch, and you got a wonderful view all up and down the river. This was right by the Savoy and the Cecil. The street, or really what we would call an alley, is Averne Court or terrace. That’s the one you enter on. He took great pride telling me of the great historical interest of the place, that it used to belong to Queen Lizzie or Maggie, or somebody. I can’t keep those Queens straight. In fact, I don’t think anybody could keep some of them straight. But anyway, Queen Victoria was as far back as I could remember, and as it was not her that owned the place originally, why I lost all interest.2
Then he pointed out to me all the various houses, right there fronting like his, out on the river, where all the great men mostly of literary prominence
had lived at one time or another. He showed me where Dr. Johnston used to live, where he and Boswell come out and used to stand and talk.3
In fact, I think it’s where he said Johnston met Boswell. He showed me where a lot of the plot and the characters of Dickens was layed, as Dickens used to frequent this neighborhood.4
Then he said “Peter the Great” lived right down there at one time when he was here and worked as a “Navy.”5
Oh, he named one after the other, and
I just thought what a treat for some Literary person that had really heard of any of these. He didn’t mention Shakespeare, and as that was the only English
writer I had ever heard of, why naturally I was lost.
He told me how during the war that they used to watch the air raids, as the German Aviators when they tried to bombard London would naturally follow the river Thames, and then they always knew where they were. Bernard Shaw lives right across the alley or street.6
He has promised me that when I come back to London a few weeks later he will have me meet Shaw. I do want to meet and hear him, because he has the dope on all of them, and it’s generally right. But Shaw was out of town. Sir James told me that Shaw had not been well and spent a great deal of his time in the country. Shaw is the guy that tells all of them where to head in at. Sir James paid him a beautiful compliment. He said, “He is a wonderful man in many ways. If I needed help tomorrow, not only myself, but anyone else, I would turn to Bernard Shaw. He is a very fine man, and I am very fond of him.”
Then he told me one night when there was a raid, and he and Shaw and H. G. Wells and some other very well known writers sit right there and watched it.7
Now all during this, for once in my life, I happened to know
enough to keep my mouth shut. I would just sit and let him talk all he would.
I would just slip in a question now and again to get him sorter started on something I particularly wanted to hear about. Of course I knew America wanted
to know about his wonderful plays, and Maud Adams, and Frohman, and he liked to talk of it because evidently it was a very wonderful association.8
His first show was the Little Minister. With Charles Frohman, Barrie went to America, and they were not settled on anyone to play the part. Frohman gave him a list of names of actresses to look over, and he was doing that in various shows which they were playing, and he chanced to go into a Theater where there was a Frohman play, but it was not any that he had been advised to see. But in this was Miss Adams, playing. So he went back to Mr. Frohman and told him he had found the one to pay the little Minister. Frohman told him, “Why her Mother has worked for me for years, and I have always had a great interest in them, and she has helped me in lots of my work here, and incidentally she is the one that made out the list of actresses that you were to go to see.”
There is fairy story enough for a Peter Pan right there. He never saw her play on the stage, he said, but once after that in his life. He said that she was the only woman, or even man, for that matter, that he ever saw in his life with
absolutely no vanity whatever. She didn’t know what it was. He said she used to come over to London every once in a while and come to see him. “What a peculiar thing,” he remarked, “that she had such wonderful artistry and talent, and then she goes in for some entirely different kind of work. I can’t understand it.” She is experimenting and working on some new process of Electric lighting for pictures.
He said, “We shall never see another just like her.” Frohman, he thought, was the finest character of a man he ever saw. He told me the story of an actor that was very bad in the part but that Frohman found out was very much in need of the money, as he was the support of his Mother and Sisters. Frohman said, when asked by another of his staff to get rid of the fellow, “Oh no, we must keep him! But when he comes on we can converse and not look.”
He related dozens of things that Frohman had done for people. He produced a young Playwright’s play and it was a dire failure. It was his first attempt. Yet Frohman cabled him to England, “Play fair, but am sending so much money as option on your next two.“
Now he had just done that to try and salve over the failure of this one and make the fellow think, “Well I must have showed something in that one anyway, or wouldn’t want the next two.” Sir James couldn’t understand the great prevalence of unclean shows he had heard of being in New York this season. He didn’t think so much of pictures, although he said they handled Peter Pan very well, he thought. But that he didn’t think Pictures would ever achieve very much until they quit trying to make the same one to please everybody.
That the tastes of one audience was absolutely opposite from the other, and that they would have to be like the spoken show is today, produced for a certain class. He said that no stage show ever produced would go everywhere. We talked of the strike which was on then, and he said that “the big men who had been accustomed to being at the heads of Governments, like different Lords, and Dukes, and Sirs” that he mention, “couldn’t seem to understand this new element of people that were coming up through Labor and Liberal.”9
He thought “the big men were rather underestimating their ability and knowledge,” that “no one knew nowadays where Geniuses would appear from.” He was rather in favor of the labor element.
He is a great personality, so quiet and soft spoken you are afraid you will scare him away if you speak. And I expect I would if I had said much. He has the funniest looking fireplace, with a little fire burning in it. But you kinder
get back in it, like you was crawling in under a shed, and the fire is not back
in a real place, it is just built against the wall. He has a little cook stove and a tea pot on it. I guess there is where he makes him his own tea when he is working.
He said he wrote in the mornings, as he found that was better. He wants to come over home again some time, as he hasn’t been over in years. He is one great little Scotchman, and I will always be grateful all my life to Mrs. Astor for having made it possible to meet him. He seemed just as pleased with me when I admitted to him that I had not read his books, as he would be with a lot of others that would say, “Oh Mr. Barrie, I have read everything you ever wrote!” and he would know they couldn’t even name any of them.
So I found it better not to lie. They will find you out anyway. But little Bill,
my kid, told me all about the books that night when I got home. So I have got somebody reading for me anyway.
1Nancy Langhorne Astor, one of the beautiful Langhorne sisters of Virginia and the wife of Lord Waldorf Astor. A British subject, she was the first woman to sit in the House of Commons, serving from 1919 to 1945. James Matthew Barrie, Scottish novelist and dramatist, famous for the play Little
Minister (1891) and the adventure story Peter Pan (1904).
2Victoria, in full Alexandrina Victoria, queen of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901 and empress of India from 1876 until her death.
3Samuel Johnson, eighteenth century English lexicographer, critic, writer, and conversationalist, known as Dr. Johnson, the “Great Cham of Literature.” James Boswell, Scottish lawyer and biographer of Samuel Johnson. His celebrated Life of Samuel Johnson was published in 1791.
4Charles John Huffman Dickens, nineteenth century English novelist of such well known works as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and A Tale of Two Cities.
5Peter I, czar of Russia from 1682 until his death in 1725; known as Peter the Great.
6George Bernard Shaw, British playwright, novelist, and critic whose plays include The Devil’s Disciple, Caesar and Cleopatra, and Pygmalion; awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1925.
7Herbert George Wells, English novelist, sociological writer, and historian. His works include The Island of Doctor Moreau, The War of the Worlds, and Outline of History.
8Maude Adams, American actress who made her New York stage debut in 1888. She is best remembered for her title role performance in Peter Pan in 1906-1907. Charles Frohman, American theatrical manager, known as “the Napoleon of the Drama” for his numerous productions of plays by the leading dramatists of the day. Frohman died in May 1915.
9A coal strike paralyzed the English economy in 1926.
WA189 July 25, 1926
A FISH-EYE VIEW OF MONTE CARLO
Well, I had heard all my life of this pleasant and accommodating little place called Monte Carlo. We have heard all our life about “the Man that Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo.” Well, I am down in Italy and I get caught in a Tourist drive drifting north, and am swept right along with them.
No man in the world is strong enough to buck a Tourist tide when it gets in full swing. They had visited all the old Churches in Mussoliniland, and they
were looking for new Churches to conquer. They were just a-rarin’ to see some more old ruins. “Bring on your ruins!” is the American Tourists slogan.
While they was headed for some old Cathedrals that they were “keeping standing for American trade,” why I branches off over towards this Monte Carlo layout. I headed for a place called Nice. You know it’s a kinder snorty place. All of them go to it in the winter time. Well, I get there and they give me a Hotel to myself. I was the sole support of it for days. So I commenced inquiring about Monte. Not that I was rarin’ to speculate, but I wanted to see it so I could warn my readers just what numbers to play when you get there.
Well, this Monte Carlo is a queer layout. It’s not only a Game, but it’s a country. It’s the only Country in the world that has practically no rural population. You either live in the City of Monte Carlo, or you don’t live in
Monaco. If you are out of town you are in France or Italy, or if you get too far out in the country you are in Spain or Switzerland. There is some pretty good ideas about the place. For, instance, you don’t have any taxes to pay.
