The Minneapolis Tribune|
20 July 1895
Each succeeding day has marked a steady increase in the advance sale of seats for the Mark Twain entertainment at the Metropolitan theater next Tuesday evening. This eminent humorist and literary genius promises to entertain a large audience. It is said, to make a good lecture, the first thing is to know what to leave out, the second thing what to put in, and the third third when to leave off. Mark Twain knows all these and his greatest failing is that he leaves off all too soon. We think he has hardly begun when his hour of talking is passed and he bids us good night. Twain can paint a picture when he pleases and it is hoped he will paint his vision of Athens by moonlight. His description of French lackeys and Swiss scullions is very amusing. In comparison he says: "If you hire one to sneeze for you and another chooses to help him, you have got to pay both," and he adds: "How it must have surprised such people to hear of the way of salvation offered them without money and without price."
There are still many seats to be had and there is every evidence that most of them will be filled next Tuesday evening.
The Minneapolis Tribune
21 July 1895
Mark Twain's Lecture
Gladstone does not shine as a Biblical critic, nor Mark Twain as a critic of Italian art nor a guide to the Holy Land, but as brilliant humorist he reigns supreme. If critics who think art should imitate nature so far as to leave things at loose ends are right, "Huckleberry Finn," which tells of Southern lawlessness, life in little innocent towns, and leaves murders unavenged and lovers in full flight, should satisfy them. Already "Huckleberry Finn" is an historical novel, and probably more valuable to the historian than "Uncle Tom's Cabin," for it is written without partisanship and without "a purpose." Again, where is the woman more masterly drawn than the one who detects "Huck" in a girl's attire? This book may have defects and deficiencies in taste, but it remains a nearly flawless gem of romance and humor. A two-shilling novel by Mark Twain, with an ugly picture on the cover, may "have no show," and perhaps one is enough for him to "live by," but let us pray that his life may be spared until he shall produce such another.
In the early 60's Mark Twain, after his failure as a miner on account of its being too laborious, took a position as local editor on the Enterprise in Virginia City, Nev. (He had written for newspapers before; few Americans escape that fate), and it was then that he took the pseudonym of Mark Twain, which he borrowed from the vernacular of the river, when the man heaving the lead calls out "Mark twain," instead of "Mark two." The habit of putting his own life into his books is only one phase of the frankness of Mr. Clemens' humorous attitude. He asks nothing but the transparent disguise of the pseudonym granted him. In this he differs from Mr. Locke, who likes to figure as "Petroleum V. Nasby," the crossroads politician; Mr. Shaw, who chooses to masquerade as "Josh Billings," and Chas. F. Brown, "delicious" as he was when he dealt with us directly, preferred to disguise himself as "Artemus Ward," the showman, each of whom appeals to the grotesqueness of misspelling to help out his fun; but it was for Mr. Clemens to reconcile the public to humor which contented itself with established absurdities of English orthography. Formerly many American humorists were on the side of slavery, drunkenness and irreligion. Before "John Phoenix" there was scarcely an American humorist with whom one could smile and keep his own self-respect. But Mark Twain, the most popular humorist that ever lived, has never published anything to make one morally ashamed of liking him. As Shakespeare was the first to make poetry all poetical, Mark Twain was the first to make all humor humorous.
An original vein of humor is shown in his appreciation of the many congratulatory messages received when he reached his half-century of life, where he writes to a friend: "Every mail brings me letters from people who seem glad that I am 50 years told. I don't see what I have done to have so many enemies. I have never congratulated a person on being 50 years of age. It is true I have shot at people in the dark when I have had something against them, but I have drawn the line there." Many people regard Twain as an extravagant wag with a long bow, yet every English-speaking market is flooded with his "Innocents" of all sorts. He is supposed to lie like truth, but he as often speaks truth like lies, and utters many verities in jest -- yes, and in earnest too. You can easily tell when he has the long bow and when he is shooting fair.
Mr. Twain's strong points are his facile but minute observation, his power of description, which is so vivid as to make you feel, after listening to him, that you know all about those places and do not have to go there; and his vein of peculiar, I almost said personal, humor, which stand out in all their glory while he is on the platform. Those who are to hear Mark Twain next Tuesday evening at the Metropolitan Opera House have a rare treat in store, and if the advance sale of seats is any indication of the sales to be from now on until that evening, Mark Twain will have a royal reception.
