The Grass Valley (California) Daily Union

1868: April 23

"MARK TWAIN'S" LECTURE.--The irresistible sense of humor which characterizes this apostle, was exemplified, night before the last, from the very start. After diligent search and inquiry throughout the town, he finally succeeded in finding a couple of reckless persons, who cared nothing for public opinion, to accompany him on to the stage. The personal appearance of, and marked contrast between, these two individuals, convulsed the audience with laughter and thus put them in a suitable frame of mind to appreciate the mirth-provoking "Mark." One of the supports (we came very near writing "sports") was an uncompromising Democrat; the other, an ardent Republican; one was an impecunious newspaper man; the other, (immense contrast) a banker; one drinks only whisky; the other imbibes nothing but chocolate; one is bald-headed, and the other has no hair on the top of his head; one nose a great deal and the other--well, this contrast has been carried far enough. "Mark" arose between these two thorns, got behind his mustache, and started in. The first two stories he told, about the man that was twenty-four thousand, nine hundred and ninety-two miles from Marysville the way he was going, and only eight miles if he turned around, and the other yarn about the boy who wanted a little devil to play with, were good. We always liked those stories. Our grandfather used to tell them. Our little boy laughs at them when he finds them in Harper's drawer, where they re-appear about every six months. They are good stories; they have stood the test of time. His other anecdotes, however, were not of this familiar type. They were all good, all original (having been told to "Mark" by a personal friend), and told in an inimitable manner. The Christopher Columbo story and the mummy yarn, brought down the house; but it being a very small one, nobody was hurt. The inconveniences of polygamy were forcibly illustrated by the case of the Sultan of Turkey with his eight hundred wives, who has to have his sleeping apartments lumbered up with a bedstead six feet long, and thirteen hundred feet wide. But it is not only as a humorist that "Mark" excels. His graphic description of the arid wastes of Palestine, and the mis-shapen waists of the Turkish ladies; of Venice, the Queen of the Adriatic, and Damascus, the pearl of the East; (besides Damascus, he mentioned unfavorably several other cusses); his interesting account of Herculaneum and Pompeii and his vivid picture of Egypt, were as fine specimens of word-painting as good well be imagined. Taken all in all, the lecture was an excellent one; decidedly superior, in our opinion, to the one which he previously delivered on the Sandwich Islands. This may be his last lecturing tour, as we understand that he is about to commence a new work, having been engaged by the Smithsonian Institute, to write a eulogy of that Institution.