The Casino takes care of everything. When they told me that I said, “Why, how can they afford to do that?” The party I said that to laughed. I didn’t know what he was laughing at then. I do now. They are not going short any, taking care of the principality of Monaco. They also won’t let a fellow from the old home town go in and wager. He has to go to France to wager this excess tax money. Now that right there struck me as being a very fine trait in the government of Monaco.
They practically say to their own flesh and blood, “Stand back till we trim these suckers. If we need any extra for Yachts or Palaces we will let you home folks know, but we don’t want to call on you till we absolutely have to.” As to the business administration of the Casino, and its Senate and House of Representatives, they have never yet in all its history had to take a cent from home missions. Andy Mellon himself couldn’t administer a financial program that would offer a larger balance at the end of six months.1
I thought maybe it was going to be hard to get in there, but there is only one requirement and that is not so hard for an American to live up to. That is to answer, “Do you live in Monaco?”
I didn’t think there was room for anyone else to live there unless they went out and annexed some more territory.You show your passport.
Well, you do that anywhere over in Europe. Also if you have never written an Autobiography of your life, you haven’t signed a foreign hotel register. All an American newspaper will have to do when you pass out and leave no record of yourself, they can get a continental register and add the date of death and it will give everything you ever did, and the great part of it is that it was written by yourself. Oh yes, at Monte they also collect a fee on entrance. If I lived a thousand years I will never know why they do that. It seems so unnecessary. Unless that entrance money goes to a different corporation. It is a very large building; that is, it’s large for such a small country.
They been wanting to put another wing on it, but France won’t lease them the ground. As you go in you will see a beautiful big yacht floating majestically at the dock. It does not, as you might think belong to someone who is playing there. It belongs to the Prince of Monaco.2
His Uncle ahead of him, who succeeded, died a year or so ago in what you wouldn’t hardly call destitute circumstances, and this young man moved into the Palace and the family yacht. Due to the good feeling of all the world the old fortune has not been allowed to dwindle away to any great extent.
His Uncle was a great fisherman, that was always touring over the world searching for strange fish. He has an Acquarium there showing them. Most of them are dead and stuffed. He didn’t seem to be able to capture any alive, like he does there in the Casino. While he was away it never made much difference, as the business went on just the same. It’s so well organized that it don’t even need Edsel there to run it.3
They would cable him the receipts every morning.
There is only about three games to select from. I wanted to shoot a little Craps and take a hand at Stud Poker, but they just had a lot of women’s games like Baccarat and Roulette. The Roulette wheel only had one 0 on it.
That’s what fooled me to the idea that it was pretty near on the level. Well,
to make a fair bankroll short, it don’t take me long to tell you I learned about the game pretty quick. If you ever in your life saw queer people they couldn’t touch the ones there. Some of them they say had been there for years. Mostly old women. They would sit by the hour keeping track of what number come up and marking it down. They might not make one bet an hour. They seemed to have it timed perfectly, just when to lose. And I thought that was what they were doing, betting that they would lose, and a fellow said no they were playing a system, and they only bet at certain times. Well, they lose and then had some outside bet with someone that they would.
When I bet without a system, why they looked at me like I was crazy. I don’t know why, because I was losing just as good as they were. There is one or two special rooms where the Americans or the bigger betters go. You pay extra to go in there. I tried it too. It was better than these common rooms. You could lose faster.
They have the prettiest chips you play with. I wanted some to bring home, so late at night when I was starting home, I cashed another Money Order and went over and bought 30 dollars worth of all denominations, and walked right by the tables rattling them and walked right on out. I showed ’em here was a Guy who wouldn’t even go to the trouble of cashing in. I have their Chips. I haven’t found out yet who the joke is on. They have a cliff there if you care for that particular branch of self-extermination. In fact, they have rigged up a Springboard so if you are going off you can get in an extra somersault on the way down. As I come out the old Yacht was waiting for Americans to Oil her up. The old prince has got a great business. It works while he sleeps.
1For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
2Louis II, prince of Monaco from 1922 until his death in 1949. Prince Louis had succeeded his father, Albert I, a renowned oceanographer and yachtsman who had reigned as prince from 1889 until his death in 1922.
3Edsel Bryant Ford, only son of automobile pioneer Henry Ford. Edsel became president of Ford Motor Company in 1919 and served in that post until his death in 1943.
WA190 August 1, 1926
WILL JOINS THE CHURCH-PROWLERS
Well all I know is just what I see as I prowl from hither to thither.
Blew into Genoa Italy. It was night time. The next morning the Hotel Proprietor
and some other fellow I took to bear the earmarks of a Guide commenced telling me what I should see in Genoa. That I should visit the Docks and see the shipping, and go to the graveyard, that they had one of the greatest in the world, that people from all over the Country come there to be buried. Then he just casually mentioned that Columbus used to live there before he promoted the Queen of Spain.
Well, then I said to Bill Jr., “Why didn’t you tell me about Columbus coming from this town?”
“Why, I thought you knew it, Dad. Everybody knows that.”
Well, I didn’t know it. I can’t keep track of where all these Italians come from that come over home. So I says lead us to Columbus, never mind your shipping. We got more boats tied up in Hoboken unloading Spirituous Liquors than you have in all the Ports of Italy. But I sure do crave to view the old homesite of Christopher Columbus. For I have always had quite an admiration for him. He was about the first of the foreigners to start comin over. He beat the immigration law. He landed in the Bahama Islands, about as near to America as he was when he left Spain. But they always stretched a point and give him the best of it and said he landed at home. He had three Ships. There was no Naval disarmament then. A Nation was allowed to have as many ships as it wanted. He had to cross by air and America has been run by it ever since.
Everytime he would discover an island he would go back to Spain to report it to the Queen. That’s why he had to make so many trips, there was so many Islands. There is a big statue right by the Depot in Genoa of him with a ruffled collar on. Spain and Italy are having an argument now over which Country he really come from. Spain claims that he might have been born in Italy but it was without his consent.
So poor Christopher was just a victim of not knowing what was going to happen to him next. Somebody would have found America though, even if he hadn’t, for you couldn’t hardly get around without running into it. Why they didn’t find it sooner is more than I will ever know. If they couldn’t find as big a Nation as North and South America what would they do if they lost some little Nation like Switzerland or Latvia or Rhode Island?
Being an Indian, I don’t mind telling you personally I am sorry he ever found it. The discovery has been of no material benefit to us, outside of losing all the land. And I am proud to say that I have never yet seen a Statue in Oklahoma to him. He wasn’t so much of a discoverer as he was just restless and couldn’t stay in one place.
We drove around to see his little old house where he lived. It is right in the middle of the City. It don’t have any windows except one in the top or second story. It’s not much of a house and it shows he was no profiteer.
Bill took a lot of Movies of it. But there was so many Italians standing looking into this little Camera to see what it was that I expect when he gets
the Picture developed that it will just look like a Mob scene in “Romolo” and there won’t be any house of Columbus in it. Genoa is a pretty good looking town.
They didn’t have anything else to show us about Columbus, the Cemetery is the next big thing. And it is a wonder. It just pretty near makes you want to die when you see it. It’s the wonderful monuments and marble carving that is the big thing. They go in great to erect monuments to heads of their families after death. Over home with us it’s never mind the monument, how does the will read? We take the money left us by our folks and instead of getting a beautiful piece of artistic work done to commemorate some event in their lives, why we buy a car and go everywhere else in it but to the Cemetery.
One old woman sold matches and papers on the street and she saved and saved and had her own statue built, a reproduction of her in her old clothes, and she had it all ready when she died. Now that was a beautiful thought, and think of the horror of death that that took away. She would be in a hurry to be placed beneath it.
Genoa has a lot of old Churches too. That is the steady diet in Europe is old Churches. We went in one and the Guide was showing us some old paintings and he said “Napoleon stole these when he invaded this Country, and they were kept in France for years.”
Bill, who was a little more familiar with this daily Church prowling than I was, as he had been going constantly while I had to work most of the time; Bill was wise to all these old Art treasures by then, so when this Guide told about Napoleon stealing them Bill whispered to me, “Ask him who they stole them from, Dad.” And come to find out that’s what they had done. Everything in all the churches was stolen from somebody. Went over to another old Church. It was a kind of a Turkish looking thing. Found it, foundation and all, had been copped from Constantinople after a successful war. It looked like you couldn’t hardly worship in any place if it had been built without nailing it from some poor devils. It had the ashes of St. Peter, the same as most of the other ones.
