The Quincy Daily Herald

1885: January 13


The audience that greeted Mark Twain and Geo. W. Cable, last evening, was the largest that has been in the Opera house this season. Every seat down stairs was occupied, and the gallery was well filled. No one present went home dissatisfied. The entertainment was enjoyable and appreciative throughout. The programme consists of joint recitations, and the first part was taken by Mr. Cable, who is a fine and intellectual gentleman. He recited extracts from his work of "Dr. Sevier," perhaps the most successful production he ever wrote. As a delineator of character Mr. Cable is eminently successful. His dramatic power is intense. In place of the fifth number of the programme he sang Creole songs and was twice recalled.

Mark Twain is almost the opposite of Mr. Cable. Tall and plain, he is at once a favorite with the audience. His face begins to show age, but his mind is the same fruitful and fertile one that it always was. Every word he utters has a meaning, but while he keeps his audience in paroxysms of laughter, scarcely a smile overcomes his countenance. He was repeatedly applauded, and after each part was recalled. He began by reciting some of the "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and concluded with a bit of experience as an editor at Virginia City. Should Mr. Cable or Mark Twain ever come to Quincy again they will be assured a good house.

The (Quincy) Daily Journal

1885: January 13

A very large and fashionable audience (drawn thither by the celebrity of Mr. Clemens) greeted "Mark Twain" and Mr. Cable at the Opera House last night, and were fairly well entertained.

Mr. Cable is a small, weak, affected, effeminate-looking man with a womanish voice. He is affected in dress and affected in voice. He seems to be trying to imitate Mark Twain, in the matter of a limping, halting, hesitating speech. The fact is that Mark Twain has enough of this unvaluable eccentricity to answer all the purposes of this combination.

Mr. Cable's first recitation was tiresome. It was nothing, very long drawn out. It was all about a creole Frenchman borrowing a dollar of an acquaintance.

His second recitation was a little better. He represented the Irish woman in a fairly "amateurish" way. But there was not much to it.

In his third appearance he sang some African Creole refrains fairly well, as we think. This was the best number in the programme.

He recited Mary Richling's ride at his fourth appearance. This was a serious recitation, and was given about the average school-boy fashion. Mr. Cable is no doubt an elegant and capable writer, but as a reader he is sadly lacking in cultivation. There is nothing fine, or finished, or artistic about his readings. Of course he knows this, probably, better than anyone else. We mean such fineness and such finish as was found in Forrest and Adams, and as we find in Booth, and McCullough, and Barrett, and Mayo, and Keane.

If Mr. Cable should attempt to make a tour of this country alone, -- the third night would just about end him. Mark Twain can hold him up for a long time, for Mark Twain is quite another sort of man. Mark Twain is a sizeable, substantial, sensible, manly-looking and manly-spoken fellow; a man cut after the pattern of a man, and with the speech and action of a man; a capable, brainy-looking fellow.

There is no discount in Twain's wit. It is there; and it is genuine wit; and reader, let me tell you something! It is much better in his books than it is on the stage -- much better. It is condensed in his books. On the stage it is too long, too long drawn out. Twain is too long in coming to a point, and he dwells on it too long, after he does get to it. Wit and humor are a something that surprises the mind. If the "point" of a joke can be anticipated, the life is taken from the joke. It is the pleasant surprise on a point that should be quickly touched and quickly passed. He takes the charm and the sparkle from his funny point by hanging it too long.

Twain's first recitation was his best -- by all means. In that he didn't dwell. He drove straight ahead to the end of it. It was a pleasant recitation. Twain's stories are funny, and he tells them in a droll way.

To our notion the biggest part of the show was Mark Twain himself. And when a man says "I saw Mark Twain last night," he has said the largest thing that can be said about the whole affair. Mark Twain is a famous character -- and there is something in human nature that makes us wish to see famous characters. We cannot conscientiously set a very high estimate upon the Twain-Cable entertainment. To see Mark Twain is an event in itself; but no one would particularly care to hear the Twain-Cable entertainment repeated. Little, plain, simple, unpretending Bob Burdette gave an entertainment at our opera house one night all by himself that discounted the Twain-Cable entertainment one thousand per cent. Bob's lecture was rich in wit and humor, and rich in pathos. It was a feast of rich things.

We congratulate Dr. Marks upon the large attendance last night. An audience like that adds to his wealth and cheers his spirits.

TRANSCRIBED FROM Twins of Genius by Guy Cardwell

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