Fresh May His Memory Remain.
Samuel Clemens was a humorist philosopher. He was as philosophic as humorous. His humor dealt almost altogether with human nature in its everyday phases, almost in its crude forms. He was born one of the common people, and all his life in its formative stages was spent among plain people. There is not much edge to his jests. They play around their objects as sheet lightning flashes over the sky. They do not harm and never cause any fear of danger. But they go to the very heart of human nature and sound the depths of its aspirations, aims and hopes. In jest Clemens is what Dickens is in story. There is not the pathos that marks the "death of Little Nell," but there is as rollicking fun as in any page of the "Pickwick Papers."
Sam Clemens was an American humorist. His jokes are broad and good-natured. There is the crudeness in them that is found in western life of fifty years ago. They lack the subtlety of French wit. The delicate touch, the fine point, are not there. It is the thought of the plain and of the mining camp whose color is caught, whose essence is distilled--not that of the drawing-room or boulevard.
But that the soul of human nature is preserved in the writings of Mark Twain is shown by their popularity wherever the language is understood. A Boston audience laughed at Twain with as much glee as one in San Francisco. London enjoyed "Pudd'nhead Wilson" as much as New York. And in the Antipodes the Melbourne Larrigans laughed with as much abandon as a New York Bowery boy or a San Francisco hoodlum. Moreover, Oxford undergraduates and university dons sat side by side with the common herd of the street, "Townies" and "Gownies" both in uproar at Mark Twain's quaint jokes.