The Guide book said go to Milan next, and so we did. Nobody would think of going against the advice of a Guide book. More Churches, only they have one big one the Cathedral of Milan. It’s prettier from the outside than any of them. Nobody worshipping, everybody looking. It had some great curios, that is if there was inside the boxes and things what they said was in there. Had what they called some wonderful paintings. Not knowing much about Art, I couldn’t tell much difference. Of course all the other Americans going over there can. It’s a marvelous Church and would hold an awful lot of people if they ever wanted to use it for worshiping purposes.
Milan is a business town. It is sorter the Detroit of Italy. They have some little things they make there too that kinder compare with those in Detroit. It’s where Mussolini come from before he was made Emperor, and he has them working like he does all the others. He has had them working so long now that they are about to get used to it in Italy.
WA191 August 8, 1926
THEY’RE CHANGING FAST IN EUROPE
Well, all I know is just what I read in the French, Italian, Spanish, and Czecko-Slovakian papers, all printed in their native tongues. That’s why I don’t know much. I have to sorter get my information kinder second-handed. But today I finally got back to where I could tell what it was all about, after making all this circle and just before starting in on another one I am back in London. Oh Boy! There has been a lot happened since I left here a few weeks ago. When I left England right after they settled that big strike it looked like the best Country you ever saw. It looked like they could take care of anything. The minute I leave them they go to pieces, and when I come back they have about got down to our level.
This Coal strike, as I am penning you these few lines, looks pretty bad. They are trying to lick the Miners by debating them to death. You can’t do that. The only way you can beat a strike is to put somebody else to work in his place, and they can’t get men that will do it, so that kinder shows right there that the Miners deserve what they asked for. They replaced everybody else when the General strike was on; but now they can’t do anything with the miners.
Everybody over here is tickled to death because Bobby Jones won the Golf Championships.1
He is a very big favorite here, the British Golfers say he is the greatest Golf Player ever lived. They say on form he should win every tournament he is in, that he is the class of all of them.
Oh, there has been a terrible lot of things in the sport line going on here. England never gets far in any of these, but she furnishes the ground for all the rest to break the records on. At the big International Horse show, an American Army man won the High Jump the other night. The Big Tennis thing was quite a show here but “Our Helen” dropping out kinder killed it for us to enjoy.2
Susanne took on awful after Mary Brown and Miss Kane the two Americans had beat her and another Foreigner in the Doubles Championship.3
If Helen had been here Susanne would have had “Total Epilepsy.” She is a great Tennis Player, but I doubt if Sport ever produced a worse loser. Australia plays England at Cricket soon again. That is it starts soon, and do you know that one game lasts 3 days, and then they generally end in a Draw! Can you imagine sitting for three days looking at something, knowing that at the end it will be a draw? I want to see one, but I can’t spend my whole summer at one Game. Why the life of a Player is only about 20 games, and then he dies of old age.
Was in the House of Lords and heard the debates and vote on whether to allow 20 Peeresses who are Peeresses in their own right to sit in the House of Lords. You know the House of Lords is not an elected body.
If you are born one or your Father dies and he is one, why then you are one. So these Ladies are what the oldest sons would be if they had any oldest sons instead of daughters. Well, Lord Astor introduced the Bill.4
He is for them getting in there. But they defeated it. This is the third year they brought it up. You know, of all the Comedy Houses of Government, this House of Lords is the Champ. They have no power; they just sit there every afternoon. They can Veto a bill that the House of Commons has passed, and then the house can take it back and pass it over their heads. It’s a great dignified comedy. This Lord Astor is one of the nicest fellows you ever saw. I don’t blame Mrs. Astor for copping him out among all these Englishmen.
They are a great pair. He told me he didn’t care whether they got in there or not, and he didn’t think they cared, but it was so dead in there that he just
wanted to scare up some excitement. He said if they were in there maybe there would be something doing.
Well, there is generally only about twenty or thirty in there, but there is over 1000 of them eligible. Can you imagine a thousand of those things in one Country? That’s what’s the matter with this Country. It’s the oversupply of Lords and Sirs and Dukes and Earls and all that. Well, for this vote they had sent all around to all the various “Pubs” and out in the Country and beat the Bushes to get enough to come in and defeat this woman’s bill. So they dug up 125 against and 80 in favor of it. I wish you could have heard some of the speeches. One of them said the women had shown no particular adaptability for a seat in the House of Lords. Another one got back at him, “If we were only allowed here by the grace of an election, none of us would be here.” Another said it would spoil the Dignity of the Lordships House. But the main thing was they just didn’t want them in there, and I don’t believe the Ladies ever saw the House or they wouldn’t want to get in there. It’s a fine place Architecturally, but for excitement it’s got a long way to go.
Well, along with all the other shows and sports, France is having one. That changing of Ministers every few hours has been the prize Governmental Circus trick of Europe. You see you can’t get anywhere with any kind of Financial Government in France, for the Frenchman won’t pay his taxes. There is only just one little bunch over there that pay taxes for the whole Country. The Minute a Premier or Cabinet Minister gets up and says, “We will have to add on one millionth part of one percent on to the Taxes,” why they throw him out so fast he runs clear by his home before he can get stopped.
This guy Briand has been in ten times.5
Now, he is all right and means well, but nobody will do what he tells them to. They ought to have that Mussolini in France about two hours with a big stick, and he would have that Seine River so full of “Frogs” they wouldn’t be able to fish them out for a year. But really what France needs more than a Dictator is a Tax collector. I guess by the time this reaches you-all that our Congress will be turned loose and the Country free again for awhile. I hope Calvin didn’t keep them there waiting for these Frenchmen to ratify this debt agreement with us. We thought we had it settled at about 5 cents on the dollar. But now we find they think we were too severe, so the chances are we will pay them something and call it even.
1Robert Tyre “Bobby” Jones, highly-acclaimed Atlanta golfer who won five United States National Amateur championships, four United States Open titles, and three British Open crowns, including one in 1926. In 1930 he became the first player to win the national open championships of Great Britain and the United States in the same year.
2Helen Willis, famous California tennis player who won her first of seven United States Open titles in 1923 at the age of seventeen; winner of twelve Wimbledon championships. Illness forced her to pull out of international competition in 1926 for one year.
3Suzanne Lenglen, French champion tennis player who in 1926 became the first woman of her sport to turn professional. Mary K. Browne, a leading American tennis player who was induced to turn professional in 1926, touring the United States in a highly successful promotion of the sport. Elizabeth B. “Bunny” Ryan (not “Kane” as given by Rogers), American amateur tennis player, known as one of the greatest all-time women’s doubles players. She teamed with
Browne to win the women’s doubles championship at Wimbledon in 1926, one of nineteen titles won by Ryan at Wimbledon from 1914 to 1934.
4Waldorf Astor, British financier, politician, and publisher who served in the House of Lords from 1919 until his death in 1952. He was the husband of Lady Nancy Astor (see WA 188: N 1).
5For Aristide Briand see WA 174: N 2.
WA192 August 15, 1926
PARDON US FOR LOANING YOU MONEY
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. It’s Sunday and I am sitting here at my Hotel window overlooking the old Thames River and watching and observing our so called British Cousins. I have been reading the papers all day and each thing you read is worse than the other. In other words, the Farmer is not the only man in the world that things are not breaking to suit. I don’t want to be a calamity howler for it’s none of my business, and the way some Nations act it is none of their business. But I just want to enumerate offhand a few of the things that are pestering Europe at this time.
In England, the coal strike is still dragging on and by the time you read this it may be over. But I doubt it very much. If you ask me, I think the Miners will eventually win it, because the owners or the Government, are doing nothing to break it, only arguing it in the House of Parliament. Now you know what happens over home when they try to settle anything in Congress.
Well, the batting average of the House of Commons is about the same.You see when they had what they called the General Strike over here about three months ago and I happened to be here at the time why everybody pitched in and it looked like the greatest Country in the world. You never saw such combined strength; everybody wanted to help run street cars and trucks and do every kind of work, skilled and all. But when it was settled and this Coal thing kept on why nobody seems to want to take their places.
Oxford and Cambridge turned out and helped before, but Oxford and Cambridge are not turning out to dig coal. So just from a kind of an outsider’s point of view it looks to me like the Mining Industry is about the only one that they can’t replace except with Miners so if the Miners hold out I don’t see how they can help but win.
There is only one way to break a strike and that is to put somebody to work where the man that is striking left. But they are doing nothing to replace the strikers at all. Well it is hurting a lot of different businesses over here and they are losing a lot of Coal trade other Countries are grabbing off that they will never get back even when the strike is settled.