Mark Twain's secret is a tolerably open one. He is always wide awake; full of observation, not too full, so he is not a bore. He continually jokes, and his jokes are generally easy ones, so they make you laugh while they do not make you think, which is important, for the slow discovery of a joke is a very wearing process. And, last, but not least, Twain has shown that he can go on, for he is endowed with more than one idea. What can be more unlike any of his previous works than "The Prince and the Pauper," where he pictures Edward VI. as changing clothes with a romantic beggar boy who resembles him? The beggar boy is found in the palace, and the courtiers cannot be persuaded that he is not Edward VI., gone mad, and the prince, once in the beggar's clothes, cannot convince anyone that he is not a beggar. How very unlike "The Jumping Frog," his horse, "Jerico," and the bucking "Mexican Plug." Had he done no more than all these he would have deserved well. But he has done more, and in all he has done he is oddly sound and quaintly thorough besides; but his use of commas and full stops would have run any office dry, to say nothing of the hyphens.
He has made a number of lecturing tours, all of which have been very successful. His stage deportment is his very own. Someone said of him: "He spoke more slowly than any man I ever heard. We never laughed loud nor long; we sat throughout with a gently simmering amusement. His description of the old Magdalen ivy-covered collegiate buildings at Oxford University was exquisitely charming. He told of a duel which never came off and of another one where no one was injured in a semi-pathetic way peculiarly belonging to him. Suddenly Twain made his bow and went off. It was over. I looked at my watch. I was never more taken back. I had been sitting there exactly one hour and 20 minutes. It seemed 10 minutes at the outside. If you have ever tried to address a public meeting you will know what this means. It means that Mark Twain is a consummate public speaker, and in the art of saying nothing in an hour he surpasses our most accomplished parliamentary speakers."
The Minneapolis Tribune
22 July 1895
This city will have the pleasure tomorrow, of entertaining for a brief time, one of the most unique and distinguished characters of American literature. When one considers Mark Twain's present age, it is more probable that this visit tomorrow will be his last to this city. As is well known, he is now on a trip around the world, and by fall he will be far away in some of the Pacific islands; it will therefore be a rare opportunity to listen to his unique readings which are to take place at the Metropolitan Opera House Tuesday evening.
There are thousands in Minneapolis who have been delighted for hours at a time in reading Mark Twain's various works, and that element will doubtless be curiously interested in obtaining a personal view of the author, and hearing from his own lips something about the various characters of which he has from time to time written so interestingly.
After the lecture Mark Twain will be given a reception by the members of the Minneapolis Press Club, jointly, at the rooms of the Commercial Club. Those living at the lake will have special trains run for them, leaving the lake at 7 o'clock, arriving in this city before 8 o'clock, and again leaving for the lake immediately after the lecture.
The Minneapolis Tribune
23 July 1895
Mark Twain, the most celebrated and widely known literateur that has ever visited this city in many years, will arrive at Minneapolis this morning from Duluth. Anticipating his coming visit to this city, the famous writer has been flooded with requests from various prominent people here who have been desirous of showing him some special attention during his brief sojourn. Mr. Clemens is deeply grateful for the evidence of kindly feeling shown by his friends and admirers here, but feels that it will be necessary to forego all pleasures of that sort in order to be in prime metal for his lecture this evening at the Metropolitan and the additional duties that may possibly be asked of him at the public reception to be tendered him this evening at 10:30 by the Minneapolis Press Club and the Commercial Club at the latter's quarters in the Kasota Block.
In all probability citizens of Minneapolis will tonight be given the last opportunity of ever listening in this city to Mark Twain's unalloyed fun from his own lips. The program this evening will be made up of all sorts of the best selections from his numerous stories, and many pertinent remarks will be added to give special zest to the occasion. The audience which will be present at the Metropolitan Opera House this evening promises to be one of the most select gatherings that has occurred here in a very long time. It will certainly be one of the most distinguished audiences that has, possibly, ever greeted a literary luminary in Minneapolis. The sale of seats will continue uninterruptedly throughout the day at the box office in question, and it is believed that by 7 o'clock tonight all of the seats on the two lower floors of the spacious theater will be purchased. After the lecture a committee composed of the Press and Commercial Clubs will escort Mr. Clemens to the place where the reception is to be held. The lecture promises to be a feast for those of a literary turn of mind, and it is also safe to assume there will be plenty of fun in it, too, as a letter received yesterday from Maj. Pond states that Mr. Clemens is in great health and fine trim generally.