The (Portland) Oregonian

1895: August 10

Mark Twain at the Marquam.

Last night a brilliant audience was assembled at the Marquam Grand to hear Samuel L. Clemens, otherwise known as Mark Twain, one of the most noted humorists of the day. Those who had been anxiously awaiting this event were in no way disappointed. In addition to the keen, subtle wit which permeates his writings, his delivery is a most fitting accompaniment. His droll, quiet manner, his peculiar pronunciation, his inimitable drawl, all tend to give the audience the time to see the point which everything he says unquestionably has. His personal appearance, as also his facial expression are of material value to him, and taken altogether, he carried the house by storm, to judge from the applause which greeted every sally.

With more solidity and depth than most of that class of writers, Mark Twain keeps coming to the front instead of sinking into oblivion, and the name is as familiar to the rising generation as it was when he first made his appearance in the literary world. To have accomplished this, there must have been more to his work than simply humor. This humor must have been true to life rather than an exaggeration to provoke mirth. In many cases, it is a question whether his mirth is not rather pathos, and the two are so delightfully blended that it is not hard to conceive why Mark Twain stands where he does today.

The house was one ripple of laughter from the beginning to the end, the only regrettable feature being that Portland only has this one opportunity to hear him. After the fall of the curtain and the house was thinning out, the applause was sufficient to call him before the curtain, and a request was called out from the audience to give the "Stammerer's Tale," which he did most graciously.

The audience last night was very fashionable, as well as extremely large. Every seat in both the dress circle and balcony was occupied, with numbers standing, and the gallery was well filled. The lecture consisted of the following original selections from Twain's writings: "My First Theft," "The Jumping Frog," "Character of the Blue Jay," "A Fancy Dress Incident," "Bit Off More Than He Could Chew," "Tom Sawyer's Crusade," "Fighting a Duel in Nevada," and "A Ghost Story." The entertainment consumed an hour and a half, and at its close the lecturer took occasion to thank his hearers for such a cordial reception on a summer evening, and expressed his sincere gratification that hhis meeting with the public of Portland was of such a substantial and pleasing character.