The (Washington, D.C.) Daily Republican

1871: October 24

Mark Twain's Lecture Last Night.

The announcement that Mark Twain would deliver the third lecture in the Grand Army course of lectures was sufficient to fill the large audience-room of Lincoln Hall to its utmost capacity last night. Long before the hour for the lecture arrived the ticket-office was closed, every available space for standing-room having been disposed of, and hundreds of people went away disappointed, not being able to gain admission. Of course it is impossible to describe or even give an outline of the lecture. Sufficient to say that it was full of rich fun and humor, and during the delivery the immense audience was kept in one continued roar of laughter. The fourth lecture of the course will be delivered next Tuesday evening by Miss Anna Dickenson.

The Washington Evening Star

1871: October 24

MARK WARD ON ARTEMUS TWAIN.-- "Mark Twain" talked about "Artemus Ward" last night to the largest audience ever assembled in Lincoln Hall. Very pleasant talk it was, characteristically droll and full of unctuous humor; but many of his auditors seemed to be in the same condition of painful doubt and uncertainty as the audience described by him who attended the first lecture of A. Ward on "The Babes in the Wood." They didn't seem to know whether he was lecturing on "uncommonplace characters," as announced, or only one uncommonplace character -- "Artemus" aforesaid -- or whether he was delivering that lecture, or another lecture, or whether there was any other lecture -- in fact, they couldn't get the hang of it, at all. Then again, when they come to study it all out to-day they have A. Twain's jokes so mixed up with M. Ward's -- no, M. Twain's with A. Ward's -- and get so confused trying to separate Clements from Browne that their mental condition is pitiable. No lecturer has a right to trifle with his audience in that kind of style.

The (Washington, D.C.) Daily Morning Chronicle

1871: October 24

Mark Twain's Lecture at Lincoln Hall.

"Mark, now, how plain a tale shall put you down."
                        --Prince Henry to Falstaff.

Horace somewhere says it is sweet "desipere in loco" -- that is, to indulge in fun on occasion, and a modern somebody, who loves wit as well, says:

"A little nonsense, now and then,
Is relished by the best of men."

Just in time to relieve the weight of somber sympathy which has settled over our community came the announcement of a lecture by that chief of modern humorists, Mark Twain.

So large, so eagerly expectant an audience is seldom seen in a lecture-room as that gathered in Lincoln Hall last night. Old and young, and people not wont to look at life through humorous eyes, sat with incipient smiles ready for promised enjoyment. The lecturer's light form appeared with his somewhat hesitating step and stoop among the audience, which, overflowing the seats, even occupied the stage, and advancing to the lecturn, he said, "I'm the lecturer," giving as reason for his self-introduction that it was "less awkward and restrained." He asserted an embarrassment very amusingly counterfeited in the fact that he had brought, not the lecture announced, but another, which he considered less "heavy and ranty" -- a lecture upon Artemus Ward. His endeavor to render a just tribute to the character and fame of the greater humorist was agreeable as generous. But, like nearly all writers of wit and humor whose writings have afforded our best mental relaxation, and whose corruscations have brightened many dark places, when addressing his admirers in person, he fails to fulfill their expectations. Unfit habits of manner and speech, all the inevitable eccentricities of bearing which are the outward form of the inner peculiarity, serve to distract from force in speaking. The readers of "Innocents Abroad" find small trace of the pen in the spoken address. Even the promise of his humor-stamped face seems to fail. His gestures, which are simply outre when tried by rules, are expressive of the mockery of hesitancy he assumes, and his habit of lowering his voice at the very epigram of his sentence claims all the attention of those who would hear him at all. His selections from Ward's humors were good, and might have been better, though they were new. His arrangement of a biographic lecture was good, but the most acceptable were the pointings of his own original wit. It can not justly be stated that the lecture given by Mark Twain last night was one of his best efforts upon which his popularity rests, and although there was sufficient wit to create much amusement, and the audience were pleased to frequent applause, it is undeniable that his old admirers went away disappointed.