Mark Twain: A Biography, by Albert Bigelow Paine

Appendix F

The Innocents Abroad

(See Chapter lx)


In yesterday’s Herald we published a most amusing letter from the pen of that most amusing American genius, Mark Twain, giving an account of that most amusing of all modern pilgrimages — the pilgrimage of the ‘Quaker City’. It has been amusing all through, this Quaker City affair. It might have become more serious than amusing if the ship had been sold at Jaffa, Alexandria, or Yalta, in the Black Sea, as it appears might have happened. In such a case the passengers would have been more effectually sold than the ship. The descendants of the Puritan pilgrims have, naturally enough, some of them, an affection for ships; but if all that is said about this religious cruise be true they have also a singularly sharp eye to business. It was scarcely wise on the part of the pilgrims, although it was well for the public, that so strange a genius as Mark Twain should have found admission into the sacred circle. We are not aware whether Mr. Twain intends giving us a book on this pilgrimage, but we do know that a book written from his own peculiar standpoint, giving an account of the characters and events on board ship and of the scenes which the pilgrims witnessed, would command an almost unprecedented sale. There are varieties of genius peculiar to America. Of one of these varieties Mark Twain is a striking specimen. For the development of his peculiar genius he has never had a more fitting opportunity. Besides, there are some things which he knows, and which the world ought to know, about this last edition of the Mayflower.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00