Indianapolis Journal

1885: February 8


A very fine audience greeted Mr. George W. Cable and Mr. Samuel L. Clemens, at the Plymouth Church, last night, but not so large as the one they faced when here less than a month ago. This is to be accounted for, probably, because of the matinee in the afternoon, when the programme was the same as that given at night, and also because it is easy to have the taste palled with the peculiar entertainment they give. Mr. Cable's principle selections were from the Grandissimes, introducing the character of Ravel Innerarity, with his wonderful picture of "Louisiana Refusing to Enter the Union," and the announcement of his marriage as he changes boats on the beautiful waters of Lake Catharine. The preamble to this latter appearance of the Creole artist was a splendid bit of landscape painting, soft and sensuous with the beauty of that Southern sky, air and water in and about the chain of lakes forming the back water-way between New Orleans and the gulf. He again interpolated three of the creole love songs, and closed his part of the programme with "Mary's Night Ride," from Dr. Sevier, a bit of artistic work, eager and intense both in the writing and the reading. It is much the best thing Mr. Cable gave. Mark Twain was as funny as ever. His encounter with the newspaper interviewer, in which he broke down that redoubtable personage with his atrocious burlesques upon fact, put the audience in a mood to be tickled to death with the story of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in their arrangement of "Jim's" escape from the cabin in accordance with the dramatic unities of history and romance; with the mistake of the Blue Jay, who attempted to fill up the dismantled cabin with acorns dropped through a knot-hole in the roof; and the story of his duel in Nevada, in which he was converted from a blood-thirsty hunter of men into a mild and cooing dove, who, having a controversy with a person now, would take him out quietly and talk with him, and reason with him -- and kill him. In answer to a furious encore, Twain gave the adventure of the miner's cat, which was blown up in a blast, and ever afterward exhibited an unconquerable aversion to quartz mining. As an entirety the evening was most enjoyable, and if it seemed less full of zest than the previous one, it was because the novelty had somewhat worn away, and not that the performance was below standard. The general verdict was expressed by a fair auditor in the gallery, who, while Mr. Twain was telling of his duel, gave a long-protracted half-musical shriek, dying away in a hysteria and a rupture of whalebone.