But there is one thing about Englishmen, they won’t fix anything till it’s just about totally ruined. You couldn’t get the English to fix anything at the start. No, they like to sit and watch it grow worse. If nothing was growing worse they wouldn’t have anything to debate and argue about. Then when it just looks like the whole thing has gone up salt creek why the English jump in and rescue it. They seem to figure that the whole expense of it makes it worth digging out of the fire in the finish.
But, Lord, England is in Alfalfa up to their knees in comparison to France. Yesterday another bunch of Prime Ministers and their gangs got the gate. You talk about looking for Comedy in Government. Why France is just like getting a laugh on prohibition; there is no credit to it it’s so easy.
Ever since I have been over here, I have read all that I could find on France
and her finances, and I have been in their House of Deputies twice. I was in there when they threw this Briand out.1
I think it was the 11th time. Then this Herriot, or whatever his name is, this Socialist, was the one supposed to go in and form him a Cabinet.2
Well, I waited around Paris for a week and he couldn’t get anybody to go in with him so he had to give it up, and then they asked Briand to come back, so it looked like they would get started again.
They got this new finance Minister and he thought he would do something to help put the country on its feet so he jumped in an Aeroplane and come over to England and made a debt settlement with England over their war loans. 3
Then he went back to Paris thinking he had accomplished something great. Well there is where he didn’t know his business. He might know finance but he didn’t know his French. The minute he had promised anybody to pay anything he was in wrong in France. The fellow that went over and made what we thought was a very fair settlement with us on our debt, why they like to killed him when he got back. Talk about getting that debt pact ratified over in France! Say, you couldn’t even get it voted on. The only thing they will do with that will be to hiss it.
It certainly was smart of somebody in Washington to think of the idea of not holding Congress there to ratify this French loan because we would have had five hundred Congressmen and Senators die on our hands of old age.
Now you will say, “What is the matter with them?” I will tell you what is the matter with them. They won’t pay their taxes. Some very big statistical writer has been running a series of Articles on France and her taxes. They have what they call an income tax, but it’s practically voluntary.
You turn in what you want to, and they never investigate it to see if it is right or not. He showed where big Doctors and Lawyers that were earning millions of francs a year would turn in their earnings as fifty or a hundred
thousand francs. Their whole system of taxes are out of kilter someway, and it looks to me like the only way you will ever get any money for taxes out of them is to deduct it at the source some way. What I mean is, to take it away from them in some way before they get it. If you ever let them lay their hands on it themselves they will never pay it.
And, oh Boy, how they are hating us! If somebody gets a bad cold it is layed to the grasping nature of Money-loving America. Mellon just arrived over here and was met by Editorials such as: “Uncle Andy Shylock.”4
“What is he coming after; more?” and dozens of others like that. So we seem to be in pretty Dutch with all the Natives that we were so rude as to lend money to.
It’s the old gag, (and Nations are no different from individuals) you loan a man money and you lose his friendship.
And the funny part about the whole thing is you go anywhere like the races, or the Opera, or any place where the prices are high, and you will see it packed and people spending more money than they do over home. I have dodged more big Rolls Royces and Fiat’s over here than I ever saw big Cars at home. There is lots of them over here got plenty of dough, but they are not giving any of it to their Governments to pay out in taxes.
So don’t lose too much sympathy about them not being able to pay.
They are able to pay if they only get the taxes out of the right ones. The whole debt problem in all these Countries reverts back to one thing and that is our coming into the war. They say we come in for one thing and we say and know that we come in for another. In other words what we did, has never been appreciated. They think we should have declared war on Germany two days before they started to march into Belgium. So I hope these people that are always trying to fix the world will learn something out of this. STAY AT HOME AND TEND TO OUR OWN BUSINESS! DON’T ATTEND A CONFERENCE! NOT EVEN A LUNCHEON!
1For Aristide Briand see WA 174: N 2.
2Edouard Herriot, premier of France from 1924 to 1925 and in 1932. He later served as president of the National Assembly from 1946 until his death in 1957.
3French Finance Minister Joseph Caillaux (see WA 147: N 6) effected war debt agreements with Great Britain and the United States in 1926, but extreme opposition in the French Parliament cause them to be abandoned.
4For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
WA193 August 22, 1926
GIVING THE MOVIES A LIFT
Well, I have been prowling around over the earth for three months.
I have found more Countries than the League of Nations. I have located a lot of those little ones President Wilson made out of big ones. I have been looking for a friend of America’s, but I just have to give up and report failure like I had to do looking for a Democratic issue. Well, as I was not a Congressman or Senator and traveling at reduced rates, the outlay of the pilgrimage begin to tell on me financially, so I sit down and held an investigation with my better judgement and we come to the following conclusion:
“I better stop in one of these so-called Countries and do a little manual labor and then when the Exchequer is replenished, why then the tour can be resumed.”
I knew I wouldn’t lose anything by not getting to some other country right now. They will remain just as funny if you don’t get there in 10 years. That’s one thing about these Countries. They never fool you. If you see them one way, why you can come back at any time and there won’t be a landmark removed. So then I thought what Country will I stop in? I better pick out one where the money is in somewhat of a stationary condition, else I might wake up some morning, look at the exchange rates and find that I was paying the man to let me work for him. Well, England, due to having control over the Ocean, looked like they had kinder kept their money within shooting distance of ours. England does pay you in pounds, while some of these others use ounces.
After coming out of Russia and paying some of the prices up there I was ready to accept almost anything. They had been wanting me to play in a British made picture in London. But I had kinder held off, but when the Savoy Hotel in Moscow handed me the bill I immediately wired London to get their Camera ready and have an extra strong lens on it that they were just about to shoot one of the most homely but practical faces that had ever registered Sex Appeal.
I even grabbed an Airship and flew out of Russia. In fact that’s the way you want to leave Russia. Still, as bad as it is, it’s better than nine-tenths of these others who are supposed to have civilized Governments. I have flew around Europe so much that if I don’t have an Airship I think that I am walking.
I flew clear across Germany. You could easily see who won the War if there is ever any more Arguments. So I got back to London, crossed the English Channel, looked down over the edge and saw Gertrude Ederle swimming out to the middle and back, practicing to swim across.1
There has been a big to-do over here about American made Pictures having the entire monopoly. They raised Cain about the “Big Parade.” Said it showed “How America won the War.”
Well, Charley Chaplin is an Englishman, and he won it one time in a Picture called “Shoulder Arms,” and did it single handed. So now we have both won it in the Pictures. So there is enough excitement over it that it looks like they will have another war, just to see which is the first one can get a Picture out of it. After awhile Nations won’t go to wars unless they are promised a certain percentage of the Picture rights. So it looks like the next wars will be fought with a Camera instead of a Gun.
Well, as I say, British Pictures needed a start, so I thought I just as well go and help them out. I being the one that started American Pictures.
I was in them before they were referred to by the Press Agents as an Art. I was in Pictures in Hollywood away back when some of these big ones now were just learning to get married. You see Pictures have to undergo a poor or what Will Hayes would call a “mediocre” stage before they can get to be big.2
Well, that is the stage that I assisted the great Film Industry through.
The minute they commenced to getting better, why my mission had been fulfilled. In other words, I am what you would call a Pioneer. I am all right in anything while it’s in its crude state, but the minute it gets to having any class, why I am sunk. After anything begins to take itself seriously I have to gradually drop out, sometimes suddenly. So that is why they sent for me to get the British Pictures through this state.
But I won’t last long here because they are a little too far advanced for me now. I was put in to try and handicap Dorothy Gish, who is the Star in the Picture.3
You all know Dorothy. She is one of the three Gish Sisters,
the Mother and two daughters.
So I am here in London, uplifting the newest and greatest Art. It’s lots of fun over here making pictures. Every time you finish a scene they bring you in a cup of tea, and what makes me sore at myself is I am beginning to like the stuff. The Picture is the story of three Vaudeville Actors that are playing in England and they are not so good. Well, if any one was well cast it’s me. I have been in Vaudeville and can fill the “Not so good part” and also I remember when I was playing over here one time using a Horse and Buck McKee.4
Well, it looked like we were going to have to swim the horse back home, and hang on to his tail as he did it. So I certainly know how to play a Vaudeville actor that’s not so good. If I can just stay natural I will be a hit. If I can just get cast in a Picture now where the part is a Lecturer going around the Country trying to reform all the Politicians, why I will have another natural part on my hands.
