The Duluth Evening Herald

1895: July 23


Mark Twain came in on the North West last evening and consequently was about an hour late in arriving at the First Methodist church. A hack was waiting at the dock and drove him as quickly as possible to the church. He walked on the platform at about 9:10 o'clock and calmly announced that it looked for a time as though he was to be late but fortunately it was not so.

Twain is a man of medium height and size with a rather calm and serene looking countenance. He wears an iron grey moustache and a bushy head of decidedly grey hair that makes one believe Twain is trying to rival Paderewski. His style is rather original. He speaks slowly with a peculiar drawl and gives one the idea that nothing on earth could make him talk any faster.

As for the entertainment, however, it must be admitted that it was disappointing. Perhaps expectations were raised too high. The people started in to laugh at once as though they were there for that purpose and thought they ought to. After he had narrated a couple of his yarns, however, they subsided somewhat, and only occasionally broke out again. Twain did not seem to be able to get the audience under his control although he had the opportunity to do it very easily at the beginning.

His entertainment is rather informal in style. He slides easily from one story into another without much warning and introduces anecdotes as they come to his mind. Some of them impress one as being very funny, although all of them are of rather a dry sort of humor, but some others fall somewhat flat.

The Duluth News Tribune

1895: July 23

The Humorist Disembarks From the Steamer in a Dress Suit
At the Church a Big Audience Patiently Awaited His Arrival.

While the large audience waited for the coming of Mark Twain at the First Methodist church, Deacon R.R. Briggs waited on the Northern steamship dock, peering out seaward for a glimpse of the big white ship and the delinquent lecturer.

"There she comes! There she comes!" ejaculated Mr. Briggs, as he hopped around on the dock, with smiling face.

"There's Maj. Pond," exclaimed the deacon, as the big vessel neared the dock. Maj. Pond stood on the edge of the gangway, peering onto the dock, and by his side, all dressed for the platform, stood Mark Twain. Behind him stood Mrs. Clemens and Miss Clemens.

"Here we are, Major!" shouted Deacon Briggs.

The boat's officers blew their whistles, shouted commands, and in a moment the big vessel stood close to the dock. The gang plank was run aboard. Purser Pierce stepped aside and off came big Maj. Pond, chin whiskers, white straw hat, good natured countenance and all. He was closely followed by Mark Twain and his family.

"Is there a carriage here?" queried the humorist.

"Right this way," replied Mr. Briggs, as he started across the dock for a hack that stood in waiting at the corner.

Twain bustled along at the heels of the quick stepping deacon, and his wife and daughter came along with Maj. Pond.

"Drive to the First Methodist church faster than you ever drove before," ordered Mr. Briggs as he climbed nimbly onto the box with the driver.

"I'll run 'em all the way," replied the Jehu.

The whip cracked, the horses sprang forward and the carriage went whirling away at a furious pace.

It Was Mostly Made Up of Readings and Very Funny Stories

It was about 9 o'clock when the audience that filled the First Methodist church heard the cry outside, "Here he comes," and hundreds of expectant eyes turned toward the door through which the famous humorist entered escorted by Rev. Dr. Thoburn. "It looked for a time," said Mr. Clemens by way of introduction, "as if I would be a few minutes late." Then he recited the story of the frog jumping match, so familiar to all readers of his stories; told of going to his father's doctor office one night after having played truant and finding the body of a man who had been killed. Mark told a story of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, followed by the ghost story, which was related so artistically that the final "Wough!" brought every one to his feet. There was also a story of a new clergyman at a christening. The clergyman dilated at length on an excuse for the small size of the little one whom he understood to be a boy. Ending an eloquent peroration to the effect that the infant might prove a modern Caeser or Hannibal, he asked abruptly, "But what is his name?" "Name is it?" replied one of the company, "Why his name it is Mary Ann."

Mr. Clemens and his party left last night for St. Paul, where he lectures tonight.