From Eccentricities of Genius,
By Major J. B. Pond

(New York: G. W. Dillingham Company, 1900

Mark Twain and George W. Cable

MARK TWAIN and GEORGE W. CABLE travelled together one season. Twain and Cable, a colossal attraction, a happy combination! Mark owned the show, and paid Mr. Cable $600 a week and his travelling and hotel expenses. The manager took a percentage of the gross receipts for his services, and was to be sole manager. If he consulted the proprietor at all during the term of the agreement, said agreement became null and void.

These "twins of genius," as I advertised them, were delightful company. Both were Southerners, born on the shores of the Mississippi River, and both sang well. Each was familiar with all the plantation songs and Mississippi River chanties of the negro, and they would often get to singing these together when by themselves, or with their manager for sole audience.

So delightful were these occasions, and so fond were they of embracing every private opportunity of "letting themselves out," that I often instructed our carriage driver to take a long route between hotels and trains that I might have a concert which the public was never permitted to hear.

Mr. Cable's singing of Creole songs was very charming and novel. They were so sweet, and he sang so beautifully, that everybody was charmed, it was all so simple, and quaint, and dignified.

[The manuscripts of Eccentricities of Genius are in the Barrett Collection. They include two versions of the chapter that Pond wrote on George Washington Cable. In the first version of that chapter he'd written this further account of the tour:

"When the Mark Twain and George Washington Cable combination was organized in 1885, in their joint program Mr. Cable became a student of Mark and fell to aping him to such an extent as to make him appear ridiculous. He assumed Mark's drawl in his readings and it became almost a second nature to him to the extent that he was imitating Mark even in his conversation, and Mr. Cable has since acknowledged to me that that fault of imitation, and that drawl, had injured him for platform work."

Pond sent the chapter to Cable for his approval. Cable disapproved of much that Pond wrote: the manuscript pages are often covered with his fastidious objections in pencil. He was especially upset with this passage on MT's influence. Next to the first sentence he wrote: "It is a shame for you to write this. Its tone is positively vindictive." And at the end of the passage he wrote, in the margins and on the back of Pond's manuscript: "I never desired to imitate Mark Twain's manner and never consciously adopted it for a moment. We were together night and day, for seventy days, and if I unconsciously caught up a trick or two of his manner of speech it was natural I should. But it was never intentional, and this acknowledgment is all the acknowledgment I ever made to you. I think it not unlikely that Mark Twain may have as unconsciously caught a trick or two of my manners. I never said any such thing had injured me for platform work; for I am not aware that it ever did so. It was a momentary contagion of outward manner, which I cast off the moment it was called to my attention."

The published Eccentricities of Genius omits all mention of the tour in the Cable chapter.]

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