There is an awful lot of picture taking going on all around over the world. In America everybody is trying to get in the Pictures and over in all these Countries everybody is trying to make them. It will get so after awhile that everybody will make their own. Movies is getting kinder like Home Brew. You get you a little Movie Camera and a recipe and you just sit home and look and drink.
Russia has a Picture called “Patumpkin” or something like that, picturing a historical episode in its history and it is one of the best Pictures I ever saw.5
They claim it is propaganda, but I don’t know what it’s propaganda for unless it’s to show you how a real picture should be made.
There is another American over here now too, Mellon of Pittsburgh.6
The papers have advertised him quite a bit. I don’t know if he will have to do like me and stop and work awhile to get enough to get back on or not.
With all this argument going on over here about this debt, I don’t mind telling you that Mellon is a nervier Guy than I would be to come now.
They are throwing rocks at people from America that didn’t even have anything to do with the debt settlement. A bunch of American Tourists in Paris now takes as many chances as a Klu Klux Parade in Rome.
Moral: Stay out of the war unless it is on home grounds.
1For Gertrude Ederle see WA 141: N 1.
2For Will H. Hays see WA 117: N 3.
3Dorothy Gish, American theatrical and motion picture actress who first appeared on the stage in 1902 at age four. She subsequently toured cross-country with her mother, Mary Robinson Gish, and her sister, Lillian Gish, in Her First False Step (1903-1905). Thereafter, the Gish sisters often performed together on stage and in films. Dorothy Gish and Will Rogers starred in the 1927 British production of Tiptoes.
4Buck McKee, Oklahoma cowboy who joined Rogers’ riding and roping vaudeville act in 1905. Rogers and McKee toured Europe in 1906 and England in 1907.
5Bronenosets Potemkin (The Battleship Potemkin), Soviet motion picture of 1925 which commemorated the Revolution on 1905 and was based on a mutiny aboard the Russian battleship Potemkin.
6For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
WA194 August 29, 1926
WILL ROGERS INQUIRES WHO ATTENDED
THE ROYAL GARDEN PARTY
The King and Queen of England entertained at a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on a recent afternoon, the account of which I am pleased to copy from the leading London Daily Paper, which reads as follows:1
The Marquess and Marchioness of Zetland regret that they were unable and unavoidably prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command to be present at the afternoon Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.2
regrets that absence from England prevented him from obeying their Majesties command to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.3
Lord and Lady Airdale regret that they were unavoidably prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command to attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.4
Lady Belper was unable to attend and obey their Majesties’ command to attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, owing to illness.5
The Hon. Mrs. Mervyn Herbert was unavoidably detained from obeying her Majesties’ command to attend the Garden Party on Thursday.6
Sir George and Lady Meyrick much regret that they were unavoidably detained from obeying their Majesties’ command to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.7
Sir Harry and Lady Samuels regret they were unavoidably detained from attending the Garden Party given by their Majesties the King and Queen on Thursday.8
Mrs. Joseph Edward Rayne greatly regrets that she was unavoidably detained from attending and obeying her Majesties’ command to be present at the Royal Garden Party given by their Majesties the King and Queen.9
Mr. and Mrs. Whitelaw of Gartsore regret that they were unable to be present at their Majesties’ command at the Royal Garden Party on Thursday.10
Mrs. R. C. F. Maugh was unable, owing to indisposition, to attend and obey their Majesties’ command at the Garden Party given in the Garden of the Palace.11
The Duchess of Buckingham and Chandos was unavoidably prevented from attending the Garden Party given by their Majesties the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace.12
The Duke and Duchess of Montrose were unavoidably prevented from attending their Majesties’ command at the Garden Party given at Buckingham Palace.13
The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster was unavoidably prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command to attend the afternoon party given at Buckingham Palace by their Majesties’ the King and Queen.14
The Rev. the Marquess and the Marchiones of Normandy and Lady Elizabeth Phipps were prevented from obeying their Majesties command to attend the Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, owing to their having left London for Mudgrave, Whitby.15
The Marchioness of Reading was unable to obey her Majesty’s command to attend the party given in the Garden of the Palace.16
The Earl and Countess of Gainsboro much regret that they were unable to attend the command party given by their Majesties yesterday afternoon.17
The Dowager Countess of Gainsboro was unable to attend the Garden Party and having the honor of obeying the command of their Majesties at Buckingham Palace.18
Viscountess Templeton was prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command at the Royal Garden Party given at the Palace on Thursday.19
Viscount and Viscountess Bearsted regret that they could not be present at the Garden Party given by their Majesties the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace on last Thursday.20
Viscountess Gormanston was unavoidably prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command and having the honor of being present at the Garden Party given by their Majesties’ at Buckingham Palace.21
Lord Hampton regrets that he was prevented by absence abroad from obeying their Majesties’ command and being at the Garden Party given at the Palace on Thursday.22
Lady (Charles) Henry regrets that she was unable to obey their Majesties’ command and be present at the Royal Garden Party given at the Palace on Thursday last.23
Major General and the Hon. Mrs. Seeley much regret that they were unavoidably prevented from obeying their Majesties’ command to attend the Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on Thursday.24
Captain and Mrs. E. H. Tuckwell were unavoidably detained from obeying their Majesties’ command to the Royal Garden Party given at Buckingham Palace.
You will pardon me from intruding, but WHO WENT?
1George V, king of Great Britain from 1910 until his death in 1936.
Mary, queen consort of Great Britain.
2Lawrence Dundas, British marquess; former viceroy of Ireland and mayor of Richmond. His wife was Lady Lilian Selina Elizabeth Lumley.
3Thomas Kane McClintock-Bunbury, British baron; representative peer of Ireland from 1889 until his death in 1929.
4Albert Ernest Kitson, British nobleman, iron and steel manufacturer, and bank director. He was married to the former Florence Schunck.
5Margaret Coke Strutt, widow of a British baron and daughter of an earl.
6Mary Elizabeth Willard Herbert, American wife of a British foreign officer, Mervyn Herbert.
7George Augustus Eliott Tapps-Gervis-Meyrick, British soldier and politician whose wife was the former Jacintha Phipps.
8Harry Simon Samuel, British businessman an politician; former member of Parliament. His wife was the former Rose Beddington.
9Ida J. Rayne, native of the Barbados Islands in the British West Indies; wife of an American physician, Joseph Edward Rayne.
10Alexander Whitelaw, justice of the peace for Gartshore in Scotland. He married Dorothy Disraeli in 1886.
11Hilda Wollaston Maugham, wife of Sir Reginald Charles Fulke Maugham, British military officer, diplomat, and writer.
12Alice Anne Montgomery Grenville Egerton, duchess of Buckingham and Chandos; author and patron of the arts.
13James Graham, British duke, naval architect, engineer, and explorer. He was married to the former Lady Mary Douglas-Hamilton.
14William Foxley Norris, dean of Westminster Abbey from 1925 until his death in 1937.
15Constantine Charles Henry Phipps, British marquess. A prominent landowner and Anglican cleric, Phipps married Gertrude Stansfeld Foster in 1903. They had one son and two daughters, one of whom was named Elizabeth.
16Alice Edith Cohen Isaacs, wife of a British nobleman, the marquess of Reading.
17Arthur Edward Joseph Noel, British lord, the fourth earl of Gainsborough. A diplomat, soldier, and sportsman, Noel was married to the former Alice Mary Eyre.
18Mary Dease Noel, dowager countess of Gainsborough and the wife of the third earl of Gainsborough.
19Evelyn Georgina Finch-Hatton Upton, wife of a British lord, the fourth viscount Templetown, and daughter of the ninth earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham.
20Marcus Samuel, first viscount Bearsted and justice of the peace for Kent. A leading oil developer in the Far East, Samuel was married to Fanny Elizabeth Benjamin in 1881.
21Eileen Butler Preston, widow of the fifteenth viscount Gormanstan and daughter of a British army general.
22Thomas Walter Brand, third viscount Hampden. A British army officer, he served as a lord-in-waiting to the king from 1924 to 1936.
23Julia Lewisohn Henry, American widow of London insurance tycoon and Liberal politician Charles Solomon Henry.
24John Edward Bernard Seely, British soldier and politician; first baron of Mottistone. Major General Seely was married to the former Evelyn Izmé Nicholson.
WA195 September 5, 1926
IT’S GROUSE AND BAGPIPES
Well, all I know is just what I read in the Papers and what I see as I prowl around. It’s the open season over here now in Europe for Grouse and Americans, but they shoot the Grouse and put them out of their misery. Everybody over here goes up in Scotland for what they call the shooting season.
