Submitted by scott on

April – The April issue of Atlantic Monthly included Charles Miner Thompson’s “Mark Twain as an Interpreter of American Character,” p. 443-50. Tenney: “‘He is not a great or a skillful writer,’ and lacks the taste of an Oliver Wendell Holmes. His character of Tom Sawyer is inferior to the Bad Boy of Thomas Bailey Aldrich, but the character Huck rises above the conventional vagabond in ‘his essential honesty, his strong and struggling moral nature.’ Despite the artistic flaws in MT’s work the reflection of his life is appealing: ‘If a man can thoroughly express the individuality of a nation, he may fairly be called great’” [27].

In April or early May, at the request of Adele Chapin, Sam paid a surprise storytelling visit to the London Hospital, where Chapin’s children had been treated by Dr. Thomas Gilbert Smith for various illnesses. With 790 beds it was London’s largest general hospital. Sam agreed to the rare appearance only if nothing would appear in the newspapers. Dr. Smith took Twain and Mrs. Chapin to the Fitzgerald Ward, where Sam gave a talk to a crowd of sick and dying men. In Chapin’s 1931 memoirs, Their Trackless Way: A Book of Memories, she wrote of the patients’ reactions: “Mirth struggling through pain in their faces was wonderful to see and their eager listening not to lose a word.” Two ladies accompanied Sam’s stories (including the watermelon, Mexican plug, Old Ram, and Miss Wilkerson’s glass eye stories) on the piano and violin. Chapin quotes Twain: “I have never had such an appreciative audience”

[Le Bourgeois and Evans 344-7].

Day By Day Acknowledgment

Mark Twain Day By Day was originally a print reference, meticulously created by David Fears, who has generously made this work available, via the Center for Mark Twain Studies, as a digital edition.