[The following squib, or promotional paragraph, and the three excerpts from earlier reviews were published together in the Oswego Commercial Advertiser and Times on 14 January 1870, the day before MT spoke there.]
"MARK TWAIN," with whom every reading person must feel he has an acquaintance--the man who has written more geniune humor than any other living author--will appear before our citizens at Doolittle Hall tomorrow evening, when we expect to see a greater audience than has been called out in Oswego in many months. Twain's humor is universal. It reaches to every subject that comes within the range of human thought and experience. It is not coarse humor, but that which is lighted up by the fire of real genius,--the true sort. Everyone who has read his numerous newspaper articles, and particulary such as have enjoyed his recent work, "The Innocents Abroad," will feel that they cannot afford to lose this lecture. The subject of the lecture is "Our Fellow Savages of the Sandwich Islands." Twain recently delivered it in Troy, and the Times says: "The lecture gave a world of satisfaction. Those who went to laugh were abundantly satisfied; those who went from any other cause must have been likewise well pleased, for notwithstanding some things that are repulsive about them, no one can fail to like 'our fellow savages.' Mr. Twain is a man about thirty-five or forty years of age, somewhat tall and spare-built, and has the Western knack of telling a story. Next winter Mark must make his bow to a Troy audience."
MARK TWAIN.--NOTICES OF THE PRESS.--The Boston Advertiser says:
Mark Twain is a very good looking man. He is of medium height and moderately slender build, has light brown hair, a reddish brown moustache, regular features and a fresh complexion; and he has a queer way of wrinkling up his nose and half closing his eyes when he speaks. The expression of his face is as calm and imperturbable as that of a sphinx. Looking at him you feel it to be an impossibility that he should ever hurry or be out of temper, and you might suppose him to be incapable of a joke, if it were not for the peculiar twinkle in his merry eyes. His voice is remarkably light and remarkably dry--like some German wines--and it seems to be modulated to only two keys. His style of speaking is unique to the last degree. It is all of a piece with the quality of his humor, and fits him like a glove. He delivers his sentence without haste, and in a tone of utter indifference, marking the highest waves of his thought only by a strong flavor of nasality, and knowing for the most part only the rising inflection at the beginning, middle and end of his sentences. The rising inflection is not native here, nor is it born in the manner of any of our speakers. Mr. Dickens first taught us how it might be used to advantage, and Mark Twain doubtless, without borrowing a leaf from Mr. Dickens' note-book, has found out for himself how effective an adjunct it is to humorous speech.
The Journal says:
Mark Twain discoursed about the Sandwich Islands for an hour last night at the Music Hall. Mr. Clemens is truly an original lecturer, his manner being as unique as his matter. He spoke without notes, walked about the stage most of the time, and was dry and droll, serious and even pathetic. His matter was a series of surprises, it being difficult for the listener to know what was earnest and what was fun. His most ludicrous jokes were related with a serious air, that imparted a fresh flavor to them. The entertainment, for such indeed it was, was a very enjoyable one, so enjoyable and peculiar that all attempts to describe it would fail. The hearty applause given indicated that the audience were pleased.
The Hartford Courant says:
Perhaps we can find in the cyclopedia more than he told us about the Sandwich Islands, more and a good deal less. But we do not find Mark Twain in the cyclopedia account, nor his peculiar manner of looking at things. The art of the lecture consisted in the curious mingling of grave narration and description with the most comical association, and with occasional flashes of genuine wit. And the whole was leavened by a manner that would make the fortune of a comedian. Mr. Dickens' greatest success was in comedy, and even his finest passages of humor owed their best effect to the manner of the artist. In the humorous lecture or reading it is impossible to separate the person from what he says or reads.
Mr. Clemens made as decided a hit with his audience in Hartford as he did in Boston. And we do not doubt that it was a genuine success. We did not go expecting him to expound political economy or the philosophy of Kant, but to have an hour of hearty laughter; and we thanked fortune that we had it, and that there is left a genuine humorist who can give it to us. And when we went away we did not care to make an inventory of our "information." For ourselves, we reckon among our benefactors those who can make us laugh, innocently. Humor has its office.