The King has gone and that means that everybody must go, even if they won’t get any nearer the King than they do a Grouse, why they will go just the same. It’s a great thing to rent Castles up there. Of course you can rent a Cottage or a Tent, but the class of Grouse that fly by it is really of very low grade. They
have no breeding. But if you have a Castle, why then the elite among the Grouse come by there.
The way they work it is they have Scotchmen that go and drive the Birds by. That is they do it for a fee. Harry Lauder has the contract to furnish the Scotchmen.1
Now you get a nice, big, easy, comfortable chair and sit out in front of the Castle, and as they drive them by you shoot at them. If you
don’t hit any, why the Scotchmen, for an EXTRA fee, will drive the Birds into the Barronial Hall of the Castle and there you can take a few shots at ’em in there. It is great exercise, this Grouse shooting. That is, it is for the Drivers.
Now in case you can’t hit a Grouse, if it’s too small, why they will drive you
up a deer, and you can either shoot it or pet it, which ever you like. A day’s
shooting all depends on how good the Drivers are. If you will bring them by close enough, say up about two gun barrels length away, why you can sometimes get enough for supper. But otherwise the Scotchmen may have to kill some with a stick for supper. The whole industry is sponsored by the Ammunition Companies.
Now the Birds know they are going to be killed, and you would think they knew better than to fly by where the shooters are. But the way they do it, is have the Scotchmen take the Scotch Bagpipes down in the brush with them and play the pipes, and when the Birds hear the Bagpipes they will fly right into the mouth of gun purposely. Anything to keep from hearing the Bagpipes.
When they are killed the Bird coroner can always bring in a verdict of “Justifiable Homicide.” The whole wonder to me is there is not more Scotchmen shot. I think they put cotton in the Hunters’ ears.
Well, Grouse, Golf and bare knees are Scotland’s big Industries. They are a great folk though, and they don’t argue over the debt settlement, and that is a great thing in their favor.
Barney Baruch I saw and had a talk to.2
He was going up in Scotland
to occupy a Castle during this Humane society week of Grouse destroying.
Barney said the way he shoots these Grouse is that he names them as they are flying toward him after some prominent Republican and that with names like that he never misses. One named Coolidge got away once, but he says he will get him the next time. I had a long talk with him. He had just seen Clemenceau over in France, but he says he did not dictate that letter that Clemenceau wrote to Mr. Coolidge.3
He told me that he only told him what to put in it and gave him the address and a stamp.
I guess there are more Democrats here than there are over home. Senator Caraway and Pat Harrison were here, and I just read a speech of Jimmy Cox’s that he delivered on the boat coming over here.4
Very tactful toward Europe; they all are on their way over here. Mellon has been down with Mussolini. 5
I will just about have to loan him some money to get back on.
Well, you know I told you about going broke and had to go to work in a Picture here in London. I got worse off than that. I had to go to work on the stage too. I was sitting around nights and wasn’t doing anything, so I thought I will try my little riddles out on a London audience, so I went on at Mr. Charles Cochran’s Review at the London Pavilion.6
Well, we had quite a night
there the opening night. All the Americans were there to help keep the Englishmen off me, and were all wondering just how the English would take my
nonsense. Well, I want to tell you before we go any further that I never saw a
better audience in my life.
All the stuff I had on International affairs they knew all about and they got every Gag I had. When a Gag didn’t get much of a laugh it was because it wasn’t very funny. So I certainly don’t want to hear the old remark when I get back home that the British haven’t any humor. They got a lot of humor.
Where some of our people have got that idea is because they have come over here and tried to spring a lot of slang expressions. Well, slang is no humor and never will be. Naturally they didn’t get it. They could do the same with us. They have just as much slang as we have, and naturally we don’t get theirs either.
But you talk to them about something that they know something about, and they know something about everything that has been in the papers. For I really believe they read more than we do. That is, they read more than the big City people at home do. Not any more than the Smaller Towns or Country people do. But you see over here when they pay a penny for a paper it was bought to read and they want to get their money’s worth and they look over every little nook and corner of it. And they sure can take a joke on themselves, too. In fact they don’t want you to compliment them. They have never had any compliments and they are not used to them.
I used a lot of stuff joking them about the debts. Told them they were the first nation to pay us and then the first one to put up a howl about it afterwards.
But that was the Papers over here. That was not the people so much themselves. But even the papers have about quit yapping now. They saw they couldn’t make any impression on Calvin. That old Boy is out for the jack, and if you owe him you better get ready to start digging up.
I introduced people in the audience, and that was new to an English audience. Why not quite an array of old friends. Who do you think was there?
Why not a soul but our old American Sporting Sweetheart, Sir Thomas Lipton, the fellow with the commodity that colors up perfectly good water.7
he got up and made a very nice little speech. I thought maybe he would give me a Yacht, but he didn’t. They like him over here a lot too. Then there was Lord Dewar, the great After Dinner speaker and maker of Scotch Whiskey, which sell in America.8
He told me he wouldn’t have prohibition go out in America for anything. Well he gabbed very pleasantly for us, too, and then Miss Dorothy Gish, or rather Mrs. James Rennie.9
Rennie is an Actor, and she keeps him working, so I think that is what accounts for their being married.
Earl Hopping the great American Polo Player, and Irving Berlin was with us and had to bow to the howling multitudes.10
The Prince was in night before last. I had some Gags about him, but I didn’t ask him to work for me. They take this Royalty on the level over here. I will be over there bothering you all again pretty soon. Some towns have gone so far as to book me back again next fall. I sure will have all the Scandal for you. How is Cal getting along? Is he slipping or not? I told Al Smith all the time he ought to be an Atheist and then he would be considered competent. They tell me votes is pretty good price over there now. I want to get over to try and sell mine a few times. Well, I will meet you all in Tulsa.
1Harry Lauder, popular Scottish singer and songwriter who was knighted in 1919 for entertaining troops during World War I.
2For Bernard M. Baruch see WA 124: N 8.
3Georges Clemenceau, premier of France from 1906 to 1909 and 1917. In an open letter to President Coolidge in the late summer of 1926, the eighty-five-year-old Clemenceau admitted that France was a debtor nation but one that would remain totally independent.
4For Thaddeus H. Caraway see WA 181: N 9; for Par Harrison see WA 181: N 8; for James M. Cox see WA 166: N 12.
5For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
6Charles Blake Cochran, English theatrical manager and producer until his death in 1951.
7Thomas Johnstone Lipton, British tea merchant and yachtsman. Lipton competed for the America’s Cup yacht trophy five times from 1899 to 1930. Although he never won, he became a great favorite of the American sports public.
8Thomas Robert Dewar, first baron Dewar of Homestall; British distiller and sportsman.
9For Dorothy Gish see WA 193: N 3. James Rennie, American stage and film actor whom Dorothy Gish selected to play opposite her in the 1920 motion picture production of Remodeling Her Husband. They were married soon after.
10Earl A. S. Hopping, American polo player who often participated in international competition during the 1920s and 1930s. For Irving Berlin see WA 177: N 2.
WA196 September 12, 1926
WILL ROGERS SAYS GOOD CROPS
CAN DO A LOT FOR A PRESIDENT
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers, and it’s so long before we get a paper over here about everybody and everything is buried before we know anything about it. I been wanting to get a line on some home Politics, but by the time the paper gets here my candidate has been beaten in the Primary and is hollering for a recount before I even know he has run.
Just how is things breaking over there anyway? Some papers we get over here say Cal is sorter skidding on the turns and they look for him to throw a tire in the home stretch. Other papers of the opposite form of public insanity claim that it is just a little natural reaction setting in, that a man can’t go on high every minute; that he has to sorter slow up and look back every once in a while to see if anybody is getting close to him. Course, there has been a lot of races lost by looking back at the wrong time.
They claim that the farmers are kinder losing confidence in him helping them out. Well, Cal is pretty wise; he knows there ain’t many Farmers. There is an awful lot of people farming but if it’s only the FARMERS that are against him, why, he hasn’t lost much strength. You got to do more than just live in the country to be a Farmer.
Then again you got to figure that it’s a long time till the fall of ’28. A couple of good crops and any fair luck working along the line of supply and demand, and he may capture the Farmers back again. You know rain in Iowa, an Epidemic of Appendicitis among the Bool-weevil or fallen arches on the Chinch Bugs all play just as big a part in the national career of a man as his executive ability does.
You give me a few showers just when I need them most and let me have the privilege of awarding them around among the doubtful states as I see best; let a certain demand for Steel crop up which I didn’t even know it was going to crop, let the Argentine and Russia have a wheat failure, let the foot and mouth disease hit every country but west of the Mississippi; let, as I say, all these things happen over which I have no direct control, but let them happen anyway, and have even me in there as President, and I will be Re-elected by such a large majority that I won’t even take the pains to talk to you over the Radio.
