|[MT was in Europe when Frank Mayo's dramatization of Pudd'nhead opened, but before it finished its New York run he attended a performance. When the audience called him on stage afterwards, he said a little about Mayo's play and his novel, and a lot about his difficulties with twins.]|
New York Herald,
Thursday, May 23, 1895
At a Performance of "Pudd'nhead
Wilson" the Author Tells of
Angelo and Luigi's Oddities.
MAYO HAS MANAGED THEM.
They Were Too Much for the Humorist and the Boarding House and Theatre.
SPOILED AND SAVED BOTH.
He was obviously gratified by his researches, for his applause of the performance was frequent and hearty. Indeed, the presentation of "Pudd'nhead Wilson" was never better, the presence of Mr. Clemens seeming to give especial enthusiasm to artists and audience alike.
At the end of the third act there were vehement clamors for Mark Twain, and he responded, speaking from his box, as follows:--
"I am gratified to see that Mr. Mayo has been able to manage those difficult twins. I tried, but in my hands they failed. When I was here year before last there was an Italan freak on exhibition in Philadelphia who was an exaggeration of the Siamese twins. This freak had one body, one pair of legs, two heads and four arms. I thought he would be useful in a book, so I put him in. And then the trouble began. I called those consolidated twins Angelo and Luigi, and I tried to make them nice and agreeable, but it was not possible. They would not do anything my way, but only their own. They were wholly unmanageable, and not a day went by that they didn't develop some new kind of devilishness, particularly Luigi. Angelo was of a religious turn of mind, and was monotonously honest and honorable and upright, and tediously proper; whereas Luigi had no principles, no morals, no religion--a perfect blatherskite, and an inextricable tangle theologically--infidel, atheist and agnostic, all mixed together. He was of a malicious disposition, and liked to eat things which disagreed with his brother.
"On the other hand Angelo was a trouble to Luigi the infidel, because he was always changing his religion, trying to find the best one, and he always preferred sects that believed in baptism by immersion, and this was a constant peril and discomfort to Luigi, who couldn't stand water, outside or in, and so every time Angelo got baptized Luigi got drowned, and had to be pumped out and resuscitated. Luigi was irascible, yet was never willing to stand by the consequences of his acts. He was always kicking somebody, and laying it on Angelo. And when the kicked person kicked back Luigi would say:--"What are you kicking me for? I haven't done anything to you." Then the man would be sorry and say:--"Well, I didn't mean any harm, I thought it was you, but you see you people have only one body between you, and I can't tell which of you I'm kicking. I don't know how to discriminate. I do not wish to be unfair, and so there is no way for me to do but to kick one of you and apologize to the other." They were a troublesome pair in every way. If they did any work for you they charged for two, but at the boardinghouse they ate and slept for two and only paid for one.
"Luigi grew steadily more and more wicked, and I saw by and by that the way he was going on he was bound to land in the eternal tropics, and at the bottom I was glad of it; but I knew he would necessarily take his righteous brother down there with him, and that would not be fair. I did not object to it, but I didn't want to be responsible for it. I was in such a hobble that there was only one way out. To save the righteous brother I had to pull the consolidated twins apart and make two separate and distinct twins of them. Well, as soon as I did that, they lost all their energy and took no further interest in life. They were wholly futile and useless in the book; they became mere shadows and so they remain. Mr. Mayo manages them, but if he had taken a chance at them before I pulled them apart and tamed them he would have found out early that if he put them in his play they would take full possession and there wouldn't be any room for Pudd'nhead Wilson or anybody else.
At the close of Mr. Clemens's speech Mr. Mayo was called for, and responded briefly, paying a tribute of praise to the constant generosity of the management.
Among those of particular literary or other fame in the audience were Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Bridgman, Mr. and Mrs. Murat Halstead, Mr. and Mrs. St. Clair Mackelway, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Black, Mr. and Mrs. R. N. Johnston, Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Buel, Mr. and Mrs. R. G. Ingersoll, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Ellsworth, Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton W. Mabie, Mr. and Mrs. E. C. Stedman, Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Hubbard, Robert Bridges, George R. Peck, Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott, Mr. and Mrs. S. M. Spedone, Mr. and Mrs. W. D. Howells, Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Hazen, Major and Mrs. Panghorn, Major and Mrs. J. B. Pond, Mr. and Mrs. William H. McElroy, Mr. and Mrs. Cary, ex-Judge Frederick G. Gedney, Edward C. James, E. D. Schell, D. D. Gillette, N. G. Paine and Rudolph Allen.