Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roughing It (5). Mark Twain.

New York: Literary Classics of the United States, Inc. 1872 (1984).

Why read it? Twain records a journey from St. Louis across the plains to Nevada, a visit to the Mormons, and life and adventures in Virginia City, San Francisco, and the Sandwich Islands. Filled with tall tales, vivid descriptions, narratives of adventure and character sketches.

Sample Ideas and Quotes:

“…whenever he [Capt. John] met a man, woman or child, in camp, in a desert, he either knew such parties personally or had been acquainted with a relative of the same.” p. 710.

“It is a pity that Adam could not have gone straight out of Eden into a quartz mill, in order to understand the full force of his doom to ‘earn his bread by the sweat of his brow.’ ” p. 714.

[Watch out for the pun in this one.] “A white man cannot drink the water of Mono Lake, for it is nearly pure lye…. Said that the Indians in the vicinity drink it sometimes. Not improbable, for they are among the purest liars I ever saw.” p. 724.

Buck and the Preacher:

Buck: “Are you the duck that runs the gospel-mill next door?”

Buck: “…you are the head clerk of the doxology works next door.”

Preacher: “I am the shepherd in charge of the flock whose fold is next door.”

Preacher: “the spiritual advisor of the little company of believers whose sanctuary adjoins these premises.

Buck: “You see, one of the boys has gone up the flume….”

Preacher: “Ah—has departed to the mysterious country from whose bourne no traveler returns.”

Buck: “Now if we can get you to help plant him….”

Preacher: “Preach the funeral discourse…assist at the obsequies?” pp. 775 – 777.

To be concluded.

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