Give me all those things for 10 years in succession with me as President and I will give Lincoln a run for his laurels, even if I can’t spell cat, eat with my knife, and don’t know a tariff bill from a T-Bone Steak.
Being great as President is not a matter of knowledge, or farsightedness; it’s just a question of the weather, not only in your own Country but in a dozen others. It’s the elements that make you great or that break you. If the Lord wants to curse about a dozen other Nations that produce the same thing we do, why then you are in for a re-nomination. If we are picked out as the goat that year and are reprimanded, why, you might be Solomon himself occupying the White House and on March the fourth you would be asked to “Call in a public Conveyance and remove any personal belongings that you may have accumulated.” So it’s sorter like a Worlds Series—you got to have the breaks.
Everybody figures Politics according to what they have accumulated during the last couple of years. Maybe you haven’t earned as much as you did a few years ago, because you haven’t worked near as hard, but all you look at is the old balance sheet and if it’s in the RED why his Honor the President is in the alley as far as you are concerned. It takes about 20 or 30 years to really tell whether any President really had anything with him beside Sunshine and Showers. We have to look over your achievements in view of what they have to do with the future. Course, bad advice will ruin you just about as a total Earthquake all over the land would do. If you are trying to be elected and then listen to a typical Politician or a bunch of them, (for there is nothing as short sighted as a Politician unless it is a delegation of them) why, that’s more unlucky than an earthquake.
Well, if you are going to pay any attention to politicians during your administration you can just right away imagine yourself being referred to as
“Ex-President Jasbo.” They, I really think, can ruin you quicker than unseasonable weather.
Now, your personal habits, your looks, your dress, whether you are a good fellow or not with the boys, the old assumed Rotary or Kiwanis Spirit, why that don’t mean a thing. You can shut up and never say a word for the entire four years; you can go out and talk everybody deaf, dumb and blind so it’s only when you are asleep that you are quiet; you can see a teetotaller; you can have a drink whenever you like in all these things and a millon others you can be either on one side or the other and it won’t make the least bit of difference
in the world, that is, it won’t if the Country has enjoyed prosperity over 90 per cent of which you had no personal control.
Every Guy just looks in his pockets and then votes. And the funny part of it is it’s the last year that is the one that counts. You can have three bad ones and then wind up with everybody having money, and you will win so far you needn’t even stay up to hear the returns. You can go to bed at 10:30. On the other hand you can get a great first three years of your incumbency and then the last or election year flop on account of a drouth and you will be beat so far they will think you was running as a populist.
So that’s how much all these write-ups and Editorials amount to. They haven’t got any more to do with conditions on November 28 than Utah has advising Borah.1
In politics, as well as in anything else and even more so, you have to sorter bet or play on a man’s luck. Take golf, for instance. Hagen they will tell you can’t play as good a game as Bobby.2
But you let there be a few hundred beans in a bag that has been wagered on the outcome and Hagen will make the last 10 holes in ONE each. Now you may think you can outgeneral Cal, but you look up his record and you are going to have a tough time out-lucking him.
That guy Smith, is another guy that carries Horseshoes where poor Bryan never had anything on his person but Peacock feathers.3
Now, mind you, I am granting all of them the same ability, but it’s the four leaf clover that brings home the bacon. So don’t pay any too much attention to anything till I get there, and confer with you personally.
Who will be President Nov. 5th, 1928, hasn’t got a thing to do with any Candidates or what they do from now to then. Each one of their cards is in the
pack and conditions will be the one to draw out a winner. They say you must have the tide with you to swim the English Channel, WELL, YOU CERTAINLY HAVE TO HAVE THE WEATHER WITH YOU FOR FOUR YEARS TO KEEP ON BEING PRESIDENT.
1For William E. Borah see WA 119: N 2.
2For Walter Hagen see WA 167: N 14; for Bobby Jones see WA 191: N 1.
3For Al Smith see WA 121: N 1; for William Jennings Bryan see WA 122: N 1.
WA197 September 19, 1926
WILL ROGERS GETS A BIT LONESOME
FOR REAL CRIME NEWS
Well, all I know is just what I read in the papers. I am so far away that you will find my information kinder dull reading. Do you know that a murder is two weeks old before I get an inkling of it over here? I didn’t hear a bit of late interesting news like that till the party has maybe had time to shoot two or three more or have their trial and be out on bond. Funny thing, these papers over here don’t go in for murders much. They certainly are old-fashioned about what is news. Why when President Coolidge caught that Red Snapper up there they cabled that over and made a big story out of it, and here a fellow in Chicago can go out and do a fair day’s shooting and maybe come in with six or eight notches in the cork of his hootch flask and they won’t cable a word of it. The way they do the news of crime and robbery news from America, they just run them under the heading, AMERICAN PROSPERITY. Yesterday’s Market Report:
Killed (By Automobile) 32
Killed (By Gunshot and other natural causes) 21
They won’t tell you who was killed, who was robbed, who did the robbing, or any of the details. You can’t find out if you had a friend done any good or not. They run it just like a baseball box Score. You get the results and that’s all. In fact, it’s not as complete as box scores are. There you do know who was out, who made errors. Now you see they couldn’t run a paper five minutes like that over home. Then here is another funny thing about them over here. If they happen to have a murder here (they had one last year), why they don’t show any pictures of it at all. If they have any pictures of the fellows who did the killing, why they just let the police use them. They seem to think the police will do more toward catching him than the readers can, and the funny part about it is that they do. Well, can you imagine a fellow leading a gang over home, and going in to rob a place and shooting a half dozen, getting away, and then not having a single paper publish a dozen pictures of him? Say he would be so sore he would call on that Editor and tell him something. He just about would be so sore that he wouldn’t rob any more. And imagine if they didn’t publish his Girl’s picture, under the heading “Master Mind Behind Gang Leader.” You keep her picture out of the paper and you will see how long she will continue this “Master Minding.”
Over here they don’t care if he had a Girl. He could have a harem if he wanted to; nobody would ever read about it. After the murder is over the next thing you read about him is: “He was Cheerful to the Last.”
If he wants to do any Heroing here he better do it before he commits any crime. For from that time on the papers are going to cease to be his Press Agents.
Do you know, as a real matter of fact, that Criminal Statistics of England prove that in all the Murders that have been committed here that over 50 per cent of the ones that committed the crime have committed suicide before or right after being caught? They do that rather than face the law. They know that they will be caught, and they know what will happen to them after they are caught. So rather than face it, they kill themselves. Can you imagine a fellow
in some big City over home committing suicide for fear he would be caught, or funnier still one committing suicide for fear of what would happen to him after he did get caught? It wouldn’t be possible for an American criminal to commit suicide. It would require too big a sense of humor.
They got the quaintest ideas over here of right and wrong. Lots of the Cafes are not allowed to serve anything to drink after 12 o’clock. But they have Carbaret shows that run to 2 or 3 o’clock. After 12 there is not a drop to drink on any table and no one has a bottle hid under the table, and not a flask
in the house. They seem to think because its a law that they have to obey it. They got the funniest ideas that way. They seem to think the whole thing is on
the level. All in the world you have to do over here to get a fellow not to do
anything is just to let him know that it is against the law.
Now these papers over here will print something about the League of Nations or France’s Financial Trouble, or Mexico, or our Congress even, before they will print crime stuff. I don’t see how in the world they make a living with them. And the Policemen especially the Traffic ones, when they catch you, they are so nice about it that they don’t seem like Traffic Policemen at all.
You never hear one say, “Ha, Bo! Pull over there! Say, where do you think you are going? What’s the big idea?” They are so nice about it here that it is almost a pleasure to have stopped and made their acquaintance.
But, as I say, they are just so far behind the times over here they don’t know any better. They think they are progressing. So that’s what makes it so hard to get any news out of their papers that would be of any interest to you all over there.
We had in our theater recently the Mother that swam the Channel.1
seems a mighty nice modest woman and gives everybody else a lot of credit. The Channel has been kinder vacant the last few days. I guess about everybody come over that wanted to. Secretary Hughes is prowling around over here somewhere.2
Mellon was smarter than Hughes.3
He come while he held office. I am
leaving here soon and going up to Scotland to see Barry Baruch at his Grouse Castle.4
They have killed about all the gentle Grouse up there now, and they are just waiting till the Scotchmen get some more gentled for them. Barney and I got to sorter lay out our lines for the old 1928 handicap.
