Submitted by scott on

Departed Brooklyn "early" for Washington DC. and registered at the Ebbitt House near the White House.

"As for "Mark Twain," Father Time has no mercy even upon a professional mirth-provoker and has plentifully sifted his hair and heavy drooping moustache with fine white powder. His face is as clean cut as cameo. He speaks in a sort of mechanical drawl and with a most bored expression of countenance. The aggrieved way in which he gazes with tilted chin over the convulsed faces of his audience, as much as to say, "Why are you laughing?" is irresistible in the extreme. He jerks out a sentence or two and follows it with a silence that is more suggestive than words. His face is immoveable while his hearers laugh, and as he waits for the merriment to subside, his right hand plays with his chin and his left finds its way to the pocket of his pants. Occasionally the corners of his mouth twitch with inward fun, but never is a desire to laugh allowed to get the better of him. These characteristics agree so well with his description of himself in his books -- Innocence victimized by the world, flesh, and Devil -- that one cannot fail to establish the resemblance and laugh at the grotesque image." Washington Post 1884: November 25, courtesy Touring with Cable and Huck

Afterward Cable wrote to his wife Lucy:

A crowded house that went off like gunpowder the moment it was touched; a delicious audience. The brightest, quickest, most responsive that we have yet stood before....When I arrived in town the local manager told me he had between 12 and 15 requests for me to sing Zizi. The audience encored it; but I gave them “Mary’s Night Ride” & then they encored that, & I sang Aurore. How I love to read the Night Ride; but it is a good half-day’s work crowded into seven minutes... [Turner, MT & GWC 61].

Sam wrote from Washington, D.C. to Livy:

Splendid times, Livy dear! A Congregational church packed with people—$750 in the house. The most responsive audience you ever saw. We did make them shout, from the first word to the last. I say “we,” for the honors were exactly equal—as they pretty much always are, now. I worked the ghost story right, this time, & made them jump out of their skins.


On Tuesday night when Cable walked off after his second number he found three congratulatory visitors in the retiring room-President Chester A. Arthur, a daughter of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Arthur's Secretary of State, and "another lady" whose name Cable missed. A little later Frederick Douglass came in. Cable wrote ecstatically to his wife: “They met as acquaintances. Think of it! A runaway slave!” (pg 22 Cardwell)

Note: Nowhere in Huck Finn does Sam refer to Jim as “Nigger Jim.” When did this label start? Ernest Hemingway is often blamed for this, but the above review [Washington Post Nov. 25, 1884] shows, even before Huck Finn was published in the U.S., that some referred to Jim as “Nigger Jim.”

Railroads: New JerseyCamden and AmboyPhiladelphia and TrentonPhiladelphia and ReadingPhiladelphia, Wilminton and Baltimore,  Northern Central, New Jersey Central

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