On the evening of December 12, 1900, in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, 26-year-old Lieutenant Winston S. Churchill arrived to speak about his adventures as a war correspondent in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War. He had already been an officer in the army, serving in Sudan and Egypt, but came to South Africa as a journalist. Shortly after arriving, a train carrying him was attacked, and Churchill the journalist led a brave but futile defense against the well-armed burghers. Churchill was captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp, but within a month he made a daring escape. Hunted through Pretoria with a bounty on his head, he hid in mines and railway cars, eventually to return to England a hero.
"The grand ballroom was crowded to the doors," said the December 13, 1900 New York Times. Churchill's gift for language was already known--he had books to his credit--but some of the attendees, at least, must have been drawn by his introducer, Mr. Mark Twain.
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