The Madison Democrat

1885: January 28

Last Night's Amusements.

At the Methodist church Mark Twain and Geo. W. Cable entertained a goodly audience for two hours, with their joint readings. They were both very clever all the way through. The programme was an excellent one; entirely different from the one presented on their appearance a week or more ago.

The (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal

1885: January 27


  Mark Twain and George W. Cable will entertain the public at the M. E. church this evening, with their joint readings. Their appearance here a few evenings since formed the occasion for a larger turn-out, and at that time many people were not able to secure seats. That the attendance will be liberal to-night is a foregone conclusion. These two gentlemen are drawing marvelously wherever they appear and the greatest satisfaction is expressed at their readings. To-night a new programme throughout will be presented.

The (Madison) Wisconsin State Journal

1885: January 28

Stage and Rostrum. TWAIN-CABLE.

  The basement of the M. E. church was again well filled last evening, to listen to the readings of Mark Twain and George W. Cable. The entertainment was of that novel and really rare class with which these gentlemen are making such a great success throughout the country. The men are as different in their appearance as in their readings, and the contrast but enhances the character of the entertainment. To those who had never before seen Mr. Cable, his advent before them as he stepped from a rear room upon the rostrum last evening was something of a surprise. He is an unusually small man physically, but though short of stature he is symmetrically proportioned. His weight must be in the neighborhood of 95 lbs. He is erect, bears himself handsomely and gracefully, and is the embodiment of refinement and culture. His complexion is dark, and harmonizes with his hair. A full beard adorns his face, and his moustaches are long and twisted into a suggestion of his name. His features are delicately moulded, and the brow is broad and full, and indicative of the intellectuality of its possessor. Mr. Cable has a voice which, though of a tenor turn, possesses a nasal twang. Mr. Clemens, or Mark Twain, is a finely constituted man, whose weight is probably about 160 lbs. He is evenly proportioned, and active in his movements. His face is an admirable one. The features are all strong and masculine. The nose is full and straight; the jaws are the embodiment of firmness; the eyes are somewhat sunken and seem to be on the constant alert to spring something surprising on his auditors, and the forehead is high and full, with a few wrinkles extending across it. The mouth is partially hidden by a heavy, gray-besprinkled moustache which drops over it, while a thick mass of hair, well tinged with age, crowns the head, drooping down somewhat over both the forehead and right ear. While giving his readings, Twain, as he is better known, stands carelessly, with his left hand in his pantaloons' pocket, while his right has an amusing habit of playing with his mouth, as in the case of some awkward, overgrown boy. The expression of his face scarcely changes during an entertainment, though when the audience laughs loudest there is the greatest air of injury about it.

  Mr. Cable entertained his auditors with two interesting selections from Dr. Sevier, in which the peculiar dialect of the Creole was pleasantly employed. He substituted several Creole songs for the fifth number upon the programme, and rendered the strange airs with so much feeling and beauty that he was recalled. His recitation of Mary's Night Ride was, however, the crowning effort of the evening, and his depiction of the wild ride of the brave mother and her child away from the rebel ambush, while the bullets whistled about her, was so vivid and thrilling that the audience held its very breath as it watched the thrilling chase.

  It would be impossible to do justice to the richness of the treat which Mark Twain offered. His dry recital of the desperate encounter he had with an interviewer was ludicrous in the extreme, and could only be appreciated upon being heard. The story of Huck Finn and Tom's Sawyer's brilliant achievement in rescuing a negro captive who was imprisoned in a cabin on the farm of Huck's uncle, kept the audience in a constant roar of laughter, while the stuttering story was unique and highly amusing. The anecdote of how Smiley's frog was charged with shot by a clever stranger, who afterwards won $40 from the owner in a jumping contest between a fresh frog from the marsh and the trained pet of Smiley's, was very entertaining. Twain closed by giving in all its details the narrow escape from a duel which he had with a rival editor while running a western paper, and claimed that the practice of dueling was pernicious and ought to be frowned down by all good citizens. He said that if he were challenged now, he would take the challenging party by the hand, gently lead him off into some quiet, secluded place and there--kill him.