The Cleveland Leader

1884: December 18

Delightful Entertainment Given at Case Hall Last
Evening by the Two Great Authors.

[Transcribed from Pond's broadside poster.]

Case Hall never contained a more delighted audience than the one filling it last evening to listen to readings by Mark Twain and George W. Cable. A rich entertainment was expected and it was abundantly furnished. The audience was an appreciative one, and the recalls were distinct and vociferous. Mr. Cable was a stranger to a Cleveland platform, but his welcome was a most enthusiastic one. His voice is well trained and melidious and his gestures the perfection of grace. His appearance on the platform was the signal for an outburst of applause. He is about forty, short and slender, with thick black hair, a dark, drooping moustance, and short, silky beard. His face is intelligent and his eyes bright and sparkling. His success on the platform is due to the dramatic intensity and joyous humor that passes into each of his characters, and has been as instantaneous was his rise in the literary world. His readings last night were confined to "Dr. Sevier," perhaps his most successful work, and seldom, if ever before, has a Cleveland audience enjoyed his equal as a delineator of character, and as a word painter of those quaint yet original types of humanity which belong to a by-gone period. Gifted as he is as a writer and novelist, it is questionable whether both author and books are not more thrilling when the former gives additional life and color to his characters upon the stage. His elocution is a distinct innovation, but for that reason all the more effective and entertaining. In place of the third number on the program he rendered Creole songs, and was twice recalled to the stage.

Mark Twain is his companion's opposite in every particular. The latter is small and graceful, Twain tall and awkward. His gestures are few and meaningless, and he does not smile when uttering jokes that almost put his audience in convulsions. His great head of hair, once glossy black, is now an iron gray, and his bushy mustache jutting out over his queer mouth is also streaked with white. While his audience was roaring with laughter he simply pulled his mustache and scowled. Sentences and phrases that, emanating from other lips, would seem dull and commonplace, prove paroxysms of mirth when uttered by him. As a reader he is far outside of any conventional rule, but coming from his own lips his lines gather and convey many new and charming meanings. The laughter that greeted his first appearance attended him to the last. Despite his peculiar drawl and awkward gestures, his audience left satisfied of having been entertained by a geniune and wholesome wit rather than by any harlequinade of language. He began his part of the programme by relating an incident that occurred when he lectured in that same hall thirteen or fourteen years ago, when he forgot a passage in his speech and called on the audience to help him out. They thought that he was joking and he repeated the request. This only augmented the fun. Finally a gentleman arose and said that if he was really in earnest he would remind him what lie he was telling when the interruption occurred. "That gentleman," said Mr. Twain, "was Mr. Solomon Severance, and I have been very grateful to him ever since." His first selection was from the advance sheets of a new story called the "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and was his best effort of the evening. His few years' retirement from the stage has robbed him of none of his mirth-provoking abilities, and the great audience laughed until it was weary, then rested, and laughed again.