How Mark Twain Was Sold in Newark

You may remember that I lectured in Newark lately for the young gentlemen of the Society? During the afternoon of that day I was talking with one of the young gentlemen, and he said he had an uncle, who, from some course or other, seemed to have lost all emotions. And with tears in his eyes, this young man said, “Oh, if I could only see him laugh once more! Oh, If I could only see him weep!” I was touched.

I said, “Bring him to my lecture. I’ll start him for you.” “Oh, if you could only do it! If you could but do it, all our family would be thankful to you for evermore-for he is so very dear to us. Oh, can you make him laugh? Can you bring tears to those eyes?”

I was profoundly moved. I said, “My son, bring the old man round. I have got some jokes in that lecture that will make him laugh if there is any laugh in – him; and if they miss fire, I have got some others, that will make him cry or kill him, one or the other.”


the young man thanked me, and went after his uncle. He placed him in full view, in the second row of benches, that night, and I began on him. I tried him with mild jokes, then with strong ones; I dosed him with bad jokes and good ones; I fired old jokes into him, and peppered him with red-hot new ones. I warmed up to my work, and attacked him on the right and left, in front and behind but I never moved him once -1 never started a smile or a tear! I was shocked. I closed the lecture with one wild burst of humour, and hurled the last joke full at him. Then I sat down.

The president of the Society came up and bathed my head with cold water and said, “What made you carry on so towards the end?” I said, “I was trying to make that old fool laugh in the second row.”

And he said,” Well, it was useless, because he can’t hear or speak, or he can’t see either.” Now I ask you as a man and brother, if that was any way for that old man’s nephew to do?

Proverbs and Sayings

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Choose a book as you choose a friend. There is no friend so faithful as a good book. Easier said than done. What is done wisely, is done well. Many words hurt more than swords. Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all. What’s said is said and can’t be unsaid. Nothing great is achieved without enthusiasm. To whom nothing is given, of him can nothing be required. In every beginning think of the end. A good tale is none the worth for being twice told.

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How Mark Twain Was Sold in Newark