Submitted by Scott Holmes on Sat, 12/14/2019 - 12:36


" When Mark Twain entered to give the advance sheets from "Huckleberry Finn," his gait resembled the motion of a tall boy on short stilts and he made his way around the table and approached the footlights. He was dressed in the conventional black suit, which is totally unsuited to the infinitely droll looking character enclosed within it. An extraordinary head of stiff hair of no particular color, but inclining to a bleached brick-dust shade, and which appeared to be perfectly independent of the large-sized cranium over which it hovered, had evidently been gone over a few times with a harrow to make the stubborn crop of hirsute delirium tremens stay down for a hour or two. And then the face was Yorick come again without a touch of paint but with the added drollery of generations of jesters. The low, square, wrinkled forehead, the face knotted with bumps of living fun, the short cropped military looking moustache, the eyes half closed and wearing an expression of doubt, as though their owner were balancing in his mind whether upon the whole he had better deliver the lecture or go to bed, made up one of the oddest looking faces ever worn by man."


"As for his complexion, it is doubtful whether any person present will ever remember what it was and it is possible he does not know himself. At some time in his life it was probably sandy, but his efforts in the way of eradicating the freckles, which report says once covered it, may have changed it to the neutral tint it now presents. His arms are somewhat short for his ample length and these are apparently as unmanageable for him as his hair. They are sometimes swung in front of his person and then left to dangle around at his sides--like a pair of government arms. Again one of them is spasmodically jerked to his forehead and the other follows about half way, giving the observer the impression that it is out of his power to move one without moving the other. Then the hands appear at times to move without an effort of his will and crawl into his pockets, from whence they are summarily pulled when it comes to the knowledge of the proprietor. His legs are tolerably well under control, but even those members of the animated joke at times show plainly that they are restive under restraint and would gladly return to the old days when their owner gave them a larger allowance of liberty. Twain finds his voice after a short search for it and when he impels it forward it is a good, strong, steady voice in harness until the driver becomes absent-minded, when it stops to rest, and then the gad must be used to drive it on again. Mr. Twain has a swan-like neck which his trick of throwing up his chin shows to advantage. It is as long as his shirt bosom and as white; but it is much thicker than a swan's."

" He is not completely successful and making a bow, and he trots off the stage seemingly delighted at the prospect of being so much nearer to the end of the entertainment."

The Detroit Post 1884: December 17 courtesy Touring with Cable and Huck

Railroads: Detroit, Monroe and Toledo