South Bend Daily Tribune

1885: February 5

The Twain-Cable Entertainment

Mark Twain, the great humorist and George Washington Cable, the popular novelist, were greeted by a large and enthusiastic audience at the opera house last night, and a better pleased people never sat through a two hours' entertainment of any sort, in the uncomfortable seats of the old hall. The character of the entertainment, as announced, was readings by the two gentlemen from their own and latest works. M. Cable appeared first, a man of small stature and quite slender, in fact quite ordinary looking in every respect, and with a voice of the high tenor pitch, but clear, ringing, and rather pleasing in quality, introduced himself, made a few sarcastic comments about the late comers to the entertainment, begging those who were in their seats to go at least one eye on him, with superintending the seating of the tardy ones with the other, and having placed his hearers on good humor from the start, proceded to recite a chapter from his novel, Dr. Sevier, personating three characters in very acceptable style. After he had retired with the approval of the audience, Mark Twain sauntered upon the stage in his easy careless manner, with a grave look upon his countenance, and as he stood for a moment glancing sidewise at the audience, of course there was a general outburst of laughter from all parts of the house. After it had subsided Twain proceded in his dry, comical way to recite from his latest work, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," and kept his listeners in a roar all through. His appearance and style is directly the opposite of Cable's. Tall, somewhat angular, with a shock of grizzly hair covering a large head, a smoothly shaven face, with the exception of a gray and stubby mustache under a large Roman nose, and over a wide ranging mouth, with a voice low and guttural in tone, a serious, solemn look ever resting upon his features, he is the embodiment of all that is droll and laughable. The witty things in his writings, over which so many thousands have shed tears of laughter time and time again, sound all the more comical when repeated by the author in his inimitable style. During the evening he told his story of trying to master the German language, doing his trip abroad, his adventures with Harris in Switzerland, the stuttering yarn, and wound up with the old darkey ghost story. Mr. Cable also appeared in other selections from his novel, Dr. Sevier, and displayed a very fine musical taste and a sweet voice by singing two old Creole songs. His last selection, "Mary's Ride," a thrilling discription of an adventure of a southern woman during the late war, was his best effort of the evening, and was given in a decidedly dramatic style that called forth the most enthusiastic applause.