The Bethlehem Daily Times

1871: October 17

THE LECTURE.-- Samuel L. Clemens, otherwise "Mark Twain," of "Innocents Abroad" notoriety, held forth last evening in the Moravian Day School Hall, under the auspices of the Winter Evening Entertainments Committee of the Y. M. C. Association of Bethlehem. His subject was "Reminiscences of some Uncommonplace Characters I have chanced to meet." As everybody knows, Mark Twain has traveled a good deal, and has met a great many people; and he has a happy way of telling about them in writing; indeed, "Mark Twain," as a writer, is a great success. As a lecturer, we feel bound to say that, though not an entire failure, he is far from being instructive in his remarks or entertaining in his manner. His lecture is made up almost entirely of humorous incidents which he has narrated in his "Innocents," and which everybody who would be likely to attend a lecture has read; and we don't think Mark added anything to them, in point of fact, by the manner in which he "got them off" verbally. He told the Roman mummy story, the Christopher Columbo story, and so forth -- and didn't tell them well. But everybody wanted to see "Mark Twain," and they saw him; (but only a small portion of the audience heard him, because he spoke in such a low tone of voice;) and with that sight most of them were satisfied -- ourselves included. We had never seen Mr. Clemens; we wanted to see him; we knew that good writers seldom make good lecturers; we were willing to pay the price of admission to see him, even if it had been announced that he would mount the platform to be looked at, and would not open his mouth to speak. So we were all satisfied, but not instructed nor exactly entertained. In short, if we went to hear "Mark Twain" lecture, we were disappointed; if we went to see the author of "Innocents Abroad," and to hear him talk in the familiar, dry way which is his peculiarity, we were satisfied, pleased, delighted. It is probable that the majority of the audience was of the latter class.

The audience was one of the largest which has ever been collected under one roof in Bethlehem, and the members of the Entertainment Committee, as a matter of course, wore very smiling faces in consequence. The best and biggest part of Bethlehem's intelligent population were present. It was a most pleasant occasion, of a kind which should be greatly multiplied in every community.

The Bethlehem Daily Times

1871: October 18

Mark Twain's lecture in Allentown is termed "a flat failure." Bethlehem wasn't alone sold.

The Bethlehem Daily Times

1871: October 20

MARK TWAIN on Wednesday telegraphed to the lecture committee at Reading the dispatch given below. While he was at Allentown he remarked in conversation that he was so dissatisfied with the merit of his lecture, which was intended for the whole season, that he would break his engagements if he did not find time to write another.

WILKESBARRE, Pa., Oct. 18, 1871.
Sickness in my family calls me home immediately. I am sorry to fail in my contract, and can only throw myself upon your kindness, as I can not come. I will lecture for you on any night between the 5th and 10th of February.         MARK TWAIN.