The creator of Archy & Mehitabel, Freddy the Rat,
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By Don Marquis

President, Dutch Treat Club

My dear Sir:

It has been called to my attention that I have been proposed for membership in the Dutch Treat "Club," and I am writing to you directly as I want the candidacy withdrawn before this matter goes any farther.

The proposal was made in 1905, and it arose out of some jesting remarks that passed between a friend and myself, and I did not take it seriously at the time. Therefore I was unaware until quite recently that I had been on the waiting list for 24 years. If I had been aware of it, I should have taken action long ago to block the effort on the part of certain false friends to drag me into this organization without my knowledge and, I may add, against my will.

Now, Sir, let me tell you just why I am compelled to forbid any further connection of my name with this "club." Several times, against my better judgment, during the past quarter of a century, I have been influenced by acquaintances to attend luncheons of this "club," and even annual entertainments to which I was taken as a guest, over my protests. Only business reasons impelled me to accept these invitations.

I say "entertainments." Orgies would, in my estimation, be a better word. To come to the point at once, Sir, I consider the Dutch Treat Club a Plague Spot in the Community -- a Moral Cancer, Sir, which should be cut out by the keen scalpels of the Law. An ethical ulcer, Sir. It surprises me that even in a city as large as New York there could be found so many men willing to indulge all the baser instincts of humanity, as exemplified in these so-called "entertainments."

Vicious and lecherous pictures, shows reeking with suggestive music, suggestive dances, suggestive poses, suggestive songs and the most debased comedy, and over all the stench of alcohol, the fumes of tobacco, and the hum of licentious conversation -- can this be called "entertainment"?

Entertainment indeed!

I pity the debauched minds, the perverted tastes, the maudlin souls, the degenerate intellects, which are so lost to all sense of the wholesome and the constructive in civil life that they can consider these vile orgies entertaining!

Many and many a time, year after year, as I have sat and shuddered at this Babylonian baseness (to which I had been dragged as a guest against my will, Sir!), I have thanked my God that I was not in any manner connected with this noisome sink of putridity!

And imagine my feelings now when I discover for the first time that a jest I made a quarter of a century ago was taken seriously! And that during these years I have unknowingly been on the waiting list -- my name lending itself to the furtherance of such abhorrent degradation!

Sir, I insist that you withdraw my name! I shall permit no further equivocation nor long delay in this matter. I am a person of standing in the community, Sir, a person of repute; I represent the moral and constructive elements in our civic life. This underhanded attempt to ruin me has, in all conscience, continued long enough. For 24 years (unaware of it all the time!) I have been your tool in getting others into your so-called "club" -- fools attracted by my name on your waiting list. My name used as a gloss for your evil practices! This outrage must cease!

Set your traps, Sir, for juvenile idiots who believe that license represents intellect! Bait your hooks for the muddy fish who think that immorality is wit! Lay your snares for the young gulls who think that to batten upon garbage is to display a sophisticated taste! But, hereafter, leave me out of it all! Leave me out, I say!

You, Sir, will not be able to understand the indignation that a citizen of repute feels at his enforced, unwilling, and unrealized connection with your "club" -- you cannot understand these feelings, or you would not be President of such a tainted coterie! But I will give you one plain warning which even your charnel-house mind can understand: You must accept my resignation from your waiting list, or I shall put the matter into the hands of my attorney. Make no more use, Sir, of my name or the Law, which stands back of the Morality of this community, thank God! will be invoked against you.

I await your word, Sir, that you have voluntarily released me from this filthy contamination -- (thanking God that it has not gone any longer than it has!) and if I do not receive such word within six months of the above date, I shall proceed against you in the courts.

Yours very truly,

/s/ Don Marquis

(A check for dues was enclosed.)

From: The Dutch Treat Club Yearbook -- 1930

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Jim Ennes

Don Marquis