"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.