Submitted by Scott Holmes on Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:22

Mark reported to Livy on a poor reading in Springfield on November 7. (pg 16, Cardwell [Love Letters, p 366. The program at Springfield was experimental])

  Cable reported that the performance was “against terrible odds—brass music & fire-works in front of the hall, vast crowds blocking the streets and cannon firing directly in the rear of the house”     

Springfield Republican, Nov. 8, 1884 page 4.

The Twain-Cable Evening

"The joint venture of Mr. Cable and Mr. Clemens at the Opera House last evening was greeted by a very considerable audience, and bothered by the very considerable noise on the streets, to a degree. But it was a successful entertainment, the principal regret felt being that Mr. Cable did not appear in such variety of effects as [??] previous visits here, and as the program [promised?]. He presented himself first and impressed every one as a romantic figure, a sort of knightly ideal, with his broad and overhanging forehead, his brilliant eyes and his long moustache over his full [brown?] beard. He was warmly cheered, and after gracefully [???]ing the "[???] of Place Congo" in deference to the superabundant music outside, he [re?lied] the story of "Possou June." It was done with far greater elocutionary effect than when he first read it here, but he has introduced into the text certain little variations (to make it more intelligible to his audience, perhaps,) which hurt the artistic quality. Mr. Cable's voice has strengthened by practice, and he is now able to fill the house with his slenderest tone, and to produce what effect he will by a development of his dramatic power. After he had concluded the narrative of the Florida parson he gave the specimen of the music of "Place Congo", and sang it with such fine expression and so good a voice that the audience felt defrauded to hear no more of it. When "Mark Twain" appeared there was a hearty welcoming applause, as there must always be for one whose humor has delighted more people than that of any other man. Mr. Clemens, in evening dress rather more pronounced than Mr. Cable's, and with a fine exaggerated air of fluidity at his entrance upon the stage, was a great contrast to his associate. He can hardly be described, with his head of roughened curling hair, his vigorous nose, his sardonic moustache and cleft chin, - but he looked the humorist, as he no doubt he intended to. He at once informed the audience that the programs which had been distributed at great cost for their convenience were of no particular use, and he explained why they were not, at some length. Then he proceeded to prove that he was right about it by giving a number of readings not one of which was mentioned on the program. He gave a discussion between "Huckleberry Finn" and the negro boy Joe (in the new book): he narrated and illustrated his struggles with the German language and its unreasonable genders; he related one of Col Sellers[?] projects--there were millions in it--and slightly adapted it to the immediate exigencies of the political situation; he described his adventure with the young woman whom he pretended to know and didn't, and who came up with him so [handsomely], and he wound up with telling a ghost story after the manner of an old negro. He positively convulsed his hearers with the deliberate fashion of his speech and the peculiar ways in which he indicated their proper emotions by the inflections of his voice. Mr. Clemens is undoubtedly as much a humorist in the reading as in the writing of his extraordinary contributions to our literature, and he gave to the familiar narratives an added touch of character."

 

Railroads: New Haven-Springfield,  Morris and Essex,  New Jersey CentralNew York and New Haven

Comment

Lowell, Nov. 12/84
Livy darling, only a word, to say I have not heard from you since I left you
stricken & lonely in the forever accurséd town of Springfield—the only
town where we have suffered a defeat. I have not heard from you, & it has
depressed me all day. It is now midnight, & has been a hard day. Good
night my love.
Sam R