The Indianapolis Journal

1872: January 2

Mark Twain. Lecture at Association Hall Last Evening.
Roughing It in Nevada.

The matchless, indescribable, whimsical, and intrepid humorist yclept Mark Twain, stood up in Association Hall last night, and spoke his piece in the presence of a large, refined, and very appreciative audience, with the single exception of one young lady, who looked on mournfully while her neighbors were convulsed with laughter.

Mr. Twain introduced himself, as is his usual custom, with a touching encomium upon his high moral, intellectual, and social qualities, being anxious, as he said, "to get in all the facts," which a stranger might not be able to do, however good his intentions might be. After reciting the cardinal and other virtues to which he laid claim, the lecturer proceeded to introduce his subject by describing his overland voyage to Nevada in a stagecoach, and his introduction to the manners and customs of the Territory. Particularly fine was his description of a horseback ride in the public square of Carson City, upon which occasion he learned something by experience which could never have been demonstrated by theory alone. Following this side-splitting recital, came a specimen of that exalted word-painting for which Mr. Clemens should not be less famous than for his wit; word-painting which marks him as one of the best descriptive writers of the age. His description of Lake Tahoe last night was indeed magnificent, and would have been applauded to the echo if the audience could have suppressed its apprehension that the description would end humorously.

His description of Nevada, however, was not enticing to "actual settlers," but at the same time its grotesque humor was highly appreciated and the whole lecture abounded in telling hits, play upon words, and other promoters of good digestion in his listeners. It would be unfair, if it were possible, to print his jokes in connection with a review of his lecture, and the pleasure of laughing at them must be confined to those whose pleasure and good fortune it was to hear him last night.