The Hartford Daily Courant

1871: November 9

Mark Twain's Lecture.

Artemus Ward wouldn't be a promising subject for a lecture in the hands of Charles Sumner, nor of any one not born with a genius for humor akin to that of Charles F. Browne; but Mr. Clemens gave the vast audience at Allyn Hall last night a long hour's hearty enjoyment, rippling into continual merriment and bursting often into hearty laughter. Indeed the lecture was over an hour long, and one of the best testimonies to its entertaining character was that the lecturer seemed to have been speaking not more than half an hour, and the close was a surprise to everybody, so rapt was the attention of the audience. There is not an abundance of material for a sketch of Artemus Ward, but Mr. Clemens made the most of it, and the slender thread of the narrative was a string for endless stories and happy hits, which illustrated the subject and kept the audience in a perpetual state of pleasant excitement. Mr. Clemens is infinitely droll in his manner of telling a story, and we doubt if the facetiae of Ward himself were ever so telling when he uttered them as they were last night in the repetition. The lecturer made to stand out very clearly the character of Artemus, the humbug showman, which Mr. Browne created; he did not cover the failings of the humorist, but he gave him credit for his manliness, his hatred of shams and pretensions; and in a very simple words he made very pathetic the story of his last days in London. The man who can give such an audience as that last evening an hour of innocent laughter is a public benefactor, and this we consider Mr. Clemens. No lecturer of the season has had such a hearty welcome.