I hate to mix politics and Grouse and Bagpipes and Kilts, but ’28 looks like a Democratic year. It’s two years away. That’s the main reason it looks like a Democratic year. Any two years always looks like a Democratic year. In fact any two years away is a Democratic year. Democratic Politics is what you might call future politics. But Barney and I have a pretty good layout of a Campaign. He is going to furnish the Candidate, and I am going to furnish the Platform. We have really never had a well written platform. It’s always had ink splotches on it, or beer stains or something. So I have an idea of an entirely new one, that will give us everything but the votes. Now, we got to look to Mr. Coolidge for the votes. The way he and the weather acts between now and the Fall of ’28 will decide the votes for us. Democratic Candidates have been nominated in the back rooms of hotels for years. But this is the first time one ever was chosen out on the moors of Old Scotland, while we are waiting for the Scotchmen to drive some halfbreed Prairie Chickens by.
So the next President, if he is elected on the Democratic Party, out of respect to our judgment we will insist that he wear Kilts, and have a Scotch Economy Platform.
I hear my old friend Ma Ferguson has dropped back into private life.5
Well, she didn’t have far to drop. Ma had been practically in private life for
years. It will be pretty tough on the “Governor” though. But he will get out and
stir up something on the outside. Texas will always have to admit he made an awful good Governor for his Wife. I guess this fellow Moody is a good man.6
Well it takes a good man to handle Texas. I will be down there in a few weeks, right in Texas, and I will see if they have improved or got worse. Well, goodbye, my TEA is waiting.
1Clemington Corson, New York City housewife and mother of two children, swam the English Channel on August 29, 1926, in fifteen hours and twenty-eight minutes. She was only the second woman and seventh individual to accomplish the feat.
2For Charles Evans Hughes see WA 156: N 5.
3For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
4For Bernard M. Baruch see WA 124: N 8.
5Ma Furguson (see WA 146: N 3) lost her bid for renomination for governor in a hotly-contested primary run-off election on August 28, 1926.
6For Dan Moody see WA 157: N 7.
WA198 September 26, 1926
WILL ROGERS LOOKS OVER IRELAND
AND SEES LOT OF OTHER THINGS
Well here I am away over here in Dublin, Ireland. Mrs. Rogers, the other 85 percent, had never been to Ireland and so over here we come. Anytime the 85 percent want to do anything it is generally about 100 percent done. Not that I didn’t want to come to Ireland again. I had been here once on this trip, but it would take a thousand trips to see Ireland. You have all heard about the Irish Sea that you cross coming from England, and how rough it can be. Well, it was as quiet and calm, and Ireland was as quiet and calm. It looked like even the sea had settled down in keeping with Ireland.
I had heard about that terrible Movie Disaster in the little Town of Drumcolloger, and by a coincidence I had passed through there when over here before. And it was such a quiet, peaceful little place and to have all this terrible trouble was certainly not deserved. So when I read about it and as I had finished playing in London, why I wired President Cosgrove of Ireland that I
would come right over and for him to get me a Theatre and I would give a benefit.1
Well, they only had two days to do it in, but they did it, and they took over a big fine Theatre (the man donated it) and we had our show. They put on their wonderful Military Band and a Lady Singer and I want to tell you I have been mixed up in all kinds of shows but this one last night was the greatest one I ever was in. You talk about an audience! They were packed in! And
you talk about “Getting” your stuff! Say, you leave it to these Irish. They get
you and they get you good. If there is a speck of humor or fun in anything you say or do they will dig it out, and they won’t be all day digging. They were without a doubt the most appreciative audience I ever saw in my life, and at moderate prices we got their fund about four thousand dollars. And then from New York come donations to me from Brandon Tynan, the best Irish Actor that ever started an argument, a Mr. Pandem of New York, and Mr. Frank Sogan, and Miss Lois Wilson the Movie Actress, and I want to hereby thank them and if they could have heard the applause their names got for thinking of those poor people away over there it would have done their hearts good.2
Had President Cosgrove in the Box and introduced him. He is doing a lot for Ireland. You take the time he has had and the funds he has had to work with and he has accomplished more than any one in any other Nation I have been in.
Old Ireland will pull through and in good shape too; you see if she don’t. Then Tim Healy was there.3
He is the Governor General of Ireland and they like him. You know Ireland is the only British colony that is allowed to pick the man they want to be Governor over them. Healy, as you might guess, is an Irishman. And he still seems to be good friends with England too. That’s kinder like standing in with the Democrats and the Republicans both at the same time. Just missed Judge Cohalan of New York by a day.4
He had to leave.
He lives here; has a beautiful summer home in the south of Ireland, and he and
his family have a great summer over here every year. That’s what some of the rest of these people should do that are always prowling around looking for some place every year and wind up in France where they are not wanted. Ireland welcomes you, even if you don’t buy something every minute.
We are leaving here tonight, and I hope that Irish Sea don’t have a Revolution
on the way over. We get to London early in the morning and just have time to drive to the Airdrome and get an Airplane for Berlin by way of Amsterdam.
My wife has never had a jaunt in one of these and I have told her what a beautiful trip it is over Holland, and I only hope it is as quiet as it has been
when I have made it before. You know Air travel is just like the ocean; you got
to gamble on the rough weather. If it’s nice and calm, why the air is OK, but if it is rough and the air is rough you need spurs to stay in one of those things.
So I am certainly praying for nice weather. I am kinder headin’ off after Amsterdam and Berlin down to the League of Nations meeting at Geneva. We are not officially represented there, but I am going down as kinder unofficial observer. You know America has a passion, if they can’t get into a Conference they will just give anything just to be near one. They just thrive on conferences.
If America worked as much as they conferred we would be so wealthy that we wouldn’t know which style car to buy.
I see Germany went in the League and China had a war. Every time somebody goes in the League why a war breaks out somewhere else. Spain had to leave on account of a private war they had going on. They said, “Why go in here to get in war when we can have a home talent one?” But you take it all in all the old League is looking better now than ever it did. If they just don’t get to fighting among themselves they will pull that thing through.
Mellon has been over here somewhere, but on account of people wanting him to make it easy on them, why he had to keep sorter quiet.5
Course, anything he cancels or rubs out he will have to carry personally. That won’t be any tremendous hardship, I don’t reckon. He is not what you would call the cancelling Kid. He got his pile on Interest, and he believes that is a good way
to keep on stacking her up.
Debt arguments have been pretty quiet over here lately. That Daily Mail that broke out that time has quieted down till you would think we were paying them, they are so nice. It looks like they tried to steal second with the bases loaded, and have recognized their mistake ever since. Ex-secretary Hughes has been over here too, but he has associated with Mr. Coolidge so long that he is saying nothing, but just grunting when asked anything, and not what you would call good grunting at that.6
It’s even an in-audible grunt.
Prince of Wales has gone to France to enjoy himself. Barney Baruch shot at Grouse till his shoulder got sore, closed up the only Democratic Castle in Scotland, and went home.7
We will all be piling back in there about the time you read this; that will just give us time to line up OUR forces for the fall festivities on November 4th. She looks like she will be a hot race in some States. Everybody that is in wants to stay in, and everybody that is out wants to get in. You know that is just what is the trouble with Politics there is not enough jobs to go around. You have a good job for every man and that will be the salvation of politics; you will never hear a kick. So in ‘28 that is one of the planks that I am advocating putting into the platform is “A job goes with every vote.” If you vote for the Government why not work for the Government? It’s no harder to work for the Government than it is to vote for it. In fact most jobs is not as hard.
Well, I will be annoying you all around personally about the time you read these few lines. Coolidge is going to have to send over another man, and he will never get one that took the personal interest that I did either. I hope he
is appreciative of it, but I doubt it.
1William Thomas Cosgave, president of the executive council of the Irish Free State from 1922 to 1932. Cosgrave requested international assistance after a fire swept a packed movie theater in Dromcolliher on September 6, 1926, killing forty-six persons. Rogers staged a benefit show for the victims’ families.
2For Brandon Tynan see WA 128: N 5. Lois Wilson, popular American leading lady of the silent screen who continued her career—a total of more than 300 films—in talkies until her retirement in 1949.
3Timothy Michael Healy, Irish politician and nationalist leader who served as governor general of the Irish Free State fro 1922 to 1927.
4Daniel Florence Cohalan, former justice of the New York supreme court, attorney, Democratic politician, and free Ireland protagonist.
5For Andrew W. Mellon see WA 124: N 5.
6For Charles Evans Hughes see WA 156: N 5.
7For Bernard M. Baruch see WA 124: N 8.