Mark Twain's Library of Humor (Modern Library Humor and Wit)
Mark Twain, Roy Blount Jr.
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Beginning with the piece that made Mark Twain famous--"The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County"--and ending with his fanciful "How I Edited an Agricultural Paper," this treasure trove of an anthology, an abridgment of the 1888 original, collects twenty of Twain's own pieces, in addition to tall tales, fables, and satires by forty-three of Twain's contemporaries, including Washington Irving, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ambrose Bierce, William Dean Howells, Joel Chandler Harris, Artemus Ward, and Bret Harte.
grace, informed the horror-stricken inquisitor: “I have not been to church for years, I have been such an infidel” and then, moved by a dim impression of wrong somewhere, as well as by the evident shock inflicted upon her worthy visitor, but conscious of her own integrity, repeated still more emphatically: “No; I have been a confirmed infidel for years.” But a peremptory summons from an animated nursery forbids my lingering longer in this fruitful field. I can only add an instance of
this woman very much if I could see her in one of the fine old English comedies, such as the ‘Bunch of Keys,’ or the ‘Rag Baby.’ ” Now, while these two distinguished personages were aware that the play was “Fedora,” there were many in the auditorium who had not very clear convictions on this point. M. Thomas J. Hooper, the prominent linseed-oil manufacturer (whose palatial residence on Prairie Avenue is the Mecca of our most cultured society)—M. Hooper, we say, sat through three acts without
admiring this woman’s art, the woman herself is not brazenly guying and blackguarding us in her absurd foreign language? Now, we would not seek to create the impression that Sardoo’s work is not meritorious: on the contrary, we are free to say, and we say it boldly, that we recognize considerable merit in it. We fancy, however, that Sardoo is not always original: we find him making use of a good many lines that certainly were not born of his creative genius. As we remember now, Sardoo introduces
Deep Rock Gulley ain’t an inch less’n fifty foot from top to bottom, an’ the walls is ez steep as the side of a house. I went up to the edge an’ looked over. Ther’ were the b’ar layin’ on his face at the bottom, whar them queer cracks is in the ground, an’ he were a howlin’ like a hurricane and kickin’ like a mule. Ther’ he laid, and he wa’n’t able to raise up. Th’ wa’n’t no way o’ gettin’ down to him, ’cept by tumblin’ down ez he had; an’ if ever anybody were poppin’ mad, I were, ez I see my
goin’ about preachin’, and havin’ camp-meetin’ revivals, and givin’ singin’-school lessons. They are—I wish I could explain myself about these circus people. These circus people are a-tryin’—you know, gentlemen, different people makes their livin’ in different ways; and these circus people are jes a-tryin’ to do exactly the same thing in jes exactly the same way. Well, gentlemen, grandeur is the word I should say about their performances. I should not confine myself to the word religion. Strictly