Boston Daily Evening Transcript ["Tom Folio"; B. B. Toby]
1869: December 15

MARK TWAIN'S NEW BOOK. What would the great old romantic voyagers and travellers, the heroes of Hackluyt and Purchas, say of the monster Yankee picnic to Europe and the Holy Land? I think that if those worthies were to get hold of a copy of Mark Twain's account of the excursion, there would be laughter in Elysium. At any rate, I can hardly believe it possible for an earthly reader -- unless, indeed, like Charles Lamb's Scotchman, he is joke-proof -- to peruse Twain's new book, The Innocents Abroad, without "laughing consumedly." The work, however, though rich in joke and jest is not, like Gilbert a Becket's dreary comic histories, a merely funny book. On the contrary, it is a very full and matter-of-fact record of travel in Europe and the East, delightfully flavored with humor and plentifully spiced with wit. Addison's sober citizen complained that there were too many plums and no suet in his pudding, but no one can say that Twain's literary pudding is wanting in suet or too full of plums.

Our author is not one of the "one-eyed travellers," mentioned by Whateley, who see "a great deal of some particular class of objects, and are blind to all others," but a shrewd, quick-witted person, who travelled with his eyes very wide open, and saw things as they were, not as they have been described by poets and romancers. It is not, however, so much for its new, truthful and pleasant pictures of Old World places and people, as for the delicious wit and humor scattered so freely up and down the book, that one praises and prizes The Innocents Abroad. And it is such good humor, too, most of it, and with all its freedom and riot, touching gently and lovingly all serious things. I have been reading Fuller's Pisgah Sight of Palestine, and derived no little amusement by comparing his descriptions of the Holy Land with Mark Twain's. Fuller, though as pious and reverent as a saint, was a rare wit and humorist, and his book on Palestine is brimming over with merry quibbles and jocular humor. Although some of Mark Twain's levities might have displeased the witty old divine, I think that he would have laughed loud and long at the passage concerning the tomb of Adam.

The Innocents Abroad is issued by the American Publishing Company of Hartford, and is sold only by subscription. The Boston agents are George M. Smith & Co., No. 6 Tremont Street.

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