January 29 Friday – “Carl” (Clement T. Rice) reported from Carson City to the Virginia City
Union about Sam’s speech (now lost) to the burlesque assembly known as the “Third House.”
Last night [Jan. 27] a large and fashionable audience was called out to hear a message delivered by
the Mark Two—otherwise called Twain. Indeed, this was the resuscitation of the celebrated Third
House, or rip-snorting gymnasium, prepared for the benefit of outsiders who must orate or bust. Hal.
Clayton assumed the chair, and the levities spread spontaneously. Mark Two’s message only helped to
keep up the effervescing spirit of the good work in behalf of that same, ever-present gaping skeleton of
a church. The benefit on this occasion was large—perhaps $200—which will take the institution in out
of the weather and hasten its completion very materially [Smith 145-6].
Smith notes that this may have been Sam Clemens’ “first appearance on what seemed to him a public
occasion…noteworthy as the beginning of a long and brilliant career as a platform artist” .