The Philadelphia Inquirer

1884: November 27

Mark Twain's Humorous Sayings.

A very appreciative audience gathered last evening at Association Hall to listen to the readings of Mark Twain and George W. Cable. Mr. Cable gave some of his inimitable stories of Southern life and thrilling romances of the war, which were generously applauded. Alternately the audience was kept rollicking with laughter at the droll yarns of America's prince of humorists, the ever-comical Mark Twain. A vein of dry humor ran through all of his tales, and made him, as usual, popular with the audience.

One of his yarns contemplated the reform of the human race by preventing the habit of profanity among men. The reform was to be accomplished by substituting mechanical swearing through the means of the phonograph. The effect of this contrivance on shipboard, colored by all the possibilities of swearing in foreign languages, and swearing backwards and multiplying the force of it by placing as many as one hundred and fifty phonographs in different parts of the ship was too much for the most serious audience in the world, and there was a continuous burst of laughter.